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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....

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Christians United for Israel (Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - If you google "Israel support", the second link that comes up points to Christians United for Israel (CUFI.org), a rightwing evangelical outfit that was founded by Gary Bauer, a long-time Republican Party operative who co-hosted a radio show with Tom Rose in 2006. Rose was the CEO of the Jerusalem Post, a newspaper that publishes articles openly promoting ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza. This week CUFI ran a full-page ad in the New York Times. It might as well had come from the Likud party itself ...

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The End of Impunity (Ahdaf Soueif) - 21-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 -....Benyamin Netanyahu complains that the media show pictures of "telegenically dead" Palestinians. It’s true; my timeline looks like a perverse beauty contest for dead babies and traumatised kids. There are the "before" shots: Essam Ammar, 4, from Gaza City, wears a yellow check shirt and holds a somewhat bedraggled flower, Hind Shadi Abu Harbeid, 10, from Beit Hanoun has clearly been playing with her mother’s nail varnish; she rests her chin on paint-tipped fingers and gazes away from camera, a small smile touching the corners of her mouth and lighting up her eyes. Hatem and Yasmeen al-Yazji hug each other, soft hair flopping over foreheads, big smiles revealing gappy baby teeth. Then there are the "after" images: children on hospital trolleys, children in ambulances, children burned, children blinded, children buried under rubble....

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Violent settler attacks against Palestinians have risen since the start of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ (By Lynda Franken) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Since the start of 'Operation Protective Edge’ there has been an increase in violent attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. These attacks and the amount of impunity held by the perpetrators have created fear within Palestinian communities. Two Israeli settlers tried to kidnap a Palestinian boy in Shu’afat, a neighborhood in East-Jerusalem on Monday. The two-year-old boy, Taha Riyad Tufahha, was walking in front of his father and two sisters when a settler approached and tried to grab him, his father recalls. The kidnapping was prevented due to the help of bystanders. The settlers fled in a car to Ramot, a nearby settlement. It is not the first time the residents of Shu’afat have experienced kidnap attempts....

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Gaza: When Mourning becomes Reawakening! (By Dr. Shah Alam Khan) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 -Do we know how to mourn the dead? Do we know how to laugh in grief and then all of a sudden cry with pain that’s unbearable? Do we know the feel of the cold nozzle of a Kalashnikov on a sweaty forehead? Have we ever heard the explosion of a phosphorus bomb in the house next-door, neighbors included? How many of us can identify the smell of human flesh- raw, burnt, but still human? Welcome to Gaza! The story of Gaza-2014 is the story of four-year-old Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra, of the five-year-old Abdallah Abu Ghazi, of the ten year old Bassim Salim Kawareh, of the four-year-old Sahir Abou Namous and of other innumerable little angles who were born on a piece of land which they thought was their home. Where else can a five year old be most secure than within the four walls of his house? In an era where child rights, child abuse and children safety take center stage; we hear that the four-year-old Khalaf was brought to the hospital "in shreds"...

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Obama Admits He Banned Only “Some” of the CIA’s Torture Techniques (By: Jeff Kaye) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Forgive the tongue-in-cheek, but it is almost as if the only person who reads and responds to my work on torture is President Obama. There was a cascade of coverage of the President’s August 1 remarks concerning John Brennan and his defense of his embattled CIA chief, as Obama was also widely derided for his seeming defense of those who tortured "some folks" after 9/11. (Obama did not mention that the order to torture came from the Oval Office.) "Well, at least he called the crimes out as 'torture," some observers noted. Others, including some in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), called for John Brennan’s resignation as CIA director after he admitted the CIA had spied on Congressional investigators who were writing a thousands-of-pages-long report on the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program....

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Malak and Ahmed will remember this Eid forever (Sarah Salibi) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - We were very excited for this year’s Eid that my little brother and sister bought El-Eid clothes since the first week in Ramadan when the mad war was not there yet. They were waiting impatiently for Ramadan to end so they can wear their brand new clothes and celebrate the Eid. The war started the second week of Ramadan and since then their dreams of having a happy Eid started to fade away. My little brother and sister did not stop asking questions. When is this going to end? Are we going to celebrate? Are we going to wear our new clothes? They kept asking till the Eid came and their questions were answered, answered with bombs and news of death everywhere....

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Despite police ban, hundreds of anti-war demonstrators march in Tel Aviv (By Leehee Rothschild) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Saturday night’s demonstration in Tel Aviv was by far the most successful one held against the current assault on Gaza. With all due respect to those who were arrested last night, neither their arrests nor the police’s brutality are the main story. Because for the first time since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, and after weeks of hiding behind police fences and fleeing hysterically from violent right-wing activists, the Israeli left finally took to the streets....

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Is the BBC trying to shore up support for Israel’s assault on Gaza? (Amena Saleem) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Pro-Israeli broadcasters are finding it ever harder to defend Israel in the face of the large-scale massacres and destruction in Gaza, but the BBC is determined to do its best, sacrificing all claims to impartiality and journalistic integrity in the process.In addition to flooding its radio and television programs with Israeli spokespeople, while keeping Palestinian voices to a minimum, the BBC, as it did during Israel’s 2012 assault on Gaza, has taken to presenting pro-Israel commentators as independent.BBC audiences are, therefore, given strong doses of pro-Israeli propaganda — being told that Hamas is using civilians as human shields, that Israel has shown nothing but restraint in the face of constant rocket attacks, that it is defending its citizens and so on — while under the impression that they are hearing neutral, independent comment...

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“Concentrate” and “exterminate”: Israel parliament deputy speaker’s Gaza genocide plan (Ali Abunimah) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 - Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has published a plan for the total destruction of the Palestinian people in Gaza. His detailed plan, which calls for the use of concentration camps, amounts to direct and public incitement to genocide – a punishable crime under the Genocide Convention. In a 1 August posting on his Facebook page, Feiglin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, calls for the "conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters.""This is our country – our country exclusively," he writes, "including Gaza."...

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35% of the wounded in Gaza suffer disabilities (Middle East Monitor) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 -Over 35 percent of the wounded as a result of the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip suffer from visual, hearing, or mobility impairments, the spokesman of the Palestinian health ministry said Sunday.He added that 55 percent of the wounded are women and children who were home at the time they were attacked.The lack of medical supplies will likely raise these figures, he said. "The shortage in medical teams and the lack of safe exits for the wounded in Gaza will increase the number of disabilities, because most injuries are in the chest or head," he said...

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'Protective Edge' and the re-evaluation of humanitarian concerns (Ramona Wadi) - 20-aug-2014

August 3, 2014 -Within a day following the commencement of Operation Protective Edge, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement replete with rhetoric embraced by Israeli allies. The statement's title, "Indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attacks", is followed by a brief speculation in the form of an inconspicuous subtitle, about the possibility of considering Israeli airstrikes on Gaza as collective punishment. While the statements may sound incongruous, they are perfectly in line with HRW's "core values" as stipulated on their website: "We do not embrace political causes, are non-partisan, and maintain neutrality in armed conflict." Taken within the context of Palestine, the so-called human rights organisation remains shackled to the convenient "humanitarian" approach, while spokespersons of organisations affiliated to the imperialist United Nations, such as UNRWA, have recently started expanding their rhetoric to include political references as recognition against divestment from the political implications...

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Syria News - August 2, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 19-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - By the end of Saturday, LCC were able to document 73 martyrs thus far including 15 children,6 women and 1 martyr under torture: 25 martyrs were reported in Aleppo; 18 in Daraa; 13 in Idlib; 10 in Damascus and its suburbs; 4 in Hama; 4 in Homs and 1 in Swaida...

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Heinous Crimes against Humanity, On the 26th Day of the Israeli Offensive: Massacre in Rafah, Most Violent Since the Beginning of the Offensive; Rafah Isolated and Unprecedented War Crimes Committed (The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)) - 19-aug-2014

August 2, 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 Friday morning, 01 August 2014, following the collapse of the humanitarian truce declared at midnight, and as Israel claimed that an Israeli soldier was kidnapped in Rafah, Israeli forces in an unprecedented and hysterical manner bombarded all areas throughout Rafah from the air, the ground and the sea. No civilian was immune...

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Why Being Human Matters, for the People of Gaza and the World (Stephanie Van Hook) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - Dr. Mona El-Farra, medical doctor and associate of the Middle East Children’s Alliance recently made headlines on Democracy Now! with her plea to end the military assault on Gaza with one powerful statement: "We are human beings." She is, of course, absolutely right. Human beings live in Gaza, and it seems like nothing could be more obvious — if not human beings, then who or what does? And why are we paying attention? Of course, what she is really saying is something much deeper. She’s saying, that to the people in Gaza, it seems like we have somehow forgotten that human beings are there — and that raises more questions. For example: How could one forget the humanity of another and what does it tell us about who we really are?...

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Iraq and Syria: The struggle against the multi-sided counterrevolution (by Michael Karadjis) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - .... While the media focus has been about "regime(s) versus ISIS," in reality, in both countries, there are three main forces in contention:

1. The Bashar al-Assad and Nuri al-Maliki regimes. Both are sectarian-based regimes: the Assad regime is a "secular" totalitarian regime heavily based among the elite of the Alawite religious minority; the Maliki regime is a sectarian, semi-theocratic, Shiite regime closely aligned with both the former US occupier, that facilitated its rise to power, and with the Shiite theocracy in neighbouring Iran.2. The Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), the most extreme Sunni sectarian and theocratic movement in the region, which has set up its own semi-state over parts of Syria and Iraq. A descendant of al-Qaida in Iraq, ISIS was disowned by al-Qaida last year for being unnecessarily and embarrassingly barbaric (though in fact the disagreement went back as far as 2005). It represents an "opposing counterrevolution," formed partially from within the ranks of the uprisings.3. In between, a vast opposition to the regimes which is also distinct from ISIS, in open war with it in Syria, and on and off at war with it in Iraq:In Iraq, this consists of a range of "Sunni tribes" and other Sunni militias which have, over the last year or so, alternatively been fighting the regime alongside ISIS, or fighting against ISIS....

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It’s About the Lying: On John Brennan, the CIA, and Torture (Dan Froomkin) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - I don’t want to understate how seriously wrong it is that the CIA searched Senate computers. Our constitutional order is seriously out of whack when the executive branch acts with that kind of impunity — to its overseers, no less.But given everything else that’s been going on lately, the single biggest — and arguably most constructive — thing to focus on is how outrageously CIA Director John Brennan lied to everyone about it. "As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth," Brennan told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell in March. "We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the, you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we do."...

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Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 2) (By Felipe Stuart & Michael Karadjis) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - ....But no need – because you, Felipe, ensure you fall into the "anti-imperialist camp" trap by spreading falsehoods and total delusions about Syria. To compare the US invasion of Iraq, with hundreds of thousands of troops, with US policy on Syria – i.e., to refuse to send even a bullet to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) for three years while the Assad regime destroyed the entire country with every conceivable "conventional" weapon of mass destruction – is too absurd to even begin to take apart; basically, for you to even make such an impossible comparison is in itself a classic example of bogus "anti-imperialist" analysis furiously attempting to push square poles into round holes. It is fascinating to read a writer like Felipe, who in other ways is very lucid and logical, refer to NATO having "nearly destroyed Syria". So apparently, the MiG fighter planes, helicopter gunships, ballistic missiles, barrel bombs, cluster bombs, incendiary bombs, tanks, artillery, starvation sieges of whole towns (and for that matter, of Palestinian refugee camps), and chemical weapons, have all been supplied to Assad by NATO! Oh, but no, you don’t mean that, do you. You simply think that the duty of "anti-imperialism" is to look the other way while a regime of mega-capitalists destroys every city of its country, including the working-class sections of Damascus and Aleppo, because condemning a capitalist regime for waging unlimited war on its working people is apparently too difficult for modern-day "anti-imperialist" analysis unless you can somehow show that imperialism is responsible.,,,

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Hamas’s return to the resistance axis () - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - In analyzing the conflict in Gaza, many observers have focused on the role of Hamas’s backers, Qatar and Turkey. But this analysis misses a key player. To understand Hamas’ strategy, the place to look is Iran. After the war broke out, senior Iranian officials, including Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, expressed strong support for the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah also phoned the head of Hamas’s politburo, Khaled Mashaal, and Islamic Jihad chief Ramadan Shallah. Iran's relationship with Hamas has been strained for the past couple of years, so these statements mark a reinvigoration of the "Resistance Alliance."...

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Massacre Justification (Craig Murray) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 -There is a concerted media ploy to change the narrative on the massacre of hundreds of women and children in Gaza, on the grounds that it is Hamas’ fault for breaking the ceasefire. The Israeli account of the ceasefire breakdown is parroted relentlessly.I have put some effort into discovering why the ceasefire broke down, including contacting sources in Gaza itself. What is plain is that there were multiple incidents shortly after the ceasefire deadline, of violations by both sides. This is actually normal – such ceasefires usually take a few hours to take hold as fighting in hot progress and operations under way get stopped. At leasy eleven Palestinians were killed by shellfire in the first hour after the ceasefire...

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What we talk about when we talk about genocide (Belen Fernandez) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - On 1 August, a Times of Israel blog entry titled "When Genocide is Permissible" suddenly disappeared from the website. The Jerusalem Post explains that the entry had "provoked an avalanche of criticism and outrage on social media, prompting the news outlet to dismiss its author," Yochanan Gordon, son of the founder of the New York-based 5 Towns Jewish Times, where the problematic dispatch also ran. The elder Gordon recently objected to the notion that there are "innocent civilians" in Gaza. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, it seems. In his own post, Gordon junior suggests that all Palestinians maintain terror tunnels and store rocket launchers in their homes, and deftly converts the call for genocide into a he-started-it kind of a thing: "We are at war with an enemy whose charter calls for the annihilation of our people."...

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Video: Israeli soldiers destroy Gaza mosque, dedicate explosion to dead comrades (Ali Abunimah) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014 - This video uploaded to YouTube on 31 July is titled in Hebrew "Israeli army forces detonate a mosque with 11 tons of explosives."The Israeli soldiers apparently from the Givati brigade dedicate the mosque destruction to their fallen comrades and cheer as a massive explosion obliterates it."Long live the State of Israel!" a voice exclaims. According to the narration by the videographer, the detonation took place on 30 July in Khuzaa, which is east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip...

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Who broke the ceasefire? Obama blames Hamas against the evidence (Max Blumenthal and Allison Deger) - 18-aug-2014

August 2, 2014- A beleaguered-looking President Barack Obama appeared before the Washington press corps on August 1 to lash into Hamas for supposedly violating the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire that his Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations had labored so tirelessly to secure. "I have unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third minutes after a ceasefire was announced," Obama said....

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