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House Quietly Reintroduces a Piece of SOPA

By Adi Kamdar | EFF | July 11, 2012

Even after millions rallied against the passage of SOPA/PIPA, the House is still quietly trying to pass a related bill that would give the entertainment industry more permanent, government-funded spokespeople. The Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on Lamar Smith’s IP Attaché Act (PDF), a bill that increases intellectual property policing around the world. The Act would create an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, as well as broaden the use of IP attachés in particular U.S. embassies. (The attachés were notably present in Sec. 205 of SOPA—which was also introduced by Smith.)

The major issue with this bill—and all similar bills—is that the commissioning of people in the executive branch who are solely dedicated to “intellectual property enforcement” caters to Big Content. The IP attachés are charged with “reducing intellectual property infringement” and “advancing intellectual property rights” around the world, but not to critically engage IP complexities and limitations. From our perspective, this bill is nothing more than the government giving Hollywood traveling foot soldiers.

The presence of people with such a narrow cause as “intellectual property enforcement” fosters a single perspective in the federal government. In an environment where the deep-pocketed copyright lobby is pushing through favorable legislation on both a domestic and international level, this is the last thing we need. As Techdirt and Public Knowledge rightly state: trying to squeeze bits of SOPA past the people—the same people who rejected the bill earlier this year—is an awful idea.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Comments Off on House Quietly Reintroduces a Piece of SOPA

Debating Amnesty About Syria and Double Standards

By Joe Emersberger | MRZine | July 6, 2012

I sent the following note to Amnesty on June 16 after it put out a detailed report on the conflict in Syria:

Dear Amnesty

In your most recent report on Syria you ask the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government.  You ask for no such arms embargo on the Syrian rebels and only ask that the Security Council “request” of states who supply the rebels that they put “mechanisms” in place to prevent the arms from being used to violate human rights: <www.amnestyus…rce=W1206EDMNAP>.

In 2009, you asked for the Security Council to “to impose an immediate, comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict in Gaza” (my emphasis): <www.amnesty.o…mounts-20090115>.

Please explain why you think arming Palestinians is harmful to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Gaza, while apparently believing that arming rebels in Syria is benign or perhaps even helpful.

Would you trust the Assad regime to arms rebels in foreign countries in such a way as prevent human rights abuses?  What is it about the track record of the Saudi state or the US government that makes Amnesty believe that they would ever attempt to arm the Syrian rebels in such a way as to prevent human rights abuses — assuming such a feat is even possible?

I’ve rarely received replies to the numerous notes I’ve sent Amnesty over the years.  I was surprised to see this one on July 4:

Dear Mr Emersberger,

Thank you for contacting Amnesty International.  Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to you.

You ask why there is not a call for a total arms embargo on supplies to all parties to the conflict in Syria, similar to the comprehensive arms embargo Amnesty International called for in 2009 in the context of the conflict in Gaza.

Amnesty International’s policy on the transfer of military, security and police equipment is that when we can make a reasonable assumption based on the available facts that a specific transfer or set of transfers will be used to contribute to serous [sic] violations or abuses of human rights, then Amnesty International can call for the cessation of that transfer or set of transfers.  Our action is guided by what is likely to provide the greatest degree of human rights protection.

Amnesty International only calls for a total ban on all arms supplies if certain criteria are met, for example, when there is overwhelming evidence that arms provided have been used to commit crimes under international law on a systematic basis or mass scale.  As such, I would like to emphasise that Amnesty International has been raising concerns with Hamas about deliberately targeting civilians and carrying out indiscriminate attacks for a decade.  As early as 2002, we characterised the campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks on civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups to be crimes against humanity.  In the context of the 2009 Gaza conflict, we found that firing indiscriminate rockets at Israeli towns was a war crime.

Hence it is evident that these Palestinian armed groups have a proven track record, over many years, of consistently committing abuses involving the use of weapons, despite Amnesty International’s repeated expressions of concern.  These groups have not only failed to address our concerns but persisted in perpetrating such abuses.  Therefore, we called for a comprehensive arms embargo on these groups in order to prevent serious abuses in the future.

Following our research into the situation in Syrian, where the government forces have committed wide-spread and systematic violations of human rights and attacks amounting to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International believes that this criterion has also been met.  Amnesty International began calling for an arms embargo on Syria in April 2011, when the Syrian authorities were repressing peaceful protestors, and before any armed opposition had developed.  We are now clarifying that our intention with this call remains the complete halting of the flow of weapons, munitions, armaments and related equipment to the Syrian government forces and associated militia.

Based upon the evidence we have at our disposal, the abuses reported to have been committed by armed opposition groups in Syria have not yet reached the level where we would call for a total embargo on all arms in the same manner as we are doing with regard to the government.

However, in line with Amnesty International’s policy on arms transfers — whether to states or to other parties to a conflict — we call on governments which may be considering supplying the opposition with arms to protect the civilian population to first have in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure that any material to be supplied will not be used to commit serious human rights abuses and/or war crimes — in other words, to refrain from supplying any arms where there is a substantial risk that those arms are likely to be used to commit or facilitate such crimes or serious abuses.

The mechanisms should include a rigorous risk assessment and monitoring process, which would enable such arms transfers to be halted should evidence emerge that they are being used to carry out human rights abuses, or are being transferred or diverted to third parties.  The mechanism should also include a system for limiting arms supplied to only those weapons, munitions and related equipment which are not inherently indiscriminate (e.g. no use of anti-personnel land mines or cluster bombs), and a system for ensuring that those who receive the arms are equipped with the practical knowledge and awareness of international human rights and humanitarian law to understand their obligation to uphold the relevant standards and their criminal liability under international humanitarian law should they fail to do so.

For us to conclude that a total embargo on arms supplies to the opposition is necessary, our research would need to show that the level of abuses committed by armed opposition groups had reached the requisite level of gravity.  As mentioned above, our researchers are currently researching abuses by armed opposition groups, and we would, of course, not hesitate to make such a call for a total arms embargo on the opposition should our research show the situation warranted it.

But in the meantime, I would underline the importance of the requirement for effective mechanisms to be in place to ensure that any particular material to be supplied is not likely to be used to commit serious human rights abuses or war crimes.

I replied the same day:

Dear Amnesty:

Your reply to me states that “In the context of the 2009 Gaza conflict, we found that firing indiscriminate rockets at Israeli towns was a war crime.”  Hence you called for total embargo on arms to both the Palestinians and the Israelis.  In the case of Syria, you stated that “the abuses reported to have been committed by armed opposition groups in Syria have not yet reached the level where we would call for a total embargo on all arms in the same manner as we are doing with regard to the government.”

According to figures gathered by B’Tselem, a source I’m sure Amnesty considers very reliable, eight Israeli civilians, at most, were killed by Palestinian rocket fire or other weapons in the last 3 years.1

In Syria, one rebel attack alone, a very recent assault on a TV station killed seven civilians.2  Islamic extremists claimed responsibility for bombings in Damascus that killed 55 people in May, several weeks before your statement was published.3

These figures alone, nowhere near exhaustive in the case of the Syrian rebel groups, expose the remarkable double standard you have applied in calling for an arms embargo on Palestinians but not on Syrian rebels.

You also suggested in your reply that Hamas’ track record since 2002 justifies your call for an arms embargo on Palestinians.  However, you ignored my questions regarding the track record of the states supporting the Syrian rebels.  I ask again

“What is it about the track record of the Saudi state or the US government that makes Amnesty believe that they would ever attempt to arm the Syrian rebels in such a way as to prevent human rights abuses?”

I would refer you to your own reports on the Saudi and US governments over many years.  The track record of both states is appalling and has been for decades — in the case of the USA, its record outside its own borders is especially gruesome.

Putting your double standard aside, do you think the US would ever back an arms embargo on Israel with no such embargo being applied to the Palestinians?  Are the Syrian government’s supporters in Russia likely to support an arms embargo only on Syria?

Please note, I am not suggesting that Amnesty make a blanket denunciation of any effort by oppressed people to use violence in self defence, to overthrow a dictatorship, or to end a military occupation.  However, if you think Saudi and US support for the Syrian rebels is not damaging to the human rights situation, then you should provide a great deal of evidence that you’ve thought through the consequences of such support.  You haven’t done that.

The U.N.’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, has stated

“The provision of arms to the Syrian government and to its opponents is fueling the violence.  Any further militarization of the conflict must be avoided at all costs.”4

The UN has a well-documented institutional bias in favor of the USA and its allies.  It appears that Amnesty’s bias is even worse.

After the UN called for arms to be cut off from all sides in Syria, my hunch was that Amnesty would soon follow suit.  I doubted Amnesty would want to cling to a stance that even the UN rejects.  As of July 5, my hunch has been proven wrong.  A statement put out by Amnesty called for international “action” on Syria and reaffirmed its support for an arms embargo only on the Syrian government: <www.amnestyus…on-and-violence>.

Long before this recent Syria report, it’s been clear that Amnesty’s priorities and standards for evidence are biased in favor of the world’s most powerful and criminal states.  I’ve reviewed in detail how this was shown in the way Amnesty responded to US-perpetrated (not simply US-backed) coup in Haiti in 2004.5

In April, Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty USA’s director, misrepresented an Iranian dissident by falsely claiming that the dissident had commented on an Iranian “nuclear weapons program.”  Before being hired by Amnesty, Nossel supported the US invasion of Iraq and (three years after the illegal invasion of Iraq led to hundreds of thousands of deaths) advised the US government that the “military option cannot be off the table” in dealing with another “menacing state” — namely Iran.6 […]

Notes

1  According to B’Tselem, there were 3 Israeli civilians (inside Israel) killed by Palestinians during operation “Cast Lead” and another 5 Israeli civilians killed (again, inside Israel since these are the deaths that may be attributable to rocket fire at Israeli towns) since the end of “Cast Lead” early in 2009 until 2012: <old.btselem.o…ret_stat=during>; <old.btselem.o…eret_stat=after>.

2  Ian Black, “Syrian Violence Escalates as UN Prepares for Conference,” Guardian, June 27, 2012.

3  Damien Pearse and agencies, “Islamist Group al-Nusra Front Claims Responsibility for Damascus Bombings,” Guardian, May 12, 2012.

4  “U.N. Urges End to Arming of Rebels, Assad Forces,” July 3, 2012

5  Joe Emersberger, “Amnesty International’s Track Record in Haiti Since 2004,” HaitiAnalysis, February 7, 2007.

6  Joe Emersberger, “Amnesty U.S.A Director Says Iran Has a ‘Weapons Program’, Misrepresents Iranian Dissident,” ZBlogs, April 14, 2012.

7  Joe Emersberger, “Julian Assange Ordeal Is Exposing Major Problems with Amnesty and Human Rights Watch,” ZBlogs, June 21, 2012.

Joe Emersberger is an editor of HaitiAnalysis at haitianalysis.blogspot.com.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Sellafield: The dangers of Britain’s nuclear dustbin

RT | July 10, 2012

Britain’s nuclear industry is again the center of controversy. The UK has the biggest stockpile of Plutonium in the world, but there are no definite plans for how to get rid of it – and the delays are costing the UK taxpayer billions.

­A record number of radioactive particles have been found on beaches near the Sellafield nuclear plant, in North West England. The authorities who run it admit it’s the most radioactive place in Western Europe but insist it’s safe.

Sellafield is where all storage of radioactive materials and nuclear reprocessing in the UK takes place. It was once at the heart of plutonium manufacturing for the British atomic weapons program.

Despite the controversy that surrounds the plant, there are plans to build new reactors at Sellafield. The government has approved initial plans to build a fast PRISM reactor on the site. Most locals are against it. They want the UK government to commission a safety study into Sellafield’s effects on the health of the local population.

Janine Allis-Smith has a lot of experience of dealing with the fallout from Sellafield. She is a senior campaigner from Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) and lives only a few miles from the plant. Her son was diagnosed with Leukaemia and she blames Sellafield.

She told RT, “Kids play on the beaches, they get sand in their clothes.” This sand, she explains, could contain dangerous radioactive particles released from the nuclear complex and “Parents have a right to know the risks”.

Anti-nuclear campaigners are demanding the beaches be closed or at least signs put up warning the public of the potential danger.

Sellafield has been monitoring a number of beaches near the plant since 2006, when it was ordered to do so by the UK government’s Environment Agency after the discovery of a highly radioactive particles. Between 2010 and 2011, 383 radioactive particles were found and removed.

However, locals claim they are not sufficiently informed about the pollution at the site. Allis-Smith explained that they are fulfilling the legal minimum requirement, so that although information is available, no-one knows about it. The local council has refused to become involved.

A study in the 1980’s found that over ten times the national average of childhood Leukaemias occurred near Sellafield. Thirty families tried to take the company who then ran the site to court and lost.

“There has never been a proper investigation into the environmental impact of the plant and there should be.” Allis-Smith said.

Cold war legacy

It is not surprising that people like Allis-Smith are worried. Behind the razor wire, security guards and public relations campaigns, Sellafield is home to some of the most radioactive buildings in Europe.

The UK has the largest stockpile of Plutonium anywhere in the world and it’s all stored at Sellafield. Plutonium is used for the manufacture of nuclear weapons and is extremely radioactive with a half-life of 25,000 years.

According to Francis Livons, research director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute in Manchester, this 113 tonne Plutonium mountain is the historical consequence of the British nuclear weapons programme in the 1950’s and 60’s and of over 60 years of reprocessing nuclear fuel. Since the late 1980’s the plant has been plagued by technical failures and, according to Livons, and a lack of political will to invest in new technology that works. He also said a vast amount of other nuclear waste stored at Sellafield “is not in a good state at-all.”

It is the task of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to clean all this up. The plans are to pay the French company Areva, who have proved their technology works, to build a new mixed oxide fuel (MOX) plant.

The other option is to let the US-Japanese GE-Hitachi build a new fast PRISM reactor on the site to burn the plutonium and produce electricity. This is a more elegant engineering option but the reactor is totally unproven and is decades away from completion.

The GE-Hitachi plans have been met with dismay by many locals, despite the prospects of large scale job creation in the area. Martin Fullwood, campaign co-ordinator at CORE has branded the proposals “absolute nonsense”.

Livons admits that the fast reactor plans are extremely ambitious, given that this type of reactor has never been built anywhere in the world before.

Fullwood says Sellfield is “A can of worms” and believes “The NDA are clutching at straws”. However, he concedes that something must be done about the nuclear waste. But Livons says “The NDA is finally beginning to get to grips with what is a really nasty problem that lots of governments have tried to run away from. Things are finally starting to happen.”

Sellafield is a legacy of cold war decision making and will remain a problem for decades, and will cost the UK taxpayer tens of billions of pounds to clear up. The British public are worried new reactors built in the UK will also be mismanaged. The government and scientists maintain that modern nuclear power stations are much cleaner and more efficient than the old ones.

If new nuclear does go ahead in the UK then the technology will be French, Japanese or American. Britain’s post war dreams of being a world leader in nuclear energy lie in radioactive ruins in Sellafield.

Douglas Parr, the head scientist at Greenpeace, told RT, “Sellafield is a monument to the huge failings of the British nuclear industry.”

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Sellafield: The dangers of Britain’s nuclear dustbin

The Broken Nuke

By RUSSELL D. HOFFMAN | CounterPunch | July 11, 2012

San Onofre Nuclear (Waste) Generating Station has been shut down for nearly six months, ever since one of the heat transfer tubes inside their new steam generators in Reactor Unit 3 ruptured suddenly and unexpectedly.

The normal pressure difference from one side of the tube to the other is enormous: About 1,000 pounds per square inch, so even a tiny leak spews many gallons of “primary coolant” (which is highly radioactive) into the “secondary coolant loop” (which, ideally, is not radioactive at all).  When a leak occurs, the primary coolant flashes to steam as it exits the broken tube, and the steam is so hot it can cut through the tube like a welder’s torch, eventually cutting a complete circle around the tube, releasing it to fling around and damage other tubes.

There are nearly 10,000 U-shaped heat transfer tubes inside each steam generator.  They are about the thickness of a credit card and the diameter of your thumb.

Reactor Unit 2 was already shut down for massive repairs and refueling when Unit 3 sprang a leak.  Neither unit has operated since then (and the lights have remained on.  We do not need San Onofre).  An older reactor, Reactor Unit 1, was retired 20 years ago for basically the same reason, and has since been dismantled.  It’s time to dismantle Units 2 and 3, too.

SanO’s majority owner and operator, Southern California Edison, recently claimed to have identified the cause of Unit 3′s current problem as “fluid elastic instability”.  And although Unit 2 is of identical design and also has two new steam generators which are also experiencing excessive wear, SCE claims Unit 2 will not suffer the same problem if they restart it at reduced power.  SCE wants to do that next month, probably at half power, which does NOT mean the pressure differences and flow rates are half as much, because efficiency drops off substantially when the plant is not run at its maximum practical output (and so do profits for SCE!).

If Unit 2 runs without problems, they’ll bump the power up to 60%, then 70% and then 80%.  (So far that’s as high as they’ve said they’ll dare to go.)  Then they’ll start talking about restarting Unit 3 at reduced power as well.

If nothing ruptures, they’ll shut the reactor down periodically to check for wear, since they can’t tell what’s happening inside the steam generators while the reactor is operating.  The extra shutdowns are costly and hold additional dangers.  (The Nuclear Regulatory Commission keeps carefully track of how many times a reactor is cycled on and off.)

Restarting either SanO unit should be opposed by everyone in Southern California.  It’s not worth the risk.

Fluid elastic instability was first identified around 1970 and occurs when a fluid — usually a steam/water mixture (in this case mostly steam) flows across a bundle of tubes.  In the case of San Onofre, the steam/water mixture traverses the tubes at the U-portion of the tubes at their top.

A cascade of tube failures is substantially more likely under fluid elastic instability conditions than most other tube-rupture scenarios.  If a cascading tube failure occurs, the fact that SanO’s design has only two steam generators (whereas most Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) have three or four) becomes an additional serious liability:  The second (only remaining) steam generator has to remove ALL the heat from the reactor.  Debris from the first steam generator failure may further complicate matters.

SCE was very reluctant to admit they’ve got a fluid elastic instability problem, and when they made a presentation to the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) last week, they didn’t try to explain what fluid elastic instability is.  They just said that it was apparently the problem.

However, the phenomenon is described in a 2001 ASME handbook on flow induced vibrations by M. K. Au-Yang:  Upon crossing the “critical velocity” the tube vibrations “suddenly rapidly increase without bound, until tube-to-tube impacting or other non-linear effects limit the tube motions.”  The vibrations: “become correlated and bear definite phase relationship to one another…”

In other words, the tubes rock back and forth together like people doing “the wave” or some other motion in a stadium.

Fluid elastic instability is difficult to model using computer simulations and SCE did not do full-scale modeling of the new steam generator design.  They also skipped full-scale hot testing after installing the new steam generators in 2010 and 2011.

When a tube started to leak in January 2012, the reactor operators did NOT suspect fluid elastic instability, and did NOT do the immediate prudent thing:  Shut down the reactor.

Instead, they kept running at full power until it was determined that the leak was growing — always a bad sign.  Permitted leakage rates, and total amounts, would have both soon been exceeded.  Normally, when the reactor is shut down for routine maintenance, faulty tubes are plugged. This process continues for the life of the plant or until so many tubes are plugged that the steam generators have to be replaced.  When the plant was built, it was believed that the steam generators would last the full life expectancy of the plant.  But throughout the nuclear industry, replacing steam generators has become a huge business.

Fluid elastic instability is relatively rare but is much more frightening than a typical steam generator tube leak.  Some leaks are left to spew, because rather than grow, they clog up with crud and stop spreading.  But growing leaks cannot be ignored.

Of the nearly 40,000 tubes inside the four new steam generators in the two operating reactors at San Onofre, more than 1,300 were found to have excessive wear to such a degree that they needed to be plugged.  About 10% of those were pressure-tested before being plugged, and eight failed the pressure tests — some failed at pressures BELOW standard operating pressure!

SCE officials are very reluctant to say how many tubes have failed in Unit 2, stressing that “only two” tubes indicated tube-to-tube wear, which, they feel, was probably caused by turbulence, not fluid elastic instability.  They aren’t certain, though, and just because fluid elastic instability hasn’t been experienced in Unit 2 yet, doesn’t mean it can’t happen there, either under normal operating conditions or during an emergency.

SCE has no idea when fluid elastic instability might occur.  Their computer models are known to have been off by 300 to 400 percent.  Flow rates are known to be way too high, and there is way too much steam and not nearly enough water at the top of the tubes (a mixture with more water would have been much better at dampening vibration).

Maybe SCE is right that lowering the power output will ensure safe operation.  But what if they’re wrong?  SCE wants to experiment with all our lives.

And let’s say they succeed.  Let’s say they get the reactors operating again.  Then, they will just go back to producing more spent fuel nuclear waste, a growing problem for which there is still no solution.  It will mean the next time there is an earthquake or a tsunami, San Onofre will threaten our farmlands, our cities, and our lives once again.  It will mean San Onofre will continue to threaten SoCal at least until the NRC relicenses the plant in 2022/2023, and then for 20 more years after that (and so on ad infinitum).   The NRC has never denied a nuclear power plant a license renewal in its history, and is especially unlikely to do so in California where new nuclear power plants are forbidden by state law.

San Onofre is shut down today because it was poorly designed, poorly constructed, and poorly operated.  Let’s keep it shut down.  It’s not going to get any better.

Russell D. Hoffman can be reached at: rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Nuclear Power | , , , , | Comments Off on The Broken Nuke

US threatens to cut all aid to Palestinian Authority

By Jack Muir | International Middle East Media Center | July 11, 2012

On Tuesday Khaled Mesmar, head of the Political Committee of the Palestinian National Council, reported that an official statement issued by Washington had been received demanding that if another membership bid was put to the United Nations, then all financial aid to the Palestine Liberation Office in Washington would be cut.

Mesmar stated that the threat was issued officially via the American Administration envoy which visited Ramallah recently and met with the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

The initial bid for membership was blocked in September 2011 when the UN Security Council was put under pressure by the American delegation not to vote for it.

Mesmar reported that the Palestinian leadership would withold its UN bid for statehood if Israel stopped building settlements and released the Palestinian prisoners that were detained before the Oslo’s agreement of the 1993.

Illegal settlements have been the major obstacle to all negotiations. Despite settlements being illegal under the fourth Geneva convention and being in defiance of UN resolutions and the world court, Israel refuses to halt their construction, making negotiations impossible.

The US is demanding that the Palestinian Authority resumes talks without pre-conditions. Mesmar stated that rather than the halting of settlement construction being a Palestinian pre-condition, it is a commitment that Israel must undertake in accordance with the rule of law.

The importance of a fresh UN bid has taken on huge significance since last October, when UNESCO voted to admit Palestine as its newest member. The US immediately cut off all aid to UNESCO. The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee referred to the vote which passed with a 107 to 14 majority, as “reckless and anti-Israel”

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

French activist injured as Israeli troops attack Hebron

By Jack Muir | International Middle East Media Center | July 11, 2012

A French citizen was hit in the shoulder as the Israeli army fired tear gas canisters and sound grenades in the old city of Hebron on Tuesday.

During a disturbance between between Israeli forces and Palestinians, Israeli soldiers opened fire in the al-Laban market. Witnesses said a French Woman was hit in the shoulder by a tear gas canister. As a result of the incident, Israeli forces closed the entrances to the old city.

Hebron, in the West Bank is home to 30,000 Palestinians. Parts of the old city of Hebron are under Israeli control and the Israel military presence is due in large part to the 800 illegal Israeli settlers who live there.

International activists are often targeted by the Israeli military. Salah Khawaja,Coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlement reported yesterday that many international activists have informed him that they will charge Israel in international courts if Israeli authorities continue to target the international protesters and Palestinians during peaceful marches.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Israeli Army To Arrest, Deport, Internationals Living In The West Bank

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | July 11, 2012

Israeli Ynet News reported that the Israeli Central Command Chief, Nitzan Alon, signed an order granting the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority “the right” to search for, and arrest, internationals illegally living in the occupied West Bank, in order to deport them”.

Alon described the foreigners residing in the West Bank without a permit from Israel as “infiltrators’, and said that they all must be sent back to their countries.

Under this order, the army will be allowed to arrest foreigners in the Palestinian territories, move them into prisons in Israel until all deportation measures and documentations are concluded.

Alon said that this decision was made due to what he called the “large number of infiltrators currently residing in the West Bank”, the Ynet said.

Israel is in control of all border terminals in the West Bank, internationals living in the Palestinian territories face numerous hardships and obstacles as Israel refuses to renew their entry visas.

Israel also prevented dozens of international peace activists from entering the occupied territories, by placing an “Entry Denied” stamp on their passports, preventing most of them from entering the country for 10 years.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank does not control border terminals, and cannot issue entry visas.

Internationals living in the occupied West Bank cannot renew their visas due to the fact that the P.A cannot issue such visas, and Israel refuses to grant them visas due to the fact that they live in Palestinian areas.

Israeli restrictions against internationals living in the West Bank are also forcing the separation of hundreds of families where Palestinians are married to Arab or international spouses as Israel is refusing to grant them family reunification documents.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Comments Off on Israeli Army To Arrest, Deport, Internationals Living In The West Bank

Elite Killers Kill At Large For Kidon, Mossad

By Ismail Salami | Palestine Chronicle | July 10, 2012

Tehran – A new book reveals that a department known as Kidon within the Mossad has dispatched assassins into Iran in order to murder the nuclear scientists, thereby stunting the country’s nuclear energy program.

Authors Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman in their book Spies against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars state that the notorious spy agency has killed at least four Iranian nuclear scientists, including targeting them with operatives on motorcycles, an assassination technique used by the elite killers at Kidon.

The Kidon killers “excel at accurate shooting at any speed and staying steady to shoot and to place exquisitely shaped sticky bombs” and consider it their hallmark.

Kidon, known to be one of the world’s most efficient killing machines, is technically described as a little Mossad within Mossad.

Tasked with carrying out covert ops across the world, Kidon has embarked on a number of black ops and assassinations in different countries.

Those who kill for Kidon are selected either from within the Mossad spy agency or from among the natives of the countries where they plan to carry out assassinations.

For instance, in case of the nuclear assassinations conducted in Iran by Kidon, they basically hired people with Iranian or dual nationalities. One of the Mossad assassins was Majid Jamali Fashi who confessed he had cooperated with Mossad for financial reasons only.

Majid Jamali Fashi assassinated Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a professor at Tehran University in January 2011 by blowing an explosive-laden motorbike via a remote-controlled device. He reportedly received training from Mossad inside Israel as well as $120,000 to assassinate the Iranian scientist. According to his confession, Jamali Fashi received forged documents in Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Airport to travel to Tel Aviv.

He confessed, “I woke up early in the morning and as we were trained I went to the warehouse. I had to prepare the box which contained the bomb. I took the motorbike out of the house and reached a location that I had to contact them. I went to the alley [where the professor resided]. It was vacant. No one was there. I brought the bike to the sidewalk and parked it in front of the house. They told me that the mission had been accomplished and that I had to discard my stuff.”

Jamali Fashi was executed under the Iranian judicial system on 15 May, 2012. Parenthetically, Azerbaijan has in recent years become an apparent haven for Mossad spies and assassins.

Another Mossad operative of Iranian nationality has been identified as Ja’far Khoshzaban, alias Javidan, who has been working under the auspices of Azeri security forces and who has been involved in nuclear assassinations. The Iranian intelligence ministry has demanded the extradition of Mossad’s Iranian spy from Azerbaijan. Iran has reportedly obtained documents, suggesting that Azeri officials have aided and abetted Mossad and CIA agents in their targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists, namely Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. As a matter of fact, the CIA is constantly mentioned along with Mossad as the main elements in the nuclear assassinations.

Ahmadi Roshan was assassinated on January 11, 2012 when an unknown motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car near a college building of Allameh Tabatabaei University in northern Tehran.

Using the same ‘sticking bomb technique’, the Kidon assassins attached bombs to the vehicles of Iranian university professors Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi and detonated the explosives on November 29, 2010. Professor Shahriari was killed immediately, but Dr. Abbasi and his wife only sustained minor injuries.

As a rule, the Kidon kill team is comprised of four highly seasoned men: 1. Tracer 2. Transporter 3. Helper 4. Killer. The tracer spots the target. The transporter guides the assassination team to the target. The helper basically serves as the motorcycle driver who helps the killer and the killer is tasked with shooting the target or attaching magnetic bomb to the car of the victim.

According to the book Spies against Armageddon, the Kidon agents are well-trained in shooting and placing “exquisitely shaped sticky bombs” and consider it their hallmark.

These facts aside, it rather seems sort of naïve to disregard the role of the CIA-backed MKO terrorists in the nuclear assassinations and give all the credit to the Kidon agents. There is solid evidence which evinces the MKO role in the assassination of the Iranian scientists.

American commentator Richard Silverstein believes that the primary source of income for the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) comes from the assassinations the group conducts within the Iranian soil at the behest of the Mossad. He argues that “If you’re a terrorist on behalf of Israel, as MKO is, then you’re kosher as far as (US-based Israeli publicist) Dershowitz is concerned. And your money is golden. Where does the money come from? Possibly from the Iran assassinations the MKO performs on Mossad’s behalf, which undoubtedly pay well. Then there’s the possibility that the USD 400-million Bush allocated for destabilizing Iran in 2007 has found its way either to the MKO or Mossad (or both)”

More to the point, the CIA works in the same satanic league with the Mossad and MKO. Time and again, the officials in Washington have encouraged and even confessed to the killings of the Iranian nuclear scientists.

Former US senator Rick Santorum callously described the assassination of Iranian scientists as “wonderful,” threatening that those who work for Iran’s nuclear program “are not safe.”

“On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.”

He also said, “I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a scientist from Russia, North Korea, or from Iran and you are going to work on a nuclear program to develop a bomb for Iran, you are not safe.”

Also, former Bush administration ambassador to the UN John Bolton said on Fox News that the killing of an Iranian scientist and sanctions against Iran constitute only “half-measures in the quest to stunt Iran’s nuclear ambitions”.

Former White House Speaker Newt Gingrich has called for covert action, including “taking out their scientists” and cyberwarfare.

Quotations of this nature are legion and all these facts reinforce the idea that Washington has been making clandestine efforts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear energy program in cahoots with Tel Aviv and their lackey i.e. the MKO.

Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian writer, Middle East expert, Iranologist and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his articles have been translated into a number of languages.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Israel slyly inciting genocide against Alawites as prelude to creation of Kosovo-style enclave in Syria?

­By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | July 11, 2012

Within the past week, fellows at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have used rather unfortunate analogies to describe the plight of Syria’s besieged Alawite minority. The comparison of the Alawites to two of the region’s least popular interlopers in Arab and Muslim memory was hardly calculated to endear them to an already resentful Sunni majority.

Writing in the neoconservative flagship Weekly Standard on July 6, Tony Badran claimed:

Bashar al-Assad’s campaign against his Sunni adversaries recalls the strategy employed by the Crusaders, as invading European armies fortified themselves against various Muslim coalitions in the Levant, from the 12th to the 13th century. Indeed, the Crusader castles dotting the Western part of Syria may give us some sort of insight into the regime’s military thinking, and perhaps a preview of its future.

Three days later, Jonathan Kay wrote an oddly sympathetic piece in Canada’s staunchly pro-Israel National Post:

A small, marginalized people, kicked around the Middle East for centuries by Muslim empires, finally carves out an independent home for itself on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. But life remains precarious: Islamists seek to delegitimize the newly established homeland, declaiming the ruling sect as a gang of infidel occupiers. Now, the simmering hatred of the occupied people finally has transformed into an unstoppable political and military intifada — cheered on by Western human-rights advocates.

The country I have just described is Syria. For all the pathological hatred that President Bashar Assad and his father Hafez have focused on Israel, the histories of the two countries betray some striking similarities. And those similarities help explain why the Assad clan and its hangers-on refuse to be dislodged from Damascus.

Like Israel’s Jews, members of the Alawi sect in Syria regard their control of the nation as an existential issue. There is only one Alawi state, just as there is only one Jewish state, and its destruction would mean the end of the Alawis as a political entity on the world stage — probably forever. With the passage of generations, it might even mean their gradual assimilation into other nations, as with Zoroastrians, Samaritans and a hundred other now-obscure Middle Eastern peoples.

It may be just a coincidence that in the space of a few days two fellows from the same pro-Israel think tank that has been in the forefront of calls for regime change in Damascus compared the ruling Alawites to Crusaders and Jews. However, given Israel’s record of fomenting strife in the region along ethnic and religious lines, the possibility that these articles are part of a deliberate campaign of incitement should not be discounted.

Over the past year, there have been a number of intriguing references in the Israeli press to the Jewish state’s purported concern for the plight of the Alawites. In an August 3, 2011 op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, John Myhill wrote:

At some point, as the civil war in Syria develops, the Alawites will have no choice but to retreat to their mountain stronghold in the northwest and appeal for military assistance to protect them and help them establish their own state there (as they unsuccessfully petitioned the French in the interwar period).

From personal contact with Alawites, I know that they are already beginning to discuss the possibility of appealing to Israel for help. If they do – and they probably will at some point – and the international community does not help them, Israel should step in to aid the Alawites, which would also mean helping their Shi’ite allies, who will by that point be similarly embattled.

According to Myhill, this humanitarian act would also have strategic benefits for Tel Aviv:

The result would be the formation of a bloc of states in the western Levant which would share the common interest of avoiding Sunni domination. For the first time, Israel would have actual state allies in the region, as opposed to temporary peace treaties.

Then in early January this year, Haaretz reported the same humanitarian impulse from an even more unlikely source:

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said Tuesday that Israel is preparing to absorb Alawite refugees once Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime collapses, which he expects to happen in the coming months.

Analyzing the IDF’s improbable humanitarianism, the Beirut-based political analyst Ghassan Dahhan observed:

Let’s assume that Israel’s analysis is correct in which Assad would fall after which a civil war erupts in Syria between Sunnis and Alawites. Given the sectarian composition of Syrian society the Alawites would find themselves at the end of the gun barrel, and an exodus could take place in similar vein with the Christians of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Looking for safe refuge, many Alawites might feel forced to accept Israel’s offer to be resettled in the Golan and subsequently seek its protection from the Syrian Sunni majority.

The current population of the Golan currently stands at less than a hundred thousand, consisting mostly of Druze. Even a minor flow of Alawite refugees to the Golan would thus have significant demographic consequences for the configuration of the territory’s society. The Israeli occupied Golan would in effect be turned into de-facto Alawite enclave. For Israel to grant Alawite refugees legal status would be unacceptable to most Israelis, especially if the size of refugees is tangible.

The option that would render Israel the best position is to encourage the creation of a Kosovo-style Alawite state.

The reference to Kosovo brings to mind an article in the Atlantic from almost two decades ago, in which Robert D. Kaplan predicted the inevitable Balkanization of Syria:

Syria will not remain the same. It could become bigger or smaller, but the chance that any territorial solution will prove truly workable is slim indeed. Some Middle East specialists mutter about the possibility that a future Alawite state will be carved out of Syria. Based in mountainous Latakia, it would be a refuge for Alawites after Assad passes from the scene and Muslim fundamentalists—Sunnis, that is—take over the government. This state would be supported not only by Lebanese Maronites but also by the Israeli Secret Service, which would see no contradiction in aiding former members of Assad’s regime against a Sunni Arab government in Damascus.

Could it be that Tel Aviv and its American lobby are slyly inciting genocide against the Alawites as a prelude to the creation of an Israel-dependent Kosovo-style enclave somewhere in Syria? This would certainly be in keeping with the strategy for the Middle East outlined in the early 1980s by Oded Yinon, as summarized by Khalil Nakhleh:

The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments