Tag Archives: US

US, Syrian, and Russian Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Civilians

The civilian toll of the Syrian war continues to rise, with airstrikes driving the toll today, as US, Russian, and Syrian warplanes all took to the skies, pounding targets in rebel-held parts of the country, killing at least 44 civilians across the country.

The biggest single incident was in Abu Kamal, along the Iraqi border, where US airstrikes killed at least 30 civilians, mostly women and children. The Pentagon downplayed the incident, saying they couldn’t confirm the civilian casualties, and that they’d “tried to avoid” killing any civilians.

Abu Kamal is a main border crossing between Iraq and Syria, and the Syrian side is mostly controlled by ISIS. The other strikes saw Russia killing 10 civilians in Maaret Harmeh, in Idlib Province, and four civilians were killed by Syrian government strikes in Aleppo Province.

This marks the latest in a growing number of US strikes with large civiliian tolls across Iraq and Syria, most of which never make it into official Pentagon figures, despite substantial third party evidence that they took place. The result of this is that the “official” figure is less than 10% the number killed according to NGOs.

by Jason Ditz/AntiWar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Israel approves permits for 566 settler homes

Building plan in East Jerusalem approved by local council after being held up until Donald Trump took office in the US.

Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 566 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local officials, a move that has drawn condemnation from Palestinian leaders.

The approval of the building plan on Sunday came two days after the inauguration of Donald Trump in the United States, with Israeli official saying the permits had been held up until the end of Barack Obama’s administration, which had been critical of Israeli settlement activity.

“The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump’s arrival as president,” Meir Turgeman, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, told AFP news agency.

“We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama. Now we can finally build.”

Turgeman said that city officials approved the plans that had been previously postponed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request following a UN Security Council resolution in December against Israeli settlement building.

The new permits are for homes in the settlement neighbourhoods of Pisgat Zeev, Ramot and Ramat Shlomo, according to Turgeman, who also heads the planning committee that approved them.

Turgeman said plans for about 11,000 other homes were also in process in East Jerusalem, though he did not say when they could proceed.

‘State above law’

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law and have been major stumbling blocks in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

Between 2009 and 2014, Israeli settlements expanded by 23 percent in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the building plans and called on the United Nations to take action, particularly given the recent Security Council resolution.

“It is time to stop dealing with Israel as a state above the law,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from West Jerusalem, said that with Trump now in the White House the Israeli government feels it can build illegal settlements on Palestinian land without facing much criticism.

“They think that this is a retooling of the relationship with the US,” Khan said. “Under President Trump the Israelis feel that they will have a lot more leeway to build on Palestinian land,” he added.

“And this is a message to the world that they can build wherever they want, including on the land of a future Palestinian state.”

Netanyahu-Trump talks

Netanyahu said on Sunday that he was to speak with Trump later in the day, their first conversation since the billionaire businessman took office.

Trump has pledged strong support for Israel and vowed during his campaign to recognise Jerusalem as the country’s capital despite the city’s contested status.

READ MORE: Abbas warns Trump not to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Israel clashed frequently with Obama over construction in areas it conquered in 1967.

But Trump’s appointed ambassador to Israel has close ties to Jewish West Bank settlements, as does the foundation run by the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

From Al Jazeera and news agencies

Posted by The NON-conformist

Edward Snowden’s latest leak: NSA monitored online porn habits of ‘radicalizers’ to discredit them

Edward Snowden’s latest leak: NSA monitored online porn habits of ‘radicalizers’ to discredit them (via Raw Story )

A document provided by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden explains the agency’s plan to discredit Islamic “radicalizers” by monitoring their online habits for indications they visited pornographic websites or used

sed “sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls,” the Huffington Post reported Tuesday night.

“Radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document states. The Post reported that the Oct. 12 missive was sent to the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) and the Commerce, Customs, Justice and Transportation Departments.

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Christian American Patriots Militia leader: We now have authority to shoot Obama

Christian American Patriots Militia leader: We now have authority to shoot Obama (via Raw Story )

An apparent threat made against President Barack Obama’s life posted on Facebook has caught the attention of the Secret Service. Agents declined to comment on the post, which has been removed but was preserved in screen captures by Social News Daily…

Posted by The NON-Conformist

US troops could stay in Afghanistan until 2024 – security pact

US Marines from the 2nd Battalion wait for helicopter transport as part of Operation Khanjar at Camp Dwyer in Helmand Province in Afghanistan (AFP Photo / Manpreet Romana)
AFP Photo / Manpreet Romana

The US and Afghanistan have reportedly agreed on the draft of a mutual security pact indicating that US troops could remain in the country until 2024, according to Afghanistan. However, the US insists that some final details still need to be clarified.

Afghan politicians and tribal leaders will meet in two days to vote on the new agreement.

Although the final text of the agreement is expected to be presented to the grand council on Thursday, it still needs some final touches a US State Department spokeswoman said. “There are still some final issues we are working through… We are not there yet,” she said according to Reuters.

While the 25-page “Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement Between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” is still unsigned, the deal displays a willingness of the US to retain their military outposts for many years while continuing to pay to support Afghan security forces.

The presence of up to 15,000 American troops could potentially last until 2024, according to the document, which was released for public viewing by NBC News.

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

400 US troops to deploy to Egypt

More than 400 US soldiers are preparing for their deployment to Egypt in anticipation of violent protests, riots, and the possibility of having to protect the country’s border with Israel.

Training at Fort Hood for a nine-month deployment in the “near future” concluded on June 20, KCEN-TV reports, noting that the soldiers encountered Molotov cocktails and “other dangerous items” in their training.

“Just what I’ve seen over the course of the past week, this unit is already far more ready for this type of threat than we were last week,” Lt. Matthew Wilkinson told the television station. According to KDH News, the training lasted about six months.

“We want to be as professional as possible so that whatever situation we may encounter, [so] the opposing force knows that we mean business and we know what we’re doing,” said PFC Perez Alexander.

Troops from 13 nations, including the 400 from the US, will man posts and security checkpoints along the Sinai Peninsula, report any peace treaty violations between Egypt and Israel, and be prepared to respond to threats.

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Atheist seeking US citizenship told to join church or be denied

A 65-year-old British atheist who has lived in the US for 30 years has been denied US citizenship, unless she joins a church by Friday.

Image: Margaret Doughty Facebook page

During her application process to become a naturalized US citizen, Texas resident Margaret Doughty did not agree to bear arms to defend the country, claiming that she was morally opposed to killing. In order to gain citizenship, naturalization applications are required to take the oath of allegiance, swearing to support the Constitution and agree to bear arms for the US Armed Forces, if necessary.

As a result, US Citizenship and Immigration Services told the woman she could not gain citizenship unless she provided documentation proving she was “a member in good standing” of a church that morally opposed the bearing of arms.

But since Doughty is an atheist, providing such documentation is impossible unless she takes up the Christian religion by Friday.

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist