US drone strike kills 14-35 in eastern Afghanistan on Monday
January 23, 2013

According to provincial officials in the eastern Afghan province in Nuristan, US drones fired multiple missiles against the Kamdish District late Monday, causing “around 35” casualties, with others reporting at least 14 deaths in the strike. Local officials termed all the slain suspects.

Oddly, NATO officials insisted they had no information about any operations ongoing in the region, and they declined to speculate whether there was a strike at all, though not all drone strikes are necessarily coordinated through NATO.

The Kamdish District borders Chitral, Pakistan, which is part of Malakand. The region is near Pakistani militant positions, but is not specifically associated with any militant groups nor US drone strikes against them.

Nuristan Province has been contested repeatedly by the Taliban, with the Taliban setting up its own government and being the de facto rulers off and on for years. The US has redeployed troops since the 2009 withdrawal from the region, but the Taliban maintains a significant presence.

Source

A protest has erupted in Amman, as decisions to raise gas prices by 30% have come into force at midnight tonight — an hour ago or so.

November 13, 2012

All evening, gas stations I walked past had perhaps 20+ cars queuing, trying to get a full tank before the price hike.

The protest I was just watching, by the Ministry of Interior roundabout, had a couple of hundred people but some very virulent anti-King Abdallah slogans. Including the quintessential “الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام”  The people demand the downfall of the regime. (yes, that sounds familiar doesn’t it).

Another slogan I thought was impressive: الحرية من الله غصب عنك عبد الله — (Freedom is from God whether you like it or not, Abdallah). Yet another called the King “the patron of corruption”.

After a good hour and a half the police – regular police, anti-riot police, plain-clothed, and even guys in camouflage uniform – went to break the protest, running after protesters with batons. No teargas in case you were wondering.

Below are a few of my photos from 1/2 hour ago. All are licensed under CC — feel free to use and share, with attribution. [Flickr set is here]

Source

Climate change & Mideast insecurity: The hidden connectionNovember 4, 2012
The remarkable silence of this year’s presidential candidates on the issue of global warming was all the more notable during Monday’s debate on foreign policy. For all the talk of violent threats to American security in Syria and North Africa, neither candidate connected them to a powerful contributing cause: climate change.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded in 2011 that “human-caused climate change [is now] a major factor in more frequent Mediterranean droughts.” That helps explain why Syria for the past five years has experienced what one expert called “the worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago.”
An important article published by the Center for Climate and Security this year notes the drought — which was compounded by government mismanagement of water resources — plunged more than a million Syrians into extreme poverty and hunger. The famine prompted hundreds of thousands of people to flee their villages for the cities, at a time when the country’s social infrastructure was already burdened by the strain of housing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees.
The Assad regime’s inept response to this social crisis helped fuel political protests that led to the country’s civil war when the government rebuffed them with force. “Indeed,” the authors note, “the rural farming town of Dara’a was the focal point for protests in the early stages of the opposition movement last year — a place that was especially hard hit by five years of drought and water scarcity, with little assistance from the al-Assad regime.”
Similar factors contributed to the earlier eruption of social protests across North Africa that produced the “Arab Spring,” according to a study by researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI). They found a powerful correlation between high food prices and mass riots. As they pointed out, “widespread unrest does not arise from long-standing political failings of the system, but rather from its sudden perceived failure to provide essential security to the population.”
Sure enough, the protests that swept the Arab world began as the Food and Agriculture Organization’s world Food Price Index peaked at nearly 240 in the winter of 2010-11, up from about 150 in 2009 and the low 100s earlier in the decade.
More trouble may be brewing in coming months if this explanation is correct. The historic U.S. drought this summer, combined with droughts in Russia and neighboring food exporters, have spurred soaring food prices. The FAO’s index hit 216 in September.
Any index reading over 210 represents a dangerously high level, according to the NECSI study. “Such a threat to security should be a key concern to policymakers worldwide,” it warned. “While some variation in the form of unrest may occur due to local differences in government, desperate populations are likely to resort to violence even in democratic regimes.”
Source

Climate change & Mideast insecurity: The hidden connection
November 4, 2012

The remarkable silence of this year’s presidential candidates on the issue of global warming was all the more notable during Monday’s debate on foreign policy. For all the talk of violent threats to American security in Syria and North Africa, neither candidate connected them to a powerful contributing cause: climate change.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded in 2011 that “human-caused climate change [is now] a major factor in more frequent Mediterranean droughts.” That helps explain why Syria for the past five years has experienced what one expert called “the worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago.”

An important article published by the Center for Climate and Security this year notes the drought — which was compounded by government mismanagement of water resources — plunged more than a million Syrians into extreme poverty and hunger. The famine prompted hundreds of thousands of people to flee their villages for the cities, at a time when the country’s social infrastructure was already burdened by the strain of housing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees.

The Assad regime’s inept response to this social crisis helped fuel political protests that led to the country’s civil war when the government rebuffed them with force. “Indeed,” the authors note, “the rural farming town of Dara’a was the focal point for protests in the early stages of the opposition movement last year — a place that was especially hard hit by five years of drought and water scarcity, with little assistance from the al-Assad regime.”

Similar factors contributed to the earlier eruption of social protests across North Africa that produced the “Arab Spring,” according to a study by researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI). They found a powerful correlation between high food prices and mass riots. As they pointed out, “widespread unrest does not arise from long-standing political failings of the system, but rather from its sudden perceived failure to provide essential security to the population.”

Sure enough, the protests that swept the Arab world began as the Food and Agriculture Organization’s world Food Price Index peaked at nearly 240 in the winter of 2010-11, up from about 150 in 2009 and the low 100s earlier in the decade.

More trouble may be brewing in coming months if this explanation is correct. The historic U.S. drought this summer, combined with droughts in Russia and neighboring food exporters, have spurred soaring food prices. The FAO’s index hit 216 in September.

Any index reading over 210 represents a dangerously high level, according to the NECSI study. “Such a threat to security should be a key concern to policymakers worldwide,” it warned. “While some variation in the form of unrest may occur due to local differences in government, desperate populations are likely to resort to violence even in democratic regimes.”

Source

"What is left is just pieces of bodies & cloth": New report details horror of living under drones in PakistanSeptember 25, 2012
On the morning of March 17, 2011, Ahmed Jan joined over 40 other people at a bus station in Datta Khel, North Waziristan in Pakistan to settle a community issue in a large meeting, or jirga. The group split up into two circles, about 12 feet apart from each other, and despite the drones buzzing overhead, those present later described feeling “secure and isolated” from the drones. It was a sanctioned meeting and Pakistani authorities had been made aware of it.
Jan was sitting in one of those circles when he heard a “hissing sound.” An instant later a drone-fired missile struck the middle of his group, sending his body flying and killing everyone around him.
At least one more missile was fired, hitting the second group. Another witness, Idris Farid, said, “Everything was devastated. There were pieces - body pieces - lying around. There was lots of flesh and blood.”
At least 42 people were killed that day, many of them civilians. The Obama administration claims, to this day, that all those killed were insurgents.
This information comes from a new report jointly released by human rights attorneys from Stanford and New York University (NYU) that details with disturbing clarity the horror that it is to live in a drone-patrolled region.
The report, which draws on over 130 interviews of Waziris the researchers conducted, is in many ways the clearest evidence yet that the US drone program is not the precise, limited, restrained program US citizens are meant to believe it is. Rather, those interviewed describe a panopticon in which simple acts like going to school, going to the market, even simply gathering in a group in someone’s house, become life-threatening.
"The presence of drones and knowledge that drones can strike anywhere, at any moment, leads civilians to feel routinely anxious about potential strikes," said Professor Sarah Knuckey, a human rights lawyer at NYU, and former advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, as well as one of the report’s authors, in an interview with Truthout. "They feel helpless to protect themselves."
Weddings and especially funerals have become nearly impossible to attend. The US often targets funerals for drone strikes, one of many practices associated with the drone program that are very possibly in violation of international law, according to the report’s authors. Those who do attend funerals for those killed by drones, report a nightmarish scene of anonymous body parts buried together because the bodies have been so completely blown apart.
The report states, quoting Idris Farid again:

"The community had to collect [the victims’] body pieces and bones and then bury them like that," doing their best to "identify the pieces and the body parts" so that the relatives at the funeral would be satisfied they had "the right parts of the body and the right person."

Khalil Khan, who was at the bazaar when the strike occurred, said when he got to the scene he couldn’t identify body parts. Unsure of what else to do, Khan said he “collect[ed] pieces of flesh and put them in a coffin.”
The report also details the practice referred to as a “double tap,” in which the same target is struck multiple times in quick succession. The result is that locals trying to provide help, and sometimes official humanitarian aid workers, are hit in the follow-up attacks. The authors conclude:

Evidence uncovered by our research team that humanitarian actors may not attend to strikes immediately because of second-strike fears is especially troubling. As UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns observed, "[I]f civilian ‘rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: Those strikes are a war crime…."

Pakistan has been the main country where drones have been used, though hardly the only one. Haykal Bafana, a lawyer in Yemen, described his two young daughters’ reaction to seeing a drone. “My daughters were jumping up and down shouting, ‘Aeroplane! Aeroplane!’” he said to me in an email. “I found that extremely disturbing, as I could picture the same scene in other parts of Yemen or Somalia, even as the drone fires a Hellfire missile. Terrifying thought.”
For many in North Waziristan and Yemen, that terrifying thought is an inescapable part of life. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported that between 474 and 884 civilians have been killed as a result of drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. Of those, 176 are children. The report quotes Feroz Ali Khan, whose father-in-law’s home was hit, who described the aftermath of a missile strike: “Whatever is left is just little pieces of bodies and cloth.”
Drones are a bipartisan issue. You can’t cast a vote for a viable candidate in 2012 who won’t continue to - in the words of the report - “terrorize” the people of Pakistan, of Yemen, of Somalia, with flying robots. The ACLU has called the drone program the “centerpiece of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies.” Mitt Romney has promised to continue the program on the off-chance he’s elected, andhas even gone so far as to say Pakistanis are “comfortable” with drones.
Beyond that, critics like Glenn Greenwald have argued that the establishment media has served primarily as a tool the Obama administration has used to display its so-called strength in going against accused terrorists. Greenwald and others have argued that nearly all that the public knows about the program comes from leaks that serve to show Obama’s warrior power, while the CIA still refuses to acknowledge the program based on what they call national security grounds.
As a result, people in the US have a hugely favorable view of drones. One survey conducted in June of this year showed a 62 percent approval for drones, while another from February showed an approval rating of 83 percent.
To the extent that we talk about drones at all in this country, we talk about the accused terrorists they ostensibly target. At least one of the reasons those poll numbers are so high is the complete absence of the stories of the people in North Waziristan. This report, which Sarah Knuckey described to Truthout as “intended to insert the stories of those who bear the brunt of US drone strike policies - civilians in North Waziristan - into US public and policy-maker debates,” takes an important step toward achieving that goal.
Source
President Obama has escalated the drone war in several countries to an unforeseen extent. Then we call them savages or terrorists when they fight back & ferociously protest at US embassies.
The US promised freedom & democracy, but all we are doing is destroying entire communities & killing innocent civilians.  

"What is left is just pieces of bodies & cloth": New report details horror of living under drones in Pakistan
September 25, 2012

On the morning of March 17, 2011, Ahmed Jan joined over 40 other people at a bus station in Datta Khel, North Waziristan in Pakistan to settle a community issue in a large meeting, or jirga. The group split up into two circles, about 12 feet apart from each other, and despite the drones buzzing overhead, those present later described feeling “secure and isolated” from the drones. It was a sanctioned meeting and Pakistani authorities had been made aware of it.

Jan was sitting in one of those circles when he heard a “hissing sound.” An instant later a drone-fired missile struck the middle of his group, sending his body flying and killing everyone around him.

At least one more missile was fired, hitting the second group. Another witness, Idris Farid, said, “Everything was devastated. There were pieces - body pieces - lying around. There was lots of flesh and blood.”

At least 42 people were killed that day, many of them civilians. The Obama administration claims, to this day, that all those killed were insurgents.

This information comes from a new report jointly released by human rights attorneys from Stanford and New York University (NYU) that details with disturbing clarity the horror that it is to live in a drone-patrolled region.

The report, which draws on over 130 interviews of Waziris the researchers conducted, is in many ways the clearest evidence yet that the US drone program is not the precise, limited, restrained program US citizens are meant to believe it is. Rather, those interviewed describe a panopticon in which simple acts like going to school, going to the market, even simply gathering in a group in someone’s house, become life-threatening.

"The presence of drones and knowledge that drones can strike anywhere, at any moment, leads civilians to feel routinely anxious about potential strikes," said Professor Sarah Knuckey, a human rights lawyer at NYU, and former advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, as well as one of the report’s authors, in an interview with Truthout. "They feel helpless to protect themselves."

Weddings and especially funerals have become nearly impossible to attend. The US often targets funerals for drone strikes, one of many practices associated with the drone program that are very possibly in violation of international law, according to the report’s authors. Those who do attend funerals for those killed by drones, report a nightmarish scene of anonymous body parts buried together because the bodies have been so completely blown apart.

The report states, quoting Idris Farid again:

"The community had to collect [the victims’] body pieces and bones and then bury them like that," doing their best to "identify the pieces and the body parts" so that the relatives at the funeral would be satisfied they had "the right parts of the body and the right person."

Khalil Khan, who was at the bazaar when the strike occurred, said when he got to the scene he couldn’t identify body parts. Unsure of what else to do, Khan said he “collect[ed] pieces of flesh and put them in a coffin.”

The report also details the practice referred to as a “double tap,” in which the same target is struck multiple times in quick succession. The result is that locals trying to provide help, and sometimes official humanitarian aid workers, are hit in the follow-up attacks. The authors conclude:

Evidence uncovered by our research team that humanitarian actors may not attend to strikes immediately because of second-strike fears is especially troubling. As UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns observed, "[I]f civilian ‘rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: Those strikes are a war crime…."

Pakistan has been the main country where drones have been used, though hardly the only one. Haykal Bafana, a lawyer in Yemen, described his two young daughters’ reaction to seeing a drone. “My daughters were jumping up and down shouting, ‘Aeroplane! Aeroplane!’” he said to me in an email. “I found that extremely disturbing, as I could picture the same scene in other parts of Yemen or Somalia, even as the drone fires a Hellfire missile. Terrifying thought.”

For many in North Waziristan and Yemen, that terrifying thought is an inescapable part of life. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported that between 474 and 884 civilians have been killed as a result of drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. Of those, 176 are children. The report quotes Feroz Ali Khan, whose father-in-law’s home was hit, who described the aftermath of a missile strike: “Whatever is left is just little pieces of bodies and cloth.”

Drones are a bipartisan issue. You can’t cast a vote for a viable candidate in 2012 who won’t continue to - in the words of the report - “terrorize” the people of Pakistan, of Yemen, of Somalia, with flying robots. The ACLU has called the drone program the “centerpiece of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies.” Mitt Romney has promised to continue the program on the off-chance he’s elected, andhas even gone so far as to say Pakistanis are “comfortable” with drones.

Beyond that, critics like Glenn Greenwald have argued that the establishment media has served primarily as a tool the Obama administration has used to display its so-called strength in going against accused terrorists. Greenwald and others have argued that nearly all that the public knows about the program comes from leaks that serve to show Obama’s warrior power, while the CIA still refuses to acknowledge the program based on what they call national security grounds.

As a result, people in the US have a hugely favorable view of drones. One survey conducted in June of this year showed a 62 percent approval for drones, while another from February showed an approval rating of 83 percent.

To the extent that we talk about drones at all in this country, we talk about the accused terrorists they ostensibly target. At least one of the reasons those poll numbers are so high is the complete absence of the stories of the people in North Waziristan. This report, which Sarah Knuckey described to Truthout as “intended to insert the stories of those who bear the brunt of US drone strike policies - civilians in North Waziristan - into US public and policy-maker debates,” takes an important step toward achieving that goal.

Source

President Obama has escalated the drone war in several countries to an unforeseen extent. Then we call them savages or terrorists when they fight back & ferociously protest at US embassies.

The US promised freedom & democracy, but all we are doing is destroying entire communities & killing innocent civilians.  

US deploys forces at Anti-American sentiment grows in Middle EastSeptember 15, 2012
Washington said it was deploying forces to cope with violence in as many as 18 different locations as deadly Muslim anger spreads over a US-made movie that mocks Islam.
Two US marines were killed in Afghanistan when insurgents armed with guns and rockets stormed a heavily fortified air base late on Friday in an attack that the Taliban militia said was to avenge the film.
The attack on Camp Bastion in Helmand province, which continued until Saturday morning, was a major security breach at a base where Britain’s Prince Harry is stationed and has been the target of specific death threats.
It came after at least six protesters died in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Sudan on Friday as local police battled to defend American missions from mobs of stone-throwers.

A Tunisian protester runs for cover from tear gas fired by riot police during a demonstration against a film mocking Islam in Tunis on September 14. Washington said it was deploying forces to cope with violence in as many as 18 different locations as deadly Muslim anger spreads.

Symbols of US influence in cities across the Muslim world came under attack — embassies and schools as well as fast food chains — as protesters vented their fury at the low-budget American-made YouTube film, “Innocence of Muslims”.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Washington was configuring its forces to be able to cope with widespread violence following its deployment of Marine counter-terrorism units to Libya and Yemen and its stationing of two destroyers off the North African coast.
"We have to be prepared in the event that these demonstrations get out of control," Panetta told Foreign Policy magazine.
He did not offer any specifics. But the magazine said that the Pentagon was discussing, but had not yet decided, whether to send a third platoon of 50 specially trained Marines to protect the US embassy in Khartoum.
Guards on the roof of the embassy fired warning shots on Friday as the compound was breached by protesters waving Islamic banners, after earlier ransacking parts of the British and German missions in the Sudanese capital.
The US embassy compounds in Egypt and Yemen have also been breached in the past week, and on Tuesday the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed when a mob torched the consulate in Benghazi.
Source
This is outrageous. People of sovereign countries are furious that the US continues to dehumanize its citizens with military presence and wars that have ravaged entire countries. But the American response is to deploy more military. US imperialism is plaguing the entire world. 

US deploys forces at Anti-American sentiment grows in Middle East
September 15, 2012

Washington said it was deploying forces to cope with violence in as many as 18 different locations as deadly Muslim anger spreads over a US-made movie that mocks Islam.

Two US marines were killed in Afghanistan when insurgents armed with guns and rockets stormed a heavily fortified air base late on Friday in an attack that the Taliban militia said was to avenge the film.

The attack on Camp Bastion in Helmand province, which continued until Saturday morning, was a major security breach at a base where Britain’s Prince Harry is stationed and has been the target of specific death threats.

It came after at least six protesters died in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Sudan on Friday as local police battled to defend American missions from mobs of stone-throwers.

A Tunisian protester runs for cover from tear gas fired by riot police during a demonstration against a film mocking Islam in Tunis on September 14. Washington said it was deploying forces to cope with violence in as many as 18 different locations as deadly Muslim anger spreads.

Symbols of US influence in cities across the Muslim world came under attack — embassies and schools as well as fast food chains — as protesters vented their fury at the low-budget American-made YouTube film, “Innocence of Muslims”.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Washington was configuring its forces to be able to cope with widespread violence following its deployment of Marine counter-terrorism units to Libya and Yemen and its stationing of two destroyers off the North African coast.

"We have to be prepared in the event that these demonstrations get out of control," Panetta told Foreign Policy magazine.

He did not offer any specifics. But the magazine said that the Pentagon was discussing, but had not yet decided, whether to send a third platoon of 50 specially trained Marines to protect the US embassy in Khartoum.

Guards on the roof of the embassy fired warning shots on Friday as the compound was breached by protesters waving Islamic banners, after earlier ransacking parts of the British and German missions in the Sudanese capital.

The US embassy compounds in Egypt and Yemen have also been breached in the past week, and on Tuesday the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed when a mob torched the consulate in Benghazi.

Source

This is outrageous. People of sovereign countries are furious that the US continues to dehumanize its citizens with military presence and wars that have ravaged entire countries. But the American response is to deploy more military. US imperialism is plaguing the entire world. 

Palestinians design solar car to not buy petrol from IsraelAugust 23, 2012
Necessity is the mother of invention, and for Palestinians living on the West Bank trying to break their dependence on Israel for energy has resulted in a new solar powered vehicle.
The four-seater is covered in solar panels to convert the suns rays into energy to power a small electric motor which pushes the vehicle along at 20 Kph for about 10 hours. And if the sun doesn’t shine it can be plugged into the wall, and the battery recharged from the mains.  
It looks a bit like an over-sized golf cart and took the Royal Industrial Trading Company around two months and $5000 to develop. 
“This car was the first step, and now we are working on two other cars. If the work is successful, then we will do a lot of cars and sell them”, says Nabel Az-Zagheer, chairman of the Royal Industrial Trading Company.
Based in the town of Al-Khalil, the company specialises in sanitation and water supply products, and adapted them to create the new vehicle.  
A greater use of solar energy could help the people of the West Bank escape escalating energy prices. 
Israel has control over the fuel supply to the Palestinian population, and according to the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian Authority is obliged not to sell its gasoline for less than 15 percent of Israel’s market price, reports the The Electronic Intifada.
"Such supply monopolies are a form of power. They provide easy ways to exert political pressure on the Palestinian Authority and ordinary Palestinians and to enforce their compliance with Israel’s interests", Charles Shamas, a founder of the Mattin Group, a Ramallah-based research and advocacy organization told the Middle East Media Center.  
The Palestinians are also heavily dependent on electric power provided by Israel. A power station in Gaza provides some 40% percent of the Strip’s electricity; the rest has to be purchased from Israel.  Some small amounts are also sold by Egypt and Jordan. 
“We want to lower as much as possible our dependence on Israel, because we won’t be able to reach a reasonable level of national security if Israel can, at any point, disconnect our electricity, and even harm the power plant in Gaza, as it did in 2006 as punishment for the abduction of Gilad Shalit,” Hanna Siniora, chairperson of the Palestinian-American Chamber of Commerce, has told Al-Monitor.com
Constantly rising fuel prices affect the cost of basic foodstuffs such as maize, vegetable oil and bread. 
Palestinian efforts to reduce its dependency on Israeli energy have met strong opposition from Tel Aviv.
In March RT reported on Israel’s plans to bulldoze eight solar panels in the West Bank. They were donated by a number of international charities in 2009, yet have were deemed “illegal” by Israeli authorities due to the lack of an appropriate building permit. 
The 62% of the West Bank controlled by Israel is not connected to the national energy grid. On the other hand, the Jewish settlements in the area are connected to national energy and water grids, reports the Guardian.
"We saw a systematic targeting of the water infrastructure in Hebron, Bethlehem and the Jordan valley. Now, in the last couple of months, they are targeting electricity. Two villages in the area have had their electrical poles torn down. There is a systematic effort by the civil administration targeting all Palestinian infrastructure in Hebron. They are hoping that by making it miserable enough, they [the Palestinians] will pick up and leave," an anonymous UN expert told the Guardian.
Source
So. Awesome. 

Palestinians design solar car to not buy petrol from Israel
August 23, 2012

Necessity is the mother of invention, and for Palestinians living on the West Bank trying to break their dependence on Israel for energy has resulted in a new solar powered vehicle.

The four-seater is covered in solar panels to convert the suns rays into energy to power a small electric motor which pushes the vehicle along at 20 Kph for about 10 hours. And if the sun doesn’t shine it can be plugged into the wall, and the battery recharged from the mains.  

It looks a bit like an over-sized golf cart and took the Royal Industrial Trading Company around two months and $5000 to develop. 

“This car was the first step, and now we are working on two other cars. If the work is successful, then we will do a lot of cars and sell them”, says Nabel Az-Zagheer, chairman of the Royal Industrial Trading Company.

Based in the town of Al-Khalil, the company specialises in sanitation and water supply products, and adapted them to create the new vehicle.  

A greater use of solar energy could help the people of the West Bank escape escalating energy prices. 

Israel has control over the fuel supply to the Palestinian population, and according to the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian Authority is obliged not to sell its gasoline for less than 15 percent of Israel’s market price, reports the The Electronic Intifada.

"Such supply monopolies are a form of power. They provide easy ways to exert political pressure on the Palestinian Authority and ordinary Palestinians and to enforce their compliance with Israel’s interests", Charles Shamas, a founder of the Mattin Group, a Ramallah-based research and advocacy organization told the Middle East Media Center.  

The Palestinians are also heavily dependent on electric power provided by Israel. A power station in Gaza provides some 40% percent of the Strip’s electricity; the rest has to be purchased from Israel.  Some small amounts are also sold by Egypt and Jordan. 

“We want to lower as much as possible our dependence on Israel, because we won’t be able to reach a reasonable level of national security if Israel can, at any point, disconnect our electricity, and even harm the power plant in Gaza, as it did in 2006 as punishment for the abduction of Gilad Shalit,” Hanna Siniora, chairperson of the Palestinian-American Chamber of Commerce, has told Al-Monitor.com

Constantly rising fuel prices affect the cost of basic foodstuffs such as maize, vegetable oil and bread. 

Palestinian efforts to reduce its dependency on Israeli energy have met strong opposition from Tel Aviv.

In March RT reported on Israel’s plans to bulldoze eight solar panels in the West Bank. They were donated by a number of international charities in 2009, yet have were deemed “illegal” by Israeli authorities due to the lack of an appropriate building permit. 

The 62% of the West Bank controlled by Israel is not connected to the national energy grid. On the other hand, the Jewish settlements in the area are connected to national energy and water grids, reports the Guardian.

"We saw a systematic targeting of the water infrastructure in Hebron, Bethlehem and the Jordan valley. Now, in the last couple of months, they are targeting electricity. Two villages in the area have had their electrical poles torn down. There is a systematic effort by the civil administration targeting all Palestinian infrastructure in Hebron. They are hoping that by making it miserable enough, they [the Palestinians] will pick up and leave," an anonymous UN expert told the Guardian.

Source

So. Awesome. 

At least nine “militants” were killed when US drones targeted a vehicle at 7 pm on Tuesday in the Sheen Khwar area on the outskirts of Humzonee village
In an effort to avoid criticism for murdering thousands of random civilians, the term militant is defined by the Obama administration as being a male over the age of 18 (military age). 
August 23, 2012
The official told The Express Tribune that four missiles were fired on the vehicle. He added that it could not be ascertained whether any senior insurgents were among the dead.
“The militants were leaving a house for an undisclosed location when they were attacked by the drones,” the official said.
A local tribesman said that he was on the way to his house when two drones launched four missiles on the militants’ vehicle, adding that the militants were from the group of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, an influential commander who is believed to be hosting the Haqqani network, the deadliest of all Afghan Taliban groups.
Another official in Miramshah said a compound near the vehicle was also damaged in the strike. “One of the missiles also hit a nearby compound which was badly damaged after catching fire,” he said.
Earlier on Sunday, at least six militants were killed when US drones fired missiles twice in North Waziristan.
Humzonee village is inhibited by the Dawar tribe and is located close to the Miramshah market.
There has been a dramatic increase in US drone strikes in Pakistan since May, this year.
Source
The Obama administration continues to proudly kill as many people near and around Pakistan as they can. Everyday the people of Pakistan become more and more outraged by the increasing violence via drone strikes that is being perpretrated against civilians in that country. By defining “militants” as young men, we are creating the next generation of real militants. What choice do they have? Fight back or roll over and wait to die seems to be their only options. Meanwhile, Obama spends millions on the campaign trail and sleeps well knowing that more Pakistani civilians die every day.
People who care about national security in America should be outraged and should demand everyday that these drone strikes stop immediately.

At least nine “militants” were killed when US drones targeted a vehicle at 7 pm on Tuesday in the Sheen Khwar area on the outskirts of Humzonee village

In an effort to avoid criticism for murdering thousands of random civilians, the term militant is defined by the Obama administration as being a male over the age of 18 (military age).

August 23, 2012

The official told The Express Tribune that four missiles were fired on the vehicle. He added that it could not be ascertained whether any senior insurgents were among the dead.

“The militants were leaving a house for an undisclosed location when they were attacked by the drones,” the official said.

A local tribesman said that he was on the way to his house when two drones launched four missiles on the militants’ vehicle, adding that the militants were from the group of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, an influential commander who is believed to be hosting the Haqqani network, the deadliest of all Afghan Taliban groups.

Another official in Miramshah said a compound near the vehicle was also damaged in the strike. “One of the missiles also hit a nearby compound which was badly damaged after catching fire,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, at least six militants were killed when US drones fired missiles twice in North Waziristan.

Humzonee village is inhibited by the Dawar tribe and is located close to the Miramshah market.

There has been a dramatic increase in US drone strikes in Pakistan since May, this year.

Source

The Obama administration continues to proudly kill as many people near and around Pakistan as they can. Everyday the people of Pakistan become more and more outraged by the increasing violence via drone strikes that is being perpretrated against civilians in that country. By defining “militants” as young men, we are creating the next generation of real militants. What choice do they have? Fight back or roll over and wait to die seems to be their only options. Meanwhile, Obama spends millions on the campaign trail and sleeps well knowing that more Pakistani civilians die every day.

People who care about national security in America should be outraged and should demand everyday that these drone strikes stop immediately.

US drones kill 10 in northwest Pakistan

August 20, 2012

American drones fired a flurry of missiles in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan Sunday, killing a total of 10 suspected militants, Pakistani officials said.

In the first strike, missiles fired from unmanned American spy planes hit two vehicles near the Afghan border, killing at least seven militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The strike came in the Mana area of North Waziristan, the officials added.

The officials say the area is dominated by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a commander whose forces often strike U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but they did not know whether his men were the targets of Sundays’ strike. A U.S. drone strike Saturday also in North Waziristan killed five Gul Bahadur allies.

About 10 hours later on Sunday, two missiles destroyed a home also in the Mana area, killing three militants, the officials said.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

The drone program is hotly contested in Pakistan.

Most Pakistanis feel the strikes violate the country’s sovereignty and kill innocent civilians. The U.S. maintains they are directed against militants and necessary to combat groups like al-Qaida.

North Waziristan is one of the last tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan, where the military has yet to launch an operation to root out militants. The area has become a safe haven for fighters who use it as a base from which to attack American and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Source

Note: President Obama has redefined the word “militant” to mean any male of fighting age.

Amnesty International & other international organizations have condemned U.S. drones as unlawful & said they raise serious questions about human rights violations in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan & Iraq.  

Anti-regime protests continue to flood BahrainJuly 29, 2012
Bahraini protesters have taken to the streets again across the sheikdom, calling for an end to the reign of the ruling monarchy.
The anti-regime protesters rallied in several villages on Saturday, chanting slogans against the Al Khalifa regime. The demonstrators also expressed solidarity with anti-regime protesters in neighboring Saudi Arabia and called for the immediate release of jailed Saudi cleric Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr. Anti-government demonstrations continue across the country, despite crackdown by the Manama regime. Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reform and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, a plea that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests. Bahraini demonstrators hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the death of protesters during the uprising. Meanwhile, Saudi anti-regime protesters held fresh demonstrations across Riyadh as well as the holy city of Mecca to protest against the arrest of political prisoners, including Sheikh al-Nemr. 
Source

Anti-regime protests continue to flood Bahrain
July 29, 2012

Bahraini protesters have taken to the streets again across the sheikdom, calling for an end to the reign of the ruling monarchy.

The anti-regime protesters rallied in several villages on Saturday, chanting slogans against the Al Khalifa regime. 

The demonstrators also expressed solidarity with anti-regime protesters in neighboring Saudi Arabia and called for the immediate release of jailed Saudi cleric Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr. 

Anti-government demonstrations continue across the country, despite crackdown by the Manama regime. 

Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reform and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, a plea that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests. 

Bahraini demonstrators hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the death of protesters during the uprising. 

Meanwhile, Saudi anti-regime protesters held fresh demonstrations across Riyadh as well as the holy city of Mecca to protest against the arrest of political prisoners, including Sheikh al-Nemr. 

Source

US drone kills 7 in Waziristan

July 29, 2012

A US drone attack Sunday killed at least seven militants in Pakistan, officials said, days before the country’s intelligence chief visits Washington with the contentious raids likely to be discussed.

Attacks by unmanned American aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but US officials are said to believe the attacks are too important to give up.

Drone strikes are likely to be a major issue when Pakistan’s spymaster, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam, holds talks in Washington on August 1-3 with his CIA counterpart.

In Sunday’s attack, the second in the month of Ramadan, missiles struck a compound in Khushhali Turikhel village of the troubled North Waziristan tribal district, which lies on the border with Afghanistan.

“US drones fired six missiles into a militant compound. At least seven militants were killed,” a security official told AFP. “It is not immediately clear if there was an important militant killed in the attack.”

The toll might rise as militants search for colleagues buried under the rubble of the compound, the official said, adding that missiles also hit and destroyed two militant vehicles. Local intelligence officials confirmed the attack and casualties.

The United Nations & Amnesty International have both condemned U.S. drones as unlawful & said they raise serious questions about human rights violations in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan & Iraq. 

Source

Video shows American singing ‘Bye, bye Miss American Pie’ before firing at a group of civilians
July 7, 2012

A video has surfaced online that appears to show a US helicopter crew singing “Bye-bye Miss American Pie” before blasting a group of Afghan men with a Hellfire missile.

The footage comes in the wake of a string of damaging videos and pictures showing US forces in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead insurgents, and posing with the remains of suicide bombers and civilians killed for sport by a group of rogue soldiers.

If it is proved to be authentic, it could further undermine the image of foreign forces in a country where there is already deep resentment owing to civilian deaths and a perception among many Afghans that US troops lack respect for Afghan culture and people.

The posting says the video was recorded in Wardak province, which lies south-west of the capital, Kabul, in September 2009. The caption refers sarcastically to a group of “innocent farmers planting poppy seeds in the middle of the road”.

Source

…and somehow people still wonder why the US is so despised. 

US drone kills at least 17 in North Waziristan

July 6, 2012

A US drone attack has killed at least 17 people in Zoi Narai, Datta Khel tehsil of North Waziristan on Friday, reported Express News.

According to initial reports, a remotely piloted drone aircraft fired six  missiles at a house. At least two people were reported to have been injured in the attack.

Islamabad has repeatedly denounced drone attacks on its tribal areas as counterproductive to the overall fight against terror, and that such unilateral actions violate the country’s sovereignty and provoke militancy.

Human rights activists have also condemned drone strikes for the high number of civilian casualties.

The Obama administration claims drones are important in taking out al Qaeda linked militants.

The United Nations & Amnesty International have both condemned U.S. drones as unlawful & said they raise serious questions about human rights violations in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan & Iraq. 

Source


The war clouds are gathering as both Israel and the United States continue to make threatening gestures over Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. And yet, it is rarely mentioned that Israel has a known stockpile of nuclear warheads … and that the presence of these warheads is the primary catalyst for the regional nuclear arms race. All that is beginning to change: a global push is now underway to make the entire Middle East a nuclear-free zone. Already there are signs that the world could reach consensus on this proposal. For one, a recent poll revealed that 64% of Israelis would support a nuclear-free Middle East that included Israel and Iran. This meme may be the only practical initiative that can bring peace.
Now the Guardian reports that in December, 2012 Finland will host “a historic conference bringing Iran and Israel together with Arab states to discuss a ban on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East… A British foreign office spokesman said the UK believed that a Middle East free of all WMD and their means of delivery was an achievable goal, and one which was vital to the long-term peace and security of the region… The promise to work for the creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East dates back to 1995, when states without nuclear weapons demanded it as part of the price for them to stay in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and not seek their own arsenals.”
At #OCCUPYCHICAGO and beyond, can we seize the historic opportunity of back-to-back G8 and NATO summits and begin dictating to our leaders what we, the people, want? Can Occupy end the Iran war before it begins with a simple demand that 99% of the world, including Israelis and Iranians, can get behind: a nuclear-free Middle East as a concrete step toward a nuclear-free world?

via adbusters.org

The war clouds are gathering as both Israel and the United States continue to make threatening gestures over Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. And yet, it is rarely mentioned that Israel has a known stockpile of nuclear warheads … and that the presence of these warheads is the primary catalyst for the regional nuclear arms race. All that is beginning to change: a global push is now underway to make the entire Middle East a nuclear-free zone. Already there are signs that the world could reach consensus on this proposal. For one, a recent poll revealed that 64% of Israelis would support a nuclear-free Middle East that included Israel and Iran. This meme may be the only practical initiative that can bring peace.

Now the Guardian reports that in December, 2012 Finland will host “a historic conference bringing Iran and Israel together with Arab states to discuss a ban on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East… A British foreign office spokesman said the UK believed that a Middle East free of all WMD and their means of delivery was an achievable goal, and one which was vital to the long-term peace and security of the region… The promise to work for the creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East dates back to 1995, when states without nuclear weapons demanded it as part of the price for them to stay in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and not seek their own arsenals.”

At #OCCUPYCHICAGO and beyond, can we seize the historic opportunity of back-to-back G8 and NATO summits and begin dictating to our leaders what we, the people, want? Can Occupy end the Iran war before it begins with a simple demand that 99% of the world, including Israelis and Iranians, can get behind: a nuclear-free Middle East as a concrete step toward a nuclear-free world?


via adbusters.org