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Justice Department Closes Investigation of Interrogation Deaths    The Justice Department on Thursday announced it has closed a criminal investigation into the deaths of two terrorist suspects who were under interrogation by U.S. officers overseas. No charges will be brought. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a statement, said the department "declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt." The investigation, by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham, was an outgrowth of Durham's inital investigation into the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes. ............................... [Truthout, 31 August]        back to the top

Obama speech to soldiers met with silence    President Barack Obama was greeted with fleeting applause and extended periods of silence as he offered profuse praise to soldiers and their families during an Aug. 31 speech in Fort Bliss, Texas. His praise for the soldiers " and for his own national-security policies " won cheers from only a small proportion of the soldiers and families in the cavernous aircraft-hangar. ............................... [Daily Caller, 31 August]        back to the top

America's most senior general warns against rash action on Syria and Iran    The head of the American military has stated that the worst possible outcome of the Syrian civil war would be an "unstable state with all the risks that involves". General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in the US, pointedly avoided repeating the demands by David Cameron and other Western leaders that Bashar al-Assad must quit to enable the strife to end. ............................... [Independent, 31 August 2012]        back to the top

The modern US army: unfit for service?    Gone are the days of the all-American army hero. These days, the US military is more like a sanctuary for racists, gang members and the chronically unfit. ............................... [Guardian, 31 August 2012]        back to the top

Armenia cuts ties with Hungary over Azerbaijan killer pardon    Armenia says it is severing diplomatic ties with Hungary after the release of an Azeri army officer convicted of murdering an Armenian soldier. ............................... [BBC News, 31 August 2012 ]        back to the top

Golan Heights divided by support for Assad's Syria    In the Israeli-occupied area, where most people call themselves Syrian, Bashar al-Assad opponents say they are being intimidated. A small minority of residents of the four villages populated by Syrian Druze high in the Golan have been open in their support for the uprising. But, they say, intimidation has stopped others speaking out. (Perhaps the same fear operates in rebel held areas?) ............................... [Guardian, 31 August]        back to the top

Former Afghan ambassador's heartbreak over 'betrayal' of wounded soldiers in Paralympics     Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles says failure to come up with plan for country's future dishonours their courage. ............................... [Telegraph, 31 August]        back to the top

'Difficult' demand for refugee camps in Syria vexes UN    The UN Security Council has discussed a request by Turkey to create refugee camps inside Syria. Turkey's foreign minister told the council to act "without delay", but the UN deputy head said the issue raised "serious questions". ............................... [BBC News, 31 August]        back to the top

We will win in Afghanistan    Much has been written in the past week regarding Nato's ongoing efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. It is clear to me that the coalition of 50 nations with troops in Afghanistan today will face formidable challenges over the next few years. However, there has been measurable and substantial progress in three specific areas. ............................... [Guardian, 31 August]        back to the top

Ex-Navy Seal who published Bin Laden book may face legal action    A US Navy SEAL who wrote a first-hand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden could face legal action over the publication for a material breach of non-disclosure agreements, the Pentagon said. ............................... [Telegraph, 31 August]        back to the top

True Grit: Triple amputee veteran completes grueling 10.5 mile endurance race called The Beast over five-hours to honor fallen U.S. soldiers    Covered in mud, five hours after starting, triple amputee Corporal Todd Love charges to the finish line after competing over ten miles of rugged terrain across 75 obstacles in an event called The Beast. Having lost both his legs and an arm in Afghanistan in 2010, this weekend Love took to Leesburg, Virginia, in an extreme endurance test called The Spartan Race with his eight-man other comrades of Team X.T.R.E.M.E. ............................... [Mail, 30 August]        back to the top

Racist ex-soldier who stuck a pig's head to mosque gates in 'revenge' for extremists burning poppies is jailed for four months    A former soldier has been jailed for four months after he tied a pig's head to the gates of a mosque before uploading pictures of what he did on Facebook. Simon Parkes, 45, tied the animal's head to the front of Cheltenham Mosque, Gloucestershire, after seeing a group of Muslims burning poppies on Remembrance Sunday 2010. ............................... [Mail, 30 August]
See:  [Muslim extremist fined £50]        back to the top

Drug which can stop post-traumatic stress disorder could be on the way after successful test in mice    Researchers prevent learning and memory problems in mice after subjecting them to stress. ............................... [Mail, 30 August]        back to the top

Five Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan    Five Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in two separate incidents, defence officials say. Three soldiers were killed by a man in Afghan army uniform in Uruzgan province on Wednesday, the latest in a series of so-called "green-on-blue" attacks. In a separate incident, two others were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province on Thursday. ............................... [BBC News, 30 August]        back to the top

Navy widow jailed for pension fraud after failing to reveal new boyfriend    The widow of a Royal Navy diver has been jailed after admitting fraudulently pocketing more than £144,000 from the Armed Forces' pension scheme. Carol Garside, 48, of Holton-le-Clay, Lincs wept as she was taken from the dock at Lincoln Crown Court to start a nine month prison sentence. ............................... [Telegraph, 30 August]        back to the top

Viewpoint: Syria set for drawn-out conflict    As violence spreads to almost every corner of Syria, there is no longer any doubt that the country is engulfed in all-out war. It is a tug of war with no foreseeable end: despite temporary gains made by the government and the opposition in different parts of the country, neither side can deliver a knockout blow. ............................... [BBC News, 30 August]        back to the top

Robert Fisk: Inside Daraya - how a failed prisoner swap turned into a massacre    The men and women to whom we could talk, two of whom had lost loved ones on Daraya's day of infamy four days ago, told a story different from the version that has been repeated around the world: theirs was a tale of hostage-taking by the Free Syria Army and desperate prisoner-exchange negotiations between the armed opponents of the regime and the Syrian army, before President Bashar al-Assad's government forces stormed into the town to seize it back from rebel control. Officially, no word of such talks between the enemies has been mentioned. ............................... [Independent, 29 August]        back to the top

Leading article: First, stop Syria's war spreading    It is difficult to see a clear winner emerging from the ever-bloodier civil war in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad admitted yesterday that his government needs more time "to win the battle" against the rebel militias. He did so as the crash of artillery fire resounded across Damascus and Aleppo and large parts of the country have fallen under rebel control. For all their superiority in firepower, government forces are under continuous attack. Mr Assad may not be winning, but there is no sign of his regime imploding. The rest of the world cannot stop the war, but they should do their utmost to try to prevent it from spreading to Lebanon and destabilising the rest of the region. ............................... [Independent, 29 August]        back to the top

12.000 Christen in Syrien von Rebellen eingekesselt/12,000 Christians in Syria are encircled by rebels    Die westliche Presse steht im syrischen Bürgerkrieg zweifellos aufseiten der Rebellen. Dementsprechend findet sich kein Wort über die Einkesselung eines überwiegend christlichen Dorfes mit Namen Rableh. Nicht nur, dass die mehr als 12.000 Bewohner von der Versorgung mit Nahrungsmitteln und Medizin abgeschnitten sind, wer das Dorf zu verlassen versucht, wird von Snipern getötet. Obwohl Agenzia Fides, die Nachrichtenagentur des Vatikans, über die dort stattfindende Tragödie berichtete und auch die Namen von drei ermordeten Bewohnern nennt, die das Dorf verlassen wollten, um Nahrungsmittel zu besorgen, hüllt sich die linientreue internationale Presse in Schweigen. Lediglich die kanadische Zeitung National Post widmete dem Vorfall einen Artikel. /The western press stands without doubt on the side of the rebels. Accordingly, there is no word on the encirclement of a predominantly Christian village named Rableh. Not only that, more than 12,000 inhabitants are cut off from supplies of food and medicine; whoever tries to leave the village, is killed by snipers. Although Agenzia Fides, the news agency of the Vatican, reported on the tragedy taking place there, naming the three murdered residents who wanted to leave the village in order to get food, the party line of the international press is enveloped in silence. Only the Canadian newspaper National Post devoted an article to the incident. ............................... [The Intelligence, 29 August]        back to the top

Armenians in Syria Fear Likely Muslim Brothers' Rule    Syrian Armenians who fled to Armenia says they fear that the Muslim Brotherhood could seize power in Syria. 'If the Brotherhood takes over in Syria, all Christians will have to leave the country' says a member. ............................... [Turkish Weekly, 29 August]        back to the top

President Assad says Western-imposed buffer zone is 'unrealistic'     Assad was speaking in a rare interview with pro-government Syrian Addounia television, excerpts of which were broadcast by the station on Wednesday. The president, responding to rumours of his whereabouts since a July bombing in Damascus, said he was speaking from the presidential palace in the capital. "I believe that talk about a buffer zone is not practical, even for those countries which are playing a hostile role (against Syria)," Assad said. ............................... [Telegraph, 29 August]        back to the top

Deadly car bomb hits funeral in Damascus suburb - no condemnation of rebels by West for murders of civilians    Twelve people have been killed by a car bomb at a funeral in the Jaramana suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, state TV has reported. Injuries were also reported, with state media saying 48 people were wounded. The funeral was for two supporters of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to a UK-based opposition group. ............................... [BBC News, 29 August]        back to the top

'Osama Bin Laden was unarmed and ALREADY DEAD when Navy SEALs burst into bedroom': Shocking claim by retired soldier that threatens to debunk official story of raid    A blow-by-blow account of the Navy SEAL raid that took down Osama bin Laden has revealed that the al-Qaeda chief was unarmed and already dead when soldiers burst into his room in his Pakistan compound. The book, No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden, was written anonymously under the name Mark Owen, who was one of the SEAL Team Six members who saw the terror leader die in May 2011. ............................... [Mail, 29 August]        back to the top

SAS veteran who took part in Iranian Embassy siege and Falklands War auctions his haul of medals    Warrant Officer John Thompson, 69, says he only found out they were valuable after going on the ITV antiques programme Real Deal and now hopes to get £12,000 for them at auction next month. ............................... [Mail, 29 August]        back to the top

New Zealand infantry performs Maori haka in spine-tingling farewell to fallen comrades    A spine-tingling video showing around 200 New Zealand soldiers performing the Maori haka at the funeral of three fallen comrades has gone viral. ............................... [Mail, 29 August]        back to the top

Syria's rebels are not yet worthy of our trust    After the debacle in Libya, the West needs guarantees from any government-in-waiting. ............................... [Telegraph, 28 August]        back to the top

François Hollande to back a Syrian opposition government    The French President François Hollande yesterday called on Syria's opposition to form a provisional government, saying France would recognise it once such a government is formed. ............................... [Independent, 28 August]        back to the top

Syrian army drops leaflets over Damascus, warning of 'inevitable death' to rebels    Syrian military helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over Damascus and its suburbs today, urging rebels to hand over their weapons or face œinevitable death as part of a widening and deadly offensive to recapture areas near the capital that have fallen into rebel hands. ............................... [Independent, 28 August]        back to the top

US troops punished for Koran burning and urination video    Six US soldiers have been disciplined for the incineration in February of up to 100 Korans and other religious texts in Afghanistan, the US military said. They will not face criminal prosecution over the incident, which sparked rioting that claimed at least 30 lives and saw two US troops shot dead. ............................... [BBC News, 28 August]        back to the top

British soldiers resort to 'baiting' Taliban to beat rules of engagement    Platoon commander describes frustration at being forced to lead troops 'to get shot at'. Soldiers are risking their lives to get round strict rules of engagement that allow them to shoot only if they are being attacked or are in "imminent danger". In a statement the MoD said: "We have always been very clear, as has ISAF, that our troops go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties. Recent amendments to the ISAF tactical directive reflect that commitment." ............................... [Independent, 27 August]        back to the top

Afghanistan: a ragged retreat threatens to turn into a slow-motion rout    The latest killings in Afghanistan are a stark reminder to western leaders of the folly of ignoring the situation in the country . ............................... [Guardian, 27 August]        back to the top

US troops plotted to kill Barack Obama    Four US soldiers plotted to assassinate Barack Obama and overthrow the government, a court has heard. One, private Michael Burnett, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and gang charges in the killings last December of former soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York. ............................... [Independent, 27 August]        back to the top

Our boys and girls deserve glory says UK's top general    Troops who face danger as cheerfully as they wowed Olympic crowds are in line for The Sun's glittering Millies. Britain's top soldier issues a rallying cry to our readers to nominate servicemen and women who they think most deserve to be honoured at the Sun Military Awards 2012. ............................... [Sun, 27 August]        back to the top

Taliban kill Afghan 'party-goers' in Helmand    Seventeen civilians have been killed by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, reportedly for attending a party. ............................... [BBC News, 27 August]        back to the top

Britain and US plan a Syrian revolution from an innocuous office block in Istanbul    An underground network of Syrian opposition activists is receiving training and supplies of vital equipment from a combined American and British effort to forge an effective alternative to the Damascus regime. ............................... [Telegraph, 26 August]        back to the top

Robert Fisk: The bloody truth about Syria's uncivil war    Those trying to topple Assad have surprised the army with their firepower and brutal tactics. ............................... [Independent, 26 August]        back to the top

Inquiries tipped to reach £100m to remove 'war crime' stain from reputation of British forces    Three inquiries into alleged "war crimes" by British soldiers are projected to cost £100 million. ............................... [Telegraph, 25 August]        back to the top

British Military Base in Cyprus Used for "Syrian Operation"    Cyprus displeased at reports that British bases provide help to Syrian rebels. ............................... [Global Research, 24 August]        back to the top

The brain injection that could help save lives of soldiers in battle and other victims of serious head injury    Victims of serious brain trauma could be saved by an injection of nanoparticles in the moments after injury, researchers have found. The findings could be used in emergency situations by medics and even battlefield doctors help treating soldiers on the front line, they say. ............................... [Mail, 24 August]        back to the top

He volunteered to fight for Britain. Now this soldier faces deportation and jail... all over a speeding fine    He has served in the British Army for four years with an 'exemplary record', but Poloko Hiri has now been ordered out of the UK " because of a speeding offence. The 32-year-old from Botswana has had his application for citizenship rejected by the UK Border Agency who claimed the single offence was a sign of 'bad character'. ............................... [Mail, 24 August]        back to the top

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam fails in bid to be tried abroad - as vistor's 'justice' inevitable    Fears grow that plan to try Saif al-Islam in Zintan could spark new round of violence. Prosecuters in Libya announced yesterday that the son of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi will go on trial next month in the town of Zintan, fuelling fears that violence will escalate in the country over the coming months. ............................... [Independent, 24 August]        back to the top

BBC censors video showing dark side of Syrian rebels    The BBC has sensationally censored a news story and a video showing Syrian rebels forcing a prisoner to become a suicide bomber, a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, presumably because it reflected badly on establishment media efforts to portray the FSA as glorious freedom fighters. ............................... [Voltaire Net, 24 August]        back to the top

Redundancies, botched defence reviews and pay freezes leave military morale at lowest ebb since 2008    Crippling government cuts to the Army, Royal Navy and RAF has sparked a wave of disgruntlement, the figures show. Redundancies totaling 22,000, botched defence reviews, pay freezes and the axing of perks for service personnel have left the military at its lowest ebb since 2008. ............................... [Mail, 24 August]        back to the top

NATO Legacy: Libya seizes tanks from pro-Gaddafi militia    More than 100 tanks have been seized from a militia group loyal to former Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, government officials say. Nearly 30 rocket launchers were also captured when security forces raided a camp in Tarhuna, near Tripoli. ............................... [BBC News, 24 August]        back to the top

For Israel to go to war with Iran would be the height of folly    The Iranian people would probably respond to attack by rallying behind their leaders and strengthening a deeply unpopular regime. ............................... [Telegraph, 23 August]        back to the top

Robert Fisk: 'Rebel army? They're a gang of foreigners'    Independent writer hears the Syrian forces' justification for a battle that is tearing apart one of the world's oldest cities. ............................... [Independent, 23 August]        back to the top

Libya 'sets September trial' for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi as the west looks on with indifference    Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, will go on trial in Libya in September, a Libyan prosecution spokesman has said. Saif al-Islam, 40, will face trial in the town of Zintan, where he has been held since his capture last year. The International Criminal Court, which has issued a warrant for crimes against humanity, says it is aware of the news but has not been contacted by Libya. ............................... [BBC News, 23 August]        back to the top

Armed forces morale falls, MoD survey suggests    Morale in the armed forces has fallen across all three services in the last two years, with the Army worst hit, a Ministry of Defence survey suggests. ............................... [BBC News, 23 August]        back to the top

Syria: US and Turkey meet to hasten Bashar al-Assad's end    Turkish and US officials have begun their first "operational planning" meeting aimed at bringing about the demise of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime. ............................... [Independent, 23 August]        back to the top

