Saturday, September 23, 2017

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UK prepared to retaliate against cyberattackers with troops, airstrikes – Fallon

Britain is prepared to launch military retaliation including sending in troops and airstrikes against foreign...

‘Serial Killer’ drug strikes UK after causing deadly addiction epidemic in US

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned that a new drug, known by the street...

Video: ‘Hard to say no’: UK may conduct strikes in Syria if US asks...

It will be “very difficult” for the UK government to refuse military assistance to the US in Syria if they expressly ask for it,...

UK’s atomic weapons workers to stage two 48hr strikes in January

Atomic weapons workers will stage two 48-hour strikes from Wednesday next week over what they claim are “broken promises” over pension cuts, Unite the...

Video: Tsunami warnings lifted after 7.4 quake strikes Fukushima coastline

A powerful 7.3 earthquake has struck off Japan's Fukushima prefecture, triggering a potentially devastating tsunami which authorities warn could be higher than ... Via Youtube

Video: 7.4 quake strikes Fukushima Prefecture, triggers imminent tsunami alert

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency the quake struck at 5:59am JST at a depth of 10km. 'Tsunami warnings or advisories are currently in...

Russia’s UK ambassador demands proof over claims of strikes on Syrian citizens made in...

The Russian ambassador to the UK is demanding proof of “deliberate strikes against civilians” in...

First Strikes Are Still Part of US Nuke Policy

On September 27, Democrats in the House and the Senate introduced a bill that would prevent the president of the...

UK Ramps Up Strikes; 16 Killed in Iraq

UK Ramps Up Strikes; 16 Killed in Iraq British warplanes have ramped up airstrikes ahead of the expected operation against Mosul, which could...

Video: British jets involved in airstrikes which hit Syrian govt troops – UK MoD

Britain's military has admitted involvement in an airstrike in eastern Syria which reportedly killed over 60 Syrian Army troops. Subsequent reports suggest a ... Via...

117 Killed in Iraq; Heavy Strikes in the Kirkuk Region

117 Killed in Iraq; Heavy Strikes in the Kirkuk Region The Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq were named a UNESCO world heritage...

Video: UN exposes ‘widespread’ Saudi strikes on civilian targets in Yemen, UK arms exports...

Britain's role in exporting arms and providing military advisers for the Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign in Yemen is under scrutiny following a UN report...

UK criticizes Russia airstrikes in Syria

British foreign secretary dismisses Russia’s military tactics in Syria as unacceptable claiming that Russia’s airstrikes don’t target the ISIL militants. "The majority of Russian...

Video: RAF warplanes head for Syria missions after UK greenlights airstrikes on ISIS

Four British Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR4 jets were deployed to Syria from the British Akrotiri base on Cyprus, after UK parliament voted...

British Medical Association calls off UK junior doctors strikes

By Robert Stevens  On Monday evening, the British Medical Association (BMA) called off yesterday’s planned 24-hour strike of 40,000 trainee junior doctors in England, to resume...

Video: UK drops down plan to join US-led anti-ISIS airstrikes

The US-led anti-Islamic State coalition is being let down by Britain's reluctance to take part in bombing Syria. That's the view expressed by the...

Video: Russian Sukhoi Su-24M pre-flight check before anti-ISIS strikes

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24M was prepped for another round of anti-terror airstrikes at the Hmeymim Air Base in Latakia on Tuesday. COURTESY: RT's RUPTLY...

Finally revealed: UK drone strikes in Afghanistan by province

More than three years after first submitting a Freedom of Information request, the UK Ministry of Defence has finally told us in which Afghan...

Finally revealed: UK drone strikes in Afghanistan by province

More than three years after first submitting a Freedom of Information request, the UK Ministry of Defence has finally told us in which Afghan provinces UK drones strikes took place. Although there is no detail on the number of strikes within... Read More ›

New Ukraine Government Launches Airstrikes and Prepares Austerity Measures

Thomas Gaist The character of the new Ukrainian government headed by billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko has been quickly revealed in the day since presidential elections...

UK: firemen warn of more strikes

Firefighters in England and Wales are threatening further strikes over changes to their pension schemes after they took industrial action for the first time...

Stirring Immediate Fears, Earthquake Strikes Fukushima

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Fukushima prefecture in Japan on Thursday. (Image: USGS)Though relatively small, especially compared to the one that sparked the...

UK PM strikes back at EU chief remarks

British Prime Minister David Cameron has hit back at European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for suggesting Britain's ruling Conservatives were increasingly œlooking like...

UK unions call for nationwide strikes

Disgruntled trade unions in Britain have called for a united Å“day of action” across industries throughout the country over the governmentâ„¢s harsh polices on...

UK post office staff stage more strikes

British Post Office staff will stage two more nationwide strikes later this month over a five months-long job cuts, pay and closures dispute. The...

Fresh strikes to hit UK post offices

UKâ„¢s Post office workers set to stage a fresh strike later this month as talks fail.Thousands of workers in Britainâ„¢s biggest post offices are...

‘UK drone strikes violate int’l law’

Britainâ„¢s operating of killer drones in Afghanistan may be violating the international law, a legal firm representing peace campaigners has argued in an opinion...

5.9 earthquake strikes Japan off Fukushima coast

An earthquake with a magnitude measured at 5.9 by Japan’s Meteorological Agency has struck the northeast of the country. The epicenter was close to...

UN to probe UK and US drone strikes

The United Nations (UN) is to examine Britain and the US drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan based on requests by several nations, including Pakistan and two permanent members of the UN Security Council.

UK military shows off footage of drone strike on ISIS that caused ‘civilian injuries’...

Footage has emerged showing a controversial British drone strike on a sniper in Syria last...

As London lures Saudi oil giant, RT looks at UK’s history of rule-bending for...

Serious questions are being raised over controversial proposals that could lure the multi-trillion share listing...

US Airstrikes Wipe Out Entire Families

The United States is killing entire families in Raqqa, Syria, and enabling Saudi Arabia to do the same in Yemen. In June of this year,...

SAA Intends to Cut off ISIS Escape Routes Bounding As-Sukhnah with Al-Kadir

by Sophie Mangal / July 29th, 2017 The Syrian Arab army (SAA) backed by the allies began a large-scale offensive and the assault of the...

Yemen: Court Battle Exposes UK-Saudi Arms Deals And Humanitarian Tragedy

On Monday 10th July, a ruling was handed down by London’s High Court, which should, in a sane world, exclude the UK government ever...

Civilian death toll rises to over 600 in US-led coalition airstrikes against ISIS in...

A new Operation Inherent Resolve report has confirmed a total of 603 civilian deaths in the...

Sy Hersh, Exposer of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, Strikes Again, Exposing US Lies...

Photo by -JvL- | CC BY 2.0 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese women, children...

Britain would back new US airstrikes on Syrian regime targets – Fallon (VIDEO)

Britain is “absolutely” ready to support retaliation by US President Donald Trump against Bashar Assad...

Theresa May strikes deal with DUP to prop up minority government

Published time: 26 Jun, 2017 10:13 Edited time: 26 Jun, 2017 10:32 Prime Minister Theresa...

Wikipedia ‘hack’ claims Adolf Hitler leads kingmakers of UK politics

Published time: 9 Jun, 2017 11:43 The Wikipedia page of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)...

Video: UN ‘deeply concerned’ over safety of 400,000 civilians fleeing US-led coalition airstrikes in...

The safety of over 400000 people in Raqqa, Syria, where US-backed Syrian opposition forces are bombing ISIS, is of "deep concern" to the UN....

War rhetoric dominates UK snap general election


US pressure could force Britain to join anti-Assad airstrikes, suggests Boris Johnson

Published time: 27 Apr, 2017 12:01 Britain could bomb the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad...

NYT’s ‘Impossible to Verify’ North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked by Media

The New York Times (4/24/17) makes news with an “impossible to verify” claim. Buoyed by a total of 18 speculative verb forms—five “mays,” eight “woulds”...

Corbyn makes election pledge to end Syria airstrikes and push for peace process

Airstrikes should be suspended and all parties should get back to the negotiating table in a bid to end the Syrian war, Labour leader...

Russia ‘horrified at chemical attacks’ in Syria, says former UK ambassador to Moscow

Published time: 13 Apr, 2017 11:09 Russia has been badly mishandled by Western powers, which fail...

UK Foreign Secretary Johnson cancelled April 10 visit to Moscow due to events in...

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has cancelled his planned trip to Moscow hours before he...

Turning on Trump After Missile Strikes

Many former Donald Trump supporters have turned on the President after his decision to retaliate against the Assad regime for its chemical weapons attack. Nigel...

UK govt ‘fully supports’ US missile strike on Syria

The British government says it “fully supports” the US missile strike against an airbase in...

Labour leadership team tears itself apart over US missile strikes on Syria

Published time: 7 Apr, 2017 13:35 The Labour Party is once again at war with itself...

UK sends troops to train Jordanian military as Theresa May begins Middle East charm...

British troops will be deployed to Jordan to train local forces in bombing tactics. The announcement comes as UK Prime Minister Theresa May begins...

Supreme Court unanimously strikes down Gorsuch ruling

Published time: 23 Mar, 2017 03:25Edited time: 23 Mar, 2017 08:58 A ruling made by US Supreme...

Free the framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers!


UK tracking 257 possible Saudi war crimes in Yemen

Published time: 23 Feb, 2017 15:41Edited time: 23 Feb, 2017 15:41 Britain is tracking 257 alleged...

Planting Seed for Strikes in the Trump Era, #Strike4Democracy Sweeps Nation

Planting the seed for future large-scale walk-outs, hundreds of events are taking place coast-to-coast on Friday as part of a national "strike for democracy." Heavy...

UK minister accuses Russia of MH17 downing & ‘testing’ NATO, Moscow says claims ‘baseless’

When British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon was asked to deliver a speech on ‘Russian resurgence’,...

Austerity strikes back: Living standards set to tumble as Britain’s ‘mini-boom’ ends

British living standards are set to crash as the “mini-boom” witnessed over recent years comes to an end, dragging income growth down to just...

UK activists detained for disarming Saudi-bound warplanes to prevent ‘war crimes’ in Yemen

Two men have been arrested in Lancashire, UK for trying to disarm and prevent Saudi-bound...

Germany will be pressed into EU-UK trade deal within 2yrs, MP claims

There will be a UK-EU trade deal within two years because Germany cannot afford an economic battering from export tariffs, Brexiteer Owen Paterson MP...

UK’s ‘confused’ stance on Yemen ‘will lead to terrorist attacks on British soil’

Britain is increasing the likelihood of a terrorist attack on home soil if the government does not rethink its “confused” Yemen policy, a former...

UK adoption of US drone assassination model ‘shocking’ – campaigners

Britain will look to the US drone assassination model as it seeks to update its own rules of war, a move campaigners say is...

UK: Appalling warehouse working conditions exposed at JD Sports

By Joe Mount 3 January 2017 A Channel 4 News investigation has revealed that sportswear retailer JD Sports imposes draconian working conditions at its warehouses in...

Tory govt could use soldiers to break rail strikes

Senior Tories appear to be mulling whether to break the will of striking rail workers by using military personnel to run replacement services during...

UK must ‘up game’ to defeat ISIS in 2017 – defence secretary

Britain must up its game if it wants to defeat Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)...

UK uses museum tanks, civilians to simulate ‘Putin launching WWIII’ – reports

Soviet-designed tanks from a museum and civilian contractors played invading Russians in a simulated invasion...

Chaos or cunning? Trump strikes back against 'totally wrong' media reports on transition team

President-elect Donald Trump has taken to Twitter again, blasting the media for speculating about his transition...

‘Profits prioritized over Yemeni lives:’ UK to continue arms sales to Saudis

The UK government has refused to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, rejecting calls by two parliamentary committees and human rights groups to cease...

Oil wars? UK’s most advanced warship secretly deployed to Yemen coast

Britain’s most advanced warship has reportedly been quietly deployed to the coast of Yemen in what experts claim is a bid to protect the...

Video: Fake limbs dumped outside Russian embassy to protest Aleppo airstrikes

Russia's embassy in London has sent a letter to the UK Foreign Office to complain about demonstrators who dumped around 800 mannequin limbs outside...

‘At work across Europe & UK’: MI5 chief says Russia is growing threat to...

Russia poses an increasing threat to the UK and is using all the powers at...

China repeatedly hacked US, stole data on nukes, FBI & war plans – security...

Chinese intelligence repeatedly targeted US national security agencies and email accounts of US officials, a soon-to-be-released...

Mosul assault: What role will UK troops play in the battle for the ISIS-held...

As the assault on Mosul begins, UK troops will be involved on a number of...

Outrage after UK govt admits training Saudi pilots despite Yemen war crimes allegations

The UK is still training the Saudi Air Force despite growing evidence of the Saudi-led coalition’s crimes against civilians in Yemen, Defence Secretary Michael...

553 Killed and Executed in Iraq as Militants Attack Kirkuk

Islamic State militants attacked the predominantly Kurdish city of Kirkuk and nearby areas on Friday, a day after ISIS/Daesh called on the Kurds to cease fighting the...

UK drafts UNSC resolution calling for ‘immediate’ ceasefire in Yemen

London will present a draft UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen following last week’s deadly raid on a funeral....

UK ministers supporting Saudi-coalition in Yemen could be implicated in war crimes

British MPs supporting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen could be liable as war criminals if...

Immigration crackdown would lead to UK staff shortages, including in NHS, report warns

The future of some UK businesses is at risk if the government follows through with its plan to crack down on immigration, a new...

‘Alive & kicking’ Al-Qaeda poses ‘very direct threat’ to UK – Defense secretary

A resurgent Al-Qaeda poses a growing threat to the West as Islamic State is driven out of its strongholds, British Secretary of Defense Michael...

Robot Bank of Scotland: UK lender introduces ‘warm, approachable’ AI to talk to customers

The majority state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to become the first British high-street...

Military Ready to Start New Operation Near Kirkuk; 75 Killed in Iraq

Military Ready to Start New Operation Near Kirkuk; 75 Killed in Iraq Military officials say that preparations for an assault on Hawija...

