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Daesh (ISIS) Heritage Destruction in Syria is a War Crime and Crime against Humanity. The UN must consider R2P to stop it now

August 29th, 2015

Franklin Lamb

The Ancient Citadel, Damascus

This observer imagines that it’s probably not politically very correct among quite a few, including formerly this observer, to even mention the idea. But is it not the case dear reader that the continuing rampant and irreversible cultural terrorism ravaging Syria will not be halted by an anemic elusive “international political solution” anytime soon? Hence what is warranted for serious consideration at UN HQ and without further delay is a limited and tightly monitored UN-led intervention to end the destruction of our cultural heritage? Specifically by considering a quick short-leashed employment of Responsibility to Protect (R2P)?

(Social media photo showing Baalshamin destruction on 8/23/2015)
(Photo credit: Elizabeth Roberts)

“I am seeing Palmyra being destroyed right in front of my eyes. God help us in the days to come. Our darkest predictions are unfortunately taking place,” my friend, Dr. Abdul-Karim, the Director-General of Syria’s Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) recently explained, adding that he was somehow not totally surprised to learn that the Islamic State had destroyed the second century AD Temple of Baalshamin (shown before and after its destruction.

The temple stood less than 100 yards from the Roman amphitheater where the Islamic State held a summary trial with unanimous verdict and mass execution, killing 25 Syrian army prisoners last spring. Baalshamin was built in AD 17 as a place of worship dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms and the sky, expanded under the reign of the emperor Hadrian in 130 AD and during the time of Queen Zenobia and her husband Septimius Odaenathus, the King of Kings of Palmyra, it evolved into a major worshiping site for a number of deities.

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Dead Cat Bounce Tuesday?

August 28th, 2015

by Stephen Lendman

Whether market panic in recent days signals the six-year bull market’s end remains to be seen. Bull and bear markets take time to unfold. They don’t happen overnight.

Yet days of global panic with valuations way exceeding fundamentals suggest at minimum a major correction, selloff, down cycle, give it any name you wish is long overdue to rectify significant imbalances and may have begun.

Sharp reversal days punctuate all bull and bear markets - profit-taking or buying dips to cash in short term. They can be stunning.

The 2008-09 market crisis saw six of the 10 largest ever Dow point advances:

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Israel’s War on Gazan Children

August 28th, 2015

by Stephen Lendman

A new Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) report is damning, providing more evidence of shocking Israeli war crimes - titled “Operative Protective Edge: A War Waged on Gaza’s Children.”

Saying Israeli aggression killed over 2,250 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 547 children. Another 3,374 were injured - “including over 1,000 children whose wounds rendered them permanently disabled.”

DCIP-I’s research “found overwhelming and repeated evidence” of willful Israeli high crimes against peace - including multiple daily attacks on civilian residential neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, UN shelters, and numerous other non-military targets.

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Misguided Calls for More QE

August 28th, 2015

by Stephen Lendman

Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and other US financial community members urge more money printing madness - duplicitously suggesting current market turmoil conditions warrant it.

Reckless monetary policy instituted by the Fed and other major central banks bears full responsibility for what’s unfolding - how severe for how long remains to be seen. More on what Summers said below.

Three rounds of Fed quantitative easing (QE) did nothing to create jobs or put money in the pockets of ordinary people who spend it, generate economic growth and create a virtuous circle of prosperity lifting all boats equitably.

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Greek Elections: January and September 2015 - From Hope to Fear and Despair

August 27th, 2015

James Petras


Eight months will have passed since the election of Syriza on January 25 up to the snap elections in September. During that time Syriza’s leaders play-acted their ‘opposition to austerity’ and then knelt down in submission to the ‘Troika’.

The contrast between January and now is dramatic: Syriza’s leader, Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras, aroused joy and great hope among the Greek voters with his promises to end Greece’s subjugation to the European oligarchs (the “Troika”) but now convokes snap elections exploiting the pervasive fear and misery among the population. Greeks confront a future of even greater impoverishment and despair with an entire generation bound up and delivered to forty years of debt slavery and colonial subjugation by their elected Syriza leaders.

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Congresswoman for Palestinian Rights

August 27th, 2015

by Stephen Lendman

Rep. Betty McCollum (D MN) is an exception proving the rule - supporting the rights of Palestinian children in a Congress largely ignoring them.

In June, she wrote John Kerry, saying “Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children is an indefensible abuse of human rights. I hope this letter results in State Department pressure on the Government of Israel to end this systemic abuse immediately.”

“Palestinian children should be treated exactly the same as Israeli or American children, without the fear that one day soldiers will arrest them, beat them, and lock them away in prison.”

On August 18, she wrote the State Department again - addressing the cold-blooded killings of Nadeem Nawarah and Mohammad Anu Daher during May 2014 Nakba Day protests.

Her remarks were unusually forthright - calling Daher’s murder “a blatant example of an unlawful killing that merits both condemnation and action by the US.”An Israeli border policeman lethally shot him with an M-a16 rifle. “Most disturbing, Nadeem’s murder was captured on video as he walked innocently down the street.”

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Panic Grips Markets

August 27th, 2015

by Stephen Lendman

Monday trading showed Dow stocks plunging 1,089 points in minutes at the opening before rebounding sharply, then closing down 588 points - the single largest intraday point move in one of the most volatile trading days in stock market history, the most volatile ever for Nasdaq stocks.

The Dow fluctuated in a 7% trading range - an unprecedented 9% for Nasdaq stocks. Volatility was so extreme, the VIX S&P 500 index options volatility measure (the so-called fear index) couldn’t open during the first 30 minutes. Values of options its based on couldn’t be calculated. For the first time ever, the index closed up over 40% two consecutive days. At its Monday peak, it was up an astonishing 90%.

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