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Can Jeremy Corbyn make a difference to Palestine?

Press TV

The pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel candidate Jeremy Corbyn has become the new leader of Britain’s second biggest political force, the Labour Party.

Corbyn has often demonstrated against Israel’s wars on the Palestinian people. And he’s called for an economic boycott against Tel Aviv. When it comes to Palestine, historically there has been little to choose between Labour and the Conservatives, with both following a pro-Israel line for decades or more.

But now that Corbyn is Labour leader, will there at last be clear blue water between the major parties on this issue? And what implications does this have for British foreign policy and the Palestinian cause?

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , , , , | 2 Comments

12 and 13 year-old minors face 4 years in prison for ripping up posters of Turkish president

RT October 30, 2015

Two Turkish boys, aged 12 and 13, could spend four years behind bars for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prosecutors accuse them of ripping up posters of the Turkish leader, while the boys’ lawyer says the charges themselves violate the law.

“There was no premeditation to insult the president. Also, they were unaware the face on the banners was the president himself,” Ismail Korkmaz, the teenagers’ lawyer, told RT.

The kids themselves say they just wanted to sell the paper.

“Tearing a banner is just a minor offence and should be subject to the law of misdemeanor, but even that law prohibits the punishment of children under 15 years old,” the lawyer said.

Korkmaz told RT the defense has a psychiatric report stating “these children have no ability of discernment, perception of legal meaning, consequences of the offence, or control of their behavior.”

Despite this, the prosecution went ahead with the indictment, which was accepted by the court, said the lawyer.

Turkey has witnessed a number of anti-government protests in recent days. Ankara’s decision to pull the plug on two television stations linked to President Erdogan’s political rivals triggered rallies in Istanbul.

The Turkish government’s crackdown on opposition media is gaining momentum on the eve of the general election slated for November 1.

On Thursday, two newspapers linked to the stations failed to appear on newsstands.

The internet activities of the opposition are suppressed with an iron fist and without a second thought. Re-tweeting of opposition statements or disputing the president in social networks could result in detention. In January, ex-Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac was arrested for posting a satirical poem that criticized Erdogan.

“Lately, the head of state has a more autocratic and totalitarian way of governing. He can’t handle any critics,” Ismail Korkmaz told RT.

Referring to the teenagers’ case, the lawyer said that after Erdogan was elected president, many people have been charged with insulting the national leader, and have been prosecuted and punished.

“Nowadays, the judiciary has a broad interpretation of this article. Even casual criticism within the framework of freedom of expression is being considered an insult, and become part of these trials,” Korkmaz said.

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Chicago Tribune Sues Mayor Emanuel for Refusing to Release Private Emails About Corrupt Red Light System

By Joshua Brown | PINAC | October 30, 2015

The Chicago Tribune is suing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not complying with public records requests after the mayor refused to release communications about city business conducted through private emails and text messages.

The lawsuit states that the mayor uses private phones and private emails to conduct city business as a way to avoid the public release of his city related correspondences and activity.

The Chicago Tribune seeks to receive emails and electronic communications pertaining to a controversial red light camera system in Chicago, a system mired in controversy and corruption.

The yellow lights were timed shorter with an intended outcome to catch more people running red lights, resulting in more traffic ticket money for the city, according to an investigative report by the Tribune last year.

More than $500 million was generated from the Chicago red light traffic system, the largest in the nation, according to the lawsuit filed last month, which can be read here.

City officials boasted the red light system would make intersections and driving safer, but an uptick in injury-related crashes occurred as a result of the red light system because of the shorter duration of yellow lights.

Because of these crashes, 50 of the cameras were removed at 25 intersections within the city.

Redflex Traffic Systems was the vendor that created the system along with former Chicago city official John Bills. It was quickly discovered that Bills and Redflex CEO David Kidwell were involved in a $2 million bribery scheme to implement the red light system in Chicago.

Kidwell and Bills were both relieved of their duties.

It is common for officials to use personal email to skirt Freedom of Information Act requests.

Recently, Phyllis Wise who is the Chancellor of The University of Illinois used personal emails to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Chancellor has since resigned from the university. Additionally, it was brought to light that Hillary Clinton used private emails to conduct official government business too.

This is the second time the Chicago Tribune has sued Mayor Emanuel; in June 2015 suit was filed regarding the non-disclosure of emails of a multi-million-dollar no-bid Chicago Public Schools contract. That suit is pending.

According to Chicago Tribune Editor Gerould Kern:

“We are seeking the release of public records on matters of great interest to citizens, but the city refuses to divulge them. Regrettably, the city’s denial is part of a pattern of resistance to releasing public documents covered by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. We are compelled, therefore, to go to court for the second time in three months to force the city’s compliance.”

But Mayor Emanuel said he has done nothing wrong:

“We always comply and work through all of the Freedom of Information (requests) in the most responsive way possible. I have a practice that my political and personal stays on my private email, and city business is on the government, and that’s the way I operate.”

Written communications by government officials relating to city or government business are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, including electronic communications.

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

High Court lifts ban on protests at Israeli drone factory

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A UK arms factory was recently occupied by nine British activists in protest against the company’s alleged complicity in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge
RT | October 30, 2015

An injunction banning protests from taking place outside a drone factory in Staffordshire has been thrown out by Birmingham High Court. The factory has produced parts for drones used to attack Gaza in 2008, according to Amnesty International.

UAV Engines Limited in Shenstone, owned by an Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems, is one of the world’s leading drone producers. The company says it produces “engines for various size tactical armed unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs], target drones and single mission platforms.”

Angered by the factory’s unethical behavior, hundreds of protesters have staged demonstrations outside its industrial unit, calling on the manufacturer to stop contributing to the death of Palestinians.

In June, campaigners shut down UAV and another Israeli arms factory in Kent as part of a protest marking the one-year anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Soon after, it became illegal for activists to protest within 250 meters of the Shenstone factory. The ban came in the form of a temporary injunction granted by the High Court.

However, Birmingham High Court scrapped the ban on Tuesday, ruling Elbit had failed to disclose information on the history of protests which have taken place at the factory since 2009.

Judge Purle at the High Court said the injunction is dismissed “as if it never existed.”

“I think it inconceivable you would have got the same injunction, possibly even any injunction, if you had disclosed relevant information to me,” she told the court. “Accordingly the injunction I granted on 30 June is dismissed ab initio [from the beginning] and it is as if the injunction never existed.”

‘It shouldn’t have been introduced’

A spokesperson for campaign group Block the Factory said the injunction should not have been imposed in the first place.

“This injunction should never have been imposed.It seems to have been designed to deter protest and campaigning around ending the UK’s deadly arms trade with Israel,” they told IBT.

“It’s Elbit Systems and its arms factories that should be facing a ban, not our protests. Today’s decision will bring even more energy to our campaigning in solidarity with ongoing Palestinian resistance and for a two-way arms embargo on Israel.”

War on Want, a charity fighting against the root causes of poverty and human rights violations, said it is pleased the ban has been lifted.

“It would have been a travesty for people to be criminalized for protesting against the sale of arms that are killing Palestinians. It just goes to show the depths UAV Engines will stoop to in order to protect the profits they make from the sale of deadly drones,” campaigner Ryvka Barnard said.

“We welcome the news that the judge has binned this draconian injunction and we will keep up the fight for an immediate two-way arms embargo between the UK and Israel,” he added.

In July, hundreds of activists protested outside the factory, which led to 19 people being arrested by Staffordshire police.

Photo © londonpalestineaction.tumblr.com / Tumblr

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NY protest slams mayor over pro-Israel policy, police brutality

Press TV – October 30, 2015

American activists and protesters have staged a rally in New York City to condemn the stance of Mayor Bill de Blasio on Israel and police brutality in the US.

Pro-Palestine activists from the movement known as the ‘Black Lives Matter,’ likened US police forces in New York to Israeli soldiers in their violence and brutality against Palestinians.

They called for justice for Palestinians facing Israel’s aggression in the occupied territories.

The protesters rallied in front of the Sheraton Hotel in New York’s Times Square, where the city’s mayor was holding a re-election campaign.

At one point, about a dozen activists pushed their way into the lobby of the hotel before being repelled by security, local media reports noted.

The protesters were also angry over police brutality and their treatment of people of color.

Authorities in New York are under fire for the deaths of a number of unarmed citizens at the hands of US law enforcement officers. Most victims are usually African Americans.

Earlier in the day, the New York mayor dismissed the protesters as uninformed.

Blasio launched his re-election campaign toward the 2017 race on Thursday night, reportedly banking a million dollars during the hotel fundraiser, as other reports said the public opinion was evenly split on his job performance.

The event cost as much as some 5,000 dollars for each person in attendance.

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Redefines Terrorism

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By Stephen Lendman | October 25, 2015

Rogue states make their own rules, mindless of inviolable international laws, norms and standards. On October 19, Israel’s repressive counter-terrorism bill passed its 2nd and 3rd readings – criminalizing legitimate resistance as terrorism, expanding regime authority to counter it extrajudicially.

Any activity can now be called terrorism or terrorist-related, innocent Palestinians subject to possible longterm imprisonment. Charity officials providing aid to anyone linked to or associated with Hamas or legitimate resistance groups can be arrested, charged and prosecuted.

Children wearing clothing bearing the Hamas name face arrest, detention, and grueling interrogations amounting to torture. The law authorizes Big Brother surveillance, more intrusive than already, replicating how the NSA operates, monitoring all phone and online communications.

Israeli Law Professor Yael Berda called the measure “scary and undemocratic…criminalizing an entire population for identifying with an organization that Israel considers terrorist (true or false)” – first introduced in 2011, redrafted several times, never brought to 2nd and 3rd readings until now, required for passage.

It expands the definition of terrorism to virtually anything considered a (real or invented) threat to public safety, well-being, property, infrastructure, the economy, religious sites or the environment.

It makes no distinction between alleged attacks against civilians, soldiers or police. Vandalism against (Israeli) religious sites is now terrorism.

Terrorist organizations are any authorities say so for any reason or none at all. Members or supporters face harsh punishment.

Any alleged terrorist crime incurs “double the penalty set for the same crimes, but no more than 30 years” imprisonment. Administrative detentions (without charges levied or trials) can be ordered more easily than before, subjecting victims to indefinite imprisonment.

Punishment for allegedly intending to conduct a terrorist act is equivalent to committing it. Noted Israeli lawyer, human rights champion Leah Tsemel calls the new law “not…about terrorism. It…remove(s) restrictions from everything to do with opposition to occupation,” criminalizing legitimate resistance.

“When it comes to the occupation, there is no rule of law,” she explained. Israel always operated extrajudicially – now with more police state authority than before.

A passage in the 100-page measure reads as follows:

“The law substantially strengthens and widens the powers of the police and the General Security Services (Shabak or Shin Bet) to suppress any legitimate protest activities against Israeli policies.”

“It also enables the use of ‘secret evidence’ in order to take preventative measures against these activities, which impedes the possibility of objecting to these repressive decisions based on their merits before the judiciary.”

According to Yael Berda, “(y)ou don’t have to do anything to be considered a terrorist. You can publish an article or make a comment in cyberspace, and you will be criminalized.”

“If you are located in the physical environment of terrorist activities, you are guilty.” The measure applies specifically for Palestinians and Arab Israeli citizens – Jews as well for opposing regime authority.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) denounced the new measure, saying “in its current form, (it) seeks to perpetuate and normalise problematic arrangements that are currently set out in emergency legislation and regulations from the time of the British mandate.”

“(D)efinitions included in the bill are very broad and could apply to people and organizations who are not engaged in terrorism. Such broad definitions give excessive discretion to law enforcement authorities to determine ‘who is a terrorist,’ with potentially serious implications.”

“For example, the definition of ‘terrorist act’ may apply to protests, including ‘disturbances.’ The definition of ‘member of a terrorist organization’ includes people who did not take any active part in the organization. The broad definitions contained in the bill and the draconian powers that it gives to authorities could potentially lead to serious human rights violations.”

The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel condemned the measure, saying it “substantially strengthens and widens the powers of the police and the Shabak to suppress any legitimate protest activities against Israeli policies.”

It’s specifically designed to criminalize legitimate resistance – “to further suppress the struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the pursuit of their political activities in support of Palestinians living under Occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

Humanitarian and cultural activities are vulnerable. So is independent journalism, legitimately criticizing repressive state policies. Its passage assures greater collective punishment – all the more urgency to resist this vile, freedom-destroying regime.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Police Drag Away Japanese Seniors Protesting US Military Base Relocation

Sputnik – 30.10.2015

1029311464Elderly protesters were dragged off by riot police on Thursday after staging a sit-in and blocking a road in protest of the construction of a new US military base in Okinawa.

Hundreds of people participated in the demonstration, sitting or lying on the ground in the road to Camp Schwab in an effort to prevent vehicles transporting building materials from accessing the site.

“Don’t lend a hand in the construction of the military base!” the crowd chanted as they were dragged away.

For two decades the military has been wanting to move the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Okinawa base further north in Okinawa.

The plan to relocate the installation has drawn protests by tens of thousands of residents who worry about sexual assaults by US service members, violence, and the environmental impact on local ecosystems.

Over 50,000 US military personnel currently reside in Japan, and more than half of those live in Okinawa.

“Don’t the people of Okinawa have sovereignty?” 70-year-old Katsuhiro Yoshida, an Okinawa prefectural assembly member, told the Asahi Shimbun. “This reminds me of the scenes of rioting against the U.S. military before Okinawa was returned to Japan (in 1972). Now we are facing off against our own government. It is so contemptible.”

The current governor of Okinawa, Takeshi Onaga, was elected on the premise that he would not allow the base to be constructed. He made good on that pledge, until Japan’s land ministry announced this week that they were overriding his decision.

“The fact that they forcibly executed this construction, there is nothing but anger,” Takashi Kishimoto from the Okinawa Peace Movement Center told NBC News. “We are outraged at these political tactics which ignore will of the people.”

A poll conducted by the Okinawa Times found that 76% of residents are opposed to the construction of a new base.

Photo © Screen Shot

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

NATO’s Expensive Expansion

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By Brian CLOUGHLEY – Strategic Culture Foundation – 27.10.2015

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has many secrets, of which one of the most closely guarded is the final cost of its luxurious new headquarters complex in Brussels. As reported last year by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, the price had climbed to a billion Euros “against a background of Nato pledges to reduce its command structure, agencies and national HQs by 30 per cent in response to savage defence cuts in most of its 28 member states.”  According to NATO the final bill was supposed to be 750 million Euros for completion in 2015, but as had to be eventually admitted by NATO, “the project now has a clear way forward to completion in 2016” — with a 30 per cent increase in the price.

But that officially-stated price was not what it seemed, because, as revealed by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, “member states had already been sceptical when the consortium won the contract for €460 million [emphasis added] in 2010 . . .  [Nato Chief] Anders Fogh Rasmussen is aware of the problem but hasn’t seen fit yet to inform the public about it . . . At a meeting of NATO’s Deputies Committee on December 19 [2013], Rasmussen’s staff asked that the issue be dealt with ‘confidentially’.”

That shabby deceitfulness couldn’t prevent Spiegel from disclosing that the cost had risen to 1.3 billion Euros, “almost three times the €460 million contract awarded in 2010 to replace NATO’s Cold War-era headquarters with a soaring glass-and-steel structure to house some 4,000 staff.”  This vastly expensive palace has eight wings which converge “in a glass-covered central hall . . .  to ‘symbolise the allies coming together, while glass walls are supposed to represent Nato’s transparency’.”

The designer of this glass castle rhapsodised that “the wing-like profiles of the buildings reinforces [sic] the ideas of consensus, fluidity and aspirations towards peace . . .” But peace doesn’t seem to be what NATO is intent on achieving, any more than it seems to welcome transparency in glass walls or anything else, because a  leaked cable from Germany’s ambassador explained that a meeting of NATO representatives “pointed to the disastrous effect on the image of the alliance if construction were to stop and if NATO appeared to be incapable of punctually completing a construction project.”

How transparent. And how prophetic.

Although NATO’s deceit about its incompetence in building its new headquarters is veiled in secrecy, its ambition to expand in territory and military muscle-flexing is open for all to see, and has been for twenty years.

After the Warsaw Pact disbanded in March 1991, NATO, although deprived of any reason to continue in existence, managed to keep going, and in 1999 added Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to its 16 members. As the BBC noted, these countries became “the first former Soviet bloc states to join Nato, taking the alliance’s borders some 400 miles towards Russia.”

With good reason Moscow wondered what on earth the US-NATO military alliance might be planning.

The New York Times recorded that the 1999 expansion was “opening a new path for the military alliance” and expressed delight that the ceremony took place in the town of Independence, Missouri, where “the emotional Secretary of State Madeleine K Albright watched the three foreign ministers sign the documents of accession, signed them herself, then held them aloft like victory trophies.” Ms Albright was born Marie Korbelová in Prague and “made no secret today of her joy as her homeland and the two other nations joined the alliance.”

It was the emotional Madeleine Albright who appeared on the US television programme Sixty Minutes on May 12, 1996 and was asked to comment on Washington’s economic sanctions that were savaging Iraq.  The interviewer, Lesley Stahl, said that as a result of the punishment “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima.  [90,000 people were killed at Hiroshima. Probably about 20,000 were children.] And, you know, is the price worth it?”

Albright replied that “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.” (The YouTube recording is nauseating.) Then she was given the US Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2012. You couldn’t make it up.

In spite of facing no threat whatever from any country in the world, NATO continued to expand around Russia’s borders, inviting Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to join in 2002, which they did two years later.

As President Putin observed in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera “we are not expanding anywhere; it is NATO infrastructure, including military infrastructure, that is moving towards our borders. Is this a manifestation of our aggression?”

Then NATO took wider and more aggressive action in August 2003 when it took “control of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, its first major operation outside Europe.”  Predictably, the war in Afghanistan plunged from crisis to calamity after US-NATO countries agreed in 2005 “to expand the alliance’s role,” including “deployment of thousands more troops in the south.” The result was disaster.

Last December NATO (but not the US) ceased offensive operations in Afghanistan, having sacrificed the lives of over 3,500 soldiers of whom some 2,300 were American.  One might imagine that this humiliating defeat might have resulted in a pause for reflection about NATO’s role, purpose and effectiveness, but its new Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, is proving as energetically expansive as his predecessor, which is why he was chosen for the job. NATO’s appalling blitz of Libya in 2011, which reduced the country to its present catastrophic chaos, has failed to modify his intriguing belief that “from Afghanistan to Morocco, and many places in between, NATO is helping other countries to defend themselves.”  He may have forgotten that Libya is one of the “places in between.”

On 23 October Stoltenberg expressed delight about Obama’s change of policy about keeping troops in Afghanistan,  expressing “appreciation for President Barack Obama’s announcement that the United States will maintain its current troop levels in Afghanistan through 2016, and will retain a substantial presence beyond 2016.  This important decision paves the way for a sustained presence by NATO Allies and partners in Afghanistan.”

If Stoltenberg had said that he welcomed Obama’s decision because it would result in a better life for the citizens of Afghanistan (which, alas, it will not), then his stance could be understood and applauded. But Stoltenberg welcomed the decision only because it would enable NATO to carry on its expensive expansion. That’s the way that military-associated  bureaucrats think about the world. They’ve never risked their lives for any cause — any more than did the evil child-killer Albright — but they’re really happy to engage in exciting martial adventures in which the lives of thousands of soldiers can be placed at risk.

Jens Stoltenberg is the embodiment, the essence —  the ultimate epitome — of the sleek, well-manicured, desk-bound, happy non-combat warrior. His peaceful and lucrative career in politics was marked by early anti-Americanism, during the Vietnam War, but over the years the chameleon changed from being an anti-American protester to eventually embracing his present anti-Russian complexion.  When he was made head of NATO, President Putin considered him to be a “serious, responsible person”  but warned with prescience that “we’ll see how our relations develop with him in his new position.” Both responsibility and relations collapsed.

A few days before his declaration of happiness about NATO’s “sustained presence” in Afghanistan Stoltenberg boasted that “we have doubled the size of the NATO Response Force, making it more ready and more capable, and established a high readiness Joint Task Force, able to move within a matter of days. We have increased our presence in the east, with more planes in the air, more ships at sea and more boots on the ground. We have established six new headquarters in our eastern Allies, with two more on the way.” He told NATO  countries that “the time has come to invest more in defence.”

NATO’s threat to Russia is direct and aggressively confrontational.  And it’s going to cost member nations a great deal of money. But Mr Stoltenberg is no stranger to expense.  As NATO announced : “While Mr Stoltenberg was Prime Minister, Norway’s defence spending increased steadily with the result that Norway is today one of the Allies with the highest per capita defence expenditure.”

Now he has committed Europe’s financially struggling NATO nations, including almost-bankrupt Greece and Spain, to “continue to fund the Afghan national army and security forces” which cost about 12 billion dollars a year.

The huge cost of NATO’s recent and current military manoeuvres in nations circling Russia has not been revealed, presumably because it is as secret as the escalating price of the new NATO headquarters.

Unfortunately it is improbable that Mr Stoltenberg will try to encourage economic prudence or support any attempts to reduce tension with Russia. The Obama-Stoltenberg NATO military alliance has won the battle to expand its presence and its budget. The sword-brandishing will continue — and the cost of the glitzy glass palace will go through the roof.

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Iraq War Inquiry report to be published June or July 2016, Chilcot tells Cameron

RT | October 29, 2015

Sir John Chilcot has told Prime Minister David Cameron that the long-delayed, highly controversial report into the legality of the Iraq War will certainly be published in June or July 2016.

In an official letter to Cameron, Chilcot said the text of the report would be completed by April 18, 2016, at which point “national security” checking of the content will commence.

Chilcot said that given the sheer size of the document, which he says will run to more than 2 million words, the intervening time will be required check the text before printing and publication.

In his correspondence, Chilcot tells Cameron that the process of ‘national security’ is distinct from the process of declassification.

It concerns the preparation of material to avoid endangering Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – in effect, the right to life – and to ensure the nation’s security as a whole is not breached by anything made public.

Blair’s office released a statement claiming the former-Prime Minister had always been keen to see the report published as soon it “properly” could be.

The statement claimed that delays over the report had not been due to the nature of past correspondences between himself and former-President Bush or because he had contested findings.

“It is our understanding that other witnesses also received information very late in the process, so any suggestion that witnesses have been the cause of the delay is categorically incorrect and this has again been stated clearly and publicly by Sir John,” the statement reads.

In mid-October it was revealed that, contrary to his claims at the time, former-Prime Minister Tony Blair had committed the UK to joining the US invasion of Iraq a year before it began.

The memo was obtained by the Daily Mail as part of the batch of emails from the private server of former US State Secretary Hillary Clinton, which US courts have forced her to disclose.

Among the leaked papers is one written in March 2002 by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell to then-President George W. Bush, in which he said: “On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary … He is convinced on two points: the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success.”

At the time Blair was quoted by the British media as saying: “This is a matter for considering all the options.”

“We’re not proposing military action at this point in time.”

Following the release of the memo, Blair appeared to apologize for some parts of his involvement in the Iraq War and concede that the 2003 invasion and occupation led to the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Reg Keys, whose son Tom was killed in Iraq in 2003, dismissed former Blair’s apology aired on CNN as an attempt to shift the blame and spin the long-overdue Chilcot Inquiry report into the war.

He told the Telegraph he felt Blair’s apparent apology was a political move, and not a heartfelt one.

“I feel that he’s obviously pre-empting the Iraq inquiry’s findings. It’s finger-pointing. He’s blaming intelligence chiefs for giving him the wrong intelligence. He’s not [apologizing] for toppling Saddam.”

“What about [apologizing] for the unnecessary loss of life? The reason we went to war was weapons of mass destruction, not to topple Saddam,” Keys added.

“I feel revulsion. This man [Blair] certainly got it wrong.”

Despite widespread opposition to the Iraq War, Blair is not without his defenders.

Michael Gapes MP, one of most hard-core Blair loyalists in the Labour Party, questioned whether the report should be published at all, tweeting “the hysterical Blair haters have decided already” and that “most journalists and commentators have made up their minds already so won’t bother to read it in any case.”

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

US used Christian NGO to spy on North Korea

Press TV – October 29, 2015

The United States has used a Christian non-governmental organization (NGO) as a front for an espionage program to spy on North Korea, a new report reveals.

In 2004, the Pentagon launched a secret program to gather intelligence from inside the East Asian country that has long been a source of great concern to Washington, The Intercept reported.

“We had nothing inside North Korea,” one former military official familiar with US efforts in the country told the Intercept. “Zero.”

However, a Christian charity organization called the Humanitarian International Services Group, or HISG, was able to finally make way into North Korea through offering much-needed humanitarian aid to Pyongyang.

According to the NGO’s documents, HISG was established by three friends shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York. Under the leadership of Kay Hiramine, the organization set out to provide disaster relief and sustainable development in poor and war-torn countries around the world.

The espionage program was the brainchild of Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, a senior US Defense Department intelligence official during the George W. Bush administration.

Boykin who was an evangelical Christian, obsessed with finding new and unorthodox ways to penetrate North Korea.

He was assigned with the task of increasing the Pentagon’s ability to conduct intelligence operations independent from the CIA.

 
Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin

Boykin improvised a plan to use charities as a cover for espionage operations and this was how HISG was chosen to participate in the program.

In the period between 2004 and 2006, HISG helped coordinate a humanitarian shipment to North Korea.

The charity offered faith-based donations that the North Korean government would occasionally accept to help its population endure the country’s harsh winters.

However, the shipment included concealed compartments of bibles underneath the clothing. The idea was that if the bibles were not discovered, the Pentagon could use the same smuggling method to get military sensors and equipment into the country.

Once they made sure that the bibles entered the country unnoticed, the Pentagon tasked HISG with gathering the intelligence it needed inside North Korea.

 
HISG CEO Kay Hiramine (L) stands next to former US president George W. Bush

Hiramine’s NGO used unsuspecting Christian missionaries, aid workers, and Chinese smugglers to move equipment into and around North Korea without any of them knowing that they were part of a secret Pentagon operation.

The Pentagon planted “spoofers” and similar devices in the country to disrupt North Korean military devices and radio signals. The report also noted that “[equipment] to measure nuclear anomalies” were scattered throughout the country.

The US even planted shortwave radios that could help a downed pilot to escape in the event of a future conflict with North Korea.

Citing a former US military official and documents reviewed in relation to the case, the report noted that before being dismantled in 2013, Hiramine’s organization had received millions in funding from the Pentagon through a complex web of organizations designed to mask the origin of the cash.

In 2007, President Bush awarded Hiramine with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment