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Showing posts from 2009

The Year Iraq Was Lost for Good by Kelley B. Vlahos --

The Year Iraq Was Lost for Good by Kelley B. Vlahos -- "As their fellow Americans indulge in the New Year’s holiday, perhaps pausing a moment from talk about Tiger, football, and dead celebrities long enough to speculate about our prospects in Afghanistan, the last Marine combat unit stationed in Iraq is preparing to come home.

It doesn’t need to be said there will be no ticker-tape parades or long, hot-winded excursions by Tom Brokaw about today’s 'Greatest Generation.' Instead, these Marines will reenter our consciousness much like a husband, home from the office, walking into a cold house with no one about and maybe a scribbled note on the refrigerator door.

It’s been a long while since anyone has even debated whether 'victory' was applicable to the U.S.-led invasion and subsequent seven-year occupation of Iraq. But 2009 was the year that the war’s sad fate in the history books was assured, no doubt leaving hundreds of thousands of American serviceme…

NATO Forces Kill 10 Afghan Civilians, Mostly Children -- News from

NATO Forces Kill 10 Afghan Civilians, Mostly Children -- News from "NATO forces engaged in a raid in the remote Kunar Province of Afghanistan killed at least 10 civilians, eight of them schoolchildren, according to numerous Afghan officials including President Hamid Karzai.
NATO officially denied having any information about any operations going on in Kunar, but western officials privately conceded that US special forces have been operating in the Taliban-heavy area. A spokesman for the NATO forces promised to “look into” the reports. Provincial police could provide only sparse details about the killings, and said that a full investigation would take several days, owing to the difficulty in even traveling to the area of the incident. US officials have yet to comment at all.Though the Taliban has established a growing presence in the province, Kunar has been comparatively ignored by international forces since this summer, when provincial officials accused a US soldier …

Al Jazeera English - GAZA: ONE YEAR ON - Gazan children bear 'scars of war'

Al Jazeera English - GAZA: ONE YEAR ON - Gazan children bear 'scars of war': "Samar Zaquot sits in front of a portrait of her eldest brother, Mohammed, that almost reaches from the floor to the ceiling of her parents' front room in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.

Mohammed was 20 when he was killed by an Israeli rocket while having a picnic with friends, just before Israel's Gaza offensive began on December 27 last year.
Sixteen-year-old Samar smiles as she remembers where she was on the first day of Israel's three-week military offensive that would leave 1,400 Palestinians dead, including 352 children."It was the first day of our leaving exams at school. We were just going into our classrooms and preparing to sit the test when we heard the bombs falling. None of us expected it. "My friends started crying and screaming. They were all terrified but I wasn't. I told them, 'don't be scared, if we die it is our judgement'. Ever since Mohammed …

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Karachi mourns bomb attack victims

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Karachi mourns bomb attack victims: "Pakistani officials have appealed for calm in Karachi following a suicide attack on a Shia Muslim procession that left at least 40 people dead and scores injured.

Shops, offices and schools were closed in the southern city on Tuesday after religious leaders and political parties called for a day of mourning.

Public transport was also shut down for the day.

'I appeal to the people of Karachi to stay peaceful. This is the economic hub of Pakistan,' Rehman Malik, the interior minister, told reporters after attending the funeral of a paramilitary soldier who authorities said tackled the suicide bomber.

'Anybody trying to destablise Karachi is actually destablising Pakistan.'

Riots followed the bombing, which struck as Shia worshippers marked Ashoura, the holiest event on the Shia Muslim calendar."

Informed Comment: Top Ten Middle East Crises, 2009

Informed Comment: Top Ten Middle East Crises, 2009
10. Dubai, a financial hub of the Gulf, collapsed economically, and worries were raised that Dubai World could default on billions in loans. Only the likelihood that oil-rich sister emirate, Abu Dhabi, would likely bail Dubai out at least to some extent kept there from being a panic.

9. That Iraq is still far from stable was demonstrated by two major .......................

        "Accountability for war crimes is imperative": An interview with Cindy Sheehan                 By Mike Whitney          : Information Clearing House -  ICH

"Accountability for war crimes is imperative": An interview with Cindy Sheehan By Mike Whitney : Information Clearing House - ICH: "Cindy Sheehan---In my opinion, accountability for war crimes committed on the people of Iraq/Afghanistan and, now Pakistan, is imperative.

The US has been committing war crimes for at least the last 100 years (off the continent) and none of our leaders have ever been held accountable and that's one of the reasons that the empire is able to keep rolling."

The Lap Bomber Mystery by Justin Raimondo --

The Lap Bomber Mystery by Justin Raimondo -- "It just wouldn’t be Christmas in the age of terror if we didn’t have a visitation, ostensibly from al-Qaeda, now would it? ‘Tis the season, and all that. Recall Richard Reid, the 'shoe bomber,' arrested on December 22, 2001, for trying to blow up American Airlines flight 63, coming into Miami from Paris. As in the current case involving one Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, the explosive used was PETN, also known as pentaerythritol: Reid, like Umar, was subdued by passengers and airline attendants, and, to add yet another touch of déjà vu, Reid’s stunt led to the imposition of the take-off-your-shoes rule at airport security, just as Umar’s midair antics have now inspired the Transportation Safety Authority to inaugurate a spate of new regulations: nothing in your lap, please, and no getting up from your seat for a solid hour before landing."

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - 'Mousavi nephew' among Iran dead

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - 'Mousavi nephew' among Iran dead: "The nephew of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi is reportedly among at least five people killed in continuing clashes between police and protesters.

An aide to the leader said that Seyyed Ali Mousavi died after being shot by the police, but the claim could not be independently verified as foreign media are barred by the authorities from covering street unrest.

Police confirmed that five people were killed in 'suspicious way' during clashes in the capital Tehran on Sunday, but denied that they were using live ammunition against the protesters.

'Specialists are trying to identify the suspect perpetrators of this incident,' a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency said.

Ahmad Reza Radan, Iran's deputy police chief, also said that 300 protesters had been arrested following the violence.

He also acknowledged that 'several people' had been killed in the unrest.


Al Jazeera English - GAZA: ONE YEAR ON - 'Birth defects' from Israeli bombs

Al Jazeera English - GAZA: ONE YEAR ON - 'Birth defects' from Israeli bombs: "Focus GAZA: ONE YEAR ON
'Birth defects' from Israeli bombs

Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 2006 and last winter have left a high concentration of toxic metals in its soil, according to the findings of a weapons research group made up of independent doctors and scientists based in Italy.

Doctors in Gaza believe the toxic wastes, along with the trauma of war, is the reason they're seeing a high number of babies with birth defects.

Sherine Tadros reports from Gaza."

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Gazans mark anniversary of war

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Gazans mark anniversary of war: "Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are marking one year since the start of Israel's 22-day offensive on the territory, which left hundreds dead and damaged millions of dollars worth of infrastructure.

Hamas officials held a ceremony on Sunday outside the destroyed Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza City - one of the first targets of the assault.

Air raid sirens were turned on at 11:20am (9:20 GMT), the exact time that the aerial bombardment began.

Ismail Haniya, the deposed Palestinian prime minister, was expected to unveil a plaque commemorating the 1,600 people that Hamas officials say were killed during the war.

Other estimates put the Palestinian death toll closer to 1,400, the majority of whom were civilians, including around 400 children.

Thirteen Israelis were also killed during the war - 10 soldiers and three civilians.

A month of events are planned to commemorate the war in Gaza.

Sombre mood

Al Jaz…

Al-Qaeda Wannabe Kept ‘Bomb’ on His Lap -- News from

Al-Qaeda Wannabe Kept ‘Bomb’ on His Lap -- News from "Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, Abdulmutallab’s father, says he is shocked his son was even allowed to fly to the US, and says he contacted the US months ago to warn them of his son’s “extreme religious views.” The US says they knew of him for “two years” and he was on a list of potential terrorists.

Still, Abdulmutallab was not on a no-fly list, and his trivial explosive charge, which managed to only burn his own lap and the hands of a passenger who tackled him, was somehow not detected when he boarded the plane."

Al Jazeera English - Americas - US senate passes healthcare bill

Al Jazeera English - Americas - US senate passes healthcare bill: "The US senate has approved new healthcare legislation, backing sweeping changes in the medical insurance market that will offer new coverage for tens of millions of uninsured Americans.

On a party-line 60-39 vote on Thursday, senate Democrats supported the most dramatic shifts in health policy in four decades."

Garowe Online - Home

Garowe Online - Home: "Somalia’s hardline insurgent Al-Shabaab group claims that they have fought with an Ethiopian rebel group in Somali southern border town of Dhobley.

According to a senior Al-Shabaab official, the fighting broke out on Saturday between the group’s militia that control the town and fighters from Ogaden National Liberation Fronts (ONLF), which fights in eastern Ethiopia.

“We have attacked the ONLF militia to stop them from attacking and seizing Dhobley town,” said the official who requested anonymity.

The official said the fighting continued for an hour and they have inflicted heavy casualties on their rivals, adding that they have received the support of the locals to devastate the ONLF militia led by Sheikh Ahmed Madobe.

Sources told Garowe Online that at least 10 people, mostly combatants from both sides have been killed and over a dozen others injured in the fighting.

However, eyewitnesses in town, which strategically situated between Somalia and Kenya border, h…

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Deaths in Yemen raid on al-Qaeda

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Deaths in Yemen raid on al-Qaeda: "At least 30 suspected al-Qaeda fighters have been killed in a dawn air raid by Yemeni forces in the eastern Yemeni province of Shabwa.

Among those thought to have been killed in the raid early on Thursday was Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim preacher, who according to a Yemeni security official was linked to a man who killed 13 people at a US army base in Texas.

'Anwar al-Awlaki is suspected to be dead [in the air raid],' the unnamed Yemeni official was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

According to US officials, al-Awlaki had contacts to Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a US soldier, who shot dead 13 people at the Fort Hood army base in the US state of Texas.

But Abdullah al-Faqih, a professor of political science at Sanaa University, told Al Jazeera on Thursday that he was sceptical of the claims being made about al-Awlaki.

'He is the son of a colleague of mine at Sanaa University. His father is an adviser…

Somali militants enforce Taliban-style dress code | Antiwar Newswire

Somali militants enforce Taliban-style dress code | Antiwar Newswire: "Residents of a southern Somali town say Islamists are enforcing a Taliban-style dress code.
Kismayo resident Abdulahi Omar Dhere says members of the al-Shabab insurgent group are targeting young men who have long hair, no beards and wear Western-style trousers below the ankle.Dhere said Wednesday that Islamists are publicly cutting off parts of trousers that violate the order and giving haircuts to anyone with long hair. The group has ordered men to grow beards and shave mustaches.Al-Shabab has already banned movie theaters, musical ringtones and dancing at weddings — echoing rules ones imposed by the Taliban when they ruled most of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, though the group didn't oppose long hair."

The Daily Star - Politics - Yemeni rebels say they'll leave Saudi Arabia if attacks end

The Daily Star - Politics - Yemeni rebels say they'll leave Saudi Arabia if attacks end: "DUBAI: Yemeni Shiite rebels are willing to withdraw from Saudi territory in exchange for an end to cross-border attacks by the Saudi military, a rebel spokesman said on Wednesday. “We are prepared to withdraw from sites if … Saudi Arabia does not attack any one of us from its territory,” said the rebel spokesman, Mohammad Abdel-Salam.

On Tuesday, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan gave Yemeni rebels, who are known as Houthis, the name of their leader, 24 hours to withdraw from the border village of Al-Jabiri.

“They have 24 hours to surrender, or we will destroy them,” he said.

The rebels mocked the ultimatum in a statement on their website late on Tuesday, asking why Saudi forces had not already moved against the village. “The question is: what have you been doing these past days?” the statement said.

The rebels’ spokesman said their key grievance against Saudi Arabia was…

U.N. council sanctions Eritrea over Somali rebel aid - Yahoo! News

U.N. council sanctions Eritrea over Somali rebel aid - Yahoo! News: "UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on the Horn of Africa state of Eritrea on Wednesday because of aid that council members say it has given to Islamist insurgents in nearby Somalia.

A resolution supported by 13 of the 15 council members slapped an arms embargo, asset freezes and travel bans on Eritrea and individuals and firms to be designated by an existing sanctions committee. Those hit would include members of the country's leadership.

The United States and other nations accuse Eritrea of supplying al Shabaab rebels with funds and arms as they fight to topple a fragile U.N.-backed transitional government in Somalia, a state that has been virtually lawless for 18 years.

Eritrea has repeatedly denied the allegation.

Libya, which has no veto in the council, voted against the resolution, while veto-holder China abstained.

Wednesday's resolution demands that Eritrea 'ceas…

Modern Day Slavery in Mexico and the United States /  Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Modern Day Slavery in Mexico and the United States / Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "On December 3, Mexico City police freed 107 human trafficking victims who were forced to manufacture shopping bags and clothespins under “slave-like” circumstances. Officials reported that the victims exhibited signs of physical and sexual abuse, and were also malnourished, as they had been given only chicken feet and rotten vegetables. Twenty-three individuals were arrested and charged with human trafficking after one of the workers escaped and informed the authorities about the dire situation. Despite that fact that Mexican states have enacted some forms of anti-trafficking legislation, there have been no criminal convictions of traffickers to date. In the coming months, it awaits to be seen if those captured on December 3rd will be convicted. While the discovery of this trafficking ring has made for lurid headlines, doubt regarding whether or not these criminals will be brought to justice il…

Galloway raps Arabs over forsaking Gaza

Galloway raps Arabs over forsaking Gaza: "British Member of Parliament George Galloway has leveled strong criticism at Arabs over their inaction and failure to play a role in organizing aid convoys to the besieged Gaza Strip.

“It is a shame that this convoy [Lifeline 3] is coming from Europe and not from the Arab countries,” Galloway told reporters upon his arrival at Damascus International Airport.

He said that Lifeline 3 charity convoy is a message of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip on the first anniversary of the Israeli onslaught against the coastal sliver.

Israel's three-week offensive against Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, more than half of them civilians, according to medical sources. The Israeli assault also led to the destruction of schools, mosques, houses as well as UN compounds, inflicting $ 1.6 billion damage on the Gaza economy.

The British anti-war activist added that the third Viva Palestina …

              : Information Clearing House -  ICH

: Information Clearing House - ICH: "December 22, 2009 'Information Clearing House' -- By spring of 2000, Texas governor George W. Bush was wrapping up the Republican nomination for president, and he went on to dominate the rest of the decade. If Dickens proclaimed of the 1790s revolutionary era in France that it was the best of times and the worst of times, the reactionary Bush era was just the worst of times. I declare it the decade of the American oligarchs. Just as the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union allowed the emergence of a class of lawless 'Oligarchs' in Russia, so Neoliberal tax policies and deregulation produced American equivalents. (For more on the analogy, see Michael Hudson.) We have always had robber barons in American politics, but the Neoliberal moment created a new social class. At about 1.3 million adults, it is not too large to have some cohesive interests, and its corporations, lobbyists, and other instituti…

The Seminal » Obama’s Senate Health Care Bill: A “Uniquely American” Idiocy

The Seminal » Obama’s Senate Health Care Bill: A “Uniquely American” Idiocy: "In Copenhagen last week, when Senator James Inhofe tried to sell reporters on his climate change denialism, the European press corp showed the American media how to take its job seriously: 'You are an idiot,' one German reporter said to his face. Sometimes, that’s what reporting the truth requires.

And that’s exactly what the America media should be saying to the White House and the Senate Democratic leadership for the travesty of a health 'reform' bill now slouching towards Christmas eve. Only a group of idiots would have concocted this incoherent mishmash and called it 'reform.'

To be sure, there are many provisions of the Senate bill that are worthwhile, worth passing — I’ll get to that — but these mostly ad hoc features are carrying, fronting for a deeply flawed, underlying structure of a bill that utterly fails to reform what’s wrong with America’s inhumane, corrupt health car…

Mortar shell attacks kills at least 14 in Somalia | Reuters

Mortar shell attacks kills at least 14 in Somalia | Reuters: "Click Here

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Artillery shelling between Islamist rebels and Somali government forces killed at least 14 people and wounded 28 others in Mogadishu on Sunday, residents and a rights group said.


Insurgents fired mortars at government troops, prompting a heavier response of shells that killed civilians in several suburbs of Mogadishu and made residents cower indoors.

'Fourteen civilians died and 28 others were wounded on Saturday night and Sunday morning in mortar shell exchanges in Mogadishu,' Ali Yasin Gedi, vice chairman of Mogadishu's Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization, told Reuters.

'Most of these people died this morning after an exchange of heavy shelling,' he said.

Maryan Said, a resident in the sprawling Bakara market, told Reuters by telephone that six people from one family were killed by one shell that also killed three others in a nearby house.

'Their house has… Somalia: Islamists Order Men to Shave Mustache And Release the Beard (Page 1 of 1) Somalia: Islamists Order Men to Shave Mustache And Release the Beard (Page 1 of 1): "Somalia — KISMAYU (Sh. M. Network) - the Islamic administration of Harakat Al-shabab Mujahideen in the port town of Kismayu, 500 kilometers south of the Somalia capital Mogadishu have ordered the men to shave their moustaches and release the beard, witnesses and officials said on Saturday.
Sheik Ibrahim, one of the high officials of the Islamic administration told a radio based in the town that the men were ordered to have cut their moustaches and grow their beard adding that the people in the town especially the men were those who are supposed to abide by the declaration of the Islamic adminstration.Sheik Ibrahim had replied more questions asked by the people in the town on the array as he was attending the radio program in Kismayu town in Lower Jubba region calling for the young teenagers not to take clothes longer than their uncles.The Islamic administration of Jubba regions told…

BBC News - Cambodia sends 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China

BBC News - Cambodia sends 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China: "A group of 20 Chinese Uighurs who fled to Cambodia after ethnic riots in July have been deported back to China.

The United Nations refugee agency strongly condemned the deportation, saying Cambodia had committed a grave breach of international refugee law.

The decision follows intense pressure by China, which has referred to the group as criminals.

Human rights groups have warned that the group is likely to face persecution on return to China.

The expulsions came ahead of a visit to Cambodia by Chinese Vice-President Xi Jingping on Sunday. There has been no immediate comment from the Chinese foreign ministry.

Death sentences

A protest by Uighurs in the city of Urumqi, in Xinjiang region, erupted into violence in July, leaving at least 197 people dead.

Shops were smashed and vehicles set alight while passers-by were set upon by Uighur rioters in the city, whose population is mostly from China's dominant Han group.


Obama Approves $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel Over Next Decade -- News from

Obama Approves $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel Over Next Decade -- News from "As the single largest expense of the 2010 foreign aid budget, President Obama approved $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel, the first payment in a decade-long commitment that will reach at least $30 billion."

US Attacking Yemen After All -- News from

US Attacking Yemen After All -- News from "Just one day after a very public denial that American forces were in the process of attacking sites in Northern Yemen, President Barack Obama ordered multiple cruise missile attacks on sites across the tiny, coastal nation.
The air strikes were coordinated with the government of President Ali Abdallah Saleh and the attacks left 120 killed, many of them civilians according to witnesses. President Obama called Saleh after the attack to “congratulate” him on the killings. The Yemeni government denied any US role in the attacks, despite American officials’ admissions. This is largely in keeping with the Saleh government’s policy, as they angrily denied reports of Saudi attacks in the north as a myth even as the Saudi government was giving a press conference detailing the attack.One Yemeni official however claimed that a local al-Qaeda “deputy” named Mohammed Saleh Mohammed Ali Al-Kazemi was slain, and that “scores” of al-Qaeda me…

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Nigeria rebels 'attack pipeline'

Al Jazeera English - Africa - Nigeria rebels 'attack pipeline': "Nigerian rebel fighters say they have attacked an oil pipeline operated by international oil giants Shell and Chevron in the south of the country.

The attack in Rivers State on Saturday would be the first since an indefinite ceasefire was announced on October 25 in response to a government amnesty for fighters who gave up their arms.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) said in a statement the 'warning strike [was] carried out by five boats involving 35 ... fighters armed with assault rifles, rocket launchers and heavy calibre machine guns.'"

      Holocaust Survivor Heads to Gaza             : Information Clearing House -  ICH

Holocaust Survivor Heads to Gaza : Information Clearing House - ICH: "By Hedy Epstein

December 16, 2009 'Code Pink' -- It's strange to see President Obama accepting a Peace Prize as he escalates a war. As a Holocaust survivor whose parents perished at Auschwitz in 1942, I know all too well what war looks like. I also know what peace looks like and I can tell you this: Sending 30,000 more U.S. troops to fight in one of the poorest countries in the world, Afghanistan, is not making peace.

As President Obama accepts a Peace Prize he does not deserve, it's a good time to model what real peacemaking looks like. That's why-at the ripe age of 85-I'll be joining the Gaza Freedom March on December 31. Over 1,000 peacemakers from around the world will join hands with 50,000 Palestinians in Gaza as we walk together to the Israeli border. As Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, and members of many faiths we will come together as one humanity to condem…

Al Jazeera English - Europe - UK court 'issued warrant for Livni'

Al Jazeera English - Europe - UK court 'issued warrant for Livni': "A British court reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister on charges relating to Israel's 22-day war on Gaza, before apparently withdrawing it after it was found she was not in the country.

Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition Kadima party, had been expected to travel to London this week for an event organised by the Jewish National Fund, followed by meetings with British government officials.

Livni cancelled the visit two weeks before the event was due to take place.

Israeli media reported on Monday that Livni had called off the trip fearing that she would be arrested after a pro-Palestinian group won a warrant for her arrest.

The British foreign office issued a statement on Monday saying it was looking into the incident and its possible effect on the peace process.

'The UK is determined to do all it can to promote peace in the Middle East and to be a strategic …

Saudi Air Strikes Kill Up to 70 Yemeni Civilians -- News from

Saudi Air Strikes Kill Up to 70 Yemeni Civilians -- News from "The Shi’ite separatists that have been fighting along the Saudi border later insisted that the raid had actually killed 70 people and over 100 were wounded. Exact figures are impossible to ascertain with the Yemeni government blocking reporters from the region.

The Saudi government has yet to comment but the Yemeni government, always quick to make spurious claims about the situation on the ground, insisted they were actually the ones who attacked the market, and that every person in the market was actually a militant.

The Saudi military has been bombing the region off and on for over a month, as the rebels clash with patrols along the ill-defined border. Yemen’s government has repeatedly condemned the Shi’ite separatist faction, and has denied that any Saudi bombings took place, even when the Saudi government confirmed them."

The Taxi Driver Who Drove Us to War by Justin Raimondo --

The Taxi Driver Who Drove Us to War by Justin Raimondo -- "Over on the other side of the pond, the British are doing something we would never ever do – aside, that is, from spreading Marmite on a tea biscuit and actually consuming it. They are investigating the origins of the Iraq war. They want to know how did they get lured into an operation that not only turned out badly, but also seems to have been based on a battery of ill-thought-out lies. A commission has been set up, and public hearings are being held: among the revelations is the information that a key source of claims for the existence of Iraq’s fabled 'weapons of mass destruction' was the 'intelligence' provided by an Iraqi taxi driver who said he overheard a conversation between two Iraqi military officers. According to a report written by Tory MP and defense specialist Adam Holloway, here’s how it went down:

“Under pressure from Downing Street to find anything to back up the WMD case, Brit…

Citizen of 12 countries singled out for special US airport screening - Telegraph

Citizen of 12 countries singled out for special US airport screening - Telegraph: "Travellers from 12 countries around the world, including Cuba, Iran and Syria, are automatically singled out for extra screening at airports in America unless they have been specifically cleared, according to a leaked document from the Homeland Security department."
The disclosure is among more embarrassing and sensitive information to have reached the public after guidelines issued to security officers at airports were posted online. The breach has led to five transport officials from the Transportation Security Administration which posted the document being suspended from duties while an investigation is carried out, the Guardian reports. The information disclosed in the document includes those countries whose citizens are singled out for automatic additional screening. In addition to Cuba, Iran and Syria, they are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North K…

Manuel Zelaya refuses to leave Honduras as asylum seeker | World news |

Manuel Zelaya refuses to leave Honduras as asylum seeker | World news | "A dispute over political asylum today hindered a plan to fly the ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya to exile in Mexico.

The leftist leader was set to leave his Brazilian embassy refuge in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, in a deal with the country's de facto rulers which would have ended an at times surreal three-month siege.

The plan unravelled after Zelaya insisted that he travel to Mexico as a 'guest' rather than asylum seeker, as the latter category would curb his efforts to be reinstated as president.

He told Honduran radio he would leave on condition he could continue political activities. 'I want to leave as a distinguished guest, not as political refugee like the interim government wants.'

The de facto authorities withdrew their offer of safe passage when his terms became clear. There would be no further talks with Mexico and Brazil unless Zelaya accepted asylum…

Chomsky says Israel, 'US military base'

Chomsky says Israel, 'US military base': "Renowned American sociopolitical analyst Noam Chomsky says Israel functions as Washington's main weapons storage base in the Middle East.

'Israel is essentially a US military base, the US positions weapons there, that's a very close military and intelligence tie,' the Jewish academic told Press TV on Wednesday while explaining the complexity of relations between Washington and Tel Aviv.

Commenting on the weapons that Israel received from the US before launching its 2007-2008 offensive in the Gaza Strip, Chomsky said that the exchange of weapons between the two sides was not surprising.

'[Israel] is receiving weapons constantly. In fact, weapons were sent during the invasion of Gaza. They tried to send them, they were supposed to send them from Greece, and Greece refused to ship them,' he said."

      Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Is This a Joke?            : Information Clearing House -  ICH

Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Is This a Joke? : Information Clearing House - ICH: "December 10, 2009 'New Statesman' -- So what are the odds? The week I write a cover story for the New Statesman, arguing that President Obama has turned into 'Barack W Bush' and is emulating his predecessor's policies on human rights, civil liberties, Afghanistan and a host of other issues, the bloody Norwegians go and give him a Nobel Peace Prize. You couldn't make it up.

Over the past couple of years, the cult of Obama has elevated him to a godlike, saint-like, superhuman position in the global political landscape. He is a celebrity, he is an icon, he is a political phenomenon. And just when you thought his international sheen was rubbing off, with his failure to win the 2016 Olympics for his adopted city of Chicago, he goes and wins the world's most prestigious civil liberties award. Obamaniacs, rejoice!

So why has he got the prize? Here is the fl…

ei: Another EU policy statement will not stop Israel's colonization

ei: Another EU policy statement will not stop Israel's colonization: "Israel started a preemptive campaign against a EU statement on the Middle East session even before it was formally presented for discussion by EU ministers this week on whether to adopt it. Israeli spokesmen expressed outrage at what they saw as an EU effort to 'divide' Jerusalem, and claimed that the European position would 'harm the peace process,' as if it is only Israel that has been carefully protecting it from the harmful moves of others.

Despite the usual hype, the document, a version of which was published by the Israeli daily Haaretz on 2 December, does not contain much that should cause Israel any undue worry. It is no more than a fine tuning of long-stated, and ineffectual EU positions. The statement is of course 'balanced' -- meaning it goes out of its way not to offend the Israeli occupier and lawbreaker -- and it is strewn with cliches and contradictions."

Al Jazeera English - Americas - Ousted president 'to exit' Honduras

Al Jazeera English - Americas - Ousted president 'to exit' Honduras: "The ousted Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, is to leave the country for exile to Mexico, sources have said.

Zelaya, who was forced to leave the country by the Honduran military in a June coup, has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, since he slipped back into the country in September.

But a politician close to Zelaya told Reuters on Wednesday: 'He is going to leave the country today. He is leaving of his own will'."

Sa'ada siege 'continues unabated' despite intl calls

Sa'ada siege 'continues unabated' despite intl calls: "The Shia Houthi fighters maintain the siege imposed by Sana'a government on the rugged northern Sa'ada province continues unabated, leaving the residents of the war-torn province bordering Saudi Arabia utterly devastated.

Houthi fighters say the government has imposed a siege on the northern city of Sa'ada, preventing people from leaving the city for the past three months.

They went on to add that the true extent of the calamity in both Sa'ada City and its governorate is a gross underestimation, due to logistical constraints placed on relief agencies by the fighting. This has accordingly left thousands of civilians on the brink of death due to acute malnutrition, disease, and impoverishment.

The development comes as Sana'a has refused to heed UN concerns over the humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged region.

Joe Stork, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa div…

Erdogan resists US calls for Iran sanctions, urges diplomacy after meeting with Obama --

Erdogan resists US calls for Iran sanctions, urges diplomacy after meeting with Obama -- "WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama failed to win immediate new pledges of support from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday for U.S. goals toward Iran and Afghanistan.

At a news conference after his White House meeting, Erdogan stressed the role of diplomacy in persuading Iran to give up any nuclear ambitions it might have and made clear that Turkey does not see the need yet for new sanctions.

Obama has signaled that he may soon seek new sanctions from the United Nations against Iran for its defiance against revealing the extent of its nuclear program. Turkey, is important for U.S. goals as an influential neighbor of Iran and a current nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

'I indicated to the prime minister how important it is to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear capacity in a way that allows Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear energy but pr…