15 Sep

UN Report: Palestine



gaza 2                        

On 7 July 2014, the Israeli army launched a military op-
eration code-named “Protective Edge”, in the Gaza
Strip, following several weeks of escalation. The scale
of destruction, devastation and displacement wreaked
in the 50 days of conflict that ensued is unprecedented
in Gaza, since at least the start of the Israeli occupation
in 1967. Following several short-lived cease-fires, on 26
August, the parties to the conflict reached an open-end-
ed cease-fire which has held to date.
On 13, 18 and 19 August, under the coordination of
OCHA, a Multi-Cluster/Agency Initial Rapid Assessment
(MIRA) was carried out in Gaza with the aim of gather-
ing baseline information on the needs arising from the
military operation, and informing the humanitarian re-
sponse. A 400-point questionnaire was developed and
the assessment teams, drawn from the relevant clusters,
UN agencies, NGOs, and line ministries visited all five
governorates and 25 municipalities in Gaza. The list of
informants included community leaders, NGOs, CBOs,
mayors, teachers, youths, IDPs, health experts, and
representatives from the electricity and water utilities.
Among the key findings:
1. Protection concerns
Due to the densely populated and urbanized nature of
Gaza, virtually the whole population was exposed to
conflict and affected by damage to vital electricity and
water infrastructure. Palestinians residing east of Salah
ad-Din Road, in northern Gaza, Rafah and certain parts
of Gaza City were particularly affected. Throughout the
conflict there was a real fear among the population that
no person or place was safe, as evidenced by attacks on
hospitals, residential buildings and schools designated
as shelters. Psychosocial distress levels, already high
among the population of Gaza, have worsened signifi-
cantly as a result of the conflict.
The lack of protection is most evident in the high level
of civilian casualties. According to preliminary data col-
lected by the Protection Cluster, since 7 July up to 28
August, at least 2,133 Palestinians have been killed. This
figure includes 362 persons who could not be yet identi-
fied or their status established. Of the initially verified
cases, 1,489 are believed to be civilians, including 500
children (187 girls and 313 boys), 257 women and 282
members of armed groups. Many fatalities involved mul-
tiple family members, with at least 142 Palestinian fami-
lies having three or more members killed in the same
incident, for a total of 739 fatalities. According to the
Palestinian Ministry of Health, over 11,100 Palestinians,
including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elder-
ly were injured. Preliminary estimates indicate that up
to 1,000 of the children injured will have a permanent
disability and up to 1,500 orphaned children will need
sustained support from the child protection and welfare
Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), from Israeli fire, are
widely dispersed in and around homes and public spac-
es and buildings throughout Gaza. It is estimated that
some 1,900 items have to be secured, including non-
exploded tank shells, missiles, aircraft bombs, rockets,
bullets, shrapnel, fuses, gas canisters and flechettes.
These, in addition to ERW contamination from Palestin-
ian armed groups, pose a major risk to the population,
especially to children. The main priority is the clearance
of ERW and risk awareness campaigns.
In addition, an increase in the prevalence of a number
of existing protection concerns was identified during
the assessment. These included excessive disciplinary
measures by parents/teachers against children (violence
against children was identified in 16 of 25 municipali-
ties); manifestations of gender-based violence (GBV);
and increased stress and domestic violence among the
affected population. The crisis exacerbated existing
child protection issues and undermined protective fac-
tors. Children witnessed parents and family being killed
and were confronted with the added distress associated
with displacement – and being separated from their
families – in addition to the tense and volatile situation
in shelters. An estimated 373,000 children will require
specialized psychosocial support.

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15 Sep

Obama Declares Perpetual War

Monday, 15 September 2014 10:15

The O’Leary:This is probably the most stupid action he has taken; it is also very dangerous.


President Barack Obama delivers a televised address from the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, Sept. 10, 2014. President Obama said that he was ordering a significantly expanded military campaign against Sunni militants in the Middle East that includes American airstrikes in Syria. (Photo: Saul Loeb / Pool via The New York Times)

President Barack Obama escalated the drone war he has conducted for the past five and a half years by declaring his intention to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or ISIL. Since August 8, Obama has mounted at least 154 airstrikes in Iraq. He will send 475 additional US troops, increasing the total number in Iraq to about 1,600. Obama announced he would conduct “a systematic campaign of airstrikes” in Iraq, and possibly in Syria. But, not limiting himself to those countries, Obama declared the whole world his battlefield, stating “We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are . . . if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

If, indeed, there were an imminent threat of attack on the United States, Obama would be legally entitled to launch a military operation. The United Nations Charter, which prohibits the use of military force, allows an exception when a country acts in self-defense. Under the well-established Caroline doctrine, the “necessity for self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” The only problem is, Obama admitted, “We have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland.” Citing only the vague possibility of future “deadly attacks,” Obama nevertheless declared a perpetual war with no specific end time.

The only other exception to the UN Charter’s prohibition on military force is when the Security Council has given its approval. Obama said he would chair a meeting of the Council in two weeks’ time to “mobilize the international community.” But the Charter requires that the Council countenance the military operation before it occurs. The proposed resolution the Council is slated to adopt will reportedly call on countries to criminalize recruitment and travel of foreign fighters that join extremist military forces, and require the sharing of airline passenger information. It will not, however, authorize military force. Obama’s war violates the UN Charter, a treaty the United States has ratified, making it part of US law under the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

Obama’s war also violates the War Powers Resolution, which permits the president to introduce US Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities only in three situations. First, after Congress has declared war, which has not happened in this case. Second, in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces,” which again, has not occurred. Third, when there is “specific statutory authorization.” Obama has not asked Congress to authorize his military attacks.

Indeed, Obama declared, “I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL.” He was relying on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that Congress passed in 2001, which President George W. Bush used to invade Afghanistan. But that AUMF only authorized force against individuals, groups and countries that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11 terrorist attacks. ISIS did not even exist in 2001. In fact, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s leader, formally kicked ISIS out of al-Qaeda earlier this year.

When it passed the 2001 AUMF, Congress specifically rejected the Bush administration’s request for open-ended military authority “to deter and preempt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States.” Moreover, in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, Congress specified, “Nothing in this section is intended to . . . expand the authority of the President or the scope of the [2001 AUMF].”

Apparently, Obama is also relying on the 2002 AUMF, in which Congress authorized the president to use the armed forces as he determines necessary and appropriate to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, and to enforce all relevant UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. But since that threat and those resolutions were aimed at Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, that license, too, has ended. Indeed, in June, the White House declared that the 2002 AUMF “is no longer used for any US government activities.” That means Obama’s current war is not simply a continuation of Bush’s Iraq war, and the 2002 AUMF does not provide Obama with legal license to mount his military attacks.

The War Powers Resolution requires Obama to secure a new Congressional authorization for his war within 60 days of launching “hostilities,” or he must withdraw US forces within 30 days. The 60-day period runs out on October 7. Obama apparently feels unconstrained to comply with this law.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama told the Boston Globe, “The President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Earlier this year, Obama said, “no country can maintain its freedom in the face of continual war.” Yet that is exactly what he is doing with his declaration of perpetual war.

Obama is violating both US and international law. He is also risking even more blowback against the United States. The US government has destabilized the region with Bush’s Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and Obama’s killing of thousands of people with drones. Many Sunnis are less afraid of ISIS than they are of the puppet Shiite government the United States installed in Iraq, which tortured, raped, murdered and arbitrarily detained Sunnis during the last two and a half years.

ISIS is a brutal group. But Obama is imploring Congress to fund the New Syrian Army, which according to The New York Times, “went on to behead six [captured] ISIS fighters.”

Playing both ends against the middle, Obama wants to fight ISIS in Syria without emboldening President Bashar Assad, who is also fighting ISIS. And Obama reserves the right to bomb in Syria, a sovereign country, in defiance of Assad. Obama is playing with fire.

Besides being illegal, Obama’s war promises to exacerbate the volatile situation in the region, resulting in more hostility against the United States. Obama has said in the past there is no military solution to this conflict. He should use his leadership in the Security Council to secure a cease-fire, create a peacekeeping force, mount an embargo of all arms being sent to the region, and pursue a regional diplomatic solution enlisting Iran and Syria in the process. Perpetual war is not the answer.


15 Sep

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


All countries and global regions


Iraqi President Fouad Massoum and French President Francois Hollande shake hands ahead of Paris conference.

World leaders gather in Paris to mull military action against Isis

John Kerry to join Iraqi, Arab and western ministers to discuss ways to support Baghdad in battle against insurgents


John Key

John Key: ‘There is no ambiguity here. There is no and there never has been any mass surveillance.’ Photograph: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

New Zealand PM deceiving public over spying claims, says Glenn Greenwald

Journalist says he will produce documents by Edward Snowden that prove John Key approved mass surveillance of citizens


Israeli PM Netanyahu speaks at Cybersecurity Conference

Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the refuseniks at the International cyber-security conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

Israeli refuseniks will be treated as criminals, says defence minister

Moshe Ya’alon joins country’s political and military leadership in attack on reservists who refuse to serve in Palestine


Protests organised by Occupy Central in Hong Kong show that the 'China is different' excuse is finis

Protests organised by Occupy Central in Hong Kong show that the ‘China is different’ excuse is finished. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

China’s workers are turning from analogue slaves into digital rebels

14 Sep 2014: Paul Mason: With a wave of strikes co-ordinated on social media, the migrant workforce is using 21st-century tools to fight poverty, corruption and sweated labour


Dropbox 33min ago

Dropbox reveals government requests for user information

15 Sep 2014: More than 250 requests for information have been made for user information in the first half of 2014, the company’s transparency report revealed. By Alex Hern



nursing care

Paid sick leave laws are sweeping the nation, but they’re not enough. Photograph: Jens Kalaene/Corbis

‘Flexible’ schedules aren’t flexible at all. Let’s end the always-on-call work day

Naomi Gerstel and Dan Clawson: Time is the new, critical labor issue. Here’s how to help employees reduce the chaos

Time is emerging as the critical labor issue of our day: there is a growing crisis of employees required to work unequal, unpredictable and uncontrollable hours. They’re being asked to go home early without pay, stay late or work weekends, and they’re getting berated or fired for taking sick days.

The unpredictability is growing, both because of changes in the economy and changes in families. Company policies contribute to unemployment by requiring overwork, and organizations staff so lean that any absence generates problems – leading to more unpredictability for employees. Flexibility, which many hoped would result in jobs that were more responsive to employees’ lives, increasingly means that workers have to re-arrange their lives to meet employers’ last-minute demands…………….

ALJ logo

US troops in Ukraine for exercise as cease-fire falters

US troops in Ukraine for exercise as cease-fire falters

Kiev’s forces and separatists backed by Russia clash as Ukraine joins US for military drills

Ukraine Crisis
US and Russia relations
International diplomatic coalition builds against Islamic State

International diplomatic coalition builds against Islamic State

Representatives from 26 countries, the EU, UN and Arab League descended upon Paris to discuss strategic options

Islamic State
Crisis in Iraq
Syria’s War
John Kerry


15 Sep

Afghanistan & Iraq Occupation Casualties & News


Results of Our Insane Foreign Policy

The McGlynn: And for what?!

Afghan girl

Photographer Muhammed Muheisen took an impressive series of portraits of Afghan refugee children in Islamabad. Here is six-year-old Laiba Hazrat in a slum on the outskirts of the city.

Other Occupation News

Reported security incidents
#1: Pakistani authorities say militants killed three people in attacks targeting police in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province on September 15. In Tahll, a city near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region, one police officer was killed when six militants attacked a police station. Authorities say the officer was killed when a suicide attacker detonated a bomb. Further south, in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, militants attacked the home of a police station chief, killing two of his brothers.

#2: A man was killed Monday when armed men attacked a polio campaign team in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. According to a campaign official, armed men opened fire at the team in Pishin’s Karbala area, Dawn online reported.

#3: Seven suspected militants were killed following a US drone strike on the Pak-Afghan border area. The strike was reportedly carried out at the Pak-Afghan border on zero line with Paktika province along the South Waziristan Agency.

#4: In the latest bloody incident which occurred in the northern Baghlan province, one police personnel was killed and seven civilians injured, a local official said. “The blast took place near Baghlan-e-Markazi District bazaar at around 10:30 a.m. local time today. The bomb went off when a police vehicle was passing the area as a result one police in the vehicle was killed and seven civilians including two children at nearby wounded,” the District Governor Gohar Khan Babri told Xinhua.

#5: In a related incident, the security forces raided Taliban hideout in the western Herat province early Monday morning leaving five militants including a senior commander dead, police contended.

#6: Afghan security forces have pressed on to clear the militants in restive provinces and killed 52 militants in the latest operations, the country’s Interior Ministry said on Monday.

#7: A civilian wounded in firing of Pakisani rocket attacks from other side of Durand Line on Kunr province last night.

#8: At least four Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were martyred following an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion. Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi said the four Afghan Naional Army (ANA) soldiers were martyred during the past 24 hours.

#9: A suicide bomber was shot dead by Afghan police forces in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan on Sunday, local officials said.

#10: At least six people were injured after an Afghan army helicopter collided with a wall in central Daikundi province of Afghanistan. Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi said at least one person was killed and three others were injured following the crash of the helicopter. In the meantime, Dawlat Waziri, deputy spokesman for the ministry of defense of Afghanistan has said at least eight people including two pilots of the helicopter and six members of the quick reaction forces were injured.

09/14/14 AA: Taliban attack in eastern Afghanistan leaves 18 dead

09/14/14 WaPo: In Afghanistan, U.N. fears for the safety of its staff amid growing threats of violence

09/14/14 KP: Pakistani militants among 40 killed in Ghazni clashes

09/14/14 BNA: Kabul Blast Wounds Member of Parliament

09/14/14 dnaindia: US drone kills 7 militants on Pak-Afghan border

09/14/14 KP: Afghan candidates close to reach an agreement on unity government

Afghanistan Occupation Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians


U. S. Casualties Total To Date:Killed: 2344

Recently Identified Color denotes today’s confirmation:

Spc. Brian K. Arsenault, 28, of Northborough, Massachusetts, died Sept. 4, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit was engaged by enemy small-arms fire. Arsenault was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Sgt. Christopher W. Mulalley, 26, of Eureka, Calif., died Aug. 22, in Gardez, Afghanistan, as the result of a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Leggett, 39, of Ruskin, Florida, died Aug. 20, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of injuries received when he was engaged by the enemy.He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

.Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Yeshabel Villotcarrasco, 23, of Parma, Ohio, died as a result of a non-hostile incident June 19 aboard USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) while the ship was underway in the Red Sea

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died July 24, in Mirugol Kalay, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. These soldiers were assigned 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo. Killed were: Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange, 30, of Hickman, Neb.; and Pfc. Keith M. Williams, 19, of Visalia, Calif.

Pfc. Donnell A. Hamilton, Jr., 20, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, died July 24, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, from an illness sustained in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

.Deaths in Afghanistan: A look at the faces of American lives lost


 Afghanistan Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009

Iraq Occupation Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians


U. S. Casualties Total To Date:Killed: 4486

Recently IdentifiedColor denotes today’s confirmation



Deaths in Iraq: A look at the faces of American lives lost

IIraq Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at .The Military Crisis Line offers free and confidential support to service members in crisis or anyone who knows a service member who is. The service is staffed by caring, qualified responders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many who have served in the military themselves. Support is offered through the crisis line, online chat, and text-messaging services for all service members (active, National Guard and reserve) and veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by visiting the Military Crisis Line website at ; Online Chat at: ; sending a text to: 838255 or calling toll free at: 1-800-273-82551-800-273-8255, Press 1; in Europe Dial: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118. Services are available even if members are not registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or enrolled in VA health care.The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at . Information about the Army’s Ready and Resilient campaign is located at . Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in the revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: and in Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at .Suicide prevention training resources for soldiers, leaders, Department of the Army civilians and family members can be accessed at (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials). Information about Military OneSource is located at or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-96471-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental U.S. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource web site for dialing instructions for their specific location. Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program (CSF2) is located at .The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-10201-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at and at . The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is , and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at


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