Press TV – April 16, 2014
Iran has sent a letter of complaint to the United Nations over the US refusal to issue a visa to the Islamic Republic’s appointee for the position of ambassador to the world body.
Iran’s diplomatic mission to the UN met with the UN Office of Legal Affairs on Tuesday over Washington’s refusal to issue a visa to the Iranian appointee Hamid Aboutalebi.
The Iranian mission has also filed a letter, which was released on Monday, with the UN’s Committee on Relations with the Host Country.
In a separate letter, Iran has asked the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to register its letter of protest as an official UN general assembly document and distribute it among member countries. … continue
France’s lower house of parliament passed a law Tuesday prohibiting genetically modified (GM) maize from being grown, citing environmental concerns. The law can be applied to any GM strain that is adopted at EU level.
The law follows a decree last month, which halted the planting of Monsanto’s insect-resistant maize MON810, which will be allowed for cultivation in the EU, Reuters reported.
But if any strain of GM crop is adopted in the future at EU level – including Pioneer 1507, which was developed by DuPont and Dow Chemical – it will be subsequently banned in France.
Pioneer 1507 could be approved by the EU later this year, after 19 of the 28 EU member states failed to gather enough votes to block it. … Full article
Local Afghan officials say at least three civilians– including a woman and two children — have been killed in a US-led airstrike in the country’s troubled east.
A spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan’s southeastern Khost province said the incident took place in the Zani Kheil area on Monday night.
The official added that a helicopter belonging to US-led foreign forces opened fire on a house during a training mission. … Full article
By Liliany Obando | CounterPunch | April 15, 2014
… The number of political prisoners in Colombia – prisoners of conscience and prisoners of war – exceeds 9,500. The worst of it is that there is no calm after prison. The trailing, the threats, the stigmatization continue until many of those who are released – if they are lucky – have to leave the country. And many others remain marginalized and no longer part of their previous social and political organizations, which is regrettable. So too is that purpose of the overall strategy which is to weaken social organizations and the political opposition, and dismember them. … Read full article
Radicals have attacked two Ukrainian presidential candidates. One of them, Oleg Tsarev, was “brutally beaten,” claimed the candidate’s press office. The radicals poured green antiseptic solution and flour on another candidate, Mikhail Dobkin.
Oleg Tsarev was attacked after being trapped inside the ICTV media building following his appearance on the ‘Svoboda Slova’ chat show, according to the statement released by Tsarev’s office.
“It was with great difficulty that government’s security forces were able to recapture Oleg Tsarev from the angry mob. He was severely beaten and is in serious condition,” the press office said. … Full article
Ukraine’s coup-appointed acting President Aleksandr Turchinov has announced a crackdown on anti-government protesters in the north of the Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine.
“The anti-terrorist operation started overnight Monday,” said Turchinov. “The aim of these actions is to protect the citizens of Ukraine.”
According to Turchinov, this ‘anti-terrorist operation’ also aims to prevent “attempts to break Ukraine apart.”
The anti-government protesters in south-eastern Ukraine have recently been protesting against coup-appointed Kiev authorities. They demand constitutional reform that would take into consideration the interests of all Ukrainian regions. They also propose the federalization of the country and to make Russian the second official language in the regions. … continue
By Brandon Martinez | April 15, 2014
A controversy is swirling in Australia involving a former foreign minister and the country’s influential Zionist lobby.
Bob Carr, who served as Australia’s foreign minister in the administration of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, recently published a memoir detailing his experiences on the job. In the book Carr hones in on the Israeli lobby, which he says has “extraordinary” and “unhealthy” influence in Australian politics and had a “direct line” into the decision-making processes of the Gillard administration. Not only is Organized Zionism’s grip on Australia unhealthy, it is dangerous and corrosive.
In recent media interviews Carr has said that Gillard overruled his suggestion that Australia not block the Palestinian bid to attain upgraded ‘non-member observer state’ status at the United Nations in 2012 and that this was a direct result of the Zionist lobby’s pull on the former prime minister. Carr also revealed that Gillard was so immovable in her pro-Israel partisanship that she impeded him from making routine statements of concern about the growth and expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank because it would upset the Zionist lobby. … continue
The pro-Israeli government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making diplomatic and military preparations for military intervention in Syria, leaked documents show.
Canada’s Department of National Defense has drawn up at least five scenarios for the country’s military mission in Syria, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.
In one scenario, Canada recognizes “a legitimate armed opposition group” fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
To justify a war on Syria, the National Defense alludes to “the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Syria, its impact on neighboring countries and … the importance of Middle East stability.”
Daniel Blouin, spokesman for the National Defense, has described such plans as “routine to significant international events.”
Separate documents reveal that Canada has been training alternatives to Assad’s government. … Full article
Israel has started the second phase of the Greater Jerusalem project, which aims to expand the borders of occupied Jerusalem to encompass 10 per cent of the total area of the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian expert in Jewish settlements said.
Director of the Map Department in the Arabic Association for Studies based in Jerusalem, Khalil Tafakji said that the decision of the Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, which was announced yesterday, to annex hundreds of dunams and add them to the land of three settlements in Gush Etzion is part of the project.
The Gush Etzion settlement bloc is a cluster of Israeli settlements adjacent to occupied Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank. [...]
There is an Israeli consensus among all Israeli parties regarding the necessity to include the Gush Etzion block to Jerusalem in any future political settlement with the Palestinians.
This consensus is common between the right and left wingers in Israel. Most settlements were launched when the labour party was in control.
A number of senior Israeli officials live in this settlement block, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Housing and Development Minister Uri Ariel. – Full article
BETHLEHEM – Israeli soldiers early Tuesday blocked main roads and erected military checkpoints in two villages near Hebron, the day after an Israeli was killed by Palestinian gunmen near the West Bank city, locals said.
Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces launched large-scale inspection raids in Idhna west of Hebron and in the nearby town of Tarqumiya, the area in which unidentified gunmen fired at an Israeli vehicle Monday, killing one and injuring two.
Locals told Ma’an that Idhna “looked like a closed military zone as nobody was allowed to move even in bypaths.”
Additionally, Israeli forces erected checkpoints at the northern entrance of Hebron, inspecting Palestinian passersby and passengers…
The man who was killed in the Monday attack was a police officer from the town of Modiin in central Israel, an Israeli security source told AFP on condition of anonymity. … Full article
BETHLEHEM (AFP) –A Palestinian woman died in hospital after inhaling tear gas used by the Israeli army to disperse protesters near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, a medical official said Tuesday.
Late on Monday the army “fired tear gas near the home of the woman, who was suffering from health problems,” the medical official told AFP.
The woman, in her 40s, “died after arriving at hospital,” the official said.
The incident took place in Aida refugee camp northwest of Bethlehem. … Full article
Occupied Palestine – On Friday, April 11th, 2014, 20-year-old Mariam Barghouti, a university student at Birzeit, was arrested by Israeli forces. She was brought to court on Sunday, April 13th where she was charged and her detention extended until Wednesday, April 16th.
Mariam was arrested while leaving the village of Nabi Saleh. Mariam, along with Abir Kopty (a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship who was later released on bail), and three foreign journalists were detained by soldiers and searched. Mariam had been in Nabi Saleh accompanying some of the journalists on their assignments and translating for them.
Soldiers on the scene fabricated charges against her and handed her over to the police who arrested her along with Abir. At her hearing yesterday Mariam was charged with stone-throwing and entering a closed military area… Full article
GAZA CITY – Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, witnesses told Ma’an.
Soldiers positioned at Erez crossing opened fire at a group of Palestinian men collecting stones from nearby fields, hitting 19-year-old Wasim Abu Audah in the leg, locals said. [...]
Israeli forces have injured six Palestinian stone-collectors with live fire in Gaza since Thursday. … Full article
Three media workers for Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar television were killed Monday while covering clashes in the Syrian town of Maaloula, the station said.
TV reporter Hamza Hajj Hassan, tech worker Halim Alou and cameraman Mohammed Muntish were shot dead by rebel forces who attacked their crew, Al-Manar said in an emotional report dedicated to its slain colleagues.
Al-Manar broadcast footage showing a Toyota 4-Runner the crew was travelling in at the time of the attack. The vehicle had shattered glass, flat tires and bullet holes. … Full article
By Jennifer Lynch | EFF | April 14, 2014
New documents released by the FBI show that the Bureau is well on its way toward its goal of a fully operational face recognition database by this summer.
EFF received these records in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information on Next Generation Identification (NGI)—the FBI’s massive biometric database that may hold records on as much as one third of the U.S. population. The facial recognition component of this database poses real threats to privacy for all Americans. … continue
By Ewan Robertson | Venezuelanalysis | Aprilm 14, 2014
Thirty Venezuelan military officers of different ranks, including several generals, have been arrested for alleged conspiracy to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, a leading national newspaper has reported.
The information, reported by Ultimas Noticias, was attributed to “high level sources” in Miraflores presidential palace. The majority of those arrested are from the Venezuelan Air Force, however a few officers from the National Guard, Navy and Armed Forces were also arrested.
According to the sources, loyal military figures previously informed the national intelligence service that “something strange” was being planned by a group of officers, and due to this the alleged conspirators had been under observation by authorities for some time.
The UN report adds that a “destablisation attempt” was supposedly planned to occur on 20 March with an air operation and strafing of soldiers, among other incidents, to create “confusion” and “clashes”. … continue
The anti-Kiev protests are expanding in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, where activists are besieging police HQ in the city of Gorlovka. The central authorities are threatening to use military force to quash the uprising.
Gorlovka is an eastern Ukrainian city with a population of more than 250,000 inhabitants. The activists apparently spent the night in City Hall and proceeded to take over the police HQ on Monday morning. [...]
For a third day in a row the coup-appointed government in the Ukrainian capital demanded that the protesters vacate all the taken buildings and lay down arms, threatening to send the army against them, if they don’t. However, as the deadline expired on Monday morning, the protesters remained defiant. … Full article
The self-imposed government in Kiev is preparing provocations in Eastern Ukraine on the border with Russia in order to discredit the popular uprising, former Ukrainian interior minister said. The information was also confirmed by other sources in the ministry.
“According to our information, in eastern regions of Ukraine provocations are being planned near the border in order to discredit the military personnel of the Russian Federation,” Vitaly Zakharchenko said in Rostov on Don during a press conference with ousted President Victor Yanukovich.
He called on the security forces in Ukraine not to obey orders from Kiev, reminding them that such actions would be illegal… Full article
By David Swanson | War is a Crime | April 13, 2014
As Rebecca Gordon notes in her new book, Mainstreaming Torture, polls find greater support in the United States for torture now than when Bush was president. And it’s not hard to see why that would be the case.
Fifteen years ago, it was possible to pretend the U.S. government opposed torture. Then it became widely known that the government tortured. And it was believed (with whatever accuracy) that officials had tried to keep the torturing secret. Next it became clear that nobody would be punished, that in fact top officials responsible for torture would be permitted to openly defend what they had done as good and noble.
The idea was spread around that the torture was stopping, but the cynical could imagine it must be continuing in secret, the partisan could suppose the halt was only temporary, the trusting could assume torture would be brought back as needed, and the attentive could be and have been aware that the government has gone right on torturing to this day with no end in sight.
Anyone who bases their morality on what their government does (or how Hollywood supports it) might be predicted to have moved in the direction of supporting torture. … continue
Seven months after the end of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, the Syrian army is making progress in the Damascus countryside and the opposition is exerting all its military might to achieve a strategic victory in Aleppo. Recently, news of the regime using poison gas against the opposition has reemerged with Israel leading the charge. … continue
By Brandon Martinez | Press TV | April 14, 2014
The Canadian Jewish News website recently reported that a “holocaust” remembrance group headed by the rabid Zionist Mario Silva, a former Liberal MP from Toronto, is stepping up efforts to suppress discussion and debate about what really happened in Germany’s concentration camps during the Second World War.
The prejudicial group, which calls itself the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), essentially defines “holocaust denial” as anything that is not in complete conformity with Zionist mythology and dogma surrounding WWII.
In his book The Holocaust Dogma of Judaism, Jewish writer Ben Weintraub argues that the holocaust story has become a new religion for Jews around the world. Historian Michael Hoffman has called the holocaust — as it is defined by the victorious powers of WWII and their Hollywood propagandists — “pornography” and points out that it has replaced Christianity as the state religion of the Western world.
Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein described Organized Jewry’s campaign to mentally enslave the Western populace with ethnocentric and dogmatic memes relating to Jewish victimhood during the WWII period as a multi-billion dollar industry and extortion racket designed to bolster Israel and Zionist power.
Other historians, such as Jurgen Graf and Carlo Mattogno, have argued that the official holocaust story, which was handed down to the public by murderous governments headed by genocidaires like Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt, contains lies and exaggerations deliberately created to hide Allied atrocities and mask Zionist depravity vis-à-vis the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. … continue
AL-KHALIL — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) decided to shut down the Ibrahimi mosque in Al-Khalil for two days to allow Jews celebrate Passover.
The Awkaf office in Al-Khalil said in a statement on Monday that the IOA informed the director of the mosque that it would be closed before Muslims on Wednesday and Thursday.
It said that Jews would be allowed free access into the mosque’s various areas on those two days to celebrate Passover.
The Awkaf statement said that Adhan or call for prayers would be also banned during those two days, describing the closure as a violation of the right of worship.
The IOA closes the Ibrahimi mosque for ten days each year according to Shamgar committee decisions. The committee was formed after the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in 1994. … Full article
By Chris Carlson |International Middle East Media Center | April 13, 2014
In the wake of the American Studies Association’s December 2013 endorsement of the Palestinian civil society call for an academic boycott of Israel – and as two efforts to legislate against academic boycotts fail to move forward in the Illinois and Maryland state legislatures – the ASA has gained new members and support. Over the past several months, the ASA has welcomed more than 700 new members. The ASA has also collected more membership revenue in the past three months than in any other three-month period over the past quarter-century and its ongoing “Stand with the ASA” grassroots fundraising campaign has exceeded the association’s expectations thus far.
Last week, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, released a statement in support of the ASA’s boycott efforts. In it, he states that: “In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime. … The [anti-boycott] legislation being proposed in the United States would have made participation in a movement like the one that ended Apartheid in South Africa extremely difficult.” The day before his statement was released, an Illinois State Senate Committee rejected a resolution condemning academic boycotts. A bill to defund universities that subsidize faculty associations with organizations supporting boycotts was also scuttled in Maryland, where non-binding condemnatory language was instead inserted into the budget bill. … continue
Ma’an - 14/04/2014
GAZA CITY – The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it fired mortar shells at Israeli military vehicles that entered Gaza early Monday.
The National Resistance Brigades said in a statement that four Israeli military vehicles crossed into Palestinian territory east of the village of al-Qarara in the southern Gaza Strip.
According to the statement, the group responded by firing three mortar shells at the Israeli vehicles.
No injuries or damages were reported.
“National resistance will remain the only path to restore Palestinian rights,” the Brigades’ statement said. … continue
Al Maleh, Occupied Palestine – The Israeli military oppression of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley can take many forms, including the systematic confiscation of essential tools and materials, to physical punishment and arrest.
The latest act of harassment by the Israeli army in the Jordan Valley took place five days ago in the Al Maleh area, where 26 water tanks were confiscated, depriving the local population access to their water supply. To reclaim the stolen water tanks, the Local Council has been forced to pay 5,000 shekels (over 1,000 euros) to the DCO (District Coordination Office). However the tanks will not be returned for a further 10 days, even after the payment has been completed.
Arif Daraghmeh, local councillor of the area, reports that in the early 1990s, the Israeli army built infrastructures diverting the natural course of the water, and that these actions might be the direct cause of several springs drying up in the region. … Full article
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Sunday 13 April 2014 in the early afternoon, Israeli settlers with assistance from the Israeli occupation forces started moving into the so-called Rajabi building in Hebron. After seven years of litigation, on 11 March 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court handed over the building to the settlers despite previous court rulings that said that the relevant purchase documents and power of attorneys had been forged.
Early this morning, the Israeli Minister of Defence Moshe Ya’alon approved the settlers to move into the building. As a result, three families entered the building later the day and started preparing the building for occupation. The settlers were observed cleaning the house, bringing in pieces of furniture and fixing the windows. The occupation forces provided the settlers with power generators and water tanks to help them in their efforts as the building is not connected to the electricity or water grid. According to Israeli sources, the settlers are to hold a Passover Seder dinner on the site during the upcoming holiday and ten more families are to move into the building after the end of the Passover.
Local Palestinians voiced their fears that the creation of a new settlement will cause further violations of their rights and violence against them. During 2007 and 2008, when settlers were dwelling in the building, the community witnessed multiple attacks by the settlers as well as routine house searches and arbitrary detentions by the occupation forces. Following their eviction by the Israeli police and army in December 2008, the settlers went on a rampage torching Palestinian property and assaulting Palestinians.
RT | April 13, 2014
Thousands of pro-autonomy demonstrators rallied across eastern Ukraine, with the coup-imposed president in Kiev threatening to use military against the activists if they don’t clear the seized government buildings by Monday morning.
Over 10,000 people have taken part in protests in different town and villages of the Donetsk Region in Ukraine, the local administration said.
In the region’s capital, Donetsk, the local government headquarters still remain under the anti-Maidan activists’ control. Sunday, one of the leaders of the recently-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, once again stressed the urgent need “to send activists, who’ll prepare a referendum, to different towns of the Donetsk region” as he spoke at a rally in city’s center.
The recruitment of volunteers, eager to travel to Slavyansk and other towns in eastern Ukraine where “an anti-terrorist operation” against the protestors by the Ukrainian security forces is underway, also took place during the rally. Over 100 people volunteered by mid-day Sunday, with buses already prepared to take them to their destinations.
Hundreds also gathered for rallies in support of federalization in Druzhovka, Debaltsevo and other Donbas towns.
According to Ukrainian media, the city authorities in Zhdanovsk and Kirovsk have expressed readiness to start talks on the recognition of the legitimacy of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
A rally in Mariupol in south-east of the country resulted in the seizure of city council by the pro-Russian protesters, ITAR-TASS news agency reports. Over 1,000 demonstrators, who chanted “Slavyansk, we’re with you!” and “Referendum,” have forced the police, guarding the building, to retreat.
Some 1,500-2,000 people are out in the square in front of the office Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Lugansk, which is held by the protestors for several days now. According to Rossiya 24 channel, the majority of the city’s police have switched to the side of the demonstrators, supporting their push for federalization. … continue
New poll shows that popularity of French President Francois Hollande has further plummeted in April.
The results of Ifop monthly poll published in the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday suggested that the approval rating of Hollande dropped to 18 percent in April, five percentage points less than last month.
The figure is the worst rating for the French president since he was elected in May 2012. [...]
On Saturday, thousands of left-wing protesters demonstrated in the capital, Paris, against austerity policies adopted by the socialist administration of Hollande.
The protesters say Hollande is no different from his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande is struggling to revive the fragile French economy by cutting business taxes.
Opposition parties, however, have urged the president to discard his business-friendly economic reforms, dubbed the responsibility pact, and public sector deficit targets determined by the European Union. … Full article
By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | April 12, 2014
Israel’s security services secretly arrested Palestinian activist-journalist Majd Kayyal. The arrest is under gag order
I received an urgent message from Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU that Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal, age 22, was arrested on his return to Israel from a trip to Lebanon and Jordan. I’ve checked with an Israeli source who tells me he was arrested as a national security suspect. The combination of his trip to Lebanon, where he attended an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of As-Safir (considered a pro-Hezbollah publication), his participation in a 2011 flotilla voyage to break the Gaza siege, and his activist role in Adalah (where he was the website editor) and Balad (Hebrew), made him a ready target.
Kayyal also edits the political and cultural website, Qadita and the English-language blog, Message to the Tricontinental. … continue
Israeli soldiers closed all entrances of the Nabi Saleh village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and declared the village a closed military zone on Saturday; a young Palestinian man was shot by a live round, while a woman suffered fractures after being assaulted by the soldiers.
The Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Nabi Saleh has reported that the army declared the village a closed military zone until further notice, and placed concrete blocks closing its main entrances, and closed the iron gates of the Annexation Wall surrounding the village.
The Committee added that the soldiers targeted a number of Palestinians wounding a young man, and that a woman, identified as Wijdan Tamimi, 45 years of age, suffered fractures and bruises after a number of soldiers assaulted her. Several Palestinian cars were damaged after the soldiers fired concussion grenades at them.
The village is frequently attacked by the Israeli army for its ongoing resistance against the Annexation Wall and illegal settlements, while the army has escalated its assaults over the last few weeks. … Full article
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning, attacking worshipers with stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, as Muslim worshipers braced for raids by right-wing Jewish groups as Passover approaches.
Director of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told Ma’an that more than 50 Israeli “special forces” stormed the compound through the Moroccan Gate and the Chain Gate during the raid.
Al-Kiswani added that Israeli forces “besieged” Muslim worshipers with rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades, and closed the Chain Gate with chains.
One of the Al-Aqsa compound security guards was struck by a rubber-coated bullet during the raid, and he was identified as Amjad al-Alami. [...]
Prominent Israeli right-wing organizations have urged Jews to flock to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Passover in what many worshipers consider a provocation. … Full article
GAZA CITY – Israeli authorities have decided to shut down Gaza’s only operating commercial terminal for the Jewish holiday of Passover, a Palestinian official said.
Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the entry of goods into Gaza, said that the Kerem Shalom crossing will be closed Monday and Tuesday…
The Gaza Strip has been under an economic blockade imposed by Israel since the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections … Full article
A leader within the foreign-backed Syrian opposition demanded a coalition with the Israeli enemy, saying it is the only way to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
Kamal al-Labwani, of the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC), said the overthrow of Assad is among Israel’s main interests in Syria, al-Alam TV reported. [...]
According to al-Alam, Labwani had earlier offered handing the Golan Heights to Tel Aviv in return for receiving military aid from the Israeli regime and using Israel’s assistance to enforce a no-fly zone over Southern Syria.
“Why shouldn’t we be able to sell the Golan Heights because it is better than losing Syria and Golan at once,” he told al-Arab newspaper in March. – Full article
Israel’s army chief of staff General Benny Gantz said an Israeli military operation in Lebanon is not only a realistic scenario but a necessary one.
Gantz told Israel’s Channel 2 that threats against Israel from Lebanon and Gaza are not a mere campaign of intimidation but a reality pointing out that Israel is considering an increase in the level of its preparedness to emergency level to answer these threats.
Commenting on the Syrian civil war Gantz said that Israel must prepare for all variables that could change at any time. The senior security official praised the state of calm prevailing on the Egyptian front but urged the Israeli people and government not to rely on the current situation as things could change at any moment. … Full article