Aletho News


Gaza, Pre-1948 and Gaza Now!

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

‘UK secretly deployed military advisers in Libya to battle ISIS’

RT | February 28, 2016

A “small number” of UK military advisers are secretly operating in Libya along with US special troops, sources told the Telegraph. The aim of the operation is to battle Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) militants in the conflict-ravaged country.

“Special forces commandos” are reportedly working with their “US counterparts” in the city of Misrata, northwestern Libya, the paper said Saturday.

The Telegraph cited Western officials and sources on the ground who claimed that a “small number” of British troops are currently on a “low key mission” in the city.

Also, the US military in Libya have started “giving tactical training” to several local militias, the sources said.

The paper obtained confirmation that “training” of local rebels had been taking place in recent weeks from separate officials close to Western governments. It is not yet clear which EU countries took part in this “training.”

The British government has so far refused to comment on the Telegraph report.

In January, Jonathan Powell, the UK Special Envoy to Libya, was speaking about battling Islamic State terrorists.

“There are a number of armed groups there sitting next to Isil who have the capacity to deal with it. But they need to be united and have a common cause if they are to do something,” he said.

The UK is not the only country said to be operating in the war-stricken state. On Wednesday, it was revealed that France is also using their special forces and commandos to battle Islamic State there.

“The last thing to do would be to intervene in Libya. We must avoid any overt military engagement, but act discreetly,” a senior military source told Le Monde.

In the meantime, Federica Mogherini, EU top diplomat, said that the EU will only intervene against the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Libya if it receives an official invitation from the legitimate government of the country.

Libya has been in turmoil following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. Since the spring of 2014, two governing groups are in a war for power over the country. Islamic State took advantage of the situation and seized some territories in the center of the country – including the port of Sirte.

Five years on from the start of the uprising, Libya is in a markedly worse position. Its oil revenues have halved, while it is also facing a growing threat from Islamic State, which is looking to capitalize on the lack of political stability and political infighting.

READ MORE: France waging secret war in Libya – report

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five reasons why the TTIP talks are looking a bit wobbly

By Guy Taylor | TruePublica | February 26, 2016

Why TTIP negotiations are looking a bit like it might all fail

The twelfth round of negotiations for TTIP, the biggest trade deal of them all, started this week in Brussels. The impacts of TTIP are disturbing and well documented elsewhere on this site, but we are seeing signs of panic setting in on the pro-TTIP side of the fence. They’re right to panic.

1) TTIP is hugely behind schedule. It should have been signed off by now, and well into the ‘legal scrubbing’ stage where the lawyers tie up the legal loose ends and smooth of the rough edges. These negotiations are not open ended. Every delay, every extra month taken up at this stage is a threat to the entire project. We have the US elections looming, two of the frontrunners are against the new generation trade deals like TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). There is no secret about the desperation of the Obama machine as they try to get the deal done and signed off before he vacates the White House at the end of the year. Obama is due to visit Germany in April to plead with all concerned to get a move on with the project. It is not impossible for the ratification vote in the European parliament to be held in 2019, after the next elections. That would make ratification in Europe very uncertain indeed.

2) There is a huge crisis over the proposals of corporate courts or ‘ISDS’ as it is often known. As the most contentious part of TTIP, it has attracted huge criticism and upset amongst members of the European parliament and in the public domain as well. In 2014, 150,000 responded to a European consultation on the issue and 97% of those responses were very negative. Since then, the trade commissioner in Brussels has dreamt up the Investor Court System as a proposed alternative. It has been made very clear that ICS is not alternative, more a repackaging of the dangerously flawed ISDS. Earlier this month,the largest association of German Judges completely slammed the ICS idea as undemocratic and undermining the sovereignty of domestic courts.  Slowly, our representatives in Brussels are beginning to realise this. We need to keep shouting about this

3) You might have noticed, but there is going to be a referendum on membership of the EU in the UK in June. Everything is up for grabs. If the UK votes to leave the EU, TTIP will probably still apply to us. In the horse-trading and arguments that will rage between now and the day of the vote, there will be concessions and deals struck – maybe, just maybe, TTIP could become a casualty. And in the run up to the referendum, the very idea of Brussels politicians signing off on such a far-reaching corporate power grab is adding a whole lot of fuel to the Brexit fire.

4) Procurement at all levels of government, both sides of the Atlantic is proving to be a sticking point. The EU wants access to state level procurement in the US – that’s a huge market to access. And at country level in the EU there’s an almost equally lucrative market to exploit for US corporations. The trouble is, this isn’t a deal being negotiated at state or nation state level. The US Trade Representative and the DG Trade in Europe are doing their utmost to keep scrutiny and influence at that level to a minimum, but agreeing stuff that is essential to their underlings at local level is part and parcel of TTIP and is inflaming opposition. Local authorities across the EU and in the UK are declaring their opposition to TTIP and CETA. In the States, there’s a similar move afoot. It was recently announced that the EU and USA were going to swap procurement market access offers at the end of this month and then hold a special intercessional meeting to discuss them.

5) And finally, one thing that cannot be ignored, is the growing movement of ordinary people across the EU & the US gaining knowledge and understanding about the deals (despite the best efforts of our governments and media). From the 3.2 million people who signed their opposition in the European Citizens’ Initiative last year, to the trade unions and community organisations saying ‘no’ to the deals, we are building a force that will be hard to resist. We can win this fight if we continue to step up the pressure.


February 28, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli settlers escorted by army raid village in Salfit district


Ma’an – February 27, 2016

SALFIT – A group of Israeli settlers escorted by Israeli military forces raided the village of Yasuf in the northern West Bank district of Salfit on Saturday.

The head of the Yasuf village council, Hafith Ebayya, said that a group of Israeli settlers raided the village and attempted to enter the al-Basatin area in central Yasuf.

Ebayya said that the settlers were escorted by military vehicles and soldiers, and that a military checkpoint was set up at the entrance of the village.

Clashes erupted between dozens of Palestinian youths and Israeli forces.

Israeli forces fired live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at youths and several farmers who were in their fields nearby.

Several youths and farmers suffered from tear gas inhalation.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the report.

Three quarters of Yasuf’s lands are located in Area C — under full Israeli military and administrative control. According to a report by the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ), over the years, some 602 dunams (148.7 acres) of Yasuf land have been seized to establish settlement housing.

Several Israeli settlements are located near Yasuf, including Ariel, the fourth largest settlement in the West Bank. These settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Sanctions Won’t Put Pyongyang Off Nuclear Weapons

Sputnik – 28.02.2016

The draft resolution for tougher sanctions against North Korea that the US submitted to the UN with China’s backing will not discourage Pyongyang from developing nuclear and ballistic missiles, North Korean expert Michael Madden told Sputnik.

On Friday, Washington, with Beijing’s backing, submitted a new resolution to the UN Security Council for additional sanctions against North Korea to deter it from progressing further with its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Michael Madden, a North Korean expert who runs the North Korean Leadership Watch blog, told Radio Sputnik that the sanctions are unlikely to succeed in stopping the programs, even if they do harm to the North Korean economy.

​”It’s not a terrific economy but in the last couple of years they’ve had modest growth and they’ve had some progress in terms of domestic economic development so it will remain to be seen if the sanctions affect that,” Madden said.

“One of the things that they’ve done is to allow the technocrats that are within North Korea’s cabinet to start managing programs, these people are very experienced [in dealing with] the fundamental flaws in North Korea’s economy, they know some of the fixes they need to make.”

“There have been some light reform measures that they’ve taken since Kim Jong-un has come to power, there’s a little more flexibility for the technocrats, there’s a little more flexibility in terms of food production, there’s some very basic market principles that they’re applying to their economy and I think that has affected growth rates over the last couple of years.”

North Korean President Kim Jong-un and many of those in his circle are more open-minded because they were educated abroad, and Madden said the president is aware of the gaps in his knowledge and open and amenable to advice, particularly from technocrats and economic planners.

“There is a certain degree – a very specific degree because it’s a totalitarian state – of flexibility that he has allowed officials to have in terms of formulating policies.”

However, that flexibility does not extend to its nuclear program, and sanctions will not make Pyongyang give up its nuclear program, Madden warned.

“North Korea has basically said on a number of occasions that they have no intention of giving up their nuclear weapons program, and no intention of stopping space launches, and we’re going to have to take them at their word.”

“They have numerous reasons for that, they’ll say ‘Iraq and Libya got rid of their WMD programs, look what happened there,’ and to a certain degree they’re justified in their thinking based on what they’ve seen happen to other similar political systems after they negotiated away their WMD programs.”

Madden said that Beijing has supported the US proposal for tougher sanctions against Pyongyang because of legitimate concerns about the potential for nuclear fallout and earthquakes as a result of the weapons tests, which “annoy China to a great extent, especially the nuclear weapons tests.”

While China and North Korea share a close relationship, China’s influence is somewhat exaggerated by a lot of external observers and government policy makers, and Pyongyang is likely to react with open hostility to the proposed sanctions, Madden said.

“Kim Jong-un spent last week inspecting military exercises; we’re probably going to see him inspecting more military exercises, they’re certainly going to tighten social controls.”

“Once the sanctions are passed, we’ll see some very interesting statements coming out of North Korea, they’ll just continue to heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula, and that’s what we’ll be seeing.”

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Is the world ready for further reduction of nuclear weapons?

Dr Alexander Yakovenko – RT – February 27, 2016

One of the most important tasks in the field of international security is to rid the world of the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.

Russia has been constantly advocating further limitations and reductions of nuclear weapons stockpiles along with strengthening international regimes of arms control and non-proliferation.

However, further dialogue on nuclear disarmament, held both bilaterally and multilaterally, could only be successful if the core principle of international security is observed, i.e. that the security of one country should not be strengthened at the expense of the security of others.

Unfortunately, what is happening now is a far cry from what the international community has been striving for. Among other things it is about global stability and deterrence; the trust between Russia and the West is diminishing. Some of the critical Russian concerns are left unaddressed.

First of all, as a result of the Russia-US New START Treaty, which entered into force in 2011, the number of nuclear warheads has already been reduced to the level of late 1950s or early 1960s. Thus, it brings up the issue of other nuclear states, including UK, joining the effort.

Secondly, further reductions are impossible while Washington is busy creating a global BMD system and conducting research into conventional weapons with a strategic range.

There is also serious concern over the possible transfer of the arms race to outer space. The Russian initiative to draft a legally binding document to ban the deployment of weapons in outer space is, unfortunately, hindered by the West. Before any concrete steps are made in this area, we’ve got to have guarantees against any imbalances in conventional armaments. The lack of progress in coming into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is also a major factor.

Where are, after all, political logic and common sense, when the US pushes forward its disarmament proposal, while continuing to undermine Russia’s defense and industrial potential through restrictive measures and sanctions?

Above all, the trust between our sides is well below the “Cold War” level as the West launched an unprecedented media campaign against Russia and its political leadership. We cannot seriously consider proposals that amount to playing a one-sided game or rather, a game with no rules or with rules that are arbitrarily changed in Washington.

If, and when, all of the above circumstances change and our concerns and priorities are taken into account, including equal and indivisible security for all states, then it will be possible to consider discussing further nuclear reduction.

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Syrian Army Not Returning Fire at Russian Request After Damascus Shelled

Sputnik — 28.02.2016

The Syrian army, following a request from the Russian center on reconciliation, did not return fire after Damascus was shelled Saturday from the regions of Ghuta and Jobar, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

According to the statement, the Syrian capital of Damascus was shelled six times on Saturday morning from the regions of eastern Ghuta and Jobar, where the so-called “moderate opposition” is stationed.

“The Syrian government troops did not return fire, upon the request of the Russian center on reconciliation,” the statement read.

A ceasefire between Syrian government and rebel forces that entered its second day is largely holding, the head of Russia’s ceasefire monitoring center at the Hmeymim airbase in Latakia said Sunday.

The ceasefire went into force at 22:00 GMT early Friday, or midnight Damascus time. It does not apply to designated terrorist organizations, including Daesh and the Nusra Front.

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | | 3 Comments