Syria | Venezuela | Sudan | Colombia | Myanmar | Pete Seeger

Syria army, rebels agree new Damascus truce (Daily Star)

Syria’s army and rebels have agreed local truces in key flashpoints around Damascus, despite regime and opposition representatives failing to make any progress in Geneva peace talks.

Maria Paez Victor: Venezuela Under Attack Again (CounterPunch)

Again, a highly organized attack is being carried out against the democratic and popular government of Venezuela. It has involved monetary manipulations, economic sabotage, international media campaign against the economy despite excellent economic indicators, defaming the state run oil company, and this last week riots on the streets that have left 3 dead and 66 injured.

Chris Gilbert: What’s Really Happening in Venezuela? (CounterPunch)

If the term fascism is abstracted from the accidental features of its historical manifestations and used more broadly to identify a movement that captures sectors of the middle and working class for a pro-imperialist project – a movement that is often racist and always willing to disregard democratic results – then President Maduro is correct in calling the key actors on Wednesday fascists.

Hubert Sauper, Amy Goodman: South Sudan Reaches Ceasefire, But Will Nascent State Survive Oil-Fueled Neocolonialism? (Democracy Now)

After more than a month of violence that left thousands dead, rivals in South Sudan have reached a ceasefire agreement. The clashes began as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, but quickly escalated into ethnic clashes that raised fears of a civil war. We turn to a new documentary that shows how South Sudan has become ground zero for contemporary colonialism in Africa. Director Hubert Sauper’s “We Come as Friends” provides an aerial view of the conflict in Sudan from a shaky, handmade two-seater plane. The film depicts American investors, Chinese oilmen, U.N. officials and Christian missionaries struggling to shape Sudan according to their own visions, while simultaneously applauding the alleged “independence” of the world’s newest state. What emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism.

Dana Priest: Covert action in Colombia (Washington Post)
Amy Goodman, Dana Priest: Covert CIA Program Reveals Critical U.S. Role in Killings of Rebel Leaders (Democracy Now)

[A] shocking new report has exposed how a secret CIA program in Colombia helped kill at least two dozen rebel leaders. The Washington Post reports the program relies on key help from the National Security Agency and is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. The program began under President George W. Bush and continued under Obama. It has crippled the FARC rebel group by targeting its leaders using bombs equipped with GPS guidance. Up until 2010, the CIA controlled the encryption keys that allowed the bombs to read GPS data. In one case in 2008, the U.S. and Colombia discovered a FARC leader Raúl Reyes hiding in Ecuador. According to the report, quote, “To conduct an airstrike meant a Colombian pilot flying a Colombian plane would hit the camp using a US-made bomb with a CIA-controlled brain.” The attack killed the rebel leader and sparked a major flareup of tensions with Ecuador and Venezuela.

Amy Goodman, Mario Murillo: Did Covert U.S. Program Targeting Rebel Leaders Help Undermine Colombia’s Peace Process? (Democracy Now)
Jack L. Laun: What Dana Priest Left Out (CounterPunch)
John I Laun: Who is Really in Charge of Colombia? (CounterPunch)

Nancy Hudson-Rodd: Silence as Myanmar ‘genocide’ unfolds (Asia Times)

Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher: Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters (Intercept)

Pete Seeger on Democracy Now (Democracy Now)

The legendary folk singer, banjo player, storyteller and activist Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94.

Dave Marsh: What It Means to Lose Pete Seeger (CounterPunch)
David Yearsley: For Pete’s Sake! The Shameless Descent of Bob Dylan (CounterPunch)

USA–Syria–Egypt | NSA | Myanmar

Kevin Connor, Amy Goodman, Juan González: The Military-Industrial Pundits: Conflicts of Interest Exposed for TV Guests Who Urged Syrian War (Democracy Now)

New research shows many so-called experts who appeared on television making the case for U.S. strikes on Syria had undisclosed ties to military contractors. A new report by the Public Accountability Initiative identifies 22 commentators with industry ties. While they appeared on television or were quoted as experts 111 times, their links to military firms were disclosed only 13 of those times. The report focuses largely on Stephen Hadley, who served as national security adviser to President George W. Bush. During the debate on Syria, he appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and Bloomberg TV. None of these stations informed viewers that Hadley currently serves as a director of the weapons manufacturer Raytheon that makes Tomahawk cruise missiles widely touted as the weapon of choice for bombing Syria. He also owns over 11,000 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate. We speak to Kevin Connor of the Public Accountability Initiative, a co-author of the report.

