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Gearoid O Colmain talks with Dr Zeinab Assaffar of Al-Mayadeen [Lebanon] TV

December 27, 2015

English language interview begins at 3:40

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

MK Zoabi: Israelis are the real terrorists

Palestine Information Center – December 29, 2015

NAZARETH – The real terrorism is the one perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army and propped up by Israeli political institutions, Arab MK Hanin Zoabi said Monday.

1279303141In a speech at a no-confidence motion in parliament against the Israeli government on Monday, MK Zoabi wondered: “Has any [Israeli] dared to accuse the criminals who burned [18-month-old] Ali to death and killed [his parents] Saad and Riham? Who has ever described them as psychopaths or terrorists?”

“Who has been killing and legitimizing the murder of Palestinian children? Aren’t they the ones who gave instructions for the execution of some 500 children in Gaza and the murder of 1,700 Palestinians in the latest Israeli offensive on Gaza?” Zoabi added.

“Who is the real terrorist? Who is more bloodthirsty? Who does rejoice at butchery?,” she said.

“Not only do Israelis kill and feign tears, shed blood and dance; they also kill and look for pretexts,” Zoabi further stated.

“The real terrorist is the Israeli army and the real terrorism is the one perpetrated by the Israeli occupation,” the MK concluded.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments

7-year-old girl chased by notorious Israeli settler in Hebron

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Ma’an – December 29, 2015

HEBRON – A Palestinian father living in Hebron’s Old City told Ma’an that his 7-year-old daughter was injured while being chased by notorious Israeli extremist Baruch Marzel on Monday.

Raed Abu Irmeileh said that he had to take his daughter, Dana, to the Hebron Governmental Hospital “after she had fallen to the ground while being chased by Baruch Marzel near the Ibrahimi mosque.”

Irmeileh told Ma’an that Israeli forces present in the area did not stop Marzel from chasing his children, and assaulted his 10-year-old son Hutasem as well as two brothers Nabil, 14, and Farhat Nader al-Rajabi, 10.

An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the incidents.

Irmeileh is one of thousands of Palestinians living in the Israeli-controlled center of Hebron — the largest city in the occupied West Bank — among hundreds of Israeli settlers living illegally in the area.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem regularly documents Israeli settlers attacking locals under the protection of Israeli forces in Hebron.

Marzel is well-known among Palestinians living in Hebron who fear the right-winger, follower of radical rabbi Meir Kahana and member to the Kach movement — outlawed by Israel in 1994 under anti-terrorism laws.

Hebron’s Old City was declared a closed military zone in November, banning entrance to the area to all except registered Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers.

Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah following the ban called for the presence of Palestinian security forces in al-Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida areas of Hebron in order to provide “security and protection” for Palestinians against Israeli settler assaults.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkey Backs Anti-Russian Tatar Sabotage and Subversion

By Stephen Lendman | December 29, 2015

Turkish President Erdogan is up to his ears in high crimes, internally and abroad, his rap sheet matching some of the world’s worst.

Self-determination is a universal right. Crimea is legally part of Russia, its population overwhelmingly voting by national referendum in March 2014 (by a 96.77% majority with an 83.1% turnout) to correct a historic mistake.

There’s no going back or legitimate reason for any nation to reject reality. Washington and likeminded regimes remain hardline, including Turkey – Erdogan directly aiding the formation of a Crimean Tatar battalion, tasked with committing sabotage and other forms of subversion. More on this below.

Last August, Erdogan met with anti-Russian Tatar resistance leaders Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov in Ankara – promising no Turkish recognition of Crimea as a Russian province, pledging aid to its subversive resistance.

Recently, he met with Dzhemilev and Chubarov in Konya Turkey, both men organizers of the failed Crimean food and electricity blockade. Discussions about a strategic alliance with Ukraine and possible naval blockade of the peninsula were held – with Turkey’s involvement.

Lenur Islyamov represents the illegitimate, unregistered “Majlis (or council) of Crimean Tatars” organization. He explained Ankara is actively involved in forming a Tatar battalion on the pretext of “protecting the Crimean frontier” – code language for plotting sabotage and subversion, operating as an enemy of Russia with direct Erdogan aid.

According to Islyamov, “(w)hile the Ukrainian defense ministry only scratches its head, (its) Turkish” counterpart is offering direct support – likely including weapons, munitions, funding and training to commit lawless acts against the Russian Federation.

Islyamov told Ukrainian television viewers, “(w)e now have more than a hundred people who have already entered the battalion as volunteers, but we hope that after all the ministry of defense and the armed forces of Ukraine, will create and allow the Crimean Tatars to have their own national battalion within the armed forces.”

He aims to enlist hundreds of fighters, able to wage guerrilla war on the pretext of defending Crimea’s borders, risking direct confrontation with Moscow, apparently part of Erdogan’s dirty scheme complicit with Washington, following his downing a Russian Su-24 bomber, a willful act of war.

Islyamov promised further efforts to isolate Crimea and ways to “liberate Tatars” within a year – returning the peninsula to Ukraine – a strategy of madness, making no more sense than attempting to liberate my home state of Illinois from America.

His notion of instituting a naval blockade with Turkish help, including “small boats (able) to attack ships carry(ing) goods to Crimea” has no chance to succeed.

In late November, Tatar insurgents destroyed parts of the southern Ukraine Kherson region electricity grid, supplying energy to Crimea – preventing repair crews from restoring power, leaving 1.8 million people in the dark for days.

Russia intervened responsibly, supplying energy amounts needed – the first stage of a so-called energy bridge weeks ahead of schedule.

Most Crimeans are ethnic Russians, Tatars at most about 12% of the population, their people not in conflict with other ethnic groups, a small rogue band entirely responsible.

Erdogan risks greater confrontation with Russia than already – by partnering in sabotage and subversion, more proof of his rogue credentials.

Legitimate Majlis Tatar officials reject Dzhemilev, Chubarov, Islyamov and other hardliners, saying “cooperation with extremist groups condemned by the whole progressive world has deprived them of their right to represent Crimean Tatars.”

“From now on, all their statements at any forums should be qualified as personal opinions” – not representing the views of the vast majority of Crimean Tatars.

They denounced rogue elements using Tatar national symbols, saying they’re “not a bargaining chip for political crooks. No one gave them the right to unilaterally use our relics at their discretion.”

Erdogan continues overstepping recklessly, already deeply involved in supporting ISIS, challenging Russia’s patience, perhaps sowing seeds of internal rebellion.


Stephen Lendman 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.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Colborne – A Solidarity Campaigner Or A Traitor

By Gilad Atzmon | December 29, 2015

PSC Director Sarah Colborne went out of her way to kosherize the UK PSC (Palestinian Solidarity Campaign) but now no longer holds her position in what is left of the diluted solidarity institution. The rumour is that Colborne had to go because evidence of her collaboration with the police against leading Palestinian activists was too embarrassing.

Back on 17 October two men were arrested at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy in London after they refused to take down a Hezbollah flag they had hoisted on a pole.

Abbas Ali and Antonio Maniscalco, both prominent pro-Palestinian activists had been warned by the PSC that only Palestinian national flags would be welcome at the protest. Shortly after, Ali and Maniscalco were arrested by the police, their homes were raided, their PCs, laptops and memory cards were confiscated. They were questioned by counter-terrorism officers for 15 hours before being released with no charges.

Once free, Abbas Ali told 5Pillars “we were initially told to take down the flag by people on the podium and by someone at the demonstration (so) we moved across the road. We also told the police that we were in a public place so we saw no reason to take down the flag – we had as much right to protest as anyone else but the police kept hounding us.”

After the event Sarah Colborne admitted that the organisers of the event had made a clear request before the demonstration that only Palestinian flags should be raised. However, Colborne did not confirm or deny that any of the organisers had alerted the police of Mr Ali and Mr Maniscalco’s actions.

In her interview with 5pillars a few days after the arrest, Colborne produced the standard sound-bite outburst of diarrhea: “we welcome all who stand with us in our opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Supporters of Palestinian rights encompass all faiths and none. Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, religious and non-religious people all stand together on this protest… We stand with Palestinians in their struggle for a future free of racism, colonialism and apartheid. There is no place for racism in a progressive movement fighting for justice and human rights.”

No secret that PSC under the rule of the ‘progressive’  Sarah Colborne was mainly concerned with anti-Semitism, racism and other Jewish sensitivities. The question remains whether the PSC can resurrect itself, de-kosherize its act and support Palestine for real. I hope it can but I do not hold my breath.

 

Letter drafted by IHRC* to the PSC following the 17 October arrest

We the undersigned are deeply concerned about events at last Saturday’s demonstration called by yourselves (17 October 2015).

It is reported that two long-time activists were harassed by other protestors, and ultimately arrested after being told by the police that the organisers and others had complained to them about the flag they were carrying. This came after:

•       organisers had called from the stage for all flags other than Palestinian flags to be lowered;

•       various persons were sent on behalf of the organisers to ask the activists to remove the flag;

•       and some protestors it would seem, emboldened by the organisers’ call, harassed both activists in a manner bordering on violence (one protestor was seen shouting abuse and breaking the flagpole used by one of the men eventually arrested).

The flag in question was the Hizbullah flag. At the time of writing we know that both of the protestors have been bailed pending a decision by the CPS on whether to charge them with supporting a proscribed organisation and encouraging others to support a proscribed organisation. When arrested they were questioned upon arrest by SO15 (the Counter Terrorism Command).

It has also been reported that police were asked by PSC to ask one of the men to remove banners in support of Palestinian prisoners from a previous demonstration.

As you are aware the anti-terrorism laws and regime are not only unjust, they have been used to target Muslims, and demonise some liberation movements, including some associated with the Palestinian struggle. This vicious curtailment of civil liberties, the removal of Muslims from equality before the law and the demonisation of political causes that run counter to UK foreign policy, are all surely things that PSC should at the very least eschew and at most actively oppose.

If these arrests have come as a result of the organisers’ request to the police, it is a matter of great shame for PSC. Those involved in making those calls from the platform and contacting the police should resign their positions forthwith.

As a note, it is worth recognising that the two men arrested have spent every other week over the last three years holding vigils for Palestinan prisoners. The conditions of their bail – of extraordinary disproportionality – prevent them from contacting each other, forbid them from going to demonstrations and require them to sign at a police station three times a week. It is truly disgusting that such committed pro-Palestinian activists and their activities have been stopped in their tracks. Whilst there is no legal case to charge and convict them under anti-terorrism laws, the threat that hangs over them is a form of harassment that has already had the effect of closing down regular pro-Palestinian protests organised by one of these men. As you are doubtless aware one of these men was one of the pioneers of BDS some fifteen years ago, and has suffered many threats and abuse from pro-Israel groups and indviduals.

Both these men should have been supported in their work by the organisers, not targeted. This sorry state of affairs has come through some level of instigtaion by the organisers. At the very least PSC must campaign for these two men. Please advise as to how you will be proceeding.

With deep regret,

•       Massoud Shadjareh, Chair of Islamic Human Rights Commission

•       Les Levidow, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities

•       Francesca Viceconti, visual artist and member of Artisit Against Apartheid (USA)

•       Fateh Party UK

•       Brighton and Hove PSC

•       John Tymon, Football Against Apartheid (Coordinator)

•       Badee Dwaik, Human Rights Defenders – Palestine (Coordinator)

 

*IHRC- Isalmic Human Right Commission

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey blocks Carlos Latuff website: ‘This means I’m doing the right things’

RT | December 29, 2015

For over a decade Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff has championed what he calls “artistic activism” by animating world leaders and pressing global topics. No issue is considered too controversial by the artist, who has put his own spin on topics including the Gaza war, the rise of ISIS, Ebola, and the Scottish referendum. He’s also known for his bold cartoons depicting Turkey’s alleged links with ISIS.


PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 11: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (center R) talks to French President Francois Hollande (center L) during the Unity March 'Marche Republicaine' in Paris, France on January 11, 2014. (Photo by Hakan Goktepe/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (center R) talks to French President Francois Hollande (center L) during the Unity March ‘Marche Republicaine’ in Paris, France on January 11, 2014.

(Photo by Hakan Goktepe/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

A Decade of Questions Over a Paxil Study Vindicated

By Martha Rosenberg | CounterPunch | December 29, 2015

In the last few years, highly promoted drugs like Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), phenacetin, Raxar and Redux have been withdrawn for safety risks after millions used them. Sorry about that. Others like Avandia, Cylert, Ketek and Xarelto are under serious safety clouds.

But Big Pharma insists it is unaware of drugs’ true risks until a wide swath of the population uses them and “safety signals” emerge. Facts sometimes suggest otherwise.

In 1977, almost thirty years before Merck admitted its bone drug Fosamax caused jawbone death, its bone scientist observed the action in rats. (The “anti-fracture” drug also causes fractures.)

Years before the label of the antipsychotic Seroquel was changed in 2011 to warn the drug “should be avoided” in combination with at least 12 other medications because of heart risks, at least 99 articles in the U.S. National Library of Medicine linked the drug to “sudden death,”  “QT prolongation” (a heart disturbance that can lead to death), “cardiac arrest” and “death.” In many cases, the Pharma companies “discover” the problems after the drug patent has conveniently expired.

Then there’s Paxil. Paroxetine was a top selling SSRI antidepressant drug for GSK during the “happy pill” craze when Big Pharma was telling everyone they had “depression.” But in 2004, soon after its approval, the New York Attorney General charged that research about the drug published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (known as “Study 329”) buried the drug’s true risks of suicide in adolescents.

And there were more questions about the research. Former Boston Globe reporter Alison Bass and others reported that the paper was not even written by the 22 doctors and researchers listed as “authors” but by a medical communication company hired by GSK. (Ghostwriting helped make Vioxx, Neurontin, hormone replacement therapy and even the flame retardant chemical deca [Deca-BDE] appear safe, according to published reports.) “You did a superb job with this,” wrote the Paxil paper’s first “author” Martin Keller of Brown University to Sally Laden, a ghostwriter working for Scientific Therapeutics Information. “It is excellent. Enclosed are rather minor changes from me.”

In 2006, “author” Martin Keller, former Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Brown, acknowledged that GSK had given him tens of thousands of dollars during and after the time the study was conducted.

There were also questions about where the research appeared. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is a publication of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry which lists the funders of its “treatment guidelines” for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder as Abbott, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Forest, Janssen, Novartis and Pfizer.

Almost fifteen years after the questionable research was published, the furor had not died down. In 2014, two members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Edmund Levin and George Stewart, asked the editor of the Academy’s journal why the discredited paper was still standing and had not been retracted. (A quick look at other scientific papers identified in the press as ghostwritten shows that few are retracted and most are standing, to deceive future generations.)

Then, in September 2015, when many reporters, psychiatrists, researchers and professors had given up the Paxil fight, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a reanalysis that amounted to a reversal of the original study. The new research demonstrated that Paxil indeed increases risks of suicide in young people and adolescents.

The reanalysis of Paxil’s suicide risks in the young is a victory for safety activists, medical reporters, the public and freedom of the press. But many pro-pill doctors continue to fight evidence of Paxil’s suicide risks and similar SSRIs. “There is a very reasonable possibility that it has discouraged patients from taking antidepressants and physicians from prescribing these medications [and] the government should rescind the black-box warning on antidepressants altogether,” Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical wrote in the New York Times a month before the Paxil reanalysis.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Government Forcibly Sterilized Latina Women Without Their Consent

Counter Current | December 28, 2015

Disturbing revelations about a U.S. government program to forcibly sterilize Latina women are now coming out, and the evidence is more damning that previously expected.

The documentary No Más Bebés has compiled a litany of evidence that sheds the light on one of California’s most disturbing secrets, which are reminiscent of Nazi eugenics programs: forced sterilization of Latina women.

For decades, California was one of several states that performed forced sterilization. For women, it meant having one’s “tubes tied” after giving birth – usually without their consent. It wasn’t just women, though. Men were also given vasectomies without their knowledge. Hardest hit: Spanish-speaking immigrants.

The eugenics program ran from 1909 to 1963. During that time, over 20,000 Californian Latina women were subject to forced sterilization to “control” the population of Latinos in the state.

By the 1970s, that same program had continued but was scaled back just slightly.

Before that gradual phasing out of the program, Latina women – particularly immigrants – in the 1960s had been forcibly sterilized at the Los Angeles County Hospital, without their consent.

The sterilization happened via government instruction to the hospital, after Latina women gave birth at the hospital.

Many women were told about the procedure, but only after it was performed on them.

As more and more women were told about what was done to them, word began to spread among the Latino community that the government was sterilizing them against their will.

To add insult to injury, many Caucasian Californians saw the government program as “legitimate population control.”

California’s government argued passionately that forced sterilization was “necessary” to keep “welfare” expenditures to a minimum.

But others knew very well that this was a further attempt to stem the growing Mexican American population in California.

The documentary No Más Bebés has now uncovered proof that the real intention was to rid society of “undesirables.”

Eventually a class action lawsuit was filed against the government for the forced sterilization program, in the case of (Madrigal v. Quilligan). Further implicated in the suit, was not just L.A. county doctors as well as the state governments, but also the U.S. federal government itself.

Perhaps the worst part of this infuriating story is that the class action suit – brought by the victims of this racist government program – actually lost the lawsuit when it was brought to court.

Watch the full trailer for the documentary No Más Bebés below…

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 4 Comments

The Washington Post’s world of good and evil

By Danielle Ryan | RT | December 29, 2015

No other country, with the exception of maybe China, gets as much of a look in as Russia does from the Washington Post’s editorial board.

It’s hardly strange that the newspaper would focus some of its attention on Russia, an increasingly influential global player, but it does seem to have a bit of a bee in its bonnet about the old enemy.

Reading the Post’s editorials on matters of global affairs is like an exercise in understanding the very worst imaginable interpretation of American exceptionalism — and the latest dispatch on Syria is a perfect example. The headline reads: “A UN resolution on Syria is shattered – and Russia is to blame.”

The UN resolution referred to by the Post stated that all parties must “immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects” as well as “any indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment.” Leaving aside the laughable notion that the US itself would adhere to such a resolution and “immediately cease” anything whatsoever, let’s take a look at what concerned the Post.

Two days after the resolution was passed, the editorial says, Russia carried out strikes in the northern Syrian provincial capital of Idlib “killing scores of civilians”. It is not for this writer to judge the authenticity of that claim or to question the word of the Post’s reporter in Beirut — and it would be ludicrous to claim Russia’s strikes have killed not one civilian, but it is at least worth noting that one of the newspaper’s original sources for the story was The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an ‘organization’ run out of a home in Coventry by one man who hasn’t visited Syria in 15 years, has received “small subsidies” from the European Union, and whose reports are at best, unreliable. Nevertheless, SOHR has become one of the single-most important “sources” of information on Syria in the Western press.

Irony lost

The Post continues on, unabashed. Secretary of State John Kerry, they chide, should be embarrassed by “this outrage” which “shattered” the UN resolution. They say this without so much of a hint of irony as the US continues to wage its illegal bombing campaign in the country they purport to care so very deeply about. They always care, you see. The more they care, the more bombs they want to drop.

And in the Post’s world, the UN is important and should be respected. Unless you’re the United States, in which case, go ahead and do whatever you want. Ever the pen-wielding champions for the spreading of good old freedom and democracy, they are always there, on the frontlines, cheering on America’s wars. It’s awfully easy to be in favor of ‘humanitarian’ military interventions when you comfort yourself with the knowledge that it’s okay, because you’re the good guys — always. But still, the board likes to be outraged (!) — and it needs to get its outrage fix from somewhere.

At least they’re consistent

Enter Russia. You have to at least hand it to the Post for its consistency. Russia and Putin continue to be the scapegoats for all seasons. There is nothing Moscow can’t be blamed for and nothing it can do right. If the Kremlin produced a cure for cancer tomorrow, the Post would re-imagine it as a sinister plot devised by Putin to put Western oncologists out of jobs.

In early October, the board warned Obama: Don’t green light Mr. Putin’s Syria project. That piece argued that the “moderate” opposition to Assad — which in the real world includes Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate Al Nusra, should be given more US anti-tank missiles and that Putin should be given “red lines”.

In November, after the Paris attacks, sensing that things were moving in Putin’s favor, and that an international anti-ISIS coalition might be in the making, they jumped in to ensure no one thought that was a good idea with a piece headlined: Teaming up with Russia in Syria could be a dangerous.

And of course, when Turkey shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian border after claiming that it had violated Turkish airspace, the Post did its bit to make sure no one was left with the wrong impression about who exactly was responsible for the incident: Russian “provocations” and “dangerous behavior of Vladimir Putin’s regime.” Reading that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was Russia recklessly shooting planes out of the sky. One wonders would the Post’s reaction have been the same if an American warplane had been shot down in Syria? It’s certainly unlikely (to say the least) that the Post would be calling the US’s illegal flights over the war-torn country “provocations” and demanding accountability.

Occasionally, the newspaper likes to dabble in wishful thinking. Not the editorial board, but an opinion piece published by the Post in late November asked: Is Syria the beginning of the end of Putinism?

It’s our world. Everyone else just lives in it.

The Post’s penchant for US exceptionalism extends far beyond Syria. Here, they lament, Obama just “doesn’t understand” Putin’s “Eurasian ambitions”. Apparently it’s not worth noting that Russia is in fact a massive Eurasian country, unlike say, the US.

And God forbid any other countries might think they could act independently of Washington in any arena. Obama was “right to order a sail-by” in the South China Sea because “failure to respond” to the “aggression” of other countries is always the greatest sin. Meanwhile, Iran “steps up its aggression” in the Middle East. The list goes on and the Washington Post’s editorial board fails, time and again, to see the irony.

That’s the kind of world the Post’s editors live in: Black and white. Good and evil. We’re always right, you’re always wrong. Do what we say, not as we do. The destruction this kind of thinking leaves in its wake is always someone else’s problem to solve.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance journalist and media analyst. She has lived in the US and Germany and is currently based in Moscow. She previously worked as a digital desk reporter for the Sunday Business Post in Dublin. She studied political reporting at the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism in Washington, DC and also has a degree in business and German. She focuses on US foreign policy, US-Russia relations and media bias.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey: A Criminal State, a NATO State

By Eric Draitser | New Eastern Outlook | December 28, 2015

It is now openly discussed even in mainstream media the fact that Turkey has been intimately involved in fomenting and supporting the war on Syria, with its ultimate goal being the overthrow of the Syrian government and its replacement by a compliant proxy aligned with Turkish President Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood. That this is no longer a ‘conspiracy theory’ but a conspiracy fact not only vindicates my analysis over the last four years, but it also brings to the fore the nefarious role of a NATO member in stoking a brutal and bloody war for its own ends.

Beyond just the war itself, Turkey has been implicated in a wide variety of crimes (some constituting war crimes) which cast Ankara in a very bad light: a supporter of terrorism, a criminal government engaging in acts of aggression against its neighbors and other world powers, the repression of journalists and others who have brought the truth to the light of day, among many others. Taken in total, it becomes clear that under President Erdogan Turkey has become a belligerent actor with delusions of hegemony and a complete disregard for human rights and sovereignty.

But how exactly has this transformation happened? What has been proven regarding Turkish government actions that make it so clear that the regime in Ankara is criminal in nature?

Cataloging Turkish Crimes

The criminality of the Erdogan government can be roughly broken down into the following categories: aggression against sovereign states, material support for international terrorism, and systematic violation of human rights. Naturally, there are many other crimes that would also be included in a full and completing accounting of Ankara’s illegal actions including, but not limited to, corruption, promoting and tacitly supporting fascist gangs, and many others. But it is the support for international terrorism that rises above all others to thrust Turkey into the spotlight as one of the single most important supporters of the global scourge of terrorism.

Turkey’s central role in each and every aspect of terrorism in Syria must be the starting point of any analysis of Turkey’s grave crimes. President Erdogan has not been shy about calling for regime change in Syria, but his position has been far more than merely rhetorical; Erdogan’s government has played a very direct role in the sponsorship, arming, facilitation and military backing of everyone from the Free Syrian Army to Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh).

In 2012, the New York Times confirmed that the CIA was sending weapons and other military materiel into the hands of anti-Assad forces from the Turkish side of the border, using their connections with the Muslim Brotherhood to do so. However, it has also come to light that Turkish intelligence has been front and center in the ongoing campaign to arm and resupply the terror groups such as the al-Nusra Front and others. This fact was exposed by Can Dündar, the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet, who now faces a potential life sentence at the behest of President Erdogan, who himself called for Dündar to receive multiple life sentences.

What is the reason for the attack on Dündar and other opposition journalists? The Cumhuriyet, one of the most widely read Turkish dailies, published video footage confirming the widespread allegations that Turkish trucks, ostensibly loaded with humanitarian supplies, were actually filled with arms bound for terror groups fighting against Assad, and that those trucks were operated by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).  But it goes much further than that.

Turkey has been directly involved on the ground in Syria both in active military and support roles. In fact, transcripts of wiretaps obtained by Cumhuriyet, and presented in Turkish courts, along with shocking video footage, have confirmed what numerous eyewitnesses have stated: Turkish security forces have been directly involved in shelling and support operations for Nusra front and other jihadi groups in and around Kassab, Syria, among other sites. This is a crucial piece of information because it explains just why those terror groups were able to successfully capture that region in 2014, and recapture it this year. Eyewitnesses in Kassab have confirmed what Syrian soldiers speaking on condition of anonymity had reported, namely that Turkish helicopters and heavy artillery were used in support of Nusra and the other terror groups during both the 2014 and the current campaign.

Of course this policy of alliance with anti-Assad terrorists has been part of Turkey’s modus operandi since the beginning of the conflict. In 2012, Reuters revealed that Turkey, “set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border… ‘It’s the Turks who are militarily controlling it. Turkey is the main coordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom,’ said a Doha-based source.”

This information was confirmed by Vice President Joe Biden in his spectacular foot-in-mouth speech at Harvard University where he stated:

Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends… [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera. What were they doing?… They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.

But one must guard against the false notion that somehow Turkey’s role has been merely as auxiliary in Syria, as a supporter, but not leader, of the terrorist factions wreaking havoc on the Syrian battlefield. Instead, it is now an inescapable fact, even acknowledged by some high-ranking military and intelligence officials, that Turkey has been the principal financier and supporter of the Islamic State and the other jihadist groups.

According to the UK Independent, President Erdogan’s son Bilal Erdogan, along with a number of other close associates, have been directly benefiting from the illicit oil trade with the Islamic State. The paper noted that, “Bilal Erdogan… is one of three equal partners in the BMZ group, a major Turkish oil and marine shipping company, which both the Russian and Syrian governments have accused of purchasing oil from ISIS… Bilal Erdogan has been directly involved in the oil trade with ISIS… Turkey downed a Russian jet on 24 November specifically to protect his oil smuggling business.”

In fact, Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi explained that “All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. They’re importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artefacts [sic] as well.”

So it seems that Erdogan and his clique are involved not simply in fomenting war and terrorism in Syria, but also in its plunder, with complex smuggling networks being directly tied to the Turkish President himself. Indeed, just such smuggling networks have been uncovered throughout Asia, tying Turkey into the broader international architecture of terrorism trafficking.

In late 2014 and early 2015, a human trafficking ring was exposed by Chinese authorities. It was revealed that at least ten Turks were responsible for organizing and facilitating the border crossings of a number of Uighurs (Chinese Muslims from Xinjiang), at least one of whom was a wanted Uighur terrorist with others being “radicalized potential terrorists.” These individuals were likely part of a previously documented trend of Uighur extremists traveling to the Middle East to train and fight with the Islamic State and/or other terror groups.

In fact, precisely this trend was exposed two months earlier in September 2014 when Reuters reported that Beijing formally accused militant Uighurs from Xinjiang of having traveled to Islamic State-controlled territory to receive training. Further corroborating these accusations, the Jakarta Post of Indonesia reported that four Chinese Uighur jihadists had been arrested in Indonesia after having traveled from Xinjiang through Malaysia. Other, similar reports have also surfaced in recent months, painting a picture of a concerted campaign to help Uighur extremists travel throughout Asia, communicating and collaborating with transnational terror groups such as IS.

Now, with these latest revelations regarding Turkish nationals being involved in the trafficking of extremists, it seems an invaluable piece of the terrorist transit infrastructure has been exposed. Indeed my assertions above (initially made here in early February 2015) have been substantiated by Syria’s ambassador to China, quoted at length by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his piece Military to Military which notes the following:

[Syria’s ambassador to China Imad Moustapha explained that] ‘China regards the Syrian crisis from three perspectives,’ he said: international law and legitimacy; global strategic positioning; and the activities of jihadist Uighurs, from Xinjiang province in China’s far west. Xinjiang borders eight nations… and, in China’s view, serves as a funnel for terrorism around the world and within China. Many Uighur fighters now in Syria are known to be members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – an often violent separatist organisation that seeks to establish an Islamist Uighur state in Xinjiang. ‘The fact that they have been aided by Turkish intelligence to move from China into Syria through Turkey has caused a tremendous amount of tension between the Chinese and Turkish intelligence,’ Moustapha said. ‘China is concerned that the Turkish role of supporting the Uighur fighters in Syria may be extended in the future to support Turkey’s agenda in Xinjiang. We are already providing the Chinese intelligence service with information regarding these terrorists and the routes they crossed from on travelling into Syria’ [emphasis added].

Moustapha’s concerns were echoed by a Washington foreign affairs analyst who has closely followed the passage of jihadists through Turkey and into Syria. The analyst, whose views are routinely sought by senior government officials, told me that ‘Erdoğan has been bringing Uighurs into Syria by special transport while his government has been agitating in favour of their struggle in China. Uighur and Burmese Muslim terrorists who escape into Thailand somehow get Turkish passports and are then flown to Turkey for transit into Syria.’ He added that there was also what amounted to another ‘rat line’ that was funnelling Uighurs – estimates range from a few hundred to many thousands over the years – from China into Kazakhstan for eventual relay to Turkey, and then to IS territory in Syria [emphasis added]. ‘US intelligence,’ he said, ‘is not getting good information about these activities because those insiders who are unhappy with the policy are not talking to them.’ He also said it was ‘not clear’ that the officials responsible for Syrian policy in the State Department and White House ‘get it’. IHS-Jane’s Defence Weekly estimated in October that as many as five thousand Uighur would-be fighters have arrived in Turkey since 2013, with perhaps two thousand moving on to Syria. Moustapha said he has information that ‘up to 860 Uighur fighters are currently in Syria.’

It has become clear that Turkey is now unmistakably a major supporter of international terrorism, with Syria being merely the proving ground for a stable of terror groups directly or indirectly working with Erdogan’s government. This is further evidenced by the now documented and verified fact that the Erdogan government was directly involved in the transfer of chemical weapons into the hands of ISIS.

As Turkish MP Eren Erdem explained before the Turkish parliament and to international media, “There is data in this indictment. Chemical weapon materials are being brought to Turkey and being put together in Syria in camps of ISIS which was known as Iraqi Al Qaeda during that time.” Erdem noted that according to an investigation launched (and abruptly closed) by the General Prosecutor’s Office in Adana, Turkish citizens with ties to the intelligence community took part in negotiations with ISIS-linked and Al-Qaeda-linked militants to sell sarin gas for use in Syria. The evidence of these allegations came in the form of wiretapped phone conversations similar to those published earlier this year by Cumhuriyet.

Taken in total, the case against Erdogan’s government is damning. At the same time, one must also note Erdogan’s grave crimes against his own people.

As noted already, Can Dündar and his colleagues at Cumhuriyet have been targeted by Erdogan’s state for their disclosure of Ankara’s dealings with the terrorists of Syria. Just a few weeks ago Dündar, along with Cumhuriyet’s Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul, were charged in a Turkish court with “spying” and “divulging state secrets.” This should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Turkey’s track record when it comes to opposition journalism.

In fact, in December 2014, the Turkish police raided the offices of the Zaman newspaper, one of the most popular in the country, alleging that Zaman was responsible for “launching an armed terror organization.” The authorities detained the Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı , as well as the head of the Samanyolu Media Group, Hidayet Karaca, along with a producer, scriptwriter and director.

The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) and the Turkey Journalists’ Labor Union (TGS) released a joint statement in condemnation of the raids and the ongoing repression of journalists by the Erdogan government, noting that “Almost 200 journalists were previously held in prison on charges of being a member of a terror organization, violating their right to a fair trial. Journalists are now being detained once again. These developments mean that freedom of the press and opinion is punished in Turkey, which takes its place in the class of countries where the press is not free.”

International organizations too expressed their outrage at this blatant violation of freedom of the press. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its regional group the European Federation of Journalists (EFL), stated that, “We are appalled by this brazen assault on press freedom and Turkish democracy… One year after the exposure of corruption at the heart of government, the authorities appear to be exacting their revenge by targeting those who express opposing views… This latest act demonstrates that the authorities’ contempt for journalism has not diminished.”

Of course, Ankara’s war on freedom of speech, and the media generally, is not relegated to established media outlets such as Zaman and Cumhuriyet, but also to citizen media and social media as well. In response to the leaking of recordings on Twitter documenting corruption among Erdogan cronies and political elites within his Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan attacked the social media platform, and his government immediately moved to restrict access to Twitter.

Erdogan even went so far as to suggest a total ban on all social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube, saying that “The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.” This sort of megalomaniacal rhetoric has become the norm for Erdogan, who sees himself as less a president and more a sultan or absolute monarch.

The famous words of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg succinctly and matter-of-factly state that the waging of aggressive war is “essentially an evil thing… to initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” This is undeniably true. But what happens when one is engaged in an international campaign to destroy a neighboring country through war? What happens when one country enables and participates in the destruction of another? What happens when one country will stop at nothing to come out victorious in a war it is not officially involved in, but covertly manages, and from which it directly benefits? Are these not simply different forms of the same crime, the supreme crime, as it were?

Let’s face it, Turkey is now a mafia state ruled by a criminal regime. It is also a NATO member state. Perhaps now the pernicious illusion of NATO as military alliance defending justice, human rights, and the rule of law can finally be put to rest. While the propagandists will continue the charade, Turkey has permanently exposed the US-NATO-GCC-Israel for the warmongers they are in Syria and around the world. Let’s just hope the world notices.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What’s Behind Turkey’s Repeated Calls for No-Fly Zone in Syria?

Sputnik – 29.12.2015

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s calls for a safe zone in Syria are aimed at destabilizing the situation in the region, including the collapse of Syria, analysts said.

On December 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to create a safe zone in Syria. In an interview with Al Arabiya he said that the safe zone could shelter refugees who live in Turkey and want to return to Syria.

The zone is initially planned to stretch 98 km along the border and span 45 km in the territory of Syria, with the possibility of further expansion, Erdogan explained. According to the president, the area will be “terrorism-free”.

He also suggested that the Turkish government could begin raising funds for the project, including building houses for refuges.

Thus, Erdogan continues to hold unofficial discussions with Washington. In early December, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that projects such as a safe zone in Syria would require significant resources.

Ground forces would be necessary to protect a safe zone. But this contradicts the strategy proposed by President Barack Obama, Earnest underscored.

Meanwhile, in August, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that Washington had given the green light to establish a safe zone in Syria which would be protected jointly by US and Turkish troops.

In turn, Washington denounced the statement saying that the sides had agreed only on using the Turkish Incirlik airbase by US forces. It seems that the US and Turkey discussed a safe zone but in the end Washington evaded any final agreements.

Now, Erdogan has again brought up the initiative. And this time it is very likely that Turkey will act. The situation is changing in Syria where government forces have significantly advanced against terrorists. The country may be divided into “occupation zones”, so it is very important for Ankara to play one of the key roles in the process.

“Now, Erdogan needs major achievements in his foreign policy,” Alexei Fenenko, a security expert at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Svobodnaya Pressa. “The last two months were difficult for the Turkish president. The row between Ankara and Moscow caused a crisis in tourism and in the Turkish garment industry. His attempt to invade Iraq failed. Finally, Turkey now has tensions with Greece.”

All of the above has prompted Erdogan to take decisive steps to establish a safe zone in Syria, the analyst noted.

“I’m afraid this may be the scenario. There is no one more fearless than a politician who has nothing to lose. After a series of failures a politician like Erdogan can hit badly,” Fenenko said.

Turkey is very likely to attempt to occupy part of Syria to establish a safe zone, he pointed out. At the same, the US’ actions would depend on what Ankara achieves.

At the same time, Russia will oppose such a scenario since it is committed to protecting Syria’s territorial integrity, Fesenko said.

“I believe we should once again reaffirm our readiness to protect its territorial integrity. Russia may rely on its S-400 air defense systems deployed to the Hmeymim airbase. This means there is still the possibility of a military confrontation between Russia and Turkey,” he concluded.

Erdogan has made numerous statements about his readiness to establish a safe zone in Syria, analyst Stanislav Tarasov said.

Ankara’s policy in the region is still based on the scenario which presumes the collapse of Syria and Iraq, he pointed out. But the balance has changed, and other players will not let Turkey establish a safe zone in Syria.

“Turkey will not invade Syria. There are Syrian forces backed by Russian jets. What is more, if Turkey invaded the Kurds may support Damascus,” Tarasov said. “The problem is that Ankara still relies on Syria’s collapse and is not ready for any other outcome. This is why Ankara’s calls for a safe zone in Syria are wrong.”

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kuwait to send ground troops to protect Saudi Arabia from Houthi incursions – report

RT | December 29, 2015

Kuwait, which is formally part of the Saudi-led coalition conducting a military crackdown in Yemen, is to send an artillery battalion to protect southern regions of its Gulf neighbor from cross-border attacks, according to a report.

“Kuwait decided on the participation of its ground forces, represented by an artillery battalion, in operations to strike at positions of Houthi aggression against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas reported Tuesday, citing an informed source.

Saudi Arabia has provided the bulk of the fighting forces for the Yemen campaign, with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also playing significant parts. Other members of the coalition were hesitant in providing ground troops.

Riyadh went to war in Yemen to put back into power ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who fled from the Shiite Houthi rebels after his two-year term expired in January. His predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who used to be an opponent of the rebels, is now their ally, assisting them with his loyal tribal troops.

Saudi Arabia sees the Houthis as a proxy force of its regional nemesis Iran, something both the rebels and Tehran deny.

The Yemeni campaign has proved to be more difficult than Saudi Arabia expected. Since it started in March, the conflict has claimed the lives of almost 6,000 people, many of them civilians killed by coalition bombings. Human rights groups have accused Riyadh of committing war crimes during the attacks.

The Houthis have staged several attacks on the Saudi regions of Najran and Jazan from their stronghold in northern Yemen. These include a number of ground incursions and several ballistic missile launches in recent months.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment