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Showing posts from July 1, 2014

Ukraine fighting intensifies as Poroshenko ends ceasefire

Fighting has intensified in eastern Ukraine after the president, Petro Poroshenko, announced an end to a ceasefire and said he was ordering his forces to attack pro-Russian separatists.

In a televised address on Monday night, Poroshenko said the 10-day ceasefire had ended, and vowed that Ukrainian government forces would "attack and liberate our land".

Clashes were reported around both the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on Tuesday morning. Four people were killed and five wounded when a small bus came under fire in Kramatorsk, local news outlets reported. Photographs from the scene showed a woman's body lying in the aisle amid broken glass and blood.

Other images published by InfoResist, an analytical group with close ties to the Kiev government, showed gaping holes and destroyed balconies in several residential buildings in Kramatorsk.

Local resident Alexei Sergeyev said he heard periodic shooting and explosions throughout the night, including near the airfield that Ukrainian …

The Pentagon's slush fund is arming a War Zone on Main Street. Let's end the local-cop addiction to backyard battle

An ACLU report released this week looking at 818 Swat team raids found 62% for drug searches, 79% on private homes and only 7% for the hostage and barricade situations Swat teams were made for. Photograph: Marcus Donner / Reuters

A few years ago, the police chief in Keene, New Hampshire (population: 23,000) announced plans to patrol the hamlet's "Pumpkin Festival and other dangerous situations" with a 19,000-pound armored vehicle called the BearCat (price tag: $285,933, courtesy of a federal Homeland Security grant).

The cops in nearby Nashua had already purchased one of the so-called "rescue vehicles" – typically reserved for Swat missions and, you know, IEDs –with hundreds of thousands in drug forfeiture money, but given that the town of Keene has had just three homicides in the last 11 years, some locals thought the gun ports, rotating hatch, battering ram and tear-gas deployment nozzle all might just be a little much.

"The police are already pretty brutal…

Mosul maelstrom: ISIS and the turning point of American adventurism in Middle Eas

In Mosul, a perfect storm gathered last week, produced by decades of American adventurism in the ‘greater Middle East’.

The American wars, including the ‘War on Terror’, were cat-and-mouse games that did not produce a final confrontation with Takfiri groups, but rather multiple confrontations, which have deferred or delayed both the domestic goals of these groups and their destructive power abroad, while ratcheting up their number and the resentment they carry against the West and its regional allies.

What happened in Mosul, after what happened in Syria, threatens the pluralistic essence of Iraq and the Levant, and promises us another decade of unrest and terror in the region and abroad, if not addressed cooperatively on the international level, and in a responsible manner.

There is a story in the Babylonian Talmud, retold by Somerset Maugham in 1933, which my father liked to tell me when I was a child, about a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to the market to buyprovisions. Back…