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Civilians Support Venezuelan National Guard amid Media False Claims

By Tamara Pearson | Venezuelanalysis | March 17, 2014

Merida – On the weekend civilians marched with National Bolivarian Guard (GNB) soldiers, and today the government declared part of Caracas “free” from violent protests. The march came as private media heightened its false statements about GNB actions.

GNB march

On Saturday in Caracas there was a large civic-military march in support of “peace and life” and the GNB soldiers.

In his speech to those present President Nicolas Maduro accused the “government of the United States” of trying to “implement a plan to assassinate [him]”. He said in such a case, “the people should stay in the streets, making the revolution, united with the armed forces”.

Since 12 February, he said, over 20,000 GNB soldiers have been in the street, carrying out “some 16,000 operations to re-establish order and avoid confrontations, on average almost 500 operations per day. However, of the 29 deaths [since 12 February], there is only one under investigation attributed to a GNB soldier, [but] the opposition has carried out a campaign… writing them [the GNB] off as killers”.

The majority of deaths have been caused by violent barricades, two of them were allegedly caused by SEBIN (the national intelligence service) agents, and one by the Chacao police. Chacao police take orders from the opposition Chacao mayor.

Maduro himself is Commander in Chief of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. He stressed that there had never been any orders to repress. “If the national guard or the national police had gone out in a repressive blind rage or with a an order to repress, in the face of [almost 500] violent actions per day [by the opposition], the death statistics would be different,” he said.

According to a recent survey by private firm, Hinterlaces, of 1200 Venezuelans, 87% reject the violent barricades “as an instrument of protest”, and 11% support their continuation. 79% express “doubt” that the violence could improve the situation in the country.

GNB death, Chacao operation

Sunday night, Aragua governor Tareck El Aissami reported that a GNB captain was injured in Maracay by “criminal groups”. El Aissami said the captain was shot in the head. He explained that when a “violent group” tried to close Avenue Jose Casanova Godoy and the GNB arrived, the GNB were shot at.

Yesterday Maracay also held a Peace Conference, as part of a national government initiative being held in various states around the country.

This morning El Aissami reported that Captain Jose Guillen Araque had died from the injury. This is the second GNB captain killed in less than a week. Captain Ramzor Bracho, was killed last Wednesday in Valencia, allegedly by opposition groups.

Meanwhile, the government announced today that the upper class area of Chacao had been made a “peace zone”. Over the last five weeks the area has been one of many zones around the country subject to constant road blockades, rubbish burning, destruction of public property, harassment, aggression, and vandalism, by violent groups calling for Maduro’s resignation.

Last Monday GNB soldiers dismantled a clandestine storage area in Chacao used by the violent groups. They confiscated guns, knives, C4 explosives, drugs, and fuel.

In his speech on Saturday, Maduro said the government was willing to use “force” to “restore peace” to Chacao. “We’ll capture all the violent people, the terrorists, the murderers, we’ll do it…respecting all human rights. The first human right we’ll respect is the right to free transit, the right of the children to go to school,” he said.

That night, VTV reported that the violent groups “voluntarily withdrew” from Altamira plaza in Chacao.

Early this morning the minister for internal affairs, Miguel Rodriguez Torres announced the “liberation and pacifying” of the area, a few hours after 661 GNB soldiers were deployed there. He said the guards will patrol 24 hours a day “in order to guarantee citizen safety”.

Rodriguez Torres said that authorities were waiting on the mayor of the area, Ramon Muchacho, in order to “hand over control and that he take charge of maintaining the area”.

Resident of Chacao, Susana Saavedra told Correo del Orinoco that she congratulated the GNB, “for taking this initiative, because it was lawless here”. She accused local opposition authorities of “collaborating with the barricaders… we couldn’t leave our houses or send our children to school”.

While the number of violent barricades around the country has been reduced, both voluntarily and because of the GNB, in Merida this morning the science museum was attacked for a second time, high school Fray Juan Ramos de Lora was attacked, and a main city intersection was blocked by a burning truck.

Manipulation by Venezuelan private media

Venezuelan private media however, have blamed much of the violence on the GNB. El Nacional headlined on 15 March, “GNB and collectives attack universities around the country”.  Though colectivos is a term used in Venezuela for a range of social and productive organisations, the private media in February began using it to denote supposedly armed, pro-government groups. The El Nacional article accused the GNB and “collectives” of “repressing student protests”.

In Carora, Lara state on Friday, the media reported “repression by GNB and collectives”. Opposition state governor, Henri Falcon said “anarchic groups supported by the GNB caused damage, panic, and commotion” in the National Poli-technical Experimental University (Unexpo).

Video footage of the event however shows the violence by the opposition groups, the GNB cleaning up the area, verbal abuse by groups towards the GNB, and the GNB responding politely. The GNB then sat the groups down and gave them a workshop on human rights, then let them all go, the footage shows.

Further, today El Nacional quoted opposition leader Maria Corina Machado accusing the GNB of “creating the chaos in Altamira to justify militarisation”.

Machado also called for a march against so called “Cuban interference” on Sunday. According to AFP, only “hundreds” turned up to the march. The AFP article stated that “protests… against the government of Nicolas Maduro… have seen a total of 28 deaths”, implying that the deaths were all opposition “protestors”.

La Patilla and social networks have also circulated a photo, which they claim was GNB soldiers “repressing, beating, and arresting a special youth”. However, on Saturday, Alejandro Cegarra, an AP photographer who has been critical of the government claimed to have taken the photo and stated the “GN official was helping the protestor to breathe… the guy started to faint and was choking”.

Further, the AP caption for the photo described the National Guard helping the man to breathe, but according to Cegarra, those who reposted the photo “decided to ignore the caption”. A video by photographer, Cristian Dubo also makes it clear the GNB were trying to help the man. While he was not beaten, it does appear he was taken to hospital, and also detained and is awaiting trial, after being involved in confrontations in Altamira.

Other press went further, using a different photo to claim the man had Down syndrome, and he was “brutally beaten by the GNB”. However the man in this second photo, according to RT, was beaten by Miami police last year. The man photographed by Dubo did not have Down syndrome.

The GNB forms part of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. It is responsible for public order. President Hugo Chavez, over his three terms, aimed to transform the GNB from what was previously a repressive institution into one geared towards promoting development. He increased the role of the GNB in civil affairs, including involving soldiers in implementing social programs such as the Mercal food program. The majority of GNB soldiers come from the poorer sectors of Venezuela, and Chavez often referred to the Armed Forces as “the people in arms”.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spy agencies seek to store Aussies’ web-browsing histories, end encryption

RT | March 18, 2014

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) is pushing for laws that would make telecommunications companies retain their customers’ web-browsing data, as well as forcing web users to decrypt encrypted messages.

In these post-Snowden times, when people around the world are furious over revelations that their communications’ ‘metadata’ has been scooped up by a vast, US-built surveillance network, Australia’s ASIO is looking to further bolster its phishing powers, as opposed to scaling them back as many people clearly favor.

With no loss of irony, the agency is pointing to the sensational case of Edward Snowden – the former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower who last year departed from US shores with thousands of files on the American spy program – to expedite the process of creating a data-retention regime that would store users’ data for two years, or possibly longer.

“These changes are becoming far more significant in the security environment following the leaks of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden,” ASIO said in its parliamentary submission to modify the Telecommunications Interception and Access Act.

Although retaining ‘content’ data has been declared off-limits to the surveillance program, several security agencies, including the Northern Territory Police and Victoria Police, want web-browsing histories stored.

Metadata gathered on web-browsing would include an IP address and the IP addresses of web servers visited, or uniform resource locators (URLs) and the time at which they were visited. Email metadata, meanwhile, might include information such as addresses, times and the subject field.

Australia’s intelligence agencies accessed metadata 330,640 times during criminal and financial investigations in 2012-13, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Northern Territory Police said in its submission that meta-data found in browser histories were “as important to capture as telephone records”.

Additionally, the agency is calling for enhanced powers to sift intelligence data from emails and social media sites, as well as forcing web users to decrypt encrypted material if requested to do so by the spy agency.

“Under this approach, the person receiving a notice would be required to provide ‘information or assistance’ to place information obtained under the warrant into an intelligible form,” the submission said.

“The person would not be required to hand over copies of the communication in an intelligible form, and a notice would not compel a person to do something which they are not reasonably capable of doing. Failure to comply with a notice would constitute a criminal offense, consistent with the Crimes Act.”

ASIO points to the Snowden leaks, and the increased popularity of encryption technology on the internet, as a reason for resisting changes.

“In direct response to these leaks, the technology industry is driving the development of new internet standards with the goal of having all web activity encrypted, which will make the challenges of traditional telecommunications interception for necessary national security purposes far more complex.”

However, a number of organizations, including the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, the communications lobby group, warned against widening surveillance capabilities and what it means for privacy rights.

“The associations also note that a data retention scheme will involve an increased risk to the privacy of Australians and provide an incentive to hackers and criminals. Data retention is at odds with the prevailing policy to maximize and protect privacy and minimize the data held by organizations,” the submission said.

“Industry believes it is generally preferable for consumers that telecommunications service providers retain the least amount of data necessary to provision, maintain and bill for services.”

ASIO is not only fighting back against any restrictions on its work, it is actually calling for more spying powers.

For example, when the Australian Law Reform Commission argued for the creation of a “public interest monitor” to assert some guidelines on intelligence gathering, ASIO said it “has reservations about this, if the effect would be simply to insert yet another approval step into the authorization of a TI warrant.”

Meanwhile, the Australian Federal Police said it wanted to store data “to ensure a national and systematic approach is taken to safeguarding the ongoing availability of telecommunications data for legitimate, investigative purposes.” At the same time, however, it admitted work needed to be done to understand what type of data got retained and for how long.

Electronic Frontiers Australia, the online rights group, is lobbying against the amendments, arguing that storing web meta-data was “an ineffective method to curb terrorism.”

“The ease with which data retention regimes can be evaded is grossly disproportionate to the cost and security concerns of the data retention regime,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Coalition government’s Attorney-General George Brandis said on Monday that the government was “not currently considering any proposal relating to data retention” despite the push from the country’s intelligence agencies.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Labor was waiting for the Coalition’s response to an inquiry that had opened in June of last year before it announces its position.

“There was insufficient time while Labor was in office to formulate a considered response to the matters discussed in the Committee’s report, including the merits of a data retention scheme,” Dreyfus said, as quoted by the paper.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel

A book review by Gilad Atzmon

https://i2.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-de7nakFL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Alison Weir’s new book is by far the most comprehensive and precise expose of the depth of Zionist interference with American life in general and the politics of the United States in particular. It is a book every American should obtain, read and discuss openly.

In spite of its succinctness, the book is saturated with information and insights that are backed by valuable historical references and  primary source quotes. Since I am an avid reader of modern Jewish history, I was surprised to learn so much from such a relatively short text.

The story that is told by Weir is devastating – for more than a century, a matrix of Jewish political lobbies, pressure groups, media operators and agents within the American government and legal system have been dominating the United States’ public life as well as its foreign policy. Consequently, the United States has been operating against its own best interests. It has compromised its most precious principles and even its own security.

For many years, it was largely Jews and people of the Left who dominated the Anti Zionist discourse. The outcome is very clear. The criticism of Zionism and Israel was partial and Judeo-centric by nature. It evaded broad scrutiny of Jewish power and the tribal operation involved. The majority of anti Zionist texts were designed to vindicate the Jews of crimes committed by the Jewish State and Zionism. Consequently, the anti Zionist discourse achieved very little as far as Palestinians are concerned. In fact, it was successful in diverting attention from the root cause of the conflict in the Middle East.

Weir however, approaches the topic from a completely different perspective. Weir is an American patriot. She examines the extensive Zionist operation that hijacked her country and robbed the United States of its most precious values.  Weir points out that time after time there has been an ethical and political clash between American national interests and the policies dictated by the Jewish pressure groups.

Against Our Better Judgment throws light on the depth, intensity and the efficiency of Zionist operators within America. The book reveals a ferocious, unified and coordinated campaign by the Zionists, and it is far from clear that the American people can find the political and cultural means to deal with this form of foreign and immoral intervention. Weir’s new book is a crucial and bold step in an attempt of a nation to restore its immune system.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Putin: Crimea similar to Kosovo, West is rewriting its own rule book

RT | March 18, 2014

Crimea’s secession from Ukraine was just like Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, and any arguments otherwise are just attempts to bend the West-advocated rules that were applied to the Kosovo case, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The statements came as Putin was addressing the Russian parliament to convince lawmakers to ratify a treaty, which would make Crimea part of the Russian Federation.

In the speech he challenged Washington’s position, which says that Kosovo was a unique case and could not justify any other move towards independence in the world.

“Our western partners created the Kosovo precedent with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary,” Putin reminded, adding that the UN International Court of Justice agreed to those arguments.

“That’s what they wrote, what they trumpeted all over the world, coerced everyone into it – and now they are complaining. Why is that?” he asked.

