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Sun, 28 Nov 2021
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Syria to Allow Visit of U.S. Military Leaders

Insurgency in Iraq Is Topic at Hand

After fits and starts, Syria and the United States have taken steps in recent days that could lay the groundwork for a greatly improved relationship, officials from both countries said yesterday.

Syria has agreed to let a delegation of U.S. military commanders visit Damascus in the coming weeks, when they will discuss joint efforts to stem the insurgency in Iraq. The Obama administration's Middle East peace envoy, George J. Mitchell, is also planning a trip to Damascus this month. Mitchell, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Syria in four years, will probe whether it is ready to engage in serious peace talks with Israel.

The visits were sealed in a phone call Sunday between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, though Syria has not yet confirmed a date for the military visit. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said yesterday, "They agreed to have ongoing conversations about a full range of issues."

U.S. officials said the administration was not committing to drafting a formal plan for improving relations, but the two visits could form the building blocks of a new relationship. Although officials from U.S. Central Command have met their Syrian counterparts at regional security meetings on Iraq, military officials have been unable for years to have a thorough, joint discussion on the situation in Iraq.

Padlock

China Blocks Twitter, Flickr, Others as Tiananmen Anniversary Looms

Beijing turned up the volume on the "Great Firewall of China" Tuesday, blocking nearly a dozen Western Web sites and search engines.

Thursday is the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and as a foretaste, Chinese users were denied access to Blogger, Flickr, Twitter, Livejournal, Tumblr, the Huffington Post and Microsoft's Live.com, Hotmail, its MSN Space blog tool and its new search engine Bing, according to various reports.

"Looks like Twitter has been GFWed in China," tweeted Mimi Xu, or @MissXu, a Hong Kong-based tech entrepreneur who noticed she wasn't getting responses from mainland friends, using the common Twitter acronym for "Great Firewall of China."

People

China: Tiananmen victims in public plea for justice

Five men who were jailed for supporting the 1989 democracy movement have called on the Chinese government for economic redress, saying they are struggling to survive because of their punishment.

The bold move comes days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on the protests, which left hundreds dead in Beijing. The movement began with student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square and spread rapidly across the country.

Harassment of dissidents has increased in the run-up to Thursday's anniversary, with Ai Weiwei, one of the best-known critics of the government, telling the Observer that authorities have shut his blog and placed him under surveillance.

Bad Guys

The Bogus Torture Coverup

soldier/prisoner walking
© Jim MacMillan / AP Photo
The Pentagon is denying the facts: Photographs of Abu Ghraib torture are even more sexually explicit than first reported, including rape and sodomy, writes The Daily Beast's Scott Horton, who has obtained specific and detailed corroboration of the photos.

The Daily Beast has confirmed that the photographs of abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which President Obama, in a reversal, decided not to release, depict sexually explicit acts, including a uniformed soldier receiving oral sex from a female prisoner, a government contractor engaged in an act of sodomy with a male prisoner and scenes of forced masturbation, forced exhibition, and penetration involving phosphorous sticks and brooms.

These descriptions come on the heels of a British report yesterday about the photographs that contained some of these revelations - and whose credibility was questioned by the Pentagon as well as the British newspaper's source, who claims he was misquoted.

USA

Pakistani-based US branch of Terrorism Inc. "Jundullah" claim responsibility for Iran blast

Image
© Agence France-Presse
A Thursday blast in the southeastern city of Zahedan, Iran, left more than 20 dead and injured 125 others. What "Muslim" would do such a thing?
The Jundullah terror group has claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that killed at least 25 people in southeastern of Iran.

The group's spokesman Abdolrauf Rigi contacted the Pakistan-based office of the al-Arabiya television network to report a bombing in a mosque in the Sistan-Balouchestan province. The group reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

A bomb blast rocked a mosque in the city of Zahedan on Thursday night as mourners participated in a ceremony marking the death of the daughter of the prophet of Islam.

The bloody attack injured 125 others. A second explosive was also defused at the mosque within minutes of the explosion.

X

Finnish-Israeli arms trade flaunts EU regulations

Gaza
© Matthew Cassel
Finland's arms cooperation with Israel violates EU regulations
Contrary to the heavily-hyped image according to which the policy output of Finland is even-handed and neutral in the Israel/Palestine conflict, Finland is actually a major arms trading partner with Israel. Recent reports by the Committee of 100 in Finland, Amnesty International, as well as an article in Finland's biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, all revealed Finland's deeply troubling attitude towards the actions of the State of Israel.

Since 2002 the value of trade between Finland and Israel in anti-tank guided missiles has been more than 4 million euros. After numerous queries Finland's Ministry of Defense admitted that Finnish corporation Insta DefSec Inc. had subcontracted this material to Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, a major Israeli weapons manufacturer with ties to Israel's nuclear programs. Insta has exported more than 200 thermographic cameras and 3,000 parts for the missile's seeker head, both crucial components of the Spike anti-tank missile (Jarmo Pykälä, "Panssarintorjuntaohjusten osia ydinaseyhtiölle," Kansan uutiset, 9 April 2009).

Propaganda

Mossad Propaganda: Venezuela, Bolivia Supplying Iran With Uranium For Its Nuclear Program

Jerusalem - Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program, according to a secret Israeli government report obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The two South American countries are known to have close ties with Iran, but this is the first allegation that they are involved in the development of Iran's nuclear program, considered a strategic threat by Israel.

"There are reports that Venezuela supplies Iran with uranium for its nuclear program," the Foreign Ministry document states, referring to previous Israeli intelligence conclusions. It added, "Bolivia also supplies uranium to Iran."

Bad Guys

ElBaradei says Iran know-how cannot be bombed

As Israel steps up a campaign to muster support for waging war on Iran, the UN nuclear watchdog chief says the knowledge of Iranian nuclear scientists cannot be bombed.

In an interview with Newsweek, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, addressed Israeli threats of a potential unilateral strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

When asked how keeping a military option on Iran's nuclear issue would affect matters, ElBaradei said, "there is no military solution. There is only a diplomatic solution [to Iran's nuclear dispute]."

MIB

How MI5 blackmails British Muslims: 'Work for us or we will say you are a terrorist'

Image
© Teri Pengilley
Mohamed Aden, 25, who was approached by a fake postman
Five Muslim community workers have accused MI5 of waging a campaign of blackmail and harassment in an attempt to recruit them as informants.

The men claim they were given a choice of working for the Security Service or face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas.

They have made official complaints to the police, to the body which oversees the work of the Security Service and to their local MP Frank Dobson. Now they have decided to speak publicly about their experiences in the hope that publicity will stop similar tactics being used in the future.

Vader

Watching Obama Morph Into Dick Cheney

Obama's Trail of Broken Promises

America has lost her soul, and so has her president.

A despairing country elected a president who promised change. Americans arrived from every state to witness in bitter cold Obama's swearing in ceremony. The mall was packed in a way that it has never been for any other president.

The people's good will toward Obama and the expectations they had for him were sufficient for Obama to end the gratuitous wars and enact major reforms. But Obama has deserted the people for the interests. He is relying on his non-threatening demeanor and rhetoric to convince the people that change is underway.

The change that we are witnessing is in Obama, not in policies. Obama is morphing into Dick Cheney.