Iran protests described as a “massacre” today; Gareth Porter on the Saudis protecting bin Laden; BBC interview with former detainees at Bagram describe being tortured; $48.8 bn more money that doesn’t exist for international state cronyism; U.N. report on drugs; and more…

“Khobar Towers Investigated: How a Saudi Deception Protected Osama bin Laden” is a five-part series by Dr. Gareth Porter, of which three have been published at IPS:

Part I: “Al Qaeda Excluded from the Suspects List” – 22 Jun 09
Part II: “Saudi Account of Khobar Bore Telltale Signs of Fraud” – 23 Jun 09
Part III: “U.S. Officials Leaked a False Story Blaming Iran” – 24 Jun 09

Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei extended the deadline for the Guardian Council to investigate complaints about the presidential election five days. (AntiWar.com) The BBC posted video of more protesters clashing with Iran stormtroopers, that they believe happened today. Pres. Ahmadiejad’s primary opposition candidate, Mir Housein Mousavi, is barred from speaking in public under 24-hour guard. (The Independent) An unnamed eyewitness told CNN that today was a “massacre”. (4:30):

Mr. Obama called the image of Neda Soltani’s death “heartbreaking” and that seeing such an image makes one know there’s “something fundamentally unjust” about it. I wondered what Mr. Obama thinks when sees the pictures of the children he kills and Helen Thomas asked about torture photos, which the president ignored and Glenn Greenwald commented on. The Guardian reports Ms. Soltani’s family has been kidnapped by the Iran stormtroopers.

Read more on events in Iran today on the Guardian‘s live blog.

The BBC interviewed 27 former detainees of the U.S. that were held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, almost all described being tortured. Bagram remains open during the Obama Administration and Amnesty international has called for a wide probe of abuses there. Watch the video here.

At least 69 were killed and over 100 injured in a market bombing in Sadr City, Iraq. (AntiWar.com)

The U.K.’s inquiry into its invasion of Iraq role might publicize its results. (Press TV)

“Achieving peace requires an Israeli partner and commitment to international law, United Nations resolutions and the land for peace principles,” said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, regarding Israel’s 40+ year occupation of the Golan Heights. (Ha’aretz)

240 new colonial housing units were approved by Israel Defence Minister Ehud Barak to be erected in the West Bank. (FT) Italy and France have joined the call for Israel to freeze settlements. The U.K. has ruled out an arms embargo on Israel.

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $48.8bn foreign spending bill. The bill grants $2.5bn to Afghanistan, $2.2bn for Israel, $1.5bn for Pakistan. (FT) Kill nearly 1,000 Palestinian civilians in three weeks, steal a few hundred more homes, or displace 2 million Pakistanis and this is your reward.

The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime released its 2009 report on the drug market today. See the report here. (Haven’t read it yet.) BBC has posted a lot of pretty graphs here.

“[W]hy is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive [private healthcare providers] out of business?… That’s not logical,” said President Obama. (LAT) Gov’t monopolizes the Iron Fist of Force business, so it’s logical when you keep the gov’t plan in business as a false competetor printing money on the backs of the working-poor, guaranteeing contracts with this monopoly money and bigger subsidies to your favorite Big Pharma cronies, while blocking affordable competitors out of the market protecting their patents. Business as usual, right, Mr. President?

Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo was charged with “inciting subversion”. Mr. Liu has been in jail three times for a total of six years — never having been charged of any crime. Now, he has a right to a lawyer, but China’s continued a pattern of refusing licenses to civil rights advocates. (CSM)

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