Posts Tagged ‘latest news’

Belgian election campaign has started

januari 30, 2014


Latest News Syria: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

december 30, 2013


’2013 will be remembered as the year in which the world bid a sad but celebratory farewell to Nelson Mandela… I can think of nothing I would rather see in 2014 than for world leaders to emulate his example in upholding their moral and political responsibilities.’ (UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on the UN-website where you’ll find no mention of the 5.000 Syrians  which were just evacuated)

Latest News Syria: Damascus Countryside

december 26, 2013

syrian.armyArmy kills terrorists, destroys their hideouts

Provinces,Dec 26, 2013 (SANA)- A military source on Thursday told SANA that scores of terrorists were eliminated in the villages of Jadideh, Erbid, Kwairis, al-Zarzour, Mayer and al-Ziyarah and surrounding Aleppo central prison, al-Tamourah, surrounding the thermal station as their tools were also destroyed.

The source said that a big number of terrorists were killed in the industrial area, al-Wdaihi, Ebtin, Blas and Hadadin. Terrorists’ weapons and ammunition were also destroyed.

Army units kill terrorists in several areas of Damascus Countryside

Units of the armed forces carried out operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings in several areas of Damascus Countryside, killing many of them, including a Lebanese terrorist.

A source told SANA that an army unit killed many terrorists in the area surrounding al-Huda Mosque in Douma city, including Ziad Mattar from Lebanon, while another army unit destroyed two terrorists’ cars and their weapons in al-Hajariyeh farms and al-Shafoniyeh town.

The source added that the army units stormed  a terrorists’ den in Adra al-Balad and killed other terrorists in al-Mlaiha and Erbin.

Another army unit clashed with terrorists near al-Thanaweia roundabout  in Harasta and killed 3 of them.

In Joubar neighborhood, an army unit killed two terrorists near al-Orfan Mosque.

Army units continue hunting terrorists in the workers city of Adra

A military source said that the army units continued hunting the armed terrorist groups in the workers city of Adra and the area surrounding it.

The source added that the army units ambushed terrorists and killed scores of them near  the sanitation in the city’s expansion.

Latest News Syria: Slovakia

december 6, 2013


December 6, 2013

Prague, (SANA)- Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said it is important that the West and Europe defend the principles and work course regarding the crisis in Syria, which he added is being manifested in setting a date for the international Geneva 2 conference.

In an interview with the Czech Paper Pravo, published Friday, Lajack highlighted the importance of putting pressure on the main players concerned with the situation in Syria to sit around the dialogue table.

He criticized the “wrong” stances adopted by the west regarding Syria in the past two years.

“In a situation like in Syria, it’s always wrong to play the role of active supporter and lawyer on behalf of one of the sides of the crisis,” Lajcak said.

The international conference due on Syria has been scheduled to be held on 22nd of next January.

B. Mousa/ H. Said

Latest News Syria: operations against terrorists

december 6, 2013

terroristsDecember 6, 2013

Provinces, (SANA) – Terrorists’ gatherings and equipment, including cars and weapons, were targeted in several areas around the country on Friday, with several terrorist groups being wholly eliminated.

Army foils terrorists’ attack on military checkpoints in Homs

A military source told SANA  the army units destroyed terrorists’ dens in Bab Hud, al-Qusour and al-Hamidiyeh neighborhoods in Homs city and in al-Rastan city in the countryside.

The source added that other army units clashed with terrorists who were attempting to attack a military checkpoint in Tal al-Ghar near Ein Hussein village in the countryside, killing and injuring scores of them.

Army units eliminate terrorists, dismantle explosive devices in Damascus and its Countryside

An official source said that the army units killed all members of armed terrorist groups to the west of al-Nabek city and progressed in the area surrounding Rima farms.

Among the dead terrorists were Ahmad al-Adib, Firas Khaled and Zaid al-Fleitani.

The source added that army units dismantled scores of explosive devices weighing between 15-50 Kg planted by terrorists in the streets and citizens’ houses in the western neighborhood of al-Nabek city, while other army units clashed with terrorists in Maaloula city and the area surrounding it, killing and injuring scores of them.

In the eastern Ghouta, other army units stormed terrorists’ dens and gatherings in al-Dalbeh town and al-Qarieh al-Shamiya, killing many of them, including Adnan Jaradeh and Ahmad al-Takla.

In Deir Salman farms, the army units destroyed a terrorists’ den and killed all terrorists inside them, including Jihad al-Batahesh.

Meanwhile, the army units destroyed a terrorists’ cashe along with the weapons and ammunition inside it in Ein Tarma, in addition to killing many terrorists, including Mahrous al-Hanash and Yusuf al-Hanash.

The source pointed out that an army unit clashed with an armed terrorist group near al-Thanawiyeh roundabouts in Harasta in the countryside and killed many of them, including Khalil Hamza and Mohammad Darwish.

Another army unit pursued terrorists in Joubar neighborhood in the countryside and killed a number of them, including Rfaat Khudr.

In the southern countryside of Damascus, the army units destroyed terrorists’ dens along with the weapons and ammunition in Yelda and Babila towns, killing many terrorists, including Abdulrahman al-Buqaai.

Other army units carried out operations against terrorists’ gatherings in al-Jamiyat neighborhood and al-Alali area in Darayaa city in the countryside, killing a number of terrorists and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

In the same context, the army units continued hunting terrorists in al-Qaboun and Barzeh neighborhoods in the city and killed many of them, including Majed Badran, Yusuf Hsaian and Wasim Dwra.

Meanwhile, another army unit killed all members of an armed terrorist group in al-Sheer al-Ahmar in al-Rhaibeh in Damascus Countryside.

Read more at:

Latest News Syria: dozens of terrorists eliminated

oktober 31, 2013

Oct 31, 2013

Provinces, (SANA) – Army units carried out intensive operations against terrorists’ gatherings, eliminating dozens of them and destroying their weapons and ammunition in different areas around the country.

Terrorists killed in Northern countryside of Lattakia

Units of the armed forces targeted terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Beit Sakhta, Beit Ablaq, al-Sawda and Marj Khukha villages in the northern countryside of Lattakia, killing and injuring scores of them.

A military source told SANA that among the dead terrorists were al-Moutasim Bllah from Chechen, Ahmad Kour Oglan and Maher al-Sabbagh.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Deir Ezzor

A unit of the armed forces carried out a special operation against an armed terrorist group’s members who were stationed in al-Sarawi Tower in al-Rshdiyeh neighborhood in Deir Ezzor, killing many of them, including a sniper.

An official source told SANA that the operation resulted in destroying a car equipped with heavy machinegun near the Tower and killing all terrorists inside it.

The source added that another army unit killed all members of an armed terrorist group in al-Haweiqa neighborhood and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

Army units kill terrorists in Damascus countryside

Army units killed and injured numbers of terrorists, some of a Libyan nationality in operations against their hideouts in Barzeh neighborhood, eastern Ghouta and the northern countryside of Damascus.

An official source told SANA that a car equipped with a heavy machinegun was destroyed and an armed terrorist group eliminated in Barzeh neighborhood as an army unit clashed with terrorists, killing three of them east of the electricity company in Jobar neighborhood.

The source added that an army unit pursued terrorists east of the Police Hospital and south of Daya Co., killing numbers of them as the army operations continued on Zamalka axis, killing the terrorist Diab Mustapha al-Wazir and injuring others.

Deep into eastern Ghouta, an army unit clashed with armed terrorist groups in al-Kasemieh and Htaitet al-Turkman, killing several terrorists as other units carried out a series of qualitative operations, destroying terrorist hideouts in al-Mleiha and Zabdin.

The terrorist Mohammad Hassan Sreiwil was identified among the dead as a heavy machinegun was destroyed and the terrorist Mohammad al-Rashed was killed on al-Baharia farms axis.

Up to 20 terrorists have been killed and around 50 others injured during a qualitative operation by an army unit in al-Nashabieh, as other units pounded terrorist gatherings in Deir al-Asafir, Marj al-Sultan and Jisrin, killing many terrorists, among them Fouad Adnan Bobas and Mohammad Eid Bakkar.

A terrorist concentration was destroyed in Karm al-Rasas farms between Duma and Harasta. The terrorists Mohammad Ghazi Yousef was identified among the dead as another unit eliminated a terrorist group south of Sar factory in Adra.

An army unit clashed with an armed terrorist group near Ali Bin Abi Taleb Mosque in Daraya and killed four of its members.

An army unit killed several terrorists and injured others northwest of Maaloula, some of them non Syrians, among them the Libyan Abid al-Deis.

A military source told SANA that army units eliminated armed terrorist groups and destroyed mortar cannon in al-Ghanam bazaar in Adra, a factory for manufacturing explosives and a rocket launcher in Yabroud area in Damascus countryside.

 Protest against terrorists’ crimes in Yabroud, Damascus Countryside

Scores of Yabroud  city’s citizens protested in front of al-Hussein and al-Khudour Mosques against the acts of the armed terrorist groups in the city.

SANA reporter said that scores of citizens went out to streets against the acts of the armed terrorist and Takfiri groups in the city of killing, rape, steeling and sacrilege the worship places, calling on terrorists to get out of the city and end all acts of terrorism in Yabroud.

Arms cache discovered, terrorist groups eliminated in Hama, Homs and Idleb

The competent authorities seized an arms cache on the outskirts of Hama city as the army units eliminated armed terrorist groups in several neighborhoods and villages in Homs province. Several terrorists have also been killed during a clash between terrorist groups in Idleb countryside.

A military source told SANA that the competent authorities stormed a den for terrorists on Hama-Aleppo road, confiscating machineguns, automatic rifles, explosive charges, hand grenades and shells.

In Homs, an army unit eliminated terrorist gatherings near Abdullah Bin Masoud Mosque in Bab Houd neighborhood and west of Kafrnan and the villages of Rahoum and Um al-Rif, north of Jabal al-Nahdain near Sadad, al-Hazm al-Awsat, north of Hawarin and in al-Tibeh area in Palmyra countryside.

Army units destroyed dens for terrorists in the villages of al-Maland in Jisr al-Shughour, Kafranbel and al-Dar al-Kabira in Maaret al-Numan and south of Jabal al-Arbain in Idleb countryside.

Armed terrorist groups have been eliminated in an ambush by an army unit between Kafrlata and Maarbleid villages and near Jabal al-Arbain.

A clash between two armed terrorist groups erupted in Talaamar village in Salqin area during which big number of terrorists have been killed, among them Ahmad Haj Ali.

Terrorist killed in Hasaka countryside

An army unit killed a number of terrorists and injured others and destroyed their equipment in Tal Hamis area in the countryside of Hasaka, while another army unit destroyed a terrorists’ gathering in al-Dawajen area.

Residents in Qamishli villages confront infiltrating terrorists

In another context, residents of al-Jass’eh village in the countryside of Qamishli in Hasaka province repelled armed terrorist groups that tried to infiltrate their village and attack them and their properties.

An official source told SANA reporter that the residents courageously confronted the terrorists and killed three of them, while the others fled away.

Residents of Tal Majdal village also clashed with armed terrorist groups that entered their village and killed numbers of their members.

Army eliminates terrorists, destroys explosive devices manufacturing factory in Damascus Countryside

Army units destroyed a factory for manufacturing explosive devices to the north-west of Yabroud and weapons and ammunition cache in the western farms of Jairoud in addition to destroying terrorists’ vehicles in Jaba’din in Damascus Countryside, a military source told SANA Thursday.

Army units destroyed a factory for manufacturing explosive devices to the north-west of Yabroud and weapons and ammunition cache in the western farms of Jairoud in addition to destroying terrorists’ vehicles in Jaba’din in Damascus Countryside, a military source told SANA Thursday.

The army units also eliminated all members of armed terrorist groups to the east of Housh Arab, in al-Saqi street in al-Nabek and south of Sar cleaners factory in Adra.

Military operations target terrorists’ gatherings in Aleppo and Idleb 

Army units carried out operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Aleppo and its countryside and Idleb provinces, eliminating armed terrorist groups.A military source said that an army unit confiscated a mortar launcher of an armed terrorist group that was fortifying in a building in the surrounding area of al-Sheikh Said neighborhood, killing all of its members.

The source added that terrorists’ gatherings were targeted in a intensive operation in the surrounding area of the Central Prison, al-Kindi Hospital and Daret-Ezza, in addition to destroying armed terrorist group’s missile and mortar launchers in al-Jdeideh and al-Kweiris villages.

In Idleb countryside, army units destroyed in intensive and swift operations cars loaded with weapons and ammunition on Bennish-al-To’owm road and the area surrounding Saraqeb, killing all the terrorists inside them.

Terrorists’ gatherings destroyed, terrorists killed in Homs

Army units destroyed several cars loaded with weapons and ammunition, and killed all members of armed terrorist groups in Homs and its countryside.

An official source said that an army unit destroyed five cars laden with weapons and ammunition to the west of elderly hospice in al-Saan area and terrorists’ gatherings in al-Rabiyeh, al-Msheirfeh and al-Habra al-Sharqiyeh in al-Mukharram area, Khalij Kiseen and al-Hazm area near al-Hawarin village.

The source added that an army unit confronted an armed terrorist group that attempted to attack a military checkpoint near al-Zara Bridge, killing many terrorists including Motasem al-Dandashi, the leader of the so-called “Jonoud Allah battalion”.

The source pointed out that members of an armed terrorist group were killed in the area between al-Khalediyeh and al-Zara villages, while army units inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in operations against their gatherings near al-Walid Compound in Jurat al-Shayyah, Souk, al-Jaj and al-Qussour neighborhoods in the city of Homs.

English Bulletin


British spring: censorship about spying

oktober 31, 2013

British spring: censorship about spying

National High Five Day

British government moves to censor media coverage of spying operations

21 June 2013

The Guardian reported June 17 that UK Defence officials issued a confidential D-Notice (Defence Advisory Notice) June 7 to the BBC and other media organisations.

D-Notices are official requests to news editors not to publish or broadcast items on specified subjects on the grounds of “national security”. They are issued by the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, which operates between government departments dealing with intelligence and national security, and the media.

The D-Notice was issued the day after the Guardian had exposed, based on leaks provided by former US National Security Agency (NSA) sub-contractor Edward Snowden, vast and systematic police-state surveillance conducted under the Obama administration by the NSA. Its purpose was to censor any further coverage.

The order is marked, “Private and Confidential: Not for publication, broadcast or use on social media” and reads: “There have been a number of articles recently in connection with some of the ways in which the UK Intelligence Services obtain information from foreign sources.

“Although none of these recent articles has contravened any of the guidelines contained within the Defence Advisory Notice System, the intelligence services are concerned that further developments of this same theme may begin to jeopardize both national security and possibly UK personnel.”

The same day that the Guardian revealed the existence of the D-Notice, and the G8 summit of world leaders opened in Northern Ireland, the newspaper broke a five-page story based on further documents made available by Snowden. It catalogued the way that the British government, through its Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spy centre, had mounted an intensive spying operation on foreign politicians attending two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009.

It should be noted that the Guardian did not reveal the D-Notice’s existence until it had been in operation for 10 days and first made public on the British politics blog “Guido Fawkes.”

The Guardian claims “it is not clear what impact the warning has had on media coverage of Snowden’s revelations relating to British intelligence.” However, no other national newspaper has commented on the issuing of the D-Notice and Foreign Secretary William Hague, the minister responsible for GCHQ, was not asked about the Guardian ’s claims about the UK governments’ spying when he appeared on BBC radio’s flagship “Today” programme on the morning the article was published. A short item on the story appeared at the end of the “Today” programme but there has been no further mention, indicating that the BBC is fully on board with the D-Notice.

The Guardian ’s UK spying operation story was ignored by most national newspapers, including the Times and the Financial Times, in their coverage of the G8 summit. Others gave it scant attention. The Independent and the Daily Telegraph published short, almost identical articles, which sought to brush the story under the carpet. The Daily Telegraph merely noted that it had “the potential to embarrass the Prime Minister [David Cameron] as he hosts leaders from the world’s most powerful countries at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland”. It has since completely dropped the story.

Commenting on the failure to follow up the Guardian ’s story, Dominic Ponsford, the editor of Press Gazette, a magazine and web site for UK journalists, pointed to the anti-democratic basis of the D-Notice system, which has five separate, all-embracing standing notices in place ready to enforce.

Ponsford stated, “My understanding is that Monday’s Guardian coverage is seen as being in breach of DA Notice 5 [known as United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Services & Special Services]. This requests that editors seek advice from the DA Notice Committee secretary before publishing details of: ‘specific covert operations, sources and methods of the Security Service, SIS and GCHQ, Defence Intelligence Units, Special Forces and those involved with them, the application of those methods, including the interception of communications, and their targets; the same applies to those engaged on counter-terrorist operations’”

Whilst the overwhelming majority of the media have complied with the D-Notice and remain silent, the right-wing Daily Mail has launched an open attack on the Guardian and its exposures using explicitly anti-democratic and authoritarian arguments.

In an article published June 18 with the headline, “Shock horror! Britain spies on other nations”, columnist Stephen Glover writes, “Five pages of The Guardian newspaper were yesterday given over to what was presented as one of the most outrageous scandals of modern times. Horror of horrors, Britain has allegedly been bugging other governments.

“Whatever The Guardian, with its head in the clouds, may believe, the British government has an obligation to protect this country’s strategic and economic interests in a world in which foreign governments are ruthlessly pursuing theirs.”

Glover continued, “If our security services weren’t trying to find out the private thoughts of other key governments before important international meetings, they would be failing in their duty.”

Enthusing over the BBC’s silence over the reports, Glover wrote, “Even the BBC, which normally treats The Guardian as its house journal and guiding star, has so far not followed up the paper’s latest overblown revelations with as much enthusiasm as might have been expected.”

Glover concluded his piece by declaring that the interests of the British ruling class were all-important and were being directly threatened by the Guardian ’s exposures. “Don’t imagine the paper is being naïve: it is far too sophisticated for that. Treachery is too strong a word, but it is impossible to find any decent motive for what The Guardian has done. These supposedly world-shattering revelations were intended to damage the British government at the beginning of a crucial summit.”

A D-Notice was also served on the UK media in November 2010, two days prior to WikiLeaks beginning publication of 251,287 leaked US embassy cables. The cables exposed the real state of international relations, the undercover criminal activities of the US and other governments.

That D-Notice stated, “aspects of national security might be put at risk if a major UK media news outlet brought such information into obvious public prominence through its general publication or broadcast.” It asked editors to seek “advice before publishing or broadcasting any information drawn from these latest WikiLeaks’ disclosures” and warned of the “potential consequential effects of disclosing information which would put at risk the safety and security of Britons working or living in volatile regions where such publicity might trigger violent local reactions, for example Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

The message was clear. The press were under orders not to say or do anything to jeopardise the illegal and criminal wars of aggression in which the UK was involved.

As well as the draconian D-Notice’s preventing the publication of stories deemed detrimental to the “national interest”, the British ruling elite presides over a legal system that includes “super-injunctions” that allow wealthy individuals to do the same without anyone knowing of it. Britain also has some of the most punitive libel legislation in the world. What is being defended by such means is the “right” of the ruling class to conceal their illegal and criminal practises from the population.

In the UK as in the US, the mainstream media as a whole is playing its assigned role. The response of media outlets to the June 17 D-Notice is ample proof that rather than exposing government criminality, their own self-censorship serves to abet this criminality.…

Latest News Brazil – protests

juni 19, 2013


Brazil: Sao Paulo transport fare protest turns violent

14 June 2013

The protesters clashed with police, who fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowd.

The demonstrators were mostly university students, but the authorities said there were also groups of anarchists looking for a fight.

Protests against bus and underground fare rises in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo have turned violent.

Police fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and detained more than 200 people. Police say they seized petrol bombs, knives and drugs.

Violence has also been reported at protests in Rio de Janeiro.

Prices for a single ticket in Sao Paulo were raised on 2 June from 3 reals ($1.40, £0.90) to 3.20 reals ($1.50, £0.96).

The authorities say that the rise is well below inflation, which since the last price rise in January 2011 has been at 15.5%, according to official figures.


An estimated 5,000 protesters converged on the streets of Sao Paulo’s central area on Thursday – the fourth day of the protests.

Some are reported to have set fire to rubbish in the streets, while others smashed shop windows.

At least 55 people have been injured, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. It added that six of its journalists had been wounded, two of them shot in the face.

State Governor Geraldo Alckmin branded the rioters “vandals” and promised to act to avoid a repeat of the violence.

“The police acted with professionalism,” Mr Alckmin said, rejecting claims that they had used excessive force.

Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, said the demonstrations were legitimate but resorting to violence and vandalism was unacceptable.

More than 2,000 people also took part in protests against fare increases in Rio, one of the host cities for the Confederations Cup which starts on Saturday.

Latest News Syria: no-fly zone near Jordan border

juni 15, 2013


An Israeli news source:

‘US studying Syria no-fly zone near Jordan border’

June 15, 2013

Wall Street Journal reports buffer zone near southern border with Jordan would be used to train rebels, protect refugees.

As a part of its proposal to provide military aid to the Syrian rebels, the United States is studying setting up a limited no-fly zone in Syria close to the southern border with Jordan in order to protect Syrian refugees and rebel forces training in the area, two senior Western diplomats in Turkey said on Friday.

Their comments, confirmed by a third regional diplomat, came after Washington said it would step up military assistance to rebels battling President Bashar Assad in response to what it said was proof of chemical weapons use by Assad’s forces.

‘After Syria chemical arms use, US to arm rebels’

“Washington is considering a no-fly zone to help Assad’s opponents,” one diplomat
said. He said it would be limited “time-wise and area-wise, possibly near the Jordanian border,” without giving details.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the no-fly zone would stretch up to 25 miles into Syria, and would be enforced with aircraft flown from Jordan or from Navy ships in the Mediterranean or Red Sea.

US officials told the Journal the White House is considering proposals to arm and train the rebels in Jordan, but that Washington could decide to train rebels in Jordan without enforcing the no-fly zone.

The limited no-fly zone would cost an estimated $50 million a day, and would take a month to get up and running. However, the window of opportunity to set it up is limited.

If Russia decides to deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to the Assad regime, it would become too dangerous for US pilots to enforce the buffer zone, the officials told the Journal.

Imposing a no-fly zone would therefore require the United States to destroy Syria’s air defenses, entering the two-year-old civil war with the sort of action that NATO used to help topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya two years ago.

Despite that, the officials said the no-fly zone would not necessitate the destruction of Syrian anti-aircraft batteries.

The area near the Jordanian border contains some of the most densely-populated parts of Syria, including the outskirts of the capital Damascus.

Washington has moved Patriot surface-to-air missiles, war planes and more than 4,000 troops into Jordan in the past week, officially as part of an annual exercise, but making clear that the forces deployed could stay on when the war games are over.

A White House National Security Council spokeswoman declined to comment on the topic.

France: UN backing for Syria no-fly zone ‘unlikely’ France said on Friday that it was unlikely for now that a no-fly zone would be established over Syria because of opposition from some members of the UN Security Council.

“The problem with this type of measure is that it can only be put in place with approval from the international community,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told journalists.

“A decision from the United Nations Security Council is needed, and not just any decision,” he said. A Chapter 7 resolution authorizing military action was needed, and that was unlikely to be passed, he added.

Assad’s government can count on Moscow to block any such resolution if it were to be brought to a vote.

Lalliot said France had yet to make a decision on arming rebels, but that all these issues would be discussed among heads of state at next week’s G8 summit.

Apart from arming the rebels, France could also extend further help to them in the form of sharing more intelligence, providing training and planning operations, Lalliot added.

He declined to say whether that meant French military advisers would be on the ground
in Syria, although diplomatic sources have indicated some are already operating in Turkey and Jordan.

The White House said Washington would now provide “direct military support” to the opposition. It did not publicly specify whether this would include “lethal aid,” which would mark a reversal of Obama’s previous resistance to arming the rebels. But a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the package would include weapons.

Syrian rebels already receive light arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They have asked for heavier weapons including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. European countries, in particular France, have argued that the solution is to provide more weapons for mainstream rebels to marginalize extremists.

“We want anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons,” George Sabra, acting leader of the National Coalition political opposition bloc, told Al Arabiya television. “We expect to see positive results and genuine military support.”

Syrian rebel commanders were due to meet Western and Turkish officials in Turkey on Friday to discuss military assistance to the rebels. Until now Washington has been deeply reluctant to send weapons, citing a risk that they would end up in the hands of radical Sunni Muslim brigades.

One of the diplomats said that setting up a no-fly zone could also help Western efforts to monitor the recipients of any arms supplies.

Free Syria Army General Salim Idris told Al Arabiya that the Syrian opposition hopes to translate the change in American position into reality, and be given tangible access to weapons and ammunition.

He also warned that if the US backtracks on its decision to arm the rebels, Iran and Hezbollah would cement their control over the region.

US Senator John McCain, a hawk on Syria, said America needed to neutralize Assad’s air power: “They (rebels) have enough light weapons. They’ve got enough AK-47s. AK-47s don’t do very well against tanks,” McCain told CNN. “They need anti-tank weapons and they need anti-air weapons.”

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed what he said was a “clear US statement”. “The international community has made clear that any use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law,” Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels.


The Washington Times – May 10, 2013
‘Put down the arms. The Middle East peace process demands talk, diplomacy and politics, not military involvement, said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’:

Photo: On April 19, 2013, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) has negotiated with Israeli officials on sales of new weapons to Persian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Greece in crisis over state TV closure

juni 13, 2013


Greece in crisis over state TV closure

June 13, 2013
GREECE is facing a new political crisis as the government confronts a storm of public protest and a looming general strike over its shock decision to shut down state broadcaster ERT.

The socialist and moderate leftist parties supporting the coalition government were to hold an emergency meeting to decide their response as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras refused to back down.

“We are eliminating a hotbed of opacity and waste,” Samaras said at a European Investment Bank event in Athens. “We are protecting the public interest.”

The broadcaster’s television and radio stations were abruptly pulled off air late Tuesday and its nearly 2,700 staff suspended as part of the conservative-led coalition government’s deeply unpopular austerity drive.

“The ERT lockup amounts to a coup d’etat,” leading union GSEE said in a statement. It announced a 24-hour general strike on Thursday, the third in the crisis-hit country this year.

There was also a protest by journalists in neighbouring Cyprus, where there are fears that budget-straining broadcaster RIK could go the same way as the government looks to slash spending in the island’s own austerity drive.

The Samaras administration quickly presented legislation creating a new broadcaster called New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT) to replace the 60-year-old ERT.

“You can’t fix a car while it is running, you have to take it off the road,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told journalists.

“It is a temporary postponement…. Everything will pass by parliament, I assure you it’s all legal,” he said, promising a “restart” during the summer.

But the sudden shutdown of ERT caused uproar, with journalists kicking off a 24-hour strike Wednesday while defiant staff staged sit-ins at the organisation’s offices in Athens and Greece’s second-largest city Thessaloniki.

Riot police were stationed outside ERT offices around the country to prevent “any destruction”, said Kedikoglou, himself a former journalist at the organisation.

The government has imposed sweeping public cutbacks demanded by the debt-laden country’s international lenders in return for a massive bailout.

However, the spokesman insisted ERT’s closure was not part of Greece’s bailout obligations.

“This has nothing to do with the troika,” Kedikoglou said, referring to Greece’s creditors, the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Greece is caught in a six-year recession which austerity critics say has been exacerbated by successive pay and pension cuts imposed at the behest of its EU-IMF creditors.

Unemployment is steadily rising and now exceeds 26 percent, with half of young people out of work.

ERT employees, stunned by the sudden loss of their jobs, were defiantly transmitting rogue broadcasts on the Internet and the Communist party channel, vowing to resist the shutdown.

“We are not leaving the building,” Panagiotis Kalfayiannis, the head of ERT’s main union, said. “We are going to Greek and European justice. Even if they want to destroy democracy, rules still apply and I am going to fight.”

Thousands of people rushed to ERT’s main headquarters in Athens and its Thessaloniki offices on Tuesday to show their support for the broadcaster.

The European Union said it did not question the government decision but that public broadcasting was “an integral part of European democracy”.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s representative on media freedom, Dunja Mijatovic, also warned that ERT’s closure could deprive citizens of a diversity of views.

“Public service broadcasting plays an indispensable role in a country’s democracy. It is the only information source that by law has the obligation to provide objective news and unbiased information to citizens,” Mijatovic said.

Media observers acknowledge that ERT has a long history of mismanagement and heavy-handed political meddling, but say the Samaras administration is not free of blame.

Recent controversial decisions include the appointment of a former deputy minister’s daughter as a show host, and the ousting of two journalists who had criticised the public order minister on air.

Messages of support for the broadcaster have poured in from the Greek diaspora – for whom ERT is a vital link to the homeland – and the Orthodox Church.

The government said ERT would reopen with around half its current employees. All 2,655 current staff would be compensated and allowed to reapply for a job at the revamped organisation.

The shutdown followed months of work stoppages by ERT employees in protest at plans to restructure the broadcaster called for by Greece’s creditors.

Athens has pledged to cut 4,000 state-sector jobs this year and another 11,000 in 2014 to keep drawing rescue loans under the EU-IMF package.



As a reminder:

Greece: The Rise of the Junta

…Using a NATO plan to protect Greece against a communist invasion, a handful of  junior officers led by Colonel George Papadopoulos, fearful of the upcoming election and the rise of the left, overthrow the Greek government and declare martial law, outlawing strikes, labor unions, long hair on men, mini-skirts, the peace symbol, the Beatles, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Aeschylus, Socrates, Eugene Ionesco, Sartre, Chekhov, Mark Twain, Samuel Beckett, free press, new math and the letter Z…

… In June of 1967 the Junta announces Army Order No.13 which states that it is forbidden “…to reproduce or play the music and songs of the composer Mikis Theodorakis, the former leader of the now dissolved communist Organisation, the Lambrakis Youth because this music is in the service of communism … to sing any songs used by the communist youth movement which was dissolved under Paragraph Eight of the Decree of 6 May 1967, since these songs arouse passions and cause strife among the people. Citizens who contravene this Order will be brought immediately before the military tribunal and judged under martial law.”  A short time later Theodorakis himself is arrested…

… In another major even of 1969 Kosta-Gavras releases his film Z about the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis. The movie has been filmed in Algeria since it obviously could not be filmed in Greece. It is nominated for a large number of top awards, including an Oscar for Best Picture, winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film It also wins the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Picture, and is named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and National Society of Film Critics Awards . The film also is nominated for a Golden Palm award at the Cannes film festival. The soundtrack, by Mikis Theodorakis, who is under arrest at the time, becomes a hit record though of course like the film it is banned in Greece. The film ends with a list of things banned by the Junta which include the peace movement, strikes, labor unions, long hair on men, mini-skirts, the peace symbol, the Beatles, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Aeschylus, Socrates, Eugene Ionesco, Sartre, Chekhov, Mark Twain, Samuel Beckett, free press, new math and the letter Z , which means ‘he lives’…

… On March 26, 1970 the regime closes the daily newspaper Ethnos…

… In October of 1971 Vice-President Spiro Agnew visits Greece, under heavy security. Two years later he becomes the first Vice-President to resign due to criminal charges, which include extortion, tax evasion and bribery. Two months after his visit the government of Greece announces that negotiations are taking place to make Athens the home port for the US 6th Fleet. A year later the agreement is signed. The Nixon-Agnew election campaign also receives a half a million dollar donation from the Junta, alleged to have come from the CIA, though a senate investigation of the donation is cancelled at the request of Henry Kissinger…

Photo: Greece, November, 17 1973