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Showing posts from July 6, 2014

The Superpower And The Caliphate

By Glen Ford

“The game plan that was hatched in 2011 for Libya, Syria, Iraq – for the whole region – is kaput.”

"BAR" - - ISIS has proclaimed its caliphate, and the world will never be the same again. Although the territorial scope of the jihadist political entity will shift with the fortunes of battle, or maybe even vanish, the emergence of the “Islamic State” signals the final collapse of U.S. imperial strategy in the Muslim world – certainly, in the Arab regions of Islam.

“The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas,” said Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, spokesman for the fighters formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day.”

Think of it as a Salafist declaration of independence – not just from al Qaida, whose marginality in the region was confirmed when its designated affiliate…

Ukraine, the country no one cared about

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He wrote for Irish Independent and Daily Mail. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland as well as RT.
Get short URLPublished time: July 04, 2014 11:37

Aftermath of an artillery attack by the Ukrainian army on the Artyom district in Slavyansk. (RIA Novosti/Andrey Stenin)

Ukraine is the land where time has stood still and the consequences of what has been sown are now being reaped as anarchy is unleashed upon its rotting corpse.

Just over a year ago, in rather more peaceful times, I was on a train from Kharkov to Simferopol, sharing a cabin with two Russian gents from the Far Eastern outpost of Nakhodka and, breaking the monotony of long distance rail commutation, we were musing about the differences between Ukraine and Russia.

My travelling companions were journeying to visit close family who they hadn't met before - unusual to European ears but understandable when the distance between their home an…

ISIS jihadists demolish mosques, shrines in northern Iraq (PHOTOS)

Islamic militant sect, ISIS, which has been rampaging across the north and west of Iraq since last month, has been demolishing sacred sites such as shrines and mosques around the historic northern city of Mosul in Nineveh province.

Photographs from the area posted online under the banner “Demolishing shrines and idols in the state of Nineveh” depicted mosques being turned into piles of rubble – explosives deployed against Shiite buildings - and bulldozers flattening the shrines.

At least four shrines to Sunni Arab or Sufi figures have been destroyed by the bulldozers, according to AFP. The structures had been built around graves of Muslim saints. Six Shiite mosques have also been destroyed using explosives.

(Image from

“We feel very sad for the demolition of these shrines, which we inherited from our fathers and grandfathers,” 51-year-old Mosul resident Ahmed told AFP.

“They are landmarks in the city,” he said.

Local residents verified that buildings had been destroyed and t…

Spooking the spooks: US surveillance system to muzzle rogue agents and leakers

US intelligence plans to introduce a massive system of internal surveillance by electronically monitoring the behavior of up to 5 million federal employees with secret clearances, current and former officials told the Associated Press.

The computerized system would provide continuous monitoring of financial and other databases of government employees, according to officials and documents reviewed by the AP. Speaking before Congress in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the proposed system would extend "across the government," drawing on "six or seven data streams."

While the Defense Department has had such a system in the works for more than decade, revelations made by NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden have likely expedited its implementation.

Monitoring of employees at some agencies could begin as early as September and be fully operational across the government by September 2016. The price tag, Clapper conceded, "is going to be costly…

U.S. Berlin Embassy Offers $20,000 in Tax Dollars for pro-TAFTA/TTIP Events

Showing how desperate the free traders are, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin was caught offering up to $20,000 to any group of individuals willing to organize a "positive" public event on the TTIP. The TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) or TAFTA (Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement) is the current free trade agreement being negotiated between the Obama Administration and the EU.

In Germany, reports the French economic weekly La Tribune, the U.S. Embassy sent out a twitter message on June 17 saying "Du wünschst dir eine sachliche Debatte zu #TTIP? Wir auch! Wir fördern Projekte mit bis zu $20.000" ("Want have a positive debate on TTIP? So do we! We support projects up to $20,000"). The link opens on a form sheet to apply for the funding!

Such a blatant call for propaganda was mainly deplored by the pro-TTIP faction, while opponents were fueled in their convictions. The U.S. Embassy replied that the initiative aims to "…

Saudi Military Forces Represent Less Than Meets the Eye

In recent conversations with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, both Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama pressed for Saudi military cooperation against the ravaging forces of ISIS, who are grabbing up vast parcels of land in both Iraq and Syria for their self-proclaimed "Caliphate." Indeed, 30,000 Saudi troops have been dispatched to the Saudi-Iraqi border, ostensibly in compliance with the US requests.

But there are several things wrong with this picture. First, the Saudis were instrumental, along with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Turkey in the launching of ISIS in the first place. Massive amounts of Gulf money and weapons—some that originated from the White House not-so-covert operations in Benghazi, Libya after the overthrow of Qaddafi—went into the build up of ISIS. And the top Saudi official who oversaw the unleashing of the Sunni jihadists against both the Syrian regime and "secularist" Syrian rebels, Prince Bandar bin-Su…

NSA labels all German Tor users as 'extremists'

The NSA has been revealed to mark and consider potential "extremists" all users of the internet anonymizer service Tor. Among those are hundreds of thousands of privacy concerned people like journalists, lawyers and rights activists. Searching for encryption software like the Linux-based operating system Tails also places you on the NSA grid, as Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz revealed on the German site Tagesschau. The report is based on analysis of the source code of the software used by NSA's electronic surveillance program XKeyscore. Tor is a system of servers, which routes user requests through a layer of secured connections to make it impossible to identify a user's IP from the addresses of the websites he/she visits. The network of some 5,000 is operated by enthusiasts and used by hundreds of thousands of privacy-concerned people worldwide. Some of them live in countries with oppressive regimes, which punish citizens for visiting websites they deem …