Permalink The pretext for NATO occupation of northern Syria now exists

Syrian Troops Fire Across Turkish Border in Clash Near Refugee Camp. - The deadly confrontation between Syria and opposition groups spilled into Turkey for the first time on Monday as Syrian forces fired across the border near a refugee camp, casting a further pall over prospects for a United Nations peace plan due to be put into effect this week. The shooting killed two Syrian refugees and wounded at least 23 people, including a Turkish police officer, near the southern Turkish town of Kilis. Residents of the camp reached by telephone said bullets had ripped through their prefabricated shelters, shattering windows and spreading panic. “Even the camp isn’t safe anymore,” said Ahmad, a refugee who used only one name out of concern for repercussions in Syria. A senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official said Syria’s ranking diplomat had been summoned and given a harsh message about Turkey’s “irritation” with the episode. There was no immediate comment from Syria.

Wayne Madsen: The Coming U.S. and NATO Occupation of Northern Syria: Iraq Redux

Permalink Iran drones capture images of US aircraft carriers

A senior Iranian military commander says Iran’s stealth surveillance aircraft photograph US aircraft carriers and other warships cruising the waters off Iran.

Commander of Iran’s Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili said on Tuesday that the remotely-controlled aerial vehicles operated by the Iranian Army as well as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) fly over US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and capture images of them.

The Iranian commander dismissed a recent report by the Washington Post which claimed that the CIA had dispatched drones into the skies over Iran and taken photos of Iran’s nuclear sites, saying that such images have indeed been captured by US reconnaissance satellites and not CIA stealth drones.

Brigadier General Esmaili stressed that no unmanned or piloted aircraft has ever been able to violate Iran's airspace, adding that if any aerial vehicle seeks such an end, its wreckage will be put on public display. “One such drone sought to infiltrate into Iran, and you witnessed what befell it,” the senior Iranian commander said, in reference to the US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft downed with minimum damage by the Iranian Army's electronic warfare unit on December 4, 2011.

Permalink IDF soldiers stole Palestinian's gold in West Bank raid

The Military Police is investigating allegations that soldiers stole pieces of gold worth tens of thousands of shekels from the home of a Palestinian man during a late-night raid in a West Bank village last week. The investigation began after the head of the household, Ata Shatwi, submitted a complaint to the Civil Administration.

"They explained that they wanted to search the house," Shatwi said. "They had a dog with them. I told the officer there was a large sum of cash and also gold in the house and that I wanted to remove it. I'm talking about 30 pieces of gold, worth NIS 1,500 each - in other words NIS 45,000 in all - plus NIS 10,000 in cash. He refused.

"Around two hours later I went in and was shocked by the mess," Shatwi continued. "They smashed the walls, emptied the wardrobes, smashed the television set, the furniture. I hurried to the bedroom wardrobe, where the money and gold should have been, and discovered the gold had disappeared. The money was still there.

"I asked the officer, 'Where's the gold?' He didn't answer me," Shatwi said. "He left and came back 15 minutes later with another dog and kept searching. I told him, 'Let me speak with the commander,' but he continued to ignore me. They left at around 4:30.

Permalink Britain: CIA wins fight to keep MPs in dark on rendition

American intelligence agencies including the CIA and the FBI have won a court ruling allowing them to withhold evidence from British MPs about suspected UK involvement in "extraordinary rendition" – the secret arrests and alleged torture of terror suspects. - A judge in Washington DC granted permission for key US intelligence bodies, including the highly sensitive National Security Agency, to exploit a loophole in US freedom of information legislation which bars the release of documentation to any body representing a foreign government. Downing Street underlined the gravity of the torture claims yesterday when it urged police to interview former Labour ministers as part of an investigation into the alleged rendition and torture of a Libyan critic of Muammar Gaddafi. Jack Straw, who was Foreign Secretary at the time and is expected to be interviewed by detectives, denies any complicity in rendition – as have his successors at the Foreign Office. Whitehall officials have made clear that the intelligence services believe their operations "were in line with ministerially authorised government policy".

CNN: Court: 5 terror suspects can be sent to the U.S.

Permalink Iran halts oil flow to Germany one day after Spain

Iran has cut oil exports to Germany one day after halting crude sales to Spain as part of its countersanctions against the European Union (EU). - Tehran has already stopped oil exports to France, Britain, and Greece and is now considering halting crude sales to Italy. Iran’s decision to cut crude exports to six European countries -- including the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal -- was made after the EU foreign ministers agreed on January 23 to ban oil imports from Iran and freeze the assets of the country’s Central Bank across the EU. On February 19, Iran’s Oil Ministry cut oil exports to British and French firms.

BusinessWeek: Spain Is on the Bleeding Edge of a New European Crisis

Permalink PCHR Condemns Execution of 3 Palestinians in Gaza

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the implementation of death sentences against 3 Palestinians by the Ministry of Interior in Gaza this morning. These death sentences were implemented without the ratification of the Palestinian President. PCHR reiterates that the ratification of death sentences is an exclusive power of the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) under the Code of Criminal Procedures (3) of 2001; the implementation of any death sentences without the President's ratification constitutes a violation of the law and constitution. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior in Gaza, on Saturday morning, 07 April 2012, three men were executed by hanging:

1. W. J., who was sentenced to by the Permanent Military Court to death by hanging after convicting him of treason and involvement in murder in accordance with the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979;
2. M. B., who was sentenced by the Deir al-Balah Court of First Instance to death by hanging after convicting him of premeditated killing in accordance with the Palestinian Penal Code of 1936; and
3. M. A., who was sentenced by the Khan Yunis Court of First Instance to death by hanging after convicting him of premeditated killing, abducting and raping a boy in accordance with the Palestinian Penal Code of 1936.

The Ministry stressed that the three men were executed after all available appeal mechanisms had been exhausted.

Permalink Norway's mass killer Breivik declared sane - Video

A second psychiatric evaluation of Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has found him sane enough to face trial and a jail term.

The findings contradict a previous evaluation, published in November, that found him legally insane. Breivik is due to stand trial on Monday over a bomb attack and shooting spree last July that killed 77 people. The 33-year-old, who insists he is mentally stable, was "pleased" with the new assessment, his lawyer said. Geir Lippestad told reporters his client would defend his actions during his 10-week trial, adding, "he will also regret that he didn't go further". Both reports will be considered by the court when it decides, at the end of the trial, whether he should be sent to a psychiatric ward or jail. If Breivik is deemed to have been sane at the time of the killings then he could face 21 years in prison with the potential for indefinite extensions to his term as long as he is considered a danger to the public.

Permalink Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says NATO shirks responsibility for the mess it left in Libya

NATO has not yet provided a full account of the effects of its intervention in Libya last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. - The international NATO-led military operation in Libya began on March 19, 2011, two days after the approval of a UN resolution on "targeted measures" to protect civilians from ongoing clashes between forces loyal to former leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels seeking his overthrow. Russia has repeatedly criticized the NATO-led operation in Libya for exceeding the UN mandate by supporting rebel forces in their fight against troops loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for more than 40 years before he was deposed by rebel forces in August.

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