* IN LIBYA NOW THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT
By Lizzie Phelan, VoltaireNet.org
Irish free-lance journalist Lizzie Phelan reverts to her recent interview by New York Times reporter Robert Mackey. In this article, she elaborates in greater detail on the three themes discussed in the interview. She argues that, though labeled as “activists” and “firebrands”, those journalists who express views going against the current when it comes to countries which are in NATO’s firing line are, objectively, in a better position to provide reliable information than their mainstream media counterparts. If today some Western journalists can afford to be more evenhanded about Libya, it is only because the military objectives have already been achieved. The grotesque coverage of the situation in Syria by the Western media is further confirmation of this. Grasping a complex reality does not depend on the amount of information accumulated in favor of any one side, but on the diversity of informed poins of view reflecting a given situation. As long as the political and economic conditions of such a multiplicity of views are not met, tomorrow, as yesterday, the first casualty of war will always be truth. […]
READ INTERVIEW @ http://www.voltairenet.org/In-Lybia-now-the-truth-is-coming
* WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN SYRIA: INSIDER UPDATE
By Boris Dolgov, VoltaireNet.org
[…] The current situation in Syria remains one of the most important components of the Middle Eastern and international policies. Using Syria’s domestic crisis and pursuing their own goals NATO, Israel, Turkey and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf are trying to undermine the Syrian regime.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria I have made two trips to that country as a member of international delegations in August 2011 and in January 2012. If we watch the dynamics of situation’s development over that period on the one hand we can state intensification of terrorist groups in Syria and on the other hand we see a broader people’s support of President Bashar Assad and a clear demarcation of political forces’ positions.
In the last two months Syria has seen a number of terrorist attacks. The terrorist attacked Syrian servicemen and military facilities, law enforcement agencies institutions, blasts on oil pipelines, railroads, murders and taking of hostage among peaceful citizens (In the city of Homs insurgents killed five well known scientists), arson of schools and killing of teachers (since March 2011, 900 schools have been set on fire and 30 teachers have been killed). […]
* BRITISH, QATARI TROOPS ALREADY WAGING SECRET WAR IN SYRIA?
British and Qatari troops are directing rebel ammunition deliveries and tactics in the bloody battle for Homs, according to an Israeli website known for links to intelligence sources.
Four centers of operation have been established in the city with the troops on the ground paving the way for an undercover Turkish military incursion into Syria.
The debkafile site said the presence of British and Qatari troops in Homs topped the agenda of Tuesday’s talks between Assad’s officials and head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov.
Qatar makes little secret of supporting the Syrian opposition with cash, arms and political support. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said in mid-January he is ready to send troops to Syria to stop the violence there. Britain insists it is not planning any military action against the Assad regime. […]
* US ADMITS ISRAEL IS ARMING AND TRAINING TERRORIST GROUPS IN IRAN – VIDEO
* ISRAEL VS. IRAN: THE TRUTH SLIPS OUT
By Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.com
Just days after the New York Times Magazine’s lurid cover story, “Israel Vs. Iran,” the Washington Post struck back with a two-fisted effort to win the “most dire prediction” contest. The Post’s foreign policy pundit David Ignatius wrote a widely-circulated column claiming inside information: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June.” The next day the Post’s front page headline warned ominously, “Israel: Iran Must Be Stopped Soon.”
Both stories reported that the Obama administration opposes any Israeli action, just like the Bush administration before it. The risks to U.S. interests are incalculable, as the Pentagon and State Department have been telling us for years.
Yet both stories added a new note: Israel might strike without U.S. support or permission. “The administration appears to favor staying out of the conflict unless Iran hits U.S. assets,” Ignatius wrote.
Of course the U.S. is already in the conflict, as the Iranians know perfectly well. Israel’s ability to strike depends largely on its high-tech weaponry, paid for by the $3 billion a year coming from Washington. […]
* U.S. OUTRAGE OVER SYRIA VETO AT UN RIFE WITH HYPOCRISY
By Stephen Zunes, Truthout
[…] A little perspective is required here: Since 1970, China has used its veto power eight times, and Russia (and the former Soviet Union) has used its veto power 13 times. However, the United States has used its veto power 83 times, primarily in defense of allies accused of violating international humanitarian law. Forty-two of these US vetoes were to protect Israel from criticism for illegal activities, including suspected war crimes. To this day, Israel occupies and colonizes a large swath of southwestern Syria in violation of a series of UN Security Council resolutions, which the United States has successfully blocked from enforcing. Yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists that it is the Russians and Chinese who have “neutered” the Security Council in its ability to defend basic human rights.
What draft resolutions by the United Nation Security Council did the United States find so terrible that both Democratic and Republican administrations felt compelled to veto? Just to give a few examples:
- Enforcement of sanctions against the brutal white minority regime in Rhodesia – 1970
- Opposition to South Africa’s occupation of Namibia – 1975
- The application of Vietnam to join the United Nations -1976
- A call for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with strict security guarantees for Israel – 1976
- Sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa – 1977
- Condemning the ongoing occupation of southern Angola by apartheid South Africa – 1981
- Opposition to Israel’s de facto annexation of Syrian territory invaded and occupied in the 1967 war – 1982
- Calls for a halt to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon – 1982
- Calls for cease-fire between Israeli occupation forces and joint Lebanese-Palestinian forces during the siege of Beirut – 1982
- Opposition to the US invasion of Grenada – 1983
- Calls for an end of US-sponsored attacks against Nicaragua – 1985
- A call to honor the ruling by the International Court of Justice calling for an end to US-sponsored contras against Nicaragua – 1986
- Criticism of Israeli attacks against civilians in Lebanon -1988
- Opposition to the US invasion of Panama – 1990
- Condemnation of Israeli violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied West Bank -1997
- Establishment of an unarmed human rights observer force in the occupied Palestinian territories – 2001
- Condemnation of the killing of UN employees and destruction of a World Food Program warehouse by Israeli occupation forces – 2002
- A call on Israel to cease construction of its separation wall deep inside the occupied West Bank – 2003
- Condemnation of Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders – 2004
- Reiteration of the illegality of Israeli colonization in the occupied West Bank and a freeze on additional construction of settlements – 2011
In virtually every one of these resolutions, the United States cast the sole negative vote in the otherwise-unanimous 15-member Security Council. […]
* THE RETURN OF THE KEYBOARD WARRIORS
By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times
|[…] Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Return of the Keyboard Warriors – a prized Return of the Living Dead spin-off – is at hand. From Republican chicken hawks to public intellectuals, right-wing America is erupting in renewed neo-conservative revolt. The year 2012 is the new 2002; Iran is the new Iraq. Whatever the highway – real men go to Tehran via Damascus, or real men go to Tehran non-stop – they want a war, and they want it now.
* GREECE AUSTERITY DEAL HITS PEOPLE HARD – VIDEO
* AGREED UPON GREEK BAILOUT “UNAGREED” 24 HOURS LATER AS LAOS LEADER CHANGES MIND, EURO TUMBLES
By Tyler Durden, zerohedge.com
Remember the pomp and circumstance with which Venizelos showed up in Brussels yesterday carrying a two paragraph statement from Lucas Papademos in hand, saying Greece promises it has agreed to agree to make idiotic “pledges”? Well, as was largely suspected by cynical old us, even that “deal” has lasted not even a whopping 24 hours.
- GREECE’S KARATZAFERIS SAYS CAN’T VOTE FOR TROIKA ACCORD AS IS – BBG
- GREEK FAR-RIGHT PARTY LEADER SAYS ELECTIONS WOULD NOT PROVIDE A SOLUTION NOW, WOULD NEED MORE TIME
This is coming from the LAOS coalition member whose support for the Troika accord was supposedly in place yesterday.Alas, without his endorsement, the whole thing is off. And just to complete the sheer chaos that is about to be unleashed in Greece:
- Greeek far right party leader says asks for reshuffle of Papademos technocrat gov
-> Kiss this whole thing goodbye. Just as Germany wanted all along. And the all-idiotic EURUSD, which had soared on what was glaringly idiotic hopes that this time, just this time, things in Greece would be different, tumbles.
* REBEL POLICE?
I just read this announcement by the National Union of Employees in the Police. It’s soooo strange to read something like this. I think the policemen have started to think of the “next day”. It seems that less and less people believe in the course Greece has taken and more and more people are trying to find a place for themselves in the next status quo. It remains to see this change of stance in tomorrow demonstration as well on Sunday’s evening gathering at Syntagma.
The letter is addressed to the representatives of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
The interests of creditors of usurious loans and capitalists who covet our national wealth, can not in any rule of law be put in priority over the basic needs of people. Moreover, the priority of survival of a nation’s citizens, has been legitimized as a priority not only in domestic policy but also in the international community. Moreover, we, nor the majority of the people, are not those who caused this crisis.Because, however, we find once again that you continue the same destructive policies for all of us, we would like to state categorically that under no circumstances we will accept being put to be killed with our brothers.
Be warned as legitimate representatives of the Greek police that we will require to be issued directly to statutory orders to arrest you for a host of violations of the legislation, the act of committing a hearing in accordance with specific provisions of the Greek penal law, such as extortion, the covert promoting elimination or reduction of our democratic polity and national sovereignty, the interference of other essential legal goods of the Greek people, etc.
The full letter (in Greek) can be found at the union’s website here.
* WHY THE FORECLOSURE DEAL MAY NOT BE SO HOT AFTER ALL
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
[…] It feels an awful lot like what happened here is the nation’s criminal justice honchos collectively realized that a thorough investigation of the problem would require resources they simply do not have, or are reluctant to deploy, and decided to accept a superficially face-saving peace offer rather than fight it out.
So they settled the case in a way that reads in headlines like it’s a bite out of the banks, but in fact is barely even that. There will be little in the way of real compensation for stuggling homeowners, and there are serious issues in the area of the deal’s enforceability. In fact, about the only part of the deal we can be absolutely sure will be honored in full is the liability waiver for the robosigning offenses.
With the rest of it — collecting on the settlement, enforcement of the decrees, all the stuff put in there to balance the deal in the consumer’s direction — there will be an uphill battle from this point forward to get the banks to comply. The banks meanwhile have no such uphill battle. They will get the full benefit of the deal (a release from costly litigation) from the moment the ink is dry.
Really this looks like America’s public prosecutors just wilted before the prospect of a long, drawn-out conflict with an army of highly-paid, determined white-shoe banker lawyers. The message this sends is that if you commit crimes on a large enough scale, and have enough high-priced legal talent sitting at the negotiating table after you get caught, the government will ultimately back down, conceding the inferiority of its resources. […]
* GOVERNMENTS ‘MAY SANCTION NERVE-AGENT USE ON RIOTERS’, SCIENTISTS FEAR
By Steve Connor, Independent UK
[…] But the Royal Society working group says the Government shifted its position to allow the development of more severe chemical agents, such as the type of potentially dangerous nerve gases used by Russian security forces to end hostage sieges. “The development of incapacitating chemical agents, ostensibly for law-enforcement purposes, raises a number of concerns in the context of humanitarian and human-rights law, as well as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC),” the report says.
“The UK Government should publish a statement on the reasons for its apparent recent shift in position on the interpretation of the CWC’s law enforcement position.” The Royal Society group points to a 1992 statement by Douglas Hogg, the then Foreign Office Minister, who indicated that riot-control agents were the only toxic chemicals that the UK considered to be permitted for law-enforcement purposes. But in 2009 ministers gave a less-restrictive definition suggesting the use of “incapacitating” chemical agents would be permitted for law-enforcement purposes as long as they were in the categories and quantities consistent with that permitted purpose.
* EX MONSANTO LAWYER CLARENCE THOMAS TO HEAR MAJOR MONSANTO CASE
In Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case which could have an enormous effect on the future of the American food industry. This is Monsanto’s third appeal of the case, and if they win a favorable ruling from the high court, a deregulated Monsanto may find itself in position to corner the markets of numerous U.S. crops, and to litigate conventional farmers into oblivion.
Here’s where it gets a bit dicier. Two Supreme Court justices have what appear to be direct conflicts of interest.
Charles Breyer, the judge who ruled in the original decision of 2007 which is being appealed, is Stephen Breyer’s brother, who apparently views this as a conflict of interest and has recused himself.
From the years 1976 – 1979, Thomas worked as an attorney for Monsanto. Thomas apparently does not see this as a conflict of interest and has not recused himself.
Fox, meet henhouse. […]
* ROBO-SIGNING BANK SETTLEMENT IS A CRIMINAL SELL OUT
“Let me help a few victims I created by ripping them off and illegally throwing them out of their homes by false court filings that I swore were true.” That’s what the so-called mortgage settlement talks are really all about: fraud, perjury and crimes. That’s what these banks did and that’s what they are trying to buy their way out of.
The settlement discussions are the same: eliminate all or almost all liability for the bank and, most importantly, all bank officers and employees in exchange for a loan forgiveness or modification program. Think about this: the banks engaged in a years-long pattern and practice of what can only be described as fraudulent if not criminal conduct that would put anyone else in prison for years if not decades, yet banks get to buy off the cops with some money to help the victims they created.
Worst of all, there is no requirement in any of these talks that I’m aware of that require the banks to come clean, publicly release all the relevant documents and provide sufficient information on their conduct so that anyone can evaluate whether the sell-out, I mean, pay-off, oops, I mean, “settlement” is anywhere near adequate.
And they get to buy their way out of prosecution for chump-change. It’s reported that the settlement is going be $25 billion, with only $5 billion in cash and $20 billion in “loan forgiveness.” That’s nothing. There are more than 10 million homes under water where the amount they owe on their mortgages is more than the house is valued, i.e., could be sold for. $20 billion doesn’t make a dent in that: 1 million homes at $20,000 loan forgiveness is it. And, remember, $20 billion in “loan forgiveness” to the banks is not equal to $20 billion in cash. It is more like $10 billion, if that, due to accounting, prior write-downs and other shenagigans. […]
* BP WINS EXCLUSION OF EMAILS FROM OIL SPILL TRIAL
By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
BP Plc won a court order keeping several potentially damaging emails out of a scheduled trial to determine responsibility for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Wednesday’s ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan in New Orleans came a day after U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier rejected the oil company’s effort to keep evidence about settlements it had already reached out of the trial.
The rulings came as Barbier prepares to preside on February 27 over a non-jury trial to assign blame for the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people and caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. […]
* MONTHS OF NDAA DEBATE, ZERO PRIME TIME COVERAGE- VIDEO