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US Training of Mexican Troops Has Escalated in Step With Mexico’s Murder Rate

By Bill Conroy | The Narcosphere | February 17, 2013

US training of Mexican military forces spiked in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, coinciding with a sharp rise in drug-war homicides in Mexico, an analysis of records made public under the Foreign Assistance Act show.

The training in those two years, funded by the US Department of Defense, and to a lesser extent by the US Department of State, covered a wide range of military skill sets and involved hundreds of training programs offered in the US to Mexican forces as well as dozens (at least 60) provided inside Mexico.

For example, in Mexico City during that two-year period, the US military provided to Mexican security forces training in, among other tactics, “asymmetrical conflict,” “anti-terrorism,” and “open-source intelligence” gathering. US military training also was provided in other parts of Mexico, including the state of Campeche, where infantry, marksmanship and intelligence programs were offered to Mexican troops; and in Chiapas, in fiscal 2011, infantry training was provided to Mexican Marines over two-week periods in April and September.

The latter training programs might be considered particularly sensitive for Mexican politics, given the Mexican state of Chiapas is home to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials).

The Zapatistas are a rebel indigenous group governing more than 1,000 rural communities that rose up in arms in 1994. However, since peace talks were initiated in 1995, the Zapatistas have not fired a shot and have converted to peaceful and civil resistance.

In the 1990s, under Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, a member of the PRI Party, an unsuccessful, violent counter-insurgency campaign was waged against the Zapatistas that involved the use of both the Mexican military and civilian paramilitary forces — as part of an effort to destroy the indigenous movement and its autonomous communities.

On another sensitive front for Latin American/US relations, Foreign Assistance Act records reveal that US military training also was provided to Mexican soldiers in fiscal 2010 and 2011 by the US Department of Defense’s Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). The Institute was formerly the School of the Americas, which, in past decades, provided training to some of the most notorious violators of human rights in Latin America.

WHINSEC, now reportedly reformed and sensitive to human rights, offered at least 10 different training programs (some multiple times) to Mexican troops in fiscal 2010 and 2011 in subjects such as “counter-narco-terrorism,” “joint operations” and “counterdrug ops,” according to data provided to Congress under the requirements of the Foreign Assistance Act. … Full article

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

People power: Сhina shelves plans for $6bn nuclear plant after wave of protest

RT | July 13, 2013

The Chinese government says it will ‘respect public opinion’ and scrap a planned $6 billion nuclear processing plant in the southern province of Guandong after hundreds of protesters took to the streets to voice opposition to the project.

A statement released by the Chinese authorities reads, “The people’s government of the City of Heshan has decided to respect public opinion and will not consider the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC’s) Longwan industrial park project.”

The proposed nuclear complex was meant to have been a uranium processing facility, but the plans caused considerable unease in the neighboring financial district of Hong Kong and in nearby Macau, as well as among local residents. The project was designed to produce 1,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel by 2020.

The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based English language newspaper, reported that the authorities in Macau had formally raised the issue with officials in Guandong.

Saturday’s announcement came after hundreds of protesters paraded through the streets of Jiangmen on Friday holding banners and wearing phrases opposing the project and chanting slogans like “give us back our rural homes. We are against nuclear radiation.”

The protest sprang up after a risk evaluation report, which was released on July 4 with a 10-day public comments period. Observers say those reports are only usually released as a formality once permission to begin construction has already been granted.

More protests in Guandong had been expected on Sunday, while the original 10-day public consultation period was only extended on Saturday after demonstrators had marched to the city offices. Soon after its extension, officials said the project was scrapped.

A Beijing nuclear expert, who did not wish to give his name as he is not authorized to speak to the press, told the Independent that he was surprised the project had been canceled.

“Compared to a nuclear power plant, a uranium processing facility is way safer, as there is no fusion or reaction taking place in the production process.”

The sudden dropping of the project reflects a change in Chinese government policy on environmental issues. The authorities have recently canceled, postponed or relocated several metal and petrochemical plants following strong public opposition.

There have been a number of reports in the Chinese and international media about the extent of pollution from rapid Chinese economic growth, including ‘cancer towns’, which are blighted by heavy metals polluting the ground water, rivers and top soil.

China is expanding its nuclear capacity from 12.6 GW at present to 60-70 GW by the end of the decade.

Guandong is already one of the country’s largest centers of nuclear power generation. It operates five nuclear reactors and plans to build another dozen. The CNNC plans are part of a concerted national effort to reduce China’s dependence on coal and boost the use of other forms of cleaner [sic] energy production.

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Nuclear Power, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela: An Ethical Foreign Policy?

By Ewan Robertson | Carnegie Council | July 10, 2013

HugoChavez-Brazil

CREDIT: Manu Dias, (CC)

Venezuela’s foreign policy under the late President Hugo Chávez, and now his successor Nicolas Maduro, has been subject to sharply differing interpretations. Some observers see the oil-rich country’s foreign relations since Chávez’s election in December 1998 as shaped by a visionary who has promoted international solidarity with the oppressed, combated poverty, and pushed for a just world order free of uni-polar domination. For critics, however, Venezuela’s foreign policy has been incoherent, militaristic, and prejudicial to regional stability.

Does Venezuelan foreign policy include ethical considerations, as its supporters claim? The evidence suggests it does and that as a result we can be more optimistic about possibilities for incorporating ethics into international affairs than some scholars would have us believe.

The Ethical Dimension of Venezuelan Foreign Relations

To evaluate a possible ethical dimension to Venezuelan foreign policy, it is necessary to understand the ideology Chávez imbued in the country’s international affairs. Five concepts are central. The first two are the primacy of national sovereignty and Latin American and Caribbean integration. These are based on an understanding of foreign policy as a continuation of the Pan-American vision of Venezuela’s founder and 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar, who also gives the name to Chávez’s “Bolivarian” political project. The third and fourth are the importance of international solidarity and south-south cooperation, which hold that Venezuela’s development should be based on mutual solidarity and cooperation with the countries of the global south. Finally, these concepts coalesce to form the pursuit of a multi-polar world order, which sees Venezuela’s international role in strengthening ties with emerging powers across different regions as part of a shift to a more balanced international system which will guarantee “world peace” and “universal well-being.” This implicitly involves an attempt to counter-balance the weight of the United States in international affairs.1

One example of Venezuela’s pursuit of these values is the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). This alliance of leftist Latin American nations founded by Venezuela and Cuba in 2004 has implemented regional development strategies based on the principles of “solidarity, cooperation and complementing.” Programs aiming to guarantee food security, universal literacy, free health and education, and decent housing are strongly marked by values of social justice and human development.2 Social programs promoted by the ALBA include the “Miracle Mission,” which provides free eye treatment and surgery to Venezuelan citizens and those of several Latin American countries. The program has treated around 1.2 million people in Venezuela since its launch in 2004.3

Development assistance and solidarity have also been evident in Venezuela’s outreach to the Caribbean, particularly with the PetroCaribe initiative. Launched in 2005, the program offers Venezuelan petroleum to Caribbean nations at a discount rate. Participating nations only pay a percentage of the oil’s market price up front, with the rest converted into low-interest, long-term loans. A portion of these loans can be amortised through payment in goods and services; for example, Cuba sends medical personnel to Venezuela in exchange for oil shipments. The loans also become important sources of capital spending for the region’s governments. Eighteen Caribbean states now participate in the program, and Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez estimated in 2011 that PetroCaribe covers 43 percent of participating nations’ energy needs.4 In the context of rising oil prices in the 2000s, a Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) report on the scheme described it as “the most concrete proposal on the table to alleviate the region’s suffering.”5

Perhaps no other Caribbean nation has benefitted more from this kind of regional solidarity than Haiti. Following the devastating January 2010 earthquake, Venezuela pledged $2.4 billion in financial and relief aid, more than any other of 58 donors. This aid has included building power plants, shelters, a new hospital (in collaboration with Cuba), sending food and medical supplies, and assistance to develop Haiti’s agricultural sector.6 Venezuela even wrote off $400 million of Haiti’s PetroCaribe debt. This important reconstruction aid was given despite the fact that Haiti is by no means an ideological ally of Venezuela’s leftist government; its president, Michel Martelly, is close to Haiti’s business elite and the United States. Nevertheless Martelly has publicly thanked Venezuela for its solidarity and help since the earthquake, commenting in December 2011 that for Haiti, “cooperation with Venezuela is the most important right now, in terms of impact, direct impact.”7

Africa is another continent where relations seem to be driven as much by ideology and ethical values as by strategic interests. From 2005, Chávez began referring to Africa as a “motherland” and pursuing “south-south cooperation,” or mutual development strategies, in the region. Over the next six years Venezuela established diplomatic relations with all 54 African countries, opened new embassies, and signed over 200 cooperation agreements with the continent, where only 20 had existed beforehand.8 Many of these agreements contain a clear element of solidarity and humanitarian assistance. In 2009 Venezuela pledged $20 million to the West African ECOWAS group for malarial eradication programs, while in February 2013 it offered technical assistance and personnel training to the Sahrawi Democratic Republic to improve the population’s access to safe drinking water. Further, around 500 students from over 15 African countries study in Venezuela courtesy of government scholarships, many of these in medical courses, with the intention that after their studies these newly-trained professionals return to their home countries to provide much needed public services.9 A similar program is offered to Palestine, where Venezuela has also committed to build medical facilities.

Such attempts at greater cooperation with countries of the global south have led Venezuela to play a key diplomatic role in moves toward intensifying Latin American and south-south integration. In addition to founding the ALBA and PetroCaribe, Venezuela was also a founding member of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2008, and played host to the founding conference of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2011, which brings together every nation in the Americas with the exception of the U.S. and Canada. Venezuela was also host to the II Africa–South America (ASA) summit in 2009, and is set to host the tri-annual summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in 2015, and thereafter become the president of the grouping of 130 developing nations. The country was also elected to serve on the UN Human Rights Council for 2013–2016 and is a mediator in peace talks underway between the FARC guerrilla group and the Colombian government. Taken together, these aspects of Venezuela’s foreign policy have led observers such as Venezuelan geographer and analyst Rosalba Linares to conclude that Bolivarian-era foreign relations aim to construct “a sovereign, democratic and more humanitarian multi-polar world, of greater social justice and fair trade in benefit of those most in need in Venezuela and the world.”10

The Pursuit of Strategic Interests

Of course, it would be mistaken to understand Venezuelan foreign relations as solely motivated by ethical or altruistic considerations. Even solidarity-based policies have clear “soft” benefits such as raising the government’s diplomatic and international standing. Venezuela’s foreign relations have also been shaped by concrete strategic interests. Chief among these are energy interests, which are woven throughout foreign policy, as Venezuela holds the largest crude oil reserves in the world. The Bolivarian government has sought to increase ties with other energy powers for the extraction of Venezuelan crude and to diversify its oil export markets. In the context of the deterioration of relations with the United States, strategic policy goals have also included creating a robust network of international alliances and securing alternative sources of financing, technological assistance, and military hardware.

In the first years of Chávez’s presidency the state oil company PDVSA was brought under greater government control. At the same time the government pushed for the revitalisation of OPEC, advocating the policy of production quotas to help ensure that world oil prices rose to levels favourable to exporting countries. The elevation of oil prices in the 2000s gave the Venezuelan government flexibility to pursue active energy diplomacy abroad while funding a wave of new social programs at home.

The government has built what it calls “strategic alliances” with several energy powers, including Russia and China. Russian energy giant Gazprom now works with PDVSA to explore gas deposits in the Gulf of Venezuela and Russian firms are active in the extraction of oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt. Russia is also useful to Venezuela as a source of military hardware, with Chávez’s government becoming Russia’s biggest customer of military goods after India.11

Meanwhile China has provided Venezuela with a new market for its petroleum exports. Oil exports to China rose from almost zero in 2004 to 460,000 bpd in 2010, a number that officials want to increase to one million.12 The relationship has also resulted in over 300 bilateral agreements and 80 major projects, and has allowed the Venezuelan government access to financing and technology, the latter exemplified by the launching of Venezuela’s first satellites with Chinese assistance in 2008 and 2012.

Venezuela has formed a web of links with other countries enjoying oil and gas reserves, such as Iran, Syria, Brazil, and certain African countries. Given their relatively independent diplomatic stance in world affairs, strengthening ties with these nations has also fitted within the ideological goal of building “south-south cooperation” and a “multi-polar world order.”

Meanwhile relations with Venezuela’s traditional commercial partner and top recipient of crude exports, the United States, have been frozen at the charge de affairs level since 2010. Venezuelan officials blame this on the U.S. government’s belligerence and lack of respect for Venezuela’s independence and sovereignty, including support for and alleged involvement in the short-lived coup attempt to topple the Chávez administration in 2002. For its part, the United States has accused Venezuela of failing to sufficiently cooperate with counter-narcotics and anti-terrorism efforts, and of acting against U.S. interests by pursuing relations with “enemy” states such as Iran. Nevertheless, there are signs that the relationship is improving under the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, after Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua met with Secretary of State John Kerry during an OAS summit in early June.  “We would like to see our countries find a new way forward, to establish a more constructive and positive relationship,” said Kerry  following the meeting. However, it remains to be seen whether the recent decision by President Maduro to offer asylum to ex-NSA intelligence leaker Edward Snowden will have an impact on efforts to improve bilateral relations.

Criticisms and Contradictions

Critics point to contradictions in the conduct of Venezuela’s foreign policy, and question the existence of an ethical dimension to Venezuelan foreign relations.

An accusation which emanates principally from the United States is that rather than seeking “world peace,” Venezuela in fact pursues an aggressive policy of building up its arms stockpile while forming alliances seen as threatening to U.S. national security. In September 2009 then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton raised concerns over  Venezuela’s arms purchases from Russia, arguing that the Chávez administration was engaging in a military build-up which could trigger a South American “arms race.” “They [Venezuela] outpace all other countries in South America [in military purchases] and certainly raise the question as to whether there is going to be an arms race in the region,” she said.13 Further, some conservative politicians and analysts have argued that Venezuela should be considered a “national security threat” due to its ties with countries regarded as hostile to the U.S, such as Iran and Syria.14

However, neither the figures nor events bear out fears that Venezuela is unduly arming itself or seeking military-style alliances with U.S. adversaries. According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2009 Venezuela put 1.4 percent of GDP toward military spending, the 5th highest in the region and less than the U.S., Colombia, and Chile. By 2012, military spending in Venezuela had halved as a percentage of GDP to 0.7 percent, with the country spending less than most major countries in the region, being only 153rd out of 173 countries measured globally for military spending.15 Venezuelan government officials meanwhile state that its international alliances are “about peace” and not in any way an aggression toward a third party. This point was highlighted during the visit from former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinajad to Venezuela in January 2012. Nicolas Maduro, in his capacity of foreign minister, said to press at the time that bilateral ties between the two countries were part of a “peaceful relationship…we have a relationship of cooperation for development… and above all, for peace”.16

This appraisal of Venezuela’s diplomatic and defence policy appears to be shared by the U.S. military establishment. In August 2012 General Douglas Fraser, chief of U.S. Southern Command, said that although he would like greater cooperation from Venezuela against drug trafficking, he did not consider Venezuela a security threat to the United States. When asked if he thought Venezuela’s arms purchases constituted a danger to the U.S., Fraser replied, “From my standpoint, no…I don’t see them [Venezuela] as a national security threat.” Further, when asked whether Venezuela’s relationship with Iran amounted to a “military alliance,” the general disagreed, stating, “As I look at Iran and their connection with Venezuela, I see that still primarily as a diplomatic and economic relationship.”17 President Barack Obama has taken a similar stance, announcing in an interview in July 2012, “Overall my sense is that what Mr. Chávez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us.”18

Thus the notion that Venezuelan military purchases and bilateral relationships represent a threat to the United States appears to be an overreaction from certain observers within U.S. political and media spheres, who confuse Venezuela’s independent foreign policy with one threatening U.S. security.

Others argue that there exists a contradiction in Venezuelan foreign policy between claims to pursue the values of democracy, humanitarianism, and solidarity, while supporting governments considered authoritarian or with poor human rights records. In 2011, political sociologist and author Gregory Wilpert argued  that Venezuela ran a “significant” risk of losing legitimacy among progressives when  Chávez continued to support former Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi against an insurgency in that country, a point that could be extended to several other of Venezuela’s allies in the Middle East.19

Another seemingly contradictory move by a government purporting to promote ethical values in its foreign policy is Venezuela’s decision to withdraw from the OAS’ Inter-American Court and Human Rights Commission (IACHR) in 2012, on the basis of the body’s alleged “shameful” bias against the Chávez administration. The decision is also part of a shifting focus toward Latin American autonomy and integration, with several states in the region pushing for the formation of new mechanisms to promote human rights within the UNASUR and CELAC. 20

A final question for Venezuela’s foreign relations is the extent to which policies pursued under Chávez will continue under the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, who was elected to power in April, following Chávez’s death in March. Maduro was Chávez’s foreign minister from 2006–2012, and in that role helped to build Venezuela’s contemporary foreign relations. The new president has pledged to continue these policies and his active foreign diplomacy over the previous three months seems to confirm this. Present challenges for Maduro include assuming the presidency of the Mercosur trade bloc this summer, and seeking productive relationships with the U.S. and Europe; steps toward which appear to have already been taken.

Between Ethics and Interests

In common with all nation states, over the past 14 years Venezuela has pursued clearly defined strategic and economic interests through its foreign policy. These have included developing greater links with other energy powers and ensuring access to sources of financing and military hardware. The government has also sought commercial, technological, agricultural, educational, health, and other forms of cooperation considered beneficial to Venezuela’s national development.

Although certain criticisms of contradictory behaviour can be levelled at Venezuela’s foreign relations, policymaking has followed a coherent logic. From technological cooperation with China to malaria eradication assistance in Africa, Venezuela’s new foreign relations have been built within an ideological framework embodied by the notions of “south-south cooperation” and a “multi-polar world.”

Further, while all nations could be said to act in their own strategic interests, not all have also placed norms of cooperation, solidarity and humanitarianism as a central focus of foreign policy. These values can be seen in agreements Venezuela has made with countries across all continents, but especially in the Americas and Africa. Even in the United States, PDVSA subsidiary CITGO aids around 100,000 low-income families during the winter with donated Venezuelan heating oil.21 Thus while it would be false to state that Venezuelan foreign policy is solely motivated by ethical considerations, it would be misleading to explain the country’s external relations without reference to these. This ethical dimension to Venezuela’s foreign policy is a demonstration that if the political will exists, governments can pursue such values within their foreign relations. In doing so, concrete and mutual benefits can be reaped for both the development of societies and the wellbeing of peoples.


NOTES

1 Chávez, H. (2012), Plan de la Patria: Programa del Gobierno Bolivariano 2013 – 2019, accessed at: http://www.minci.gob.ve/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/04/PLANDELAPATRIA-20133-4-2013.pdf.

2 Ullán de la Rosa, F.R. (2012), La Alianza Bolivariana para las Americas – Tratado de Comercio de Los Pueblos (ALBA-TCP): Análisis de un Proyecto de Integración Regional Latinoamericana con Una Fuerte Dimensión Altermundista, Estudios Politicos, no. 25, (Enero – Abril), pp131 – 170, Mexico, D.F. (p151-152).

3 Morales, M. (27/5/2013), Hija de Chávez Manejará Presupuesto Millonario en la Misión Milagro, El Nacional.

4 Rojas, R. (December, 2011), Venezuela Increasing Influence in Caribbean through PetroCaribe, Press TV.

5 Lai, K. (January, 2006), PetroCaribe: Chávez’s Venturesome Solution to the Caribbean Oil Crisis, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA).

6 Information taken from, Wyss, J. (05/07/2010), Venezuela Leads the World in Earthquake Relief, Miami Herald; Edmonds, K. (February 2012), ALBA Expands its Allies in the Caribbean, North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA.org); Robertson, E (01/06/2012), Venezuela, Cuba and Argentina Sign Development Assistance Agreements with Haiti, Venezuelanalysis.com.

7 The Editors, (April, 2012), Haiti Using Funds from PetroCaribe to Finance Reconstruction, Council for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

8 Bolivar, R. J., (February, 2011), “Entrevista: Reinaldo José Bolívar, Viceministro de Relaciones Exteriores para África,” Encontrarte.

9 (14/01/2011), “Venezuela ha Firmado 200 Acuerdos de Cooperación con África,” Agencia Venezolana de Noticias.

10 Linares, R., (2010), “La Estrategia Multipolar de la Political Exterior Venezolana,” Aldea Mundial,  Año 15, No. 15, Julio – Diciembre (2), pp51-62, (p60).

11 Rinna, A. (09/03/2013), “Russia’s Uncertain Position in Post-Chávez Venezuela,” Centre for World Conflict and Peace blog.

12 Ellis, R.E. (2010), “Venezuela’s Relationship with China: Implications for the Chávez Regime and the Region,” Centre for Hemispheric Policy, University of Miami, pp1-10; Cornejo, R. & Garcia, A.N. (2010), “China y América Latina: Recursos, Mercados y Poder Global,” Nueva Sociedad, No. 228 (Julio-Agosto), pp79-99 (p95); Manduca, P.C. (2012), “La Energía en la Política Sudamericana: Características de las Relaciones entre Brasil y Venezuela,” Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales,” no. 216, (Septiembre – Diciembre), pp81-100.

13 Labott, E. (16/09/2009), “U.S. Fears Venezuela Could Trigger Regional Arms Race,” CNN.

14 Noriega, R. (08/02/2013), “Hugo Chávez: An Uncounted Enemy,” The Washington Times.

15 Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook (Military Expenditures, Venezuela), accessed at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2034rank.html?countryname=Venezuela&countrycode=ve&regionCode=soa&rank=153#ve.

16 Pearson, T. (10/01/2012), “Iran-Venezuela Relationship “About Peace,” Venezuelanalysis.com.

17 (01/08/2012), ” Top US General: Venezuela Not a National Security Threat,” Associated Press.

18 Mazzei, P., Bolstad, E., (11/07/2012), “Mitt Romney, GOP howl over President Barack Obama’s remark about Hugo Chávez,” Miami Herald.

19 Wilpert, G, (06/03/2011),  “Venezuela and Libya: An Interview with Gregory Wilpert,” Venezuelanalysis.com.

20 Britto Garcia, L. (12/05/2013), Avanza el Golpe Judicial, Aporrea.org.

21 Citgo Press, (31/01/2013), “Eighth Annual Citgo-Venezuela Heating Oil Program Launched,” Venezuelan Embassy, Washington.

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US reassures Israel of more pressure on Iran: Report

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Press TV – July 14, 2013

The US reportedly plans to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear energy program in a move to appease the Israeli regime.

“We will not ease the sanctions [against the Islamic Republic] if Iran does not take action to stop 20 percent enrichment,” senior US officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Israeli daily Haaretz on Sunday.

The US officials added that Washington does not intend to ease the sanctions on Iran unless Tehran demonstrates a “change in attitude.”

Referring to the new sanctions against Iran that came into effect on July 1, the officials said Washington plans to ratchet up pressure on the Islamic Republic.

The newly-implemented sanctions against Iran, which target the Iranian energy sector, maritime transportation, ship-building industry, oil trade and currency, were ratified by the US Congress in December 2012 and signed by President Barack Obama in January 2013.

According to the Israeli daily, the upcoming meeting of the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany) to discuss the resumption of talks with Iran had fueled Tel Aviv’s concern that Washington may be seeking to ease its pressure on Tehran.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is scheduled to meet top officials from the P5+1 on Tuesday in Brussels to discuss “how to move forward in the Iran nuclear file,” said her spokesman Michael Mann on July 12.

Iran and the P5+1 have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

The latest round of negotiations between the two sides was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 16. Two earlier meetings had also been held in the Kazakh city of Almaty on April 5-6 and February 26-27. … Full article

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UK government still won’t come clean on Israel’s nukes

By Stuart Littlewood | Intifada – Palestine | July 13, 2013

(LONDON) – While the British government leads the charge to impose and tighten sanctions on Iran and makes other dire threats on the mere suspicion that the Islamic Republic may have nuclear weapons ambitions, its ministers continue to sidestep simple questions about Israel’s unsafeguarded nukes. Here is a recent example…

Written Answers — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: Israel (8 July 2013) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130708/text/130708w0002.htm#130708w0002.htm_wqn31

Bob Russell (Colchester, Liberal Democrat)

“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of nuclear warheads possessed by Israel; and if he will make a statement.”

Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

“We have regular discussions with the Government of Israel on a wide range of nuclear-related issues. Israel has not declared a nuclear weapons programme. We encourage Israel to sign up to the non-proliferation treaty and call on them to agree a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

Burt insults the intelligence of Parliament and the British public. So I have asked my MP Henry Bellingham to table another Parliamentary Question:

Dear Henry,

Mr Burt ducks the question. We all know that Israel is evasive about its nuclear weapons programme. Bob Russell asks for Her Majesty’s Government’s estimate of the number of nuclear warheads in Israel’s possession. We have an intelligence service, don’t we?

There can be no sensible discussion about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons plans (and certainly no sabre-rattling or other silly threats) without factoring-in Israel’s already established nuke stockpile and delivery systems. Why is the Israeli situation so ‘unmentionable’? Let’s take the lid off, so this nation can have a good look and be aware of the stark facts. Would you please lodge a written question, requiring a written answer, asking the minister to respond properly and in detail to Sir Bob?

Many thanks.

Mr Bellingham is a member of Agent Cameron’s ‘Torah’ party and was recently axed from his junior minister post at the Foreign Office. Let us see if he is prepared to pursue the truth about Israel’s nukes and coax it into the public domain.

Of course, our Muslim friends should prod their own MPs to table similar questions.

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment