Aletho News


Russia slams the US for distorting results of trilateral talks on Syria


Press TV – June 7, 2013

Russia’s foreign minister has censured the US Department of State officials for their ‘peculiar comment’ on the results of a trilateral meeting over Syria in Geneva.

The trilateral meeting on Wednesday was held with the participation of UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and representatives from Russia and the United States. It served as a preparatory move to pave the way for the Geneva 2 talks on the issue of Syria.

During a Thursday press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “I have heard that officials from the US Department of State have given a very peculiar comment on the results of yesterday’s meeting in Geneva between Russia, US, and UN.”

“In particular, the State Department representative stated that Russia, the United States and the United Nations agree that the goal of the new conference in Geneva must be the forming of a new transitional government in Syria. This really matches with what was written down last year,” he said.

“But, if the reports that I have received are true, the State Department went on to add that this should be a transitional government to which the current authorities in Damascus would hand over all their powers. If this was really said by the State Department, this is a very strong distortion of what the talks were about,” the Russian foreign minister added.

He made the remarks in response to an earlier statement by Jennifer Psaki, a spokesperson for the US Department of State, where she reportedly claimed that participants in the preparatory meeting had agreed that the forthcoming talks on Syria should focus on the formation of a transitional government, to which the current administration should give up all powers.

Lavrov further reiterated that Moscow would continue to push for Iran’s participation in the upcoming Geneva meeting despite opposition from some Western states.

Meanwhile, Brahimi has expressed hope that the Geneva conference would convene in July, as the preparatory meeting failed to set a date.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russia slams the US for distorting results of trilateral talks on Syria

Syria – Israel Is Losing the Battle

By Gilad Atzmon | June 7, 2013

In the last week we have been following desperate British and French attempts to push for military intervention in Syria. It is far from being a secret that both governments are dominated by the Jewish Lobby. In Britain it is the ultra Zionist CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel) – apparently 80% of Britain’s conservative MPs are members of the pro-Israeli Lobby. In France the situation is even more devastating, the entire political system is hijacked by the forceful CRIF.

But in case anyone fails to grasp why the Jewish Lobby is pushing for an immediate intervention, Debka, an Israeli news outlet provides the answer. Seemingly, the Syrian army is winning on all fronts. Israel’s military and geo-political calculations have proven to be wrong.

According to Debka, “the battle for Damascus is over”. The Syrian army had virtually “regained control of the city in an epic victory”. The rebels, largely mercenaries, have lost the battle they “can’t do much more than fire sporadically. They can no longer launch raids, or pose threats to the city centre, the airport or the big Syrian air base nearby.
 The Russian and Iranian transports constantly bringing replenishment for keeping the Syrian army fighting can again land at Damascus airport after months of rebel siege.”

But it isn’t just the capital. Debka reports that “Hezbollah and Syrian units have tightened their siege on the rebels holding out in the northern sector of al Qusayr; other (Syrian army) units have completed their takeover of the countryside around the town of Hama; and a third combined Syrian-Hizballah force has taken up positions around Aleppo.”

Debka maintains that senior IDF officers criticized the Israeli defense minister (Moshe Ya’alon) who “mislead” the Knesset a few days ago estimating that “Bashar Assad controlled only 40% of Syrian territory.” Debka suggests that the Israeli defense Ministry has drawn on a “flawed intelligence assessment and were concerned that the armed forces were acting on the basis of inaccurate intelligence.” Debka stresses, “erroneous assessments… must lead to faulty decision-making.”

Debka is clearly brave enough to admit that Israeli military miscalculations may have led to disastrous consequences. It reports, “the massive Israeli bombardment of Iranian weapons stored near Damascus for Hezbollah, turned out a month later to have done more harm than good. It gave Bashar Assad a boost instead of weakening his resolve.”

Debka is obviously correct. It doesn’t take a genius to predict that an Israeli attack on an Arab land cannot be accepted by the Arab masses, not even by Assad’s bitterest Arab opponents.

Debka maintains that the “intelligence focus on military movements in Syria especially around Damascus to ascertain that advanced missiles and chemical weapons don’t reach Hezbollah laid to a failure in detecting a major movement by Hezbollah militia units towards the Syrian-Israeli border.”

Israel is now facing a new reality. It is facing Hezbollah reinforcements streaming in from Lebanon towards the Golan heights and its border with Syria.

Israel, Debka concludes, will soon find itself “face to face for the first time with Hezbollah units equipped with heavy arms and missiles on the move along the Syrian-Israeli border and manning positions opposite Israel’s Golan outposts and villages.”

Debka is correct to suggest that instead of “growing weaker, Iran’s Lebanese proxy is poised to open another war front and force the IDF to adapt to a new military challenge from the Syrian Golan.”

Rather than The Guardian or Le Monde, it is actually the Israeli Debka that helps us to grasp why Britain and France are so desperate to intervene. Once again, it is a Zionist war which they are so eager to fight.

Sadly enough, it isn’t The Guardian or The New York Times that is there to reveal the latest development in Syria and expose Israeli lethal miscalculations. It is actually a ‘Zionist’ Israeli patriotic outlet that is providing the goods. I actually believe that this form of harsh self-criticism that is embedded in Israeli culture, is the means that sustains Israeli regional hegemony, at least monetarily. This ability to critically examine and disapprove of your own leadership is something I fail to encounter in Western media. Seemingly, the media in Israel is far more tolerant toward criticism than the Zionist dominated Media in the West.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Have You Been Denied Entry?

American organizations are telling Congress to oppose visa waivers for Israel, which routinely denies entry to Palestinian Americans and American activists who want to work in or even visit Israel and Palestine. The Arab American Institute is collecting stories of American citizens who have been harassed, detained, or deported when attempting to enter Israel or Palestine. If you’ve personally experienced such an incident, please provide details in the form below. All personal information will be kept private and stories will not be distributed without your expressed permission.
For more information about this topic please read:
The current Washington Report, June/July 2013, with a story on p. 17 by Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf. Shapiro was forbidden by Israel from being present at the birth of his son Diyaar.*
Washington Report March 2011, Pages 48-49
“Israel also has denied visas to more than 500 religious workers and clergy to live and work in the West Bank and Gaza. Denied entry into Palestine, they are prevented from ministering to their people. Some priests are even afraid to leave, for fear they will not be allowed to return.”
Washington Report January/February 2011, Page 47
Coming at this from a different view Israel also prevents Palestinian students from enjoying their right to movement—to leave or return home for studies. “Bethlehem University graduate Berlanty Azzam and Tania Hary, director of international relations at the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement (Gisha), discussed ‘The Denial of Palestinians’ Rights to Travel and Study.’”…

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Have You Been Denied Entry?

Poetry for Palestine | Poetic Injustice with Remi Kanazi

breakingtheset · May 31, 2013

Abby Martin looks back at the third anniversary of the Gaza flotilla siege, and presents Remi Kanazi, Palestinian-American poet and activist, who uses his educational art to perform the poems ‘Normalize This’ and ‘Refuse’. Abby speaks to Remi about the Palestinian plight, grassroots activism, and his artistic inspirations.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | Comments Off on Poetry for Palestine | Poetic Injustice with Remi Kanazi

California’s San Onofre nuclear plant to shut down permanently – owner

RT | June 7, 2013

Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided to permanently retire two units of its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) on California’s Pacific coast, Edison International said in a press release.

“SONGS has served this region for over 40 years,” said Ted Craver, Chair and CEO of Edison International, the parent company of SCE, “but we have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if SONGS might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs.”

Units 2 and 3 of the troubled plant have been shut down since January 2012, when a radiation leak led to the discovery of significant damage to several generator tubes. Many feared that the worsening conditions at the atomic power station would result in a Fukushima-like meltdown in California.

The plant’s generators have been malfunctioning for months. Today’s decision to permanently shut down the twin-domed facility comes after the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety & Licensing Board ordered a hearing on Edison’s plan to restart Unit 2 at 70 percent of full power. The company’s officials claimed that operating the least-damaged reactor at that capacity would ensure its safety by reducing vibrations in the generator’s tubes.

It may take over a year for a final decision on the future of the reactor to be made, Edison said in its statement on Friday. It added that throughout that period the company will bear the costs of ensuring the reactor is prepared for a restart – a costly prospect for both the owner and its clients. SCE said it would rather focus its efforts on “planning for the replacement generation and transmission resources which will be required for grid reliability.”

The company also plans to reduce its current staff of about 1,500 to around 400 employees within the next 12 months, but vowed to handle the layoffs “fairly.”

It will take years to fully decommission the two San Onofre reactors. Edison said its “top priority will be to ensure a safe, orderly, and compliant retirement of these units.”

The US has 104 nuclear power reactors, 13 of which are currently being decommissioned, according to the NRC.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Nuclear Power | , , , | Comments Off on California’s San Onofre nuclear plant to shut down permanently – owner

DHS defends suspicionless searches of laptops and cell phones

RT | June 6, 2013

The United States government doesn’t need a reason to seize and search the cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices of Americans entering the country, according to a Department of Homeland Security document provided to the press this week.

The DHS has long insisted that border agents and immigration officers are allowed to collect the electronics of US citizens crossing into the country without reason or cause, but a December 2011 document made public this week once and for all shines a light on a sparsely discussed security-measure that has attracted the attention of privacy advocates and others who’ve equated the practice as a constitutional violation.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Associated Press jointly filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the document earlier this year after the DHS published a two-page executive summary briefly explaining the results of an audit conducted by the department’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. In that statement, the DHS auditor concluded that Customs and Border Protection agents and officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement were not violating either the First or Fourth Amendments to the US Constitution by seizing the electronics of Americans without clear suspicion of a crime.

“We conclude that CBP’s and ICE’s current border search policies comply with the Fourth Amendment,” Tamara Kessler wrote for the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the summary. “We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.”

Now with the full 23-page paper in their possession — albeit a version that’s seen a fair share of redactions — the AP and ACLU have published the document in order to expose a post-9/11 policy that has remained intact under President Barack Obama, but to little discussion.

“This is striking,” ACLU fellow Brian Hauss wrote Wednesday, “because it is the first time, as far as we know, that the government has explained why purely suspicionless searches supposedly enhance security.”

The government’s reasoning, according to the document, is that the blanketing ability to collect and assess the devices of anyone thought to be entering the country is crucial to thwart high crimes. That being said, the government attests that requiring actual probable cause before seizing a device would, in the eyes of the DHS, hinder their ability to counter terrorism.

“[A]dding a heightened [suspicion-based] threshold requirement could be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefit,” the document found. “First, commonplace decisions to search electronic devices might be opened to litigation challenging the reasons for the search. In addition to interfering with a carefully constructed border security system, the litigation could directly undermine national security by requiring the government to produce sensitive investigative and national security information to justify some of the most critical searches.”

“Even a policy change entirely unenforceable by courts might be problematic,” it continued. “Under a reasonable suspicion requirement, officers might hesitate to search an individual’s device without the presence of articulable factors capable of being formally defended, despite having an intuition or hunch based on experience that justified a search.”

Speaking to AP, ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump said the government’s reasoning is “just not good enough” and demonstrates purely inadequate reasoning.

“A purely suspicionless search opens the door to ethnic profiling,” Crump said.

Hauss, the legal fellow for the group’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said the government’s line of thought in defending the policy is faulty for a few different reasons. “DHS claims that giving Americans the opportunity to challenge laptop searches in court would lead to the divulgence of national security secrets, but this is obviously wrong,” he wrote. “The government has numerous resources at its disposal to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information. The ‘state secrets privilege,’ to take just one example that is used in court cases, has been criticized on many grounds, but no one has ever seriously suggested that its protections are too anemic. Although DHS might fear the prospect of being called into open court to explain its actions, executive accountability before the law is the bedrock on which our system of constitutional self-government is built.”

Last year, the US Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling that legally permitted the use of suspicionless roadblocks anywhere within 100 miles of an international border, subjecting nearly 200 million Americans around the country to spontaneous and sporadic inspections of vehicles and their possessions.

On Tuesday, ACLU spokesperson Peter Boogaard told Bloomberg News that a 2009 policy change restricted how long the DHS can hold on to seized electronics. Earlier this week, though, it was suggested that the department did not necessarily see any problems with duplicating that information to be held on to indefinitely.

David House, a founding member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, sued the DHS in 2011 after his computer and cell phone were seized after an international flight he was on landed at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. On behalf of the ACLU, House sued DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on the accusation that his belongings were searched solely on the basis of his association with the Support Network, an organization that has paid in full the legal bills for the 25-year-old Army private accused of committing espionage and aiding terrorists by sharing sensitive files with the website WikiLeaks. House’s devices were held for 49 days by ICE — longer than the 30 days allowed legally — and the contents of those electronics were copied by investigations. House dropped his lawsuit last after the DHS agreed to delete its copy of the data.

“They’re giving us exactly what we wanted,” House told Wired.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on DHS defends suspicionless searches of laptops and cell phones

The Village Under The Forest

Documentary Trailer

May 10, 2013

Unfolding as a personal meditation from the Jewish Diaspora, The Village Under The Forest explores the hidden remains of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, which lies under a purposefully cultivated forest plantation called South Africa Forest.

Using the forest and the village ruins as metaphors, the documentary explores themes related to the erasure and persistence of memory and dares to imagine a future in which dignity, acknowledgement and co-habitation become shared possibilities in Israel/Palestine.

The Village Under The Forest is co-directed by Emmy-winner Mark Kaplan and scholar and poet Heidi Grunebaum. Captivating music by Gilad Atzmon is featured.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Comments Off on The Village Under The Forest

Oh, And One More Thing: NSA Directly Accessing Information From Google, Facebook, Skype, Apple And More

By Mike Masnick | TechDirt | June 6th 2013

Obviously, the Verizon/NSA situation was merely a small view into just how much spying the NSA is doing on everyone. And it seems to be spurring further leaks and disclosures. The latest, from the Washington Post, is that the NSA has direct data mining capabilities into the data held by nine of the biggest internet/tech companies:

The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” PalTalk, although much smaller, has hosted significant traffic during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Dropbox , the cloud storage and synchronization service, is described as “coming soon.”

This program, like the constant surveillance of phone records, began in 2007, though other programs predated it. They claim that they’re not collecting all data, but it’s not clear that makes a real difference:

The PRISM program is not a dragnet, exactly. From inside a company’s data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes, but under current rules the agency does not try to collect it all.

Analysts who use the system from a Web portal at Fort Meade key in “selectors,” or search terms, that are designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s “foreignness.” That is not a very stringent test. Training materials obtained by the Post instruct new analysts to submit accidentally collected U.S. content for a quarterly report, “but it’s nothing to worry about.”

Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content.

I expect we’ll be seeing more such revelations before long.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Britain pays £20m to Mau Mau victims

Morning Star | June 6, 2013

Foreign Secretary William Hague stopped short of issuing an apology today to the elderly Kenyans tortured by British colonial forces during the Mau Mau uprising.

The Mau Mau movement emerged in central Kenya during the 1950s to get back seized land and push for an end to colonial rule. Supporters were detained in camps and thousands were tortured, maimed or executed.

Mr Hague told the House of Commons that the government had reached a full and final settlement with solicitors of 5,228 claimants totalling £19.9 million.

The government would also support the construction of a memorial in Kenya’s capital Nairobi to the victims of torture and ill-treatment during the colonial era.

But he said the British government continued to deny liability for what happened during the uprising.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said Labour supported the government.

However left Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said it was strange of the government to offer compensation but to deny any formal responsibility.

“I’m a bit surprised,” he said, adding: “This is a very strange result, to offer compensation and a settlement for Leigh Day and at the same time deny liability,” he said.

Mr Corbyn pointed out that many MPs in the 1950s raised the issue in Parliament at the time, praising the Kenyans for their “tenacity” in seeking justice.

“When we deny rights and justice, when we deny democracy, when we practise concentration camps, it reduces our ability to criticise anybody else for that fundamental denial of human rights, and I think this is a lesson that needs to be learnt not just in Kenya but in other colonial wars as well where equal brutality was used by British forces,” he said.

Mr Hague said there was no inconsistency in recognising the suffering endured by many of the victims while continuing to deny liability.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Britain pays £20m to Mau Mau victims

G4s annual meeting stormed by human rights activists

Press TV – June 7, 2013

Pro-Palestine campaigners have staged a protest at the annual meeting of shareholders of disgraced security firm G4S in London, calling for an end to the firm’s Israeli prison contracts.

G4S meeting on June 6 was twice disrupted by protesters, who voiced their anger against the private company’s provision of expertise and security systems to Israeli prisons, and its complicity in the detention and torture of Palestinian children.

The demonstration was organized by the Innovative Minds (inminds) and Islamic Human Right Commission (IHRC) campaign groups.

“G4S cannot expect to do business as usual whilst it equips Israeli prisons which hold Palestinians in breach of the Geneva Convention,” said Sarah Colborne, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

G4S faces criticism for its cooperation with the Israeli regime, including providing equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints, illegal settlements, the apartheid wall and jails where Palestinian political prisoners are subjected to mistreatment and torture.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on G4s annual meeting stormed by human rights activists