Permalink Court releases memo of U.S. justifying drone attacks on citizens

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.

Permalink Judge Who Sentenced Saddam Hussein To Death Has Been Executed By ISIS/CIA

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.

Permalink Leaked tape has Polish FM comparing ties with US to giving oral sex

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.

RT.com: Polish FM's oral sex comment on US 'shows his political realism' – Moscow
BuzzFeed: Polish Foreign Minister: We Gave The US A "Blowjob," Got Nothing


Permalink Hundreds of US drones crashed since 2001 causing millions of dollars of damage

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.


Permalink All you need to know about ISIS and what is happening in Iraq

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

Permalink Assange claims he was tortured in UK prison

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.

Reuters: Ecuador says talks with Britain over Julian Assange at an impasse


Permalink US is now flying F-18 FIGHTER jets on 'surveillance' missions over Iraq

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

Permalink Kenya al-Shabaab attack 'was led by white man speaking fluent British English'

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.


Permalink Terrorist Organization's Annual Reports Unveiled; Reveal Full "Investment Highlights"

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."

Gilad Atzmon: The Jewish Plan For The Middle East and Beyond
Kevin Barrett: ‘Is ISIL really ‘Sunni’? Not at all’

[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.

WND: U.S. trained ISIL at secret Jordan base
Kenya al-Shabaab attack 'was led by white man speaking fluent British English'


Permalink Over 300 Killed Across Iraq As US Sends Troops

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.

McClatchy DC: ISIS claims control of government’s last outpost in northern Iraq; hundreds flee Tal Afar

Permalink US takes unauthorized blood samples from Amazon tribe: Ecuador - Video

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.


Permalink Militants Post Images Of Mass Killing In Iraq

The Islamic militants who overran cities and towns in Iraq last week posted graphic photos that appeared to show their gunmen massacring scores of captured Iraqi soldiers, while the prime minister vowed Sunday to "liberate every inch" of captured territory. The pictures on a militant website appear to show masked fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, loading the captives onto flatbed trucks before forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch with their arms tied behind their backs. The final images show the bodies of the captives soaked in blood after being shot at several locations. Chief military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed the photos' authenticity and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of captured Iraqi soldiers in areas held by ISIL. He told The Associated Press that an examination of the images by military experts showed that about 170 soldiers were shot to death by the militants after their capture. Captions on the photos showing the soldiers after they were shot say "hundreds have been liquidated," but the total could not immediately be verified. [Photo: Associated Press/ HuffPo]

RT.com: ISIS 'execute' 1,700 Iraqi soldiers, post gruesome pictures
Daily Bhaskar: Horrific: More than 1,700 Iraqi government soldiers executed in cold blood, claims ISIS

James Cogan Civil war escalates in Iraq amid reports of sectarian massacres || ISIS-linked sources claimed over the weekend to have executed 1,700 Shiite soldiers, police and government officials captured in the Tikrit area. The claims were accompanied by images of terrified prisoners standing in front of shallow trenches and facing what appeared to be a firing squad of ISIS fighters. Other images show mounds of bodies tossed into trenches. [...] The Obama administration’s response to the catastrophic consequences of the US invasions and intrigues in the Middle East is to prepare to unleash more death and destruction. The aircraft carrier George HW Bush and support ships have deployed into the Persian Gulf to provide “additional flexibility should military options be required.”

Patrick Martin Obama responds to Iraq debacle with military escalation || The New York Times, which played a key role in promoting the Iraq war lies, has taken the lead in this campaign, publishing two columns Sunday, one by Nicholas Kristof and the other by Thomas Friedman, absolving the United States for the worsening catastrophe in Iraq. Kristof writes: “The debacle in Iraq isn’t President Obama’s fault. It’s not the Republicans’ fault. Both bear some responsibility, but, overwhelmingly, it’s the fault of the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri Kamal al-Maliki.Friedman pronounces: “Maliki had a choice—to rule in a sectarian way or in an inclusive way—and he chose sectarianism. We owe him nothing.” What a grotesque exercise in buck-passing! Who installed Maliki? His regime was the culmination of the supposed transformation of Iraq into a “democracy.” His election was hailed as a great success, first by George W. Bush, who launched the war, and then by Obama, who completed it on the schedule laid down by his predecessor. The US military and media suppressed reports of Maliki’s repressive methods. Throughout, the United States deliberately encouraged sectarian divisions.

xymphora "New York Times says 'Lack Of Major Wars May Be Hurting Economic Growth'" The United States continues to go through the largest and most disastrous economic experiment in history and has definitively determined that wars - in this case, Wars For The Jews - completely wreck and ransack an economy. In fact, I would argue that the American inability to look after things like its infrastructure, education, and health care, despite being the richest country that has ever existed, is determined entirely by a real lack of wealth, wealth which has been poured down the Jew-hole. All the blocking of reforms blamed on right-winger obstructionism (generally explained in terms of 'values') is really just a reflection of what nobody wants to admit, the money is gone and Americans really can no longer afford 'nice things'. It is logically impossible to be 'progressive' and not also an 'anti-Semite'. [...] "The seven people who need to STFU about Iraq right now"

Robert Creamer Only Two Words for Neo-Con Critics of Obama Iraq Policy: Brazen Chutzpah

Sky News: Boris Tells Blair: Put A Sock In It Over Iraq
Senior Labour figures distance themselves from Blair after he refuses to accept blame for new crisis

Permalink U.S. Has Been Secretly Flying Unmanned Surveillance Drones Over Iraq For The Last Year

Why are politicians and military analysts awed, shocked and stunned by ISIS militants speed, capture and control of key resource areas and strategic infrastructure? Because they are likely delusion lying schizophrenics. With 24/7 drone surveillance, satellite imagery and intelligence officers on the ground, ISIS movements were being monitored by military intelligence and the Pentagon did nothing to forewarn or possibly withheld intelligence from Iraq officials of ISIS military forces preparing and pulling off a blitzkrieg through Northern Iraqi cities.


Permalink CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to snatch Snowden

Unmarked Gulfstream tracked as it passed above UK As the whistleblowing NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden made his dramatic escape to Russia a year ago, a secret US government jet - previously employed in CIA "rendition" flights on which terror suspects disappeared into invisible "black" imprisonment - flew into Europe in a bid to spirit him back to America, the Register can reveal. On the evening of 24 June 2013, as Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong intending to fly on to Cuba, an unmarked Gulfstream V business jet - tail number N977GA - took off from a quiet commercial airport [Manassas Regional Airport] 30 miles from Washington DC...Early next morning, N977GA was detected heading east over Scotland at the unusually high altitude of 45,000 feet. It had not filed a flight plan, and was flying above the level at which air traffic control reporting is mandatory.

Permalink Sowing bad US policy from Iraq to Syria

The US is further complicating the turmoil in Iraq by ramping up support for terrorists and militants in Syria, two political authors say. In a recent article published on Huffington Post, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett said the tensions in Iraq and Syria are interwoven, arguing that Washington’s empowering of “brutal and unrepresentative militias” in Syria has fed the violence in neighboring Iraq. The authors said the US, for over three years, provided militants in Syria with different types of aid, creating a chaos that plagued the Arab country and spilled over into Iraq. The US President Barack Obama administration's transformation of Syria into a “training ground” for transnational Takfiri militants has “directly" led to the resurgence of extremism in Iraq, they said.

PressTV: Pro-Israel lobby blackmails US Senate: Analyst
Gilad Atzmon: The Jewish Plan For The Middle East and Beyond


Permalink Iraq crisis: ISIS militants push towards Baghdad - live

A man is executed in a new video released by ISIS

Senior Tehran official says leadership discussing cooperation with United States in face of insurgent threat in region, as militants battle Iraqi security forces 50 miles from Baghdad - follow latest Developments.

07.55 - The UN says that some half a million people have fled their homes since Monday, fearing violence, kidnapping and rape as ISIS militants tighten their grip on large parts of the country's north. Most have headed for the autonomous Kurdish region and workers were yesterday busy expanding the Khazer checkpoint in the area known as Kalak to cope with the flood of refugees.
07.45 - ISIS fighters have gained more ground overnight, taking two towns in the eastern province of Diyala after security forces abandoned their posts. Reuters cited security sources as reporting that the towns of Saadiyah and Jalawla have now fallen to the militants, who have also moved into several villages around the Himreen mountains, long a sanctuary for insurgent groups. Iraqi troops launched artillery rounds at the two towns, causing many families to flee towards Khaniqin, close to the Iranian border, the sources said.

xymphora "Enter Ken Pollack and Tom Friedman– the Iraq experts!" || Note that the inability to grasp - or even talk about! - the role of World Jewry and ZOG in the long, long line of Wars For The Jews has not only permanently wrecked the United States, but is leading to the dangerous insanity of attacking the Islamists in Iraq while supporting them in Syria. World Jewry is also still trying to block the necessary Iranian nuclear negotiations! It is now more than ever critical for Americans to know, and attack, their real enemies.

Oded Yinon A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties || Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization. [Additional links here and here]

PressTV: ISIL Takfiri militants, tools of Zionists: Analyst
Angry Arab: Human Rights Watch: in praise of ISIS
Kenny's Sideshow: Isis oh Isis
Robert Fisk: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia
Peter Oborne: A powerful and merciless force has emerged on the world stage
Bill Van Auken: Iraq crisis threatens to ignite regional war
Antiwar.com: US Readies Air Strikes Against al-Qaeda in Iraq
The Straits Times: Iran to combat terrorism in Iraq: Iran President Rouhani

Permalink Radioactive material stolen from lab in Mexico

A device containing radioactive substances [cesium-37 and americium-beryllium] was stolen from a government research facility and authorities are working to track it down, Mexico's No. 2 official said. "We have the report regarding the theft of this material and the alerts and protocol we follow in these cases have already been implemented," Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told reporters after speaking at a conference of state law enforcement chiefs and attorneys general. A group of armed men grabbed the device Sunday night during an assault on a National Construction Laboratory warehouse in Tultitlan, Mexico state.

Permalink Demon-possessed “Joker" cop killers strike in Las Vegas

Michael Hoffman The alleged killers in Las Vegas of two policemen at a restaurant, and a bystander at a shopping center, are being variously described as white supremacists, Constitutionalists etc. They may be all or none of those things, but they are most certainly demon-possessed individuals initiated into a devil cult by immersion in the soul-killing Hollywood movies and television and New York entertainment “culture” that permeates the US like the fumo di Satana. The New Testament was not lying when it gave accounts of Jesus Christ driving out demons. Are we supposed to believe that there are fewer demon-possessed persons now, than in the time of Christ? How can this be when there have been millions of abortions in America? How can this be when a man who inserts his sexual organ in the rectum of another man is celebrated as a noble civil rights activist? How can this be when Satan's initiatory Cryptocracy rules the air waves and the cinema screens, making initiates of our children merely by broadcasting into our living rooms? These days Americans have trouble calling anything by its correct name. Consequently, we cannot proceed to a true comprehension of the evils which have befallen our nation and the remedies that must be implemented for the sake of the innocent. Whatever the Las Vegas killers' political affiliation may be — whether contrived by the System or genuine — these suicide shooters, like James Holmes, are first and foremost demon-possessed. These murderers worship Satan, whether under that name, or as “Joker" or “Slender Man.” The people they kill are a propitiation to the god of this world. As Jerad Miller wrote, using what we believe to be a double entendre on his Facebook page hours before his alleged murder spree, "The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it.” As suicides, he and his wife were among those “sacrificed.”


Permalink US resumes Pakistan drone strikes, 16 reportedly killed

US drones killed 16 Islamist "militants" at their "hideouts" in north-western Pakistan, in the first strikes by the unmanned aircraft in almost six months, officials said Thursday. Drones fired around 20 missiles at two separate locations in North Waziristan tribal district near the Afghan border, destroying compounds and vehicles allegedly used by "militants", security officials said. At least 10 suspected members of the Haqqani group of Afghan Taliban were killed in strikes early Thursday in the Dandy Darpa Khel area. Overnight, six militants, including Uzbek members of the Taliban, were killed in a separate drone attack in the Ghulam Khan area of North Waziristan, officials said.

Permalink Wikileaks exposes dark sides of Ukraine’s Poroshenko, Tymoshenko

Two diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks Public Library on US Diplomacy reveal that Ukraine’s president-elect Petr Poroshenko served as an informant for United States’ State Department. A confidential message from the US Embassy in Kiev dating back to April 29, 2006 mentions the now widely-known confectionary tycoon twice. Back then Poroshenko reportedly handed to the US Embassy in Kiev inside information on the plotting a coalition government in 2006, Wikileaks say. The message was intended for Ambassador John Herbst to update him on how things stood in April 2006, Poroshenko describing himself as an insider from the party Nasha Ukrayina (Our Ukraine), a bloc associated with former President Viktor Yushchenko, passionately welcomed by the western leaders. The diplomat, however, questioned the authenticity of Poroshenko's message suspecting it to be part of backdoor games aimed at arresting once Yushchenko’s allies - Yuliya Tymoshenko and Aleksandr Turchynov until recently - acting Ukraine's President. Who is Poroshenko – the figure to use his might and power to wind down the deadly standoff in the country’s southeast or a mere businessman who skilfully pulls his strings – is still debated. Other Wikileaks documents that came recently to light show that Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko might have cooperated with mafia boss Seymon Mogilievich when she headed United Energy Systems.


Permalink US air strike kills five special operations troops in Afghanistan

In what may be the bloodiest “friendly fire” incident involving US troops in 13 years of war and occupation in Afghanistan, five special operations soldiers were killed Monday in an air strike they themselves had called in against Afghan insurgents who ambushed their patrol. The incident took place in a remote area of southern Zabul province, which borders Kandahar and is a center of armed opposition to the US-backed regime in Kabul. The deaths came just days before the June 14 second round of Afghan presidential elections and in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s announcement of plans for a drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan, now numbering approximately 33,000 out of a total of nearly 50,000 US, NATO and other foreign forces that occupy the country.

Permalink Pakistan’s largest airport attacked by Taliban group

Sampath Perera Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi was raided by an Islamist insurgent group late Sunday night. The fighting continued until Monday, causing a suspension of all operations at the airport, which is used by about 44,000 passengers daily. At least 37 people died, including 10 attackers, according to official accounts. [...] Soon after his election, Sharif pledged support for the US “war on terrorism,” which has served as a vehicle for asserting American hegemony over the region. However, his election promises of negotiations with the TTP reflected concerns within the Pakistani elite about the conflict’s damage to the crisis-ridden economy. The TTP’s apparent ability to target positions in major cities and industrial centres is undermining his government’s agenda to attract foreign investment. [...] The intensifying crisis in Pakistan is inseparably bound up with the escalating geo-political tensions in the region produced by Washington’s drive for dominance over the resource-rich Central Asian landmass, which is accompanied by its “pivot” to Asia to encircle China economically and militarily.

Permalink NY Times, Reuters Whitewash US Drone Strike Killing of Mehsud From Taliban Reasons for Karachi Airport Attack

Karachi’s Airport has resumed operations today, but a deadly late night attack shut it down for many hours overnight. It appears that ten militants entered the airport Sunday night, most likely uniformed as airport security personnel, and killed up to 18 people before they were killed by airport security and rapidly responding military units. The TTP, Pakistan’s Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The New York Times and Reuters, however, chose to be very selective in how they reported the TTP’s claim of responsibility. Both news outlets left out the TTP’s prominent mention of the US drone strike in November that killed TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud in describing the TTP’s reasons for the attack. By contrast, AP and the Washington Post included the TTP’s reference to the drone strike.


Permalink US/CIA to finance anti-militant TV channel "to counter Boko Haram" in Nigeria

The United States is financing a new 24-hour satellite TV channel in northern Nigeria [allegedly] meant to counter insurgencies by the militant Islamist Boko Haram and other groups in the region, the New York Times reported on Friday. A US official confirmed the project was under way but did not give full details. The official said the United States would "support Nigerian efforts to provide an attractive alternative to the messaging of violent extremists." The project is a result of discussions with Nigeria dating back to late 2012 on ways to cooperate against Boko Haram and the content of the channel will be produced by Nigerians in Nigeria, the official said.

Permalink Vodafone's Disclosure Report reveals global scale of mobile phone surveillance

The world's second largest mobile phone company, Vodafone, says at least six unnamed governments can use its phone system to monitor customers whenever they want. The company's Disclosure Report says most governments need "legal notices" to access its networks, but there are six nations - which is says it cannot name for legal reasons - that have direct access. It says in those countries authorities have inserted their own equipment into the network or have diverted all data through government systems so they can permanently access customers' communications. "In a small number of countries the law dictates that specific agencies and authorities must have direct access to an operator's network, bypassing any form of operational control over lawful interception on the part of the operator," the company said. It added that in Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey it could not disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception. Vodafone, which has 400 million customers in countries across Europe, Africa and Asia, said it had received requests in 29 countries.

The Irish Times: Thousands of requests made to secretly track Irish phone calls

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