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For first time ever, US facing scrutiny of UN Human Rights Council
November 1st, 2010
The United States will come under the spotlight at the UN's top human rights assembly's for the first time over the coming week along with
other countries that face scrutiny by the Human Rights Council.
The 12-day session of the 47 member council starting on Monday will include regular "universal periodic reviews" of 16 members of the United
Nations, including the United States on November 5.
Several dozen non governmental organisation are expected to lobby the debate on the US human rights record, while Washington will also defend
Some 300 US civil liberties and community groups in the US Human Rights Network on Monday called on the Obama administration to bring
"substandard human rights practices" in the United States into line with international standards.
The Israel Defense Forces hinted on Wednesday that its assassination of a Islamist militant leader in Gaza had been cleared in advance with
Asked whether Israel had coordinated the hit on Mohammed Nimnim, a commander in the Army of Islam group, with its American ally, an army
"Without getting specifically into more details, I can tell you there is very good cooperation between us and the Americans," she said.
"We have an ongoing relationship with the Americans, as well as with other forces, and from time to time we pass on information as with other
sources," she said.
Nimnim, 37, was killed instantaneously when his car exploded outside a police station in Gaza City. Witness suggested the car was hit by a
missile, while some media reports attributed the explosion to a planted bomb.
Palestinian security officials said later that they believed the explosion was caused by a bomb concealed under the drivers' seat.
Israel initially refused to comment on the attack but the IDF later confirmed it had carried out a joint operation with the Shin Bet security
The spokeswoman referred to Nimnim as a "ticking bomb", saying he was part of an al Qaida-linked group that was planning attacks on Israel
and U.S. targets in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
In 2006, Army of Islam militants cooperated with Hamas in a cross-border raid to capture Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Last year it also
kidnapped a British journalist, Alan Johnston. Johnston was released four months later but Shalit remains in Hamas captivity.
The last targeted killing of a Palestinian militant was on October 7, when Israel assassinated a member of the armed wing of the radical
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine movement.
US Continues Torturing Jailed Iranian Women, Kids Weeping to See Mum
TEHRAN (FNA)- Family of an Iranian woman who is illegally held in a US jail voiced their strong protest at the US guards' mistreatment of
their mother, and called on US President Barack Obama to give them the chance to see her again.
Shahrzad Mir-Qolikhan was detained in the US in December 2007. Her ex-husband, Mahmoud Seif, had allegedly tried to export night-vision goggles to Iran from Austria.
She was sentenced to five years of imprisonment by a Florida federal court in absentia.
Melika and Melina Mir-Qolikhan, the teenage twin daughters of the innocent Iranian woman, along with their grandmother Belqis Rowshan,
appeared on Iranian English language press tv channel and asked Obama to release their innocent mother.
"We are at an age that we need our mother besides us," they said.
"We haven't seen our mother in three years," Melina said, adding that she would like to ask President and his wife to give her the
opportunity to see mother again.
"Our mother is innocent, we know she is innocent and has done nothing wrong," Melika said.
Shahrzad's mother unveiled more details about the horrible condition of her daughter and the way that the US guards treat Shahrzad, and
said, "They tell her that you are a terrorist, you are Iranian, you are crazy."
Belqis said that Shahrzad's illegal detention has affected her physically.
"I have had a nervous breakdown. I have had several strokes and a heart attack," Belqis said.
On Monday, Shahrzad told the TV channel via telephone from inside the prison that she is being kept under horrible conditions and is
subject to both physical and mental torture.
"I was mistreated horribly by all the correctional officers and more especially at the higher level, the lieutenants, captains and
warden," Shahrzad told the Press TV.
Earlier this week, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Iranian Expatriates' Affairs Hassan Qashqavi
criticized the US for violating the rights of the Iranian nationals due to its feud with Tehran, saying that the US has jailed 65 Iranian
nationals mostly on void and baseless charges.
"Based on our figures, there are 60-65 Iranians in US jails," Qashqavi told FNA on Monday.
He said Washington officials might claim that a part of these inmates are also considered as US citizens due to their dual nationality.
Another part might, of course, have done illegal or criminal actions that should be punished and we do not hold any claim about this
specific group, although we are required to protect the rights of our country mates in accordance with consular conventions, he added.
But there is a third group whose rights are violated by the US merely for political objectives, Qashqavi explained.
"Our main focus and concern lies on those who have been jailed for political reasons or due to the illegal sanctions resolutions (against
Iran) or fake and baseless claims," he added.
Qashqavi pointed out that a number of these Iranians are in US prisons because they have exported some goods to Iran which Americans
claim have a dual-use.
He described such accusations as unacceptable and political, and said they are not consistent with the international law and regulations.
In September Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Tehran has prepared a list of Iranian nationals who are in US jails
for false charges, and added that he is closely pursuing the issue.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, Mottaki said that the issue of the Iranian
captives would be one of the main topics that he would discuss with the UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, during his visit to the UN headquarters.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said in September that the US has recently detained and held eight Iranian nationals illegally
and based on false allegations.
President Ahmadinejad said in an interview with the Russian TV that the Iranian captives were arrested in third countries by US agents
under "false accusations" and transferred here to US jails.
"This is abduction and does not fit in with any legal system. They (Iranians) had traveled to other countries with official visas but
were arrested by Americans," Ahmadinejad stated at the time,
"Americans have not observed international law. They should review their conduct and allow the detainees to return home."
China rejects US' offer to host trilateral talks with Japan over Diaoyu Islands
Beijing has rejected America's offer to host trilateral talks with China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.
According to China Daily, China reiterated its sovereignty over the islands and made it clear it is a bilateral issue between Beijing and
"The territorial dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands is the business of the two nations only," Foreign Ministry spokesman
Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement published on the ministry's website.
"It is absolutely wrong for the United States to repeatedly claim the Diaoyu Islands fall within the scope of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual
Cooperation and Security," Ma added, reiterating that the Diaoyu Islands and adjacent islets are an inalienable part of China's territory.
Ma had made the remarks after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi about Washington's interest
in hosting trilateral talks over the issue, last week in Hanoi.
"The offer that I made, that the US would be willing to host a trilateral with both Japan and China if that would facilitate dialogue, stands
and it is not only about one issue," Clinton had said earlier.
Relations between Beijing and Tokyo have been under intense strain since collisions between two Japan Coast Guard patrol boats and a Chinese
trawler on Sept 7 in waters off the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
Beijing suspended all high-level contacts with Tokyo after Japan illegally detained the Chinese trawler's captain. (ANI)
With tensions rising over Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian leader on Wednesday accused Russia of caving into US pressure by canceling a
deal to supply S-300 ground-to-air missiles.
In September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed an order banning the sale of the highly sophisticated S-300 missiles and other
weapon systems to the Islamic republic.
The contract, signed in 2005, is worth an estimated $800 million and obliged Russia to provide Iran with at least five S-300 systems. The
Kremlin, however, decided against delivery of the weapon systems after the UN Security Council slapped further sanctions against Iran over
its nuclear program.
The Russian president’s decision to refuse Tehran the powerful weapon system had attracted no public reaction from the outspoken
Iranian leader – until today.
"Some [Russia] who are under the influence of Satan [a reference to the United States] believe that if they unilaterally and
illegally cancel some defense agreements that they have with us it will hurt the Iranian nation," Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad said in reference to the scrapped missile deal between Moscow and Tehran during a public rally in the northeastern city of
“They want to sell us off to our enemies and unilaterally breach a contract that they have been paid for. I want to tell them on
your behalf that those contracts are still valid and must be executed or else the Iranian nation will retrieve its rights, its losses, as
well as compensation fees," he told the cheering crowd.
Ahmadinejad, however, says that Iran is capable of defending itself without the Russian missile systems.
"The Iranian nation will stand firm in the face of arrogance. The Iranian people do not need missiles to defend
Tehran says it is developing a nuclear program as a means of creating energy for its civilian sector; other nations, specifically the
United States and Israel, argue that Tehran is using the program as a cover for a nuclear weapons program.
Israel, which has been on the receiving end of Ahmadinejad’s outbursts in the past, has said that “all options remain on
the table” with regard to Iran and its fledgling nuclear program.
In other words, Israel has not ruled out the use of military force, despite fierce international resistance to such an occurence.
US President Barack Obama had promised in his campaign for the presidency to “sit down and talk” with hard-line
leaders like Ahmadinejad, but those hopes never materialized once the Democrat got into the White House.
Moscow supports new UN sanctions against Tehran, although it opposes any unilateral punitive measures.
In October, Sergey Chemezov, chief of Russian Technology, said Russia would reimburse Iran for its down-payments on the advanced
“We have annulled the contract and are returning the advance payment," Chemezov said, adding that the amount due to
Tehran was $166.8 million (119.3 million euros).
Still room for negotiations?
In addition to his heated comments directed at Russia, the Iranian president warned that upcoming discussions with six world powers about
its controversial nuclear program will fail if the West “continues the previous path of arrogance.”
Ahmadinejad was referring to talks that Iran has said it is ready to hold with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany sometime
after November 10.
Iran's Supreme National Security Council, which handles the country's nuclear negotiations, and the European Union's foreign policy chief
Catherine Ashton are said to be negotiating the date and place of the meeting.
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is scheduled to travel to Georgia on November 3-4 to open an Iranian consular office in
the Black Sea port of Batumi, as well as sign a visa-free travel agreement, Georgian media reported.
Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said that both countries were interested in increasing bilateral trade and boosting
“We are trying to reduce bureaucratic barriers and that’s the reason behind the visa-free travel agreement,”
she told a news conference.
Relations between Tbilisi and Moscow remain chilly following the outbreak of hostilities in August 2008, when Georgian forces launched a
surprise attack against the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinval, which killed dozens of civilians, as well as Russian peacekeepers stationed
in the area.
Chemist Niels Harrit - One of the scientists who found thermite
in the World Trade Center dust discusses Thermite,Nanothermite,Explosives and Incendiaries.
This interview is some raw footage of one of the world class experts appearing in Architects and Engineer's upcoming hard hitting documentary
"9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out"
Aussie Trades Unionist Exposes 9/11 Cover-up( From Zen,news contributor)
Major Staged Event Still in The Cards for Desperate Establishment
- Alex Jones Tv Sunday Edtion 3/6
Fake Anti-war Activism. The "Humanitarian Road" Towards an all out Nuclear War?
Fake Anti-war Activism. The "Humanitarian Road" Towards an all out Nuclear War?. A significant segment of the US antiwar movement condemns the war but endorses the campaign against international terrorism, which constitutes the backbone of US military doctrine.
The "Just War" theory has served to camouflage the nature of US foreign policy, while providing a human face to the invaders. In both its classical and contemporary versions, the Just War theory upholds war as a "humanitarian operation". It calls for military intervention on ethical and moral grounds against "insurgents", "terrorists", "failed" or "rogue states".
Taught in US military academies, a modern-day version of the "Just War" theory has been embodied into US military doctrine. The "war on terrorism" and the notion of "pre-emption" are predicated on the right to "self defense." They define "when it is permissible to wage war": jus ad bellum.
Jus ad bellum has served to build a consensus within the Armed Forces command structures. It has also served to convince the troops that they are fighting for a "just cause". More generally, the Just War theory in its modern day version is an integral part of war propaganda and media disinformation, applied to gain public support for a war agenda. Under Obama as Nobel Peace Laureate, the Just War becomes universally accepted, upheld by the so-called international community.
The ultimate objective is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the US NATO led war.
War becomes peace, a worthwhile "humanitarian undertaking", Peaceful dissent becomes heresy.
The outbreak of the war on Yugoslavia in March 1999 was in many regards a watershed, a breaking point in the development of the "Just War" fought on "humanitarian" grounds. Many sectors of the Left both in North America and Western Europe embraced the "Just War" concept. Many "progressive" organizations upheld what they perceived as "a humanitarian war" to protect the rights of Kosovar Albanians. The war was described as a civil war rather than a US-NATO led bombing and invasion.
At the height of the NATO bombings, several "progressive" writers described the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), as a bona fide nationalist liberation army, committed to supporting the civil rights of Kosovar Albanians. The KLA was a terrorist organization supported by the CIA with links to organized crime. Without evidence, the Yugoslav government was presented as being responsible for triggering a humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. In the words of Professor Richard Falk:
"The Kosovo War was a just war because it was undertaken to avoid a likely instance of "ethnic cleansing" undertaken by the Serb leadership of former Yugoslavia, and it succeeded in giving the people of Kosovo an opportunity for a peaceful and democratic future. It was a just war despite being illegally undertaken without authorization by the United Nations, and despite being waged in a manner that unduly caused Kosovar and Serbian civilian casualties, while minimizing the risk of death or injury on the NATO side."
How can a war be "just despite it being illegally undertaken", resulting in the deaths of men, women and children?
An illegal war, which constitutes a criminal act is upheld as a humanitarian endeavor.
Several progressive media joined the bandwagon, condemning the "Milosevic regime" without evidence, while at the same time condoning the NATO led war and expressing mitigated support for the KLA. In the words of Stephen Shalom, in a ZNet article:
?I am sympathetic to the argument that says that if people [the KLA] want to fight for their rights, if they are not asking others to do it for them, then they ought to be provided with the weapons to help them succeed. Such an argument seemed to me persuasive with respect to Bosnia.? (quoted in Michael Karadjis, Bosnia, Kosova & the West, Resistance Books, 2000, p. 170).
Human Rights Watch (HRW), which is known to support US foreign policy "urged regime-change for Yugoslavia, either through President Slobodan Milosevic's indictment or a U.S. war to affect the same outcome." (Edward S. Herman, David Peterson and George Szamuely, Yugoslavia: Human Rights Watch in Service to the War Party, Global Research, March 9, 2007). According to a HRW Fred Abrahams published in the New York Herald Tribune:
?[T]he international community's failure to punish Milosevic for crimes in Croatia and Bosnia sent the message that he would be allowed to get away with such crimes again. It is now obvious that the man who started these conflicts cannot be trusted to stop them.? (Fred Abrahams, "The West Winks at Serbian Atrocities in Kosovo," International Herald Tribune, August 5, 1998. quoted in Edward S. Herman et al, op cit)
Punishing a head of State by waging war on his country?
The same reasoning was put forth in relation to Saddam Hussein, in the months leading up to the March 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was described by the same author of the London Observer as the "Butcher of Baghdad":
"Saddam's lonely childhood, bloody path to power and final, deadly miscalculation of his foreign enemies are charted by Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor" (See Peter Beaumont. The death of Saddam Hussein, The Observer, Sunday , December 31, 2006)
Meanwhile, the names of the "butchers of Washington, London and Brussels", who waged a "Just War" on the people of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq are rarely mentioned.
Fake Anti-war Activism: Heralding Iran as a Nuclear Threat
Many people in the antiwar movement, while condemning the US administration, also condemn the government of President Ahmadinejad for its bellicose stance with regard to Israel. The Jus ad Bellum reasoning used as a pretext to bomb Yugoslavia on humanitarian grounds is now being applied to Iran.
President Ahmadinejad allegedly wants Israel to be "wiped off the Map" as first reported by the New York Times in October 2005:
"Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
Ahmadinejad was speaking to an audience of about 4,000 students at a program called "The World Without Zionism," .... His tone was reminiscent of that of the early days of Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. Iran and Israel have been bitter enemies since then, and anti-Israel slogans have been common at rallies."(See Nazila Fathi, Wipe Israel 'off the map' Iranian says - The New York Times, 27 October 2005)
The alleged "Wiped Off the Map" statement by Iran's president was never made. The rumor was fabricated by the American media with a view to discrediting Iran's head of state and providing a justification for waging an all out war on Iran:
On October 25th, 2005 .... the newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech at a program, titled "The World Without Zionism"....
Before we get to the infamous remark, it's important to note that the "quote" in question was itself a quote? they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office.
THE ACTUAL QUOTE:
So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi:
"Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."
That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word "Regime", pronounced just like the English word with an extra "eh" sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem).
So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want "wiped from the map"? The answer is: nothing. That's because the word "map" was never used. The Persian word for map, "nagsheh", is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase "wipe out" ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran's President threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", despite never having uttered the words "map", "wipe out" or even "Israel".
The full quote translated directly to English:
"The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time".
Word by word translation:
Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).
Here is the full transcript of the speech in farsi, archived on Ahmadinejad's web site:
What President Ahmadinjad was essentially calling for in his statement was "regime change" in Tel Aviv. (Compare Ahmadinejad's bland statement on regime change in Israel with that of former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who called for "Ending states that sponsor terrorism?.
This alleged "Wiped off the Map" statement has served not only to justify a pre-emptive attack against Iran but also to subdue and tame the antiwar movement.
While the danger of an all out war on Iran is a matter of concern, it is by no means a priority for the US, Canadian and European antiwar movements. In the US, there are very few antiwar events focussing on US-Israeli threats directed against Iran (See Main US antiwar collective: United for Peace & Justice : Index, United for Peace & Justice : Events).
On the other hand, there is an ongoing campaign led by United Against Nuclear Iran" (UANI), calling on President Obama and the US Congress to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. (See UANI home page). The UANI collective, founded by Obama appointees Richard Holbrooke and Gary Samore, claims to be integrated by "human rights and humanitarian groups, the labor movement, political advocacy and grassroots organizations" (Coalition | UANI)
Notwithstanding Arash Norouzi's disproval, many in the antiwar movement, while condemning the US, continue to believe that Iran constitutes a threat and that the solution is "regime change". The funding of NGOs (which are constituent members of major antiwar collectives) by tax exempt charities and corporate foundations, has also contributed to weakening antiwar activism in relation to Iran. Iran is viewed by many within the antiwar movement as a potential aggressor. Its non-existent nuclear weapons are considered, a threat to global security.
A pre-emptive war using US made tactical nuclear weapons against Iran has been on the Pentagon's drawing board since mid 2003. Both president Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have stated that "all options are on the table" including the use of nuclear weapons against Iran, without realizing that the use of nuclear weapons could lead humanity into a global nuclear war as outlined by Fidel Castro in a recent speech:
The war economy is presented as a means to generating employment. At the height of an economic crisis, trade unions are called upon not only pay lip service to job creation in the defence industry but also to soften their antiwar stance. In a twisted irony, according to the Washington Post, a war on Iran would have the added advantage of resolving the economic crisis and triggering a "war recovery":
"What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.
Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.
Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.
I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get re-elected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history." (David Broder, The War Recovery, Washington Post, October 31, 2010)
Sniper Teams to Increase Accuracy with Guided Rounds
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA)
Sniper teams remain the most lethal force on the battlefield and have been credited with many successful engagements. As effective as sniper
teams are however, their accuracy is fundamentally limited by random variables such as changing winds, muzzle velocity dispersions and
round-to-round variations. The DARPA EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program aims to maximize the effectiveness of sniper teams
while improving their safety.
Through EXACTO, DARPA is developing a guided round capability in a .50 caliber platform. It is currently intended to provide snipers the
capability to engage targets moving at much greater speeds, in tougher environmental conditions such as in high winds and at far longer
ranges than currently possible. A guided sniper round would greatly increase accuracy by allowing compensation for environmental effects and
target motion while dramatically reducing the engagement timeline.