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Meshaal re-elected as Hamas leader

Al-Akhbar | April 1, 2013

Two Hamas officials say the Palestinian Islamic group has re-elected Khaled Meshaal as its leader for the fourth time.

Mashaal, 56, who has run the Palestinian movement since 1996 from exile, was widely seen as a favorite.

He is backed by regional powers Qatar, Turkey and Egypt. He is now based in Qatar.

The officials said the majority of the group’s Shura council members voted for Meshaal. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the secret procedure.

There had been speculation that Meshaal, who is based in exile, would be forced aside by the movement’s powerful leaders in the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since 2007. Meshaal himself had said last year that he would not seek a new term.

But Hamas officials had hinted that Meshaal would continue leading the Palestinian group.

“The movement’s leaders have decided to renew Meshaal’s term for four years,” a high-ranking Hamas official told AFP on condition of anonymity ahead of the vote.

Hamas officials were in Cairo on Sunday and Monday for the vote, and to discuss with Egyptian leaders reconciliation with the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

After 37 years in exile from Palestine, it was only last December that Meshaal made his first ever visit to Gaza.

He was propelled to the movement’s leadership in 2004 after Israel assassinated the movement’s founding leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Abdelaziz al-Rantissi in the Gaza Strip.

Meshaal himself survived an Israeli assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997 when agents of the Mossad secret service disguised as Canadian tourists bungled an attempt to poison him on a street in Amman.

(AFP, AP, Al-Akhbar)

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Comments Off on Meshaal re-elected as Hamas leader

Judge Rejects Obama Administration Argument that Declassifying Guantánamo Case Documents is Too Much Work

By Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky | AllGov | March 31, 2013

The Obama administration has been ordered by a federal judge to declassify the government’s file on a former detainee after officials tried to claim that doing so would require too much work.

Mohammed Sulaymon Barre of Somaliland, who was held at Guantánamo until December 2009, filed a motion to compel the government to disclose the information officials had collected on him.

The government responded by saying it could not meet the request because of the time it would take to sift through the file and redact portions of it.

U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth rejected the administration’s argument, and said he was “troubled by the government’s apparent lack of urgency in issuing public versions of classified materials filed in Guantánamo proceedings.”

Lamberth added: “The government’s arguments are unavailing and largely boil down to this: ‘Declassification is complicated and time consuming and we already have a lot of work—please don’t pile on.’”

Barre (a.k.a. Mohamed Saleban Bare) was arrested and detained in November 2001 while living as a UN-designated refugee in Karachi, Pakistan. He became a suspect in the eyes of the U.S. because of his alleged ties to Al-Wafa, a Saudi foundation accused of terrorist activities, and because of his job at Dahabshiil Company, a Somali-based financial institution that allegedly sent money to and from customers in Pakistan. Sulaymon maintained that he had done nothing wrong and was picked up because U.S. forces were paying bounties for the capture of alleged enemies.

His detention included being held at military bases in Kandahar and Bagram in Afghanistan, before being transferred to Guantanamo, where he claims he was tortured. Upon his release, he told Agence France-Presse, “Guantánamo Bay is like hell on Earth…. In the cold they let you sleep without a blanket. Some of the inmates face harsher torture, including with electricity and beating…. Some of my colleagues in the prison lost their sight, some lost their limbs and others ended up mentally disturbed. I’m OK compared to them.”

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Comments Off on Judge Rejects Obama Administration Argument that Declassifying Guantánamo Case Documents is Too Much Work

Neo-Con War Addiction Threatens Our Future

By Ron Paul | Texas Straight Talk | March 25, 2013

William Kristol knows what is wrong with the United States. As he wrote recently in the flagship magazine of the neo-conservatives, the Weekly Standard, the problem with the US is that we seem to have lost our appetite for war. According to Kristol, the troubles that have befallen us in the 20th century have all been the result of these periodic bouts of war-weariness, a kind of virus that we catch from time to time.

He claims because of the US “drawdown” in Europe after World War II, Stalin subjugated Eastern Europe. Because of war weariness the United States stopped bombing Southeast Asia in the 1970s, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. War weariness through the 1990s led to Rwanda, Milosevic, and the rise of the Taliban. It was our fault for not fighting on! According to Kristol, our failure to act as the policeman of the world is why we were attacked on September 11, 2001. Of the 1990s, he wrote, “[t]hat decade of not policing the world ended with 9/11.”

That revisionism is too much even for fellow neo-conservatives like Paul Wolfowitz to swallow. In a 2003 interview, Wolfowitz admitted that it was the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia that led to the growth of al-Qaeda:

“(W)e can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia. Their presence there over the last 12 years has been a source of enormous difficulty for a friendly government. It’s been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda. In fact if you look at bin Laden, one of his principle grievances was the presence of so-called crusader forces on the holy land, Mecca and Medina.”

But for Kristol and his allies there is never enough war. According to a new study by Brown University, the US invasion of Iraq cost some 190,000 lives, most of them non-combatants. It has cost more than $1.7 trillion, and when all is said and done including interest the cost may well be $6 trillion. Some $212 billion was spent on Iraqi reconstruction with nothing to show for it. Total deaths from US war on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have been at least 329, 000. None of this is enough for Kristol.

The neo-con ideology promotes endless war, but neo-cons fight their battles with the blood of others. From the comfortable, subsidized offices of magazines like the Weekly Standard, the neo-conservatives urge the United States to engage in endless war – to be fought by the victims of the “poverty draft” from states where there are few jobs. Ironically, these young people cannot find more productive work because the Federal Reserve’s endless money printing to keep the war machine turning has destroyed our economy. The six trillion dollars that will be spent on the Iraq war are merely pieces of printed paper that further erode the dollar’s purchasing power now and well into the future. It is the inflation tax, which is the most regressive and cruel of all.

Yes, Americans are war weary, concedes Kristol. But he does not blame the average American. The real problem is that the president has dropped the ball on terrifying Americans with the lies and imaginary threats that led to the invasion of Iraq. Writes Kristol: “One can’t, for example, be surprised at the ebbing support of the American public for the war in Afghanistan years after the president stopped trying to mobilize their support, stopped heralding the successes of the troops he’d sent there, and stopped explaining the importance of their mission.”

If only we had more war propaganda from the highest levels of government we could be cured of this war-weariness. Ten years ago the US invaded Iraq under the influence of neo-conservative lies. Those lies continued to promote US military action in places like Libya, and next on their agenda is Syria and then on to Iran. It is time for the American people to shout “enough!”

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Con War Addiction Threatens Our Future

Bled Dry

By Patrick Foy | Dossier.com | March 28, 2013

We are witnessing the slow-motion collapse of the second Anglo-Saxon imperium in less than a hundred years. There was something called Pax Britannica under the reign of Queen Victoria, a truly amazing transcontinental empire without peer in world history. That era was England’s apogee. Then, after the Queen’s diamond jubilee in June 1897, England’s prospects darkened, at first imperceptibly.

In the immediate aftermath of those two stupendous British Empire wars of the 20th Century–now known as World War I and World War II–both conveniently blamed on Germany, everything came crashing down. In short order, England was reduced to a zero, thanks to the venality, hubris and fatheadedness of its “elites”. The torch was grabbed by the second Anglo-Saxon power, in the person of our great white father, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his gang of dedicated Reds and starry-eyed Anglophiles.

The upshot was apparent at the Bretton Woods conference in New Hampshire in July 1944. It was here that the victors of the second blood bath decided what the spoils were going to be. England, under the leadership of that unbalanced mountebank, Winston Churchill, was only a nominal victor. The true victors were Washington and world communism.

The former held all the cards outside the communist world, since old Europe and Japan had been left in shambles and partly incinerated. And the once great British Empire of palm and pine was now truly bankrupt, thanks to Churchill and the warmongering machinations of Lloyd George and Sir Edward Grey, among other misguided statesmen, before him.

Benn Steil, director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, is cited in a New York Times article of October 26th, 2012, as suggesting that readers of the recently-uncovered transcripts of the Bretton Woods Conference would discover the British Empire disintegrating before their eyes.

The same Benn Steil has now written a book, The Battle of Bretton Woods. Tony Barber, the esteemed European editor of the Financial Timesreviewed it in the FT weekend edition of February 9th/10th, 2013. Barber remarks that “… Benn Steil explains how two world wars in 31 years bled Britain dry, leaving it with minimal influence over the new international economic and monetary order established by US policymakers in the mid-1940’s.”

The gentleman representing the US at Bretton Woods was Soviet master spy, Harry Dexter White, the son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants. Representing Britain was the celebrity economist, John Maynard Keynes. Alas, the urbane Englishman was reduced to “… the status of an articulate annoyance.” Keynes had warned the Foreign Office not to let the US “… exploit the war as an opportunity for picking the eyes out of the British Empire.” But at that point, what choice did John Bull have? None. The Great Game was over.

In the same article, Barber goes on to review another book on a related topic. “In The Leaderless Economy, Peter Temin and David Vines extend the story that Steil concludes at Bretton Woods, charting the decline and fall of the US-dominated international order that it inaugurated. They contend that the world has not recovered from the banking crisis that erupted in 2008 largely because, unlike in the 1940s, no nation is powerful enough to guide the global economy towards prosperity.”

Barber quotes the authors, Professors Temin and Vines: “Like Britain roughly a century earlier, America has become part of the problem, not the solution.” It is unclear what exactly is being referenced here. The folly related to England’s participation in the Great War of August 1914, the disgraceful Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and its reparations regime, the inability of England to cope with the Great Depression of the 1930s, or British insolvency at the end of the Second World War? Let’s say all three. For my money, the key to everything right down to the present moment remains the Great War.

Does the average American realize that he and she are being bled dry by their own “elites” who suffer from a similar myopia and arrogance as the blockheads in Whitehall who gratuitously catapulted England into two world wars? Of course not. How could they? It is being kept under wraps. Those whose interests are being advanced directly and indirectly by current circumstances do not want the music to stop. Why should they blow the whistle on themselves? Instead, they go with the flow. Everyone in Washington follows the line of least resistance.

Remember the “Peace Dividend”? That was supposed to be America’s reward for winning the Cold War in 1990/1991. Resources would be freed up to use on the home front. But something happened to derail the dividend. What was it? Oh, yes. Saddam Hussein invaded the city-state of Kuwait on August 2nd, 1990. Saddam had misinterpreted the mixed signals sent from his then-ally, America. Washington had abetted Iraq’s war on Iran for nearly a decade. With Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait, Washington was off to the races again. A full-blown crusade was the result.

In the process, half a million Iraqi children were left dead due to the economic embargo imposed by Bush I and Bill Clinton. In the process, America got hit with the atrocity of 9/11. In the process, a disarmed Iraq was targeted for “shock and awe” and overrun as part of the Global War on Terror. GWOT was the private agenda war masterminded by the Neocons for Dick Cheney & Bush II. That private agenda war continues unabated under Barack Obama, who is considered to be some sort of “progressive”.

Concurrently, Afghanistan/Pakistan became a battleground and a hotbed of terrorism. It remains a quagmire for American and NATO troops. Meanwhile, as if more problems were needed, Washington policymakers loudly and shamelessly repeat the false accusation that Iran is running a nuclear weapons program.

G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack Obama knew that accusation was false. Their own intelligence community told them so in writing. Ditto Seymour Hersh in the pages of The New Yorker. No matter. The establishment media does not bark. The campaign against Iran is a rerun of Iraq.

Finally, just the other day somewhere in Palestine, Obama fulsomely embraced Theodor Herzl and his acolytes, thereby rationalizing and condoning the wholesale dispossession of Palestinians forever. Who noticed? It was the line of least resistance as well as Obama’s ticket to the greatest personal reward. No surprise.

America is at war, all right. Yet another unnecessary war of choice. We are being bled dry like England before us. Chalk up a second global Anglo-Saxon ascendancy thrown away and destroyed thanks to the chicanery of foolish men.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Iraq to resume $4.2bn Russian arms deal

RT | April 1, 2013

Baghdad and Moscow have agreed to renew an arms deal worth $4.2 billion that was put on ice in 2012 amid corruption allegations. Russia reportedly agreed to send four extra assault helicopters as part of the renegotiation.

It will be post-Saddam Iraq’s largest arms deal with a partner other than the US and its key allies. The agreement has not yet been formally signed, but will be soon, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported, citing a source in the Russian arms export industry.

The trade agreement was initially signed in October 2012 during Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Moscow. Russia agreed to supply Iraq with 48 Pantsir-S1 short-to-medium-range air defense systems and 28 Mil Mi-28NE strike helicopters, among other arms.

But the deal faced scrutiny in Iraq over corruption allegations. At the time, conflicting reports emerged over whether the contract had been scrapped entirely or subjected to renegotiation.

The situation was aggravated by turmoil in the Iraqi parliament, which saw heated debate over the national general budget for 2013. The disagreement was finally shelved in March 2013 after months of debate, as the country’s Defense Ministry was given a free hand in procuring military hardware.

A new version of the multibillion-dollar arms deal was presented in Moscow last Monday after a delegation of top Iraqi military officials visited Russia, according to Iraqi news agency Al-Mada Press.

Moscow met the corruption concerns undermining the deal by offering four extra Mi-28 attack helicopters, the source told Vedomosti. An Iraqi MP reported similar terms last week to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Ali al-Sha’la from al-Maliki’s Rule of Law coalition said the new deal covers more advanced technology, including aircraft weapons and instruments that will beef up Iraq’s air capabilities.

Some Iraqi lawmakers have expressed resistance to signing the contract. Deputy Parliament Speaker Aref Taifour of the Kurdistan Alliance faction criticized the deal days after it was renegotiated, calling it a “waste of public funds and continuation of the corruption in the country” in a statement.

The Mil Mi-28NE ‘night hunger’ is the export version of an upgraded variant of the Mi-28 attack helicopter. Compared to the older Mil-28 helicopter, a ‘tank killer,’ it has all-weather and night combat capabilities, allowing it to strike at more targets.

The Pantsir-S1 combines surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft dual auto-cannons capable of engaging aerial targets at medium- and short-range. The Pantsir is designed to work in tandem with long-range SAM systems like Russia’s S-400 to protect critical infrastructure against air strikes.

The first batch of arms under the contract is expected to be delivered shortly after the agreement is signed later this year. Iraq is reportedly seeking to purchase other advanced Russian hardware, including Mikoyan Mig-29 fighter jets.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Venezuelan Government Announces Transition to US Style Democracy

By Tamara Pearson, Gusano (Gus) Momio & Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuelanalysis | April 1, 2013

Miami – In a public broadcast yesterday the Venezuelan government announced the transition to democracy. Measures include the sale of community media to business giant Rupert Murdoch, and the privatisation of the health sector.

A Venezuelan government spokesperson told the press, “On the advice of a special US commission, the government will be expanding media diversity by selling all of its community media to Rupert Murdoch”.

“The media package includes Latin America’s Telesur, which will no longer report from the ground and talk to real people, but rather read US government press releases from an autocue,” the government spokesperson said.

Further, the government announced it will be bringing Monsanto into the country to advise on food reform.

“We realised that organised communities shouldn’t participate in politics, they don’t know their own needs, only transnationals like Monsanto and Macdonalds really understand these issues,” the spokesperson said.

On hearing of the transition plans, Donald Trump immediately offered to buy Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, in order to build a golf course. The government has accepted.

“Trump Greens will be South America’s premier golfing destination,” Trump told Venezuelan media yesterday.

“Imagine taking a putt off the world’s highest waterfall. This is my gift to all Venezuelans… and their caddies.”

The government will also sell its Barrio Adentro health system to Richard Branson.

The privatisations will be complemented by austerity policies, with the government hoping to deliver a budget surplus by 2015.

“We have observed the unquestionable success of austerity measures in Europe. While we have struggled to reduce poverty by any more than 66% over the last fourteen years, the rise in living conditions across Europe recently is a testament to the universal fact that free markets make free people,” the spokesperson said.

The US based Human Rights Organisation, which recently declared that Guantanamo Bay is conforming with human rights standards, commented that the latest measures were “a step in the right direction”.

“We hope that within a few years our democracy will be just as good as it is in the US. They have so many types of plastic cheese there, not to mention TV snacks. The Venezuelan economy is a disaster if we don’t have that sort of choice,” said the government spokesperson.

Government officials conceded what many in the international community have suspected for some time. As Simon Hooper wrote for CNN on 6 March, Chavez relied on drawing supporters using “force of personality”.

Indeed, his down to earth rhetoric, and appealing personality tricked many Venezuelans into supporting dictatorial policies such as investment in health and education.

“This day, 1 April, we have decided not to be fools any more and to start taking the international mainstream media seriously. We appreciate everything that the US has done for this continent,” the spokesperson concluded.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | 8 Comments