Aletho News


Egypt builds more prisons


MEMO | January 14, 2016

Instead of fulfilling his promises to improve the country’s deteriorating economy, provide new job opportunities for thousands of unemployed youth and build at least one million housing units to accommodate young couples, Egypt’s President, Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi has only managed to build more prisons and detention centres to accommodate the growing number of opposition activists.

Less than two months after his election in June 2013, Al-Sisi opened the first maximum security prison in the Dakahlia Governorate.

As many as five new prisons have been constructed since 2013.

Yesterday, the president issued a decree to allocate a plot of state-owned land that spreads over more 103.22 acres to construct a new central prison in Giza.

With the new prison, Egypt will have 42 prisons as well as 382 detention centres in police stations.

A report by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights revealed that the cost of building Gamasa prison was 750 million Egyptian pounds ($95.8 million), adding that the interior ministry did not publish the costs incurred during the construction of the other prisons because they probably cost billions of Egyptian pounds.

According to the organisation, Egypt does not need to build more detention centres to solve a capacity crisis; the problem is imprisoning tens of thousands of innocent people without justification.

Authorities have increased arbitrary arrests because of political opinion and the number of detainees has reached more than 41,000 prisoners, the human rights group said.

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Over 700 Shias missing after Nigeria army raids: Shia group

Press TV – January 14, 2016

A Nigerian Shia group says more than 700 of its members are still unaccounted for a month after the deadly attacks by Nigerian forces against Shia Muslims in the northern city of Zaria.

In a statement released on Thursday, Ibrahim Musa, the spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), whose leader Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky is in police custody, said about 730 people have gone missing since December 12, 2015.

“These missing people were either killed by the army or are in detention” but their “whereabouts are still unknown and undisclosed,” Musa said.

He further noted that some 220 IMN members were in a prison, located in the city of Kaduna, the capital of the state with the same name, while others were in military custody elsewhere across the African state.

On December 12 last year, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the northern city of Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him. The Shias have categorically denied the allegations.

The following day, Nigerian forces also raided Zakzaky’s home and arrested him after reportedly killing those attempting to protect him, including one of the IMN’s senior leaders and its spokesman.

Both incidents led to the deaths of hundreds of members of the religious community, including three of Zakzaky’s sons. There has been no official death toll in the violence, but rights activists have put the number at over 1,000.

Musa said no Nigerian family had received a body for burial in the weeks since the Zaria violence.

The Shia cleric is said to have been charged with “criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.”

The IMN has called for Zakzaky’s unconditional release and for Abuja to respond to the “unjustifiable atrocities committed by the army.”

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu to downgrade diplomatic representation in Brazil

MEMO | January 14, 2016

benjamin-netanyahu-large-4Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday decided to downgrade diplomatic representation in Brazil over the latter’s refusal to approve settler leader Dani Dayan as Israeli ambassador, local media reported.

The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported Netanyahu saying: “If Brazil won’t approve former settler leader Dani Dayan as its ambassador, Israel won’t offer another diplomat.”

The Israeli PM’s decision came one week after reports surfaced that Netanyahu would withdraw Dayan’s name as an ambassador to Brazil and give him another diplomatic position in the US.

Arabic news website reported officials from the Israeli foreign ministry accusing Brazil of a “personal boycott” of Dayan; however, a group of 40 retired Brazilian diplomats signed a statement against the appointment of Dayan.

Dayan has previously said: “To be an ambassador or not, it is not the question for me, but if this was not, will 700,000 Israeli [settlers] be banned from working in embassies?”

He added: “As it has objecting to the labelling of Israeli products, Israel must object to the labelling of people.”

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. “Aid” plan for Central America will Worsen Inequality, Exacerbate Flight

U.S. Alliance for Prosperity plan aims to stem Central American migration, but critics say the plan falls far short of addressing underlying causes

teleSUR | January 13, 2016

The United States’ plan to more than double its aid package to Central America in the name of increasing security and boosting development is likely to open up the region to U.S. corporate interests without tackling underlying problems of poverty and inequality, CISPES Executive Director Alexis Stoumbelis told teleSUR on Wednesday.

U.S. Congress approved over US$750 million at the end of December to roll out President Barack Obama’s strategy for Central America. The package supports the controversial Alliance for Prosperity, a plan touted as a strategy to stem the massive wave of undocumented migrants from the Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, but slammed by critics for exacerbating key drivers of the crisis.

According to Stoumbelis, the new increased funding plan continues the same development model based on White House priorities of free trade and foreign direct investment that the U.S. has long promoted in the region.

“The U.S. has had an aggressive neoliberal agenda in Central America for the last 20 years, so this doesn’t really come as a surprise,” Stoumbelis told teleSUR by phone, citing the Central America Free Trade Agreement as an example of the U.S.-backed free trade model that has proven to worsen insecurity and inequality in Central American countries.

“The plan continues to push an agenda much more in line with neoliberal economics than programs proven to improve quality of life,” said Stoumbelis.

While the new aid package has been promoted as a bid to address longstanding issues of poverty, insecurity, and violence, the main pillars of the plan pave the way for increased foreign investment, natural resource extraction, privatization, and militarization while raising serious concerns about human rights and inequality, Stoumbelis added.

“The funding provides backing for governments that have proven time and time against putting human rights at the top of the agenda,” said Stoumbelis, adding that the plan ignores calls from many social movements and advocacy groups to cut security aid to the region instead of rewarding human rights-abusing administrations with more funding.

Although the U.S. funding for Central America includes conditions aimed at addressing human rights concerns raised by social movements and advocates, many remain skeptical that the measures will do enough to counteract dismal human rights records and rampant corruption, especially in Honduras and Guatemala.

“It was a victory to condition the aid … and to convince (U.S.) Congress that its support for human rights-abusing governments needs to be addressed,” said Stoumbelis. He went on to say that even if the aid is subject to human rights guarantees, it is ultimately up to the State Department to sign off on whether Central American countries fulfill the conditions.

Many expect that the new plan will uphold the State Department’s historically inadequate standard on human rights, which in the past has seen human rights approval issued despite evidence of systematic and chronic human rights abuses on the ground in Central America.

The US$750-million aid package will spike funding levels from US$120 million to US$300 million for development, from US$160 million to US$405 million for security, and from US$33 million to over US$66 million for the war on drugs. Funds will be administered by the State Department and by USAID, which have proven to support privatization and the interests of U.S. corporations in the region.

The security funding includes doubling the budget for the Central American Security Initiative, a regional plan that has dramatically increased militarization of security forces in the region and in turn raised concerns about increasing human rights abuses, impunity, and corruption without fulfilling its state’s objectives of tackling insecurity.

According to Stoumbelis, militarization in the name of the war on drugs has largely been a “war on the people,” as poor people are the most vulnerable in the face of insecurity and have largely been the victims of rising levels of violence under CARSI and the security initiative for Mexico, Plan Merida.

The plan is expected to pave the way for increased militarization in the name of “stabilization” and border security, which critics fear will result in increased human rights violations and exacerbate the problems underlying social and economic inequality.

Militarization also tends to result in criminalization of protest movements against neoliberal mega-projects that displace communities, rob indigenous peoples of land, destroy the environment, and undermine food security—a development strategy only set to ramp up under the new regional aid plan.

Despite the challenges, Stoumbelis predicts that such resistance movements will redouble their fight against the model the U.S. aid package proposes to push harder.

“There has been a tremendous challenge to the model,” said Stoumbelis, emphasizing the role of cross-border resistance in the region and the importance of international solidarity.

For Stoumbelis, in the face of increased U.S. aid, solidarity with Central American movements is now more than ever key to resisting the “U.S.-backed corporate onslaught in the region.”

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

US drowning in blood of innocent people proving its hegemony: ‘Twas ever thus’

By John Wight | RT | January 13, 2016

As the US grows desperate to re-establish credibility in the Middle East, having failed to stem the rise of terrorism across the region, and in response to Russia’s intervention in Syria, Washington is now clearly in danger of losing the plot.

Evidence for this comes on the back of the recent airstrike carried out by US jets over Mosul, targeting an ISIS facility allegedly containing a huge amount of cash intended to pay its fighters and finance future military operations. According to a CNN report on the Mosul airstrike, “US commanders had been willing to consider up to 50 civilian casualties from the airstrike due to the importance of the target. But the initial post-attack assessment indicated that perhaps five to seven people were killed.”

This is an astounding statement, cynical in its disregard for civilian lives and dripping in hypocrisy when we consider the efforts that have been made by Western ideologues and their governments to demonize Russia over its intervention in Syria, accusing it of striking civilian targets with blithe disregard for the consequences.

Imagine if a Russian military commander made a statement such as this, openly acknowledging that civilians would be killed in future Russian airstrikes. The uproar across Western media platforms would be off the scale. There would likely even be attempts to convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in order to censure the Russian government, along with a concerted attempt to isolate Moscow and reduce it to pariah status.

Yet, when US officials make such statements it’s reported as if it was just another day in the Empire.

In the same CNN news report, we are informed that, “In recent weeks, the US has said it will assess all targets on a case-by-case basis and may be more willing to tolerate civilians casualties for more significant targets.”

Though undeniably shocking in its callousness, for those familiar with the history of US military operations it will come as no surprise. In Korea and Vietnam in the 1950s and 60s, for example, the US waged total war against civilians. They carpet bombed both countries until the landscape was utterly devastated, in addition to using napalm and chemical weapons such as Agent Orange to destroy crops, rice paddies and, with it, the means of survival for millions of human beings.

In his 1970 expose of the notorious massacre of My Lai in Vietnam, US investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reveals how, “they [US soldiers] were setting fire to the hootches [villagers homes] and huts and waiting for people to come out and then shooting them…they were going into the hootches and shooting them up…they were gathering people in groups and shooting them. The whole thing was so deliberate. It was point blank murder…”

Towards the end of Hersh’s report we learn that army investigators, visiting My Lai afterwards, “found mass graves at three sites, as well as a ditch full of bodies. It was estimated that between 450 and 500 people – most of them women, children and old men – had been slain and buried there.”

Another US war crime, connected to the Vietnam War, was the carpet bombing of Cambodia across the Vietnamese border. Many consider this to have been genocidal in its destruction of the country and the sheer number of people slaughtered. Even worse it created the conditions in the country out of which the Khmer Rouge emerged, offering a striking parallel with the Middle East today considering the role the war in Iraq played in destabilizing the region with the emergence of ISIS the result.

Australian journalist and filmmaker John Pilger visited Cambodia in the 1970s, after the toppling of Pol Pot, reporting on the horror and suffering its people had endured under his perverse regime. Pilger writes, “During one six-month period in 1973, B-52s dropped more bombs in 3,695 raids on the populated heartland of Cambodia than were dropped on Japan during all of the Second World War: the equivalent, in tons of bombs, of five Hiroshimas.”

Not content with bombing Cambodia into the arms of Pol Pot and his ‘Year Zero’ genocidal project, the US went on to support and aid the Khmer Rouge after the country was liberated by the Vietnamese in 1979, during which the group was chased across the border into neighboring Thailand. Pilger reveals that the “reason for this [US support for the Khmer Rouge] stemmed from the fact that Cambodia’s liberators had come from the wrong side of the Cold War. The Vietnamese, who had driven the Americans from their homeland, were not to be acknowledged in any way as liberators, and they and the Khmer people would suffer accordingly.”

In reality the history of the US when it comes to slaughtering civilians, or aiding their slaughter and suffering, provides enough material for a thousand articles never mind one. The image of itself it tries to promote to the gullible and guileless, mostly its own people, is of a nation that stands for the highest standards of moral rectitude, decency, and honor in its dealings with the rest of the world. The truth is exactly the opposite. The truth is that Washington is verily drowning in the blood of innocent people, deemed surplus to the requirements of US hegemony.

Syria today is no different, which is why nobody should be surprised at such open and naked disregard for innocent civilians, revealed in the words of US officials vis-à-vis future US airstrikes.

John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. He wrote a memoir of the five years he spent in Hollywood, where he worked in the movie industry prior to becoming a full time activist and organizer with the US antiwar movement post-9/11. The book is titled Dreams That Die and is published by Zero Books. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Are Terrorist Attacks in Turkey State-Sponsored?

By Stephen Lendman | January 14, 2016

Blaming recent terrorist attacks in Turkish cities on ISIS (or other non-state actors) is dubious at best. Erdogan supports Daesh. Why would it target a valued ally?

The latest incidents happened this week following earlier ones. An alleged suicide bomber killed 10 tourists in Istanbul’s historic district, mostly German nationals. At least 15 others were injured.

Erdogan’s “condemn(ation)” of what happened rang hollow. Angela Merkel blamed “international terrorism.”

Former Obama State Department counterterrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin claimed ISIS is “determined to target more soft targets outside their areas… in Syria and Iraq” – without explaining what it could hope to gain strategically.

On Thursday, a huge blast largely destroyed a police headquarters building in Turkey’s Diyarbakir province. At least five deaths were reported, dozens injured.

Kurdish PKK militants were blamed despite no evidence proving it. Reports claimed eight “terrorists” were killed in clashes with police following the bombing.

What’s going on? Is Turkey especially vulnerable to terrorist attacks given their frequency in recent months? Or does responsibility lie elsewhere?

Were high-profile attacks in its cities state-sponsored? Erdogan supports terrorist groups while claiming to combat them.

He heads a fascist police state. He’s an international criminal with megalomaniacal aims, wanting political opponents eliminated, waging war on freedom, tolerating no internal critics, charging them with treason.

Putin calls him an “accomplice of terrorists” – aiding ISIS, Al Qaeda and other groups complicit with Washington, waging war without mercy on Turkish Kurds, hugely responsible for regional violence and instability.

He seeks unchallenged tyrannical powers under the mantle of presidential rule, wanting Ankara’s constitution rewritten to oblige him.

Turkey has enjoyed nearly 140 years of parliamentary governance – despite four military coups and execution of a prime minister. It has never taken steps to shift to iron-fisted one-man presidential rule.

Fear-mongering is longstanding US policy. Erdogan appears to be following the same strategy, aiming to overcome parliamentary opposition to his power-grabbing scheme – using alleged terrorist attacks to enlist support for iron-fisted presidential rule on the pretext of protecting national security.

As long as Erdogan remains Turkey’s leader, tyranny will substitute for democratic freedoms. His next moves to solidify power remain to be seen.

Stephen Lendman can be reached at

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

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Pyongyang Lawyers Condemn Washington for Refusal to Sign Peace Deal

Sputnik — 14.01.2016

A committee of North Korean lawyers classified Washington’s unwillingness to sign a peace deal with Pyongyang as “an international crime,” local media reported Thursday.

The committee added that the peace deal was essential to peace and security both in North Korea and in the whole world. However, it warned that if Washington did not change its approach to Pyongyang, North Korea would ensure its safety by producing nuclear weapons.

“US policy aimed at persistent refusal to sign [North] Korean-US peace treaty and at military suppression of us is extremely dangerous international crime and wrongful act, which contradicts the establishment of peace,” Yonhap news agency reported, citing the North Korean committee.

The Korean War of 1950-1953 ended with an armistice agreement, signed by the United States and North Korea. The agreement was meant to ensure a cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula until a final peace deal had been reached.

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment