A US assassination drone attack kills at least 11 people in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. ● According to reports, the drone fired eight missiles at a building in North Waziristan region early on Saturday morning. The US carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in several Muslim nations such as Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia. US drone attacks in other countries have intensified since Barack Obama became the country's president.
Another US drone attack on Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt has killed at least 15 people amid the ongoing military campaign in the region by Pakistani armed forces. ● The strike by the pilotless US aircraft on Wednesday hit the border region of North Waziristan, where government troops have been engaged in fierce fighting aimed at purging the entire area of pro-Taliban militants and their fortifications, according to Pakistani authorities. “A US drone fired two missiles targeting a militant compound in Zoi Saidgai area, killing at least 15 insurgents,” said a high-ranking security official in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.
Politicians claim communciations technology is mistrusted in wake of US spying allegations and NSA surveillance revelations. ● German politicians are considering a return to using manual typewriters for sensitive documents in the wake of the US surveillance scandal. The head of the Bundestag's parliamentary inquiry into NSA activity in Germany said in an interview with the Morgenmagazin TV programme that he and his colleagues were seriously thinking of ditching email completely. Asked "Are you considering typewriters" by the interviewer on Monday night, the Christian Democrat politican Patrick Sensburg said: "As a matter of fact, we have – and not electronic models either". "Really?", the surprised interviewer checked. "Yes, no joke", Sensburg responded. During the continuing row over alleged US spying operations in Germany, there had been speculation that the CIA may have actively targeted the Bundestag's NSA inquiry committee.
SCGNews ■ Yesterday the Iraqi government announced a startling new development: ISIS has managed to make off with 88 pounds of uranium from Mosul University. According to CNN two U.S. officials said on Wednesday that "the small amounts of uranium aren't enriched or weapons-grade, prompting only minimal concern." Minimal concern? One has to wonder how it is that a extremist group that has made a name for itself by conducting mass executions across Iraq and Syria getting a hold of almost 90 pounds of uranium is of minimal concern (especially when you consider it in the context of the hissy fit the U.S. State Depart has been throwing over Iran's peaceful use of nuclear energy).
The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Takfiri group has posted a video on the web, threatening to invade and take over Spain. The minute-long footage shows two Spanish-speaking men saying Spain is the land of their forefathers and that they are prepared to die for their nascent Islamic State. The men said the ISIL would not stop at Spain and intends to spread its Islamic Caliphate across the world. “
I say to the entire world as a warning: We are living under the Islamic banner, the Islamic Caliphate. We are going to die for it until we liberate all the occupied lands, from Jakarta to Andalusia,” one of the men said.
You have probably heard about the extremely controversial Facebook “emotional contagion” study in which the company intentionally altered its news feed algorithm to see if it could manipulate its users’ emotions; but here is where it starts to get really strange. Initially, the press release from Cornell highlighting the study said at the bottom: “The study was funded in part by the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Army Research Office.” Once people started asking questions about this, Cornell claimed it had made a mistake, and that there was no outside funding. Jay Rosen, Journalism Professor at NYU, seems to find this highly questionable...and it gets even more interesting from there.
Blackwater’s top manager issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to U.S. State Department reports. ● Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports. ● American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports. ● After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”
Nearly seven years later, four former mercenaries of Blackwater Worldwide are on trial in US court on charges stemming from a September 2007 attack that left 14 Iraqis dead and wounded 18 others in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. ● In the trial that began June 11 in US District Court in Washington, DC, Nicholas Slatten is accused of first-degree murder, and Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Paul Slough are on trial for voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun charges. If convicted, Slatten could be sentenced to life in prison, while the other defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if convicted of the gun charge and at least one other charge. The former Blackwater guards have pled not guilty to all charges. The US Justice Department dropped charges against a fifth guard and a sixth reached a plea deal.
