European satellite provider Eutelsat SA is set to pull the plug on several satellite channels and radio stations broadcast from Iran.
The company has ordered media services company, Arqiva, to take the Iranian satellite channels off one of its Hot Bird frequencies.
The Iranian channels being taken off the air include Press TV, al-Alam, Jam-e-Jam 1 and 2, Sahar 1 and 2, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Quran TV, and the Arabic-language al-Kawthar.
The ban will also affect the satellite broadcast of several Iranian radio stations.
The move follows months of jamming of Iranian channels by European satellite companies. It also shows that the European Union does not respect freedom of speech, and spares no efforts to silence the voice of alternative media outlets.
Iranian news channels affected by the decision only aimed to break the West’s monopoly on news broadcast by reflecting the voice of the oppressed people to the world.
The illegal move by Eutelsat SA, therefore, is a step to mute all alternative news outlets representing the voice of the voiceless.
The Iranian channels, however, reserve the right to take legal action against Eutelsat’s decision in order to restore their rights and compensate for any material and spiritual damages thereof to the full extent possible under international law.
Latif Ali with one of her trees that were destroyed
Last night in the West Bank village of Qaryut, 12 Palestinian owned olive trees were irreparably destroyed in a late night arson attack by Israelis from the illegal West Bank settlement of Eli.
The attack follows an incident last week, on the night of October 8th, in which settlers cut the branches from 130 trees with chainsaws. The branches will take some ten years to regrow, during which time the eight farmers who owned the trees will be without this crucial source of income.
The attacks seem to have been carried out so as to maximize economic impact. Many Palestinian olive farmers are financially dependent on the olive harvest, which begun earlier this week. In last night’s attack, the settlers seem to have targeted the oldest and most fruitful trees. They set fire to hollows in their trunks, which kills the tree. Growing a new one to their size takes hundreds of years.
The timing, too, maximized the impact of the attack. For the last two years, the Israeli government has run a permissions system for Palestinians harvesting olives in areas near to West Bank settlements: although the farmers own both the land and the trees, they have to apply for Israeli permission to access the land. Permission is usually granted for impossibly short periods of time: in this case, the Qaryut farmers were able to harvest for either two or three days (traditionally harvest lasts between four and six weeks). The first attack came the night before the first permissions began in the area, thereby devastating the harvest the night before it started.
Such incidents are not uncommon. During the last two harvests, a reported 300 trees were destroyed in Quryat alone. In 2009, the village suffered violent attacks by settlers from Eli and another nearby illegal settlement Shilo (more here and here). Such attacks are commonplace across the West Bank during olive harvest, when the symbolic and economic importance of the crop make their farmers frequent targets for settler violence.
- Rights groups raise alarm over settler attacks on olive trees (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Zionist settlers chainsaw Palestinians olive trees (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Two Palestinians Injured After Being Attacked By Settlers Near Nablus (imemc.org)
- Jewish extremists cut down over 120 olive trees (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Settlers uproot 300 olive trees near Ramallah (gazasolidarity.blogspot.com)
- Settlers destroy 18 olive trees Burin (alethonews.wordpress.com)
TEHRAN — The practice of taking hostages is a serious crime that violates all accepted humanitarian principles.
The kidnapping of 48 Iranian nationals in Damascus in early August by an armed terrorist group is a clear example of this issue.
Senior commanders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have repeatedly declared that they will free the Iranian nationals if the Iranian government uses its influence over Damascus to obtain the release of jailed rebels. The fact that the FSA is trying to take advantage of the friendly relations between Iran and Syria is nothing new. However, the group must understand that the rebel prisoners are being detained by the Syrian government and the authority to release them is in the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad not Iran.
The FSA has claimed that it is fighting for democracy and the establishment of a free and humanitarian society. However, the threats to kill the Iranian citizens have clearly revealed the true nature of the group to the Syrian people. What would the fate of Syria be if it came under the rule of such terrorists?
Certain Western governments and their regional proxies, namely Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, continue to support the FSA and other opposition groups in Syria. Iran is strongly opposed to the policy adopted by these governments and regards it as the main cause of the intensification of violence in Syria. However, the Iranian government should engage in talks with these governments to obtain the release of the hostages.
Even if the FSA kills the Iranian nationals, it will have no effect on the friendly relations between Iran and Syria. But it would seriously harm diplomatic relations between Iran and the three governments supporting the insurgency in Syria. And if the hostages are killed, it would encourage terrorist groups in other countries to use the same methods to realize their malevolent objectives.
Sabah Zanganeh is a political analyst based in Tehran.
- Majority in Turkey against war with Syria: Opinion poll (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- FSA threaten to kill Iranian hostages if rebels not freed (rt.com)
An anti-war protest was held in the Turkish capital Ankara on October 9, 2012
A recent opinion poll has revealed that more than 75 percent of the Turkish people are against a war with neighboring Syria.
The opinion poll was conducted by Metropol, an agency close to the Turkish government, and surveyed 3,000 respondents.
Analysts believe that this majority is increasing further and there is a sharp mismatch between the government’s policies and the Turkish public opinion.
This comes as massive anti-war protests have taken place in many Turkish cities during the past weeks.
The row between Turkey and Syria escalated after Ankara held Damascus responsible for a mortar shell that killed five civilians in the southeastern town of Akcakale on October 3.
Ankara promptly responded with retaliatory fire that continued through the next days, and Turkish lawmakers also authorized the government to use military force against Syria when it deemed necessary.
Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus accusing Turkey along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar of backing a deadly insurgency that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel.
Turkey has beefed up its military presence on its border with Syria over the past weeks, stationing tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, and additional troops in the area.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on October 9 that Turkey’s armed forces would not hesitate to strike back in response to any attack on the Turkish soil after Turkey’s parliament authorized cross-border military action against Syria “when deemed right” On October 4.
In a recent article, The New American’s foreign correspondent Alex Newman reported on the United Nations’ plot to invade the West African nation of Mali. Wrote Newman:
After having recently left thousands dead from overthrowing the governments ruling Libya and the Ivory Coast, the United Nations is already plotting its next invasion to deal with the fallout. This time, Mali is in the UN’s crosshairs.
Mali attracted UN attention when the northern part of the country was taken over by Islamists and nomadic rebels amid a military coup d’état that ousted the government in the South. The UN Security Council is currently considering two resolutions related to the country, a former colony of France. The first one calls for negotiations between armed rebels in the North and the supposed “interim” government operating in the capital. That measure is expected to be approved soon, according to officials involved in the negotiations.
The second resolution would purport to authorize international military intervention, a move being sought by the coalition of regimes making up the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the struggling “interim” government in Southern Mali. The French government is circulating a draft of the resolution this week.
Supporting Newman’s report is the “crisis alert” issued by the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP). The notice says: “The humanitarian situation in northern Mali has worsened considerably since a coup in late March, with reports of human rights violations including murder, rape, robbery and forced displacement.”
After rehearsing the calls for intervention made by various human rights groups and other “civil society organizations,” ICRtoP closes its memo with a demand that the UN’s Responsibility to Protect doctrine be applied to the “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Mali.
A key to understanding the cause of the crescendo of clamors for international intervention in Mali is a familiarity with the Right to Protect doctrine as defined by the United Nations.
In an address given in September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed the commitment of the global shadow government’s ultimate goal of eradicating national sovereignty. The preferred weapon in this war on self-determination is the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P).
Agreed to by the UN General Assembly at a summit of world leaders in 2005, R2P purports to grant the global government power to decide whether individual nations are properly exercising their sovereignty.
UN literature describes R2P as the concept that holds “States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.”
That is to say, if the UN determines that a national government is not voluntarily conforming to the UN’s idea of safety, then the “international community” will impose its will by force, all for the protection of that nation’s citizens.
Lest anyone believe that the globalists at the UN are simply pacifists whose desire is to meekly encourage regimes to treat their people kindly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a more forceful posture at the conference held at the UN headquarters in New York.
“We all agree that sovereignty must not be a shield behind which States commit grave crimes against their people. But achieving prevention and protection can be difficult,” said Ban. “In recent years, we have shown how good offices, preventive diplomacy, mediation, commissions of inquiry and other peaceful means can help pull countries back from the brink of mass violence.”
“However, when non-coercive measures fail or are considered inadequate, enforcement under Chapter VII will need to be considered by the appropriate intergovernmental bodies,” he added. “This includes carefully crafted sanctions and, in extreme circumstances, the use of force.”
Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizes the Security Council to use force in the face of a threat to peace or aggression, taking “such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.” As there is currently no UN military, all such interventions are carried out by the national armed forces of member nations.
Faithfully, the United States, as the chief financial engine of the international body, has not only signed on to promote the Responsibility to Protect scheme, but President Obama has created a federal agency to ensure that it is executed effectively.
The bureau is called the White House Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) and it will be headed by President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Samantha Power.
Exercising the powers he created for himself in Executive Order 13606, President Barack Obama demonstrated his support for the R2P program when he established the Atrocities Prevention Board.
The stated goal of the APB is to first formally recognize that genocide and other mass atrocities committed by foreign powers are a “core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”
Apart from the unconstitutionality of this use of the executive order, there is something sinister in the selection of Samantha Power to spearhead the search for atrocities.
One source claims that the very existence of the APB is due to Power’s own persistence in convincing the White House that discovering atrocities should be a “core national-security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.” The statement released at the time of the signing of the executive order demonstrates Power’s remarkable power of persuasion.
Samantha Power rose to prominence in government circles as part of her campaign to promote the Responsibility to Protect scheme.
Responsibility to Protect is predicated on the proposition that sovereignty is a privilege not a right and that if any regime in any nation violates the UN-approved code of conduct, then the international community is morally obligated to revoke that nation’s sovereignty and assume command and control of the offending country.
The three pillars of this UN sovereignty grab explain the provenance of this presumed prerogative:
1. A state has a responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities
2. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state if it is unable to protect its population on its own, and
3. If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.
It is the habitual recourse to this purported “last resort” that has cost countless American lives and has propelled our Republic closer to becoming a mere regional administrative unit of the global government of the United Nations. As Alex Newman wrote in his article on the situation in Mali:
As history shows, armed UN intervention often leads to mass slaughter and complete chaos that is later used to justify more international military intervention — Libya and the Ivory Coast being just two recent examples among many. There is little reason to suspect that invading Mali would turn out any better.
Indeed it won’t. But using history as a guide, Americans know that the pseudo-pacifists running the United Nations believe that if the social contract fails, there’s always the option of deploying blue-helmeted soldiers to impose “peace” at the point of a gun.
To that end, the newly appointed Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, recommended delegates work in their individual governments to contribute to an armed UN force under the command of the global government. Reciting the third point of R2P, Dieng pushed for more powerful tools to carry out the third pillar.
“It is our collective responsibility to study the implications of the use of each of them, and to understand the conditions under which the potential of each tool can be maximized,” Dieng said. “It is also our responsibility to establish and strengthen the structures that will make third-pillar tools actionable and effective.”
No matter the frequency or ferocity of the moral outrage spewed by internationalists, the government of the United States does not have a constitutional responsibility to protect the citizens of the world from atrocities.
And nowhere in the Constitution is the president or Congress authorized to place the armed forces of the United States under the command of international bodies, regardless of treaty obligations or sovereignty-stealing “responsibilities” to the contrary.
Humanitarian Buffer Zones in Syria — How misinformation obscures the Israel lobby’s influence on U.S. foreign policy
A recent Russia Today report offers an insight into how misinformation on the internet helps to obscure the influence of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy. In an October 11 report on the widening Syria conflict, the Russian television channel’s website cited an interview with an independent journalist regarding news of the establishment of so-called humanitarian buffer zones on Syrian territory. According to the RT report, citing Nile Bowie, the idea originated with “US hawks”:
“The US think-tank – the Brookings Institute – in March 2012 published a report entitled ‘Assessing Regime Change Options in Syria,’ where they specifically cite the creation of a buffer zone or a humanitarian corridor as a means to base certain rebel groups in the region [and] to project force towards the Syrian government in an attempt to topple it. So that appears to be what is playing out at the moment.”
The facts above are basically correct. There is, however, a crucial omission. The report in question — actually entitled “Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change” — was the work of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. The Saban Center was established in 2002 when Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban pledged nearly $13 million to the Brookings Institution. As Saban told an Israeli conference in 2010, establishing think tanks — along with making donations to political parties and controlling media outlets — is one of “three ways to be influential in American politics.” The billionaire’s sole motivation for wanting to influence policy in Washington is no secret. “I’m a one-issue guy,” Saban famously told the New York Times, “and my issue is Israel.”
It’s also worth noting that at least one of the co-authors of “Saving Syria” appears to share Haim Saban’s overriding concern for Israel. In 2006, Kenneth Pollack, currently director of the Saban Center, was mentioned in the indictment against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman as one of the government officials who provided classified information on Iran to the then AIPAC employees charged with espionage.
Nile Bowie’s omission of the Israeli source of the regime change proposals for Syria appears to have been unintentional though. As recently as September 24, the Kuala Lumpur-based American journalist wrote about the pro-Israel connections of U.S. groups supporting the Malaysian opposition. So how did he miss the equally blatant Israeli connection behind the Saban Center’s blueprint for regime change in Damascus?
Bowie most likely learned of the Brookings report from “an alternative news blog based in Bangkok, Thailand covering geopolitics.” Run by a former U.S. marine by the name of Tony Cartalucci, the Land Destroyer blog (the second of ten sites linked to by Bowie’s blog) has written about “Assessing Options for Regime Change” perhaps more often than any other source. One of those pieces posted on October 3 entitled “Turkey Attempts to Trigger War Vs. Syria” even features an image of the Saban Center’s “Saving Syria.” The caption underneath the image, however, reads:
The Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.
Apart from the Saban Center logo in the image, there is no mention of the pro-Israel think tank in the piece. While a site search for “Brookings” yields eight pages of results, there appears to be only one post that refers to the “Saban Center.” A search for “Haim Saban” yields no results.
In short, as long as people continue to trust dubious “alternative” sources of news such as Land Destroyer Report, the key role of the Israel lobby in pushing regime change from Damascus to Kuala Lumpur will remain obscure.
US and UK weapons ammunition were linked to heart defects, brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs, according to a recent study. The report revealed a shocking rise in birth defects in Iraqi children conceived after the US invasion.
Titled ‘Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities,’ the study was published by the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. It revealed a connection between military activity in the country and increased numbers of birth defects and miscarriages.
The report, which can be found here, also contains graphic images of Iraqi children born with birth defects. (The images were not published on RT due to their disturbing content.) It documents 56 families in Fallujah, which was invaded by US troops in 2004, and examines births in Basrah in southern Iraq, which was attacked by British forces in 2003.
The study concluded that US and UK ammunition is responsible for high rates of miscarriages, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiraling numbers of birth defects, which ranged from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs.
Fallujah, around 40 miles west of Baghdad, was at the epicenter of these various health risks. The city was first invaded by US Marines in the spring of 2004, and then again 7 months later. Some of the heaviest artillery in the US arsenal was deployed during the attack, including phosphorus shells.
Between 2007 and 2010 in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with birth defects. Before the war, this figure was around one in 10. Also, over 45 percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in 2005 and 2006, compared to only 10 percent before the invasion.
In Basrah’s Maternity Hospital, more than 20 babies out of 1,000 were born with defects in 2003, 17 times higher than the figure recorded in the previous decade.
Overall, the study found that the number of babies in the region born with birth defects increased by more than 60 percent (37 out of every 1,000 are now born with defects) in the past seven years. This rise was linked to an increased exposure to metals released by the bombs and bullets used over the past decade.
Hair samples of the population of Fallujah revealed levels of lead in children with birth defects five times higher than in other children, and mercury levels six times higher. Basrah children with birth defects had three times more lead in their teeth than children living in areas not struck by the artillery.
The study found a “footprint of metal in the population,” Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report said. Savabieasfahani is an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.
“In utero exposure to pollutants can drastically change the outcome of an otherwise normal pregnancy. The metal levels we see in the Fallujah children with birth defects clearly indicates that metals were involved in manifestation of birth defects in these children,” she said.
The study’s preliminary findings, released in 2010, led to an in-depth inquiry on Fallujah by the World Health Organization (WHO), the results of which will be released next month. The inquiry is expected to show an increase in birth defects following the Iraq War.
According to the WHO, a pregnant woman can be exposed to lead or mercury through the air, water and soil. The woman can then pass the exposure to her unborn child through her bones, and high levels of toxins can damage kidneys and brains, and cause blindness, seizures, muteness, lack of coordination and even death.
US and UK ‘unaware’ of rise in birth defects
US Defense Department responded to the report by claiming that there are no official reports indicating a connection between military action and birth defects in Iraq.
“We are not aware of any official reports indicating an increase in birth defects in Al Basrah or Fallujah that may be related to exposure to the metals contained in munitions used by the US or coalition partners,” a US Defense Department spokesperson told the Independent. “We always take very seriously public health concerns about any population now living in a combat theatre. Unexploded ordnance, including improvised explosive devises, are a recognized hazard.”
An UK government spokesperson also said there was no “reliable scientific or medical evidence to confirm a link between conventional ammunition and birth defects in Basrah. All ammunition used by UK armed forces falls within international humanitarian law and is consistent with the Geneva Convention.”
The IDF shot down a Hezbollah-piloted drone over the northern Negev desert earlier this month after it possibly captured images of secret Israeli military sites. Earlier, Tel Aviv praised the IDF for its rapid response to the security breach.
The drone was launched from Lebanon and crossed into Israeli airspace on October 6, and stayed airborne for three hours before being intercepted, the Sunday Times reported.
Sources in the region claimed that the unmanned aircraft traveled more than 300 kilometers, and transmitted pictures of preparations for Israel’s joint military exercise with the US, the newspaper said. The aircraft also reportedly spotted ballistic missiles, airfields and likely the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
The British newspaper said that the first missile an Israeli F-16 fighter jet shot at the done missed its target. After the incident, Israeli leadership praised the country’s air forces for their “sharp and effective” response to the violation of the country’s airspace.
The drone is the new Iranian Shahed-129, operated by Iranian Revolutionary Guard technicians with the help of the Hezbollah, the report said.
Earlier, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah took credit for the aerial infiltration, saying that the aircraft was designed by Iran and assembled in Lebanon.
He said the drone was deployed in response to what he called Israel’s repeated violations of Lebanese airspace since 2006. He identified the Dimona reactor as the mission’s main target.
“This flight was not our first will not be our last, and we give assurances we can reach any point we want. We have the right to dispatch recon planes over occupied Palestine at any time,” Nasrallah said.
- Hezbollah confirms sending drone into Israeli airspace (alethonews.wordpress.com)