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Shame, Lies and Secrecy on Diego Garcia

The Limited Usefulness of Wikileaks

By Craig Murray | April 30, 2013

Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands remains a deep shame to the United Kingdom. In the 1960′s we forcibly deported an entire population a thousand miles, very much against their will, to make way for a United States air base. This is not an ancient evil; it continues to seep its poison into current actions, and the remnants of the deported population still linger in Mauritius, dreaming of home.

The Chagos outlines the stark hyprocrisy of UK policy on the Falklands. There we state the will of the islanders is paramount. In the Chagos, we state the will of the islanders is meaningless. Of course, the Falklanders are white-skinned, the Chagossians brown-skinned. That is the limit of the FCO’s attachment to self-determination as a principle. It is not for “Man Fridays”.

“Man Fridays”, according to the US Embassy Cable describing the briefing on Diego Garcia given them by FCO official Colin Roberts, is how Roberts referred to the inhabitants:

Roberts stated that, according to the HGM,s current thinking on a reserve, there would be “no human footprints” or “Man Fridays” on the BIOT’s uninhabited islands.

In the Diego Garcians’ latest attempt to get their home back, Roberts under cross-examination denied emphatically that he had used the term “Man Fridays”. It is difficult to see why the US diplomats who recorded his meeting with them used the term and put it in quotation marks, if Roberts did not use it. Roberts appears, on the face of it, to be potentially a perjurer in court. It was at this point the judges brilliantly resolved this issue by declaring the US Embassy cable ineligible in court on two grounds; firstly, its possession was a contravention of the UK’s official secrets act, as Roberts’ disclosure of the UK government’s duplicity was an official secret; secondly for it to be noticed by a court would contravene the Vienna Convention on the confidentiality of diplomatic communications.

This not only wiped out the problem of the apparent perjury by Colin Roberts; it collapsed the Chagos Islanders’ case that the US Embassy Cable clearly shows that the declaration of a Chagos Islands marine conservation area was merely a ruse to make it impossible for the inhabitants – who are artisan fishermen – to return:

He asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago’s former residents. Responding to Polcouns’ observation that the advocates of Chagossian resettlement continue to vigorously press their case, Roberts opined that the UK’s “environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates.”

Of course, I knew at the time what the evil David Miliband was doing, and I blogged about it in May 2010:

Miliband has now produced what is one of the most cynical acts in the history of British foreign policy. Dressed up as an environmentalist move, and with support from a number of purblind environmentalists, the waters around the Chagos Archipelago have been declared the world’s largest marine reserve – in which all fishing is banned. The islanders, of course, are fishermen.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36139130/ns/world_news-world_environment/

The sheer cynicism of this effort by Miliband to dress up genocide as environmentalism is simply breathtaking. If we were really cooncerned about the environment of Diego Garcia we would not have built a massive airbase and harbour on a fragile coral atoll and filled it with nuclear weapons.

The subsequent wikileaks release of the cable recording the US Embassy briefing by Colin Roberts – which shows just what an odious, immoral creep Colin Roberts is – confirms the truth at what I am saying. I am still very angry at the environmental organisations which allowed themselves to be used in this way; they were blinkered and stupid. There is nothing more dangerous than a good man with a monomania.

The Guardian rightly execrated the ludicrous court decision to pretend the wikileaked US cable did not exist. It rather undermines the famous legal maxim that “facts are stubborn things”. A truer maxim would be “Facts are things which vicious, authoritarian judges can make disappear when it benefits the government for them to do so”.

The implication that facts, no matter how true, can be ignored in court if the government did not wish those facts to emerge, is a major blow to the very possibility of whistleblowing. A judicial system where the court only considers government approved fact, is a cornerstone of fascism. What happened in that court was very serious indeed. Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting are a disgrace to their profession, the compliant tools of a policy that should disgust all moral men.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Homeland Security under investigation for massive ammo buys

RT | April 30, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security is under investigation for purchasing large stockpiles of ammunition, days before legislation was introduced that would restrict the amount a government agency can legally buy.

The Government Accountability Office is now conducting the investigation into the alleged DHS purchases, which is “just getting underway,” GAO spokesman Chuck Young told US News & World Report.

DHS officials have repeatedly denied stockpiling ammunition, but AP reports claim that the agency plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next four or five years, and has already bought 360,000 rounds of hollow point bullets and 1.5 billion rounds in 2012.

DHS claims that it is buying ammo in bulk to save money, but experts have pointed out that hollow point bullets cost nearly twice as much as full metal jacket rounds. They also explode on impact for maximum damage, which has caused some Americans to wonder what purpose they would serve the DHS domestically. Purchasing 1.6 billion rounds of ammo would also give DHS the means to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War. Members of Congress say the DHS has repeatedly refused to tell them the purpose of procuring such large amounts of ammo.

“They have no answer for that question,” Congressman Timothy Huelscamp told Infowars in March, pointing out that the purchases are being made at a time when sequestration should be limiting the agency’s spending. “…We’re going to find out… I say we don’t fund them until we get an answer.”

DHS officials testified last week that it was only planning to purchase up to 750 million rounds of ammunition for training centers and law enforcement over the next five years. The agency’s spokesman, Peter Boogaard, told Congress that the media reports are ‘misleading’. But Boogard also mentioned a second five-year contract for up to 450 million rounds of ammunition for law enforcement purposes. Together, the two DHS contracts for ammunition would result in purchases of up to 1.2 billion rounds of ammo.

“With more than 100,000 armed law enforcement personnel in DHS, significant quantities of ammunition are used to support law enforcement operations, quarterly qualifications, and training, to include advanced firearms training exercises,” Boogard said.

But the DHS testimony did not provide an adequate explanation for the large amount of ammo it plans to procure, prompting a GAO investigation at approximately the same time as the introduction of the AMMO Act.

The new legislation, which was introduced in both the Senate and the House on Friday, would prevent government agencies from buying any more ammunition if its stockpiles are already larger than what they were in previous presidential administrations.

Proponents of the bill suspect that government agencies may be making large ammunition purchases to keep the supplies out of the hands of Americans at a time when the administration has been trying to reduce gun violence.

“President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” US Sen. Jim Inhofe, who introduced the bill, said in a news release. “One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition… [DHS] has two years worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers.”

Congressman Frank Lucas cited an ammunition shortage in Oklahoma and blamed the DHS for taking away Americans’ Second Amendment rights by removing ammo from the market.

