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The Syrian peace talks – much heralded by investors and politicians worldwide as a brave step towards a better future – are on the ropes this morning. Following the UN acquiescence to the US demand that they rescind Iran’s invite to the so-called Geneva II conference,and yet another suicide bombing in Lebanon, this morning’s incredible SNAFU is thanks to the Greeks:
- GREECE REFUSES TO REFUEL SYRIAN GENEVA TEAM AIRCRAFT: SYRIA TV
- SYRIAN AIRCRAFT DELAY CANCELS MEETING WITH UN’S BAN: STATE TV
The peace accord set to begin tomorrow will be delayed and are in further jeopardy as CNN reports further evidence of Syrian President al-Assad systematically killing and torturng around 11,000 people.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s unexpected, last-minute decision on Sunday to invite President Assad’s main foreign backer Iran – only to withdraw the invitation a day later – proved a diplomatic fiasco, undermining talks that are already given little chance of success.
The peace conference set to begin on Wednesday will include the first talks between Assad and his opponents. But hopes of a breakthrough are negligible at a time when fighting has escalated and neither side shows any sign of retreating from its demands or being able to end the war with a victory.
It has been 18 months since a previous international peace conference in Geneva ended in failure, and all other diplomatic initiatives have also proven fruitless.
“At best, Geneva 2 will reconfirm agreements made during the first Geneva conference, call for ceasefires, maybe prisoners swap and so on,” said one Western diplomat.
“At the same time, those taking part in the talks are de facto giving legitimization to Damascus. They are talking to Assad’s government on the other side of the table
“And so the show would go on while Assad stays in power.”
Via The Times of India,
Former international prosecutors said Tuesday they have evidence from a defector proving that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has systematically killed and tortured around 11,000 people.
A report by three top investigators commissioned by Qatar, which backs the Syrian rebels, examined thousands of pictures said to have been smuggled out by a former military police photographer.
The report, which was first released in Guardian and on CNN, shows evidence of starvation, strangulation and beatings, and features pictures of emaciated corpses with livid wounds.
So amid all of this one has to wonder if those warships that the US moved into position to “rescue stranded US citizen if a Sochi even happened” is nothing more than cover for a build up in front of Syria.
Over the weekend, Heather Linebaugh wrote a powerful Op-ed in The Guardian newspaper lamenting the lack of public understanding regarding the American drone program. Heather should know what she’s talking about, she served in the United Stated Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. She worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here are some key excerpts from her article:
Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I’d start with: “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Or even more pointedly: “How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”
Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.
I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.
What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.
Moreover, the many civilians being incinerated without a trial are not the only victims here. So are the actual drone operators themselves, many of whom end up committing suicide. Recall my article from December 2012: Meet Brandon Bryant: The Drone Operator Who Quit After Killing a Child. Of course, our so-called political “leaders” never get their hands dirty, other than to take a lobbyist bribe that is. Now more from Heather:
Recently, the Guardian ran a commentary by Britain’s secretary of state for defence, Philip Hammond. I wish I could talk to him about the two friends and colleagues I lost, within a year of leaving the military, to suicide. I am sure he has not been notified of that little bit of the secret UAV program, or he would surely take a closer look at the full scope of the program before defending it again.
Full article here.
» Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!
Saudi Arabia: release @raif_badawi now. We won’t accept anything less. He needs to join his lovely wife and kids. He must be free.
— Maryam Namazie (@MaryamNamazie) December 26, 2013
Saudi blogger and activist, Raif Badawi, currently serving his 7-year prison term for “insulting Islam”, may soon appear in a higher court on graver charges of apostasy. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.
Bringing Badawi back to court to face graver charges was recommended by a judge in Saudi Arabia, the activist’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told CNN on Wednesday. The news has caused an uproar in social media.
Raif Badawi is the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, created in 2008 to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia freely. Badawi’s persecution for what was described as “insulting Islam” started the same year the site was set up. The blogger then fled the country to escape arrest. He returned when the charges against him were dropped, but was eventually jailed in June 2012.
In July this year, a criminal court in Jeddah found the man guilty of insulting Islam through his online forum and of violating Saudi Arabia’s anti-cybercrime law. Badawi was sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in prison.
The court’s ruling was condemned by international human rights watchdogs.
A choice Muslims have to make: Will you demand the freedom of blogger Raif Badawi or will u back the Saudi regime? pic.twitter.com/rRDdq9n0aN
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) December 26, 2013
“This incredibly harsh sentence for a peaceful blogger makes a mockery of Saudi Arabia’s claims that it supports reform and religious dialogue,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “A man who wanted to discuss religion has already been locked up for a year and now faces 600 lashes and seven years in prison.”
Badawi’s possible retrial is the latest episode in the country’s crackdown on dissent. Four members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) were jailed in 2013. In the most recent case in December, 24-year-old Omar al-Saed was sentenced to four years in prison and 300 lashes after calling for political reform. Amnesty International called for the activist’s immediate release.
“Amnesty International considers Omar al-Hamid al-Saed to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his peaceful activities as a member of ACPRA and calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and conditionally release him and to ensure that he is not subjected to flogging or any other corporal punishment,” the group’s public statement , released on December 19 reads.
Earlier, the watchdog criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to follow up on any of its promises to improve the country’s human rights record. The pledges were made following a 2009 review, issued by the UN Human Rights Council.
“Four years ago, Saudi Arabian diplomats came to Geneva and accepted a string of recommendations to improve human rights in the country. Since then, not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression,” Philip Luther, Director of Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said in October.
Amnesty’s criticism however did not prevent Saudi Arabia from being elected to the UN Human Rights Council in November. Its three-year term in UNHRC starts January 1, 2014.
Wow, this is straight up insane propaganda at the highest level. He is not even trying to hide the message. CNN’s Jake Tapper just comes out and says it:
I think the American people, honestly, want security over freedom.
– Jake Tapper
Compare that to let’s say, Benjamin Franklin:
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
– Benjamin Franklin
That right there demonstrates perfectly how far we have fallen culturally.
CNN and Huffington Post Are “External Stakeholders” In Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington’s Blog
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
Presstitute Media Shills for Nuclear Power
The mainstream media – and gatekeeper “alternative” media – are pro-war. They may occasionally criticize one tiny aspect of the war-fighting machinery, but never the overall war effort.
As such, it should not be entirely surprising that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission lists CNN and Huffington Post as “external stakeholders” in the NRC.
As EneNews reports:
Independent Evaluation of NRC’s Use and Security of Social Media, Office of the Inspector General, Jan. 2013:
Social Media Evaluation Interview List [Appendix VI, pg. 82]
- Internal Stakeholders (NRC staff) […]
- External Stakeholders (Press) Energy Editor, AOL, Huffington Post — Nuclear Writer, Huffington Post — Producer, CNN News
- External Stakeholders (Digital Influencers) Blogger, Atomic Power Review — Blogger, Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes — Blogger, Yes Vermont Yankee
- External Stakeholders (Nuclear Industry) […] Senior Manager for Social — Media, Nuclear Energy Institute […]
- External Stakeholders (US Government and US Senate Staff) US-CERT Representative, United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team — Policy Director, US Senate ….
Excerpts from the evaluation:
- As part of the press, I have to be able to quickly communicate a lot of technical information into something our readers will grasp. But it helps if NRC had strong info graphics or a section that provided a breakdown of technical info so I can understand the translation from its source. — Huffington Post
- NRC‘s materials are very basic and not very viral. Other agencies do a better job of including information graphics, photos, even clickable links. There‘s no extra. It‘s not influential. — Managing Editor, Huffington Post
- One producer from Cable News Network (CNN) suggested that what was currently offered on Flickr does not compel him to return and urged NRC to provide more content that did not involve people in a conference room or of the chairperson speaking from a podium.
The nuclear industry in Japan – and elsewhere – spends more on pr than on safety measures. Indeed, nuclear power is a form of crony capitalism, where taxpayers fund a market which would not even exist in a free market.
The presstitute media once again shills for the powers-that-be.
The “Million Vet March” in Washington D.C. appears to be escalating as reports of barricades being torn down, police in riot gear and snipers being deployed, and a growing crowd at The White House chanting for its shut-down suggest the people are growing restless.
Protesters have gathered in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, according to reports.
Park police in riot gear were deployed in front of the building.
“US Park Police have arrived in front of WH. Some in riot gear! Tea party/veteran protesters start booing,” wrote CNN’s Jim Acosta on Twitter….
- White House: Tea Party and Veteran Protesters Meet Riot Police in DC (theepochtimes.com)
- ‘We Are Marching to the White House’: ‘Million Vet March’ Descends on Washington, Barricades Torn Down (theblaze.com)
- Million Vet March at the WWII Memorial LIVE now! (dailypaul.com)
- Veterans Stand Together (v1p3rarms.wordpress.com)
- Day 3: Negative US Media Coverage Fails to Stop Constitutional Truckers and Veterans Moving on DC (21stcenturywire.com)
The irony of Jesse Ventura calling for a new “American Revolution” in a conversation with Brit Piers Morgan is not lost on us but the former Governor of Minnesota asks some awkwardly open questions in this ‘colorful’ interview. Ventura asked if the government’s shut down, “That should mean we shouldn’t have to pay any taxes, right?” He called for another American revolution to push back against the “corrupt system” created by Democrats and Republicans in Washington. He told Morgan the two-party system has legalized “bribery” for access, suggesting he’s fed up enough to actually run for president in 2016. Ventura called both parties “gangs,” and Morgan admitted he had to agree, adding that they’re “overpaid, underworked children!” The discussion then veers from Obamacare, Ventura’s run for President, and the JFK conspiracy…
- Jesse Ventura Rails Against Congress on CNN: Political ‘Gangs’ Have Legalized ‘Bribery’ (mediaite.com)
- The ‘Body’ slam: Ventura rips pols on shutdown (cnbc.com)
- Jesse Ventura — If The Govt. Isn’t Working … WE SHOULDN’T PAY TAXES! (tmz.com)
- Jesse Ventura: The Democrats and Republicans Have Created This Corrupt System Based On Bribery (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
Supporters and opponents of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have called for rival demonstrations on the 1973 Arab-Israeli war anniversary after the deadliest violence in weeks.
The Anti-Coup Alliance called on Saturday for its supporters to try to reach Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday, which has been blocked off by the army, to mark the 40th anniversary of the war.
The conflict, known as the October war in the Arab world and the Yom Kippur war in Israel, is remembered proudly by the Egyptian army as it caught Israel’s defences unawares and led ultimately to Egypt’s recovery of the Sinai Peninsula in the 1979 peace treaty.
Many saw Friday’s protests, which resulted in four people dying and many more being injured, as a trial run for demonstrators to asses how the security forces would prevent Sunday’s marches.
The Egptian authorities on Saturday issued a warning to anyone considering marching on the anniversary.
“The Ministry of Interior asserts its determination on confronting violence and infringements of the law by Muslim Brotherhood supporters,” a ministry statement said.
“Security has been stepped up on highways, in all cities and at important installations.
“The Ministry of Interior warns against attempting to spoil the 6th of October commemoration.”…
- Anti-coup alliance call for Tahrir protest (aljazeera.com)
- Egypt Islamists call 1973 war anniversary demos (dailystar.com.lb)
- Egypt braces for fresh Tahrir Square protest (gulfnews.com)
- Climate Change – The petrodollar-funded Al Jazeera America has become the climate-change news network – Quartz (morethanaframework.wordpress.com)
- VIDEO: Climate change report in 90 seconds (bbc.co.uk)
- Global Warming Slowdown Hinders Climate Treaty Effort (bloomberg.com)
- ‘Green News Report’ – September 19, 2013 (bradblog.com)
- IPCC chairman dismisses climate report spoiler campaign (theguardian.com)
- Ron Paul on Syria: “I think it is a false flag” interview with Joyce Riley this morning (dailypaul.com)
- Ron Paul: Sign My Petition: Tell President Obama To Stay Out Of Syria! (dailypaul.com)
- Cartoon: Obama, Congress & Syria (dailypaul.com)
- Ron Paul: Syria is the US Path to Iran (syrianews.cc)