Archive | February 23rd, 2015

USA: 4,000 Lynched By White Christian Terrorists ”VIDEO”

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Terrorism at home: The history More African-Americans lynched than we thought before

Terrorism is universal

 

A recent study by an Alabama-based civil rights organization discovered that over 4,000 people were victims of racially-motivated lynchings in the American South. In a time when anti-terrorism rhetoric is thickening yet again, this group wishes to place memorials to both remember the victims of this terror, and to remind too-often forgetful Americans that terrorism runs deep in our blood as well.

 

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ISIS CHILD MOCK BEHEADERS IN TRAINING

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Egyptian children play Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists as they create a mock beheading video.

egyptian-children-mock-isis-beheading

El-Balad  A video identified as showing a group of Egyptian children carrying out a mock execution-style beheading has caused shock and dismay after being shared on social media in Egypt.

The seven children in the video were identified in a Facebook post by Egyptian freelance writer Tamer Abdo Amin as hailing from the Egyptian town of El-Mahalla El-Kubra.

In the video, two small children are shown kneeling before two larger children, who play at being jihadists and hold “knives” — wooden sticks — to their throats. Two other stick-wielding children flank the “prisoners” while another boy speaks to camera.

“We have no religion or nation. We slaughter children, women, and the elderly. We have decided the following — to kill all the youths of the town of [inaudible]. Slaughter then, o men!” the boy says. Then the two junior jihadis mimic an ISIS execution by pretending to behead the victims.

 No heads were lost in the filming of this video

When Youtube takes this down, you can view it here: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153083862938050

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Uganda: Case in focus SMUG v. Lively

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Salma Yaqoob

SALMA YAQOOB: ‘Ugandan parliament drops bill that would jail gay people for life’
Fantastic news! Lets keep the pressure on though by ensuring the online petition gets over 2 million signatures. Full story here.

Tomorrow, February 24, marks the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. The law criminalized the existence of LGBTI people, not only outlawing their relationships but also advocacy on their behalf. In addition to stripping away fundamental rights, it has led to increased extra-legal violence against vulnerable sexual minorities. CCR has long believed that as a U.S. organization we have a special obligation to hold U.S. actors accountable for the harm they do to peoples around the world, be they the government officials who authorized torture of detainees, the private military contractors who oversaw the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, or others.

That is why we also represent Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in its lawsuit against Springfield, MA extremist Scott Lively. Lively is a one-man persecution consulting operation, traveling the world to work with leaders to strip LGBTI people of fundamental rights. Unfortunately, he has been quite successful. He has been active in Uganda since 2002, and played a significant role in the crafting of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. While the law was later invalidated on a technicality by a Ugandan court, the damage he has helped wreak there is far greater than the legislated repression of one law — like a “nuclear bomb” as he has claimed. Using the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which CCR pioneered as a tool to pursue international human rights violations, we are suing Lively for persecution.

It is the first case ever using the ATS to defend LGBTI people’s rights. In 2013, a judge rebuffed Lively’s attempt to have SMUG v. Lively dismissed, marking another first: recognition that widespread/systematic denial of fundamental rights on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity constitutes a crime against humanity. The film God Loves Uganda, which documents the larger phenomenon of the rightwing Christian export of homophobia to Africa and is an educational tool in contextualizing our case, is now available on Netflix, iTunes and DVD.

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Wesley Clark: “Our Friends and Allies Funded ISIS to Destroy Hezbollah”

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Image result for Hezbollah LOGO

Hezbollah (pronounced ˌhɛzbəˈlɑ Arabic: حزب الله‎ Ḥizbu ‘llāh, literally “Party of Allah” or “Party of God“)—also transliterated HizbullahHizballah, etc. is a Shi’a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon.  Hezbollah’s paramilitary wing is the Jihad Council.

After the death of Abbas al-Musawi in 1992, the organisation has been headed by Hassan Nasrallah, its Secretary-General. The United States, and its Puppet Gulf Cooperation CouncilCanada, and the Nazi State of I$raHell classify Hezbollah as a ”terrorist organization”. The European Union and New Zealand has proscribed Hezbollah’s military wing, but does not list Hezbollah as a whole as a terrorist organization.

Hezbollah was conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran following the Nazi invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and was primarily formed to offer resistance to the Nazi occupation. Its leaders were followers of Grate Leader  Ayatollah Khomeini  After the 1982 Nazi invasion, Nazi  occupied a strip of south Lebanon, which was controlled by Zionist Rat’s militia supported by I$raHell, the South Lebanon Army. Hezbollah waged a guerilla campaign against them; with the collapse of the SLA, Nazi withdrew on May 24, 2000.

Hezbollah has grown to an organization with seats in the Lebanese government, a radio and a satellite television-station, programs for social development and large-scale military deployment of fighters beyond Lebanon’s borders. The organization has been called by Zionist puppet “state within a state“.

Hezbollah is part of the March 8 Alliance within Lebanon, in opposition to the March 14 Alliance. Hezbollah maintains strong support among Lebanon’s Shi’a population, while Wahhabi Sunnis have disagreed with the group’s agenda. Following the end of the Zionist occupation of South Lebanon in 2000, its military strength grew significantly, such that its paramilitary wing is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah receives military training, weapons, and financial support from Iran, and political support from Syria. Hezbollah also fought against Zio-Nazi in the 2006 Lebanon War.

After the 2006–2008 Lebanese political protests and clashes, a national unity government was formed in 2008, giving Hezbollah and its opposition allies control of eleven of thirty cabinets seats; effectively veto power. In August 2008, Lebanon’s new Cabinet unanimously approved a draft policy statement which secures Hezbollah’s existence as an armed organization and guarantees its right to “liberate or recover occupied lands“. Since 2012, Hezbollah has helped the Syrian government during the Syrian Wahhabi war in its fight against the SZio-Wahhabi Rat’s which Hezbollah has described as a Zionist plot and a “Wahhabi-Zionist conspiracy” to destroy its alliance with Assad against I$raHell. Once seen as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab world, this image upon which the group’s legitimacy rested has been severely damaged due to the sectarian nature of the Syrian Civil War in which it has become embroiled.

 

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Setting the Stage for Another Proxy War in Yemen

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By Michael Horton 

On 26 September 1962, four tanks rumbled through a moonless night and surrounded Imam Badr’s palace in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. Hearing the tanks Badr and his father-in-law descended from the highest room of the palace moments before it was shelled.

The coup that would plunge north Yemen into almost eight years of bloody civil war was underway. Imam Badr ordered his remaining guards to bring him Bren guns. Then Badr and his father-in-law stepped out onto a balcony and opened fire on the mutinous soldiers that surrounded the palace while gasoline soaked sandbags were ignited and hurled onto the tanks below. The soldiers momentarily fled and Badr lived on to fight from northwest Yemen’s rugged mountains until his eventual exile in the UK in 1970. Imam Badr’s exile marked the end of the Zaidi Imamate that had ruled parts of Yemen for a thousand years.

The leader of the coup was the chief of Badr’s corps of bodyguards, Colonel Abdullah al-Sallal who was supported by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Within months, several thousand Egyptian soldiers were on the ground in north Yemen to support Sallal’s republicans in their fight against Badr’s royalists. The royalists were bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and covertly supported at various times by Jordan, Israel, Iran, France, and the UK, all of whom had a strategic interest in weakening Nasser and the Egyptian Army. Nasser would eventually commit more than fifty-thousand soldiers supported by MiGs and heavy weaponry to Yemen. Despite the number of soldiers, extensive air-support, and even the Egyptians’ use of chemical weapons, the war in Yemen became what Nasser would later describe as, ‘my Vietnam.’

With the recent Houthi takeover of much of northern Yemen, there are echoes of the 1960s. There seems little likelihood of Yemen not becoming a battleground for a protracted proxy war between two regional powers: Saudi Arabia and Iran which, in contrast to the 1960s, are now on opposite sides. The Saudis are vehemently opposed to the Houthis because they are Shi’a, adherents to the Zaidi sect of Shi’a Islam. The Saudis are fearful that the Houthis’ ‘revolution’ could spread across their southern border and embolden their own restive Shi’a minority. In April 2000, the Saudis put down a Shi’a led rebellion in the province of Najran, which borders areas that are now controlled by the Houthis.

On the other side of the emerging proxy war is Iran whose material support for the Houthis is limited. The claims made about Iran supplying arms and training to the Houthis are dubious. The Houthis are in no need of weapons—they have more than they can manage—and the core Houthi fighters are battle-hardened and require no training. However, if isolated, the Houthis may increase their level of engagement with Iran.

What the Houthis do need and what Iran has likely been providing, at least in token amounts, is money. The Yemeni economy is moribund. The Central Bank of Yemen is dependent on loans and grants from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States. The resignation of Yemeni President Hadi and his government and the Houthis’ unilateral and extralegal dissolution of the Yemeni Parliament have meant that money from the Gulf States has dried up. It is an open question as to where the money for the salaries for tens of thousands of Yemeni bureaucrats and soldiers will come from. The lack of funds to pay government salaries poses a serious and potentially fatal challenge for the Houthi leadership.

Saudi Arabia will take full advantage of the Houthis’ limited financial resources by providing blank checks to those tribal leaders and displaced military figures who oppose the Houthis and agree to fight them. Most worrying is the fact that some of this money could make its way to groups like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who, as militant Salafis, are the sworn enemies of the Shi’a led Houthis. AQAP is a far more amorphous organization than is commonly supposed. The Houthi takeover of Sana’a and the resignation of the government will mean that the lines between tribesmen and tribal militias opposed to the Houthis and the militants allied with AQAP will become even less distinct. Militant Salafi organizations like AQAP will be key beneficiaries of a proxy war in Yemen.

The calls by some in the Yemeni government for members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to intervene in Yemen in order to force the Houthis to withdraw is a first step toward igniting a new proxy war in Yemen. The calls will likely go unheeded, at least in terms of an overt ground-based intervention. The members of the GCC, most particularly Saudi Arabia, do not have the capabilities or constitution for a military intervention in Yemen. Yemen is most definitely not Bahrain. However, some members of the GCC will undoubtedly fund a host of covert measures in Yemen, all of which will add fuel to the fire that threatens to wash over Yemen.

The Houthis are a distinctly Yemeni movement that is deeply rooted in the Yemeni socio-cultural context. All outside parties, including those in the US government, like Senators John McCain and Diane Feinstein, who recently called for more ‘boots on the ground’ in Yemen, would do well to remember the words—some of his last words—of Field Marshal Amer, the architect of Egypt’s disastrous campaign in north Yemen: ‘we did not bother to study the local, Arab and international implications or the political and military questions involved. After years of experience we realized that it was a war between tribes and that we entered it without knowing the nature of their land, their traditions and their ideas.’ The Egyptians became involved in Yemen thinking that they were supporting a proxy, the republicans, in what would be a short sharp war against the Saudi backed royalists, but it ended up costing them more than twenty-thousand dead soldiers. Meddling in Yemen without taking into account the country’s history, traditions, and intricate patchwork of loyalties is a dangerous game for all involved.

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South African Community Ends 5 Week Protest

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The community of Malamulele, in the South African municipality of Limpopo, announced on Monday that it is ending the protests started five weeks ago in order to demand autonomy from Thulamela Local Municipality.

President of South Africa Jacob Zuma

The community agreed to stop the protests after residents of Malamulele and the Municipal Demarcation Board finally came to an agreement, with the board committing to redefine the boundaries of several municipalities after a public referendum.

The protests originally began when the board denied the community’s independence request, arguing that the surrounding villages were not financially viable, according to the local IOL News. The Malamulele community had accussed the Thulamela Municipality of favoring to Venda-speaking areas, over themselves, who largley speak Tsonga.

“We no longer want Thulamela. We can fall under any other municipality. We have suffered a lot,” said the deputy secretary of the Malamulele task force, Isaac Nokeri, during the meeting on Monday.

The five-week shutdown stopped most public services. Students were barred from classes and sections of four schools were burned.

South African President Jacob Zuma commented on the protests during an interview with the state channel SABC, stating it was “unacceptable” for the users of services like schools.

“Once you shut down, you infringe on other people’s rights such as children not being able to go to school,” he said. The ANC Limpopo applauded the decision to end the protest. “The ANC in Limpopo welcomes the decision by the people of Malamulele to call off the shut-down of businesses and services in Malamulele and the surrounding areas,” said spokesman Khumbudzo Ntshavheni in a statement.

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Denying History: Cuba in the German Liberal Press

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Hundreds of thousands turned out to listen to President Raul Castro

Hundreds of thousands turned out to listen to President Raul Castro’s messaged on the 55th anniversary of the Cuban revolt

The U.S.-Cuban negotiations were extensively discussed in the liberal German press. A closer reading of the news indicated a slant in coverage.

On 17 December 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced “normalization” of U.S.-Cuban relations. As a first step of rapprochement, an agreement between both countries included the release of political prisoners. It was also announced that at a later point in time restrictions on trade, travel and exchange were going to be eased. Obama was also considering to discuss in Congress as to whether the embargo imposed on Cuba in 1962 should be dissolved. Already in 1961, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower had terminated diplomatic relations with Cuba in reaction to the Cuban Revolution.

The U.S.-Cuban negotiations were extensively discussed in the liberal German press. A closer reading of the news indicated a slant in coverage: Cuba was depicted as a terror state and a nefarious actor. The USA, on the other hand, was described as a benign actor with noble aims such as to bring democracy and reforms to Cuba.

This was suggested by the following exemplary quotes: The Süddeutsche Zeitungargued that the Cuban regime was “undemocratic” and “conducts human rights violations.” (Süddeutsche.de, 17 December 2014) The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung referred to Obama who had asked “his Foreign Secretary John Kerry to assess Cuba’s status as a ‘terror don’.” (FAZ.NET, 17. December 2014) Die Welthighlighted how “Washington seeks a new way: trade, tourism and (…) unprecedented communication freedoms are assumed to encourage reforms” in Cuba (Welt.de, 18. Dezember 2014). The Frankfurter Rundschau contextualized Cuba and terrorism: “Since 1982, the island is on Washington’s list of states which, in the eyes of the USA, support terrorist activities.” (FR-Online.de, 20. Dezember 2014).

Terrorism

Since the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959 and the disposal of U.S.-supported Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, numerous Cuban exiles have settled in the state of Florida. To a significant extend, Cuban exiles constitute political refugees who seek to establish an alternative political and economic system in Cuba.

The USA has been supporting Cuban exile groups with political and financial means. In fact, the CIA has aided exiles in conducting subversive activities against the Castro regime. Noam Chomsky argues in his book Hegemony or Survival that shortly after the Cuban Revolution in March 1959, the National Security Council (NSC) “considered means to instigate regime change” in Cuba. Already in May 1959 “the CIA began to arm guerrillas inside Cuba,” Chomsky further writes, and in Winter, CIA-led Cuban exiles conducted bombing raids. Chomsky describes such policies as “international terrorist attacks against Cuba.” In Hegemony or Survival, Chomsky further documents how similar policies had been conducted by U.S. successor governments. For instance, Chomsky writes the following about the government of U.S. President Richard Nixon: “Terrorist activities continued under Nixon, peaking in the mid-1970s, with attacks on fishing boats, embassies, and Cuban offices overseas, and the bombing of a Cubana airliner, killing all seventy-three passengers. These and subsequent terrorist operations were carried out from US territory, though by then they were regarded as criminal acts by the FBI.”

The U.S.-American politician Bill van Auken wrote on the World Socialist Website that the USA has sponsored and protected Cuban exile terrorists” whose attacks “have claimed thousands of lives.” To label Cuba as a terrorist state would thus constitute “a grotesque inversion of the real relationship.”

Castro’s Idea

Such views are hardly disseminated by the German liberal press which rather associates Cuba with terrorism. Press coverage demonizes Cuban society and this framing serves U.S. interests. Who remembers that before the Revolution, the Cuban people were subjugated by a US client regime? U.S. historian Paul Street argues this in an article for ZNet: “Mid-20th Century Cuba was a desperately impoverished island scarred by savage economic inequality, military dictatorship, and related scourges of racism, disease, and illiteracy all reinforced by U.S. control in service to great U.S. business interests. The Batista era (1952-1959) witnessed the nearly total domination of the Cuban economy by U.S. corporations and the related political domination of the island by Washington.“

After the Revolution, the USA was concerned about Cuba’s independence, which could have served as a model for other countries in the Latin American hemisphere. This is evidenced by John F. Kennedy advisor Arthur Schlesinger’swarning about “the Castro idea of taking matters into one’s own hands. “Schlesinger wrote in a report for the Kennedy administration that “Castro’s idea” could be particular effective in areas where “the distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favors the propertied classes,” because in such regions, the poor could be “stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution” and demand “opportunities for a decent living.” Accordingly, it could be argued that the subversive policies against Cuba and the economic sanctions were designed in order to counter progressive developments in Cuba. This was so because in practice, “Castro’s idea” included the nationalization of industries at the expense of U.S. business interests. This critical context has largely been ignored in the German press.

But if we assess the current rapprochement between Cuba and the USA, the historical background and its implications need to be considered. U.S. interests in Latin America have not changed. As Paul Craig Roberts comments: “Normalization of relations with Cuba is not the result of a diplomatic breakthrough or a change of heart on the part of Washington.” In fact, Roberts further argues: “Normalization is a result of U.S. corporations seeking profit opportunities in Cuba.” Together with “normalization,” foreign currency and a U.S. embassy will settle in Cuba. This has the broader goal of taking over Cuba’s political and economic affairs: “In short, normalization of relations means regime change in Cuba.”

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Ukraine Swaps Prisoners with Eastern Rebels amid Skirmishes

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Trucks from the Ukrainian armed forces and separatists deliver the bodies of the fallen in recent fighting for exchange on a road in eastern Ukraine.

Trucks from the Ukrainian armed forces and separatists deliver the bodies of the fallen in recent fighting for exchange on a road in eastern Ukraine. | 

According to the Ministry of Defense of Donetsk, 140 prisoners were handed over to Kiev in exchange for 52 rebels and 4 mothers.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) exchanged prisoners with representatives of the Ukrainian Army this Saturday.

According to the Ministry of Defense of Donetsk, 140 prisoners were handed over to Kiev in exchange for 52 rebels and 4 women, who are mothers of rebel fighters.

The exchange, which was one of the terms of the ceasefire agreement signed last week, was made near Luhansk, in the district of Slovianoserbsk.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Twitter account that he was informed the process had begun. “Shortly, 140 of our heroes will be free,” he wrote.

A deal reached by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France called ceasefire to begin last Sunday, however the Ukraine’s military and rebel leaders accused each other of continuing to mount attacks during the past week.

Both sides were supposed to begin drawing back heavy weapons from the front lines Tuesday, but international monitors say this has not yet taken place.

The crisis in Ukraine, which began with the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, has left more than 5,000 dead and almost one million displaced. The country also faces a serious financial crisis, with the ongoing rapid currency devaluations leading to massive inflation and significant difficulties in the country’s banking system.

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South Sudan, Another US Intervention Resulting in Violent Chaos

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Thousands of children are being used as soldiers in the U.S.-caused war in South Sudan.

Thousands of children are being used as soldiers in the U.S.-caused war in South Sudan. | Photo: Child Rights Awareness Creation Organization

Unidentified gunmen abduct 89 boys while in school, possibly to use as armed soldiers.

Unidentified gunmen in war-torn South Sudan, kidnapped about 90 boys, some as young as 13, from their school in oil-rich Upper Nile State, the United Nations reported on Saturday.

The schoolboys were taken while doing their exams, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, adding that the total number of kidnapped children could be “much higher.”

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the abductions and the gunmen’s intentions were not clear, though in the past armed groups have forcibly recruited children before major offensives.

Yet Another Destructive U.S. Intervention

Conflict has been rife in South Sudan since December 2013 when fighting erupted in capital Juba between soldiers allied to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to his former deputy, Riek Machar. The war there is the result of yet another Washington intervention in a foreign country, with the same results obtained everywhere else, which is destruction, violence, chaos and the victimization of the people.

Washington ignores once and again that the people only want peace. (Photo: AFP)

“Washington was more interested in weakening the Republic in Sudan and encouraged the Republic of South Sudan to break away, but the looming civil war will damage U.S. interests in the region,” Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African news wire, told RT a few days after violence erupted in the country.

“The U.S. has a lot invested politically in the Republic of South Sudan and they were the main forces behind encouraging the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to break away from the Republic of Sudan in the north of the country. Therefore, they have a lot to say about developments that are going on right now in this troubled nation,” the expert said in an interview with RT.

US military intervention in and in nine other African countries is a disastrous echo of 19th century colonialism.

I feel completely uninformed about South Sudan & potential US intervention. If only there were still journalists in America!

He also explained that the motives of the U.S. intervention in Sudan are linked to their interest, as always, in oil, as the country was producing over 500,000 barrels per day, which were held by China, therefore, the subsequent motive in causing destabilization in the nation was to weaken the anti-U.S. government of Khartoum, Republic of Sudan, and lessen the influence of China.

The result of Washington’s intervention has been the country’s deterioration into a civil war, which threatens to spread to other countries throughout Central and East Africa, and the despair of the people who now face potential famine.

(Photo: AFP)

Another common practice by the U.S. is to impose sanctions on countries, as it recently has done in South Sudan.

Death and Displacement

At least 10,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million internally displaced, according to Reuters. UNICEF said about 12,000 children have been recruited into armed groups since the outbreak of war.

The latest incident took place near Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State, in a small village that has seen its population swell to about 90,000 due to a flood of internally displaced people.

“According to witnesses, armed soldiers surrounded the community and searched house by house. Boys older than 12 years of age were taken away by force,” UNICEF said in a statement.

According to Reuters, the use of child soldiers in South Sudan, which only became independent in 2011, has a long history.

The U.N. last month secured a pledge for the release of about 3,000 child soldiers in South Sudan, in what it called “one of the largest ever demobilizations of children.”

Tens of thousands of displaced Sudanese people now face hunger and homelessness. (Photo: AFP)

Rape and Sexual Violence

Rape and other forms of sexual violence by all sides in South Sudan’s civil war have become so widespread that a 2-year-old child was among the victims, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in armed conflict said recently.

“In my 30 years of experience, I’ve never witnessed anything like what I saw in Bentiu,” Zainab Hawa Bangura told reporters about a recent trip to the northern town, one of South Sudan’s regions worst hit by the conflict.

 

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Right-wing Venezuelans Attack Governor’s House with Mortars

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Picture of guarimbas in the Venezuelan state of Tachira.

Picture of guarimbas in the Venezuelan state of Tachira

More than 150 children from the Special Rehabilitation Center were at the residence of Tachira’s Socialist governor at the moment of the attack.

The governor of the Venezuelan state of Tachira, Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora denounced a series of attacks against his residence Thursday by right-wing assailants.

The socialist governor said that 157 children from the Special Rehabilitation Center were at the resident moment when attackers began to fire mortars at the house.

“Everyone alert, they are attacking the residence of the governor of Tachira and 157 children from the Special Rehabilitation Center are in there,” Vielma Mora wrote on his twitter account.

The incident led to the deployment of dozens of police officers in the vicinity, however no victims or injuries were reported.

Authorities said that a group of 10 people were behind the attack, however no arrests were made. According to local reports, the small group belongs to the so-called “guarimberos,” the radical right-wing opposition groups who initiated violent protests that killed 43 people in the country last year.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced last week that the government had thwarted a coup attempt which was being coordinated by Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, allegedly with the support of U.S. government officials operating out of the Embassy in Caracas.

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