The GAO investigation will attempt to determine whether there truly is a reason for the large ammo purchases, or whether DHS is simply buying large quantities to save money in the long run.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Auditing Process Begins in Venezuela amid Opposition Claims of “Lies” and “Persecution”

By Tamara Pearson | Venezuelanalysis |  April 30, 2013

Merida  – As Venezuela’s electoral organisation begins auditing the 14 April elections, ex-opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has announced his team will not participate, Spain has offered to mediate the “conflict”, and the arrest of retired general Antonio Rivero has been met with accusations of “political persecution”.

Auditing process

Yesterday the National Electoral Council (CNE) began preparations to audit the 46% of voting boxes not already audited on the day of the elections. The process is the result of a deal reached between the CNE and the opposition, although since making the agreement Capriles has withdrawn his support for it.

Yesterday the CNE set up the technical group which will carry out the auditing, approved by the electoral organisation on 18 April. The opposition requested one witness per candidate in the broadcasting/information room, and another one in the “contingency rooms” with working group members, which was approved by the CNE.

“These additional guarantees, including the second auditing… add up to a total of 18 auditing processes, which are now not being recognised and are being silenced [by the opposition]. With this, they are seeking to damage the electoral process, alluding to things that were already checked and certified by their own technicians, as is demonstrated by the minutes that are publicly available,” CNE head Tibisay Lucena said.

Nevertheless, the CNE is continuing with the process, and now that the technical group is set up, today it is conducting the random selection process of boxes in storage that were not already audited on 14 April.

From 2-5 May the material to be audited will be organised, and from today until 2 May the CNE will be selecting and training the auditors, who will then be accredited on 3 May.

Then, the first phase of this second audit will occur between 6-15 May, the second phase from 16-25 May and the third phase from 26 May to 4 June. Venezuelan citizens will conduct the audit in the Mariches storehouse, where all the boxes are currently stored.

A team from the Central University of Venezuela will accompany the process and 24 auditors, 60 external auditing assistants, 60 CNE assistants, 6 external coordinators, 12 CNE coordinators, and 30 technicians from political organisations will be involved in the process.

Capriles’ stance on auditing process

Capriles today confirmed that his team is “preparing evidence” in order to legally challenge the electoral results through Venezuela’s Supreme Court. He said they would likely lodge the appeal between this Thursday and the following Monday. He has until 6 May to challenge the election results.

“The next step, as I have indicated, will be for me to request an annulment of the results, and in so doing eliminate the matter legally as a domestic issue,” Capriles said.

Further, he called the audit a “farce”, said that Lucena was being “ordered” by “her party”, and claimed his reason for refusing to back the process was that there won’t be “access to the voting books, the only instrument that personalises the vote, where the thumb prints and the signatures are”.

Capriles said the heads of the CNE “lie and make fun of” Venezuelans by saying they will conduct a complete audit, and “sooner than later the country will have a new election… a government like this, based on illegitimacy, won’t be able to sustain the lie”.

“I have no doubt that this will end up before an international body,” Capriles concluded. This document was submitted by the opposition to the CNE, claiming to prove fraud committed during the voting on 14 April.

United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Diosdado Cabello also stated he didn’t agree with the second audit, arguing, “If those who requested it aren’t going to be present, what’s the sense in doing it? Why spend time, money and work [on it]?… The opposition knows that the result of these audits will favour Nicolas Maduro … however, we respect the decision of the CNE”.

Spain offers to mediate

Spain has offered to mediate between the two sides “to guarantee peace, prosperity and stability in Venezuela,” its foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo said. Garcia is currently visiting Washington in order to speak at a meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and today is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. After the 14 April elections, Garcia initially supported a recount and “noted” that the CNE had proclaimed Maduro the winner of the elections; however Spain later officially recognised the victory.

Garcia clarified that the Venezuelan government is the one who should request mediation.

Meanwhile, two opposition legislators, Angel Medina and Tomas Guanipa, informed press today that since 22 April they have been visiting political leaders of the European Union, including Spain, France, Germany and Belgium, to “present and explain the political situation in Venezuela”. According to Guanipa, the leaders have reacted with “astonishment” to the “proof” of persecution that “Venezuelans are subject to, especially workers who decided to support Capriles”.

Arrest of opposition leader and retired general Rivero

Late last week, Venezuelan security forces arrested a US citizen, claiming he was connected to an alleged plot to “violently destabilise the country” after the elections. As part of the investigation into the plot, authorities also presented a video showing opposition member and retired army general Antonio Rivero appearing to give tactical advice to opposition protesters on 15 April. In the video Rivero also referred to the role of Capriles in leading those protests.

Rivero has now been arrested for allegedly being an accessory to a crime and conspiring to commit a felony, according to his lawyer Guillermo Heredia. Rivero is being held in the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) headquarters, and has declared himself on a hunger strike.

In response to the arrest, opposition leader Leopold Lopez alleged that Rivero is a “political prisoner” and that it “is the first step towards the illegalisation of political parties” in Venezuela.

Capriles called the arrest a “sign of fascism”.

According to Venezuelan Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, the violent events which took place on 15 April and 16 April, after the general election, left 9 dead and 78 injured.

Update on voting results

The CNE yesterday updated the voting results to include votes cast overseas. 93.1% of these votes (53,845) were for Capriles, and 6.8% (3,919) were for Maduro. 62% of voters registered with Venezuelan embassies voted. 88.7% (3,383) of those in Colombia voted for Capriles, and 97.9% of those in the United States (18,237) voted for him. To be eligible to vote overseas Venezuelans must have legal residency in those countries.

That means that 99.93% of votes have now been tallied, with Nicolas Maduro obtaining 7,586,251 votes (50.61%) and Capriles 7,361,512 votes (49.12%).

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear station insider says San Onofre should stay closed

RT | April 30, 2013

A safety engineer from the San Onofre nuclear power plant has warned that “there is something grossly wrong” with the plant and that it faces the prospect of a full or partial meltdown if it is restarted

The safety engineer, who has worked in the nuclear field for 25 years, told ABC 10 that due to broken tubes carrying scalding water, there could easily be a main steam line break, which would cause the nuclear reactor core to overheat and result in a Fukushima-like meltdown.

The Los Angeles City Council last week demanded that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refrain from making a decision about restarting the San Onofre unit until it conducts a “prudent, transparent and precautionary” investigation. Days after the unanimous city council decision, an insider from the San Onofre plant spoke to the media for the first time about the dangers associated with a restart.

“There is something grossly wrong,” the inside source told ABC, asking for anonymity because of fears for his safety.

Dr. Joe Hopenfeld, a former NRC employee, mirrored the insider’s fears, claiming that the manufacturer of San Onofre’s generators did not have experience in sizing the unit for the plant. In 2010 and 2011, San Onofre paid the Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to build replacement generators, which were shut down in just 11 months due to a radiation leak.

“The manufacturer didn’t have experience in this size unit,” Hopenfeld told ABC. “I have reviewed thousands of pages of assessment and reports that Edison has submitted.”

Due to the leak, officials also discovered problems with the generator tubes carrying the hot water to and from the reactor core, which creates steam that turns the turbines and creates energy. The tubes operate under high pressure and are placed in rows, very close to one another. There is no protection between the tubes, resulting in many of them to hit each other and crack.

An NRC report found that of the 19,400 tubes, more than 17 percent were damaged. The cracking caused several tube failures, and the worst case scenario is a main steam line break, Hopenfeld and the insider explained.

“Many tubes, and I don’t know how many, have exhausted their fatigue life – they have no fatigue life left,” Hopefeld said.

With a main steam line break, the reactor core can quickly overheat and cause a Fukushima-like nuclear meltdown that would endanger the lives of those near the plant, which is located in San Diego County, Southern California.

“If an accident like this happens, (an) emergency plan is not geared to handle such a public safety devastation,” the inside source said. “Those things have never been practiced or demonstrated in a drill scenario.”

Officials at Southern California Edison, which owns the plant, have proposed a solution for a partial restart of the plant, claiming that operating Unit 2 at 70 percent capacity would ensure its safety by reducing the vibrations of the generator tubes. But Hofenfeld and the insider believe this would only reduce the risk – not diminish it.

“Maybe the vibrations wouldn’t be as severe, but it doesn’t mean they are going away,” Hopenfeld said.

“I am not trying to scare anybody — you can live there, but you should know what the risk is,” he added.

In the coming weeks, the NRC is expected to make a decision on whether or not the San Onofre nuclear power plant should be allowed to partially restart its operations. It has been out of service since January 2012.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Nuclear Power | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear Iran: What’s at Stake for the BRICS

By Flynt & Hillary Mann Leverett | The BRICS Post | April 29, 2013

The controversy over Iran’s nuclear activities has at least as much to do with the future of international order as it does with nonproliferation. For this reason, all of the BRICS have much at stake in how the Iranian nuclear issue is handled.

Conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme is driven by two different approaches to interpreting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); these approaches, in turn, are rooted in different conceptions of international order. Which interpretation of the NPT ultimately prevails on the Iranian nuclear issue will go a long way to determine whether a rules-based view of international order gains ascendancy over a policy-oriented approach in which the goals of international policy are defined mainly by America and its partners. And that will go a long way to determine whether rising non-Western states emerge as true power centers in a multipolar world, or whether they continue, in important ways, to be subordinated to hegemonic preferences of the West—and especially the United States.

The NPT is appropriately understood as a set of three bargains among signatories: non-weapons states commit not to obtain nuclear weapons; countries recognised as weapons states (America, Russia, Britain, France, and China) commit to nuclear disarmament; and all parties agree that signatories have an “inalienable right” to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. One approach to interpreting the NPT gives these bargains equal standing; the other holds that the goal of nonproliferation trumps the other two.

There have long been strains between weapons states and non-weapons states over nuclear powers’ poor compliance with their commitment to disarm. Today, though, disputes about NPT interpretation are particularly acute over perceived tensions between blocking nuclear proliferation and enabling peaceful use of nuclear technology. This is especially so for fuel cycle technology, the ultimate “dual use” capability—for the same material that fuels power, medical, and research reactors can, at higher levels of fissile isotope concentration, be used in nuclear bombs. The dispute is engaged most immediately over whether Iran, as a non-weapons party to the NPT, has a right to enrich uranium under international safeguards.

For those holding that the NPT’s three bargains have equal standing, Tehran’s right to enrich is clear—from the NPT itself, its negotiating history, and decades of state practice, with at least a dozen states having developed safeguarded fuel cycle infrastructures potentially able to support a weapons program. On this basis, the diplomatic solution is also clear: Western recognition of Iran’s nuclear rights in return for greater transparency through more intrusive verification and monitoring.

Those recognising Iran’s nuclear rights take what international lawyers call a “positivist” view of global order, whereby the rules of international relations are created through the consent of independent sovereign states and are to be interpreted narrowly. Such a rules-based approach is strongly favoured by non-Western states, including BRICS—for it is the only way international rules might constrain established powers as well as rising powers and the less powerful.

Those who believe nonproliferation trumps the NPT’s other goals claim that there is no treaty-based “right” to enrich, and that weapons states and others with nuclear industries should decide which non-weapons states can possess fuel cycle technologies.  From these premises, the George W Bush administration sought a worldwide ban on transferring fuel cycle technologies to countries not already possessing them. Since this effort failed, Washington has pushed the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group to make such transfers conditional on recipients’ acceptance of the Additional Protocol to the NPT—an instrument devised at US instigation in the 1990s to enable more intrusive and proactive inspections in non-weapons states.

America has pressed the UN Security Council to adopt resolutions telling Tehran to suspend enrichment, even though it is part of Iran’s “inalienable right” to peaceful use of nuclear technology; such resolutions violate UN Charter provisions that the Council act “in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations” and “with the present charter.” The Obama administration has also defined its preferred diplomatic outcome and, with Britain and France, imposed it on the P5+1: Iran must promptly stop enriching at the near-20 per cent level to fuel its sole (and safeguarded) research reactor; it must then comply with Security Council calls to cease all enrichment. US officials say Iran might be “allowed” a circumscribed enrichment programme, after suspending for a decade or more, but London and Paris insist that “zero enrichment” is the only acceptable long-term outcome.

Those asserting that Iran has no right to enrich—America, Britain, France, and Israel—take a policy-or results-oriented view of international order. In this view, what matters in responding to international challenges are the goals motivating states to create particular rules in the first place—not the rules themselves, but the goals underlying them. This approach also ascribes a special role in interpreting rules to the most powerful states—those with the resources and willingness to act in order to enforce the rules.  Unsurprisingly, this approach is favoured by established Western powers—above all, by the United States.

BRICS need to call Washington’s bluff

All of the BRICS have, in various ways, pushed back against a de facto unilateral rewriting of the NPT by America and its European partners. Since abandoning nuclear weapons programmes during democratisation and joining the NPT, Brazil and South Africa have staunchly defended non-weapons states’ right to peaceful use of nuclear technology, including enrichment. With Argentina, they resisted US efforts to make transfers of fuel cycle technology contingent on accepting the Additional Protocol (which Brazil has refused to sign), ultimately forcing Washington to compromise. With Turkey, Brazil brokered the Tehran Declaration in May 2010, whereby Iran accepted US terms that it swap most of its then stockpile of enriched uranium for new fuel for its research reactor. But the Declaration openly recognised Iran’s right to enrich; for this reason, the Obama administration rejected it.

The recently concluded 5th BRICS Summit in Durban saw a joint declaration Declaration that referred to the official BRICS position on Iran:

“We believe there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. We recognize Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations, and support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue.”

At the same time, the BRICS have all, to varying degrees, accommodated Washington on the Iranian issue. Russian and Chinese officials acknowledge there will be no diplomatic solution absent Western recognition of Tehran’s nuclear rights. Yet China and Russia endorsed all six Security Council resolutions requiring Iran to suspend enrichment. Beijing and Moscow did so partly to keep America in the Council with the issue, where they can exert ongoing influence—and restraint—over Washington; at their insistence, the resolutions state explicitly that none of them can be construed as authorising the use of force against Iran.

Russia, China, and the other BRICS have also accommodated Washington’s increasing reliance on the threatened imposition of “secondary” sanctions against third-country entities doing business with the Islamic Republic. Such measures violate US commitments under the World Trade Organisation, which allows members to cut trade with states they deem national security threats but not to sanction other members over lawful business with third countries. If challenged on this in the WTO’s Dispute Resolution Mechanism, America would surely lose; for this reason, US administrations have been reluctant actually to impose secondary sanctions on non-US entities transacting with Iran. Nevertheless, companies, banks, and even governments in all of the BRICS have cut back on their Iranian transactions—feeding American elites’ sense that, notwithstanding their illegality, secondary sanctions help leverage non-Western states’ compliance with Washington’s policy preferences and vision of (US-dominated) world order.

If the BRICS want to move decisively from a still relatively unipolar world to a genuinely multipolar world, they will, at some point, have to call Washington’s bluff on Iran-related secondary sanctions. They will also have to accelerate the development of alternatives to US-dominated mechanisms for conducting and settling international transactions—a project to which the proposed new BRICS bank could contribute significantly.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama condemns indefinite detention (and himself)

By Charles Davis | false dichotomy | April 30, 2013

US President Barack Obama today condemned the Guantanamo Bay prison camp run by US President Barack Obama, channeling the moral outrage last heard on the 2008 campaign trail.

“The idea that we would still detain forever a group of individuals that have not been tried, that is contrary to who we are, that is contrary to our interests and it has to stop,” the president said during a press conference at the White House.

The rhetoric was bold and progressive. The reality? At least half of 166 never-tried, never-convicted prisoners that reside at Guantanamo Bay are engaged in a hunger strike that is making the president look bad. And so the man with a kill list who is ultimately responsible for them being there – and who’s initial plan for closing the prison was simply moving it to Illinois – had to act as if he was deeply troubled by his poor human rights record, like an oil executive shedding tears for Mother Earth after a big spill.

What Obama is banking on is the fact that most people (including his base) aren’t terribly detail oriented. The tale liberal Democrats tell themselves, and which the liberal media tells the rest of us, is that the fight over Guantanamo Bay is Obama and a bunch of ACLU lawyers on one side, the forces of fear-mongering, reactionary insanity on the other. The president, it is to be understood, is facing irrational hostility from the Chicken Littles of the right and would like to the do the right thing — of course he would — but, you know: Republicans.

That narrative, unfortunately, is false. The true story, obfuscated by the president’s occasional condemnations of his own human rights record, is that Obama himself signed an executive order creating “a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.” Rather than repudiate the notion of “detain[ing] forever a group of individuals that have not been tried,” Obama (through a task force he commissioned) determined that 48 of the prison camp’s detainees were “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.” The evidence against those men would not be admissible even by the weakened standards of a military court – that is, it was probably gained through torture – but rather than release them, as if they were persons endowed with certain inalienable rights, the Obama administration would prefer to lock them away until they die.

The president has even refused to release dozens of Yemeni citizens who have been cleared of all wrongdoing. Obama also signed (and his lawyers later defended in court) a bill that allows for the indefinite detention of US citizens. And let’s not forget that kill list, which is based on the idea that it’s alright for the president to act as judge, jury and executioner, so long as the unilateral justice is being delivered abroad. So when the president of the United States righteously condemns the idea of imprisoning someone forever without charge or trial, it’s important to remember the truth about his record. It’s important to remember he is lying.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Israel in the room? Egypt quits nuke talks over ‘inefficiency’ in Middle East

RT | April 30, 2013

Egypt said it quits Non-Proliferation Treaty talks to protest the failure of the parties involved to implement a resolution aimed to free Middle East from nuclear weapons. Although not articulated, Israel is said to be the reason for the withdrawal.

“We cannot continue waiting forever for the implementation of this resolution,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday, as talks in Geneva entered second week.

Cairo said it was pulling out of the talks “to send a strong message of non-acceptance of the continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.”

Egypt called for more responsibility from member states in “implementing legitimate international resolutions” saying there is “continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.”

Egypt’s comments are largely seen as reference to neighboring Israel, which neither confirms nor denies the possession of nuclear weapons.

“Egypt along with many Arab countries has joined the treaty with the understanding that it would lead to a Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons. However, more than 30 years later, one country in the Middle East, namely Israel, remains outside the NPT,” Egypt`s Assistant Foreign Minister Hisham Badr told a news conference in Geneva earlier this month.

Arab states and Iran have repeatedly warned that the Israeli purported nuclear program threatens peace in the region.

Editor of the website Palestinian Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud, believes Egypt’s move is a significant step, but one that mainly emphasizes the double standards of how some country’s nuclear ambitions are handled by Western states.

“It is very important what Egypt has done. Because what applies to Israel should apply to everyone else and Israel should not expect preferential treatment as far as this issue is concerned.” But Baroud also believes that such apparent favoritism is unlikely to change anytime soon, given what’s at stake for countries like the US.

“They [Israel] are living up to the US governments’ expectations in the past, keeping hush about their nuclear power, but at the same time [the US] asked them not to declare it openly because, if they do so, it will become a very difficult legal issue for the US to deal with, and they would be subject to international pressure.” US and Israeli officials have said that one of the necessary conditions to enable a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East is Iran’s nuclear program curbed. Meanwhile, Tehran claims its nuclear program solely pursues peaceful purposes such as energy and research.

The Geneva talks were meant to prepare for the next major review of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Held every five years, the next one is scheduled for 2015.

The NPT, originated in 1970, was introduced to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. According to the document five states were recognized as nuclear-weapon states: the US, Russia, the UK, France and China.

A total of 190 parties have signed the treaty. Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea and South Sudan are not signatories to the NPT. Pyongyang withdrew from the treaty in 2003 when it was accused of launching an enriched uranium weapons program.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tsarnaev: Right to Counsel, Not Miranda, Is the Key

By bmaz | emptywheel | April 29, 2013

Since Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody just over a week ago, the hue and cry in the public and media discussion has centered on “Miranda” rights and to what extent the “public safety exception” thereto should come into play. That discussion has been almost uniformly wrongheaded. I will return to this shortly, but for now wish to point out something that appears to have mostly escaped notice of the media and legal commentariat – Tsarnaev repeatedly tried to invoke his right to counsel.

Tucked in the body of this Los Angeles Times report is the startling revelation of Tsarnaev’s attempt to invoke:

A senior congressional aide said Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored since he was being questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule. The exemption allows defendants to be questioned about imminent threats, such as whether other plots are in the works or other plotters are on the loose.

Assuming the accuracy of this report, the news of Tsarnaev repeatedly attempting to invoke right to counsel is critically important because now not only is the 5th Amendment right to silence in play, but so too is the right to counsel under both the 5th and 6th Amendments. While the two rights are commonly, and mistakenly, thought of as one in the same due to the conflation in the language of the Miranda warnings, they are actually somewhat distinct rights and principles. In fact, there is no explicit right to counsel set out in the Fifth at all, it is a creature of implication manufactured by the Supreme Court, while the Sixth Amendment does have an explicit right to counsel, but it putatively only attaches after charging, and is charge specific. Both are critical to consideration of the Tsarnaev case; what follows is a long, but necessary, discussion of why.

In fact, “Miranda rights” is a term that is somewhat of a misnomer, the “rights” are inherent in the Constitution and cannot be granted or withheld via utterance of the classic words heard every day on reruns of Law & Order on television. Those words are an advisory of that which suspects already possess – a warning to them, albeit a critical one.

In addition to being merely an advisory of rights already possessed, and contrary to popular belief, advising suspects of Miranda rarely shuts them down from talking (that, far more often, as will be discussed below, comes from the interjection of counsel into the equation). As Dr. Richard Leo has studied, and stated, the impact of Miranda on suspects’ willingness to talk to interrogators is far less than commonly believed. One study has the effect rate of Miranda warnings on willingness to talk at 16%; from my two plus decades of experience in criminal defense, I would be shocked if it is really even that high.

On top of this fact, the Miranda warnings relate only to the admissibility of evidence or, rather, the inadmissibility – the exclusion – of evidence if it is taken in violation of Miranda. Professor Orin Kerr gives a great explanation here.

Since there is, without any real question, more than sufficient evidence to convict Tsarnaev without the need for admissibility of any verbal confession or other communicative evidence he may have provided the members of the HIG (High Value Detainee Interrogation Group), the real question was never “Miranda” but when Tsarnaev would be presented to the court which, in turn, would determine when he would be given access to counsel. Not surprisingly, one of the first people I saw to correctly point this out was Marcy Wheeler:

Folks: FAR more important, IMO, than Miranda is presentment. If he sees a judge in 2 days she’ll make sure he gets a lawyer.

That could not have been more true, as was demonstrated on Monday morning, April 22, when Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler went to the Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center where Tsarnaev was receiving treatment in custody. Also present was William Fick and Miriam Conrad (fascinating look at Conrad and her history here) of the Federal Public Defender’s office in Boston. Fick, who speaks fluent Russian, and Conrad met with Tsarnaev immediately before the formal initial appearance process and represented him in the brief actual initial appearance itself.

So, all is as it should be because Tsarnaev got the initial appearance he was entitled to by law, right? No.

First off, there is the timing of the initial appearance, sometimes also colloquially referred to as “presentment”. The initial appearance is governed by Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCrP). While you may have seen mention of “within 48 hours”, the rule itself provides only that an arrested person must be taken before a magistrate “without unnecessary delay”. The “48 hours” standard for first court appearances comes from the 1991 case of County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, which held that 48 hours was the outside limit. The importance of the Rule 5 initial appearance was cemented by the Supreme Court as recently as 2009 in the case of Corley v. United States (which even suggests delays longer than six hours may be presumptively violative).

But the 48 hour limit was not honored, in either spirit or letter, by the federal authorities in charge of the detention and interrogation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The formal taking into custody of Tsarnaev, the arrest, was effected and announced at 8:45 pm EST Friday night April 19 and, as evidenced by the complaint cover sheet filed with the court, Tsarnaev was immediately in federal custody. The criminal complaint signifying the formal charging of Tsarnaev is noted by Judge Bowler to have been sworn out to her at 6:47 pm on Sunday, April 21. So, Tsarnaev was charged within 48 hours of his arrest, but he was not given his initial appearance within 48 hours, as required by Rule 5 FRCrP, County of Riverside v. McLaughlin and Corley.

The Rule 5 initial appearance was finally given to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Monday morning April 22, as evidenced by the official transcript of the proceeding. The specific sequence and timing of these events is critical because of the nature and timing of the interrogation of Tsarnaev prior to him being advised of his Miranda warnings by Judge Bowler. It appears as if there were two substantive interrogation sessions by the HIG team, a fact reported by no less than Ray Kelly, based upon claimed briefing by the federal authorities:

The police commissioner explained that was the original story that Dzhokhar told police when they began to interrogate him in the hospital, but that he later provided a more detailed account during a subsequent interview.

Both interviews appear to have happened before authorities read the younger Tsarnaev brother his Miranda rights on Monday. According to Kelly, Dzhokhar was interrogated twice by authorities in the hospital, the first time on “Saturday evening into Sunday morning” and the second on “Sunday evening into Monday morning.” According to an Associated Press report from earlier today, the questioning lasted a total of 16 hours before Dzhokhar stopped cooperating upon being informed of his right to remain silent.

Remember, however, from above, that “Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored since he was being questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule”. This is where the Miranda, the public safety exception and right to counsel all intersect for Mr. Tsarnaev. Frankly, the government has issues on all of those fronts, but let us first look at the one that has been most discussed, and cowardly demagogued by the likes of House Intel Chairman Mike Rogers and NY Congressman Peter King, the most – Miranda and the “public safety exception”.

Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, in the Los Angeles Times, explains the nuts and bolts of the “exception”, and why it arguably does not apply to Tsarnaev’s situation:

Holder said on the Sunday talk shows that the government intended to invoke the “public safety exception” that allows suspects to be questioned without being given Miranda warnings in emergency circumstances. But this exception does not apply here because there was no emergency threat facing law enforcement.

The emergency exception to Miranda that Holder embraced was announced by the Supreme Court in New York vs. Quarles in 1984. A woman told the police that she had been raped by a man with a gun. When the police caught the suspect in a grocery store, they saw an empty holster and no gun. The man was asked about the location of the gun, and he told the officer where to find it.

The Supreme Court ruled that, although the suspect had not yet been given Miranda warnings, the statement about the gun was admissible against him because of the urgent need to find the gun. In other words, the public safety exception applies only when police are acting in an emergency to prevent serious immediate harm. If the police needed to question Tsarnaev as to the location of other bombs, the emergency exception would apply.

The New York v. Quarles case Chemerinsky discusses as setting out the public safety exception can be found here. In light of the fact that not only had multiple voices, from Attorney General Holder, to President Obama, to a myriad of investigation authorities, both local and federal, stated there was no evidence of further threat, there is some merit to Professor Chemerinsky’s opinion on the Quarles exception not being applicable to Tsarnaev by the time his interrogation commenced on Saturday April 20.

Of course, the DOJ did not rely on Quarles alone, they also invoked their now infamous “”Public Safety Exception Memo” first incarnated in a memo from Attorney General Holder dated October 19, 2010, and formally distributed in a cleaned up version dated October 21, 2010. The memo goes beyond the basic immediate public safety questions permitted by Quarles to allow further broader ranging questions:

There may be exceptional cases in which, although all relevant public safety questions have been asked, agents nonetheless conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat, and that the government’s interest in obtaining this intelligence outweighs the disadvantages of proceeding with unwarned interrogation. [4] In these instances, agents should seek SAC approval to proceed with unwarned interrogation after the public safety questioning is concluded. Whenever feasible, the SAC will consult with FBI-HQ (including OGC) and Department of Justice attorneys before granting approval. Presentment of an arrestee may not be delayed simply to continue the interrogation, unless the defendant has timely waived prompt presentment. (Emphasis added)

Let us give the DOJ and HIG team the benefit of the doubt under Quarles, and even their own self-stated memo (which is neither binding nor controlling law in any regard), and grant that some base level of questioning of Tsarnaev was reasonable to confirm there were no outstanding bombs, weapons or other dangers, and no outstanding co-conspirators and/or terrorist ties, whether domestic or foreign. In fact, there is court precedent in a recent case via the decision of Judge Nancy Edmunds to uphold this use of the public safety exception, in the case of the “Undie Bomber”, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Grant all of these root questions, and the bolded language – from the Obama DOJ’s own Public Safety Exception Memo – delineates why there is still a significant problem with the treatment of Tsarnaev. The Rule 5 initial appearance, i.e. “presentment”, was not complied with as to Tsarnaev, and public safety questioning can neither appropriately nor legitimately delay it.

In fairness to the Obama DOJ, who has been roundly blasted for the Public Safety Exception Memo, they arguably could have gone further and not included the such strong guidance against violation of Rule 5. There is authority from both the Ninth Circuit in United States v. DeSantis, 870 F.2d 536, 541 (9th Cir. 1989), and the Fourth Circuit in United States v. Mobley, 40 F.3d 688, 692–93 (4th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1129 (1995), for the proposition that, like Miranda, the right to counsel can give way briefly for the public safety exception under Quarles.

The extensions of the public safety exception to right to counsel by the courts in Desantis and Mobley, however, give little, if any, support to the government’s actions vis a vis Mr. Tsarnaev, because the intrusion into the constitutional right to counsel in both the other cases was so fleeting – in both it was no more than a question or two about a weapon on the premises of a search while the search warrant was actively being executed. Nothing whatsoever like the 16 hours of interrogation applied to Tsarnaev, across at least two sessions, over a period of at least two days. The “public safety” interrogation of Tsarnaev was not immediate to potential danger, was not narrow and limited, and occurred long after he had been taken into custody. And, apparently, at least as to one of those sessions, the “Sunday evening into Monday morning” session, the interrogation occurred well after formal charges had been filed with Judge Bowler.

Let’s take a look at the “right to counsel”, why it differs, and is arguably far more important in the Tsarnaev scenario than utterance of the “Miranda warnings”. The right to counsel during custodial police interrogations emanates from the seminal 1964 case of Escobedo v. Illinois. The language of the decision syllabus reflects the bright line rule announced by the court:

…where a police investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular suspect in police custody who has been refused an opportunity to consult with his counsel and who has not been warned of his constitutional right to keep silent, the accused has been denied the assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments; and no statement extracted by the police during the interrogation may be used against him at a trial.

Escobedo, as direct law, was implicitly obviated two years later by the decision in Miranda v. Arizona, where the court suddenly, and somewhat curiously, placed the right to custodial interrogation counsel under the umbrella of the Fifth Amendment instead of the Sixth.

The primacy, and fundamental nature of the right to custodial interrogation counsel, however, was confirmed in the 1981 decision of Edwards v. Arizona, where the court held suspects have the right under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, as declared in Miranda, and that right cannot be invaded absent a clear and valid waiver. While it is true, under Berghuis v. Thompkins, a suspect must affirmatively invoke his right to counsel as opposed to simply standing silent, there is no authority for interrogators to simply ignore and frustrate, over an extended period, a suspect’s express request for counsel as appears to have occurred in Tsarnaev’s case.

Once, however, a defendant is presented to the court for initial appearance, he will be afforded counsel, and counsel will in almost all cases stop immediate questioning, both to prevent incrimination and to preserve evidence as leverage for plea negotiations. That is exactly what a defense counsel should do, and exactly what our constitutional system of justice and protections contemplates. This is also exactly why the Rule 5 presentment, and not “Miranda”, has always been the critical concern in analyzing the Tsarnaev case, and still is. Once legitimate general questions as to public safety had been asked, Tsarnaev should have been afforded his Rule 5 initial appearance and access to counsel. Clearly Judge Bowler was available on Sunday the 21st, since, as previously noted, she was available to accept the swearing and filing of the criminal complaint.

Again, the timing of the interrogation, and requests for counsel, will prove critical. There are still many questions and facts to be locked down on these issues including, but not limited to:

When in the timeline did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev first invoke by requesting counsel?

How many times did he attempt to do so?

In light of the fact much of his communication to the HIG interrogators was reportedly written, were his attempts to invoke in writing too?

How did the interrogation team document Tsarnaev’s non-written responses in light of the difficulty he had in communicating?

Was there a video or audio record made to preserve the evidence?

Did Tsarnaev provide any evidence that would warrant continuation of the Quarles public safety questioning?

In light of the fact that Undie Bomber Abdulmutallab (who actually had layers of foreign terrorist ties and activities outside of the continental US) was only questioned for 50 minutes under the public safety exception, why did Tsarnaev (who had no such ties or activity) require 16 hours of interrogation over two full days, substantial portions of which were after charges were filed?

The bottom line is this: not telling a suspect about his rights in order to try obtain brief, immediate and emergency public safety information is one thing. Straight out denying and refusing a defendant constitutional rights he is legally entitled to, and has tried to invoke, is quite another. The government has issues on both fronts as to Tsarnaev.

The other thing that must be remembered is all of the foregoing likely only affects the admissibility of evidence communicated in the relevant period by Tsarnaev, not the legality of his detention and not the ability of the government to convict him. At best, it involves evidentiary exclusion principles only. There is, by all accounts, more than enough evidence to convict the man without anything he communicated being admitted in a trial (if indeed there ever is a trial). Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be walking free in society again no matter how it sorts out. Big and emotionally fraught cases of national interest rarely make for good, and sound, creation of law and the Tsarnaev case is no exception.

How the Tsarnaev facts and case is discussed, sorted out in court, and what foundation it lays for future cases – and there will be future cases – does, however, speak loudly as to who we are as a nation. Are we the cowering nation of supposed leaders such as Mike Rogers and Peter King, or are we the strong and resolute one envisioned by our Founding Fathers and protected by the constitutional rights they bequeathed us with? Recent polls have shown that Americans are increasingly “skeptical about sacrificing personal freedoms for security.” The people have that right, we should listen to them.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada can’t account for $3.1 billion in anti-fund terror: auditor general

Press TV – May 1, 2013

The Canadian government has been unable to account for 3.1 billion Canadian dollars in anti-terrorism funding, the auditor general says.

Michael Ferguson on Tuesday presented his spring report, which did not include information on spending and what was achieved with the money spent.

“Overall, we found many areas where the government should improve on the results that it achieves with taxpayers’ dollars,” said Ferguson.

The outcome of his audit of the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism (PSAT) Initiative showed that 35 departments had spent 9.8 billion Canadian dollars of the 12.9 billion allocated for security and anti-terrorism measures between 2001 and 2009.

However, Ferguson was unable to determine where the remaining 3.1 billion had gone.

The Treasury Board has not given any clear answers to the auditor general regarding the unaccounted gap.

Shortly after the presentation, the National Democratic Party (NDP) accused the conservative government of mismanaging public funding.

“It is really scandalous that [the government] can’t account for the $3.1 billion,” said NDP Member of Parliament Malcolm Allen.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended against the accusation by saying Ferguson’s report had nothing to do with the improper use of money, but rather how the spent money is categorized.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement said he has accepted the auditor general’s recommendation for his department to present to the public a clear picture of spending and the achieved results for federal programs.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

New Israeli Math and the Return of the Holocaust Analogy: Steinitz: Iran “Equal to 30 Nuclear North Koreas.”

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | April 29, 2013

At the second annual Jerusalem Post Conference, held in New York City on Sunday April 28, a number of former and current Israeli officials offered new estimates about Iran’s nuclear progress, issued threats of war and pretended Israel is more powerful and militarily capable than it really is.

In other words, it was just another day of shameless and shameful Israeli propaganda; pathetic, jingoistic bluster meant to appeal to hawkish American donors, puff up Israel’s inflated sense of self, and attempt to boost its already non-existent credibility.

Former IDF intel chief Amos Yadlin said, “Even though Iran is on the way to crossing the line of Netanyahu, that doesn’t mean that they have the bomb,” which might be the most tediously self-evident comment made in recent memory, despite also relying on fact-free speculation. He also said that Israel could weather the consequences of a potential unilateral military assault on the Islamic Republic, but that, before that happens, “we must give more time for the other strategies that nobody takes credit for,” an apparent reference to Israeli-led covert murder operations and cyberwar.

Meanwhile, former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi also told the mouth-breathing attendees that Israel can effectively attack Iran and sustain the inevitable blowback. “We cannot allow this regime to have the bomb,” he said, before insisting that a recent multi-billion dollar U.S. arms sale to Israel “sends a signal” to Iran about Israel’s military capabilities and intentions.

The best comments of the day, however, were made by Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz. Calling an Iran with an atomic arsenal “equal to 30 nuclear North Koreas,” Steinitz’s stand-up routine didn’t disappoint. Not only was a “nuclear Iran” an “existential threat” to Israel, he said, it would also pose a “terrible threat” to all of the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica would apparently be spared the devastating scourge, however.

“Iran is problem number one of our generation,” Steinitz declared. He then launched into an embarrassingly repetitive rant about how Iran is the new Nazi Germany, an analogy so stupid and played out that even its most ardent champion Netanyahu hasn’t used it in a while. After praising Winston Churchill for his actions in the 1930s (which garnered a healthy round of applause from the crowd), Steinitz implicitly condemned other powers and political leaders for their past follies and failures, evoking the tired bromide equating diplomacy with appeasement.

“We shouldn’t repeat the same mistakes again,” he said, continuing:

This was Nazi Germany, a secular regime with a fanatical ideology. And here we are speaking about the Shiite Ayatollahs of Iran. Totally [religious] fanatical regime. There it was Europe, here it’s Iran. The Nazis spoke about the final solution for the Jewish people in Europe. They [Iranian leaders] are speaking about destroying the Jewish State in the Middle East. There are some differences. We have to learn from history. And so it never repeats itself exactly. And if there’s a lesson to learn from history, it’s not to repeat the same mistake again. And not to allow, come what may, the nuclearization of Iran.

He wasn’t finished.

Once at full capacity, the Iranian nuclear program, he claimed, will be able to produce 20 to 30 nuclear bombs each year and somehow decided that, “if Iran gets the first few bombs, in a decade or so they will have 100 nuclear bombs.”

This was “not an intelligence estimate,” he was quick to note, but rather was based on statements by the Islamic Republic itself, which makes literally no sense since Iran has never once stated any intention to build or acquire a single nuclear weapon.

For good measure, Steinitz also tossed around phrases like “global ambitions” and “a new era of Islamic hegemony,” because things like that – regardless of their sheer stupidity – play well with ignorant, racist audiences like the one assembled Sunday at the Times Square Marriott.

Dismissing sanctions as insufficient “to achieve our goal,” Steinitz demanded that “a very clear military threat” be made to Iran (ignoring, of course, that this is an undeniable violation of the UN Charter), “a credible threat that will make it crystal clear that they are paying something for nothing.”

“If there is a chance to resolve this problem without military action,” he said, it will only be because opponents of Tehran’s nuclear program “choose a big enough stick and wave it in their faces,” appealing to the Orientalist conception that Middle Eastern leaders only understand the language of force and will only kowtow to Western and Israeli demands when sufficiently fearful of potential violence.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who also spoke at the conference, tried to temper such alarmist rhetoric and dispel the notion that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, one worthy of constant hysteria and attention.

“I think that we have exaggerated, for a long time, the potential threat of Iran possessing nuclear power,” he told the crowd.

Predictably, Olmert’s comments did not receive a positive reception; instead, he was heckled and booed.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel gets fifth ‘nuclear-capable’ sub

RT | April 30, 2013

Israel has inaugurated its fifth Dolphin-class submarine, allegedly capable of launching cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. A German shipyard in Kiel has a contract to build a sixth sub “to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens,” the PM said.

The submarine has been baptized INS Rahav. Rahav is a demon, a cosmic sea monster, ‘Prince of the Sea’ according to the Talmud. It was also the name of a strange woman from Jericho who hid two Jewish scouts from the King of Jericho in the Book of Joshua, Old Testament.

After the submarine is fully equipped and passes all tests, it will cost $500 million and will enter service as possibly the most sophisticated and expensive weapon of the Israeli Navy. Delivery to the client is reportedly expected by the end of 2013.

The INS Rahav was built in northern Germany at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft shipyard in Kiel. She is believed to be one of the most advanced and sophisticated diesel-electric submarines in the world.

“The INS Rahav is one of the most advanced submarines in the world,” said Israeli Defense Ministry in a statement on Monday, reported Jerusalem Post.

“It is a versatile platform which can adapt to many and varied missions. The fleet of submarines forms a long arm for the [Israel] Navy, the IDF, and the State of Israel,” the ministry said.

The inauguration ceremony has been attended by an Israeli delegation headed by the director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Military Affairs, Major General Udi Shani, the commander of the Israeli Navy, Rear Admiral Ram Rothberg, and a number of Israeli and German officials.

In June 2012, Der Spiegel reported that Germany is actually strengthening Israel’s nuclear capabilities. The magazine claimed that Dolphin-class submarines are equipped with hydraulic ejection systems that enable the underwater launch of Israeli Popeye Turbo SLCM long-range cruise missiles, believed to have nuclear warheads.

Israel’s Popeye cruise missile is believed to have a range of up to 1,500km and carry a 200kg payload, enough to fit in a nuclear warhead. The first launch of the missile was carried out in 2002 in the Indian Ocean.

Thus the German-built submarines are believed to be the backbone of the Israeli nuclear deterrent against Iran.

“The submarines are a strong, strategic tool for the IDF. The State of Israel is ready to act anytime, anywhere – on land, sea and air – in order to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said according to the Associated Press.

Israel’s coastline in total, including islands, is a mere 273km, and it is no exaggeration to say that there is no other country with so many submarines to protect so short a sea border.

Germany started to deliver its Type 800 Dolphin-class submarines to Israel after the first Persian Gulf War.

The first two submarines were donated to Tel Aviv for free while the third came with a 50-per-cent discount, informs International Defense News. Berlin also shared about a third of the costs for the fourth and fifth submarines.

The fourth, the INS Tannin, opened the new generation of Dolphin II class submarines, capable of remaining submerged for long periods using cutting edge ‘air independent propulsion’ technology, which allows the engines of diesel-electric submarines to run without atmospheric oxygen.

In March 2012 Israel and Germany signed a contract for a sixth and the last Dolphin-II class submarine that will be delivered in several years. Berlin allocated about 135 million euro (US $175.8 million) of the overall 600-million-euro cost of the sub.

In December 2011 the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel invested about $27 million in a comprehensive structural overhaul and upgrade of the Dolphine I submarines at a shipyard in Haifa.

“The Germans can be proud to have secured the existence of Israel for many years,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Der Spiegel in June 2012.

According to Barak, the INS Tannin delivered May 3, 2012, became yet another “force multiplier in terms of the capabilities and strength of Israel’s defense forces.”

Commenting the delivery of INS Tannin, Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz specified that in conditions of growing strategic challenges in the Middle East Israeli’s Navy and its submarine fleet in particular represents a “defensive and fighting arm of deterrence.”

The “force multiplier” and “fighting arm” remarks of Israeli officials might as well point out that the alleged nuclear missiles in the possession of the state of Israel could be regarded not only as a shield, but as a sword as well.

Officially, Germany has always maintained that it doesn’t have the slightest idea about Israel’s military nuclear program and possible deployment of nuclear missiles on German-built submarines. However, according to Der Spiegel’s research, several former high-ranking German officials have never doubted Israel was putting nuclear missiles on its subs.

Former German State Secretary Lothar Ruhl told Der Spiegel last June that he had not only “always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines,” but also discussed the issue with the Israeli military.

According to documents obtained by the newspaper, the German government was well aware of Israel’s nuclear program as early as in 1961. The latest evidence from German Foreign Ministry archives presented by the magazine last year dates back to 1977 and corresponds to a discussion on the nuclear issue between then-Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and then-German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

British MP and Vice-chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Jeremy Corbyn very much doubts that anyone who is willing to help Israel boost its nuclear capabilities is interested in reducing the risk of a nuclear catastrophe. He doubts that the supplies are even necessary.

“It’s very hard to see how these submarines that Germany is supplying to Israel can be solely for defensive purposes, because there is no sea-based threat to Israel and Israel needs to get on board with the rest of the region and talk peace and talk about the signature they’ve already given to the Mediterranean weapons of Mass Destruction free zone. The delivery of these submarines is yet one more ratcheting up of the danger”, he told RT.

Corbyn further believes that the weapons supplies are a badly concealed preamble to a wider European involvement in the world’s hottest crisis zones.

“Germany prides itself as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and on its non-nuclear status… But they’re also paying a very large amount of money to Israel’s defense costs by subsidizing the development and delivery of these submarines, and one just wonders if this isn’t part of a wider European military involvement in North Africa and the Middle East region.”

Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, despite continuing international pressure, claiming it would be against its national security interests. Though Israel is not officially recognized as a nuclear weapons state, it is believed to possess several hundred operational nuclear devices.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt not to sell more state-owned companies: Morsi

Xinhua | April 30, 2013

CAIRO — Egypt would not sell any more state- owned companies, President Mohamed Morsi said Tuesday.

In his speech to steel industry workers in Helwan district in Cairo on the eve of Labor Day, Morsi said there will be no more selling of the public sector again, stressing that the private sector could not be an alternative for the public sector.

“Egypt encourages the private sector, but this does not mean disregarding the public sector,” he said.

“We will continue the way of late President Gamal Abdel-Nasser who wanted to establish a huge industrial castle in Egypt,” Morsi said, noting that manufacturing and exporting are real indicators for the development of a country.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment