MH17 Missile Launch Site Located

Scorched earth - (Pic. Christopher Miller The Telegraph)

Scorched earth – (Pic. Christopher Miller The Telegraph)

MH17 artifact - (Pic. Christopher Miller - The Telegraph)

MH17 artifact – (Pic. Christopher Miller – The Telegraph)

Ukrainian blogger djp3tros has managed to find, with the help of The Telegraph’s journalist Roland Oliphant, the launch site of the missile that took down flight MH17 last week.

Through the cunning use of photo’s, satellite imagery and Google Earth and some very deft detective work, he was able to locate a plausible site for the launch. Reading his original blog article, it might come across as a lot of conjecture and what-if’s, even though it is well thought-out and supported by triangulating the satellite imagery with the photo’s published.

But that’s where Roland comes in. He took the info djp3tros’ wrote and went to scour the area for himself. There, he discovered blackened scorched earth and some artifacts that look like remnants of a military system, which need to be further identified and confirmed by experts.

It is unclear yet if the site location has been given to the OSCE, who could perform soil sample tests to chemical make-up of the soil and see if has trace amounts from the rocket fuel that would have been come from the exhaust of the missile.

Detective work done by djp3tros

Detective work done by djp3tros

MH17 BYK trail

Buzzword Bingo Yankoviced

Buzzword BingoIf you’re like me, then you’ll be fully aware of the deluge of corporate bullshit buzzwords being bandied about like confetti throughout todays companies. And if you’re also like me, as soon as a corporate buzzword meets your ears, it makes your skin crawl and gives you an unshakable urge to want to punch the person who uttered said bullshit squarely in the face.

So imagine my glee when I discovered this little gem from “Weird Al” Yankovic, in which he ties all of the more common bullshit buzzwords together in a send up to once and for all highlight to the world of the moronic incomprehensible bastardisation of the English language.

Al has been sending up the world through his fun and quirky parody songs, using the hits of the day to do it. And he’s been doing it for quite some time now. My first introduction was his hit “Eat It” where he used the music from Jackson’s hit “Beat It”. You can watch his “Eat It” rendition here.

But for now, sit back with a cup of coffee (or something stronger, if you happen to be a slave to one of the Fortune 500’s who use this EVERY SINGLE DAY) and enjoy.

An Irishwoman’s Account From Gaza

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZAElaine Bradley is an Irishwoman who has worked for many years as a human rights activist in Palestine. She has written many articles in the past through her blog, but this is her latest account following on the heels of the aftermath of Israel’s bombing of a hospital in the Gaza Strip. Originally published on Broadsheet.ie.

Waking up I turn on my laptop to see what has happened in the while I slept. I am almost instantly hit by an image. I can’t make out if it is one body ripped in two, or two bodies, both missing a number of parts.

By the clothes on one, I am guessing it it is a young man – jeans and a belt that my son might wear. The human remains are against a wall in a pool of blood, draped over with blood soaked sheets. The photo is taken in a hospital, and is accompanied by the bizarre scene of the twisted metal of hospital beds in the total wreckage of what was a ward.

My friend who posted this image declares that he has a policy of not posting gruesome photos, a policy that he has now abandoned. Why? Because “This is the hospital that Israel shelled today… But the BBC felt it was better use of our license fee money to have [reporter]  John Simpson show us a broken chandelier in Sderot instead.”

Five people were killed and 70 injured in this place of healing, where men and women work, dedicating their lives to comfort and to mend other sick and broken human beings. I think of my daughter who is a nurse. Hospitals have special status, special protection under international law, as they should. Bombing a hospital is a war crime.

And yet this is the second hospital that Israel has bombed that I am aware of in the two weeks of this onslaught, where one of the world’s most sophisticated military machines has pitted itself against a locked in, half starved civilian population.

Where are the international community? Where are the guardians of the laws demanding that this stop? Yesterday I saw Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights with the UN on television. It was in Arabic so I didn’t know what she said. I went to the internet and found her statement.

The bit that jumped out and slapped me in the face was where she expressed her “concern”. Concern? I am concerned about things like the size of my phone bill and whether my cat has settled in to her new home. Concern for Gaza, where now over 570 people have been killed, 80% civilians, last count 132 of them children. Over 3,500 people injured and maimed – a 5 year old with her legs amputated, Concerned? What about outraged? Appalled? Horrified?

The UN are concerned and the mask is off. This latest holocaust against Gaza has exposed a world where our media lie, and spin the truth. Where craven politicians will not stand against power – John Kerry saying Israeli is besieged by Hamas- do I laugh or cry? My own government repeating the zombie mantra about Israel’s right to defend itself as they watch women and children buried in the rubble of their own homes.

And all the while Israel continues its colonisation of Palestine, settling jews from Eastern Europe and the Bronx on land that is not theirs, criminalising – labelling as terrorists the rightful owners, to make their misdeeds acceptable to a willing-to-be-appeased-just-give-us-the-right-soundbite global audience.

Say “Hamas” often enough and no one will notice. Exposed is a world where the institutions of human rights and justice offer platitudes but no action and hold yet another emergency meeting, having never implemented the recommendations of the last report, or the one before, as to do so would “jeopardise the peace process” according to the US and Israel. The Fucking Peace Process?

And while the UN frowns a collective bureaucratic, high salaried, important people in suits doing important things frown of concern, a friend of mine is pulling out the stops, navigating Israel’s impenetrable system of closure to get baby formula into Gaza. From the complications, it is as if he were smuggling crack cocaine inside AK47s.

I haven’t had my coffee yet, haven’t woken up. But I swear, that I will turn my rage into action for justice. Israel cannot once again evade accountability for these crimes. And to all the institutions that have collaborated in this gross injustice, by repeating the lies or by looking the other way, you will crumble and fall. The mask is off and people know.

We have seen that in your system human rights are not for everyone, that one life is precious and another is less than insignificant. We have seen that not all children are treasures to be cherished and childhood is not a sacred space for all children. We have seen that in your world it is ok for homes and places of worship and hospitals to become the killing zones, the tombs of innocent people. We have seen how liars and psychopaths with power are bowed down to. But justice will prevail because now we, the people know.

Elaine Bradley.

Emotional Speech from NL Foreign Minister

Frans Timmermans UN Security CouncilThe Dutch Foreign Minister, Mr. Frans Timmermans, addressed the United Nations Security Council, and gave an emotional and embittered speech denouncing the treatment of the remains of the victims in the downing of flight MH17 and the political gamesmanship undertaken by the Kremlin and pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, who almost a week since the disaster have still not handed the remains over to Dutch investigators for repatriation to the Netherlands and beyond.

It speaks volumes that the Minister, usually a master of understatement and diplomacy, broke with protocol and gave such an emotionally charged and moving speech to the UN. It’s fair to say that the tone of his speech mirrors that of many of my own Dutch friends and colleagues. Their anger at the images of bodies being ransacked for valuables and the crash site being trampled on, whilst their own investigators and members of the OSCE are bared from entering and can only look on, is palpable.

The Devil’s Advocate

Devil's Advocate

I’m beginning to truly distrust Merkel. She rightfully controlled the euro-crises to ensure that Germany weathered that storm better that the rest of Europe (that’s what she was duly elected to do), shifting the pain to the lesser well-off economies or Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain. Germany came out on top, and she got re-elected to continue her role as Germany’s Chancellor. A truly great political win deservant of praise, even if it DOES mean that my fellow citizens are rightly screwed back home.

But as a person who grew up in Soviet East Germany, who knows first-hand the shenanigans and capabilities of the KGB and East Germany’s Stasi, she inexplicably thought it politically temperate to been seen cozying up to a megalomaniacal dictator during the World Cup final in Brazil. All the while she STILL refuses to broaden sanctions against Russia. In my book this is tantamount to aiding and abetting Putin in his murder of innocents and his illegal occupation and war against Ukraine.

It’s time Frau Merkel climbed out of the Kremlin’s pockets and began to walk once again the path towards the political and moral high-ground, even if it DOES impact Europes economic growth a wee bit.

FBL-WC-2014-MATCH64-GER-ARG

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Death By Numbers

Israel vs Palestinians - Death By NumbersIsraeli military forces have begun a ground offensive, making their way into the Gaza Strip in a new major ground invasion, the largest since Israel unilaterally gave up occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005. There’s been a lot of talk, both in the media and across social media, debating the cost of life, typically innocent women and children, on both sides. Debate has taken the usual polarised viewpoint of either Israel’s right to defend itself (a view supported by the US and British governments) or of Palestinians right to live a life and to an existence beyond the oppressed ghetto-style walled off apartheid nature that they currently forced to live in.

Irrespective of your own political opinion, I’m always one who believes that a picture speaks a thousand words. This infographic above, from Visualizing Palestine, has some perspective on the relative costs each side has paid in this entrenched conflict.

According to their data, 79% of deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from 2000-2008 have been from Israeli military or police actions against residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Just 8% of total deaths during that time period were from Palestinian attacks on Israel. The infographic doesn’t necessarily assign blame to one side or the other, but notes that who was killed by who “first” was determined by whichever side attacked after a day of peace.

In all, since 2000 some 6,792 Palestinians and 1,102 Israelis have paid the ultimate price over the ongoing dispute. Since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, it’s become even more disproportionate: 3,457 Palestinians and 125 Israelis have died.

And the numbers really do speak for themselves. In the other infographic below, it’s plain to see the sheer size of the Israeli Defense Forces versus their opponents shows a clear imbalance, in both power, strength and weaponry.

Since 2005, after the pull-out of Israeli forces, Hamas began emphasizing the political process and strengthened its support among Palestinians. The end result was Hamas eventually becoming the de-facto political wing of the entire Gaza Strip, usurping the then incumbent PLO, who prior to Yasser Arafat’s death/(assassination) in 2004, had been the leading political party for Palestinian population.

Since the last major flare-up in 2008, Hamas and Israel have traded blows in tit-for-tat counterattacks, which has seen 200 Israeli citizens injured and a few killed, during which Israeli counterattacks drew far greater blood from the Palestinian side.

Hamas’ ideology isn’t that it hates and despises Israel any more or any less since gaining power in the region. Rather, it’s that they have had more mundane domestic problems to deal with as they solidified their position in Gaza and fewer opportunities to attack Israel thanks to better security. When you’re busy trying to govern a region, with little or no resources and with a tiny economy with which to fund it, dealing with the more traditional issues of government such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, law and order, you tend to have less time to busy yourself with planning attacks on your sworn enemy. These day-to-day issues are the more difficult to manage and govern when the area you effectively govern is nothing more than a collapsed economy resemblant of a forced open-air prison than of a young struggling state.

Since the second Intifada in 2005, Hamas began abandoning suicide attacks in 2006. The last such attack in Israel happened in April 2008, when three bombers in Kerem Shalom killed themselves and injured 13 others. Hamas apparently decided the tactic was costly and ineffective. Further factors preventing further bombings also included the construction of security walls and checkpoints which made it harder for extremists to slip into Israeli cities and settlements. This has forced Hamas attackers literally underground, where they resorted to digging tunnels to infiltrate Israel and conduct localised attacks on Israeli soil.

Launching rockets against Israeli cities has become the preferred tactic. However, Israel’s newly installed “Iron Dome” defence system has ensured that many Palestinian rockets fired towards Israel (which were already pretty poorly designed) have simply been shot down or disabled.

Israeli Defense Forces

The Israeli capacity to strike back, on the other hand, has only grown, and grown at an incredible rate. Israeli reprisals against Hamas have grown both bigger in scale and more aggressive since the organization seized power in Gaza. The biggest contributor to the Israeli war machine has been the U.S., who have funnelled huge sums of money into the Israeli military, by some accounts providing 23-25% of its funding as well as being the largest arms supplier, providing hardware which has enabled Israel to continue its strategic bombing from both air and sea. There’s just simply no comparison between the two sides’ military strength and indeed their capacity for inflicting pain on the other anymore.

The facts, in my mind, are plain and simple. The economic blockade in place since 2007 has sent many Palestinians into poverty. This has spurred new recruits to rally around the calls from Hamas to fight their oppressors. There is virtually no economy worth speaking of in Palestine. GDP for Palestine in 2013 was $1,600 compared to $23,000 for Israel. When you see the luxurious homes the average Israeli family lives in and compare that the to squalor THEY force Palestinians to live, then it’s no wonder that Israel are viewed as Oppressors.

The solution is not simple, I’ll admit that. But BOTH sides refusing to talk, and refusing to be tolerant of the other doesn’t work either. Israel is the bigger of the two. And like any bigger brother, the onus should be on them to be the magnanimous one and stop the over-reaching military offensive, start dialogue and eradicate the ideology in Israeli schools and summer camps that no Arab or Palestinian has a right to live. It’s not that long ago that a different ideological set of values held those same similar beliefs towards the Jewish community, so why replicate the same values and apply them to others? And why not try and embrace the teachings or both the Koran and Torah for humans to live harmoniously side-by-side, accepting each others differences and being tolerant of one another.

Meanwhile In Russia – Getting Run Over In Moscow

Russian Road RageRegular readers will know how much I detest driving in Russia and my contempt for Russian drivers and their flouting of the rules of the road.

And we’re quite used to seeing dash-cam video footage of the latest lunatic on the road driving at breakneck speed, with the end result being him or his unfortunate victim ending up in a ditch, all smashed to pieces.

But I’ve not seen something like this before, where an elderly gentleman got out of his car to protest at the driver who was trying cut him up on the inside, only to end up getting run over by that same driver, left by the side of the road.

Eventually someone comes to the man’s aid, but it wasn’t what you’d call “immediate”. In fact the guy in the car who filmed the entire thing doesn’t even get out of the car himself to help.

It’s a sad sorry state of affairs indeed, and indicative of the “Fuck You” attitude prevalent in Russia these days. Putin would be proud.