‘Militant Islamists and terrorists are waging ‘anal jihad’ by having gay anal sex with each other, an Egyptian cleric has claimed. There is even a ‘fatwa’ or religious edict allowing it, says Mazhar Shahin.
But others have claimed Shahin may be simply trying to discredit the Muslim Brotherhood, who were kicked out of power last year in Egypt and who he fiercely opposes. A video picked up by progressive online news show The Young Turks shows Shahin describing ‘anal jihad’ on Egyptian channel al-Tahrir.’
‘Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk abruptly resigned Thursday afternoon as Kiev’s ruling parliamentary coalition fell apart. In a brief statement, Yatsenyuk told Parliament, “I announce my resignation in connection with the collapse of the coalition and the blocking of government initiatives.” He criticized lawmakers for gridlock that he said had interfered with the body’s ability to pass measures on issues such as energy and military financing.
The resignation came on the heels of news that Ukraine’s governing European Choice coalition had collapsed as several parties withdrew from the government. Among the parties pulling out were Udar, the pro-European party of former boxer and current Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko; nationalist party Svoboda; and Fatherland, the party of Orange Revolution leader and failed 2014 presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko.’
‘Most Americans say Russia is directly or indirectly responsible for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner over eastern Ukraine, and unfavorable opinions of Russia have surged, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/ORC International survey conducted Friday through Sunday also indicates that nearly nine in 10 say that Moscow and pro-Russian rebels that control the area where Flight 17 crashed last week will try to cover something up in any international investigation.
But only one in 10 say the United States should take military action if there is clear evidence that Russia is responsible for the shooting down of the plane, which killed all 298 passengers and crew.’
‘[...] The general also used the news conference, attended mostly by Italian journalists, to underline the need for changes to NATO posture during the alliance’s summit in September. Breedlove said Russian actions in Ukraine require a retooling of the NATO Response Force — a military unit combined from member nation forces stationed across Europe — as well as the creation of new headquarters focused on Article 5 military response in Europe’s north and south. Article 5 requires NATO members to support one another in case of attack. He also said that NATO needs to position resources forward on its eastern flank in response to the concerns of nations close to Ukraine.
“Pre-positioned supplies, pre-positioned capabilities and a basing area ready to rapidly accept follow-on forces,” he said. “And how we man that in a rotational or nonpermanent basis is what we’re looking at now to propose in NATO and we will be looking at that with the (North Atlantic Council).” Poland, in particular, has argued for forward supplies and permanent bases to be moved to eastern member states, a measure opposed especially by Germany, which claims a 1997 agreement between Russia and NATO prohibits such a shift. Poland argues the agreement, known as the Founding Act, is no longer valid after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in the spring. Italy, like Germany and France, has balked at harsh measures toward Russia favored by countries like Poland.’
- Russia fears prompt NATO to look east for HQ
- NATO Poland base may be prepared for blitz against Russia
- Special Summit Series: The United States and NATO
- What NATO Needs to Do in the Wake of the Ukraine Crisis
- Obama: “Now is time for Putin to pivot away from the strategies they’ve been taking”
- Russian Institute of Strategic Studies: Ukrainian crisis, danger and threat
- EUCOM Chief Breedlove: Time To Stop the Drawdown in Europe
- NATO Foreign Ministerial to focus on Ukraine, Afghanistan at Wales Summit
- June: Obama escalates NATO confrontation with Russia
- June: Obama Seeks $1 Billion To Boost U.S. Military Presence In Europe
- June: NATO Struggles With Defense Stance as U.S. Raises Pressure
- U.S. wants its allies to spend more on defense, here’s how much they’re spending
Hat tip to Media Lens for drawing attention to these
‘In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss reputational apartheid and delusion insurance as we all become blackmailable. In the second half, Max interviews microbiologist, Jason Tetro, author of The Germ Code, about what germs can teach us about the modern economy and about the similarities between Las Vegas and C.Dificile.’ (Keiser Report)
‘In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the dominant discourse is that the Palestinian militants provoked the hostilities — while Israel, as President Barack Obama affirmed last week, is acting in legitimate self-defense. Many have attempted to problematize this narrative, for instance by arguing that Israel, as an occupying power, does not have a legitimate legal or moral claim to self-defense. Others have argued that rockets fired by Hamas do not constitute an existential crisis for Israel or its citizens and certainly did not warrant the killing of more than 500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women and children.
While these are all valid and important points, the broader narrative remains largely unchallenged: Hamas began firing rockets at Israel first, triggering Israel’s latest military incursion. This is not true. In fact, far from acting in self-defense, the crisis is the result of deliberate actions by Israel over the last few weeks — first to stir up anti-Arab sentiment among the Israeli population and then to provoke Hamas into open conflict.’
- Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses?
- Palestinian rockets: The conversation no one is having
- Hamas tactics exact high toll in Israeli ground thrust
- Battered but not beaten, Hamas will not stop building tunnels
- Gaza Resident: I’m Called a Human Shield for Refusing to Leave My Home
- In West Bank, Israel revives punitive home demolitions in effort to deter Hamas
- State Department: Hamas has rockets that can reach Israel airport
- Hamas aide: Israel airport targeted
- Reaping what we have sown in Gaza
‘During its first 14 days, the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip has left a toll of over 500 dead, the vast majority of whom civilians, and many more injured. Thousands of houses were targeted and destroyed together with other essential civilian infrastructures. Over one hundred thousand civilians have been displaced. By the time you will read this article the numbers will have grown higher and, despicably, no real truce seems in sight. When I say real, I mean practicable, agreeable to both sides and sustainable for some time.
The Israeli government, followed suit by Western media and governments, was quick to put the blame on Hamas for that. Hamas – they claim – had an opportunity to accept a truce brokered by Egypt – and refused it. Others have already explained at length why this proposal crafted without any consultations with Hamas, was hard to accept by Hamas.
Much less noticed by the Western media was that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had meanwhile proposed a 10 year truce on the basis of 10 – very reasonable – conditions. While Israel was too busy preparing for the ground invasion, why didn’t anyone in the diplomatic community spend a word about this proposal? The question is all the more poignant as this proposal was in essence in line with what many international experts as well as the United Nations have asked for years now, and included some aspects that Israel had already considered as feasible requests in the past.’
- Growing Calls for Gaza Ceasefire, But Israel and Hamas Stick to Demands
- Hamas: no cease-fire until siege of Gaza lifted
- Hamas calls for end to blockade of Gaza border
- Israeli military playing a lethal game of cat-and-mouse in Gaza
- Netanyahu: Hamas wants ‘telegenically dead Palestinians’
- Livni: All options on table, including bringing down Hamas
- Liberman reportedly calls for Israel to assassinate Hamas leader Mashaal
- Israeli military thrust into Gaza sows terror, defiance
- IDF intercepts another Hamas UAV
- Palestinian factions reportedly set 10 conditions for 10-year truce with Israel
‘As Hamas head Khaled Mashaal indicated in Doha Wednesday night that Hamas was ready for a “humanitarian cease-fire,” the security cabinet met to discuss the direction of the military action inside Gaza, as well as the diplomatic efforts to stop it.
Mashaal continued to lay down conditions for the cease-fire, calling for lifting the blockade that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007 and reopening the border crossings. He said Hamas would not accept any cease-fire that bypasses the demands of the movement and other resistance groups in the Gaza Strip.’
- Israeli envoy: Our soldiers deserve a Nobel Peace Prize
- Right-wing rabbi’s ruling: Israel may totally destroy Gaza if necessary
- “Most” killed in Gaza “deserved it” even though they were children and civilians, says Israel’s Danny Ayalon
- Livni: Israel to finish tunnels assault before truce
- Israel detains soldiers after WhatsApp leaks about Gaza casualties
- More than 50 Israeli reservists refuse to serve
- Netanyahu Defends Deaths of Civilians in ‘Historic’ Gaza War
- Israel firing experimental weapons at Gaza’s civilians, say doctors
- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: Time to Take Back Gaza
- 1 in 5 of Gaza dead are children
- In Israel’s War, Gaza Children Increasingly in the Line of Fire
- Gaza’s children, most likely to be killed, live in state of “shock and horror”
- Gaza mourns, seeks justice for generations lost in Israeli strikes
- Bloody Scenes Haunt Kids as Bombs Fall in Israel-Gaza Fight
- Dad Relives Israeli Strike in Gaza That Wiped Out His Family
- European doctors slam Gaza assault
- For second time, rockets found at UN school in Gaza
- “I am living in a horror movie”: What it’s like to raise a family in Gaza
- Israel Shells Gaza Hospital, Adding to Humanitarian Crisis
- Gaza neighbourhood devastated by Israeli bombing
- Gaza Hospitals Can’t Cope
‘Abby Martin speaks with Suha Najjar, a resident of Gaza City, discussing the horrors of daily life on the ground in Gaza since the Israel’s latest offensive and debunks the ‘human shield’ rhetoric often heard from the IDF when justifying indiscriminate killings of civilians.’ (Breaking the Set)
- On ‘Human Shielding’ in Gaza
- Families search for a place of safety from the violence, but the frontline is everywhere in Gaza
- Greek Orthodox church in Gaza shelters Muslims fleeing war
- No Place Is Safe as Israel Pounds Civilian Areas in Gaza
- Shejaiya: a moonscape strewn with bodies
- ‘Tank shells were falling like hot raindrops’
- Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- In a hospital. At the beach. Hamas, Israel tells us, is hiding among civilians
- Egypt tightens grip on border with Gaza amid rising casualties
- Netanyahu’s Wikipedia Page Replaced With Palestinian Flag
‘It’s a thin line between morbid curiosity about the catastrophes of others and a genuine desire to understand the world’s most sensitive areas. It’s what separates war tourism from deep journeying into a region in conflict. Nicholas Wood, a former New York Times Balkans correspondent who founded the study-tour company Political Tours five years ago, insists that his firm’s activities fall into the latter group. You want to get a nuanced and complex understanding of the situations we see on the television news, he said, adding, that the idea is not to be voyeuristic, but rather to gain a deeper understanding.
[...] Political Tours’s list of destinations is long and varied. It includes North Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, South Africa, Russia, Georgia, Libya, Northern Ireland and Scotland, where the focus is on the referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. A tour of Israel and the Palestinian Authority is planned for October.’
‘Israel attempted to use tapes of former US president Bill Clinton’s steamy conversations with intern Monica Lewinsky to leverage the release of Jonathan Pollard, a new book on the Clinton family’s political enterprises has claimed. In the book, titled “Clinton Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine,” author Daniel Halper relies on on-the-record interviews with former officials together with a close analysis of documents termed “the Monica Files” to paint a salacious – and uncomplimentary – picture of one of the most prominent political families in the United States
Halper reviewed hundreds of pages of documents compiled as a contingency to use in case the former intern ever was involved in legal action against Clinton. According to the author, the documents indicate that during the Wye Plantation talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, held in Maryland in 1998, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled Bill Clinton aside to press for Pollard’s release. Halper said that Israel had found new leverage to push for Pollard’s release.’
‘[...] Scotland Yard claimed that the families were not the target of the operations but information on them was gathered and wrongly retained as part of the covert infiltration of political groups. The revelations come as an internal police investigation into the Met’s undercover Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) is poised to severely criticise the force for a lack of regard to the rules and law covering the deployment of undercover officers.
The report, to be published on Thursday will say that the information collected by the controversial undercover unit “served no purpose in preventing crime or disorder”. Among those who have been contacted by the police are the family of De Menezes, the Brazilian electrician who was shot dead by police in 2005 after being mistaken for a bombing suspect in the aftermath of the 7 July attack on London.’
‘Abby Martin speaks with journalist and host of Media Roots Radio, Robbie Martin, going over why Facebook is hiring police officers to aid in surveillance, as well as why more people aren’t outraged about private sector surveillance.’ (Breaking the Set)
‘A survey of major cable news discussion programs shows a stunning lack of diversity among the guests.
FAIR surveyed five weeks of broadcasts of the interview/discussion segments on several leading one-hour cable shows: CNN‘s Anderson Cooper 360° and OutFront With Erin Burnett, All In With Chris Hayes and the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, and Fox News Channel‘s O’Reilly Factor and Hannity.
Guests were coded by gender, race/ethnicity and occupation, as well as the affiliations of partisan guests-those who are identified with a party as current or former government officials or campaign professionals.’
‘London gangs are drawing up and disseminating lists of teenage girls whom they consider to be legitimate rape targets, as sexual violence is increasingly used to spread fear and antagonise rival groups.
The so-called sket lists (sket is street slang for “sluts”) have, according to youth workers, prompted attacks so brazen that girls have been dragged from school buses and sexually assaulted. Police and charities say they have recorded an increase in the use of sexual violence by gangs, including incidents of revenge rape, where the sisters and girlfriends of rival gang members are targeted. Claire Hubberstey, interim chief executive of Safer London Foundation, a charity working with young people to reduce crime, warns that gangs are using sexual violence in the same way that they use dangerous dogs to parade their masculinity.’
‘According to a report, Angela Merkel may be considering stepping down from the German chancellorship to pursue the European Council presidency or to helm the United Nations. Both positions will be open in 2017 and Merkel has reportedly signaled that she doesn’t wish to serve out her entire term, which ends in 2017.’
‘China’s insatiable demand for timber has led to illegal and unsustainable logging of Mozambique’s forests, costing the country millions of dollars in lost duties and taxes and affecting impoverished rural communities, a report released Wednesday said. A staggering 93 percent of logging in 2013 in Mozambique, one of the world’s least developed nations, was illegal, fuelled by poor law enforcement, endemic corruption, insufficient funding and incompetent leadership, said the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). “All of this crime and environmental mismanagement has robbed Mozambique’s rural poor and wider population of $146 million” in terms of lost taxes since 2007, the report said.’
‘Parts of Yumen, a city in northwestern China, have been sealed off after a local died of bubonic plague last week, reports Reuters. The 38-year-old man is said to have contracted the bacterial disease, also known as “the black death,” after coming into contact with a type of rodent called a marmot.
Yumen has a population of 100,000 people, but the parts of the city that are now sealed are home to about 30,000. These residents have been told that they can’t leave the area, and police have set up roadblocks to prevent anyone from entering these zones. Moreover, 151 residents are under quarantine after coming into direct contact with the man who contracted the disease.’
- U-turn on public inquiry is ‘quirky timing’ in light of souring relations with Russia over MH17 tragedy
- David Cameron dragged feet over Litvinenko inquiry to protect Russia relations
- MI5 suspect Putin was behind murder of spy Alexander Litvinenko
- Green light to Alexander Litvinenko death public inquiry
- Alexander Litvinenko: Profile of murdered Russian spy
‘ [...] The Big Picture spells out the Empire of Chaos elites as extremely uneasy. Take Dr Zbigniew “The Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, who as a former foreign policy mentor has the ears of the increasingly dejected White House paperboy. Dr Zbig was on CNN this Sunday challenging Europe’s leaders to “stand up to Putin”. He wonders if “Europe wants to become a satellite” and worries about “a moment of decisive significance for the future of the system – of the world system”.
And it’s all Putin’s fault, of course: “We’re not starting the Cold War. He [Putin] has started it. But he has gotten himself into a horrendous jam. I strongly suspect that a lot of people in Russia, even not far away from him who are worried that Russia’s status in the world is dramatically being undermined, that Russia’s economically beginning to fail, that Russia’s threatened by the prospect of becoming a satellite to China, that Russia’s becoming self-isolated and discredited.”
Obviously Dr Zbig is blissfully unaware of the finer points of the Russia-China strategic partnership, as well as their concerted voice inside the BRICS, the G-20 and myriad other mechanisms. His trademark Russophobia in the end always gets the better of him. And to think that in his latest book, Strategic Vision (2012), Dr Zbig was in favor of an enlarged “West” annexing Turkey and Russia, with the Empire of Chaos posing as “promoter” and “guarantor” of broader unity in the West, and a “balancer” and “conciliator” between the major powers in the East. A quick look at the record since 2012 – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, encirclement of China – reveals the Empire of Chaos only as fomenter of, what else, chaos.
Now compare a fearful Dr Zbig with Immanuel Wallerstein – who was a huge influence in my 2007 warped geopolitical travel book Globalistan. In this piece (in Spanish) Wallerstein argues that the Empire of Chaos simply can’t accept its geopolitical decadence – and that’s why it has become so dangerous. Restoring its hegemony in the world-system has become the supreme obsession; and that’s where the whole “policy” that is an essential background to the MH17 tragedy reveals Ukraine as the definitive do or die battleground.
In Europe, everything hinges on Germany. Especially after the National Security Agency scandal and its ramifications, the key debate raging in Berlin is how to position itself geopolitically bypassing the US. And the answer, as pressed by large swathes of German big business, lies in a strategic partnership with Russia.’
He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history of scarcity to an era of abundance. Then he noted that the technologies that make such abundance possible are allowing production of far more output using far fewer people.
On all this, Summers is right. Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores.
There won’t be much work for human beings…’
‘Time magazine (7/17/14–subscription required) has some good news for you, courtesy of investment banker and former Clinton Treasury official Roger Altman: “Surprise: The Economy Isn’t as Bad as You Think.”
After noting that “in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 63 percent of respondents said the US is on the wrong track,” Altman insists that “despite the pessimistic mood, America is experiencing a profound comeback.”‘
‘Barack Obama’s Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy.
Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when Bill Clinton signed legislation reversing the sensible restraints on Wall Street instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to avoid another Great Depression.
Those filled with Clinton nostalgia these days might want to reflect back on how truly destructive was his legacy for hardworking people throughout the world who lost so much due to the financial shenanigans that he made legal.’