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  • Warning of jihadist threat, Libya PM pleads for help
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  • Al-Baida (Libya) (AFP) - The head of Libya's recognised government has pleaded for more help from the international community, warning that the country could become a dangerous haven for jihadists on Europe's doorstep.

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  • France preparing military strikes against southern Libya

     
      By  Thomas Gaist 
      10 January 2015 
  • The French military is preparing to launch strikes against targets in Libya within the next three months according to an anonymous French diplomatic official who spoke to the London-based Arab-language paper Asharq Al-Awsat.

     

    “I am ready to bet that this intervention will take place within three months,” the unnamed diplomatic source said.

     

    The question is no longer whether France will intervene militarily in Libya, but when, the diplomat made clear in comments made late last week .

     

    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gave similar indications during his visit to Niger last week while visiting a new French military base near the Niger-Libyan border. Without openly calling for war, Le Drian strongly indicated that the French government and military consider some form of intervention in Libya as imminent.

  • “We think that the moment has come to ensure that the international community tackles the Libyan problem. I think this is also what President Issoufou believes,” Le Drian commented, referring to his recent meeting with the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou.

     

    President Issoufou explicitly called for military intervention by the Western powers in Libya, reiterating the position of several African heads of state that military action by the major powers is necessary to contain rising chaos in the country. “An international intervention is essential to the reconciliation of all Libyans,” Issoufou said last week.

     

    Tobruk regime representative Ashur Bou Rashed echoed these demands, calling for intervention by the major powers in support of the government.

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  • ON TARGET: Libyan fiasco should be a warning

     
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      SCOTT TAYLOR ON TARGET  
      November 9, 2014
  • Last Tuesday, the Defence Department conducted a technical briefing to provide media with details about Canada’s initial air strikes in the allied campaign against ISIS in Iraq.

     

    It mainly centred on the first bombing attack that successfully knocked out five bulldozers and a dump truck near the ISIS-held city of Fallujah. The equipment was reportedly being used to build defensive positions or divert rivers in order to flood innocent victims, and although journalists were keen to devour the few tidbits of information offered up, the majority of the press corps did not buy into the hype.

     

    While no one questioned the department’s claim of successfully targeting the Iraqi bulldozers, Lt.-Gen. Jon Vance did have to admit that, without any boots on the ground, there was no way to independently verify that no civilian was injured in the attack.

     

    Rather than illustrating a concise and clear military campaign, the briefing simply revealed that the Canadians — like the rest of the allied air forces — have no real plan on how to defeat ISIS from the air alone. Even the economics of the air raids in Iraq to date fail to make sense.

     

    The cost for each of the laser-guided smart bombs used in the Canadian air strikes is about $35,000; in contrast, each of the used Iraqi construction vehicles would be lucky to fetch $20,000 on Kijiji.

  • On the strategic scale, one does not need to dust off an aging history book to research what happens when an allied air force intervenes with the purpose of destroying a negative entity, such as ISIS, rather than fighting in support of a positive entity. You need only reference the 2011 rebellion in Libya.

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    • Sarkozy, Cameron visit Libya for victory lap, pep talk

           
       
             
       
           
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      French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British premier David Cameron secured crucial NATO backing of the rebels. Now they want to help the new Libya become a model for other Arab nations.

         

          By                          , Staff writer       

  • Libya's revolution may still be incomplete, but Western leaders are swooping into Tripoli to celebrate the rebels' victory and offer support for the new Libya, whose success they see model for other Arab revolutions.

    With sharpshooters on Tripoli rooftops, a 5-star hotel sealed by tight security, and fighting continuing less than 100 miles away, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron were today the first heads of state to arrive in the capital and embrace Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC).

  • The backing of Britain and France, which led NATO's military charge, was crucial to turning the tide for Libya's rebels – at first little more than rag-tag militias – and enabling them to oust the Qaddafi regime.

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  • Sarkozy and Cameron in Libya: Heroes for a Day

     

    By Stefan Simons, Jonathan Stock and Carsten Volkery report from Tripoli, Paris and London

     

    European leaders are rarely celebrated as heroes, but this is precisely how Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron were treated in Tripoli on Thursday. As a reward for their military deployment against Moammar Gadhafi, the president and prime minister received a warm reception. The French appear to have gained the most in Libya.

  • September 15, 2011
  • "Stress-free and successful" read a sign near the conference rooms at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli where Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron met on Thursday with leaders of the Libyan Transitional Council. When both men later left the meeting at the hotel, located directly on the Mediterranean, it appeared it had been both: The perfectly coiffed men, wearing black suits, looked so relaxed they could have been visitors ordering a drink at a resort bar.

      

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       The images are a bit surreal in a city where the last people loyal to former dictator Moammar Gadhafi are still being hunted down, and where vans are still driving each day to overflowing jails. Missiles were  still being fired here just a few weeks ago, though a people's initiative has formed against the constant shooting of guns into the air.

      

    All the streets in front of the hotel have been closed. Standing next to the rebels with their Kalashnikovs are security forces who ask in French for proof of access authorization and check each passer-by with small metal detectors. Despite the high security, many viewed the brief visit by Cameron and Sarkozy as a welcome diversion.

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  • Harper spends money on big party

     
  • Stephen Harper spent a fortune to celebrate in grand style the "victory" of Canadian troops in Libya.

     

    Strange that a prime minister who keeps saying he wants cut government spending is throwing dollars around like a guy who just won the lottery.

     

    Nothing is too expensive for the prime minister when it comes to celebrating his military.

  • Harper keeps saying the war that overthrew Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was a great victory for the Canadian Forces. True it was.

    Canadian forces scored a major success in Africa, leaving aside for the moment that Muslim extremists in Libya are going around desecrating graves in Canadian military cemeteries.

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  • Chinese media slams the West’s hypocrisy in CharlieHebdo reaction  
    January 9, 2015
  • Chinese newspapers have condemned the attack on the offices of a satirical magazine in Paris while pointing out the hypocrisy and “double-standards” of Western countries’ reaction to terror attacks.

     

    China’s Communist party-run Global Times on Friday said condemnations of terror attacks in Russia and China are not as forthcoming from Western countries as opposed to the quick and unified reactions to the attack on Charlie Hebdo in France.

     

    “The world is always unified in its response to terrorist attacks that happened in the West, but when it’s the West’s turn to react to such attacks in countries like China and Russia, they often beat about the bush,” said the editorial on Friday.

     

    “Even after China officially determines their terrorist nature, Western mainstream media puts quotation marks when describing these bloody assaults as “terrorist,” saying that it is a claim of the Chinese government,” it added.

     

    On Wednesday, three masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the satirical magazine that has become notorious for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and killed 12 people.

  • On social media sites like Twitter, people showed their support online using the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag.

     

    US President Barack Obama said he strongly condemned the “horrific shooting” while speaking in French, US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged US solidarity with France,”Tous les Américains se tiennent à leurs côtés (All Americans stand beside France)”.

     

    In stark contrast, a Chinese envoy to the UN in Geneva last year had to express Beijing’s dissatisfaction over the international community’s sluggish response in treating Xinjiang violence as “terrorism”.

     

    Meanwhile, the editorial in the Chinese state-run Global Times on Friday questioned the western narrative on the attack as revolving around “press freedom”.

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  • Blowback: Paris Terror Suspects Recently Returned from Syria and Demonstrated Military Training

       
      Dan Sanchez,   January 07, 2015
  • Briefly noted in the third paragraph of a USA Today report about the suspects in today’s Paris terror attack: “Both brothers returned from Syria this summer.”

     

    What would French radical Islamists be doing in Syria around that time? Quite possibly getting training from the US and its allies to fight Assad. And as Ben Swann reports: “Analysts have said that this attack was carried out by men who had formal military training and was carried out by men who acted like a ‘special forces unit’.”

     

    However, such training is by no means certain, for as Mitchell Prothero reports:

  • “Other evidence suggests they could be linked to a top French al Qaida operative, David Drugeon, who’s been the target at least twice of U.S. airstrikes in Syria over the last four months.”

     

    Yet, even if they didn’t manage to get past U.S. “vetting,” and instead received training from al Qaida alone, the fact that the war they earned their spurs in was persisting at all was due to U.S. aid to the rebels.

     

    This is the kind of blowback that is so quick to follow intervention that Scott Horton incisively terms it “backdraft.”

     

    And once again, just as with Sony and North Korea, the implications concerning empire are getting lost in the hullabaloo over rogue groups allegedly seriously threatening freedom of speech.

  • UN official deplores NATO attack on Libyan television station
  • 8 August 2011 – The head of the United Nations agency entrusted with safeguarding press freedom today deplored a recent North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) attack on Libyan State broadcasting facilities last month which killed three media workers and injured 21 people.  

    “Media outlets should not be targeted in military actions,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement, citing a Security Council resolution from 2006 that condemns acts of violence against journalists and media personnel in conflict situations.   

    “The NATO strike is also contrary to the principles of the Geneva Conventions that establish the civilian status of journalists in times of war even when they engage in propaganda,” she added. “Silencing the media is never a solution. Fostering independent and pluralistic media is the only way to enable people to form their own opinion.”  

    NATO issued a statement saying that the strike was conducted in accordance with Security Council resolution 1973 adopted in March, which authorizes the use of “all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya, where the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi has conducted a military offensive against citizens seeking both greater freedoms and his removal from power.   

  • April 8, 2003 journalist deaths by U.S. fire

     
     
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    On April 8, 2003, three locations in Baghdad housing journalists were fired upon by U.S. armed forces during 2003 invasion of Iraq, killing three journalists and wounding four.

  • Al Jazeera's office[edit]

     

    Two American air-to-surface missiles hit the Qatar satellite TV station at Al Jazeera's office in Baghdad and killed Tareq Ayyoub, a Palestinian reporter, and wounded Zouhair al-Iraqi, an Iraqi cameraman. They were live broadcasting on the roof of the building. Al Jazeera accused the U.S. of intentionally targeting Al Jazeera as the U.S. bombed its Kabul bureau in 2001 during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

  • Palestine Hotel[edit]

     

    A U.S. Army tank fired into the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where almost all foreign journalists were based. The image of the hotel had been frequently broadcast in the news, since many journalists filmed their reports nearby. The tank fire killed the Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and wounded three. José Couso of Telecinco Spanish television who was on the 14th floor also died.

     

    At the time, Company A of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment was holding the west end of the al-Jumhuria Bridge. The U.S. Forces were under attack from Iraqi units on both sides of the Tigris River, including mortar fire. Earlier that morning, the battalion had captured an Iraqi two-way radio, over which they heard an Iraqi forward observer directing mortar fire against Company A. This information was relayed to the forces at the bridge, who began looking for the enemy spotter. An A-Company tank spotted an individual on a balcony on the upper floor of a high-rise building to the southeast who appeared to be observing the company with "some kind of optics" (probably Protsyuk). Assuming this was the enemy spotter, the tank commander asked for and received permission to fire. The tank fired a HEAT round at the balcony, killing Protsyuk and Couso. Prior to the incident, no one in the 4-64 had been briefed about the Palestine Hotel or its location, since the hotel was not in their sector (the east bank of the Tigris was allocated to the 1st Marine Division). U.S. forces later determined that the Iraqi artillery spotter was probably in a nearby building, not the hotel.[1]

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  • Israel’s explanation for killing two journalists in Gaza? Palestinians aren’t journalists, they’re ‘targets’

     Israel/Palestine
     Allison Deger and Annie Robbins on  
  • After a second Israeli attack on a media building in two days, this time killing two journalists, the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev explains to al-Jazeera English that because the journalists were Palestinian the Israel military considered them legitimate “targets.” Regev’s remarks were made just a few hours after the November 19, 2012 bombing of al-Shuruq Tower and another building used to house the offices of several media outlets, including both Palestinian and international networks.

     

    Speaking to al-Jazeera, Regev said, “We took out the target that we wanted to take out.” When pressed by al-Jazeera over the injuries of eight journalists the previous day, where one lost his leg, Regev continued,

  • Oh you’re talking about… oh first of all maybe we have a discussion about who is a journalist and if you’ll allow me I will elaborate on this. There is the al-Aqsa station, which is a station that is a Hamas command and control facility, just as in other totalitarian regimes; the media is used by the regime for command and control and also for security purposes. From our point of view that’s not a legitimate journalist.

     
     

    Al-Jazeera’s correspondent then followed-up by asking, “So what are you saying? That a local Arab journalist life is any less than an internationalist journalist?” Apparently for Regev, yes, in Gaza there are no legitimate Palestinian journalists, only targets.

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  • Journalists targeted by US forces

      
     
      <!-- time -->    Published time: May 04, 2011 21:45
      Edited time: May 05, 2011 01:58
  • You could say it was the latest batch of shots heard round the world, brought to the world by WikiLeaks. Millions watched in horror as the Apache Pilots with the US Army treated killing as a game.

      <!--RTEditor:genereated--><!--RTEditor textarea-->

    Among those killed in the July 2007 clash seen in the video were two Reuters’ employees: Photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant and driver, Saeed Chmagh.

    "Even someone who is crawling, prostate on the ground wounded, they are looking for an excuse to kill," said WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange.

  • But this is far from an isolated incident. Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started, more than 300 journalists have been killed, many by the actions of US forces.

    This includes British journalist Terry Lloyd, a veteran correspondent with Britain’s Independent Television News.

    He was wounded in the crossfire of a battle in Basra, Iraq, and then put in a makeshift ambulance by Iraqis … an investigation revealed US forces then shot at the vehicle, hitting Lloyd in the head and killing him.

    The following month, on April 8, 2003, US forces targeted media outlets in Iraq, including Abu Dhabi television, and Al Jazeera’s office in Bagdad, where correspondent Tareq Ayyoub was killed in the middle of a live report.

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  • US-led strikes may have killed civilians: Pentagon
  • Washington (AFP) - The US military is reviewing several incidents in which civilians may have been killed in coalition air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, officials said.
  • The comments marked the first time the US military has acknowledged that the air war may have exacted a toll on civilians.

    US Central Command, which is overseeing the air campaign, initially looked into 18 cases and concluded 13 were not credible but five merited further review. Of those, two incidents -- one in Iraq and one in Syria -- prompted formal investigations, defense officials told AFP.

    The current probes involved one case that occurred as recently as December 26, officials said.

    "What I know is that Central Command is investigating several (of) what they believe to be credible allegations of civilian casualties," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

    "This is something we always take seriously. We are very mindful of trying to mitigate the risk to civilians every time we operate, everywhere we operate."

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  • Europe may become irrelevant due to short-sighted policies – Gorbachev

      
     
      <!-- time -->    Published time: November 08, 2014
  • Western policies toward Russia championed by Washington have led to the current crisis, and if the confrontation continues, Europe will be weakened and become irrelevant, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warns.

       

      Speaking to a forum in  Berlin amid the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall  of the Berlin Wall, he called on western leaders to de-escalate  tensions and meet Russia halfway to mend the current rift.

  • After the Cold War ended, the leaders of the western world were  intoxicated with euphoria of triumph, and they adopted  anti-Russian policies that eventually led to the current crisis,  Gorbachev said. 

      “Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and a lack of a  counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in  the world. And they refused to heed the word of caution from many  of those present here,” he said. “The events of the past  months are consequences of short-sighted policies of seeking to  impose one’s will and fait accompli while ignoring the interests  of one’s partners.”

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  • Kissinger warns of West’s ‘fatal mistake’ that may lead to new Cold War

      
     
      <!-- time -->    Published time: November 10, 2014
  • Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has given a chilling assessment of a new geopolitical situation taking shape amid the Ukrainian crisis, warning of a possible new Cold War and calling the West’s approach to the crisis a “fatal mistake.”

       

      The 91-year-old diplomat  characterized the tense relations as exhibiting the danger of  “another Cold War.” 

      “This danger does exist and we can't ignore it,” Kissinger said.  He warned that ignoring this danger any further may result in a  “tragedy,” he told Germany’s Der Spiegel. 

  • If the West wants to be “honest,” it should recognize,  that it made a “mistake,” he said of the course of  action the US and the EU adopted in the Ukrainian conflict.  Europe and the US did not understand the “significance of  events” that started with the Ukraine-EU economic  negotiations that initially brought about the demonstrations in  Kiev last year. Those tensions should have served as a starting  point to include Russia in the discussion, he believes.

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  • The new European 'arc of instability'
  • Published time: December 10, 2014
  • The European Council on Foreign Relations and Berlin think-tank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung have just reached more or less the same conclusion.

       

      If the dangerous  stand-off between the EU and Russia over Ukraine is not solved,  the EU could face, up to 2030, a military build-up in eastern  Europe; a new arms race with NATO as a protagonist; and a  semi-permanent “zone of instability” from the Baltic to  the Balkans and the Black Sea. 

      What these two think-tanks don’t – and won’t – ever acknowledge  is that a new European “arc of instability” – from the  Baltic to the Black Sea, as myself and other independent analysts  have stressed – is exactly what the Empire of Chaos and its weaponized arm – NATO  – are working on to prevent closer Eurasia integration. 

      By the way, the Pentagon excels in fabricating “arcs of  instability.” The previous one was – and remains – massive,  stretching from the Maghreb to Xinjiang in western China across  the Middle East and Central Asia. 

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