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Pakistan and Talibans: Darkness Strikes Again

December 20th, 2014

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

Darkness hit Pakistani mainstream society again on December 16, the day of mourning for the loss of East Pakistan more than 40 years earlier. Pakistani leaders seem to have ignored the pertinent lessons of time and history. TTP- Pakistani Taliban group claims the cold blooded massacre of 132 innocent school children and 10 teachers at Peshawar. Had the authorities listened to advanced warning by the principal, the 8 hours bloody carnage could have been prevented. The BBC interview tells that School Principal informed the authorities for two years how Taliban were threatening to the school. Yet, the civic authorities failed to ensure the appropriate security measures to prevent the expected terrorist attack. Despite convenient cynicism of some Western mythologists, violence and terrorism are not inscribed in the genes of Pakistani people. But Pakistani masses continued to be victims of bloody violence raging across the nation. This is the direct outcome of Pakistan‘s former military dictators to join the bogus war on terrorism. Nobody can or will understand the fullest nature and scope of tormenting pains and anguish unleashed to the mourning 142 families in Peshawar. Condemnations simply do not alleviate the sufferings of the common citizens from the ripple effects of the monstrous killings. Those responsible for the security must face public and respond to legitimate concerns of fear and hatred of the official dictum. Pakistani politicians and military security officials would have hard time to provide rational answers to critical questions.

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Bloomberg News Blames Putin for Russia’s Economic Problems

December 20th, 2014

Eric Zuesse

On December 17th, Bloomberg News bannered “Putin’s Secret Gamble on Reserves Backfires Into Currency Crisis” and reported that, “As President Putin exulted at the Winter Olympics in Sochi 10 months ago, aides assured him Russia was rich enough to withstand the financial repercussions from a possible incursion into Ukraine, according to two officials involved in the talks. That conclusion now looks like a grave miscalculation. Russia has driven interest rates to punishing levels and spent at least $87 billion, or 17 percent, of its foreign-exchange reserves trying to prevent a collapse in the ruble from spiraling into a panic. So far, nothing has worked.”

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Fracking Movement Wins As NY Bans Fracking

December 19th, 2014

By Kevin Zeese


Members of New Yorkers Against Fracking celebrated the governor’s decision
outside his Manhattan office on Wednesday. Photo by Chang W. Lee for The
New York Times

In a major victory for people who have been working to stop hydraulic fracturing for gas, known as fracking, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced a ban on fracking in New York State.

This would not have occurred had it not been for the consistent and ongoing educating, organizing and mobilizing by groups like New Yorkers Against Fracking and We Are Seneca Lake, among others. This has been a six year campaign of creative protests, civil resistance, direct action and local communities voting to ban fracking, a power upheld by New York’s highest court. One opponent of fracking, Walter Hang, an environmental mapping consultant wrote:

    This stupendous victory was won by an unrelenting grassroots citizen campaign powered by amazing press coverage that systematically highlighted the public health and environmental concerns of shale fracking. That effort has won a victory unparalleled in the annals of the American environmental movement.

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Putin's Annual Marathon Press Conference Tour De Force

December 19th, 2014

by Stephen Lendman

On December, 18, Putin held his annual Q & A marathon. Discussing vital issues.

Wide-ranging ones. Responding forthrightly to questions. Giving straight-talk honest answers.

Polar opposite Obama. Making him look buffoon-like by comparison. A serial liar. With no credibility whatever.

His latest Cuba gambit more stunt than policy change. Expect Cubans soon enough to realize they were had.

Likely smart enough to know already. The devil they've known for over half a century is more villainous now than ever. Fidel is right saying he "harbor(s) (not) the slightest doubt that the United States is about to commit, and lead the world toward, the greatest error in its history."

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Torture in Israeli Prisons

December 19th, 2014

by Stephen Lendman

Washington and Israel replicate each other's worst crimes. A previous article discussed a UN Committee Against Torture report.

Citing grave US civil and human rights abuses. Including systematic use of torture. Senate Intelligence Committee members confirmed it. In highly redacted form.

Constituting appalling breaches of fundamental rule of law principles. At home and abroad. In US prisons. Global black sites. Out of sight and mind.

Israel operates the same way. Brutalizing Palestinians horrifically. The Middle East Monitor discussed a UN report. Covering around 200 torture methods.

B'Tselem lists around half this number. Including against children. Torture and other forms of abuse reflect the worst of occupation harshness.

Palestinians want them ended. On Wednesday, PLO officials submitted draft Security Council text language. Jointly with Jordan Detailing terms for peace.

Setting a 12-month deadline. December 2017 for ending Israel's occupation. Saying they're open to negotiations on text language.

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Thaw in US/Cuban Relations?

December 19th, 2014

by Stephen Lendman

On December 17, the Havana Times headlined "Obama Announces New US Approach on Cuba," saying:

"In a surprise announcement today US President Obama has taken sweeping steps to re-launch US relations with Cuba."

"Talks between Washington and Havana have actually been going on secretly in Canada for a year and a half with mediation assistance from Pope Francis."

More on this below.

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Why is Near Term Human Extinction Inevitable?

December 18th, 2014

Robert J. Burrowes

If you hadn't previously heard the expression 'near term human extinction', you have now. And you will get used to hearing it soon unless you insulate yourself from reality with greater effectiveness than you are doing by reading this article.

The expression 'near term human extinction' is relatively new in the scientific literature but, unlike other truths that have been successfully suppressed by national elites and their corporate media, this one will keep filtering out until you start to hear the expression routinely. Why? Because this truth is simply too big to suppress permanently and the planetary environment delivers its feedback directly to us in the form of catastrophic environmental events, climatic and otherwise, whether or not these are reported by the corporate media.

It is now widely accepted that we are living through the sixth mass extinction in planetary history. The last one occurred 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs vanished. We are now losing biodiversity at a rate similar to that time. But this mass extinction is driven by us. And we will be one of the casualties. The only real debate is when. And this debate is predicated on the unstated and highly problematic assumption that we can continue to avoid nuclear war.

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Imperialism and the Politics of Torture

December 18th, 2014

James Petras

Introduction

The US Senate Report documenting CIA torture of alleged terrorist suspects raises a number of fundamental questions about the nature and operations of the State, the relationship and the responsibility of the Executive Branch and Congress to the vast secret police networks which span the globe – including the United States.

CIA: The Politics of a Global Secret Police Force

The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope of violent activity in which the CIA has been and continues to be involved. CIA organized large scale deathsquad activities and extreme torture in Vietnam (Phoenix Project); multiple assassinations of political leaders in the Congo, Chile, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Middle East, Central America and elsewhere; the kidnapping and disappearance of suspected activists in Iraq and Afghanistan; massive drug-running and narco-trafficking in the “Golden Triangle” in Southeast Asia and Central America (the Iran-Contra war).

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EU Parliament Recognizes Palestinian Statehood

December 18th, 2014

by Stephen Lendman

On Wednesday, European parliamentarians endorsed Palestinian statehood. Symbolically. In principle. A compromise motion.

Carrying overwhelmingly - 498 to 88 with 111 abstentions. More on this below.

A previous article said the following:

An estimated 134 nations recognize Palestinian statehood. Sweden the latest to join ranks with others. The first EU country to do so.

Britain, France, Spain and Portugal extended unofficial/symbolic parliamentary recognition. So did Ireland.

Denmark surprised. It was expected to followed suit. Not now. Maybe later. Along with perhaps other European countries.

Has the train left the station? Is Israel’s tide going out? Is Palestine headed for official statehood recognition? Despite strong Israeli/US objections?

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Kiev Anti-Russian False Flag Planned?

December 18th, 2014

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article discussed Russian economist/political analyst Mikhail Delyagin expecting a possible anti-Russian nuclear false flag.

Fort Russ now cites intelligence "about impending terrorist attacks on Ukrainian strategic objects, which will justify an attack on Donbass."

Foreign nationals and relatives of senior Ukrainian officials were evacuated from border areas, it says.

Armored vehicles with Russian and Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) symbols and flags were seen in Donbas territory controlled by Ukraine's military.

Suggesting a planned provocation. Other intelligence "confirmed the arrival of large numbers of mercenaries, equipment and machinery from NATO countries."

Ukraine's general staff press service head, Vladislav Seleznev, announced possible resumed hostilities in so-called ATO (anti-terrorist operations) areas.

As well as "possible terrorist attacks by the militia on the objects of strategic importance." Because socio/political/humanitarian conditions remain tense, he said. In ATO and bordering areas.

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