In the United States, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues. While Senator Bernie Sanders has been temporarily sidelined due to surgery, War Hawk Joe Biden continues to flounder as desperation hits in.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump hasn’t endorsed a Turkish incursion into Syria, a senior administration official said, deepening confusion around his policy after an uproar from Republicans that he planned to abandon U.S. Kurdish allies.The official said Trump has cautioned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he will bear responsibility for Islamic State prisoners in the region, as well as a resurgence of violence if the militants are freed and any harm to civilians in areas Turkey occupies.The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.Trump later suggested his move to clear the way for a Turkish invasion was intended in part to pressure European countries including France and Germany that, he said, have refused to accept the return of citizens who joined Islamic State.Trump said at a meeting with military leaders that he had urged U.S. allies to reclaim their citizens, but they had refused.“We’re not going to move the fighters to Guantanamo Bay and take care of them for many, many years into the future, that’s not for us,” he said. “Now it’s time for Germany and France and all of the nations where they came from to take them back and they chose no. Maybe they’re going to change their tune now, I don’t know.”Trump has come under criticism from allies including Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and his former United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, for his announcement late Sunday that the U.S. wouldn’t stand in the way of the Turkish incursion.The White House statement was read around the world as Trump abandoning U.S. policy that Kurdish allies would be protected from Turkish aggression in exchange for their help in defeating Islamic State.Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is among the top Democratic contenders to challenge Trump’s re-election in 2020, said in a statement that “once again, an impulsive and erratic president has abandoned friends of the United States with a late-night tweet.”American officials didn’t immediately explain the president’s change in position on Syria. Trump’s order to remove about 50 U.S. troops from a Syria border region Turkey intends to invade doesn’t represent a green light for the incursion, the U.S. official said. The official added that Trump had discussed the decision with officials at the State Department and Pentagon before the White House announcement, and that the agencies should not have been surprised.The U.S. had successfully dissuaded Turkey from an invasion for two years, but if Erdogan orders an operation, the U.S. doesn’t want its soldiers endangered or caught in the crossfire, the official said.I’ve told President Erdogan, I hope he’s going to treat everybody with great respect,” Trump said at the meeting with military leaders. Earlier, he told reporters at the White House: “I have consulted with everybody.”“I fully understand both sides of it but I campaigned on the fact I was going to bring our soldiers home,” he said.The administration official did not say that any U.S. soldiers would be brought home as a result of the withdrawal. The troops moved from the border region, mostly special forces soldiers, would be re-positioned at different U.S. bases in Syria, the official said.(Updates with more Trump remarks, beginning in fourth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Josh Wingrove in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Justin Sink in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging "maximum restraint" by all parties in Syria's conflict, ahead of what Turkey says is its imminent offensive into the country's northeast. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres is greatly concerned, especially at the risk to civilians in any escalation of fighting. The U.N. chief emphasizes that civilians must be protected, and all parties must guarantee "sustained, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access to civilians in need," Dujarric says.
|Cache||Major column by Mohamad Bazi at THE GUARDIAN:|
Since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015, the United States gave its full support to a relentless air campaign where Saudi warplanes and bombs hit thousands of targets, including civilian sites and infrastructure, with impunity. From the beginning, US officials insisted that American weapons, training and intelligence assistance would help the Saudis avoid causing even more civilian casualties.
But this was a lie meant to obscure one of the least understood aspects of US support for Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen: it’s not that Saudi-led forces don’t know how to use American-made weapons or need help in choosing targets. They have deliberately targeted civilians and Yemen’s infrastructure since the war’s early days – and US officials have recognized this since at least 2016 and done little to stop it.
A team of United Nations investigators, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, presented a devastating report in Geneva in early September detailing how the US, along with Britain and France, are likely complicit in war crimes in Yemen because of continued weapons sales and intelligence support to the Saudis and their allies, especially the United Arab Emirates.
Despite pressure from Saudi Arabia, the Human Rights Council voted last Thursday to extend its investigation.
If the council pursues an aggressive investigation based on the 274-page report, the world might finally see some accountability for war crimes committed in Yemen over the past five years. The report’s authors submitted a secret list of individuals who may be responsible for war crimes to the UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, but it’s unclear if that list includes any western officials. The report said third states that have influence on Yemen’s warring parties – including the US, Britain, France and Iran – “may be held responsible for providing aid or assistance for the commission of international law violations”.
American complicity in the Yemen war goes beyond providing training and intelligence support, and selling billions of dollars in weapons to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which has become Washington’s largest weapons buyer. The US is looking the other way while its allies commit war crimes and avoid responsibility for instigating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
True. There's a reason so many around the world do not see our country as good or even not bad. We have a strong inclination to ignore that view. Hillary Clinton fanatics, for example, in the US refuse to recognize the feelings of so many in the Middle East when they express distaste for Hillary as a result of the policies she has supported that have destroyed their lives, the lives of their friends and their family. We don't want to own what our government has done. This goes exactly to Trina's post last night. Not only do our rulers need to be held accountable, we need to take accountability for looking the other way and ignoring the damage done to so many.
Meanwhile, Bernie proves again why he should be president.
Even recovering from surgery, Bernie's instincts are solid.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, October 3, 2019. Even Joe Biden's friends in the press denying anything wrong took place demonstrates that Joe did something wrong and meanwhile the protests continue in Iraq.
In the United States, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues. While Senator Bernie Sanders has been temporarily sidelined due to surgery, War Hawk Joe Biden continues to flounder as desperation hits in.
I will put the integrity of my whole career in public service to this nation up against President Trump's long record of lying, cheating, and stealing any day of the week.
Will you put that record up?
Is that the record where you tell the public that you always believed Anita Hill but others -- including a US senator -- are on the record saying you told them you knew Anita was lying? Is that the record?
Or is it the record where you were a cheerleader for the Iraq War? Have you ever apologized to the Iraqi people for that? You certainly haven't apologized to the American people. You've either said that you were tricked by Bully Boy Bush or you've lied that you were against it as soon as it started.
Is it the record where you pushed through the 'crime' bill that targeted African-Americans? This as your little blond princess niece assaults a police officer and does no time and then, a few years later, is caught stealing over $100,000 and does no time.
Caroline Biden. Apparently she has a major vag problem. Apparently she's crusty lips down there. Apparently she had to steal a credit card and charge over $100,000 worth of Vagisil at a drug store to deal with her crust lips and to stop popping out loafs of sourdough bread from her personal oven. Apparently, one of her boyfriends asked her why she was chewing bubble gum with her vagina and she replied that wasn't bubble gum, those were yeast bubbles.
That's got to be it, right? The press doesn't want to talk about a thirty-something woman who's Joe Biden's niece and stole over $100,000 so it's got be vag related, right? That's the only reason they're so mum on the topic. (See Nora Ephron's essay "Dealing With The, Uh, Problem.")
When is Joe going to be asked why his niece was shown favoritism?
Joe's hoping and praying that his hideous campaign can struggle on through South Carolina. He knows he's losing Iowa, he knows he's losing New Hampshire. but if he can stay in until South Carolina, he just knows he'll prove to be a winner.
Now Iowa, please remember, knocked him out of the race in 2008. He bowed out immediately after.
But he thinks the myth of Joe Biden support among African-Americans will save him this go round.
He is not huge with African-Americans. He's popular with middle-aged and elderly African-Americans but, as his own campaign polling demonstrates (his campaign poured over it Monday), it's a very soft support. It's doubtful South Carolina African-Americans from his age range will stick with him if he loses Iowa -- forget losing Iowa and New Hampshire.
Joe's desperate and it's really starting to show.
And he's right, Donald Trump is not going to destroy Joe Biden -- mainly because Joe's doing such a good job of that all by himself.
Whenever he's lying, Joe likes to claim that he's the voice of truth. That's his tell.
Or have we all forgotten this: "This is the God's truth. My word as a Biden."
So many whores rush to prop Joe up. Like here.
Twitter has since removed the video featuring Nickelback’s song “Photograph” for copyright reasons that President Trump tweeted on Wednesday. This, as the president accused Joe Biden of abusing his power to help his son. There’s no evidence of wrongdoing, @kwelkernbc reports.
LISTEN TO THIS: 9 FT. ANUNNAKI STRIKE AFRICA (TWISTED TRUTH)
Published on Sep 24, 2019
Moroccan para-military and security forces tracking Saharawi civilians near the city of Ela Aaiun were ambushed and slaughtered by an Anunnaki raiding party late Friday night, according to a Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) official familiar with Anunnaki incursions worldwide.
|Cache||Geneva: Civilians must be spared in any Turkish military operation in northeast Syria, where the United Nations hopes that mass displacement and Srebrenica-like killings can be prevented, a senior UN aid official said on Monday. The United Nations...|
10/07 Links Pt2: The Zionist Movement Did Not Seek to Dispossess the Palestinian Arabs; Interior minister moves to deport Palestinian BDS founder; Yom Kippur 1967: The Return to the Western WallCache
Efraim Karsh (WSJ): The Zionist Movement Did Not Seek to Dispossess the Palestinian Arabs
David Ben-Gurion's stature as Israel's founding father would seem to be eminently secure, given his crucial, perhaps indispensable, role in salvaging the Jewish people from political oblivion and reinstating it in its ancestral homeland. Tom Segev's A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion is an effort to tarnish his reputation and reinterpret Israel's founding period.To the Arab World, Jewish Sovereignty Is a Rebellion against Islam Itself
Arab anti-Zionism, Shmuel Trigano argues, has little to do with land, the fate of the Palestinians, or Palestinian self-determination—and everything to do with religion. Citing the historical status of non-Muslims in the Islamic Middle East, he points in particular to two concepts: that of the ummah, a nation of all Muslim believers that transcends ethnic and political boundaries, and that of the dhimmi, protected religious minorities who are allowed to live in Muslim society with legal disabilities:Michael Lumish: The White Jew
When I was growing up to be a "white" person meant to be a person of European descent. This is no longer the case.
Interior minister moves to deport Palestinian BDS founder
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced on Sunday that he had directed the Population and Immigration Authority to prepare a legal opinion to be used in the deportation of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions founder Omar Barghouti.David Collier: Miko Peled, Ian Fantom and the secretive ‘neo-Nazi’ group
Last Thursday there was a ‘Keep Talking’ event at St Anne’s Church Soho. It was an event organised and attended by some truly nasty antisemites. The event shows how the suggested differences between ‘far-right’ and ‘far-left’ are illusions. There is just a sewer of extremism – those who build conspiracy theories, and all too frequently pin the blame on the ‘Jews’.Church ‘sorry’ for leasing room for Miko Peled talk
St Anne’s Church in Soho has apologised for leasing a room to the controversial Keep Talking Group for a talk by Israeli-born anti-Zionist activist Miko Peled.Petra Marquardt-Bigman: Zahra Billoo’s “pro-Palestinian” anti-Semitism
Given that Billoo has almost 34 000 Twitter followers, she may not have seen the responses, and she may also not have seen a blog post that highlighted her updated blood libel. But it is also unlikely that she would have cared much if she had noticed the criticism. Like her good friend Linda Sarsour, Zahra Billoo despises anyone who dares to notice contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism propagated by the left. That includes the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to which Billoo devoted a Facebook post and an almost identical Twitter thread last year in order to educate her followers about the ADL’s supposedly vicious record and odious history.Open letter to Mayor DeBlasio and the NY Democrats machine
As the perilous scourge of visceral anti-Semitism continues unabated in New York City in the form of attacks on Orthodox Jews as well as their homes and synagogues, our elected officials have stubbornly remained mute on the issue of clearly identifying from whence these attacks are emanating.
College slammed for hosting Labour MP suspended for alleged antisemitism
Several Jewish groups and UK Members of Parliament have slammed a decision by the University of Nottingham to host Labour MP Chris Williamson, who was suspended from the party in February for claiming it has been “too apologetic” about antisemitism.Reporter complained about ‘stingy’ Jew, hired by Liberty University
Emily Austen, a reporter who was fired by Fox Sports in Florida for derogatory comments about Jews and minorities, has been hired by the evangelical Christian Liberty University.
Demi Lovato Apologizes, Had No Idea Jews Lived in Israel (satire)
Following backlash, singer Demi Lovato has profusely apologized for her recent concert in and praise of Israel, insisting she had no idea that the people who treated her so well on the trip were in fact Jews.CNN Rewrites History of 1948, 1967 Wars
Sam Kiley, a senior international correspondent based in CNN Abu Dhabi’s bureau, has rewritten the history of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence and the 1967 Six-Day War. In his Oct. 3 analysis (“Any war between the US and Iran would be a catastrophe. And no one could win it“), Kiley absurdly asserts that those fateful wars were “to expand territory”:The Washington Post Isn’t About to Let Facts Get in Its Way
The Washington Post, for example, gives inordinate column space to the tiny fraction of Jews, American and otherwise, who are against the right of Jewish self-determination. In a Sept. 20, 2019 tweet, Mairav Zonszein of +972 magazine cheered that her publication was “all up in The Washington Post opinion pages today,” with two pieces from the same organization appearing on the same day. Zonszein proudly noted that editors of “mainstream outlets” were no longer editing out or tweaking her use of the term “apartheid.”Indy writer: levels of antisemitism in the UK are almost “negligible”.
First, the fact that there were, as Shamash writes, no antisemitic incidents reported during the 2018 high holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) may have something to do with the fact that the UK deployed counter-terror police to protect synagogues on those days. (Indeed, all throughout the year, every Jewish institution in the UK is protected by some kind of security presence.)BBC News silent on PA climb down over tax revenues
In late February of this year the Palestinian Authority announced that it would refuse to accept tax revenues collected on its behalf by Israel due to deduction of the amount paid to terrorists and their families.McGill Daily Continues To Malign Israel
Up to its old tricks, the McGill Daily continues to malign Israel on its pages. This is not surprising from a publication which recently peddled in antisemitism by claiming that Zionism is racism and for having an editorial policy of banning Zionist opinions.Accused Poway synagogue gunman pleads not guilty to deadly shooting
The accused gunman in the deadly shooting at a San Diego-area synagogue pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder.
Why a Japanese-American artist painted a mural of Nazi fighter Hannah Senesh
Hannah Senesh, the Jewish woman who died fighting Nazis as a British paratrooper, may seem an unlikely motivation for Japanese-born artist Julie Robertson.
US Ambassador Friedman at Evangelical rally: ‘Jerusalem literally keeps us safe’
Shared values and a common history, not soldiers and weapons, guarantee a nation’s security, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Sunday.The Temple Mount's treasure trove
A small clay bulla, or seal, that was used to sign official letters in the days of the kingdom of Judea waited nearly 2,600 years amid the rubble at the foundations of the Western Wall to be discovered by Israeli archaeologists. For eight years, the rubble has been cleared away, one bucket after another, and taken directly to the site of the Ancient Jerusalem Sifting Project, which is run under the auspices of Ir David Foundation.Yom Kippur 1967: The Return to the Western Wall
On Yom Kippur in 1967, thousands arrived at the Western Wall for the concluding prayers and to hear the long awaited sound of the shofar.'There is going to be a war tonight' - Israel opens Yom Kippur War archive
The Defense Ministry has published new archival material describing the drama of the critical hours prior to the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.Fearing shortages, Dayan mulled drafting young, old in 1973 war, papers show
In the early hours of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, as Israel struggled to beat back invading Egyptian and Syrian forces, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan told his staff to begin looking into drafting teens and elderly ex-reserves soldiers into the fight, fearing the Jewish state may not have the manpower it needed for the battle.Golda Meir’s letter to bereaved families on eve of Yom Kippur War uncovered
A letter of condolence to bereaved Israeli families written by then-prime minister Golda Meir on the eve of the Yom Kippur War recently was discovered.Inaccurate BBC Yom Kippur war claim – 14 years and counting
Six years ago we documented the BBC’s correction of inaccurate Israeli casualty figures during the 1973 Yom Kippur War:Forty-Six Years Since Israel's Yom Kippur War
Retired IDF General Yom-Tov Tamir was stationed on the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War. Tamir joins us the in studio to speak of the attack on its 46th anniversary. More: On October 6, 1973, a combined attack by the armies and air forces of Egypt and Syria, breached Israeli defenses and launched a nearly three week war that cost the lives of some 3,000 Israelis and maimed and scarred thousands of others. The surprise pincer attack on Israel's holiest day reshaped the country's history, shaking the confidence of the region's most formidable power.
10/03 Links Pt1: Rina Shnerb's alleged murderer linked to European-funded BDS affiliates; The Arab World Can’t Blame All of Its Problems on the West; IDF indicts 5 Palestinians in murder of soldier Dvir SorekCache
Rina Shnerb's alleged murderer linked to European-funded BDS affiliates
Samer Arbid, the alleged leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist cell responsible for murdering 17-year-old Rina Shnerb near Dolev in August, worked for a European-funded NGO linked to BDS, NGO Monitor reported on Wednesday.NGO Monitor: Samer Arbid’s Alleged Terror Activities, Arrests, and NGO Affiliations
According to Israeli security officials, on August 23, 2019, Samer Arbid commanded a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror cell that carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother. According to the Israel Security Agency (Shabak), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device.
Israel reportedly arrests another Palestinian behind the deadly Dolev Spring attack
A senior member of the terror cell suspected of being responsible for the West Bank bombing that killed teenager Rina Shnerb in August was arrested by Israeli security forces early on Thursday, Palestinian media reported.BBC-promoted NGO’s terror links surface again
The terror cell leader, Samer Arbid, was employed (despite his past history of involvement in terror activity) as an accountant by the Palestinian NGO ‘Addameer’ which is known for its links to the PFLP – a designated terror organisation in the US, the EU, Canada and Israel.
How the Myth of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict’s Supreme Importance Distorted 70 Years of American Middle East Policy
After failing in 1948 to stop the U.S. from supporting the creation of a Jewish state, writes Samuel Tadros, the Middle East experts of the State Department put forth the theory that America could not achieve its strategic goals in the region without first solving the Arab-Israeli conflict. This soon became “dogma” in Foggy Bottom, at think tanks, and in academia. Even President Trump, for all his unorthodoxies, is not immune to the allure peacemaking.The Arab World Can’t Blame All of Its Problems on the West
For the past several weeks, the death of Israa Ghrayeb, a twenty-one-year-old Palestinian woman, has garnered much attention on Arabic-language social media and also in the Arab press. Ghrayeb was apparently beaten to death by family members for appearing in public—at a café—with her fiancé. To Hussain Abdul-Hussain, her death is a stark reminder of the ways in which Arab intellectuals have used the ideas of the Egyptian-American literature professor Edward Said, along with the those of the many postcolonial theorists who followed in his footsteps, to avoid critical examination of honor killings and other social ills:PMW: Palestinian women's lives endangered by PA religious leaders' ruling
Top PA religious figures prohibit Palestinian women from submitting complaints over spouses to Israeli police"Anti-Normalization" With Israel: The True Goal
An anti-Israel group called the Association for Supporting Resistance and Confronting Normalization claimed that Jordanians who work in Eilat and other Israeli cities are often recruited as informants by the Israeli security services. The group accused the Jordanian government of "complying with all the demands of the Zionists on the pretext of cooperation for the sake of peace." The claim that Jordanians who go to work in Israel or help clean the beach are recruited as spies is aimed at painting them as traitors, a charge that is likely to put their lives at risk.US gives cold shoulder to major Palestinian donor parley
The United States gave a cold shoulder last week to the major bi-annual meeting for donor aid to the Palestinian Authority, known as the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which has operated for the last 25 years.Rivlin: Israel is in crisis, needs government now
Israeli democracy is in a state of emergency, and a government must be formed as soon as possible, President Reuven Rivlin said at the 22nd Knesset’s inaugural meeting, which was overshadowed by the political uncertainty on Thursday.Lapid forgoing rotation as prime minister
Blue and White’s co-candidate for prime minister in last month’s election, MK Yair Lapid, announced on Thursday that he would no longer be a candidate for prime minister in the next government.Benjamin Netanyahu invites Avigdor Liberman to join coalition
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman to join the government he is forming, in a meeting Thursday morning at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.IDF indicts 5 Palestinians in murder of soldier Dvir Sorek
The IDF Prosecution filed an indictment in the Judea Military Court on Thursday against five Palestinians in connection with the murder of IDF Corporal Dvir Sorek on August 8.Greenblatt: PA Must End "Pay to Slay"
U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt told Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview: "I can't imagine a world in which a peace agreement is signed where issues like the Palestinian Authority's 'Pay to Slay' program remains - a program that rewards terrorists who murder or attack Israelis. It's a basic concept that you cannot encourage people to kill and expect a peace deal that works."PA claims 24 'incursions' on Temple Mount
The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Religious Endowments and Religious Affairs published a report on the holy sites, which included 24 Jewish 'incursions' of the al-Aqsa mosque and 52 cases of denial of prayer for prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Patriarchs Cave.Hamas Takes Action in Nepotism Case following Public Pressure
Every year, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj and Umra hosts for free 1,000 people from the families of Palestinian martyrs to perform the hajj in Mecca.
Israel-Egypt gas deal gets a boost as shares soar
Gas giant Delek Group Ltd.’s announcement that it had updated an agreement for the export of liquefied natural gas from the Leviathan and Tamar offshore reservoirs to Egypt sent share prices soaring on Wednesday.Death Toll Climbs as Iraqi Protests Escalate for Third Day
Police and gunmen exchanged fire in a southern Iraqi city on Thursday killing one person, after 11 others were killed overnight as nationwide anti-government protests escalated into one of the worst security challenges in years.Report: Iranian Entrenchment in Syria (PDF)
Iran's deployment of its own forces and proxy militias recruited from other countries has been decisive in the Assad regime's reversal of territorial losses to the Syrian opposition.France: President Macron Must Stop Appeasing Iran's Mullahs
Has French President Emmanuel Macron forgotten that he is helping and appeasing a state leading in human rights violations? In 2018, according to Javaid Rehman, the UN expert on human rights in Iran, at least 273 people were executed in Iran, and 6,000 over ten years, according to Iran Human Rights.IRGC Commander Confirms Missile-Cities Hidden under Iran's Mountains
We have been digging tunnels since 1984 when we first began making missiles.” These were the words of Revolutionary Guards general Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force. He was interviewed by the Iranian regime’s Documentary TV a few hours after the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)- US representative office, revealed the existence of numerous tunnel formations across Iran that were used to stock long-range missiles.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Pakistan Wondering How Much Longer It Can Keep Citizen Anger Focused On Faraway Israel (satire)
A proven political strategy to divert popular resentment from the corrupt, repressive government and toward an outside foe might not remain effective forever, a new report by this Islamic country’s ministry of the interior warns.
The First Amendment protects the public’s right to use electronic devices to secretly audio record police officers performing their official duties in public. This is according to an amicus brief EFF filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The case, Martin v. Rollins, was brought by the ACLU of Massachusetts on behalf of plaintiffs who are challenging the constitutionality of the Massachusetts anti-eavesdropping statute, which prohibits the secret audio recording of all conversations, even those that are not private.
The First Circuit had previously held in Glik v. Cunniffe (2011) that Glik had a First Amendment right to record police officers arresting another man in Boston Common. He had used his cell phone to openly record both audio and video of the incident. The court also held that this did not violate the Massachusetts anti-eavesdropping statute.
EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use modern electronic devices to record and share audio and video recordings, especially on social media. These often include newsworthy recordings of fatal police shootings and other police misconduct. Such recordings facilitate police accountability and enhance the public discussion about police use of force and racial disparities in our criminal justice system.
EFF’s amicus brief also argues that audio recordings can be particularly helpful in chronicling police misconduct, providing more context beyond the video images, such as when a bystander audio recorded Eric Garner screaming, “I can’t breathe.” Additionally, being able to secretly audio record police officers performing their official duties in public is critical given that many officers retaliate against civilians who openly record them.
In addition to the First Circuit’s Glik decision, five other federal appellate jurisdictions have upheld a First Amendment right to record police officers performing their official duties in public: the Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. EFF wrote an amicus brief in the Third Circuit case, as well as in a pending case in the Tenth Circuit and a case in the Northern District of Texas that focused on the First Amendment right to record emergency medical personnel and other first responders.
The First Circuit reached the right decision in Glik, and we hope the appellate court will take this opportunity to further strengthen the right to record police officers performing their official duties in public by holding that secret audio recording is also protected by the First Amendment.
|Cache||Increasing civilian deaths in stepped-up U.S. airstrikes and operations by Afghan forces highlight the conundrum the U.S. military and its Afghan allies face, 18 years into the war: How to hunt down their Islamic State group and Taliban enemies, while keeping civilians safe and on their side.
|Cache||Mosul now has been freed, another episode of war series is over, it is really like a dramatic series that refuse to end, it seems like the author is enjoying and he has no intension to end it. The sound of bullets went silent declaring proudly that nothing remains to be shot, leaving more than 40000 civilians dying unmercifully. Many of people there have lost their whole families, hundreds of children became alone with no home or parents, how would those be able to live their lives after the nightmares they suffered?!|
How could that man sitting on the rubble of his destroyed house looking for his family under the stones believe that the life is fair and deserve to be lived. What was the guilt they made to live through such miserable life?
The city now has no present and its glorious past has been effaced. The city icon “Alnoori mosque with Al hadbaa leaning minaret” is crushed, knowing that its age is about 900 years old which means that it is older than the leaning tower of pisa in Italy!!! Beside the mosque of the prophet Jonah which was built over the palace of Assyrian king Esarhaddon 600 years BC that was blown up by ISIS in 2014. All are worthless being in the land of war, Iraq, where nothing judges but the weapon.
The smashed old city was one of the most vital areas in Mosul. Once you cross the old bridge you reach an area called Al Maidan which contains small restaurant making grilled fishes and meats, and you hear the peddlers calls for their goods. The bazaar of the old city is composed of inter connected narrow streets, each was specialized with goods that are not sold in other places such as golds, electronics, stationeries, clothes…etc. The city was overcrowded with people walking, working and buying. The old city now is a ghosts’ city nothing around but rubbles, smoke and dead bodies.
Reports revealed that about 75% of Mosul city is completely destroyed and 6 districts in west Mosul are completely destroyed with 11000 houses are now severely damaged. It is estimated that far more than 500 Million dollars are required for reconstruction. Mosul needs miracles as the government would be unable to afford the cost beside the corruption that is widespread among its foundations.
We hope this will be the last episode as nothing left to be destroyed further. We hope that the author’s pen is running out of ink!! Let the people see the peace they deserve…
We don't get used to something unless; something in us dies.
looking back into what I had before the attack in 2014 and the current situations I am living was so much hard for me especially after the ISIS took my apartment and properties and I left with nothing but a paper certificate my asylum seeker status.
Few days ago, our neighborhood was liberated and the ISIS ran from my house after taking home furnishing, leaving a boomed car in the garage!, the house get also damaged from the mortars that ISIS were shooting during the battle with Iraqi army. Hearing the latest news regarding this house didn't shed a tear from my eyes! I felt little bother and then what ! drowned people don't fear getting wet.
I am enough from hearing bad news, seeing the painful Images and video of Mosul and I can't stop watching and following the news hour by hour.
Do you know how awful it is to examine the faces and inertly pray this is not a person you know !
It's kind of feeling that is taking your heart away but not in the way the love does,Violence took it with pain so you can hear every beat as it is the last long lasting one.
Do you know that people in Mosul start to buried their victims in their back yards ! painfully knowing certain families ( two family I know) had mortar shelled over them during the funeral !
Once the Iraqi army start it's attack to liberate a neighbor, ISIS in turn start to force people to leave their houses. As I heared from my relative, a man from ISIS entered their house by breaking the main door, wearing booby-trapped band and threatened them to leave with nothing , and also they burn the houses of those who refuses to obey them.
Even when one neighbor is liberated, this doesn't mean that the danger is not exist. Snipers from ISIS sleeper cells are killing men, women and children with no mercy.
ISIS consider any person in neighbor that is not under their control as a person apostate from the Islamic state and that he/she must be killed, Beside the snipers , there is also the randoms mortars towards the neighbor, there are also the boomed cars, and the bombed houses !
away from all this unbelievable life threatening liberation. People in Mosul waiting the liberation hopelessly. This mean nothing but the fears that filling the hearts of children when they are sheltering their bodies by hiding under stairs is greater than what humanity could serve.
The current situation in Mosul is greater than you could believe. If you hear it, you may say I am over exaggerate in telling it. But as a matter of fact, I am only telling you part of the story as I am after all from Mosul, and I have a close family who are still under the control of ISIS.
you might be shocked knowing that:
- 70% of the liberated areas are extremely destroyed , besides the five bridges connecting the two coasts of the city are now out of service !
- More than 120,000 displaced people from the beginning of the campaign in 16/10/2016 !
- There are no safe roads to escape from Mosul in contrast to what Iraqi government promise.
- Nearly a million of people are now lack of food and water. People in Mosul started to drink rain water and burn their furnishing to get warm !
- the estimated number of civilian victims since the campaign may reach several thousands.
- No humanitarian organization can reach the part of Mosul under the control of ISIS ( 70% of Mosul)
- nearly 150 injured civilians reach Erbil hospitals daily and then they were intimidated either to return to Mosul or go to the miserable Camps where people suffer starvation.
One thing that is bothering me so mush, is why some Arabian news channel is silent against all what is happening, they are not talking about Mosul even in the news ticker !
Why the CNN cover the battle situation and AL Jazeera (famous news channel in middle east) Doesn't !!!
Why Mosul have to fight and suffer alone !!
even the Arabian known humanitarian organization pay no attention to the war in Mosul although the situation there is as bad as that of Aleppo.
Every day , we wake to news about the libration of Iraqi lands occupied by ISIS and the heavy fighting between the latter and the iraqi army helped by sectarian shiite militia known as “hashid shaaby” supervised by coaliation forces. Evidently the term “ liberation “ seems to be a glorious victory that brings back peace to the people there, but the reality appears to be different . It is just a massive destruction that turn the cities to uninhabitable scraps .Since April , 2015 ,Tikrit ( a city located 140 km northwest to Baghdad , 220 km southeast to Mosul) was regaind from islamic state fighters after fierce fighting which forced 28,000 civilians to fled out of the city . Regaining Tikrit gave some hope to the displaced people to return back to their homes , but everyone was shocked by retributive vandalism carried out by shia militia groups who took the control on the city and started to burn , destroy and steal the property of the fleet people. After a year from liberating Tikrit , the people, who fled to kurdistan in the north, are between the hammer and the anvil for being afraid to return to their homes and bearing the harassement of Kurdistan government who tries to compel them to leave kurdistan by refusing the renewal of their residency permission. Targeting unarmed civilians continued in Al Muqdadyiah ( province of Dyalah ) under the pretention of fighting terrorism.
The government tried to improve it’s public image in Ramadi (108 km west to Baghdad ) as it relied largely on official iraqi armed forces together with the armed tribes and the coaliation air strikes while constricting the role of “Hashid” militia which incensed Shiites as they consider it a depreciation to them . Again the government mass media tried to glorify the victory , but Ramadi liberation was synonymous with that of Tikrit. Ramadi now is a wild city with completely destructed infra structures , the government reports estimated that about 80% of the city is completely broken up , Besides the sleeper cells that come between any chances to bring peace to the city .
The big challenge now is “ Mosul “ ،The second largest city in Iraq with 2 millions people trapped there under the role of ISIS . As opposed to the tribal society of Ramady and to some degree of Tikrit , cultured society of Mosul make things more complicated in terms of arming the tribes belong to the city which in some way was helpful in Ramadi.
Mosul is considered as the stronghold of ISIS fighters and one of the most important resource for them , As a result they won’t give up easily and they will fight desperately in order to keep the city under their control taking the advantage of the high popular density and using them as human shields . The government seems to temporize taking serious steps in liberation of Mosul as well as it insist on participating “ Hashid “ militia despite the troubles they made in Tikrit and other cities. All the factors mentioned above make the liberation of the city more difficult and more complicated which mean that the city may undergo more massive destruction and shedding a lot of blood in comparision of other cities.
Iraq in general is walking toward the abyss , the government is helpless and have lost a considerable parts of Iraq and hand them over to the strangers . the politicians are busy in filling their pockets and don’t care about the people outside their castles .
Iraq really needs a miracle to survive this period which is the worst period in it’s history.
As a new school year begins in Yemen, Ahmed AbdulKareem investigates the impact that American weapons have had on the war-torn country’s schoolchildren.
SADAA, NORTHERN YEMEN — Third-grader Farah Abbas al-Halimi didn’t get the UNICEF backpack or textbook she was hoping for this year. Instead, she was given an advanced U.S bomb delivered on an F-16 courtesy of the Saudi Air Force. That bomb fell on Farah’s school on September 24 and killed Farah, two of her sisters, and her father who was working at the school. It will undoubtedly have an irrevocable effect on the safety and psyche of schoolchildren across the region.
Over the course of Yemen’s pre-war history, which locals fondly refer to as the happy Yemen years, never has an entire generation been subjected to the level of disaster and suffering as that levied upon Farah’s generation by the Saudi-led Coalition, which has used high-tech weapons supplied by the United States and other Western powers to devastating effect since it began its military campaign against Yemen in 2015.
Last week a new school year in Yemen began, the fifth school year since the war started, and little has changed for Yemen’s schoolchildren aside from the fact that the Coalition’s weapons have become more precise and even more deadly, leaving the futures of the country’s more than one million schoolchildren in limbo.
“I want to go to school, I can’t wait any longer,” a relative of six-year-old Ayman al-Kindi told MintPress, recalling how Ayman, surrounded by proud family members, waited impatiently to leave for his first day of school. Ayman would never make it to school; in fact, he never even made it outside. “Ayman wanted to become a doctor but a bomb took him away from school. What these American bombs do to our children is terrifying,” his relative told us.
In late June 2019, Coalition aircraft targeted Ayman’s family home located on their farm in the Warzan area, south of Taiz province in southwestern Yemen. Six of Ayman’s family members were killed, including three children aged 12, nine and six. According to Amnesty International, the laser-guided precision weapon used in the attack was made by Raytheon. Amnesty’s arms experts analyzed photos of the remnants of the weapon recovered from the scene of the attack by family members and identified it as a U.S.-made 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II.
The use of a U.S.-made weapon in the attack on the al-Kindi home was no anomaly: most of the weapons possessed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which between them have carried out a quarter of a million raids on Yemen since the beginning of the war, are American-made. This week, families who lost loved ones in Coalition airstrikes held an exhibition called “Criminal Evidence” in the city of Sana`a. The event was an opportunity to consolidate evidence of potential war crimes and prompted hundreds of Yemeni civilians to attend the event with remnants of U.S.-made weapons in tow, remnants recovered from the rubble of the attacks that killed their loved ones.
The airstrike on the al-Kindi home was one of nearly a dozen carried out by Saudi Arabia using U.S. weapons that were included in a recent UN report. A team of investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Council found numerous cases of Saudi airstrikes that violated international humanitarian law and, for the first time, directly implicated the United States, Britain, France and Australia for supplying the weapons used in the attacks.
Charles Garraway, a former military lawyer and one of the experts behind the report, recently told PBS, “We have a war that’s going on. It’s causing immense suffering and frankly most of that suffering is caused by arms.” Garraway continued, “The tragedy in Yemen is so awful at the moment that somehow one has got to reach some form of settlement to stop the war.”
Despite the abundance of evidence proving that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have routinely targeted schools and other civilian facilities, the United States continues to replenish the Coalition’s arsenal. Earlier this year, the Trump administration tried to force through an $8.1 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan; and, despite growing opposition within his own government, President Donald Trump seems determined to maintain the flow of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Not your normal “back-to-school” day
Eleven-year-old Mohammed AbdulRaham al-Haddi is one the few schoolchildren to have survived the horrific August 9, 2018, Saudi airstrike on a school bus on the outskirts of Dahyan in Yemen’s northwestern province of Saada. The attack killed more than 35 of his classmates, but Mohammed miraculously survived. Today, he returns to school for the first time since the deadly attack, but to an underserved school and without his classmates. Al-Faleh, Mohammed’s new school, lies nestled in a dusty valley near Yemen’s northeastern border with Saudi Arabia
The attack on Mohammed’s school bus was carried out using a Mark 82 (MK-82) bomb, jointly manufactured by U.S. weapons companies Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. The MK-82, along with other general-purpose MK-series bombs, has been sold to the Saudi-led Coalition by the United States through a series of contracts made in 2016 and 2017. In addition to last year’s atrocity, the Coalition has used the MK-82 to target Yemeni civilians in the past, such as its bombing of a funeral in 2016 that left over 140 dead and 525 wounded.
As the war in Yemen enters its fifth year, the tragic consequences of these weapons deals are difficult to describe, but their effects are noticed everywhere. Some 3,526 educational buildings have been at least partially destroyed by bombs since the war began, with most yet to be rebuilt. Of those, 402 were completely destroyed, according to a new field survey conducted by the Ministry of Education. Approximately 900 of Yemen’s schools are still being used as shelters for the internally displaced. And 700 schools have been closed as a result of ongoing clashes.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that two million children are out of school in Yemen. “A fourth of the two million Yemeni children have dropped out since the beginning of the Saudi war in March 2015,” UNICEF representative in Yemen Sara Beysolow Nyanti said in a statement released last Wednesday.
Beysolow raised concerns about the future of Yemeni children, saying:
According to the Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization, SAM, four hundred thousand schoolchildren in Yemen suffer from acute malnutrition, exposing them to the risk of sudden death, 7 million schoolchildren face hunger, and more than 2 million do not go to school.
Even before the war began, the education system in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, was not in good health; a lack of equipment, unqualified teachers, and a shortage of textbooks plagued the country’s schools, which were bursting at the seams with overcrowding. Coalition bombs and a blockade supported by the United States have effectively destroyed what was left, just as schools were beginning to show signs of recovery.
Many of Yemen’s teachers have not received a paycheck in years and some, unable to eke out a living, have sought work as soldiers-for-hire on Yemen’s battlefields, leaving millions of children without prospects for education and the country as a whole with a 70 percent rate of illiteracy. Beysolow warned that the education of a further 3.7 million Yemeni children is at risk, as teachers have not received their salaries for over two years, adding that one fifth of schools in Yemen can no longer be used as a direct result of the conflict. “Violence, displacement and attacks on schools are preventing many children from accessing school,” she said.
In a bid to stop teachers from leaving schools, the Ministry of Education, based in Sana`a, has imposed a fee on students of $2 per month to pay teacher salaries, but that seemingly nominal fee has added a huge burden to families with more than one child, many of whom are living in extreme poverty as a result of the war and siege. “I have six students, meaning that I need to pay $12 a month; I can’t save that amount,” one mother told us. She lost her husband in the clashes that erupted between the former president Ali Saleh and opposition tribes on Hasabah Street in 2011. Now, her only source of income is begging and it is not enough to feed her six children, let alone send them to school.
To make matters worse, just weeks before the new school year began, the Saudi-led Coalition prevented 11 oil tankers from entering Yemen. The move sparked an acute shortage of fuel, which meant that school buses could no longer run, leaving even those with the means to pay school fees unable to send their children to school.
The severe psychological toll
The effect of U.S.-made weapons upon Yemen’s children does not end there. Children who have survived the fighting are often left with physical disabilities and severe and chronic psychological symptoms, turning their environment into the worst place in the world, according to UNICEF.
Beyond the direct casualties from airstrikes, the largely unnoticed and unrecorded (by the world) sounds of explosions and buzzing warplanes are leaving Yemen’s children with irreversible psychological damage.
Like other students, Mohammed often gets distracted while at home or sitting in class, unable to focus and laden with severe anxiety. While students the world over occupy their minds with the day-to-day matters that should accompany adolescence, Yemen`s students, especially those who live in border districts, are filled with an ever-present fear of an impending airstrike.
Since the school year began on September 15, the Saudi-led Coalition has reportedly dropped more than a thousand bombs and missiles in 400 separate airstrikes targeting border districts including Sadaa, Hajjah, Sana`a, Amran, Dhali, and Hodeida. The hundreds of sorties are accompanied by frightening whizzing noise and have left great panic in the hearts of civilians, especially Yemen’s schoolchildren.
“Before the war, the sound of planes meant happiness for families who were expecting loved-ones returning [from abroad], but now the sound of planes mean destruction, death, blood,” Dr. AbdulSalam Ashish, a consultant for psychological and neurological diseases, told MintPress. Dr. Ashish continued, “Now, the planes bring nothing but fear and panic and are a reminder of tragedies and crimes that were committed with U.S., British, and French weapons.”
“It was 1:45 p.m., when we heard a missile strike; we were able to calm the students down but when the third strike hit we lost control of the students as they began to scream and chaos spread throughout the school,” Hana Al Awlaqi, a school agent at the “Martyr Ahmed Abdul Wahab Al Samawi” School, said, recounting the moment a Saudi attack took place just tens of meters away from the school. “The sound of the fourth bomb made matters worse, as the school was being broken into by panicked parents and many teachers were fainting.”
Al Awlaqi went on to say that many students convulse into spasms when they hear the sound of airplanes, while others have refused to come back to school. “The sound of an explosion or the buzz of the aircraft stays in the mind. The sound of an aircraft can send these children into severe panic attacks and anxiety,” Dr. Ashish confirmed.
Jalal Al-Omeisi, a pediatric nurse at the Psychiatric and Neurological Hospital in Sana`a told MintPress that most of the cases that arrive at the hospital are from areas subjected to intensive Saudi Coalition raids, such as Sana`a, Hodeida, and Saada, as well as the border areas. Al-Omeisi went on to say that most medics lack the training to deal with the complex psychological issues that these children are developing.
Such experiences in children go well beyond the temporary impact on their education and, without proper care and the knowledge necessary to address treat these psychological issues, many will suffer life-long consequences that hinder their ability to obtain an education. This is especially true in light of the lack of programs, centers or hospitals for the rehabilitation of war-affected children in Yemen.
Asking Americans to open their eyes
Schoolchildren living along Yemen’s porous border with Saudi Arabia and throughout its southern districts face a reality even more grim than that faced by their peers. Many are recruited or even forced to join the fight to defend the Saudi border via local trafficking networks, which funnel children into training and recruitment camps in the southern Saudi provinces of Jizan and Najran, as well as to Yemen’s southern districts.
According to a recent report by SAM, Saudi Arabia has been enlisting thousands of Yemeni children to fight along its southern border with Yemen over the past four years. Those have who died as a result of the fighting at the border are often buried in the Kingdom without their families’ knowledge. At least 300 had to have their limbs amputated as a result of their military injuries.
MintPress managed to speak to dozens of school-aged Yemeni children who were captured in a recent Houthi operation that saw thousands of militiamen, including dozens of schoolchildren, and Saudi officers taken into captivity. Fifteen-year-old Adel was among those captured. He left his home in the southern city of Taiz, chasing promises of a regular paycheck of up to 3,000 Saudi riyals ($800). Adel told MintPress:
Saudi warplanes targeted the captured mercenaries in Wadi Abu Jubarah, killing more than 300 of their own recruits.
Adel, who left school for the promise of a paycheck, went on to say, “Me and the others were recruited to wash the clothes of Saudi soldiers but they gave us rifles and forced us to go to battlefields.” When asked what he would do when freed, Adel said simply, “I want to go back to my mom and school. I don’t want to fight.”
The recruitment of Yemeni children by Saudi Arabia is not without precedent. Although the Kingdom signed the international protocol banning the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2007 and again in 2011, it was accused of recruiting Sudanese children from Darfur to fight in Yemen on its behalf as late as 2018.
Mohammed, who often visits the memorial to his classmates located only a few hundred meters away from his new school, said he will continue to attend school every day, regardless of how much bombing there is. He asked that Americans open their eyes to see what their weapons are doing to Yemen’s children.
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
Pakistan (MNN) -- Pakistan’s army has engaged in a soft coup. In efforts to keep the country functioning, the Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa recently sought out economic advice in private meetings. Brother Nehemiah, ministry liaison for FMI, gives us some insight into the current situation.
“They select the government, and they rule the government through a democracy in Pakistan. And I mean, you can say puppets…It's very common in Pakistan now that civilians or the business community are meeting with [the] chief of army in Pakistan,” Brother Nehemiah explains.
“[The] army says they don't call it a soft coup, they call it compulsory intervention. They thought ‘we have to intervene in the civil government.’”
Coup History in PakistanAs it turns out, soft coups are common in Pakistan. This commonality stems from Pakistan’s history. The country was military-controlled for over three decades (1958-1971; 1977-1988; 1999-2008). Brother Nehemiah says these days, most Pakistanis are not concerned with soft coups. However, there is a shift happening in the culture. Pakistani society has typically held high respect for its military. Now, this sentiment is starting to change. Brother Nehemiah says there are groups of people with less endearing feelings towards the military who no longer support the army’s compulsory intervention.
Concern for Christian PersecutionFurthermore, this soft coup has the potential to increase Christian persecution in the country. “The military are…controlling the media. In print media, or electronic media, they're trying to deter them and there is no news going out. So, people [have] more leverage, or I mean more privileged, to hunt down Christians,” Brother Nehemiah says. Pakistan already has strict blasphemy laws on the books. These blasphemy laws carry an automatic death sentence prefaced with a fee. However, adequate evidence is rarely a necessity for a blasphemy conviction. The result is an abuse of the blasphemy laws, and minorities like Christians are often falsely convicted. Read more about Pakistan’s blasphemy laws here. Given this context, one can imagine the danger posed to minorities when a military undermines its government, takes control over the media, and unevenly applied blasphemy laws are available for abuse. With this in mind, pray for the preparations of Pakistani Christians enduring this coup. Pray for their protection and creativity in continuing their ministry. Pray for justice in Pakistan despite the corruption. Finally, pray for the Gospel to soften hard hearts. Learn more about FMI’s work in Pakistan and how to support local pastors here. Header photo courtesy of FMI.
|Cache||HAWAII FIVE 0 Season 10 Episode 2 Photos – “Kuipeia e ka makani apaa” – Tani and Junior must plot an escape for themselves and several civilians after they become trapped inside a deadly...|
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Donald Trump threatens to 'obliterate' Turkish economy if it goes too far with Syria invasion
Turks are attacking the heroic Kurds. Trump thought he had a deal with Turkey to protect the Kurds which would allow US troops to withdraw safely
US President Donald Trump warned Turkey against going too far in Syria, after giving Ankara a green light to invade its southern neighbour.
Mr Trump said on Monday he was done with "ridiculous endless war" as he stood aside to allow a long-threatened Turkish assault on Kurdish-held Syria, effectively abandoning its allies who fought Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
The US had for months been working with Turkey to try to create a buffer zone along its border with northern Syria between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces which Ankara sees as terrorists.
But amid an outcry from the region and strong opposition at home from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, the US leader appeared to reverse himself, though without drawing any specific red lines that might protect Kurdish allies.
"If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)," Mr Trump tweeted.
Other US officials, apparently surprised by Trump's Sunday announcement, stressed that Washington will not actively support the long-threated Turkish action, warning of destabilizing blowback to the region.
"The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey - as did the president - that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria," said Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.
Turkey has repeatedly criticised the slow implementation of the buffer zone and threatened a unilateral assault, but until Monday the US had refused to stand aside.
"The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades," Mr Trump said in an earlier series of tweets.
"Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out."
US Republican and Democrats had warned such an offensive on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which lost 11,000 troops in the battle against Isil, could lead to a massacre of Kurds and send a worrying message to American allies across the world.
The US began pulling back some of its 1,000 troops from border towns Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn on Monday, and has said it will potentially depart the country should widespread fighting break out.
The announcement, first made by the White House overnight on Sunday, appeared to take both the Kurds and US coalition forces, which had been carrying out joint patrols with Turkey on the ground, completely by surprise.
Kurdish sources say they were acting in good faith trying to establish a security mechanism with the US to placate Turkey, but now felt that Ankara had been using it as a cover for reconnaisance.
Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), tweeted: "We are not expecting the US to protect NE #Syria. But people here are owed an explanation regarding security mechanism deal, destruction of fortifications and failure of US to fulfill their commitments."
The White House statement was released after a phonecall between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday night.
Mr Erdogan had reportedly assured the US president that Ankara would take over the detention of Isil militants captured by the SDF, on the battlefield.
The Kurds have been holding thousands of Syrian and thousands more foreign Isil suspects in prisons and camps across the north of the country.
Mr Trump has repeatedly asked countries under the US-led coalition against Isil to repatriate their citizens. However, the UK, France, Germany, and other allies have so far refused.
“The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer,” the White House statement said. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial “Caliphate” by the United States.”
The decision is a massive blow to the Kurds, who not only helped hold back Isil but have for years been building an autonomous statelet in the northeast of Syria.
Turkey claims its planned “safe zone” is to purge the border of YPG forces, which it sees as a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency inside its territory for the past 35 years.
The proposed corridor would have an initial depth of 18 miles and a length of 300 miles and includes the Kurds’ biggest urban centres, including the city of Qamishli which has an estimated 250,000 population.
Turkey on Monday night carried out air strikes on the Iraqi side of the Iraq-Syria border crossing, in what was thought to be an attack on the YPG's supply line.
Western diplomats told the Telegraph they are working on the theory that Mr Erdogan will begin by attempting to take a smaller sliver between the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain on the border, but the Turkish president himself has previously hinted at much wider ambitions.
Mr Erdogan has said he wants to return two million of the mostly Sunni Arab Syrian refugees Turkey is hosting to the buffer zone, which some have said would amount to an ethnic repopulation.
The Kurds fear many of the Syrians that might be placed in the zone are not native to north-east Syria, and might displace the Kurdish culture and rights.
The UN said that it was "preparing for the worst", fearing an assault would send large numbers of civilians fleeing.
“This Turkish military operation in northern and eastern Syria will have a significant negative impact on our war on ISIS and will destroy everything that has been achieved from the state of stability over the past years,” the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement.
They said they would defend themselves against “Turkish aggression” and called on all sects, including Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and Assyrians to join them.
Defending its Kurdish allies would have seen the US come against its Nato partner Turkey, which Washington was keen to avoid.
President Donald Trump has since taking office attempted to disentangle the US from drawn-out wars in the Middle East.
His goal of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied by concerns from US officials and American allies about the dangerous voids that would remain.
America’s top CEOs say they are no longer putting shareholders before everyone else
This a joke. CEOs have NEVER put shareholders first. Their own prestige, power and income have always been their first priority and that will not change. Shareholders just get the scraps
For the past two decades, the official stance of America’s top corporate executives has been that the interests of shareholders came before the interests of all others—workers, consumers, the cities and towns in which their companies operated, and society as a whole.
Today, that changes.
The Business Roundtable, a lobbying group composed of the nation’s leading CEOs, just announced that its members “share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders”—each of whom “is essential”—while pledging “to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities, and our country.”
With its “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation,” the Roundtable has affirmed the need for “meeting or exceeding customer expectations”; “investing in our employees,” including by “compensating them fairly and providing important benefits,” as well as offering training and education so that they can “develop new skills for a rapidly changing world”; “dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers”; “supporting the communities in which we work”; and “generating long-term value for shareholders.”
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase and the Roundtable’s chairman, says he hopes that this declaration “will help to set a new standard for corporate leadership.”
It is, without question, a huge deal.
As I’ve detailed before, through the 1980s and most of the ’90s, the Roundtable held that companies had a responsibility to “carefully weigh the interests of all stakeholders,” as the organization described it, and that “the thrust of history and law” buttressed this kind of broad assessment.
In 1997, the Roundtable switched course. Suddenly, it proclaimed that “the paramount duty of management and of boards of directors is to the corporation’s stockholders” and that “the interests of other stakeholders are relevant as a derivative of the duty to stockholders.” (The Roundtable echoed that message in 2016.)
The Roundtable’s shift to a shareholder-first posture has been widely cited as a significant marker in the evolution of corporate America—both a reflection and reinforcement of an ideology that has thrilled investors, gripped executives, and knocked out a more enlightened form of capitalism that had emerged in the era after World War II.
Yet since then—and especially over the past 5 to 10 years—serving shareholders first and foremost has come under increasing attack. An expanding chorus of critics has made the case that this predilection has contributed to a short-term mindset among far too many executives, fostering a culture of indiscriminate cost-cutting and financial engineering, and has been a central reason for the explosion in income inequality.
“I read the Roundtable’s statement as a return to common-sense principles of management and the recognition that employees need a bigger share of the pie to assure a healthy economy,” says Judy Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program.
The pressure for business to put an end to shareholder primacy has been building from a variety of quarters. Younger workers, in particular, are looking for employers that have a loftier purpose than merely maximizing their profits. More and more, customers are paying attention to which companies seem to be doing right by their people and the environment—and punishing brands that fall short. Socially conscious investors have started putting vast sums of money into financial products that use a “sustainable, responsible, and impact” lens.
Politicians have also taken up the cause. The Accountable Capitalism Act, proposed by Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate, would require very large companies to obtain a new federal charter under which directors would have to “consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the basic tenets of shareholder capitalism have been questioned by scholars such as the late Lynn Stout, a Cornell law professor and author of The Shareholder Value Myth, who cogently argued that executives and directors have wide latitude in deciding what is best for a company and don’t have any obligation—legal or otherwise—to elevate shareholders above everyone else. Journalists and think-tank types have weighed in along these lines, too.
MY DINNER WITH DIMON
Among them has been me. As Fortune’s Alan Murray recounts, the Roundtable began to reevaluate its views on the relationship between shareholders and other stakeholders after a “testy, off-the-record dinner” last fall that I participated in. Dimon had invited four of us—including the Washington Post‘s Steve Pearlstein, Bloomberg’s Joe Nocera, and Samuelson of the Aspen Institute—to JPMorgan headquarters to better understand why we kept insisting that corporate America had become overly obsessed with shareholder value and, as a result, was damaging society.
Dimon’s perspective—then and now—is that most big companies already take good care of their various stakeholders. “We relentlessly invest in employees, communities, and innovation,” he told me.
If that were true, of course, the new Roundtable statement would simply be codifying the current state of affairs. But with all due respect to Dimon, who deserves great credit for engaging with us and then guiding the Roundtable to recast its position, the numbers don’t back him up.
Sure, no company completely ignores all of its constituents save for its shareholders. If it did, it would soon be out of business. But as a study published last week by the Center for American Progress makes clear, things are terribly out of balance.
Wages for the majority of the American workforce have been stagnant for 40 years, while their health coverage and retirement security have eroded. At the same time, corporate profits—high by historical standards—are mainly being used to reward shareholders, including CEOs themselves. Their compensation has gone up 940% since 1978; typical worker compensation has risen 12% during that time, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
For the Roundtable’s statement to mean something—and not stand as empty rhetoric—this picture can’t be allowed to continue.
With that in mind, I asked a half-dozen colleagues who’ve been at the fore of fighting shareholder primacy what would it take for them to be convinced that CEOs across the business landscape had genuinely embraced stakeholder capitalism.
For starters, several say, companies must curtail stock buybacks, if not stop them altogether. These repurchases have become a financial narcotic, with a record volume of shares being snapped up, largely in an attempt to pump up their price.
Some, including Roundtable President Joshua Bolten, defend the practice as an efficient way to deploy capital and help the economy grow. But buybacks plainly favor shareholders (including, again, CEOs), and every dollar of profit spent on them means one less dollar that can go directly to bolster worker pay, training, R&D, and other areas.
“I would make it the primary obligation of all business corporations to ‘retain-and-reinvest’: retain profits and reinvest in the productive capabilities of employees,” says economist Bill Lazonick, who is perhaps the country’s most outspoken detractor of buybacks. “I would place constraints on ‘downsize-and-distribute’: downsizing the company’s labor force and distributing corporate cash to shareholders.”
Environmental stewardship is another proving ground. Some big companies score high marks in this arena right now. But with climate change posing an existential crisis, it’s crucial that corporations do far more.
“Why I’m passionate about ending shareholder primacy is that I truly think the future of the entire human race depends on it, and I’m not trying to exaggerate,” says Lenore Palladino, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “For corporate leaders to show they are committed to stakeholder capitalism, we need to see a commitment to the health of the environment as a business priority . . . a dramatic strategic reorientation towards reversing the current damage and reengineering businesses to be productive for the long term.”
For sustainability pioneer John Elkington, another sign that a stakeholder model hadreally taken root would be for companies to no longer speak with two voices: one from the C-suite and another via the Washington influencers representing them.
“They would resign from all trade and industry groups which lobby to slow or stall necessary systemic changes” that would enhance the simultaneous creation of economic, social, and environmental value, says Elkington, who coined the term “triple bottom line.” Then they would turn around, he adds, and “forcefully and publicly lobby for a meaningful price on carbon and for the breakup of monopolies and oligopolies.”
To give the Roundtable statement some teeth, they’d also take a fresh approach to organized labor. “Welcoming, rather than fighting, a union would be a big one,” says Andy Green, managing director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress. Research shows that nearly half of all workers not in a union want to join one. Yet many companies do all they can to keep this from happening.
Samuelson, for her part, would be impressed by companies “dampening down the intense focus on stock price in CEO pay.” More than half of CEO compensation is share-based these days, much of it tied to short-term financial measures. Instead, executives should be paid—and to a meaningful degree—on a mix of environmental, social, and governance metrics.
The University of Toronto’s Roger Martin, who has been recognized as the world’s number-one management thinker, wants to see a reversal of something that, for many of the most senior executives, is even more deep-seated.
Rather than concentrate on stock price, he says, they should expressly concentrate on serving customers or developing employees or tackling some social need through innovation. Ultimately, Martin has maintained, that’s the best means of taking care of shareholders anyway.
“For me, the key would be to view shareholder value creation as the logical consequence of other things, not something that you can directly pursue,” he says. “It is like Aristotle who pointed out that if a person sets out to be happy, the person is unlikely to end up happy. However, if the person sets out to lead a virtuous life, the person will probably end up happy. If I could only have one thing, it would be that.”
Others made additional suggestions: Companies should guarantee a living wage for all workers, including contractors. Stakeholders of different stripes (employees, sustainability experts, even everyday taxpayers) should be given seats on corporate boards. Executives should lean on business schools to stop teaching that shareholder value is the be-all and end-all of capitalism.
Much of this agenda may be dismissed as unrealistic. Certainly, none of it will be easy to achieve. And none of it is meant to imply that the Roundtable’s statement isn’t, in and of itself, a monumental step.
Words matter. The words of the Roundtable—a Who’s Who of those at the helm of the largest U.S. corporations, from Abbott to Zebra Technologies—matter a lot. In the end, though, it is the actions of Roundtable members that will matter the most.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.
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Humanitarians are warning that a Turkish invasion in northeast Syria could force hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, as confusion reigns over its possible timing, scope, and consequences.
Panos Moumtzis, the UN’s regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, told reporters in Geneva on Monday that any military operation must guard against causing further displacement. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” he said, noting that an estimated 1.7 million people live in the country’s northeast.
Some residents close to the Syria-Turkey border are already leaving, one aid worker familiar with the situation on the ground told The New Humanitarian. Most are staying with relatives in nearby villages for the time-being, said the aid worker, who asked to remain anonymous in order to continue their work.
The number of people who have left their homes so far remains relatively small, the aid worker said, but added: “If there is an incursion, people will leave.”
The International Rescue Committee said “a military offensive could immediately displace at least 300,000 people”, but analysts TNH spoke to cautioned that the actual number would depend on Turkey’s plans, which remain a major unknown.
As the diplomatic and security communities struggle to get a handle on what’s next, the same goes for humanitarians in northeastern Syria – and the communities they are trying to serve.
Here’s what we know, and what we don’t:
What just happened?
Late on Sunday night, the White House said that following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” adding that US soldiers would not be part of the move, and “will no longer be in the immediate area”.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – the Syrian-Kurdish-led militia that until now had been supported by the United States and played a major role in wresting territory back from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Syria – vowed to stand its ground in the northeast.
An SDF spokesperson tweeted that the group “will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to DEFEND ourselves and our people”.
Leading Republicans in the US Congress criticised President Donald Trump’s decision, saying it represents an abandonment of Kurdish allies in Syria, and the Pentagon appeared both caught off-guard and opposed to a Turkish incursion.
Since then, Trump has tweeted extensively on the subject, threatening to “totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey” if the country does anything he considers to be “off limits”.
On the ground, US troops have moved out of two key observation posts on the Turkey-Syria border, in relatively small numbers: estimates range from 50 to 150 of the total who would have been shifted, out of around 1,000 US soldiers in the country.
What is Turkey doing?
Erdogan has long had his sights on a “safe zone” inside Syria, which he has said could eventually become home to as many as three million Syrian refugees, currently in Turkey.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in August that only 17 percent of Turkey’s estimated 3.6 million Syrian refugees come from the northeast of the country, which is administered by the SDF and its political wing.
Turkish and US forces began joint patrols of a small stretch of the border early last month. While Turkey began calling the area a “safe zone”, the United States referred to it as a “security mechanism”. The terms of the deal were either never made public or not hammered out.
In addition to any desire to resettle refugees, which might only be a secondary motive, Turkey wants control of northeast Syria to rein in the power of the SDF, which it considers to be a terrorist organisation.
One of the SDF’s main constituent parts are People’s Defense Units – known by their Kurdish acronym YPG.
The YPG are an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK – a Turkey-based Kurdish separatist organisation that has conducted an insurgency against the Turkish government for decades, leading to a bloody crackdown.
While rebels fight for the northwest, and Russian-backed Syrian government forces control most of the rest of Syria, the SDF currently rules over almost all of Hassakeh province, most of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces, and a small part of Aleppo province.
How many civilians are at risk?
There has not been a census in Syria for years, and numbers shift quickly as people flee different pockets of conflict. This makes estimating the number of civilians in northeast Syria very difficult.
The IRC said in its statement it is “deeply concerned about the lives and livelihoods of the two million civilians in northeast Syria”; Moumtzis mentioned 1.7 million people; and Save the Children said “there are 1.65 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this area, including more than 650,000 displaced by war”.
Of those who have had to leave their homes in Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hassakeh, only 100,000 are living in camps, according to figures from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Others rent houses or apartments, and some live in unfinished buildings or tents.
“While many commentators are rightly focusing on the security implications of this policy reversal, the humanitarian implications will be equally enormous,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, and a former high-ranking Obama administration aid official.
“All across Northern Syria, hundreds of thousands of displaced and conflict-affected people who survived the horrors of the… [IS] era will now face the risk of new violence between Turkish and SDF forces.”
Who will be first in the firing line?
It’s unlikely all of northeast Syria would be impacted by a Turkish invasion right away, given that so far the United States has only moved its troops away from two border posts, at Tel Abyad (Kurdish name: Gire Spi), and roughly 100 kilometres to the east, at Ras al-Ayn (Kurdish name: Serê Kaniyê).
Depending on how far into Syria one is counting, aid workers estimate there are between 52,000 to 68,000 people in this 100-kilometre strip, including the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn themselves. The aid worker in northeast Syria told TNH that if there is an offensive, these people are more likely, at least initially, to stay with family or friends in nearby villages than to end up in camps.
The aid worker added that while humanitarian operations from more than 70 NGOs are ongoing across the northeast, including in places like Tel Abyad, some locals are avoiding the town itself and, in general, people are “extremely worried”.
What will happen to al-Hol camp?
The fate of the rest of northeast Syria’s population may also be at risk.
Trump tweeted on Monday that the Kurds “must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families”.
The SDF currently administers al-Hol, a tense camp of more than 68,000 people – mostly women and children – deep in Hassakeh province, where the World Health Organisation recently said people are living “in harsh and deplorable conditions, with limited access to quality basic services, sub-optimal environment and concerns of insecurity.”
Many of the residents of al-Hol stayed with IS through its last days in Syria, and the camp holds both these supporters and people who fled the group earlier on.
Last week, Médecins Sans Frontières said security forces shot at women protesting in a part of the camp known as “the annex”, which holds around 10,000 who are not Syrian or Iraqi.
The SDF also holds more than 10,000 IS detainees in other prisons, and the possible release of these people – plus those at al-Hol – may become a useful bargaining chip for the Kurdish-led group.
On Monday, an SDF commander said guarding the prisoners had become a “second priority” in the wake of a possible Turkish offensive.
"All their families are located in the border area," General Mazloum Kobani Abdi told NBC News of the SDF fighters who had been guarding the prisoners. "So they are forced to defend their families."
(TOP PHOTO: Syrian Kurds demonstrate against threats of a Turkish invasion on the outskirts of Ras al-Ayn, on 6 October 2019.)
‘We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.’
Syria-Turkey briefing: The fallout of an invasion for civilians
High Representative Ms. Nakamitsu contributes to the Vienna Conference on Protecting Civilians in Urban WarfareCache
Nairobi (AFP) Oct 1, 2019|
Amnesty International on Tuesday accused the United States of killing three civilians in an air strike in Somalia, and failing to investigate claims they were farmers with no ties to Al-Shabaab. Amnesty said its investigations revealed the trio killed in the March 18 strike in southern Somalia were innocent, despite US Africa Command (AFRICOM) saying the men were jihadists. The US has st
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