Bless the large numbers of Ethiopians, the many good people in Indonesia, and the folks of Russia, Greece and Egypt, who are now playing it.
100% CERTAIN 9/11 WAS MOSSAD OPERATION
Most US people polled believe that 9/11 was an "inside job", but what would they feel if they found out that it was designed by Zionists who deliberately killed thousands of innocent US citizens to drive the US into wars on Muslims?
They'd be angry, right?
Fernando Imposimato, the President of the Italian Supreme Court, calls for a criminal investigation of 9/11, comparing the attack to false flag incidents carried out by the CIA in Italy: Operation Gladio.
"The 9/11 attacks were a global state terror operation permitted by the administration of the USA, which had foreknowledge of the operation yet remained intentionally unresponsive in order to make war against Afghanistan and Iraq," Imposimato declares in a letter published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies.
Ferdinando Imposimato is the Honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy and a former Senator who served on the Anti-Mafia Commission in three administrations. He is the author or co-author of seven books on international terrorism, state corruption, and related matters, and a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy.
As a former state prosecutor, Imposimato has extensive experience in investigating high-profile crimes, including the kidnapping and assassination of Italian Prime Minster Aldo Moro and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. He also worked on the Anti- Mafia commission as a Senator, giving him a wealth of knowledge on the inner workings of organized crime syndicates.
Imposimato points to several facts contradicting the official 9/11 story, including the free-fall collapse of WTC Building 7, the report that the CIA met with Osama Bin Laden in a Dubai hospital in July 2001, and the overwhelming evidence of insider trading before 9/11 that didn't lead to any criminal charges, reports digitaljournal.com
The following is an excerpt from Imposimato’s letter published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies on Sunday:
The reports of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), November 20, 2005, set forth the following conclusions: The airplanes that struck each of the Twin Towers caused a breach as well as an explosion evidenced by a giant fireball. The remaining jet fuel flowed onto the lower floors, sustaining the fires. The heat from the fires deformed the building structures and both towers collapsed completely from top to bottom. Very little that was of any size remained after these events except steel as well as aluminum fragments and the pulverized dust from the concrete floors.
The World Trade Center 7 also collapsed–in a way that was inconsistent with the common experience of engineers. All three buildings collapsed completely, but Building 7 was not hit by a plane. WTC7’s collapse violated common experience and was unprecedented.
The NIST report does not analyze the actual nature of the collapses. According to experts at the Toronto Hearings (Sept. 8-11, 2011), the collapses had features that indicate controlled explosions. I agree with architect Richard Gage and engineer Jon Cole, both highly experienced professionals [from Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth – now numbering 1,700 strong], who have arrived at their conclusions through reliable tests, scientific proof, and the visual testimony of people above suspicion, including firefighters and victims. The authoritative theologian David Ray Griffin has described very precisely why the hypothesis of controlled demolition should be taken into consideration. Various witnesses heard bursts of explosions.
According to NIST the collapse of Building 7 was due to fires provoked by the collapse of the twin towers. Chemist and independent researcher Kevin Ryan, however, has demonstrated that NIST gave contradictory versions of the collapse of Building 7. In a preliminary report NIST declared that WTC7 was destroyed because of fires provoked by diesel fuel stored in the building, while in a second report this fuel was no longer considered the cause of the building’s collapse. Additional comments on the NIST version of events have been made by David Chandler, another expert witness at the Journal of 9/11 Studies Letters, September 2012 Toronto Hearings. Despite NIST’s claim of three distinct phases of collapse, Chandler pointed out that many available videos show that for about two and a half seconds the acceleration of the building cannot be distinguished from freefall. NIST has been obliged to agree with this empirical fact as pointed out by Chandler; now understandable by everyone.
The only possibility for achieving justice is to submit the best evidence concerning the involvement of specific individuals in 9/11 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and ask him to investigate according to the articles 12, 13, 15 and 17, letters a and b, of the Statute of the ICC, recalling also the preamble of the Statute:
“Recognizing that such grave crimes threaten the peace, security and the well being of the world,”
“Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation, ”
“Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prosecution of such crimes, recalling that it is the duty of every state to exercise its jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes." reports infowars.com
More and more people from all walks of life and all professions seem to be questioning the “official” narrative of what happened on 9/11. Those who are questioning the events of 9/11 may be moving under the radar of the corporate media from being labeled “conspiracy theorists” to legitimate investigators with legitimate questions and concerns, reports examiner.com
Theorists believe that the World Trade Center buildings were demolished by bombs, phone calls from the planes were made up, and the former President George W. Bush secretly profited from the attacks, reports newsone.com
The World Trade Center collapse appeared similar to a controlled demolition. Many speculate that the towers were in fact blown down with explosives placed in selected locations. Some witnesses heard explosions inside the building as they attempted to escape. Many architects and scientists maintain that plane fuel couldn't produce enough heat to melt the steel frame of the buildings that collapsed, reports newsone.com
TEN REASONS WHY THE US WONT CUT "AID" TO EGYPT
1. The US doesn’t give much aid to the Egyptian people per se. Only $250 million a year out of $1.55 billion is civilian. The aid is to cement a relationship between the Egyptian officer corps and the Pentagon.
2. The military aid, $1.3 billion a year, is mostly in-kind, a grant of weaponry. It must be spent on US weapons manufacturers. It is US arms manufacturers like Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics (and their employees) who would suffer if it were cut off.
3. The Congress gave the Egyptian Generals a credit card to buy weapons, and they’ve run up $3 billion on it for F-16s and M1A1 tanks. If the US cancelled aid, it's the US who would have to pick up that bill.
4. Even most of the civilian aid is required to be spent on US goods and materiel. It is corporate welfare for the US.
5. The aid was given as a bribe to the Egyptian elite to make nice with Israel. Given the chaos in Sinai, and Egypt’s instability, Congress is more worried about that issue than at any time in 40 years.
6. The Israelis asked the US not to suspend the aid.
7. Congress even structured the economic aid, to require some of it to help joint Israeli-Egyptian enterprises in Egypt, so part of the aid to Egypt, actually goes to . . . Israel.
8. It is not generally recognized, but the Egyptian army is a “security umbrella” for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE against Iran (and often Iraq). The Persian Gulf oil states also have powerful Washington lobbies and want Egypt to continue as a Gurkha force. Children, can you say oil?
9. Many in the US Congress don’t disagree with the generals’ actions in overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party and driving it underground, since they agree it is a terrorist organization.
10. Behind the scenes, Egyptian military intelligence has helped the US track down extremists, and in the Mubarak era ran black sites where they tortured suspected al-Qaeda for Washington. The US deep state would like to ramp that relationship back up.
(from an article by Press TV, 'opinion')
Supporters of ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, rally outside Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo on November 4th, 2013.
LATEST NEWS SUNDAY
Pakistan’s main opposition group is now calling on the government to officially block the supply routes for foreign forces in Afghanistan, to stop US drone attacks.
Syed Munawar Hassan, the leader of Jamaat- e-Islami opposition group, said in Lahore on Saturday that arms and ammunition headed for Afghanistan to US-led forces via Pakistan are being used in attacks in tribal areas and cities bordering Afghanistan.
The Jamaat-e-Islami chief says now is the best time to pressure the US into stopping its deadly aerial attacks.
He says the closure of routes could prove to be a vital disruption, as US-led forces prepare for a major withdrawal from Afghanistan next year.
The remarks come as protesters in north- western Pakistan continue their blockade of NATO supplies to Afghanistan.
The public blockade staged last week by several parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami & Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, which runs the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, provided a spur.
Pakistan says US drone attacks violate its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
UK PROTESTS AGAINST ISRAEL's ETHNIC CLEANSING ON SATURDAY's 'DAY OF RAGE'
Across the UK, people demonstrated their opposition to the Israeli plan to forcibly remove 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins from their homes.
The proposal is triggering accusations of “ethnic cleansing” and “discrimination” from activists' groups.
The Prawer Plan will see between 40,000 and 70,000 Bedouin citizens removed from their homes in South Israel.
The Israeli government has said the Bedouins will be re-homed and granted compensation.
However, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign says the plan heralds “the forced displacement of Palestinians from their homes and land, and systematic discrimination and separation.”
The group published a letter in the Guardian on November 29th condemning the plan, urging the UK government to act.
The letter contains the signatures of 50 public figures supporting the cause.
The document calls for immediate action from the UK government, urging strong measures - rather than the usual diplomatic rhetoric.
“There can be no ‘business as usual’ with a state which is preparing to ethnically cleanse 70,000 people. It’s time to start challenging Israel’s racism and apartheid policies,” the activists' letter says.
In support of the letter, mass protests took place across the UK on Saturday.
The “Day of Rage” demonstrations were held in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Lambeth, and a number of places in central London.
At the same time, Palestinians in Israel also staged mass demonstrations against the Prawer Plan to draw world attention.
Despite opposition to the plan, the Israeli government is pushing ahead and is expected to vote on the initiative before the end of the year.
Some Israeli media also condemn the plan on the basis that the Bedouins are Israel citizens - granted citizenship in the 1950s:
“These are Israeli citizens – citizens in a ‘democratic’ state, some of whom have even served the country militarily – who are now having their homes destroyed,” David Harris-Gershon writes in his blog for the Tikkun Daily.
“The plan to 'regularize' Bedouin settlement in the Negev does nothing to solve problems and regularize our settlements – it stipulates only destruction,” says Fadi El-Obra, a 29-yr- old from Rahat, speaking against the Prawer Plan to the International Solidarity Movement.
The Palestinian Authority has slammed Israel’s plans to continue expanding settlements, while Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the Palestinians of purposely “inciting artificial crises.”
Israel “will not be subjected to any restrictions concerning settlements,” Netanyahu recently vowed at a meeting with the Israeli right-wing Likud bloc, stressing that the Palestinians are "well aware of that".
ISRAEL RAN TERROR ACTION IN SYRIA
Battles launched over a week ago near Damascus, by a surprise assault against Syrian army forward posts in east Ghota...
may be the first occasion in which Israeli army units acted jointly with one of the parties in the war on Syria, the Lebanese daily Assafir reports this weekend.
Sources told the newspaper that Israeli troops provided reconnaissance maps and photos of Syrian army positions to the attacking force, which moved from Jordan, under the leadership of Saudi- US-Israeli coordinated intelligence.
"However, the big Israeli contribution in the East Ghota battle, was the pillar upholding the whole attack.
According to security information, before the start of the first round of the attack, the Israelis succeeded in disrupting the communications systems of the Fourth Division, the Republican Guard, units of Hezbollah elite forces, and the Iraqi Abu al Fadl al Abbas groups deployed there.
In the first hours of the attack, the Israelis used electronic means of encryption, and managed to disrupt radio communications between Syrian groups and their allies in the first line of defense, which was thus breached quickly, and led to the fall of all seven villages and farms in al-Marj.
It has become known that units of the fourth division stationed in the region "lost contact with" commanders, and other units protecting retreating groups' lines towards the second line of defense, to stop attackers from progressing toward their strategic goal of Otaiba, which forms the entrance to East Gouta and was the key to lifting the siege.
THE RESTRAINT OF THAILAND
About a thousand anti-government people have forced their way into the compound of the Royal Thai Army Headquarters.
Elsewhere in the capital, hundreds of have surrounded the HQ of the PM's ruling party.
The protesters reject PM Yingluck Shinawatra's call for talks, aimed at easing recent political tensions.
She says her government will exercise "the utmost restraint", and the Thai army says it will remain neutral.
Some commentators suggest the CIA is orchestrating the protests.
AFTER ALL THE BRAVADO... CHINA 'ENCIRCLEMENT' FAILS.
The US, S. Korea and Japan made a noise and sent warplanes when China introduced a new maritime air defence zone, but today...
Washington has advised all aircraft carriers to notify the Chinese authorities if they are passing through China’s new maritime air defense zone.
Beijing has announced that it will take "unspecified defensive measures" against all aircraft that pass through their territory over the East China Sea.
The US Administration had accused China of creating "unnecessarily aggravated tensions" in the area. (such fun!)
EGYPT COUP MOVING TO SECULAR ARMY-LED STATE
A preliminary text of the new Egyptian constitution published in the official al-Ahram newspaper, bars any parties “founded on a religious basis” and strips any explicit Islamic language and statutes from its articles.
It also preserves Mubarak-era army privileges, such as its right to pick its own defense minister, and to try civilians in military courts.
The constitution, to be voted on by the public next month, was drafted at the behest of the army-led regime by a constituent assembly made up of secularists, who replaced the previously Islamist-dominated drafting body.
Another student was killed Thursday in clashes, as Egypt still sees mass resistence and protests over the new laws and prison sentences imposed, plus a clampdown at Cairo university.
KARZAI: 'STOP OPPRESSING AFGHANS'
President Hamid Karzai blames the US for a drone strike on a home in southern Afghanistan that killed a 2-year-old child & wounded 2 women on Thursday, and vows that he will not sign a key bilateral security deal if such attacks continue.
“This attack shows that American forces are not respecting the life and safety of Afghan people’s houses,” Karzai said.
“For years, our innocent people have become victims of the war under the name of terrorism, and they have had no safety in their homes.”
Karzai makes it clear that he will not sign the security agreement if such “oppressions by foreign forces go on.”
HOPE FOR GREECE
We see in Europe today a negative story of broken economies, debt, etc, which we all understand can - if it continues - lead to police states, and attempts to re-impose colonial wars.
But here is hope:
'Debt, National Currency and Democracy'
Under the above title, 24 economists, politicians, journalists and activists from various countries will discuss in Athens this coming weekend, the possibilities for Greece if out of the Eurozone, the organizers say, reports Prensa Latina.
This is the first time Athens has hosted an international event of this nature, which aims to inform Greek public opinion on how debt, plus a lack of ability to issue currency within the eurozone, is leading to the abolition of democracy, a loss of national sovereignty, and - on a practical level - to misery.
Participants will discuss these issues either from their national or academic perspectives, highlighting those circumstances & proposals that are generally avoided, if not distorted, in the information provided by the mass media.
An organizer, Thanasis Laskaratos, says it's expected that Noam Chomsky will either send his speech, or make it via a video-conference.
The meeting will be attended by activists against debt, the Egyptian lawyer Mahinour El-Badrawi and independent journalists such as the Finn Janus Putkonen, Chief Publisher of the website verkkomedia.org.
Other participants will be Hordur Torfason, one of the architects of the rebellion in Iceland, the Spaniard Alberto Montero, president of the CEPS Foundation; Artem Vasiliev, Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Moscow, & Ireland's Anthony Coughlan, who coordinates the initiative for an independent, democratic and cooperative Europe.
For the organizers, economist Dimitris Kazakis, president and promoter of the United People´s Front, is addressing the conference.
The United People's Front is an open movement that comes directly from neighborhoods and workplaces, and which advocates a national and social struggle involving the vast majority of people.
AUSTRALIAAND THE UNFAIR PLAN
Members of aboriginal communities in Australia have held a demonstration to stop government- proposed “councils” supervising heritage sites.
The protesters from rural areas assembled in front of Parliament House in Sydney to call on the government to abandon the plan.
They say the planned reforms are aimed at silencing their voice and limiting their rights, and demand control over their heritage sites.
Based on the plans, the councils would be tasked with making "heritage-related" decisions "on behalf of" their communities.
“They do not give Aboriginal people as a community, a voice about what happens to our culture and our heritage,” aboriginal woman Dolly Talbott says. “They take that away, and give it to a minority to decide.”
She adds that the reforms open up the door “for too much corruption” as they give too much power to too few people.
Talbott says details of the proposed reforms indicate that they would “open the gates to opportunities for criminal misconduct by mining companies and other commercial interests.”
It's feared that the elite few on the proposed councils, she says, would be influenced by economic interests and make decisions harmful to the wider community.
Some parliament members also voice opposition to the reforms. Green MP David Shoebridge says heritage issues should be open to extensive community consultation and that final decisions shouldbe left to an independent aboriginal commission.
CANADA LOCKING UP MORE AND MORE "NON-WHITES"
Certain groups, notably aboriginals and blacks, are "disproportionately over-represented" in Canada’s prisons & their numbers are "growing at alarming rates,” says a report by correctional investigator Howard Sapers, who is the prison ombudsperson for federal inmates.
"Today, 4 in 10 of the federal inmate population is non-Caucasian," Sapers says.
"These are disturbing trends that raise important questions about equality and our justice system in Canada," he states. _____________________________
US DRONE POLICY EMBARASSING NATO SUPPORTERS & PAKISTAN
CIA-controlled covert drone strikes in Pakistan are putting its allies in an awkward position, as the US keeps rejecting repeated calls from both government and parliament in Pakistan, for an immediate end to such attacks.
PM Nawaz Sharif publicly accused the US of sabotaging its plans to hold peace talks with the Taliban, when a US spy aircraft killed Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, on November the 1st.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan says the long- anticipated peace process with the Taliban cannot be started unless the United States stops its drone attacks.
Days after Mehsud's death, the Taliban refused to talk to the government & said that they would conduct revenge attacks, dashing hopes for a possible peace deal.
Pakistan's top security adviser, Sartaj Aziz, said last week, that the US government's promise not to carry out drone attacks during earlier peace talks "raised some hopes" on the deadlock with the Taliban.
But one day after Aziz's remarks, a US unmanned aircraft struck a religious school on November 21, in Pakistan's northwest, killing six students and their teachers.
After that, Islamic groups exerted pressure on the government to cut the supply line for the US-led NATO troops in protest, to force the US to review its drone policy in Pakistan.
Ruling coalition partners in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, part of the main supply route to Afghanistan, decided this week to stop NATO lorries trying to pass through the province.
They have now set up camps along roads at various locations and regularly search lorries with NATO supplies, only to send them back.
Transporters dealing with NATO supplies say hundreds of lorries are stranded in Karachi, and many more are being prevented from entering Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to avoid damage to their vehicles.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Ministerm Pervaiz Khattak has written to PM Sharif, asking him to order the "suspension of transportation of all NATO supplies entering Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - to and from Afghanistan."
Imran Khan, chief of the ruling Pakistan Tehrik -e-Insaf party in the province, says provincial governments cannot guarantee the security of any containers carrying NATO supplies.
The forced halting of NATO supplies ignores an agreement that allows supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan, to go via Pakistan.
The US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbin, urges Pakistan to ensure the smooth passage of NATO supplies, as provided for in a bilateral agreement.
Pakistan provides the shortest, cheapest route for supplies bound for Afghanistan and for any heavy machinery or defense equipment needing to be taken out, if NATO ever needs to withdraw.
The US is already withdrawing some military equipment through Pakistan, as part of a 2014 pullout of "all NATO forces" from Afghanistan.
The US does not want disruption to its exit strategy. But it also rules out any change in its drone "mission", thus putting NATO and Pakistan in a very difficult position.
US SPYING "MAY BE" ILLEGAL BUT IT WILL CONTINUE.........
The UN human rights committee has unanimously passed a 'right to privacy' resolution sponsored by Germany and Brazil that protects the right to privacy against illegal surveillance.
The resolution states that surveillance and data interception by governments and companies "may violate or abuse human rights.”
This is the first document that establishes protection of human rights in the digital sphere, Brazil's Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota tells AP.
It "establishes for the first time that human rights should prevail irrespective of the medium, and therefore need to be protected online & offline,”Patriota says.
The resolution is concerned with "the negative impact" that surveillance, "in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.”
German Ambassador Peter Wittig:
"Is the human right to privacy still protected in our digital world? And should everything that is technologically feasible, be allowed?”
The fact that the resolution was unanimously passed by the committee seems to guarantee that it will get the votes of all 193 members of the General Assembly in December.
Although the resolution will not be legally binding, it will have some political weight.
The US did not go against the measure, but lobbied the ‘Five-Eyes’ intelligence sharing alliance of the UK, Australia and New Zealand to water down the language of the resolution.
Language stating that foreign spying would be a rights violation was weakened, says AFP.
Human Rights Watch specialist Philippe Bolopion says that, although the language, sadly, has been watered down, he still believes that it is "a vital first step toward stigmatizing indiscriminate global surveillance.”
European Commission drops probe into "alleged" US financial spying...
The European Commission has dropped its investigation into suspected abuse by the US of a shared financial database.
The European Parliament called last month for the suspension of the US's ability to track international payments because of suspicions that it was trawling too deeply for information.
But yesterday, Cecilia Malmstrom, Europe's commissioner for home affairs, said she has not found any proof of wrongdoing, and has thus rejected EU lawmakers' calls to freeze US' access to messages on transactions.
Syria ‘won't surrender power’ at Geneva
Syria’s government along with the main Western- backed opposition coalition have both confirmed they will be at the UN-sponsored peace conference.
The repeatedly delayed peace talks are scheduled for January 22 in Geneva, and will bring together Syria’s President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposition for the first time since the bloody conflict began in March of 2011.
Syrian authorities at the January peace talks will resist Western demands for President Assad to step aside, the state news agency SANA says today. “The official Syrian delegation is not going to Geneva to surrender power,” a foreign ministry source says, adding, “the colonial era is over.”
The statement is in response to French/UK demands that Assad should have no role in a transitional government, Reuters reports.
DIVIDE & RULE UNDER EGYPT's ARMY COUP TURNS TO REAL REPRESSION...
Egypt has ordered the arrest of two top activists for defying a newly passed anti- demonstration law, as mass protests against the law grow across Egypt, reports say today.
According to state news agency MENA, Egypt's general prosecutor has ordered the arrest of Ahmad Maher, the founder of the April 6 movement against former dictator Hosni Mubarak that led to 2011 revolution in the country, and Alaa Abdel Fattah, a prominent activist, today (Wed).
According to the prosecution, the two activists are to be kept in custody for four days over demonstrations held in Cairo, against a new anti-protest law.
"The 2 are accused of inciting protesters to hold demonstrations that broke the protest law," the prosecution says.
According to security officials, about 70 protesters were also detained during Tuesday's protests, including Mona Seif, founder of the campaign against military trials of civilians, and revolutionary icon, Ahmad Harara.
Harara is a dentist who lost one of his eyes to birdshot during protests against Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the other in a protest against the military junta that ruled Egypt, days after Mubarak's fall.
Egypt enacted the controversial new anti-protest law on Nov. 24th, under which the gathering of more than 10 people requires a written permit... 3 days prior to the protest.
The new anti-protest law "authorizes" security forces to use tear gas, water cannon, smoke grenades, warning shots, rubber bullets, and even live ammunition against unauthorized demonstrators... after issuing warnings.
It also says protesters can be imprisoned for up to five years if convicted of crimes, such as covering their faces and carrying weapons, while participating in rallies.
Meanwhile top UN official Navi Pillay condemns this new legislation as “seriously flawed” and says it must be immediately amended or repealed.
HONDURAS ELECTION "A FRAUD"
The Spanish coalition Izquierda Unida charges today that fraud was committed in Sunday's elections in Honduras to prevent the victory of Xiomara Castro, candidate of the opposition party, Freedom and Refundación.
In a press release, IU Human Rights and International Solidarity director, Francisco Pérez, says the accusation is based on separate reports from independent international observers, who oversaw the elections.
Vote rigging was committed to prevent Castro from gaining power with her popular, left and anti-oligarchic program, states Perez, who accuses the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy of legitimizing it.
In a statement, Rajoy's right-wing Popular Party government congratulated the conservative National Party of Honduras & its candidate, Juan Orlando Hernandez, for his alleged victory at the polls.
The leader of the leftist IU coalition, Spain's third-largest political force, says he regrets that the PP had rushed to acknowledge Hernandez' triumph with just over half of the votes counted.
The main Honduran opposition groups, including the Free & Anti-Corruption parties, do not recognize the results and denounce this new fraud scandal in Honduras, he says.
ISRAEL AND SAUDI TERROR IN YEMEN
Tens of thousands of Yemeni protesters have chanted anti-Israeli slogans during a funeral procession for an assassinated lawmaker in the capital, Sana’a.
On Tuesday, Yemenis voiced their anger with the Israeli regime during a funeral procession for Houthi lawmaker, Abdul Karim Jadban.
Jadban, gunned down by armed men on November 22, was a prominent Houthi lawmaker representing the Houthis, in a national dialogue underway in Yemen.
Jadban’s body was carried by his Houthi supporters to Sana’a airport and flown to the north-west province of Sa’ada for burial.
The assassination came just weeks after deadly clashes between Houthi fighters and Saudi-backed Salafi militants in the town of Dammaj.
Houthis, who control parts of the north and are engaged in reconciliation talks with Sana’a, accuse the government of violating civil rights and marginalizing them - politically, economically and religiously.
The conflict between the government of ousted dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi fighters in northern Yemen began in 2004.
The Houthi movement played a key role in the popular revolution that forced Saleh to resign. Yemen’s Shia Houthi movement draws its name from the tribe of founding leader, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi.
Saleh ruled Yemen for 33 years, but stepped down in February 2012 under a US-backed power transfer deal, in return for immunity, after a year of mass street demonstrations demanding his ouster.
Vice president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi replaced him on February 25th, 2012... after a single-candidate presidential election backed by the US & Saudi Arabia.
Pakistani Parties to Expand anti-US Protests, Cut NATO Supplies
Thousands of supporters of Imran Khan's party blocked a key supply route for NATO forces, and he says that he will mobilize the public - who overwhelmingly oppose US drone attacks.
Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan's Tehreek-e-Insaf or Justice Movement, says that he will organize rallies against the drone attacks in other cities.
The protesters held a sit-in on the main supply route for US-led forces in Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Khan urges Pakistan's government to quit the so-called US war on terror, as it has only brought destruction.
“Pakistan has lost 50 thousand people since it joined the US-led coalition. The country has suffered the loss of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of troops have been sent to tribal regions - on the excuse of fighting al-Qaeda,” he said.
He criticizes the US for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by carrying out drone attacks, despite strong opposition by parliament.
He says courts in Pakistan have delivered verdicts against the drone strikes, but the government has failed to implement them.
Khan "regrets" that PM Nawaz Sharif did not raise the issue of drone strikes when he spoke with President Barrack Obama at a joint press conference, on his recent visit to Washington.
He says the US drones have killed off all hopes for peace or dialogue with the Taliban militants, and adds that peace cannot be attained until the US drone strikes are stopped.
THIRD DEGREE, ANYONE?
A report shows German universities have received millions of euros in funds from the US military for research projects into munitions and drone software.
German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that at least 22 universities and research institutes confirm accepting over 10 million euros in research grants from the Pentagon, since 2000.
The report shows that the Pentagon even paid those German universities whose rules ban research for the arms industry.
According to the newspaper, Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU) was paid over 470,000 euros by the US Defense Ministry to research "improving" explosives.
Pentagon funds have also been given to the University of Marburg, which is researching navigation systems for drones and "steered munitions” and to the Fraunhofer Society, a network of research institutes, to research "bullet-proof" glass and explosives.
Germany's political opposition is criticizing this cooperation between German universities & the Pentagon, & urging more transparency from universities over third-party projects.
"It is unbelievable that this cooperation has not been published, and that some universities refuse to give information about the contracts," says Left Party parliamentarian Nicole Gohlke.
Other critics say these German universities are breaking the German constitution, as the funded projects are aimed at war preparation.
"It's problematic when science is devoted to war preparation, especially when it's for the US military. After all, the US is waging wars of aggression, and without authorization from the UN Security Council," says Jurgen Altmann, a physicist & peace researcher at TU Dortmund University.
UK universities are also in a state of denial. Ask about psychology courses on "conformity" and religion's effect on torture survival !
WE CAN SEE YOU COMING
The Iranian Navy this week, will reveal a long-range radar system, announces Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
"We will present the new system on Navy Day" (Wednesday), the senior officer says.
The Iranian Navy has chosen their day of celebration, to publicly exhibit the latest advances in the research and manufacture of arms of Iranian design and construction.
The new system, called Asr, with a range of one to three thousand kilometers, was manufactured by Iran's defense industry, is proven in tests, and will be mounted on warships in the near future, emphasizes Admiral Ali Qolanzadeh, head of the Iranian Navy Industrial Research & Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization.
The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic and the Guard Corps of the Revolution and Basij (Volunteer in Farsi), announced two years ago that Iran's military industry was self-sufficient in the production of weapons, equipment and tools - a goal that was set years ago, to reduce any dependence on foreign purchases.
This year, Iranian naval forces have prevented several pirate attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea, and expanded its operational range to international waters in the Far East, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyarihe recalls.
VOTE IN HONDURAS DENIES CASTRO
The presidential candidate from the leftist party in Honduras, Xiomara Castro, disputes the official results of the vote, as the election commission says the ruling conservative party leader, Juan Hernandez, has an 'irreversible' lead.
She and her party say a final poll showed she was winning the elections. About 500 protesters took to the streets to march against manipulation of the vote count, but were soon dispersed by the police.
EGYPT STILL IN TURMOIL
Thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi have held fresh massive rallies across Egypt - despite warnings from the army-backed interim government.
Egyptians protested in several cities Sunday, chanting slogans against the military's coup and demanding the release of protestors.
This, after Egypt's Minister of the Interior issued a warning that they would be "dealt with decisively".
The protesters say they will press ahead with their calls for an end to military rule and for Morsi’s reinstatement.
IRAN DEAL BREAKTHROUGH
After over four days of intensive negotiations, Iran and the Sextet - the US, UK, Russia, France, China & Germany - sealed an interim deal in Geneva in the early hours of Sunday.
The agreement paves the way for a final resolution of the West’s long dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
In the deal, the Sextet has agreed to several measures including enabling the repatriation of an agreed amount of Iranian revenues held abroad and suspending the EU/US sanctions on insurance and the transport of Iran’s crude.
The EU/US sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, gold and precious metals and the auto industry as well as the supply of spare parts for Iranian airplanes, would also be suspended.
Further, no new sanctions will be imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council, the EU or US.
In return, Iran undertakes to implement measures, including the capping of its uranium enrichment to 5% for 6 months, as stipulated in the agreement. Tehran has also agreed not to advance activities at Natanz, Fordow and Arak, to allow more inspections of its facilities, and to further increase its cooperation with the IAEA as "confidence-building".
Greatest deception in modern history
Despite huge, growing public opposition, the Loya Jirga of Afghan tribal elders has reached an accord and recommends that the country’s president sign a pact with the USA, which gives it a permanent presence, scores of military bases and immunity for its troops and special forces.
The Grand Council of Afghanistan, Loya Jirga, endorsed the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States on Sunday.
“The Loya Jirga requests the president to sign the agreement before the end of 2013,” it states.
Now the deal has to be approved by parliament, to take effect.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an opening address to the Jirga on November 21, that the deal will not be signed until after presidential elections in April 2014.
The White House says if Karzai fails to sign the deal by the end of 2013, it will prevent the US and its allies from planning for the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
The security deal allows US troops to stay in Afghanistan WELL beyond 2014.
The issue of whether or not to grant immunity to US forces was a sticking point in the deal. Kabul sees immunity as a violation of sovereignty.
Some members of the Grand Council called for an extra US military base to be added in the province of Bamiyan.
Protests were held while the Loya Jirga meeting was underway. Several huge protests have been held in Kabul, and in other major Afhan cities to oppose the deal.
Afghans say the deal will pave the way for a prolonged US military presence in the country.
The US has over 43,000 troops in Afghanistan.
Karzai now says he will end the deal... if US troops enter Afghan people's homes.
A PRAYER FOR HONDURAS
5.3 million Hondurans with electoral rights have been reflecting on their vote and on Sunday they could support one of 8 candidates, who promise better conditions if they are chosen.
In a campaign not free of the endemic violence plaguing Honduras (86 homicides per 100,000), voters will decide the country´s president, who will assume his post on January 27th, 2014.
The second elections since the military coup in 2009, has 8 parties involved, one less than just days ago, when the Broad Front of Political & Electoral Resistance (FAPER) & Democratic Unification Party's alliance, split up.
These numbers smash the traditional two-party system between the National Government Party (PN) and the Liberal Party.
The latest polls - officially released in October - showed a virtual tie between the PN candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez, and the Liberal Party candidate, Xiomara Castro.
The other presidential candidates include: Mauricio Villeda, from PL, and Salvador Nasralla, (Anti Corruption Party), Orle Solis, (Christian Democracy), and Jorge Aguilar, (Innovation and democratic Social Unity Party), retired general Romeo Vasquez, (Republican Patriotic Alliance), and human rights activist Andres Pavon, (Broad Front of Political and Electoral Resistance).
IRAQ GROUP OFFERS SAUDIS BLOWBACK An Iraqi group says it will launch attacks on Saudi targets if the kingdom continues to provoke sectarian violence in the region.
The group, which calls itself the Mukhtar Army, also claimed responsibility for a Wednesday mortar attack, which targeted an uninhabited area of Saudi Arabia near the Iraqi border.
It says the attack was carried out in retaliation for decrees issued in Saudi Arabia that insult Shias and encourage people to kill them.
Wathiq al-Battat, the head of the group, says the attack was "a warning strike" to Saudi Arabia to stop "interfering" in Iraqi affairs.
"We did not mean for our missile to reach a residential area because we value people's blood," says Battat. "But next time, if Saudi Arabia continues with the same course, we will go farther, little by little."
Saudi state news agency SPA quotes General Mohammed al-Ghamidi, border guard media spokesperson, as saying six mortar rounds hit "an uninhabited area near Al-Awja border crossing... in Hafr al-Batin in Eastern Province, and no damage was caused."
Riyadh stands accused of promoting sectarian violence in Iraq. The country has also been a vocal supporter of Takfiri terrorists fighting against the Syrian government.
Afghanistan rejects US call to sign security pact
President Hamid Karzai’s government has rejected a call from Washington to sign a security deal before the end of the year.
President Karzai says Afghanistan must hold elections before signing any "deal".
US Secretary of State John Kerry slams the move as “unacceptable” and potentially endangering plans for a post-2014 security presence in Afghanistan.
Without the security pact, US troops are scheduled for a full withdrawal in 2014, but fear they will leave Afghan authorities ill-prepared to deal with a rising insurgency.
Residents in Peshawar are today stopping NATO supplies passing through Pakistan.
TEN GREEN BOTTLES...
One of the two Palestinian negotiators in the peace talks with Israel, Mohamed Shtayyeh, who resigned two weeks ago, will be substituted by another official, reveals a source here today.
Shtayyeh refuses to go back to the negotiation table with the Israeli team, led by Tzipi Livni.
Mohamed Shtayyeh, Saeb Erekat and the rest of the negotiating team presented their irriversible resignations to President Abbas, who asked them to continue supervising the negotiations, assuring that they continue for the nine months established in a preliminary agreement with John Kerry.
President Abbas will appoint another negotiator, says the informant, who insisted on anonymity.
For her part, the scholar and board member of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine, Hanan Ashrawi, says that Israel is using the peace talks as a cover for new settlement construction in the West Bank.
Such actions are a deliberate attempt to destroy opportunities for peace, and any possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian State on the borders existing prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, asserts Ashrawi in an interview.
Europe in shock as Ukraine kills integration plan
Facing its most important economic crossroads since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kiev has aligned itself closer to Russia, and suspended preparations to sign an EU trade deal.
Ukraine will “restore an active dialogue” with the Customs Union and the CIS.
Economic and foreign ministers propose that Ukraine, Russia, and the EU create a three-way commission to improve and strengthen trade relations.
Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, says Russia welcomes Ukraine's desire to actively develop ties with Moscow, and Putin adds that he isn't completely against Ukraine's association with EU.
Putin says he supports the idea of trilateral trade talks, but only up until Ukraine signs an association agreement with the EU.
"We favour this, but only before decisions are made. How can we hold negotiations on issues that have already been agreed upon and endorsed? What is our role in such negotiations? It's equal to zero, but we are surely prepared for such a discussion if it is substantial," Putin said yesterday in Moscow.
“This is a disappointment --- not just for the EU but, we believe, but for the people of Ukraine,” EU foreign policy boss Catherine Ashton says, claiming that “the most ambitious” pact ever offered to a partner by the EU "would have" helped the country’s economy.
The decree signed by PM Mykola Azarov's government yesterday ordered the “halt of the process of preparing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.”
The decision was taken to “ensure the national security of Ukraine” and to “restore lost trade volumes with the Russian Federation” after considering the effects on trade relations with Moscow, legislators say.
The announcement follows the Ukraine parliament's earlier refusal to pass a bill that would see jailed former PM Yulia Tymoshenko allowed to travel abroad for treatment - a key EU deal condition for the summit that was scheduled in Vilnius, Lithuania, next week.
The EU envoy at the negotiations, Polish politician Aleksander Kwasniewski confirms that the deal will not go ahead, saying the “mission is over… The accord will not be signed in Vilnius.”
It is Ukraine's “sovereign right to make a decision on which path she wants to follow,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says, amid a storm of squeals from others.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk Ukrainian opposition leader:
"If Yanukovych is refusing to sign the agreement, then it is not only state treason but also grounds for the impeachment of the president and the dismissal of the government," he said. People have started flocking to Kiev’s main Square, home of a 2004 "Orange revolution".
About 1500 protesters with banners have gathered in Maidan Square to voice their opposition to the government’s decision, local media reports.
Some MPs have also joined the protest, and another is planned for this Sunday.
Police have cordoned off the presidential administration building.
Since the cabinet's decision, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele has canceled his Friday trip to Kiev.
President Yanukovych, however, says, despite “difficulties” his country would continue towards European integration.
Russia has welcomed Ukraine's decision to actively develop ties with Moscow.
President Putin says he is not against Ukraine's association with the EU, but trilateral trade talks should take place before signing agreements with the EU.
The EU has done nothing to convince Ukraine's leaders, that association with the EU would actually solve its economic crisis, Polish MEP Pawel Zalewski stated earlier this week.
As compared to hundreds of billions of euros channeled into Greek, Spanish and Portuguese economies, he said, the one billion offered to Ukraine was inadequate and "ridiculous."
"It's a ridiculous amount compared to the resources allocated to rescue Southern Europe from bankruptcy," Zalewski said, reports PR Newswire.
Eric Kraus, Managing Director of Anyatta Capital says, Russia has the “means and willingness” to offer Ukraine what the EU lacks, ie money, adding that Ukraine is a “vital part” of Europe's Russian-speaking space.
“The European Union offers a lot of words,” Kraus says, but “what they don’t offer is what Ukraine needs – and that’s money.”
“Ukraine is not vital to the EU,” Kraus says. “It's a part of a geopolitical chess game and they’d like to take that piece. They are not going to spend a lot of money for it. They can’t, they’ve got Portugal, they’ve got Greece. Pretty soon they’ve got France.”
The top financial analyst explains the economic problems Ukraine is facing:
“The problem is that Ukraine is in dire economic straits. Ukraine is 2-6 months from default. They cannot raise money in markets. They are running a deficit. They're having a lot of trouble keeping the currency stable.”
EGYPT's STUDENTS CONTINUE TO BE GAOLED
A court in Cairo has handed jail terms to 38 al-Azhar University students for taking part in protests backing their arrested president.
The Nasr City Misdemeanor Court sentenced them to 18 months in prison.
The students were arrested during clashes with security forces in Cairo, in October.
Last week, 12 pro-Morsi students at the same university were sentenced to 17 years in jail.
Today, dozens of al-Azhar students demonstrated in front of the Faculty of Engineering building, to condemn yesterday's violent attack on students.
One student was killed Wednesday and dozens of others wounded, as Egyptian security forces stormed the dormitory of al-Azhar University.
They detained dozens of students and set fire to a building on the university campus.
The army-backed interim government insists on continuing with its bloody crackdown on pro-Morsi protesters, despite calls by Muslims for dialogue.
BLAIR's LASTING GIFT TO THE US
The US National Security Agency subverted an international agreement in order to save and examine the phone, internet and other records of UK citizens not suspected of wrongdoing, says a new report.
The Guardian report is based on a 2007 NSA memo revealing that the NSA sought to “unmask” personal data UK residents wanted to keep private.
UK & US lawmakers have always publicly claimed that these far-reaching clandestine programs were designed to combat terrorism, but yesterday’s leak makes their claims look very weak.
Before the "agreement", the NSA had to remove cell phone numbers, fax numbers, emails, and IP addresses caught by its clandestine efforts.
Those restrictions "loosened" in 2007 after an agreement between the US and UK no longer required the NSA to “minimize” its data records.
The records are also being made available to US intelligence and military agencies as well as NSA.
The Guardian and Channel 4 News exposed this.
It is the latest report assembled from classified documents released to the press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has fled the US and now lives under temporary asylum in Russia.
His disclosures have sparked international anger, with US allies condemning the surveillance.
Personal information belonging to UK residents was “incidentally collected” by the operation.
NSA leaders admit that intelligence analysts will collect information within “three hops” from the surveillance target, meaning they investigate the communications of a friend of a friend of a friend from that person.
If starting its focus on one Facebook user, this, according to research conducted by the Guardian, could yield information on over five million people.
The memo shows how the NSA has been using data collected from the UK for so-called “pattern of life” or “contact-chaining” inquiries, which are connected to the “three hops” examinations.
US/UK intelligence agencies ARE “Five Eyes”, a data-sharing alliance which also involves Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
It was "understood" that the nations would not collect information on the public of any other.
Yet a separate NSA memo from 2005 outlines a proposed classified procedure that would give the agency access to another Five Eye nation, even if they had explicitly denied the US access.
The document has a "stipulation" that the US government “reserved the right” to monitor other Five Eyes’ citizens “when it is in the best interests of each (SIC) nation.”
“Therefore,” it says, “under certain circumstances, it may be advisable and allowable to target second party persons and secondary party communications systems unilaterally, when it is in the best interests of the US and necessary for US national security.”
POWER-FREAK US "COMING TO TAKE YOU AWAY"
And the US isn't just watching... Since 2003, UK citizens have run the risk of being locked up in the US - even if they never set foot on US soil.
That extradition imbalance will soon be even more slanted, as any UK citizens could even be taken away to the US on secret evidence - under proposed changes to the law.
Is No. 10 selling its citizens down the river, just to keep the UK’s “special relationship” with its overlord in Washington?
UN TRIES TO GUARANTEE RIGHT TO PRIVACY - US TRYING TO AVOID CRIMINAL CHARGES.
The US is silently watering down the text of an anti-spying UN resolution introduced by Germany and Brazil, to ensure that its extra- territorial violation of online privacy stays legal, says a document obtained by 'The Cable'.
According to the government document, the US has circulated a confidential communique entitled "Right to Privacy in the Digital Age - US Redlines."
In it, the US calls for changing the Brazilian and German text so "that references to privacy rights refer explicitly to States' obligations under ICCPR and remove suggestions that such obligations apply extraterritorially.”
Diplomatic sources tell The Cable that the US is worried that extraterritorial human rights could "hinder US efforts to pursue international terrorists".
Germany and Brazil's draft resolution calls for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection, and other snooping techniques, in response to recent revelations of US mass surveillance programs.
The circulated draft being discussed in the UN’s 3rd Committee urges members "to take measures to put an end to violations of these rights and to create the conditions to prevent such violations, including by ensuring that relevant national legislation complies with their obligations under international human rights law.”
The Brazilian and German proposal acknowledges that, while public safety may "justify the gathering and protection of certain sensitive information," nations "must ensure full compliance" with all international human rights laws.
The resolution is expected to be adopted next week.
In public, the US claims to affirm privacy rights, yet, behind the scenes, The Cable alleges that US diplomatic efforts are aimed at killing off the "extraterritorial surveillance" provision.
The publication claims that US negotiators have been pressing their case quietly, through allies.
According to one diplomat, "the US has been very much in the backseat," leaving it to its allies, Australia, the UK, and Canada, The Cable writes.
"They want to be able to say ‘we haven't broken the law, we're not breaking the law, and we won't break the law,'" Dinah PoKempner, the general counsel for Human Rights Watch tells The Cable.
She says the US wants to maintain its ability "to scoop up anything it wants through the massive surveillance of foreigners because 'we have no legal obligations'."
BULLIES IN SUITS ALWAYS HIRE OTHERS TO SIN
BP is now facing accusations that it hired a public relations firm to harass and intimidate Facebook users who condemned it over its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, hired international PR company, Oglivy and Mather, to run the BP America Facebook page.
Accusations have surfaced that Facebook users who posted critical comments on the page have been subjected to attacks, threats and ongoing harassment.
One user, known as “Marie,” told Al Jazeera she feels the need to remain anonymous because of a “fear for my personal safety should the BP trolls find out that I am the whistleblower in this case.”
Trolls are anonymous online bullies who post comments or send messages intended to upset the recipient. Physical threats are not uncommon in such online communities.
Marie says she recorded examples of attacks and has turned over boxes of material to the Government Accountability Project (GAP).
GAP investigator Shanna Devin:
“We’d been hearing about this kind of harassment by BP when we were working on our health project [in the Gulf of Mexico], so it sparked our interest.
“We saw Marie’s documentation of more serious threats made on the BP page, and decided to investigate. We’ve seen all this documentation & that’s why we thought it was worth bringing to the ombudsman’s office of BP, and we told them we thought some of it even warranted calling the police about.”
Marie says someone even edited an image of the bird used in BP’s logo, so that the cartoon stared down the sight of an automatic weapon.
She says the cyber-attacks followed her onto her personal page and were lobbed from a whole list of Facebook users.
“The harassment communications are not something that BP and their people are not aware of,” Steve Lockman, legal investigator with Levine, Papantino, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, told Al Jazeera.
“It’s not a secret that the personal attacks, broadcast abuse and type-written harassment were happening and continue to go on…
"We have thousands of documents regarding communications posted through various Facebook websites.”
Marie and the other accusers say BP, through trolls, sought their personal information and then used that against them by contacting their employers, family members, and making their IP addresses publicly available.
The company has yet to respond to any allegations, but a former Ogilvy associate said in 2012, that the firm handled all BP’s social media in the crisis.
Chris Paulos, one of the lawyers investigating the case, told Al Jazeera the incident is yet another example of “subversive attempts by corporations to put forward their ideology of what we should think about them, and doing it in a way that is not decipherable to the average person.”
MOTHER AGNES VILIFIED BY UK MEDIA "GATEKEEPERS"
See what happens when you REALLY challenge the West's lies.The West doesn't want you to see that supporting terrorists in Syria is an obscenity.
Even a nun speaking out is vilified and reduced by slanderous lies !
ANGER AT LOYA JIRGA, AS US GOES FOR PERMANENT STAYAND LEGAL MURDER
The Grand Council of Afghanistan, the Loya Jirga, has started its debate over the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington, which would allow US forces to stay beyond 2014 - if approved.
The Loya Jirga started the debate today and it will discuss details of the draft agreement for 4 days.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and most cabinet members will be attending the Loya Jirga, a gathering of 2,500 Afghan tribal leaders.
Karzai says the assembly will only discuss the security agreement during its deliberations.
A released draft of the agreement, grants US forces immunity from prosecution under Afghan law, if approved. Potential criminal activity by US troops will be heard in US courts not Afghan courts.
According to the wording, “the United States shall have the exclusive right to exercise jurisdiction” over its forces “in respect of any criminal or civil offenses committed in the territory of Afghanistan.”
Afghans reject the deal, saying it compromises the sovereignty of Afghanistan and their national pride.
COUP LEADERS KILL STUDENTS IN THEIR DORMITORY
At least one student has been killed and dozens detained in a raid by Egyptian security forces on al-Azhar dormitory.
Security forces entered al-Azhar University campus in Cairo on Wednesday, to quell student protests against the military-backed government.
One of the buildings inside the university campus was set on fire during the attack.
Last week, a court sentenced 12 pro-Morsi students to 17 years for "attacking" Al-Azhar HQ in October.
Also on Wednesday, Egyptians staged more protests against military rule in different towns and cities, including Alexandria, Tanta and Helwan.
The demonstrators chanted slogans against army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and demanded that president Mohamed Morsi, be reinstated.
Army officials say that Morsi, who took office in June 2012, is now held “preventively” by them.
At his trial, Morsi is reported to have said that he is the legitimate president of Egypt, calling on the court “to end this farce.”
"I am Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the president of the republic... This court is illegal," Morsi told the opening hearing of his trial, adding, "This was a military coup. The leaders of the coup should be tried. A coup is treason and a crime."
The trial was adjourned to January 8th, and the ousted president, who had been detained at a "secret location" since his removal, was taken to a prison in Alexandria city.
VITAL GENEVA TALKS "ON"
Talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- China, Russia, France, the US and UK + Germany, will resume in Geneva on Wednesday, under an intense lobbying effort and pressures by Israel to prevent a deal between Iran and the six world powers.
The White House’s campaign seemed to have been successful as a number of Senators said after a 2-hour meeting with Obama and officials that the bill will not be put to a vote until at least after the Thanksgiving holiday in early December and "probably" after the talks' results are known.
IRAN SAYS ALL DEPENDS ON WILL FOR PEACE
Iran completely rejects Saudi accusations that it is sending troops or arms to Syria, and calls on the world to work for a peaceful solution.
“In order for the Geneva II conference to be successful and for the Syria crisis to be settled peacefully, the international community must stem the flow of arms and terrorists into the country,” says Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab & African Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
“Certain countries, particularly western powers, should stop sending arms to Syria, and if these countries demonstrate grim determination to settle the issue, the success of the Geneva II conference can be guaranteed,” he says.
US Says ‘No Need’ to Apologize for Killing Afghan Civilians
There's no need to apologize for any ‘mistakes’ or the civilian suffering due to US strikes and "operations" in Afghanistan, says Susan Rice, President Obama's National Security Advisor.
Susan Rice makes the US position clear, after suggestions from the Afghans that Obama write a letter acknowledging US errors and operations that caused civilian casualties in the 12-year war.
"There is not a need for the US to apologize to Afghanistan. Quite the contrary," Rice tells CNN.
Earlier Aimal Faizi, President Hamid Karzai's spokesperson, said that Obama would write to his Afghan counterpart acknowledging US "mistakes in the war on terror" and the suffering of the Afghan people due to US military operations, as part of theUS/Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement being drafted.
But Rice says "no such letter has been drafted or delivered. That is not on the table."
President Karzai responds today by saying that he will not allow any more US raids.
Faizi says President Karzai and Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone Tuesday in "final negotiations" on the security treaty.
Officials in Washington say there is still some way to go before reaching a final agreement on the pact, which will be put to an Afghan Grand Assembly of tribal leaders and elders, known as a "loya jirga", for their decision, before the Afghan parliament votes on it.
The Network of Intellectuals in Defense of Humankind demands that the US return to Cuba territory occupied by the Guantanamo naval base, which was seized a century ago & now houses an illegal detention centre.
In a message on the occasion of an international seminar against foreign military bases, the network, created in 2003, demands the closure of that prison, where detainees are tortured and humiliated in violation of international law.
The meeting, sponsored by the World Council for Peace, brought together 100 researchers and activists to denounce ANY interference, imposition and disregard for others' rights.
The signatories say that setting up military bases in other countries against their will, violates national sovereignty and serves the economic and political interests of imperialism.
They demand the closure of foreign military bases and an end to the construction of new facilities, as well as compensation to nearby residents for social and environmental damage.
7 AFGHAN CHILDREN KILLED, 3 INJURED IN BOMB EXPLOSION IN PAKTIKA -- OFFICIAL _________________________________________
"STOP ALL SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION NOW"
French President Francois Hollande calls on Israel to halt all settlement construction, as he visits the Palestinian territories on Monday.
In a speech after talks in the West Bank city of Ramallah with PA Chief Mahmud Abbas, the French leader makes an unequivocal demand for Israel to stop building on land seized in the 1967 Six-Day War.
"France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity," Hollande says on his first official visit to the Palestinian territories.
"Settlement activity complicates the negotiations & makes it difficult to achieve a 2-state solution," he says, a day after talks in Israel focused heavily on the Iran nuclear issue.
Since direct peace negotiations resumed in the summer, ending a hiatus of nearly three years, Israel has announced thousands of new settler units, in a move which has angered Ramallah, and taken the talks close to collapse.
A previous round of talks in 2010 fell apart just weeks after it began, in a bitter row over Israeli construction.
Hollande raised the settlement issue on Sunday but in much softer language, saying he expected Israel to make "gestures" on settlement activity, in order to advance peace negotiations which began in July but have made no obvious progress.
"If you want peace, you need to have gestures towards peace," he says. He makes clear that France expects "efforts" from the Palestinians, too...
"It is clear that this will require efforts from the Palestinians as a number of settlements will remain," a member of his entourage says.
Last week, Israeli plans to build another 20,000 new settler units, sparked the resignation of the entire Palestinian negotiating team.
Despite the crisis, Abbas on Sunday tells AFP that peace talks with Israel will continue for the full nine months agreed with Washington -- "regardless of what happens on the ground".
GAZA DEMONSTRATION CONDEMNS EGYPT's UNKINDNESS TO THEM
Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have staged a demonstration to slam Egypt’s army over its closure of the Rafah border crossing, Press TV reports.
On Sunday, angry demonstrators gathered at the crossing, calling for an immediate and permanent reopening of the closed gate, which is vital to Palestinians in the territory.
The protesters say the measure by the military- backed Egyptian government is adding to the suffering caused by Israel's blockade on Gaza.
“They are working hand in hand with the Israelis to tighten the blockade. The Egyptian military must reopen the Rafah crossing and stop playing into the hands of Israel,” a protestor said.
“The Egyptian people are our brothers, and we call on them to pressure their government to break this illegal blockade,” he added.
Some of the protesters also said that acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas Is responsible for the recent restrictions on Gaza.
“Mahmoud Abbas’s term in office has expired and he must stop inciting the Egyptian military against the Gaza Strip,” another protestor said, adding that restrictions against Gaza have increased, following a recent visit by the Palestinian Authority chief to Egypt.
Since July 3, the Egyptian military has tightened restrictions on Rafah. It has launched a campaign to destroy the supply tunnels leading into Gaza, which bring basic supplies to the people there.
The destruction of the tunnels has reportedly led to an increase in the price of fuel and other commodities. Palestinians have to wait in long lines at fuel stations and face daily power cuts that last up to 14 hours.
Several human rights organizations and civil groups have criticized the Egyptian army for preventing the people in Gaza from accessing the most basic goods.
SUNDAY MARCHES AGAINST ARMY COUP IN EGYPT
Protesters once again take to the streets in Egypt's cities to express their anger at military rule.
Demonstrations were held in Cairo, and several other cities on Sunday.
In Shubra neighborhood, Cairo, protesters chanted slogans supporting President Morsi.
Students of Al-Mansoura University in northeast Cairo also held a demonstration to condemn what they call crimes committed by Egypt's Interior Ministry.
Since the start of the academic year, Egypt's university campuses have seen several protests.
In the northeastern port city of Damietta, protesters said 'no' to military rule.
MAY ALL HELP THE PHILIPPINES
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, of Saudi Arabia, has ordered a donation of 10 million USD to go the victims of the devastating typhoon that destroyed entire communities in the Philippines a few days ago, report official sources here.
The contribution was announced by the Saudi Minister of Finance Ibrahim al-Assaf, who stated that the transfer of the funds will be carried out in coordination with the Philippine authorities, says the official news agency, SAP.
The Saudi king expressed his condolences to the Philippine authorities in a message addressed to President Benigno Aquino.
"We have learnt the painful news of the typhoon that devastated your friendly country, which resulted in deaths, injured and damages. We are sure you will overcome such a disaster", states the monarch in his message.
A video posted online this weekend shows men mercilessly beating and punching Ethiopians on the streets and at other, undisclosed locations.
A person is also shown lying dead on the ground with a bullet mark in his chest.
The Ethiopian government has announced the death of 3 of its citizens in Saudi Arabia.
On Friday, Ethiopians staged a demonstration in front of the Saudi embassy in the capital Addis Ababa against the crackdown on illegal immigrants by the Al Saud government.
Between nine and 11 million of Saudi Arabia’s 27-million-strong population are foreign workers.
On November 4th, a seven-month amnesty for expatriate workers expired.
Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave the country during the time they had to rectify their visa status without penalty.
Many of the foreign workers say they could not use the amnesty due to bureaucratic difficulties or disputes with their sponsors.
Foreign workers cannot change jobs or leave Saudi Arabia without the permission of their sponsors, who are often Saudi companies or individuals providing workers to businesses.
Many of the country’s foreign laborers have also been arrested.
In October, rights group Amnesty International censured Saudi authorities for not addressing a “dire human rights situation” in the kingdom.
The group also handed in a paper to the UN, which included information regarding a “new wave of repression against civil society, which has taken place over the last two years.”
Internet activist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in prison Saturday, for illegally accessing servers of the private intelligence company Strategic Forecasting Inc., (Stratfor), and giving its information to WikiLeaks.
Hammond, from Chicago, pleaded guilty to hacking the servers of that company and admitted to being part of the hacktivist group Anonymous between 2011 and 2012.
"Yes, I have broken the law, but I think that sometimes you have to break laws in order to make room for change," Hammond, said, in defending "hactivism" as a form of civil disobedience, reports the online version of USA Today.
For Hammond, the leaked information is part of what people of his country have a right to know.
The hacked emails published by Wikileaks brought to light the alleged hiring of Stratfor services by private companies and government agencies to spy on political activists, including members of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
FUTURE LEADERS OF EGYPT BEING BATONED
Security forces stormed Zagazig University's campus Saturday, firing gas to quell students supporting elected president Mohamed Morsi.
Their action came after students gathered in huge numbers at the main campus to condemn the army coup and renew their demand for the reinstatement of Egypt’s first democratically- elected president.
Angry students also blocked the gates of the Faculty of Engineering, to demand the release of 23 of their classmates arrested during on-campus clashes last week.
Witnesses say riot police fired tear gas canisters at the students, then hit them with batons. Some news reports say dozens of students suffered from the effects of gas inhalation.
Since the start of the academic year in September, Egypt's university campuses have seen several large protests.
Demonstrations by Morsi's supporters against the coup are still being held across Egypt, despite the "interim" authorities’ efforts to harden their crackdown on Morsi backers.
A large number of MB officials and supporters have been held in custody by the military and police forces since the coup in early July.
Hundreds of MB supporters have been killed in clashes with the army and opposing forces over the last few months.
Morsi is currently in prison, facing trial over his alleged role in the death of protesters outside the presidential palace, in 2012.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood offers negotiations now, as a way to end the crisis created by the overthrow of Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi.
The coalition of Islamic parties also calls on all political parties and patriotic figures as well as revolutionary forces, to enter discussions to end the ongoing crisis.
"We have no conditions and neither should they," media outlets quote Imam Youssef, a prominent leader of the coalition, as saying.
However, the Islamic parties propose the release of political prisoners and the reopening of broadcasters shut after Morsi's ouster, as pre-conditions.
The coalition also insists on keeping up peaceful opposition against the army leaders' 'interim government'.
The coalition leaders have been organizing regular demonstrations, to condemn the government’s harsh crackdown on the MB and the arrest of its leaders and members.
They have been demanding justice for MB supporters killed in the army crackdown after Morsi’s ouster.
Syrian Army General Command: to Go Ahead with Eliminating Terrorism
The General Command of Syria’s Army and Armed Forces stresses their determination to go ahead with eliminating terrorism and to "strike with an iron fist", anyone who seeks to tamper with the security of the country.
The command reports that the Syrian Army has regained control over key towns in Homs province.
"After a successful military operation & accurate tactical maneuvers, units of the armed forces managed this morning to tighten control over the towns of al-Hadath, Hawarin and Mhin and the warehouses nearby - southeast of Homs city,'' their statement says.
It says the army has dealt severe blows to the foreign-backed insurgents, as it has killed large numbers of terrorists and mercenaries who were attacking civilians & military checkpoints in the area, and also destroyed 100s of arm- equipped vehicles.
''With this successful operation, that left large numbers of terrorists killed in a well-planned trap, the armed forces have punctured the delusions of the terrorists and their masters ... of taking vital areas of Homs countryside,” the General Command says.
The Syrian Army has also “aborted the insurgents’ plans to ease pressure on the remaining terrorist pockets in the area, causing a dramatic collapse in the morale of the armed terrorist groups who are faltering under the strikes,” they state now.
31 killed in attack on anti-militia protesters in Libya's capital, Tripoli.
A group of militiamen opened fire on hundreds of protesters, killing at least 31 people and wounding 230 others.
US TELLS UK TO KEEP QUIET?
The US government has explicitly ordered the UK not to publish the contents of the 4-year- inquiry into the Iraq War carried out by Sir John Chilcot, 'The Independent' reported on Thursday.
The Obama administration insists that certain parts of the inquiry cannot be released as they focussed on the conspiracy hatched by former leaders Bush & Blair, The Independent reported.
But Lindsey German tells RT:
“They are both trying to block this inquiry. It was set up in 2009. It was supposed to report in 2011. It is now being pushed back to at least the middle of next year and might be pushed back even further than that.”
The peace activist continues...
"There are definitely suspicious things going on here... The cabinet secretary in this country is the person who is blocking things. He is now blaming it on the US.
"But the truth of the matter is that neither he, who was an adviser to Blair previously, nor Blair, nor David Cameron, who supported the war, are particularly keen for the truth to come out.
"It makes you wonder exactly what is in these conversations between Bush and Blair. There must be quite a lot to hide for them to be so worried about them being released."
According to some leaks from the inquiry, Bush and Blair began conspiring for the Iraq War only weeks after Bush was inaugurated as president in 2001.
“There is no question that the Iraq War was unjustified, that it was based on false information; that the false information was presented both to the US public and to the UK Parliament by the leaders of both nations,” says W. Beeman, author & Middle East expert.
“If the report comes out, it will definitely prove that that’s the case,” he adds.
Just this Summer, the Reverend Tutu stated clearly that Bush and Blair are war criminals and should be put on trial at the Hague.
Instead of wrestling with gay bishops and nagging about women priests, shouldn't the ministers of religion in the UK and officials acquiescing in mass murder by NOT calling for Bush and Blair to be on trial for a war of aggression, be arrested now for culpable collusion?
Lindsey German again:
"What people are worried about is that there is maybe lots of evidence here for war crimes, for an agreement for a war over regime change, which of course is illegal under international law.
There may be lots of other things to come up. We’ve had a number of reports over the Iraq war, none of them satisfactory. People felt that maybe Chilcot would be better because it was a much more thorough going report.
"Nearly 200 British soldiers died during the Iraq War, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died, and millions of people were demonstrating.
"All of these people have the right to know, and it is absolutely shameful that our government and the US government are trying to prevent them from knowing."
Palestinian negotiator says peace talks on hold for two weeks...
The Chief Palestinian negotiator says Saturday that peace talks with Israel have been "on hold" since he and his colleagues handed in their resignations two weeks ago.
Saeb Erekat tells Xinhua he hopes Mahmoud Abbas will assign a new negotiating team to represent the Palestinians in the talks... brokered by the United States.
He notes that their resignations are still "pending", because Abbas has not yet approved them.
Erekat stresses that the resignations don't mean a withdrawal from the negotiations, which were only re-launched in July after a 3-year halt.
"The negotiations will complete their 9-month tenure," Erekat says.
IOF Troops Detain Palestinian Children Aged 5 to 9 Years
Israeli occupation troops detained 4 Palestinian children aged five to nine years for over an hour Friday in the West Bank - with their hands cuffed.
Palestinian sources say clashes with occupation forces erupted in the northern West bank village of Kfar Qaddum during the weekly protest there against Israeli occupation by Palestinians and international activists.
"Four children who were present in the area had stun grenades thrown at them by Israeli soldiers, which frightened them," says activist Murad Ashtiye of the village's Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.
"Then the soldiers arrested them and tied their hands behind their backs using plastic strips," he adds, identifying the children as Tariq Hikmet, 9, Hossam Khaldun, 7, six-year old Malak Hikmet and Ahmad Abdessalam, 5.
An Israeli military spokesperson says that troops rounded up minors during “rioting” in the village but held them only briefly.
"A group of Palestinian children were detected setting fire to tires," she says. "These riots usually start with burning tires being rolled at security forces."
"Soldiers rounded up the children to prevent mayhem and when a commander arrived shortly afterwards they were released," she says.
THE ISLAND OF LOVE
We call this the Peace Page, but it often carries news of wars and their consequences, so this news about a Love Festival in Cuba is a blessed change!
The 6th edition of the Love In Festival for Women began on Friday in the Morro-Cabaña Complex in Havana and yesterday reached its finale.
In statements to Prensa Latina, Marilyn Chirino, a member of the event's organizing committee, says the objective of this festival was to bring knowledge closer to young people: specialists could interact with a new generation here, and it also set "guidelines" for the rights of women.
Community projects and artists from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Canada, the USA, Norway, and Spain, all converged at the festival.
During the event, over 700 domestic and foreign participants discussed gender, environmental health, progress in science and religion, and the concept of ecofeminism, among other issues.
Parallel to the main event, young and old artists offered concerts, trova and blue performances, craftwork, tattoos, and the screening of animated films.
The Love In Festival was sponsored by the Cuban Audiovisual Association, the Federation of Cuban Women, and the Environment Agency.
UN rejects Kenya bid to delay ICC trials of leaders
The UN Security Council failed on Friday to delay by a year the ICC prosecution of Kenya's leaders over deadly violence after the elections in 2007.
RAISIN' A LAUGH
EU tries to renew illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran
EU officials are trying to reinstall asset freezes on several Iranian companies that were annulled by a court earlier this year.
The official EU announcement says they're not new sanctions, but the re-invigoration of existing ones, just as Iran is set to continue talks with the global powers on their civilian nuclear program that the West has claimed is for nuclear weapons.
In the US, President Obama is asking Congress to resist new sanctions as the nuclear talks continue.
The entire EU will have to agree on the move later this week, before it goes into effect, diplomats tell Reuters.
The real EU aim is to curb mounting legal challenges from Iranians and Iranian companies, as some in the EU are concerned the current sanctions may be too "difficult" to defend in court.
"We are maintaining the current sanctions regime, not broadening it. The relistings amount to keeping the current system," an anonymous EU diplomat tells Reuters (Lol).
SMOKE AND MIRRORS FOR US
The Polish government’s request to the European Court of Human Rights to prohibit the press and public from attending a hearing investigation on whether the US kept a CIA prison on Polish soil is PUBLICLY rejected.
The public hearing is now scheduled for December 3rd in Strasbourg, and it will be the first time allegations stating that the US intelligence agency used rogue “black sites” in Poland for “extraordinary rendition”, are to be heard publicly.
The US is accused of illegally detaining Al-Qaeda terror suspects and using torture to interrogate them in a forest in northern Poland.
“I can confirm that the hearing on 3rd of December will be a public hearing,” a spokesperson for the European Court of Human Rights tells reporters.
After the ruling is announced, a Polish Foreign Ministry official tells Reuters that the court has also, by its own volition, scheduled a separate closed-door hearing... for December the 2nd.
GOOD FOR GERMANY !!!
Berlin has suspended the purchase of armed drones as it “categorically rejects illegal killings.”
A draft agreement between the Social Democrats and the Conservatives obtained by Der Spiegel, condemns the use of drones for targeted attacks.
"We categorically reject illegal killings by drones. Germany will support the use of unmanned weapons systems for the purposes of international disarmament and arms control," says the statement. The government says that, before acquiring the remote-controlled craft, it must thoroughly examine “all associated civil and constitutional guidelines and ethical questions.”
In spite of significant opposition in Germany – 59% of the population according to a Pew Research poll in 2012 – outgoing German defense minister, Thomas de Maziere, spent hundreds of millions on drones that were not permitted to fly in German airspace.
“We cannot keep the stagecoach while others are developing the railway,” declared Maziere, who announced to the German public in May that talks were underway to discuss the purchase of US Predator drones and Israeli Heron drones.
However, with the formation of a new government in Germany following Chancellor Merkel’s reelection in September, the German policy on drones looks set to change. Both the Social Democrats and Christian Socialist Union parties have voiced their opposition to the deal, writes the Local.
Amnesty International has accused Berlin of complicity in some attacks. In a report it said it had data from Pakistani officials that Germany handed over key information on drone targets.
“Secret services in Germany and other European states have worked together with the US and its drone program in Pakistan,” says the report.
Amnesty has rejected Washington’s arguments that their targeted killings save lives and prevent terrorism, slamming them as “a license to kill.”
As part of the report on drone attacks, Amnesty investigated 45 targeted killing that took place between January 2012 and August 2013 in the tribal region of North Waziristan along the Pakistani border with Afghanistan.
Amnesty’s Pakistan expert, Mustafa Qadri said:
“We're publishing this report to push governments, including Germany’s, to reveal its role in the US drone program.The German government must finally openly demand that the USA adheres to prevailing legal norms. German authorities cannot continue to support the USA’s illegal drone attacks.”
The government of Pakistan claims drone attacks have killed up to 900 civilians in the country and condemn them as a violation of sovereignty and human rights.
A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR PALESTINE
You can tell we're getting closer to Christmas, as..... 'life is rapidly getting worse for Gazans'.
The Gaza strip once again faces a humanitarian crisis as Palestinians "have to" endure another Winter without power, due to the nearly 6-year- old Israeli blockade still being imposed on them.
The only power plant in Gaza has not produced power since November 1st, due to a severe fuel shortage...
In recent months, fuel & electricity shortages in Gaza have worsened, as the Egyptian army now blocks all their supply tunnels.
Under the Israeli economic seige, the tunnels had to serve as a lifeline for Gaza’s population of over 1.7 million souls.
Officials in Gaza say that "wastewater" has now poured into a Gaza neighborhood after a treatment facility stopped working due to the fuel shortage.
The treatment plant served 120,000 residents. The officials say other facilities may soon run out of fuel during the long hours of power cuts.
Gaza municipality has declared a state of emergency, and experts have warned, again, of an environmental crisis.
Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since 2007, a situation that makes families there desperately dependent on goods coming through the tunnels.
The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), which represents more than 130 Palestinian civil society organizations, calls on the international community to end the siege.
Several human rights organizations & civil groups criticize Egypt's army for stopping the people of Gaza from accessing basic goods, like construction materials, food, and fuel.
FAKING DEBATE AS ZIONIST PLANS CREEP ON
A senior aide to US President Barack Obama says the Tel Aviv regime’s nonstop settlement expansion lacks ‘legitimacy’ as it fuels tensions ....hampering the Palestinian-Israeli talks.
Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, told a Washington think tank on Thursday:
“We've seen increased tensions on the ground. Some of this is a result of recent settlement announcements.”
“So let me reiterate: The US does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” Rice states.
The Obama aide also says US’ opposition to the illegal Israeli settlement expansion is “not new” and has been US policy for decades.
Yes -- it's been going on "for years" and the US government subsidises it, while publicly saying it's "naughty", as the new settlements slowly strangle hope.
MORE AND MORE SETTLEMENTS SMOTHER PALESTINE
Israel has sped up a controversial park project between two Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, near East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The planned park will be built between the villages of Issawiya and Al-Tur, AFP reports.
The project was announced at the end of October along with the construction of a further 1,500 homes in the illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo in the area.
Tel Aviv claims the park is aimed at preserving the environment, but Israeli media have quoted an employee of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority as saying that the project's real aim is to block Palestinian construction in the area.
Some figures within the Israeli cabinet are currently "at odds" over the planned project, say Israeli media outlets today.
12 YEARS - AND COUNTING...
Thirty-eight retired generals and admirals in the US call on the US Senate to close the notorious US-run Guantanamo prison, saying it's “a symbol of torture.”
In a letter to all US senators on November 13th, the day the prison reached its 12th anniversary, the retired admirals and generals warn that it is “imperative” for the US Congress to resolve the issue of shutting down Guantanamo.
“Guantanamo is a betrayal of American values. It is a symbol of torture and justice delayed,” the letter reads.
The prison complex was established by the Bush administration in 2001 and has been used by the US military ever since.
The majority of Guantanamo prisoners have been held there for over a decade without any charges.
Shutting down Guantanamo was a central theme of Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 as he said the prison was a symbol of the US government’s violation of human rights.
Twelve years after the opening of Guantanamo, the notorious US military prison is still open - with no end in sight to detentions without charge or trial.
Protesting against harsh conditions and indefinite detention without charge or trial, prisoners began a hunger strike in early February, which the US authorities say... ended in late September.
Images published in June showed how prisoners were force-fed by military guards, being strapped to a metal restraint chair & fed through the nose with large diameter plastic tubing.
In July, a federal judge ruled the practice of force- feeding Guantanamo hunger strikers was torture, but said she did not have jurisdiction to stop it.
Moreover, the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said last month that there was “systematic violation of human rights” at Guantanamo, calling on the US government to explain all the alleged abuses, but especially the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike.
KILLING WITHOUT MERCY
At least 5 Palestinian children were suffocated to death after Israeli settlers burned down their house in a village north of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Palestine News Network (PNN) reports that the incident took place when settlers attacked the house of Palestinian villagers, breaking its windows and setting it on fire.
The settlers wrote racist words on the walls.
The report adds that three adults also suffered injuries in the brutal incident.
Such attacks are common across the occupied West Bank, as Israeli settlers have, on numerous occasions, attacked and desecrated mosques, vandalizing Palestinian cemeteries.
Israeli troops usually refuse to intervene to prevent such acts of aggression.
ON ASHURA DAY !!!
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Nasrallah says Syria is the pillar of resistance, and that the Lebanese resistance movement will stay in the country for as long as necessary.
Nasrallah makes the remarks in a speech in southern Beirut, in person, to mark the occasion of Ashura.
“As long as the reasons (to stay in Syria) remain, our presence there will remain,” Nasrallah says.
“Our fighters are present on Syrian soil, to confront all the dangers it faces from the international, regional and Takfiri attack on this country and region.”
He also urges complete support for the Palestinian struggle and calls for unity among all people of the Muslim faith.
SYRIAN FORCESTAKE DAMASCUS COUNTRYSIDE
Fighters with Hezbollah arm patches aided the Syrian army in capturing Hejeira, in Damascus' southern countryside, on Wednesday, and the Syrian army says it is now in full control there.
Iraqi fighters and the Lebanese political group, Hezbollah, took part in seizing the suburb, which had been held by opposition militants, including the Al- Nusra front, for over a year.
The action is part of a long military operation launched from Sayyidah Zaynab mosque in the suburbs, over three months ago.
THE GENUINE PEACE PRIZE WINNERS
The Association of Farmers of Buenos Aires (Asocab), based in the central department of Bolivar, wins the 2013 National Peace Prize, granted by the UN Development Program and local media.
There were 89 nominees for the prize, and the judges decided to grant a single award of 70 million pesos (36,260 USD) to Asocab.
Made up of over 100 rural families, the Association was created out of a need for survival alternatives in the countryside, and has fought systematically for ownership of the land occupied illegally for decades by drug traffickers and the Bloque Central Bolivar paramilitary forces.
The Association also gives advice to community leaders, generates resources to develop productive projects and for the restitution of land, and defends human rights, justice and peace.
Since its inception in 1999, the objective of the National Peace Prize has been to promote peace, solidarity, and understanding among Colombians.
Every year the prize is awarded to those who contribute prominently to solve the armed conflict that has affected the country for over five decades.
PLAYING THE GAME
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has called for his housing minister to reconsider long-term plans to construct thousands of new homes in the West Bank and the contentious E1 area near Jerusalem.
Netanyahu says in a statement that the plans would make “no contribution” to settlements, AP reports.
He adds that they had caused “unnecessary conflict” with the international community.
"This is a meaningless step, legally and practically. It creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community, at a time when we are making an effort to persuade some to reach a better deal with Iran," he said.
Netanyahu’s statement said that housing minister Uri Ariel has accepted the request.
US officials say they were surprised by the announcement and have asked for an explanation.
AP: "We were surprised by these announcements, and are now seeking clarification from Israel's government," a State Department spokesperson said.
A senior official in Netanyahu’s office says the prime minister has halted construction plans in E1, a vast area between E Jerusalem and a huge Israeli settlement, Maale Adumim.
But other settlement plans "will go forward".
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas warned on Tuesday before the latest announcement that the peace process would be over unless tenders for nearly 20,000 new settler homes were canceled. Saeb Erakat, a Palestinian negotiator, confirmed to AFP that Abbas had instructed him to pass on a formal ultimatum to the Quartet - the European Union, Russia, the UN, and the US.
Palestinians are concerned that Netanyahu’s persistence in annexing land for settlers, is killing off their aim of achieving Palestinian self-determination and statehood.
The present Israeli government is seen as one dependent on religious extremists, a view unmodified now, as Israel reinstates Lieberman as Foreign Minister, right after he is acquitted on fraud charges. Now acting Palestinian Authority chief, Mahmoud Abbas, says "his" negotiators have resigned en masse from peace talks with the Israelis because of the ongoing construction of settlements.
Abbas says his negotiators have resigned over lack of progress in the US-brokered talks, and the continued construction of illegal settlements.
The acting PA chief, however, says that the negotiations will continue - even if the Palestinian negotiators stick to their decision.
Since resumption of the so-called peace talks, Israel has announced plans to build several thousand new settler units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
A senior PA authority official said last week that there will be no direct talks with Israel if it keeps on expanding illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
INSECURITY BLOCKS HUMAN PROGRESS
Latin America as a region remains affected by insecurity, which limits socioeconomic progress, says a report by the UN Development Program.
The study of regional human development (2013-2014), focuses on threats such as street crime, violence by and against young people, corruption, organized crime, violence against women, and abuse & excesses by representatives of the State, including the police.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark says issues of insecurity are crucial, "as, without peace, there cannot be development, and without development, there cannot be lasting peace."
After acknowledging economic growth in the last decade, the UNDP also verifies an increase in crime rates & greater perception of insecurity.
The UNDP report says economic growth is being accompanied by an increase in social differences, making it the most unequal region in the world.
The UNDP calls for strengthening national security, justice institutions, and inclusive economic growth.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has confirmed his willingness to overcome the economic war which external and internal opposition forces are waging against the country, in a Tweet!
In a second tweet, he calls upon all Venezuelan patriotic forces to join the fight against speculation.
He also announces that this week, workers will start receiving their Christmas bonus payments. He encourages savings and careful consumption.
Yesterday, Maduro described the actions implemented by the government to combat outside-led induced inflation and urged the people to firmly face this latest war aimed at overthrowing the revolution.
OUTSIDE IMPOSED WARS OVER - NOW PEACEFUL DEVELOPMENT
Angola's president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, says the MPLA party leadership is discussing his replacement, the future of the country and that of the ruling political organization.
"We are actually discussing this issue internally in the MPLA," says Dos Santos in an interview with Brazil's TVB, partly quoted by local media.
He says "they are testing different ways" of how to make changes, which will take time, "as it is necessary to maintain stability".
Dos Santos says the time he has been in power (34 years) really is too much, "but we should see the temporary reasons that led us to this situation."
He explains that Angola was at war caused by outside interference for a long time, so "we weren't able to consolidate state institutions and regular, functioning democratic processes."
Elections had to be postponed so many times, the president states, but now there is peace.
So trade has now grown, especially with Brazil. Dos Santos adds that cooperation with China in economics, business, and relations is good.
BAHRAIN "INEXORABLY DETERIORATING"
Bahrain's Council of Clerics warns that the situation is deteriorating gradually but steadily.
The Council says the crisis will only end when all Bahraini people are allowed to participate in the political process.
But the Manama regime insists on resisting people's peaceful demands, the statement adds.
The Council notes that the regime's use of heavy- handed tactics against protesters and politically motivated court rulings cannot deter people from continuing their revolution.
The attacks violate religious freedom, and freedom of expression, and discriminate against the majority Shias with the aim of increasing sectarianism in Bahraini society.
Scores have been killed, many of them under torture while in custody, and thousands more detained since a popular uprising began in Bahrain in early 2011.
BEAUTIFUL PEACEFUL CUBA
Cuba has a low incidence of crimes of violence & sexual abuse against children & adolescents, Colonel Idais Borges, head of the Directorate of Children in the Interior Ministry, reports.
With a population of 2,260,751 inhabitants up to 16 years old, about 2,117 complaints of crimes against children and adolescents were received in 2012, the official says.
This is an incidence rate of 0.09%, and confirms that such crimess do not constitute a social problem in Cuba, Borges says.
He says there are no networks involved in trafficking and the abuse of minors, and that the authorities have a zero tolerance policy for crimes against the normal development of sexual relationships, amongst family, children and youth.
The Cuban State was among the first ten nations that ratified the Palermo Convention on the rights of children.
AFGHAN's DRUG PROBLEM GETTING WORSE
Production of opium has risen in Afghanistan, says a joint report issued today (Wednesday).
"Representing an increase of 49% in comparison to the previous year, the 2013 total of 5, 500 tons probably led to a decrease of 12% in the average opium price," says the report, released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
According to the "Afghanistan Opium Survey 2013" the cultivation of opium poppies has also increased - as the area under cultivation has risen to 209,000 hectares from the previous year's total of 154,000 hectares, even higher than the peak of 193,000 hectares in 2007.
This is "over a third more (36%) than in 2012 and a record high," the report says.
Jean-Luc Lemahieu UNODC Representative:
"The narcotics issue in Afghanistan acts as a virus festering on a low immunity system of governance, while further reducing the little resistance remaining.
"If the aid, development and security actors are reluctant to tackle the illicit economy in a serious manner now, all agendas will ultimately be defeated, not only counter narcotics," he adds.
The report points to the link between insecurity and opium cultivation, as almost 90% of opium poppy cultivation in 2013, is in nine provinces in the southern and western regions, which include ALL the most "troubled" provinces.
Over 1 million Afghans suffer from drug addiction.
Thousands of protesters again took to the streets Tuesday, in different parts of Egypt, calling for an end now, to military rule, and the reinstatement of Egypt's ousted President, Mohamed Morsi.
Rallies took place in several cities, including Shubra, Matreh, and Almenia.
In the demonstrations, people expressed their support for the ousted president, and called for his return to power. They chanted slogans against Egyptian Defense Minister, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
General Fattah al-Sisi, head of the Egyptian armed forces, toppled Mohamed Morsi in a “military coup”.
On July 3rd, he suspended the constitution and dissolved the parliament. The following day, he appointed the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, as an "interim" president.
Marchers slammed the military-backed government for its ‘violent clampdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, and the arrest of the group’s leaders and members.’
A pro-Morsi protester was shot dead in the Canal city of Portsaid in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Mossaad, a journalist, presented religious TV programs.
Tuesday's protests came just days after fierce clashes between protesters and security forces, in Suez city.
On November 8th, at least two people, including a child, were killed, and several others injured, during demonstrations in Suez and its adjacent areas.
Egypt is now the scene of weekly demonstrations staged by Morsi’s supporters since his ouster in July.
Nearly 1,000 people were killed in August, after the government of army-appointed "interim" President Adly, ordered a fierce clampdown on Morsi supporters.
CONGO PEACE MOVE CHOKES
The expected peace deal between the Congo's government and the March 23 movement (M23) rebel group has been postponed after Congolese officials asked for more time to review the peace document, a Ugandan government official says.
Uganda's spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, says the accord will have to wait until Congo's government "makes up its mind," AP reports.
The peace deal, which was to be signed Monday in the Ugandan town of Entebbe, is a key step to ending decades of war in the Great Lakes region.
Opondo says the Congolese government has asked for more time to review the document, despite having had a copy for at least 3 days.
Ugandan Deputy Foreign Minister Okello Oryem says the deal has not been finalized, because Congo's government insisted on saying it would sign a "declaration" that the rebellion was over, but not "an agreement" with the defeated rebels, an issue that, he says, reflects the difficulty of mediating peace between the two sides.
Congolese officials have not commented on the situation. No date has even been announced for when the two parties might meet again.
Hundreds of M23 rebels fled to Uganda, after being defeated by Congolese army forces, backed by a 3,000-strong special United Nations intervention brigade.
On November 5th, the rebel group said it would disarm and pursue political talks, after its last hill strongholds in Tshanzu and Runyoni villages on the border with Uganda and Rwanda, were captured by the Congolese army forces.
The M23 rebels and other armed groups, have been active in the eastern Congo, fighting for control of the country’s vast mineral resources, such as gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan (columbite-tantalite), used in making electronic devices, including cell phones.
Since early May 2012, nearly three million people have fled their homes in eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, & about 500,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998... and left over 5.5 million people dead.
NO COMPROMISE Taliban militants say they will kill members of the Loya Jirga if they allow the US to have any permanent military bases in Afghanistan beyond 2014's deadline for withdrawing all foreign troops, Press TV reports.
Members of the Loya Jirga, a grand assembly of elders, are to gather in Kabul in the third week of November, to decide if they support a deal allowing US troops to stay after 2014.
On Monday, Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, said signing a US-Afghaistan Bilateral Security Agreement, will betray Afghanistan.
President Karzai recently told the media, that he was not going to sign any deal, if it didn't suit Afghanistan's interests, or purposes.
But the president then said his government will "abide by" the decision of the assembly.
The meeting comes after several rounds of fruitless US/Afghanistan talks.
The two sides remain at odds on the issue of immunity for US troops. Washington says there will be no deal without immunity, while Kabul sees it as a violation of its sovereignty.
Kabul and the US are also at odds over US demands for the right to conduct unilateral military operations, and over how the US says it will "protect" Afghanistan.
These developments have once again dashed US hopes that a pact can be quickly finalized.
Several Afghan political parties heap scorn on the US-led forces, for their unforgivable crimes against Afghan women and children after invading the country illegally, in 2001.
The Islamic Movement of Afghanistan Party and several other political factions have released a statement, warning that things will only get worse, if the US sets up any permanent bases there.
BANGLADESH MINISTERS RESIGN EN MASSE
Bangladesh cabinet ministers have stepped down en masse as the South Asian country is crippled by nationwide protest rallies and a general strike.
(See our 'One Union' page for union action news)
The ministers tendered their resignations to PM Sheikh Hasina, to prepare the ground for forming an all-party government ahead of parliamentary elections in January.
But "The ministers are resigning to make way for a polls-bound government," media outlets quote the government's principal information officer, Aminul Islam, as saying.
The impoverished country has come to a standstill since Sunday when a four-day strike was launched.
Industrial action was started by opposition alliance leaders to pressure Hasina to resign and make way for elections under a caretaker government.
The main opposition party, BNP, and its allies, say they will not accept any government with the incumbent premier in charge. Opposition leader Khaleda Zia, who has twice served as PM, says the current government is "illegal."
Premier Hasina is ignoring a caretaker system, & proposing an all-party interim government led by her, instead, to oversee the polls. She says a caretaker government is against the spirit of democracy, and that forthcoming elections should be held under her government.
Analysts believe if a compromise on the issue of a caretaker government is not reached soon, there could be more widespread violence.
Bangladesh has seen deadly clashes between the opposition and police since late November. Violence has left dozens of people dead.
This year has been the deadliest since Bangladesh gained independence in 1971. Nearly 200 people have died in clashes with police in 2013, so far.
IAEA AND IRAN "AGREE"
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agree on a road map for more cooperation, Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi says.
In a joint press conference with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano today in Tehran, Salehi, heading the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says Tehran and the agency have now signed a joint statement on this.
“This joint statement outlines a road map that clarifies bilateral cooperation on outstanding issues,” Salehi notes.
The AEOI chief says the statement includes an annex with 6 articles, adding that Tehran’s cooperation with the IAEA is within the frame- work of the Safeguards Agreement.
Salehi underlines that Iran is to voluntarily allow IAEA inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water plant and Gachin mine in Bandar Abbas, in southern Iran, despite the fact that Tehran is under no such obligation to do so under the Safeguards Agreement.
Uranium mining at Gachin, started in 2004. The first consignment of yellow cake was shipped from Gachin mine to Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in December 2010.
Iran’s decision to allow the inspectors to visit these sites, is aimed at proving the country’s determination and readiness to resolve the “fabricated nuclear case,” Salehi adds.
He says Tehran is ready to be more flexible on the issue and will not let others find a pretext to impede the progress of the talks.
Amano describes signing the joint statement as “an important step forward,” adding that more work needs to be done.
“Under the framework of cooperation, Iran and the IAEA will cooperate further with respect to verification activities to be undertaken by the IAEA to resolve all present and past issues,” Amano says.
The IAEA chief says the “substantial measures” will be implemented in 3 months, “starting today.”
Amano arrived in Tehran earlier on Monday at Salehi’s invitation to discuss more cooperation between Iran and the IAEA.
Greece’s coast guard has seized a shipload of arms & explosives in international waters, apparently, bound for Syria.
A Sierra Leone-registered cargo ship, was intercepted by Greek naval forces near Imea islets east of the Aegean Sea on Thursday.
It had set sail from Ukraine to Iskenderun in Turkey and was commanded by a Turkish crew.
The Nour M ship was carrying around 20,000 AK-47 assault rifles and a substantial amount of explosives.
According to reports, the seized weapons were heading for the harbors of Tartous, Syria, where they could be passed on to the foreign-backed terrorists operating in the country.
“The ship was scheduled to discharge its weapons in Al-Hamidiya region in Tartous, but it was seized in Rodes naval base and initial inspection revealed that the ship was carrying various types of weapons and 280 Libyan and Egyptian nationals,” al-Sharq al- Jadid news website quotes via "European sources".
The ship is currently being transported to Rhodes port for a thorough investigation.
According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies - Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the terrorists operating in Syria.
Former Saudi spy agency chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, recently called for sending more arms to Takfiri groupss inside Syria.
VENEZUELA FACES CRIMINAL USA
The mayoral elections campaign in Venezuela is seeing an increase in economic sabotage aimed at incapacitating the government of President Nicolas Maduro and, says Francisco Dominguez, presents a threat not unlike that faced decades ago by Salvador Allende in Chile.
Mayoral elections are to be held in Venezuela on December 8. Every mayoralty will be contested and, in Venezuela's vibrant democracy, both the right-wing coalition and Chavista candidates are busily campaigning up and down the country.
These municipal elections are the first to be held since the death of Hugo Chavez. and the violent response of the right-wing opposition to presidential elections in April.
Venezuela's anti-democratic opposition used the close election results to try to unseat the elected government of Nicolas Maduro. They alleged fraud, but failed to give any evidence.
Their leader, Henrique Capriles, encouraged opposition supporters to "vent their anger."
A wave of violence followed, resulting in the death of 13 innocent people as well as the burning of vehicles, attacks on health centres, national electoral council buildings and the homes of prominent members of the government.
The opposition also tried to internationalise its false claim of fraud. Its political leaders travelled around the world linking up with right-wing politicians such as Jovino Novoa, senator for Chile's extreme right, the Union Democratica Independiente (UDI).
The establishment of UDI was encouraged and assisted by Pinochet's dictatorship.
Novoa notoriously served as the general government undersecretary of the military dictatorship, between 1979 and 1982.
This link with Chile's right wing makes sense.
The opposition in Venezuela is at the moment - just like its counterparts in Chile 40 years ago - waging economic war as a strategy to destabilise and bring down the government of President Maduro.
They are organising shortages of vital food and other day-to-day essentials, & carrying out sabotage attacks against key facilities such as electricity plants, the metro and oil refineries.
All this echoes the strategy of president Nixon in Chile to "make the economyscream" to "stop Allende from gaining power or unseat him."
As in Chile, they've unleashed psychological warfare in the media, to sow confusion and despair among the poorest and the most vulnerable, as well as the middle classes.
The West's mainstream media readily and uncritically lends support to this campaign.
In October alone, the Washington Post ran an editorial headlined 'Venezuela, On The Path To Implosion', the Miami Herald, right on cue, announced 'Desperation In Venezuela' and the FT followed with 'Chaos In Caracas'. Foreign Policy magazine ran a piece called 'Is The US Ready For A Venezuelan Meltdown?'
Just as with the ousting of the democratically elected Salvador Allende in Chile, the influence of the US looms large in Venezuela.
Key bodies of the US foreign policy apparatus are very actively intervening in the internal affairs of the country by channelling millions of dollars of taxpayers' money into opposition political, social and media coffers.
President Maduro denounces the destabilisation efforts, saying that the Venezuelan right is not campaigning for elections, but is, instead, focussing on "insurrection."
Former vice-president Jose Vicente Rangel - now a well respected journalist - warns of "a terrorist agenda of the opposition seeking to selectively assassinate Chavista leaders, ministers and high military officers, as well as terrorist attacks against the metro (underground), cable cars, state oil company installations, water supplies, supermarkets and electric installations."
Maduro has explained that extremists in the opposition are seeking a "total collapse," exploiting difficulties in Venezuela's economy to create chaos or, at the very least, to give the strong impression of it among anxious sections of society. It hopes to provoke a "social explosion" that could see the government ousted.
In that context, one major concern is the recent statement by 45 Venezuelan retired military officers - including a dozen generals & admirals and a former defence minister - supporting a military intervention to replace the Maduro government which they claimed "would not be a coup d'état" but "defending sovereignty."
The opposition is characterising the mayoral elections as a plebiscite against the Maduro government. They are seeking to popularise the idea that a setback for Maduro must lead to a new government.
This is a baseless line of argument as the pro- Chavista forces have a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, 20 out of 23 state governors and 22 of 23 local state assemblies as well as just having just won a six-year presidential term for Maduro. Furthermore, recent polls indicate that the government coalition will win a majority of mayors.
In the coming weeks, calls from anti-democratic sections of the opposition for an end to the Maduro government are likely to get ever more shrill and should they, and their external sponsors, be able to carry out their plans successfully, it would lead to a severe setback to democracy and social progress in Venezuela.
As in Chile 40 years ago, we would see the rise of a vicious regime trampling on all the democratic, social, political and economic rights that the Venezuelan majority secured over the past 15 years.
In Chile, Pinochet's dictatorship lasted 17 years and an estimated 10,000 people were killed. So the stakes are very high in Venezuela. A setback there would be a massive blow to progress in the whole of Latin America.
Global solidarity with the elected government of Venezuela is vital. As Martin Luther King once said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Francisco Dominguez is head of Latin American Studies at Middlesex University and secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk) .
He will be among the speakers at the Latin America 2013 Conference at Congress House on Saturday December 7th, on Chile: Remembering the Other 9/11 40 Years On - register and information at www.latinamericaconference.org.uk
VENEZUELA ACTS TO STOP ECONOMIC SABOTAGE
Venezuelan troops have occupied stores of the chain electronics company Daka, in an attempt to force the retailer to sell products at uninflated prices.
Venezuela’s National Guard were sent to Daka’s five stores on Saturday.
According to reports, hundreds of people lined up outside the Daka stores, hoping for a bargain.
“Inflation is killing us… something had to be done. I think it's right to make people sell things at fair prices,” said Carlos Rangel, who was among the people queuing outside a Daka store in the capital city, Caracas.
In a speech on Saturday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that the rich and right-wing political foes were the “ones who have looted” the country.
He accused Daka of raising prices of products above 1,000 percent of their cost and said the retail chain’s seizure is the “tip of the iceberg.”
“This robbery of the people has to stop,” the Venezuelan president says.
According to Maduro, Venezuelan right-wingers - backed by the United States - are waging an economic war to bring down his government.
He says the plot is meant to cause food shortages, rising inflation, and to steal government-supplied foreign exchange, at a time when Venezuela faces serious economic problems.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE......... AND RACISM NOT A CRIME, AS NYPD KEEPS FRISKING
The New York Police Department is continuing with its stop-and-frisk program which a federal court ruled in August, violates New Yorkers’ constitutional rights.
In August, US District Judge Shira Scheindlin found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics were based on a “policy of indirect racial profiling”, leading the New York City police to routinely stop “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.”
Scheindlin did not halt the program but named a federal court monitor to implement reforms.
Immediately after, the city appealed against Scheindlin’s ruling, saying it could make the NYPD officers too “passive and scared” to stop and search suspects.
Last week, a federal appeals court halted Scheindlin’s order calling for changes to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics and removed her from the case.
Scheindlin has now asked for a hearing before the appeals court, “questioning the procedural fairness and the substantive adequacy of the removal order.”
Many in New York hope that the city’s appeal will be withdrawn when Bill de Blasio, who was elected mayor of New York on Tuesday with a sweeping majority, takes office in January.
EVEN THE MEMORIES OF GITMO ARE US OWNED NOW !!!
Read this mind-blowing article on US arrogance here:
The UK-based 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights', asserts that the Syrian army now controls large parts of military Base 80, near Aleppo International Airport, and has inflicted heavy losses on terrorist groups.
The Observatory says that the terrorist groups, which include ISIL and al-Nusra Front, have "summoned reinforcements" to the battlefield.
Syrian TV says the army now also controls the areas of Shihan and al-Lermon in Aleppo.
IT's THE CIA, STUPID !!!
A French reporter gives details on how the US, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have been supplying tons of weapons to the terrorists operating inside Syria, Press TV reports.
Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper reveals how the CIA is now leading massive arms deliveries to the "militants" in Syria.
“The Americans hold the key to these arms deliveries. Without them, they couldn’t happen. CIA agents lead convoys of arms deliveries, joined by the Free Syrian Army and the Jordanian secret services. The Saudis work behind the scenes in charge of financing and arranging arms deliveries from eastern Europe to Jordan,” he says.
The CIA, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have supplied about 600 tons of weapons in 2013 alone, to the militants in Syria.
Sources told Malbrunot that weapons convoys are escorted by unmanned aircraft guided by a CIA-led command centre in Jordan.
The report runs counter to the US claim that it opposes arming the "militants".
Many believe that these arms transfers could plague the region for years...
Meanwhile, a new report says that Saudi Arabia is training foreign-backed militants in Syria as part of a new push to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The kingdom has teamed up with Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and France, in adopting a new policy to bolster the militants in Syria, the 'Foreign Policy' magazine reports.
TURKEY CHANGES TACK?
A senior Syrian Kurdish leader claims that Turkey's government has stopped supporting Takfiri militant groups operating inside Syria.
Salih Muslim, the leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Turkish newspaper Taraf that, “Turkey has withdrawn its support for al-Qaeda linked groups al-Nusra and the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant), at least, that’s how it looks.”
“Armed groups are now unable to enter through Turkey to attack us, like they used to. This makes us very happy. We hope Turkey upholds this approach. Like we always said, we want to be allies of Turkey. We are not seeking independence or a federation,” Muslim says.
In recent weeks, Kurdish fighters have inflicted heavy losses on the al-Qaeda-linked groups, such as the ISIL and al-Nusra in northern Syria.
Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Ankara is not providing shelter or backing to al-Qaeda-linked groups such as al-Nusra in Syria.
Turkish media, however, have given coverage to a report by CNN showing Turkey being used by al- Qaeda-linked groups to smuggle militants to Syria.
According to reports, says Iran's Press TV, Western powers and their regional allies, especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, ARE supporting militants in Syria.
SULPHUR SNIFFED OUT BY TURKEY
A large shipment of weapons has been seized by Turkish security forces in Adana province near the Syrian border, Press TV reports.
Turkish police confiscated a lorry carrying rocket heads, bazookas, missiles, bombs and guns at an industrial site on Thursday.
The driver of the lorry and 8 'workers' were arrested.
The lorry was stopped on suspicion of carrying drugs, but police were surprised to discover heavy weaponry, including 1,200 warheads.
“These are not humanitarian aid. It is possible that these materials were being transported to a state or a terrorist organization,” Adana Governor, Huseyin Avni Cos, told reporters.
When asked where the weapons were headed, he said, “Turkey’s south… Syria.”
Police say investigations are underway.
Turkish media outlets claim the arms were being sent to the al-Qaeda-affiliated group, the al-Nusra Front, which is fighting the Syrian government.
On November 2, Turkish authorities seized a large quantity of chemicals on the country’s border with Syria, adding that the chemicals “could be transformed into weapons.”
Turkey’s army said in a statement that a convoy of three vehicles attempted to smuggle the chemicals across-border, near the southeastern Turkish town of Reyhanli.
Paramilitary police were forced to shoot out the tires of the vehicles to stop them, arresting one of the drivers, while other suspects fled in the direction of Syria.
The statement adds that a large amount of sulphur was part of the chemical haul.
USUK - "KEEPING THE PEACE" IN AFGHAN NIGHTMARE
ISAF in Afghanistan: Murder case, new torture evidence, possible war crimes
A Rolling Stone investigative report alleges that US Special Forces may have been responsible for murdering up to 18 Afghans, including 10 villagers in Wardak province.
Between 2012 and the start of 2013, the bodies of 10 Afghan villagers were found near a US military base in Wardak Province.
Just after these discoveries, the Green Beret “A-Team” was forced by President Hamid Karzai to vacate their base in April.
“After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as US Special Forces stationed in Wardak province engaged in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people," a statement from Karzai's office said at the time.
All the men found dead had been detained by the squad, yet what led to their deaths remained a mystery. Journalist Matthieu Aikins, the report's author, says that he believes, based on interviews with the group’s now-incarcerated translator, Zikria Kandahari, that the "incidents" began after the leader of the Green Beret team was wounded, in late October 2012.
Until the Rolling Stone report, the identity of the US unit remained a secret, despite investigations into the dead Afghans by the UN, the Afghan government and the Red Cross.
The US military denied all allegations up until the beginning of their own investigation in July... after, the new report says, the Red Cross report "offered new information".
Aikins told 'Democracy Now' he “established conclusively that these men who disappeared were picked up by US forces, often in these mass roundups in villages in broad daylight.”
Before the US investigation began, the murders caused demonstrations in Afghanistan and troubled any negotiations between the Afghan and US governments over any legal immunity beyond the official 2014 withdrawal of forces.
Aikins says the US investigation, curiously, never ran into his own five-month process of interviewing key witnesses & family members.
In addition to the 10 bodies unearthed near the Wardak base, the Green Beret squad was connected to an additional 8 Afghan deaths.
Beyond the “A-Team” investigative report, Rolling Stone and Aikins have released an unrelated video of what appears to be a mix of Afghan National Army personnel and interpreters, interrogating and torturing a prisoner as US soldiers watch nearby.
Aikins says that, based on their facial hair and uniform, these are "quite possibly" US Special Forces who arrived in Afghanistan as early as 2010.
Investigations by the UN, the US Congress and human rights groups have shown that torture is endemic amid the US-trained Afghan security forces.
Meanwhile, in the UK, 3 Royal Marines are standing trial for the execution of a wounded insurgent in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, in September 2011.
One has been now been found guilty.
The judge in the case has released audio of Marines A, B and C (who are unnamed to protect their safety), as they allegedly murdered a man seriously wounded by helicopter fire, while they were carrying out “damage assessment”.
This was recorded by one of the marines wearing a helmet camera. The judge barred release of the 6-minute video to prevent any use of it as propaganda, though 'still' shots were released.
The panel, after hearing evidence for two weeks, will now consider the audio as they deliberate.
Marine A is accused of killing the wounded man, and Marines B and C are accused of being party to the alleged murder.
The trio say they believed the man was already dead, and that they shot him to "let off steam".
Marine A can be heard quoting Shakespeare’s Hamlet before he shoots the insurgent with a 9 mm pistol.
“Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c--t.”
He then says, to the others’ laughter, "Obviously this doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.”
The group banters over what to do next with the body.
"Err, anybody want to do first aid on this idiot?"
"Could put one in his head if you want? Take your pick."
"Not in his head because that will be f---ing obvious."
The incident allegedly happened after a patrol base came under small arms fire from two insurgents.
Diary excerpts from Marine C, released by the judge, suggest he wanted to kill the insurgent, but Marine A got there first.
“An execution of a man who was entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and entitled to be treated as any UK serviceman or service- woman would be entitled to be treated in a similar situation,” said prosecutor David Perry, the UK newspaper, 'The Independent' reports.
US CALLS ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS ILLEGITIMATE
US Secretary of State John Kerry has called settlements constructed by the Israeli regime on occupied Palestinian lands "illegitimate".
Kerry made the remarks after meeting with the acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem in the West Bank on Wednesday:
"Let me emphasize that the position of the US is that we consider now, and have always considered, the settlements to be illegitimate."
"I want to make it extremely clear that at no time did the Palestinians in any way agree, as a matter of going back to the talks, that they could somehow condone or accept the settlements," Kerry added.
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators began a fresh round of talks in July.
The last Palestinian-Israeli talks broke down in September 2010, after Tel Aviv refused to freeze settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
A senior PA official said on Tuesday that there will be no direct talks with Israel if it keeps on expanding illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
"The Israeli side is determined to continue its settlement and we cannot continue negotiations under these unprecedented settlement attacks," said the official, on condition of anonymity, after a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
Earlier, Abbas described Israel’s settlement activities as damaging to the "peace talks".
Earlier this month, huge numbers of Palestinians from different political movements, took to the streets of the West Bank city of Ramallah, to call on the PA to pull out from talks with Israel.
Supporters of all Palestinian factions, including the Islamic resistance movement Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, gathered in central Arafat square to protest.
The protesters said the talks are useless and Abbas must withdraw from the negotiations.
They also demanded that the PA take the regime in Tel Aviv to the International Criminal Court for crimes against the people of Palestine.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
The Israeli regime has recently announced plans to build about 5,000 more illegal settlement units on the occupied Palestinian lands.
EGYPT's JUDGES SAY MB LOSES EVERYTHING
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has lost its appeal against a court decision to ban it and seize all of its assets.
Egyptian court sources announced yesterday that the court rejects the MB’s request to cancel its decision to ban ALL the group’s activities and seize all of its funds.
In September, an administrative court in Cairo banned all activities of the Muslim Brotherhood as a non-governmental organization (NGO) and ordered its funds, assets & headquarters siezed.
CRACK CANADA MAYOR WANTS TO "MOVE ON"
Pressure is growing on the rightwing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to resign, just days after his admission that he HAS smoked crack cocaine.
Over 200 chanting demonstrators protested outside Toronto City Hall as Ford arrived for work Wednesday. He had to enter his office by the back stairs... to avoid demonstrators.
"Rob Ford has got to go!" they chanted.
Protesters left colorful chalk messages on walls and on the pavement outside city hall, demanding that the mayor quit.
"I'm a taxpayer, and I would like you to resign - now," read one message aimed at the right-leaning mayor, who speaks often about saving taxpayers' money. Another said: "This wall would be a better mayor."
Ford has insisted he will not resign, although even his allies are calling on him now to 'go'.
City councilors are calling on Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly to "orchestrate a dignified" exit for the disgraced mayor.
"He has stubbornly refused to listen to everyone across the city to step down," Councilor Janet Davis says. "The mayor has got to come to the conclusion himself, that he has to step down."
Ford's long-time policy adviser, Brooks Barnett, resigned on Wednesday, continuing an exodus from his office that started in May, when the first news reports emerged of a video showing the mayor smoking crack.
After months of evading the question, Ford admitted on Tuesday, that he has smoked crack cocaine, and probably, "in one of my drunken stupors," but then insisted that he was "not an addict".
Ford says he's "embarrassed" by his behavior, but also vows to run for re-election next year.
"Folks, I have nothing left to hide," he says, adding, "I would do anything, absolutely anything to change the past, but the past is the past and we must move forward."
Two days later, reports say he is found "drunk and incapable."
Last week, Toronto police chief Bill Blair revealed that investigators had recovered a digital video file containing images of the mayor, consistent with the reports.
Blair also says that the police possess a second clip, but refuses to detail it.
Officials in Canada's largest city, cannot legally remove Ford, unless convicted of a crime.
UK's Balfour Declaration 'a crime against humanity'.
The UK-conspired Balfour Declaration that led to the creation of the racist regime of Israel on the rubble of occupied Palestine is condemned by the Palestinian Authority as “a crime against humanity.”
The declaration by the UK’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour on November 2nd, 1917, stated that his government considered “with favour, the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.
Over 30 years later, the Israeli regime was created and installed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
On the 96th anniversary of the 'Declaration', the Palestinian Ministry of Information has issued a statement:
“Since 1917, Palestinian people have been paying the price of the biggest political crime in contemporary history.”
The Palestinian ministry describes the event as “a mark of shame on humanity.”
The declaration “began the Zionists’ process of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homeland, which continues until today,” the statement says.
“Britain and the entire world must recognize these usurped Palestinian rights, because all that has befallen Palestine - it’s partition, the aggression, the suppression, the settlements, the arrests, the separation wall, the siege on Gaza, and the millions of Palestinians living in exile - was made possible because of the Balfour Declaration”.
The Palestinian Fatah movement led by Mahmoud Abbas censures the UK-engineered declaration as “an infamous and illegal promise” that has brought misery to the Palestinians.
The movement says that the UK and other supporters of Israel, are responsible for these “racist and Zionist crimes.”
Fatah says “the Palestinian people are determined to get all their rights and to liberate their homeland from Israeli occupation and Jewish settlers.”
It calls upon the UK to apologize and to make amends for the crimes committed in Palestine because of the declaration.
ISRAEL NEXT IF ASSAD SURVIVES?
Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence agency chief, demands that the foreign-backed Takfiri militants must be sent more arms, since Israel will be endangered if the war there is left "unfinished".
He makes the remarks in an interview with the US' newspaper, the Washington Post, urging the supply of more arms to "militants" to turn the balance of power on the ground, which presently favours President Bashar al-Assad.
“You are facing al-Qaeda and its units in Syria. Volunteers from all over the world are in Syria. Therefore, if the war continues, it will not be limited to Syria.” he says,
Saudi Arabia is the main supplier of weapons and funds to those terrorists fighting in Syria.
According to a recent report by French daily Le Figaro, the weapons used by terrorists in Syria are initially purchased by Saudi Arabia from black markets in Ukraine and Bulgaria.
The weapons, which include Israeli missiles, are then transferred to a number of cells on the outskirts of Syria's capital, Damascus.
US military doctors participate in torture of detainees, report says.
An independent report charges that US medical personnel, working under the direction of the Dept of Defense and CIA in military defense facilities, have violated medical ethics by participating in the torture of detainees.
The services provided by US doctors and psychologists include “designing, participating in and enabling, torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of detainees, says the report.
The 19-member task force concludes that, since Sept 11th, 2001, the Dept of Defense and CIA has ordered medical professionals to assist in intelligence gathering, as well as in the force-feeding of hunger strikers, in a way that has inflicted “severe harm” on detainees in US custody.
The authors of the 269-page report, entitled “Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the ‘War on Terror’” is based on information from unclassified, publicly available information.
The task force reveals that a “theory of interrogation” emerged in US detention facilities, including in Guantanamo Bay detention camp, based on “personality disintegration”, as a means of breaking detainees' resistance, so as to extract confessions and information.
Over time, new interrogation methods were developed by interrogators and psychologists from techniques used in the pre-9/11 Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) program, designed for training US troops to withstand interrogation and mistreatment techniques if they were captured.
The interrogators and medical professionals transformed torture-resistant tactics into abusive methods of interrogation, which they employed on detainees.
This included so-called ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques, such as waterboarding, which involves covering a restrained detainee’s face with a towel and then soaking it with water.
The technique is said to induce a feeling of drowning and complete helplessness.
The detainees are not allowed to have treatment for the mental anguish caused by their torture.
The report gives special mention to the Bush administration, for ordering that legal safeguards on the treatment of prisoners of war set down in the Geneva Convention, did not apply to “unlawful combatants” in 'The War Against Terror'.
The lack of any judicial restraints on the part of the military and medical personnel involved led straight to “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of prisoners at GITMO under both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Task Force member, Dr. Gerald Thomson, Professor of Medicine Emeritus, Columbia University, says physicians violated their medical code of conduct, by willingly becoming “agents of the military.”
“The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm regardless of where they serve,” Dr. Thomson said in a released statement.
“It’s clear that in the name of national security the military trumped that covenant, and physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and practice.”
The medical community has “a responsibility to make sure this never happens again,” he adds.
Dr. Thomson expresses most people's feelings when he calls the participation of physicians in the torture and interrogation of detainees a “big striking horror.”
“This covenant between society and medicine has been around for a long, long time — patient first, community first, society first, not national security, necessarily,” he says.
“If we just ignore this and satisfy ourselves with, ‘Well, they were trying to protect us,’ when it does happen again we’ll all be complicit in that.”
A spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, Lt. Col. J. Todd Breasseale, calls the charges in the report “wholly absurd.”
“The health care providers at the Joint Strike Force who routinely provide not only better medical care than any of these detainees have ever known, but care on a par with the very best of the global medical profession, are consummate professionals working under terrifically stressful conditions, far from home and their families, and with patients who have been extraordinarily violent,” Breasseale tells NBC News.
Arthur Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, says that the medical personnel working at Gitmo may believe they are doing something valuable for society.
"What I’ve seen over the years is that people who don’t want to do that, don’t. They find ways to avoid it, get out of it or get reassigned," Caplan told NBC News.
"But for someone who does it, that doctor’s impulse may be: 'I want to fight terrorism. I want to get information that protects the American people.'
They think they’re doing the right thing."
SO THERE !!!
Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoubi says that the Saudi diplomacy represented by its Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faissal will suffer "unmatched disappointment", and adds that supporting terrorism is an outrageous act against Arabism, Islam and morality.
“Saudi Arabia must stop adopting the policy of terrorism against Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and all of the Arab countries. It is responsible for destroying the Arab nation.”
“Saud al-Faisal has always driven Saudi policy toward failure and into a dead end, and Saudi diplomacy will face unmatched disappointment,” al-Zoubi remarked, after the al-Faisal talks with Kerry on Monday, at which the Saudi official reportedly decried the inaction over Syria... and the US decision not to intervene militarily.
Al-Zoubi says the Syrian government will not participate in the next Geneva conference if the aim is for President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power.
“We will not go to Geneva to hand over power, as desired by al-Faisal and certain opponents abroad,” he says. “President Bashar al-Assad will remain the head of state,” he adds.
CND SAYS NO TO NATO IN NEWPORT
A major campaign group attacks the UK government for hosting next year’s NATO summit in Wales, after UK PM Cameron announces that the 2014 NATO summit will be held at the Celtic Manor resort, in Newport city.
In a press release the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) says it believes neither Newport, nor anywhere else in the UK, should host a summit of the Western military alliance.
“Rather, we believe that Britain should withdraw from NATO and all foreign military bases on British soil should be closed,” says CND’s General Secretary, Kate Hudson.
She also says the campaign group will use the meeting to highlight public opposition to the military alliance.
Hudson criticizes the alliance for pursuing global military influence with aggressive military expansionism, thus jeopardizing many disarmament initiatives.
The last time the UK hosted a NATO summit was in 1990, as the Cold War was drawing to an end.
TRIAL ADJOURNED AS FARCE
Morsi’s trial was adjourned in Egypt Monday as defendants chanted anti-military slogans and Morsi refused to wear the prison garb.
It has been adjourned until January 8th, in 2014, the presiding judge says.
The military and the interim coup government expected to wipe out the Muslim Brotherhood, through staging Morsi's trial, but the Islamists have not given up.
The trial cannot solve the Egypt issue decisively, say commentators at Xinhua.
Firstly, it is arousing more protests. Although the MB has suffered a big blow, it still has large numbers of supporters, who are now demonstrating nation-wide.
To cope, the authorities had to change the venue less than one day before the trial, and banned its live telecast.
The possibility of violent conflict will increase during the course of the trial, and mass demonstrations versus a "paid for" army, could destroy what is left of Egypt's economy and social cohesion, over the medium term.
The Muslim Brotherhood denounces the trial "as a farce aimed at political revenge".
During four months of detention, in undisclosed military facilities, Morsi wasn't allowed to meet with lawyers and refused to cooperate with his interrogators. Brotherhood supporters call the detention "an outright kidnapping".
His only contact with the outside world was rare 'phone calls and visits from his family.
The court adjourned the trial after President Morsi refused to wear prison uniform and the defendants' chanted "Down with military rule".
Judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef ordered the adjournment shortly after a two- hour delay at the start of the hearings.
The delay was due to Morsi’s defiance of the court, which he says has no authority to try a legitimate Egyptian president.
"This trial is illegitimate," he insisted.
If convicted, Morsi could face the death penalty.
Shortly before the beginning of the trial, Egyptian authorities switched the venue to Eastern Cairo, which had already been transformed into a courthouse for the trial of former president Mubarak - toppled in a 2011 uprising, and accused of failing to stop the killing of protesters.
"For the first time in its history Egypt has two former presidents who are on trial at the same time. But whereas the trial of Hosni Mubarak is eagerly anticipated by most Egyptians, when it comes to Morsi's prosecution, Egyptians are divided," RT's correspondent Paula Slier notes.
"Most people here believe, however, that this is a political trial more than anything else," she adds.
Egyptian journalist and political analyst, Wael Es-kandar, believes the trial is Morsi's "political assassination". "Many say there's a feeling that the security apparatus is shaping court decisions in Egypt, which - after the July coup - has seen its worst bouts of violence in decades."
Amr Abdel-Rahman, from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights:
“The military is entrenching its influence and interests now, again and again.
The problem is, now we need to sit down and agree on a specific route for transitional justice, either we try everyone on meaningful charges or we take the route of South Africa: that is, truth and reconciliation,”, he tells RT.
RT's correspondent Bel Trew talked with Ramy Essam, ‘the Singer of the Revolution’.
He was badly tortured by the military, after gaining popularity with pro-democracy songs.
Ramy, who supports a leftwing secular revolt, says he is no longer hopeful about Egypt’s future:
"Revolutionaries are now in the worst scenario we have ever been in since 2011. Morsi should be tried, but it’s comic that the Mubarak trial should be held up at every turn, while the Morsi trial is moving along so fast.
" What shocks me is that the authorities never seem to have the will to push through the court cases of remnants of the former regime," Essam told RT.
In 2011 and 2013, people came to Tahrir Square to demand bread, freedom and social justice.
Since the military ousted President Morsi, hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested, leading many to fear that those freedoms and that justice, will never become a reality.
CLASHES AS MB BEGINS MASS PROTESTS
Islamists held protests on Friday, clashing with police in Alexandria ahead of the start of the trial.
The pro-Mursi coalition calling the protests rallied on Monday outside the court.
The Coalition calls for mass rallies across Egypt.
Protesters clashed with police who used tear gas in Alexandria Friday, a security official says. Police arrested 60 protesters there, he adds.
The clashes came one day after police arrested 20 female Islamist activists in Alexandria after they scuffled with bystanders during a protest, another official said.
In Zaqaziq, five people were wounded when pro-Mursi protesters clashed with opponents, the official MENA news agency reported.
In Cairo, several hundred Islamists protested outside the main presidential palace as soldiers and police looked on, an AFP correspondent said.
The Interior ministry says that 20,000 police are being deployed today to guard the south Cairo academy hosting the trial, and to secure Mursi's transport to the makeshift court room.
The Islamist's supporters have been battered by a police crackdown since his ouster. About 1,000 people have been killed, and over 2,000 arrested.
The campaign of arrests of Islamists has left much of their leadership in jail and restricted their ability to organize mass protests.
The Anti-Coup Coalition says it believes in peaceful protest, but will not shy away from those who deny peace and justice.
A great number of Palestinians - dozens of them - were injured in protests against the expropriation of lands to build settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, say authorized sources.
The demonstrations were reported in the cities of Nabi Saleh, Bilin and Al Masara and joined with the campaign of weekly demonstrations against the "ignorance wall" erected by Israeli troops to separate the West Bank from Israeli territory.
In Nabi Saleh the demonstrators, including Israeli pacifists and others from European countries, marched to land taken by occupation authorities to build part of a new lot of 3,600 dwellings.
The construction of the dwellings was announced this week by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
Several protesters condemned the deaths this week of five Palestinian citizens, four in Gaza and one in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Several demonstrators were assisted in hospitals and health centres with asphyxia symptoms and wounded by rubber bullets - which can be lethal at short distances.
After the disturbances, occupation troops besieged Nabih Saleh and declared it a closed military area, imposing restrictions of movement on the population.
These incidents converge with the more and more obvious truth, that the peace talks started in July in Washington, are at a dead end.
It explains the journey that US Secretary of State John Kerry begins today (Sunday), starting with Egypt, where a group of his supervisors arrived Saturday, to contact the provisional authorities appointed after the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, on July 3rd.
COURT RULES FOR RACISM IN NEW YORK
A federal appeals court has halted a judge’s order which called for changes to the New York Police Department’s racially biased stop & frisk program.
The three-judge panel says the lower court judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, “ran afoul” of a judicial code of conduct, and have removed her from the case.
The appeals court says Scheindlin jeopardized “the appearance of partiality, by giving media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court."
The appeals court ruling is a temporary victory for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD officials, who assert that 'stop & frisk' has led to a marked decline in crime rates.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the Court's findings," says the Corporation's Counsel, Michael Cardozo, the city's chief attorney, calling Scheindlin's ruling "unjustified and deeply problematic."
In August, Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics violated New Yorkers’ constitutional rights.
She ordered a federal monitor to oversee major reforms in the policies, training and supervision of NYPD practices, after many racial minorities in New York complained that innocent people were being arrested regularly in the police 'sweeps'. Minorities celebrated the ruling then, with joy:
Scheindlin ruled that the civil rights of innumerable people, including black & Hispanic men, were being trampled underfoot by the NYPD.
She began pilot programs to test body- worn cameras where most stops happen.
The New York Civil Liberties Union said in its 2012 report, that there had been a sharp rise in the amount of police stops over Bloomberg’s 3 terms in office.
The number of stops rose from 160,851 in 2003, to 685,724 in 2011... and half of 2011's stops involved physical searches.
DOMINATING THROUGH FEAR?
7,000 NATO personnel are participating in a massive military exercise near Russia’s western borders.
The drill, code-named Steadfast Jazz 2013, began on Saturday and ends on Nov. 9th. It will be held in Poland, the former Soviet republic of Latvia, and in the Baltic Sea.
According to NATO, its largest exercise since 2006 is rehearsing how to stop an anonymous invading enemy from a region.
"The purpose of this exercise is to make sure that our rapid reaction force, the NATO Response Force, is ready to defend any ally, deploy anywhere and deal with any threat,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says.
The units involved include engineers, armored personnel carriers, a chemical, biological, radiological & nuclear (CBRN) battalion, an airborne anti-tank company, about 11 surface vessels and a submarine, plus 46 fighter jets and 11 helicopters.
Steadfast Jazz 2013 involves all NATO nations as well as the partner nations of Finland, Sweden and Ukraine.
NATO stresses that the exercise is not aimed at Russia directly, and has invited Russian observers to the exercise.
Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that his country will have a delegation at the drill.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin has long complained about NATO’s eastward expansion into Moscow’s traditional sphere of influence, particularly the former Soviet Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
In late July, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov censured what he termed the “Cold War” spirit of the NATO exercise.
Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reports that some of these large NATO maneuvers are to take place in areas just 30 seconds away from Russia’s borders by jet.
USA SPYING UNITING THE WORLD
The governments of Brazil & Germany have presented to the UN General Assembly, a draft resolution on respect for the right to privacy on the Internet.
The text is being evaluated by the 3rd Assembly Committee, which is responsible, among other things, for humanitarian affairs, and will then be reviewed by a plenary session of 193 UN members.
Although the text doesn't directly mention the US, diplomats and media here attribute the initiative to the scandal sparked by US global espionage.
Brazil and Germany are among the countries that have strongly criticized the revelations of US surveillance on over thirty countries.
TWITTER ABUSES VENEZUELA
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls for the liberation of Latin America from Twitter, arguing that the US company attacked 6,600 accounts, including his own.
"We must achieve independence, and we have to think about deep & radical ways we can free ourselves from these multinational corporations that have monopolized social networks,” he told ministers at Saturday's meeting, regarding Twitter. "Let's prepare ourselves to liberate ourselves from you," Maduro says, proposing a fight against the microblog together with Mercosur, Unasur and ALBA, groups which are leftist allies of Venezuela.
According to a statement from the president, Maduro’s Twitter account was attacked to spark unrest and suspend the December 8th elections.
Communications Minister Delsy Rodriguez states that nearly 6,600 of the leader’s Twitter followers vanished from the president's account in 10 mins. No details were given on the timing of the attack. As of Friday, Maduro had 1.4 million followers.
Since his election as Venezuelan president in April, Maduro has spoken openly about a number of plots against his government - and 5 attempts on his life.
In Venezuela thousands of twitter accounts belonging to ministers, pro-government media and supporters were "suspended".
The Minister of Communication and Information, Dercy Rodriguez, reports that it was a massive political attack and that he has made a formal complaint to Twitter, which is "still unanswered".
Not only Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Rodriguez, but at least two other ministers, the state media, journalists and personalities, were attacked.
The government says the accounts of pro- government newspapers and some media, and of Venezuela's immigration authority, were also suspended, together with the accounts of other officials and government agencies.
VIETNAM REACHES 90 MILLION SOULS
Any of Friday's early-morning newborns could be seen as Vietnam's 90 millionth inhabitant, in a country with a population density of 245 per sq klmtr, with a life expectancy of 72 years.
All Souls Day (November 1st), was chosen by the authorities to mark the demographic event, and there were at least five births at midnight, in hospitals in different regions of the country.
More boys and girls were born at midnight in Ho Chi Minh City and the central provinces of Lam Dong and Hue, but in the maternity hospital of Hanoi alone, Deputy Director Nguyen Thien Thai awaited 10 births.
Predictions after the census in 1989, said Vietnam would reach 90 million inhabitants in 2002 & 105 million in 2010.
Statistics Office Director Duong Quoc Trong says the increase was delayed, thanks to efforts to control birth rates, including the setting of a limit of 2 children per couple.
Vietnam is the 14th most populated country in the world, and the 3rd in South East Asia.
RUSSIA PROTECTS SOUTH AMERICA NOW
The head of Russia's long-range air force, Anatoli Zhijarev, confirms that Tu- 160 strategic bombers are flying over South America as part of Russia's strategic plan to patrol "remote areas".
The Lieutenant General says that long range Tu- 160s have begun their missions along the Norwegian coast: flying over the Straits of Iceland and the UK, crossing the Atlantic and landing at Maiquetia Airport in Venezuela.
They also now fly over the Caribbean, landing at an airport in Managua, Nicaragua, as they follow the combat training plan of the Russian Air Force, he states.
The pilots rest in Nicaragua and get ready for a series of planned patrol flights over the region, he explains.
Zhijarev highlights that Russia is currently modernizing its strategic bombers to increase outputs, capacity, tactical and technical data, and improve efficiency in the use of weapons.
The Defense Ministry clarifies to the press that Air Force flights are made in strict accordance with international standards on airspace use.
The presence of Tu-160s in Managua coincides with the arrival, in Nicaragua, of the secretary of Russia's Security Council, Nikolai Patruchev, who signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Commander General of the Nicaraguan Air Force, general Julio Cesar Avilés.
Patrushev states that the leadership of the Nicaraguan Army and Russia's Security Council, are establishing 'permanentconsultations' in order to coordinate their positions on international issues and help improve their cooperation.
NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT "A DUTY"
As the US announces its most costly "modernisation" yet, of its nuclear weapons systems, is to take place...
Iran’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Gholam Hossein Dehqani, says all countries are duty-bound to start “serious” negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
“The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has concluded that countries are obliged to hold talks over nuclear disarmament in good faith and in order to achieve results, in such a way that all aspects of nuclear disarmament will be under efficient international supervision & control.
Unfortunately, nuclear states have not lived up to this commitment yet,”said Dehqani, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), at a UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday. Iran is the current chair of NAM.
Senior officials from the ICJ, and the ICC were briefing the General Assembly on the work of the courts over the past year.
Dehqani commended the ICJ’s role and underlined NAM’s principled positions, as well as its commitment to progress in achieving full respect for international law.
The Iranian official emphasized that the Security Council has not sought an advisory opinion from the ICJ since 1970, and urged the council to make greater use of that body as a source of advice and interpretation of the relevant norms of international law, and on 'controversial' issues.
Dehqani also called on other UN bodies and specialized agencies, to request advisory opinions of the court on legal questions.
The Iranian envoy also strongly condemned - and called for an end to - the Israeli regime’s current occupation of Palestinian territories.
Israeli soldiers have killed at least four Gazans.
Late on Thursday, Israeli regime forces launched an attack on an area near the separation fence in Khan Younis city, south of Gaza. 5 Israeli soldiers were reportedly injured in the ensuing clashes.
Earlier in the day, another Palestinian was killed in Khan Younis after a number of Israeli tanks crossed the separation fence into the enclave.
Gaza has been under Israeli siege since 2007.
The 1.7 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip live in what is called the world’s largest open- air prison, as Israel retains full control of its airspace, territorial waters and borders.
DID THEY, DIDN'T THEY?
Israeli warplanes struck a Syrian air defense base near the port city of Latakia on Thursday, say US officials to the media on Friday.
An Obama administration official told AP that the attack happened on Thursday night, but gave no details. Another US security official told AP that it took place in the Syrian port city of Latakia, and targeted Russian-made SA-125 missiles.
Another US official told CNN that the Israelis believed the base near Snobar Jableh, south of Latakia, had sensitive and sophisticated missile equipment, that could have been transferred to Hezbollah.
Earlier, Dubai-based broadcaster al-Arabiya reported 2 attacks by the Israeli Air Force – one in Latakia and the other, in Damascus.
Neither the Syrian nor Israeli governments have commented on the alleged attacks. No casualties have been reported.
A spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Ministry declined to speak on the matter. "We are not commenting on these reports," he told Reuters.
However, an Israeli official speaking anonymously to Reuters, said he was inclined to believe that Israel had carried out a strike, although he was "not entirely certain".
The Lebanese military said it observed six Israeli jets flying over Lebanese territory on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Israeli jets often fly over Lebanon, but such high numbers have in the past indicated a military strike following... against Syria.
Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said there was a series of explosions at a Syrian air defense base in Latakia province.
"Several explosions were heard in an air defense base in the Snubar Jableh area," SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that the reason for the blasts remains “unclear.”
Meanwhile, a "Syrian security source" said that "a rocket fell near the base, causing a fire to break out," AFP reported.
However, RT Arabic’s source within the Syrian security forces has denied the media reports.
Ammar al-Asad, head of the foreign affairs committee within the Syrian National Council, says in an interview with RT that "In Latakia, we did not hear any sounds, incidents, or anything that can prove the attack occurred."
There have been five previous incidents - the first in January - and in all the alleged attacks, the reason given was Israel's fear that weapons were making their way to Hezbollah. But many critics said it was just an excuse... for a blatant direct attack inside Syria.
In the past, Damascus has threatened to strongly retaliate against such attacks.
US SENATOR: POPE A SPY TARGET?
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced a "sense of the Senate" resolution calling on President Obama to explain how the US was tracking Pope Francis.
The resolution states that public reports indicate that the NSA "monitored millions of phone calls" in Italy over the last year.
It also says reports indicate that the NSA "monitored telephone calls made to and from a residence in Rome, where then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave selecting Bergoglio, now known as His Holiness Pope Francis, to succeed Pope Benedict XVI."
It notes the NSA has denied these allegations, but says nonetheless that "President Obama should directly address the serious allegation whether his administration monitored the calls of Pope Francis or of the conclave selecting the Pope."
In an interview with Fox News, Paul says that these days, an NSA denial is simply not enough.
"The NSA also says collecting bulk data on Americans is not spying, so you have to parse their words, OK? They've lost a lot of credibility."
He says the NSA may have only collected 'phone data on the Pope, which the NSA says is not "spying" because it was not listening in to the Pope's conversations.
"I think we need to know: were they monitoring his 'phone calls; were they collecting records on the Pope; and I expect an answer from the president," he states, adding, "This is so over the top that it has to stop," reports 'The Hill'.
Poland asks the European Court of Human Rights to bar any media or public presence, during the imminent hearing on Poland’s complicity with the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program, which delivered terror suspects to secret TORTURE in prisons around the world.
The public hearing in Strasbourg, France, scheduled for December the 3rd, will hear the first arguments testing allegations that the Polish government let the CIA run a jail for "Al-Qaeda fighters" in Poland.
The request for a private hearing “will be examined by the court shortly,” a spokesperson tells Reuters. Poland cited "national security concerns" as to why it wants the hearing to be "confidential".
The Polish government will not officially comment.
A Polish human rights group criticizes the request for privacy, saying "the public deserves to know".
"We should have the right to review this in public," says Adam Bodnar, vice president of the Warsaw- based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. "I don't see a reason for confidentiality." Bodnar adds that most of the evidence about the alleged CIA jail is already public, and keeping it secret is pointless now. His organization was instrumental in uncovering evidence of Poland’s CIA "cooperation".
Former President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of the secret detention centres, or “black sites,” run by the CIA on Sept 6th, 2006 - nearly a year after they were first exposed by news outlets and NGOs.
Poland began its secretive investigation into the prison allegations in 2008. In early 2012, Poland's Prosecutor General's office began an investigation into ex-intelligence chief Zbigniew SiemiÄ…tkowski, charged in March 2012 with facilitating the alleged CIA prison.
Suspected Al-Qaeda militants allege that they were tortured while in CIA custody.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) case was brought by lawyers for Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, both now detainees waiting for charges at Guantanamo Bay. The men allege they were kidnapped and held by the CIA at an "intelligence training" facility near Stare Kiejkuty, in northeast Poland. Suspects “were subjected to enforced disappearance and tortured between 2002 and 2005,” Amnesty International says.
Nashiri claims that while at the Polish site, he was subjected to torture, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and other harsh treatments, “such as ‘mock execution’ with a gun and threats of sexual assault against family members,” Amnesty reports.
Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in one month, while in "secret" CIA detention centres. Nashiri & Zubaydah are also listed as parties in Poland’s own investigation - separate from the European Court’s case - along with a recently- added third man, Yemeni, Walid Bin Attash.
Polish officials maintain that they did not host CIA jails, though they admit that in 2002 & 2003, the CIA landed aircraft at a remote airfield near the site of the alleged jail in northern Poland.
Hosting such a secret prison violates the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention Against Torture, both of which, all European Union member states are bound to follow.
The Polish government has said it would prefer its own investigation to run to completion before the European court starts its case.
Rights activists and lawyers for the alleged detainees say the Polish investigation has slowed to avoid embarrassing the government, although prosecutors deny these allegations.
ALL IN THE LAND OF OZ
US intelligence agencies use Australian embassies throughout Asia to intercept data and gather information across the continent, says the latest report based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Data collection facilities operate out of the embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Bejing, and Dili, according to a Fairfax media report.
There are also units in the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, the most populated city in Malaysia, and Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. More intelligence collection occurs at US embassies and consulates, as well as at the diplomatic outposts of ‘Five Eye’ nations, particularly Britain and Canada.
The Defence Signals Directorate, which falls under the Australian Defence Agency, conducts all these surveillance missions & most Australian diplomatic officers are completely unaware of such activity, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Five Eyes’ is an intelligence cooperation alliance that includes the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
A document released by Der Spiegel, codenamed ‘STATEROOM,’ indicates that these outfits “are small in size and in the number of personnel staffing them. They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned.”
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs refuses to comment on the reports, saying it is against government policy to speak on intelligence activity.
ABUSE OF POWER IS USED TO DOMINATE WORLD
EU diplomats who travelled to Washington over the NSA’s spying program, have left with all their questions unanswered.
The US insisted that all the intelligence gathered in Europe relates to warzones in the Middle East and thus, will continue.
The European Union’s delegation of politicians entrusted with getting answers from the US over the NSA's espionage programs in the EU, left with more questions than they arrived with. The heated condemnation of reports that the US eavesdropped on millions of calls, as well as on the private communications of EU leaders was denied by spy Director Gen. Keith Alexander: “It is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings, than it is to give up a program that would result in us being attacked,” Alexander told the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
He insisted that the reports in European media alleging that the NSA had recorded millions of personal phone calls were “completely false.”
Addressing allegations of EU complicity in the spying, he said that some data was provided “to the NSA by foreign partners,” but it is “not information we collected on European citizens.”
“It represents information that we and our NATO allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations," he said.
After the meeting, members of the delegation told RT’s Gayane Chichikyan that espionage on such a scale cannot be justified by the US fight against terrorism. Spanish MEP Salvador Sedo said Alexander gave some statistics and an explanation, neither of which “clarify the situation.”
“This is not justifiable,” said Sedo, adding that tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone was not included in Alexander’s explanation.
A group of German officials are also in the US this week to address allegations of NSA eaves- dropping on the Chancellor's 'phone.
RT’s correspondent, Gayane Chichikyan, says the EU delegation’s visit was purely “symbolic.”
“They came to Washington, expressed reserved indignation & then agreed to cooperate further. This, we’ve seen before,” Chichikyan says. The EU delegation left the US on Wednesday and it remains to be seen what action will be taken in relation to the talks with US officials.
European leaders have threatened to suspend the multi-billion ‘Safe Harbor’ trade pact, as a measure against US spying. This deal allows US companies to collect data on clients, and the EU believes that this is now being undermined by the NSA.
Geopolitical analyst, Eric Draitser, dismisses the EU delegation’s visit to Washington as “political posturing.” He describes the word “collaboration” as not strong enough for the intelligence cooperation between the EU and the US.
“They have always been an intimate part of the US intelligence apparatus,” says Draitser. “If you exist within the US sphere of influence then you are part of this espionage.”
On NSA Director Keith Alexander’s explanation, Draitser says his assertion that the US gathered information for military purposes is technically “valid,” but that Washington’s ultimate goal is to use the intelligence as a “weapon of dominance and coercion.”
“Yes, it’s true these things are for military purposes and intelligence gathering. That’s absolutely true. But in the end, the goal is to wield this information as a weapon against political competitors and geopolitical rivals,” he concludes.
PLEASE ARREST CHENEY, CANADA !
An international antiwar organization urged Canadian authorities to arrest former US vice president Dick Cheney on war crimes charges when he visited Toronto.
Lawyers Against the War wrote in a letter that Cheney is "suspected on reasonable grounds of authorizing, counseling, aiding, abetting and failing to prevent torture.”
“Once Richard Cheney enters Canada … Canada must ensure that Dick Cheney is either investigated and prosecuted for the indictable offence of torture in Canada or extradited to another country willing and able to do so," the group stated.
Cheney, who served from 2001 to 2009 under former president George W. Bush, was a key architect of the post-9/11 torture tactics and of the US invasion of Iraq that according to some estimates killed over 1 million people.
Cheney has said he was "a big supporter" of waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects during his vice presidency.
He, along with Bush and other top administration officials, were convicted in absentia of war crimes last year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for torture and cruelty. The verdict was largely symbolic.
Opinion polls for both Chaney and Bush turned unfavorable during their second terms and their job disapproval ratings have been some of the highest in US history.
Last Sunday, Cheney said that military action in Iran is probably unavoidable, in order to stop Iran’s nuclear energy program.
George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's 'This Week' program, asked him, "is military action against Iran inevitable?"
"I have trouble seeing how we're going to achieve our objective short of that," Cheney said.
ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS CONTINUE IN JERUSALEM
The Israeli regime plans to build 1,500 new illegal settler units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), a new report says.
The report by Israeli Army Radio, (out early Wednesday), says that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Gideon Saar, have approved the expansion of the illegal settlement known as Ramat Shlomo in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Also on Wednesday, the Israeli regime released 26 Palestinian prisoners, as "part of a deal" for the restart of talks with the Palestinian Authority.
An Israeli official claimed last week that the move was linked to a deal with the PA in exchange for continued settlement construction in the occupied territories.
The PA, however, vehemently denies the allegation, saying construction activities seriously threaten the talks that resumed in July after a three-year halt.
The existence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle to efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
The Israeli regime has been under fire from the international community, including its own allies, over its expansionist policies.
But the Tel Aviv regime continues to defy calls to end its illegal settlement activities.
ISRAEL MUST SHOW WILLING, OR ELSE!
Germany warned of harsh consequences for Israel, if it failed to attend Tuesday's UN Human Rights Council session...
..."NOT A PERFECT RECORD"
Israel attended the periodic hearing of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR), ending its 18-month boycott of the council over its scrutiny of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"Our record is before you. It is not a perfect record," Israeli UN ambassador, Eviator Manor, said.
Tel Aviv boycotted the Geneva-based council over what it had claimed was bias and regular criticism of its policies on Palestinians.
Israel has come under widespread criticism for ramping up its construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, including in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Arab members of the council, with Cuba and Venezuela, had denounced the Israeli settlement constructions, and Turkey had criticized the "shameful situation" in the occupied Palestinian territories.
All 193 UN member states are meant to undergo a "Universal Periodic Review" of their human rights record.
The Review, held once every 4 years, was established by the UN General Assembly in 2006, to examine the human rights records of United Nations’ members.
Israel severed all ties with the Council in March 2012 after the UNHRC adopted a resolution condemning the announcement of new settlement homes and demanded a reversal of the settlement policy.
Over half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since the occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967.
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
Egypt Judges Withdraw from Badie’s Trial
The three judges presiding over the trial of Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohamed Badie and his aides, withdrew from proceedings at the start of Tuesday's session.
Before their decision to step down, the judges ordered that the defendants must continue to be held in custody, an AFP correspondent in the court says.
Badie and his two deputies, Khairat al-Shater and Rashad al-Bayoumi, face charges related to the deaths of protesters who stormed the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters on June 30.
32 other defendants are being prosecuted along with Badie, Shater and Bayoumi.
None of the 35 defendants were in the court on Tuesday.
DO NOT PUSH YOUTH TO ABYSS IN SYRIA
Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, urges young Saudis NOT to join militant groups in Syria fighting against the government of President al-Assad.
According to al-Hayat newspaper, the Saudi mufti on Monday, warns against the inflow of Saudi young men into Syria, saying, "This is all wrong, it's not obligatory."
"These are feuding factions and no-one should go there. I do not advise anyone to go there," the mufti said.
Ash-Sheikh also criticized preachers who push young Saudi men into the war there.
"Muslims should be fearful of God and not deceive young Muslims by exploiting their weakness and lack of insight by pushing them into an abyss," he said.
Saudi Arabia as a state has been supporting the foreign-backed militants to "change the balance of power on the ground" since the beginning of unrest in Syria.
At a meeting in the Jordanian capital Amman in September, Riyadh guaranteed to continue its financial and logistic support for the militants, including al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front terrorists.
According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are still supporting the terrorrist groups operating inside Syria.
OZ TROOPS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS FROM AFGHAN WAR
The Australian prime minister has announced the withdrawal of more than 1,000 troops from Afghanistan before Christmas, during his surprise visit there.
Tony Abbot, with opposition leader Bill Shorten, flew to Afghanistan yesterday (Mon), and paid a surprise visit to the Australian Defence Force at Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan, where he confirmed the pullout of Australian soldiers by 2014.
Abbot describes the withdrawal as “bitter-sweet”:
“Sweet because hundreds of soldiers will be home for Christmas; bitter because not all Australian families have had their sons, fathers & partners return. Sweet because our soldiers have given a magnificent account of themselves; bitter because Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, despite all that has been done.”
“This has been a very difficult commitment. People have paid a high price. We have lost 40 of our best. We mourn them, we remember them, we honour them, we want to work with their families. We will never forget them," he added.
The HQ of the Australian forces will be handed over to Afghan forces after the departure of Australia’s forces, with a hundred staying as "non-combatants".
US INTELLIGENCE STILL IN APARTHEID ERA
The governing African National Congress (ANC) expresses deep outrage Tuesday over the arrest in New York of a South African former minister.
Keith Khoza, the ANC´s national spokesperson, says on TV earlier, that this is an extremely delicate issue, and something that the Obama administration should explain in more detail.
It is unacceptable, says Khoza, that Tokyo Sexwale, the Minister of Human Settlements until July, was treated by the US as a terrorist.
US customs and police temporarily detained Mr Sexwale at JF Kennedy airport, when he arrived on a business trip, last Friday.
According to the US, the South African former minister is on an alleged terrorist list of people dating back to 1990, which was issued by the former apartheid regime.
The Department of International Relations & Cooperation of South Africa (former Foreign Ministry) confirms that Mr Sexwale was arrested for several hours in New York.
Sexwale, who was imprisoned on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela for his anti-racist struggles, says that he instructed his attorney to resolve this unfortunate event with the US Embassy in Pretoria.
Khoza says he "did not have a clue" that the terrorist list still existed for the White House, and supposed that it had been invalidated by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during the administration of George W Bush.
Subject of a first-ever 'band-aid' by George Harrison in the '70s, then "saved from communism" by the 'Awami League', Bangladesh has been plagued ever since by political violence, poverty and unrest. It's now the third day of a 60-hour countrywide strike called by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led 18-party alliance in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
On the second day of a non-stop countrywide 60-hour hartal, six more people - including a ruling party man - were killed on Monday.
Clashes occurred again, as strikers demand the resignation of the country’s prime minister. The latest fatalities bring to 18 the number of people killed over the last 4 days.
Fire Service & Civil Defense official Mohammad Ali says opposition supporters set fire to an office of the ruling party in the capital, Dhaka, at dawn.
Schools and businesses are shut across the country, in a strike called by the opposition.
'Phone talks between PM Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia on Saturday, failed to halt the strike.
The opposition wants Hasina to step down and set up a caretaker administration to oversee elections in January 2014.
Zia and her allies from Jamaat-e-Islami Party say the present government must resign before the general elections in Jan. 2014.
Commentators say if a compromise on this is not reached by the end of October, there could be more widespread violence.
The country has a history of political violence but this year has been the deadliest since Bangladesh gained independence in 1971.
Over 150 people have been killed in clashes with the police since the beginning of 2013.
The Palestinian Authority is stepping up its diplomatic efforts against Israeli settlements in the territories it occupied in the 1967 war.
It has called on 50 countries around the world to cut business deals and withdraw investments.
In letters to countries in Latin America, Europe, as well as South Africa, Australia, Japan and South Korea, the Palestinian Authority asked governments to put pressure on local companies and discourage relations with Israeli settlements, Muhammad Shtayyeh, senior Palestinian official, tells the Financial Times.
The messages requested that Israeli companies with connections to the settlements, be barred from doing business in those countries.
Citizens of those countries should be advised to abandon the settlements, because staying there is illegal, the Palestinian Authority said.
The campaign for an economic boycott was also boosted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his trip to Europe.
"I call on European companies & foreign companies doing business in the settlements to put an end to their activities,"he said, following his meeting with European Council President, Herman van Rompuy.
The campaign follows the EU’s decision in June to ban financial assistance to any Israeli organizations operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, from 2014.
That decision infuriated Israel and prevented it from participating in the Horizon 2020 European scientific exchange program.
Also, in recent months, several individual members of the EU, including the UK and the Netherlands, began to warn their companies against dealing with Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
This month, Dutch infrastructure giant Royal HaskoningDHV, announced its withdrawal from a wastewater treatment project in E Jerusalem, because it is outside the pre-1967 border of Israel.
Over 500,000 Israelis living in the settlements now, which are a focus of bitter dispute for Palestinians. Many countries consider their existence unlawful and say they are a major stumbling block on the path toward a peaceful Middle East.
The government of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been actively encouraging development of the controversial settlements, defying criticism abroad, even from Israel’s long-time ally, the US.
Panama's president, Ricardo Martinelli, says he has promised Pope Francis that he will end poverty in his country, after being welcomed at the Tronotto in the Vatican, this weekend.
Martinelli said that he seriously wants to reduce poverty in his country, after a 26 minute meeting with the Pope, says Vatican Radio.
The president was accompanied by a delegation of 13 people to a blessing of Sanata Maria La Antigua Virgen, in the Vatican gardens.
UK ILLEGAL SPYING EXPOSED
David Cameron grimaced - but signed the EU condemnation of US spying on its allies - such as Germany's Angela Merkel - despite the UK's GCHQ having been instrumental in it!
Now Ecuador threatens that it will sue the UK over the status of wikileaks founder Julian Assange - if it rejects submitting it to a bilateral commission.
Assange took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in August 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning in two sexual assault cases.
Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to US authorities for prosecution for leaking a massive trove of classified US documents. But the UK is STILL refusing him safe passage to Ecuador.
In hopes of breaking the deadlock, Ecuador has proposed creating a bilateral commission.
"We are hoping for a response, including one in writing, and if they do not respond in a few days, we will have to prepare an international lawsuit, so that the UK respects international law," Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino says in an interview with Ecuadoran radio.
If London rejects the proposal, Patino says, "we will have no alternative but to go to international judicial venues to compel respect for Ecuador's right to grant asylum, and their obligation to provide safe conduct."
14 Iranian Guards Killed on Border with Pakistan
Gunmen identified as "bandits" killed 14 Iranian guards on the border with Pakistan in clashes overnight, Iran's state media report Saturday.
The official IRNA news agency, quoting what it calls an informed source, says the clashes occurred in a mountainous region used by both drug traffickers and armed rebels.
"Fourteen border guards were killed during armed clashes in the region of Saravan, and five others were wounded," the agency says.
The unnamed source identifies the killers as "bandits or rebels opposed to the Islamic republic".
Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs, Ali Abdollahi, says the Security Council affiliated to his ministry is to probe the killing of the Iranian border guards.
He says the council is meeting on Sunday to probe the massacre of 14 Iranian border guards during clashes with "outlaws" on Friday night.
The region has seen bloody clashes over the past few years and officials say that over 4,000 police officers and soldiers have been killed in the past three decades in fighting with traffickers.
In October last year three Iranian border guards were killed in clashes with armed drug traffickers in the Koshtegan region, also near the border with Pakistan.
The Islamic republic says it's fighting a deadly war against drug traffickers... who make up half its prison population.
Pakistan's representative has apologised.
US "STEALTH" EXPOSED on BAHRAIN
Why is Bahrain rocked by revolution, yet this never reaches the Western media?
Collin Cavell, from West Virginia, and a former lecturer at the University of Bahrain gives his thoughts on Bahrain's revolution:
"The Bahraini people have achieved a practical victory this week, as the Bahraini government, the Saudi Arabian government and its spokes- person, national security boss Bandar Bin Sultan, have indicated to European diplomats that they will undertake a major shift away from the US to demonstrate "displeasure" with the US policy not to go to war on Syria, and want to openly rebuke US policy & its overtures towards Iran.
And they are saying as well that the US did not support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when it cracked down and suppressed the democratic revolt in Bahrain, which began in 2011.
So, the people of Bahrain have achieved a major tactical victory this past week because it’s starting to distance Saudi Arabia from the US, from its chief ally and supporter for the past 70 years and this is a major significant victory.
The people of Bahrain can be congratulated and they need to continue and protest, demand their democratic rights to bring this corrupt regime down as it's spreading chaos, havoc and pandemonium throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.
As to why is there a lack of media coverage...
that is because the US has strategic interests in the region, particularly oil and natural gas resources; 40 percent of the world’s oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz, the US has the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain and it polices all US hegemonic interests in the region.
So the US claims to be supporting democracy around the world, and yet if they advertise or publicize exactly what is going on in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or any of the Persian Gulf kingdoms, the world will know for sure that we support dictators and are hypocritical in our claim to support democracy and instead we support reactionary governments that go and kill people en masse; as we have been doing with our support for Saudi Arabia and its support for the Takfiri or hardcore fundamentalist fighters in Syria, which have been killing people, innocent people, in the thousands."
BROTHERHOOD WILL UNBROKEN - CALLS FOR RALLIES
Supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi are set to stage a demonstration early next month, to demand the reinstatement of the country’s first democratically-elected leader.
Egypt's Anti-Coup Alliance, one of the largest political formations in the country, calls for the rally to be staged nationwide on November 4th, when Morsi will be put on trial on charges of inciting violence.
"The Alliance notes that the coup organizers would like to break the people's and the revolution's will by trying Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the president of the Republic, and his associates, this coming November 4th," the alliance says.
"The Alliance also calls on all free people in Egypt and abroad to stand by the revolutionary will opposing the military coup, and that all activities should be - as they have always been - within the peaceful boundaries that define our methods and strategy," it adds.
The call for the protest comes after at least 20 students are injured in clashes between opponents and supporters of the ousted president, in Zagazig University in the northern province of al-Sharqia.
On October 22nd, thousands of al-Azhar University students demonstrated in Cairo to condemn the military-backed government’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi supporters.
Egypt has been experiencing unrelenting violence since July 3rd, when the army ousted Morsi’s government, suspended the constitution, and dissolved parliament and "appointed" the head of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, as a new "interim" president.
The government of Mansour has launched a bloody crackdown on Morsi supporters, and arrested over 2,000 Brotherhood members, including the party’s leader, Mohamed Badie, who was detained on August the 20th.
US SPYING "GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICE"
Former CIA agent Susan Lindauer says the USA began spying on foreign officials and even UN Security Council members, well before 9/11.
“We are spying on these people. We are spying on ambassadors. We are spying on senior diplomats; we’ve been doing it for years.” she tells Press TV.
The Guardian reported Thursday that the US National Security Agency has been monitoring the 'phone conversations of 35 world leaders.
Officials from the White House, the Department of Defense, and the State Department gave the world leaders’ 'phone numbers to the NSA.
“What is very interesting to me as a former CIA asset is, I know very well that at the UN, we frequently targeted Security Council members. This was very normal behaviour for the past 10 years. I’d say even before 9/11, we were doing this,” Lindauer says.
The anti-war activist argues that the USA is no longer the dominant source of power and that the world is no longer tolerant of US abuses.
Lindauer says the US strategy of pursuing foreign civilians does not have a rational basis:
“We are hunting down citizens of foreign countries whose activities might very well be legal within their own country, but which violate our own US policies and then we are sabotaging them or even arresting them and extraditing them to the United States for prosecution: and this goes well beyond terrorism cases,” she explains.
“It is something that ordinary citizens should be afraid of,” she says.
Why did the CIA have 5 floors in the World Trade Centre building? For no other reason than spying:
It was the perfect place to tap into the economic and political goings on in so many countries.
Industrial espionage has been netting the US economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year, as inventions stolen and farmed out to US businesses - with the latest technological advances - have kept the US ahead.
The US has to take responsibility for its wrong- doing and those like Susan Lindauer risk their lives. She has already been in prison for having the courage to disagree. Thank you Susan, for your courage.
May many many more follow your example... and the world will be a better and safer place to live in.
And doesn't this mean that it could be in the world's best interests to move the UN to somewhere else?
In this case, it appears that all world powers have a common concern. Don't they?
TURKEY SAYS IT'S UP TO CHINA
Turkey would consider new offers for a missile defense system... if a deal with a Chinese firm hit by US sanctions collapses, Reuters reports.
“Currently, I don't know if there are different proposals from the other parties. If there are, they could be considered,” Bugun newspaper quotes PM Tayyip Erdogan saying... adding that other possibilities would be considered “only if China pulls out of the negotiations.”
The US says it fears that Ankara’s $3.4 billion deal with China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC) to co-produce a long-range air and missile defense system could "undermine NATO's air defenses".
Sharing information freely and openly and strengthening another country...
The EU Summit's last day is taken up by the spy scandal and how to respond, and by immigration.
Diplomats from Brazil and Germany have already met with representatives of Latin American and European governments, to discuss a draft UN resolution that promotes the right of privacy on the internet, a report says.
This extraordinary meeting in New York is seen as a “first major international effort to restrain the NSA’s intrusions into the online communications of foreigners,” US-based 'Foreign Policy' magazine reports, citing diplomatic sources familiar with the move.
The draft resolution calls for the expansion of privacy rights included in the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, to cover the Internet, and is aiming to be brought to a vote at the UN Committee on Human Rights, by the end of 2013.
The draft does not make direct reference to US spying revelations, says the report, but the leaks are believed to have provided the impetus for this move at the UN.
The Foreign Policy report says the “blowback from the NSA leaks continues to agonize US diplomats and military officials concerned about America’s image abroad.”
“This is an example of the very worst aspects of the Snowden disclosures,” a former US miliatary official with "deep experience in NATO" is cited as saying in the report.
“It will be very difficult for the US to dig itself out of this, although we will over time. The short term costs in credibility and trust, are enormous,” the ex-US military official states.
The revelations about US acts of espionage fall under Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.”
It states:“everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
WE WANT THE UNITED NATIONS - NOT THE USA - TO POLICE THE WORLD !!!
The UN celebrates its founding this week...
and asks us all to understand that, in a world under threat of war, we need to unite and work even harder for peace.
Since the two "exceptional" countries who steal, wage illegal wars and spy on the world, are the US and Israel... with Israel announcing a huge rise in "settlements" across the West Bank...
...could we please try harder to stop these two ignoring the UN?
EU PARLIAMENT STOPS SECURITY DEAL WITH USA - AFTER SPYING SCANDAL
On Wednesday the EU Parliament refused to accept that the US is an appropriate partner for joint security.
The EU should "suspend its Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) agreement with the US in response to the US National Security Agency’s alleged tapping of EU citizens’ bank data held by the Belgian company SWIFT" read a resolution passed by the EP on Wednesday by 280 votes to 254 and 30 abstentions.
While the resolution is non-binding, the EP stresses that it “will take account of the European Commission’s response to this demand when considering whether to give its consent to future international agreements.”
In 2010, the EU and the US agreed on the TFTP, which allowed the US limited access to the global financial database SWIFT as part of "anti-terrorism".
The Wednesday vote comes, however, after Snowden said the United States was using the access to spy on Europe, instead of using it for counterterrorism.
The European lawmakers call on all EU member states to launch their own investigations into the reports of US espionage involving SWIFT.
Revelations of massive spying operations by the US have triggered condemnations across Europe and Latin America.
In the latest revelation, Snowden says that the US has spied on the phone conversations of German chancellor Angela Merkel. This disclosure has prompted the German chancellor to call the US President Barack Obama, to seek reassurance that her phone calls are no longer targeted by US spying.
TURKEY "SHOULD BE CLASSED AS TERRORIST"
The US has reportedly canceled the delivery of 10 Predator drones to Turkey as “punishment” for the reported exposure by Ankara of 10 Iranians spying for Israel’s Mossad agency, despite Turkey’s denial of having provided Iran with such information.
“Turkey’s efforts to undermine Israeli operations in Iran provoked a sharp response on Capitol Hill and reportedly led lawmakers to cancel a scheduled shipment of 10 Predator drones, which are used by Turks to combat terrorism,” conservative US news website the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday, citing major Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.
“The US Congress’s rejection of the delivery of 10 Predators to Turkey is interpreted as punishment of Turkey for sharing information about Mossad with the Iranian intelligence service,” the Zaman is cited as reporting.
The reported development comes despite a flat and immediate denial by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of an October 16th Washington Post article that alleged that the Turkish government had exposed to Iranian intelligence authorities the identities of “up to 10 Iranians” that had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.
“I am deeply disturbed by reports that Turkey deliberately exposed an Israeli intelligence operation inside Iran, directly undermining Israel-Turkey rapprochement & Israeli security efforts against Iran,” said Congressperson (R) Peter Roskam of Illinois, as quoted in the Free Beacon report.
According to the report, Roskam also criticises Turkey for having trade and business ties with its neighbour Iran, and asked US Secretary of State Kerry, in April, to impose sanctions on a Turkish bank that kept dealing with Iran - in defiance of illegal US unilateral sanctions.
Another reason for US concern re Turkey, says the neo-conservative news website, is its growing defense dealings with China, including its decision to award a USD 3.4 billion missile defense deal to a Chinese contractor instead of to US corporations.
The report quotes pro-Israeli defense and foreign policy analyst and former Pentagon advisor Michael Rubin describing Turkey as an “intelligence vulnerability” to the US.
“By any objective measure, the US should consider Turkey a state-sponsor of terror and an intelligence vulnerability,” Rubin is quoted as saying.
“Several years ago, Turkey said outright that they wanted to produce their own drones, and so it was sheer negligence that led the administration to transfer technology which the Turks were openly reverse engineering.”
UNITE TO BEAT US IMPERIALISM
President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro says that "the productive industrial partnership" between Brazil and Venezuela was reviewed at a joint delegation meeting, and confirmed.
Maduro says energy ties and joint plans were reviewed, including the envisaged production of equipment for oil exploration and transportation.
Maduro stresses that food production and agro-industrial cooperation were central issues at the meeting.
He says that, in the short term, Brazil is sending necessary items to deal with the "economic war," based on shortages and speculation, that the Government blames on the Venezuelan rightwing.
Maduro says the two countries are moving to a "new kind of large-scale financial agreement," adding that a committee of Brazilian finance experts will be visiting Venezuela soon.
President Maduro says there is a relationship of love and trust with the Brazilian authorities.
Brazil's Minister Pimentel tells the Venezuelan leader that he can count on support from the government of President Dilma Rousseff and the Brazilian people.
In particular, he promises support from Brazil to help Venezuela deal with the "economic war" being waged against it.
Although Brazilians are reported by Press TV to have rallied in Rio de Janeiro to protest against a government auction granting state-run petroleum company Petrobras the right to develop an oil field, the country is stable and protests were peaceful.
Protesters marched on Petrobras HQ on Monday, after the oil consortium - consisting of Petrobras, Shell, Total and two Chinese firms - won the right to explore a massive offshore oilfield that could yield 12 billion barrels of oil, near Rio de Janeiro.
Peaceful demonstrators called for the nationalization of Brazil’s oil industry, and the cancellation of the auction.
The oil consortium was the only bid made at the auction consisting of 10 other participants, the government says.
Petrobras holds a 40% stake in the consortium, with Shell and Total each accounting for 20%. Chinese firms CNOOC and CNPC hold 10% each.
The auction and peaceful protest came after 90% of employees at Petrobras held a strike last week, affecting 42 oil platforms and a number of refineries.
40,000 Petrobras employees also want a wage increase as well as changes to company plans to contract out some services to private entities.
Critics use Brazil's slowing economy and delays in exploiting offshore oil, to press for much more privatisation of businesses in the next 2 - 3 years.
But despite opposition from both right and left, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff says the deal is a huge economic opportunity for Brazil.
“The great wealth deep in our sea that was recently discovered, starts to awake. It awakens bringing more resources, more jobs, technology, sovereignty, and, above all, a bigger future for Brazil and all Brazilians,” Rousseff says.
Brazil recently discovered billions of barrels of oil in offshore reserves - mostly in deep, pre-salt fields off its southeast coast - though technological hurdles pose significant challenges in reaching the oil.
The results from the auction tender for the Libra oil field in Brazil, raise the possibility that Brazil can retain as much as 85% of the income produced.
For the government, the result is a change in the rules of the game, which promises to attract more investors for future bids.
"This is very different from a privatization of Libra," the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, says, explaining the tendering process.
Brazil will contine to be a country open to domestic and foreign investment, she says, adding that that this tender is historic, because it marks the beginning of a transformation of Brazil's oil wealth into a passport for the future, with a fairer society and better wealth distribution.
Rousseff notes that 64 % of Libra's oil will be dedicated to domestic fuel production and over 35 years, Brazil will receive over 1billion USD to operate the oilfield, which are estimated to contain reserves of up 12 billion barrels.
Drilling in this 1,500 square kilometer area, in deep waters in the Atlantic, requires 12 to 18 platforms and numerous support vessels and other tools, in large part to be built in Brazil, helping to generate thousands of jobs and a skilled labor force, she says.
"It is a bet for a better future for all Brazilians, to benefit the education and health sectors and help to build a nation free of poverty," she adds.
Edison Lobao, Minister of Mines and Energy stresses that Petrobras company will lead the consortium created, despite taking part in the tender with only 10% of the shares, as the rules in this context grant it an additional 30%.
The result is not frustration for the Government, but rather a change that benefits the State, which will receive 41.65% of the oil surplus, as a minimum required by Brazil's authorities.
Magda Chambriard, general director of the National Petroleum Agency, says that the auction was highly successful, and praises the technical and financial capacity of the companies in the winning consortium.
"We have the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 8th companies in terms of market value, worldwide. Three are state companies and two are European," Chambriard points out.
CANADA 'FAILING FIRST NATION PEOPLE'
The UN says Canada has failed to narrow disparities between indigenous peoples and other citizens, warning the country is facing a crisis over the situation of First Nations communities.
“There's a crisis in Canada with regard to indigenous issues,” said James Anaya, who is the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, on Monday, adding that Canada’s Amerindian and Inuit communities suffer from many problems, including violence, crime, unemployment, suicide, and inadequate housing.
He has also censured the Canadian government’s efforts to narrow the disparity between members of the First Nations and non-indigenous people, calling them “insufficient.”
Meanwhile, on October 15, Anaya urged the Canadian government to launch a “comprehensive and nationwide” inquiry into the case of missing and murdered aboriginal women, something the Canadian government has refused to do.
He went on to describe the unresolved cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women as a “disturbing phenomenon” and an “epidemic.”
Human Rights Watch presented in February a critical report, alleging police abuse of aboriginal women in the western province of British Columbia.
According to a 2011 census, Canada has 1.4 million aboriginals, which is nearly 4.35 of its population.
Aboriginals are not happy with their situation in Canada and say it is unacceptable that the government does not consult them before exploiting the resources on their lands.
MURDERERS AT WORK AS WORLD WANTS PEACE
As the border vote on N Ireland offers a chance for mutual peace and growth and Bagram air- base in Afghanistan readies for a US withdrawal, the US military - with no civilian democratic input - is busy preparing to wage war on China...
Etzioni also reports that the Pentagon’s war plan was not ordered by, and has not been reviewed by, US civilian authorities. We are confronted with a neoconized US military out of control endangering Americans and the rest of the world.
Etzioni is correct that this is a momentous decision made by a neoconized military. China is obviously aware that Washington is preparing for war with China. If the Yale Journal knows it, China knows it.
If the Chinese government is realistic, the government is aware that Washington is planning a pre-emptive nuclear attack against China. No other kind of war makes any sense from Washington’s standpoint.
The “superpower” was never able to occupy Baghdad, and after 11 years of war has been defeated in Afghanistan by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban. It would be curtains for Washington to get into a conventional war with China.
When China was a primitive third world country, it fought the US military to a stalemate in Korea. Today China has the world’s second largest economy and is rapidly overtaking the failing US economy destroyed by jobs offshoring, bankster fraud, and corporate and congressional treason.
The Pentagon’s war plan for China is called “AirSea Battle.” The plan describes itself as “interoperable air and naval forces that can execute networked, integrated attacks- in-depth to disrupt, destroy, and defeat enemy anti- access area denial capabilities.”
Yes, what does that mean? It means many billions of dollars of more profits for the military/security complex while the 99 percent are ground under the boot. It is also clear that this nonsensical jargon cannot defeat a Chinese army. But this kind of saber-rattling can lead to war, and if the Washington morons get a war going, the only way Washington can prevail is with nuclear weapons. The radiation, of course, will kill Americans as well.
Nuclear war is on Washington’s agenda. The rise of the Neocon Nazis has negated the nuclear disarmament agreements that Reagan and Gorbachev made. The extraordinary, mainly truthful 2012 book, The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, describes the post-Reagan breakout of preemptive nuclear attack as Washington’s first option.
During the Cold War nuclear weapons had a defensive purpose. The purpose was to prevent nuclear war by the US and USSR each having sufficient retaliatory power to ensure “mutually assured destruction.” MAD, as it was known, meant that nuclear weapons had no offensive advantage for either side.
The Soviet collapse and China’s focus on its economy instead of its military have resulted in Washington’s advantage in nuclear weaponry that, according to two US Dr. Strangeglove characters, Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, gives Washington first-strike capability. Lieber and Press write that the “precipitous decline of Russia’s arsenal, and the glacial pace of modernization of China’s nuclear forces,” have created a situation in which neither Russia nor China could retaliate to Washington’s first strike.
The Pentagon’s “AirSea Battle” and Lieber and Press’ article in Foreign Affairs have informed China and Russia that Washington is contemplating pre-emptive nuclear attack on both countries. To ensure Russia’s inability to retaliate, Washington is placing anti-ballistic missiles on Russia’s borders in violation of the US-USSR agreement.
Because the American press is a corrupt government propaganda ministry, the American people have no idea that neoconized Washington is planning nuclear war. Americans are no more aware of this than they are of former President Jimmy Carter’s recent statement, reported only in Germany, that the United States no longer has a functioning democracy.
The possibility that the United States would initiate nuclear war was given reality eleven years ago when President George W. Bush, at the urging of Dick Cheney and the neocons that dominated his regime, signed off on the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review.
This neocon document, signed off on by America’s most moronic president, resulted in consternation and condemnation from the rest of the world and launched a new arms race. Russian President Putin immediately announced that Russia would spend all necessary sums to maintain Russia’s retaliatory nuclear capability.
The Chinese displayed their prowess by knocking a satellite out of space with a missile. The mayor of Hiroshima, recipient city of a vast American war crime, stated: “The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central international agreement guiding the elimination of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse. The chief cause is US nuclear policy that, by openly declaring the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear first strike and calling for r esumed research into mini-nukes and other so-called ‘useable nuclear weapons,’ appears to worship nuclear weapons as God.”
Polls from all over the world consistently show that Israel and the US are regarded as the two greatest threats to peace and to life on earth. Yet, these two utterly lawless governments prance around pretending to be the “world’s greatest democracies.” Neither government accepts any accountability whatsoever to international law, to human rights, to the Geneva Conventions, or to their own statutory law. The US and Israel are rogue governments, throwbacks to the Hitler and Stalin era.
The post World War II wars originate in Washington and Israel. No other country has imperial expansionary ambitions. The Chinese government has not seized Taiwan, which China could do at will. The Russian government has not seized former constituent parts of Russia, such as Georgia, which, provoked by Washington to launch an attack, was instantly overwhelmed by the Russian Army. Putin could have hung Washington’s Georgian puppet and reincorporated Georgia into Russia, where it resided for several centuries and where many believe it belongs.
For the past 68 years, most military aggression can be sourced to the US and Israel. Yet, these two originators of wars pretend to be the victims of aggression. It is Israel that has a nuclear arsenal that is illegal, unacknowledged, and unaccountable. It is Washington that has drafted a war plan based on nuclear first strike. The rest of the world is correct to view these two rogue unaccountable governments as direct threats to life on earth.
VOTE TO DECIDE US ROLE - IN AFGHANISTAN
Thousands of Afghan tribal elders are set to convene a meeting to discuss a security deal that allows the US to set up several permanent military bases in Afghanistan beyond a 2014 deadline for withdrawal of foreign troops.
Civil leaders and members of Loya Jirga known as the grand assembly of elders will gather in Kabul in the third week of November to decide whether to support a deal allowing some US troops to stay in the country after 2014, officials say this weekend.
“We expect around 3,000 representatives to attend the Jirga,” says Sadeq Modabir, a member of the organizing committee, adding, “It may last between four and seven days.”
Karzai says his government will abide by the decision of the assembly.
President Karzai adds that he is not ready to sign the deal as long as it does not suit Afghanistan's interests and purposes.
Talks between President Karzai & US Sec of State John Kerry over the security deal, bore no fruit.
The two sides remain at odds over the issue of immunity for US troops. The US says there will be no deal without immunity while Kabul sees it as a violation of its sovereignty.
They are also at odds over US demands for the right to conduct unilateral military operations, and how the US will "protect" Afghanistan.
The US is pushing for the pact to be signed by the end of this month. The deal allows the US to keep its forces and bases in Afghanistan on a permanent basis.
But the weekend's developments have once again dashed US hopes that a pact can be quickly agreed.
The collapse of a similar agreement with Iraq in 2011 led to the US pulling all its troops out of the country.
Meanwhile, several Afghan political parties are pouring scorn on US-led forces, for committing unforgivable crimes against Afghan women and children, since illegally invading in 2001.
The Islamic Movement of Afghanistan Party and several other political factions have released a statement warning that things will get worse if the US sets up long-term bases on their land.
WE WILL WIN, SAYS MORSI FAMILY
The family of Egypt’s ousted President Morsi says he is refusing to negotiate with Egypt’s military coup leaders, Press TV reports.
Morsi also states, they say, that those who have acted criminally against the Egyptian people, will soon be brought to justice.
Egypt has experienced unrelenting violence since July 3rd, when Egypt's army ousted Morsi, suspended the constitution and closed Egypt's democratically elected parliament.
The army also appointed the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, as the new "interim" president.
Morsi’s son Osama, says victory is imminent for Morsi supporters, after what he describes as the “bloody coup” by the army.
Reports also say that Egypt's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, tried to meet with one of Morsi’s former top aides, Emad Abdel Ghafour. But that he also refused to hold that meeting, following a decision by the anti-government 'National Coalition for the Defense of Legitimacy'.
Demonstrations by supporters of Morsi against the military-backed interim government are still being held across Egypt, despite the interim authorities’ efforts to widen their crackdown on Morsi backers.
Pro-Morsi protesters gathered in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, and Suez on Friday afternoon, calling for president Morsi’s release & reinstatement.
Demonstrators have told the Press TV correspondent in Cairo, that protesters will stay on the streets across the country, until the return of Morsi to power.
Morsi has been held in an unknown location since his overthrow. He is due to stand trial on November the 4th, on charges of inciting violence.
Today, 3 more people are killedby US drones in Kunar, Afghanistan. Yesterday, 11 other people were killed by a US drone attack in Kandahar.
This happens one day after a new UN report warns that using armed drones threatens global security, encourages more states to gain killer drones, kills without legal justification, terrorises whole states, & kills innocent civilians & suspects, without proof.
The report, submitted to the UN General Assembly by Christof Heyns, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, calls for states operating armed drones to be transparent and says states using them must publicly disclose how they use them, The Guardian reported on Thursday.
"The expansive use of armed drones by the first states to acquire them, if not challenged, can do structural damage to the cornerstones of international security and set precedents that undermine the protection of life across the globe in the longer term," the report says.
"The use of drones by states to exercise essentially a global policing function, to counter potential threats, presents a danger to the protection of life, because the tools of domestic policing (such as capture) are not available, & the more permissive targeting framework of the laws of war is often used instead," it points out.
The report calls for international law to be respected, and not - as now - ignored.
"The view that mere past involvement in planning attacks, is sufficient to render an individual targetable, even where there is no evidence of a specific and immediate attack, distorts the requirements established in international human rights law," states the report.
Countries cannot consent "to the violation of their obligations under international humanitarian law or international human rights law,"it adds.
Heyns notes that "drones come from the sky but leave the heavy footprint of war on communities they target.”
"The claims that drones are more precise in targeting cannot be accepted uncritically, not least because terms such as 'terrorist' or 'militant' are sometimes used to describe people who are, in truth, protected civilians,” he said.
The report is the first of 2 major papers on drone strikes due to be debated at the UN General Assembly on October 25th. The second, by Ben Emmerson, special rapporteur on counter- terrorism, will be published next week.
Although no state is identified in the report, the comments are clearly directed at legal problems raised by the US program of aerial attacks against what it says are "militants" in other countries.
Emmerson says drone strikes have killed far more civilians than US officials publicly acknowledge.
He said on Thursday that at least 400 in Pakistan and as many as 58 in Yemen have been killed by CIA drone strikes. He censures the US for failing to aid the investigation... by hiding its figures.
The report is welcomed by the London-based human rights group Reprieve, which represents several civilian victims of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.
"This report rightly states that the US's secretive drone war is a danger not only to innocent civilians on the ground but to international security as a whole.
"The CIA's campaign must be brought out of the shadows: we need to see real accountability for the hundreds of civilians who have been killed - and justice for their relatives. Among Reprieve's clients are young Pakistani children who saw their grandmother killed in front of them - the CIA must not be allowed to continue to smear these people as 'terrorists',"says its legal director, Kat Craig.
Washington uses assassination drones in several countries, claiming they target “terrorists”, yet witness reports say the attacks have mostly led to large numbers of civilian casualties.
ROMANIA REPLACING KYRGYZSTAN FOR US 2014 AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL..?
Romania is close to clinching a deal with the US which would see US troops leaving Afghanistan via an air base on the Black Sea.
Representatives from both governments in recent months have been negotiating the terms for use of Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in eastern Romania, to serve as the main hub for flying troops out of Afghanistan, and back to the United States.
The proposed agreement would solve a major logistical hurdle facing the US, as it pulls out the bulk of its combat forces and gear from Afghanistan over the next year.
Under the arrangement, troop flights would shift from Manas airbase, Kyrgyzstan, where a lease expires in July 2014, two US defense officials tell AFP.
The tentative plan is being discussed right now, as Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel hosts Romania's Defense Minister Corneliu Dobritoiu for talks, say two Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, as "final details are being worked out," says one of the officials.
The logistics of US withdrawal are "phenomenally complicated," the official says. "And this was a key piece of the puzzle."
The deal reflects "a growing relationship between the US and Romania, which is in a strategically vital part of the world," he adds.
Romania previously agreed to host a site for US anti-missile interceptors as part of NATO's ballistic missile defense system.
US-BACKED SECTARIAN KILLERS IN IRAQ
A large number of members of the Shabak minority are among the 15 people who died in an explosion caused by a truck bomb in Al Muwafaquiya city, official sources report today.
The action, carried out by suicide commandos, occurred in the middle of the night and coincided with the end of Eid El Adha, a celebration of Muslim sacrifice, and a most significant time for Muslims.
A report from Iraq's Interior Ministry stresses that over 50 people were injured, but a final recount has been postponed until the end of rescue work.
The Shabak are a Turkmen ethnic group of 30,000 Muslim Shiites, considered heretical by those sectarian Sunnis who make up most of the organizations that claim responsibility for the dynamite attacks that are turning Iraq into hell.
The most active organization among these groups is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, linked to rebel groups equipped from abroad, that have been unsuccessfully trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al Assad for over two years.
DEFENCE AND ATTACK
Russia has started to deliver helicopters and radar to help Iraqi security forces stop terrorists tearing Iraq apart, as the US sells $10.8 billion worth of advanced offensive arms to Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates.
The US arms include bunker buster bombs and cruise missiles which can strike targets as far away as 110km. The warheads can penetrate a meter of reinforced concrete.
They are designed to destroy surface targets from a long distance, allowing warplanes to stay out of range of "enemy" air defenses.
This deal will be the first time the US has delivered sophisticated gliding bombs and missiles to the Middle East region, and begs a number of questions. Whom do they target? Are they for use against Israel? (Lol), or is the US planning to attack Iran using proxy states?
In April, Defense Secretary Hagel announced plans to sell $10 billion worth of arms to Israel, Saudi Arabia & the UAE. This week’s stateement reveals the arms the Gulf monarchs asked for.
US legislators have 30 days to block the sale, but this is "extremely unlikely to happen" says Russia Today.
The deal comes as Tehran and Washington make a number of moves which may indicate a swift resolution to the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program and a lifting of most of the economic sanctions the US has imposed.
This is unnerving the US’s autocratic allies, which see Iran as their main regional rival.
The weapons deal, Russia Today reports, may be seen as a gesture to boost confidence in Riyadh and the other Gulf capitals.
A less charitable explanation is that the US military-industrial complex will stoop low to divide, conquer, and profit.
CUBA CONFERENCE LEADS WORLD
The 1st Conference on Strategic Studies "Rethinking a world in crisis and transformation," convened by the Centre for International Policy Research, and the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, begins at the Havana Riviera Hotel, Cuba.
Academics and professors from 30 countries in America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East & Asia are attending the event which runs until Oct 18th.
Discussions are taking place in 25 panels, led by renowned scholars on global issues.
Papers and discussions on the reconfiguration of power poles as a result of the current global crisis, as well as the existing conflicts and the positions of actors involved, top the agenda.
Delegates share experiences of integration, cooperation and concertation, in the new global and regional scene.
The conference examines processes taking place now in Latin America, which faces the current model of hegemonic domination.
STOP ILLEGAL IMMORAL SANCTIONS ON CUBA
The 12th General Assembly of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA in Spanish) publishes a Declaration condemning the economic and financial blockade imposed over half a century ago by the United States against Cuba.
At its meeting in the HQ of the Legislative Federal District of Brasilia, parliamentarians of the Americas refute the negative effects of this hostile policy on the health of the Cuban people.
The Declaration deplores the damage caused by this blockade, which denies the right to health, as recognized by the World Health Organization and international institutions.
This policy of extra-territorial reach by the US tries to stop the acquisition of chemical reactives, pharmaceuticals, spare parts and instruments, all of which are necessary and indispensable to guarantee free health care for the island's population.
Such restrictions, violating human rights and the laws of the United Nations, also compel the Cuban government to spend much more money than other countries, just to buy pharmaceuticals or sanitary products, reveals the text.
The US blockade also imposes restrictions on scientists and doctors exchanges with other nations and prevents Cuba from accessing credits and donations to international financial organizations, says the Declaration approved by consensus.
During this 12th Assembly, members have already approved several resolutions, among them one ratifying the Treaty on the Arms Trade, and another demanding the universal right of all peoples to clean drinking water.
They have approved Cuba continuing in the presidency of the Comisión of Health and Social Protection and the Vicepresidency of COPA for the Caribbean region.
ONE DYSFUNCTIONAL NATION GOING UNDER
During voting to raise the US debt ceiling, a stenographer is removed from the House of Representatives on Wednesday night.
The woman, Dianna Reidy, an official reporter with the Office of the Clerk, stunned House members when she took the Speaker’s Chair while the vote was in progress and said, “Praise be to God Jesus Christ.”
"He will not be mocked. He will not be mocked. Don't touch me. He will not be mocked," the stenographer stated, as she was led away by security officers. "The greatest deception here is not 'one nation under God.' It never was."
"The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God", she said, "You cannot serve two masters.”
According to Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the presiding officer at the voting, Reidy "came up to the podium area beneath where I was standing and asked me if the microphones were on. I said that I didn't know. I assumed that perhaps I was chatting too much to the helpful parliamentarians around me. Then she suddenly faced the front and said words like 'Thus spoke the Lord.' And, 'This is not the Lord's work,’” Ros-Lehtinen said, as quoted by Fox News.
Ros-Lehtinen banged the gavel and called ‘order’ several times, but that did not stop Reidy from continuing with her monologue.
"I hammered to get control and hush her up,” the presiding officer explained. “She said something about the devil. It was sudden, confusing and heartbreaking. She is normally a gentle soul."
Reidy was questioned by US Capitol Police after her removal from the House floor, and was later taken to hospital for a mental health evaluation. It is not immediately clear whether criminal charges will be filed.
US Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said she had a crazed look on her face, AP reports.
The disruption marks the final incident to hit Washington as nerves frayed over government shutdowns and today's debt ceiling deadline.
On October 3rd, day 3 of a first US government shutdown for 17 years, Washington police shot and killed Miriam Carey, 34, who attempted to breach a barrier at the White House with a car, sparking a high-speed chase that ended fatally at the US Capitol building.
US lorry drivers then threatened to encircle Washington for a 3-day protest after, against the government, dubbed ‘Ride for the Constitution’.
Although the event attracted media attention, the protest turned out to be a non event as few lorries made it to Washington.
On Wednesday night, by a vote of 285 to 144, the US House of Representatives passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling until February next year.
President Barack Obama has signed the bill and government agencies affected by the shutdown are to reopen "immediately."
The ONLY gain Republicans made through this, is one minor change to Obamacare registration!
A new report says Israeli settlement construction on the Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank has increased by about 70 percent.
Israeli organization Peace Now says today (Thurs) that the Tel Aviv regime began the construction of 1,708 new settler units in the West Bank between January and June of 2013, compared with 995 during the same period in 2012.
The organization also states that the new illegal settlement activities are “drastic,” and that some 50 percent of the new construction projects were started in “isolated settlements.”
Most of the settlement projects were carried out within the 1967 borders, the organization adds.
“Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Israeli population in Judea and Samaria has tripled, with a majority of settlers residing in so-called settlement blocs,” Peace Now also says.
The Israeli regime has been under fire from the international community, including its own allies, over its expansionist policies.
However, the Tel Aviv regime defies calls to abandon its illegal settlement activities.
Over half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Eastern al-Quds (Jerusalem), in 1967.
BROWN SPEAKS UP
A former Labour cabinet minister warns that all the UK's spy agencies: GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, have been carrying out mass surveillance without consent.
The warning is made by Nick Brown, former chief whip and member of the parliamentary committee reviewing the government’s draft communications data bill - the so-called “snoopers' charter.”
This Spring, the coalition government failed to gain endorsement for its “snoopers' charter” bill to become law, as Liberal Democrats’ voted 'no' over concerns it breached people’s privacy.
The “snoopers' charter” was drafted in a bid to give GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 more power to collect and save information about people’s internet activities.
According to Nick Brown, a Labour MP, there was an "uncanny" similarity between the GCHQ’s secret surveillance programme Tempora - disclosed by US whistleblower Snowden - and proposals in the first part of the “snoopers' charter” bill.
"The similarity between part 1 of the proposed data communications bill and the events Mr Snowden is describing as already taking place, is uncanny," Brown says.
"It covers the same set of circumstances. The bill was trying to be permissive in that all material could be saved for a year. It now looks very much like this is what is happening anyway, with or without parliament's consent, under GCHQ's secret Tempora programme.”
Tempora allows GCHQ to harvest, store and analyse millions of phone calls, emails and search engine queries by tapping the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic.
Now two Liberal Democrat members of the joint committee are demanding that the Home Office explain why it didn't expose the extent of GCHQ's spying capabilities during the committee's inquiry.
The committee’s probe concluded at the time that the “snoopers’ charter” bill carried a risk of "trampling on the privacy of citizens."
"Those of us on the committee were never told by any Home Office officials about the fact the data was already available," says one Lib Dem MP.
"In our report, we accused them of being misleading. It seems they were far more misleading than we could have realised at the time. Presumably, the home secretary knew that this was information they already had available, in which case she was not fully open with the committee. If she didn't know, that raises real questions about her role."
BAHRAIN'S PEOPLE 'TREATED LIKE ENEMIES'
Secretary General of the Islamic National Association, Sheikh Ali Salman, says now that the Bahrain conflict is no longer political - as in Kuwait - but sectarian, due to the regime's mentality and practices.
"Public institutions in Bahrain deal with the people as Shiites, and not as Bahrainis," he says, in this year's Eid al-Adha sermon.
"This public mentality has been pervasive since the 1970's, as the regime considers that the people are enemies and have to be faced down," he adds.
"Mercenaries, not Bahrainis, have always taken the top posts in the ministries of defense, information, the interior and foreign affairs, since the Bahrain state was established."
"We must not give up - as we are not weak. We can draw on the many examples of peoples who have achieved victory after confronting a challenge."
Sheikh Salman stresses the importance of educating people to cope with theworld's news media blackout, on the mass arrests, torture, life-sentences and deaths and calls for socio-economic collaboration to protect the country and defend it against divisive conspiracies.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says to Lebanon's al-Akhbar daily, that Syria’s security and stability can be protected by 'international equilibrium', as the three Russian-Chinese vetoes prove.
The Syrian president says he does not regret giving up chemical weapons and maintains that their deterrence ability has ended for 3 reasons:
First, Syria’s hugely strengthened missile arsenal can now deter from the first moments of a war. This, he says, ends the need for chemical weapons, which can only be used as a last resort if an enemy deploys nuclear weapons.
Second, huge progress has occurred in the last 20 years that counters the effectiveness of chemical weapons, and their effect is largely psychological.
Third, they are obsolete, as the war is now internal.
The Syrian leader does not believe that Geneva II will be held, even if it has been scheduled for November:
"Perhaps the proposed peace conference will be held only to appease Russia, which is seeking to ward off the spectre of war."
Assad says that Syria has no qualms about attending, and its only demand is clearly based on two principles: elections and ending support for the terrorists.
The West’s problem, according to the Syrian president, is that the faction it supports is fragmented and has no control on the ground.
"The Free Syrian Army is almost done for," he says, "Its fighters have either abandoned it to join Islamic groups, or have joined the government and are now fighting in the ranks of the Syrian army."
Nothing is left of the forces supported by the West and the Gulf but terrorists, who have no place at Geneva II.
President Assad then criticises most Arab states:
“Not one Arab official has contacted us with a plan for mediation or for an Arab solution,” he notes, adding that "The Arabs were always only an echo of their Western masters, if not worse."
Assad emphasizes that Syria's estrangement with Saudi Arabia and Qatar is continuing, but that the Iraq stance has been very good from the start.
"Damascus is closely monitoring the situation in Egypt," the Syrian leader adds, asserting that, “Egypt is the fortress of the Arabs,” and relations with Egypt are today better than they were, even under the former President, Hosni Mubarak.
On the estrangement between Hamas and the Syrian leadership, Assad holds that Hamas has decided to abandon resistance and fully merge with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“This is not the first time they have betrayed us. It happened before in 2007 and 2009. Their history is one of treachery and betrayal.”
Assad says he wishes “someone would persuade them to return to being a resistance movement,” but says that he doubts this will happen. “Hamas has sided against Syria from day one. They have made their choice,” he adds.
President Bashar al-Assad seems reassured by the progress of military operations. He says the war is now following a hit-and-run pattern, where his army regains control of some territories while losing in others, and so on.
However, Assad adds, if we consider the general course things have been taking, we will find that the Syrian army is clearly advancing.
HAMAS' RIGHT TO REPLY
"We believe the Syrian people should decide on their future without any outside interference", the Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, says to RT’s Nadezhda Kevorkova.
Member of Hamas' politburo, spokesperson and negotiator, Hamdan says Palestinian Sunnis are keeping their alliance with Hezbollah & Iran and, contrary to what the media say, they are not participating in jihadist operations in Syria.
He analyzes the consequences of the Syrian war and Russia’s role in the US’ decision not to bomb Syria.
"We (Hamas) are in Dahieh (a Shia area in Lebanon). All the rumours that we have left or been asked to leave, are only rumours.
We’ve had relations with Hezbollah for over 20 years. And no one can break us up. So we are still in Dahieh.
"No-one can dictate what relations between Hamas and Hezbollah are supposed to be like. This is for Hamas and Hezbollah, for their members, to decide.
"Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran have never stopped meeting. Many would like to think that our relations have fallen apart. I have no desire to comment on these rumors and speculations. Meetings between Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran are not news, because these meetings take place regularly.
"If anyone asserts that Hamas people are fighting on Al-Nusra Front’s side, they should tell us the names of these people.
"It's way too easy to say that some Lebanese are collaborating with Al-Nusra Front, or that some Saudis are collaborating with Hezbollah, or that some Russians are fighting in Syria against Hamas, or against Hezbollah, or against the Armed Forces.
"It’s way too easy to make any statements like these and simply say they are true without any proof behind them. It takes proof and evidence to substantiate claims. And the thing is, there's no proof to support the allegations. Repeating some gossip many times over won’t make it any more real.
"Hamas does not participate in action in Syria on any side. We believe it is not our duty to engage.
"We believe that our duty is to oppose the occupation, and for that we need all the support we can get from people of Syria, Lebanon, Iran, all Arab people and the international community – we need their support to oppose the occupation and our enemy.
"So we are not involved in the Syrian conflict on any side whatsoever.
"It is well-known - there is a huge difference between the ideologies of Hamas and Al-Nusra Front - and therefore, thinking that Hamas could have anything in common with Al-Nusra Front, or even cooperate with them, makes completely no sense at all. Sadly, there are people who like to say things that make no sense and convince others to believe them.
"We see our duty in opposing openly those who have occupied our land. We have made an open and clear statement that we are Palestinians, and if Syria was attacked by Israel, we’d fight shoulder to shoulder with Syrians against the attackers, as an external enemy that has occupied our land.
"Should the same happen to Lebanon, we’d also be ready to protect them – not as Hamas, but as Palestinians. We believe that no other nation should have to go through what we had to go through, i.e. the occupation.
"Al-Nusra Front is a completely different deal. They are fighting in Syria against the Syrian people. They pursue false ideas. Their ideas are well-known and have nothing to do with ours.
"Our goal, Hamas' goal, is to oppose the occupation and establish the Palestinian state, that I’m sure will maintain good relationships with the brotherly Arab and Islamic nations and the international community.
"The reason we are fighting the occupation is not for the sake of fighting. Not at all. We are only fighting because there is no other way to liberate our land.
"Over 20 years of the peaceful settlement process have not produced any results for the Palestinian people, thus the only way there is for us, is to fight the occupation.
"This is what is happening in Lebanon, in the Gaza Strip, and sooner or later it will happen in the West Bank and in Palestine.
"The lesson that history teaches us, is that you can’t obtain freedom, without fighting against occupation.
"On Syria, it isn't like we were good friends and then we stopped being friends. We wanted to avoid a conflict between supporting the resistance, and supporting human rights in Syria. There shouldn’t be any conflict here, as these 2 principles go together hand in hand.
"We left Syria because we didn’t want to be a part of the Syrian problem. As long as they respected our decision not to participate in this problem, we accepted it. But when we were asked to participate in it, we couldn’t stay there.
"We’re not enemies. We’re talking about respecting the Syrian people, all of them, not just some of them. All we ask for, is respect for our decision not be a part of the Syrian problem.
"The Israelis are free to do whatever they want now. The more chaos and the less support for Palestinians, the more freedom they have. The Syrian situation has a negative impact on the Palestinian issue.
"That’s why we ask all our Syrian friends to act as politically, peacefully and quickly as they can, in order to finalize the situation, as its prolongation means more suffering for everyone.
"If anyone wants an open fight, they should go to Palestine and fight for the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
Anyone supporting us and supporting the freedom of people, should know that we believe Israel is the most obvious apartheid system, and that the Palestinians are the most oppressed nation on Earth, today.
When you do the right thing you will be rewarded. When you do the wrong thing it will play against you. If you help the Palestinians you will get your reward. The liberation of Palestine will change the regional situation, whereas continued occupation will increase regional instability.
"So it’s up to everyone to decide exactly what they want to support. If you don’t want to see even more instability in the region you should resist the occupation of Palestine; however, if you want the region to plunge into chaos - you should be doing something else."
Report: Arafat Poisoned to Death
A report by one of the world’s leading medical journals has supported earlier findings that Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was poisoned to death nearly a decade ago, Mehr news agency reports.
According to the UK journal, the Lancet, Arafat was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium 210.
The journal published a peer review of last year’s research by Swiss scientists, who were researching suspicious circumstances surrounding Arafat’s death.
Their work “found high levels of the highly radioactive element in blood, urine, and saliva stains” on Arafat’s “clothes and toothbrush,” reported al-Jazeera then.
In July 2012, experts at Lausanne University, Switzerland, said that they had evidence that Arafat might have been poisoned with polonium.
The investigation into Arafat’s mysterious death led to the exhumation of his body in November 2012 for further testing.
The decision to exhume Arafat’s body was made after French prosecutors opened a murder probe into his death in August 2012 following the discovery of high levels of polonium on his personal belongings.
Following a 9 month investigation by Al Jazeera, in which several of Arafat's key belongings were sent to Paris for tests, results revealed that they contained abnormal levels of polonium; a rare, highly radioactive element.
At the time of the investigation, Dr Francois Bochud, director of the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, told Al Jazeera: "I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr Arafat, that contained stains of biological fluids."
The results of the investigation led Suha Arafat, his wife, to call on the Palestinian Authority to have his body exhumed.
According to the Lancet publication, "findings support the possibility of Arafat's poisoning with 210Po ...on the basis of forensic investigation, there was sufficient doubt to recommend the exhumation of his body in 2012". The results of the latest analysis are expected shortly.
Arafat died in 2004 at the age of 75 in a Paris military hospital. The analysis at the time was that he had a "rare blood disorder".
NOT HUNGER KILLING AFRICANS: IT's GENOCIDE
A political analyst says poverty and hunger continue to plague the entire African continent because of a “genocide policy” exercised by countries like the US and UK, Press TV reports.
“The international global financial system itself, run by the city of London and Wall Street - they don’t want Africans to live. They want to reduce the population. That genocide policy continues in Africa as it has done over many decades,” Lawrence Freeman, Africa Desk at Executive Intelligence Review, tells Press TV.
The analyst argues that the global financial system refuses to make any investments aimed at ending hunger and malnourishment in Africa, saying, “We are making a decision to kill people rather than build infrastructure in water, energy, rail transportation and agriculture that could feed people.”
Freeman points to the views of “Malthusian extremists” who believe that “the world is overpopulated,” adding that “numerous statements” by the UK’s royal family, suggest that they have similar ideas.
On Saturday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that over 360 children under the age of five died of malnutrition in Niger in the first nine months of this year.
These deaths are the latest caused by a malnutrition crisis in Niger and elsewhere in Africa, with poverty being the main reason behind the crisis.
Malnutrition continues to take more lives in Africa, and children are still the main victims of the lack of essential food.
This situation continues unabated, despite warnings by charity groups demanding further donations to help stop it.
Several charity groups are now urging the world's powers to take action, instead of making "commitments" to end poverty.
CLEAR OUT GANGSTERS TRYING TO RUN WORLD
China's official news agency now says the world should consider 'de-Americanizing' the international financial system, as the continuing threat of a US default threatens the world.
Experts warn of terrible consequences for the world economy - if the US defaults.
China has issued repeated warnings about the danger of a US default hurting its investments.
"As US politicians of both political parties fail to find viable deals to bring normalcy to a political system they boast about, it's perhaps a good time for a befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world," Xinhua says.
"Such alarming days, when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation, have to be terminated,” the news agency adds.
“A new world order should be put in place, according to which, all nations, big, small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected & protected on an equal footing."
These comments in Xinhua, are part of a long report criticising US hegemony since World War II.
"The cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and over approval for raising the debt ceiling, has again left many nations' huge dollar assets in jeopardy, and the international community highly agonized," says the commentary.
China is the largest foreign holder of US government debt, and has roughly 60% of its $3.5 trillion foreign currency reserves invested in US assets.
"Instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world, by shifting financial risks overseas," but equally, it has stoked "regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fought unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies" the commentary says, referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
LOVE IS THE ANSWER
Pope Francis defends the position of women in the church on Sunday, while denouncing how their role is usually relegated to servitude.
At a Vatican conference of 150 delegates, the Holy Pontiff recalls that the Church is not male, but female. She is a woman, a mother, he says, departing from the official written text, and his words are highlighted by the TV media in Rome.
The speech marks the 25th anniversary of the council on the vocation of women, issued by the late Pope John Paul II, notes Vatican radio.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who became Bishop of Rome in March this year, also says on his Twitter account that he is concerned about another shipwreck in the Mediterranean, killing fifty immigrants, and of the European indifference to the phenomenon.
"Have mercy Lord, we are so often blinded by our comfortable life, and do not see those who die near us",says the head of the Catholic Church.
The Argentinian Pope appoints, on Sunday, the Brazilian, Ilson de Jesu Montanari, as the new secretary of the Congregation of Bishops.
The Holy Pontiff is also giving a Harley Davidson, which he received as a gift, for sale or auction. The money gained will be spent repairing a shelter and on food, for poor people, states the Vatican.
16 GITMO INMATES STILL REFUSING FOOD
Newly declassified documents show that US military officials secretly used a number of cruel, harsh tactics on detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison to force them to break their hunger strike.
Lawyers of the inmates make the revelation after releasing interviews with the hunger strikers:
Night raids on cells, placing the prisoners in solitary confinement, and using extreme temperature changes in the cells, are some of the brutal tactics used by the US, to break the hunger strike.
Over 100 detainees of the 164 men inside the prison went on hunger strike in February to protest against their “torturous” conditions and indefinite detention.
In September, US authorities announced the end of the six-month hunger strike. Lawyers representing the inmates, however, say some of their clients are still refusing to eat.
“The US authorities have, with some glee, announced the hunger strike to be over. What they fail to tell you is the horrific things they did to crush the hunger strikers' spirits, as my clients have described. And yet still there are at least 16 men striking and being brutally force-fed twice a day,” says lawyer Cori Crider.
Syrian detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab says the prison’s military riot squad "stormed" a strike leaders’ cell five times a day.
"They have deprived him of food, water and medicine. Then the riot squad uses the excuse of giving him water and food and medicine to storm his cell again," the 42-year-old Wa'el says, about Shaker Aamer.
"They took him to the clinic, tore his clothes off and left him with only his underwear for long hours, taunting him," he adds.
Another prisoner, Ahmed Belbacha, from Algeria, and cleared for release, says solitary confinement was used as a punishment for prisoners making political statements.
He also describes how the authorities were punishing them by confiscating personal items.
"My glasses, legal papers, toothbrush, toothpaste and all my other necessities have been taken," he said, then.
The Guantanamo prison in southeastern Cuba holds 164 men seized during the US military’s “counter- terrorism” operations. Most of the prisoners have been held without charge or trial for over a decade.
Please help them now!
SYRIA DESTROYING TERRORIST HOLDOUTS Syrian army forces have opened a road linking Hama to Aleppo, regaining full control of about 40 villages.
Government forces made the advances on Saturday after fierce action against foreign-backed terrorists.
The Arab country’s soldiers also took over Talfita and al-Joroud villages near the capital, Damascus.
The Syrian military says it gunned down a large number of Takfiri militants during the clean-up operation.
The military also pushed out militants from the strategic village of Abu Jarin, south of Aleppo, after heavy clashes.
Government troops have recently conducted successful clean-up operations across Syria, inflicting heavy losses on the foreign-backed terrorists.
On October 3rd, army troops captured the strategic town of Khanaser, in Aleppo Province, after heavy clashes.
On October 6th, government forces reopened a key road near Khanaser, that links the central heartland with Aleppo, after flushing out armed men in the area.
The route had been closed since August because of heavy fighting in the area.
On October 11th, the UN children’s agency said that over one million children are among 2.1 million refugees who have fled to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey since terror groups started moving into Syria over two years ago.
UNICEF adds that child refugees now face the risk of exploitation and abuse in the neighboring countries.
DEFENDING AFRICA FROM ICC BIAS
African heads of state have taken part in a summit on relations with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa.
The summit kicked off with all African leaders urging the international body not to prosecute the continent’s incumbent heads of state.
They also call on the ICC to defer the trials of the presidents of Kenya and Sudan.
The Kenyan and Sudanese presidents face charges at The Hague-based court, and African leaders have long complained that the court treats them unfairly.
Head of the African Union’s Executive Council, Dlamini Zuma, says the UN Security Council and ICC should "urgently defer" proceedings against Kenya's leaders.
“The UN security council and the ICC should work with us to enable the elected leadership of Kenya to fulfill their constitutional obligations, by urgently considering deferment of the ICC proceedings against the president and vice president of Kenya,” Zuma says.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that “sitting heads of state and government should not be prosecuted while in office, and we have resolved to speak with one voice to make sure that our concerns are heard loud and clear.”
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto is also on trial on charges of crimes against humanity.
Ruto, along with Kenyan President Ohuru Kenyatta, are accused of orchestrating post-election violence in 2007, which claimed around 1,200 lives.
Altogether, eight African leaders are currently under investigation by the ICC.
The African Union has long advocated the fostering of democratic rule in the continent, but has fallen short, with several long-serving leaders clinging to power.
The US Air Force fired the general in charge of its nuclear missiles on Friday, just 2 days after a Navy admiral with top nuclear weapons responsibilities was sacked.
The Air Force removed Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, a 35- year veteran, from his command, responsible for all 450 of the service's intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Carey, who took his post in Wyoming in June 2012, will be reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation into "personal misbehaviour", the service said.
The Air Force would not specify what Carey is alleged to have done. Jack Weinstein will assume his post.
This is the second time the US Armed Forces have sacked a high ranking officer this week.
On Wednesday the Navy said Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the second-in-charge at U.S. Strategic Command, was fired over an investigation into "gambling" issues.
He was demoted from three, to two-star rank, and reassigned to a Navy staff job until the investigation is completed.
PLEASE SUPPORT BAHRAIN's STRUGGLE
Bahrainis have once again taken to the streets to denounce the Al Khalifa regime’s unrelenting crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
On Thursday, anti-regime protests were held in several villages, including Al Daih and Damistan -- west of the capital Manama.
The demonstrators carried their national flag and chanted anti-regime slogans during the protests.
On Thursday, a Bahrain court sentenced 18 anti-regime activists to 5 to 7 years in prison after convicting them of allegedly attacking a police station in a Shia village near Manama last November.
The verdict brought to 122 the number of pro-democracy demonstrators sentenced to lengthy jail terms in Bahrain.
On Monday, nine anti-regime activists were also sentenced to life in prison, after being convicted of being allegedly involved in an attack in November 2011, in Manama.
Four of the defendants, who were present at the court, had previously said that they were subjected to torture and mistreatment in solitary confinement.
5 defendants, in absentia, were given additional 10-year jail terms for failing to hand themselves in.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist Bahrain's regime to crush the peaceful protests.
According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested.
Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have "evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police" in the crack-down on anti-government protesters.
LAVROV WARNS OF FALSE FLAG TRAINING
There are reports that some third countries are training Syrian rebels to use chemical weapons in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says.
The intention is to put the skill to use in new false flag actions in Syria, he explains.
The suspected training is in Afghan territories not under control of the government in Kabul, Lavrov says.
“Some reports indicate that Al-Nusra Front is planning to smuggle toxic compounds and relevant specialists into Iraqi territory to stage terrorist attacks there this time,” Lavrov says.
The Russian minister, who spoke after meeting his Kuwaiti counterpart Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, warns against any possible provocations in Syria related to the ongoing process of chemical weapons disarmament.
“We stand for conducting the work in a precise manner in accordance with the roadmap - and without any hindrance. We warn against any possible provocation,” Lavrov says.
Al-Nusra Front is seen as one of the most combat- worthy groups of the militants fighting Damascus.
It has said that it takes orders from an Al-Qaeda branch operating in Iraq. Many states, including the US, list the group as a terrorist organization, over several bombings it has organized in Syria.
Damascus insists that the August incident and several previous cases of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria were provocations by opposition forces. Russia shares this view.
Russian diplomatic sources say the August sarin attack was a special operation of Saudi Arabian intelligence, conducted with the help of a radical Islamist militant group operating near Damascus.
The group called Liwa Al-Islam is headed by the son of a Saudi cleric.
ICC FOR WEST-BACKED SYRIA TERRORISTS?
At least 190 people were killed and over 200 taken hostage by Syrian rebels financed by private Gulf donors in one single incident on August 4th, during a military attack in Latakia governorate, says Human Rights Watch.
At least 67 of the victims executed, had lived in pro-government Alawite villages, HRW says in a report, “You Can Still See Their Blood,” released on Friday, which says the events are the first evidence of planned crimes against humanity, perpetrated by opposition forces.
The killings took place as President Bashar Assad’s forces were overwhelmed by militants, who then proceeded to enter 10 Alawite villages nearby, sometimes rounding up and executing entire families, while taking others hostage.
Torture and decapitations were also testament to the aggravated nature of the military offensive, proof of which was gathered by HRW through reports, witness statements, hospital records and materials recorded by the rebels themselves.
HRW’s researcher, Lana Fakih, told Reuters that “homes were destroyed and burned. Most villagers had not returned.” She spoke to Hassan Shebli, whose elderly wife and disabled 23-year-old son were gunned down and buried next to his home, as he found upon his return to his village. The assailants took videos and posed with their victims before the killings.
According to the human rights watchdog, the nature, scale and coordination of the abuses and killings elevate them to the status of crimes against humanity.
Acting Middle East director at HRW, Joe Stork, explains: “these abuses were not the actions of rogue fighters… this operation was a coordinated, planned attack on the civilian population in these Alawite villages.”
Nonetheless, dozens of witness accounts from the province remain, with footage shot by rebels, as a gruesome reminder of the executions carried out on August 4th.
Returning residents report finding bodies of loved ones strewn around the streets, lying next to their homes, as well as charred corpses lying in mass graves.
The organization wishes to point out that the report is by no means a move away from scrutinizing the Syrian government’s own human rights abuses – including "sectarian cluster bombings" of Sunni areas in May, as reported By UN officials.
The report proposes that the UN Security Council imposes an embargo on supplying arms to all sides implicated in the systematic abuse of human rights and the carrying out of planned attacks, which is classified as a crime against humanity. The organization proposes referring all transgressions to the International Criminal Court.
Stork, HRW’s Middle East chief: “Syrian victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity have waited too long for the Security Council to send a clear message that those responsible for horrible abuses will be held to account.” “The ICC referral is long overdue,” Stork says.
The civil war, now in its third year, has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, according to UN estimates.
Many experts fear that the sectarian nature and conflicting interests of the rebel groups involved are exacerbated by outside funding, and are turning Syria into a hotbed of extremism drifting further away from any resolution outside actors may have planned for it.
STORM IN A STATE
The UK's Morning Star newspaper reports on the shut-downs in India, over the creation of a new state.
Talks between the Andhra Pradesh authorities and 30,000 striking electricity workers have so far failed to resolve grievances over the "new" state, Telegana.
That failure has left millions of people in south-eastern India facing power blackouts for the 6th consecutive day.
Workers have closed power plants in Andhra Pradesh state for almost a week, to protest against a decision to divide the state into two, creating Telangana.
Many thousands are on strike over the new state, saying it will divide Telugu-speaking people, lead to cuts in the state budget & cause water-supply problems in the future.
Chief Minister N Kiran Reddy, Andhra Pradesh's top elected official, has held two rounds of talks with the leaders of the utility employees' union, but the workers still say they will not stop the strike.
The workers demand that the federal government must rescind last week's Cabinet decision to build the new state of Telangana from 10 districts taken from Andhra Pradesh's 23 states.
600,000 state government employees opposed to the division have been agitating for a united Andhra Pradesh for nearly two months.
With state-run and private power plants closed, most of the state had no electricity for long hours yesterday.
Scores of freight and passenger trains were cancelled, hospitals and drinking water utilities operated by using generators and mobile phone services, and many petrol stations and other firms, were hit by the power cuts.
Power supplies to adjoining states - Tamil Nadu and Kerala - were also hit, raising fears that the southern electricity grid could collapse totally.
The demand for a separate state of Telangana has erupted sporadically since the 1950s, with hunger strikes and protests claiming over 1,000 lives over the past decade.
Several protesters self-immolated to press for the creation of the state.
Telangana supporters say that their drought-prone northern area is underdeveloped, and that people there feel discriminated against in the allocation of state funds, water and jobs.
UK "GIVES DICTATORS ARMS TO REPRESS"
A UK newspaper (The Mirror) reveals that the UK government has approved the export of 'dangerous' arms to 'authoritarian regimes', including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The Mirror says the list of licenses granted since 2010, includes a request from Egypt to buy about 2,000 combat shotguns. The government approved that request in May 2013.
UK exports to Saudi Arabia, authorized by London, include the chemical agent deuterium, that can be used to produce nuclear weapons.
The UK also agreed to supply Riyadh CS gas, special devices for using poison gas, and a batch of hand grenades.
The Daily Mirror notes that the government has just authorized selling a range of hazardous materials to Turkey, whose dealings with recent protests raised severe criticism across the world.
Israel pullout from Area C "would boost the West Bank economy by a third" - IMF
World Bank officials say that the Palestinians could grow their struggling economy by a third - and slash their budget deficit in half - if Israel let them to use West Bank territory it controls.
The bank has repeatedly urged Israel to open up the 61% of the West Bank under its control, known as Area C.
But the report - released today - marks the first detailed attempt to quantify Palestinian losses.
"Access to Area C will not cure all Palestinian economic problems but the alternative is bleak," the bank warns.
"Without the ability to conduct purposeful economic activity in Area C, the economic space of the West Bank will remain crowded and stunted."
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor claims that most of the issues raised by the bank "will be settled in the current negotiations".
The partition of the West Bank into spheres of control was part of interim deals that were supposed to have concluded with a final Israeli-Palestinian agreement on a Palestinian state by 1999.
Meanwhile, the old arrangements remain in place.
Israel retains overall control over security and all crossings to and from the West Bank.
All of the West Bank's 300,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in Area C and most of its natural resources are located there.
Yet less than 1% of Area C is open for Palestinian use, the bank observes.
Most of the rest of the land is controlled by settlements, designated as nature reserves or as closed military zones - and therefore off-limits to Palestinians.
"The key to Palestinian prosperity continues to lie in the removal of these restrictions," the bank says.
The bank looked at direct benefits to agriculture, Dead Sea minerals exploitation, stone mining and quarrying, construction, tourism, cosmetics and telecommunications .
The potential additional output from these sectors would be at least £1.37 billion a year, or 23% of the Palestinian gross domestic product in 2011, it says.
NATO HAS FAILED - BRING ON ELECTIONS !!!
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemns the NATO mission in his country, saying it has caused "a lot of suffering" without delivering any gains at all.
"On the security front the entire NATO exercise is one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains, because the country is still not secure," he tells BBC World News.
"What we wanted was absolute security and a clear- cut war against terrorism," he says, and suggests he might not sign a joint security deal wanted by the US.
For the last three days Karzai has been responding to US drone attacks and troop raids killing children in increasing numbers, with anger.
The president says the government is negotiating with the Taliban, and that they are "welcome" to participate in elections.
"Where it's the Afghan people appointing people through elections to state organs, then the Taliban should come and participate in those elections," says Karzai.
SYRIA MOVES TOWARD SOLUTION
Syrian National Coalition President Ahmed al-Jarba says at a news conference in Istanbul, Monday, that The Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition umbrella group in exile, will take part in the coming international conference on Syria to be convened in Geneva, hopefully, by mid-November.
As Tunisians resolve secular/religious differences through dialogue, the Egyptians ruling class is busy killing and "disappearing" opponents.
The Chinese government urges peace talks as the US-Saudi-backed army coup leaders turn to "dissolution" of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The death toll from clashes between supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi and police forces has risen to 51, as violence rages on there.
Supporters of Morsi, overthrown in a July military coup, tried to gather in the iconic Liberation Square in Cairo, when armed police confronted them.
According to Ahmed al-Ansari, a top official of Egypt’s Health Ministry, at least 45 people died in Cairo and several others lost their lives south of the capital.
Nearly 270 people were reported injured in clashes.
Ansari adds that “the majority of the deaths were caused by bullets and birdshot.”
Police also shot and used teargas to stop protests in Cairo, where the Egyptian Interior Ministry says police arrested 423 protesters.
The Anti-Coup Alliance, which includes Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, is calling for more protests this week and urges students across universities and schools in Egypt to protest today (Tuesday) against what it calls the “continuing massacres.”
“The alliance holds the coup authorities and the military- appointed government fully responsible for all the blood of Egyptians being spilt right now, and for every Egyptian killed on this day,” the alliance says in a statement.
On Friday, thousands of MB activists and supporters marched in Cairo after Friday prayers, against the brutal crackdown by the military.
An Egyptian army vehicle fired live rounds at protesters trying to enter Liberation Square. Riot police also fired volleys of teargas to push them back.
Four were killed in clashes in 2 Cairo neighborhoods.
Egypt has been experiencing unrelenting violence since July 3, when the army ousted Morsi, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the parliament. It also appointed head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, as the new interim president.
The government of Mansour has launched a bloody crackdown on Morsi supporters and arrested over 2,000 MB members, including the party’s leader, Mohamed Badie, who was detained on August 20th.
The killings after Morsi's removal have sparked international condemnation and prompted world bodies to call for an independent investigation into the violence.
THE BROKEN WHEELS OF US JUSTICE
Herman Wallace, 71, former Black Panther & member of the "Angola 3," spent his last days with friends and family in his hometown. Wallace was diagnosed with liver cancer this year and had just days to live.
Hospice care awaited him, but supporters said his medical condition forced Wallace to be taken to the LSU Medical Center in New Orleans for treatment.
For a time it looked like Wallace wouldn't be released. Prison Warden Howard Prince left to eat dinner, saying since he had already left the grounds, he couldn't allow Wallace's release. A federal judge ordered him to return, and 1 hour later, Wallace left the prison in an ambulance.
Wallace's release was ordered byJudge Brian Jackson who also overturned a 1974 conviction in which Wallace was found guilty of the murder of a white prison guard at Louisiana Penitentiary, known as Angola or "The Farm."
Wallace and Albert Woodfox, who was also convicted, have denied the killing for more than 40 years, saying they were set up because they founded a chapter of the Black Panthers at Angola.
The inmates charged with killing the guard became known as the Angola 3. The 3rd prisoner eventually became a prosecution witness, reports UPI.
He died on Friday.
A PROMISING FUTURE
The president of Venezuela''s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, says his visit to Russia was a fruitful one, allowing for a promising future.
"It continues the legacy left by the late President Hugo Chavez," says Cabello in a brief statement.
The president of Venezuela's National Assembly says that Russia-Venezuela links will continue as they began with Chavez, over ten years ago, with mutually favorable links which have strengthened in recent years.
"We have already clearly said that these are relations which favour both Venezuela and Russia," stresses the parliamentary leader after emphasizing that this is the path that President Nicolas Maduro is following.
The head of the Venezuelan Parliament stresses that the current projects with Russia are essential for the country's economic diversification, and contrasts the current situation with the policy of plunder historically carried out by the United States.
"The United States clearly stole Venezuelan oil for a hundred years, while President Chavez stopped that and opened up new horizons towards new markets and new partners in the petrochemical, oil and gas sectors," says Cabello.
"It is in that context that Russia, China, Iran, and Belarus appear; followed by Italy, Portugal, and all those nations who honestly want to do business, without any pressures or conditions," he adds.
IRISH KEEP VOTE TO KEEP THEIR SENATE
Irish voters reject the abolition of the Irish Senate in a referendum on Friday by a narrow margin, final results showed Saturday night.
With final results from all 43 constituencies declared, 51.7% of the electorate reject the proposition to scrap the upper house - with 48.3% voting in favour.
Of the 1,226,374 valid votes cast, 591,937 were in favour and 634,437 votes were against, a 42,500 vote margin. There were 14,355 invalid votes. Turnout was 39.2%.
A final result on Friday's other referendum to establish a new Court of Civil Appeal has yet to be announced.
The Irish national parliament consists of the president and an upper and a lower house.
Most major Irish parties favour abolishing the Senate. Opposition party Fianna Fail objects to it, arguing that the coalition government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny wants to centralize its power.
Kenny's government said that eliminating the Senate would save 20 million euros (27 million US dollars) a year, which, in this time of crisis, is a necessity.
At Dublin Castle on Saturday afternoon, Kenny admitted defeat: "Sometimes in politics you get a wallop." He says he's "personally disappointed", but accepts the result.
He says it is too early to give details on any potential senate reform, adding that changes "will continue".
The Irish prime minister says he will consider if the Constitutional Convention should address the reforms.
Observers say the defeat marks a major blow for Kenny and his government, which is readying another cost-cutting austerity budget on Oct. 15th, two months early this year, to meet a European Commission requirement.
Ireland is now set to exit its 85-billion-euro bailout by the end of 2013. That will make it the first eurozone state to end its dependence on a European Union aid program.
Revelations made public by the international press, say that Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan was involved in the chemical weapons used in Syria.
Canada's Global Research website underlines in an article, that Bin Sultan is directly involved in the provocation that tried to blame the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
He is Washington's key man against Syria, and is executing the most important aims of the kingdom against Syria and Iran, highlights the article.
When quoting The voice of Russia radio station, the Canadian website underlines that "a specialized group was sent by Saudi Arabia from Jordan and acted under the protection of Liva al-Islam group to create the current chemical-weapon crisis.
In July 2012, Liva al-Islam was responsible for the death of Syrian Minister of Defense Dawoud Rajiha, his deputy Asef Shawkat and vice president Hassan Turkmani, during an attack in the Syrian capital that preceded the so-called "Battle for Damascus".
Amid the revelations, reports say that Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov will meet US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday, in Bali, Indonesia.
The implementation of the Russia-US plan to eliminate chemical weapons from Syrian soil, will be the focus of the meeting, as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says it has received information from the authorities in Damascus, and has already started destroying chemical stores.
Saudi Arabia, frustrated by what it apparently regards as policy setbacks over Syria, Iran and Palestinian statehood, abruptly canceled its turn to speak this week at the annual UN General Assembly meeting, The New York Times reports, citing diplomatic officials and Arab news agencies.
They say it is the first time that the Saudis, strong US allies, have scrapped the opportunity to state their positions on world affairs, not even submitting a written statement in lieu of a speech.
Diplomatic officials, on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter, say Saudi Arabia opted not to participate, partly because it did not want to publicly criticize the Security Council over what the kingdom judges to be a weak response to the conflict in Syria and the use of chemical weapons there.
GUARDING THE GUARDIANS
Three leading civil rights groups have filed a case against the UK's spy agency, GCHQ, at the European Court of Human Rights over its surveillance methods, after being denied any chance of challenging its practices in an open court in the UK.
Big Brother Watch, English PEN and Open Rights Group have joined forces with German legal activist Constanze Kurz, in accusing the GCHQ of violating Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, as Article 8 guarantees EU citizens the right to a private family life.
“The laws governing how internet data is accessed were written when barely anyone had broadband access and were intended to cover old fashioned copper telephone lines,” states Big Brother Watch. “Parliament did not envisage or intend those laws to permit scooping up details of all communications we send, including content, so it’s absolutely right that GCHQ is held accountable in the courts.”
As revealed by Edward Snowden earlier this year, the group Privacy not Prism, says the UK government has the capacity to collect “more than 21 petabytes of data a day – equivalent to sending all the information in all the books in the British Library 192 times every 24 hours.”
Information is collected by hacking into cables connecting the UK and the US under the program Tempora, and is freely shared with intelligence agencies in Washington (PRISM in the US). The data includes all private communications conducted through the internet.
GCHQ insists that all of its activities are legal under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa), which was passed in 2000 & cleared by the UK’s Intelligence & Security Committee.
The rights group wanted to challenge the legislation in UK courts, but was told by the government that its only domestic option was to file a complaint with the Investigator Powers Tribunal.
The tribunal hears sensitive cases in secret before coming to a decision, and does not have to provide any legal justification for its rulings. If a judgment of the tribunal is disputed, there is no recourse to appeal to any civil court.
Privacy International has gone down that route, while Privacy not Prism hope to achieve change through the highest court available.
The plaintiffs hope that their case will result in: “new laws that require surveillance to be proportionate; to be overseen by judicial authorities acting in public; that permit notification of persons affected by surveillance (even if after the fact); that are overseen by adequately resourced and empowered regulators.”
The European Court of Human Rights receives over 50,000 complaints annually, and it’s customary for cases to take a year to be heard and a ruling given.
JAPAN BECOMING WEST's "ATTACK DOG"?
Tokyo is to pay $3.1 billion, as part of the cost of relocating US troops from Okinawa.
For the first time, it will also host US long-range surveillance drones, which will help to monitor "disputed" islands in the East China Sea.
The cost-sharing agreement for the troop transfer and the future deployment of drones by next spring are both part of an effort aimed at updating the US- Japan military and diplomatic alliance.
The pledge to modernize the alliance was made in a joint declaration during the visit of US Sec of State Kerry and US Defense Sec Hagel, who met with their Japanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.
Japan hosts some 50,000 US soldiers and officers, particularly in Okinawa. Their presence has been a source of tension with local populations due to crimes committed by the servicemen, disruptions by military flights and land over-use by the army.
Last year the two countries announced a plan to relocate 9,000 US Marines from Okinawa to other locations. 5,000 of them to go to Guam and others stationed elsewhere. The estimated cost of the relocation is about $8.6 billion.
Japan will cover $3.1 billion of that sum, officials from the two countries announced on Thursday. The cost includes developing new facilities in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
As the foot soldiers leave, US Global Hawk unmanned aircraft will be arriving, marking the first time that US drones are permanently stationed on Japanese soil. Two or three long-range spy drones will be placed at a US base to help monitor Japan’s territory.
The disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea were not mentioned in documents, but the islands --- contested by Japan, China and Taiwan --- were a prevailing topic in public speeches after the signing.
Hagel says the US repeats, that it recognizes Japan's administration of the islands and has responsibilities to protect Japanese territory under a mutual defense treaty.
"We strongly oppose any unilateral or coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan's administrative control," he says.
The US will also deploy second X-band early warning radar in Japan. Officials were careful to stress that it will be directed against North Korea rather than China, and will help track down and - possibly - intercept missiles coming from the defiant state.
The new radar will be placed at Kyogamisaki air base in Kyoto prefecture in western Japan, to complement already existing radars in the north of Japan.
Beijing however, is not convinced by "assurances".
It criticizes the installation of the inaugural military radar, saying it could disrupt the strategic military balance in the region and destabilize the situation.
Yesterday, members of the South Korean Democratic Party also fiercely criticised Japan's moves, saying that an unrepentant Japan, which never apologised for its past atrocities in Korea and Manchuria, is re-militarising as a regional US attack dog.
Other plans to boost a US military presence in Japan include the possible deployment of F-35 jet fighters around 2017, a top UN official tells AP. There is also a plan to send Navy P-8 anti-submarine aircraft later this year - the first time the sub-killers are to be deployed outside the US.
The upgrade also expands cooperation in areas like counter-terrorism and cyber warfare. Internet threats are one area that Japan cannot always defend itself against with its current systems, Kazunori Kimura, the Defense Ministry's director of cyber-defense planning, tells Reuters.
TERROR "A SCORPION IN WEST's POCKET"
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warns today that Turkey will ‘pay very dearly’ for fanning the flames of violence in Syria by helping extremist groups in the Arab country.
“In the near future these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey. And Turkey will pay very dearly for its contribution,” he tells Turkey’s opposition Halk TV in an interviewed aired today.
President Assad also states, “It is not possible to use terrorism as a card and put it in your pocket. Because it is like a scorpion which won’t hesitate to sting you at any moment.”
Assad's interview focuses on the presence of al-Qaeda-affiliated militants near the Syrian border with Turkey, which forced Ankara to close one of its border crossings with Syria last month, after clashes between al-Qaeda-linked groups and the so-called Free Syrian Army in the town of Azaz.
On September 23rd, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said his country is not able to prevent the infiltration of militants from neighboring Syria into its territory, despite tight security measures along the border.
The Syrian president also accuses Turkish PM Erdogan of lying about the situation in the Syria. “All that he says about Syria and its people is a heap of lies, that is all... Erdogan is doing nothing but supporting the terrorists.”
Turkey has been a key supporter of militants fighting the Syrian government since the start of the unrest there, in March 2011.
Yesterday, the Turkish parliament extended by another year a mandate authorizing the deployment of troops to Syria... if the need arises.
President Assad also acknowledges that the Syrian helicopter which was downed by the Turkish military on September 16th had violated Turkish airspace, but he says the move was meant to prevent “the infiltration of a large number of terrorists.”
According to the Syrian president, the two pilots were “savagely decapitated” by Takfiri agents after the helicopter fell on Syrian soil.
UNESCO FIGHTING "ZIONIST" US
Opposition to massive spying by the US, in violation of international law is one of the topics to be examined by UNESCO's Executive Council meeting here this week.
An initiative presented by Brazil and supported by several Latin American countries is meant to address the question of privacy and Internet ethics, in light of the scandalous US espionage system, says the Cuban representative to the Council, Juan Antonio Fernandez.
In an interview with Prensa Latina, Fernandez says that the indiscriminate collection of data of entire populations and world institutions violates other nations' sovereignty, freedom of expression and the human rights of all citizens.
He says the Brazilian proposal has "the firmest support".
The UNESCO Executive Council meeting began on Sept. 30 and will continue until Oct. 11th, with an extensive agenda that includes a draft budget for the next four years, as well as the election of its general director.
Fernandez mentions the financial difficulties faced by UNESCO because of US non-payment of its dues.
"We are talking about a budget reduced by almost 22%, from $654 million to $511 million, showing the conditions under which UNESCO will have to carry out its mandate."
The US decided two years ago to stop paying its dues to UNESCO in retaliation for the agency's inclusion of Palestine as a member with full rights.
The program of reform promoted by the agency's present general director, Irina Bokova, to give greater visibility and efficiency to the organization, is now up against this US non-payment crisis, Fernandez says.
Elections to select the next general director of UNESCO, begin Friday and could run until the following Tuesday.
There are three candidates: the ambassador from Djibouti in France and UNESCO, Rachad Farah; Lebanese University professor Joseph Maila, and the present director, Irina Bokova, who aspires to be reelected.
Fernandez highlights UNESCO's role in 4 important areas: education, culture, science, information & communication, with one of its most important tasks being to reduce the figure of over 800 million illiterate people in the world.
It also runs the program 'Memory of the World', which stores important documents of humanity for future generations, such as the Life & Works of Che Guevara, which Cuba has just submitted.
EGYPT's ARMY ACTING "LIKE HITLER"
The Muslim Brotherhood slams the Egyptian army for ousting Egypt's former president, Mohamed Morsi, comparing its rule now to Hitler's, in Nazi Germany.
The Brotherhood lashes out at the army ahead of mass rallies planned for Sunday against the Egyptian military and its July 3rd ouster of Morsi.
Supporters of the military are also planning a rival rally on the same day in Cairo, raising fears of violent clashes.
Military supporters want to mark the anniversary of the beginning of Egypt's war with Israel in 1973.
Egypt plunged into unrelenting violence on July 3rd, when the army ousted Morsi’s government, suspended the constitution, and dissolved parliament, appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, as a new interim president.
The army-backed interim government quickly launched a deadly crackdown on Morsi supporters and arrested thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members.
Among the arrested is the group's supreme leader, Mohamed Badie, who was detained on August 20th.
Last month, an Egyptian court banned the Islamic group, and ordered the seizure of all its funds.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
The Afghan Interior Ministry strongly condemns the US military, for shipping weapons to Zabul Province in southern Afghanistan.
This, after a senior Afghan lawmaker revealed that US forces are giving military aid to Taliban militants active there.
Zalmai Zabuli says US helicopters have delivered two shipments of small arms and heavy weapons to the militants in Mizan district.
The senior lawmaker warns that the continuation of such violations, may trigger mass protests against US forces.
Senior officials in Kabul are also demanding a US "explanation" over its aid to the Taliban.
Zabuli stresses that US military aid to the Taliban and its covert talks with the militants, are raising serious doubts regarding US goals.
The US and UK are supporting "secret" peace talks with the Taliban after US-led forces lost ground to the militants in recent months across Afghanistan.
The Afghan government has expressed serious concerns about the US-led peace process with the Taliban, in Qatar.
Senior Afghan officials say the move contradicts any US security guarantees, noting that Taliban militants will be able to use their Doha office to raise funds for their campaign in Afghanistan.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after over 11 years, insecurity remains.
WAKE UP, CHURCH !!!
Pope Francis says now that he wants the Church to be more committed to the problems of the modern world, instead of just looking after its own interests, ignoring its true mission, in many cases.
In an interview with Eugenio Scalfari, founder of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Pope says he will do everything possible to change this "Vatican-centric" attitude, so that the Catholic Church will "serve God's people again."
In a reference to the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, which led to modern reforms in the Church, the pope says: "This includes a dialogue with non-believers. After that, not so much was done in this direction. I have the humility and ambition to do so."
He says that two of the worst problems that afflict the world today are youth unemployment and the solitude to which many elderly people are abandoned.
In this regard, he regrets that young people live crushed by the present, and asks if it is possible to "live crushed under the weight of the present? Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family?"
"This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing," he says.
The first Latin American pope criticizes what he describes as the clericalism and narcissistic attitude of many of his predecessors.
Pope Francis has now begun a three-day meeting with eight cardinals from around the world to outline possible reforms of the Vatican.
Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi says that Curia reform is one of the issues to be discussed by the Council of Cardinals, but that Church leadership problems are also very important to the Pope.
NO NUKES NECESSARY NOW !!! The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty commission (CTBT) highlights this week the UN call for those nations outside the treaty, to sign on now to make it effective.
In its press release, the CTBT recalls that, last Friday, foreign ministers and senior officials speaking at the UN General Assembly had urged the US, Israel, China, Egypt, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, India, Pakistan and Iran, to sign the treaty.
"It is urgent to sign the Treaty that has remained open ever since it was established 17 years ago, with a view to contributing concretely to disarmament and the non- proliferation of nuclear weapons," say CTBT members.
The CTBT's executive secretary, Lassina Zerbo, says the current environment is much more favorable for activation of the treaty, which proscribes all nuclear explosions and now has a monitoring system for its enforcement, which detects tests in the ocean, atmosphere, and underground.
Official records note over 2,000 nuclear tests from 1945 to 1996, with at least 1,000 by the United States, 700 by the former Soviet Union, 200 by France and around 45 by the United Kingdom and China.
So far, 161 of the 183 members have ratified the Treaty, which, when in force, will have 337 facilities to monitor and detect any nuclear explosion on the planet, with 85 percent of the system already installed.
Last week the U.N. General Assembly took another step forward toward nuclear disarmament, holding its first top-level meeting on the issue.
As part of the 68th session of the General Assembly, the Forum - proposed by Cuba with the support of the Non-Aligned Countries Movement - was used as a platform to call for the elimination of the over 23,000 nuclear weapons currently existing worldwide: nearly half of them in a "ready-to-use" condition.
The southwestern Libyan Fezzan region has decided to proclaim itself an autonomous federal province, starting this week, and has appointed Nouri al-Qouizi as President, giving a clue as to the weakness of the present central government.
A month ago, the Cirenaica region, adjoining Fezzan from the east, adopted a similar decision for the same reasons.
Tribal leaders in the region state that shortly they will appoint a military chief in charge of protecting the borders and natural resources of the newly autonomous region, which covers an area of just 551,170 square kilometres and a population estimated at less than 443,000 inhabitants.
The dismantling of Libya, which just three years ago, was a country with the best human development index, seems to be a consequence of the chaos established by the armed militia who served as cover for NATO's attack.
The nine agents of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) in prison in the exclusive Cordillera prison are transferred now to Punta Peuco jail, after criticism of the comfortable living conditions they were enjoying.
Under a hail of eggs & stones from protesters stationed outside Cordillera, 2 police vehicles emerged minutes before midnight on Saturday with the first 2 prisoners, including General Manuel Contreras, former head of the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), who was sentenced to 360 years in prison.
The little caravan reached Punta Peuco, about 40 klmtrs north of the Chilean capital, early on Sunday, plus a second caravan with another seven prisoners, all sentenced for crimes against humanity.
The decision to close the prison was made last Thursday by President Piñera, who confirmed it this wednesday, after the suicide, early on Saturday morning, of the 10th military official imprisoned in the luxurious prison.
General Odlanier Mena, who committed suicide, was sentenced to six years in prison for crimes during Operation Caravan of Death, ordered by Pinochet.
Mena, the first director of the National Information Center (CNI), the dictatorship's secret police, was the only inmate who enjoyed weekend releases, and he took advantage of his stay in his residence to commit suicide, as he felt badly about his imminent transfer to Punta Peuco jail, says his lawyer.
PALESTINIAN STATE GAINS GROUND
Haiti and Grenade recognise the Palestinian State and agree on the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, official sources announce here this week.
The news, announced by the Palestinian National Authority (ANP), in a communiqué by the foreign affairs minister, Ryad al Maliki, stresses that the corresponding instruments were signed at UN headquarters in ceremonies in New York.
This is a new victory for Palestinian diplomacy and highlights the international collective approval of Palestinian rights, notes the FM communiqué.
The 2 Caribbean countries join over 130 states that first approved the ANP's claim to be admitted as an observer state last November, at the LXVII Session of the UN General Assembly, which was opposed by the US, Israel, Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama and three tiny countries in the South Pacific.
The Palestinian leadership has announced its intention to obtain full member statute of the world body, despite US opposition.
To achieve this, it is necessary to obtain the approval of the five full members of the UN Security Council: the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.
Assad: Our Enemies Are Confused, We Have Weapons That Can Paralyze Israel
Syria's chemical weapons are no longer a deterrent, President Bashar al-Assad says, and adds that today, Syria has more advanced weapons that can paralyze the Zionist entity 'in a few seconds'.
Lebanese writer, Elie Shalhoub, met the Syrian leader and found Assad calm and at ease over the conditions his country is witnessing now.
In an article published by al-Akhabar daily, Shalhoub says Assad answered many questions, and that “he dealt with strategy, without ignoring the details.”
President Assad “considers that the situation today is more than excellent,” Shalhoub says.
He quotes the Syrian leader as saying: “they have tried from the very beginning to portray the battle in Syria as a fight between a Sunni sect and some minorities, claiming that these minorities were dominating the country.
"But we were able to manage this, with patience, tolerance and through betting on people to change this equation.”
Talking about Syria’s enemies, Assad says: “They are stressed. The failure they have ended in, due to political and diplomatic confusion, could prompt them to move in an unreasonable and hysterical way. So don’t find strange any diplomatic, political and security escalation - it will be unrealistic - no more than a bubble or media war, in a bid to retake the initiative.”
Shalhoub reports that the Syrian president is satisfied with the US-Russia joint deal on destroying Damascus’ chemical weapons.
He quotes Assad as saying: “We have 1,000 tons of chemical weapons that we already consider a burden. Getting rid of this weapon costs a lot and takes years as it raises environmental challenges and problems. Let they come and take it.”
“Chemical weapons are not and will not be, their target. They want to change the balance of power in the region and save Israel. But we turned the tables on them and threw the ball in their court, so they were embraced,” Assad added, according to Shalhoub.
Asked by the Lebanese writer if it is a strategic loss for Syria to lose its chemical weapons, Assad said: “We produced our chemical weapons, during the '80s of the last century, in a bid to deter Israel. However it is no longer a deterrent and today we have weapons that are more important and sophisticated, through which, we can paralyze Israel in seconds.”
Assad notes that US president Barack Obama... “was not willing to carry out any military action against Syria. He was hesitant and fearful, as he was waiting for someone to find a way out for him.”
According to Assad, “Obama was hesitant and stumbled. He is too weak to launch an attack against Syria. He hasn’t just lost, he has lost in his own home, where he is no longer able to maneuver within the equation of the internal American political balance”.
On relations with Russia, Assad says there are pledges made by Russia, that its forces WILL intervene if there is an attack on Syria:
“Russian forces will take to the field and fight from Syrian territory,” President Assad told Shalhoub.
Talking about Iran and Hezbollah, Assad stresses that Syria and its allies are engaged in the battle under the name of one front, the resistance front.
He adds that if Syria is hit, then Hezbollah and Iran will be the second target:
“I am confident that the lord of fidelity (Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah) is able to contain the repercussions of any offensive against Syria.”
Assad stresses that the Zionist entity is not like before, and the Israeli enemy is fighting using the hands of others.
“Israel is prompting the US to launch a war in the region through using the “US/Islam group”, which is composed of Takfiris, in order to fight us. These Takfiris are the direct enemy of Syria in the meantime,” he adds.
The recently published World Health Organization report on congenital birth anomalies in Iraq is "a disgrace", says Christopher Busby, an expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation, and the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk.
There have been an increasing number of reports of childhood cancers, adult cancers & birth defects in Iraq, he says.
Public pressure and media attention to this, prompted a joint study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iraqi Health Ministry, to try to determine the prevalence of birth defects in the country.
The study began in May-June 2012 and was completed in early October 2012, but wasn't made public until NOW.
Mr Busby says:
"Those who designed and carried out the study were well aware that the method they chose, could not possibly give correct answers to the question of congenital anomaly rates, since they had consulted with me before they started, and I had pointed out why their method was unsafe, even sending them a report suggesting a method that would work.
"In May 2011, I made my first presentation at the UN Human Rights Council, reporting our preliminary findings of extraordinarily high rates of cancer, infant mortality and sex ratio perturbations in the population of Fallujah, which we published in the International Journal of Environment and Public Health in 2010.
"I met with the director of the Human Rights Council, and also with the director of the International Red Cross, and made the case for intervention.
"Our research shows that the rate for congenital heart effects alone is twice the rate reported in the WHO study.
"Of particular concern is the outcome of an “Expert Peer Group” meeting on 27-28 July, 2013, which apparently endorsed the epidemiologically unsafe approach and its results.
"The truth can be established by science, but not if it is dishonest and political. And it seems that this report, and the events and decisions that preceded it, and particularly the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine peer review meeting, are a classical example of scientific dishonesty.
"The use of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reminds me of the use of the Royal Society to produce a disgraceful report on depleted uranium in 2001.
"Since the outcome is intended to exonerate the US and UK military from what are effectively war crimes, and since the result will be employed to defend the continued use of uranium weapons, all concerned in this chicanery should be put before a criminal court and tried for what they have done.
"Their actions are responsible for human suffering and death - and cannot be forgiven. This is a human rights issue.
"I returned to the issue of Fallujah when I was invited a second time to make a presentation at the UN Human Rights Council in September 2011.
"I said then it was time to make a legal stand and I presented the human rights petition I had developed with the International Committee for Nuclear Justice.
"This issue will be taken forward by the Low Level Radiation Campaign in the next six months, so watch this space.
"Finally, we should not forget that the WHO signed an agreement in 1959 with the IAEA to keep their noses out of any research that has a connection with radiation or radioactivity.
"This agreement is still in force and this breach is a matter of deep concern.
The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution outlining the details of taking under international control and ultimately destroying, Syria’s chemical arsenal.
"Today's historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote.
The Syrian sides must engage constructively in the upcoming Geneva 2 conference, which would be a significant step towards the “creation of a democratic state that guarantees the human rights of all in Syria,” Moon said in his address to the Council.
“The regional actors have a responsibility to challenge those who will actively undermine the process and those who do not fully respect Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” he added.
The target date for a new peace conference in Geneva is set for mid-November. However, the Syrian opposition should be represented at the Geneva peace talks in a single delegation, the Secretary-General said.
The adopted resolution calls for consequences if inspectors decide that Syria has failed to fulfill its obligations. The nature of the reaction, however, will depend on another resolution which would have to be passed in the event of non-compliance.
Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari says the resolution holds all parties in Syria equally responsible for the elimination of chemical weapons, including rebel forces. However, some members of the Security Council are already trying to sabotage the effort, Jaafari states, after the adoption of the historical document.
“It is regrettable that some delegations have begun adopting a negative interpretation of the resolution in order to derail it from its lofty purposes,” Jaafari said.
He points out that the US, France,Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar must commit to the document and be held accountable if they continue to arm the rebels.
"You can't bring terrorists from all over the world and send them into Syria in the name of jihad and then pretend that you are working for peace," Jaafari says, adding that Syria is "fully committed" to attending November’s Geneva 2 conference.
COUP ATTEMPTS TO BAN ISLAMIC PARTIES
Egypt's second-largest Islamist party, al-Nour, rejects proposed changes to Egypt’s constitution that would ban parties based on religious grounds.
The party denounces the move as a "sword drawn" against Islamist political parties.
The proposal, not yet formally approved, comes days after a Cairo court outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood as a non-governmental organization and followed that by seizing all the group’s financial accounts.
“By what right does this article aim a drawn sword at some parties? Are we going to put an article in the constitution that bans founding parties on liberal, secular, socialist or Nasserist grounds?” al-Nour Party head Younes Makhyoun says in a statement released in reaction to the proposal made at meetings of the Egyptian constitutional committee.
“We reject this article completely because it is discriminatory & exclusionary,” the statement adds.
Also on Friday, Muslim Brotherhood supporters staged fresh protest rallies across Egypt to demand the reinstatement of ousted President, Mohamed Morsi.
The demonstrators condemned the interim government’s crackdown on Brotherhood backers and the killing of protesters after Morsi’s removal by the country’s military.
Since the overthrow of Morsi -- Egypt’s first democratically- elected president -- the country has been the scene of demonstrations held by his supporters.
PEACE PRIZE OBAMA "IS A WAR CRIMINAL"
Bolivian President Evo Morales is proposing a legal motion against US President Obama, over his war policies abroad.
“I want to propose that we think seriously about constituting a 'Tribunal of the People', with international bodies and the larger defenders of human rights, to begin a lawsuit against the Obama government,” Morales says at the UN General Assembly.
Last week the Bolivian president said Obama is a “criminal” who willingly violates international law, and that Bolivia is preparing to file legal action at the International Court against the US president for crimes against humanity.
Morales also blasted Washington for its behaviour toward Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, recently banned from passing though US airspace.
The Venezuelan leader cancelled his plan to attend the UN General Assembly in New York this week because, he said, he feared for his life.
Morales accuses the US of harboring terrorists and wants UN headquarters moved from New York.
The Bolivian president also criticized Washington for denying visas to members of his delegation.
Morales told the annual UN leaders' summit he did not feel safe in the US, over spying and security concerns.
The anti-US calls by the Bolivian president come just months after Morales’s presidential aircraft was denied entry into several Western European countries, forcing it to land in Austria.
WEST "INSATIABLY GREEDY" SAYS MUGABE
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says the West’s hunger to dominate other nations is insatiable, and that the US, UK and their allies, are using sanctions as a "foreign-policy tool to effect regime change” in Zimbawe, and across the world.
Mugabe made the remarks in his speech to the 68th United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
"Our small and peaceful country is threatened daily by covetous and bigoted big powers whose hunger for domination and control of other nations and their resources knows no bounds," he said.
Mugabe said sanctions are a form of hostility and violence against the Zimbabwean government, which is just trying to redistribute land to a majority, who are landless.
He said that if the sanctions were planned to remove him from power, "the results of the recent national elections have clearly shown you what they can do."
The leader of the southern African country says that the embargoes imposed by the EU and US, violate the UN Charter on state sovereignty.
"Shame, shame, shame to the United States of America. Shame, shame, shame to Britain and its allies,” he said.
"Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, so are its resources. Please remove your illegal and filthy sanctions from my peaceful country," he added.
The West has put crushing sanctions on Zimbabwean firms and individuals, including on President Mugabe.
In August, Southern African leaders called on the West to lift all forms of sanctions leveled against the country.
Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) made the demand on August 18th in the Malawian capital Lilongwe, during the final day of the SADC summit.
The leaders of the 15-nation bloc called for "the lifting of all forms of sanctions hitherto imposed on Zimbabwe".
"I believe Zimbabwe deserves better, Zimbabweans have suffered enough," said Malawian President Joyce Banda, the new head of the SADC.
The SADC also praised Mugabe for “holding free and peaceful elections”, and congratulated him and his ZANU-PF party for their landslide victory in the July 31st elections.
Mugabe has become Africa’s oldest leader, at 89, having ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
RUSSIANS AND CHINESE: ATTACK ON SYRIA "ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE"
The parliaments of China and Russia on Thursday released a joint statement on the crisis in Syria, stating that negotiation is the only feasible resolution to the issue.
The statement is signed by the foreign affairs committees of both China's National People's Congress and by Russia's Federation Council.
The statement says the two countries are very concerned about the situation in Syria.
Turmoil, civilian casualties, refugee flows, the ruin of Syria's cultural heritage and other tragic events have made this crisis one of the most horrible tragedies in the world, their joint statement says.
The people of China and Russia hope for an early settlement to the crisis, the restoration of peace and an end to the bloodshed, it states.
The two countries hold that the threat of force or of external military intervention is absolutely unacceptable.
The two countries are worried about reports of the use of chemical weapons, and support an accurate and objective international investigation into the reported incidents and the referring of the survey report to the Security Council of the United Nations, it says.
We welcome the decision of Syrian leaders to join the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as the Russia-U.S. framework agreement on resolving the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, says the statement.
The people and legislative institutions of China & Russia hope for an early convening of the second international conference on Syria in Geneva, it says.
Dialogue and willingness to seek compromise is the only way out to resolve the crisis, relieve the severe troubles of the Syrian people and avoid even more negative changes in the Middle East, the statement says.
UN HQ MUST BE MOVED OUT OF USA
After Venezuela's President Maduro refused to go to the UN, because several of his delegation had been refused visas by the US, and because new death threats were received aimed at him, the President of Bolivia says the UN must now be moved away from the 'corrupt' US.
Bolivian President Evo Morales accuses the US of harboring terrorists and urges that the UN headquarters be moved now, from New York.
Morales made the remarks in his speech to the 68th UN General Assembly yesterday, AFP reports.
“I would like you to be aware that the United States harbors terrorists and the corrupt,” said Morales, adding, “They take refuge here, and the US does not help in the fight against corruption.”
The socialist president calls for the United Nations to leave New York City because of US "blackmail" and bullying.
"No guaranteed visas, no guaranteed overflights. We feel threatened, bullied and blackmailed over visas," he said, adding that the United States "has never ratified treaties related to human rights."
“We must seriously think about changing the headquarters of the United Nations," said Morales.
The Bolivian president also told the annual UN leaders' summit that he did not feel safe in the US because of spying and security concerns.
"How can we be safe at a meeting of the United Nations here in New York? Some do not believe in imperialism and capitalism and feel totally unsafe," Morales said.
The UN headquarters has been in New York since the global body's creation in 1945.
FRENCH FOLLOW 1930s VICHY ROAD?
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls is defending his controversial call to deport tens of thousands of ethnic Roma people from the country, amid widespread criticism from colleagues and the EU.
Valls says he has "nothing to correct" and that the remarks "only shocked those who do not know the subject."
"The majority should be sent back to the borders," said Valls adding, "We are not here to welcome these people. I'd remind you of Michel Rocard's statement: 'It's not France's job to deal with the misery of the whole world'."
His remarks come a day after he said the Romas way of life is "extremely different from ours," and they will "never" integrate into French society.
Roma organizations in France say they plan to press charges against Valls for incitement to racial hatred. Amnesty International describes Valls' call as likely to "perpetuate stereotypes and encourage animosity" to the over 20,000 Roma now living in France in makeshift camps.
French politician Arnaud Montebourg says: "Decreeing in advance that it is 'impossible' seems to me excessive and is worthy of being corrected."
European Commissioner Viviane Reding: "Every time they [French politicians] don't want to talk about important things like the budget and debt, the Roma issue gets brought up."
The French government has repeatedly been criticized for its systematical dismantling of Roma camps and for offering the expelled residents free flights & financial incentives to return to their countries of origin, mainly Bulgaria and Romania.
Critics say the dismantlement of camps and the "exit from France" offering, are inhuman and a waste of taxpayers’ money, as the Roma population stays stable, despite thousands of government-financed repatriations. Any Roma who has been flown back to their country of origin can immediately return to France, under EU freedom of movement laws.
IRAN'S PRESIDENT ADMITS JEWS SUFFERED
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's speech at the UN was not out of the ordinary, as he focused on Iran’s nuclear program and the sources of violence in the Middle East, yet, later, he publicly acknowledged Nazi crimes against Jews.
The acknowledgement of the Holocaust came in an interview yesterday (Tuesday) evening, which the new Iranian president gave to CNN.
"I am not a historian and when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust it is the historians that should reflect," Rouhani told CNN. "But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created towards the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable.”
Rouhani’s words differentiate him markedly from his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who on several occasions denied that the Holocaust ever happened.
It is the latest in a series of moves by him, which are aimed at reducing tensions between Iran and Israel.
The Iranian president’s speech at the General Assembly was less surprising. Rouhani said that nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security doctrine, and condemned the use of drones in the Middle East, as well as the enforcement of harmful and “violent” sanctions on Tehran.
"These sanctions are violent, pure and simple," he told the assembly, comparing them to the punitive measures against Iraq under late Saddam Hussein rule.
"The negative impact is not nearly limited to the intended victims of sanctions," which means normal people, not political elites, ended up suffering because of these sanctions, Rouhani added.
The Iranian leader expressed hope for implementing a framework to manage relations with the US while expecting a “consistent voice” from Washington. ‘Iran seeks to resolve problems, not to create them’
Rouhani also indicated that his country was ready to immediately engage in result-oriented talks over its nuclear program, which Israel has consistently said is aimed at producing weapons.
“Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions,” Rouhani said, adding that it’s in Iran’s national interest to remove “any and all reasonable concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear program.”
But that objective, he said, cannot be reached without “acceptance of and respect for the implementation of the right to enrichment inside Iran and enjoyment of other related nuclear rights.”
It is “unrealistic” to believe that the “peaceful nature” of Iran’s nuclear program – which has already reached “industrial scale” – can be “ensured through impeding the program via illegitimate pressures.”
Among other topics touched on was the alleged "assassination" of his country's nuclear scientists.
“For what crimes have they been assassinated? Both the United Nations and the Security Council should answer the question: have the perpetrators been condemned?”
Despite the marked change in Iran's posturing since the election of Rouhani, who is thought to be more of a reformist than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israel signaled its rejection, with its delegation walking out of the UN chambers during the Iranian President's address, as has been their custom at previous UN General Assemblies.
NEW ERA STARTING?
Iranian diplomats’ meeting with world powers at United Nations to start ‘new era’
A meeting between Iran’s top diplomats and world powers at the UN this week will start a “new era” in efforts to end the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, the Iranian Foreign Ministry says.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is to join a meeting of the UK, US, France, China, Russia and Germany, to discuss the nuclear issue.
The meeting today (Thurs) is expected to include US Secretary of State John Kerry, Reuters reports.
This will be the highest-level encounter involving the two states since relations were cut in 1980.
CHINA SENDS WARSHIPS TO MED - TO "LOOK"
According to Russian news outlet Telegrafist.org, the People’s Liberation Army has dispatched the Jinggangshan amphibious dock landing ship, which has passed through the Red Sea to the Suez Canal.
According to the report, the ship has not been sent to engage in any aggressive actions but is merely there to “observe” the Russian and US warships.
Yet the Jinggangshan is equipped for combat and was utilized as part of a “show of force” in maneuvres aimed at defending the South China Sea, earlier this year.
The report states that additional PLA warships have also been sent to the region, but that their identity is unknown.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has signed the first worldwide treaty aimed at regulating the $80 billion annual trade in conventional weapons.
The Arms Trade Treaty aims to stop the flow of weapons used in brutal uprisings and genocides and was adopted earlier in the year by the UN to regulate – among other weapons – the trade in attack helicopters, missiles and small arms.
The treaty has been in the pipeline for years and was only adopted following lengthy negotiations.
While it has been endorsed by the US, Congress has yet to ratify it. It will be the first major arms agreement since the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The treaty comes after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s comments at the UN, urging world leaders to get their “priorities right” and “invest in people, instead of wasting billions of dollars on deadly weapons.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges all countries to stop fueling the bloodshed in Syria by dispatching weapons, and push for a political solution.
"I appeal to all states to stop fuelling the bloodshed and to end the arms flows to all parties," Ban says, addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
He says all countries should bring the sides involved to the negotiating table to end the "biggest challenge to peace and security in the world."
Ban also calls on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and "all those in this hall with influence over them" to push for a peace conference as soon as possible to bring the ongoing crisis in Syria to an end.
He says the war in Syria has so far claimed the lives of over 100,000 people and forced one-third of the country’s population to flee their homes.
"Military victory is an illusion. The only answer is a political settlement," the UN head states.
Regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Ban says the international community must bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance with the findings of the UN investigators.
He further emphasizes that it is the international community's responsibility to ensure the safe destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal.
FSA BEING MAULED BY TERRORISTS
Xinhua reports that the reason the 'Free Syrian Army' has agreed to attend Geneva 11 is because the FSA has been severely mauled by its former main ally al-Qaeda, making the political opposition reconsider its attitudes and agree to take part in negotiations with the Syrian government to reach a solution to the Syrian crisis.
Fights have lately erupted between the FSA and al-Qaeda- affiliated 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL), which aims to establish a Sunni state in Syria and Iraq. The ISIL unites 100,000 fighters globally, say recent estimates.
The ISIL has presumably joined the FSA to help topple the Syrian regime. However, its real intentions have been disclosed over time and it overtly declares that it wants to establish an Islamic state, a step that is widely rejected by most Syrians, who favour a moderate state.
ISIL controls Azaz city on the Syrian-Turkish borders and fighting with the FSA has spread to Aleppo's countryside, where the ISIL is reportedly launching attacks on the FSA.
Local media report that the ISIL has breached a recent truce reached with the "Brigade of the Storm of the North," which is affiliated with the FSA.
Fighting has spread to Hasakah & Deir el-Zour provinces in northeastern Syria, where the ISIL and its main ally, al-Nusra Front, clashed with Kurds and killed over 300.
Fighting is expected to take a further dangerous rise, especially following the death of Abu Abdullah al-Libi, the ISIL Emir, who was shot in Bab al-Hawa in northern Syria during clashes with the FSA's fighters.
Local reports claim that the FSA has retreated under the strikes of the ISIL, adding that the extremist group seeks to control the strategic Daraa area in southern Syria.
ISIL is trying to over-run strategic areas in the country, in a bid to undermine negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition.
The FSA spokesperson recently announced that he does not understand what al-Qaeda wants, adding "we lost over 550 FSA martyrs battling with al-Qaeda and al-Nusra Front... The battles are now within the opposition and are no longer with the Syrian army.
The new development has become of great concern in the United States and Europe as fears are mounting over the spiraling danger of al-Qaeda in the area.
The Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition group in exile, announced in a recent statement that the practices of ISIL are a "breach of the principles for which the Syrian revolution erupted."
Observers say the main concerns now are to focus on the next phase of the fight against al-Qaeda and on how the international community can support the moderate opposition - and these concerns will give the Syrian government new cards to 'do the job'.
Al-Jarba's statement - that the opposition is ready to attend the Geneva conference - is the first clear commitment by the SNC that the West-backed Syrian opposition is to participate in the proposed conference, sponsored by the United States and Russia, to end two-and-a-half years of fighting in Syria.
The coalition has been hesitant about attending the conference and has for long stipulated that President al-Assad must have no role in a transitional government.
However, the conference has gained momentum since the infighting between the once allied groups began, as the FSA's fighters have shown rising resentment at the atrocities committed by the ISIL.
The Syrian government has made it clear that it will never hold talks with extremist groups and especially not with al-Nusra Front.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad says the government cannot accept the representation of extremist groups belonging to al-Qaeda at the Geneva II conference, and adds "I think that the U.S. and other Western countries will not be able, in any way, to force the Syrian government to hold talks with al- Qaeda and terrorists."
Mekdad stresses that al-Nusra Front and the ISIL are among the groups to which, Syria will never talk.
The planned, yet delayed, conference is a follow-up to last year's international summit in Geneva, which drafted a peace roadmap for Syria, which has not yet materialized. The Muslim Brotherhood condemns as “corrupt and politically motivated” an Egyptian court order, banning all of its activities.
EGYPT's COUP REGIME SMASHES NGO
The group of Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi says on Monday that it "will always be present on the ground, even after it is dissolved."
"The Muslim Brotherhood is part and parcel of Egyptian society. Corrupt and politically motivated judicial decisions cannot change that," the group says.
Judicial sources report that an administrative court in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, has banned all the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood as a non- governmental organization.
The court ruling includes the seizure of all Brotherhood funds, assets and headquarters.
Many believe the ruling paves the way for the army to arrest more pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters.
The Muslim Brotherhood Society was founded earlier this year as an NGO. Former Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, has been its chairperson. The society's leaders are not all from the Muslim Brotherhood, or its Freedom and Justice Party.
The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party won Egypt's parliamentary and presidential elections, after the country's dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown in a 2011 revolution.
GUARDING THE GUARDIAN
An alleged ceasefire request from the Syrian government during the Geneva II peace conference is TOTALLY denied on Monday, by the spokesperson of the People''s Will Party, (al-Irada al-Shabiya).
The party says in a statement that the information published by the UK newspaper The Guardian, distorted the interview granted by the party's secretary general, Kadri Yamil.
The statement also says that The Guardian was not accurate, professional or objective when referring to the interview and only parts of it were published.
According to the communique, the real statement of the party leader said that the Geneva conference will analyze the cessation of foreign interference, the suspension of violence and the beginning of a political process to end the Syrian crisis.
SYRIAN "OPPOSITION" BOWS
The Syrian National Coalition will attend the Geneva 2 peace conference if it aims to set up a transitional government with full powers, the coalition's president Ahmad Jarba says in a letter to the UN Security Council.
In the September 19 letter obtained by Reuters, Jarba says the coalition "reaffirms its willingness to engage in a future Geneva Conference" but "all parties must... agree that the purpose of the conference will be the establishment of a transitional government with full executive powers" as stipulated by an agreement hammered out by international powers last year.
The letter represents the first clear commitment from the coalition, which has been viewed by some Western and Arab states as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, to attend the proposed conference sponsored by the US and Russia.
Jarba earlier appeared less amenable towards a diplomatic solution, having urged the Security Council earlier this week to adopt a resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN charter allowing the use of force to cripple the Syrian government’s "war machine."
In a speech delivered from Istanbul, broadcast by Al-Arabiya, Jarba said "ending the killing of Syrian people is only possible by stopping the regime's war machine and barring it from using its aviation, missiles and artillery, and depriving it of its chemical weapons."
JUSTICE MEANS EMPOWERMENT
Economic injustice in Canada must be dealt with as a part of the reconciliation process with the First Nations, says the daughter of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
The remarks were made by Bernice King, who is the president of the 'King Centre for Non-Violent Social Change', on Saturday in Vancouver, a day before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission opens on the colonial "residential school" system.
King says that a history of pain and abuse cannot be erased with an apology, and that money for programs won't undo the suffering that can take generations to overcome, but, she adds, empowering people with economic opportunities, is the key to their well being.
King says she felt helpless after hearing about the neglect suffered by so many young aboriginals, who were forcibly taken from their homes and sent to the government-funded residential schools, where many were emotionally, physically and sexually mistreated.
“The manner in which people, human beings, have been treated --- it’s inexcusable,” King stresses.
She also points out that society as a whole must take responsibility for past wrongs and take steps --- if they want to see a different future.
“The reality is that, although you have a historical context, you also have current policies, behaviour and attitudes... that kind of reinforce the pain.”
She continues by saying, “So, going forward, there have to be opportunities made to truly empower First Nations people. That’s the same struggle we [African Americans] face - a little bit different from theirs - in America.”
The events to be held at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are part of a series of national gatherings to inform Canadians about the residential school system via testimonies from former students and their families.
Approximately 150,000 aboriginal children were taken from their homes and culture, often against their parents’ will, and sent away to one of over 130 government-funded boarding schools, with the aim of assimilating them and crushing their cultures.
The first schools opened in the 1870’s, and the last one was closed in 1996.
RUSSIA CALLS THEIR US "PARTNERS" BLACKMAILING GREEDY CHEATS
The US is pushing Russia into approving a UN resolution that would allow for military intervention in Syria, in exchange for US support for Syria’s accession to the OPCW, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.
“Our American partners are starting to blackmail us: ‘If Russia does not support a resolution under Chapter 7, then we will withdraw our support for Syria’s entry into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons'.
"This is a complete departure from what I agreed with Secretary of State John Kerry',” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tells Channel 1's Sunday Time program.
Chapter 7 of the UN charter would allow for a potential military intervention in Syria.
The head of Russia’s Foreign Ministry says he is surprised by the West’s “negligent” approach.
“Our partners are blinded by an ideological mission for regime change,” says Lavrov. “They cannot admit they have made another mistake.”
Slamming the West’s intervention in Libya and Iraq, the foreign minister states that military intervention can only lead to a catastrophe in the region.
He stresses that if the West really was interested in a peaceful solution to the conflict that has raged for over two years, they would now be pushing for Syria’s entry into the OPCW in the first place, not for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.
“I am convinced that the West is doing this to demonstrate that they call the shots in the Middle East. This is a totally politicized approach,” says Lavrov.
Lavrov reminds us of last year’s Geneva accord, which was agreed upon by the international community, including Russia and the US. But when the resolution went to the Security Council the US demanded then, that Chapter 7 must be included.
“History is repeating itself. Once again in Geneva an agreement has been reached which does not contain any mention of Chapter 7. But the Security Council wants to redo the document in their own way, to include it.”
He calls on the West to observe international law and stop writing resolutions motivated by their “geopolitical ambitions.”
Sergey Lavrov also insists that the opposition forces must be included in the decommissioning of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.
“The solutions currently being worked out at the OPCW suggest that all stocks of Syrian chemical weapons must be brought under control and ultimately destroyed.”
Lavrov further charges that the West is “not telling the whole story” by asserting that chemical weapons are only possessed by the regime, and not the opposition.
He adds that information provided by the Israelis confirms that on at least two occasions, the rebels seized areas in which chemical weapons were stored and those arms might have fallen into their hands.
"According to our estimates, there is a strong probability that in addition to home-grown labs in which militants are trying to cook up harmful & deadly concoctions, the data provided by the Israelis is true,” the Russian FM says.
“Preparatory work for OPCW inspectors to assume control of chemical weapons storage sites requires that those who fund and sponsor opposition groups – including extremists – demand that they hand over the [arms] which have been seized, so they can be destroyed, pursuant to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”
Lavrov adds that Russia is not a guarantor for the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons, as Syria’s commitments fall under the auspices of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is internationally administered by the OPCW.
Lavrov says Russia and the US are working out a draft resolution to be submitted to OPCW, although several points are yet to be agreed upon.
CANADA IGNORES WORLD's CONTEMPT FOR ABUSE OF FIRST NATION WOMEN
Canada has dismissed a number of recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council, including a call to review its violence against aboriginal women.
On Thursday, Canada reacted to the Geneva-based body, which is conducting its Universal Periodic Review of Canada’s rights record on a number of issues related to poverty, immigration and the criminal justice system.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government received 162 recommendations in the review on how to improve Canada’s human rights record.
“Governments raised critical, concrete recommendations touching on numerous human rights shortcomings that are well known to Canadians,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch.
He adds, “This included alarming levels of violence against Indigenous women and girls, nationwide poverty and homelessness, and Canada’s lagging record of ratifying international human rights treaties.
Other areas included the rights of Indigenous peoples, refugee protection, corporate accountability, national security and women’s equality.”
Among those countries calling for a national review into the disappearances, murder and sexual abuse of aboriginal women, were Iran, Norway, Cuba, New Zealand and Slovakia.
Shawn Atleo, national chief of Canada's Assembly of First Nations, is also critical of Harper government’s response to the UN recommendations saying that there is deep concern among the aboriginal population over Ottawa's refusal to conduct a national review of the violence used on First Nation women.
"There is strong support for this action domestically - among provincial and territorial leaders and the Canadian public - and strong international support; not to mention a multitude of reports & investigations that urge Canada to act," says Atleo, in a statement.
This is not the first time Ottawa has been urged to address concerns about its aboriginal population.
Canada faced similar calls in 2009, when it was last reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council.
Human Rights Watch, in February, presented a critical report alleging police abuse of aboriginal women in British Columbia.
The rights organization also urges the Harper government, together with the provincial government, to form a national commission of inquiry --- a measure endorsed by the National Democratic Party, the Green party and the Assembly of First Nations.
ONE LOVE - ONE GOD - ONE HUMANITY
The head of the Islamic Centre of England, Abdolhossein Moezi, says Takfiri (comminator) groups have gradually turned into tools in the hands of the arrogant powers.
Addressing the seventh international meeting of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, Moezi said, “Commination is against the obvious text of the holy [Islamic] sharia”, IRNA reports.
In his address, 'Islamic unity versus the challenges of sectarianism', Moezi said sectarianism, including by Takfiris, leaves bitter imprints on societies, dividing them and leaving them humiliated and weak.
Moezi said that some people fall into the deceit of the domineering powers and serve their interests, by comminating and killing other Muslims whose identity is their only guilt.
“To maintain the unity of the Islamic Ummah, we cannot help standing up to sectarian remarks - while staying unified and attentive - and isolate individuals and groups that encourage terrorism and extremism,” he said.
The meeting in London was held on Saturday with the participation of twenty religious and political Muslim figures, including UK peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed.
Foreign-backed Takfiris are responsible for much of the bloodshed in Syria.
Back in August, footage emerged of the Al-Qaeda- linked Al-Nusra Takfiri fighters stopping vehicles on a road, interrogating their drivers about their faiths and shooting them execution-style when they were found to be Alawites, who are a Shia offshoot sect.
CAVEMEN - "BEATING UP THE WRONG GUY"
Video footage now on Youtube shows New York Police Department’s brutal response to peaceful demonstrators who were protesting against the appointment of ex-CIA director, David Petraeus, as a lecturer at City University, New York.
The demonstrators were voicing opposition to the professorship of Petraeus at CUNY, calling him a “war criminal.”
Police arrested six protesters as dozens of university students marched on the pavement outside Macaulay Honors College on Tuesday.
The footage shows one student being repeatedly struck in the ribs, as police officers place him in handcuffs.
Luis Henriquez, Jose Disla, Augustin Castro, Denise Ford, Angelica Hernandez, and Rafael Pena were charged with riot, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Attorney Lamis Deek says the group were completely peaceful.
CUNY academics have signed a petition calling for charges against the arrested students to be dropped. They also call for Petraeus to resign from his teaching role:
"As graduate students and educators of CUNY, we express our outrage at the violent and unprovoked actions by the NYPD against CUNY students peacefully protesting the appointment of war criminal David Petraeus as a lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College," a statement by scores of CUNY academics says.
"We deplore the use of violence and brutal tactics against CUNY students and faculty who were protesting outside the college," the statement adds.
"We call on CUNY to terminate Petraeus' appointment and to ask for the charges against these students to be dropped immediately," the statement says.
Petraeus, who resigned from the CIA last year after his extra-marital affair, was offered a position as a visiting professor at CUNY.
The retired general played vital roles in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars during his military career.
Petraeus was responsible for training Iraqi forces during the US occupation. He was accused of ordering intentional drone bombings of funerals and other civilian targets in Afghanistan, a war crime under the International Criminal Court.
The ex-four-star general now supports an illegal military strike on Syria.
US BACKS UNLIMITED REPRESSION IN BAHRAIN
Hezbollah condemns the Bahraini regime's injustices, stressing that the human rights crimes it has committed over the last two and a half years, have passed all limits.
Hezbollah says the Bahraini authorities' actions “do not take into account the most basic human and civil rights”. It calls on the authorities to hear the legitimate demands of the opposition, and stop their “prolonged injustices.”
“What is happening in Bahrain has exceeded all limits. For two and a half years, the Bahraini authorities have been assaulting a wide range of people because of their objection to the state’s policies & human rights violations.
"It has been destroying mosques, insulting sacred sites, arresting children, women, the elderly and sick people, simply because of their political stance, and now is even beginning to withdraw citizenship from some citizens, and closing the Scholarly (Ulema) Council, on top of killing protesters while curbing demonstrations,” their statement says.
Hezbollah believes this large segment of Bahraini society, is only guilty of wanting equitable political participation through free and popular elections and demanding the fair granting of their legitimate rights.
The party denounces the silence of the international community “which claims commitment to international justice,” adding that “what the Bahrain authorities have committed against people goes beyond the bounds of any usual condemnation and therefore Hezbollah calls urgently for political pressure to make them respect the dignity and rights of people in Bahrain.”
A farmer is southern Egypt has been taken into custody after putting a military chief’s name and a military hat on a donkey, Egypt's state media reports.
Omar Abul-Magd was arrested late on Friday as he rode the donkey through the town in Qena province, MENA news agency reports.
The farmer was taken into custody for insulting General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, who led a military coup to depose Egypt's first ever elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in July.
Eight other people were detained elsewhere in Egypt for spraying anti-military graffiti.
The arrests highlight Egypt’s intensified crackdown on critics of the military, since Morsi’s ouster.
Opponents of El-Sisi, who is considered to be the most powerful man in the country, have accused him of being a murderer for leading the military coup which sparked subsequent deadly protests.
Earlier this week, a military court sentenced five pro-Morsi supporters to 3 years gaol, for chanting against the army.
This crackdown comes, despite a decree issued by Egypt’s interim head of state, Adli Mansour, in August, which said Egyptians no longer faced prison for insulting the president, after a rise in such cases during Morsi’s rule.
The US Air Force inadvertently dropped an atomic bomb over North Carolina in 1961. If a simple safety switch had not prevented the explosive from detonating, millions of lives across the northeast would have been at risk, a new document now reveals.
This is just the first conclusive evidence, after decades of speculation and official denials, that the US narrowly avoided a self-inflicted disaster.
The incident is explained in detail in a now declassified document, by Parker F. Jones, supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories.
The document - written in 1969 and titled: “How I Learned to Mistrust the H-bomb,” - was sent to the Guardian by Eric Schlosser.
Three days after President Kennedy’s inauguration, a B-52 bomber carrying two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs left Goldsboro, North Carolina on a routine flight along the East Coast. The plane soon went into a tailspin, throwing the bombs from the B-52 into the air within striking distance of multiple metropolitan centres.
Each of the explosives carried a payload of 4 megatons - roughly the same as four million tons of TNT explosive - which could have triggered a blast 260 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that wiped out Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
One of the bombs performed in the same way as those dropped over Japan under 20 years before - by opening its parachute and engaging its trigger mechanisms. The only thing that prevented untold thousands, or perhaps millions, from being killed was a simple low voltage switch that failed to flip.
That hydrogen bomb, known as MK 39 Mod 2, fell onto tree branches in Faro, North Carolina, while the second explosive landed peacefully off Big Daddy’s Road in Pikeville.
Jones determined that three of the four switches designed to prevent unintended detonation on MK 39 Mod 2 failed to work properly, and when a final firing signal was triggered, that 4th switch was the only safeguard that worked.
Nuclear fallout from a detonation could have risked millions of lives in Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and areas in between.
“The MK Mod 2 bomb didn't possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52,” Jones wrote in his 1969 assessment. He determined that “one simple dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the USA and a major catastrophe... It would have been bad news – in spades.”
Before Schlosser brought the document to light through a Freedom of Information Act request, the US government had long denied that any such event had ever happened.
“The US government has consistently tried to withhold information from the American people in order to prevent questions being asked about our nuclear weapons policy,” he told the Guardian. “We were told that there was no possibility of these weapons accidentally detonating, yet here’s one that very nearly did.”
In “Command and Control,” Schlosser’s new book on the nuclear arms race between the US and the Soviet Union, the journalist writes that he discovered a minimum of 700 “significant” accidents involving nuclear weapons in the years between 1950 and 1968.
TUNISIA MOVES FORWARD
Tunisia's ruling party and opposition coalition have agreed to start talks on a transition, under which the government will resign and allow a caretaker administration of technocrats and new elections.
The Islamic Ennahda party announces that it accepts the roadmap proposed by mediators to end the country's political stalemate that began after the assassination of an opposition politician in July.
"Ennahda announces, after examining the proposal, its acceptance, and demands that a serious national dialogue is launched to get the country out of the political crisis," the party states.
Issam Chebbi, a senior official in the National Salvation Front, says that the opposition has decided to accept "without any conditions" the transition plan drafted by the General Labour Union -- UGTT -- which has been mediating between the two sides.
The UGTT is to make a formal announcement.
The two sides will now negotiate a timetable for the Ennahda-led government to step down, the composition of the interim government, and a date for the elections.
The July 25th murder of Mohamed Brahmi, the second such assassination in six months, created a crisis in Tunisia, with the National Salvation Front blaming the government for failing to maintain security and for tolerating the militants it blames for the killing.
The opposition has staged huge demonstrations demanding the resignation of the government, a transitional administration of technocrats, and fresh elections.
Brahmi, who was a member of the Popular Front party, held a seat in the Constituent Assembly tasked with writing a new constitution, after the 2011 revolution.
The assassination of leftist opposition figure Chokri Belaid outside his home in the capital in February 2013, triggered mass demonstrations across the country, with the headquarters of the Ennahda party being attacked in over a dozen cities.
Tunisia, the birthplace of pro-democracy protests across North Africa and the Middle East, is still struggling with a democratic changeover after the overthrow of its Western-backed dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011.
Israeli troops used force ON Friday to disperse a group of European diplomats, trying to donate tents to Palestinian Bedouins.
The diplomats were accompanying aid workers in an effort to distribute tents and emergency aid to Bedouins in the village of Khirbet Al-Makhul.
The troops threw sound grenades at the group and pulled a French diplomat out of an aid lorry before it drove away.
“They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity,” says the diplomat, Marion Castaing. “This is how international law is being respected here.”
3 Palestinians were also arrested for throwing stones.
According to an unnamed source, diplomats from the UK, France, Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Sweden were accompanying the aid workers.
“It’s shocking and outrageous. We will report these actions to our governments,” said one EU diplomat on condition of anonymity in reference to the Israeli troops’ thwarting of the humanitarian efforts.
He states that the diplomats’ presence in the area is a clear matter of international humanitarian law.
“By the Geneva Convention, an occupying power needs to see to the needs of people under occupation. These people aren’t being protected.”
Khirbet Al-Makhul is home to about 120 people. The Israeli military destroyed their houses on September 16th, after a court ruled that they had been constructed without building permits and declared the area a “closed military zone.”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the move displaced 10 families, including 16 children.
The Anti-Coup, Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance calls on Egyptians to stage nationwide rallies this week, starting Friday, dubbed: “Youth are the pillar of the revolution.”
IRONY? WHAT IRONY?
The United States is planning to test nuclear missiles next week on the same day heads of states and foreign ministers from around the world are holding a high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The US has scheduled two test launches for its nuclear- capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) on Sunday September 22nd and September 26th.
The first nuclear missile will be launched one day after the International Day of Peace and the second one is expected to be launched on the same day that the UN’s high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament takes place in New York.
“Instead of honoring the significance of these dates and working in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament, the United States has chosen to schedule two tests of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on September 22 and September 26,” Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation tells the Daily Times.
“We are disappointed that a test launch is scheduled for the same day as the High-Level Meeting on nuclear disarmament at the UN in New York,” Wayman says.
“These missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads capable of killing thousands of times more people than the chemical weapons used in Syria,” he points out.
As Washington plans to go ahead with its plans to test nuclear missiles next week, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq cites the UN Secretary General’s statement on the issue: “We should all remember the terrible toll of nuclear tests.”
The US is the only country in the world that has used atomic bombs in war. US atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945.
Last year in September, it was reported that the US government is planning to undertake the costliest modernization of its nuclear arsenal in history.
Russia may deploy another missile cruiser to the Mediterranean, to bolster its fleet just off Syria.
Citing a “high-ranking source” in the Russian Pacific Fleet, Moscow-based RIA Novosti reports on Friday, that the fleet’s flagship Varyag Missile Cruiser could join Russia’s naval taskforce in the Mediterranean while on a mission in the Indian Ocean.
“The Varyag missile cruiser will carry out a number of tasks in the Indian Ocean until the end of this year and may join Russia’s task force in the Mediterranean if necessary,” the source states.
The development comes amid earlier media reports that the warship would replace the Moskva missile cruiser as flagship of the Russian task force currently in the Mediterranean.
The unnamed source, however, did not elaborate on the nature of the Varyag’s mission in the Indian Ocean, but noted that the Mediterranean tour was not the priority for the warship.
"CIVIL WAR" LINE ABOUT SYRIA IS A LIE
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assures us that Syria is not witnessing a civil war, but it IS being attacked by tens of thousands of foreign extremist militants allied to Al-Qaeda, and he reiterates that an August 21 sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in the suburbs of Damascus was carried out by militants, and not by government forces.
Assad states that Syria will stand by its agreement to dispose of its chemical weapons and will give them to whatever nation is willing to take them.
The Syrian president says the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons will take about a year, and will cost $1bn (£600m). "I think it is very complicated technically and it needs a lot of money. Some estimate about a billion for the Syrian stockpile."
Asked whether he would be willing to hand over the chemical weapons to the US government, Assad says:
"It is very detrimental to the environment. If the US administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility for bringing toxic materials to the United States, why shouldn't they do it?"
Assad adds that he has never spoken to Barack Obama.
When asked whether he is interested in speaking to the US president, he says: "That depends on the content. It would not be a chat."
The interview was conducted in Damascus by former Democratic congressperson Dennis Kucinich, a Fox News contributor, and Fox News channel senior correspondent, Greg Palkot.
THE ROAD TO PEACE
The Arab World needs to unify its position on Syria and back a peaceful solution to the crisis there, the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, states.
Brahimi acknowledges that the Arab countries are currently divided on the issue, with “few strongly supporting the opposition and others abstaining.”
But he believes that, after last week’s accord between the US and Russia, which calls for the destruction of the Syrian government’s chemical stockpiles under international supervision, Arab states “will also be in favor of a solution that satisfies the people of Syria.”
“We look forward to a unified Arab position that works for the benefit of a peaceful solution,” the envoy stresses. “Everyone says they want what's good for Syria's people and for Syria to get out of its crisis, which is where we hope to unify the stance in favor of a peaceful solution, which we call for.”
He says the stance of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon - “there’s no military solution” in Syria - is “identical” to the one voiced by his Arab League counterpart, Nabil Elaraby.
Brahimi calls the Syrian chemical weapons agreement a “triumph” on the part of the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and US Secretary of State, John Kerry.
He thinks it would be impossible to solve the Syrian crisis without Moscow and Washington reaching common ground.
“I told you with great regret that the Syrian parties aren’t able to talk to each other,” he says.
“The best solution is for Syrians to meet with each other - they don’t need anyone to solve their problems - but unfortunately this wasn’t possible, and the countries of the region, also unfortunately, weren’t able to play this brotherly role.
Therefore, it must start from the outer circle. I told the UN Security Council that there is an Inner Circle in Syria and a Middle Circle, which is the region, and an Outer Circle which is the international community and the Security Council, namely Russia and the US.”
If Russia and the US keep talking peace, it will result in the countries of the Middle Eastern region joining them and “most importantly, to the Syrian brothers acceptance of it,” the envoy explains.
Brahimi says he plans to have talks with Lavrov and Kerry again next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, to establish the “certain date” for the Geneva 2 conference on Syria in the “hope that it will be in October”.
“The conference should be held with all Syrian parties that are capable of ending the fighting and also foreign parties that have an interest or an influence or both.
“These countries must participate in the conference to promote, encourage or incite the Syrian parties to reach a solution.”
The envoy believes there will be a quorum in Geneva.
This, despite a majority of the opposition groups currently fighting, who reject the accord between Moscow and Washington, and who counted on a US-led military strike at Syrian regime targets.
Such a reaction from the rebels “is normal because they weren’t a party to the negotiations and nobody told them or warned them ‘something is being cooked up’ with respect to the Chemical weapons,” Brahimi stresses. “They were expecting an attack and were waiting for one at any moment, and were surprised to see an agreement that pushed away such a strike. Of course, it is only natural that the reaction is confusion.”
“I am certain that all of this will change and that all spectrums of the opposition will realize that there is no military solution and that foreign military intervention is unlikely…
Syria doesn’t need new military action. It has had enough. I am sure that the situation will change and people will understand that there is no military solution and therefore there is a need to search for a political solution between the Syrians themselves - with external assistance,” he adds.
The envoy also expresses hope that the destruction of Assad’s chemical arsenal will prepare the ground for the long awaited conference, which would rid the Middle East not only of chemical, but all weapons of mass destruction.
“Israel doesn’t admit that it has nuclear weapons or chemical weapons, while it has been said years ago that Israel own about 200 nuclear bombs and it has been reported recently that this number has increased to 400 bombs,” he says.
“Israel, unlike Syria, signed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1992, but has not ratified it – while Syria has refused to sign. This is a big hurdle and the West promised clearly and explicitly that this conference related to clearing the region from such arms will be held. It is being delayed time and again.”
“I think that the Arab countries should raise their voices high for the convening of this conference and to make it a success. Otherwise, we can’t stop the countries of the region, not only Iran, from owning nuclear weapons and other mass destruction weapons,” Brahimi adds.
The avoidance of an imminent US military onslaught on Syria, writes Finian Cunningham, an expert on international affairs, is, of course, to be welcomed.
But the deal struck by US Secretary of State Kerry and his Russian counterpart Lavrov this weekend looks more like a postponement of US aggression than a step towards a peaceful resolution, he says.
Already Western politicians and media are twisting their news on the UN chemical weapons report with the admission by the Syrian government that it does possess such armaments.
The UN report only confirms that sarin was used in an attack on the 21st of August near Damascus.
But this finding is being spun to insinuate that the armed forces of President Bashar al-Assad are proven guilty and that this "justifies" all the Western threats of "retaliatory" military action.
Within hours of Kerry and Lavrov shaking hands in Geneva on their "breakthrough agreement", they both said very different things about what it means.
Kerry met the French and UK foreign ministers in Paris on Monday morning, where they repeated that the option of military force against Syria is "still on the table" if the Syrian government does not fully comply and completely decommission its chemical weapons.
Lavrov, in his response to the Paris statement by “our partners…" says now that "this shows a lack of understanding of what John Kerry and I agreed on.”
The Russian foreign minister stresses that any use of a military threat could wreck the chances of a peaceful resolution.
Yet US President Barack Obama states, still, that military force against Syria "remains an option", despite the Geneva pact to disarm Syria’s chemical arsenal through diplomacy. This military threat is "endorsed" by French President Franky Hollywood and by Billious Plague, the UK Foreign Secretary.
If Russia and China, as expected, block US, UK & French moves to pass a Security Council resolution to attack Syria if it shows any apparent sign of not disarming, the US, supported by the UK and France, says that it will unilaterally - which means illegally - use force outside of UN approval.
Any unilateral move leaves the US open to further charges of waging a criminal war of aggression. But, as we've seen in Iraq, this is unlikely to deter a US still drunk on US (and Israeli) "exceptionalism".
The result of the Lavrov-Kerry arrangement is that Syria is obliged to unilaterally disarm, while Israel - a country Syria is still officially at war with - keeps its equally dangerous stockpile of chemical arms, as well as its biological and nuclear arsenals.
The Israeli regime has used its chemical weapons - White Phosphorus - against Palestinians in Gaza.
Yet, while Syria is being disarmed of weapons that have acted as a deterrent against Israel’s weapons of mass destruction, the Israeli regime is at liberty now to increase its balance of terror.
And the West is still using the threat of military force - even though this is also an unlawful act of aggression.
Rhondda Records believes that the US, UK, France, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, should be investigated and, if found guilty, indicted by the UN for their "covert" use of terrorist sectarian gangs against Syria's people.
And - as the threat of aggression itself is also a crime - they should be arrested now - if anyone has the cojons !!!
The same UN that does not act now to even censure these criminal calls for wars of aggression, has also decided to "keep unactioned", a report it has made on the use of depleted uranium by the US.
It caused thousands of baby deformities in Iraq so gruesome that people in the US would insist - if they were ever permitted to see them - to call for bombing of the country responsible, and the sending of its officials to the Hague.
UN REPORT BECOMES BATTLEGROUND
The UN report - just five pages long - has unleashed MILLIONS of words of argument, says China's Xinhua.
The report was never intended to point fingers, just determine if chemical weapons were used.
But now each side cites aspects of the report that buttress their argument, and the divide... is classically East-West.
Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the UK found the report pointed at government forces under President Bashar Assad. US Ambassador Samantha Power, ditto:
"Based on our preliminary review," the US diplomat noted, the 122-millimeter rockets used on August 21st were related to those of "previous regime attacks. We have reviewed thousands of open source videos related to the current conflict in Syria and have not observed the opposition manufacturing or using this style of rocket."
She underscored a remark by Lyall Grant who had said the report found the quality of the Sarin gas was higher than that used in Saddam Hussein's program.
"Sellstrom also stated that the weapons obtained on the site "...were professionally made, they bore none of the characteristics of improvised weapons," said Power. "It is very important to note that the regime possesses Sarin and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses Sarin."
She said troops prepared for the Aug. 21 attack:
"They distributed gas masks to regime troops, they fired rockets from a regime controlled area into 12 neighborhoods that the regime had been trying to clear of opposition forces," she said. "It defies logic to think the opposition would have infiltrated the (Assad) regime-filled area to fire on opposition- controlled areas."
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, condemning "all cases of the use of chemical weapons in Syria," says that the report "did not come as a surprise."
"But, now I think some colleagues jumped to conclusions when they said that the Sellstrom report 'definitively' reported that it was government forces that used the chemical weapons. It has to be studied very carefully."
"I think statements to the effect that the opposition could not have done certain things, I think they are not really as grounded in reality as the actual situation could be," Churkin says.
"You know, we have this alleged scenario where chemical weapons were used on August 21st by government forces. Yet, fighting opposition armed groups, they fire a number of rockets armed with chemical weapons, trying to get to the groups... and there are no causalities in opposition groups," he says. "There have been no reports of casualties in the opposition groups, among the actual fighters, have there?"
"On March 19th, the Syrian government reported 1,026 people killed. 16 were from the Syrian military.
So is it theoretically possible to fire 5 or 6 rockets against your opponent and have every one of them miss the target?" Churkin asks, rhetorically. "So, all of those questions are there and they need to be addressed very seriously and professionally."
A Syrian security official confirms today that the armed opposition militants do have locally manufactured land - land rockets in addition to sarin gas.
"I deny 100% any use by the Syrian army of the material," the Syrian official says, in the first official Syrian reaction.
"There is no justification to resort to this weapon because we are achieve victories on the ground," he states, noting that "those who resort to this sort of weapon are the defeated party, who have reached the point of suicide."
The source indicates that the Syrian army "is making progress in all areas, and operations are going according to plan."
The official also underlines that "the terrorists manufacture land-land rockets locally, and it is likely that they have put the sarin gas in them", in reference to the Ghota alleged attack on Aug. 21.
"The terrorists know perfectly well how to install the material on missile warheads," the Syrian official says, adding that they have "received training at the hands of US, UK and French intelligence experts, who are working with them on the ground."
SUPPLIES TO TERRORIST GANGS GO ON...
The Obama administration has "waived" the provisions of a US federal law which bans the supply of weapons or money to terrorists.
The move is to supply the Syrian opposition with "protection from chemical weapons".
The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) allows the US president to waive provisions in Sections 40 and 40A, "if the President determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the US."
President Barrack Obama has ordered such a waiver for supplying chemical weapons-related assistance to "select vetted members" of the Syrian opposition forces, the administration announces, on Monday.
The announcement came after the UN report, which confirmed that sarin gas was indeed used in Syria on August 21st, but did not point to either the Syrian army, or the rebel forces, as the culprits.
US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, says she is convinced that details of the report “make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.”
But Power’s counterpart from Russia, Vitaly Churkin, says the report has no “airtight proof or conclusions” pointing to the Assad government, and that it allows “everyone to draw their own conclusions, hopefully professionally and not affected by political pressure.”
Russia's naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea is being boosted by another military vessel, states Russia’s Black Sea Fleet command.
The large landing ship, Yamal, is set to leave Sevastopol, Ukraine, by the end of September, joining 10 vessels already in the Mediterranean.
“The Yamal’s crew has completed preparations for relocation to the Mediterranean Sea,” Captain Vyacheslav Trukhachev, the Black Sea Fleet information chief tells ITAR-TASS news agency.
“As part of the preparatory period, the ship has performed several drive outs, which included target practice on sea and land.”
The Yamal is designed for landing operations and the transportation of military personnel and cargo. It’s able to carry up to 250 troops and 10 tanks.
Russia began establishing a constant presence in the eastern Mediterranean in December 2012.
On May 1st this year, all of the country’s battleships operating in the area were assigned to a single task force under a special offshore maritime zone operation command.
Currently there are ten Russian warships there: the large landing ships 'Aleksandr Shabalin’, ‘Admiral Nevelskoy’, ‘Peresvet’, ‘Novocherkassk’, ‘Minsk’ and ‘Nikolay Fylchenkov’; a large anti-submarine ship, the ‘Admiral Panteleyev’; the escort vessel ‘Neustrashimy’; a guard patrol ship ‘Smetlivy’ and the guided-missile cruiser, the ‘Moskva’.
Besides the Russian warships, there are US aircraft carriers ‘Nimitz’ and ‘Harry S. Truman’; guided-missile cruiser ‘Gettysburg’ and ‘San Jacinto’ and a number of other US military vessels deployed in the area.
The French navy frigate ‘Chevalier Paul’, which specializes in anti-missile capabilities, is also in the Mediterranean Sea.
On Monday, Turkish forces shot down a Syrian government helicopter.
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND FOREIGN TERRORISTS
IHS Jane's defense study shows that 100,000 foreign- backed militants, fragmented into 1,000 groups, are fighting in Syria against the government and people.
The extracts of the study by defense consultancy IHS Jane's, were published on Monday in the UK's Daily Telegraph.
IHS Jane's estimates that some 10,000 militants are fighting for groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, such as al-Nusra Front, and the rest, in other militant groups.
The analysis says that a large number of extremists from foreign countries are also active in Syria.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants inside Syria.
According to the UN, over 100,000 people have been killed and 7.8 million displaced, due to the violence.
Al-Nusra and other militant groups accuse Damascus of launching the August 21 chemical weapons attack which, they claim, killed about 1,400 people.
The government rejects their accusations, saying it has proof that the militants were behind the attack.
HOSTS OF SPITE
On Sunday, the UK government prevented Iran from taking part in the International Triathlon Union’s conference, by withholding entry visas to all of Iran's Triathlon Federation delegation.
Head of the Iranian body, Mohammad Ali Sabour, says the conference is held today (Monday), and adds 'the federation has officially protested' to the International Triathlon Union, over the ban.
Sabour says he was a candidate for membership in the ITU’s six-member Constitution Committee, but that is now out of reach, after the UK’s move.
“It is highly probable that we would join the committee, if we took part in the international conference,” Sabour says.
The UK government has, in recent months, launched a full visa ban campaign against Iranian scientists and athletes, all of whom were to take part in key international events hosted by the UK.
Back in April, London refused a visa to Iranian researcher Mohammad-Reza Khosravibakht, who was among the designated lecturers at the 41st annual meeting of the British Nuclear Medicine Society (BNMS), for no clear reason.
The BNMS had already arranged the time and venue for his lecture in Brighton on April 24th.
The UK government also stopped the 2011 World Amateur Snooker Champion, Hossein Vafaee, from taking part in a snooker world league event held in London last autumn.
Vafaee, invited by the world league's officials to participate in the tournament, was then denied an entry visa by the UK government.
The UK’s political visa-denials hit Iranian athletes hard that Summer, of course, as Iran’s Olympian athletes applied for UK visas to take part in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, only to be turned down en bloc.
CHOMSKY:- "US A CRIMINAL ROGUE STATE"
Renowned American academician Noam Chomsky says the recent Russian proposal aimed at halting a US strike on Syria has saved Barack Obama from a political fiasco.
“Russia's plan is a God-send for Obama. It saves him from what would look like a very serious political defeat,” he says, in a Democracy Now, interview.
“He (Obama) has not been able to obtain virtually any international support for this -- the action he’s contemplating. Even Britain wouldn’t support it.
"And it looked as though Congress wasn’t going to support it either, which would leave him completely out on a limb. This leaves him a way out,” he adds.
On September 9th, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem said Damascus welcomed a proposal by Russia for Syrian chemical weapons to be put under international control.
Obama has said that plans for a military strike on Syria could be averted if the Syrian “gesture” regarding the Russian proposal is “real.” Obama says time is now needed “to tell whether this offer will succeed.”
He has, therefore, asked the US Congress to postpone a vote on the plan to attack Syria.
Chomsky states that even the US’s threat of force against Damascus is a crime under international law and notes, “The core principle of the United Nations Charter bars the threat or use of force. So all of this is criminal, to begin with, but he’ll continue with that.”
“The United States is a rogue state. It doesn’t pay any attention to international law,” the analyst points out.
In an op-ed published by The New York Times on Wednesday, President Putin said that a possible US attack on Syria “is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”
“The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council,” Putin states.
OBAMA BOWING TO DEMOCRATIC VOICE?
Senior US administration officials say the President will not insist on a UN Security Council resolution threatening Syria with the use of force.
Obama’s decision not to push for a UN Security Council resolution threatening Syria with military action comes after two days of negotiations between John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, unnamed White House officials tell The New York Times.
Kerry and Lavrov continued their negotiations for a third day on Saturday, discussing the proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under UN control, a proposal welcomed by the Syrian government.
Afterwards, Kerry flew to Israel.
The US, France, and UK have been pushing for UN authorization to use military force to be included in any United Nations Resolution...
However, Moscow says their proposal will work only if Washington and its allies “tell us they’re giving up their plan to use force against Syria.”
The US has been officially accusing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus on August 21st.
The Syrian government rejects the accusations and even Obama’s top aide, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, has admitted that Washington’s claims are based on a “common-sense test” and not on any “irrefutable” evidence.
Now a classified document from the US intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Centre, obtained by WND, shows that the US military knew that foreign-backed militants in Syria had sarin gas and had already used it in an attack on civilians and Syrian government forces, last March.
The leaked document suggests, the former director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, Yossef Bodansky, says, that the alleged chemical attack in August near Damascus was perpetrated by the militants to provoke US military intervention in Syria.
Recent polls reveal growing opposition to military action against Syria, both within the US military and America’s war-weary public.
An online survey conducted by the Military Times on Monday and Tuesday found that almost 75% of active- duty US troops oppose military strikes against Syria.
A Reuters-Ipsos poll released on Monday also shows that 63 percent of Americans oppose attacking Syria.
An anti-coup alliance in Egypt calls on people to continue holding their week-long "Loyalty to the Martyrs Blood" demonstrations across Egypt, which started on Friday.
The Anti-Coup, Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance calls on "The patriotic Egyptian people to rally in the streets of Egypt in continuation of the peaceful Revolution, until the heinous coup is completely defeated.
"Demonstrations should then continue throughout the week under the title Loyalty to the Martyrs Blood."
"Let us raise their pictures high throughout all streets and corners of Egypt, so its sands, its walls and buildings may remember the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the dream of living in a homeland of great dignity and honour," the statement added.
Referring to the 2011 revolution that toppled former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, the statement says:
"The revival of hope is the most beautiful gift of the January 25 Revolution. We must all stand united, shoulder to shoulder, to confront those who want to kill our hopes and aspirations."
"The martyrs' blood, that flowed like rivers in Rabaa and Nahda squares, as well as all public squares of Egypt… and the precious souls of those martyrs, urge you for retribution:- by overturning the traitorous coup and bringing to trial all killers, criminals & collaborators responsible for their death."
The statement also calls on people across the world to stage similar rallies in support of the first democratically elected Egyptian head of state, Morsi, who was toppled in the July military coup d'état, as well as the demands of Egyptians.
"To all free people of the world... We urge you, wherever you are in the world, to stand in solidarity with us and support the demands of Egyptians: freedom & democracy.
Egypt's military-backed interim President Adly Mansour on Thursday, extended the state of emergency by two months - over the deteriorating security condition.
The interim government said in a presidential decree on Thursday, that the decision was made in the light of "developments and the security situation".
The decree came days before the expiration of the state of emergency imposed in August.
Egypt is still witnessing near daily protests demanding the reinstatement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Over 1300 people, most of them Morsi’s supporters, have been killed in the interim government's crackdown.
The government of army-appointed interim President Mansour has arrested over 2,000 Brotherhood members, including the supreme leader, Mohammad Badie.
The massacre and crackdown is prompting world bodies to call for an independent investigation into the violence.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, calls for an investigation into the killings:
"The path to stability in Egypt lies in its ability to establish the rule of law in an inclusive manner that ensures that all Egyptians, irrespective of their political opinion, gender, religion, or status, are recognized as legitimate stakeholders in the future of their country," she says.
The army has also suspended the constitution and dissolved the Egyptian parliament.
EGYPT RETURNS TO MUBARAK ERA?
The army-backed Egyptian government’s decision to ban 55,000 "unlicensed" clerics from preaching in mosques is a return to Mubarak-era practices, Press TV reports.
The Tuesday announcement to ban unlicensed clerics from preaching in mosques means security forces will again play a key role in selecting which clerics give sermons, Zaki Osman, a professor at the Al-Azhar University tells Press TV, in a recent interview.
“The closure of the mosques, especially on Fridays, reminds one of Mubarak’s era and the return of the police state, depriving the people of their freedom, which they have been long demanding.”
Egypt's Minister of Endowments, Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, describes clerics without licenses as "fundamentalists" who threaten Egypt’s security.
The government move aims to legalize the institution of Friday prayers, particularly in small mosques and random praying areas.
But Cairo is criticized for targeting preachers who support the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as those who have been speaking out against the July 3rd announcement by the head of Egypt’s armed forces, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, that President Morsi was no longer in office.
“We have around 50,000 mosques across the country, and I think the decision of the Minister of Religious Endowments to bar clerics will have negative consequences,” Osman says.
The army-appointed government has launched a bloody crackdown on Morsi supporters ever since his ouster, and arrested over 2,000 MB members.
US' EXCEPTIONALISM CRIMINAL?
President Obama's call for the US to attack Syria, by acting "with humility", as the US is "exceptional" - is criticised by Putin:
“We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
Putin adds: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”
President Obama said on September 10th:
“I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.”
Obama also claimed that American ideals and principles “are at stake in Syria.”
President Putin urges the Americans to be more cautious than usual with Syria:
“It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States.”
The Russian president denies Western allegations that Damascus was behind the August the 21st chemical attack.
Putin warns that a US attack on Syria could spread the conflict in the country, “result in more innocent victims” and unleash a wave of terrorism worldwide.
PUTIN HOLDS BACK...
The Russian President has not given orders to complete a deal to transfer the S-300 surface-to-air defense system to Iran, the President’s spokesperson says late on Wednesday, refuting earlier rumours that it had already been approved.
WAR CAN SERIOUSLY HURT US AS WELL
The head of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee says Russia should reconsider its cooperation with coalition forces in Afghanistan and provide Iran with defensive weapons -- if US authorities go ahead with their plan of military interference in Syria.
“The US administration is ready, albeit with numerous stipulations, to study the Russian proposal of transferring the Syrian chemical weapons potential under international control. If these diplomatic efforts yield results, this could become a way out of the pre-war situation that Syria and the whole world find themselves in right now,” Aleksey Pushkov tells the State Duma on Wednesday.
MP Leonid Kalashnikov suggested that if the US starts the military operation in Syria, Russia should supply defensive weapons to Iran. Pushkov fully supported that idea.
“If the ‘party of war’ eventually prevails in the United States and the efforts of Syria’s enemies - that are quite numerous - yield results, I think it would be absolutely justified to consider more serious measures on the Russian side, including the broadening of defensive weaponry supplies to Iran and considering changing the mode of our cooperation with the USA on Afghanistan, in particular, the transit conditions,” noted Pushkov.
RUSSIA's DUMA SHOUTS FOR US TO LISTEN
The Russian Duma, (or Parliament) travelled to the US to talk with House Representatives and others about the Middle East, but the "democratic" US's House leaders refused to let them meet.
So the Duma has passed a resolution unanimously, hoping the US people can pass it on, that Russian lawmakers are urging the US to abandon its military action plan on Syria, and warn that such a move... could amount to a crime against the Syrian people.
The potential US strike would "lead to new civilian deaths, further destruction of vital infrastructure and, in the end, an irreversible humanitarian catastrophe," the State Duma said on Wednesday.
"Those who are prepared to give an order for such an attack should understand that such actions could be qualified as a very crude violation of international law and as a crime against the Syrian people," it adds.
The declaration by Russia’s lower house of parliament also warns that an attack on the Arab country could put all regional security under threat.
Exceptionally humble criminal killers... doesn't sound right, does it?
Russia and Iran presented their evidence to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, showing terrorist culpability over the recent poison gas attacks on Syrians.
RUSSIA's PARLIAMENT CALLS ON PUTIN TO ARM IRAN IF US STARTS TO ATTACK SYRIA
Russia has decided now to meet Iran''s demands on the delivery of modified S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense systems and to build a second nuclear power plant in Bushehr, said early news reports Wednesday.
Under a 2007 contract, Russia was required to provide Iran with five updated S-300 defense systems, valued at about $800 million, the Voice of Russia reported.
However, in 2010, the UN Security Council passed a resolution on sanctions against Tehran, including a ban on modern means of combat.
In September of that year, Moscow failed to make the deliveries and Iran filed a complaint with the International Court of Arbitration, Geneva, against Russia's arms export company, Rosoboronexport.
On Tuesday, the Iranian Ambassador, Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi, said in Moscow that his country is willing to resolve the dispute via negotiations.
Russia's chances of winning any international arbitration case are slim, according to Russian Technologies (Rostech) CEO, Sergei Chemezov.
In a sign of significant technological development, the Iranian Armed Forces have announced that an anti-aircraft missile defense system very similar to the S-300, is being developed by Iran.
Venezuela has pulled out of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and President Maduro accuses the US of using the human rights court as a method to control Latin America.
The court is affiliated with the Organization of American States, blamed by his predecessor, Chavez, of attempting his overthrow, in 2002.
The OAS was formed in 1949, and currently has 35 member-states throughout the Americas.
Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, are also highly critical of the rights court's record and agenda.
UN INSPECTORS REPORT STABS SYRIA
UN rights investigators - who never entered Syria, and based all their evidence on unsubstantiated allegations provided by insurgents, refugees and defectors, coupled with electronic surveillance - plus evidence submitted by "other nations" and outside intelligence agencies, says yesterday that the Syrian army has carried out all eight alleged warcrime massacres... except one.
The report, published on Wednesday, says that the investigators logged 258 interviews with refugees, defectors and others, "in the region and in Geneva", including via Skype, for their 11th report on Syria in just two years.
Because allegations made showed "marked consistencies", many witness accounts could possibly be dismissed as pre-planned or collusive, but the report says it is proof of the validity of the witnesses' allegations.
The only deliberate slaughter of civilians attributed to any terrorist group in the period of investigation, was in June, when, says the report, "rebels" took over Hatla in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor.
The 42-page report, which largely covers alleged incidents between May and July, also accuses the loyal Syrian forces of bombing schools and hospitals, and - to be fair! - accuses the rebels of carrying out summary executions after decisions by Sharia courts which, the report states, were improperly constituted.
"The perpetrators of these violations and crimes, on all sides, act in defiance of international law," says the Human Rights Council Commission.
The Human Rights Council's forerunner, like the OAS, was set up in 1949.
The Commission, now led by Paulo Pinheiro of Brazil, urges the UN Security Council to hold perpetrators accountable for war crimes & crimes against humanity.
The report says they received allegations of chemical weapons use, "predominantly by government forces".
The report says, however, that it is not possible to identify who used the gas, by using the evidence obtained via the methods available to them.
“On the evidence currently available, it was not possible to reach a finding about the chemical agents used, their delivery systems, or the perpetrators. Investigations are ongoing.”
Who are the reports commissioners?
Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Brazil), Karen Koning AbuZayd (USA) and Yakin Erturk (Turkey) were appointed as the Commissioners, but Yakin Erturk "stepped down" in March 2012).
In September 2012, two new Commissioners were appointed - Carla del Ponte (Switzerland) and Vitit Muntarbhorn (Thailand).
WHO GUARDS THE GUARDIANS?
Human Rights Watch (HRW) an international non-governmental organization headed by a notorious Zionist, Roth, based in New York, with offices in London, Amsterdam, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Toronto, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, and, of course, Washington, is quoted by the UK Guardian on Tuesday, (it's the only opinion allowed), on who caused the poison gas attacks which crossed Obama's "red line".
HRW states that the Syrian army MUST have done it.
HRW's claim is that the shells used are only used by the Syrian army. This is a claim that can be tested by the UN.
Even the White House admits that it has no "irrefutable" evidence of a Syrian government use of chemical weapons...
so why does the Guardian consistently skew the truth?
WAR IS NOT AN OPTION
An Iranian deputy foreign minister says that any military strike against Syria will prompt an attack on the Israeli regime.
FAKE FAKE FAKE!!!
Russia says the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has confirmed that the videos purporting to show the victims of a chemical attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus, are “fake,” reports RT.
An Italian journalist and a Belgian researcher, held hostage by militants in Syria and freed on Monday, say they overheard their captors talking about involvement in a deadly chemical attack.
Italian journalist Domenico Quirico and Belgian national Pierre Piccinin say they heard their captors talking about the involvement of militants in the chemical attack that took place in Syria on August 21st, the same attack that the US has blamed on the Syrian government and has planned to attack Syria to “punish” it.
The two landed in Rome yesterday (September 9th) after 5 months of captivity.
“It is a moral duty to say this. The government of Bashar al-Assad did not use sarin gas or other types of gas in the outskirts of Damascus,” says Piccinin in an interview with Belgian RTL radio.
Piccinin says that, while captive, the two, who were secluded from the outside world, overheard a Skype conversation in English, involving three people.
He adds that the unknown militants involved in the conversation were saying that the chemical attack “in two suburbs of Damascus was carried out by rebels as a provocation to force the West to intervene militarily.”
The men criticize US threats of war against Syria, on the false basis that Syria gassed its own people.
Quirico says that he and Piccinin were beaten on a daily basis and even suffered two mock executions.
Piccini admits to this, even though he "ferociously" supports the terrorists, and his family interests could be compromised.
CHINA SUPPORTS MOVE
China welcomes Russia’s initiative to put its chemical weapons stockpile under international control in a bid to avert US military intervention.
The offer was made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday during talks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem.
Muallem said he welcomed the proposal, which calls on Syria to hand over control of its chemical weapons to the international community and then have them destroyed.
"I state that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes the Russian initiative, motivated by the Syrian leadership's concern for the lives of our citizens and the security of our country, and also motivated by our confidence in the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is attempting to prevent US aggression against our people."
The Russian initiative came shortly after US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in London, that the only way for Syria to avoid military action was to hand over its entire stockpile of chemical weapons within 1 week.
This is what Kerry said:
“... [Assad] could turn over any single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over. All of it. And without delay and allow the full and total accounting for that. But he isn't about to do it & it can't be done, obviously.”
But then, as soon as Russia took up the offer, US officials said that Kerry was making a "rhetorical argument" rather than a serious offer.
The US Senate was set to vote on Wednesday on whether to authorize President Obama to use "limited military action" against Syria.
But, after one day of debate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announces now he will not file for a test vote on a resolution to strike Syria. He quotes Lavrov's move as the reason.
The United States now says it plans to "follow up" with Russia to see whether a proposal for Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control is “credible,” a senior US official says.
Ben Rhodes, US deputy national security advisor, tells MSNBC that Washington will be interested in the Russian idea “only if it is a credible proposal.”
Washington is struggling to secure support for military action against Syria over the accusation that the Syrian government was involved in a chemical attack near Damascus on August 21.
The White House, however, admits it has no "irrefutable" evidence of a Syrian government use of chemical weapons, but says that a "strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence", suggests that the Syrian army was responsible for the August gas attack.
Obama also says now that pressuring Assad has worked, and - although he doesn't want a war - he wants to keep threatening one.
He repeats the lie that "innocent children" were in danger of being killed "again", by Syria's army.
He even claims it was his idea to make Syria's gas and chemical weapons safe, and that, only now, after pressure, has Russia acted!
President Putin acknowledges that they met at the G20 summit and discussed it.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's warning of massive retaliation if the US does launch a military strike against his country, is dismissed out of hand by Obama.
Assad told CBS Television on Monday, that Washington should "expect everything" if US forces attack his country.
Obama dismisses Syria's ability to attack, making a brief mention of "assymetrical" forces - such as Hezbollah - and ignores all recent clear warnings by Russia, that if the US DOES act, Russia will help Syria.
AS YOU SOW...
Foreign-backed militants in Syria are preparing to attack the Israeli regime with chemical weapons, RT reports.
They plan to attack Israel from Syrian army held territory, to "false flag" and drive the USA to war.
PEOPLE VERSUS PUPPETS
Despite the stance of the UK and France, and the revealing words of Blair appointee Ms Ashton, who is "convinced" that Syria's army deliberately gassed its own population, the position of the EU is totally opposed to a war on Syria - including the Parliament, the Commission, and the EU President.
The EU's collective voice at the G20 opposed military action... not that "our" Western media reflected this.
China, Russia, all of South America, India, Indonesia, South Africa, in short, a majority of the world's countries and people, want peace and a negotiated settlement.
“There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict,” says European Council president Van Rompuy:
“Only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed, grave violations of human rights and the far-reaching destruction of Syria.”
Yet pro-war politicians and the Western media obsess over the stance taken by Russia and President Putin.
The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, even accuses Moscow of using its veto to hold the UN security council "hostage".
Power berates Russia, yet she ought to know that since Russia superseded the Soviet Union in 1991, taking up its veto power, it has deployed it just twice.
In contrast, the US has wielded its veto 55 times to prevent the international community taking action over crimes committed by its client state Israel against the Palestinian people.
Washington and its aggressive partners in Paris and London must appreciate that the world has changed.
The old colonial powers can no longer hold sway.
___________________________________________________ TESTING CHINA, et al, BIG ERROR FOR USA
When facing opponents capable of interrupting EM communications in the battle area, today's US military battlefield performances depend heavily on the proper functioning of EM communications, such as GPS transmissions, radio transmissions, satellite signal transmissions, or other types of Electro-Magneticwave transmissions.
Russia, China, Iran, Hezbollah - and Syria - are all quite capable of stopping the US dead, and then "tactical nuclear weapons" will quickly become the US weapons of choice.
This war could easily turn into a nuclear war. Better to save face NOW. Whoever advocates for this war is mad.
On Sunday, as al Nusra terrorists briefly took a village in Syria, where Christian churches are being blown up (a place where many still speak Aramaic, the language Jesus used), Mr Kerry, the US Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, told President Obama, that he had "24 hours" to act - openly and illegally calling on Obama to commit mass murder.
This psychopath is perfectly arrestable under US and international law...and - if Obama says and does the same - he will either be arrested with Kerry now, or be impeached after... if there's anyone left alive.
US SHOWS NO EVIDENCE - RUSSIA PROVIDES PLENTY
There is proof that the footage of the alleged chemical attack in Syria was fabricated, Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, tells RT.
She's about to submit her findings to the UN.
Mother Agnes, a catholic nun, who has been living in Syria for 20 years and reporting actively on events there, says she has carefully studied the video featuring alleged victims of the chemical weapons attack in the Syrian village of Guta in August, and now questions its authenticity.
In her interview, Mother Agnes doubts that so much footage could have been taken in so little time, and asks where the parents of all the supposedly dead children are.
The nun is indignant with the world's media for apparently turning a blind eye to the Latakia massacre by rebel extremists, which left 500 civilians including women and children dead.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has called on the international community to pay attention to the revelations of Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib.
US naval commanders announce that US destroyers there are “fully ready” to conduct what they call a “vast spectrum of operations”, The Independent says.
According to the Independent, the Pentagon is to broaden its strike capacity using its Air Force, including weapons-bearing bombers. This includes B-52 bombers, which carry & fire cruise missiles, B1s with long-range and air-to-surface missiles, and B-2 stealth bombers.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is considering using US and French aircraft to conduct strikes in Syria.
The Times adds that Obama directed the Pentagon to expand the list of potential strike targets in Syria, but he denies this on Friday.
The involvement of manned aircraft in a possible military operation in Syria raises concerns over how the US would react if US aircrews are shot down while overflying Syrian territory.
“We have provided a range of options to the President, but we will not discuss the details of those options or our operational planning,” Commander Bill Speaks, Pentagon spokesperson, tells The Independent.
President Putin says Friday, that if Syria is unilaterally attacked, Russia "will help Syria"......
Russia is dispatching a massive landing ship carrying ‘special cargo’ toward the Syrian coast, a report says now.
Russia’s Interfax news agency quotes an unnamed Russian navy official as saying that the Nikolai Filchenkov has left Ukraine's port city of Sevastopol.
“The vessel docked in Novorossiysk, where it will take special cargo on board and head to the designated area of military service in the eastern Mediterranean,” the source says, and does not elaborate on the nature of the cargo.
Russia has recently deployed other warships to the Eastern Mediterranean in an effort to beef up its naval grouping in the region amid intensifying US war rhetoric against Syria.
On September 1st, Moscow dispatched its Priazovye reconnaissance ship and tasked it with collecting information in the tense region, which will operate separately from the main fleet.
Russian military sources said on September 4th that Moscow was sending three more naval ships, including a missile cruiser, to the Eastern Med.
The missile cruiser is to be joined by two other vessels, a destroyer from Russia’s Baltic Fleet and a frigate from the Black Sea Fleet.
US RISKS NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE
Russia's foreign ministry warns that a military strike against Syria may lead to a nuclear disaster, if a small reactor near the capital Damascus, is hit.
"If a warhead, by design or by chance, was to
hit the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR)
near Damascus, the consequences could be
catastrophic," says Russian Foreign Ministry
spokesperson, Aleksandr Lukashevich.
This development comes as the US still insists
on waging military action against the Arab nation
despite growing global opposition to such moves.
The Russian foreign ministry is calling on the
UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
to conduct a risk evaluation, as the administration
of US President Barack Obama continues to seek
support for aggressive military measures against
the Syrian nation.
The Russian ministry says that Russia is
asking the agency to “react swiftly” and
carry out “an analysis of the risks linked
to possible US strikes on the MNSR and
other facilities in Syria.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Moscow has its own plans to deal with a possible US military offensive against Syria.
"We have our own ideas about what we would do and how we would do it if the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise," he says. "We have our plans, but it's too early to talk about them."
EUROPE TELLS USA - NO WAR !!!
The EU's parliament - of course - has already voted against an attack on Syria, and now the EU Commission adds its voice to the world community's "No" to an illegal war on Syria.
The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, states now that the international community must seek a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
THE DARKNESS UNDERSTOOD NOT
A former member of a city council in the Turkish province of Hatay, says the chemical weapons used in last month’s attack in Syria, were transported from Turkey, Press TV reports.
“Four months ago, Turkish security forces found a two-kilogram cylinder with sarin gas, after searching the homes of Syrian militants from al-Qaeda and al-Nusra. They are using our borders to take the gas into Syria,” Mohamad Gunes says.
“The Syrian president has no reason to kill his own people,” he adds.
People in the southern province, which borders Syria, say the weapons were used by al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front militants and not the Syrian government.
“America and Israel had al-Qaeda use chemical weapons in order to push us into war; none of us wants war here. In the history of Hatay, we all lived peacefully side by side, now there is Mossad, CIA and al-Qaeda all over the place. We are worried that they might use chemical weapons against us,” says Farid Mainy, a Hatay resident and an activist.
Residents believe that the Turkish government is allowing the transfer of weapons, because Ankara is trying to create a pretext in order to wage war on its neighbour.
US President Barack Obama is trying to convince the Congress to approve a military strike against Syria, over the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
The Syrian government has repeatedly said that the deadly attack was carried out by militants operating inside the country, in a bid to draw in a foreign military intervention.
Obama has delayed military action pending Congressional approval, in a vote scheduled for September the 9th.
WE ALL KNOW YOU'RE LYING, SAYS PUTIN
On Monday, Russia dismissed as “absolutely unconvincing” the evidence presented by the US accusing the Syrian army of the gas attack.
“When you ask for more detailed proof, they say all of this is classified, so we cannot show this to you,” Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov states.
The US is refusing to show ANYONE except the US Senate, full details on the 'evidence' - which marks a break from their relative openness before the attack on Iraq, when the evidence - shown openly - was almost immediately discredited by world experts.
THE TRUTH IS OUT - TOTAL WAR !!!
The US Congress looks set to say "yes" to a 3rd World War within days.
The US Congress has set 2 conditions to a "yes" vote to illegally attack Syria:
One, it must last for no more than 90 days.
Two, it must not allow US ground troops.
Cameron asked the UK to back him up in bombing Syria, and must have known he was lying when he encouraged MPs to vote "yes" by telling them that it would be nothing more than a few cruise missiles to send a 'warning', and would only last "a matter of days".
Now the truth is out: his Zionist US terrorist friends, all along, planned a 24 hours a day for 90 days, all out frenzy of terror.
The Pentagon says it plans to use “Air Force bombers” as well as destroyers armed with cruise missiles, in their attack on Syria.
All of this comes while the team of UN inspectors, who recently visited Syria to probe the sites of chemical attacks, has yet to release the findings of its inspection.
The EU, UN, Iran, Russia, and China, all warn against open war on Syria.
China today says it would be a real danger to the world's already depressed economy, and both Russia and Iran warn that it could spark all out war in the region and - if it spreads - build quickly to a thermonuclear "exchange".
RUSSIA NOT BACKING DOWN?
Russian military officials say Moscow is sending 3 more naval ships, including a missile cruiser, to the Eastern Med.
The missile cruiser, Moskva, will take over the navy’s operations in the region, a move which Russia says is needed to protect its national interests, state agency Interfax quotes a military source as saying.
"The Cruiser Moskva is heading to the Strait of Gibraltar. In approximately 10 days it will enter the East Mediterranean, where it will take over as the flagship of the naval task force," says the unnamed military source.
The missile cruiser is being joined by two other vessels, a destroyer from Russia’s Baltic Fleet and a frigate from the Black Sea Fleet.
BAN KI MOON TELLS USA - UN RULES
“As I have repeatedly said, the Security Council has primary responsibility for international peace and security,” Ban Ki-moon tells reporters now, at UN headquarters in New York.
“The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter and or when the Security Council approves such action,” he says, in remarks that define the current US attempts to launch a military attack on Syria with no UN Security Council mandate, as illegal.
The UN secretary general adds that he is against any further militarization of the conflict and insists on a political solution, as a military strike against Syria can only bring more turmoil and bloodshed.
“I take note of the argument for action to prevent a future use of chemical weapons. At the same time, we must consider the impact of any punitive measure on efforts to prevent further bloodshed and facilitate the political resolution of the conflict.”
We applaud Ban ki Moon's integrity and courage.
EVEN FRENCH INSOUCIENCE IS DEMOCRATIC
A new survey says nearly 75% of French people wanted their parliament to have a vote on any potential military intervention in Syria.
According to the CSA poll, 74% of respondents wanted a full parliamentary vote before their country’s involvement in possible military action.
42% said that they are "firmly for" a vote and 32%, that they would "prefer" one.
France did not and will not have a vote, say media reports now.
US PUBLIC IS STILL AGAINST SYRIA STRIKE
A new Washington Post - ABC News poll shows that nearly 60% of the US people now oppose missile strikes on Syria, over accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against militant groups.
The poll, conducted Wednesday through Sunday, finds that support for a strike has fallen to 36%.
70 percent also oppose the US and its allies providing militant groups in Syria with arms, according to the poll.
Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement is mobilizing its forces, as war rhetoric against Syria intensifies, witnesses say.
According to witnesses in Lebanon, it appears to be a general mobilization of the group's members with many Hezbollah fighters having left their regular posts in villages near the southern city of Tyre and in the Bekaa Valley, over the past five days, AFP reports, Tuesday.
It also says that teenagers have replaced more experienced Hezbollah fighters at checkpoints in Beirut's southern suburbs.
A Hezbollah spokesperson declines to comment on reported redeployments of the group's forces.
Meanwhile, Lebanon's al-Akhbar daily reports that the "Syrian army has mobilized units that have not participated until now in the conflict."
"It has established an operations room with Hezbollah and the units in charge of missiles are at an unprecedented level of alert," the daily says, adding: "The Islamic resistance (Hezbollah) has called on all its officers and members to man their positions."
The reported mobilization comes as the West appears to be moving toward taking military action against the Syrian government over their alleged (and vehemently denied) use of chemical weapons.
'NO' TO WAR, SAYS POPE FRANCIS
Pope Francis launches an appeal for peace around the world.
''We want a peaceful world…we want peace to prevail in our conflict-ridden communities… No to war…No to war,"Pope Francis says in a tweet - translated into seven languages.
Pope Francis urges the international community ''to end all wars and save Syria.''
The Pope's impassioned appeal for peace comes as Washington is busy preparing for a military aggression against Syria.
Monsignor Mario Toso, secretary of the pontifical council for justice and peace, has told Vatican Radio that an intervention risks spreading violence to other countries.
"The road to a resolution of Syria's problems cannot be that of armed intervention.
"The conflict contains all the ingredients for a war of global dimensions to explode and, in any case, no one would escape unharmed from a conflict and an experience of violence."
EGYPT's MAIN REVOLUTIONARY ALLIANCE
The National Alliance of the Egyptian Revolutionary Forces, stresses it supports Syria's people and government in facing the US threat of launching an aggression on it, adding that Syria is a part of both Egyptian and Arab security.
At a press conference, the National Alliance of the Egyptian Revolutionary Forces calls on the Arab nation to be aware of the plots hatched by the US and UK, to fragment the region.
The National Forces of Egypt strongly condemns the Arab League's stance regarding Syria, and rejects handing another Arab country over to NATO - as the League did with Libya.
Tahani al-Jabali, read out the forces' statement:
"As a response to the US' current threats on Syria, we clearly announce our full support to Syria's people and government in facing the conspiracy and aggression, which threatens the national security of Egypt," affirming that the national security of Egypt, is based on that of Syria.
She adds "We clearly announce our adherence to the Arab destiny, and our rejection of the aggression on Syria and the terrorism, which is fueled by the Muslim Brotherhood, who are supported by Turkey and its NATO partners."
The statement demands that Egypt's interim government must support Syria against the US' potential aggression, and calls on it to restore Egyptian-Syrian relations at the highest levels.
Their statement points out that the role being played by Turkey, stems from its membership in NATO and its strategic relations with Israel, which were revived by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The statement says: " We hope that Erdogan remembers that he is not Sultan Abdul-Hamid, and that Egypt is not a state subordinate to his country either," adding, " Egypt is too great to be undermined by such a despicable person."
The statement is signed by the Movement for Defending the Republic, the Egyptian National Alliance, the National Initiative of the Positive Interaction, and a number of popular figures.
CHINA SUGGESTS WAR "UNWISE"
A US military strike against Syria, if implemented, would be the "most directionless" action taken by Washington in its Middle East policies over the past six decades, Chinese observers say.
Ye Hailin, an expert on Middle East studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says such an attack would be illogical and not in line with US interests in the region.
"This is the most directionless move in US' Middle East policies since Britain and France retreated from the region after World War II," Ye says.
"The Obama administration reached the conclusion that Syria used chemical weapons, although it did not send investigators there. Also, its judgment is based on video footage, not on uncontaminated physical evidence," he says.
Meanwhile, UN investigators are still working on samples collected at the scene and have not yet reached a conclusion, Ye says.
"And now that the Obama administration says it has reliable intelligence that 1,429 people died in the chemical onslaught, where are the bodies?"
Ye adds that a limited strike from the US will by no means stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria, even if their allegation is true.
The strike is also meaningless in terms of ending the rule of the Syrian government, he says.
"Besides, Barack Obama is unlikely to get UN authorization or support from most other countries," Ye says.
"Really, Obama doesn't want to launch the strike. But the hawkish stance of interest groups in Washington, and some senior US diplomats, including Secretary of State John Kerry, has exerted a lot of pressure on him."
Yin Gang, also an expert on Middle East studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says Obama is not "seeking" approval from Congress.
"He will only have to launch the attack if Congress approves," Yin says, adding that the US Congress cannot limit the right of the president to launch such an attack.
A war with Syria would drag Washington into further confrontations with various sections of Islam and heighten Middle East tensions— a situation Washington will not want to see, Yin says.
"That is why Obama just wants a limited strike, if he has to launch one."
Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Centre for Strategic & International Studies, tells Reuters that Obama's decision "to get Congress on board, when he hasn't had a huge amount of success working with Congress... strikes me as a gamble".
A failed vote, he says, "could overshadow the rest of the administration".
Iran to exclude dollar, euro from foreign transactions
Iran's Economy Minister, Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini, announces today that Tehran plans to exclude some Western currencies, specifically the US dollar and the euro, from its foreign trade transactions, Fars news agency reports.
"According to the decision made by the cabinet workgroup, the dollar and euro will be gradually put aside from Iran's trade with other countries," Hosseini states.
He says that Iran has already changed its trade partners, and redirected its trade away from the UK and Germany, to Middle-Eastern states.
In 2005, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the first to propose a switch in transactions from the dollar to the euro, as a counter-measure to the US' stand on Iran's civilian nuclear program.
The last two countries to announce a similar decision - Iraq and Libya - were subsequently invaded and torn to pieces by the US and EU.
UN SAYS IT IS THE ONLY LEGAL PATH
The United Nations affirms again, the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council, in the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security, even in cases involving the use of chemical weapons.
The legal clarification is made by the official UN spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, to questions about the statement made by US President, Obama, that he could launch military strikes against Syria, at any time, without regard for UN approval.
Nesirsky also reiterates that the UN is the only body able to establish the facts in an impartial and credible way, on the use of chemical gas and its equipment in Syria.
The work was done in the presence of two officials of the government of Syria, as observers, and in accordance with the provisions of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, says Nesirky.
Ban ki Moon has asked the head of the team of experts to accelerate the analysis and information on the evidence collected (without affecting the required scientific procedures) and to report the results "as soon as possible".