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French president supports autonomy for Ukraine’s southeast

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Ukraina.ru | December 5, 2014

French President Francois Hollande has called for a joint effort by the leaders of France, Russia, Germany and Ukraine to calm the conflict in Ukraine.

“Together with Mr. Putin, Mr. Poroshenko and Ms. Merkel, we should start a process aimed at reducing tensions. It should begin with reducing verbal tensions, followed by concrete actions in Ukraine,” the French president at a news conference following talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana.

According to Hollande, it is necessary to “focus on the future without forgetting the lessons of the past… The existing tensions and pressure do not contribute to resolving problems,” Hollande said.

He said that Ukraine’s territorial integrity should be preserved, but eastern regions should be granted “a certain level of autonomy.”

In April, the authorities in Kiev launched a military operation in the country’s eastern regions, which refused to accept the results of the February coup.

According to the latest UN estimates, the conflict has claimed the lives of 4,300 civilians and left 10,000 people wounded.

photo © РИА Новости. Алексей Никольский

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Syrian government, opposition to meet for talks in Moscow – Assad’s aid

RT | December 6, 2014

Syria’s government and opposition will hold talks in Moscow on the resolution of the Syrian crisis, advisor to the Syrian president Bouthaina Shaaban told RT Arabic.

Syria and Russia agreed that the “intra-Syrian dialogue will begin in Moscow,” Shaaban told RT Arabic during an interview in Damascus on Thursday.

She elaborated that Damascus has been in consultations with Moscow regarding “the starting point of this dialogue, its objectives, and mechanisms for its implementation, as well as the composition of its participants”.

Prospects for using Moscow as a venue for contacts between the two sides of the Syrian conflict were a focus of talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Secretary General’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Thursday, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. During the meeting which took place in Basel, Switzerland the two parties agreed that anti-terrorism efforts are the top priority in the intra-Syrian talks.

Last month Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem for the first top level talks between the two countries since the start of Syrian civil war in 2011. The two discussed “bilateral relations” behind closed doors in the Black city resort of Sochi on November 26, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“The timing of the visit plays an important role. It was the first meeting with President Putin since the beginning of the crisis in Syria. This visit was symbolic and at the same time very productive,” stressed Shaaban.

The president’s political and media advisor explained that during the consultations, Moscow and Damascus agreed on the “principle approaches of stopping this war waged against us.”

“Both parties understand that for the revival of Syria it must put an end to terrorism,” she elaborated.

The social and humanitarian situation in the Arab Republic is “complex”, the Syrian top official noted. She expressed regret that some Arab and regional forces as well as those of “international terrorism” have joined against Syria in the war she believes is “inequitable.”

‘US want twenty years of war to eliminate ISIS? ’

Shaaban criticized the US for its move to create a coalition “outside the UN Security Council and outside the boundaries of international law”. She reiterated Syria’s stance on the US-led airstrike targeting IS militant positions in the Arab nation – that they are an illegal intervention and do not respect the sovereignty of Syria.

She cited President Bashar Assad’s statement that these air strikes fail to provide any tangible result, while the main fight against the terrorists is carried out on the ground.

IS militants – formerly ISIS, also known by the Arabic acronym Daʿish –have “covert international support that enables to transfer weapons and give financial aid to terrorists,” Shaaban admitted.

High-level experts work for these terrorists she stated questioning from where they came.

“Therefore, in dealing with IS militants we will rely on our own capabilities, a new coalition that is being created between Russia, Syria, and countries” that stick to their statements and promises.

“At the same time, the West, in my personal opinion, pursues other objectives, participating in the [US-led] coalition. The West, above all, is trying to save the US military industry, attracting finances of the Gulf Arab countries in order to save relevant US companies,” she said.

The top official explained that this is the reason “they say that it will take ten or even twenty years to destroy IS militants.”

“… to destroy 30,000 IS militants the US needs twenty years of war?” she questioned.

Syria which has a history amounting to 10,000 years has seen many conflicts and wars, but it will stand, while IS militants and other terrorist groups are bound to fall, Shaaban said.

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s Made-in-USA Finance Minister

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | December 5, 2014

Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, a former U.S. State Department officer who was granted Ukrainian citizenship only this week, headed a U.S. government-funded investment project for Ukraine that involved substantial insider dealings, including $1 million-plus fees to a management company that she also controlled.

Jaresco served as president and chief executive officer of Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) with $150 million to spur business activity in Ukraine. She also was cofounder and managing partner of Horizon Capital which managed WNISEF’s investments at a rate of 2 to 2.5 percent of committed capital, fees exceeding $1 million in recent years, according to WNISEF’s 2012 annual report.

The growth of that insider dealing at the U.S.-taxpayer-funded WNISEF is further underscored by the number of paragraphs committed to listing the “related party transactions,” i.e., potential conflicts of interest, between an early annual report from 2003 and the one a decade later.

In the 2003 report, the “related party transactions” were summed up in two paragraphs, with the major item a $189,700 payment to a struggling computer management company where WNISEF had an investment.

In the 2012 report, the section on “related party transactions” covered some two pages and included not only the management fees to Jaresko’s Horizon Capital ($1,037,603 in 2011 and $1,023,689 in 2012) but also WNISEF’s co-investments in projects with the Emerging Europe Growth Fund [EEGF], where Jaresko was founding partner and chief executive officer. Jaresko’s Horizon Capital also managed EEGF.

From 2007 to 2011, WNISEF co-invested $4.25 million with EEGF in Kerameya LLC, a Ukrainian brick manufacturer, and WNISEF sold EEGF 15.63 percent of Moldova’s Fincombank for $5 million, the report said. It also listed extensive exchanges of personnel and equipment between WNISEF and Horizon Capital.

Though it’s difficult for an outsider to ascertain the relative merits of these insider deals, they could reflect negatively on Jaresko’s role as Ukraine’s new finance minister given the country’s reputation for corruption and cronyism, a principal argument for the U.S.-backed “regime change” that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.

Declining Investments

Based on the data from WNISEF’s 2012 annual report, it also appeared that the U.S. taxpayers had lost about one-third of their investment in WNISEF, with the fund’s balance at $98,074,030, compared to the initial U.S. government grant of $150 million.

Given the collapsing Ukrainian economy since the Feb. 22 coup, the value of the fund is likely to have slipped even further. (Efforts to get more recent data from WNISEF’s and Horizon Capital’s Web sites were impossible Friday because the sites were down.)

Beyond the long list of “related party transactions” in the annual report, there also have been vague allegations of improprieties involving Jaresko from one company insider, her ex-husband, Ihor Figlus. But his whistle-blowing was shut down by a court order issued at Jaresko’s insistence.

John Helmer, a longtime foreign correspondent in Russia, disclosed the outlines of this dispute in an article examining Jaresko’s history as a recipient of U.S. AID’s largesse and how it enabled her to become an investment banker via WNISEF, Horizon Capital and Emerging Europe Growth Fund.

Helmer wrote: “Exactly what happened when Jaresko left the State Department to go into her government-paid business in Ukraine has been spelled out by her ex-husband in papers filed in the Chancery Court of Delaware in 2012 and 2013. …

“Without Figlus and without the US Government, Jaresko would not have had an investment business in Ukraine. The money to finance the business, and their partnership stakes, turns out to have been loaned to Figlus and Jaresko from Washington.”

According to Helmer’s article, Figlus had reviewed company records in 2011 and concluded that some loans were “improper,” but he lacked the money to investigate so he turned to Mark Rachkevych, a reporter for the Kyiv Post, and gave him information to investigate the propriety of the loans.

“When Jaresko realized the beans were spilling, she sent Figlus a reminder that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement” and secured a temporary injunction in Delaware on behalf of Horizon Capital and EEGF to prevent Figlus from further revealing company secrets, Helmer wrote.

“It hasn’t been rare for American spouses to go into the asset management business in the former Soviet Union, and make profits underwritten by the US Government with information supplied from their US Government positions or contacts,” Helmer continued. “It is exceptional for them to fall out over the loot.”

Jaresco, who served in the U.S. Embassy in Kiev after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has said that Western NIS Enterprise Fund was “funded by the U.S. government to invest in small and medium-sized businesses in Ukraine and Moldova – in essence, to ‘kick-start’ the private equity industry in the region.”

While the ultimate success of that U.S.-funded endeavor may still be unknown, it is clear that the U.S. AID money did “kick-start” Jaresco’s career in equity investments and put her on the path that has now taken her to the job of Ukraine’s new finance minister. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cited her experience in these investment fields to explain his unusual decision to bring in an American to run Ukraine’s finances and grant her citizenship.

A Big Investment

The substantial U.S. government sum invested in Jaresco’s WNISEF-based equity fund also sheds new light on how it was possible for Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland to tally up U.S. spending on Ukraine since it became independent in 1991 and reach the astounding figure of “more than $5 billion,” which she announced to a meeting of U.S.-Ukrainian business leaders last December as she was pushing for “regime change” in Kiev.

The figure was so high that it surprised some of Nuland’s State Department colleagues. Several months later – after a U.S.-backed coup had overthrown Yanukovych and pitched Ukraine into a nasty civil war – Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs Richard Stengel cited the $5 billion figure as “ludicrous” Russian disinformation after hearing the number on Russia’s RT network.

Stengel, a former Time magazine editor, didn’t seem to know that the figure had come from a fellow senior State Department official.

Nuland’s “more than $5 billion” figure did seem high, even if one counted the many millions of dollars spent over the past couple of decades by U.S. AID (which puts its contributions to Ukraine at $1.8 billion) and the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which has financed hundreds of projects for supporting Ukrainian political activists, media operatives and non-governmental organizations.

But if one looks at the $150 million largesse bestowed on Natalie Jaresco, you can begin to understand the old adage that a hundred million dollars here and a hundred million dollars there soon adds up to real money.

Those payments over more than two decades to various people and entities in Ukraine also constitute a major investment in Ukrainian operatives who are now inclined to do the U.S. government’s bidding.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , | 1 Comment

A look at Egypt’s failure to exploit gas in the Mediterranean

By Izzat Shaaban | Al-Akhbar | December 6, 2014

Cairo – The oil and gas resources that Egypt could benefit from are just talk and cannot even be exploited as Israel manipulates these resources and seeks to maintain its control over them by all means possible.

When Israel undertook security measures to protect gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea, including renting a military unit in Cyprus until 2016, it ignited a crisis regarding the right to exploit the oil and gas fields in the Mediterranean. Due to the fact that Israel established the Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept missiles along its coast and off its territorial waters, in addition to its intelligence activities, it was able to monitor the work being done in these economically viable waters.

In addition, Israel has a confidential strategic security understanding with the United States in coordination with Turkey to preempt any international operations aimed at gas exploration and to strike them through the military unit established in Cyprus or the US Sixth Fleet present in the Mediterranean. All these Israeli actions deprive the Egyptian treasury of nearly a billion US dollars yearly for failing to exploit the discovered gas fields in territorial waters in the Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt’s inability to control the gas fields

As a matter of fact, Egypt was never able to control the gas fields located along its territorial maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea because “Israel seized control of the Leviathan gas field and Cyprus controls the Aphrodite gas field even though they fall within the range of Egypt’s economic water,” according to economic expert Nael Salah al-Din al-Shafi speaking to Al-Akhbar.

According to Shafi, the problem “lies with the location of the fields discovered by some Mediterranean countries and along Egypt’s current maritime border.” He pointed out that “in principle, we cannot estimate the economic returns of the discovered gas fields because there are several of them and we don’t really know their content.”

Maritime delineation

It is known that drawing Egypt’s maritime border was marred with errors. One of these errors, according to Samir al-Najjar, professor of marine science at Alexandria University, is the degree of commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulating that “Coastal States exercise sovereignty over their territorial waters which they have the right to establish its breadth up to a limit not to exceed 12 nautical miles… and have sovereign rights in a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.” That is why, according to Najjar, “If the distance between two states facing each other across the sea is less than 400 nautical miles, they cannot get 200 nautical miles each, therefore they have to agree to demarcate their borders based on the historical and economic rights of each state.”

He added, “If there are no established economic and historical rights for these states, they should resort to maritime delineation based on the meridian or sector line.”

“Egypt overlooked the fact that its established historical rights go back to 200 years BC.” al-Najjar said, pointing out that “after re-measuring, it became evident that the meridian limit in the Aphrodite gas field for example lies three kilometers away.” “This piece of information alone means that two entire fields are located within Egyptian waters,” al-Najjar explained.

Historically, the Mediterranean fields were discovered by geologist Hussam Kheir al-Din. Al-Najjar said that Egypt and Cyprus signed an agreement on February 17, 2003 which was approved by then President Hosni Mubarak and the parliament. In 2006, the two countries signed the so-called Framework Convention to share hydrocarbon reservoirs, meaning gas and oil. However, errors in demarcation postponed the ownership of Aphrodite field, which eventually became Cyprus’ and not Egypt’s. This decision must be reversed but that requires Egypt to redraw its maritime border. Kheir al-Din indicated that Egypt gave up its rights when it agreed to allow internet cables to pass through its water for no charge, pointing out that annual losses vary between $750 million and $2 billion.The reason behind the latest crisis

Security expert, General Ismail al-Gazzar, said the reason behind the latest crises over the Mediterranean waters emerged after Egypt issued the Cairo Declaration at a conference held last month at al-Ittihadiya presidential palace which “foiled an undeclared agreement between Turkey, Cyprus and Israel that aims at pressuring Egypt to impose the status quo after seizing control of all the resources in the Mediterranean.” Gazzar pointed out that “Energy, the US company in charge of gas exploration in the Mediterranean, resorted to military units in anticipation of any international activities to drill for gas.”

Economic losses

Economics professor at the American University of Cairo, Nawal al-Said, said that the two adjacent fields, the Leviathan and Aphrodite, contain reserves worth $200 billion. She pointed out that the US oil and gas company ATB began developing Shimshon, the Egyptian maritime field also seized by Israel, which has about 3.5 trillion cubic feet.

According to economist Amr Helmy, a specialist in financial and stock markets, Egypt has about 123 trillion cubic meters in reserves in the oil fields that are being looted by Israel and about 40 trillion cubic meters of natural gas considered one of the purest in the world. As a result, he added that “Egypt loses about $24 trillion.”

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Leaked Audio Shows Egypt’s Coup Leaders as a Criminal Syndicate

By ESAM AL-AMIN | CounterPunch | December 5, 2014

The Watergate scandal in the early 1970s exposed Richard Nixon and his inner circle as conspirators who were trying to cover up their criminal involvement in spying against their political opponents. Once it was uncovered, Nixon had to resign the presidency in disgrace, as many of his assistants and senior government officials were convicted and served many years in prison. A majority in Congress at the time, including Republican members, condemned the former president and voted to impeach him. The American public was shocked to witness the level of corruption reaching the highest echelons of their government. Had it not been for the audiotapes that were released by order of the Supreme Court, the extent of Nixon’s lawlessness and lies would never have been revealed or believed.

Now a series of audiotapes involving Egypt’s top military brass, which ousted former President Mohammad Morsi in a military coup in July 2013, were publicly leaked this week. The pro-Muslim Brotherhood satellite channel Mukameleen (Arabic for “We’ll Continue”) released the six audio recordings (see links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) in a special nightly program on December 4. Shortly thereafter, the recordings went viral on Arabic-language websites, though most foreign language media outlets have yet to cover them.

The contents of the audio recordings (31 minutes in total) are shocking, as they involve the highest-ranking military rulers in Egypt, including coup leader Gen. Abdelfattah Sisi, conspiring together, falsifying evidence, forging documents, and admitting to criminal behavior on tape, while acknowledging that the legal case concocted against Morsi was in danger of collapsing. The question of who released the recordings is still a mystery but rumors abound. The program presenter at the satellite channel Mukameleen insinuated that the leak came from a source within Sisi’s inner circle that is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood and the January 25 revolution. Haitham Abu Khalil, a prominent human rights advocate, tweeted that since the recordings came from within the Defense Ministry, the leaker must be a rival to Gen. Sisi, such as former Chief of Staff Sami Anan who declared his presidential candidacy last spring only to be sidelined by Sisi and ridiculed by his propaganda machine. Meanwhile, opposition leader Ayman Noor told Al Jazeera from his home in exile in Lebanon that the tapes are authentic because he has known the players and could easily identify their voices.

The individuals heard on the recordings comprise some of the major figures who were involved in the military coup and have ruled the country ever since. They include Gen. Mamdouh Shahin, legal advisor to Sisi, Gen. Abbas Kamel, Sisi’s chief aide and office manager, Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim, the interior minister, Gen. Osama El-Gindy, chief of naval forces, and Gen. Mahmoud Hegazi, head of military intelligence, who was later promoted to army chief of staff. The recording also featured Gen. Sisi himself, who was the defense minister at the time before being elected president last May in a vote that was considered by many neutral observers and monitors to be a sham election. In the tapes, Gen. Shahin also described the conspiratorial role of the chief General Prosecutor, Hisham Barakat (who was appointed to the post by the coup leaders) and several of his senior prosecutors including Mustafa Khater and Ibrahim Saleh who have been leading the prosecution teams against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

Conspiracy in Action

It’s not clear when the recordings were made but they probably occurred sometime last spring when Morsi’s defense team challenged the basis for his initial incarceration and petitioned the presiding judges to dismiss all charges against him under the pretext that he was kidnapped by the military with no criminal charges until months later. According to Egyptian law, if the defense team was able to prove that Morsi was illegally detained, he would have to be released, after which he would have most certainly declared that he was the legitimately-elected president by millions of Egyptians.

During the first minute of the recording, Gen. Shahin is heard telling Sisi’s office manager, Gen. Kamel, that General Prosecutor Barakat was in panic mode and had sent him his three leading prosecutors (including Khater and Saleh) and asked him to “fix” his problem. During an earlier court session, government prosecutors falsely told the judges that Morsi was never kidnapped and had always been in the custody of the interior ministry, even though he was actually being held in a military barracks at Abu Qir naval base near Alexandria. Shahin then told Kamel that they needed to provide the prosecutors with “an order of arrest of Morsi signed by interior minister Gen. Ibrahim that must be backdated to the day of the coup.” Shahin then called Ibrahim (min. 2-3) and asked for the forged legal document to be signed by the interior minister. He also asked Ibrahim to make sure that the order was “printed in the official government records” so the order would appear legitimate, adding “as we used to do so during the days of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” – when SCAF issued backdated laws during the military rule in the aftermath of Mubarak’s ouster. On tape Ibrahim is heard readily agreeing, and requesting that Shahin provide him with details to be included in the order including, the address and description of the detention facility.

Shahin and Kamel then called Gen. El-Gindy, the chief of the naval forces, who commanded the naval base where Morsi was detained for several weeks before he was officially charged and transferred to an interior ministry prison. In the next few minutes (starting at min. 5) Shahin tried to convince Gen. El-Gindy to turn over one of his buildings in the base to the interior ministry to be used as a prison for a month until Morsi’s trial ended. When El-Gindy asked why they could not use an existing prison facility and claim that it was the facility used for Morsi’s initial incarceration, Shahin said that this would not work because there was an official report on record written by investigative judge Hasan Samir that gave a detailed description of Morsi’s detention facility that would not match any existing prison under the control of the interior ministry. In one instance Shahin warns (min. 9-11) that unless the prosecutors win this issue in court “the espionage charges and the Ittihadiyya (presidential palace) murder case (against Morsi) would collapse.” Shahin then stated that they would have to plan for the worst-case scenario, as he was certain that the defense team would request physical inspection of the detention facility that the judges may actually grant. In this case, the detention facility must be part of the prison system under the interior ministry and match what was already on the record. However, Gen. El-Gindy expressed skepticism, as he could not transform any existing building in the naval base to become a stand-alone prison and turned over to the interior ministry. Yet, he promised to look into the matter.

In the next audio recording Gens. Shahin and Kamel called military intelligence chief Gen. Hegazi (min. 13) to seek his support in getting Gen. El-Gindy to cooperate. In frustration, Hegazi complained that the military does not get adequate legal counsel and that’s why the military is now “collecting corpses” on the streets. Surprisingly, Shahin who is Sisi’s legal advisor, answered “there is no one here (i.e. in the military) whose specialty is the law in order to provide legal advice.” He further stated that interior minister Ibrahim has already agreed to sign the order and backdate it in order to “give the prosecutors the documents they need.” Hegazi then suggested that they build a “hanger” on the naval base “which the (army’s) engineering department could do in 72 hours”. He added “They could build a separate gate, fence it, put a sign on it and turn it over to the interior ministry as a prison facility.” Shahin was then delighted since the prosecutors told him that, “they had 15 days to finish the task.”

Military chief of staff Gen. Hegazi then called the chief of the naval forces Gen. El-Gindy in the presence of Gen. Shahin (min. 18) and asked if it was possible to build a hanger similar to the detention facility that housed Morsi during his initial incarceration. El-Gindy readily agreed to do it as Sisi’s office manager Gen. Kamel informed him (min. 20) that Sisi said that, “he should spare no cost because the important thing is to do it completely right.” He then added that Sisi instructed the interior ministry “to take over the new detention facility as if they had occupied it for 100 years.”

In the next recording, Shahin tells Kamel that all the falsified documents were now ready and then commented that Kamel “should not worry about the forgery of the documents” since no one would be able to challenge them in court. Kamel then instructed him to make sure that “all the prison records are also doctored including the registration of Morsi as a criminal prisoner at the time.” Shahin then stated (min. 21) that General Prosecutor Barakat is now “very, very, very happy because he was under great duress because of this problem.”

Shahin and Kamel then joked that the new place would be ready for inspection by Morsi’s defense team. Kamel suggested (min. 22) that they make the detention facility so authentic as to also include a “torture room” and show how prisoners “are hanged from their feet.” Shahin then jokingly responded: “you can always command us. Forgery is the order of the day.” Kamel then commented on the Muslim Brotherhood by saying “the bastards would never win. We’d never allow them to gloat against us.”

The next recording is the only time Sisi is heard on the tapes (min. 22:20) in which he stated that he had just finished a meeting with interior minster Ibrahim. He then asked Shahin if he had completed the task at hand with the interior minister. Shahin responded that he had, and that it was the hardest obstacle in this predicament, in which case Sisi responded, “Indeed it was a very difficult problem.”

In the next recording, Gens. Kamel, Shahin, and El-Gindy are heard discussing the newly built hanger turned prison facility (min. 23-31) at the Abu Qir naval base. When El-Gindy stated that the facility was now ready to be turned over to the interior ministry, Shahin jokingly intimated, “It’s ready for us” (i.e. to be our prison when the military rule is ousted). El-Gindy responded by saying that it was unsuitable for them since it was only a 3-star rather than a 7-star facility (min. 23). El-Gindy then proceeded by saying that the new facility matched the one where Morsi was detained in all its details including “chairs, beds, appliances, refrigerators, washers, and the garage.” He then added, “It’s the same as the original from A to Z – even the sports equipment is the same. We even left the newspapers of that period in the cells.” Kamel then jokingly commented (min. 25) that such immaculate details “would drive the man (Morsi) crazy.” Shahin then stated (min. 26) that “he arranged with the head of the prison system to send 3 or 4 prisoners there to show that the facility had always been in use.” When the prisons chief asked why not house more prisoners Shahin responded by saying “Hell no. Do you want to expose us? This facility is supposed to be a special prison for only a limited number of prisoners.” Kamel then said that he would inform interior minister Ibrahim “to send his security people to take over the facility” and that there is “a tacit agreement (with the prosecutors) to receive early warning before an actual inspection takes place” in order to get the facility “ready.” He then assures them that the prison guards would have already been “briefed and trained” so as not to be uncovered. Finally, Shahin instructed that “all the record books must be cooked with proper dates and names of visitors including the visits by the African leaders (to Morsi in his early days of detention) as well as by a delegation from Egypt’s human rights organization, etc.” Kamel then assured them that “Lt. Gen. Tariq has been working on this with interior ministry officials.”

When wolves are guarding the sheep

These revelations clearly demonstrate that Egypt is currently being ruled by a criminal enterprise masquerading as patriotic military generals or statesmen. Since the July 2013 coup thousands of Egyptians have been killed in the streets while at least forty thousand have been arrested, jailed and tortured. In essence, the coup was a counterrevolutionary movement led by the military generals and elements of Mubarak’s deep state that eventually resulted not only in the acquittal of the former dictator and his cronies but also in thwarting Egypt’s path towards freedom and democracy.

More than forty years ago, Nixon told the American public that he was not a crook, only to be shamed nine months later and admit that indeed he had violated the law and had to resign. But the military generals in Cairo are not only crooks by their own admission, but also murderers, thugs, and psychopaths. There are no parliament, judiciary, or viable civil society institutions in Egypt to hold them accountable. Meanwhile, the international community is looking the other way while Egypt descends into turmoil and chaos, and most Egyptians face unprecedented repression and corruption on a massive scale. During the 18 momentous revolutionary days in the spring of 2011, many Egyptians believed that the military generals stood with them against the tyranny and decadence of the Mubarak regime, and declared in Tahrir Square and across Egypt that “the people and the army are one.” Four years later most Egyptians who yearn to be free openly declare “no to military rule” and understand now more than ever that freedom and democracy cannot be bestowed by any one group but must be taken by the people themselves.

Esam Al-Amin can be contacted at alamin1919@gmail.com.

 

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | | 1 Comment

Stingray Warrentless Wiretap by Chicago Police on Activists

The Chicago Police were listening to an activist’s phone call(s) to learn about their “movements” in the city.

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , | 1 Comment

With eye on 2016, Clinton praises US ties with Israel

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Press TV – December 6, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stresses her unwavering support for Israel as she inches closer to a bid for 2016 presidential nomination.

“The relationship between the United States and Israel is solid, and will remain solid, and will be part of our foreign policy and our domestic concerns, our values, ideals, forever,” Clinton told a heavily pro-Israel crowd on Friday.

Clinton made the comments at the eleventh annual Saban Forum, an event hosted by the Brookings Institution with billionaire Israeli-American media mogul and Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban.

The former secretary of state dismissed reports of sometimes fractious relationship between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and said the administration’s cooperation with Israel has been extraordinary.

“The funding on Iron dome, the funding of other military needs and equipment, the continuing strategic consultation that we’ve been consistently engaged in, no one can argue with the commitment of this administration to Israel’s security,” Clinton said.

Clinton, who chastised Israel for “lack of empathy” towards the Palestinians at the Saban forum two years ago, stopped short of criticizing Israel for its illegal settlement construction in the West Bank.

However, she reiterated her support for “the two state solution” as an “essential concept” for achieving a resolution to the conflict.

The Obama administration and the Israeli government have clashed, sometimes publicly, over an array of issues, including diplomacy with Iran and continued Israeli settlement activities.

Declaring support for Israel, however, has always been a permanent feature in US Congress, which is under considerable influence of the powerful Israeli lobby.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously approved the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which reflects “the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States.” The bill had passed the Senate unanimously in September, also unanimously.

The measure promotes closer ties between the US and Israel in areas of military, security, energy, business, agriculture, water management, research and academics.

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , | 5 Comments

Thug life in Edmonton

By J. Baglow | Rabble | December 5, 2014

Officer Darren Wilson of Ferguson, MO, has reportedly made his first million by gunning down an unarmed Black kid. In Edmonton, AB, Constable Mike Wasylyshen has just become a Sergeant.

Who is Mike Wasylyshen?

He’s the son of a former Edmonton police chief. He’s also a convicted criminal with a history of violence.

In 2002, he Tasered an unconscious Aboriginal youth eight times. It took ten years for the young man’s family even to get a disciplinary hearing for what a judge called “cruel and unusual punishment.” Wasylyshen was docked 120 hours of pay.

Then, in 2005, he beat up a man on crutches, seemingly just for the hell of it. It took eighteen months before the Edmonton police bothered to lay charges. He eventually received a whopping $500 fine for that one, but at least earned himself a criminal record.

Between times, in 2003, Wasylyshen was dressed down by a provincial court judge for lying to obtain a search warrant. Evidence in a drug case had to be tossed out due to Mike’s “carelessness bordering on indifference.” There was another one of those “internal investigation” thingies. No discipline.

The man is not without chutzpah. Before he was disciplined for the Tasering incident, he sued the CBC for “defamation” for reporting on it.

Now this sterling model of professional policing has received a promotion.

Hey, says the Edmonton Police Service. That was then. This is now.

Does crime pay after all? You decide.

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

QUESTIONS FOR JEREMY SCAHILL, AUTHOR OF “DIRTY WARS, The World is a Battlefield”

 Australians for Reconciliation in Syria
Most people in Syria would believe that the US has been waging a dirty war against Syria for some years now and is using similar tactics to those used to destroy the Afghan government and society – the use of so-called Islamist freedom fighters as well as the stirring up of sectarian hatred and divisions. One US official actively involved on the ground in this dirty war has been former US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford. His role in the crisis in Syria has been explored by different writers and deserves attention. For example, in September 2011, there was a report in Opinion Maker that Ford had been organising Death Squads in Syria, much like those used in Latin America to destabilise countries. Quoting from the September 2011 article by Wayne Madsen,

Ford served as the Political Officer at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad from 2004 to 2006 under Ambassador John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. Negroponte was a key figure in the covert U.S. program to arm the Nicaraguan contras and his support for vicious paramilitary units in El Salvador and Honduras earned him the nickname of “Mr. Death Squad.”

 Another element of the dirty war against Syria has been the co-opting of NGOs to support the established narrative on the crisis in Syria. So, for example, Amnesty International from almost the beginning of the crisis focused on condemning the government of Syria based on the claims of activists who supported a violent insurgency and refused to report on the killings of civilians by armed gangs early in the crisis, a key aspect of the escalating violence. From Jan 2012 – Jan 2013, Amnesty International USA was headed by Suzanne Nossel, a former State Department official and author of “Smart Power”. Robert Ford reportedly gave the key note address at an Amnesty International General Meeting in Colorado in early 2012.

For the people of Syria and the wider region, America’s dirty war against their countries is much dirtier than you present it, and for the wars to be successfully pursued many in the administration, media, NGOs, academia, diplomatic corps must be complicit to some extent or other in order for there to be a very muted response to the wars.

Your book was published in 2013. Could you please explain why you have given no attention at all to the role of Robert Ford in Syria’s crisis? (He is not listed in the index at all.) There are two brief references to John Negroponte in your book, on pages 186 and 207. They are both relatively benign and forgettable, despite Negroponte’s being the US director of national intelligence and his earlier suspect diplomatic service in Honduras.  One would expect him to figure largely in the US dirty war.  Why is Negroponte almost invisible in your book?

There is also only a passing reference (on page 186)  to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, someone known to have very close connections with the Bush family, something you mention in your book. In any serious discussion of the US dirty wars in the Middle East, one would expect much more attention given Prince Bandar. Like Negroponte, Prince Bandar has links to the dirty wars in Central America, since he arranged financial support for the Nicaraguan Contras. Bandar more recently has been an intelligence chief in Saudi Arabia and more recently an adviser to the King on ISIS. Prince Bandar is reported to have said to the head of M16 in 2001,“The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

Why do you give such a brief, innocuous mention to Prince Bandar in “Dirty Wars” when he has been so closely connected to US administrations and US dirty wars for decades?

How can your book, “Dirty Wars” contribute to a clean peace in the Middle East if major players and key aspects of the dirty wars are not exposed? 

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Deception | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments