Showing posts from December 15, 2013

APNewsBreak: US military aircraft hit in S. Sudan

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Rebel fire hit two U.S. military aircraft responding to the outbreak in violence in South Sudan on Saturday, wounding three U.S. service members and heavily damaging at least one of the aircraft, officials said. South Sudan blamed the attack on renegade troops in control of the breakaway region. The U.S. military aircraft were heading to Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and scene of some of the nation's worst violence over the last week. One American service member was reported to be in critical condition. Officials said after the aircraft took incoming fire, they turned around and headed to Kampala, Uganda. From there the service members were flown on to Nairobi, Kenya for medical treatment, the officials said. Both officials demanded anonymity to share information not yet made public. Both officials work in East Africa and are in a position to know the information. It was not immediately known what the U.S. aircraft were doing in Bor. One official s

NSA program stopped no terror attacks, says White House panel member

Patrick Semansky / AP file The National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. By Michael IsikoffNBC News National Investigative Correspondent A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks. “It was, ‘Huh, hello? What are we doing here?’” said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.” While Stone said the mass collection of telephone call records was a “logical program” from the NSA’s perspective, one question the White House panel was seeking to answer was whether it had actually stopped “any [terror attacks] that might have been really big.” “We found none,” said Stone.  Under the NSA program, first revealed by ex-contractor Edward Snowden, the agency collects in bulk the records of the time and duration of phone calls made by

Geneva Peace Talks Crumbling: Syria Rebels, Iran May Not Attend

The Geneva II peace talks were initially scheduled for June, and after months were finally set up for January 22, with a watchmakers’ convention forcing the talks to Montreaux. Even though these talks have been “set” for weeks there remains doubt over whether they’ll actually happen. That’s because as the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) loses what little credibility it had among the rebellion, Western nations have told them they believe any “transitional” government in Syria would need to be dominated by President Bashar Assad and supporters. Somehow, the SNC remained convinced they’d be given control of the nation at the conference, and the sudden realization that this isn’t going to happen has them  considering pulling out of the talks , and insisting they never “formally” agreed to attend. With every other rebel group refusing to attend (except the Kurds, who haven’t been invited) these aren’t going to be very meaningful talks, and the  US is back to arguing that Iran shouldn’t be a

Iraqi Market Bombed; 42 Killed, 41 Wounded

At least   42 people were killed and 41 more were wounded   in prayer day attacks. The only major attack took place in northern Iraq, and it did not seem to be targeting pilgrims. Twelve people were killed and 31 more were wounded  in a double bombing at a  livestock market  in  Tuz Khormato .  Four more people were killed and five were wounded  a couple hours later when a bomb exploded at a nearby cemetery during a funeral for some of the victims. On prayer days, Iraqis enjoy shopping for animals, and insurgents have often taken advantage of that tradition. Six young men were executed  in Hawija , and their homes were blow-up. Gunmen  killed four policemen  in Baiji . A roadside bomb  killed two people  in Kirkuk . A  policeman and his mother were shot dead  in  Qayara . Gunmen  killed a civilian and wounded three others , including two policemen, in  Falluja . In  Mosul , a bomb  killed a policeman and wounded another . One child was killed and another was wounded  when a bomb explod

Leader of al Qaida-linked Nusra Front predicts victory over Syria’s Assad

BEIRUT   — The leader of one the most feared and effective Syrian rebel groups told Al Jazeera news service Thursday that the nearly 3-year-old conflict was close to an end and that his forces – considered to be among the most radical – held the upper hand over both the Syrian regime and secular rebel groups. Speaking as the chief of the Nusra Front, Abu Mohammed al Joulani, designated as al Qaida’s top representative in Syria, said in his first media interview that the group rejected peace talks scheduled for late January and warned Sunni Arab states of betrayal by the West as America and Iran begin discussions to end their 30-year feud. “The battle is almost over, we have covered about 70 percent of it, and what’s left is small. We will achieve victory soon. We pray to God to culminate these efforts with victory. It’s only a matter of days,” he told an interviewer, his face and the interview location hidden for security reasons. The Nusra Front – along with its ally and occasional ri

Benghazi, Libya, has become training hub for Islamist fighters

BENGHAZI, Libya   — Every week, about a dozen Syrians arrive at Benghazi’s airport for what’s described as insurgent training. When they fly out, they’re carrying fake Libyan passports, according to three officials familiar with the comings and goings of foreigners at the airport. The accounts of the officials, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the topic, are more evidence that this city in Libya has become a regional hub for Islamist extremists seeking to hone their combat skills. Fighters from Tunisia and Algeria also are thought to be training here, driving across Libya’s borders to reach Benghazi, the birthplace of the uprising that, with NATO’s help, toppled Moammar Gadhafi two years ago. But the Syrians’ routine arrival and departure by air indicates that the training process is better organized and financed than had been realized. It also raises questions about the role of Libya’s homegrown militia, Ansar al Shariah, in the global jihadi movement. Ansar

A 2013 Disaster: Death Toll More Than Doubles in Iraq

For a nation still reeling from a devastating multi-year US occupation, 2013 was definitely a year Iraqis would prefer to forget. Violence spiked more than two-fold nationwide over 2012 numbers, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. 2013 started much the same as the past several years did, but a late April crackdown against Sunni protesters by the military sparked a series of strikes from Sunni militant factions, and coupled with spillover violence from Syria , the toll is back to the levels of 2007, the height of the US surge. The UN’s tentative figures for 2013 are 7,157 killed, not counting December. The UN’s figures are also usually lower than the media reports of violence in the nation. Whatever the toll ends up being, there’s no denying  2013 was a calamitous year  for Iraqi security, and much as the occupation-era violence lasted for years, this could be the beginning of another grim span of Iraqi history. Source

The Changing Contours of US Imperial Intervention in World Conflicts

Introduction Following the Vietnam War, US imperial intervention passed through several phases:  In the immediate aftermath, the US government faced a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese liberation forces and was under pressure from an American public sick and tired of war.Imperial military interventions, domestic espionage against opponents and usual practice of fomenting coups d’état (regime change)  declined. Slowly, under President Gerald Ford and, especially President ‘Jimmy’ Carter, an imperial revival emerged in the form of clandestine support for armed surrogates in Southern Africa – Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau— and neo-liberal military dictatorships in Latin America.  The first large-scale imperial intervention was launched during the second half of the Carter Presidency .It involved massive support for the Islamist uprising against the secular government of Afghanistan and a mercenary jihadist invasion sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the U

Some Might Call It Treason

Source:   AntiWar There is a major flaw in the United States Constitution. The Founders understood that partisan politics would inevitably result in bickering along party lines that would lead to charges that political opponents were betraying the country so they deliberately made it very difficult to charge others with "treason." Which is not to say that they did not regard treason as the most heinous of crimes. The fact that it is defined in the Constitution, one of only two crimes to be specified in the document, is telling, but they just wanted to make sure that when the charge was made it was made in all seriousness, not to obtain frivolous political advantage.   In Article III the Constitution  states  "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession

Yemen Deaths Test Claims of New Drone Policy

WASHINGTON — In some respects, the   drone strike in Yemen last week resembled so many others from recent years: A hail of missiles slammed into a convoy of trucks on a remote desert road, killing at least 12 people. But this time the trucks were part of a wedding procession, making the customary journey from the groom’s house to the house of the bride. The Dec. 12 strike by the Pentagon, launched from an American base in Djibouti, killed at least a half-dozen innocent people, according to a number of tribal leaders and witnesses, and provoked a storm of outrage in the country. It also illuminated the reality behind the talk surrounding the Obama administration’s  new drone policy , which was announced with fanfare seven months ago. Although American officials say they are being more careful before launching drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere — and more transparent about the clandestine wars that President Obama has embraced — the strike last week offers a window on the int