Tag Archive: Strait of Hormuz


Predator drones ‘useless’ in combat scenarios – Air Force general

Published time: September 20, 2013 00:15
Edited time: September 20, 2013 03:37

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border.(AFP Photo / John Moore)

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border.(AFP Photo / John Moore)

The fleet of MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones are no match for aircraft that can fly higher and faster, like those employed by the most basic of air defenses around the world, Gen. Mike Hostage, chief of the air service’s Air Combat Command, said at an Air Force Association conference.

“Predators and Reapers are useless in a contested environment,” Hostage said, as quoted by Foreign Policy.

“Today…I couldn’t put [a Predator or Reaper] into the Strait of Hormuz without having to put airplanes there to protect it,” he added.

The Air Force revealed this week that an F-22 intercepted an Iranian F-4 Phantom jet fleet closing in on a US Predator over the strait earlier this year. In late 2012, Iranian jets fired on and missed a Predator drone in the strait.

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More than half Iran parliament backs Hormuz closure bill

Friday, 20 July 2012

A heavy Western naval presence in the Gulf and surrounding area is a big impediment to any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil exports passes. (AFP)

A heavy Western naval presence in the Gulf and surrounding area is a big impediment to any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil exports passes. (AFP)

By Reuters
DUBAI

Just over half of Iran’s parliament has backed a draft law to block the Strait of Hormuz, a lawmaker said on Friday, threatening to close the Gulf to oil tankers in retaliation against European sanctions on Iranian crude.

The assembly has little say in defense and foreign policy, where Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the last word, but the law would lend political support to any decision to close the strait — a threat that Iran’s foreign minister recently played down.

Lawmaker Javad Karimi Qodoosi said 150 of parliament’s 290 members had signed the bill, describing the strait as “the world’s lock” to which Iran holds the key.

“If the sanctions continue, the countries that have imposed sanctions have no right to cross the Strait of Hormuz without harm,” the Iranian Students’ News Agency quoted Qodoosi as saying.

A heavy Western naval presence in the Gulf and surrounding area is a big impediment to any attempt to block the vital shipping route through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil exports passes. Qodoosi dismissed this obstacle.

“From a military standpoint, the power to close the Strait of Hormuz is 100 percent there … if we close the Strait of Hormuz, no country will be able to open it.”

Iranian threats to close the shipping channel have multiplied in response to sanctions placed on its crude exports by Western powers. The European Union banned imports from July 1 and non-EU Turkey has slashed purchases.

The sanctions were imposed over Iran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at creating an atomic weapon and Tehran says is for peaceful energy purposes.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told Reuters earlier this month Iran was unlikely to follow through on the treat to close the strait.

“Probably those who have suggested this idea have in mind that if Iran is denied access to the Persian Gulf for whatever reason … then Iran will probably react appropriately … But I don’t think such a time will ever come,” he said.

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

Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Resolution Blasting UN Agenda 21

Legislation attacking the United Nations’ “Agenda 21” agreement as a radical socialist plot at odds with American liberty and values was approved overwhelmingly by members of the Tennessee House of Representatives last Thursday, sparking some criticism by far-left activists but widespread praise by conservative groups and Tea Party organizations across the nation.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/environment/11224-tennessee-lawmakers-pass-resolution-blasting-un-agenda-21

New Obama Executive Order Seizes U.S. Infrastructure and Citizens for Military Preparedness

Brandon Turbeville
BlacklistedNews.com

In a stunning move, on March 16, 2012, Barack Obama signed an Executive Order stating that the President and his specifically designated Secretaries now have the authority to commandeer all domestic U.S. resources including food and water. The EO also states that the President and his Secretaries have the authority to seize all transportation, energy, and infrastructure inside the United States as well as forcibly induct/draft American citizens into the military. The EO also contains a vague reference in regards to harnessing American citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of national defense.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/New_Obama_Executive_Order_Seizes_U.S._Infrastructure_and_Citizens_for_Military_Preparedness/18501/0/38/38/Y/M.html

The Vetting – Holder 1995: We Must ‘Brainwash’ People on Guns

by Joel B. Pollak

Breitbart.com has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to “really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”

Holder was addressing the Woman’s National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to “change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC” about guns.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/03/18/Holder-Fight-Guns-Like-Cigarettes

Holder’s Brainwashing Against Guns Foreshadowed Operation Fast and Furious

Yesterday, Breitbart.com revealed exclusive video of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder speaking to the Woman’s National Democratic Club, stating that he wanted to “brainwash” people against gun ownership.

The video reveals Attorney General Holder’s early, consistent, and strident enthusiasm for gun control legislation. He wanted schools to talk about anti-gun propaganda “every day, every school, and every level.”

Operation Fast and Furious — in which Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) smuggled guns illegally to Mexican drug cartels — could finally have provided Holder the material for that anti-gun curriculum.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/03/19/Holders-Brainwashing-Against-Guns-Foreshadowed-Operation-Fast-and-Furious

Economy

Rigged Market Conventional Wisdom

Forecasting Wilting Government and Growing Economies

Wars and Rumors of War

SYRIA: Media Accuses Syrian Government of Collaborating with Al Qaeda. How the Media Refutes its own Lies…

The latest terrorist attack in Damascus is described by the media as yet another government sponsored initiative geared towards killing Syrian civilians.

The CTV-AP report of this tragic event resulting in 27 deaths and some 140 wounded is riddled with contradictions. First it acknowledges that the target of the attacks was government buildings including Air Force Intelligence and National Security buildings in Damascus:

Two explosions rocked the Syrian capital of Damascus Saturday … The twin suicide car bombs were aimed at intelligence and security buildings in the capital. (CTV, March 17, 2012, emphasis added)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20120317&articleId=29830

US freezes $7.5M of Hezbollah, Hamas accounts

Treasury submits report showing it has frozen $21.1 billion of terror organizations’ assets in 2011, including $12 million of al-Qaeda’s, $55 million of Iran’s accounts

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4204521,00.html

Narcotic task force and child services steal children from California medical marijuana patients

On the morning of September 29, 2011, around 8 AM, the Butte Interagency Narcotic Task Force (BINTF) out of Butte, California, forced their way into the home of Jayme Walsh and his wife Daisy Bram.

The officers then arrested the two parents and with the help of Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Child Services Division of Butte County, seized their children.

http://EndtheLie.com/2012/03/17/narcotic-task-force-and-child-services-steal-children-from-california-medical-marijuana-patients/#ixzz1pcvSuQJd

WAR PLAN IRAN: Dispelling the Lies, Telling the Truth about Western Aggression in the Persian Gulf

GR ONLINE NEWS READER

by Finian Cunningham and Michel Chossudovsky

The year 2012 may become known as a watershed for humanity – the year when mankind was precipitated into a global conflagration involving nuclear weapons. The signs are indeed grimly ominous as formidable military forces converge on the Persian Gulf in the long-running stand-off between the United States and Iran.

On side with the US are its European allies in NATO, primarily Britain, Washington’s Middle East client states: Israel and the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf – all bristling with weapons of mass destruction. Recent naval exercises by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz have also displayed a fierce arsenal of missiles and military capability, and Iran has strategic alliances with Russia and China, both of whom will not stand idly by if their Persian partner is attacked.

As we have consistently analysed on Global Research, the conflict between the US-led powers and Iran has wider ramifications. It is part and parcel of Washington’s bid to engineer the social and political upheavals across the Arab World in order to redraw the region in its strategic interests. It is no coincidence that fresh from NATO’s conquest of and regime change in Libya, the focus has quickly shifted to Syria – a key regional ally of Iran. As Michel Chossudovsky has pointed out “the road to Tehran goes through to Damascus”. Regime change in Syria would serve to isolate Iran. Subjugating Iran and returning it to Western tutelage is the prize that Washington and its allies have been seeking for the past 33 years ever since their client the Shah, Mohammad Rezā Pahlavi, was deposed by the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28675

5 Politicians Pushing the US Closer to a Disastrous War With Iran

President Obama may be pushing back against the “loose talk of war,” but Congress sure isn’t.

Republican candidates for president have made Iran a top issue in their attacks on President Barack Obama. While US and Israeli intelligence have concluded that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, Rick Santorum recently suggested that “the issue of the day come this fall” could be the existence of a “nuclear Iran,”

http://www.alternet.org/world/154576/5_politicians_pushing_the_us_closer_to_a_disastrous_war_with_iran/

Global arms trade growth by a quarter is spurred by India

Fears of arms race in Asia as Stockholm peace institute data shows India is now biggest importer

The global arms trade has grown by nearly a quarter over the last four years, with new growth mainly in poorer countries and India now officially the world’s biggest importer of arms, research has revealed.

Statistics published on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that demand from emerging economies – in particular India – drove the volume of worldwide arms transfers between 2007 and 2011 to a level 24% higher than in the previous four years.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/19/arms-sales-grow-24percent

Bombs & Blame: Syria accuses Saudis, Qatar of arming rebels

Uploaded by on Mar 19, 2012

The Syrian regime has pointed the finger at Saudi Arabia and Qatar, saying the Arab states were involved in the chain of weekend terror blasts in Syria’s largest cities. The Gulf nations have been accused by Assad’s government of arming whoever carried out the attacks, which left around thirty people dead and dozens injured.

Sara Marusek, a Beirut-based researcher from Syracuse University talks to RT. She says the Syrian people are falling victim to Saudi Arabi and Qatar’s brutal tactics, to push their political agenda.

Environmental

France Bans GM Corn Amid Mass US Protests against Monsanto

by Rady Ananda

Amid mass US protests against Monsanto in mid-March, France imposed a temporary moratorium on the planting of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, MON810.

“Due to the proximity of the planting season,” said Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire along with Francois Fillon, Minister for Ecology and Sustainable Development, in a press release on Friday, authorities “decided to take a precautionary measure to temporarily prohibit the cultivation of maize MON810 on the national territory to protect the environment.”

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29828

Cyber Space

RIAA chief: ISPs to start policing copyright by July 1

Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are among the ISPs preparing to implement a graduated response to piracy by July, says the music industry’s chief lobbyist.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-57397452-261/riaa-chief-isps-to-start-policing-copyright-by-july-1/

Megaupload Seizure Order “Null and Void” Says High Court

In another astonishing development in the Megaupload saga, a judge in New Zealand’s High Court has declared the order used to seize Kim Dotcom’s assets as “null and void”. The blunder, which occurred because the police applied for the wrong type of court order, means that the Megaupload founder could have his property returned.

Just when it seemed that the handling of the Megaupload case couldn’t get any more controversial, a development from New Zealand has taken things to the next level.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Megaupload_Seizure_Order_%E2%80%9CNull_and_Void%E2%80%9D_Says_High_Court/18512/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Taking A Stand

Texas Mayor Officially Cancels Agenda 21 Membership

The city of Irving, Texas has officially withdrawn its membership from ICLEI — the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. This NGO was established in 1990 and is the action division of the policies laid out under the UN’s Agenda 21 plan — the globalist initiative to usher in a post-industrial world for the 21st century through the creation of local laws and requirements for city planning that essentially erase personal property rights and even steal land under a “sustainable” umbrella.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/texas-mayor-officially-cancels-agenda.html

Radiation

Radiation, Coverups and the Legacy of Fukushima

by grtv

One year on from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan’s northeast, details continue to emerge about how the crisis was much worse than the government and TEPCO originally let on.

Joining us to discuss the legacy of Fukushima is Helen Caldicott, a physician, author and radio host who has spoken out for decades about the deadly effects of nuclear radiation.

http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2012/03/radiation-coverups-and-legacy-fukushima

Psy – Ops

Midnight Climax: CIA’s MK-ULTRA LSD experiments in San Francisco

Newly released documents shed light on the San Francisco edition of the CIA’s notorious MK-ULTRA program (through which people were unwittingly given massive doses of LSD to see if the drug would be useful for brainwashing), which ran from 1953-1964. There’s lots of detail about MK-ULTRA’s work in NYC and Montreal, but the San Francisco operation has been shrouded in mystery.

http://boingboing.net/2012/03/17/midnight-climax-cias-mk-ult.html

Misc

Spies could use your TV to snoop on you, according to CIA director David Petraeus

Spies could now snoop on you through your TV, dispensing with the necessity of planting bugs in your room, according to CIA director David Petraeus.The CIA says it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home, Petraeus added. Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/4687

Don’t want to be groped by the TSA or go through a body scanner? Just pay $100!

With their thoroughly reprehensible “grope-down” procedure, not to mention reportedly strip searching multiple elderly women, harassment of elderly terminal cancer patients and the severely mentally challenged, and the potentially dangerous and ludicrously costly naked body scanners (which can be circumvented with shocking ease), the TSA has become a bit of a joke in the United States.

Not to be outdone, they have now introduced a program which allows travelers to pay $100 to take part in a program where they are able to skip the degrading, dehumanizing procedures the rest of us are subjected to every time we’re unfortunate enough to travel by plane.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Don%E2%80%99t_want_to_be_groped_by_the_TSA_or_go_through_a_body_scanner%3F_Just_pay_%24100!/18519/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Corruption Risk Report Cards Published

The State Integrity Investigation, a partnership between the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International to measure the risk of corruption in every state, released full state report cards today. They include letter grades, reporter comments and research details, as well as each state’s rank among all 50 states.

See How Your State Ranks

The State Integrity Investigation is an unprecedented, data-driven analysis of each state’s laws and practices that deter corruption and promote accountability and openness. Experienced journalists graded each state government on its corruption risk using 330 specific integrity indicators. The Investigation ranked every state from one to 50. Each state received a report card with letter grades in 14 categories, including campaign finance, ethics laws, lobbying regulations, and management of state pension funds.

http://www.stateintegrity.org/your_state

Attack Dogs used on a High School Walkout in MD, Four Students Charged With “Thought Crimes”

Politics  and  Legislation

Will Greece Be Ruled by the Bankers – or Its People?

http://www.truth-out.org/will-greece-be-ruled-bankers-or-its-people/1330717929

The Often Forgotten Downside to Accepting Corporate Contributions

http://www.nationofchange.org/often-forgotten-downside-accepting-corporate-contributions-1330879141

Economy

Towards a Creditor State – One in Seven Americans Pursued by Debt Collectors

http://www.truth-out.org/towards-creditor-state-one-seven-americans-pursued-debt-collectors/1330796809

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Time to Cut the Oil Barons Off, and More

http://www.truth-out.org/news-thom-hartmann-time-cut-oil-barons/1330708440

Gazprom ‘mulls joining Israel’s gas boom’

Gazprom, Russia’s biggest energy conglomerate, is reported looking to work with Israel on the Jewish state’s vast offshore natural gas reserves.

Senior RBA men face fresh scrutiny over bribe scandal

Chicago Residents Win Closure of Two Coal Power Plants After Health Ailments Spark Campaign

Environmental

How “Drill, Baby, Drill” and “Yes We Can” Got Married

http://www.truth-out.org/how-drill-baby-drill-and-yes-we-can-got-married/1330791118

Genetically Modified Food Labeling Initiative Gains Momentum

http://www.nationofchange.org/genetically-modified-food-labeling-initiative-gains-momentum-1330877516

BP Settlement Leaves Most Complex Claims Unresolved

http://www.nationofchange.org/bp-settlement-leaves-most-complex-claims-unresolved-1330871305

Protesters Occupying Monsanto Corp. Arrested

http://www.nationofchange.org/protesters-occupying-monsanto-corp-arrested-1330870187

 Wars and Rumors of Wars

Israel’s Assassins and Tehran’s Killers

http://www.truth-out.org/israels-assassins-and-tehrans-killers/1330713278

New Map Shows Location of Nation’s Most Toxic Industrial Boilers

http://www.truth-out.org/new-map-shows-location-nations-most-toxic-industrial-boilers/1330714223

Obama says he has ‘Israel’s back,’ urges patience on Iran sanctions

By Amie Parnes – 03/04/12 12:31 PM ET

North Korea Has Allegedly Tested Nuclear Warheads For Iran

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/04/2012 00:19 -0500

Misc

NGOs: The Missionaries of Empire

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29595

Hackers Elect Futurama’s Bender to the Washington DC School Board

http://www.pcworld.com/article/251187/hackers_elect_futuramas_bender_to_the_washington_dc_school_board.html