Syria crisis: UK joins US in chemical weapons warning - as Russia warns against illegal military intervention by West    The UK has joined the US in warning Syria that the use or threat of chemical weapons would force them "to revisit their approach". Earlier, Chinese state media accused Mr Obama of using the chemical arms issue as an excuse for military intervention. A Russian foreign ministry source told the Kommersant newspaper on Wednesday that Moscow believed Syria had no intention of using its chemical weapons and was able to safeguard them. ............................... [BBC News, 23 August]        back to the top

Osama bin Laden killing book by Seal Team Six member raises eyebrows    No classified information will be betrayed, publisher says, but security aspects and political timing pose questions. ............................... [Independent, 23 August]        back to the top

Owen Jones: Getting rid of Dubya wasn't enough. The US remains a bully    The issue isn't Obama, any more than it was Bush before him. The issue is US power. How easy it was to scrutinise US power when George W. Bush was in office. After all, it was difficult to defend an administration packed with such repulsive characters, like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, whose attitude towards the rest of the world amounted to thuggish contempt. ............................... [Independent, 23 August]        back to the top

Russia warns against West's intervention in Syria    Russia sent a warning to the West yesterday, saying there should be no unilateral intervention in Syria. The message came a day after Barack Obama said any attempt by the Assad regime to use chemical weapons could trigger US intervention. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said countries should "strictly adhere to the norms of international law". The warning came a day after a Japanese journalist was killed in the Syrian city of Aleppo. ............................... [Independent, 22 August]        back to the top

Robert Fisk: 'No power can bring down the Syrian regime'    You know it's all true when the taxi driver turns off the motorway towards Aleppo. In front lies a mile of empty road, disappearing into the heat haze on its way to one of the oldest cities in the world. ............................... [Independent, 22 August]        back to the top

Chemical weapons 'excuse for US to intervene in Syria'    Chinese state media have accused US President Barack Obama of planning to use Syria's chemical weapons as an excuse for intervening militarily. The state news agency, Xinhua, was responding to a warning from Mr Obama that Syria would be crossing a "red line" if it tried to use such weapons. "Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily," it said. It argued that "foreign crusades" by Western nations would simply lead to more violence and hatred in Syria, pointing to the examples of other interventions in Somalia, Iraq and Libya. ............................... [BBC News, 22 August]        back to the top

Robert Fisk: 'They snipe at us then run and hide in sewers'    Writer was given exclusive access to the Assad Generals accused of war crimes as they seek to defeat the rebels in Aleppo. ............................... [Independent, 21 August]        back to the top

Sailor shot himself after being bullied about comrade's suicide    A sailor shot himself in the head on board a Royal Navy warship after suffering "bullying" banter from superior officers about the loss of his friend who also committed suicide on a naval ship, an inquest heard today. ............................... [Telegraph, 21 August]        back to the top

Obama warns Syria chemical weapons use may spark US action    US President Barack Obama has said the use of chemical weapons by Syria would be a "red line" that would change his thinking on intervention in the crisis. He said he had "at this point not ordered military engagement". But he added: "There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons." ............................... [BBC News, 21 august]        back to the top

Afghan rocket attack damages US army chief plane    An insurgent rocket attack on a US air base in Afghanistan has damaged the plane of America's top military officer while he was on a visit there. ............................... [BBC News, 21 August]        back to the top

US 'should hand over footage of drone strikes or face UN inquiry'    The UN special rapporteur on human rights to urge establishing a mechanism to investigate such killings. His comments came as Pakistani officials said that a US drone strike had killed at least four militants after targeting their vehicles in North Waziristan on Sunday. ............................... [Independent, 20 August]        back to the top

Navy 'running out of sailors to man submarines'    Britain's nuclear deterrent is at risk because the Navy does not have enough sailors to man its submarines, Ministry of Defence officials admit. ............................... [Telegraph, 20 August]        back to the top

US drone strikes target rescuers in Pakistan " and the west stays silent    Attacking rescuers " a tactic long deemed by the US a hallmark of terrorism " is now routinely used by the Obama administration. ............................... [Guardian, 20 August]        back to the top

Royal Navy unveils its latest stealth warship that has a radar footprint the size of a fishing boat despite weighing 5,400 tonnes    It is capable of sailing the world's oceans carrying helicopters, cruise missiles and as many as 185 crew. But the Royal Navy's latest warship is so sophisticated that it will be able to speed around the globe virtually undetected by the enemy. ............................... [Mail, 20 August]        back to the top

"No Fly Zone" War for Syria: Replicating The "Libya Scenario"    "This is a clear-cut intention to repeat the Libyan scenario," Dolgov says, referring to Clinton's recent statement on a possible introduction of a no-fly zone over Syria, something that he says is little more than a call for an armed interference in Syria's internal affairs. The no-fly zone stipulates destroying missile defense systems and launching air strikes, and it, in fact, means an armed invasion of Syria which can only be fulfilled without being endorsed by the UN. All the more so that Russia and China several times blocked the UN Security Council resolutions which paved the way for resolving the Syrian crisis through the Libyan scenario." ............................... [Global Research, 19 August]        back to the top

'Germany helping Syria rebels with spy ship intel'    Germany is helping Syrian rebels by providing them with information gathered by a German navy vessel off the coast of Syria, a newspaper said on Sunday, without citing sources. Germany's Bild am Sonntag said the boat had spying equipment from the German intelligence service on board, enabling it to observe Syrian troop movements up to 600 km inland. ............................... [Jerusalem Post, 19 August]        back to the top

Robert Fisk: UN leaves Syria to its bloody fate    As the international troops retreat, heavy arms will flood into what will become a free-fire zone. Whenever the UN withdraws its personnel from the Middle East, calamity always follows in its wake. Privately, the UN fears the way is now open for the West and Gulf Arabs to pour heavy weapons into Syria to assist the rebellion against the Assad regime. Bashar al-Assad's regime does not appear to be on the verge of departure " as American and French diplomats fondly believe " but the signs of dislocation are everywhere. Syrians in Damascus speak with increasing freedom about the chances of the regime's survival, openly debating Bashar's victory or defeat in cafés and restaurants. Western nations and Gulf sponsors do not want UN observers snooping into the amount of new and more lethal weaponry which they may be planning to send to the "Free Syrian Army" and its more bearded allies in those parts of Syria in which Bashar's writ no longer runs? ............................... [Indepedent, 19 August]        back to the top

Leading article: Drone attacks must not be hidden from the law    Of the long list of controversial military developments, the rise of the unmanned aerial vehicle " the "drone" " is one of the most contentious yet. All the more reason, then, for the US, as the technology's main proponent, to take all possible measures to ensure that the use of drones is within international laws of combat. If only. ............................... [Independent, 19 August]        back to the top

Are drones any more immoral than other weapons of war?    The central issue comes down to how combatants are identified and what efforts are made to protect civilians. ............................... [Guardian, 19 August]        back to the top

Libyan car bomb attacks kill two    Three car bombings close to security buildings in Tripoli are the first deadly attacks since Muammar Gaddafi's fall last year. ............................... [Guardian, 19 August]        back to the top

Nato air strikes in eastern Afghanistan kill Taliban    More than two dozen suspected Taliban militants have been killed in an air strike carried out by Nato in eastern Afghanistan, the alliance has said. ............................... [BBC News, 19 August]        back to the top

'I wanted a lock of his hair. When they opened the coffin his arms were gone': Mother demands answers from MoD after limbs went missing AFTER body returned    A mother whose Guardsman son was killed by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan has called for an inquiry after discovering parts of his body 'went missing' following his return to Britain. Jacqui Janes believes 20-year-old Jamie's arms and hands were retained without her permission. ............................... [Mail, 19 August]        back to the top

Libya: Saif Gaddafi to go on trial next month     Libya's newly-elected government intends to put Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on trial next month in the mountain town of Zintan, after striking a deal with the independent militia which caught him trying to escape across the desert last November. ............................... [Telegraph, 18 August]        back to the top

UN observers leave Syria as mandate expires    Departure of last 100 monitors under way as humanitarian situation worsens and regime denies Assad deputy has defected. ............................... [Guardian, 18 August]        back to the top

MoD cash for bayoneted Afghan boy    The Ministry of Defence is to pay compensation after a British soldier stabbed an Afghan boy with his bayonet. The family of Ghulam Nabi, who was 10 at the time, would be given an "appropriate" sum, a spokeswoman said. Grenadier Guardsman Daniel Crook was sent to military prison for 18 months and dismissed from the army after the attack. He had been drinking heavily the night before he attacked the boy, who was running an errand. ............................... [Yahoo News, 18 August]        back to the top

The British Army's secret weapon in Afghanistan? It's the seven female officers in Helmand Province winning locals' hearts    They do a job that only women can do, as it is forbidden here for men and women who are not related to interact. ............................... [Mail, 18 August]        back to the top

Soldier from the Grenadier Guards killed in Afghanistan    It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that a soldier from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards has died in Afghanistan. ............................... [MoD, 18 August]        back to the top

All coalition troops at Afghan bases now armed around the clock    The uptick in attacks by Afghan security forces against coalition troops has hit home, with all troops at NATO headquarters and all bases across Afghanistan now ordered to carry loaded weapons around the clock, CNN learned Friday. ............................... [CNN, 18 August]        back to the top

'Thoroughly dishonest' RAF serviceman stole £15,000 of life-saving military equipment and sold it on eBay    A Royal Air Force serviceman who stole life-saving military equipment before selling it on internet auction site eBay has been jailed. Warrant Officer William Donaldson took more than £15,000 pounds worth of tourniquets - most often used to reduce blood loss of soldiers involved in bomb blasts - from stores at the base where he served. ............................... [Mail, 17 August]        back to the top

Opening Pandora's box " Embassies, Consulates, and their confidential information and records about HNWI's " the implications of the Julian Assange situation for wealthy global business families.    If retaliatory action is taken abroad and a British embassy or consulate loses its privileged status, then it is possible that any sensitive commercial records kept on those premises may actually be seized, and potentially enter the global public domain (whatever the niceties are of the Vienna Convention and its spirit). So global business families be aware. Whatever the relative merits are of Mr Assange's case and the diplomatic stance adopted by the Government of Ecuador one is left wondering whether the British political class have fully grasped the momentous practical implications of the proposed course of action. ............................... [Carl Islam's Wealth Planning Blog, 17 August]
See also:  [Law Society Gazette, 29 June 1988]        back to the top

British convert to Islam vows to fight to the death on Syrian rebel front line     A British Muslim convert from east London is fighting on the front line of the battle for Aleppo after joining rebels in their struggle against Bashar al-Assad's regime. ............................... [Telegraph, 17 August]        back to the top

Syria: full scale of carnage becomes apparent in wake of Azaz bombardment as rebels fight and hide in built-up areas    Human Rights Watch condemn death of children and civilians after regime's airstrike on strategic border town. ............................... [Guardian, 16 August]        back to the top

Why seizing Assange could break international law    The British government could find itself hauled before an international court if it moves in on the Ecuadorian embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted political asylum. "It's pretty simple under international law," Temple University international law professor Peter Spiro told CBC News. "Without the consent of the state whose embassy is implicated, the host state may not enter those premises." ............................... [CBC News, 16 August]        back to the top

MP Khalid Mahmood warning over UK Syria fighters    Young British Muslims are in danger of being radicalised by the conflict in Syria, a Birmingham MP has warned. Khalid Mahmood said he believed a number of Syrian sheikhs were influencing young Britons. The Labour MP for Perry Barr added some Syrian-born men now living in the West Midlands were returning to "exact their revenge" on the Assad regime. ............................... [BBC News, 16 August]        back to the top

UN Syria observer mission over, says Security Council    The United Nations has called an end to its military observer mission in Syria, days before its mandate expired. A small, civilian office will be set up instead to maintain political contacts. ............................... [BBC News, 16 August]        back to the top

Syria: the Gap salesman turned rebel executioner    Yaman Hamoud, 22, divided his time between university and working in a Gap store in Dubai, before becoming an executioner for the FSA. The executions and other abuses committed by the Syrian rebels "do not appear to display the mass brutality of those carried out by regime forces" (quote from Telegraph), particularly the Shabiha. But Human Rights Watch researchers have interviewed rebel leaders and have documented regular cases of killing of prisoners. ............................... [Telegraph, 16 August]        back to the top

Libyan Terrorists Are Invading Syria    Reuters today provides us with a spectacularly contradictory headline in their report, "Libyan fighters join Syrian revolt." Obviously foreign fighters from Libya, raiding cities, attacking government and civilian targets, and attempting to subvert and overthrow the sovereign government of Syria is not a "revolt." It is an invasion. ............................... [Infowars, 15 August]        back to the top

British soldiers linked to murder probe in Kenya    Police in Kenya are investigating allegations that two British soldiers murdered a 21-year-old woman. The Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office are assisting the authorities in east Africa after the body of a woman was found in a septic tank at a hotel close to where British troops were training. ............................... [Telegraph, 15 August]        back to the top

Companies to be banned from asking if potential employees are TA Reservists     Firms will be banned from discriminating against people who volunteer for the armed services under plans being drawn up by the Defence Secretary. ............................... [Telegraph, 15 August]        back to the top

Syria: bomb explodes outside UN hotel in Damascus    A bomb exploded in central Damascus near the hotel used by the UN observer mission in Syria on Wednesday, wounding three people, according to state television. ............................... [Telegraph, 15 August]        back to the top

Panetta: Israel yet to decide on Iran strike    US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has played down reports that Israel is moving closer to taking military action over Iran's nuclear programme. ............................... [BBC News]        back to the top

Syria crisis: west loses faith in SNC to unite opposition groups    US, UK and France seek to build more direct links with disparate rebels amid fears that Islamists are getting Gulf donations. The US, Britain and France are scrambling to retain their influence with Syrian opposition groups amid fears that most support from the Gulf states has been diverted towards extremist Islamic groups. Rising concern that an increasingly sectarian civil war could spread across the region, combined with reports of brutality by some opposition groups, and evidence that the best-organised and best-funded rebel groups are disproportionately Salafist (militant Sunni fundamentalists), has triggered an urgent policy change in western capitals. ............................... [Guardian, 14 August]        back to the top

Army warns Olympic Games recovery will take two years    Military faces big task to get back to normal, says planning chief, after deploying 18,000 troops to London 2012 duties. ............................... [Guardian, 14 August]        back to the top

CIA Provides Stinger Missiles to Syrian "Freedom Fighters" - Syria's Parallels with Afghanistan    The revelation about President Barack Obama's decision to provide secret American aid to Syria's rebel forces is a game changer. The presidential order, known as an "intelligence finding" in the world of espionage, authorizes the CIA to support armed groups fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad's government. But it threatens far more than the regime in Damascus. ............................... [Global Research, 13 August]        back to the top

Lockheed Martin, Boeing Settle F-22 Fighter Wrongful Death Suit    Defense contracting giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing have settled a wrongful death lawsuit leveled against them by the widow of an F-22 fighter pilot killed in a crash shortly after his plane malfunctioned, a Boeing spokesperson said. ............................... [ABC News, 13 August]        back to the top

Aleppo 'is becoming Syria's Stalingrad'     The key battle of the Syrian war is now raging in Aleppo, the country's largest and richest city. But, as Richard Spencer writes, the rebels remain defiant in the face of Assad's forces. Abdulaziz al-Salameh, provisional head of the Aleppo revolutionary council, has the bravado of a Second World War general as he looks at the chaos, and the clear prospect of more. "We are prepared to see the city destroyed before we give it up," he said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph in the early hours of Saturday. ............................... [Telegraph, 12 August]        back to the top

Syria crisis: Arab League postpones Syria talks while Clinton talks of illegal action for regime change    The ministers had been due to discuss a new envoy to Syria to replace Kofi Annan, who resigned earlier this month. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the US and Turkey are working together on detailed plans to support the Syrian opposition. "Our number-one goal is to hasten the end of the bloodshed and the Assad regime," she said. ............................... [BBC News, 12 August]        back to the top

Syria crisis: US and Turkey unilaterally consider no-fly zones    Hillary Clinton says US and Turkish intelligence to examine possibility of flying ban as Syrian and Jordanian troops clash. ............................... [Guardian, 11 August]        back to the top

Bradley Manning treatment in 'flagrant violation' of military code " lawyer    David Coombs claims in Article 13 motion that WikiLeaks suspect is being punished through 'degradation' and 'humiliation'. ............................... [Guardian, 11 August]        back to the top

Libyan General Hadia killed in Benghazi shooting - as new government fails to control rebel militias    A Libyan army general, with a senior defence ministry role, has been shot dead in the eastern city of Benghazi. General Mohamed Hadia al-Feitouri was returning home from Friday prayers when a group of gunmen pulled up in a car and opened fire, his son said. In recent months, Benghazi has seen a spate of killings of security officials who, like Gen Hadia, served under former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The incident comes a day after Libya's new interim assembly assumed power. ............................... [BBC News, 10 August]        back to the top

US and Turkey to set up Syria crisis working group    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said a working group will be set up with Turkey to plan a joint response to the Syrian crisis. She said after talks in Istanbul that she had discussed with Turkey's foreign minister how best to support opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's rule. ............................... [BBC News, 11 August]        back to the top

Afghan police chief kills US soldiers invited to dinner    Three American special forces soldiers were shot dead by a man in Afghan uniform in what appeared to be the latest incident of local forces turning their weapons on their foreign allies. ............................... [Telegraph, 10 August]        back to the top

Britain faces legal challenge over secret US 'kill list' in Afghanistan    Afghan man who lost relatives in missile strike says UK role in supplying information to US military may be unlawful. Britain's role in supplying information to an American military "kill list" in Afghanistan is being subjected to legal challenge amid growing international concern over targeted strikes against suspected insurgents and drug traffickers. ............................... [Guardian, 10 August]        back to the top

Special report: Hundreds of rebel fighters leave Aleppo after two nights of relentless shelling by regime forces    Revolutionaries abandon the frontline they had held with such resilience for the last 12 days. It began with a few of the rebel units pulling out, sleepless and disoriented after two nights of relentless shelling, fearful that they were being surrounded by regime forces. By mid-morning the departures had turned into a major retreat, with hundreds of fighters pouring out of Salaheddine, many of them then straight out of Aleppo. ............................... [Independent, 10 August]        back to the top

Adrian Hamilton: We're back to the bad old days of clandestine US interfering abroad. Resorting to cyber-assaults will come back to haunt President Obama    The Olympic Games means one thing in London at the moment but over in Washington it means something quite else. It was the name given to the secret cyberwar launched by the US in conjunction with the Israelis against Iran in an effort to disrupt its nuclear development by planting worms in its computer systems. ............................... [Independent, 10 August]        back to the top

Pentagon helps build Meshworm reconnaissance robot    Engineers have created a robot that mimics a worm's movements - crawling along surfaces by contracting segments of its body. ............................... [BBC News, 10 August]        back to the top

US begins landmark project to clean up Agent Orange in Vietnam    Millions of gallons of the toxic defoliant was sprayed by American planes on Vietnam's jungles to destroy enemy cover and has been blamed for cancers and disfiguring deformities among babies. The landmark £30 million joint operation at the former US air force base at Danang in central Vietnam will clean a 47-acre site where the dioxin was stored and mixed before being loaded on to the aircraft. ............................... [Telegraph, 9 August]        back to the top

Help for Heroes patron criticises 'cosy' MoD links    Former Royal Marine Ben McBean has accused Help for Heroes of neglecting injured troops by getting too close to the Ministry of Defence. ............................... [Telegraph, 9 August]        back to the top

Is the Syrian Civil War Hindering a Strike on Iran?     The loss of its major regional ally, Syria, could be a blow to Iran that might even induce it to speed up its nuclear program. As Syrian rebels continue their country-wide military assault on the Assad regime, pro-Assad elements have taken to the airwaves in recent days to openly threaten outside forces with unconventional weapons. While Israel has openly been singled out as the target of their devastation, the messages are directed just as much, if not more, at Turkey and other NATO forces who are contemplating a limited invasion of northern Syria. ............................... [Gatestone Institute, 8 August]        back to the top

Resistance Grows to NATO Membership by Independent Scotland    An increasing number of Scottish Parliament members are showing signs of opposing a governing party plan under which an independent Scotland would evict all nuclear weapons from its territory but remain a NATO state, the Scotsman reported on Tuesday (see GSN, July 27). ............................... [Global Security Newswire, 8 August]        back to the top

Syria: rebels retreat from Aleppo stronghold    Syrian rebels have pulled back from their positions in their Aleppo stronghold of Salaheddin in face of an onslaught "without respite"? from the Assad regime. "We have retreated, get out of here,"? rebels told reporters. Rebels say they control around half of the city. Near Homs in central Syria, opposition gunmen attacked an electricity company housing compound, killing 16 people, including Alawites, Christians and Sunnis, and rebels attacked an oil field in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, triggering clashes in which four rebels and six soldiers were killed. ............................... [Telegraph, 8 August]        back to the top

Firm formerly called Blackwater settles US arms case    The security firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a $7.5m (£4.8m) fine to settle US federal charges related to arms trafficking. ............................... [BBC News, 8 August]        back to the top

Iran backs Assad in Syria crisis and blames 'warmongering' US    Tehran officials go to Damascus over pilgrims affair, and reach out to Turkey, Lebanon and Qatar in diplomatic offensive. "Because of the US manifest support of terrorist groups and the dispatch of weapons to Syria, the US is responsible for the lives of the 48 Iranian pilgrims abducted in Damascus," it said. ............................... [Guardian, 7 August]        back to the top

Afghan defence minister and key British and US ally resigns    The Afghan defence minister who has become a key British and American ally in trying to build his country's army has resigned in what diplomats fear could have "significant consequences" for the handover. ............................... [Telegraph, 7 August]        back to the top

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused of arming Kurdish separatists for attacks against Turkish government    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been accused of arming Kurdish separatists who have stepped up attacks against the Turkish government - meddling that has the potential to lead to a major inflammation of theconflict outside war-ravaged Syria. ............................... [Independent, 9 August]        back to the top

Imran Khan vows to go ahead with protest against US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal region despite purported Taliban death threats    The Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has vowed to go ahead with a rally in Pakistan's tribal areas aimed at highlighting the human cost of US drone strikes despite a purported death threat levelled at him by the Taliban. Mr Khan intends to join activists and party colleagues who plan to drive or walk to the main town in North Waziristan next month in protest at the US's continuing policy of using drones to target suspected militants. The activists say even if militants are killed, scores of innocent bystanders also lose their lives. ............................... [Independent, 9 August]        back to the top

