Saturday, 24 June 2017

They Were ‘Grilled Alive’: US Government Exposed Running Nazi-Like Torture Program in Yemen

The US is once again facing allegations of torture, this time during the interrogation of detainees in more than a dozen secret prisons in Yemen.


Global Research, June 24, 2017
Free Thought Project 22 June 2017

An unprecedented report from the corporate press claims U.S. forces have participated in extreme torture and abuse of detainees accused of affiliation with Al Qaeda in Yemen — including “the ‘grill,’ in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire,” the Associated Press finds.
A network of secretive prisons in southern Yemen provide the backdrop for the alleged barbaric acts allegedly carried out by forces from the U.S. and United Arab Emirates — many of those detention facilities remain hidden in plain sight.
That some of the covert prisons sit inside military bases might not be much of a shock, but others are located in ports, an airport, private villas, and even a nightclub — and all, according to the AP, remain untouchable by the embattled Yemeni government.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden weighed in on the new revelations, tweeting,
American officials unsurprisingly balked at the accusation troops have participated in the astonishingly heinous behavior described in the AP’s report.
Reports the AP:
“Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. Interrogating detainees who have been abused could violate international law, which prohibits complicity in torture.
“The AP documented at least 18 clandestine lockups across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or by Yemeni forces created and trained by the Gulf nation, drawing on accounts from former detainees, families of prisoners, civil rights lawyers and Yemeni military officials. All are either hidden or off limits to Yemen’s government, which has been getting Emirati help in its civil war with rebels over the last two years.”
Notably, this is the first ‘official’ acknowledgment the United States participates in interrogations inside the borders of Yemen.
Forces transported some detainees to an Emirati base in Eritrea, according to Yemen Interior Minister Hussein Arab.
Unnamed and unverifiable U.S. defense officials told the Associated Press ‘senior U.S. military leaders’ have been aware of alleged torture taking place in Yemen for some time — but have investigated the charges, and apparently found nothing amiss, as U.S. troops, they claim, were never present during detainee torture.
Perhaps beyond tellingly, neither the AP nor the anonymous officials elucidated on whether the lack of U.S. troop presence during the alleged grilling alive of detainees meant senior military leaders indeed discovered forces from other nations roasting people alive and said nothing, or that the torture allegations were completely baseless.
Those defense officials further
“told AP that American forces do participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies.”
Torture this horrific, if proven true, harkens immediately back to Bush-era implementation of barbaric human rights violations by the CIA — which included waterboarding and other acts the agency, itself, knew to be utterly inefficacious — which temporarily halted adherence to the law and all semblance of ethics under the premise of extracting information from detainees following the attacks of 9/11.
“We always adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct,” chief Defense Department spokeswoman, Dana White, told the AP on perusal of its report. “We would not turn a blind eye, because we are obligated to report any violations of human rights.”
In a statement, the UAE government also balked, insisting,
“There are no secret detention centers and no torture of prisoners is done during interrogations.”
“The UAE was one of the countries involved in the CIA’s torture and rendition program,” reminds New York University Professor of Law Ryan Goodman. “These reports are hauntingly familiar and potentially devastating in their legal and policy implications.”
To repeat, the U.S. Department of Defense must report violations of human rights — yet the vagueness of the claim senior military brass investigated allegations of excruciating torture, but would only offer that U.S. troops had not been present. Without further explanation, that detail could indicate a troubling sin of omission — in short, a failure to report violations of human rights.
UAE runs ‘secret torture prisons’ in Yemen as US Interrogating
Not one of the dozens interviewed by the AP accused U.S. troops of witnessing torture, but the malicious, degrading, deplorable, torturous abuses described by former inmates of the secret prisons would seem impossible to have taken place without their cognizance.
AP continues:
“At one main detention complex at Riyan airport in the southern city of Mukalla, former inmates described being crammed into shipping containers smeared with feces and blindfolded for weeks on end. They said they were beaten, trussed up on the ‘grill,’ and sexually assaulted. According to a member of the Hadramawt Elite, a Yemeni security force set up by the UAE, American forces were at times only yards away. He requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.
“‘We could hear the screams,’ said a former detainee held for six months at Riyan airport. ‘The entire place is gripped by fear. Almost everyone is sick, the rest are near death. Anyone who complains heads directly to the torture chamber.’ He was flogged with wires, part of the frequent beatings inflicted by guards against all the detainees. He also said he was inside a metal shipping container when the guards lit a fire underneath to fill it with smoke.”
As in the first revelations on the renewed use of the gross physical and psychological abuses comprising torture, human rights advocates admonished such practices cannot be carried out without the broad knowledge of military and intelligence officials at the scene — particularly not for the duration described.
“It would be a stretch to believe the US did not know or could not have known that there was a real risk of torture,” Amnesty International Director of Research in the Middle East, Lynn Maalouf, told the Associated Press. Amnesty called for a swift investigation by the United Nations into the torture allegations against the UAE and other possible participants or knowledgeable parties.
Torture has been championed as acceptable by the president and other U.S. officials, despite its illegality internationally — almost exclusively as a tool of the War on Terror to extract information from prisoners — but torture has been proven repeatedly to be ineffective for that very purpose.
At least 2,000 people have vanished in Yemen — their families left agonizing over their fate, tragically wondering whether a torturous interrogation took their lives.
“Wives, mothers, and daughters in the north and south of Yemen want to know whether their husbands, sons, and brothers are all right, if they are even alive,” noted Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, after issuance of a similar report on torture in Yemen by her organization, on Thursday.
“Yemen, the UAE, Houthi-Saleh forces, and any other party disappearing people should immediately inform families of where their loved ones are and release those held arbitrarily.”
Despite denial of allegations by the United States military and government of the United Arab Emirates, the report from the Associated Press most likely will be remembered as the beginning of yet another torture scandal embroiling perpetually-ethicless entities during a complex and violent conflict — one, again, involving the U.S., which fights for freedom and against terror by, apparently, eviscerating freedom and waging terror.
Featured image: Free Thought Project
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Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats’ Golden-Ticket

Written by Robert Parry; Originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com
The national Democrats saw Russia-gate and the drive to impeach President Trump as their golden ticket back to power, but so far the ticket seems to be made of fool’s gold.
The national Democratic Party and many liberals have bet heavily on the Russia-gate investigation as a way to oust President Trump from office and to catapult Democrats to victories this year and in 2018, but the gamble appears not to be paying off.
The Democrats’ disappointing loss in a special election to fill a congressional seat in an affluent Atlanta suburb is just the latest indication that the strategy of demonizing Trump and blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat may not be the golden ticket that some Democrats had hoped.
Though it’s still early to draw conclusive lessons from Karen Handel’s victory over Jon Ossoff – despite his raising $25 million – one lesson may be that a Middle America backlash is forming against the over-the-top quality of the Trump-accusations and the Russia-bashing, with Republicans rallying against the image of Official Washington’s “deep state” collaborating with Democrats and the mainstream news media to reverse a presidential election.
Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket
A sign at the Women’s March on Washington points out that the demonstration attracted a larger crowd than Donald Trump’s inauguration. Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo: Chelsea Gilmour)
Indeed, the Democrats may be digging a deeper hole for themselves in terms of reaching out to white working-class voters who abandoned the party in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to put Trump over the top in the Electoral College even though Clinton’s landslide win in California gave her almost three million more votes nationwide.
Clinton’s popular-vote plurality and the #Resistance, which manifested itself in massive protests against Trump’s presidency, gave hope to the Democrats that they didn’t need to undertake a serious self-examination into why the party is in decline across the nation’s heartland. Instead, they decided to stoke the hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in the election as the short-cut to bring down Trump and his populist movement.

A Party of Snobs?

From conversations that I’ve had with some Trump voters in recent weeks, I was struck by how they viewed the Democratic Party as snobbish, elitist and looking down its nose at “average Americans.” And in conversations with some Clinton voters, I found confirmation for that view in the open disdain that the Clinton backers expressed toward the stupidity of anyone who voted for Trump. In other words, the Trump voters were not wrong to feel “dissed.”
It seems the Republicans – and Trump in particular – have done a better job in presenting themselves to these Middle Americans as respecting their opinions and representing their fears, even though the policies being pushed by Trump and the GOP still favor the rich and will do little good – and significant harm – to the middle and working classes.
Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket
Hillary Clinton at the Code 2017 conference on May 31, 2017.
By contrast, many of Hillary Clinton’s domestic proposals might well have benefited average Americans but she alienated many of them by telling a group of her supporters that half of Trump’s backers belonged in a “basket of deplorables.” Although she later reduced the percentage, she had committed a cardinal political sin: she had put the liberal disdain for millions of Americans into words – and easily remembered words at that.
By insisting that Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee – after leftist populist Bernie Sanders was pushed aside – the party also ignored the fact that many Americans, including many Democrats, viewed Clinton as the perfectly imperfect candidate for an anti-Establishment year with many Americans still fuming over the Wall Street bailouts and amid the growing sense that the system was rigged for the well-connected and against the average guy or gal.
In the face of those sentiments, the Democrats nominated a candidate who personified how a relatively small number of lucky Americans can play the system and make tons of money while the masses have seen their dreams crushed and their bank accounts drained. And Clinton apparently still hasn’t learned that lesson.

Citing Women’s Rights

Last month, when asked why she accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking to Goldman Sachs, Clinton rationalized her greed as a women’s rights issue, saying: “you know, men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made.”
Her excuse captured much of what has gone wrong with the Democratic Party as it moved from its working-class roots and New Deal traditions to becoming a party that places “identity politics” ahead of a duty to fight for the common men and women of America.
Demonstrating her political cluelessness, Clinton used the serious issue of women not getting fair treatment in the workplace to justify taking her turn at the Wall Street money trough, gobbling up in one half-hour speech what it would take many American families a decade to earn.
Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket
The Wall Street bull statue by Arturo Di Modica
While it’s a bit unfair to personalize the Democratic Party’s problems, Hillary and Bill Clinton have come to represent how the party is viewed by many Americans. Instead of the FDR Democrats, we have the Davos Democrats, the Wall Street Democrats, the Hollywood Democrats, the Silicon Valley Democrats, and now increasingly the Military-Industrial Complex Democrats.
To many Americans struggling to make ends meet, the national Democrats seem committed to the interests of the worldwide elites: global trade, financialization of the economy, robotization of the workplace, and endless war against endless enemies.
Now, the national Democrats are clambering onto the bandwagon for a costly and dangerous New Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia. Indeed, it is hard to distinguish their foreign policy from that of neoconservatives, although these Democrats view themselves as liberal interventionists citing humanitarian impulses to justify the endless slaughter.
Earlier this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 28 percent of Americans saying that the Democrats were “in touch with the concerns of most people” – an astounding result given the Democrats’ long tradition as the party of the American working class and the party’s post-Vietnam War reputation as favoring butter over guns.
Yet rather than rethink the recent policies, the Democrats prefer to fantasize about impeaching President Trump and continuing a blame-game about who – other than Hillary Clinton, her campaign and the Democratic National Committee – is responsible for Trump’s election. Of course, it’s the Russians, Russians, Russians!

A Problem’s Deep Roots

Without doubt, some of the party’s problems have deep roots that correspond to the shrinking of the labor movement since the 1970s and the growing reliance on big-money donors to finance expensive television-ad-driven campaigns. Over the years, the Democrats also got pounded for being “weak” on national security.
Further, faced with Republican “weaponization” of attack ads in the 1980s, many old-time Democrats lost out to the Reagan Revolution, clearing the way for a new breed of Democrats who realized that they could compete for a slice of the big money by cultivating the emerging coastal elites: Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and even elements of the National Security State.
By the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council defined this New Democrat, politicians who reflected the interests of well-heeled coastal elites, especially on free trade; streamlined financial regulations; commitment to technology; and an activist foreign policy built around spreading “liberal values” across the globe.
Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket
President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)
Mixed in was a commitment to the rights of various identity groups, a worthy goal although this tolerance paradoxically contributed to a new form of prejudice among some liberals who came to view many white working-class people as fat, stupid and bigoted, society’s “losers.”
So, while President Clinton hobnobbed with the modern economy’s “winners” – with sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom and parties in the Hamptons – much of Middle America felt neglected if not disdained. The “losers” were left to rot in “flyover America” with towns and cities that had lost their manufacturing base and, with it, their vitality and even their purpose for existing.

Republican Fraud

It wasn’t as if the Republicans were offering anything better. True, they were more comfortable talking to these “forgotten Americans” – advocating “gun rights” and “traditional values” and playing on white resentments over racial integration and civil rights – but, in office, the Republicans aggressively favored the interests of the rich, cutting their taxes and slashing regulations even more than the Democrats.
The Republicans paid lip service to the struggling blue-collar workers but control of GOP policies was left in the hands of corporations and their lobbyists.
Though the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American president, raised hopes that the nation might finally bind its deep racial wounds, it turned out to have a nearly opposite effect. Tea Party Republicans rallied many white working-class Americans to resist Obama and the hip urban future that he represented. They found an unlikely champion in real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, who sensed how to tap into their fears and anger with his demagogic appeals and false populism.
Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket
The run-down PIX Theatre sign reads “Vote Trump” on Main Street in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. July 15, 2016. (Photo by Tony Webster Flickr)
Meanwhile, the national Democrats were falling in love with data predicting that demographics would magically turn Republican red states blue. So the party blithely ignored the warning signs of a cataclysmic break with the Democrats’ old-time base.
Despite all the data on opioid addiction and declining life expectancy among the white working class, Hillary Clinton was politically tone-deaf to the rumbles of discontent echoing across the Rust Belt. She assumed the traditionally Democratic white working-class precincts would stick with her and she tried to appeal to the “security moms” in typically Republican suburbs by touting her neoconservative foreign policy thinking. And she ran a relentlessly negative campaign against Trump while offering voters few positive reasons to vote for her.

Ignoring Reality

When her stunning loss became clear on Election Night – as the crude and unqualified Trump pocketed the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – the Democrats refused to recognize what the elections results were telling them, that they had lost touch with a still important voting bloc, working-class whites.
Rather than face these facts, the national Democrats – led by President Obama and his intelligence chiefs – decided on a different approach, to seek to reverse the election by blaming the result on the Russians. Obama, his intelligence chiefs and a collaborative mainstream media insisted without presenting any real evidence that the Russians had hacked into Democratic emails and released them to the devastating advantage of Trump, as if the minor controversies from leaked emails of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta explained Trump’s surprising victory.
Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket
The crowd at President Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)
As part of this strategy, any Trump link to Russia – no matter how inconsequential, whether from his businesses or through his advisers – became the focus of Woodward-and-Bernstein/Watergate-style investigations. The obvious goal was to impeach Trump and ride the wave of Trump-hating enthusiasm to a Democratic political revival.
In other words, there was no reason to look in the mirror and rethink how the Democratic Party might begin rebuilding its relationships with the white working-class, just hold hearings featuring Obama’s intelligence chieftains and leak damaging Russia-gate stuff to the media.
But the result of this strategy has been to deepen the Democratic Party’s reliance on the elites, particularly the self-reverential mavens of the mainstream media and the denizens of the so-called “deep state.” From my conversations with Trump voters, they “get” what’s going on, how the powers-that-be are trying to negate the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump by reversing a presidential election carried out under the U.S. constitutional process.

A Letter from ‘Deplorable’ Land

Some Trump supporters are even making this point publicly. Earlier this month, a “proud deplorable” named Kenton Woodhead from Brunswick, Ohio, wrote to The New York Times informing the “newspaper of record” that he and other “deplorables” were onto the scheme.
Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket
New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)
“I wanted to provide you with an unsophisticated synopsis of The New York Times and the media’s quest for the implosion of Donald Trump’s presidency from out here in the real world, in ‘deplorable’ country. …
Every time you and your brethren at other news organizations dream up a new scheme to get Mr. Trump, we out here in deplorable land increase our support for him. …
“Regardless of what you dream up every day, we refuse to be sucked into your narrative. And even more humorously, there isn’t anything you can do about it! And I love it that you are having the exact opposite effect on those of us you are trying to persuade to think otherwise.
“I mean it is seriously an enjoyable part of my day knowing you are failing. And badly! I haven’t had this much fun watching the media stumble, bumble and fumble in years. I wonder what will happen on the day you wake up and realize how disconnected you’ve become.”
So, despite Trump’s narcissism and incompetence – and despite how his policies will surely hurt many of his working-class supporters – the national Democrats are further driving a wedge between themselves and this crucial voting bloc. By whipping up a New Cold War with Russia and hurling McCarthistic slurs at people who won’t join in the Russia-bashing, the Democratic Party’s tactics also are alienating many peace voters who view both the Republicans and Democrats as warmongers of almost equal measures of guilt.
While it’s certainly not my job to give advice to the Democrats – or any other political group – I can’t help but thinking that this Russia-gate “scandal” is not only lacking in logic and evidence, but it doesn’t even make any long-term political sense.

Sayyed Nasrallah: Al-Quds Is Too Sacred to Be Liberated by Traitors, Hypocrites! (To be updated)



Sayyed Nasrallah: Al-Quds Is Too Sacred to Be Liberated by Traitors, Hypocrites!

June 23, 2017 


Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah lashed out at Saudi Arabia over its relation with the Zionist entity and its stance towards Palestine, stressing that “Al-Quds is too sacred to be liberated by traitors and hypocrites.”
On the occasion of Al-Quds International Day, Sayyed Nasrallah was recalling the words of the spiritual leader of resistance in Lebanon, the disappeared Imam Moussa Sadr who had said that “the honor of Al-Quds disdains any liberation unless it is at the hands of true believers.”
During a ceremony held by Hezbollah on this occasion, which falls on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, Sayyed Nasrallah threatened that in case of any Israeli war on Lebanon or Syria, “our space will be open to hundreds of thousands of fighters from across the Arab and Muslim countries.
Sayyed Nasrallah warned that the aim of unrest taking place in the region is to divert attention from the Palestinian cause. However, the resistance leader stressed that such goal won’t be reached, noting that the axis of resistance is getting stronger nowadays.
“We are heading for the imminent victory thanks to our martyrs’ blood and steadfastness f our people,” his eminence addressed crowds at Sayyed Shuhada Complex, in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh), via a video link.
Al-Quds Day
Talking about the occasion itself, Sayyed Nasrallah said that following victory of Islamic revolution in Iran, late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam (Rouhullah Mousavi) Khomeini assigned the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Quds International Day.
In this context, the resistance leader noted that the entire humanity bears responsibility of standing by the Palestinian cause and not only Muslims.
Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that Al-Quds day coincides this year with the 50thanniversary of occupation of Al-Quds by Zionists.
Sayyed Nasrallah said that the West and especially the United States have exploited the unrest which took place in the recent years in a bid to divert the attention of the people of the Muslim nation from the Palestinian cause. However, he noted that the Arab spring which has ended up being unrest was first a result of popular movements.
“We believe that the Arab spring was first a result of popular movements across many Arab countries; however the West, especially US managed to contain these movements in a bid to wipe out the Palestinian cause.”
“One of the major aims of unrest and wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya is to pave the way for a settlement in favor of the Zionist enemy.”
Challenges
Sayyed Nasrallah saluted the Palestinian people who are now subjected to all means of Israeli oppression including blockade, electricity shortage, settlements and Judaization plots, and razing homes, in a bid to force them to accept the Israeli conditions of the so-called settlement.
Iran as a major supporter of Palestine and resistance movements in the region is being slapped by economic sanction and politically pressured, Sayyed Nasrallah said.
There are conspiracies to isolate Iran and to change it to an enemy for countries in the region instead of “Israel”, Hezbollah S.G. said, noting that there has been plots to move the battle against Takfiris to Iran.
Reminding of a threat made by Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman to move the battle to Iran, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the “Saudi regime is weaker than being able to launch a war on Iran.”
The Resistance Leader meanwhile, said that Syria is “a central member of the axis of resistance and a major supporter of resistance movements in the region.”
“For that it was targeted by schemes to destroy its army and topple its government to replace it with another regimes that serve the interests of the US and Zionist entity.”
On the other hand, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the resistance movements have been also targeted by war threats, assassination attempts of its figures and accusations of terrorism in a bid to tarnish its image.
“An Iraq, after it demonstrated a clear policy that refuses to be part of the US-Israeli scheme to abandon Palestine, they sent ISIL in a bid to destroy this country,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.
In this context, his eminence stressed that ISIL was made by US, funded by Saudi Arabia and its operations were facilitated by Turkey.
Talking about the war on Yemen, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the real reason of this war is a Saudi intention to control this Arab country. Hezbollah S.G. praised the Yemeni people for its legendry steadfastness against the Saudi-led aggression and hailed their firm stance towards Palestine.
“Despite all challenges of airstrikes, blockade, cholera, poverty and destruction, tens of thousands took to streets to voice solidarity with Palestine and Al-Quds.”
“Yemen proved that it will never be part of a scheme to sell Palestine, neither for a throne, nor for Trump and it is still fighting.”
Sayyed Nasrallah meanwhile, cited reports confirming that the Zionist warplanes are taking part in the aggression on Yemen.
Next War
As in his major speeches, Sayyed Nasrallah tacked the military status of the resistance against the Zionist enemy. His eminence quoted remarks by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman who said that the Zionist entity has not won a war since 1967.
“We have no intention to launch a war neither in the summer and nor in the winter, neither in the north and nor in the south,” Sayyed Nasrallah quoting the Israeli DM as saying, noting that such situation is thanks to victories achieved by the resistance against the Zionist entity.
His eminence though warned that in case of any war on Lebanon or Syria “our space will be open to hundreds of thousands of fighters who will join resistance ranks from across Arab and Muslim countries.”
“Palestine is in our conscience and the axis of resistance is getting stronger,” the resistance leader said, calling on Palestinians not to lose hope despite all difficulties.


23-06-2017 | 19:19
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Map Update: Syrian Government Forces Advancing Along Palmyra-Deir Ezzor Road

On June 23, Syrian government forces liberated the Arak gas station northeast of the Arak gas field in the province of Homs. The area had been controlled by ISIS terrorists.
Map Update: Syrian Government Forces Advancing Along Palmyra-Deir Ezzor Road
Click the Map
With this advance, pro-government fighters further advanced along the strategic road linking up the cities of Palmyra and Deir Ezzor.
On June 24, the army and its allies continued advancing in the area aiming to retake gas fields south of the town of Sakhneh (Sukhnah) and the mount of Alstih.
Related video

Syrian War Report – June 23, 2017: Army Regaining More Ground Near Palmyra


The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and other pro-government factions have further advanced against ISIS and US-backed militants in the province of Homs. On Thursday, government troops captured Tal Ghurab northwest of the US garrison of Zquf near the Syrian-Iraqi border. With the liberation of Tal Ghurab, the SAA and its allies increased pressure on US-backed militants operating in the area and strengthened the Syrian military position at the border with Iraq.
Separately, the SAA and the NDF captured Zahar Abah and clashes with ISIS at the Arak gas fields area. ISIS militants fiercely defend their positions east of Palmyra.
In the province of Raqqah, the SAA and the NDF have resumed attempts to re-take the Ithriyah-Resafa road from ISIS terrorists. An intense fighting is ongoing.
Earlier this week, the SAA seized a large ISIS workshop in Resafa, capturing a notable number of battle tanks and other equipment.
Turkey, Russia and Iran have been working on a plan to deploy their troops in de-escalation areas in Syria, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told media on Thursday.
“We will probably be most prominent in the Idlib region with the Russians; mostly Russia and Iran around Damascus, and a mechanism involving the Americans and Jordan in the south in the Daraa region is being worked on,” Ibrahim Kalin said, adding that the sides will further discuss the de-escalation agreement during talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in early July.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Shamanov, head of the defense committee at Russia’s State Duma said that Moscow has been negotiating with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan suggesting them to deploy some forces into the recently established de-escalation zones.
Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a deal in Astana on May 4 to establish four de-escalation zones in order to minimize violence in the war-torn country.
On Thursday, reports appeared that the government and militants operating in Daraa have reached comprehensive reconciliation agreement and the SAA may re-establish control over the border with Jordan in the area. However, these reports were not confirmed by government officials. Clashes in the area continued.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued an advance south of Raqqah, capturing Al-Kamb from ISIS. If the SDF seizes Mustajid Naqib, ISIS units will be fully encircled inside the city. ISIS launched a series of counter-attacks in Raqqah but didn’t regain any large areas.


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The Martyrs of the Syrian Arab Army

To the Martyrs of the Syrian Arab Army and their Families:
Yesterday I posted an article by Vanessa Beeley that included some disturbing videos showing Syrian Army soldiers captured and killed by terrorists. The photo above is a screen shot from one of those videos. It shows two soldiers who were captured in 2016 by Jaish Al-Fatah, also known as the “Army of Conquest,” a coalition of terrorist factions that has been backed by the U.S.
In the video (or you can view it also here ), the two men are taunted, slapped, and ridiculed. It was filmed by the terrorists and reportedly uploaded to the Internet initially by a member of the White Helmets, the so-called Syrian “civil defense” organization, a gaggle of regime-change enlistees who have been funded by Western governments for propaganda purposes.
The two men captured–identified as Mohammad Mudeer and Zakaria Khashfeh–were fighting to defend their country–to defend it from terrorist armies backed by the US and its allies. At the end of the video we see one of the men, Khashfeh (pictured on the right in the photo above), executed by gunshots as he lies on the ground, his hands bound behind him. Mudeer, although the video doesn’t show it, presumably met a similar fate.
Many soldiers in the Syrian Arab Army have died in this war. Some have died at the hands of terrorists; some have been killed in direct attacks by US Coalition forces. All were defending their homeland. Defending it from hordes of people recruited by the West but motivated by a depraved ideology which got its start in Saudi Arabia and which is still promoted and propagated there. This is the true nature of evil. And this post is dedicated to the martyrs who have given their lives fighting this evil, and to their families.
“Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
–Revelation 7:16-17
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
–Jesus, Matthew 5:10

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Persuading Jews Worldwide to Convert to Zionism

By Rima Najjar
June 23, 2017
Lawfare as used by the Zionist organization The Lawfare Project and others is meant to persuade every Jew in the world (and not just Israeli Jews) that his or her Jewish identity, welfare and security are inextricably related to the continued suppression of justice, equality and freedom of Palestinian Arabs or, in other words, to the Apartheid Zionist Jewish state.
Lawfare is a tool used by Zionist organizations to suppress pro-Palestine activity by conflating anti-Semitism (in its sense of “anti-Jewish animus”) with anti-Zionism, the ideology that perpetuates Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.  A case in point is the lawsuit against San Francisco State University (SFSU) currently being heard in a U.S. federal court brought by the right-wing Zionist organization The Lawfare Project, which relies on the complete conflation of anti-Jewish animus with criticism of Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights to assert that SFSU violated the constitutional and civil rights of Jewish students and community members. The true intent of the lawsuit is clear: to ensure that advocates for Palestinian rights are punished for standing up for human rights and justice for Palestinians, who have been dispossessed, occupied, and deprived of basic human rights for 70 years.
What The Lawfare Project is doing is simply consolidating the final stage “in the evolutionary method of Zionist policy” in Palestine as described in a long letter (written by Chaim Arlosoroff in 1932) addressed to Chaim Weizmann (an early Zionist born in Belarus) that appeared in the October 1948  Jewish Frontier under the title “Reflections on Zionist Policy”:
… The next “stage” will be attained when the relationship of real forces will be such as to preclude any possibility of the establishment of an Arab state in Palestine, i.e., when the Jews will acquire such additional strength as will automatically block the road for Arab domination. This will be followed by another “ stage” during which the Arabs will be unable to frustrate the constant growth of the Jewish community through … immigration, colonization and the maintenance of peace and order in the country…
The farcical decades-long “Peace Process” notwithstanding, the Zionist movement has so far succeeded in precluding the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state in any part of Palestine, claiming all of it for Jews (the “Hebrew Nation”) worldwide. Having established Israel through the ethnic cleansing of non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs seventy years ago, and occupied the rest of the Palestinian territory a mere nineteen years later, the Zionist movement is today all out to consolidate and build on its achievement using, not only the economic, military and political strength of Israel itself (which is already considerable), but also the worldwide support of Jews (while also cultivating the support of American evangelist Christians).
Whereas the kind of brainwashing in which The Lawfare Project is engaged is standard fare in many synagogues and has been working, with very few exceptions, for decades, recent polls indicate that young Jews no longer buy what Israel packages and sells to them. Predictably, that is only spurring Brand Israel to redouble its efforts:
Brand Israel says that ‘Instead of stating dry facts, professionals must highlight Israel’s decency, morality and the diversity of the Israeli society in general’. This is an act of self-deception. Israel is a society where a plurality of Jews support the physical expulsion of Israel’s Palestinians and where ‘Death to the Arabs’ is the favourite chant of the Right.
Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.
Featured image: National Vanguard
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Al-Quds Day 2017 – World Muslims Mark Quds Day with Massive Rallies


Al-Quds Day 2017


 Millions of people are taking to the streets across Iran and other world countries Friday to show their solidarity with the Palestinians and condemn Israel’s decades-long occupation and atrocities. The rallies are held to mark Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

LIVE: Al-Quds Day rally takes place in Tehran
Iranian protesters are marching on the streets of Tehran on Friday, June 23, on Al-Quds Day, showing solidarity with Palestine. Al-Quds day, which falls on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, is an annual event firstly introduced in 1979 by late Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as a day of protest against Zionism and Israel’s control of Jerusalem. Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, and thousands, including Iranian government officials, take place in the yearly rally.

Rally in Damascus Marking International Quds Day

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 DAMASCUS, (ST)- Participants in the rally organized in Damascus marking International Quds Day affirmed the need to unify the nation’s efforts in the confrontation of the Israeli occupation and the United States, stressing that there is no alternative to liberating Palestine, restoring  the holy shrines and return of refugees to their homeland.
The rally began from the entrance of Souk Hamidiyeh and progressed towards the Umayyad Mosque.
In a statement, the participants said that commemorating Quds Day and participating effectively in this occasion aims at mobilizing the nation’s potentials to liberate al-Quds and protect  al-Aqsa Mosque, stressing that the Palestinian cause is the central Arab cause and Palestine is the compass of the nation and Quds is its eternal capital.
They warned of the settlement schemes being promoted in the region , because they aim at liquidating the Palestinian cause, fragment the countries supporting the Palestinian cause, finding a suitable environment to make the Zionist entity a friend and an ally to some Arab and Islamic states and creating sedition among the Arabs.
Millions of People Have Taken to Streets in Iran On Quds Day
In Tehran, millions of people have taken to the treets across Iran and other world countries to show their solidarity with the Palestinians and condemn Israel’s decades-long occupation and atrocities.
The rallies are held to mark Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, press TV reported.
In Tehran and other cities and towns, people from all walks of life gathered for the annual event which usually marks people chanting slogans against Israel and burning the occupying regime’s flags.
The occasion is a legacy of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini, followed by Muslims in other countries to support the Palestinian struggle against Israel.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani along with other senior Iranian officials took part in the Tehran rally.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Rouhani said “the message of Quds Day is that of hatred towards the occupying and usurping regime as well as support for the oppressed nation” of Palestine.
He underlined the importance of this year’s Quds Day “given the presence of terrorists in the region, who are backed by Israel,” adding people are determined to cleanse the region of Tel Aviv-backed terrorists.
Rouhani said the high turnout in the demonstrations also serves as a response to the United States, which has recently been seeking to pile pressure on Iran by tightening its sanctions.
Hamda Mustafa

 World Muslims Mark Quds Day with Massive Rallies

Millions of Muslims are taking to the streets across the world countries Friday to show their solidarity with the Palestinians and condemn the Zionist decades-long occupation and atrocities.

World Muslims Mark Quds Day with Massive Rallies
The rallies are held to mark International al-Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
In the Iranian capital city, Tehran, and other cities and towns, people from all walks of life are gathering for the annual event which usually marks chanting slogans against ‘Israel’ and burning its flags.
In the early hours of Friday, Bahraini people held anti-‘Israel’ rallies in different areas to commemorate the occasion.

World Muslims Mark Quds Day with Massive Rallies
The demonstrators also pledged unwavering support for the Palestinian cause.
Elsewhere in eastern Saudi Arabia, people braved a military siege on the Shia town of Awamiyah in the Qatif region and held a rally in solidarity with Palestine.
World Muslims Mark Quds Day with Massive Rallies
Hundreds are already out in Nigeria in Kudan LGA in Kaduna state to mark the occasion.
World Muslims Mark Quds Day with Massive Rallies
Additionally, thousands in London united to demand freedom for Palestine.
World Muslims Mark Quds Day with Massive Rallies
The occasion is a legacy of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini, followed by Muslims in other counries to support the Palestinian struggle against ‘Israel.’
On Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei emphasized the importance of al-Quds Day.
“It is not just that we are defending an oppressed nation that has been driven out of its home. We are actually fighting against an oppressive and arrogant political system,” Imam Khamenei said.
Earlier this month, Palestinians marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War, which saw ‘Israel’ occupy the West Bank, East al-Quds, the Gaza Strip and part of Syria’s Golan Heights.
In November that year, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242, under which ‘Israel’ is required to withdraw from all territories seized in the war.
Tel Aviv withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but has been keeping the coastal enclave under a crippling siege and regular deadly offensives. The apartheid regime has also been expanding settlements across the West Bank and East al-Quds in breach of international laws.
The global protests this year coincide with stepped-up killing of Palestinians, their forced displacement and abusive detention by ‘Israel.’
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
23-06-2017 | 10:44
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!