Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

When is a British Person Not British?

By Craig Murray | February 20, 2019

The attitude to immigrants which is betrayed by the stripping of citizenship from Shamima Begum is truly appalling. A British citizen, born in the UK, is deemed to be a citizen of another country they have never seen, because their immigrant parents came from there. To refuse to accept first generation Britons are Britons, as in Windrush, was bad enough. To claim that second generation Britons are not British, but rather citizens of where their ancestors “came from”, is racism pure and simple.

Begum is not a sympathetic figure. Savid Javid could not have found an easier target for his macho display of vindictiveness, guaranteed to win plaudits from the bigots whose votes Javid needs for his looming Tory leadership bid. Javid knows full well his decision will eventually be overturned by the courts, but he has already achieved his political objective of personal self-aggrandisement.

I do not know everything Begum has personally been doing in Syria and to what extent she has been culpable in any of the crimes of the Saudi backed jihadist group Daesh, originally launched by the CIA as a counterweight to Shia influence in Iraq. Begum, as with other members of the ISIS community in Syria, ought initially to be subject to any legal proceedings by the Syrian authorities on behalf of the Syrian people against whom such dreadful crimes were committed. If of no interest to the Syrian justice system or once any sentence has been completed, she should be returned to the UK and then subject to investigation as to whether any UK crimes were committed. All these processes need to take into account that she arrived in Syria as a minor, has been subject to indoctrination, and may well have severe mental health issues.

In a situation where the government is falling over itself to bring members of the UK-funded jihadist support group the White Helmets to the UK, having no claim to British citizenship; in a situation where jihadist activity in Syria was entirely dependent on finance, supplies and air support from the US, UK, and its Gulf State allies; in a situation where the Royal Navy had evacuated the Manchester bomber en route back to the UK after his Western backed terrorist jaunt in Libya; in a situation where the Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge terrorists all had extensive pre-existing relationships with the British security services; in all these circumstances, the decision to crack down to general applause on a bewildered East London child is a sickening example of the lack of ethics in modern politics.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

11yo arrested after refusing to stand for Pledge of Allegiance to ‘racist’ flag in Florida

FILE PHOTO – Wikimedia Commons
RT | February 18, 2019

An 11-year-old boy was arrested in Florida after his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance escalated into an argument with his teacher, who called in security because she “did not want to continue dealing with him.”

The sixth-grade student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland reportedly explained that he wasn’t standing for the pledge because he deemed the flag racist and the national anthem offensive to black people.

According to a statement substitute teacher Ana Alvarez gave to the Polk School District, she then asked the boy, “Why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live?” After an exchange ensued with the boy, the teacher said she called the office because she “did not want to continue dealing with him,” Bay News 9 reports.

When the school resource officer arrived and asked the boy to leave, he initially refused and then “created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office,” the Lakeland Police Department said.

The child was arrested for refusing to follow multiple commands and being disruptive, allegedly threatening to beat the teacher and get the principal fired. However, his mother, Dhakira Talbot, disputes these claims, telling Bay News 9 the situation should have been “handled differently.”

“If any disciplinary action should’ve been taken, it should’ve been with the school. He shouldn’t have been arrested.”

Polk County Public Schools spokesman Kyle Kennedy said the student was not arrested for not participating in the pledge. The boy was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence. Meanwhile, the teacher was removed from the school district and an investigation is underway.

February 18, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Iranian Spying? or Neocon 9/11 Coverup?

Questioning the USG/NYT official story on Marzieh Hashemi, Monica Witt, New Horizon…and yours truly

Monica E. Witt, a former United States Air Force intelligence officer, is accused of espionage on behalf of Iran. Credit: FBI/EPA, via Shutterstock/New York Times
By Kevin Barrett • Unz Review • February 18, 2019

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been prominently libeled in The New York Times. Nor was it the worst.

Compared to Stanley Fish’s grotesquely mendacious 2006 op-ed trashing me for something I never did—advocating 9/11 truth in the classroom[1]—Alan Blinder, Julie Turkewitz and Adam Goldman treated me fairly well on Sunday’s NYT front page by calling me a “controversial scholar of Islam” while accurately reporting what I said about Monica Witt, the ex-Air Force officer accused of spying for Iran.

The arguably libelous part came in the previous paragraph. I was introduced as part of “a crowd filled with fringe academics, Holocaust deniers and the lover of the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal” where “Ms. Witt at last found herself among people as critical of her country as she was.” This is an absurdly libelous description of attendees at the February 2013 Hollywoodism Conference, a rubric of the Tehran Film Festival that was not a New Horizon[2] conference. Leaving aside the question of how a whole conference could be “filled by… the lover of the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal” (Carlos liked really big women?) the bit about America-hating “fringe academics” and “Holocaust deniers” is seriously misleading.

Most of the US attendees might better be described as sincere American patriots. Former Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), whom I personally recruited for the conference, is widely acknowledged as an all-American hero for his principled stance against the Vietnam war, his role in exposing the Pentagon Papers, and his courageous advocacy of 9/11 truth. Merlin Miller, a family values oriented filmmaker who once ran for president, is another all-American hero who attended the Hollywoodism Conference. Merlin Miller’s pro-American, anti-Zionist-Hollywood perspective is as patriotic as it gets. And then there was Culture Wars editor E. Michael Jones, another conservative American patriot who wants to take his country back. While all three all-American heroes are in varying degrees critical of Israel and its occupation of American politics and media, none could possibly be viewed as America haters.

The bit about “Holocaust denial” is also misleading. The Holocaust was not on the agenda, in any way, shape, or form, at the Hollywoodism conference, nor at any New Horizon Conference.[3] The New York Times apparently chose to lob this gratuitous insult because a tiny handful of the hundreds of attendees at New Horizon conferences have published on this issue—an issue that in any event merits fearless discussion and debate, as readers of Ron Unz’s “Holocaust Denial” will discover.

The New York Times, echoing the US government’s indictment of Monica Witt and the Treasury Department’s sanctioning of New Horizon, offers a narrative almost entirely unsupported by any evidence. According to the official narrative, New Horizon and Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi are somehow responsible for Monica Witt’s decision to move to Iran and allegedly share secrets she learned in the Air Force. Leaving aside the questions of whether Monica Witt actually did move to Iran, and if so whether she shared any secrets, and if so whether those secrets were genuinely important, the cases against New Horizon and Marzieh Hashemi are obviously bogus.

First consider the case against Ms. Hashemi, a leading international news anchor, who was kidnapped by the FBI without charges and held for ten days under circumstances bordering on torture. The rationale for kidnapping Ms. Hashemi was the claim that she was a “material witness” to Monica Witt’s alleged spying. But Ms. Hashemi was never charged with a crime. After several interrogations, she was released without charges. Yet the indictment of Monica Witt states that “Individual A” who can only be Ms. Hashemi “engaged in acts consistent with serving as a spotter and assessor on behalf of the Iranian intelligence services.” Obviously if there were any actual evidence that Marzieh Hashemi was so employed, she never would have been released without charges. So we may assume that “acts consistent with” really means: “Marzieh Hashemi is a journalist who reports critically and fearlessly on American issues, and in so doing interviews sources who might be characterized as whistleblowers or dissidents.” In other words, Hashemi regularly commits a crime called “journalism.” And just as journalist Glen Greenwald, in the course of his journalistic duties, interviewed a whistleblower who wound up living in Russia (Edward Snowden) it seems that Marzieh Hashemi may have interviewed a whistleblower who wound up living in Iran (Monica Witt). But, contra USG, neither Greenwald nor Hashemi are spies. Both are journalists who, unlike certain mainstream media hacks, actually do their jobs.

The case against the New Horizon NGO is as bogus as the one against Marzieh Hashemi. The only “evidence” against New Horizon is that Monica Witt spoke at the February 2013 Hollywoodism Conference in Tehran. But that was not even a New Horizon conference! It was actually part of the Tehran Film Festival. So if the Treasury Department thinks the Hollywoodism Conference was guilty of something, it should sanction the Tehran Film Festival, not the New Horizon NGO, which only had a peripheral role in that event.

But why blame the conference at all? The official narrative seems to be that Witt had such a wonderful time there that she later decided to move to Iran (and supposedly spill some secrets). If that were true—and I can testify that just about everybody who attends Iran-based conferences has a wonderful time—the conference organizers would be guilty of the crime of putting on a wonderful conference. Last I checked, that wasn’t grounds for Treasury Department sanctions.

Is there any evidence that New Horizon conferences are really about recruiting spies, not exchanging ideas? The notion is preposterous. Just look at the participants lists! Virtually none of the conferees are people who could be expected to hold any secrets. On the contrary, the many New Horizon conferences I have attended have been—up until May 2018—remarkably bereft of US military and intelligence veterans.

I know the New Horizon organizers fairly well, and even helped them on more than one occasion by suggesting prospective guests. When I repeatedly suggested that they invite such illustrious ex-military/intel types as Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, ex-State Department issuer of Visas for al-Qaeda Mike Springmann, former US Army counterterrorism and psy ops expert Scott Bennett, and others from USG backgrounds, I was told that while the New Horizon NGO would love to do so, the Iranian government makes it hard for such people to get visas. Finally, in May 2018, in an attempt to foster goodwill and trust, the Iranian government relented. Giraldi, Springmann, Bennett, and Michael Maloof were invited and attended. On the final day of that Conference, Bennett and others spearheaded an attempt to convince the Iranian government to bring 9/11 truth into an American federal courtroom.

I believe the real reason for the witch hunt against New Horizon and Marzieh Hashemi is New Horizon’s and Press TV’s success at fostering dialogues that include voices that are suppressed and censored in the US and the rest of the West. The 9/11 truth movement, in particular, obviously terrifies the Establishment. When the May 2018 New Horizon conference in Mashhad nearly persuaded the Iranian government to throw its full support behind a major 9/11 truth initiative—one that could have led to discovery proceedings forcing suspected 9/11 perpetrators like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and others to testify under oath— the neoconservative element of the Establishment must have panicked. The current witch-hunt is their way of lashing out.

Think about it: If this is really about Monica Witt supposedly spilling secrets, why did they wait so long? According to the feds, Witt, supposedly possessing vital national security secrets, has been living in Iran as a Shia Muslim convert since summer 2013. Since Witt was on US authorities’ radar screen as a dissident and potential whistleblower long before that, it seems obvious that damage limitation measures would have been taken by mid-2013 at the latest. Any operations Witt could have compromised would have been shut down or revamped at that time, if not earlier. So the narrative that Witt has gravely damaged US national security, and we are only hearing about it now, seems implausible. Instead, the timing of the indictment, and the simultaneous persecution of Marzieh Hashemi and sanctioning of New Horizon, suggests that the neocon Deep State is panicking over Press TV’s and New Horizon’s success at fostering dialogue on suppressed issues like 9/11 truth—dialogue inclusive of loyal and patriotic US military and intelligence insiders. Presumably the neocon Deep State has invented a fake or exaggerated tale of Monica Witt’s alleged spying as an excuse to try to persecute and silence truth-loving journalists and intellectuals.

But let’s consider all the possibilities. In the unlikely event that Monica Witt really has spilled important national security secrets to Iranian intelligence—this according to the neocon Deep State tale that the entire mainstream media has swallowed uncritically—who would really deserve the blame? Journalists who covered her whistleblowing? Conference organizers who offered her a completely transparent platform? That’s the propaganda line. But it’s preposterous.

Anyone who has spoken extensively with Monica Witt, as I did at the Hollywoodism conference in 2013, knows that she is a highly intelligent, deeply sincere person who was horrified and traumatized by the war crimes in which she was forced to participate. Today’s New York Times article cites her classmate Cory Ellis:

“‘She would talk about how she couldn’t sleep at night, the stuff she saw and was a part of,’ said Mr. Ellis. Ms. Witt, he remembered, would mention drone strikes, extrajudicial killings and atrocities against children, all of which she claimed her colleagues in the military would brag about.”

As a whistleblower, she testified about some of these atrocities to journalists, including Marzieh Hashemi, and apparently also approached Wikileaks. And of course she participated in the Hollywoodism Conference in Tehran.

So who is really at fault here? The journalists? The conference? (Kill the messengers!) Or the war criminals who rape and dismember children, massacre women and children in drone strikes, and engage in sexual assault against their fellow service members with impunity?

If the US government wants to prosecute the people responsible for Monica Witt’s decision to move to Iran, they should begin by investigating the US military personnel who committed the atrocities she witnessed—the atrocities that traumatized her and forced her to follow her conscience, wherever it may have led her.

Notes

[1] I was witch-hunted in 2006 by State Rep. Steve Nass for “teaching 9/11 conspiracy theories” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But in fact I had never done so, nor had I any plans to do so. While teaching African Studies, Folklore, and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison between 2001 and 2006, I had never once revealed to students my personal views of 9/11, nor did I ever discuss the research that gave rise to those views. None of my students up to that point even knew what my views of 9/11 were, unless they had stumbled upon one of my occasional teach-ins, or read my published work on the issue, which I did not bring into the classroom. Yet Stanley Fish lied brazenly about me in his NYT op-ed, libelously claiming: “Mr. Barrett, who has a one-semester contract to teach a course titled ‘Islam: Religion and Culture’ acknowledged on a radio talk show that he has shared with students his strong conviction that the destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job perpetrated by the American government.” In fact I neither acknowledged nor did any such thing. I immediately wrote to The New York Times urging them to correct their libelous error. They refused to do so. Instead, they published several other letters all taking for granted Fish’s outrageous and utterly baseless lie.

[2] New Horizon is an Iranian NGO dedicated to fostering intellectual exchange among genuinely independent thinkers and activists from all over the world. It has sponsored on average one conference each year, mostly in Tehran, since around 2012.

[3] The New Horizon NGO had nothing to do with the December 2006 Holocaust Conference in Tehran—a conference whose primary purpose was to defend human rights by challenging the West’s annihilation of free speech and free thought on this important topic.

February 18, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

US-Controlled Militants Gain Majority of UN Goods to Syria – Coordination Centre

Sputnik – February 16, 2019

US-controlled militants have gained a significant portion of goods from a humanitarian convoy, sent by the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), to the Rukban refugee camp, according to a joint statement by the Russian and Syrian interdepartmental coordination centres on returning refugees.

“Given the negative experience of the first humanitarian convoy as well as absence of any objective information about the targeted aid to refugees from the second humanitarian convoy, there are reasons to say that the major part of humanitarian cargo was received by the US-controlled armed groups, not by the Syrians temporarily deployed in the camp”, the statement said.

The UN and SARC humanitarian convoy consisted of more than 100 vehicles. On 10 February, Russian servicemen accompanied the first part of the convoy of 60 vehicles.

According to the statement, Russia will assist Syria in opening two humanitarian corridors for those refugees who want to leave the camp in US-controlled territory.

“In the current situation, having once again made sure that it is not possible to achieve any constructive position on the part of American partners… the Syrian government, with the assistance of the Russian Federation, decided to open two humanitarian corridors in residential areas, Jleb and Jabal al-Ghurab, on the border of the 55-kilometre zone, occupied by the US, where the corresponding checkpoints will be equipped for the voluntary, unimpeded and safe exit of Syrian refugees to places of their choice of residence”, the statement continued.

The centres will open in the Jleb and Jabal al-Ghurab areas on 19 February.

On Friday, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that militants were keeping people in the Rukban camp by force:

“We call on the American command and leaders of illegal militant groups in the al-Tanf zone to at least stop focribly keeping women and children most affected by cold, illness and malnutrition in the camp. All of them will be given necessary assistance”.

He announced that Russia and Syria will jointly establish a temporary housing area for refugees from the camp.

“To save the refugees of the Rukban camp, the Russian centre for Syrian reconciliation, jointly with Syria’s government, from 19 February 2019… will deploy temporary accommodation centres equipped with warm housing and provided with hot meals, other essentials and medical personnel… All refugees will be provided with motor transport for unimpeded and safe travel to their places of residence in the territory controlled by the Syrian government”, he said.

The Rukban refugee camp is situated near the Syrian-Jordanian border in the zone of responsibility of the US al-Tanf base.

Russia has repeatedly accused the US base of providing a safe haven for terrorists, who later carry out attacks on the positions of the Syrian Arab Army.

According to various estimates, there are at least 50,000 people inside the 55-kilometre security zone occupied by the United States.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Let’s not talk about that, shall we?

Dissident Veteran For Peace | October 12, 2018
It’s 1987 and Rep. Brooks (D-TX) asks Lt. Col. Oliver North about Garden Plot, REX 84, etc. and, boy, is Ollie miffed. Sen. Inouye (D-HI) stops that line of questioning and the mainstream media, for the most part, dutifully ignore the story. And the American public, for the most part, dutifully stay asleep. As far as I can tell Brooks never again bucked the powers that be on the subject.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

New Study Finds 41% Increase In Cancer Risk From Roundup’s Glyphosate

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 02/14/2019

A comprehensive analysis of glyphosate – the most widely used weed-killing chemical in the world – reveals that those with the highest exposures to the popular herbicide have a 41% increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) cancer.

The meta-analysis of six studies containing nearly 65,000 participants also looked at links between glyphosate-based herbicides and immunosuppression, endocrine disruption and genetic alterations.

The study authors said their new meta-analysis evaluated all published human studies, including a 2018 updated government-funded study known as the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Monsanto has cited the updated AHS study as proving that there is no tie between glyphosate and NHL. In conducting the new meta-analysis, the researchers said they focused on the highest exposed group in each study because those individuals would be most likely to have an elevated risk if in fact glyphosate herbicides cause NHL. –The Guardian

“Together, all of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” concludes the report.

The study, which looks at both human and animal studies also suggests that glyphosate “alters the gut microbiome,” which could “impact the immune system, promote chronic inflammation, and contribute to the susceptibility of invading pathogens.

Furthermore, glyphosate “may act as an endocrine disrupting chemical because it has been found recently to alter sex hormone production” in both male and female rats.

Lastly, the study looks at genetic alterations caused by glyphosates, noting that several studies show glyphosates inducing “single- and double-strand DNA breaks,” oxidation, and other “genotoxicity” factors – though the researchers caution that this remains a controversial subject.

The findings by five US scientists contradict the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) assurances of safety over the weed killer and come as regulators in several countries consider limiting the use of glyphosate-based products in farming.

Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG face more than 9,000 lawsuits in the US brought by people suffering from NHL who blame Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides for their diseases. The first plaintiff to go to trial won a unanimous jury verdict against Monsanto in August, a verdict the company is appealing. The next trial, involving a separate plaintiff, is set to begin on 25 February , and several more trials are set for this year and into 2020. –The Guardian

Monsanto claims that there is no legitimate scientific research conclusively linking glyphosate to NHL or any other type of cancer – pointing to fact that the EPA’s finding that the herbicide is “not likely” to cause cancer is backed by hundreds of studies. They have knocked claims by scientists with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) who classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015, suggesting that researchers engaged in improper conduct that failed to adequately consider several important studies.

As the Guardian notes, “the new analysis could potentially complicate Monsanto’s defense of its top-selling herbicide,” as three of the study authors were tapped by the EPA as board members to sit on a 2016 scientific advisory panel on glyphosate.

“This paper makes a stronger case than previous meta-analyses that there is evidence of an increased risk of NHL due to glyphosate exposure,” says co-author Lianne Sheppard, a professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences department at the University of Washington. “From a population health point of view there are some real concerns.

SHeppard was an EPA adviser on glyphosate, and was one of three advisers who told the agency that it failed to follow proper scientific protocols when it concluded that glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer.

“It was wrong,” said Sheppard. “It was pretty obvious they didn’t follow their own rules, she said. “Is there evidence that it is carcinogenic? The answer is yes.

The EPA says it is “reviewing the study.”

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

US Air Freight Company that Smuggled Weapons Into Venezuela Linked to CIA “Black Site” Renditions

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | February 13, 2019

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA – Two executives at the company that chartered the U.S. plane that was caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela last week have been tied to an air cargo company that aided the CIA in the rendition of alleged terrorists to “black site” centers for interrogation. The troubling revelation comes as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has rejected a U.S. “humanitarian aid” convoy over concerns that it could contain weapons meant to arm the country’s U.S.-backed opposition.

Last Tuesday, Venezuelan authorities announced that 19 rifles, 118 ammo magazines, 90 radios and six iPhones had been smuggled into the country via a U.S. plane that had originated in Miami. The authorities blamed the United States government for the illicit cargo, accusing it of seeking to arm U.S.-funded opposition groups in the country in order to topple the current Maduro-led government.

A subsequent investigation into the plane responsible for the weapons caché conducted by McClatchyDC received very little media attention despite the fact that it uncovered information clearly showing that the plane responsible for the shipment had been making an unusually high number of trips to Venezuela and neighboring Colombia over the past few weeks.

Steffan Watkins, an Ottawa-based analyst, told McClatchy in a telephone interview that the plane, which is operated by U.S. air cargo company 21 Air, had been “flying between Philadelphia and Miami and all over the place, but all continental U.S.” during all of last year. However, Watkins noted that “all of a sudden in January, things changed” when the plane began making trips to Colombia and Venezuela on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day.

According to Watkins’ analysis, this single plane had conducted 40 round-trip flights from Miami International Airport to Caracas and Valencia — where the smuggled weapons had been discovered — in Venezuela, as well as to Bogota and Medellin in Colombia in just the past month.

Publicly available flight radar information shows that the plane, although it has not returned to Venezuela since the discovery of its illicit cargo, has continued to travel to Medellin, Colombia, as recently as this past Monday.

Multiple CIA ties

In addition to the dramatic and abrupt change in flight patterns that occurred just weeks before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence prompted Venezuelan opposition member Juan Guaidó to declare himself “interim president,” a subsequent McClatchy follow-up investigation also uncovered the fact that two top executives at the company that owns the plane in question had previously worked with a company connected to controversial CIA “black sites.”

Indeed, the chairman and majority owner of 21 Air, Adolfo Moreno, and 21 Air’s director of quality control, Michael Steinke, both have “either coincidental or direct ties” to Gemini Air Cargo, a company previously named by Amnesty International as one of the air charter services involved in a CIA rendition program. In this CIA program, individuals suspected of terrorism were abducted by the intelligence agency and then taken abroad to third-country secret “black sites” where torture, officially termed “enhanced interrogation,” was regularly performed.

Steinke worked for Gemini Air Cargo from 1996 to 1997, according to a 2016 Department of Transportation document cited by McClatchy. Moreno, although he did not work for Gemini, registered two separate businesses at a Miami address that was later registered to Gemini Air Cargo while the CIA rendition program was active. McClatchy noted that the first business Moreno registered at the location was incorporated in 1987 while the second was created in 2001. Gemini Cargo Logistics, a subsidiary of Gemini Air Cargo, was subsequently registered at that same location in 2005.

21 Air has denied any responsibility for the weapons shipment discovered onboard the plane it operates, instead blaming a contractor known as GPS-Air for the illicit cargo. A GPS-Air manager, Cesar Meneses, told McClatchy that the weapons shipment had been “fabricated” by the Maduro-led government to paint his government as the victim. Meneses also stated that “the cargo doesn’t belong to 21 Air and it doesn’t belong to GPS-Air” and that it had been provided by third parties, whose identities Meneses declined to disclose.

Contras redux?

The revelation that the company that operates the plane caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela has connections to past controversial CIA programs is unlikely to surprise many observers, given the CIA’s decades-long history of funneling weapons to U.S.-backed opposition fighters in Latin America, Southeast Asia and other conflict areas around the globe.

One of the best-known examples of the CIA using airliners to smuggle weapons to a U.S.-backed paramilitary group occurred during the 1980s in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, in which the Reagan administration delivered weapons to the Contra rebels in order to topple the left-leaning Sandinista movement. Many of those weapons had been hidden on flights claiming to be carrying “humanitarian aid” into Nicaragua.

The parallels between aspects of the Contra scandal and the current situation in Venezuela are striking, particularly given the recent “outrage” voiced by mainstream media and prominent U.S. politicians over Maduro’s refusal to allow U.S. “humanitarian aid” into the country. Maduro had explained his rejection of the aid as partially stemming from the concern that it could contain weapons or other supplies aimed at creating an armed opposition force, like the “rebel” force that was armed by the CIA in Syria in 2011.

Though the media has written off Maduro’s concern as unfounded, that is hardly the case in light of the fact that the Trump administration’s recently named special envoy in charge of the administration’s Venezuela policy, Elliott Abrams, had been instrumental in delivering weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras, including hiding those weapons in “humanitarian aid” shipments. In subsequent testimony after the scandal broke in the 1980s, Abrams himself admitted to funneling weapons to the Contras in exactly this way.

With the recently uncovered illicit weapons shipment from the U.S. to Venezuela now linked to companies that have previously worked with the CIA in covert operations, Maduro’s response to the “humanitarian aid” controversy is even more justified. Unfortunately for him, the U.S.-backed “interim president,” Juan Guaidó, announced on Monday that his parallel government had received the first “external” source of “humanitarian aid” into the country, but would not disclose its source, its specific contents, nor how it had entered the country.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror

By Jonathan Cook | The National | February 13, 2019

You might imagine that a report by a multinational observer force documenting a 20-year reign of terror by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers against Palestinians, in a city under occupation, would provoke condemnation from European and US politicians.

But you would be wrong. The leaking in December of the report on conditions in the city of Hebron, home to 200,000 Palestinians, barely caused a ripple.

About 40,000 separate cases of abuse had been quietly recorded since 1997 by dozens of monitors from Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey. Some incidents constituted war crimes.

Exposure of the confidential report has now provided the pretext for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expel the international observers. He shuttered their mission in Hebron this month, in apparent violation of Israel’s obligations under the 25-year-old Oslo peace accords.

Israel hopes once again to draw a veil over its violent colonisation of the heart of the West Bank’s largest Palestinian city. The process of clearing tens of thousands of inhabitants from central Hebron is already well advanced.

Any chance of rousing the international community into even minimal protest was stamped out by the US last week. It blocked a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council expressing “regret” at Israel’s decision, and on Friday added that ending the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was an “internal matter” for Israel.

The TIPH was established in 1997 after a diplomatic protocol split the city into two zones, controlled separately by Israel and a Palestinian Authority created by the Oslo accords.

The “temporary” in its name was a reference to the expected five-year duration of the Oslo process. The need for TIPH, most assumed, would vanish when Israel ended the occupation and a Palestinian state was built in its place.

While Oslo put the PA formally in charge of densely populated regions of the occupied territories, Israel was effectively given a free hand in Hebron to entrench its belligerent hold on Palestinian life.

Several hundred extremist Jewish settlers have gradually expanded their illegal enclave in the city centre, backed by more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers. Many Palestinian residents have been forced out while the rest are all but imprisoned in their homes.

TIPH faced an impossible task from the outset: to “maintain normal life” for Hebron’s Palestinians in the face of Israel’s structural violence.

Until the report was leaked, its documentation of Israel’s takeover of Hebron and the settlers’ violent attacks had remained private, shared only among the states participating in the task force.

However, the presence of observers did curb the settlers’ worst excesses, helping Palestinian children get to school unharmed and allowing their parents to venture out to work and shop. That assistance is now at an end.

Hebron has been a magnet for extremist settlers because it includes a site revered in Judaism: the reputed burial plot of Abraham, father to the three main monotheistic religions.

But to the settlers’ disgruntlement, Hebron became central to Muslim worship centuries ago, with the Ibrahimi mosque established at the site.

Israel’s policy has been gradually to prise away the Palestinians’ hold on the mosque, as well the urban space around it. Half of the building has been restricted to Jewish prayer, but in practice the entire site is under Israeli military control.

As the TIPH report notes, Palestinian Muslims must now pass through several checkpoints to reach the mosque and are subjected to invasive body searches. The muezzin’s call to prayer is regularly silenced to avoid disturbing Jews.

Faced with these pressures, according to TIPH, the number of Palestinians praying there has dropped by half over the past 15 years.

In Hebron, as at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a Muslim holy site is treated solely as an obstacle – one that must be removed so that Israel can assert exclusive sovereignty over all of the Palestinians’ former homeland.

A forerunner of TIPH was set up in 1994, shortly after Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli army doctor, entered the Ibrahimi mosque and shot more than 150 Muslims at prayer, killing 29. Israeli soldiers aided Goldstein, inadvertently or otherwise, by barring the worshippers’ escape while they were being sprayed with bullets.

The massacre should have provided the opportunity for Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister of the time, to banish Hebron’s settlers and ensure the Oslo process remained on track. Instead he put the Palestinian population under prolonged curfew.

That curfew never really ended. It became the basis of an apartheid policy that has endlessly indulged Jewish settlers as they harass and abuse their Palestinian neighbours.

Israel’s hope is that most will get the message and leave.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power for a decade, more settlers are moving in, driving out Palestinians. Today Hebron’s old market, once the commercial hub of the southern West Bank, is a ghost town, and Palestinians are too terrified to enter large sections of their own city.

TIPH’s report concluded that, far from guaranteeing “normal life”, Israel had made Hebron more divided and dangerous for Palestinians than ever before.

In 2016 another army medic, Elor Azaria, used his rifle to shoot in the head a prone and badly wounded Palestinian youth. Unlike Goldstein’s massacre, the incident was caught on video.

Israelis barely cared until Azaria was arrested. Then large sections of the public, joined by politicians, rallied to his cause, hailing him a hero.

Despite doing very little publicly, TIPH’s presence in Hebron had served as some kind of restraint on the settlers and soldiers. Now the fear is that there will be more Azarias.

Palestinians rightly suspect that the expulsion of the observer force is the latest move in efforts by Israel and the US to weaken mechanisms for protecting Palestinian human rights.

Mr Netanyahu has incited against local and international human rights organisations constantly, accusing them of being foreign agents and making it ever harder for them to operate effectively.

And last year US President Donald Trump cut all aid to UNRWA, the United Nations’ refugee agency, which plays a vital role in caring for Palestinians and upholding their right to return to their former lands.

Not only are the institutions Palestinians rely on for support being dismembered but so now are the organisations that record the crimes Israel has been committing.

That, Israel hopes, will ensure that an international observer post which has long had no teeth will soon will soon lose its sight too as Israel begins a process of annexing the most prized areas of the West Bank – with Hebron top of the list.

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

15 Years in Prison for Clicking on Terrorist Propaganda Even Once – New UK Law

Sputnik – February 13, 2019

Upon the adoption of a new legislation, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act “gives the police the powers they need to disrupt plots and punish those who seek to do us harm.”

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 has received Royal Assent on 12 February, making the bill an Act of Parliament.

The act makes provision in relation to terrorism, enabling persons at ports and borders to be questioned for national security and updating the offence of obtaining information likely to be useful to a terrorist to cover material that is only viewed or streamed, rather than downloaded to form a permanent record.

The act sees to an increase to the maximum penalty for certain preparatory terrorism offences to 15 years’ imprisonment.

The UK government has been criticized by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, back in 2018. The inspector argued following his visit in the UK, that it was concerning that accessing propaganda “on three or more different ccasions” was viewed as an offence. Cannataci called the approach straying towards “thought crime.”

The three-click benchmark has been removed in the new bill and now even a single tap on ‘terrorist material’ could lead to years in prison. Exemption is provided for journalists, academic researchers or people who had “no reason to believe” they were accessing terrorist propaganda.

The Bill has also provided for a launch of an independent review of Prevent, the much criticized government’s strategy that aims to support persons vulnerable to radicalisation.

British intelligence services were condemned in 2018 for failing to properly monitor individuals of interest — later to be involved in terrorist activity — not under active investigation at the moment but in the peripheries of more than one investigation.

In 2017, the United Kingdom suffered five terrorist attacks in Westminster, the Manchester Arena, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green, with 36 people losing their lives and dozens injured.

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Israeli Army Admits the Palestinian Motorcyclist They Killed Had No Explosives

IMEMC News – February 11, 2019

Following an investigation by the Israeli military into the killing of a Palestinian motorcycle rider on February 5th, and the severe wounding of his passenger, the military was forced to admit that their initial claim that the young man had explosives was a false claim.

Abdullah Faisal Omar Tawalba, 19, was shot and killed by Israeli forces on February 5th, 2019, at an Israeli military checkpoint in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank.

His passenger, Omar Ahmad Hanana, 15, was also shot by the Israeli military and badly injured, but is in stable condition at the Jenin Governmental Hospital run by the Palestinian Authority.

Initially, the Israeli military reported to the media that the young men had approached the checkpoint and “tried to plant explosives”.

An investigation by Israeli military police found no evidence whatsoever of any explosives of any kind.

The soldiers claimed that they “heard an explosion,” and were sure “an explosive was thrown at the roadblock, before they opened fire.”

The checkpoint where Abdullah was killed by the soldiers is located near the entrance of the al-Jalama village, northeast of Jenin in northern West Bank. The army’s initial statement claimed that Palestinians were riding a motor cycle and “hurled an explosive at the soldiers”.

There were no injuries of any soldiers.

Mahmoud Sa’adi, the director of the Emergency Department of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jenin, said the slain Palestinian has been identified as Abdullah Faisal Omar Tawalba, 19, from the al-Jalama village, and added that Omar Ahmad Hanana, 15, was injured but is in a stable condition.

Palestinian medical sources said the medics moved the slain Palestinian, and the wounded teen, to Jenin Governmental Hospital.

They added that Tawalba was shot with several live rounds in the head and legs.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hastily-Buried Radioactive Waste Lays Bare Nuclear Power Legacy

Sputnik – 11.02.2019

Over 126,000 barrels of radioactive material are stored in the Asse mine in Lower Saxony, a state in northwest Germany bordering the North Sea, a fact that has many locals – as well as the global anti-nuke community – frustrated.

Manfred Kramer, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, lives close to the Asse salt mine in which the decaying waste is stored and — while acknowledging that politicians are finally beginning to take notice — has long protested against having radioactive waste in the old mine, Tekportal reported.

“It’s nice that she’s finally coming,” Kramer said, referring to Environment Minister Svenja Schulze’s upcoming visit to the mine, which was originally used for the extraction of potash salt until 1965. “Soon she’ll have been in office for a year. It sure took a while!” he quipped, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Three generations operated nuclear power in Germany, and now 30 generations or even more will have to suffer the consequences,” Schulze noted, adding, “this is proof of how irresponsible nuclear energy was.”

According to mining engineer Thomas Lautsch, who works for BGE, Germany’s federal company for radioactive waste disposal, the retrieval of the nuclear waste from the mine will be complicated and expensive, at a minimum.

“We would have to build a retrieval mine, which is more than simply just a new shaft. We would also need an interim storage facility for the waste, and we would have to create many new shafts to gain access to the individual chambers,” he said, cited by Msn.com.

The construction phase of the project alone could take eight or nine years, according to studies.

Because the old mine shafts do not meet current legal standards for the ten-thousand-year storage of nuclear waste, a new mine must be built around the old mine.

“The barrels must be finally and safely disposed of somewhere else in the country,” Kramer noted, “should they actually able to be retrieved by 2050.”

The mine, developed between 1906-1908, has a depth of around 765 meters. Between 1965-1995, the Helmholtz Zentrum München (a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers responsible for studying environmental health issues) took the unprecedented step of using the mine to store the nation’s radioactive waste, including weapon detritus, medical offal and power plant leavings.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

Man’s testicles tasered during horrific police arrest

RT | February 10, 2019

Disturbing bodycam video shows Arizona cops tasering a man 11 times, including on the testicles, as his horrified family scream for them to stop. The police are now being sued for “excessive force and torture.”

The nightmare tasering began when Glendale police officers approached a vehicle for a signal turn violation in July 2017. Johnny Wheatcroft was in the front passenger seat, while his wife Anya Chapman and their 11 and six-year-old sons sat in the back. A friend of the family was driving.

Officers Matt Schneider and Mark Lindsey asked Wheatcroft for his ID and he inquired why he had to show it, as he was not driving the vehicle. Police allege he went to stuff something in his backpack, and, after pressing the taser against his arm and telling him to “relax,” Schneider twisted Wheatcroft’s arm behind his back and pulled him from the car while still restrained by his seat belt.

The officer began tasering him when he was half out of the vehicle, before they pulled him to the ground and continued to tase him. Even after Wheatcroft was dragged on the ground towards the back of the car, his feet remained entangled in the seat belt. His older son leaned into the front seat to open the belt to free his father, prompting Schneider to shout at him, causing the boy to burst into tears.

Glendale police said in a statement that Wheatcroft “exhibited verbal non-compliance by refusing to identify himself and failed to obey the officer’s instructions.” Chapman reportedly swung a bag of bottles at Lindsey’s head during the incident, although this can’t be seen clearly in the video.

Horrifyingly, Schneider is next seen pulling Wheatcroft’s shorts down and placing the taser on the handcuffed man’s testicles. The lawsuit filed by the couple reports Schneider tased his testicles and perineum. He then placed the taser on his penis and said, “You want it again? Shut your mouth. I’m done f*cking around with you.”

Another officer held a handgun to his head and Wheatcroft was kicked in the groin.

According to the suit and the police’s own admission, the officers used a “drive stun” method, in which the taser is pressed against a person before being fired. Glendale police also released a 30 second CCTV video of the incident taken from a distance.

The pair were arrested and charged with aggravated assault and physically resisting arrest. They were both in jail for months as they couldn’t afford bail before Chapman pled guilty to a lesser charge so she could be released to look after her children.

Wheatcroft’s charges were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office after prosecutors saw the bodycam video, which his lawyers released to media outlets.

Schneider was suspended for three days after the incident, Glendale police said.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , | 9 Comments