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Beastly Boy

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Member since: Fri Mar 18, 2016, 12:21 PM
Number of posts: 4,691

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Explosions rock area of Russian airbase in Crimea

Source: CNN

(CNN) A series of large explosions went off in the area of a Russian military airbase in the annexed Ukrainian territory of Crimea on Tuesday, with footage from the scene showing large plumes of smoke billowing into the air.
The Russian defense ministry said the blasts had been caused by detonated aviation ammunition, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported.
"Around 3:20 p.m., several aviation munitions detonated on the territory of the airfield 'Saki' near the settlement of Novofedorivka," the ministry said in the statement, according to RIA Novosti.

Ambulance crews and an air ambulance were sent to the site of the explosions, according to the health ministry of the region.

Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of the Crimean region -- which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 -- confirmed several explosions had occurred near the village of Novofedorivka. On his Telegram channel, Kryuchkov said: "So far, I can only confirm the fact of several explosions in the Novofedorivka area. I ask everyone to wait for official messages."

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/09/europe/crimea-blasts-russian-base-intl/index.html

"Official message" coming up: "Several random airbase personnel were smoking in close proximity to various explosive storage areas at the same time and accidentally set off a number of explosions within 30 minutes of each other. No evidence of embarrassingly successful Ukrainian assault on the airbase was found. Obviously, an unfortunate accident."

IDF: Misfired rocket launched by Islamic Jihad kills Palestinian civilians in Jabaliya refugee camp.

Children among the dead.


There is a gap in the evidence we've seen against Trump. We have to rely on the DOJ to fill it

The criticism of the Department of Justice continues to grow: Detractors see the department as too far behind the Jan. 6 committee. They want to know why Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland and the Justice Department have yet to come forward with a serious criminal charge against Donald Trump.

These gloomy observations miss at least one crucial point: There is a gap in the committee’s development of the Jan. 6 evidence for the most serious yet fitting charge against Trump. And it seems likely that only the Justice Department can fill it.

First, remember that the Justice Department may be much further along than we know; its work initially is always largely opaque. And the department has also had its hands full dealing with hundreds of on-the-ground rioters, as well as investigating false elector schemes and other possible crimes connected to the 2020 election and committed by figures in the former president's inner circle.

It's also important to bear in mind the fundamentally different tasks of the department and the committee. The House hearings aim to present a general narrative of Team Trump’s attempt to undo President Biden’s victory, along with the facts to back it up. The Justice Department, on the other hand, needs to develop a legal case consisting of admissible evidence proving criminal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and if possible beyond Republican cavil as well.

What crime exactly? Here’s another important difference between the department’s task and Congress’. The committee’s work has given rise to a sort of parlor game of “name that Trump crime” among commentators, everything from manslaughter to destruction of federal property. That won’t cut it for the Justice Department.

Even assuming that the department could prove any number of offenses on the part of Trump, Garland would not take the unprecedented step of prosecuting a former president unless the charge involved a grave crime against the U.S. Most likely, that charge would be seditious conspiracy. It’s the most serious of any leveled so far against those involved in the insurrection attempt, and for most Americans, it captures the fundamental evil that Trump has wrought.


The Justice Department’s critics are wrong to conclude that Garland’s work has been done for him in Congress, much less to upbraid him for not having already brought charges against the former president. Garland deserves the presumption that, as promised, he is going after insurrectionists “at all levels,” and that the department will do the heavy lifting to induce a loyalist to turn on the former president.

Unless and until Garland succeeds, Trump, by virtue of the committee’s outstanding work, may stand guilty in the public’s mind and in the judgment of history, but there’s no holding him criminally accountable in a court of law.


Prosecute Trump? Merrick Garland is investigating aggressively but prosecuting cautiously

“It’s definitely not a slam-dunk,” Paul Rosenzweig, a former federal prosecutor (and anti-Trump Republican), told me last week. “It will require tough decisions.”

The problem isn’t lack of evidence. The former Trump aides who have testified before the House committee and been interviewed by the FBI have taken care of that.

The problem, Rosenzweig and other former prosecutors said, is that convincing a jury that Trump is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt will still be difficult — especially when the former president, armed with good lawyers, can challenge that evidence.

“We know from the polls that about 30% of the American people think Trump did nothing wrong on Jan. 6,” Rosenzweig said. “Thirty percent of a jury is three or four people. I think getting a unanimous conviction will be nearly impossible, even in the liberal District of Columbia.”

And a trial that ends in Trump’s acquittal, he warned, would backfire.

“It would not only have the effect of giving Trump impunity,” he said, "it would give him impunity and an aura of invincibility.

Others disagree. Donald B. Ayer, another Republican former prosecutor, thinks a conviction would be possible. “Trump was ready to have Mike Pence be killed,” Ayer said. “You tell that story to a jury, and I think you win.”

But Ayer notes that Justice Department regulations require that prosecutors believe they have a high probability of winning a conviction before they can indict. By that standard, what Garland is doing is both correct and by the book. He’s investigating aggressively — but prosecuting cautiously.”


So you can have evidence up the wazoo and may still have no reason to believe you can win a conviction. You can have a reason to believe you can win a conviction, but you may still not get a unanimous verdict from a jury. You can prosecute all you want, but mistrial or Trump's acquittal are two possible outcomes that are far worse than not indicting him in the first place.

Garland will have to face the consequences of his decisions and actions. None of his critics will ever have to do that.

Rights group: Palestinians torture detainees with impunity

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip systematically torture critics in detention, a practice that could amount to crimes against humanity, an international rights group said Friday.

Human Rights Watch called in its report for donor countries to cut off funding to Palestinian security forces that commit such crimes and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate.

The report alleged that Palestinian security forces “use solitary confinement and beatings, including whipping their feet, and force detainees into painful stress positions for prolonged periods, including hoisting their arms behind their backs with cables or rope, to punish and intimidate critics and opponents and elicit confessions.”


The report alleged that Palestinian security forces “use solitary confinement and beatings, including whipping their feet, and force detainees into painful stress positions for prolonged periods, including hoisting their arms behind their backs with cables or rope, to punish and intimidate critics and opponents and elicit confessions.”

“Systematic abuse by the PA and Hamas forms a critical part of the repression of the Palestinian people."

The group listed Palestinians who it said had been arbitrarily arrested in the aftermath of [an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority Nizar] Banat's death.

HRW said security forces are not held to account for the alleged torture and that given their systematic nature over many years, the practice could amount to crimes against humanity.


This is the first time that I see a report from AP that addresses routine human rights abuses of Palestinians by Palestinians.

Palestinian reporter for Iranian agency beaten in West Bank

Fri, June 17, 2022, 6:41 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian reporter working for an Iranian news agency was briefly abducted, beaten and threatened by Palestinian gunmen after covering the violent dispersal of an Islamist student demonstration in the West Bank earlier this week.

The Tasnim news agency says the men forced Samer Khuaira into a car at gunpoint on Tuesday, beat him and threatened him. The men said his coverage harmed the Palestinian Authority and the secular Fatah movement that dominates it, Tasnim said. He was released around a half hour later.

Khuaira identified one of his abductors as a member of Palestinian security forces, Tasnim reported Thursday. The Palestinian Journalists Union condemned the attack on their colleague.

There was no comment from Palestinian officials.

Security guards at al-Najah University in Nablus had violently dispersed the Islamist students earlier on Tuesday. Videos circulated online showed the guards beating students and what appeared to be plainclothes security forces firing into the air near the university.

Fatah dominates security agencies that operate in the parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank where the PA has limited autonomy.

Both the Fatah-led PA and its main rival, the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza, routinely crack down on political opponents in the areas they control. Iran supports Hamas and other Islamic militant groups.

The Daily Beast


'Ashamed' Top Russian Diplomat Leaves United Nations Over Putin's 'Warmongering'

Source: Daily Beast

The chief of the Russian mission to the United Nations in Geneva has resigned his post in shame with a damning hate letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine not only a crime against the people of Ukraine, but perhaps "the most serious crime against the people of Russia, with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country."

Boris Bondarev had worked at Russia's foreign ministry since 2002, first in Moscow and then in Geneva, during which he said "the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing all the time."


Bondarev is the first high-level foreign diplomat to bail over the war, and said that despite his 20 years in Russia's service, he "simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless, and absolutely needless ignominy."

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/boris-bondarev-ashamed-russian-diplomat-quits-chief-united-nations-role-over-putins-warmongering?ref=home

The Putin regime is crumbling from within, now in a very public way.

On edit: this news story was previously reported in GD: https://www.democraticunderground.com/100216717462

Thanks, Femmedem!

Russia expresses upset over Israeli stance on Ukraine through Palestinians

Earlier this week, Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s Ambassador in Moscow Alexander Ben Zvi.

Unhappy with Israel taking Ukraine’s side in the war, Russia sharply criticized Israel for its actions on the Temple Mount, a senior Israeli diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

“Russia is unhappy with us about Ukraine, and is taking it out on us through the Palestinians,” said the source. “This is their traditional stance on the Palestinians, and they play with the volume knob. We didn’t think Russia would be happy with our stance on Ukraine, and we’re not happy with their attack on a sovereign state.”

Still, the source stated, Israel has to consider its security, with an emphasis on continuing the deconfliction mechanism with Russia in Syria.

At the same time, Israel sees some caution in the Russian response, pointing out that the readout of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not include a condemnation of Israel.


Well, well, well. Putin is pissed at Israel for taking Ukraine’s side in the war, but neglects to issue the mandatory condemnation of Israel over ongoing street violence in Jerusalem. Proof positive that Israel is taking Russia's side in the Ukraine war, right?

Israel Bolsters Security Amid Deadliest Wave of Terrorist Attacks in Years

The Army and the police scaled up their ground presence the morning after the latest shooting brought the death toll from attacks in Israel this month to 11.

By Patrick Kingsley
March 30, 2022, 4:27 a.m. ET

BNEI BRAK, Israel — Israel security forces bolstered their presence across the country and the occupied territories early Wednesday, the morning after a Palestinian gunman killed five people in the fifth attack in less than two weeks.

The recent surge in violence and fears of even more attacks prompted the Army to send reinforcements to the occupied West Bank, where the gunman behind Tuesday night’s attack lived. Forces also deployed along the boundary between Israel and Gaza. The police said they were turning their focus almost exclusively to counterterrorism operations while scaling up their presence on the streets.


Israel to host top Arab diplomats during Blinken's visit

JERUSALEM -- Israel said Friday it would host the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain during U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit early next week, in what would be the latest in a flurry of high-level meetings held across the Middle East.


Israel's Foreign Ministry said it would host the four top diplomats on Sunday and Monday, with additional details to be provided later.

In a separate development, Jordanian state media said King Abdullah II would host Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince and de facto ruler of the Emirates, in the southern Jordanian city of Aqaba on Friday.

The crown prince met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and el-Sissi in Egypt earlier this week.

Something is up in the Middle East. I suspect some serious realignment of alliances is about to take place.

Edited to add the link: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israel-host-top-arab-diplomats-blinkens-visit-83667444
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