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Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

By Namir Shabibi , Nasser al Sane

Relatives of people killed in the raid gather in one of the decimated houses. (Photo: Nasser al Sane)

 

Planned for months, it was decided over dinner.

The raid on a village in rural Yemen reportedly aimed to capture or kill one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists and deliver a stinging blow to al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), a militant network the U.S. had been trying to dismantle for more than a decade. The collection of small brick houses in Yemen’s dusty central region was home to civilian families as well as militants and was heavily-guarded, meaning a precise, well-practiced operation was paramount. Intense surveillance was carried out for weeks, rehearsals took place in Djibouti, and Navy SEALS awaited the go-ahead from their commander-in-chief. It came just five days after President Donald Trump took office.

But as the elite team descended under the cover of darkness, what could have been the first major victory for the new administration in its renewed mission to defeat radical Islam quickly went dreadfully wrong.

As cover was blown, enemy fire returned and contingency plans failed, tragedy unfolded on all sides.

It is already known that 8-year-old Nawar al Awlaki, the daughter of al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al Awlaki was among those who died in the attack. But following a field investigation, the Bureau can today reveal that nine children under the age of 13 were killed and five were wounded in the raid in al Bayda province on January 29.

Details emerged piecemeal last week regarding civilian and military deaths, the disputed value of the targets and deficiencies in planning – some of the information coming from military sources in unprecedented briefings against its own administration. Insiders told CNN and NBC that the ultimate target was AQAP leader Qasim al Raymi. If the soldiers didn’t find him in the village they hoped they would find clues as to his location.

But despite the growing reports of failure – and despite the death of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William Owens and the destruction of a $70 million Osprey aircraft – Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has continued to insist that the mission was a “successful operation by all standards.”

Evidence gathered by the Bureau must surely challenge that assessment. A fierce gunfight turned into an intense aerial bombardment, and the outcome “turned out to be as bad as one can imagine it being,” said former U.S. ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche.

Working with a journalist who visited the targeted village of al Yakla five days after the raid and talked to nine of the survivors, we have collected the names and ages of all 25 civilians killed as reported by those who live there. The Bureau also has photos of the families hit and the homes destroyed as helicopter gunship fire rained down.

AQAP say 14 “of its men” were killed in the clash, including six villagers. The youngest was 17, the oldest 80.

The villagers say 25 civilians died alongside a group of militants, including nine children under the age of 13.  They deny that any of the dead villagers were AQAP members. Of the nine young children who died, the smallest was only three months old. Eight women were killed, including one who was heavily pregnant. Seven more women and children were injured.

There is fury at the U.S. for what the villagers say was yet another example of disregard for civilian life in the pursuit of terror.

“It is true they were targeting al Qaeda but why did they have to kill children and women and elderly people?” said Zabnallah Saif al Ameri, who lost nine members of his extended family, five of whom were children.

“If such slaughter happened in their country, there would be a lot of shouting about human rights. When our children are killed, they are quiet.”

Villagers described chaos, with people shot as they attempted to flee the gun battle before helicopters opened fire.

“They killed men, children and women and destroyed houses,” said Mohsina Mabkhout al Ameri, who lost her brother, nephew and three of her nephew’s children.

“We are normal people and have nothing to do with al Qaeda or [Yemeni rebel movement] the Houthis or anyone. The men came from America, got off the planes and the planes bombed us.”

Civilian deaths can provide ‘recruitment tool’ for terrorists

This is by no means the first U.S. counter-terror operation in Yemen which has killed civilians. Each one has stoked more resentment among the population. Yemeni foreign minister, Abdul Malik al Mekhlafi, said on his official Twitter account that the deaths amounted to “extrajudicial killings.”

A campaign statement by Donald Trump suggests the new leader of the free world may view such civilian casualties as inevitable, or even necessary.

“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he said in December.

“When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”

Trump’s statement led to speculation that women and children might be deliberately targeted by the U.S. But Stephen Seche, who was US ambassador to Yemen from 2007-10, told the Bureau he did not believe America had changed its attitude towards protecting civilians. However “the enormous cost in human life” from this particular raid would damage the legitimacy of American intervention in Yemen, he told the Bureau.

“It’s a horrific calculation to have to make and the outcome in this case turned out to be as bad as one can imagine it being.”

Far from delivering a blow to AQAP, the raid may have strengthened it.

“Groups like AQAP will contend [this attack] shows Trump is making good on his campaign pledge,” said Letta Tayler, Terrorism and Counterterrorism Researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Even if Trump wasn’t serious, armed extremists are likely to jump on every photo of a Yemeni child killed in a U.S. strike as a recruitment tool.”

“The use of U.S. soldiers, high civilian casualties and disregard for local tribal and political dynamics… plays into AQAP’s narrative of defending Muslims against the West and could increase anti-U.S. sentiment and with it AQAP’s pool of recruits,” said International Crisis Group in a report released three days after the attack.

The alleged target of the raid certainly appeared to think it had helped AQAP’s cause, releasing a message on February 5 mocking the US. “The fool of the White House got slapped,” said al Raymi in an audio recording which military sources said was authentic, reported NBC.

A nightmare unfolds

As Abdallah al Ameri and his neighbour Sheikh Abdallah al Taisi prepared for bed on January 28, they could be forgiven for thinking they had suffered enough bad luck for a lifetime. Both men, subsistence farmers now too old to work their land, had already survived a U.S. drone attack which hit Abdallah’s wedding party in December 2013. They both lost their eldest sons in that attack, which killed 12 people but which the U.S. has never formally acknowledged.

Their home region of al Bayda had been battered since late 2014, as the Yemeni government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi began its slow-motion collapse. In its place, a three-way battle erupted between tribes allied to the government, the Houthi rebel movement and al Qaeda militants. An international coalition led by Saudi Arabia would join the fray the following year.

Yemen’s hinterland, Yakla included, faced Houthi shelling, incursions by AQAP and bombing by US drones – all on top of severe food and fuel shortages wreaked by a Saudi-led blockade. Yemen now stands on the brink of famine.

The day leading up to the strike, rebel Houthis encamped in the nearby Qaifa mountains fired Katyusha rockets at tribal militiamen in Yakla. The militiamen were allied to the internationally-recognised government led by President Hadi. It was a familiar exchange in an ongoing battle for control of the region since the start of the rebellion.

But the ominous sign of things to come was subtler. Sadiq al Jawfi, a member of a local cross-party ceasefire committee which monitors violations at the request of the UN Security Council envoy to Yemen, told the Bureau that mobile phone coverage providing Yakla with its only line to the outside world had been cut. Yemen’s National Security Bureau (NSB), historically allied to former President Ali Abdallah Saleh and now his Houthi allies, had a history of restricting coverage prior to military operations.

It was a moonless night and the calm in Yakla was punctured only by the familiar sound of drones buzzing overhead.

In the middle of the night U.S. special forces flew from the aircraft carrier USS Makin Island in Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and landed a few kilometres from the village. Things started to go wrong right from the start. One of the Ospreys crash-landed, injuring three of the troops.

“The operation began when the soldiers landed next to the graveyard which lies about 2km away from our town, north of Yakla”, Sheikh Abdelilah Ahmed al Dahab said.

The soldiers then proceeded on foot, flanked by military dogs, in the direction of the village. Villagers say there were about 50 soldiers.

An 11-year-old is the first hit

His son Ahmed was the first casualty. According to al Dahab the 11-year-old was woken by the commotion outside and went to see what was going on.

“When my son Ahmed saw them, he couldn’t tell that they were soldiers because it was dark,” he said.

“He asked them ‘Who are you?’ but the men shot him. He was the first killed. No one thought that marines would descend on our homes to kill us, kill our children and kill our women.”

Tribal leaders Abdelraouf al Dahab and his brother came out to confront the soldiers and were shot dead, committee member Sadiq al Jawfi said. Local sources say they were AQAP members, and press reports released in the initial aftermath of the raid suggested that Abdelraouf and Sultan were among the primary targets of the operation. 80-year-old Saif al Jawfi, who also had al Qaeda connections according to AQAP, came out to see the commotion. He too was killed.

Relatives of those who died, including the seven children of Fatim Saleh Mohson al Ameri. (Photo: Nasser al Sane)

 

SEAL Team 6 attacked the home of 65-year-old Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, surrounding it and opened fire indiscriminately, Abdelilah al Dahab and other witnesses claimed.

“When people heard the gunshots and missiles, local men rushed out of their homes to find out what was going on,” he said.

Three witnesses said the commandos shot at everyone who left their homes. In these lawless parts of Yemen every home has a Kalashnikov and the residents reached for their guns “to defend their homes and their honour,” Abdelilah al Dahab said.

The villagers say 38-year-old mother of seven, Fatim Saleh al Ameri was fatally shot by special operators while trying to flee with her two-year-old son Mohammed.

“We pulled him out from his mother’s lap. He was covered in her blood,” said 11-year-old Basil Ahmed Abad al­ Zouba, whose 17-year-old brother was killed.

As the firefight ensued, helicopter gunships appeared and “shot at everything”, including at homes and people fleeing, Sadiq al Jawfi and other witnesses said. Fahad Ali al Ameri woke up to the gunfire.

“I was woken up after midnight by the bombing of the helicopters. There were soldiers on the ground shooting at us. They started shooting at us with machine gun fire.”

He says a missile fired at his home, killing his three-month-old daughter as she lay asleep in her crib.

Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, one of the dead, had previously survived a U.S. strike on his wedding party. (Photo: Reprieve)

 

The al-Ameri family was particularly badly hit. Abdallah, 65, who had survived the attack on his wedding party three years earlier, was killed alongside his 25-year-old daughter Fatima and 38-year-old son Mohammed. Three of Mohammed’s four children also died – Aisha, 4, Khadija, 7, and Hussein, 5. A further nine members of the extended family were killed.

At some stage, al Qaeda militants who had encamped in the nearby Masharif and Sharia mountains descended to engage the U.S. commandos in a fight which would last over two hours. AQAP say 14 of its men died in total: six villagers and eight others.

The eight-year-old daughter of the late radical American preacher Anwar al Awlaqi, who was visiting her uncle Abdelilah al Dahab, was hiding in a room when it was attacked by the gunships, her uncle said.

“Some of the gunfire went through the windows and Nawar was injured in her neck,” he said.

The girl would not survive.

“We tried to save her but we couldn’t do anything for her,” said Abdelilah al Dahab.

“She was injured around 2.30am and bled until she died at around dawn prayers.”

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours.

The eight-year-old daughter of the late radical American preacher Anwar al Awlaqi, who was visiting her uncle Abdelilah al Dahab, was hiding in a room when it was attacked by the gunships, her uncle said.

“Some of the gunfire went through the windows and Nawar was injured in her neck,” he said.

The girl would not survive. “We tried to save her but we couldn’t do anything for her,” said Abdelilah al Dahab. “She was injured around 2.30am and bled until she died at around dawn prayers.”

U.S/ special operatives made an exit from the village at around the same time, say villagers, but some air attacks continued.

In the days that followed, conflicting narratives emerged. At first, the Department of Defense’s Central Command (Centcom) was bullish, describing the raid as “one in a series of aggressive moves against terrorist planners in Yemen.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis gave a statement honouring the soldier who died. Chief Petty Officer Owens, 36, “gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” he said.

As details about civilian casualties emerged – most notably that of eight-year-old Nawar al Awlaqi, whose photograph was circulated – the tone was softened. It was “concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen Jan. 29,” said a statement released on February 1. “Casualties may include children.”

Two days later the Pentagon released a video showing a man building bombs which it said had been discovered in the raid. Within hours it was removed from the Pentagon’s website’s after people pointed out the same video had been published online in 2007.

 Yemeni government reassesses U.S. relationship

The raid has caused anger in the Yemeni government as well as among civilians. A senior official told Reuters on Wednesday that concerns had been expressed to the U.S. government and in future “there needs to be more coordination with Yemeni authorities before any operation and that there needs to be consideration for our sovereignty.”

The White House, however, continues to insist that the raid was “highly successful.”

“It achieved the purpose it was going to get – save the loss of life that we suffered and the injuries that occurred,” Spicer said in a press briefing on February 7. “The goal of the raid was intelligence-gathering. And that’s what we received, and that’s what we got.”

Centcom did not respond to a request for comment from the Bureau.

U.S. counterterrorism ops in Yemen

The last time US special forces launched a ground operation like this one was in November 2014. It was a rescue mission, trying to spring an American and a South African taken hostage by al Qaeda. Tragically the mission failed and the hostages were killed.

Though U.S. boots have been on the ground in Yemen off and on since 2002, drones and manned jets lead the hunt for AQAP.

More than 162 strikes have left 815 people dead, including 134 civilians (in the last three years of Obama’s presidency civilian deaths in drone attacks dropped considerably). Hundreds of al Qaeda fighters have been reported killed, including a succession of men chosen as the group’s emir.

In 2011, when the Arab Spring reached Yemen and unseated its dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, al Qaeda took full advantage. It turned from a small terrorist group, focused on blowing up airliners over the U.S., to an insurgent group governing a chunk of southern Yemen.

With this transition to insurgency, AQAP became the only group in Yemen to actually profit from the 2011 uprising, according to the recent International Crisis Group report.

In May 2016 U.S. soldiers were deployed to an airbase in the south-western province of Lahj  alongside Yemeni troops, coordinating US air strikes and Yemeni ground forces against AQAP.

Together Yemeni soldiers and U.S. air power unseated AQAP from its stronghold but only succeeded in driving the terrorists into the mountains. It has become embedded in the ongoing civil war in Yemen, setting itself up as a Sunni bulwark against the Shia Houthi militias which have occupied the capital since 2014.

Source*

Related Topics:

Idlib Raid Hits CIA/Saudi Backed Rebels as “President Banner” Tries to Bury Yemen Blunder*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *

Britain Confirms U.K-Made Cluster Bombs Used by Saudi-led Forces in Yemen*

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

WikiLeaks Releases 500 Documents Showing U.S. ‘arming and funding’ Yemeni Forces*

This is a List of Labour MP’s that voted to continue to murder children in Yemen*

The Anguish, Bloodshed and Forgotten Heroes in the Ignored War on Yemen*

How Israel Was Busted Nuking Yemen*

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The U.S. Symbol of Wealth, Power and Corruption

The U.S. Symbol of Wealth, Power and Corruption

 

This well made video-documentary takes a local look at the American  history of a family tree that is symbolic of wealth, power and corruption.

 

Meals Ready!

Meals Ready!

From Alexandra Bruce

This heart-touching short film from India may inspire gratitude for what one already has 2011, Anooj, award-winning, short film from Nithuna Nevil Dinesh.

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The World Does NOT Revolve Around Me.‏

From Liberation to Re-enslavement

From Liberation to Re-enslavement

By Hwaa Irfan

Sometimes, when something happens, one cannot comment, because it knocks the wind out of our sails. One maybe stunned for a while afterwards, knowing the wrongness in which something has prevailed, but yet unable to comprehend the extent to which we allow ourselves to be enslaved again, and again, and again.  That is the fuel of colonialism, the fuel that keeps it burning, because there are always enough people to do the work for the oppressor. Always it takes a burning reality to present its self in one’s life to recognize the silenced inner voice – until then, one remains enslaved while the balance of the universe remains compromised.

In psychoanalytical terms, the stair is the symbolic spine of the house. As we look at this artwork of Peter Brooker we see a vicious circle ascending like a Tower of Babel. As one moves around the streets of Cairo, the youth who are 200% behind the January 25th Revolution stand out a mile. They stand with wisdom as their spine, defending what is right and confronting what is wrong in everyday life within the culture of respect of their elders, but not allowing for abuse of that culture of respect. They fill the spaces where the police remain invisible trying to add some order with respect whether it is the traffic on the streets, or a black foreigner who is caught in the web of racist existence that still remains post January 25th. They stand up for the rights of all regardless of faith, and add meaning to what it means to be Egyptian, what it means to be human, and what it means to take responsibility for one’s dreams. This is in the midst of still far too many Egyptians who are all too ready to take their own rights, but do not acknowledge the rights of others, including the water rights of their up-river neighbours past Sudan denied by a dam that was built by the same system that the Revolutionary Youth Coalition still seek to rid from Egypt!

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Have no fear for atomic energy
’cause none of them can stop the time” – Bob Marley

Some do feel they can stop the time like a news reporter on an Egyptian state T.V. channel who reports the developments on the stock exchange like football results, and then is flabbergasted by the needs of the Palestinians when he stated: “We have got our own problems!”

Those who carry on before exploiting others are happy that the Ivory Coast has been re-enslaved again. For them there is no regime change, and the U.S. remains the means by which they can continue ignoring that the U.S. is in fact bankrupt, and the American people with a growing exception seem to be more enslaved than them.

“Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom
’cause they all I ever had
Redemption songs, redemption songs.”

But the redemption songs of the Ivory Coast remains un-sung, and no one else seems to singing as the international elite, France in particular believes it can breathe again.

“Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.”

The Ivory Coast is classified as one of 14 Francophone zones, with amenities : the airline, telephone, electricity, water companies, some banks remaining under French control, with France maintaining a stranglehold on the Ivorian commerce preventing a realized independence.

Maritime – The main operator is French, Bollore, Saga, Delmas controlling the port of Abijan, the main transit port of West Africa.

Railway – The Ivorian-Burjino railway is controlled by the French company Sitarail, which controls the tobacco and rubber industry.

Construction –  Along with public works is controlled by French company Bouygues

Oil – 160 petrol stations, is owned by the French oil company Total, which also has 25% of the shares of the top Ivorian oil refinery Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage, and controls the supply of bitumen.

Telephone – The main shareholder in Cote d’Ivoire Telecom and Societe Ivoirienne des Mobiles is French Telecom…
And cars, pharmaceutics, and new technology is monopolized by Groupe Compagnie Francaise de l’Afrique de l’Ouest de Cote d’Ivoire, along with exports and retail trade now taken over by Pinault-Printemps-La Redoute group. Oh, and don’t forget the sweet gold riches earned by the West from Ivory Coast’s raw chocolate!

The Ivory Coast is an example of Haiti today, and the Doctrine of Discovery in process, with the Ivory Coast as a profitable colony for the neo-colonists with only a direct investment of €3.5 billion. To Ivorian M’Bra Akroman the French bombing of Ivorians backed by the U.N. is unforgettable:

“Obama’s position in the Ivorian electoral crisis sent us a clear message that we as Africans do not matter. What’s another 100,000 dead Africans to the cause of the NWO??? yes this is what it’s all about and the NWO agents want to make an example out of us for all the zealous patriots worldwide who would dare to fight for their right to own their land.”

Admittedly, the nightmare that Ivorians were put under by the mental slavery of their own, and the bombs of the neo-colonial puppeteers, was enough to make some Ivorians betray their own, but was it not the whole point. France was the first to bomb Libya, and France has now proven itself a worthy partner of the Rat Pack: US-UK + France; boosting U.S. confidence over its ‘stay’ in Libya, while other countries pay U.S. domestic bills. Egpyt’s interim government played wisely when the International Monetary Fund rushed to offer a loan by not accepting, as the IMF makes the same moves towards Ivory Coast as it did in the past when Alassane Outtara a former IMF CEO, and former Prime Minister of Houphouet-Boigny (where Outtara administered an IMF deal that plunged Ivorians into poverty the true intent of the international elite towards Ivorians remains crystal clear to the blind!

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfil de Book.
Won’t you help to sing
Dese songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs –
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.”


Sources:

Akroman, M. “Ivory Coast Native: “Obama Cares Little for Blacks.” http://www.henrymakow.com/ivory_coast_1.html

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The International Elite vs. Communal Democracy of Ivory Coast

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Controlling Haiti

Xenophobia on African Shores and Elsewhere

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Truth, Karma and Reform

March for the Alternative Turned Nasty

Who or What is Financing the States?

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300 Year Old Vietnamese Forest Food System

300 Year Old Vietnamese Forest Food System

Today’s clip is an inspiring story about the past and the kind of future that
is a viable, sustainable one for humanity.

Paradise on Earth — a 300 year old food forest in Vietnam. Twenty-eight generations have shared in developing this spectacularly lush
environment that not only feeds the family but provides all the medicinal
herbs and plants they need.”

For those governments itching to sell their nations forests for the short term solution of biofuels/sequestered carbons, this demonstrates what is truly sustainable for us, our children, and our children’s children…

 

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Al-Biruni’s “Economy of Nature” in Modern Biotechnology

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Increasing Food Insecurity for Short Term Gain

The Lesson That Cannot Be Taught!

Nature Helps Our Brain Connect!

New Intellectual Property Right Laws Increase Risk of Bad Medicine

A Food Revolution!

Finding a Global Balance

A Victory for Farmers, Consumers and Environment

Can’t See the British Woods Without the Trees

Providing Your Own Energy Supply

Providing Your Own Energy Supply

This is not a new idea; in fact there are a couple examples in history e.g. the Naqshbandi of Turkey, and Tesla whose blueprints fell under the umbrella of “national security.” In fact, in recent times, I recall an Australian couple who provided their own domestic (solar) energy supply enough to even contribute to the local electricity grid – there’s a revolutionary notion.

Here, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dan Nocera talks about  Sun Catalytix, the company that’s producing the next generation of solar energy. He recently discovered an inexpensive way to power homes and transportation by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen with the Sun.

Perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of his concept is that of “Personalized Energy,” where each individual would produce the energy that they require, rather than relying upon a vast electrical grid or on any of the toxic and quickly depleting fossil fuel resources currently in use.

To develop his discovery, he was given a $4 million grant through the Advanced Research Project Agency and the Department of Energy via the Recovery Act.

President Obama’s Administration may not be popular at the moment, but their support of this forward-thinking model of energy independence may well be the best decision made by a sitting
US Government in a long, long time.

Have you been convinced by the idea of burning up all our vegetation in the name of “alternative fuel” under the guise of biomass? Full of doubts, well listen to this argument also presented by Dan Nocera!

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Behind the Food Price Crisis!

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Wiki-exposes the Bestiality that is Zionism

The manner in which Wikileaks have been leaked questions whether they are actually leaks – the timing of each leak seems to be a continuance of a strategy that underlies the so-called “war on terrorism” or more correctly the reorganization of the world’s natural resources.

However, while the world concerns itself with the repercussions of its lifestyle in the form the global economic crisis, for over half a century a people have been terrorized, dehumanized, and humiliated, and the world has been played. As Israel continues to push the U.S. towards exciting war with Iran, Syria and Lebanon, Israel is setting dogs on Palestinians who dare to remain in their own land, is destroying their homes, changing name places according to a custom-made Israeli history, and holds the world to ransom while the world pays for it!

Related Topic:

The Peace that Will Not Proceed

Fasting for Change