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Thu, 24 May 2018
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Timeline of the worst massacre in the Bosnian war: Siege of Srebrenica

In the summer of 1995, two years after being designated a United Nations Safe Area, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica became the scene of the worst massacre in the Bosnian war.

This is an account of the critical days leading up to the killings.


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© Microsoft
6 – 10 July 1995: The Bosnian Serb Army attacks Srebrenica – within a UN safe area previously held by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Civilians taking refuge there are under the protection of Dutch forces.
6 - 8 July 1995: Bosnian Serb forces had laid siege to the Srebrenica enclave, where tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge from earlier Serb offensives in north-eastern Bosnia.

They were under the protection of about 600 lightly armed Dutch infantry forces. Fuel was running out and no fresh food had been brought into the enclave since May.

Serb forces began shelling Srebrenica. Bosnian Muslim fighters in the town asked for the return of weapons they had surrendered to the peacekeepers but their request was refused.

The Dutch commander called UN Headquarters in Sarajevo asking for "close air support" after shells and rockets landed close to refugee centres and observation posts manned by peacekeepers.


Comment: The above article is largely NATO propaganda along the lines of "history is written by the victors (or aggressors)". For a more accurate account of what has come to be called the "Bosnian war" see the articles at this link.


Bad Guys

Palestinians may turn directly to General Assembly to better chances for UN recognition

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© The Associated Press
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah in May, 2011.
Palestinian sources and European diplomats say Palestinians will seek recognition by the General Assembly instead of Security Council in order to avoid a U.S. veto.

Wishing to avoid an American veto at the Security Council, the Palestinian Authority is considering turning directly to the United Nations General Assembly in September in order to gain international recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Palestinian sources and European diplomats say that the Palestinians will give up their effort to be accepted as a full member of the UN - a move that would require approval by the Security Council - and will seek instead recognition by the General Assembly of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, which will not be a full member of the organization.

Che Guevara

Gaza-bound ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists sets sail from Greece

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© Amira Hass
Fuelling the Dignite-Al Karama ship at Kastellorizo port, Greece, on July 15, 2011.
Ten activists head to Gaza aboard the French Dignite-Al Karama ship, regarding themselves as representatives of the entire abortive flotilla.

Somewhere in the East Mediterranean - On Saturday evening a Gaza-bound boat left Greek territorial waters. Its 10 participants regard themselves as representatives of the entire abortive flotilla to Gaza, and are determined to exhaust all possibilities in order to reach their destination, or at least carry out the symbolic act of protesting the blockade. They are well aware of the Lilliputian dimensions of their venture, compared with the massive impact organizers had initially planned to have with the 10-odd vessel flotilla.

Dignite-Al Karama, one of two yachts purchased by the French delegation in the second Freedom Flotilla, left a port in Corsica on June 25. Thus, it was spared the fate of eight other boats which were supposed to sail out of Greek ports, but were impounded by Greek authorities.

Question

Pakistan: Call to end 'mysterious disappearances'

The Defence of Human Rights and Public Service Trust has protested the mysterious disappearance of thousands of innocent Pakistanis and appealed to the prime minister to take steps to stop the illegal kidnappings of innocent Pakistani citizens in the name of the so-called 'war on terror'.

Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club here on Friday, Defence of Human Rights and Public Trust Service chairperson Amina Masood Janjua and other office bearers said the Defense of Human Rights had been raising voice against forced kidnappings since 2005 and it had brought 400 such people back to their homes.

Bad Guys

Festering disputes: Address injustices, Pakistan tells UN

United Nations, UN
© Agence France-Presse
Responsibility to protect cannot be delegated: delegate.
Pakistan has told the UN General Assembly that the doctrine of responsibility to protect the international understanding to intervene and stop atrocities from taking place would remain a 'hollow concept' without addressing the historical injustices such as festering disputes and foreign occupation.

"The use of regional mechanisms or early warning systems and need for prompt response are equally important for new and old disputes/situations," Pakistani delegate Raza Bashir Tarar said in the course of the General Assembly's interactive dialogue on the responsibility to protect.

"Addressing all situations in an impartial manner is the key to achieving consensus on this concept," Tarar added.

Agreed at a summit of world leaders in 2005 and sometimes known as "R2P", the concept holds states responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.

Intervening in the debate, the Pakistani delegate made it clear that responsibility to protect remains the primary responsibility of the state and cannot be arrogated by or delegated to other actors in defiance of the established UN charter principles of non-intervention, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Info

UK Anti-Corruption Drive has US Companies Sweating

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© unknown
U.S. companies, already sweating under heightened enforcement of anti-corruption laws at home, are nervously reviewing their policies on how they wine and dine business contacts abroad in the wake of tough new regulations imposed in Britain.

The new law, which took effect July 1, bans all so-called facilitating payments and does not expressly allow entertainment of government officials and others.

The jury is still out on how rigorously British authorities will choose to enforce the law. Companies in the defense, pharmaceuticals, energy and telecommunications sectors are seen as particularly vulnerable.

At the same time, U.S. companies are grappling with tighter rules at home too. New whistleblower rules approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have also spurred companies to scrutinize their existing compliance programs, according to legal experts in the United States and Washington.

"We have definitely seen an uptick in our business in the anti-corruption and anti-bribery area," said Ed Rubinoff, a Washington-based expert on export controls and foreign corruption with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld.

Bug

US: Obesity Charity Allegedly Secretly Takes Money to Promote Artificial Sweeteners

The National Obesity Forum is a charity dedicated, it claims, to raising awareness about the hazards of obesity and produce guidelines regarding its management. When one hears the name 'National Obesity Forum' and learns it was started by health professionals, it's natural to imagine that this organisation is an independent body with genuine concerns about health at heart. While the top brass in the National Obesity Forum (NOF) may indeed be well meaning, the organisation is most certainly not independent. Below are screenshots of the NOF's partners, as well as those who have funded its website and conferences:
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Comment: Obesity is not the only evil that can be attributed to aspartame consumption:

Aspartame: Toxicology

Aspartame consumption strongly associated with migraines and seizures

Aspartame Can Mess Up Your Body and Brain


Vader

Who is Rupert Murdoch?

Heretic Productions present: The writings of Gordon Duff of Veteran's Today

Dollar

The New "Let them eat cake!"

10 shocking, illuminating moments that prove just how out of touch the powerful really are

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© Salon/iStockphoto/TennesseePhotographer
In the midst of this prole-crushing economic emergency engineered by wealthy speculators and their political puppets, we now find ourselves watching those same modern-day Marie Antoinettes at once celebrating their station and begging for sympathy as if they were the real casualties of the decade-long economic slowdown they created.

There was, for instance, Lebron James' parade of free-agent narcissism in the shadow of an economically destroyed Cleveland -- and then there was one of the architects of that economic apocalypse, Cavaliers owner and Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert, pretending that the move of a single basketball player to Miami was the root of Cleveland's problems, and not the subprime bomb Gilbert himself had dropped on the city.

There was historian Doris Kearns Goodwin suggesting those politicians who followed Wall Street and voted for the bank bailouts exemplified the same heroism as those who fought for the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s.

And, more recently, there was that searing image of President Obama convening a $35,800-a-plate Upper East Side dinner with "a committee of bankers, private equity executives and hedge fund managers" as the economy burns.

But appalling as those examples are, they pale in comparison to the recession's 10 most egregious sets of "Let Them Eat Cake" moments, comments and actions. These are the ones that truly deserve a place in the history books.

Alarm Clock

Why QE2 Failed: The Money All Went Offshore

bankers money bags
© Unknown
On June 30, QE2 ended with a whimper. The Fed's second round of "quantitative easing" involved $600 billion created with a computer keystroke for the purchase of long-term government bonds. But the government never actually got the money, which went straight into the reserve accounts of banks, where it still sits today. Worse, it went into the reserve accounts of FOREIGN banks, on which the Federal Reserve is now paying 0.25% interest.

Before QE2 there was QE1, in which the Fed bought $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities from the banks. This money too remains in bank reserve accounts collecting interest and dust. The Fed reports that the accumulated excess reserves of depository institutions now total nearly $1.6 trillion.

Interestingly, $1.6 trillion is also the size of the federal deficit - a deficit so large that some members of Congress are threatening to force a default on the national debt if it isn't corrected soon.

So here we have the anomalous situation of a $1.6 trillion hole in the federal budget, and $1.6 trillion created by the Fed that is now sitting idle in bank reserve accounts. If the intent of "quantitative easing" was to stimulate the economy, it might have worked better if the money earmarked for the purchase of Treasuries had been delivered directly to the Treasury. That was actually how it was done before 1935, when the law was changed to require private bond dealers to be cut into the deal.

The one thing QE2 did for the taxpayers was to reduce the interest tab on the federal debt. The long-term bonds the Fed bought on the open market are now effectively interest-free to the government, since the Fed rebates its profits to the Treasury after deducting its costs.

But QE2 has not helped the anemic local credit market, on which smaller businesses rely; and it is these businesses that are largely responsible for creating new jobs. In a June 30 article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Smaller Businesses Seeking Loans Still Come Up Empty," Emily Maltby reported that business owners rank access to capital as the most important issue facing them today; and only 17% of smaller businesses said they were able to land needed bank financing.