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Nigeria Announces Truce With Boko Haram

teleSUR | October 17, 2014

The Nigerian military announced on Friday that it reached a ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant movement, Boko Haram, and that the Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram will be returned to their families.

Air Chief Marshal Badeh first spoke about the truce after a three day meeting between Nigeria and Cameroon. The BBC is reporting that the negotiations were mediated by Chad.

An official with Nigeria’s security forces told Reuters “Commitment among parts of Boko Haram and the military does appear to be genuine … It is worth taking seriously.”

Boko Haram has not made any statement about a truce.

The school girls were abducted from Chibok, a town in the northeastern state of Borno state, six months ago. Through the efforts of Nigerian women activists, the kidnapping of the girls became an international cause and brought Boko Haram onto the world stage. The Nigerian government has been strongly criticized by local as well as international human rights groups for its “lackluster” efforts to retrieve the girls. The release of the girls will be finalized next week in Ndjamena, Chad’s capital.

The Nigerian government spokesperson said that Boko Haram will not be given any land, but that the national government will not say what compromises it has made toward the militant group.

Boko Haram was founded in 2002 and has been fighting with the Nigerians military since 2009. More than 2,000 civilians have been killed this year in this conflict.

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Putin: Ukraine’s new Donbass law ‘not perfect, but a step in right direction’

RT | October 17, 2014

The new law giving special status to troubled regions in eastern Ukraine is ‘not perfect,’ but might be used to finally stabilize the situation in the area, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart in Milan.

“Perhaps it’s not a perfect document, but it’s a step in the right direction, and we hope it will be used in complete resolution of security problems,” Putin said after closed-door talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday.

The two presidents met in Milan privately on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), a summit of Asian and European leaders.

The document on special status for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions was signed by Poroshenko on Thursday.

The legislation “defines temporary order of local government in certain districts,” according to the Ukrainian president’s official website.

The special order enacts governance “in the cities, towns and villages” to be “carried out by territorial communities through local government bodies under the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine,” with local elections scheduled in the districts for December 7.

It also aims to restore the regions’ infrastructure and “create conditions” to stabilize the situation in the area.

The new law, which will be valid for three years from the date of its publication, is part of the agreement reached between Kiev authorities and eastern Ukrainian militias in Minsk on September 5.

The Minsk protocol, which also includes decisions on a ceasefire and the exchange of war prisoners, should be the guideline in Ukraine’s conflict management, Putin said.

“I’d like to point out that these agreements, unfortunately, are not fully implemented by either side,” added the Russian leader, speaking to journalists after the Milan talks.

Italy, France, Germany, and Russia have expressed willingness to use drones to monitor the situation in the region, Putin said. He added that the technical side of the plan will be discussed in the near future, when specialists gather at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe) headquarters in Vienna.

October 17, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues another controversial decision

Al-Akhbar | October 6, 2014

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) decided on October 3 that it does have jurisdiction to hear cases against legal persons. However, member of tribunal Judge Walid Akoum objected to the decision because it allows for the prosecution of Lebanese political parties.

Old habits die hard and the STL was unable to change its old ways or deviate from the path that the rulers of the United Nations Security Council designed for it. An appeals panel issued a decision so dangerous that it prompted one of the members of the panel, Judge Akoum, to dissent (then sign it). But he did register his reservations, warning: “The present proceedings are already delicate. To this we now add a decision that potentially permits contempt charges to be brought against political parties, Lebanese institutions, associations or any other actors that are recognized as legal persons. In my view, there is no reason to do so.”

Akoum’s statement and the panel’s decision yesterday are in relation to the prosecution of Al-Akhbar newspaper and Al-Jadeed TV as well as the two colleagues, Ibrahim al-Amin and Karma al-Khayat on charges of contempt of court. The charges were brought against them for publishing information about secret witnesses on whose testimonies the prosecution relied to issue indictments.

The STL’s Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri had issued a decision on July 24 stating that the Tribunal prosecutes individuals, not legal persons (corporations, institutions, political parties, states, entities…), therefore concluding that the STL has no personal jurisdiction to prosecute Al-Jadeed TV. He decided to proceed with the prosecution against Khayat, but not the company for which she works.

Lettieri’s decision constituted a positive development in the Tribunal’s track record of problematic and politicized decisions. However, the appeals panel consisting of the presiding judge, Janet Nosworthy, and members Judge Akoum and Judge Ivana Hrdlickova – Judge Rapporteur – reversed this decision. It expanded, once again, the jurisdiction of the tribunal, reiterating that it is not restricted to the prosecution of individuals accused with assassinating former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, but includes the prosecution of legal persons as well.

What Akoum talked about goes beyond the prosecution of Al-Jadeed TV now and Al-Akhbar in the coming weeks and months. It also goes beyond talks of freedom of opinion and expression and of violating Lebanese sovereignty. It primarily has to do with the process of promoting the Tribunal even before the decision to establish it was issued in 2007 by claiming that it will not accuse states, political parties or institutions, rather its authority is restricted to the prosecution of individuals.

The political translation of yesterday’s decision is that the Tribunal can now prosecute Hezbollah and not just certain members within the party.

October 6, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Israel’s false peace

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By Iqbal Jassat | Media Review Network | October 2, 2014

What is it about proclamations of “peace” that allows injustice to continue unhindered?

It’s a question applicable to governments, security institutions, media columnists and pro-Israel lobbies who regularly espouse a passion for “peace in the Holy Land”.

While on the surface it appears to be a perfectly normal and laudable aspiration, in the experience of Palestine it is unfortunately riddled with inconsistencies making it alarmingly dishonest.

“Peace” as espoused by Israel’s leaders is no more than a fig leaf for it seeks to conceal the regime’s unremitting repression of Palestinian rights.

Though “peace” is a concept embodying humane values associated with calm and serenity, for Palestinians it has had a devastating opposite effect. Their daily experience whether as refugees awaiting return home or as a collective of Occupied people, points to a life of subjugation which has for decades been exploited by successive governments in Israel.

While the deception inherent in Israel’s so-called desire for “peace” is known and documented quite extensively, it is also known that by leaning on this false notion, the regime has attempted to deflect scrutiny of its unjust conduct towards Palestinians.

Such deliberate and calculated sophistry has assisted Israel and her supporters to bluff the world. By staking its claim as a “peaceful” state whose citizens deserve to live in “peace”, Israel’s social architects expect immunity from censure for any and all forms of oppression and military barbarity.

“Peace” is thus a linguistic political tool without any connection to the noble values it incorporates. Malicious and misleading to the extreme for it implies that to oppose Israel is to oppose “peace”. In other words, anti-Israelism is equated with mindless violence.

This type of faulty rationale is deliberately constructed to demonise opponents of the regime’s colonial status as violent. Thus in the context of contrasting “peace” and “violence”, Israel continues to rally support for its savagery on the basis of an aspiration most people would unhesitatingly subscribe to.

Netanyahu has repeated this trick once again at the United Nations. By casting Israel as a victim of “terrorism” perpetrated by “violent” ideologues of “Islamist radicalism”, he hopes to garner global sympathy and thereby shield his apartheid regime’s catalogue of atrocities.

America’s current bombing spree in cahoots with Britain and France and their respective Arab client-states gives Israel perfect timing and cover. In Iraq and Syria, the US-led “war on terror” has a new enemy in the guise of ISIS commonly referred to as the Islamic State.

Overnight, ISIS has emerged as a new villain threatening the existence of Western civilization. Its dominance over large swathes of Iraq and Syria including key oil fields precipitated what most people currently associate ISIS with: beheadings of Western journalists.

Suddenly this new “Islamist bogeyman” emerges to not only distract global attention from Israel’s beheadings of Palestinian families, but also to extend a fresh lifeline to America’s military industrial complex. And, of course, to provide Netanyahu the opportunity to cast resistance movements such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the mould of ISIS.

Such tricks conjure the minds of magicians and keep people enthralled while deceptive policies of dispossession continue uninterrupted.

Netanyahu and his clique of magicians may believe that waving the wand of “peace” will conceal Israel’s bloody carnage and ongoing aggression, but unfortunately for Zionism this illusion won’t last.

If South Africa is used as a yardstick to measure whether Israel’s bag of dirty tricks has worked, it’s pretty clear that Netanyahu has failed dismally.

Here, a sustained campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) led by the ANC as the ruling party and a formidable formation of civil societies, churches and trade unions has demonstrated that it has not been deceived by false notions of “peace”.

October 2, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Moscow rejects Kiev’s ‘virtual’ gas price, seeks $3.9bn to resume supplies

RT | September 30, 2014

Russia is ready to resume gas deliveries to Ukraine only after it pays $2 billion of its debt and makes a $1.9 billion advance payment for future supplies, Russian Minister of Energy Aleksandr Novak said.

“There will be no new supplies if part of the debt is not paid. Otherwise, it turns out to be a game with only one goal, where we deliver the gas and the debt payment is postponed,” he argued.

Novak said that Ukraine is prepared to pay $3.1 billion of its Russian gas debt.

“They calculated the cost at their own virtual price at $268.5 [per thousand cubic meters of gas],” the Minister said.

However Russia is happy to sell its gas at $385 which amounts to $1.9 billion for the 5 billion cubic meters Ukraine wants to purchase. Together with the debt payment it amounts to $3.9 billion.

Prepayment will likely be made every month, according to the needs of Ukraine. The amount of $3.1 billion has to be paid in two tranches: $2 billion before supplies are resumed, and the remainder – by the end of the year, Novak said.

Russia is ready to fulfill the agreements reached on Friday in Berlin and is waiting for a Ukrainian response, Novak said answering a question concerning the possibility of sealing the deal this week.

All the agreements of the so-called “winter plan” worked out on September 26 were verbal, and the gas price remains an unresolved issue.

The money for this plan has already been provided to Ukraine by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Novak said.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 2 Comments

Yemen´s Houthis and Government Sign Final Peace-deal

teleSUR | September 28, 2014

Yemen’s Houthi movement signed a final peace deal with the government on Saturday, agreeing to disarm and pull back from areas they took in the past months.

The accord, which comes days after the Houthis gained the upper-hand in the capital Sanaa, is part of a comprehensive UN-brokered deal with the pro-government Islah Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen.

Thousands of armed Houthis are stationed in the capital, where they have disarmed government security forces. On Saturday, rebels attacked the Sanaa residency of the national security chief Ali al-Ahmadi.

The deal may put an end to weeks of violence and tension between the Houthis on the one hand and government troops and pro-government factions on the other. According to official estimations, the violence may have killed hundreds.

Last month thousands of Houthis flooded the streets of Sanaa, staging civil disobedience actions and demanding the government step down and fuel subsidies restored.

Earlier this month, in what the Houthis considered a victory, the government and the movement signed an agreement on the formation of a new cabinet of technocrats and the reinstatement of fuel subsidies, whose absence had been a blow to the poor.

Houthis have played a key role in ousting former U.S.-backed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh during the mass-uprisings of the Arab Spring.

September 28, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Nasrallah: “America is the mother of terrorism”

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Nasrallah speaks on July 25, 2014, in the southern suburbs of Beirut. (Photo: Al-Akhbar – Haitham Moussawi)
Al-Akhbar | September 23, 2014

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday said his group could never be a part of an anti-ISIS coalition led by “the source” of all terrorism in the world, the United States.

The international coalition, which began illegal airstrikes in Syria for the first time Tuesday, was created to safeguard the interests of the United States, not to fight terrorism as it claims, Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

“In our opinion, America is the mother of terrorism, the source of terrorism. If there is terrorism anywhere in the world, look at America,” the secretary-general said.

“America provides complete support for the terrorism of the Zionist state. It supports Israel militarily, financially, legally, and even provides it veto in the United Nations Security Council.”

Nasrallah continued: “He who dropped the atomic bomb on the people of Japan, and who killed [relentlessly] in Vietnam and elsewhere, and who stood by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu in the 50 day war on Gaza … is not qualified ethically or morally to present itself as a leader of a coalition to fight terrorism.”

The comments come as the United States and allied Arab dictatorships began launching unauthorized airstrikes against jihadi targets in Syria, drawing rebukes from Damascus’s allies Iran and Russia.

Nasrallah brushed off criticism that his opposition to the coalition translated into support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), noting that he has repeatedly denounced the extremists and called for their elimination.

The reality that many of those included in the anti-ISIS coalition have been financing the jihadi militants they are currently fighting in Iraq and Syria forces people of the region to question the motives of their actions, he added, referring to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Lebanon is one of 10 Arab countries that has pledged support to the coalition, a membership that Nasrallah said he opposed.

“Never did [US President Barack Obama] say we are coming to defend minorities or Muslims or Christians …,” Nasrallah said.

“So we will not fight in a coalition that serves US interests and not the interests of the people of the region.”

In Nasrallah’s last speech on August 15, he noted that the United States only decided to get involved in the fight against ISIS when the jihadis approached Iraq’s Kurdish region, which is strategically important to the West. … Full article

September 24, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syrian FM: US Informed Syria of Strikes against ISIL

Al-Manar | September 23, 2014

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the United States has informed Syria’s permanent envoy to the United Nations before launching airstrikes against the militants of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) terrorist group in Raqqa, state-run SANA news agency reported.

“The United States informed Syria’s permanent envoy to the U.N. before launching airstrikes against ISIL terrorist organization in Raqqa,” a statement of the ministry said.

Syria “backs any international effort that contributes to the fight against terrorists, be it against ISIL, (Al-Qaeda affiliate) Al-Nusra Front or anyone else,” the televised statement added.

U.S. defense officials announced that American and Arab warplanes hammered ISIL militants in eastern Syria early Tuesday, opening a new front in the fight against the terrorist group.

September 23, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Israeli occupation authorities demolish Muslim tombs in occupied Jerusalem

MEMO | September 22, 2014

Al-aqsa-Mosque-through-pillarsIsraeli occupation authorities demolished 20 Palestinian tombs on Sunday in Al-Yousefiyeh Cemetery near Al-Asbat Gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Resalah news agency reported.

The cemetery is adjacent to the Eastern Wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities demolished the tombs, belonging to Palestinian families from Jerusalem, claiming that they were built on lands appropriated by the state.

Head of the Committee for the Caring of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem Mustafa Abu Zahra strongly criticised the demolition, calling it an “aggression” against the sanctity of dead Muslims.

Abu Zahrah explained that the demolished tombs were recently built in the cemetery, which belongs to the Islamic Waqf and thus Muslims do not have to get permission from anyone to use it.

He noted that hundreds of Palestinian Muslim martyrs are buried at the cemetery, which also has an Islamic memorial inside of it. He said that a group of tombs that had recently been built were being used while another group of them remained empty.

According to Abu Zahrah, the Israeli occupation authorities destroyed both the empty tombs and the ones being used.

September 22, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

Both sides in Ukraine conflict sign treaty banning military action

RT | September 19, 2014

Kiev and self-defense forces signed a memorandum aimed at effectively halting all fighting in eastern Ukraine after talks in Minsk. It creates a buffer zone, demands a pullback of troops and mercenaries, and bans military aviation flybys over the area.

The signed memorandum consists of nine points, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma told journalists following peace talks in Minsk, Belarus.

“The first one is stopping the use of weapons by both sides, the second is terminating new formations of units on military bases as of September 19. The third is banning the use of all types of weapons and offensive action,” Kuchma said.

The agreement outlines a buffer zone of 30 km (18.6 miles) and bans all military aircraft from flying over part of eastern Ukrainian territory, except for the OSCE’s aerial vehicles, Kuchma told RIA Novosti following the meeting.

Ukraine troops must pull back all heavy artillery by 15 kilometers from the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, the treaty states.

All foreign mercenaries must be withdrawn from eastern Ukraine by both sides of the conflict, the signed Minsk memorandum states, according to Kuchma.

“We have agreed on the withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries from both sides,” Kuchma said.

Both sides also vowed to continue the exchange of prisoners.

The OSCE has been tasked to monitor that both sides adhere to the memorandum’s conditions. The organization’s observers will be sent to observe the situation along the entire zone of the ceasefire, Itar-Tass reported.

Five hundred OSCE observers will be sent to monitor the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Lugansk People’s Republic representative Aleksey Karyakin said, adding that the meeting was quite difficult.

“We were able to substantially increase the number of OSCE observers in the conflict zone from 300 to 500,” he said.

The negotiations were also attended by Russia’s OSCE representatives.

Meanwhile, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, declared that there will be “no Ukrainian election” in Donetsk, referring to one of the conditions set out in the September 5 Minsk protocol, which gave special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, both located in eastern Ukraine.

Zakharchenko said he considers the special status as a declaration of independence of the self-proclaimed republics.

September 19, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

U.S. Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence

A Fusion Center for United Against Nuclear Iran & Foundation for Defense of Democracies?

By John Stanton | Dissident Voice | September 17, 2014

The Justice department would like to the see the UANI lawsuit go away as it is aware that what is being described as “law enforcement” documents would include both privileged and classified Treasury Department work product relating to individuals and companies that it has investigated for sanctions busting. Passing either intelligence related or law enforcement documents to a private organization is illegal but the Justice Department’s only apparent concern is that the activity might be exposed. There is no indication that it would go after UANI for having acquired the information and it perhaps should be presumed that the source of the leak is the Treasury Department itself.

Phil Giraldi

Enforcing those AIPAC-endorsed sanctions has been the happy task of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Created in early 2004 after intensive lobbying by AIPAC and its associated think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the TFI unit has been aptly described as “a sharp-edged tool forged principally to serve the Israel lobby.” With David S. Cohen succeeding Stuart Levey as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in January 2011, a leading journalist on the Middle East was later prompted to call the position “a job which seems reserved for pro-Israeli neo-cons to wage economic warfare against Tehran.” In recent days, Cohen’s TFI unit has been eagerly waging economic warfare against Damascus. Daniel L. Glaser, the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, has just completed a tour of Lebanon and Jordan to secure their compliance with economic sanctions against the Assad government. In Beirut, the U.S. Embassy announced that Glaser was pressing the authorities to “remain vigilant against attempts by the Syrian regime to evade U.S. and EU sanctions.

Maidc O Cathail

So now that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has invoked the U.S. States Secret privilege in the matter of Victor Restis & EST v United Against Nuclear Iran, American citizens might come to understand why foreign nations like China, Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates treat American non-profits or non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) with scorn. Some of these U.S. Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt, 501C3 .org’s, or “Associations”, operating overseas are nearly the equivalent of U.S. embassies: U.S. intelligence operatives and free market ideologues populate leadership and staff positions. Funding for their operations are a mix of U.S. government and corporate largesse. Private donations figure as well. In some cases they are not-so-subtle advocates for regime-change.

Robert Merry’s piece April 2012 piece in The Atlantic does a fine job of pointing out some of the more nefarious activities of NGO’s and non-profits. In Why Do Some Foreign Countries Hate American NGOs So Much? Merry opines:

For anyone trying to understand why this anger is welling up in those countries, it might be helpful to contemplate how Americans would feel if similar organizations from China or Russia or India were to pop up in Washington, with hundreds of millions of dollars given to them by those governments, bent on influencing our politics. One supposes it would generate substantial anger among Americans if these groups tried to tilt our elections toward one party or another. But suppose they were trying to upend our very system of government, as U.S.-financed NGOs are trying to do these days in various countries–and have done in recent years in numerous locations.

Americans have a network of Israel-First organizations in the United States that are “bent on influencing our politics”. They constitute a Deep State that has no remorse in sacrificing American lives and security for the benefit of Israel.  Two of these non-profits are United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). They are part of the local, state and federal matrix of Israel-First non-profits in the U.S.

UANI has managed to get 40 American state legislatures to pass, nearly unopposed, draconian sanctions on Iran which clearly are meant to instigate the general populace to revolt. UANI claims credit for many pieces of federal legislation designed to strangle the Iranians and inflict damage of the type that sanctions leveled on the Iraqi civilian populace caused.

UANI develops model legislation for adoption by the federal government and U.S. state governments to sever Iran from international trade and financial markets and prohibit investment in Iran. UANI’s model legislation provisions were included in the federal government’s Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), and in debarment legislation adopted in California, Florida, New York, Indiana, Maryland and Connecticut that bars companies with Iran business from receiving taxpayer dollars.

FDD spearheads a similar program:

FDD’s work has informed numerous pieces of Iran sanctions legislation, which were passed with overwhelming bipartisan congressional support, and which are now U.S. law, including the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013); the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012; Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012; and, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.  These laws target Iran’s energy, financial, shipping, insurance, commercial, and proliferation activities, and the regime’s human rights abuses.  The legislative measures are widely viewed as the most robust U.S. measures yet imposed against the Iranian regime. European and Canadian officials also relied on FDD research to inform their complementary sanctions policies. Beyond gasoline, the Iran Energy Project also seeks to reduce the amount of oil revenue the Iranian regime can devote to advancing its illicit nuclear program and repressing its citizens. As part of this effort, FDD has performed studies on sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank, the role of the IRGC in Iran’s energy sector, and the impact of a worldwide Iranian Oil Free Zone.

According to Phillip Weiss, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff were prophetic:

In late 1947, the JCS had written that ‘A decision to partition Palestine, if the decision were supported by the United States, would prejudice United States strategic interests in the Near and Middle East to the point that United States influence in the area would be curtailed to that which could be maintained by military force.’ That is to say, the concern of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was not with the security of Israel-but with the security of American lives.

And so it has come to pass that the U.S. has sustained the existence of Israel through trillions (US dollars) in foreign assistance (since 1947). The U.S. has tolerated espionage and the theft of American technology, military secrets and nuclear weapons design. The U.S. government and media have been so bent by Israel-First influence that it is nearly impossible to openly criticize Israel about its thinly disguised destruction of the Palestinian people.

It just does not seem enough for the Israel-First network. How much more must Americans sacrifice for the sake of Israel? When will the big dog set things right and get the tail to begin to obey? Few Americans want to abandon Israel but to see the United States of America getting bent over the knee by Israel is unsettling.

And with the U.S. Attorney’s invocation of the State Secrets privilege now providing cover for UANI’s operations, it is obvious what is afoot. Circumstantially, the evidence is damning: U.S. and Israel intelligence data seems to be moving between UANI, FDD and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the U.S. Treasury. The three organizations form a sort of a privatized sanctions enforcement regime apparently benefiting from government intelligence operatives and/or business intelligence snoops. Where you find David S. Cohen of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence you will also find some link to UANI or FDD.  And then there is the fear factor: Financial sanctions, loss of business in Israel, and loss of political office in the U.S. How two non-profits became so powerful and feared is a testimony to the strength of the Israel-First organizations and their ability to bend the political consciousness of the United States of America.

Some Items for “You” to Explore

“From: Bart Mongoven

To: Reva Bhalla

Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 2:49:34 PM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central

Our mission (in the short term) is to determine how much flexibility is in the seemingly inflexible demand that the client…Client is Honeywell, which makes surveillance equipment Iran uses to monitor/secure pipelines and (allegedly) nuclear reactors…get out of Iran “right now.” The client says that it will not sign another contract but that it does not want to breach contracts that are in place. This is the position that Ingersoll Rand and Siemens have taken, and it seemed ok with UANI. At the same time, UANI is telling our client that the same pledge isn’t good enough. Is UANI still in talks or putting similar pressure on those who have pledged that they will leave when current contracts are up?…How did they decide to start targeting corporations — is there a model it is following (like the Save Darfur coalition or something else)? How do they choose their small list of targets since there are so many companies operating in Iran? Do they know people at the corporations they target? How closely do UANI and FDD work? Are there any deadlines in Iran — elections, feared nuke tests, coming deaths of really sick clerics, etc., that requires FDD and UANI show progress quickly?”

As for the Marc Rich case, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy accurately described it as “one of the most disgraceful chapters in the history of the Justice Department.” Congressional investigators called it “unconscionable.” Fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich, on the run for evading nearly $50 million in taxes, found the best lawyer he could buy: former Democratic White House counsel and intimate friend of Eric Holder, Jack Quinn. Despite his denials, memos showed Holder knew of the pardon in advance, failed to notify prosecutors and the FBI that it was coming, “and even gave Quinn public-relations advice on getting out the ‘legal merits of the case.’” The evidence clearly shows Holder and Quinn violated department protocols and colluded to keep the Justice Department out of the pardon deal.’

“The central issue in this case involves an allegation that the defendants, as senior officers, managers, agents and nominees for the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (“BCCI”1), illegally and secretly sought to acquire ownership and maintain control of First American Corporation: FIRST AMERICAN CORP., et al., Plaintiffs, v. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan AL-NAHYAN, et al., Defendants….United States District Court, District of Columbia. November 26, 1996. William Horace Jeffress, Jr., Herbert John Miller, Jr., Douglas Frank Curtis, Martin David Minsker, David S. Cohen, Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, L.L.P., Washington, DC, William B. Shields, Washington, DC, for defendants Clark M. Clifford, Robert Alan Altman.”

David S. Cohen…Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who oversees the OFAC sanctions effort, reportedly following meetings with Israeli officials, said last week’s actions were meant to “tighten the screws and intensify the economic pressure against the Iranian regime. ”The US is counting on the Iranian people to turn against and overthrow their government because of sanctions-induced hardships…In reality, the sanctions target the civilian population and the “Iranian regime” won’t be much affected… Despite the public relations language that “food and medicine are exempted from the brutal US-led sanctions, as OFAC well knows, the reality is something else. They know well the chilling effects of the sanctions on international suppliers of medicines and food stuffs with respect to a targeted country. The US Treasury department has thousands of gigabytes of data confirming that the boards of directors of international business do not, and will not allow their companies to risk millions of dollars in profits by technically violating any of the thousands of details in the sanctions — many of which are subject to interpretation — for the sake of doing business with Iran or Syria.”

“More about Stuart Levey’s intimate connections to both the US Treasury and the Justice Department: After leaving the Treasury Department, Mr. Levey was a Senior Fellow for National Security and Financial Integrity at the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to his Treasury appointment, Mr. Levey served as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General at the US Department of Justice, having previously served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and as the Chief of Staff of the Deputy Attorney General. Where is Stuart Levey today? Why, he’s on the HSBC Board of Directors as the Chief Legal Officer of HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC operations worldwide. We got all this information about Mr. Levey from his HSBC bio page. There we learned that he has been the drug money-laundering megabank’s Chief Legal Officer since January 2012. Thus, he would have been intimately involved in (and legally responsible for) the crafting of HSBC’s December 2012 Get Out of Jail Free settlement with the Justice Department. Intelligence from David S. Cohen’s group at Treasury must have also played a role in advising Justice on the historic settlement.

David S. Cohen, Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: “Increasing Iran’s Isolation…First, we will continue to identify ways to isolate Iran from the international financial system. We will do so by maintaining our aggressive campaign of applying sanctions against individuals and entities engaged in, or supporting, illicit Iranian activities and by engaging with the private sector and foreign governments to amplify the impact of these measures. As part of this effort we will also target Iran’s attempts to evade international sanctions through the use of non-bank financial institutions, such as exchange houses and money services businesses. And we will explore new measures to expand our ability to target Iran’s remaining links to the global financial sector. In particular, we are looking carefully at actions that could increase pressure on the value of the rial. In that connection, we will continue to actively investigate any sale of gold to the Government of Iran, which can be used to prop up its currency and to compensate for the difficulty it faces in accessing its foreign reserves. We currently have authority under E.O. 13622 to target those who provide gold to the Iranian government and, as of July I, IFCA will expand that authority to target for sanctions the sale of gold to or from anyone in Iran for any purpose.

~

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in political and national security affairs. He wrote The Raptor’s Eye, and his latest book is US Army Human Terrain System. He can be reached at: captainkong22@gmail.com.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

PCHR: Gaza detainees underwent ‘torture’ in Israeli custody

Ma’an – 16/09/2014

image006BETHLEHEM – The Palestinian Center for Human rights said Tuesday that its lawyers confirmed that at least four Palestinians who were arrested during Israel’s assault on Gaza were subjected to “torture” during their detention period.

PCHR lawyers visited four detainees in Ashkelon prison, and said they had undergone beatings or had been shackled between two chairs for long hours in a method known as “Shabeh,” a statement said.

It said Israeli forces detained dozens of Palestinian civilians during the seven-week Gaza offensive, 31 of whom were transferred to Israeli prisons.

Four of the imprisoned detainees were released while 26 remain in custody and are accused of being members of armed groups.

One of them was charged with being an “illegitimate combatant.”

According to international law, members of armed resistance groups are considered prisoners of war, and bills of indictment cannot be presented against them, the statement added.

The recently dissolved Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said in August that 200 Palestinians had been detained in Gaza while Israeli forces conducted a land invasion in Gaza, but that some of them had been released.

Crucial information was not immediately available about the prisoners, and the ministry accused Israeli authorities of withholding the prisoners’ names and whereabouts.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an at the time that the prisoners were transferred to the Shin Bet intelligence agency for questioning.

On Sept. 9, a Palestinian died in an Israeli medical center died after allegedly being tortured in Israeli jails.

Issa Qaraqe, head of the department of prisoner affairs, said 35-year-old Raed al-Jabari had died after sustaining blows to the head, adding that an autopsy showed that internal bleeding and concussion were the cause of death.

An Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman said the man had hung himself in Eshel prison.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

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