Posts Tagged ‘Islamic State’

Widely published ‘reports’ in the last week or so claimed that the so-called ‘Islamic State’ group’s elusive ‘caliph’, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed in a Russian airstrike in Raqqa.

In fact, the reports are now that this story was false – which makes me wonder why it was doing the rounds at all. Baghdadi has in fact been declared ‘killed’ a number of times in the last couple of years. I’ve never believed those claims – because I’ve never been properly convinced that ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ exists at all.

In covering this subject of Baghdadi here, I’m going to revisit some of what I’ve written here before – specifically regarding the Baghdadi mystery, but also the older Bin Laden myth (as I believe the two are related), and the whole business of this ‘caliphate’ that the ‘ISIS/Daesh’ group has been trying to carve out in the Middle East. (more…)

cia-torture-gitmo-opendemocracy-net

Torture exists. It goes on in the world. We all know that.
30 years after the UN Convention Against Torture established measures to eradicate the practice, it is in fact still going on in at least 141 countries; including countries that are signatories to the UN convention, according to Amnesty International’s  annual report (the one I’m quoting is from 2014).

The 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights is unambiguous: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

That ruling, as well as the Geneva Conventions and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, dictates an absolute ban on torture for any purpose; note that there’s no special allowance for ‘times of war’ or ‘urgent matters of national security’ or any other excuse any governments or agencies might offer for their illegal actions. (more…)

syria-airstrikes

You might’ve thought that the United States‘ policy in Syria couldn’t get any more confused or damaged: but the admission that a US air strike has killed somewhere between 60 to 83 soldiers of the Syrian Army is just about the worst thing, and at the worst time, that could’ve happened in terms of US credibility. (more…)

syria-palmyra-hadriansgatepalmya_syria-loot

“Every person has two homelands,” the French archaeologist Andre Parrot once commented ; “His own and Syria”.
T.E Lawrence (of Arabia), who spent a great deal of time exploring Syria, wrote specifically of Palmyra; “Nothing in this scorching, desolate land could be so refreshing”.

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libya-sirte-postgaddafi

On October 19th 2011, a convoy of cars left the city of Sirte, carrying Libya’s beleaguered figurehead Muammar Gaddafi.
On October 21st, an American/CIA drone (being operated from Las Vegas) spots the convoy and alerts NATO bombers, which immediately begin bombing the vehicles.

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Mideast Gulf Torn Over Iraq

‘Staggering’ is how the UN has described the depth and nature of civilian suffering in post-war Iraq; citing over 18,000 civilians having been killed in the space of just this last year-and-a-half.
According to the report, conducted by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, an approximate 3.2 million people have also been displaced internally over this same period of time.

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gaddafi_mural

The nightmare that is post-Gaddafi Libya is showing no signs of improving any time soon.
Libyans who were promised democracy and progress by NATO and the international powers that rained bombs down across the country in 2011 have in fact been given nothing of the sort.

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israel-bombs-syria

When all the high-fives and cheering in the House of Commons were over and the bombs are dropping, I wondered if the mainstream media would decide to stop portraying this mammoth debate and vote as some kind of historic moment on a par with Churchill’s “we will fight them on the beaches”.
There was so much that bothered me about this whole Syria debate and the way it was covered that I almost don’t know where to begin.

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Saudi-flag

The death, at the beginning of the year, of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, after a nine-and-a-half year reign and the accession to the throne of his half-brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz, seems to have marked no turning point in Saudi policy either at home or abroad.
With the change of rulers, things in fact seemed to have escalated to a worse state of affairs.

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