Egypt Taking On Qatari International Immunity From War Crimes In Libya

[Egypt is bravely stepping into the international fray, between Qatar (fronting for the CIA) and the rest of the world, challenging the over-endowed Pissant State’s self-appointed right to support of the Islamist terrorists of N. Africa (SEE:  Qatar’s Puppets Outgun Saudi Egyptian Puppet In Libya ; The spread of Islamic State.)  Qatar has been fronting for Obama, whenever it has lent obvious support to both streams of Muslim Brotherhood-supported Islamists, either political or terrorist, all over Africa and the Middle East.

General_Haftar
Egypt is daring to use its military in Libya against Islamists fighting against the Arab League-supported alliance of retired general Khalifa Haftar.

The curious part here is that Haftar is widely understood to be the CIA’s new “Man” in Libya.  It is amazing that al-Sisi would trust such a man, but then, he must play a two-sided game to survive in such a spy-dominated scenario.

 What a mess this Assclown has made.]

Beyond Al-Jazeera

al-ahram

The Cairo-Doha dispute goes much deeper than the anti-Egyptian media blitz being orchestrated by Qatar, writes Salah Nasrawi.

al jazeeraThe day a Cairo court ordered two Al-Jazeera journalists accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood to be released on bail, the Qatar-owned network aired secretly taped recordings of conversations between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and his aides in which he purportedly expressed contempt for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf rulers.

The message could not have been missed: Doha does not seem to be interested in patching up differences with Cairo, and Al-Jazeera will continue its hostile coverage of Egypt, one of the main issues behind soured relations between the two countries.

Furthermore, the leaks, first aired by pro-Muslim Brotherhood television, seemed designed to drive a wedge between Egypt and the Gulf countries which are the main aid providers to Egypt.

Relations between Cairo and Doha deteriorated after the 2013 ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi whose Muslim Brotherhood group was backed by Qatar.

Al-Jazeera has since been broadcasting anti-Al-Sisi propaganda, labelling his takeover a “military coup.”

But what has appeared to be a row over negative television coverage may in fact hide a deeper conflict over a host of domestic and regional issues, in particular Qatar’s support for Islamists whom Egypt considers to be a threat to its security.

Efforts to reconcile Cairo and Doha have stalled as Qatar’s sponsorship of what has been termed the “Political Islam project” has been too much for Egypt to ignore and leave the ball in Qatar’s court.

In November, Al-Sisi tactically gave the nod to an overture by the late Saudi King Abdullah to reach out to Qatar after the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) rapprochement with its troublesome member state.

Egypt has shown pragmatism by not staying aloof from its allies in the Gulf – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – which are also its main financial backers.

But Egypt, familiar with the region’s chessboard, has seemed to be holding back and playing a waiting game. It has shown no sign of starting to mend fences with Qatar until the Gulf emirate changes what Cairo interprets as its hostile policies.

Egypt’s dispute with Qatar goes beyond Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the platform for anti-Al-Sisi propaganda which Al-Jazeera and other Qatar-owned media outlets have been giving to the group.

Cairo’s grievances against Doha include its role in building a broader Egyptian opposition movement to Al-Sisi and targeting its ailing economy by withdrawing loans and deposits provided to the ousted Muslim Brotherhood-led government.

The two countries have also been locked in a political standoff over a series of regional disputes in Gaza, Libya, Syria and Sudan, conflicts that Egypt considers as having a direct impact on its stability.

Egypt believes that the Palestinian Hamas movement, backed and funded by Qatar, shares a large part of the blame for militant attacks in Sinai. Cairo says that militants from Hamas-run Gaza have been helping jihadist groups in Sinai, such as Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis, which is linked to the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

The terror group is responsible for attacks against Egyptian security forces in the Peninsula and it may be seeking targets in Egypt’s mainland.

Another major point of contention with Qatar is Libya. Egypt feels there is a danger to its security from its western neighbour where Islamist extremists and Muslim Brotherhood-backed militias supported by Qatar are fighting a government that is recognised by Egypt and the international community.

On Sunday, a Libyan terror group affiliated to IS said it had beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were working in Libya. Many Egyptians were angered by Al-Jazeera for hosting Al-Sisi’s opponents who have exploited the tragedy to blame the government for the massacre and not its perpetrators.

There is also Sudan, Egypt’s southern backyard, which is ruled by Islamists who have close ties with Qatar. Though Cairo and Khartoum continue to maintain working relations, Egypt remains wary of Sudan’s close ties with the Gulf state.

In November the Khartoum government signed a military cooperation pact with Doha that Egypt fears will be used to advance the Qatari agenda.

