EU orders consumer warning labels on goods produced in Israeli occupied lands

from RT

The European Commission has adopted new guidelines on labeling of products from Israeli-occupied Arab settlements. Brussels says the move is technical but Israel has called it discriminatory.

The European Commission “adopted this morning the Interpretative Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967,” Reuters quoted an EU official as saying.

EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was called to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to be reprimanded over the decision, Haaretz reports.

“Whereas the upcoming labeling guidelines are presented by the EU as a purely ‘technical measure’ designed to protect European consumers, there is no doubt that the main purpose of the measure is to exert political pressure upon Israel,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said prior the EU decision.

“These measures are discriminatory in nature. It is intolerable that Israel is the only country that has been singled out by the EU for such a policy, despite the fact that there are over 200 disputed territories worldwide,” the statement added.

This move shouldn’t come as a surprise to Israel, US State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday before the ruling was published.

“Israel continues to expand settlement activity. It should not come as a surprise that some in the international community seek to limit commercial ties to the settlements. This underscores the urgent need for Israel to change its policies with regard to settlements,” he said, quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

[read more here]

US needs boots on the ground to ‘occupy & govern’ Syrian territories – Air Force secretary

from RT

Washington needs “boots on the ground” in Syria in addition to its air campaign against ISIS, which is not fruitful despite some progress. US Air Force secretary has admitted that “ground forces” is a must in order to “occupy” and “govern” parts of Syria.

In her comments, Secretary Deborah Lee James stressed the importance of the US-led air campaign, but admitted that airstrikes need to be backed by ground forces.

“Air power is extremely important. It can do a lot but it can’t do everything,” James said, just two days after Secretary of Defense Ash Carter supported President Obama’s “willingness to do more” in terms of US troops on Syrian ground.

“Ultimately it cannot occupy territory and very importantly it cannot govern territory,” James told reporters at the Dubai Airshow. “This is where we need to have boots on the ground. We do need to have ground forces in this campaign.”

When it comes to support, the US should assist the “Iraqi army, the Free Syrians and the Kurds in the fight against Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL), James said.

[read more here]

Over 1 Million Syrians Return Home Since Beginning of Russian Campaign

from Sputnik International

More than one million Syrians have returned home since Russian airstrikes began on September 30, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov said Wednesday.

“Since the beginning of Russian operations, according to UN structures, more than one million people have returned to their homes in Syria,” Meshkov said at a press conference in Moscow.

The Re-enserfment of Western Peoples

by Paul Craig Roberts, Sputnik International

The re-enserfment of Western peoples is taking place on several levels. One about which I have been writing for more than a decade comes from the offshoring of jobs. Americans, for example, have a shrinking participation in the production of the goods and services that are marketed to them.

On another level we are experiencing the financialization of the Western economy about which Michael Hudson is the leading expert (Killing The Host). Financialization is the process of removing any public presence in the economy and converting the economic surplus into interest payments to the financial sector.

These so called “trade partnerships” have nothing to do with trade. These agreements negotiated in secrecy grant immunity to corporations from the laws of the countries in which they do business. This is achieved by declaring any interference by existing and prospective laws and regulations on corporate profits as restraints on trade for which corporations can sue and fine “sovereign” governments. For example, the ban in France and other counries on GMO products would be negated by the Trans-Atlantic Partnership. Democracy is simply replaced by corporate rule.

I have been meaning to write about this at length. However, others, such as Chris Hedges, are doing a good job of explaining the power grab that eliminates representative government.

The corporations are buying power cheaply. They bought the entire US House of Representatives for just under $200 million. This is what the corporations paid Congress to go along with “Fast Track,” which permits the corporations’ agent, the US Trade Representative, to negotiate in secret without congressional input or oversight.

[read more here]