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Kiev denies OSCE mission access to LifeNews detained journalists

RT | May 21, 2014

Ukrainian authorities are not letting the OSCE special monitoring mission visit the detained journalists from Russia’s LifeNews channel, Andrey Kelin, Russia’s permanent representative to the organization, said.

“At our request, the OSCE mission is demanding a meeting with the journalists, but the Kiev authorities forbid them from doing,” Kelin told ITAR-TASS news agency.

Russia will continue pushing for action on the part of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) aimed at releasing the LifeNews crew, he added.

According to the representative, the situation around journalists, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, “continues to deteriorate.”

“We know that they’re accused of terrorism, with other far-fetched charges being pressed against them,” he explained.

Russia intends to raise the issue of “grave violation of the rights of journalists in Ukraine” at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday, he stressed, adding that the “same question will be asked by delegations from other countries as well.”

Russia’s permanent mission has passed the address from the country’s National Broadcasting Association to the OSCE leadership, in which the violations against Russian journalists by Kiev’s coup-imposed government are described, Kelin said.

There are more and more concerns about the obstruction of the media in Ukraine in anticipation of the presidential election in the country on May 25, he concluded.

Sidyakin and Saichenko were detained on Sunday soon after they released a scandalous video, which showed a UN-marked helicopter being used by the Ukrainian army in a military operation in the rebelling eastern regions.

On Tuesday, RT’s contributor Graham Phillips was arrested by Ukrainian forces at a checkpoint in the city of Mariupol. He was released after almost 36 hours of detention by various Kiev security forces.

On Monday, The OSCE’s representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, has addressed Kiev in a letter, urging it to “stop intimidating and threatening members of the media” and release the journalists.

In the last couple of days, journalists from various Russian media outlets were also prevented from entering Ukraine, including Zvezda, NTV, Channel One and TVC channels as well as a crew from RT’s Arabic channel.

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Senate Committee Approves Sanctions, Venezuela to Appeal to United Nations

By Z.C. Dutka | Venezuelanalysis | May 20th 2014

Earlier this afternoon in Washington, the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate approved 13 to 2 the “Venezuelan Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act.” The bill includes sanctions on key individuals of the Venezuelan government and at least $15 million to “defend human rights… and strengthen the rule of law.”

The Menendez Bill

Committee chair, Democrat Robert Menendez, who played a lead role in the writing of the proposed legislation, plans to present the bill before the whole Senate within the coming weeks.

The legal measures proposed are in regards to recent anti-government protests that have reached levels of extreme violence in certain Venezuelan cities, resulting in 42 dead, 800 injured, and millions of dollars of public property damaged, including the burning of multiple universities.

Menendez said the US can’t “play the role of bystander” while Venezuelan president is going to “dangerous extremes to silence political dissent.”

“The U.S. should always be on the side of human rights around the world,” said another lead supporter, Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio.

Rubio has prepared list of Venezuelan military and government officials who would be targeted for sanctions if the bill were to pass. Among those listed are attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz and the head of operations for the National Guard, Manuel Quevedo.

Earlier this month another piece of similar legislation, the Venezuelan Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, promoted by Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, passed the corresponding foreign committee of the U.S. Congress. It has yet to be addressed by Congress as a whole.

Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, has attended the senate hearings and expressed concern on behalf of the White House.

“This is not a U.S.-Venezuela issue,” she said. “We have strongly resisted attempts to be used as a distraction from Venezuela’s real problems.”

She has displayed equal unease that the bill might distract from the important dialogue that is taking place between the Venezuelan government and the opposition.

Appeal to the UN

Even before the bill passed today’s Senate committee, Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua expressed outrage at what he considers repeated US “interference” in Venezuelan affairs.

On Thursday Jaua announced his plan to present a formal claim to the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

“We’ve had enough of the United States assuming a role that belongs to multilateral bodies, Jaua said Thursday. “We must remember that as a free and independent nation we do not recognize the United States parliament… as a legislative [force] over Venezuela. There are basic principles of the United Nations Charter that must be respected.”

The minister has called a meeting with the UNASUR, to be held next week in Ecuador. He plans to bring with him a “dossier of all the declarations of interference posed by representatives of the United States, starting with president Obama, Secretary [of State John] Kerry, and others…”

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michigan protests plan to store millions of gallons of nuclear waste next to the Great Lakes

RT | May 21, 2014

A Canadian proposal that calls for a nuclear waste storage facility less than a mile away from the Great Lakes is coming under heavy fire from Michigan lawmakers and environmental groups, who are now attempting to stop the project.

Under a plan crafted by energy supplier Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the company would construct a “deep geologic repository” (DGR), which would feature waste storage sites more than 2,200 feet underground to store nearly 53 million gallons of both low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. The location of the proposed site, however – in Kincardine, Ontario, just three-quarters of a mile away from Lake Huron – has drawn criticism from numerous groups who fear potential contamination.

The fact that Lake Huron is connected to all the other Great Lakes via waterways has also drawn concern, since the five bodies of water make up the largest collection of freshwater lakes on the Earth and provide drinking supplies to tens of millions of Americans and Canadians.

According to the Detroit News, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have continued criticizing the plan, and are now proposing legislation that calls on the federal government to get involved. In addition to requesting that President Obama stake out a position on the issue, state Senate and House members are asking Secretary of State John Kerry to officially ask the International Joint Commission – established to mediate disputes over the Great Lakes – to rule on the matter.

The legislation would also “stop the importation of radioactive waste into Michigan from Canada.”

“Building a nuclear waste dump less than a mile from one of the largest freshwater sources in the world is a reckless act that should be universally opposed,” Michigan Rep. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway Township) said in a statement Monday, as quoted by the Huffington Post.

While lawmakers continue to get involved in the situation – Michigan’s Senators in Washington have also urged the State Department to bring the IJC into the debate – environmental groups have come out against the plan.

“Burying nuclear waste a quarter-mile from the Great Lakes is a shockingly bad idea — it poses a serious threat to people, fish, wildlife, and the lakes themselves,” said Andy Buchsbaum, regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, in a statement to the Detroit News.

Notably, the proposed plan has garnered the support of most Kincardine residents and other neighboring communities, many of whom have jobs within the nuclear industry.

For its part, OPG has maintained that its facility would be a safe place to store radioactive material such as rags, mop heads, paper towels, clothing, and more. According to the Associated Press, the low-level material the company plans to bury beneath the earth would decay in 300 years, while the intermediate-level material – described as “resins, filters, and used reactor components” – would take more than 100,000 years to decay.

Despite the company’s confidence, however, one former OPG scientist recently looked at the plan and came away unconvinced, saying the radioactivity of the materials that would be buried has been “seriously underestimated.” Dr. Frank Greening wrote to the Canadian panel charged with reviewing the proposal, arguing the material is sometimes 100 times more radioactive than estimated. In some cases, the material is 600 times more radioactive.

“My first feeling was, look, you messed up the most basic first step in establishing the safety of this facility, namely, how much radioactive waste they’re going to be putting in the ground, you admit you got that wrong, but now you’re telling me that everything else is okay,” Greening told Michigan Radio, according to Huffington Post. “You can’t just fluff off this error as one error. It raises too many questions about all your other numbers. And I’m sorry, I now have lost faith in what you’re doing.”

Asked about Greening’s findings, OPG spokesman Neal Kelly told the Toronto Star the facility would still be safe even if the evidence bears out.

“Some of his points are valid, and were already under review within OPG for future revisions to the waste inventory,” he said, adding the DGR’s design is “very, very conservative… The safety case would still be strong, even if these factors were to bear out.”

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US House awards Gold Medal for war criminal Shimon Peres

Peres-Obama-640x326

Photo – Sultan/thepoliticalforums.com
Aletho News | May 21, 2014

The US House of Representatives on Monday voted to give the Congressional Gold Medal to Israel’s outgoing president, Shimon Peres.

The bill which authorizes the creation of the gold medal and its award to Peres, HR 2939,  is co-sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA). It touts Peres’ “pivotal role in forging the strong and unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel” and states that “[b]y presenting the Congressional Gold Medal … Congress proclaims its unbreakable bond with Israel and reaffirms its continual support for Israel.”

The following excerpt from an open letter by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel recounts Peres’ career, emphasizing a record of war crimes:

On 18 April 1996, when Israel still occupied southern Lebanon, Shimon Peres was Prime Minister. He was in the midst of an election campaign, so he took a decision to do something to change his “dovish” image because doves are not respected in Israel. He launched “Operation Grapes of Wrath” causing 400,000 Lebanese to flee their homes, with almost 800 of them fleeing to a UN base in Qana, South Lebanon.

On 18 April the Israeli army shelled the UN shelter in Qana, killing 102 civilians, mainly women, children and the elderly. Many more were injured. Human Rights Watch, the UN and Amnesty International subsequently disproved the myth that the Israeli army did not deliberately intend to shell the UN base. Shimon Peres said at the time, “In my opinion, everything was done according to clear logic and in a responsible way. I am at peace.”

The Qana massacre led to Shimon Peres being denied the job he coveted at the time: that of UN Secretary-General. He should have been denied it anyway for being the architect of Israel’s nuclear programme — one which remains outside the scrutiny of the world even as Israel bays for the cessation of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy for civilian purposes.

Peres is on record for being responsible for other war crimes, from building colonies on occupied Arab land to endorsing a policy of extra-judicial killings, which murders Palestinians and other Arabs without the benefit of a trial or, in fact, any proof other than that provided by Israeli Intelligence, the Shin Bet. He also supports the siege on Gaza, the destruction of its airport, and the elaborate system of checkpoints all across the West Bank. He defends the demolition of Palestinian homes, and he justified the atrocities committed by the Israeli army in its recent war on Lebanon in 2006.

Peres is also on record for defending land gained during war, claiming that Israel has the right to the Golan Heights because it was gained during war.

A Senate version of the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), passed by unanimous consent in March.

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Israeli FM rejects “hypocritical” calls to investigate Palestinian teen killings

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Al-Akhbar | May 21, 2014

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday rejected as “hypocritical” world criticism and demands for an investigation into the killings of two Palestinian teenagers by occupation forces last week.

“I reject any demand” for an international investigation, he told reporters on a tour of the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel.

“Such an incident will be investigated regardless of any demand,” he remarked, denouncing world criticism of the incident as “hypocrisy.”

His remarks came a day after calls by Washington and a top UN official for an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the two killings after video footage emerged showing the unprovoked shootings.

The closed-circuit footage, released on Monday by the NGOs Defence For Children International and B’Tselem, appeared to show separate incidents in which two youngsters were shot as they walked down the same street near Ramallah as Palestinians marked the 66th anniversary of the Nakba.

Although protests were taking place in the area on that day, there is no visible evidence of clashes in the footage.

Watch the footage:

The Palestinian leadership accused Israel of their “deliberate execution.”

But the Israeli army dismissed the footage as having been “edited,” and said it was investigating the incident.

Late on Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington expected the Israeli government “to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident.”

And Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, called for an “independent and transparent” probe.

He said it was “of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat.”

But Lieberman brushed off such calls.

“We don’t need an American demand” to launch an investigation, he said.

“We will do it as part our commitment to the Israeli army’s moral code.”

Israel had claimed that its occupation forces fired rubber bullets try to put down the protest, and denies using live bullets.

The the youths, identified as 16-year-old Mohammed Odeh Abu al-Thaher and 17-year-old Nadim Siyam Nawara.

In a separate development, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday published figures showing “a sharp increase” in the number of Palestinian refugees killed and injured by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2013.

According to UNRWA, there has also been a big increase in the numbers of those injured by live ammunition in 2014, with 43 wounded this year compared with 10 in the same period in 2013.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine and Syria: Elections at the Barrels of US-NATO Guns?

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | May 20, 2014

Hypocrisy, the most protected of vices.
— Moliere, 1672-1673

On Sunday May 11th, Ukraine’s referenda in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces were met with verbal condemnation from the US – accusations of the electorate voting “at the barrel of a gun”, in reportedly a near 90% turn out, nearly 90% in Donetsk voting for political independence from Kiev and 96.2% in Luhansk in favour of self rule.

Many did indeed vote at the barrels of guns – held by those sent by the US-UK-EU-NATO allies in the $5 Billion US coup in the capitol, Kiev, which replaced the elected government. Their actions “resulted in several deaths.”

The two regions followed Crimea, who on March 16th, voted by near 93% to cede to Russia in an over 80% turnout.

However, as barrels of guns go, they surely don’t get bigger than those focused on the voters in the Ukraine national election on Sunday, May 25th.

The US war ship the Vella Gulf is expected to arrive in the Black Sea “on the eve of Presidential elections”, with American diplomats stressing “that the United States wanted to support the actions of the new Ukrainian authorities through the presence of US warships in the Black Sea.”

In “support” of the elections, “The Vella Gulf is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, ACPOK, and antisubmarine and anti-aircraft Standard-2 and Standard-3 missiles. The ship carries the total of 122 missiles on board. The vessel also has two multipurpose helicopters.”

It is also “a guided missile cruiser built for open-ocean warfare and long-range attacks on targets inland …”

That should bring the voters out!

Further: “The American Aegis guided missile cruiser will be in the Black Sea in time for the Ukrainian presidential elections on May 25 …” Additionally: “… the French Navy’s intelligence ship, Dupuy de Lome, (is) currently in the waters off Bulgaria’s port city of Varna.  (It is) designed for radar monitoring and capable of intercepting communications, including phone calls and e-mails …”

However, if the people of Ukraine survive US missile driven backing for “democracy”, the people of Syria may face an even bigger challenge as they hold their Presidential election just nine days later.

On the day of the Ukraine elections, Operation “Eager Lion” kicks off in Syria’s neighbour, Jordan, in a “military training drill” involving 24 countries “organized by the Jordan Armed Forces, in co-operation with the US Army.”  Read: organized by the US at every level. The “training drill” just happens to run from May 25th to June 10th, thus taking in the day of Syria’s elections on June 3rd. The distance between Jordan’s capitol, Amman and Syria’s capitol Damascus is a mere 109 miles. The Jordan-Syrian border is a mere hop, skip and jump away.

Of the same named exercise last year, Natowatch.org called it: “A NATO exercise in all but name.”

Equipment to be utilized this year seems unavailable, but in last year’s smaller exercise, with 18 nations taking part, just some major equipment included “amphibious assault ships (and numbers of) AV-B Harrier II, C130 Hercules, F18 Hornet, F16 Falcon, Patriot missile system and the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft … “

This year, though, we do learn (mark carefully) that: “The land component includes a mixture of special operations forces and Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which played a role in Operation Odyssey Dawn to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya in March 2011.”

We know what happened to Libya.

“Ground, air and naval forces” will be deployed. The US also now has one thousand troops (including special operations?) deployed in Jordan long term.

In April last year in another eighteen country silly named operation in Qatar, operation Eagle Resolve, according to the US Department of Defence, included every country in the region except Syria and Iran. “Everyone else had representation.” Syria and Iran, of course, were on the Pentagon list, after September 11th, 2001 of “Seven countries” to be “taken out in five years.” They are behind, but clearly still working on it under the Nobel Prize winning and more recently the “Ambassador for Humanity” awarded US President.

Search engines explain that the names of US military exercises and operations are long pondered over to make them meaningful, assertive, ringing of authority, control and dominance. “Eager Lion” has all the authority of a bully taunting in a reception class school playground. “Assad” in Arabic translates as “Lion.” To quote Peter Ustinov again: “When we were five, we all wanted to be Generals.” Pathetic.

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment