Aug 24 2015

International Red Cross Report on Conditions in Yemen

This is the central city of the Houthi tribes from which the leadership of Ansarullah are are drawn.  The video was posted in early July.  Since then the aerial bombing has continued for nearly two months, and the ground fighting has increased.

Yemen: ICRC calls for better access to civilians affected by continuing violence

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Aug 20 2015

Some Thoughts on Islam and the Barbaric Hordes

This is a response to a rather backhanded compliment to Islam that recently passed through my email, presented as an expression of tolerance focused on Iran.   Sometimes tolerance can be misleading because it focuses on the presumed negative rather than the experience of that which is ‘other’.   So, there is no room for a …

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Aug 20 2015

Photonics In Rochester, A Question of Values

Guest post by George Payne of Gandhi Earth Keepers, International.  George follows local and global issues, and has a radio show on Rochester Free Radio called The Broken Spear.

The $600 million photonics hub promises to create manufacturing jobs and spur innovation in the science of light, robotics and medical imagery. Senator Charles Schumer has …

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Aug 20 2015

Syria What’s Ahead? Diplomacy or Military Escalation (VIDEO)

This week, the International Action Center hosted an informative forum on Syria with many excellent speakers.  Among them were several members of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) Administrative Committee, all of whom have been closely monitoring the disastrous war on Syria over the last 4 years, which was one of the topics highlighted in …

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Aug 19 2015

The Metastasizing US Military Drone Program

It was never in doubt that the US has expanded its military drone program continuously, at least since 2001, and continues to do so. Not only have the numbers of active, armed Predators and Reapers increased, but continuing research and development have yielded larger, faster drones capable of carrying more armaments, better video feeds, and …

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Aug 04 2015

Yemen Crisis: Trapped American – Freed Hostage

I wasn’t following this story in real time, but when it came to my attention today, the irony was too poignant to ignore.   A friend just sent me the content of an post from  Journalist Casey Coombs on the First Look, Intercept website.on May 4.   It is called “Stuck In Yemen: A Personal History“.  In the article, Coombs describes being stranded in Sana’a during the Saudi bombing campaign because the United States decided not to rescue US nationals in the country.

On April 30, the U.S. State Department posted updated information for Americans in Yemen with this printed in bold: “There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time.  If you wish to depart Yemen, you should stay alert for other opportunities to leave the country.” 

So there he is.  Abandoned in a war zone.  Fortunately, the locals are friendly, including the Houthis guarding a nearby outpost..

A month later, he is an American Hostage of the Houthis, freed by the Sultan of Oman.

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Aug 02 2015

Aleppo a city ravaged by “Islamic State” and Imperialism.

Destroyed Souk in Aleppo

This is another report from my friend, a long time resident of the west who went home to assist his ailing parents in Aleppo this spring.

This is an authentic report from an Aleppo resident whose identity is protected for their own security.  They are living through the daily hardships of life in an externally created war zone.  Water and electricity shortages, NATO & US backed terrorists embedded in multiple areas of the city creating random buffer zones where the risk of being sniped or shelled is a daily occurrence. I have retained as much as possible of the original report with minimal editing as its important to maintain the narrative as it is, raw and heartfelt, from someone who sees this ravaged city as home.

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Aug 02 2015

Petition with 110,000 Signatures Rejected by White House

A year ago, I signed a petition on ‘We the People‘, a White House website, requesting President Obama to intercede on behalf of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national currently detained at Carswell prison in Texas, with an 86 year sentence.  The petition asks that she be repatriated to Pakistan.

It has, to date, received 110,407 signatures, including my own.   Yesterday, I received an email response to the petition, which says, in part:

Thank you for signing this petition concerning Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who in September 2010 was sentenced to 86 years in prison for attempted murder and other crimes

As the We the People Terms of Participation explain, to “avoid the appearance of improper influencethe White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.”

That’s why we’re declining to comment on the specific request raised in this petition.

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Aug 02 2015

More Postcards from Aleppo

Nothing much took place in the city within the last week. “Normal” launching and shelling in the background. For the first time for me, I saw some mortars from the national army shelled at the terrorist areas at night, reddish slow mortars flying in the sky, then I wait for like 20 seconds after they disappeared from my sight, then the “booom” noise.   People with experience in directions and areas would say right a way that this is against this or that nest of terrorists, but I don’t know. Those were definitely not a jet rocket nor the so-called “barrel bombs”. As i said, it’s pretty slow. The rockets launched from ground are way faster and much noisier.  The ones from jets have a different voice as well. In general, it’s pretty”normal”, and relatively “calm”.  .. . . . .

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– electricity is off since almost a month, except for couple of hours yesterday, when we turned on our AC’s for the first time since ages in this summer, and partially the last 3 summers.  .. . . . .

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Jul 22 2015

Some Notes on the Conflict in Yemen

What is being reported right now

The reporting on the conflict in Yemen, even within the peace and justice movement, has shifted significantly over the course of the Saudi bombing campaign.    The beginning is getting lost in the chaotic and politically fraught present.  Not surprisingly, all the latent factions in Yemen’s unstable past are now …

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