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UK in damages talks with torture victims

Press TV – May 7, 2013

Britain is negotiating out-of-the-court settlements to compensate thousands of Kenyans severely mistreated under British colonial rule during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising.

According to a letter sent to lawyers representing some of the claimants, the Foreign Office has changed its mind on appealing last October’s High Court ruling that gave victims the green light to sue the government, The Guardian reported.

“The parties are currently exploring the possibility of settling the claims brought by our clients,” Dan Leader, a partner with the Leigh Day law firm told the paper.

“Clearly, given the ongoing negotiations, we can’t comment further.” He added.

The Foreign Office has refused to comment on the issue, but admitted the victims suffered “pain and grievance” during the bloody events of the Emergency period in Kenya.

Three victims won the case to sue the government at the High Court last year.

The trio’s lawyers said one of them was castrated, antoher severely tortured and the third subjected to appalling sexual abuse in detention camps during the Mau Mau rebellion.

There was also a fourth claimant Susan Ngondi who has died since legal proceedings began.

The British government has admitted to British forces’ torturing of detainees at the time following disclosure of a vast archive of colonial-era documents which the Foreign Office had kept secret for decades.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkmenistan continues search for investment in TAPI

bne | May 6, 2013

Turkmenistan is persevering with efforts to persuade an international oil major to join the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, according to reports in India, despite being unwilling to give up a stake in its gas fields to potential investors.

A series of road shows in New York, London and Singapore in the autumn, aimed at attracting international oil and gas companies to the project, ended in failure, even though companies including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, BG Group, RWE and Petronas attended. That disappointment flew in the face of claims from Turkmen officials that they had all expressed an interest in the project, which carry gas from the secretive Central Asian state via Afghanistan to the Indian sub-continent.

Ashgabat’s refusal to allow participating companies to take a stake in the Turkmen hydrocarbons fields that would fill the pipeline has been cited as the main reason for the flop, although the continuing instability in Afghanistan is another factor.

India’s Economic Times cites an unnamed Indian government official as saying that, as the four participating countries prepare for a meeting on May 15, Turkmen officials continue trying to persuade an unnamed international oil major to take part. “Our understanding is that [Turkmenistan is] quietly working with international oil companies to work a way around the question of upstream stake,” the official said.

However, he also noted that the ban on sales of stakes in Turkmen fields to foreign buyers remains a sticking point. “They have told us that they have passed a law after the Chinese were given a stake and this now does not allow them to give a stake to anybody else in the gas fields,” the official said. It’s unclear to which deal he was exactly referring.

Ashgabat is secretive over its agreements in the oil and gas sector. In 2007, China’s CNPC was given the right to develop the Bagtyyarlyk gas field, which supplies the Central Asia-China (CAC) gas pipeline exporting to China. However, the level of access Bejing enjoys to the Galkynysh (previously South Yolotan) gas field remains unknown after the Chinese State Development Bank pledged $4.1bn to help develop it in 2010. On the one hand, it’s thought Turkmenistan may have signed over a stake. Other speculation suggests Ashgabat has offered no more than a firm commitment that CAC is filled.

Either way, India is clearly pushing for a similar level of security. It has been pushing for an equity stake in the massive Galkynysh for itself, to ensure supply issues do not compromise the massive financial commitment needed to build TAPI. Indian officials say that since CNPC has been given access to upstream assets in Turkmenistan, India’s state owned GAIL should have the same privilege.

At the same time, the four states participating in TAPI have maintain that they aim to start construction of the pipeline, which has support from the Asian Development Bank, by the end of 2013. However, on top of the jockeying between themselves, they are trying to drum up support from international oil companies to invest in the project, which may cost as much as $12bn.

Agreements on the price of gas exports to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan have already been signed. In September, the four participating governments agreed to proposal from Turkmenistan to set up a company with shared capital of $20m to carry out a feasibility study and design the pipeline.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lack of evidence, FBI admission of error not enough to halt execution

RT | May 7, 2013

Mississippi is still scheduled to execute a convicted murderer Tuesday despite a lack of physical evidence tying him to the crime and a new admission from the Department of Justice that the forensic investigation was severely flawed.

Willie Jerome Manning, a 44-year-old African-American man, has been in prison for almost 20 years after being convicted for the 1992 kidnapping and murder of Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, two white college students in Mississippi. Manning was convicted based on the testimony of a jailhouse informant who implicated two men before Manning and has since recanted his claim altogether. Police also found Manning trying to sell items that formerly belonged to Steckler, at which time he claimed he acquired the property from someone he didn’t know.

Most importantly, though, according to law professor Dov Fox’s column at The Huffington Post, was testimony from Chester Blythe, an FBI agent, that a black man’s hair was found in Miller’s car. But DNA and fingerprints at the scene did not implicate Manning, and the FBI came forward last week to withdraw “testimony containing erroneous statements regarding microscopic hair comparison analysis was used in this case.”

Blythe testified that he could tell with “a relatively high degree of certainty” that the hair found at the crime scene “came from an individual of the black race.”

Last week’s announcement also admitted the witness was not credible because his claims “exceeded the limits of science” available in the mid-1990s. The Justice Department said it was an “error for an examiner to testify that he can determine the questioned hairs were from an individual of a particular group.”

It’s the first time federal officials have admitted to such a flaw in the FBI’s analysis technique. They’ve additionally offered to test Manning’s DNA to remove any reasonable doubt once and for all that he perpetrated the crime.

Despite the gravity of the Justice Department’s revelation, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to deny Manning a stay of execution.

“Our examination anew of the record reveals that conclusive, overwhelming evidence of guilt was presented to the jury,” wrote Presiding Justice Michael K. Randolph for the majority.

Fingerprints thought to belong to the killer found in one of the cars owned by a victim did not match Manning and have never been checked in the government’s database.

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James W. Kitchens, writing in dissent, pushed for more testing, warning against the possibility that “the investigation of these horrible crimes will remain incomplete.

“The victims’ families and the public at large deserve to know whether another, or an additional, perpetrator was involved,” he wrote. “Interests far beyond Manning’s are at stake, and whatever potential harm the denial seeks to avert is surely outweighed by the benefits of ensuring justice.”

However, there could be some blowback from prosecutors. “The bottom line is when you start looking at these things, there’s always something else you can do and it never ends,” said Oktibbeha County District Attorney Forrest R. Allgood.

The decision now rests in the hands of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who can grant a stay of execution or administer a lethal injection. His decision is expected to come Tuesday morning.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Militants capture UN peacekeepers in Golan Heights

bb-1

Press TV – May 7, 2013

Militants fighting against the Syrian government have abducted a group of UN peacekeepers monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

According to Reuter’s news agency, a militant group operating in Syria issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was holding the four peacekeepers.

The statement said the peacekeepers were being held for their own safety because of clashes in the separation zone between Syria and the Israeli-occupied heights.

A picture accompanying the statement shows four peacekeepers wearing light-blue UN flak jackets marked “Philippines.”

It is the second time that foreign-backed militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad seize UN troops in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

In March, anti-Syria militants detained 21 Filipino peacekeepers in the same region. They were released after three days.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the insurgents are foreign nationals.

Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

A Dangerous Delusion

By David Morrison (Author), Peter Oborne (Author) – April 18, 2013

DangerousDelusionA_mediumDescription:

In 2013 it is possible that Israel, backed by the United States, will launch an attack on Iran. This would be a catastrophic event, risking war, bloodshed and global economic collapse.

In this passionate, but rationally argued essay, the authors attempt to avert a potential global catastrophe by showing that the grounds for war do not exist, that there are no Iranian nuclear weapons, and that Iran would happily come to the table and strike a deal. They argue that the military threats aimed by the West against Iran contravene international law, and argue that Iran is a civilised country and a legitimate power across the Middle East.

For years Peter Oborne and David Morrison have, in their respective fields, examined the actions of our political classes and found them wanting. Now they have joined forces to make a poweful case against military action. In the wake of the Iraq war, will the politicians listen?

A Dangerous Delusion is available on Amazon here.  Morrison’s earlier writing on Iran is at http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/iran/.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYT on Chemical Weapons and War in Syria

By Michael McGehee | NYTX | May 6, 2013

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of weapons moving around or being utilized.” — Obama Threatens Force Against Syria, The New York Times, August 21, 2012

When President Obama spoke these words last August he might have dug himself a hole twice as deep as the one he was in last week.

As four NYT journalists reported on Sunday’s front page article “Off-the-Cuff Obama Line Put U.S. in Bind on Syria”: “Confronted with evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, President Obama now finds himself in a geopolitical box, his credibility at stake with frustratingly few good options.”

If there will be any effort to hold Mr. Obama’s feet to the fire the heat just got hotter.

Buried on page A9 of Monday’s edition of “the paper of record” was a statement by Carla del Ponte, a United Nations human rights investigator looking into the claims that chemical weapons were used in Syria:

The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces using chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said Carla Del Ponte, a commission member.

“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals,” Ms. Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television. “According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated.”

“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian.

Question: Will President Obama hold the rebels accountable for crossing his red line?

In his own words he did say that he has “been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground” [emphasis added] that the use of chemical weapons is a red line that even the Times saw last summer as a threat of force.

The question is not likely to be answered in the affirmative. This is the politics of war. For more than two years the rebels have been carrying out terrorist bombings, grisly executions, and other assorted attacks that would likely have had Washington and its allies foaming at the mouths were it the Assad regime who was the perpetrator.

Washington has failed to join the Syrian government in their own War on Terror, even though al Qaeda is active in the country. And it just goes to show as one more example: when al Qaeda is used as a boogeyman for war we should not take the pretext seriously, as in the case of Mali. If al Qaeda is on the same side as Uncle Sam, as they were in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Balkans in the 1990s, Libya in 2011, and now Syria, then there will be no drone attacks on the terrorists.

And now we see al Qaeda-linked terrorists suspected of using chemical weapons. Don’t look for the U.S. to come to the defense of the Syrian government.

Already we can see the change of attitude reflected at The New York Times.

Not two weeks ago, on April 26, 2013, it was front page news at the NYT that “White House Says It Believes Syria Has Used Chemical Arms.”

From that moment the story became a sensation. It fit well into the parameters of the propaganda system. An official enemy who we are actively trying to overthrow may have used chemical weapons and provided a clear pretext for force. Here comes the march to war.

But when UN investigators looked into the matter and reported that “Syrian Rebels May Have Used Sarin,” the story fell from grace and was pushed to page A9.

This differential treatment signals the death of the “red line” story, which is too bad because it would have been interesting to see The New York Times, or anyone in the mainstream media, investigate how Syrian rebels could have gotten a hold of sarin, especially considering a former Bush official has openly considered the idea of Israel being behind the attack.

The differential treatment may possibly throw a wrench in the drive to war . . . for now. Because, also on page A9 of Monday’s edition of The New York Times is “Attacks on Syria Fuel Debate Over U.S.-Led Airstrikes,” a report of an Israeli attack in Syria:

WASHINGTON — The apparent ease with which Israel struck missile sites and, by Syrian accounts, a major military research center near Damascus in recent days has stoked debate in Washington about whether American-led airstrikes are the logical next step to cripple President Bashar al-Assad’s ability to counter the rebel forces or use chemical weapons.

That option was already being debated in secret by the United States, Britain and France in the days leading to the Israeli strikes, according to American and foreign officials involved in the discussions. On Sunday, Senator John McCain, who has long advocated a much deeper American role in the Syrian civil war, argued that the Israeli attacks, at least one of which appears to have been launched from outside Syrian airspace, weakens the argument that Syria’s air defense system would be a major challenge.

“The Israelis seem to be able to penetrate it fairly easily,” Mr. McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

While attacks in Syria might be easier than previously suspected, the justifications for war received a setback. But if history is any guide this is only a minor and temporary one.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Truth-tellers and Justice-seekers, Don’t Forgive up!

By Stuart Littlewood | Palestine Chronicle | May 6 2013

William Cook in his masterly way tells us not to give up even if “overwhelmed by darkness of the times”.

And he reminds us that “sixty-five years ago this May 14, the world body admitted to its membership the state of Israel even as that self-declared state was in the process of invading, destroying and leveling 418 towns and villages owned by the people of Palestine who suffered death or expulsion out of their homeland to live without human rights anywhere in the world.”

His eloquence is designed to stiffen the sinews. But some weary truth-tellers and justice-seekers simply don’t want their sinew stiffened any more. For years they’ve given the Palestine thing their best shot, their family life has suffered… and for what?

With the 14th of May comes the realization that the crimes of the US-backed Israelis continue with impunity, encouraged and rewarded by those on high who should know better, while the suffering of the Palestinians knows no limit. This has been the longest and cruelest jackbooted torment of modern times yet the blood-spattered perpetrators are warmly welcomed into the drawing rooms of supposedly civilized Western rulers and promised undying support for ever. The British government has effectively disabled its Universal Jurisdiction laws to give these creatures a safe haven.

Of course, the problem is not just the Israelis. Sami Jamil Jadallah reports how the Palestinian leadership has “failed at every thing it set out to do. It failed at liberation, it failed at ending the occupation, failed at building governing institutions, failed at disengaging Palestinian economy from the Israeli economy, failed at ending the continued expansion of Jewish settlements, failed at bringing down the Apartheid Wall (though it had a court ruling), failed at creating a transparent and clean government…”

Jadallah remarks that the Arab League “recently gave Israel added incentives allowing the trade off of prime Palestinian territories in exchange for toxic waste dump. With this present leadership there is no hope for ever ending the occupation… More troubling is the commitment made with the approval of the Palestinian leadership that ‘Palestine’ will never file legal charges against Israel for past, present and future crimes.”

Hamas, naturally, are not best pleased.  Their Salah al-Khawaja told Quds Press that international law does not allow it, and any idea of land swaps gives legitimacy to the occupation to continue its settlement activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Post was reporting three years ago that the Palestinians and US-backed Israel had agreed on the principle of a land swap, but denied that the two sides had reached any further agreement. The issue was the ratio of land Israel would give to the Palestinians in exchange for keeping their illegal settlement blocs, with the Palestinians demanding 1:1 and the Israelis, being their usual greedy selves, offering less.

Now the same source reports that, while the Palestinian Authority leadership supported the land swap idea, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) condemned it. “The Palestinians don’t need anyone to make concessions on their behalf. No one authorized the Arab delegation to voluntarily give up Palestinian lands. We condemn this proposal as an attempt to legitimize settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in violation of international laws and the Geneva Fourth Convention.”

Another group, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), also slammed the land swap idea and accused Qatar, which has been playing a leadership role in the Arab League, of seeking to liquidate the Palestinian issue. Mohamed Jadallah, a senior member of the DFLP, said that Qatar was seeking to take over the Arab League in order to serve US interests in the region. “Qatar has bought the Arab countries with its money and stolen their political decision,” he said.

Jadallah claimed that Qatar was working toward by-passing the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative by offering to relinquish control over Palestinian territories.

Since US-backed Israel selected and stole prime locations for its settlements, knowing full well that it was committing a war crime, why should the Palestinians settle for 1:1? Why should they agree to land swaps at all? If the Jews living in these ‘squats’ wish to stay they can become Palestinian citizens.

All this simply adds fuel to the burning resentment felt by Palestinians and their sympathizers around the world towards the ‘enemy within’ who would sell their grandmothers for a fistful of dollars or shekels

In the Long Grass Something Stirs

Meanwhile, here in England it looks like a major party ‘scum clearance’ may have begun, albeit in a modest way. In elections last Thursday in the 27 English county councils and 7 unitary authorities the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won over 140 seats and averaged 25% of the vote in the areas where it was standing. Cameron’s Conservatives lost control of 10 councils, but retained 18. Their coalition buddies, the Liberal Democrats, did badly too.

UKIP aims to haul us out of the EU cesspit and bolt the door against unwanted immigrants. As these concerns are uppermost in ordinary people’s minds, UKIP strikes a strong chord with British voters. The county election results show what can happen when political leaders continually ignore the electorate’s concerns and press ahead with their own private agenda when it is obviously not in the national interest.

The breakthrough by UKIP, however, is not entirely good news. The party claims “Israel has maintained an impeccable human rights record” and seeks to cement “true friendship” with its hoodlums. UKIP seems indifferent to the fact that Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear warheads (and the means to deliver them), menaces the whole region (and Europe) and defies calls to sign up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and place its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. Yet UKIP believes a nuclear Iran would be unacceptable, and says it would support efforts to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons capability by “military means”.

UKIP is so bonkers about Israel that it rejects calls for the suspension of trade deals such as the EU-Israel Association Agreement, apparently seeing no need for the racist entity to show “respect for human rights and democratic principles” as set out in that Agreement.

Not surprisingly UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage has been described by the Jewish Chronicle as “a good friend of Israel”. And, naturally, UKIP has a Friends of Israel group which proclaims: “Despite constant assault from within and without, Israel has maintained an impeccable human rights record and remains the only country in the Middle East to extend full civil and political rights to all of its citizens, regardless of race or religion. Yet somehow it is cast as the oppressor, vilified as an ‘apartheid state’ and singled out for disproportionate criticism.

“Decades of malicious propaganda campaigns have seen to it that a one-sided historical narrative which portrays the Palestinians as blameless victims now successfully masquerades as reality…”

People who joined, then left UKIP say it’s corrupt and run on Stalinistic lines. So UKIP are not the loveliest people to have around… and certainly not the sort you’d want actually running your country. But for the time being these useful idiots may serve a purpose in helping to clear away the even more unlovely major party trash that’s funded by Zionists, owes allegiance to a foreign Zionist power and adores and supports the Zionist program of land-theft, mayhem and murder directed even against fellow Christians.

Another cause for slight hope is the recent Eminent Persons letter in which Jeremy Greenstock, former UK Ambassador to the UN, and 18 other prominent Europeans have sent a strongly-worded message to EU High Representative Catherine Ashton calling for a new European approach and expressing “strong concern about the dying chances of a settlement based on two separate, sovereign and peaceful states of Israel and Palestine”.

They warn that “the Occupation is actually being entrenched by the present Western policy” and “the steady increase in the extent and population of Israeli settlements, including in East Jerusalem, and the entrenchment of Israeli control over the OT [Occupied Territories] in defiance of international law, indicate a permanent trend towards a complete dislocation of Palestinian territorial rights.”

The letter concludes that letting the situation lie unaddressed is highly dangerous when such an explosive issue sits in such a turbulent environment.

It adds that over the years the EU’s inactivity has been unprincipled and unwise.  “European leaders cannot wait for ever for action from the United States when the evidence accumulates of American failure to recognize and promote the equal status of Israelis and Palestinians… as accepted in United Nations resolutions.”

Why has it taken them so long to put pen to paper? It’s probably too late for a two-state solution, but what they say might lead to better things. Many more ‘eminent persons’ need to speak up for justice. Where are they? Why do they still skulk behind the woodwork?

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Bed With Bibi

By Gilad Atzmon | May 7, 2013

Once again we see a familiar pattern: our united ‘progressives’ — a veritable synagogue, a collective of great humanists — lend their support to the oppressed.  This time it is the ‘Syrian people’ whom they wish to liberate and their enemy is obviously Bashar Al-Assad.

It is a pattern we know only too well by now. Ahead of the ‘War Against Terror’ we witnessed years of intensive progressive Feminist and Gay rights groups campaigning for women’s rights in Afghanistan.  The Progressive type also disapproves of the current state of the Iranian revolution. Too often he or she would insist that we must liberate the Iranians.  This week, once again, we see a united front made by Tariq Ali, Ilan Pappe, Fredric Jameson, Norman Finkelstein and other very good people. They clearly want us to ‘liberate the Syrians’.

They campaign openly to topple Bashar al-Asad’s regime.  They call the ‘people of the world’ to pressure the Syrian regime to end its oppression of and war on the ‘Syrian people.’ “We demand,” they say, that Bashar al-Asad leave immediately without excuses so that Syria can begin a speedy recovery towards a democratic future.”

So here we are. Ali, Jameson, Pappe, Finelstein & Co, in light of recent Israeli attacks on Syria, will you be kind enough, gentlemen, to tell us whom you support? Is it Assad or Netanyahu you side with?

One may wonder how it can happen that our progressives, in spite of their good will and humanist credentials, have managed once again to end up in bed with Bibi?

The answer is actually embarrassingly simple. The progressive philosophy is the latest and most advanced form of ideological choseness. Calling yourself a progressive obviously entails that someone else must be  a ‘reactionary’. It is a self-appointed elitist standpoint that is inherently intolerant and supremacist.

Progressiveness is a precept devoted to the Tikun Olam (fixing the universe) ideology.  It is premised  on the idea that those who uphold progressive ideas ‘know better.’  They know what is right and who is wrong. The Progressive knows how to differentiate between the Kosher and the Taref.  The progressive voices in this case  somehow turn a blind eye to the embarrassing fact that it is actually the Syrian army, largely Sunnis, that is fighting the so-called ‘Syrian rebels’ who are a motley gathering of foreign mercenaries.

Perhaps our progressive interventionists could do with reading Robert Fisk more often — after all, Fisk may as well be the only reliable English-speaking reporter in the region. “The word ‘democracy’ and the name of Assad do not blend very well in much of Syria.” Fisk reports, but he continues,   “I rather think that the soldiers of what is officially called the Syrian Arab Army are fighting for Syria rather than Assad. But fighting they are and maybe, for now, they are winning an unwinnable war.”

Bearing that in mind, I would expect progressive intellectuals, amongst them respected historians and political scientists, to be slightly more sophisticated and ponder a bit more before providing Israel with a moral green light to launch a new global conflict.

I would tend to believe that it is about time our progressive humanists engaged in a preliminary ethical investigation. They should find out, once and for all, what it is that constitutes moral grounds for any form of intervention. I believe that before you preach ‘Tikun Olam’ and  claim to ‘fix the world’ in the name of  the usually cited ‘civil society’ and ‘international law,’  you may want to consider fixing yourselves first.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon asks UN to censure Israel for violating its sovereignty

Press TV – May 7, 2013

Lebanon has asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel for violating its sovereignty by air, sea, and land.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, Lebanon urged the 15-member body to “compel Israel to halt its violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty by air, sea and land, and carry out all its obligations in accordance with Resolution 1701,” Reuters reported on Monday.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a ceasefire in the war of aggression Israel launched against Lebanon in 2006, calls on Israel to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The Israeli Air Force continues to violate Lebanese airspace and in the previous days intensified its circuits above Lebanon. This constitutes a disgraceful violation of (Lebanon’s) sovereignty,” the letter said.

On Friday and Sunday, Israeli warplanes carried out two airstrikes on Syria. The Syrian government called the attacks a “flagrant violation of international law.”

On Sunday, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman condemned the Israeli airstrikes on Syria. A statement issued by Lebanon’s presidential office read: “Sleiman strongly condemned Israel’s aggression on Syrian sites [which it carried out] by violating Lebanese airspace to carry out these attacks.”

“This act is not unusual for a mutual enemy [such as Israel] whose policy is based on aggression that takes advantage of the circumstances Syria is going through to carry out its aggression just as it used to do in Lebanon during its days of crisis,” the statement added.

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati also denounced the strikes, saying they “underscored once again Israel’s aggressive intentions.”

“[The strikes] fall within the series of continuous aerial violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty and its threats against Lebanon,” he said in a statement issued on Sunday.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has sent letters to the UN Security Council stating that Israel’s aggression shows the links between Tel Aviv and terrorist groups operating in Syria, including the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi told reporters in Damascus on Sunday that Syria had the right and the duty to defend its people by all available means and it would not give in to Israeli acts of aggression.

The Israeli attacks on Syria have made the Middle East more dangerous, the Syrian information minister stated.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Pro-Israeli US senator pushes bill requiring military aid to Syria insurgents

Press TV – May 7, 2013

Despite recent findings of a UN probe team that foreign-backed insurgents in Syria have used chemical agents in the country, a top US senator has introduced a bill requiring the Obama administration to supply lethal weapons to the anti-Damascus militant gangs.

Democratic Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menedez, well known for his pro-Israeli views and positions, introduced the legislation to his committee on Monday, which would explicitly allow Washington to provide arms and military training to the militant gangs that include al-Qaeda-linked terrorist elements.

The move came on the heels of unprovoked Israeli aerial and missile attacks against Syria in recent days, in a flagrant violation of international law, and a report by a UN investigation team that pointed to “strong, concrete suspicions” of chemical weapons use by foreign-backed Syrian opposition forces that are engaged in a US-led move to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN commission probing the alleged use of the nerve gas sarin in Syria, announced on Sunday that the country’s opposition forces, and not the Assad regime, were behind the use of chemical weapons.

There are “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” of sarin gas being used “on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she reportedly told a Swiss-Italian television outlet.

Meanwhile, Menendez, a New York Democrat who was recently investigated for ties and accepting campaign funds and bribes from a criminal enterprise in Florida, claimed in a statement that “the Assad regime has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options.”

He further called for clear measures by Washington to tip the military balance in favor of the anti-Damascus militant gangs in line with the recent aggression by the Zionist regime.

“The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the US must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free Syria,” Menendez further claimed.

Such remarks come while Menendez, along with several other pro-Israeli Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the US Congress have been urging the Obama administration to intervene in Syria in support of the insurgents and in a bid to remove President Assad from power.

Furthermore, Menendez is also among those American lawmakers that recently pushed a resolution calling for US backing of the Tel Aviv regime in case it decides to wage a military action against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This is while the Iranian authorities have made clear that in case the Zionist regime dared to attack the country in any way, major Israeli cities will be “razed to the ground” in response and retaliatory measures against US interests would extend far beyond the immediate region.

The US Senate is to consider the draft bill introduced by Menendez next week. In order for the bill to become law, it has to first be approved by the committee, win passage on the floors of the House and the Senate and then signed by President Barack Obama.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Syria: a Toast to Israeli State Terrorism

By Julie Webb-Pullman | Palestine Chronicle | May 6 2013
Made in the USA. (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)
Made in the USA. (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

While the United States peddled the threat of chemical weapon use to justify its arming of the ‘opposition’ in Syria, Israel destroyed a chemical research facility near Damascus which was allegedly developing such weapons – thus unleashing every single potentially-poisonous particle on the Syrian public.

Thus guaranteeing that regardless of whether there actually were chemical weapons being developed or manufactured, regardless of whether the Assad regime actually was intending to use them against the Syrian people, the Syrian people now HAVE been exposed – and in a totally uncontrolled fashion – to not only the known toxic effects of whatever was in the facility, but also to the unknown effects of the random mixing of such chemicals under conditions of extreme heat, and their dissemination who knows how far, causing who knows what extent of environmental and health damage.

Assad mustn’t be permitted to do it – but Israel can – and with US blessing.

Israel’s “right to defend its interests,” Obama immediately called it.

Others would call it a cold-blooded murderous attack on the Syrian civilian population.

Others would call it terrorism.

State terrorism.

Since the Twin Towers attacks in 2001, the use of pre-emptive strikes by both the US and Israel to ‘counter terrorism’ or ‘defend security interests’ have escalated to become the single most potent military threat to civilians anywhere on the planet.

Massacre after massacre of civilians by drones, by rockets, by misguided ‘targeted assassinations’ in Afghanistan, Gaza, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan – the list goes on. The list of perpetrators, however, is short – only two. The United States and Israel.

Are such peremptory attacks permissible in international law?

No – international law is very clear on this. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter only allows military actions in self-defence when under direct attack.

Did Syria attack Israel?

No.

Did Syria make any kind of threatening military action towards Israel?

No.

Israel carried out an indefensible-in-international-law military strike in Syria causing direct – and very real – harm to a large civilian population.

A more clear – and potent – case of state terrorism would be hard to find.

Did the US condemn this act, which exposed Syrians to the very harm Obama was trumpeting around the world his intention to protect them from?

No.

He defended Israel’s attack.

A more clear – and potent – case of abject hypocrUSAy would be hard to find.

If the world is not to degenerate into a complete USraeli military dictatorship, the international community must act immediately to curtail this latest slide down the slippery slope of human rights derogation, where notions such as international law and due process are merely quaint antiquities, and self-determination a notion reserved solely for Yanqui and Zionist imperialists – or it won’t just be the end of the alphabet we have reached.

And for those in the US who doubt your country’s role in Israeli military activities, take a look at where your tax-dollars are going. Take a look at this photograph (above) of the remains of the rocket fired by an Israeli military plane at a building housing media agencies in Gaza in November 2012, destroying civilian property and persons. YOU are financing these atrocities. Yes, YOU.

You – and the United Nations – should be reminded of the UN General Assembly’s Measures to prevent and combat terrorism contained in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of 2006, where it stated its resolve to “… find, deny safe haven and bring to justice, on the basis of the principle of extradite or prosecute, any person who supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts…”

The world is waiting – especially all the Syrians just exposed to the cocktail of chemicals the US was claiming to protect them from, while defending Israel’s right to toast them.

– Julie Webb-Pullman is a New Zealand activist and writer currently based in Gaza. She has written on social and political justice issues for New Zealand Independent News website SCOOP since 2003, as well as for websites in Australia, Canada, the US, and Latin America, and participated in several human rights observation missions.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment