Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

‘Dangerous precedent’: Turkey denies Russian observation flight along Syrian border

Antonov An-30 © Wikipedia

Antonov An-30 © Wikipedia
RT | February 3, 2016

Turkey has set “a dangerous precedent” by denying an observation flight over its territories bordering Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, vowing a “relevant reaction” to Ankara’s violation of its obligations under the international Open Skies Treaty.

The Treaty on Open Skies which came into force in 2002 allows unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 signatories, which includes Turkey. However the Russian An-30B plane was banned from conducting its surveillance flight over Turkish territory which was scheduled for February 1-5, without any prior warning.

“After the arrival of the Russian mission to Turkey and the announcement of the desired itinerary, the Turkish military officials refused to allow the inspection flight citing an order from the Turkish Foreign Ministry,” the head of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, Sergey Ryzhkov, said in a statement.

This is the first time that Turkey has refused a Russian observation flight over its territory. Since 2006 under the Treaty on Open Skies, Russia conducted approximately two observation flights a year. Turkey has flown over Russian airspace approximately four times a year.

But as tensions between Turkey and Russia intensified following the downing of the Russian jet in November, Ankara has refused the implementation of the treaty.

“The itinerary included the observation of areas adjacent to the Turkish border with Syria, as well as airfields that host NATO warplanes,” Ryzhkov pointed out. A previous statement, issued on February 1, specified that a Russian oversight flight would be conducted along an agreed route. Furthermore, Turkish monitors on board would have the opportunity to control the use of surveillance equipment.

Tensions deteriorated further last week, when neither Ankara nor its NATO allies offered any proof after accusing Russia’s Su-34 bomber of violating Turkish airspace. Moscow sees the latest development as a violation of the treaty and has warned that “relevant action” will occur in response.

“As a result of violations of the requirements of the Treaty and unconstructive actions on the part of Turkey, a dangerous precedent was created of an uncontrolled military activity of an Open Skies Treaty member state,” Ryzhkov said. “We are not going to leave without proper attention and relevant reaction violations of the Open Skies Treaty on the part of the Turkish Republic.”

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the upper house’s international affairs committee, said that the Turkish violation of the treaty further complicates Russian-Turkish relations.

“This is unfortunate and does not contribute to the exit from this crisis, in which Russian-Turkish relations are currently in. This is a clear violation of Turkey’s international obligations under the Treaty on Open Skies,” he told TASS.

In a separate development the Russian Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday that another group of Russian inspectors would visit Turkish army ranges and get briefed by the Turkish military command, as part of the framework of the 2011 Vienna document aimed at building confidence and security.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Cop Kills Unarmed Man at His Place of Work Over Unpaid Traffic Fines then Gets Huge Promotion

Cop-Kills-Unarmed-Man-at-His-Place-of-Work-Over-Unpaid-Traffic-Fines-then-Gets-Huge-Promotion

By Claire Bernish | The Free Thought Project | February 2, 2016

Smyrna, GA — After killing Nicholas Thomas on March 24, 2015, under questionable circumstances at the Goodyear store where he was on the job, Smyrna Police Sgt. Kenneth Owens was cleared of any wrongdoing — and is now being promoted to Lieutenant.

“In a release sent to 11Alive News on Tuesday, the Smyrna Police Department confirmed that Owens is being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant effective Monday, February 15, 2016,” the local NBC affiliate reported; and according to that statement, “Sgt. Owens is eligible and qualified for this position as prescribed by departmental policy.”

Considering the questions still surrounding Thomas’ death, his family — as well as many others in the community and elsewhere — would likely beg to differ.

Thomas was working at the Atlanta Goodyear Service Center, when Owens and several other officers came to serve a warrant for an alleged probation violation by the young father — reportedly over traffic violations. Startled by those officers appearance at his workplace, Thomas reportedly jumped into a customer’s Maserati to flee.

“The suspect drove his car toward officers, putting officers in fear for their lives, at which time the officers fired into the vehicle, shooting the suspect,” said Smyrna Police Sgt. Ed Cason the following day, as 11Alive reported at the time.

However, questions arose when the Cobb County Medical Examiner found the bullet had entered Thomas in his upper right back — hardly the location or entry point one would expect if an officer fired into a vehicle because he thought it would run him over.

“Of all the officers there, only one felt his life was threatened,” said Thomas’ family lawyer Mawuli Davis, as The Free Thought Project previously reported. “Unless a car can travel sideways, I don’t know how you can be in fear for your life.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Cobb County Police Department both asserted the fatal shooting was “justified under the facts and the law.”

That fear of an imminent threat to an officer’s life — the justification for and cause of subsequent no-fault finding in this incident — appear to have been based on Owens’ hypothetical assessment of what Thomas was planning to do.

As Thomas careened around the store’s parking lot, looking for a way out since officers had blocked the only vehicle entry and exit point, Owens and other police jumped out of the way — but he claimed he feared an approaching officer might be struck by the vehicle if Thomas rounded the corner of the store quickly, so he decided to open fire.

Despite these lingering questions surrounding the killing of Thomas, as well as a seemingly loose interpretation of Georgia law, Sgt. Owens will soon be promoted to Lt. Owens — apparently indicating a continuing of the trend of impunity under any circumstances for police in the United States.

And why not? Cops ‘fearing for their lives’ and then killing fleeing motorists seems to be the norm in Police State USA.

Seneca Police Lt. Mark Tiller made the same assertion when he shot and killed 19-year-old Zachary Hammond over the possession of a small amount of marijuana. Officer Ray Tensing was caught on video killing Sam Dubose in a similar fashion. In September, cellphone footage was released showing police murdering 33-year-old John Barry, a mentally ill man who attempted to flee from police during a breakdown.

One of the most disgusting examples of cops claiming to fear for their lives as cars drive off is the case of Officers Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse, Jr., who, in November, opened fire on a car occupied by 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis, killing him and severely injuring his father.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Gerald Caplan: Justifying Paul Kagame’s Repression in Rwanda

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | February 2, 2016

The Globe and Mail’s recent coverage of Rwanda has been schizophrenic. While South African-based correspondent Geoffrey York has done important work detailing how Paul Kagame’s government has assassinated its opponents and contributed to violence in Eastern Congo, columnist Gerald Caplan has justified its repression and echoed Kigali’s position on regional conflicts.

At the start of January York reported on two new books describing the totalitarian nature of President Kagame’s regime. “Village informers”, wrote York. “Re-education camps. Networks of spies on the streets. Routine surveillance of the entire population. The crushing of the independent media and all political opposition. A ruler who changes the constitution to extend his power after ruling for two decades. It sounds like North Korea, or the totalitarian days of China under Mao. But this is the African nation of Rwanda – a long-time favourite of Western governments and a major beneficiary of millions of dollars in Canadian government support.”

A year and a half ago York wrote an explosive investigation headlined “Inside the plots to kill Rwanda’s dissidents”, which provided compelling evidence that the regime had extended its assassination program, killing (or attempting to) a number of its former top officials who were living in South Africa. Since the initial investigation York has also reported on Rwandan dissidents who’ve had to flee Belgium for their safety and revealed that Ottawa failed to act after UN and Spanish court investigations concluded Canadian priests Guy Pinard and Claude Simard were killed by soldiers loyal to Kagame in the mid-1990s.

At the end of 2012 York reported on Rwanda reasserting control over the mineral rich Eastern Congo. In one of a number of insightful articles York described how “Rwandan sponsored” M23 rebels “hold power by terror and violence.” The rebel group added “a [new] layer of administrators, informers, police and other operatives” in and around the city of Goma in part to “bolster” its “grip on the trade in ‘blood minerals’.” (In 1996 Rwandan forces marched 1,500 km to topple the regime in Kinshasa and then re-invaded after the Congolese government it installed expelled Rwandan troops. This led to an eight-country war between 1998 and 2003, which left millions dead.)

While York has done what investigative journalists are supposed to do — comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable — unfortunately the Globe also publishes regular columns by an author who seems to strive for the exact opposite in the case of Rwanda.

Gerald Caplan recently wrote about political conflict in Burundi, invoking Kagame’s rhetoric of “genocide” all the while ignoring Rwanda’s role in organizing armed opposition to the Burundian government. In support of Kigali’s aggressive regional posture, Caplan continues to repeat Kagame’s rationale for unleashing mayhem in the Congo two decades after the mass killing of Rwandan Tutsi (and Hutu) in 1994. In a 2014 column he wrote: “In the Congo former génocidaires lead a violent anti-Kagame militia dedicated to ‘finishing the work’ of the hundred days.”

In another column Caplan justified the arrest of presidential opponent Victoire Ingabire and criticized the Law Society of Upper Canada after it called for the release of her American lawyer, who was also imprisoned.

And strangely, for a former NDP strategist, Caplan has sought to muzzle media that disagree with the current government’s version of Rwandan history. In 2014 he signed an open letter condemning the BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story and a year earlier wrote a piece about lobbying the University of Toronto to remove the Taylor Report, a program on campus radio, from air because it hosted critics of the Rwandan government.

