Aletho News


Where’s BBC scoop on Netanyahu’s big lie?

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog from Nazareth | July 26, 2014

Here’s a hugely significant story that I suspect will get almost no play outside Palestinian solidarity sites. Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, has told BBC reporter Jon Donnison that there are no grounds for believing Hamas ordered the abduction of three Israeli teens on June 12. Rather, the police say, it was carried out by a rogue cell from Hebron with a loose political affiliation to Hamas.

351947_Israel-Benjamin-NetanyahuIt was those abductions, and Israel’s response in blaming Hamas and rounding up and jailing hundreds of its activists in the West Bank, that triggered Hamas rocket fire that in turn was used by Israel to justify its attack on Gaza, which is currently killing hundreds of civilians.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated at the time that he had cast-iron evidence that Hamas was behind the abductions and the movement would pay a “heavy price”. He never produced that evidence. But now Israel’s police force itself concedes that Hamas was not involved.

Many of us, of course, suspected that Netanyahu was using the abductions as a pretext to destroy the unity government Hamas and Fatah had recently set up after years of conflict. Now we have official confirmation.

I wonder why, given the great scoop he has, Donnison appears only to have tweeted about this. It’s now more than 24 hours since he went public with the information. Is he waiting for another news outlets to beat him to the story? Or is he tweeting it because he knows the BBC isn’t interested in running a story so embarrassing to Israel?

Anyway, kudos to him for getting the scoop, even if no one seems interested in it. Another one down the memory hole.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

U.S. Wasted $34 Million Pushing Soybeans on Afghanistan

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | July 26, 2014

From military hardware to counternarcotics operations, the United States has invested billions of dollars in Afghanistan to rebuild, if not reshape, the war-torn country. Much of this investment has proved ineffective, and the failings of American policy now include a misguided effort involving soybeans.

Four years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) decided it would be a good idea to spend $34 million on getting Afghan farmers to grow soybeans and for Afghan consumers to eat them.

The USDA struck out on both counts, according to a report (pdf) from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a frequent critic of U.S. spending in the country, and the Center for Public Integrity.

For starters, American officials thought farmers in the nation’s northern reaches could successfully grow soybeans. This decision was made despite the findings of British researchers last decade that “soybeans were inappropriate for conditions and farming practices in northern Afghanistan, where the program was implemented,” SIGAR’s top official, John Sopko, wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The U.S. also paid about $1.5 million to build a processing plant for soybeans. When the crops failed, the government paid to have 4,000 metric tons of soybeans flown in from the United States at a cost of about $2 million to keep the plant running.

Nor could American experts convince Afghans to incorporate soybeans into their diet. The Center for Public Integrity reported that this effort “has largely been a flop, marked by mismanagement, poor government oversight and financial waste.”

But even if the U.S. didn’t bungle its implementation of the soy-is-good-for-you strategy, the plan was likely to fail anyway, the center concluded, because of “a simple fact, which might have been foreseen but was evidently ignored: Afghans don’t like the taste of the soy processed foods.”

To Learn More:

Afghans Don’t Like Soybeans, Despite a Big U.S. Push (by Alexander Cohen and James Arkin, Center for Public Integrity)

The U.S. Wasted $34 Million TryingTo Make Soybeans Happen In Afghanistan (by Hayes Brown, Think Progress)

Letter to Tom Vilsack (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) (pdf)

More Than Three-Quarters of Soybeans, Corn and Cotton Grown in U.S. are Genetically Engineered (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Over 20 killed, 80 injured in ‘worst’ shelling of Lugansk by Ukrainian forces

RT | July 26, 2014

At least 24 civilians were killed and another 85 injured as the city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine was heavily shelled by Kiev forces on Friday and Saturday, media reported.

The bombardment of the city, home to over 400,000 people, began at around 06:00 PM local time on Friday and went on during the night and through Saturday morning.

Kiev forces hit 22 buildings, including a school and a kindergarten. Self-defense forces told the LifeNews Channel that 24 have died, adding that the death toll may rise as shelling of the city continues.

An eyewitness told RT that around 10 people were killed at a bus stop in the Yubileynoe village, which is also a part of Lugansk.

“Peaceful civilians were torn into pieces at the bus stop,” Viktor said, adding that the attack by Kiev forces was “aimed exclusively at the civilian population.”

“They’re targeting private houses… There are no checkpoints, no troops, no self-defense forces there,” he said.

An image grab taken from RUPTLY video

An image grab taken from RUPTLY video

The press service of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic claimed that government forces used mortars and heavy artillery in their assault. Five people died on Friday and 15 more on Saturday.

“It was the worst shelling of Lugansk that I’ve ever seen,” said Aleksey Toporov from the Lugansk People’s Republic, as cited by the Russkaya Vesna website.

Shelling over night has damaged several power lines, said Manolisa Pilavova, first deputy mayor of Lugansk.

“At the moment, about 60 percent of people are without electricity,” Pilavova told Interfax-Ukraine.

The intensity of Ukrainian fire decreased midday on Saturday, after self-defense forces counter-attacked Ukrainian military positions in the Lugansk airport, the press service of the Lugansk People’s Republic said. Airborn units, who were stationed there, suffered “serious damage.”

An image grab taken from RUPTLY video

An image grab taken from RUPTLY video

Kiev’s military crackdown on the southeast of Ukraine started in mid-April, after residents in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev and demanded federalization.

The Ukrainian military and National Guard resorted to airstrikes and shelling in their struggle against self-defense forces in Donetsk and Lugansk.

On July 10, Ukraine’s deputy health minister said 478 civilians have been killed in the conflict, with nearly 1,400 people receiving injuries, but the death toll has surely in
creased drastically since then.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | | Leave a comment

German pilots slam resumption of Tel Aviv flights

Press TV – July 26, 2014

German pilots’ trade union Cockpit has slammed a decision by Lufthansa to resume flights to Tel Aviv.

The union’s spokesman Joerg Handwerg criticized the move made by Lufthansa on Saturday, saying commercial flights should not be flying in warzones or regions in crisis.

He said that many of the crew members were questioning the decision, as the security situation in the region remained a major concern.

Handwerg said Tel Aviv advisory warnings had been lifted as the Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip continued for political reasons.

The remarks from Cockpit come after Lufthansa and Air Berlin said they would resume flights to and from Tel Aviv’s international Ben Gurion Airport on Saturday, following a three-day suspension.

A number of the world’s leading airlines also suspended flights to Israel’s main airport.

Despite the instability and insecurity surrounding the area, US airlines resumed their flights to Tel Aviv on July 25. Washington had suspended all flights to Ben Gurion Airport when a rocket fired by Palestinians landed near the airport on July 22.

Israeli warplanes have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the blockaded Gaza Strip since July 8. On July 17, thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion into the densely-populated strip.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement, has been launching retaliatory attacks against Israel.

Nearly 900 Palestinians, over 80 percent civilians, have been killed since the Israeli offensive started, while nearly 6,000 others have become injured.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Palestinians pull 85 bodies from under Gaza rubble


A fire ball and smoke is seen during an Israeli strike on Gaza City early on July 26, 2014
Al-Akhbar | July 26, 2014

Updated 2:00 pm: An Israeli air strike in southern Gaza hours before a humanitarian truce was declared killed 20 people, including 11 children, most of them from a single family, medics said.

Separately, the bodies of at least another 85 Palestinians were recovered from rubble across Gaza on Saturday, raising the overall Palestinian death toll in the 19-day Israeli terror campaign to 985, the overwhelming majority of them civilians.

“Ambulance crews have recovered the bodies of 85 martyrs under destroyed houses, including children and women, across the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number of martyrs to 985 as a result of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip,” Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army said two more occupation soldiers had been killed, taking its toll to 37.

The strike in southern Khan Younis hit the home of the Najjar family, killing at least 14 relatives, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Another two members of the Abu Shahla family were killed, along with four other people, two of whom have yet to be identified.

The dead included 11 children, among them a one-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy, Qudra said.

Of the 85 bodies uncovered, 25 were from the northern areas of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, and were taken to the Kamal Adwan hospital, and another 25 to Gaza City’s Shifa hospital from the eastern areas of al-Shujayeh and Zeitoun, Qudra said.

Thirteen bodies received from the central areas of Bureij, Deir al-Balah and Nusseirat were taken to the Al-Aqsa hospital, and another 13 to the European hospital in southern Gaza from the Khan Yunis and Rafah areas, he added.

The toll is expected to rise as bodies are pulled from the rubble of homes in some of the worst-hit parts of Gaza, in northern Beit Hanoun, eastern al-Shujayeh and Zeitoun, and southern Khan Younis.

Soon after the ceasefire took effect, Palestinians ventured out into the streets of Gaza, with many returning to areas that had been too dangerous to enter for days.

In Beit Hanoun, Khan Younis and al-Shujayeh and Zeitoun, they found scenes of utter destruction, with homes flattened and bodies lying in the streets and under rubble.

In Beit Hanoun even the hospital was badly damaged by shelling, and AFP correspondents came across the charred body of a paramedic as emergency workers combed the debris for more dead.

Trails of blood on the ground were crossed by Israeli tank tracks, and there were holes where it appeared Israeli forces had been searching for Hamas tunnels.

Palestinian television showed footage of similar scenes in al-Shujayeh, which has been subjected to days of relentless Israeli tank fire.

Stiff bodies lay on the floor of a room in one building, one caked in dried blood, all of them covered in dust.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

How Many Marched for Gaza?

By Daniel Borgström | Dissident Voice | July 25, 2014

The Sunday, July 20 FREE PALESTINE rally gathered at the Justin Herman Plaza, near the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I got there as it was beginning, shortly after 3 p.m. The crowd already appeared to number a thousand, and more were arriving. People kept streaming in. By 4:15 p.m. when the march began, the plaza was brim full. So how many people does it take to fill that plaza? I wondered. Thousands, obviously — but how many thousands?

After the march I looked online for estimates from various other events at the plaza and found an article about the fundamentalist anti-abortion march of 2011. “Tens of thousands of pro-life activists filled Justin Herman Plaza,” the organizers of the right-wing event reported; the corporate media echoed the fundamentalists’ claim. In contrast, reporting on the Sunday FREE PALESTINE rally, KTVU News said: “Hundreds gather in San Francisco to protest Israeli military action in Gaza.” The SF Examiner gave the same figure.

Such reports simply confirm what many people have been saying observing for decades about media bias. A right-wing event fills the J.H. Plaza with tens of thousands, but when a progressive event draws a crowd large enough to fill that same plaza, it’s only “hundreds” of people there.

Nevertheless, that plaza is also used for miscellaneous non-political gatherings and events that nobody would be likely to misreport. I continued my online search and found a website belonging to the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, which states: “This location can accommodate up to 7,000 people.”

Seven thousand? That sounds about right. During the march I had conservatively estimated 5,000 while others around me were saying it was more. Some who studied videos of the march afterwards, taking sample counts and doing some math estimated six to seven thousand at the Sunday event. The organizers of this event, the Arab Resource & Organizing Center, estimated 6,000.

I’ve never before seen a FREE PALESTINE event anywhere nearly this large. I remember attending protests at the Israeli consulate on Montgomery street where there were about 500 people, and at the time that seemed large. This Sunday rally and march was at least ten times larger. Clearly, Zionist attacks on Gaza have outraged a growing number of people. Unfortunately, none of this gets reflected by the U.S. Congress. Just the other day all 100 U.S. Senators unanimously passed a resolution in support of Israel’s assault on Gaza. Not even Senator Bernie Sanders stood up to the Zionists.

There will be another rally this Saturday, July 26 at the same plaza, starting at 1 p.m. Perhaps our demand should be: “End Zionist occupation of Washington!”

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment