“We’re (the US) silent when it comes to human rights although we talk the big talk and carry the big stick, we’re silent on it,” online columnist, Allen Roland told Press TV in an exclusive interview on Friday.
The US indifference to the violent crackdown and detention of Myanmar Muslims is not a surprise as the US government only cares about “power, money, control and manipulation,” the American analyst continued.
“It’s not about human rights, it’s already lost all of its moral values, it’s about vital interests, power, manipulation, domination. That’s the code word for the West,” Roland went on to say.
Reports say 650 Rohingya Muslims were killed as of June 28 alone during clashes in the western region of Rakhine. This is while 1,200 others are missing and 80,000 more have been displaced.
Myanmar government does not recognize Rohingyas Muslims and has denied citizenship to them, claiming that they are illegal migrants.
Roland reiterated that a difference will be made if the social networking websites let the world come out of the darkness and become aware of the injustices happening inside the country, Roland maintained.
“So that’s the first step, social networking etc making it aware to everybody, but we are far… we are a far distance way from actually doing anything about it,” he concluded.
The UN says decades of discrimination have left the Rohingyas stateless, with Myanmar implementing restrictions on their movement and withholding land rights, education and public services.
Large groups of Rohingyas have already sailed to neighboring Bangladesh, many of whom have died during the journey. The Bangladeshi government, however, deports Rohingyas calling them illegal migrants and the UN refugee center says it will not accept Rohingya Muslims as it is not interested in more refugees.
(www.presstv.ir / 21.07.2012)
Israeli Troops Would Seize ‘Advanced Weapons’ From Syria
Barak sought to justify the move, saying that it was possibleSyria might transfer “anti-aircraft missiles” or even chemical weapons to Hezbollah, a militant faction operating out of neighboring Lebanon.
There were some reports that Syria was hoping to ditchsome of its less useful weapons on Hezbollah, because they weren’t of much value in the ongoing civil war and were costing resources to protect from looters. Though this would be the case with some weapons, it is unlikely Syria would want to reduce its anti-aircraft arsenal, particularly with Western nations chomping at the bit for a NATO attack and imposed regime change.
Early this week it had been reported Israel was considering such a step, and that Pentagon officials had been dispatched to try to talk Israel out of the invasion,warning it would bolster Assad’s position.
(news.antiwar.com / 21.07.2012)
If Yasser Arafat, former co-founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), died from a lethal radioactive substance known as polonium, not only was it a clear case of political assassination by means of nuclear terrorism, but when he came bearing an olive branch and offered peace to Israel he only got poison.
After many years of leading the struggle for Palestinian statehood, in 1974 PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat addressed the United Nations saying: “Today I come bearing an olive branch in one hand, and the freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat, do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”
Sadly, the olive branch of peace had already fallen from both Arafat’s and Arab-Palestinian’s hands in 1917. The British government and Balfour Declaration would eventually honor Zionist claims to create a new nation, Israel, but betray the promises of Palestinian self-determination and an independent confederation of Arab states.
More toxic betrayals followed when Jewish settlers seized Palestinian lands and when international resolutions for Palestinian statehood, like the White Paper, were ignored. Like other members of his generation, Arafat was deeply impacted when one-million Palestinians lost their homes when a Jewish-Israeli state was established in 1947.
Hence, Palestine was partitioned by the U.N. A new Jewish-Israeli state now controlled 55 percent of Palestinian territory. (Jews represented only one-third of the population and owned only 6 percent of the land.) The Israeli state was quickly recognized by Britain and the U.S. mainly for imperial interests and to counter Russia.
In 1954 and out of desperation, Arafat persuaded some Palestinians the time had come to launch an armed struggle against Israel, regarded as a colonial power. The PLO (Fatah) also asserted itself as an independent organization focused on Palestinian nationalism and culture. For many, the PLO was attempting to merely fulfill broken promises.
For trying to regain their lands, establish a state, and maintain a sense of national and cultural identity, Palestinians were intercepted and imprisoned, some tortured and killed. The PLO viewed the Israeli army as the occupier of lands that legitimately belonged to them. Toxic Israeli military incursions into Palestinian refugee camps left hundreds dead.
Due to several military conflicts between Israel (backed by U.S. military and economic aid) and surrounding Arab neighbors, Israeli forces eventually seized 20,000 square miles of Palestinian land. Later, the West Bank and Gaza Strip would also be dominated by Israel. Meanwhile, one-million Palestinians continued to live and exist as refugees.
The U.N. Security Council even adopted a resolution emphasizing the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and called for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in recent conflicts.” But Israel ignored this resolution. It also maintained its venomous view that Palestine was “a land without people.”
But still, Arafat and the PLO came bearing an olive branch and peace. After suffering years of discrimination, the confiscation of their lands, and the building of Jewish settlements in the heart of Arab-Palestinian communities and on holy sites, a nonviolent Intifadah campaign was started which demonstrated the will of the PLO and Arafat.
And even though Arafat’s and the Palestinian’s demands for the return of their occupied territories and the creation of a Palestinian state remained elusive, in 1993 the Palestinian National Authority (PLO) compromised even more, allowing Israeli settlements to expand and giving more “security control” to the Israeli military.
The Oslo Peace Accords weakened the Palestinian National Authorities control of the West Bank. It granted Israel exclusive rights to legislate, judge and execute policy. Palestinian exiles would have no “right of return” to the land of their birth, something that was supposed to be implemented in a 1948 U.N. decision.
For compromising and recognizing an Israeli state, Arafat was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin. (Rabin was later assassinated by a noxious Jewish fanatic.) Such arrangements constituted a severe apartheid system against Palestinians. It also left many issues unresolved, like Palestinian statehood and self-determination.
Yasser Arafat died in 2004 after being airlifted there for treatment from his Ramallah Headquarters. (Recall during his final months in Ramallah he was besieged by Israeli Defense Forces and the electricity, even water, was cut off.) His body will be exhumed to test hair, including personal belongings. Many have suspected Israel of poisoning him.
According to Al-Jazeera, the Yasser Arafat Foundation, and Yasser Arafat’s nephew, there is undisputable evidence that Israeli intelligence and military officials poisoned the late Yasser Arafat with polonium, a highly lethal poison. Evidently, traces of the nuclear toxin were recently found on his clothing and other personal items.
In a world that substitutes war for peace, falsehood for truth, and apartheid for freedom, perpetrators are often made to be seen as victims. Israel was never a victim, unlike Palestinians. Arafat also said, “Those who call us terrorists wish to prevent world public opinion from discovering the truth about us and from seeing the justice on our faces.”
Furthermore, “They seek to bide the terrorism and tyranny of their acts, and our own posture of self-defense…The difference between the revolutionary and the terrorist lies in the reason for which each fights. For whoever stands by a just cause and fights for the freedom of liberation of his land from the invaders…cannot possibly be called terrorist.”
In trying to achieve Palestinian statehood, Arafat finally stressed political diplomacy over guerilla tactics and military conflict. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Israel. He also accepted Israel’s right to exist. In return, has Israel acknowledge the right of Palestinians to exist and thrive and to practice their own self-determination?
Poisons and toxics can come in many forms. Not only can they be chemical in nature, but they can be spread through a state’s retaliatory politics and economics, an uncompromising religion, and even a vengeful, unforgiving history. Palestinians and Arafat, with dreams of an independent Palestinian state, have been poisoned to death.
From a political and economic perspective, then, Both Arafat and Palestinians came offering olive branches of peace but only got injustice, an injustice that has been pure poison.
(www.palestinechronicle.com / 21.07.2012)
Gordon Duff, a senior editor at Veterans Today”
“If history is repeating itself, as it so often has, we are watching a plan take shape, one devised in Tel Aviv, making use of ‘assets’ around the world, meant to culminate in orchestrated ‘false flag’ terror attacks which Israeli influence in the media, vast influence, can use to create an atmosphere enabling an attack on Iran by the United States,” Gordon Duff, a senior editor at Veterans Today, wrote in an article published on Press TV website on Friday.
The comments came two days after six people were killed in a bomb attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at a Bulgarian airport.
Israeli officials accused Iran and the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, of carrying out the attack that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver.
Iran has dismissed as ‘baseless’ Israel’s allegation about Tehran’s involvement in a deadly incident.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran regards terrorism as an anti-human phenomenon and condemns acts of terror by whomever, for whatever purposes and deems it unacceptable,” Iran’s embassy in Sofia said in a Thursday statement.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Thursday that the Islamic Republic, which itself is the biggest victim of terrorism “considers any act that endangers the lives of innocent people in order to fulfill illegitimate political objectives as inhumane and strongly condemns it.”
“This, in itself is more than curious. Within moments of the Thursday attack, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu blamed Iran. He had no information whatsoever, he simply started speaking, making it up as he went along. He does that,” Duff said.
“For intelligence experts, real questions come to mind. Those who travel in Bulgaria know how much surveillance there is. There is a video of the attack because, in Bulgaria, everything is on video, security is as tight as North Korea and nobody travels without “minders,” he added.
The analyst noted that Israelis are wary of the ongoing uprisings in the Middle East region that are forcing their regional allies to leave power.
“Inside Israel we smell panic and fear, not fear of war or terrorism, but fear that plots for manipulation of nearby states are failing, fear that their secret allies, the Saudis will fall and the new government may not be one of the factions controlled by Israel,” Duff said.
He went on to say that the Israeli regime believes that “an attack on Iran can provide ‘cover’ for them to help put things ‘right,’ regain control. Then again, no one ever admits that control existed, control of the US congress, the world press or more than a few Middle Eastern governments and much of the failed financial system that has brought about the worldwide currency meltdowns.”
BEIRUT (Reuters) — Syrian soldiers and armored troops pushed into a rebel-held district of Aleppo on Saturday after striking back in Damascus against fighters emboldened by a bomb attack against President Bashar Assad’s inner circle.
Activists in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and a northern commercial hub, said hundreds of families were fleeing residential districts after the military swept into the Saladin district, which had been in rebel hands for two days.
Fighting was also reported in the densely-populated, poor neighborhood of al-Sakhour.
“The sound of bombardment has been non-stop since last night. For the first time we feel Aleppo has turned into a battle zone,” a housewife said by phone from the city.
An escalation in the fighting in Aleppo would prove another challenge to Assad, still reeling from the assassination of four of his top security officials and a six-day attack on the capital which rebels have named “Damascus Volcano”.
The president has not spoken in public since the killings, and failed to attend funeral ceremonies for his brother-in-law and two other slain officials on Friday.
The clashes in Aleppo came as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was sending his peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous and top military adviser Gen. Babacar Gaye to Syria to assess the situation.
In Damascus, Assad’s forces hit back overnight. Helicopters and tanks aimed rockets, machine guns and mortars at pockets of lightly armed rebel fighters who moved through the streets on foot, attacking security installations and roadblocks.
Residents who toured the city on Saturday said it was relatively quiet, though gunfire and explosions could still be heard intermittently in some areas.
Most shops were closed and there was only light traffic – although more than in recent days. Some police checkpoints, which had been abandoned earlier in the week, were manned again.
Most petrol stations were closed, having run out of fuel, and the few that were open had huge lines of cars waiting to fill up. Residents also reported long queues at bakeries and said vegetable prices had doubled.
“I feel depressed and lonely because I have to stay indoors as there is nothing good outside. Everyone else is depressed as well,” said a woman in her 50s in west Damascus who supports Assad’s opponents.
An opposition activist said he had sneaked back into the Midan district, which Assad’s forces seized back from rebel control on Friday, only to find his house looted.
“The doors were broken and I walked into several houses which were in the same condition,” said Fadi al-Wahed. “Safes were broken into, drawers broken and furniture and television screens missing. Three army trucks were parked under the ring road flyover with loot.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group which monitors the violence in the country, said 240 people had been killed across Syria on Friday, including 43 soldiers.
The Observatory’s combined death toll over the past 48 hours stands at 550, making it the bloodiest two days of the 16-month-old uprising against Assad.
On Wednesday, a bomb killed four members of the president’s narrow circle of kin and lieutenants, including his powerful brother-in-law, defense minister and intelligence chief.
In the days since, rebels have pushed deep into the heart of the capital and seized control of other towns. On Thursday, they captured three border crossings with Iraq and Turkey, the first time they have held sway over Syria’s frontiers.
The surge in violence has trapped millions of Syrians, turned sections of the capital into ghost towns, and sent tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Lebanon.
The UN Security Council has approved a 30-day extension for a ceasefire observer mission, but Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recommended changing the focus of its work to pursuing prospects for a political solution – effectively admitting there is no truce to monitor.
Diplomats said only half of the 300 unarmed observers would be needed for Ban’s suggested shift in focus, and several monitors were seen departing Damascus on Saturday.
Speaking two days after Russia and China vetoed a resolution to impose further sanctions on Assad’s government, Ban called on the UN Security Council to “redouble efforts to forge a united way forward and exercise its collective responsibility”.
“The Syrian government has manifestly failed to protect civilians and the international community has collective responsibility to live up to the UN Charter and act on its principles,” he said.
Regional and world powers are now bracing for what could be the decisive phase of the conflict, hoping to wrench Assad from power without unleashing a sectarian war that could spill across borders.
“The regime is going through its last days,” Abdelbasset Seida, the leader of the main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council, said in Rome, predicting a dramatic escalation in violence.
A senior Syrian military defector said Assad could now rely only on an inner core of loyal army regiments, saying “the collapse of the regime is accelerating like a snowball”.
But General Mustafa Sheikh also said Assad’s forces were transporting chemical weapons across the country for possible use against rebel forces.
“The regime has started moving its chemical stockpile and redistributing it to prepare for its use,” said Sheikh, citing rebel intelligence obtained in recent days.
His comments could not be verified, but Israel said on Friday it would consider military action if needed to ensure Syrian missiles or chemical weapons did not reach Assad’s allies in Lebanon, the Shi’ite Islamist movement Hezbollah.
“I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that … (if necessary) … we will be able to consider carrying out an operation,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
About 60 demonstrators gathered in the small village of Bil’in in the northern part of the West Bank. The gathering was part of the weekly demonstrations which take place all over the West Bank on Fridays to protest the separation barrier and the illegal Israeli occupation. Today also marked the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
Palestinians were joined by internationals from more than ten countries and Israeli citizens who included trade unionists and members of Anarchists Against the Wall.
The group marched from Bil’in up to the wall which has rows of barbed wire in front of it. The olive groves have mainly been burnt down from previous Israeli army attacks on the demonstrators.
As the demonstrators proclaimed their peaceful nature and sang songs denouncing the illegal occupation, the Israeli army responded by repeatedly spraying the people, mainly youth with ‘skunk water’ a noxious liquid. They also fired dozens of rounds of military grade tear gas into the crowd. Such actions are illegal under international law. As the army continued to attack the demonstrators, gangs of settlers watched from the other side.
The wall was erected to cut Palestinians off from their land and to enable illegal settlers to move in, who are then protected by the Israeli army of occupation.
Several people suffered from tear gas inhalation and the effects of the skunk water, but nobody was seriously hurt.
(imeu.net / 21.07.2012)
Amnesty denounces security forces and local Buddhists for state-sponsored attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
|Human Rights group Amnesty International has denounced security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of carrying out fresh, targeted attacks against Rohingyas, the Muslim minority group in Myanmar.
Violence in the last six weeks has been “primarily one-sided, with Muslims generally and Rohingyas specifically the targets and victims,” Benjamin Zawacki, a Bangkok-based researcher for Amnesty, sais on Friday.
“Some of this is by the security forces’ own hands, some by Rakhine Buddhists with the security forces turning a blind eye in some cases,” he said.
The violence, which reached its bloodiest point in June, constituted some of the country’s deadliest sectarian bloodshed in years and raised international concerns about the Rohingyas fate inside Myanmar.
Following a series of isolated killings starting in late May that left victims on both sides, bloody skirmishes quickly spread across much of Myanmar’s coastal Rakhine state.
The government declared a state of emergency June 10, deploying troops to quell the unrest and protect both mosques and monasteries.
The worst of the violence subsided two weeks later, and authorities said at least 78 people were killed and thousands of homes were burned down or destroyed, with damages roughly split evenly between Buddhists and Muslims.
Thein Sein, Myanmar’s president, said earlier this month that the solution to ethnic enmity in Rakhine state was to either send the Rohingya to a third country or have the United Nations refugee agency look after them.
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres said, however, that it was not his agency’s job to resettle the Rohingya.
One month after sectarian violence swept across northwestern Myanmar, Rohingya refugees are now fleeing to Bangladesh by the boatload, in a bid to escape the violence.
Despite their plight, Bangladesh is stepping up its efforts to stop refugees from crossing over.
Amnesty called on Myanmar to accept the Rohingya as citizens, something the government has staunchly opposed because it does not consider them an ethnic group native to Myanmar.
“Under international human rights law and standards, no one may be left or rendered stateless,” Amnesty’s Zawacki said.
“For too long Myanmar’s human rights record has been marred by the continued denial of citizenship for Rohingyas and a host of discriminatory practices against them.”
(www.aljazeera.com / 20.07.2012)
Nederlandse pensioenfondsen zijn hele grote beleggers. Ze investeren in allerlei ondernemingen, ook in de wapenindustrie. Veel mensen willen helemaal niet dat hun geld wordt gebruikt voor het maken van wapens. Steeds meer pensioenfondsen ontwikkelen daarom een ethisch beleid. Maar er zijn er ook, die nog altijd fors in wapens investeren. Teken de oproep aan pensioenfondsen om hun geld uit wapenindustrie terug te trekken!
Pensioenfondsen investeren onder meer in de in Nederland gevestigde European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS). EADS is een van de grootste wapenbedrijven van Europa. Het maakt onder meer gevechtsvliegtuigen, militaire helikopters, raketten en drones (onbemande vliegtuigen). Voor de Franse krijgsmacht maakt het raketten voor een nieuwe generatie kernwapens. Zeker zeven Nederlandse pensioenfondsen hebben EADS in hun portefeuille. Het gaat hierbij ondermeer om vier van de vijf grootste: het ABP, het Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds voor de Bouw (BPF Bouw), het Pensioenfonds Metaal en Techniek (PMT) en het Pensioenfonds van de Metalektro (PME).
Beetje ethisch, niet te veel
Uit bedrijven die clustermunitie en/of landmijnen maken hebben de meeste pensioenfondsen zich inmiddels teruggetrokken. Dat gebeurde onder grote publieke druk. Maar een flink aantal pensioenfondsen blijft wel beleggen in de productie van kernwapens. Zo besloot het bestuur van het ABP, het grootste Nederlandse pensioenfonds, in 2008: “Omdat handel en productie van kernwapens niet verboden zijn binnen de grenzen van het non-proliferatieverdrag (NPV), sluit ABP geen bedrijven uit enkel en alleen omdat zij betrokken zijn bij de productie van kernwapens.”Los van het feit dat het ABP wel een erg ruime uitleg geeft aan het NPV, dat nadrukkelijk gericht is op volledige nucleaire ontwapening, schuift ze hiermee de verantwoordelijkheid wel erg makkelijk weg. Kernwapens zijn de meest vernietigende wapens die er zijn, de gevolgen van gebruik ervan zijn niet te overzien.
Kernwapens van uw pensioengeld
Kernontwapening is de afgelopen jaren weer nadrukkelijk op de internationale politieke agenda geplaatst. Pensioenfondsen en andere financiële instellingen zouden hieraan een klein steentje kunnen bijdragen door nadrukkelijk afstand te nemen van aandelen in kernwapenproductie en -onderhouder. Gelukkig zijn er veel pensioenfondsen die die stap wel gezet hebben, waaronder het Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), het Spoorwegpensioenfonds, het Pensioenfonds Horeca en Catering, het Pensioenfonds Openbaar Vervoer (SPOV) en de pensioenfondsen van de ING, KPN en PNO Media. Nu de hardnekkige achterblijvers nog. De Campagne tegen Wapenhandel maakte een overzicht van Nederlandse pensioenfondsen die nog steeds beleggen in kernwapens. En ook van de fondsen die juist niet meer beleggen in kernwapens.
De belangrijkste wapenbedrijven die kernwapens maken
EADS is een samenwerking van Europese luchtvaartbedrijven uit Frankrijk, Duitsland en Spanje. Het hoofdkwartier bevindt zich om belastingredenen in Amsterdam. Rond 20% van de productie is militair. Het onderdeel EADS Astrium is verantwoordelijk voor de M-51, de nieuwe nucleaire raket voor Franse kernonderzeeërs. EADS Systems is mede-eigenaar van het bedrijf MBDA, dat nieuwe kernraketten bouwt voor de Franse krijgsmacht.Ook Finmeccanica, Safran en de Franse afdeling van Thales zijn betrokken bij de modernisering van het Franse kernwapenarsenaal.
Honeywell behoort tot de grootste wapenproducenten ter wereld, hoewel het slechts 10% van zijn omzet uit wapens haalt. Honeywell maakt apparatuur voor gesimuleerde nucleaire explosies. Dergelijke simulaties zijn essentieel voor het operationeel houden van kernwapens en voor het ontwikkelen van nieuwe kernwapens.
Pensioenfondsen die in Honeywell beleggen zijn ondermeer ABP, het Shell Pensioenfonds, BPF Bouw, Pensioenfonds Grafische Bedrijven en het Pensioenfonds van DSM.
Boeing bouwt vliegtuigen voor zowel de civiele als de militaire markt. Daarnaast maakt Boeing een hele serie nucleaire bommen en raketsystemen, bijvoorbeeld de Minuteman, een Amerikaanse intercontinentale kernraket.
In Boeing wordt belegd door bijvoorbeeld ABP, BPF Bouw, het Pensioenfonds Grafische Bedrijven en het Pensioenfonds van DSM.
Lockheed Martin maakt de Trident kernwapens voor de Verenigde Staten en Groot-Brittannië en beheert in Nevada het nucleaire testgebied. Daarnaast onderhoudt het bedrijf de Britse kernwapens in Aldermaston. Samen met Alliant Techsystems werkt Lockheed Martin aan een nieuwe middellangse afstandraket, geschikt voor kernkoppen.
Omdat Lockheed Martin ook betrokken is bij de productie van clustermunitie staat het bij veel pensioenfondsen op de zwarte lijst. Eén van de weinige uitzonderingen is het Shell Pensioenfonds.
BAE Systems, voorheen British Aerospace, is het grootste Europese defensiebedrijf. BAE Systems is mede-eigenaar van het bedrijf MBDA, dat nieuwe kernraketten bouwt voor de Franse krijgsmacht. Ook is BAE samen met onder meer Rolls Royce begonnen met de ontwikkeling van nieuwe kernwapenonderzeeërs voor de Britse marine.
ABP, BPF Bouw, PMT en het Pensioenfonds Grafische Bedrijven zijn voorbeelden van pensioenfondsen die in BAE Systems beleggen.
GENEVE – Israël schendt de mensenrechten door kinderen vast te houden in eenzame opsluiting. Dit stelde de speciale VN-rapporteur voor de mensenrechten in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden, Richard Falk, vrijdag.
Volgens hem zijn er sinds 2008 zeker 53 gevallen geweest waarbij kinderen van 15 à 17 jaar voor periodes oplopend tot 24 dagen in eenzame opsluiting zijn vastgehouden.
Israël pakt regelmatig minderjarigen op bij betogingen. In hechtenis wordt eenzame opsluiting dan als sanctie gebruikt, bijvoorbeeld voor het ophangen van een Palestijnse vlag. Volgens Falk is die praktijk onmenselijk, vernederend en illegaal.
(www.gelderlander.nl / 20.07.2012)