Aletho News


Venezuela: Fifteen police officers sentenced for unionists’ deaths

WW4 Report | August 11, 2010

The Venezuelan Attorney General’s Office announced on August 2 that the Fourth Trial Court of the eastern state of Anzoategui had handed down prison sentences to 15 police agents for the January 29, 2009 shooting deaths of two unionists at the Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) Automotriz auto factory in the Los Montones de Barcelona industrial park, located outside the city of Barcelona.

Five agents were sentenced to 12 years and nine months for voluntary homicide in the killing of Pedro Jesus Suarez Poito, a plant employee, and Javier Marcano, who worked at the Macusa auto parts factory, and for injuries to Alexander Garcia, a worker at the Barcelona plant. Ten agents received three-year prison terms for their involvement, and six were acquitted.

The same court sentenced police agent Juan Carlos Alvarez Rojas to 16 years and 10 months in prison last December for his part in the killings.

The killings took place when police tried to remove striking Mitsubishi workers who had occupied the Barcelona plant. Workers said they threw rocks and bottles at the police in response to the attempt to end the sit-in and that the police fired tear gas canisters and then shot at them. Company executives claimed that the workers were armed, but the announcement of the court’s decision didn’t mention any charges against the workers.

The leftist news site claims that an Anzoategui state official initially blamed the strikers for the confrontation and that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez implied at first that the workers were armed.

The site called the sentencing of the police agents “an important victory, although still incomplete,” pointing out that the judge who ordered the operation was not tried.

The site also called for an investigation of the role of Anzoategui Governor Tarek William Saab Halabi, a Chavez ally.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Aletho News | Comments Off on Venezuela: Fifteen police officers sentenced for unionists’ deaths

BBC to issue correction on rice yields story

Yet another catastrophic AGW alarmist scare without basis in fact

August 12, 2010 by Anthony Watts

From: Richard Black
Thursday, August 12, 2010 7:01 AM
Anthony Watts
RE: Your article on rice yields

Dear Anthony,

Thanks for your email. You are correct – I am mistaken – a correction will be made to the news story shortly.

Best regards,
Richard Black

…my letter follows

From: Anthony Watts
Sent: 11 August 2010 00:51
To: Richard Black; Richard Black-Internet
Subject: Your article on rice yields
Importance: High
Dear Mr. Black,

I’m writing as a courtesy to advise you that I believe your article:

Which says “Yields have fallen by 10-20% over the last 25 years in some locations.”

…is in error.

The actual press release says ”Rising temperatures during the past 25 years have already cut the yield growth rate by 10-20 percent in several locations.”–htt080610.php

It is not the gross yield that has supposedly fallen, but the rate of increase in the yield.

Further, I have a graph from the International Rice Research Institute which supports this and demonstrates that gross rice yields are still increasing in Asia:

I think it’s just a simple interpretive error on how you read the press release, but it does have large consequences for how the story is interpreted by readers. Here in Northern California, one of the largest rice growing areas of the world, a call to our local Rice Association confirmed this. A correction might be in order.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,
Anthony Watts

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Comments Off on BBC to issue correction on rice yields story

Jethro Tull performs in Jerusalem with Shlomo Gronich

By Eleanor Kilroy on August 12, 2010

On Monday evening, Jethro Tull performed in Jerusalem with Shlomo Gronich as guest keyboardist. Gronich played riffs from Israel’s national anthem, the Hatikvah. Front man, Ian Anderson’s decision to play in the apartheid state was taken in spite of urgent calls for him heed the boycott call. It is clear from his interview with the Jerusalem Post that he was contacted by both pro- and anti-boycotters, but he used the opportunity to call the Palestinian boycott call “irritating and shallow,” and to join the chorus of contempt for Elvis Costello, although curiously he was keen to emphasise that his decision was also based on maintaining his ‘reputation’ for not cancelling shows unless he is ill. From his statement on the band’s official website in June 2010, we learned that he made up his “own mind in light of available facts, with my own experience and a sense of personal ethics.” That must be why he approached former British PM and the Middle East envoy of the risible Quartet, Tony Blair, for advice on which ‘co-existence’ charities he should donate his fee to for performing in Israel. Anderson’s good will is accepted unquestioningly by the Post who are triumphant with the headline: ‘Jethro Tull donates to co-existence’. Other apologists busy celebrating on a Jethro Tull internet discussion site: “The Jethro Tull Board proudly wishes a “yosha koach” to Jethro Tull for not yielding to the intense pressure, intimidation and lies of the Israel-bashing crowd. We are sure that Ian and the boys will receive unsurpassed love and gratitude from an audience, and from a nation…”

Ian got more than love; he got up-close and intimate with the Occupation. In 2008, Jethro Tull’s famed guest keyboardist, Shlomo Gronich, performed for the settlers in Silwan. As reported by Gush Shalom in the lead up to the concert, “Gronich, who in the past presented himself prominently in the country and abroad as a “peace seeker” and even held joint performances with Arab artists, is now due to give a free performance at the “City of David” settler enclave at the heart of Silwan Village, in an event honouring the American millionaire and settler patron Irwin Moskowitz, in the framework of celebrating the anniversary of the occupation of Palestinian East Jerusalem and its annexation to Israel (“Jerusalem Day”, June 2).” Anderson had told the Post reporter that his donations “don’t make me feel particularly good or saintly, it was just one of those things you do, from time to time, like most people in my position,” he said.

Other artists ‘in his position’ are giving some real love, however: UK band Faithless’s simple and witty statement sends out a message of support for the Palestinian call to boycott Israel: “…this short note is for all fans and family of the band in Israel. It’s fair to say that for 14 years we’ve been promoting goodwill, trust and harmony all around the world in our own small (but very loud!) way. Ok. We’ve been asked to do some shows this summer in your country and, with the heaviest of hearts, I have regretfully declined the invitation. While human beings are being wilfully denied not just their rights but their NEEDS for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals that this is either ‘normal’ or ‘ok'”

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | 5 Comments

Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri urges UN probe of Israel

Press TV – August 12, 2010

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has called for a UN probe into the alleged Israeli role in the assassination of his father in 2005. Hariri’s call for the probe came after Hezbollah said that Israel has been behind the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The Lebanese premier said evidence presented earlier this week by Hezbollah’s Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah implicating Israel in the assassination of Hariri was “important and very sensitive”, Lebanese daily As-Safir reported.

At a press conference in Beirut on Monday night, Nasrallah presented video materials, captured by Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), as well as recorded confessions by Israeli fifth columnists, substantiating that the February 14, 2005 assassination of the former premier in the capital Beirut was carried out on orders from Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv had to call the witnesses, which could turn up in Hezbollah’s evidence, the prime minister said, adding that he would consider the regime “guilty” otherwise.

“It is important for me to know the truth, both as the prime minister and as the son of the slain,” he said. Hariri has also reportedly talked about the revelations to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Azizi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The United Nations tribunal, probing the assassination, reportedly will announce its findings by the end of the year.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, has received Nasrallah’s evidence, the newspaper wrote.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | Comments Off on Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri urges UN probe of Israel

Just a normal democracy

By Ben White | Pulse Media | August 12, 2010

Here is a news item from Israel, which is, we are assured in the West by many politicians, commentators, and lobbyists, a regular democracy, if not a multicultural paradise.

Nazareth Illit, which has recently come under threat of an Arab demographic takeover, now is headed to be the religious-Zionist capital of the lower Galilee…

The article goes on to describe various initiatives intended to boost the city’s Jewish population, as a response to an increase in the number of Palestinian citizens who have moved in, keen for a better standard of living. The projects, overseen by the town’s mayor Shimon Gapso, include the renovation of “an old school building to house 15 young families from the former Gush Katif yeshiva of Torat HaChaim” – in other words, former residents of a Gaza Strip colony.

Apparently, one of the other figures involved in these efforts is MK Uri Ariel, who in 2008 “called on the government to encourage Israeli Arabs to “willingly emigrate” from Israel and from large cities within it”. Another personality is Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, who spent years living in the Hebron area settlements.

The piece concludes by reprinting a message from Mayor Gapso that appears on Nazareth Illit’s website:

“It is time to call a spade a spade. Just as Ben-Gurion and Peres said in the 1950′s that the Galilee must be Jewish, we say the same about Nazareth Illit: It must retain its Jewish character. Our goal is to bring 3,000 families within five years… We have been in contact with various ideological groups, and we are definitely considering building a hareidi-religious neighborhood as well. The primary goal is to put the brakes on the demographic deterioration…”

This is the discourse and politics of the Middle East’s ‘only democracy’. Where a city can be openly described as “part of the national mission to strengthen the Jewish character of the Galil [Galilee] as a whole”. Where municipal authorites can organise meetings to discuss ways of attracting “new, quality populace” in order to “maintain the Jewish character of the city”. Where land confiscated from Palestinian citizens is aimed at settlers.

In other words, it exemplifies the impossibility of the ‘Jewish and democratic’ propaganda trope. As Mayor Gapso put it (without irony): “I am all for a democratic Upper Nazareth, but first of all a Jewish one.”

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Just a normal democracy

Netanyahu: “No Peace Talks Based on 1967 Borders”

Al Manar – 12/08/2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rejected a Palestinian demand that direct negotiations be based on a statement by the Quartet confirming its position that the “future Palestinian state” will be based on the “1967 borders”, Haaretz newspaper reported Thursday.

Meeting in occupied Jerusalem with U.S. envoy George Mitchell, Netanyahu repeated his demand for the renewal of direct talks without preconditions. Mitchell briefed Netanyahu on his meeting on Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and gave the prime minister the Palestinian proposal.

According to Palestinian sources, Mitchell did not dismiss Abbas’ proposal. Abbas is demanding a clear framework for the direct talks and an Israeli commitment to cease construction activity in the settlement during the negotiations.

The Quartet – the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia – issued the statement after a meeting in Moscow on March 19. It calls for 24 months of talks between “Israel” and the PA that would result in an agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The statement said that the “founding of the Palestinian state would end the occupation that began in 1967”. It also called on Israel to institute a total freeze of construction in West Bank settlements and to refrain from home demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem. The declaration even went so far as to mention that the international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem.

Haaretz said senior officials in Tel Aviv who are involved in the efforts to renew direct talks said yesterday that Abbas’ latest formula was unacceptable to Netanyahu because it sought to impose preconditions that the Israeli public would oppose.

Mitchell told Netanyahu that Washington has not taken a position on the proposal yet, noting that his job was simply to present Abbas’ offer to Israeli. The U.S. envoy told Netanyahu that Abbas indicated to him that if Israel were to accept the offer, he would be ready to enter direct talks immediately.

After Netanyahu’s rejection, it appears that Mitchell’s latest visit to the region has ended in failure.

According to Palestinian sources, the United States rejected two earlier proposals put forth by Abbas to jump-start direct talks. One called for U.S., Israeli and Palestinian officials to meet in order to reach agreement on a framework for direct talks. The other called for U.S. President Barack Obama to issue a statement spelling out the terms of the framework.

Palestinian journalists who met with Abbas this week said they came away with the impression that he is determined to move forward in negotiations with Israel but will not back down on long-established Palestinian positions. Abbas is insistent on an agreed framework for discussions prior to the start of direct talks.

An editorial in yesterday’s New York Times urged Abbas to renew talks with Israel, warning him to avoid a clash with Obama, who is keen to see the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | 1 Comment

Prosecuting Khadr instead of Bush — the supreme irony of the Obama presidency

By Nicolas J S Davies | Online Journal | August 12, 2010

President Obama’s position on war crimes committed during the Bush administration has been defined in American political discourse by rhetoric about “looking forward.” But that only applies to American war crimes.

On the other hand, at Guantanamo Bay, a young man who was extra-judicially kidnapped by U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the age of 15 and illegally transported to almost a decade of legal limbo in Cuba, is now set to stand trial in the first war crimes prosecution under the Obama administration.

Omar Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade that killed one American, apparently based on a confession extracted by sleep deprivation and threats of rape. George W. Bush launched an illegal war of aggression that probably killed more than a million people. The whole world knows it. Even Britain’s deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, recently referred on the floor of the House of Commons to the “illegal invasion” of Iraq.

At least 98 people have died in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even US investigators and courts martial have agreed that some of the victims were tortured to death. But the harshest sentence handed down in any of these cases was a five-month jail sentence.

Amid all the contradictions of the Obama administration: healthcare reform drafted by insurance executives; financial reform vetted by Goldman Sachs; the expansion of US Special Forces operations to 75 countries all over the world by a Nobel Peace Prize winner; none exemplifies the fundamental confusion and perversion of American policy as clearly as the disparity between the treatment of American war crimes and those allegedly committed by others.

George Orwell wrote in 1948, “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral color when it is committed by ‘our’ side . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Since 2001, the United States has committed every single one of the “outrages” Orwell described: torture, the use of hostages (in Iraq), forced labor (by contractors in Iraq), mass deportations (or at least mass expulsions from Iraq), imprisonment without trial, forgery (Niger), assassination and the bombing of civilians. And every one of these crimes has been authorized by senior American military and civilian leaders.

So, Mr. Obama, by all means hold war crimes trials, make them fair, open and compliant with internationally recognized fair trial standards, and then free those found not guilty. In fact, charge whoemver you like. But in the name of justice, you must apply the same standards to the investigation and prosecution of American war crimes as you apply to those committed by others.

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of “Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq” (Nimble Books, 2010).

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | Comments Off on Prosecuting Khadr instead of Bush — the supreme irony of the Obama presidency

Judge dismisses Native American suit against Skull and Bones

By Nora Caplan-Bricker | Yale Daily News | August 9, 2010

It looks like the public will not be learning any times soon whether the secret society Skull and Bones keeps an Apache warrior’s skull in its tomb.

A District of Columbia judge on July 27 dismissed a case that had been brought against the mysterious society, as well as the University and senior members of the U.S. government, in February 2009. The plaintiffs are 20 descendants of the legendary Native American chieftain Geronimo hoping to reclaim their ancestor’s remains. But their lawyer, Ramsey Clark — who has represented controversial figures such as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic — said Monday that he is not giving up.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” Clark said in a phone interview. “We believe that [this case] is awfully important, not only to the wishes of Geronimo himself, but to the spirit of the Indian people and their relationships to the government of the United States.”

The objective of the original suit is to gather Geronimo’s remains and reinter them near his birthplace at the head of the Gila River in New Mexico, thereby fulfilling what plaintiff Harlyn Geronimo says were his great-grandfather’s wishes. Geronimo is reportedly buried in a prisoner of war cemetery in Fort Sill, Okla., but according to an old legend, Prescott Bush — Yale graduate, Bonesman, father of former President George H.W. Bush ’48 and grandfather of former President George W. Bush ’68 — looted that grave in 1918 or 1919 and took the chief’s skull, along with some of his other bones and artifacts buried with him, back to the Skull and Bones tomb on High Street in New Haven.

Because Geronimo’s official burial place is on a military base, which is government property, Clark first planned to pursue a suit against President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. If he had won his case, he and his clients would have dug up the grave at Fort Sill, and if, as the story about Prescott Bush suggests, some of the remains had been missing, they would have turned to Yale and Skull and Bones.

Before anyone can take legal action against the U.S. government, the government must consent to the proceedings by waiving its sovereign immunity. District Judge Richard W. Roberts said he dismissed the case because the plaintiffs had failed to establish why immunity should be waived in this case. He also said that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), under which the prosecution was suing for ownership of the remains, only applies to burials, grave robberies and other incidents that took place after it was passed in 1990 — making the act irrelevant to this case.

But Clark said he does not think Roberts is correct on this last point.

“It doesn’t seem like that act would have much relevance if it cut off everything before that date,” Clark said.

Still, Clark said the fact that he tried to take the case straight to court, without first arguing his clients’ claim to their ancestor’s remains in front of the relevant government agencies, might be why the government never waived its immunity. Clark said he pursued litigation first because it was the fastest route, allowing him to take on all relevant parties — those in the government and those in New Haven — at the same time. Now, he said, he and his clients will turn to agencies in the executive branch and the Department of Defense that they previously tried to bypass. He added that he will eventually reopen his cases against Yale and Skull and Bones if need be, but not until after the Fort Sill remains are exhumed.

Yale has said it does not possess the remains, but that it cannot say whether the secret society — a separate entity — might have them. A representative of Skull and Bones has declined to comment on the matter.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Judge dismisses Native American suit against Skull and Bones

Taliban reject UN report on Afghanistan

Press TV – August 12, 2010

The Taliban militants have strongly rejected a United Nations report that blamed the group for bulk of civilian causalities in Afghanistan.

A Taliban statement posted on their website on Thursday said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has taken the side of the US-led forces stationed in the war-torn country.

“Observing the statistics issued by UNAMA, it appears crystal-clear that the report is based on political expedience, exaggeration and propaganda instead of surfacing the facts,” the statement read.

“Every observer would easily determine the truth of such reports as this and assess how authentic and spurious such reports may be,” it added.

The assessment issued on Tuesday by UNAMA blamed 25 percent of the deaths on attacks by foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan, adding that the rest of the killings were mainly caused by Afghan militants.

UNAMA said the civilian casualties in the country have risen by 31 percent in the first six months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. The report also noted that over 1,270 civilians have been killed and nearly 2,000 others have been injured as a result of the conflict.

“Afghan children and women are increasingly bearing the brunt of the conflict,” Staffan de Mistura, the special representative of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in Kabul.

“They are being killed and injured in their homes and communities in greater numbers than ever before,” he added.

US-led forces in Afghanistan regularly launch attacks on alleged militant hideouts, but the strikes usually result in civilian casualties.

Civilians have been the main victims of violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the country’s troubled southern and eastern provinces, where they are killed by both militant and foreign fire. The issue of civilian deaths has long been a source of friction between Kabul and Washington.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | 1 Comment

Turkey names new military chiefs after row

BBC | August 12, 2010

Turkey’s government has appointed generals to two top posts, ending a stand-off with the military. General Isik Kosaner will be the new overall head of the Turkish armed forces, while General Erdal Ceylanoglu becomes head of land forces.

The government had vetoed the army’s original choice for head of land forces after allegations of a coup plot.

The military has agreed not to promote a number of senior officers implicated in the alleged 2003 plot. After it made the concession, arrest warrants against 102 military officers named in the case were annulled.

General Hasan Igsiz was originally proposed as land forces head, but was blocked by the government because he was named in connection to the so-called “sledgehammer” plot. The alleged conspiracy was drawn up in 2003 at the Istanbul base of the First Army, shortly after the governing AK Party came to power.

The alleged plot reportedly involved plans to bomb mosques and provoke tensions with Greece, in order to spark political chaos and justify a military takeover. The military says it was only a contingency plan based on scenarios of political unrest.

The case is the latest in a series involving alleged plots by Turkey’s military and secular establishment against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

General Kosaner, 65, will take over command of Nato’s second largest military from Gen Ilker Basbug, who retires this month.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | Comments Off on Turkey names new military chiefs after row