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Sat, 25 Mar 2023
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Israeli forces shot youth in the back as he ran away, say Palestinians

© Photograph: Issam Rimawi/Zuma Press/Corbis
Relatives of Samir Awad mourn his death at a hospital in Ramallah, to where his body was taken after the shooting.
Samir Awad, 17, shot dead at separation barrier near Budrus where IDF says group of youths were trying to enter Israel.

A teenage boy was killed by Israeli soldiers on the separation barrier close to the West Bank village of Budrus yesterday, shot from behind as he was running away, according to Palestinian accounts.

Samir Awad, 17, was among a group of boys who had just completed an exam on the last day of school before a midterm break when they approached the barrier, reports said. The Israeli Defence Forces said the youths were "attempting to infiltrate into Israel", and its soldiers "responded immediately". It confirmed live fire was used.

According to villagers, Samir was grabbed by soldiers who were concealed in a trench. He broke free and was running away when a soldier or soldiers opened fire. He was hit by three or four bullets, in his head, torso and leg.

Ayed Morrar, a member of the village popular resistance committee, said: "They shot him in cold blood, they shot him in the back. He wasn't threatening them." He said there had been no stone-throwing at the time of the shooting.


François Hollande pledges to fight until Islamist rebels in Mali are wiped out

© Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers in armoured vehicles leaving Bamoko as African defence chiefs met there to speed up the UN-backed African action against hardline Islamists in northern Mali.
Air raids continue 'day and night' in battle with insurgents, but French president dismisses suggestion of colonialism.

France will only end its intervention in Mali when political stability and an election process have been restored to the chaotic west African country and Islamist groups have been wiped out, the French president said on Tuesday, raising the prospect of a drawn-out engagement on hostile desert terrain.

The French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said a "relentless" fight with Islamists was continuing on Tuesday night and France would stay "as long as necessary".

Mali is in political disarray after a coup last year and the fall of the vast northern desert to Islamist groups who operate a drug trafficking and kidnap economy in several Sahel countries.

French air raids continued "day and night" in the vast area seized by the Islamist alliance, which combines al-Qaida's north African wing, AQIM, with Mali's home-grown Movement for Oneness and Jihad in west Africa (Mojwa) and Ansar Dine rebel groups.

Snakes in Suits

Obama to demand gun control measures while surrounded by children

With recommendations from Biden in hand, president expected to opt for legislative options rather than executive action

Barack Obama is to step up pressure on Congress to act on gun violence by surrounding himself with schoolchildren from across the country when he unveils proposals on Wednesday aimed at preventing a repeat of the Newtown massacre.

While Obama can take implement some measures almost immediately through executive action, these are limited in scope. The wide-ranging proposals he is looking for require legislation but he faces opposition from Congress, particularly among Republicans, backed by the National Rifle Association.

By bringing schoolchildren to the White House press conference, Obama can tap into some of the emotion aroused by the Connecticut massacre in December that left 20 children and seven adults dead.

At a White House press conference Tuesday, the president's spokesman Jay Carney said: "I can tell you that tomorrow the president and vice-president will hold an event here at the White House to unveil a package of concrete proposals to reduce gun violence and prevent future tragedies like the one in Newtown, Connecticut.

Snakes in Suits

U.S. gives Afghanistan fleet of drones

© AFP Photo / Patrick Baz
A US army soldier with the 101st Airborne Division Alpha Battery 1-320th tries to launch a drone outside Combat Outpost Nolen in the village of Jellawar in The Arghandab Valley
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his recent meeting with US President Obama gave him nearly everything his country hoped for - including a fleet of aerial surveillance drones that Afghan officials have long been requesting.

Karzai held a news conference on Monday in which he proudly announced the promised fleet of drones, as well as an upgraded fleet of aircraft including 20 helicopters and at least four C-130 transport planes. The Afghan president noted that the surveillance drones would be unarmed, but will nevertheless help spy on enemy combatants and watch over coalition forces. Western forces will train Afghans to fly, use and maintain them before giving complete control to the Karzai government.

The US will also provide Afghanistan with intelligence gathering equipment "which will be used to defend and protect our air and ground sovereignty," Karzai said. The US has also pledged to speed up the handover of detainees currently imprisoned and held by American forces. Karzai has previously called this a violation of promised Afghan sovereignty and the issue has built up tension between the two nations.

"We are happy and satisfied with the results of our meetings," the Afghan president told journalists at the presidential palace. "We achieved what we were looking for."


'Aaron was killed by the government' - Robert Swartz on his son's death

© Reuters / Noah Berger
Aaron Swartz
The father of information activist Aaron Swartz blames US prosecutors for his son's death, RT's Andrew Blake reports from an emotional Tuesday morning funeral outside of Chicago.

Aaron Swartz, 26, was found dead on Friday of a reported suicide. Swartz had been instrumental in designing software that aimed to make the Internet easy and open for everyone, and also co-founded both Reddit.com and Demand Progress - one of the most visited sites on the Web and an highly touted activism organization, respectively.

But while friends, family and loved ones recalled Swartz' compassion for technology and his utter selflessness during Tuesday's service, those in attendance did not shy away from acknowledging the tremendous legal trouble that plagued the activist in recent years.

In 2011, federal prosecutors charged Swartz with a series of counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, crimes that could have sent him away to prison for upwards of 35 years if convicted. Swartz, said the government, entered a building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and downloaded millions of academic and scholarly papers from the service JSTOR with presumably the intent of distributing them for free.

"Aaron did not commit suicide but was killed by the government," Robert Swartz said during Tuesday's service at the Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park, Illinois. "Someone who made the world a better place was pushed to his death by the government."

Bad Guys

Prosecutor pursuing Aaron Swartz linked to suicide of another hacker

© Reuters / Noah Berger
Aaron Swartz.
One of the prosecutors investigating Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide this weekend, has also been accused of driving another hacker to kill himself.

In 2008 Jonathan James killed himself after being implicated in the largest personal identity hack in history. The case was spearheaded by Massachusetts Assistant US Attorney Stephen Heymann, who was also integral to the investigation against Swartz, Buzzfeed reports.

Heymann reportedly pursued James with zeal, he was the first minor to be taken into custody for a federal cybercrime case.

In the criminal complaints filed with the US District Court in Massachusetts, James was believed to have been identified as "JJ."

Two weeks after the Secret Service raided his house in conjunction with the investigation led by Heymann into the theft of tens of thousands of credit card numbers, James was found dead.

In his suicide note, James wrote the decision to take his own life was a direct response to the federal investigation implicating him in a crime he says he did not commit.


Iraq Sunni MP killed by suicide bomber


Fallujah has been the scene of recent Sunni demonstrations against the Shia-led government
A Sunni member of parliament has been killed by a suicide bomber in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, officials have said.

The bomber pretended he was greeting MP Eifan Saadoun al-Issawi and then blew himself up. Two bodyguards also died.

The attack come just days after the Sunni Finance Minister, Rafie al-Issawi, survived an assassination attempt as he travelled to the city.

Anbar province has seen growing protests by the Sunni minority against the Shia-led central government.

Bad Guys

Documents show U.S. ordered agents to delay Senate intern's arrest

© AP Photo/Mel Evans, File
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. speaking in Sayreville, N.J.
U.S. immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to wait after officials warned of "significant interest" from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for a senator, according to internal agency documents provided to Congress.

The Homeland Security Department said last month, when The Associated Press first disclosed the delayed arrest of Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, that AP's report was "categorically false."

Sanchez, 18, was an immigrant from Peru who entered the country on a now-expired visitor visa. He eventually was arrested at his home in New Jersey on Dec. 6. He has since been released from an immigration jail and is facing deportation. Sanchez has declined to speak to the AP.

After the AP story, which cited an unnamed U.S. official involved in the case, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Obama administration for details about the incident.


France displays unhinged hypocrisy as bombs fall on Mali


'Change', doublespeak for 'more of the same'
NATO funding, arming, & simultaneously fighting Al Qaeda from Mali to Syria.

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France's military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME's article, "The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?" decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome "War on Terror" narrative.

TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop "Islamist" terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:
"...there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they've identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France - the representative of Western power in the region - as a prime target for attack."
What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO's 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya - providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya's government.


U.S. government claims - just like the Nazis - that the truth is too complicated and dangerous to disclose to the public

History Repeats ...

In the classic history of Nazi Germany, They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer writes:
"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.
Similarly, America has - little by little - gone from a nation of laws to a nation of powerful men making laws in secret. Indeed, even Congress doesn't know half of what others are doing.