Sun03262017

Last update01:35:06 PM

Back You are here: Home World World News European Union

Washington Casts Blame for Expansion of Al-Qaeda on Turkey

Obama-and-the-crewIt is no longer possible to conceal the obvious. The West, in its attempts to remove Bashar al-Asad from power during the years of the war in Syria, has nurtured a force so sinister that its tentacles are now reaching to the Western capitals themselves. Al-Qaeda is at the peak of its influence in the Middle East.

Read more...

Report confirms polonium found on Arafat's clothing

yasser arafat 460Swiss experts found traces of polonium on Yasser Arafat's clothing, which could indicate the Palestinian leader was poisoned, a report released last weekend said. Arafat was 75 when he died in 2004 of unknown causes and no autopsy was conducted.

Read more...

Berlusconi convicted in sex-for-hire trial

silvio berlusconi 512x386MILAN — A Milan court on Monday convicted former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi of paying for sex with an underage prostitute during infamous ”bunga bunga” parties at his villa and then using his influence to try to cover it up.

Read more...

MI5 Chief Calls Disclosures Over British Espionage Harmful

andrew-parker-m15London, Oct 10 (Prensa Latina) The MI5 Security Service director general, Andrew Parker, said today that recent disclosures about the spying program run by the UK government could negatively affect intelligence work.

Read more...

No deal in bank failure talks

Bank of cyprusEuropean Union finance ministers ended around-the-clock talks in Luxembourg on Saturday without agreement on a way to downsize or close banks that wouldn't force bank savers to foot the bill.

Read more...

Italian lawmaker likens black minister to orangutan

Cecile-KyengeROME--A senior parliamentarian in the anti-immigration Northern League party likened Italy's first black minister to an orangutan and only apologised on Sunday after a storm of criticism.

Read more...

French baffled by IMF chief’s bizarre letter to Sarkozy

sarkozy-LagardeA leaked letter in which IMF chief Christine Lagarde pledges her allegiance to former president Nicolas Sarkozy has caused bewilderment in France, raising further suspicions over fraud at the highest levels of government.

Read more...

French Federation to Lodge Law Suit Against US Spying

nsa-sign-460Paris, July 12 (Prensa Latina) The French Federation of Human Rights announced its decision to lodge a lawsuit against the U.S. spying program Prism, which monitors communications of millions of people and institutions in Europe and the world.

Read more...

Afghan President against U.S. Drones

hamid-karzaiIslamabad, Jun 15 (Prensa Latina) Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was against the raids by U.S. drones on the tribal regions in Afghanistan.

Read more...

Bolivia third country to offer Snowden asylum

evo-moralesNSA leaker Edward Snowden has yet another place to go, if only he can get there. Bolivian President Evo Morales says Snowden is welcome in his country. He said Saturday he is making the offer as a protest against the U.S. and European nations he accuses of temporarily blocking his flight home from a Moscow summit because they suspected it might have Snowden on board.

Read more...

British MP Diane Abbott exposes ‘UK consultancy abuse’

Diane-Abbott-MP-001A British Member of Parliament (MP) has strongly criticised what she described as the growing practice of United Kingdom (UK) based consultants “creaming off millions of pounds” from money which is provided by the Department of International Development for (DFID).

Read more...

Bolivia’s presidential jet searched in Vienna as US pursues Snowden

Morales-planeBolivia has accused European countries of an "act of aggression" for refusing to allow its presidential jet into their airspace, amid suggestions US fugitive Edward Snowden was on board.

Read more...

The Geopolitics of gas and the Syrian crisis

Syrian gas pipeline1What has one of the most democratic countries of the Middle East, Syria, done to tick off some of its neighbors in the West, the fierce fighters for democracy? The irrationality and unscrupulousness of the approaches Western countries have taken to the Syrian crisis, when the same people who in Europe are considered terrorists are declared «freedom fighters» when it comes to Syria, becomes clearer in light of the economic dimension of the Syrian tragedy.

There is every reason to think that by helping destroy its own cultural and historical roots in Syria, Europe is first and foremost fighting for energy resources. And a special role is played by natural gas, which is emerging as the main fuel of the 21st century. The geopolitical problems connected with its production, transportation and use are perhaps more than any other topic on the radar of Western strategists. 

In the apt expression of F. William Engdahl, «Natural gas is the flammable ingredient that is fueling this insane scramble for energy in the region.» A battle is raging over whether pipelines will go toward Europe from east to west, from Iran and Iraq to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, or take a more northbound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey.

Having realized that the stalled Nabucco pipeline, and indeed the entire Southern Corridor, are backed up only by Azerbaijan's reserves and can never equal Russian supplies to Europe or thwart the construction of the South Stream, the West is in a hurry to replace them with resources from the Persian Gulf. Syria ends up being a key link in this chain, and it leans in favor of Iran and Russia; thus it was decided in the Western capitals that its regime needs to change. The fight for «democracy» is a false flag thrown out to cover up totally different aims.

It is not difficult to notice that the rebellion in Syria began to grow two years ago, almost at the same time as the signing of a memorandum in Bushehr on June 25, 2011 regarding the construction of a new Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline... It is to stretch 1500 km from Asaluyeh on the largest gas field in the world, North Dome/South Pars (shared between Qatar and Iran) to Damascus. The length of pipeline on the territory of Iran will be 225 km, in Iraq 500 km, and in Syria 500-700 km. Later it may be extended along the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea to Greece. The possibility of supplying liquefied gas to Europe via Syria's Mediterranean ports is also under consideration. Investments in this project equal 10 billion dollars. (1) 

This pipeline, dubbed the «Islamic pipeline», was supposed to start operation in the period from 2014 to 2016. Its projected capacity is 110 million cubic meters of gas per day (40 billion cubic meters a year). Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have already declared their need for Iranian gas (25-30 million cubic meters per day for Iraq, 20-25 million cubic meters for Syria, and 5-7 million cubic meters until 2020 for Lebanon). Some of the gas will be supplied via the Arab gas transportation system to Jordan.

iran gas pipelineExperts believe that this project could be an alternative to the Nabucco gas pipeline being promoted by the European Union (with a planned capacity of 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year), which doesn't have sufficient reserves. It was planned to run the Nabucco pipeline from Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan through the territory of Turkey. At first Iran was also considered as a resource base, but later it was excluded from the project.

After the signing of the memorandum on the Islamic Pipeline, the head of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), Javad Oji, stated that South Pars, with recoverable reserves of 16 trillion cubic meters of gas, is a «reliable source of gas, which is a prerequisite for the building of a pipeline which Nabucco does not have».It is easy to observe that about 20 billion cubic meters per year will remain from this pipeline for Europe, which would be able to compete with Nabucco's 30 billion, but not the 63 billion from the South Stream. 

A gas pipeline from Iran would be highly profitable for Syria. Europe would gain from it as well, but clearly someone in the West didn't like it. The West's gas-supplying allies in the Persian Gulf weren't happy with it either, nor was would-be no. 1 gas transporter Turkey, as it would then be out of the game. The new «unholy alliance» which formed between them shamelessly declared its goal to be «protecting democratic values» in the Middle East, although logically speaking the U.S. and its allies ought to begin this with their own partners in the coalition against Syria from among the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, which are questionable in this regard.

The Sunnite countries also see the Islamic Pipeline from the viewpoint of interconfessional contradictions, considering it a «Shiite pipeline from Shiite Iran through the territory of Iraq with its Shiite majority and into the territory of Shiite-friendly Alawite Asad». As renowned researcher on energy issues F. William Engdahl writes, this geopolitical drama is intensified by the fact that the South Pars field lies in the Persian Gulf directly on the border between Shiite Iran and Sunnite Qatar.

But tiny Qatar, which is no match for Iran in power, makes active use of its connections with the military presence of the U.S. and NATO in the Persian Gulf. On the territory of Qatar are a command node of the Pentagon's Central Command of the U.S. Armed Forces, the headquarters of the Head Command of the U.S. Air Force, the No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group of the British Air Force and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing of the U.S. Air Force.

Qatar, in Engdahl's opinion, has other plans for its share in the South Pars gas field and is not eager to join efforts with Iran, Syria and Iraq. It is not at all interested in the success of an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, which would be completely independent of the transit routes of Qatar or Turkey leading to Europe. In fact, Qatar is doing all it can to thwart the construction of the pipeline, including arming the «opposition» fighters in Syria, many of whom come from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya. (2)

russian gas graphicQatar's resolve is fed by the discovery by Syrian geological exploration companies in 2011 of Syria's own large gas-producing area near the Lebanese border, not far from the Mediterranean port of Tartus which Russia leases, and the detection of a significant gas field near Homs. According to preliminary estimates, these discoveries should substantially increase the country's gas reserves, which previously amounted to 284 billion cubic meters. The fact that the export of Syrian or Iranian gas to the European Union could take place through the port of Tartus, which has ties to Russia, is unsatisfactory to Qatar and its Western patrons as well. (3)

The Arabic newspaper Al-Akhbar cites information according to which there is a plan approved by the U.S. government to create a new pipeline for transporting gas from Qatar to Europe involving Turkey and Israel. The capacity of such a pipeline is not mentioned, but considering the resources of the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean region, it could exceed that of both the Islamic Pipeline and Nabucco, directly challenging Russia's South Stream.

The main developer of this project is Frederick Hoff, who is «in charge of gas issues in the Levant» and a member of the U.S. «Syrian Crisis Committee». This new pipeline is to begin in Qatar, cross Saudi territory and then the territory of Jordan, thus bypassing Shiite Iraq, and reach Syria. Near Homs the pipeline is to branch in three directions: to Latakia, Tripoli in northern Lebanon, and Turkey. Homs, where there are also hydrocarbon reserves, is the «project's main crossroads», and it is not surprising that it is in the vicinity of this city and its «key», Al-Qusayr, that the fiercest fighting is taking place. Here the fate of Syria is being decided.

The parts of Syrian territory where detachments of rebels are operating with the support of the U.S., Qatar and Turkey, that is, the north, Homs and the environs of Damascus, coincide with the route that the pipeline is to follow to Turkey and Tripoli, Lebanon. A comparison of a map of armed hostilities and a map of the Qatar pipeline route indicates a link between armed activities and the desire to control these Syrian territories.

Qatar's allies are trying to accomplish three goals: «to break Russia's gas monopoly in Europe; to free Turkey from its dependence on Iranian gas; and to give Israel the chance to export its gas to Europe by land at less cost». (4) As Asia Times analyst Pepe Escobar indicated, the Emir of Qatar apparently made a deal with the «Muslim Brotherhood» according to which it will support their international expansion in exchange for a pact of peace within Qatar. A «Muslim Brotherhood» regime in Jordan and in Syria, supported by Qatar, would abruptly change the entire geopolitical world gas market - decidedly in favor of Qatar and to the detriment of Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq. It would also be a crushing blow to China. (5) 

The war against Syria is aimed at pushing this project through, as well as at the breakdown of the agreement between Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus. Its implementation has been halted several times due to military action, but in February 2013 Iraq declared its readiness to sign a framework agreement which would enable the construction of the pipeline.

(6) It is worth noting that after this, more and more new groups of Iraqi Shiites have risen up in support of Asad; as The Washington Post admits, they have «no little battle experience» in confronting Americans in their country. Along with fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah, they make an ever more formidable force. (7) The stakes in the «elimination game» started in Syria by the West over the gas pipeline continue to grow. The end of the European Union's embargo on supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition, which according to the BBC the majority of EU member countries were against (8) (democracy, where are you?), might not be able to help the rebels.

As for civilization and justice, when profit is at stake, sentiment doesn't matter. The main thing is not to play the wrong card in this unfair game that smells of blood and gas.

(1) http://www.voltairenet.org/article176676.html

(2) http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-turkey-israel-and-the-greater-middle-east-energy-war/5307902

(3) http://www.naturalgasasia.com/syria-homs-gas-discovery

(4) http://zebrastationpolaire.over-blog.com/article-la-guerre-civile-en-syrie-et-la-geopolitique-petrogaziere-112539126.html

(5) http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NI28Ak03.html

(6) http://news.day.az/iran/385108.html

(7) http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iraqi-shiites-fight-for-syrian-

(8) http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/rolling_news/2013/05/130527_rn_syria_uk_embargo.shtml

 

Snowden Slams Obama Over Interference in Asylum Bid

Edward Snowdon compositeEdward Snowden has accused US President Barack Obama of "pressuring the leaders" of countries where the fugitive former US intelligence contractor sought political asylum.

Read more...

UN lashes out at Britain’s human rights record

unThe UN’s torture watchdog has hit out at the British government for human rights abuses. In its harshest criticism yet of the British government, the panel warned that urgent action is needed for the country to meet international standards.

The UN Committee against Torture focused on human rights abuses during the so-called war on terror and the mistreatment of prisoners in British custody in Iraq. It also flagged up some 40 separate incidents on which the UK government must act. 

The findings highlighted the British governments actions following 9/11 and the commission urged the British government to quickly establish an inquiry into whether detainees held overseas were ill-treated or tortured by British officials. 

The report reads that the committee is “deeply concerned at the growing number of serious allegations of torture and ill-treatment, as a result of the state party’s military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.” 

The UN team also slammed what they called “an escape clause” in the Criminal Justice Act (1988), which allows British officials to escape prosecution for inflicting severe pain or suffering if they can show that they had “lawful authority, justification or excuse” for doing so. 

Another legal loophole the committee voiced concern about is the Intelligence Services Act (1994), which effectively insures that intelligence officers cannot be prosecuted within the UK once a warrant giving them lawful authority has been signed by a government minister. 

The panel was disappointed at the failure to date to prosecute anyone for the torture of Iraqi prisoners and in particular the failure to convict anyone for the murder of Baha Mousa who died in British custody in 2003. Only one soldier received a one-year sentence for admitting inhumane treatment. 

There was also concern with the government’s planned introduction of secret court procedures in July for issues that may affect national security under the Justice and Security Act. Closed Material Procedures as they are known make it easier to use hearsay evidence or evidence obtained through torture, the committee maintains. The system of Special Advocates – lawyers who are vetted and chosen by the government – “have a very limited ability to conduct a cross-examination and cannot discuss full content of confidential materials with their client thus undermining the right to a fair trial,” the report reads. 

The watchdog also urged the UK government to halt the deportation of failed asylum seekers to Sri Lanka. The deportation of failed Tamil asylum seekers has led to their torture or ill-treatment on return and the UK government hasn’t changed its policy on the issue despite a ruling by the High Court in February ordering them to suspend deportations. 

The government was criticized in its handling of the case of Shaker Aamer, the last remaining UK resident in Guantanamo. The committee regretted that despite the “best endeavors” of the UK to try and get him released “there are no encouraging signs of this happening soon”. 

There were also accusations against the UK government on several issues connected with Northern Ireland.  The Northern Irish justice system must abolish all non-jury trials the report concludes, adding that historical investigations into past misconduct, particularly of military officials, must not be delayed or suspended. 

The committee asked that police officers only use tasers when they face “a real and immediate threat to life or risk or serious injury”. 

There was also unease that the age of criminal responsibility in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has not been raised from 10-years, despite calls by more than 50 organizations for this to be done. 

Further concerns were raised about the steady increase of the prison population over the past decade and the problem of overcrowding.  To help rectify the issue the committee urged the government make wider use of non-custodial sentences. 

In a further blow, committee members accused the UK delegation of being evasive when questioned about Britain’s human rights record during a two-day hearing in Geneva last month. 

The British government was given a year to explain how it could improve its human rights record in 4 key areas: overseas torture, getting Shaker Aamer out of Guantanamo, stopping the forced deportation of Sri Lanka asylum seekers and setting up inquiries into past abuses in Northern Ireland.

New details of US spying programme: over 100,000 internet users under PRISM surveillance

nsa-sign-460New details of the electronic spying programme carried out by the US National Security Agency (NSA) have been published in the US. On Saturday night The Washington Post posted four slides concerning the programme codenamed PRISM on its website.

Read more...

Chinese migrant labour force in Caribbean set to decrease. – Too costly

chinese-workersTHE rising cost of subsidising Chinese migrant labourers and China’s pledge to hire more locals on its foreign construction projects could see fewer workers coming to Trinidad and Tobago from the Asian country for upcoming infrastructural work.

Read more...

'Furious' EU Demands Answers After New Report Of NSA Spying

usa-eu-flag"Senior European Union officials are outraged by revelations that the U.S. spied on EU representations in Washington and New York," Germany’s Der Spiegel writes . "Some have called for a suspension of talks on the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement."

Read more...

Palestinians Mark 65th Anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe of 1948)

nakba-protestOn May 15 each year, the Palestinian people mark Nakba Day, or what is known in English as the Catastrophe of 1948. It was in this year that Israel was established on Palestinian land, after the indigenous population was forced to flee their ancestral towns and villages.

Read more...

Germany blasts UK over mass monitoring of telephone calls

Cameron-and-Merkel-009The German government has expressed the growing public anger of its citizens over Britain's mass programme of monitoring global phone and internet traffic and directly challenged UK ministers over the whole basis of GCHQ's Project Tempora surveillance operation.

Read more...

The 'Ndrangheta, the most powerful branch of Italian mafia

NdranghetaIn recent years, the 'Ndrangheta has become the largest and most feared of the four criminal organizations in Italy, alongside the Camorra in the Naples area, Cosa Nostra in Sicily and Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia.

Read more...