Turkey vs. Syria
By Gul Tuysuz
Turkey has been one of the most vocal critics of a violent crackdown against protesters by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces. The Turkish government has been diplomatically hammering the Assad government since the uprising began in earnest earlier this year, warning Assad to find a peaceful solution as early as August.
The economic sanctions, however, were the first concrete step Ankara has taken against Syrian, and now Damascus is firing back. The Syrian government, in retaliation, suspended a free trade agreement that had existed between the two countries since 2007.
The nine point list of sanctions aims to force the Assad regime’s hand financially. The sanctions include a a travel ban and the freezing of financial assets belonging to ket members of the Syrian government. Turkey also halted all transactions it conducts with the Syrian Central Bank and the Commercial Bank of Syria.
Under the sanctions, Turkish authorities said the country would prohibit the transport of all military equipment and weapons into Syria via Turkish territories. Turkey will also stop credit payments to Syria and will suspend a large loan that had been intended for infrastructure projects inside.
Panetta’s antagonistic speech on Israel
But then it was time to deliver a to-do list to Israel:
For example, Israel can reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability — countries like Turkey and Egypt, as well as Jordan. This is an important time to be able to develop and restore those key relationships in this crucial area. This is not impossible. If gestures are rebuked, the world will see those rebukes for what they are. That is exactly why Israel should pursue them.
Like all of you, I’ve been deeply troubled by the direction of the Turkish-Israeli relationship. Turkey is a key NATO ally and has proven to be a real partner in our effort to support democratic change and stand against authoritarian regimes that use violence against their own people. It is in Israel’s interest, Turkey’s interest and U.S. interest for Israel to reconcile with Turkey. And both Turkey and Israel need to do more to put their relationship back on the right track. That’s a message I’ve taken to Jerusalem, and it’s a message I’ll be taking to Ankara later this month.
Meanwhile, even as turmoil continues to rock the region, Egypt’s current leaders, along with Jordan, have made very clear to me privately and publicly that they are committed to their peace treaties with Israel. We have been clear to all parties in Egypt that sustaining a peace treaty with Israel is in the critical interests of the United States. While we share Israel’s legitimate concerns about instability in the Sinai Peninsula and the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, the best way to address these concerns is through increasing communication and cooperation — increasing communication and cooperation with Egyptian authorities, not by stepping away from it.
Panetta’s Dangerous Mistake
· Secretary of Defense Panetta addressed the Saban Forum, the annual meeting of Israeli and American journalists, officials, and former officials, on Friday evening. What he said is no mystery; why he said it is a considerable one. The transcript is here.
What he said was that Israel is largely to blame for its troubles. No doubt he and other Obama administration officials and spokesmen would deny that, but the journalists present had it right. The Washington Post headline was “Panetta Chides Israel Over Stalled Peace Process.”
The New York Times reported that “Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta spoke sternly on Friday to America’s closest ally in the Middle East, telling Israel that it is partly responsible for its increasing isolation and that it now must take “bold action” — diplomatic, not military — to mend ties with its Arab neighbors and settle previously intractable territorial disputes with the Palestinians.”
“Get to the damn table,” Mr. Panetta shouted, as if it were Israel rather than the PLO that has been refusing to come to the table.
But there was worse.
Combating Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region: Taking Stock of the Situation Today
Chairman Smith, Co-chairman Cardin, Members of the Commission—thank you for the invitation to testify before you today. As the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism, I am honored to present my findings on anti-Semitism in Europe. And I would kindly ask that my full written statement be submitted for the record.
More than six decades after the murder of six million Jews in Europe, the countries of that region have made important strides. Their leaders have denounced new and old forms of anti-Semitism, and they have forcefully stated in unison, “Never Again.” Sadly, though, we have also seen many setbacks within these very same countries.
Over the past two years, my staff and I have diligently reported on anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe, following and tracking developments in new and old cases. We have observed six distinct trends. Though all appear in the written testimony, today, I want to draw your attention to three trends in particular.
The first is the persistence of traditional forms of anti-Semitism.
Throughout my travels, I run into people who think anti-Semitism ended when Hitler killed himself. Regrettably, it didn’t. Anti-Semitism is not History, its News. And it is alive and well.
According to reports done by the governments of Norway, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom there is a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism. Since June, we have seen desecrations to Holocaust memorials, synagogues, and Jewish cemeteries in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, and Poland. We have heard modernized versions of the blood libel, where Jews are accused of kidnapping children to steal their organs. Conspiracy theories – like the supposed Jewish control over the U.S. media and world banking system – continue to gain traction with some groups. And perhaps most disturbing, physical violence remains a problem. Just last week in Belgium a 13-year old girl was beaten by a group of girls shouting: “Shut up, you dirty Jew, and return to your country”.
This brings me to the second trend – Holocaust denial.
This form of anti-Semitism is espoused by religious and political leaders, and is a standard on hateful websites and other media outlets. For example, British denier David Irving continues to get public airings of his anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Petras Stankeras [Pat-Rus Stank-Erus], a Lithuanian historian and former government official teaches that the Holocaust never happened. Bishop Williamson of the SSPX regularly preaches Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic canards.
As the number of survivors, direct witnesses, and camp liberators drops, there is a heightened sense of urgency in recording their stories, and building museums and monuments for future generations.
Ironically, while some deny that the Holocaust existed, others glorify its existence. This accounts for the third trend – Holocaust glorification.
The public display of Nazi ideology and the presence of neo-Nazi groups is of special concern in Europe. This year, we have seen numerous cases. In Austria, a politician resigned after his “Blood and Honour” tattoo, the motto of the Hitler Youth, was seen in public. At a soccer match in the Netherlands, soccer fans chanted, “Hamas, Hamas, all Jews be gassed.” A British politician was expelled from his Party for shouting “sieg heil” and giving the right-arm salute at a concert. And on Middle East satellite TV watched by tens of millions of Europeans, Sheikh Qaradawi – founder and president of the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research – called for a new Holocaust to finish the job.
At the State Department, we monitor these trends and activities in all 198 countries and territories. And we report on them in two major annual reports: The International Religious Freedom Report and the Human Rights Report. As part of this process, I am developing a major training initiative for State Department employees so they can better monitor what is happening in their countries, and be sensitized to the various forms of anti-Semitism.
Of course, it is not enough to study and monitor these deeply troubling trends. It is critical that we act to reverse them.
And to do that, we can’t just preach to the choir. We have to join in partnership with non-Jews in condemning it. To change a culture of hate to one of tolerance, we have to continue building bridges among different ethnic and religious groups. And we have to continue working with opinion leaders in government, civil society and the media.
The State Department is doing this in a number of ways.
We sponsor teacher training on the Holocaust. We provide training to foreign law enforcement officials that cover crimes against vulnerable groups. And we use old and new technologies to communicate with the public about human rights, tolerance and democracy.
But we also have to think outside the box. And I want to note two specific examples.
1) To combat Holocaust denial, I accompanied eight leading imams – two of whom had been Holocaust deniers – to the Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps.
When we arrived at Dachau, the imams were overcome with the pictures they saw and immediately went to the ground in prayer at the sculpture commemorating the six million Jews exterminated. All of the passers-by stopped in their tracks to witness the spontaneous display of prayer and the history of the moment. Following an emotional visit to Auschwitz, all eight imams produced a statement strongly condemning Holocaust denial and all other forms of anti-Semitism. They are now urging colleagues and schools to join their statement, and are also planning trips for their youth to bear witnesses and to bear the burden of the reality of the Holocaust.
2) The second example took place at the February OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Along with my colleague Farah Pandith, the Special Representative to Muslim Communities, we launched a virtual campaign called “2011 Hours Against Hate.” Using Facebook, we asked young people around the world to pledge a number of hours to help or serve someone who doesn’t look them, pray like them, or live like them. At the time, our goal was to get 2,011 hours pledged. To date, we have over 16,000 hours pledged and a dozen countries have already invited us to launch their own 2011 Hours Against Hate. The Olympic Committee is also trying to incorporate it in next year’s summer Olympics.
So while I fight anti-Semitism, I am also aware that hate is hate. Nothing justifies it – not economic instability and not international events.
When history records this chapter I hope it will reflect our efforts to build a peaceful, fair and just world where people defend universal human rights and dignity.
The Jewish tradition tells us that “you are not required to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Together, we must confront and combat the many forms of hatred in our world today. In this vein, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you and am happy to answer any questions.
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
Testimony before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission)
Russell Tribunal: ‘Israel is an apartheid entity
On Monday, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) completed its two-days session in Cape Town (South Africa). In its unanimous verdict the RTP found that the Zionist regime is a racist and apartheid entity as defined under international law. In their recommendations, the jury called upon the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to initiate an investigation into to the international crimes committe by Israel; Palestine to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and the UN General Assembly to convene a special session to “consider the question os apartheid against Palestinian people” including considering the roles of individuals, organizations, corporations and all public and private bodies which have been material in assisting Israel in its apartheid policies. (BTW: This is not going to happen under international law as all the five UNSC veto-powers are guilty of collaboration with the Zionist-regime in the past).
Turkey: Bridging the gap between Asia and Europe
When U.S. oil billionaire Malone Mitchell first walked out of the Istanbul airport, he expected to see a Third World country chockablock with security concerns and whirling dervishes.
“It dawned on me that I knew nothing about the country, only what I had been taught,” Mitchell says.
Instead, Mitchell, 50, discovered a place where he felt safe walking the streets and where he could get his company’s oil rigs fixed by local firms.
Mitchell’s TransAtlantic Petroleum drills 150 wells a year in Turkey and “the stress on drilling rigs and pumps is extreme,” he says. “They break, they need constant repair, but anything we needed fixed, it’s been available in Turkey.
“This is really a country with a first-rate manufacturing sector, and that surprised me.”
FULL COVERAGE: Emerging Markets
Le PKK craint davantage le Mouvement Gülen que l’Armée.
Le mouvement Gülen est en train de mettre en place ce qu’on appelle « des salles d’étude ». On envoie dans ces salles des enseignants recrutés parmi les nombreux membres exerçant pour le compte de la confrérie, et ceux-ci dispensent plus particulièrement des cours aux enfants des familles pauvres habitant la zone des troubles. Les enseignants les plus qualifiés enseignent aux jeunes kurdes les mathématiques, la physique, les sciences sociales… Des sessions de lecture sont également organisées dans ces salles.
AUCUN TERRORISTE NE SORT DE CES SALLES
D’après certaines affirmations, il n’y a pas eu un seul jeune qui, après avoir fréquenté ces salles, soit sorti pour aller rejoindre l’organisation terroriste. De plus, la sympathie que pouvaient ressentir certaines familles kurdes pauvres vis-à-vis du PKK n’est plus de mise, car l’espoir d’un avenir tout autre leur est assuré. Les familles qui commencent à se dire qu’il existe un avenir bien meilleur pour leurs enfants, refusent dorénavant de laisser leurs enfants, malgré leur volonté, s’engouffrer dans le cercle vicieux du terrorisme
Gulenists’ and the Turkish Government’s Fraudulence War on the KCK: A Masterpiece of Propaganda with the Real Goal of Getting Rid of the BDP Kurdish Party
By Dr. Aland Mizell
In his latest speech broadcast on the Herkul.org website, Fethullah Gülen commented on his grief over the deaths of the security members during the PKK attacks in the country‘s Southeast region. He was disappointed that “the Turkish military failed to kill a group of bandits in the mountains over the last 30 years,” Gülen said. In his speech Gülen also spoke of measures that should be taken to help resolve the Kurdish problems including the opening up of five new dormitories in the city of Van, and sending imams into all the Kurdish provinces to indoctrinate Kurds to accept his version of Islam. Teachers are to assimilate the Kurdish children. “If we only could have sent to that region Imams who teach Islam to them, if these measures were taken before, we would not have any Kurdish problem, “ Gülen claimed. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at the times of challenge and controversy, according to Martin Luther King. The question for Mr. Gülen is where did you stand for three decades of the Kurdish suffering? In his seminal writings on politics and language, George Orwell noted, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectful.” Today the world is being swayed by Gulenists; consequently, the global community are silenced and not sharing their opinion on the AKP party‘s suppression against the Kurdish people. Fethullah Gulen and his followers are claiming that he sees a war on the PKK as an option of last resort. The Turkish government has taken him at his word. In reality they had already decided on this last option. Thus, the Orwellian analysis of lies sounding truthful and murder respectful may be seen as the AKP couches its real intent in Gulen’s “last option” rhetoric.
Gulen’s solution is the “you are either for us or against us” mentality.
La Turquie sévit contre l’Etat parallèle kurde
A longueur de journée, dans ce tribunal spécial, se succèdent devant les juges des prévenus soupçonnés de crimes politiques. ” La justice joue un scénario écrit à l’avance “, estime Hülya Gülbahar, l’avocate de Büsra Ersanli, une professeure de sciences politiques arrêtée le 1er novembre, à Istanbul, pour avoir donné une conférence à des élus du parti kurde légal BDP (Parti pour la paix et de la démocratie). Depuis les élections municipales de 2009, où le BDP avait obtenu la majorité dans la région kurde, 9 000 personnes, élus, militants politiques ou associatifs, intellectuels, ont été arrêtées pour des liens supposés avec le KCK (Union des communautés du Kurdistan), une nébuleuse semi-clandestine qui forme la structure civile et politique du PKK (Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan). Un embryon d’administration autonome, contre laquelle l’indivisible République turque est partie en guerre. Mais au nom de la lutte antiterroriste, c’est toute la société kurde qui est criminalisée. ” Vous voyez ! C’est ça la justice turque ! “, vocifère une mère dans les couloirs du tribunal. Son mari est en prison depuis neuf mois pour avoir participé à une manifestation légale. ” Ils nous appellent des terroristes. Mais alors, nous sommes tous des terroristes. Nous allons tous le devenir si ça continue “. ” Ils n’ont aucune preuve, c’est un procès totalement politique “, lance un jeune homme dont l’oncle a été arrêté. Sur son téléphone portable, il montre la photo de son cousin. ” Il a été condamné à huit ans, du coup il est parti pour la montagne. Ceux qui n’ont pas la possibilité de partir en Europe rejoignent la guérilla. ” Le tour de vis judiciaire contre les milieux politiques kurdes a renforcé, par la même occasion, l’aile militaire du mouvement. ” Le gouvernement parle de solution, mais enferme tous les responsables politiques.
Où sont passés ces dons destinés aux sinistrés ?
Face à ce désastre, Ankara a choisi de faire payer aux kurdes leurs revendications politiques et culturelles. Seules, l’armée et la police bénéficient des secours qui s’imposent. Une petite minorité de la population a reçu des tentes tandis que la grande majorité kurde en est totalement dépourvue. Ils se protègent avec des abris de fortune, des bâches et des cartons sans aucune possibilité de chauffage. Trois enfants sont décédés suite à l’embrasement de ces matériaux. Les gens se regroupent le soir autour de braseros improvisés. Il n’y a pas d’eau, et de sanitaires. Ils doivent survivre au froid, à la faim, à l’épuisement, à la terreur quand la terre gronde. Partout règne la misère et la souffrance. Mais la terreur s’accroît la nuit lorsque la police tire sur des groupes d’individus au nom de la « lutte anti-terroriste » et que l’on entend les bombardements de l’armée contre les bases de la résistance populaire du PKK.
Tous les membres de la délégation européenne, à laquelle je participais, ce sont interrogés sur l’utilisation des aides internationales parvenues en Turquie ? Le gouvernement autonome du Kurdistan irakien a envoyé plusieurs millions d’euros et 200 préfabriqués. L’Ukraine a apporté 4 tentes pouvant abriter 20 personnes chacune, équipées de système de chauffage. Israël a envoyé 7 maisons préfabriquées. L’Union Européenne, l’Italie, la France, la Grande-Bretagne, le Japon, la Suisse, l’Azerbaïdjan, le Kazakhstan, le Qatar, l’Arabie Saoudite, la Jordanie et l’Egypte, la Belgique ont participé à cet élan de solidarité.
Le Maire de Wan, M. Bekir KAYA, a confirmé que la municipalité n’avait reçu aucun don. La totalité a été versée au gouvernement turc, soit 100 millions d’euros. Deux millions ont été versés à l’armée tandis que le reste s’est évanoui. Le gouverneur de Wan fait un usage partisan de quelques subsides… suivant en cela les consignes du pouvoir qui affirme désormais que la région n’est pas sinistrée. De telles déclarations sont une honte et une atteinte supplémentaire aux droits humains. Quant aux dons en nature (tentes, vêtements, médicaments…), ils sont stockés dans des hangars ou “accidentellement” brûlés.
Understanding the Islamic Republic of Iran
It requires knowledge of Islam, Shi’ism, and the peculiar interpretation of Shi’ism that Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini developed to legitimize the formation of an Islamic state. It also requires an exploration of the complex and overlapping structures that together comprise the Iranian regime, as well as the individuals who control those structures and their relationships. As tension mounts in the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program – and fresh speculation brews about strikes to nip that program –
Hillary Clinton to address UN tomorrow while
UN rights chief Navi Pillay headlines event with
anti-Semitic “Gaddafi Human Rights Prize” group
UN Watch urges Clinton, EU’s Ashton, France and UK to speak out
GENEVA, Dec. 5 – When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva tomorrow, the world body’s top human rights official will be headlining an event next door with the Libyan front group for the “Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights,” a long-time propaganda vehicle that celebrates Holocaust deniers and anti-American figures.
According to her website, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, along with Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr, will open an international conference tomorrow on the right to development—co-sponsored by Nord-Sud XXI, a group that, according a March 25 exposé by Swiss TV, received $10 million from Col. Gaddafi’s regime to organize the annual prize.
The Geneva-based UN Watch, an independent human rights monitoring group, today called on Secretary Clinton, EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton and the UK and French governments to urge Pillay to distance herself from the event, which is also organized by the 120-nation Non Aligned Movement, a voting bloc at the UN that often adopts anti-Western positions.
The Gaddafi Human Rights Prize has been given to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, known for his vitriolic anti-Semitic speeches, convicted French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed and “the children of Iraq and victims of hegemony and embargoes.”
The founding spokesman of the prize, and vice-president of a related foundation that recently compared Gaddafi to philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, is Jean Ziegler, a senior member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee.
“We trust that Secretary Clinton will make clear to High Commissioner Pillay that her office should not be making common cause with organizations that openly celebrate Holocaust deniers, brutal dictators and promoters of anti-American and anti-Western hatred,” said UN Watch director Hillel Neuer.
“Particularly troubling is that Ms. Pillay’s office was well aware of North South 21’s true identity from UN Watch’s previous submissions on the subject, as well as from the recent outcry in the international media, and from members of US Congress, after the Gaddafi group was admitted to the UN’s Durban III process in September.”
Documents collected by UN Watch revealing Nord Sud XXI as Gaddafi Prize front group:
* In March 2011, based on UN Watch material, Swiss TV reported that North South 21 organizes the Gaddafi Prize; that the Libyan dictator funded the group with $10 million; and the central role played by UN human rights official Jean Ziegler. Click for video.
* Switzerland’s Neue Zurcher Zeitung, based on UN Watch material, reported in 2006: “North-South 21 had been mandated to manage the Gaddafi Prize for years, as confirmed by Ahmad Soueissi, North-South’s managing director.”
* UN Watch first documented all of these facts in a major report here. Supplemental material documenting the Libyans’ open acknowledgment of North South 21 as a part of the Gaddafi Prize organization can be found here.
* According to the Libyan press agency, “the organization in Geneva that awards the Gaddafi Prize is an entity called North-South XXI (or Nord-Sud XXI).” See “President Chavez of Venezuela wins International Gaddafi Award for Human Rights,” Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation, December 10, 2004 (see Attachment 7 here); “Oxymoron,” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15 Oktober 2004 (citing Libyan press agency Jana as saying the Prize is awarded by an International People’s Committee and Nord-Sud XXI) (see Attachment 8 here).
* The British press has reported North-South XXI’s role in awarding the Prize. See “Gaddafi human rights prize for two dock strike wives,” The Daily Mail, September 4, 1997 (stating that Prize “[r]ecipients are chosen annually by a Geneva-based organisation called Nord-Sud 21.”) (see Attachment 9 here).
* Geneva’s Le Temps, in an August 30, 2002 article, reported: “The Kadhafi Prize [for Human Rights] is managed in Geneva by North-South 21, which claims to be an organization for the defense of human rights. It is worth noting that North-South 21 does not want to mention the financial investment of Tripoli in the Geneva center. The organization issues many periodicals and other publications but none mentions the name of the provider of funds.” (“Le Prix Kadhafi est géré à Genève par Nord-Sud 21 qui se veut une organisation de défense des droits de l’homme… Force est de constater que Nord-Sud 21 ne veut pas évoquer l’investissement financier de Tripoli dans le centre genevois. L’organisation dispose de plusieurs périodiques et autre publications à thème mais aucun ne mentionne le nom du bailleur de fonds.”)
10 Things you should know about the US-NATO-Europe and Russia By Constance Anderson-Sweatt
1- NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO was created in 1949 to serve as a joint security force for many European nations and their allies. At its inception in 1949 the United States (under President Harry S. Truman), Canada, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Denmark, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed the North Atlantic Treaty.
2- Currently there are 28 independent member countries and 40 partner countries that are divided between the Euro- Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and Mediterranean regions, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and contact countries
3- NATO is structured into 3 tiers; Civilian, Military and Organizations and agencies that are tasked with overseeing Political Affairs, Security Policy, Operations, Science, Defense, Explosive ordinance disposal, Public Diplomacy, Recruiting, Logistics, Regional Security, Finance, Several Headquarters in member countries, Rapid deployable corps, Joint force and analysis centers, Medical, civil emergency planning, ground surveillance, electronic warfare, research and technology, oceanography and meteorology.
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