Israel strikes 9 military targets in Syria

An Israeli F16C fighter jet

Nine Syrian military targets have been hit by Israeli jets and guided missiles, the IDF says, claiming it was a decisive response to a series of cross-border shootings to protect the citizens of Israel. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, “at least 10 members of the Syrian army were killed,”Reuters reported. The strikes on targets in Golan Heights were carried out shortly after midnight, Haaretz reports citing an IDF official, who called it a direct response to Sunday’s deadly incident when an anti-tank projectile fired from Syrian territory struck near the border fence on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. “The shooting [on Sunday] was a very serious act of provocation, and a continuation of a series of attacks carried out over the past several months against IDF forces throughout the border region, and in this area specifically,” the statement reads. A military command headquarters reportedly was among the targets hit in Syria. Earlier on Sunday, in response to the killing of Israeli teen Mohammed Karaka, IDF artillery pounded military outposts on Syrian territory, with speculations about possible strikes against other targets. The killed teenager was an Arab citizen of Israel, accompanying his father, a Defense Ministry civilian contractor, to the Golan, the ministry said, uncertain whether the boy was 15 or 13 years old. The father and two more people we injured in the incident.

An Israeli soldier prepares to load shells into his Merkava tank positioned near the Quneitra checkpoint on the border with Syria in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights

It was not clear who exactly fired the anti-tank missile that hit the Israeli border from an area contested by the Syrian army and the rebels. Relations between Syria and Israel have been tense since the civil war erupted in the country more than three years ago. Ripped by internal warring factions, numerous cross-border shooting and shelling have become a common occurrence in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights, which Tel Aviv secured following the Yom Kippur War of 1973. IDF aerial retaliatory strikes were reported in January 2013, when Israeli planes allegedly struck deep within Syrian territory, reportedly targeting anti-aircraft weaponry outside Damascus. Israeli warplanes also struck a Syrian air-defense base near the port city of Latakia in October 2013, as confirmed by US officials, with some experts speculating that the target was missile equipment that may have been transferred to Lebanese Hezbollah. In May 2013, Syrian media reported “Israeli airstrikes” targeting military positions in Damascus, following bombing in Rif Dimashq governorate. In July 2013, RT reported that Israel used a Turkish military base to launch one of its recent airstrikes against Syria from the sea, a week after July 5 depot attack in Latakia.

#9-military-strikes, #golan-heights, #idf, #israel, #israel-fire-into-syria, #isreal, #syria, #syrian-observatory-for-human-rights

Secret trade negotiations: is this the end of the big four?

WikiLeaks publishes draft trade agreement
Details of the draft trade agreement revealed by WikiLeaks have big implications for Australia’s sovereignty

Peter Martin: Giant risk to financial stability buried in small print
Malcolm Maiden: Will we be better or worse off under this deal?
Philip Dorling: Assange unlikely to slip quietly into obscurity
The Abbott government is pressing ahead with secret trade negotiations aimed at bringing about radical deregulation of Australia’s banking and finance sector, WikiLeaks documents reveal.
Highly sensitive details of the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations, obtained by Fairfax Media, show Australian trade negotiators are working on a financial services agenda that could end the Australian government’s ”four pillars” banking policy and allow foreign banks much greater freedom to operate in Australia. The changes could also see Australians’ bank accounts and financial data freely transferred overseas and allow an influx of foreign financial and information technology workers. Negotiations “could undo the effective regulation that sheltered Australia from the global financial crisis”: Leon Carter from the FSU. Photo: Andrew De La Rue. Financial Services Union national secretary Leon Carter said there was ”a real danger” that the negotiations ”could undo the effective regulation that sheltered Australia from the global financial crisis” and result in ”a tidal wave of finance job losses in Australia”.

Negotiations “could undo the effective regulation that sheltered Australia from the global financial crisis”: Leon Carter from the FSU

Financial Services Union national secretary Leon Carter said there was ”a real danger” that the negotiations ”could undo the effective regulation that sheltered Australia from the global financial crisis” and result in ”a tidal wave of inance job losses in Australia”. But Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the negotiations were a “key focus” in his policy to “open as many doors as possible” for Australian financial services. “Financial services are a key part of the negotiations for us given the strength of our sector in areas including banking and wealth management, particularly in the major, growing markets of Asia,” he said. A confidential negotiating text provided to Fairfax Media by WikiLeaks reveals that the TiSA talks have big implications for Australia’s financial system, potentially pre-empting the Abbott government’s Financial System Inquiry which, chaired by former Commonwealth Bank chief executive David Murray, will present an interim report on July 15.

World Trade Organisation members including Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the European Union are engaged in the negotiations.Australia’s major banks strongly support the process, with ANZ arguing that there is ”a significant opportunity not only for lowering barriers to trade for current parties to the negotiations, but also to set important targets for further liberalisation in the future by nations currently not party to the negotiation”. Key provisions in the leaked draft text include a US proposal for a ”standstill” on financial regulation.

Dr Patricia Ranald, research associate at the University of Sydney and convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said the US wants to ”tie the hands” of governments. ”Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as ‘monopolies’ and to limit public regulation of all financial services,” she said. ”They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis.”

The draft TiSA text also includes US and European Union proposals for each party to the agreement to allow financial service providers of other parties the right to establish or expand within its territory ”including through the acquisition of existing enterprises”. The application of ”most favoured nation” and ”national treatment” to the acquisition of financial services providers would preclude an Australian government blocking foreign takeovers of banks, although it is possible that Australia could obtain a ”carve-out” for its ”four pillars” policy preventing the big four banks from merging and legislation that limits individual shareholdings in Australian financial sector companies to 15 per cent. Foreign financial institutions would be allowed to bring ”temporary” workers into Australia, including computer, telecommunications, actuarial and legal specialists. ”Temporary” is not defined in the leaked text. The US has also proposed measures that would allow Australian customers’ financial data to flow freely to other TiSA countries where Australian privacy laws would not apply. ANZ argues that data protection and privacy laws are becoming ”an area of significant divergence” between countries, inhibiting the free provision of financial services. The US Chamber of Commerce says TiSA must ”prohibit restrictions on legitimate cross-border information flows … [and] ensure that cloud computing services are freely available, regardless of facility or end-user location.” Parliamentary consultation on TiSA has been minimal with the talks only briefly mentioned in Senate estimates committee hearings.

WikiLeaks documents, reported in Fairfax Media, showed that Australia, the United States, the European Union, Japan and 19 other countries were in talks about opening up access to their banking industries to foreign players as part of a Trade in Services Agreement. Australian governments have long supported a ban on mergers among any of the country’s four major banks — the Commonwealth Bank, the National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ

The leaked draft TiSA financial services chapter can be found at

#australia, #australian-trade-negotiators, #commonwealth-bank, #fairfax-media, #secret-trade-negotiations, #the-national-australia-bank, #tidal-wave-of-finance-job-losses, #westpac-and-anz, #wikileaks

A speech made in 1942 that is still relevant in 2014

Charlie Chaplin did a movie in 1942, a few years before WWII ended and in the middle of a war. The movie was called ‘The Great Dictator’ Now many people know this but the video below of his speech for democracy and peace was actually adlibbed. He forgot his lines and just spoke from the heart, he said what I am guessing many thought at the time. The video is his voice with modern images over it. I have shared this video 100 times now, I just shared it with someone on their blog and it made me do this blog. This video speaks a 72 year old language in a World long lost and forgotten. A world where men would take their own life if they could not fight for their country. I know it happened in the USA and the UK. That is an Alien World now. The values we held then have gone, social values have collapsed and we have turned into a hateful species, we do see individual acts of kindness but too often we see a world where hate and greed have taken over

It’s amazing how a 72 year old speech from 1942, made up on the spot can be so relevant in 2014

#1942-speech, #2014-still-relevant, #a-dlibbed-speech, #charlie-chaplin-speech, #democracy, #love, #movie, #the-great-dictator, #video, #war

Ground Zero Cross: Court presses atheist group to explain why artifact is ‘offensive’

The World Trade Center Cross waits to be blessed by a Franciscan priest, New York

Well yet again religion or the lack of it raises it’s ugly stupid head. Why on EARTH can anyone be offended by this? What happened to live and let live. Why can a Muslim Mosque show it’s signs and banners and NEVER a word is spoken. Yesterday I did a blog about an American man being told to remove his American Flag because it might offend Muslims! What on Earth is going on. Why can’t people just be clever, the World’s gone mad!

A federal appeals court said this week that an atheist group trying to keep the so-called Ground Zero Cross out of the National September 11 Memorial Museum must better explain how displaying the artifact is “offensive” and violates members’ constitutional rights. The 17-foot-tall, steel beam “cross” was found in the rubble of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York that fell during the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The cross became a sort of shrine or place of comfort for first responders who often prayed there and left messages or flowers. It was moved away from the debris a few weeks later and became a tourist attraction through several years of reconstruction. American Atheists filed the suit in 2011, which was thrown out last year by a federal judge in the Southern District of New York.

The appeals court ruling Thursday cites an amicus brief filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in church-state law and protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. “We’re thrilled that the court picked up on this issue,” said group lawyer Eric Baxter, whose brief argued that American Atheists had no right to bring a lawsuit in the first place. “Courts should not allow people to sue just because they claim to get ‘dyspepsia’ over a historical artifact displayed in a museum.” The museum officially opened on May 21.

Just my way of thinking

The judge has now given the plaintiffs until July 14 to file supplemental legal briefs before deciding whether the case will proceed. Among the questions that must be answered in the new filings is how the offensiveness of the cross, which the plaintiffs view as a Christian symbol for all 9-11 victims, becomes a “constitutional injury.” The other question is — if the plaintiffs indeed feel displaying the cross “marginalizes them as American citizens” — then how is that a “particular and concrete injury” compared to just “the abstract stigmatization of atheists generally.” The judge has also asked the plaintiffs to substantiate their claim the museum and Sept. 11 memorial are getting taxpayer dollars. “Taking personal offense is not an injury that warrants invoking the power of the courts to shut down everything you disagree with,” Baxter also said. “The Constitution is not a personal tool for censoring everyone’s beliefs but your own.”

This was said. How can this be. Is there an Obama Muslim Connection? Just asking what others think

#911, #american-atheists, #american-flag, #atheist-group, #ground-zero, #ground-zero-cross, #muslim-mosque, #new-york, #religious-cross, #world-trade-center, #world-trade-center-cross

Guildford Four’s Gerry Conlon dies

Gerry Conlon received an apology from then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005

Sad day today, one of the 4 accused of a bombing has passed away. Accused of being a republican member of the IRA Gerry one of 4 were jailed for life, they spent 15 years and got out on appeal, due to shoddy police work, they were set up from the start. I only hope in the final years of his life Gerry had a good life. R.I.P to a brilliant man. Shamed by England for a crime he and the other 3 never done. Makes you wonder how many other innocent people believed to be IRA members are in prison due to Thatcherism ways

Gerry Conlon, who spent 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, has died at the age of 60. Mr Conlon was wrongly convicted of the 1974 Guildford IRA pub bombing that killed five people and injured 65. He was one of the Guildford Four, whose convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1989. Mr Conlon’s case was highlighted in the 1993 Oscar-nominated film In The Name Of The Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

In the Name of the Father Official Trailer 

Gerry Conlon, pictured with his sisters after being released at the Old Bailey in 1989

Mr Conlon, pictured in 2013 at the funeral of SDLP MP Eddie McGrady

The Reality

Mr Conlon’s father Giuseppe was arrested when travelling to London from Belfast to help his son. He died while serving his sentence. In 2005, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair apologised for the miscarriage of justice. In October 1989, the Court of Appeal quashed the sentences of the Guildford Four – Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill, Carole Richardson and Paddy Armstrong – amid doubts raised about the police evidence against them. An investigation into the case by Avon and Somerset Police found serious flaws in the way Surrey Police handled the case – considered to be one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in Britain. Emerging from the Appeal Court a free man, Mr Conlon declared: “I have been in prison for something I did not do. I am totally innocent.” In June 1991 it overturned the sentences on the Maguire Seven, who were all arrested because of a family connection to Mr Conlon.

In a statement issued through his lawyer Gareth Peirce, Mr Conlon’s family said: “He brought life, love, intelligence, wit and strength to our family through its darkest hours. “He helped us to survive what we were not meant to survive. “We recognise that what he achieved by fighting for justice for us had a far, far greater importance – it forced the world’s closed eyes to be opened to injustice; it forced unimaginable wickedness to be acknowledged; we believe it changed the course of history. “We thank him for his life and we thank all his many friends for their love.”

#gerry-conlon, #gerry-conlon-dies, #guildford-four, #mr-conlon, #prime-minister-tony-blair, #the-wolf-tones, #tony-blair

*BREAKING NEWS* Russian Forces Put On ‘Full Combat Alert’

Troops in central Russia have been put on “full combat alert”, a day after neighbouring Ukraine declared a week-long ceasefire.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the alert would encompass the Volga region and Ural mountains and would last a week, according to Russian state news media.

The one-week drill will include 65,000 troops, according to the head of Russia’s General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov.

Last week Russia continued to build-up its forces on the border with Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are locked in battle with Ukraine government forces in a conflict that has killed some 300 people and forced 34,000 civilians to leave their homes.

#russia, #central-russia, #combat-alert, #defence-minister-sergei-shoigu, #russian-army, #russian-military-full-alert, #russian-state-news, #ukraine, #ural-mountains

Queen Gets New Helicopter For William And Kate

RAF helicopter pilot Prince William will fly with Kate to royal engagements

As the people of the UK get hit hard by Austerity cuts, bills getting higher, cost of living getting higher, the Queen buys her Grandkid a Helicopter out of the public purse. We paid for this present, the tax payers of the UK. And people wonder why the Royals are disliked these days. I don’t know many people in the UK never mind Scotland who have ANY time for the Royals. It seems the World likes the Royals more. We are sick of them here. They live of us, the people. Sadly should Scotland get independence, we keep the Royals. Yeah, Brilliant!

Prince William is to get his hands on the ultimate boy’s toy – a luxury helicopter paid for by the Queen. The six-year-old Agusta A109S Grand, which has already been dubbed ‘Heirforce One’ after the US President’s aircraft, has no previous owners and boasts a top speed of 180mph. It will be used to whisk William and his wife Kate between official engagements so they can spend as much time as possible at home with their son, Prince George.

The Duke of Cambridge, who celebrates his 32nd birthday today, is a qualified RAF helicopter pilot. However, it is not clear whether he will get behind the controls of the Augusta, according to the Daily Mirror. The newspaper said the aircraft will be leased out by the Queen, with other members of the Royal Family able to hop on board. A royal source told Sky News the helicopter, which can stay in the sky for up to four and a half hours, covering a maximum distance of more than 530 miles, represented “better value for money”.

A busy schedule means time away from Prince George for the Duke and Duchess

It would also be safer, since checks will need to be carried out on just one aircraft rather than several, the source said. Prince William started his flying training in 2009 at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales, where he learnt to pilot search and rescue aircraft. The Duke, or Flight Lieutenant Wales as he is known in the military, landed a Sea King helicopter on water during a tour of Canada in 2011. He also took to the skies above the Falkland Islands during a six-week deployment the following year.

#8m-helicopter, #helicopter, #paid-for-by-people-of-uk, #prince-william, #queen-of-england, #raf-helicopter-pilot, #royal-engagements, #the-royals