British air force admits involvement in airstrikes which hit Syrian govt troops

Britain’s military has admitted involvement in an airstrike in eastern Syria which reportedly killed over...

Snowden ‘uncomfortable’ with film portrayal, calls UK ‘authoritarian’ in new interview

US exile Edward Snowden, the subject of a new Oliver Stone film that premiered at the...

Twenty-Four Hours in Yemen: UN, US, UK Devastation, Complicity and Double Standards

Let me ask you one question. Is your money that good? Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could? — Bob Dylan,...

NSA leaks show US spooks use UK base to launch ‘kill-capture’ missions

Leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how his former employer used the US...

UK sends destroyer to fight ISIS in Persian Gulf, despite its previous warm water...

The Royal Navy is sending its lead Daring-class air defense destroyer, the HMS Daring, to...

Bikini Atoll nuke test video declassified on 70th anniversary

The US National Security Archives have declassified previously secret material related to a series of nuclear...

Video: Air stunts & controlled strikes wow crowds at military aircraft competition Aviadarts in...

The Aviadarts 2016 international segment commenced near Ryazan on Saturday, as part of the Army Games 2016. The aerobatic teams of the Knights, Swifts...

Anbar Council Claims Civilians Killed in Airstrikes; 106 Killed in Iraq

Anbar Council Claims Civilians Killed in Airstrikes; 106 Killed in Iraq Judge Mohammed al-Janabi, Iraq’s chief prosecutor, has filed complaints against several...

Majority of Britons back PM May on launching nuke attack that would kill 100,000

PM Theresa May was right to give an unequivocal "yes" according to 66 percent of...

Federal judge strikes down WI election laws as benefiting GOP

A federal judge found parts of Wisconsin’s elections laws to be unconstitutional, ruling they unfairly benefited...

Knife incident at UK military base treated as attempted abduction, terrorism not ruled out

Norfolk police are investigating the attempted abduction of a military serviceman at RAF Marham on...

US-Led Airstrikes Kill as Many Civilians as Nice Attack–but Get No Front-Page Headlines in...

The Intercept (7/19/16) illustrated its article on a deadly airstrike in Syria with a photo of a victim receiving medical attention. (Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty...

UK launches defense of its Saudi allies over claims of indiscriminate bombing in Yemen

Responding to a report from the International Development Committee (IDC), the British government flatly denied...

Fire the Brimstone 2: UK buys £170mn version of barely used super-missile

Britain has bought the latest version of the Brimstone missile. Although once trumpeted as the...

Airstrikes near Fallujah Kill Hundreds; 285 Killed in Iraq

Airstrikes near Fallujah Kill Hundreds; 285 Killed in Iraq The United States has given Iraq a $2.7 billion dollar credit for the purchase...

Hawks rising: Dozens of State Dept officials call for US strikes against Assad in...

Bucking current US policy, dozens of State Department officials have reportedly signed an internal document calling...

Weeks before Chilcot, Tony Blair scolds Jeremy Corbyn for not backing UK bombing of...

Tony Blair has launched a withering attack on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him...

Drone hunt: Pakistani man on secretive US ‘kill list’ sidestepped by UK govt

Downing Street has refused to respond to a Pakistani peace worker who’s demanding to know...

Al-Qaeda-linked extremists could use Syria to launch attacks on West – UK general

A senior British military commander has warned of Al-Qaeda-linked extremists’ “ambitions” in Syria, saying they...

Video: Saudi-led coalition drops banned UK-made cluster bombs on Yemen – Amnesty Intl

Banned UK-manufactured cluster bombs have been found in a Yemeni village targeted in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, leading to calls for the UK to come...

‘Absolute scandal’: Illegal UK-made cluster bombs found in Yemeni village attacked by Saudis

Banned UK-manufactured cluster bombs have been found in a Yemeni village targeted in Saudi-led coalition...

Jeremy Corbyn appeals to UK Labour’s Blairite wing for unity

Chris Marsden There does not appear to be any limit to what Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will do in order to appease his right-wing...

200 migrants detained by UK stage hunger strike & occupation over ‘slave-like’ conditions

More than 200 asylum seekers and migrants held in UK detention centers went on hunger...

UK at war? SAS in Syria, 25,000 ISIS dead, British troops in Somalia &...

British special forces are to be parachuted into Syria, it has emerged, as Defence Secretary...

UK cannot ‘rule out’ deploying ground troops in Libya, Hammond says

British ground troops, supported by the Air Force and Navy, may go to Libya to...

Convenient truths? UK govt lambasts Egypt, Iran over death penalty but virtually silent on...

Britain’s Foreign Office (FCO) has lambasted Bahrain, China, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia over their...

UK unions agree to implement pay cuts for NHS workers

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Ajanta Silva The British government is enforcing a miserly 1 percent increase...

‘Only a matter of time’: First-ever drone collision with passenger plane reported in UK

A British Airways aircraft carrying 132 passengers on board was just about to land at Heathrow airport when, according to the pilot, it collided...

Red-handed: UK military trained Saudis as they rained fire on Yemen, says Reprieve

UK military personnel have delivered a series of three-week courses on “international targeting” to the...

UK Home Office thinks Saudi committing war crimes in Yemen, Foreign Office doesn’t!

Britain’s Home Office now believes Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen is breaching international human rights...

UK has moral obligation to resolve Libya ‘mess’ but troops would be seen as...

Britain is morally obliged to help solve the ‘mess’ it left in Libya, but troops...

New British Empire? UK to re-establish military bases east of Suez

Flush military chiefs have been handed an £800-million budget boost as they consider new bases...

UK Junior doctors dispute at a crossroads

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Statement by NHS Fightback The UK junior doctors’ dispute has entered a...

Russia questions UK silence on retaking Palmyra from ISIS

The Russian embassy in the UK has publicly questioned why the British government has failed...

Foreign Office forced to deny plans for Libya airstrikes, troop deployments

No UK troops will be deployed to Libya and airstrikes will not be extended to...

Hillary Clinton’s Support for the Iraq War Was No Fluke  

(Photo: Zimbio) In March 2003, just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, about 100 CODEPINK women dressed in pink slips weaved in and out of...

Dwindling UK sovereignty may push attorney general to back Brexit

Britain’s Attorney General Jeremy Wright may vote for a Brexit amid mounting concern that European courts are whittling away the UK’s sovereignty, it has...

Video: UK govt accused of selling weapons to Saudis, admits helping choose targets in...

The British government has admitted that its military is helping choose targets for the Saudi-led coalition's air strikes in Yemen. RT LIVE ... Via...

UK military experts allegedly aiding Saudi military campaign in Yemen

The UK stands accused of joining Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Six British experts are helping their Saudi colleagues target...

UK Labour leader urges party not to defy Conservative spending cuts

By Chris Marsden Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has issued a letter instructing local Labour councils to abide by the law and impose austerity cuts demanded...

UK: Employment practises of Sports Direct retail giant exposed

By Harvey Thompson and Robert Stevens Two undercover reporters for the Guardian were recently hired at a distribution warehouse in Shirebrook, England run by Sports Direct....

UN resolution could see Britain renew airstrikes over Libya

British airstrikes could recommence over Libya just four years after the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as a British-sponsored UN resolution looks likely to...

Video: ‘Shame on you’: Anti-war protesters rally in London as UK govt votes to...

Some 1500 anti-war protesters gathered outside the parliament after the vote to protest the UK's intervention in Syria. The airstrikes could begin “very quickly,”...

Britons split over UK air raids in Syria: Poll

A new poll suggests people in the United Kingdom are divided over the government of Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to carry out a...

Cameron brands Corbyn ‘terrorist sympathizer’ for opposing Syria airstrikes

Fierce exchanges between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister David Cameron foreshadow a full day of heated debate as British MPs prepare to...

UK cabinet approves Syria motion

The UK cabinet has approved a motion to pave the way for the country to extend its airstrikes against ISIL militants from Iraq to...

‘ISIS threat has intensified,’ Fallon warns on eve of Syria airstrikes vote

Islamic State-inspired terror plots have increased tenfold in frequency, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon claimed as he set out the British government’s case for extending...

Corbyn offers MPs free vote on Syria airstrikes

The Labour Party has confirmed that it will offer its MPs a free vote on the Tory government’s proposal for UK airstrikes against ISIL...

Video: ‘Cameron’s claims on anti-ISIS airstrikes are deceit’: fmr ambassador to Syria

Prime Minister David Cameron has made his case for extending UK airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) from Iraq into Syria. He has...

Corbyn slams Tories’ plans for Syria strikes

The leader of UK Labour opposition party has slammed the Tory government’s plans to take part in the airstrikes in Syria. Addressing the Commons on...

Amnesty: UK must stop arms trading with Saudi Arabia

Amnesty International has called on the UK to stop arms trading with Saudi Arabia after evidence emerged of widespread civilian casualties in Saudi airstrikes...

UK must stop trading arms with Saudi Arabia — Amnesty

Britain is being called upon to cease arms trading with Saudi Arabia after evidence emerged of widespread civilian casualties resulting from Saudi-led attacks on...

‘UK’s new strike laws like Nazi Germany’ — union leader

The leader of Britain’s biggest union, Unite, has compared Tory strike laws that would require workers to wear armbands on the picket line to...

Serving UK general threatens mutiny against a future Corbyn government

By Chris Marsden A senior serving British general has threatened “direct action” by the armed forces against a future Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government. Speaking to the Sunday...

UK union bosses threaten to topple govt. with Corbyn

British unionists threaten to topple the Tories’ conservative government, using the landslide victory of the new opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a report...

Cameron government justifies targeted assassinations of UK citizens

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement in parliament Monday that he had authorised the extra-judicial killings of British citizens in...

More UK MPs question Syria drone strike

More UK politicians are now questioning legal justification of the country’s drone strikes in Syria. Senior lawmaker, Lord Macdonald from Liberal Democrats cast doubt about...

As UK Follows US Model of ‘Droning Its Own,’ Condemnations Follow

Legal experts and human rights advocates issue warnings after David Cameron admits extrajudicial assassination of British nationals in Syria by Jon Queally Human rights advocates and legal...

Cameron to urge military action against ISIS in Syria, UK to accept 15k refugees...

British Prime Minister David Cameron is pressing for military strikes against Islamic State in Syria within a month, according to senior sources. The leader...

Political crisis deepens over delays to UK Iraq War inquiry report

By Paul Mitchell The chairman of the inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War, Sir John Chilcot, was forced to make a statement last week to justify...

Video: Fire causes fire: Emergency crew battle huge blaze caused by recent shelling in...

Firefighters battle a huge blaze at Gorlovka power station, eastern Ukraine, caused by recent shelling. The strikes, which had occurred in spite of a...

Hiroshima, Nagasaki 70th anniversary: Anti-Trident activists join global fast against nukes

Anti-nuclear activists will mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki next week by taking part in a four-day fast...

UK defence secretary admits flouting parliamentary ban on military involvement in Syrian war

By Chris Marsden It should have been an occasion of high political drama of national import. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon had been forced to answer opposition...

New ‘Kill List’ Documents Point Finger at UK and Australia in US Drone War

(Common Dreams) - The UK and Australian governments may be complicit in the U.S.'s covert drone campaign in countries outside of recognized war zones, a...

UK probation workers vote to strike

By Paul Veevers (WSWS) - Probation workers in the Unison public sector trade union have voted by 73 percent to strike, after rejecting a zero percent pay...

Yemeni Man Granted Permission to Continue Case Against German Government over Role in US...

WASHINGTON - A German court has granted ‘immediate permission to appeal’ to a Yemeni man in his case seeking to expose and put an...

Police Brutality in the UK

Over the past year, police brutality in the USA has become a global concern. The killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Grey...

UK rail workers vote for national strike

By Michael Barnes (WSWS) - Workers at Network Rail (NR), the UK state-owned track operator, have voted overwhelmingly to strike against a derisory four-year pay deal and...

New figures for British air and drone strikes in Iraq

Six months on from the UK’s first drone strike against ISIS, new figures have been released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to Drone Wars UK detailing the number of air and drone strikes that have been undertaken by UK forces... Read More ›

Appeals Court Strikes Down Bulk NSA Phone Spying

Appeals Court Strikes Down Bulk NSA Phone Spying

by Stephen Lendman

On June 11, 2013, the ACLU challenged "the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records (ACLU v. Clapper)."

It argued that doing so violates Fourth and First Amendment rights, saying: 

"Because the NSA's aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment." 

"The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity."

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215 - the so-called "business records" provision.

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates fundamental First Amendment rights. It does so by mandating secrecy. 

It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what's happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It authorizes the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. 

It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.

At the time of its suit, the ACLU said "(w)hatever Section 215's 'relevance' requirement might allow, it does not permit the government to cast a seven-year dragnet sweeping up every phone call made or received by Americans."

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorized surveillance relating to "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers." 

It restricts spying on US citizens and residents to those engaged in espionage in America and territory under US control. 

No longer. Today anything goes. America is a total surveillance society. Obama officials claim no authority can challenge them. Governing this way is called tyranny.

The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. It held Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act doesn't permit bulk collection of Americans' phone records. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously - overturning a lower court decision.

The Obama administration argued that the ACLU lacked "standing" to challenge NSA surveillance practices, and Congress "precluded" judicial review except by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court most often only hearing government arguments.

The appeals court rejected this reasoning, saying:

"If the government is correct, it could use Section 215 to collect and store in bulk any other existing metadata available anywhere in the private sector, including metadata associated with financial records, medical records, and electronic communications (including e‐mail and social media information) relating to all Americans." 

"Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans."

ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo called the ruling "a resounding victory for the rule of law."

"For years, the government secretly spied on millions of innocent Americans based on a shockingly broad interpretation of its authority." 

"The court rightly rejected the government’s theory that it may stockpile information on all of us in case that information proves useful in the future." 

"Mass surveillance does not make us any safer, and it is fundamentally incompatible with the privacy necessary in a free society."

ACLU deputy legal director/lead counsel in the case Jameel Jaffer explained:

"This ruling focuses on the phone-records program, but it has far broader significance, because the same defective legal theory that underlies this program underlies many of the government’s other mass-surveillance programs." 

"The ruling warrants a reconsideration of all of those programs, and it underscores once again the need for truly systemic reform."

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) executive director Cindy Cohn called the ruling "a great and welcome decision and ought to make Congress pause to consider whether the small changes contained in the USA Freedom Act are enough."  

''The 2nd Circuit rejected on multiple grounds the government's radical reinterpretation of Section 215 that underpinned its secret shift to mass seizure and search of Americans' telephone records.''

“While the court did not reach the constitutional issues, it certainly noted the serious problems with blindly embracing the third-party doctrine - the claim that you lose all constitutional privacy protections whenever a third-party, like your phone company, has sensitive information about your actions."

EFF's legislative analyst Mark Jaycox added:

"Now that a court of appeal has rejected the government's arguments supporting its secret shift to mass surveillance, we look forward to other courts - including the Ninth Circuit in EFF's Smith v. Obama case - rejecting mass surveillance as well." 

"With the deadline to reauthorize section 215 looming, we also call on Congress to both expressly adopt the interpretation of the law given by the court and to take further steps to rein in the NSA and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

One court victory doesn't mean overall triumph. The right-wing Supreme Court may have final say - or Congress able to legislatively circumvent High Court or other judicial rulings with no administration opposition by either party.

US governance serves powerful entrenched interests at the expense of popular ones. It's fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-freedom. 

Odds strongly favor no change in business as usual. Sacrificing precious liberties for greater security assures losing both.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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Billionaire oligarch mega-crook Petro Poroshenko is Ukraine's new president. Illegitimate coup-appointed officials anointed him. 

Sham election-rigging rubber-stamping followed. Fascism defeated democracy. 

Obama said "we commend the resolve of all those who participated, as well as the efforts of the Ukrainian government to conduct these elections in the face of those threats."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is a convenient US stooge. 

He "congratulate(ed) the people of Ukraine, who peacefully exercised their right to vote in Sunday's presidential election." 

"They showed their commitment to freedom and democracy and their determination to decide their own future."

"Despite the criminal violence, intimidation and provocation by pro-Russian separatists, who tried to deny the people of Ukraine their democratic right, the election was declared by international observers to be largely in line with international commitments and respectful of fundamental freedom."

Kiev's war without mercy continues. Courageous Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters are called "terrorists."

Civilians are targeted. They're murdered in cold blood. Self-defense fighters are lightly armed. 

Heavily armed regime forces attack them. Weapons used include tanks, artillery, mortars, helicopter gunships and warplanes.

Foreign mercenaries and neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs supplement special National Guard forces.

On May 26, Itar Tass headlined "People's militia, National Guard units clash near Donetsk railway station."

Regime helicopter gunships and warplanes overflew Donetsk earlier.

Shooting and explosions were heard. Self-defense forces and Kiev troops clashed on the city's outskirts.

In "nearby settlements." One helicopter was downed. Fighting continues is Grobari settlement.

On Stratonavov Street. Self-defense forces said National Guard troops seized the area's airport.

Snipers operate from nearby tall buildings. A People's Republic of Donetsk tweet said:

"The people’s army has the airport in Donetsk back under control. We are rooting out the remaining Kiev’s remaining troops. Airstrikes have stopped for now."

RT International's Maria Finoshina tweeted earlier:

"The Ukrainian occupiers are conducting missile and bomb strikes on Donetsk International Airport. They are deploying military aircraft."

Witnesses said they "heard at least three blasts. Helicopters are circling over the city, and military jets can be heard flying by."

Residential areas were shelled. Helicopter fire targeted an ANNA News reporter. It happened during a live broadcast.

Kiev's Security Service (SBU) press service spokesman Aleksey Dmitrashkovsky said:

"The counter-terror operation started as two Sukhoi Su-25s flew to the airport." 

"They made a warning shot to the area of the terrorists' location."

"Paramilitary troops arrived and they are now cleaning the area off."

Poroshenko favors continued military operations. "I support its continuation," he said. He "demand(s)" a format change.

He wants shorter, more effective operations. He wants better equipped units.

Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is ready for dialogue with him. "We hear what (he said about) relations with Russia that he calls his most important ones."

"We are hoping (he'll) do everything to prevent some extremist radial tendencies in Kiev on the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, or on any other region of this country, from prevailing."

"We hope very much that the Ukrainian authorities will now, after the election, confirm or declare their adherence to the settlement roadmap suggested by the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."

"(I)ncumbent authorities should respect their citizens, respect their people and make available compromises based on the interests of all political forces, all ethnic and religious groups." 

"It will hardly be possible to achieve anything without that."

"(T)he election campaign was not without problems…(N)ot all presidential candidates were able to reach the end of the distance, not because they did not want to but because no proper conditions had been created for them."

"There were cases when the election campaign was inhibited. One of the candidates was not allowed to board a plane and so on." 

"Many simply had to withdraw from the race, not least in fear of the physical consequences."

Russia wants Eastern Ukrainian military operations halted. Lavrov raised concerns about illegally armed groups.

Specifically Right Sector ones he said. Foreign mercenaries are involved.

"Literally yesterday or this morning, Arseniy Yatsenyuk's first deputy Yarema said that the Kiev administration will resume the active phase of the so-called anti-terrorist operation now that the voting is over," said Lavrov.

He called ordering it "a colossal mistake."

"The chance we have now to establish mutually respectful and equal dialogue, bearing in mind the voting that has taken place, the results of which Russia, I repeat, is ready to respect, should not be lost." 

"We are hoping that Poroshenko, if his powers are confirmed, will do everything to prevent extremist radical tendencies from prevailing."

Poroshenko named Donbass his first trip destination. He'll visit Moscow in June. He announced it at a press conference, saying:

"As concerns our relations with Russia, this is our largest neighbor. We should stop the war and ensure peace in Eastern Ukraine." 

"It is impossible to do without the Russian representation. Meetings with Russian leaders should be held in the first half of June."

Expect he'll seek normalized Ukrainian/Russian relations. Ukraine is broke. It's bankrupt. He needs all the financial help he can get. 

He needs Russian markets for Ukrainian goods. He has business interests in Russia. Both countries are natural allies.

Putin is ready to cooperate. Poroshenko won't get it free. He'll  have to pay the price. It includes halting Eastern Ukrainian hostilities. 

It's not Poroshenko's choice to make. Not entirely at least. Constitutional changes weakened presidential powers. 

Fascists controlling parliament may overrule him. Washington's dirty hands are involved. 

It's calling the shots. As long as influential neocons want war, diplomatic conflict resolution won't happen.

Expect things most likely to worsen. Fascist regimes operate this way. None more ruthlessly than America.

War on humanity continues. It's official US policy. One country after another is ravaged and destroyed. Obama has others in mind. 

Russia and China are major US rivals. They're independent. They value their sovereign rights. They won't sacrifice them. Nor should they.

They're prime targets. Paul Craig Roberts thinks global war is inevitable. He may be right. Things seem headed that way.

He's a valued contributor to this writer's new edited and contributed to new book titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III."

Neocons infesting Washington make it possible. Madness defines their thinking. Obama is too mindless to contest them.

He shames the office he holds. He's an unindicted war criminal. He belongs in prison, not high office. Impeaching him is a national imperative.

He's by far America's worst ever president. If his war on humanity isn't stopped, he may end up its last!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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Israel sent a warning to the Lebanese government in Beirut by way of UNIFIL that it would be held responsible for any attacks by Hezbollah that are launched from Lebanese soil, reported al-Akhbar News Agency on Friday

The Israeli Air Force recently launched strikes that hit Hezbollah targets on the border between Syria and Lebanon claiming that they were preventing missiles from reaching Hezbollah coming from Syria.  The Washington Post quoted Maj. Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven on Monday’s actions undertaken by the Israeli government as he said “Israel has to act in order to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons,” said retired Maj. Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven, speaking from northern Israel. “Although I can’t confirm what happened . . . it is very clear that we are trying to prevent this.”

The Washington Post also quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comment on the military strike when he said “We will do all that is necessary to defend our citizens.” Hezbollah disagreed with the Lebanese media claiming that the strike targeted “a missile storage center and killed at least four Hezbollah fighters” Hezbollah said that the site “was only partially damaged” according to the report which also confirmed that a Lebanese intelligence official said that “the strike did target a shipment of missiles that had crossed the border from Syria.”

Tensions are rising on the border between Israel and Lebanon since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. Israel has been in preparation to counter Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since both groups are on their borders. “It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon,” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel radio “It is the duty of the Lebanese government to prevent any terrorist attack – whether a terrorist or missile attack, or any other kind – on the State of Israel,” the Jerusalem Post stated.  Israel violated another UN resolution as “Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil condemned the Israeli strikes saying that Israel was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, according to the Lebanese news outlet” the report said. The Brookings Institute issued a Report in 2011 called ‘The Next War: How another Conflict between Hizballah and Israel Could Look and How Both Sides Are Preparing for It’ stated how Israel and Lebanon have been in preparation for war:

Israel also has been busy implementing the lessons it learned from 2006 in preparation for the possibility of another conflict with Hizballah. The IDF has instituted greater logistical autonomy and sustainability in its combat units, and has strengthened the ability of its ground forces, navy, and air force to carry out joint operations. It also has trained extensively in large-scale ground operations, employing rapid maneuver techniques and using more robust and flexible equipment to reduce tactical vulnerability. The IDF created several urban warfare centers shortly after the 2006 war, the largest of which, the Urban Warfare Training Center (UWTC), simulates a variety of Lebanese villages, towns, and refugee camps.

The IDF has also introduced a number of new technologies that it is expected to use in any new conflict with Hizballah. These include a multi-tiered missile defense shield to intercept and destroy both Hizballah’s short-range and long-range weapons and Iran’s ballistic missiles. Also, all new tanks are now fitted with the Trophy defense system to protect against anti-armor projectiles. How these new systems cope in a war situation, and with Hizballah’s rocket barrages and anti-armor tactics remains to be seen.

The Brooking Institute also says that Hezbollah is prepared for a war scenario with Israel:

Since the end of the 2006 war, Hizballah has undergone the largest recruitment and training drive in its thirty-year history, swelling its ranks with dedicated cadres and reviving its former multi-sectarian reservist units. In terms of weapons procurement, Hizballah has focused on acquiring long-range rockets fitted with guidance systems to target a list of specific military and infrastructure sites in Israel. Hizballah also is believed to have received training on more advanced air defense systems that could pose an increased threat to low-flying Israeli air assets, such as helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles

Israel can use the “Dahiyah Doctrine” proposed in 2008 that calls for a bombing campaign against civilian infrastructure all across Lebanon which would according to Israeli officials, deter Hezbollah and the Lebanese government from retaliating with a military attack on Israel since the civilian population would suffer enormously. The Brookings Institute’s report states the following on a possible war between Lebanon and Israel:

Ultimately, the likelihood of renewed war between Hizballah and Israel remains high in the mid- to long-term. It is critically important that as the Middle East convulses with the shockwaves engendered by the “Arab Spring,” the international community continue to play close attention to the nascent conflict under preparation in Lebanon and Israel.

Given that an accidental trigger is the most likely cause of the next war between Hizballah and Israel, diplomatic efforts should focus on ways to prevent misunderstandings from developing into conflict.

With the United States and the European Union closely watching what happens in the Ukraine on Russia’s border, Prime Minister Netanyahu would possibly seize the opportunity to strike Israel’s perceived enemies in the region.  At any given moment, a new Middle East war could escalate on Israel’s borders.  Maybe, a diplomatic solution would come into play, but with a Western-funded conflict in Syria that continues to plaque the Middle East and Washington calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, diplomacy at this stage is impossible.

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Scoundrel Media War on Ukraine

Scoundrel Media War on Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine is being attacked. Kiev resembles a war zone. Obama bears full responsibility for months of conflict. What's ongoing was planned long before violence erupted.

Washington wants all independent governments toppled. Ukraine is the most important former Soviet republic. At stake is its national sovereignty. Its future is up for grabs.

It's low-hanging fruit. It's geopolitically important. America wants it plundered for profit. So do EU partners. They want it at Russia's expense. 

Business as usual defines Western policy. Obama warned Ukraine. He threatened "consequences if people step over the line."

"We hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible," he said. "We expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters." 

Obama supports fascist opposition leaders. He's funding street thugs to commit violence. 

They're armed and dangerous. They shot and killed 10 Ukrainian police officers. They're fully responsible for deadly violence.

They broke a February 19 brokered truce. Street violence continued overnight and through Thursday. Dozens, perhaps hundreds more were hurt.

Reuters and AP reported 70 killed on Thursday. reported at least 77 overall. 

Accurate counts are hard to come by. Conditions are so fluid they're outdated soon after reported.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry said protesters captured dozens of police officers. They're likely holding them hostage. 

Things are totally out-of-control. Washington's dirty hands are manipulating them.

Rooftop-positioned sniper fire targeted police. Other shots were fired from conservatory building windows. It overlooks Independence Square. 

Around two dozen police officers were wounded. An Interior Ministry statement said protesters are "openly using fire arms against" security forces.

Itar Tass said protesters seized a luxury Kiev hotel. They broke into Ukraine's parliament building.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sergei Burlakov said:

"There has been evidence of some poisonous agent having been used against police. Measures are being taken to find out what the substance was."

Imagine if this type violence erupted in Western cities. Imagine no-holds-barred crackdowns to follow. 

Imagine security forces using live fire. Imagine military troops involved. Imagine far greater bloodshed than in Ukraine. Imagine protesters bearing the brunt of the carnage.

The State Department imposed visa sanctions against 20 senior Ukrainian officials. It warned about adding financial ones. EU governments have their own in mind.

A Russian Presidential Executive Office statement said:

"Vladimir Putin...underlined that it is important for Western countries to give up their accusatory attitude towards Ukraine's incumbent leadership and stressed the importance of strongly condemning the opposition forces liable for organizing unlawful extremist and terrorist activities."

Media scoundrels march in lockstep with imperial US policy. Bashing Ukraine continues. It's been ongoing for months.

It's entirely one-sided. It's vicious propaganda. President Viktor Yanukovych is wrongfully blamed for US-manipulated violence.

Street thugs are paid to riot. CIA elements are involved. So are State Department-funded groups. 

Dirty tactics persist. What's ongoing is as old as empire. Media scoundrel misinformation accompanies it.

New York Times editors find new ways to disgrace themselves. They one-sidedly support US imperial ruthlessness. 

They routinely turn truth on its head. Managed news misinformation and opinion substitute. Deplorable Ukraine misreporting highlights it.

On February 19, New York Times editors headlined "Ukraine's Deadly Turn," saying:

"What is obvious now is that Mr. Yanukovych and his Russian enablers cannot restore the old order through violence."

"Mr. Yanukovych and the Russians predictably blamed 'extremists' and accused the West of supporting 'illegal' actions by the opposition." 

"But it has become increasingly clear with every passing week and every new effort to block reforms that the Yanukovych government is destroying the credibility it needs with the moderate opposition leaders, Vitali Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, to achieve any negotiated settlement."

Fact check

Times editors lied. They did so willfully. They acted maliciously. They support power-grabbing fascists. 

They wrongfully blame Yanukovych for US-manipulated rioting. For turning Kiev into a war zone.

It bears repeating. Obama bears full responsibility for street violence. EU partners share it. 

At stake is Ukraine's independence. It's future is up for grabs. Moderate opposition elements don't exist. Fascist ultranationalists are involved. Nazi symbols and rhetoric expose them.

Russia acts responsibly. It supports Ukraine's sovereignty. It's refrained from interfering in its internal affairs. Don't expect Times editors to explain.

Yanukovych "must abandon any illusion that he can fight his way out of the corner he has put himself into," they said.

"And the Russians must acknowledge that the problem is not the West or 'extremists,'..."

It's hard imagining more disgraceful rubbish. Times editors added insult to injury. They called for early elections. They want "a reduction of presidential powers."

They want their will imposed. They want Ukrainians having no say. On geopolitical issues, they're Washington propagandists. Credibility isn't their long suit.

Romano Prodi is a former Italian prime minister and European Commission president. He's an establishment figure.

He supports policies enriching Western elites. He's in lockstep with imperial US policy. Times editors gave him feature op-ed space.

He took full advantage headlining "How Ukraine Can Be Saved."

"(T)he West must make clear to Moscow that Ukraine…should not be the object of geopolitical games...Russian interference in Ukraine's internal affairs must not be tolerated."

As explained above, Moscow remained discrete throughout months of conflict. It deplores interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. Its policy is polar opposite Washington and EU partners.

Prodi nonsensically called most protesters "peaceful." He admitted "violent faction" elements involved.

At the same time, he claims restoring peace requires Yanukovych's government readiness "to stand down once order is restored..."

Doing so flies in the face of Ukrainian constitutional law. Don't expect Prodi to explain.

He wants Yanukovych to "extend an olive branch." He offered many to no avail. Washington subverts his efforts. So do EU partners.

"Europe should not accept interference by Russia in Ukraine's affairs, but it also cannot stand by as the crisis in Kiev rages," said Prodi. 

"The European Union should re-engage Mr. Putin and make clear that all parties have everything to lose, and nothing to gain, from further violence."

Yanukovych has gone all-out to avoid it. He wants it ended. 

Compared to thuggish Western security forces, Ukrainian ones have shown remarkable restraint. How much longer in the face of armed and dangerous fascist elements remains to be seen.

Washington Post editors are some of America's most hawkish. They're unapologetic neocons. They support war, not peace. They're in lockstep with imperial extremism.

On January 21, they headlined "The West must break Ukraine free from Mr. Putin's grasp."

They blame Yanukovych for US-manipulated street violence. They wrongfully accused him of "ramming a series of measures through parliament aimed at outlawing opposition demonstrations."

He's following Putin's "playbook," they said. He's "a product of (his) paranoid conviction that pro-democracy movements...are the result of Western government plots."

It's not the first time he let "Putin be his puppeteer." WaPo editors reinterpreted Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution. They rewrote what happened. They got things upside down.

Color ones are a US speciality. Washington's dirty hands manipulate things its way. 

In 2004, Yanukovych was democratically elected. US orchestrated street protests, civil disobedience, sit-ins and general strikes followed.

New elections were called. Yanukovych was replaced. Ukrainians were deceived. They ended up losers. Promises made were broken. Exploitation followed.

Not according to WaPo editors. They said "Russia's secret services tried to rig (Yanukovych's election) the way they fix votes at home."

Russian elections shame America's sham process. It has no legitimacy whatever. WaPo editors endorse what demands condemnation.

They take every opportunity to bash Putin. They assail Yanukovych the same way. They accused him of using "government-sponsored provocateurs."

They denounced his "repression." They want Ukraine "integrat(ed) with the democratic West (instead of) becoming an autocratic Kremlin colony."

They want Putin held accountable for "attempting to impose his autocratic model on a country that has been struggling to become a genuine democracy..."

They want Ukrainian sovereignty destroyed. They want its resources plundered. They want its people exploited. They're in lockstep with imperial US policy.

Before current violence erupted, Chicago Tribune editors headlined "Ukraine's winter of discontent: The thrilling rejection of a repressive regime."

They blamed Yanukovych for US funded and supported fascist street thug violence.

"Many Ukrainians hope to follow the Western model, becoming prosperous and democratic. But a corrupt and repressive government has repeatedly dashed those hopes," they claimed.

Corporate interests and rich elites alone enjoy so-called Western prosperity. Neoliberal harshness harms most others.

Poverty, unemployment and deprivation affects growing millions. Democracy is a convenient illusion. Don't expect Tribune editors to explain.

They blamed Yanukovych for anti-government violence. They claimed his "agents" "disappeared" opponents.

"In the dead of winter," they said, "there is the promise of spring" in Ukraine.

There's all-out US-instigated holy war against Ukrainian sovereignty.

On February 19, Wall Street Journal editors headlined "Ukraine and America."

They want harsh sanctions imposed on Ukraine. They want Yanukovych shown "there are personal and political costs for lurching toward Vladimir Putin-style authoritarian rule."

They want Ukraine pulled "into the Western orbit as a matter of human dignity and strategic interest."

"A Europe-leaning Ukraine can join the company of free nations and fulfill the aspirations of its people."

"A Ukraine tilted toward the corrupt authoritarian regimes allied with Moscow will be a source of regional unrest at best, and part of a revived Russian empire if Mr. Putin has his way."

They want US force-fed policies on Ukraine. They want corporate America benefitting. 

They want ordinary Ukrainians losing out entirely. They want Russia marginalized. They want Putin discredited.

Stephen F. Cohen is New York University/Princeton University Professor Emeritus. He's a Russian expert.

On February 11, he headlined "Distorting Russia: How the American media misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine."

It's reprehensible scoundrel media practice. It's been ongoing "for many years," said Cohen. "(M)edia malpractice is...pervasive."

Major broadsheets like the "venerable New York Times and Washington Post (fail to) adhere rigorously to traditional journalistic standards..."

They suppress "essential facts and context...Reporting on Russia today (is) less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when (US media) covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War."

It began after Soviet Russia dissolved. Putin is viciously demonized. Reports, commentaries and editorials have "little regard for facts." Cohen asked:

"Was any Soviet Communist leader after Stalin ever so personally villainized" as Putin? Provocative US policies are ignored. "Autocrat" Putin is bashed.

He "stabiliz(ed) a disintegrating nuclear-armed country...(He) grant(ed) amnesty in December to more than 1,000 jailed prisoners, including mothers of young children."

Media scoundrels "eagerly await (his) downfall." He's Russia's most popular politician. He won reelection convincingly. It was open, free and fair.

Toxic coverage vilifies him. It does so reprehensibly. It tarnishes legitimate Sochi coverage. His winter games have been a notable success.

He's mercilessly bashed on Ukraine. Crisis conditions won't be resolved easily. "A new Cold War divide between West and East may be now unfolding," says Cohen.

Permanent confrontation may follow, he believes. The "threat of a hot war far worse than the one in Georgia in 2008" is possible.

"(I)nflammatory" US media accounts ignore what's most important. "(F)actual distortions" substitute for accurate reporting.

"(T)he most crucial media omission is Moscow's reasonable conviction that the struggle for Ukraine is yet another chapter in the West's ongoing, US-led march toward post-Soviet Russia..."

It began with 1990s NATO eastward expansion. It continues with US-funded NGO anti-Russian efforts inside the country.

Obama practices confrontational politics. Putin is public enemy number one. Relentless bashing risks potential conflict. 

Responsible leadership would go all-out to avoid it. Imperial madness suggests otherwise. Imagine the world's two nuclear super-powers facing off.

Imagine the worst of all possible outcomes. Imagine winner-take-all strategy leaving everyone losers. Imagine what's too potentially grim to risk.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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UK civil servants stage mass strike on budget day (PHOTOS)

Published time: March 21, 2013 06:47
Striking members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) picket the Houses of Parliament on budget day, in central London, March 20, 2013 (Reuters / Toby Melville)

A quarter of a million UK civil servants staged a mass walk-out in protest of sweeping budget cuts. Union members claim the government has refused to negotiate on their contested budget and have launched a three-month campaign to push their demands.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has warned that the budget day strikes are just the tip of the iceberg and “the start of a rolling program of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a government."

Striking civil servants marched on number 10 Downing Street voicing their outrage at government cuts to pensions and wage packets, while the PCS held a rally in Westminster during Chancellor George Osborne’s speech.

"Civil and public servants are working harder than ever to provide the services we all rely on but, instead of rewarding them, the government is imposing cuts to their pay, raiding their pensions and trying to rip up their basic working conditions,” said General Secretary of the PCS  Mark Serwotka.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

The British government criticized the civil servant strike as counterproductive. Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude decried the walk-out as

“futile” and described its impact as

“minimal.” "The public will have been inconvenienced to a very small extent by the strike today," he said to press.

He claimed that only 95,000 staff members took part in the mass walk-out, while the PCS disputes this, putting the total figure at around 250,000.

PCS members who work in customs offices, immigration and job centers are demanding a 5 per cent pay rise.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne unveiled the UK’s 2013 budget on Wednesday, prompting the nation’s growth forecast to be downgraded by more than half over the next year.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

Screenshot taken from Ruptly footage.

Israel to Urge Joint US Airstrikes against Syria

An anonymous Israeli official has told the Guardian that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to use time during President Obama's upcoming Israel visit to gain U.S. support for possible military strikes against Syria.

Israeli, US national flags at the residence of Israel's President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit, March 18, 2013. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun) According to the reporting, Israel would like the U.S. to engage in airstrikes—or at least support strikes by Israeli forces—if it suspects that the Syrians were passing weapons to its Hezbollah allies in neighboring Lebanon.

Reportedly, Israeli officials are willing to hit Syrian missile installations or convoys "even if [such actions] risk provoking a cross-border conflict with Hezbollah."

Adding to a long list of demands coming from Israel—including support for military intervention in Iran—Israel cited unsubstantiated claims of Syrian anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles along the border and rumors that Syria is transferring missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon, as reasons for the U.S. and Israel to engage militarily with the war-torn country.

"What I hear over and over again from Israeli generals is that another war with Hezbollah is inevitable," a U.S. diplomat stated.

The Guardian adds:

Netanyahu's office concedes that it is more likely to succeed in securing US support over Syrian missiles than to persuade Obama to share the Israeli prime minister's position on Iran. There have been many exchanges between the Israeli and US governments in the run-up to the Obama visit attempting to narrow the gap between their Iran policies.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Parents of British man killed by US drone blame UK government

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Gamal Sakr blames government for son’s death. (Photo: Susannah Ireland/ Independent) Mohamed Sakr was born and brought up in London before he was targeted and killed in February 2012 in Somalia.

Now his Egyptian-born parents Gamal and Eman Sakr, who have lived in Britain for 35 years, have accused ministers of betraying this country’s democratic values.

Speaking to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from their London home, the couple said they believe their son was left vulnerable to the attack after the government stripped him of his British citizenship months before he was killed.

“This is the hardest time we have ever come across in our family life,’ Mr  Sakr said in tears. “I’ll never stop blaming the British government for what they did to my son. They broke my family’s back.”

The comments follow the revelations by the Bureau and published in the Independent that the Home Secretary Theresa May has ramped up the use of powers allowing her to strip UK citizenship from dual nationals without first proving wrongdoing in the courts.

The investigation revealed the Coalition government has stripped 16 people, including five born in Britain, of their UK passports. Two, including Sakr, were later killed by drone strikes and one was secretly rendered to the United States.

The law states that the government cannot make someone stateless when it removes their citizenship. But Egyptian-born Mr and Mrs Sakr say their son Mohamed never had anything other than a British passport, despite in principle having dual nationality.

In September 2010 the family received notification that the government intended to remove their son’s British citizenship, on the grounds that he was ‘involved in terrorism-related activity’.

It was the first known instance in modern times of a British-born person being stripped of his nationality. His family insist that the action meant Mohamed, who was in Somalia, was left effectively stateless and stranded.

His mother still can’t quite believe it happened. ‘I was shocked. It never crossed my mind that something here in Britain would happen like this, especially as Mohamed had no other passport, no other nationality. He was brought up here, all his life is here.’

Mohamed’s parents were so worried that their other sons might also lose their British citizenship that they renounced the entire family’s dual Egyptian nationalities, shortly after they were told that Mohamed had been deprived of his citizenship.

‘I did this for the protection of the family, because they grew up here, they were all born here. And I felt that for them it was my responsibility to protect them. It was the only way I could protect them against that stupid law,’ says Mr Sakr.

‘No member of my family ever had an Egyptian passport,’ says Mr Sakr. ‘For the kids it never crossed my mind that they would have anything other than their British passports. I know they are British, born British, they are British, and carried their British passports.’

Mr and Mrs Sakr have thrived in Britain, running a successful business. They moved here from Egypt 35 years ago thinking it was a good place to raise a family.

‘It was democratic, and compared to where I was before in Egypt that was a big gap,’ Mr Sakr explains. ’There was no dictator here, no bad laws like there were back home, so we decided to start a new life.’

Mohamed was born in London in 1985 and grew up as a normal, sporty child. ‘He was very popular amongst his friends, yet very quiet at the same time, very polite, he was just a normal child,’ recalls Eman.

As he got older his parents had worried about him getting into trouble.  ‘He loved going out, he loved to dress up, to wear the best clothes, he liked everything to be top range,’ recalls Mr Sakr.

‘I used to tell him, after midnight there’s no good news. So I’d say, “Make sure you are home before 12”. He said “OK, OK I’ll try, you know,”’ said his mother.

In his early twenties he calmed down and in 2007 set up an executive car valeting business. His parents thought their son would follow in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps.

But in the summer of the same year Mohamed travelled to Saudi Arabia on what his parents say was a pilgrimage ‘with a couple of friends and their wives’, before heading to Egypt to join his family on holiday. From there, the Sakrs say, Mohamed and his younger brother also visited the family of a girlfriend in Dubai.

His actions were innocent, the family insists. But Mohamed was questioned for ‘at least three hours’ by immigration officials on his return to the UK. The questions focused on the countries he had visited and his reasons for going there.

‘He told them, “I didn’t plan to visit all these countries ­- it’s just how my summer has happened,”’ his mother recalls.

It’s thought that UK counter-terrorism officials were becoming concerned that a group of radicalised young men was emerging in the capital, influenced by British Islamists who had returned home after fighting in Somalia.

The Sakrs both say that their eldest son became the subject of repeated police ‘harassment’ in which he was stopped on numerous occasions by plain-clothes officers.

After one incident Mohamed told his mother ‘They’re watching me momma, everywhere I go they watch me.’ The family became convinced that their phones were being tapped.

Mohamed was spending a lot of time with a friend he had met when he was 12 – Bilal al­-Berjawi. The two had lived in adjacent flats.

The childhood friends would both lose their British citizenship weeks apart in 2010 – and would die weeks apart too, in covert US airstrikes.

Berjawi’s Lebanese parents had brought him to London as a baby, and like Sakr, Berjawi had drawn the attention of Britain’s counter-terrorism agencies.

The Sakr family insists they were not aware of any wrongdoing on Mohamed’s part, despite frequent trouble with the police.

In February 2009 Berjawi and Sakr visited Kenya for what they told their families was a ‘safari’.

Both were detained in Nairobi, where they were said to have been interrogated by British intelligence officials. The authorities suspected them of terrorism-related activities.

They were released and only deported back to the UK because both, at that time, still had their British citizenship.

While the two were still being detained in Kenya, police arrived at the London family home with a search warrant.

Cards left behind by officers identify them as members of SO15,­ the Met’s counter-terrorism squad. Mr Sakr says he was shocked to be told that the family might have to vacate their home for up to two weeks while officers searched. The indignant family found themselves put up in the nearby Hilton hotel.

Two days later the family was allowed home. And shortly afterwards Mohamed and Bilal were deported back to Britain.

Mr Sakr challenged his son: ‘I was asking questions, why has this happened and Mohamed said “Daddy, it’s finished, it will never happen again. It’s all done and dusted.” So I just put a cap on it and continued with a normal life.’

Mohamed’s mother insisted on accompanying him to a mosque so she could hear the sermons he was listening to.

I wanted to hear what they’re saying, I was always on top of this, always. I wanted to know why the police were after him, why?’ says Mrs Sakr. ‘So he used to take me to different mosques, and the sermons were normal, nothing unusual.’

In October 2009, with ever-growing trouble with the British authorities, Mohamed and Berjawi decided to slip out of the country. Neither told their families that they were leaving, or where they were going.

‘The police came asking “Where is Mohamed?” And I said “I don’t know.” That was the honest answer, I didn’t know where my son was,’ says Mr Sakr.

Months later Mohamed phoned his parents from Somalia. Both he and Berjawi were now living in a country gripped by civil war between radical Islamists and a rump UN-backed government.

While it’s been reported that both men were drawn to terrorist-linked groups, the Sakrs say the pair had innocent connections with the troubled east African nation. Berjawi had married a Somali woman in London, and Sakr at one time had also been engaged to marry a Somali girl.

Although both were killed by the US, most of the allegations against Sakr and Berjawi remain secret.

Some information has emerged, however. In November 2009, the pair were named along with a third British man in a Ugandan manhunt, accused of ‘sneaking into the country’ to plot terrorist activities. Later the men were linked to deadly bombings in that country’s capital.

The letter seen by the Bureau informing Mohamed’s family that he was losing his citizenship states he was ‘involved in terrorism-related activity’ and for having links with ‘Islamist extremists’, including his friend Bilal al-Berjawi.

The Sakrs remain defensive about these claims. ‘Have they done anything? Have they been caught in anything? Have they been caught in any action? Do they have any evidence against them that they have been involved in this or that? I haven’t seen. And they haven’t come up with it,’ says Mr Sakr.

‘It says they took his freedom away because he knew Bilal! Does it mean that because I know a bad person it means I’m bad, or know good people that I’m good? He’d known Bilal since he was 12 years old!,’ says Mohamed’s mother.

At first Mohamed wanted to fight the deprivation order, and his family hired lawyers in the UK. But they were told that in order to mount an effective appeal Mohamed would need to return to Britain.

Letter from the Home Office.

Letter from the Home Office.

His parents say he was too scared to come back.

‘He said, “Daddy, it is impossible for me,”’ says Mr Sakr. “He said, “If I go from here, they’ve already taken my passport from me, maybe they will catch me somewhere, and you will never hear from me again.” He knew something could happen to him.’

In February 2012, news agencies reported that a high-ranking Egyptian al Qaeda official had been killed in a US drone strike in Somalia.

It would be days before the family realised those reports actually referred to their son.

Mr Sakr says: ‘Their hands were washed. And that’s what they claimed when the news first came. They announced that Mohamed was Egyptian [cries]. That’s why they tried to show to the rest of the world, “He’s an Egyptian. He’s not British.”

‘Intelligence killed millions of Iraqis on the basis of wrong information. If we go and kill everyone based on intelligence information, then we are not living in the world of democracy and justice. We are living in the world of “Who has the power and who has the weapons to kill,”’ Mr Sakr rails.

‘If you’re not happy about a dictator or about rules or freedom of speech, and then you come to a country like Britain which we know for hundreds and hundreds of years has talked of democracy and freedom, and laws and justice. And suddenly you find there’s no justice, no freedom of speech, no democracy.’

© 2013 The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Drone strikes in Syria? CIA ‘boosting’ intelligence force to ‘size up’ Syrian extremists

Published time: March 16, 2013 11:47
A Syrian rebel crosses a street while trying to dodge sniper fire in the old city of Aleppo in northern Syria.(AFP Photo / Jm Lopez)

The CIA may be preparing for lethal drone strikes in Syria, as it is extending its intelligence-gathering on Islamic radicals in the country, US media has reported. At the same time, US officials are pressing for the supplying arms to rebels.

“The CIA has stepped up secret contingency planning to protect the United States and its allies as the turmoil expands in Syria, including collecting intelligence on Islamic extremists for the first time for possible lethal drone strikes,” according to current and former US officials, reported in the LA Times.

The agency’s counterterrorism center has recently transferred an unspecified number of targeting officers to the area. The center is notorious for its previous drone campaigns in Yemen and Pakistan.

Targeting officers are responsible for the compilation of large packages of information on specific zones. Those working on Syria are currently based at the organization’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, as not many US operatives have been deployed to the area.

The increased focus on identifying threats in Syria carries the implication that the agency is preparing plans for counter-action – both violent and nonviolent – against potential militants, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“If we do this, why don't we start droning people in Hezbollah?” a former CIA officer with experience in Iraq told the Los Angeles Times. “It opens the door for a lot of other things.”

In a trend apparently countering the CIA’s alleged security efforts, a US lawmaker is set to propose a bill on Monday in support of providing arms and training to Syrian opposition forces, as well as economic backing. Should the arms be delivered, they could easily fall into the hands of the same militants they seek to suppress.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote a letter to his house colleagues seeking their support for a bill to provide arms and training to Syrian rebels, applying pressure to the Obama’s administration.

"US training and arming of carefully vetted Syrian opposition forces offer many potential benefits, but two stand out above all: Bringing the humanitarian disaster to an end as soon as possible and helping ensure that the US has a constructive relationship with a successor government in Damascus,” said the letter obtained by AP.

The idea is supported by officials from both parties – last month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio suggested providing the Syrian opposition with ammunition, and Secretary of State John Kerry announced a package of ‘nonlethal assistance.'

European media reported that the US, UK and France are already training rebels in Jordan, while Paris and London are both attempting to bring forward an EU meeting to lift the arms embargo on Syria. Planned for May, the two countries are pressing for it to take place before the end of March.

If the union does not end the embargo, the two nations will still arm the Syrian rebels, France said.

However, this course of action could come with its own problems: “Weapons are in high demand by all rebel factions and there is little means to effectively prevent arms from gravitating toward hardcore Al-Qaeda fighters,” political analyst Nile Bowie told RT.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that any arming of the opposition in Syria would be a violation of international law.

On Friday, Syria witnessed the second anniversary of the uprising from which the conflict sprouted, with many saying they feared for the country’s future.

US Drone Strikes Putting ‘Global Order At Risk’, Warn European Politicians

The United States is putting "global stability and international order at risk" by pursuing a policy of targeted extrajudicial drone strikes against suspected terrorists, European politicians have warned.

At least to 3,000 people, including a large number of civilians, are said to have been killed by controversial CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen since 2004.

This week members of the European Parliament said they were "deeply concerned about the legal basis, as well as the moral, ethical and human rights implications" of the drone attacks and urged European Union member states to "contest the US attempt to pervert international law".

In a statement the MEPs said: "We cannot remain silent. The European Union and its Member States must speak up against a practice that will set a dangerous and unwelcome precedent for International Law."

British MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford, the Liberal Democrat European justice and human rights spokeswoman, said on Friday: "US drone killings operate in disregard of the long-established international legal framework about when it is lawful to kill people. This sets an extremely dangerous precedent and risks a destabilising effect on international relations. It could even furnish Al-Qaida with a licence to kill in return."

"European complicity in the ‘War on Terror’ after 9/11, in defiance of legal norms whereby terrorist criminals must be brought to justice through due process, still haunts Europe as well as the US. It is incredible that the US is making renewed and reckless attempts to rewrite the international legal code, and we could get hurt again too."
"Without agreed law the international community cannot hope to justify military action and prevent human rights abuses. As leaders of that community along with the US, the EU and its Member States must boldly state their opposition to this programme, which disregards our common international legal heritage. Silence will be taken as European acquiescence, with potentially disastrous results."


The condemnation came after a briefing in Brussels from United Nations Special Rapporteur for Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson QC, who is conducting a UN investigation into the UK and US policy of targeted killings.

Senior British parliamentarians have also raised concerns in Westminster over president Obama's use of drones in Pakistan. Former British Foreign Office minister Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead has warned "action must be taken to ensure that there is accountability and reparations when a drone attack goes wrong".

And Lord West of Spithead, the former head of the Royal Navy and a security minister in the last Labour government, told the House of Lords last month: "War is horrible. Death is horrible. Being involved in the risk is horrible. When one does this remotely from a leafy suburb in your own country and killing people that does make it remote and that does have huge implications and is very worrying and needs a lot of control."

The House of Commons defence committee announced it would conduct an investigation into the British military's use of drones after the RAF decided to expand its use and number of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles.

Pressed by MPs and peers, the UK government has insisted it has only used its own drones inside Afghanistan as the British military's presence there is at the request of the Afghan government. However British intelligence agencies have been accused of passing information to the CIA to help the Americans carry out strikes in Pakistan.

And last month it was reported the UK had a policy of stripping British citizens of their passports on national security grounds - two of who were then killed by US drones.

President Obama's use of drones has recently climbed up the American news agenda following the controversial confirmation of John Brennan as head of the Central Intelligence Agency and Republican senator Rand Paul's thirteen hour senate filibuster against extrajudicial drone killings.

Brennan has previously claimed that no civilians have been killed by drones, based on the Obama administration's decision to designate every military-age male in the target area as a combatant.

On Thursday the White House tried to shut down the debate over whether, as had been initially suggested, Obama had the power to order a drone strike on US soil.

A series of HuffPost/YouGov surveys showed that while a majority of Americans support their use to kill people suspected of being "high-level members of al Qaeda", this is reversed if they are told civilians are at risk of being killed.

Related on HuffPost:

‘Privilege, not a right’: UK on secret passport-revoking crusade

Published time: March 04, 2013 14:32

British biometric European Union passport (AFP Photo/Alex Wong/Getty Images)

As the number of those stripped of British citizenship on national security grounds grows, Chris Woods from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has told RT that the whole process is highly secretive, and unaccountable to the rule of law.

“Neither of these individuals had been charged with any offense in the UK. We know they were accused of serious terrorist offenses, but no charges were ever laid against them,” Woods said, arguing that the process is highly secretive.

“We don't know the evidence that has been laid against these men and even if they are able to get an appeal which is very very difficult that appeal would mostly be heard in secret,” he said. “The government`s response so far has been that citizenship here in the UK is a privilege, not a right.”

The London-based bureau has revealed that since 2010, Home Secretary Theresa May has revoked the passports of 16 individuals over alleged links to militant or terrorist groups. Two of those sixteen were subsequently killed in US drone strikes.

In many cases, they were stripped of their citizenship while abroad. A Sudanese-British man took his four children on holiday to Sudan. Four days after leaving, he was stripped of his passport and his children were banned from returning the UK.

At least five of those whose British passport has been revoked were born in Britain; one man had lived in the country for almost 50 years, the bureau reported.

Mohamed Sakr, who was born in Newham and raised in west London, had dual nationality as his parents were Egyptian. His British citizenship was revoked in September 2010, and 17 months later he was killed in a US drone strike in Somalia.

According to Woods, the US drone strike killings of those stripped of British citizenship raise questions of a possible connection between the two. The US was also apparently involved in the case of another man kicked out of the UK.

Mahdi Hashi

A dual British-Somali national, Mahdi Hashi was stripped of his UK citizenship while in Somalia caring for his grandmother. He went missing shortly after the incident, and later appeared before a US court on charges of "providing material support" to Somali militant group al-Shabaab, and “unlawful use of high-powered firearms.”

Hashi's family has claimed he was stripped of British citizenship after he refused to become an informant for the UK's MI5 intelligence service.

Brennan’s Loose Talk on Iran Nukes


The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on John Brennan to head the CIA focused on lethal drones, but Brennan’s loose talk lumping Iran with North Korea as nuclear threats could be even more worrisome, recalling Iraq WMD exaggerations, as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warn Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

MEMORANDUM FOR: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Due Diligence on John Brennan

We write to urge you to ensure due diligence regarding John Brennan’s fitness to become CIA director before you make the next-to-the-worst mistake of your tenure on the Senate Intelligence Committee by endorsing Brennan. Your worst – perhaps you will now agree – was your vote to authorize war on Iraq.

With your vote in October 2002 on Iraq, you oddly parted company with most of your Democratic colleagues on the committee, including chairman Bob Graham. They saw through the flimsy intelligence. After a five-year committee investigation was completed in 2008, then-chairman Jay Rockefeller concluded:

“In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”

Brennan Now Taking Aim at Iran?

This recent history is highly relevant because, at the time, John Brennan had a ringside seat for this unconscionable charade as it was being acted out (more on that below).  Of still more importance are recent signs that Mr. Brennan intends to ape his discredited mentor, former CIA Director George Tenet, by slanting intelligence to “justify” an even more catastrophic attack – this time, on Iran.

How else to explain why Brennan, in his prepared testimony to your committee on February 7, departed sharply from the longstanding position of U.S. intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program. He said:

“And regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang remain bent on pursuing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile delivery systems.”

Whatever grounds there may be for suspicion that Iran might be seeking a capability that eventually would allow it to rapidly break out of Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) constraints on building a nuclear weapon, there is even less evidence that Iran is seeking an ICBM capability. Iran has never flight-tested a ballistic missile with ranges in excess of its 2200-kilometer range Sajjil MRBM. Nor has it launched a space rocket that would be a suitable model for an ICBM.

Conflating Iran and North Korea, as Brennan does, seems too clever by half. The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a non-nuclear-weapons member of the NPT, not only denies any intent to pursue nuclear weapons, but also declares such an intent immoral. In contrast, North Korea withdrew from the NPT after President George W. Bush labeled it one of the three points on an “axis of evil” (together with Iraq and Iran). Pyongyang declares a nuclear weapons capability against the United States essential to deter the kind of attack inflicted on Iraq.

These issues have been on the front burner for years. Brennan’s statement is one of several that raise serious doubt regarding his suitability to head the CIA. It can be no secret to you and your committee colleagues that his statement deviates sharply from the unanimous, “high-confidence” judgment of all 16 intelligence agencies that Iran stopped working on nuclear weaponization at the end of 2003 and has not resumed that work. That key intelligence judgment, reached in 2007, has been revalidated by U.S. intelligence and reaffirmed by the Director of National Intelligence in sworn testimony before your committee every year since.

Fraudulent, Not Flimsy

“Fraudulent” is the inescapably appropriate adjective to describe the pre-Iraq-war intelligence conjured up by those (first and foremost George Tenet) who did the bidding of George Bush and Tony Blair. Former CIA colleagues who served under Brennan before and during the Iraq war tell us that, since he was such a close confidant of Tenet, Brennan almost certainly knew chapter and verse about the deliberate corruption of the intelligence on Iraq. And yet, we have no indication that you have investigated whether Brennan was part of that fateful conspiracy.

British documents leaked in 2005 – acknowledged as authentic by the UK government – detailed the hoax being prepared to “justify” war on Iraq. In a July 23, 2002 briefing to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the head of British intelligence reported that then-CIA Director George Tenet had told him at CIA headquarters three days earlier that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” for war on Iraq.

In the Loop vs. In the Chain

It is not too late for you to look into what role John Brennan played in these key events. Was he, for example, one of the small circle of senior CIA officials who met with the head of British intelligence on July 20, 2002? We don’t know the answer to that, but you might be able to find out if you ask. From our experience with such meetings, it seems likely that either Brennan or his boss A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard would have been among those taking part. You could ask each of them. You should be able to expect straight answers.

Whether Brennan was in the loop for the lies on Iraq is not an idle question, impinging as it does on his integrity. And yes, integrity matters. It matters a great deal. Why not instruct your staff to determine how many fraudulent-intelligence-related memos Brennan received, just as they did in identifying at least 50 torture-related memos that show him to have been “in the loop” on that sensitive subject.

We strongly encourage you not to acquiesce again in the lame in-the-loop-but-not-in-the-chain-of-command alibi Brennan used on February 7, in answering questions regarding his contemporaneous knowledge of CIA waterboarding and other abuses, and what he did or did not do with that knowledge. Presumably, with your long tenure on the Intelligence Committee, you are thoroughly familiar with the guarded way in which very sensitive intelligence-related information is handled – first and foremost, the basic principle of “need-to-know.”


Brennan was kept informed of the torture because Tenet wanted him to be – that is, in Tenet’s view, Brennan had a need to know. That is why, as Sen. Saxby Chambliss pointed out, Brennan was “cc-ed” on “a minimum of 50 memos” dealing with waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques. Chambliss noted that Brennan’s boss, A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard, told the Wall Street Journal that Brennan had a role in setting the parameters of the program and “helping to seek Justice Department approval for the techniques.”

This is a far cry from what Brennan admitted to – namely, just having had “awareness that the agency was being asked to do this [and] was going forward on it. … [and having] visibility into some of the activities there.” Again, on the basis of the fundamental principle of need-to-know, Brennan would have had zero “visibility” into the highly sensitive torture program, were Tenet not to have wanted him to be involved – or, at least, kept informed about it.

If CIA officials wrote memos on the sensitive issue of torture, it seems altogether possible that they wrote memos about warping intelligence, too, while restricting dissemination to those with a need-to-know. You may wish to try to get ahold of any such memos, in order to determine if either the “loop” or the “chain” included Brennan.

There is Still Time

By no means were you the only Congressperson to fall for what Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff at the State Department, has branded the “hoax” on Iraq. But you are now chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Would it be asking too much to request that you take greater pains to exercise due diligence, this time around, regarding those playing fast and loose with key intelligence judgments that can lead to war?

First, please find out what evidence John Brennan is relying upon for his assertion that Iran is “bent on pursuing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile delivery systems.” Does he know something others should know? Or are we beginning to see the makings of another consequential hoax?

Second, please look closely into the role Brennan played at his mentor’s side, as George Tenet corrupted the intelligence process to service White House lust for war on Iraq. See what you can find out. If it turns out that those conjuring up “uncorroborated, contradicted, or even non-existent” intelligence kept Brennan in the loop (as the torture aficionados did), the fact that Brennan did not blow the whistle is enough, in our view, to remove him from consideration as CIA director.

Drones and Dead Civilians

You began Brennan’s confirmation hearing by stating that the number of civilian deaths caused by US drone strikes each year has “typically been in the single digits.”

 This brought to mind the extraordinary public claim Mr. Brennan made on June 29, 2011, that “nearly for the past year there hasn’t been a single collateral death” as a result of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan.

Could Brennan have forgotten the widely reported drone strike just three months earlier (on March 17) that killed 42 Pakistanis, most of them civilians? Could he have forgotten the strong protest that the Pakistani government lodged decrying those killings in the town of Datta Khel?

Just two days ago (February 20), Sen. Lindsey Graham publicly put at 4,700 the total number of those killed by U.S. drone strikes in the past decade. This is the first time a United States official has provided a casualty figure for U.S. drone attacks. Interestingly, Graham’s estimate is very close to the high side of the estimated range given by the UK-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism for “total reported killed” in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia: 4,756.

What does John Brennan say about these inconsistencies? Have you checked back with those who told you the annual kill-rate for civilians has “typically been in the single digits?” We suggest that you ask Mr. Brennan to try to resolve these discrepancies before your committee takes further action on his nomination.


Phil Giraldi, Directorate of Operations, CIA, retired

Larry Johnson, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Department of State; consultant, Department of Defense

Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., retired Lt. Col., USAF

David MacMichael, PhD, CIA & National Intelligence Council (NIC) analyst

Tom Maertens, Foreign Service Officer and NSC Director for Non-Proliferation

Ray McGovern, US Army Infantry/Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA, retired

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, NIC

Coleen Rowley, former Special Agent and Minneapolis Division Counsel, FBI

Ann Wright, Col., US Army Reserve (ret.), former Foreign Service Officer, Department of State

Guest Post: America Loves Drone Strikes

Submitted by John Aziz of Azizonomics blog,

This graph shows everything we need to know about the geopolitical reality of Predator Drones (coming soon to the skies of America to hunt down fugitives?).

The American public loves drone strikes:


The American public does not approve of the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. But for everyone else, it’s open season.

But everyone else — most particularly and significantly, the countries in the Muslim world — largely hates and resents drone strikes.

And it is the Muslim world that produces the radicalised extremists who commit acts like 9/11, 7/7, the Madrid bombings, and the Bali bombings.  With this outpouring of contempt for America’s drone strikes, many analysts are coming to believe that Obama’s drone policy is now effectively a recruitment tool for al-Qaeda, the Taliban and similar groups:


Indeed, evidence is beginning to coalesce to suggest exactly this. PressTV recently noted:

The expanding drone war in Yemen, which often kills civilians, does in fact cause blowback and help al-Qaeda recruitment – as attested to by numerous Yemen experts, investigative reporting on the ground, polling, testimony from Yemen activists, and the actual fact that recent bungled terrorist attacks aimed at the U.S. have cited such drone attacks as motivating factors.

After another September drone strike that killed 13 civilians, a local Yemeni activist told CNN, “I would not be surprised if a hundred tribesmen joined the lines of al-Qaeda as a result of the latest drone mistake. This part of Yemen takes revenge very seriously.”

“Our entire village is angry at the government and the Americans,” a Yemeni villager named Mohammed told the Post. “If the Americans are responsible, I would have no choice but to sympathize with al-Qaeda because al-Qaeda is fighting America.”

Many in the U.S. intelligence community also believe the drone war is contributing to the al-Qaeda presence in Yemen. Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA’s counter-terrorism center and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, told The Guardian in June that he is “very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen.”

“We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield,” he said regarding drones in Yemen.

Iona Craig reports that civilian casualties from drone strikes “have emboldened al-Qaeda” and cites the reaction to the 2009 U.S. cruise missile attack on the village of al-Majala in Yemen that killed more than 40 civilians (including 21 children):

That one bombing radicalized the entire area,” Abdul Gh ani al-Iryani, a Yemeni political analyst, said. “All the men and boys from those families and tribes will have joined [al-Qaeda] to fight.

And al-Qaeda’s presence and support in Yemen has grown, not shrunk since the start of the targeted killing program:

Meanwhile Yemen Central Security Force commander Brig. Gen. Yahya Saleh, nephew of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, told Abdul-Ahad that al-Qaeda has more followers, money, guns and territory then they did a year and a half ago.

All at a time when Yemen is facing a “catastrophic” food crisis, with at least 267,000 children facing life-threatening levels of malnutrition. Hunger has doubled since 2009, and the number of displaced civilians is about 500,000 and rising.

As U.S. drones drop bombs on south Yemen villages and AQAP provides displaced civilians with “free electricity, food and water,” tribes in the area are becoming increasingly sympathetic to AQAP.

Let’s be intellectually honest. If a country engages in a military program that carries out strikes that kill hundreds of civilians - many of whom having no connection whatever with terrorism or radicalism - that country is going to become increasingly hated. People in the countries targeted - those who may have lost friends, or family members - are going to plot revenge, and take revenge. That’s just how war works. It infuriates. It radicalises. It instils hatred.

The reality of Obama’s drone program is to create new generations of America-hating radicalised individuals, who may well go on to be the next Osama bin Laden, the next Ayman al-Zawahiri, the next Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The reality for Obama’s drone program is that it is sowing the seeds for the next 9/11 - just as American intervention in the middle east sowed the seeds for the last, as Osama bin Laden readily admitted.

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France is not responsible for civilian deaths in Mali strikes — Defense Ministry

A local truck drives by a convoy of French army vehicules heading toward Gao on February 7, 2013 on the road from Gossi. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

A local truck drives by a convoy of French army vehicules heading toward Gao on February 7, 2013 on the road from Gossi. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

France cannot be held responsible for the deaths of civilians in Mali, a representative of the Ministry of Defense told RT. France denies reports of civilian casualties in military airstrikes, stating it has no evidence to support the claims.

Amnesty International has called on the French government to conduct a probe into reports of civilian deaths during the Mali campaign, which began on January 11. The organization claim at least five civilians, including a woman and her three children were killed during an offensive on the town of Konna.  

Citing witness reports of a number of civilian casualties as a result of French airstrikes in the region of Konna, Rusia al-Yaum (RT Arabic) correspondent Khalid Gharabli asked French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard to comment.

“I have seen these allegations. It’s crystal clear that there is no evidence, and the evidence I have is very comprehensive, that suggests civilians were killed during the strikes carried out by the French military in the region of Konna,” Burkhard told RT.

He elaborated, stating that if there were civilian casualties, there or anywhere else in Mali, France “cannot be held responsible” because there is no evidence that implicates its involvement.

A child shows a heavy machine gun bullet on February 5, 2013 that he found in the ruins of a building destroyed by French air strikes in Douentza. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)
A child shows a heavy machine gun bullet on February 5, 2013 that he found in the ruins of a building destroyed by French air strikes in Douentza. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

Witness reports gathered by Amnesty say rockets fired from a helicopter struck the victim’s house in the morning of January 11. There were no militant targets in the house or the nearby Mosque, also hit in the attack, but there were some Islamist fighters stationed at a junction 150 meters away, reported Amnesty.

Bukhard categorically denied involvement and said that according to French intelligence the attacks that killed civilians were carried out at around 11am local time and French forces only began their assault at midday. He suggested that clashes between the Malian security forces and terrorist groups in the area were to blame.

“There were significant clashes between the Malian forces and terrorist groups, who were equipped with rocket launchers,” informed Bukhard, adding “there is no evidence that suggests a [French] strike could have injured or killed civilians.”

French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard.
French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard.


‘Revenge killings’

Human rights groups have also drawn attention to the widespread reports of reprisal killings coming out of Mali as the French aid the Malians to wrest settlements from militant control.

Bukhard confirmed these reports of “certain acts of vengeance against people who had supported terrorist groups since the beginning of their occupation in 2011.”

Amnesty International stressed in a report that the reprisal killings were not only being carried out by civilians and there were reports members of the Malian security forces were involved in revenge violence. Last week a group of three militants captured by the Malian security forces told AFP that they were tortured by soldiers, using techniques such as waterboarding.

The three suspected militants were being held in an earthen cell in the remnants of a military camp in Timbuktu, according to journalists from AP who spoke to the men.

The Human Rights Watch warned of more violations as the French and the Mali forces move northward.

“If they [French soldiers] witness such acts of revenge, they are obliged to intervene and report the incident immediately,” said Bukhard, adding that the Malian army is actively working to stamp out reprisal killings. Burkhard did not, however, cite any cases when the French intervened.

The French campaign in Mali is now in its third week, with approximately 4,000 troops deployed. France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told press that Paris may begin reducing its troop presence in Mali from the beginning of March.

A man passes, on February 2, 2013 in Gao, by a buiding of the rebels of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) which has been destroyed by French air strikes. (AFP Photo/Sia Kambou)
A man passes, on February 2, 2013 in Gao, by a buiding of the rebels of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) which has been destroyed by French air strikes. (AFP Photo/Sia Kambou)

Naming the Dead: New Investigation into Victims of US Drone Strikes


The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is launching an ambitious new investigation, which will seek to identify as many as possible of those killed in US covert drone strikes in Pakistan, whether civilian or militant.

The Bureau is raising some of the money for this project through a crowd-funding appeal.

As part of our ongoing monitoring and reporting of CIA and Pentagon drone strikes, the Bureau has already recorded the names of hundreds of people killed in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

At the end of January 2013, the Bureau was able to identify by name 213 people killed by drones in Pakistan who were reported to be middle- or senior-ranking militants.

A further 331 civilians have also now been named, 87 of them children.

But this is a small proportion of the minimum 2,629 people who appear to have so far died in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. The Bureau’s work suggests 475 of them were likely to have been civilians.

‘At the momNaming the Dead new version4ent we know the names of fewer than 20% of those killed in Pakistan’s tribal areas. At least 2,000 deaths still remain publicly anonymous,’ said Chris Woods, who leads the Bureau’s covert drone war team.

‘Our aim will be to identify by name many hundreds more of those killed. A significant number of those identities will be known by local communities, by US and Pakistani officials, and by militant groups. We hope to convince them to share that information.’

Related story – Analysis: Why we must name all drone attack victims

Pakistani tribesmen offer funeral prayer -GettyImages

A February 15 2009 drone strike killed at least 26. Few have so far been named. (Getty Images)

The project has already secured substantial funding from a UK foundation – but it still needs more funds.

Today the US-based Freedom of the Press Foundation, a crowd-funding organisation aimed at raising money for public interest journalism, announced it is backing the Bureau’s Naming the Dead project. The Bureau’s new investigation will be one of four recipients of Freedom of the Press Foundation’s latest campaign.

Crowd-funding is an established way of supporting journalism in the US and it is increasingly being used in the UK as a way of funding projects, which established organisations ignore or will not fund.

Using the reach of the web, many people (the crowd) are able to give small amounts of money to back a cause or project in which they believe.

‘In the face of official secrecy, having the full facts about who is killed is essential  for an informed debate about  the effectiveness and ethics of the drone campaign,’  said Christopher Hird, managing editor of the Bureau. ‘And it is exciting to be able to give all of our supporters worldwide the chance to be part of  our first venture in this democratic form of funding.’

A challenging task

Government officials, media organisations and even militant groups are often quick to identify senior militants such as Yahya al-Libi and Ilyas Kashmiri when they are killed.

Yet little is said of the hundreds more alleged militants and civilians among at least 2,629 deaths in Pakistan drone strikes.

Sth Wana letter Jan 2009Both the US and Pakistani governments are likely to keep detailed records. A recent case at the Peshawar High Court heard that officials in the tribal agencies had prepared a confidential report which ‘included details of each and every drone attack and the number, names and ages of the people killed’.

Anonymous US intelligence officials have also revealed details of CIA video surveillance on particular strikes. And the ‘Terror Tuesday’ process – in which hundreds of named alleged militants have been selected by US agencies for targeted killing – has been widely reported.

Photographs and other documents also occasionally surface. When a civilian family was killed in the first drone strike of Barack Obama’s presidency, local officials issued formal paperwork (see right) that was later obtained by the campaign group Center for Civilians in Conflict.

ID cards, family photographs and eyewitness testimony of attacks can all provide useful corroborating evidence. The graves of militants killed in drone strikes can also name them as ‘martyrs’ and give details of the strikes in which they died.

Drawing on information from a wide array of sources, the Bureau’s team will seek to build a detailed understanding of those killed.

Focus on Pakistan

While the Bureau will seek to extend the project to Yemen and Somalia in the near future, the initial focus will be on the nation where most US covert drone strikes have taken place.

Researchers based in Pakistan and the UK will seek to build up biographical information for all of those killed, whether civilian or militant – their name, age, gender, tribe, and village, for example. Where possible, photographs, witness statements and official documentation will also be published.

The team will seek assistance from the Pakistan and US governments in identifying those killed. And researchers will also call on Taliban factions and other militant groups to release information on the many hundreds of fighters killed in more than 360 US drone strikes since 2004.

The other side of French airstrikes on Mali: ‘They ruined everything I had’

Malian soldiers walk past a destroyed vehicle at the prefecture of the recently liberated town of Konna. (Reuters / Eric Gaillard)

(21.5Mb) embed video

French President Francois Hollande is triumphant about his operation in Mali, but stories are emerging which show a different side of the war. Journalist Gonzalo Wancho tells RT that for every two rebels killed in airstrikes, a dozen civilians died.

“We’re learning what happened in battle day by day. In the town of Konna, we heard stories from the fog of war. [Rebels] fled to the north when French troops showed up. It’s reported that the cost of that victory was high. While French planes killed only two rebels, the number of civilian casualties were an estimated 14,” journalist Gonzalo Wancha told RT.

It comes just days after French President Francois Hollande declared “victory” in northern Malian cities. But the victory also had its price:

“I wasn’t home when the bombing began. I started praying when I learned my house was under attack. They ruined everything I had – my family and my livelihood. [My children were 11, 10, and 6]. They all died,” Idrís Meiga, a farmer from Konna, told RT.

Meiga’s story is not unique. In fact, it is becoming all too common to hear of similar tragedies in northern Mali.

“Some kids came running up to us and said their mom had died. I brought them to our house. Their mother died after an hour of clinging to life. The children have nobody else but us,” resident Abdul Kampó said.

Another story involved a mother who died from shell splinters, leaving three children behind – including a newborn baby.  

Two young brothers drowned in a nearby river as they attempted to flee from the fighting.

These residents refuse to be persuaded by military claims of “victory.” 

“People [in the town] say [French] war crimes must be prosecuted under the Geneva Convention,” Wancha said.

And while Hollande maintains that French military intervention in Mali will be short lived, the consequences of this war will affect the lives of these innocent civilians for a lifetime.

Meanwhile, airstrikes continue in Mali’s far north. Earlier Monday, 30 jets targeted training and communication centers of Islamist militants in the town of Tessalit.

The move was an effort to cut off nearby supply routes. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France’s Inter radio that rebels “cannot stay there a long time unless they have new supplies.”

It is believed that French civilians are being held hostage by militants in the area.

Both France and the Malian government have come under criticism for their alleged activity against terrorists and Islamist supporters in the African country.

Days ago, three suspected Jihadists who were arrested in the liberation of Timbuktu said they were tortured by Malian soldiers who used a method similar to waterboarding.

“To force me to talk they poured 40 liters of water in my mouth and over my nostrils, which made it so that I could not breathe anymore. For a moment I thought I was actually going to die,” said one of the men who said he was from the central Malian town of Niono.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch, Malian government forces executed at least 13 suspected Islamist supporters and “forcibly disappeared” five others from the towns of Sévaré and Konna last month.

UK keeps mum on Israeli raid on Syria

Israeli regime launched an airstrike against Syria targeting a military research center near Damascus.

Britain has refused to comment on the Israeli raid on Syria, which targeted a military research center near Damascus based on "suspicions" of chemical weapon transfers.

On January 30, Syria announced the Israeli regime has launched an airstrike against the Arab country targeting a military research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of Damascus, leaving two people killed and five others injured.

However, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has so far declined to comment on the issue despite Israeli airstrikes being a flagrant violation of the UN Charter, international law, and a direct violation of Syria's sovereignty.

Hague’s stance is of no surprise as he is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), which is a British parliamentary group affiliated to the Tory Party and dedicated to strengthening ties between the UK and the Israel.

Britain has been playing a major role in fanning the flames of unrest in the Middle Eastern country, as it provides supports for terrorists, contributing to the killing of innocent civilians in the region.

Syria’s unrest began back in March 2011, when peaceful protests were hijacked by foreign-backed terrorists, who have killed many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel since then.


UN begins probe into civilian deaths in US and UK drone attacks

In a file picture taken on January 8, 2013 a Pakistani demonstrator holds a burning US flag during a protest in Multan against drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas. (AFP Photo/S. S Mirza)

In a file picture taken on January 8, 2013 a Pakistani demonstrator holds a burning US flag during a protest in Multan against drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas. (AFP Photo/S. S Mirza)

The UN has begun a probe into civilian casualties in US and UK drone strikes and their legal implications. This follows multiple claims the attacks are war crimes and encroachment on the sovereignty of the countries in which they are carried out.

A team of experts in Geneva has begun examining the details of several drone strikes with a view to establishing their legality.

The UN-backed report examines the use of drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson told the press in a statement. He mentioned that the Israeli use of the unmanned aerial craft on Palestinian territory would also come under scrutiny in the report.

The UN launched the probe into the attack after Pakistan along with two permanent members of the UN Security Council called on the international organization to investigate the legal validity of the attacks.

The probe will look at between 20 and 30 strikes, specially selected to represent different types of attacks. Investigators will look at civilian death tolls, the identity of the militants targeted and the legality of the attacks in their respective countries. In some of the countries where drones are active the UN has not declared a conflict zone.

"One of the questions we will be looking at is whether, given the local demography, aerial attacks carry too high a risk of a disproportionate number of civilian casualties," said Emmerson to British newspaper The Guardian. He added that given the recent “explosion of drone technology” the risk of civilian casualties had increased.

The investigative committee will pay special attention to the so-called ‘double tap’ strikes, in which rescuers that come to help the initial victims of the strike are hit in a follow-up attack. Concerns have been voiced that this type of strike could constitute a war crime.

The report, which will be ready for presentation to the General Assembly this autumn, will not lead to an "attribution of legal liability,” but will allow allegations to be lodged against states which have violated international law.

Washington has repeatedly insisted that the use of drones is highly effective in the fight against militant insurgency, while Pakistani and Afghan politicians allege that they kill more civilians than militants.


Turning up the heat

Since the beginning of the New Year the US has stepped up its drone attacks in Pakistan, killing at least 40 people, 11 of whom are thought to have been civilians.

US officials claim the reasoning behind the ratcheting up of drone attacks is their 2014 troop withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan.

These strikes “may be a signal to groups that include not just Al-Qaeda that the US will still present a threat” after most American forces have gone, counterterrorism expert Seth Jones of Rand Corp. told the Washington Post. “With the drawdown in US forces, the drone may be, over time, the most important weapon against militant groups.”

Pakistani rulers have reacted to the new US offensive with furor, condemning it as "close to a perpetual war."

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a report in 2011, estimating the death toll from drone strikes at around 385 halfway through the year – 160 of those killed were children. Following on from that, the Foundation for Fundamental Rights published its own research in September 2012, claiming that only 2 per cent of strikes in Pakistan actually targeted high-profile terrorist leaders.

UK civil servants to strike over pay

British civil and public servants are to stage a protest against the Tor-led government’s policies on pay and pensions, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has revealed.

The PCS said it will ballot 250,000 of its members to take a fresh strike action against cuts to pay and pensions and poor working conditions across England, Wales, and Scotland.

The union announced that the voting will start on February 8 and close on March 4, adding that it would seek support from other unions in Britain.

PCS has demanded a minimum pay rise of 5 percent, or £1,200 for all public servants this year, insisting that a four-year freeze and cap on pay, together with increased pension contributions, would cut income by 16 percent by 2014.

The union has already staged three days of strikes over pay and reforms to public sector pensions imposed by the British government.


UK govt. blasted for Mali intervention

UK govt. blasted for aiding France in Mali intervention

File photo shows rebels in northern Mali.

British anti-war organization Stop the War Coalition has blasted the UK government for assisting France in its ongoing military intervention in Mali.

The campaign group attacked the British government for being “the first to support” French military in stepping up airstrikes against rebels in the West African country while providing “no democratic discussion or debate” over its decision.

In a statement titled “No foreign intervention in Mali”, the anti-war organization said the UK’s support for the French military intervention in Mali “only shows how keen the government is to participate in a new rush for influence on the African continent.”

"It is extraordinary that the [British] government has not learned from the terrible legacy of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya,” the statement added.

France initiated military action in Mali on January 12 to allegedly halt the advance of the rebels, who control the northern parts of the African nation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed France’s decision to halt advances by the rebels and has promised to provide the country with logistic support.

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has sent two C-17 transport planes to the region, although one of the two aircraft has reportedly been grounded due to a technical fault.

Furthermore, referring to the French government’s claim that it's waging “a war against terrorism” in Mali, John Rees, a national officer of Stop the War Coalition, said “We’ve heard this so many times. I’m surprised that they haven’t bored themselves by repeating this line.”

Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.


UK Republic slams royals’ veto power

Britain’s anti-monarchy campaign group Republic has criticized the senior royals’ secretive power of veto over new laws as undemocratic, calling for it to be scrapped.

The group, which campaigns for a “democratic Britain with an elected head of state,” described the royal veto as “a serious affront” to democracy, following revelations about “real influence and real power” of the British Queen and the Prince of Wales.

According to Whitehall papers prepared by Cabinet Office lawyers, at least 39 bills have been subject to the royal approval, with the senior royals using their power to consent or block legislation proposed by the UK parliament.

