How the CIA Waged War in Afghanistan

Robert Grenier is a former CIA station chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the man who was tapped by the CIA and White House to direct the first America-Afghan war following the attacks of 9/11. In his new book, 88 Days to Kandahar, Grenier discusses how he forged alliances with warlords and Pakistani intelligence operatives to execute a campaign that defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan’s southern region.

Following his work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Grenier returned to Washington, DC, and was tasked with overseeing the CIA’s intelligence operations and analysis in Iraq prior to the 2003 US invasion.

VICE News visited Grenier at his home in Virginia to talk about America’s longest war, the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and the rise of the Islamic State.

Watch “Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou: The VICE News Interview” – http://bit.ly/1JxQ8SW

Read “Afghanistan and Iran Get Cozier — Which Is Good News for the US” – http://bit.ly/1DmYZmN

Read “Elite Anti-Terror Squads From Around the World Battle it Out at Jordan’s Annual Warrior Competition” – http://bit.ly/1OKNPxw

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Sixfour – Blind Heart

Unsigned music time – let’s feature a brand new artist to the channel! Sixfour aka Derek Lombardo hails from Washington, US, and has been sending music to me for a short period of time. This track ‘Blind Heart’ draws influences from artists such as Dimension, Cyantific and Culture Shock, and it definitely gets my seal of approval! Looking forward to hear more music from this promising newcomer talent. Follow socials below:

Sixfour:

https://twitter.com/sixfourofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SixfourDNB?_rdr

———- Skankandbass Links ———-

W: http://skankandbass.com/
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TW: http://twitter.com/skankandbass
SC: http://soundcloud.com/skankandbass
IG: http://instagram.com/skankandbass

On The Line: Jason Leopold Discusses Uncovering Government Secrets

Follow us on Twitter where we’ll announce this week’s topic for On The Line: https://twitter.com/vicenews

Jason Leopold joined ‘On the Line’ to answer your questions about his reporting, and how he leverages the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to reveal government secrets.

Read “Police in Washington, DC Are Using the Secretive ‘Stingray’ Cell Phone Tracking Tool” – http://bit.ly/19xuS3O

Read “The NSA Has Revealed New Details About Its Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden’s Emails” – http://bit.ly/1Fe5zih

Read “A Justice Department Memo Provides the CIA’s Legal Justification to Kill a US Citizen” – http://bit.ly/1BMf191

VICE News and On The Line want to hear from you! Let us know your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #ontheline, or send us a video message on Skype.

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With support from Skype.

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This Week On The Line (Trailer): Jason Leopold Discusses Uncovering Government Secrets

On Thursday at 12pm EDT, Jason Leopold will join ‘On the Line’ to answer your questions about his reporting, and how he leverages the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to reveal government secrets.

Read “Police in Washington, DC Are Using the Secretive ‘Stingray’ Cell Phone Tracking Tool” – http://bit.ly/19xuS3O

Read “The NSA Has Revealed New Details About Its Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden’s Emails” – http://bit.ly/1Fe5zih

Read “A Justice Department Memo Provides the CIA’s Legal Justification to Kill a US Citizen” – http://bit.ly/1BMf191

VICE News and On The Line want to hear from you! Let us know your questions for Jason on Twitter with the hashtag #ontheline, or send us a video message on Skype.

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International Aid Reaches Cyclone-Ravaged Vanuatu: VICE News Capsule, March 18

The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: International relief agencies reach remote islands of Vanuatu days after it was ravaged by a monstrous cyclone, three imprisoned in Myanmar for insulting Buddhism, Shia fighters in southern Iraq make due with what’s in the scrapyard, and a gourmet pot market is growing inside Mexico City homes.

VANUATU
Aid Workers Reach Remote Islands Days After Cyclone
Agencies are trying to deliver critical aid supplies to the tens of thousands of people affected by the storm.

MYANMAR
Prison Time for Three Accused of Insulting Buddhism
A New Zealand bar manager and his two Burmese coworkers will spend two-and-a-half years in prison for advertising an event using an image of Buddha wearing headphones.

IRAQ
Shia Fighters Hit the Scrap Yard to Increase Battlefield Success
A small team is restoring and modifying weapons and vehicles to deliver to militias fighting the Islamic State.

MEXICO
Burgeoning Legal Weed Industries Give Rise to a Homegrown Market
Connoisseurs have formed pot clubs to replicate the highly potent strains found in U.S. states such as Colorado and Washington.

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Iraq’s Yazidis Train to Prevent Another Massacre: VICE News Capsule, February 9

The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Kurdish forces train Iraq’s Yazidi community to thwart attacks by the Islamic State, U.S. delivers $25 million in weapons and ammunition to Lebanon, Honduras helps poor families with the costs of burying loved ones lost to drug-related violence, and authorities in Washington, DC, are struggling to keep homeless families indoors this winter.

IRAQ
Kurdish Peshmerga Give Weapons to Yazidi Men
Volunteers of the religious minority have mobilized a force to protect their land, women and children from another siege by the Islamic State.

LEBANON
U.S. Delivers $25 Million in Military Equipment
The weapons and ammunition are aimed at helping the country fortify its border from Islamic militants fighting in Syria’s war next-door.

HONDURAS
Government Programs Provide Coffins to Low-Income Families
Officials try to reduce the burden of costs associated with losing loved ones to drug-related violence.

U.S.A.
DC Officials Scramble to Secure Shelter Amid Surge in Homelessness
​The nation’s capital currently hosts a record 4,000 homeless families, and authorities are having a hard time keeping them indoors during the frigid winter months.

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – January 14, 2015

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The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Shelling kills at least 11 civilians in eastern Ukraine, Russian government bans transgender and transexual people from driving, Disneyland measles outbreak spreads to other states, and sustainable tourism helps boost economy of Cambodia’s remote islands.

UKRAINE
Intense Shelling Rocks the Eastern City of Donetsk
At least 11 civilians dead after bus is struck at an army checkpoint south of the flashpoint city.

RUSSIA
Activists Condemn Driving Ban for Transgender People
Others deemed unfit to drive are fetishists, exhibitionists, voyeurs, and those addicted to gambling and shoplifting.

U.S.A.
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Crosses State Lines
Twenty-two other cases have been confirmed; including a handful in Washington, Colorado, and Utah.

CAMBODIA
Sustainable Tourism Breathes Life Into Island Economy
​A luxurious private island resort built out of locally sourced materials has a staff comprised​ mostly of locals. Guests are encouraged to donate to programs that focus on community development and environmental protection.

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Big cannabis fields in Vienna?

Cannabis News Network visited a plantation in Vienna, where it is legal to grow and sell cannabis seedlings.
(www.cannabisnewsnetwork.com)

In some countries, such as Uruguay or the United States (in Washington and Colorado) the growing and use of cannabis is regulated. But if you visit Austria, you will come across huge plantations filled with cannabis seedlings, without any problem. It is big business!

www.cannabisnewsnetwork.com

The Interpreters (Part 5)

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The interpreters who worked alongside American and NATO forces in Afghanistan are among our bravest and most loyal allies. They played an essential role in sourcing intelligence and educating Western troops about the local culture. Now they’re in danger of being abandoned.

In part 5, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson goes to Washington, DC to speak with US senators and representatives working to improve the lot of Afghan interpreters. Although this is a bipartisan effort that would seem to have broad-based support in the capital, many interpreters are still not getting the visas they need and were promised, and are forced to remain in Afghanistan fearing for their safety.

Anderson then speaks to one of these interpreters. Still in Afghanistan and unable to leave, he fears he will soon be killed after learning that many of the Taliban members he helped Americans arrest and imprison have now been released.

Read an excerpt from Ben Anderson’s ‘The Interpreters’ here: http://bit.ly/1vSOP9u

US and UN Attempt to End Afghanistan’s Dangerous Political Deadlock: http://bit.ly/1s47wti

Hiding in Afghanistan: The Interpreters (Part 1) – http://bit.ly/1nbif1Z
Nowhere Left to Hide: The Interpreters (Part 2): http://bit.ly/1neGFYs
Smuggled out of Afghanistan: The Interpreters (Part 3): http://bit.ly/1nbpBhb
American Allies: The Interpreters (Part 4): http://bit.ly/1rexacb

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America’s Veteran Crisis: Abandoned At Home

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As politicians in Washington wring their hands over the Veterans Affairs scandal, VICE News travels to Portland, Oregon, to see what it’s all really about. We meet Curtis Shanley, a former Marine Corps machine-gunner, who has spent the past five years wading through red tape to get medical attention for a crippling injury he suffered while serving his country in Iraq.

Check out the Q&A with Curtis Shanley here: http://bit.ly/1pJpG3q

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White House Requests $500 Million to Aid Syrian Rebels

Source: http://rt.com/usa/168720-obama-syrian-rebel-fund/

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The White House on Thursday asked Congress for half-a-billion dollars in aid to go towards opposition fighters in Syria at war with the regime of recently re-elected President Bashar Al-Assad.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to develop more detailed plans to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels, should Congress approve the requested funding.

In a report sent to lawmakers at the Capitol on Thursday, the White House requested $500 million in aid to “help defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control and facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement.”

The Associated Press reported that the multimillion dollar request makes up just a fraction of a larger, $65.8 billion overseas operations request sent to Congress that, if approved, would fund a number of Pentagon and State Department programs, as well as $1 billion in assistance to nations adjacent to Syria.

This latest request by the administration for aid comes merely weeks after the president outlined his foreign policy objectives during a speech last month at the West Point Military Academy graduation ceremony.

“As president, I made a decision that we should not put American troops into the middle of this increasingly sectarian civil war, and I believe that is the right decision. But that does not mean we shouldn’t help the Syrian people stand up against a dictator who bombs and starves his own people,” Obama said. “And in helping those who fight for the right of all Syrians to choose their own future, we are also pushing back against the growing number of extremists who find safe haven in the chaos.”

“So with the additional resources I’m announcing today, we will step up our efforts to support Syria’s neighbors — Jordan and Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq — as they contend with refugees and confront terrorists working across Syria’s borders.”

At the time, Obama added that he would “work with Congress to ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators.” Now only weeks later, he appears to have taken the first steps to securing such funding.

Since nearly the start of the Syrian civil war more than three years ago, hawkish Republicans in Congress have urged the White House to take action against Assad, with Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) going as far as to travel abroad to meet with rebel fighters overseas. Others have condemned any response from Washington altogether, though, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who this week attributed the arming of fighters in Iraq as the impetus for a “jihadist wonderland” there created on Uncle Sam’s watch and dime.

According to the AP’s Julie Pace, White House officials said the Obama administration would work with members of Congress and regional player to come to terms with what sort of training and assistance in particular would be provided to opposition fighters by the US.

“One potential option,” Pace wrote, “would be to base US personnel in Jordan and conduct the training exercise there.”

Also last month, the Pentagon deployed more than 6,000 Marines to Jordan to conduct drills alongside military officials there.

Unverified & Exposed: NYT-State Dept ‘Russians in Ukraine’ Image Proof Collapses

Pictures presented by Washington and Kiev as evidence of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, and published on Monday by the New York Times, were unverified and in fact contradicted the claims they were to support.

The US State department acknowledged the error and the New York Times back-tracked on its Monday story, which claimed “photographs and descriptions from eastern Ukraine endorsed by the Obama administration … suggest that many of the green men are indeed Russian military and intelligence forces”.

The proof was this particular picture with an inscription “Group photograph taken in Russia”.

Freelance photographer Maxim Dondyuk took the photo.

“It was taken in Slavyansk [Ukraine],” he told NYT over the phone. “Nobody asked my permission to use it.”

The picture was amongst others Kiev gave the OSCE mission to Ukraine to ‘prove’ Russian involvement in the massive unrest gripping the Donetsk region.

The State Department repeated the claims, citing ‘confirmation’ of Moscow involvement.

“We see in the photos that have been again in international media, on Twitter, publicly available is that there are individuals who visibly appear to be tied to Russia. We’ve said that publicly a countless number of times,” Jen Psaki, State Dept spokeswoman said.

The New York Times eventually published a climbdown Wednesday – ‘Scrutiny Over Photos Said to Tie Russia Units to Ukraine’, where it admitted failing to properly verify the Kiev photo dossier.

Source: http://rt.com/news/154548-pictures-russian-troops-false/

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VICE News Daily: Beyond The Headlines – March 26, 2014.

The VICE News Capsule is a daily roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: France’s far right party, Russia’s space program, Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and Syria’s space program.

Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News

France’s Far Right Party Wins A Socialist Stronghold
France’s anti-immigrant National Front party just won an election in Henin-Beaumont — an industrial town that used to be a stronghold of the Socialist party.

Sanctions Impacting Russia’s Space Program
The recent tensions between Moscow and Washington could hinder the US-Russian Space collaboration, affecting NASA’s future role in Space. Read the article on VICE News: https://news.vice.com/articles/how-to-screw-your-partner-in-space

Attacks Highlight Afghanistan’s Fragile Security
The Taliban killed at least six people and left dozens wounded in three separate attacks in Afghanistan, just 10 days before the general elections are set to take place. Read the Article on VICE News: https://news.vice.com/articles/taliban-intensifies-attacks-ahead-of-afghan-election

Syrian Government Announces Space Agency
In spite of a civil war that has torn its country apart for more than three years, the Syrian government has announced plans to start its own Space agency.

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Kerry Goes Full Retard: “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext […]”

The US Secretary of State spoke today of the unacceptability of invading a sovereign country on phony pretexts in order to assert one’s own interests in the 21st century. But no, he was not speaking about the United States, as one might have thought.

“You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” John Kerry said during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th century behaviour in the 21st century.”

Kerry has also threatened to isolate Russia economically and politically and warned of potential asset freezes and visa bans, adding to media and political hype that followed Russia authorization of sending a stabilization force in Crimea on official request from the authorities.

“There could be certainly disruption of any of the normal trade routine, there could be business drawback on investment in the country,” he said. “There could even be ultimately asset freezes, visa bans.”

Although Kerry was never challenged by the interviewer to comment in terms of that statement on Washington’s own constant threats to use force and military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who watched the interview immediately smelled the hypocrisy.

“Since when does the United States government genuinely subscribe and defend the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity? They certainly are not doing that at the moment in Syria,” Marcus Papadopoulos, commentator for ‘Politics First’ told RT. “They certainly did not do that when they attacked Libya. They certainly didn’t do that when they invaded Iraq. They certainly didn’t do that when they attacked Serbia over Kosovo and then later on recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. The United States government merely pays lip service to sovereignty and territorial integrity, it picks and choses.”

Since the crisis in Ukraine escalated to a point where the lives of the Russian speaking population of Ukraine has become threatened, Kerry’s reaction comes, some believe, as the most ridiculous thus far, taking into account US own history of military actions all over the globe.

Source: http://rt.com/news/kerry-russia-us-pretext-494/

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Colorado Opens First Legal US Pot Shops

The US State of Colorado has entered the New Year on a high note by becoming the first state to legally sell marijuana and open the retail spots for pot. Washington is set to follow suit and open its own recreational shops later in 2014.

At the start of New Year day, at 8 am local time, pot lovers from across the state lined up to be one of the first residents to legally participate in a $578 million market. Some people had been waiting since 1 am.

“I wanted to be one of the first to buy pot and no longer be prosecuted for it. This end of prohibition is long overdue,” said Jesse Phillips, cannabis enthusiast from Colorado.

State residents can now legally indulge themselves with up to an ounce of marijuana from more than 30 shops that have opened their doors statewide. Residents from other states can buy up to one-quarter of an ounce.

However, weed enthusiasts can increase their daily limit by shop hopping and purchasing legally allocated amounts from different vendors. Legally under state law, buyers are only allowed to possess up to one ounce of the plant on them.

Source: http://rt.com/usa/marijuana-stores-open-colorado-068/

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Sweden Engaged in Industrial Espionage Against Russia

According to a wire, obtained by Swedish TV program ‘Mission: Investigate’, Sweden’s National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) shared intelligence on Russia with Washington.

“Thank Sweden for its continued work on the Russian target, and underscore the primary role that FRA plays as a leading partner to work the Russian Target, including Russian leadership, ENERGY, … and … counterintelligence,” NSA wire said, as cited by SVT.

The earlier omitted part of the quote reveals that Sweden was tapping on civilian targets as well. One source told the documentary there was “a very obvious interest in looking at the Russian companies” confirming it was “a part of the mission.”

Source: http://on.rt.com/gx8i57

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Noisia Invites #7 Aftermovie (1/2) – ADE @ Melkweg 19-10-2013

Dutch TV channel VPRO filmed 2 full performances:
Neosignal: http://www.smarturl.it/NSGNLLIVE
I Am Legion: COMING SOON
(click ‘Akkoord if you get a pop up, click play and it will start playing in the top left corner)

Watch it on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/77778604

Music: Black Sun Empire – Arrakis (Noisia Remix) http://bit.ly/Arrakis_Noisia_Remix

Noisia’s remix of ‘Arrakis’ – a drum and bass classic from fellow Dutch producers Black Sun Empire – is available to buy from November 4th on Beatport and all platforms November 18th.

See Noisia perform this weekend in America:
Thursday Oct 24 Pittsburgh, The Rex Theater
Tickets: http://bit.ly/NoisiaPittsburgh
Friday Oct 25 Tampa, Ampitheatre
Tickets: http://bit.ly/NoisiaTampa
Saturday Oct 26 San Bernadino, Escape from Wonderland
Tickets: http://bit.ly/NoisiaWonderland
Sunday Oct 27 Washington, UHall
Tickets: http://bit.ly/NoisiaWashington

Listen to Noisia’s brand new release on Vision Recordings with Calyx & Teebee and Evol Intent: http://bit.ly/LiquidHyenas OUT NOW

Like Noisia Invites: https://www.facebook.com/NoisiaInviting

Like Noisia: http://facebook.com/noisia
Follow Noisia: http://twitter.com/noisia_nl
Listen to Noisia: http://soundcloud.com/noisia

Check out the Beatport remix competition for Black Sun Empire & Noisia – ‘Hideous’ here: http://btprt.dj/19Fycls

Listen to the I Am Legion [Noisia x Foreign Beggars] Album: http://iamlegion.co.uk

Noisia website: http://noisia.nl

Aftermovie Filmed & Edited by: http://www.antonvanderlinden.com

Timetable:

The Max
22:00-23:00 Nonames http://bit.ly/1aVkNIK
23:00-23:55 Samiyam http://snd.sc/11jmjSQ
23:55-00:55 Neosignal http://bit.ly/NSGNLSequenz
00:55-02:05 I Am Legion http://iamlegion.co.uk
02:05-03:00 Alix Perez http://www.alixperez.com/
03:00-04:00 Kill The Noise https://soundcloud.com/killthenoise
04:00-05:00 The Upbeats http://snd.sc/11jfT64

Oude Zaal
23:00-00:15 Mik
00:15-01:30 Fre4knc https://soundcloud.com/fre4knc
01:30-02:30 Carvar & Clock http://bit.ly/CarvarClock
02:30-03:30 Black Sun Empire http://bit.ly/BSESoundcloud
03:30-04:30 Annix https://soundcloud.com/annixdnb

“Firestorms” over Washington DC: N. Korean propaganda video threatens US attack

http://rt.com/news/north-korea-destroying-america-487/

http://fedgeno.com/links/?q=korea

North Korea has produced a new propaganda video portraying a simulated attack on the White House and the US Capitol Building in Washington DC.

The four-minute video, entitled “Firestorms will rain on the Headquarters of War”, was posted Monday on the YouTube channel of the North Korea’s semi-official central news agency Uriminzokkiri.

A series of shots depicting North Korean soldiers, artillery fire, and military hardware culminate in an image of crosshairs zooming in on the White House. The scene quickly cuts over to images of computer rendered explosions bursting around the dome of the US Capitol building.

“There is no limit to the range of our strategic rockets,” the narrator warns.

The video’s release comes amidst rising tensions between Pyongyang and Washington after the UN Security Council voted to impose harsher restrictions following the North’s third underground nuclear test in February.

On Monday, the US said that every military resource at its disposal, including its nuclear arsenal, would be available to South Korea in the event of a confrontation with the North.

“We remain steadfast to our commitment to extended deterrence offered by the US nuclear umbrella,” US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter pledged after talks with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin in Seoul.

“We’ll ensure all of our resources will be available to our alliance.”

Earlier this month, Pyongyang threatened all-out nuclear war with the US and South Korea after the two countries began joint military drills on the Korean Peninsula. The North also nullified the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, claiming the drills were preparations for an invasion.

On Saturday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the United States plans to deploy 14 additional interceptors along its West Coast in response to what he had previously characterized as North Korea’s “irresponsible and reckless provocations.”

This is not the first time a North Korean Propaganda video has depicted a military strike on the United States.

In February, Uriminzokkiri circulated an internet video showing a skyline resembling New York, up in flames.

“The North’s high-level nuclear test aimed at US invaders is a nuclear deterrent to safeguard our sovereignty,” one caption in the video read.

While an editorial published on the Uriminzokkiri website in February claimed North Korea was in possession of nuclear-equipped long-range missiles capable of hitting the US mainland, nuclear specialists say there is no evidence Pyongyang can construct a warhead small enough to mount on a missile.

http://rt.com/news/north-korea-destroying-america-487/

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Building Tensions: Israel Authorizes Construction of 3,000 New Settlements

Israeli authorities will allow the construction of 3,000 new settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The decision follows Thursday’s UN General Assembly vote to upgrade Palestinians’ diplomatic status to ‘non-member observer state’.

Celebrations within Palestine that the UN has implicitly recognized its right to statehood might be short-lived according to the latest Israeli media reports.

Apart from approving construction on 3,000 new housing units in the occupied territories, Israel’s “security cabinet,” a forum of nine top Israeli ministers lead by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will also go ahead with planning procedures for another 1,000 housing units in the area E1 that connects Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim.

The location of the settlements is in line with Israel’s “strategic interests map.”

Ma’aleh Adumim, located along the highway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is currently the third-largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

East Jerusalem, which Israel captured during the 1967 war, will also be a site for settlement construction.

“Israel is considering several other actions in response to the unilateral Palestinian UN move,” Channel 10 cites a government official as saying.

Other potential measures which have floated around Israeli policy circles have included annulling the 1993 Oslo Accords which provided for the creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the West Bank and Gaza, annexation of large settlement blocs, and deducting some NIS 800 million from taxes collected on behalf of the PA to cover money owed to the Israeli Electric Cooperation, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called the decision “a slap in the face of the world that voted in favor of a Palestinian state,” The Times of Israel cites him as saying.

“This action will leave Israel further isolated, after the entire world spoke out yesterday against the occupation,” he continued.

The White House described the settlement expansion plan as counterprodutive, saying it would only make the resumption of peace talks between the two side that much harder.

Last week Washington implored Israel not to allow construction in E1. The move could ultimately connect Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, splitting the West Bank in half in the process and ending dreams of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Netanyahu, following in the footsteps of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, had previously promised the White House he would not build in E1.

Senior government officials had earlier said an immediate move on settlement expansion following the UN vote would be viewed by the international community as a punitive measure against the Palestinians, Israel’s Ynet news reports.

They had suggested that Netanyahu wait so that the decision would not be linked to the UN vote, though Netanyahu chose to go ahead with the plan rather than wait.

Israel has long urged that a two-state solution can only be achieved via negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority has concurrently maintained that a freeze in settlement expansion is a precondition for the resumption of peace talks.

This latest decision by Israeli government gives one more indication that for Israel the settlement construction process is all about politics, Phyllis Bennis, a political analyst told RT. “In this case it was designed explicitly to punish the Palestinians for having the audacity to go the United Nations.”

“What we are looking at is really a continuation of what we’ve seen all along — the settlement construction that has been going on for many-many years in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. There are now over 600,000 illegal Israeli settlers living on occupied territory — which means they are breaking the law every morning simply by waking up.”

The upgrade of the diplomatic status of the Palestinian Authority to a “non-member observer state” gives the Palestinians two things, Bennis notes. Firstly, it will give them the possibility of joining the International Criminal Court, which could allow some level of accountability for alleged Israeli war crimes.

Also it could allow them to join the International Court of Justice as a member and state. “In which case they could do what countries do in the International Court of Justice all the time — bring a law suit against another country. In this case the state of Palestine could sue the state of Israel for its illegal occupation,” she stressed.

http://rt.com/

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