Archive | February 19, 2016

U.S. Airstrikes Kill 38 Syrian Civilians Over 48 Hours*

U.S. Airstrikes Kill 38 Syrian Civilians Over 48 Hours*

By Jason Ditz

A US Air Force plane takes off as a Turkish Air Force fighter jet taxis at the Incirlik airbase, southern Turkey, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013. (Photo: AP/Vadim Ghirda)

 

As reported Tuesday, an early morning U.S. airstrike against the city of Shadadi killed 15 civilians outside a bakery. This incident was the start of a flurry of U.S. airstrikes in Syria’s northeast which, over the past 48 hours, have left at least 38 civilians dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Three villages near Shadadi were targeted early Thursday morning, killing another 15 civilians, including three children, while eight more civilians were killed in airstrikes elsewhere around the region. A separate strike in the town of al-Houl did manage to kill 35 ISIS fighters, however.

The U.S. has been escalating its involvement in Syria in recent days with these airstrikes, but apart from al-Houl seems to be having limited success, and also causing a lot of civilian casualties. While the Pentagon generally disputes civilian deaths, the incidents are fuelling concern from human rights groups.

The inaccuracy of the Hasakeh strikes, coming in the only Syrian province which has U.S. ground troops, also adds to doubts about the intelligence upon which the U.S. coalition is basing its airstrikes around Syria. Clearly, strikes like the bakery give the appearance of using the “signature strikes” tactic, just bombing anything on the ground that the pilot thinks might be important.

Source*

Related Topics:

French T.V Used footage of Russian Airstrikes in Syria to show U.S.-led “success”*

Washington Planning a Syrian invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia to split Syria in half with Washington controlling the Oil Fields*

41 Dead from Illegal U.S. Airstrikes in Libya*

U.S. Threatens to Use Force in Syria as ‘Western Coalition is Falling Apart’*

By Any Mean Obama Will have More War*

Kerry Calls For Peace as NATO Proxies Lose Ground in Syria*

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Stolen Iraqi Nuclear Material Story Happened Last Year, so Why Now*

Stolen Iraqi Nuclear Material Story Happened Last Year, so Why Now*

By Ian Greenhalgh

This week, Reuters reported that some ‘highly dangerous’ radioactive material has gone missing in Iraq and may have found it’s way into the hands of ISIS. The moment I heard this my ‘bovine faecal matter detector’ started to twitch uncontrollably.

Why this reaction you ask? Simple, it is the timing – the material was supposedly stolen sometime last year, so why announce it now?

Well, first of all, this is just more Fear Porn to make us all afraid of the ISIS bogeyman. Secondly, and far more significantly, it provides a cover story to account for the presence of radiation should someone explode a nuclear weapon or two in Syria. In such an event, the perps can simply point the finger at ISIS and reference this stolen Iraqi material as the source of the radiation.

If you have been keeping up to date with VT’s reporting on the Middle East, you will know that there are over 80 U.S.-owned tactical nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey; that preparations have been made to steal and deploy these nukes  and those nice folks in Israel have provided specially modified F16s to carry them.

The preparations are in place for Turkey to seize and deploy nuclear weapons; this story about stolen Iraqi material has surfaced at just the right time to add a readymade cover story.

So armed with this knowledge, we all should keep an eye on events in Syria and Turkey in the coming days and weeks for any suspiciously large explosions or mushroom-shaped clouds. The culprit  will not be ISIS, the source of the radiation will not be this stolen Iraqi material, it will be a tactical nuke, just as was used on the innocent people of San’a in Yemen last year.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-nuclear-dirty-bomb-iraq-oil-field-a6879481.html

 ‘Highly dangerous’ radioactive material stolen, sparking fears of Isis ‘dirty bomb’

‘We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh’

Iraq is searching for “highly dangerous” radioactive material stolen last year amid fears it could fall the hands of ISIS jihadis.

The material, stored in a protective case the size of a laptop, went missing from a U.S.-owned storage facility in Basra last November, according to leaked environment ministry documents.

An unnamed senior security official with knowledge of the theft said: “We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh (Isis).

“They could simply attach it to explosives to make a dirty bomb”.

The document, dated 30 November and addressed to the ministry’s Centre for Prevention of Radiation, describes “the theft of a highly dangerous radioactive source of Ir-192 with highly radioactive activity from a depot…in the Rafidhia area of Basra province”.

An anonymous senior environment ministry official based in the city told Reuters the device contained up to 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of Ir-192 “capsules”, a radioactive isotope of iridium also used to treat cancer.

The material is classed as a Category 2 radioactive by the International Atomic Energy Agency – meaning it can be fatal to anyone in close proximity to it in a matter of days or even hours.

So far there is no indication that the material has fallen into the hands of Isis – who do not control this part of southern Iraq – but the group has begun using chemical weapons.

The terror group attacked Kurdish forces with mustard gas during a battle near Erbil, the capital of the Kurds’ autonomous region in Iraq, last August with around 35 soldiers being taken ill.

It is believed to be the first time chemical weapons have been used in the country since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

A “dirty bomb” combines nuclear material with conventional explosives to contaminate an area with radiation, in contrast to a nuclear weapon, which uses nuclear fission to trigger a vastly more powerful blast.

A security official said the initial investigation suggested the perpetrators had specific knowledge of how to handle the material and how to gain access to the facility.

There were “no broken locks, no smashed doors and no evidence of forced entry”, he said.

An operations manager for Iraqi security firm Taiz, which was contracted to protect the facility, declined to comment, citing instructions from Iraqi security authorities.

A spokesman for Basra operations command, responsible for security in Basra province, said army, police and intelligence forces were working “day and night” to locate the material.

Two Basra provincial government officials said they were told to work with local hospitals to identify possible victims on 25 November.

One said: “We instructed hospitals in Basra to be alert to any burn cases caused by radioactivity and inform security forces immediately”.

Source*

Related Topics:

Turkey Halts Troop Deployment, but Illegally Remains in Iraq*

By Any Mean Obama Will have More War*

Britain at Forefront of Deadly Mercenary Trade*

International Criminal Network Caught Making Fake Passports in Russia*

Kerry Calls For Peace as NATO Proxies Lose Ground in Syria*

Washington Planning a Syrian invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia to split Syria in half with Washington controlling the Oil Fields*

European Parliament Calls for Action to Protect Religious Minorities against ISIS, “War Crimes” and “Crimes against Humanity”*

Cover-up of U.K.’s Role in Iraq Atrocities*

Illegal Mission Ends in 3 U.K. Forces Wounded in Iraq*

Iraqi Forces have been Busy doing what U.S. Fails to Do*

U.S. Delivery of Missiles to ISIS Seized by Iraq*

U.S. and Israel is Managing Combat Operations for ISIS and al Nusra in Iraq, Syria*

Washington Preventing Iraq from Turning to Moscow*

Former Iraqi PM Slams the 60 nations in the U.S. –Led ‘anti’ ISIS Coalition*

U.S. Stopping Iraqi Popular Forces’ from Freeing Ramadi from ISIS*

Corbyn Wins 18 Party Elections by a Landslide, but U.K. Media Remains Silent*

Corbyn Wins 18 Party Elections by a Landslide, but U.K. Media Remains Silent*

By Carlyn Harvey

Jeremy Corbyn was given a decisive mandate from Labour’s youth wing in party elections on Thursday. On regional boards and Young Labour’s national committee, 18 seats were up for grabs and Corbyn supporters won every one.

This is a sweeping success for the Labour leader, and for Momentum – the grassroots organisation set up following Corbyn’s leadership win. It could be a sign of things to come at next weeks annual conference for the party’s youth wing, where pivotal roles, of the chair and National Executive Committee representative, will be decided.

But this landslide victory has barely been reported in the media. Highly influential institutions like the BBC consider non-events, such as Russian planes flying close to U.K. airspace, worthy of top story attention. But when it comes to developments that could have a huge impact on our democracy, such as who people want to lead the country, they simply pass on by.

Why is that?

Pick your corner

As is glaringly obvious, despite protestations, the majority of mainstream media outlets have a particular leaning. The Telegraph is a Tory rag. The Mirror dresses to the left. The Guardian likes to think it is somewhere in the middle. The BBC, however, is an entity unto itself, as a public service broadcaster. This status leads people to believe that it is generally balanced.

But, as we reported yesterday, that is not the case. Veteran BBC journalist, Meirion Jones, spells out clearly what drives the BBC

“People ask me is the BBC biased, and my answer is that the fundamental corporate bias is pro-government, regardless of party. It’s the licence fee – stupid. Of course not every story will be pro-government but the overwhelming narrative will be.”

Under the current Conservative leadership, it would not be considered ‘pro-government’ to lead with headlines about how well the opposition leader is doing. Unfortunately for the BBC, this is to its own detriment. If they acted based on a ‘pro-BBC’ bias, rather than ‘pro-government’, they would be more likely to maintain their own existence.

The Conservative government is currently undertaking a charter review of the BBC; as its existing charter is due to expire at the end of this year. The culture secretary John Wittingdale has been critical of the institution and, upon his appointment, many media outlets expressed excitement that this meant the “Tories had gone to war on the BBC”.

By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn has recently spoken out against the U.K. government’s “menacing of the BBC”, despite its bias against him. The institution is keeping to their ‘pro-government’ agenda, despite the fact they would fare better under the leadership of the current opposition. Go figure.

Young minds

Perhaps Corbyn’s resounding victory in these Labour youth elections is not being reported precisely because of their youthful nature. The Conservatives have been particularly callous in their policies for young people. Children’s services are being axed under the austerity strain. Student fees have risen to £9,000, university maintenance grants have been cut, and plans for the removal of housing benefit for 18-21yr olds are afoot. As Owen Jones wrote back in 2012:

“It’s as though the Tories are trying to raise a generation to hate them.”

However, the reasoning behind the Conservative’s policies on young people may not be that emotive. If the Tories don’t believe the young will vote, then anyone under 25 simply won’t matter to them. The media silence on these youth elections reflects that.

The outcome is newsworthy, though, because it proves the Tories wrong. Young people do vote. There is also an interesting caveat that speaks volumes. The voter turnout in the elections was low, reportedly only 3.5% of those eligible to vote did so. But, as detailed, all of the seats went to Corbyn supporters. This suggests that of the 50,926 party members able to vote in the elections, only the Corbyn supporters felt they had something to get out and vote for.

This is a testament to the popularity of Corbyn’s policy positions. It is also indicative of a rare ability in politicians these days. As this mother notes, whilst describing her family’s viewing of Labour’s latest party political broadcast:

“But I saw a look on my son’s face during that broadcast that I haven’t seen for a long time. He looked hopeful.”

Hope is the driving factor behind the Corbyn surge. Hope is also making many in the U.S. #feelthebern. Corbyn gives people hope that they can influence politics, that a world can be created that is fair for all, not just for the few. This is the Corbyn guarantee, as he has pledged himself:

“the commitment I give to you is that a Labour Government will put the people back in power.”

The Conservatives have built a platform based on entitlement, selfishness and fear. All the propaganda they spread claiming that Corbyn is a “terrorist-sympathising” threat to national security, does not distract from the real danger they themselves pose.

The current U.K. government is a threat to our national security, the NHS, workers rights, the disadvantaged, and our democracy itself. Young people know this, and they are taking a stand. Regardless of whether the media ignore their views, they are shaping the world to come.

The current government fears that in the local elections on 5 May this year, “Jeremy Corbyn will take power”. These Labour youth elections could be a harbinger of that.

Source*

Related Topics:

The U.K. Establishment Toppling the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn*

Cameron’s Mother and Aunt Protest against his Cruel Cuts to Children’s Services*

U.K. Secretively Scraps Free Meal Grants for Poorest Primary School Children*

Boundary Changes in U.K. will Swing in Favour of Current Regime*

Corbyn Triumphs as Cameron Fears Failure to Achieve Mandate on Invading Syria*

Blair -Lackeys Plotting Coup to Axe Corbyn from Labour Leadership Race*

Purge of Jeremy Corbyn Voters Unmasks Britain’s Blair’s Labour Party*

Why Corbyn Gained the Unlikely Support of Business*

Member of Central Park Five Ask Terrifying Question about Donald Trump’s Involvement in Their Conviction*

Member of Central Park Five Ask Terrifying Question about Donald Trump’s Involvement in Their Conviction*

#BlackLivesMatter Activist Declines White House Invite, Says Justice Is More Important Than ‘Publicity Stunt’

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Kendrick Lamar Uses Grammy Performance to Expose Mass Incarceration*

U.N. Team ‘Concerned’ About African Americans*

U.S. Elections Get Sicker: Marco Rubio Owned by Lansky Mob via Gay Orgies, Cocaine*

U.S. Kept Plans to Reopen Military Base in Iceland from Icelandic PM*

U.S. Kept Plans to Reopen Military Base in Iceland from Icelandic PM*

© AP Photo/ Kirsty Wigglesworth

 

As a response to the deteriorating relations between Washington and Moscow, the United States will reopen a Cold War-era naval base in Iceland. These plans were kept secret from the Icelandic public, and even the prime minister of the country learned of the deal only through U.S. media reports.

“A lot of Icelanders are worried,” Paul Fontaine, news editor with the Reykjavik Grapevine, told Radio Sputnik.

“When the base closed in 2006, a lot of Icelanders were relieved.”

Located near the capital of Reykjavik, the base, originally built during World War II, will be retrofitted to house P-8 Poseidon surveillance planes. News of this arrangement came as a complete surprise to many Icelanders.

“Why did we learn about this from Stars and Stripes, the U.S. military’s media outlet,” Fontaine asked.

“Even the Prime Minister himself said that he learned about these plans from the news, and that’s highly unusual.”

While the U.S. has so far stated that it only plans to upgrade a single hangar, the move makes it likely that the military presence at the base could be greatly expanded in the future.

“The U.S. military has said that they kind of look at Iceland as having the potential to be like their base in Sicily,” Fontaine says.

“And their base in Sicily has some 4,000 troops and family members and other base workers. I think that calls for worry.”

While opposition figures point out the concerns of allowing the U.S. to expand its military presence in Iceland, the government has downplayed the move.

“People in the opposition are saying, ‘Hey, this is worrisome. Why are we hearing this from the American military and not from you all?’ It’s a very strange way to play things out,” he states.

If war were to break out between the United States and Russia, the presence of an American military base would quickly drag Iceland into the conflict.

“A lot of Icelanders are a little bit concerned that this kind of puts us in a situation right now,” Fontaine says.

“I remember the Cold War, I was in high school through the Cold War, and I remember how these two countries can engage via proxy through smaller parties, and right now we’re the smaller party.”

While the base is said to be temporary, history shows that this may not be the case.

“The American military very seldom sends a few guys and then withdraws them,” he says. “Especially if it’s at a strategic point, especially during a time when tensions are rising with a potential rival.”

“I have very little faith in the word of the American military that they’re just going to send a few guys here and then take them out.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Iceland Counters U.S. Military Claims of ‘Russian Flights’*

U.S. and U.K. Flagrant Abuse of Int’l Law*

U.S. Senate to Declare “International Martial Law”*

Washington Planning a Syrian invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia to split Syria in half with Washington controlling the Oil Fields*

Kidnapped Russian Pilot Describes How It is Legal to Lie in the U.S.*

By Any Mean Obama Will have More War*

International Criminal Network Caught Making Fake Passports in Russia*

41 Dead from Illegal U.S. Airstrikes in Libya*

41 Dead from Illegal U.S. Airstrikes in Libya*

A view shows damage at the scene after an airstrike by U.S. warplanes against Islamic State in Sabratha, Libya. | Photo: Sabratha municipality media office via Reuters

The United States has carried out another airstrike allegedly targeting fighters aligned with the Islamic State group in Libya.

U.S. airstrikes in Libya killed as many as 41 people Friday, according to local officials.

The airstrike pummeled a home in a residential area of the city of Sabratha, targeting suspected militants allegedly linked to the Islamic State group.

Sabratha’s mayor, Hussein al-Thwadi said 41 people were killed and six injured in the strike, according to Reuters.

The mayor said the dead included a number of Tunisian nationals and at least one Jordanian.

The death toll couldn’t be independently verified at the time of writing.

Reuters also reported an unnamed U.S. military official claimed the target of the strike was Tunisian national Noureddine Chouchane.

The official claimed Chouchane was believed to have been involved two high profile insurgent attacks in Tunisia in 2015.

The airstrike was the second major U.S. operation in Libya in recent months. In November 2015, the United States also carried out airstrikes on the town of Derna, supposedly targeting Islamic State group figure Abu Nabil.

Libya has been in a state of crisis since former leader Moammar Gadhafi was ousted and killed amid a NATO intervention.

The crisis has since descended into a state of civil war, with two rival governments and a slew of disparate militant groups vying for control of the country, including fighters claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Source*

Related Topics:

Media Campaign for Cameron’s New War*

U.S. Special ops Forces Told to Leave Libya after Arriving*

U.S. Helps ISIS Gain New Stronghold in Libya*

Libyans Tell Obama ‘Thanks for destroying our country’*

Canada’s Role in the Colonization of Nigeria and in the Destruction of Libya*

U.S. and U.K. Flagrant Abuse of Int’l Law*

10 Examples of the CIA Using Secret Armies to Overthrow Foreign Governments*