Egypt also has stakes in Syria where Qatar has influence over some of the Islamist extremist groups which are fighting to topple the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. Egypt fears both the rise of Islamists in Iraq and Syria and the influx of jihadists to join the insurgency in Sinai.

Another case in point is Turkey whose ties with Egypt have been strained since the ouster of Morsi. Cairo accuses Ankara of forming an alliance with Doha in a bid to destabilise Egypt through support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

All this indicates that a breakthrough in ties with Qatar will have to come on Egyptian terms. In the words of Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, “what is required is for Qatar’s policies to be supportive of Egypt and its national security and to avoid anything that leads to destabilising Egypt.”

The problem is that no one can be certain that Qatar is prepared to make the required changes in its foreign policy that Egypt takes to be a source of instability.

Touted as backing the Islamists, Qatar’s current strategy poses a serious threat to Al-Sisi’s drive to stifle the Muslim Brotherhood.

In broader terms, in its high-stakes regional game Qatar is challenging Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation and one of the region’s powerhouses.

There is an increasing understanding in Egypt that Qatar is trying to use its huge hydrocarbon-generated wealth and international connections to undermine Egypt’s efforts to restore its role as a major regional player, weakened by the turmoil after the 25 January Revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

But even if the mood in Cairo looks to be calm and diplomatic relations with Doha remain normal, Egypt seems to have options on the table.

Last month, Egypt returned a US$2 billion Qatari deposit to Doha after negotiations to convert the money into bonds failed. It plans to return a further $500 million, the rest of the billions extended to Egypt after Mubarak’s fall, as a sign of refusing to be intimidated by Qatari money.

Al-Sisi had refused to use his authority to pardon the Al-Jazeera journalists and gave the law due process to decide their fate, something which denied Qatar the opportunity to claim that it had exercised pressure on Egypt to secure their release.

An Egyptian court, meanwhile, is continuing the trial of the deposed former president and another 10 men on charges of espionage and leaking secret documents, including military and security files, to Qatar while in office.

Though no details about the documents have been made public by prosecutors, questions have been raised as to whether they included the recordings used by Al-Jazeera.

Ukraine President Drags Poland and Lithuania Into His Quagmire

[SEE:  Poland to move thousands of troops to border with Ukraine]

Ukrainian President ratifies joint 4,500-strong military unit with Poland and Lithuania

Russia-Today
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko.(Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.(Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has signed a law ratifying the creation of a joint military unit with Poland and Lithuania. The unit is set to carry out tasks which have been given a UN Security Council mandate.

“The Agreement provides for the establishment of joint Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian military unit and determines the general purpose, principles of activity, decision-making process, security guarantees and other organizational measures related to the activity of the brigade,” the Ukrainian president’s official website says.

The brigade is to become a UN and EU peacekeeping force. Other states can join it under joint invitation from the three states.

The Ukrainian commitment is planned at 545 soldiers, according to the country’s defense ministry. Poland and Lithuania were expected to contribute up to 3,800 and 350 servicemen respectively. The funding will be separate for each country’s contingent and it will be provided by the governments of the participants. The HQ is going to be situated in Lublin in Eastern Poland.

The defense ministers of the three countries agreed to form the unit last September in Warsaw, and plan to conduct the first joint military drill in 2015. Ukraine’s parliament ratified it on February 4.

The idea to create a joint Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian brigade was first put forward in 2007, when the three states decided to establish a joint battalion.

A year later, a more ambitious plan of assembling an entire brigade of Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Polish troops was put forward.

IMF Puts the Screws To Ukraine for Latest Bailout–280% Increase In Gas Prices Mandated

[Let the Food Riots in Ukraine Begin!  How will Obama and Bitch Nuland manage to blame Putin for the coming anti-austerity protests?]

IMF aid package pushes Ukraine gas prices up 280%

Russia-Today
Reuters / Regis Duvignau

Reuters / Regis Duvignau

Ukraine has agreed to increase the cost of gas to consumer by 280 percent, and 66 percent for heating, as part of the IMF terms for getting extra financial aid, says Valery Gontareva the head of the National Bank of Ukraine.

“From now on, in accordance with our joint program with the IMF, the tariffs will see rather a sharp increase of 280 percent for gas and about 66 percent for heat,” said Gontareva Wednesday during the 11th Dragon Capital investment conference in Kiev. She added that as a result inflation will be 25-26 percent by the end of 2015.

The tariff rises are part of the amendments to the 2015 budget the government has had to introduce in order to receive an $8.5 billion loan from the IMF by the end of the year.

The changes will also see Ukraine’s budget deficit growing to 4.1 percent of GDP and forecasts a 5.5 percent decline in the Ukrainian economy.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk had warned of future price rises for gas and heating, and stressed the IMF saved Ukraine from default, and now it’s time to make moves which should eventually result in Ukraine’s complete independence from Russian gas.

The tariff increase was among the subjects Ukraine and the IMF touched upon during negotiations in January. Deputy Chairman of the Ukraine parliament’s budget committee Viktor Krivenko said the IMF had requested a sevenfold increase in prices.

The head of IMF Christine Lagarde said on February 12 that the preliminary agreement reached between Kiev and Western creditors envisages increasing the aid package to $40 billion over the next four years.

The program will help Ukraine receive an additional $25 billion in financial aid, of which $17.5 billion will be provided to stabilize the financial situation in the country.

The latest IMF program will replace the $17 billion package agreed in April 2014. Ukraine has already received $4.5 billion under that agreement, thus the total IMF loans to Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis amount to $22 billion.

RAGE—because there is no rage

[The following was sent by a reader of the site.  I sympathize with Al, but, for a man with his varied political interests, one would think that his disillusionment with the left would have set in during Obama’s first term.  I have two suggestions–stop reading anyone related to the London School, and look for different sources (Chossudofsky banned me from Global Research years ago).  You have been officially marginalized.  You will have zero chance of being heard, unless you manage to arrange a very public heckling arrest.  If that happens, let me know and I will let others know.    Peter]

RAGE—because there is no rage

-al perry

NEWS FROM THE STREET #2
(february 16, 2015)
wow…what a night…i found out a few days ago that world-renowned leftist and co-editor of new left review (a publication i subscribed to for 10 years) tariq ali was to appear at a bookstore on the lower east side…i’m a long time fan but have never met him or heard him speak in public…ever since 2000 or 2001 i’ve occasionally provided links from my band’s website to his essays and articles…one particular article he wrote, a scathing critique of obama’s first term, i must have read over 10 times…so i was excited to hear he’d be in new york today….
i packed a bottle of water, a used marcuse book to read on the journey, and a whole bunch of cd’s of my, now defunct, folk rock band, “losing touch”…our cd was entitled”with time” and was released in 2002…i have quite a few left gathering dust and figured i can hand some out for free to friends i may make, including possibly tariq, along the way…my band and i performed a few gigs in manhattan and new jersey at the time but i hated performing (i’m the singer and acoustic guitarist) so we got nowhere…well, actually we were played several times on a commercial rock station in n.j., wdha…quite a feat for an unsigned band…we also received kudos from some big names like neal casal (of the chris robinson brotherhood), evan dando of the lemonheads, and even actress ally sheedy…i know this may seem like i’m trying to brag or something, but i’m not…i feel i have to get in a quick bio because many on the left, it seems, think i’m some kind of informant…or maybe agent provocateur…nothing could be further from the truth…true, i do not disguise my rage but a cold hard look at today’s political climate should have ANY sensitive individual GOING INSANE!…
 i’m a lifelong chronic depressive and anti-depressants, and even medical marijuana!, have unpleasant effects on me – they don’t work…in 2005 i moved to tucson, arizona and became more of a recluse…luckily my mother moved out there too so by the time i left and returned to the east coast my social circle was composed of 2 people…3 if you count me…i had to leave tucson – the police didn’t like my one man protesting with my guitar…they even locked me up a couple of times…i decided to protest in the rich part of town…one time they followed me with a crime chopper!…
well, i returned to the east coast, after some failed attempts at trying to feel better in n.j. and killorglin, ireland…the state i was raised in, n.j., was way too expensive for a guy like me to live in…i had to stop working in 2010…i couldn’t function even as a night security guard…food stamps and family charity – the feds won’t give me cash assistance and i’ve been waiting for years now for disability assistance but nada…i guess they don’t like radicals…having an outstanding warrant for my arrest in the state of arizona, i guess, doesn’t help…it’s only a misdemeanor so it’s not extradictable…i refused to leave the entrance of a church because they locked the door on me and wouldn’t tell me why they wouldn’t let me in…the police told me to move along but i refused until i received a proper reply…shockingly, it was not forthcoming!…the religious hypocrites would rather have me in jail than answer any questions!…i didn’t show up at the trial…the state already wanted me badly and i know when i’m being railroaded…this all involved my exposing of the pax americana…and 911…my one friend chuck aubrey, himself a rabble rouser, was often there for support…he’s got a clip on youtube where he’s interviewing richard gage of 911 truth…
my chronic depression and overwhelming desire for isolation has gotten progressively worse over the years…my sister helen took her own life on feb. 1, 2007…she was living in gouda, holland…tragedy hit again with superstorm sandy…i’ve been a life long collector of vinyl records and books…i lost over 1,000 books and 1,500 vinyl records…the passaic river in new jersey overflowed and most of what i owned in storage was underneath dirty river water for several days…i also lost all my recording equipment, my stereo system and musical instruments…most of my cd’s were salvageable…i’m 47 years old…that was a lifetime of collecting i lost…i’ll never be able to afford or find most of those records again…i don’t care about the recording equipment…
i’m living now in easton, pennsylvania…i’ve contacted my band members for a possible  reunion…but, unfortunately, they’re not quite interested…my new songs are incorrigibly very angry and they, having spouses, children, etc. don’t seem to want any trouble…they’re involved in other “safer” musical projects…

although a recluse, rage always seems to get me out of the house…rage at war…rage at imperialism…rage at innocents dying…rage at drone warfare…rage at lies…rage at compromise with the pax americana…etc….can rage be therapeutic?…i however have never hurt anyone physically whilst enraged…verbally, but not physically…i am confrontational, however, and am afraid of NO ONE…
well, today i had a 100 bucks to spend so i boarded a bus for 45 dollars at the easton station and arrived at the new york port authority bus terminal a couple hours later…i had some time to kill so i went to the “revolution” book store on west 26th street…i purchased two cheap used books by harry magdoff…(i used to subscribe to monthly review a few years ago – around the time harry passed away)…the elderly gentleman who was at the register, who’s name escapes me now, was extremely friendly…he too had lost a lot of books, records, photographs, etc. when his basement flooded years ago…i can’t believe i forgot to mention my music and i didn’t give him a free cd of mine…after all, i’m trying to get rid of them…next time…he did put me on the bookstore’s mailing list…here’s hoping the compromising, scared, disrespectful, machiavellian left doesn’t get to him…
i then walked a few blocks to the “democracy now” studio on west 25th…the security guard told me i needed an appointment to visit…”no problem”, i told him…i watch the program religiously and have emailed them quite often…sometimes to encourage them and sometimes to criticize them…i’ve never received a response but i’m sure they get tons of emails…i’ve been pretty persistent however when criticism is warranted but always in a spirit of respect…i thought i’d drop by today, introduce myself to whoever was there…(it was a little before 5p.m.)…and drop off some free cds…and tell them they could criticize me if they wanted…all in good fun…oh well, “next time”, i thought…
i then headed south through the streets of manhattan…surprised at all the changes…i used to work and commute into the city back in the nineties…and used to go to the shops until i moved to arizona…i performed with my band at a venue called “kenny’s castaways” on bleeker st. back in 2002…springsteen’s new york debut venue i was told at the time…sadly it’s no longer there…the “bottom line” tragically is also gone…it used to be on e. 4th…i saw and met john martyn there a few times!…tom rush…jorma kaukonen…dino valenti…etc….legends!…it’s nice to know “other music” is still there…i had some pizza on 2nd ave…and a pint of guinness on houston…
i arrived at the bookstore a couple minutes early…the place was packed…standing room only…all the chairs were taken…i stood near the entrance…i didn’t have much choice…it was basically an interview with tariq conducted by someone from “jacobin” magazine…tariq first spoke about the greek syriza party and then discussed the events in spain dealing with the “podemos” party…i have an estranged father who is living in portugal near the spanish border so lately i’ve been a bit curious about what’s been going on over there…when tariq seemed to conclude the spanish topic, i innocently raised my hand…i was going to ask him if the catalan and basque independence movements in spain are complicating the “podemos” situation…are these break away movements merely populist capitalist or do they have their own political factions?…i was ignored and rightly so because the question session was reserved for the end of the interview…however, i realized i was getting some ugly looks from some people…including what seemed like to me from the jacobin interviewer….i quickly shrugged it off thinking i’m paranoid and, of course, i should get out more…
tariq then discussed the topic of his recent book, the “extreme center”…a clipboard was passed around and i entered my name and email address…a money jar was also passed around (though they did make it clear that a contribution was not necessary)…i threw a 20 dollar bill in the jar…(once again, not bragging – just trying to make clear my pure intentions)…
when the audience question session started, i didn’t raise my hand right away (feeling a bit embarrased about raising it prematurely earlier)…i did, however, raise my hand after the first question was asked and answered…and i raised it again…and i raised it again…and i raised it again…and i raised it again…and i raised it again…the jacobin interviewer looked straight at me every time…i soon realized that my initial discomfort was actually well founded…people who had only raised their hand ONCE were getting chosen!…even one girl standing right next to me!…i persisted and while LOOKING RIGHT AT ME, the interviewer stated there would be no more questions taken…i came a long way to get a chance to ask tariq a question…i intended to purchase his book and if possible say hi, give him a free cd, and maybe get an autographed copy…i also wanted to MEET other leftists and sort of network…remember, this is not exactly easy for me…my only visitor in easton is my mother! who lives nearby in bethlehem…i’m coming off a decade of a 2 person social circle!…while raising my hand six or seven times, i was debating whether to address the spanish issue or the extreme center issue…
after raising my hand one last time, and being told again “no more questions”, i immediately realized that i was singled out right from the beginning!…some of them knew who i was…particularly the interviewer…they couldn’t have made it any clearer…i have been sending constructive criticism to many “left” outlets for a couple of years now…WELL WARRANTED CRITICISM…AND THEY KNOW THAT!…yes, i’m al perry…the guy who knows fires cannot pulverize concrete and steel and bring down steel high rises into their own footprint at freefall speed…yeah, al, the guy who feels the rage of the 911 victim’s family members, and thousands of demolition experts, pilots, firefighters, construction engineers, etc. who want answers…yeah, al perry, the guy who doesn’t believe the bullshit “beheading” videos presented by the zionist s.i.t.e. intelligence group to justify war where thousands are killed by satanic drone warfare which violates international law…yes, the al perry that’s completely flabberghasted as to why there are no major war protests!…why so called leaders of the left ignore these issues without TELLING US WHY and INSULT those who RIGHTFULLY are ENRAGED!!!
they think they know who i am and are afraid i might bring up a topic they didn’t want to discuss…maybe if they had showed some respect and spoken to me respectfully beforehand OR ANSWERED the myriad amounts of emails i’ve sent throughout the years, they would have known who i really am…
i have gotten NO RESPONSE throughout the years from “democracy now”, monthly review, new left review, the intercept, greenwald, scahill, klein, the nation…the list goes on and on…literally hundreds of emails asking perfectly valid questions and many times i offered words of ENCOURAGEMENT…NO REPLY AT ALL…
who have responded to my emails?…short list…tom hayden! (i was shocked…the godfather of protest!)…he understood my rage!…russell brand who tolerates my angry posts on his site…mike davis, who i emailed directly and although extremely busy, answered a few of my questions in detail…i’ll never bother him again out of respect and appreciation…
after realizing that i’ve been set up to look like public enemy number one, i became very angry and did something COMPLETELY UNPLANNED…COMPLETELY IMPROMPTU…ON THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT…AND I FELT EXHILIRATED!…
as half the audience was getting ready to leave, i suddenly shouted “SO I GUESS WE’RE NOT GONNA HEAR ABOUT 911 TONIGHT!…I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU TRAVEL TO NEW YORK CITY AND DON’T BRING UP 911!…AND WHAT ABOUT THE FAKE BEHEADINGS PROVIDED BY THE S.I.T.E. INTELLIGENCE GROUP?!……AND WHERE ARE THE PROTESTS?!!!…THERE’S A WAR GOING ON, YOU FUCKS!!!..THERE’S A WAR TO PROTEST!!!…HIT THE STREETS!!!…WHERE ARE THE PROTESTS…PEOPLE ARE DYING!!!…” and other words to that effect…i was then asked by an employee of the bookstore to leave…i was already on my way out…i hadn’t intended the night to end this way so i left…when outside, still enraged, i slammed my backpack on the storefront window…
I FELT GREAT!…TARIQ, YOU HAD IT COMING…PERHAPS I’VE EVEN STATED..YELLED…THINGS YOU’D LIKE TO SAY BUT FIND YOURSELF FOR SOME REASON UNABLE TO UTTER…
IT’S OBVIOUS THAT MANY ON THE LEFT ARE ENGAGED IN A CONCERTED EFFORT NOT TO MENTION CERTAIN TOPICS…THEY’VE AVAILED THEMSELVES OF MACHIAVELLIAN STRATEGIES WHICH THEY OBVIOUSLY THINK THE RABBLE WOULD NOT UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!…….BUT WHEN THEY DESIST FROM PROTESTING  WAR…THE DEATHS OF THOUSANDS…DRONE WARFARE…THEY’VE GONE TOO FAR!!!…OFTEN, THESE LEFT OUTLETS SHAMEFULLY ECHO NEWS I HEAR ON THE MAINSTREAM WITHOUT QUESTIONING IT!!!…MAKING THEMSELVES BLOODGUILTY!!!!!…AND AREN’T THEY SUPPOSED TO BE ORGANIZING PROTESTS?!…SHOULDN’T THEY TELL US WHERE THE FUCK TO MEET?!…
AND I’M SICK AND TIRED OF FUCKING WORDS!!!…HIT THE STREETS!!!!…SCARE THE STATUS QUO!!!!…..I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW EASY IT HAS BEEN FOR THE PAX AMERICANA TO RAMPAGE THROUGHOUT THIS EARTH THESE LAST FEW YEARS!!!…MOST OF THE LEFT IS EITHER SCARED OR COMPROMISING AND LYING!!!!……THAT’S RIGHT, LYING!!!…BEING DISINGENUOUS IS LYING!!!!!!!!…..AND THOUSANDS ARE DYING BECAUSE OF THIS BULLSHIT!!!!!….YOU’RE GONNA REGRET IT!…MARK MY WORDS!!!….
IF ANYONE OUT THERE WANTS FEARLESS, UNCOMPROMISING REPORTING GO TO THE GLOBAL RESEARCH WEBSITE RUN BY MICHEL CHOSSUDEVSKY AND BARRY ZWICKER IN CANADA…THEY ARE TRULY NOT BLOODGUILTY…and i’m sure would let me ask any question i like…
i now realize there’s a david and goliath situation in this country…if any of you authentic leftists want to protest war and drones this year, you’ll probably be alone…don’t worry…THINK OF BRIAN HAW!!!…that always gets me going…print some leaflets and signs…even if you’re alone, you can be very effective…there are courageous leftists out there organizing…for example, i was involved recently with the lepoco group of pennsylvania…a month ago 53 of us showed up at a drone command center in horsham, pa. to protest…it will soon be a monthly event…most cars driving by that reacted to the protest honked their approval…you can even go door to door in your neighborhood alerting people about what’s really going on in their world and what the scared left is afraid to mention…
i do not regret what i did tonight…it should’ve been done a long time ago…and i’m just getting started…
- al perry

Obama Boasts of “Twisting Arms” To Force His Will Upon Others

Obama: ‘We have to twist arms when countries don’t do what we need them to’

Russia-Today
U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Larry Downing)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Larry Downing)

President Barack Obama has said the reality of “American leadership” at times entails “twisting the arms” of states which “don’t do what we need them to do,” and that the US relied on its military strength and other leverage to achieve its goals.

READ MORE: ‘US unilateral actions to protect its interests let other govts use same excuse’

In a broad-ranging interview with Vox, which Obama himself described as a venue “for the brainiac-nerd types,” the US president both denied the efficacy of a purely “realist” foreign policy but also arguing that at times the US, which has a defense budget that exceeds the next 10 countries combined, needed to rely on its military muscle and other levers of power.

Lauding the rule-based system to emerge in the post-World War II era, Obama admitted it wasn’t perfect, but argued “the UN, the IMF, and a whole host of treaties and rules and norms that were established really helped to stabilize the world in ways that it wouldn’t otherwise be.”

He argued, however, that the efficacy of this idealistic, Wilsonian, rule-based system was severely tested by the fact that “there are bad people out there who are trying to do us harm.”

READ MORE: ‘Unexceptional’ US, Russia scrap over Putin’s NY Times Op-Ed

In the president’s view, the reality of those threats has compelled the US to have “the strongest military in the world.” Obama further says that “we occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do if it weren’t for the various economic or diplomatic or, in some cases, military leverage that we had — if we didn’t have that dose of realism, we wouldn’t get anything done, either.”

‘We occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do’

Obama argues that the US doesn’t have “military solutions” to all the challenges in the modern world, though he goes on to add that “we don’t have a peer” in terms of states that could attack or provoke the United States.

“The closest we have, obviously, is Russia, with its nuclear arsenal, but generally speaking they can’t project the way we can around the world. China can’t, either. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined,” he said.

Within this context, Obama said that “disorder” stemming from “failed states” and “asymmetric threats from terrorist organizations” were the biggest challenges facing the international community today.

Obama also argued that tackling these and other problems entailed “leveraging other countries” and “other resources” whenever possible, while also recognizing that Washington is “the lead partner because we have capabilities that other folks don’t have.”

‘We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined’

This approach, he said, also led to “some burden-sharing and there’s some ownership for outcomes.”

When asked about the limits of American power, Obama conceded that there were things that his administration simply cannot do in terms of power projection, but remained upbeat.

“Well, American leadership, in part, comes out of our can-do spirit. We’re the largest, most powerful country on Earth. As I said previously in speeches: when problems happen, they don’t call Beijing. They don’t call Moscow. They call us. And we embrace that responsibility. The question, I think, is how that leadership is exercised. My administration is very aggressive and internationalist in wading in and taking on and trying to solve problems.”

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations meeting in New York September 25, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations meeting in New York September 25, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

This appeal to US leadership, which has often been couched within the notion of American exceptionalism, has regularly been questioned by Moscow.

‘American leadership, in part, comes out of our can-do spirit’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took issue with the notion past September, following Obama’s speech before the UN in which the US president named “Russian aggression in Europe” along with the Ebola epidemic and ISIS as threats to international peace and security.

Lavrov said that Obama’s address to the UN was the “speech of a peacemaker – the way it was conceived,” but added that he had “failed to deliver, if one compares it to real facts.”

READ MORE: Russia tops ISIS threat, Ebola worst of all? Lavrov puzzled by Obama’s UN speech

The Russian foreign minister added that Obama had presented a worldview based on the exceptionality of the United States.

“That’s the worldview of a country that has spelt out its right to use force arbitrarily regardless of the UN Security Council’s resolutions or other international legal acts in its national defense doctrine,” Lavrov said.

In a September 2013 Op-Ed article in the New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the concept of American exceptionalism was a precarious one in the global arena.

“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” Putin wrote. “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

Cyprus Questions Integrity of Turkish Claims To Opposing ISIS

Cyprus questions Turkey’s determination to fight ISIS

Euractiv

Ioannis Kasoulides [Georgi Gotev]

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides asked on Wednesday (10 February) whether the fight against Islamic State (or Daesh, as it is called in Arabic) was a priority for Turkey.

Speaking at a conference organised by the European Policy Centre (EPC), Kasoulides spoke of “certain question marks around Turkey”.

“It’s up to Turkey to decide what its relations will be vis-à-vis the countries in the region. What are Turkey’s relations with Israel, with Egypt?”, Kasoulides asked, referring to the worsening relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv, as well as with Cairo.

Kasoulides said that Turkey’s top priority was the PKK, the Kurdish rebel organisation which, between 1984 to 2013, fought an armed struggle for Kurdish self-determination, and a security zone inside Syria, which the he said was intended to occupy an area inhabited by Kurds.

The second Turkish priority is the fight against the Assad regime in Syria, the Cypriot minister said, adding “and I don’t know whether the third, or forth, or fifth priority is the fight against Daesh”.

Kasoulides also pointed out “how porous the Turkish border is”, both as an entry point for foreign fighters coming from other countries, including Europe, and also for them entering Syria.

In contrast, Kasoulides highlighted the role of Cyprus in combating international terrorism, the issue being at the centre of the EU summit tomorrow (12 February).

Kasoulides drew attention to the situation of Lebanon, a country which, he stated, had assumed a huge burden over the Syria crisis. The minister noted that Cyprus provided assistance to Lebanon and called on the international community to support this country in effectively coping with the threat of terrorism spreading there as well.

“There is a legitimate fear that if terrorists advance to the shores of the Mediterranean, this would create an immediate threat for the security of Cyprus,” Kasoulides said.

In his analysis, ISIS was created by the Syrian civil war, the international community having “largely miscalculated the Syrian crisis”.

The minister said that his country’s view on resolving the Syrian conflict was to create an Iraq-type solution, through the formation of a unity government composed mainly by the Ba’ath Party and the Assad regime, without Assad on the one hand, and elements of the moderate opposition, specifically moderate Sunnis, Alawites, Christians and Kurds on the other.

“It should be remembered that the role of Russia and Iran are crucial in any such solution”, Kasoulides said.

The minister also said that regarding Turkish-Cyprus relations, Turkey had decided for the first time to use force, sending naval vessels specialising in seismic exploration, into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, without permission.

>> Read: Cyprus Ambassador: The EU should tell Turkey that gunboat diplomacy is over

Kasoulides added that President Nicos Anastasiades had decided that this gunboat diplomacy is not compatible with holding reunification talks.

Answering a question, Kasoulides expressed his doubt that Turkey “could make it” to become member of the EU.

Guantánamo Hearing Halted When Ramzi bin al Shibh Recognized CIA ‘Black Site’ Translator Serving As Court Linguist

[SEE:  What is ‘rectal rehydration?’]

Guantánamo hearing halted by supposed CIA ‘black site’ worker serving as war court linguist

miami herald

By Carol Rosenberg

crosenberg@MiamiHerald.com

Ramzi bin al ShibhRamzi bin al Shibh posing for the International Red Cross.

 

The 9/11 trial judge abruptly recessed the first hearing in the case since August on Monday after some of the alleged Sept. 11 plotters said they recognized a war court linguist as a former secret CIA prison worker.

Alleged plot deputy Ramzi bin al Shibh, 42, made the revelation just moments into the hearing by informing the judge he had a problem with his courtroom translator. The interpreter, Bin al Shibh claimed, worked for the CIA during his 2002 through 2006 detention at a so-called “Black Site.”

“The problem is I cannot trust him because he was working at the black site with the CIA, and we know him from there,” he said.

This week’s is the first hearing for the five men accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania — since the public release of portions of a sweeping Senate Intelligence Committee study of the agency’s secret prisons known as “The Torture Report.”

The report gives graphic details that the U.S. government had hidden in these pretrial hearings — sexual humiliation, waterboarding and rectal rehydration. The sickliest looking of the accused conspirators, Mustafa al Hawsawi, 46, once again sat on a pillow at court.

It also says that the spy agency maintained two secret prisons at Guantánamo in 2003 and 2004 and that Bin al Shibh was held in one.

Cheryl Bormann, attorney for another alleged plotter, Walid bin Attash, 36, told the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, that her client “was visibly shaken” at recognizing a man in the maximum-security war court.

“My client relayed to me this morning that there is somebody in this courtroom who was participating in his illegal torture,” she said.

Bormann said it was either “the biggest coincidence ever” or “part of the pattern of the infiltration of defense teams.” Monday’s hearing was supposed to start with a presentation by a Justice Department lawyer, Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez, on FBI agents secretly questioning members of the Bin al Shibh defense team. The Sept. 11 legal defense teams have called the FBI’s action spying on privileged attorney-client conversations.

Instead the issue became, apparently, a stony-faced translator who was sitting alongside Bin al Shibh in court when the hearing started. Lawyers for the alleged mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 49, and his nephew, Ammar al Baluchi, 37, said they learned about the recognition just as court began.

The judge ordered a quick recess, excused Campoamor-Sanchez and summoned the chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, for questioning.

Court resumed briefly with the linguist missing. Martins sought, and got, a continuing recess until 9 a.m. Wednesday, to look into the issue and file a written pleading with the court. Pleadings are sealed for at least 15 days for intelligence agencies’ scrub of secret information.

Mohammed’s attorney, David Nevin, asked Pohl to order the suspected CIA worker to not leave this remote base in southeast Cuba and to submit to defense questioning.

Pohl said the man could decide whether or not to talk to the defense teams.

War court translators are provided by one of two Defense Department contractors paid by the Pentagon unit that runs the war court, called the Office of the Convening Authority for Military Commissions. It’s run by retired Marine Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary, a former military lawyer. The contractors are Leidos and All World.

Ary’s office provides a list of qualified translators to the Office of Military Commissions Defense unit, and, in the capital cases, each one gets a dedicated translator assigned to the team. Teams can object to the choice, and have done so in the past, as unsuitable, according to earlier war court sessions.

The war court’s Chief Defense Counsel, Air Force Col. Karen Mayberry, said after the court session Monday that the translator sitting with Bin al Shibh in court was not permanently assigned to his team, or the 9/11 case.

The Bin al Shibh team had lost its translator after an FBI investigation secretly questioned Sept. 11 defense team members. Monday’s translator, the one that Bin al Shibh said he recognized from a CIA prison, had worked for years on war court defense teams, but none with the Sept. 11 death-penalty case, according to Mayberry.

Monday’s translator was filling in for this session because, although the Bin al Shibh team had chosen a new team translator, the new permanent translator had not yet gotten a security clearance, which can be a lengthy process.

“We don’t have anything to do with hiring,” Mayberry said.

Bin al Shibh and the other four men are accused of helping to orchestrate, train, and arrange travel for the 19 men who hijacked four U.S. passenger aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The prosecutor is seeking their execution, if they are convicted. The CIA held and interrogated them for three to four years in secret overseas prisons before they were brought to Guantánamo in September 2006.

But even once they got here, they continued to be in CIA custody, according to the Senate report. Jay Connell, attorney for Baluchi, 37, said Sunday it is still not known when the agency relinquished control of the men, who are held in a secret prison called Camp 7.

The Sept. 11 prosecution has not yet completed a review of the intelligence agencies’ classification guide to update the record with the Senate report’s revelations, meaning some aspects of it may still be censored at the war court.

A court security officer, who sits to the right of the judge, has a button that mutes sound from the courtroom to the public. He did not, however, hit it once during Monday morning’s brief session that mentioned the CIA and torture.

Monday’s hearing was supposed to be the start of up to 12 consecutive days of court sessions in the case. It was the first hearing that brought the accused terrorists to court, and family members of Sept. 11 victims to the base, since August.

Victim family members who arrived Saturday to watch the proceedings reacted with a range of shock, frustration and disappointment.

“I pray that there’ll be an end in sight,” said Julie Boryczewski, whose brother Martin, 29, a Cantor Fitzgerald trader, was killed at the World Trade Center. The trial, she said, would set “a precedent for the rest of the world and this really strange, evil population,” an apparent reference to al-Qaida. “We know they’re watching.”

She expressed surprise at seeing the alleged plotters in court, if briefly, during the 26-minute session. She had imagined they’d look like “big monsters,” she said. “But there’s nothing to them. My 96-year-old Polish grandmother could kick their ass, could run circles around them.” She survived the Dachau concentration camp in World War II, Boryczewski said.

Follow @CarolRosenberg on Twitter

The Miami Herald guide to the Sept. 11 war crimes trial here.

Partial transcript of Monday’s hearing here.