Aletho News


Thomas Friedman tells millions of people to ‘suck on this’

Thomas Friedman sums up the Iraq war… (5/29/2003)

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | 1 Comment

Israel serves notice to demolish homes in Khirbat al Taweel

MEMO | 05 February 2012

The Israeli occupation today served notice to demolish a number of homes in Khirbat al Taweel village in the northern West Bank. When enforced the measure would affect 15 families and displace 150 persons. Hundreds of dunums of agricultural land will also be confiscated. The occupation authorities state the notice was served to clear the land for military training facilities.

For several years, residents of Khirbat al Taweel have been subjected to regular attacks from settlers in the ‘Giteet’ settlement as part of a scheme to evict them from their land. To date, the occupation has seized 140,000 dunums, leaving only 10,000 dunums for the villagers.

Other forms of harassment and maltreatment include; the closure of the main road which residents use travel to and from their village, prevention of farmers from reaching their farms, allowing the settlers to vandalise the farms with pesticides, theft of animals, and destruction of wells.

This latest notice also includes the demolition of Al Khirbat mosque, which is under construction as well as the electricity network recently completed to the value of $200,000 donated by the Belgian government.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Comments Off on Israel serves notice to demolish homes in Khirbat al Taweel

Union condemns Israel extending journalist detention

Ma’an – 05/02/2012

RAMALLAH – The journalists’ union on Saturday condemned Israel’s decision to hold a Palestinian journalist in jail for a further three months, without pressing charges.

Israeli forces detained Nawwaf al-Amer, a program coordinator for al-Quds satellite TV station, in June from his home near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

In October his administrative detention order was renewed for four months, without notifying him of the accusations against him, media freedoms group MADA said. Al-Amer’s detention without charge was renewed again this week, the union statement said.

The journalists union said Amer suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, and needs constant medical attention. It called on international journalists’ groups to intervene to halt Israel’s violation of media freedoms.

“The international silence towards the constant Israeli violations against journalists shows that Israel has immunity from the law,” the group said in a statement.

Israeli forces detained eight journalists in Dec. 2011, MADA said in its latest report. There are currently 280 Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention in Israeli jails.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on Union condemns Israel extending journalist detention

“Drones also targeting mourners and rescuers”

DAWN.COM | February 5, 2012

An investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed that the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to rescue victims or were attending funerals.

The report was published days after US President Barack Obama claimed that the drones had “not caused a huge number of civilian casualties” in Pakistan.

However, according to research by the Bureau, it was stated that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. The report claims that: “A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.”

The first confirmed attack on rescuers took place in North Waziristan on May 16, 2009. According to Mushtaq Yusufzai, a local journalist, Taliban militants had gathered in the village of Khaisor and at least 29 people died in total.

The Bureau reports that along with Taliban militants, locals said that six ordinary villagers also died that day. They were identified by Bureau field researchers as Sabir, Ikram, Mohib, Zahid, Mashal and Syed Noor.

Interestingly, the reports also reveal that often when the US attacks militants in Pakistan, the Taliban seal off the site to retrieve the dead. However, “an examination of thousands of credible reports relating to CIA drone strikes also shows frequent references to civilian rescuers. Mosques often exhort villagers to come forward and help, for example – particularly following attacks that mistakenly kill civilians.”

Quoting Christof Heyns, a South African law professor who is United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra- judicial Executions, the report states that “Allegations of repeat strikes coming back after half an hour when medical personnel are on the ground are very worrying. To target civilians would be crimes of war.” Heyns is calling for an investigation into the Bureau’s findings.

The Bureau’s report also states that according to Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Initiative at the Brookings Institution, the US now has 7,000 drones operating and 12,000 more on the ground.

Aside from Pakistan, there is also debate over the use of drones in Yemen, Somalia and Libya. The Bureau’s report in the Sunday Times claims that three US citizens were also killed by missiles fired from drones in Yemen last September.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

US Iran sanctions in trouble as Sri Lanka latest country to sidestep

Al Akhbar | February 5, 2012

Sri Lanka may follow India in avoiding US sanctions on Iranian crude by purchasing it in a currency other than dollars, officials said on Sunday.

In a sign that US officials will struggle to enforce the ban, a number of countries are seeking ways to avoid the sanctions.

The Indian Ocean island nation is facing the most potential collateral damage from the sanctions, which are meant to cut off the dollars Washington claims are used to fund Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Sri Lanka imports 93 percent of its oil from Iran, OPEC’s second biggest producer, and its sole refinery, the 50,000 barrel-per-day Sapugaskanda plant, can only refine Iranian crude and three or four others that are in short supply.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing, Luke Bronin, flew in for a one-day visit on Thursday to meet a host of government officials to explain the options available and the impact on Sri Lanka.

A senior government official directly involved in Sri Lanka’s payments to Iran who met with Bronin said he offered a potential solution.

“I don’t know whether it was deliberate or it was accidental, but he said they are only concerned about transactions done in dollars, so that was a hint to us,” the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Sri Lanka’s central bank pays its Iranian counterpart on behalf of the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation through the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), a nine-nation trade clearing house set up in Tehran in 1974.

Sri Lanka would be following India’s lead in seeking to avoid the sanctions. New Dehli is currently considering rupee-denominated transactions and other similar options to pay for its Iranian crude needs.

“It gives us the option of doing it in Indian rupees or some other currency, although we would prefer to do it in Sri Lankan rupees,” the official said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week complained Sri Lanka and other small nations were being unfairly squeezed in a fight not of their making, and said he had asked his officials to find out what alternatives the United States could offer.

The effectiveness of the sanctions depends largely on how well policed they are internationally. Russia has already stated its opposition to the sanctions, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying last week they would only “stifle” the Iranian economy and hurt the population.

If a number of larger economies avoid the sanctions and continue trading with the oil-rich nation then the West will struggle to inflict further damage on the Iranian economy.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on US Iran sanctions in trouble as Sri Lanka latest country to sidestep

Anti-war activists in Munich protest major security confab

Press TV – February 5, 2012
German policemen block demonstrators trying to approach Munich’s Bayerischer Hof Hotel, where the 48th Munich Security Conference is held.

Hundreds of anti-war activists have taken to the streets in the southern German city of Munich to protest against an annual, high-profile security conference.

Some 800 demonstrators marched on Saturday toward the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich where the 48th Munich Security Conference is being held.

The three-day event brings together foreign and defense ministers and military experts from around the world.

The activists said that they were demonstrating against global arms deals, calling for a genuine global peace. The anti-war protesters also condemned the conference for ‘only paving the way for future conflicts.’

The event gathers the world’s major weapons producers who seek to invent wars and move profit backwards and forwards with certain countries, they said.

The 48th Munich Security Conference, focusing on Europe’s debt crisis and strategies for global security, was held with security provisions that were not as tight as the previous years, with police presence at a 3,100-strong low.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Comments Off on Anti-war activists in Munich protest major security confab

The Daily Beast disavows patriotic American’s website; Jeffrey Goldberg smears both as anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | February 5, 2012

On January 30, The Daily Beast published an article entitled “Newt Gingrich’s Deep Neocon Ties Drive His Bellicose Middle East Policy.” In the well-researched piece on the Republican presidential hopeful’s ties to the Israel partisans who devised the influential “Clean Break” plan to destabilize the Middle East, Wayne Barrett warns:

If elected, Gingrich would be the first American president to emerge from the dark think-tank world born in the Reagan era that gave us the Iraq War and lusts now for an Iranian reprise.

Some time after its publication, The Daily Beast appended the following note to Barrett’s article:

Correction: The original version of this story included an embedded link in the text to a blog called the Neocon Zionist Threat. The author did not use this site in the reporting of the piece, and does not support the views expressed. The link has been redirected to the correct source.

The following day, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg commented on the correction to what he described as “a Daily Beast story that might have been entitled ‘The Jews are Coming.’” In a snide post entitled “Correction of the Day, International Jewish Conspiracy Edition,” Goldberg, a former prison guard in the Israeli army, claimed:

The website “Neocon Zionist Threat” argues that a cabal of Jews is trying to drive the U.S. into a war with Iran. The Daily Beast article, on the other hand, argues that a cabal of Jews is trying to drive the U.S. into a war with Iran. (h/t Jamie Kirchick)

Contrary to Goldberg’s smearing of “Neocon Zionist Threat” as an anti-Semitic site, a cursory look at shows that its critique is based primarily on the research compiled in three eminently respectable sources: James Bamford’s A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies; John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy; and Stephen J. Sniegoski’s The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel.

Considering that Goldberg’s award-winning March 25, 2002 “exposé” in The New Yorker on the supposed ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda made a significant contribution to the push for war with Iraq, it’s not surprising that he would resort to such disingenuous smear tactics. The same goes for Kirchick who is currently a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, whose “advocacy of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, its hawkish stance against Iran, and its defense of right-wing Israeli policy,” according to a 2011 Think Progress report, “is consistent with its donors’ interests in ‘pro-Israel’ advocacy.”

What is surprising, however, is that Wayne Barrett felt it necessary to disavow the more extensive efforts of a patriotic American blogger and YouTube video producer to expose the same people he had just written about.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the news-and-commentary website he writes for is part-owned by former Congresswoman Jane Harman, whose service on Capitol Hill allegedly included a promise to an Israeli agent to lobby the Department of Justice to reduce espionage charges against two former officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for trafficking in classified information on Iran — information AIPAC used to push for a war that Barrett’s article professes to oppose. As a patriotic former CIA officer wrote of the Harman case, some might call it treason.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Comments Off on The Daily Beast disavows patriotic American’s website; Jeffrey Goldberg smears both as anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists