Leaked transcript: US soldier and security advisor aghast at Trump's reckless Syrian strike

In April, Donald Trump ordered a massive strike against Syria to retaliate for an alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians, despite widely circulated US intelligence that said that no chemical weapons had been used. Read the rest

Sassy Trump Remembers Cake He Ate While Bombing Iraq Or Syria or Something

God Bless America, God Bless Sassy Trump, and God Bless Peter Serafinowicz.

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A primer on the war in Syria

Though, of course, an international conflict is too complex to fully explain in just a seven-minute video, this one from Vox at least serves as a starting point to learn more about the war in Syria. Vox also published a companion article with more detail too. Read the rest

Dan Rather: The number of press praising Trump's Syria air strikes “as 'presidential' is concerning”

Veteran American journalist Dan Rather says he is “concerned” by how many in the U.S. press are praising Donald Trump's whimsical missile assault last night on Syria as “presidential.”

Dan Rather is not the only one alarmed by this attitude.

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Trump orders missile strikes on Syria. Russia calls it 'aggression,' international law violation

You knew it was coming. Trump's first war. It ended up being Syria.

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Syria just gassed its own people. Trump blames Obama's 'weakness and irresolution'

How does the President of the United States respond to news that the Syrian government of Bashar-el-Assad has just gassed its own people, leaving untold scores of innocent people dead?

That's right. Donald Trump blames The Black Guy. Again.

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Anarchist bitcoin hacker flies to Syria to join a 4-million person anarchist collective the size of Massachusetts

Amir Taaki is a well-known anarchist bitcoin hacker whose project, Dark Wallet, is meant to create strong anonymity for cryptocurrency transactions; when he discovered that anarchists around the world had gone to Rojava, a district in Kurdish Syria on the Turkish border, to found an anarchist collective with 4,000,000 members "based on principles of local direct democracy, collectivist anarchy, and equality for women," he left his home in the UK to defend it. Read the rest

City of Paris deploys "anti-refugee boulders" to prevent camping while waiting for space at a humanitarian center

The city of Paris has installed "anti-refugee boulders" beneath a highway overpass in Porte de La Chapelle in a bid to stop Syrian refugees from sleeping in the flyover's shelter while they wait for space to open up at a nearby humanitarian relief center operated by Emmaus solidarité. Read the rest

Pentagon may propose that Trump send U.S. ground troops to Syria

The Defense Department is expected to propose that the United States send ground combat forces into northern Syria for the first time, expand the assault on ISIS, CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

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'Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC,' says Obama in final 2016 press conference

U.S. President Barack Obama met with reporters today for the final press conference of 2016, before the new administration is due to take over. Live tweets below.

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Want to help Syria war victims in Aleppo? These NGOs and charities need your support now.

As the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo continues to grow, many people are looking for ways to help.

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How governments and cyber-militias attack civil society groups, and what they can do about it

The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab (previously) is one of the world's leading research centers for cybersecurity analysis, and they are the first port of call for many civil society groups when they are targeted by governments and cyber-militias. Read the rest

VIDEO: Tension mounts as French forces try to halt progress of suicide truck

We interrupt your growing anxiety at America's emergent cyberpunk dystopia for a tense missive from the Syrian War. In this video, an explosive-laden suicide truck bears down on a position held (reportedly by French special forces with the SDF) near Raqqa. The perspective on the video makes it hard to tell, but the vehicle is well-armored and only seconds from putting the defenders in serious trouble. Bullets ricochet off; a missile sails past its target. It is not long before everyone is becoming quite alarmed at the driver's progress. What happens next, though, will probably not surprise you. Read the rest

How a small group of geeks led the Syrian refugee surge

In September 2015, President Obama raised the ceiling of refugees, many of them Syrian, who would be welcomed to the United States in the coming year from 70,000 to 85,000. While a wonderful humanitarian move, it also posed huge problems for the already-overwhelmed, byzantine systems in place to process refugee applications admissions. That's when the White House's crack tech team, the United States Digital Service, stepped in to help. The US Digital Service was born out of the disaster of Healthcare.gov, when the White House called in top-notch geeks from Silicon Valley and elsewhere to fix the disastrous Obamacare website. This year, they focused on how to get more refugees through the door. For a Webby Awards exclusive feature, I commissioned the talented journalist Lauren Smiley to tell the story of the US Digital Service and their sprint to bring in 85,000 refugees. From Lauren's feature:

When the photo of a Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkey beach appeared in his newsfeed, Jason Wu was getting restless. It was September of last year, and he’d just left his job as a product manager at Facebook’s Silicon Valley HQ—in some ways, exactly the kind of job he’d wanted back as a UC Berkeley computer science student. But at 29, having been ensconced in cush startup culture of T-shirt swag and free meals surrounding the challenging technical work, he was starting to mull a new question: “To what end?” Considering the options, he didn’t want to join one of the many mobile app companies proliferating in the valley that solved the problems of the same wealthy young people who make them.

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Refugees, Women in Black and the Serbian police

"You can’t tell who is craziest: the refugees, the police or those women," said a local shopkeeper. He made a cross over his chest, to express his sincere Serbian bewilderment.

He had just witnessed ten shabby Afghan and Syrian refugees walking past, escorted by ten Women in Black from Serbia, Italy and Spain, themselves escorted by ten policemen and a police car.

By the railway station in downtown Belgrade, the temporary citizens-from-nowhere are living their nomad existences in the the rubble of the so-called Belgrade Waterfront construction project. The refugees loiter all day, hoping for something to happen, between the city bus yards and huge trash-cans full of boxed food that the aid workers supply on a regular basis.

Around five pm there is a kind of tea ceremony where about 800 people gather, most of them arriving from the organized camps where they sleep. They arrive to be heard, to be seen. We Women in Black went to join them to show this Belgrade political scene to our international colleagues.

It’ s been now two years since the Syrian refugee crisis seized headlines, but the refugees are not entirely Syrians, but a global peoples’ market of Afghans and Nigerians as well. In the beginning there were many more refugees, and far less aid from the locals and the Serbian state. The migrants were simply collapsing on flat surfaces anywhere in Belgrade, urban nooks, parks and lots where they ate, drank and slept.

Now the bus-station square, a favorite place to cluster for obvious reasons, has been fenced and organized. Read the rest

The dubious upsides of having a Syrian passport

Marcell Shehwaro's magnificent, sarcastic, angry essay in Global Voices expresses her gratitude for her Syrian passport, because it has allowed her to see how states are willing to punish the already brutalized out of rage and fear. Read the rest

ISIS left behind at least 14,000 landmines when it retreated from Manbij

Once it became clear that a US-backed militia coalition was going to chase Isis out of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, Isis planted at least 14,000 mines, boobytrapping refrigerators, onion-baskets, rocks, appliances, tea-kettles, "everything." Read the rest

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