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Showing posts from June, 2015

ISIL on 24-hour 'killing rampage' in Syria's Kobane

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has killed more than 100 civilians in a 24-hour rampage through the Kurdish town of Kobane in what a monitor group described as one of the group's "worst massacres" in Syria.

Women and children were among the slain civilians whose bodies were found in their homes and in the streets, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"According to medical sources and Kobane residents, 120 civilians were executed by ISIL in their homes or killed by the group's rockets or snipers," Rami Abdelrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory, told AFP news agency on Friday.

"When they entered the town, the jihadists took up positions in buildings at the southeast and southwest entrances, firing at everything that moved."

"We heard gunshots at 5am. We went out to the street and saw people lying on the ground, shot and killed. Bodies and blood everywhere.

Mahmoud Muslim, survivor

Turkish officials said …

US a surveillance superpower spying on foes & allies alike – Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.(Reuters / John Stillwell)

The United States has unparalleled surveillance capabilities that it uses to spy on the entire world, including its allies, to boost its competitiveness, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a Russian TV channel.

“The US is a surveillance superpower,” he told Rossiya-1 in an interview, slated to be broadcast later on Sunday.

“This country spends on surveillance 60 percent of what the entire world spends on espionage,” he said.“They spy on everyone, including their allies. And use the information for their political and economic goals.”

Earlier, WikiLeaks released classified NSA document apparently proving the intelligence agency had been spying on top French officials, including three consecutive presidents. US President Barack Obama and State Secretary Kerry assured that no such activities had taken place.

Assange insists the documents released by the whistleblower website are proof enough. New data on the issue is to be release…

A year of terror: ISIS kills over 3,000 in Syria since declaring ‘caliphate’ – report


Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has executed more than 3,000 people in Syria alone, of which 1,700 were civilians, since the group proclaimed themselves as a caliphate on the territories of Syria and Iraq as of June 29, 2014, a monitor group said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group told AFP it had documented a total 3,027 confirmed executions by IS, including 1,787 civilians, 74 among of them children.

About half the civilians killed were from the Syrian Sunni Shaitat tribe, and 930 more victims were from a clan in Deir Ezzor, which faced mass executions after rebelling against Islamic State last year.

The death toll also includes victims of a recent IS attack on the Kurdish town of Kobani, which claimed the lives of 223 people this week.

During the year since the IS declared the “caliphate,” the group has executed 216 members of rival rebel fractions and Kurdish fighters, as well as about 900 government troops, the Syrian Observatory for Human…

Something critical might be happening in the Ukraine

Two small newsitems have not received much attention recently, and yet they might be the signs of something big happening:

Poroshenko has fired the notorious Head of the equally notorious Security Service of Ukraine or SBU: Valentin Nalivaichenko.

Sergei Ivanov, the powerful Deputy Prime Minister of Russia has stated that the US and Russia have created a bilateral communications channel on the Ukraine run by Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, for the USA and Grigorii Karasin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, for Russia. The official reason for that was “not to complicate the already delicate “Normandy-format”.

So on one hand, we have Kerry and Nuland who came to Russia and who, by all accounts, got nothing of what the asked for but who are now getting a “communications channel” while at the same time, the 100% USA-controlled Nalivaichenko, who is rumored to be an actual CIA agent recruited many years ago, is booted out by Poroshenko. …

‘Revolution within revolution’: How and why Kurdish women are fighting ISIS (DOCUMENTARY)

RT Photo

Growing up in a society where it was inconceivable for men and women to fight together, Kurdish YPJ female forces engaged in combat against the Islamic State, have been starting their own revolution. They told RT their previously undocumented stories.

RT filmed a unique documentary “Her War: Women Vs. ISIS” about young Kurdish women in Syria, who are defending their country against the Islamic State (IS formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) militants. For three weeks the RT Documentary team lived in a training camp run by the YPJ, on the border with Iraq, three kilometers from the frontline.

Gulan, 18, from the predominantly Kurdish town of Serekaniye, which borders territories controlled by IS, said that she took up arms to protect her family.

The Kurds are an ethnic group, culturally and linguistically related to Iran, which does not have its own state. The Kurdistan region spans adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

RT Photo

“I’ll go fight the enemy to keep my father safe at h…

Chinese website shows photos from disputed reef in South China Sea

A Chinese website has published photographs from one of the reefs under China’s control in the disputed South China Sea showing female sailors posing on ocean breakwalls, vegetable gardens being watered and even pigs in a pen.

The slideshow of 17 photographs from Fiery Cross Reef shows how quickly China is developing facilities to support its troops on the newly formed island following major land reclamation.

Sina, one of China’s biggest web portals, put the slideshow online under the headline “Gratifying results on China’s Yongshu Reef: building vegetable greenhouses (and) growing fruit trees.” Photo posted to purportedly showing scene from disputed Fiery Cross Reef in South China Sea. Photograph:

Fiery Cross is among seven Chinese-held reefs in the Spratly chain in the South China Sea which are being transformed into artificial islands despite alarm from other claimants to the strategic waterway and growing criticism from Washington.

Sina did not say when the pic…

The Russian plane China needs to rule the South China Sea

By Zachary Keck

Russia appears intent on selling China its most advanced fighter jet by the end of the year, a move that will greatly enhance Beijing’s ability to project military power in the South China Sea.

Speaking to reporters at the Paris Air Show this week, Yuri Slyusar, chairman of United Aircraft Corp, a Russian civilian and military jet manufacturer, said his company is aiming to ink a deal with China to sell Beijing 24 Su-35 fighter jets.

“Our position is that we still believe that we will sign the contract to sell 24 aircraft this year,” Yuri said, according tomultiple Western defense news outlets. He added that the decision would have to be approved by the “federal service on military cooperation.”

China and Russia have been in negotiations for years over the potential sale of the Su-35, which Moscow refers to as a 4++ generation multi-role fighter jet. The talks have bogged down over Russia’s fears that China will reverse engineer the plane in order to produce a domestically…

St. Petersburg in the Heart of the Action

By Pepe Escobar

The dogs of western fear and sanctions bark, while the Eurasian caravan passes.

And no caravanserai could possibly compete with the 19th edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Thousands of global business leaders – including Europeans, but not Americans; after all, President Putin is “the new Hitler” – representing over 1,000 international companies/corporations, including the CEOs of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, hit town in style.

Fascinating panels all around – including discussions on the BRICs; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the New Silk Road(s); the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU); and of course the theme of all themes, “The Making of the Asia-Pacific Century: Rebalancing East,” with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Predictably, there’s been plenty of anticipation regarding the BRICs New Development Bank, with big news coming next month at the BRICs summit in Ufa. Brazilian Paulo Nogueira Batista, the new vice-p…

Saudis to Offer Putin a Deal He Can’t Refuse?

It is reported that Saudi Arabia has sent a delegation to Moscow for the purpose of once again attempting to lure Russia away from its current interests in the Middle East, and into line behind Riyadh and its underwriters in Washington.

However, vacillating in the past between toothless threats and absurd promises of lavish economic deals, the Saudis have accomplished only one thing in their recent string of diplomatic maneuvering, that is to telegraph immense weakness and desperation ahead of their next visit.

Indeed, if on Earth there is one nation that needs Russia the most, it might be Saudi Arabia. Conversely, however, if ever there was a nation Russia would be wise enough never to do business with, it would also be Saudi Arabia. A client-state of the British and then American empire, it has of late allowed itself to be used as an intermediary in an increasingly dangerous proxy war involving Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and to a certain extent, Lebanon, Egypt, and even Libya.

While und…

Who’s Behind Asia-Pacific’s Growing Tensions?

By Tony Cartalucci

Increasing tension in the Asia-Pacific between China and nations surrounding its territory, appears to be an unstoppable and inevitable lead-up to regional conflict and perhaps even global war.

In reality, for those who have studied history, this is a familiar rerun. Change the characters and place current events in the context of the early 1900’s and we see the lead up to World War II and more specifically, the events that set the stage for the fighting in the Pacific.

Some may believe this is a rerun of when Japan was the sole aggressor in the region, expanding beyond its means before finally meeting its match. Predicated on this misconception, these same people would believe that China has now traded places with Imperial Japan, and is expanding recklessly at the expense of regional and global peace and stability.

However, this is indeed a misconception.

World War II: Setting the Record Straight

To make this clear, we must consider the words of a contemporary of the per…

Russia and Saudi Arabia ink nuclear energy deal, exchange invites

President Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the deputy crown prince and defense minister of Saudi Arabia, meeting in St.Petersburg, June 18, 2015 (RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev)
Download video (6.41 MB)

A number of cooperation documents were signed by Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday, after President Putin met with Saudi Prince Mohammed in what was one of the most anticipated meetings at the international economic forum in St. Petersburg.

The pair has signed six agreements in total, Al Arabiya News Channel reported. A cooperation agreement on a peaceful nuclear program was among the documents, the press service of Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, said.

According to Rosatom, the document is the first in the history of Russia-Saudi relations to create a legal framework for cooperation between the nations in the field of nuclear energy. Future joint projects might include construction of nuclear power reactors, provision of services in nuclear fuel cycling, including those fo…

Security-conscious US diplomats shun Waldorf after Chinese acquisition

The Waldorf Astoria at 301 Park Avenue in New York (Reuters / Brendan McDermid)

After New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel was purchased by a Chinese company, the eavesdropping-wary US State Department reportedly decided to abandon it as a base of operations during UN General Assembly sessions.

The decision would affect hundreds of American diplomats and staff members, who would be staying at the New York Palace nearby, AP reported. Waldorf has for decades been a base of operations for the State Department during UN General Assembly sessions each September.

The diplomatic sources who told AP of the change gave no reason for the move, except to mention last year's sale of the Waldorf-Astoria by Hilton Worldwide to the Chinese Anbang Insurance Group. The $1.95 billion deal gave Hilton, which would continue to run the hotel for the next 100 years, the resources needed for a major renovation.

At the time the deal was sealed in October, US officials said it would have implications for the …

ISIS Loss of Syria Border Town ‘Biggest Setback’ So Far UN: 23,000 From City of Tel Abyad Have Fled to Turkey

While most of the fighting over Tel Abyad, an important border town between Syria and Turkey, was wrapped up yesterday, several groups today confirmed that the town has entirely fallen under the control of Kurdish YPG forces, and are calling it the “biggest setback” ISIS has faced so far.

Obviously, when we say “biggest setback” we’re only referring to losses since the group renamed itself ISIS, because al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had several setbacks during the US occupation, and was getting downright puny and irrelevant in the period after the US left and before the Syria Civil War broke out.

But Tel Abyad is important as the primary supply route from Turkey into the ISIS capital city of Raqqa. The YPG are presenting the ease of taking Tel Abyad as a shift in momentum, and are promising to move on and take Raqqa, but the sheer lack of resistance in Tel Abyad is surprising everyone, and might suggest the town isn’t nearly as important to ISIS as everyone seems to think.

At any rate, the fal…

America Siding With 'Terrorists' Like al-Nusra? It's Not A Conspiracy Theory

By Robert Fisk

No apologies for returning today to the strange case of the “moderate” Jabhat al-Nusra rebels, the throat-cutters and executioners who are playing the anti-Isis card to woo the US.

Their leader, you may recall, told Qatar’s Al Jazeera channel that his al-Qaeda affiliated warriors will oppose both Isis and Bashar al-Assad – and even protect Syria’s Christian and Alawite minorities. The usual American nomenklatura are telling the world this is tosh. It’s the “conspiracy theorists” who are to blame, they say, for suggesting that the US might send barrel-loads of new weapons to such men. No. The US would never deal with those who are on its infamous, though pointless, “terrorist list”. Besides, Qatar would never promote these killers as moderates – would they?
Well, first, let’s take another look at all these conspiracy theorists. By chance, that inestimable French journal Le Monde Diplomatique this month carries a wodge of articles under the title “Did you say conspiracy?”, …

Syria: A Serious Situation for Us All

By Roya Arab

Daily the depth and breadth of conflict increases, people are killed and displaced, refugee camps expand as does an expressly archaic and yet perversely modern construct of Islam that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) could surely have never foreseen. ISIS (known in the region as Da’ ish) sweeps its bloody cloak across the Syrian and Iraqi landscapes with swords and hammers obliterating people and artefacts that fall short of their exacting demands. ISIS is yet another child of Wahhabi based teachings, from an ultra-conservative Sunni school of Islam, nurtured in Saudi Arabia in the late 1800s, with children and cousins emerging all over the modern world, their ideas flying on wings of the world-wide-web, engaging and radicalising disenfranchised souls from all classes and creeds. East, West, North and South extremists proliferate, born out of corrupted unjust political structures that stumble from one lie to the next. Looking at Syria today, international military…

US, China strike deal, set to hold joint military drills

Reuters / China Daily

The US and China have signed a rare agreement to strengthen ties and develop a more productive military relationship. However, mistrust still remains, with Beijing saying progress can only be made if Washington respects China’s South China Sea ambitions.

The understanding mainly concerns a deepening of cooperation between the two nations, following a meeting between Fan Changlong, the vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and US Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter.

Fan and US army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno witnessed the signing of the dialogue understanding at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.

Washington and Beijing will look to collaborate over issues such as disaster response, peacekeeping, and counter-piracy, while there was even talk of the two countries conducting drills together in the future.

Guan Youfei, the director of foreign affairs from the Ministry of Defense mentioned that the two armies could hold joint land exercises n…

Very interesting public survey in the occupied Ukraine

First, the disclaimers: no, I am not naive enough to believe that it is possible to make a truly representative survey in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine. Yes, I do understand that each article, survey or opinion piece published in the Ukraine has been paid for by some interest group. And no, I do not believe that the people living under the Nazi junta are given enough information to make up their own opinion about these topics. But still, I think that even with all these caveats the following survey is fascinating.

The survey was made by the Ukrainian based Center for Sociological Studies. The survey itself is entitled “The results of the survey “Socio-political orientation of citizens“. The full survey can be seen here in Ukrainian:

and here in machine-translated English:

There are many interesting responses in this survey, but here are the most interesting ones (I havebolded out in red some of the most interesting figures)