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Ulterior motives behind sanctions on Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei

Press TV | July 4, 2015

27a884e8-a17a-436f-8837-7288060e4984Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the sanctions against Iran have nothing to do with the country’s nuclear activities or human rights record, adding that there are other motives behind the bans.

Addressing a group of university professors and researchers on Saturday night, Ayatollah Khamenei said those who have imposed sanctions on Iran are themselves the ones who foster terrorism and commit human rights violations.

The Leader said the sanctions against Iran have been imposed because the Islamic Republic has emerged as a nation, a movement and an identity guided by principles against the hegemonic system.

“Their objective is to prevent Iran from reaching a prominent civilizational status,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader also highlighted the special role of professors in educating a generation of self-reliable, confident and diligent youths who will further move Iran toward progress.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Greece’s Downfall and Redemption

By Finian Cunningham – Sputnik – 29.06.2015

Decades of exorbitant military spending account for Greece’s present downfall under an Olympian-sized debt. European governments and news media portray the problem of Greece’s financial woes as public spending profligacy.

The truth is that Greece’s debt mountain has been incurred from years of wasteful military splurging. That is the tragic downfall of the country, which European creditor governments and the mainstream news media tellingly ignore.

But in this understanding of Greece’s modern tragedy, there is hope for democratic renewal and redemption. Because that realisation permits a radically different option to restore Greece’s economy in a way that is rational and achievable, without piling up more debt and misery for the population. Instead of more austerity imposed on workers and pensioners, the solution is for Greece to embark on a massive disarmament programme to overturn decades of reckless militarism.

Greece’s outstanding total debt is around $320 billion – or 175 per cent of its national economic output (GDP). Its creditors – the Troika of European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – are insisting that the Athens government must oversee more public cuts.

The reality is that austerity is only driving the Greek economy into further depression and debt.

That inevitably means more and more of the Greek people’s sovereign rights whittled away to the point of becoming a vassal state dictated to by foreign governments and finance capital.

As a foreboding sign of things to come, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ latest offer of raising corporation taxes in place of cutting pensions was slapped down last week by the Troika.

The imperious demand for more austerity has now forced the Greek government to put the choice to the public in the form of a proposed referendum on the EU’s bailout terms, to be held on July 5.

Greece’s debt crisis appears to be heading to an even sharper crisis point. But the Greek origin of that word “krisis” also has a positive connotation of decisive event. The Greek people should reject the never-ending debt addiction that the EU creditors and IMF have hooked the country on. For that way only foreshadows increasing austerity and anti-democratic dictate.

What the Greek people can turn to is a realistic and altogether more democratic and humane option – of demanding their country slash its monstrous military spending.

Even after five years of economic catastrophe, Greece’s annual military budget amounts to $4 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. That translates to 2.2 per cent of the nation’s GDP – a colossal drain on the economy.

To put Greece’s military spending into perspective, it is double the ratio that most other EU countries currently spend on defence. For example, Germany spends 1.2 per cent of GDP, Italy 1.1 per cent, Netherlands 1.2 per cent and Belgium 1.1 per cent.

If Greece were to cut its outsized military budget by half that would generate $2 billion in one year alone, which would pay off its immediate bill to the IMF and help the country reach a 1 per cent budget surplus that the Troika has set for 2015. In other words, that source of finance would obviate any further need for cutting pensions and workers’ salaries.

Why the Syriza government of Alexis Tsipras, which claims to be a radical socialist coalition, does not pursue this more imaginative and democratic alternative is a curious question. Last week, Tsipras offered to cut the military budget by $200 million – or a mere 5 per cent. But the offer was rebuffed by the IMF because it stated that its rules do not permit interference in a country’s defence policy. To which Tsipras and the Greek electorate should respond with their own rebuff of IMF absurdity – especially evident with the IMF’s throwing billions of dollars to the regime in Kiev which is waging war on the eastern Ukrainian population.

But that’s only a trifling start to addressing the Greek tragedy. The Greek people have legal and moral grounds to repudiate the entire debt mountain as illegitimate or, as economists would say, “odious debt”.

During the decade up to the onset of crisis in 2010, Greece was regularly spending 7 per cent of its GDP on military. Some estimate that during that decade the country spent a total of $150 billion on defence – or half of the current debt pile.

As Greek economist Angelos Philippides told the Guardian back in April 2012: “For a long time Greece spent 7 per cent of its GDP on defence when other European countries spent an average 2.2 per cent. If you were to add up that compound 5 per cent [difference]… there would be no debt at all.”

Moreover, Greece’s past military expenditure was mired in corruption.

In October 2013, ex-defence minster Akis Tsochatzopoulous of the previous PASOK government was jailed for 20 years in a bribery case involving $75 million in kickbacks.

And here is an ironic twist in this Greek tragedy. The biggest European weapons dealers to Greece are German and French companies. In the Tsochatzopoulous scandal, German company Ferrostaal paid a fine of $150 million for its part in using bribes to clinch the sale of four submarines.

It was an open secret that Greece’s military largesse was for years stinking with corruption. Yet the German and French authorities did nothing to derail this gravy train. The Berlin and Paris governments continued to ply Greece with loans because the country was using the money to buy massive amounts of weapons from their manufacturers.

Today, the single biggest institutional creditors to Greece are Germany and France. Those countries stand accused of criminal irresponsibility in racking up Greece’s debt precisely because so much of the money was being spent to prop up the German and French economies through lucrative arms sales.

It is a monumental irony that German leader Angela Merkel is most vehement in lecturing Greece about “living within its means”. Rather than directing corrective action at the source of the problem, it is Greek workers, pensioners, the young and infirm who are being made to pay for the largesse that they actually never saw.

If the Greek people repudiate the entirely artificial debt crisis, it would restore their country’s economy on a sound footing. Of course, the country’s bloated military will not be happy with that. The danger of a military coup is a real threat given the country’s history of fascist dictatorship during the US-backed “regime of the colonels” between 1967-1974. Perhaps this is what the Syriza government is afraid of.

And, to be sure, the Troika of EU leadership, ECB and IMF will be intensely displeased if the Greek people go for the radical alternative of rejecting debt and austerity. However, in the battle shaping up, the Greek people have natural justice on their side. They should and can reject debt slavery and dictate. By doing so, Greece may redeem the meaning of “Demos Kratia” – People Power. And what a beautiful denouement in the Greek tragedy that would be, not only for the people of Greece but right across all the debt-ridden Western countries.

Greece is hailed as the ancient birthplace of democracy. Two millennia on, it could also be the very place for its renaissance.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Austrian Institute Clarifies True Costs of the EU’s Anti-Russian Sanctions

Sputnik – 03.07.2015

The Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) published a monograph clarifying the projected short and long-term costs of anti-Russian sanctions to the EU 28 plus Switzerland. A summary of the report published Friday has confirmed that Europe as a whole expects €92.34 billion in long-term losses, along with over 2.2 million lost jobs.

While the report attempts to downplay somewhat the losses attributed to sanctions, noting that politicized export restrictions must be considered together with the ongoing Russian recession and other factors, the figures speak for themselves.

The report projects an “observed decline in exports and tourism expenditures of €34 billion value added in the short run, with employment effects on up to 0.9 million people.” Switching to a longer-term perspective, the report estimates “the economic effects increas[ing] to up to 2.2 million jobs (around 1 percent of total employment) and €92 billion (0.8 percent of total value added), respectively.”

Commenting on the geographical disbursement of the economic and jobs losses, WIFO’s report shows that “geographical closeness highly correlates with the relative size of the effects at the national level, with the Baltic countries, Finland and the Eastern European countries being hit above the EU average of 0.3 percent of GDP in the short and 0.8 percent in the long run.” The report also notes that Germany, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of all EU 27 exports to Russia, has been hit the hardest in absolute terms, and is projected to lose €23.38 billion in losses in the long term. Italy is second, with €10.93 billion in projected losses. France rounds out the top three with €7.92 billion in losses.

The study’s figures also show that Estonia is the single most heavily affected country in both the short and the long term, with the country suffering a €800 million (4.91 percent) and €2.1 billion (13.24 percent) decline, respectively. Estonia is followed by Lithuania (-6.37 percent long term), Cyprus (-3.25 percent), Latvia (-1.87 percent), and the Czech Republic (-1.53 percent).

In employment terms, Estonia, Lithuania and Cyprus are also the hardest hit in percentage terms, and are projected to suffer 16.3 percent, 10.84 percent and 4.21 percent losses, respectively. In absolute terms, Germany (losing 395,000 jobs) Poland (300,000), and Italy (200,000) have been the hardest hit; Spain, Lithuania and Estonia are projected to lose between 100,000 and 190,000 jobs.

As for the economic sectors most heavily impacted, the WIFO study found that agriculture and food products, metal products, machine-building, vehicles, and manufacturing-related services are hardest hit in the short term, with construction, business services, and wholesale and retail trade services also projected to suffer disproportionately in the long-term.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik about the report, WIFO economist Oliver Fritz noted that while EU politicians still hope that the sanctions will have some effect on Russian policy, pressure is building on them to change their policy, since the economic consequences are rapidly beginning to add up.

While the economist noted that he does not see the sanctions being lifted in the short term, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel successfully keeping other EU nations in line, Fritz noted that as losses mount, EU politicians may eventually decide to consider rethinking their decisions.

Last month, WIFO conducted research for Europe’s ‘Leading European Newspaper Alliance’, estimating up to €100 billion in losses if anti-Russian sanctions remain in place.

Since March 2014, the United States, European Union, and other Western countries have placed sanctions on Russia’s banking, defense and energy sectors over Moscow’s alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis. In August, Moscow imposed a year-long food embargo on the countries that had sanctioned it. Last month, the EU’s foreign ministers agreed to extend sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2016.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

9/11: THE SENSIBLE DOUBT

The official story about 9/11 is questioned by millions of people.
In this Danish documentary you will meet architect Jan Utzon, Danish Tax Minister Benny Engelbrecht, professor Niels Harrit, airline captain Niels Studstrup, journalist Tommy Hansen and artist Jacob Fuglsang.
They will talk about their doubt and skepticism and explain why they have come to feel and think this way.
http://www.facebook.com/911TheSensibl…
http://www.ae911truth.org/
http://firefightersfor911truth.org/
http://www.911truth.org/

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Fallacies in Modern Medicine: The HIV/AIDS Hypothesis

By Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

This commentary was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 20, Number 1, Pages 18-19, Spring 2015.

Modern medicine has spawned great things like antibiotics, open heart surgery, and corneal transplants. And then there is antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS.

A civic-minded, healthy person volunteers to donate blood but, tested for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), is found to be HIV-positive. This would-be donor will be put on a treatment regimen that follows the (285-page) Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents [1] and will be thrust into a medical world peppered with acronyms like CD4, ART, HIV RNA, HIV Ag/Ab, NRTI, NNRTI, PI, INSTI, PrEP, and P4P4P.

Adhering to these government-issued guidelines, a “health care provider” will start this healthy blood donor on antiretroviral therapy (ART). For the last two decades the standard for treating HIV infection is a three-drug protocol—“2 nukes and a third drug.” The “2 nukes” are nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) and DNA chain terminators, like AZT (azidothymidine – Retrovir, which is also a NRTI). The “third drug” is a non-NRTI (NNRTI), a protease inhibitor (PI) or an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI). [2]

These drugs are toxic. With prolonged use they can cause cardiovascular disease, liver damage, premature aging (due to damage of mitochondria), lactic acidosis, gallstones (especially with protease inhibitors), cognitive impairment, and cancer. The majority of people who take them experience unpleasant side effects, like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

AZT, the most powerful “nuke” in the ART arsenal actually killed some 150,000 “HIV-positive” people when it started being used in 1987 to the mid-1990s, after which, if the drug was used, dosage was lowered. [3] When an HIV-positive person on long-term ART gets cardiovascular disease or cancer, providers blame the virus for helping cause these diseases. Substantial evidence, however, supports the opposite conclusion: it is the antiretroviral treatment itself that causes cancer, liver damage, cardiovascular and other diseases in these patients. [3] They are iatrogenic diseases.

The orthodox view holds that HIV causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)—one or more of an assemblage of now 26 diseases. Reinforcing this alleged fact in the public’s mind, the human immunodeficiency virus is no longer just called HIV, it is now “HIV/AIDS.”

A new development in HIV care, called preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), promotes universal coverage with antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV infections, based on the tenet that prevention is the best “treatment.” Given their unpleasant side effects, however, many people stop taking their antiretroviral drugs. An answer for that in the HIV/AIDS-care world is addressed by its P4P4P acronym (pay for performance for patients). With P4P4P, now under study, patients are given financial incentives to encourage them to keep taking the drugs. [2]

Could the hypothesis that the multi-billion-dollar HIV/AIDS medical-pharmaceutical establishment bases its actions on be wrong? In 1987, Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, who isolated the first cancer gene, and in 1970 mapped the genetic structure of retroviruses, published a paper in Cancer Research questioning the role of retroviruses in disease and the HIV/AIDS hypothesis in particular [4]. Then, in 1988, he published one in Science titled “HIV is Not the Cause of AIDS.” [5] As a result, Dr. Duesberg became a pariah in the retroviral HIV/AIDS establishment, which branded him a “rebel” and a “maverick.” Colleague David Baltimore labeled him “irresponsible and pernicious,” and Robert Gallo declared his work to be “absolute and total nonsense.”

Skeptics of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis are chastised and subjected to ad hominem attacks. Anyone who questions this hypothesis is now branded an “AIDS denier,” which is analogous to being called a Holocaust denier. Nevertheless, non-orthodox scholars have been questioning the HIV/AIDS paradigm for thirty years; and now, in the 21st century, as Rebecca Culshaw puts it, “there is good evidence that the entire basis for this theory is wrong.” [6]

A key feature of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is that the virus is sexually transmitted. But only 1 in 1,000 acts of unprotected intercourse transmits HIV, and only 1 in 275 Americans is HIV-positive!  Drug-free prostitutes do not become HIV-positive, despite their occupation. [3,7]

HIV is said to cause immunodeficiency by killing T cell lymphocytes. But T cells grown in test tubes infected with HIV do not die. They thrive. And they produce large quantities of the virus that laboratories use to detect antibodies to HIV in a person’s blood. HIV infects less than 1 in every 500 T cells in the body and thus is hard to find. The HIV test detects antibodies to it, not the virus itself. For these and other reasons a growing body of evidence shows that the HIV theory of AIDS is untenable. [7]

A positive HIV test does not necessarily mean one is infected with this virus. Flu vaccines, hepatitis B vaccine, and tuberculosis are a few of the more than 70 things that can cause a false-positive HIV test. In healthy individuals, pregnancy and African ancestry conduce to testing HIV positive. In some people a positive test may simply indicate (without any virus) that one’s immune system has become damaged, from heavy recreational drug use, malnutrition, or some other reason. [8]

If HIV does not cause AIDS, then what does? The classic paper on AIDS causation, published in 2003 by Duesberg et al., implicates recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy, and malnutrition. [9]

If the theory is wrong, how can it persist? In a review of The Origin, Persistence, and Failings of the HIV/AIDS Theory by Henry Bauer, the late Joel Kaufman writes:

“One of the most difficult things to write is a refutation of a massive fraud, especially a health fraud, in the face of research cartels, media control, and knowledge monopolies by financial powerhouses… The obstacles to dumping the dogma are clearly highlighted as Dr. Bauer discusses the near impossibility of having so many organizations recant, partly because of the record number of lawsuits that would arise.” [10]

Henry Bauer, professor emeritus of chemistry and science studies and former dean of the Virginia Tech College of Arts and Sciences, also presents a concisely reasoned refutation of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis in a 28-page online study, “The Case Against HIV,” with 51 pages of references—now 896 of them, which he continually updates. [3]

In a review of Harvey Bialy’s book, Review of Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter Duesberg, my colleague Gerald Pollack, professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, writes:

“The book reminds us that although over $100 billion has been spent on AIDS research, not a single AIDS patient has been cured—a colossal failure with tragic consequences. It explains in too-clear terms the reasons why AIDS research focuses so single-mindedly on this lone hypothesis to the exclusion of all others: egos, prestige, and money. Mainstream virologists have assumed the power of the purse, and their self-interests (sometimes financial), propel them to suppress challenges. This is not an unusual story: challenges to mainstream views are consistently suppressed by mainstream scientists who have a stake in maintaining the status quo. It’s not just Semmelweis and Galileo, but is happening broadly in today’s scientific arena.” [11]

Adhering to the erroneous hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS, the U.S. government spends billions of dollars annually on HIV/AIDS programs and research—$29.7 Billion for fiscal year 2014. It is a waste of money. It fleeces taxpayers and enriches the HIV/AIDS medical establishment and the pharmaceutical companies that make antiretroviral drugs. The annual cost of HIV care averages $25,000-$30,000 per patient, of which 67-70 percent is spent on antiretroviral drugs. [2]

The tide is beginning to turn, as evidenced in the Sept 24, 2014, publication by Patricia Goodson of the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University. She notes that “the scientific establishment worldwide insistently refuses to re-examine the HIV-AIDS hypothesis,” even while it is becoming increasingly “more difficult to accept.” She writes:

“This paper represents a call to reflect upon our public health practice vis-à-vis HIV-AIDS… The debate between orthodox and unorthodox scientists comprises much more than an intellectual pursuit or a scientific skirmish: it is a matter of life-and-death. It is a matter of justice. Millions of lives, worldwide, have been and will be significantly affected by an HIV or AIDS diagnosis. If we – the public health work force – lose sight of the social justice implication and the magnitude of the effect, we lose ‘the very purpose of our mission.’” [12]

Despite its long-term, widespread acceptance, the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is proving to be a substantial fallacy of modern medicine.

REFERENCES

  1. These Guidelines are available at: http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/lvguidelines/adultandadolescentgl.pdf . Accessed Dec 15, 2014.
  2. “10 Changes in HIV Care That Are Revolutionizing the Field,” John Bartlett (December 2, 2013) Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814712 . Accessed Dec 15, 2014.
  3. The Case Against HIV, collated by Henry Bauer. Available at: http://thecaseagainsthiv.net/ . Accessed December 15, 2014
  4. Duesberg PH. Retroviruses as Carcinogens and Pathogens: Expectations and Reality. Cancer Research. 1987;47:1199-1220.
  5. Duesberg PH. HIV is Not the Cause of AIDS. 1988;241:514-517. Available at: http://www.duesberg.com/papers/ch2.html   Accessed Dec 15, 2014.
  6. Culshaw R. Science Sold Out: Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 2007.
  7. Bauer H. The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, Jefferson, NC: McFarland; 2007.
  8. Duesberg PH. Inventing the AIDS Virus, Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing; 1996.
  9. Duesberg PH, Koehnlein C, Rasnick D. The Chemical Basis of the Various AIDS Epidemics: Recreational Drugs, Anti-viral Chemotherapy, and Malnutrition. J Biosci 2003;28:384-412. Available at: http://www.duesberg.com/papers/chemical-bases.html. Accessed Dec 15, 2014.
  10. Kauffman JM. Review of The Origin, Persistence, and Failings of the HIV/AIDS Theory, by Henry H. Bauer, Jefferson, NC, McFarland, 2007. J Am Phys Surg. 2007;12:121-122.
  11. Pollack G. Statement on HIV/AIDS at: http://www.aras.ab.ca/aidsquotes.htm Accessed Dec 15, 2014.
  12. Goodson P. Questioning the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: 30 years of dissent. Frontiers in Public Health. 2014; 2[Article 154]: 1-11. Available at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpubh.2014.00154/full . Accessed Dec 15, 2014.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Israeli proposal to expel Palestinians from homeland permanently

eli-ben-dahan

Eli Ben-Dahan

MEMO | July 3, 2015

Israel’s deputy defence minister has proposed a law that, if passed, will see the expulsion of Palestinian resistance members and their families permanently from Palestine.

According to Hebrew media reports, Eli Ben-Dahan believes that expelling members of the resistance groups and their immediate family members and exiling them abroad permanently will contribute to “rooting out the phenomenon of emerging saboteurs unaffiliated with any terrorist organisation committing attacks against Israeli targets.” The politician confirmed that he has asked Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked to consider the proposal and get official approval for it to become law.

A policy of forced expulsion, if adopted by the Israeli authorities, would be a blatant violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits the expulsion of any citizen or group of people from their own territory, either within the same territory or abroad. In addition, Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, regarding the protection of civilians during a time of war, makes it a grave breach of the Convention to deport or transfer a protected person.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 4 Comments

Samantha Power Lies to Congress About Civilian Shelling in Ukraine, Commits Felony

Russia Insider | July 3, 2015
  • The US Ambassador to the UN, she claims she believes majority of civilian shelling casualties are victims of the separatists.
  • The penalty for lying to Congress is up to 8 years of imprisonment.

samantha-powerAmbassador Power’s testimony was the subject of a story we ran on Monday of this week, and a helpful reader got back to us and pointed out that we had missed the most important part of it.

Apparently, Ambassador Power lied to the committee she was testifying before, thereby committing a felony.

Congressman Rohrabacher, one of the loudest critics of Obama’s Russia policy, asked her if she thought it might be possible that the majority of the civilian casualties killed in Ukraine were victims of the Ukrainian army.

It was a “gotcha” question, because this is a universally acknowledged fact.

Here is what the ambassador answered:

“I think it is highly unlikely on the basis of reports we have received from the United Nations and the OSCE.”

See 1.50 in the video:

This statement is demonstrably not true.  Reports from the UN and the OSCE conclusively demonstrate what it obvious to everyone even halfway paying attention – that the victims are almost universally victims of Ukrainian army shelling.

It is starkly preposterous to suggest otherwise, because even a dimwit could grasp that the separatists are unlikely to bomb their own people.

It is simply not plausible that the ambassador believes this, and is not aware of the facts.

Ironically, Power is the author of a book which studies US foreign policy responses to genocide, so she has more than a passing interest in these issues. The book’s title is  A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,

She has made protection of human rights a hallmark of her career, yet she is one of the most energetic and committed boosters of the aggressive Ukrainian military campaigns in the East, which have featured the most barbaric human rights violations imaginable – shelling defenseless civilians –  children and elderly, with horrific, blood-curdling casualties, visible for all to see in gory detail on Youtube.

The shelling serves no military purpose and is done only to terrorize the local population in the hopes of triggering a Russian response.

Here is what the law says:

screenshot-www.answers.com_2015-07-02_20-40-15

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, War Crimes | , , , | 7 Comments

Kiev in violation of heavy weaponry clause in E. Ukraine – OSCE

RT | July 4, 2015

The OSCE has warned that a growing presence of heavy weaponry on the government controlled side of Donbass territory has put Ukrainian security forces in violation of the terms of the demarcation line, according to OSCE Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug.

“We can highlight that the security situation has gotten worse in the Donbass over the past few weeks,” Hug said at a briefing in Mariupol.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) stressed the growing presence of heavy weaponry, and the increased movement and use of military equipment along the demarcation line in the area controlled by Kiev forces.

“In the last few weeks, our observers as well as drones recorded the presence of heavy weapons in areas controlled by the government, which is a violation of the demarcation line terms regarding the withdrawal of heavy weaponry,” Hug said.

At the same time, he noted that there has been an uptick in military equipment around Komsomolskoe, which is controlled by the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk (DNR).

Hug added that one of the remaining challenges is the difficulty observers face when moving around Ukraine on their monitoring mission. “Our observers are still having trouble with freedom of movement, which makes it difficult to monitor certain areas, in particular the border between Ukraine and Russia.”

OSCE has also documented shelling of the buffer-zone areas in eastern Ukraine. The organization’s latest report, published on Friday, said artillery was coming from the west, which is government controlled territory.

“In the south-eastern part of the village [of Shyrokyne], the SMM saw a crater of 12m (over 39 feet) diameter and 4m (over 13 meters) deep, many 82mm mortar shells, the remnants of ammunition crates and numerous impacts of 152mm artillery strikes, which based on their location, the SMM assessed to have been fired from the west,” the report said.

The report added that “SMM did not observe any DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] presence in Shyrokino,” referring to the village that DPR demilitarized on July 1. OSCE observers visited the area to confirm that claim, which was part of the Minsk withdrawal terms.

The OSCE monitoring mission’s goal is to observe the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements reached by Kiev and pro-independence forces of Donbass in September 2014 and February 2015. The February ceasefire deal called for the creation of a buffer zone and the withdrawal of heavy artillery from the line of contact.

The Ukrainian conflict began last April, when Kiev deployed military and volunteer battalions to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine to crackdown on local militia, who refused to recognize the country’s coup-imposed authorities.

Over 6,400 people have been killed since the start of Kiev’s “anti-terror operation.” A total of 1.35 million Ukrainians are now designated as internally displaced persons, according to UN estimates.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Iran’s Nuclear Program, Ghosh’s “Gotcha” is Nothing But Smoke

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important affairs.” – Albert Einstein

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | July 3, 2015

Bobby Ghosh, former TIME contributor and currently managing editor at Quartz, decided on Tuesday to produce some absurd, mouth-breathing click-bait – the kind of deliberately sloppy disinformation that serves only to further chum the waters of public opinion with the false narratives and grotesque stereotypes that have long been the stock-in-trade of agenda-driven, attention-seeking commentators about Iran and its nuclear program.

Here’s the headline:

There’s a quick answer to this leading – and deceiving – question: No, no he did not.

There’s a longer answer, too, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Ghosh, in his desire to expose what he thinks is a “gotcha” moment from a recent Iranian media interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, eagerly and disingenuously conflates uranium enrichment with nuclear weapons development. In doing so, he reveals himself to be more interested in delivering page views to his website and dishing out conventional wisdom than in reporting truthfully and critically about an important international issue.

Ghosh notes that, during a interview with Iranian media about the pending nuclear deal with six world powers, Rouhani said that “if the other side breaches the deal, we will go back to the old path, stronger than what they can imagine.” Ghosh omitted Rouhani’s initial comment, “If we reach a deal, both sides should be committed to it.”

What gets Ghosh’s goat is Rouhani’s reference to “the old path,” that is, the allusion to Iran’s previous state of nuclear development, as opposed to its current restricted program under the interim deal and what results from a potential negotiated multilateral agreement.

Conceding that Iranian officials have long “sworn, over and over again, that [Iran] has never pursued nuclear weapons,” Ghosh then gets to the crux of his claim:

If we’re to believe the regime’s claim, then Rouhani’s threat makes no sense. The “old path” would simply be more “peaceful” nuclear research, allowing the sanctions to continue devastating the Iranian economy. That’s not so much a threat as a flagellant’s cry for help: “If you go back on your word, I’ll hurt myself.”

To jump to such a conclusion requires a remarkably mistaken understanding of both the history of Iran’s nuclear program and either the ignorance or dismissal of the massive concessions it has already made during ongoing international talks. Ghosh apparently suffers from both.

In an emblematically Ghoshian column on why the Iranian government is eviler than the Cuban government, Ghosh wrote on December 18, 2014, that Iran “was caught trying to build nuclear-weapons technology as recently as 2002, when its secret facilities at Arak and Nataz [sic] were discovered. Thereafter, under pressure from the US and the international community, the Tehran regime backed down from its policy of developing dual-use nuclear technology (for energy and weapons) and promised not to build bombs.”

There’s a lot wrong here, but I’ll try to be quick (not my strong suit).

The facilities at Arak and Natanz were never “secret” nor do they “build nuclear-weapons technology.” In 2002, they were both under construction and non-operational. Iran was, at that point, not obligated to declare their existence to the IAEA. Arak was designed as a power plant, Natanz is an enrichment site. Upon declaration, both have been subject to IAEA safeguards for over a decade. Iran’s interest in developing an uranium enrichment industry has been open knowledge (and publicly acknowledged) since shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

The Iranian government never “backed down” from a “policy of developing dual-use technology” and “promised not to build bombs” as Ghosh claims. Such a claim is bizarre. Beyond the fact that, as an original signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran has in effect “promised not to build [nuclear] bombs” since 1968 and Iranian officials have – since at least the early 1990s – constantly and consistently condemned and prohibited any domestic development of nuclear weapons (not only after 2002), it is literally impossible for any nation with an ongoing enrichment program to stop the acquisition of “dual-use” nuclear infrastructure since every single enrichment program on Earth is inherently dual-use: enriched uranium can be used for both energy or weaponry.

With this false narrative, Ghosh has, however, set up a convenient straw man with which to bandy about his erroneous assumptions of Iran’s nuclear past. This brings us back to his recent article.

In trying to hash out what Rouhani’s “old path” statement means, Ghosh establishes two options – the bluff or the blackmail – one of which, he claims, must be true. The bluff is that, in Ghosh’s words, “There’s no “old path,” and Tehran is simply trying to frighten the P5+1 into relenting on the remaining sticking points at the negotiating table in Vienna.”

The blackmail, on the other hand, is a damning admission by the Iranian leader of a clandestine nuclear weapons program Iran has long denied having. “The alternative,” Ghosh writes, “is that Rouhani has unwittingly revealed that Iran was indeed pursuing nukes. That would be a real threat, especially if he is also sincere in pursuing this path ‘stronger than what they can imagine.'”

But there is a third option, unacknowledged by Ghosh, which is the most obvious and most accurate: Rouhani is not talking about a nuclear weapons program to return to, but rather the reestablishment of full-scale uranium enrichment, which has been curtailed by Iran’s obligations under the terms of its diplomatic agreements since January 2014.

Ghosh doesn’t tell his readers that, in the same interview he cites as “fascinating” and “belligerent,” Rouhani said of his international interlocutors, “If they claim that they want to prevent the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, they should know that Iran has never sought to build nuclear weapons.” Obviously, such a statement – in the very same interview – severely undermines the credibility of Ghosh’s blackmail or blunder claim that Rouhani has either purposely or accidentally revealed something alarming about its nuclear work.

Under the terms of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action, agreed to by Iran and the six powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States – known as the P5+1, Iran has halted all enrichment above 5%, diluted or disposed of its entire stockpile of 19.75% low-enriched uranium (LEU), converted the vast majority of its remaining stockpile of LEU to a form incapable of being weaponized, suspended upgrades and construction on its safeguarded nuclear facilities at Natanz, Fordow, and Arak, and allowed unprecedented access to its program by IAEA inspectors.

At every single juncture, Iran has complied fully with the demands of the plan.

All Rouhani was saying, therefore, is that these commitments – which were negotiated and agreed to by Iran, not imposed forcibly by foreign countries – would no longer be binding and Iran would resume its previous course of action, or “the old path.” This previous course of action, still, was anything but a mysterious, opaque, nefarious development of dubious and deadly technology. Rather, even before current talks began, Iran’s was the most heavily-scrutinized nuclear program on the planet and had been for years.

Rouhani’s statement, therefore, was actually a fairly innocuous clarification of the fact that, if the P5+1 reneges on its own negotiated commitments, Iran will no longer abide by the deal either. That’s hardly cause for Ghosh to collapse on his fainting couch.

What Ghosh also doesn’t point out is that there is clear historical precedent for Rouhani’s statement.

A dozen years ago, Iran’s then-nascent uranium enrichment program was the subject of intensive diplomacy between Iran and the EU-3, shorthand for Britain, France and Germany. It was on Rouhani’s watch – he was secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and lead negotiator at the talks – that Iran voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment in 2003 and accepted intrusive inspections above and beyond what was legally required by its safeguards agreement as talks progressed. During this period, the IAEA affirmed the peaceful nature of the program.

In mid-2004, with Iran fully complying with its obligations under Saadabad Agreement of October 2013, the negotiations were strained by the prospect of a new European-drafted IAEA resolution against Iran. President Mohammad Khatami told the press, in terms strikingly similar to Rouhani’s recent statement, that Iran’s voluntary suspension of enrichment would thus be endangered if the resolution passed.

“If the draft resolution proposed by the European countries is approved by the IAEA, Iran will reject it,” Khatami said on June 18, 2004. “If Europe has no commitment toward Iran, then Iran will not have a commitment toward Europe.”

A month later, Khatami insisted that “nothing stands in the way” of Iran “building and assembling centrifuges designed for uranium enrichment,” reported the Associated Press.

Throughout the first half of 2005, Iranian officials were still intent on resolving the nuclear impasse through diplomacy with Europe, but explained that the resumption of “full-scale enrichment” was the ultimate goal of the talks, along with assurances that the program would remain forever peaceful.

Following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2005, outgoing president Khatami made the Iranian position clear. “We will never overlook our legal and national right for possessing nuclear technology and fuel cycle to generate electricity. Iran will never change its national policy in this respect,” he said, adding, “We have made it clear that suspension of uranium enrichment will not be forever. We have displayed our good faith. Now, it is the turn of the European friends to do in line with the commitments they have made about the matter.”

Regardless of the offer soon to be put forward by the EU-3, Khatami reiterated that Iran would resume its conversion activities and eventually enrichment as well, in line with its inalienable rights to development domestic, civilian nuclear technology. “I hope that the Europeans’ proposals will, as agreed, allow for the resumption of [nuclear activities],” Khatami told reporters in late July 2005. “But if they do not agree, the system has already made its decision to resume [uranium conversion] at Isfahan.”

Uranium conversion restarted in early August 2005.

It was only after Iran’s European negotiating partners, at the behest of the Americans, reneged on their promise to offer substantive commitments and respect Iran’s inalienable right to a domestic nuclear infrastructure that talks dissolved and Iran resumed enrichment. The proposal eventually brought to Iran by Western negotiators on August 5, 2005 has been described as “vague on incentives and heavy on demands,” and even dismissed by one EU diplomat as “a lot of gift wrapping around an empty box.”

The resumption of full-scale enrichment by Iran had nothing to do with nuclear weapons, as the IAEA has affirmed consistently in quarterly reports over the past decade that no fissile material has ever been diverted to military purposes. Lingering questions about Iran’s past work have long been debunked as unfounded allegations for which no credible evidence actually exists.

Rouhani’s statement about “the old path” – that is, the legal and inalienable right of Iran to enrich uranium under international safeguards and supervision – therefore reveals nothing not previously known.

On the other hand, Ghosh’s reaction to Rouhani’s statement reveals the extent to which Ghosh himself will go to demonize and propagandize about Iran and its nuclear program. If he can’t get the small stuff like this right, why are we listening to him about anything at all?

*****

Disclosure: I am an (often erstwhile) editor for the online magazine Muftah, which has recently announced a new partnership with Quartz, where Mr. Ghosh is managing editor.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment