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Inquiry on Aleppo chemical attack met int’l standards, unlike West’s – Lavrov

RT | July 10, 2013

Russia’s inquiry into the use of chemical weapons on Syrian territory was carried out in full accordance with international standards, unlike a similar evaluation by Western countries, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

On Tuesday, Russia submitted to the UN its analysis of the samples taken at the Syrian town where chemical weapons were used. Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal, west of Aleppo, by rebels, rather than government forces.

Russia “guarantees” the quality of the analysis, which fully complies with the requirements set by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Sergey Lavrov told a media conference on Wednesday, following talks with his Belarusian counterpart.

In response to US doubts regarding the results of the analysis, Lavrov underlined that the samples of the chemical weapons had been taken at the very place where they were used and were delivered by Russian experts rather than passed through third-party hands.

“We submitted a full set of documents [to the UN]. That’s over 80 pages, including photographs and precise geographic coordinates [of places where samples were taken], procedures and results,” Lavrov pointed out. “We also guarantee that the samples were taken by experts who did not let go of them till they were delivered to the laboratory,” Lavrov said.

The evidence of the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime – which was provided by the US, Britain and France – does not provide information on where and when the samples they used for analysis were taken, Lavrov noted.

Besides that, their samples passed through many hands and some of them, as those Western partners said, were received from journalists, he observed.

“All that totally contradicts the standards existing in the OPCW,” Lavrov stated.

Evidence studied by Russian experts indicates that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the northern Syrian town of Khan al-Assal, outside Aleppo, which has been under government control. According to the findings, the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory-made and contained sarin – a highly toxic nerve agent.

Russia believes that the manufacture of the ‘Bashair-3’ warheads started in February, and is the work of Bashair al-Nasr, a brigade with close ties to the Free Syrian Army.

Moscow has no objection to making the results of its probe public, Lavrov pointed out.

“[The conclusions of the inquiry] are quite convincing and I think that this should answer many questions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Coalition denied Russian allegations that rebel forces used chemical weapon at the suburb of Aleppo. They insist that UN inspectors should be allowed to investigate the attack.

British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn told RT that “it’s got to be a good thing that Russia is going to put its evidence in front of the UN.”

Responding to comments from the US, Britain, and France that they have unconfirmed reports that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, Corbyn said “the reports are either confirmed and the evidence is there, or it’s not, and anyone who has any evidence should hand it straight over to the UN.”

“The usage of chemical weapons is inconsistent with the guiding principles and goals of the Syrian revolution,” Khalid Saleh, a spokesman for the coalition said on Wednesday, as cited by Reuters. “Targeting civilians indiscriminately to achieve political gains is a common characteristic of the Assad regime,” he added.

The Syrian government and rebels have blamed each other for the March incident outside Aleppo that killed 26 people as well as for other alleged chemical attacks in the conflict-torn country.

On Monday, the Syrian government invited two senior UN officials to Damascus to discuss allegations of the use of chemical weapons, adding that they discovered a rebels-linked storage site which contained piles of dangerous chemicals.

The UN Secretary General’s spokesperson described the offer as “a move in the right direction,” but did not say whether the organization would accept it. Martin Nesirky said the Syrian government needed to grant the UN team broad access across the country “without further delay and without conditions.”

July 10, 2013 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Comments Off on Inquiry on Aleppo chemical attack met int’l standards, unlike West’s – Lavrov

Tens of Thousands of California Inmates Join Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford | July 10, 2013

About 30,000 California prisoners have joined the hunger strike begun, on Monday, by inmates at the Secure Housing Units at Pelican Bay. That’s more than four times as many as joined Pelican Bay inmates in their first hunger strike, in July of 2011, and two and a half times the number that struck in October of that year. So far, two-thirds of the state’s prisons have been affected.

The Pelican Bay inmates carry a certain moral authority, in that they represent the most long-suffering, intensely persecuted group in the largest and most barbaric prison system in the world – the approximately 80,000 U.S. prison inmates held under solitary confinement. Pelican Bay is the site of more than 1,000 solitary confinement cells, where prisoners are isolated from other human contact for at least 22 and a half hours a day. Around the state, about 4,500 people are held in Special Housing Units, or SHUs, with 6,000 more enduring some other form of solitary. Some of the SHU inmates have not seen the natural light of day for more than 20 years.

The State calls the SHU inmates the “worst of the worst” in order to justify a punishment regime more barbaric, in many respects, than any in recorded history – a massive, multi-billion dollar enterprise whose mission is to destroy the minds of men and women. Inmates are locked away for years on end for possession of literature, or for mere suspicion of political militancy. By far the largest number of SHU inmates are accused of belonging to gangs, and can only be released from solitary by accusing other inmates of gang affiliation – a process that is euphemistically called “debriefing” – thus turning everyone into a potential snitch against everyone else.

Prison is the ultimate surveillance regime, a place where the sense of self, of human agency, and of privacy is systematically crushed, in the name of security. It is no coincidence that the world’s prison superpower, the United States, which accounts for one out of every four incarcerated persons on the planet, is also engaged in spying on every other nation and population on Earth. It is as if the United States is determined to surveil – with the implicit threat to crush – every expression of the human soul.

Both U.S. global surveillance and American prison policies violate international law. The Center for Constitutional Rights has sued on behalf of the Pelican Bay inmates, citing the finding by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture that any more than 15 days of solitary confinement violates international standards of human rights.

California’s inmates aren’t waiting for the UN or the courts to come to the rescue. They’ve issued five core demands, with elimination of long-term solitary confinement at the top, and insist that the hunger strike will not end until California signs a legally binding agreement. The very concept of negotiation with inmates is anathema to the Prison State, whose goal is to reduce human beings to objects, with no rights whatsoever. The Pelican Bay inmates have concluded that, if they are to have any chance to live, they must be prepared to die.

Glen Ford can be contacted at

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tens of Thousands of California Inmates Join Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers

Father and 7-year-old son illegally detained in occupied Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | July 10, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On July 9th at around 4pm in occupied Hebron, Israeli soldiers arrested and held a seven-year-old boy in their military base along with his father. They kept the father handcuffed and blindfolded, and transferred them to the checkpoint separating the Israeli and Palestinian controlled areas of Hebron – Checkpoint 56 – and interrogated both of them while they waited for District Coordination Office (DCO) – the liasion for the Palestinian Authority.

SDC10408-600x450 Israeli soldiers escorting Abu karem and his son to checkpoint 56 (Photo by ISM)

The young boy, Wadia, allegedly threw stones at soldiers, which precipitated his arrest. Bystanders say that Wadia threw a stone at a dog and a nearby soldier accused the Wadia of throwing stones at her. The soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded Wadia’s father, Abu Karam Maswathi, and transported both of them to the nearby military base where they were briefly held and questioned – this in spite of the fact the children under 12 cannot be arrested and charged with a crime under Israeli law[i].

While the soldiers led the father and son from the military base, Abu Karam was still blindfolded and handcuffed even though he was not technically being detained, which is said to be illegal under Israeli law. The two were led to Checkpoint 56 to await their release to the DCO, which is standard procedure for child arrests. However, today they were surrounded by around ten soldiers, who could be seen interrogating the detainees and trying to prevent internationals from filming. An Israeli military commander later arrived on the scene and reprimanded the soldiers for handcuffing and blindfolding Abu Karam in front of the international human rights workers because it’s “bad PR.”

938655_origAll this for a 7-year-old child allegedly throwing a stone.

[i]“Israel Police Treatment of Juveniles during the Period of Disengagement.” Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. State of Israel, 15 Aug. 2005. Web. 09 July 2013.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Comments Off on Father and 7-year-old son illegally detained in occupied Hebron

NSA Blackmailing Obama? | Interview with Whistleblower Russ Tice

breakingtheset · July 9, 2013

Abby Martin talks to Russell Tice, former intelligence analyst and original NSA whistleblower, about how the recent NSA scandal is only scratches the surface of a massive surveillance apparatus, citing specific targets the he saw spying orders for including former senators Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on NSA Blackmailing Obama? | Interview with Whistleblower Russ Tice

The U.S. was a Passive Observer in Egypt – If You Believe the New York Times

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | July 10, 2013

One consumes U.S. corporate media at the risk of one’s sanity. Schizophrenia, for example, appears to be the permanent mental state at the New York Times, which cannot figure out which global reality is operative on any given day. Last week, the Times almost simultaneously painted a picture of two different and contradictory worlds – or, at least, two very different Obama administrations. On Friday, June 5, in the wake of the military coup against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Times depicted the Obama administration as totally unruffled by the turmoil in Cairo – as if the U.S. had little stake in the outcome. The Times headline proclaimed: “Egypt Crisis Finds Washington Largely Ambivalent and Aloof.” The newspaper of record gave the impression that Egypt was no longer a “strategic player” in the region and, therefore, the political complexion of its government was nothing for Washington to worry its last nerve about.

By Saturday, July 6, the article had been replaced by reporting on what the Obama administration had really been up to as the coup unfolded. It described President Morsi’s “last hours” in office, awaiting his fate at the hands of an Egyptian military that has been a United States asset for the last 40 years. An Arab foreign minister telephoned to ask if Morsi would accept the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet, which would make Morsi a mere figurehead. The Arab foreign minister made it clear that he was acting as an emissary of Washington.

Morsi rejected the offer. His top foreign policy advisor stepped out of the room to call the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, and tell her so. But, when he came back, he said he’d been on the phone with Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, in Washington, who advised him that the coup was about to begin.

So, of course, the U.S. was deeply involved in the events that were swirling in Cairo – it would have been bizarre beyond belief if the superpower had, indeed, been “ambivalent” or “aloof” about the fate of the Arab world’s most populous country. What is amazing, is the ability of an organization as large as the New York Times to accommodate two opposite realities within its own pages, and pass off both as the truth, without shame or even visible embarrassment.

The New York Times and its corporate colleagues are not in the business of providing reliable information, but of rationalizing and sanitizing the behavior of those in power. If there are contradictions in the narrative, they can always be papered over with more lies in the next edition.

However, the lies told by the Times and its ilk cannot alter the reality of U.S. decline; they can only make Americans oblivious to the facts. The United States will get the kind of civilian front men it wants in Egypt: international corporate citizens like economist el-Hazem Beblawy, as interim prime minister, and Mohamed ElBaradei, the darling of the global rich, as a vice president. But the U.S. is also now dependent on Muslim fundamentalists as the foot soldiers of imperialism in Syria and North Africa, even as it double-crossed its Muslim Brotherhood friend, former president Morsi. And the Arab royals of the Persian Gulf have their own plans for the region. The superpower isn’t as super as it used to be – but you won’t find out why in the New York Times.

Glen Ford can be contacted at

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Comments Off on The U.S. was a Passive Observer in Egypt – If You Believe the New York Times

Treatment of Palestinians is Apartheid by Any Other Name

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice |  July 10, 2013

Were it not for the razor wire, giant concrete blocks, steel gates, watchtower and standard-issue surly teenage soldier, it would be impossible to tell at what point the barren uplands of Israel’s eastern Negev give way to the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank.

The military checkpoint of Shani vaguely marks the formal demarcation between Israel and occupied Palestinian territory, but in practical terms the distinction is meaningless. On either side of the Green Line, Israel is in charge.

In recent weeks it has been intensifying a campaign to evict Palestinian farming communities summarily from their ancestral lands to replace them with Jewish newcomers.

Israeli human rights lawyers, tired of the international community’s formulaic criticisms, say it is time to be more forthright. They call these “ethnic cleansing” zones – intended to drive off Palestinians irrespective of the provisions of international law and whether or not the Palestinians in question hold Israeli citizenship.

In the occupied South Hebron Hills, a dozen traditional communities – long ago denied by Israel the right to enjoy modern amenities such as electricity and running water – are struggling to remain in the cave-homes that sheltered them for centuries.

Israel has reclassified much of their land as a military firing range and demands that they leave for their own safety. An appeal to the Israeli courts, the latest installment in a 14-year saga to avoid eviction, is due in the next few days.

Israel’s concern for the villagers’ welfare might sound more convincing were it not encouraging Jews to live close by in illegal settlements.

Palestinians in other parts of the occupied territories coveted by Israel – such as villages next to Jerusalem and those in the fertile Jordan Valley, the territorial backbone of any future Palestinian state – are being squeezed too. Firing ranges, closed military zones and national parks are the pretexts for Israel to appropriate the farmland these rural communities need to survive.

As a result, Palestinian life is withering in the nearly two-thirds of the West Bank Israel was temporarily entrusted with – the so-called Area C – under the Oslo Accords. Endlessly harassed Palestinians have sought sanctuary in West Bank cities under Palestinian Authority control. Today the remnants in Area C, a population of about 100,000, are outnumbered three to one by Jewish settlers.

A discomfited European Union, normally mealy-mouthed on Israel’s occupation, has started to describe this as “forced transfer”. The term may sound ominous and reproving, but human rights groups say that, from a legal perspective, the terminology obscures rather than illuminates what is taking place.

“Forced transfer”, observes Suhad Bishara, a lawyer with Adalah, a legal centre for Israel’s minority of 1.5 million Palestinian citizens, usually describes uncoordinated and unofficial incidents of population displacement, often as an outcome of war.

Bishara and others argue that Israel is carrying out a systematic and intentional policy to drive Palestinians off their land to replace them with Jewish communities. This, they say, should be identified as “ethnic cleansing”, a term first given legal and moral weight in the Balkans conflict in the early 1990s.

As evidence, the lawyers point to recent developments inside Israel. The treatment of tens of thousands of Bedouin in the Negev, all of them Israeli citizens, is virtually identical to that of Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills.

The Bedouin too have faced a prolonged campaign to push them off their ancestral lands and into a series of “townships”, forcibly urbanising them in the country’s most deprived communities. In the disconcerting language of Israeli bureaucracy, the Bedouin need to be “concentrated”.

Israel has increased the pressure – as in the West Bank – by denying these Bedouin all public services, and demolishing any concrete homes they build. As with Palestinians under occupation, the Bedouin have found their communities reclassified as firing ranges, military zones or national forests.

The village of al-Araqib, near Beersheva, for example, has been demolished more than 50 times in recent years as Israel plants on its land – with a suitably sinister irony – the Ambassadors’ Forest, commemorating the help provided to Israel by the international community’s diplomatic corps.

Waiting in the wings are developers ready to build on the Bedouin’s land 10 new towns for Jews only. The rest of the territory is being eaten up by Jewish ranches, given swathes of land to create vineyards, offer camel rides and, in one case, provide a pet cemetery.

But, as in the West Bank, the Bedouin are refusing to budge, and pressing their historic land claims in the Israeli courts. Rather than wait for a verdict it may not like, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is rewriting the Bedouin’s citizenship rights.

The Prawer plan, which passed its first reading in parliament last month, will force 40,000 Bedouin off their land – the largest expulsions inside Israel for decades. Unlike Jewish citizens, they will have no say over where they live; they will be forcibly assigned to a township.

For the first time, Israeli citizens – the Bedouin – are to be deprived of any recourse to the courts as they are harried from their homes. Instead Israel will resort to administrative procedures more familiar from the occupied territories.

The policy is clear: Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line are to be treated like sheep, fenced into ever-smaller areas, while Jews will have unrestrained access to a Greater Israel envisioned by Mr. Netanyahu.

The international community has long criticised Israel for the “discrimination” its Palestinian citizens face and for the “oppression” of Palestinians under occupation. This terminology needs overhauling too, say the human rights lawyers.

A system that treats one ethnic group as less human than another already has a legal name: it is called apartheid.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He won this year’s Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Supreme Court asked to end NSA spying program

RTAmerica · July 9, 2013

The National Security Agency continues to experience fallout for the surveillance programs which spy on millions of American’s phone records and online activities, and this time the Electronic Privacy Information Center is filing an emergency petition to end the spy program. Alan Butler, Appellate Advocacy Counsel for EPIC, joins us with the details on the demand.

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July 10, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian Babies and the Banality of Israeli Racism

By Roger Sheety | Palestine Chronicle | July 9, 2013

A June, 2013 speech by Bill Clinton honoring war criminal Shimon Peres has highlighted the extent to which Israeli anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab bigotry has become acceptable within Western mainstream discourse.

In a racist echo of Golda Meir, who once admitted that she had trouble sleeping because of the number of Palestinian babies being conceived, Clinton said:  “No matter how many settlers you put out there [in the West Bank], the Palestinians are having more babies than the Israelis as a whole….  You’ve got an existential question to answer.”

Clinton, who was reportedly paid $500,000 to publicly share his hatred of Palestinian babies, couched his bigotry as part of a speech on “peace” and the bankrupt “two-state solution.”  Said Clinton:  “If you don’t have a vision of where you want to wind up, bad things are going to happen sooner or later….  You have a better chance if you are driven by a vision of peace and reconciliation.”  In plain language, if Israel does not return a mere 22 percent of the 100 percent of Palestinian land it stole, it will soon (horror of horrors) be overrun with Palestinian children.

Clinton’s racist comments, reported worldwide by mainstream media mostly without irony, were also an extension of current U.S. President Barack Obama’s own fear and hatred of Palestinian children, which he expressed clearly in May of 2011 to the delight and cheers of his American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) audience in Washington:

“Here are the facts we all must confront.  First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories.  This will make it harder and harder—without a peace deal—to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state.”

For Palestinians, of course, neither Clinton’s nor Obama’s morally abhorrent remarks come as a surprise since they have long been accustomed to Israeli racism and its accompanying violence and brutality.  Racist terms like “demographic bomb” and “demographic threat” are so common in Israeli media and discourse that they barely register any protest in the so-called “Jewish and democratic state.”

We are not talking about Israeli soccer fans thuggishly chanting “death to Arabs” at sporting events (a common occurrence these days), but rather racist incitement from the highest elected officials.  Both Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu, for instance, have used the phrase “demographic threat” in public statements regarding Palestinian citizens of the state.  In 2003, as finance minister, Netanyahu would say, “If there is a demographic problem, and there is, it is with the Israeli Arabs who will remain Israeli citizens” (“Netanyahu:  Israel’s Arabs are the real demographic threat,” Haaretz, December 18, 2003).

Similarly, Peres would publicly muse in 1977 on the “problem” of the growing Palestinian population of Jerusalem:  “I do not want to wake up one morning to discover that Jerusalem is subject to the demographic fate of [the] Galilee” (“Israel’s Geographic-Demographic Threat to Identity,” Royal United Services Institute News Brief, January, 2011).  Ehud Olmert, as well, in a speech to the Knesset in 2007, would speak in alarming tones of a pending “demographic battle drowned in blood and tears.”

In 2009, Israeli Housing Minister Ariel Atias would instigate hatred against Palestinian citizens of the state and justify apartheid in a speech to the Israel Bar Association.  “I see [it] as a national duty to prevent the spread of a population that, to say the least, does not love the state of Israel,” said Atias.  Speaking in particular against the Palestinian population of the Galilee, he added:  “If we go on like we have until now, we will lose the Galilee.  Populations that should not mix are spreading there.  I don’t think that it is appropriate [for Arabs and Israeli Jews] to live together” (“Housing Minister:  Spread of Arab population must be stopped,” Haaretz, July, 2009).

Michael Oren, the current Israeli Ambassador (and chief propagandist) to the U.S., would even write a lengthy and deeply racist article published in Commentary magazine in 2009, titled “Seven Existential Threats,” and which included the sub-heading “The Arab Demographic Threat.”  He would opine in a grave, apocalyptic voice that “the Palestinian population on both sides of the 1949 armistice lines is expanding far more rapidly than the Jewish sector and will surpass it in less than a decade.”

This trend must not continue, continues Oren, because “Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent.  Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state.  If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist.”

Israeli academics and intellectuals, too, have joined the racist chorus of incitement and, simultaneously, of justification of war crimes against Palestinians.  So Benny Morris, for example, after documenting the destruction of Palestine, the massive ethnic cleansing, the theft of land, and the massacres and rapes of innocents, would then vindicate every crime of the Zionist colonial-settler state from 1948 to the present.

“There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing,” said Morris in a 2004 interview with Ari Shavit.  “That is what Zionism faced [in 1948].  A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians.  Therefore it was necessary to uproot them.  There was no choice but to expel that population.  It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads.  It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.”

Then, jumping ahead six decades, he refers to Palestinian citizens of the state, who were not ethnically cleansed, in typically racist terms:  “The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb.  Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy that is among us.  They are a potential fifth column.  In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state” (“An interview with Benny Morris,”, January, 2004).  Morris would thus set the stage for future ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, including the current operation in the Naqab (“Negev”) where tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin have been targeted for forcible removal from their ancestral lands.

Furthermore, these terms, once used exclusively against Palestinians, are now also utilized by both Israeli officials and citizens to shamelessly incite hatred against African asylum seekers, as well as African Jews who are, nominally, citizens of the state.  As reported by Haaretz in 2010, for instance, Netanyahu said, the “flood of illegal workers infiltrating from Africa [was] a concrete threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the country.”  Without skipping a beat, he would then associate asylum seekers with smuggling of drugs, terrorism, and general decadence, and so justifying the building of yet another apartheid wall to keep out the unwanted (“Netanyahu: Illegal African immigrants—a threat to Israel’s Jewish character,” Haaretz, July, 2010).  See, in addition, the superb work of David Sheen who has meticulously documented recent shockingly fanatical anti-African marches in Tel Aviv, organized and led by elected Israeli officials and community leaders, in dozens of official reports, interviews, and video testimonies (

It is impossible to imagine Clinton, Obama, or any major political figure for that matter, talking about any other national, ethnic, or religious group in such unapologetically racist terms.  Would either have made analogous comments regarding, for example, indigenous South Africans during the days of South African Apartheid?  Or against North American First Nation peoples today?  Would an Australian or Canadian housing minister ever speak about a minority group within their countries with the same unabashed hatred as Ariel Atias?  Had they done so, the response of Western liberal pundits and intellectuals would have been swift and indignant—and rightfully so.

Ethnic cleansing, land theft, destruction of hundreds of ancient towns and villages, massacres, military occupation, and apartheid over six and a half decades in Palestine are all deeply tied together with Israeli/Zionist racism.  Indeed, Israeli bigotry has often been and continues to be used to sanction and sanctify Israeli crimes against humanity; thus do attitudes and actions simultaneously fuel and feed off each other.  That even supposed progressives have adopted Israeli attitudes towards Palestinians in their public statements as their own (with little or no controversy), and therefore also excusing Israeli crimes, shows the vile depths to which mainstream media discourse has sunk.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mossad agents detained Gaza man in Sinai

Ma’an – 10/07/2013

BETHLEHEM – Israeli Mossad agents detained a Palestinian in Egypt’s Sinai in June, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

An Israeli judge cleared news of the arrest for publication on Wednesday. Wael Abu Rida was detained on suspicion of “offenses of national security,” the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

A magistrates’ court in Beersheba on Wednesday extended Abu Rida’s remand by eight days, the report said.

Judge Yuval Livadaro allowed the publication of some details in Israeli media, but extended the gag order of other details by 10 days.

The detainee’s wife, Amani Abu Rida, had told Ma’an on July 3 that her husband disappeared during a visit to Egypt for medical treatment.

The couple traveled together to Egypt on June 6. Wael Abu Rida suffers cerebral atrophy and sought treatment at a hospital in central Sinai, his wife said.

On June 21, Wael received a phone call and left without returning, his wife said.

The family later received a phone call from the International Committee of the Red Cross informing them that Wael was in Israeli custody, without giving any reason for the arrest.

After the phone call, Amani returned to the Gaza Strip.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Comments Off on Mossad agents detained Gaza man in Sinai

Saudi Arabia and UAE to lend Egypt up to $8 billion

RT | July 9, 2013

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will give Egypt money in the wake of its political and economic crisis. The UAE will provide Cairo with $1 billion and lend it a further $2 billion, while Saudi Arabia will give Egypt a $5 billion aid package.

The UAE loan would be in the form of a $2 billion interest free deposit in Egypt’s central bank, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday. Abu Dhabi will also to give Egypt $1 billion.

The UAE delegation to Cairo included the Gulf country’s national security adviser, foreign minister and energy minister. The visit was to “show full support to the people of Egypt – political support, economic support,” Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told Reuters.

The UAE was one of the first countries to congratulate Egypt following the army’s decision to oust the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.

“The UAE stands by Egypt and its people at this stage and trusts the choices of its people. Egypt’s security and stability are the basis of Arab security,” WAM quoted UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Hazza bin Zayad as saying.

The UAE’s foreign minister also stated that the Egyptian army proved that it was a “strong shield” and “protector,” which guarantees that the country embraced all the components of the people.

Saudi Arabia also approved a $5 billion aid package to Egypt Tuesday, comprising of a $2 billion central bank deposit, $2 billion in energy products, and $1 billion in cash, Saudi finance minister Ibrahim Alassaf said. […]

Multi-billion-dollar aid from Saudi Arabia and the UAE is another sign that these two countries had a hand in the military coup which took place in Egypt, believes RT’s contributing analyst in London, Afshin Rattansi.

“We now realize it is much more a Saudi-backed military coup. And as for this General al-Sisi person, who is a former military attaché in Saudi Arabia, he is Saudi’s man… Saudi Arabia, they’ve taken over the largest country in the Arab world,” Rattansi said.

He also described the current interim leaders of Egypt – President Mansour and Prime Minister Beblawi, as “puppets of Saudi Arabia”, who will be ousted at once if they attempt to criticize Saudi Arabia or the UAE. … Full article

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worldwide corruption on the rise as public trust plummets – report

RT | July 10, 2013

A report by Transparency International has revealed the extent of worldwide corruption over the last two years, with Israel and Greece showing the highest levels among developed countries. Politicians are considered the most corrupt among all sectors.

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013, conducted by the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog, is a sampling of over 114,000 opinions of people from 107 countries. The survey asked participants about corruption and the institutions engaged in it.

The report shows that corruption numbers have increased over the last two years, along with the number of people exhibiting distrust toward their governments and law enforcement agencies.

Before the 2008 financial meltdown, 32 per cent of people believed their governments to be effective at tackling corruption. That figure has now fallen to just 23 per cent. Transparency International said in a press release that the report “shows a crisis of trust in politics and real concern about the capacity of those institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice.”

The survey asked participants to rank the corruption levels of various institutions from 1 to 5, with 1 being “not corrupt at all” and 5 being “extremely corrupt.”

Political parties were perceived to be the most corrupt institutions worldwide, scoring 3.8 out of 5. Police forces came in second place with a score of 3.7. Public officials, civil servants, and the parliament and judiciary came in third place, scoring 3.6.

The media came in ninth place, although it was voted to be the most corrupt sector in Britain. The UK media has lost the respect of many residents in recent years – around 69 per cent of survey participants now believe the media is corrupt, compared to just 39 per cent in 2010.

“This very sharp jump is in large part due to the series of scandals around phone hacking, the Leveson Inquiry, and the concentration of media ownership,” said Robert Barrington, head of the British wing of Transparency International.

Business and private sectors, along with the healthcare sector, came in at eighth on the corruption scale, with the education system not far behind. The military and NGOs took the 10th and 11th places.

Although religion came in last place on the corruption scale, it still ranked among the most corrupt in certain countries, including Israel, Japan, Sudan and South Sudan.

Of all OECD members surveyed, the corruption levels of Greece and Israel came in first and second place respectively, with their political and cultural institutions ranking at the top of the corruption meter.

Over 80 per cent of Israelis believe that one must have contacts very high up in the public sector in order to get anything done. Transparency International says it sees “deep-rooted failures of governance” in Israel. A similar figure was seen in Lebanon, Russia, and Ukraine.

Arab countries have seen a rise in corruption since their 2011 uprisings, although public anger against corrupt officials was what sparked the Arab Spring in the first place. The expectation of having cleaner, more transparent regimes did not match the countries’ political and business realities.

Of the four countries that experienced regime change in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen feel that corruption has only increased since 2011. While 64 per cent of Egyptians think corruption is on the rise, a staggering 80 per cent of Tunisians believe that to be the case within their country. Eighty-four per cent of Lebanese citizens believe corruption to be on the rise in within their nation, while only around half of Libyans believe that corruption is worsening.

Egypt leads the pack in anti-police sentiments, largely because police violence has injured so many people over the past year. The 80 per cent disapproval rating dropped to only 45 per cent when Egyptians were asked about the military, which just several days ago ousted former Islamist-backed president Mohamed Morsi.

To glean more analysis on the increasing slide into corruption and public distrust of political institutions, RT talked to Finn Heinrich, who is director of research at Transparency International in Berlin. He sees the world as split into two major trends. The first is petty corruption and bribery in the southern hemisphere – mostly Africa, where citizens feel there is no other way to take care of one’s day-to-day needs. The second is corruption on a more official level, which is witnessed in the northern and western parts of the world – mainly in business and politics governed by financial greed.

As a way out of the situation, Heinrich believes “you really need to be in it in a long-term. You can’t expect quick gains from the fight against corruption. So, I think what we see in many of those countries are the upheavals which you find in many countries, including many post-communist countries, after revolution where old systems are no longer intact and new systems are yet to be built. So, corruption is on the rise. We hope that the new leaders, compared to their predecessors, are really taking the challenge of setting up systems of transparency and accountability much more serious.”

Heinrich thinks that only an integral and comprehensive effort can last, and that effort must include both the government and its citizens.

Transparency International is the world’s foremost organization on fighting corruption. It has 90 chapters worldwide, which aim to raise awareness and establish methods of tackling corruption and measuring its harmful effects.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Worldwide corruption on the rise as public trust plummets – report