Oops…. Of course we said this from the beginning. Israel no going with plan B … blame someone else.
Via NY Mag
When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay,” he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region.
But now, Israeli officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas’s handiworkafter all. (Update: The comments from the Israeli spokesperson in question indicate that the group thought to be responsible, a “lone cell,” may not have been under direct orders from Hamas’s leadership, but was loosely affiliated with the group. The headline of this post has been changed to reflect that discrepancy. See below for more.)
BuzzFeed reporter Sheera Frenkel was among the first to suggest that it was unlikely that Hamas was behind the deaths of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. Citing Palestinian sources and experts in the field, Frenkel reported that kidnapping three Israeli teens would be afoolish move for Hamas. International experts told her it was likely the work of a local group, acting without concern for the repercussions:
[Gershon Baskin] pointed out that Hamas has earlier this month signed an agreement to form a unity government with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, bridging, for the first time in seven years, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza.
“They will lose their reconciliation agreement with Abbas if they do take responsibility for [the kidnappings],” Baskin added.
Today, she may have been proven right:
Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the Jewish diaspora. Writing for Al Jazeera, Musa al-Gharbi argued that Israel wasdeliberately provoking Hamas:
All the illegal and immoral actions related to Operation Brother’s Keeper were justified under the premise of finding and saving the missing teens whom the Israeli government knew to be dead — cynically exploiting the tragedy to whip up public outcry in order to provoke and then confront Hamas. This pattern of deception continues under the ongoing military offensive in Gaza. For example, last week in collaboration with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Abbas, in its efforts to alienate Hamas, Israel announced a bad-faith cease-fire proposal, which Hamas was not consulted on and never agreed to but whose violation supposedly justified Israel’s expansion and intensification of the military campaign into Gaza.
Despite continued negotiations, the violence shows no signs of letting up, and after Thursday night’s massive protests in the West Bank, there is still no ceasefire agreement. On Friday, it became clear that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempts to broker a seven-day truce were rejected by Israeli officials. Instead, Israel will apparently widen its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, despite international outcry about the civilian death toll. According to unnamed officials, the proposed truce was too generous to Hamas’s demands.
Hamas, meanwhile, still hasn’t weighed in on the agreement, whose details are being kept secret, but continued to launch rockets into Israel. International peace talks are set to resume in France this weekend, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Updated, July 26, 11:44 a.m.: This claim was also reported by BBC’s Jon Donnison, who spoked to Israel Police Foreign Press Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld:
Update, July 28, 9:21 a.m.: Rosenfeld, the Israeli spokesperson, is seeking to clarify that while the lone cell did not receive direct orders from Hamas, it was still affiliated. “The kidnapping and murder of the teens was carried out by Hamas terrorists from the Hebron area,” he claimed in comments to The Daily Beast. “The security organizations are continuing to search for the murderers.”
But Donnison, the BBC journalist, is not backtracking from his earlier reporting
Read more At NY MAG
27 July 2014 Inspectors who came to check the state of Russian troops along the Ukrainian borders have found no violations, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said. This came as a response to the US alleging 15,000 Russian troops have amassed in the area. “It has come to our attention that new allegations by top US officials as to the alleged amassing of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border have been voiced,” the statement by the Defense Ministry read, following allegations by the US Permanent Representative to NATO, Douglas Lute, and State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf. “The last four months have witnessed 18 separate inspections along the Ukrainian border with the Russian Federation, all in line with the Vienna Open Skies Treaty and the Vienna agreement of 2011.”
href="http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2014/07/28/us-russia-violated-1987-nuclear-missile-treaty" target="_blank">US says Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calls breach ‘a very serious matter’
28 July 2014 In an escalation of tensions, the Obama administration accused Russia on Monday of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach “a very serious matter” and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time. The treaty confrontation comes at a highly strained time between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s [US and NATO] intervention in [the coup-installed regime in the] Ukraine and Putin’s grant of asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. An administration official said Obama notified Putin of the U.S. determination in a letter Monday. [The US violates international treaties every minute of every hour of every day. The hypocrisy is just *breath-taking.* --LRP]
href="http://www.legitgov.org/Pentagon-looking-possible-military-options-Russia-US-general" target="_blank">Pentagon looking at possible military options for Russia: US general
26 July 2014 Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey says the Pentagon is looking at possible military responses to Russia’s [alleged] actions in Ukraine. He said his country is considering military options such as US military “basing, lines of communications, sea lanes” that “we haven’t had to look at for 20 years.” During his address at the Aspen Institute on Thursday night, he warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin “may actually light a fire” he cannot control.
Australian PM Abbott intention to send armed Police to Ukraine to recover MH17 Evidence, branded “Nuts”
Australian Defence Force personnel will be walking unprepared into a volatile situation at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine, a senior defence figure has warned.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s announcement of Australia’s intention to send 190 armed Australian Federal Police and an unknown number of ADF personnel to help recover bodies and evidence from the site has been met with incredulity in some parts of Europe, with one analyst branding it ”nuts”.
The senior defence figure, who did not wish to be named, said it was a poor idea for Australia.
”They can’t secure the site,” he said. ”It’s kilometres long and wide. They could escort Australian officials and provide close protection, but this is a civil task rather than a military task and it’s a terribly volatile area.
”We don’t have the language skills or knowledge of the area.
”For any military deployment, you have to look at a status of forces agreement with the government and, given the area the aircraft is in, I don’t think there is anyone to make that agreement with. What I’ve heard is the rebels don’t want more than 30 investigators there.”
Mr Abbott confirmed on Saturday that 230 Australian officials would be sent to help with the recovery. This, he said, would include a small number of defence personnel.
”That is our mission, to secure the remains, to assist the investigation and to obtain justice for the victims and their loved ones,” Mr Abbott said. ”It is, I stress, a humanitarian mission. Others can get involved if they wish in the politics of eastern Europe.”
Mr Abbott said that, despite the dangers, armed personnel are needed to secure the site.
”The last thing we want to do is to place anyone in danger,” he said. ”But we do want to bring our dead home. We want to do it as quickly as possible.
”It’s important that we do our best to secure the site and to recover remains as quickly as possible because every day the site remains unsecured, there is more interference and the remains are subject to the ravages of the European summer. So we do want to get this done as quickly as we humanly can and that’s why we’re exploring all options in the Ukraine now.”
Australian defence commentator Peter Dean, director of studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, said the negotiation was key to the success of the operation.
”It really depends on the diplomacy undertaken around this,” Dr Dean said. ”If our government can make its intentions clear and be accepted on those grounds I think this [Mr Abbott's goal] can be achieved.”
Dr Dean said Australia’s status as a non-NATO member would play in its favour and its geographical distance from Europe would also help.
”I think we see it through a different lens than the European commentators,” he said. ”We are not sending the army over there to take on the Russians or separatists. It’s not a European country interfering in another European country’s business. It’s a country from the outside that has experienced a significant loss of life of Australian people and permanent residents.
”The Prime Minister is wanting to send people to provide security. I don’t think Australia is necessarily mad for wanting to do that.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told parliament in The Hague on Friday he was too concerned about possible ramifications to send troops to Ukraine.
Joerg Forbrig, senior program officer for central and eastern Europe at the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund of the US, said of the Australian plan: ”They must be nuts. It’s a very dangerous proposal and will be seen as a provocation by the separatists and the Russians.”
The Netherlands is sending a separate mission of 40 unarmed military police to the site to help complete the forensic work and gather evidence, Mr Rutte said. Britain has sent one forensics specialist to Kiev and nine scientists are working in the Netherlands to help identify bodies and secure evidence.
Malaysia, Germany and Britain are the other three nations that are expected to contribute to the security force.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said Britain would ”offer logistical support and is keeping in close contact with the Australians and Dutch over how it can assist, though it won’t be putting be sending police or technicians to Ukraine”.
”We believe a UK armed presence in eastern Ukraine would not be appropriate,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. ”The UK stands ready to provide constructive support to the mission.”
The director of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels, Fredrik Erixon, warned against sending armed teams into eastern Ukraine to search for victims.
”There’s nothing normal in east Ukraine right now,” Mr Erixon said. ”Small events can trigger very large reactions from the rebels and the Russian government.”
Karl-Heinz Kamp, the director of the Federal Academy for Security Policy in Berlin, said the Australian military was experienced and would not take risks.
Dmitry Gau, the spokesman for the pro-Russian rebels, would not comment on the Australian plans to carry firearms.
Read more: SMH
Attorney–client privilege is a legal concept that protects certain communications between a client and his or her attorney and keeps those communications confidential.
The attorney–client privilege is one of the oldest recognized privileges for confidential communications. The United States Supreme Court has stated that by assuring confidentiality, the privilege encourages clients to make “full and frank” disclosures to their attorneys, who are then better able to provide candid advice and effective representation
22 July 2014 Jailhouse conversations have been many a defendant’s downfall through incriminating words spoken to inmates or visitors, or in phone calls to friends or relatives. Inmates’ calls to or from lawyers, however, are generally exempt from such monitoring. But across the country, federal prosecutors have begun reading prisoners’ emails to lawyers — a practice wholly embraced in Brooklyn, New York, where prosecutors have said they intend to read such emails in almost every case. The issue has spurred court battles over whether inmates have a right to confidential email communications with their lawyers — a question on which federal judges have been divided.
–’Not even death provides a guarantee of getting off the list.’
23 July 2014 The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.”
RT has managed to re-establish contact with Graham Phillips, a news contributor who was captured at Donetsk airport on Tuesday night while covering the Ukrainian conflict. Philips shared firsthand details of his three days in captivity with RT.
“I am in Poland. I am not exactly sure where I am. I just got to the border by the SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) quite recently, so I am getting my bearings,” Phillips told RT, which contacted the journalist via Skype after his release.
Phillips said he was deported from Ukraine and banned for three years on the grounds that he works for RT. “The reason they gave [me] that was simply that I work for RT, that was all it said in the form. They wouldn’t let me take it or copy it. Just said that ‘you work for RT, it’s the enemy.’ I wasn’t given the chance to defend myself. I was just taken to the border.”
The journalist said it all started three days ago when he was on his way to film fire exchanges between government forces and militants just a few hundred meters away from the airport in Donetsk. He was with Vadim Aksyonov, a stringer for ANNA News agency.
“RT told me not to go in strong terms, but I went anyway with the local journalist Vadim. And we were taken by Ukrainian soldiers and Vadim was pretty badly beaten right in front of me by Ukrainian soldiers. He was on the ground, his head in the ground, just a young guy punching him and kicking him,” Phillips said.
PARIS (NYT) — The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that Poland had violated the rights of two terrorism suspects by allowing their transfer to a secret detention center run by the C.I.A. in Poland, where the two men were tortured.
The ruling says Poland failed to prevent the two men — Abu Zubaydah, born in Saudi Arabia, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen — from being subjected to “torture and inhuman or degrading treatment” after they were brought to the prison in northeast Poland. It ordered Poland to pay 100,000 euros, about $135,000, to Mr. Nashiri and $175,000 to Abu Zubaydah. Both are now being held at the American detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Abu Zubaydah is believed to have overseen the operation of guesthouses in Pakistan where terrorism recruits arrived; he vetted them and provided letters of recommendation allowing them to be accepted for training at a paramilitary camp in Afghanistan, a former Guantánamo detainee said in a military court filing, for example. Mr. Nashiri is accused of plotting the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole.
The existence of a C.I.A. “black site” prison in Poland has been widely reported for years, but the United States government considers the list of countries that hosted the prisons to be highly classified. Mr. Nashiri has been charged with war crimes before a military commission at Guantánamo, and prosecutors are fighting a request by his defense team that the government turn over informationrelated to his treatment by the C.I.A., including where he was held.
It was the first case reviewed by the European Court of Human Rights that involved accusations that Europe was complicit in the C.I.A.’s “extraordinary rendition” program, in which terrorism suspects were sent to third countries for detention and interrogation. The court, based in Strasbourg, France, rules on violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. Governments that sign the convention guarantee their citizens basic standards of civil liberties.
Some of the brutal interrogation methods the C.I.A. used on prisoners during the second Bush administration have been criticized as constituting torture and spurred a loud debate in the United States. In addition, human right advocates have condemned the secret rendition program, calling it an unethical way to deny prisoners due process and circumvent the rule of law. Its defenders say it is necessary to combat terrorism.
A C.I.A. spokesman did not respond to a request for a comment on the ruling. A White House spokeswoman, Laura Lucas Magnuson, said: “On the general issue of so-called black sites, we have not and will not confirm any purported locations. The overriding point, however, is that this program no longer exists. President Obama in 2009 — in his first week in office — put an end to the C.I.A.’s detention program.”
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, a former director of the C.I.A., has confirmed that the harsh interrogation technique known as waterboarding, which simulates drowning, was used on Abu Zubaydah, Mr. Nashiri and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Joseph Margulies, a visiting professor of law and government at Cornell who is one of Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers, called the ruling a seminal decision that would help force a public reckoning in Europe and the United States about the secret rendition program and its tactics.
“It’s the first time a court has condemned a European state for its role in the rendition program,” he said in a telephone interview. “From top to bottom, the case is a comprehensive condemnation of the C.I.A., the black-site program and Poland’s role in it.”
Professor Margulies said the ruling could have legal implications for other European countries, including Romania and Lithuania, which have been accused of participating in the program in cases before the human rights court.
Amrit Singh of the Open Society Justice Initiative, a rights advocacy group that brought the case on behalf of Mr. Nashiri, said the ruling ended the impunity for those engaged in abuses connected with the rendition program. The group emphasized that the court had ordered Poland to secure assurances from the United States that Mr. Nashiri would not be subject to the death penalty.
“In stark contrast to U.S. courts that have closed their doors to victims of C.I.A. torture,” Ms. Singh said, “this ruling sends an unmistakable signal that these kind of abuses will not be tolerated in Europe, and those who participated in these abuses will be held accountable.”
The group, which released a detailed report on the rendition program last year, said the European Court of Human Rights was the first court anywhere to publicly confirm the existence of the secret prisons operated by the C.I.A. in Europe.
After his election, Mr. Obama rejected calls for a national commissionto investigate the rendition program, saying he wanted to look forward rather than back. The Senate Intelligence Committee has completed a 6,000-page study of the program that remains classified, although the White House is declassifying the report’s 400-page executive summary.
Poland has never publicly acknowledged hosting a C.I.A. prison, and, as a young democracy that experienced state-sanctioned repression during decades of Communist rule, it had a fierce public debate about its alleged complicity in the program.
Joanna Trzaska-Wieczorek, a spokeswoman for the Polish president’s office, said Thursday that the ruling was “shameful for Poland,” according to the Polish Press Agency.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment, saying it was still studying the ruling.
Adam Bodnar, vice president of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, based in Warsaw, said on TVN24, a leading Polish broadcaster, that a secret prison could not have been organized without the help of the government at the time.
The C.I.A. has never formally revealed the locations of its secret overseas prisons, but intelligence officials, aviation records and news reports have placed them in Afghanistan, Jordan, Romania and Thailand, as well as Poland and other countries. Out of fewer than 100 prisoners held there, roughly 30 were subjected to what the C.I.A. called “enhanced” interrogation techniques, according to agency officials.
The former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest”.
NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.
According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders”.
Leaks revealed that ISIS leader and cleric Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.
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WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ridiculed Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza, accusing the Israeli government of “barbarism that surpasses Hitler.”
Speaking at a political re-election rally in the Turkish city of Ordu, Turkey’s prime minister said that Israel has “surpassed what Hitler did to them” and declared the country a “terrorist state.”
“[Israelis] have no conscience, no honor, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism,” said Erdoğan. He accused Israel of rejecting ceasefires that Hamas has proposed and “spitting death, spitting blood.”
Erdogan reiterated his opposition to Israel’s operations in the Gaza Strip and said that the Israel Defense Forces have had a “disproportionate” effect and will end any positive relations between Israel and Turkey. Despite the climbing death toll of Palestinians – with nearly 800 killed during the most recent Israeli offensive in Gaza – Erdogan said that the Turkish people should not take out their frustrations on Turkey’s own Jewish community.
“I don’t approve of any [bad] attitude towards our Jewish citizens in Turkey, despite all this,” Erdogan told supporters. “Why? They are citizens of this country.”
Recent rallies in Turkey have shown a growing opposition to Israel, with the country’s government reducing its staff in Turkey due to safety concerns and reports that the Israeli flag was torn down and replaced with a Palestinian one, The Independent reports.
Erdogan also told Turkish supporters that Turkey’s involvement with Qatar – despite Israel’s accusations that Qatar supports terrorism – will continue as a show of support for those “persecuted” by Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to try to nail down a deal to bring a week-long pause in the fighting and begin as soon as this weekend.
It’s part of a plan to phase in a lasting cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas militant group in the three-week war.
Two diplomats close to the negotiations said a deal had not yet been reached but spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be named.
Kerry, Ban and Shukri were expected to brief the media later Friday.
“Public Relations People In The United States … Handle These Matters For Us”
Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, Francis Boyle – responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, with a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University - says:
I spoke with the head military lawyer for the IDF, Joel Zinger. And I said … “It’s clear you people are inflicting Nuremberg crimes on the Palestinians. Exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews. What’s your explanation?”
He said: “Military necessity.”
Notice, he didn’t disagree with me.
I said: “That argument was rejected at Nuremberg when the lawyers for the Nazis made it.”
And then he said: “Well, we have public relations people in the United States … and they handle these matters for us.”
The UK’s terrorism laws are so broad they could be applied to journalists and their supporters, as well as crimes that have nothing to do with terrorism, according to a new report from the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.
David Anderson QC presented his report to Parliament today, and called on ministers to reverse the increasing “creep” of the laws in recent years.
The report focused on the definition of terrorism in the UK, which among other things currently means that someone can be considered a terrorist if they publish material that is considered to endanger life or to pose a health risk to the public. This could have legitimate purposes, perhaps in the case of a radical cleric calling for violence, or someone distributing plans on how to manufacture bombs.
But the problem is that the law isn’t specific enough, meaning that it can be applied to cases that do not have anything to do with terrorism. Anderson makes reference to section 1(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000, which states, “In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public.”
That may sound reasonable, but upon closer inspection it’s quite wide-reaching, and the report highlights that in other countries, a “terrorist” under this section must additionally have the intention of coercing or intimidating the government. There is concern that this broader definition gives police and the legal system much greater powers where they are not necessary or appropriate.
“They give too much power to individual police officers, and to the Government,”Anderson said in a press release. “They make people more cautious than they need to be in what they say and what they write.”
Anderson uses the example of David Miranda to illustrate the discussion. Miranda, who is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the main journalist behind the NSA revelations, was detained for nine hours at Heathrow airport while carrying sensitive information under a terrorism law. A ruling from three high court judges later deemed the detention lawful.
Anderson, whose job is to keep terrorism laws in check, did not say whether or not he thinks Miranda should have been arrested, but questioned whether it was legitimate to use a terrorism law for such a purpose.
In his report, he claimed that the law could even be applied to someone who publishes an objection to vaccination, on the basis that could pose a risk to public health. It’s a worrying stance, but surely not terrorism.
The report also suggests that hate crimes, such as a racist individual attacking a neighbour, should not qualify because they are not supposed to intimidate the government or public at large (though they are obviously a serious crime nonetheless). Under current laws, such an incident could be labeled as terrorism.
“The public accepts special terrorism laws so long as they are used only when necessary,” Anderson said. “But they can currently be applied to journalists and bloggers, to criminals who have no concern other than their immediate victim, and to those who are connected with terrorism only at several removes.”
Anderson made some recommendations in the report, the most important being to reign in the legal definition of terrorism, so that it applies only to those that intend “to coerce, compel or intimidate a Government or section of the public.”
“This is not a criticism of Ministers, prosecutors or police—who as a rule exercise their remarkably broad discretions with care and restraint,” Anderson said. “But it is time Parliament reviewed the definition of terrorism, to avoid the potential for abuse and to cement public support for special powers that are unfortunately likely to be needed for the foreseeable future.”