The Cabinet Office document, which was released following a court order, showed that the Queen vetoed entirely a private member’s Bill, the Military Actions Against Iraq (Parliamentary Approval) Bill 1999, that would have transferred the power to authorize military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to Parliament.

“It is extraordinary that in this day and age our elected politicians have to ask the permission of the Queen and her eldest son before they can pass new laws,” said Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic.

“This is clearly more than a formality. It is hard to believe the palace’s claim that consent is only withheld on the instruction of ministers. Why would ministers advise the Queen to withhold consent from their own bill?”

The internal Whitehall pamphlet also said that among the new laws that required the Queen’s consent was the Civil Partnership Act 2004, as it contained a clause about the validity of the relationships “that would bind Her Majesty.”

Moreover, the document, which was released under freedom of information laws to Legal scholar John Kirkhope, revealed that the UK government was obliged to ask the Prince of Wales for his consent for the Merchant Shipping and Maritime Security Act 1997, because he owns the harbor of the Isles of Scilly through the Duchy of Cornwall.

In December last year, the campaign group condemned the British Queen’s cabinet visit as a proof of the feudalist nature of the country’s political system.

On December 18, the Queen visited Downing Street, where she joined the cabinet while they were updated on a range of forthcoming parliamentary business, as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.


France: US, UK back Mali intervention

Armed men patrol the streets of a city in northern Mali. (File photo)

France's foreign minister says the US and Britain are providing support for the French-led military intervention in Mali amid clashes in the West African country.

Laurent Fabius made the announcement on Sunday, saying "We have the support of the Americans for communications and transport."

The minister added that Britain, Denmark, and other European nations are also supporting the French-led military intervention in the country.

The announcement comes a day after that Washington offered to send drones to Mali as it has already declared its backing of moves against rebels in the African nation.

US commanders were further considering other options such as “providing intelligence and aerial refueling tankers” as well as “logistical backup and boosting intelligence sharing” involving its surveillance drones, AFP reported, quoting an unnamed US official that spoke on condition of anonymity.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has also approved to deploy aircraft to help transport troopers.

Earlier in the day, French jets and combat helicopters targeted the northern city of Gao, which had been controlled by the rebels.

The French Defense Ministry said in a statement that "French fighter jets have identified and destroyed this Sunday, Jan. 13, numerous targets in northern Mali near Gao, in particular training camps, infrastructure, and logistical depots” that served as bases for rebels.

According to the residents of Gao, its airport was among the targets of the airstrikes.

This comes three days after France took military action in Mali to halt advances made by the rebels, who control the north of the West African country.

On Friday, the Malian Army said it has driven back militants from the town of Konna after France intervened with airstrikes to halt advances by fighters.

Unrest erupted in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they had mounted the coup in response to the government's failure to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.


UK to aid France in Mali intervention

A picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) on January 12, 2013 shows French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali overnight January 11 to 12, after taking off from the French military base of N'Djamena, in Chad. (AFP Photo / Nicolas-Nelson Richard)

A picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) on January 12, 2013 shows French Mirage 2000 D aircrafts flying over Mali overnight January 11 to 12, after taking off from the French military base of N'Djamena, in Chad. (AFP Photo / Nicolas-Nelson Richard)

Britain has announced it will provide France with logistical support during its Mali intervention as French forces stepped up airstrikes against Islamist militants fighting government troops.

The British prime minister welcomed France’s decision to intervene in the North African country to help the Malian army halt a rebel advance towards the capital Bamako.

"The Prime Minister has agreed that the UK will provide logistical military assistance to help transport foreign troops and equipment quickly to Mali," David Cameron's office said in a statement on Saturday, adding that London is not going to deploy British personnel in a combat role.

Over 100 Islamist militants have been killed as Malian troops backed by the French military fought for control of the strategic town of Konna.

Meanwhile, Paris announced on Saturday that a French pilot had been killed in an air raid over Konna. "During this intense combat, one of our pilots… was fatally wounded," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement. The pilot was wounded during the operation and later died in hospital, the minister said.

This comes just two days after France sent hundreds of troops to its former colony. The West African regional bloc ECOWAS, will begin sending troops to Mali on Monday.

French airstrikes overnight pushed back Islamist rebels from Konna and destroyed a rebel command center, Le Drian said.

The deployment of French troops has been met with anger from Islamist group Ansar Dine, which said the move will have “consequences for French citizens in the Muslim world.” Ansar Dine is fighting on the frontline of the battle of Konna.

“We are actually in Konna for the jihad [holy war]," an Ansar Dine spokesperson told AFP on Friday.

French President Francois Hollande says the country will raise its domestic terror threat level as a result of the military operations. He promised to increase protection at public buildings and transportation networks.

France decided to take military action after a plea from Mali’s president, and says the intervention will last as long as necessary. However, many critics say France may have had its own motivations for deploying troops in the country.

“There is that much at stake financially and strategically in Mali. But on the other hand this is the sort of intervention that could drag on for very long time. I think what triggered it was the move by the Islamist rebels towards Bamako, which is the capital where most of the French citizens are.Most of them are located at the southern end of the country and I think Hollande felt he had to do something to protect them.” France-based independent journalist Robert Harneis told RT.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council called for “rapid deployment” of international forces in Mali to combat the Islamist militants in the north of the country.

Given the latest developments in the West African country, the members of the UNSC “expressed their determination to pursue the full implementation” of its resolutions on Mali, in particular Resolution 2085, adopted in December, which authorizes the deployment of over 3,000 African-led international troops.

The support force approved by the UN had not been expected to be deployed until September 2013.

Ansar Dine and Mujao have controlled most of northern Mali since last April. They formed an alliance with Tuareg rebels following a military coup in March.

However, their alliance quickly collapsed, with the Islamists capturing the area's urban centers and marginalizing the Tuareg rebels.

The Islamists have been accused of war crimes and attempting to impose strict Sharia law throughout the region, harboring fears that the area could soon become a hub for al-Qaeda linked militants.

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Photo by DVIDSHUB | CC BY 2.0 More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports...

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True civilian death toll feared at 40,000 More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according...

Empire of Destruction: Precision Warfare? Don’t Make Me Laugh

You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and...

‘How Can the Arsonists Be the Firefighters Today?’

Janine Jackson interviewed Maurice Carney about the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the July 14, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is...

Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East

The superhighway to disaster is already being paved. From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come...

NPR’s ‘Varied Mix’ Spotlights Right-Wing Advocacy, Not Progressive Populism

Jonah Goldberg: “No liberal commentator has had such a recurring platform,” according to NPR‘s ombud. Jonah Goldberg is the founding editor of the National Review...

Former soldier-turned-Corbynite MP to head Parliament’s drones committee

Published time: 13 Jul, 2017 15:06 Afghanistan veteran and pro-Corbyn Labour MP Clive Lewis has...

Message from the High Court: Carry on arming the Saudis

Campaigners are furious with a High Court decision in London allowing the UK Government to carry on exporting arms to Saudi Arabia for use...

U.S. Bombs with White Phosphorous While Blaming Assad for Using ‘Sarin’

Eric Zuesse On June 14th, Human Rights Watch headlined “Danger From US White Phosphorous”, and linked to far more evidence of America’s firebombings in Syria and Iraq,...

General blasts activists who claim Mosul retaken from ISIS with excessive force

Published time: 12 Jul, 2017 16:04 A senior British general has slammed Amnesty International’s claims...

The Recapture of Mosul

Photo by DVIDSHUB | CC BY 2.0 Iraq is declaring victory over Isis in Mosul as the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, wearing black military uniform, arrived in the...

Royal Saud Family Seek Trump’s Support Against Qatar’s Royal Thani Family

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at It’s now war between the fundamentalist Sunni Sauds who own the world’s most oil-rich nation Saudi Arabia, versus the...

‘State actor’ behind NotPetya cyberattack, expect ‘countermeasures’ – NATO experts

Published time: 4 Jul, 2017 14:26 NATO officials have warned that last week’s global cyberattack...

‘Raqqa is finished, kill your fanatical commanders, surrender’ – British fighter to ISIS (VIDEO)

Macer Gifford, a British volunteer who went to Syria to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly...

Theresa May wants to remain PM until 2022… but desperately seeking Lib Dem help

Although Tory rebels reportedly want her gone by the summer of 2019, Prime Minister Theresa...

Kurds May Face Turkish Army in Syria One-to-One

Recently Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his readiness to conduct a new military operation in the north of Syria to prevent the emergence...

Cyber Attack 'Worst Possible Timing' for Gothenburg Port

Trouble-hit Gothenburg harbour is still struggling to get its services up and running after shipping mammoth Maersk was hit by a cyber...

US Raqqa offensive killing more civilians than claimed – airstrike monitor

As coalition airstrikes assault the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, a monitoring group insists UN...

USS George H.W. Bush docks off Israel’s shore in first such visit in 17yrs

Published time: 1 Jul, 2017 16:14 Edited time: 1 Jul, 2017 16:15 The USS George H.W....

US court dismisses Yemen drone strike wrongful death suit

A US appeals court has upheld a decision dismissing a lawsuit brought by a Yemeni man...

British Army ‘too small,’ warn US military experts

The UK should not make further cuts to its military budgets because its army is...

How and Why U.S. Honors and Aids Al Qaeda

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at The Saker This will present a typical example in which the U.S. promotes Al Qaeda and other jihadists, and then...

US-backed siege batters Old City of Mosul


Why is Trump protecting ISIS?

Eric Zuesse On June 12th, Al Masdar News — the go-to site for the honest latest news regarding the war in Syria — reported that...

Shoddy Alt-News ‘Journalism’ Boosts Mainstream ‘Journalism’ (Propaganda)

Eric Zuesse, originally posted in two parts at Part One: INTRODUCTION Whereas mainstream ‘journalism’ about international affairs is thoroughly controlled by (and usually owned by) the...

Allies must help Britain root out terrorist funders, says Boris Johnson

Britain must work with other countries to root out those funding terrorism in the UK, whether revenue streams are provided with the knowledge of...

London Terror Attack: It’s Time to Confront Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia

Photo by Bryce Edwards | CC BY 2.0 It is time for an honest conversation about Wahhabism, specifically the part this Saudi-sponsored ideology plays in...

In Iraq and Syria, US-Led Coalition Killing Increasing Number of Civilians

With its latest official declaration estimating the number of innocent people killed by airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. military has admitted killing...

Promoting the Commons in the Time of Monsters

Can the Commons and peer-to-peer (P2P) practices really offer viable solutions for our present and future social, political and ecological crises? Spain’s municipal successes...

Trump's next Apprentice: Who does US president want as British prime minister?

Britain and America’s so-called ‘special relationship’ haunts every UK election, perhaps now more so than...

After US Bombs Syrian Government for Third Time in 8 Months, Media Ask Few...

The United States has bombed Syrian government–allied forces three times in just eight months. Major media outlets have overwhelmingly failed to ask critical questions...

Who’s funding Britain's terrorists? ‘Sensitive’ Home Office report may never be published

An investigation commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron into the revenue streams behind jihadist...

Terrorist suspects should be locked up in internment camps, says ex-police chief

Thousands of suspected terrorists should be placed in internment camps, as the threat of terrorism...

Witnesses Say US Military Killed Fleeing Yemeni Child in Latest Botched Raid

The Pentagon said last week that there were "no credible indications of civilian casualties" from the latest U.S. Navy SEALs raid on a village...

‘Fact of life’: Civilian casualties inevitable amid US tactics of ‘ISIS annihilation’ – Mattis

Civilian casualties in the war against terrorism is a “fact of life,” US Defense Secretary James...

Civil rights group sues US govt over treatment of immigrants in detention

A lawsuit is seeking documents on hunger strikes at immigration detention centers run by the Department...

'Inevitable' that N. Korea builds nuclear-armed missile able to reach US ‒ intel head

The Defense Intelligence Agency has provided the first official US assessment of North Korea’s latest missile...

Vigil for Victims of Manchester Bombing Interrupted by Axeman

May 24, 2017 By Reinhard Wolff | Diversity strikes again! Independent: A vigil being held in Birmingham for the...

13 Resets in 13 Months

The White House’s latest self-inflicted scandal—this time, the incredible allegation via multiple news reports that the president shared high-level classified intelligence with Russian diplomats...

Mosul, Thomas Friedman, and the Globalization of Misery

The closest I ever got to Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was 1,720.7 miles away -- or so the Internet assures me.  Although I’ve...

‘I’m no pacifist,’ but Britain’s ‘bomb first, talk later’ policy must end, says Corbyn

Published time: 12 May, 2017 09:45 Edited time: 12 May, 2017 11:48 Labour leader Jeremy...

Theresa May endures radio phone-in from hell as medics attack Tory healthcare record

Published time: 12 May, 2017 11:41 Prime Minister Theresa May was grilled on Thursday night...

Leaked NSA exploit blamed for global ransomware cyberattack

A zero-day vulnerability tool, covertly exploited by US intelligence agencies and exposed by the Shadow Brokers...

NPR Can’t Help Hyping North Korean Threat

NPR (3/23/16) UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on March 8 that “all options are on the table” regarding North Korea. Between...

‘Already voted’: Defense secretary dodges questions on bombing Syria’s Assad

Published time: 5 May, 2017 10:08 Defence Secretary Michael Fallon would not be drawn on...

A Victory for Theresa May Will See Britain Dragged Further Towards War with Russia

British Prime Minister Theresa May has been warned by various political leaders in Britain not to rush to attack Syrian government forces if she...

U.S. Officials Risk Complicity in War Crimes in Yemen

A  well being dug in a small village in Yemen was nearing completion last September when it was bombed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. The bomb...

Tories may call for vote to bomb Syrian govt facilities if they win general...

Published time: 4 May, 2017 11:51 Theresa May’s Conservatives may push for a fresh vote...

America’s Top Scientists Confirm: U.S. Goal Now Is to Conquer Russia

Eric Zuesse The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published a study, on 1 March 2017, which opened: The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed...

’One-off strike won’t make a difference’: Hillary Clinton criticizes Trump on Syria, N. Korea

Hillary Clinton admitted at a women’s event that she supported the Syrian missile strike, though she...