Archive | October 4th, 2012

Ali Akbar Salehi, Min. of Foreign Affairs,from Islamic Republic of Iran goes into the Zionist/Globalist Dragons Layer

It is no secret that the Western phobia mill and fear industry is at work with its multiple and simultaneous phobias — Islamophobia, Shiaphobia, Iranophobia. This fear industry fabricates simple messages as Muslims are a menace, Shias are a danger, and Iranians are a threat.Though its alarmist messages are simple, the fear industry is a complicated one in its machination and trajectory. It has its own ideology, methodology and policy apparatus. Its ideology is based on a dichotomous worldview that we are superior and the others, including Muslims, are inferior.
Its methodology is of a reductionist and selective nature, reducing the totality of a nation like Iran, with its deep-rooted traditions of several millennia, its revolution of historical magnitude and its sophisticated party secretary polity, to a single issue of nuclear activity, and reducing its peaceful nuclear project to a couple of baseless allegations.In the policy realm, the fear industry is for defamation, labeling, sanction, confrontation and military attack. Though different in style, the fear industry specialists, be it in think tanks, administrative positions or media, are detached from reality and unable to understand intentions, capabilities, positions and policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They try to portray Iran as a problem for the region. Contrary to their pronouncements, Iran is the anchor of security, the stability and peace in its region.No other nation’s security is linked to the Persian Gulf as Iran is.
The entire northern shore of this strategic gulf is Iranian, and our import and export are highly dependent upon a secure and a stable Persian Gulf.It is not only the nature and geography which link our security with the security of our neighbors in the Persian Gulf. It is also our decision and policy (to work ?) with all of our neighbors for a more secure and a stable Persian Gulf. Our notion of the security of the Persian Gulf is an inclusive, collective and comprehensive one in which military, political, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions are taken into account. All extraregional schemes that are based on the artificial threat of Iran and the Persian Gulf are doomed to failure.
Iran is the source of security in this water outlet. I would like to emphasize once again that Iran is a regional provider of security. I wish to underline, a regional provider of security. Thanks to our Islamic revolution and the eight years of resistance of our people to the aggression of Saddam Hussein, then a proponent of Iranian threat and a player much beloved by the West, today our security is totally produced domestically, as opposed to imported security by some countries in our region.The history of the last five centuries vividly demonstrates that the real source of insecurity in the Persian Gulf has been international players and not the littoral states.
The so-called Iranian threat in the Persian Gulf is a strategic commodity produced and sold by outsiders and their local clients. The same notion applies to the other regional security issues. Iran is for a secure, prosperous and stable Iraq, and we are doing our best in this respect. We have the same principles for other neighbors, including Afghanistan.
Now let me focus on our policy on Syria, a hot issue in our region. I hope you recall, at least some of you, what I mentioned here last year when I compared hasty politics with patient politics. Some regional and international actors were of quick and hasty changes in Syria through external interventionist and violent means. Our position was and is that political reform and change cannot be imposed by outsiders. It is illegal, highly costly, counterproductive and dangerous. It is outdated colonialism in new shape. Nobody needs new civil wars, sectarian conflicts, terrorist havens, a failed state and an international military intervention in Syria.
If we review another regional security issue, which is the manifestation of vicious intentions of those bankrupted politicians who are in the business of adding fuel to regional wars — I mean the propaganda and psychological warfare of attacking Iran — first of all, you, as specialists and highly educated on international affairs, know well that during the last few centuries, we Iranians never launched a war but zealously have defended our country, and will do so by all means. However, the statements on attacking Iran, for whatever reasons it may be, is against regional and international peace and security.Why statements of this sort are made?
Different explanations have been made by political commentators. Some argue that the phrase “attacking Iran” is a response to identity and security crisis of Israel and absolutely for domestic political consumption. Some others do believe such pronouncements are nothing but intervention in the American politics and the election favoring one candidate over the other. Another explanation has been offered; in other words, to engage the U.S. in another war in order to marginalize the most important issue in the Middle East, the plight of Palestinians and the occupation of Palestine.
Common in all of these explanations is the fact that the Israeli ruling clan, who are war drum beaters, use the pretext of Iranian nuclear threat for own political gains (and games ?). Iran, as a member of NPT, is working with the IAEA and negotiating with the 5-plus-one to address the mutual concerns. However, Israel is not a party to any disarmament conventions, including the NPT, and is the major impediment for Middle East to be declared as a nuclear-free zone.
Having at least 200 nuclear bombs in its arsenal, in fact Israel is the most significant source of instability and insecurity in the region and, indeed, the liability for American Middle Eastern policies. 

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Syria: End Opposition Use of Torture, Executions

Abuses Show Need for Accountability
  • A screenshot of the YouTube video uploaded by “AKsabbagh” shows Syrian opposition groups committing summary executions.
  • A screenshot of the YouTube video uploaded by “AKsabbagh” shows Syrian opposition groups committing summary executions.
  • © 2011 Human Rights Watch
Declarations by opposition groups that they want to respect human rights are important, but the real test is how opposition forces behave.
Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director

(New York) – Armed opposition groups have subjected detainees to ill-treatment and torture and committed extrajudicial or summary executions in Aleppo, Latakia, and Idlib, Human Rights Watch said today following a visit to Aleppo governorate. Torture and extrajudicial or summary executions of detainees in the context of an armed conflict are war crimes, and may constitute crimes against humanity if they are widespread and systematic.

Opposition leaders told Human Rights Watch that they will respect human rights and that they have taken measures to curb the abuses, but Human Rights Watch expressed serious concern about statements by some opposition leaders indicating that they tolerate, or even condone, extrajudicial and summary executions. When confronted with evidence of extrajudicial executions, three opposition leaders told Human Rights Watch that those who killed deserved to be killed, and that only the worst criminals were being executed.

“Declarations by opposition groups that they want to respect human rights are important, but the real test is how opposition forces behave,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Those assisting the Syrian opposition have a particular responsibility to condemn abuses.”

Military and civilian Syrian opposition leaders should immediately take all possible measures to end the use of torture and executions by opposition groups, including condemning and prohibiting such practices, Human Rights Watch said. They should investigate the abuses, hold those responsible to account in accordance with international human rights law, and invite recognized international detention monitors to visit all detention facilities under their control. Initiatives to have armed opposition groups adopt and enforce codes of conduct that promote respect for human rights and international humanitarian law should be encouraged.

Human Rights Watch presented its research findings and detailed recommendations in meetings with opposition leaders in northern Aleppo in August and in a letter sent to several opposition leaders on August 21, 2012. In a written response, the Military Council for the Aleppo Governorate said that, in light of the findings, it had reiterated its commitment to humanitarian law and human rights to Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups, that it was in the process of establishing special committees to review detention conditions and practices, and that it would hold responsible those who act “contrary to the guidelines.”

Countries financing or supplying arms to opposition groups should send a strong signal to the opposition that they expect it to comply strictly with international human rights and humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch documented more than a dozen extrajudicial and summary executions by opposition forces. Two FSA fighters from the Ansar Mohammed battalion in Latakia told Human Rights Watch, for example, that four people had been executed after the battalion stormed a police station in Haffa in June 2012, two immediately and the others after a trial.

Six of 12 detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch in two opposition-run detention facilities said that FSA fighters and officials in charge of detention facilities had tortured and mistreated them, in particular by beating them on the soles of their feet. Abuse appeared to be more prevalent during the initial stages of detention, before the detainees were transferred to civilian opposition authorities.

Because of inconsistencies in their accounts and visible injuries consistent with torture, Human Rights Watch has reason to believe that FSA fighters and prison authorities had also tortured or mistreated at least some of the six detainees who denied during their interviews that they had been abused.

“Sameer,” whom the FSA arrested in the beginning of August, told Human Rights Watch.

The FSA fighters who caught me first brought me to their base. I spent a night there, together with one other prisoner. They beat me a lot, with a wooden stick, on the soles of my feet. It lasted for about two hours. First, I refused to confess, but then I had to. Once I confessed, they stopped beating me.

Human Rights Watch has also reviewed more than 25 videos on YouTube in which people reportedly in the custody of armed opposition groups show signs of physical abuse. Human Rights Watch cannot independently confirm the authenticity of these videos.

The head of the Aleppo Governorate Revolutionary Council told Human Rights Watch that the authorities do not execute or torture detainees, but that beating detainees on the soles of the feet was “permissible” because it did not cause injuries. When Human Rights Watch explained that beating on the soles of the feet constitutes torture and is unlawful according to international law, he said that he would provide new instructions to FSA fighters and those in charge of detention facilities that such beating was not permitted.

“Time and again Syria’s opposition has told us that it is fighting against the government because of its abhorrent human rights violations,” Houry said. “Now is the time for the opposition to show that they really mean what they say.”

Local opposition authorities told Human Rights Watch that they have appointed judicial councils that review accusations against detainees and issue sentences. In some towns, these judicial councils relied exclusively on Sharia law. In other towns, the judicial councils relied on Sharia law for civil matters, but still relied on Syrian criminal law for criminal matters.

Descriptions of the trials by detainees and members of the judicial councils indicate that the trials did not meet international due process standards, including the right to legal representation and the opportunity to prepare one’s defense and challenge all the evidence and witnesses against them.

All armed forces involved in the hostilities, including non-state armed groups, are required to abide by international humanitarian law. The FSA, at least in the areas where Human Rights Watch has conducted its research, appears to be capable of ensuring respect for international humanitarian law by its forces given its level of organization and control. A number of countries are providing armed opposition groups in Syria with financial and military support. Interviews with Syrian opposition activists as well as media reports indicate that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are actively assisting a number of armed groups. The United States, the United Kingdom, and France, have also pledged non-lethal aid to opposition groups. Human Rights Watch urged countries assisting opposition groups to condemn publicly the human rights and humanitarian law abuses by those groups.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly documented and condemned widespread violations by Syrian government security forces and officials, including extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings of civiliansenforced disappearancesuse of torture, and arbitrary detentions. Human Rights Watch has concluded that government forces have committed crimes against humanity.

The United Nations Security Council should refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would have jurisdiction to investigate violations by both government and opposition forces, Human Rights Watch said. Russia and China should support such a referral.

“An ICC referral would give the ICC jurisdiction to investigate crimes committed by both the government and the opposition,” Houry said. “This is one measure that all Security Council members, including Russia, should find it easy to agree on if they are truly concerned about the violations committed in Syria.”

For more information on Human Rights Watch findings and the requirements under international law please, see the below text.

Torture and Ill-treatment of Detainees
During the Human Rights Watch research mission to the Aleppo governorate in August, the Aleppo Governorate Revolutionary Council, the Aleppo Governorate Military Council, and opposition authorities Al-Bab, Tel Rifat, and Maare granted Human Rights Watch access to detention facilities under their jurisdiction. Opposition leaders in Azaz, a town on the Turkish-Syrian border, denied Human Rights Watch access to their detention facility.

Six detainees in opposition custody out of the 12 interviewed told Human Rights Watch in private interviews that they had suffered abuse that would amount to torture or other unlawful ill-treatment by armed opposition forces during the initial stages of their detention, in temporary holding facilities. The torture included beatings, some on the soles of the feet or with cables, and kicking.

A detainee who had been held in a school told Human Rights Watch that FSA fighters there had beaten him regularly for 25 days before he was transferred to the detention facility where Human Rights Watch interviewed him:


They beat me every two or three days. They tied me to a cross with my face down. Five guys started beating me, using cables. The first time they hit me for about an hour. The third time they hit me from early in the morning until noon. They also hit me in the face. The FSA fighters wanted me to confess to having killed several people with a knife. Eventually I confessed because they beat me, although I have not killed anybody. The FSA fighters said that they would kill me if I said something about the torture.

Bruises on the detainee’s body were consistent with his account and still visible several weeks after he said the beating had taken place. The detainee also showed Human Rights Watch a blackened fingernail on his right hand, which he said resulted from trying to protect himself from the beating.

Another detainee said that FSA fighters had beaten him when he was held in a school for four or five hours before he was transferred to the detention facility where Human Rights Watch interviewed him:

They accused us of being shabeeha (pro-government militia). They beat us and hit us with sticks. We were blindfolded so I don’t know exactly how many they were, but they were many.

The detainee had a bruise under his right eye, a large bruise on his right shoulder, and smaller bruises on his right shoulder and back.

The detainees told Human Rights Watch that they did not know the name or exact locations of the schools where they had been initially held.

Human Rights Watch received reports of torture and ill-treatment in the main Free Syrian Army base in Aleppo city, which also served as a temporary holding facility. While the detainees we interviewed did not know the exact location where they had been initially held, FSA fighters involved in detentions and other witnesses told Human Rights Watch that detainees were usually first transferred to this base in Aleppo. Three people interviewed by Human Rights Watch who had been at the base in August said that they had heard and seen ill-treatment of people detained and brought to this FSA base.

According to information received by Human Rights Watch, the FSA moved its main base to a new location in August because the base came under attack.

In meetings with Human Rights Watch, local opposition authorities in Aleppo acknowledged that they had received reports about ill-treatment of detainees and that these reports had prompted the opposition authorities to establish two central detention facilities. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said, however, that beating, kicking, and other forms of ill-treatment continued at the FSA base in Aleppo even after the two central detention facilities had been established.

Human Rights Watch also documented torture and ill-treatment in the Maare detention facility, one of the recently established central detention facilities. Two of the detainees there interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that they had been subjected to severe ill-treatment during interrogations. The treatment they described would appear to amount to torture given that it was the deliberate infliction of severe pain for a specific purpose.

“Sameer,” whom the FSA arrested in the beginning of August, told Human Rights Watch:

The FSA fighters who caught me first brought me to their base. I spent a night there, together with one other prisoner. They beat me a lot, with a wooden stick, on the soles of my feet. It lasted for about two hours. First, I refused to confess, but then I had to. Once I confessed, they stopped beating me.

Here [in Maare prison] they interrogated me as well. They beat me again on the soles of my feet, with a stick and a cable, for about 30 minutes. I was on my back, with my feet up in the air, tied. I didn’t deny the charges, but they wanted me to repeat my confession.

Three other detainees said that they had not been subjected to ill-treatment in the Maare prison. These were the first prisoners in Maare Human Rights Watch was allowed to interview in private, after the administration there initially refused. In all three interviews, the detainees appeared apprehensive and reluctant to provide details about their treatment. Human Rights Watch therefore suspects that they had been instructed by those in charge not talk about their experiences. After Human Rights Watch researchers raised this issue with the administration of the facility, the researchers were allowed to talk to two randomly selected detainees, both of whom complained freely of ill-treatment.

Human Rights Watch found that opposition commanders in several places condoned beating detainees on the soles of the feet, a torture method frequently used also by Syrian government forces that is sometimes called falaqa. The head of the Aleppo Governorate Revolutionary Council told Human Rights Watch that the opposition authorities do not execute or torture detainees, but that beating detainees on the soles of the feet was “permissible” because it did not cause injuries. When Human Rights Watch explained that beating on the soles of the feet constitutes torture and is unlawful according to international law, he said that he would provide new instructions to FSA fighters and those in charge of detention facilities that such beating was not permitted.

Two FSA fighters from the Ansar Mohammed battalion in Latakia told Human Rights Watch that they had detained about 40 people after storming a police station in Haffa in June. They said that the battalion leadership and the sheikhs who form the judicial council had provided instructions for treatment of the detainees:

The sheikhs instructed us that we should not severely torture the detainees. We are only allowed to usefalaqa. We can’t hit detainees in the face, on their back, or any other places. Just on the soles of their feet, and only for a total of one hour per day. We use it to make them confess. It usually works.

Human Rights Watch also requested permission from local opposition authorities in Azaz to visit their detention facility and to interview detainees in private. Their refusal raises concern about the treatment of detainees there. Compounding this concern is that members of the Azaz political and military offices provided inconsistent accounts about how many detainees they have in their custody, how long they have been there, and how the staff decides whom to send to the central detention facility in Maare.

Extrajudicial Executions
Human Rights Watch has documented 12 cases of extrajudicial and summary executions by opposition forces.

On July 31, members of the al-Barri family in Aleppo allegedly killed 15 FSA soldiers in clashes in the city of Aleppo. A video posted on YouTube the same day shows people who appear to be FSA fighters executing four members of the al-Barri family.

Two members of the Aleppo Governorate Revolutionary Council confirmed the execution of the four, but claimed that a local judicial council had held a trial and sentenced the four men to death. One of the council members said that 21 other members of the family had been released. A revolutionary council member told Human Rights Watch that there were no records from the trial.

Human Rights Watch has not been able to establish the exact nature of the judicial proceedings or whether they actually took place. However, it would appear impossible that the men received a fair trial by a regularly constituted court considering the circumstances and the haste with which they were tried and executed. Human Rights Watch therefore concluded that these should be considered summary executions.

Human Rights Watch saw another member of the al-Barri family in FSA custody during the funeral procession in Tel Rifat for eight FSA fighters from Tel Rifat who were reportedly killed in the Aleppo city clashes with the al-Barri family on July 31. Local FSA military authorities assured Human Rights Watch that the detainee would be treated well and transferred to the civilian authorities who were in charge of detainees in Tel Rifat. However a witness who attended the burial told Human Rights Watch that other FSA fighters brought the detainee to the graveyard at gunpoint, at which point the witness left.

When he returned later, he saw nine recent graves, although only eight fighters had been buried. Despite repeated requests in the following days by Human Rights Watch to see the detainee, opposition authorities refused. Opposition members refused to explain to Human Rights Watch what had happened to the detainee, but they did not deny allegations that he had been executed.

Two FSA fighters from the Ansar Mohammed battalion in Latakia told Human Rights Watch that four people had been executed after the battalion stormed a police station in Haffa in June 2012.

We killed the two snipers on the roof right away [after they were captured], without any trial. Everybody saw that they had been shooting at us and killing FSA fighters so there was no need for a trial. Two other people detained in the police station were accused of rape and murder. There was a month-long trial and they were also sentenced to death. The girl who was raped identified one of them. They were both shot.

As with the trial of the members of the al-Barri family, Human Rights Watch has not been able to establish the exact nature of the judicial proceedings but the evidence strongly suggests it did not meet international standards. One of the FSA fighters told Human Rights Watch: “We didn’t torture the rapist, but we used the falaqa on him. He had already confessed, but we hit him as a punishment.”

An opposition leader from the town of Der Hafer also told Human Rights Watch that FSA fighters there executed three officers in late August after they were captured, but had no other details about the execution.

Human Rights Watch has also reviewed more than 15 videos on YouTube that appear to show extrajudicial executions of people in the custody of armed opposition groups. The most recent suchvideo was posted on September 10 and shows what appear to be the extrajudicial executions of 21 government soldiers in the city of Aleppo. Human Rights Watch cannot independently confirm the authenticity of these videos.

Human Rights Watch opposes the use of death penalty in all circumstances.

Fair Trial Abuses
Local opposition authorities told us that they have appointed judicial councils that review accusations against detainees and issue sentences. In some towns, these judicial councils relied exclusively onShariaor Islamic law. In other towns, the judicial councils relied on Sharia for civil matters, but still relied on Syrian criminal law for criminal matters.

Human Rights Watch takes no position for or against Sharia or any other system of religious law, but is concerned about preventing and ending human rights abuses in all countries, whatever their basis or legal justification. Under international humanitarian law, only a regularly constituted court meeting international fair trial standards is allowed to hand down sentences.

Under human rights law, certain rights are considered so fundamental that they may not be suspended, even during an emergency. These rights include not only the prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment, but the prohibition on arbitrary detention, specifically the need for judicial review of detention, and the guarantees of a fair trial. Thus, even during an emergency, only courts of law, made up of independent and impartial judges, can try and convict, and people can only be tried for crimes that are set out clearly in the national or international law – and that were crimes at the time of the offense. They also have the right to legal representation and to an opportunity to prepare their defense and challenge all the evidence and witnesses against them.

A member of the Aleppo revolutionary council told Human Rights Watch the judicial councils did not hand down death sentences. This claim, however, is contradicted by the supposed trial and summary execution of four members of the al-Barri family. An international journalist who traveled to Aleppo governorate also told Human Rights Watch that a member of the Aleppo Military Council told her that after trying suspects the council would sentence murderers or rapists to death and execute them.

Human Rights Watch is also concerned that opposition forces seem to be holding some people for extortion or to use in prisoner exchanges. When Human Rights Watch was at the Maare detention facility, the head of the prison called detainees’ families in Human Rights Watch’s presence, informing them that the detainees had been sentenced to a fine and that they would be released if the family paid.

One detainee interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that the FSA had asked him to pay three million Syrian pounds (about US$45,000) to be released, while, he said, others were asked to pay only 200,000. The detainee believed that the amount asked for his release was higher because he came from a town considered to be pro-government. The FSA fighters from Latakia said that they were keeping the 40 prisoners so that they can use them in a prisoner exchange.

Accountability for International Crimes
With respect to people within the control of a belligerent party’s forces, humanitarian law requires the humane treatment of all civilians and combatants who are captured or otherwise not capable of fighting due to injuries or other reasons. It prohibits violence to life and person, particularly murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture.

Serious violations of international humanitarian law can constitute war crimes under international law. These include murder, torture; cruel or degrading treatment and passing sentences or carrying out executions without a judgment by a regularly constituted court that has ensured all the basic rights to a fair trial.

Individuals are criminally responsible for war crimes they commit or are otherwise implicated in, including through aiding and abetting, facilitating, ordering, or planning the crimes. Commanders and civilian leaders may be prosecuted for war crimes committed by their subordinates as a matter of command responsibility when they knew or should have known about the commission of war crimes or serious violations of human rights and took insufficient measures to prevent them or punish those responsible.

International human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), continues to be applicable during armed conflicts. These treaties guarantee everyone their fundamental rights, many of which correspond to the protections afforded under international humanitarian law, including the prohibition on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, nondiscrimination, and the right to a fair trial for those charged with criminal offenses. It also includes the basic freedom from arbitrary detention.

The ban against torture and other ill-treatment is one of the most fundamental prohibitions in international human rights and humanitarian law. Common Article 3 to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, applicable during non-international armed conflicts, requires protecting anyone in custody, including captured combatants and civilians, against “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”

No exceptional circumstances can justify torture. Syria is a party to key international treaties that ban torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under all circumstances, even during recognized states of emergency. These treaties require all states party to them – most countries in the world – to investigate and prosecute, or extradite to face prosecution, anyone within their territory against whom there is evidence of responsibility for torture. When committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population – as part of organizational policy, torture constitutes a crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court.

Extrajudicial and summary executions are serious violations of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law. In situations of armed conflict they constitute war crimes. If they are committed as part of a policy and are widespread or systematic they constitute crimes against humanity.

Most countries are parties to treaties requiring them to arrest and prosecute, or extradite, people in their territory suspected of committing international crimes, including crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearances – wherever they were committed. Crimes against humanity include unlawful killings (including extrajudicial and summary executions), torture, and arbitrary detention when conducted on a widespread or systematic scale as part of state or organizational policy.

The same treaties also require countries to arrest and prosecute, or extradite, those who ordered or assisted such crimes, as well as military or civilian commanders who knew or should have known of such crimes committed by their subordinates and failed to prevent them. Countries are prohibited from issuing amnesties or limitation dates on prosecutions for international crimes meaning that perpetrators who initially avoid prosecution can be pursued for decades to come.

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Gaza: Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, Unfair Trials

Criminal Justice Reforms Urgently Needed
  • The military court in northern Gaza City.
    © 2012 Bill van Esveld/Human Rights Watch
After five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director

(Gaza City) – Palestinians face serious abuses in the Hamas criminal justice system, including arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, torture, and unfair trials. Since it took control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has executed at least three men convicted on the basis of “confessions” apparently obtained under torture.

The 43-page report, Abusive System: Criminal Justice in Gaza,” documents extensive violations by Hamas security services, including warrantless arrests, failure to inform families promptly of detainees’ whereabouts, and subjecting detainees to torture. It also documents violations of detainees’ rights by prosecutors and courts. Military courts frequently try civilians, in violation of international law. Prosecutors often deny detainees access to a lawyer, and courts have failed to uphold detainees’ due process rights in cases of warrantless arrest and abusive interrogations, Human Rights Watch found.

“After five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamas should stop the kinds of abuses that Egyptians, Syrians, and others in the region have risked their lives to bring to an end.”

The Hamas authorities have failed to investigate and prosecute abusive security officials, and have in practice granted impunity from prosecution to officials in the Internal Security service in particular, Human Rights Watch said.

Hamas should urgently reform Gaza’s criminal justice system to end arbitrary arrests, ensure that detainees have prompt access to lawyers, end prosecutions of civilians in military courts, and hold accountable security officials who commit violations, Human Rights Watch said. The executions of people whose confessions were obtained under torture is a clear signal that authorities should immediately impose a moratorium on, if not abolish, the death penalty. Hamas authorities should also promptly, impartially, and thoroughly investigate all credible allegations of abuse in detention.

Human Rights Watch interviewed victims of abuses and their families, lawyers, judges, Palestinian rights groups in Gaza, and reviewed case files and court judgments. Witnesses reported that the Internal Security agency, the drugs unit of the civil police force, and police detectives all torture detainees. The Independent Commission for Human Rights, a non-partisan Palestinian rights group that also monitors Palestinian Authority abuses in the West Bank, reported receiving 147 complaints of torture by these three Hamas forces in 2011 alone.

In one case Human Rights Watch documented, in August 2008, members of Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam brigades, arrested and tortured Abdel Karim Shrair at an unknown location for three weeks before transferring him to the custody of the police, his family and lawyers told Human Rights Watch. The military prosecutor transferred Shrair to the Internal Security agency, where interrogators tortured him again and prevented him from seeing his family for weeks, the family and lawyers said. Shrair’s mother said that when she was finally able to see him, his legs and face were bruised, his feet were swollen, his hands and arms had rope marks, and his chest had burn marks.

The prosecution charged him with collaborating with Israel, in part on the basis of confessions that appear to have been coerced under torture, Human Rights Watch said. His lawyer said that during military court hearings on his case, Shrair had visible bruises and scars and was incontinent. Yet the military courts did not adequately address Shrair’s claims of torture, and held that his arbitrary arrest and detention had been retroactively “corrected” when the al-Qassam brigades transferred him to police custody.

A firing squad executed Shrair in May 2011. His mother said that Hamas authorities had prohibited the family from burying him, and that police beat her when she tried to hold his body during the interment.

In a meeting with Human Rights Watch on September 26, the deputy director of the Internal Security agency, Mohammed Lafi, said that the agency had a complaints department that dealt with allegations of abuses, but that it had not investigated Shrair’s case because it had never received a written complaint. Human Rights Watch had publicly documented the case in May 2011 and asked the authorities for further information in July 2012, but received no response.

In the cases Human Rights Watch examined, the military judiciary did not throw out any criminal cases against detainees because of due process violations, and ignored or failed to investigate credibly detainees’ claims that they had been tortured. Human Rights Watch documented two other cases in which Hamas executed prisoners whom judicial authorities sentenced without adequately reviewing credible claims that their convictions were based on evidence obtained under torture.

Three criminal defense lawyers told Human Rights Watch that they had themselves been arbitrarily arrested by Hamas security forces; two said they were abused or tortured in detention

The authorities in Gaza have allowed the directors of three Palestinian human rights groups ad hoc access to detainees in prisons and at Internal Security detention facilities. Hamas should follow this positive step by ensuring prompt access to detainees by their lawyers, and by regularizing and expanding access to detainees by human rights organizations. The Gaza authorities should also lift their prohibition against access to detainees by the Independent Commission for Human Rights, which Hamas officials have dismissed as biased.

Hamas officials claim to have disciplined hundreds of members of the security services for abuses since the group took power in 2007, but Hamas has not made public details about the officials involved or, in many cases, information about the abuses or punishment involved. In meetings in Gaza on September 24 through 26 with officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, justice, and interior, Human Rights Watch urged the authorities to publish verifiable information about accountability for abuses.

Most of those disciplined were apparently members of the civil police force. Officials in Gaza told Human Rights Watch that members of the Internal Security agency had been disciplined in a few cases. None of the officials said they knew of any criminal prosecutions of Internal Security officials, despite consistent allegations of severe abuse.

Lafi, the deputy Internal Security director, said that four Internal Security officers had been demoted by one rank or a half-rank and transferred elsewhere after the death in custody of Nihad al-Dabaki in February 2009. An internal investigation found that al-Dabaki had died as a result of cold and his poor health, officials said. However, investigations at the time by the Independent Commission for Human Rights stated that its field workers observed “clear marks of torture” on al-Dabaki’s body.

In another case, ‘Adel Razeq died in Internal Security custody in April 2011. Lafi said that after an investigation, the Internal Security agency fired an official who had exceeded his authority by slapping Razeq to rouse him after he had fallen onto a chair and injured himself. However, family members told Human Rights Watch that Razeq’s body had bruises on the head and legs, and broken ribs, that he had been arrested without a warrant, and that they had been unable to meet with him in detention.

Former detainees who alleged they were abused by security services told Human Rights Watch that they despaired of finding justice. Several were afraid to describe what had happened to them in custody, even on condition that their identities would be kept confidential. Some men said they had needed medical care due to torture and sought to obtain medical records as evidence that they had been tortured, but that hospital officials refused to provide them.

Hamas’s rival in the West Bank, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, arrests and detains Palestinians arbitrarily, including Hamas members or sympathizers, and similarly subjects detainees to torture and abuse. The intra-Palestinian political rivalry remains a significant factor behind many Hamas abuses against detainees in Gaza, Human Rights Watch found.

Some of the Gaza abuse cases documented were against people detained on suspicion of collaborating with Israel or the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Collaboration is a serious crime under Palestinian law, but suspicion of collaboration does notjustify torture or other abuse.

Human Rights Watch’s findings are also consistent with increasing reports of abuse by security forces in Gaza against detainees accused of non-political crimes, including people accused of drug offenses and fraud.

Human rights lawyers in Gaza said that they have continued to receive the same kinds of allegations of abuse from victims since Hamas and Fatah announced a political reconciliation in May 2011.

The abusive practices of Hamas’s security services flout human rights norms that Hamas has pledged to uphold, Human Rights Watch said. These practices also violate Palestinian laws that require police to obtain judicial arrest and search warrants, and prohibit torture and the use of evidence obtained under torture.

Hamas grew out of the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Human Rights Watch said that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, whose political arm holds the country’s presidency, should pressure Hamas leaders to end the kinds of abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, that they themselves suffered under former president Hosni Mubarak.

“There is ample evidence that Hamas security services are torturing people in custody with impunity and denying prisoners their rights,” Stork said. “The Gaza authorities should stop ignoring the abuse and ensure that the justice system respects Palestinians’ rights.”

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Anti-war protests this weekend throughout the U.S.


ANSWER Los Angeles anti-war demonstration

October will mark the 11th anniversary of the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan. Contrary to countless state­ments from Democratic and Republican administrations alike claiming “great progress,” etc., the occupy­ing forces are no closer to achieving their aims than when they launched the war. In order to avoid the appearance of defeat, Washington continues to prosecute what is now the longest war in U.S. history—at a very heavy cost.

The Afghan people have suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties. Millions more have been dis­placed. More than 2,700 U.S./NATO troops have been killed and tens of thousands wounded. This year, so-called “green-on-blue” killings—U.S.-trained Afghan military personnel and police shooting U.S./NATO troops—have soared, as have suicides among U.S. soldiers.

It is estimated that the cost of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars will end up totaling more than $4.4 trillion, $4,400,000,000,000! Military spending is devouring the resources so badly needed to provide healthcare, housing, education and jobs. This is a major cause of the shocking fact that today 48 percent of the U.S popula­tion is officially classified as “low-income” or in poverty, and the real number is even higher.

On the weekend of Oct. 6-7, 2012, the ANSWER Coalition will join with many other organizations in cities across the country and around the world to call for an end to war and occupation in Afghanistan, Palestine and Haiti, no new wars against Syria, Iran or any country, fund human needs not militarism, and stop the attacks on civil rights and liberties.

Even as the Afghanistan war drags on, the danger of new wars and interventions is on the rise. The severe sanctions imposed on Iran are already taking a deadly toll due to a lack of life-saving medical sup­plies. The sanctions have also brought a sharp increase in inflation particularly affecting food prices.

The aim of the sanctions on Iran, like the 13-year-long blockade of Iraq from 1990-2003, is to weaken the country by imposing extreme hardship on the people. The sanctions/blockade against Iraq was a con­scious, deliberate crime against humanity that took more than a million lives, half of them children under the age of five.

We must act now to prevent a repeat of this scenario in Iran! Attacking Iran could mean an even larger scale and deadlier war. This is not a settled issue: There is a struggle within U.S. ruling circles over whether or not to launch a new bombing war against Iran. This conflict is not based on one side having a more humanitarian view than the other. The opposition to a new war at the top is based on fears that such a war could lead ultimately to the diminishing of U.S. imperial power in the Middle East and beyond.

The United States, Britain, France and other NATO countries have also imposed sanctions on Syria. There are calls for establishing a “no-fly zone” over the country from elements in Congress and the administration. This could only be accomplished by launching a massive air war against Syria.

It is impossible to wage wars around the world and to maintain a military budget bigger that all other countries combined, without simultaneously carrying out a war against working people here. Speaking about this in 1967,Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home. They destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.

War is good business for the big banks, oil companies and military-industrial corporations, who have also benefited from huge bailouts, subsidies and tax breaks at our expense. But while a tiny fraction of the popu­lation, the one-tenth of the top 1%, has grown obscenely rich in recent years, the vast majority of people are going backwards.

Real hope lies in building a new and powerful people’s movement. The ANSWER Coalition has been dedicated since its founding in September 2001 to building, strengthen­ing and uniting the struggles against war, racism and all forms of bigotry and oppression.

October 6-7 will be an important opportunity to show opposition to the war against working people here and around the world.

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The Real Ottoman Empire


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LMAO!!! US court orders Iran, others to pay $6 b for 9/11 terror attack


A US judge has formally ordered Iran, al-Qaeda and several other defendants to pay $6-billion compensation to the victims of September 11, 2001, in a largely symbolic ruling.

Although Iran denies any connection to 9/11, it was included in the list of alleged culprits by the US District Court in New York, along with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Afghanistan’s Taliban guerrillas and al-Qaeda, which took credit for the massive terror attack.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is also named.

However, the money, awarded for economic, personal and punitive damages for a total of $6,048,513,805, is unlikely to be recovered.

Iran is in a tense standoff with the United States over multiple issues, especially its nuclear industry and alleged plan to build an atomic weapon. Iranian-backed Hezbollah has no relations with the United States.

Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who is also named, was killed by US Navy SEALs in a raid inside Pakistan in 2011. The Taliban are in an active war with US-led troops across Afghanistan.

The ruling caps a series of court decisions prompted by lawsuits filed by families of 47 victims from among the nearly 3,000 killed on 9/11.

Last year, Judge George Daniels signed a judgment in favour of the plaintiffs. A magistrate then calculated the recommended compensation, which Daniels yesterday approved in his ruling.

Bin Laden and al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which hijacked airliners were used to bring down the World Trade Center towers in New York and to crash into the Pentagon near Washington, DC.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan at the time and were giving shelter to al-Qaeda. Iran was blamed by the US court partly because some of the hijackers passed through the country on their way to carrying out the attacks.

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Turkey authorizes military operations in Syria



  • Turkish soldiers stand guard on the Turkish-Syrian border near the Akcakale border crossing, southern Sanliurfa province, October 4, 2012. Turkey’s parliament gave authorisation on Thursday for military operations …
  • Map locates Akcakale, TurkeyMap locates Akcakale, Turkey

AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s Parliament authorized military operations against Syria on Thursday and its military fired on targets there for a second day after deadly shelling from Syria killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.

For its part, Syria admitted it was responsible for the shelling that killed five people in Turkey and formally apologized for the deaths, a top Turkish official said.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said Syria has reassured the U.N. that “such an incident will not occur again.”

The border violence has added a dangerous new dimension to Syria’s civil war, dragging Syria’s neighbors deeper into a conflict that activists say has already killed 30,000 people since an uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March 2011.

Atalay said Parliament’s authorization was not declaration of war on Syria but gives Turkey the right to respond to any future attacks from Syria.

“The bill is not for war,” Atalay said. “It has deterrent qualities.”

Cross-border tensions escalated Wednesday after a shell fired from inside Syria landed on a home in the Turkish village of Akcakale, killing two women and three of their daughters and wounding at least 10 others, according to Turkish media.

The bill Thursday opens the way for unilateral action by Turkey’s armed forces inside Syria without the involvement of Turkey’s Western or Arab allies. Turkey has used a similar provision to repeatedly attack suspected Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq.

Still, Atalay said Turkey’s “main priority” was to “act together with the international community.”

“That is why we called on NATO and the United Nations to take up the issue,” Atalay said.

The NATO military alliance, of which Turkey is a member, met at an emergency session in Brussels and condemned the attack on Turkey. NATO demanded “the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally” and urged the Syrian regime to “put an end to flagrant violations of international law.”

The Turkish response to the shelling was prompt — it fired salvos of artillery rounds deep inside Syria.

Mustafa Guclu, a witness in Akcakale, said the Turkish military fired five rounds of artillery “after midnight” toward Syria and another round around 5 a.m. on Thursday.

“I have not heard any more shelling since then,” he told the Associated Press.

The Syrian mortar shell damaged the door and walls of a house in Akcakale, while shrapnel poked holes and shattered windows of neighboring houses and shops.

Some residents of Akcakale abandoned their homes close to the border and spent the night on the streets. Others gathered outside the mayor’s office, afraid to return to their homes as the dull thud of distant artillery fire rumbled.

Turks have grown weary of the burden of involvement in the Syrian conflict, which includes the hosting of 90,000 Syrian refugees in camps along the border.

Yet Turkey is still loath to go it alone in Syria, and is anxious for any intervention to have the legitimacy conferred by a U.N. resolution or the involvement of a broad group of allies. Turkey is mindful in part of inconclusive ground missions, mostly in the 1990s, against Kurdish guerrillas based in northern Iraq, as well as the bitter lessons of being seen as an occupying power that are associated with the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq.

Reaching deeper into history, Turkey is aware of Mideast sensibilities over Ottoman rule over much of the region.

On a visit to Pakistan on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed his government’s concern over the escalation of tensions.

Lavrov, speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, said Syria has assured Russia, an ally, that such an incident as the shelling that killed the Turks will not happen again.

“It is of great concern for us,” Lavrov said. “This situation is deteriorating with every coming day.”

Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said NATO members agree on the need for solidarity but also on prudence in reacting to events on the Turkish-Syrian border.

The Turkish retaliatory shelling and steps to authorize possible military intervention against Syria were the latest events to sharply escalate tensions between the two former allies.

In June, Turkey reinforced its border with anti-aircraft missiles and threatened to target any approaching Syrian military elements after Syrian forces brought down a Turkish jet, killing its two pilots. Turkey said the plane was in international airspace, countering Syrian claims that it was in Syrian airspace.

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NATO demands halt to Syria aggression against Turkey


NATO demanded an immediate halt to “aggressive acts” against alliance member Turkey on Wednesday after a mortar strike launched from Syria killed five Turkish civilians.

Ambassadors from the alliance’s 28 member nations held an emergency late-night meeting at NATO headquarters, at Turkey’s request, to discuss the strike.

The shelling “constitutes a cause of greatest concern for, and is strongly condemned by, all allies”, the NATO ambassadors said in a statement.

“The alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law,” the statement added.

It said recent aggressive acts by Syria were a “clear and present danger to the security of one of (NATO’s) allies”.

It was a rare meeting under Article 4 of the NATO charter which provides for consultations when one member feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is under threat.

The meeting ended after about 40 minutes with the strong statement of alliance solidarity with Turkey.

Turkey asked for the meeting after a mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in a residential district of the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale, killing a woman and four children from the same family and wounding at least eight other people.

In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey’s armed forces responded by hitting targets inside Syria.


Turkey’s NATO ambassador Haydar Berk briefed the meeting on a number of recent cross-border shelling incidents and also told them of Turkey’s response, which was aimed at military targets in Syria, a NATO diplomat said.

Other ambassadors present condemned the mortar strike from Syria and expressed full solidarity with Turkey, the diplomat said. Most praised Turkey’s restraint, the diplomat said.

A Turkish official in Brussels said Turkey was extremely pleased with the solidarity displayed by NATO allies.

No further NATO meetings on the issue are planned but as it is an Article 4 matter it remains on the alliance’s agenda.

Nobody present at the meeting mentioned Article 5, NATO’s key collective defence principle, which says that an attack against one member state is considered an attack against all, the diplomat said.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said repeatedly that NATO has no intention of intervening in Syria, as it did in Libya last year, but stood ready to defend Turkey, if necessary.

NATO defence ministers are due to meet in Brussels next week. Syria is not on the agenda but diplomats said ministers could choose to raise any subject they wished.

NATO ambassadors held a similar meeting under Article 4, at Turkey’s request, in June after Syria shot down a Turkish military plane.

That meeting was only the second time in NATO’s 63-year history that members had convened under Article 4.

Wednesday’s statement was much tougher than the one issued after the June meeting.

Ambassadors met earlier on Wednesday for a regular meeting, but many of them would have left NATO headquarters for the day and had to be recalled for the late-night meeting.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on NATO demands halt to Syria aggression against Turkey

Turkey fires into Syria after shelling kills five


Turkey’s army fired across the Syrian border yesterday in response to shelling from Syria that killed five people including three children, marking the first Turkish deaths from cross-border fire.

A woman and her three daughters were killed in Akcakale yesterday along with another woman.

Sanliurfa Province Governor Celalettin Guvenc said three or four Syrian shells fell in the border town.

Hundreds of residents marched to the local governor’s office after the incident, demanding the resignation of town authorities, CNN-Turk said.

“Our armed forces units on the border immediately returned fire within rules of engagement, with artillery units hitting targets detected by radar inside Syria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said in a statement. “Turkey will never let such provocations by the regime in Syria go unanswered.”

Syrian leaders have blamed Turkey for aiding rebels who are fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The Turkish government, which hosts about 94,000 Syrian refugees, has allowed some opposition fighters to use the country as a base.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington that “we are outraged” by the attack and called the situation in Syria “very, very dangerous.”

Mrs Clinton said she plans to speak by phone with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu today.


Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have responsibilities in the “face of such an attack on a member country.”

It wasn’t clear what other steps Turkey may be planning.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry convened an emergency meeting over the incident. Mr Davutoglu briefed Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League special envoy, about the matter, NTV said. He also called UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss the incident, the ministry said.

NTV also reported that NATO was to convene “urgently” last night over the shelling in Turkey.

Meanwhile, a series of huge explosions tore through the regime-held heart of Syria’s biggest city yesterday levelling major Aleppo buildings and killing scores of people, many of them soldiers.

At least two and possibly three explosions struck the main Saadallah Jabri Square, the seat of a number of important government buildings, along with two government-owned hotels, a military officers’ club, and a telecoms office.

Syria’s state news agency put the death toll at 34. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 48 people were killed.

“This area was where the regime housed many of its officers, and the hotels were full of its soldiers,” said a resident.

State media said the explosions were caused by suicide car bombers.

There were immediate, competing conspiracy theories about whether the government version of events was true.

Turkey hits targets inside Syria after border deaths

Turkey has renewed firing at targets inside Syria after two women and three children were killed by shelling from across the border on Wednesday.

Several Syrian troops were killed by Turkish fire, a UK-based Syrian activist group said.

Syria says it is investigating the shelling in the town of Akcakale.

The Turkish parliament is discussing authorising troops to cross into Syria. But government sources say Turkey is not planning to declare war on Syria.

Akcakale is a district of southern Sanliurfa province, close to the border with Syria

The last published census in 2000 shows its population stood at just over 77,000

It is just under 50km (31 miles) from the Syrian border town of Tall al-Abyad and about 240 km (150 miles) from Aleppo

The area surrounding the town is known for its archaeological excavations

Sources: Turkish Statistical Institute, Sanliurfa Municipality

A government official said the retaliatory shelling – now in its second day – was only a “warning” to the authorities in Damascus.

The UN Security Council is to meet later, following a Turkish request for the body to take “necessary action” to stop Syrian “aggression”.

Nato has held an urgent meeting to support Turkey, demanding “the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally”.

The US, the UK, France and the European Union have already condemned Syria’s actions.

Russia, which is allied to President Bashar al-Assad’s government, has asked Damascus to acknowledge officially that the cross-border attack was “a tragic accident” which will not happen again.

In Syria itself as many as 21 members of Syria’s elite Republican Guards have been killed in an explosion and firefight in the Qudsaya district of Damascus, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the BBC.

‘Abominable attack’

Turkish security officials said Turkey resumed artillery strikes on Syria early on Thursday, targeting the Tall al-Abyad district, some 10km (six miles) inside the Syrian border.

Turkey’s shelling of Syrian positions and its calling of an emergency meeting of Nato ambassadors represent a final warning to the authorities in Damascus – a signal that Turkey’s patience has worn thin and that President Bashar al-Assad can expect an increasingly robust response if Turkish territory is fired upon again.

Nato gave strong backing to the Ankara government, just as it did back in June when Syrian forces downed a Turkish reconnaissance jet.

But the early signs are that both Ankara and Damascus have no desire for a protracted conflict. Public opinion in Turkey has not sought Turkish intervention in Syria – though this could change with repeated shelling of Turkish soil.

And President Assad already has enough problems. But the incident inevitably fuels the growing fears of a spill-over of the Syrian crisis into a broader regional conflict.

Turkey’s territory has been hit by fire from Syria on several occasions since the uprising against Mr Assad began, but Wednesday’s incident was the most serious.

Ankara’s response marks the first time it has fired into Syria during the 18-month-long unrest there.

The office of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey would “never leave unanswered such kinds of provocation by the Syrian regime against our national security”.

Parliament in Ankara is meeting in an emergency session in response to a government request for the military to be authorised to launch cross-border operations.

Akcakale has been fired on several times over the past few weeks.

Residents have been advised to stay away from the border, and more than 100 schools have been closed in the region because of the violence in neighbouring Syria.

Syrian government forces are attempting to cut rebel supply routes by winning back the border crossing at Tall al-Abyad which the rebels seized last month.

Turkey’s parliament is debating cross-border operations against Syria

Syria’s Information Minister Omran Zoabi offered Damascus’s “sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to our friends the Turkish people”.

Without admitting the shelling, Mr Zoabi said: “The border with Turkey is long, illegal arms trafficking takes place along the border and armed groups move along the border.”

Syria, he said, respected the sovereignty of neighbouring countries.

Wednesday’s attack is believed to be only the second time that people have died as a result of violence spilling over the border from Syria into Turkey.

Two Syrian nationals were killed on Turkish soil in April by stray bullets fired from Syria.

Hillary Clinton “We are outraged”

The BBC’s Jim Muir in Lebanon says Ankara is not interested in a confrontation and will keep its retaliation to a minimum.

The Turkish armed forces have in the past moved into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish militants who had bases there.

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Lest we forget–Mossad training terrorists to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials claim… but is Israel’s real target Obama?


Israel funding dissident People’s Mujahedin of Iran, say officials in Tehran

U.S. officials confirmed today that Israel has been funding and training Iranian dissidents to assassinate nuclear scientists involved in Iran’s nuclear program.

The claim has already been levelled by the Iranian government who believed that Mossad, Israel’s secret service, have been arming dissidents with the terrorist organisation the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).

Last month Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, 32, a chemistry expert, was killed in a brazen daylight assassination when two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car in Tehran.

Thousands of mourners chanted ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’ as the coffin of chemical engineer Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, 32, was carried through the streets of Tehran

Washington insiders confirmed there is a close relationship between Mossad and MEK, according to NBC, but said the U.S. was not involved.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told NBC: ‘Israel does not have direct access to our society. Mujahedin, being Iranian and being part of Iranian society, they have… places to get into the touch with people.

‘So I think they are working hand-to-hand very close. And we do have very concrete documents.’

At one point, Mr Larijani claimed Mossad had built a replica home of an Iranian scientist so assassins could get to know the layout before they carried out an assassination.

MEK denied involvement while the Israel Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

A spokesperson for The National Council of Resistance of Iran, of which MEK is the largest member, also denied the claim, saying: ‘The claim that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) had any role in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and the claim of the PMOI/MEK cooperation with Mossad is a total lie and there is not event a scintilla of truth in it.

‘The National Council of Resistance of Iran has repeatedly denied the baseless allegation of playing a role in the assassination of nuclear scientists, whose primary source has been the propaganda organs of the clerical regime and the regime’s officials.’

In an address yesterday, Israeli president Shimon Peres referred to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Assassinated: Ahmadi-Roshan’s car is taken away for examination after he was killed

He addressed the Iranian people, saying: ‘We were not born enemies and there is no need for us to live as enemies. Do not allow the flags of hostility to cast a dark shadow on your heritage.

‘You are a sensitive people that aspire to friendship and peace, not conflict and wars.’

However there have been suggestions that Israel’s focus on Iran might really be a cover for destabilising President Obama’s administration in Washington.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said publicly last month that he believed that an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities might be welcomed by the people of the country.

President Obama reiterated his view in an interview earlier this week that the increasing tension with Iran over the country’s nuclear program could be resolved peacefully through talks. However he did also say that a range of options were available.

According to, Netanyahu’s statements were to paint Obama as ‘weak’ on Middle Eastern issues and undermine the President’s second run for the White House.

Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan’s death was the latest in a string of attacks on Iranian scientists.

Mr Roshan, who was a chemical engineer and reportedly worked on procurement for the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, was killed with his driver by a motorcycle assassin in rush-hour traffic.

The killing of Mr Roshan in January bore a strong resemblance to earlier killings of scientists working on the Iranian nuclear programme.

His funeral in Tehran several days later saw the ruling clergy stir the crowd of thousands of mourners who had gathered into a frenzy, urging the public to face down Western and Israeli threats against Iran’s nuclear programme.

They chanted ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’ as the coffin was hoisted high and carried through the streets.

Several scientists have been killed or injured in the past two years and others have also been attacked or allegedly kidnapped – with Iran blaming the west.

In June 2009, Shahram Amiri claimed to have been kidnapped while on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and transferred to the U.S. where he said he was offered $50million to ‘spread lies’ about Iran’s nuclear work. He returned to Iran in July 2010.

War of words: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) has made veiled threats over Iran’s nuclear program while Obama (right) has repeatedly said the issue can be resolved peacefully

In January 2010, nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was killed by remote-controlled bomb in Tehran while in November, two car bomb blasts killed a nuclear scientist and wounded another in the capital.

Physicist Darioush Rezai, 35, was shot dead by gunmen in eastern Tehran last July after being linked to the nuclear program.

The People’s Mujahedin, also known as MEK, MKO and PMI, has been named a terror organisation both by the U.S. and Iran.

It was accused of being responsible for the deaths of American servicemen and citizens in the 1970s and 80s.

Israel, thought to hold the Middle East’s only atomic weapons, has warned Iran in the past against pursuing its nuclear research and development.

Iran has accused Israel’s Mossad, the CIA and Britain’s spy agencies of engaging in an underground ‘terrorism’ campaign against nuclear-related targets, including at least three killings since early 2010 and the release of a malicious computer virus that temporarily disrupted controls of some centrifuges – a key component in nuclear fuel production.

All three countries have denied the Iranian accusations.

The U.S. and its allies are pressuring Iran to halt uranium enrichment, a key element of the nuclear programme that the West suspects is aimed at producing atomic weapons.

Uranium enriched to low levels can be used as nuclear fuel but at higher levels, it can be used as material for a nuclear warhead.
Iran denies it is trying to make nuclear weapons, saying its programme is for peaceful purposes only.

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