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Tag Archive: Palestine


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Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a news conference in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia Creates Anti-Terrorist Coalition to Save Face in Mideast

© REUTERS/ Saudi Press Agency

Politics

14:09 21.12.2015

Recently, Saudi Arabia announced it was creating a coalition of Muslim countries to fight terrorism. Such a plan was initiated by Riyadh’s intention to restore its position in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s call to arms has gained supporters. As of now, 34 nations have expressed their interest in joining the anti-terrorist Muslim coalition Riyadh is forming.Among them are countries with a majority of Shiite or Sunni population, including Jordan, the UAE, Palestine, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Qatar, Yemen, Turkey, a number of African Muslim nations as well as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia. Another 10 nations said they would be ready to join the coalition in the future.

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry Mohammad bin Salman did not elaborate on what measures would be taken against terrorists. He only said that a headquarters will be established in Riyadh to “coordinate military operations.”

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Tribunal Dismisses Prosecution’s Application to Recuse Judge Eric David.

ISRAELPAELSTINE

 KUALA LUMPUR, 21 August 2013 – The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, which commenced today to hear war crimes and genocide charges against the State of Israel and Amos Yaron, a retired Israeli army general hit a snag.

To begin with, the Prosecution made an application that, to preserve the sanctity of the tribunal, Judge Eric David be recused for his alleged possible connection with the Mossad, the intelligence agency of Israel.

There have been allegations including from US officials that the Peoples Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) is supported by Mossad. The PMOI is listed as a terrorist organisation that has carried out terrorist activities against Iran. According to the prosecution, Judge Eric David had written a legal opinion that the PMOI be removed from the list of terrorist organisations.

Amicus curiae Jason Kay appointed under Article 15 of the Charter, raised the point that the allegations were not supported by clear evidence. And that perceived bias does not amount to actual bias. The Prosecution further argued that there must not even be any perceived bias on the part of any judge of the tribunal in deciding a case.

The Tribunal adjourned the hearing to deliberate further and later returned dismissing the prosecution’s application to recuse Judge Eric David, as they felt there was no threat of real bias. However, the prosecution disagreed and the hearing was adjourned once again.

When the hearing resumed, the President of the Tribunal, Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin, expressed the panel’s disquiet of the breakdown of the forum stressing that once an objection had been overruled, it should be accepted and respected. He instructed the registrar to expunge all the allegations levelled against Judge Eric David from the records.

In their response, the prosecution accepted the panel’s decision but conveyed the serious concerns of the witnesses who had come all the way from Palestine to have their day in court. The witnesses, through the Chief Prosecutor Prof Gurdial S Nijar made known their three points of concerns to the panel of judges.

One, the fact, that, they have come to the Tribunal seeking justice after literally years of being unheard. They have come for justice and are prepared for any decision but in the present situation, they are not comfortable to appear before a judge that may be biased. They want the process of obtaining justice untainted in any way. Otherwise, in their view, it would be worthless. Secondly, they fear for their personal security in having come all the way to Kuala Lumpur to testify and thirdly, it is a matter of principle to them and if they lack confidence in the panel of judges, they would essentially be insecure and thus unable to tend evidence. As such, the Prosecution recommended that the hearing be adjourned Sine Die (indefinitely).

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Jewish Genome Myth Busted – A Dramatic Reading

 

… by  Jim W. Dean, VT Editor                        … with  Snordster

Veterans Today

 

When a Founding Myth becomes a PsyOps

My Jewish genome piece based on Dr. Eran Elhait’s new study released in December, 2012, seems to have gotten some wind back into the story’s sails. 

The report got internet distribution internationally on websites and blogs interested in the field, but virtually no American corporate media coverage. Surprise, surprise.

Although this debate will ongoing for years to come we here at VT saw a tipping point being reached.

First, we knew that Intel agencies the world over invest significant resources in all founding myths which they fell give them some emotional leverage control buttons to use when they wish.

For anyone out there angry at hearing about that, welcome to the real world. It’s been going on forever.

As I mentioned in my article I had a personal interest in this story as I was always amazed at how easily the world swallowed the story about a bunch of communist atheist Jews shooting their way into the Holy Land under the moral cover of ‘God gave us the Land’.

Remember now that the holocaust had not morphed yet in the a new pseudo-religion for secular Jew, which will take a separate article to cover.

Militant Zionism has always planned to cleanse the Arabs out the Land and try to pull most of the Diaspora Jews there to populate a future super power. When the ink was not dry onIsrael’s birth certificate the Zios were launching their WMD programs.

A psyops was needed not only to hustle money out of the Disapora and entice them into immigrating, they also wanted provide a smokescreen for all the nasty things they were going to be doing.  ‘Coming back to the homeland’ became the founding smokescreen.

We did our usual double pump with an initial run on Press TV and another a few days later on VT.  On Press TV the story started slow but picked up steam by day two. The Google count title stats on day one were 800 … 11,800 on day two, and today were 14,000 on the Press TV version and 7900 on VT, not too bad for a story on a new genetic study.

Can new genetics research uncover Founding Myth scams?

Of course we suspected the doctor did not want to wade into the geopolitical swamp, but we were only too happy to do that.

 

Read Full Article Here

US-Israel relations have been an ongoing tragedy despite our Intel archives being open since 1982

( Originally published on Press TV … on December 17th, 2012 )

 

… by  Jim W. Dean, VT Editor                            … and  Press TV

 

Ethnic cleansing was the Zionist plan from day one.

The history of America’s involvement with Israel has been an ongoing tragedy.

The Palestinians have of course suffered the most, having been invaded by legions of atheist and communist Jews, primarily from Eastern Europe.

And yes, they claim ‘God gave us the land’.

They teamed up with the 5th column Zionists already there who had been carefully and methodically laying plans for taking over the land.

This include doing to the Palestinians what they claimed the Nazis had done to them…killing and kicking the Pals out to make more lebensraum (growing space) for more Jews.

Generations of Israeli Lobby fellow travelers have worn the sordid mantle of ‘Palestinian holocaust Deniers’, to coin a phrase, with no shame whatsoever. Golda Meir was their Hebrew Klan Grand Dragon.

She produce a low cost and instant holocaust hat trick…” There are no Palestinian people,” she said.

One of the main tasks of Israeli espionage has always been to protect Israel from judgement day for their crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people. To them this is a war, and they take no prisoners. When are we going to figure this out when it comes to dealing with them?

Today I begin a series of articles to pin the holocaust tail on their correct donkey. I am going to use sources with which the general public is unfamiliar, the declassified American Intel files on Israel. And yes, these have been open since the early 1980′s but might as well have been in a library on the moon.

Israeli penetration into not only our media and publishing, but also our political arena has virtually banished these documents from the historical narrative. The fear is that they could be used to deprogram pro-Israeli zombies and expose all the treasonous Americans who have aided and abetted the Israelis in hiding their crimes.

Let us start at the beginning. A crime against an entire people, to holocaust them from their own land, has to have a plan. Here it is.

In March, 1948, a Joints Chiefs of Staff paper on Force Requirements for Palestine,

anticipating the termination of the British Mandate, predicted that the Zionist strategy will seek

to involve [the United States] in continuously widening and deepening series of operations

intended to secure maximum Jewish objectives…

Ze’ev Jabotinsky – the Founder of  Militant Zionism

a)   initial sovereignty over a portion of Palestine,

b)  acceptance by the great powers of the right to unlimited immigration,

c)  the extension of Jewish sovereignty over all of Palestine,

d)  the expansion of Eretz Israel into Transjordan and into portions of Lebanon and Syria, and

e)  the establishment of Jewish military and economic hegemony over the entire Mid East…

The JCS paper added ominously: All stages of this program are equally sacred to the fanatical

concepts of Jewish leaders. The program is opening admitted by same leaders, and has been

privately admitted to United States officials by responsible leaders of the presently dominant

Jewish group…the Jewish Agency….(Taking Sides, 1983…Stephen Green)

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This Intel report is the Rosetta Stone for everything that Israel has done since before it’s so called birth, but which was more like letting a Frankenstein monster loose on the land. We had loyal Americans who saw the trap back then, yet we walked right into it. Why have we done it, and for whom?

In ten years of sharing this declassified Intel with Americans, including active duty officers and veterans, I have never met a one who was aware of it. Welcome to the free country of the United States, where people are not very free to know a lot of things the Israeli Lobby people don’t want them to know.

We also have early reports of the Zionist pre 1948 war 5th columns in Europe shopping all over the continent for chemical and poison gas munitions they could use for their Neo-Exodus. This was the one to drive out the Palestinians, and not the Hollywood Soviet style propaganda film version where 5000 Zionists held off the Arab hoards.

These American Intel declassified files are filled with report after report of Zionist treachery on a scale that gives truth to a long list of negative stereotypes. Hence, corporate media will not touch this material with a ten foot pole. Now you know why. Much of that has been to steer attention away from their own record of horrors so they could continue to play the perrenial victim.

In late 1949, when I was born, U.S. Army Attache in Tel Aviv Colonel Andrus filed a report citing ‘wanton killing of Arabs….denying access to their own land’. The same thing continues today through American support of our almost blank check support of arms and ammo to the IDF.

This makes both the Palestinians and American children and grandchildren co-victims of Israeli aggression, at the hands of our own government. The last Gaza attack was a perfect example, with the Pentagon now pushing through an almost $700 million restocking of munitions for the next Palestinian November turkey shoot.

 

 

People In Toronto Take It To The Streets For The People Of Gaza, Palestine, And The World

Window into Palestine

This is what we have so far and will update you with more as it becomes available

Saturday November 24th at the Israeli Consulate, 180 Bloor Street West, Toronto Hundreds gathered in protest against the Israeli war machine for them the Stop the killing and to End the blockade of Gaza, Palestine. Free Palestine. Support BDS. They we’re also in protest of The Canadian government with a focus on the Harper Regime who has failed to condemn Israel’s latest attack on Gaza Palestine, and Instead, it provides Israel with the military, economic and diplomatic support necessary to carry out its acts of aggression. They We’re calling on all people of conscience to join the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and join in protests until it complies with international law. It was a city-wide rally and march in solidarity with Gaza and all of Palestine to Tell Stephen Harper and the Canadian government to end the support for Israel’s war. It was a message to all Canadians that it’s time to show the people of Gaza and all of Palestine that we stand in solidarity with them, we stand for justice and humanity!

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Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Politics – World News  :  Wars and Rumors of War –  Blow back – Government Hypocrisy

 

 

Published on Sep 29, 2012 by

President Morsi attempts to play broker of the Syrian conflict, including Iran in a contact group; pressures US on Palestine (corrected audio)

Bio

Vijay Prashad is a professor of international studies at Trinity College. Among the many books he has authored are The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and Arab Spring, Libyan Winter. He also writes regularly for Asia Times Online, Frontline magazine and Counterpunch.

Transcript

Published on Jul 3, 2012 by

PBS home video documents the bitter 50-year war between the Israelis and Arabs. This program begins with the 1947 decision of the U.N. to partition Palestine. In 1948 and 1967, Arab armies were defeated as Israel struggled for statehood. The film follows the development of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The final episode features the 1973 Yom Kipper War, the 1978 Camp David Peace Accord, the 1987 Palestinian uprising, the 1993 Oslo Agreement, and continuing attempts to solidify this unstable relationship. Featured in this documentary are Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Shamir of Israel; King Hussein of Jordan; Yasir Arafat from the Palestine Authority; Hafez al-Assad of Syria; Jafaar Numeiry of Sudan; and American Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter. The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs follows a half-century of war, struggles, and negotiations.

The conflict in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors is given comprehensive treatment in this two-video set produced by PBS. Using archival footage and extensive interviews with participants, the production begins by explaining conditions in Palestine at the end of World War II and the crisis created by the exodus of European Jews who went to the Middle East after the Holocaust. The withdrawal of the British, who had controlled Palestine for decades, is detailed, as is the creation of the state of Israel. Much of the region’s history is complex, with the local struggles being conducted at times as a part of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, but these videos do an admirable job of explaining the complexities of the situation. The segment on the Six Day War, for example, is masterful, with the scenes shifting from Israel to Egypt to Washington to Moscow, the story developing before the viewer’s eyes. The 50 Years War is often a tale of mistrust and betrayal, but this production strives to present a balanced view of history, and is not only impressive for its command of the facts but for its skillful and often dramatic presentation of history

Leading statesmen, generals, terrorists and others who made the headlines in one of history’s most bitter and enduring struggles tell the story of the Arab-Israeli conflict in The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs. Opening with the U.N decision to partition Palestine in 1947, the program charts the ensuing half-century of enmity, warfare, mediation and negotiation.

Among the current and former heads of state and prime ministers interviewed or featured in the series are Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir of Israel; King Hussein of Jordan; Yasir Arafat of the Palestine Authority; Hafez al-Assad of Syria; Jafaar Numeiry of Sudan; and U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Jimmy Carter. Also appearing are foreign ministers, defense ministers, commanders in the field, heads of intelligence and guerrilla leaders, as well as high-ranking officials in the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Politics and Legislation

‘US respects no one’s sovereignty’

Published on Jul 1, 2012 by

At least eight people have been killed in the latest US assassination drone strike in the northwestern tribal belt of Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. The unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a house in North Waziristan on Sunday morning.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Syed Tariq Pirzada, strategic affairs analyst, to hear his opinion on this issue.

 

 

 

Lasting peace possible only if Israel ends occupation: Iran

TEHRAN, July 2 (MNA) – The Iranian ambassador to the Human Rights Council has said that lasting peace can be established in the region only if the Zionist regime ends its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Ambassador Mohammad Reza Sajjadi made the remarks in Geneva on Monday in a speech during a meeting of the Human Rights Council after Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, presented his report to the council.

Following are excerpts of the text of Sajjadi’s speech:

My delegation would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for his detailed report submitted to the council.

Highlighting the violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with reference to (the) “Israeli regime(‘s) policy and practice of targeted killing” as well as “widespread and abusive use of administrative detention procedures”, the report obviously illustrates flagrant violation of human rights in the Palestine and draws attention to some horrific incidents (caused) by so-called “Israeli Defense Forces.”

The incidences of extrajudicial executions or assassinations underscored in the report as well as the recent upsurge of violence by (the) Israeli regime in Gaza are just (the) tip of (the) iceberg demonstrating that this regime continues and even intensifies its heinous crimes against the oppressed and defenseless Palestinian people in defiance of human rights principles, international law, UN resolutions and even the basic norms of decency. What is perplexing is that the Israeli regime, enjoying the unflagging support of the Western bloc, continues to perpetrate its crimes and violations with a sense of impunity.

It is high time for the council to defend more effectively the human rights of (the) Palestinian people and adopt a firm position and urge the international community to counter the said regime’s inhumane policies and practices against the defenseless Palestinians.

The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the settlement of the Palestinian crisis would be achievable only if the inalienable rights of the people of the occupied Palestine (are) fully recognized, restored, and maintained.

The only solution to the Palestinian issue (necessary for the) establishment of peace is restoration of the sovereignty right to Palestine and putting an end to occupation.

The Palestinian people should be allowed to express their opinions freely regarding their fate and future and the kind of state and government they want to have through a referendum with the participation of all (the) Palestinian people.

EP/PA
END
MNA

 

 

 

 

Egypt’s Mursi meets with Christian leaders, activists to broaden support

The Muslim Brotherhood’s President-elect Mohamed Mursi (C) meets with Christian leaders from different denominations at the presidential palace in Cairo. (Reuters)

The Muslim Brotherhood’s President-elect Mohamed Mursi (C) meets with Christian leaders from different denominations at the presidential palace in Cairo. (Reuters)

By AL ARABIYA WITH AGENCIES

Egyptian youth activists and Christian leaders met with President-elect Mohammed Mursi on Wednesday to work towards “achieving the goals of the uprising which ousted his predecessor Hosni Mubarak last year,” the Egypt Independent newspaper reported.

Egyptian activist Wael Ghoneim, known for his prominent role during the January 25 Revolution, said the meeting discussed the importance of transparency in all decisions made by Mursi’s government, which is due to be installed after he is inaugurated at the weekend.

Ghoneim has previously said he has several reservations on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi even though he voted for him.

“Many people did not vote for Mursi because he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or the chairman of its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party, but because they did not want to opt for a member of the former regime,” Ghoneim said earlier this month in reference to the election runoff which saw Mursi pitted against former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

In the talks Mursi held with the youth activists, Asmaa Mahfouz, one of the founders of Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, said Mursi’s promises “are calculated but he seems to mean well for Egypt,” Egypt Independent reported.

Mursi also met with Christian leaders and the families of those killed in the uprising, seeking to broaden support before a handover of power by the ruling generals, due by June 30.

His first appointments as president-elect of Egypt will be a woman and a Coptic Christian, his spokesman has told the Guardian this week, as he moves to allay fears of the Brotherhood.

Samah al-Essawy said that although the names of the two choices had not been finalized, they would be Mursi’s two vice-presidents.

When the appointments go through, they will constitute the first time in Egypt’s history that either a woman or a Coptic Christian has occupied such a high-ranking position.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday congratulated Egypt’s newly elected Islamist president, but cautioned that the election was just a first step towards true democracy.

“We have congratulated President (Mohammed) Mursi and the Egyptian people for continuing on their path to democratic transition,” Clinton told reporters in Helsinki.

President-elect Mursi, of the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, is in the process of forming a government after he was proclaimed Egypt’s first democratically elected president on Sunday, a year and a half after street protests toppled veteran strongman and U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak.

“We have heard some very positive statements so far,” Clinton said, hailing among other things Mursi’s pledge to honor international obligations, “which would, in our view, cover the peace treaty with Israel,” signed in 1979 and which many feared could be abandoned with an Islamist in power.

However, Clinton cautioned, “one election does not a democracy make.”

The historic vote was “just the beginning of hard work, and hard work requires pluralism, respecting the rights of minorities, an independent judiciary and independent media,” she said.

“We expect President Mursi to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity that is manifested by representatives of the women of Egypt, of the Coptic Christian community, of the secular, non-religious community and young people,” she added.

 

 

100 Iranian MPs call for blocking Hormuz Strait

TEHRAN, July 2 (MNA) – The Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee has put forward a proposal to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz to prevent the passage of tankers that carry oil for the countries that have imposed sanctions on Iran, an Iranian MP announced on Sunday.
Speaking to the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency, MP Ebrahim Aqa-Mohammadi said that the proposal had been signed by 100 MPs as of Sunday.

The measure would be a response to the European Union’s oil embargo on Iran that took effect on July 1 and a new U.S. law that penalizes countries that do business with the Central Bank of Iran by denying their banks access to the United States market. The law came into force on June 28.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most strategic shipping channels. It connects the vast majority of the world’s countries with the crude oil that fuels their economies.

At its narrowest point, the strait is 21 miles wide, with a two-mile shipping lane on either side. On average, 14 supertankers sail through the strait every day.

MP Arsalan Fat’hipour said on Sunday that if Iran is unfairly targeted, it will not allow “even one drop of oil” to pass through the Strait of Hormuz.

According to the Fars News Agency, he also played down the effects of sanctions against Iran and said, “We have been sanctioned for 33 years and have faced worse conditions than this, but nothing happened.”

MJH/PA/HG
END
MNA

 

 

Syrian opposition discusses transition in Cairo meeting, FSA boycotts

At least 250 members of various Syrian opposition groups have gathered in Cairo to discuss a common political vision for their country. (Reuters)

At least 250 members of various Syrian opposition groups have gathered in Cairo to discuss a common political vision for their country. (Reuters)

By Al Arabiya with Agencies

A meeting for the Syrian opposition groups kicked off in Cairo on Monday mainly to discuss a new international plan for a transitional Syrian government. They are also expected to hold talks on Tuesday with Arab ministers in a bid to agree on a shared platform, Egyptian media and the Arab League said.

The Arab League chief called on the fragmented Syrian opposition to unite during the opening session of the meeting.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi addressed nearly 250 members of the Syrian opposition at the meeting on Monday in an effort to get disparate groups to pull together. It is the first time the Arab League hosts a meeting of the Syrian opposition.

Arabi said the opposition “must not miss this opportunity” to unite, adding that the Syrian people are more valuable than any factional disagreements.

Syria-based rebel fighters and activists earlier on Monday said they would boycott the opposition meeting in Cairo, denouncing it as a “conspiracy” that served the policy goals of Damascus allies Moscow and Tehran.

“We refuse all kinds of dialogue and negotiation with the killer gangs … and we will not allow anyone to impose on Syria and its people the Russian and Iranian agendas,” said a statement signed by the rebel Free Syrian Army and “independent” activists.

The signatories criticized the agenda of the Cairo talks for “rejecting the idea of a foreign military intervention to save the people … and ignoring the question of buffer zones protected by the international community, humanitarian corridors, an air embargo and the arming of rebel fighters.”

The boycotting groups said the talks follow the “dangerous decisions of the Geneva conference, which aim to safeguard the regime, to create a dialogue with it and to form a unity government with the assassins of our children.”

“The Cairo conference aims to give a new chance to (U.N.-Arab League) envoy Kofi Annan to try again to convince Assad to implement his six-point plan. .. while forgetting that thousands have been martyred since the plan came into force,” they said.

No transition in the presence of Assad

Reema Flaihan, spokesperson of the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), had told Al Arabiya that the responsible committee has prepared a document for the transitional period, which has been signed by the different opposition members.

According to reports, the opposition figures will most probably reject any discussion of a national unity government in the presence of President Bashar al-Assad.

On the ground, as many as 77 people have been killed in violent crackdown on dissent across the country on Sunday.

The Syrian opposition on Sunday branded an international plan for a transition in strife-torn Syria a failure, as the death toll mounted.

World powers meeting in Geneva on Saturday agreed that the transition plan could include current regime members, but the West did not see any role for Assad in a new unity government.

Russia and China insisted that Syrians themselves must decide how the transition takes place, rather than allow others to dictate their fate.

Moscow and Beijing, which have twice blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria, signed up to the final agreement that did not make any explicit call for Assad to cede power.

Extra powers to Annan and his team

In a special interview with Al Arabiya, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshiar Zebary said that the principles agreed on in Geneva will give extra powers to Annan and his team for the sake of finding a solution to the Syrian crisis.

Official Syrian media slammed the outcome, in rare agreement with the main opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and the LCC which organize protests.

The SNC said it had expected “more serious and effective action” to emerge from the Geneva talks and reiterated that Assad must quit power.
“The Syrian people were hoping that the international community would adopt more serious and effective measures in dealing with the regime, whose bloody behavior has become clear,” the SNC said.

“The Syrian National Council affirms that no initiative can be accepted by the Syrian people unless it clearly calls on Bashar al-Assad and the tyrants around him to step down.”

It also charged that the Geneva plan “lacked a clear mechanism for action and a timetable” to hold the regime accountable, and warned that this could mean “more bloodshed.”

The LCC said the outcome showed once again a failure to adopt a common position.

It called the transition accord “just one version, different in form only, of the demands of Russian leaders allied to the Assad regime and who cover it militarily and politically in the face of international pressure.”

Iran, a strong ally of Assad, said the Geneva meeting was “unsuccessful” because Damascus and Tehran were not invited.

The United States and European nations reportedly opposed the presence of Iran, although U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon had wanted Tehran to attend.

The Geneva deal came despite initial pessimism over the talks amid deep divisions between the West and China and Russia on how to end the violence that the Observatory says has killed more than 15,800 since March 2011.

Syria’s neighbor Turkey, which attended the Geneva talks, scrambled fighter jets after Syrian helicopters flew close to its border, the army said on Sunday, hiking tensions following last month’s downing of a Turkish plane.

Six F-16 warplanes took off from airbases in south Turkey on Saturday after Syrian helicopters flew closer to the border than is normal, the army said, specifying there had been three incidents but no violation of Turkish airspace.

Sunday’s highest concentration of deaths was in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

Annan said on Saturday it was up to the Syrians to decide who they wanted in a unity government. But he added: “I would doubt that Syrians… would select people with blood on their hands to lead them.”

The United States and France both said it was clear there was no future role for Assad.

 

Iran says ready to upgrade Egypt ties to ambassadorial level

TEHRAN, July 2 (MNA) — Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that Iran is ready to upgrade its relations with Egypt to the level of ambassador whenever the Arab country announces its readiness.
“Iran has always expressed its interest in upgrading political relations between Tehran and Cairo to the level of ambassador, and, whenever the Egyptian side is ready, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to enhance ties between the two countries.”

Salehi described current relations between Iran and Egypt as “good”, adding, “However, the Egyptian side has so far set some conditions for enhancing political relations with Iran, but the election of (Mohamed) Morsi to serve as the Egyptian president has opened a new chapter in the country’s foreign policy.”

“The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran hopes that the prospects of Egypt’s foreign policy will become brighter and that the country’s new government will take more serious measures to have more comprehensive and deeper relations with the Muslim world,” he added.

The Iranian foreign minister also said, “The Egyptian people did a great job by electing Morsi to serve as the president and brought the revolution to fruition.”

EP/PA
END
MNA

 

 

 

 

The Middle East peace process is a ‘trick,’ says U.N. rights rapporteur

Richard Falk, a special U.N. rapporteur for human rights, said Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were offered no protection in Israeli law. (File photo)

Richard Falk, a special U.N. rapporteur for human rights, said Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were offered no protection in Israeli law. (File photo)

By AFP
GENEVA

The U.N. pointman for Palestinian human rights launched a blistering attack on the international community Monday, accusing it of conspiring in Israeli settlement policies and branding the peace process a “trick.”

Richard Falk, the special U.N. rapporteur for human rights in the occupied territories, also took aim at the so-called Middle East Quartet’s peace envoy Tony Blair over his efforts in the region.

Falk, who spoke to reporters after addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, said Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were offered no protection in Israeli law and that their treatment was akin to apartheid.

“I think one has to begin to call the reality by a name,” he said, likening the “discriminatory dualistic legal system” in the West Bank to the former system in South Africa.

In his report to the council, Falk expressed his concern about Israel’s use of administrative detention, the expansion of settlements and violence by settlers.

Israel in March severed contacts with the council after the 47-member body said it would investigate settlements in the occupied territories, which are considered illegal under international law.

Peace talks between the two sides have been on hold since September 2010, with the Palestinians refusing to resume them without a moratorium on settlement building.

“The peace process is a trick rather than a way to find a solution to the problem,” Falk said.

He also criticized the work of the former British prime minister Tony Blair in the region.

“Tony Blair has not much to show for his 86 visits to the Middle East… (it is) an extension of the peace process which I regard as a failure because while time passes the settlement culture continues.”

“The international community is conspiring – maybe unwittingly – in a process that has no way of bringing justice to the people involved in this conflict,” he said of settlements.

At least 3,500 buildings were under construction in the West Bank in 2011, Falk reported, not including Israeli settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.

Such building on Palestinian land “more or less closes the book on the reality and feasibility” of a two-state solution to the conflict, Falk said.

“The credibility of the Human Rights Council is very much at stake if there is nothing that is done about the non-cooperation or non-compliance” by Israel with the council’s recommendations, he said.

“The language of censure doesn’t help the Palestinian people if there is no action.”

Settler violence against Palestinians was a new feature of the drive to occupy the Palestinian territories, especially around Hebron and Nablus, he added.

“Many people say the Israeli government is an extension of the settlers and I think that is an accurate description,” he said.

Falk said Palestinians were disillusioned by the international peace efforts and had resorted to extreme measures such as hunger strikes to raise awareness of abuses including illegal detention by Israel.

But such action was ignored in Western media, Falk said, sending “the unfortunate signal that only violent protests will be noticed internationally.”

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Economy

‘Lazy Greeks myth, red herring in explaining crisis’

Published on Jul 1, 2012 by

Peter Mertens, leader of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, believes the Eurozone debt crisis is pushing member states towards “a very large number of social conflicts.” Mertens told RT that Europe faces three alternatives – saving the euro with “authoritarian measures by taking national sovereignty overnight to the European level”, breaking up into “two, three or four Europes”, or adopting a socialist model, “where banking system is public, where energy system is public, where there is democracy.” He believes Europe needs radical changes to its financial sector.

See transcript: http://on.rt.com/r9ai58

Big banks craft “living wills” in case they fail

 David Henry and Dave Clarke | Reuters

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five of the biggest banks in the United States are putting finishing touches on plans for going out of business as part of government-mandated contingency planning that could push them to untangle their complex operations.

The plans, known as living wills, are due to regulators no later than July 1 under provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law designed to end too-big-to-fail bailouts by the government. The living wills could be as long as 4,000 pages.

Since the law allows regulators to go so far as to order a bank to divest subsidiaries if it cannot plan an orderly resolution in bankruptcy, the deadline is pushing even healthy institutions to start a multi-year process to untangle their complex global operations, according to industry consultants.

“The resolution process is now going to be part of the cost-benefit analysis on where banks will do business,” said Dan Ryan, leader of the financial services regulatory practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York. “The complexity of the organizations will shrink.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co , Bank of America Corp , Citigroup Inc , Goldman Sachs & Co and Morgan Stanley are among those submitting the first liquidation scenarios to regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, according to people familiar with the matter.

The five firms, which declined to discuss their plans for this story, have some of the biggest balance sheets, trading desks and derivatives portfolios of financial institutions in the United States.

Great Britain and other major countries are imposing similar requirements for “resolution” plans on their big banks, too.

The liquidation plans are coming amid renewed questions about the safety of big banks following JPMorgan’s stunning announcement last month that a trading debacle has cost it more than $2 billion – a sum far too small to endanger the bank, but shocking enough to bring back memories of the financial crisis.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Iran to boost gasoline output by one million BPD

Published on Jul 2, 2012 by

As the US and European Union intensify sanctions on Iran’s energy industry, Iran continues to develop its oil facilities using domestic capability.

Press TV’s Amir Mehdi Kazemi reports from Tehran.

Amid a global crackdown against alleged black money in secret accounts of Swiss banks, their bankers are selling a new safe-haven idea to their rich clients from India and other countries — the high-value 1,000 franc notes to be stored in safe deposit boxes.

These boxes — kept inside the premises of Swiss banks — are also said to be being used to stash gold, diamond, paintings and art works among other valuables — apparently because of limited risk of catching the preying eyes of foreign governments having signed banking information exchange treaties with Switzerland.

According to industry sources, bankers are telling their rich clients that Switzerland’s tax and information exchange treaties with India and other countries are mostly limited to funds in customers’ savings, deposit and investment accounts, and do not apply to the safe deposit boxes.

As a result, the demand has soared to record high levels for the safe deposit boxes and the 1,000 Swiss franc banknotes in Switzerland, as rich of the world are rushing to get them.

As per the data available with Switzerland’s central bank SNB (Swiss National Bank), the thousand-franc notes now account for 60 per cent of total value of all Swiss banknotes in circulation, up from about 50 per cent a year ago.

Replying to PTI queries, SNB confirmed that there was a significant surge in demand for thousand-franc notes and admitted that this could be due to a trend to store the money and a higher demand was being noticed from abroad for these high-value currency notes.

SNB did not reply to specific queries about demand from India and said that it did not have any data on deposit boxes.

Just one thousand-franc banknote is worth about Rs 60,000 in Indian currency, making it easier to store large amount of money in form of these notes

‘Sanctions only hurting EU, Iran cashing in on exemptions’

Published on Jul 2, 2012 by

The EU embargo of Iranian oil is now in place, along with fresh U.S. sanctions against countries dealing with Tehran. The measures are aimed at pressurizing Iran to curb its nuclear programme. The Islamic Republic says however that it’s been stockpiling money as a buffer and that selling oil remains no problem – thanks to America exempting some countries from penalties – including China and Singapore. Author and journalist Afshin Rattansi says the sanctions are unlikely to have the desired effect.

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Wars and Rumors of War

Economy and drugs dominate Mexico poll

Published on Jul 1, 2012 by

Two of the main issues expected to dominate Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday are the economy and the country’s “War on Drugs”.

Mexico’s economy is growing at a rate of four per cent, but 20 million youths are out of school and out of work.

Meanwhile, more than 50,000 people have been killed since December 2006, in the fight against drug gangs and organised crime.

Al Jazeera’s Adam Raney reports from Ciudad Juárez.

Armed Angels: Children dragged into grown-up war in Syria

Published on Jul 1, 2012 by

The urgency for international agreement on Syria is underlined by the growing daily violence there. As Maria Finoshina reports, even the youngest in the country are being dragged into the conflict.

Missiles, bombs, drones & battleships: London ready for Olympics?

Published on Jul 1, 2012 by

High-tech battleships and missiles are on stand-by to protect London during the upcoming Olympics. Some are concerned it looks more like war games than a sporting event. But as RT’s Laura Smith explains, heavy weaponry may not be enough to tackle the real threat.

‘Removing Assad will add to Syria chaos’

Published on Jul 1, 2012 by

Russia and China want the Syrian people to resolve the Syrian issue while the US and its allies who are causing the bloodshed is firm about dictating terms.

Interview with James Fetzer, professor and philosopher, Madison.

Syrian No-go: Rebels won’t talk until Assad out

Published on Jul 2, 2012 by

Syria’s rebels have rebuffed the latest plan for peace. World powers pushed for a unity government at talks in Geneva at the weekend – but the opposition insists Assad has to go. The deal was forged to try and end the drawn-out conflict, which the UN says has claimed more than 10-thousand lives. RT’s Maria Finoshina reports.

UN Rights chief arms flow increasing into Syria

Published on Jul 2, 2012 by

Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, tells Al Jazeera that violence in Syria is being fuelled by the increasing flow of weapons to both the sides.

 

Assad to Kremlin: I can finish the revolt in two months, replaces army chiefs

DEBKA

Turkish military convoy heading for Syrian border

In a phone call to the Kremlin Sunday, July 1, Syrian President Bashar Assad said he needed just two months to finish off the revolt against his regime. “My new military tactics are working,” he said in a secret video-conference with Russian intelligence and foreign ministry officials who shape Moscow’s policy on Syria.

Reporting this exclusively, debkafile’s intelligence sources also register the fleeting life span of the new plan for ending the Syrian war which UN envoy Kofi Annan announced had been agreed at a multinational Action Group meeting in Geneva on Saturday, June 30. Within 24 hours, the principle of a national unity transitional government based on “mutual consent” was rejected by the regime and the Turkish-based opposition leaders alike, as the violence went into another month.

On the first day of July, 91 people were reported killed in the escalating Syrian violence after a record 4,000 in June.
The new military tactics to which Assad referred are disclosed here:
1.  The sweeping removal of most of the veteran Syrian army commanders who led the 16-month bloody assault on regime opponents and rebels. They were sent home with full pay to make way for a new set of younger commanders, most of them drawn from the brutal Alawite Shabiha militia, which is the ruling family’s primary arm against its enemies.
The regular commanders had shown signs of fatigue and doubts about their ability to win Assad’s war. Their will to fight on was being badly sapped by the mounting numbers officers and men going over to the opposition camp in June.
One of the tasks set the new commanders is to stem the rate of defections.
To keep the veteran commanders from joining the renegades and reduce their susceptibility to hostile penetration, the officers were not sacked but retired on full pension plus all the perks of office, including official cars.
2.  But a higher, unthinkable level of violence is the key to Assad’s “new tactics.” He has armed the new military chiefs with extra fire power – additional tank and artillery units, air force bombers and attack helicopters – for smashing pockets of resistance and unlimited permission to use it. Already the level of live fire used against the rebels has risen to an even more unthinkable level which explains the sharp escalation of deaths to an average of 120 per day.
On the Syrian-Turkish border, tensions continue to mount. Monday morning, Turkey was still pumping large-scale strength including tanks, antiaircraft and antitank guns, artillery, surface missiles and combat helicopters to the border region.
Saturday, half a dozen Turkish jets were scrambled to meet Syria helicopters approaching their common border.
In Tehran, Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s IRGC Aerospace Division, warned Ankara that if its troops ventured onto Syrian soil, their bases of departure would be destroyed. The threat was made during Hajizadeh’s announcement of a three-day missile exercise starting Monday in response to the European oil embargo.  He reported that long-, medium- and short-range missiles would target “simulations of foreign bases in the northern Semnan Desert,” without mentioning any specific nation except Turkey.

 

Bulgaria : No Turkey-Syria War Looming, NATO Chief Says

Novinite.com (Sofia NewsAgency)

Bulgaria: No Turkey-Syria War Looming, NATO Chief Says
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark gives his monthly press briefing in Brussels, in Brussels, Belgium, 02 July 2012. EPA/BGNES

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has played down the risk of a military confrontation between Turkey and Syria.

Rasmussen also said Ankara was justified in beefing up its defenses along the Syrian border, as cited by international media.

Turkey, a key NATO member, has strengthened its troop presence and air defenses along its southern border after Syria shot down one of its jets on June 22, heightening tensions between the neighbors caused by an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Asked if he was concerned about Turkey‘s military buildup and whether there was a risk it could lead to a confrontation with Syria, Rasmussen said told a news conference:

“I commend Turkey for having shown restraint despite the very tragic aircraft incident,” Rasmussen told a news conference in Brussels on Monday.

“I find it quite normal that Turkey takes necessary steps to protect its population and its territory,” he said.

He added NATO had received no request from Turkey to deploy AWACS surveillance planes or other military equipment.

At an emergency meeting in Brussels last week, NATO allies condemned Syria‘s shooting down of the Turkish military plane, but stopped short of threatening a military response.

Syria says it shot down the Turkish jet in self-defense and that it was brought down in Syrian air space. Turkey says the jet accidentally violated Syrian air space for a few minutes but was brought down in international air space.

Turkey scrambled six F-16 fighter jets in three separate incidents responding to Syrian military helicopters approaching the border on Sunday, its armed forces command said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Arab states and Turkey urged Syria‘s divided opposition on Monday to unite and form a credible alternative to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but rifts swiftly emerged at talks in Cairo.

The unity calls were made at the opening of a two-day meeting organized by the Arab League to try to rally Syria‘s opposition, which has been beset by in-fighting that diplomats say have made it tougher for the world to respond to the crisis.

Sixteen months into an uprising against Assad, squabbling among the opposition makes it less likely to be able to win international recognition or to get more than half-hearted foreign support.

“It is not acceptable to waste this opportunity in any way. The sacrifices of the Syrian people are bigger than us all and more precious than any differences or individual and party interests,” Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said, addressing the roughly 200 Syrian politicians and activists.

 

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Articles of Interest

Inside Story – Sudan: Breaking the barrier of fear

Published on Jul 1, 2012 by

As the Sudanese government intensifies its crackdown on anti-government protests that have been going on for almost two weeks, activists have called for a massive demonstration against the government’s austerity measures.
The protesters defiantly dubbed their anti-government rallies “licking elbows” after officials issued a statement telling people who are dissatisfied with the government to do just that.

The protests that were sparked by austerity measures have spread from the capital Khartoum to other areas of the country, with people now openly calling for an end to the 23-year-old rule of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president.

Fast and Furious & The 2nd Amendment

The War On Drugs

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  • [In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

Republican power-brokers don’t want Americans to know which corporations are bankrolling their party’s mud-slinging ads.
 

How far will the most powerful Republicans go to shield their top donors’ identities?

New records in political hypocrisy are piling up in Washington, starting with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose recent American Enterprise Institute speech went overboard in complaining that liberals posed the greatest threat to the First Amendment in decades because they are pushing government regulators and courts to force politicians to disclose the names of their million-dollar donors.
Even worse, McConnell cried, the White House is in on this effort.
“The danger comes from a political movement that’s uncomfortable with the idea of groups it doesn’t like speaking freely, and from an administration that has shown an alarming willingness to use the powers of government to silence these groups,” began McConnell, who went on to compare today’s treatment of Republican billionaires to African-American victims of race-based harassment in 1950s Alabama.
Some political lies are so breathtaking and shameless that it takes a barrel of ink to unwind them. But McConnell’s latest defense of secretive fat-cat donors—which include corporations that might not want their customers to know they’re giving millions to Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS—has unleashed an inky torrent, and not just from liberals.
“McConnell is not the only hypocrite here, although he wins the title of Hypocrite-in-Chief,” wrote Norman Ornstein, an American Enterprise Institute resident scholar, in response to McConnell’s AIE speech. “This may set a new standard for chutzpah.”
“I have from time to time been tempted by the sect of Unlimited Donations, Unlimited Disclosure,” wrote Washington Post  opinion editor Fred Hiatt, referring to McConnell’s long-held view—until now—that campaign funds should be unregulated but disclosed. “The temptation turns out to have been nothing but a trick. The Republicans, apparently, never meant it. Now that they have Unlimited Donations, or something pretty close, they don’t want Unlimited Disclosure after all.”
“On the right these days, the rhetoric is all about a liberal siege,” Rick Hasen, an election law blogger and legal scholar wrote in Politico. “Despite Republicans’ majority in the House, its filibuster power in the Senate, a sympathetic Supreme Court, and the great power of business groups – the language of threats is pervasive. But look beyond the rhetoric and you can see what’s really going on: Those with power want to wield it without being accountable for their actions.”
Hasen’s analysis sums it up. The Republicans, led by McConnell, will say anything to do whatever they want in political campaigns. The fight over disclosing campaign contributors to GOP shadow groups is no different than the party’s efforts to tilt state ballot-access laws, with measures like tougher voter ID requirements, to shape the electorate in its favor.
Although the GOP seems destined to lose this fight in the long run because the U.S. Supreme Court has solidly backed campaign finance disclosure, that has not stopped Republicans, following McConnell, from making every effort to delay the inevitable until after the November election, when it will be mostly a moot issue.
In the Senate this week, 10 Republicans led by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch signed a letter attacking the Internal Revenue Service—which McConnell called the “speech police”—for seeking information about conservative political groups that were incorporated as nonprofit charities but which instead have been primarily engaged in partisan electioneering.
“I think the Republicans in Congress are running interference for their followers and supporters out there,” Marcus Owens, former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, told Roll Call. “And they are probably building a firewall against what’s probably inevitable—when groups like Crossroads GPS get audited.”
Indeed, this month the IRS revoked the nonprofit tax status of a small group, Emerge America, which seeks to elect Democratic women. It has also been sending detailed questionnaires to many Tea Party groups incorporated as nonprofits—which led McConnell to compare that action to Richard Nixon’s White House “enemies list.”
What McConnell and other Republicans fear is that revealing the GOP’s top funders—whether individuals or corporations bankrolling front groups—will subject them to scrutiny, criticism and even accountability by the public, including their customers.
Indeed, a coalition led by ColorOfChange.org has prompted 20 large corporations to discontinue their financial support of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank that has helped GOP lawmakers in many states adopt laws narrowing voting rights. This week, computer-maker Dell cut its ties with ALEC.

NDAA declared unconstitutional; Indefinite detention of Americans blocked by the court

Published on Jun 15, 2012 by

NDAA declared unconstitutional; Indefinite detention of Americans blocked by the court
Published on May 17, 2012 by RTAmerica
On Wednesday, District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled the National Defense Authorization Act unconstitutional. Forrest issued a preliminary injunction which restrains the US government from administering section 1021 of the NDAA, a provision that allows for the indefinite detention for Americans with alleged terrorist ties. Carl Mayer, attorney for The Mayer Law Group representing the plaintiffs,joins us for more on the judge’s ruling.

GOP kingmakers make their case for Romney’s best 2012 running mate

By Cameron Joseph

Mitt Romney has kept his cards close to the vest about who he’ll pick for his presidential running mate — but that hasn’t stopped a number of Republican kingmakers from saying who they think Romney should pick.

A number have mentioned Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as their top choice. Others mentioned at least once include GOP Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Rand Paul (Ky.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R).

No one touted former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who has loyally worked for Romney since his own campaign ended and is said to be in the running.Here’s a list of some top Republican movers and shakers — and who they want to see as Romney’s vice presidential pick.

A number of other top Republicans declined to comment or offered a list of options, saying it was Romney’s decision to make and that they didn’t want to meddle. Those who declined to comment include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), and Faith & Freedom Coalition President Ralph Reed, both of whom touted the GOP’s deep bench but refused to offer specifics on the record.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R): Rubio

“Marco would bring an incredible energy. He’s the most articulate spokesman for conservative principles I think in America today,” Bush told reporters in early May. “And he’s my friend, so I’m a little biased. But I think he would be extraordinary.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Ryan

“I’m biased for Paul,” Walker told The Hill at a Thursday breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor in mid-June. “If you believe that the fiscal crisis facing our country is clearly one of our top challenges, I don’t know of anybody, at least in this town, who’s better equipped to help you deal with that, not just because of his plan but because he understands the dynamics. I think he’s got credible respect on both sides of the aisle. … Far beyond that, he’s just from Wisconsin — I think there’s tremendous value to Paul.”

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist: Jindal

“Romney would do well to have a wing man who can astutely explain the flaws in President Barack Obama’s policies and lay out the GOP’s innovative, pro-growth alternatives. There are many attractive prospects out there, but Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal can do not just all that, he has already implemented the sort of bold reforms at the state level that are now desperately needed at the federal level,” he wrote in Politico in mid-May.

Rep. McKeon says Obama’s budget chief won’t commit to testify on defense cuts

By Jeremy Herb

House Armed Service Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) on Friday said President Obama’s budget director won’t commit to testify about the impact of sequestration.

McKeon said he was “disappointed” that Jeffrey Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), wouldn’t appear before Armed Services to discuss the automatic budget cuts that are set to begin in 2013.

McKeon called the OMB chief Friday in the midst of a push to have the Obama administration and the Pentagon explain how the $500 billion in cuts to the Defense Department would be implemented.

McKeon told reporters Thursday that he wanted to hold hearings where the OMB director testified on the impact of sequestration.

But in their phone conversation, Zients would apparently not commit to that, according to McKeon spokesman Claude Chafin.

“The chairman is disappointed with OMB’s position,” Chafin said in an e-mail. “After nearly a year they should be prepared to report to Congress on how they will handle sequestration.”

OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer said the department does not comment on private phone conversations.

 

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Romney Sheds ‘Crocodile Tears’ Over Jobs, O’Malley Says

By Kathleen Hunter

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley accused presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of shedding “crocodile tears” for factory workers, while having helped engineer the export of U.S. manufacturing jobs as head of Bain Capital LLC.

“Mitt Romney stands up in front of factory gates and cries crocodile tears and falsely claims that the president is sending jobs to other countries, and yet he made a big profit telling American companies just how they could move jobs to other countries,” O’Malley, a Democrat, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” airing this weekend.

June 22 (Bloomberg) — Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley talks with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt about his accusation that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sheds “crocodile tears” for factory workers, while having helped engineer the export of U.S. manufacturing jobs as head of Bain Capital LLC. Bloomberg’s Julie Davis and Hans Nichols discuss support for President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and campaign fundraising. Bloomberg’s Rich Miller talks about the U.S. economy and the outlook for further quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve. Commentators Margaret Carlson and Kate O’Beirne discuss the Latino vote and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, as a potential running mate for Romney. (Source: Bloomberg)

The Washington Post reported June 21 that Bain, the Boston- based private-equity firm that Romney helped found in 1984, invested in multiple firms specializing in relocating U.S. jobs to low-wage countries such as China and India during the 15 years that he was involved in running the company.

The former Massachusetts governor’s campaign pushed back against the Post story, with Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul calling the report “fundamentally flawed,” because “it does not differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus off- shoring,” or address work done overseas to support U.S. exports.

O’Malley, one of Barack Obama’s top surrogates as the president battles Romney for re-election, called the report “a legitimate story.”

Deeper Flaw

O’Malley, 49, said the Post story was just a symptom of a more serious Romney flaw.

“The deeper disqualification of this, beyond his lack of sincerity and the crocodile tears for factory jobs lost, is that he has no record as a job creator,” said O’Malley, the head of the Democratic Governors Association. “The bigger point of the story I believe is that his work at Bain was about wealth consolidation, not about job creation in the United States.”

Romney, in making his business background the central theme of his White House bid, has said that during his tenure at Bain the firm created 100,000 jobs.

Neither the private-equity firm nor Romney’s campaign has documented that figure in response to repeated requests by Bloomberg News. Bain Capital doesn’t track jobs lost or gained as a result of their investments.

 

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

Egypt protesters await election result in Cairo’s square

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi demonstrate in Cairo

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi demonstrate in Cairo’s Tahrir square on June 23, 2012.
Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:49PM GMT
3
Egyptian protesters have remained in Cairo’s Liberation Square for the fifth consecutive day, protesting what they see as a power grab by military rulers.

Protesters are maintaining a vigil in the iconic Tahrir Square on Saturday, where on Friday tens of thousands of protesters gathered to denounce the military council and demand the announcement of the country’s presidential election result.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) announced the dissolution of the parliament on June 16 following an earlier Supreme Court ruling, assuming full legislative powers.

The council also gave itself the veto power on a new constitution and the right to arrest civilians for trial in military courts.

The measures, taken before the results of the country’s presidential run-off vote are released, have raised fears that the ruling junta is planning to put its favored candidate at the helm.

This is while both candidates in Egypt’s presidential election have claimed victory.

The Muslim Brotherhood announced that its candidate Mohamed Morsi had won 52 percent of the votes, four percent more than Ahmed Shafiq.

However, Shafiq’s campaign says the claim is false, and that more than half of the voters have chosen the right-hand man of ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak as the next president.

The election commission says it has been considering appeals by the two candidates and the delayed results of Egypt’s presidential run-off will be announced on Sunday.

PG/PKH/IS

Bashar al-Assad orders forming new Syrian government

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressing the parliament, June 3, 2012

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressing the parliament, June 3, 2012
Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:44PM GMT
1
LAST UPDATE
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree forming a new government, the state television says.

The Syrian president issued Decree 210 on Saturday, forming a new government under the newly appointed Prime Minister Riad Farid Hijab, the television said.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem as well as Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha and Interior Minister Mohammad al-Sha’ar will remain in their posts.

On June 6, President Assad appointed former Agriculture Minister Riad Farid Hijab as the Syrian premier.

The presidential decree also ordered the formation of a number of new Syrian ministries, including internal trade and consumer protection, foreign economy and trade, and housing and construction development.

The latest decree was issued a day after armed groups in Syria killed 25 civilians in the northern province of Aleppo.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011.

The anti-Damascus Western governments have been calling for the overthrow of President Assad over the past few weeks.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on June 21 that a “scheme according to which President Assad should leave somewhere before something happens in terms of a cessation of violence and a political process… does not work simply from the very start.”

Also on June 21, the New York Times published a report quoting some US and Arab intelligence officials as saying that a group of “CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey” and that the agents are helping the anti-Syria governments decide which gangs inside the Arab country will “receive arms to fight the Syrian government.”

The report added that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar pay for the transport of the weaponry into Syria.

On June 12, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “The US administration is pushing forth with its flagrant interference in Syria’s internal affairs and its backing of armed terrorist groups.”

The statement also condemned Washington for “distorting the truth and what is happening on the ground while encouraging armed terrorist groups to carry out more massacres… throughout the country.”

HSN/PKH/IS

 Egypt military blasts candidates for woes

ReutersFriday 22 June 2012CAIRO: Egypt’s military council criticized the two presidential candidates for making premature claims of victory yesterday and said it would stand by a decree limiting the new president’s powers, which many see as prolonging military rule.
As thousands of protesters gathered for weekly prayers on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the army said people were free to protest as long as they did not disrupt daily life but flatly rejected their demands that it rescind the dissolution of Parliament and an order giving itself more power.
The move was justified “during this critical period” for the good of the country, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said in a statement. Criticizing the candidates, though not by name, it said: “Anticipating the announcement of the presidential election results before they are announced officially is unjustifiable and is one of the main causes of division and confusion prevailing the political arena.”
Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhamad Mursi announced within hours of polling ending on Sunday that he had won by four percentage points. His riva Ahmed Shafiq challenged that and said he was confident of victory. A delay in publishing results, due to have been announced on Thursday, has heightened tensions after a week in which many have accused the ruling generals of reneging on a promise to hand over to civilian rule by July.
Responding to complaints, the council said in its statement: “The issuance of the supplementary constitutional decree was necessitated by the needs of administering the affairs of the state during this critical period in the history of our nation.”
The decree gives the Parliament’s powers over legislation to SCAF and also a potential role for the council in drafting a new constitution. The SCAF statement made clear the army view that the dissolution of the Islamist-led Parliament elected in January was entirely due to a review by the judiciary, which found the election rules unconstitutional.
“The rule of law is the basis of governance in the state,” it said. “The state shall be subject to the law and independent judiciary, whose independence and immunity are two basic guarantees to safeguard rights and freedoms.
“The verdicts issued by the judiciary are executed in the name of the people and refraining from implementing these verdicts is a crime punishable by law,” the council said, in an apparent criticism of members of Parliament who have challenged the court’s decision and SCAF’s moves to enforce it.

 

 

2 Iranians held as US sees imminent attacks in Kenya

 

NAIROBI: ARAB NEWS

Saturday 23 June 2012

The US Embassy in Kenya yesterday warned of the threat of an imminent attack in Mombasa, a top tourist destination, as Kenyan police arrested two Iranians on suspicion of planning bomb attacks.
“This is to alert all US citizens in Kenya, or planning to travel to Kenya in the near future, that the US Embassy in Nairobi has received information of an imminent threat of a terrorist attack in Mombasa, Kenya,” a statement said.
“All US government travel to Mombasa is suspended until July 1, 2012.”
France’s Embassy in Nairobi also warned its citizens to be “extremely vigilant” in Mombasa and the surrounding area.
Top Kenyan police officials immediately made statements calling for calm. “Police are working around the clock to guarantee security in Kenya,” said Kenyan police commissioner Mathew Iteere.
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told AFP: “There is no cause for alarm, security agents are ahead of events. We are even working with the FBI and other international agencies in this war.”
The warnings came as Kenyan police said they had detained two Iranian nationals over suspected links to a terror network planning bombings in Mombasa and in the capital Nairobi.
“We are holding these two suspects, and they are being interrogated to establish their involvement in terrorism activities,” said Aggrey Adoli, police chief for Coast province.

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Economy

Welcome to Doomsday, warns Wall Street seer

Customers browse through discounted goods at a "one euro store"  in Athens.Customers browse through discounted goods at a ‘one euro store’ in Athens. Photo: AP

If you want to be scared, truly terrified, listen to Mark J. Grant. He might be right.

For the past two years, Grant, a managing director at a regional investment bank in Florida, has been predicting the bankruptcy of Greece and a cascade of chaos across the global economy, attracting quite a following on Wall Street in the process.

“Greece will be forced to return to the drachma and devalue, and the default will cause bank runs and money flowing into Germany and the United States as the only viable safe haven bets,” he declared in the days before Sunday’s Greek elections, irrespective of which party would win. “Greece will default because there is no other choice regardless of anyone’s politics.”

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Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy  at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. Photo: Reuters

He then walked through the falling dominoes: “It will hit the [European Central Bank], the banks on the other side of the derivatives contracts, all of the Greek banks who are really in default at present and being carried by Europe as well as the nation, and the Greek default will spread the infection in many places that we cannot imagine because so much is hidden and tucked away in the European financial system.”

Welcome to Doomsday, brought to you by Grant. He says he doesn’t think of it as such; he calls it “reality”. He told me, almost hopelessly, “There’s only so much money to go around.”

In a January 13, 2010, report Grant forecast that Greece would default on its government debts, one of the first to publish such a prognostication.

Grant could be the Nouriel Roubini (Dr. Doom) of the European crisis. Roubini, the New York University economist, said the subprime-debt sky was falling for a long time before it fell.  Few people listened, in part, because nobody had ever heard of him. Then, of course, the sky fell.  Now everybody has heard of him. Time will tell, but soon everybody could know Grant.

The January 2010 report, written two years before Greece did indeed default, has made him the go-to forecaster of Europe’s collapse for some of the world’s largest investors. Nicknamed the Wizard, Grant, who works for Southwest Securities, sends out a daily report, often frightening in its detail and matter-of-factness, by email to a who’s who of the world’s biggest institutions, hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds. Subscribers like Bill Gross, a founder of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund, pay thousands of dollars a year to receive Grant’s views in their in-boxes.

Never one to sugarcoat his views, his success is partly a function of his plain-spoken way of making complex ideas simple.

“There is only one way out of this mess and that is if Europe keeps handing Greece money like one does to some aged aunt that cannot support herself, but that is a family decision,” he wrote. But, he argues: “Greece requires 16 other family members to support her jointly and the politics in many of these nations, including Germany, is making it difficult for the charade to continue.”

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

 

Why Doesn’t The Stock Market Reflect The Imminent Global Depression?

Steven Strauss, Harvard University

 

We seem to be heading towards an economic downturn equivalent to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

This isn’t a secret. The synthesis below is derived from: Lawrence SummersNouriel RoubiniSimon JohnsonNiall Ferguson, and Paul Krugman to name just a few. This crisis is not happening quickly.

It’s more of a slow-motion train wreck—Greece’s crisis started in 2009. But that leaves a puzzle—why is the American stock market not reacting to obvious warning signs?

Greece and Spain already have unemployment rates exceeding 20 percent. If that isn’t a depression, what is?

Greece is in very deep trouble. Spain (the Euro’s fourth largest economy) just needed a $125 billion bank bailout. The weaker economies (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) face severe credit crunches as local banks lose deposits (withdrawn because of credit concerns and fear of forced devaluations following a Euro exit).

Serious discussion is already taking place about the demise of the Euro, or even worse the break-up of the European common market—in which case unemployment rates across Europe will exceed 20 percent. National incomes will decline sharply, resulting in large-scale corporate insolvencies, with the crisis spilling over into the U.S. and Asia.

Arguably, the Germans have a sufficiently healthy economy to avert the crisis. But they are reluctant to act—without clear structural changes in the European Union/member states to prevent future problems. Amidst a crisis, it’s difficult to make structural changes quickly. The Germans (with some legitimacy) fear that a bailout lacking agreement on structural changes will result in some combination of a larger financial disaster later, and/or the German economy permanently subsidizing some of the weaker economies.

Europe’s economies provide little reason for optimism.

The U.S. faces a recession next year if the Budget Control Act takes effect, which is likely if Obama wins and partisan gridlock continues. House Speaker Boehner already announced that if Obama’s re-elected, the GOP will treat us to another debt ceiling confrontation. If Romney wins, the Democrats (having learnt their lesson from the Republicans) would be as disruptive as possible. If the U.S. faces a major economic crisis triggered by the Euro’s collapse, bipartisan consensus on how to resolve it is unlikely.

Spain to seek bank aid as borrowing costs soar

 

By Jan Strupczewski and Julien Toyer

LUXEMBOURG/MADRID

(Reuters) – Independent auditors said Spanish banks may need up to 62 billion euros in extra capital, to be filled mostly by a euro zone bailout, after Spain’s medium-term borrowing costs spiraled to a euro-era record on Thursday.

Euro zone finance ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss how to channel up to 100 billion euros ($126 billion) in aid to Spanish lenders weighed down by bad debts from a burst property bubble. Madrid’s economy minister said a formal request would be made in days for the bailout, which was agreed two weeks ago.

Many in the markets see the package as a mere prelude to a full program for the Spanish state, which Madrid vehemently denies it will need.

Spain’s financial plight took centre stage a week before a European Union summit tackles long-term plans for closer fiscal and banking union in a bid to strengthen the euro’s foundations, after bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal failed to end a 2-1/2-year old debt crisis.

To pave the way, the leaders of Germany, Italy, France and Spain will meet in Rome on Friday.

“We are clearly seeing additional tension and acute stress applying to both banks and sovereigns in the euro area,” International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who attended the Luxembourg meeting, told reporters.

“With that in mind, the IMF believes that a determined and forceful move towards complete European monetary union should be reaffirmed.”

Two independent audits by consultants Roland Berger and Oliver Wyman found that Spanish banks would need between 51 and 62 billion euros in extra capital to weather a serious downturn in the economy and new losses on their books.

The Bank of Spain said the 100 billion euros offered to Madrid two weeks ago would give a wide margin of error. Spain’s three biggest banks would not need extra capital even in a stressed scenario, it said. The government said it did not expect to shut any banks and would restructure those in trouble.

In Luxembourg, the finance ministers decided Spain should initially apply to the euro zone’s temporary rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, with the loan taken over by the permanent bailout fund the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) once it is up and running after July 9.

“The financial assistance will be provided by the EFSF until the ESM becomes available, and then it will be transferred to the ESM,” Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup of finance ministers, told a news conference.

“We would expect the Spanish authorities to put forward a formal request for financial assistance by next Monday,” he said.

Such a solution should avert a problem which had scared investors: debt issued by the ESM must be paid back first in case of a Spanish default, relegating private creditors lower in the pecking order. Because the new bailout debt will originate from the EFSF it will be issued without that requirement.

 

 

 

Read Full Article Here

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Wars and Rumors of War

Syria downs Turkish jet, Ankara to act decisively

A Turkish Air Force F-4 war plane fires during a military exercise in Izmir, in this May 26, 2010 file photo. REUTERS- Osman Orsal-Files
Debris is seen at Al Qussoor area in Homs city June 20, 2012. Picture taken June 20, 2012. REUTERS-Shaam News Network-Handout

By Jonathon Burch and Oliver Holmes

ANKARA/BEIRUT

(Reuters) – Syria shot down a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean on Friday and Ankara warned it would respond decisively to the incident that threatened to open a new international dimension in the 16-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria said the Turkish aircraft was flying low, well inside Syrian territorial waters when it was shot down.

With the second biggest army in NATO, a force hardened by nearly 30 years of fighting Kurdish rebels, Turkey would be a formidable foe for the Syrian army which is already struggling to put down a 16-month-old revolt.

But Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s initial comments and subsequent statement on the downing of the F-4 jet were measured in tone. He said Turkish and Syrian forces were working together to search for the two missing crew of the aircraft.

“As a result of information obtained from the evaluation of our concerned institutions and from within the joint search and rescue operations with Syria, it is understood that our plane was brought down by Syria,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement.

“Turkey will present its final stance after the incident has been fully brought to light and decisively take the necessary steps,” the office said after a two-hour emergency meeting between prime minister, the chief of general staff, the defense, interior and foreign ministers, the head of national intelligence and the commander of the air force.

Turkish media had reported earlier that Syria had apologized for the incident, but Erdogan made no mention of any apology.

Violence raged unabated inside Syria, which appears to be sliding into a sectarian-tinged civil war pitting majority Sunni Muslims against Assad’s minority Alawite sect. Turkey fears the fighting if unchecked could unleash a flood of refugees over its own border and ignite regional sectarian conflict.

Ankara, which had drawn close to Syria before the uprising against Assad, turned against the Syrian leader when he responded violently to pro-democracy protests inspired by popular upheavals elsewhere in the Arab world. Turkey now gives refuge to the rebel Free Syrian Army on its frontier with Syria.

Erdogan, whose enmity with Assad has assumed a strongly personal nature, gave no hint what action he might contemplate.

A statement by the Syrian military said the Turkish plane was flying low, just one kilometer off the Syrian coast, when it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The plane fell in Syrian waters 10-kms (seven miles) west of the village of Um al-Touyour.

“The navy of the two countries have established contact. Syrian naval vessels are participating along with the Turkish side in the search operation for the missing pilots,” it said.

Syria has some of the most sophisticated air defenses in the Middle East, supplied by Russia.

Turkish state television interviewed witnesses on the country’s Mediterranean coast, near the Syrian border, who said they saw two low-flying fighter jets pass overhead in the morning in the direction of Syrian waters but only one return.

Ankara has previously floated the possibility of setting up some kind of safe haven or humanitarian corridor inside Syria, which would entail military intervention, but has said it would undertake no such action without U.N. Security Council approval.

Turkey has said however that Assad must go.

Turkey hosts about 32,000 Syrian refugees and allows the rebel Syrian Free Army to operate from its territory. The opposition Syrian National Council meets in Istanbul.

It was unclear why the Syrians had shot down the aircraft, which, having left a base in Malatya, was flying close to a corridor linking Turkey with Turkish forces on Northern Cyprus.

“The Syrian military may have taken a calculated gamble by downing the Turkish plane, which could boost the morale of Assad’s loyalists after increased defections from the military we have seen,” Yasser Saadeldine, a prominent pro-opposition Syrian political commentator, said.

“A Turkish retaliation would fit into the fantasy he (Assad)is peddling that the uprising is a foreign conspiracy.”

Russia and China, Assad’s strongest backers abroad, have fiercely opposed any outside interference in the Syrian crisis, saying envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan is the only way forward.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his Syrian counterpart that he had urged Syria to “do a lot more” to implement Annan’s U.N.-backed proposals, but that foreign countries must also press rebels to stop the violence.

Lavrov said the Syrian authorities were ready to withdraw troops from cities “simultaneously” with rebels. A Syrian military pullback and a ceasefire were key elements in Annan’s six-point peace plan, most of which remains a dead letter.

“DESTRUCTIVE COMPETITION”

Annan hit out at some countries he said had taken national initiatives that risked unleashing “destructive competition”.

He told a news conference in Geneva that he wanted states with influence on both sides of the conflict to be involved in the peace process, including Iran, Assad’s closest ally.

The U.N.-Arab League envoy was speaking a week before a planned Syria crisis meeting that is in doubt because of Western objections to the Islamic Republic’s participation.

Syria says it shot down Turkish air force jet

Associated Press

Syria says it shot down Turkish air force jet

Map locates Latakia, Syria, near where a Turkish plane was shot down by Syria.

Ankara, Turkey: Syria said Friday it shot down a Turkish military plane that entered Syrian air space, and Turkey vowed to “determinedly take necessary steps” in response.

It was the most clear and dramatic escalation in tensions between the two countries, which used to be allies before the Syrian revolt began in March 2011. Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of the Syrian regime’s brutal response to the country’s uprising.

Late Friday, Syria’s state-run news agency, SANA, said the military spotted an “unidentified aerial target” that was flying at a low altitude and at a high speed.

“The Syrian anti-air defenses counteracted with anti-aircraft artillery, hitting it directly,” SANA said. “The target turned out to be a Turkish military plane that entered Syrian airspace and was dealt with according to laws observed in such cases.”

Turkey issued a statement Friday night following a two-hour security meeting led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying Syrian forces downed the plane and that the two Turkish pilots remain missing.

It said Turkey “will determinedly take necessary steps” in response, without saying what those actions would be.

“Following the evaluation of data provided by our related institutions and the findings of the joint search and rescue efforts with Syria, it is understood that our plane was downed by Syria,” the statement said, without providing other details.

Relations between Turkey and Syria were already tense before the downing of the F4 plane on Friday.

Turkey has joined nations such as the U.S. in saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad should step down because of the regime’s brutal suppression of the uprising in his country. Turkey also has set up refugee camps on its border for more than 32,000 Syrians who have fled the fighting.

Syria and Turkey have expelled each other’s ambassadors and Syria has accused Turkey of supporting Syrian opposition and even allowing Syrian rebels to operate out of Turkish soil. Turkey strongly denies the allegations.

After a cross-border shooting by Syrian forces in April, Turkey said it would not tolerate any action that it deemed violating its security. The firing had left two refugees dead at a camp near the town of Kilis just inside Turkey.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Selcuk Unal earlier on Friday rejected allegations that Turkey was sending arms and other equipment to Syrian rebels as baseless. Unal said Turkey was not sending weapons to any of its neighbors, including Syria.

Turkey’s military provided no details on the downed plane’s mission Friday, but some Turkish TV reports said it was on a reconnaissance flight.

Syria claimed the jet violated its air space over territorial waters, penetrating about 1 kilometer (0.62 mile), but that Syrian vessels joined the search for it, according to Turkey’s NTV television. It said Syria forces realized that it was a Turkish jet after firing at it.

Ilter Turan, a professor of political science at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, told NTV that Syria’s action was clearly “hostile,” even if it violated its air space.

“They could have either sent their planes to confront it or force it to land, it is a hostile act by any standard,” Turan said.
Turan, however, predicted that Syria will try to avoid escalating tensions further.

Erdogan said the plane went down in the Mediterranean Sea about 8 miles (13 kilometers) away from the Syrian town of Latakia. Four Turkish gunboats and three helicopters were searching for the pilots and wreckage of the plane.

The Turkish military said the plane disappeared from its radar and that radio contact was lost at 11:58 a.m. (0958GMT) Friday during a mission flight.

Some eyewitnesses in Turkey’s seaside area of Hatay province told private NTV television that the plane was flying so low they thought it would “hit the roofs.” They said the plane then flew toward the sea.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton earlier this month had warned about a massing of Syrian forces near Aleppo, saying such a deployment could be a “red line” for Syria’s northern neighbor Turkey “in terms of their strategic and national interests.”

 

 

 

 

Pretext to Wage War on Syria. Turkey and the Gulf of Tonkin Redux?

Stephen Lendman
Global Research
 File:Bashar al-Assad under pressure.gif

The August 1964 false flag Gulf of Tonkin incident initiated full-scale conflict after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

War was authorized without declaring it.

It’s an American tradition. Big lies launch wars. Manufactured pretexts initiate them. Mass killing and destruction follow.

One nation after another is ravaged. Syria’s next, then Iran, followed by other states on Washington’s hit list.

On June 22, Turkey provocatively flew two warplanes at low altitude over Syrian airspace. It wanted a response and got it.

On June 23, Syria’s SANAstate media headlined “Military Spokesman: Anti-Air Defenses Intercepted a Target That Violated Syrian Airspace Over Territorial Waters, Shot It Down West of Lattakia,” saying:

“At 11:40 AM on 22/6/2012, an unidentified aerial target violated Syrian airspace, coming from the west at a very low altitude and at high speed over territorial waters, so the Syrian anti-air defenses counteracted with anti-aircraft artillery, hitting it directly as it was 1 kilometer away from land, causing it to crash into Syrian territorial waters west of Om al-Tuyour village in Lattakia province, 10 kilometers from the beach.”

Syria’s military spokesman also said naval forces from both countries were “searching for the two missing pilots.”

Some media sources said both crew members were rescued. Others said they’re still missing.

On June 23, Turkey’s Today’s Zamanheadlined “Turkey says Syria down(ed) its air force jet,” saying:

The incident will “likely….worsen already strained relations between” both countries.

After a two hour security meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Syrian forces for downing its aircraft. An official statement said:

“Following the evaluation of data provided by our related institutions and the findings of the joint search and rescue efforts with Syria, it is understood that our plane was downed by Syria.”

Turkey “will determinedly take necessary steps” in response. No further details were given.

At the time of its report, Today’s Zaman said both crew members were missing. It added that Ankara wouldn’t “tolerate any action that it deemed violating its security.”

Turkish TV reports said two military aircraft were on a reconnaissance mission.

In fact, Ankara acted provocatively. Perhaps it was at the behest of Washington. Turkey is a NATO member. A previous article explained it can invoke NATO Charter Articles 4 or 5.

Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all, and calls for collective self-defense.

On June 23, Reutersheadlined “Turkey warns it would respond decisively to Syria downing it aircraft,” saying:

Erdogan’s “initial comments and subsequent statement (were) measured in tone. He said Turkish and Syrian forces were working together to search for the two missing crew of the aircraft.”

Turkish media also said Syria apologized for the incident.

“Turkish state television interviewed witnesses on the country’s Mediterranean coast, near the Syrian border, who said they saw two low-flying fighter jets pass overhead in the morning in the direction of Syrian waters but only one return.”

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said:

“There was no aggression.” Damascus confirmed “an unidentified target flying at very low range when it violated Syrian airspace.” He added that both sides were searching for missing crew members.

The New York Times said an official Turkish statement hadn’t “yet concluded that the Syrian action was provocative, and it acknowledged that Syrian rescue teams were cooperating in trying to locate the aircraft and crew.”

“But the statement also left open the possibility that Turkey, a NATO member, would respond militarily, an outcome that could further complicate and widen the Syrian conflict.”

Washington has longstanding regime change plans. In early 2011, it orchestrated Western-generated violence.

It wants Assad replaced by a subservient puppet leader. If events on the ground don’t succeed, expect war to follow.

The Obama and Erdogan administrations may have staged Friday’s incident. Whether it’s a pretext for full-scale intervention remains to be seen.

Events on the ground keep escalating dangerously. Anything may erupt anytime. Provocations are easy to stage.

Friday’s incident may indeed become a casus belli. If not, perhaps something greater is planned to give Obama another war he wants. What better way to silence his Republican critics who call him soft on Assad.

On June 22, Foreign Policy‘s associate editor Uri Friedman headlined “How would NATO respond to Syria shooting down a Turkish plane?” saying:

“Could this incident — or an incident like it — trigger more aggressive action against Syria by the international community? After all, Turkey is a member of NATO….”

Its Charter affirms its all-for-one-and-one-for-all policy. Attacking one member is considered acting against all 28. Collective self-defense is called for.

On September 12, 2001, NATO invoked Article V for the first time. Will Syria be number two? If Turkey claims Damascus acted aggressively, will war follow?

“It is not an entirely unreasonable” possibility, said Friedman.

In April, Erdogan suggested he might invoke Article V. Whether he plans it now remains to be seen.

According to former UN Permanent Representative to NATO Kurt Volker, Article V gives NATO countries a chance to consult with one another on possible responses. It doesn’t automatically suggest a military one.

“A response could be anything from a statement reiterating the inviolability of security guarantees to members coordinating activities so that they can respond to further attacks on Turkish interests.”

Volker doesn’t think Friday’s incident justifies war. At the same time, the ball advanced closer to initiating it without Security Council authorization.

One way would be by creating Syrian “safe zones,” providing greater opposition support, and conducting air strikes against strategic military sites.

“I do get the feeling,” he added, “that the patience of the international community is growing thinner.”

“I think we may be approaching a point at which this kind of coalition intervention is more thinkable than it was a couple of months ago.”

Atlantic Council managing editor James Joyner also doesn’t believe Friday’s incident justifies war.

“It would be one thing if Syria sent ground troops into Turkey and started shooting,” he said.

In contrast, “shooting down a plane that might have been surveilling Syrian air space is just a different animal than that.”

“This is more of a harsh words and sanctions kind of thing, and frankly there’s not much more of that that we can do in terms of Syria.”

On June 23, UK government controlled BBCheadlined “Turkish warplane downed by Syria ‘may have crossed border,’ ” saying:

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said its aircraft may have violated Syrian airspace. Doing so isn’t unusual for short distances at high speed, he added.

“It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over (other) borders….when you consider their speed over the sea,” he claimed.

“These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the jets’ speed.”

Unexplained was that it’s one thing for peaceful neighbors occasionally to violate each other’s airspace without authorization.

No harm, no foul.

It’s quite another given months of intense violence in Syria and Turkey’s direct role.

Moreover, violating another country’s airspace by trying to avoid its defensive capabilities at low altitude shows clear hostile intent.

Damascus has every right to consider these type actions aggressive and threatening. Turkey would react the same way. So would Washington, key NATO partners and Israel.

A virtual state of war exists in Syria short of officially declaring it. These type incidents can easily be used as pretexts for full-blown conflict. It remains to be seen if Washington has that in mind.

Israeli drone attacks injure four Gazans

Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:52PM
Israeli drones have fired missiles at targets in northern and eastern areas of the besieged Gaza Strip, injuring four Palestinians.

The attacks occurred on Saturday, a few hours after two Palestinian men were killed in two separate drone attacks carried out by the Israeli military.

On the same day, a six-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and two others injured in an attack by an Israeli warplane near the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

JMA/HGL

Attack on Iran spells Tel Aviv’s end: Iran commander

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Mostafa Izadi
Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:4PM GMT
13

If the Zionist regime [of Israel] tries to take any action against us, it will mark the end of its existence and there is no doubt that they are unable to harm the [Islamic] Revolution and the establishment in any way.” Brigadier General Mostafa Izadi

The deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces has warned Israel against any possible military move against Iran, saying it will cause the end of the Tel Aviv regime.

“If the Zionist regime [of Israel] tries to take any action against us, it will mark the end of its existence and there is no doubt that they are unable to harm the [Islamic] Revolution and the establishment in any way,” Brigadier General Mostafa Izadi said on Saturday.

He pointed to Iran’s high naval as well as missile capabilities and said, in addition to military power, the Islamic Republic enjoyed other high capabilities that were not comparable to those of the Israeli regime.

Izadi referred to Iran’s geostrategic location in the region as a privilege and said, ”The existence of numerous [Iranian] islands in the Persian Gulf has provided us with great capabilities, making the Islamic Republic the superior defense power in the region.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Ali-Reza Tangsiri also said that Iran was fully ready to repel any threat.

“Taking into consideration all aspects of the enemy’s military might, if we say we have the power and skill to counter major threats it is not a mere claim it is a reality based on reality,” he said, adding that Iran was not afraid of any military threat.

Israel has repeatedly threatened Iran with a military option in a bid to force the Islamic Republic to halt its peaceful nuclear energy program, which Tel Aviv claims has a military aspect and considers it as a threat to its existence.

Iran rejects the allegations of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

AR/HGH/IS

Turkey downplays ‘ill intentions,’ says downed jet may have violated Syrian airspace

 

After making a phone call with Damascus, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul said that the downed jet fighter might have violated Syrian airspace. (Reuters)

After making a phone call with Damascus, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul said that the downed jet fighter might have violated Syrian airspace. (Reuters)

By Al Arabiya with agencies

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul said Saturday the jet fighter shot down by Syria might have violated Syrian airspace.

“It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over (national) borders … when you consider their speed over the sea,” Gul told Anatolia news agency. “These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the jets’ speed.”

He said Anakara has made a telephone contact with Syria.

The president, however, heightened his tone when he said that it is not “possible to ignore Turkish fighter jet being downed by Syria,” and that whatever is needed to be done following downing of the fighter jet will be done.

Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Saturday a jet that was shot down by Syria was not a warplane but a reconnaissance aircraft, state television TRT reported.

It was not immediately clear where Arinc, who is one of four deputy prime ministers and also the government’s spokesman, was speaking. Turkish media reported the downed jet was an F-4 Phantom, a supersonic jet fighter which can also carry out reconnaissance operations.

Syria’s downing of a Turkish plane marks a serious escalation of the Syrian conflict, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Saturday.

“The shooting down yesterday of a Turkish aircraft over Syrian territorial waters – this is a serious escalation and indication that the conflict would have far (a) bigger impact than (on) Syria itself,” he told a televised news conference with his Swedish, Bulgarian and Polish counterparts in Baghdad.

On Saturday, Syria confirmed that it shot down a Turkish warplane over its territory, sparking a fresh crisis on the two countries’ long border which is already awash with refugees and rebel fighters.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said NATO member Turkey would take all necessary steps once it had established the facts of Syria’s downing of the F-4 fighter jet in Mediterranean waters on Friday.

Tensions between the two neighbors were already running high as Ankara has taken a tough line on Damascus’s bloody crackdown on a 15-month-old uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, giving sanctuary to defecting military personnel who have formed the kernel of an expanding rebel army.

Syria’s official SANA news agency confirmed that Damascus had downed the jet in a terse report early on Saturday.

“An unidentified aerial target violated Syrian air space, coming from the west at a very low altitude and at high speed over territorial waters,” the news agency quoted a military spokesman as saying.

Turkey has denied that it is arming Syrian opposition, however the New York Times reported on Thursday that a small number of CIA officers had been deployed to southern Turkey, where they were helping U.S. allies decide which Syrian opposition elements should receive weapons deliveries.

While Turkey’s offcials downplayed the serious of Syria’s downing of a Turkish plane, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Saturday it marks a serious escalation of the Syrian conflict,

“The shooting down yesterday of a Turkish aircraft over Syrian territorial waters – this is a serious escalation and indication that the conflict would have far (a) bigger impact than (on) Syria itself,” he told a televised news conference with his Swedish, Bulgarian and Polish counterparts in Baghdad.

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Articles of Interest

Is Barack Obama Morphing into Dick Cheney?

By Michael T. Klare

As details of his administration’s global war against terrorists, insurgents, and hostile warlords have become more widely known — a war that involves a mélange of drone attacks, covert operations, and presidentially selected assassinations — President Obama has been compared to President George W. Bush in his appetite for military action.  “As shown through his stepped-up drone campaign,” Aaron David Miller, an advisor to six secretaries of state, wrote at Foreign Policy, “Barack Obama has become George W. Bush on steroids.”

When it comes to international energy politics, however, it is not Bush but his vice president, Dick Cheney, who has been providing the role model for the president.  As recent events have demonstrated, Obama’s energy policies globally bear an eerie likeness to Cheney’s, especially in the way he has engaged in the geopolitics of oil as part of an American global struggle for future dominance among the major powers.

More than any of the other top officials of the Bush administration — many with oil-company backgrounds — Cheney focused on the role of energy in global power politics.  From 1995 to 2000, he served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Halliburton, a major supplier of services to the oil industry.  Soon after taking office as vice president he was asked by Bush to devise a new national energy strategy that has largely governed U.S. policy ever since.

Early on, Cheney concluded that the global supply of energy was not growing fast enough to satisfy rising world demand, and that securing control over the world’s remaining oil and natural gas supplies would therefore be an essential task for any state seeking to acquire or retain a paramount position globally.  He similarly grasped that a nation’s rise to prominence could be thwarted by being denied access to essential energy supplies.  As coal was to the architects of the British empire, oil was for Cheney — a critical resource over which it would sometimes be necessary to go to war.

More than any of his peers, Cheney articulated such views on the importance of energy to national wealth and power.  “Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature,” he told an audience at an industry conference in London in 1999. “We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here.  Energy is truly fundamental to the world’s economy.  The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality.”

Cheney’s reference to the 1990-1991 Gulf War is particularly revealing.  During that conflict, he was the secretary of defense and so supervised the American war effort.  But while his boss, President George H.W. Bush, played down the role of oil in the fight against Iraq, Cheney made no secret of his belief that energy geopolitics lay at the heart of the matter.  “Once [Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein] acquired Kuwait and deployed an army as large as the one he possesses,” Cheney told the Senate Armed Services Committee when asked to justify the administration’s decision to intervene, “he was clearly in a position to be able to dictate the future of worldwide energy policy, and that gave him a stranglehold on our economy.”

This would be exactly the message he delivered in 2002, as the second President Bush girded himself for the invasion of Iraq.  Were Saddam Hussein successful in acquiring weapons of mass destruction, Cheney told a group of veterans that August 25th, “[he] could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East [and] take control of a great portion of the world’s energy supplies.”

For Cheney, the geopolitics of oil lay at the core of international relations, largely determining the rise and fall of nations.  From this, it followed that any steps, including war and environmental devastation, were justified so long as they enhanced America’s power at the expense of its rivals.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

Swiss protests against tightening of asylum law

 

Demonstrators walk in the street during a protest against the migration policy of the Swiss Parliament in Bern. The banner reads, “No to the revision of the asylum law.” (Reuters)

Demonstrators walk in the street during a protest against the migration policy of the Swiss Parliament in Bern. The banner reads, “No to the revision of the asylum law.” (Reuters)

By AFP
GENEVA

More than 1,000 people took to the streets of the Swiss capital Bern on Saturday in a protest against restrictions in the country’s asylum law.

The protest which included about 130 undocumented immigrants was called by trade unions, political parties and human rights organizations which deplored “increasing repression” in the country’s asylum policies.

ATS news agency said the slogan of the protest was “Stop an asylum policy that disregards human rights”.

Swiss lawmakers restricted the asylum law this month, barring asylum seekers from applying at Swiss embassies, a move aimed at stemming a tide of immigrants from Eritrea, among them deserters and conscientious objectors.

The amendment will be effective from late 2012 or early next year.

Parliament also decided that delinquent and unruly immigrants can be held in special centers where their movements would be restricted.

Lawmakers also restricted family reunions for officially recognized refugees, with only a spouse and underage children allowed to immigrate.

And they cut social benefits for asylum seekers who will only be given emergency aid, half the money so far paid out.

Several of these measures must still be approved by the upper house of parliament.

In 2011, 22,551 asylum requests were made in Switzerland, a record since 2002, and a rise of 45 percent over the 2010 figure.

Most asylum seekers came from Eritrea, Tunisia and Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

Ship carrying Syria choppers repaired by Moscow back in Russian waters: official

 

The Alaed, which headed back to Russia after its British insurer withdrew coverage, is to be re-flagged in Murmansk to sail under the Russian flag. (AFP)

The Alaed, which headed back to Russia after its British insurer withdrew coverage, is to be re-flagged in Murmansk to sail under the Russian flag. (AFP)

By AFP
MOSCOW

A Russian ship carrying a controversial cargo of attack helicopters that Moscow repaired for Syria has re-entered Russian waters after turning back off Britain, an official said on Saturday.

The Alaed, whose cargo has greatly troubled the West amid the spiraling conflict in Syria, is due to enter the Kola Gulf, which leads from the Barents Sea towards Russia’s Arctic port of Murmansk, on Sunday morning.

“The ship is drifting in territorial waters, the entry into the (Kola) Gulf is expected at 6:00 am Moscow time (0200 GMT),” a Kola shipping control official told the Interfax news agency.

It is not clear when the ship will then arrive in port.

The Alaed, which headed back to Russia after its British insurer withdrew coverage, is to be re-flagged in Murmansk to sail under the Russian flag.

It is currently sailing under the flag of the Caribbean island of Curacao. The change appears to be an attempt to avoid security inspections that come when sailing under the flag of a third country.

Interfax reported on Friday that once re-flagged, the ship will set off again on its voyage to the Syrian port of Tartus under the accompaniment of at least one other Russian ship.

Russia says the Mi-25 helicopters are being returned to Syria after undergoing repairs at Russian factories under contracts that could not be breached.

The Alaed was forced to return from its journey after its mission was reported by the US State Department, prompting the British insurer’s coverage withdrawal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday confirmed the nature of the cargo, saying the ship carried “three helicopters that had been repaired” by Russia for Syria under a 2008 agreement.

Lavrov, who next week meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Saint Petersburg, had said he felt no need to justify Russia’s behavior to the United States as Moscow had not violated any rules.

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  • [In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

Top Senators Call for Hearings After Recent Leaks of Classified Information

CNN

McCain

© n/a

Top senators are calling for a hearing on the “continuing leaks of classified information” allegedly from the White House after a recent media report detailed a U.S. cyber warfare targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities.

A report in The New York Times on Friday provided classified details of the U.S cyber attack.

Since the beginning of his term, President Barack Obama secretly ordered cyber attacks targeting computers that run Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, the Times reported, attributing the information to the program’s participants.

Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein, a Republican and a Democrat respectively, discussed the possibility of holding hearings to address the leak of information.

“I am pleased to report that chairman Carl Levin has agreed to hold a hearing on these leaks in the Senate Armed Services Committee,” McCain said in a statement Tuesday.

McCain said the alleged leaks are detrimental to U.S. security and accused the White House of releasing the information to boost the president’s political standing ahead of the November election.

“With the leaks that these articles were based on, our enemies now know much more than they even did the day before they came out about important aspects of the nation’s unconventional offensive capability and how we use them,” McCain said in remarks on the Senate floor.

“Such disclosures can only undermine similar ongoing or future operations and, in this sense, compromise national security. For this reason, regardless of how politically useful these leaks may be to the president, they have to stop.”

Feinstein decried the leaks too, saying she discussed the possibility of a joint hearing with Levin, chairman of the senate committee.

“Today, I sent a classified letter to the president outlining my deep concerns about the release of this information,” Feinstein said Tuesday. ” I made it clear that disclosures of this type endanger American lives and undermine America’s national security.”

White House deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, has said the administration is committed to withholding classified information.

“I’m saying that I’m not in a position to talk to you about any of the details that were included in the story,” he said. “But I am telling you that this administration — well, that it’s our view, as it is the view of everybody who handles classified information, that information is classified for a reason; that it is kept secret, it is intended not to be publicized because publicizing it would pose a threat to our national security.”

McCain and Saxby Chambliss, a top Republicans who serves on the intelligence committee, cited other recent leaks, including the release of information on the administration’s efforts to expand drone programs on militants in Yemen. The public airing of the Yemen plot angered intelligence and national security officials.

“Let me be clear: I am fully in favor of transparency in government — I have spent my entire career in Congress furthering that principle,” McCain said.

“But what separates these sorts of leaks from, say, the whistle-blowing that fosters open government or a free press is that these leaks expose no violations of law, abuses of authority, or threats to public health or safety. They are merely gratuitous and utterly self-serving.”

Chambliss called for a probe on the “pattern” of leaks.

Gitmo detainees stay imprisoned years after being cleared

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

Then Senator Obama touted if he became president of the United States, he would make shutting down Guantanamo Bay a top priority. But for many, the failure of restoring the right to Habeas Corpus to those prisoners is unacceptable. On Monday, the Supreme Court gave a preview of the cases it would be willing to hear in its next term from detainees being held in the Cuban facility. Several people in Gitmo have been officially cleared for release, but still remain behind bars. Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, joins us to explain why that is.

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Economy

We are all Greeks

David Wilkinson
Free Britain

As eurosceptics, who have devoted many years of our lives to opposing this new EU regime that has descended over Europe, our first loyalty, our whole sympathy, must be with the victims of the EU ambition: we are all Greeks now.

The Greek people are the victims of an experiment. And let us not confuse Greeks, the people like us, and the institutions of government that are in Greece but are tiers in the EU governmental hierarchy.

Not all people are opponents of the EU nor of the way the EU governs Europe. Such people will say that the Greeks are to blame for all their woes. For some people it simply would not do if blame was seen to lay with the EU, the institutions of the Euro and the foreign banks who made speculative loans. These people say that they all conducted themselves with perfect virtue and should suffer no loss – and that the people must pay. And so television screens all over Europe have shows vilifying the swarthy, lazy, greedy Greek.

Alright, the average Greek may have borrowed too much, retired too early and defended himself too enthusiastically against the taxation of a kleptocratic state. But all his sin was not to have the power to doubt every word he was told by his politicians, his newspapers and his television. What people of what nation could have done that? Not even the British. If a man, even if he is a fool, believes a lie, is he as guilty as the liar? All Greeks did was to live the way they were told was the way to live.

The Greeks are victims of an experiment. The European Union always claims that it has kept the peace in Europe since the second world war, although it never kept much peace in Greece then. The EU claims that it brought civilised democracy to the post-Soviet east of Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall as if those countries would be savage without the guiding wisdom of Brussels – and yet after the fall of dictators in Greece, membership of the EU has brought little virtue to the governing elite of Greece. Rather, Brussels has kept in place a compliant regime and connived in scandalous dishonesty to fit Greece into the Euro. Good sense was discarded for the vanity of the Euro.

In as much as all people are responsible for who they allow to govern them, all Greeks are culpable. As are all Europeans. But did the Greek people ask to join the Euro in a referendum? Then they are innocent as all Europeans are innocent.

The Greeks must take some small responsibility for their woes. But we have been taught to love our neighbour. We have been taught to love our neighbour always and not to love him apart from when he makes a mistake or when he is in need. If a man loses his job, his savings, his ability to choose how his country is run, everything as a result of this euro-crisis and that does not make him our neighbour, then what would?

Greeks are hurting. They have been the first to suffer the severe pain of the Euro construct. Their pain is that of those first into battle – should those of us still safe for the moment mock their wounds? Because the hardship, then suspension of democratic rule and national independence are coming to us soon. Look at Greece and you see Ireland. Look and see your own future.

So should we pay to the ECB and their laundry boys at the IMF? If you asked a Eurosceptic to pay for the freedom of another country then he is glad to pay just as a true patriot will fight for the freedom of another’s country. But we are not being asked to pay for the freedom of Greece but for the lasting austerity, hardship and what is almost slavery of Greece. We are not being asked to make gifts to a neighbour who has suffered misfortune but to save banks from the folly of their greed and the Euro madness of their ambition. We are not being asked to do anything that will lead to the happiness of Greeks but to save the Euro from collapse. If Roger Helmer is remembered for anything it should be his “They are trying to save the cancer and not the patient”. There has been no better description of the efforts to perpetuate precisely what afflicts Europe.

EU politicians join together to tell Greece how to vote in her second election. But this was in the way of bullies. Cameron is no Palmerston, but a British Prime Minister should send a message to the Greek people that however they vote we are friends. Communist politics in Greece made some kind of sense when the USSR could subsidise such decisions but not now. However the protest is absolutely necessary. Now Greece has a hard path through protest and instability before a sensible way out of this can be trodden. Our Government must tell Greeks that if they must leave the Euro, then we will stand by you. In any case, it will be for the best.

No, we will not pay for your top civil servants to retire at 50 nor to turn you into a nation of beggars. Greeks will work hard and fight like demons (as Churchill observed) for freedom. So we are prepared to do what we can to help regain freedom, responsibility and a serious route to regained prosperity. Because that is how the Eurosceptic shows true European solidarity.

We are all Greeks. When Percy Bysshe Shelly wrote this he meant that so much of what is beautiful in our civilisation today had its origin in Greece. Today we see that a horror that could engulf all of Europe is planted in Greece. The banners we see in London and the blog we read that say “we are all Greek” ask us to join in solidarity against this horror.

Comment: A small but important point: The USSR never subsidised Greek ‘communism’. Greek ‘communism’, which is better described as anarchism, developed organically in response to the Nazi invasion. Ordinary Greeks organised themselves spontaneously at a local level because they were living under pathocracy, not because of some desire for ideological association with Soviet ‘communism’. They did what they had to do to survive. Then the British invaded the country before the end of the Second World War and reinstated the local Nazis, under whose totalitarian rule Greeks lived until 1974. What is emerging in response to the economic war against Greece today is the same development of local, organic and cohesive networks. So the pathocracy turns up the heat in an effort to “prevent this domino from falling”, which is really code-speak for preventing genuinely socialist networks and ideas from spreading beyond Greek borders.

Breakingviews: Greeks caught between rock and hard place

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

June 11 – Breakingviews editor Hugo Dixon says Greeks must choose between the pain of sticking with the euro and the chaos of bringing back the drachma.

Germany keen on helping bailout eurozone

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

In Germany, there appears to be strong support for the Spanish bailout.

But one former central banker says Germany can no longer continue to bankroll an increasingly worsening European crisis.

Nick Spicer with this report from Berlin.

Spain Getting $125 Billion Bailout

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

Some good news for Spain today -The European Union’s finance ministers are lending up 125 billion dollars to its banks in order to revive those who are sunk with faulty mortgages.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was reluctant for weeks to accept the bailout and was working to see if Spain could fix the problem for themselves.

It was obviously not the case – but! investor’s reacted immediately to the financial backing and Spain’s IBEX sprang to life with a four percent gain

Economy analyst Miguel Murado explains that the bailout is just the first step and that there is much more work to be done.

The bailout means very little to the roughly 25 percent of the unemployed who are feeling helpless

Unemployment still remains at an astounding 25 percent. Many fear that more budget cuts will mean even more layoffs and that things are only going to get worse…. before they can get better.

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Wars and Rumors of War

Afghan suicide bombers kill 22 civilians at marketplace

Atia Abawi & Akbar Shinwari
NBC News

© EPA/I. SAMEEM
Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a suicide attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Wednesday.

A dusty marketplace in southern Afghanistan was turned into a gruesome scene of blood and bodies on Wednesday after at least two suicide attacks, which left 22 civilians dead and at least 50 others injured, officials said.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the militant group was behind the attacks in Kandahar, the capital of Kandahar province and the spiritual birthplace of the insurgency, The Associated Press reported.

In the east, two American pilots were killed in a helicopter crash amid enemy activity, an un-named senior U.S. defense official at the Pentagon told The Associated Press. NATO confirmed that two service members had been killed in the crash but not their nationality or any other information.

Also in the east, Afghan officials and residents said a pre-dawn NATO air-strike targeting militants killed civilians celebrating a wedding in Logar province, including women and children, although a NATO forces spokesman said they had no reports of civilians being killed in the overnight raid to capture a Taliban leader.

NATO said a number of insurgents had been killed as a result of the operation, and that two Afghan women had received medical care after being wounded. The women had not received life-threatening injuries, NATO said.

Kandahar attack

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the Kandahar attack on civilians, saying it proved the “enemy is getting weaker because they are killing innocent people.”

One suicide bomber detonated a three-wheeled motorbike filled with explosives first, Rahmatullah Atrafi, deputy police chief in Kandahar province told the AP. Then, as people rushed to assist the casualties, two other suicide bombers on foot walked up to the site and blew themselves up, he said.

The explosions left a bloody scene of body parts, shoes, soda cans, snacks and debris from three shops that were destroyed.

Mohammad Naeem, a 30-year-old shopkeeper, said he was selling soft drinks to a customer when the first blast occurred.

A local member of parliament told NBC News that at least 18 people were killed in the attack.

© AP Photo/Ihsanullah Majroh
Afghan villagers gather at a house destroyed in an apparent NATO raid in Logar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday.

“Among those killed were civilians and members of the Taliban,” Saib Khan told NBC News. “It is hard to obtain the exact number of casualties because a wedding party was staying in the same area where the airstrike occurred.”

Local officials told Afghanistan’s TOLOnews that 13 civilians had been killed in the airstrike.

There was no immediate explanation for the different accounts.

“I dropped to the ground,” he told the AP. “When I got up, I looked outside and I heard people shouting for help.”

Naeem said he helped his customer, who was wounded, into his shop.

“He was bleeding. I put cloth on his wound to stop the bleeding,” he said. “I was busy with that when the other blasts occurred.”

Islam Zada, a truck driver, was on the other side of the road having tea near his parked truck when the attack began.

“I couldn’t see anything except for fire and dust,” Zada said of the scene. “I found a wounded truck driver on our side of the road and went to help him,” Zada said. “We gave him some water and when we were talking to him the other blasts occurred.”

The number of Afghan civilians killed dropped 36 percent in the first four months of the year compared with last year, according to the latest figures compiled by the U.N. While the trend is promising, the U.N. laments that too many civilians are being caught up in the violence as insurgents fight Afghan and foreign forces.

The U.N. said last month that 579 civilians were killed in the first four months – down from 898 killed in the same period of 2011.

Anti-government forces caused 79 percent of civilian casualties and Afghan and foreign forces 9 percent, according to the U.N. It was not clear who was responsible for the remaining 12 percent.

MSNBC and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comment: Who in Afghanistan has a news station that broadcasts the truth worldwide? Leaving it to Western news media, we get whatever line of propaganda is dished out, all the while, being told what to think.

© Anthony Freda
NATO – Humanitarian Wars?

What, in terms of understandable logic does: “It is hard to obtain the exact number of casualties because a wedding party was staying in the same area where the airstrike occurred” exactly mean? Does it mean innocent wedding goers were so shredded by fragments it made it hard to determine the number of dead? Such pretty words but no graphic images of the carnage, thus they paint the picture however they please.

© Unknown
Actual Quote

Only a monster without any form of Empathy could accept such pathological speech.

McCain: Saudis supply arms to Syrian opposition, US should follow lead

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

The new Syrian opposition leader has also urged mass defections from the regime and promised support for the rebels. This, as U.S. senator John McCain has said that anti-Assad fighters are directly supplied with weapons from Arab Gulf states and wants Washington to follow that lead. International relations professor Mark Almond, says the U.S. will remain true to its idea of regime change.

Mosaic News 6/8/2012: Bahraini Protestors Demand the Right to Self-Determination

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

Bahraini protestors demand the right to self-determination, Jordanians continue to rally for economic reforms, bomb targeting government bus kills 20 in Pakistan, and more.

Today’s headlines in full:

Bahraini protestors demand right to self-determination
Al-Alam, Iran

Jordanians continue to rally for economic reforms
BBC Arabic, UK

Yemenis take to streets in Sanaa, Taiz
Press TV, Iran

Bomb targeting government bus kills 20 in Pakistan
Press TV, Iran

NATO apologizes for Afghan civilian deaths
Press TV, Iran

Afghanistan: Dozens escape in explosive prison jailbreak by Taliban; four dead
Press TV, Iran

UN monitors reach massacre scene in Syria
Future TV, Lebanon

Egyptians protest against ex-premier ahead of runoff elections
Al Jazeera, Qatar

‘Regards from Ulpana’: Fresh Price Tag attacks hit Jewish-Arab village of Neve Shalom
IBA, Israel

Potential right-wing settlement deal will save Ulpana buildings from demolition
IBA, Israel

Abbas: In absence of talks, will seek UN recognition of Palestinian statehood
IBA, Israel

Palestinian town celebrates hunger striker Halahla’s release
Palestine TV, Ramallah

Image: A protester holds a poster with pictures of people whom she said died in last year’s government crackdown as she shouts anti-government slogans during a march called by Bahrain’s leading opposition society al Wefaq, on Budaiya highway west of Manama June 8, 2012: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Mosaic is a Peabody Award-winning daily compilation of television news reports from the Middle East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Iran. Watch more Mosaic at http://www.linktv.org/mosaic

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Articles of Interest

Bad Balance: US women paid less than men despite calls for equality

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

America’s women are now top of the class over men when it comes to getting advanced degrees. There’s a sting in the tail though – their salaries still lag far behind their male counterparts. What’s worse is that conservatives are blocking legislation to get fair pay, as Marina Portnaya explains.

Indian workers allege abuse in Qatar

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

Human Rights Watch is expected to release a scathing report on the treatment of migrant labourers in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Many migrant workers, mostly from India and other South Asian countries, have made allegations of physical abuse and non-payment of salaries by their Qatari employers.

The mounting accusations have prompted Indian politicians to seek comprehensive reform of their country’s laws to protect migrant workers.

Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman reports from the Indian state of Kerala.

Navy drone crashes in Maryland

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by

cnn.com

Washington (CNN) — A U.S. Navy drone crashed Monday in a marsh near Salisbury, Maryland.

The RQ-4A Global Hawk drone crashed during a routine training flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, according to Jamie Cosgrove, a spokeswoman for the Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons Program at the base.

There were no injuries to civilians and no property damage, said the Navy, which said it is investigating the cause.

Video from CNN affiliate WBOC showed smoke rising from brush fires in the unpopulated area.

The drone crashed into a tributary of the Nanticoke River, a U.S. Coast Guard official said. The crash site has been blocked to recreational boat traffic while the agency investigates, the Coast Guard official said.

As soon as Navy personnel lost contact with the unmanned vehicle, a piloted aircraft was dispatched to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where it came upon the wreckage and determined that it was unlikely anyone on the ground had been hurt, Navy officials told CNN.

The crash occurred at about 12:11 p.m., near Bloodworth Island in Dorchester County, the Navy said.

The aircraft is one of five aircraft acquired from the Air Force Global Hawk program. The BAMS-D program has been developing tactics and doctrine for the employment of high-altitude unmanned patrol aircraft since November 2006.

The drone can fly for 30 hours without refueling at altitudes as high as 11 miles. It is typically used for reconnaissance. Of the five drones based at southern Maryland’s Naval Air Station Patuxent River, four are in routine training and one is deployed with the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, the officials said.

The basic RQ-4A Global Hawk UAV, manufactured for the U.S. Air Force by Northrop-Grumman, is the largest and most advanced drone in the U.S. military, according to the Navy. It is 44 feet long, has a 116-foot wingspan and weighs 25,600 lbs.

The vehicles cost $176 million apiece, the Government Accountability Office reported in 2010.

Crashes are highly unusual, Navy officials said.

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  • [In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]