Syria crisis: Iran pledges support for 'vital partner'    Iran's security chief has told President Bashar al-Assad that Syria is part of a vital regional alliance that Tehran will not allow to be broken. Iran has accused Turkey and some Gulf states of arming the Syrian rebels, in collusion with Israel and the US. ............................... [BBC News, 7 August]        back to the top

BBC Claims Syria 'crumbling' after PM's defection    Western powers have said the defection of Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab is a sign that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is crumbling. ............................... [BBC News, 6 August]        back to the top

Syria Prime Minister Riad Hijab defects    Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab has defected from President Bashar al-Assad's government to join "the revolution", his spokesman says. Mr Hijab was appointed less than two months ago and his departure is the highest-profile defection since the uprising began in March 2011. State-run TV said he had been sacked. ............................... [BBC News, 6 August]        back to the top

South China Sea: Beijing attacks US 'trouble-making'    Chinese state media have hit out at US "trouble-making" on the South China Sea, two days after Beijing summoned a US diplomat on the issue. ............................... [BBC News, 6 August]        back to the top

Red Cross building attacked in Misrata, Libya    Unknown assailants have attacked a residential building of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Libyan port city of Misrata, the agency says. ............................... [BBC News, 5 August]        back to the top

Barack Obama baseball bat photograph sparks outrage in Turkey    A photograph of Barack Obama holding a baseball bat while on the telephone to the Turkish prime minister , supposed to illustrate the close relationship between the pair , backfired, after it sparked outrage in Turkey. Turkish politicians who have interpreted a more menacing message behind the image. "The photo reveals from whom our Prime Minister receives orders to rule the country,"? Metin Lutfi Baydar, an opposition politician for Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP) party, said. ............................... [Telegraph, 5 August]        back to the top

Turkish troops and Kurdish rebels 'killed in clashes'    At least 19 people have died in south-east Turkey after Kurdish rebels launched an attack on a Turkish border post, according to local media. ............................... [BBC News, 5 August]        back to the top

Syria conflict: Heavy fighting stepped up in Aleppo    Heavy fighting continues unabated in Syria's second city Aleppo, as fears grow that the army will launch a full-scale assault within days. Military sources say around 20,000 troops are massed around the city, and rebels said they were prepared for a "strong offensive". ............................... [BBC News, 5 August]        back to the top

Looted Afghan artefacts returned to Kabul    Hundreds of archaeological artefacts looted from Afghanistan have been handed over to the country's national museum during a ceremony in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday. Many of the 843 pieces were stolen during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s and ended up on the black market. ............................... [BBC News, 5 August]        back to the top

David Cameron warned that Afghanistan pullout could allow al-Qaeda to return    Military commanders have warned the Prime Minister that Afghanistan's future could be jeopardised with al-Qaeda returning to the country if foreign troops are withdrawn too quickly, senior sources have disclosed. ............................... [Telegraph, 4 August]        back to the top

The UN appears perfectly happy with the prison camp of Liberty    When the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony, alongside such champions of human rights as Daniel Barenboim and Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty, doubtless the last thing on his mind was the peculiar role being played by his personal representative in Iraq, a German diplomat named Martin Kobler. But Mr Kobler stands accused of conspiring with Iran (chief backer of the murderous regime in Syria) to commit a violation of rights so flagrant that it has been condemned, not just by politicians around the world, but by the UN's own human rights committee. ............................... [Telegraph, 4 August]        back to the top

Saudi Arabia: Soldier shot dead in Eastern Province    A soldier has been shot dead and another injured during a clash with protesters in eastern Saudi Arabia, according to state media. An interior ministry spokesman said that a security patrol was fired at by rioters on motorbikes in Qatif. ............................... [BBC News, 4 August]        back to the top

Russia says UN vote undermines peace efforts in Syria    Russia has said a resolution on Syria passed by the UN General Assembly undermines peace efforts there, as fighting continues on the ground. Moscow's UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, told reporters the resolution was one-sided and supported the armed opposition. ............................... [BBC News, 4 August]        back to the top

Australia rejects proposal to base a US nuclear aircraft carrier group near Perth    Australia, which tries to tread a fine line between supporting its closest ally, the US, and not upsetting China, its biggest trading partner, yesterday rejected a proposal to base a US nuclear aircraft carrier group near Perth, saying it did not want American bases in the country. ............................... [Independent, 3 August]        back to the top

Muslim Brotherhood establishes militia inside Syria    The Muslim Brotherhood has established its own militia inside Syria as the country's rebels fracture between radical Islamists and their rivals, commanders and gun-runners have told The Daily Telegraph. ............................... [Telegraph, 3 August]        back to the top

Syrian army pounds Aleppo as video appears to show rebels' revenge killings    Regime forces use artillery and aircraft to attack parts of Syria's second city as Assad praises army for facing 'terrorist gangs'. ............................... [Guardian, 1 August]        back to the top

Syria: the view from Israel    Israel has little sympathy for Assad, but is all too aware that any attempt to influence the Syrian crisis would be fraught with danger. ............................... [Guardian, 2 August]        back to the top

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi seeks Hague trial    Col Gaddafi's son has said he wants to be put on trial in The Hague, rather than in his home country, his lawyers have said. Saif al-Islam said if he was executed after a trial in Libya then it would be tantamount to murder, according to documents submitted to the International Criminal Court. ............................... [BBC News, 1 August]        back to the top

Coptic-Muslim clashes erupt in Egypt     At least 16 people have been wounded after Muslims attacked a church and Christian homes in a village near the Egyptian capital, Cairo, officials say. ............................... [BBC News, 1 August]        back to the top

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