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UN Supports Sovereignty for Palestine and Slams Israel

Resolution severely criticises the “Occupying Power”

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | January 1, 2016

Can this be true?

Something important and, freedom lovers may think, rather wonderful seems to have happened at the United Nations, and it went largely unreported in mainstream media. The UN General Assembly approved a draft resolution ‘Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources’ (document A/70/480).

It was adopted by 164 to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu).

What’s so wonderful? The draft resolution pulls no punches and must have thoroughly annoyed the insatiable state of Israel, which has evil designs on the natural resources – oil, gas and water – belonging to its neighbours. The resolution is long but nicely crafted, and is reproduced here pretty much in its entirety as an aide-memoire of Israel’s long history of contemptuous disregard for its obligations.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 69/241 of 19  December 2014, and taking note of Economic and Social Council resolution 2015/17 of 20 July 2015,

Recalling  also its resolutions 58/292 of 6 May 2004 and 59/251 of 22 December 2004,

Reaffirming the  principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the inadmissibility  of the acquisition  of  territory  by  force, and recalling relevant Security  Council  resolutions,  including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,

Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,

Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Recalling, in this regard, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and affirming that  these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan,

Recalling also the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court  of Justice on the legal consequences of the  construction of a wall in the Occupied  Palestinian Territory, and recalling further its resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,

Recalling further its resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012,

Taking note of the accession by Palestine to several human rights treaties and the core humanitarian law treaties, as well as to other international treaties,

Expressing its concern about the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of  the  natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Expressing its grave concern about  the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying  Power, of agricultural land and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the uprooting of a vast number of fruit-bearing trees and the destruction of farms and greenhouses, and the grave environmental and economic impact in this regard,

Expressing its grave concern also about the widespread destruction caused by Israel, the occupying Power, to vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular in the Gaza Strip during the military operations of July and August 2014, which, inter alia, has polluted the environment and negatively affect the functioning of water and sanitation systems and the water supply and other natural resources of the Palestinian people, and stressing the urgency of the reconstruction and development of water and other vital civilian infrastructure, including the project for the desalination facility for the Gaza Strip,

Expressing its grave concern further about the negative impact on the environment and on reconstruction and development efforts of the thousands of items of unexploded ordnance that remain in the Gaza Strip as a result of the conflict in July and August 2014,

Recalling the 2009 report by the United Nations Environment Programme regarding the grave environmental situation in the Gaza Strip, and the 2012 report, “Gaza in 2020: A  liveable place?”, by the United Nations country team in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and stressing the need for follow-up to the recommendations contained therein,

Deploring the detrimental impact of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian and other Arab natural resources, especially as a result of the confiscation of land and the forced diversion of water resources, including the destruction of orchards and crops and the seizure of  water well  by Israeli settlers, and of the dire socioeconomic consequences in this regard,

Recalling the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout  the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Aware of the detrimental impact on Palestinian natural resources being caused by the unlawful construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and of its grave effect as well on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people,

Stressing the urgency of  achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement on all tracks, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978 and 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet performance-based road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and supported by the Council in its resolution 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008,

Stressing also, in this regard, the need for respect for the obligation upon Israel under the road map to freeze settlement activity, including so-called “natural growth”, and to dismantle all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,

Stressing further the need for respect and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling the need to end all acts of violence, including acts of  terror, provocation, incitement and destruction,

Taking note of the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including  East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, as transmitted by the Secretary-General,

  1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of  the population  of the occupied Syrian Golan  over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources;

  2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan;

  3. Recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, damage, loss or depletion or endangerment of their natural resources resulting from illegal measures taken by Israel, the occupying Power, and Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and expresses the hope that this issue will be dealt with within the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides;

  4. Stresses that the wall and settlements being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, are contrary to international law and are seriously depriving the Palestinian people of their natural resources, and calls in this regard for full compliance with the legal obligations affirmed in the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and in relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolution ES-10/15;

  5. Calls  upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, and to cease immediately and completely all policies and measures aimed at the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied  Palestinian Territory,  including East Jerusalem;

  6. Also calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to bring a halt to all actions, including those perpetrated by Israeli settlers, harming the environment, including the dumping of all kinds of waste materials, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their  natural resources, namely water and land resources, and which  pose  an environmental, sanitation and health threat to the civilian populations;

  7. Further calls upon Israel to cease its destruction of vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, which, inter alia, has a negative impact on the natural resources of the Palestinian people, stresses the urgent need to advance reconstruction and development projects in this regard, including in the Gaza Strip, and calls for support for the necessary efforts in this regard, in line with the commitments made at, inter alia, the Cairo International Conference on Palestine: Reconstructing Gaza, held on 12 October 2014;

  8. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to remove all obstacles to the implementation of critical environmental projects, including sewage treatment plants in the Gaza Strip and the reconstruction and development of water infrastructure, including the project for the desalination facility for the Gaza Strip;

  9. Calls for the immediate and safe removal of all unexploded ordnance in the Gaza Strip and for support for the efforts of the United Nations Mine Action Service in this regard, and welcomes the efforts exerted by the Service to date;

  10. Encourages all States and international organizations to continue to actively pursue policies to ensure respect for their obligations under international law with regard  to  all illegal Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly Israeli settlement activities and the exploitation of natural resources;

  11. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-first session on the implementation of the present resolution, including with regard to the cumulative impact of the exploitation, damage and depletion by Israel of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and decides to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-first session the item entitled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”.

This is strong stuff. But given the UN’s record will the action ever suit the words?

Astonishingly, the Israel-adoring UK government voted for it. Let us make a mental note of those 5 countries – Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States – which claim to be freedom loving but are evidently bent on denying the poor Palestinians theirs. And the birdbrained 10 – Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu – which are so lackadaisically uncommitted to the principle of universal human rights that they sat on the fence. Maybe international civil society would like to prod them with a sharp BDS stick to concentrate their minds.

At least one country, happily, is taking a tough line – Brazil, which, says the BBC, has yet to approve the appointment four months ago of Israel’s new ambassador. Not only is the new man, Dani Dayan, a former chairman of the Yesha Council which promotes illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian lands, but Israeli prime minister Netanyahu broke the news of the appointment on Twitter before telling Brazil, according to reports.

As even Netanyahu must know, the transfer by an occupier of part of its own population into territory it occupies is considered a war crime, so why should Brazil play host to a foreigner with such a vile record? Israel is threatening to downgrade relations to “secondary level” if Brazil does not give approval to the appointment. And Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely says that Dayan would not be replaced if his appointment isn’t accepted.

Since Brazil is Israel’s largest trading partner in South America you’d think the Israelis would watch their manners. The Brazilians, hopefully, won’t allow themselves to pushed around by Tel Aviv’s insufferable thugs.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Could Spend US$30M in 2016 to ‘Promote Democracy’ in Cuba

teleSUR – January 2, 2016

The United States government could potentially spend up to US$30 million on “democracy development” programs in Cuba in 2016, according to bills waiting for approval at U.S. Congress.

Two draft bills related to U.S. State Department’s budget for foreign spending were approved by the Appropriation Committees of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The draft bill approved by the House Committee on Appropriations states that the National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, the State Department and the Agency for International Development would share US$30 million in Cuba democracy funds.

Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund, “$30,000,000 shall be made available to promote democracy and strengthen civil society in Cuba,” the draft bill said. It was approved by the House’s committee in June 2015.

It added that such funds could not be used “for business promotion, economic reform, entrepreneurship, or any other assistance that is not democracy-building.”

Meanwhile, the draft bill approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations said that US$20 million should be used for Cuba democracy programs, including up to $5 million for “private Cuban entrepreneurs.” This draft was approved by the committee in July last year.

The Senate version of the bill also authorizes US$50.5 million “for programs to promote Internet freedom globally,” and says a portion of the funds would likely be used “to support Internet freedom in Cuba.”

Neither bill has been approved by any of the corresponding government bodies yet.

Over the years, programs such as the NED or the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have received mounting criticism over meddling in other nations political spheres in order to promote U.S. interests, unlike their claim of promoting democracy and aid.

Both programs are funded by the U.S. congress.

Republican Congressman Ron Paul, who ran for the U.S. presidency twice, has argued against such programs. In 2005, he stated that NED has “very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses U.S. tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas.”

The NED has been banned in various countries over meddling claims.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Almost 1200 people, mostly minorities, killed by US cops in 2015

RT | January 2, 2016

US law enforcement officers killed up to 1,199 people last year, the majority of whom were ‘people of color’.

Black men between the ages of 15 and 34 were 15 percent of those killed by police in 2015.

Despite making up just 2 percent of the US population, that’s five times more than white men the same age, according to The Counted, a project launched in 2015 by journalists from the Guardian.

Its final tally of killings at the hands, weapons, or vehicles of US police officers last year was 1,134, while the open-source reporting project Killed by Police, which tracks “corporate media” reports of anyone killed by police, recorded 1,199 deaths.

The two figures vary because the projects use slightly different definitions of what constitutes a police killing.

Killed By Police was launched in 2013 and The Counted last year in response to the lack of comprehensive US government data on these type of fatalities, similar to the website Iraq Body Count.

The Counted’s database includes any deaths arising from direct encounters with police.

“Self-inflicted deaths” during police encounters, such as a person killed in a car crash while fleeing police during a car chase, and mass shootouts, in which police failed to identify who was killed by police and who was killed by civilians, are not counted by the Guardian project, but are included by Killed By Police.

Notable statistics:

  • One in five killed were unarmed.
  • At least six innocent bystanders were killed by officers during violent incidents.
  • Fourteen percent of killings followed an attempted traffic or street stop.
  • Seven percent after a non-violent crime.
  • The youngest victim was autistic six-year-old Jeremy Mardis.
  • The oldest victim was 87-year-old Louis Becker who died after his vehicle collided with a state trooper’s SUV in New York.
  • One transgendered person, Mya Hall, was killed in 2015… by National Security Agency (NSA) police.
  • Forty-three children under the age of 18 were killed by police.
  • California had more police killings relative to the size of its population than anywhere else in the country.
  • Rhode Island and Vermont were the only states where just one person was killed in 2015. Vermont’s killing happened the last week of the year when 56-year-old Kenneth Stephens was shot at 13 times after police say he pointed a rifle at them during a warranted search of his property.
  • A total of 89 percent of deaths by police were caused by gunshot, 4 percent were taser-related, 4 percent died in custody following physical confrontations, and 3 percent were struck by police officers driving vehicles.
  • Critically, The Counted found that only 255 of the killings, less than 25 percent, were considered “justified” by authorities.

Until now, no publicly-available data was gathered by the US government, but a new open-source system is being tested to track America’s growing “death by cop” epidemic.

Local police, medical, and investigative records will be used along with media reports. Previous government data relied solely on voluntary reporting by local law enforcement.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the new government program in the wake of Ferguson protests and the US outcry over cop killings.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Palestinian Journalist killed, 25 injured in December

Over 65 violations of journalists’ rights


Palestine Information Center – 2-1-2016

GAZA – Union of Islamic Radio Stations and Televisions-Palestine reported that Israeli forces committed 65 violations against the rights of journalists and pressmen in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip in the month of December.

The union underlined that Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists led to the martyrdom of the photographer Ahmad Jahajha, 23, who was called “photographer of martyrs”.

The violations included direct attacks in the field and shooting at journalists while covering the events of Jerusalem Intifada and weekly popular marches. The union pointed out that 25 injuries among Palestinians who work in journalism were the result of direct attacks. Three among the wounded were female journalists. Ten cases of injuries were due to indirect attacks.

The union’s report also revealed that nine cases of repeated detentions, extension of detention, and summoning of journalists were documented in December including the case of a foreign journalist.

Detained Palestinian journalist Mohammad al-Qik was exposed to repeated assaults eight times. He was tortured and maltreated during investigation rounds and banned from seeing his lawyer or family. He was held under administrative detention which was extended to six more months despite being on hunger strike.

The report revealed that Israeli occupation forces banned Palestinian journalists and pressmen from doing their jobs and covering events. Israeli troops withdrew press cards from five journalists and banned two others from travel in Gaza.

The Israeli violations also included search and storming campaigns as well as confiscation of press equipment and closure of institutions and offices. Piracy of over five electronic websites was another form of Israeli violations. The webpage of al-Aqsa TV Channel was stopped and permanently deleted.

At the interior level, the union documented ten violations by the Palestinian Authority’s forces including ban orders against al-Aqsa satellite channel and tightening the noose on the team of Palestine Today satellite channel as well as summoning and detaining four journalists and assaulting four others.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is NATO’s European honeymoon on the rocks?

By Robert Bridge | RT | January 1, 2016

Amid NATO’s non-stop campaign of overseas military misadventures, which are displacing millions of people and forcing them to EU shores, Europeans may be finally losing their patience with the military organization’s reckless ways.

The year 2015 came to a screeching, white-knuckle end for the 28-member states that make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

As Europe struggles to accommodate a tidal wave of refugees escaping the blood and violence of its former colonial lands, right-wing parties are winning over the hearts and minds of Europeans who are increasingly wary of multiculturalism, neo-liberal reforms, austerity measures – and now, it seems, even NATO itself.

Just this month, Polish military police, accompanied by Antoni Macierewicz, the new defense minister of the newly elected Law and Justice Party, conducted a dramatic midnight raid on a NATO-linked counterintelligence center in Warsaw. Yes, you read that right: Polish authorities conducted a raid on a NATO-linked facility on their own territory.

According to the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, authorities entered the complex using a duplicate key and then unceremoniously dismissed the director in absentia, Col Krzysztof Dusza and replaced him with Col. Robert Bala. Dozens of other bureaucrats and assorted paper-shufflers were also relieved of their shadowy duties on the spot.

The former Polish defense minister Tomasz Siemoniak told reporters: “Nothing like this has happened in the history of NATO, where a member state attacks a NATO facility.”

One NATO official attempted to downplay the unprecedented event, calling the night raid “an issue for the Polish authorities.”

But clearly there is much more to the story than what the public is being told.

After all, what would cause a traditionally pro-Western country like Poland to ignore constitutional due process and risk relations with Brussels, NATO – not to mention the group’s top dog, Washington – by conducting a crack of dawn, neo-Nazi-style raid? For those who were surprised by Warsaw’s tough tactics fail to see which way the political winds are blowing not just in Poland, but across the EU.

Much of the winds of change howling through the streets of Europe can be connected to the failure of US foreign policy, and the repercussions that has had on the European status quo.

For much of Europe: No hope, no change

First, the promise of ‘hope and change’ that failed to materialize under US President Barack Obama has been a major letdown not just for millions of Americans, but for countless Europeans as well. On April 5, 2009, 20,000 people jammed in front of the Prague Castle to listen to America’s first black president seduce his audience with tele-prompted tales of peace, prosperity, non-proliferation and promises, promises and more promises.

In fact, Europe was so giddy about the arrival of Barack Obama that the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize just nine months into his first term as president. Today, the reality of the farce is painfully conspicuous: Guantanamo Bay detention facility is still open for business, Libya is in dire straits, while the US military is operating in Syria, albeit it with little or no effect on Islamic State, its proclaimed target.

Clearly, what Obama has delivered over the course of his two terms in office has been strikingly different from the advertisement. Instead of being relieved from the warmongering insanity of the Bush era, the world is still embroiled knee-deep in crisis – and in new places (Libya, Syria and Pakistan) that exploded on Obama’s watch, as well as in Russia, where the Kremlin wised up fast to the fairy tale known as ‘reset’ (The one bright spot in US foreign policy has been the Obama administration’s conclusion of a controversial nuclear deal with Iran, yet judging by recent events – which included the US Navy accusing Iran of firing missiles in proximity of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Persian Gulf – charges Tehran has slammed as “psychological warfare”).

But the crisis now enveloping the world is not limited to those of a military nature: Ever since the 2008 Financial Crisis, the worst economic setback since the Great Depression, Europe has been mired in dismal economic growth and high unemployment, compounded by an insane influx of millions of refugees that are only serving to erode Europe’s financial prospects, to say nothing about demographics.

And in order to ‘cure’ the disease of insolvency, many once-proud, self-sufficient European countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, to name a few) are forced to rely on impossible-to-return loans from the very same global bankers that wrecked these national economies in the first place (the fact that only isolated Iceland was politically independent enough to punish its bankers and restructure its economy without suicidal austerity measures proves that Europe is under the influence of powers far beyond the control of democratic procedure).

The lesson that Europeans learned was an old one: ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’ Ever since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Washington (and by extension, NATO) has only delivered Europe a series of global military debacles that the Old World – already suffering under the brutal dictate of IMF debt and World Bank measures – can now ill afford. Now toss a few million desperate refugees into the mix and you have awakened the raw spirit of right-wing political parties – from Le Pen’s Front National in France to Golden Dawn in Greece.

The Financial Times, sympathizing with the neo-liberal globalists, summed up the scenario that is playing itself out in national elections across the EU: “All over the world, globalisation is under challenge from resurgent nationalist forces. One of the great political challenges of the coming year will be to defend the benefits of globalisation — while fending off the arguments of nationalists such as Mrs Le Pen, Donald Trump in the US and his new admirer, President Vladimir Putin of Russia.”

FT failed to mention, of course, that globalization thus far has been a boon for the transnational corporations and a total bust for the denizens of the global village.

Personally, I can’t imagine that, in a situation where nearly every US foreign policy initiative over the last 15 years has resulted in utter chaos and catastrophe, the European people (still highly educated despite biting austerity) will fail to correctly add two-plus-two and conclude that NATO as an institution designed to defend their interests is also failing them in dramatic fashion.

The Western military bloc continues to agitate Russia, pushing smack against the very border of NATO’s Cold War nemesis, while recklessly hampering one of Europe’s most reliable trading partners.

The Cold War, according to reliable history books, has been over for about a quarter-of-a-century, yet the Western military bloc continues to incite Russia with clearly threatening moves, most notably the US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, which Russia has warned will upset the strategic balance and invoke a new arms race.

But judging by the frustration and even anger of many European people, which is manifesting itself in the rise of far-right movements that are serving up the heady cocktail of national patriotism and economic protectionism, NATO’s European honeymoon really may be hitting the rocks.

In addition to the Polish midnight raid on the NATO-linked center comes this news: German politicians slammed the Merkel government as well as NATO command after it emerged that German troops will be sent to help NATO-member Turkey defend its border – without notifying parliamentarians in the Bundestag.

“The government must immediately inform parliament of the details of this deployment, in particular what missions will be assigned to these planes and the destination of any data they collect,” Tobias Lindner, the Green party’s head of defense issues, stated in the German daily Bild.

Yet Berlin – sounding every bit as arrogant and self-important as Washington these days – declared it has no intention of consulting the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament for approval.

The unilateral, undemocratic transfer of German troops (units of the AWACS data-collecting aircraft) on the part of NATO and the Merkel government comes amid smoldering tensions ever since Ankara shot down a Russian fighter jet that Turkey claims entered its airspace for a whole 17 seconds.

Although these two events in two major European countries may be nothing more than mere blips on the radar screen concerning NATO’s relationship with Europe, they could also be warning signals of an approaching earthquake in which the steady encroachment of nationalistic political demands begin to seriously clash with NATO’s global objectives, which, at this stage, don’t seem remotely concerned with the true well-being and security of the European people.

Robert Bridge is the author of the book on corporate power, “Midnight in the American Empire”, which was released in 2013.


January 2, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

‘The only thing Washington has not blamed Iran for is global warming’

RT | January 1, 2016

As Washington sends mixed signals on whether or not it will introduce new sanctions against Iran, Tehran is considering other options should a new round of penalties come to pass, says Seyed Mohammad Marandi, professor at the University of Tehran.

The United States delayed the announcement of new penalties, which reportedly seeks to punish several companies and individuals from Iran, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates that the US believes have been involved in Iran’s ballistic missile tests.

However, such an announcement comes as no surprise to Tehran, according to Marandi, who said that even as the [nuclear] negotiations were taking place between Iran and the P5+1, the general consensus in Iran was that “the United States would move towards increasing sanctions through other excuses than that of the nuclear program.”

Marandi provided a list of methods the United States was using to target Iran, including the recent passage of a law restricting visas for people that have visited Iran, as well as for Iranian citizens that have dual nationality. Also, Iranian assets are being confiscated abroad, which the Iranians “believe… is theft by the United States through using different excuses.”

The professor at the University of Tehran says such actions could “severely damage the chances for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action bearing fruit.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an agreement designed to oversee Iran’s nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the EU.

Marandi believes that Washington’s aggressive stance towards Iran must be explained by other reasons because, he says, “there’s never been any evidence to show that Iran’s nuclear program has been anything but peaceful. The United States has been making many accusations against Iran that have been unfounded.”

The real reason the US is fundamentally opposed to Iran is because the Islamic Republic successfully freed itself from Washington’s rule many years ago, he argues.

“The United States has not forgiven the Iranian people over three and a half decades for gaining their independence from the United States and becoming an independent actor in this part of the world.

“Therefore, the Iranians expect the United States will use all sorts of excuses – whether it’s the nuclear program, terrorism, human rights.”

Marandi exclaimed with a hint of irony that the only thing Iran has not been blamed for by Washington is “global warming.”

Yet the nuclear issue, he says, is not the main point of contention between the two countries. What really irks Washington about Iran “is not the nuclear program, but rather Iran’s political independence of the US,” he asserts.

But the international community will see through the actions of the United States that – despite the agreement between the two countries – is “trying to make ordinary Iranians suffer until Iran bows down to the will of the US.”

Marandi is adamant that such a thing “is not going to happen.”

In fact, according to the academic, Tehran has many options open to itself should the US impose a new round of sanctions, including seeking the cooperation and partnership of other countries – both non-Western and Western alike.

“If the US continues to go down this road, we will see greater tensions and probably it will be an important incentive for Iran to increase and develop its ties with Russia and China, as well as other non-Western countries.”

Marandi concludes that due to Washington’s support of countries in the region that are guilty of “supporting al-Qaeda and ISIL [Islamic State/ISIS],” Tehran is of the opinion that countries like Russia, China and increasingly India, and even many European Union countries will begin to “look more to Iran as a reliable partner and this is making it far more difficult for the US… to impose sanctions on Iran in a way in which the international community would abide by those demands of the US.”

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Middle East leaders lash out at Saudi Arabia over Shiite cleric’s execution, protests erupt

RT | January 2, 2016

Shiite leaders are up in arms over Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent cleric Nimr al-Nimr on terror charges. A senior Iranian Ayatollah called it a “crime,” while Tehran’s Foreign Ministry accused Riyadh of supporting terrorists.

“The Saudi government supports terrorists and takfiri [intolerant Sunni] extremists, while executing and suppressing critics inside the country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

According to a lawmaker from Iraq’s ruling Shiite coalition, Saudi Arabia’s execution of al-Nimr was intended to fuel Sunni-Shiite strife and “set the region on fire.”

“This measure taken by the ruling family [of Saudi Arabia] aims at reigniting the region, provoking sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites,” Mohammed al-Sayhud told al-Sumaria TV.

Prominent Iraqis have called on the government in Baghdad on Saturday to cut ties with Riyadh over Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr’s execution, al-Sumaria TV reported.

“It’s a big crime that has opened the gates of hell,” Qasim al-Araji, the head of the Badr Organization in Iraq said, calling on Baghdad to cut diplomatic ties “immediately,” according to the channel’s website.

Another Iran-backed militia group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, has accused Saudi Arabia of seeking to provoke Sunni-Shiite strife, according to the TV’s website. “What’s the use of having a Saudi embassy in Iraq?” it reportedly said.

Al-Nimr’s death has already added fuel to the fire in the boiling sectarian tensions in the Middle East.

Police in Bahrain fired tear gas at several dozen people protesting al-Nimr’s execution and carrying pictures of the cleric in a standoff in the Shi’ite Muslim village of Abu-Saiba, west of the capital Manama, an eyewitness told Reuters.

Scores of Shiite Muslims have come out to protest in Qatif, one of the oldest settlements in eastern Saudi Arabia, against the government’s execution of al-Nimr on Saturday, Reuters reported.

The protesters reportedly chanted, “down with the Al Saud,” referring to the name of the ruling Saudi royal family. They marched from al-Nimr’s home village of al-Awamiya to the region’s main town of Qatif, the only district in Saudi Arabia where Shiites are a majority.

One of the most senior clerics in Shiite-majority Iran, Ahmad Khatami, said that al-Nimr’s execution reflected the “criminal” character of the Saudi ruling family.

“I have no doubt that this pure blood will stain the collar of the House of Saud and wipe them from the pages of history,” Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts, was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

He added: “The crime of executing Sheikh Nimr is part of a criminal pattern by this treacherous family … the Islamic world is expected to cry out and denounce this infamous regime as much as it can.”

Kataib Hezbollah’s leader, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, hailed the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr as “a crime that is added to the criminal record of Al Saud,” he said, according to al-Ahd TV.

Yemen’s Houthi movement has also mourned the prominent Shiite cleric, executed on Saturday.

“The Al Saudi family executed today the holy warrior, the grand cleric Nimr Baqr al-Nimr after a mock trial … a flagrant violation of human rights,” an obituary on the Houthis’ official Al Maseera website stated.

According to Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Shiite Council, al-Nimr’s capital punishment was a serious “mistake.”

“The execution of Sheikh Nimr was an execution of reason, moderation and dialogue,” the council’s vice president, Sheikh Abdel Amir Qabalan said in a statement.

The brother of the executed cleric said he hopes that any reaction to al-Nimr’s killing will be peaceful.

“Sheikh Nimr enjoyed high esteem in his community and within Muslim society in general and no doubt there will be reaction,” Mohammed al-Nimr told Reuters by telephone. “We hope that any reactions would be confined to a peaceful framework. No one should have any reaction outside this peaceful framework. Enough bloodshed.”

Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday, along with 46 other people. Authorities said most of those executed were involved in a series of attacks carried out by Al Qaeda between 2003 and 2006. Al-Nimr, along with six others, were accused of orchestrating anti-government protests between 2011 and 2013 in which 20 people died. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the death sentence passed on the Shia cleric.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sheikh Nimr’s Brother: Execution is Riyadh’s Losing Message to Region

Al-Manar | January 2, 2016

The brother of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who was executed by Saudi Arabia on Saturday, stressed that the move is a losing message to the region that Riyadh is still “powerful”.

Commenting on the execution of the prominent religious figure, Mohammad al-Nimr stressed that the pro-democracy movement in the Kingdom’s east will persist.

“Wrong, misled, and mistaken those who think that the killing will keep us from our rightful demands,” Mohammad al-Nimr tweeted shortly after the media reported the execution of Sheikh Nimr along with other 46 people.

“It’s a losing message to regional foes that Riyadh is still powerful,” Mohammad al-Nimr said on the execution of his brother.

The execution is also seen as a message to Saudis that if you call for your rights, “you will be met by the wanton sword of Jahiliyya (ignorance),” Sheikh Nimr’s brother said.

“Someday, the sectarianism will be dispelled and we will be in a better condition,” Mohammad al-Nimr tweeted.

Saudi authorities announced on Saturday it had executed Sheikh Nimr along with 46 others.

Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass pro-democracy protests against Riyadh, which erupted in Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority has long complained of marginalization.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

At least 4 protesters killed in Saudi mass executions

Reprieve | January 2, 2016

At least four people convicted of offences related to political protest are among the 47 reportedly executed by Saudi Arabia earlier today.

Sheikh Nimr, Ali al-Ribh, Mohammad Shioukh and Mohammad Suweimal were all arrested in 2012 following their involvement in anti-Government protests, and subsequently sentenced to death.  Ali was 18 when he was arrested, and sentenced to death for organizing and participating in demonstrations; vandalism; helping to organize demonstrations through the use of his BlackBerry; attending an address of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Mohammad Shioukh, 19 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to death for a number of offences, including writing anti-Government graffiti and filming demonstrations for the purpose of documenting and publishing their content.  Both were tortured while in custody.

Their names were included on a list of executions carried out today by the Saudi Government and published on the website of the Kingdom’s official press agency. In total, 47 people were executed at various locations across the country.

The list did not include the names of a number of people sentenced to death as children who are still facing execution. Ali al Nimr (Sheikh Nimr’s nephew), Dawoud al Marhoon, and Abdullah al Zaher were also sentenced to death over their alleged involvement in the 2012 anti-Government protests, despite having been aged 17, 17, and 15 respectively at the time. All three were also badly mistreated in custody, and tortured into signing ‘confessions’ to the offences alleged against them.

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of the death penalty team at international human rights organisation Reprieve said: “2015 saw Saudi Arabia execute over 150 people, many of them for non-violent offences. Today’s appalling news, with nearly 50 executed in a single day, suggests 2016 could be even worse. Alarmingly, the Saudi Government is continuing to target those who have called for domestic reform in the kingdom, executing at least four of them today. There are now real concerns that those protesters sentenced to death as children could be next in line to face the swordsman’s blade.”

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment