Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Thousands hold demonstrations against journalist killings in Honduras

People protest violence against members of the media with signs that read in Spanish "United for peace and freedom," left, and "Stop corruption" in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Friday, May 25, 2012.
People protest violence against members of the media with signs that read in Spanish “United for peace and freedom,” left, and “Stop corruption” in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Friday, May 25, 2012.
Press TV – May 26, 2012

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of many cities across Honduras to protest the killings of journalists in the Central American republic.
The demonstrators, who were chanting “Killing journalists does not kill the truth,” marched past the offices of the president and the human rights commission in the capital Tegucigalpa on Friday, AFP reported.

According to organizers, some 5,000 people attended the demonstration in Tegucigalpa, but protests were also staged in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Comayagua and Choluteca.

“No more impunity,” said one sign held by an activist. Another sign read, “United for peace and freedom.”

Since President Manuel Zelaya was toppled on June 28, 2009 in a military coup twenty journalists have been killed in Honduras.

Last week, the body of 47-year-old HRN Radio journalist Alfredo Villatoro Rivera was found blindfolded and with gunshot wounds to his head, a police spokesman said.

A week before Rivera had been kidnapped.

Honduras has been plagued by political turmoil following the 2009 military coup. Military rule, corruption, an enormous wealth gap, crime and natural disasters have turned Honduras into one of the poorest and least secure countries in Central America.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s ‘Right’ to Exist

A question of legitimacy

By Genevieve Cora Fraser | InterNews | 2006-06-09

“For thousands of years, we Jews have been nourished and sustained by a yearning for our historic land. I, like many others, was raised with a deep conviction that the day would never come when we would have to relinquish parts of the land of our forefathers. I believed, and to this day still believe, in our people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land.” –Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, May 24, 2006

In 1947, the United Nations arrogantly attempted to give away Palestine by floating the non-binding Resolution 181. Although the resolution was accepted by the General Assembly, it was not accepted by both parties, which was legally necessary for the General Assembly’s recommendations to be implemented.

If it had been implemented it would have prepared the foundation for the creation in Palestine of an Arab state and a Jewish state. However, the Arab nations voted in a block against it and were joined by others. Altogether 13 nations, Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen voted against it. Ten nations, Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia abstained.

Following the rejection of the resolution by the Arabs, over 65,000 well-trained Zionist forces led by Jewish terrorist gangs — Irgun, Stern, and others — stormed Palestine armed with $12 million worth of armaments and were met by 25,000 Palestinian militia equipped with antiquated weapons, known as Al Nakba.

Following the take-over of Palestine, U.N. Resolution 194 mandated Israel to accept the Palestinian’s right to return to their homes, and own up to the fact that “compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property.” That too was ignored and Israel’s legitimacy hung on it.

Later came the Six-Day-War (1967), which resulted in the Occupation — the complete takeover of what remained of historic Palestine — and the fulfillment of the Zionist claim to their so-called 2,000-year-old Biblical birthright.

It is a serious violation of international law to acquire territory by force. Indeed, the case against the Nazis during the Nuremburg Trials asserted that the rationale behind their acquisitions was to acquire territories already inhabited by so-called “racial Germans” and those it needed as additional living space for “racial Germans” — all at the expense of other countries. This indictment echoes the Zionist/Israel defense of its claim to historic Palestine by “racial Jews” and its subsequent actions which include hundreds, if not thousands, of crimes against humanity, such as their nonstop deadly raids into Gaza and the West Bank, hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks, the illegal construction of the racist, Apartheid Wall and the current ethnic cleansing of Arab-Israeli citizens within the Negev.

The basic fact is Israel was created in violation of international law and remains so. Israel’s illegitimacy is the point that Hamas asserts and which the world is starving and economically boycotting the Palestinians to force them to reject — by demanding they recognize Israel’s right to exist. (These tactics also violate international law — threatening genocide to force Palestinians to accept what is false.)

Has any other nation on the planet gone to such lengths to get a group to recognize their right to exist? If Israel were comfortable with its claim of legitimacy, Hamas’ stance would be a non-issue, a joke to be ignored. But Hamas persists in not recognizing this “right,” which has little to do with “wiping them off the face of the earth,” and everything to do with recognizing their legitimacy.

Israel takes the threat from Hamas so seriously that Olmert is risking what until now has been sacrosanct — Israel’s security — by arming Fateh, the party of their former nemesis, Yasser Arafat. The further irony is that Hamas has posed NO security risk to Israel in over 16 months, since declaring and abiding by the truce which Israel has broken thousands of times with the non-stop shelling of Gaza and its incursions into the West Bank, all of which has resulted in hundreds of Palestinian lives lost and thousands of injuries.

Barring entry into Gaza, depriving Palestinians of food and medicine, enforcing a financial boycott of the government, which have also led to starvation and violence, is another example of Israel’s as well as America’s and the EU’s violation of Article 33 of the Forth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective punishment and attempted genocide. Meanwhile, Fateh continues to lob Quassam rockets into Israel and to create chaos within Gaza and the West Bank. Yet, it is Fateh that is being armed by Israel. So who’s kidding who?

Israel has been “recognized” by nations across the globe but that does not change the fact that it operates outside of international law — as is obvious to all who pay attention. The solution is for Israel to operate within the law through a one state solution. But Zionists reject the obvious solution. Instead they implement the propaganda strategy that emphasizes their so-called Biblical birthright and their god given right to exist as a Jewish state. Somehow, these claims are supposed to convey legitimacy. But it is all a great hoax.

Based on scholarship, widely publicized in books such as Arthur Koestler’s “The Thirteenth Tribe,” historic records demonstrate that the Ashkenazi Jews converted and are not descendants of the ancient Hebrews. This is backed by DNA analysis that has consistently demonstrated that they are not a so-called Diaspora.

One recent study involved over 1,000 Ashkenazi Jews in 67 countries. Over 60 percent had NO Middle Eastern ancestry. The remaining 40 percent showed genetic markers indicating that four women of Middle Eastern descent had entered the Ashkenazi gene pool over a two thousand year period. Four women does not a Diaspora make and given the time period involved they could very well have been Christian or Muslim. Yet, Israeli leaders and too many Jews throughout the world speak of their 3,000-year history, ignoring the Palestinians, whose history they pretend is their own.

Israel was born through the actions of Zionist terrorist organizations. It is still led by criminal elements. Today, the Israeli appetite and trade in marijuana, cocaine, heroine, and hashish may be brushed off as a sign of the times. But Israeli drug lords control the global Ecstasy market, a drug that causes permanent, irreversible brain damage.

In 2000, the Boston Globe reported, “To avoid detection, one Israeli criminal group enlisted ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn and Monsey, N.Y., to bring shipments of Ecstasy into the United States. With their traditional black hats, black coats and locks of hair dangling around their ears, the Hasidic Jews looked like unlikely suspects.”

The Israeli crime rate in human trafficking is among the highest in the world. They are listed by America as “second tier” only because in recent years, there have been marginal efforts to do something about it. Over 10,000 women have been brought into Israel and forced into sexual bondage, according to reports in the BBC (May 18, 2000), the Forward, Ynetnews, the Associated Press and other news organizations.

This industry is reputed to bring in over $1 billion a year. In fact, only a few months ago, in March 2006 the Israeli High Court overturned an Israeli law that facilitated slavery. Granted, if the new law prohibiting slavery is enforced, it should help to offset the prostitution industry in Israel and their international export of sex slaves. Last year, commenting on the sexual slavery market within Israel, an Israeli Parliamentary Inquiry Committee reported, in the words ofYnetnews.com, “some 10,000 such women currently reside in about 300 to 400 brothels throughout the country.”

The Israeli Kav LaOved Newsletter reported in 2004, in an article titled, “The legal battle against the binding arrangement”:

“The state of Israel is involved both directly and indirectly in turning foreign workers — who entered the country legally — into victims of trafficking in persons, as defined in the proposed legislation. The view of migrant workers in Israel as the employers’ property is reflected above all (in) the ‘binding arrangement’ which makes the worker the employer’s slave.

“The binding arrangement is based on Section 6 of the Entry to Israel Law, 1952. Under this section, the Interior Minister has the power ‘to stipulate conditions in a visa or in a residence permit, compliance with which shall be a condition for the validity of the visit or the residence permit.’ As this arrangement is applied by the Interior Ministry, the work permit belongs not to the worker but to the employer; the worker is in fact bound or fettered to the specific employer whose name is stamped in his passport. Such binding to an employer is an imperative condition for the worker’s legal status in Israel.”

In addition to human and drug trafficking, Israel is also replete with maintaining the best politicians that money can buy. Prior to his debilitating stroke, Sharon, and his sons, were plagued by corruption scandals and threats of indictments. Corruption is also frequently linked to Shimon Peres and Olmert to name a few.

Isn’t it time for the world to stop pussyfooting around the basic fact. Israel is not legitimate and will not be until they accept Palestinians as belonging in the whole of historic Palestine with full rights as citizens. Palestinians must also be compensated for the 68 years of theft and bloodshed for which the aggressor — Israel — is responsible.

Although I support a two state solution as realistic until the parties in the conflict can reconcile, only a one state solution would bring a guarantee of peace within the region.

©2006 OhmyNews

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 8 Comments

The Elevation of Jeffrey Feltman

By VIJAY PRASHAD | CounterPunch | May 25, 2012

English: Beirut, Lebanon (July 19, 2006) – Com...A blog visited mainly by UN insiders announces that US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is up for a very important UN job. Former UN Assistant Secretary General for Public Information Samir Sanbar’s blog, UN Forum, notes that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is set to replace B. Lynn Pascoe with Feltman in the post of UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs. The office was created in 1992 to help identify and resolve political conflicts around the world. Pascoe ran at least a dozen missions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, notably in Burundi, Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya. The longest running mission is in Somalia (since 1995) and the most recent is in Libya (since September 2011). With a budget of $250 million and funds for special political missions that amount, this year, to $1 billion, the post allows its leader to intervene in political crises around the world.

When Secretary General Ban began his second term in January, he promised to reshuffle some of his senior staff. Pascoe’s replacement is part of this process.

Of the proposed new appointment Sanbar writes, “Designating someone with varied field experience, though controversial, and from a substantially senior post, may mean that more issues could be referred to the Security Council.” The UN Security Council’s Secretariat is handled by the Department of Political Affairs, which would be able to have some sway on its agenda. The post is central to the UN bureaucracy.

News of Feltman’s resignation from the State Department next week simply confirmed all the rumors. Another rumor suggests that the UN will announce the appointment on Monday, May 28.

Is Jeffrey Feltman the best person to run such an influential office in the UN? Why did Sanbar believe that this appointment is “controversial.”

Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, told me that Feltman is “an accomplished and respected American diplomat.” He has been involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran, Lebanon and Syria, and other hot spots. These bring up “inevitably controversial issues,” Telhami continued. “Feltman would have his share of detractors, including in the Middle East,” he said.

But why would Feltman have these “detractors” and how did he come off on the “controversial issues”?

On one issue Feltman is remarkably consistent. When it comes to the Middle East, Feltman has been outspoken about the threats posed by Iran in the region. Whether in Beirut or Manama, he has publically denounced Iranian “interference” outside its own boundaries. At the same time, Feltman has generously offered US assistance to these same regimes. In other words, US interference is quite acceptable, but Iranian interference is utterly unacceptable. This might be adequate behavior for the diplomat of a country, but it is hardly the temperament for a senior UN official. It raises doubts about Feltman’s ability to be even-handed in his deliberations as a steward of the world’s political dilemmas.

Feltman’s intemperate logic was not of the distant past. It was on display in March 2012 at a Lebanese American Organization’s meeting at the Cannon Office Building in Washington, DC. At this meeting, the former US Ambassador to Lebanon, instructed the Lebanese people as to what they must do in their next election, “The Lebanese people must join together to tell Hezbollah and its allies that the Lebanese state will no longer be hijacked for an Iranian-Syrian agenda.” The people must “use the 2013 parliamentary elections to defeat the remnants of the Syrian occupation, the pillar of which is Hezbollah.”

Indeed, interference by speeches is not the limit of Feltman’s ambitions. On May 3, 2012, he was back in Beirut, meeting former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, former Finance Minister Mohamad Chatah, Future Movement leader Nader Hariri and others at Hariri’s residence. In the transcript of their meeting (leaked through Al-Akhbar), an older side of US policy making emerges. US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly is heard saying that the government is “Hezbollah dominated,” to which Feltman says to the Lebanese politicians in the room, “You can bring down the government if Walid [Jumblatt] is with you in the parliament or if Najib [Mikati, the PM] resigns right?” To Siniora, Feltman says, “Would it help if this government is brought down before the elections,” and then he mentions that he is seeing the Prime Minister Najib Mikati later that evening. “This place is very, very weird,” he notes, “weirder than when I left.” This is not a trivial statement. A glance at Feltman’s cables when he was ambassador to Lebanon reveals a fulsome appetite for the weird. The cables betray an obsession with the social lives of the Lebanese elite, their peccadillos and their foibles.

Feltman’s “non-interference” to prevent Iranian “interference” in Lebanon brings to mind another episode in his recent career. When the people’s protest broke out in Bahrain, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent him there at least four, perhaps six, times. He was there on the eve of the Saudi-led invasion into Manama to smash the protests in March 2011. In a visit to Manama on March 3, 2011, just before the crackdown, Feltman praised the King for his “initiatives” and urged him to “include the full spectrum of Bahraini society, without exception.” In the Shia quarters, and amongst the al-Wefaq party activists, this sounded like Feltman was urging the King to take them seriously. In language similar to what he used in Lebanon, Feltman noted that the US wants a “Bahraini process” and urges others “to refrain, as we are, from interference or trying to impose a non-Bahraini solution from outside Bahrain.” The crucial phrase here is as we are, which implies that the US is not intervening in Bahrain. The fact of the 5th Fleet stationed in Manama and of the close cooperation between the Saudi monarch, the Bahraini King and Feltman’s bosses was to be ignored. “We are not naïve,” Feltman said, pointing across the waters at Iran. They cannot be permitted to intervene, but the US, a “critical partner” of the Kingdom, and the Gulf Arab monarchs, “will support Bahrain.”

When events heated up in Bahrain, Feltman and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen went on a tour of the emirates’ capitals, declaring their unconditional support. The US stands for “universal human rights,” Feltman told the emirs, but of course since “every country is unique” these rights would emerge in their own way. Mullen was at hand to “reassure, discuss and understand what’s going on.” The key word here is reassure.

A clear-eyed assessment comes from Karim Makdisi, who teaches at the American University of Beirut. Makdisi recalls Feltman’s role as Ambassador in the area, where he made himself an extremely divisive figure. Feltman pushed for UN Resolution 1559 from 2004, to disarm the Lebanese resistance, he supported the Israeli invasion in 2006, and he provided assistance to the March 14 political party against Hezbollah. In other words, Feltman actively took sides in a divided political landscape. Feltman’s appointment “would be a disaster and send exactly the wrong signal for the UN” to the region. Having recognized its weakness, the US knows that it will be the UN that takes the lead in Syria and elsewhere for the foreseeable future. Makdisi believes that in “anticipating a larger role for the UN,” the US wishes Feltman to be well-placed to “ensure that US interests are maintained as much as possible.” Whatever credibility remains with the UN will whittle in the region with this appointment.

It is likely that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon picked Feltman for an unearned reputation. He is known around the Beltway for his work on the Arab Spring. But in the totality of the Arab world Feltman will not be seen as an open-minded professional. He has already thrown his hat into the camp of the Saudis and their satellites (the Gulf Arabs and the Hariri clan of Lebanon). This will limit Feltman’s ability to move an agenda in the region, least of all on the Arab-Israeli conflict where sober diplomacy is necessary from the UN. When I asked several people who watch the UN’s work in the Arab world carefully about this appointment, most offered me three words, “very bad news”. Not bad news for the Saudis or the US neoconservatives, but certainly bad for the people of the Arab world, whose Spring had them longing not so much for this kind of venal diplomacy but for honesty and good-will.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

10 killed in drone attack on North Waziristan mosque

By Malik Mumtaz Khan & Mushtaq Yusufzai | The News | May 25, 2012

MIRANSHAH/ PESHAWAR: Ten people were killed and three others seriously injured in yet another US drone attack, this time on a mosque in Hasukhel village in the Mir Ali subdivision of North Waziristan Agency early Thursday.

This was the second missile attack by pilotless US spy planes in North Waziristan in the last two days. Reports said the victims included foreign militants, believed to be Turkmen. Villagers and officials of the political administration, however, insisted that all the worshippers were local residents. Tribal sources said the drone fired two missiles and pounded the village mosque where the tribesmen were offering the Fajr (morning) prayers.

“Some of the people had offered the prayers and were leaving the mosque. Others were still praying and some were reciting the Holy Quran, when the drone fired two missiles and struck the mosque. The small structure of the mosque was demolished in the attack and those present inside were buried under the debris of the building,” a tribesman, Mohammad Roshan Dawar, said.

Talking to The News from Hasukhel village by phone, he said four US spy planes were seen flying over the area at the time of the attack. He said a large number of villagers later arrived there and helped retrieve the bodies of the slain men and those injured in the attack.

The tribesman said some houses located close to the mosque were also damaged in the missile strike, but did not cause any loss of life to the inmates. He said bodies of the slain men were mutilated beyond recognition.

“Their bodies were almost burnt and could not be recognised easily. It was a horrible scene as the villagers were offering prayers and reciting the Holy Quran in the mosque but within minutes there was devastation and human bodies lying everywhere,” the tribesman recalled.

Tribal sources said three people seriously injured in the attack were admitted to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Miranshah. Pleading anonymity, a senior doctor at the Miranshah Agency Headquarters Hospital said all the three injured were in critical condition. “They were brought to us in a serious condition and had suffered multiple injuries. Also, we do not have any facility here in the hospital to save lives of seriously injured patients. Let alone other facilities, the only X-ray machine at the hospital is also out of order,” the doctor said.

Government officials based in Mir Ali confirmed that the drone had targeted the village mosque. Drones in the past had pounded schools, houses, Hujras and even the tribal Jirgas were not spared, but this was the first time that a mosque was attacked in North Waziristan. This was the 13th drone attack in North Waziristan this year.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Libya, Africa and Africom

An Ongoing Disaster

By DAN GLAZEBROOK | CounterPunch | May 25, 2012

The scale of the ongoing tragedy visited on Libya by NATO and its allies is becoming horribly clearer with each passing day. Estimates of those killed so far vary, but 50,000 seems like a low estimate; indeed the British Ministry of Defence was boasting that the onslaught had killed 35,000 as early as last May. But this number is constantly growing. The destruction of the state’s forces by British, French and American blitzkrieg has left the country in a state of total anarchy – in the worst possible sense of the word. Having had nothing to unite them other than a temporary willingness to act as NATO’s foot soldiers, the former ‘rebels’ are now turning on each other. 147 were killed in in-fighting in Southern Libya in a single week earlier this year, and in recent weeks government buildings – including the Prime Ministerial compound – have come under fire by ‘rebels’ demanding cash payment for their services. $1.4billion has been paid out already – demonstrating once again that it was the forces of NATO colonialism, not Gaddafi, who were reliant on ‘mercenaries’- but payments were suspended last month due to widespread nepotism. Corruption is becoming endemic – a further $2.5billion in oil revenues that was supposed to have been transferred to the national treasury remains unaccounted for. Libyan resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from amongst the country’s new elites; a classic neo-colonial stitch-up. The use of these resources for giant infrastructure projects such as the Great Manmade River, and the massive raising of living standards over the past four decades (Libyan life expectancy rose from 51 to 77 since Gaddafi came to power in 1969) sadly looks to have already become a thing of the past.

But woe betide anyone who mentions that now. It was decided long ago that no supporters of Gaddafi would be allowed to stand in the upcoming elections, but recent changes have gone even further. Law 37, passed by the new NATO-imposed government last month, has created a new crime of ‘glorifying’ the former government or its leader – subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Would this include a passing comment that things were better under Gaddafi? The law is cleverly vague enough to be open to interpretation. It is a recipe for institutionalised political persecution.

Even more indicative of the contempt for the rule of law amongst the new government – a government, remember, which has yet to receive any semblance of popular mandate, and whose only power base remains the colonial armed forces – is Law 38. This law has now guaranteed immunity from prosecution for anyone who committed crimes aimed at “promoting or protecting the revolution”. Those responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha – such as Misrata’s self-proclaimed “brigade for the purging of black skins” – can continue their hunting down of that cities’ refugees in the full knowledge that they have the new ‘law’ on their side. Those responsible for the massacres in Sirte and elsewhere have nothing to fear. Those involved in the widespread torture of detainees can continue without repercussions – so long as it is aimed at “protecting the revolution” – i.e. maintaining NATO-TNC dictatorship.

This is the reality of the new Libya: civil war, squandered resources, and societal collapse, where voicing preference for the days when Libya was prosperous and at peace is a crime, but lynching and torture is not only permitted but encouraged.

Nor has the disaster remained a national one. Libya’s destabilisation has already spread to Mali, prompting a coup, and huge numbers of refugees – especially amongst Libya’s large black migrant population – have fled to neighbouring countries in a desperate attempt to escape both aerial destruction and lynch mob rampage, putting further pressure on resources elsewhere. Many Libyan fighters, their work done in Libya, have now been shipped by their imperial masters to Syria to spread their sectarian violence there too.

Most worrying for the African continent, however, is the forward march of AFRICOM – the US military’s African command – in the wake of the aggression against Libya. It is no coincidence that barely a month after the fall of Tripoli – and in the same month Gaddafi was murdered (October 2011) – the US announced it was sending troops to no less than four more African countries – the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRICOM have now announced an unprecedented fourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012. The military re-conquest of Africa is rolling steadily on.

None of this would have been possible whilst Gaddafi was still in power. As founder of the African Union, its biggest donor, and its one-time elected Chairman, he wielded serious influence on the continent. It was partly thanks to him that the US was forced to establish AFRICOM’s HQ in Stuttgart in Germany when it was established in February 2008, rather than in Africa itself; he offered cash and investments to African governments who rejected US requests for bases. Libya under his leadership had an estimated $150 billion of investments in Africa, and the Libyan proposal, backed with £30billion cash, for an African Union Development Bank would have seriously reduced African financial dependence on the West. In short, Gaddafi’s Libya was the single biggest obstacle to AFRICOM penetration of the continent.

Now he has gone, AFRICOM is stepping up its work. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan showed the West that wars in which their own citizens get killed are not popular; AFRICOM is designed to ensure that in the coming colonial wars against Africa, it will be Africans who do the fighting and dying, not Westerners. The forces of the African Union are to become integrated into AFRICOM under a US-led chain of command. Gaddafi would never have stood for it; that is why he had to go.

And if you want a vision of Africa under AFRICOM tutelage, look no further than Libya, NATO’s model of an African state: condemned to decades of violence and trauma, and utterly incapable of either providing for its people, or contributing to regional or continental independence. The new military colonialism in Africa must not be allowed to advance another inch.

DAN GLAZEBROOK writes for the Morning Star newspaper and is one of the co-ordinators for the British branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine. He can be contacted at danglazebrook2000@yahoo.co.uk

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel partisans stoke “human rights” crisis in U.S.-Russia relations

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | May 25, 2012

According to a Reuters report on the recent Group of Eight Summit at Camp David, Russia’s G8 liaison Arkady Dvorkovich warned of a potential crisis between Moscow and Washington over the issue of human rights:

Dvorkovich said that at a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Medvedev will raise opposition to attempts by some U.S. lawmakers to introduce legislation which will address human rights violations in Russia.

Such legislation could take a form of the so-called Sergei Magnitsky bill, named after the Russian lawyer who died in prison in 2009. The Kremlin human rights council says he was probably beaten to death.

The bill would require the United States to deny visas and freeze the assets of Russians or others with links to his detention and death as well as those who commit other human rights violations.

“New legislation which will address new political issues as imagined by some U.S. congressmen or senators is unacceptable,” Dvorkovich said, promising a retaliation.

The Magnitsky bill was introduced last year by Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission). In a August 9, 2011 Washington Post op-ed to promote the legislation, Senator Cardin wrote:

The case of Sergei Magnitsky has come to symbolize the rampant and often violent corruption plaguing the Russian state. Sergei, a 37-year-old tax lawyer, husband and father working for an American firm in Moscow, blew the whistle on the largest known tax fraud in Russian history. For that he was arrested in 2008 by those he accused, and he was imprisoned under torturous conditions for nearly a year. He was denied medical care and beaten by prison guards; he died alone in November 2009 in an isolation cell as doctors waited outside his door. These facts are accepted at the highest levels of Russia’s government, yet those implicated in his death remain unpunished, in positions of authority. Some have even been decorated and promoted.

Sergei joins a heartbreaking list of Russian heroes who lost their lives because they stood up for principle. These ranks include Natalya Estemirova, a brave human rights activist whose bullet-riddled body was found on a roadside in 2009 in the North Caucasus; Anna Politikovskaya, an intrepid reporter shot in Moscow in 2006 while carrying home groceries; and too many others.

Ben Cardin’s apparent concern about Russia’s human rights abuses stands in marked contrast to his staunch support for Israel, however. Notwithstanding the equally heartbreaking — and arguably longer — list of Palestinian heroes who have lost their lives because they too stood up for principle, the Senator for Maryland’s May 24, 2011 statement regarding President Obama’s speeches on the Middle East peace process and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a Joint Session of Congress leaves little doubt as to his passionate attachment to the Jewish state despite its egregious human rights abuses:

This week, the President highlighted what I have always believed – unyielding U.S. support for Israel’s security, U.S. rejection of Palestinian terrorism, and most importantly, the necessity for the parties to commit to negotiations as the means of resolving the conflict. I also met with Prime Minister Netanyahu today and after that discussion, I am similarly confident that that what bonds our countries is an unbreakable alliance. As he stated before Congress, “Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism.”

Apart from the Washington Post’s championing of the Magnitsky bill, a cursory look at other stridently pro-Israel media such as The Weekly Standard and Commentary shows that Senator Cardin is not alone in his selective outrage over human rights abuses. So, as Moscow contemplates its “retaliation” against this “unacceptable” legislation, it should also consider whether Tel Aviv might not be a more appropriate target for its ire than Washington.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

US negotiator at P5+1-Iran talks to visit Israel for ‘consultations’

Press TV – May 25, 2012

The senior American negotiator present at the recent talks between the major world powers and Iran in Baghdad has traveled to Tel Aviv.

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman is due in Tel Aviv on Friday “to reaffirm our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security,” read a statement by the US Department of State.

The report did not elaborate on details pertaining to Sherman’s agenda during her visit to Israel other than stating that she would consult with the Israeli regime on regional issues.

The development comes following harsh criticism by top Israeli officials against Baghdad talks between Iran and the P5+1–Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany.

Iran and the P5+1 wrapped up their meeting in Baghdad on Thursday evening after two earlier negotiation sessions on Thursday and Wednesday.

The Iranian negotiating delegation was headed by Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili, and the delegations of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany were headed by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week that world powers “must show determination, not weakness” and toughen their stance against Iran.

“They do not need to make concessions to Iran. They need to set clear and unequivocal demands before it: Iran must halt all enrichment of nuclear material. It must remove from its territory all nuclear material that has been enriched up until now and it must dismantle the underground nuclear facility in Qom,” he said.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment