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Clapper: Iran Still Not Building a Nuclear Weapon; Purpose of Sanctions is to Foster Unrest

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | April 18, 2013

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today and reiterated the same assessment regarding Iran as was delivered in March 2013.

The exact same statements – verbatim – were included in Clapper’s unclassified report, including the assessment that “Iran is developing nuclear capabilities to enhance its security, prestige, and regional influence and give it the ability to develop nuclear weapons, should a decision be made to do so. We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

Of course, as Clapper notes, Iran’s ability to potentially manufacture the components is inherent to its advanced nuclear infrastructure and is not an indication of an active nuclear weapons program, which all U.S. intelligence agencies agree Iran does not have.

As such, Clapper again reported to the Senate Committee, “Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

In his testimony, Clapper stated that, were the decision to weaponize its nuclear energy program to be made by Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran could theoretically reach a “breakout” point within “months, not years.” His report repeats the assessment, though, that “[d]espite this progress, we assess Iran could not divert safeguarded material and produce a weapon-worth of WGU before this activity is discovered.”

Again, undermining the bogus claims that Iran is an irrational and reckless actor, Clapper maintained the judgment that “Iran’s nuclear decision making is guided by a cost-benefit approach,” balancing its own domestic interests with “the international political and security environment.”  Iran also has a defensive – not aggressive – military posture, one based on “its strategy to deter – and if necessary retaliate against – forces in the region, including US forces” were an attack on Iran to occur.

During questioning from Senators following his prepared remarks, Clapper admitted – as a number of recent independent reports have shown – that the increasingly harsh sanctions levied upon Iran have had no effect on the decision-making process of the Iranian leadership, yet have produced considerable damage to the Iranian economy and resulted in increased “inflation, unemployment, [and the] unavailability of commodities” for the Iranian people.

This, he said, is entirely the point.  Responding to Maine Senator Angus King, who asked about the impact sanctions have on the Iranian government, Clapper explained that the intent of sanctions is to spark dissent and unrest in the Iranian population, effectively starting that Obama administration’s continued collective punishment of the Iranian people is a deliberate (and embarrassingly futile) tactic employed to foment regime change.

“What they do worry about though is sufficient restiveness in the street that would actually jeopardize the regime. I think they are concerned about that,” Clapper said of the Iranian leadership.  It is no wonder, then, why Clapper refers in his own official report to the economic warfare waged against Iran as “regime threatening sanctions.”

Not mentioned in the session, of course, are the decades of repeated affirmations by senior Iranian officials that Iran rejects nuclear weapons on strategic, moral and religious grounds.  Within the past six weeks, this position has been reiterated by Iran’s envoy to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh, President Ahmadinejad, and Ayatollah Khamenei himself.

Just two days ago, for instance, during a three-day diplomatic visit to Africa, Ahmadinejad declared, “The era of the atomic bomb is over. Atomic bombs are no longer useful and have no effect on political equations. Atomic bombs belong to the last century, and anyone who thinks he can rule the world by atomic bombs is a political fool,” according to a report by Iran’s state-run PressTV. He also pushed back the constant conflation in Western discourse of nuclear energy with nuclear weapons. “Nuclear energy is one thing and an atomic bomb is another. This useful energy must belong to all nations,” he stated.

Furthermore, reports that Iran has continued converting its stockpiled 19.75% enriched uranium into fuel plates for its cancer-treating medical research reactor gained absolutely no traction within the Committee or Clapper’s comments. For Congress, Iran is a threat simply by virtue of having independent political considerations, inalienable national rights and refusing to accept American hegemony over its own security interests.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who spends most of his time advocating for new, illegal military adventures in the Middle East, presented this wholly disingenuous and misleading question to Clapper: “Over the last six months, as we’ve been imposing sanctions and been negotiating with the P5+1 regime, [does Iran] have more or less enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb?”

None of Iran’s enriched uranium is “for a nuclear bomb” insofar as it is all far from weapons-grade and under the safeguard and seal of the IAEA. Iran’s enriched uranium is no more “for a nuclear bomb” than Graham’s fanciest set of steak knives are for throat-slitting.

“Can I just say it’s more?,” Graham proffered, revealing that he already knew the answer he wanted to hear, at which point Clapper chimed in. “Not highly-enriched,” he said, “but up to the 20% level.” Graham was undeterred from his propagandizing and grandstanding. “Well, they’re marching in the wrong direction,” he said. “We talk, they enrich.” AIPAC poetry at its finest.

Shortly before ending the session, in response to questions from Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Clapper stated that the relationship between the American and Israeli intelligence communities – especially on the Iranian nuclear program – has “never been closer or more pervasive,” citing unprecedented levels of “intimacy.”

While each state continues to maintain its own unique sources for intelligence gathering, Clapper said, “generally speaking,” the United States and Israel are “on the same page” when it comes to Iran.

Pressing the issue on behalf of his AIPAC backers, Blumenthal asked whether all information is shared between the two nuclear-armed nations, at which point Clapper declined to agree completely.

“Pretty much,” he replied.

Why was Clapper being so cagey?  An Associated Press report from last July seems to provide an answer:

Despite inarguable ties between the U.S. and its closest ally in the Middle East and despite statements from U.S. politicians trumpeting the friendship, U.S. national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat.

In fact, the AP states, “The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat” in the Middle East, meaning that the agency “believes that U.S. national secrets are safer from other Middle Eastern governments than from Israel.” This is unsurprising, of course, as “Israel’s foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, and its FBI equivalent, the Shin Bet, both considered among the best in the world, have been suspected of recruiting U.S. officials and trying to steal American secrets.”

Did any of that make it into Clapper’s “Worldwide Threat Assessment” today? No, of course not. Israel was only mentioned as a victim and an ally. One might think an untrustworthy, nuclear-armed serial aggressor, constantly threatening to drag the United States into an unprovoked military conflict with inevitable devastating consequences, all with the allegiance and blessing of Congress, would rank rather high on potential security threats to the United States.

But James Clapper isn’t allowed to say that.

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Clapper: Iran Still Not Building a Nuclear Weapon; Purpose of Sanctions is to Foster Unrest

That’s where the money goes

By Lawrence Wittner | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | April 18, 2013

According to a report just released by the highly-respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), world military expenditures in 2012 totaled $1.75 trillion.

The report revealed that, as in recent decades, the world’s biggest military spender by far was the US government, whose expenditures for war and preparations for war amounted to $682 billion — 39 percent of the global total.

The United States spent more than four times as much on the military as China (the number two big spender) and more than seven times as much as Russia (which ranked third).  Although the military expenditures of the United States dipped a bit in 2012, largely thanks to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, they remained 69 percent higher than in 2001.

US military supremacy is even more evident when the U.S. military alliance system is brought into the picture, for the United States and its allies accounted for the vast bulk of world military spending in 2012.  NATO members alone spent a trillion dollars on the military.

Thus, although studies have found that the United States ranks 17th among nations in education, 26th in infant mortality, and 37th in life expectancy and overall health, there is no doubt that it ranks first when it comes to war.

This Number 1 status might not carry much weight among Americans scavenging for food in garbage dumpsters, among Americans unable to afford medical care, or among Americans shivering in poorly heated homes.  Even many Americans in the more comfortable middle class might be more concerned with how they are going to afford the skyrocketing costs of a college education, how they can get by with fewer teachers, firefighters, and police in their communities, and how their hospitals, parks, roads, bridges, and other public facilities can be maintained.

Of course, there is a direct connection between the massive level of US military spending and belt-tightening austerity at home:  most federal discretionary spending goes for war.

The Lockheed Martin Corporation’s new F-35 joint strike fighter plane provides a good example of the US government’s warped priorities.  It is estimated that this military weapons system will cost the US government $1.5 trillion by the time of its completion.  Does this Cold War-style warplane, designed for fighting enemies the US government no longer faces, represent a good investment for Americans?  After twelve years of production, costing $396 billion, the F-35 has exhibited numerous design and engineering flaws, has been grounded twice, and has never been flown in combat.  Given the immense military advantage the United States already has over all other nations in the world, is this most expensive weapons system in world history really necessary?  And aren’t there other, better things that Americans could be doing with their money?

Of course, the same is true for other countries.  Is there really any justification for the nations of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America to be increasing their level of military spending — as they did in 2012 — while millions of their people live in dire poverty?  Projections indicate that, by 2015, about a billion people around the world will be living on an income of about $1.25 per day.  When, in desperation, they riot for bread, will the government officials of these nations, echoing Marie Antoinette, suggest that they eat the new warplanes and missiles?

President Dwight Eisenhower put it well in an address before the American Society of Newspaper Editors 60 years ago:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. . . .  This world in arms is not spending money alone; it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. . . .  This is not a way of life at all in any true sense.  Under the clouds of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

That sentiment persists.  On April 15, 2013, people in 43 countries participated in a Global Day of Action on Military Spending, designed to call attention to the squandering of the world’s resources on war.  Among these countries was the United States, where polls show that 58 percent of Americans favor major reductions in US military spending.

How long will it take the governments of the United States and of other nations to catch up with them?

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | Comments Off on That’s where the money goes

Canadian “Aid” as Tool for Foreign Policy

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | April 18, 2013

The Canadian International Development Agency is no longer. In its recent budget the Conservative government collapsed CIDA into Foreign Affairs, creating the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

While there was plenty of commentary on the Tories’ move, no one — from the mainstream right to the development NGO left — pointed out that Canadian aid has primarily been about maintaining and/or extending the grip the world’s richest one percent holds over the entire globe.

Canada began its first significant (non-European) allocation of foreign aid through the Colombo Plan. With Mao’s triumph in China in 1949, the 1950 Colombo Plan’s primary aim was to keep the former British Asian colonies, especially India, within the Western capitalist fold.

To justify an initial $25 million ($250 million in today’s dollars) in Colombo Plan aid External Affairs Minister Lester Pearson told the House of Commons:

Communist expansionism may now spill over into South East Asia as well as into the Middle East … it seemed to all of us at the [Colombo] conference that if the tide of totalitarian expansionism should flow over this general area, … the Free World will have been driven off all but a relatively small bit of the great Eurasian landmass. … We agreed at Colombo that the forces of totalitarian expansionism could not be stopped in South Asia and South East Asia by military force alone.

Two years later Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent was even more explicit about the carrot and stick approach to defeating left wing nationalism (“communism”). In September 1952 St. Laurent explained:

In South East Asia through the establishment of the Colombo plan not only are we trying to provide wider commercial relations but we are also fighting another Asiatic war against Communism in the interests of peace, this time with economic rather than military weapons. We Canadians know that in the struggle against Communism there are two useful weapons, the economic and the military. While we much prefer to use the economic weapons as we are in the Colombo plan, we know that we may have no choice but to use the military weapons as we have been forced to do in Korea [27 000 Canadian troops participated in this war that left 3 million dead].

In other words, if some of India’s post-colonial population had not set their sights on a socialistic solution to their troubles — with the possibility of Soviet or Chinese assistance — Canada probably would not have provided aid. Five years into the Colombo Plan, Pearson admitted “Canada would not have started giving aid if not for the perceived communist threat.”

The broad rationale for extending foreign aid was laid out at a 1968 seminar for the newly established Canadian International Development Agency. This day-long event was devoted to discussing a paper titled “Canada’s Purpose in Extending Foreign Assistance” written by Professor Steven Triantas of the University of Toronto. Foreign aid, Triantas argued, “may be used to induce the underdeveloped countries to accept the international status quo or change it in our favour.” Aid provided an opportunity “to lead them to rational political and economic developments and a better understanding of our interests and problems of mutual concern.” Triantis discussed the appeal of a “‘Sunday School mentality’ which ‘appears’ noble and unselfish and can serve in pushing into the background other motives … [that] might be difficult to discuss publicly.”

A 1969 CIDA background paper, expanding on Triantas views, summarized the rationale for Canadian aid:

To establish within recipient countries those political attitudes or commitments, military alliances or military bases that would assist Canada or Canada’s western allies to maintain a reasonably stable and secure international political system. Through this objective, Canada’s aid programs would serve not only to help increase Canada’s influence within the developing world, but also within the western alliance.

This type of thinking continues to drive aid policy. Largely ignored in recent commentary, there are innumerable documented instances of Canadian aid advancing highly politicized geopolitical objectives over the past 25 years.

As an early advocate of International Monetary Fund/World Bank structural adjustment programs, since the early 1980s Canada has channeled hundreds of millions in “aid” dollars to supporting privatization and economic liberalization efforts in the Global South. At the start of the 2000s Ottawa plowed millions of dollars into supporting the Western-backed “coloured revolutions” in Eastern Europe and opposition to Jean Bertrand Aristide’s elected government in Haiti. More recently, the Conservatives have ramped up aid spending in Latin America to combat independent-minded, socialist-oriented governments. Barely discussed in the media, the Harper government’s shift of aid from Africa to Latin America was largely designed to stunt Latin America’s recent rejection of neoliberalism and U.S. dependence by supporting the region’s right-wing governments and movements.

An entirely unacknowledged, though increasingly obvious, principle of Canadian aid is that where the USA wields its big stick, Canada carries its police baton and offers a carrot. Or to put it more bluntly, where U.S. and Canadian troops kill Ottawa provides aid.

During the 1950-53 Korean War the south of that country became a major recipient of Canadian aid and so was Vietnam during the U.S. war there. The leading recipient of Canadian aid in 1999/2000 was the war-ravaged former Yugoslavia and Iraq and Afghanistan were top two recipients in 2003/2004. Since that time Afghanistan and Haiti (where Canadian and U.S. troops helped overthrow the elected government in February 2004) have been the leading recipients. Tens of millions in Canadian “aid” dollars have been spent to reestablish foreign and elite control over Haiti’s security forces.

There are a number of reasons for the lack of discussion about aid being used as a tool to maintain/extend Western capitalist dominance. NGO critics of aid policy are generally unwilling to point out the geopolitical underpinnings of Canadian aid because their jobs depend on keeping quiet. They stick to criticizing the ways in which foreign assistance is used to benefit specific corporate interests. This stakeholder criticism generally amounts to no more than NGOs saying: “Give the aid money to us not the corporations, because we’ll do a better job of whatever it is you want to accomplish.”

If you tell truth to power by saying Canadian aid is largely designed to maintain Western capitalist dominance of the Global South, you’re not likely to have your grant renewed.

The funny thing is, with the Conservatives in power, if you’re doing anything remotely useful to ordinary people, you’re not likely to anyway.

Yves Engler is the author of Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt. His latest book is The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s foreign policy.

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , , | Comments Off on Canadian “Aid” as Tool for Foreign Policy

Report slams UK involvement in torture

Press TV – April 18, 2013

A damning report has slammed Britain for violating human rights through colluding with the U.S. in the torture and rendition of terror suspects.

The document blamed the UK for being involved in or turning a blind eye to abuses and for co-operating in the murky U.S. practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’ – illegally transferring terror suspects to secret CIA jails in countries that allowed torture.

The so-called Constitution Project dossier also claims MI5 agents under the last Labour government knew prisoners were ill-treated at the hands of their captors.

An independent American task force did the research and concluded ‘indisputably’ that the U.S. ‘engaged in the practice of torture’ after the September 11 attacks.

The task force included an 11-strong panel of experts who spent two years investigating the country’s treatment of military detainees.

The experts found that the US used interrogation methods violating international laws – including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and extraordinary rendition. Their document also criticised the detention of 166 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

For years, Labour ministers denied involvement in rendition. But the report pointed out that the UK had paid out around £10million to more than a dozen detainees after they were illegally rendered and tortured.

“Torture – a crime – was committed and authorised at the top levels of the US government. Britain is just starting to face up to its role in this sad saga”, said Cori Crider, from human rights group Reprieve.

Tory MP Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, said: “This concludes that the United States engaged in kidnap and torture, in violation of its own laws and of international treaties. The report takes us a step closer to the truth.

“It is in the national interest of not just the U.S. but also of Britain to uncover the truth about the scope of the extraordinary rendition programme. Only then can we draw a line under it and move on”.

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Comments Off on Report slams UK involvement in torture

Israeli police head to US to aid in Boston Marathon bombing investigation

RT | April 17, 2013

The investigation into Monday’s deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon has officially gone international: law enforcement officials from Israel have been sent to the United States to assist in the probe.

Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino says he has dispatched officials to Boston, Massachusetts, where they will meet with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other authorities, the Times of Israel reports.

Citing an earlier report published by the newspaper Maariv, Times of Israel writes that Danino has dispatched police officers to participate in discussions that “will center on the Boston Marathon bombings and deepening professional cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of both countries.”

The paper reports that Israeli law enforcement planned the trip before the deadly pair of bombings on Monday that has so far claimed three lives, but the discussions will now shift focus in order to see how help from abroad can expand the investigation.

In an address made Tuesday, Israel President Shimon Peres said that tragedies such as this week’s incident in Boston, sadly, bring people together from across the world.

“When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family. We feel a part of the people who paid such a high price. God bless them,” Peres said. “Today the real problem is terror, and terror is not an extension of policy: Their policy is terror, their policy is to threaten. Terrorists divide people, they kill innocent people.”

Around 20 hours after two bombs detonated near the finish line of the annual race, United States President Barack Obama went on record to condemn the tragedy as a terrorist attack.

“This was a heinous and cowardly act,” said Obama from the White House, “and given what we now know the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism.”

But even as officials come to assist from as far away as Israel, authorities are still in the dark as far as finding any leads in the case. Pres. Obama has directed the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security to assist in the investigation, but no agencies have identified suspects or motives at this time.

Pres. Obama has also said that his administration has been directed to implement “appropriate security measures to protect the American people,” but details as to what that could mean remain scarce. Meanwhile, at least one leading lawmaker is asking for the US to respond to the terrorist attack by increasing the scope of the ever-expanding surveillance program already growing across the United States.

“I do think we need more cameras,” Rep. Peter King (R-New York) told MSNBC after Monday’s attacks. “We have to stay ahead of the terrorists and I do know in New York, the Manhattan Security Initiative, which is based on cameras, the outstanding work that results from that.  So yes, I do favor more cameras.  They’re a great law enforcement device.  And again, it keeps us ahead of the terrorists, who are constantly trying to kill us.”

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also confirmed that he has dispatched law enforcement officers from the Big Apple to assist in the investigation by meeting with agents at a Boston fusion center, one of the DHS-funded data facilities that collects surveillance camera footage and other evidence in order to analyze events like Monday’s attack.

“We are certainly engaged in the information flow with the FBI through our Joint Terrorism Task Force. We have two New York City police officers, police sergeants, who are in the Boston Regional Intelligence Center,” Bloomberg said on Tuesday. “They’re up there, they’ve been up there since last evening.”

But in a study conducted last year by the Senate’s bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, lawmakers found that those fusion centers have been more or less unhelpful in assisting with terrorism probes.

The Department of Homeland Security’s work with state and local fusion centers, the subcommittee wrote, “has not produced useful intelligence to support federal counterterrorism efforts.” Instead, they added, so-called “intelligence” shared between facilities consisted of tidbits of shoddy quality that was often outdated and “sometimes endangering [to] citizen‘s civil liberties and Privacy Act protections.”

“More often than not,” the panel added, information collected and shared at DHS fusion centers was “unrelated to terrorism.”

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

National Lawyers Guild Monitors: Venezuelan Elections Were Well-Organized, Fair and Transparent

NLG | April 16, 2013

A delegation of National Lawyers Guild (NLG) election monitors visited polling sites in five Venezuelan states on April 14 and found that the Venezuelan presidential election process was fair, transparent, participatory, and well-organized.

With over 78 percent voter turnout, Nicolas Maduro Moros was declared Venezuela’s new president with a 50.66 percent share of the 99.12 percent of votes counted.

“The U.S. would do well to incorporate some of the security checks and practices that are routine in Venezuela to improve both the level of participation and the credibility of our elections,” said NLG attorney Robin Alexander. She added, “The six polls I visited in the state of Carabobo were calm and well-organized and lines were short.”

The five-member NLG delegation formed part of a larger team of over 130 people, which included former presidents of Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, electoral commission members, journalists, and representatives of human rights organizations from across the globe. Election monitors traveled to polling places throughout the country on Election Day.

The NLG delegation found the following: advanced voting procedures that prevent fraud through multiple fingerprint and voter ID certifications; accurate and efficient digital and manual vote calculation; active participation by party witnesses and national and international observers.

In addition, the NLG monitors found a reliable system in which 54 percent of all votes are randomly audited on Election Day. NLG monitors witnessed one such audit in Caracas in which the paper ballots matched perfectly with the electronic votes.

As a U.S. organization, the NLG emphasizes that the margin of victory for Nicolas Maduro, while small, is comparable to close elections in the U.S., such as the margins of victory for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and for George W. Bush in 2004.

The NLG calls upon the U.S. to honor the Venezuelan election as the nations of the world honor U.S. elections without question. Moreover, as recognized by Jimmy Carter, Venezuela’s election infrastructure, with its secure electronic system backed by paper ballots, is “the best in the world,” and therefore deserves at least as much respect as our own.

As NLG member and international human rights law professor Daniel Kovalik states: “In the end, it is the Venezuelans who must decide their own future and leaders and the U.S., in the interest of democracy, must honor that decision.”

Azadeh Shahshahani
NLG President + 1 212 679 5100, ext. 15

On the ground in Venezuela:

Nicole Phillips Esq.,
+1 510 715 255,

Camilo A. Romero,
+1 510 717 4227

Daniel Kovalik,
+1 412 335 6442

Natali Segovia,
+1 602 796 7034

Robin Alexander,
+1 412 716 1696

Related Articles:

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Comments Off on National Lawyers Guild Monitors: Venezuelan Elections Were Well-Organized, Fair and Transparent

Nearly 30 migrant workers shot in Greece

Press TV – April 18, 2013

More than two dozen workers have been injured in a dispute over unpaid salaries in southern Greece when their supervisor shot them, police reports.

The incident took place on Wednesday near the village of Manolada, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) west of the capital, Athens.

Police Captain Haralambos Sfetsos said the shooting occurred after at least one of three foremen opened fired on a crowd of about 200 migrant strawberry pickers, who demanded six months’ back pay.

Thirty workers most of them from Bangladesh were wounded in the shooting. Eight of those hurt are in serious condition in hospital.

The owner of the farm, who was not present at the time of the incident, has been taken into custody for questioning while arrest warrants have been issued for the three foremen, who are all Greek.

On March 16, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights rapped Greece for not having tough measures to combat a surge in racist violence in the country.

The Manolada area has reportedly been at the center of several cases involving violence against migrant workers in recent years.

In 2012, two Greek men were arrested for beating an Egyptian worker, ramming his head in a car window and dragging him for about one kilometer.

Migrants on farms in the area went on a four-day strike in 2008 to protest salaries as low as five euros a day and unsanitary living conditions.

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Capriles Falsifies Evidence in Order to Claim Fraud in Venezuela’s Elections

By Chris Carlson | Venezuelanalysis | April 17th, 2013

Maracaibo – Opposition leader Henrique Capriles has given falsified evidence to support his claims that there was fraud in Venezuela’s presidential elections on Sunday.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the opposition candidate listed several examples that he claimed were evidence of “irregularities” in the electoral process and in the vote count, and presented a series of slides to national and international media.

However, several of the examples given by Capriles as evidence of fraud are clearly false, as can be seen by consulting the results on the National Electoral Council’s (CNE) website.

As one example, Capriles listed three separate voting centers in which he claimed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had gotten much higher results than Hugo Chavez had gotten in the previous presidential elections.

Capriles claimed that this was implausible, since overall Maduro did not get as many total votes as Chavez.

“In one voting center in Yaracuy, Maduro got 1000 percent more votes than Chavez did. How can anyone believe that?” he said.

However, the results from last year’s election show that the three voting centers that Capriles gave as examples were cases in which all the votes from that center had not yet been registered in 2012’s results when the election was called for Chavez, leading to an extremely low vote count from those centers for both candidates.

In the Yaracuy voting center, for example, a total of only 9 votes out of 75 were registered in 2012’s elections, 7 for Hugo Chavez and 2 votes for Henrique Capriles.

However, on Sunday all the votes from this center were registered before the election was called, leading to 73 votes for Nicolas Maduro, and only 6 votes for Henrique Capriles.

The same situation can be seen for the examples Capriles gave in Merida (2012 vs. 2013), and Nueva Esparta (2012 vs. 2013), centers at which there was a very low vote count in 2012.

Given the unusually low vote count in these centers in 2012, the votes for both candidates drastically increases when compared to 2013’s results.

In the Merida voting center, for example, votes for Capriles also increased by nearly 1000 percent, and were also much higher than the number of votes for Chavez from that center in 2012.

Other examples given by Capriles were also fabricated by manipulating the numbers of different vote tallies.

Capriles claimed that in some cases there were more votes than total voters registered at that voting center. However, the only example provided by Capriles is also false.

Capriles said that at a voting center in the state of Trujillo the number of voters for this center was 536, but that a total of 717 votes were tallied. However, CNE’s results for this voting center show only 369 votes were tallied, not 717.

Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas explained during a press conference last night that Capriles had erroneously added together the votes from two separate voting tables, but was using the voter rolls from only one of the two tables.

To counter Capriles claims, government officials have pledged to publish online at the PSUV’s website all of the actual vote tallies from the thousands of voting centers around the country so that the public can see that the official results line up with the individual vote tallies.

Electoral witnesses from the Capriles campaign presumably signed off on all of the vote tallies, as they would have been present at the voting centers at the closing of the polls on Sunday.

The nature of Venezuela’s electoral system makes the kind of fraud alleged by Capriles nearly impossible. Witnesses from both sides are present at every voting center around the country, and a random hot audit of 54 percent of the votes is conducted at all of the centers in the presence of all witnesses immediately after the polls close.

The paper receipts that each voter deposits in a sealed box are counted to assure that they line up with the tally from the voting machines, and all witnesses sign the tallies to certify that they witnessed the audit.

However, Capriles claimed yesterday that his witnesses were forcibly ejected, often at gunpoint, from nearly 300 voting centers around the country on Sunday.

No evidence was provided for this claim, and no independent reports of this happening were registered by any major media outlets on the day of the elections.

Pro-Chavez political commentator Mario Silva responded to the claim last night by questioning how this could have happened without anyone noticing.

“Do you really believe that hundreds of witnesses could be forcibly removed from the voting centers without anyone saying anything? Why haven’t any of those witnesses made a denunciation or talked to the media?” he said.

Capriles has pledged to turn over all of his “evidence” of fraud to the National Electoral Council for review, and pledges to continue to demand a recount, or that the election be annulled.

The government has reported that 7 people have been killed so far in the violence that erupted around the country after Capriles claimed the elections were fraudulent.

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Death threats issued to UN Human Rights defender, Issa Amro

International Solidarity Movement | April 18, 2013

image4Hebron, Occupied Palestine – There are growing concerns for the safety of non-violent Palestinian activist and organiser Issa Amro, following a recent letter to Israeli security forces from Israeli settlers of Hebron, accusing Amro of terrorism and incitement, and warning that a failure of the Israeli authorities to remove him “could be costly”, and threatening “bloodshed”. This is the latest in a long line of threats and attacks against UN human rights award winner Amro.

In the letter, the mayor of the Jewish “Hebron Municipal Council” and the director general of the “Hebron Jewish Community” insist that army commanders “use administrative detention until you are able to find a long-term solution to completely end this hostile and dangerous activity” referring to Amro’s extensive work with various human rights groups. The full letter can be read here.

Amro has been violently attacked by this same community of Israeli settlers many times in the past – his nose and wrist have been broken and he received five stitches to his head. He and his family regularly receive death threats from the settlers of Hebron over the phone, continuing their campaign of threats and violence against him.

Despite having received numerous death threats and abuse from settlers over a period of many years, Amro is particularly concerned about the letter of the 20th March, because of the status and influence of its authors. Various Zionist websites have since issued calls for his execution, publishing various pictures of his face marked by red circles. Despite Amro’s long dedication to non-violent principles he is constantly identified as a terrorist by these websites.

You can see examples of this here :


Amro states “I have been arrested and detained on too many occasions to count, but I have never been charged with anything.” He says that he is regularly abducted by soldiers from his home, blindfolded and driven around for several hours before being left back at his house. On other occasions, he has been beaten by soldiers who have threatened to kill him and his family. During his most recent arrest in March 2013, Amro was stripped naked and made to stand outside for three hours.

On the 27th of March 2013 there was an arson attempt against the Youth Against Settlements community centre in Tel Rumeida – Amro was verbally abused and humiliated by police officers when he attempted to file a complaint and was ejected from their office twice before the complaint was filed. There has yet to be any investigation by the police.


Issa Amro has been involved in founding many non-violent organisations in Hebron, working peacefully against the occupation. This includes the Hebron branch of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the Arab Non-Violence Network, Youth Against Settlements and the Hebron Defenders. He won the One World media award in 2009 for his involvement B’tselem’s “Shooting Back” project, which provides media training and distributes cameras to Palestinians to document settler and military abuse for Palestinians. Amro’s work with these organisations, as well as numerous other projects intending to document and non-violently resist human rights abuses and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements led to his winning of the UN OHCHR ‘Human Rights Defender of the Year in Palestine’ award in 2010.

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Death threats issued to UN Human Rights defender, Issa Amro