Caplan has failed to inform readers about his ties to the regime in Kigali. He started an organization with Rwanda’s current Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo and said he stays at her family’s hotel when visiting the country. Caplan has also spoken at a number of events in Kigali and New York organized by the Rwandan government.

So, who to believe? York or Caplan? Is Kagame a saint or dictator?

My money is on the investigative journalist.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Who was Cecil Rhodes?

By John Wight | American Herald Tribune | February 2 ,2016

Was he the great businessman, politician, patriot, and visionary his admirers claim, a man who did more than any other to develop an African continent which in the 19th century was imprisoned behind walls of primitiveness, barbarism, superstition and under-development? Or was he in truth a rampant racist and colonialist, a white supremacist who treated a large swathe of Africa as his personal fiefdom, ruthlessly exploiting its people and resources for personal gain and enrichment?

These are the questions that underpin the contested history not just of Cecil Rhodes but European colonialism and empire in toto.

They are questions that have come to the fore in recent weeks over the campaign by students at Britain’s elite Oxford University to have a statue of Cecil Rhodes removed from the building of one if its colleges – Oriel College, to be precise – on the basis that he was a racist and a colonialist, a slaveholder whose veneration is an insult to the countless millions of Africans who suffered unspeakable exploitation and cruelty under Rhodes in the land he ruled, named after him as Rhodesia, which later became Zimbabwe.

Rhodes and other men like him from across the European continent in the 19th century – colonialists, adventurers, soldiers of fortune, administrators, merchants, etc. – arrived and set about the necessary task of introducing civilization and order to savages who’d only ever known spiritual and cultural desolation. This was their belief and the justification employed to plunder and pillage an entire continent, reducing its people to abject misery and despair while indulging in genocidal brutality and barbarity.

On this basis it is not only the statue of Cecil Rhodes that constitutes an offence to decency and justice. Every second grand statue and monument that litters central London and other British towns and cities are statues and monuments to the brutality of colonialism and empire, dripping in the blood of countless human beings whose only crime was to be born African or Indian or Irish in a period when to be such was to be untermenschen in the eyes of people like Cecil Rhodes and the ruling elites in the societies that produced them.

You would automatically think, then, that a campaign to acknowledge the victims of a man like Rhodes would have no problem in achieving its objectives. Alas, you’d be wrong. For in opposition to the campaign to have the statue removed has come threats from wealthy and not so wealthy members of Oxford University’s alumni to withdraw donations to the university unless the statue stays put.

Rhodes, it should be mentioned, was himself a student at Oxford in the 1870s. Upon his death in 1902 he left money to fund an international scholarship at the university. Among the 8,000 students who have since benefited from a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford are Bill Clinton, Bill Bradley, Naomi Wolf, and Rachel Maddow. By this method his legacy has been ‘whitewashed’, along with the history of colonialism he personifies, especially at traditional institutions such as Oxford University, a pillar of the British establishment where a disproportionate number of its political leaders, leading journalists, newspaper editors, and business leaders have been educated.

It’s not only Britain that has this problem of historical legacy, wherein its economic foundations and with them political, cultural, and educational institutions were built on crimes of genocide, slavery, ethnic cleansing, and colonial exploitation. In the United States we have Andrew Carnegie, who rather than exploit Africans and Africa amassed his wealth out of the brutal exploitation of American workers. Yet today Carnegie, a natural born Scotsman, is known as a great philanthropist whose legacy is embodied in the abundance of trusts, endowments, scholarships, colleges, museums, and cultural establishments that are named after him across the world.

Does his philanthropy excuse the barbarity by which he made his fortune? If the workers at the Homestead Steel Mill in Pennsylvania back 1892 could speak to us today about Andrew Carnegie and his legacy, what do you think they would say?

This is why the controversy surrounding the campaign to have Cecil Rhodes’ statue removed from Oxford is so important. It’s about acknowledging the rights of the victims of empire to a semblance of historical justice by refusing to burnish the legacy of men such as Rhodes today. For those who believe that the past belongs in the past and has no bearing on the present or the future, they are hopelessly deluded when we consider the role of Britain and its establishment in the world today. A colonial and empire view of the world continues to underpin British foreign policy, evidenced in its participation in the war on Iraq in 2003, its participation in the destruction of Libya in 2011, its role in destabilizing Syria and the wider Middle East, and its malign role in maintaining Western hegemony as an economic, geopolitical, and military straitjacket, impeding the development of the Global South abroad and upholding the rights of the rich at home in service to a system of injustice sold to us as liberal democracy.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Turkish civil servants asked to report ‘insults’ against president & top officials to police

RT | February 3, 2016

The governor’s office in Isparta, southwestern Turkey, has reportedly sent a request to all state institutions in the province instructing staff to report cases of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other top officials straight to the police.

Insulting the president is considered a crime in Turkey and the punishment can be up to four years in jail.

“According to Articles 299 and 125 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK], an action must be taken for the posts [on social media] including insults against our president and other senior government officials, which have increased lately in direct proportion to the increase in terror activities in our country,” the notification, signed by Isparta Deputy Governor Fevzi Güneş on behalf of Isparta Governor Vahdettin Özkan, stated, Today’s Zaman reported.

The government began its crackdown on Kurdish fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), outlawed by Ankara, last July. Turkey’s authorities maintain those killed during the security operation in the southeast were all PKK members. According to Turkish human rights groups, however, more than 160 civilians were killed during the government offensive.

President Erdogan has publicly vowed to continue the operation until the area is cleansed of Kurdish militants. Kurds have long been campaigning for the right to self-determination and greater autonomy in Turkey, where they are the largest ethnic minority.

In mid-Januray, Turkey arrested over a dozen academics for signing a declaration denouncing Ankara’s military operations against Kurdish militants. The move came after over 1,200 scholars were under investigation for criticizing the Turkish State. They were accused of allegedly participating in “terrorist propaganda” after signing a declaration condemning military operations against Kurdish rebels in the southeast. Erdogan described the group of academics as “poor excuses for intellectuals.” He insisted human rights violations in the southeast of the country were being carried out by referring to the Kurdish rebels, not by the state.

The day after Erdogan urged prosecutors to investigate academics, who signed the declaration criticizing military action in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP), called the Turkish president “a dictator.”

In January, a local Turkish court dismissed Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s appeal against Kilicdaroglu. The Turkish president was seeking damages after the opposition party leader called him a “thief.” Erdogan’s lawyers demanded 200,000 Turkish lire ($66,000) in damages, saying this was an “attack on his personal rights.”

On Monday, an Ankara court sentenced another Turkish politician Hüseyin Aygün, a former deputy from the CHP party, to 14 months in prison for “publicly insulting” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Aygün rejected all accusations, Haber Turk reported.

The Republican People’s Party has repeatedly accused the government of using counter-terror laws to persecute journalists, saying 156 were arrested in 2015, with 484 legal actions launched against journalists and 774 fired during the year.

Aygün was sentenced to nine months in jail for “inciting people to enmity or hatred or denigration,” Müslim Sarı, another former CHP deputy, wrote on his Twitter.

“This ruling is clear evidence that there [is] no freedom of thought and expression in Turkey and judicial independence has ended too,” Sarı said in another tweet.

Late last month, a Turkish court sentenced a female teacher to almost a year in prison for making a rude gesture at Erdogan (when he was prime minister) at a political rally in 2014.

“The situation for freedom of expression is at an all-time low,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty’s Turkey researcher, told the Times. “Countless unfair criminal cases have been brought, including under defamation and anti-terrorism laws — even children have been remanded in pre-trial detention,” he said.

Read more:

Turkish prosecutors demand life sentences for 2 jailed Erdogan critics

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Over 50 Israeli violations against Journalists in January

There are now 18 Palestinian journalists in Israeli prisons

Palestine Information Center – 3-2-2016

GAZA – The media and press teams that try to cover the Israeli violence in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip are facing escalating violations at the hands of the Israeli army and Palestinian security forces.

The Palestinian Radio and Television Stations Union documented in its report for January, 2016, more than 45 violations against journalists and media correspondents.

This includes arrests, extension of detention, direct assaults in the field, and prevention from media coverage, in continuous attempts to distort the truth about the Israeli terror against Palestinians.

According to the Union, the arrests, detentions, extension of detentions, summoning to investigations, and breaking into houses during January reached 10 cases.

The Israeli forces arrested the journalist Mujahid al-Sa’adi, correspondent of Palestine Today TV channel, and extended his detention three times so far in January.

In addition, Israeli soldiers arrested the sports journalist at al-Khalil radio channel, Mahmoud al-Qawasmi.

These violations also reached the journalists Mohammed Matar, Musab Shawer, and Abd al-Karim al-Ouiui. In January, the Israeli forces brutality against journalists in the field increased, as the media crews attempted to cover the Palestinian weekly protests.

Nine Israeli assaults, that resulted in injuring two Palestinian journalists, were documented. Seven other press photographers choked on teargas.

Moreover, three cases of harassment and prevention from coverage were documented. Israeli forces also thwarted a press conference in Jerusalem, and a cultural meeting.

The house of Muhanned Halami was also blown up without media coverage. In respect to the incitement campaigns, 11 violations were documented.

The Israeli Shin Bet accused the Palestinian Authority’s media of inciting and encouraging the Palestinian individual operations against Israelis.

A European institute also accused ten journalists and bloggers of being agitators for supporting the Palestinian resistance in their writings.

Regarding the prosecution of journalists on cyberspace, two cases were documented.

Two Facebook pages were closed and a number of pro-Palestinian cartoons were deleted. The Palestinian journalist prisoner, Mohammed al-Qeiq, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 70 days, has suffered ten violations.

These include torture, forced-feeding, handcuffing to hospital bed, and intense presence of security in the hospital where he is staying to prevent his lawyers from talking to him, and continuing his administrative detention in the Israeli jails.

The report stated that there are now 18 Palestinian journalists in the Israeli prisons.

According to the same report, a journalist, Ayman Al-Aloul, and an activist, Ramzy Herzallah, were summoned for interrogation by Gaza security forces who later released them after a brief detention.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority forces arrested Momen Abu Duheir and Nablus TV director Salim Swidsan.

PA forces also summoned for interrogation Abdullah Oda, threatened Riham Al-Omary, and assaulted Sami Saa’y.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Washington gives Israel $100 million to uncover Gaza tunnels

gaza-tunnels-smuggling-lamb

The tunnels are a lifeline for those who live in the beseiged Gaza Strip as they are used to smuggle vital supplies
MEMO | February 2, 2016

Director of Political-Military Affairs at Israel’s Defence Ministry Amos Gilad revealed today that the United States has contributed over $100 million to an Israeli-US technology research project aimed at identifying and locating tunnels on the Gaza Strip border.

In an interview with Army Radio this morning, Gilad stated that intelligence information suggests that there are no such tunnels leading into Israeli territory at the moment.

Defence Ministry official Shalom Gantzer dispelled the fears of Israelis living around the Gaza Strip who have claimed to hear digging noises under their houses, saying that these noises are coming from an electric generator.

Israel’s Channel 10 showed interviews on Saturday with those living near the Gaza border area who had recorded the noises with their mobile phones. They claimed that these noises were the sounds of tunnels being dug from Gaza.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Halt Saudi arms sales immediately, probe civilian attacks in Yemen – MPs

RT | February 3, 2016

A group of MPs have called on the British government to immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and have demanded an independent inquiry into the war in Yemen, where British arms are thought to have been used against civilians.

In a letter to Development Secretary Justine Greening, the International Development Select Committee urged the UK to cease opposing an inquiry which aims to examine potential breaches of humanitarian law by the Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen.

It comes after human rights charities and anti-war groups criticized Saudi Arabia for allegedly bombing civilian targets.

The British government has sold £1 billion (US$1.45 billion) worth of arms to the Saudi government in the past year.

Last week a leaked UN report found Saudi Arabia guilty of breaking humanitarian law. In response the Saudi government set up an internal inquiry.

British MPs say the UK should back an independent inquiry. Members of the committee were shocked to hear the UK had hindered efforts to launch such an investigation in September 2015 when it was proposed by the UN.

“We need an independent, international fact-finding mission to uncover the truth. Until then we should cease selling arms to Saudi Arabia,” wrote committee chair Stephen Twigg.

“All parties to this conflict should review their obligations under international law and undertake to put civilians and humanitarian work above other interests.”

MPs said they had been presented with evidence from the head of UNICEF Yemen, who said the Saudi-led coalition had been involved in bombing campaigns which endangered the lives of civilians.

The committee’s letter was welcomed by activist group Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which condemned the British government’s actions.

“The humanitarian situation is getting worse and the UK government has been complicit in it. We agree that arms sales need to stop, but they should never have been allowed in the first place.

“Saudi Arabia has a terrible human rights record and has been supported by governments of all political colors for far too long,” said CAAT’s Andrew Smith.

The leaked UN report, obtained by the Guardian last week, found that Saudi airstrikes are breaching international law by hitting civilian targets, including refugee camps, civilian weddings, vehicles, medical facilities and schools.

The UN panel of experts on Yemen used satellite imagery to look at areas before and after bombings, which also targeted an Oxfam warehouse storing equipment for a water project funded by the EU.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton vs George Bush on IRAQ Invasion

Hillary Clinton repeats George Bush and Dick Cheney’s talking points to a tee.

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments