Tsipras says Barbaros must leave for talks to resume

Tsipras says Barbaros must leave for talks to resume (Update)

Cyprus mail

Tsipras says Barbaros must leave for talks to resume  (Update)Alexis Tsipras

By Jean Christou

Greek Prime Minister Alexia Tsipras was quoted on Friday as saying it was important that the Turkish seismic vessel Barbaros leave the sea area around Cyprus so that talks could resume.

Tsipras who is due in Cyprus on Monday on his first official visit abroad since being elected on an anti-bailout platform last Sunday, gave an interview to Turkish newspaper Sabah.

The Barbaros has been anchored off Famagusta port in the north since December 30 but earlier this week Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami said it might resume explorations soon given the continued deadlock in the Cyprus talks.

In his interview with Sabah, Tsipras was quoted as saying that Greece supported negotiations facilitated by the UN and on the basis of UN Resolutions for a “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with a single administration, single citizenship and a single international identity”.

“We must actively support an increase of mutual confidence on the island,” he said. “The materialisation of this, however, is becoming much more difficult with activities such as the violation of the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign rights in the exclusive economic zone… by the Barbaros vessel which belongs to Turkey. The ship’s abandoning of the area and the leaving open of all diplomatic channels for the resumption of the negotiations is of significant importance,” Tsipras added.

As regards Greece’s relations with Turkey and whether he planned to continue détente with Athens, Tsipras said Athens had repeatedly underlined the necessity of an active and multidimensional Greek foreign policy which supported peace and stability in the region.
He said Syriza’s manifesto explicitly says that it actively supported the peaceful resolution of disputes with neighbouring countries within the framework of international law.

The Greek government would attach great importance to the development of cooperation between Greece and Turkey in the fields of economy, culture, tourism, education, migration, transportation, energy and environment, he said.

However he made it clear that the only way to take another step forward in creating confidence was respecting each other’s sovereign rights and the principle of good neighbourliness. He also made reference to the fact that in 2014, Turkish violations of Greek air space had tripled compared to 2013.
When he visits Cyprus next week, Tsipras visit would reaffirm close cooperation between Nicosia and Athens, government spokesman spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Friday.

During his visit, Tsipras, will have a private meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades followed by a meeting between the delegations of the two countries, the spokesman said.

The Greek side will also meet the political parties.
“We look forward to the visit of the new Greek Prime Minister and we are certain that through the discussion that will take place the close cooperation that exists between the two countries over the years will be demonstrated,” the spokesman said.

He said the Cyprus problem, Turkey ‘s violation of the island’s exclusive economic zone, as well as the economy would be discussed during the talks.
On Russia, he said the “overwhelming majority of the EU member states, even the large states, had the same position as Greece and Cyprus related to the approach for the solution of the problem that exists in the region.” He was referring to Greece and Cyprus’ opposition to further sanctions on Russia.


Georgia is on the verge of a government crisis

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Georgia is on the verge of a government crisis


Giorgi Kalatozishvili, Tbilisi. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza

The 29-year-old Interior Minister of Georgia, Alexander Chikaidze, has resigned, confirming his inability to investigate two awful murders which are separated by 10 years. He was thought to be the youngest, but the most powerful minister in the government of the 33-year-old premier Irakli Garibashvili. The murders are the shooting of 22-year-old Zurab Vazagashvili during a special operation near the Tbilisi tennis courts on May 2nd 2006, and the murder of his father Yuri Vazagashvili, who was blown up on his son’s grave several days ago in their family village of Karafila.

According to the military expert Irakli Aladashvili, the murderers fixed a fragmentation hand grenade without a safety-pin ring under the grave-stone. They knew well that Yuri Vazagashvili visited his son’s grave almost every day; and he would have noted that the gravestone had been shifted and would have tried to put it back. That’s when the grenade exploded. The murder caused a sharp reaction in the country. The Interior Minister declared that he couldn’t stay on in his position, as employees of his ministry couldn’t find the murderers without delay. However, Chikaidze named other reasons for his resignation – accusations of lobbying interests and concealing top officials of the Interior Ministry who participated in the “liquidation” of 2006, when Zurab Vazagashvili was killed. Yuri Vazagashvili himself blamed the Ministry for this ahead of the terrorist attack in the Karafila cemetery.

The resignation of the Interior Minister was inevitable, but undesirable for Premier Garibashvili in the situation, considering the heavy reaction of the Georgian press, which doubted the efficiency of the government.

Alexander Chikaidze is the fourth minister to withdraw from the Cabinet. Before him, the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, and the state minister for European integration resigned or were dismissed. According to the Georgian constitution, in case of the resignation of six ministers, the parliament should hold a vote of confidence in the government. And today it is difficult to predict the result of any possible vote. Moreover, the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is thought to be the real head of the government and the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, is concerned about the ability of key ministers to solve ths problems which face the country.

And the problems are growing, including the devaluation of the lari and the fact that Georgia doesn’t have the opportunity to export wine to the Russian market at the old ruble prices anymore. However, considering the political tradition of the last 25 years, the cases of the murders of father and son Vazagashvili could be a trigger for blowing up a whole complex of accumulated problems. Georgians are difficult to get out onto the streets because of 20% devaluation or inflation, but they are easily stirred up by arguments: “Georgia is on the edge of a government crisis, while the authorities cannot do anything!”

The young premier and his team found themselves in a difficult situation. It is not easy to punish officials of the Interior Ministry and officers of the special forces who participated in the operation of 2006. Today they take the top positions in power structures and they have their own view on the incident: “Zurab Vazagashvili was armed, opened fire on policemen, and they had to respond.” The father of the shot young man didn’t agree with this view. For many years he has been fighting for truth. He became one of the opposition leaders, and contributed a lot to the victory of Georgian Dream in the parliamentary elections in October 2012. It is impossible to ignore his demands, but the arrest and sentencing of the participants of the special operation could lead to indignation on the part of the police as a united consolidated corporation or sabotage by the police, i.e. a worsening of the criminal situation in the country.

However, the choice has to be made. The murder of Yuri Vazagashvili is not being investigated, and the circumstance is stirring up social dissatisfaction. They say that people whom he had been criticizing for years blew him up.

The new Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri (the former head of personal security of Ivanishvili) ordered the dismissal of a few top officials of the ministry, who were involved in the bloody operation near the courts. The same decision was made concerning the prosecutors who investigated the case 9 years ago and found that the police acted legally and reasonably. The near future will tell whether these measures will be sufficient to calm down society.

Two Russian “Bear” Bombers Buzz the English Channel

UK summons Russia after two bombers fly over English Channel and ‘disrupt civil aircrafts’

the independent

Government source said incident was viewed as “a significant escalation”


Heather Saul

The UK summoned the Russian ambassador to the Foreign Office after two Russian bombers flew over the English Channel, “causing disruption to civil aviation”.

A British government source claimed the incident was being considered “a significant escalation” and marked a change in strategy since Russian aircraft usually confine themselves to flying close to Scotland.

RAF Typhoons were scrambled to escort the two Russian Tu-95 bombers “throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest”, a spokeswoman said.

“It was very dangerous. Civil aircraft flying to the UK had to be rerouted. The Russians were flying with their transponders turned off so could only be seen on military radar. They haven’t flown this far south before,” the source was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The TU-95 bombers are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. An FCO spokesperson said the bombers manoeuvres are part of an “increasing pattern of out of area operations by Russian aircraft”.

It said Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko was called to account for the incident.

A statement read: “While the Russian planes did not enter sovereign UK airspace and were escorted by RAF Typhoons throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest, the Russian planes caused disruption to civil aviation. That is why we summoned the Russian Ambassador today to account for the incident.”

Mr Yakovenko insisted that the patrols were routine and “stressed that the concerns of the British side are not understandable given that two Russian military aircraft were on a routine air patrol duty over the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean”.

He argued it “cannot be regarded as threatening, destabilising or disruptive.”

Last year, Nato conducted more than 100 interceptions of Russian aircraft, about three times as many as in 2013, amid increased tensions between the West and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in December he was concerned by “the extremely aggressive” probing of Britain’s airspace by Russian military aircraft after a spate of interceptions off the Scottish coast.

Hammond, a former defence minister, had previously said the sharp increase in such activity in recent years was because of a Kremlin military overhaul that had been overlooked by many.

In December, Swedish authorities said a Russian military jet nearly collided with a commercial passenger airplane in international airspace near southern Sweden. Russia insisted its jet had kept at a safe distance.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Haphazard US Yemen “Kill List” Targeting To Lose Its Half-Assed Intelligence Guidance

[SEE: Killed, Then Rekilled, Then Killed Again–the truth about OBAMA’S MURDER BY DRONE IN YEMEN]

Exclusive: U.S. armed drone program in Yemen facing intelligence gaps


WASHINGTON Followers of the Houthi movement demonstrate to show support to the movement in Sanaa January 23, 2015.  REUTERS/Khaled AbdullahFollowers of the Houthi movement demonstrate to show support to the movement in Sanaa January 23, 2015.  Credit: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah


(Reuters) – The United States is facing increasing difficulty acquiring intelligence needed to run its stealth drone program in Yemen, undermining a campaign against the most lethal branch of al Qaeda after Houthi rebels seized control of parts of the country’s security apparatus, U.S. officials say.

Gaps in on-the-ground intelligence could slow America’s fight against a resurgent al Qaeda in Yemen and heighten the risk of errant strikes that kill the wrong people and stoke anti-U.S. sentiment, potentially making the militants even stronger in areas where al Qaeda is already growing.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels have taken up positions in and around several defense and intelligence installations whose teams had previously cooperated with Washington, cutting off key sources of information for drone-missile attacks, the officials told Reuters.

Turmoil in the wake of last week’s collapse of a U.S.-backed Yemeni government after days of clashes in the capital Sanaa, has already forced the U.S. State Department to reduce staff and operations at the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. officials told Reuters last week that Washington has also halted some counter-terrorism operations, but described the measures as temporary.

The turmoil has also cast doubt over the future of a key partnership for Washington in the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. Only last September President Barack Obama touted cooperation with Yemen as a model in counter-terrorism.

AQAP claimed responsibility for shootings this month in Paris that killed 17 people and has been accused of plotting attacks against American interests.

The crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country threatens to create a power vacuum that could allow AQAP to expand, while pushing Yemen toward a broader conflict between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shi’ite Houthis, who are hostile to both the United States and al Qaeda.

U.S. officials said training of Yemeni special forces had ground to a halt in the capital, though some joint activities were continuing in the Sunni-controlled south.

Many U.S. personnel remain in place with Yemeni government forces at the southern al-Anaad air base, an intelligence post for monitoring the Al Qaeda group.

Stephen Seche, who served as U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2007 to 2010 and now works in Washington at a law firm, said, however, he expected collaboration between U.S. and Yemeni intelligence services to suffer.

“If there’s no leadership, there’s no clear direction, there’s no real motivation to do that,” he said.


The White House and the Pentagon have said counter-terrorism efforts in Yemen will be undeterred by turmoil in the country.

“We do continue to have an ongoing security relationship with the national security infrastructure in Yemen. Some of which, much of which, is still functioning,” White House Josh Earnest told reporters.

Some U.S. officials, however, privately say the reduced intelligence sharing could undermine the armed-drone program.

Information has dried up from Yemeni security offices in Sanaa and there has been less cooperation from local security services outside the capital, the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Houthis have erected checkpoints at entrances at security institutions and have stationed operatives inside, Yemeni officials say. Rebels also surround the homes of the defense minister and the head of the National Security Bureau.

U.S. authorities treat some Yemeni intelligence leads with skepticism, concerned local officials might be trying to settle scores, and typically seek corroboration from multiple sources, the officials said.

But they will now be forced to rely more on surveillance drones, spy satellites and electronic eavesdropping, as well as their own “human intelligence” sources on the ground, said one official with direct knowledge of the operations.

With little or no prospects of working with the Houthis, Washington will also face trouble mounting raids on al Qaeda hideouts similar to those carried out in the past by U.S.-trained Yemeni special forces working close with U.S. officials.

The United States will maintain some security cooperation in southern Yemen, an al Qaeda stronghold and where former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi retains some support, even while the rebels control the capital and much of the north, the officials said.

The U.S. officials added that they can continue drone strikes such as Monday’s attack on a car in eastern Yemen that killed three men believed to be al Qaeda militants, including one identified as a youth by a Yemeni rights group.

The Central Intelligence Agency, which conducts the bulk of drone operations in Yemen, has no drone bases on Yemeni soil but operates from Saudi Arabia and Djibouti, U.S. officials say.

They also insist that while “collateral damage” is always a risk in counter terrorism operations, they do the utmost to avoid civilian casualties.

“There must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set,” said Alistair Baskey, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

Nineteen U.S. drone strikes killed 124 militants and four civilians in Yemen in 2014, according to the New America Foundation, which maintains a database of drone operations.

(Additional reporting by Yara Bayoumy in Dubai and Warren Strobel in Washington; Writing by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Jason Szep and Tomasz Janowski)


Killed, Then Rekilled, Then Killed Again–the truth about OBAMA’S MURDER BY DRONE IN YEMEN

yemen drone strikes
DRONE STRIKES (interactive map on site)

victims killed in a December 12, 2013 drone strike in central Yemen Victims of Dec. 2013 drone strike in Central Yemen

You Never Die Twice



Delivering Justice. Saving Lives


You Never Die Twice PDF


Each of us only lives once. It sometimes appears, however, that the covert US Kill List allows a man to die twice. Public reports suggest some men on the Kill List have‘died’ as many as seven times.  The Kill List is a covert US programme that selects individual targets for assassination. The list is personally approved by President Obama and requires no public presentation of evidence or judicial oversight. Targets often die in covert drone strikes in foreign countries and are never notified of what they are accused to have done.  Information on the Kill List and drone strikes is limited to media reporting and anonymous leaks by US, Pakistani and Yemeni officials. Nevertheless, by sifting this information, we found 41 names of men who seemed to have achieved the impossible: to have ‘died,’ in public reporting, not just once, not just twice, but again and again.  Reports indicate that each assassination target ‘died’ on average more than three times before their actual death.  This raises a stark question. With each failed attempt to assassinate a man on the Kill List, who filled the body bag in his place? In fact, it is more accurate to say ‘body bags’: many other lives are sacrificed in the effort to erase a name from the Kill List. In one case, it took seven drone strikes before the US killed its target. In those strikes, as many as 164 people died, including 11 children.  In total, as many as 1,147 people may have been killed during attempts to kill 41 men, accounting for a quarter of all possible drone strike casualties in Pakistan and Yemen. In Yemen, strikes against just 17 targets accounted for almost half of all confirmed civilian casualties. Yet evidence suggests that at least four of these 17 men are still alive.  Similarly, in Pakistan, 221 people, including 103 children, have been killed in attempts to kill four men, three of whom are still alive and a fourth of whom died from natural causes.

One individual, Fahd al Quso, was reported killed in both Yemen and Pakistan. In four attempts to kill al Quso, 48 people potentially lost their lives.

Other key findings include:

Twenty-four men were reported killed or targeted multiple times in Pakistan. Missed strikes on these men killed 874 people. They resulted in the deaths of 142 children

•Seventeen men in Yemen were reported killed or targeted multiple times. Missile strikes on these men killed 273 others and accounted for almost half of all confirmed civilian casualties and 100% of all recorded child deaths.

•In targeting Ayman al Zawahiri, the CIA killed 76 children and 29 adults. They failed twice and Ayman al Zawahiri is reportedly still alive.

•In the six attempts it took the US to kill Qari Hussain, a deputy commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), 128 people were killed. including 13 children.

•Baitullah Mehsud was directly targeted as many as seven times, during which 164 people were killed, including 11 children.

•From 2004-2013, children suffered disproportionately in Pakistan. The pursuit of 14 targets killed 142 children. Only six of these children died in strikes that successfully killed their target (21% success rate).