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UK Police officer who kicked mother tending to sick child cleared

RT | January 23, 2015

A police officer accused of repeatedly kicking and hitting a mother looking after a sick child in hospital has been cleared of actual bodily harm (ABH).

The woman was left with over 40 injuries after Warren Luke, a Metropolitan police officer, kicked and hit her after hospital staff told him she was refusing to leave.

Luke was cleared on Thursday of any crime at Wood Green Crown Court.

The mother, who remains unnamed for legal reasons, was looking after her daughter when the incident occurred in 2013. Hospital staff asked the woman to leave, the court heard. When she refused, four police officers were called.

A video played to the jury showed the mother explaining the incident.

“‘You’ve got to leave, you’ve got to leave,’” she reported Luke as saying.

“I kept playing with my daughter and then I saw him moving towards me. He was kicking me and kicking me. He had one hand on my head. When I fell on the bed he grabbed my hair and banged my head. I was screaming. I couldn’t defend myself. My ex-husband ran in and shouted, ‘why are you kicking my wife?’”

Luke, however, protested that the mother’s behavior had been “escalating” and he believed the child was in danger.

Rather than use a baton or gas, he told the court that he decided to strike the mother on her bicep, and then use what he referred to as a “distraction strike” to her face, using his boot.

He claimed his actions were in accordance with his training.

“I did kick out at the left side of her face as trained to do. My footwear was a boot but it’s light,” he said.

“I can’t say exactly where and how her injuries were sustained, I can only say what I did,” he replied, when asked how she sustained so many injuries.

The women was reported to have needed plastic surgery after the incident, and is said to have taken a year off work to recover.

He denied using full force on the woman, saying: “I wouldn’t say that I used full force, but I do remember hitting harder because it had no effect.

“I used police tactics with good reason that were absolutely necessary. I didn’t go too far. Whenever a police officer uses force you need to be accountable for it,” he added.

Witnesses described with horror the clash between the two, and said they were “appalled.”

Two police officers, who were called to attend to the woman, also gave evidence. One, Laura Riley, was seen crying as she gave evidence for the prosecution. Her colleague Mary Clark said it was “just horrific.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said Luke would undergo a misconduct review following the incident.

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Occupier’s Justice: Heads and Tails You Lose

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | January 23, 2015

Yesterday I had an idea for a short story to explain the unrelenting insanity of the occupation for ordinary Palestinians. Tell me what you think.

In my story, there is a Palestinian family, let’s call them the Jaabaris, and they live next to a Jewish settlement, let’s call it Kiryat Arba, close to Hebron deep in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

One day the settlers decide to build a synagogue on the family’s private land in an effort to force them off.

This family decide to stand their ground. Sadly, they have no way to stop the takeover of land that has been in their family for generations other than by appealing to the Israeli legal system. They petition the Israeli Supreme Court to order the synagogue demolished.

In the court room, the settlers argue that the land is not under Kiryat Arba’s control – it’s private Palestinian property – and therefore it is outside the court’s jurisdiction. The judges have no right to issue a ruling in this case, they claim.

The court disagrees and says the land is under Kiryat Arba’s control – ie the judges treat it as part of Israel – and therefore the court can issue a ruling. The judges’ verdict is a triumph for justice: the synagogue should be demolished.

However, now that the settlers have a piece of paper with the court’s decision stating that the land belongs to Kiryat Arba, they can bill the Palestinian family for years of arrears on property taxes amounting to $22,000 – more than the family earns in several years. If they don’t pay, the settlers will seize the land and sell it.

Heads the Jaabaris lose; tails they lose too. That’s Israeli occupiers’ justice.

What do you think? Have I gone a bit too far? Too crazy to be credible.

Or have I simply plagiarised this story from the Times of Israel, where exactly this just happened to the Jaabari family?

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dual Citizens in Congress?

By L. Michael Hager | CounterPunch | January 23, 2015

Is dual citizenship in the U.S. Congress and administration creating potentially  serious conflicts of interest?

My Counterpunch piece of November 12, 2014 described a failed effort to identify members of Congress who hold dual citizenship and to ascertain the second nationality of those members. I mentioned the then outstanding Freedom of Information Act request that I filed with the Congressional Research Service (CRS) last October.

This week I received the information I sought, in the form of a telephone call from a legal officer of the Library of Congress. After reminding me that Congress (and the CRS by its connection with Congress) is exempt from FOIA requests, he verbally confirmed my suspicion that CRS does not currently collect dual citizenship data.

That’s bad news for those of us who believe that citizens should know if their representatives in Congress (and senior government officials and judges, for that matter) owe allegiance to any other nation. For example, when a Senator, a House Member or a high USG official speaks out, submits bills or determines policy on an issue of importance to a second country, shouldn’t constituents (and citizens at large) be able to judge whether there is or is not a conflict (or apparent) conflict of interest?

Without transparency on dual citizenship, Americans remain in the dark, free to speculate on which representatives may have divided loyalties. Current entries on the Internet reveal a wide range of such speculation. The lack of transparency is dangerous, for it erodes trust in government, creating credibility doubts where there should be none and allowing some conflicts to continue undetected, without question or debate.

Thus the first requirement is transparency. We need a government agency (presumably the CRS) or a non-governmental organization to disclose the names and non-U.S. national affiliations of Members of Congress and senior government officials and to track and report on this issue.

Secondly, we need more media attention to the subject of dual citizenship. Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Michelle Bachman both received wide press coverage, when they renounced their Canadian and Swiss nationalities, respectively.

Stanley Fischer, who currently serves as vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, became an Israeli citizen in 2005 while retaining his American citizenship.  Prior to his appointment to the Fed in 2014, he served for eight years as governor of the Bank of Israel. Although the New York Times article of March 13, 2014 reporting on his then upcoming confirmation hearings, disclosed his dual nationality, it failed to ask the obvious question of why one appointed to such a senior policy position should not be required to renounce his Israeli citizenship. Why has the mainstream media largely ignored the potential conflict of interest inherent in dual citizen Members of Congress and Executive Branch officers?

What about those members and government officials who fail even to disclose their second or more nationalities? As mentioned in my previous article on this subject, U.S. officials and government officers with Jewish identity may acquire Israeli citizenship without much or any formality under the Israeli Law of Return. Thus it is possible, if not probable, that some of such officials hold Israeli citizenship.

Beyond the threshold issue of transparency are equally important questions of whether a dual citizen elected to Congress or appointed to a senior USG position should be required to renounce his or her citizenship in the second nation. Even if American law continues to allow the government service of dual citizens, should it not require such persons at least to recuse themselves from participating in decisions or policy debates that relate to their second nationality?

To address these question we need accurate information on who are the dual citizens in our government. To obtain such data will require a vigorous campaign by interested citizens and NGOs, first to have elected Members disclose any non-U.S. citizenship they hold and second to have the CRS begin to track and report on the presence of dual citizens in Congress and in the higher levels of Government.

Conflicts of interest and apparent conflicts by public officials erode trust in government.  Allowing dual citizenship in Congress (and in the Executive and Judicial Branches) to flourish under cover of non-disclosure puts our democracy at risk.

It’s time to bring this issue  into open debate.

 L. Michael Hager is co-founder and former director general of the International Development Law Organization, Rome

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Released after over 10 years in an Israeli prison

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International Solidarity Movement | January 22, 2015

Awarta, Occupied Palestine – Two weeks after his release from prison, ISM activists had the opportunity to sit with Aiman Awwad and his friend, Samer Zaqah, in their hometown of Awarta. Aiman was arrested in June 2004, at the age of 20, and released in January 2015, jailed for a total of ten and a half years in multiple Israeli military prisons. He was previously arrested at the age of 14, and shot in the leg by an Israeli solider.

During the second intifada, Palestinian resistance was strong, and heavily repressed by Israeli forces. Both Aiman and Samer were involved in small resistance groups; as Aiman described it, ‘it was nothing big… I just wanted to do something for my country, my father, send a message to Israel to get out [of the West Bank].’ During our conversation, it slowly became apparent that everyone else in the room, including Aiman’s brother, friend, and mother, had also served time in Israeli prisons. Aiman’s mother would sit in the house and let ‘trees of tears fall’ from her eyes during her son’s ten year imprisonment.

For the first two years of his imprisonment, Aiman was not allowed any visitors or any contact with the outside world. His mother was later permitted to be his only visitor for the duration of his sentence; a visit which was allowed to occur only once a month. In the prisons, small rooms sometimes housed 8-10 men, with little, if any heat during cold months. On one occasion, a prison guard turned off the hot water on a cold, rainy day. After failed attempts to convince the authorities to turn it back on, a Palestinian prisoner broke a cup on a solider, and was shot directly. Medical care in the prisons was described as very limited, and the numbers of sick were often large. In cases of severe illness, prisoners were not allowed to leave to receive sufficient medical care.

On describing their experiences in prison, the two men recounted the problems with soldiers and arbitrary power given to them. They also describe the solidarity between prisoners. Aiman went on hunger strike three times while imprisoned. On one occasion, he refused food for one month, in an attempt to protest the detainment of a friend in solidarity confinement. Most people align themselves with a Palestinian political party in jail, for material and emotional support. In the walls outside of the many Israeli prisons, these parties rarely seem to agree, yet within the confines of the military walls, it seems that they all get along.

Israel is known for its use of administrative detention, a policy handed down from the British Mandate period. Under this policy, the state is able to detain and imprison people without charge or trial, often for indefinite periods. Once someone is released from administrative detention, it is not uncommon for them to be re-arrested shortly after. As of October 1, 2014, there were 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. Amongst these, 500 were detained under administrative detention, and 182 were minors. Aiman described his own day in court as ‘like a picture,’ feeling that his fate was already decided before facing trial. The men described the fear of speaking or acting against the Israeli state, citing the extensive surveillance of Israeli intelligence and how this is used to control people’s behaviour. Living under Israeli occupation has definitely taken its toll; the men describe it as ‘[living where] we cannot breathe. The hands of Israel wring around our necks.’

When asked what they think the logic is behind Israel’s massive detainment of Palestinians, the men speak of the pressure and punishment Israel hopes to exert on Palestinians. Israel invokes fear and seeks to gain control over Palestine. But for Aiman, this has not worked; ‘This is my country. I love my country. Our land is like the soul. It cannot be taken, or crushed. Not after 10 years, not after 20.’

Upon his release, there was a celebratory parade throughout the village in Awarta, as has become custom across Occupied Palestine. Describing his feelings on his return home, Aiman said he was of two minds; he was very happy to be once again with his family, but felt very bad to leave behind his best friends in jail. Before his arrest, there were no settlements in the hills surrounding Awarta, and the annexation wall was just beginning construction. There was no facebook, no smart phones, and Aiman is adamant about hanging on to his cellphone with only calling and basic texting capacity. His cousins were children before his arrest, and he came home to full-grown adults. He wants to travel, but Israel denies foreign travel to former political prisoners.

Our conversation is filled with appreciation for the kindness and hospitality of Palestinian culture. People take care of each other, and have respect for everybody, but Israel is determined to undermine that by dividing families and imprisoning young (and old) for large parts of their formative years, and in some cases their entire lives.

When asked what they want to do now, Samer and Aiman differ in their answers. Samer explains, ‘I just want to build my life. I just want to be free. We dont have a problems with Jews, just the occupation. We dont want to struggle with guns. We need the help of other countries to pressure Israel.’ Aiman wants to go to university, and study. He is determined, however, not to give up on Palestine. ‘The solider thinks he can kill us, and we will give up the land. But we must continue for us. We have a message: we must be together, the parties must be together and strong for Palestine to be free.’ When asked if his views have changed on the Palestinian struggle and resistance, he is adamant: no. Israel will not break him.

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

American instructors to train Ukrainian troops this spring – US general

RT | January 23, 2015

US soldiers are to be deployed to Western Ukraine to train the country’s National Guard, said the commander of the US Army in Europe during a news conference in Kiev. The US also intends to sponsor the production of Ukrainian light armored vehicles.

The exact number of American troops heading to Ukraine is still to be determined, said Lieut. Gen. Ben Hodges on Wednesday.

The instructors will be working at the 40,000 square kilometer Yavoriv Training site close to the Polish-Ukrainian border. This is the largest military firing range in Europe near the western Ukrainian city of Lvov.

The announcement by General Hodges confirms a report in Global Research in November that the US was planning to deploy instructors to the Yavoriv Training Area.

The US is reportedly ready to spend $19 million to train the Ukrainian National Guard. The money will come from the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), requested by the Obama administration in the 2015 fiscal budget to provide training and apparel for the armed forces of American allies worldwide, which has already been approved by Congress.

The newly announced training comes within the framework of the US State Department initiative “to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law,” told Defense News Pentagon’s spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman.

Washington has also agreed to finance production of Ukrainian-made SRM-1 Kozak Light Armored Vehicle with a price tag of $189,000 each. The first prototype of the Kozak for use with the Ukrainian border guard was delivered on Monday, the US Embassy in Ukraine reported.

“The United States has delivered dozens of armored pickup trucks and vans to the Ukrainian Border Guard Service. The Kozak is larger and offers a higher level of protection,” the embassy said.

The armored Kozak vehicle has a V-shaped bottom to counter mine explosions and is assembled on a chassis manufactured by the Italian company Iveco.

READ MORE:

Russia warns US against supplying ‘lethal defensive aid’ to Ukraine

‘If US sends weapons to Ukraine, Russia should send troops’ – lawmaker

US commandos get permanent Eastern European foothold

‘US military hardware will cause more bloodshed in Ukraine’ – Russian official

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Netanyahu and ‘the Big Lie’

By Robert Fantina | CounterPunch | January 23, 2015

With the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) acceptance of Palestine as a member, and its agreement to investigate possible Israeli war crimes during last summer’s brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be having fits of rage. His puppet, the United States government, has also denounced the Court’s decisions, and Mr. Netanyahu has made the following bizarre statements:

* “It’s absurd for the ICC to go after Israel, which upholds the highest standards of international law. Our actions are subject to the constant and careful review of Israel’s world-renowned and utterly independent legal system.”

* “But this decision is even more preposterous given that Israel is legitimately defending itself against Palestinian terrorists who routinely commit multiple war crimes. They deliberately fire thousands of rockets at our civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian civilians whom they use a human shield.”

* “It is the democracy of Israel, a world leader in fighting terrorism, which is to be hauled to the dock in The Hague, while the terrorist war criminals of Hamas are the ones who are going to be pressing the charges.”

Perhaps we might look at each of these amazing statements, and see how many holes we can punch in them in a short essay. Doing so is not particularly challenging.

Israel ‘upholds the highest standards of international law’. Well now, isn’t that interesting? International law forbids the movement of the occupying nation’s citizens into the occupied nation. Israel has moved over 500,000 Israelis onto Palestinian land, and Mr. Netanyahu has stated that not one of them will ever leave.

During last summer’s brutal attack on Gaza, press vehicles, schools, hospitals, mosques and private residences were all targeted; each is forbidden by international law.

Further: “Our actions are subject to the constant and careful review of Israel’s world-renowned and utterly independent legal system.” The fox, when protesting the farmer’s actions against it after it raided the henhouse, might have said the same thing. We often read, after some abomination committed by Israel, that Israel is ‘investigating’. However, we very seldom read about the outcome of such investigations, and when we do, it is to say that the perpetrator has been exonerated.

“Israel is legitimately defending itself against Palestinian terrorists who routinely commit multiple war crimes.” One worries about sounding like a broken record, when one points out again that there is no legitimate ‘defense’ by an occupier against the occupied. There is only greater enforcement of the occupation. An occupied nation, by international law, has the right to resist the occupation.

If Palestinians have, in fact, committed war crimes, Israel can file charges at the ICC (of course, that would mean actually joining the ICC). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated that he will cooperate fully with any such investigation. Mr. Netanyahu, on the other bloody hand, has said he will not cooperate at all.

In this astounding statement, Mr. Netanyahu rolls out the old canard of Palestinian resistance fighters “hiding behind Palestinian civilians whom they use a human shield”. There is no evidence to support this claim, although there is ample evidence, including on video, of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) terrorists using Palestinian children as human shields. What was that that Mr. Netanyahu said above, about upholding ‘the highest standards of international law’?

Lastly, Mr. Netanyahu refers to ‘the democracy of Israel’. Well, this is a most unusual democracy, where all Israelis are afforded equal rights, but Palestinians and people of African descent are not. This sounds more to this writer like apartheid.

He further calls Israel ‘a world leader in fighting terrorism.’ Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are subjected daily to night raids, during which their homes can be ransacked, their possessions stolen and anyone of any age, including children, can be arrested without charge. Israel also bulldozes homes, sprays extremely offensive liquids on school, and routinely prevents people in desperate need of medical care from receiving it. If this isn’t terrorism, what is?

People often take great umbrage when the name of Hitler is ever associated with the actions of modern day Israel. However, this writer will risk the wrath of the ignorant and uninformed, and point out a parallel. In Mein Kempf, Hitler wrote about ‘the big lie’. “In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.” [According to many scholars, Hitler echoes the German philosopher Schopenhauer and alleges that it is the Jews who are “The Great Master of Lies.” At no point does he advocate the “Big Lie Technique” himself. On the contrary, he criticizes the Jews for allegedly adopting the technique themselves. It is ironic that Hitler himself fell posthumous victim to this tactic. – Aletho News ]

It seems that Mr. Netanyahu, in his desperation to halt the slow march of justice for Palestine, has resorted to ‘the big lie’. As shown above, the statements he made regarding the ICC’s decision to investigate possible war crimes Israel committed are simply lies, falsehoods that he hopes the world will believe; in fact, he needs the world to believe them, so that Israel can continue its gradual genocide of Palestine.

The U.S., true to form, endorsed this same view. Like Mr. Netanyahu, the U.S. sang the old song of ‘negotiations’ as required for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The United Nations recognizes Palestine’s borders as those that existed prior to 1967. There is nothing to negotiate; if Israel, as claimed by the esteemed Mr. Netanyahu, does in fact uphold ‘the highest standards of international law’, why does it choose to ignore this one? Why does it not retreat to those internationally-recognized borders?

The reason is simple; Israel, an apartheid state, has no interest in negotiating anything with the Palestinians; it simply wants to absorb all Palestinian land, destroy its culture and kill its people. Increasingly around the world the basic human right of self-determination is being recognized as one that the Palestinians have long been deprived of, and have long deserved. Pretty lies spoken with a straight face don’t hide the facts, and may slow the path of progress, but cannot stop it. The world, it seems, is finally losing patience with Israel.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 4 Comments

Indictment of Iran for ’94 Terror Bombing Relied on MEK

By Gareth Porter | IPS News | August 8, 2013

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman based his 2006 warrant for the arrest of top Iranian officials in the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994 on the claims of representatives of the armed Iranian opposition Mujahedin E Khalq (MEK), the full text of the document reveals.

The central piece of evidence cited in Nisman’s original 900-page arrest warrant against seven senior Iranian leaders is an alleged Aug. 14, 1993 meeting of top Iranian leaders, including both Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and then president Hashemi Rafsanjani, at which Nisman claims the official decision was made to go ahead with the planning of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA).

But the document, recently available in English for the first time, shows that his only sources for the claim were representatives of the MEK or People’s Mujahideen of Iran. The MEK has an unsavoury history of terrorist bombings against civilian targets in Iran, as well as of serving as an Iraq-based mercenary army for Saddam Hussein’s forces during the Iran-Iraq War.

The organisation was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist groups last year after a campaign by prominent former U.S. officials who had gotten large payments from pro-MEK groups and individuals to call for its “delisting”.

Nisman’s rambling and repetitious report cites statements by four members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is the political arm of the MEK, as the sources for the charge that Iran decided on the AMIA bombing in August 1993.

The primary source is Reza Zakeri Kouchaksaraee, president of the Security and Intelligence Committee of the NCRI. The report quotes Kouchaksaraee as testifying to an Argentine Oral Court in 2003, “The decision was made by the Supreme National Security Council at a meeting that was held on 14 August, 1993. This meeting lasted only two hours from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.”

Nisman also quotes Hadi Roshanravani, a member of the International Affairs Committee of the NCRI, who claimed to know the same exact starting time of the meeting – 4:30 pm – but gave the date as Aug. 12, 1993 rather than Aug. 14.

Roshanravani also claimed to know the precise agenda of the meeting. The NCRI official said that three subjects were discussed: “The progress and assessment of the Palestinian Council; the strategy of exporting fundamentalism throughout the world; and the future of Iraq.” Roshanravani said “the idea for an attack in Argentina” had been discussed “during the dialogue on the second point”.

The NCRI/MEK was claiming that the Rafsanjani government had decided on a terrorist bombing of a Jewish community centre in Argentina as part of a policy of “exporting fundamentalism throughout the world”.

But that MEK propaganda line about the Iranian regime was contradicted by the U.S. intelligence assessment at the time. In its National Intelligence Estimate 34-91 on Iranian foreign policy, completed on Oct. 17, 1991, U.S. intelligence concluded that Rafsanjani had been “gradually turning away from the revolutionary excesses of the past decade… toward more conventional behavior” since taking over as president in 1989.

Ali Reza Ahmadi and Hamid Reza Eshagi, identified as “defectors” who were affiliated with NCRI, offered further corroboration of the testimony by the leading NCRI officials. Ahmadi was said by Nisman to have worked as an Iranian foreign service officer from 1981 to 1985. Eshagi is not otherwise identified.

Nisman quotes Ahmadi and Eshagi, who made only joint statements, as saying, “It was during a meeting held at 4:30 pm in August 1993 that the Supreme National Security Council decided to carry out activities in Argentina.”

Nisman does not cite any non-MEK source as claiming such a meeting took place. He cites court testimony by Abolghassem Mesbahi, a “defector” who had not worked for the Iranian intelligence agency since 1985, according to his own account, but only to the effect that the Iranian government made the decision on AMIA sometime in 1993. Mesbahi offered no evidence to support the claim.

Nisman repeatedly cites the same four NCRI members to document the alleged participation of each of the seven senior Iranians for whom he requested arrest warrants. A review of the entire document shows that Kouchaksaraee is cited by Nisman 29 times, Roshanravani 16 times and Ahmadi and Eshagi 16 times, always together making the same statement for a total of 61 references to their testimony.

Nisman cited no evidence or reason to believe that any of the MEK members were in a position to have known about such a high-level Iranian meeting. Although MEK propaganda has long claimed access to secrets, their information has been at best from low-level functionaries in the regime.

In using the testimony of the most violent opponents of the Iranian regime to accuse the most senior Iranian officials of having decided on the AMIA terrorist bombing, Nisman sought to deny the obvious political aim of all MEK information output of building support in the United States and Europe for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.

“The fact that the individuals are opponents of the Iranian regime does not detract in the least from the significance of their statements,” Nisman declared.

In an effort to lend the group’s testimony credibility, Nisman described their statements as being made “with honesty and rigor in a manner that respects nuances and details while still maintaining a sense of the larger picture”.

The MEK witnesses, Nisman wrote, could be trusted as “completely truthful”.

The record of MEK officials over the years, however, has been one of putting out one communiqué after another that contained information about alleged covert Iranian work on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, nearly all of which turned out to be false when they were investigated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The only significant exception to the MEK’s overall record of false information on the Iranian nuclear programme was its discovery of Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility and its Arak heavy water facility in August 2002.

But even in that case, the MEK official who announced the Natanz discovery, U.S. representative Alireza Jafarzadeh, incorrectly identified it as a “fuel fabrication facility” rather than as an enrichment facility. He also said it was near completion, although it was actually several months from having the equipment necessary to begin enrichment.

Contrary to the MEK claims that it got the information on Natanz from sources in the Iranian government, moreover, the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh reported, a “senior IAEA official” told him in 2004 that Israeli intelligence had passed their satellite intelligence on Natanz to the MEK.

An adviser to Reza Pahlavi, the heir to the Shah, later told journalist Connie Bruck that the information about Natanz had come from “a friendly government”, which had provided it to both the Pahlavi organisation and the MEK.

Nisman has long been treated in pro-Israel, anti-Iran political circles as the authoritative source on the AMIA bombing case and the broader subject of Iran and terrorism. Last May, Nisman issued a new 500-page report accusing Iran of creating terrorist networks in the Western hemisphere that builds on his indictment of Iran for the 1994 bombing.

But Nisman’s readiness to base the crucial accusation against Iran in the AMIA case solely on MEK sources and his denial of their obvious unreliability highlights the fact that he has been playing a political role on behalf of certain powerful interests rather than uncovering the facts.

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Admits Former Guantanamo Detainee Innocent, Says Lawyer

teleSUR | January 23, 2015

Over a decade after being thrown in the military prison Guantanamo Bay, the United States has admitted Australian citizen David Hicks is innocent, his lawyer said Friday.

“I have no doubt, that whether or not the military commission clears David, he will certainly be cleared in the higher courts of the United States if we need to go there,” Hicks’ lawyer Stephen Kenny said, according to Australian broadcaster ABC.

Kennedy explained that the U.S. military commission is expected to deliver a verdict on whether Hicks’ conviction will be quashed within a month. According to Kennedy, U.S. courts have already deemed Hicks’ conviction invalid, and his innocence is no longer being disputed.

“(It’s) a fact we’ve known for some time, but it’s taken the court some time to come to that conclusion,” Kennedy said.

The lawyer also stated the Australian government should issue an apology, arguing the former government of John Howard was a staunch supporter of Guantanamo Bay while Hicks was held by the U.S. military.

“I’m sure David would appreciate an apology at the very least, and I’m sure he’d appreciate some compensation,” Kennedy said.

In 2001, Hicks was captured by the Northern Alliance militant coalition, which fought against the Taliban until late 2001. A Northern Alliance-aligned warlord sold Hicks to U.S. forces for US$5000, claiming the Australian had been fighting alongside Al Qaeda.

Hicks was held in Guantanamo Bay until 2007, when he pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism. The media dubbed Hicks the “Aussie Taliban.” However, his lawyer has argued Hicks made the plea under duress, after enduring years of torture and mistreatment at the hands of U.S. forces.

In a 2004 affidavit, Hicks alleged he was sexually abused, routinely deprived of sleep, beaten, kept in solitary confinement almost 24 hours a day and administered unidentified medication. He also stated he saw other detainees savaged by dogs.

Hicks later said he only pleaded guilty to escape the U.S. prison.

After pleading guilty, Hicks was transferred to Adelaide’s Yatala Prison to serve the rest of his seven year sentence.

After nine months, Australian authorities released Hicks under a control order, and he now lives in Sydney.

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Chutzpah Squared, Bibi and Boehner

By Jim Lobe | LobeLog | January 22, 2015

As Mitchell Plitnick pointed out on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11, although now it appears that Bibi would like to put off the occasion until March 3, when AIPAC will be holding its annual policy conference and unleashing its 12,000-plus attendees on Capitol Hill. The lobby group presumably aims to persuade its members of Congress to do everything they can to sabotage a possible nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran—as well as bolster Bibi’s chances of retaining the premiership in the March 17 elections in Israel. Much has happened that is relevant to the visit in the last 24 hours, and a brief round-up, which unfortunately is all that I have time for today, seems in order.

The invitation was clearly arranged without any notification of or coordination with the White House, which, as Mitchell reported, noted that its handling appeared to be “a departure from protocol.” It also appears now that Boehner didn’t even consult Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who, in addition to complaining about the negative impact Netanyahu’s appearance might have on the negotiations, explained on Thursday that the common practice is for the two leaders from each party to agree before issuing an invitation to a foreign leader:

…[I]t’s out of the ordinary that the Speaker would decide that he would be inviting people to a Joint Session without any bipartisan consultation. And of course, we always—our friendship with Israel is a very strong one. Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to the Joint Session two times already. And there are concerns about the fact that this—as I understand it from this morning—that this presentation will take place within two weeks of the election in Israel. I don’t think that’s appropriate for any country—that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election in his own country.

Meanwhile, the White House announced that Obama won’t meet Netanyahu for the same reason: “As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told reporters in an emailed statement. Kerry won’t meet with Bibi either, according to the State Department.

Meanwhile, Obama’s position that Congress should give diplomacy a chance by not enacting new sanctions legislation got a key endorsement from the presumed front-runner in the 2016 Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton. Speaking at a conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she said:

If we’re the reason—through our Congress—that in effect gives Iran and others the excuse not to continue the negotiations, that would be, in my view, a very serious strategic error… Why do we want to be the catalyst for the collapse of negotiations until we really know whether there’s something we can get out of them that will make the world safer [and] avoid an arms race in the Middle East?… [R]ight now, the status quo that we’re in is in my view in our interests and therefore I don’t want to do anything that disrupts the status quo until we have a better idea as to whether there’s something we can get out of it.

Clinton’s position, of course, should be quite helpful in keeping wavering Democrats in line. And, in the wake of Obama’s veto threat and Boehner’s invitation to Bibi, it seems that even some of the Democratic co-sponsors of the original Kirk-Menendez bill are moving in the White House’s direction. “I’m considering very seriously the very cogent points that he’s made in favor of delaying any congressional action,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal told Politico. “I’m talking to colleagues on both sides of the aisle. And I think they are thinking, and rethinking, their positions in light of the points that the president and his team are making to us.”

The fact that he would mention that some Republicans may also be “rethinking” their positions, while not provable yet, is significant, particularly in light of today’s Washington Post op-ed, “Give Diplomacy a Chance,” by the foreign ministers of France, Britain, and Germany and the high representative of the European Union (EU) for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, with whom Kerry met on Wednesday. The four of them could not have been clearer:

Maintaining pressure on Iran through our existing sanctions is essential. But introducing new hurdles at this critical stage of the negotiations, including through additional nuclear-related sanctions legislation on Iran, would jeopardize our efforts at a critical juncture. While many Iranians know how much they stand to gain by overcoming isolation and engaging with the world, there are also those in Tehran who oppose any nuclear deal. We should not give them new arguments. New sanctions at this moment might also fracture the international coalition that has made sanctions so effective so far. Rather than strengthening our negotiating position, new sanctions legislation at this point would set us back.

It’s worth remembering that the writers of that statement include the foreign ministers of Washington’s three closest European and NATO allies—the countries (at least Britain and France) that Americans normally think of when a politician, including the Republican variety, talks about building closer ties with “our traditional allies.” Asked to choose between Israel and Washington’s western allies that, unlike Israel, have suffered real casualties alongside U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, some Republicans may not find it to so easy to follow AIPAC’s lead, despite rich campaign rewards dangled by the billionaire donors in the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), notably its chairman, Sheldon Adelson. So, when Boehner told Politico Thursday, “Let’s send a clear message to the White House — and the world — about our commitment to Israel and our allies,” he failed to clarify which “allies” he was referring to.

Of course, Europe is also Israel’s biggest trading partner by far, and European leaders and parliaments have been expressing increasing frustration over the past year with Netanyahu’s positions on Israel-Palestine as well as the general rightward drift of Israeli politics. In his last foreign venture, Netanyahu made himself thoroughly obnoxious in France. By being seen as actively trying to sabotage an agreement with Iran that, if it is indeed concluded, will gain the strong backing of the president of the United States and the leaders of Washington’s closest European allies, Netanyahu will isolate Israel even more from its western supporters.

That may be part of the reason why Israel’s national-security professionals have apparently been willing to go “rogue,” as Josh Rogin and Eli Lake called it in their big story Wednesday on Bloomberg about dissent in the Israeli intelligence community regarding the potentially disastrous impact of new sanctions legislation on the Iran negotiations. The intelligence community did this before when Netanyahu and Ehud Barak were repeatedly threatening to attack Iran earlier this decade.

Although Mossad’s director issued an extremely unusual statement on Thursday denying any opposition to new sanctions, the phrasing indicated a certain lack of conviction.

Meanwhile, it will be very interesting to find out who initiated the idea that Netanyahu should be invited to address Congress at such a critical moment and to do so without any consultation with the State Department, the White House, or the minority leader in Congress. It’s hard to believe that either Boehner or McConnell would have the temperament or imagination to act on their own. One wonders whether Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer or someone at the RJC or Bill Kristol thought it was a great idea. Or maybe it was Bibi himself. Certainly the Emergency Committee for Israel welcomes the visit and plans to hold a reception for Bibi when he gets to Washington. Still, it’s hard to figure out how Israel’s relations with the United States or Europe are going to be improved by this.

AN ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: I think mainstream Jewish organizations that place a high stock in maintaining their bipartisan identity — including the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, and even AIPAC — are going to have a difficult time dealing with this situation due to the fact that Boehner has acted in such a transparently partisan manner. It’s important to remember that both Kristol’s ECI and Adelson’s favorite Zionist group, the Zionist Organization of America, implicitly attacked AIPAC last February for essentially throwing in the towel on the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill precisely because the powerful lobby group had run into a solid wall of Democratic opposition and didn’t want to risk its bipartisan image. As Kristol said at the time, “[I]t would be terrible if history’s judgment on the pro-Israel community was that it made a fetish of bipartisanship — and got a nuclear Iran.” If Democrats line up strongly against Boehner’s and Bibi’s little coup, that same community is going to have to make some hard decisions.

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January 23, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment