Archive | March 28th, 2014

Exclusive interview with the ‘locked-up’ Saudi princesses


We are cut off, isolated and aloneImprisoned Saudi princesses blame their father King Abdullah as their mother calls on Obama to help free them

  • Alanoud AlFayez, 57, appealed to Obama on Thursday as he prepares to visit Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah
  • AlFayez was once married to the king but fled to London after he divorced her in 2003
  • The women and their mother say they’re being starved and physically and psychologically abused


Two Saudi Princesses who claim to have been imprisoned by their father for 13 years have told how they are ‘cut off, isolated and alone’ after their mother called on President Obama to help set them free.

Princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38, whose mother is divorced from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, say they are effectively being held under house arrest in the royal compound in Jeddah.

They claim they are not allowed to travel or even leave their home and that the internet is their only window onto the world.

Prisoners: Princesses Sahar and Jawaher said they are, in effect, being held under house arrest in the royal compound in Jeddah

Prisoners: Princesses Sahar and Jawaher said they are, in effect, being held under house arrest in the royal compound in Jeddah

In an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News, the princesses told how security has been tightened since they went public with their story two weeks ago and they are no longer even allowed to make trips with armed guards for food, as they had been previously.

Speaking to Channel 4 via Skype, they blamed the King for their situation and even claimed to be running out of food.

Princess Sahar says: ‘This is a risk we’re taking, we’re happy to do it, we understand full well the repercussions, but we don’t know what’s going to happen.’

The Princesses say their sisters Maha and Hala are also being held in the Royal compound in separate villas.

Campaign: The women's mother wanted Obama to raise her daughters' plight during his visit to the King, above

Campaign: The women’s mother wanted Obama to raise her daughters’ plight during his visit to the King, above

‘Locked up’ Saudi princesses give a message to Barack Obama

It follows a plea from their mother Alanoud AlFayez, 57, to Obama for help freeing her four adult daughters she says have been held in a Saudi royal palace against their will for over a decade.

‘Mr Obama should take this opportunity to address these grave violations committed against my daughters,’ said AlFayez.

AlFayez, who has lived in London since Abdullah divorced her in 2003, said her ex-husband’s treatment of their daughters has worsened lately after 13 years in confinement.

She told AFP that their already rare trips outside to buy food and medicine for themselves and their pets have now stopped.

‘Since 13 years, my daughters Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher are being held captive,’ AlFayez said. ‘They need to be saved and released immediately.’

AlFayez has written to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to say that her daughters are ‘imprisoned, held against their will, cut off from the world’.

Separated: Al Fayez fled to London and her daughters are being kept isolated from each other in the palace

Separated: Al Fayez fled to London and her daughters are being kept isolated from each other in the palace

Fall from grace: The King's ex-wife Al Fayez with their four children who, as adults, say they are being held hostage

Fall from grace: The King’s ex-wife Al Fayez with their four children who, as adults, say they are being held hostage

Red carpet: President Obama is greeted after arriving in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia aboard Air Force One

Red carpet: President Obama is greeted after arriving in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia aboard Air Force One

President Obama talks to Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud after arriving at Rawdat Khurayim, the monarch's desert camp 60 miles northeast of Riyadh

President Obama talks to Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud after arriving at Rawdat Khurayim, the monarch’s desert camp 60 miles northeast of Riyadh

President Obama, accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry,  are greeted upon their arrival at Rawdat al-Khraim Desert Camp for the meeting with the Saudi king

President Obama, accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, are greeted upon their arrival at Rawdat al-Khraim Desert Camp for the meeting with the Saudi king

Obama paid a visit to Saudi King Abdullah’s desert oasis at the end of a weeklong, four-country trip.

The aging monarch has been nervously watching Washington’s negotiations with Iran and other U.S. policy developments in the Middle East. .

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Exclusive interview with the ‘locked-up’ Saudi princesses

House, Senate Agree on $1 Billion Ukraine Aid Bill

Bills Still Need to Be Reconciled Before Going to Obama
by Jason Ditz

With overwhelming votes of 399-19 and 98-2, the US House of Representatives and Senate both passed bills approving $1 billion in aid for the Ukraine interim government. The two Senate dissenters were Rand Paul (R – KY) and Dean Heller (R – NV).

The aid will primarily come in the form of loan guarantees for Kiev, which is also getting larger loan guarantees from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Both Sens. Heller and Paul said that with Ukraine’s debt overwhelmingly owed to Russia the bills were tantamount to promising to pay back Russia.

Clearing the House and Senate, the next step is reconciling the two bills, which are similar but not identical.  The House bill includes $10 million in funding for pro-US media coverage in Ukraine.

The Senate has also agreed to drop a provision calling for IMF reforms, something the House bill did not have. President Obama is expected to sign the bill as soon as it clears reconciliation.

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on House, Senate Agree on $1 Billion Ukraine Aid Bill

IMF Agrees to $27 Billion Ukraine Bailout


Ukraine Parliament Agrees to Demanded Reforms

by Jason Ditz

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to a $27 billion bailout of the Ukraine over the next two years, including $14-$18 billion of “standby credit” for the interim government there.

The IMF had conditioned the bailout on Ukraine agreeing to myriad reforms and austerity measures, which were initially rejected by Ukraine’s parliament but later approved.

The reforms include major cuts to energy subsidies, meaning a 50% increase in the price of natural gas is coming in May and a 40% increase in electricity prices will be coming later in the summer.

Ukraine’s government is deeply in debt, with large amounts of it owed to Russian energy companies. Ukraine’s interim PM Arseniy Yaysenyuk has promised a major overhaul of the Ukrainian economy with IMF assistance.

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Qatar Announces $23 Billion Arms Purchase

Deal Includes Attack Helicopters From Both US, France
by Jason Ditz

Amid recent acrimony with Saudi Arabia and other members of the GCC, Qatar has announced $23 billion in arms contracts today, including massive orders of attack helicopters from both Boeing and Airbus.

In addition to the attack helicopters, Qatar is purchasing weapons from other US arms dealers like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, including Patriot missile defense systems and “other weapons.”

Though officials downplayed the significance of the announcement, it comes just one day before President Obama’s scheduled visit to Riyadh to meet with the Saudi King, and with Saudi Arabia and Qatar harshly at odds, it’s sure to be at least mentioned during the talks.

All of the GCC nations spend huge portions of their budgets on arms purchases, using their vast oil revenue to buy extremely modern weaponry despite none of the nations having any significant wars on the horizon. The purchases are often used by leaders to prove their own power, and with the Obama Administration so interested in increasing weapons exports, the US has been only too willing to provide them with pricey new arms.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Qatar Announces $23 Billion Arms Purchase

Obama Paints Crimea Secession as Worse than Iraq War

Insists US ‘Sought to Work Within the System’
by Jason Ditz

With fully one Ukrainian soldier confirmed dead and several others wounded in myriad clashes, world leaders seem agreed that the Russian annexation of Crimea is the worst thing to happen within their collective memories. Then someone, likely just to bum everyone out, brought up Iraq.

Speaking in Brussels today, President Obama went on a lengthy diatribe about how the decade-long US occupation of Iraq, which left roughly a million people dead and the entire region awash in al-Qaeda factions, was nowhere near as bad a thing as Crimea.

“America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory,” Obama insisted, going on to praise Iraq as a “fully sovereign state” that “could make decisions about its own future.”

Which is to say the US forced a puppet government into power before it left, despite Prime Minister Maliki losing the last election, and put in place an election system so crooked that even the Maliki-appointed election commission resigned en masse yesterday rather than take part in April’s planned vote.

The US left Iraq, but the war did not, and even today the US is throwing military aid at the nation in ever-increasing numbers to fight off al-Qaeda, which has seized significant chunks of the country.

Obama went on to praise the “vigorous debate” which surrounded the US invasion of Iraq, which mostly centered on the Bush Administration lying about the “threat” until they invaded.

The Russian annexation of Crimea is indeed apples and oranges to the US occupation of Iraq, in that Russia acquired a small peninsula populated mostly by ethnic Russians with few casualties involved, and the US obliterated the nation of Iraq in the bloodiest war of the current century, killing enormous numbers of people and accomplishing virtually nothing before meandering off in search of new dragons to slay.

Posted in USA, Russia, UkraineComments Off on Obama Paints Crimea Secession as Worse than Iraq War

Zio-Nazi Soldier supposedly stabbed by Arabs admits story made up





An Israeli army soldier admitted to police that he was not stabbed by a group of young Arabs on Thursday in Jerusalem, but instead fell, contrary to his first version of events.

Earlier it was reported that the soldier’s alleged Arab assailants fled the scene in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev after stabbing him in the leg and lightly wounding him.

Police believed the attack was nationalistically motivated and launched a search for the attackers. But around noon the soldier told interrogators that he made the story up.

On Thursday night a Border Police post near Qalandiyah was fired upon. No one was injured.

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U.S., Europe looking at possible sanctions against Russian energy



(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States and Europe were in discussions over possible sanctions against Russia’s energy sector, should Moscow move deeper into Ukraine.


“What we are now doing is coordinating around the potential for additional, deeper sanctions should Russia move forward and engage in further incursions into Ukraine,” Obama told a news conference after meeting top European Union officials in Brussels.

“I think energy is obviously a central focus of our efforts and we have to consider it very strongly.”

Obama also urged the EU to work towards diversifying its energy sources, in addition to asking Washington for help to offset any shortfalls from Russia.

“I think it is useful for Europe to look at its own energy assets as well as how the United States can supply additional energy assets.”

Posted in USA, Russia, UkraineComments Off on U.S., Europe looking at possible sanctions against Russian energy

Obama tells EU to do more to cut reliance on Russian gas


By Robin Emmott and Jan Strupczewski


By Robin Emmott and Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama told the European Union on Wednesday it cannot rely on the United States alone to reduce its dependency on Russian energy, as relations with Moscow chill over its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

Speaking on a visit to Brussels to discuss trade relations and the Ukraine crisis, Obama said concluding a new transatlantic trade pact, now under negotiation, would make it easier for Washington to license more gas exports.

The EU relies on Russia for about a third of its oil and gas, and tensions with Moscow have heightened concerns among its 28 members about the security of their energy supplies. Some 40 percent of that gas is shipped through Ukraine.

They have already stepped up efforts to reduce reliance on Russia but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she supported asking Obama to relax restrictions on exports of U.S. gas.

“Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licences for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical environment,” Obama told a news conference after meeting EU leaders, adding that it could not happen overnight.

U.S. President Barack Obama meets EU leadersPlay video

U.S. President Barack Obama meets EU leaders

During a 65-minute lunch, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso pressed Obama to step up U.S. gas exports, but he responded bluntly in telling the Europeans they needed to take politically difficult steps to develop their own resources.

EU ambassador to Washington Jose Vale de Almeida quoted Obama as telling them: “You cannot just rely on other people’s energy, even if it has some costs, some downside,” in a clear reference to opposition in parts of the EU on environmental grounds to nuclear power and the extraction of shale gas.

The issue will also be discussed next week at a special meeting of EU and U.S. energy ministers, officials said.

The United States is well on its way to becoming self-sufficient in energy and reducing its industrial production costs because it has allowed large scale use of controversial fracking techniques to tap shale gas.

France and Bulgaria ban fracking and other EU countries such as Britain and Poland face protests.

A worker checks wires in front a gas pipe before the …
A worker checks wires in front of a gas pipe before the launch ceremony for the construction of the…

In the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, EU governments and the Obama administration see a deep and broad free-trade deal as the best way to create jobs, removing burdens and customs duties on businesses.

But eight months into the talks, public hostility has grown towards the idea of unfettered transatlantic commerce, while negotiators remain far apart on many issues.

Reports of the scale of U.S. National Security Agency spying in Europe have combined with concerns about the potential damage to food safety and the environment under a free-trade pact.

Obama said he had campaigned all his career for consumer rights and environmental protection and would not be party to an agreement that lowered standards. Protesters were reacting to distorted rumors around the trade talks, he said.

In both the United States and Europe, unions worry about job losses or reductions in working standards, and say a trade pact will serve the interests only of multinational companies.

U.S. President Obama, European Council President Van …
U.S. President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (C) and European Commissio …


Obama began his visit to Belgium by visiting the Flanders Field American war cemetery, visiting the graves of some of the 368 U.S. service members, most killed during World War One.

His visit and the symbolism of transatlantic unity had added resonance at a time when tensions in Europe are running high because of Russia’s military occupation and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

“This hallowed ground reminds us that we must never, ever take our progress for granted. We must commit perennially to peace, which binds us across oceans,” Obama said.

If there were any doubts about the EU-U.S. relationship after last year’s revelations of the scale of Washington’s spying on its allies, Obama planned to assuage them later in the day, in a speech to some 2,000 guests, before leaving for Rome.

U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a EU-US summit …
U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a EU-US summit in Brussels March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Yves He …

National Security Agency eavesdropping on Europeans’ emails and mobile phones was mentioned only briefly at the joint news conference, with Van Rompuy welcoming Obama’s initiatives to curb excesses by U.S. intelligence services and to reach a balanced data protection agreement with the EU by this summer.

During Obama’s visit to The Hague this week, the United States and Germany, France, Britain and Italy, along with Japan and Canada, warned Russia that it faced damaging economic sanctions if it took further action to destabilize Ukraine.

Obama reiterated the threat in Brussels and said governments in Washington and Europe were discussions possible measures against Russia’s energy sector, a lifeline of its economy.


The European Union and the United States already trade almost $3 billion in goods and services each day and, by intensifying economic ties, the pact could create a market of 800 million people where business could be done freely.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Belgium's King Philippe …
U.S. President Barack Obama (L), Belgium’s King Philippe (2nd R) and Belgium’s Prime Ministe …

Politicians on both sides say a trade pact encompassing almost half the world’s economy could generate $100 billion in additional economic output a year on both sides of the Atlantic and set the standards for global business before China does.

About 50 campaigners against a deal protested outside the European Parliament on Wednesday, wearing giant Obama masks and waving banners reading ‘No GMO (genetically modified organisms) in our food’.

“What is at stake is the safety of our food and the environment,” said EU lawmaker Philippe Lamberts, a member of the Belgian Green party.

“Worse, this trade deal is an instrument to allow big companies to do as they wish and trample legislation or write it themselves with lobbyists.”

Inside the negotiating rooms, other difficult issues include removing customs duties that cost companies billions of dollars each year, particularly automakers such as Ford and Volkswagen.

Washington and Brussels have been at odds over an initial exchange of offers to open up markets and cut tariffs, with each saying the other has not been ambitious enough.

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Kosher theft? Palestine and Crimea compared


By Jamal Kanj

At a 19 March UN Security Council discussion, US Ambassador Samantha Powers was quoted as saying: “A thief can steal property, but that does not confer the right of ownership on the thief.”

Listening to her powerful condemnation of the Russian action in the Crimea, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was a conviction or an ex-talented writer’s rhetorical speech. A thief should be condemned – irrespective of whether the thief is a friend or foe. I would add to the otherwise accurate statement that a thief-enabler should be castigated too.

Let’s for the sake of argument agree with Ms Powers’ assessment, which described as “theft” Russian support for the “overwhelming” wishes of 96 per cent of voters.

Queen of thieves

Using the same parallels, how about Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights? It is this thief which Ms Powers supports at the UN Security Council to expropriate occupied land to build Jews-only homes.

Unlike the apparent “democratic” vote in Crimea, Israel did not bother to seek the opinion of non-Jews when it decided to annex occupied territories. In relative terms, Israel received next to naught support from people in the annexed areas. Comparatively and using the ambassador’s gauge, Israel must be the queen of thieves.

Crimea’s population is made up of 70 per cent Russians, 16 per cent Ukrainians and 14 per cent Tatars. It is a historical fact that Crimea was part of Russia until the defunct Soviet Union bestowed it to Ukraine in 1954. Russia did not transplant new ethnic population; it did not create “Russian-only” roads nor built “Russian only” colonies to benefit one race or ethnic group.

Israel did all that. What does Israel have to do with all this, one might ask.

Subsidizing land theft

The US ambassador – married to Cass Sunstein, a major fundraiser for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) – calls the “overwhelming vote” in Crimea a theft. This is despite the fact that her administration annually finances Israeli robbery with more than 3 billion dollars from unsuspecting US taxpayers’ money to transplant new ethnic population into illegally seized land.

Even more, the US has officially “legitimized” theft under a euphemism called exchange of 1967 stolen Palestinian land with 1948 stolen Palestinian territories.

It is the abhorrent “theft” which Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, described on 21 March as “unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing”.

Bottomless hypocrisy

Western political hypocrisy is bottomless. When the resettled British subjects voted on the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), British Prime Minister David Cameron called on the world to respect the overwhelming vote by all “the (1,518) Falkland Islanders” who “have spoken so clearly about their future, and now other countries right across the world, I hope, will respect and revere this very, very clear result”.

The heir of the empire that transplanted Western Zionism in Palestine might have forgotten that there are more than 2,000 x 1,518 human beings from its old colony, still denied the right to vote on their future in the West Bank and Gaza. And the country that denies them this right is supported by Cameron’s government.

How about the theft in Kosovo, South Sudan and East Timor? Or was that also anotherkosher/Robin Hood style theft?

Look for the AIPAC hand whenever the US gets embroiled in a foreign policy debacle. Zionist agents will engender conflict and continue riding the American wagon – as it rode the German and the British before – until the US becomes useless.

Then they will jump on the next world power wagon.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Kosher theft? Palestine and Crimea compared

Dirty Zionist Samantha Power to Richard Falk–Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to Richard Falk–Don’t let the door hit you on the way out



Richard Falk’s term as a U.N. human rights investigator “tarnished” the body’s reputation and the United States is looking forward to his imminent departure, U.S. envoy Samantha Power said.

Power said it was Falk’s incessant focus on Israel and the Palestinians that caused the blot on the U.N.’s record.

“His publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the U.N.’s reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the Human Rights Council,” Power told Reuters in a statement on Monday, referring to the Geneva-based U.N. affiliate which appointed Falk to the position. “The United States welcomes Mr. Falk’s departure, which is long overdue.”

Reuters quoted U.N. officials in Geneva as saying that Falk would not stay beyond May 1, when his term lapses.

In her statement, Power cited Falk’s “relentless anti-Israeli bias” and “his noxious and outrageous perpetuation of 9/11 conspiracy theories.”

Among Falk’s many controversial statements, he has accused Israel of “slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian Holocaust,” has called for more serious consideration of conspiracy theories of the Sept. 11 2001 terrorist attacks that posit U.S. government involvement, and has called for the silencing of U.N. Watch, a group that is among his most dogged of critics.

Falk did not respond to a JTA request for comment posted on his blog.

Power in her statement to Reuters also decried the Human Rights Council’s bias.

“It is beyond absurd that the only country that has a standing place on the Human Rights Council’s agenda is not Syria, not North Korea, and not Iran, but Israel,” she said.

A U.S. official confirmed the Reuters report and said the Obama administration would continue to defend Israel in the United Nations.

“The United States will continue to fight against unfair attacks on Israel throughout the U.N.-system,” the official, who asked not to be named, told JTA. “We will also continue to chip away at obstacles that prevent Israel’s full participation across the U.N.”

The official noted Israel’s recent inclusion in a regional group and a human rights caucus at the United Nations as achievements of U.S. advocacy.

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