Aletho News


Congress Seeks Netanyahu’s Direction

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | January 22, 2015

Showing who some in Congress believe is the real master of U.S. foreign policy, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session and offer a rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s comments on world affairs in his State of the Union speech.

Boehner made clear that Netanyahu’s third speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress – scheduled for Feb. 11 – was meant to counter Obama’s assessments. “There is a serious threat in the world, and the President last night kind of papered over it,” Boehner said on Wednesday. “And the fact is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists and the threat posed by Iran.”

The scheduling of Netanyahu’s speech caught the White House off-guard, since the Israeli prime minister had apparently not bothered to clear his trip with the administration. The Boehner-Netanyahu arrangement demonstrates a mutual contempt for this President’s authority to conduct American foreign policy as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.

In the past when Netanyahu has spoken to Congress, Republicans and Democrats have competed to show their devotion by quickly and frequently leaping to their feet to applaud almost every word out of the Israeli prime minister’s mouth. By addressing a joint session for a third time, Netanyahu would become only the second foreign leader to do so, joining British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who never used the platform to demean the policies of a sitting U.S. president.

Besides this extraordinary recognition of another country’s leader as the true definer of U.S. foreign policy, Boehner’s move reflects an ignorance of what is actually occurring on the ground in the Middle East. Boehner doesn’t seem to realize that Netanyahu has developed what amounts to a de facto alliance with extremist Sunni forces in the region.

Not only is Israel now collaborating behind the scenes with Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist leadership but Israel has begun taking sides militarily in support of the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the Syrian civil war. A source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria said Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with Nusra forces that control territory adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The quiet cooperation between Israel and al-Qaeda’s affiliate was further underscored on Sunday when Israeli helicopters attacked and killed advisers to the Syrian military from Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran. In other words, Israel has dispatched its forces into Syria to kill military personnel helping to fight al-Nusra. Iran later confirmed that one of its generals had died in the Israeli strike.

Israel’s tangled alliances with Sunni forces have been taking shape over the past several years, as Israel and Saudi Arabia emerged as strange bedfellows in the geopolitical struggle against Shiite-ruled Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon. Both Saudi and Israeli leaders have talked with growing alarm about this “Shiite crescent” stretching from Iran through Iraq and Syria to the Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon.

Favoring Sunni Extremists

Senior Israelis have made clear they would prefer Sunni extremists to prevail in the Syrian civil war rather than President Bashar al-Assad, who is an Alawite, a branch of Shiite Islam. Assad’s relatively secular government is seen as the protector of Shiites, Christians and other minorities who fear the vengeful brutality of the Sunni jihadists who now dominate the anti-Assad rebels.

In one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, its Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, a close adviser to Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in September 2013 that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia shares Israeli’s strategic view that “the Shiite crescent” must be broken and has thus developed a rapport with Netanyahu’s government in a kind of “enemy of my enemy is my friend” relationship. But some rank-and-file Jewish supporters of Israel have voiced concerns about Israel’s new-found alliance with the Saudi monarchy, especially given its adherence to ultraconservative Wahhabi Islam and its embrace of a fanatical hatred of Shiite Islam, a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites that dates back 1,400 years.

Though President Obama has repeatedly declared his support for Israel, he has developed a contrary view from Netanyahu’s regarding what is the gravest danger in the Middle East. Obama considers the radical Sunni jihadists, associated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, to be the biggest threat to Western interests and U.S. national security.

That has put him in a different de facto alliance – with Iran and the Syrian government – since they represent the strongest bulwarks against Sunni jihadists who have targeted Americans and other Westerners for death.

What Boehner doesn’t seem to understand is that Israel and Saudi Arabia have placed themselves on the side of the Sunni jihadists who now represent the frontline fight against the “Shiite crescent.” If Netanyahu succeeds in enlisting the United States in violently forcing Syrian “regime change,” the U.S. government likely would be facilitating the growth in power of the Sunni extremists, not containing them.

But the influential American neoconservatives want to synch U.S. foreign policy with Israel’s and thus have pressed for a U.S. bombing campaign against Assad’s forces (even if that would open the gates of Damascus to the Nusra Front or the Islamic State). The neocons also want an escalation of tensions with Iran by sabotaging an agreement to ensure that its nuclear program is not used for military purposes.

The neocons have long wanted to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran as part of their “regime change” strategy for the Middle East. That is why Obama’s openness to a permanent agreement for tight constraints on Iran’s nuclear program is seen as a threat by Netanyahu, the neocons and their congressional allies – because it would derail hopes for militarily attacking Iran.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama made clear that he perceives the brutal Islamic State, which he calls “ISIL” for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as the principal current threat to Western interests in the Middle East and the clearest terror threat to the United States and Europe. Obama proposed “a smarter kind of American leadership” that would cooperate with allies in “stopping ISIL’s advance” without “getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East.”

Working with Putin

Thus, Obama, who might be called a “closet realist,” is coming to the realization that the best hope for blocking the advances of Sunni jihadi terror and minimizing U.S. military involvement is through cooperation with Iran and its regional allies. That also puts Obama on the same side with Russian President Vladimir Putin who has faced Sunni terrorism in Chechnya and is supporting both Iran’s leaders and Syria’s Assad in their resistance to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Obama’s “realist” alliance, in turn, presents a direct threat to Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran represents an “existential threat” to Israel and that the “Shiite crescent” must be destroyed. There is also fear among Israeli right-wingers that an effective Obama-Putin collaboration could ultimately force Israel into accepting a Palestinian state.

So, Netanyahu and the U.S. neocons believe they must do whatever is necessary to shatter this tandem of Obama, Putin and Iran. That is one reason why the neocons were at the forefront of fomenting “regime change” against Ukraine’s elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last year. By splintering Ukraine on Russia’s border, the neocons drove a wedge between Obama and Putin. [See’sNeocons’ Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit.”]

Even the slow-witted mainstream U.S. media has begun to pick up on the story of the emerging Israeli-Saudi alliance. In the Jan. 19 issue of Time magazine, correspondent Joe Klein noted the new coziness between top Israeli and Saudi officials.

He wrote: “On May 26, 2014, an unprecedented public conversation took place in Brussels. Two former high-ranking spymasters of Israel and Saudi Arabia – Amos Yadlin and Prince Turki al-Faisal – sat together for more than an hour, talking regional politics in a conversation moderated by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius.

“They disagreed on some things, like the exact nature of an Israel-Palestine peace settlement, and agreed on others: the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat, the need to support the new military government in Egypt, the demand for concerted international action in Syria. The most striking statement came from Prince Turki. He said the Arabs had ‘crossed the Rubicon’ and ‘don’t want to fight Israel anymore.’”

Not only did Prince Turki offer an olive branch to Israel, he indicated agreement on what the two countries consider their most pressing strategic interests: Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s civil war. In other words, in noting this extraordinary meeting, Klein had stumbled upon the odd-couple alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia – though he didn’t fully understand what he was seeing.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Obama had shifted his position on Syria as the West made a “quiet retreat from its demand” that Assad “step down immediately.” The article by Anne Barnard and Somini Sengupta noted that the Obama administration still wanted Assad to exit eventually “but facing military stalemate, well-armed jihadists and the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the United States is going along with international diplomatic efforts that could lead to more gradual change in Syria.”

At the center of that diplomatic initiative was Russia, again reflecting Obama’s recognition of the need to cooperate with Putin on resolving some of these complex problems (although Obama did include in his speech some tough-guy rhetoric against Russia over Ukraine, taking some pleasure in how Russia’s economy is now “in tatters”).

But the underlying reality is that the United States and Assad’s regime have become de facto allies, fighting on the same side in the Syrian civil war, much as Israel had, in effect, sided with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front by killing Hezbollah and Iranian advisers to the Syrian military.

The Times article noted that the shift in Obama’s position on Syrian peace talks “comes along with other American actions that Mr. Assad’s supporters and opponents take as proof Washington now believes that if Mr. Assad is ousted, there will be nothing to check the spreading chaos and extremism.

“American planes now bomb the Islamic State group’s militants in Syria, sharing skies with Syrian jets. American officials assure Mr. Assad, through Iraqi intermediaries, that Syria’s military is not their target. The United States still trains and equips Syrian insurgents, but now mainly to fight the Islamic State, not the government.”

Yet, as Obama adjusts U.S. foreign policy to take into account the complex realities in the Middle East, he now faces another front in this conflict – from the U.S. Congress, which has long been held in thrall by the Israel lobby.

Not only has Speaker Boehner appealed to Netanyahu to deliver what amounts to a challenge to President Obama’s foreign policy but congressional neocons are even accusing Obama’s team of becoming Iranian stooges. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a Democratic neocon, said, “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”

If indeed Netanyahu does end up addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress, its members would face a stark choice of either embracing Israel’s foreign policy as America’s or backing the decisions made by the elected President of the United States.


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

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Argentine president: AMIA prosecutor’s death not suicide

Press TV – January 22, 2015

Argentina says the suspicious death of the prosecutor of the 1994 AMIA bombing case was not a suicide.

“I’m convinced that it was not suicide,” said President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a statement posted on her Facebook page on Thursday.

On January 18, the body of the Argentinean prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, who had been investigating the AMIA case, was discovered in the bathroom of his apartment in a neighborhood of the capital, Buenos Aires.

The initial police report said Nisman had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Nisman’s death came hours before he was to testify in a congressional hearing about AMIA the next day.

The prosecutor had accused President Kirchner of trying to ‘protect Iranians’ in the AMIA case.

The Argentinean president dismissed the accusations against Iran concerning the deadly bomb attack, saying the late prosecutor’s allegations were baseless.

The “real move against the government was the prosecutor’s death…. They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead. It is that sad and terrible,” the Buenos Aires Herald on Thursday quoted Kirchner as writing in a separate letter.

In July 1994, a car bomb exploded at the building of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, also known as AMIA, in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people died and hundreds more were injured.

The Israeli regime accuses Tehran of masterminding the terrorist attack. The Islamic Republic of Iran has strongly denied any involvement in the incident.

January 22, 2015 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 1 Comment

Monsanto agrochemicals causing genetic damage in soybean workers – study

RT | January 22, 2015

Soybean workers exposed to the agrochemicals like glyphosate, the main component in Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ herbicide and other biocides, suffer from elevated DNA and cell damage, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, involved 127 people, including 81 exposed to biocides while working in the Brazilian soybean industry and 46 non-exposed individuals in a control group.

The exposed group exhibited an elevated level of cellular apoptosis, as well as DNA damage, according to researcher Danieli Benedetti and his team, which concluded that the now-common use of genetically-modified soybeans in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, especially in the city of Espumoso, has toxic ramifications for workers.

“Our findings indicate the advisability of monitoring genetic toxicity in soybean farm workers exposed to pesticides,” the researchers said.

Genetically-engineered seeds, proliferated across the globe by multinational agribusiness conglomerates like Monsanto, are designed to withstand dousing by glyphosate and other biocides in order to terminate insect, fungus, and weed nuisances.

Benedetti’s team focused specifically on Glyphosate and 2,4-D, the two top biocide components in American-biotechnology farming culture. Glyphosate is the prime ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup products, while Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D is a potent herbicide that was also used in making Agent Orange, the chemical used by the US to devastate resistance during the Vietnam War.

Last spring, Brazil’s public prosecutor sought to suspend use of glyphosate based on its toxic effects. Studies have linked glyphosate to a fatal kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions worldwide.

Just last week, Monsanto won final approval from the US for its new genetically-modified soybeans and cotton, designed to withstand a dominant biocide that fights weed resistance built up as a result of the company’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide already in use.

Monsanto reported an earnings drop of 34 percent in its first fiscal quarter. The company reportedly lost $156 million in the fourth quarter of last year due to a one-time payment made to settle an environmental legal case.

As multinationals such as Monsanto and Dow Chemical have sought strict standardization in agriculture markets the world over, the corporate leviathans, especially the former, have become the target of considerable protests and demonstrations.

Companies like Monsanto market their own patented seeds that, given their genetic modification, can be doused with biocides to kill pests and weeds, and which can jeopardize long-term health of the soil and the necessary biodiversity of a local environment that allows for natural pollination and, thus, food security.

In May of last year, activists on five continents around the globe, comprising of 52 nations organized resistance under the ‘March against Monsanto’ umbrella. Protests positioned against Monsanto and involving other corporate-food issues occurred in around 400 cities worldwide, according to reports.

Just this past weekend, more than 120 organizations joined the fifth annual ‘We are Fed Up!’ demonstration in Berlin to focus on the increased importation of American farming practices – such as genetic modification, frequent antibiotic injections for animals, and chemical meat treatments – following the implementation of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Protests have raged most furiously in Europe, where the EU recently approved a law that would let its nations ban genetically-modified organisms even if the EU had deemed them safe. Monsanto said last year it would not try to get any more GM crops approved in Europe given the consistent pushback.

Anger and unrest against Monsanto’s stranglehold has also spread to South America. In Argentina, protests have occurred in resistance to the company’s potent biocides used in tandem with their genetically-engineered seeds. In Brazil, farmers have called on Monsanto and other producers of pest-resistant corn seeds to reimburse them for money spent on additional biocides when the bugs killed the crops instead of dying themselves, speaking to the biocide arms race involved in using GM seeds. Brazilian soy exporters are also tangling with Monsanto over seed royalties.

In Central America, Guatemala’s highest court suspended in September a controversial ‘Monsanto Law,’ a provision of a US-Central American trade agreement, that would insulate transnational seed corporations considered to have “discovered” new plant varieties.

On its home turf in the United States, Monsanto has worked diligently with other multinational biotech, agribusiness, and food production companies to beat down state-level proposals to simply label whether food is comprised of GM ingredients.

The most recent example came in the state of Oregon, where a November ballot initiative to require GMO labeling was narrowly defeated in what became the most expensive ballot measure in the state’s history. The likes of Monsanto and Dupont flushed more than $21 million into the anti-labeling campaign, dwarfing the $9 million raised by proponents.

The company has sued Hawaii’s Maui County for passing last year that bans the cultivation of genetically modified organisms.

Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters have been the target of mild protests, especially during shareholder meetings.

Meanwhile, agribusiness allies on Capitol Hill are pushing new federal legislation, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, that would standardize food labeling, effectively killing popular state-based efforts to pass labeling laws.


Monsanto gets approval for new GMO corn, soybeans designed for potent new biocide

Rising suicide rate for Indian farmers blamed on GMO seeds

In facts & numbers: Absolute majority of Americans want GMO food to be labeled

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

​Austria to sue EU over UK nuclear plant subsidy approval

RT | January 22, 2015

Austria plans to take the European Commission to court over its approval of state subsidies to the $24-billion nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C, which is set to become the UK’s first new nuclear reactor in two decades.

Last October, the EU approved a UK state subsidy request for the project, a deal between French-owned nuclear developer EDF and the UK government.

Though the project was met with skepticism by some commissioners, four of whom voted against the decision, the commission decided that the UK’s plans to subsidize the construction and operation of the plant are in accordance with EU state aid regulations.

Construction has already begun on the plant, which is expected to replace a fifth of Britain’s aging nuclear power and coal plants, and provide 7 percent of the UK’s electricity by 2023.

Austria, a fully non-nuclear nation, considers nuclear energy to be both economically and environmentally unsustainable. The country will launch its appeal within two months after the publication of the official Hinkley decision in the EU journal, Austria’s environment ministry director Andreas Molin told the Guardian. The journal is to be released in two weeks.

The appeal will argue that the UK’s loan guarantees for the project constitute illegal state aid.

“Austria strictly rejects any kind of direct or indirect subsidies to nuclear power, arguing for the complete internalization of all external costs based on the polluter pays principle,” Austrian environment ministry Julia Puchegger told Interfax Energy.

“Austria also doesn’t consider nuclear power to be eligible for the European Fund for Strategic Investments [EFSI],” she added.

The lawsuit could delay an investment decision for over two years “as this is going to be a more complicated and fundamental case,” Molin said.

The EU’s 2014-2020 environment and energy guidelines don’t include specific rules for nuclear energy subsidies, which are to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Though the EDF had planned to sign a funding agreement with its Chinese partners in March, an essential step for securing a final investment plan, an Austrain lawsuit may put these plans on the backburner.

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Nuclear Power | , , | 1 Comment

Keeping the Chilcot Inquiry Under Wraps

By JONATHAN WOODROW MARTIN | CounterPunch | January 22, 2015

24-hours after a report claiming the UK government is the most transparent in the world, the 6-year wait for The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War to be published was extended until after the general election in May this year.

I was present for one of the eyewitness-sessions of the enquiry when former Prime Minister Tony appeared, back in 2010. Whilst he blathered on about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran (which still hasn’t happened, even after decades of neo-con doom-mongering) I wondered how difficult it was to completely wrap yourself in an ideology to protect your being from the glaring mis-truths you have to speak and actions you carry out. It obviously takes a high degree of a certain kind-of-intelligence to do this, no-one doubts that Blair was and is an intelligent man, in this way. However, that intelligence was completely consumed by the Iraq invasion and subsequent set of disasters that have beset that country and region since. He looked like a haunted man that day, let alone today.

It wasn’t JUST Blair though. He was the prime minister at the time and he certainly set the tone and action for the UK joining the US politically and militarily on this mis-adventure. I do doubt that the ever-cautious Gordon Brown (at that time Chancellor of the Exchequer) would have been so hasty to join the lunatics in the Pentagon and Oval Office if he had been prime minister at the time. However, it was Parliament which made the final decision to join the invasion, overwhelmingly, 412-149. (This final vote took place one-day before the invasion began).

Were the Members of Parliament, who voted for the invasion, blinded by the intelligence (or lack of) coming from the UK and US security forces? Were they too busy being whipped in to frenzy by the media (Murdoch) and party whips? Was there a sense of left-over imperial pride in re-entering the scene of previous British conquests in the early 20th century in the then named Mesopotamia? I don’t know. It must have been a tricky time for many, and many still carry the scars of their terrible decision-making today, most notably Tony Blair. It is easy to conclude that it was the faulty (made-up) intelligence that fooled these members of parliament, but even if the intelligence had been 100% correct, that Saddam Hussein had a large WMD programme and was potentially looking to build nuclear weapons, were those reasons, based on old assumptions and half-truths that had been known for decades, reason-enough to commit your armed forces to a hasty assault on a sovereign nation? If so, we in the UK should prepare for invasion as our government pushes ahead in replacing our nuclear “deterrent”.

You will have heard and read a lot about how what is happening in Iraq and the wider-region has nothing to do with the US-UK led invasion. Or will you? Most reports I have seen on the likes of BBC television news offer very little context on how Islamic State (IS) came to exist and how, most importantly, they are accepted or at least tolerated as an alternative by Sunni populations in Syria and Iraq in comparison to their sectarian governments who are seen as waging war on them. In the aftermath of the invasion, the American and British systematically destroyed the Iraqi state as existed under Saddam Hussein’s Baathist and Sunni-led dictatorship and turned the country completely over the previously persecuted Shia majority of the country, without any real thought or concern for the consequences this would have on the citizens of Iraq. If the invasion was illegal under international law (which to this laymen, it clearly was) these actions were tantamount to the prolonged torture of an entire country and its people (not to mention Abu Ghraib).

When The Chilcot Inquiry is eventually published, clearly at a time which best suites those under the microscope and wider establishment and not the British public, who were, it should be remembered, overwhelmingly against the invasion, what will we discover that we do not already know? The invasion was an utter disaster for the people of Iraq, yet not one of the decision-makers has ever felt any justice for this. History books, enquiries and public anger are not enough. Where is the International Criminal Court (ICC) when you need it?

Jonathan Woodrow Martin can be reached at


January 22, 2015 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli settlement asks Hebron man to pay property tax

Ma’an – 22/01/2015

HEBRON – The council of the Jewish-only settlement of Kiryat Arba in Hebron has ordered a Palestinian local to pay property tax, claiming that his house is located on land belonging to the settlement.

The Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements told Ma’an that Abdul-Karim al-Jaabari received warrants demanding he pay 88,200 shekels ($22,000) in Arnona, or property tax, to the Jewish-only settlement’s council.

Al-Jaabari said the move was unprecedented in the occupied West Bank and was intended to force his family from their land.

Settlers from Kiryat Arba have been attempting to expel him since 2001, he said.

Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, denounced the demand.

“This is meant to give legal status to the illegal settlements which have been trying to claim legal custody over the lands under their control and the lands near these settlements.”

Israeli settlements are built on land confiscated from Palestinians, either on privately-owned lands or those that were previously communal state land.

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Number of journalists held in Israeli jails rises to 17


Palestine Information Center – January 21, 2015

AL-KHALIL – The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested at dawn Wednesday the journalist Alaa Jaber Titi, 33, after violently breaking into his home in Aroub refugee camp to the north of al-Khalil.

Family sources told a PIC reporter that more than one hundred Israeli soldiers surrounded Titi’s home and violently broke into his apartment.

The IOF arrested Titi, a reporter at al-Aqsa TV Channel, after carrying out searches in his house.

Titi’s arrest came only a week after his release from PA jails where he was detained for several times by PA security forces, in addition to spending four years behind Israeli bars.

Titi’s detention is considered the second arrest targeting journalists in two days after the journalist Mujahd Bani Mefleh was nabbed by Israeli forces on Monday from his home in Ramallah.

Palestine Center for Prisoners’ Studies pointed out in a statement issued Tuesday that 16 Palestinian journalists are currently held in Israeli prisons.

Journalists’ detention fell as part of Israel’s policy to cover up its crimes and violations against Palestinian people, the statement charged.

The human rights center stated that Israeli deliberate targeting of journalists will never succeed in hiding the truth or beautifying Israel’s image, calling on international media institutions and journalists’ syndicates to exercise pressures for the Palestinian detained journalists’ release.

For its part, Quds Press called on the Israeli authorities to immediately release its reporter Mohamed Muna and all the journalists illegally held in its jails.

Along the same line, Palestinian media forum strongly condemned Israel’s fierce arrest campaign against journalists; most recently was the detention of Titi and Mefleh.

The Forum said that following the two journalists’ arrest in the West Bank, the number of journalists held in Israeli prisons increased to reach 17.

The media forum also denounced the pregnant journalist Juman Abu Arafa’s detention on Monday while leaving al-Aqsa Mosque before being released and prevented from having access to the holy shrine for 15 days.

The forum warned against tight Israeli restrictions imposed on journalists working to reveal settlers’ crimes and Judaization policy in occupied Jerusalem.

“We call on International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders to bear their responsibilities and break their silence towards Israeli escalated violations against journalists in occupied territories, and to work for their release”, the forum’s statement concluded.

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

“We will hit your wife, your daughter, and your kids”

International Solidarity Movement | January 22, 2015

Beit Ummar, Occupied Palestine – Early Tuesday morning January 20, 2015 at 3:00 AM, Israeli occupation forces invaded the home of the Abu Maria family in the village of Beit Ummar. The occupation army used explosives to open the front door, surprising the sleeping family. This is the second violent night raid the family has experienced this week. Israeli soldiers were looking for Nidal, Ghassan, and Mohammed Abu Maria, three brothers who were summoned by the Israeli intelligence for questioning.

Window broken during Israeli army nigh raid (photo by ISM).

Window broken during Israeli army nigh raid

The mother of the family, 42 years old, was attacked as soon as the invading soldiers entered the home. Her arms were violently jerked behind her back, and once she was tied up, she was beaten on her head, neck and arms. One of the family’s five sons, Mohye, 18 years old, was cut on his face, neck and fingers. The attacking soldiers demanded he tell them where his brothers were.

The family’s father, Ahmed Abu Maria, has been imprisoned by the Israeli occupation forces for four months. The morning of the attack, Ahmed was taken into interrogation where Israeli investigators informed him that his family would be targeted that night. Ahmed related that he was told: “Tonight we will go to your family’s home. We will hit your wife, your daughter and your kids.” He was not allowed to warn or communicate these threats in any way to his family. The next day, Ahmed was allowed to contact his family and hear what happened to them during the night raid. The family describes this as psychological torture, designed to put pressure on the imprisoned father.

Photo by ISM.

The occupation forces remained at the family’s home until nearly 7:00 AM. When they finally decided to depart the house, the invading soldiers left behind two official requests in Hebrew for the appearance of Nidal, Ghassan, and Mohammed the following morning at 8:30 AM at the prison in the nearby illegal settlement of Kfar Etzion. The family tried to explain to the occupation forces that two of the sons did not live in Beit Ummar, but farther north and it would be impossible for them to make the trip in time.

During the violent invasion at the Abu Maria’s house, the occupation forces also searched the neighboring uncle’s home for the youths. When they did not find the boys there as expected, and the family refused to tell the authorities exactly where they were living, the occupation forces stole over 3000 NIS (approximately $760 USD) from the uncle. This money was his life savings; without it, he does not know how he will survive.

Next morning the 20-year-old middle brother Ghassan Ahmad Abu Maria presented himself at Kfar Etzion prison as requested and was arrested. He is currently being held without charges and the family has been unable to get any information on his condition.

Photos by ISM

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt freezes assets of 901 Brotherhood members

MEMO | January 22, 2015

An Egyptian government-appointed panel has frozen the assets of 901 Muslim Brotherhood members and 1,096 Brotherhood-affiliated charities.

“The funds of 901 Brotherhood leaders and members have been frozen,” panel head Ezzat Khamis said in a press conference yesterday.

He said the panel had seized 522 offices of the disbanded Justice and Freedom Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, and 54 Brotherhood-owned premises.

“Some 360 vehicles and 328 feddans [138 acres] of land owned by Brotherhood members have also been seized,” he said.

Khamis said that the panel had also seized 532 Brotherhood-affiliated companies and 28 hospitals and medical centres.

“Some 1,096 Brotherhood-affiliated NGOs and 82 schools have also been seized,” he said.

In September 2013, an Egyptian court banned the activities of the decades-old Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which ousted President Mohamed Morsi hails.

The court had also ordered the group’s dissolution and the confiscation of its offices and funds.

Following the ruling, the government formed a committee tasked with managing the group’s assets.

In December 2013, the government declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist” group, blaming it for a spate of deadly attacks on security personnel.

The Brotherhood, for its part, has repeatedly dismissed the accusations calling them politically motivated.

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | | Leave a comment

Egyptian Court Orders Release of Mubarak Sons

Al-Akhbar | January 22, 2015

An Egyptian court ordered the release on Thursday of the sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak pending their retrial in a corruption case, their lawyer told Reuters.

Farid al-Deeb said this meant that Alaa and Gamal Mubarak should be released because they were not being tried in any other cases.

However, judicial sources said they would not be freed until prosecutors review other legal cases against them.

The Mubarak brothers do still face charges of stock market manipulation in a separate case, but in June 2013 a court ordered their release in that case.

Given that a court dropped other corruption charges against the sons in yet another case in November, it appeared there were no other cases preventing their release.

The Cairo Criminal Court said in a document explaining its ruling that the two men had already served the maximum permitted time of 18 months in pretrial detention and should therefore not be held pending their retrial in a corruption case.

An appeals court earlier this month ordered their retrial, along with their father, overturning a lower court conviction that saw the two brothers given four-year jail sentences.

Deeb had said Mubarak himself, who is in a military hospital, would also be a free man, but state media reported that there had been no orders yet for his release.

A high court had already overturned the only remaining conviction against Mubarak on January 13, ordering a retrial and opening the way for his possible release.

In November, an Egyptian court dismissed murder charges against Mubarak over the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended the former despot’s decades-long rule. A public prosecutor has since appealed the decision. If Mubarak is retried in the case, it would be for the third and final time under Egyptian law.

About 800 people were killed during the 18-day uprising that unseated Mubarak, in which protesters clashed with police across the country and torched police stations. Mubarak was accused of having ordered the killing of protesters.

In 2011, there were mass protests demanding Mubarak’s prosecution after he retired to a mansion in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh following the uprising that forced him from power that February. He was detained two months later and ordered to stand trial.

Mubarak had also previously been acquitted of corruption charges related to gas exports to Israel.

Since Mohammed Mursi, Mubarak’s successor and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was ousted from power in 2013, then-army chief and current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has made law and order and economic stability his top priorities rather than democratic freedoms – the key demand during the anti-Mubarak uprising.

Human rights group say that Sisi has been even more autocratic and repressive than Mubarak. Since he rose to power, several Mubarak-era officials have made a comeback as have the once reviled police.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

January 22, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | | Leave a comment