Outgoing artillery shook St Elias church as the priest reached the end of the Lord's Prayer.
The small congregation kept their eyes on the pulpit, kneeling when required and trying to ignore the regular thuds that rattled the stained glass windows above them.
Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the hard to reach Syrian agricultural town of Izraa has stood the comings and goings of many empires over the centuries.
But as the country's civil war creeps closer, it is threatening to force the town's Christians into permanent exile: never to return, they fear.
"I have been coming to this church since I was born," said Afaf Azam, 52. "But now the situation is very bad. Everyone is afraid. Jihadists control villages around us."
“Any time I’m involved in an officer-involved shooting, be it a fatal one or non-fatal, it is always during my initial investigation listed as an assault on law enforcement,” explained the St. Louis County Police Detective who inaugurated the investigation of the Michael Brown shooting. “Officer Wilson … was the victim of the assault we were investigating.”
Once it had been established that the living, armed individual was the “victim” and the dead, bullet-ridden body had belonged to the “assailant,” continued the detective in his September 3 grand jury testimony, “One of the sergeants with Ferguson [gave] me a brief walk-through to start my investigation so I [could] have a logical starting point from where I would start my video, photographs, and looking for evidence.”
That unnamed sergeant, most likely, was the supervisor who had told Darren Wilson to leave the scene after the shooter told him that Brown had tried to take his gun.
From its inception, the shooting of Michael Brown was not investigated as a potential criminal homicide, and the inquiry was an exercise in validating the killer’s story, rather than testing it against the available evidence. The assumption was that killing was part of his job description – or, as Wilson has subsequently told George Stephanopoulos, “I did what I was paid to do.”
Gen. Breedlove Announces More Aid to Ukraine Military, Denounces Russian 'Militarization'
On the heels of US Vice President Joseph Biden's trip to Ukraine this week, NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, Gen. Philip Breedlove, is in Kiev today pledging increased military assistance to the US-backed government there.
Breaking: Hagel Out, Assad Next
Washington is abuzz with news that Chuck Hagel is out as President Obama's Secretary of Defense. The Secretary was said to have never meshed with the rest of Obama's foreign policy team, led by National Security Advisor Susan Rice and flanked by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and others. Differences over how to handle the rapidly-escalating US war in Syria and Iraq are said to be the breaking point.
Obama's Stealth Surge in Afghanistan
It is a pattern for President Obama: posing as a peacemaker who ends the wars of the previous administration, while expanding the US use of force in areas the Bush gang could not have even imagined.
Fmr. Bush National Security Advisor: Start WWIII With Russia!
Stephen Hadley, who served as National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, believes that the United States should begin delivering lethal military equipment to the US-backed government in Ukraine as that government moves ever-closer to another assault on eastern territories seeking independence.
Dennis Kucinich: Support for War and National Security State is Reason for Democrat Election Losses
Dennis Kucinich, the former Democratic United States House of Representatives member from Ohio and two-time presidential candidate, pins blame for Democrats’ 2014 midterm elections “debacle” on Democrat politicians in the last eight years advancing war and the national security state. Kucinich’s analysis is presented Thursday in a Common Dreams article by Deidre Fulton.