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Family life forbidden for migrant workers in Israel (By Mya Guarnieri) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - Maris Delusong, a 36-year-old caregiver from the Philippines, is alone at Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station. She stops at a sale rack outside a clothing store. She looks at the baby clothes, pulls a pink onesie off the rack and runs her fingers over the soft fabric. Her face is sad as she puts the outfit back and moves along"It’s hard to be alone," Delusong says. She found herself drawn to the baby clothes, she says, because "I remember my children. She’s four, the youngest. The eldest is 12."Delusong is five months into a five year "deployment"—the term Filipino migrants use to describe working overseas. Delusong takes care of an elderly woman in Kfar Saba. In Israel, wages are much higher than they are in the Philippines and, here, Delusong can save for her family’s future...

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Is President Obama Planning an Executive Order for the Closure of Guantánamo? (Andy Worthington) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - Last Thursday, out of the blue, Carol E. Lee and Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal reported that senior Obama administration officials had told them that the White House was drafting options that would allow President Obama to close the "war on terror" prison established by President Bush at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, through the use of an executive order. Such an order would bypass lawmakers in Congress, who have imposed a ban on bringing prisoners to the US mainland since 2010, in response to President Obama’s proposal to transfer prisoners from Guantánamo to a maximum-security prison in Thomson, Illinois...

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Negative Capability: Glimpses Beyond the Brutalities of Power (Chris Floyd) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - When you write regularly of politics and empire, you necessarily spend much time steeped in the very worst aspects of human nature. The reality of power is overwhelmingly brutal, ugly and negative; and if as a writer you wish to engage with reality, then the negative will be prominent in your work. I make no apologies for that — except perhaps to apologize that my skills are not sufficient to convey the full "negativity" of our reality. So when I hear the charge that my work is "negative," I shrug my shoulders. I’m writing about politics and power; how could it not be negative? But of course, anyone who spends time raging against the depredations of power, against the negativity of our reality, possesses somewhere within them a more positive vision of what life is, or what it could be, both on public level and in the deeper, murkier depths of the individual personality....

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Clueless: America's ignorance of the Middle East will shock you (CJ Werleman) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - The rapid escalation of the conflict in Iraq and Syria, coupled with Israel’s recent military assault of Gaza, has returned the Middle East to the forefront of both the nation’s media and collective consciousness. What happens next will depend largely on which way the political winds blow public sentiment. Given the US has enormous interests in the Middle East, you would expect your average American to have a good grasp of what the national headlines mean. Especially as the US has invested more treasure, sold more arms, sent more soldiers, lost more lives, and fought more wars than in any other region in the world...

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The Malala you won't hear about (Ben Norton) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - ...Malala's Nobel victory can be appropriated by the U.S. political establishment to "prove" that its invasion, occupation and destruction of Afghanistan has "helped" its people. (As for the hundreds of thousands killed and injured in the process, well, those inconvenient exceptions aren't part of this narrative.) As Michael Parenti points out, while most people who win the Nobel "Peace" Prize do so for war-mongering and crimes against humanity (Henry Kissinger boasts one, for example, along with Barack Obomba himself), Malala actually deserves hers. This makes the exploitation even more grotesque...On October 11, 2013, Malala met with Barack Obama in the Oval Office. The press could hardly have lauded the president more for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet the 16-year-old activist, and for bringing his family with him. What went much less reported was that at this meeting, Malala warned that U.S. "drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people."...

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St. Louis police pressured me “to snitch on my friends,” says Palestinian-American protester (Rania Khalek) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - A Palestinian-American activist says police in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, put pressure on him to inform on others taking part in protests against violence by that force earlier this week. Bassem Masri, a 27-year-old self-described "pissed off citizen" from St. Louis, was arrested on Monday with around a dozen other demonstrators, including the hip-hop artist Tef Poe, while protesting at an area Walmart. It was the third Walmart store that protesters shut down that evening in a series of actions demanding justice for Black lives cut short by police violence...

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Revealed: EU science chief promised to be “flexible” towards Israel’s war crimes (David Cronin) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - Israel’s war crimes sometimes have to be overlooked, according to a senior European Union representative. During 2013, Israel reacted angrily when Brussels officials issued a policy paper stating that the EU would not award funding to firms and institutions based in Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank. Rather than standing up to Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, the EU’s top figures tried to downplay the significance of the "guidelines" contained in that paper. One letter — not published before now — shows that some of this downplaying was tantamount to grovelling...

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Israeli Settlers Set Fire to Abu Baker al-Siddiq Mosque in 'Aqraba Village near Nablus (The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - The Palestinian Center for Human rights (PCHR) condemns the crime committed by Israeli settlers on Tuesday, 14 October 2014, when they set fire to Abu Baker al-Siddiq Mosque in 'Aqraba village, southeast of Nablus, and painted slogans on its walls. PCHR believes that Israeli occupation forces' connivance, support and protection for the settlers encourage them to commit more organized crimes against the Palestinian civilians, and these crimes are the outcome of Israeli governments’ persistent incitements against the Palestinians, which drive the settlers into more hatred and extremism. PCHR condemns such attacks and Israeli government’s complicity and encouragement for them. Moreover, PCHR calls upon the international community to act immediately to provide protection for the Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)...

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Al-Aqsa and the difficult words to say (Lama Khater) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014 - The words don't come out of our mouths and the ink of the pens we write with fades away when Jerusalem is at the heart of events. When it is under threat and is being violated, only the issue of Al-Aqsa could render us speechless or make the words difficult to say, or make them worthless. It is this issue alone that makes you feel reserved once you think about writing to describe what is going on, analyse the circumstances surrounding Al-Aqsa, or even answer the question: Why? Why are the attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque being escalated? Why are settlers daring to storm the mosque on a daily basis? Why is everyone silent?...

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Iraq snapshot - October 15, 2014 (The Common Ills) - 29-nov-2014

October 15, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri works to undermine the new prime minister, more US troops are sent into Iraq, CODESTINK's national coordinator reminds us all of how useless that trashy organization is, Susan Rice spins again, and much more. Let's start with stupid idiots.Alli McCracken of CODESTINK, get your ugly ass down here.You can apply any swear word to Alli, they all fit. She's another useless attention whore who pretends to be against this or that but really just diverts attention and criticism from Barack's War Crimes and actions of hostility while lying that she's for peace....

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Syria News - October 14, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 29-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - By the end of Tuesday, LCC were able to document 59 martyrs in Syria including 10 women, 7 children and 4 martyrs under torture: 30 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its suburbs; 7 in Idlib; 7 in Qunaitra; 5 in Aleppo; 5 in Daraa; 3 in Hama; 1 in Deir Ezzor and 1 in Homs...

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Investing in Junk Armies
Why American Efforts to Create Foreign Armies Fail
(By William J. Astore) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - In June, tens of thousands of Iraqi Security Forces in Nineveh province north of Baghdad collapsed in the face of attacks from the militants of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), abandoning four major cities to that extremist movement. The collapse drew much notice in our media, but not much in the way of sustained analysis of the American role in it. To put it bluntly, when confronting IS and its band of lightly armed irregulars, a reputedly professional military, American-trained and -armed, discarded its weapons and equipment, cast its uniforms aside, and melted back into the populace. What this behavior couldn’t have made clearer was that U.S. efforts to create a new Iraqi army, much-touted and funded to the tune of $25 billion over the 10 years of the American occupation ($60 billion if you include other reconstruction costs), had failed miserably....

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Risen’s New Book Exposes Corrupt Zealotry of ‘US War on Terror’ (Norman Solomon) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - ...Obama performed a neat political trick: he took the national security state that had grown to such enormous size under Bush and made it his own. In the process, Obama normalized the post-9/11 measures that Bush had implemented on a haphazard, emergency basis. Obama’s great achievement – or great sin – was to make the national security state permanent. "In fact, as trillions of dollars have poured into the nation’s new homeland security-industrial complex, the corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror... Of all the abuses America has suffered at the hands of the government in its endless war on terror, possibly the worst has been the war on truth ...

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Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq (Full Report ) (Amnesty International) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - Shi’a militias, supported and armed by the government of Iraq, have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in recent months and enjoy total impunity for these war crimes, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today. Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq provides harrowing details of sectarian attacks carried out by increasingly powerful Shi’a militias in Baghdad, Samarra and Kirkuk, apparently in revenge for attacks by the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS). Scores of unidentified bodies have been discovered across the country handcuffed and with gunshot wounds to the head, indicating a pattern of deliberate execution-style killings. "By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart. Iraqi government support for militia rule must end now," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser...

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The legendary piano of Yarmouk (Moe Ali Nayel) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - There is a piano that continues to survive alongside the Palestinians in besieged Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus. Earlier this year the piano appeared in the above YouTube video; it was the first time I learned of its existence. A favorite musical instrument, my ears were absorbed and my eyes followed each stroke of its keys.That decrepit piano from Yarmouk appeared on the screen in front of me as a living, breathing thing. As I watched, the piano sang, directed by cold, dry fingers which appeared almost fossilized. A young Palestinian pianist from Yarmouk dropped his head to the keyboard and his music spoke...

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Who benefits from billions pledged for Gaza reconstruction? (Maureen Clare Murphy) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - A donor conference hosted in Cairo on Sunday to raise funds for the reconstruction of war-devastated Gaza has boasted $5.4 billion in pledges from various Western and Arab governments.Yet Israel is the true beneficiary of this aid money. The self-declared international community has once again footed the reconstruction bill as it arms Israel with the weaponry and ensures it the impunity that only rewards its brutal onslaught on Gaza and essentially guarantees its repetition."This is the third time in less than six years that together with the people of Gaza, we have been forced to confront a reconstruction effort," an exasperated US Secretary of State John Kerry stated at the conference, as though this summer’s bloodshed was something other than inevitable given all those arms Washington lavished on Israel, along with the monetary aid and diplomatic cover since the large-scale assaults in November 2012 and winter 2008-09...

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ISIS in Texas?! ABC Fails an Easy Factcheck (by Peter Hart) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - A politician making a ludicrous claim that has no basis in fact about a major story of the day should be an easy factcheck. But ABC's This Week (10/13/14) reminded us that corporate news outlets are often not very good at this.The claim in question came from Rep. Duncan Hunter (R.-Ca.), who declared, "I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas." He added that "dozens more" evaded capture.So members of the terrorist group that we're told is worse than Al-Qaeda managed to slip into Texas? I feel like we would have heard something about this, even in the dreaded "liberal media."...

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UK Parliament Palestine Motion is Vote of Anger at Israeli Warmongering (By Tariq Shadid) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - ...The symbolism of this vote can be summarized as a vote of anger at Israel and a vote of sympathy for the Palestinians. This is definitely a reason for pro-Palestine activists to cheer it on. Isn’t a lot of what they themselves do about symbolism, and influencing public opinion? When they go out in the streets by the thousands, they don’t exactly expect their demonstration to directly lead to the liberation of Palestine. What they hope to do by such actions is draw attention to the injustices perpetrated by the Israeli against the Palestinians, and raise awareness. On all these levels, this move by the UK Parliament shows that their actions have resulted in a change of hearts at the level of their own representatives in the Chamber...

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The brakes come off: UK Parliament's vote on Palestinian statehood (David Hearst) - 28-nov-2014

October 14 , 2014 - ...Once you pull one thread out of the weave of policies supporting the status quo and the occupation, the whole cloth unravels. Make no mistake, this vote was a landmark moment. For this century and most of the last, Zionists have done everything they can to make Palestine disappear, and the Palestinians invisible - from the founding myth that the land they were settling was "empty", to the refugees, to the internally displaced, to every policy limiting the movement of Palestinians, and dictating where they can or can not live today.After this vote, and others like it, Palestine and Palestinians are somewhat more visible. They have statehood and they have rights as citizens under occupation, rights that are enforceable in British courts as they are in international courts. For how much longer will a British government continue to apply its American dictated veto on moves to apply real pressure on Israel? When will the brakes come off?...

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'Reconstructing Gaza': one conference, many agendas (Pam Bailey) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - ....In fact, the plan developed by UN Envoy Robert Serry for persuading Israel to allow supplies into Gaza for reconstruction - praised by virtually everyone at the conference - will not only further entrench Gaza’s dependence, but also make the international community complicit. For example, under the plan, a steering team consisting of representatives of the Abbas unity government, Israel and the UN will supervise all processes. Supplies ordered for both private homes and large-scale public works - including schools and factories - must be entered into a central tracking database that, according to The Guardian, is accessible to Israeli intelligence agencies...

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The missing context: ‘Islamic State’ sectarianism is not coincidental (Ramzy Baroud) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - ...Fanar Haddad, author of Sectarianism in Iraq: Antagonistic Visions of Unity, like other perceptive historians, doesn't buy into the "ancient hatred" line between Sunnis and Shia. "The roots of sectarian conflict aren't that deep in Iraq," he said in a recent interview. Between the establishment of the modern Iraqi state in 1921 and for over 80 years, "the default setting (In Iraq) was coexistence." Haddad argues that "Post-2003 Iraq ..identity politics have been the norm rather than an anomaly because they're part of the system by design." That "design" was not put in place arbitrarily... Sectarianism and other manifestations of identity politics in Iraq were always overpowered by a dominant sense of Iraqi nationalism, which was violently destroyed and ripped apart by US firepower starting March 2003...

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Imperialist narratives and UN rhetoric on Protective Edge (Ramona Wadi) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - As with other Israeli massacres, colonial tendencies have ensured that "Operation Protective Edge" is relegated to the periphery, with diplomacy taking precedence over the assertion of Palestinian history and memory. From the preliminary talks resulting in the forthcoming reluctant rebuilding of Gaza, to the speeches uttered at the United Nations General Assembly, political discourse remains centred upon adherence to the dominant narrative expressed by Israel and upheld by the compromised international community. During and in the immediate aftermath of the relentless onslaught, Palestinian resistance asserted itself as a renewed force interrupting Israel’s certainties...

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No Syrian Rebels Allowed at ISIS War Conference (Josh Rogin) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - President Obama will join a meeting of top defense officials from 21 countries Tuesday to discuss the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Missing from the confab: anyone that’s actually from Syria. The U.S. government has no near-term plans to include the Free Syrian Army or any other moderate rebel group in the military mission to fight ISIS. None of these opposition figures were even invited to the anti-ISIS coalition meeting being held at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington and chaired by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. U.S. defense officials told The Daily Beast the Syrian rebel groups are simply not partners in the airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which have been failing to stop the Islamic State’s advances both in northern Syria and western Iraq...

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Iraq: Evidence of war crimes by government-backed Shi’a militias (Amnesty International) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - In one single day more than 30 Sunni men were abducted from or near their homes in Samarra, shot dead and their bodies were dumped nearby.
'Shi’a militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting terrorism’ . Shi’a militias in Iraq, supported and armed by the government of Iraq, have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in recent months and enjoy total impunity for these war crimes, said Amnesty International in a new briefing today ....For example, in and around Samarra, a predominantly Sunni city of 400,000 inhabitants, Amnesty has obtained the details of more than 170 mostly young Sunni men abducted since early June. Dozens have later been found dead and the rest remain unaccounted for. In one single day - Friday 6 June - more than 30 were abducted from or near their homes, shot dead and their bodies dumped nearby. The killing spree seems to have been in reprisal for a brief incursion into the city the previous day by Islamic State fighters...

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Israeli Professor Calls for Palestinian Genocide (Richard Silverstein) - 28-nov-2014

October 14, 2014 - There are all sorts of varieties of insane extremists among the settlers. By "insane" I don’t mean that they’re aberrations from the Israeli norm. Just that in polite western society (not Israel, of course) these people would be viewed as nutcases and ignored. Only in Israel (and perhaps this happens in other religious extremist societies as well) are such people turned into prophets, prime ministers, and even esteemed academics. Such a one is Prof. Hillel Weiss, who teaches not Hebrew literature, mind you, a term he banned from his department–but rather the literature of the Jewish people. You see Hebrew is the language and literature of the Jewish people. There is no other. Yiddish? Feh, jargon. Jewish literature in English? Derivative, degenerate and a mark of the bankruptcy of galut...

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