Israel has carried out more than 30 strikes in Gaza in response to rockets; Security cabinet to determine if operation will be expanded; Hamas claims Israeli attempt to kill military leader Deif failed.
The security cabinet was meeting on Wednesday to decide Israel's response to heavy rocket fire which rained down from Gaza throughout the day.
More than 100 projectiles have been fired from the Strip since Hamas broke the temporary cease-fire at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Israel has carried out dozens of strikes against terror targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire. In the latest such action, the IAF struck two terrorists who fired rockets at Sderot on Wednesday afternoon. Several terrorists were also targeted in another area of northern Gaza in an air strike.
According to Palestinian reports, 20 people have been killed and more than 100 injured since the renewal of hostilities.
It remained unclear whether Israel would give the IDF the order to expand the operation or respond in a pinpoint manner to rocket fire in attempts to keep the conflict from spiraling out of control.
An Israeli delegation led by Eyal Danino, political adviser at the Israeli embassy in Cairo, landed in the Egyptian capital on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of restoring calm, Egyptian daily Al-Youm Al-Sabaa reported.
Israeli sources said Tuesday night that they had not closed the door on Egyptian efforts to enact a long-term truce and that the renewal of IDF strikes in Gaza and the pulling of the Israeli delegation from Cairo cease-fire talks were necessary measures after Hamas broke the truce. Israel has repeatedly asserted that it would not negotiate under fire.
Hamas said Wednesday that its rocket fire was a response to Israel's attempted assassination of Muhammad Deif, the head of Hamas's armed wing. An unnamed Israeli official said that the IDF had indeed targeted Deif.
A Hamas source told Al-Jazeera that the Israeli attempt on Deif's life had failed, adding that this was the sixth attempt to kill the Hamas military leader since 2002.
According to the report, Deif's wife and 7-month-old son were killed in an IDF strike on a house in Gaza.
Israel collected intelligence on Deif during the temporary cease-fire and stopped negotiations in Cairo in order to assassinate him, but failed in the attempt, according to Al Jazeera.
According to a Gaza medical official, in the IAF strike on a house belonging to the Al-Dalu family, 45 people were injured.
Hamas called on its Al-Aksa television station for Gaza residents to attend the funeral of Deif's wife and son on Wednesday afternoon.
Credit to Jerusalem Post
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) - A supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, developed jointly by Russia and India, leaves any enemy helpless as no effective protection against the BrahMos has been created so far, Sudhir Mishra, the new head of the BrahMos Aerospace Corporation told Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
“Supersonic speed is the BrahMos’ major advantage. An enemy has yet no effective protection against such missiles. After the missile is launched, all the enemy can do is run. In fact, he has even no time to escape. That is why this is a very promising weapon. And it has no alternatives in the world so far,” Mishra said in an interview Tuesday adding that “even if any other country succeeds one day in creating missiles with similar characteristics, we will be a way ahead already.”
The BrahMos Aerospace chief said also that a number of countries are currently interested in the project, which may pave the way for the BrahMos’ exports in the future.
“It will be possible to export the BrahMos only to friendly nations, determined by the governments of India and Russia. Currently, many states are interested in our missiles. As soon as our governments decide on where to export we will be ready for deliveries,” Mishra stressed.
The Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace was founded in 1998 by the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization and Russian rocket design bureau of Machine Building. The venture was named after two rivers, the Brahmaputra in India and Russia’s Moskva.
The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 kilometers (180 miles) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kilograms (660 pounds). It can effectively engage targets from an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the US-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.
Credit to RIA Novosti
Organizations that focus on the Constitution and the rights it protects for Americans long have warned about the militarization of American law enforcement – a move launched by the federal government with its “surplus” equipment programs years ago, and recently in full-throttle acceleration.
For example, John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute has worked on lawsuits against departments over SWAT tactics and attacks, the way officers detain individuals and more.
Just in the last week, as the turmoil over the police shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, exploded into multiple shootings and other violence, with a heavy-handed response from law enforcement that included tear gas, full armor-wearing officers, curfews and dispersal orders, he’s ramped up his warnings.
“For those like myself who have studied emerging police states, the sight of a city placed under martial law – its citizens under house arrest (officials used the Orwellian phrase ‘shelter in place’ to describe the mandatory lock-down), military-style helicopters equipped with thermal imaging devices buzzing the skies, tanks and armored vehicles on the streets, and snipers perched on rooftops, while thousands of black-garbed police swarm the streets and SWAT teams carry out house-to-house searches – leaves us in a growing state of unease,” he wrote.
He continued, “Mind you, these are no longer warning signs of a steadily encroaching police state. The police state has arrived.”
WND reports on the militarization in America date to within months of the news site’s launch in 1997, when Founder and CEO Joseph Farah wrote about a training session for armed federal officers – for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Describing a new multi-million-dollar training facility that was schooling thousands of federal employees, he wrote, “Critics of the growing militarization of the federal government will also take no comfort in the fact that the center’s program was designed with the help of a team of experts from the U.S. military.”
Now Whitehead’s warnings and Farah’s reporting are being echoed by those representing the far distant opposite end of the spectrum from constitutional, conservative America.
Longtime Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a firm supporter of many things progressive in America, wrote this week in the left-leaning Huffington Post that the militarization of police needs to be reined in.
“We are at a moment of national crisis in the way our domestic law enforcement is being conducted,” he wrote. “The killing of an unarmed civilian by a law enforcement officer is, sadly, not unique. But the police response to the protests has provided a powerful cautionary moment for America. The militarization of local police has led to the arrival today in Ferguson of the actual military, the National Guard.”
He blamed what he called the “crisis” on “The erosion of a principle in federal law, Posse Comitatus, meant to restrict the use of the military in civilian law enforcement” as well as “The Pentagon’s dispersal of military equipment to domestic police units, which has increased since 9/11.”
Further, he noted, another problem is “Military-style police training reliant upon weaponry, as opposed to peace keeping, including skills development for de-escalation of violent tensions.”
He appeared to be in agreement with Whitehead, who penned, “As journalist Benjamin Carlson points out, ‘In today’s Mayberry, Andy Griffith and Barney Fife could be using grenade launchers and a tank to keep the peace.’ This is largely owing to the increasing arsenal of weapons available to police units, the changing image of the police within communities, and the growing idea that the police can and should use any means necessary to maintain order.”
At a Department of Defense news briefing on Tuesday, the first two questions from reporters were about the military equipment given to local police departments, an effort officials said they were reviewing.
Kurt Eichenwald wrote in Newsweek, “While this might seem like a ‘boys with toys’ problem – cops playing dress-up as they search for their inner G.I. Joe – it’s really about bad law enforcement tactics. One thing sometimes forgotten is that there are decades of research on policing tactics, and competent officers and their bosses rely on this research to guide them because they are want to maintain law and order, instead of just pretending the movie ‘RoboCop’ was a documentary. Research shows that militarization rarely works, and usually makes things worse.”
He continued, “When faced with a large-scale protest, police who understand their job know they must defend the free speech rights of participants with civility, while maintaining public safety. That means they protect both the protesters and other civilians. Confronting angry citizens in the garb of jack-booted thugs does plenty of damage and accomplishes nothing.”
And he cited the opinion from Mike Masterson, chief of the Boise, Idaho, policy agency. His comment in a 2012 report for the FBI said, “Officers must avoid donning their hard gear as a first step. Police should not rely solely on their equipment and tools. Experience shows that … dialogue is invaluable. Law enforcement officers must defuse confrontations to ensure strong ties with the community.”
Paul Shinkman wrote at U.S. News, “An image of a camouflaged man in Ferguson, Missouri, training a sniper rifle on a group of protesters with their hands up has forced Americans to ask themselves what kind of protection they’re willing to tolerate.
“The growing militarization of domestic police forces has been a concern at home for years, but has risen to the forefront of national debate this week as shocking footage emerges from Ferguson. The St. Louis suburb remains the site of clashes and heated racial tensions between protesters, angered by the shooting death of unarmed teen over the weekend, and the police forces they believe have a history of abusive practices.”
Elizabeth Beavers and Michael Shank wrote in the New York Times that Ferguson is a “virtual war zone.”
“The police response has shocked America. The escalating tension in this town of 21,200 people between a largely white police department and a majority African-American community is a central part of the crisis, but the militarization of the police is a dimension of the story that has national implications,” they said.
“Ferguson’s police force got equipped this way thanks to the Pentagon, and it’s happening all over the country. The Department of Defense provides military-grade weapons and equipment to local law enforcement agencies through the 1033 program, enacted by Congress in 1997 to expand the practice of dispensing extra military gear.
“Due to the defense industry’s bloated contracts, there is a huge surplus. To date, the Pentagon has donated military equipment worth more than $4 billion to local law enforcement agencies. And the giving goes on, to police forces in all 50 states in the union.”
The concern is well-established, and local reports from all over the country are raising eyebrows – and tempers – over what Whitehead and others have been shouting about for years.
The Livingston County Daily Press and Argus in Howell, Michigan, wrote, “Michigan police departments have armed themselves with grenade launchers, armored vehicles, automatic rifles and other equipment – 128,000 items in all, worth an estimated $43 million – under a federal program that allows police to obtain surplus gear free from the U.S. military.”
It explained that since 2006, Michigan law enforcement agencies have received “17 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles or MRAPs, built to counter roadside bombs; 1,795 M16 rifles, the U.S. military’s combat weapon of choice; 696 M14 rifles; 530 bayonets and scabbards; 165 utility trucks; 32 12-gauge, riot-type shotguns; nine grenade launchers; and three observation helicopters.”
“Federal officials won’t say which agencies got equipment, but the [Detroit] Free Press’ inquiry shows the gear went not just to large counties with high crime, but some of the state’s smallest counties and towns. For instance, Dundee police, who patrol a village of about 4,000 residents, got a mine-resistant ambush vehicle. Barry County in rural western Michigan, with just under 60,000 residents, got five grenade launchers.”
CBS reported this week that members of Congress are already talking about tightening the reins.
“Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said police responses like that in Ferguson have ‘become the problem instead of the solution.’ Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said he will introduce legislation to curb the trend of police militarization. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee will review the program to determine if the Defense Department’s surplus equipment is being used as intended,” the report said.
CBS continued, “In Louisiana, masked police in full body armor carrying AR-15 assault rifles raided a nightclub without a warrant, looking not for terrorists but underage drinkers and fire-code violations. Officers in California train using the same counterinsurgency tactics as those used in Afghanistan.
“‘They’re not coming in like we’re innocent until proven guilty,’ said Quinn Eaker. SWAT teams last August raided his organic farm and community, the Garden of Eden, in Arlington, Texas. ‘They’re coming in like: ‘We’re gonna kill you if you move a finger,”” the report said.
At WZZM in Detroit several incidents were cited, including the fact a 19-month-old Wisconsin boy was critically wounded in the face and chest in May when a flash-bang grenade landed in his crib at a relative’s home in Georgia. Police were executing a no-knock warrant to search for a relative over a $50 drug sale.
And the report cited “The 2010 death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, of Detroit, who was struck by a bullet from an officer’s gun as she slept on a couch during a Detroit police raid. Police in SWAT gear used a flash-bang grenade in that raid, too. They were looking for a murder suspect, who was found in the upper level of the duplex and surrendered without incident.”
Further, “A pregnant mother, 26, shot with her 14-month-old son in her arms in 2008 when a SWAT team broke down the front door of her rented home in Lima, Ohio, and opened fire. They were looking for her boyfriend on suspicion of drug dealing.”
Cleveland.com reported that Ohio agencies have gotten grenade launchers, MRAPs, and assault rifles recently.
“Under the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, state troopers, sheriff’s departments, city police departments and even university police in Ohio have received nearly 4,900 assault rifles since 2006, according to state Department of Public Safety records obtained Monday by Northeast Ohio Media Group.”
“Ohio law enforcement agencies also successfully asked the Pentagon for a total of 743 rifles, 683 pistols, and 36 mine-resistant vehicles during the past eight years, according to DPS statistics. In 2008, the Delaware Police Department received an M79 grenade launcher to fire tear gas canisters.”
The report quoted Delaware Police Department spokesman Capt. Adam Moore pointing out that the equipment was just that – equipment.
“It’s not a philosophy,” he said. “It’s the use of [it] that could be debated.”
At The Week, a map was featured revealing the locations of many police attacks on people. The report called the map “terrifying and depressing.”
The map was created by Washington Post journalist Radley Balko and the libertarian Cato Institute, the report said, and “shows botched paramilitary police raids across the U.S. The map focuses on the use of heavily armed SWAT teams who use forced entry to storm homes unannounced, usually while inhabitants are sleeping. As many as 40,000 of these raids happen each year.”
The map (click image to go to Cato’s original interactive feature):
But Whitehead warns, “Once acquired, this military equipment (which is beyond the budget and scope of most communities) finds itself put to all manner of uses by local law enforcement agencies under the rationale that ‘if we have it, we might as well use it’ – the same rationale, by the way, used with deadly results to justify assigning SWAT teams to carry out routine law enforcement work such as delivering a warrant.”
He noted, “Clearly, the American homeland is now ruled by a military empire. Everything our Founding Fathers warned against – a standing army that would see American citizens as combatants – is now the new norm. The government – local law enforcement now being extensions of the federal government – has trained its sights on the American people. We have become the enemy. And if it is true, as the military asserts, that the key to defeating an enemy is having the technological advantage, then ‘we the people’ are at a severe disadvantage.”
Whitehead said individual Americans have a responsibility to get to work.
“For instance, take a close look at your local police officers, the ones who patrol your neighborhoods and ensure the safety of your roadways. Chances are they look less and less like the benevolent keepers of the peace who patrolled Andy Griffith’s Mayberry and more like inflexible extensions of the military.
“Who calls the shots for your local police? Who do they answer to? Who provides oversight for their interactions with local police? What drives the decision-making process for your local police – revenue or the rule of law? How transparent are your local police about their activities, their equipment and their processes? In other words, who polices your local police? If it’s more police or politicians benefiting from revenue-generating programs by the police, that’s no answer.
“Remember, a police state does not come about overnight. It starts small, perhaps with a revenue-generating red light camera at an intersection. When that is implemented without opposition, perhaps next will be surveillance cameras on public streets. License plate readers on police cruisers. More police officers on the beat. Free military equipment from the federal government. Free speech zones and zero-tolerance policies and curfews. SWAT team raids. Drones flying overhead,” he wrote.
“No matter how it starts, however, it always ends the same … all-out tyranny.”
Credit to WND
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/08/u-s-suddenly-alarmed-over-militarization-of-cops/#afOTXV1wemY2TXfx.99
In October 2008, the month after Lehman failed and the Great Recession started, industrial bellwether Caterpillar underwent a series of 19 consecutive, record, declines in Global dealer retail sales declines, finally emerging from its unprecedented funk in May of 2010, just in time to celebrate the start of financial and economic Greece's collapse which ended with a sovereign default. Well, as of July 2014, that record is no longer valid, because starting with a -1% drop in Global retail sales in December 2012, CAT has now posted a new record of 20 consecutive global delaer retail sales declines, after a -9% Y/Y print for the month of July.
In other words, for Caterpillar, the Great Recovery is now worse than the Great Recession.
Of course, in a world in which fundamentals no longer matter, the stock price of CAT is just shy of its all time high.
Why? Because instead of investing in growing its business, R&D or its future, the company has redirected the bulk of its cash flow to do precisely what we said companies would do under ZIRP until such time as the Fed's despotic stranglehold on all assets finally ends: buying back its all stock with a relentless fervor, in fact, the higher the stock rises, the more CAT buys back.
Needless to say, all of this is assured a very happy ending.
For the second day in a row, State Department spokesman Marie Harf was pressed on Turkey’s support for Hamas launching a coup in the West Bank so that it can better fight Israel. There is also grave concern over Turkey’s alleged harboring of a Hamas leader implicated in the kidnapping and subsequent murdering of three Israeli teenagers earlier this summer. For the second day in a row, Harf didn’t seem to have any answers.
State Dept. Spokesman Marie Harf
It should be noted that Turkey was behind the 2010 Gaza flotilla as well.
Via Washington Free Beacon:
A heated back-and-forth between reporters and Harf broke out at the State Department’s daily briefing on Monday and Tuesday when questions emerged about why the administration is going through with the transfer of U.S. missiles to Turkey while simultaneously holding up similar weapons shipments to Israel.
Harf again on Tuesday ducked questions by reporters asking if the U.S. government had conveyed concerns to Turkey over the plot.
“Do you have any concerns at all about the apparent role of Turkey in this?” AP reporter Matt Lee asked Harf.
“I don’t have any more details on this, Matt. I’m happy to check with our team,” Harf responded.
“Okay. Because I did ask this yesterday. You weren’t aware of the incident, but … now, the Israelis say that this is all being planned and funded from Turkish territory,” Lee followd up.
“Well, as I said, I think it involves some Hamas militants and cash, but let me check on that piece of it. I certainly have nothing to confirm that,” Harf told Lee.
“I’m most curious to know if you guys are planning to raise any concerns with the—I don’t know, maybe you don’t have any concerns … if you’ll raise them with the Turks,” Lee responded.
Harf responded that she would “check on that.”
Again, Harf defaulted back to the NATO alliance between the U.S. and Turkey:
“Turkey is also a NATO ally,” she told reporters. “So for all of us who are—talk a lot about the importance of the NATO alliance, particularly when it comes to Russia and Ukraine and what’s happening there, we think it’s important to provide our NATO allies with resources. We think that’s an important use of our resources. The two [cases] aren’t comparable, but those are the facts behind them, I would say.”
Regardless of where one stands on the issue of Russia and Ukraine, the fact is that a big factor there – especially in Crimea – has been Russia’s concerns over the Muslim tartars, which are allies of the Turks. Their heaviest population can be found in Crimea. Another dispute between Russia and Turkey is in Syria. Russia has been on the side of Bashar al-Assad and Turkey – like the U.S. – has been on the side of the opposition there.
That is, until now.
Now, Turkey is on the side of ISIS and the U.S. – whether it wants to acknowledge it or not – is on the side of Assad by default (the U.S. is fighting ISIS in Iraq).
Erdogan flanked on both sides by Hamas leadership.
Then, of course, we have the situation with Israel. As is the case in Egypt right now, Russia is aligning with anti-Muslim Brotherhood forces by siding with Gen. el-Sisi. The Obama administration has been siding with the Brotherhood there (siding with Turkey).
By aligning with Turkey, the U.S. is siding against Israel, increasingly so.
Add to that the issue of Hamas mentioned above.
Based on all the conflicts in the world today, Russia is closer to being a natural ally with Israel than is the U.S.
That’s sad and regardless of what complexities people would like to introduce into the argument telling us why the U.S. can’t exit NATO, there’s one simple reason it should.
The U.S. is increasingly against Israel the longer it’s with Turkey.
That’s a flat-out disastrous alliance, regardless of any high-minded political intricacies the ‘little people’ don’t understand.
Credit to Shoebat.com
ASHULUK, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is carrying out air defense drills with live firing from S-300 and S-400 air defense systems at its Ashuluk testing range in the southern Astrakhan Region, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
The exercise involves some 800 Airspace Defense Forces servicemen and over 200 pieces of military hardware, including S-300 Favorit, S-400 Triumf and Pantsir-S air defense systems.
Military units, “responsible for air defense of Moscow and Central Russia,” take part in the exercise, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Klimov said.
The S-300PS (SA-10 Grumble) model was introduced to Soviet armed forces in 1985. It features 5V55R missiles with an engagement range of up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) and designed to lock in on a target after launch using an active detection system that steers the missile directly at the target. An S-300 battalion comprises up to six mobile launchers, according to estimates by military experts.
The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) air defense system is expected to form the cornerstone of Russia's air and missile defense by 2020.
The system can engage targets at a maximum range of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) at an altitude of 40,000-50,000 meters (130,000-165,000 feet). The system uses a range of missiles, and is optimized for engaging ballistic and cruise missiles.
The Pantsir S-1, produced by Russia’s KBP Instrument Design Bureau, is a gun-missile system combining a wheeled vehicle mounting a fire-control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles. It is designed to take on a variety of targets flying at low altitudes, as well ground and water-surface threats.
Credit to RIA Novosti