Archive | May 27th, 2013

Russian Med fleet returns – an unintended consequence



Russian sailors march near their Navy vessel in the bay of the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol, which is the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Russian sailors march near their Navy vessel in the bay of the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol, which is the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
By Jim W. Dean

Israel’s days of roaming freely over Lebanon airspace and their ability to launch air flight munitions without entering Syrian territory may be over, or it will be when the Russians decide to.”

There was a lot of distraction in the news last week, particularly the flank attack moves on Obama that obscured a huge development in the Mid East… the first return of the Russian Pacific Navy for Mediterranean deployment since 1992.

The first big part of the news is the active word ‘permanent.’ Corporate media decided to ignore the strategic shift consequences of that, and the West may be looking back soon at the wisdom their aggressive regime change military moves, despite the extensive use of proxies.

The recent Israeli attacks on Syria, particularly the use of a nuclear bunker buster gave the Russians a gift from heaven, opening the door to make a defensive deployment to protect their longtime ally in Syria. The Russians are back in the Med to stay, and this might be a good lesson to the folly of the Western slow motion aggression policy in the region, which has put a match to the whole place.

Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov has announced that a permanent staff was being set up, and the present force might eventually include their nuclear submarines. In speaking to RIA:

“Overall, already from this year, we plan to have five or six warships and support vessels [in the Mediterranean Sea], which will be replaced on a rotating basis from each of the fleets – the Black Sea, Baltic, Northern and, in some cases, even the Pacific Fleet. Depending on the scope of assignments and their complexity, the number of warships in the task force may be increased.”

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu let the cat out of the bag when he stated that a permanent naval task force was needed to defend Russian interests in the region. The world has watched for two years now how coolly Russia has dealt with the continuing escalations in the fighting there, supported by a growing number of outside states who have effectively declared war on Syria thinking that such was a no-risk deal.

Here is what corporate media has not been telling you all. The preemptive strike doctrine of the Israelis and Neocons is going to be challenged. Netanyahu can talk all he wants to about red lines which will trigger a preemptive ‘defensive’ strike, but yours truly has written in these columns that eventually the intended targets would adopt that policy themselves. They have actually been given permission to by the dummies who invented it.

US Navy sources can sneer at the ‘old’ Russian ships all they want to, but there is nothing old about what they will be carrying, a game changer… their state-of-the-art missiles which they made a top priority in their defense policy as the new missiles are revolutionizing the next generation of warfare. The will sweep the skies of planes and the seas of ships. Air forces are working now to deploy robotic war plane drones that are basically missiles themselves by matching their speeds and aerodynamics.

Part of the corporate media hoax has been the fraudulent story of the S-300s being ‘introduced’ to the region as being destabilizing. Anyone wanting to check a copy of Jane’s in 1996 will find them already in Syria. Maybe some definition game has been going on that if they were under Russian physical control, as American munitions are in many foreign bases, they are not officially Syrian. But I would ask the lazy media what they thought brought down the Turkish F-16 provocations, a waste of those unfortunate pilots in peace time.

Yes folks, the S-300’s have been there all this time, and not fired at Israel yet. But that is all going to change. Israel’s days of roaming freely over Lebanon airspace and their ability to launch air flight munitions without entering Syrian territory may be over, or it will be when the Russians decide to.

Their fleet, even its older ships will be carrying their state-of-the-art weapons like the S-400’s where a pilot only has two or three seconds to live once the ‘beep beep’ that they are locked onto at tremendous speeds. The Russian ships on patrol will be able to shoot any attacking Israeli planes down, including those returning to base post attack. They can even be shot down while taking off.

Any retaliatory strike by Israel would trigger a full response by the Russians that could include their bases and command structure. Their updated Iskander missiles are stated to have speeds in the Mach 6 to 7 range but our sources say over Mach 8. To evade anti-missile fire they can pull 30+ g turns and make a 90-degree dive onto a target while doing so. The Israeli bullies have never had to stand up to a modern military but they may get the chance. They won’t like it.

The beauty in all of this is the scenario described above could all be done in a purely defensive mode while resisting an Israeli attack. After one incident alone the Russians might tell the Israelis that any Israeli warplane leaving Israeli air space would be considered an attack and both the plane and the base it flew from subject to attack.

Oh… I forgot to mention above that the targeting can be done either by satellite or programmed into the missiles so jamming would not be effective. This is not the Gaza Strip mortar shells on a back yard rocket tube, which Israel claims to be such a mortal threat where they have repeatedly launched civilian punishment retaliations as ‘deterrents.’ The dummy Israelis did not realize that they were giving moral permission for the same thing to be done to them someday.

Veterans Today has reported that the US Army Corps of Engineers has been spending huge amounts of money building the Israelis nuclear strike proof command centers. More American taxpayer money was wasted to protect Israel, which has a huge weapons-of-mass-destruction inventory threatening everyone else. Under the Bush/NeoCon preemptive strike policy the Russians could have taken these out of ‘potential’ threats, and similarly the Patriot missile batteries.

As for accuracy, the Iskanders can take the Patriot missile batteries out the first day. And the Russians could surrender to the international court the next day on the grounds that their response was totally legal under international law. And if that did not suffice, their second defense would be the Bush doctrine of preemptive strike for defensive purposes… not to eliminate a future threat, but one that had already signaled its hostile intent.

If any of you are thinking I am hyping this scenario, I held up publishing this until I got confirmation from the Israelis. The headline of the Israel Hayom for May 19th was:

“Expect Israeli strikes on Russian arms shipments to Syria-Hezbollah… US officials tell the Wall Street Journal another round of Israeli airstrikes could target a new Russian transfer of Yakhont advanced anti-ship missiles in the near future.”

This was nothing more than laying the ground work for the IDF to continue aggressive strikes in support of the Syrian rebels. Note the automatic linking of Syria and Hezbollah like they share arms depots or the Russians let them give their arms away to others. Do the Israelis have US permission? Well, kind of. Obama said Israel has the right to defend itself, so that means others have the right, also. But the game is a bit different when someone is in the Med who has full retaliatory ability including nuclear weapons.

Oh, I forgot to mention something about the nuclear bunker buster that the Israelis used in Damascus. The Russians of course have them also, to use on their newer missiles to keep their weight down for higher speed or longer range, and to make sure one missile does the job. Despite Bibi’s claiming that Israel is ready for all eventualities, it is ready for none of this. And if the Russians responded to an Israeli attack, believe me the US would not intercede.

The US would be in enough trouble for having put the region in such danger by arming Israel to the teeth to a level its own population could never have afforded, nor would they if they could have.

When Israel suffers a substantial retaliatory strike after an aggressive attack on their part, I can promise you the average Israeli is going to have an instant different opinion of the bully buzz they have grown used to when attacking weak or defenseless opponents.

In the long run more than a few international civilian and military Intel entities have long suspected that this is what eventually would have to happen to remove Israel as a threat to everybody. They would attack the wrong people at the wrong time.

Nobody in the American military is going to willingly die for bully Israel other than maybe the Christian Zios in the Air Force. But that said, the world would be a safer place with them gone anyway.

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HUMAN RIGHT: PCHR Followed up on the Measures Taken by ISS against Dr. Ibrahim Abrash



Over the past four days, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) followed up on the measures taken by the Internal Security Service (ISS) against Dr. Ibrahim Abrash, a lecturer and the former Minister of Culture, over his recently published opinion editorial. PCHR expresses deep concern for Dr. Abrash, and believes that such measures, which include summoning him for questioning, constitute a serious violation of the constitutional right to freedom of opinion and expression. PCHR calls upon the government in Gaza to take the necessary steps to ensure respect for this right and to stop ISS’s interventions that violate the freedom of public.

According to PCHR’s investigation and Dr. Abrash’s testimony, at approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 23 May 2012, Dr. Abrash went to ISS office in the west of Gaza City. Dr. Abrash had been summoned to report at the ISS office on the eveningf Wednesday, 22 May 2013. Dr. Abrash stated that two ISS officers questioned him about his articles  oin a humiliating manner. He added that the interrogation focused on an opinion piece he had posted on 07 May 2013.

The article in question is titled, “Gaza Does Not Give Indulgence to Anyone” in which he criticized Sheikh al-Qaradawi’s visit to Gaza. Dr. Abrash also said that the officers who questioned him objected to the article’s content and they considered Sheikh al-Qaradawi to be a sacred person. The officers then asked him to write an apology, but he refused. He was released at approximately 16:00 on the same day, but was instructed to come back on Sunday morning, 26 May 2013. On Thursday evening, Dr. Abrash posted another article in which he said: “I decided not to go back. If the ISS wants me, they can arrest me and I know that they can.”

Dr. Abrash stated that following this, at approximately 16:00 on Sunday, 26 May 2013, two ISS officers arrived at his house in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in west of Gaza City and asked him to accompany them.  Abrash added that the two officers took him to the ISS office. There, he met with a senior ISS officer, who talked about Dr. Abrash’s articles and criticisms.  Abrash said that he was allowed to leave about half an hour later.

In this context, PCHR stresses that:

1- The right to freedom of expression and opinion is constitutionally guaranteed under Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which provides that “Freedom of opinion may not be prejudiced. Every person shall have the right to express his opinion and to circulate it orally, in written or in any form of expression or art, with due consideration to the provisions of the law;”

2- The measures taken by ISS, including summons and interrogations, are in violation of law.  Summoning is allowed only by a judicial order, and summoning on the grounds of an opinion piece constitutes a violation to the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and

3- These illegal measures are an unjustified intervention into the right of people to express freely as this right is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law as well as the relevant international legal standards.  Such measures impose self-censorship on writers and journalists and are inconsistent with democracy and freedom of expression.

In light of the above, PCHR:

1- Calls upon the government in Gaza to take necessary steps to ensure respect for the freedom of opinion and expression and to stop the ISS’s intervention into public freedoms;

2- Calls upon Palestinian security services to fully comply with the Palestinian Basic Law and other relevant laws and to respect human rights.


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WAKE UP AMERICA: Police Shoot and Kill 75 Year old President of Connecticut Military Museum


The founder and president of a Connecticut military museum was shot and killed at his home by police on memorial day weekend following an alleged domestic disturbance call.


by Andrew Freeman

75-year-old John Valluzzo, veteran and president of a Connecticut military museum was shot and killed by police when they came to his house in response to a domestic disturbance call.  The police are suggesting that he pulled a gun on them and they had no choice but to shoot him, but there is no evidence of that it happened that way

According to Yahoo News:

Valluzzo was armed when Ridgefield police arrived at his home following a call about a possible domestic incident on Friday evening, state police said. He was shot after authorities said he refused to comply with orders to put the gun down and instead raised it on officers.  Valluzzo was pronounced dead at a hospital. Police have not identified the officer involved in the shooting.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports Valluzzo was a decorated Korean War veteran and founded the Military Museum of Southern New England in 1995.  State police said Sunday they’re investigating the circumstances at the request of the Danbury state’s attorney and Ridgefield police.  An autopsy is planned for Valluzzo.

Connecticut’s News Times reports that Valluzzo’s girlfriend called a friend in Florida about 5:15 p.m. Friday and said Valluzzo was intoxicated and waving a gun around. The friend called police, who raced to the home to find Valluzzo still armed.

“It caught everybody by extreme surprise. It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Johnson, a Bridgeport resident.

“He was hands on,” Jim Monette, the museum’s chief mechanic, said of Valluzzo, the man he called “J.V.”

“I remember how excited he was before we opened. We were down on hands and knees scraping the floor getting ready to paint,” Monette said.

“The museum was his passion,” said Paul Mangiafico of Newtown, a member of the museum’s Board of Directors.

“How many multi-millionaires do you know who would open a museum like this to the public?” Johnson said. “He’d make anything exceptional. He would always exceed your expectations.

“He’s extremely industrious and always on the go with a new exhibit idea or a new project,” Johnson said. “I’m certain he was the most extraordinary person I ever knew.”

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton called Valluzzo’s death “absolutely tragic,” but said he, like most others, remain in the dark about the details of the incident.

“I can tell you he had a vision for his museum,” Boughton said. “He worked really hard for it and for that part, it’s certainly a loss.”

The museum called Valluzzo’s death at the start of the Memorial Day weekend a “senseless tragedy.”

The Museum released the following statement:

Sorrow fills our hearts at this sad moment. A sorrow that is deep and personal for all of us. The news of the untimely death of John Valluzzo comes as a great shock to all who knew him. His departure was sudden, unexpected and particularly distressing. The Executive Directors of the Military Museum of Southern New England believe it is befitting on this Memorial Day weekend to honor his memory by remaining open to the public during this difficult time. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Valluzzo family. Until we have all had a chance to comprehend fully the impact of this senseless tragedy, we will have no further comment to make on the behalf of the museum.






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Native peace activist John Boncore found dead


Chase resident John Boncore tried to arrest George Bush, and led the 1972 Attica Prison riot

Native peace activist John Boncore found dead

Political activist John Boncore, whose native name was Splitting the Sky, was found dead near his home in Chase, near Salmon Arm last week.

His native name was Dacajeweiah, or Splitting the Sky, and it was a name that John Boncore took to heart through his lifetime of political activism.

Boncore, 61, was found dead last week on a path on the Adams Lake Indian Reserve near his home in Chase, near Salmon Arm. He is believed to have fallen on cement steps and may have suffered a blow to the head.

Also known as John Hill, or Dac, Boncore will be remembered as a man who stood up for all that he saw as tyranny and injustice. He principally shouted from the ramparts for native peoples, and made headlines four years ago as the man who was charged after trying to make a citizen’s arrest of U.S. President George W. Bush on a visit to Calgary.

More recently, Boncore galvanized native resistance to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in northern B.C. to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

“Believe it or not, a lot of people in Alberta are very concerned about the pipeline,” said Larry McKillop, a Calgary friend. “John was a bit of a hero to us.”

According to a biography written a decade ago by John Steinbach, Boncore’s early life sowed the seeds of his activist spirit. He was born in New York City of Mohawk/Cree and Italian-American parents. His father, a painter, and 11 other co-workers died in 1958 after they were sent into a storage tank at U.S. Rubber without respirators. The family was left destitute. Boncore and his five siblings were forcibly removed from their mother and sent into foster care.

Boncore found foster care degrading and oppressive, and was soon branded as incorrigible. He wound up living in the street, robbed a store in desperation and was sentenced to four years in prison on his first conviction.

At age 19 he landed in Attica Prison, notorious for brutality and overcrowding. There he became the leader of the bloodiest prison revolt in U.S. history in 1971 — 43 people were killed, with 29 inmates and 10 hostages shot during the retaking of the prison by authorities. Boncore was sentenced to another 20 years and narrowly escaped execution over the death of a prison guard, and survived several assassination attempts on the inside before being pardoned in 1979.

He continued his activism in the U.S., and was active in the anti-nuclear and American Indian movements in the 1980s and ’90s. In 1993, Bonocore was invited to a conference in Edmonton to speak about native American sovereignty. It was there that he met Cree woman Sandra Bruderer, whom he married.

Bonocore told his story in The Autobiography of Splitting the Sky: From Attica to Gustafsen Lake, which he wrote with Bruderer a few years ago.

Bonocore was also an actor in recent years, with roles in the TV series Men In Trees and Da Vinci’s City Hall, and in films The Last Rites of Ransom Pride and Deepwater, shot in Clearwater in 2005.

Boncore is survived by Bruderer, six children, and five grandchildren.

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Jews Reject New Church of Scotland Report on IsraHell


Israeli public figures apologize to Greek patriarch for ultra-Orthodox spitting incidents

Scottish Council Says Revised Document Still ‘Unacceptaple’

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said that, despite recent revisions, the Church of Scotland’s report on Israel remains “unacceptable.”

The report, entitled “The Inheritance of Abraham,” was endorsed by the church’s general assembly Thursday in Edinburgh. It is a revision of an earlier text the church’s Church and Society Council published earlier this month and then withdrew amid Jewish condemnations of its assertion that Jews have no special claim to Israel. The report further said that Israel should be boycotted and that Western support for Israel is rooted in Holocaust guilt.

“The country of Israel is a recognised State and has the right to exist in peace and security,” the revised report said. “We reject racism and religious hatred. We condemn anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We will always condemn acts of terrorism, violence and intimidation.”

But the report still rejects “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.” It further states that “those who remember the reality of apartheid first hand and the consequences of international campaigns on their own nation concur with proposals to consider economic and political measures involving boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions against the state of Israel focused on illegal settlements.”

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, which offered a withering assessment of the first report, rejected the revision. Although “most of the excesses of language in the original report have been modified, the unacceptable underlying message remains unaltered,” the council said.

“For that reason, it is unlikely to be embraced by mainstream opinion in the Jewish community, and we do not consider that it will advance the cause of the peace in the Middle East that we all, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, so fervently pray for.”

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Expert: Assad May Choose ‘Samson Option’


Dr. Mordechai Kedar says Assad could attack IsraHell viciously if he has nothing to lose.

ed note–of obvious  relevance  and  importance is  that  both  as an idea and as a term ‘Samson Option’ refers to ISRAEL’S declared threat to nuke the entire world in the event that  she  will not survive as a political entity, something that is never discussed in the open, particularly in the West.

Israel National News

If Syrian strongman Bashar Assadfeels that he is at “a dead end,” he may adopt the so-called Samson option, Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar told Arutz Sheva’s Yoni Kempinski at week’s end

“It could be that Assad, when he sees that everything is finished, he will shoot whatever he can, missiles and all kinds of weapons which he has, in all directions. Towards Turkey, maybe to Lebanon, maybe to here as well, and he will say, “Hey, if I go to hell, let the others go to hell with me,” and he enter the history books as someone who really injured Israel in some way, or Turkey, or whoever.


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SHAME ON YOU UK: Bradford mum pays £27,000 bill for lung op after NHS refusal



Photograph of the Author

Exclusive By Dolores Cowburn, Bradford Chief Reporter

Lisa Brown in hospital

Lisa Brown in Hospital

A Bradford woman has used her £27,000 life savings for a lung operation after becoming a victim of the NHS postcode lottery.

Lisa Brown, 41, was turned down for surgery by a consultant at Bradford Royal Infirmary who ruled it was too high risk.

But after she went private the consultant who performed the surgery at the specialist Royal Brompton Hospital in London said he could have offered her the same treatment on the NHS.

The situation has left Miss Brown’s parents needing to use money from their house sale to pay for a second operation next month, again costing £27,000, to buy her a quality of life amid fears she will not survive three years on the transplant waiting list.

And it has left her family, including her four children, condemning the disparities in the health service.

The mother-of-four, of Tong, was diagnosed with emphysema six weeks ago despite never drinking or smoking. She spent a week in intensive care at BRI and was sent home with her left lung rated as damaged beyond repair and with little more than a quarter of the capacity in her right lung.

Refusing to accept the initial decision, and an estimated three-year wait for a lung transplant if she is even eligible for one, Miss Brown called the Royal Brompton Hospital where consultant Eric Lim agreed to operate to give her more lung capacity in her right lung.

That operation was deemed a success but another operation to repair some of her left lung will enable her to walk around the house without being attached to an oxygen mask.

Miss Brown told the Telegraph & Argus she was never offered a second opinion on the NHS, forcing her to go private, despite health officials insisting that it is an individual’s right.

She said: “Never in my life have I felt so let down. They can’t send someone home to die. I have family and had to fight for my life, I can’t just go like that.

“I didn’t even know I was allowed a second opinion on the NHS until I got to London and nurses told me everyone is entitled to that by law. No-one told me. People die waiting for a lung transplant.

“I want to get better to be there for my kids and help people not as fortunate as me. How must those feel who have no-one to support them?

“I am making sure this terrible journey myself and my family have had to take never happens to anyone else.”

Miss Brown’s daughter Lisa-Marie Brown, 25, who is six months pregnant, said a fundraising drive had been started to pay for future medical care for her mum, a gym fanatic who worked as a dental assistant before her sudden illness, the cause of which is a mystery.

“It is an absolute nightmare,” she said. “It has turned our world upside down. She has never smoked or drank and they are puzzled.

“They initially put her chest problems down to panic attacks years ago but it was empheysma.

“We feel really let down and money talks because as soon as money was involved we could get the treatment.

“The £20,000 was for the NHS equipment and we paid the consultant £7,000. The fact they said yes straight away and they wouldn’t have done that if it was too high risk.

“Our mum would have died without this operation. This will give her the breath to walk up stairs.

“Her life has just been stopped by this. The family had no choice but to spend everything they have. It is her life we are talking about. She will never have a normal life, but will be here and can walk without getting out of breath.”

A spokesman for the Royal Brompton said: “Royal Brompton Hospital is a specialist heart and lung centre and our clinical teams have particular expertise in lung volume reduction surgery.

“This type of surgery is available on the NHS; patients are referred from consultants based at district general hospitals around England. Lisa self-referred to see Mr Lim, which means she was not referred by her NHS consultant, but contacted Mr Lim directly through his private practice.

“Had she seen him in his NHS clinic the same diagnosis would have been made and treatment offered, although she would only have got an appointment for the NHS clinic if another hospital consultant has referred her in (it is not possible to self-refer to NHS clinics).

“We are delighted to see the transformation in Lisa’s condition after surgery and look forward to her continued recovery.”

A spokesman for Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Every patient has a right to a wide range of treatments, but some may not be considered suitable for individual patients because they are not clinically effective for certain conditions or pose a high risk to a patient’s survival rate.

“Patients have a right to a second medical opinion and, if a treatment or procedure was then considered appropriate by the NHS, a referral could be made and funded. The NHS does not fund retrospective treatment, unless in exceptional circumstances or private treatment.”

A Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “Unfortunately we can’t comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality but what we can say is that some procedures are not clinically appropriate for certain patients as they are deemed too high risk.

“Patients are always entitled to seek a second opinion on the NHS, if they are not happy with the first.”

Posted in Health, UK1 Comment

Anti-Zio-Nazi film wins Cannes prize


Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s ‘Omar,’ which presents Zio-Nazi security forces in unflattering light, awarded with ‘Jury Prize’ in international film festival


An anti-Israel film funded by Palestinian and international institutions won the “Jury Prize” in the “A Certain Regard” section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on Saturday evening. It is the category’s secondary award.

“Omar” is a political thriller directed by Hany Abu-Assad, director of the 2005 film “Paradise Now,” which earned him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for best foreign film.

Cannes Film Festival provides inspiration for Israeli director’s dystopian vision of entertainment business in part-animated feature ‘The Congress’

The film, which was shot in the West Bank and Israeli Arab town of Nazareth last year, tells the story of three childhood friends. It criticizes Israel’s policy and presents the IDF and Shin Bet in an unflattering light, including a scene in which a Shin Bet officer is seen brutally torturing a Palestinian prisoner.

The cast includes Adam Bakri, the son of Arab actor Mohammad Bakri who directed the 2002 film “Jenin, Jenin,” which asserts that the IDF committed atrocious war crimes and deliberately slaughtered innocent civilians during Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank city.

“Omar” received a standing ovation at its premiere as the first film fully funded by the Palestinian cinema industry.

“It is the only festival that I think still cares about different films,” said Abu-Assad,

Festival draws to close with cliffhanger ending
The 66th Cannes festival wraps up with a cliffhanger ending on Sunday, with uncertainty surrounding which film will be declared best picture after a 12-day frenzy of premieres, celebrities, rain and dramatic jewellery thefts.

Twenty films packed with sex, violence and emotional anguish are vying at the world’s biggest cinema showcase for the Palme d’Or, one of the most coveted film awards after the Oscars.

Frontrunners include French director Abdellatif Kechiche’s love story “La Vie d’Adele” (Blue is the Warmest Color) with its graphic lesbian sex scenes, and “Inside Llewyn Davis” about a struggling New York folk singer by the American Coen brothers.

Also on the short list are “La Grande Bellezza” (The Great Beauty) from Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino, a magical ode to the decadence of Rome, and “Le Passe” (The Past), a tension-filled domestic drama by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi.

Choosing the winner of the top prize and other awards is a jury led by US filmmaker Steven Spielberg with Australian actress Nicole Kidman and Oscar-winning director Ang Lee.

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Iran arrests MKO agents on mission to sabotage election


Iran security forces have arrested a number of people linked to the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) on mission to cause turmoil during the upcoming presidential election, a security official says.

“Following the identification of active members of several groups linked to the MKO grouplet, several simultaneous sting operations were conducted in Tehran and several other cities and serious blows were dealt to those groups,” the unnamed security official said on Friday.

Despite using alias names and titles, most of the identified groups had history of association with the MKO grouplet and many of the arrestees had been previously jailed for similar activities.

Two of the arrestees had recently entered Iran with the aim of instructing their agents inside the country on how to cause turmoil during election, the source said.

The MKO organization is responsible for numerous acts of violence against Iranian civilians and government officials.

Out of the 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, some 12,000 have fallen victim to the acts of terror carried out by the MKO.

Iran’s eleventh presidential election will be held on June 14, 2013.

The Islamic Republic’s president is elected for a four-year term and candidates must be vetted for their qualifications by the Guardian Council.

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‘There was no Muslim terrorism in the UK until Iraq’ – Oxford imam


British Muslims “disown” the Woolwich murderers, and such extremists should be “totally demolished” in UK society – but in order to do that, the UK must change its “illegal” foreign policy, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation Dr. Taj Hargey told RT.

The beheading of a UK soldier near the Woolwich army barracks in southeast London on Wednesday has shocked the country, and was condemned as “horrific” and “sickening” by UK officials. “Strong indications” the murder was connected to terrorism and Islamic extremism were also noted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

But the Muslim community in the UK had never known such brutal terrorist attacks until the UK’s previous government drew Britain into overseas conflicts in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and started “slavishly following” US policies, Dr. Hargey explained.

RT: Do you agree with the allegations that the attackers’ actions were inspired by radical Islam?

Dr. Taj Hargey: We need firstly to condemn this murder in the strongest possible terms, and to send condolences to the victim’s family and the loved ones. Yes, I think there is an element of that… But it’s not just Islamic fundamentalism, there is also a linkage, I believe, between what Tony Blair did with his illegal war in Iraq and subsequent slavish following of US policy. I mean, there was no Muslim terrorism in the United Kingdom until Blair went illegally into Iraq. And I think we need to admit and to acknowledge that fact… not just to blame it on Islamic fundamentalism.

RT: One witness report is saying one of the meat cleaver killers was seen in the local community days before “preaching hatred.” From what you see and hear around you – how widespread are radical sentiments among Muslims in Britain?

TH: I think, they are most probably recent, or new Muslim converts, they are fundamentalists, this brand of Islam is attractive to them. I don’t think they were born Muslims, these two people, I would be very surprised if they were. But what is important to remember is that they are being breast-fed on this… Islamic extremism and radicalism – that the only way to deal with the situation is by violence. All integrated British Muslims know that, although we are against British foreign policy, we can protest legitimately and through democratic means – you do not have to slaughter someone in the streets of London.

RT: When it comes to the Muslim community in the United Kingdom, some refer to an ‘outspoken minority but a silent majority.’ Isn’t there a responsibility for the majority to step up and do something about this?


A woman looks at floral tributes placed near the scene of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich, southeast London May 23, 2013.(Reuters / Luke MacGregor) 

A woman looks at floral tributes placed near the scene of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich, southeast London May 23, 2013.(Reuters / Luke MacGregor)


TH: Absolutely, and I think it’s high time that the majority came out of the woodwork, so to speak. They have to put their heads above the parapet, we need to confront these radicals and extremists. Now, where is this extremism coming from? It is coming from the philosophies, like the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, and the Taliban in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the Salafis in Syria.

We need to tackle this – this type of imported virus is coming from the Muslim heartland, it’s got no place in a Western society, or in the United Kingdom. So yes, it is up to the majority to take on this minority. The minority is very few – I wouldn’t put them more than 1 or 2 percent of the population, and their ideology and philosophy must be totally demolished. It must be shown not have anything to do with Islam.

RT: What can the UK authorities do to protect the people and to prevent such attacks from happening in the future?

TH: The United Kingdom must look at the causes of this. I think that for us just to deal with the aftereffects of this slaughter in Woolwich is nonsense – we need to look at what is causing this. It is clearly UK forces in places like Afghanistan, and the UK’s blind support for US policy with the Somalia, or Yemen, or Syria, or wherever else. We need to take stock of that, we can’t just expect that we are blameless. And I think once the United Kingdom takes stock of this and sees how to be an impartial actor on the world’s stage, that would be a big step forward.

RT: We’ve already seen anti-Muslim protests in London in the aftermath of the attack, do you think there’s a danger of a significant growth in anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment?

TH: Absolutely. Last week, as you know, we had this issue of Muslim pedophile gangs… in Oxford – they were convicted, thankfully. So, last week it’s pedophilia, this week it’s terrorism – so there is an escalating tendency to label all Muslims either as terrorists or pedophiles. So the right-wing British national party, and English Defence League, and other fascist groups are obviously taking advantage of this.

So it’s incumbent on the mainstream majority Muslims to tackle this, and say, firstly, we disassociate ourselves totally from all forms of pedophilia, and, secondly, terrorism is not part of Islam. And whatever is engaging in violent bloodshed and terrorist activities – we disown you, and you can’t do that in our name… You don’t kill someone in the name of God, Islam condemns that… it’s pure blasphemy.

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