Aletho News


Israel, Canada ink energy research deal

By Tony Cadwalader | DED | July 6, 2012

In case you missed it, earlier this week Canada and Israel signed a new energy cooperation agreement, according to YnetNews. The deal was inked during Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s visit to Israel last week, the site reported.

“The World Energy Council believes that the recent oil and gas deposits found in Israel’s coastal plains is one of the largest in the world. If estimates of the basin containing up to 250 billion barrels of shale oil prove accurate, Israel will become one of the world’s top-three countries in shale oil resources, behind just the United States and China, the report said.”

Russia has taken a keen interest in Israel lately, and with these discoveries it is likely Russia would offer its help. This would have larger geopolitical ramifications in the region as Turkey’s efforts to block gas production in the region could be rebuffed by Russia, a long time strategic partner. […]

“Gazprom and other Russian companies are also likely to do well in any gas exploration deals developed with the strongly pro-Moscow (and very cash hungry) Greek Cypriot government.

“The stakes are not small: the offshore Levantine Basin (which Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and even Gaza will all have some claim to) is believed to have 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and ‘considerable’ oil.  Drillers working in Israeli waters have already identified what look to be 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil in addition to over a trillion cubic feet of gas. (US firms were involved in these finds.) Israel’s undersea gas reserves are currently estimated at about 16 trillion cubic feet and new fields continue to be rapidly found.

“The new Israeli-Russian agreement is part of a conscious strategy by the Israeli government to use its nascent energy wealth to improve its embattled political position. With Italy reeling under the impact of big wrong-way bets on Iran, Rome may also begin to appreciate the value of good ties with a closer and more dependable [sic] neighbor. Another sensible target for Israeli energy diplomacy would be India: the two countries are already close in a number of ways, including trade and military technology, and India is eager to diversify its energy sources.

“Gas is one thing, but potential for huge shale oil reserves under Israel itself, however, is a new twist. According to the World Energy Council, a leading global energy forum with organizations and affiliates in some 93 countries, Israel may have the third largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels. (The US and China are both believed to have larger shale oil reserves, with the US believed to have the equivalent of well over 1 trillion barrels of potentially recoverable shale and China having perhaps one third of that amount. Canada’s Athabaskan oil sands reserves may contain the equivalent of 2 trillion of barrels conventional oil, or more than all the conventional oil known to exist in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran combined.) If the estimates of Israeli shale oil are correct, Israel’s gas and shale reserves put its total energy reserves in the Saudi class, though Israel’s energy costs more to extract.”

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Israel warns Lebanon of total destruction in new war

Al Akhbar | July 6, 2012

A senior Israeli general threatened Lebanon with destruction on Thursday, saying the military was prepared for a “very violent” war should conflict spark on the border.

Brigardier-General Hertzi Halevy, commander of the IDF’s 91st Division, told local Israeli media that any attack by Israeli forces would leave Lebanon more badly damaged than in the 2006 war, when Israel killed over 1,200 Lebanese and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure.

“Lebanon will sustain greater damage than that done during the second Lebanon war,” Haaretz quoted Halevy as saying, referring to the 2006 attack. “The response will need to be sharper, harder, and in some ways very violent.”

Israel’s aerial bombardments of heavily populated areas such as Gaza and Beirut have been heavily criticized by rights groups and the UN, drawing claims of war crimes.

Referring to a UN report led by Richard Goldsmith, which concluded that Israel carried out a string of human rights abuses in its 2008-09 bombardment of Gaza, Halevy said war “cannot be nice.”

“After the Goldstone Report, people in the international community and in Israel thought that battle in a densely populated area could be carried out in a nicer way. It cannot be nice. Without the use of great force, we will find it difficult to achieve our aim, and the enemy should also know that,” he said.

Halevy’s provocative comments come a week ahead of the sixth anniversary of the 2006 war, with the general adding that Israeli forces should enter Lebanon with great force and wreak havoc in villages.

Israel and Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah have exchanged warnings in recent months, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah saying in May that his group had the ability to strike any target in “occupied Palestine.”

“Today, we are capable of not only striking Tel Aviv as an area, but also capable of striking specific targets in Tel Aviv and any place in occupied Palestine,” he said.

Halevy’s remarks also come after Israel destroyed one of its own spying devices in south Lebanon on Monday after it was discovered by Hezbollah.

Lebanese security sources said an Israeli drone fired an air-to-surface missile, while Hezbollah said the device was destroyed using a remote-controlled explosive.

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel Disses US While Seeking ‘Bi-Lateral Alliance’ with Russia

By FRANKLIN LAMB | CounterPunch | July 6, 2012

Beirut – Two interpretations by the participants themselves, of what significant international meetings achieved, the first on 6/25/12 and the second five days later, remind us about subjectivity in the eyes of the beholders.

Post-event statements, whether following last weekend’s Geneva meeting on Syria which produced markedly different interpretations of the final communiqué language by the Russian and American Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov (that Syria’s President Bashar Assad need not necessarily depart-depending on what the Syrian people decide) and Hillary Clinton, (Assad’s departure is absolutely required) may have sent French, Russian and English language interpreters looking for their thesaurus.

Similarly, vastly divergent Russian-Israeli interpretations about what was agreed to during the 24 hour “ just passing through” visit by  Vladimir Putin to Palestine and  the Zionist lobby’s touting of “ a new Israel-Russia bi-lateral alliance”  suggests serious wishful thinking by one side according to an official at the Russian Embassy in Beirut with whom this observer discussed last week’s Putin visit.

At a joint news conference after their meeting, Mr. Netanyahu said he and Mr. Putin had agreed that the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran “presents a grave danger first of all to Israel, and to the region and the world as a whole.” Israel, Netanyahu announced on 6/25/12, to raised eyebrows from some among the 400 member visiting Russian delegation, expects the once and likely future superpower to support expanded sanctions against Tehran, demand a halt to all uranium enrichment by Iran, insist on the removal of all enriched uranium from Iran and the dismantling of an underground nuclear facility near the city of Qum.

For Putin’s part, he only proffered that he and Netanyahu had discussed Syria and the Iranian nuclear program and that the talks had been “useful”.  During his short visit Putin inaugurated a memorial in Netanya for Soviet troops killed in World War II and presumably had others motives given Russia’s interest in Israel’s defense industry.  In the last two years Russia has purchased 12 drones from different Israeli companies.

The newly inaugurated Russian president, who has said he regarded the breakup of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical catastrophe, defended the Iranian people’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes but pointed out at the same time that Iran should guarantee non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but in any case, the problem should be solved peacefully, by way of talks.

Israel’s Prime Minister repeatedly expressed reservations about Russia’s role in the long-stagnant Israeli-Palestinian “peace process”. He complained to Putin that Russia, a member of the so-called quartet of Middle East peacemakers has consistently sided with the Palestinians during disputes. Netanyahu called on Putin to urge the Palestinians to return to negotiations but received a puzzled look from his guest as if Putin might have been wondering why Israel has not suspended illegal settlements expansion and land confiscations, as the Palestinians and the international community have  demanded for over four decades.  Undaunted, Netanyahu appeared not to notice Putin’s quizzical expression while insisting that he was sure that the Russian visit would improve ties in agriculture, science, technology and space, “among other fields’.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s staff explained that the Soviet Union had been hostile to Israel and now relations should improve while Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at an Independence Party meeting that “Russia is a very important world power, a country that played a very important role in Syria’s history in the past few years and that is why it will play a key role in the shaping of post-Assad Syria.” Barak also stressed Russia’s importance in “the international effort vis-à-vis Iran in terms of sanctions and diplomacy and his belief that Putin understood that in dealing with Iran, Israel faces a decision between “bombing or the bomb” and if Israel doesn’t attack, Iran will eventually obtain nuclear weapons.

Yet, according to Russian Embassy discussions in Beirut, Putin repeatedly warned Israeli officials that the very existence of Israel was at risk if it attacked Iran and that Israel should not delude itself that Russia will ever sanction an attack on Iran or that Russia will get involved with Israel’s attack in anyway.  Putin emphasized that Israel should think twice before taking any action on Iran and should learn lessons from the United States’ experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Look what happened to America in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Putin said. “I told Obama also. You don’t need to jump to things too early; you don’t need to act before thinking. In Iraq there is a pro-Iranian government after everything that happened there. You need to think well before doing something you’ll be sorry about.” Putin also told Netanyahu that Russia will recognize a Palestinian state.

Several high ranking Bush administration officials, drawing salaries from US taxpayers while serving Israel, and who pushed the US to invade Afghanistan and Iraq are currently attempting the same fate for Iran. Backed by the Zionist lobby, they and the Russians are in agreement that only US incompetence gave both countries to Iran with more quite likely in the pipeline from the Persian Gulf area.

Arab and Islamophobe, Ruthie Blum, former senior editor at the Jerusalem Post, and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring’, claims that President Obama and the American taxpayers have betrayed Israel.

Blum, writing in the current issue of Israel Hayom explains that “Since the minute that Barack Obama became president of the United States nearly four years ago, it was clear that the Jewish state was being tossed aside like an unappreciated, loyal, long-time wife for a far more alluring, utterly inappropriate, and dangerous lover. Indeed, Obama has not hidden the hots he has always had for the Islamic world; nor has he been the least bit discreet about his attraction to its more anti-Western elements. It is the height of tragic irony that, in the absence of its previous protection by its adulterous spouse, America, the Israeli government has nowhere to turn but to Russia.

Netanyahu’s staff, which sent her piece to US Zionist lobby outfits, reportedly sees, as their boss does, Israel’s very existence at stake, and he’s prepared for Israel to go it alone or link with Russia because he’s “unwilling to entrust the survival of the Jewish state to America.”

Meanwhile, during a talk-show when Ruthie finally gave him a chance to get a word in edgewise, Israeli journalist and TV show host, Dan Margalit, announced that: “In a time when the Arab-Left-anti-Semitic axis is doing its utmost to delegitimize and marginalize Israel, Putin’s visit has the power to counter dozens of evil-hearted artists and musicians who boycott Israel. If such visits were the norm, Israel would have laid the red carpet at Ben-Gurion International Airport and welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama by now, but he is understandably not trusted here while Romney is plus if Mitt is elected President he promised his first trip will be to Israel. Obama has never come once since he became President.”

The Obama administration, but not apparently the Congress, was taken aback and issued a statement from Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman: “Governor Romney has said he would do the opposite of what President Obama has done in our relations with Israel. Now he must specify how — does that mean he would reverse President Obama’s policies of sending Israel the largest security assistance packages in history? Does it mean he would let Israel stand alone at the United Nations, or that he would stop funding the Iron Dome system? Does it mean he would abandon the coalition working together to confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions?”

Netanyahu advisor Benny Goldberg explained Israel’s seemingly awkward overtures to Russia as realpolitik. “Look, it’s like the coming Mitt Romney visit.  We will welcome him as well as Obama if he decides to visit.  After all, in the US Congress we seek support from both sides of the aisle so it’s logical that we want the same relationship with Moscow as we have with Washington.”

So much for the Obama administration’s fantasy of the US-Israel special, one of a kind devoted, legendary, eternal, rock solid, unbreakable, forever and ever iron-clad bond and indivisible alliance which gives America a reliable, democratic strategic Gemini-twins like partnership with America and her very generous, if uninformed, taxpayers.

Some cynical Congressional staffers have commented that Israel already has the US government in its back pocket and that Congress will guarantee that it remains so; therefore Israel has nothing to lose by intimating to the Russians that will discard the US at least to the extent of promoting Russian interests in the region.  After all, as is well known in the White House, Israel sold to the USSR, through a third party, stolen top secret specialized code-word compartmented (TS/SCI) intelligence via Jonathan Pollard, which from his KGB tenure Putin presumably  has direct knowledge of.”

Goldberg also explained recently that in the past it was only logic that dictated switching Israeli acceptance of the “keeping the Golan Heights quiet Alawi Shia regime in Syria” which at the time made sense given the concomitant danger from Sunni Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. But now Israel has switched its support for a Sunni regime in Syria that it hopes will confront Iran and Hezbollah.  Realpolitik also dictates that if the Sunnis fail to topple Assad Israel can live with that also because it believes that Israel’s annexation of the Golan will not be challenged with more than words.

There is little conflict between Russia’s and Israel’s interests because neither country is as powerful as it would like to be in the region. Russia has few of the options it had during the Cold War and Israel has little influence in the outcome in Syria or in Egypt.

On the other hand, Russia and Israel do have some complementary interests. One example is Azerbaijan where Russian is a major weapons provider for the regime and the Israelis are also selling it large amounts of weapons.  The CIA suspects it has set up a base from which to spy on, and, according to rumors, prepare to attack Iran. Apparently Russia does not feel threatened by Israeli involvement in Azerbaijan or that both are there, and each operate in ways that would appear to be in conflict but don’t, according to Stratford’s George Freeman.

There are also some bilateral interests on an economic and a strategic level, because Russia is looking for new partners in the area.

In addition, both Russia and Israel have benefited enormously from U.S. “terrorism wars” in the Islamic world. It is not just that these wars alienate Muslims, which is beneficial to Israel, but they also help the Russians due to the debilitating human and economic cost for America.

As the US staggers, and with Russia and China practicing shrewd Middle East politics, one imagines that Israeli leaders might be recalling the days and reasons that the Zionist colonial enterprise dumped England for America following World War II.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Beirut and is reachable c/o

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Argentine court hands down jail terms over stolen babies

DW | July 5, 2012

An Argentine court has sentenced former dictator Jorge Videla to 50 years in jail for stealing babies from political prisoners. There were also heavy penalties for others involved in the practice.

Videla was sentenced at Argentina’s Federal Oral Tribunal Court on Thursday, along with other former officials from the 1976 to 1983 dictatorship.

The court ruled that Videla was guilty of systematically executing a plan in which infants were taken from detainees who had been kidnapped, tortured and killed by the regime.

While Videla was given a 50-year sentence, the country’s last dictator General Reynaldo Bignone received a 15-year-term. Both men were already serving sentences for other human rights abuses.

Hundreds cheered the ruling, which was broadcast on a giant television screen outside the courthouse.

Nine other defendants were jailed for between 15 and 40 years because of their roles in the practice.

Rights campaign group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo has fought a legal battle calling for justice for the stolen children since 1996. It claimed 500 babies were taken and subsequently raised by families close to the regime.

Dirty war cover-up

According to the evidence, Bignone had been urged to reveal the identities of the stolen babies as part of the country’s transition to democracy. Instead, the court heard, he had ordered a cover-up.

The junta’s “dirty war” on leftist dissidents eventually claimed 13,000 victims according to official records – including pregnant women who were forced to give birth inside torture centers. Rights groups place the number at closer to 30,000.

The 35 abductions dealt with in the court case took place at the Argentine Marine School of Engineering, ESMA, in Buenos Aires.

Survivors who testified said that inmates gave birth while shackled and hooded and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, were never allowed to see their babies.

In most cases babies were given to soldiers or friends of the military, while the mothers were thrown into the sea from military planes in what were known as “death flights.”

rc/ch (AFP, AP, dpa)

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Argentine court hands down jail terms over stolen babies

Israeli occupation authorities renew MP Omar Abdel Razek’s administrative detention

Palestine Information Center – 06/07/2012

RAMALLAH — Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention of the MP for the district of Salfit Dr. Omar Abdel Razek for six months for the third time in a row and three days before his release.

Ahrar center for prisoner studies and human rights denounced the renewal decision, where the Centre’s Director, Fouad Khuffash, told PIC that Razek was arrested in 2011 without charge or trial, and that he spent more than four years in occupation prisons after he was elected as a member of the legislative Council and during his time as Palestinian Minister of Finance.

The former lecturer at al-Najah university, Razek’s administrative detention has been renewed for three times, in addition to the arrest of his son Mohammed, a student at al-Najeh University, without trial or charge at Megiddo prison few days before his final exams.

Furthermore, the occupation has also arrested his daughter’s fiancé 22 days ago, just one month before his wedding.

Ahrar center quoted the detainee’s wife as saying that the prison administration prevented her and the detainee’s mother from visiting him under security pretexts.

Um Said, the prisoner’s wife, urged human rights organizations and members of legislative assemblies in the world to intervene immediately and urgently for the release of her husband and all the Palestinian MPs.

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Israeli occupation authorities renew MP Omar Abdel Razek’s administrative detention

On History and Intellectual Courage

Empire Strikes Black | July 6, 2012


I want to talk about something which is taboo yet cliche. It is widely accepted yet universally denied. Those who talk about this are ridiculed as conspiracy theorists and racists. On the other hand, many people freely admit this reality but dismiss it as inconsequential and ‘the way it is’.

Jews dominate Hollywood, the global news media, and the global financial system. By extension it is often argued that ‘Jews run the world’. Essentially, one group of people with a unifying ideology and vested interest, is controlling the institutions by which we receive news. In addition to this, the film industry and cinematic media is something which we develop a very profound emotional attachment to and identify with closely. In other words, we are talking about an instrument of brainwashing. Is this not something we should talk about? If, for example, Hollywood, the global news media, and our ‘fiat money’ financial institutions were dominated by Arab Muslims, would we perceive this as a problem?

Of course we would, and rightly so. But this is not the case currently – we are afraid of speaking out and tackling this. Why?

What other group would be capable of attacking the world’s most powerful superpower, killing thousands in a sophisticated terror attack, and get away with it, blaming it on someone else? 9/11 is but one example, the USS Liberty is another. Most Americans have not even heard about the Liberty – a false flag attack designed to draw the USA into nuclear war with Soviet Russia.

The truth of the matter is, Jews are largely exempted from criticism in the West, and this runs much much deeper than any of us care to admit. Most people reading this are subconsciously thinking: ‘He just hates Jews because he’s Muslim’, ‘He’s a conspiracy theorist and he’s got nothing better to do’. Well, no I don’t hate Jews. No I’m not Muslim. No I’m not a ‘conspiracy theorist’ either; I am merely trying to exercise intellectual courage. We are constantly singing the praises of freedom, liberalism and democracy, but we are nothing more than a servile herd of cattle when it comes to being intellectually courageous. Our claims of love for democracy and freedom are utterly hollow without this.

Even the more ‘enlightened’ activists and bloggers (no point talking about the bought-and-paid-for mainstreamers) are more obsessed with catering to their readers’ ignorance and stroking their own ego, than performing an honest appraisal of these issues. Let’s be honest – it’s nice to get lots of ‘likes’ and to be patted on the back by your nodding, agreeing peers. To paraphrase Mark Twain, if you find yourself on the side of the majority, then it’s time to check yourself.

It is clear – talking about this issue makes one severely unpopular. This fact alone is a startling clue as to the underlying truths. Those who discuss this topic are stigmatized and ostracized, and it would be silly to think that there is no reason for this.

On a not unrelated note, I want you to help me with something. The popular reading of history portrays Jewish people as perennial victims who are persecuted anywhere they go for no reason other than that they are Jews, and irrational ‘anti-Semites’ hate them. The ‘holocaust’ is a paradigmatic example of this, and this is another issue which cannot be discussed in an open forum (so much for democracy). What I would like help with is this: history is replete with massacres, murders, torture, wars, and a myriad of different crimes that have been perpetrated by everybody from the Romans to the Americans; can you name a single historical event wherein, in the popular reading of history, Jews are portrayed as the aggressors and criminals?

Perhaps Jews really are perennial victims and have never done anything wrong. Or perhaps our reading of history is manipulated, censored, and reconstructed to convey a certain narrative? We often repeat the adage: history is written by the victor. Is there some truth in the idea that history is written by the powerful? If so, are we not being subjected to what is essentially mind control, whereby we harbor a completely incorrect interpretation of history? And is it not time that we started to put all historical events, especially those which we are told not to question, under the microscope?

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 8 Comments