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Sanctions not slowing Iran N-program by ‘one millimeter’: Netanyahu

Prime Minister of the Israeli Regime Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of the Israeli Regime Benjamin Netanyahu
Press TV – June 6, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted Western countries for failing to halt Iran’s nuclear energy program, insisting that the US-led sanctions have not slowed down the Iranian nuclear activities “by one millimeter.”

“The Iranian nuclear program has not slowed down by one millimeter despite all the pressures that were applied to it; nothing,” Netanyahu said in an exclusive interview with the German Bild newspaper on Tuesday.

The Israeli premiere also complained, “The Iranians were only asked to stop 20 percent enrichment of uranium; that doesn’t stop their nuclear program in any way. It actually allows them to continue their nuclear program. ”

A day before the latest round of talks on May 23 in Baghdad, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the world powers in the P5+1 group to “show determination, not weakness” and take a tougher stance on Iran.

“They do not need to make concessions to Iran. They need to set clear and unequivocal demands before it,” Netanyahu said.

The angry remarks by the Israeli prime minister comes amid reports that the Israeli regime has purchased from Germany new Dolphin submarines capable of being armed with nuclear warheads, enabling the regime to float its suspected nuclear warheads around the Middle East region.

The Tel Aviv regime is widely believed to possess hundreds of nuclear warheads. Israel neither denies nor confirms its possession of the atomic arms under its policy of nuclear ambiguity. The regime, furthermore, has never allowed any international inspection of its nuclear sites and persistently refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Netanyahu also claimed that “atomic TNT” is prepared by enriching uranium at a low percentage, demanding that Iran’s entire nuclear energy program be shut down.

Iranian officials, however, have repeatedly cited documented NPT regulations to insist that as a signatory to the treaty, Iran is fully entitled to engage in uranium enrichment for peaceful objectives. Moreover, the Islamic Republic has rejected the accusations of seeking to build nuclear weapons, calling for the total elimination of all nuclear armaments across the globe. … Full article

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 3 Comments

War Drums for Syria?

By Ron Paul | June 4, 2012

War drums are beating again in Washington. This time Syria is in the crosshairs after a massacre there last week left more than 100 dead. As might be expected from an administration with an announced policy of “regime change” in Syria, the reaction was to blame only the Syrian government for the tragedy, expel Syrian diplomats from Washington, and announce that the US may attack Syria even without UN approval. Of course, the idea that the administration should follow the Constitution and seek a Declaration of War from Congress is considered even more anachronistic now than under the previous administration.

It may be the case that the Syrian military was responsible for the events last week, but recent bombings and attacks have been carried out by armed rebels with reported al-Qaeda ties. With the stakes so high, it would make sense to wait for a full investigation — unless the truth is less important than stirring up emotions in favor of a US attack.

There is ample reason to be skeptical about US government claims amplified in mainstream media reports. How many times recently have lies and exaggerations been used to push for the use of force overseas? It was not long ago that we were told Gaddafi was planning genocide for the people of Libya, and the only way to stop it was a US attack. Those claims turned out to be false, but by then the US and NATO had already bombed Libya, destroying its infrastructure, killing untold numbers of civilians, and leaving a gang of violent thugs in charge.

Likewise, we were told numerous falsehoods to increase popular support for the 2003 war on Iraq, including salacious stories of trans-Atlantic drones and WMDs. Advocates of war did not understand the complexities of Iraqi society, including its tribal and religious differences. As a result, Iraq today is a chaotic mess, with its ancient Christian population eliminated and the economy set back decades. An unnecessary war brought about by lies and manipulation never ends well.

Earlier still, we were told lies about genocide and massacres in Kosovo to pave the way for President Clinton’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. More than 12 years later, that region is every bit as unstable and dangerous as before the US intervention – and American troops are still there.

The story about the Syrian massacre keeps changing, which should raise suspicions. First, we were told that the killings were caused by government shelling, but then it was discovered that most were killed at close range with handgun fire and knives. No one has explained why government forces would take the time to go house to house binding the hands of the victims before shooting them, and then retreat to allow the rebels in to record the gruesome details. No one wants to ask or answer the disturbing questions, but it would be wise to ask ourselves who benefits from these stories.

We have seen media reports over the past several weeks that the Obama administration is providing direct “non-lethal” assistance to the rebels in Syria while facilitating the transfer of weapons from other Gulf States. This semi-covert assistance to rebels we don’t know much about threatens to become overt intervention. Last week Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said about Syria, “I think the military option should be considered.” And here all along I thought it was up to Congress to decide when we go to war, not the generals.

We are on a fast track to war against Syria. It is time to put on the brakes.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on War Drums for Syria?

US Muslims sue to stop NYPD spying program

RT | June 6, 2012

Eight American Muslims have filed a federal lawsuit to put an end to a post-9/11 surveillance program run by the New York Police Department. The lawsuit follows a New Jersey Attorney General probe saying the NYPD had done nothing wrong.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Newark Wednesday by Muslim Advocates, a group who has taken up the New Jersey Muslims’ cause. The suit claims that identifying as Muslim does not constitute “a legitimate criterion” for law-enforcement officials to target individuals for surveillance.

“This case is critical to protecting the civil rights of American Muslims and all Americans,” Muslim Advocates legal director Glen Katon said.

New Jersey Representative Rush Holt called the lawsuit “a thoughtful, sensible step toward bringing law enforcement practices back into line with constitutional protections and the standards of good policing.”

It is the first such legal action to directly challenge the NYPD for spying on Muslims following the attacks of September 11, 2001. An Associated Press investigation last year uncovered a systematic surveillance program that put entire Muslim neighborhoods under a watchful eye, recording the every move of their residents. Undercover police infiltrated dozens of mosques and student groups while investigating scores more in New York City and neighboring New Jersey.

Records showed that police paid special attention to grocery stores that carried halal or kosher food products, eavesdropped on Muslim-owned stores, cafes and hair salons, placed Mosques under surveillance during Friday prayers, and even went so far as to photograph an elementary school for Muslim girls.

While New Jersey lawmakers were up in arms upon learning of the intrusive spying program, after a three month review, the state’s attorney found there was no legal means to stop the NYPD from carrying out their practice of targeting mosques, business and student groups for surveillance.

Both NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg have supported the spying program, saying the information is obtained within departmental guidelines which are within constitutional bounds.

Kelly further stated that the 2001 attacks showed that the city could not rely solely on the federal government to provide for its security.
As it is, the program operates with limited oversight. The New York City Council claims it isn’t qualified to supervise intelligence operations, while Congress says the NYPD is out of its jurisdiction despite the billions in federal largesse the city receives each year.

Lawmakers and civil rights groups have urged the Justice Department to investigate the NYPD’s practices. A Justice Department spokeswoman said those requests were currently under review.

But Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, said state and federal stonewalling made the lawsuit inevitable.

“With New York officials refusing to look into the NYPD’s abuses, the New Jersey Attorney General saying his hands are tied, and the U.S. Department of Justice dragging its heels, this lawsuit is the victims’ last resort for justice to prevail.”

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Obama says Washington is ‘more attentive’ to Israelis than Palestinians

Press TV – June 6, 2012

US President Barack Obama has once again voiced unwavering support for Tel Aviv, reiterating that Washington is “decidedly more attentive” to Israel than it is to the Palestinians.

Obama made the remarks on Tuesday at a meeting between White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and a visiting delegation of the US Orthodox Jewish community, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

The US president also called on the audience not to cast doubts on his loyalty to his Israeli allies.

Referring to his amicable personal relationship with the hawkish Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama highlighted that he understands that the Israeli official wishes “no restraints”.

When asked about what he had found out from events regarding Israel-Palestine talks to end the conflict between the two sides, Obama said “it’s really hard,” and pointed to numerous possibilities for misunderstanding.

The remarks come after the US House of Representatives announced its plans on May 7 to allocate nearly USD one billion for the 2013 fiscal year for Israel’s missile systems.

“This funding level is the highest ever appropriated in a single year” for Israeli missiles, Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the committee, said in a statement.

Tel Aviv is the top recipient of military aid from the United States.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Reduction in UNRWA Services in Gaza: Calls for End of Siege

By Sarah Snobar | IMEMC & agencies | June 6, 2012

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip announced that there will be a reduction in its services in Gaza due to a decline in funding from donor countries.

Robert Turner, the new head of UNRWA in Gaza, said that they have decided to cut down on the program for employment by 70%. He also said that the program for distributing food is threatened by the lack of funds.

Turner added that the budget for UNRWA is suffering from a $70 million deficit where the program for food distribution, as part of the emergency program in Gaza, will create a deficit of $5 million in July, followed by an estimated $15 million during the next round of distribution.

Turner pointed out that the donors demanded that UNRWA end the emergency program until 2013 but UNRWA refused due to the deterioration of the situation in Gaza and the continuation of the siege.

Turner called for the end of the siege that has created an overall disaster and added that ending the emergency program and training the refugees demands the end of siege. Freeing the market would also be necessary for the refugees to be capable of depending on themselves. Turner said his main aim is to constantly remind the world of the siege and that the situation in Gaza has to change.

Turner continued to say that there will be no real solution or stability in the area until the siege ends.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | Comments Off on Reduction in UNRWA Services in Gaza: Calls for End of Siege

The Path of the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the US

By Ariela Ruiz Caro | Americas Program | June 1, 2012

Eight years after negotiations began in May 2004, the U.S.Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force on May 15.

Negotiations began together with the four member countries of the Andean Community that are beneficiaries of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), which permits the entry of products not traditionally tariff-free into the U.S. market. One of Colombia’s central reasons for the FTA lay in ensuring that such tariff preferences were made permanent, since ATPDEA officially expired on December 31, 2006.

Businesses that exported under this program—especially in the textile and floriculture sectors in the case of Colombia—pushed hard for the FTA. They believed that it would allow them to gain competitiveness against other countries that did not enjoy similar preferences, and to be on equal terms with those who already had them.

The governments sought to shield important aspects of economic policy—like the treatment to foreign investment, liberalization of the services sector and strengthening intellectual property protection, among others—against the probable intent that a new administration would try to change them. The consolidation of economic liberalization would, according to authorities, attract foreign investments that generate jobs.

In this evaluation, the Andean governments dismissed the fact that tariffs are not currently the main barriers to access to industrialized country markets. They also did not consider that as the United States continued to sign FTAs such with other countries, as it was clear they would, the Andean region would lose its advantages.

Indeed, the U.S. government, as well as the European Union and Japan, use free trade agreements as a way to establish trade and economic rules that in the multilateral World Trade Organization cannot be implemented because of the resistance of a significant number of developing countries.

The Trade Act or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) of 2002-which authorized the United States government to negotiate FTAs with other countries, says that the expansion of international trade “is vital to national security. Trade is critical to the country’s economic growth and leadership in the world.”

The same act states that trade agreements maximize opportunities for critical sectors of the U.S. economy, such as information technology, telecommunications, basic industries, capital equipment, medical equipment, services, agriculture, environmental technology and intellectual property. The TPA indicates that trade creates new opportunities for the United States, thus preserving its economic, political and military strength.

The process of meetings to achieve the FTA was extensive. What started as a joint negotiation (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, with Bolivia as an observer) ended with individual negotiations. Peru was the first to secure the signatures of presidents Toledo and Bush in December 2007 and came into force in February 2009, while Bolivia and Ecuador rejected the FTA following changes in their governments.

Venezuela withdrew from the Andean Community in April 2006 and applied for incorporation into Mercosur, arguing that “the free trade agreements by Colombia and Peru with the United States of America have formed a new legal body that attempts to assimilate the rules of the FTA within the Andean Community, changing de facto its nature and original principles.”

While the presidents of Colombia and the United States, Uribe and Bush signed in 2006, the U.S. Congress did not ratify the act because of complaints from some quarters in Congress and civil organizations that pointed to violations of human rights and labor laws. After lengthy negotiations, and commitments made by acting President Santos, the act was ratified by Congress in October 2011. Meanwhile, the tariff advantages achieved under the ATPDEA were renewed annually.

Myth of the “special relationship” under FTA

With the enforcement of the FTA, Colombian authorities hope to convert the country into an export platform for those countries that “do not enjoy privileged relations with this large market, such as Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela.” Government officials from Peru and Chile had previously expressed the same hope.

However, experience shows that these hopes did not become reality for Colombia’s neighbors. Sales to the U.S. market have lost momentum. In Peru, for example, exports to the United States fell 4% in 2011 over the previous year, although the total exports increased by 28% in that period.

The United States dropped from being the top destination for Peruvian exports, to the third–after China and Switzerland. In 2006 24.2% of Peruvian exports were destined for the U.S. market, in 2011 they were only for 12.7%. By contrast, imports from the United States, which in 2006 represented 16.4% of total imports, in 2011 increased to 19.5%. The U.S. has managed to reverse its trade balance with Peru, which has gone from a surplus favorable to Peru of $3.26 million in 2006 to a deficit of $1.52 million.

It is true that in this evolution the [exchange rates] of local Latin American currencies against the dollar have had a major impact, but the slowdown in growth and consumption in the United States does not predict a scenario favorable for emphasizing exports to the United States.

In his speech to the State of the Union in January this year, President Obama proposed a recovery of the economy based on boosting local manufacturing. He proposed tax cuts to companies that invest in the country, tax increases to those established abroad and measures to increase U.S. global market share, creating “millions of new customers for U.S. products in Panama, Colombia and South Korea.”

Colombia should be asking itself: Who really benefits from the Free Trade Agreement?

Ariela Ruiz Caro is an economics graduate of the Humboldt University in Berlin, with an MA in Economic Integration from the University of Buenos Aires. She does international consulting on trade, integration, and natural resources for ECLAC, the Latin American Economic System (SELA), the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL), and other organizations. She worked for the Comunidad Andina from 1985 to 1994, as an advisor to the Commission of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR from 2006 to 2008, and is a writer for the Americas Program.

Translated by Yasmin Khan

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Path of the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the US

Mexico: Indigenous Leader Murdered in Michoacán

Weekly News Update on the Americas | June 6, 2012

The body of indigenous teacher and activist Teódulo Santos Girón was found on May 16 in the town cemetery in La Ticla in the western Mexican state of Michoacán. According to official sources, Santos Girón, who had just finished his term as a local official in the indigenous Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, had been kidnapped in La Ticla the night before; he was shot in the head and in the body.

Santos Girón was active in promoting maintenance of the Náhuatl language and culture, and he was a strong supporter of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) who also admired the indigenous rebels of the Zapatista National Liberation Front (EZLN), based in the southeastern state of Chiapas. He helped lead the movement of Ostula residents that occupied disputed land near the Pacific coast in the summer of 2009. The occupiers were subsequently granted more than 1,000 hectares by Michoacán’s state government, but drug dealers and other forces have been trying to drive the community out of the area. As of last December, 28 community members had been murdered, including leaders Trinidad de la Cruz Crisóstomo (“Don Trino”) and Pedro Leyva Domínguez [see Update #1110].

(La Crónica de Hoy (Mexico) 5/18/12; La Jornada (Mexico) 5/19/12)

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on Mexico: Indigenous Leader Murdered in Michoacán