Putin dismissed the argument that Kosovo was unique due to the large number of victims during the Balkan wars and the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

“It’s beyond double standards,” Putin said. “It’s a kind of baffling, primitive and blatant cynicism. One can’t just twist things to fit his interests, to call something white on one day and black on the next one.”

The president dismissed the allegations that Russia is violating international law with its actions in Ukraine.

“Well’ it’s good that they at least recalled that there is international law. Thank you very much. Better late than never,” Putin said adding that in fact nothing of this kind happened.

‘In Ukraine the West crossed the red line’

In fact, it was Russia that defended international law and its institutions, while western countries have been diminishing them. The situation in Crimea is just a reflection of this broader process, which has been happening for decades now.

“In the practical application of policies, our western partners – the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by the right of strength. They believe in their exceptionalism, that they are allowed to decide on the fate of the world, that they are always right,” Putin charged.

This disregard to rule of law was evident in Yugoslavia in 1999, when NATO bombed the country without a UN Security Council mandate, the Russian president said. There was Afghanistan, Iraq and the perversion of the UNSC resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing a no-fly zone NATO bombed the country into submission.

There were also orchestrated “colored revolutions” in Europe and the Arab World, which cynically used the feelings of people tired with corruption and poverty. The latest Ukrainian events are just the latest of such actions, and Russia’s willingness to seek dialogue and compromise was stonewalled again, Putin said.

“They were cheating us once more, took decisions behind our back, presented us with a fait accompli,” he said, adding that the patter is identical to that which accompanied NATO’s expansion to the east, the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system, visa restrictions and numerous other issues.

“They are constantly trying to corner us in retaliation for our having an independent position, for defending it, for calling things by their names and not being hypocritical,” Putin accused. “Everything has its limits, and in Ukraine our western partners crossed the red line. They acted brutally, irresponsibly and unprofessionally.”

Putin said the West must stop being hysterical, restrain from the Cold War rhetoric and admit the obvious: “Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected.”

As for the Ukrainian red line, the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev voiced their desire to join NATO, and such a move would pose an imminent threat to Russia, Putin said.

“We stand against having a military organization meddling in our backyard, next to our homeland or in the territories that are historically ours. I just cannot imagine visiting NATO sailors in Sevastopol,” he stressed. “Most of them are fine lads, by the way. But rather let them visit us in Sevastopol than the other way around.”

At the end of his speech, Putin announced the submission to parliament of a draft federal law which would incorporate Crimea and the City of Sevastopol into Russian territory, as well as a request to ratify an international treaty with the government of Crimea to make this happen. He said he was sure of the legislature’s support for both documents.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crimea: The Referendum, the Mote and the Beam

By Jan Oberg | Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research | March 17, 2014

Of course, it is illegal and, of course, it will be rigged, that referendum in Crimea today. And, of course, it is a ploy and comes only in the wake of Russia’s (read Putin’s) unprovoked aggression, used as a pretext to build a new Greater Russia.

That is, if you browse the mainstream Western media the last week and on this Sunday morning.

Referendum means referring an issue back to the people. It is – or should be – an important instrument in democracies. And it’s a much better instrument than war and other violence to settle complex conflicts.

Generally, citizens-decided conflict-resolution is likely to last longer and help healing wounds of the past than any type of solution imposed by outside actors.

In Switzerland citizens go and vote on all kinds of issues on many a Sunday throughout the year. Sweden has used it to decide about nuclear energy, Denmark about EU membership and – in 1920 – to solve the conflicts in Schleswig-Holstein and define the future border between Germany and Denmark. Referendums, binding as well as non-binding, are an accepted instrument in many countries.

Why did the West not use referendums?

The West likes to pride itself of its type of democracy whenever and wherever it can. But it doesn’t use the referendum instrument that often.

About 25 years ago it decided that it was good conflict-resolution to divide Yugoslavia into six republics; foolishly it used the old administrative borders and elevated them to international borders (the purpose behind that: you could then define the Yugoslav People’s Army’s presence in Croatia and Slovenia as ”international aggression by Serbia”) instead of asking people to which republic they preferred to belong.

In a few days it is 15 years ago NATO bombed Kosovo and Serbia to ”liberate” Kosovo and make it an independent – predictably failed – state. Fifteen years later, one wonders what better situation a negotiated solution ending with a referendum could have produced. No referendum there either.

Or take the Dayton Accords from 1995 for Bosnia-Hercegovina. No one in the democratic West bothered to ask the 4.3 million people living there (around 33% Serbs, 45% Muslims/Bosniaks and 17% Croats) whether they would like to live under those Accords.

Further, Dayton was signed in the US, the Bosnian constitution written by US lawyers and the agreement signed by three presidents none of whom were representing anybody in Bosnia at the time of signing. Not exactly a democratic peace. And it should be clear today that it is not going to work in the future either.

Or take the issue of nuclear weapons. No nuclear weapon state has ever asked its citizens whether they want their country to possess nuclear weapons which, logically, also make them potential targets of somebody else’s nukes. All opinion surveys in the nuclear powers tell us that there is no majority anywhere for the nuclear weapon status.

And how few of the new Eastern members of NATO and the EU have had a referendum on membership?

So, even in democracies the belief that ”we know what is best for you” often stands in the way of more intelligent, democratic conflict-resolution; i.e. better and more sustainable solutions to complex conflicts.

This is dangerous: How did it come to this?

Crimea is an extremely sensitive conflict spot and has been for centuries. In my view, there is more than a 50% risk that the situation we see today in Ukraine may lead to something like Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Conflicts and violence – even the threat of it – as well as sanctions have their own dynamics and there is always a risk that they spin out of control – if people don’t stop and think but continue tit-for-tat escalation.

Why has it come to this? There are many reasons but let me mention these:

► The US and the EU have meddled in Ukraine’s internal affairs in a way that they would never accept Russian neo-cons, finance institutions and NGOs would in their own countries and are, thus, significantly co-responsible for the mess.

► The US and the EU lack politicians and they lack advisers who understand the larger scheme of things. They invest in spin doctors and PR companies instead of in knowledge-based expertise. It should have been obvious to a historically minded Western security and foreign policy elite that Ukraine is not a place to fish in extremely troubled waters and not expect a harsh reaction.

► Putin sees a golden opportunity to play tough in the light of the history of the end of the Cold War, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact saying in effect: This far and no longer! To be or act surprised at that speaks volumes of ignorance, propaganda, or both.

The triumphalist US/NATO/EU expansion policies since 1989 would boomerang at some point – and that point is Ukraine, Ukraine meaning ”border” (like Krijina in Croatia).

Wiser politicians of the past: Common security

Whether we like it or not, the US and the EU have handed Russia and Putin a point or two on a silver plate.

Wiser politicians like Willy Brandt, Olof Palme, Urho Kekkonen, or Nelson Mandela knew that we need peace first and then a policy to secure it (not the other way around) and that that again means moderation, prudence and search for common interests rather than provocatively promoting yourself.

The reduction in intellectualism and moderation of foreign and security policy elites worries me at least as much as Russia’s response to US/NATO/EU the-winner-takes-it-all policies.

Hopefully the referendum may defuse tension

And, so, let’s rather hope that the referendum in Crimea could be a means to diffuse the tension. The rest of Ukraine has its own deeply worrying conflict — and violence-prone factors looming.

But they don’t have to blow up like Pakrac, Western Slavonia in Yugoslavia where the first shot was fired in what became a terrible war. And remember that war was preceded by a similar fishing in troubled waters as we have seen in Ukraine.

Are political decision-makers and media able to learn from contemporary history this time or will Yugoslavia be repeated?

Perhaps a Christian West should remind itself – and take serious – of the Gospel of Matthew 1-5:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

The mutual blaming in Moscow, Brussels and Washington of ”the other” should be seen as little but psychological projections of their own dark sides (beams) of which they must be subconsciously aware.

We will get nowhere but to hell with tit-for-tat, judgmentalism and self-righteousness. Both Russia and the West should, instead, take steps in the direction of democratic peace-making: refer issues back to people themselves but – and that is important beyond words – stop influencing or buying them on the way to the ballot box.

Jan Oberg is a peace researcher, art photographer, and Director of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF).

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama Administration Increasing Censorship rather than Increasing Transparency

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | March 18, 2014

The Obama years in Washington were supposed to be transparent ones, with increased public access to and awareness of Executive Branch operations. If anything, however, censorship and maintaining government secrets have been more prevalent the longer President Barack Obama has been in office.

“The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that halfway through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records,” Ted Bridis and Jack Gillum reported for the Associated Press.

“In category after category—except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees—the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office,” they added.

In 2012, the year of Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency (NSA) revelations, the administration cited “national security” as reason to keep hidden information a record 8,496 times.

That was 57% more than during the previous year and more than double during Obama’s first year in office, when it cited that reason 3,658 times.

Nearly all of the refusals last year to disclose information on national security grounds came out of the Department of Defense, the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Even agencies whose mission is not the defense of the nation cited this reason for denying Freedom of Information Act requests. The Farm Service Agency did it six times, the Environmental Protection Agency did it twice and the National Park Service once.

“I’m concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public’s right to know,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the AP. “It becomes too much of a temptation. If you screw up in government, just mark it ‘top secret.’”

In 2013, a federal judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle, upbraided the Obama administration for trying to keep secret a non-classified policy directive regarding “Global Development.”

Obama has also failed to get federal agencies to update their procedures for handling FOIA requests.

Fifty of 101 agencies still haven’t updated their FOIA regulations to comply with Congress’ 2007 FOIA amendments, and more than half of them (55 of 101) haven’t even complied with changes called for by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to establish a “presumption of disclosure” to encourage the release of more documents, according to the National Security Archive at The George Washington University.

To Learn More:

US Cites Security More to Censor, Deny Records (by Ted Bridis and Jack Gillum, Associated Press)

Half of Federal Agencies Still Use Outdated Freedom of Information Regulations (National Security Archive)

48 Years after Creation of Freedom of Information Act, State Dept., Defense Dept. and VA Get Failing Grades (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Judge Chastises Obama Administration for Using “Secret Law” to Withhold Documents (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

RT’s YouTube channel ‘suspended’ for 3 hours

RT | March 18, 2014

Screenshot from RussiaToday youtube Channel

RT’s YouTube channel, which in June last year became the first-ever TV news channel to reach 1 billion views, experienced a temporary shutdown of services on Tuesday, exactly two years after a similar incident.

Google Russia has apologized after a ‘technical mistake’ suspended RT’s YouTube channel Tuesday.

“Access to RT was blocked due to a technical error. The problem has now been resolved, and the channel reopened to users,” said a statement from the company’s Russian office.

Viewers attempting to access the RT YouTube channel were denied access and told: “This account has been suspended due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, gaming, misleading content, or other Terms of Service violations.”

Front end services were suspended from around 0700 GMT until shortly before 1000 GMT. The back end administration remains, as of 1300 GMT, inaccessible.

A similar incident, exactly two years ago, kept RT’s YouTube channel offline for about eight hours. YouTube confirmed then it was their mistake and apologized for the incident.

Head of Social Media at RT Ivor Crotty added “As a world leading news producer on YouTube we value timely information and regret the service fail to the half-million people logging on this morning. We look forward to full functionality to this key channel in due course.”

RT began broadcasting in 2005 – the same year YouTube came online – disrupting broadcast news media consensus and creating a savvy online viewer community.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Richard Gage, Urges Canadians to ReThink 9/11

Internationally acclaimed San Francisco speaker and architect Richard Gage, AIA, will tour 17 cities throughout Canada this March 13 to 31 to present the forensic, eyewitness and photographic evidence that three World Trade Center skyscrapers were destroyed by explosives on September 11, 2001.

Many people are not aware that WTC 7, a massive skyscraper adjacent to the Twin Towers, collapsed suddenly and symmetrically at free-fall acceleration late that afternoon. The official explanation is that “normal office fires” brought this building down, but thousands of architects and engineers disagree, as do 51% of Canadians.

During Gage’s tour, from Vancouver to Halifax, hosted by ReThink911 Canada, the 42% of Canadians who question the overall U.S. Government story of 9/11 will have a rare opportunity to understand first-hand the facts about the three sudden straight-down skyscraper collapses.

Richard Gage is an architect of 26 years and founder of the 18,000-member Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth which includes 2,100 A/E’s calling for new WTC investigation.

Tour Coincides With US Congressional Resolution To Release Classified Evidence of Saudi Government Involvement in the Attacks.

Local 9/11 activists and promoters are welcome to join in the tour.
Contact us for details.

Mar 13, 2014 – Prince George, BCView Location

Mar 14, 2014 – Vancouver, Delta BurnabyView Location

Mar 15, 2014 – Victoria, BCView Location

Mar 16, 2014 – Edmonton, AlbertaView Location

Mar 17, 2014 – Calgary, Alberta

Mar 18, 2014 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Mar 19, 2014 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Mar 20, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario

Mar 23, 2014 – London, Ontario

Mar 24, 2014 – Ottawa Public LibraryView Location

Mar 26, 2014 – Montreal, QC, McGill UniversityView Location

Mar 28, 2014 – Fredericton, NB, Wu CenterView Location

Mar 29, 2014 – Saint John, New Brunswick

Mar 30, 2014 – Moncton, New Brunswick

Mar 31, 2014 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Apr 01, 2014 – St. John’s, Newfoundland

RETHINK911.ca

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Video | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One year on: the Hares Boys

The Hares Boys | March 18, 2014

Occupied Palestine – Yesterday the Hares Boys, who are being charged with 20 counts of attempted murder with no evidence whatsoever, have been in an Israeli prison for one year. Now is more important than ever to fully understand the circumstances surrounding the unlawful arrest and imprisonment of Mohammad Suleiman, Ammar Souf, Mohammed Kleib, Tamer Souf, and Ali Shamlawi.

The car accident

At around 18:30 on Thursday 14 March 2013, a car crashed into the back of a truck on Road 5 in Salfit Governorate, occupied Palestine. The driver and her 3 daughters were injured, one of them – seriously. The driver, Adva Biton, was going back to the illegal Israeli settler colony of Yakir when the accident occurred. She later claimed the accident was due to Palestinian youth throwing stones at her car. The driver of the truck, having testified immediately after the accident that he had pulled over because of a flat tyre, later changed his mind and said he had seen stones by the road.

There were no witnesses to the car accident. Nobody had seen any children or youth throwing stones that day.

The arrests

In the early hours of Friday 15 March 2013, masked Israeli soldiers, some with attack dogs, stormed the village of Hares, which is close to Road 5. More than 50 soldiers broke the doors of the villagers’ houses, demanding the whereabouts of their teenage sons. Ten boys were arrested that night, blindfolded, handcuffed, and transferred to an unknown location. The families  were not informed of their sons’ alleged wrongdoings.

Two days later, a second wave of violent arrests took place. At around 3 o’clock in the morning,  the Israeli army, accompanied by the Shabak (the Israeli secret service), entered the homes of 3 Palestinian adolescents. They had a piece of paper with their names in Hebrew. After forcing all the family members into one room, taking away their phones so that they wouldn’t call for help, and interrogating them, the soldiers handcuffed their sons, all aged 16-17.

“Kiss and hug your mother goodbye,” a Shabak agent told one boy. “You may never see her again.”

A week later, Israeli army jeeps again entered the village and arrested several boys, who had just come back home from school. The soldiers lined all of them up, including a 6-year-old, and threatened at gunpoint their uncle who pleaded for the soldiers to at least release the youngest children. The army then randomly chose 3 boys, handcuffed them behind their backs, blindfolded them, and took them away. The families were not informed about either the allegations against their children, or their exact location.

In total, 19 boys from the neighbouring villages of Hares and Kifl Hares were arrested in relation to the settler car accident. None of them had previously had any history of stone-throwing. After violent interrogations, most of the minors were released, except for five, who remain in Megiddo, an Israeli adult prison.

These are the Hares Boys.

The interrogation

The arrested boys were subjected to a series of abuse and ill-treatment that accounts as torture. Upon detention, they were kept in solitary confinement  for up to two weeks. One boy, since released, described his cell: a windowless hole 1m wide and 2m long; there was no mattress or blanket to sleep on; toilet facilities were dirty; the six lights were kept on continuously, leading to the boy losing track of the time of the day; the food made him feel ill. The boy was denied lawyer; he was interrogated violently three times during three days, and eventually released after found not guilty at the trial.

Other boys have also told their lawyers of very similar treatment. They “confessed” of stone-throwing after being repeatedly abused in prison and during interrogations.

The charges 

The five boys from Hares are charged with 25 counts of attempted murder each, apparently 1 count for every alleged stone thrown at passing cars. The Israeli military prosecution insists that the boys consciously “intended to kill”; the boys can face the maximum punishment for attempted murder: 25 years to life imprisonment.

The prosecution’s case relies on the boys’ “confessions”, which have been obtained under torture, and 61 “witnesses,” some of which claim that their cars have been damaged by stones on that same day on Road 5. The latter only appeared after the car accident got a lot of media coverage as a “terrorist act”, and the Israeli prime minister Benyamin Natanyahu announced, after the boys’ arrest, that he “caught the terrorists that did it”. Other “witnesses” include the police and the Shabak, who were not even present at that location at the time. It is not clear whether the 61 “witnesses” have been properly questioned and their claims verified with, for example, hospital admission data, or even if the alleged damage to their vehicles has been photographed or otherwise documented. Such information is not even available to the boys’ attorneys.

The implications

If the boys are convicted, this case would set a legal precedent which would allow the Israeli military to convict any Palestinian child or youngster for attempted murder in cases of stone-throwing.

The boys are now 16-17 years old. If the Israeli military get their way, the boys would only return to their homes and their families at the age of 41 – at best. Five young lives ruined with no evidence of their guilt is a spit in the face to our common principles of justice as human beings.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?

Almost every stage of this case that could go wrong, did. Local and international law has been mostly dismissed; principles of justice barely fading in the horizon; respect for human beings non-existent.

Consider this:

  • The Hares Boys, as well as thousands of other Palestinian youngsters, are treated in the Israeli military court system as adults. According to international human rights law in general, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in particular, adults are people over 18 years of age. Israel treats even 9-year-olds as adults.
  • The racist system of “justice”: no matter the alleged crime, Palestinians are forced to go through the military courts and are tried under military law, while Israelis fall into the civil court system for the same crimes.
  • Violently arresting children at night without giving any explanation to their families about the reasons behind it, nor informing them about their children’s whereabouts goes against Israel’s own laws which state that minors are to be accompanied by an adult family member when detained or arrested.
  • The denial of lawyer for several days (in some cases weeks) after detention also accounts as a major violation of Israel’s own rules.
  • Children being put into solitary confinement for days on end is a form of torture; It is a severe punishment before the verdict.
  • Abusive interrogations of scared minors is considered torture.
  • The boys were arrested despite a total lack of evidence against them and condemned by the Israeli media as “terrorists”, which goes against the universal presumption of innocence (innocent until found guilty) and delivers a guilty verdict in the highly bombastic public trial, putting pressure on the judges to do likewise.

For more detailed accounts of the initial arrests and interrogations, please see IWPS Human Rights Reports from the ground:

HRR447: Arrest of 10 adolescents in Hares, Salfit (15 March 2013)

HRR448: Arrests of 3 more adolescents in Hares, Salfit: A (17 March 2013)

HRR451: Interrogation of a 16-year-old (21 March 2013)

HRR452: Arbitrary arrests of minors  (21 March 2013)

HRR458: Military court hearing for Hares arrest (9 April 2013)

HRR461: Arrest of three adolescents in Hares  (9 April 2013)

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Settlers from Mitzpe Yair attack Palestinian shepherds grazing on Palestinian owned land during Purim

Operation Dove | March 16, 2014

At-Tuwani, Occupied Palestine – On Sunday March 16, during the Jewish holiday of Purim, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and Internationals on Palestinian fields near Mitzpe Yair illegal outpost.

In the morning, four Palestinian shepherds from the village of Qawawis were grazing their flocks south of the Israeli outpost of Mitzpe Yair, when a settler arrived armed with an iron pipe to threaten them shouting. At 9:18 am two Internationals arrived together with two further Palestinian shepherds. The armed Israeli settler then left when he saw that they were filming the scene.

At 9:28 am eight settlers arrived from the illegal outpost – one was still armed with the iron pipe – and four of them violently chased away the flocks, pushing them toward the valley underlying the outpost. Palestinian shepherds followed the settlers in order not to lose their flocks accompanied by Internationals. The Palestinians immediately called the Israeli police.

At 9:48 am the settlers came back to the outpost. In the meantime, an additional International and two Palestinian members of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee arrived at the scene. At 10:00 am one of the settlers tried to chase away one of the newly-arrived Palestinians, a member of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. As this happened, an Israeli policeman and three Israeli soldiers arrived by foot. At 10:20 am, as the policeman began interrogating the attendants, a further three settlers arrived. Those interrogated were the Palestinian shepherd Nail Abuaram (who filmed everything with a B’Tselem camera) and one International.

At 10:45 am, the policeman lead Abuaram and one of the Internationals to Kiryat Arba police station to give testimony of the harassments. They arrived at the station at noon.

The International was asked for the camera footage of the incident, interrogated and finally released at around 2:50 pm. Abuaram was interrogated alone for a couple of hours and was threaten of arrest until he accepted to sign a paper stating that he will not get closer than 450 meters to the area where the harassment took place for a period of 15 days. He was later released around 6:00 pm after signing the paper. The Israeli police forced the settler who attacked the Palestinians with an iron pipe to stay 200 meters far from the spot where the harassment took place for a period of 15 days.

Palestinian communities of the South Hebron Hills area are strongly involved in using nonviolence as a way to resist the Israeli occupation.

Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.

[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are considered illegal also under Israeli law.]

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment