Archive | May 4th, 2011

Good News: Congress turns against Pakistan



Peter King speaks to reporters Tuesday. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

Peter King says Pakistan is ‘at a crossroads’ with the United States.

Congress expressed fury at Pakistan Tuesday for its role in housing Osama bin Laden for the past several years, as a wide range of powerful lawmakers are raising new questions about the billions in foreign aid the United States has spent propping up what many believe is an unreliable ally.

Lawmakers from both parties are weighing whether to put limitations on Pakistani aid, either through new accountability measures, tougher oversight – or even withholding portions of the funding if Pakistan fails to divulge how bin Laden was able to live in a huge compound just outside the country’s capital of Islamabad.

And while a complete cut off of funding seems highly unlikely, it’s clear that Pakistan is losing support on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers expressed disbelief at the Pakistani government’s contention that officials were unaware of bin Laden’s presence.

For now, it seems the United States and Pakistan will be stuck with an uncomfortable relationship, since many worry that cutting off aid could turn the critical ally towards the terrorist elements that reside in the nuclear-armed nation.

“You can’t trust them, and you can’t abandon them,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), top Republican on a Senate subcommittee responsible for doling out foreign aid. “One thing that’s just not an option to me is to sever ties – that to me is a formula for a failed state.”

The dilemma facing lawmakers is stark. At a time of intense budget-cutting fervor, voters often say that foreign aid should be sacrificed before Congress cuts popular domestic programs – and with suspicions lingering over Pakistan’s role in the bin Laden episode, the pressure to slice funds for the country is only growing. But cutting aid to Pakistan creates its own risks and could further roil tensions with the nation at a crucial time in the United States’ 10-year war against terrorism.

“We’re broke,” Graham acknowledged. “It’s hard to go back to South Carolina and say, ‘Give aid to Pakistan.’”

Rep. Jerry Lewis, a veteran California Republican who sits on the panel that funds foreign operations, stood up in a closed GOP conference meeting Monday to urge caution against heated rhetoric against Pakistan, warning that doing so has serious implications, people familiar with the meeting said.

“You probably got some bad apples in there, I’m sure, and you got some good people,” said Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican long involved in Pakistani affairs. “And bin Laden being that close to a military installation really is troubling, but you have to look at the overall picture.”

Speaking to reporters after a party lunch, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that Pakistan has been a partner fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda, having lost thousands of troops fighting alongside the United States.

“Now this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have oversight and I’m willing to do that,” Reid said Tuesday. “But we will have federal assistance.”

House Republican leaders, who are typically eager to call for cuts, aren’t yet taking a hard stand on aid to Pakistan. Asked directly, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hedged, saying “we need to understand exactly what it is the Pakistanis did and didn’t know as far as the situation that unfolded this weekend, and the years leading up to that.”

Speaker John Boehner also appeared to support aid to Pakistan. The Associated Press reported that the speaker thinks it’s premature to talk about stopping shipping money to Pakistan, and the two countries should have an “eyeball to eyeball conversation about where this relationship is going.”

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) added that Congress shouldn’t have a “knee-jerk reaction” before the extent of the Pakistani’s involvement is known in the housing of bin Laden.

In a statement to POLITICO, Foreign Affairs Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said it’s “difficult to imagine that some elements of the Pakistani government didn’t have some idea of what was going on at compound Bin Laden.”

“But we need Pakistan’s cooperation and assistance on a range of critical efforts,” she said. “The U.S. relationship with Pakistan is far from perfect, but it is important.”

“There are already are conditions and there could be more, but the fact is that Pakistan is a situation which none of us are happy with but we have to improve it rather than abandon it,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a member of the appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, said future funding for Pakistan should be hinged on bolstering education in its poor school system.

“I thought that aid has been misplaced,” he said in an interview. “We just give them money – who knows where it goes?”

Still, some tea-party backed freshman like Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have joined hands with some liberals who want to choke off funding.

“I don’t think we can borrow money from China and give it to anybody; I don’t think that makes any sense,” Paul told POLITICO.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said the U.S.-Pakistani “relationship has always been in my view tentative.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the appropriations subcommittee in charge of foreign spending, said he has “grave concerns about Pakistan and I will be reviewing it.” But he declined to comment further.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) is introducing legislation that would say the country gets no more foreign aid until the U.S. knows whether Pakistan was involved in giving sanctuary to bin Laden – the State Department would have to render a judgment to Congress.

“My position is we need to know where Pakistan stands in the world of terror,” Poe said in an interview.

Pakistan, however, is taking to Capitol Hill, influential opinion pages and television to state its case.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari wrote that bin Laden “was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be, but now he is gone.”

“Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world,” Zardari wrote in the piece, entitled “Pakistan did its part.”

At a meeting with House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), a top Pakistani embassy official told the Republican that his country is a close ally to the United States. But King said “they’re at a crossroads” with the United States.

“You can’t be coming to Congress and asking for $3 billion after what happened and expect to get it without serious, serious questions being asked and the relationship being reanalyzed,” King said in an interview. Several lawmakers in both parties said they were seeking meetings with embassy officials.

Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, the chairman of a Foreign Affairs committee that focuses on the Middle East and South Asia, said the United States needs to “reconsider and reevaluate our policy toward Pakistan, and that includes the issue of funding.”

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir1 Comment

Lest We Forget–”Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over”




Ed note–keep in mind as we witness all the orgiastic celebrations taking place within the brain-dead corners of America over the “death” of Bin Laden that millions of lives, trillions of dollars and an incalculable amount of suffering could have been averted with America’s acceptance of the Taliban’s offer to hand over Bin Laden. However, this was not to be, because the REAL REASON for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was to destroy these countries at Israel’s behest and to use them as beachheads for the destruction of the rest of the countries in the region.

President George Bush rejected as “non-negotiable” an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan.

Returning to the White House after a weekend at Camp David, the president said the bombing would not stop, unless the ruling Taliban “turn [bin Laden] over, turn his cohorts over, turn any hostages they hold over.” He added, “There’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he’s guilty”. In Jalalabad, deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir – the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime – told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but added: “we would be ready to hand him over to a third country”.

The offer came a day after the Taliban’s supreme leader rebuffed Bush’s “second chance” for the Islamic militia to surrender Bin Laden to the US.

Mullah Mohammed Omar said there was no move to “hand anyone over”.

Taliban ‘ready to discuss’ Bin Laden handover if bombing halts
The Taliban would be ready to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted the bombing of Afghanistan, a senior Taliban official said today.

Afghanistan’s deputy prime minister, Haji Abdul Kabir, told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

“If the Taliban is given evidence that Osama bin Laden is involved” and the bombing campaign stopped, “we would be ready to hand him over to a third country”, Mr Kabir added.

But it would have to be a state that would never “come under pressure from the United States”, he said.

Mr Kabir urged America to halt its air campaign, now in its eighth day, and open negotiations. “If America were to step back from the current policy, then we could negotiate,” he said. “Then we could discuss which third country.”

Large explosions caused by American bombs and missiles have been reported to the south and east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, this evening.

The sky above the city has been filled with tracer fire from Taliban anti-aircraft guns once again.

Before the start of the air campaign, the Taliban had demanded evidence of Bin Laden’s involvement in the attack and had offered to try him before an Islamic court inside Afghanistan – proposals that the US promptly rejected.

Al-Qaida warning an ‘admission of guilt’
Threats of new terrorist strikes against Britain and the US from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida group amount to an admission of guilt for the September 11 attacks, the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, said today.

Mr Prescott, speaking while on a diplomatic mission in Moscow, argued that the latest statement from al-Qaida strongly suggested Bin Laden’s culpability for last month’s attacks on New York and Washington.

“What I have heard about the message given … is basically confirming, I think, the guilt of Bin Laden, who has made it clear that he wants to continue these actions,” he told BBC1′s Breakfast with Frost programme this morning.

The new threats from al-Qaida came from spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, in a video-taped statement broadcast on Qatar’s Al-Jazeera Arabic TV news network.

He said Muslims in the US and Britain “should avoid travelling by air or living in high buildings or towers”.

Americans and Britons were also warned to leave the Arabian Peninsula “because the land will burn with fire under their feet”.

Washington dismissed the comments as “propaganda”, while a Downing Street spokeswoman echoed Mr Prescott’s comment that the threats amounted to an admission of guilt.
(Full story)

Anti-US protests engulf Pakistani town
Thousands of anti-US protesters today converged on a southern Pakistani town, fighting pitched battles with police and paramilitary troops.

One person was killed and 24 were injured in the battles around Jacobabad, police said.

The desert city is the home of one of two air bases made available to US forces to support the air campaign against Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.

As rage grew over US-led air strikes on Afghanistan, one militant leader exhorted followers to set Shabaz airbase in Jacobabad on fire “at any cost”, and another called on Pakistan’s generals to overthrow the country’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf.
(Full story)

Cathedral cleared in ‘powder’ scare
Firefighters wearing protective suits were this afternoon attempting to clear up white powder dropped in Canterbury Cathedral by a man reported to be of Arab appearance.

The cathedral was evacuated at around 2.30pm today after the man was seen dropping the powder in one of its chapels.

The fire brigade was called in to clear up the powder and take samples for analysis, amid heightened concerns about biological warfare attacks in Britain.

It is understood the powder is not thought to be a biological agent, such as anthrax, but the cathedral remains closed tonight as tests are carried out.
(Full story)

UN commissioner warns of Afghan starvation threat
United Nations human rights commissioner Mary Robinson has called for a pause in the US-led bombing of Afghanistan to allow food aid into the country and prevent a “Rwanda-style” humanitarian disaster.

The former Irish president said that otherwise America and its allies could preside over the deaths from starvation of millions of people in Afghanistan.

Mrs Robinson, speaking to BBC1′s Breakfast with Frost programme from Geneva, said helping Afghanistan’s civilian population through the winter had to be a top priority.

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Pakistan Warns US on Lack of Communication on Bin Laden Raid



Officials Concerned Attack Will Set a Precedent for Cross Border Operations

Despite the Obama Administration’s initial claims that the Sunday morning raid that killed Osama bin Laden was done with the cooperation of the Pakistani government, officials later admitted that they didn’t even tell the Zardari government about the attack until after the fact.

Officials defended the secrecy, claiming they thought Pakistan’s government would tip off bin Laden and allow him to escape. This fits neatly into the narrative of Pakistan supporting the terror leader, but Pakistanwas quick to condemn the policy.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari insisted that the government “did its part” but officials also cautioned that the unilateral action must not be repeated by the Obama Administration. Officials made no indication that they were planning to formally protest the raid.

And indeed, if this were an isolated raid that killed bin Laden, the Pakistani government would likely not have said anything. It is the repeated US strikes into Pakistan and the constant calls for cross border raids and possible invasions that has officials concerned that an extremely “special case” raid will be used as a precedent for a new Obama escalation.

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Story Changes: Osama Was ‘Unarmed,’ Officials Now Admit



Obama Bullshit: Questions Grow Over Why Troops Didn’t Capture Him Alive

A number of the details surrounding the Obama Administration’s initial account of the Sunday slaying of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan have been revised by officials today. The most noteworthy of these is the claim that bin Laden was killed in an intense firefight, and that officials really hoped to take him alive.

Despite emphasizing this in their initial account, officials are now confirming that there was no firefight in the room in which bin Laden was killed, and that the al-Qaeda founder was entirely unarmed when he was shot in the head by Navy SEALs.

Officials had previously insisted the SEALs were instructed to attempt to take him alive if he “didn’t pose a threat.” Though officials claim he was resisting at the time of his killing, one wonders how much of a threat the aging, sickly terror leader could have posed to a team of soldiers when he was unarmed.

Other changes to the story include the “used his wife as a human shield” claim, which was first revised to a claim that he used some other, random woman as a human shield and eventually dropped in favor of the claim that the random, unarmed woman attacked the troops upon entering the room. It remains to be seen if other major changes will be forthcoming.

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IsraHell Bitch charged with assaulting Palestinian posted anti-Arab comments on Facebook



Shani Sevilia


‘Whoever likes Arabs should be given payback by God,’ wrote Shani Sevilia, accused of assaulting a Palestinian teen in custody.


Shani Sevilia, the Border Policewoman who is accused of assaulting a Palestinian teenager in custody, has posted a number of inflammatory comments about Arabs on her Facebook page that may shed light as to her motives.

“For heaven’s sakes, another incident in which two Arabs stabbed two girls!! This didn’t happen abroad, but here near our house! Sons of whores!!!!” she wrote.

In another posting, she wrote: “Whoever likes Arabs should be given payback by God.”

On her profile page, she posted a video entitled “How Arab children in Gaza are taught to swim,” as well as clips warning against relations between Jews and Arabs.

On March 27, she updated her status to read: “Somebody called me a Nazi,” followed by a long series of exclamation points. “From my point of view, this was good work.” She then attached a “smiley” face to the end of the sentence.

This status garnered 11 “likes” from her friends. One of them even asked for the name and address of the person who called her a Nazi, but she replied: “I want people to go and spread the word that there is a Nazi at the checkpoint, haha. Just kidding!!”

On April 22, she posted a comment wishing her friends “Shabbat shalom to everybody, and may God take the leftists.”

Sevilia’s Facebook page has been removed from the network.

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U.S. slams ‘outrageous’ Hamas condemnation of bin Laden killing


Hamas leader says bin Laden killing was a ‘continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood’


U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner slammed comments on Monday made by a Hamas leader who criticized the U.S. for killing ‘holy warrior’ Osama bin Laden.

Ismael Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, said in response to the U.S. operation against bin Laden “we regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”

Toner said Haniyeh’s comments were “outrageous.”

“It goes without saying bin Laden was a murderer and a terrorist. He ordered the killings of thousands of innocent men, women and children, and many of whom were Muslim,” Toner said.

Though he noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden’s al-Qaida and Hamas, Haniyeh said: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

Toner said of bin Laden that “did not die a martyr. He died hiding in a mansion or a compound far away from the violence that was carried out in his name. And his defeat is a victory for all human beings seeking to live in peace, security and dignity.”

Toner also talked about the planned Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal which is set to be signed in Cairo on Wednesday.

Representatives from Hamas and Fatah announced their intention to reconcile last week, after a four-year-long bitter and at times violent rift, which saw Hamas administering the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the control of the Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority.

“Our long-stated policy on this is that if Hamas wants to play a political role or a role in the political process, then it needs to abide by the Quartet principles,” Toner said. “It needs to accept those principles, which are renouncing violence and terrorism, recognizing Israel’s right to exist and abiding by previous diplomatic agreements.”

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$5 million law$uit target$ Jimmy Carter for ‘attacking IsraHell’


by crescentandcross



WASHINGTON – Former President Jimmy Carter has become the target of a class action lawsuit over ostensibly mean things he said about Israel in his best-selling 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The lawsuit, filed in New York by an Israeli firm, alleges that the book “contained numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author’s agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised.”

The five American plaintiffs, two of whom are dual citizens of the US and Israel, seek $5 million in damages over the book (which is being sold for less than $10 on Amazon) on the basis that its criticisms of Israel violated consumer protection safeguards.

The plaintiffs alleged in a press release that the 39th US president and Nobel Peace Prize winner “violated the law and, thus, harmed those who purchased the book” by unfairly “attacking Israel.”

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said her clients’ lawsuit “will expose all the falsehoods and misrepresentations in Carter’s book and prove that his hatred of Israel has led him to commit this fraud on the public.”

Publishing company Simon & Schuster, which is also targeted in the lawsuit, dismissed it as a frivolous act and a “chilling attack on free speech that we intend to defend vigorously.”

“This lawsuit is frivolous, without merit, and is a transparent attempt by the plaintiffs, despite their contentions, to punish the author, a Nobel Peace prize winner and world-renowned statesmen, and his publisher, for writing and publishing a book with which the plaintiffs simply disagree,” Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg told the Washington Post.

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Beyond Retaliation



by Kathy Kelly

This morning, a reporter called to talk about the news that the U.S. has killed Osama bin Laden. Referring to throngs of young people celebrating outside the White House, the reporter asked what Voices would say if we had a chance to speak with those young people.

We’d want to tell them about a group of people who, in November of 2001, walked from Washington, D.C. to New York City carrying a banner that said, “Our Grief is not a Cry for War.” Several of the walkers were people who had lost their loved ones in the attacks on 9/11. When the walk ended, they formed a group called “Families for Peaceful Tomorrows” to continually represent the belief that our security is not founded in violence and revenge.

Often, during that walk, participants were asked what we’d suggest as an alternative to invading Afghanistan. One response was that the U.S. and other countries could enact a criminal investigation and rely on police work and intelligence to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack. As it turns out, the U.S. discovered where Osama bin Laden was through those means and not through warfare. How have the past ten years of aerial bombardments, night raids, death squads, assassinations and drone attacks in Afghanistan benefited the U.S. people? Did the carnage and bloodshed bring the U.S. closer to discovering the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden? Have we defeated terrorism or created greater, deeper hatred toward the U.S.?

In the past, President Obama has said that “we stand on the shoulders of giants like Dr. King, yet our future progress will depend on how we prepare our next generation of leaders” (Jan. 18, 2010). In a historic speech, “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence”, King said: “We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.”

In that same speech, King called for a neighborliness that goes beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation. We think of that call in light of experiences of a 2010 Voices delegation that visited a rural village in the central highlands of Afghanistan. They sat with women who were close in age to the young people who were celebrating outside of the White House last night. Asked if they had ever heard of a time when a large passenger plane had crashed into a tall building in the United States, the young women were puzzled. They had never heard of 9/11.

They live in a country where 850 children die every day, a country which the UN has termed the worst country in the world into which a child can be born, where the average life expectancy is 42 years of age. The UN says that 7.4 million Afghans live with hunger and fear of starvation, while millions more rely on food help, and one in five children die before the age of five. Each week, the U.S. taxpayers spend two billion dollars to continue the war in Afghanistan.

Matt Daloisio, who co-coordinates the Witness Against Torture Campaign, sounded a note that we find far more authentic than triumphal celebration.

“10 years,” Matt wrote. “Over 6000 US Soldiers killed. Trillions of Dollars wasted. Hundreds of thousands of civilians killed. Tens of thousands imprisoned. Torture as part of foreign policy. And we are supposed to celebrate the murder of one person? I am not excited. I am not happy. I remain profoundly sad.”

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Bahrain downs Iran’s Press TV channel


by crescentandcross


Bahrain has moved to interrupt the broadcast of Iran’s English-language Press TV channel on Nilesat satellite, apparently due to the network’s wide coverage of the regime’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in the country.

Press TV’s technical experts have reported that the interfering signal is being transmitted from Bahrain. 

Bahrain’s illegal measure comes following the extensive coverage by Press TV of its brutal suppression of Bahraini protesters, backed by military forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that were deployed to the country.

This is not the first time that Iranian channels have experienced down time in the midst of the recent crisis in the Middle East.

On March 20, Bahrain also interrupted the broadcast of Iran’s Arabic-language entertainment channel iFilm.

On March 13, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates dispatched their armed forces to Bahrain to intensify the crackdown on anti-government protesters.

At least 24 people have been killed and at least 1,000 others injured since Bahraini riot police and troops initiated a second round of offensives against the protesters.

The crackdown on protesters continues as Bahraini forces were spotted on Wednesday while using violence against the protesting public in the villages of Diraz, Nuwaidrat and Sanabis as well as the town of Belad Al Qadeem.

Demonstrators in the country demand the ouster of the 230-year-old al-Khalifa monarchy as well as constitutional reforms.

Press TV programs are now available on Nilesat on the following frequency:

Sr 27500
Fec ¾

It is noted that  Press TV targeted  Israel i cyber attacks before this.
Over the past 10 days, Press TV news website has been hit by Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack (DDOS) from Israeli sources.

The attacks, however, have failed to bring the site down, reportedly due to formidable security systems integrated into the website.

DDOS attack is an attempt to keep an internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, thus making it unavailable to its intended users.

Another popular Iran-based Arabic-language news website Al-Alam has also been the target of numerous cyber attacks from sources in Israel and a few US-backed Arab countries.

Press TV and Al-Alam news websites are among the most active and prominent independent sources for coverage of developments on the recent uprisings in Middle Eastern and North African countries.

The Iran-based websites also provide extensive coverage of events in occupied Palestinian territories.

Documents released in 2010 by Wikileaks whistleblower website revealed that Britain had concentrated its efforts on halting Press TV Ltd from producing programs critical of Western Imperialism.

In an article entitled The Secretive Campaign to Halt Press TV in the UK, British journalist and broadcaster Lauren Booth outlined UK’s efforts to support the US in shutting down the company that markets documentaries and series to the Iranian channel with an identical name.

Having failed to find any legitimate problem with the quality or content of the programs produced by Press TV, the UK’s National Westminster (NatWest) Bank froze Press TV Ltd’s business account without any prior notice last month and stated that the accounts would be permanently closed in February 2011.

Press TV has also been put off the air in several Western-backed regional states for covering the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North of Africa.

Earlier in March, Bahrain interrupted the broadcast of Iran’s Arabic-language entertainment channel iFilm, following its violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the country.

Press TV has gained popularity for its fair and in-depth coverage of the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly in Bahrain.

Freelance journalist Johnny Miller, who covered the uprising in Bahrain for Press TV, was detained, harassed and eventually deported from the country earlier this month for no specific reason. His equipment was also confiscated by the Bahraini authorities.


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IsraHell chief: Army ready to protect Jewish people


by crescentandcross



In Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz says IDF has historic commitment to precede any threat to Jewish people wherever they are

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz said Sunday that the IDF is ready to meet any threat to Israel’s safe future. Speaking at a ceremony on Holocaust Remembrance Day eve in Kibbutz Tel Yizhak, Gantz said: “In the land of the Jewish people, its safe haven, the IDF stands ready and willing to protect the people of all evil.”

The rally was also attended by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.

“More than 60 years have passed since the crematoriums ceased working, and the sounds of gunfire in the scenes of mass murder became silent,” he said. “But even now the Jewish people face many challenges and different enemies who aim to destroy them. That is why the IDF has a historic commitment to precede any threat and try to curb any offence to Jews anywhere and gather all forces to triumph over any conflict. “

The IDF chief told the story of his mother, a Holocaust survivor. “My mother, who left the gates of Bergen- Belsen suffering from tuberculosis and weighing only 28 kilos, was brought to recovery camps in Sweden where she met representatives of the Youth Aliyah. As a 16-year-old orphan she was helped to deal with the horrors she endured and was guided towards making aliyah.

“Eventually, my mother boarded the Haim Arlosoroff immigrant ship. During this journey she met my father with whom she suffered many toils before they decided to settle in Israel.

“Today, as I reflect on the values I was taught as a child, the love of Israel that was so imbued within my parents – I believe that the unwavering strive for the land of our fathers and the tough road they both walked is at the heart of the education I received.”

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