Syrian “Al-CIA-da” Show-Up As Predicted In Golan Heights, Abduct 30 UN Peacekeepers,

[SEE:  Mossad’s Debka File Reports Assad Withdrawal from Golan An Invitation To Syrian “al-Qaeda”]

Golan Heights peacekeepers detained by fighters near Syria: U.N.

the daily star

Reuters
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on March 5, 2013 shows lorries carrying apples as they drive across the Israeli-Syrian Quneitra border pass from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights into Syria under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 1981 Israeli annex the strategic plateau to the Jewish state after it was captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war since then there are no relation between the two states. AFP
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on March 5, 2013 shows lorries carrying apples as they drive across the Israeli-Syrian Quneitra border pass from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights into Syria under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 1981 Israeli annex the strategic plateau to the Jewish state after it was captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war since then there are no relation between the two states. AFP

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations said about 20 peacekeepers had been detained by around 30 armed fighters in the Golan Heights on the border between Syria and Israel on Wednesday and that it has sent a team to resolve the situation.

The United Nations confirmation came in response to YouTube videos purporting to show Syrian rebels with the seized convoy. Syria’s two-year civil war, which has killed more than 70,000 people, has been spilling over into the Golan Heights area.

“The U.N. observers were on a regular supply mission and were stopped near Observation Post 58, which had sustained damage and was evacuated this past weekend following heavy combat in close proximity, at Al Jamlah,” the United Nations said in a statement issued in New York.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war. Syrian troops are not allowed in the area of separation under a 1973 ceasefire formalized in 1974. Israel and Syria are still technically at war. The area is patrolled by U.N. peacekeepers.

Israel warned the U.N. Security Council on Monday that it could not be expected to “stand idle” as Syria’s civil war spills over its border, while Russia’s U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin accused armed groups of undermining security between the states by fighting in the Golan Heights.

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Pakistani Taliban execute, behead soldiers in South Waziristan

[Sorry that I was unable to post the video included at Long War, but since the discontinuation of the “Vodpod” service, we, here at WordPress sites, can only post from YouTube.]

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f12_1362419460

Pakistani Taliban execute, behead soldiers in South Waziristan

Long war journal
By Bill Roggio

 

Warning: the video below contains graphic footage of the aftermath of the Taliban killing several Pakistani soldiers. The Taliban remove the heads of the Pakistani soldiers.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan released a videotape on the fighting in the Mehsud areas of South Waziristan which includes graphic footage of the mutilation of several Pakistani soldiers who appear to have been killed in a firefight last summer.

The videotape, which was sent to The Long War Journal by a spokesman from Umar Media, the media arm of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, is titled “Strike of a Believer.” It focuses on the Taliban’s fight against the Pakistani military in the tribal agency of South Waziristan, and includes a statement from the terror group’s emir, Hakeemullah Mehsud.

A three-minute segment shows what appears to be the aftermath of a clash with Pakistani soldiers in a mountainous area of South Waziristan. The Taliban are seen taking the soldiers’ weapons. The soldiers are seen with their Pakistani Army-issued weapons, body armor, and helmets.

At least three of what appear to be six soldiers who were killed and beheaded are shown. Their heads are displayed on top of rocks. The body of one Pakistani soldier, who was not beheaded, was thrown down the mountainside.

Although the date of the Taliban attack on the Pakistani soldiers was not provided in the video, a spokesman for Umar Media told The Long War Journal that “this fight was held on 22 June 2012.”

The Pakistani media did not report the deaths of Pakistani soldiers in South Waziristan within three days before or after June 22, 2012. The nearest report of Pakistani soldiers killed in South Waziristan was on June 18, 2012, when two soldiers were said to have been killed in an attack on the Ladha area of South Waziristan.

Hakeemullah threatens the US and Britain

In addition to the graphic Taliban clip, a speech by Taliban emir Hakeemullah Mehsud was also featured in the lengthy tape. Hakeemullah vowed to continue to attempt to execute attacks on US and British soil.

“At present we are waging defensive jihad but our resolve is very strong,” Hakeemullah said, according to a translation of the videotape which was provided by the SITE Intelligence Group. He continued: “We resolve to enter Britain and America. They come here and target us, so we will go to America and Britain and target them. These will be blessings of jihad. Allah willing, we will have access there and avenge inside America and Britain.”

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan nearly detonated a car bomb in Times Square in New York City on May 1, 2010. The bomb was placed by Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen who was born in Pakistan and returned home to train for an attack on the US. Both Hakeemullah and Qari Hussain, another Taliban commander, claimed credit for the attack. Hakeemullah was later seen on tape with Shahzad, boasting about the plot.

Videotape the latest to show Taliban executions of Pakistani security forces

In the past, the Taliban have released several videos of the execution and beheading of Pakistani troops. Most recently, in September 2012, the Taliban released a videotape of the aftermath of the beheadings of several Pakistani soldiers who were captured after fighting in Bajaur.

In June 2012, a video showing the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers who had served in the district of Dir, which is near Bajaur, was released by the Taliban. [See LWJ report, Pakistani Taliban release video of beheaded Pakistani soldiers.]

In June 2011, the Taliban released a video of the execution of 16 Pakistani policemen in Dir. The Taliban lined them up, and executed them via firing squad. The policemen had been captured after the Taliban crossed the border from Kunar. [See LWJ report, Video of brutal Taliban execution of Pakistani policemen emerges.]

In February 2011, Hakeemullah released a videotape of the execution of a former Pakistani military intelligence official known as Colonel Imam. Although Imam, a senior officer in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, was a favorite of the Afghan Taliban for his support of Mullah Omar, the Pakistani Taliban accused him spying against the terror group. [See LWJ report, Video: Pakistani Taliban execute Colonel Imam.]

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/03/pakistani_taliban_ex_1.php#ixzz2Mmb4mbI4

Saudi Butchers To Crucify 7

[SEE:  Muslim Brotherhood ‘Crucifies’ Opponents, Attacks Secular Media]

Saudi seven face crucifixion and firing squad for armed robbery

One of group to be executed, speaking from cell on smuggled phone, says most of ring were juveniles at time of thefts

  • Associated Press in Cairo
  • King Abdullah
King Abdullah (centre), who ratified the death sentences on Saturday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

One of seven Saudis due to be put to death on Tuesday by crucifixion and firing squad for armed robbery, speaking over a smuggled mobile phone from his prison cell, has appealed for help to stop the executions.

Nasser al-Qahtani told Associated Press from Abha general prison on Monday that he was arrested as part of 23-member ring that stole from jewellery stores in 2004 and 2005. He said they had been tortured to confess and had no access to lawyers.

“I killed no one. I didn’t have weapons while robbing the store, but the police tortured me, beat me up and threatened to assault my mother to extract confessions that I had a weapon with me while I was only 15,” he said. “We don’t deserve death.”

A leading human rights group added its appeal to Saudi authorities to stop the executions.

Qahtani, 24, said he and most of the ring were juveniles at the time of the thefts. They were arrested in 2006. The seven received death sentences in 2009, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported.

Last Saturday, Qahtani said, Saudi King Abdullah ratified the death sentences and sent them to Abha. Authorities set Tuesday for the executions. They also determined the methods.

The main defendant, Sarhan al-Mashayeh, will be crucified for three days. The others will face firing squads.

Qahtani faced a judge three times during eight years in detention. He said the judge did not assign a lawyer to defend them and did not listen to complaints of torture.

“We showed him the marks of torture and beating, but he didn’t listen,” he said. “I am talking to you now and my relatives are telling me that the soil is prepared for our executions tomorrow,” he said.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law under which people convicted of murder, rape or armed robbery can be executed, usually by sword.

Several people were reported to have been crucified in Saudi Arabia last year. Human rights groups have condemned crucifixions in the past, including cases in which people are beheaded and then crucified. In 2009, Amnesty International condemned such an execution as “the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”.

Abha is located deep in the south-western province of Asir. Southerners face systematic discrimination and people there are perceived as second-class citizens compared with those in the most powerful central region, where the capital and Saudi Arabia’s holy shrines of Mecca and Medina are located. Political analyst Mohammed al-Qahtani said the central region gets the best services and treatment.

“The verdict is very harsh, given all the circumstances of detention and trial with no access to lawyers, but part of the problem is selectivity,” he said. “If one person belonged to political heavyweight regions, the verdict wouldn’t have been harsh,” he added. “The south is marginalised.”

He said no minister in the Saudi government, current or past, came from the south. He said he was born in the south, did not know the family of the man who talked to AP, but was familiar with the case.

The Washington-based Institute of Gulf Affairs, which is campaigning for suspension of the executions, said in a statement addressed to the UN high commissioner for human rights, that “among the reasons for the execution is that they hail from the south, a region that is heavily marginalised by the Saudi monarchy, which views them as lower class citizens”.

Ali Al-Ahmed, the head of the institute, said that in Saudi Arabia, people refer to the south as “07, which is derogatory, since it refers to the last area code phone number” in the kingdom.

“The south is very poor, and that is why rebellion comes from there,” he said, “and this is why sentences are harsh, because Saudi authorities want to scare them.”

Human Rights Watch in a statement on Monday appealed to Abdullah to halt the executions. It said there was “strong evidence” that the trials of all seven men violated basic principles of rights to a fair trial.

“It will be outrageous if the Saudi authorities go ahead with these executions,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It is high time for the Saudis to stop executing child offenders and start observing their obligations under international human rights law.”

Saudi Arabia to Openly Teach Jihad in Schools

Saudi Arabia to Teach Jihad in Schools

Students will be taught ‘correct concept of jihad’

By Vasudevan Sridharan

Outsiders perceive Saudi society as conservative - Reuters

Outsiders perceive Saudi society as conservative – Reuters

Saudi Arabia has decided to introduce the concept of jihad at the intermediate school level in order to teach Islamic principles and duties to young students in the kingdom.

The ministry of education hopes the proposal will be widely welcomed by parents and educationists in the kingdom.

The ministry says the plan is to instil the “correct concept of jihad” in students.

“Textbooks will include all relevant information on jihad including a definition when it becomes a duty, and the role of women. The information on jihad was developed by the ministry’s curriculum development project for intermediate-grade fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) textbooks,” spokesperson of the education ministry Abdullah al-Dukhaini told Arab News.

The spokesperson said that the education will facilitate students in understanding Islam and help them play their “role” in society.

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The curriculum will be produced by extracting ideas from various sources. Experts from a range of fields will be involved in preparing the course material.

“Saudi curriculum is prepared by experts who have specialised knowledge and is reviewed by a Shariah committee from the board of senior scholars, universities and specialised colleges,” added al-Dukhani.

Speaking about the aggression related to jihad, the spokesperson said: “Saudi Arabia is not an aggressive country and will only get involved in conflict to defend itself.”

He said that only the ruler has the right to “raise the banner of jihad” and not individuals or Muslim groups.

The perception outside the country is that oil-rich Saudi Arabia is conservative. It is officially illegal for women to drive a vehicle in the country. Saudi officials had recently introduced a system of SMS alerts to bar women from leaving the kingdom without their partners’ consent.

Neocon Think Tank Picking the Corpse of Chavez Before His Body Is Even Cold

A post-Chávez checklist for US policymakers

AEI

Image credit: Chavez (Wikimedia Commons)Image credit: Chavez (Wikimedia Commons)

With the impending demise of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, US policymakers should follow a rule that Chávez’s Cuban medical team ignored: Primum non nocere — First, do no harm.

The State Department should set aside any plans that would legitimize a successor regime in Caracas, at least until key demands are met:

  • The ouster of narco-kingpins who now hold senior posts in government;
  • The respect for a constitutional succession;
  • The adoption of meaningful electoral reforms to ensure a fair campaign environment and a transparent vote count in expected presidential elections; and
  • The dismantling of Iranian and Hezbollah networks in Venezuela.

Now is the time for US diplomats to begin a quiet dialogue with key regional powers to explain the high cost of Chávez’s criminal regime, including the impact of chavista complicity with narcotraffickers who sow mayhem in Colombia, Central America, and Mexico. Perhaps then we can convince regional leaders to show solidarity with Venezuelan democrats who want to restore a commitment to the rule of law and to rebuild an economy that can be an engine for growth in South America.

As Venezuelan democrats wage that struggle against chavismo, regional leaders must make clear that Syria-style repression will never be tolerated in the Americas. We should defend the right of Venezuelans to struggle democratically to reclaim control of their country and its future. Only Washington can make clear to Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and Cuban leaders that, yes, the United States does mind if they try to sustain an undemocratic and hostile regime in Venezuela. Any attempt to suppress their self-determination with Chinese cash, Russian arms, Iranian terrorists, or Cuban thuggery will be met with a coordinated regional response.

US law enforcement and prosecutors can do their part by putting criminal kingpins in jail or, at the very least, on the defensive so they cannot threaten or undermine a reform agenda.

US development agencies should work with friends in the region to form a task force of private sector representatives, economists, and engineers to work with Venezuelans to identify the economic reforms, infrastructure investments, security assistance, and humanitarian aid that will be required to stabilize and rebuild that country. Of course, the expectation will be that all the costs of these activities will be borne by an oil sector restored to productivity and profitability.

Finally, we need to work with like-minded nations to reinvigorate regional organizations committed to democracy, human rights, anti-drug cooperation, and hemispheric solidarity, which have been neutered by Chávez’s destructive agenda.

Vaya con Dios, Hugo Chàvez, mi Amigo

http://gregpalast.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=33e4ec877eed6a43863a4a92e&id=ab5fb5b5cd&e=7a105ff3d5

Vaya con Dios, Hugo Chàvez, mi Amigo

By Greg PalastTuesday, March 5, 2013 For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.   As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television.  DVDs also available.Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him.  My dear Hugo:  It’s the oil. And it’s the Koch Brothers – and it’s the ketchup.Reverend Pat Robertson said,

“Hugo Chavez thinks we’re trying to assassinate him.  I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”

It was 2005 and Robertson was channeling the frustration of George Bush’s State Department. Despite Bush’s providing intelligence, funds and even a note of congratulations to the crew who kidnapped Chavez (we’ll get there), Hugo remained in office, reelected and wildly popular.  But why the Bush regime’s hate, hate, HATE of the President of Venezuela? Reverend Pat wasn’t coy about the answer:  It’s the oil.

“This is a dangerous enemy to our South controlling a huge pool of oil.”

A really BIG pool of oil.  Indeed, according to Guy Caruso, former chief of oil intelligence for the CIA, Venezuela hold a recoverable reserve of 1.36 trillion barrels, that is, a whole lot more than Saudi Arabia.  If we didn’t kill Chavez, we’d have to do an “Iraq” on his nation. So the Reverend suggests,

“We don’t need another $200 billion war….It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”

Chavez himself told me he was stunned by Bush’s attacks:  Chavez had been quite chummy with Bush Senior and with Bill Clinton. So what made Chavez suddenly “a dangerous enemy”? Here’s the answer you won’t find in The New York Times: Just after Bush’s inauguration in 2001, Chavez’ congress voted in a new “Law of Hydrocarbons.”  Henceforth, Exxon, British Petroleum, Shell Oil and Chevron would get to keep 70% of the sales revenues from the crude they sucked out of Venezuela.  Not bad, considering the price of oil was rising toward $100 a barrel. But to the oil companies, which had bitch-slapped Venezeula’s prior government into giving them 84% of the sales price, a cut to 70% was “no bueno.”  Worse, Venezuela had been charging a joke of a royalty – just one percent – on “heavy” crude from the Orinoco Basin. Chavez told Exxon and friends they’d now have to pay 16.6%. Clearly, Chavez had to be taught a lesson about the etiquette of dealings with Big Oil. On April 11, 2002, President Chavez was kidnapped at gunpoint and flown to an island prison in the Caribbean Sea.  On April 12, Pedro Carmona, a business partner of the US oil companies and president of the nation’s Chamber of Commerce, declared himself President of Venezuela – giving a whole new meaning to the term, “corporate takeover.” U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro immediately rushed down from his hilltop embassy to have his picture taken grinning with the self-proclaimed “President” and the leaders of the coup d’état. Bush’s White House spokesman admitted that Chavez was, “democratically elected,” but, he added, “Legitimacy is something that is conferred not by just the majority of voters.”  I see. With an armed and angry citizenry marching on the Presidential Palace in Caracas ready to string up the coup plotters, Carmona, the Pretend President from Exxon returned his captive Chavez back to his desk within 48 hours.  (How?  Get The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, the film, expanding on my reports for BBC Television.  You can download it for free for the next few days.) Chavez had provoked the coup not just by clawing back some of the bloated royalties of the oil companies. It’s what he did with that oil money that drove Venezuela’s One Percent to violence. In Caracas, I ran into the reporter for a TV station whose owner is generally credited with plotting the coup against the president.  While doing a publicity photo shoot, leaning back against a tree, showing her wide-open legs nearly up to where they met, the reporter pointed down the hill to the “ranchos,” the slums above Caracas, where shacks, once made of cardboard and tin, where quickly transforming into homes of cinder blocks and cement. “He [Chavez] gives them bread and bricks, so they vote for him, of course.”  She was disgusted by “them,” the 80% of Venezuelans who are negro e indio (Black and Indian)—and poor.  Chavez, himself negro e indio, had, for the first time in Venezuela’s history, shifted the oil wealth from the privileged class that called themselves “Spanish,” to the dark-skinned masses. While trolling around the poor housing blocks of Caracas, I ran into a local, Arturo Quiran, a merchant seaman and no big fan of Chavez.  But over a beer at his kitchen table, he told me,

“Fifteen years ago under [then-President] Carlos Andrés Pérez, there was a lot of oil money in Venezuela. The ‘oil boom’ we called it. Here in Venezuela there was a lot of money, but we didn’t see it.”

But then came Hugo Chavez, and now the poor in his neighborhood, he said, “get medical attention, free operations, x-rays, medicines; education also. People who never knew how to write now know how to sign their own papers.” Chavez’ Robin Hood thing, shifting oil money from the rich to the poor, would have been grudgingly tolerated by the US.  But Chavez, who told me, “We are no longer an oil colony,” went further…too much further, in the eyes of the American corporate elite. Venezuela had landless citizens by the millions – and unused land by the millions of acres tied up, untilled, on which a tiny elite of plantation owners squatted.  Chavez’ congress passed in a law in 2001 requiring untilled land to be sold to the landless.  It was a program long promised by Venezuela’s politicians at the urging of John F. Kennedy as part of his “Alliance for Progress.” Plantation owner Heinz Corporation didn’t like that one bit.  In retaliation, Heinz closed its ketchup plant in the state of Maturin and fired all the workers.  Chavez seized Heinz’ plant and put the workers back on the job.  Chavez didn’t realize that he’d just squeezed the tomatoes of America’s powerful Heinz family and Mrs. Heinz’ husband, Senator John Kerry, now U.S. Secretary of State.  Or, knowing Chavez as I do, he didn’t give a damn. Chavez could survive the ketchup coup, the Exxon “presidency,” even his taking back a piece of the windfall of oil company profits, but he dangerously tried the patience of America’s least forgiving billionaires:  The Koch Brothers.  How?  Well, that’s another story for another day. [Watch this space. Or read about it in the book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. Go to BallotBandits.org).  Elected presidents who annoy Big Oil have ended up in exile—or coffins:  Mossadegh of Iran after he nationalized BP’s fields (1953), Elchibey, President of Azerbaijan, after he refused demands of BP for his Caspian fields (1993), President Alfredo Palacio of Ecuador after he terminated Occidental’s drilling concession (2005). “It’s a chess game, Mr. Palast,” Chavez told me.  He was showing me a very long, and very sharp sword once owned by Simon Bolivar, the Great Liberator.  “And I am,” Chavez said, “a very good chess player.” In the film The Seventh Seal, a medieval knight bets his life on a game of chess with the Grim Reaper.  Death cheats, of course, and takes the knight.  No mortal can indefinitely outplay Death who, this week, Chavez must know, will checkmate the new Bolivar of Venezuela.But in one last move, the Bolivarian grandmaster played a brilliant endgame, naming Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, as good and decent a man as they come, as heir to the fight for those in the “ranchos.”  The One Percent of Venezuela, planning on Chavez’s death to return them the power and riches they couldn’t win in an election, are livid with the choice of Maduro. Chavez sent Maduro to meet me in my downtown New York office back in 2004.  In our run-down detective digs on Second Avenue, Maduro and I traded information on assassination plots and oil policy.  Even then, Chavez was carefully preparing for the day when Venezuela’s negros e indios would lose their king—but still stay in the game. Class war on a chessboard.  Even in death, I wouldn’t bet against Hugo Chavez.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast covered Venezuela for BBC Television Newsnight and Harper’s Magazine.

Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.

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