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Hometown: Saskatchewan
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Afghanistan: MSF Staff Killed, Hospital Partially Destroyed in Kunduz

"OCTOBER 3, 2015 — Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients. MSF wishes to clarify that all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit in Chardara northwest of Kunduz.

As it does in all conflict contexts, MSF communicated the precise locations of its facilities to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months, including most recently on September 29.

The bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck."



William Blum - The Deadly Ongoing Role of the US in the Middle East and Beyond

Anti-Empire Report #140

by William Blum / November 3rd, 2015

Are you confused by the Middle East? Here are some things you should know. (But you’ll probably still be confused.)

-The US, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the Gulf monarchies have all in the recent past supported al Qaeda and/or the Islamic State (ISIS) with arms, money, and/or manpower.
-The first example of this was in 1979 when the United States began covert operations in Afghanistan, six months before the Russians arrived, promoting Islamic fundamentalism across the southern tier of the Soviet Union against “godless communism”. All the al-Qaeda/Taliban shit then followed.
-In addition to Afghanistan, the United States has provided support to Islamic militants in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, the Caucasus, and Syria.
-The United States overthrew the secular governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and is trying to do the same with Syria, thus giving great impetus to the rise of ISIS. Said Barack Obama in March of this year: “ISIS is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”1

The United States, I suggest, is hostile to the Syrian government for the same reason it has been hostile to Cuba for more than half a century; and hostile to Venezuela for the past 15 years; and earlier to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; and to Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Chile; and so on continuing through the world atlas and history books.

What these governments have had in common can be summarized in a single word – independence … independence from American foreign policy; the refusal to be a client state of Washington; the refusal to be continuously hostile to Washington’s Officially Designated Enemies; insufficient respect and zeal for the capitalist way of life.

Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:

Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.4
Plus … although not easily quantified … more involved in the practice of torture than any other country in the world … for over a century … not just performing the actual torture, but teaching it, providing the manuals, and furnishing the equipment.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/11/the-deadly-ongoing-role-of-the-us-in-the-middle-east-and-beyond/#more-60317

William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire.

The detritus of regime change in Libya

By Vijay Prashad
Source: al-Araby
November 1, 2015

.......In Iraq, parts of the deposed army and some Baath Party members linked up with al-Qaeda in Iraq, and then later the Islamic State of Iraq. It was these motivated and trained men that formed the backbone of the IS advance on Fallujah and Ramadi in 2014.

Much the same story is being repeated with the emergence of IS in Libya. Adversaries of Gaddafi in the 1990s took refuge in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group; one of whose strongholds was the town of Derna.

These fighters fled the country to join the Jihad International in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

It had become a familiar matter to meet an al-Libi in the redoubts of the jihadis. Studies show that Libya provided per capita the highest number of jihadis to this global campaign.

The lesson of Iraq was not learned. It was repeated in Libya. Both countries still hang by a thread. Their people suffer painfully. They have been sacrificed to a theory that is arrogant and erroneous. It deserves a place only in the dustbin of history.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-detritus-of-regime-change-in-libya/

The West Votes For A Better Yesterday

By Roberto Savio
Source: Other News
November 2, 2015

The last elections of Switzerland and Poland, are good indicators of what will happen elsewhere in Europe, with an irresistible growing wave of refugees.

.........The first, is that the present system of international relations and national governance is not functioning any longer. We are in a period of transition, but nobody knows to where. The left is without a manifesto, and the right is just riding the status quo.

The second, is that we are in a “ new economy”, based on the supremacy of finance over man’s production. Unelected officials, like governors of central banks, have increasingly more power than before.

This “new economy” considers precarious jobs as natural, social inequality as a legitimate reality, the market as the sole basis for societal development, and the state as inefficient and a brake to the private sector.

It is worth of remembering that until the financial crisis of 2007, xenophobic and rightwing parties were marginal political entities in almost all of Europe.

In a short time, they have become important players all over Europe, even in countries known for their civic sense and tolerance, like Nederland and the Nordic Countries.

It is puzzling to see workers and low income people voting for the National Front in France, in Cinquestelle in Italy, or UKIP in Great Britain, and now Peace and Justice in Poland.

What bring them to a xenophobic, right wing and antieurope party, is the dream to go back to a secure and orderly past. They do not want to vote for an uncertain future: they find more reassuring to vote for a time in which politics were national, there was not a faceless bureaucracy in Bruxelles dictating how to pack tomatoes , and a super national currency, the euro, maneuvered by unelected powerful bankers in the BCE in Frankfurt, with an hegemonic Germany dictating other countries.

It is also worth remembering that a large part of European citizens has yet to recover the quality of life it has before 2007. And that young people pay a disproportionate cost for a crisis originated by the finance, which has received for rescue much more money that any policy for employment, or for social recovery.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-west-votes-for-a-better-yesterday/

Obama: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is on Cuba

By Art Heitzer and Marjorie Cohn
Source: NLG International
November 2, 2015

Millions of Americans believe that President Obama has normalized relations with Cuba and ended over 50 years of U.S. efforts to strangle its economy. They might have been puzzled when the United States stood up against every other nation save one, in opposing the UN General Assembly resolution which passed, 191-2, on October 27, 2015. That resolution condemned the continuing U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “when the vote lit up on the screen many diplomats jumped to their feet in a standing ovation.” The U.S. ambassador was not among them.

The UN resolution welcomed the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and recognized “the expressed will” of Obama to work for the elimination of the embargo. But the world community clearly does not think that intentions are enough. Every year since 1992, the United States has unsuccessfully opposed these resolutions, ignoring the international consensus. In 2015, the U.S. deputy ambassador Ronald Godard said it was “unfortunate” that the text “falls short of reflecting … the spirit of engagement President Obama has championed.”

Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, called for concrete action instead. “The lifting of the blockade will be the essential element to give some meaning to the progress achieved over the past few months in the relations between both countries and shall set the pace towards normalization,” he told the General Assembly. Rodriguez said the blockade is “a unilateral act of the United States and should be lifted unilaterally, without asking anything in return.” He was critical not only of the U.S. Congress but also of Obama’s failure to take executive action to ease the blockade.


The NLG resolution also noted three areas in which federal officials appear to be sabotaging attempts to normalize relations with Cuba:

.......... 3) The U.S. State Department has continued its pattern of unreasonably delaying or withholding issuance of non-immigrant visas to mainstream Cubans invited to visit and speak in the United States by academic and professional organizations. For example, when the American Sociological Association invited a gay Cuban doctor, who had headed Cuba’s program of comprehensive treatment for transgender people, to speak to its August 2015 convention in Chicago, it took the offices of Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, John Conyers and Barbara Lee to pry loose his visa, which was issued only at the last minute, making him miss most of the convention. As a result of these congressional efforts, he was then also able to speak at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and appeared on Chicago public television. This is the same experience of many invited Cubans, most recently a leading Cuban labor lawyer invited to speak at the October NLG convention, and this has happened year after year. Both of these Cuban experts have received U.S. visas in the past and visited here without incident, although each time they have had to wait until or after the very last minute to book their flights, often missing much of the conventions they were invited to attend.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/obama-put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is-on-cuba/

Venezuela’s Maduro Rebukes US SOUTHCOM Chief for Interfering in Internal Affairs

by Lucas Koerner

November 1st, 2015

CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro firmly rejected recent statements by US Southern Command Chief John Kelly on Tuesday, which he dismissed as unacceptable interference in the South American nation’s internal affairs.

Speaking on CNN Español, the head of US military operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean described Venezuela as on the brink of “implosion” due to “inflation” and “drug trafficking” and expressed willingness to provide assistance in the event of a “humanitarian crisis”.

President Maduro hit back at the US general during his weekly television program, challenging the Pentagon’s double standards in expressing humanitarian “concern” for Venezuela while actively waging wars in other parts of the world.

“What right does he [Kelly] have to comment on Venezuela?”, Maduro exclaimed, advising the general to “dedicate the time you spend thinking about Venezuela to the people you have ordered to be killed in Libya, Syria, Pakistan.”

Referring to the US general’s allegations of Venezuelan impunity towards cross-border drug trafficking, the Bolivarian leader lashed out at Washington’s “war on drugs”, which he termed a “great failure”.

“Who is the king of drug trafficking in the world, general Kelly? The DEA. Who is the worldwide promoter of drug culture? Who is the great failure in the fight against drug trafficking in the world? The United States.”

Earlier this year, the Obama administration enacted a series of sanctions against Bolivarian officials, culminating in an executive order branding Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat”, which in turn precipitated a global backlash.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/11/venezuelas-maduro-rebukes-us-southcom-chief-for-interfering-in-internal-affairs/

The TPP, Internet Censorship, and Trudeau's First Big Test as Prime Minister

Published on
Monday, November 02, 2015
by Rabble.ca

Now the TPP looks like it's becoming the first major test for the new Liberal government. Although the previous government signed Canada on to the deal, it will still need to be approved by the recently elected new Parliament.

Despite the fact that negotiations had been continuing for over three years, most Canadians knew nothing about the agreement, and so the announcement from Atlanta came as big news. Even those of us who have been following the process closely have little information on the TPP's contents. Of its 29 chapters, we have only seen three -- and only because they were leaked and published by Wikileaks.

So here we are, being told by political leaders that we must be a part of this agreement, as there is "simply too much to gain for Canada." But if we have so much to gain, why did the previous government wait until the last possible moment to pitch us the plan, and then keep it under wraps throughout the recent election?

The few who have read the leaked texts know exactly why: Canadians would never accept the TPP if we knew what was being negotiated on our behalf.

Despite vowing to release the full text before the election, Trade Minister Ed Fast reneged on his promise only days later, leaving Canadians without an opportunity to judge for themselves if the trumped-up benefits of the TPP are truly there at all.

For an example of just how bad the TPP is for Canadians, let's take a look at the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter. For years, digital rights experts the world over have been calling it "one of the worst global threats to the Internet."

Full article: http://rabble.ca/columnists/2015/11/tpp-internet-censorship-and-trudeaus-first-big-test-prime-minister

Just one of the threats in this in this piece of shit 'agreement'.

Yemen Braces for Devastation as Cyclone Chapala Nears

Published on
Monday, November 02, 2015
byCommon Dreams

Cyclone expected to make landfall on Tuesday morning with record rain and hurricane-strength winds

byNadia Prupis, staff writer

A rare cyclone is expected to bring destructive wind and rain in the Arabian Peninsula. (Photo: CNN)

A rare and powerful cyclone tracking through the Arabian Peninsula is poised to make destructive landfall in Yemen on Tuesday morning.

Hours after devastating the nearby island archipelago of Socotra, where three were killed and more than 200 injured, Cyclone Chapala continues its rapid approach to the mainland, where meteorologists expect it will tear through the beleaguered region with record rainfall and hurricane-strength winds. It is also aiming to hit Oman, though fears of its impact there have diminished.

Global weather expert Dr. Mansour Al Mazroui told Gulf News on Monday that the cyclone may send a 400mm downpour onto the mainland in 24 hours—that's more than three years' worth of rain in a day, Al Mazroui said. As Weather Underground meteorologist Quincy Vagell explained on Sunday, such heavy rain increases the risks of "potentially catastrophic flooding."

It is believed to be the most powerful storm to hit Yemen in decades.

"A comparatively weak tropical cyclone in 2008 impacted Yemen with heavy rain and thunderstorms, causing 180 deaths," Vagell wrote on Sunday. "Chapala is expected to be considerably stronger, as forecasts call for the storm to maintain hurricane-equivalent intensity at landfall."


So much horror, suffering and destruction already with Saudi Arabia's brutal war, and now this.

Cyclone Chapala bears down on mainland Yemen

1 hour ago

Chapala is believed to be the most powerful storm that Yemen has seen in decades.

The UN's World Meteorological Organisation described the cyclone as "extremely severe", and said that sea conditions around the centre of the storm were "phenomenal".

"The sea water level has risen by 9m (29ft) and has destroyed the Mukalla seafront," resident Mohammed Ba Zuhair told the Reuters news agency.


"Our problem is we have no one to help us here," he said, explaining the island has one hospital and four ambulances.

Yemen is already dealing with one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, according to the United Nations.

Yemen conflict: What's going on?

The country has been plunged into chaos this year by a conflict between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to deposed President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition in March began bombing the Houthis, who are aligned with Iran.

The widespread fighting has killed thousands of people, many of them civilians, and left millions more desperately short of food, water and medical supplies, the United Nations says.


Hoping this won't be as bad as feared.

Toddler transfixed by airport window encapsulates tragedy of Russian plane crash

Ten-month-old Darina Gromova, a victim of the Russian metrojet crash in Egypt's Sinai Pennisula, is shown in this image taken at the airport terminal just before takeoff. Her mother posted the photo to a social media feed.

Irina Titova and Angela Charlton, The Associated Press
Published Monday, November 2, 2015 3:36PM EST

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Ten-month-old Darina Gromova presses her soft, barely-toddler hands on the window of an airport terminal. "The main passenger," her mother's comment reads, followed by smiley faces.

Tender images like this one, posted on social networks by Russian vacationers in Egypt, mark the last public record of their lives. Darina and her parents were among 224 people killed Saturday when their plane disintegrated in midair.

One couple had just celebrated their anniversary. One young man flew to Sharm el-Sheikh to propose to his bride. At least three victims marked birthdays during their trip, according to postings on Russian network VKontakte, Instagram and other sites.


Mystery, confusion surround final moments before Russian plane crash

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Mystery and confusion surrounded the final moments of a Russian jetliner that plummeted suddenly from high altitude to the Egyptian desert, killing all 224 people aboard......

A Russian government plane brought 130 bodies and partial remains to St. Petersburg. The city is holding three days of mourning through Tuesday.

In his first public appearance since the crash, Putin described it as an "enormous tragedy" and said his thoughts are with the families of the victims.

Mourners have been coming to St. Petersburg's airport since Saturday with flowers, pictures of the victims, stuffed animals and paper planes. Others went to churches and lit candles in memory of the dead.

Sunday was a national day of mourning, and flags flew at half-mast across Russia.


At least 59 Canadian soldiers died by suicide after Afghanistan war

The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 02, 2015 10:39PM EST
Last updated Monday, Nov. 02, 2015 10:39PM EST

After long refusing to disclose how many soldiers have killed themselves after serving in the Afghanistan war, the Canadian military released new figures late Monday that raises the suicide count to at least 59.

The updated tally includes 53 who were still-serving military members and six veterans identified through a Globe and Mail investigation. The new count is five higher than the number uncovered by The Globe and includes four suicides of active-duty members that have occurred this year.

The Unremembered

158 Canadian soldiers died in the Afghanistan mission. But the losses did not end there. A Globe and Mail investigation reveals a disturbing number the military has kept secret: that at least 54 soldiers and vets killed themselves after they returned from war


OROMOCTO, N.B. The Globe and Mail Last updated: Monday, Nov. 02, 2015 3:45PM EST

The Canadian army desperately needed men like Scott Smith.

A hard-nosed counsellor who worked with troubled teens in the Vancouver Island wilderness, he looked the part of a soldier. He was tall and muscular, with a gruff appearance that concealed his fun-loving side.

Cpl. Scott Smith was a counsellor at a wilderness camp for troubled teens on Vancouver Island before joining the military in 2009.

He came back a frayed man, his mind ravaged by the eternal replay of war. He started drinking more and spending less time with his wife and two young boys. Large crowds spooked him. Even an outing to a pumpkin patch he found unnerving.

Last December, two years after returning from Afghanistan, Cpl. Smith, who had counselled others against suicide, ended his own life after a military Christmas party. He was 31 years old.


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