Cooperation between Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, and America's NSA is deeper than previously believed. German agents appear to have crossed into constitutionally questionable territory. ● Three months before Edward Snowden shocked the world with his revelations, members of NSA's "Special Source Operations department" sat down for a weekly meeting at their headquarters in the US state of Maryland. The group, considered internally to be particularly efficient, has several tasks, one of which is overseeing the intelligence agency's delicate relationship with large telecommunications firms. It is the department that Snowden referred to as the "crown jewels" of the NSA. ● At this particular meeting, one significant slip-up was on the meeting agenda. On March 14, 2013, an SSO member had reported a potentially damaging incident. "Commercial consortium personnel" had apparently discovered the program "Wharpdrive," for which SSO had tapped a fiber-optic cable. "Witting partner personnel have removed the evidence," he explained further, "and a plausible cover story was provided." According to an internal NSA document to which SPIEGEL has access, a team was quietly put together to to reinstall the program. ● The NSA, apparently, did not perform the highly sensitive operation on its own. All signs indicate that the agency had help from Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the country's foreign intelligence agency. The code name Wharpdrive appears in a paper drafted in preparation for a BND delegation's visit to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, and which instructs NSA leaders to "thank the BND for their assistance with the trilateral program." It also makes clear that the German agency plays a leadership role in the Wharpdrive program, with the NSA providing only technical assistance.
Der Spiegel: New NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File
Der Spiegel: Abbreviations Explained: How to Read the NSA Documents
Der Spiegel: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit [12/29/2013]
Ulrich Rippert: The return of the state secret police in Germany
The man who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods calls for re-invention of intelligence to re-engineer Earth. ● Robert David Steele, former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity, is a man on a mission. But it's a mission that frightens the US intelligence establishment to its core. With 18 years experience working across the US intelligence community, followed by 20 more years in commercial intelligence and training, Steele's exemplary career has spanned almost all areas of both the clandestine world. Steele started off as a Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer. After four years on active duty, he joined the CIA for about a decade before co-founding the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, where he was deputy director. Widely recognised as the leader of the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) paradigm, Steele went on to write the handbooks on OSINT for NATO, the US Defense Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Forces. In passing, he personally trained 7,500 officers from over 66 countries.
xymphora ■ Whitney and Engdahl on the oddities of ISIS; Madsen on the situation in Ukraine. ● There are parallels. Both operations have deep roots. American destabilizing operations in Eastern Europe have been going on since the Soviet days, and more recently have been quietly chugging along, more of a gnat-like nuisance to people like Putin than anything serious. Part of the ISIS team was trained by Americans in Jordan, and the ISIS leadership is very suspicious. ● The oddities need an explanation, but the explanation is obviously not an American government conspiracy at the Obama-Kerry level. The American response in each case is simply too off-the-cuff and weak. Kerry is in the middle of one of the most embarrassing foreign tours of an American Secretary of State ever (the sentencing of the journalists in Egypt was Sisi spitting in Kerry's huge face), and Obama has nothing constructive to offer (an empire that has no answers is no longer an empire). Meanwhile, Putin is using the opening caused by American clumsiness, looking east, south and west, to build a New World Empire. ● In both Ukraine and Iraq, a quiet operation that wasn't going anywhere was turned around in a hurry by operatives working below the highest levels, in both cases against real American interests, in both cases leaving the high-level American response flat-footed and embarrassingly ineffectual, and in both cases working for the interests of the Zionist Empire. There is only one explanation for the lack of information at the top. Treason.
William Engdahl ■ The very details of the ISIS military success in the key Iraqi oil center, Mosul, are suspect. According to well-informed Iraqi journalists, ISIS overran the strategic Mosul region, site of some of the world’s most prolific oilfields, with barely a shot fired in resistance. According to one report, residents of Tikrit reported remarkable displays of “
soldiers handing over their weapons and uniforms peacefully to militants who ordinarily would have been expected to kill government soldiers on the spot.” We are told that ISIS masked psychopaths captured “
arms and ammunition from the fleeing security forces” - arms and ammunition supplied by the American government. The offensive coincides with a successful campaign by ISIS in eastern Syria. According to Iraqi journalists, Sunni tribal chiefs in the region had been convinced to side with ISIS against the Shiite Al-Maliki government in Baghdad. They were promised a better deal under ISIS Sunni Sharia than with Baghdad anti-Sunni rule.
