Archive | December 21st, 2014

Saving the ICC from African thugtators

NOVANEWS
Alemayehu G. Mariam
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta
When an African president accused of multiple crimes against humanity walks out of court by orchestrating an unprecedented and audacious obstruction of justice, it is not just a flagrant denial of justice to the thousands of victims. It is an outrage against all humanity. It is an affront to the rule of law. It is the triumph of injustice.

It is a dark and gloomy month on the “Dark Continent”! It is the worst of times in Africa when a man in the highest political office accused of egregious crimes against humanity waltzes out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) grinning like a Cheshire cat and flipping the bird to Lady Justice. It’s a good thing she is blindfolded!

On March 8, 2011, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s founding father and first president, was charged by the ICC Prosecutor with five counts of crimes against humanity in connection with the post-election violence that occurred in Kenya in late December 2007. According to the ICC indictment, Kenyatta, at the time a government minister, planned, financed, and coordinated the violence perpetrated against ethnic opponents of his ruling party. Kenyatta is accused of using the “Mungiki organization” (“Kenyan mafia”) to direct murders, deportations, rapes and other forms inhumane acts of persecution. An estimated 1200 persons lost their lives in that violence and nearly 700 thousand were displaced. All the charges against Kenyatta were confirmed by the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II in January 2012.

On December 5, 2014, the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, threw in the towel. She filed a notice with the ICC withdrawing allegations against Kenyatta, effectively dismissing the charges. Bensouda accused the Kenyan government of harassing and intimidating prospective witnesses, the principal reason for the withdrawal of charges. She explained, “Given the state of the evidence in this case, I have no alternative but to withdraw the charges against Mr Kenyatta. I am doing so without prejudice to the possibility of bringing a new case should additional evidence become available.” Bensouda was self-consoling, “Today is a dark day for international criminal justice. Be that as it may, it is my firm belief that today’s decision is not the last word on justice and accountability for the crimes that were inflicted on the people of Kenya in 2007 and 2008, crimes that are still crying out for justice.”

In an official statement, Kenyatta feigned outrage. “There is no justice when human rights clubs and an international tribunal conspire to betray victims of human rights abuses and persecute the innocent. The tragedy of this travesty is beyond words.” He triumphantly declared, “One down, two to go.” (referring to his deputy and co-defendant William Ruto and radio disk-jockey Joshua arap Sang who are facing similar charges). Is it likely that Ruto and Sang will also get away with murders, rapes and other crimes against humanity at the ICC? Could it be that what is good for Tweedle Dee Kenyatta must also be good for Tweedle Dums Ruto and Sang? In time, they too will walk. To add infamy to insult and injury, Kenyatta’s lawyer had the gall to demand an “apology” from the ICC Prosecutor “for bringing proceedings based upon false witnesses and impugning [Kenyatta’s] integrity”. Such is the utter depraved audacity of criminals against humanity and their defenders.

Of course, nobody bothered to ask the tens of thousands of survivors of the 2007 massacres – the poor and dispossessed men, women and children of the towns of Kibera, Kisumu, Naivasha, and Nakuru and elsewhere – who awaited justice for years how they felt about Kenyatta’s flimflamming of the ICC. The powers that be do not give a damn about the thousands of helpless, powerless and defenseless Kenyan victims of crimes against humanity. For the powers that be, it’s all about mind over matter. They don’t mind, and the victims don’t matter.

When a president of an African country accused of multiple counts of crimes against humanity walks out of court by orchestrating and choreographing an unprecedented and audacious obstruction of justice (witness intimidation, stonewalling, sandbagging, firewalling and whitewashing evidence), it is not just a flagrant denial of justice to thousands of human rights abuse victims in Kenya, it is an outrage against all humanity; it is an affront to the rule of law. It is a triumph of injustice in Africa.

I TOLD YOU… I TOLD YOU KENYATTA WAS GOING TO WALK!

I just hate to say it. But I told you. “I done told you! I told you Kenyatta was gonna walk, slide right out of the International Criminal Court dancing the Watusi. I just knowed it!”

In April 2014 when I wrote my commentary, “Saving the ICC: A Proposal for a Witness Protection Program”, I knew Kenyatta was going to walk. I had smelled a rat earlier in January. By April the stench was stinking the high heavens. That’s when I threw in the towel. It was obvious to me Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta would never face trial at the ICC.

I sympathize with the ICC Prosecutor and the ICC. They have been feeling a lot of heat behind the scenes from the powers that be. After all, Kenyatta is a “sitting president”. The ICC, the ICC Prosecutor, the U.N. Security Council and the West in general have been incinerated by inflammatory “race hunting” and “neocolonialism” charges leveled against them by some African “leaders”. Since the middle of 2013, a number of African “leaders” have been beating the drums of racism against the ICC, the U.N. Security Council and the West to divert attention from Kenyatta’s crimes against humanity.

Hailemariam Desalegn, the ceremonial prime minister of Ethiopia and rotational chairman of the African Union (AU), went on the warpath scandalizing the ICC and the ICC Prosecutor for organizing an African safari to “race hunt” black African leaders. It was in stark contrast to the ludicrous and hyperbolic rants of the senile, buffoonish but original thugster Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who in 2003 said: “I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold. Ten times Hitler, that is what we stand for.” Mugabe is proud to be an “African Aryan.” Hailemariam is fleeing from the “Great White Race Hunter”. How ironic!

In a last ditch effort to blackmail the ICC, Hailemariam and his accomplices at the AU tried to orchestrate a mass walkout on the Rome Statute (the international legal authority which allows the ICC to try criminals against humanity) at a special summit of the African Union in October 2013. In other words, they had planned on dumping the ICC in Africa. It was an iconic moment of shame for Africa and its “leaders”. They gathered in Addis Ababa in a pathetic spectacle like panicked prey fleeing a stalking predator (race hunter) seeking safety in numbers. They huffed and puffed, ranted and raved against the “race hunting” ICC on a safari in Africa. In the end, the threatened “mass treaty-cide” brinksmanship flopped.

A SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION OF KENYATTA WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME

I have followed with considerable interest the ICC cases against the various Kenyan defendants involved in the 2007 post-election massacres. I have keenly followed the cases of Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and the radio disk-jockey Joshua arap Sang (also charged with various counts of crimes against humanity). I have read hundreds of pages of trial transcripts in the Ruto/Sang trials and viewed delayed video transmissions of some of the proceedings. I have read a considerable number of commentaries and newspaper reports on these defendants. I have also extensively commented on the Kenyatta/Ruto cases in my weekly “Monday Commentaries”.

Why am I so keenly interested in a successful prosecution of these suspected criminals against humanity? To put it more bluntly, why am I so pissed off like a squirrel with a frozen pine cone about the “withdrawal of charges” against Kenyatta and likely dismissal of the cases against Ruto and Sang? The answer to these questions goes back to another post-election massacre in Ethiopia in 2005.

On May 16, 2005, one day after the election, the late Meles Zenawi declared a state of emergency in Ethiopia after it became clear that oppositon parties had routed his party at the polls. Meles took personal command of the armed and security forces and sidelied the capital’s police with “federal police” and SWAT-type special units. He outlawed all public gatherings. Meles authorized his troops to use deadly force against any and all protesters.

In 2006, an Inquiry Commission established by Meles himself pointed an accusatory finger solely at him for the deaths of 193 unarmed protesters and life-threateing gunshot injury to nearly 800 others. The actual number of casualties at the hands of regime troops in the post-2005 election is much higher, but the Commission’s report covers only designated dates and locations.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Living comfortably in America, I was unaffected by the Meles Massacres. When I became fully aware of the horrifying scope of the Meles Massacres in 2006, I was beyond outrage. I was “mad as the vexed sea”, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare.

At the time, there were two critical questions uppermost in my outraged mind: 1) Should I speak out or turn a blind eye, deaf ears and muted lips to the Meles Massacres? 2) What should and must be done about the Meles Massacres?

My response to the first question was purely moral: I could not shut up and turn a blind eye to the Meles Massacres. I resolved the moral thing for me to do is to speak up and speak loudly and as often as possible to publicize Meles’ Massacres and his partners’ crimes against humanity before the court of world opinion. That I have done unflinchingly since 2006.

On the second question, I believed all responsible persons for the Meles Massacres (including Meles, police and security officials, police, security and military personnel who actually participated in the massacres) should be brought to the bar of justice and held accountable. It did not matter to me how long it took. Time was not of the essence. Justice was. I have always believed that sometimes justice delayed is just that: justice delayed. Not necessarily justice denied. I believe justice can sometimes be like a delayed train. It chugs and lugs, but it always arrives. Justice was delayed for decades for many of those responsible for the Holocaust. (It took 70 years to bring the former Nazi prison guard Johann “Hans” Breyer to the bar of justice. In July 2014, Breyer was charged with 158 counts of accessory to murder for trainloads of victims brought to Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland between May 1944 and October 1944.) I was confident and optimistic that Meles and his accomplices would one day be brought to justice for the massacre of 193 unarmed protesters and the attempted murder of 763 others in 2005 no matter how long it took.

In August 2012, jurisdiction over Meles’ crimes against humanity was mysteriously transferred to the Court of Highest Power with no appeals. He swiftly and suddenly received the wages of his crimes against humanity before a court of divinity.

It seems all African dictators attended the same school of dictatorship. If one dictator does something, the rest follow in his footsteps and try to outdo him. They copycat and mimic each other. It is a case of hyena see, hyena do for African dictators.

For me, there was a direct connection between the post-election violence of 2005 in Ethiopia and the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007. I believe Uhuru Kenyatta and his co-defendants drew important lessons from the 2005 Meles Massacres. Kenyatta & Co., saw Meles Zenawi & Co., use ethnically-organized troops to massacre their election opponents and get away without so much as a verbal warning of criminal prosecution for their crimes against humanity in 2005. In fact, they saw Meles Zenawi rewarded by the West with billions of dollars in aid and loans. They saw him being lionized as an “African leader”, not an African ogre of crimes against humanity. Why not do a Meles Massacre in Kibera, Kisumu, Naivasha, and Nakuru? After all, what is good for Ethiopia should be good for Kenya. Is it not true that all good things come to African dictators who massacre their people after elections and panhandle for Western aid and loans?

THE DEFENSE AGAINST THE DEFENSE OF KENYATTA ET AL

“Leaders” of the African Union (AU) have made Herculean efforts to defend Kenyatta and his deputy from prosecution in the ICC. They have also made every shameless effort to create an exemption from ICC prosecution for African heads of state. I have used my Lilliputian pen (keyboard) to expose the fraud perpetrated by the so-called African leaders and defend the rule of law, uphold human rights laws and principles and speak up on behalf of victims of crimes against humanity in Africa.

In my first full commentary on the ICC prosecution of Kenyatta et al., I strenuously objected to the shameless AU effort to racialize crimes against humanity. In my September 29, 2013 commentary, “The International Criminal Court on an African Safari?”, I took on Hailemariam Desalegn who had openly declared a rhetorical war of words on the International Criminal Court in May of that year. Hailemariam hurled the inflammatory and completely baseless and shameless allegation in the international media that the ICC was “race hunting” in Africa for seeking to prosecute Kenyatta, Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir and others. Hailemariam preposterously declared, “African leaders were concerned that out of those indicted by the ICC, 99% are Africans. This shows something is flawed within the system of the ICC and we object to that. The process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting.”

I don’t know why Hailemariam makes a big deal about “99 percent”. In 2010, his party won over 99 percent of the seats in “parliament”; 99.6 percent to be precise. I have been complaining about that for years. Hailemariam has the gall to complain about a 99 percent ICC prosecution in Africa?!

Hailemariam’s claims that the ICC is “flawed” because 99 percent of ICC indictees are Africans reminded me an infamous American bank robber. Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. His answer was simple and disarming. “Because that’s where the money is.” Why are 99 percent of ICC suspects in crimes against humanity from Africa? Because that’s where they are!

I argued that Hailemariam could not use the bogus claim of “race hunting” to shield himself and members of his regime from prosecution for the commission of crimes against humanity in the Ogaden, Gambella and other regions in Ethiopia and in the post-2005 election massacres.

In my October 6, 2013 commentary, “Saving African Dictators from the ICC”, I protested against shameless efforts by so-called African leaders to blackmail the ICC to drop charges against Kenyatta and Ruto; and if that did not work, to snuff and bury the ICC in Africa. I vigorously challenged Hailemariam’s mindless crusade against the ICC. I condemned his verbal pyrotechnics against the ICC, particularly his irresponsible accusations that the ICC is “race hunting” in Africa and preposterous claims that the ICC “has degenerated into a political instrument targeting Africa” and “adversely affecting” Kenya.

In my October 10, 2013 commentary “Witness for the International Criminal Court”, I vigorously defended the ICC and the ICC Prosecutor from charges of racism and allegations that they were being used as neo-colonial tools of African oppression. I called for the African Union to call off its extortionist threats of mass withdrawal from the Rome Statute unless charges against Kenyatta and Ruto were dropped. I urged African “leaders” to stop embarrassing themselves by talking all the nonsense about the ICC “race hunting them” and to stand up and fight. I challenged them not flee from the ICC like panicked antelopes chased by a lion on the African plains. I urged the AU leadership to project an image of confident African truth fighters, not cowering African prey fleeing from the “Great White Race Hunter”.

In my October 13, 2013 commentary, “The AU’s Mass Treaty-cide Brinksmanship”, I took head on the so-called African Union leaders who were orchestrating a “mass treaty-cide” (a phrase I was compelled to coin to describe the bizarre threatened walkout on the Rome Statute). At an “extraordinary summit” that month, the AU “leaders” shamelessly demanded “deferral of proceedings against the President and Deputy President of Kenya as well as the President of the Sudan in conformity with Article 16 of the Rome Statute.” They agreed to “undertake consultation with members of the UN Security Council”. Their “mass treaty-cide” collapsed. I suspect they approached the Security Council and grovelled.

In my October 20, 2013 commentary, “Who’s Having ‘Nightmares’ in Africa?”, I pondered over Kenyatta’s statement: “I do not need to tell your Excellencies about the nightmare my country in particular, and myself and my Deputy as individuals, have had to endure in making this realisation.” I thought only the victims of Kenyatta’s alleged crimes against humanity were capable of having nightmares of machete attacks and Molotov cocktails burning their homes. I was wrong. Those who were behind the machete attackers were also having nightmares and waking up in a cold sweat at the thought of being held accountable before the bar of justice. (I hope they will continue to have nightmares until they take their last breaths.)

In my January 2014 commentary, “Kenyatta at the ICC: Is Justice Deferred, Justice Denied?”, I expressed my anxiety over the repeated delays, postponements and all the backpedalling talk about “false evidence” and “lying witnesses” Kenyatta’s trial. I minced no words expressing how felt: “I don’t want to say I smell a rat but I feel like I am getting a whiff. Is the stage being set to let Kenyatta off the ICC hook?”

In my April 2014 commentary, “Saving the ICC: A Proposal for a Witness Protection Program”, I threw in the towel. It was clear to me that world public opinion was being primed for the inevitable dismissal of charges against Kenyatta & Co. However, I believed the show must go on. To save the ICC, I proposed the establishment of an ICC witness protection program patterned after the U.S. model to maximize chances of successful prosecutions of suspect in crimes against humanity before the ICC.

THE RICHEST MAN IN KENYA GOT AWAY WITH CHARGES OF MASS MURDER, RAPE, DEPORTATION…

After the big financial institutions plunged the U.S. and much of the world economy into chaos in 2008, the U.S. Government decided to bail them out because they were “too big to fail”. They would not prosecute the white collar criminals who ran the interlocking corporations and financial institutions because they said that would be disastrous to the global economic system.

In my view, the same logic applies in Kenyatta’s case. Kenyatta was too big, too rich and too connected to the global powers that be to nail. Uhuru Kenyatta has been described by Time Magazine as “Kenya’s richest man”. Nailing and jailing Kenyatta in a criminal prosecution at the ICC could have “disastrous” consequences for the rest of Africa. A Kenyatta conviction would have necessitated the ICC to go after every African thug-cum-president and prime minister. Could the ICC really ferret out every African thugtator and deliver them to the bar of justice? Suffice it to say that in the matter of the ICC Prosecutor v. Uhuru Mugai Kenyatta, the verdict was “money talked and Kenyatta walked.”

There are some with overactive imaginations who wonder and speculate if Kenyatta’s case was “fixed” at the ICC. I am not one of them. But I have some questions: Did the powers that be lean on Prosecutor Bensouda to slowly back off the Kenyatta case and make it look good and convincing? Did all of the bellyaching, teeth-gnashing, chest-beating, moaning, groaning, griping and grousing by the so-called African Union leaders put the squeeze on Bensouda? Did the supplications of the African Union “leaders” to the “race hunters” at the Security Council and the ICC make a difference in the withdrawal of charges against Kenyatta? Was the whole Kenyatta case dragged out as a genuine effort to prosecute Kenyatta or to send a strong message to the other African thugtators that the ICC means business and don’t play? They better cool it with all of the massacres. In the Internet age, could the powers that be afford to be seen lounging around in bed with ruthless African thugs? Could the ultimate message of the withdrawal of charges against Kenyatta be: “Kenyatta walks this time, but let it be a lesson to all African thugtators that the next time around, the ICC means business”?

In my humble opinion, the case against Kenyatta should have proceeded to trial with the available witnesses and let the chips fall where they may. With all due respect, I disagree with Bensouda’s withdrawal of charges “given the state of the evidence”.

It is not uncommon for prosecutors to prosecute infamous criminals and lose big time. For instance, in 1988 in the United States, a federal jury in Newark acquitted 20 members of the Lucchese crime family of New Jersey, delivering a major setback to U.S. federal prosecutors going after mobsters and becoming the longest federal criminal trial in American history. The U.S. Government had to prosecute John Gotti, the boss of the Gambino crime family, three times before convicting him. Often when prosecutors lose big cases, the losses steel their determination. They learn from their mistakes and come back stronger, leaner and meaner than ever.

That is what should have been done in the Kenyatta trial in my view. Try Kenyatta with the available evidence because that is the right, just and fair thing to do. I also believe Kenyatta deserved an opportunity to clear his name. In March 2012, Kenyatta said, “I am confident that the truth will come out and I will be vindicated in the fullness of time.” The only way the truth could come out is if a full trial is held. Only a fair trial could have guaranteed Kenyatta the vindication he sought. It was very possible for Kenyatta to be acquitted.

Kenyatta will never be able to clear his name merely because charges were “withdrawn”. Kenyatta knows that the charges of crimes against humanity can never be withdrawn from the judgment of history. His legacy will forever be stained by the charges of crimes against humanity filed against him. His family’s name will forever be besmirched by the charges. He will go to his grave knowing that he was accused (and weaseled out) of crimes against humanity and never exonerated in a fair trial. His epitaph will read, “Kenyatta, Suspected Criminal Against Humanity!”

Some of my long time readers may be surprised by my visceral reaction to the withdrawal of charges against Kenyatta. As a dyed-in-the-wool defense lawyer, shouldn’t I be on the side of the accused come hell or high water? What happened to my lofty principles of presumption of innocence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt and due process?

I do not believe it is hypocritical of me to take a strong pro-prosecution stance in the Kenyatta, et al. matter. First, I have no doubts Kenyatta thwarted and subverted justice. The pre-trial transcripts provide reasonable basis to make that conclusion. Kenyatta got away with crimes against humanity not because there was insufficient evidence to convict him but because he did not play fair. Just like the late American mob boss John Gotti who tampered with witnesses and paid off jurors to get an acquittal.

I cannot and will never condone legal “victory” procured by chicanery, skullduggery and underhandedness. In fact, I condemn it unreservedly. When a defendant intimidates witnesses, bribes witnesses and suborns perjury and gets a “withdrawal of charges”, that is not due process. That is a miscarriage of justice, a crime on the justice system itself.

Kenyatta did not get the “withdrawal of charges” fair and square. The charges were withdrawn because witnesses were intimidated and bribed and the Kenyan government stonewalled and sandbagged the ICC prosecutor and refused to fully cooperate. In February 2013, Prosecutor Bensouda asserted that persons associated with Kenyatta had bribed and/or attempted to pay off a witness to withdraw his testimony and not to testify in the case. Bensouda stated, “Witness 4 revealed in May 2012 interview that he had been offered, and accepted, money from individuals holding themselves out as representatives of the accused to withdraw his testimony against Uhuru… The witness provided emails and bank records that confirmed the bribery scheme. In light of these cumulative revelations, the prosecution considers it is not useful to call him as a witness.” Kenyatta took every measure to prevent the ICC prosecutor from obtaining evidence from his government that was properly within the right of the prosecutor to demand and obtain.

A fair trial means playing by the rules and winning, not winning by subverting the rules and making a mockery of justice! There is no question Kenyatta beat the rap big time. Of course, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. But in the court of world public opinion, he is guilty as sin. In the minds of the thousands of Kenyans he is alleged to have victimized, Kenyatta is guilty as charged. In the court of his own conscience, Kenyatta must wrestle with this matter as long as he lives.

AFRICAN THUGTATORS DOING THE DO-SI-DO

I have no doubts that African leaders-cum-thugs are examining Kenyatta’s case and heaving a big sigh of relief. Whew! If Kenyatta had been successfully prosecuted, they could be next in line. No worries now. They chuckle in the thought that after the Kenyatta case, the ICC is just an International Criminal Court of Chumps. It is time to pop up the champagne bottles, lock arms and do the do-si-do singing:

Around your partner do-si-do,
Around your partner here we go (out of the ICC),
Around your partner and you’ll see,
How much fun it is to (screw the ICC),
Around your partner do-si-do…

I have no doubts that African leaders-cum-thugs looking at their Kenyan brethren are sneering and thumbing their noses at the ICC. That’s why all who believe in the rule of law must rally to save the ICC.

CAN WE SAVE THE ICC FROM AFRICAN THUGTATORS?

In my October 6, 2013 commentary, “Saving African Dictators from the ICC”, I was “concerned”, tongue-in-cheek, about the “welfare” of African dictators. Now, I am genuinely concerned whether we can save the ICC from the International Criminals and Crooks in high offices in Africa (ICC of A)?

Kenyatta’s alleged victims of crimes against humanity have certainly given up on the ICC. They are unlikely to believe the ICC can be saved. Following the “withdrawal of charges” by the ICC Prosecutor, the Voice of America reported, “Victims of the post-election violence [in Kenya] still feel they have not received justice. Many already had lost faith in the ICC process before Friday’s announcement.”

There are many naysayers and doomsayers who are predicting demise of the ICC. They say the Kenyatta case shows the ICC has failed and lost credibility. It is washed up. It has become a make-believe court.

My confidence in the ICC and the ICC Prosecutor is shaken, but I am not ready to walk out on the ICC. I believe the ICC can be strengthened and made more effective in its mission of identifying, investigating and prosecuting criminals against humanity. That does not mean tough questions cannot be asked of the ICC.

There is no question the ICC and ICC Prosecutor have some serious accounting to do. The ICC has 34 judges, over 700 staff, and an annual budget of $166 million. It has burned through well over one billion dollars over the past 12 years. For a billion dollars, the ICC has produced only two (Germaine Katanga and Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the DR Congo) convictions. It also has fewer than three dozen suspects and defendants in the pre-trial phase, including those listed as fugitives. Forbes Magazine properly asked:

“They say you can’t put a price on justice but $500 million per warlord conviction seems high by any standard. And what do 34 judges do all day? You don’t have to be a legal expert to figure that the preventive effect of convicting 2 warlords in 12 years doesn’t exactly leave international war criminals shaking in their boots.”

My questions are: Could a portion of those billion dollars be used to compensate and rehabilitate victims of crimes against humanity? Is it not important to think about the victims of crimes against humanity and not only the monstrous perpetrators of crimes against humanity? If it is true that one cannot put a price on justice, is it equally true that one cannot put a price of the suffering of victims against humanity?

I believe the ICC and the ICC Prosecutor must do at least two things to be effective and avoid the type of end-run executed by Kenyatta: 1) prosecute African thugtators like the U.S. Government prosecutes mafia bosses, and 2) set up an effective witness protection program for persons cooperating with the Prosecutor and Court along the line of the U.S. federal witness protection program.

It is my view that African thugtatorships are essentially criminal racketeering organizations. The chief thugtators go by such titles as “prime ministers” and “presidents” but they are and operate no differently, except for scale, than mafia thugs or bosses. Mafia bosses rule with an iron fist using their “soldiers”. So do African thugtators. Mafia bosses have absolute control over their henchmen. So do African thugtators. Mafia bosses are ruthless in dealing with their enemies. So are African thugtators. Mafia bosses are in business for profits from their criminal enterprises across regions (syndicates). African thugtators are in politics to steal from the national treasury and engage in corruption on a national level (syndicates).

As I argued in my February 2012 commentary, “Thugtatorship, the Highest Stage of African Dictatorship”, if democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugocracy is a government of thieves, for thieves, by thieves. Simply stated, a thugtatorship is rule by a gang of thieves and robbers (thugs) in designer suits. It is becoming crystal clear that much of Africa today is a thugocracy privately managed and operated for the exclusive benefit of bloodthirsty thugtators. In a thugtatorship, the purpose of seizing and clinging to political power is solely to accumulate personal wealth for the ruling class by stealing public funds and depriving the broader population scarce resources necessary for basic survival.

The ICC needs to adopt the investigative and prosecutorial strategies of U.S. federal prosecutors who pursue mobsters in their investigations and prosecutions of African criminals against humanity. U.S. prosecutors finally nailed Gotti after they were able to convince his underboss Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano to break the mobsters’ Omerta (code of silence) and testify against Gotti. If the ICC Prosecutor is serious about catching and prosecuting crimes against humanity at the highest levels of African politics, the Prosecutor will need to develop a network of informants in African regimes who can provide substantial evidence of crimes against humanity.

The principal problem in prosecuting incumbent African leaders suspected of crimes against humanity is (and will be) finding and securing the cooperation of credible witnesses inside the countries of the accused African leaders. As the Kenyatta case has shown, it may be easier to find a snowball in hell than finding witnesses in Africa willing to come forward to testify against “sitting African presidents, prime misters” and the like suspected of crimes against humanity. The absence of an effective and robust witness protection program is and will continue to be the Achilles heel of the ICC.

I have previously shared my views on the issue of having an effective ICC witness protection program in my April commentary, “Saving the ICC: A Proposal for a Witness Protection Program”. It is clear witness protection is a big problem for the ICC. In 2013, the International Bar Association International Criminal Court Programme (IBA) issued a report entitled, “Witnesses before the International Criminal Court”, documenting the challenges facing the ICC in “protecting, supporting and ensuring the rights of witnesses” before that tribunal. The report pointed out significant deficiencies in the ICC’s witness protection efforts and services. These included deficiencies in “obtaining state cooperation, supporting witnesses’ practical and psychosocial needs, organising logistics, securing their safe passage to The Hague, and protecting persons from potential threats or interference during investigations and trials.”

The ICC Prosecutor and the Court itself must find other effective ways of preventing witness intimidation, witness tampering, witness payoffs and subornation of perjury if the Rome Statute is to remain a credible deterrent to crimes against humanity for African leaders-cum-thugs and others. I believe the ICC Prosecutor should initiate its own “International Criminal Court Witness Protection Program” for deserving and carefully vetted witnesses patterned after the U.S. witness protection program (WITSEC). WITSEC provides effective protection to threatened and vulnerable witnesses against organized criminals before, during, and after a trial. In the U.S. program, witnesses and their families are provided new identities and documentation and relocated. Since the program was launched in 1971, nearly ten thousand witnesses and family members have been placed in the WITSEC program. Incredibly, “95% of the witnesses in the program are criminals.”

Just as the U.S. Government offered Mafia underbosses, capos, consiglieres and soldiers prosecutorial leniency and the chance to join WITSEC, the ICC Prosecutor should be prepared to offer full protection and a range of attractive incentives to those credible witnesses against the African bigwigs accused of crimes against humanity, including the chance for relocation to another country with their families. Without an ICC witness protection program, the chances of securing the cooperation of credible witnesses could be extremely limited. When WITSEC was first launched, many people expressed moral outrage over the whole idea of “coddling” and dealing with criminal snitches to catch the big criminal fish. They criticized Congress for following the “end justifies the means” policy. Though the Mafia is not out of business, racketeering laws and the WITSEC program have made a significant dent in all forms of organized crime in the U.S. and rendered organized criminals weak and vulnerable.

I believe many African criminals against humanity in power today feel confident that they will laugh their way out of the International Criminal Court certain in the knowledge that no one would dare testify against them and expect to live in their countries. The ICC should learn this fundamental lesson from the Kenyatta case. Justice is priceless but the small price of delivering justice to the victims of injustice and crimes against humanity is an integrated witness protection program. The alternative is courtroom window dressing, playacting justice on a world stage and telling a courtroom tale of injustice “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” as Shakespeare might have said.

WILL DESALEGN AND TPLF COMMIT CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AFTER THE MAKE-BELIEVE ELECTION OF 2015?

The Kenyatta affair accentuates my present concerns about potential crimes against humanity that could be committed in the so-called election scheduled in Ethiopia in 2015. I know it is a make-believe election as was the 2010 “election”. In 2010, the ruling party, the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), won 99.6 percent of the parliamentary seats. My concern is whether the TPLF will resort to crimes against humanity in a desperate effort to get that four-tenths of a percent in the 2015 “election” and polish off its victory by 100 percent victory.

There is an objective basis for my concern. On numerous occasions, Hailemariam has said that he will always walk in the footsteps of his late mentor and role model Meles Zenawi. On September 21, 2012, Hailemariam emphatically declared he will continue “Meles’s legacy without any change”.

As far as I am concerned, Meles’ greatest legacy is a dark and bloody one involving the massacre of 193 unarmed protesters and shooting of 763 others. Will Hailemariam and his puppet-masters follow in Meles’ bloody footsteps and massacre unarmed citizens challenging the 2015 make-believe election?

The evidence seems clear. Hailemariam and his TPLF bosses seem to have the whole make-believe election mapped out to a T:

Phase I (completed)- Shutter all newspapers, magazines and independent publications and jail journalists, reporters and even social media bloggers.

Phase 2 (underway)- intimidate, terrorize, jail and prosecute opposition party leaders and all others who oppose the TPLF. Hundreds of members and leader of Blue Party were beaten and jailed for protesting peacefully. (See video of beatings and arrests of Blue Party members by clicking here.)

Phase 3- Unleash random violence throughout society and blame opposition parties, “terrorists”, etc. for deaths and injuries. (That will come just before the onset of the 3-month campaign period for the make-believe election).

Phase 4- Declare a state of emergency. (That will likely happen sometime during the three-month campaign period and extend into the post-election period.)

Phase 5- Celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Meles Legacy of 2005.

There is one thing that never ceases to amaze and dismay me. All the good things in life turn into a curse in Africa. In many parts of the world, elections, oil and minerals are sources of prosperity and good life. In Africa, they become a curse, a source of massacres, civil wars and corruption. Why? I don’t know!

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, said, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

I protest! Je proteste!

I accuse! J’accuse!

Posted in AfricaComments Off on Saving the ICC from African thugtators

Secret plan to DOUBLE ambulance waiting times

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

Stroke and seizure patients could wait up to 19 minutes under new targets approved by NHS bosses

 

  • Ambulance crews are to be given more time to respond to incidents 
  • Secret memo revealed targets may be increased from eight to 19 minutes
  • ‘Red 2’ incidents, the second most serious, would be affected by change
  • Senior NHS doctors warned the scheme could risk patients’ lives
  • Comes as the emergency services face widespread crisis this winter
By PAUL CAHALAN and STEPHEN ADAMS FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
PUBLISHED: 22:00, 20 December 2014 

The Mail on Sunday has uncovered a secret plan to double the time ambulances can take to reach critically ill patients.

The current target is for an emergency vehicle to reach those in life-threatening situations within eight minutes.

But a document seen by this newspaper reveals that the target time to get to those suffering a range of serious problems including strokes and seizures is to be increased to 19 minutes.

Last night leading doctors said the scheme – designed to make it easier for ambulance services to hit targets they have missed for months – risked lives.

A memo obtained by the Mail on Sunday revealed ambulance waiting times across England and Wales could be increased under a new scheme (file image)

A memo obtained by the Mail on Sunday revealed ambulance waiting times across England and Wales could be increased under a new scheme (file image)

The astonishing memo – leaked by a whistleblower – reveals that the changes have been approved by NHS England, but bosses wanted implementation delayed until after the General Election in May.

However, they discussed bringing the plan forward at a series of secret high-level meetings, because of ‘unprecedented pressure’ on emergency services.

The revelations come as the NHS faces a wider winter crisis with top medics warning: ‘Don’t get ill this Christmas.’

According to the leaked document, drawn up by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), NHS England has agreed ‘in principle’ to relax the maximum ambulance wait for what are known as ‘Red 2’ incidents.

It stated the organisation ‘had a firm position that any changes would be made after the General Election’.

But earlier this month, Professor Keith Willett of NHS England called a series of tele-conferences to ‘scope the feasibility’ of relaxing the targets sooner, due to what the memo described as ‘unprecedented demand’.

Each year, ambulance services deal with almost three million Red 2 incidents, deemed to be ‘serious but not the most life-threatening’.

They include conditions such as strokes, seizures and many car crash situations.

The document - given to the Mail on Sunday by a whistleblower - revealed plans to lengthen waiting times

The document – given to the Mail on Sunday by a whistleblower – revealed plans to lengthen waiting times

The only higher category is Red 1 ‘immediately life threatening’ incidents – such as cardiac arrest, choking, and major bleeding – of which there are about 150,000 incidents a year.

Doctors say it is often very hard to tell if a situation is immediately life threatening or not over the phone.

Red 1 incidents are up 25 per cent compared to this time last year.

Eight of England’s regional ambulance services are at a ‘severe pressure’ alert level and the other two – London and Yorkshire’ – are ‘critical’. The only higher level is ‘service failure’.

Jeremy Hunt is running up the white flag

As a result of the closed-door tele-conferences, at which it was ‘explicitly stressed’ that discussions should remain secret, ambulance services will get more time to assess Red 2 calls.

They will get three minutes before the ‘clock starts’ on target times, rather than one minute as they do now. This change could be brought in during January.

This proposal and others ‘received approval’ from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last Monday, the memo states.

It means from January ambulances will have a total of 11 minutes to reach a Red 2 patient before breaching the Government target, rather than nine.

The plan to change target times to 19 minutes has yet to be agreed.

Last night, former NHS heart ‘tsar’ Professor Sir Roger Boyle, who helped halve deaths from heart attacks, said he believed the moves would ‘risk lives’.

‘The way to deal with the crisis is not to take longer to deal with the calls,’ he said.

The AACE argues relaxing waiting times will enable more fully equipped ambulances to be sent out first time, rather than ‘fast responder’ cars, which are sometimes sent out just to meet targets.

And it says giving more assessment time will also lead to ‘better decisions’ about what to send.

The NHS system is ‘creaking’ and ‘under pressure’

But a senior NHS clinician said: ‘This is a degradation of the response times standard for political purposes to get everybody out of a jam.’ Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham accused Mr Hunt of ‘moving the goalposts’ on ambulance waiting time targets.

The Red 1 target – of reaching 75 per cent of such patients in eight minutes – has not been met since April. The Red 2 target has not been met since January.

Mr Burnham said: ‘Rather than getting ambulance response times back up to established standards, it looks like he is running up the white flag.

‘Mr Hunt’s decision risks leaving thousands of seriously ill people waiting longer for ambulances this winter.’ Meanwhile, leading medics warned people to try to avoid ending up in hospital over Christmas if they could possibly help it. Prof Boyle said: ‘Don’t get ill over the next couple of weeks.’

He said that hospitals became ‘log-jammed’ over the extended break because it was even harder than normal to move elderly patients out of hospital, as social care workers were on holiday.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘The people who are really going to feel it are older people – the frail elderly, perhaps with chest infections. These are the people who end up on trolleys for hours on end.’

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association, said the NHS gave ‘good service to the people of this country’.

But he added: ‘The fact that we can only do so, by running many hospitals on a continuous sense of crisis shows how close to the wire we are at all times.’

Amid the growing problems, virologists fear flu could soon worsen matters further, with pre-Christmas flu levels now at a three-year high, according to official figures.

Last night a Department of Health spokesman said that Mr Hunt had made ‘no decisions’ yet and that the ambulance service had been given an extra £50 million to cope with this winter.

Professor Willett, head of acute care for NHS England, said last night: ‘Any operational changes would need to be proposed by the senior doctors running ambulance services and agreed by the NHS nationally. 

‘No such decisions have been taken on their proposals, nor will they be until next year.’

My little Evie could have died if ambulance was delayed, by Prof Sir Roger Boyle

Prof Sir Roger Boyle warned the country needs more ambulances and paramedics on the road

Prof Sir Roger Boyle warned the country needs more ambulances and paramedics on the road

In May, just before her first birthday, my granddaughter Evie had a fit. Then she had a respiratory arrest.

South West Ambulance Service responded very, very promptly. They were there within four minutes.

Evie had to be fully resuscitated by paramedics, and they saved her life.

Had they taken longer to get to us, it is likely she would not have survived.

Her case could have been classed as an immediately life-threatening ‘Red 1’ call, or it might not have been.

It would probably have been classed as a lower priority ‘Red 2’ call, because Evie had a fit and the reason for her collapse was unspecified.

The 999 call handlers would not have been able to make the distinction with an extra two minutes of conversation on the phone.

‘Red 2’ incidents like fits and stroke are still life-threatening situations, and those few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

The whole point of the National Stroke Strategy is that we should be treating stroke as an emergency. The time it takes to get treatment is as critical for stroke as it is for heart attack.

So I think loosening ambulance response times is going down a very dangerous path, and will risk lives. Furthermore, it’s an admission of defeat.

I have full sympathy with the ambulance services – they are under major pressure. But the way to deal with the crisis is not to take longer to deal with calls.

Just as we need more beds and staff in hospitals, so we need more ambulances and paramedics on the road.

This problem gets straight to the nub of where we are with the NHS at the moment.

Historically, international comparisons show that – in terms of national health care institutions – the NHS is the best in the world.

But it’s running into serious trouble. Not enough money is being pumped in to keep pace with ever-rising demand. Disastrous reforms brought in by former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley have not helped.

We need to invest more in the health service to get the show back on the road. But is the Government prepared to do that?

Evie is now 19 months old and a beautiful, healthy toddler. Yesterday, she and her parents came over for tea.

As a family we cannot thank the ambulance service enough for being there, the very minute we needed them.

Posted in UKComments Off on Secret plan to DOUBLE ambulance waiting times

Did Raul Just Reverse The Entire Cuban Revolution?

NOVANEWS

By Andrew KORYBKO (USA)

Raul Castro may have potentially made a fatal mistake that risks destroying everything the Cuban Revolution built over the past half century. By entering into a deal with the US, he’s letting the wily Color Revolution fox into the hen house, and he’s also betraying his multipolar Russian ally at the same time.

Havana and Washington entered into a surprise deal yesterday to historically restore their relations after engaging in a high-profile prisoner swap. Nobody was expecting such a major development to occur, making many wonder how such an impactful decision could be kept under wraps for so long. The reason being was likely that the US understood what a major hemispheric power play this was and wanted to do everything to safeguard its secret strategy. On the contrary, Cuba, whether its leadership realizes it or not, has everything to lose, and it’s clear from the details that Washington was ‘negotiating’ from a position of strength. While Raul may have thought he could outmaneuver the imminent Color Revolution attempt that will occur after Fidel’s death, he may have actually committed a Yanukovich-esque tactical mistake by trying to enter into agreement with the same forces obsessed with his ouster.

Modern Lessons
Before diving in to the nitty-gritty of Raul’s decision, it is necessary to quickly take an overview of two monumental lessons of the past few years that should not have been lost on any global leader:

The Gaddafi Gamble:
The Libyan leader thought that he could safeguard his state by getting rid of his weapons of mass destruction without a Great Power negotiating on his side (as Russia did for Syria), but in reality, he unwittingly sold his country out.

The Yanukovich “Yes!”:
By saying “Yes!” to working with the Color Revolutionary forces inside the country, Yanukovich guaranteed that his days would be numbered from then on out.

Lessons Lost
Raul somehow managed to not learn any of these lessons and risks the colossal mistake of abrogating both of them. Cuba is suspected of having some type of limited biological weapons program, although the true extent of it is unknown. Nonetheless, if Cuba does have some element of this (which the US has accused it of), then it’s all but assured that it was a bargaining chip in the

Through these companies US sponsors Color Revolutions.

Through these companies US sponsors Color Revolutions.

deal with the US. Although it is only speculative at the time, it could be that the US changed its regime change precondition for the restoration of ties to an ultimatum over getting rid of that Cuba’s bioweapons program. If this was the case, the Raul’s fate will be as good as Gaddafi’s.

But what is certain in this situation is that Raul is following in Yanukovich’s footsteps by trying to save his own skin through convoluted Machiavellian games. Fidel is a likely a lot closer to death than the Cuban government is letting on, and Raul knows that the moment his brother passes away, the Color Revolution will officially be initiated. He thought he could preempt large-scale disturbances among the portion of the population with legitimate grievances that could be manipulated by the US through a proactive deal with Washington. But just like Yanukovich committed a flagrant folly through his ‘reach out’ attempts to the ‘opposition’, so too is Raul doing the exact same thing by working with the US. The difference is, Yanukovich dealt with the proxies, but Raul is politicking with the puppet masters themselves, who are much more experienced at the art of manipulation than the throw-away ‘opposition’ is.

Who’s Really Calling The Shots
On the surface, it appears as though the deal was relatively fair and even, with both sides getting what they wanted plus the future prospect of limitless mutual benefit through the restoration of relations. Sure, Cuba regained its three heroes and this was a symbolic success for the government, but it’s the US that really called the shots in this ‘deal’. It dictated which of the 53 ‘political prisoners’ would be released (another condition for the restoration of ties), and not only that, but they’re free to walk about the island and go right back to their subversive activities.

Pro-Western democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from Myanmar attempted to radically destabilize the Myanmar government before her famous imprisonment. Now, Cuba has 53 such people and they're free to do as they please without consequence to themselves.

Pro-Western democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from Myanmar attempted to radically destabilize the Myanmar government before her famous imprisonment. Now, Cuba has 53 such people and they’re free to do as they please without consequence to themselves.

In essence, Raul just created 53 untouchable Aung San Suu Kyi’s that are all but guaranteed to form the core of the public Color Revolutionary elite. After all, so much global publicity has been expended on this deal, that there is close to no possibility that Raul’s government would take the risk of rough handling them in the future, regardless of their provocations, as the global information warfare potential against the government would be too great at that point. He walked right into a trap, and the imminent Color Revolution will now either sweep him from power, or he’ll be forced into conceding everything away and dismantling the country by his own hand as dictated from abroad via the internal (now permanent) proxies.

Reacting Against Russia
The US likely sweetened the deal with some behind-the-scenes economic incentives in order to facilitate its conclusion as soon as possible due to the Russia factor. Putin made a surprise visit to the island in July en route to the BRICS Summit in Brazil, and during his stay there, he announced that Russia was forgiving $32 billion of Cuba’s debt, which was 90% of the total. In exchange, it was rumored that Moscow would be reopening the Soviet-era signals intelligence base in Lourdes, which considering the tense climate of the New Cold War, would have been a massive strategic detriment for the US. With this in mind, the US immediately set off to seduce Cuba.

This means that the US-Cuba deal must absolutely be viewed in the prism of current geopolitical rivalry with Russia. With that in mind, Washington scored an even larger victory than it initially seems. Russia obviously had its own secret plans for Cuba when Putin made his unannounced visit to the country over the summer, but it seems like the US has nullified them before they could get off the ground, since there is no way the US would allow Cuba to retain such a facility as part of the deal. If this was the case, then Russia is out $32 billion for an investment that will never see the light of day (made even worse by the economic war being waged against it at the moment), while Raul’s government can cozy up comfortably with dollars in their pocket from newfound American investors. How’s that for betrayal after Moscow risked a nuclear war to protect that very same government from regime change over half a century ago?

The Bigger Picture
Cuba represents the symbol of the global anti-imperialist movement and its soft power is certainly disproportionate to its size (and rightfully so). Nonetheless, like many things in life, this massive advantage also has an equally negative disadvantage, in that if Cuba betrays its ideological foundation and allies with the US, then it would also be betraying its multipolar allies in the region, specifically Venezuela. In recent years, Caracas has succeeded Havana as the capital most actively resisting American dominance in the region, largely due to the astronomical economic benefits that come with its natural resources largesse, but the two states are still fraternal brothers in the cause, and Venezuela’s leaders are said to sometimes take their political cues from Cuba. But, if Cuba really did double deal against its allies and is now buddy-buddy with the US, then Venezuela would be the first country to be most directly affected by this political reorientation.

As the de-facto leader of the Resistant and Defiant (R&D) Latin American states, Venezuela would no longer have the symbolic ally that gave it this ‘legitimacy’. In fact, if it turns out that both states have divergent views vis-à-vis the US, this could create a Brzezinski-esque intra-R&D spat that could spill over into an all-out split, much like the Sino-Soviet one of decades past. That would be absolutely disastrous for the R&D Latin American movement as well as for overall multipolarity, and combined with

u3_Latin-America-Map1

falling oil revenues, new American sanctions, the potential for war with American-proxy Colombia, and the ever-present Color Revolution threat haunting Veneuzela, the prospects of a regime change operation succeed there significantly increases. If Venezuela should fall, the rest of the R&D states connected to its network (Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the smaller Caribbean states of ALBA) would react like dominos and follow in its path.

Concluding Thoughts
The grand strategic vision that the US wants to set out to achieve is to overthrow the most active R&D governments in Latin America and complete an effective encirclement of Brazil in order to strangle multipolarity’s future in the Western Hemisphere. This would in effect neutralize the entire North and South American landmasses and turn them into a de-facto pro-American reserve, much as they used to be over a century ago. This time, however, the US will have a strategic redoubt to retreat to should its Brzezinski-style chaos succeed in Eurasia, as ‘Fortress America(s)’ would not only provide it with all of the natural resources it needs to be economically self-sufficient, but pure geopolitics dictates that it would be insulated from the vast majority of the supercontinent’s meltdown. Thus, if the US succeeds in retaking the Caribbean via the Cuban card and can penetrate ALBA enough to the point of dividing its leadership and dissolving the alliance, then it will be more than able to ‘safely’ destroy Eurasia with the least amount of repercussions to its own supercontinental interests (North and South America).

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I$raHell splendid isolation

NOVANEWS

UN-Palestine State

By Uri Avnery

Almost a thousand Israeli personalities have already signed an appeal to European parliaments for their governments to recognise the state of Palestine.

I am honoured to be among the signatories, which include former ministers and members of the Knesset, diplomats and generals, artists and businessmen, writers and poets, including Israel’s three outstanding writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua.

We believe that the independence of the Palestinian people in a state of their own, next to the state of Israel, is the basis for peace, and therefore as important for Israelis as it is for Palestinians. This, by the way, has been my firm conviction ever since the 1948 war.

The extreme right wing, which has ruled Israel in recent years, holds the opposite belief. Since it wants to turn the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River into the “nation-state of the Jewish people”, it totally rejects the setting up of a Palestinian state.

These, then, are the battle lines:

Palestinian state or permanent war?

A Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital, an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, the end of the occupation, peace between Israel and the entire Arab and Muslim world, or a Greater Israel, continuous occupation or annexation, more settlements and ethnic cleansing, permanent war.

Israel has to choose.

So has the world.

Lately, several European parliaments have called upon their governments to recognise the state of Palestine. We want to encourage that process.

The Portuguese parliament did so last Friday [12 December], following the parliaments of the UK, Ireland, France and Spain. The European parliament, an institution with growing influence and power, has done so, too.

These are only recommendations. But the government of Sweden has officially recognised the state of Palestine. Some misguided spirits have stated that this was the first recognition of Palestine by a European Union country. That is quite wrong: Palestine has already been recognised by the EU countries of Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well at the European non-EU states of Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Quite an impressive list. But is it important?

The American Declaration of Independence stresses the importance of a “decent respect for the opinion of mankind”.

The Israeli declaration of independence does not include this phrase, but its whole composition shows that is an attempt to explain its aims to the world and attain world-wide diplomatic recognition.

“Doesn’t the opinion of mankind count?”

However, David Ben Gurion, who read the declaration aloud at the founding meeting, soon after announced his doctrine: “It is not important what the goyim [gentiles] say, the important thing is what the Jews do!”

Is this really true? Doesn’t the opinion of mankind count?

It was perhaps true 150 years ago, when Benjamin Disraeli proclaimed the British policy of “Splendid isolation”. I doubt it. Even then, Great Britain was deeply involved in European and world affairs.

Since then, the world has changed profoundly. Governments have become much more democratic, mass education has broadened the basis of public opinion, undreamt of means of mass communication have promoted transparency, some speak of the “world village”.

Public opinion has a huge impact on politicians in democratic countries, and even in dictatorships. Where public opinion leads, governments sooner or later follow. Public sentiments become governing policy. This has diplomatic, economic and even military consequences.

If the UN had been asked to reaffirm the Ten Commandments contrary to Israeli wishes, the US would have vetoed them.

The United Nations is the chosen vessel for voicing the “opinion of mankind”.

After its founding, Israel fought a hard battle for acceptance in the world organisation. The declaration of independence, which promised democracy and equality for all inhabitants, played an important role in this struggle.

Yet Ben Gurion used to call the UN “Um-Shmum” (UM is the Hebrew acronym of the United Nations, adding the letters “Shm” is the Yiddish way of expressing contempt).

For more than 40 years now, this contempt has never been shaken. Israeli leaders relied on the US to block each and every Security Council resolution that the Israeli government disapproved of, irrespective of its content. If the UN had been asked to reaffirm the Ten Commandments contrary to Israeli wishes, the US would have vetoed them.

Alienating the milch cow

Now, for the first time in UN history, this sword of Damocles may disappear. The US has hinted that it may not veto a Security Council draft resolution that the Israeli government strenuously objects to.

Incredible! No US veto? It’s like saying that the sun may not rise tomorrow.

How come? What has happened?

The simplest answer is that Barack Obama, like so many others, is fed up with Binyamin Netanyahu. Our prime minister has burned one bridge too many.

He has humiliated the US president time and again. He has let loose the hounds of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] against him. And he has done the worst he can do to a politician: he has openly supported his opponents in the last two election campaigns.

The prime minister’s support of Mitt Romney was nothing short of scandalous. Netanyahu, following the orders of his owner, the primitive but enormously powerful casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, campaigned for Romney openly and unabashedly. In return, Adelson created and finances the Yisrael Hayom (“Israel Today”) newspaper, which, being distributed gratis, now has the widest circulation in the country. Its sole editorial policy is to support Netanyahu through thick and thin.

In the recent US mid-term elections, AIPAC assisted the Republicans again, helping them to turn the Senate into an anti-Obama bastion.

Obama has kept quiet. But he would be superhuman if he didn’t plot his revenge. He has done so by secretly encouraging the Europeans to go on with their pro-Palestinian efforts. Now he has come out into the open. The US has announced that it is considering not to use its veto.

At stake is a Palestinian draft that would have the Security Council set a one-year time limit for achieving a peace agreement and a three-year limit for the end of the occupation and the creation of a Palestinian State along the 1967 borders. For right-wing Israelis, that comes near to the end of the world.

At stake is also a French draft, which does not go so far but also sets a two-year time limit to peace negotiations.

These drafts would have been unthinkable just a year ago. They show Israel’s deepening isolation.

High stakes

No politician likes radical breaks. After 41 years of an unbroken record of American use of the veto on behalf of Israel (and almost nobody else), not vetoing would be a revolutionary step. It may have a profound impact on US domestic politics, including the next presidential elections. It may hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances (perhaps an additional temptation for Obama.)

Also, important US strategic interests are involved. The Arab world may be in chaos, but it still unanimously supports the Palestinian cause diplomatically. America is relying on Arab participation in the coalition that is fighting against the Islamic State (ex-ISIS – Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). An anti-Palestinian veto at this juncture would hurt all Arab governments who are inclined to join. Jordan, for example. Saudi Arabia. Egypt.

John Kerry, poor John Kerry, is rushing around meeting with “everybody and his wife” (as we say in chauvinist Hebrew slang) to find a solution. He is threatening Mahmoud Abbas with cutting off his funds. But Abbas rightly tells him that he has nothing to lose – if he cannot show some achievements very soon, the West Bank may well explode and the Palestinian Authority disintegrate.

In desperation, Netanyahu went to Rome to meet Kerry personally and had a stormy session with him. It seems that Kerry didn’t promise anything. Sa’eb Erekat had an even stormier session with Kerry, with shouting, table banging and all.

Ex-president Shimon Peres, out of office but still an inveterate spit-licker, went to help Netanyahu with the French. He appealed to the (converted Jewish) foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, and pleaded with him not to hurt Netanyahu on the eve of elections.

Tzipi Livni, forgetting that she was dismissed from the government and is now a leader of the opposition, phoned Kerry to support Netanyahu.

Kerry took up the idea. He asked everybody to do everything to postpone the matter until after the Israeli elections.

Interfering in another country’s internal elections? God forbid! Who would dream of such a dastardly thing!?

Yet, whatever the US does or does not do is interfering in our elections.

To veto or not to veto?

If it uses its veto, that is direct and blatant support of the extreme right wing in Israel. It would show that Netanyahu was right all along, that America is in our pocket, that Israel’s isolation is a myth, that we can go on doing what we are doing, occupation, settlement and all.

If the US does not use its veto and a pro-Palestinian, pro-peace resolution is adopted, it would prove that the left wing is right in asserting that the “opinion of mankind” does count, that the not-so-splendid isolation of Israel is growing to dangerous proportions, that a change of government and policy is urgently needed.

This week, Obama threw an international bomb: after 56 years of burning enmity between the US and Cuba, he announced the resumption of diplomatic relations. This shows that he has decided to use the two years left to him in power, without the possibility of being re-elected, in order to do what he really wanted to so all the time, but was afraid to do. He can spite the Congress and do what his soul desires.

He can decide to act now decisively to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Let’s hope he does.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on I$raHell splendid isolation

I$raHell – America’s torture consultant

NOVANEWS
Dick Cheney

By Jamal Kanj

I watched painfully former Vice-President Dick Cheney on NBC television’s “Meet the Press” programme trying to defend and redefine his role in the “authorised” CIA torture. Whenever he was asked about a specific torture case, Cheney always referred back to the “tortured” Americans who lost their lives in 9/11.

While the jury is still out on the real operatives behind 9/11, there is no doubt that more than 3,000 citizens lost their lives in one of the most heinous crimes of the 21st century. And Cheney is hiding behind those Americans to justify one of the most disgraceful and sadistic abuses and complete disregard for human dignity in US history. America was duped into believing that torture saved life, when in fact America lost its humanity.

… Cheney is hiding behind those Americans [the victims of 9/11] to justify one of the most disgraceful and sadistic abuses and complete disregard for human dignity in US history.

When asked how he could explain the report’s findings that “25 per cent of the [tortured] detainees turned out to be innocent”, the former vice-president retorted: ‘I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective… It worked now for 13 years.’”

Not surprisingly, this is coming from an ungrateful person who is living on someone else’s borrowed heart. Larry King once asked him what he thought of his heart donor. He callously responded: “I don’t spend time wondering who had it, what they’d done, what kind of person.”

How could such a person be capable of caring or wondering about the life of other Americans – he exploits their suffering to advance his partners’ business in the oil and military-industrial complex?

While he gabbled for half an hour, Cheney failed to cite one single case where torture had saved American lives or thwarted a terrorist strike. Indeed, according to the US Senate report, “At no time did the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of imminent threat intelligence, such as the hypothetical ‘ticking time bomb’ information that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques.”

… the reported CIA torture techniques had striking resemblance to what I personally heard from many Palestinian prisoners who were once held in Israeli dungeons.

Regarding possible violations of international human rights treaties signed by the US, Cheney argued: “We got the authorisation from the president and authorisation from the Justice Department to go forward with the programme.” Other than providing broad statements, he never ventured into the legal precedents that made waterboarding, for instance, lawful under international law.

The Senate report, however, pointed to a legal memorandum drafted by the CIA’s Office of General Counsel on 26 November 2001 in which it suggested that the “CIA could argue that the torture was necessary to prevent imminent, significant, physical harm to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm”.

The footnote for that legal memo referenced an Israeli law which warrants that “torture was necessary to prevent imminent, significant, physical harm to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm”.

The CIA did not just emulate Israel’s legal system to sanction torture, but it copied the same Israeli torture methods. For the reported CIA torture techniques had striking resemblance to what I personally heard from many Palestinian prisoners who were once held in Israeli dungeons. These included torture methods that left behind no physical marks but intended to break the captives by inducing extreme mental distress like painful “stress positions”, exposure to extreme cold, “Russian roulette”, sleep and sensory deprivation.

The report did not mention any official Israeli role in devising the “enhanced technique”. Although, I dare to conjecture that Israeli consultants were on board to gobble some of the USD 81 million paid since 2006 to companies providing services to CIA torturers.

Responding to the torture report, President Barack Obama declared “this isn’t who we are”. Well, this is certainly not respecting the human dignity of America’s founding fathers. It is, however, “who we are” when the tail is wagging the dog, for Israel is turning Americans into become torturers and drone killers.

 

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on I$raHell – America’s torture consultant

SYRIAN MILITARY BLASTS OBAMA’S TERRORISTS IN IDLIB

NOVANEWS
HARB FAMILY PERFORMS THE HAT TRICK

IDLIB:

 مقتل عدد من الإرهابيين بانفجار لغم أرضي خلال زراعته قرب قرية أبو العلايا بريف حمص

Ta’oom:  The SAA visited this infested town and blasted away at all nests within it killing over 43 rodents:

Mu’een Muhammad Al-Daleel

Mu’aadh Juraydeeni

Faarooq Hussayn Al-Khursaan

Mustafaa Harb

Usaamaa Harb

Tharwaat Harb

Hassan Ahmad Haaj-Qaassim

Rabee’ Baayirli

The rest were not identified and are believed to be mostly non-Syrian.  We would like to congratulate the Harb family of Idlib for the great accomplishment of the “Hat Trick”.  Three of their prized rodents went straight to Hell in one fell swoop.  What pride they must feel.  And congratulations also to the Syrian Army.

Abu Dhuhoor AB:  Heavy fighting in the area as the SAA continues to pummel Nusra positions with artillery and mortar fire.  On Friday, the rodents attempted to infiltrate into SAA positions at the base and lost 22 rats whose carcasses remain on the ground rotting.

Areeha: (Syria’s Jericho)  Rat tried to assault an SAA checkpoint and were repulsed.  Reports are of many casualties on the Nusra side.  No details.

Lower Al-Kastan:  SAA attacked a pack of Nusra hyenas and killed 4 wounding 4.

الجيش يقضي على إرهابيين في معرزاف وعقارب وأبو حبيلات بريف حماة

Jabal Al-Arba’een:  This mountain is completely under the control of the SAA, but, that doesn’t stop the rats from trying to gain a vantage point.  On Friday, they did exactly that again for the umpteenth time and failed.  Reports are of many dead rodents.

Hallooz Mountain:  This is my deceased mother-in-law’s home town which has recently been deloused by the SAA.  Now, the remnant rodents who once laid waste to the village are being pursued in the barren landscape of the mountain which gave the village its name.  The rats are not finding much to eat during this winter and it is expected that they will surrender or die very soon.

Fighting reported in these areas: ‘Ayn Al-Baarida, Al-Baraagheeti, Umm Jareen, Talab, Al-Dibshiyya, Mi’zaaf, Saraaqib, Sirmeen, Kafr Laataa, Al-Dhahabiyya, Tal Al-Tooqaan, Greater Al-Bayyaa’ah, Al-Mustareeha at the Abu Dhuhoor AB.

Tal Salmu:  Heavy fighting with the SAA destroying 5 pickups with 23mm cannons aboard.  I have no other details.

Qumaynaas:  This little town is rich in antiquities which are being robbed and taken to Erdoghan’s criminals.  SAA intends to clean this area out as the march to Turkey continues.

Khasheer:  Vague reports of huge rat casualties here.

المدفعية السورية تستهدف مقرات الإرهابيين بريف إدلب

WILE E. COYOTE MOMENT:

Isabella sends this wonderful video documenting rats flying straight to Hell in Aleppo:

 

Posted in SyriaComments Off on SYRIAN MILITARY BLASTS OBAMA’S TERRORISTS IN IDLIB

Rape dogs used by US in Afghanistan

NOVANEWS
An edited abridgment presented with pictures, captions and comments by Lasha Darkmoon

images

Did you know that attack dogs can be trained to rape everyone—literally?

After the release of the CIA torture report by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) the world is reeling in shock at the level of brutality revealed in the documents.

In fact, the whole report is nothing more than a confession of sadistic procedures that could have been lifted from the diaries of Torquemada, from “rectal feeding” to nude beatings and humiliation—horrors that were well-known but not officially confirmed.

But the report remains incomplete. Indeed, some 9000 documents have been withheld. What new horrors could be discovered with the publication of these records?

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching story to emerge from Bagram has been buried in the German media and remains unknown to much of the world. Published by German author and former politician Juergen Todenhoefer in his latest book, Thou Shalt Not Kill, the account stems from a visit to Kabul.

GERMAN AUTHOR JUERGEN  TODENHOEFER
JUERGEN TODENHOEFER

At a local hotel, a former Canadian soldier and private security contractor named Jack told Jurgen Todenhoefer(pictured) why he could not longer stand working in Bagram. “It’s not my thing when Afghans get raped by dogs,” Jack remarked.

Todenhoefer’s son, who was present with him in Kabul and was transcribing Jack’s words, was so startled by the comment he nearly dropped his pad and pen.

The war veteran, who loathed manipulating Western politicians even as he defended tactics of collective punishment, continued his account:

“Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs,” Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber. “If the prisoners did not say anything useful, each dog got to take a turn on them,” Jack told Todenhoefer. “After procedure like these, they confessed everything. They would have even said that they killed Kennedy without even knowing who he was.”

A former member of parliament representing the right-of-center Christian Democratic Union from 1972 to 1990, Todenhoefer transformed into a fervent anti-war activist after witnessing the Soviet destruction of Afghanistan during the 1980’s.

His journalism has taken him to Iraq and back to Afghanistan, where he has presented accounts of Western military interventions from the perspective of indigenous guerrilla forces. Unsurprisingly, his books have invited enormous controversy for presenting a sharp counterpoint to the war on terror’s narrative. In Germany, Todenhofer is roundly maligned by pro-Israel and US-friendly figures as a “vulgar pacifist” and an apologist for Islamic extremism. But those who have been on the other side of Western guns tend to recognize his journalism as an accurate portrayal of their harsh reality.

LASHA DARKMOON COMMENTS:  It is no surprise that Todenhofer should be “roundly maligned by pro-Israel and US-friendly figures.” This is because any exposé of America’s torture regime, whether at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib or Bagram base, invariably leads to the subject of Israeli torture advisors standing by to offer hot tips to the Americans on the best torture techniques. “The CIA did not just emulate Israel’s legal system to sanction torture,” we read in a recent report, “but it copied the same Israeli torture methods.” (See Israel — America’s Torture Consultant“)

Though Todenhofer’s  account of dogs being used to rape prisoners at Bagram is unconfirmed, the practice is not without precedent. Female political prisoners of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s jails have described their torturers using dogs to rape them.

More recently, Lawrence Wright, the author of the acclaimed history of Al Qaeda, “The Looming Tower,” told National Public Radio’s Terry Gross, “One of my FBI sources said that he had talked to an Egyptian intelligence officer who said that they used the dogs to rape the prisoners. And it would be hard to tell you how humiliating it would be to any person, but especially in Islamic culture where dogs are such a lowly form of life. It’s, you know, that imprint will never leave anybody’s mind.”

I spoke to an Afghan named Mohammad who worked as an interpreter in Bagram and insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals. He told me Todenhoefer’s account of dogs being used to rape prisoners in the jail was “absolutely realistic.”

Mohammad worked primarily with US forces in Bagram, taking the job out of financial desperation. He soon learned what a mistake he had made. “When I translated for them, I often knew that the detainee was anything but a terrorist,” he recalled. “Most of them were poor farmers or average guys.”

However, Mohammad was compelled to keep silent while his fellow countrymen were brutally tortured before his eyes. “I often felt like a traitor, but I needed the money,” he told me. “I was forced to feed my family. Many Afghan interpreters are in the very same situation.”

A “traitor” is also what the Taliban think about guys like Mohammad. It is well-known that they make short-shrift of interpreters they catch. Mohammad has since left Afghanistan for security reasons and is reluctant to offer explicit details of the interrogations sessions he participated in. However, he insisted that Todenhoefer’s account accurately captured the horrors that unfolded behind the walls of Bagram.

“Guantanamo is a paradise if you compare it with Bagram,” Muhammad said.

Waheed Mozhdah, a well-known political analyst and author based in Kabul, echoed Muhammad’s account. “Bagram is worse than Guantanamo,” Mozdah told me, “and all the crimes, even the most cruel ones like the dog story, are well known here but most people prefer to not talk about it.”

Hometown for soldiers, hellhole for inmates

It is hard to imagine what more hideous acts of torment remain submerged in the chronicles of America’s international gulag archipelago. Atrocities alleged to a German journalist by a former detainee at the US military’s Bagram Airbase in Kabul, Afghanistan, suggest that the worst horrors may be too much for the public to stomach.

BAGRAM  PRISON "The worst horrors committed here  may be too much for the public to stomach."
BAGRAM PRISON
“The worst horrors committed here
may be too much for the public to stomach.”

Bagram Airbase is the largest base the US constructed in Afghanistan and also one of the main theaters of its torture regime.

You have to drive about one and a half hour from Kabul to reach the prison where hundreds of supposedly high-value detainees were held. The foundations of the base are much older, laid by the Soviets in the 1950s, when the last king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir, maintained friendly connections with Moscow. Later, during the Soviet occupation, Bagram as the main control center for the Red Army.

Known as the “second Guantanamo,” even though conditions at Bagram are inarguably worse, you will find the dark dungeons, which were mentioned in the latest CIA report, next to American fast food restaurants. During the US occupation, the military complex in Bagram became like a small town for soldiers, spooks and contractors. In this hermetically sealed hellhole, the wanton abuse of human rights existed comfortably alongside the “American Way of Life.”

LASHA DARKMOON comments:

Where torture is secretly practiced in Bagram’s underground dungeons, you can be certain that daily life at the American airbase, though “deceptively normal” on the surface, is in fact a simmering cesspool of sleazy sexuality.

Though officially illicit sex is frowned upon and pornography forbidden, an alarming number of rapes and unwanted pregnancies are known to occur among female personnel. Massage parlors, discreetly pretending to be barbershops and beauty salons,  offer masturbatory sex to American soldiers—”with buckets filled with free condoms for anyone to pick up.”

“Bagram is deceptively normal,” an eyewitness account reports.”The barbershops are called beauty salons, where haircuts cost twice as much as in Iraq. In these beauty shops, manicures and facials are on the menu of services, as are massages by the Russian-speaking Uzbek and Tajik women.

It’s all legit—a supervisor makes sure no cubicle or table is too private—but the lights are turned low and the clients lay on massage tables, in their shorts or boxer underwear. The base hospital also has a bucket filled with free condoms for anyone to pick up.”

(See here)

What cannot be said is best left to the imagination.

One of the persons sucked into the parallel world of Bagram was Raymond Azar, a manager of a construction company. Azar, a citizen of Lebanon, was on his way to the US military base near the Afghan Presidential Palace known as Camp Eggers when 10 armed FBI agents suddenly surrounded him. The agents handcuffed him, tied him up and shoved him into an SUV.

Some hours later Azar found himself in the bowels of Bagram.

According to Azar’s testimony, he was forced to sit for seven hours while his hands and feet were tied to a chair. He spent the whole night in a cold metal container. His tormentors denied him food for 30 hours. Azar also claimed that the military officers showed him photos of his wife and four children, warning him that unless he cooperated he would never see his family again. Today we know that officers and agents have threatened prisoners with the rape and murder of their relatives.

Azar had nothing to do with Al Qaida or the Taliban.

In fact, he was caught up in the middle of a classic web of corruption. The businessman’s company had signed phony contracts with the Pentagon for reconstruction work in Afghanistan. Later, Azar was accused of having attempted to bribe the US Army contact to secure the military contracts for his company. This was not the sort of crime for which a suspect is normally sent to a military prison. To date, no one has explained why the businessman was sent to Bagram.

Most prisoners from Bagram are not rich business men or foreign workers from abroad, but average Afghan men who had a simple life before they had been kidnapped. One of these men was Dilawar Yaqubi, a taxi driver and farmer from Khost, Eastern Afghanistan.

After five days of brutal torture in Bagram, Yaqubi was declared as dead on December 10, 2002. His legs had been “pulpified” by his interrogators, who maintained that they were simply acting according to guidelines handed down to them by the Pentagon and approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The case of the Afghan taxi driver’s killing was highlighted in the Oscar-winning documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side.” The film established that Yaqubi had simply been at the the wrong place at the wrong time. His family, his daughter and his wife, are now awaiting justice. (Watch the full version of Taxi To The Dark Side here).

The latest CIA torture report is focused entirely on the crimes of the Bush administration. But it should not be forgotten that the horrors that have plagued Afghanistan continued under Barack Obama’s watch.

When Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, entered power two months ago, the first thing he did was sign a Bilateral Security Agreement with the US. According to the terms of this bogus deal, negotiated without the consent or agreement of the Afghan public, the Afghan judiciary is forbidden from prosecuting criminal US soldiers in Afghanistan.

This means that any American, whether a torturer or a drone operator who destroys an entire  family with the push of a button, is above the law. He is free to kill or torture anyone with impunity.

During the last days of his presidency, Hamid Karzai railed against the bilateral agreement. On his way out, Karzai condemned the US occupation and remarked that Bagram had become “a terrorism factory.”

Now that Karzai is gone, Ghani is doing all he can to prove his absolute obedience towards the US.

On December 10th 2014, just one day after the CIA torture report’s release, the US Defense Department announced it had closed the Bagram detention center once and for all.

Yet it is not known how many secret prisons still exist in Afghanistan.

In an Afghanistan still dominated by Western interests and American power, the torture never stops.

TORTURE  FANTASY
TORTURE   DUNGEON

“Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.”

—  William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Rape dogs used by US in Afghanistan

GENERAL AL-FURAYJ INSPECTS ARMY UNITS IN DAMASCUS

NOVANEWS

HOMS: SYRIAN ARMY’S CHOKEHOLD TIGHTENS AROUND AL-QAEDA’S THROAT

11575-620x330

DAMASCUS:

Lt. General Fahd Jaassim Al-Furayj, Syrian Minister of Defense and Deputy Commander in Chief of the Syrian Armed Forces, paid a visit to officers and enlisted men in the Damascus area to inspect morale, positions and logistics.  He was very pleased and promised that the SAA would address the needs of the Syrian people and annihilate all terrorism on Syrian land.

Al-Qaarra:  In the Qalamoon on the border with the Lebanon, ISIS began exterminating its enemies by killing 21 FSA rodents.  The victims were members of the Liwaa` Maghaaweer Al-Qusayr (Commandos of Al-Qusayr Brigade, yawn) and their leader, one:

Araba Idrees, a nephew of the now-disgraced defector/traitor, Saleem Idrees.

 Al-Buwaydh:  West of Dayr Khibya, the SAA trapped and killed 7 FSA rodents.

HOMS:

1

Ruhoom and ‘Unq Al-Hawaa:  An attempted infiltration to the village of Maksir Al-Hissaan by ISIS vermin was blunted by quick action on the part of the SAA.  The ISIS cockroaches were planning to steal food and even children to use as cannon fodder in their demented Jihad.

Between ‘Arshoona and West Salaam:  The SAA went berserk yesterday and killed scores of Nusra, Faylaq Homs, Kataa`ib Al-Faarooq rodents in the towns of Umm Al-Reesh and Al-Mas’oodiyya.  Nusra tried to recoup its losses but was encircled by SAA stalwarts and reduced to a pair of bleating sheep.  23 Nusra rats were killed by the SAA supported by PDC with only 2 rodents surviving:

Arshad ‘Umraan

Muhammad Zayd Basseesu

Khaalid Al-Jadiy

Hussayn ‘Abdul-Majeed

The rest were not identified and are believed to be non-Syrian.

Between Abu-Al-‘Alaayaa and West Salaam: 8 rodents hoisted in their own petard when a land mine they were planting unexpectedly went BOOM!  No names available.

Al-Marwaha:  Near Palmyra at the marble quarries, SAA swooped down on the ISIS rodents and killed a handful. No details.

Al-Rastan:  Nusra took another hit at the Main Square in the city at the hands of security officers.  No details.

Al-Mukharram Mountains:  Reports coming in of huge losses suffered by rats.  It is not clear which group is involved.

Fighting reported here: Umm Sharshooh on the Orontes River, South Abu Salaasil, Al-‘Aamiriyya, Hawsh Hajju, South Al-Mushayrifa, Rajm Al-Qassr, Umm Sahreej, Southf Al-Shindaakhiyya, East Habra, Jubb Al-Jarraah.

بالفيديو..تقدم الجيش في ريف درعا وريف دمشق

NEWS AND REPORTS:

Check this great Xmas tape of General Zhahreddeen being cheered on by Dayr El-Zor’s children:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=49d_1418942251#OlwB3eofgPoRFrtX.99

Global Research explains why Vlad isn’t fazed by the economic war waged by Obama and the Saudi apes:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/what-putin-is-not-telling-us-the-raid-on-the-ruble-was-supposed-to-be-a-checkmate-its-not/5420985?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-putin-is-not-telling-us-the-raid-on-the-ruble-was-supposed-to-be-a-checkmate-its-not

Posted in SyriaComments Off on GENERAL AL-FURAYJ INSPECTS ARMY UNITS IN DAMASCUS

ALEPPO: OBAMA’S TERRORISTS DELIRIOUS WITH DEFEAT

NOVANEWS
HANDARAAT FALLING; SYRIA UNCOVERS ISIS PRISON WHERE HOSTAGES WERE KEPT

  ريف حلب.. الجيش يسيطر على  50% من مخيم حندرات ويقتل أهم متزعمي الإرهابيين

Handaraat and Handaraat Camp:  In a surprise assault conducted by SAA-SF, the Syrian Army established complete control over the Steel Factory and a major section of the camp giving the government control over 50% of the area all the way to the Al-Mallaah Farms.  All entryways into the area for resupply are now under artillery control.  Expect the rats to start leaving very soon.

Huraytaan:  Syrian Army continues to mop up remnant rats killing 6 of them yesterday.

Kafr Hamraa:  Continuing SAA aggressiveness here killed one of Nusra’s most important leaders as announced by their own rat media:

Raami Saffook

Greater Awraleem in the western countryside saw some fighting as the SAA continues to close pathways from Turkey.

Fighting also in Al-Baab with no details.

Thanks to the war criminal, Barack Obama and his confederates, this basement prison was used to house western hostages like Foley, Sotloff and Haines,  in Al-Shaykh Najjaar which was liberated by the SAA some months ago.  The SANA news reporter, Shaadi Hulwa, took the photos without knowing at the time that all the hostages, who were beheaded later, slept here in darkness and a state of semi-starvation.  Thank you Obama.  Your ISIS rats did this. 

Sameera Kayyaali, a founder of Al-Jazeera’s fake protests and a professional street walker, found dead in Huraytaan after being raped by her wonderful heroes in the Nusra organization.  

وحدة خاصة من الجيش السوري تداهم مقراً لإرهابيي داعش في دير الزور وتقتل عدداً منهم

DAYR EL-ZOR:  Say what you will about ISIS, but, you can’t take this away from them:  they just don’t have any social skills.  Yesterday at the villages of Subayhaan and Al-Duwayr, ISIS tried to arrest 23 women to use them as sex slaves.  That didn’t go ever very well with the locals who brought in the Shu’aytaat fighters (now allied with the SAA) and killed every ISIS rodent. The ISIS rats were all non-Syrian, mostly from Iraq and Turkey.

The City:  Specialized operations unit of the SAA assaulted the Pharmex Company Factory in the center of town in the Intilaaq Neighborhood and killed 11 rodents.  The operation was flawlessly executed.  All the rats inside were foreigners.

Al-Bu-‘Umar:  10 ISIS/Obama rodents killed here in fighting.

Fighting also in Al-Jafra and Al-Muree’iyya

 

Posted in SyriaComments Off on ALEPPO: OBAMA’S TERRORISTS DELIRIOUS WITH DEFEAT

Free Fall of the Ruble: Who’s Behind it? A Ploy of Russia’s Economic Wizards? Whose Chess Game?

NOVANEWS

Russia Flag

Global Research

 

The world is still hell-bent for hydrocarbon-based energy. Russia is one of the world’s largest producer of energy. Russia has recently announced that in the future she will no longer trade energy in US dollars, but in rubles and currencies of the trading partners. In fact, this rule will apply to all trading. Russia and China are detaching their economies from that of the western financial system. To confirm this decision, in July 2014 Russia’s Gazprom concluded a 400 billion gas deal with China, and in November this year they signed an additional slightly smaller contract – all to be denominated in rubles and renminbi.

The remaining BRICS – Brazil, India and South Africa – plus the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan and considered for membership since September 2014 are also India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia, with Turkey also waiting in the wings – will also trade in their local currencies, detached from the dollar-based western casino scheme. A host of other nations increasingly weary of the decay of the western financial system which they are locked into are just waiting for a new monetary scheme to emerge. So far their governments may have been afraid of the emperor’s wrath – but gradually they are seeing the light. They are sensing the sham and weakness behind Obama’s boisterous noise. They don’t want to be sucked into the black hole, when the casino goes down the drain.

To punish Russia for Ukraine, Obama is about to sign into law major new sanctions against Russia, following Congress’s unanimous passing of a recent motion to this effect. – That is what the MSM would like you to believe. It is amazing that ten months after the Washington instigated Maidan slaughter and coup where a Washington selected Nazi Government was put in place, the MSM still lies high about the origins of this government and the massacres it is committing in the eastern Ukraine Donbass area.

Congress’s unanimity – what Congress and what unanimity? – Out of 425 lawmakers, only 3 were present for the vote http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40489.htm. The others may have already taken off for their year-end recess, or simply were ‘ashamed’ or rather afraid to object to the bill. As a matter of fact, of the three who were present to vote, two at first objected. Only after a bit of arm-twisting and what not, they were willing to say yes. This is how the ‘unanimous’ vote came to be, as trumpeted by the MSM – unanimous by three votes! The public at large is duped again into believing what is not.

What new sanctions does this repeatedly propagated bill entail? – It addresses mostly Russian energy companies and the defense industry with regard to sales to Syria, as well more anti-Russia propaganda and ‘democratization’ programs in Ukraine – and Russia; all countries with the objective for regime change.

How do these sanctions affect Russia, especially since all Russian energy sales are no longer dollar denominated? – Sheer propaganda. The naked emperor once more is calling an unsubstantiated bluff. To show his western stooges who is in power. It’s an ever weaker showoff.

Now – as a consequence of declining oil prices and of western ‘sanctions’ – of course, what else? – Russia’s economy is suffering and the ruble is in free fall. Since the beginning of the year it lost about 60%; last week alone 20%. As a result and after serious consideration, says MSM, the Russian Central Bank decided a few days ago to increase the interest of reference from 10.5% to 17% to make the ruble more attractive for foreign investors. It worked only for a few hours. Raising the interbank interest was Putin’s reply to Obama’s bluff – feeding at the same time western illusion about Russia’s decline.

The propaganda drums tell you Russia is helpless because the world has lost the last bit of confidence in President Putin – of course. Regime change is on the agenda. Mr. Putin must be blamed as the culprit, hoping to discredit him with his people. He is leading Russia into a deep recession; the worst since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The mainstream media show you interviews with average mainstreet Russians saying they have lost all their savings, their salaries and pensions are worth nothing anymore and they don’t know how to survive this coming calamity.

In reality, at least 80% of the Russian population stands solidly behind Vladimir Putin. He has brought them universal education, health care and fixed infrastructure that was decaying after the fall of the Soviet Union. President Putin is literally revered as a hero by the vast majority of Russians – including the country’s oligarchy.

In fact, nobody in the western economic system these days is dealing in rubles. In short-sighted connivance with Washington, the treasuries of the western vassals are releasing their ruble reserves – which Russia does not buy, thereby flooding the market. Russia not only has large dollar reserves, plus the ruble is backed by gold, a fact consistently omitted in the MSM. For now, Russia prefers to let the ruble plummet.

Under another ‘arrangement’ by bully Obama, Middle Eastern oil producing puppets like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are overproducing and flooding the market with petrol and gas, thereby driving the price down to the ostensible detriment of Russia and Venezuela, both countries where Washington vies for regime change. A double whammy thinks Washington, buying kudos with the stooges. The sheiks that control their energy output apparently have been promised enough goodies from Washington to bite the bullet and take their own losses.

Russia needs rubles. That’s her currency. That is the currency Russia needs for future trading – detached from the western monetary system.

When Russia deems that her currency has reached rock-bottom, she will buy back cheap rubles in the market with massive amounts of dollars. Russia may then flood the western market – with dollars, euros and other western-allied currencies – and gold. Let’s not forget, the ruble is backed by gold. By now we know what flooding a market with currencies may do to these currencies – and simultaneously buy back rubles from the West. A brilliant move to reestablish Russia’s currency in a new emerging monetary system – which Europe would be welcome to join, but willingly, no by Washington style arm-twisting.

Surely, Russia is not interested to cause the sudden destruction of the dollar-linked financial world. She is not interested in a sudden death of the many countries that are potential new trading partners in a new monetary system. Instead, the fall of the western economy of deceit may be planned as a gradual slide, so that countries have time to switch – switch their reserves to rubles, yuans and other BRICS and SCO currencies. This move is on its way. Only ten years ago, dollar denominated securities constituted 90% of reserves worldwide. Today the rate is 60% and declining.

After all, perhaps as Plan B, there is also a pact of monetary alliance between Russia and China. China holds currently about 1.5 trillion dollars and in total more than 3 trillion dollar equivalent in western currencies – and undefined but huge gold reserves. Chinese, BRICS and SCO solidarity with Russia is a solid security for the ruble. Imagine – the first major action of the new BRICS Development Bank with a current capital base of 100 billion dollars would launch a massive ruble rescue operation. No worries, Russia’s economy is on firm course.

The question begs – is this gigantic ‘engineered’ ruble devaluation scheme another precursor to war? A nuclear confrontation or Cold War II? – Precursor to another western, Washington-driven false flag attempting Moscow to fall into a lethal trap? – Not necessarily. Russia is playing a clever chess game, diplomacy at its best. Instead of sabre rattling – Russia is coin rattling. It might lead to a western financial fiasco early in 2015 for the dollar and euro denominated economies. And the winner is…?

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