Anjali Kamat, Amy Goodman, Juan González: U.S. Weapons and Arms Parts Continued to Flow to Egypt (Democracy Now)

The United States recently announced plans to scale back aid to Egypt’s military government three months after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Last week, the State Department said the United States will withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance until “credible progress” is made toward “an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government.” But a new investigation from Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” program shows that the recent aid cuts might be more symbolic than anything else.

Merkel is not amused. And a British paper discovers another German word than blitzkrieg.
Andrew Rosenthal: Clapper and Carney Get Slippery on Surveillance (New York Times)

The White House press secretary, Jay Carney said, “The president assured [Merkel] that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications” of the chancellor.” Please note: IS not monitoring and WILL NOT monitor. The allegation, unaddressed, was that the United States HAD been monitoring her calls (until it was caught in the act).

Philip Oltermann: Angela Merkel bugging claims met with schadenfreude in Germany (Guardian)

Reports of Angela Merkel’s phone being monitored by the US National Security Agency were met in Germany not just with outrage, but a more familiar German emotion: schadenfreude.
Many Germans thought the chancellor, below, had been too restrained in her criticism when the extent of NSA surveillance on ordinary citizens emerged. Now they believe Merkel is getting a taste of her own medicine.

James Ball: NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts (Guardian)

The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Jacques Follorou, Glenn Greenwald: Comment la NSA espionne la France (Le Monde)

L’avenir dira peut-être, un jour, pourquoi Paris est resté si discret, par rapport à Berlin ou Rio après les révélations sur les programmes d’espionnage électronique américain dans le monde. Car la France a été tout autant ciblée et dispose aujourd’hui de preuves tangibles que ses intérêts sont quotidiennement visés.

Sam Jones: Snowden leaks: France summons US envoy over NSA surveillance claims (Guardian)
Mari Luz Peinado: Snowden afirma que la NSA tuvo acceso al correo electrónico de Felipe Calderón (El país)

Las nuevas informaciones reveladas por Eduard Snowden vuelven a apuntar a que el Gobierno estadounidense espió a su vecino mexicano. Según revela este domingo el semanario alemán Der Spiegel una división de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA) consiguió acceder al correo de la Presidencia mexicana y a la cuenta del expresidente Felipe Calderón. La NSA calificó la información que obtenía como una “fuente lucrativa”.

Jens Glüsing, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Holger Stark: Fresh Leak on US Spying: NSA Accessed Mexican President’s Email (Der Spiegel)

The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico.

David Baulk: Economic reform as flawed ideology (Asia Times)
David Baulk: Myanmar’s not so special economic zones (Asia Times)

Angelique Chrisafis, Helena Smith, Philip Oltermann, Lizzy Davies: Roma fear witch hunt after Greek case (Guardian)

The 10 to 12 million Roma people in Europe already make up one of the largest, most disadvantaged minorities on the continent. They frequently live in makeshift camps with no water or electricity, face routine evictions, become victims of violence, are discriminated against over jobs, and find their children segregated at school.
Rights groups are now, however, concerned about a knock-on effect across Europe of an anti-Roma witch hunt gathering pace following the frenzy over the case of Maria, the fair-haired child found in the Roma camp near Farsala, Greece.

Egypt | Syria | Palestine/Israel | USA

Wael Eskandar: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Militias in Action: A Firsthand Account (Jadaliyya)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Mursi: pharao or revolutionary? (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Ernesto Cardenal, Samir Amin, etc.: Yes to Democracy, No to Foreign Intervention! ‍‍(MRzine)
Leo Gabriel, Evangelos Pissias, Wilhelm Langthaler, Fernando Romero-Forsthuber: The war in Syria or The threads of a blood drained carpet (LabourNet Austria)

Yinon Cohen, Neve Gordon: Why Abbas’s Bid to the United Nations General Assembly Was Too Little, Too Late (CounterPunch)
Dennis Bernstein: An Interview With Professor Francis Boyle (CounterPunch)

Why the US Threatened to Cut Off Aid to the Palestinians if They Pursued and Were Granted Observer Status at the UN

Chaim Levinson: אז איפה זה בכלל E-1? / What is area E-1, anyway? (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Leila Farsakh: Palestine refuses to disappear (Monde diplomatique)
Yara Sa’di: Israel’s repression of Palestinian students reached new level during Gaza attack (Electronic Intifada)
Ali Abunimah: Apartheid Lines: Video shows Israeli public bus driver refusing to let Palestinians ride (Electronic Intifada)

Palestinian laborers from the West Bank are members of an occupied population with virtually no rights or protection. They are exploited to do low-paid work in Israel’s apartheid economy, and then subjected to Jim Crow-like discrimination. Unlike Rosa Parks, they are not even given the back of the bus. They can’t ride the bus at all.

Editorial: ייבוש לצורכי נישול / Drying out the Palestinians (Haaretz)

Since the beginning of the year, Israel has destroyed 35 rainwater cisterns used by Palestinian communities, 20 of them in the area of Hebron and the southern Hebron Hills. … Leaving Palestinian communities disconnected from infrastructure, declaring large areas as firing zones and destroying cisterns are part of an intentional policy since the early 1970s. Its goal is to leave as few Palestinians as possible in the majority of the West Bank (today’s Area C, under Israeli civil and military control), to expedite Jewish settlement and thus make it easier to annex these areas to Israel.

Or Kashti: בחירות הם רוצים / In Israel, democracy is delayed for Bedouin (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Harriet Sherwood: Israeli separation wall threatens world heritage site of Battir’s ancient terraces (Guardian)

Israeli environmentalists and even the state parks authority are backing Palestinian villagers’ attempts to preserve landscape

Amira Hass: ‘You have to demolish them while they’re small’ (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

So Supreme Court President Asher Grunis said shortly before a partially built mosque in the West Bank was pulled down.

William Saletan: Get Real, Israel (Slate)

Renaud Egreteau: Burma’s civil wars (Mondi diplomatique)

Eric Bailey: An Interview With Noam Chomsky on Obama’s Human Rights Record (CounterPunch)
Mark Graham: USAID in Afghanistan (CounterPunch)

Whatever beneficence USAID has doled out over the years has come with a heavy price for Afghans and a heavy price tag for Americans. In fact, USAID is not an aid organization by any common understanding of the term, if by aid we mean helping people who are suffering out of the kindness of our hearts. Instead, USAID functions primarily as an instrument of counterinsurgency and as a pipeline by which public money moves into private hands.

Syria | Myanmar | EU | Fukushima | Wikileaks | Palestine/Israel

Judy Bello: Hands Off Syria! (CounterPunch)
Conn Hallinan: Syria and the Phantom (CounterPunch)

What was that Turkish F-4 Phantom II up to when the Syrians shot it down? … According to the Financial Times, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, told the newspaper “the jet was on a test and training mission focused on Turkey’s radar defense, rather than Syria.” Translation: the F-4 was “lighting up” a radar net. It is a common—if dangerous and illegal—tactic that allows one to probe an opponent’s radar system. Most combat radar is kept in a passive mode to prevent a potential enemy from mapping out weaknesses or blind spots that can be useful in the advent of an attack. … “Lighting up” radar was what the US Navy EP-3E Aries II was doing near China’s Hainan Island when it collided with a Chinese interceptor in 2001. … It is doubtful that Syria indentified exactly what the Turkish plane was, just that an unidentified warplane, flying low—generally the altitude one takes when trying to avoid radar—was in Syrian airspace. Paranoia? In 2007 Israeli warplanes—US-made F-16s, not Phantoms—slipped through Syria’s radar net and bombed a suspected nuclear reactor. … Turkey says the F-4 was 13 nautical miles from Syria when it was attacked—which would put it in international waters—but it crashed in Syrian waters. Damascus claims the plane came down less than a mile from the Syrian coast.

Heiko Khoo: The crisis of European capitalism (China.org.cn)

Last week’s crisis summit of European leaders resulted in defeat for the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who capitulated to the demands of the French, Spanish and Italian leaders. Financial support for Italy and Spain can now take the form of funds going directly to their banking system. This means a relaxation of the imposition of swingeing austerity measures. Italy and Spain will not be humiliated like Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus have been in the recent past. … The Greek government will now demand that they be treated in the same way as the Spanish and Italians and that present austerity measures should come to a halt. They will warn Chancellor Merkel that the alternative will be a revolutionary upheaval in Greece. All this confirms that, had Syriza, the leftist electoral coalition, won the elections in Greece, their demand to remain in the Euro and simultaneously cancel austerity measures was by no means utopian.

Bertil Lintner: Burma 2012: Democracy and Dictatorship (JapanFocus)

Piers Williamson: Largest Demonstrations in Half a Century Protest the Restart of Japanese Nuclear Power Plants (JapanFocus)

On 29 June, Japan witnessed its largest public protest since the 1960s. This was the latest in a series of Friday night gatherings outside Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s official residence. Well over one hundred thousand people came together to vent their anger at his 16 June decision to order a restart of Units 3 and 4 at the Oi nuclear plant.

Justin McCurry: Fukushima reactor meltdown was a manmade disaster, says official report (Guardian)

Last year’s accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was a manmade disaster caused by poor regulation and collusion between the government, the operator and the industry’s watchdog, a report has said.

National Diet of Japan: The official report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC)

Moore, Glover, Stone, Maher, Greenwald, Wolf, Ellsberg Urge Correa to Grant Asylum to Assange (Just Foreign Policy)

Because this is a clear case of an attack on press freedom and on the public’s right to know important truths about U.S. foreign policy, and because the threat to his health and well-being is serious, we urge you to grant Mr. Assange political asylum.

UKPA: Poison found on Arafat’s clothes (Google News)

The body of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat may be exhumed after the discovery of traces of a radioactive agent on clothing he reportedly wore in his final days reignited a cauldron of conspiracy theories.

Gregg Carlstrom: Arafat’s widow calls to exhume his body (AlJazeera)
Occupation sciences / מדעי הכיבוש (Haaretz)

An Israeli university on the West Bank would be a university for the occupation sciences; it must not happen.
אוניברסיטה ישראלית בגדה תהיה אוניברסיטה למדעי הכיבוש; אסור שהיא תקום.

Jimmy Johnson: A Primer on Settler Colonialism (CounterPunch)

Jeremy Kuzmarov: Police Training, “Nation-Building,” and Political Repression in Postcolonial South Korea (JapanFocus)

Philip J. Cunningham: Red and Yellow: Thailand’s Future in Check and Balance (JapanFocus)

Social Media | Syria | Philippines | Myanmar | Mekong

Mark had sent this article:
Julie Lévesque: Social media “tactical intelligence collection”: Spying and Propaganda using Facebook, Twitter (GlobalResearch)

Abdel-Halim Qandil: Foreign intervention destroys revolution: Why the US may prefer a weakened Assad in place (Anti-Imperialist Camp) / عودة إلى سورية (al-Qudsu l-ʿArabī)

والمعنى باختصار أن استدعاء التدخل الأجنبي يفيد النظام، ويزيف قضية الثورة، ويهدد بتفكيك سورية، وليس المطلوب لاقدر الله أن تسقط سورية، بل أن يسقط النظام وحده، وأن تقوم سورية من رمادها، وكما يريدها أهلها وطنا حرا عربيا ديمقراطيا.
Calling for a foreign intervention serves the regime, betrays the revolutionary cause, and threatens Syria with disintegration. What is required is not – god forbid – to destroy Syria, but to destroy the regime and let Syria rise from the ashes, according to the wish of her people, who long for a democratic Arabic homeland.

Martin Chulov, Matthew Weaver: Saudi Arabia backs arming Syrian opposition (Guardian)

Mainstream media have covered Western journalists’ problems in Syria, but not this:
MP/JR: Militiamen seize Press TV reporter, cameramen in west Libya (Press TV)

Herbert Docena: The US base in the Philippines (Inquirer)

John Roberts: US encourages Burma to distance itself from China (World Socialist Web Site)

Ian Storey: Mekong River Patrols in Full Swing but Challenges Remain (Jamestown Foundation)

Syria | Myanmar | Israel–Iran

Seumas Milne: Intervention in Syria will escalate not stop the killing (Guardian)
FM Lavrov Explains Russia’s Veto on Syria Resolution in UN (RIA Novosti)
Reuters: China says Syrian opposition delegation has visited (Guardian)
John R. Bradley: Be careful who you depose (Spectator)
Fraser Nelson: Our enemy’s enemy (Spectator)
Ardeshir Ommani: Syria: another US stepping stone (Asia Times)
Pepe Escobar: Syria through a glass, darkly (Asia Times)
Sami Moubaye: A struggle set to run and run (Asia Times)
Pepe Escobar: Exposed: The Arab agenda in Syria (Asia Times)

Bertil Lintner: The master plan for Myanmar (Asia Times)

JoAnne Allen, Jeffrey Heller: Panetta believes Israel may strike Iran this spring (Reuters)

Glyn Davies: Amano ready for prime time (Wikileaks)