Aletho News


Another Witness in Michael Brown Shooting Found Dead

teleSUR | December 8, 2014

Another witness of the shooting of Michael Brown has been found dead in a dry channel near River Des Peres in Misssouri, local authorities confirmed.

The man has been identified as 23-year-old Shawn Gray, a black man who testified during the grand jury proceedings over the killing of Brown by former police officer Darren Wilson.

According to relatives and friends, Gray was last seen leaving a restaurant on Thanksgiving Day. The manner and cause of his death are pending autopsy results. However, his family is demanding answers and say the death could have been premeditated murder.

Another witness DeAndre Joshua, also a young black man, was found shot dead and his car was torched outside the same neighborhood where Brown was killed.

Two witnesses of the Brown shooting have now been found dead under suspicious circumstances, while local authorities have not announced any leads in either case, and the press has provided minimal coverage.

The police murders of black young men in recent months has provided a stark reminder to the world of the harsh reality faced by many black communities in the United States. Their deaths exposed the continued persecution of black people.

Mass protests against these injustices have taken place across the country. Protesters are demanding justice for black lives lost at the hands of state sanctioned violence, with over 100 days of peaceful protest ranging from #HandsUpWalkOut and solidarity days with Ferguson.

See a collection of teleSUR analysis, video, and news pieces on the issue of, and resistance to police racism in the United States.

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , | 6 Comments

Algerian court clears ex-Guantanamo detainee

Reprieve | December 8, 2014

The criminal court in Algiers today dropped all charges against Reprieve’s client, Ahmad Belbacha, citing “lack of evidence” as the reason for its decision.

The decision overturned a 20-year sentence which the court had given Ahmad in 2009 – in a hearing that neither Ahmad, his family, or any lawyer attended, or were even informed was due to take place.

Ahmad was released from Guantanamo Bay in March 2014, seven years after his case was first reviewed by a Bush-era panel and he was cleared for transfer. Ahmad’s file was scrutinised again in 2009 by six independent US government agencies, including the CIA and FBI, who unanimously agreed that he should be released from US detention.

After his eventual release from Guantanamo, and return to Algeria, Ahmad was summoned in June for a retrial of the 20 year sentence he had received in absentia. The judge in the June hearing postponed the case, because the prosecution file was empty. Today’s ruling – in which the judge cited “lack of evidence” before throwing the case out and acquitting Ahmad of all charges – finally marks the end of more than a decade of struggle to prove his innocence.

Alka Pradhan, staff attorney at human rights NGO Reprieve said: “We are so happy for Ahmad and his family, but they should never have been made to pay this heavy price. The Algerian justice system today gave Ahmad what he never received from the Americans, and which 136 men detained in Guantanamo today still fail to receive from them: a day in court, a chance to present a defence, and a public examination of the facts. What that court in Algiers found today was that the ‘evidence’ against Ahmad wasn’t just paper thin – it didn’t exist at all. We hope that all those other men still held without trial will soon get their chance to show the same.”

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

ICAN, in Vienna, calls for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons

More than 150 states gather in Vienna for global conference on nuclear weapons

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | December 8, 2014

In a demonstration of overwhelming support from the international community, representatives from more than 150 states are gathering in Vienna, Austria for the third international conference to examine the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.

Prior to the government talks, more than 500 activists assembled in the biggest gathering of civil society on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

“We are closer than we have ever been to starting negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”, said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. “We are confident that governments will find the courage to embark on a diplomatic process to develop a new international treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons,” Fihn said.

Previous conferences of this process held in Norway and Mexico concluded that there could be no adequate response if one or more nuclear weapons were to be detonated, either intentionally or by accident.

These global talks have represented a collective reframing exercise that has fundamentally changed the way nuclear weapons are discussed internationally.

The Vienna meeting will be the first time that an intergovernmental conference will have a focus on survivors of nuclear testing, who will testify about the long-term effects of nuclear explosions on human health. Vienna will also be the first time that states comprehensively address the gap in international law whereby nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to an international ban treaty.

“The evidence presented during this process so far has been overwhelming. The impact of nuclear weapons is even worse than we previously understood and the risk of their use is even greater than governments have admitted,” said Thomas Nash, a representative of ICAN and director of a UK-based weapons monitoring NGO, Article 36. “We expect states to respond to this evidence by launching a process towards a ban on nuclear weapons by the time of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki next August,” Nash added.

Of the 150 states that will participate in the Vienna conference, nuclear-armed states such as the United Kingdom and the United States that have previously boycotted talks in this process will participate alongside India and Pakistan.

“Even those states that dismissed these conferences as a “distraction” only a few months ago have changed their minds and are coming to Vienna to discuss the unacceptable consequences of their nuclear weapons. Nobody can now ignore this humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons. It must be the starting point for all discussions on nuclear weapons in the future,” said Ray Acheson of ICAN and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.


The Austria conference is the latest step in a process that has changed the way nuclear weapons are discussed at the international level. Since 2010, when states parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty recognized “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons,” a new narrative has emerged in which the actual effects of these weapons are the basis for renewed actions to address them. The Red Cross movement, United Nations relief agencies, civil society and the majority of the world’s nations have endorsed this humanitarian initiative. In October, 155 states joined a statement by New Zealand at the United Nations noting that “the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons must underpin all approaches and efforts towards nuclear disarmament.”

Among civil society representatives that will address the Conference in Vienna, atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima (“Hibakusha”) Setsuko Thurlow, and for the first time several atomic testing survivors including Karipbek Kuyukov, will provide a testimony on the experience surviving nuclear exposure. Renowned author of “Command and Control” Eric Schlosser and former US military officer Bruce Blair will address nuclear weapons risks, miscalculations and accidents. Camille Francois from Harvard Law School Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Columbia University will discuss the difficulties of securing nuclear facilities from cyber threats. ICRC President Peter Maurer and Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz will introduce the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Man Killed by LAPD said to be Street Performer with Plastic Prop Knife; Cops Accused of Planting Real Knife

By Carlos Miller | PINAC | December 7, 2014

Los Angeles police gunned down a man at a busy Hollywood intersection Friday night, claiming he had been trying to attack them with a knife, causing them to fear for their lives, which is why they fired several rounds, leaving his body laying on a corner as shocked witnesses looked on.

But some locals are saying the man was merely a street performer known as “J” who would pose with tourists holding a prop knife made of plastic.

The area of Hollywood Blvd where he was killed is near the famous Walk of Fame and is renowned for its street performers who dress up in costumes and play roles to the amusement of tourists. Many of the performers dress up as characters from Hollywood movies, who pose with tourists for photos in exchange for tips.

The man shot was said to be impersonating the character from Scream, a 1996 horror movie, about a masked man with a knife who murders teenagers with a knife as pictured below.


LAPD is not releasing any information on the shooting, except for tweeting a picture of a folding knife laying near the body, perhaps a Swiss Army Knife, carried by boy scouts everywhere.

But some skeptics are saying the knife was planted because it is not clearly visible in the video recorded in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and posted to Facebook.

Hollywood shooting 2

I’ve watched the video several times and cannot make out a knife, but I cannot say with certainty it is not there.

However, the first several minutes of the video, which is posted below, show police clamoring all over the area where the knife was eventually photographed.

And at 4:44, a man dressed in blue wearing gloves bends down and appears to lay something on the ground.

Jordan White, the man who recorded the video, said the man was unarmed.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 10.17.07 PM

So this could potentially be a huge scandal for the scandal-ridden LAPD.

What do you think? Do you see a knife in the first few minutes of the video? If you are a witness or know the man killed, please message me here.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 1.31.25 AM

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Video | , , | 5 Comments

Ready-to-fire nuclear weapons pose ‘accidental launch’ risk – former defense chiefs

RT | December 8, 2014

Cross-border action to lower the risks posed by an intentional or accidental nuclear attack is “insufficient,” international military, political and diplomatic officials have warned.

Ready-to-use nuclear arms leave states vulnerable to accidental nuclear strikes, while insecurely stored stockpiles could potentially be targeted and stolen by terrorists, the European Leadership Network said.

In a letter written in the run up to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, UK signatories collectively called upon states across the globe to eradicate nuclear arms.

Former home secretary Charles Clarke, former chief of defense staff, Lord Richards and former defense secretaries Lord Browne and Lord King joined other signatories in urging states across the globe to “redouble efforts to work toward a world without nuclear weapons.”

The risks posed by nuclear weapons and current global dynamics that could prompt their deployment are underestimated and poorly understood by world leaders, the signatories warned.

In a post-Cold War era, a proliferation of nuclear arms across the globe that are ready to fire at any moment, greatly amplifies the chance of an accident, they added.

This scenario leaves world leaders who face an imminent threat of attack an insufficient period to liaise with one another and act prudently, the signatories stressed.

Former US general, James Cartwright. (Image from

Former US general, James Cartwright. (Image from

Other high profile figures who supported the call included retired US general James Cartwright, former French prime minister Michel Rocard, former vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and delegates from Russia, China and India.

The warning comes in the wake of reports that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) had stolen uranium compounds from Mosul University in Iraq earlier this year.

Writing to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on July 8, Iraqi UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said 88 pounds of uranium used for scientific research at the university had been looted.

Two days later, however, a spokesperson for the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the material was “low grade” and “would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk.”

The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons began on Monday, and is due to come to a close on Tuesday evening.

The conference follows recent talks between Iran and six western governments. Although the group failed to negotiate a satisfactory deal on Iran’s nuclear program, the talks have been extended for a further seven months.

There are currently thought to be approximately 16,300 nuclear weapons in nine different states across the world.

Global negotiators are concerned that Iranian authorities are using the state’s nuclear development program as a covert means of developing arms, and have imposed sanctions on the Middle Eastern state.

But the Iranian government denies this, and argues the state is only interested in developing peaceful nuclear projects such as the production of power.

Commenting on the recent round of nuclear talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “considerable progress” had been made despite the fact no final agreement was reached. He added he expected the “basic principles” of a final agreement to surface within three or four months.

Reflecting on the negotiations, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond agreed “significant progress” had been achieved.

In late November, it emerged Iran had reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas to comply with the terms of an interim nuclear agreement signed with six world powers in 2013.

As talks are set to continue next month, Tehran’s access to $700 million per month by way of sanctions relief remains intact.

Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly passed an Arab-introduced resolution calling on Israel not to develop, produce or possess nuclear arms. The resolution also criticized the Israeli administration for not being part of the international Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Read more: UN urges Israel to renounce nuclear arms, join non-proliferation treaty

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine Receives New Weapons

By Eric Zuesse | Global Research | December 8, 2014

The Government of Ukraine held a ceremony on Saturday, December 6th, with the country’s President, Petro Poroshenko, reviewing newly donated weapons, from undisclosed donors.

According to the official announcement, “The Armed Forces’ units received tanks Т-64BМ ‘Bulat’, tanks Т-64 BV, Т-72 B1, Т-72UA, Т-72A, BТR-3е and BТR-4е, self-propelled artillery 2C1 and helicopters Mi-8 and Mi-2. The President personally inspected all.”

Poroshenko said:

“We are providing the troops with new armored vehicles, precise anti-tank means, counterbattery means, means of communication and protection systems. At the same time, we are holding negotiations with our partners on the procurement of modern weapons that are not produced in Ukraine.”

Weapons bought from other countries can be paid for only with borrowed money, because the Government of Ukraine is basically broke and soaring even deeper into debt, and is sharply cutting back on pensions and other expenditures than military, which is receiving the Government’s virtually total focus. Any added loans will never be able to be paid back, because Ukraine will not be able to pay back all of the existing loans. Consequently, all countries that are now ‘lending’ additional funds to Ukraine are simply donating to Ukraine. Furthermore, the IMF is demanding that the breakaway Ukrainian areas be conquered in order for additional loans to be made to the Ukrainian Government. So, all newly loaned money will be going to Ukraine’s military.

Here are the new tanks:

These weapons will be sent to the southeast, in order to conquer the breakaway republics that reject the regime that was forced upon them on February 22nd, in an extremely violent coup against the then-existing President, Viktor Yanukovych, for whom the residents in that area had voted approximately 90%. That rejection of the coup-regime sparked an on-again, off-again, invasion from the Ukrainian armed forces, which can be seen at various sites, such as here and here and here and here.

The official announcement of this ceremony said that the new weapons will “help Ukrainian warriors win and liberate the Ukrainian territories from the occupants.”

The election of President Poroshenko was held only in the areas of Ukraine that accepted the coup-imposed regime. “The occupants” (as the President there referred to them) in the other area did not participate in that election, the election of him, though his Government demands they accept that Government as representing them, nonetheless. After the new regime started dropping bombs on them, and sending tanks in to kill as many of them as fast as possible, their determination not to accept this Government only hardened.

The last Ukrainian Government election in which those people, “the occupants,” were voting, occurred in 2010, at which Viktor Yanukovych won above 80% in some districts, and above 90% in other districts. A map showing the vote in each district of Ukraine, in that election — the last fully national Ukrainian election — can be seen here:


December 8, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | | Leave a comment

Israeli group storms al-Aqsa as settlers attack 3 Palestinians in Jerusalem


Al-Akhbar | December 8, 2014

A group of right-wing Israelis toured the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Monday under police escort, a mosque official said.

The storming of the mosque compound came as Israeli settlers attacked three Palestinians in Jerusalem, and Israeli forces detained 19 in the West Bank.

Al-Aqsa director Omar al-Kiswani told Ma’an that groups of Israeli right-wingers “stormed the compound and toured its squares under the so-called foreign tourism program.”

A group of Israeli intelligence officers also toured the compounds, he added.

The Palestinian Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs complained to Israeli police, expressing their objection to the visits, Kiswani said.

Meanwhile, Israeli police detained a woman identified as Umm Radwan Omar at one of the gates leading to al-Aqsa. Omar usually gives religious lectures inside the compound.

Israeli police collected the identity cards of all Palestinian men and women who entered the compound on Monday.

The al-Aqsa mosque is sensitive for Palestinians due to its status as the third holiest site in Islam and its location in the heart of the Old City of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

The al-Aqsa mosque compound, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount, is also the holiest site in Judaism.

Tensions have been running high in occupied East Jerusalem after months of Israeli pressure on the region, including through a massive arrest campaign and a major military offensive on Gaza that left more than 2,100 dead and provoked outrage across Palestine.

They have also been stoked by Israeli authorities’ decision to hold a vote on splitting the al-Aqsa compound despite the existence of a Jewish prayer area at the Western Wall immediately next door.

Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, an agreement with Jordan has maintained that Jewish prayer be allowed at the Western Wall plaza – built on the site of a Palestinian neighborhood of 800 that was destroyed immediately following the conquest – but not inside the al-Aqsa mosque compound itself.

Israeli forces have long restricted Palestinians’ access to the al-Aqsa compound based on age and gender, but have further prevented Muslim worshipers from entering the mosque for more than a month while facilitating the entrance for Zionist extremists.

Settlers attack Palestinians in Jerusalem

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers attacked three Palestinians in two separate incidents in Jerusalem, leaving the latter with bruises and injuries, an Israeli news channel reported Sunday night.

On Sunday evening, Israeli police arrested an Israeli who – along with several other settlers – attacked a Palestinian bus driver, leaving him with injuries, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

The settlers chanted “death to Arabs” while attacking the bus driver and threatened to kill him, the channel added.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told Anadolu news agency that a group of Israeli settlers assaulted two Palestinians from Jerusalem while working in a petrol station in the neighborhood of Ein Karem on Sunday night.

One of the Palestinians sustained injuries that required his transfer to a hospital, the witnesses added.

Israeli forces arrest 19 across West Bank

The Israeli army detained 19 Palestinians in the West Bank on Monday, a Palestinian NGO has said.

Israeli forces searched scores of homes in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and arrested nine Palestinians, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said in a statement.

Three more Palestinians were detained in Nablus, two in Jenin, two in Ramallah and one in Bateen village, the NGO added.

Israeli police detained another two Palestinians in East Jerusalem, according to a statement issued by the NGO.

Israeli forces routinely conduct arrest campaigns against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on claims they are “wanted” by Israeli authorities.

Over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in Israeli prisons, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.

On Saturday, Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Authority Department of Prisoner Affairs, said that 2014 has been “the most difficult year” for prisoners.

Qaraqe said in a statement that prisoners in 2014 have been victims of “Israeli revenge policies,” adding that Israel’s move to re-arrest prisoners who were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011 was a dangerous political action.

Qaraqe also decried Israel’s policy of detaining minors, saying some 1,500 minors were detained in 2014, mostly in Jerusalem.

According to Qaraqe, there were 550 new Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention without charge or trial this year, and Israel renewed administrative detention orders for 63 percent of administrative prisoners. Excessive use of administrative detention is considered illegal under international law.

(Ma’an, Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Occupation Authorities re-impose female detainee’s previous sentence

Palestine Information Center – December 8, 2014

APTOPIX MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSRAMALLAH — The Israeli Occupation Authorities re-imposed the previous sentence of the re-jailed female ex-detainee Bushra al-Tawil after being released in the Wafa al-Ahrar swap deal in 2011, human rights sources said.

Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies recalled that al-Tawil was released in 2011, after spending five months of her 16-month sentence, in the swap deal. However, she was re-arrested following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli soldiers in June.

Al-Tawil is a university student at Ramallah Media College and an activist in prisoners’ issue. Her parents were also arrested by the Israeli occupation forces more than once.

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Israeli official: Strategic cooperation with Riyadh is growing


Director of Institute for Policy and Strategy, and Chair of Atlantic Forum of Israel Prof. Uzi Arad
MEMO | December 8, 2014

Strategic and security cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel is growing at an unprecedented rate, Israel’s former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad said.

During his participation at the Energy 2015 Conference, Arad said that Israel takes advantage of Saudi Arabia’s role as a counterweight in the face of Iran which makes it play a central and effective role in Israel’s strategic plans.

Arad warned of the consequences of betting on the survival of an allied regime in Egypt, pointing out that Egypt is going through a very sensitive stage and things could turn upside down at any moment.

With regards to Jordan, Arad said: “About Jordan, we cross our fingers. No one knows what will happen there in five years. One must hope that things there will be stable. Who says the wave sweeping Iraq and Syria will not arrive to Jordan?”

Arad said the Palestinian Authority currently represents a partner for Israel in the face of many challenges.

Israel will not tolerate Iran turning into a state with nuclear capabilities, he stressed, pointing out that if the world and regional powers accept this, Israel will turn to the military option. He said: “For a long time now, there have been plans in Mossad about a situation in which another country around us has nuclear weapons. Such discussions begun in the 80s. Responses were prepared in advance. If you see a new submarine enter the port of Haifa, it does not take a genius to figure out what it signifies.”

Commenting on the relationship with Turkey, Arad said the most important research centre in Israel said the reality and the future of these relations do not bode well.

Israel is facing growing international isolation which, he warned, will affect the Israeli military and the country’s economic interests.

Arad noted that Israel benefits from the EU funded research projects, pointing out that they have strengthened the position of Israel as a great technological power.

He warned that the upcoming early elections in Israel will only contribute to the decline in Israel’s status.

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Berri: Israel is stealing Lebanese gas

Al-Akhbar | December 8, 2014

While political factions are distracted with the upcoming dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement, and the Lebanese government is struggling to resolve the issue of the kidnapped soldiers and counter the threat of terrorist groups on the Syrian border, Israel is stealing Lebanese gas from the deep sea off the Lebanese southern coast, Al-Akhbar reported on Monday.

Parliament speaker Nabih Berri told Al-Akhbar that he received information a few days ago confirming that Israel has started stealing Lebanese gas, expressing his surprise over the government’s lack of interest in the matter.

Berri said “he will personally push the pressing issue early next year,” adding that the Israeli move will force Lebanon to sign two designated decrees that would allow it to start digging for gas and ensure new revenues for the Lebanese economy.

Lebanon is located in the heart of the Levant basin, where seismic surveys indicate the presence of huge oil and gas reserves, but has so far failed to impose itself as a regional player in this area, as neighboring states greedily fight for its resources.

In July 2013, an Israeli company found Karish, a gas field 75 kilometers from the coast of Haifa. The new field is sufficiently close to Lebanon’s maritime borders to allow Israel access to Lebanon’s own reserves. It is evident that Israel is pressing ahead with exploration and production while Lebanon’s own energy plans falter.

At the time, then-Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil addressed these concerns in a press conference. “Theoretically…Israel is now able to reach Lebanese gas and that is a very grave situation,” he said.

“We cannot yet say that a disaster has happened, but the new Israeli discovery may indeed lead to one, especially if Lebanon’s efforts continue to be plagued by delays.”

“If Israel drills horizontally in Karish – made possible thanks to US technology – it may be able to reach up to 10 kilometers north into Lebanon’s reservoirs. If Israel drills vertically, it would still be possible for Israel to syphon off Lebanese oil and gas, if the Israeli and Lebanese fields overlap,” Bassil added.

After the discovery of large deposits of oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, the main struggle for Lebanon remains with both Cyprus and Israel to prevent encroachment on its maritime boundaries.

Cyprus breached its agreement with Lebanon and signed a deal in 2010 with the Zionist state, which attempted to gobble up 860 square kilometers of Lebanon’s maritime zone.

This incident revealed the need for Lebanon to assert the integrity of its maritime boundaries and to recover all of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – currently being disputed by Israel following its agreement with Cyprus.

In theory, there was no dispute over maritime boundaries between Israel and Cyprus. But when the opportunity arose, Israel encroached on Lebanon’s zones as a result of the latter’s failure to quickly ratify its agreement with Cyprus.

The Cypriot-Israeli agreement enabled Israel to foray into Lebanon’s EEZ, although Israel had so far observed the same boundaries adopted by Lebanon in all its operations.

Reports indicate that Israel found a loophole in the agreement between Lebanon and Cyprus which stipulates that the triple point can only be determined through trilateral negotiations.

Since there are no contacts between Lebanon and Israel, the determination of this point is pending negotiations.

Israel’s interpretation of this, however, is that Lebanon has lost 860 square kilometers.

Lebanon managed to recover 500 out of 860 square kilometers of its EEZ according to international community laws, while 360 square kilometers remain effectively under Israeli control.

In November 2013, Israel rejected a proposal for a settlement made by the US administration to resolve the “dispute” between the Zionist state and Lebanon over the boundaries of each side’s EEZ. The proposal concerned the disputed area of Block 9 in the Mediterranean, which Israel claims sovereignty over.

Israel claims that this block – one of the richest areas in terms of commercial gas deposits recently discovered in the Mediterranean – extends into its EEZ.

In September, Director of the Research and Strategic Studies Center General Khaled Hamada said “the expected quantities (of oil and gas) are relatively small, compared to those discovered in the Arabian Gulf, Russia, and the Caspian Sea, but they are enough to make a significant impact on the energy security of Mediterranean countries, and contribute to a lesser extent to Europe’s energy security.”

Hamada pointed out that Israel had already begun commercial gas production, while Cyprus had started exploration in more than one location.

In a conversation with Al-Akhbar, Hamada warned that any further delays in Lebanon’s efforts to implement gas projects would force it to deal with these projects and security arrangements as a fait accompli down the road.

While Lebanon is busy with endless debates, Israel is rushing to put the final touches on its bid to export gas to Europe.

Four years ago, Al-Akhbar published a statement by Israeli Minister Yossi Peled on September 25, 2010 that highlighted the Israeli stance on Lebanon becoming a gas producer country.

Peled, appearing before the Knesset Economic Committee at a special hearing on the oil and gas sector, said that Lebanon had large gas fields similar to the ones Israel had discovered. He cautioned that the Europeans, who were looking for alternatives to Russian gas, had initiated negotiations with Lebanon, saying, “Imagine what it would mean if this country became a gas producer,” something he claimed had equally alarming economic and security implications.

Although Israel managed to pinpoint the challenges it faced, it did predict at the time – and wager on – Lebanon’s complacency. In response to Peled’s warnings in the Knesset, Israeli daily Globes, in a front-page editorial on October 5, 2010, stated:

“Israeli sources who follow events in Lebanon are convinced that, at the current rate of progress, the Lebanese will award the first licenses this year [2010], and will start exploratory drilling within a year. The same sources believe that Lebanon will quickly be able to close the gap between it and Israel, and become a real competitor.

“Past experience shows that Israel has no immediate reason for fear. Lebanon’s natural resources will arouse internal (and external) conflicts no less severe than Israel’s natural resources have provoked here …

“The oil giants will not rush to invest billions in a country where it is not clear who is in control, and where so many other countries openly interfere.”

Israel was proven right. Nothing in Lebanon is exempt from being the object of division and polarization, and thus, obstruction, including the oil and gas sector.

Meanwhile, Turkey is also trying to expand in the eastern basin through northern Cyprus, with a view to reduce its dependence on oil imports from Iran and gas imports from Russia.

Ankara is seeking to build a network of onshore and offshore gas pipelines, to act as an energy transit hub between East and West.


December 8, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel tightens economic stranglehold on 1948 Palestinians

By Zouheir Andraos | Al-Akhbar | December 8, 2014

Occupied Haifa – As Israel increases its economic stranglehold on 1948 Palestinians, its racist policies extended to banning them from raising chickens and growing potatoes. This was after the closure of clothes workshops, which were transferred to Jordan, and other similar actions.

As the economic persecution against Palestinians continues, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry recently decided to prevent 1948 Palestinians from raising chickens and thus producing eggs, claiming this department as an exclusive right for Jews in cooperative villages (moshav). Eggs produced by Palestinian establishments disappeared from the market in a matter of days and were replaced by Israeli eggs produced at moshavs (Israeli agricultural settlements) built on the ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in the Nakba, or the Catastrophe.

Authorities in Tel Aviv also issued a decree banning “Arabs” from growing potatoes, succumbing to the pressure of Israeli potato farmers. The authorities had discovered that growing potatoes is cheap and was an important source of income for Palestinians. These two steps are further proof of the extent of the occupation’s institutional racism.

Palestine is famous for having fertile land, rich in all sorts of plants used by Palestinians as food (such as thyme and mallow), but which are not known or eaten by Jews. This led the Israeli government to instruct its so-called environmental protection authority to prosecute “plant thieves.” It officially announced those plants as “protected species and those who pick them shall be sent to court.”

Environmental protection authorities started fining Palestinians who pick “protected plants.” In the meantime, Jewish traders, who just discovered the importance of such plants for Palestinians, began requesting necessary licenses from the Israeli Agriculture Ministry to grow them and sell them in Arab markets. Palestinians in the interior became a target of a lucrative and popular “Israeli” trade.

In the same context, occupation authorities found another channel to increase the economic stranglehold on Palestinians, with Dubek cigarettes company (the only Israeli cigarette company) announcing it would stop buying tobacco from Arab farmers. Tobacco is one of the main cash crops for Palestinians, especially in the Galilee, inside what is known as the green line. Thus, Israel would have destroyed one of the most important Arab crops in Palestine, and began importing tobacco from its Turkish ally.

Persisting in its economic war and in collaboration with Jordan, Israel recently shut down the small sewing and knitting factories in Galilee, the Triangle, and Negev, the main source of income for many Palestinian families. The occupation authorities plan to relocate them to Jordan, under the pretext of cheap labor. However, the move was rumored to be an attempt to prop up the fragile Jordanian economy, in addition to the occupation’s determination to cut off sources of income for 1948 Palestinians.

The economic stranglehold policies adopted by Israel resulted in the unemployment of one third of the workforce in Negev and Umm al-Fahm. It widened the gap between Palestinian and Israeli unemployment, with a 25 percent unemployment rate for Palestinians and 6.5 percent for Israelis. The same statistics indicated that half of Palestinian children in the 1948 territories currently live below the poverty line.

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment