Aletho News


Skeptic Beating Al Gore on Amazon

By Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. | August 24th, 2017

Al Gore’s new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, has been in theaters for about a month now, and has received rather tepid reviews.

The Kindle e-book version of Gore’s movie, despite being very colorful, has been doing even worse and is currently running at #20,768 overall on Amazon, and is not ranked #1 in any sub-category.

But the skeptic take-down of Gore’s new movie and book, An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy, is at #956, and is #1 in three sub-categories.

What makes the discrepancy even worse is that An Inconvenient Deception was self published, with no paid advertising.

Maybe people are finally wising up to Mr. Gore.

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Film Review, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

UN urges US-led coalition to pause airstrikes to spare Raqqa civilians

RT | August 24, 2017

The situation in Raqqa, Syria is getting worse, with basic services “at all-time low” and thousands of civilians unable to get out of the besieged terrorist stronghold, the UN says, urging the US-led coalition to halt the bombing to allow people to escape.

“On Raqqa, our urging today from the UN side to the members of the Humanitarian Task Force, including the members of the Coalition that is helping retake Raqqa, is that they need to do whatever is possible to make it possible for people to escape Raqqa,” Jan Egeland, Special Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, said at a press briefing in Geneva on Thursday.

Some 20,000 civilians remain trapped in dire humanitarian conditions in Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) held areas of the Raqqa city, he claimed.

“The five neighborhoods now held by the Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL], of the city of Raqqa, is an area where the needs are beyond belief and the protection concerns are acute,” Egeland said.

The civilians trapped in the city have virtually no access to basic services, including safe water and food, and are surviving on food they stored up earlier, David Swanson, public information officer from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told RT.

“The humanitarian situation – up to 25,000 civilians still trapped in Raqqa – is nothing short of dire. Access to safe drinking water, food and other basic services is at an all-time low with many residents relying on food they had stored up earlier to survive,” Swanson said, adding that the only functional hospital in the city remains in IS hands.

In the past few days, multiple media and humanitarian organizations are reporting mounting civilian casualties in the city. On Tuesday, the UN expressed“deep concerns” over the reports, urging all parties “to spare and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

An escape from the besieged terrorist stronghold, however, seems almost impossible due to the intensive fighting, shelling by the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and airstrikes by the US-led coalition, Egeland said.

“There is heavy shelling from the surrounding and encircling SDF forces and there are constant air raids from the coalition. So, the civilian causalities are large and there seem to be no real escape for these civilians,” Egeland said, urging the coalition to “think of possibilities, pauses or otherwise that might facilitate the escape of civilians.”

“I cannot think of a worse place on earth now than in these five neighborhoods and for these 20,000 people,” the UN official added.

As a way to ease the people’s plight, Egeland cited the example of the Aleppo liberation, when the Syrian Army and Russia announced humanitarian pauses multiple times to allow civilians the chance to escape the crossfire and provide much-needed aid.

The situation, however, is more complicated in Raqqa, as IS terrorists do not want to communicate with the besieging forces at all, according to Egeland. The lack of such communication, however, cannot be used as an excuse to do nothing to help the trapped civilians, he added. According to the official, “this is time to try anything to allow their safe escape,” however pointing out that many civilians simply refuse to leave due to fear of terrorists, but also from “shelling” and “bombardment” of US-led coalition and forces its backs.

Read more:

‘Situation in Raqqa dire, disturbing’ – UNOCHA

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Israel charges Palestinian cleric Sheikh Salah with incitement of terror

Press TV – August 24, 2017

The Tel Aviv regime has indicted Sheikh Raed Salah, a cleric who supported Palestinian protests over Israel’s controversial security measures imposed last month at a holy site in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Israeli court formally charged Salah on Thursday with incitement of terror over speeches he delivered encouraging Palestinians to protest for the right of holding prayers inside the Haram al-Sharif compound, which is home to the revered al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

Israel had earlier in the week extended Salah’s detention, nearly a week after he was arrested. Prosecutors had demanded the renewed detention, saying they intended to bring charges against the 58-year-old cleric.

Israel’s security measures, which came after the July 14 deadly shooting and killing of two Israeli policemen, sparked some unprecedented protests and sit-in gatherings in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds as Palestinians refused to accept the restrictions for nearly two weeks.

Israel was later forced to remove metal detectors and cameras installed at the gates and Palestinians ended sit-ins and prayers outside the mosque.

Salah had served for nine months in Israeli jails before he was released in January. He was previously charged with “incitement of violence” and “incitement of racism.” His latest arrest sparked condemnations in the occupied territories as his supporters said it was part of a political witch hunt aimed to silence dissent.

Israelis have also banned Salah’s group, the Islamic Movement in Israel, in 2015 for allegedly stoking violence.

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces detain Addameer field researcher during overnight raid

French-Palestinian activist Salah Hamouri. [Photo: | salah_hamouri]
Ma’an – August 24, 2017

BETHLEHEM – A field researcher for prisoners’ rights group Addameer was detained during an overnight raid on Wednesday from his home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kufr Aqab, according to the group.

Salah Hammouri, 32, who holds dual Palestinian-French citizenship, was detained and transferred to Israel’s interrogation center at the Russian compound, where his detention was then extended until Sunday.

An Israeli police spokesperson told Ma’an that he was “not familiar” with the case.

According to Addameer, Hammouri was a former prisoner of Israel for seven years, and was released as part of the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoners exchange deal in 2011.

Addameer added that the East Jerusalem resident was banned from entering the occupied West Bank until Sept. 2016, and that his wife is currently banned by Israeli authorities from entering Palestine or Israel.

The group said it considers the detention “an attack against Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights defenders.”

“It also constitutes one arrest in the context of continuous arrest campaigns against Palestinians,” Addameer said, before demanding Hammouri’s release and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners.

Hassan Safadi, a Palestinian activist and media coordinator for Addameer, has also been held in administrative detention — Israel’s controversial policy of imprisonment without charge or trial — for more than a year.

Safadi has been held by Israel since May 1, 2016 after being detained at the Allenby Bridge between the occupied West Bank and Jordan, when he was interrogated by the Israeli army for 40 days.

Israeli authorities later sentenced the 25-year-old Palestinian to six months of administrative detention in June 2016, and has since renewed the administrative detention order twice — once in Dec. and a second time in June this year.

Israel’s widely condemned policy of administrative detention allows internment without charge or trial in maximum six-month long renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,128 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of July, 450 of whom were held in administrative detention. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu To Putin: Iran Must Leave Syria Or “We Will Act”

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge |August 24, 2017

For Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive.  “Let the Sunni evil prevail,” they say.

Israel is threatening to escalate military action in Syria against perceived Iranian interests. This week Netanyahu declared, “we will act when necessary according to our red lines” while hinting he prefers ISIS presence in Syria as opposed to Iran aligned fighters at his border. This comes as ISIS is now crumbling, and at a time when most world leaders of nations driving the external proxy war in Syria have toned down their rhetoric regarding the future fate of the Assad government.

After years of a regular drumbeat of bellicose statements emanating from the West and repeat talk of “Assad must go”, “red lines”, and years of constantly failed predictions that “regime demise is imminent,” there now seems a general acceptance that the Syrian government has emerged victorious in the 6-year long conflict. Not only did Trump this summer order the closure of the CIA’s regime change program which targeted Assad, but it appears even Gulf nations – lately embroiled in their own inter-GCC political civil war and airing of dirty laundry – have been forced to temper their rhetoric. Turkey also has reluctantly shifted its priorities in Syria after its well-known and documented regime change machinations – which included facilitating the transfer of tens of thousands of foreign jihadists (the core of which joined ISIS) across its southern border – have largely backfired. International media too, generally reflecting undeniable geopolitical realities, have bluntly headlined stories with “And the winner is: Assad” and “We have to accept that Assad will win in Syria” and “How Assad is Winning”.

But it appears Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t get the memo. On Wednesday the Israeli Prime Minister told Russian President Putin that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria and further signaled willingness to go to war in Syria to curtail Iranian influence. “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon,” Netanyahu told Putin, adding further that, “We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”

Image source: Sputnik International

The two leaders met for three hours in the Black Sea resort of Sochi – their sixth such meeting since September 2015. Putin did not respond publicly to the provocative words on Syria during the portion of the meeting open to reporters. Netanyahu later told Israeli reporters covering the meeting that:

Bringing Shi’ites into the Sunni sphere will surely have many serious implications both in regard to refugees and to new terrorist acts. We want to prevent a war and that’s why it’s better to raise the alarm early in order to stop deterioration.

Netanyahu’s reference to “the Sunni sphere” came after he summarized the closed door part of the discussion as dealing with “Iran’s attempt to establish a foothold in Syria in the places where ISIS was defeated and is leaving.” Netanyahu’s comments are a reflection of an extremely disturbing view which has become so prominent within Israeli defense circles as to be considered establishment: that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. This is to say that continued ISIS presence in Syria and Iraq is a viable option and possibly better than pro-Iranian or even Russian spheres of influence in the Israeli prime minister’s mind. Of course, this “lesser evil is ISIS” view is nothing new. In Israel, for example, there are even “respected” think tanks tied in with major public universities which openly call for allowing ISIS to thrive in Syria.

The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, for example, which is one of Israel’s most internationally visible and influential think tanks (and located on the campus of Israel’s second largest university), published a policy paper last year which made a direct appeal to Israel’s Western partners with the unambiguous message contained in the essay’s title: “The Destruction of Islamic State is a Strategic Mistake.” Author and Director of the Begin-Sadat Centre, Efraim Inbar, argued against a Western military campaign to destroy ISIS while envisioning the group as an effective tool in sowing terror and chaos in Iran and Syria, with the added benefit of keeping Russia bogged down in defense of the Assad government. Inbar spelled this out clearly:

The continuing existence of IS [Islamic State] serves a strategic purpose. The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.

While acknowledging the Islamic State’s utter genocidal brutality, the paper concluded:

The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity.

policy paper published by an influential Israeli think tank which contracts with NATO argues that ISIS is a “useful tool” for Israel’s strategic defense. 

Various current and former Israeli defense officials have echoed this point of view over the years, including former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that, “the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias.” Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was “the lesser evil”. Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, “a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut” and establishment of “an Iranian radical empire.”

Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren: “Let the Sunni evil prevail.”

Of course, such a perspective also tends to assume that Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty is non-existent (but instead seen as a mere extension of Iran and Russia), even as both countries now stand in better position in terms of operational sovereignty with Syria having liberated Aleppo and Iraq having regained Mosul. And that’s perhaps why there’s increasingly uninhibited truth-telling in Israel, the Gulf, and D.C. these days: the party is over in terms of the hoped for regime change in Syria. Perhaps now there’s simply more blunt and open talk wherein assumptions are laid bare as introspective strategists realign their talking points while still eyeing the ultimate neocon prize of regime change in Iran.

Though still rarely acknowledged in international reports, Israel has engaged in overt acts of war in Syria since at least 2012 and 2013, when it launched a massive missile attack against a Syrian defense technology facility in Jamraya outside of Damascus. In 2016 Israel went so far as to target Damascus International Airport, killing a well-known Hezbollah commander. In a significant admission last week, the head of Israel’s air force acknowledged nearly one hundred IDF attacks on convoys inside Syria over the course of the past 5 years. Earlier this summer Netanyahu himself was caught on a hot mic bragging that Israel had struck Syrian targets at least “a dozen times”. And this is to say nothing of Israel’s covert support to al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria’s south, which has reportedly involved weapons transfers and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops involving Netanyahu himself. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran.

Perhaps the biggest blow to Israeli plans for rolling back Iranian presence in Syria came mid-summer of this year, when Trump agreed to a southwest Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ with Russia, which would necessarily involve Iranian cooperation. The agreement implicitly acknowledges Iran’s troop presence in Syria as legitimate, and as reported at the time further “ignored Israel’s positions almost completely.” But analysts are in general agreement that the US-Russia brokered deal has been relatively successful and a step in the right direction. Even the Reuters report on this week’s Netanyahu-Putin meeting seemed to acknowledge the deal’s effectiveness:

Russia has so far shown forbearance toward Israel, setting up a military hotline to prevent their warplanes or anti-aircraft units clashing accidentally over Syria.

But given that Israel has already invested itself so heavily in the push to remove Assad while routinely launching attacks on Hezbollah with impunity, it is unlikely to disengage from Syria anytime soon, even as close Western allies publicly change their tune. Netanyahu’s brazen words to Putin that ‘preventative’ escalation in Syria to destroy what Israeli defense officials commonly call the “Iranian land bridge” (or the so-called ‘Shia crescent’) may in reality be empty diplomatic posturing, yet it does reveal increased Israeli desperation as even the West is seeming to ignore Netanyahu’s repeatedly declared “red lines”.

Regardless, Netanyahu remains the Syria regime change lobby’s best hope. Already, within less than 24 hours of Netanyahu’s Russia visit, neocon columnists are calling for him to unilaterally “take action”:

If he really expects others , especially Putin, that he means business this time, he will have to go beyond words and into actions, as clearly Israel could not and should not allow Iran to turn South Syria into another South Lebanon.

With ISIS folding, refugees returning to their homes, stability taking root over large swathes of Syria, and successful de-escalation zones holding over parts of the country, it appears that only Netanyahu (along with terror groups like ISIS) is left unhappy in the region. Yet Syria continues on its current hopeful trajectory and path to recovery.

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

Iran, Saudi to Exchange Diplomatic Visits

Al-Manar | August 24, 2017

Iran and Saudi Arabia will soon exchange diplomatic visits, Tehran said, in a possible sign of tensions easing after the arch rivals cut ties last year.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told local media the visits would take place after this year’s hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which is due to start at the beginning of September.

“Visas have been delivered for the two sides. The final steps need to be completed so our diplomats can go inspect our embassy and consulate in Saudi Arabia and for Saudi diplomats to come inspect their embassy and consulate,” Zarif told news agency ISNA.

Zarif urged Riyadh to reconsider its foreign policy.

“Saudi Arabia’s behavior goes against its own interests. We want security and stability throughout the region and insist on the need to fight against the dangers that threaten us all,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has not benefited from two years of war and horrific acts against the Yemeni people, on the contrary,” he said. “It’s the same in Syria or in Bahrain. We hope they will choose another path.”

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

The White House receives an Israeli delegation. The Agenda: Syria

Voltaire Network | August 16, 2017

An Israeli delegation will be received at the White House this week. The agenda: Syria.

The three members of the Israeli delegation are:
• Yossi Cohen (photo), Head of Mossad (Foreign Intelligence);
• General Herzl Halevi, Head of Aman (Military Intelligence); and
• Colonel Zohar Palti, Head of Military and Political Affairs at the Ministry of Defense.

This delegation will meet with the following US representatives:
• General H.R. McMaster, National Security Advisor;
• Dina Powell, Vice National Security Advisor; and
• Jason Greenblatt, The President’s representative for international negotiations.

Israël, which has already secured a prohibition on Iranian troops or troops from the Hezbollah being present in Southern Syria, intends to use this visit as an opportunity to present compelling grounds for closing down the Silk Route. Israel’s justification? Teheran could use this route to supply arms to the Hezbollah.

The three members of the Israeli delegation and Trump’s representative (Jason Greenblatt), all four of them are Jewish Orthodox. As for Dina Powell, she was involved in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and planning the “Arab Springs”.

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Accuses Russia of Arming Taliban ‘to Hide Its Own Defeat’ in Afghanistan

Sputnik – August 24, 2017

Unfounded speculations by US politicians about alleged supplies of arms to the Taliban by Russia are aimed at concealing the truth of America’s obvious defeat in Afghanistan, which Washington is still struggling to postpone, Afghan political observer Vahid Mojda told Sputnik.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s claim that Russia is arming the Taliban bears no relation to reality, Vahid Mojda, a political observer and former Afghan Foreign Ministry official under the Taliban government, told Sputnik.

“I talked with Talibs about it and they told me that neither Russia nor any other countries provided any assistance to them,” Mojda said in an interview with Sputnik Afghanistan. “They [said] they could get Kalashnikov assault rifles in Afghanistan at a very cheap price. They can buy [the rifles] directly from the Afghan Army. The Taliban usually draws on corrupt [Afghan] politicians to buy weapons from the Afghan military for bribes.”

On Tuesday, during a press briefing, Tillerson claimed that Russia was providing weapons to the Taliban.

“With respect to the comment about Russia, to the extent, Russia is supplying arms to the Taliban, that is a violation, obviously, of international norms and it’s a violation of UN Security Council norms,” Tillerson said, “We certainly would object to that and call Russia’s attention to that. If anyone is going to supply arms, it needs to be through the Afghan government.”

However, the US secretary of state didn’t refer to any credible evidence to back his claim.

In response to Tillerson’s unfounded allegations Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova highlighted Thursday that Moscow has provided no support to the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.

She pointed out that Moscow has repeatedly rejected similar accusations and has demanded Washington provide evidence that it supports the militant movement.

“There is none. Such statements do not contribute to the establishment of effective cooperation between our countries on Afghanistan,” the spokeswoman stressed.

“If Talibs received weapons from other countries it wouldn’t be Kalashnikov rifles: what the Taliban needs are anti-aircraft guns,” Mojda underscored in his interview with Sputnik. “If the Taliban obtains these [anti-aircraft] weapons, the US will find itself in a heap of trouble in Afghanistan.”

Why does Washington accuse Russia of arming the Taliban?

Mojda assumed that the US is apparently trying to drive a wedge between various groups within the Taliban.

“They are doing this to sow discord among the Taliban by convincing militants that some Talibs are connected to Russia. This is a propaganda campaign against the Taliban,” he noted.

On the other hand, according to the political observer, Washington is making attempts to divert attention away from the obvious fact that the US is losing its war in Afghanistan.

“By pointing the finger of blame to Russia, Pakistan and other countries, they [the US] want to conceal their defeat in Afghanistan,” Mojda stressed. “The goal of Washington’s strategy is not to win in Afghanistan, but to postpone the US’ defeat.”

Commenting on the issue, Russian Senator Frants Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Parliament’s upper chamber’s Defense and Security Committee, denounced Tillerson’s allegations as groundless.

“The United States continues to measure others by its own standards,” Klintsevich told reporters. “The logic of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who accused Russia of arming the Taliban, is absolutely ‘one-dimensional’: [he believes that] if the Americans supported [Afghan] Mujahedin by all means available — including weapon supplies — during the Soviet Union’s Afghan war in the 1980s, Russia cannot but do completely the same. Of course, no proof was presented [to confirm the claim].”

It is not the first time that US policy makers and mainstream media have made unfounded claims about Moscow’s alleged assistance to the Taliban.In March, US Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, claimed that he had seen “Russian influence growing” on Taliban insurgents. He went even further suggesting that possibly Moscow could have been helping “supply” the militants. Scaparrotti didn’t specify what kinds of supplies he meant.

A month later the head of US and international forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, stepped up with a similar claim saying that he was “not refuting” reports that Russia was providing support, “including weapons,” to the Taliban.

Neither Scaparrotti nor Nicholson cited any evidence to confirm their assumptions.

Predictably, US mainstream media immediately blew up the story.

Nearly a month ago CNN reported that it obtained a video showing sniper rifles and heavy machine guns “stripped of any means of identifying their origin.”

The media outlet presumed that the rifles appeared to look like Russian-made Kalashnikov guns. Still, the report admitted that “the videos don’t provide incontrovertible proof of the trade.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s reply was not long in coming.

“We have said many times that the allegations regarding Russian support for the Taliban, which some Western media make and some Afghan media repeat, are absolutely groundless,” the Foreign Ministry said in an official statement. “So far, neither the Afghan authorities, nor the US and NATO commands in Afghanistan have presented any facts to prove these allegations.”

The ministry called attention to the fact that the “Taliban drove American-made Humvees in a recent attack on the base of the Afghan National Security Forces in Helmand.”

“It is easy to imagine the conclusion that can be made from this news based on CNN’s logic,” the statement said.

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments