Killing of Iran’s Quds Force chief Soleimani by US ‘MOST LIKELY violates international law’ – UN Rapporteur


03-01-20 01:59:00,

The UN’s top expert on extrajudicial executions said that Washington’s decision to assassinate the commander of the Iranian elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, cannot be justified under international law.

Major-General Soleimani and the second-in-command of the Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were killed (along with others) in a US airstrike at Baghdad’s airport on Friday morning.
The “targeted killings” of both men “most likely violate international law incl[uding] human rights law,” the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnes Callamard, wrote on social media shortly after the attack.

The targeted killings of Qasem Soleimani and Abu mahdi al muhandi most likely violate international law incl human rights law. Lawful justifications for such killings are very narrowly defined and it is hard to imagine how any of these can apply to these killings. #Iraq

— Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

Outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.

The human rights expert said that such an attack may have been justified to protect against “an imminent threat to life” or in self-defense, but this “test is unlikely to be met in these particular cases.”

Lawful justifications for such killings are very narrowly defined and it is hard to imagine how any of these can apply to these killings.

The Pentagon argued that the airstrikes were aimed at “deterring future Iranian attack plans.” Callamard, however, dismissed this reasoning as being “very vague” and, therefore, unable to qualify as rationale to carry out targeted killings under international law.

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In total, eight more people died along with Soleimani and al-Muhandis. The UN rapporteur stressed that such “collateral” damage is also unlawful.

The airstrikes received praise among US President Donald Trump’s allies in the Republican Party, but were called reckless and escalatory by his opponents in the Democratic Party.

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Torturing and Killing Julian Assange Slowly – Global Research


25-11-19 05:24:00,

In cahoots with the Trump regime, Britain is killing Assange slowly for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

Isolated in maximum security solitary confinement, denied vitally needed medical and dental treatment, and reportedly given 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ) are crime against humanity by “intentionally causing great suffering or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health” — according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Longterm isolation by behind bars is torture by any standard, a flagrant US Eight Amendment violation, prohibiting “cruel and unusual punishments.”

The UN Convention Against Torture defines the practice as any state action, “causing severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental…intentionally inflicted on a person” for information, punishment, intimidation, or intentional discrimination.

Prisoners isolated for extended periods experience panic attacks, lethargy, insomnia, nightmares, dizziness, social withdrawal, memory and appetite loss, delusions and hallucinations, profound despair and hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, and paranoia.

Longterm isolation is like being buried alive, at times causing irreversible trauma, prisoners becoming dysfunctional and zombie-like.

BZ is a powerful, mind-altering drug. According to the Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents, it’s “used as a hallucinogenic and incapacitating CWA (chemical weapon agent).”

Its toxic properties can harm or incapacitate anyone exposed to it even in small doses. BZ affects the central and peripheral nervous systems.

When exposed to the drug, symptoms include disorientation, agitation, tremor, ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements), stupor, coma, seizures, nausea and vomiting.

Fabricated US charges against Assange, his imprisonment, and horrific mistreatment are all about wanting truth-telling of government wrongdoing silenced.

It’s about warning independent journalists against exposing high crimes of state. It’s open warfare on digital democracy, the last frontier of free and open expression, the only reliable independent space for real news, information and analysis – enabling anyone to freely express or have access to views on any topics.

Following Assange’s indictment last May on multiple phony Espionage Act of 1917 violations, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) denounced it as a “clear and present danger to journalism, the freedom of the press, and freedom of speech.”

In Bartnicki et al v.

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“They’re Killing Us Like Dogs” – A Massacre in Bolivia and a Plea for Help – Global Research


24-11-19 03:20:00,

I am writing from Bolivia just days after witnessing the November 19 military massacre at the Senkata gas plant in the indigenous city of El Alto, and the tear-gassing of a peaceful funeral procession on November 21 to commemorate the dead. These are examples, unfortunately, of the modus operandi of the de facto government that seized control in a coup that forced Evo Morales out of power.

The coup has spawned massive protests, with blockades set up around the country as part of a national strike calling for the resignation of this new government. One well-organized blockade is in El Alto, where residents set up barriers surrounding the Senkata gas plant, stopping tankers from leaving the plant and cutting off La Paz’s main source of gasoline.

Determined to break the blockade, the government sent in helicopters, tanks and heavily armed soldiers in the evening of November 18. The next day, mayhem broke out when the soldiers began teargassing residents, then shooting into the crowd. I arrived just after the shooting. The furious residents took me to local clinics where the wounded were taken. I saw the doctors and nurses desperately trying to save lives, carrying out emergency surgeries in difficult conditions with a shortage of medical equipment. I saw five dead bodies and dozens of people with bullet wounds. Some had just been walking to work when they were struck by bullets. A grieving mother whose son was shot cried out between sobs: “They’re killing us like dogs.” In the end, there were 8 confirmed dead.

The next day, a local church became an improvised morgue, with the dead bodies–some still dripping blood–lined up in pews and doctors performing autopsies. Hundreds gathered outside to console the families and contribute money for coffins and funerals. They mourned the dead, and cursed the government for the attack and the local press for refusing to tell the truth about what happened.

The local news coverage about Senkata was almost as startling as the lack of medical supplies. The de facto government has threatened journalists with sedition should they spread “disinformation” by covering protests, so many don’t even show up. Those who do often spread disinformation. The main TV station reported three deaths and blamed the violence on the protesters,

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Killing Julian Assange: Justice Denied When Exposing Official Wrongdoing – Global Research


31-10-19 05:13:00,

The hideous treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues and many observers are citing his case as being symptomatic of developing “police state” tendencies in both the United States and in Europe, where rule of law is being subordinated to political expediency.

Julian Assange was the founder and editor-in-chief of the controversial news and information site WikiLeaks. As the name implies, after 2006 the site became famous, or perhaps notorious, for its publication of materials that have been leaked to it by government officials and other sources who consider the information to be of value to the public but unlikely to be accepted by the mainstream media, which has become increasingly corporatized and timid.

WikiLeaks became known to a global audience back in 2010 when it obtained from US Army enlisted soldier Bradley Manning a large quantity of classified documents relating to the various wars that the United States was fighting in Asia. Some of the material included what might be regarded as war crimes.

WikiLeaks again became front page news over the 2016 presidential election, when the website released the emails of candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta. The emails revealed how Clinton and her team collaborated with the Democratic National Committee to ensure that she would be nominated rather than Bernie Sanders. It should be noted that the material released by WikiLeaks was largely documentary and factual in nature, i.e. it was not “fake news.”

Because he is a journalist ostensibly protected by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, the handling of the “threat” posed by journalist Assange is inevitably somewhat different than a leak by a government official, referred to as a whistleblower. Assange has been vilified as an “enemy of the state,” likely even a Russian agent, and was initially pursued by the Swedish authorities after claims of a rape, later withdrawn, were made against him. To avoid arrest, he was given asylum by a friendly Ecuadorean government seven years ago in London. The British police had an active warrant to arrest him immediately as he had failed to make a bail hearing after he obtained asylum, which is indeed what took place when Quito revoked his protected status in April.

As it turned out,

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Killing Free Speech In France, Germany, And On The Internet


09-08-19 07:30:00,

Authored by Judith Bergman via The Gatestone Institute,

In May, France called for increasing government oversight over Facebook. Now Facebook has agreed to hand over to French judges the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform, according to France’s Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, Cédric O.

Previously, according to a Reuters report, “Facebook had refrained from handing over identification data of people suspected of hate speech because it was not compelled to do so under U.S.-French legal conventions and because it was worried countries without an independent judiciary could abuse it”. Until now, Reuters noted, Facebook had only cooperated with the French judiciary on matters related to terrorist attacks and violent acts by transferring the IP addresses and other identification data of suspected individuals to French judges who formally demanded it.

Now, however, “hate speech” — as speech that fails to comply with current political orthodoxy is conveniently labelled — appears to have become comparable to terrorism and violent crime. How autocratic, yet Cédric O apparently loves it: “This is huge news, it means that the judicial process will be able to run normally”.

It is highly probable that other countries will want to have a similar agreement with Facebook; it also appears likely that Facebook would comply. In May, for instance, as France was debating legislation that would give a new “independent regulator” the power to fine tech companies up to 4% of their global revenue if they do not do enough to remove “hateful content” from their network, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented:

“I am hopeful that it [the French proposal] can become a model that can be used across the EU”.

France is the first and so far only country to have entered into such an agreement with Facebook.

The new agreement could signal the de-facto end of free speech on Facebook for French citizens. Self-censorship in Europe is already widespread: a recent survey in Germany showed that two thirds of Germans are “very careful” about what topics they discuss in public — Islam and migrants being the most taboo.

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We’re Killing Off Our Vital Insects Too | New Eastern Outlook


03-03-19 10:19:00,


Recent independent scientific studies indicate that we are threatening our vital global insect population, including of bees, with widespread extinction through massive deployment of agriculture pesticides. For most of us, insects such as flies or mosquitoes or wasps are nuisances to be avoided. Yet if the latest studies are any indication, we may be in danger of massive elimination of vital insects that maintain nature’s balance. The consequences to life on this planet are only now beginning to be seriously considered.

The first-ever worldwide study of declines of insect species and numbers has just been published by the journal, Biological Conservation. The conclusions are more than alarming. Among other conclusions the study found that over 40% of insect species are threatened with extinction.

The study found that habitat loss by the conversion to intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, as well as agrochemical pollutants such as glyphosate, neonicotinoids and other pesticides. The authors explain, “Here, we present a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, and systematically assess the underlying drivers. Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades.”

The study notes recent analyses that indicate that extensive usage of pesticides is the primary factor responsible for the decline of birds in grasslands and aquatic organisms such as fish or frogs in streams.

Among other things the study cites results of a 27-year study of insect populations in select German protected nature preserves that found a “shocking 76% decline in flying insect biomass at several of Germany’s protected areas…an average 2.8% loss in insect biomass per year in habitats subject to rather low levels of human disturbance. Worryingly, the study shows a steady declining trend over nearly three decades. A study in rain-forests of Puerto Rico has reported biomass losses between 98% and 78% for ground-foraging and canopy-dwelling arthropods over a 36-year period and parallel declines in birds, frogs and lizards at the same areas…”

Especially alarming were the declines in bee populations, especially bumblebees. Since 1980 they found that wild bee species in Britain declined by 52% and 67% in the Netherlands.

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Is Neoliberlism Killing Russia? –

01-03-19 02:34:00,

Is Neoliberlism Killing Russia?

Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson reports that according to polls by VCIOM, a state pollster, the Russian public’s confidence in Putin, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and the Russian cabinet has dramatically declined over the past year. 

The decline is related to domestic, not foreign, policy.  Apparently, the public perceives recent Kremlin economic policy as a continuation of the disastrous policies that Washington imposed on Russia in the 1990s when Russia was loaded up with foreign debt while state assets were privatized and plundered by oligarchs sponsored by the West who “cashed out” by selling the assets to foreigners. 

Russia’s stock market became the darling of the West in the mid-1990s as underpriced mining, oil and infrastructure were sold for a fraction of their value to foreigners, thus transferring Russian income streams abroad instead of leaving the income to be invested in Russia. In effect, Russians were told that the way for their country to get rich was to let kleptocrats, oligarchs, and their U.S. and British stock brokers make hundreds of billions of dollars by privatizing Russia’s public domain.

Washington took advantage of the gullible and trusting Yeltsin government to do as much political and economic damage as possible to Russia. The country was torn apart.  Historic parts of Russia such as Ukraine were split off into separate countries.  Washington even insisted that Crimera, long a part of Russia and the country’s warm water port, was retained by Ukraine when the Soviet Union was dismembered.  

The approval rating of Putin and the Medvedev government dropped sharply in response to the recent increases in the retirement age and value added tax. The former raised concerns about pension security and reminded Russians of the collapse of Soviet pensions.  The latter reduced consumer disposable income and lowered consumer demand and the economic growth rate.  These policies represent austerity imposed on the domestic population instead of on foreign creditors and reflect the neoliberal view that austerity leads to prosperity.  The US sanctions give Russians every reason not to repay their foreign loans; yet Russians continue to enable their own exploitation by foreigners, as neoliberal economists have told them that there is no alternative.

Russia is experiencing capital outflows due to the Russian private sector’s repayment of loans to Western creditors.

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‘Killing spree’: UK soldiers told to kill unarmed citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan – report


05-02-19 03:04:00,

A disturbing media report claims that the British Army allowed soldiers to shoot unarmed civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers say they killed children and covered up civilian deaths by planting weapons beside bodies.

Speaking to Middle East Eye (MEE), soldiers detailed the relaxed rules of engagement that instructed them to shoot at unarmed civilians who they thought were involved in surveillance of the British troops, with one veteran describing it as a “killing spree.”

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In Basra, Iraq, in 2007 soldiers say they were told it was okay to shoot anyone holding a phone or a shovel, or anyone who looked suspicious. The relaxation of the rules was said to be due to concerns that these unarmed civilians were acting as spies for combatants, or that they were involved in planting roadside IEDs.

“We were shooting old men, young men. This is what I witnessed,” a soldier told MEE. “I have never seen such lawlessness.”

The soldiers who spoke to MEE revealed instances in which young boys were killed and explained there were cover-ups to make slain civilians appear as though they were combatants. When two unarmed teenagers were killed in Helmand in Afghanistan, an ex-soldier alleges that a Soviet-era assault rifle and a machine gun were taken from storage in the base and placed next to the dead teenagers’ bodies before they were photographed.

“I think that explains why we were keeping those weapons on the bases,” he said.

A Royal Marine told the outlet that one of his men was forced to admit to killing an Afghan boy, who was about eight years old, when the boy’s father arrived at the base carrying his dead child and demanded an explanation.

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“Our commanders, they would tell us: ‘We will protect you if any investigation comes. Just say you genuinely thought your life was at risk – those words will protect you,’” one of the ex-soldiers said.  

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After killing INF US has ‘free hand’ to reassert ‘supremacy in the world’ with ‘new arms race’


02-02-19 05:00:00,


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A ‘Convenient Killing’ Of US Troops In Syria


19-01-19 09:05:00,

Authored by Finian Cunningha, via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

With unseemly haste, US news media leapt on the killing of four American military personnel in Syria as a way to undermine President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from that country.

The deadly attack in the northern city of Manbij, on the west bank of the Euphrates River, was reported to have been carried out by a suicide bomber. The Islamic State (ISIS) terror group reportedly claimed responsibility, but the group routinely makes such claims which often turn out to be false.

The American military personnel were said to be on a routine patrol of Manbij where US forces have been backing Kurdish militants in a purported campaign against ISIS and other terror groups.

An explosion at a restaurant resulted in two US troops and two Pentagon civilian officials being killed, along with more than a dozen other victims. Three other US military persons were among those injured.

US media highlighted the bombing as the biggest single death toll of American forces in Syria since they began operations in the country nearly four years ago.

The US and Kurdish militia have been in control of Manbij for over two years. It is one of the main sites from where American troops are to withdraw under Trump’s exit plan, which he announced on December 19.

Following the bombing, the New York Times headlined: “ISIS Attack in Syria Kills 4 Americans, Raising Worries about Troop Withdrawal”. The report goes on, “the news prompted calls from Republicans and Democrats for President Trump to reconsider his plans to withdraw troops from the country.”

A more pointed headline in The Washington was: “Killing of 4 Americans in Syria Throws Spotlight on Trump’s Policy”.

The Post editorialized, “the bombing showed that [ISIS] is likely to be a force to be reckoned with in Syria for the foreseeable future.” It quoted politicians in Washington claiming the “bombing deaths… were a direct result of a foolish and abrupt departure announcement [by Trump], and made the case for staying.”

Democrat Senator Jack Reed, who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee,

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Colombia’s Killing Fields


21-12-18 08:57:00,

In Colombia, the last week has been a particularly bloody one for indigenous leaders. In the state of Cauca, just south of the major city of Calí, the indigenous governor Edwin Dagua Ipia was assassinated after having received numerous death threats from paramilitaries in the area. He is one of at least ten indigenous people murdered in the country just in the last week.

In fact, according to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), more than 100 assassinations of human rights advocates and members of marginalized and oppressed communities have taken place just in 2018. There is a sense among observers that the killings have escalated since the election of Ivan Duque, the young right wing president and close ally of former president and international criminal Alvaro Uribe.

In a damning report published by the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), the human rights NGO noted that 35% of the social leaders and activists murdered belonged to ethnic minorities (19% Afro-Colombian, 15% indigenous), a staggering figure which demonstrates just how targeted those groups are, considering the proportion of violence with which they’re targeted versus their total share of the national population. Moreover, CODHES indicated that:

“Approximately 50 percent of the victims were authorities or representatives of ethnic territories and organizations. Another 36 percent were community or union leaders, 8 percent land rights claimants and 6 percent are members of the family of women social leaders. The worst affected regions in order of total numbers were Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Antioquia, Chocó, and Córdoba.”

The continued killings have drawn the attention of the United Nations, though little has been done to stem the tide, particularly as the government of Ivan Duque has slithered into power. Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas, a lawyer with the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR), explained in a report jointly submitted with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, that the killings, and total impunity due to government inaction, rise to the level of crimes against humanity.

He told the Guardian that:

“The murders of our colleagues must stop…We hope the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC will warn the Colombian government that if the impunity persists,

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Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was Easy. Explaining It Is Much Harder – Global Research

Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was Easy. Explaining It Is Much Harder – Global Research

19-10-18 08:07:00,

Getting to the bottom of the Jamal Khashoggi disappearance is a bit like peeling an onion. It is known that Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd to get a document that would enable him to marry a Turkish woman. It is also known, from surveillance cameras situated outside the building, that he never came out walking the same way he entered. The presumption is that he was either killed inside or abducted, though the abduction theory would have to be based on a Consulate vehicle leaving the building with him presumably concealed inside, something that has not been confirmed by the Turks. If he was killed inside the building and dismembered, as seems likely, he could have had his body parts removed in the suitcases carried by the alleged fifteen official Saudis who had arrived that morning by private jet and left that afternoon the same way. The supposition is that the fifteen men, which may have included some members of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s bodyguard as well as a physician skilled in autopsies who was carrying a bone saw, constituted the execution party for Khashoggi.

There are certain things that should be observed about the Turks, since they are the ones claiming that the disappearance of Khashoggi may have included a summary execution and dismemberment. The Turkish intelligence service, known by its acronym MIT, is very good, very active and very focused on monitoring the activities of foreign embassies and their employees throughout Turkey. They use electronic surveillance and, if the foreign mission has local employees, many of those individuals will be agents reporting to the Turkish government. In my own experience when I was in Istanbul, I had microphones concealed in various places in my residence and both my office and home phones were tapped. A number of local hire consulate employees were believed to be informants for MIT but they were not allowed anywhere near sensitive information.

As Turkey and Saudi Arabia might be termed rivals if not something stronger, it is to be presumed that MIT had the Consulate General building covered with both cameras and microphones, possibly inside the building as well as outside, and may have had a Turkish employer inside who observed some of what was going on.

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15 Years Ago, The Battle of Baghdad, April 2003: Killing the Independent Media, Killing the “Unembedded Truth” | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

15 Years Ago, The Battle of Baghdad, April 2003: Killing the Independent Media, Killing the “Unembedded Truth” | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

09-04-18 01:41:00,

This article was written 15 years ago in the immediate wake of the Battle of Baghdad, April 9, 2003.  Media propaganda played a crucial role. The media was “embedded” within the US Armed Forces. This was the basis of war propaganda. And it was tightly controlled.

Independent journalists who had not been officially approved by the US Armed Forces, namely those who were “unembedded” were targeted and killed.  

“Two prominent journalist were killed by US forces, they were deliberately targeted.  This was not an accident.  In fact, it was consistent with Pentagon “guidelines” regarding the independent “unembedded journalists”. 

Today, war propaganda has taken an even more dramatic turn in America’s wars and military interventions against a large number of countries including Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine, …

The struggle against America’s Global War is ongoing.

The text below has not been modified, updated or edited since its publication on April 11, 2003

Michel Chossudovsky, April 9, 2018

*     *     *

The tragic death of two journalists on the 8th of April bears a direct relationship to the timing of US military operations in Baghdad. The killings were an integral part of the Pentagon’s war plans.  They marked a turning point in the disinformation campaign.

On the 8th of April,  Al Jazeera and Reuters were deliberately targeted.  This was not an accident.  In fact, it was consistent with Pentagon “guidelines” regarding the independent “unembedded journalists”, who had been reporting since the beginning of the war under the “protection”  of the Iraqi Ministry of Information.

A week prior to the war, the Pentagon had intimated that it would target the transmission of information by independent  journalists, from their satellite mobile phones.  (Of course, that does not mean that  they would actually kill the journalists.) According to veteran BBC correspondent Kate Adie, in an interview with Irish TV, the Pentagon had:

 “threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists. Uplinks is where you have your own satellite telephone method of distributing information, the telephones and the television signals. According to the Pentagon official they would be ‘targeted down… Who cares..

 » Lees verder