Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Belgium Urges Sanctions against Israel if it Annexes West Bank

Palestine Chronicle | June 27, 2020

The Belgian parliament on Friday passed a resolution urging the government to call on the European Union to impose sanctions against Israel if it proceeds with its plan to annex large swaths of the occupied West Bank.

The measure “concerning Israel’s annexation of occupied territories in Palestine”, passed in the 150-member House of Representatives with 101 affirmative votes, 39 abstentions and zero votes against it.

The body was also due to vote on a motion calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state but this was delayed after it was sent back to the foreign affairs committee for further debate.

MPs from left-wing parties, including the Socialist Party and members of the French and Green parties, proposed the resolutions.

“It is a matter of defending international law. There is no equidistance to be respected in this fight,” said MP Ecolo Simon Moutquin who authored the resolution.

The resolution has two objectives, he said: “On the one hand, send a message to the Israeli government ‘Don’t cross that red line’. On the other hand, give some hope to the Palestinians who have suffered injustice for decades.”

More than 1,000 European lawmakers across the political spectrum issued a letter earlier this week warning Israel against annexing parts of the occupied West Bank.

Legislators said they “share serious concerns about [US] President Trump’s plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the imminent prospect of Israeli annexation of West Bank territory.”

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

J’accuse: Pinning down responsibility for Belgium’s dismal record of Covid-19 mortality

By Gilbert Doctorow | May 28, 2020

For a number of weeks in a row as coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths spiraled upwards exponentially, the broad population in Belgium and many other European countries came out at specified times in the evening to collectively celebrate the heroism of their medical cadres on the front lines of the pandemic. For a while I joined in, but then as it became clear that Belgium has the world’s highest number of deaths per capita in the world, and that the explanations for this given by the authorities are utterly unconvincing, my feelings towards our medical profession changed from admiration to pity for their risking their lives only to produce miserable results. Clearly the foot soldiers had been let down by their generals.

As of today, more than 9,500 patients have died in this country of 11.5 million, half in hospital and half in old age and care homes. To put this in proper perspective, in the United States, where the chaotic response of the federal government under President Trump has been exposed to scathing ridicule both domestically and by observers abroad, today was marked with solemnity as the country crossed the threshold of 100,000 Covid -19 deaths. If the official Belgian mortality rate per million were to be projected onto the United States, which is 28 times more populous, we should be marking 270,000 deaths there today.  Of course, given the unruly de-confinement now going in many U.S. states with the active encouragement of the White House, the numbers there may reach and exceed that level in the coming weeks. But they also may not.

If we use another yardstick which has been promoted by the Financial Times, namely the total excess deaths in a given country in 2020 during the months of the pandemic compared to the normal mortality in the same country in the same period over the past several years, Belgium once again comes out at the top of the list of shame, just behind the UK and Italy.

Most of the Covid-19 deaths in Belgium could have been spared had the right decisions been taken at the outset. And I do not mean earlier imposition of confinement. I will explain myself below. Many other unnecessary deaths have continued even up to the present day because of critical errors that are not being corrected due to pure incompetence, aided and abetted by a dysfunctional political system of power sharing, placing political ideology above pragmatism, and being penny wise and pound foolish in the spending to combat the epidemic. In this regard, it is relevant to note that the daily death toll in Belgium this past week has persistently exceeded that in neighboring France, a country with 5 times the population.

In this brief essay, I will ask some of the tough questions that our lame print media seem unable or unwilling to do during the thrice weekly press conferences held by officials of the federal health ministry.

As recently as a few days ago I hesitated to come out with accusations since I am not a health professional and can base my doubts only on the inconsistencies I have remarked between how the epidemic has been handled in other countries including South Korea and Russia where deaths per million are vastly lower, and what is being done and said from high offices in Belgium. However, the very sharp criticism reported on 26 May in the middle-of-the-road French language newspaper La Libre Belgique directed against the Sciensano institute at the center of the Government’s Covid 19 management has brought starkly into the open some of the weaknesses we in lay society had observed among ourselves in kitchen talk. A breach in the Government’s defenses of its policies has opened up and it is high time to march through.

* * * *

La Libre Belgique assigned to the article mentioned above a title sure to attract the attention it merits: “Coronavirus: the Royal Academies castigate the ‘opaque decisions of Sciensano’ which ‘put our country in danger.’” The Royal Academy of Medicine and the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts denounce in particular the monopoly of power exercised by the Scientific Institute of Public Health (Sciensano) with respect to management of the health crisis and the way their own advice has not been taken into account. They call for ‘rethinking the strategy for developing the Belgian medical plan.’ They note that the oncoming pandemic provoked panic in the country. Decisions were taken precipitously and without any well thought out plan despite the fact that the viral outbreak had occurred in China already in December. They insist that Belgium must learn from its errors if it is to face up to the likely second wave of viral infections ahead.

The one specific charge the Royal Academies raise is over the flip-flop on public policy with respect to wearing masks. We are told that “They point their finger at the ‘denial of the interest in the population wearing masks to cover up the shortage [of masks] and a lack of foresight, as well as the ‘restrictions on use of diagnostic tests’ for the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases of persons having been in contact with a contaminated person.’”

The net result of the démarche is the following: “The two Academies ask Sciensano to collaborate with them in order to ensure transparency, independence and coherence of the decisions taken. They emphasize that they are composed of ‘internationally recognized experts in numerous disciplines concerned by the problem at hand.’”

Finally we are told that the two Academies point to the mistrust which the population is showing with regard to the management of the health crisis, saying ‘’It is urgent that we reestablish confidence and credibility between the decision-making authorities and civil society.”

* * * *

For little Belgium, the open conflict among elites that we see in the article I have summarized above is quite remarkable. We read that the public has lost trust in the authorities, and we read that internationally recognized experts have been sidelined.

Neither phenomenon is particularly unusual in this country where the flip side of the advanced democratic solutions for holding the kingdom together, given the rivalries of the French-speaking and Dutch-speaking regions, is power sharing. This power sharing broadly equates to institutionalized corruption and incompetence. Ministers receive their portfolios by back-room deals among the parties forming the governing coalition of the day. The coronavirus is the sharp end that has driven these abuses out into the open for public scrutiny, particularly as regards the reviled minister of public health Maggie de Bock.

The remarks about government lies about the usefulness of masks when there were none for the hospitals let alone for the general public hit at the most talked about and grating abuses of the Minister of Health. Moreover, she had a year earlier overseen the destruction of millions of masks purchased for the feared ‘bird flu’ H5N1 ten years ago, thereby leaving the country totally exposed in case of some new viral epidemic. On these grounds alone, the Belgian doctors’ association had called for her to be stripped of her license to practice medicine. That may not seem more than a tap on the wrist, but the notion of hauling her into court for dereliction of duty was too improbable of success to be contemplated.

In the meantime, two months into the pandemic, Belgium has stocked up on masks and latex gloves. In my own commune of Ixelles, one of the boroughs in central Brussels, we received a knock on the door a couple of weeks ago, from a communal official delivering for me and my wife individually packaged double layer cloth masks. A very nice gesture, if somewhat late. In Brussels, it is now mandatory to wear masks on public transit and in stores. However, the damage to public trust from the prevarication of the minister was substantial.

What we see in the allegations of the two Academies is that the rot goes much further than one incompetent minister. The Institute advising the ministry, Sciensano, is itself a concoction of political interests rather than a serious center of expertise. It serves two very different administrations: Public Health and Agriculture. Wikipedia tells us that “its core business is scientific research in the fields of public health, animal health and food safety.” The same source spells out the ideology which Sciensanto promotes: “that the areas of human health, animal health and the environment are inherently connected with each other.” Given this ‘green agenda,’ is it any wonder that early on in the pandemic we heard that the high levels of infection and mortality in Belgium might be explained by the high levels of industrial pollution in its cities. I would suggest that this irrelevancy blinded officials to the mortal threat posed by a vicious and uniquely contagious viral infection, full stop.

* * * *

There is no question but that lockdown everywhere has been effective in “flattening the curve” and bringing the daily admissions into hospital, and more particularly into Intensive Care Units, down to manageable levels and so avoiding the kind of pandemonium that we all saw to our horror hit Lombardy in early March.

It is also beyond dispute that imposition of draconian lockdown rules in democratic societies could come only after the existential threat to society was made plain by the kind of disaster that hit Italy. During an interview with the BBC, Italian Prime Minister Conte said as much to justify his foot-dragging in the early days of the epidemic: “Had I imposed lockdown then, all the political classes would have said I was crazy.”

In this respect, we have to give credit to the government of Belgium, and to its Acting Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès for its breaking the political logjam and imposing lockdown in time to avoid the tragedy of Northern Italy. However, it also has to be said that this very rich country did not do what could have changed the game in favor of both saving lives and saving the economy: it did not reach into its wallet to do what China had done so impressively, namely to urgently construct one or more large scale dedicated hospitals to isolate and treat Covid 19 patients. Removing the flow of patients from the normal hospital infrastructure could have maintained essential services to the public., so important to dialysis patients, oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy, those suffering from cardio-vascular events, and the like. Equally importantly, the concentration of fire power in a very few facilities would have helped to ensure proper training and availability of proper protective equipment for those dealing with the Covid-19 patients.  Instead, Belgium chose the cheap and dirty solution, distributing the daily influx of Covid-19 patients among more than 100 hospitals around the country, most of which were very poorly prepared for the daunting challenges ahead.

The second, very important strategic failure of the Belgian health profession was to advise all those who were reporting Covid-19 symptoms to remain at home as long as possible and merely consult with their ‘family physicians’ (which a great many people do not have) by remote. The net result of this practice is that Belgian patients came to hospital by ambulance in advanced and often untreatable condition. Yes, they may have been placed on respirators in ICU’s. Indeed, Belgium never fell short of respirators. We can have no doubt that failure by the health authorities to inform us about the fatality rate of those placed on respirators is simply that the figures are too shocking.

So what do other countries that have been more successful both in patient outcomes and in damage to the economy show us?  First, that those exhibiting or complaining of Covid-19 symptoms should be isolated by the authorities, not by self-quarantine, and that they should be observed closely and given drugs now known to inhibit the reproduction of the virus, among which we find the Gilead substance remdesivir. This is what is being done with great effect in South Korea. It is what is being done in Russia, where another virus-inhibitor discovered in China during the Wuhan treatments is now undergoing massive production in Moscow for widespread distribution to treat the virus. Russian authorities claim that the Chinese pills shorten the Covid-19 recovery time and lessen the damage from the infection by a factor of two compared to remdesivir.

As we all know, Western media have focused on the high incidence of Covid-19 infections in Russia, said to be third in the world after the United States and China, and the very low mortality, with death toll less than 4,000 at last count. The first fact results directly from the massive testing going on in Russia, far greater than in any other country now experiencing this plague.

The reasons for the relative benign outcomes in Russia are simple if you make an effort to understand what is being done. First, the Russians have copied directly the Chinese approach to urgent construction of dedicated Covid-19 field and permanent hospitals. These are state of the art facilities with $60,000 allocated for each bed. Second, the Russians followed the draconian lockdown on the most vulnerable populations, namely those over age 65.  In Russia, seniors are directed, not merely advised to stay at home. No walking the dog, no visits to pharmacies or food stores. As regards the urban population, volunteers bring food and other essentials directly to the apartments of the seniors. This is precisely what the Chinese were doing in Wuhan for the entire population.

Unfortunately, in Belgium as in most of Western Europe and in the USA, China is today viewed only as the source of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, they are paid suppliers of our masks and other protective gear.  But we do not see in them solutions to medical management that are proving very effective in Russia and which have parallel, home developed solutions elsewhere in Asia.

Despite all the talk of globalization, the reality here in Belgium with respect to handling the Covid-19 pandemic has been insular and, quite plainly, ignorant. Let us hope that now, when the first wave of the pandemic is receding, we will stop rallying around the interim government and start exercising our minds by challenging the authorities on the points above and many further points which I am sure our medical experts in the Academies are aware of.

©Gilbert Doctorow,  2020

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , | Leave a comment

Belgian Trade Delegation to Israel Cancelled

IMEMC & Agencies – December 7, 2019

The trade mission would have taken place from the 8th to the 11th of December, will not go forward, due to criticism from the political opposition and several activist organizations, leading to its discontinuation, the Palestine News Network (PNN) reported.

The delegation would have consisted of representatives from the Walloon and Brussels governments, which are separate political entities in Belgium, and numerous companies from the respective regions.

The Walloon government had already withdrawn from the delegation at an earlier stage, but now the Brussels government has done the same, effectively leaving the rest of the mission without political representation.

In the last couple of weeks, the general criticism towards the trade mission has grown. Specifically Israel’s disregard for international agreements concerning the blockade of the Gaza Strip, sparked the opposition’s distaste for the mission.

“We’re talking about participating in the Israeli colonization policy,”

said Stéphanie Koplowicz, member of the Flemish left-wing PVDA-party.

“The UN Human Rights Comittee has complained that over 200 companies do business in these illegal settlements. Does the government want to encourage Brussels’ companies to participate in this?”

December 7, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

“Yellow Vests” Protesters Gather in Brussels

Sputnik – 08.12.2018

According to a Sputnik correspondent, Brussels police had blocked the passage to certain busy streets in order to prevent groups of protesters from entering. Special units of the Brussels police are traveling across the city in trucks, while police are also patting down all suspicious individuals coming from the city’s train stations.

Brussels police on Saturday faced off against about 100 “Yellow Vests” protesters on Rue de la Loi, denying them access to the European Quarter, where the demonstrators intended to hold an unauthorised rally.

“Around 100 people have already been detained,” Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van De Keere said.

Law enforcement officers had already detained about 70 people earlier on suspicion that they intended to join protesters in various areas of the capital, Ilse Van De Keere told reporters.

On Saturday, Belgian police prepared a thousand special forces officers to combat riots in Brussels. As Ilse Van de Keere emphasised, police had “tried to contact the organisers of the protest rallies scheduled for Saturday to warn about unauthorised gatherings of people, but could not do this because they did not find anyone responsible for organising the protest”.

Many trains this Saturday did not stop at Brussels Central Station; Parc metro station is closed in the centre of the city near government offices. The rest of the city’s subway system is still functioning normally.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , | 3 Comments

The Nuclear Lies of NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg. Brand New “Precision Guidance” Nukes Deployed All Over Europe

By Manlio Dinucci | Global Research | November 30, 2018

“Russian missiles are a danger” – the alarm was sounded by the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, in an interview with Maurizio Caprara published in the Corriere della Sera*, three days before the “incident” in the Sea of Azov which added fuel to the already incandescent tension with Russia. “There are no new missiles in Europe. But there are Russian missiles, yes”, began Stoltenberg, ignoring two facts.

First: as from March 2020, the United States will begin to deploy in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Holland (where B-61 nuclear bombs are already based), and probably also in other European countries, the first nuclear bomb with precision guidance in their arsenal, the B61-12. Its function is primarily anti-Russian. This new bomb is designed with penetrating capacity, enabling it to explode underground in order to destroy the central command bunkers with its first strike. How would the United States react if Russia deployed nuclear bombs in Mexico, right next to their territory? Since Italy and the other countries, violating the non-proliferation Treaty, are allowing the USA to use its bases, as well as its pilots and planes, for the deployment of nuclear weapons, Europe will be exposed to a greater risk as the first line of the growing confrontation with Russia.

Second: a new US missile system was installed in Romania in 2016, and another similar system is currently being built in Poland. The same missile system is installed on four warships which, based by the US Navy in the Spanish port of Rota, sail the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea close to Russian territory. The land-based installations, like the ships, are equipped with Lockheed Martin Mk41 vertical launchers, which – as specified by the manufacturer himself – are able to launch “missiles for all missions: either SM-3’s as defence against ballistic missiles, or long-range Tomahawks to attack land-based objective”. The latter can also be loaded with a nuclear warhead. Since it is unable to check which missiles are actually loaded into the launchers parked at the frontier with Russia, Moscow supposes that there are also nuclear attack missiles, in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which forbids the installation of intermediate- and short-range missiles on land bases.

On the contrary, Stoltenberg accuses Russia of violating the INF Treaty, and sends out a warning:

“We can not allow the Treaties to be violated without punishment”.

In 2014, the Obama administration accused Russia, without providing the slightest proof, of having tested a Cruise missile (SSC-8) from a category forbidden by the Treaty, announcing that “the United States are considering the deployment of land-based missiles in Europe”, in other words, the abandon of the INF Treaty. This plan, supported by the European allies of NATO, was confirmed by the Trump administration: in the fiscal year of 2018, Congress authorised the financing of a programme of research and development for a Cruise missile to be launched from a mobile platform.

Nuclear missiles of the Euromissile type, deployed by the USA in Europe during the 1980’s and eliminated by the INF Treaty, are capable of hitting Russia, while similar nuclear missiles deployed in Russia can hit Europe but not the USA. Stoltenberg himself, referring to the SSC-8’s that Russia had deployed on its own territory, declared that they are capable of reaching most of Europe, but not the United States. This is how the United States defends Europe.

And in this grotesque affirmation by Stoltenberg, who attributes to Russia “the highly perilous idea of limited nuclear conflict”, he warns:

“All atomic weapons are dangerous, but those which can lower the threshold for use are especially so”.

This is exactly the warning sounded by US military and scientific experts about the B61-12’s which are on the verge of being deployed in Europe:

“Low-powered, more accurate nuclear weapons increase the temptation of using them, even to using them first instead of as a retaliation”.

Why is the Corriere della Sera not going to interview them?

Source: PandoraTV

This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Note

*The Corriere della Sera is a historical Italian daily newspaper, founded in Milan in 1876. Published by RCS MediaGroup, it is the most important Italian daily in terms of distribution and the number of readers.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany approves extradition of Iran diplomat over bomb ‘plot’ – court

RT | October 1, 2018

Germany has approved the extradition of an Iranian diplomat over a suspected bomb plot, according to a statement by a local court. The 46-year-old man, arrested on German soil in July, will be handed over to Belgium.

The diplomat, identified as Vienna-based Assadollah Assadi, is suspected of plotting an attack on an Iranian opposition group near Paris, according to AP. He was detained in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European arrest warrant.

Now, a superior regional court in a Bavarian town of Bamberg said in a statement that it had approved the extradition of Assadi to Belgium. The man “cannot cite diplomatic immunity” to oppose the extradition because he was detained outside of his host state, Austria.

Also, Assadi was not traveling “between his host country and the state that dispatched him,” the court has said.

Back in July, Assadi had allegedly contracted an Antwerp-based couple and gave them a device containing 500 grams of TATP, a homemade explosive produced from easily available components.

The couple in question, identified by the media as a 38-year-old man, Amir S., and a 33-year-old woman, Nasimeh N., were stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding the explosives in their car. The pair were then charged with attempted terrorist murder and preparation of a terrorist act.

Soon after the news on Assadi broke, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced the allegations as a foiled terrorist plot, calling them “a sinister false-flag ploy.” He said the timing of Assadi’s arrest was particularly notable.

“How convenient: Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its ‘plotters’ arrested,” Zarif tweeted. He stated that Tehran “unequivocally condemns all violence and terror anywhere.”

October 1, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 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

Claims against Iran diplomat, false flag ploy: Zarif

Press TV -July 2, 2018

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the claims about an Iranian diplomat arrested over allegations of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of the notorious anti-Iran terrorist group, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), in France constitute a “sinister false flag ploy.”

Belgian authorities said on Monday that the Iranian diplomat had been arrested along with a 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, suspected of plotting a bomb attack on the meeting in Paris attended by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.

Taking to his official Twitter account on Monday, Zarif said, “How convenient: Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its ‘plotters’ arrested.”

The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that the Islamic Republic “unequivocally condemns all violence and terror anywhere, and is ready to work with all concerned to uncover what is a sinister false flag ploy.”

A joint statement by the Belgian prosecutor and the intelligence services claimed that the two suspects in Belgium were intercepted by Belgian police on Saturday, with 500 grams of TATP, a home-made explosive produced from easily available chemicals, as well as a detonation device found in their car.

It added that the diplomat at the Iranian embassy in the Austrian capital, Vienna, was arrested in Germany. The statement gave no further details about the diplomat other than saying the diplomat was suspected of having been in contact with the Belgian pair arrested.

Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, earlier on Monday at the invitation of his Swiss counterpart, Alain Berset. Switzerland is the first leg of Rouhani’s European tour, which will also take him to Austria.

July 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | 1 Comment

US should have withdrawn its estimated 200 nukes from Europe long ago – Moscow

RT | December 18, 2017

The US should withdraw the nuclear weapons it has deployed in Europe rather than upgrading them, a senior Russian diplomat has said. Moscow is concerned that the upgrades are making the bombs more suitable for actual combat.

The US stores an estimated 200 of its B61 nuclear bombs in countries like Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing program. Russia has long considered the continued presence of American nuclear weapons in other nations as a hostile gesture after the Cold War.

“Russia has long withdrawn its nuclear weapons to its national territory. We believe that the American side should have done the same a long time ago,” Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the non-proliferation and arms control department in the Russian Foreign Ministry, told RIA Novosti.

“They are actually planning to upgrade them to be, according to some retired American military officials, ‘more suitable for combat use’ thanks to better precision and somewhat reduced power,” the diplomat said, adding that Moscow suspects that the US may have plans to deploy additional nuclear bombs to Europe under the guise of an upgrade.

In August, the US National Nuclear Security Administration announced a second successful test of the B61 – the 12th version of the bomb with no nuclear warhead. The first test was conducted in March. The Mod12 version is meant to replace a number of older designs by refurbishing them, with the process expected to start in 2019.

Moscow criticized the US not only for keeping nuclear weapons in non-nuclear nations, but also for training its NATO allies in their deployment. Such actions, Russia believes, violate the spirit of America’s non-proliferation commitments.

The Trump administration plans to spend over $1 trillion upgrading America’s nuclear arsenal, claiming it is necessary to keep up with Russia.

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 European leaders call for new arms deal with Russia

RT | November 26, 2016

Fifteen European countries, headed by Germany, have issued a statement pushing for the reopening of “a new structured dialogue” with Russia aimed at preventing a possible arms race in Europe, according to the German foreign minister.

The countries, all belonging to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), have expressed their deep concern over the current situation in Europe and support the relaunch of a conventional arms treaty with Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Die Welt newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

“Europe’s security is in danger. As difficult as ties to Russia may currently be, we need more dialogue, not less,” Steinmeier said.

The ongoing conflict in the Eastern Ukraine and the fact that Crimea joined Russia in 2014, a move most often dubbed as “annexation” by western officials, have put the question of war in Europe back on the table, Steinmeier continued. Fragile trust between Russia and European countries has suffered a significant setback and a “new armament spiral” is hanging over the continent, the foreign minister warned.

The statement contains strong anti-Russian rhetoric, blaming Moscow for violating arms deals as far back as 1990.

“The Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which led to the destruction of tens of thousands of heavy weapon systems in Europe in the years following 1990, is no longer being implemented by the Russian Federation,” the statement said.

Russia put its participation in the treaty on hold in 2007 and then fully walked out of it last year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the suspension of the treaty following a US decision to locate missile defense facilitates in the neighbouring Czech Republic and Poland. On top of that, President Putin noted that some of the NATO members did not join or ratify the treaty and there was no point in Russia abiding by the agreement.

Later Putin signed a decree suspending the treaty due to “extraordinary circumstances … which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures,” having notified NATO and its members of the decision.

Since then NATO has taken no steps to upgrade the treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in September, 2016, adding that Moscow is ready for dialogue on the subject. However, it is not planning to be the one to initiate it.

The statement names a number of other documents that need to be overviewed, including the OSCE’s Vienna document, stipulating the exchange of information on military movements, and the Open Skies treaty, enabling the monitoring of other countries’ ground forces. The documents are either neglected or in need of modernization.

The countries that spoke in favor of Steinmeier’s initiative include France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Portugal.

The group of the European foreign ministers is planning to meet again on the sidelines of a OSCE meeting in Hamburg on December, 8-9.

November 26, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radar data proves Belgian F-16s attacked village near Aleppo, killing 6 – Russia

RT | October 20, 2016

Russia insists two Belgium warplanes flying from an Air Force base in Jordan attacked a village in Syria, citing radar data. Belgium denies conducting any airstrikes.

Brussels’ continued denial of the jets movements in the area is Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput “deliberately deceiving people in Belgium and elsewhere in the world, or his subordinates and the Americans are lying to the leadership of Belgium,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said.

An airstrike on the village of Hassadjek in Aleppo province reportedly killed six civilians on Tuesday. Russia has now reiterated its accusations against Belgium, saying data from Russian and Syrian radar stations confirm it.

The two Belgian F-16 jets accused of the attack flew from the Muwaffaq Salti Airbase in Jordan, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said, adding that they were immediately identified.

“Every aircraft type has a unique identifiable signature,” he said.

The Belgian warplanes delivered their strike at the village at 12:35 GMT, about two hours after the take-off, the general said. The attack left six civilians killed and four others injured. The jets were later refueled by a US KC-135 tanker, continued patrolling around the city of Azaz in northwestern Syria and then flew towards Iraq, Konashenkov added.

Belgium earlier denied Russia’s accusations, saying none of its six warplanes contributing to the US-led coalition had flown over the region. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to Brussels to voice its protest.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment