Saudis Insulted Because the Brits Are Starting To Open Their Eyes To Saudi Human Rights Violations In Bahrain

[The Saudis are being insulted by the Brits investigating their security operations in Bahrain, which officially did not take place.]   

“Saudi forces have not engaged in any security operations against Bahraini citizens,” he added.

Saudi Arabia ‘insulted’ by UK inquiry

By Frank GardnerBBC security correspondent

Bahrain unrest. Pic by Frank Gardner

Saudi Arabia’s Sunni monarchy suspects Iran of covertly supporting Shia activists in Bahrain

 

Saudi Arabia says it is “insulted” by a parliamentary inquiry into how the UK deals with the country and Bahrain.

Saudi officials have told the BBC they are now “re-evaluating their country’s historic relations with Britain” and that “all options will be looked at”.

While they stopped short of cancelling ongoing trade deals, the move reflects growing Saudi resentment at the West’s reaction to the Arab Spring.

The Foreign Office said Saudi Arabia remained a close friend and an ally.

The Sunni-majority kingdom suspects the hand of Iran behind much of the unrest in its own Shia population and that of Bahrain.

Bahrain’s opposition movement has always denied any Iranian government role in its activities.

‘Reform supported’

In September, the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) announced it would be opening a wide-ranging review into the UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – two key Gulf Arab partners.

That followed its report on the Arab Spring democracy movementwhich concluded that the government was right to “support peaceful reform efforts where possible in Bahrain” but that it “must also be clear in its public criticism of human rights violations there if it is to avoid charges of hypocrisy”.

The FAC said its new inquiry would look closely at how the UK balances its various interests in these countries in defence, trade, security, counter-terrorism and human rights.

But Saudi Arabia, long sensitive to western criticisms of its human rights record, believes the inquiry has been prompted by Shia activists from Bahrain, including those striving to overthrow the Sunni monarchy there.

The Saudi ambassador in London, Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Al-Saud told the BBC his country would “not tolerate or accept any foreign interference in the workings” of the Gulf Co-operation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman.

“Saudi Arabia’s relations with the GCC is an internal matter among the six countries and we will not tolerate or accept any foreign interference in the workings of the GCC”.

A senior Saudi official added: “The Kingdom will not permit a group of so-called human rights activists, supported and funded by foreign entities, to implant a new foreign-linked political system in a fellow GCC country.”

Specialised units

Last year, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report into Bahrain’s unrest found no evidence of Iranian government instigation behind the unrest.

However, it did find evidence of systemic abuse of prisoners in police custody. King Hamad of Bahrain promised reforms and an end to human rights abuses, a process which rights activists say is far from complete.

The Sunni monarchies in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain suspect Iran of covertly supporting Shia activists they say are working to turn Bahrain into a Shia-led Islamic republic.

At the height of Bahrain’s unrest last year, around 1,000 troops from the Saudi Arabian National Guard arrived in Bahrain and it was reported by some outlets they helped put down the unrest.

But the Saudi ambassador to London denied this, saying the country “as a GCC member, sent a brigade of specialised units to secure and protect critical Bahraini installations and infrastructure”.

“Saudi forces have not engaged in any security operations against Bahraini citizens,” he added.

The news of Saudi displeasure will be an unwelcome development for the Foreign Office.

As the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia is a huge trading and defence partner for Britain with nearly £4bn of bilateral trade last year.

According to the UK Trade and Investment Office there are approximately 200 UK/Saudi joint ventures with total investment of more than £11bn.

Defence deals include the £7bn BAE Systems contract supplying the next tranche of Typhoon jets.

Thousands of British expatriates work in Saudi Arabia and British companies involved there include Shell, GlaxoSmithKline, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and Marks & Spencer.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the government respected Parliament’s “right to carry out inquiries”.

“We will be responding to the FAC in due course, setting out the detail of our deep, broad-based relationship with Saudi Arabia and the strength and importance of our partnership,” he added.

“Saudi Arabia is a key strategic partner in the region and one of the closest friends and allies.”

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The American Citizens of Laredo, Texas Are Stuck In the Middle of Our Mexican Drug War

[Laredo and Neuvo Laredo are ground zero in the synthetic war which the United States has brought about as an artificial solution to the universal drug problem. It didn’t work in Colombia and elsewhere in Central America, where the policy slowly evolved over decades, neither will it work in Mexico, or potentially in the United States. As it stands today, Mexico is being torn-apart and the people terrorized as a direct result of the US policies of Plan Mexico.  The previously disorganized cartels were helped to acquire enough military-grade firepower to enable someone to forcefully wipe-out the competition, thus saving someone else from having to do the job, their job. Thousands of fully automatic AK-47s, pistols, even grenade launchers were moved from American gun shops (fast and furious) into the cartel hands, all of the cartels.

Many of these weapons went to the deadly Zetas, who were military deserters who had been former Mexican Special Forces, where they had first received expert training from US Special Forces and Navy Seals.

Now you have testimony coming-out of  the Chicago trial of Sinaloa boss, Vicente Zambada-Niebla, that explains how the US Govt. has worked-out an arrangement to favor the Sinaloa Cartel over all the others, looking the other way where their business is taking place in exchange for detailed info on the competition–perfect set-up for Sinaloa and the world’s richest drug dealer Joaquin Guzman Loera. It is no wonder the citizens of Laredo see no hope on the horizon–there is none. Hunting the heads of some of these cartels will not end the war, but merely multiply the competition.

Due to Mexico’s crippling poverty rates, drug gangs are guaranteed to have an endless supply of replacements for anyone that is killed. Thanks to the American-engineered NAFTA Treaty, small family farms in Mexico have mostly been moved out of the market. Job opportunities there are now limited to the processing and shipping of produce to the north. No work breeds contempt for those who live in abundance, adding potential Mexican revolution and class war to the mixture of trouble ahead. By setting Mexico on fire, we push the bulk or the endless river of refugees North.

All of this will tend to destabilize the United States, beginning with Texas.]

People React To Ongoing Violence in Mexico

Over the years, tourism has dropped dramatically in Mexico due to the ongoing drug war.
With the recent news that shook Mexico last week regarding the capture and arrest of one zeta and the death of another, we set out to see if people thought the violence would end.
“No I don’t think it will stop. If anything it’s still here.”
That’s what Leo Canchola has to say about the violence in Mexico.
He says he doubts that just because two members of the zetas were taken down, Mexico will go back to the way it used to be.
“I know people that live across the river and commute on a daily basis. Things are worse over there than they’ve ever been.”
Just last week the man who was in charge of operations for the zetas in Tamaulipas, Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo was caught after a gunfight near Nuevo Laredo. Escobedo showed no remorse as he was shown handcuffed, instead he smiled after being said to have killed countless people. Still Canchola is not hopeful things will change.
“Do you think it will get better? No, no I think it will get worse before it gets better.”
Many people don’t want to comment about the large cartel that has ravaged Mexico, but another person we spoke to talked to us about the death of the main member of the zetas, Heriberto Lazcano.
“That surprised me but they can hide forever.”
Lazcano was said to be gunned down in Northern Mexico. His body was seen in a morgue before it was later stolen. With the head of the zetas dead, Santos says people are lining up to take his place because of the lack of work in Mexico. He says people are desperate to do anything to make money for their families.
“I think it’s going to continue because they get this guy and put another one and another one because of the poverty over there. I think it’s never going to stop.”

United Front Against Austerity Public Assembly–October 27, 2012

Update 10/9: Please RSVP if you plan to attend the October 27 Public Assembly. This will be a great help to us in planning for the event.

UFAA Public Assembly

October 27, 2012
12-6pm

INN World Report
56 Walker Street, NYC | Map

About UFAA and the Public Assembly

Austerity – the imminent, existential threat to the American people. No matter the outcome of the November elections in the US, working families will be thrown over the proverbial “fiscal cliff” in the name of debt and deficits. Cutting Social Security, Medicare and other threads in our fragile social fabric is not only grossly unjust – it won’t work! The so-called “Grand Bargain” threatens to unleash a death spiral of unemployment and poverty which our nation is not certain to survive.

Organizing to defend our economic rights. It is for this reason that we must organize now to mobilize effective opposition to the impending austerity offensive; agitate to shift the burden of the economic depression onto Wall Street oligarchs; and to build momentum toward a genuine political revolution of, by and for the people.

Not a conference – an assembly! The UFAA Public Assembly on October 27 will not be “just another conference” that ends when the doors close. Participants will hear proposals from distinguished speakers, engage in floor debate, and vote on vital strategic matters. The UFAA intends to build on Wisconsin and Occupy – with decisions, demands and action.

ASSEMBLY FORMAT

Addresses

(90+ minutes) A series of brief addresses, both live and recorded, from distinguished representatives.

Proposals and Debate

(4+ hours) A moderated presentation of proposals, live debate and votes. For example, “what is the more effective demand – a 1% Wall Street sales tax, or a more progressive income tax?”

All persons representing proposals acceptable to the American public are invited to attend and debate. Disruptive behavior and tactics will not be tolerated.

KEY ISSUES WILL INCLUDE

Program

Concrete demands for political & economic reform.

Organization

An organic coalition with organized centers of leadership.

Strategy

Identifying our immediate strategic needs, and a roadmap for success.

Leadership

Developing and attracting political leaders to our coalition.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

We want to hear from:

  • Labor unions
  • Political organizations
  • Journalists & media
  • Academics and public advocates
  • Groups representing blacks, hispanics and other disadvantaged minorities
  • Professional organizations, especially those in industry, agriculture, science and engineering

Afghanistan On Countdown To Total Chaos

NATO’s Afghan pull-out may prove costly for India

As North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s forces prepare their exit strategy in Afghanistan in 2014, Russia on Sunday raised concerns about a “new wave of terrorism” that could emerge in the region and affect India.

Thousands of terrorists and fundamentalists could seek refuge in Afghanistan and this could change the situation drastically for countries such as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Central Asia, warned Russia.

According to experts, political stability and international neutrality of Afghanistan is a major issue and there is a need to monitor the situation very closely once NATO forces withdraw. Sources in the Research and Analysis Wing point out that the possibility of radical terrorism re-emerging in the safe havens of Afghanistan cannot be ruled out.

Once NATO forces pull out, several splinter groups will try to take over control of the troubled nation and this could lead to immense instability in the region, which could be fatal to India.

Global powers such as China, Russia, United States and Iran may also try to stake their claim in Afghanistan. A nation with such a ravaged economy, society and political situation may not react well to such power play.

According to former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing C D Sahay, “It is interesting to note that Russia is expressing concern about the situation after a NATO pull-out. It is necessary for global players in Afghanistan to get engaged in the re-establishment of peace and order. In my view, after the pull-out, there is likely to be a re-emergence of three kinds of forces which have been in operation — the Old Silk route involving China, the old Soviet revival in Afghanistan extending beyond central Asian republics and also the US-led interest groups. I am not including Iran and Pakistan as of now, as they have trans-border, regional and religious interests in the region. This actually makes the situation even more complex”.

Officials aware of India’s efforts in Afghanistan say that India has always maintained that there should be a strong regional involvement in bringing about peace in Kabul.

India’s biggest problem is that Pakistan tends to react very negatively to this process and often accuses New Delhi of trying to make its influence felt in the strife-torn nation.

Indian think-tanks believe that it is important for regional players and neighbouring countries to put aside their bilateral differences and work together in a cooperative and not-competitive manner in Afghanistan. Without cooperation between the many nations working in Afghanistan, everyone’s worst fears about the fate of Afghanistan after a NATO pull-out may come true.

The changing situation in Afghanistan, believe experts, should be perceived as an opportunity for international and regional cooperation.

Intelligence agencies warn that the situation could turn volatile once NATO forces pull out of Afghanistan. Many major terror groups which had been using Afghanistan as a safe haven were forced to look for other hideouts due to NATO’s heavy presence in the country.

The security agencies fear that such forces may resurface and India may become one of their targets. Most of the forces operating from Nepal can go back to Afghanistan and unless the situation is kept under check with proper international and regional cooperation, the problem could become immense for India.

As Russia has pointed out, it is necessary for both Moscow and Delhi to work closely on the issue, otherwise the situation could get out of control.

Vicky Nanjappa

Turkey Searches Syria-Bound Plane That Took Off From Armeni

By Selcan Hacaoglu 

Turkish authorities searched a plane bound for Syria from Armenia after requiring it to land in eastern Turkey.

The landing took place in the eastern city of Erzurum, the official Anatolia news agency said. The cargo plane was bound for Aleppo and had reported that it was carrying humanitarian aid, NTV television said, citing Foreign Ministry officials.

The plane was carrying aid and the stop in Turkey was planned, Tigran Balayan, a spokesman for Armenia’s Foreign Ministry, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Turkey permitted the flight on condition it would carry out the search, and will allow the plane to resume its journey, the channel reported. Airport police in Erzurum declined to comment.

Turkey grounded and searched a Syrian plane that took off from Russia last week and confiscated some of its cargo, saying it contained military supplies destined for President Bashar al- Assad’s government. Turkey has backed the rebels who have been fighting to end Assad’s rule since March last year, and says it won’t turn a blind eye to arms shipments to Syria.

Tensions between the neighbors and former allies have escalated since a shell fired from Syria landed in a Turkish border town earlier this month, killing five people. In June, a Turkish plane was shot down by Syrian forces in the east Mediterranean. Turkey has deployed additional troops and weapons to the border with Syria.

Aiding Rebels

More than 30,000 people have been killed as Assad’s government fights to repress the uprising in Syria, according to pro-opposition rights groups. Syria has accused Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, of helping the rebels obtain arms and money.

Turkey is hosting more than 100,000 Syrian refugees, including defected soldiers, and has allowed rebel military forces to operate from Turkish bases.

Turkey allows humanitarian and commercial flights to and from Armenia even though the countries do not have diplomatic ties. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to protest Armenia’s war with Azerbaijan, and insists on withdrawal of Armenian troops from the Armenian-occupied enclave Nagorno- Karabakh in Azerbaijan before it will reopen the border.

To contact the reporter on this story: Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara at shacaoglu@bloomberg.net

The Mexican Military Keeps Killing the Sinaloa Bad Guys That the Americans Are Helping

NOT even Latin America’s most fanciful television soap operas could have come up with a twist as farcical – or as sinister – as the dramatic Mexican military assault last week that killed one of the country’s most ruthless drug cartel chiefs.

First, a squad of navy commandos failed to realise that it had killed Heriberto Lazcano, a founder of a notorious gang of former military thugs known as the Zetas. Then Lazcano’s henchmen stole their leader’s unguarded corpse. Now an even more treacherous and bloodthirsty character is ready to fill his shoes.

In the savage world of Mexico’s so-called narco wars, Lazcano was known as “the Executioner” for his gruesome record of dispatching men, women and even children by lowering them slowly into vats of boiling oil.

Yet when he died last Sunday after a chance encounter with commandos, experts believe he may already have been sidelined in the ranks of the Zetas by the terrifying rise of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a Zetas enforcer whose northern border home town of Nuevo Laredo is a gateway for money, drugs and weapons flowing into and out of America.

Nuevo Laredo, which is across the Rio Grande from the Texas city of Laredo, has made the Zetas rich. It has also become the focus of a blood-spattered turf war between the Zetas and the rival Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who has long had his eye on the border fortune controlled by Trevino Morales.

The Zetas sprang from the ranks of deserters from the military who were originally trained to fight the cartels, but who quickly discovered that a lot more money was to be made by going into the drug business themselves.

Lazcano muscled his way to the top of the group with the help of punishments such as “the lollipop”, a wooden paddle that he used to beat his victims senseless. Yet his cruelty has long seemed quaintly old- fashioned compared with the mayhem inflicted by his most callous lieutenant.

As one of the original numbered recruits to the Zetas ranks, Trevino Morales is known as “El Cuarenta” – a reference to the Spanish for the number 40 – or more commonly as Z-40. He bears much of the blame for the wave of mass beheadings that has shaken Mexico in recent years. He has also used the threat of unspeakable violence to co-opt officials and even entire police forces.

Earlier this month Trevino Morales was accused of ordering the killing of Jose Eduardo Moreira, the nephew of the governor of the state of Coahuila, as revenge for the shooting of his own nephew by Coahuila state troops. Lucero Davis, Moreira’s distraught widow, was so upset by the apparent nephew-for- nephew retaliation that she blamed the governor for provoking it.

In 2009 Trevino Morales summoned dozens of Nuevo Laredo police officers – all of whom were in his pay – to a meeting where he identified a female officer as an informant, then beat her to death in front of them. Not one of the officers dared to intervene and the federal government was eventually obliged to send in troops to disband the force.

Trevino Morales has also distinguished himself from rival mobsters by his enthusiasm for recruiting women as accountants, negotiators and assassins.

The Zetas are believed to be the only cartel with a significant women’s component, known as “the Panthers”. Their numbers have included Ashly Narro Lopez, an accused murderer known as “Comandante Bombon”.

The authority of Trevino Morales has been challenged by other Zetas leaders, but several of his rivals have recently been arrested or killed.