Aletho News


Antagonizing Palestinians, Australia’s linguistic blunder snowballs

By Nicola Nasser | The People’s Voice | June 17, 2014

Reacting to antagonized Palestinian snowballing protests to her government’s decision on June 5 to reverse a 47-year old bipartisan consensus on describing eastern Jerusalem as “occupied,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on June 13 denied any “change in the Australian government’s position.”

On June 5, Australian Attorney-General George Brandis in a statement said: ”The description of East Jerusalem as ‘Occupied East Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.”

The new Australian terminology provoked Jordan, the third largest importer of Australian sheep in the Middle East, to summon Australia’s charge d’affaires, John Feakes, to convey its “concern” because “The Australian government’s decision violates international law and resolutions that consider east Jerusalem as an integral part of all Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.”

Similarly, the Australian Representative in Ramallah, Tom Wilson, was summoned by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey “deep concern” because Brandis’ remarks “contradict all international resolutions.” They requested “official clarification.”

Bishop’s “no change” statement came in response. It was followed on June 14 by Prime Minister Tony Abbott who said, while on a trip to North America, that his government had made only a “terminological clarification.”

Australia still “strongly” supports the “two-state solution” and “there has been no change in policy – absolutely no change in policy,” Abbot said, but at the same time confirmed that, “We absolutely refuse to refer to occupied East Jerusalem.”

Abbot two days earlier stated that the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are in “truth … disputed territories.”

Canberra is showing no signs of backing down. Australian ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, on June 11 said Brandis’ reasoning could lead his government to similar official linguistic change on the West Bank.

“I think we just call the West Bank, ‘the West Bank,’ as a geographical entity without adding any adjectives to it, whether ‘occupied’ [the Palestinian position] or ‘disputed’ [the Israeli position]. We’ll just call it what it is, which is ‘the West Bank.’,” he told the Tablet. However, this is not official yet, he said.

“There has been no change in the Australian government’s position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem,” Bishop “clarified” in her statement. She was not convincing. The credibility of Bishop’s and Abbot’s denial of “change” could hardly be plausible.

It is a “radical change in the Australian position on Palestine,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said. The head of the Palestinian delegation to Canberra, Izzat Abdulhadi, said Australia’s new stance is “very provocative.”

On June 12, Arab and Islamic ambassadors from 18 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Indonesia, protested to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra.

Jerusalem is the permanent headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The organization was founded in response to the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, by the Australian arsonist Michael Dennis Rohan in 1969.

The Australian on June 10 reported from Jerusalem that the 57-member OIC will hold a joint emergency meeting this month with the 22-member Arab League to decide their response to Australia’s “terminology” declaration.

Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi sent Bishop a “letter of protest” requesting “official clarification,” his deputy Ahmad bin Hilli said last Monday.

Palestinians are on record to invoke the multi-billion annual Australian agricultural exports to the member states in the discussions. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters last Friday that “we will work very hard with them … to maintain the trade,” but so far his government has shown no signs to that effect.

Bishop’s and Abbot’s “no change” statements tried to imply that their country’s policy has not changed and that if there was a change it is a linguistic one only.

Either case the change in “terminology” serves neither Australian nor Palestinian interests. Coming ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Australia this summer, to be the first ever sitting Israeli premier to visit Canberra, it serves only as a free of charge welcoming present.

However, coming on the 47th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory in eastern Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip and in 2014, which the United Nations proclaimed an International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Australian “change of language” was “absolutely disgraceful and shocking,” according to the member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hanan Ashrawi.

“Such inflammatory and irresponsible statements … are not only in blatant violation of international law and global consensus, but are also lethal in any pursuit of peace and toxic to any attempt at enacting a global rule of law,” Ashrawi was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel on June 6.

In fact, describing the Palestinian territories, eastern Jerusalem inclusive, as “occupied” is not only a Palestinian position.

The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem has not been recognized by the international community and all 193 countries of the UN, including the U.S., refuse to have their embassies in Jerusalem because it would imply their recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

Published by The Guardian on this June 11, Ben Saul wrote: “Calling east Jerusalem ‘occupied’ simply recognizes the near-universal legal status quo, namely that it is not sovereign Israeli territory.”

“Declaring that east Jerusalem will not be described as ‘occupied’ implies that Australia rejects the application of international humanitarian law … The term “occupation” is therefore not pejorative or judgmental.” Saul said, adding that “Australia’s new view … corrodes the international rule of law and violates Australia’s international law obligations” in accordance with the Geneva conventions to which both Australia and Israel are signatories.

The UN Security Council Resolution 478 on August 20, 1980 censured “in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem,” affirmed “that the enactment of the ‘basic law’ by Israel constitutes a violation of international law” and determined “that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the recent ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”

Ninety UNSC resolutions, let alone 40 others vetoed by the U.S., rule accordingly. Now Australia is the only other nation that joins and supports Israel in its violation of all these resolutions. Aside from Israel, it is also the only nation to change its language on the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Australian linguistics in context

The Palestinian people are not known for their short memory. They view the Australian government’s “terminological clarification” in the context of the country’s recent pro-Israel changes of policy as well as in Australia’s historical anti-Palestinian policies.

Last month, Ambassador Sharma met in East Jerusalem with the Israeli Minister of Housing Uri Ariel, who is in charge of the illegal construction of the colonial settlements in the OPT.

In January this year, while on an official visit to Israel, Foreign Minister Bishop told the Times of Israel that she isn’t convinced that Israeli construction of illegal settlements in OPT is a violation of international law, and called international boycotts of these settlements “anti-Semitic” and “Hypocritical beyond belief.”

Last November, Australia failed to join 158 nations who supported a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to Israeli settlements or to join 160 countries which supported another resolution calling on Israel to “comply scrupulously” with the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

In November 2012, Australia abstained from supporting the UNGA recognition of Palestine as a “non-member observer state” by a vote of 138 to 9, rendering PM Abbot’s latest “clarification” that Australia still “strongly” supports the “two-state solution” a hollow statement.

Quoted by Emeritus Professor Peter Boyce AO, President of the Australia Institute of International Affairs in Tasmania, a 2010 study found that 78% of Australians were opposed to Israel’s settlements policy and only 22% thought Jerusalem should be recognized as Israel’s capital. More recently, at the time of the 2012 General Assembly vote on Palestinian non-member observer State status, 51% of Australians thought their country should vote “Yes” and only 15% “No.”

“Australia has had an important role in the establishment of the Israeli state” and it “stood alone among western governments in its uncritical alignment with Israel,” Professor Boyce wrote.

Certainly Boyce had history in mind. Australia in its capacity as the Chairman of the UN General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine helped to push through the UN Partition Plan on November 29, 1947. It was the first UN member state to vote in favor of Israeli statehood and the first to grant Israel de-jure recognition when the U.S. recognized it de-facto only. Israel was also the first Middle East country with which Australia established diplomatic relations in 1949.

Australia had defended all Israeli wars on Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as “in self defense,” especially the 1967 war in which it occupied more Palestinian territories and the lands of four Arab countries.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Terrorism As A Weapon Of Hegemony

By Chandra Muzaffar | CounterPunch | June 17, 2014

Once again, the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) joins hands with the people of Cuba and justice-loving people in every nook and cranny of the planet, in demanding the immediate release of the three remaining prisoners from the Cuban Five who are still languishing in US jails, after 13 years.

Two were released after completing their prison terms — Rene Gonzales on the 7th of October 2011, and Fernando Gonzales on the 27th of February 2014. It is important to emphasize that they walked to freedom with their dignity intact. The three who are still in jail — Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labanino — deserve our fullest support and solidarity. We should continue to campaign for them with all our heart and soul.

To reiterate, the imprisonment of all five is a travesty of justice. The Cuban Five were monitoring Cuban exile groups in the US in the nineties who had a proven record of committing terrorist acts against the Cuban people. They were gathering information about the terrorist missions that these groups were planning and had informed the US authorities about what they (the Cuban Five) were doing. And yet they were arrested and jailed after an unfair and unjust trial.

If the Cuban Five working under the direction of the Cuban government was determined to expose terrorist activities being carried out against their motherland from US soil, it was mainly because Cuba and its leadership had been victims of US sponsored terror and violence for decades. In 1976, a Cuban commercial plane with 73 passengers on board, a number of them school children, was bombed, killing everyone. The alleged mastermind of this terrorist act, Luis Posada Carriles, is still alive, protected by the US government. There was also an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by groups in the US in 1961, the infamous ‘Bay of Pigs’ fiasco. A series of terrorist attacks targeting hotels and tourists in the nineties sought to cripple the Cuban economy. And there have been innumerable attempts to assassinate the Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, right through the 47 years that he was in power. Add to all this the crippling economic sanctions imposed upon Cuba by every US Administration since 1961 and we will get a complete picture of how a small nation of 11 million people has had to endure the terror unleashed against it by its superpower neighbor.

Why has Cuba been the target of terrorism in all its manifestations for so long? The reason is simple. The US elite will not accept in its neighborhood, a nation which is determined to choose its own path to the future without being dictated to, or dominated by, the US. It will not tolerate a people who are committed to defending their independence and sovereignty. To put it in another way, the US drive for hegemony does not permit another nation— especially a nation with a different worldview — to preserve and enhance its dignity.

This hegemonic attitude is borne out by the US’s treatment of other countries in Latin America. Whenever a nation steps out of line, the US line, it is clobbered. Sometimes through terror and violence. Look at Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, at different times and in different circumstances. Even in West Asia, terror has been employed to both undermine governments which want to maintain a degree of independence from the US and the West and to create instability and chaos in society. This is the story of Somalia and Sudan, of Libya and Lebanon, of Iraq and Syria. In Southeast Asia too, the Vietnamese, the Cambodians and Laotians have all experienced US terror, just as the people of the Philippines had in the past. Weren’t the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also exposed to a US “rain of terror” in 1945?

Let’s be clear about this. Terrorism is a tool for dominance and control. Terrorism is a weapon of hegemony. The US — like some other states too—uses this weapon in both ways. It employs terror when it suits its interests. It also fights against terrorism when it serves its agenda. This is why for the US there are “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists.” It is quite happy to collude with the former and crush the latter.

This was obvious in Iraq following the Anglo-American occupation of the land in 2003. In the initial phase the occupier encouraged the Shia militias to fight the Sunni remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime. Once the Shias got into power through the democratic process and moved closer to Iran, the US became worried and backed Sunni militias fighting the Shia dominated government. Now of course, Sunni-Shia clashes, compounded by various other forces, have assumed a life of their own.

In Syria, it is an open secret that the US and other Western and regional actors have been actively involved in supporting the armed rebels against the Bashar al-Assad government in Damascus. Some of the rebels are favored more than others by the US just as other rebels are linked to some of the other external players. The good terrorists from the US perspective receive a lot of assistance including weapons and funds through channels connected to US allies in the region. Are there bad terrorists in the Syrian conflict? While the US may not approve of the tactics used by some of the rebels, it has refrained from strong denunciation of them since it shares their overriding objective of eliminating Assad. So it is Assad who is the bad terrorist in the eyes of the US. Assad is bad because he has been consistent in his opposition to US-Israeli hegemony over West Asia.

There is parallel of sorts to the Cuban situation. All those individuals and groups opposed to the Cuban government, however violent they may be, are good terrorists and have been bestowed with all kinds of aid by US agencies through various conduits. Fidel Castro, and his successor, Raul Castro, are the bad ones. Fidel in particular was demonized in the mainstream Western media as few other leaders had been. Needless to say, it was because of his principled position against US helmed hegemony, articulated with such depth and clarity, that a grossly negative image of the man was disseminated through the media.

But Fidel Castro and the Cuban Five have demonstrated that in the ultimate analysis truth will triumph. Today, Fidel commands a lot of respect and affection among ordinary men and women everywhere for what he has accomplished for his people and indeed for the people of Latin America and the Global South. Similarly, the cause of the Cuban Five has become one of the major rallying-points in the worldwide struggle for human freedom and human dignity because it symbolizes the struggle of the powerless against the powerful.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), an NGO based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


June 17, 2014 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Court Rejects Request That Secret NSA Evidence Used Against Terrorism Suspect Be Shared With Suspect’s Lawyers

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | June 17, 2014

We’ve been following the case of Adel Daoud, an American citizen charged with terrorism. He’s one of the many, many folks that was arrested following one of the FBI’s infamous home grown plots (i.e. he was never actually involved in any terrorism, as all of his “co-conspirators” were actually FBI agents or informants, and there was never any actual threat or chance that he’d pull off an actual terrorist attack). Back during the (pre-Snowden) debates on renewing Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, Senator Dianne Feinstein used Daoud’s case as a specific example of when the program had been useful in stopping terrorism.

That caught the attention of Daoud’s lawyers, who noted that this was the first they’d heard of this, and it seemed pretty clear that the government had withheld the evidence that was used to bring Daoud to trial in the first place (which is, as you know, not really allowed). After asking for the evidence, the district court first said no, but then ordered that some of the documents being filed actually be shared with Daoud’s attorneys (who have the necessary security clearances). The DOJ, of course, flipped out at this idea that the lawyers for someone they’re trying to lock up forever should actually be able to see the evidence used against him and how it was collected.

This resulted in an appeals court hearing, which bizarrely had to happen twice after the FBI so scared court staff that they failed to record the public portion of the oral hearings. The hearings were also odd in that, at one point, everybody but DOJ folks and the judges were kicked out of the courtroom, raising serious questions about basic due process.

Unfortunately, Judge Richard Posner’s ruling (right after coming out with his good ruling on the public domain) has found that the evidence does not need to be shared with Daoud’s lawyers. He slams the district court judge for overreacting and over-valuing the concept of the “adversarial process” in the court room. Seriously.

The judge appears to have believed that adversary procedure is always essential to resolve contested issues of fact. That is an incomplete description of the American judicial system in general and the federal judicial system in particular. There are ex parte or in camera hearings in the federal courts as well as hearings that are neither or both. And there are federal judicial proceedings that though entirely public are nonadversarial, either partly or entirely.

Posner basically says that the district court judge herself should have looked over the materials first, to determine if it makes sense to pass them on, rather than defaulting to saying that they should be shared with the lawyers. As such, he basically reveals that the “secret hearing” that was held was to go over the material with the appeals court judges, and they’re satisfied that nothing needs to be revealed to Daoud’s attorneys.

… our study of the materials convinces us that the investigation did not violate FISA. We shall issue a classified opinion explaining (as we are forbidden to do in a public document) these conclusions, and why therefore a remand to the district court is neither necessary nor appropriate.

Posner also, not surprisingly, rejects the objection by Daoud’s lawyers to that secret hearing, noting that it was necessary to determine if the DOJ lawyers were being fully honeset with the court:

Their objecting to the classified hearing was ironic. The purpose of the hearing was to explore, by questioning the government’s lawyer on the basis of the classified materials, the need for defense access to those materials (which the judges and their cleared staffs had read). In effect this was cross-examination of the government, and could only help the defendant.

Defense counsel’s written motion cites no authority for forbidding classified hearings, including classified oral arguments in courts of appeals, when classified materials are to be discussed. We don’t think there’s any authority it could cite.

And, voila, the secret law and secret courts and secret evidence continue unabated…

For a very good analysis of this ruling, I recommend Steve Vladeck’s take, in which he notes that Posner seems to (somewhat bizarrely) confuse sharing details with Daoud’s lawyers in secret, with “openness” to the public. As Vladeck notes, the district court judge recognized that not everything had to happen publicly, but was (reasonably) concerned that just having a judge look over the secret FISA court ruling would not be sufficient, since the judge would not have the same view as the defense attorneys. Posner seems to ignore or misinterpret all of that.

The problem, from Judge Coleman’s perspective, is that it may not always be possible for a district judge to determine whether disclosure is necessary (as opposed to whether it “may be necessary”) without the benefit of adversarial presentation. That is to say, § 1806(f) conditions the disclosure of classified FISA materials to a defendant (or, at least, his security-cleared counsel) upon a finding by the district judge that may, in some cases, only be possible with defense counsel’s participation. This is why, in her order mandating disclosure, Judge Coleman devoted so much of her energy to the importance of adversarial proceedings, especially in criminal cases—not because all proceedings in U.S. courts are adversarial (they’re not), but because, in this context specifically, adverse-ness makes it easier for a judge to have faith that she is comporting with her statutory and constitutional obligations.

But rather than accept—or at least sympathize with—Judge Coleman’s efforts to square a circle, Judge Posner derided them by suggesting that the government has a right to keep these materials secret, repeatedly criticizing calls (one is left to wonder from where) for “openness.” “Not only is federal judicial procedure not always adversarial,” Posner wrote; “it is not always fully public.” This is true, but entirely beside the point; Judge Coleman wasn’t seeking to open the proceedings; she was seeking to provide security-cleared defense counsel (who, just like everyone else, are subject to the Espionage Act) with access to classified information.

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Mexico: Jailed Activist’s Family Threatened


Weekly News Update on the Americas | June 15, 2014

A group of Mexican legislative deputies announced on June 2 that they would call on the federal Governance Secretariat to guarantee the security of family members of Nestora Salgado, an imprisoned community activist from the largely indigenous town of Olinalá in the southwestern state of Guerrero. The announcement came one day after an attack on a bus that Salgado’s daughter Saira Salgado was riding from Olinalá to Mexico City for a scheduled meeting with legislators. Armed men stopped the bus shortly after it left Olinalá and without explanation executed a woman passenger. Saira Salgado said the victim was dressed the way she herself is usually dressed. After the murder, the men left without harming or robbing the other passengers. Deputy Roberto López, of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), charged that the attack was not an isolated incident.

Nestora Salgado is a naturalized US citizen from Olinalá who migrated to the US and settled in Washington state. In recent years she began visiting her hometown and became involved in community affairs there; eventually she was elected head of the community police force. Community police forces are legally recognized in Guerrero, and Salgado originally had good relations with the state government. But in August 2013 she ordered the arrest of a local official, Armando Patrón Jiménez, in connection with cattle rustling and the deaths of two ranchers. Five days later Salgado herself was arrested on charges of kidnapping and was removed to a federal women’s prison at Tepic in the western state of Nayarit. She has been held there ever since without access to a lawyer; her daughter’s meeting with legislators was intended to discuss their plan to have her transferred to a more accessible prison in Mexico City.

Mexican and US activists have organized a campaign for Salgado’s release, along with a petition drive. The US government had done nothing to help with Salgado’s case despite her status as a US citizen, Deputy Loretta Ortiz Ahlf, of the small leftist Labor Party (PT), said on June 2. (La Jornada (Mexico) 6/3/14; Desinformémonos (Mexico) 6/8/14)

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

In Memoriam: Michael Hastings January 28, 1980 – June 18, 2013

An American Resistance Fighter

Video Rebel’s Blog | June 17, 2014

Michael Hastings was a war correspondent. He knew he was at war with the American government. He said the following before he was murdered:

The Obama administration has clearly declared war on the press. Has declared war on investigative journalists (and) our sources. The only recourse to this kind of behavior by the government is to say back to the government we declare war on you. And from this point forward we should no longer as the media on the whole no longer cooperate in any manner with the government in terms of when we are doing National Security stories. We should withdraw all our cooperation and publish everything we know because it is a Free Press not a Free Press except when the government tells me what to do. And we’ve been way too easy going with these guys. We let them get away with this for years. We let them tell us what to print and what not to print. I say everybody get together and say we are done with it and fire back. No one else is going to defend the press.

That was his 55 second opening in one of the last interviews he ever gave. I hope that if we survive and do take over the government that the Joseph Pulitzer prize for journalism would be renamed the Michael Hastings award.

Michael Hastings also criticized NSA spying. The violation of the Fourth Amendment against illegal searches and seizures allows the NSA to record all of our emails and all of our phone calls. When you combine this with the criminalization of investigative reporting and the application of the Espionage Act to whistleblowers, you will end First Amendment protections for the Free Press. The next step is to end Free Speech.

Before he was murdered, Hastings did contact his friends and Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Wikileaks,  saying the FBI was investigating him. He told his friends they needed to get a lawyer before they talked to the FBI.

His friends said he drove like a grandmother and never saw him drive fast or erratically. He had given up drinking alcohol five years earlier. Experts at universities have demonstrated  that cars can be remotely hacked. They can accelerate the car, make it stop and deploy the airbag without the driver’s cooperation. Michael’s car was seen driving through a red light at an intersection at a high speed. Sparks were seen coming out of the car before it impacted the tree. A loud explosion strong enough to shake a house was heard before the car hit the tree. His car engine and drive train were seen 50 and 70 yards distant from the car. The car had been going south but the engine and drive train were found north or behind the car. That is not possible unless the engine had been separated before the car hit the tree. None of this normally happens to a new Mercedes.

Military veterans said the intense heat of the fire was beyond that of a car fire. The car’s paint should have been burned but it was not suggesting a bomb rather than a normal car fire.

Contrary to the family’s wishes his body was cremated and sent home in an urn. His family had wanted his body returned. Gone would be any evidence that he had been drugged.

Michael Hastings’ friend Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs said Michael told him he was working on the biggest story of his career. It was on the CIA. This would have been a very big story indeed because his article Runaway General on Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone got the general fired.

I wrote this because I do not want the fact that Michael Hastings was murdered for the crime of practicing journalism to be forgotten. There are two videos below. The first has Michael’s declaration of war on the Obama administration in the first 55 seconds of the tape. The second video gives an overview of his murder. It is ten minutes long.



Last year I wrote an article on Hastings after his murder. It has another video interview with Michael. The Link is below:

In Memory of Michael Hastings: His CSPAN Interview

(This CSPAN interview is about his book The Operators. He points out the Pentagon has 27,000 public relations people. One general in Kabul has more PR people than there are reporters covering the war. He hits General Petraeus very hard both in this video and in the book.)

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

US missile defense system proves to be useless after $40 bln spent

RT | June 17, 2014

Despite a decade of testing and tens of billions of dollars’ worth of research, a major missile defense program in the United States has proven to be anything but successful, a new investigation suggests.

Nevertheless, the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA, plans on conducting next week its ninth exercise of that costly system since 2004, and the outcome of the drill is expected to influence whether or not more than a dozen new interceptors are added to the United States’ arsenal.

According to a recent investigation by the Los Angeles Times, however, that system has so far been marred by mistakes that raise questions about its ability to thwart any major attack and the cost incurred during the last decade.

The results of the Times probe, published by the paper on Sunday this week, show that Pentagon officials with inside knowledge of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, say the program has suffered from mishaps more often than the US government would have expected.

“[A] decade after it was declared operational, and after $40 billion in spending, the missile shield cannot be relied on, even in carefully scripted tests that are much less challenging than an actual attack would be,” David Willman wrote for the Times over the weekend.

“Official pronouncements about the GMD system, The Times found, have overstated its reliability.”

Results have been mixed to say the least since as far as 1999 when GMD testing first began — half of the first 16 tests of the system’s ability to intercept a mock enemy warhead failed, the Times acknowledged. The system was finally upgraded to “operational” in 2004, but five of the eight tests held in the last decade have failed as well.

The GMD system is expected to intercept incoming missiles, like hypothetical attacks waged by adversaries such as Iran or North Korea. Even when US officials have scripted test drills to try out this ability, however, the GMD program has hardly acted as expected. The last successful intercept occurred five-and-a-half years ago, and the last three attempts — two in 2010 and one last July — all were unsuccessful.

“The tests are scripted for success,” Philip E. Coyle III, a former director of operational testing and evaluation for the Pentagon, told the Times. “What’s amazing to me is that they still fail.”

Because of this tainted track record, all eyes are expected to be on a drill later this month on June 22. MDA Director Navy Vice Adm. James Syring told Congress recently that the upcoming intercept flight test remains his “highest priority,” and with good reason:14 new intercepts could be added to a MDA system currently composed of 30 if the upcoming test is a success, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hinted that failure would mean a halt in funding.

Speaking before Congress, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said “not just friends of the United States but even our enemies” will monitor the next round of testing in order to gauge the current abilities of the MDA program.

“I’m also optimistic we have identified the cause of the intercept failure involving our first-generation EKV last July when the CE-1 failed to separate from the booster’s third stage,” Syring said. “We have accounted for this issue in the upcoming flight test and we are working toward a correction for the entire fleet before the end of the year.”

Regardless, Syring is appealing to Congress for $99.5 million to begin what he described Wednesday to the Times as “redesign improvement” that would stop short of a complete overhaul, sources familiar with the matter told the paper.

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

The Presbyterian Church’s Tough Love Of Israel

By Sam Bahour | TPM | June 14, 2014

The 2 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) is about to make history in the Middle East, yet again. In the coming days, local delegates from the Church will travel to Detroit to attend the 221st Presbyterian General Assembly to consider a set of eight overtures that ask church leaders to review support of two states for Palestine and Israel in light of unfolding facts on the ground. Other issues to be considered are backing of equal rights and unblocked economic development for all inhabitants of Israel, and divesting from the likes of Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions. The Church is clearly stepping up to the plate and realigning its policies with its values.

Political America and Corporate America should be taking note.

Reminiscent of the struggle against Apartheid South Africa, the Church is poised to step in where successive US administrations have failed to hold Israel accountable to international and humanitarian law, not to mention sheer common sense.

The U.S. has paid never-ending lip service to the need to end Israel’s 47-year military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. During the past two decades, the U.S. has coupled lip service with the monopolizing of a peace process that has led the international community to a dead end; not to mention leaving Muslim and Christian Palestinians on the ground, in the occupied territory as well as in Israel, standing naked in front of a state bent on militarily controlling another people and discriminating against over 20 percent of their own non-Jewish population. Presbyterians have had enough and are taking the lead to change the equation and stop the damage being perpetrated by Israel.

Political America should not take lightly the new reality that mainstream churches and civil society have reached a point where they can no longer blindly repeat calls for a resolution based on “two states” when Israeli actions on the ground, by way of continued illegal settlement building and much more, have created a single state reality between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River. Secretary of State John Kerry alluded to exactly this at the outset of the last failed round of U.S.-led negotiations when he testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in April 2013 and noted, “I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting, I think we have some period of time – a year to year-and-a-half to two years, or it’s over.” The Presbyterian Church is crying out from the highest mountain it can that for a two-state solution not to be “over” immediate action must be taken. They are calling for the Church to review this core issue over the next two years.

Corporate America should also be closely following the Presbyterian General Assembly’s proceedings.

In the 2012 Assembly, delegates addressed the issue of divesting from firms that benefit from or contribute to Israel’s military occupation by attempting to pass a resolution calling for divestment from Israel. When the so-called pro-Israel lobby got word of this, they mobilized to introduce and pass a counter overture that promotes “positive investment” instead of divestment. In a perfected Orwellian move, these lobbyists publicly promote investment in Palestine, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the systematic Israeli polices strangling the Palestinian economy.

Investment in Palestine — without divestment from the Israeli occupation — only continues to underwrite the status quo of military occupation. For investment to be successful occupation must be dismantled and sovereign control of Palestine’s economic resources passed to the Palestinians.

In this month’s Assembly, the divestment resolution will be brought to the floor once again for a vote. Now it comes at the heels of Secretary Kerry’s failed blitz to resolve the conflict and a momentous trip by the Pope to Bethlehem where he prayed at the illegal Separation Wall. The US-based organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, recently noted that the Israel lobby’s efforts have included offering Presbyterian leaders all-expenses-paid trips to Israel. Presbyterians can use this opportunity to straighten the White House’s spine based on what the administration already knows: Israel is intentionally blocking progress in the peace talks while jeopardizing US strategic interests in the region, not to mention the fate of Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Palestinian civil society and Palestinians — Christians and Muslims — have urged everyone interested in seeing peace with justice to divest from the occupation and to invest only where the occupation does not benefit. We struggle to remain hopeful while a cement wall as high as 24 feet tall snakes through our homeland. After all, we do not seek a beautified prison. We want the prison walls dividing Palestinians from Palestinians to come tumbling down, and that will not happen unless economic pressure is placed on Israel to end the occupation. Thus, the upcoming Assembly’s overture that calls for divestment from firms benefiting from the occupation, while affirming “Occupation-Free Investment in Palestine,” is spot on.

Palestinians did not invent the non-violent tool of divestment. After unsuccessfully trying to secure their rights using a multitude of other means, Palestinians have focused their efforts on non-violent methods of resisting military occupation that have been used throughout history by others: boycott, divestment, sanction, international law, civil disobedience, diplomatic efforts, economic resistance, and the like. Supporting these tools is supporting non-violence; the alternative is to push Palestinians into using violent means of resistance. If nonviolence is deemed unacceptable then violence becomes that much more likely.

The upcoming Presbyterian vote provides an important opportunity to say yes to nonviolence as the means to overcoming Israeli occupation and discrimination.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah, the West Bank, and blogs at

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Judge Finds Courts Cannot Protect US Citizens Tortured by US Government Officials Abroad

By Kevin Gosztola | Firedoglake | June 17, 2014

A federal district court dismissed a case that was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a United States citizen and against US government officials who allegedly tortured, abused and subjected him to rendition and incommunicado detention in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. The dismissal was another stark example of how it is nearly impossible for torture victims to push for justice in an American court of law.

Amir Meshal was in the Horn of Africa when, on January 24, 2007, Kenyan soldiers captured and interrogated him. He was “hooded, handcuffed and flown to Nairobi, where he was taken to the Ruai Police Station and questioned by an officer of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department” and was told that the police had to “find out what the United States wanted to do with him before he could send him back to the United States.” He remained in detention without access to a telephone or his attorney for a week, according to the US District Court of the District of Columbia’s decision [PDF].

On February 3, “three Americans,” who turned out to be FBI agents, interrogated Meshal and told him he would be handed over to the Kenyans and remain stuck in a “lawless country” if he did not cooperate. The agents also accused him of “having received weapons and interrogation resistance training in an al Qaeda camp.” Supervising Special Agent Chris Higgenbotham, one of the officials sued, threatened Meshal with being transferred to Israel where the Israelis would “make him disappear.” Meshal was informed that another US citizen he had met in Kenya, Daniel Maldonado, who was also seized by Kenyan soldiers, “had a lot to say about” him and his story “would have to match.”

Meshal was flown by Kenyan officials to Somalia with twelve others on February 9. He was “detained in handcuffs in an underground room with no windows or toilets,” which was referred to as “the cave.” This was allegedly to prevent pressure from Kenyan courts to  halt his detention and interrogation by FBI agents.

About a week later, Meshal was transported in handcuffs and a blindfold to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was held there in incommunicado detention for a week before Ethiopian officials started \regularly transporting him to a villa with other prisoners where he could be interrogated by FBI agents. He remained in detention for three months and was moved into solitary confinement twice.

Finally, on May 24, he was taken to the US Embassy in Addis Ababa and flown back to the US. He was detained for four months and lost eighty pounds. US officials never charged him with a crime.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, wrote in the decision, “The facts alleged in this case and the legal questions presented are deeply troubling.” But, he added, “Although Congress has legislated with respect to detainee rights, it has provided no civil remedies for US citizens subject to the appalling mistreatment Mr. Meshal has alleged against officials of his own government.”

In the past couple of years, Sullivan acknowledged, three federal appeals courts, including the appeals court for the DC Circuit, had rejected cases brought by citizens, including military contractors, who alleged they had been tortured or abused by US government officials. He claimed, “Only the legislative branch can provide United States citizens with a remedy for mistreatment by the United States government on foreign soil; this court cannot.”

ACLU National Security Project Director Hina Shamsi reacted, “While we appreciate the court’s outrage at the appalling mistreatment Mr. Meshal suffered at the hands of his own government, we are deeply disappointed at the court’s conclusion that it does not have the power to provide him a remedy.

“It is a sad day for Mr. Meshal and for all Americans, who have a right to expect better of their government and their courts than immunity for terrible government misconduct,” Shamsi added.

The judge’s decision “sends a deeply troubling and negative signal,” Shamsi told Firedoglake. “We’re considering our next steps in this case.”

Meshal was only seeking to hold particular US government officials responsible for the torture and abuse he had experienced. Nonetheless, Sullivan essentially accepted the government’s “national security” argument—that Meshal was “attacking the nation’s foreign policy, specifically joint operations in the Horn of Africa and executive policies which permit FBI agents to conduct and participate in investigations abroad.”

“As the government points out, these claims have the potential to implicate ‘national security threats in the Horn of Africa region; substance and sources of intelligence; the extent to which each government in the region participates in or cooperates with U.S. operations to identify, apprehend, detain, and question suspected terrorists on their soil; [and] the actions taken by each government as part of any participation or cooperation with U.S. operations.’”

In other words, allowing Meshal to sue US government officials would interfere with affairs that were entirely in the control of the Executive Branch and violate separation of powers. US government officials can engage in all manner of conduct against an individual so long as he or she is in the custody of a foreign government.

Jose Padilla, a US citizen who was detained as an enemy combatant and allegedly tortured for three years while he was in US military custody on the mainland, had his case dismissed. A US citizen and government contractor who alleged he had been “illegally detained, interrogated and tortured for nearly ten months on a US military base in Iraq” had his case dismissed. And US citizens Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, who were US government contractors allegedly detained, arrested and tortured by the US military in Iraq, had their case dismissed.

These were the cases that Sullivan believed were “binding precedent” he had to follow yet he noted that a dissenting opinion in Vance’s case had warned that the judicial branch was “creating a doctrine of constitutional triviality where private actions are permitted only if they cannot possibly offend anyone anywhere.”

Judge Ann Claire Williams added, “That approach undermines our essential constitutional protections in the circumstances when they are often most necessary.” Sullivan added that the court feared this prediction was “arguably correct.”

FBI Supervising Special Agent Chris Higgenbotham forced Meshal to sign forms and told Meshal when he did not want to sign, “If you want to go home, this will help you get there. If you don’t cooperate with us, you’ll be in the hands of the Kenyans, and they don’t want you.”

Another Supervising Special Agent, Steve Hersem, told Meshal if he “confessed his connection to al Qaeda” only then would he be granted due process in a civilian court. Otherwise, if he didn’t “confess” he would be transferred to Somalia. Hersem also told Meshal he would “send him to Egypt, where he would be imprisoned and tortured if he did not cooperate and admit his connection with al Qaeda, and told him ‘you made it so that even your grand-kids are going to be affected by what you did.’”

While in Ethiopia, an unidentified FBI agent said he would only be sent home if he was “truthful.” Meshal repeatedly ask to speak to his lawyer but agents denied his requests.

The reality is that covert operations in America’s dirty wars are now more sacrosanct to the US government than the rights US citizens are supposed to enjoy.

US government officials deliberately refused to provide Meshal with a probable cause hearing or some form of due process. In fact, one of the only reasons the US Embassy got involved and he was eventually transported back to the US is because McClatchy Newspapers became aware of his detention and published a story under the headline, “American’s rendition may have broken international, US laws.”

If a US media organization had not found out about his mistreatment, how much longer would he have been held and interrogated by FBI agents who were threatening him daily?

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

French arms sales rise by 42%


MEMO | June 17, 2014

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Lodrian said on Monday that French arms sales increased by 42 per cent or €6.7 billion in 2013 compared to 2012 and are expected to exceed seven billion Euros this year. Lodrian was speaking during the opening of the Eurosatory 2014 arms fair in the Paris suburb of Villepinte.

France recorded a strong comeback in the Middle East market, said Lodrian. The region is responsible for generating 40 per cent of France’s total exports and it has also increased its presence in the Asia and Latin America markets.

In 2013, France’s biggest contract was an agreement to renew the Saudi Arabian navy’s fleet of ships, worth €500 million; a contract to sell a communication satellite to Brazil is worth €300 million.

The minister pointed out that French exports of munitions for use by armoured vehicles grew by 5 per cent in 2013. He noted that the Scorpion programme to update light weapons will soon be launched at the cost of five billion Euros over ten years.

“This means that future equipment will include more than 2,500 armoured vehicles connected to each other by sophisticated electronic systems,” said Lodrian. “The Scorpion programme will allow the Leclerc tank to be in use until 2040.”

Eurosatory 2014 will enable French industrialists “to improve their exports”, the minister added. Nearly 1,500 exhibitors from 58 countries are taking part in the arms fair, which lasts until Friday.

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Now it is official: Israeli campaign to control Wikipedia content

By Brenda Heard | Friends of Lebanon | June 16, 2014

Wikimedia has struck a deal with Israeli officials to promote students’ multi-lingual writing and re-writing of history, geography and science topics in Wikipedia. Unwitting readers of Wikipedia likely take accounts of Middle Eastern history at face value, not realising the extent of manipulation occurring behind the seemingly authoritative guise of an encyclopaedia.  From word choice, to basic information given or omitted, to biased sources cited, Wikipedia is devolving into a completely untrustworthy source.

Of course there has been an Annual Wikipedia Academy Conference since 2009, where Israelis receive Wikipedia training and encouragement.  And of course groups such as CAMERA, a pro-Zionist Israel public relations organisation, have been actively editing Wikipedia since at least 2008.  And of course Israel has been actively funding hasbara on the internet for years and isn’t shy about its “digital diplomacy.” There’s even a “Jewish Internet Defense League” that claims to be the “cutting edge of pro-Israel digital online advocacy.”  After all, the professed need for incessant national promotion campaigns fits into the “we are the ones under attack” theme.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has twice participated in the Israeli Presidential Conference.  As he said at the 2011 Wikimania conference held in Haifa, “I love coming to Israel.”  But it is Wales’ exchange with a Lebanese blogger that strongly calls into question Wikipedia’s public goal of offering a credible, neutral “sum of all human knowledge.”  When the blogger asked Wales about his participation in the 2011 Israeli Presidential Conference, Wales snubbed the inquiry outright.  Wales responded with trite, vacuous remarks in defence of Israel and then refused to communicate further.  (An unripened e-conversation that amused several pro-Zionists.)

Surely Wikipedia management is aware that Israel is one of the most controversial topics in Wikipedia.  One academic study determined that the “Israel” page was rivalled only by the “Adolf Hitler” page as being the most highly contested page contained in all of the study’s three language sets. From a researcher’s point of view, then, it is illogical to encourage additional bias in the most contentious topic.  Yet that is precisely what Jimmy Wales has done and what this newly announced partnership does.

It can be very valuable to research Israeli sources—from newspapers to government agencies.  But we should assess these sources with the knowledge that the information provided is filtered by an Israeli perspective, most likely Zionist.  We should balance those sources with a variety of views from numerous perspectives.  The key problem with anonymous, reference style sources like Wikipedia is that we might assume the neutrality they claim.  Has Wikipedia offered similar partnerships with countries worldwide? Why not involve students in China, Peru, India, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Ethiopia, Vietnam, or the many other countries who might like a say in how the world is depicted?  We have to wonder why favourtism has been allowed by Wikipedia and whether it will be openly revealed in its pages.  Naturally, non-governmental Israelis should participate in building Wikipedia, but on equal terms with any other Wikipedian.  Otherwise, Wikipedia is not what it pretends to be.


Additional Resources:

The most controversial topics in Wikipedia: A multilingual and geographical analysis” (Yasseri T., Spoerri A., Graham M., and Kertész J., 2014)

Israel’s Ministry of Education & Wikimedia Israel Agree On New, Unique Initiative (Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2014)

Initiative: Teachers, Students to Write for Wikipedia” (Israeli National News, 10 June 2014)

Public schools to integrate Wikipedia into curriculum” (Israel Hayom News, 10 June 2014)

Education Ministry and Wikipedia collaborate to write content for the internet site” (Jerusalem Post, 10 June 2014)

EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group’s plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia” (The Electronic Intifada, 21 April 2008)

The Mideast Editing Wars” (Gershom Gorenberg, 1 May 2008)

Israel’s cyber warriors” (Lucy Tobin, 12 February 2009)

Israel deploys cyber team to spread positive spin” (Jonathan Cook, 21 July 2009)

Positive Views of Israel, Brought to You by Israelis” (Ethan Bronner, 17 February 2010)

Israeli students to get $2,000 to spread state propaganda on Facebook” (Ali Abunimah, 1 April 2012)

Jimmy Wales and Palestine” (Joey Ayoub, 12 January 2012)

Israel to pay students to defend it online” (AP, 14 August 2013)

Haifa University launches course in pro-Israel propaganda” (Ben White, 15 April 2014)

University of Haifa’s ‘Cyber Warriors’ will help fight the delegitimization of Israel using new media” (U of Haifa, 30 March 2014)





June 17, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , , | 2 Comments

Zvezda TV crew freed after harsh interrogation, ransom demands by Ukraine radicals

RT | June 17, 2014

Zvezda TV channel correspondent Evgeny Davydov, left, and sound engineer Nikita Konashenkov who were detained in Dnepropetrovsk are welcomed on their arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after their release. (RIA Novosti/Alexey Kudenko)

Reporters from Russia’s Zvezda TV channel have been freed from captivity in Ukraine, where Right Sector fighters detained, interrogated, and beat them for ransom. Risking their lives, they didn’t turn off their phones, which was crucial for their release.

A plane carrying Evgeny Davydov and Nikita Konashenkov landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport at 15:44 GMT on Monday. A few hours before their arrival in the Russian capital, the two journalists were handed over to Russian naval attaché Eduard Belashev in the city of Dnepropetrovsk.

The journalists spent two days in captivity, and were subjected to long questioning, intimidation, and beatings.

Recent images of the two men show the areas around their eyes covered in bruises. Their colleagues say that Davydov has complained of pain in his ear and partial hearing loss.

Zvezda TV channel has shared details of the reporters’ detention and release. The channel’s head, Aleksey Pimanov, said that Davydov and Konashenkov were freed due to “diplomatic efforts.” The station’s management sent pleas to new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), and the Ukrainian judiciary demanding the journalists’ immediate release.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the release “good news” and the “result of persistent work of all of our structures with the active participation and support of the Russian media.” Moscow says the “illegal practice of detaining journalists in Ukraine” must stop, and that the right to peaceful and objective press coverage of events in Ukraine must be safeguarded.

Встреча освобожденных на Украине журналистов российского телеканала "Звезда"

Zvezda TV channel correspondent Evgeny Davydov, center, with his family and sound engineer Nikita Konashenkov on their arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. (RIA Novosti/Alexey Kudenko)

The reporters were detained on June 14 while on their way to the airport. Saturday was meant to be the last day of their business trip in turbulent Ukraine and they were expected to fly home. They had been in Ukraine for over a month.

Constantly on the phone with Zvezda TV channel’s editors, Evgeny and Nikita successfully passed several checkpoints. However, they were stopped and detained at a post of the Ukrainian National Guard near Pokrovskoye, and the connection with the reporters was temporarily lost.

Zvezda journalists in Moscow launched a massive operation trying to find their colleagues. Both the Right Sector and the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) refused to comment on the detentions.

Eventually, the channel managed to determine the address of where Evgeny and Nikita were being held. This finding showed that Right Sector fighters were behind the detention – the building is shared by the SBU and the radical group. As Zvezda journalists found out later, the man who interrogated their detained colleagues was Maksim Miroshnichenko, the Right Sector’s press secretary in Dnepropetrovsk.

During the interrogation process, the journalists kept one of their phones constantly connected to the channel’s headquarters. The recording will now be transferred to authorities, who will launch a torture case. The use of force against the reporters can be heard on the recording.

Throughout the questioning, which was full of cursing, Miroshnichenko reportedly tried to force the journalists to admit they lied about the true purpose of their visit. Under pressure, the interrogators forced the Russian crew to denounce their reporting on the use of white phosphorus by the Ukrainian military in an aerial assault on the outskirts of Slavyansk on Thursday.

After the channel managed to determine the journalists’ whereabouts, representatives of the Right Sector contacted Zvezda demanding a US$200,000 ransom for the reporters, who they called “scum.” Failure to provide the money would result in consequences, with the captors sending a message to family members that the journalists would be “kept for some 10 years.”

On Monday, a YouTube video surfaced showing Davydov and Konashenkov with bruises on their faces. In the footage, the two are seemingly being forced to say they have “no complaints” about their treatment by the Right Sector, and that the visible hemorrhages on their bodies were caused by a fight with a colleague.

Their documents also surfaced on the internet, showing they were accredited by the Central Election Commission of Ukraine. But, in violation of all norms of international law and the Geneva Convention, the reporters were forced to sign statements which falsely declared their lack of professional ethics.

“Everything is done on the orders of the Kremlin in order to use this information in international politics to the detriment of Ukraine,” Davydov’s forced statement allegedly read.

Konashenkov’s written testament apparently claimed that they covered Ukrainian roadblocks, “also on Moscow’s orders,” in order to make “untrue photographs.”

Upon their safe return to Russia, the journalists were taken to hospital for treatment. Before they boarded the ambulance, they gave a few comments to the press crew that greeted them at the airport. They thanked the Russian authorities and media channels for helping secure their release. They also briefly shared the details of their abduction.

“We were traveling from Donetsk to Dnepropetrovsk. We had a direct return flight from Dnepropetrovsk to Moscow on Saturday. About 120 km from Dnepropetrovsk, we were stopped at a roadblock. This was the National Guard’s checkpoint. They stopped us, asked us for our documents, checked all our personal possessions, examining everything,” the duo told journalists.

“Seeing our Russian passports and that we are Zvezda TV staff, their face expressions changed. They smirked and said that they have a jackpot in their hands. They abducted us, blindfolded us, and placed us in a car, before driving us somewhere to a field, then to some base. They threw us in a cellar.”

A press conference with Konashenkov and Davydov is scheduled to take place later on Tuesday.

Russian journalists from a range of media outlets have been repeatedly detained during the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Another set of Zvezda crew members were abducted two weeks ago and released after several days of interrogation on accusations of espionage. RT contributor and UK national Graham Phillips was detained for over 36 hours by Kiev military forces back in May. Earlier, two Russian journalists working for LifeNews TV channel were also captured by Kiev forces, forced on their knees at gunpoint and taken to Kiev for interrogations which lasted almost one week.

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment