Israelis being fooled on Iran ex-security chief

Israelis being fooled on Iran ex-security chief

Israel's former security chief Yuval Diskin. (Photo: MOSHE MILLNER/GPO/AFP)

Israel’s former security chief Yuval Diskin. (Photo: MOSHE MILLNER/GPO/AFP)

JERUSALEM: Israel’s former security chief Yuval Diskin on Saturday accused top ministers of misleading the public about the chances any pre-emptive military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities succeeding.

Diskin singled out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak for criticism over their increasingly bellicose comments in the standoff with Iran over its nuclear programme.

“My major problem is that I have no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war,” Diskin said in comments carried by army radio and the Haaretz newspaper.

“I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defence minister. I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings,” he said.

“Believe me, I have observed them from up close … They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off. These are not people who I would want to have holding the wheel in such an event.

“They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won’t have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading.Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race.”

Diskin, who stepped down as head of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service last year after six years in the post, was addressing a public meeting in Kfar Saba in the Tel Aviv suburbs.

In March, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan also spoke out publicly against a military option on Iran. He told US network CBS an Israeli attack would have “devastating” consequences for Israel and would, in any case, be unlikely to put an end to the Iranian nuclear programme.

On relations between Israeli Jews and other groups, Diskin said: “Over the past 10-15 years, Israel has become more and more racist. All of the studies point to this. This is racism toward Arabs and toward foreigners, and we are also becoming a more belligerent society.”

Diskin also said he believed another political assassination, like that of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 by a Jewish extremist, could occur in the future.

“Today there are extremist Jews, not just in the territories but also inside the Green Line — dozens of them — who, in a situation in which settlements are evacuated, would be willing to take up arms against their Jewish brothers,” he said.

- AFP/wm

Orange Revolution Is in Store for Russia

“Orange Revolution Is in Store for Russia: It is being prepared by International Terrorists, Criminal Organizations and Agents of Foreign Secret Services”

 By Yuri Yasenev

Лефт.ру

[Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya: Yeyo gotoviat mezhdunarodnye terroristy, kriminal’nye struktury i agenty inostrannykh razvedok] 1 

Translation, footnotes and comments (in square brackets) by burtsev.ru. Photographs courtesy IPROG and Pravda.info.

A Version: In 2003 the Turkish citizen Mehmet whose real name is Ruslan Saidov, persuaded the President of the Chechen Republic, Ahmed Kadyrov, that he could be of use with Kadyrov’s policy of “national reconciliation.” Saidov took part in organizing Kadyrov’s visit to Saudi Arabia. There Kadyrov made an agreement with the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Naif Ibn Abdel-Aziz, that the Arab militants under the Lieutenant Colonel Aziz ben Said ben Ali al Hamdi (alias Abu al Valid al-Hamadi), Prince Naif’s subordinate, would be removed from Chechnya by May 2004. The agreement stipulated that Kadyrov guaranteed safe passage to Abu al-Valid. Playing a double game and intending to set up both parties, Saidov (probably together with Abu al-Valid himself) gave this information to the CIA. Apparently the CIA was concerned that having left Chechnya the Arab militants would resurface in Iraq and join the terrorist group of the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarkawi that belongs to the al-Qaida network.

Trying to prevent this, and besides, wanting to discredit Kadyrov in the eyes of Prince Naif, the CIA gave Saidov an “assignment”. On April 13 in the Nozhai-Yurt district of Chechnya, Russian troops killed Abu al-Valid (or alleged having done so). Saidov paid $300,000 to those who carried out this operation. Their bosses in Moscow received $500,000. How much the CIA paid Saidov is unknown. It appears that Prince Naif interpreted the news about al-Walid’s liquidation as a breach of the agreement on the part of Kadyrov. On May 9 the President of Chechnya was killed. The assassination was apparently carried out by the agents of one of Russia’s special services who were “bought” by the officer of the Jordanian secret services “Muhabarat al-Amma” Abu Hafs al-Urdani (Adzhet), and the commander of Arab terrorists who replaced Abu al-Walid. The middleman in this transaction was Hairulla [the nickname of Sulejman Imurzaev, one of Basaev’s “field commanders,” accused by Ramzan Kadyrov in organizing the assassination of his father, Chechen President Ahmad Kadyrov] 2 

Abu Hafs is connected with Mohamed al-Islambuli, the elder brother of Haled al-Islambuli, killer of the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, venerated in Islamist circles. In his turn Mohamed al-Islambuli is linked with a “Doctor” Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama ben-Laden’s “right hand.”

***

Supplement 1. Extract from the report on Ruslan Shamilyevich Saidov.

Born 1960, city of Khasavyurt, Dagestan. Speaks Russian, Chechen, Avar, English, Arabic and Turkish fluently. Resides in Dubai and Istanbul. In Dubai he does business with the Dubai Islamic Bank and Habib Bank. 3  Has Turkish passport

in the name of Mehmet.

Biographical data:

1983-93-army service.

1992-93: Saidov, using the cover name Hungar [possibly the first name in his Turkish passport], took part in military operations in Abkhazia, along with Gary Aiba and Shamil Basaev.

November 1993: retired from the army and placed on reserve.

In May-June 1994, Saidov together with Usman Imaev and Khozh-Ahmed Nukhaev  4 [Nukhaev is wanted by the Prosecutor General’s Office for the assassination of Paul Khlebnikov], and under an agreement with Pavel Grachev and Dzhohar Dudaev, organized twenty-two flights to airlift arms and ammunition via the Chechen airport Sheikh Mansur to the airport Aden in Yemen.

In the spring of 1995 Saidov began to cooperate with the organized [criminal] society, led by Vladimir Filin and Alexei Likhvintsev (see below) in handling [narco] traffic through the port of Novorossiysk.

Since August 1995 Saidov resides in Turkey.

In December 1995 he published an extremist book in Turkish The Muslims of the Caucasus in the 19th century: Genocide by Russia5  The leader of the Welfare Party and the future Turkish Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, gave a good review of this book. In July 1996 Saidov became his adviser.

In December 1996 Ayman Zawahiri was arrested in Dagestan for illegal entry. He carried a false Sudanese passport. When he was arrested Saidov went to Makhachkala [the capital of Dagestan]. There he organized a petition to the authorities in support of Zawahiri. It was signed by twenty-six Muslim clergymen and the Russian State Duma deputy, Nadirshakh Khachilaev. Saidov managed to obtain a court decision, condemning Zawahiri to a six-month prison term, which had actually expired by that time.

According to intelligence data, in the fall of 1997, Saidov arrived in Chechnya and joined Basaev and Khattab. Served as special operations instructor in the training center Said ibn-Abu-Wakas near Serzhen-Yurt. In August 1999 he fought with the armed formations invading Dagestan. He was seriously wounded in the head. In September 1999 he was transported to Turkey and then to Switzerland for medical treatment.

Since the middle of the nineties, Saidov formed stable relations with the Saudi businessman Adnan Hashoggi, Prince Turki al-Faisal (then head of the Saudi intelligence and at present, Saudi Ambassador to Great Britain) and Prince Naif. At the time of the terrorist act in the Moscow theater in Dubrovka in October 2002, Saidov and Prince Turki were in Moscow together. Earlier, in July-September of 2002, Saidov visited Moscow three times. He met with Ruslan Elmurzaev (Abu-Bakar), including in the office of Prima-Bank. 6 

In September 2003, Saidov participated in the congress of the extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami in Jordan. At this congress he announced that Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami was an organization effectively acting in the underground throughout Russia, Central Asia and the Crimea.

In 2003 Saidov established relations with the Chechen President Ahmed Kadyrov and organized Kadyrov’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with Prince Naif. After the liquidation (or pretended liquidation?) of Abu al-Valid in April 2004, Saidov and Kadyrov parted. Their last meeting took place in Moscow on May 7, two days before Kadyrov’s assassination. According to witnesses they had an extremely tense conversation.

On August 16, 2004, Saidov arrived in Moscow from Istanbul and met with Ruslan Aushev, and Mikhail and Khamzat Gutseriev. [Mikhail Gutseriev: president of “Slavneft” oil company. Mentioned in Sergei Petrov’s interview as one of the participants in the deal between oligarchic groups and CPRF. His brother, Khamzat Gutseriev, former internal minister of Ingush Republic, Aushev associate] On August 20 he arrived in Nazran. On September 4 (immediately after the terrorist act in Beslan) he left for Baku and from there to Turkey.

In 2001-4, Saidov frequently visited Abkhazia. His contact there was Gary Aiba, former mayor of Sukhumi, and the leader of “Amtsakhara,” the oppositional political movement of the veterans of the Georgian-Abkhaz war. On June 9, 2004 while driving in Sukhumi, Aiba was killed by machine gun fire and Saidov switched to the circle of Sergei Bagapsh. [At the time Bagapsh was a presidential candidate] From October 1 to December 5, Saidov lived in Sukhumi incognito, advising the opposition leaders. His goal was the violent change of power in Abkhazia and the destabilization of the adjacent regions of Russia.

When, in November, the governor of the Krasnodar region, Alexander Tkachev declared that “behind Bagapsh there stand criminal and anti-Russian forces” –he meant Saidov.

On December 4, 2004 the Russian presidential administration demanded from Saidov that he stop his anti-Russian activities and immediately leave Abkhazia. After that a compromise between Bagapsh and Raul Hadzhimba was reached.

On December 8, 2004 Saidov addressed Muslim youth in Moscow. In his words, “following Ukraine, the Orange Revolution is coming to Russia.” “Our liberals say that in 2008 the situation in Moscow will be like the one in Kiev. ” However, everything will be different, and not in 2008, but earlier.” “Amirs and mudjahideen will soon make the Kremlin shudder with horror.” In 2005, “they will throw into hell the servant of Satan,” i.e., President Putin, who is allegedly “wanted by the International Tribunal at The Hague.”

Supplement 2. Excerpt from the memo concerning the organized society led by Vladimir Filin and Alexei Likhvintsev.

Vladimir Ilyich Filin, b. 1959, Kiev, Ukraine. Speaks Russian, Ukrainian, English, German, French, Spanish, and Farsi fluently.

Alexei Aleksandrovich Likhvintsev, b. 1960, Lvov, Ukraine. Speaks Russian, Ukrainian, English, and German.

In 1990-93 both men lived in Eastern Germany and were involved in selling off the property of the Western Army Group. Their partners were companies controlled by Kosovo Albanian criminal societies.

In November 1993 they were both retired from the military. The retirement was forced. They were suspected in financing the nationalist Ukrainian organization UNA-UNCO.

Presently, Filin resides in Switzerland, Likhvintsev in Great Britain. Both have British citizenship.

Officially, Filin and Likhvintsev invest in construction and tourist business in Arab Emirates and do business in Colombia, where Filin has extensive contacts since his stay there in 1986-88.

Both men preserve their contacts in Russian Ministry of Defense. Previously they were connected with Pavel Grachev [Minister of Defense under Yeltsin], later with Anatoly Kvashnin [ Chief of the General Stuff under Yeltsin and Putin, now retired]

Filin and Likhvintsev do business with foreign private military companies (PMCs):

- «Meteoric Tactical Solutions» (South Africa) – in Angola;

- «Kellog, Brown&Root» (KBR Halliburton) – in Colombia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia, and Iraq.

- «Diligence Iraq LLC» (controlled by the Kuwaiti Mohammed as-Sagar) – in Iraq.

Their cooperation with these companies began in the end of 1994 in Angola on the initiative of Victor Bout, who was involved in the shipments of Soviet-made arms to the anti-government group UNITA in exchange to raw diamonds. Apparently, Bout became interested in Likhvintsev’s contacts (L. worked in Angola in 1986-87). Later, in October of 1998, Filin, Likhvintsev’s wife Liudmila Rozkina (b. 1966) and Anton Surikov (at that time he worked in the Russian government) established the company Far West Ltd., with the office in Lausanne, which officially does security consulting for business ventures in countries with unstable regimes. De facto, this is a legalized form of recruiting mercenaries for PMCs.

Partners and Members

Alfonso Davidovich – (1948), Venezuelan, lives in Munich. Has German and Venezuelan citizenship.

Speaks Spanish, English, French, German, and Russian fluently. In the 1970s went through special training in the USSR (Privol’noe, Nikolaevskaya oblast) and East Germany.

Owns companies and banks in Barbados, the Caymans and other off-shores.

Has friendly relations with Hugo Chavez, and is acquainted with Fidel Castro, Marcus Wolf and Adnan Hashoggi. Has many contacts in Colombia, including FARC.

In 1999 Davidovich was alleged to have engaged in arms trafficking for guerrillas in Chiapas, Mexico and in money laundering for the Colombian drug mafia.

Finances antiglobalization movement in Europe and Latin America.”

Yakov Abramovich Kosman (b. 1946), resides in Nice, France. Has German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship.

Involved in real estate operations and banking. Has contacts with Kosovo Albanian criminal societies in European countries. In 1997-2000 he served as financial consultant to Hashim Tachi, the chief commander of KLA.”

Valery Nikolaevich Lunev (b. 1960), resides in the Netherlands, has Dutch citizenship. Married to Dzhokhar Dudaev’s relative Fatima (b. 1970). Retired from the military in March of 1995.

Lunev is responsible for security and “strong arm operations”. For his operations he hires the former and active duty officers of Russian secret services, including spetsnaz

In 1990-91 Lunev took part in overthrowing the regime of Zviad Gamsahurdia in Georgia.

Has extensive contacts in Tajikistan. Has the native-like command of the Tajik and Afghan (Pushtu) languages, as well as Russian, Belorussia, English, and Dutch. During the civil war in Tajikistan cooperated with Sandak Safarov. 7 

Anton Victorovich Surikov (b. 1961). Presents himself as political scientists. Responsible for informational and political projects. Actively publishes in press. Some of his publications resemble ciphered directives to the elements in Russian special services disloyal to President Vladimir Putin. His other articles contain political messages intended for abroad.

Surikov has contacts with Fritz Ermarth, former leading CIA analyst of the USSR and Russia, now in Nixon Foundation. Has contacts in the Near Volga Region (Tatarstan, Udmurtia) and in the Caucasus. In 1992-93 Surikov often visited Abkhazia, where, together with Saidov, he–under the nom de guerre Mansur–worked in coordination with Gary Aiba and Shamil Basaev.

Retired in September 1996. In 1996-2002 occupied high posts in the apparatus of Federal government and the State Duma. Presently, officially is a businessman [Executive Director of the Association of Russian Poultry Market Operators].

Surikov has close relations with Alexander Prokhanov and Alexander Nagorny [respectively, chief editor and assistant chief editor of newspaper "Zavtra"], Anatoly Baranov [chief editor of Pravda.info and KPRF.ru], Mikhail Delyagin, former adviser to Mikhail Kasyanov [Delyagin--founder and Chair of IPROG Board and the Institute’s director till April 2002 when he was replaced by Boris Kagarlitsky], Alexei Kondaurov (head of YUKOS security department, former general of KGB and FSB, State Duma deputy from CPRF), Ilya Ponomarev (former YUKOS CEO, CPRF).

In 2002-03, together with Kondaurov–who represented Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Leonid Nevzlin–Surikov, with the help of Victor Vidmanov, organized financing of CPRF by YUKOS shareholders and the individuals associated with OPS [the organized criminal society] (Yakov Kosman, Nikolai Lugovskoi) to the tune of $15 million.

On December 13 2004, in Adygeia, Surikov had a meeting with a group of Sufi believers and said this: “In the past we were against ahl-ad-dalala (those who gone astray) with their Arab money. We used to say that one should not separate from Russia. But now “Russia is on the brink of collapse and chaos.” So “we’ll be separating [from Russia] with all Muslims of the Caucasus.” A new state will be created on our historical lands from Psou and the Black See to Laba and Kuban.”

5. Leonid Leonidovich Kosyakov, b. 1955, Ukrainian citizen. Until 2005 resided in Arab Emirates and Switzerland. Citizen of Ukraine. Retired from the service in May 1993. Presently the president of Far West Ltd.

In 1983-85 Kosyakov was in command of a special group in Shindand (Afghanistan), assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In different times under his direct command served Filin, Lunev, Likhvintsev, Surikov, Petrov, as well as Saidov.

II. On accusations in drug trafficking

These accusations were made by the former officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine Sergei Petrov (alias Serge Rodin, French citizen). 8 

According to his testimony:

“The OPS [organized criminal society] was involved in drug trafficking since the beginning of 1990s:

-from 1995 the OPS transports heroin (produced in Afghanistan) from Tajikistan to European countries via Russia with the assistance of Russian Defense Ministry.

- from 2000 the OPS is involved in smuggling Colombian cocaine to Russia through the seaports of Novorossiysk and St. Petersburg under the disguise of import shipments from Latin America.

Among the OPS contacts in Novorossyisk is Saidov; in St. Petersburg it used to be Roman Tsepov. 9 

Received profits are used for personal enrichment of the OPS leaders, the officials at the Ministry of Defense who provide them with “the roof” [protection], and for financing extremist activities.”

In November of 2003, Rodin contacted the law enforcement agencies of Germany and France. Their investigation did not result in any [legal] actions against Filin, Likhvintsev, and their partners.

In January 2004, Rodin was blown up in his car in South Africa.

In the press, Surikov and Baranov explained Rodin’s allegations by his assumed mental problems. But in the past, they also used mass media for allegations in drug trafficking against their competitors (Makhmadsaid Ubaidolluev, Gafur Mirzoyev-“the Gray-Haired,” Aslan Abashidze, Soso Gogitidze and others). 10 

III. On the activities in the interests of foreign secret services.

1. During November 22-December 7, Filin and Likhvintsev were in Ukraine where, in coordination with the U. S. Embassy, they took part in the negotiations between Victor Pinchuk and the leadership of the army, police, and secret services. 11 

2. In 2003-2004, Filin and Likhvintsev worked on the Georgian project, financed by KBR Halliburton, apparently, with the approval of the CIA. The project had the goal of weakening the competitors of Halliburton in oil business and, in a broader context, of facilitating the geopolitical objectives of the United States in the Caucasus. The OPS man in Georgia is Audrius Butkevicius, former Lithuanian minister of defense, presently adviser to Badri Patarkatsishvili. 12 

3. In the summer of 2004 [the OPS] started a project in the Near-Volgian Federal District to train cadres for Volga-Urals chapter of the international extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahir, banned by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in 2003. The project is financed by private philanthropic foundations of the Arabic Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The course of instruction includes:

-forms and methods of operative work by secret services;

-theory and practice of local armed conflicts;

-security of oil and gas pipelines;

-informational warfare in mass media.

Instruction and training were provided for a fee by former and active officers of Russian special services who had experience in local armed conflicts, faculty members from military colleges, specialists in the security of pipeline transportation and propaganda.

Примечания

1  Published 17.12.2004 by compromat.ru: http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/saidov.htm

2  The information about Saidov’s dealings with Kadyrov is indirectly supported by the following account of the “agreement” between the Kremlin and the organized criminal society, which allegedly includes Saidov and is led by Vladimir Filin (“Vova Filin”) and Alexei Likhvintsev (“Pribalt”):“According to a source close to Victor Cherkesov [the head of State Committee for Controlling Drug Trafficking], there exist a powerful military criminal organization that since 1992 has been controlling significant drug trafficking from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe, is involved in money laundering and actively interferes in Russian politics… The criminal society is led by the former intelligence officers and Safghan veterans, now narco barons Vova Filin and Lyosha Pribalt [Alexei Likhvintsev]… Filin and Pribalt literally flooded Russia with heroin. The Kremlin could not tolerate this abomination any longer and ordered a mighty “Chekist raid” [i.e., order the FSB to shut down the operation] against the narco barons. However, it is rumored that the raid has ended up with the agreement that the latter would 1) share their profits; 2) help in facilitating peaceful referendum on Chechen constitution; 3) bring some order to the drug market by liquidating the leaders of ethnic criminal groups.” (emphasis added). “Geroinovyi tur.” By Nikita Kaledin. Stringer-news, November 4, 2003: http://www.stringer-news.ru/Publication.mhtml?PubID=2448&Part=39

3  “Habib Bank Ltd., a big Pakistani financial institution that has long been scrutinized by U.S. intelligence officials monitoring terrorist money flows.” On possible links between the Habib Bank and the al-Qaeda network and Al-Rashid Trust, see: “SHC seeks evidence against Al-Akhtar Trust”, Daily Times, March 17, 2005: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-3-2005_pg7_20 . Habib Bank was also involved in drugs related transactions in the 1980s during the war in Afghanistan: http://www.larouchepub.com/other/1995/2241_golden_crescent.html“British cash and fighters still flow to bin Laden.” By Chris Hastings and David Bamber. News. Telegraph, 27/01/2002):http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/01/27/nlse127.xml .On Dubai Islamic Bank and bin Laden’s organization, see “Trail links Bin Laden aide to hijackersUS investigation reveals terrorist paymaster’s role in financial web,” by Julian Borger in Washington and John Hooper in Berlin. The Guardian, October 1, 2001: http://www.guardian.co.uk/waronterror/story/0,1361,561000,00.html; “The CIA met Bin Laden while undergoing treatment at an American Hospital last July in Dubai,” by Alexandra Richard. Le Figaro, 11 October 2001: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/RIC111B.html

4  Nukhaev is wanted by the Prosecutor General’s Office for the assassination of Paul Khlebnikov.

5  According to other source (Sarkisian), Saidov’s book was written in Arabic. We were not able to find this book. Most likely, it is a pamphlet rather than a full-size book.

6  Elmurzaev was said to be killed in the storming of the theater, but rumored to be alive in Chechnya.

7  A leader of the People’s Front of Tajikistan.

8  See Revelations of the Fugitive Kremlin Financier: http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/petrov_en.phtml

9  Roman Tsepov, president of the Baltik-Eskort security company, died under suspicious circumstances in September 2004. http://english.mn.ru/english/issue.php?2004-38-14Recently, Vladimir Filin acknowledged Tsepov’s ties with Far West Ltd. Far West Ltd. “is no longer interested in Russian seaports. Ukraine is now more attractive to us than Novorossiysk. As to St. Petersburg, we never worked there, only our partners in the international trade do. They were brought in by the now late Sergei Tarasovich Petrov and Roman Igorevich Tsepov.”See “Vladimir Filin: The Representation of Far West Ltd in Udmurtia has been Closed,” Pravda-info, 09.06.2005: http://www.pravda.info/news/3628.html

10  Makhmadsaid Ubaidolluev is the Chairman of Majlisi Milli Majlisi Oli of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Gafur Mirzoyev-“the Gray-Haired”. One of the closest associates of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and the former head of the Presidential Guard, General Gafur Mirzoev was arrested in August 2004. At the time of his arrest Mirzoyev was the head of Tajik Drug Control Agency http://www.nobf.ru/engl/news/news_archive_04.htmlAslan Abashidze, a former president of Adzharia, Georgia’s autonomous republic. He was ousted and fled to Moscow after the “revolution of roses” in Tbilisi, 2003. Soso Gogitidze, Adjar Security Minister under Abashidze.

11  Viktor Pinchuk, Ukrainian oligarch, former President Kuchma’s son-in-law.

12  Georgian tycoon, close associate of Boris Berezovsky.

При использовании этого материала ссылка на Лефт.ру обязательна 

Two explosions rattle Damascus amid prayers and protests

Two explosions rattle Damascus amid prayers and protests

Bombing

BEIRUT — A blast ripped through central Damascus on Friday, killing at least nine people and injuring 20,  including civilians and police, Syrian state television reported. It was the second blast to hit the Syrian capital on Friday, a day on which protesters take to the streets each week after noon prayers. 

Syrian state television blamed the attack on “terrorists” — the term frequently used by the Syrian government to describe the rebels — and called it a “suicide terrorist explosion.”

Gruesome images of puddles of blood and body parts were aired on government-controlled television, which said the explosion took place following Friday prayers outside the Zein el Abidine mosque, near a school. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency showed graphic photos of a severed hand and leg strewn at the bombing site.

A Damascus dissident rejected the state media’s contention that the bombings were the work of anti-government forces, pointing out that the bombed area, Midan, is an opposition stronghold where protests against the government routinely break out. The mosque was also identified by a Damascus resident, reached by Skype, as a hub for protests.

Protests usually begin Fridays at the end of noon prayers as worshipers emerge from mosques and spill onto the streets. The explosion stopped people from leaving the mosques to stage their protests, the anti-government activist said.

“In Midan on Friday the security forces are stationed in every mosque and the eyes of the security are on the neighborhood,” he said in a Skype interview. “So how does an explosion like this happen?” 

A few hours earlier, another blast was reported in the industrial area of Damascus. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties in that explosion.

The Friday bombings were the latest in a series of explosions that have rocked Syria since anti-government street demonstrations began more than a year ago. At least 26 people were killed in a January blast in Midan. Aleppo and Dara have also been hit with explosions in recent months.

Yulia Tymoshenko Shows Bruises from Alleged Beating By Guards

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Tymoshenko, heroine of Ukraine democracy movement, ails in prison as West’s concerns grow

Juergen Baetz, Maria Danilova

Global Regina |

KIEV, Ukraine – Yulia Tymoshenko, the braided darling of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution who went on to be prime minister, is wasting away in prison — weakened from a hunger strike, bruised from prison beatings and afraid she will be force-fed by her political foes, her family said Friday.

Western concern about Tymoshenko has soared since she launched a hunger strike a week ago to protest alleged prison abuse. She claims that guards punched her in the stomach and twisted her arms and legs while taking her to a hospital against her will to be treated for debilitating back pain.

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The opposition leader’s party claimed that a string of bombings Friday in eastern Ukraine that authorities blamed on terrorists may have been orchestrated by the government to deflect attention from her plight.

It is a dramatic reversal for a woman who became a global icon of democratic change during Ukraine’s 2004 mass rallies against a stolen presidential election, in which she mesmerized her nation with ringing speeches from a frozen Kyiv square as thousands of protesters huddled in a tent village.

Tymoshenko appears pallid and worn-out in photos of her lying in prison taken by Ukraine’s top human rights official — a shadow of the glamorous figure who faced crowds in haute-couture gowns and golden braids. The pictures by Nina Karpachova show blotches on Tymoshenko’s abdomen, lower arm and abdomen.

Her daughter told The Associated Press that her health was failing rapidly.

“After the attack, she was in intense pain,” Eugenia Tymoshenko said in a telephone interview. “She is very weak, she hasn’t eaten for seven days, only drinking water. Prison officials threaten that they will force-feed her.”

Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges of abusing her powers in a Russian energy deal. The West has strongly condemned the verdict as politically motivated and threatened to freeze co-operation with Ukraine.

Oleksandr Tymoshenko, the jailed opposition leader’s husband, told the AP in the Czech capital of Prague — where he has been granted asylum — that he believes the Ukrainian government is slowly killing his wife.

“Everything that has been happening to Yulia Tymoshenko is a rehearsal of her physical destruction — a murder that the authorities have been planning to carry out since the beginning of repression against her.”

Four explosions rocked the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk on Friday, injuring 27 people, including nine teenagers. The government blamed terrorism — but the Tymoshenko camp suspects a government-orchestrated diversion tactic.

Deputy parliament speaker Mykola Tymenko, a member of Tymoshenko’s party, said he “does not rule out” that senior government members in President Viktor Yanukovych’s government were involved in organizing the blasts.

The president’s office declined to comment on the opposition charges.

In Berlin, the head of Berlin’s renowned Charite hospital said it is “unlikely” that Ukraine will be able to successfully treat Tymoshenko because the hospital where she is being taken does not have the expertise to carry out the complex procedure. Karl Einhaeupl and his team inspected the Kharkiv facility earlier this month.

Tymoshenko has suffered severe back pain since October, but she refuses treatment in Ukraine because “she does not trust the Ukrainian medical system” and fears she will be deliberately infected, Einhaeupl told reporters.

“I appeal to the Ukrainian president to be guided by humanitarian values and let her travel abroad to Europe to receive treatment,” he said.

The doctors declined to comment on Tymoshenko’s claim that she was abused by prison guards. Einhaeupl said he has seen recent photos of her showing what is “very obvious” bruising but said he couldn’t elaborate because the alleged abuse happened after their April 17 meeting.

Germany has been leading the European Union’s critical stance on Ukraine over the Tymoshenko case. The government in Berlin is also offering to treat her in Germany, but Kyiv has rejected the offer. Recently, however, the Ukrainian leadership proposed that German doctors could come to Ukraine and treat her at the Kharkiv hospital.

But Einhaeupl and his colleague Norbert Haas rejected the proposal, saying it would take weeks and probably months for a team of physicians and specialists to treat her condition appropriately.

“The therapy will take months. A short visit would not yield any substantial results,” Haas said.

“I am extremely skeptical that Tymoshenko could be successfully treated in Ukraine, even with the participation of two, three German doctors,” Einhaeupl added.

Einhaeupl stressed the doctors are concerned by Tymoshenko’s hunger strike, given her already weakened condition. She appeared to be “desperate” during their April 17 visit, and begged the German doctors to treat her, he said, adding that her condition had deteriorated significantly since their first visit in January.

“We hope that we can meet and examine her again within the next seven days,” he said, noting that this still has to be approved by Ukrainian authorities.

In their evaluation report of the Kharkiv hospital, the doctors say Ukrainian authorities have made great efforts to provide the best possible conditions for her treatment there.

“But Ms. Tymoshenko’s particular problems of physical and psychological nature, as well as the particular evolution of her illness let it appear unlikely that the therapy there will be successful,” the report stated.

Tymoshenko denies the abuse of power charges, saying they are part of a campaign by Yanukovych, her longtime foe, to bar her from politics. Yanukovych, who narrowly defeated her in the 2010 presidential race, has denied involvement in the Tymoshenko case.

Ukraine is increasingly under pressure over its treatment of Tymoshenko. EU officials have threatened her case and those of other jailed opposition members could derail a planned rapprochement between Kyiv and the 27-nation bloc.

German President Joachim Gauck cancelled a visit to Ukraine next month on Thursday, and calls were growing from opposition lawmakers for EU government officials to boycott the Euro 2012 football championship that Ukraine will co-host in June.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday Chancellor Angela Merkel’s top adviser on foreign policy issues discussed Tymoshenko’s case again with Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Thursday. Seibert said the chancellor keeps herself “very informed about the Tymoshenko case.”

___

Baetz reported from Berlin. Karel Janicek contributed from Prague. Follow Juergen Baetz on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jbaetz

© The Canadian Press, 2012

 Tymoshenko, heroine of Ukraine democracy movement, ails in prison as West’s concerns grow 

US offers ‘safe passage’ to Afghan Taliban leaders

US offers ‘safe passage’ to Afghan Taliban leaders

By Fakhar ur Rehman
NBC News, and msnbc.com news services

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The United States and Afghanistan have agreed to “give safe passage” to representatives of the Afghan Taliban to help them to enter future peace talks, officials announced Thursday.

The move comes just weeks ahead of a NATO summit in Chicago on the future of Afghanistan. It may also represent a significant step forward towards the resumption of peace talks that were suspended in Qatar last month.

Speaking at a joint press conference with U.S. Special Envoy Marc Grossman and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani,  Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Javed Ludin said: “Time is short, peace is urgent.”

“We need to find and encourage and create safe passage for peace talks,” with the Afghan Taliban, he added.

His comments came after the three countries held their sixth meeting aimed at political reconciliation in Afghanistan.

A U.S. Embassy official confirmed to NBC News that the countries have agreed to allow and facilitate travel of the Afghan militants to participate in any future talks. The official said details of how it would work in practice have not been announced.

U.S. sees Taliban talks suspension as tactical move

Jilani announced the establishment of two new groups, one to represent the efforts of the three countries at the United Nations, and another responsible for “safe passage.” “Safe passage will be to help bring Afghan Taliban in to peace talks,” he told NBC News.

More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.

Dr Gareth Price, senior research fellow at Britain’s Chatham House think thank, told msnbc.com the move could be seen as a “confidence-building measure”.

Talks were suspended last month amid a string of public setbacks that have scandalized and angered Afghans, notably U.S. soldiers’ burning of copies of the Koran and the killing of 16 Afghan villagers for which a U.S. soldier is in custody.

Price added: “The US has made clear it will remain in Afghanistan in some form – that’s the stick, if you like, so maybe this is the carrot.”

On Tuesday, White House sources told Reuters that President Barack Obama’s administration may hand over a Taliban detainee at Guantanamo Bay prison directly to the Afghan government in order to help revive peace talks.

As foreign forces prepare to exit Afghanistan, the White House had hoped to lay the groundwork for peace talks by sending five Taliban prisoners, some seen as among the most threatening detainees at Guantanamo, to Qatar to rejoin other Taliban members opening a political office there.

15 injured in 4 blasts in east Ukraine city

Ukrainian-coalminer-002

source

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15 injured in 4 blasts in east Ukraine city

USAToday

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Four blasts within minutes rocked the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk Friday, injuring at least 15 people in what prosecutors believed was a terrorist attack, officials said.

Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova said the first blast occurred at a tramway stop in the center of Dnipropetrovsk, injuring five people. The second injured seven people outside a movie theater, while the third wounded three near a railway station.

A fourth blast was also heard in the city center, the Interior Ministry said. It was unclear whether anybody was injured.

Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and other top law enforcement officials were flying to Dnipropetrovsk. Prosecutors’ spokesman Yuri Boichenko said investigators are treating the blasts as a terrorist attack.

In January 2011, two pre-dawn explosions outside an office of a coal mining company and then a shopping center in the eastern city of Makiyivka caused no casualties.

The authorities said they received letters from unknown assailants demanding money in exchange for not causing any more blasts, and they treated those explosions as acts of terrorism.

The Intellectual Disarming of the “Idiot Nation”

Has America Been Crippled By Intellectual Idiots?

Brandon Smith

As far back as I can remember, the overarching message of the American social atmosphere has been one of idolization.  Oh to one day join the ranks of the “professional class”; that 5% to 10% of our culture which enjoys unparalleled respect and an assumed position of knowledge, so much so that they are rarely even required to qualify themselves to anyone besides their own compatriots.  The goal of every person I knew during my formative years with a desire to succeed was to one day hold in their hands an official looking embossed document announcing their ascension to the ranks of the intellectually anointed.  I was never so keen on the idea…

The dangers of academic deification are numerous.  Those who dominate the educational language of the times determine the moral compass (or lack of compass) of the curriculum.  They control who is accepted and who is rejected, not by measure of intelligence or skill, but by their willingness to conform to the establishment ideal.  They construct a kind of automaton class, which has been taught not to learn independently, but to parrot propaganda without question.  Simultaneously, those of us who do not “make the grade” are relegated to the role of obliged worshippers; accepting the claims of the professional class as gospel regardless of how incorrect they happen to be.  To put it simply; the whole thing is disgustingly inbred.

Elitism has always lent itself to morbid forms of educational molestation.  This is nothing new, especially within their own limited circles.  However, to have such perversions of logic and reason gutting the minds of entire generations across endless stretches of our country without any counterbalance is a far more heinous state of affairs in the long run.  Ultimately, this highway can only lead to a deterioration of our future, and the death of reason itself.

Recently, I attended a discussion panel on Constitutionalism at a university in Helena, the capital of Montana, and admittedly, was not expecting much insight.  (At the moment of arrival I noticed the buildings had been plastered with Kony 2012 posters.  The campus seemed to be completely unaware that the YouTube film is a George Soros funded ‘Wag the Dog’ farce.)  Even in a fiercely independent region such as the Northern Rockies, the collectivist hardline reigns supreme on most college campuses.  Sadly, very few actual students attended the discussion, and the audience was predominantly made up of local political players, retired legislators, and faculty.  Surprisingly, Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers was invited to participate in the discussion, obviously to add at least some semblance of balance or “debate” to an otherwise one-sided affair.  The mix was like oil and water.

The overall tone was weighted with legal drudgery.  Many of the speakers were focused intently on secondary details and banal explorations into individual Constitutional cases without any regard for the bigger picture.  When confronted with questions on the indefinite detainment provisions of the NDAA, government surveillance, or executive ordered assassinations of U.S. citizens, the panelists responded with lukewarm apathy.  The solutions we discuss regularly within the Liberty Movement, such as state nullification based on the 10th Amendment, assertions of local political control through Constitutional Sheriffs, and even civil disobedience, were treated with indignant responses and general confusion.

A consistent theme arose from the academics present, trying to run damage control on Rhodes’ points on federal encroachment and ultimate tyranny.  Their position?  Defiance is unacceptable (or at least, not politically correct…).  Americans have NO recourse against a centralized government.  Not through their state and local representatives, and not through concerted confrontation.  In fact, to even suggest that states act on their own accord without permission is an outlandish idea.  In the end, the only outlet for the public is….to vote.

No one seemed to be able to address the fact that both major parties supported the exact same unconstitutional policies, thus making national level elections an act of pure futility. The point was brushed aside…

Sickly shades of socialism hung heavy in the room.  One speaker even suggested that the states could not possibly survive financially without centralized aid.  He was apparently too ignorant to understand that the federal government itself is bankrupt, incapable of producing true savings, and printing fiat Ad Nauseum just to stay afloat.  Every 30 seconds I heard a statement that made me cringe.

Universities are today’s centers of connection.  They are one of the last vestiges of American tribalism and community in an age of self isolation and artificial technological cultism.  Adults do not meet face to face much anymore to share knowledge, or discuss the troubles of the day.  The academic world provides such opportunity, but at a terrible price.  To connect with the world, students must comply.  To be taken seriously, they must adopt, consciously or unconsciously, the robes of the state.  They must abandon the passions of rebellion and become indifferent to the truth.  All actions and ideas must be embraced by the group, or cast aside.  They must live a life of dependency, breeding a culture of fear, for that which others keep for us, they can easily take away.

How could anyone possibly sustain themselves on a diet of congealing fantasy, and personal inadequacy?  The intellectual life bears other fruits as well.  Where it lacks in substance, it makes up for in ego, proving that being educated is not necessarily the same as being intelligent.  The following is a list of common character traits visible in the average intellectual idiot, a breed that poisons the American well, and is quickly eroding away any chance of Constitutional revival…

1)  An Obsession With The Appearance Of Objectivity 

I say “appearance” of objectivity because the intellectual idiot does indeed take sides on a regular basis, and the side he takes invariably benefits the establishment.  He would never admit to this, though, because he believes it gives him more credibility to at least be thought of as standing outside an issue looking in.  It is not uncommon to find Intellectual Idiots being contrary regardless of your view, even if they would normally agree.  They often try to approach debate with the façade of detachment, as if they do not care one way or the other.  The costume soon wears away, however, when they are faced with an opponent that is not impressed with their educational status.  I have seen lawyers, doctors, engineers, and even politicians devolve into sniveling toddlers when they are derailed by an argument beyond their ability to tap-dance around.  Their middle of the road persona evaporates, and the real person erupts like an ugly pustule…

2)  Clings To Labels And Status

Like anyone else, Intellectual Idiots cradle a philosophy they believe in, or are told to believe in.  But unlike most of us, they see themselves above the scrutiny of those who do not pursue a similar academic path (i.e. only a lawyer should be allowed to debate another lawyer).  The reality is, anyone is privy to the information a proponent of the professional class knows.  With the advent of the internet, it is easier than ever to educate one’s self on multiple subjects without aid if that person has the determination to do so.  Reputation is not earned by shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for university approval.  A Masters Degree or Ph.D is not a get out of logic free card.  In fact, because the Intellectual Idiot often uses his position to avoid true opposition, he tends to become lazy and even more incapable of defending his methodologies when the time comes.

3)  Predominantly Collectivist

The curriculum of the average college is partly to blame for this, and because the Intellectual Idiot is so desperate for acceptance and accolades, they can’t help but fall into the trap.  Collectivism is marked by a distinct attachment to the state as the source of life.  All social and all individual crises thus become a matter of government purview.  Individual self reliance is a terrifying notion to them.  In fact, many Intellectual Idiots have lived on the dole since they were born, moving from their family’s money, to state money through grants and loans.  It is not unheard of for these people to become career students, avoiding work for years, and then moving on to a bureaucratic job when the free money runs out.  They cannot fathom why anyone would rebel against the system, because they are a part of a select group which has always benefited from it.  How could the federal government be bad when it has paid their way for half of their existence?

4)  Disconnection From Reality 

The Intellectual Idiot is not necessarily afraid to acknowledge that the system is troubled.  For them, the federal government is not infallible, even if their favorite party is in office, but, it IS unapproachable.  Academics revel in the disastrous nature of government.  They see political and social catastrophe as a sort of mental gameplay.  An exercise in theoretical structures.  For them, America is not a country built on an enduring set of principles, but a petri dish; an ongoing anthropological experiment that they can watch through a microscope at their leisure.  The idea that the disasters they view from the safety of their sub-cultural bubble might one day come to haunt them is a distant one.

5)  Abhors Those Who Step Out Of Bounds 

Have you ever entertained a view that went against the grain of the mainstream only to be met with accusations of extremism and sneers befitting a leper?  You were probably talking to an intellectual idiot.  The rules, no matter how distasteful or meaningless, hold special power for these people.  They make the system what it is, and when the system is your great provider, you might lean towards defending it, even in the wake of oligarchy and abuse.   This penchant for overt structure for the sake of centralization is especially damaging to our Constitutional rights, because alternative solutions are never treated as viable.  During the panel discussion in Helena, pro-collectivists consistently tried to redirect the conversation away from the 10th Amendment as a method to counter federal overreach.  They did this by bringing up abuses of the states, including slavery and segregation, as if that somehow negated the nightmare of the NDAA.

Ironically, they saw the use of violence by the federal government to push states to recognize civil liberties as perfectly practical.  But, the use of force by states to protect the same civil liberties from Washington D.C.?  That would be lunacy…

6)  Believes Academia To Be Free From Bias

The Intellectual Idiot assimilates every bit of information he is given at the university level without a second look.  He simply assumes it is all true, and if something appears mismatched, it is only because he does not yet fully grasp it.  Very rarely will he go beyond designated source materials to get a different opinion.  This habit is the root of his idiocy.  Being that most universities draw from the same exact materials, and peer reviewed papers are usually tested by those with the exact same underlying educational backgrounds, I can’t see how it is possible for much variety of thought to form.  Whether intentional or not, severe bias cannot be avoided in this kind of environment without considerable strength of heart.

The shock that these people express when faced with Liberty Movement philosophies is quite real.  They have spent the very focus of their future life within the confines of a miniscule spectrum of truth; like seeing technicolor for the first time after a long limited existence in black and white.

It’s hard to say when it all really began, but for decades, Americans have been progressively tuned like pliable radio antenna to the song of the elitist intellectual.  Many of us want to be him.  Others want to follow him, straight to oblivion if need be, as long as they don’t have to blaze their own trail.  This is not to say all professionals are a danger to the Republic.  Some are fantastic proponents of freedom.  But, without a drastic reversal in current educational trends, I see little hope of Constitutional guardians becoming a mainstay of U.S. campuses in the near term.

With mashed potato minds fresh from the psychological Cuisinart of public schools, the next generation in line to inherit the most fantastically schizophrenic nation in history will be like candy for social engineers; utterly unequipped for the mission.  Strangely, the drastic financial slide the elites have also triggered might hold the key to our salvation.  The next batch of would be statist citizens may find themselves so poor that higher educational brainwashing will be impossible to afford, giving them precious time to think for themselves, and come to their own conclusions.   As they say, in all things, there is a silver lining…

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

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