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M i d e a s t    Newsstand

Month: June, 2015

US report accuses Israel of mistreating Palestinian prisoners – i24news

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Annual State Dept report slams ‘killing, abuse’ of detainees; Hamas and PA also criticized for violations

An annual US State Department report regarding human rights violations across the globe accuses Israel of institutional discrimination against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, with a special focus on Palestinian prisoners.
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Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth guitarist) Explains Nixed Tel Aviv Gig, Israel Boycott – Daniel Dreps/ Rolling Stone

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“To perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values,” guitarist writes in letter explaining nixed April concert.

Two months after Thurston Moore canceled a Tel Aviv, Israel performance without explanation, the guitarist has opened up about the “conscientious decision process” behind the nixed gig. In Moore’s letter, published within The Quietus’ larger story about musicians boycotting Israel over the treatment of Palestinians, the Sonic Youth rocker writes that he canceled the Tel Aviv concert both due to his support of the BDS Movement and his belief in “empowerment through choice of non-violent activism.”
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Putin adresses the Western peoples: Russia is No Imperial Power; US Spies on NATO Members (Eng sub)

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“We ain’t found shit” – Scott Ritter/London Review of Books

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Scott Ritter explains why Iran shouldn’t accept ‘no notice’ inspections of its nuclear sites.

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and what’s known as the P-5 + 1 group of nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany) are scheduled to conclude on 30 June. A ‘framework agreement’ was set out in April, but still at issue is what kind of access inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will have. Iran has agreed to inspections of all the sites it has declared are being used to develop its nuclear power programme. The US insists that any agreement must also address what it calls ‘possible military dimensions’ – that is, allegations that Iran has pursued an undeclared nuclear weapons capability – and is demanding the right to conduct ‘no notice’ inspections of nuclear sites, and to interview Iranian nuclear scientists. ‘It’s critical for us to know going forward,’ the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said in June, that ‘those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way.’ France has said that any agreement that doesn’t include inspections of military sites would be ‘useless’. Iran has been adamant that it won’t allow them and that its nuclear scientists are off-limits. These positions seem irreconcilable and unless something changes a nuclear accord is unlikely.

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New Law of War Manual: June 2015 – Department of Defense

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FOREWORD

The law of war is of fundamental importance to the Armed Forces of the United States.

The law of war is part of who we are. George Washington, as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, agreed with his British adversary that the Revolutionary War would be “carried on agreeable to the rules which humanity formed” and “to prevent or punish every breach of the rules of war within the sphere of our respective commands.” During the Civil War, President Lincoln approved a set of “Instructions for the Government of the Armies of the United States in the Field,” which inspired other countries to adopt similar codes for their armed forces, and which served as a template for international codifications of the law of war.
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Policing Solidarity – Gilad Atzmon

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I believe it was my recent expose of JVP’s harassment, slander and herem (excommunication) campaigns that led to a new petition calling on us to “End slander in the pro-Palestine movement online.”

Of course I oppose slander and abuse, but I also reject any form of censorship and thought control. Even though, more than anyone else, I have been the target of vile slander, I will not sign this petition nor will I support it.
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Attack at Tunisia Beach Hotel Leaves at Least 37 Dead – The New York Times

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TUNIS — At least one gunman disguised as a vacationer attacked a placid seaside resort in Tunisia on Friday, killing at least 37 people at a beachfront hotel before he was shot to death by security forces. It was the second major terrorist attack on the Tunisian tourist industry in a little more than three months.

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Theft of Saudi documents suggests an Iranian hack – Hugh Naylor/The Washington Post

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The purported theft of confidential Saudi documents that have been released by WikiLeaks bears the hallmarks of Iranian hackers linked to cyberattacks in more than a dozen countries, including the United States, according to cybersecurity experts and Middle East analysts.

Last week, WikiLeaks published about 70,000 of what it said were half a million documents obtained from Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry. The transparency advocacy group promises more releases of the diplomatic cables, whose authenticity has not been independently verified.
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Vatican signs historic accord with Palestine – AFP

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Vatican City – The Vatican on Friday signed a historic first accord with Palestine, two years after officially recognising it as a state.

The accord, a treaty covering the activities of he Church in the parts of the Holy Land under Palestinian control, was the first since the Vatican recognised Palestine as a state in February 2013.
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Deadly Explosion at Shiite Mosque in Kuwait’s Capital – ABC News

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A deadly explosion ripped through a Shiite mosque in a busy neighborhood of Kuwait’s capital after Friday prayers, witnesses said.

Mohammed al-Faili, 32, told The Associated Press that his 70 year-old father was killed in what appeared to be a bombing attack. Two of his brothers were also wounded by the explosion. Speaking to the AP by telephone, he said he was not at the mosque at the time of the explosion but was heading to the morgue to identify his father’s body.
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The ‘Marianne’ sets sail for Gaza from Greece with MK Basel Ghattas on board – Jerusalem Post

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BON VOYAGE ET BON CHANCE, MARIANNE!

Several dozen Palestinian activists Friday headed  out on the Gaza flotilla including the Join List MK Basel Ghattas: “We are determined to reach Gaza despite Netanayahu’s threats.”

“Hey Gaza, we are on our way,”  Ghattas wrote on his Facebook page on Friday morning from abroad the Swedish ship “Marianne.” The ship set sail from Greece despite warnings from the IDF.
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US: Palestinian moves against Israel at ICC ‘counterproductive’ – AFP

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Israel freezes Palestine tax funds over ICC war crimes bid Middle East Monitor

OCCUPIED Washington – The White House said Thursday that efforts to have Israel charged with war crimes at the International Criminal Court were “counterproductive” and would be opposed by Washington.

The United States has “made clear that we oppose actions against Israel at the ICC as counterproductive,” National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey told AFP.
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Isis targets vulnerable Bosnia for recruitment and attack – Julian Borger/The Guardian

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Islamic State has expanded its efforts to recruit fighters in Bosnia and incite terrorist attacks there, taking advantage of the world’s highest youth unemployment rate and chronic political paralysis.

The initiative, though small in scale, is causing alarm in western capitals, where diplomats fear that the mix of economic malaise and ethnic tensions represents fertile terrain for extremism, and that Europe could come to regret the failure to confront Bosnia’s profound structural problems in the two decades since the war.
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With $21 Trillion, China’s Savers Are Set to Change the World – Enda Curran, Jeff Kearns/Bloomberg Business

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Few events will be as significant for the world in the next 15 years as China opening its capital borders, a shift that economists and regulators across the world are now starting to grapple with.

With China’s leadership aiming to scale back the role of investment in the domestic economy, the nation’s surfeit of savings — deposits currently stand at $21 trillion — will increasingly need to be deployed overseas. That’s also becoming easier, as Premier Li Keqiang relaxes capital-flow regulations.
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Israeli, Palestinian support for two states slipping: poll – AFP

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OCCUPIED Jerusalem  – A joint Israeli-Palestinian poll published Thursday shows dwindling support on both sides for a Palestinian state alongside Israel as a solution to the conflict.

The survey, by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, shows 51 percent of Israeli respondents in favour of what is known as the two-state solution, down from 62 percent last June.

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That Most Terrorists Aren’t Muslim May ‘Come as a Surprise’ – if You Get Your News From Corporate Media — Jim Naureckas/FAIR.org

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Since the Al Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001, the New York Times (6/23/15) reports,

extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States…. But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise.

The “surprise” is that more people are killed by “white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims”: 48 vs. 26 since 9/11, according to a study by the New America Foundation. (More comprehensive studies cited in a recent New York Times op-ed–6/16/15–show an even greater gap, with 254 killed in far-right violence since 9/11, according to West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, compared to 50 killed in jihadist-related terrorism.)
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The Next Iranian Revolution – Keith Johnson/Foreign Policy

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With an end to sanctions in sight, one of the world’s richest oil and gas prizes is about to open up. That makes some nervous, but has oil majors and energy-hungry countries rubbing their hands in anticipation.

The future of Iran’s nuclear weapons program is the biggest question mark looming over the final negotiations between Tehran and global powers this week in Vienna. But almost as important, and with huge implications for the United States, Europe, Russia, and OPEC, is the breakout capacity of Iran’s straitjacketed energy sector, if and when sanctions are lifted as part of the nuclear deal.
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The Next Gaza War: Your Role – Tal Keinan/HuffPo

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Israel will be back at war in Gaza soon. This round will be as tragic as the last, and many readers are complicit in the tragedy. I am a former member of the fighting force that will execute that war, a retired fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force.
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Vladimir Putin on the vassalization of France and Europe: Russia will survive! (English Subtitles) – YouTube

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Michael Oren vs. The New York Times -Larry Cohler-Esses/Forward.com

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In Michael Oren’s forthcoming book, “Ally,” Israel’s former ambassador to Washington relates numerous surprising displays of hostility toward Israel by American government officials, media figures and others from whom one might expect something different.

Our faith in these anecdotes is fostered not just by the fact that Oren was there, on the inside; it’s buttressed by his reputation as an historian. Oren’s respect for accuracy and context, not to mention documents and texts, made his meticulous and detailed book on Israel’s 1967 Six Day War one of the best-regarded accounts of that conflict.
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Emerging Israel gas deal ignites fierce debate – AP

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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — When natural gas was discovered a few years ago off the shores of resource-poor Israel, it was heralded as nothing short of a miracle, but an emerging deal with developers has been plagued by criticism, with opponents accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of caving to a monopoly.

After long negotiations, a government committee has struck a deal with the firms, which aims to break up their monopolistic control of Israel’s gas reserves and introduce competition while maintaining incentives for fresh investment. But liberal lawmakers and environmentalists say the deal would squander a national treasure.

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Israel Shekel World’s Worst Currency After Central Bank Buys – Bloomberg Business

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The shekel depreciated the most among a basket of global peers, after the Bank of Israel intervened to beat back the currency’s best three-day rally since March.

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ISIS is getting paranoid – Business Insider

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The Islamic State rules over the areas it controls using fear tactics to terrify its populace into submission, and its leaders are proving themselves to be quite paranoid as the militant group loses some ground.

“The Islamic State has turned cartoonish violence into real-life tragedy as a means of control,” strategic security firm The Soufan Group reports.

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WikiLeaks exposes Saudi liquor runs, Clinton’s passport – AP

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CAIRO  — WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 60,000 Saudi documents has set pens racing across the Middle East with disclosures about the secretive Arab monarchy’s foreign affairs. But lost amid the torrent of revelations are offbeat memos showing the underbelly of Riyadh’s diplomacy, including candid accounts of booze runs and pork smuggling.

Among the revelations you may have missed:
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Palestinian minister hands ‘war crimes’ files to ICC – AP

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands  — Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki handed International Criminal Court prosecutors a file Thursday detailing possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza and settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The file, based on findings by a Palestinian commission of inquiry and information from non-government groups, feeds into a preliminary investigation by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda into possible crimes on Palestinian territory.
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Orthodox lobbyist: After Charleston, black communities need same security funding as Jews – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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In reporting on federal funding for securing nonprofits, we’ve noted, almost as a matter of boilerplate, that the vast majority of the funding – over 90 percent – goes to Jewish institutions.

There are several reasons for this:
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GOP Presidential Hopefuls Introduce Sheldon Adelson-Backed Bill to Ban Online Gambling – Dustin Volz/NationalJournal.com

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paul ryan kissing adelsons ass

Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio are among a cohort of senators that revived legislation heavily favored by the billionaire GOP donor.

Two Republican senators running for president reintroduced a bill Wednesday that would effectively ban Internet poker and other forms of online gambling—legislation that has long been championed by casino magnate and GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
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US Needs to Think Twice About Antagonizing Russia – David Oualaalou/HuffPo

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Whether it’s a bluff or not, one cannot fathom why the West and specifically NATO would condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin following his decision to place more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) into service this year. After all, his decision is a direct response to the United States’ own announcement that it intends to place heavy weapons in Eastern Europe, basically at Russia’s very doorstep.
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O’Reilly Versus Kirsten Powers on Racism in America

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Here O’Reilly Tears Into ‘Race-Baiters,’ Fox Haters: ‘You Want a War? You Got a War!’

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JVP Loses Its Balance: The Weir Wars – Amith Gupta

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BEGIN CIRCULATED EMAIL:

A personal note: I did not intend on sending this or discussing this any further. But, for the last three years, I have been pushed and pushed to speak about Alison Weir, not out of support for her politics, but out of alienation by those who have attacked her.

Below is a consolidated version of some of the things I have written to associates on organizing lists about the recent statement by JVP to malign Alison Weir, which was mass-mailed to various chapters and list-servs. I
did not intend to write anything further, but I have had ten people contact me to tell me to spread this further in 24 hours.

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