Archive | January 24th, 2016

Designs behind Attack at Charsadda’s University

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By Sajjad Shaukat

On January, 20, this year, at least 21 persons, including students, a faculty member and security

guards were killed at Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkha’s Charsadda town, when

heavily-armed terrorists of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) entered the university

and opened fire on them. It was due to the quick response of Pakistan’s security forces, including

Special Services Group (SSG) personnel of the army which killed the four attackers and cleared

the premises of the university by securing the civilians inside.

On the same day, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif reached Charsadda to boost the

morale of the security personnel who took part in the operation. He appreciated timely response

by the security forces, and also expressed deep grief over the loss of lives.

The mastermind of the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar attack, Umar Mansoor of the TTP

Geedar group claimed the attack at the university through a post on his Facebook page, adding

that four attackers were sent to the university.

Head of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa revealed, “The

investigations show that Charsadda terror attack was being controlled from a location in

Afghanistan through Afghan cellphone by a TTP operative.”

He also said that Gen. Raheel Sharif called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive

Abdullah Abdullah and top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen John Campbell to

inform them about the evidence which has emerged from investigations into the university

assault, pointing towards Afghanistan-based terrorists of the TTP, controlling it.

Reliable sources disclosed that Indian consulate located in Jalalabad, Afghanistan played a key

role in targeting the Bacha Khan University. In this regard, the operatives of the Indian secret

agency, RAW in connivance with Rahmatullah Nabil, the former director of Afghan intelligence

agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah planned this

assault. Indian consulate gave rupees 3 million to the Talban commander to arrange this brutal

However, this terror attack cannot be seen in isolation, as it is part of the Indian nefarious

designs not only against Pakistan, but also against other regional and global powers. While some

powers like the US are also playing double game with Pakistan and China which are also behind

It is notable that in January 13, 2016, at least seven personal of the Afghan security forces died

during the suicide attack which targeted the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. Islamic State group

(ISIS or Daesh) claimed responsibility for the terror attack.

The assault which coincided with efforts to restart the stalled peace process with Taliban

insurgents and ease diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan, added a dangerous new

element to Afghanistan’s volatile security mix. In this respect, delegates from Afghanistan,

Pakistan, China and the United States had met this to try to resurrect efforts to end nearly 15

years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

It is mentionable that on December 9, 2015, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Conference was

held in Islamabad in which high-level representatives of supporting regional and international

organizations from over 30 countries including especially the US, China and Indian Foreign

Minister Sushma Swaraj participated.

The participants realized the importance of the conference as an important regional platform

aimed at a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan which was not only in its own interest,

but also vital to peace, stability and prosperity of the ‘Heart of Asia’ region as a whole—it was

collective responsibility to help Afghanistan in combating the challenges it faced.

In the joint declaration, the participants reaffirmed the respect for each other’s sovereignty,

territorial integrity and reiterated their commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force

against each other and reaffirmed the objectives, aimed at promoting regional peace and

prosperity and enhanced cooperation for countering security threats collectively.

And a series of meetings were held in Islamabad between Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the

US to develop an understanding of the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the

Afghan government and Taliban. A trilateral meeting was also held among Pakistan, Afghanistan

and the America. Besides, President Ashraf Ghani, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also

met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sushma said that India and Pakistan have decided to restart

composite dialogue to address all issues including Kashmir.

President Ghani vowed to work together to eliminate the common threat of terrorism, which

Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing, and emphasized on the need to enhance bilateral relations

between the two countries.

In this respect, in the recent past, cordial relations were established between Pakistan and

Afghanistan when Afghan President Ghani had realized that Afghanistan and Pakistan were

facing similar challenges of terrorism and would combat this threat collectively.

While, it is misfortune that on direction of New Delhi and like the former regime of Afghan

President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s present rulers have also started accusing Pakistan of

cross-border terrorism. In this context, after hours of the Taliban captured Kunduz city, on

September 28, 2015, during his address to the UNO General Assembly, Afghanistan’s chief

executive Abdullah Abdullah blamed Islamabad for carrying out cross-border attacks and

destabilizing Afghanistan.

Differences exist between chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani, as the

former wants cordial relations with New Delhi at the cost of Afghanistan and the latter prefers

Islamabad, because Pak-Afghan stability is interrelated.

It is noteworthy that on December 10, President Ghani accepted the resignation of Rahmatullah

Nabil as director of the Afghan intelligence agency, NDS, after developing differences of the

spymaster with him over Ghani’s move to attend the regional conference in Islamabad. In his

statement, Nabil said President Ghani had asked him to relinquish charge of the NDS.

Besides, Prime Minister Sharif and President Ghani also showed their determination that their

countries would cooperate in fighting the threat of ISIS.

As the US is playing double game with Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the

Islamic World, which irritates America and Israel. Hence, secret agents of American CIA, Israeli

Mossad and Indian RAW which are well-penetrated in the TTP and ISIS are making efforts to

weaken Tibetan regions of China, Iran and Pakistan, especially Pakistan’s province of

Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities, promoting acrimonious sense of dissent,

political volatility, sectarian violence and arousing sentiments of separatism.

While the US and India are also playing double game against each other. In this connection, in

collusion with Afghanistan’s spy agency NDS, particularly, RAW has well-established its

network in Afghanistan, and is fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in

various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements and anti-Pakistan groups like

Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundullah (God’s soldiers) and TTP.

Nevertheless, Indian desperation in Afghanistan is increasing in the backdrop of growing

engagements of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and US. Therefore, by arranging terror-assaults in

Pakistan and Afghanistan, India is also thwarting the peace process between the Afghan officials

and representatives of Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan, which started in Murree, Pakistan, on July

8, 2015 through a meeting, hosted by Islamabad, and in it, Chinese and American

representatives, also participated. While, the US, China and Pakistan are jointly working to

facilitate the process so as to bring peace both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the whole

US and especially New Delhi is also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

(CPEC) and is targeting growing Pak-China-Afghanistan relations.

Although the US is acting upon dual strategy, yet by waging a prolonged war in Afghanistan,

the America and other NATO countries have realized that after the withdrawal of foreign troops,

Afghanistan would be thrown in an era of uncertainly and civil war. They realize the fact that

there is a co-relationship of terrorism or stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Therefore, US-led

developed nations which also spent billions of dollars for the development of Afghanistan have

repeatedly agreed that without Islamabad’s help, stability cannot be achieved there.

Unfortunately, India does not intend to see peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hence, India is

undermining Pak-Afghan stability by creating unrest, and by sabotaging their cordial relations.

As regards the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, the problem cannot be solved through war and

weaponry. Initiation of peace dialogue and positive engagements among the contestant groups

can be the other practicable option.

Pakistan is desirous of peaceful Afghanistan and sincerely committed to play a positive role in

facilitating atmosphere for the dialogue-parties.

Islamabad has categorically denounced any proximity with Taliban as propagated by Indian and

western segments. The impression of proximity has been exploited to fan mistrust between

Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan has expressed its firm resolve to eradicate extremism and terrorism and military

operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan is clear manifestation of the same.

The entities which are playing double game are opposed to a peaceful Afghanistan. Therefore,

they have always attempted to hinder or disrupt any positive outcome of Pak-Afghan

engagement by exploiting holed up proxies to carryout terrorism either on Afghan soil or in

Due to Pakistan’s incontestable role in Afghan imbroglio, the country remains a prime target of

vested countries and extra regional powers and have been witnessing terrorism through the ISIS

which these hostile have themselves created to obtain the secret designs of America, India, Israel

and some western countries.

Optimistically speaking, while appreciating increasing engagements at military level of both

Pakistan and Afghanistan, media may urge political leadership to expend the contacts and

engagements, so that the bilateral relations foster at all levels.

For the purpose, the US-led developed countries must also realize that unlike India, Pakistan

shares common geographical, historical, religious and cultural bonds with Afghanistan, while

Pak-Afghan stability has a co-relationship, which is essential for their global and regional

interests. Especially, America must abandon its double standard, and must check Indian hidden

strategy against Pakistan, Afghanistan and other regional countries. Nonetheless, dual policy of

the peace disruptors in Afghanistan must be stopped by the respective governments of these

Returning to our earlier discussion, there were multiple designs behind the terror attack at the

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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China’s economic growth reached 6.9% for 2015

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China’s economy grew 6.9 per cent year on year in 2015, the slowest annual expansion in a quarter of a century, but it is still in line with the official target, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday. Growth in the fourth quarter came in at 6.8 per cent year on year, the lowest quarterly rate since the global financial crisis, the data showed.The Chinese government targeted an annual economic growth of around 7 per cent for 2015. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 67.67 trillion yuan (about $10.3 trillion) in 2015, with the service sector accounting for 50.5 per cent, the first time the ratio exceeded 50 per cent, according to the NBS. China’s economy still “ran within a reasonable range” in 2015, with its structure further optimized, upgrading accelerated, new growth drivers strengthened and people’s lives improved, NBS chief Wang Baoan told a press conference in Beijing. However, the country faces a daunting task in deepening reforms on all fronts and needs to step up supply-side structural reforms, he said. Major economic indicators softened in 2015, with industrial output growth slowing to 6.1 per cent year on year from 8.3 per cent in 2014, NBS figures showed.

Urban fixed-asset investment continued to cool, expanding 10 per cent year on year, compared with 15.7 per cent in 2014. Retail sales rose 10.7 per cent, down from 12 per cent registered in 2014. Foreign trade ended 2015 with its first annual contraction in six years. Sagging global trade, rising financial risks and changing domestic market conditions were among the factors affecting the economy, NBS Chief Wang told reporters on Tuesday.

He also pointed to an ailing property sector and stock market fluctuations but said their impact on the economy was either limited or yet to be evaluated. Wang dismissed worries about China’s government debts, noting that they accounted for less than 40 per cent of the country’s GDP, well below the internationally accepted alert line of 60 per cent.

Comment: While Chinese economic growth for 2015 was the slowest it’s been in 25 years, it’s worth noting that it remains in a better position than Western countries under the thumb of the Unites States, which is expected to see average growth of somewhere around 2.5% for last year.China has been working on releasing itself from the influence of the collapsing US economy, and that takes time and resources to implement. China understands that it is not just a matter of becoming untangled from the US, but that there needs to be an alternative global economic community that will be able to withstand a US collapse. Of course this is all lost on Western commentators because they are lost in the delusions of their own wishful thinking.

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China pledges millions in aid and billions in loans to Middle East in support of peace

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© Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 21, 2016

The Chinese government has decided to pledge 50 million yuan ($7.53 million) to help improve the lives of besieged Palestinians and 230 million yuan ($35 million) for the violence-hit countries Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen as humanitarian assistance, Chinese President Xi announced in Egypt. The aid to Palestine will support a solar power station project in its territories. Xi also reiterated the BRICS position on Palestinian statehood.

“China firmly supports the Middle East peace process and supports the establishment of a State of Palestine enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Xi told the Arab League’s delegates at their headquarters in Cairo.

Along with the rest of the West Bank, Israeli forces occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war. Xi also stressed that the Palestinian issue should not “fall into oblivion” as it is of fundamental importance to peace in the Middle East.

Maintaining the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people is the responsibility of the Arab League as well as the international community,” Xi said.

The Chinese leader stressed that the international community should promote the resumption of the talks that collapsed in April 2014. The visiting Chinese President on Thursday said it is crucial to promote development in the Arab world. To aid industrialization in the Middle East, Beijing is going to hand out a number of loan programs, including a $15 billion exclusive loan, $10 billion in commercial loans and $10 billion in preferential loans to facilitate production capacity cooperation between China and the Middle Eastern states.

Xi described the Middle East region, not in the usual terms of “wars and tumult”, but as a “land of abundance.” Xi also sought to drum up Arab support for the ambitious Silk Road and Belt project of China.

China, the leader announced, will work with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar to set up a $20 billion common investment fund that focuses on traditional sources of energy in the Middle East, infrastructure, and high-end manufacturing. Xi also offered in his speech $300 million for law enforcement cooperation, police training so as to help build up the abilities of the regional countries to maintain stability.

On the Syrian crisis, Xi said what is most urgent, is to bring about cease-fire and start political talks. Rejecting recent reports and analyses of China’s countering the West’s influence in the region, Xi said Beijing will neither look for proxies nor try to fill any “vacuum” in the Middle East.

“Beijing has no intention of building any sphere of influence in the region,” Xi said.

“Instead of looking for a proxy in the Middle East, we promote peace talks; instead of seeking any sphere of influence, we call on all parties to join the circle of friends for the Belt and Road Initiative; instead of attempting to fill the ‘vacuum’, we build a cooperative partnership network for win-win outcomes,” he added.

China’s Middle East policy will only be determined by the rights and wrongs of relevant issues as well as the fundamental interests of the Middle Eastern people, Xi stressed.

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Turkey in panic mode over the alleged presence of Russian engineers on Syrian border

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© REUTERS/ Christian Hartmann

Amid rising tensions between Ankara and Moscow, Turkish President Erdogan has expressed concern over the alleged presence of Russian engineers near the country’s Syrian border.

The Turkish government has expressed alarm over Russia’s air campaign in Syria since it began last September. Along its Syrian border zone, Turkey has dug defense trenches and increased security forces, despite the fact that Moscow has repeatedly stated its goal is to combat terrorist groups in Syria.

On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed new levels of panic, sounding the alarm over the alleged presence of Russian inspectors at an airport near the Turkish border.

“We have said this from the beginning: we won’t tolerate such formations (in northern Syria) along the area stretching from the Iraqi border up to the Mediterranean,” he told reporters. “We maintain our sensitivities on these issues.”

Erdogan said he plans to discuss the matter with US Vice President Joe Biden when the two meet on Saturday.

“I can say that Turkey is closely watching every military movement on its borders and especially the border with Syria,” a Turkish government source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But the president fails to address the underlying cause for any tensions in the border zone: Ankara’s downing of a Russian bomber in Syrian airspace. Following that incident, Russia was forced to move S-400 air defense systems to Hmeymim airbase.

“They thought that we would turn tail and run. No, Russia not that country,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month. “We have increased our presence in Syria, have increased the number of combat aircraft deployed there. There was no Russian air defense system there – now there’s the S-400.

“If before, Turkey had constantly violated Syrian airspace, let them try it now.”

Moscow also deployed warships to the Mediterranean to assist in the anti-terror campaign, as well as to protect Russian jets.

Erdogan’s comments also come amid Turkey’s increased concern over the presence of Kurdish militants along the border. While the YPG has proven to be one of the most effective ground forces fighting against Daesh in northern Syria, Ankara has labeled the group a terrorist organization.

While Moscow has pushed for the inclusion of the YPG in Syrian peace talks, Ankara has refused, threatening to extend the bloody conflict.

“For us, there is no difference between PYD, YPG, PKK, or Daesh,” Erdogan said. “We will discuss this with Biden tomorrow.

“I hope that this joint stance will be aimed at preventing this wrong Russian formation in northern Syria.”

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The coming collapse of the Islamic State?

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Alexander Mercouris

It will take a little time but the Islamic State is approaching its end. The Islamic State(also known as Daesh) is the bastard child of the US’s drive to achieve regime change in Syria. To that end the US and its allies instigated an armed insurrection against the Syrian government.

Though protests — many of them violent — began in 2011, it was in 2012 — after the Geneva Peace Conference — which the US wrecked by insisting President Assad stand down — that the major fighting began, with a rebel offensive against Syria’s two biggest cities: Aleppo and Damascus. The offensive failed. The Syrian government survived, retaining control of Damascus and half of Aleppo. Defending these cities and the populated coastal core of Syria however forced the Syrian army to withdraw from large areas of Syrian territory, most of them desert.

In 2013 the military balance shifted back to the Syrian government. The US response was to try to use a chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta as a pretext to bomb Syria. When that failed because of strong opposition from Russia and US public opinion it stepped up support for the insurgency.

Weapons, money and fighters poured in, and over the course of 2014 the military balance shifted back to the rebels again. The main beneficiary was the organisation that now calls itself the Islamic State. This began as the Iraqi branch of the global jihadi terrorist group Al-Qaeda. It took advantage of the vacuum created by the Syrian army’s withdrawal from Syria’s desert regions to expand into Syria and to establish itself there.

As the best organised, most violent and most militant of the jihadi groups that form the core of the Syrian rebellion, it quickly achieved predominance especially as it focused on seizing territory rather than fighting the Syrian army. In 2014 it went on the offensive in Iraq, seizing the important city of Mosul. Shortly after it declared itself the Islamic State and proclaimed its leader — the man known as Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi — Islam’s Caliph.

The Islamic State is said to have a Wahhabist or Salafist ideology, like those in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and like that of its original parent, Al-Qaeda. Actually it combines Salafism with an apocalyptic vision previously unknown to Islam. As it says its leader is the Caliph it claims to be the only legitimate government for Muslims. It rules the areas it controls by violence and terror, backed by money it gets from the Gulf and from the illegal oil trade. All this explains why following Russia’s military intervention in Syria it is doomed.

The Russian military intervention means there is no danger of the Syrian government collapsing — as looked possible just a few months ago. The Syrian army has now been able to go on the offensive, and is advancing on all fronts. The Islamic State cannot withstand the Syrian army backed by the Russian airforce and Iran and Russia. However if it fails to hold the territory it has seized, its claim to be the Islamic State collapses.

The only way the Islamic State could survive would be if the US and its allies acted to save it. Its appalling violence and megalomaniac pretensions means that for the US it is however an embarrassment not an asset. The main thing Its grotesque antics have achieved is to unite world opinion behind the Syrian government and Russia.

Instead of willing the Islamic State’s survival, the US would far rather it disappear so it can support the other jihadi terrorist groups — the so-called “moderates” — without embarrassment. That seals the Islamic State’s fate.

Comment: The United States of ISIS is being defeated on many fronts, however, their continued survival does depend on the resources and machinations of US power structures. At the moment those resources appear to be nearly limitless, but they are also based on the world’s continued exploitation and submission. It may only be a matter of time until this system collapses in on itself, and until that time comes we can expect more of the same in different forms. For example, the battle for Afghanistan and Libya is being revived to former levels as these rats seek new backdrops to ‘survive’. This disease spreads as many in the world are turning against Muslims – the foremost victims of this Western-created terror.

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Fascism 2.0: Denmark plans to put refugees in ‘special camps’ outside cities

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© Marko Djurica / Reuters

Danish MPs have forced the government into looking at ways of resettling refugees in camps outside cities. The move comes as lawmakers finalize a bill aimed at confiscating refugees’ cash and belongings with a combined value of over $1,450. The resolution, passed in the Danish parliament on Thursday, binds the government to come up with a plan to build state-backed villages outside of cities by March, according to Reuters. At the moment, the majority of refugee families live in cities, but a number of tent camps have already been erected for single male migrants.

Migrants already living in such camps have voiced concerns that the new proposal – aimed at relieving the pressure on cities and towns that are running out of accommodation capacity – may in the end create ghettos. “We come from a land of death and destruction. During our trip to Europe, we buried our friends in the Sahara sand and watched them drown in the Mediterranean. We just want peace, a good life and to be a part of the Danes,” Abrahim Tekle, 28, from Eritrea, told Ekstra Bladet daily. “Isolating us in refugee villages, with no proper contact with Danes, poor opportunities to learn Danish and get a job, will have major consequences,” his friend Fitwi also told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Denmark is a step closer to implementing a widely-discussed proposal to strip refugees of cash and other valuables exceeding 10, 000 kroner ($1,450) – with the exception of items of ‘sentimental value’ such as wedding rings. On Thursday, Danish deputies went through the final reading of the draft without making any amendments. The bill is expected to be approved on January 26. “The international community must call Denmark out as it enters a race to the bottom. Denmark was one of the first champions of the Refugee Convention, but its government is now brazenly creating blocks to the well-being and safety of refugee families, ” Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, told Reuters, commenting on the proposed legislature.

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In addition, Denmark plans to make refugees wait longer until they are able to reunite with family members left in war-torn countries by increasing the waiting period from one to three years. Some Danish nightspots have introduced ‘language controls’ requiring visitors to prove they can speak Danish, German or English to be let in, following complaints from women of harassment. Following the controversy created by Danish MPs’ latest decisions, the European Parliament demanded that Copenhagen explain the pending ‘reforms’ before the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee.

On Thursday, the country’s foreign minister, Kristian Jensen, appeared before the UN Human Rights Council to defend the immigration policy in the first review of Denmark’s human rights situation since 2011. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) also strongly criticized the bill, saying it “could fuel fear (and) xenophobia” and result in violations of international law. Despite the increasing international irritation with Denmark’s plans, Inger Stojberg, the country’s integration minister, has repeatedly stated that “Denmark’s immigration policy is decided in Denmark, not in Brussels.”

According to a poll, 37 percent of Danes oppose the idea of taking any more refugees – an almost twofold increase since September. Last year Denmark took a record 20,000 asylum seekers, a number still nearly ten times fewer than Sweden.

Comment: The refugee situation continues to resemble the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. Look at what Washington has created by fighting a multi-dimensional global war on several fronts, using Jihadists and continuing to violate the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter:

Europe continues to face its biggest migrant crisis since 1945, with the numbers of asylum seekers expected to increase this year. More than 1 million refugees entered Europe in 2015, most of them from Syria, where a civil war has taken the lives of 250,000 people and displaced 12 million since 2011, according to UN figures.

See also:

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Litvinenko’s father: ‘The British duped me – Putin did NOT kill my son’

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Valter Litvinenko (right) now realizes he was completely duped by the British government and the Russian mafia

The father of late Russian security officer Aleksandr Litvinenko says he pursued a smear campaign against the Russian government out of grief, but changed his mind after Aleksandr’s widow revealed his son had been working for British intelligence.

After his son died in London from radioactive polonium poisoning in November 2006, Walter Litvinenko was among those who accused Russia of assassinating Aleksandr.

But he changed his attitude after his son’s widow Marina revealed that he had been working for British intelligence.

“If I knew back then that my son worked for the MI6, I would not speculate about his death. It would be none of my business. Although I am not 100 per cent sure he did work for them,” he said in an interview with RT.

He added that if it was true and Aleksandr, once a security officer with the Russian special service FSB, had defected to British intelligence, the Russians may have had a right to kill him as a traitor.

“He might as well have been killed by Russian secret services. They had a right to do it because traitors are to be killed,”
 he said. “Back then I was convinced he was not a traitor but I am not so sure now, so I won’t draw any conclusions.”

He calls his son a victim of a grand spy game. But he doubts that Andrey Lugovoy, who British police have named their chief suspect, had a hand in his death or acted as a government agent.

“The FSB wouldn’t send some dumbhead to spill polonium on himself, to leave traces all over my son. It appears that someone left traces of polonium on Lugovoy intentionally. Polonium traces were found at the stadium, on the road and even on a plane. It’s strange to think that Lugovoy would be such an idiot.”

Comment: Indeed, the British version is idiotic. A reasonable explanation for the polonium turning up everywhere is that it followed Litvinenko after he was poisoned… by someone else.

Walter Litvinenko authored a number of articles and gave several interviews in which he accused the Kremlin of many crimes, including killing his son.

“I was guided only by anger over my son’s death at the time. I was sure the Russian special services did it,” he explained.

He says he regrets his participation in the smear campaign against Russia in general and Prime Minister Putin in particular.

“I have cured of this disease. It was a disease. I am a psychiatric doctor myself and I know it was, this blunt hate,” he explained.

The grizzly death of Aleksandr Litvinenko became a major scandal which soured relations between Russia and Britain for several years. Russia refused to extradite Lugovoy for a trial in London and Britain refused to accept a trial on Russian soil.

Some Western media accused Moscow of assassinating Litvinenko for his anti-Putin publications.

British justice so far confirmed that the cause of Litvinenko’s death was polonium poisoning, but seems no nearer to uncovering how it happened or who, if anyone, is to blame.

After the death of his son, Walter Litvinenko moved to Italy together with his wife and children. The 73-year-old is now a widower with no savings or income, living in poverty in a country he says is utterly alien to him, and desperately nostalgic for his Russian home.

He says he used to think that he and his loved ones would be risking their lives if they returned to Russia. Now he hopes otherwise.

Andrey Lugovoy, the businessman Scotland Yard accuses of killing the Russian turncoat, told RT about Litvinenko’s father’s change of heart.

“Litvinenko’s father’s comments reflect what I’ve been saying for more than five years – that Britain’s accusations won’t stand up in court.”

Lugovoy reiterated sentiments that the British secret services had embarked on a slander campaign in an attempt to “discredit Russia.” Further, he says Litvinenko’s father’s statements have dealt a significant blow to the UK intelligence community, showing how “they have embarrassed themselves.”

He also questioned whether a fair resolution would be reached on the matter, doubting the “impartiality of British courts.”

Guardian contributor Neil Clark told RT that Russophobia was fanning the Litvinenko story in the West.

“It seems that the British media – I’m talking about serious newspapers – they do not want to cover stories when they do not fit the narrative,” Clark explained. “And the dominant narrative back in 2006 was that the ‘evil tyrant Putin had ordered the FSB to come to London and kill Litvinenko,’ without any evidence.”

There was a real Russophobic campaign in the Western media,” he added.

Comment: Litvinenko did work for the Brits, and the reason they let that information come out was because they wanted to bolster their case for Putin being behind his murder.But to understand the real British spy mentality, and not the James Bond one, you have to understand that that actually makes it more likely that Litvinenko was killed by the Brits in order to make it look like Putin did it.

Remember folks, this case goes back to 2006. Even then, at least some among the Western oligarchs knew that Putin was a serious threat to their plans, and that the only way they could get to him was via asymmetric warfare…

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Fending for himself: Poroshenko may be open to deal with Moscow

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Ivan Zadorozhny

© AFP 2016/ EMMANUEL DUNAND
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko smiles prior to a meeting with European Commission President at the European Commission in Brussels, August 27, 2015.

With the Ukrainian president’s Petro Poroshenko policy in a shambles, he may be exploring ways for a deal with Moscow.

The recent visit to Kiev by Boris Gryzlov, a senior Russian politician and confidant of president Vladimir Putin, has stirred controversy in Ukraine. Gryzlov’s secret talks with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko may mark the high point of a series of efforts Kiev and Moscow has made to reach a working relationship in order to defuse the conflict racking Ukraine’s eastern regions.

With the US, and by extension Poroshenko’s, policy in Ukraine, in a shambles, the Ukrainian president is scrambling for ways to shore up his sagging political fortunes. As the West has become frustrated with his erratic policies, Poroshenko, despite his strident anti-Russian bluster in public, privately has been exploring avenues for a rapprochement with Russia.

Poroshenko’s problem is that he is caught in a dilemma, faced as he is with various challenges to his political and perhaps even personal survival in Ukraine. The country’s economic collapse and political fragmentation continues unabated, and he seems to be unable to stop that. His most pressing task now is to end the war in the east with a minimal loss of face so he could claim some credit for his almost two years in office, and then proceed to declare a new start for Ukraine.

Poroshenko knows he will face nationalist fury if he tries to make peace with the Donbass. For Ukrainian radicals the only peace they could stomach is the unconditional surrender by Donetsk and Lugansk. Even though he has been shoring up his defenses, Poroshenko is uncertain whether he would be able to take on the nationalist challenge, and in any event he wants to avoid a showdown for as long as possible.

At the same time the political landscape in Ukraine is changing fast. With the population’s standard of living in free fall, future elections are sure to roll back the Maidan onslaught. When that happens, Poroshenko will risk being thrown out of power, losing his business assets and possibly facing criminal charges for a variety of misdeeds, not least for using the army against its own people, something that is expressly prohibited by Ukrainian law.

So Poroshenko is under pressure to act to secure his political future. With the West overawed by the enormity of the Ukrainian crisis and increasingly assuming the stance of an interested observer, the Ukrainian president has little choice but to seek a deal with Russia, a deal that would see Poroshenko ending the Donbass war in exchange for assurances for him to remain a key player in the post-Maidan Ukraine.

At heart, Poroshenko should care little about the Maidan or its values, be that Ukrainian nationalism or the fight against corruption. As the nationalists see it, he was thrust into the role as president almost by accident, hijacking the Maidan’s victories in the process. Clearly, Poroshenko is not a natural ally of the Maidan radicals. He did well under all regimes, and can take and leave the Ukrainian cause as that suits his goals. He was not even born in Ukraine, and sports a dubious pedigree from the standpoint of hardcore Ukrainian nationalists. Members of battalion Azov, a white-supremacist outfit nominally under the command of the Kiev authorities, regularly stage open public challenges to Poroshenko. They conduct marches extolling the virtues of ancient Rus princes who conquered the Khazars, a code word for Jews. Other rightist factions have been less creative, simply bombing Roshen candy shops owned by the president. Poroshenko is fighting back: the Ukrainian security service has been taking out members of the nationalist militias one by one, bizarrely branding them as Russian spies in doing so.

Nor is the president a stranger to corruption. At this very time he is presiding over a glaring conflict of interests, combining as he is the offices of the president and the owner of a business empire. Under Poroshenko Ukraine has become the epitome of oligarchy, where business and government have become a seamless one. A pragmatist, Poroshenko has been using the post-Maidana turmoil to advance his business and political interests. And the Kremlin has shown understanding, allowing his candy factories in Russia to keep on turning profit.

As regards the US, the Maidan’s most important cheerleader and benefactor, Poroshenko is playing a game of his own. By talking to the Russians he is letting it be known that he has options in case Washington piles on pressure or schemes against him at home. From his perspective this is a game he can’t lose. Thus Poroshenko may be discovering for himself the old good policy of balancing or multi vectorism of the late 1990s, successfully used by president Leonid Kuchma to gain a modicum of independence in his foreign policy. President Yanukovich, however, mishandled it and had to run for his life. Now the joys of multi-vectoring must be dawning on Poroshenko.

Gryzlov’s visit to Kiev may indicate that the parties are close to an agreement. Under it Poroshenko will likely be expected to deliver the constitutional reform and enter into direct talks with the rebels in exchange for Russian help in facing down the domestic enemies. Whether the deal will be made and whether it will work remains to be seen.

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Video captures Turkish troops firing on Kurdish civilians waving white flag

NOVANEWS

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An incident in which several civilians with a white flag came under fire has been caught on camera. The victims are reported to be Kurds in the town of Cizre, where they were allegedly shot at by Turkish troops.

The series of short video clips published on social media shows a procession of people going along a street, pushing a cart with what appears to be two covered bodies. The walls of the buildings are dotted with holes, possibly from bullets. A tank is shown in the distance.

Other footage shows several people lying motionless on the ground with blood spilling from them, as gasps and screams of horror come from the background.

The stated location is the Kurdish city of Cizre, which appears consistent with the Turkish-language graffiti shown in the video and the ice cream shop of the ‘Algida’ brand – which is only sold in Italy, Eastern Europe and Turkey.

RT could not immediately verify the circumstances of the shooting. One version claims that the Kurdish civilians were shot at by Turkish troops involved in a crackdown that Ankara is currently conducting in the south and south-east of the country.

Another version suggests that Kurdish militants were among the ranks of the civilians and opened fire at the Turks, provoking a response. The footage doesn’t appear to show any armed people in the crowd.

The Turkish government in August launched a military operation in Kurd-majority areas, imposing curfews and clashing with fighters of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey. At least 150 civilians and hundreds of fighters on both sides are thought to have died in the conflict.

The crackdown was criticized by international human rights organizations as disproportionate and a form of collective punishment against the Kurds. This week Amnesty International said Ankara is imperiling 200,000 people living in the areas affected by disrupting basic services, blocking their freedom of movement, and conducting firefights in residential areas.

 

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Posted in Human Rights, TurkeyComments Off on Video captures Turkish troops firing on Kurdish civilians waving white flag

IOM reports record number of refugees drown in Mediterranean in January 2016

NOVANEWS

© AP Photo/ Gregorio Borgia

Over 110 refugees have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of 2016, making it the deadliest January on record, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on Friday.

“With more than a week left in the first month of 2016, IOM reports that deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean already make this the deadliest January on record. Deaths in the past 24 hours bring to at least 113 the total number of fatalities recorded, which is more than the past two Januaries combined, when 94 deaths were recorded – 12 in January 2014 and 82 last year,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman said in a statement.

According to Millman, almost 37,000 have already arrived in Italy and Greece this year, which is 10 times more than for the same time period of 2015.

“For Greece and the Western Balkans, the increase is well over 20 times 2015’s total on this date,” Millman said.

Last year witnessed an unprecedented global wave of migration, with over one million migrants in Europe. According to IOM, more than 3,770 deaths of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea were recorded in 2015, making this year the deadliest on record.

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