US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Independent


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"Europe’s last dictator faces a fight for power like never before"

Alexander Lukashenko, der "letzte Diktator Europas", stehe bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen in einer Woche in Weißrussland vor der größten Herausforderung seiner 26-jährigen Amtszeit, schreibt Oliver Carroll. "On Thursday, the capital Minsk witnessed the largest opposition protest since the fall of the Soviet Union. Perhaps 70,000 people turned out against their authoritarian leader to offer support for unity opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a stay-at-home mother who only emerged a few weeks ago after the arrest of key candidates including her husband. (…) Tikhanovskaya’s unexpectedly strong challenge has brought forward a fundamental conflict at the heart of Belarus: between the Soviet generation that Lukashenko represents and a more outward-looking, globalised younger population. In entirely fair circumstances, it would be a fascinating fight, with the latter likely having every chance of winning. But this is Belarus, and despite the energy of the opposition campaign, no one has cancelled the security state. When overwhelming victory is declared on 9 August, as it no doubt will be, it seems likely equally energetic protests will likely follow. It is hard to see them ending well."

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"Huawei’s removal from Britain’s 5G network was all but inevitable"

Die britische Regierung hat dem monatelangen Druck der US-Regierung nachgegeben und das chinesische IT-Unternehmen Huawei aus offiziell angeführten Sicherheitsgründen nun doch vom Ausbau der britischen 5G-Netze ausgeschlossen. Kim Sengupta halt die Entscheidung angesichts der US-Sanktionen für unausweichlich. "Boris Johnson’s government had little choice but to end Huawei’s involvement after sustained opposition from allies, in particular the US, an international geopolitical reset over China following the coronavirus pandemic and a growing rebellion among Tory MPs. But was this yet another volte-face that Boris Johnson’s government has become known for, using the sanctions report as an excuse? Or have the American measures made the presence of Huawei so risky that it simply had to go? And if there is now so much concern over national security, why is the company staying in the 5G network for another seven years and in the 3G and 4G ones even after that?"

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"Inside the murky world of Libya’s mercenaries"

Bel Trew und Rajaai Bourhan haben für ihre wochenlang recherchierte Reportage die Rolle internationaler Söldner im "Stellvertreterkrieg" in Libyen untersucht. "As one senior diplomat, involved in trying to enforce the UN’s arms embargo, put it: 'Libya is the new Syria' – but this time on Europe’s doorstep. A month-long investigation by The Independent into this murky mercenary underworld shows a labyrinth of recruitment stretching from Moscow to Damascus from Idlib to Istanbul. Interviews with western diplomats briefed on an ongoing UN probe into arms embargo violations, US military officials, Syrian and Libyan combatants, as well as over a dozen interviews with people across both countries, show the utilisation of the poorest Syrians at the heart of it. Hired to fight on both sides in Libya, Syrians are once again battling each other – but this time over someone else’s war-wrecked capital thousands of kilometres from home."

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"Coronavirus contact-tracing apps could pose major privacy risk, Amnesty warns"

Amnesty International hat sich die Corona-Apps verschiedener Länder näher angesehen und warnt, dass die Programme in einigen Fällen Bürgerrechte verletzen könnten. "Amnesty International reviewed software from 11 countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain’s 'BeAware Bahrain' and Kuwait’s 'Shlonik' included the most invasive features, with both apps collecting live or 'near-live' tracking data. (…) Other applications, such as those in Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland, use a decentralised model of Bluetooth contact tracing. Privacy advocates have contended that this is a better solution, as information is stored locally on the device, rather than sent to a separate database."

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"'It was easy to get swept up in it all': Two years after Singapore, how hopes faded for Trump’s approach to North Korea"

Zwei Jahre nach dem Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Kim Jong Un in Singapur sei die Hoffnung auf ein neues Kapitel in den Beziehungen der USA zu Nordkorea weitgehend verschwunden, stellt Adam Withnall fest. Für viele Experten bestätige sich damit, dass der Ansatz einer von Staatschefs angeführten Diplomatie gescheitert sei. "'Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns,' announced foreign minister Ri Son Gwon. He added that the hopes of 2018 had 'faded away into a dark nightmare'. It is a seemingly conclusive statement, one which caps a period where, even as the talks between their two countries have deteriorated, the two leaders have at least exchanged letters and phone calls on a semi-regular basis. Given Ri’s comments today, it now seems impossible for that to continue. (…) Most analysts agree that the biggest flaw in the Singapore talks was the lack of specific commitments by both sides. North Korea gave a 'firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula' – but over the months to come it became increasingly clear that the two sides differed drastically in their view of what this meant, and how it could be achieved. (…) Two years on from Singapore, North Korea is still 'nowhere near a strategic decision to denuclearise', says Easley, and the intervening period has served to show that 'leader-led diplomacy is woefully insufficient'."

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"Boko Haram kills 69 and razes village in northern Nigeria"

Die radikalislamische Terrorgruppe Boko Haram hat im Norden Nigerias Reuters-Informationen zufolge erneut ein Dorf zerstört und mindestens 69 Menschen getötet. "Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 69 people and razed a village to the ground in northern Nigeria's Borno state on Tuesday afternoon, three sources told Reuters. The men attacked the village of Faduma Koloram, in Gubio local government area of Borno state, starting about noon. They arrived in vehicles and on motorcycles, shooting with AK-47s, razing the village and stealing 1,200 cattle and camels. A resident, a Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) member and a soldier each confirmed the same account. They said the men attacked because they suspected residents of sharing information on Boko Haram's movements with security authorities."

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"Iraq will be hit harder by the oil price drop than by coronavirus or Isis"

Für den Irak stellen nicht die Coronakrise oder der "Islamische Staat", sondern die ins Bodenlose gefallenen Ölpreise die größte Bedrohung dar, schreibt Patrick Cockburn. "The problem for Iraq is simple but insoluble: it is running out of money as its oil revenues fall off a cliff, following the collapse in the oil price brought about by the cataclysmic economic impact of coronavirus. It derives 90 per cent of government revenues from the export of crude oil, but in April it earnt just $1.4bn when it needed $5bn to cover salaries, pensions and other state expenditure. It cannot pay the 4.5 million people on the government payroll and another four million receiving a pension. This may not seem like exciting news compared to an uptick in Isis killings or the potential ravages of Covid-19, but it may prove more profoundly destabilising than either."

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"Coronavirus: Live animal markets and wildlife trade continue in Asia amid growing calls for crackdown"

Trotz zahlreicher Warnungen sind in Asien viele Wildtiermärkte, die von Experten als Brennpunkte gefährlicher Virenübertragungen ausgemacht worden sind, wieder geöffnet worden. "In parts of China and regions of Southeast Asia, live animal markets and the wildlife trade continues despite growing international calls for tighter restrictions on 'wet' markets and the use of wildlife in traditional medicine. The novel coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China and spread to humans due to their close proximity with wild animals. (…) While meat markets in Beijing and financial hub Shanghai appear clean and orderly, 'wet markets' in outlying cities in the south and west of China more than 1,000 miles from the capital show little sign of having heeded the warning from epidemiologists about the dangers of disease transfer from animals. (…) 'They [China] stopped the wild animal trade in markets after Sars but it came back,' said [British epidemiologist Professor Ben Cowling, who works at the University of Hong Kong]. 'They’ve once again banned the sale of wild animals but there are so many vested interests and so much money involved that there are worries it could be difficult to keep it banned.' Astonishingly, a list of recommended treatments for Covid-19 issued by China’s National Health Commission included injections of a traditional medicine treatment which contains bear bile."

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"NSA's controversial $100 million phone surveillance programme led to zero arrests"

Eine Auswertung der zwischen 2015 und 2019 betriebenen NSA-Massenüberwachung von Telefongesprächen und Textnachrichten in den USA hat ergeben, dass das Programm hundert Millionen US-Dollar gekostet und zu keiner einzigen Verhaftung geführt habe. "In that same period it also only twice produced new information that the FBI did not already know, and 13 leads they already had, according to a new study by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), which briefed Congress this week. The low success rate and high cost support the NSA’s decision to shut off the programme in 2019. Politicians must now decide whether to allow the expiration of the legislation that makes the programme possible. The USA Freedom Act of 2015 expires on March 15. The Trump administration would like lawmakers to extend the life of the legislation, giving the NSA the option to turn the system back on again in the future."

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"Isis and al-Qaeda join forces in West Africa"

In Westafrika haben sich Berichten zufolge extremistische Gruppen, die der Al-Qaida bzw. dem Islamischen Staat nahestehen, zusammengeschlossen, um die Kontrolle über weite Teile der Region zu übernehmen. "Fighters appear to be coordinating attacks and carving out mutually agreed-upon areas of influence in the Sahel, a strip of land south of the Sahara desert. The rural territory at risk is so large it could 'fit multiple Afghanistans and Iraqs,' said brigade general Dagvin Anderson, head of the US military’s Special Operations arm in Africa. 'What we’ve seen is not just random acts of violence under a terrorist banner but a deliberate campaign that is trying to bring these various groups under a common cause,' he said. 'That larger effort then poses a threat to the United States.' (…) The groups are not declaring 'caliphates,' so as to avoid scrutiny from the West, officials said, buying time to train, gather force and plot attacks that could ultimately reach major international targets. (…) While al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are enemies in Syria and Yemen, allegiances in West Africa tend to be more fluid, bolstered by tribal ties and practical concerns rather than ideology. The affiliates have common foes – the West and local governments from which they’re trying to wrest control, the military leaders said."

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"With WikiLeaks, Julian Assange did what all journalists should aspire to do"

Anlässlich der Eröffnung des Auslieferungsverfahrens gegen Julian Assange erklärt der Independent-Korrespondent Patrick Cockburn, warum die zwischen 2010 und 2016 veröffentlichten WikiLeaks-Berichte zu den größten journalistischen Enthüllungen der Geschichte gehören. "The WikiLeaks revelations in 2010 and in 2016 are the present-day equivalent of the release by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers, unmasking the true history of the US engagement in the Vietnam War. They are, in fact, of even greater significance because they are more wide-ranging and provide an entry point into the world as the US government really sees it. (…) Daniel Ellsberg is rightly treated as a hero who revealed the truth about Vietnam, but Assange, whose actions were very similar to Ellsberg’s, is held in Belmarsh high-security prison. He faces a hearing in London this week to decide whether he will be extradited from the UK to the US on spying charges. If extradited, he stands a good chance of being sentenced to 175 years in the US prison system under the Espionage Act of 1917. Ever since Assange orchestrated the release of documents through WikiLeaks, he has been the target of repeated official attempts to discredit him or, at the very least, to muddy the waters in a case that should be all about freedom of speech."

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"Secrets, lies and cyber warfare: What Jeff Bezos’ phone hack could tell us about Saudi attacks abroad"

Saudi-Arabien hat den Vorwurf, das Smartphone von Jeff Bezos gehackt zu haben, als "absurd" zurückgewiesen. Kim Sengupta erinnert allerdings daran, dass der Mord am regierungskritischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi zunächst ebenso vehement geleugnet worden sei. Die Saudis seien zudem keine Neulinge in der Cyberkriegsführung. "The Saudi government, like many others in the region and beyond, have extensive dealings with private security contractors from a variety of countries including the US, UK and Israel. Opponents of the Saudi government had complained about being subjected to regular cyber-attacks. (…) Saudi interaction with security companies is not restricted to cyber. Two-and-a-half years ago claims began to surface in the security world that highly placed Saudi officials, close to the royal family, were trying to take out contracts to assassinate enemies of the kingdom – with major general Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. (…) The hacking story is not going to go away. An investigation into whether the Saudi crown prince played a part in compromising the phone of Amazon’s CEO may find that the allegation was indeed 'absurd'. But it also may yield more extraordinary information from the dark world of secrets, lies and cyber warfare."

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"Why the resignation of Iraq's prime minister will not automatically stop the mass uprising on the horizon"

Patrick Cockburn bezweifelt, dass der angekündigte Rücktritt von Premierminister Adel Abdul-Mahdi die Protestbewegung im Irak zum Erliegen bringen wird. Zu viele Menschen seien durch Sicherheitskräfte getötet worden, wofür nicht zuletzt der Iran verantwortlich sei. Dies könnte nicht nur einen schiitischen Massenaufstand auslösen, sondern auch weitreichende regionale Folgen haben, so Cockburn. "The violence is seen as only affecting Iraqis, but it has the potential to reshape the politics of the Middle East. Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, one of the most powerful political and military forces in the region has been the increasing strength of Shia communities under Iranian leadership. Over the last 40 years, this coalition has outfought and outmanoeuvred enemies such as the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and, above all, in Iraq. (…) The outcome of the counterproductive and futile attempts by pro-Iranian forces in Iraq to crush the protests may be the beginnings of a sea change in the politics of the Middle East. The previously triumphant alliance of the Iranian and Iraqi Shia – a coalition that had seen off the US and its allies – may be irretrievably broken."

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"Julian Assange 'could die in prison without urgent medical care', doctors warn"

60 Ärzte haben in einem Offenen Brief davor gewarnt, dass der Wikileaks-Gründer Julian Assange ohne angemessene Behandlung in britischer Haft sterben könnte. "The doctors are calling for Assange to be transferred to a university teaching hospital, where he can be assessed and treated by an expert medical team. (…) The letter, which has also been copied to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, says: 'From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr Assange's fitness to stand trial in February 2020.' 'Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health.'"

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"Why a minor troop pullback in eastern Ukraine marks the end of President Zelensky’s honeymoon"

Der Streit um den Abzug ukrainischer und prorussischer Truppen aus der Stadt Solote wird von Oliver Carroll als erster echter politischer Test des ukrainischen Präsidenten Selenskyj charakterisiert. Kritiker wie Amtsvorgänger Poroschenko hätten die von der OSZE überwachte "Entflechtung" im Krisengebiet als "Kapitulation" angegriffen, Paramilitärs des rechtsextremen Asow-Bataillons hätten versucht, die Durchführung vor Ort zu verhindern. "On Friday, Mr Zelensky felt compelled to travel to Zolote to confront the soldiers in person. Few pleasantries were exchanged. In one dramatic dialogue, recorded by local TV networks, the president said the soldiers were taking him for a fool. 'You can’t issue me ultimatums,' he said. 'I’m the president of this country. I am 42 years old. I’m no sucker. I came here to tell you to move your weapons away from the front line.' By Monday, it was reported that units of Ukraine’s national army had disarmed the Azov soldiers involved – a breakthrough that apparently opened the door to the start of the coordinated pullback. But Denis Yantar, the Azov soldier who was on the receiving end of Mr Zelensky’s angry words at the weekend, predicted the protest would go on."

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“Emerging from Isis genocide, Yazidis in Armenia open religion’s biggest ever temple”

Die Jesiden, die während der Herrschaft des "Islamischen Staates" in Irak Opfer eines Völkermords wurden, haben in Armenien ihren bisher größten Tempel eröffnet. Lemma Shehadi berichtet in ihrer Reportage über die von vielen erhoffte "Wiedergeburt" der Religionsgemeinschaft im Ausland. "Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking religious minority, whose main population is concentrated in northern Iraq. In 2014, Isis militants killed, kidnapped and displaced thousands from their community. Today, this ancient minority is extremely fragile and scattered across the globe. (…) 'This is an important and historic day for the Yazidi people,' says Barfa Tamoyan, an Armenian-born Yazidi now living in France. Despite the heat of the opening day, she wears a voluminous black ball gown and velvet heels to mark the special occasion. 'We have built a temple in a country that is not our homeland. I hope we’ll have temples in Europe in the future.'"

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"Return of Assad’s forces to Kurdish areas brings relief for now, but fear for future"

Die Kurden im Norden Syriens haben die Ankunft syrischer Regierungstruppen mit einer Mischung aus Erleichterung und Sorge aufgenommen, berichtet Richard Hall. "In the towns and villages that stand in the path of the planned Turkish operation, there is now a sense of relief that the Syrian government may be able to halt Turkey’s advance, but also fear that the last seven years of improving freedoms may disappear. 'It’s very concerning,' says Kawa, a resident of the city of Qamishli. 'A lot of humanitarian aid workers will be questioned. Young boys who are eligible for military service will be questioned. Many politicians who are opposed to the government too.' 'It will not be an easy situation. But at least children, the elderly and women will be safe.' (...) Since it was announced late on Sunday, SDF officials have insisted that the agreement is only a military deal, and that negotiations would continue over a political settlement. But some analysts see the deal as the first step in an eventual dismantling of the SDF’s autonomous project."

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"‘I’m just struggling to have a decent life’: How anti-government protests took Sisi by surprise"

Der britische Independent berichtet über die anhaltenden Massenproteste gegen die Regierung in Ägypten. "Ayman had always dismissed the idea of protesting against Egypt’s government; hesitant to get himself involved unnecessarily in politics. But with the dismal economic situation making it difficult to provide for his family, he decided enough was enough. The 36-year-old upholsterer in Damietta went to join the rallies last month, tearing down a large poster of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with hundreds of other protesters. 'I don’t care about politics, but I have been struggling to have a decent life for my children since the president came to power,' he told The Independent. 'Their [the government’s] economists say everything is improving, but how can that be if my income has almost halved in value?' A recent report by the government estimated that some 32 million of the country’s 100 million population are under the poverty line. With non-governmental organisations banned from conducting any surveys, the figure could be much higher."

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"The Iraqi people are in revolt – pushing the post-Saddam Hussein settlement to the brink of collapse"

Patrick Cockburn schreibt, dass die irakische Bevölkerung ihre Unzufriedenheit mit der politischen Führung lange wegen vorrangiger Sicherheitsbedenken angesichts drohender Anschläge der Al-Qaida und des "Islamischen Staates" zurückgestellt habe. Die aktuellen Massenproteste gegen die Regierung seien ein Zeichen dafür, dass diese Ängste mittlerweile in den Hintergrund gerückt seien. "All Iraqis know that the country possesses vast oil wealth, bringing in $6.5bn a month, but they live with widescale unemployment, lack of electricity, pervasive corruption and a poor quality health and education system. They know that vast fortunes have been made by government officials siphoning off money for projects that are never completed and, frequently, are never even begun. For many years, even the state’s bomb detecting equipment, which was entirely ineffective in detecting bombs, was being bought for tens of thousands of dollars apiece though it cost only a few dollars to make. It is this sense of grievance which is now beginning to explode: unless the government can rein it in over the next few days it is unlikely to last very long. One of the strengths of the protest movement is that it has no leaders but is almost entirely spontaneous, with a wide variety of slogans, but this means the government has nobody to talk to, not that it is trying very hard to negotiate its way out of trouble. Many Iraqis say that it is a mistake to get rid of the government without knowing what will replace it but others argue that things could not be much worse for them and are prepared to take a leap in the dark."

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"Yemen war: Houthi rebels claim to capture thousands of Saudi troops in major border offensive"

Die Huthi-Rebellen in Jemen haben in einer Militäroffensive eigenen Angaben zufolge hunderte saudi-arabische Soldaten getötet und tausende weitere gefangen genommen. "Houthi rebels in Yemen say they have killed 500 Saudi soldiers and taken a further 2,000 hostage in a major assault near the Saudi Arabian border. While little evidence was offered to back up their assertions, Houthi rebel spokesperson Yahia Sarie said forces had 'liberated 350 kilometers square' of territory in offensives near the town of Najran. If verified, the number of troops captured and killed would stand as a significant assault on the Saudi Arabian military, who have operated in the region as part of a multi-national coalition since 2015. (...) Meanwhile military officials from the Yemeni government, who are also fighting the rebels, said they believed the soldiers the group claimed to have captured were in fact fighters recruited informally by the Saudi-led coalition to fight inside the kingdom’s borders."

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"The drone attacks in Saudi Arabia have changed the nature of global warfare"

Der erfolgreiche Angriff auf zwei saudi-arabische Ölanlagen wird nach Ansicht von Patrick Cockburn langfristige Auswirkungen auf den Charakter der globalen Kriegsführung haben. Einer international unter erheblichem Druck stehenden Mittelmacht sei es gelungen, einem theoretisch weit besser bewaffneten Verbündeten der USA einen "lähmenden Schaden" zuzufügen. "If the US and Saudi Arabia are particularly hesitant to retaliate against Iran it is because they know now, contrary to what they might have believed a year ago, that a counter-attack will not be a cost-free exercise. What happened before can happen again: not for nothing has Iran been called a 'drone superpower'. Oil production facilities and the desalination plants providing much of the fresh water in Saudi Arabia are conveniently concentrated targets for drones and small missiles. In other words, the military playing field will be a lot more level in future in a conflict between a country with a sophisticated air force and air defence system and one without. The trump card for the US, Nato powers and Israel has long been their overwhelming superiority in airpower over any likely enemy. Suddenly this calculus has been undermined because almost anybody can be a player on the cheap when it comes to airpower."

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"Isis wives on trial: Did they go willingly? What was their role? Will they finally face justice?"

Richard Hall hat in Bagdad Gerichtsverfahren gegen vier mutmaßliche Ehefrauen von IS-Kämpfern mitverfolgt und ist angesichts der Urteile "schockiert". "The women were all from Kyrgyzstan, and had been arrested separately in Iraq on suspicion of being Isis members when the caliphate collapsed around them. Their trials had lasted for minutes, one after the other, and now they stood in the dock together to hear their fate. 'These crimes are punishable by death, but the court is merciful,' the judge said. After a brief pause for his words to be translated, he announced that each of them would receive 15 years in prison. 'This is the minimum sentence the law allows,' he added."

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"America’s persecution of Julian Assange has everything to do with Yemen"

Patrick Cockburn führt die hartnäckige strafrechtliche Verfolgung Julian Assanges durch die US-Regierung auf die Bedrohung zurück, die WikiLeaks und andere Informationsquellen für Washingtons Kontrolle der "Nachrichten-Agenda" darstellen. Als Bestätigung seiner These verweist er auf den Umgang der US-Behörden mit dem jemenitischen AP-Reporter Maad al-Zikry, der über US-Drohnenangriffe in Jemen und über den Umgang mit Häftlingen in Gefängnissen der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate berichtet hat. "The US government clearly did not like this type of critical journalism. When the Pulitzer was awarded last Tuesday in New York, Zikry was not there because he had been denied a visa to enter the US. There is no longer a US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, but two months ago he made his way to the US embassy in Cairo where his visa application, though fully supported by AP and many other prestigious institutions, was rejected. (...) Can what Assange and WikiLeaks did in 2010 be compared with what Zikry and AP did in 2019? Some commentators, to their shame, claim that the pursuit of Assange, and his current imprisonment pending possible extradition to the US or Sweden, has nothing to with freedom of expression. In fact, he was doing what every journalist ought to do and doing it very successfully. (...) Revealing important information about the Yemen war – in which at least 70,000 people have been killed – is the reason why the US government is persecuting both Assange and Zikry."

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"The evidence we were never meant to see about the Douma ‘gas’ attack"

Robert Fisk berichtet über ein vertrauliches Dokument der Organisation für das Verbot chemischer Waffen (OPCW), das offenbar der offiziellen Schlussfolgerung des OPCW-Untersuchungsberichts zum mutmaßlichen Giftgasangriff in der syrischen Stadt Duma widerspricht. "For in the last few days, there has emerged disturbing evidence that in its final report on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime in the city of Douma last year, the OPCW deliberately concealed from both the public and the press the existence of a dissenting 15-page assessment of two cylinders which had supposedly contained molecular chlorine – perhaps the most damning evidence against the Assad regime in the entire report. (...) the dissenting assessment, which the OPCW made no reference to in its published conclusions, finds there is a 'higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft'. (...) as for the gullible, viewing, reading public – us – this outrageous deceit by this supposedly authoritative body of international scientists can lead to only one conclusion: that we must resort once more to the Assanges and the Chelsea Mannings – 'traitors' who harm western security in the in the eyes of their enemies – and the revelations of groups like Wikileaks, if we want to know the truth of what happens in our world and the real story behind the official reports."

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"Four times the US has made the same mistake in the Middle East. Now Trump is making it yet again over Iran"

Patrick Cockburn, langjähriger Nahost-Korrespondent des Independent, meint, dass US-Präsident Trump mit seiner aggressiven Iran-Strategie die Fehler früherer US-Regierungen im Nahen Osten wiederhole. "In its escalating confrontation with Iran, the US is making the same mistake it has made again and again since the fall of the Shah 40 years ago: it is ignoring the danger of plugging into what is in large part a religious conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims. (...) Now the same process is under way yet again, and likely to fail for the same reasons as before: the US, along with its local allies, will be fighting not only Iran but whole Shia communities in different countries, mostly in the northern tier of the Middle East between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean. (...) A little-noticed feature of the US denunciations of Iranian interference using local proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is not just that they are exaggerated but, even if they were true, they come far too late. Iran is already on the winning side in all three countries."

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"Trump doesn't want a war with Iran — but he might get one anyway"

Negar Mortazavi ist davon überzeugt, dass US-Präsident Trump nicht an einem Krieg gegen den Iran oder einem Regimewechsel in Teheran, sondern vor allem an einer Neuverhandlung des Atomabkommens interessiert sei. Trumps außenpolitisches Team könne ihn allerdings in einen offenen Konflikt drängen. "John Bolton was one of the main architects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by George W Bush. And today he seems to be playing a similar tune about Iran. However, President Trump does not want another war in the Middle East. He constantly criticized his Republican and Democratic predecessors for waging costly conflicts in the region, and ran an election campaign on the promise of ending those wars and avoiding new ones. Trump does not seem to have an obsession with regime change in Iran, either. What he really wanted was to tear up the Obama-era nuclear deal and negotiate a 'better' deal (or perhaps just a new deal with his name on it, as some critics have suggested). (...) It is clear that even John Bolton knows that it is not easy to sell a full-on war with Iran to the American public today. But it’s also clear that he would be quick to strike in the case of any 'accident' which occurs, thus plunging the US into conflict with its Middle Eastern counterpart — a conflict that would be much worse than the Iraq war and a disaster for both the Iranian and the American people."

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"Revolutionaries in the Middle East have learnt crucial lessons since the Arab Spring"

Patrick Cockburn, Nahost-Korrespondent des Independent, kommt in seiner Analyse der Revolten in Algerien und Sudan zu einem vorsichtig optimistischen Ergebnis. Die Demonstranten in beiden Ländern hätten offenbar wichtige Lektionen des weitgehend gescheiterten Arabischen Frühlings gelernt. "The success of popular action and civil disobedience in Sudan and Algeria has been treated sceptically by commentators speaking in gloomy tones of a rerun of the 2011 protests, which began in Tunisia and sparked further protests in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. In these last five countries, a brief democratic spasm was followed by savage repression (Egypt and Bahrain) or permanent war (Libya, Yemen, Syria). The pessimists might just be getting it wrong this time round, just as the optimists did eight years ago. The revolutionaries have learned from their past defeats. There are no chants in Khartoum today, as there were in Cairo in 2011, that 'the army and the people are one'. More realise that armies in the Arab world are parasitic entities, bloated maggots that live off the flesh of the rest of the population."

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"Trump aide John Bolton reveals notepad reading '5,000 troops to Colombia', as US announces fresh Venezuela sanctions"

John Bolton, Nationaler Sicherheitsberater im Weißen Haus, hat während einer Pressekonferenz scheinbar zufällig eine Notiz enthüllt, die vermuten lassen könnte, dass die US-Regierung die Verlegung von 5.000 Soldaten nach Kolumbien für einen späteren Einsatz in Venezuela plant. "The Pentagon has not announced any plans to send US troops to Colombia. When asked to explain the words in Mr Bolton’s notepad, the White House said that 'as the president has said, all options are on the table'. Colombia said it could not explain the provocative note. Foreign minister Carlos Holmes said he did not know the 'importance and reason' for Mr Bolton flashing it and added that Colombia planned to continue 'acting politically and diplomatically' in relation to its neighbour."

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"'Colombia of Europe': How tiny Albania became the continent’s drug trafficking headquarters"

Albanien könne heute mit einiger Berechtigung als "Narco-Staat" und als Drogen-Hauptquartier Europas bezeichnet werden, schreibt Borzou Daragahi in seiner Reportage für den Independent. "Albanian gangs are considered among the world’s top heroin, cocaine and cannabis traffickers. Both US and European law enforcement officials have described Albania as the largest provider of cannabis to the EU, as well as an important transit point for heroin and cocaine. Based on the value of drug seizures, some estimate that the marijuana alone generates up to $4bn (£3bn) a year, half of Albania’s GDP. (...) In just a few years, say diplomats and officials, Albania has become the narcotics trafficking headquarters of the continent, and many fear the money has thoroughly infected the political elite, making it harder to shake off even with the lure of EU membership. 'It’s the Colombia of Europe,' said one Western diplomat. 'It’s the drug producer and distributor of Europe. It is a narco-state, and they’d lose too much money getting out of trafficking to get into the EU.'"

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Wo gibt es Kriege und Gewaltkonflikte? Und wo herrscht am längsten Frieden? Welches Land gibt am meisten für Rüstung aus? liefert wichtige Daten und Fakten zu Krieg und Frieden.

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