Archive | October 26, 2016

Al Nusra Blocking Aleppo Aid Delivery*

Al Nusra Blocking Aleppo Aid Delivery*

Russia is calling on the international community to ensure the safe passage of civilians evacuating Aleppo.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday that Russia and the Syrian government were ready to resume the ‘humanitarian pause’ which initially began last week.

“Six humanitarian corridors are open around the clock, hot food and first-aid are provided for the civilians leaving the eastern districts of Aleppo,” Konashenkov said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier blamed the Islamist terrorist group Al Nusra Front and its affiliates in eastern Aleppo for blocking humanitarian aid efforts to reach some 250,000 civilians.

He also said the U.S. had failed to identify and separate what are classified as legitimate – or moderate – rebel groups from Al-Qaeda loyalists such the Al Nusra Front.

This had been one of the main conditions leading up to the September ceasefire, and – Lavrov says – failure to implement the separation contributed to its collapse.

Russia began a unilateral ‘humanitarian pause’ in Aleppo last week to allow civilians to leave the city and facilitate aid deliveries.

Russian military sources said that some civilians using ‘safe corridors’ were fired upon by rebel groups.

Lavrov’s statements came following telephone diplomacy he conducted separately with both his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby said that during their phone call Kerry had expressed concern about the renewal of “attacks on Aleppo by Syrian government forces and Russian warplanes after a pause in the fighting last week”.

Following the phone calls, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement about Al Nusra Front blocking aid delivery.

“Representatives of U.N. humanitarian agencies should eliminate these obstacles, and cooperate with the countries which have an influence on the militants,” the ministry noted.

Civilian deaths

Meanwhile, Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the U.S.-led Coalition targeting the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria must do more to ensure it does not strike civilian areas.

“In its backing of anti-ISIS ground forces during this summer’s Manbij campaign, the U.S.-led coalition killed some 250 or more civilians, and yet it does not acknowledge them,” said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty’s researcher for Syria.

“We fear that since it is not recognising or learning from such mistakes that in the campaign for Mosul, which is far greater than Manbij, the coalition is on course to kill even greater numbers of civilians and risk a serious backlash.”

Earlier this week, the Russian military said it had tracked two US-led Coalition fighter jets which had fired on a funeral gathering in a town near Iraq’s Kirkuk.


Related Topics:

Syrian Catholics Denounce Western Media Biased Reporting on Aleppo*

Unity on U.S. Hands Off Syria Coalition*

Syrian Army Establishes Control over More Areas in Aleppo*

US-led Coalition Airstrikes Kill 60+ Civilians in Mosul*

What You Aren’t Being Told About The Iraqi ISIS Offensive*

How Lying Takes our Brains Down a ‘slippery slope’*

How Lying Takes our Brains Down a ‘slippery slope’*

Researchers have shown that self-serving lies gradually escalate, and they have revealed how this happens in our brains. Credit: © pathdoc / Fotolia

Telling small lies desensitises our brains to the associated negative emotions and may encourage us to tell bigger lies in future, reveals new UCL research funded by Wellcome and the Center for Advanced Hindsight.

The research, published in Nature Neuroscience, provides the first empirical evidence that self-serving lies gradually escalate and reveals how this happens in our brains.

The team scanned volunteers’ brains while they took part in tasks where they could lie for personal gain. They found that the amygdala, a part of the brain associated with emotion, was most active when people first lied for personal gain. The amygdala’s response to lying declined with every lie while the magnitude of the lies escalated. Crucially, the researchers found that larger drops in amygdala activity predicted bigger lies in future.

“When we lie for personal gain, our amygdala produces a negative feeling that limits the extent to which we are prepared to lie,” explains senior author Dr Tali Sharot (UCL Experimental Psychology).

However, this response fades as we continue to lie, and the more it falls the bigger our lies become. This may lead to a ‘slippery slope’ where small acts of dishonesty escalate into more significant lies.”

The study included 80 volunteers who took part in a team estimation task that involved guessing the number of pennies in a jar and sending their estimates to unseen partners using a computer. This took place in several different scenarios. In the baseline scenario, participants were told that aiming for the most accurate estimate would benefit them and their partner. In various other scenarios, over- or under-estimating the amount would either benefit them at their partner’s expense, benefit both of them, benefit their partner at their own expense, or only benefit one of them with no effect on the other.

When over-estimating the amount would benefit the volunteer at their partner’s expense, people started by slightly exaggerating their estimates which elicited strong amygdala responses. Their exaggerations escalated as the experiment went on while their amygdala responses declined.

“It is likely the brain’s blunted response to repeated acts of dishonesty reflects a reduced emotional response to these acts,” says lead author Dr Neil Garrett (UCL Experimental Psychology).

“This is in line with suggestions that our amygdala signals aversion to acts that we consider wrong or immoral. We only tested dishonesty in this experiment, but the same principle may also apply to escalations in other actions such as risk taking or violent behaviour.”

Dr Raliza Stoyanova, Senior Portfolio Developer, in the Neuroscience and Mental Health team at Wellcome, said:

“This is a very interesting first look at the brain’s response to repeated and increasing acts of dishonesty. Future work would be needed to tease out more precisely whether these acts of dishonesty are indeed linked to a blunted emotional response, and whether escalations in other types of behaviour would have the same effect.”


Related Topics:

G7 Boldly Displays its Lies Regarding anti-Russia Sanctions*

Heritage as Defiance against Elite Lies and Erasure*

British Parliament Confirms Libya War Was Based On Lies …*

French Teacher Inflicted Self Injury Blamed ISIL for a Job Transfer*

Teenage Girl Admits Making up Migrant Rape Claim That Outraged Germany*

Apple’s New ‘Wireless’ Headphones Emit Radiation … Right Next to Your Brain*

Mental Illness and the Gut-Brain Connection*