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Blackbox

'US-downed' Russian jet's Flight Data Recorder found

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Indonesian officials display the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) from the crashed Russian passenger plane Sukhoi Superjet 100, during a press conference at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on May 31, 2012.
Indonesian villagers have found the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) from a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane that Moscow claims was downed in southwestern Indonesia earlier in May by US "industrial sabotage," killing all 45 people on board.

The Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency chief, Vice Marshal Daryatmo said on Thursday that the FDR, which logged data such as the jet's altitude, speed, and route, was found in good condition by nine villagers in a deep ravine near the crash site on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

The black box of the jet was found on May 15, six days after it slammed into the side of Mount Salak -- a dormant volcano in West Java.

Tatang Kurniadi, the head of Indonesia's National Commission on Safety Transportation, said that Indonesian and Russian investigators are analyzing both the black box and the FDR to establish the cause of the incident.

War Whore

10 Israeli warplanes violate Lebanese airspace

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Israeli warplanes (file photo)
Ten Israeli warplanes have violated Lebanon's airspace and flown over the country in flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, Press TV reports.

According to a statement issued by the Lebanese army on Friday, 10 Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace at different stages, beginning at 9:38 a.m. local time, a Press TV correspondent in Beirut reported.

The statement said that the Israeli aircraft entered Lebanon above the southern border and flew over several Lebanese territories before leaving at 11:20 a.m. local time.

Israel violates Lebanon's airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes.

Dollar

US sanctions on Iran banking sector breach international laws: Russian official

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© Press TV
Chairman of Russian Vneshtorgbank (VTB) Andreil Kostin
The chairman of a leading Russian bank has lashed out at the United States for imposing sanction on Iran, stressing that the US sanctions against the Iranian banking sector violate international laws.

The US financial and economic sanctions against Iran violate the charter of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which demands free trade between all member states, Chairman of Russian Vneshtorgbank (VTB) Andreil Kostin said in an interview with the Russian TV channel RBK on Friday.

On December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions against Tehran, seeking to penalize countries importing Iran's oil or doing transaction with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

During their meeting in Brussels on January 23, the EU foreign ministers also followed suit, reaching an agreement to ban oil imports from Iran, freeze the CBI assets within the bloc and ban the sales of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to the Islamic Republic.

Bizarro Earth

Israel's War Against Truth: A Danger to Democracy

Uri Blau
© Yossi Zeliger/Flash90
Uri Blau
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's decision to charge Haaretz reporter Uri Blau with "serious espionage" for being in possession of classified Israel Defense Forces documents poses a palpable threat to the free press in Israel, particularly to the ability to criticize government actions and expose them to the public.

As we wrote here a year ago, "trying a journalist for fulfilling his professional mission would constitute a stain on Israeli democracy and do critical harm to freedom of expression."

Issues of war and peace, foreign relations and military operations are at the heart of Israeli public life and take a central place in the country's political and media discourse. For that discourse to take place, there must be reliable media reports from the inner sanctums of senior diplomatic and military officials.

Such media reporting must of necessity rely on "possessing secret reports," in the words of the Penal Code. There's no way to cover the Prime Minister's Office, the defense and foreign ministries, the IDF and the intelligence community without obtaining documents and information that is classified at some level. The Israeli media already operates under military censorship, which doesn't exist in other democracies.

Star of David

Israeli Journalist Faces Trial Over Leaked Army Documents

Uri Blau
© Haaretz
Uri Blau
Israel's attorney general has announced his intention to put investigative reporter Uri Blau on trial for receiving hundreds of classified Israeli Defences Forces documents from a former soldier now in jail.

Israel's justice ministry said in a statement Wednesday that charges would soon be filed against Blau, a journalist for Haaretz newspaper, "for the offence of possession of secret information by an unauthorized person," according to the Agence France Presse.

Blau drew upon some of the documents whilst researching a 2008 article in which he claimed that Israeli soldiers had been commanded to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian militants, violating an order by the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem, according to The Guardian.

Stormtrooper

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales Faces Fewer Murder Charges in Afghan Shooting Rampage; Steroid Charge Added

Robert Bales
© unknown
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales during an exercise at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California
US, Seattle - The Army dropped a murder charge, but added others, including steroid use, against a soldier accused in a deadly shooting rampage in Afghanistan, his lawyer said Friday.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is now accused of gunning down 16 civilians - instead of 17 - in a pre-dawn raid on two Afghan villages in March.

Bales attorney Emma Scanlan said she received the new charges Friday and that there was nothing surprising in them. There had been talk for some time that the number of victims in the massacre had been over-counted.

"We're looking forward to putting on a defense and seeing what they can prove," Scanlan said. Scanlan also said the Army dropped off 5,000 pages of discovery materials at her office on Friday.

Comment: For more information on the Afghanistan massacre read the Sott Focus: US Soldiers Look Deep Inside Their Souls - Find Vacuum - Decide To Kill Afghan Villagers by Joe Quinn.

Also read:
Child witnesses to Afghan massacre say Robert Bales was not alone
Robert Bales: Mass Murderer and PTSD Poster Boy
Survivors Recall Horror of Night Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales Allegedly Shot up Afghan Village


Bad Guys

When you hear about massacres, reach for your truth detector

Syria Kofi Annan (L) during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
© Unknown
Joint UN-Arab envoy to Syria Kofi Annan (L) during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the presidential palace in Damascus, May 29, 2012
Throughout history, massacres have been invented, exploited and used to inflame public opinion and discredit one side or the other. This is not to say that war crimes do not occur, and nor should they be excused, but getting the facts right is essential.

Beware the way atrocities are used in the propaganda media war that always operates alongside military conflicts."

When is a massacre a massacre, and how can we find truth in the fog of intense war propaganda?

That's a question that is being raised anew in the aftermath of the dreadful Hula massacre. The sight of dead children and torn bodies on the ground in Syria offers up sickening images that have already led to new calls for international military intervention, expulsions of Syrian diplomats, UN condemnations and self righteous finger pointing at the government in Damascus that denies responsibility with claims that most of the western media has rejected.

Ladybug

Was Flame super virus NSA Invention ?: Cyber weapon threatening to cripple nations

NSA
© Getty Images
Under suspicion: Cyber experts say the Flame super-virus is so complex it could only have been made in the U.S. and point the finger at the highly secretive National Security Agency (above)
The Flame computer virus which is threatening to bring countries to a standstill is too sophisticated to have been created anywhere other than the U.S., it was claimed today.

As the United Nations prepares to issue its 'most serious warning' to guard against the superbug, cyber experts said it carried all the markings of a U.S. espionage operation.

Specifically, they have pointed the finger at the highly secretive National Security Agency.

UN computer security chief Marco Obiso moved to highlight the gravity of the situation after it emerged the bug had been used to hack into computers in Iran.

The sophisticated spyware - said to be about 100 times the size of most malicious software - also hacked other machines in the Middle East, including Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt.

Mr Obiso said the warning will underline the danger the virus represents to the critical infrastructure of member nations.

The conclusion by Moscow-based internet security firm Kaspersky Lab ZAO that it was crafted at the behest of a national government fuelled claims that Flame was part of an Israeli-backed campaign of electronic sabotage aimed at archrival Iran.

While Israel has done little to dispute the claims, some believe they do not have the capacity to launch such an attack.

'It was (the) U.S,' one anonymous official told NBC News, although they conceded that they had no first-hand knowledge about how the virus operates or how it was fed into Iranian computers.

Another observer, computer security expert Roger Cressey, said the target would likely be Iran's nuclear program and its decision-making apparatus if indeed the virus was the work of the U.S.

'Whoever has developed this is engaged in very sophisticated intelligence-gathering on computer networks throughout the region.

USA

"Might Makes Right" Says Conspirator of Syrian-Iranian Conquest

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"Both the Syrian and Lebanese regimes will be changed- whether they like it or not- whether it's going to be a military coup or something else... and we are working on it. We know already exactly who's going to be the replacements. We're working on it with the Bush administration."

"These guys who came to power, who rule by power, can only be removed by power. This is Machiavelli's power game. That's how it is. This is how geopolitics - the war games, power games - work. I know inside out how it works, because I come from a family of politicians for the last 60 years. Look, I have access to the top classified information from the CIA from all over the world. They call me, I advise them. I know exactly what's going on. And this will happen."

"This Bashar Al Assad-Emil Lahoud regime is going to go whether it's true or not. When we went to Iraq whether there were weapons of mass destruction or not, the key is - we won. And Saddam is out! Whatever we want, will happen. Iran? We will not let Iran become a nuclear power. We'll find a way, we'll find an excuse- to get rid of Iran. And I don't care what the excuse is. There is no room for rogue states in the world. Whether we lie about it, or invent something, or we don't... I don't care. The end justifies the means. What's right? Might is right, might is right. That's it. Might is right."

"So Saddam wanted to prove to the whole world he was strong? Well, we're stronger- he's out! He's finished. And Iran's going to be finished and every single Arab regime that's like this will be finished. Because there is no room for us capitalists and multinationalists in the world to operate with regimes like this. Its all about money. And power. And wealth... and democracy has to be spread around the world. Those who want to espouse globalization are going to make a lot of money, be happy, their families will be happy. And those who aren't going to play this game are going to be crushed, whether they like it or not!"

- Ziad Abdel Nour, 2005 excerpts from "Faking the Case Against Syria" by Trish Schuh

USA

Rebels behind Houla massacre, US plan to destabilize Syria in full swing

The Syrian government says the massacre of more than a hundred people in the Syrian town of Houla was the work of armed terrorist gangs. This, as the U.S. Secretary of State admits military planning for action in Syria is already going ahead, but Moscow has vowed to block any moves for outside interference at the UN.

Activist Sara Flounders talks to RT. She says Washington was never interested in a diplomatic solution in Syria.