Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh Has Conviction Thrown Out

rasmea1.jpg_1718483346

Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh | Photo: Justice 4 Rasmea
teleSUR – February 26, 2016

A U.S. appellate court on Thursday vacated the conviction of Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh for allegedly lying on U.S. immigration papers 20 years earlier.

Odeh, 67, was put on trial in November 2014 for allegedly falsifying immigration documents when she first entered the U.S.. Odeh had denied ever having been “charged, convicted or imprisoned for a crime,” but the government maintained that she lied as she had been convicted in an Israeli military court for allegedly bombing a supermarket.

Odeh said she was subjected to torture and rape by Israeli interrogators and forced to sign a false confession.

The U.S. federal appeals court panel ruled that Odeh’s sentencing judge had improperly excluded testimony about the psychological trauma Odeh suffered while in Israeli military custody.

“The court’s decision presents a great victory to anti-torture advocates and survivors of torture,” said the Center for Constitutional Rights in a press release.

Odeh’s case will now return to the district judge for a possible retrial.

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kerry’s Plan B For Syria Equals Brookings, Brzezinski Plan A

By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | February 26, 2016

In his testimony to a U.S. Senate committee regarding the Syria ceasefire agreement brokered by the United States and Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t express much optimism for the success of the plan. That is not surprising, however, since no informed observer has any real hope for the success of the ceasefire because the agreement seems to lie largely in the hands of the Western-backed terrorists, none of whom are moderates.

Despite the lack of enthusiasm in his presentation, Kerry went through the motions of Congressional testimony when an agreement has already been made and a public show is required for mass consumption. What was telling about his testimony, however, is Kerry’s allusion to a mysterious “Plan B” if the ceasefire agreement does not work.

“There is a significant discussion taking place now about a Plan B in the event that we do not succeed at the [negotiating] table,” Kerry said. But he did not go into specifics as to exactly what that Plan B would look like. That is, except for a slight comment suggesting that the U.S. may have to shift its policy from the total destruction of the Assad government and Syria as a whole to almost total destruction of the country in the form of partitioning and dividing the country into separate principalities.

To this end, Kerry only stated that it could be “too late to keep as a whole Syria if we wait much longer.”

Yet Kerry’s “Plan B” sounds very much like the “Plan A” of a number of other strategists, policy makers, and imperialist organs.

Consider the op-ed published by Reuters and written by Michael O’Hanlon, entitled “Syria’s One Hope May Be As Dim As Bosnia’s Once Was.” The article argues essentially that the only way Russia and the United States will ever be able to peacefully settle the Syrian crisis is if the two agree to a weakened and divided Syria, broken up into separate pieces.

O’Hanlon wrote,

To find common purpose with Russia, Washington should keep in mind the Bosnia model, devised to end the fierce Balkan conflicts in the 1990s. In that 1995 agreement, a weak central government was set up to oversee three largely autonomous zones.

In similar fashion, a future Syria could be a confederation of several sectors: one largely Alawite (Assad’s own sect), spread along the Mediterranean coast; another Kurdish, along the north and northeast corridors near the Turkish border; a third primarily Druse, in the southwest; a fourth largely made up of Sunni Muslims; and then a central zone of intermixed groups in the country’s main population belt from Damascus to Aleppo. The last zone would likely be difficult to stabilize, but the others might not be so tough.

Under such an arrangement, Assad would ultimately have to step down from power in Damascus. As a compromise, however, he could perhaps remain leader of the Alawite sector. A weak central government would replace him. But most of the power, as well as most of the armed forces. would reside within the individual autonomous sectors — and belong to the various regional governments. In this way, ISIL could be targeted collectively by all the sectors.

Once this sort of deal is reached, international peacekeepers would likely be needed to hold it together — as in Bosnia. Russian troops could help with this mission, stationed, for example, along the Alawite region’s borders.

This deal is not, of course, ripe for negotiation. To make it plausible, moderate forces must first be strengthened. The West also needs to greatly expand its training and arming of various opposition forces that do not include ISIL or al-Nusra. Vetting standards might also have to be relaxed in various ways. American and other foreign trainers would need to deploy inside Syria, where the would-be recruits actually live — and must stay, if they are to protect their families.

Meanwhile, regions now accessible to international forces, starting perhaps with the Kurdish and Druse sectors, could begin receiving humanitarian relief on a much expanded scale. Over time, the number of accessible regions would grow, as moderate opposition forces are strengthened.

Though it could take many months, or even years, to achieve the outcome Washington wants, setting out the goals and the strategy now is crucial. Doing so could provide a basis for the West’s working together with — or at least not working against — other key outside players in the conflict, including Russia, as well as Turkey, the Gulf states and Iraq.

O’Hanlon is no stranger to the Partition Plan for Syria. After all, he was the author the infamous Brookings Institution report “Deconstructing Syria: A New Strategy For America’s Most Hopeless War,” in June, 2015 where he argued essentially the same thing.

In this article for Brookings, a corporate-financier funded “think tank” that has been instrumental in the promotion of the war against Syria since very early on, O’Hanlon argued for the “relaxation” of vetting processes for “rebels” being funded by the U.S. government, the direct invasion of Syria by NATO military forces, and the complete destruction of the Syrian government. O’Hanlon argued for the creation of “safe zones” as a prelude to these goals.

Yet, notably, O’Hanlon also mentioned the creation of a “confederal” Syria as well. In other words, the breakup of the solidified nation as it currently exists. He wrote,

The end-game for these zones would not have to be determined in advance. The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones and a modest (eventual) national government. The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force, if this arrangement could ever be formalized by accord. But in the short term, the ambitions would be lower—to make these zones defensible and governable, to help provide relief for populations within them, and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.

Such a plan is reminiscent of the Zbigniew Brzezinski method of “microstates and ministates.” In other words, the construction of a weak, impotent state based upon ethnicity, religion, and other identity politics but without the ability to resist the will of larger nations, coalitions, and banking/industrial corporations.[1]

Thus, it appears that Kerry’s “Plan B” is, in actuality, “Plan A” for a number of powerful geopolitical strategists from Brzezinski himself to worker bees at the Brookings Institution. While Syria is gaining ground by the day against the Western-backed proxy terrorists who have run rampant across the country since 2011, the West is clearly not giving up on its plan to eliminate a geopolitical obstacle on its way to establishing world hegemony.

Notes:

[1] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. 1st Edition. Basic Books. 1998.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Gazprom cutting gas supplies to Turkey

RT | February 26, 2016

The already strained relations between Moscow and Ankara have taken a turn for the worse. Gazprom has cut gas supplies by nearly a quarter after failing to reach an agreement with Turkish importers on discounts for Russian natural gas.

Delivery is down 23 percent, compared to the same period last year, Interfax reports, quoting data from Bulgarian gas operator Bulgartransgaz that processes about 50 percent of Russian gas going to Turkey.

According to the news agency sources, the reduction is linked to a price dispute between Gazprom and Turkey’s private gas importers.

Last year, Gazprom gave the importers a 10.25 percent discount, but is now doing away with it as energy prices have dropped significantly.

Business daily Kommersant’s sources say Gazprom stopped giving the discount at the beginning of the year. For January deliveries, Turkish companies had to pay at a higher price, but on the payment date of February 21 they only paid the discounted price.

As a result, Gazprom has cut the volume delivered by the size of the underpayment.

Enerco Enerji, Bosphorus Gaz, Avrasya Gaz, Shell, Bati Hatti and Kibar Enerji are the importers affected. Overall, they import 10 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year. Kommersant’s sources in the companies say the cancellation of the discount hurts their business, as they have signed contracts with clients based on the discount gas price.

From the 1st to the 24th of February Gazprom under-delivered 117 million cubic meters worth $30 million, the newspaper’s calculations say. Kommersant added that Turkey could fine the Russian gas monopoly $2.5 million for not fulfilling its obligations.

The source in Gazprom claimed the reduction in supply will not affect supply of the Turkish market, “especially because Botas does not reach its contractual volumes.”

State-owned Botas imports about 17 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year. In 2015, it didn’t get a discount from Gazprom due to the failure of the Turkish Stream negotiations and is now suing Gazprom.

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Omar Nayef Zayed assassinated in Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria

omarandrania

UPDATE/11:44 am/26 February: Bulgarian media and police sources are reporting that Omar was killed by falling from a high story of the building. They have noted that him being pushed is “not excluded.”  “Israeli media have been the first to report explicitly that Omar was ‘assassinated.’ This comes as no surprise. They’re simply the most knowledgeable and honest about the workings of their government and its intelligence agencies,” said Joe Catron of Samidoun.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | February 26, 2016

Omar Nayef Zayed, a former Palestinian political prisoner and escaped hunger striker whose extradition from Bulgaria Israel demanded in December, was found dead this morning inside the Palestinian embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he had sought refuge.

“Omar Nayef Zayed was targeted as a Palestinian, as a struggler, as a former political prisoner,” Charlotte Kates, international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, said. “His case, his targeting and his assassination were an attempt to demonstrate that no Palestinian anywhere is safe from the long arms of the Israeli occupation. This is clearly a threat to all Palestinians – especially former prisoners and veterans of the struggle in Europe. We are committed to stand with the family of Omar Nayef Zayed to pursue accountability for those responsible for taking his life and to build the movement for which his life was taken – for a free Palestine.”

The precise physical cause of Omar’s death is not yet clear, but it is clear that the cause of his death is the Israeli state’s vengeance against a Palestinian struggler committed to live free for himself and for all of his fellow Palestinians. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands an independent autopsy of Omar’s body and a full investigation by Bulgarian and Palestinian officials into the death of Omar. We demand that all those responsible for the targeting of Omar Nayef Zayed and the taking of his life be held fully accountable.

“We hold Israel and its intelligence services, the Palestinian Authority and the Bulgarian government responsible for the killing of Omar Nayef Zayed, whose life was taken as he lived his life, in the struggle for freedom for Palestine,” Mohammed Khatib, a Brussels, Belgium-based member of Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, said.  “He was assassinated; he was not protected; and he was constantly threatened and pursued.  The Israeli intelligence services have a long history of pursuing and assassinating Palestinians around the world – especially in Europe – targeting young leaders and veteran resisters for assassination and elimination. This outrageous crime happened inside the Palestinian embassy, inside Bulgaria. The killers and those who made this killing possible must be held accountable.”

Zayed, 52, was born in Jenin, in Palestine’s West Bank. He was arrested by occupation forces in May 1986 and sentenced to life imprisonment. After a 40 day hunger strike in 1990, he was transferred to a hospital in Bethlehem where he escaped in May, disappeared and left Palestine.

In 1994, he traveled to Bulgaria. Omar married a Bulgarian citizen and has Bulgarian children; he runs a Palestinian grocery and is well-known in the Palestinian community of Sofia.

On Tuesday, 15 December, the Israeli embassy sent a letter to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice demanding the extradition of Omar Nayef Zayed, labeling him a “fugitive from justice.”

Omar’s home was raided on Thursday, 17 December. He was not home and his son was arrested for one day. The Bulgarian prosecutor was quoted in Arabic media calling for his imprisonment and quick extradition to Tel Aviv.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes and mourns Omar Nayef Zayed, a former Palestinian political prisoner who struggled all his life for the freedom of Palestine and the Palestinian people. We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Omar Nayef Zayed, in Palestine, in Bulgaria and everywhere, and to the entire movement for the liberation of Palestine,  which has had a loving father and husband and a committed struggler for a free Palestine taken away at the hands of those who would see Palestine, and its people, forever imprisoned.  We are committed to working in all ways to hold those responsible for his death fully accountable for this vicious crime against the Palestinian people, and to struggle for the freedom – of Palestinian prisoners and of Palestine itself – which Omar Nayef Zayed held so dear.

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Middle East borders will change, claims ex-CIA director

MEMO | February 26, 2016

michael-haydenA former director of America’s Central Intelligence Agency has said that the international agreements made after World War Two are starting to fall apart, and may change the borders of some countries in the Middle East.

“What we see here is a fundamental melting down of the international order,” Michael Hayden told CNN. “We are seeing a melting down of the post-WWII Bretton Woods American liberal order. We are certainly seeing a melting down of the borders drawn at the time of Versailles and Sykes-Picot. I am very fond of saying Iraq no longer exists, Syria no longer exists; they aren’t coming back. Lebanon is teetering and Libya is long gone.”

Hayden described the current situation as a “tectonic” moment. “Within that we then have the war against terrorism; it is an incredibly complex time.”

He explained that there are two fronts in the war. “The way I think about it, we Americans with our military backgrounds, call one element the close battle and the other the deep battle. The close battle is the one you and I are able to see everyday, that’s the heat-blasting fragmentation against those people who are already convinced they want to come kill us, and frankly, we are pretty good at that one.”

However, he said that the US is “not good” at the deep battle. “That’s the production rate of people who want to come kill us in 3, 5 or 10 years. Fundamentally the problem there is that that is not our fight.”

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Education, not destruction!’ Peace activists, MPs & celebs join Corbyn at anti-Trident march

RT | February 26, 2016

Thousands of anti-nuclear campaigners will march alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in London on Saturday to protest the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. The Labour leader’s opposition to Trident has been sharply criticized by trade union bosses.

The national demonstration is organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and has drawn the support of peace activists, academics, students, celebrities and others. Political heavyweights Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas are also expected to attend.

The Stop Trident anti-nuclear rally has also secured the backing of the National Union of Students (NUS), which passed a motion to support it this week.

NUS Vice President for Further Education Shakira Martin, who will speak at the Trafalgar Square protest, said the billions of pounds used to maintain Trident should be spent on education.

“Today the National Union of Students, which represents 7 million students, voted to support this Saturday’s Stop Trident national demonstration,” she said.

“If Trident was ever used, then hundreds of millions of people would be killed. Instead of spending over £100 billion on weapons of mass destruction, I believe we should be funding free education.”

The high-profile demonstration has also drawn support from celebrities such as fashion designer Katharine Hamnett and comedian Jeremy Hardy.

Commenting on the costly nuclear deterrent, Hardy said he opposes the program because “it’s based on this idea of mutually assured destruction.”

“In order to keep us safe, you’ve got to be insane enough to use a nuclear weapon, and the other person’s got to be insane enough as well,” he said.

“But neither of you have got to be so insane that you actually use it. So you’ve only got to be insane enough to be prepared to use it but not quite insane enough to actually use it.

“And so long as we just keep that balance of insanity absolutely perfect and equal on all sides we’ll be fine. Sounds like a good gamble to me.”

The Stop Trident rally comes as Labour’s shadow defense secretary Emily Thornberry conducts a review into the Trident missile system.

Leaders of some trade unions, who normally support Labour’s policies, have said the abolition of Trident would cost tens of thousands of jobs.

Lashing out at Corbyn’s anti-nuclear stance, Gary Smith, a leading official with the GMB Union, told the IB Times the debate should focus on the predicament of workers.

“This is not a debate for the wine bars of Islington and Edinburgh – this is real life for the workers and their communities,” Smith said.

“This is not a fight we picked,” he added. “The people who started this argument clearly have no idea of the massive ramifications for not renewing Trident and they don’t understand how the whole shipbuilding industry and defense sector is linked together.”

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon PM urges national unity amid Saudi pressure

Press TV – February 26, 2016

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam has called for national unity in the face of Saudi pressure after Riyadh suspended a $4 billion in aid to Beirut amid a diplomatic row.

During a Thursday cabinet meeting, Salam highlighted the importance of national unity and urged ministers to “take into consideration the Arab consensus during the difficult and delicate crisis [the country] is passing through,” Information Minister Ramzi Joreige quoted him as saying.

Beirut-Riyadh ties have recently soured after Saudi Arabia suspended a $3-billion package to the Lebanese army and a remainder of $1 billion in aid to its internal security forces earlier this month.

The suspension came after Lebanon refused to endorse joint anti-Iran statements issued last month at separate meetings held in Cairo and Jeddah.

Riyadh also called on Tuesday on all its nationals in Lebanon to leave the country due to deteriorating political relations with Beirut.

Lebanese ministers rejected Saudi calls for apology to the kingdom. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Fneish said Beirut had “committed no wrong for which to apologize.”

Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan also voiced surprise over Riyadh’s measures against Beirut. “I don’t understand this great equation: we either apologize or we must bear a collective punishment.”

Economy Minister Alain Hakim, however, urged calm and said the country should not “panic before any measures by [Persian] Gulf states because such fears harm our economy.”

Saudi severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 in the wake of the attacks on two of its diplomatic missions in Iran amid the angry protests over the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. This is while Tehran condemned the violence and made dozens of arrests after the incidents.

A number of Riyadh’s allies, including Bahrain, Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti, also followed the kingdom’s lead under pressure and broke off diplomatic ties with Tehran. The Saudis pledged the Somali government USD 50 million in aid on the same day Mogadishu declared it had cut ties with Iran, according to a leaked document.

Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has slammed Saudi Arabia for suspending aid to the country’s army and said the move exposes the real face of Saudi Arabia and refutes its claims about fighting terrorism.

The Saudis are apparently irked by the victories of the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah resistance fighters, against the Takfiri militants fighting to topple the Damascus government with the backing of Riyadh.

Meanwhile, some analysts believe the Saudi regime is pressuring Lebanon to regain the influence it lost there in 2011, when the cabinet of former pro-Saudi prime minister, Saad Hariri, collapsed.

They say the kingdom might take further steps against Lebanon such as stopping flights to the country or evicting thousands of Lebanese nationals working in Saudi Arabia.

A number of Lebanese media outlets also speculate that Riyadh is exerting pressure on Beirut to secure the release of a Saudi prince jailed in Beirut for drug smuggling.

Saudi Prince Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was arrested in Lebanon in late October with two tons of amphetamines at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut last October.

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment