Puppet Masters

Evil Rays

Silencing the truth: Israel killing, intimidating journalists amid Gaza communication blackout

Israel is targeting journalists in the Gaza Strip like it did during its last two major attacks on the 1.8 million Palestinians there.

Since the current assault began on 7 July, Israel has killed at least seven Palestinian journalists and media workers and directly struck at least four media offices. The latest journalist to be killed, Rami Rayyan, was reporting on families going to the market during what they thought was a four-hour ceasefire on Wednesday afternoon when Israel shelled the Shujaiya market.

The Electronic Intifada spoke with journalist Yousef Al-Helou just after the attack.

"Journalists say it is an Israeli attempt to silence the truth," Al-Helou said. "But Palestinian journalists are determined to continue their work because they say that it is their duty to expose Israeli actions in Gaza that amount to war crimes." (Listen to the full interview with Yousef Al-Helou via the audio player at the top of this page, or read the rush transcript below.)

Attacks on media centers

Gaza media bombed
© Mohammed Asad/APA images

The top floors of a building housing media offices were bombed by Israel on 29 July.
On Tuesday, 29 July, Israel bombed an Al-Aqsa TV office in the northeast part of Gaza City. Forty-five minutes later, in another part of the city, Israel struck an Al-Aqsa radio office. No one was killed in those attacks, but the offices suffered damage to their media equipment. Both the TV and radio stations resumed broadcasting after brief interruptions.

Last week on 27 July, an Israeli rocket hit another Al-Aqsa TV office, and on 22 July the offices of Al Jazeera were struck.

While the Israeli military apologized for firing at Qatar-based Al Jazeera, calling it an "error" and claiming that the military would "investigate" the incident, Israel has not conceded responsibility for hitting the Palestinian broadcasting networks. In an emailed statement, the Israeli military justified the strikes, saying they were aimed at "the propaganda dissemination capabilities used to broadcast the messages of [Hamas'] military wing."

The journalist Yousef Al-Helou said that Palestinian journalists have received text messages warning them of their danger: "Now the Israeli army has sent six messages to journalist in Gaza ordering them to stay away, or saying that the Israeli army will not be responsible for your safety."

Comment: Truth-lovers everywhere must commend the bravery of these journalists.


Israel's psychopathic doctrine to justify murdering over 1,000 Gazans

wounded Palestinian Gaza

A Palestinian hugs his father who was wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a UN school in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, following their arrival at the Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia, on July 30, 2014
The worsening of life for people in Gaza is a deliberate goal of the Israeli military.

Israel is waging war on civilians in Gaza. Ordinary Palestinians, television stations, schools, hospitals, power plants and water facilities are all targets in the eyes of the Israeli army, one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

On Monday night, in what is being described as the most intense Israeli bombardment since the assault began three weeks ago, the air force bombed Gaza's sole power plant, and killed over 100 people.

It is a violation of international law to destroy civilian infrastructure and lives if there is no concrete military advantage in doing so. "Israel is repeatedly and flagrantly violating the law of armed conflict," a group of international legal scholars said in a statement released this week. "Most of the recent heavy bombings in Gaza lack an acceptable military justification and, instead, appear to be designed to terrorize the civilian population."

But Israel, shielded from accountability by the U.S., continues to violate the laws of war. In fact, it is following a specific military doctrine developed by Israeli military officials that calls for punishing the civilian population in the territory where resistance to Israeli actions emanates from. Its purpose is to restore Israeli deterrence; to make Israel's armed enemies think twice before resisting, a goal Israel attempts to meet by wantonly destroying civilian infrastructure. Another goal is to turn the civilian population against the authorities that rule them. In this war, it's Hamas Israel wants to weaken.

Comment: But really, it's not collective punishment of the civilian population. The psychopathic principle Israel goes by is that anyone breathing in Gaza is a terrorist.

The Dahiyeh doctrine, as it is known, was first used in 2006. In the summer of that year, Israel went to war in Lebanon to battle the militant group Hezbollah, which was created in the late 1980s for the express purpose of resisting Israel's occupation of Lebanon. Sparked by an attack on Israeli soldiers and the subsequent capturing of two soldiers to press for the release of Hezbollah prisoners in Israel, the 2006 assault on Lebanon inflicted enormous damage on the country. Over 1,000 Lebanese, the majority of them civilians, were killed.
Light Sabers

Top Russian diplomat expects no new 'reset' in relations with US

© .RIA Novosti / Eduard Pesov
The first full-scale meeting of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart Hillary Clinton took part in Geneva's Intercontinental. Mrs Clinton presented Mr Lavrov with a souvenir button with the word "Reset"
Russia's deputy foreign minister says relations with the US will not improve in the near future, as Washington's sanctions policy has already gone too far.

"Of course, there will be no new 'reset' like the one that happened a few years ago, and that yielded some positive results, I am still sure that this period was marked with a number of positive changes in Russian-US relations. But now I cannot foresee or expect anything like this," Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview with the Russian media.

"It is unlikely, because Washington has gone too far in its anti-Russian rhetoric and the constant urge to punish us for something, now it will be difficult to 'rewind' the situation," he noted.

The Russian diplomat said it was very regretful the US foreign policy doctrine does not extend beyond the use of sanctions and quasi-sanctions in reply for all events that do not satisfy their current desires.

Ryabkov also said that Russian authorities were facing a major setback in cooperation with the United States and this setback was because of the US initiative

Kiev's bloody eastern Ukraine campaign update

krainian forces
© AFP Photo / Genya Savilov
A convoy of military vehicles of the Ukrainian forces drives towards the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk, in the region of Lugansk, on July 25, 2014.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called a ceasefire within a 40km radius of where Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed. Russia has urged all parties in eastern Ukraine to lay down their arms while inspectors investigate what caused the tragedy.

Thursday, July 31 19:38 GMT:

Russia's General Staff chief, Gen. Valery Gerasimov has called "unacceptable" the use by the Kiev military of combat air force, heavy - including rocket - artillery and missiles against civilians. The comment was made during a phone conversation with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Star of David

Double standard: Israel uses Palestinians as human shields but US lawmakers condemn Hamas

© (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

A market in the Shujaiya district of Gaza City was attacked by Israel yesterday; at least 17 people were killed.
Both houses of the US Congress are considering passing a resolution that condemns Hamas for using human shields despite not having any evidence to prove Hamas is employing this tactic.

Over the last 22 days, the Israeli army has deliberately bombed family homes, UN shelters, schools, places of worship, hospitals, water infrastructure and more, killing more than 1,300 Palestinians, 80 percent of whom have been civilians, including nearly 300 children.

In propaganda echoed by the US State Department, the Israeli government has repeatedly claimed that Hamas is using women and children as human shields to protect its weapons and rocket launchers, forcing Israel to massacre innocent Palestinians.
Top Secret

Germany and Russia working on secret deal to end Ukraine crisis

© Getty Images
Putin shakes hands with Angela Merkel during a meeting last month
Germany and Russia have been working on a secret plan to broker a peaceful solution to end international tensions over the Ukraine.

The Independent can reveal that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies.

More controversially, if Ms Merkel's deal were to be acceptable to the Russians, the international community would need to recognise Crimea's independence and its annexation by Russia, a move that some members of the United Nations might find difficult to stomach.

Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.

Russia rightly fears that the U.S.-backed Kiev junta will destroy MH17 evidence

Ukrainian rescue servicemen inspect a part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, July 20, 2014.
Kiev authorities may be seeking to "destroy evidence" which implicates their role in the crash of the Malaysian jet, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said, expressing concerns over the ongoing military operation in E. Ukraine in breach of UN resolution.

According to Churkin, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko promised a cease-fire in the disaster area,"but this promise was immediately broken, while Ukrainian officials have publicly announced a new task - to cleanse of the militias and take control of this territory," Churkin said in New York.

Such actions directly violate UN Security Council resolution 2166, which calls for a ceasefire and for thorough and impartial investigation into the Boeing tragedy under the ICAO umbrella, Churkin added.

"We fear that Kiev authorities are moved by the intention to destroy evidence, implicating their role in the Malaysian airliner catastrophe," Churkin said.

Post-9/11 torture report "accidentally" leaked by White House

Witness Against Torture
© Reuters / Larry Downing
When the CIA first began using its controversial interrogation and detention methods after the September 11th attacks, it reportedly declined to tell the Secretary of State and other American ambassadors about its actions.

The revelation comes from the Senate's still-unreleased report scrutinizing the United States' post-9/11 interrogation techniques, and first came to the public's attention Wednesday when the White House unintentionally emailed a document detailing the findings to an Associated Press reporter.

The report - parts of which could be declassified by the White House in the coming days - also apparently found that some of the ambassadors who were briefed on the CIA's activity were told not to notify their superiors in the State Department. One congressional official confirmed to the AP that these findings are documented in the Senate's report, while a former CIA official said then-Secretary of State Colin Powell may not have known about the agency's techniques when they first started using them.

The White House document noted that the CIA employed slapping, humiliation, sleep-deprivation, exposure to cold temperatures, and waterboarding in its attempts to interrogate suspects. The document does not go as far as saying the methods are legally considered torture, but it does reportedly say the Senate report categorizes the techniques as "torture by a common definition."

Comment: It's obvious this document was intentionally leaked by the White House to the press. As Roosevelt said:
"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way."
The White House is most likely managing the fallout of the report by leaking them to gauge reaction.

Eye 1

CIA admits to searching Senate computers

© Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES
CIA director John O. Brennan.
CIA Director John O. Brennan has apologized to leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee after an agency investigation determined that its employees improperly searched computers used by committee staff to review classified files on interrogations of prisoners.

The embarrassing admission by the agency follows a dispute that erupted earlier this year when the CIA and the committee traded accusations of snooping on one another, allegations that led to an extraordinary public feud between Brennan and senior lawmakers.

The conflict centered on computers that the CIA set up at a secret office in Northern Virginia to enable committee aides to examine records of the agency's use of harsh interrogation measures on al-Qaeda suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Pepe Escobar: Crime (Israel) and punishment (Russia)

Crime and punishment in Israel and Ukraine
© Unknown
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining it ...

A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic - George Orwell, 1984
So Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi - let's call them the Fab Five - get on a video conference call to muster their courage and "increase pressure" asking for a cease-fire in Gaza. Later in the day, Israel's Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu delivers his answer, in plain language: he remains dead set on achieving his version of a Final Solution to Gaza. [1] With or without "pressure".

So what's left for the Fab Five after having their illustrious Western collective behinds solemnly kicked? They decide to dump Gaza and instead sanction Russia - again! How brilliant is that as an exit strategy?