Almost three years have passed since the United States government extrajudicially murdered American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki with a drone strike in Yemen. Al-Awlaki, although described by the government as a “terrorist” mastermind, had never been charged with any crime. ● The Obama adminstration refused to disclose the legal reasoning behind the killing. But thanks to Freedom Information Act lawsuits by The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a redacted version of the Department of Justice memo which outlines the Obama administration’s rationale for killing American citizens abroad without trial is now public. Authored by David Barron — former chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, who has since been appointed by Obama to a federal judgeship — the 41-page document seeks to legitimize so-called targeted killings, a practice Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, vigorously condemned Israel for using against Palestinians during the second intifada. This makes it all the more ironic that the Obama administration’s kill memo cites an Israeli Supreme Court decision to justify al-Awlaki’s summary execution.
Barry Grey ■ The Obama drone murder memo || Obama’s secret decision to place Awlaki on his “kill list” was leaked to the press in April of 2010. The memo by the then-head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, David Barron, claiming that the Constitution and US laws gave the president the power to kill a US citizen, without charge or trial, was sent to Attorney General Eric Holder in July of 2010. Awlaki’s father filed a suit in federal court to remove his son from the kill list, but the case was thrown out in December of 2010. Thus the murder of Awlaki was organized over a protracted period of time. It was a cold-blooded extra-judicial killing by the state.
The United States Senate voted Thursday to confirm David Barron, the former Obama administration official who drafted the legal justification for assassination by drone-fired missile, to a lifetime seat on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. It was a near-party-line vote, 53-45, with every Republican voting against, joined by only two Democrats. Every prominent liberal in the Senate voted to rubber-stamp the nomination. Those voting for Barron including the self-proclaimed “socialist,” independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont, as well as Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, promoted as a potential presidential candidate by the Nation magazine and other liberal groups.
PressTV: Court releases memo of US justifying drone killings of Americans abroad
David Swanson: So That's Why They Kept the Drone Kill Memo Secret
Barry Grey: Memo on drone killings of US citizens makes case for presidential dictatorship
A federal appeals court on Monday released a redacted version of the U.S. Justice Department's memorandum of justification for a 2011 drone attack that killed Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born Islamist preacher suspected of having ties to al Qaeda. ● The memo says that because the U.S. government considered al Awlaki to be an "operational leader" of an "enemy force," it was legal for the Central Intelligence Agency to attack him with a drone even though he was a U.S. citizen. The memo says the killing was further justified under Congressional authorization for the use of U.S. military force following the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked-plane attacks. The Obama administration released the memo in response to a court order following Freedom of Information lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times.
Back in 2006, after the second US invasion of Iraq culminated if not with the discovery of the WMDs (which were the pretext for the invasion in the first place), but the unearthing (literally) and kangaroo court trial of Saddam Hussein, the US was quick to announce "mission accomplished." Recent events have made a mockery of that claim, however what is truly the straw that broke the back of poetic justice, to mix metaphors, are reports from local media that as part of its blitz-campaign to take over northern Iraq, ISIS found and the promptly executed Rauf Rashid Abd al-Rahman, the judge who sentenced Saddam to death: a death which to many was the crowning moment of the second US invasion of Iraq, and the confirmation of successful US foreign policy. It goes without saying that if true, the murder of the man who indirectly did the US bidding in slamming the book shut on the Saddam regime (and with it US claims of Iraqi "liberation") and was responsible for Saddam's death, means the last "Mission Accomplished" posted can now be safely taken down.
The Polish Foreign Minister believes his country’s alliance with the US is worth nothing and compared his government’s stance to giving oral sex and receiving nothing in return, a Polish magazine said, citing a leaked recording of a private conversation. ● Excerpts from the alleged exchange between FM Radoslaw Sikorski and Jacek Rostowski, an MP and former finance minister, were published Sunday by Wprost, which promised a full transcript and audio files later on Monday or Tuesday. The same magazine triggered a political storm in Poland this month by releasing a recording of a conversation between the head of Poland’s central bank and the interior minister, implying a link between the two violating the bank’s independence. According to Wprost, Sikorski is skeptical about the reliance of Poland, one of the staunchest allies of Washington in Eastern Europe, on American protection. “
The Polish-American alliance is not worth anything. It’s even damaging, because it creates a false sense of security in Poland,” Sikorski allegedly said. “
Complete bullshit,” the tape purportedly records Sikorski as saying. “
We will get a conflict with both Russians and Germans, and we’re going to think that everything is great, because we gave the Americans a blowjob. Suckers. Total suckers.”
More than 400 large American drones have crashed since 2001, each accident causing from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in damage, according to the findings of new research by the Washington Post after examining more than 50,000 pages of federal and military records. ● Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, became a popular American weapon during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration plans to open up American airspace to commercial, police, and military drones. The government has argued the use of domestic drones is absolutely safe, but the recent data about drone crashes shows there are still significant problems to be solved. ● According to the Washington Post, UAVs have crashed into houses, farms, roads and, in one case, even an airborne Air Force plane. No one has died as a result of a drone accident yet, but on many occasions, disaster has only been avoided by chance. The US military divides drone accidents into two different categories: There have been 194 Class A incidents, each of which either destroyed the aerial vehicle or resulted in at least $2 million in damage. More than half of these accidents took place in warzones, in Afghanistan and Iraq, but nearly 25 percent were in the US. Class B accidents caused between $500,000 and $2 million of damage. There have been 224 such events in total.
As ISIS, a group thought to consist of only a few thousand people led by a shadowy figurehead, defeats forces many times its size to capture a large part of Iraq, RT looks into what is ISIS, and how has it achieved its terrifying triumphs. So, what is ISIS? And is it even ISIS, or is it ISIL? - The world’s most committed and fanatical radical organization has only recently gone by its current name, after the unrecognized Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) was proclaimed in April last year. Al-Sham has been most commonly translated from Arabic as the Levant, hence ISIL. It was previously known as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic State of Iraq. The frequent name changes are not cosmetic – but the direct result of the transforming circumstances which have allowed ISIS to rapidly flourish. Initially focused on achieving dominance in Iraq, it was kept under control in the relatively calm period between the initial sectarian strife that broke out following the US-led invasion in 2003, and the outbreak of hostilities following the American military withdrawal in 2011. Since then, it has become a major player, receiving another critical boost when the civil war in Syria turned into a sectarian conflict, bringing in millions of dollars in funding and thousands of fresh recruits from around the world.
PressTV: ISIL Saudi creation trained by Western agents
Yuram Abdullah Weiler: Reviling the victim: West still in denial over cause of Iraq violence
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that he had been tortured in a British prison prior to getting asylum with Ecuador's embassy in London, the Ecuadorian news agency Andes reported. "I was detained without official charges. I spent five days without charges in a horrible prison in the UK. My health was very poor then, and they applied electricity to my shins," Assange was quoted as saying during the joint press conference with Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino on Thursday. Ecuador vowed asylum offer to Assange was for the long term. "We will protect Julian Assange as long as necessary and as long as he wants," Patino said. Britain's Supreme Court ruled in 2012 to extradite WikiLeaks founder to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, although WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said he clearly saw Washington's hand in the ruling.
US is describing the sorties as surveillance flights --The aircraft are heavily armed fighter jets. ● The United States began flying surveillance missions over Iraq in F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets on Wednesday, it emerged late in the afternoon. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked President Obama for air strikes against the Islamist offshoots of al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] who have been carving a wide swath through his country. So far the White House has been unwilling to agree, but the surveillance missions mark the first declared U.S. flyovers since American troops left Iraq at the end of 2011.
Jason Ditz: Obama to Congress: I Don't Need Your OK on Iraq
VoR: Obama could take military action in oil-rich Iraq without Congress' approval
The Independent: US rules out military action until Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stands down
White man speaking 'fluent British English' led al-Shabaab attack in Kenya that left 60 dead, witnesses claim. ● Several people in Mpeketoni, which was attacked by as many as 40 Islamist gunmen on Sunday, told The Telegraph that the gang's leader was pale-skinned and spoke English and Arabic. One of the witnesses is a primary schoolteacher who speaks good English, unlike many people in the remote corner of Kenya near the Lamu archipelago that earlier this week became the country's latest terror target. The accounts strengthened suggestions that the attackers were part of a well-trained team sent by al-Shabaab under the co-ordination of an experienced foreign jihadi now working with the Somali Islamists. "
I saw a white man who was speaking in fluent British English commanding the rest of the attackers," said Mary Gachoki, who lives in Mpeketoni.
In a day and age in which corporations rule the world, the brutal Al-Qaeda/CIA spin off known as ISIS is learning from the best, and as part of its credentialising and image-building has done something only major corporations do at the end of every year: it has issued annual reports for the past 2 years (unaudited, unless Ernst & Young has quietly upgraded from "massaging" the books for Lehman's Repo 105 and, of course, the New York Fed, without our knowledge). That's right: as the FT reported earlier, "Since 2012 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (known as ISIL) has issued annual reports, outlining in numerical and geographical detail its operations – the number of bombings, assassinations, checkpoints, suicide missions, cities taken over and even “apostates” converted to the ISIS/ISIL cause."
[Editor's Comment:] To clear things up a bit: ISIS refers to 'Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham'. Al-Sham has been most commonly translated from Arabic as the Levant, hence ISIL. It was previously known as 'Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad', 'Al-Qaeda in the Islamic State of Iraq'. (Source) - Now, ISIS probably is neither 'Sunni' nor 'Shia'. It's not even Islamic, that's for sure. Shouting "Allāhu Akbar" and engaging in dubious religious theatrics do not make it so. We also rather doubt that ISIS is a genuinely homegrown, "Arab" outfit. (Who knows the real identities of these predators who are hiding behind their balaclavas?) With ISIS's annual reports and all, what we may be looking at here is a Mossad/CIA operation. This kind of evil definitely is not beyond them and would dovetail neatly with the general Zionist plan for the Middle East, the Yinon plan (links here and here). Check it out.
At least 339 people were killed today and 91 more were wounded. This figure includes 200 militants that the Iraqi government says were killed in Anbar province. As in recent days, it is difficult to gauge which reports are complete exaggerations. Even removing the 200 killed in Anbar, well over a hundred people were killed in realistic attacks. The United States is sending 275 U.S. troops to Iraq, with the permission of the Iraqi government. The U.S. has already sent about 100 servicemembers to help security at the embassy in Baghdad. However, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is showing no signs of reconciliation with minority groups — which would gain him the full cooperation of the United States. Nor does it look likely that he will be replaced anytime soon.
Ecuador says US scientists have taken thousands of unauthorized blood samples from an indigenous group in the Amazon known for their unique genetic profile and disease immunity. ● Rene Ramirez, the head of Ecuador’s Higher Education and Science Ministry, said some 3,500 procedures were carried out in which blood was drawn without authorization from 600 members of the Huaorani indigenous community, living in the country’s Amazon basin region. Ramirez added that blood samples “were also taken from some people on more than one occasion.” Ecuador’s Higher Education and Science Ministry had previously released new details of a government investigation into the issue. In the initial report two years ago, members of the Huaorani community said that the US scientists deceived them into taking part in the sampling procedures between 1990 and 1991. The Huaorani people said they were told by the American researchers that the blood samples were for medical tests for them; however, they never received any results.
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