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Israel in no position to level nuclear accusation at Iran: Zarif

Press TV – September 28, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has lashed out at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his baseless claims against Iran at his UN speech, saying Tel Aviv is in no position to level such accusations against Tehran.

“Netanyahu must explain how Israel, as the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East region, can put itself in a position to level such brazen accusations against a country whose [nuclear] program has been repeatedly declared peaceful by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Zarif told IRNA on Thursday.

The senior Iranian diplomat’s comments came after the Israeli prime minister once again took the stage at the UN on Thursday to put on another spectacle about Iran’s nuclear program, repeating his threadbare allegation that the country is working to develop nuclear weapons at “secret” sites.

Zarif said Netanyahu’s move is only aimed at deflecting attention from the fact that the Israeli regime is “the biggest threat to the Middle East” given that he stands by a nuclear weapons facility and threatens other states with atomic annihilation, Zarif noted.

“The Tel Aviv regime will never manage to achieve anything by playing such games,” the Iranian foreign minister added.

“We have seen in recent days the extent of the US’ isolation at the UN General Assembly and the Security Council as a result of the policies Netanyahu has imposed on Washington. Now imagine how isolated the Israelis themselves are when they have managed to haul the US into such isolation,” Zarif stated.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi strongly dismissed Netanyahu’s UN show as “ridiculous” and a fabricated scenario aimed at making up for the failed US and Israeli smear campaign against Iran at the UN General Assembly.

“The occupying regime [of Israel] must know that in the new era, the world will only laugh out loud at such false, inconsiderate and empty remarks and fake shows,” Qassemi told journalists on Thursday.

He referred to the IAEA as the only body responsible for dealing with nuclear issues, saying that 12 reports issued by the UN atomic watchdog and verified by the global community and all relevant parties have so far confirmed Iran’s commitment to its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 6 Comments

UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Ruled Unlawful: What Does Privacy Mean to You?

By Julian Vigo | Dissident Voice | September 27, 2018

Two weeks ago the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gave a landmark ruling against the UK government’s mass surveillance program, stating that it violated human rights and offered “no real safeguards” to the public. This surveillance programme, according to the Strasbourg court, allowed the British intelligence agencies’ to violate the right to a private and family life with “insufficient oversight” over which communications were chosen for examination. Of equal importance the ECHR found that the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), also known as the Snoopers’ Charter, did not give enough protection to journalistic sources which would violate the rights to freedom of expression guaranteed in UK and EU laws and would discourage whistle-blowing. In its judgment of the case, Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom (applications nos. 58170/13, 62322/14 and 24960/15), the court concluded that police and security services had breached citizens’ right to privacy by intercepting communications data in bulk, with little oversight of when these powers could be used, just as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had revealed.

In its judgment, the ECHR expressed concern that “intelligence services can search and examine ‘related communications data’ apparently without restriction’ – data that identifies senders and recipients of communications, their location, email headers, web browsing information, IP addresses, and more.” This means that Internet service providers must store details of everything we do online for twelve months and render it accessible to dozens of public bodies to include everything from browsing records to data on private citizens, search engine activity, to every phone call to text message and geographical location we have held in any of our electronic devices. The IPA also requires that tech companies hand over the data that they possess to intelligence agencies.

Yet, what does this mean for those of us who just use our computers for work and our mobiles for texting friends to meet up for drinks? Surely, this does not affect us, right? Wrong.

The catch is that we are all implicated, to include the simple text message to confirm dinner plans. Do you use a social media account? Do you have photos on your mobile and laptop that you have or have not posted online? Did you rate a restaurant on Google? All this information to include your list of Facebook friends are being mined by the government along with all the tracking information that your many apps provide, your bank, credit card and financial details, biographical information, your resume, your medical records, and all the information in the world that you store on these devices which you might even deem harmless. In this day and age there is no such thing as harmless information. At that, there is no such thing as privacy when the government believes it has already rewritten the IPA in measure with the previous court’s instruction.

As many are concerned with the interception of personal data and parents are reading online privacy and safety guide for kids, the government’s secret interception, processing and storing data of millions of people’s private communications, should alarm each and every one of us. The current form of the IPA means that any information that you have in the UK can be shared with secret intelligence agencies like the CIA, and well beyond. With which other countries does the US also share information under similar secret legal frameworks? Also important to consider here are the impediments to tech development that are under threat such as when then Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to ban Snapchat, WhatsApp, and any other encrypted messaging services unless these companies provided the government with backdoor access to user data. Such measures actually deter technology since most tech companies are aware that the minute they undermine their users’ privacy, their company will not last.

In short, by stripping away our privacy, the government is undermining everything that keeps us free: our expression, our right to protest and to fair trials, our legal and patient confidentiality, our free press. And one can argue our individuality is at stake whereby everything we do, consume, record, and say is potentially up for monitoring and scrutiny, as are those with whom we interact. As Edward Snowden stated, “Because privacy isn’t about something to hide. Privacy is about something to protect. That’s who you are.”

We need to prize our privacy and human right not to be spied upon in this day and age where governments are pulling out the “terrorism” card in order to goad its citizens into surrendering one of the qualities which makes us most human.


Julian Vigo is a scholar, film-maker and human rights consultant. Her latest book is Earthquake in Haiti: The Pornography of Poverty and the Politics of Development (2015). She can be reached at: julian.vigo@gmail.com.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Criminal Probe of Airline used for CIA Torture Flights urged by North Carolina State Commission

Sputnik – 27.09.2018

A commission established by North Carolina to investigate that state’s role in a CIA torture campaign is urging authorities to launch a criminal probe of a state-based airline used to transport Muslim terror suspects, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Thursday.

The ACLU press release summarized a report by the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture dubbed “Torture Flights,” which found that a company named Aero Contractors that was employed by the CIA used a state-owned airport as a base to fly terror suspects to US-run “black sites” around the world following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“The [North Carolina Commission] report concluded that given the national policy of de facto impunity for US torture, North Carolina should have long since opened a criminal investigation into Aero’s substantial role in it,” the release said. “In collaboration with local law enforcement, Governor [Roy] Cooper can and should deploy the State Bureau of Investigation.”

Aero Contractors was — and still is — headquartered at a government-owned airport near the North Carolina capital of Raleigh, the report noted.

The Commission also identified 15 torture victims not previously named in a US Senate report — excluded because they were flown incognito to other countries for torture by local officials instead CIA operatives, the report said.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Reasons behind Washington’s War on UNRWA

By Ramzy Baroud | Dissident Voice | September 27, 2018

The US government’s decision to slash funds provided to the United Nations agency that cares for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, is part of a new American-Israeli strategy aimed at redefining the rules of the game altogether.

As a result, UNRWA is experiencing its worst financial crisis. The gap in its budget is estimated at around $217 million, and is rapidly increasing. Aside from future catastrophic events that would result in discontinuing services and urgent humanitarian aid to five million refugees registered with UNRWA, the impact of the US callous decision is already reverberating in many refugee camps across the region. Currently, UNRWA has downgraded many of its services: laying off many teachers, reducing staff and working hours at various clinics.

Nearly 40 percent of all Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, a country that is already overwhelmed by a million Syrian refugees who sought shelter there because of the grinding and deadly war in their own country.

Aware of Jordan’s vulnerability, American emissaries attempted to barter with the country to heed the US demand of revoking the status of the two million Palestinian refugees. Instead of funding UNRWA, Washington offered to re-channel the funds directly to the Jordanian government. Thus, the US hopes that the Palestinian refugee status would no longer be applicable. Unsurprisingly, Jordan refused the American offer.

News of this failed barter resurfaced last August. It was reported that US President Donald Trump’s special envoy, Jared Kushner, tried to sway the Jordanian government during his visit to Amman in June.

Washington and Israel are seeking to simply remove the ‘Right of Return’ for Palestinian refugees, as enshrined in international law, from the political agenda altogether.

Coupled with Washington’s strategy to “remove Jerusalem from the table,” the American strategy is neither random nor impulsive.

“It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote to the US Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, in an email last January. The email, among others, was later leaked to Foreign Policy magazine. “This (agency) perpetuates a status quo,” he also wrote, referring to UNRWA as “corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.”

This notion that UNRWA sustains the status quo – meaning the political rights of Palestinians refugees – is the main reason behind the American war on the Organization, a fact that is confirmed through statements made by top Israeli officials, too.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, echoed the American sentiment. UNRWA “has proven itself an impediment to resolving the conflict by keeping the Palestinians in perpetual refugee status,” he said.

Certainly, the US cutting of funds to UNRWA coincides with the defunding of all programs that provide any kind of aid to the Palestinian people. But the targeting of UNRWA is mostly concerned with the status of Palestinian refugees, a status that has irked Tel Aviv for 70 years.

Why does Israel want to place Palestinian refugees in a status-less category?

The refugee status is already a precarious one. To be a Palestinian refugee means living perpetually in limbo – unable to reclaim what has been lost, and unable to fashion an alternative future and a life of freedom and dignity.

How are Palestinians to reconstruct their identity that has been shattered by decades of exile, when Israel has constantly hinged its own existence as a ‘Jewish state’ on opposing the return and repatriation of Palestinian refugees? Per Israel’s logic, the mere Palestinian demand for the implementation of the internationally-sanctioned Right of Return is equivalent to a call for “genocide”. According to that same faulty logic, the fact that the Palestinian people live and multiply is a “demographic threat” to Israel.

Much can be said about the circumstances behind the creation of UNRWA by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1949 – its operations, efficiency and the effectiveness of its work. But for most Palestinians, UNRWA is not a relief organization, per se; being registered as a refugee with UNRWA provides Palestinians with a temporary identity, the same identity that allowed four generations of refugees to navigate decades of exile.

UNRWA’s stamp of “refugee” on every certificate that millions of Palestinians possess – birth, death and everything else in between – has served as a compass, pointing back to the places those refugees come from – not the refugee camps scattered in Palestine and across the region, but the 600 towns and villages that were destroyed during the Zionist assault on Palestine.

These villages may have been erased, as a whole new country was established upon their ruins, but the Palestinian refugee remained – subsisted, resisted and plotted her return home. The UNRWA refugee status is the international recognition of this inalienable right.

Therefore, the current US-Israeli war does not target UNRWA as a UN body, but as an organization that allows millions of Palestinians to maintain their identity as refugees with non-negotiable rights until their return to their ancestral homeland. Nearly 70 years after its founding, UNRWA remains essential and irreplaceable.

The founders of Israel envisioned a future where Palestinian refugees would eventually disappear into the larger population of the Middle East. Seventy years on, the Israelis still entertain that same illusion.

Now, with the help of the Trump administration, they are orchestrating yet more sinister campaigns to make Palestinian refugees vanish, wished away through the destruction of UNRWA and the redefining of the refugee status of millions of Palestinians.

The fate of Palestinian refugees seems to be of no relevance to Trump, Kushner and other US officials. The Americans are now hoping that their strategy will finally bring Palestinians to their knees so that they will ultimately submit to the Israeli government’s dictates.

The latest US-Israeli folly will prove futile. Successive US administrations have done everything in their power to support Israel and to punish the supposedly intransigent Palestinians. The Right of Return, however, remained the driving force behind Palestinian resistance, as the Gaza Great March of Return, ongoing since March, continues to demonstrate.

The truth is that all the money in Washington’s coffers will not reverse what is now a deeply embedded belief in the hearts and minds of millions of refugees throughout Palestine, the Middle East and the world.


Dr. Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. He is athor of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle and his latest My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story. He can be reached at ramzybaroud@hotmail.com.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Spectacular Zionist Boomerang

By Gilad Atzmon | September 27, 2018

All that is left for us to do is to thank British Zionist institutions, the BOD, the CAA, the Jewish Chronicle and the Zionist stooges within British media for making the British Labour party not only the biggest and most united political party in Europe but also a party united behind its leader Jeremy Corbyn and unequivocally opposed to Israeli criminality.

Christians United for Israel, an ultra Zionist outlet, complained that  “hundreds of Palestinian flags were flown on the main floor of Labour’s Party conference yesterday despite the British flag not being allowed. The flags, which were flown with approval of the Labour leadership, were handed out to delegates by activists before the Conference passed a motion demanding a freeze on arms sales to Israel and an investigation into the deaths of Palestinians on the Gaza border.”

It is worth mentioning that Israel doesn’t actually need  obsolete British weapons. Likely the British army would also benefit by avoiding the use of locally manufactured lethal toys. But what is crucial is that despite the relentless Zionist campaign against Corbyn and the British media’s shameless compliance with the Zionist call, the Labour party has prevailed magnificently. It is more focused and united than it has been in the past five shameful decades.

Noticeable of late is that Israel firsters are changing their strategy. Tossing antisemitsm accusations against Corbyn and the Labour party was counterproductive, the accusations only ended up contributing to the popularity of Corbyn and the party. So now the Zionist clan is trying to mobilize new opposition by accusing the Labour party and its many supporters of being ‘unpatriotic.’ “Shockingly, earlier in the week Labour constituencies chose to debate ‘Palestine’ with more than 188,000 votes – making it the only international issue to receive a dedicated debate in Liverpool and thousands more votes than for concerns such as the NHS, the welfare system, or Brexit.”

Labour party members waved the Palestinian flag en masse grasping that by now -We Are All Palestinians-like the Palestinians we aren’t even allowed to utter the name of our oppressor. I suspect that blaming Labour for holding a meeting that Israel’s supporters claim failed to pay sufficient attention to the NHS or welfare is not going to work, but obviously, I welcome the new Zionist strategy. As we have seen, each and every one of their acts boomerangs spectacularly.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 3 Comments

‘US & UK Funded White Helmets Because They Served Their Interests’ – David Icke

Sputnik – September 27, 2018

The UK government has started resettling White Helmets activists and their families to the UK and the group is reportedly working closely with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. This comes amid reports that the Netherlands has decided to cut off funding for the group due to alleged links between members of the White Helmets and terrorist organizations.

Sputnik discussed London’s decision to resettle the White Helmets activists and their families in the UK with David Icke, a political commentator.

Sputnik: What can you say about the recent news that we’re getting, very contradicting news, on the one hand we have the Netherlands that has decided to cut funding to the White Helmets over their alleged links to terrorism, on the other hand, we have the UK welcoming members of the White Helmets and their families to the country, what are your thoughts on this?

David Icke: To understand the White Helmets is to understand that we live in an incredibly inverted world where everything is upside down. We have terrorists who are called moderate rebels, we have a United States government that says it fights terrorism when Washington is the global epicenter of state-sponsored terrorism, we have Silicon Valley giants saying they’re going to stop the influence of US elections, when through their censorship and their search engines they’re absolutely influencing the US elections.

At the same theme, the White Helmets are called brave volunteers and true modern day heroes when they are fundamentally connected to the proxy army of terrorists that have been ultimately controlled by the US and, of course, the UK. That’s why the UK was so happy to launch the so-called resettlement of the White Helmets when in fact it’s an evacuation of people who have been now pushed into this enclave of Idlib thanks to Syria and Russian intervention, and basically they have nowhere else to go. There are those that have been caught in other enclaves; there was an example recently, where the US, the UK and Israel combined to get them out through the Golan Heights.

It’s all gone pear-shaped, basically, because the drip, drip, drip of the alternative media and the alternative view has basically accumulatively combined to show the people of the world what the White Helmets really are, and so repatriating them is what you would expect. Also, of course, they want to keep control of what these people say, because there’s so much that these White Helmets, from their experience, could actually tell the world about what they were actually doing and who was really funding them. Of course from the UK angle, we should not forget that the White Helmets were actually created by a British army officer and mercenary called James Le Mesurier, who is very much involved in military intelligence, and as soon as he created them in Turkey in 2013, suddenly, just by coincidence, about $125 million of aid from the US, UK and other countries started heading the way of the White Helmets.

There is a quote by a UK admiral, a guy called Sir Philip Jones, he is Chief of Naval Staff; he wasn’t talking about the White Helmets but he captured (the essence of the situation) in one sentence, when he said about military techniques: “The hard punch of military power is often delivered inside the kid glove of humanitarian relief.” The White Helmets are an absolutely fundamental example of this, and this is why people like George Soros and his Open Society foundation NGOs, using humanitarian excuses, are politically manipulating country after country; it’s an old technique.

Sputnik: Do you think there’s a risk involved to UK citizens in the resettling of the White Helmets? Is there any chance that there could actually be people with very radical, dangerously radical sentiments?

David Icke: Well let’s put it this way, you have a situation where people are being repatriated to the UK and resettled, as they call it, who have been involved in the movie rescues exploiting children, pulling them from behind rubble, saving them from Assad’s bombs, when actually the child has no dust on them and they’re holding a pristine rag doll that is straight out of the packaging. You have the White Helmets who have faked chemical attacks to justify US missile attacks on Assad, so you’re not dealing with a rational people, you’re dealing with deeply disturbed people, you have only to go on the Internet to see footage of the White Helmets absolutely working together with ISIS at the time of people being shot and all the rest of it, so they’re very, very disturbed people.

But we should not forget this, the UK has an horrendous record, like the US, of sponsoring terrorism and using terrorists for its own ends. I mean the Prime Minister who is overseeing this White Helmets resettlement, Theresa May, was Home Secretary when people from UK-based Libyan families were allowed to move between Libya and the US without question when they were seeking, which was of course the plan of the UK, the US and NATO removal of Gaddafi. One of the people from those families involved in that was later blamed for the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, which killed 23 people and wounded 139, half of them children, so when you do mess with very disturbed people for your own ends, then there is a kickback potential, very much so.

Sputnik: The Netherlands has decided to cut the funding, to what extent do you think the true nature of the White Helmets has become known and to what part of the world? How many people, how many countries have actually acknowledged or understand their true nature?David Icke: I think the United States and the United Kingdom have understood the true nature of what they are from the start, that’s why they were funding them, because they were serving their interests in trying to unseat Assad in Syria, but I think those that were not in it from the start, they are beginning to see more and more that there’s a hoax going on here.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

William of Ockham Lends His Razor to the Skripal Case

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | September 26, 2018

Firstly, I’d like to thank the UK Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, who in a Tweet, which he subsequently deleted, wrote in response to the new Bellingcat report:

“The true identity of one of the Salisbury suspects has been revealed to be a Russian Colonel. I want to thank all the people who are working so tirelessly on this case.”

I like to think that Gavin was including all the contributors to this website, who are indeed working tirelessly to get to the truth of what really happened on 4th March and following, so many thanks for that Gavin. Why he subsequently deleted his Tweet I don’t know, but I suspect it may be that even he couldn’t quite square the prostitute-cavorting, cannabis-smoking, coin-shopping, Boshirov, who got lost and couldn’t find his way back to Salisbury train station after his alleged mission, with his being a Spetsnaz officer. Some things are too absurd even for Gavin, I guess.

Secondly, I was somewhat amused to see a commenter on the previous thread refer to Occam’s Razor in reference to the Salisbury case. Apparently “Occam says that Russia assassinates Russian traitors, ergo Russia attempted to murder the Skripals”. As a reminder, here is what Occam’s Razor is all about:

“Occam’s razor is the problem-solving principle that the simplest solution tends to be the right one. When presented with competing hypotheses to solve a problem, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.”

Now, if Mr Skripal had dropped dead at his doorstep from symptoms consistent with exposure to the deadliest nerve agent on the planet, and if Petrov and Boshirov had actually been seen at the house, then there may have been a case for “Russia murdering Skripal with the world’s deadliest nerve agent” as being Occam’s most plausible explanation (although of course, there are plenty of others who might have done that and indeed could have done it). But of course this didn’t happen. Far from it.

So what would Occam actually have made of the Skripal case? Let’s see:

1. The official narrative says that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned at the door handle of his house, yet it also says that they collapsed on a park bench, simultaneously, some 4 hours later.

Occam’s verdict: They were probably poisoned near the bench.

 

2. The official narrative says that the substance used to poisoned them was a military grade nerve agent, 5-8 times more toxic than VX, and of “high purity”. Yet not only did they not die on the spot, but they went into town, fed some ducks, had a meal and a drink, before collapsing on a bench, simultaneously, with symptoms far more in keeping with an incapacitant, such as Kokokol-1, for instance.

Occam’s Verdict: They were probably poisoned by an incapacitant, such as Kolokol-1, not a military grade nerve agent.

 

3. The table they ate at in Zizzis was subsequently taken away and incinerated, apparently because it was heavily contaminated with “Novichok”. Yet literally hundreds of people came into contact with items they touched before they got to the table, without becoming contaminated. This includes the three boys who received bread from Mr Skripal’s hands (one of whom ate a piece). It includes the hundreds of people who would have touched the ticket machine in Sainsbury’s car park before it was cordoned off on 12th March (eight days after the incident). It includes the dozens of people who touched the door handles at Zizzis and The Mill throughout the rest of 4th March and some of 5th March (yes, they touched more door handles than just the one at Chez Skripal that day). And let’s not forget the policemen who entered the house before the door handle theory was conjured up.

Occam’s Verdict: Their hands were not contaminated with military grade nerve agent when they touched these things.

 

4. Official statements for public consumption refer to the substance alleged to have poisoned the Skripals by the nebulous name “Novichok” (which “Novichok” is it Theresa?). Yet in its official statement to the High Court on 20-22nd March, Porton Down referred to the substance using the much broader phrase, “a nerve agent or related compound” and a “Novichok or related agent.” Why the inability or reluctance to be more specific in this official statement, despite apparent Government certainty?

Occam’s Verdict: The folks at Porton Down refused to identify the substance used on 4th March as one of the series A-230-A-234 because it wasn’t.

 

5. The Metropolitan Police have made their case, and yet their timelines are full of holes. For instance, they have given out incomplete timelines and then conspicuously failed to update them, such as the movements of the Skripals on the morning of 4th March. They have reversed the timeline from what all the early reports and witnesses testified to, that the Skripals visited Zizzis first then The Mill, and they have done so without explaining how all those witnesses could be so wrong. They have left crucial details out of their timelines, such as the duck feed at 13:45. They have been absurdly vague in other timelines, such as the claim that Mr Skripals car was seen in London Road, Churchill Way North, and Wilton Road, all at 9:15am. And they have altered timestamps on some images (i.e. the Gatwick entrance images), and added them to others (i.e. most of those of Boshirov and Petrov on 4th March).

Occam’s Verdict: There’s a massive cover up going on, and more than a little incompetence.

 

We could go on for a long time, but let’s leave it with one more:

It is claimed that Sergei Skripal was deliberately poisoned by Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, at the door handle of his house on 4th March. Mr Skripal has been out of hospital for over four months now. And yet he has not been seen in public, there have been no public statements from him, and he has not been in contact with his mother, who I understand recently turned 90.

Occam’s Verdict: Where is Sergei? He’s either dead, or he can’t be prevailed upon to make a statement backing up the official narrative, because he knows it isn’t true.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

North Korea Supports Seoul’s Idea to Hold First Inter-Parliamentary Meeting

Sputnik – 27.09.2018

North Korea supported on Thursday South Korea’s initiative to organize the first bilateral inter-parliamentary meeting before the end of the year.

The Yonhap news agency reported that the meeting was suggested by Speaker of the South Korean National Assembly Moon Hee-sang.

“The role of the Koreas’ parliaments and political parties is very important in implementing the April and September inter-Korean summit agreements. In this regard, we agreed to the offer in principle,” Chairman of the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly Choe Thae-bok said in a letter to Moon, which was quoted by the agency.

According to the news outlet, the date of the meeting is expected to be set during high-level government negotiations in the near future.

Earlier in September, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un held the third inter-Korean summit, during which the two sides reached a number of agreements on Pyongyang’s military and nuclear facilities and the connection of two of Korea’s roads and railways. Pyongyang and Seoul also signed an accord aimed at the enhancement of mutual trust.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | | Leave a comment

Illegal US Nuclear Weapons Handouts

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | September 27, 2018

The US military practice of placing nuclear weapons in five other countries (no other nuclear power does this) is a legal and political embarrassment for US diplomacy. That’s why all the governments involved refuse to “confirm or deny” the practice of “nuclear sharing” or the locations of the B61 free-fall gravity bombs in question.

Expert analysts and observers agree that the United States currently deploys 150-to-180 of these nuclear weapons at bases in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey and Belgium. The authors of the January 2018 report “Building a Safe, Secure, and Credible NATO Nuclear Posture” take for granted the open secret that nuclear sharing is ongoing even though all six countries are signatory parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

In a paper for the journal Science for Democratic Action, German weapons expert Otfried Nassauer, director of Berlin’s Information Center for Transatlantic Security, concluded, “NATO’s program of ‘nuclear sharing’ with five European countries probably violates Articles I and II of the Treaty.”

Article I prohibits nuclear weapon states that are parties to the NPT from sharing their weapons. It says: “Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly….” Article II, the corollary commitment, states says: “Each non-nuclear weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly … or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices….”

What nuclear sharing means in practice

The five NATO countries currently hosting US H-bombs on their air bases are officially “non-nuclear weapons states.” But as Nassauer reports, “Under NATO nuclear sharing in times of war, the US would hand control of these nuclear weapons over to the non-nuclear weapon states’ pilots for use with aircraft from non-nuclear weapon states. Once the bomb is loaded aboard, once the correct Permissive Action Link code has been entered by the US soldiers guarding the weapons, and once the aircraft begins its mission, control over the respective weapon(s) has been transferred. That is the operational, technical part of what is called ‘nuclear sharing.’”

This flaunting of the NPT is what peace activists on both sides of the Atlantic refer to when calling the US bombs in Europe “illegal.” Nassauer notes, “The pilots for these aircraft are provided with training specific to use nuclear weapons. The air force units to which these pilots and aircraft belong have the capability to play a part in NATO nuclear planning, including assigning a target, selecting the yield of the warhead for the target, and planning a specific mission for the use of the bombs.”

“NATO nuclear sharing,” Nassauer writes, “was described in 1964 by one member of the US National Security Council … as meaning that ‘the non-nuclear NATO-partners in effect become nuclear powers in time of war.’ The concern is that, at the moment the aircraft loaded with the bomb is on the runway ready to start, the control of the weapon is turned over from the US, a nuclear weapon state, to non-nuclear weapon states. … To my understanding, this is in violation of the spirit if not the text of Articles I and II of the NPT.”

How Do the US and its Allies Explain their Lawlessness?

An undated, 1960s-era letter from then-US Secretary of State Rusk explained the US ‘interpretation’ of the NPT. The pretext for ignoring the treaty’s plain language, the Rusk letter “argues that the NPT does not specify what is allowed, but only what is forbidden. In this view, everything that is not forbidden by the NPT is allowed,” Nassaure explained.

In its most absurd section, Rusk simply denies the treaty’s obvious purpose and intent. “Since the treaty doesn’t explicitly talk about the deployment of nuclear warheads in countries that are non-nuclear weapon states,” Nassaure writes, “such deployments are considered legal under the NPT.”

It is so easy to show that the United States and its nuclear sharing partners are in violation of the NPT, the governments involved work hard pretending there is nothing to worry about, no lawbreaking underway, no reason to demand answers. This is why so many activists across Europe have become nonviolently disobedient at the air bases involved.

The transparent unlawfulness of NATO’s nuclear war planning is also the reason why prosecutors in Germany don’t dare bring serious charges against civil resisters; even those who have cut fences and occupied hot weapons bunkers in broad daylight. Some Air Force witness might testify at trial that US nuclear weapons are on base.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN: one child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen

A malnourished baby receives medical treatment at al Sabeen Maternal Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | September 26, 2018

At least one child dies every ten minutes as a result of the conflict in Yemen, a senior UN official said.

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande, warned at the end of a high-level meeting held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that ten million more Yemenis will face pre-famine conditions by the end of this year if the status quo does not change.

She explained that three quarters of Yemen’s population need some form of protection and assistance.

For his part, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, said the humanitarian situation in Yemen has reached extremely dangerous levels. “I will ask you for resources to cover our humanitarian operations, so that the suffering of the Yemeni people will not continue,” he said.

The United Nations has launched an appeal to donor countries and institutions to increase financial support to cover what it has termed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment