Aletho News


No basis for new US bans on Iran: Russia

Press TV – January 8, 2016

Russia says the Iranian missile program constitutes no basis on which the US can impose potential new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“We have no confidence that there are any grounds for the imposition of sanctions against Iran in connection with its missile program,” Interfax quoted a Russian diplomatic source as saying.

Talk of new US sanctions against Iran emerged after the Islamic Republic successfully test-fired a precision-guided long-range missile on October 11, 2015.

Several US politicians have said the test violated a United Nations resolution against Iran, and called on the US administration to introduce new sanctions against Tehran.

“The Americans interpret the relevant provision of Resolution 1929 as prohibiting any ballistic missile launches, whereas the text speaks about a ban on launches of ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads,” the Russian source also said, referring to the UN resolution adopted against Iran in June 2010.

The US administration, however, announced last month new sanctions against nearly a dozen companies and individuals for their alleged role in developing Iran’s missile program.

Fearing Iran’s reaction, the White House delayed implementing the sanctions for an unspecified time.

The sanctions would be the first ever since Iran and the P5+1 group reached a nuclear deal, dubbed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in July 2015.

The agreement would see the removal of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran in return for enhanced transparency by Iran in its peaceful nuclear program.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had warned that any new sanctions against Iran under any pretext would be interpreted as a violation of the JCPOA.

The unnamed Russian source further said the Kremlin is against “any exacerbation that can obstruct the beginning of the implementation” of the JCPOA that “should apparently happen in January, around its middle.”

Iranian officials say no limits can be imposed on the country’s conventional military capabilities.

They say none of the Iranian missiles have been “designed for a nuclear capability,” and thus their production and test are not in violation of the UN resolution.

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

New Charter Schools Teach American Students to be ‘Representatives of Israel’

Hebrew to become ‘World Language’

By Drew Franklin | orchestrated pulse | January 3, 2016

With the school privatization movement taking over public school districts across the United States, wealthy donors have seized on education reform to finance the creation of publicly-funded classrooms that teach young children to look to Israel “as a model for both democracy and diversity.”

That’s how one group described a proposed Social Studies curriculum in its 2012 application for a charter from the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which cleared the way for their Hebrew language school to open its doors to elementary school-aged residents of Washington, D.C. the next year.

Gil Tamary profiled Sela Public Charter School for a story that aired in Israel on Channel 10 last April. In his report, Tamary expresses shock upon seeing a room full of kindergarteners—most of them black—singing and conversing with him in Hebrew.

After noting that the Israeli Declaration of Independence and a map of Israel adorn the bulletin board by the school’s front entrance, Tamary reports that “the majority of the students are from the nearby neighborhoods, from local families, most of whom are not very fortunate.”

Publicly available statistics for charter schools, mandated by D.C. law, show that 74% of students enrolled in Sela PCS last year were African-American.

In the District of Columbia, charter schools are given $3,000 in government funding per child, per school year, while maintaining the freedom to manage their own budget and curricula, according to the Public Charter School Board website. Tuition is free, and because state and federal law prohibits public schools from affiliating with any religion, Sela is open to all students who live in D.C., Jewish or not.

Channel 10’s broadcast shows Shira Ravin, then-Director of Hebrew Curriculum and Instruction, explaining Sela’s appeal to non-Jewish residents by claiming that “in Israel, they teach better,” and that “Israel showcases a culture of good education.”

But, Tamary later points out to her, the kids have no connection to the country apart from Sela. “You’re raising them to be representatives of Israel,” he says.

“Amazing. A wonderful idea. Exactly. Exactly!” answers Ravin. “You never know if these same kids, who are growing up in D.C., will be the next president of the United States or a member of Congress.”

Sela’s unlikely appeal to parents in D.C.’s predominately black neighborhoods might be better explained by the supplementary funding charter schools receive from private donors, which helps them stay competitive in a system where school closures are common. Tax filings indicate that in 2014 Sela received a $250,000 grant from the Hebrew Charter School Center, a New York-based nonprofit foundation that funds seven of the twelve Hebrew charter schools currently operating in the U.S.

As previously reported in the Electronic Intifada, HCSC is financed by the hedge fund billionaire and Taglit-Birthright financier Michael Steinhardt, who in 2012 told Max Blumenthal, “There were no Palestinian people.”

The first Hebrew charter school to open in the U.S., the Hebrew Language Academy in New York, was founded in 1999 by Steinhardt’s daughter, HCSC board chair Sara Berman. In an editorial for the Spring 2011 issue of Contact, a journal published by the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, Berman says she envisions Hebrew charter school graduates growing into “a vanguard of understanding for Israel.”

According to the HCSCH website, another board member, Jason A. Muss, concurrently sits on the national board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

While there has been some controversy about whether or not the language’s association with Judaism proves that Hebrew charter schools violate the separation of church and state, less discussed is the possibility that their Israel-centric curricula indoctrinate American children to sympathize with Zionism.

In May 2012, before Sela opened for business, the Forward quoted co-founder Jessica Lieberman dismissing that concern, insisting that the school was not a “Zionist enterprise.” Rather, she said, Israel would be taught “just as you learn about any other country in school.”

But how many public schools in the United States have working relationships with diplomats from those countries? Sela’s annual report to the Public Charter School Board for school year 2013/2014 states that representatives from the Israeli embassy have visited the school “on multiple occasions.” It also says that the school recruits its Hebrew teachers—all of whom are “native Israelis”—through a partnership with the World Zionist Organization.

The kindergarten classroom featured in Channel 10’s broadcast is named “Be’er Sheva,” which is the Hebrew name for an Israeli city in the southern Naqab. That city is built on land that was ethnically cleansed of its 110,000 indigenous Palestinian inhabitants in 1948; it was also at the center of the region targeted by the “Prawer Plan,” which would have displaced 30,000 Bedouin from the surrounding desert1, until the plan was withdrawn by the Israeli government following mass protests in 2013.

While the Prawer Plan explicitly called for violent displacement and predicated it on economic development, D.C.’s native black population is threatened with ipso facto displacement for the same end. In Ward 4, in which Sela is located, rising housing costs driven by development have disproportionately priced out poorer black residents, whose incomes have fallen despite D.C.’s rapid economic growth2. U.S. Census data shows that between 2000 and 2010, Ward 4’s black population declined by 15%, while its white population rose by 33% in the same period.

School privatization is a vehicle for the land development that drives displacement, and it’s controlled by white elites—so says Howard University’s Dean of Education Policy, Leslie T. Fenwick, in a Washington Post op-ed from 2013. “This kind of school reform is not about children,” she concludes, “it’s about the business elite gaining access to the nearly $600 billion that supports the nation’s public schools. It’s about money.”

For Michael Steinhardt, money is no object. If exploiting black communities and indoctrinating their children can aid in the theft of Palestinian land, he’ll pay for it—and double down with taxpayers’ dollars.



January 8, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 3 Comments

Istanbul police raid district office of pro-Kurdish opposition party

Press TV – January 8, 2016

Police in Istanbul have raided a district office of Turkey’s main opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Turkish media reports said on Friday that several people were detained and party documents seized during the two-hour raid at the Beyoglu headquarters of the HDP.

The co-chair of the district branch, Rukiye Demir, was among the detainees.

Turkish authorities have stepped up pressure on the HDP while Ankara’s military apparatus has been engaged in a security operation against suspected militants in the Kurdish-majority south and southeast of the country in the recent past, running offensives against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants all the way into northern Iraq.

Turkish authorities accuse the HDP of acting as the political arm of the PKK.

Turkey and countries such as the United States and Britain consider the PKK as a terrorist group. The HDP strongly denies any links with the militants.

On July 20, 2015, a bomb attack in the southern Kurdish-majority town of Suruc claimed more than 30 lives. The Turkish government blamed it on the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group. After the bombing, the PKK, accusing the government of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.

Ankara said Thursday that 305 PKK militants have been killed since December 14, 2015, when its security operation intensified.

The militant group has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since 1980s.

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Secret’ police files relating to Green Party peer ‘deleted in highly irregular cover up’

RT | January 8, 2016

A Scotland Yard intelligence unit that spies on political campaigners, shredded files relating to Green Party peer Jenny Jones to stop her from discovering the extent of the police monitoring of her activities, an officer has claimed.

Exposing a “highly irregular” cover-up, whistleblower Sgt David Williams claims the police unit improperly destroyed Jones’ files stored in its secret database of “domestic extremists.”

In a four-page letter addressed to the peer, the ex-officer said: “I didn’t become a police officer to monitor politicians or political parties, nor to pay casual disregard to policy and procedure.”

“This letter to you may not be in my best interests but not sending it would be unconscionable for me. I fear it may initiate a series of escalating actions against me designed to discredit me or lead to my suspension from duty or my dismissal,” he said.

He then revealed that he saw three officers engaged in “physically destroying” a number of police records.

“I believe all of these records related to you. There were in excess of 30 reports,” he told Jones in the letter.

“One of these officers then began to electronically delete a number of police records from a police database. Again, I believe these records related to you.”

The whistleblower said the peer’s records were erased immediately without being retained on the unit’s back-up database. “This process would thwart any freedom of information request within a 28-day period from the initial deletion.”

Williams said he reported his concerns to the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) but the internal department responsible for investigating misconduct told him it had been unable to find any evidence to support his claims.

In the personal letter, Williams also alleged that another officer who complained about drunken behavior, racism and alleged fraud, was removed from the unit.

Commenting on the allegations, the Metropolitan Police insisted it did not delete the files “inappropriately,” adding they were destroyed as part of a legitimate program to improve record keeping.

“In fact the lead detective in the case, who spoke to all potential witnesses as part of their investigation, found that the unit was responding positively to demands to improve its document retention procedures by destroying information that it had no need to retain and that therefore should not be retained,” they told the Guardian.

Two years ago, Jones used the Data Protection Act to obtain records showing how the police had kept a log of her political movements between 2001 and 2012.

During that period, she had been a member of the official committee scrutinizing the Metropolitan Police Service.

“I would describe myself as many things, but domestic extremist is not one of them. In the eyes of the Metropolitan Police, however, that is what I am; and that’s why my name is on a file in their secret database of ‘domestic extremists,’” she wrote in the Guardian in June 2014.

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

German Public Broadcaster Apologizes for Suppressing Report About Migrant Attacks

Bold, even for German media

Russia Insider | January 8, 2015

German public broadcaster ZDF has acknowledged that it was wrong to “delay” reporting on a wave of sexual assaults and robberies suspected to have been carried out by migrants from North Africa and the Middle East.

ZDF sat on the story for four days before reporting it, a decision that the broadcaster now calls a “misjudgment”. Maybe ZDF was hoping it would all just go away? This is incredible:

“The news situation was clear enough. It was a mistake of the 7pm ‘heute’ show not to at least report the incidents,” wrote deputy chief editor Elmar Thevessen on the show’s Facebook page.

Editors had decided to postpone the news segment to Tuesday, the day Cologne’s city hall and police held a crisis meeting on the attacks, he wrote, admitting this was “a clear misjudgement”.

As the assaults have come to dominate German mainstream media, more women have come forward in Cologne and other cities about being groped and attacked on New Year’s Eve.

The number of criminal complaints in Cologne topped 100 by Wednesday.

“Despite the world’s most expensive public broadcaster, countless social media reactions and online newsrooms … it took four long days before national media comprehensively reported on the incidents,” said a commentary on the media service.

“The initial slowness is now being used in some circles to back their claims about the ‘lying press’.”

“Some circles”? As in, “circles with brain cells”?

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

UK Foreign Secretary refuses to condemn Saudi mass execution

Reprieve | January 8, 2015

The UK Foreign Secretary has claimed that 47 people executed by the Saudi authorities on Saturday, including four protestors, were “convicted terrorists”, and has refused to condemn the Saudi government’s actions.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Philip Hammond was invited to condemn the executions, but replied “let’s be clear that these people were convicted terrorists”. He added that the UK has made its opposition to the death penalty “well known” to the Saudi government, as well as other countries such as Iran, but that he believed the UK could only be effective in individual cases.

Mr Hammond’s comments come after Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, gave an interview in which he labelled those killed as terrorists, and claimed that their trials had been fair. It has also emerged that the Saudi authorities this week sent a memo to all British MPs, attempting to justify Saturday’s mass execution.

Contrary to those claims, the 47 prisoners included at least four people who were arrested in relation to political protests: activist Sheikh Nimr and young men Ali al-Ribh, Mohammad Shioukh and Mohammad Suweimal. Ali was 18 when he was arrested, reportedly by police entering his school. All four protestors were convicted in secretive trials in the country’s Specialized Criminal Court, with defence lawyers often denied access to the courtroom and their clients. In at least one of the cases, the court relied on a ‘confession’ extracted through torture as evidence.

Three juveniles still awaiting execution in relation to protests – Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher, who are assisted by human rights organization Reprieve – were also sentenced to death in the SCC, after being tortured into signing statements. All three remain in solitary confinement, and could be executed at any time. Mr Hammond said that the UK had been lobbying the Saudi authorities regularly for “assurances” that the death penalty would not be carried out in their cases.

Recent research by Reprieve has found that, of those facing execution in Saudi Arabia in 2015, the vast majority – 72 per cent – were convicted of non-lethal offenses such as political protest or drug-related crimes, while torture and forced ‘confessions’ were frequently reported. Reprieve has also established that the Saudi authorities executed at least 158 people in 2015 – a marked increase on the previous year.

Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “While Philip Hammond’s efforts to prevent the execution of Ali al Nimr and other juveniles are welcome, it appears he is alarmingly misinformed about the mass executions. Far from being ‘terrorists’, at least four of those killed were arrested after protests calling for reform – and were convicted in shockingly unfair trials. The Saudi government is clearly using the death penalty, alongside torture and secret courts, to punish political dissent. By refusing to condemn these executions and parroting the Saudis’ propaganda, labelling those killed as ‘terrorists’, Mr Hammond is coming dangerously close to condoning Saudi Arabia’s approach.”

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Gaza: The Killing Zone

May 2003 – A report by Sandra Jordan for Channel 4’s Dispatches and Unreported World

Palestinian civilians live under the threat of Israeli Defence Force attacks that do not discriminate between militants and children. Israeli settlers live in fear of suicide attacks. But it is not only Palestinians and Israelis who are dying. Since the Gulf war, three Westerners have come under Israeli army attack.

An American peace activist was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer; a British peace protester was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper and remains in a coma; and a British cameraman was shot dead by the Israelis.

Within hours of arriving Sandra and Rodrigo are shot at and tear-gassed by Israeli troops breaking up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist crushed by an Israeli Army bulldozer two days before.

That sets the tone for a five-week stay in which they document the shooting by Israeli troops of the British peace campaigner Tom Hurndall, the death of James Miller, the award-winning cameraman who worked extensively for Channel 4, killed as he filmed Israeli troops bulldozing Palestinian homes, and the deaths and mutilation of many innocent Palestinians and Israelis.

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment