Category: War Crimes


 

Dozens of Ukrainian troops surrender APCs in Slavyansk, refuse to ‘shoot at own people’ (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Published time: April 16, 2014 14:21
Edited time: April 16, 2014 20:18

Men wearing military fatigues sit by a Russian flag and a white flag reading "People's volunteer corps of Donetsk" as they ride on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Men wearing military fatigues sit by a Russian flag and a white flag reading “People’s volunteer corps of Donetsk” as they ride on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Dozens of army troops sent to the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk for an “anti-terrorist operation” refused to follow orders and surrendered their weapons and armored vehicles. Some troops openly voiced support for the eastern Ukrainians.

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According to Interfax, citing local self-defense activists, some 300 Ukrainian troops agreed to lay down their weapons and “go home” following negotiations in Slavyansk.

“We managed to negotiate with them. About 300 military – only some of those who closed around the city – decided to lay down their arms and go home,” a self-defense activist was quoted as saying.

Reports from the scene said that the locals would not allow the soldiers to take back the APCs, but they were allowed to keep their rifles. The people were cheering the troops.

Meanwhile, the anti-government activists guarding the armored vehicles have said that they did not “seize” them as the media claimed, and that the troops “switched sides” peacefully.

“They were not seized by the self-defense forces. In fact, the Ukrainian troops arrived here flying a Russian flag. In this way, they have taken the side of the people,” a Slavyansk activist told Russia-24 TV.

 

Photos from the scene now show women and children climbing onto the APCs and taking photos with the armed men in camouflage with St. George ribbons.

A Ukrainian soldier interviewed by RIA Novosti in Slavyansk said the troops were told they are being sent against “Russian invaders who have taken the local population hostage and are waging war at us,” and that they must “free Donbas from occupants.”

“This morning, we started our attack, but the picture we saw in Kramatorsk turned out to be completely different. We saw in front of us a crowd of locals, mostly adults, women and men. They explained to us that there are no occupants here and there is no one to fight. Instead, they gave us food and talked to us,” the soldier was quoted as saying.

He added that the troops vowed “not to follow orders to shoot at these people.” Some soldiers chose to take the side of the locals, some decided to stay “neutral.” They are now “waiting what comes next.”

Photo from Twitter/@oivshina

Photo from Twitter/@oivshina

Similar developments were also seen in another Donetsk region city, Kramatorsk, where Ukrainian troops began entering Tuesday after taking a nearby airfield by force, captured a day earlier by armed self-defense activists.

As Ukrainian armored vehicles rolled into the city’s center Wednesday, they were surrounded by locals and surrendered. Some of the APCs were filmed flying Russian flags in support of the locals. Kiev eventually confirmed that six APCs were taken away in Kramatorsk but claimed that they were “captured by the extremists.” Earlier, coup-imposed Kiev officials dismissed the news as “fake” and even claimed that by raising Russian flags the troops “infiltrated” the areas “controlled by Russian Army units and separatists.”

In the village of Pchyolkino, south of Kramatorsk, locals blocked part of a large convoy of armored vehicles. The people are demanding that the troops turn back their vehicles and leave for Dnepropetrovsk, where they are stationed.

 

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cyweb74


Local residents trying to block troops on APCs in the same region were filmed showing bullets that they say were fired by the Ukrainian military as warning shots but in the direction of the people. At least one person was injured by such warning shots, according to reports.

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Witnesses:  Fighter jet was shot down Over Kramatorsk Airport

 

© Reuters/Michael Počuev
April 15, 18:31 UTC +4

Troops land in terminal area

 

Kyiv, April 15. /ITAR-TASS/.  Fighter  shot down over Kramatorsk Airport .  Reported by eyewitnesses on the scene.
In particular, they report that four fighter jets flew over Kramatorskom  , the Su-27, allegedly opened fire over the local airfield. Whose aircraft and who is responsible for  the fighter jet is still unknown. Witnesses noted that  an ambulance arrived on the scene to tend to  victims on the airfield.
Newspaper, News of Kramatorsk”, reports that three  were circling over the airfield.   According to  information,  a group of people had gathered near the aerodrome , some of them in camouflage uniforms, many local residents with  children. According to preliminary data, shooting in the aerodrome area wounded one person.

 

About 500 troops with military equipment  entered  Slavyansk
Witnesses report that troops had landed in the terminal area, there are no  more details available at this time.
The situation in Ukraine. Chronicle of events. 15 April
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Army rejects clemency for Chelsea Manning

Published time: April 14, 2014 17:14
Edited time: April 14, 2014 17:48

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning will not receive clemency from the United States military, the US Army said on Monday afternoon.

A news release circulated by the US Army Military District of Washington early Monday confirmed that the Pentagon official who could have agreed to reduce or eliminate the sentence imposed last year on the former intelligence analyst declined to do so. The case will next automatically be sent to the Army Court of Criminals Appeals.

According to the press release, the convening authority, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, approved the findings and sentence adjudged at last summer’s court-martial, in turn rejecting requests for Manning to receive clemency.

As convening authority, Buchanan could have elected to disapprove of Army Col. Denise Lind’s decision last summer to sentence Manning to 35 years in prison after the analyst admitted to sharing a trove of classified military documents with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Lind sentenced the solder to 35 years in prison and demoted her to private first class after finding the soldier guilty of multiple counts, including espionage, theft and computer fraud.

 

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Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence upheld by US army general

Chelsea Manning
Manning pleaded guilty to 10 charges but was convicted last year on 20 counts, including espionage and theft. Photo: Ho/AFP/Getty Images

A US army general has denied clemency for Chelsea Manning and upheld the former soldier’s 35-year prison sentence for providing secret files to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of classified materials in US history, the army said Monday.

Major General Jeffrey S Buchanan’s decision to uphold the findings of Manning’s 2013 court-martial will automatically send the case to the army court of criminal appeals, an Army statement said.

The soldier, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2010 when she gave the pro-transparency site WikiLeaks 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts.

The trove included a 2007 video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected insurgents in Iraq, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staffers.

 

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Syrian govt and opposition accuse each other of ‘deadly chlorine attack’

Published time: April 13, 2014 03:35
Edited time: April 13, 2014 11:27

Still from YouTube video/Kafrzita

Still from YouTube video/Kafrzita

Syrian state channels say that Nusra Front radicals are behind a chemical attack that has killed two and injured more than 100 people in a village in central Syria, on Friday. The opposition insists the injuries were caused by government’s bombardment.

State-run Syrian television blamed members of the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front for using chlorine gas in an attack on Syrian village that killed at least two people. It did not say how it confirmed chlorine was used. According to the report the Islamist group had planned two more chemical strikes on civilian targets.

Earlier on Saturday, videos showing a field hospital in Kfar Zeita – about 200 km north of Damascus and on the frontline of intense fighting – were uploaded by opposition activists. The pictures showed obviously weakened civilians, including small children, breathing through oxygen masks, as medical personnel attended to them.

 

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VOA News

FILE - This Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 citizen journalism file image shows a member of UN investigation team taking samples of sands near a part of a missile that is likely to contain chemicals, according to activists, in Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria.FILE – This Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 citizen journalism file image shows a member of UN investigation team taking samples of sands near a part of a missile that is likely to contain chemicals, according to activists, in Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria.

The Syrian government, rebel forces and a rights group say poison gas has injured several people in a central village. The government and rebels are blaming each other for the incident.

The Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that government air raids resulted in dozens of injuries and a gas release on Friday in the village of Kfar Zeita.

State-run Syrian television on Saturday blamed members of the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front for using chlorine gas at Kfar Zeita, which it says killed two people.

 

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SFGate

Poison gas claims complicate Syrian civil war

Updated 2:06 am, Sunday, April 13, 2014

BEIRUT (AP) — Both sides in Syria’s bloody civil war said Saturday that a rural village fell victim to a poison gas attack, an assault that reportedly injured scores of people amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country of chemical weapons.

What exactly happened Friday in Kfar Zeita, a rebel-held village in Hama province some 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Damascus, remains unclear and likely won’t be known for some time. It took United Nations weapons inspectors months to say it was likely some chemical weapons attacks happened last year, including an August attack that killed hundreds and nearly sparked Western airstrikes against President Bashar Assad‘s forces.

But online videos posted by rebel activists from Kfar Zeita echoed earlier images that sparked a world outcry, showing pale-faced men, women and children gasping for breath at a field hospital. They suggest an affliction by some kind of poison — and yet another clouded incident where both sides blame each other in a conflict that activists say has killed more than 150,000 people with no end in sight.

The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, said the poison gas attack hurt dozens of people, though it did not identify the gas used.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that relies on a network of on-the-ground volunteers, said the gas attack happened during air raids that left heavy smoke over the area. It reported that people suffered from suffocation and breathing problems after the attack, but gave no further details.

State-run Syrian television blamed members of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front rebel group for the attack, saying they used chlorine gas to kill two people and injure more than 100. It did not say how it confirmed chlorine was used.

Chlorine, one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the U.S., is used to purify drinking water. But as a gas, it can be deadly, with the German army using it in warfare in World War I. The Geneva Protocol of 1925, which Syria signed, banned its use in battle.

The TV report also claimed the Nusra Front is preparing for another chemical attack against the Wadi Deif area in the northern province of Idlib, as well as another area in Hama. The government station did not explain how it knew the Nusra Front’s plans.

Activists in the village could not be reached Saturday.

 

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It saddens  me to see the mindless knee  jerk  reactions  that  takes  place  within the citizenry  of this  country every time the US government  cries  boogeyman.

Is it because  they  need  someone to  lash  out  at?

Or is it  because the  angst  from the  cold  war still persists?

Do the  American  people  need someone  to  hate ,  someone to  blame to feel that they have a  purpose?

Or is it  simply a need to  justify  their lack of backbone against their  own  government?

Do they  justify  it  because  their  cowardice  or ignorance does not allow  them to  fight  back?


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Getting it Right

Tennessee liquor store bans vodka over Ukraine situation

 

, Rare Staff

Posted on March 10, 2014 12:59 pm 

BiPTyEHCIAADiZ2

…..

 

Can  we  as a  people  not  open  our  eyes  and  understand that  our  government  is  responsible  for veiled  terrorism  throughout  the  world?

Can we  not  see that  the War  on Terror  is  not  against  an  unknown  enemy  out  to get  us .  But  rather a war  against  us to achieve  not only  our   subjugation through  fear.  It  strives to bring us to our  knees slowly  removing  our  rights at  our  behest  in exchange  for their  protection from terror  they  manufacture.

With  all the  evidence  that has  been  made  available worldwide of  the  role   the  US  government  played  in the  fabrication of  evidence to enter into  illegal  wars  abroad.   The  evidence  pointing  to  black  ops to destabilize other  countries.  The wanton disregard for  human  life in  drone  attacks.  The lies being told  abroad  and  at  home  by a  government  that  violates  not only   International  Law  but the very  Constitution  they  swore  to  protect  and  defend here  at  home.

What  is  wrong  with  Americans  who rush  to  believe  the  lies of  this  government  and their  mouthpiece  mainstream  media?

Do you  not have eyes  to  see  and  ears  to hear what is  truly  going on around  you?

You  play into the  media  propaganda they have  set  up  for  you  and  you  gladly fall into the  trap.

You  ignore the  cries   of the  People  of  Crimea  and hear  only  the  battle  cries  of  the Ukrainian  Opposition .  An  opposition  that  has  now  proven their true  intent  by  selling the  Ukrainian  people  up the river , delivering  them  into  European  style  Austerity.

Is  that  what your  democratic  dreams  for the Ukraine  consist  of ?

Is that  what  you  will allow  to  happen  here  at  home  when they  paint  you a  picture  of a false  boogeyman  coming to  get  your freedom unless  you  allow  the   big bad   government  to  play bodyguard  for  you?

How  much  proof  do  you  need  of  their  treachery to get a  clue?

How much innocent  blood  needs to  be  shed  for  you  to  face  the truth?

What  lies  will you  tell yourself  when they  come  for  our  freedom?

It is a  sad  day when  scenes  like the  one  that has  taken place in  Tennessee are considered  righteous while ignoring the  voice of a  people who understand  the  true  consequences for their country and  very  lives.

Freedom and  Democracy  are  not  for  you to  define for others.  The cries for  respect  of  National Sovereignty should be  respected  by  all sides not  just  Russia.  But if  memory  serves  the people  of  Crimea asked  Russia  to  defend  them.  Russia  is there  legitimately invited by a  people endangered by a coup that  has  been  proven to have  been  set  up  by the   west.  The  US  government  and  it’s Nato allies serving the  interests  of t he   Central Banks  and  Corporations.  Helping  them  loot  an  pillage  the   resources  of  the  Ukraine at the expense  of  it’s  people.  You  want to see the  future  of  Ukraine  then  take  a good  look at  Greece and  you  will understand  what  you are  defending.

 

~Desert Rose~

 

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How William Hague Deceived the House of Commons on Ukraine

Posted: 10/03/2014 10:05

 

 

 

In a statement on 4 March 2014, Foreign Minister William Hague deceived the House of Commons about the legitimacy of the new regime in Ukraine.

 

He led the House to believe that the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, had removed President Yanukovich from power on 22 February in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution.

 

“It is wrong to question the legitimacy of the new authorities”, he said.

 

It is simply untrue that the Rada followed the procedure laid down in the Ukrainian constitution to impeach and remove a president from power.

 

Article 108 of the constitution specifies four circumstances in which a president may cease to exercise power before the end of his term. Those are:

 

  • resignation;
  • inability to exercise his or her powers for reasons of health;
  • removal from office by the procedure of impeachment;
  • death.

 

The procedure for removal from office by impeachment is laid down in Article 111. It is not unlike that required for the impeachment and removal from power of a US president, which could take months.

 

Thus, Article 111 obliges the Rada to establish a special investigatory commission to formulate charges against the president, seek evidence to justify the charges and come to conclusions about the president’s guilt for the Rada to consider. To find the president guilty, at least two-thirds of Rada members must assent.

 

Prior to a final vote to remove the president from power, the procedure requires

 

  • the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to review the case and certify that the constitutional procedure of investigation and consideration has been followed, and
  • the Supreme Court of Ukraine to certify that the acts of which the President is accused are worthy of impeachment.

 

To remove the president from power, at least three-quarters of Rada members must assent.

 

Read More Here

 

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Big Lies Drown Out Truth

 

March 9th, 2014

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Propaganda war on Russia rages. It exceeds the worst of Cold War bluster.

 

Scurrilous reporting is featured. Media scoundrels scream Russian aggression. Putin is outrageously compared to Hitler.

 

Hypocrisy is shameless. It’s shocking. It’s disgusting. Western-supported neo-Nazi putschists usurped power in Kiev.

 

It was the most brazen post-WW II coup. Legitimate Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was blamed for their crimes. They continue. They’re ignored.

 

Headlines call them democrats. Incendiary conditions exist. Open conflict is threatened.

Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh is unapologetically fascist. “I’ll be fighting Jews and Russians til I die,” he said.

 

He has presidential aspirations. He’ll run to head Ukraine in so-called May elections. They’ll be farcical when held. They’ll be illegitimate.

 

Russia issued an international arrest warrant for Yarosh. He publicly supports terrorism. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin:

 

“The investigators believe (he) has been publicly calling upon anti-Russian forces for extreme actions and terror on the territory of Russia.”

 

Doku Umarov is Russia’s most wanted terrorist. Yarosh urged him to “activate his fight (and) take a unique opportunity to win” against Russia.

 

He issued an ultimatum. He demands access to Ukraine’s military arsenals. Itar Tass said he “doesn’t rule out more decisive action on Ukraine if the government doesn’t comply with (his) demands.”

 

He and likeminded fascists run Ukraine. Washington supports them. So do EU partners. Media scoundrels ignore their lawlessness. Ukraine’s crisis escalates.

 

Dubious reports circulate. On March 7, Time magazine headlined “Ukrainian Base in Crimea Resists Russian Raid.”

 

It claimed Russian troops attempt to seize the base failed. It cited an anonymous Kiev coup d’etat defense ministry spokesman saying:

 

“The base is now in full control of the Ukrainian armed forces.”

 

He claimed two Russian military trucks rammed the base’s gate. Several dozen Russian troops were allegedly involved, he said.

 

“Russian forces…surround(ed) all of the Ukrainian bases in Crimea and barricade(d) their servicemen inside,” said Time.

“By slamming through the gates with a military vehicle, the Russian forces initiated an escalation of the ongoing conflict over Crimea between Russia and Ukraine that could easily have led to bloodshed and a full-scale war.”

 

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Business Insider

This Is An Actual Billboard In Crimea

 

 

RTR3GEGK

REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A man walking by looks up at a poster calling for people to vote against fascism in the upcoming referendum in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 10, 2014.

 

These images reveal a lot about the Russian occupation of Crimea and the March 16 referendum that will decide if the Ukrainian peninsula formally secedes to Russia. It is all but a foregone conclusion.

 

The above poster reads, “On 16 March, we are choosing,” on top and the placement of “or” between a Nazi-themed Crimea and a Russia-themed Crimea on the bottom. The sentiment echoes Kremlin propaganda about Ukraine’s new government.

 

Read More Here

 

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America world knows today engineered

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama
Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:34PM
By Gordon Duff

People around the world are reeling in shock as America is calling for sanctions against Russia for its military buildup in Crimea in response to the overthrow of the Ukrainian government by ultra-nationalist extremist elements aided by Western intelligence agencies.

Not a single word has come from America, no leader, no “talking head” from the press, nothing but silence at what is clearly a demonstration of unimaginably immense hypocrisy.

Recent events in Ukraine have exposed something of the “dark underbelly” of America.  When President Obama speaks of the Russian military presence in Crimea as being a violation of international law, the entire world is aghast.

A nation that, at one time, referred to itself as “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” though still admired in many ways is also greatly feared and mistrusted over much of the world.

America hasn’t entirely killed its credibility; however, to those of us who live in America and have fought in her wars, especially those of us who remember John F. Kennedy, the country we live in today is “unrecognizable.”

There is another question “out there.”  Are Americans simply monsters, are they stupid, robotic, propagandized or something else?  Why is America “unrecognizable?”

BACKGROUND

After the Vietnam War, where a majority of not only civilians but military as well turned against the war in Vietnam, a “new age” of freedom and justice seemed to be taking root.  That was not to be.

What is startling is how the government and President Nixon, at the time considered one of the “dark characters” of history, responded.  The American government declared war on the American people, bringing to bear weapons developed during the darkest years of the Cold War.

Science had targeted the human mind, exceeding any of the rudimentary “brainwashing” efforts of many countries.  Memories, reality, perceptions, all became a playground for “war science.”

These “programs” left America a nation “unrecognizable” to those who have retained an unstained recollection of the “real” past.  As we will learn, even memories can’t be trusted.  A day never passes when the people of the world ask:  “Why would the American people allow these things their government does?”  We will attempt to address that issue here.

 

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‘West lie machine, incompetent and bankrupt’

West lie machine, incompetent and bankrupt

West lie machine, incompetent and bankrupt

Sun Mar 9, 2014 12:46PM GMT
By Finian Cunningham

The US spooks are on the defensive over escalating geopolitical tensions between America and Russia over Ukraine. This weekend, the leaders of the 6! or so US intelligence agencies are having to explain to their political masters why they are called “intelligence” given that they failed to foresee the Russian security measures that Moscow has deployed in Ukraine’s southern Crimean Peninsula over the past week.

 

Now Washington is scrambling fighter jets to the Balkans and warships to the Black Sea in a desperate show of purposefulness, having been caught rudely asleep as the self-appointed global police thug.

 

So much for the $50-billion-a-year American spy industry, including the National Security Agency, which came to prominence this past year with revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden that the agency…[extracted] zillions of data from computers and phones in every country of the world.

 

Given the evident surprise in Washington over Russian military moves in the Crimea this past week, the US spook industry has got some serious explaining to do for their extraordinary lapse and atrociously
poor value for tax-payer money.

 

The fallback claim by US director of intelligence, James Clapper, and other spy bosses, as well as President Obama himself, is that the NSA’s violation of privacy laws has been necessary because it keeps Americans safe from terrorism and other threats.

Now, with Washington spectacularly wrong-footed by Russia in Crimea, that assurance of alleged vigilance looks even more threadbare. How incompetent can American spooks and their multi-billion-dollar activities be?

 

For some light relief comes the news that the Pentagon has now taken to “reading the body language” of Russian President Vladimir Putin for guidance.

 

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Family Survival Protocol

Ukraine : EU Style Austerity and The Plunder of Natural Resources. For Those Defending The Intentions of The West Have Now Been Educated.

 

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Family Survival Protocol

Obama The Poster Boy For Duplicity Speaks : Crimea’s Secession Referendum a Violation of International Law

 

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Family Survival Protocol

Ukraine blueprint for a Syria 2.0 ? Evidence would point to the US and EU as the root of the destabilization that has taken place.

 

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Huge crowd of Palestinians is photographed waiting for aid in Yarmouk, which has been under blockade for month

Click here to see the full picture

 

 

Yarmouk refugee camp

Refugees queue for food parcels in Yarmouk. Photograph: Handout/Reuters

 

 

It is a vision of unimaginable desolation: a crowd of men, women and children stretching as far as the eye can see into the war-devastated landscape of Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.

A photograph released on Wednesday by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, shows the scene when thousands of desperate Palestinians trapped inside the camp on the edge of the Syrian capital emerged to besiege aid workers attempting to distribute food parcels.

More than 18,000 people are existing under blockade inside Yarmouk, enduring acute shortages of food, medicines and other essentials. Much of the camp has been destroyed by shelling, and attempts to deliver aid to those inside have been hampered by continued fighting in Syria‘s three-year-old civil war.

United Nations workers have delivered about 7,000 food parcels over recent weeks, following negotiations between the Syrian government, rebel forces and Palestinian factions within the camp. The most recent delivery, of 450 parcels, was on Wednesday. The UN acknowledges that the level of aid is a “drop in the ocean”.

Yarmouk has been cut off since last July. Many residents are now weak and severely malnourished, as well as being exposed to the risk of disease, or death and injury from fighting.

Filippo Grandi, the head of UNRWA, described the camp as a ghost town after visiting this week. “The devastation is unbelievable. There is not one single building that I have seen that is not an empty shell by now. They’re all blackened by smoke,” he told reporters.

He said he was even more shocked by the camp’s residents, who flooded towards aid distribution points. “It’s like the appearance of ghosts. These are people who have not been out of there, that have been trapped in there not only without food, medicines, clean water – all the basics – but also probably completely subjected to fear because there was fierce fighting … They can hardly speak. I tried to speak to many of them, and they all tell the same stories of complete deprivation.”

 

Read More Here

 

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UN chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by refugee camp in Syria

The chief of the UN relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees said he is “deeply disturbed and shaken” by the despair and destruction he had seen in a besieged camp in the Syrian capital.

The Yarmouk refugee camp, located in southern Damascus, is an opposition enclave under the tight blockade of forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013 as a result of starvation and illnesses exacerbated by hunger or lack of medical aid, according to UN figures.

Filippo Grandi, commissioner general of UNRWA, was visiting Yarmouk as the relief agency resumed food distribution there. Shipments to the camp have been disrupted for months, sometimes cut off for weeks at a time, and Yarmouk has suffered from crippling shortages of food and medicine.

“I am deeply disturbed and shaken by what I observed,” Grandi said. Palestinian refugees to whom he spoke in Yarmouk were “traumatised by what they have lived through.”

The extent of damage to the refugees’ homes was shocking, he also said, adding that many Palestinians in Yarmouk need immediate support, particularly food and medical treatment.

Yarmouk is the largest of nine Palestinian camps in Syria. Since the camp’s creation in 1957, it has evolved into a densely populated residential district just five miles from the centre of Damascus. Several generations of Palestinian refugees have lived there.

 

Read More Here

 

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Palestinians in Syrian camp are ‘traumatized’

 

More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013, some of starvation

 

    • ap
    • Published: 16:25 February 25, 2014
    • Gulf News

 

 

Damascus: The chief of the United Nations relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday he is “deeply disturbed and shaken” by the despair and destruction he’d seen in a besieged camp in the Syrian capital.

 

The Yarmouk refugee camp, located in southern Damascus, is an opposition enclave under the tight blockade of forces loyal to President Bashar Al Assad. More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013 as a result of starvation and illnesses exacerbated by hunger or lack of medical aid, according to UN figures.

 

Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, was visiting Yarmouk as the relief agency resumed food distribution there. UNRWA shipments to the camp have been disrupted for months, sometimes cut off for weeks at a time, and Yarmouk has suffered from crippling shortages of food and medicine.

 

“I am deeply disturbed and shaken by what I observed,” Grandi said in a statement. Palestinian refugees to whom he spoke in Yarmouk Monday were “traumatized by what they have lived through.”

 

Read More Here

 

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In the video, a Takfiri hooded executioner strangulates the young girl to death using a piece of metal wire in an unidentified location.

The girl has been put to death because of her refusal to recognize the rigid-minded beliefs promoted by Takfiri groups in Syria.

Earlier this month, a disturbing video emerged showing al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria’s central province of Homs beheading a man believed to have been a Shia supporter of the government.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which posted the video, said the beheading was conducted by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in March 2011, many similar videos have emerged, depicting horrendous crimes, including decapitation and cannibalism, committed by the foreign-backed Takfiri militants against the people in Syria.

A video footage posted online on January 26, showed several mutilated bodies in the western suburb of Aleppo that reportedly belong to the civilians who were executed by ISIL militants.

Another video posted online on May 12, 2013, showed Takfiri militant, Khalid al Hamad, known by his nom de guerre, Abu Sakkar, eating an organ of a dead Syrian soldier.

In an interview with the state-run BBC in July 2013, Abu Sakkar threatened to commit more gruesome murders if foreign-backed terrorists in Syria do not receive more military aid from abroad.

Reports show that the Western powers and their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

KA/SS

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The//Intercept

By and 10 Feb 2014, 12:03 AM EST
Featured photo - The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press.

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

His account is bolstered by top-secret NSA documents previously provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is also supported by a former drone sensor operator with the U.S. Air Force, Brandon Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the lethal operations in which he was directly involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.

One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.

Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”

As a result, even when the agency correctly identifies and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect, the phone may actually be carried by someone else, who is then killed in a strike. According to the former drone operator, the geolocation cells at the NSA that run the tracking program – known as Geo Cell –sometimes facilitate strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cell phone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike.

“Once the bomb lands or a night raid happens, you know that phone is there,” he says. “But we don’t know who’s behind it, who’s holding it. It’s of course assumed that the phone belongs to a human being who is nefarious and considered an ‘unlawful enemy combatant.’ This is where it gets very shady.”

The former drone operator also says that he personally participated in drone strikes where the identity of the target was known, but other unknown people nearby were also killed.

“They might have been terrorists,” he says. “Or they could have been family members who have nothing to do with the target’s activities.”

What’s more, he adds, the NSA often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata.

“People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that its operations kill terrorists with the utmost precision.

In his speech at the National Defense University last May, President Obama declared that “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.” He added that, “by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”

But the increased reliance on phone tracking and other fallible surveillance tactics suggests that the opposite is true. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 273 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration. A recent study conducted by a U.S. military adviser found that, during a single year in Afghanistan – where the majority of drone strikes have taken place – unmanned vehicles were 10 times more likely than conventional aircraft to cause civilian casualties.

The NSA declined to respond to questions for this article. Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, also refused to discuss “the type of operational detail that, in our view, should not be published.”

In describing the administration’s policy on targeted killings, Hayden would not say whether strikes are ever ordered without the use of human intelligence. She emphasized that “our assessments are not based on a single piece of information. We gather and scrutinize information from a variety of sources and methods before we draw conclusions.”

Hayden felt free, however, to note the role that human intelligence plays after a deadly strike occurs. “After any use of targeted lethal force, when there are indications that civilian deaths may have occurred, intelligence analysts draw on a large body of information – including human intelligence, signals intelligence, media reports, and surveillance footage – to help us make informed determinations about whether civilians were in fact killed or injured.”

The government does not appear to apply the same standard of care in selecting whom to target for assassination. The former JSOC drone operator estimates that the overwhelming majority of high-value target operations he worked on in Afghanistan relied on signals intelligence, known as SIGINT, based on the NSA’s phone-tracking technology.

“Everything they turned into a kinetic strike or a night raid was almost 90 percent that,” he says. “You could tell, because you’d go back to the mission reports and it will say ‘this mission was triggered by SIGINT,’ which means it was triggered by a geolocation cell.”

In July, the Washington Post relied exclusively on former senior U.S. intelligence officials and anonymous sources to herald the NSA’s claims about its effectiveness at geolocating terror suspects.

Within the NSA, the paper reported, “A motto quickly caught on at Geo Cell: ‘We Track ’Em, You Whack ’Em.’”

But the Post article included virtually no skepticism about the NSA’s claims, and no discussion at all about how the unreliability of the agency’s targeting methods results in the killing of innocents.

In fact, as the former JSOC drone operator recounts, tracking people by metadata and then killing them by SIM card is inherently flawed. The NSA “will develop a pattern,” he says, “where they understand that this is what this person’s voice sounds like, this is who his friends are, this is who his commander is, this is who his subordinates are. And they put them into a matrix. But it’s not always correct. There’s a lot of human error in that.”

The JSOC operator’s account is supported by another insider who was directly involved in the drone program. Brandon Bryant spent six years as a “stick monkey” – a drone sensor operator who controls the “eyes” of the U.S. military’s unmanned aerial vehicles. By the time he left the Air Force in 2011, Bryant’s squadron, which included a small crew of veteran drone operators, had been credited with killing 1,626 “enemies” in action.

Bryant says he has come forward because he is tormented by the loss of civilian life he believes that he and his squadron may have caused. Today he is committed to informing the public about lethal flaws in the U.S. drone program.

Bryant describes the program as highly compartmentalized: Drone operators taking shots at targets on the ground have little idea where the intelligence is coming from.

“I don’t know who we worked with,” Bryant says. “We were never privy to that sort of information. If the NSA did work with us, like, I have no clue.”

During the course of his career, Bryant says, many targets of U.S. drone strikes evolved their tactics, particularly in the handling of cell phones. “They’ve gotten really smart now and they don’t make the same mistakes as they used to,” he says. “They’d get rid of the SIM card and they’d get a new phone, or they’d put the SIM card in the new phone.”

As the former JSOC drone operator describes – and as classified documents obtained from Snowden confirm – the NSA doesn’t just locate the cell phones of terror suspects by intercepting communications from cell phone towers and Internet service providers. The agency also equips drones and other aircraft with devices known as “virtual base-tower transceivers” – creating, in effect, a fake cell phone tower that can force a targeted person’s device to lock onto the NSA’s receiver without their knowledge.

That, in turn, allows the military to track the cell phone to within 30 feet of its actual location, feeding the real-time data to teams of drone operators who conduct missile strikes or facilitate night raids.

The NSA geolocation system used by JSOC is known by the code name GILGAMESH. Under the program, a specially constructed device is attached to the drone. As the drone circles, the device locates the SIM card or handset that the military believes is used by the target.

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MOXNEWSd0tC0M MOXNEWSd0tC0M

 

Published on Feb 11, 2014

February 11, 2014 BBC News http://MOXNews.com

 

 

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Another U.S. citizen a potential drone target

By Tom Cohen and Tom Watkins, CNN
updated 6:21 PM EST, Tue February 11, 2014

(CNN) — U.S. counterterrorism officials are closely watching an al Qaeda fighter in Pakistan who could become the next American to be targeted for killing by a drone strike, CNN has learned.

The person has been the subject of debate among military commanders and intelligence officials for several weeks as they decide what to recommend. President Barack Obama would make a final decision.

CNN has also learned key members of Congress have been aware of the internal debate.

The officials spoke to CNN’s Barbara Starr on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

U.S. citizen may be target of drone

The current discussions involve both military commanders in the special forces community and intelligence officials.

A key point being discussed is whether it is better to maintain surveillance to see what added intelligence can be gained about any threats to the United States, and whether additional monitoring might lead to other operatives or al Qaeda elements to target.

Under the Obama administration’s policy for targeting Americans, a person would have to pose an imminent threat to the United States and there would be no reasonable prospect of capture.

A U.S. official said drone targeting inside Pakistan is very sensitive because of the fragile state of the Pakistani government, which is under pressure to ban such strikes.

As a potential strike is weighed, some officials contend that good relations with the Islamabad government is a priority so the United States can maintain some type of long-term surveillance operation of potential al Qaeda targets there.

If all U.S. troops leave neighboring Afghanistan at the end of 2014, the concern is it may be harder to maintain high priority efforts such as conducting further drone operations over Pakistan and to also monitor Pakistan’s nuclear programs.

As the United States considers a strike in Pakistan, there are also recent indications that al Qaeda in Pakistan and its affiliate in Somalia, Al-Shabaab, have stepped up their links, a second official told CNN.

Jehad Serwan Mostafa, an American citizen, is currently with Al-Shabaab. He is the highest-ranking American in the group, believed to be in a remote part of southern Somalia.

The Justice Department currently has a $5 million reward on his head.

CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruikshank said there are indications Mostafa has contacts with senior al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.

The United States failed to kill Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in a drone strike in southern Somalia just a few weeks ago.

And last October, Navy SEALs failed to capture a third key leader, a man named Ikrimah. They assaulted a compound he was said to be at in southern Somalia but withdrew under heavy fire.

Although Ikrimah and Godane were said to be involved in the deadly attack last year on a shopping mall in Kenya, U.S. officials have told CNN that one reason Ikrimah was targeted was there was critical intelligence he had been communicating with operatives of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

That Yemen based al Qaeda group is considered the most dangerous of its affiliates to U.S. security.

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Joshua Black, a GOP candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, called on January 21st (better known as Martin Luther King Day) for President Barack Obama to be hanged.

Via a Twitter account already full of conspiracy theories and calls for impeachment, Black responded to fellow impeachment advocates by saying he is “past impeachment. It’s time to arrest and hang him high.”

The remarks even incurred criticism from fellow Florida Republicans, with fellow candidate Chris Latvala responding: “you aren’t seriously calling for the killing of Obama are you? I know you are crazy but good heavens.U R an embarrassment.”

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Tampa Bay Times

Secret Service visits Pinellas candidate who said Barack Obama should be hanged

Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor

Say you’re a rookie political candidate eager to raise your profile. Here’s one sure way to do that you DO NOT want to try: publicly call for the president of the United States to be hanged.

That’s what Republican state House candidate Joshua Black did on Twitter Monday. It generated an widely read article in the Tampa Bay Times, a call from Anderson Cooper’s guest booker, an interview for Political Connections on Bay News 9 and, naturally, a visit from the Secret Service.

Black, a taxi driver, said that Secret Service representatives were waiting for him at his house while he taped the Political Connections interview.

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Complaint dropped against John Leso, involved in brutal interrogation of suspected 9/11 hijacker Mohammed al-Qahtani

• APA: ‘We cannot proceed with formal charges’ – full letter

Mohammed al-Qahtani
Mohammed al-Qahtani was twice charged by the Pentagon in 2008 with war crimes related to 9/11. Photograph: motesjj

America’s professional association of psychologists has quietly declined to rebuke one of its members, a retired US army reserve officer, for his role in one of the most brutal interrogations known to have to taken place at Guantánamo Bay, the Guardian has learned.

The decision not to pursue any disciplinary measure against John Leso, a former army reserve major, is the latest case in which someone involved in the post-9/11 torture of detainees has faced no legal or even professional consequences.

In a 31 December letter obtained by the Guardian, the American Psychological Association said it had “determined that we cannot proceed with formal charges in this matter. Consequently the complaint against Dr Leso has been closed.”

But the APA did not deny Leso took part in the brutal interrogation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, whose treatment the Pentagon official overseeing his military commission ultimately called “torture”.

Leso was identified as “MAJ L” in a leaked log, published by Time magazine in 2005, of Qahtani’s marathon interrogation in November 2002. With Leso recorded as present for at least some of the session, Qahtani was forcibly hydrated through intravenous drips and prevented from using the bathroom until he urinated on himself, subjected to loud music, and repeatedly kept awake while being “told he can go to sleep when he tells the truth”.

At one point, Qahtani was instructed to bark like a dog.

“Dog tricks continued and detainee stated he should be treated like a man,” the log records. “Detainee was told he would have to learn who to defend and who to attack.”

During an interrogation on 27 November 2002, the log records a direct intervention by Leso: “Control puts detainee in swivel chair at MAJ L’s suggestion to keep him awake and stop him from fixing his eyes on one spot in booth.”

The APA’s move concludes a years-long effort within the organization to get the association to condemn members who took part in torture. Those who argued for censuring Leso said that the organization has opened the door to future wartime violations of its central do-no-harm ethos.

“With Leso, the evidence of his participation is so explicit and so incontrovertible, the APA had to go to great lengths to dismiss it,” said Steven Reisner, a New York clinical psychologist who unsuccessfully ran for the APA presidency last year. “The precedent is that APA is not going to hold any psychologist accountable in any circumstance.”

Trudy Bond, an Ohio psychologist who filed the complaint against Leso, cited APA’s policy on interrogations and torture as she said the organization had sent the message that “psychologists are free to violate our ethical code, perhaps, in certain situations”.

The APA’s communications chief, Rhea Farberman, told the Guardian that a seven-year ethics investigation could not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” by Leso, and said it was “utterly unfounded” to fear the organization has condoned professional impunity.

“A thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture,” Farberman said.

Documents that emerged from a Senate armed services committee torture inquiry detailed Leso’s involvement in an early “Behavioral Science Consultation Team” at Guantánamo, which was instrumental in crafting torture techniques out of measures taught to US troops to withstand brutal treatment.

Leso, whose name is redacted in a lengthy report produced by the committee in 2008, helped write a memorandum in October 2002, “Counter-Resistance Strategies”, for Guantánamo staff who were under pressure from the chain of command to produce intelligence from the detainee population.

The memorandum detailed the use of abusive conditions and techniques on the detainees, including isolation, “stress positions”, sensory and sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation and exposure to extreme cold. Those techniques migrated through the Pentagon bureaucracy and were ultimately used at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003.

“Counter-Resistance Strategies” also recommended manipulating the living conditions of detainees outside the interrogation chambers, such as limiting “resistant” detainees to four hours of sleep daily, depriving them of “comfort items” like sheets and mattresses and controlling access to their Qur’ans.

 

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APA member John Leso dodges professional consequences for brutal interrogation of detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani

- Common Dreams staff

Guantánamo Bay’s Camp Delta. (Photo: Bob Strong/Reuters)The American Psychological Association is protecting one of its members from formal rebuke for his role in torturing a Guantanamo Bay inmate.

The esteemed professional association stated in a December 31 confidential letter, obtained by Guardian reporters and released publicly on Wednesday, that it is declining to rebuke member John Leso.

“[W]e have determined that we cannot proceed in this matter,” write APA officials in response to a complaint. “Consequently, the complaint against Dr. Leso has been closed.”

Leso, a former Army reserve major, participated in the brutal interrogation of detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani that even a Pentagon official acknowledged amounts to torture, reports Spencer Ackerman for The Guardian.

Ackerman continues:

Leso was identified as “MAJ L” in a leaked log, published by Time magazine in 2005, of Qahtani’s marathon interrogation in November 2002. With Leso recorded as present for at least some of the session, Qahtani was forcibly hydrated through intravenous drips and prevented from using the bathroom until he urinated on himself, subjected to loud music, and repeatedly kept awake while being “told he can go to sleep when he tells the truth”.

In the letter, the APA officials do not deny Leso’s participation in the torture.

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