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The media’s big torture lie: “Enhanced interrogation” and the politics of false equivalence (Marcy Wheeler) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - "U.S. Senate ’Torture’ Report Summary to Be Declassified in a Few Days," a Reuters headline reported Tuesday, complete with scare quotes around the word "torture." In the article, journalist Mark Hosenball reported that "CIA’s use of harsh 'enhanced interrogation’ methods such as waterboarding, or simulated drowning, on a handful of prisoners, and other stress tactics on a larger set of captured militants, did not produce any significant counter-terrorism breakthroughs." The next paragraph helpfully noted that, "Human rights activists and CIA critics, including some U.S. politicians, have described the CIA’s techniques as torture." Near the end, Hosenball explained where "the militants subjected to enhanced interrogation" — with no scare quotes this time — were captured....

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Never ask me about peace again (Asmaa al-Ghoul) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - Tears flowed until my body ran dry of them when I received a telephone call on Aug. 3, informing me that my family had been targeted by two F-16 missiles in the city of Rafah. Such was the fate of our family in a war that still continues, with every family in the Gaza Strip receiving its share of sorrow and pain.My father’s brother, Ismail al-Ghoul, 60, was not a member of Hamas. His wife, Khadra, 62, was not a militant of Hamas. Their sons, Wael, 35, and Mohammed, 32, were not combatants for Hamas. Their daughters, Hanadi, 28, and Asmaa, 22, were not operatives for Hamas, nor were my cousin Wael’s children, Ismail, 11, Malak, 5, and baby Mustafa, only 24 days old, members of Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Fatah. Yet, they all died in the Israeli shelling that targeted their home at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday morning....

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The Fourth Branch: The Rise to Power of the National Security State (Tom Engelhardt) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - ...Whatever happens with the report itself and despite the recent CIA apology, don’t expect the Senate to bring perjury charges against former CIA leaders for any lies to Congress. (It didn’t do so, after all, in the earlier case of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.) And don’t expect prosecutions of significant figures from a Justice Department that, in the Obama years, refused to prosecute even those in the CIA responsible for the deaths of prisoners. The fact is that, for the Fourth Branch, this remains the age of impunity. Hidden in a veil of secrecy, bolstered by secret law and secret courts, surrounded by its chosen corporations and politicians, its power to define policy and act as it sees fit in the name of American safety is visibly on the rise. No matter what setbacks it experiences along the way, its urge to expand and control seems, at the moment, beyond staunching. In the context of the Senate’s torture report, the question at hand remains: Who rules Washington?...

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Gaza: Israeli Soldiers Shoot and Kill Fleeing Civilians (Human Rights Watch) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - Israeli forces in the southern Gaza town of Khuza’a fired on and killed civilians in apparent violation of the laws of war in several incidents between July 23 and 25, 2014. Deliberate attacks on civilians who are not participating in the fighting are war crimes.Seven Palestinians who had fled Khuza’a described to Human Rights Watch the grave dangers that civilians have faced in trying to flee the town, near the Israeli border, to seek safety in Khan Younis. These included repeated shelling that struck apparent civilian structures, lack of access to necessary medical care, and the threat of attack from Israeli forces as they tried to leave the area...

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Witnessing the systematic destruction of Gaza (SocialistWorker) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - ....MORALE REMAINS strong, even among those facing the toughest circumstances. Whenever I walk into al-Shifa hospital, I pass through an encampment of displaced people, mostly from Shejaiya to the east, erected on the grounds. I'm always struck by the visible strength and determination of its residents, as well as the paramedics, nurses, doctors, journalists and coffee vendors within the hospital itself.Nearly all in Gaza are tired of endless bombardment and hope for a cease-fire, of course. But there's a broad consensus that any cease-fire worthy of the name must include an end to Israel's siege, allowing Palestinians to travel, trade, fish, farm and conduct their political affairs without restrictions, by definition. In fact, while I'm not a pollster, I don't personally know of anyone here willing to settle for less....

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Pakistani man held at US facility denied legal counsel during decade-long hold (Spencer Ackerman) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - For years, as he was caged in a barely acknowledged detention facility on the outskirts of Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Yunus Rahmatullah’s captors denied him access to a lawyer.Rahmatullah, a Pakistani man first detained by the UK in Iraq in 2004, has described his inability to even speak to counsel in a lawsuit he has filed in Britain, where, unbeknownst to him, his case had attracted the attention of UK judges. Although he claims he "endlessly and relentlessly requested access to a lawyer," the US military uniformly denied him. Until his release in May, Rahmatullah was among the most secret cohort of detainees the US still holds in the Obama era: the dozens of non-Afghans, mostly Pakistanis, within the Detention Facility at Parwan, about an hour’s drive from Kabul...

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Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack (Glenn Greenwald) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - The U.S. government has long lavished overwhelming aid on Israel, providing cash, weapons and surveillance technology that play a crucial role in Israel’s attacks on its neighbors. But top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza.Over the last decade, the NSA has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU; also known as Unit 8200), including data used to monitor and target Palestinians. In many cases, the NSA and ISNU work cooperatively with the British and Canadian spy agencies, the GCHQ and CSEC....

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UK Government attempting to “censor” Senate torture report (Reprieve) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - The British Government has admitted that it has "made representations" to the US concerning the release of material in a major forthcoming Senate report concerning the CIA’s torture and rendition programme.
The admission, contained in a letter from former Foreign Secretary William Hague to legal charity Reprieve, has led to accusations that the UK is seeking to "censor" the contents of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report, which is currently undergoing a lengthy declassification process before its expected publication in the coming days....

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With Obama Torture Admission, John Yoo Should Be Investigated (By Sharon Adams) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - Obama just admitted that the United States tortured people. Apparently, he's softening up the public for the imminent release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of the CIA. The Committee's report "will reveal new and shocking details about the CIA's detention, rendition and interrogation program in the years following the 9/11 attacks," according to people who have seen or been briefed on the report. The media, in classic form, is distracting the public from the actual issue of torture by focusing on the issue of CIA spying on the Senate....

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Don’t Cry For Me: Voice of a Palestinian Child in Gaza (By Sam Bahour) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - As the latest horrific obscenity of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip continues, the death toll mounts. Palestinian children are paying the highest price, both those who are killed and wounded, and maybe even more so, those who survive. Since I have written for decades about how Israel’s prolonged military occupation and endless violations of international law—let alone their blatant disregard to their very own self-interests—would get us to this very point, fresh analysis and fresh vantage points are difficult to find. The only words I can muster now, while the images of the carnage are freshly etched into my mind, are the words that may have come from one of the child victims whose life was cut short by a U.S. supplied Israeli F-16 fighter jet missile...

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Israeli deceptions revealed in story of ‘kidnapped’ soldier (Jonathan Cook) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - A single incident over the weekend – the reported capture by Hamas on Friday of an Israeli soldier through a tunnel – illustrated in stark fashion the layers of deception Israel has successfully cast over its attack on Gaza. On Sunday, as the army indicated it would start limited withdrawals, Israel claimed Hadar Goldin was dead, possibly buried in a collapsed tunnel as Israel bombarded the area in which he was seized. His family said he was being left behind. Israeli officials or media did not view Hamas’ operation dispassionately. Goldin was not "captured" but "kidnapped" – as though he was an innocent seized by opportunistic criminals...

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One-fourth of Gaza’s population displaced by Israel’s violence (Rami Almeghari) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - The sounds of Israeli airstrikes, tank shells and drones are the only ones one can hear in Gaza. The noise is overwhelming. On Sunday, 55 Palestinians were killed in multiple airstrikes across Gaza, according to Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. Ten members of the al-Ghoul family in the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza were slain when their home was hit by Israeli fire on Sunday. One of two identical twin baby boys born during during the assault was immediately killed by the strike and the other was reported to be fighting for his life....

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Why is Red Cross co-sponsoring event with Israeli war think tank? (Charlotte Silver) - 22-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - Amidst the continued mass destruction to life and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is teaming up with an Israeli war and security think tank to discuss the "challenges" of waging war in densely populated areas. Seen as serving to ameliorate the Israeli military’s tarnished image, this collaboration is the latest in a series of questionable moves by ICRC, resulting in increased scrutiny of the international organization. An online petition calls on the ICRC to withdraw its co-sponsorship of a conference with the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank that conducts research related to war and the "national security" of Israel....

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The side of Jerusalem the New York Times ignores (Jalal Abukhater) - 21-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - As I read Max Blumenthal’s article revealing the existence of a strange and candid video filmed by the husband of Jodi Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times, I got a kick in the teeth. As I watched the 56-minute video of the Rudoren family’s comfortable life in Jerusalem, I was shocked to see a reality that is completely alien to me as a Palestinian resident of what is supposedly the same city. I found the idea of watching a "day in the life" in such a bubble of privilege absolutely revolting. Jewish-Americans live comfortably in Jerusalem, while the city is made a living hell for us Palestinian "residents."...

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Gaza: a humanitarian and moral crisis (Mohammad Zeidan) - 21-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 - As the crisis in Gaza escalates to truly critical levels, with a death toll breaching 1,830 Palestinians and rising and an 79.9% civilian mortality rate, we are overdue a serious reflection on the nature of the positions being taken by international bodies. It is with grave concern that we must note the lack of human rights and international humanitarian law principles that are guiding the most recent statements from bodies including the UN, the EU Foreign Affairs Committee and those of foreign ministries around the world...

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Military Expert: Israel is using three internationally banned weapons in Gaza (Middle East Monitor) - 21-aug-2014

August 4, 2014 -Israel has used three internationally banned weapons in its recent attacks on the Gaza Strip, a military expert said.Safwat Al-Zayat, a retired Brigadier General in the Egyptian Army and an expert in military affairs, told the Anadolu news agency that "Israel's use of such internationally banned weapons is a continuation of the approach it adopted in Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009." Al-Zayat added that Israel used Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), which had already been used in Operation Cast Lead. DIME weapons spread inert metal atoms that penetrate the human body and are difficult to get out of human tissue...

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Syria News - August 3, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - By the end of Sunday, the coordination committees in Syria were able to document 125 martyrs including 11 women, 14 children, and 4 martyrs under torture: 65 martyred in Damascus and its suburbs, 36 in Aleppo, 7 in Deir Al-zour, 7 martyred in Homs, 5 in Hama, 3 martyrs in Daraa, 1 martyr in Idlib, and 1 martyr in Kenitra.òòò

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On the 27th Day of the Israeli Offensive:Rafah Under Israeli Fire; War Crimes Committed against Palestinian Civilians; Complete Families Annihilated; (The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Israeli occupation forces have continued their brutal and immoral offensive on the Gaza Strip for the 26th consecutive day, and have continued the policy of collective punishment in disregard for the international law and humanitarian law, which ensure protection for civilians in times of war, and in violation of the principles of necessity, proportionality and distinction. Israeli forces have continued their aerial, ground and sea attacks throughout the Gaza Strip, causing more civilian casualties and damaging civilian facilities. Israeli forces escalated their attacks throughout the Gaza Strip. On Saturday afternoon, Israeli forces redeployed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel leaving some areas which they had moved into, excluding al-Shujaa'iya, al-Zaytoun and al-Sha'af neighborhoods in Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and the east of Jablya. ..

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Gandhian struggle was never an option for Gaza (Ramzy Baroud) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - "Where is the Palestinian Gandhi? In Israeli prison, of course!" was the title of an article by Jo Ehrlich published in Mondoweiss.net on Dec 21, 2009. It was written almost exactly one year after Israel concluded a major war against Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009) which was until now the deadliest Israeli attack against the strip for many years.Ehrlich was belittling the question of a 'Palestinian Gandhi’, while responding to the patronising approach others had taken to the concept: "Not that I’m in any way playing into the Palestinian Gandhi dialogue, I think it’s actually pretty diversionary/racist. But sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry...", he writes in his opening paragraph. Indeed, the concept of a "Palestinian Gandhi" was and remains ignorant, patronizing and racist...

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Iran's elite Guards fighting in Iraq (By Babak Dehghanpisheh) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - - In early July, hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of Kamal Shirkhani in Lavasan, a small town northeast of the Iranian capital Tehran. The crowd carried the coffin past posters which showed Shirkhani in the green uniform of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and identified him as a colonel. Shirkhani did not die in a battle inside Iran. He was killed nearly a hundred miles away from the Iranian border in a mortar attack by the militants of the Islamic State "while carrying out his mission to defend" a revered Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra, according to a report on Basij Press, a news site affiliated with the Basij militia which is overseen by the Revolutionary Guards....

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Israeli Army Whistle-Blower Gets Arrested After Posting ‘Israeli Troops Killed Gaza Civilians in Revenge’ on Facebook (Joey Ayoub) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Former combat soldier and company sergeant of the Israeli army turned whistle-blower Eran Efrati, aged 28, was arrested by the Israeli authorities and questioned concerning his research regarding the use of illegal weapons in Gaza. On Tuesday, July 29, Efrati announced on Facebook that he received information from sources within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) revealing what he claims to be the real reason for the Shuja'iyya massacre which occurred nine days prior on July 20: namely that civilians were targeted and killed by Israeli soldiers as punishment for the death of soldiers in their units....

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European Court of Human Rights Delivers Powerful Condemnation of US Torture Program and Poland’s Role Hosting a CIA “Black Site” (Andy Worthington) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Last week there was some extremely important news for those of us who have spent many long years hoping to hold senior US officials — up to and including former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney — accountable for approving and implementing a torture program in the "war on terror," when the European Court of Human Rights unanimously condemned the US for implementing a program of extraordinary rendition and torture, and condemned Poland for its involvement in the program by hosting a secret torture prison — a CIA "black site" – on its soil in 2002-03....

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They can't all be terrorists (The Common Ills) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 -How many 'terrorists' does Iraq have? Let's just look at Saturday.NINA reports Baghdad Operations Command declared they killed 5 today outside Baghdad and, okay, maybe. They're actually suspects. But let's pretend they were proven to be terrorists before they were killed. Five terrorists? Okay, that's plausible. But also the National Information Center claims 30 terrorists were killed "south of Baghdad." Well that's 35.And 16 terrorists, Iraqi security insisted in a press statement, were killed in Hawija. Okay, 51. And military intelligence announced they killed 50 terrorists in Court Saadia. That's 101. Then there's the Air Force insisting they killed 15 terrorists -- and wounded 40 more -- in Jurfis-Sakhar.So that's 156 killed or wounded.And, in other areas of Iraq, the Air Force claims they killed 200 more terrorists. That's 356 dead or wounded in one day....

continua / continued

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