Thursday, July 28, 2016

Turkish minister: 95% of the Turkish people believe Gulen is behind the coup....

    Thursday, July 28, 2016   No comments
ISR comment: ... and we have arrested the other 5%.


Turkish ruling party's pursuit of a purge and the revelation that Gulen was behind the failed coup before any credible investigation took place adds credence to the claim made by Gulen that Erdogan might be behind the coup.
Some European officials also voiced concern that Turkish authorities appear to have had a prepared list of the people they arrested or fired immediately after the coup.
Turkish officials are not helping their case either.

To claim that that 95% of the Turkish people believe that Gulen is behind the coup is to suggest that Turkish authorities operate on suspicions not on facts backed by evidence. After all, how did this minister know that 95% of the Turkish people believe that Gulen is behind the coup? Did he have to exaggerate?

In fact there are actual surveys, but they put that number at 64%, not 95%.
Looking at the images of Erdogan's supporters brutally beating soldiers, one gets the impression that it is actually Erdogan who launched a successful coup.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rights group: There is"credible evidence" that Turkey has tortured hundreds of people detained following the July 15 coup attempt

    Sunday, July 24, 2016   No comments
Rights Group Says Turkey Coup Detainees Have Been Tortured
Amnesty International says it has "credible evidence" that Turkey has tortured hundreds of people detained in a wave of arrests following a failed July 15 coup attempt.

The global rights watchdog said on July 24 that some of those in custody were being "subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centers in the country."

Turkish authorities have detained more than 13,000 people in a crackdown following the failed military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Some 6,000 of those detained have been formally arrested.

London-based Amnesty International cited interviews with doctors, lawyers, and an official in a detention center in saying that evidence suggests detainees have been subject to brutal abuses.

A senior Turkish official was cited by the AFP news agency as denying the group's allegations and pledging that the country would not violate human rights.

"The idea that Turkey, a country seeking European Union membership, would not respect the law is absurd," the unidentified official was quoted as saying.



Saturday, July 23, 2016

Confirming what was rumored in 2013, Saudi Arabia Offered Russia influence in the Middle East in return for dropping its support for Assad

    Saturday, July 23, 2016   No comments
ISR Weekly: 
The Saudi rulers must think that there are no limits to the power of money in shaping the world according to their desires. After all, they have been so successful in building an image of a moderate nation when the kingdom actually have troubling human rights record. They have used money to pay off coalition partners to have their coutnries' names attached to the Saudi war on Yemen. They threatened to withhold money from UN relief organizations unless the UN removes the kingdom's name from the UN Blacklist of nations that kill children. They threatened to dump $750 billion of U.S. government bonds if the administration released documents that point to the kingdom's role in 9/11 attacks and passing laws that allow the 9/11 victims to sue Saudi citizens and government officials. And now they are confirming that they tried to bribe Putin so that he drops his support for the Syrian government. Apparently, they are mistaken. Putin turned down their offer and U.S. released the 28 pages. The kingdom's name will be linked to killing children in Yemen regardless. The truth cannot be obscured forever.


__________
Saudi Arabia will offer Russia access to the Gulf Cooperation Council Market and regional
investment funds if it ends its support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said in an interview with the Politico.eu news website.

Russia’s military intervention in Syria began in September last year, purportedly to fight the Islamic State, but many analysts have seen it as a way to prop up Assad's government by mostly attacking groups opposed to the regime.

Saudi Arabia provides financial and military support to several rebel groups in Syria and has long proposed a handover of power or the forcible removal of Assad.           

Saudi Arabia, according to Al-Jubeir, can offer Russia a foothold in the Middle East if a compromise can be found on the Syria conflict.

“We are ready to give Russia a stake in the Middle East that will make Russia a force stronger than the Soviet Union” with access to a pool of investment “greater than China’s," he said.

“It would be reasonable for Russia to say, that’s where our relations will advance our interests, not with Assad. We don’t disagree on the end game in Syria but how to get there," he claimed.

“Assad’s days are numbered," he said, “so make a deal while you can.”

The Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia. Source





Friday, July 22, 2016

Why were 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report classified for over 13 years?

    Friday, July 22, 2016   No comments
 ISR Weekly: A document that was classified by two U.S. administrations is finally out. The delay in releasing a document related to the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil by itself raised many concerns. The content, redacted still, though is damning to both the rulers of Saudi Arabia and U.S. officials. Below are excerpts from some media coverage of the release of the 28-pages.

***** 

The long-classified document detailing possible connections between the government of Saudi Arabia and the Sept. 11 terrorist plot released on Friday is a wide-ranging catalog of meetings and suspicious coincidences.

It details contacts between Saudi officials and some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, checks from Saudi royals to operatives in contact with the hijackers and the discovery of a telephone number in a Qaeda militant’s phone book that was traced to a corporation managing an Aspen, Colo., home of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

The document, 28 pages of a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is also an unflattering portrayal of the kingdom’s efforts to thwart American attempts to combat Al Qaeda in the years before the attacks. NYT
*****
The classified 28 pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 report have finally been made public, although in redacted form. It took fourteen years for the public to see this document, which was classified by the Bush Administration.
The 28 Pages makes it clear that the hijackers had handlers who were reporting to, funded by and taking directions from figures at the highest levels of the Saudi government.  But to understand why that conclusion follows inescapably from the revelations in these pages, it is essential to  know how these lines of control work, both in intelligence agencies  in general and within the Saudi royal family in particular.
Together with what is already known, this document is explosive.
Reports related to the 28 Pages - as well as all US and foreign government talking points - have focused on two claims in order to discredit or minimize the 28 Page document:
1. The information contained within the 28 Page document is “raw” and unvetted.
2. There is no new information in the document.
Neither of these talking points is true. The 28 Page document has been classified for 14 years. In that time, many of the allegations contained within it have been leaked to the press, including FBI investigations of the allegations, the context of the allegations, as well as the confirmation of the allegations. The CIA has also leaked additional information related to this document. So while this document and the allegations within it may have been “raw” data in 2002, that is no longer the case.
The arguments that the 28 Pages provides no new information does not account for the new pieces of information that it does include as well as the context it provides.
The journalist concluded the following"
The 28 Page report is primarily focused on the San Diego cell of the 9/11 plot, with a few exceptions. There is no such in depth examination of Saudi government connections to the other 9/11 hijackers. Consider the case of the al-Hijji couple.
Yet even just based on the San Diego cell connections alone, there is concrete proof of Saudi government funding to the handlers of 9/11 hijackers as well who also happen to be Saudi intelligence officers.
1. Prince Bandar is implicated through financial support and through phone records to the handlers of the San Diego cell as well as other terrorist activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan. While some have argued that his financial support may be part of the alleged deal that Prince Turki made with Osama bin Laden (see background), the channels of funding do not match the alleged agreement and appear to be operation based rather than organization based - meaning - the funding is provided toward a specific group of people all working together on something rather than an ideological movement.
Many in the media have said there is no smoking gun in the 28 page document. If by smoking gun people want the type of evidence that would put Bandar and Atta in the same room together, then no such smoking gun will ever be discovered. That is not how intelligence operatives work. There are middlemen and the US government have identified five of them by name: Bayoumi, Bassnan, Hussayen, Thumiary, and al-Qudhaeein. Four out of the five have Saudi Government jobs as well as ties to 9/11 hijackers. Four of them also appear to be Saudi intelligence officers with Saudi Government jobs as their cover. Two of them got direct funding from Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa as well the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation (run by Prince Bandar’s father). As intelligence officers of the Saudi Government, they likely got funding from the GID (run by Prince Bandar’s brother-in-law/half cousin).  One of them got additional funding by an unidentified Saudi Prince within the circle of the King.  One of them reported directly to Bandar in his capacity as a Saudi Consulate employee. Three of them are tied through phone calls to the Saudi Embassy and other Saudi Government departments. All of them were protected by the Saudi Government. Add to this the several unnamed individuals who are linked to both the Saudi Embassy and the hijackers. Moreover, connections to Bandar appear in several terrorist suspect’s phonebooks.
Finally, Bandar’s promotion to the head of the GID in the three years after the 9/11 attacks also adds context. All of this together is a smoking gun that links one of the key Saudi Government officials and one of the highest ranking members of the Saudi Royal Family to terrorist activity. While this evidence does not prove that Bandar was involved in the 9/11 plot or even aware of it, it is enough evidence to warrant naming him a suspect.
2. Bayoumi, Bassnan, Hussayen, Thumiary and Qudhaeein as well as Abdullah (see Bayoumi in 28 pages above) should all be named as suspects and co-conspirators in the attacks of the 9/11. Along with the 15 hijackers of Saudi nationality, these six men make a total of 21 Saudi nationals involved either knowingly or unknowingly in the largest attack on US soil. 
3. The Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation is implicated in supporting the handlers of the 9/11 hijackers financially and structurally. While some may argue that the funding from the Ministry of Defense is part of protection money paid by Saudi Arabia via Prince Turki’s agreement (see background above), the financials are outside of the perimeters of the alleged agreement. Moreover, all of the human resources, covers, documents, etc., provided for the 9/11 hijackers show support for a specific operation rather than a larger, ideological movement.
4. Prince Sultan as head of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation may have not know what Bayoumi was up to, but he certainly had to have known who Bayoumi was. Moreover, since Sultan was not only head of the a Saudi Government agency that financed Bayoumi, but is also the father of Bandar - who in turn also financed Bayoumi - it defies logic that the two men had never discussed Bayoumi or questioned his activities.  Sultan’s promotion as the Crown Prince in 2005 also appears to provide context. There is enough evidence to warrant naming Prince Sultan a person of interest in the attacks of 9/11.
5. The Saudi GID is implicated in supporting the 9/11 plot financially and structurally. Four  Saudi intelligence officers have been identified as part of the plot to fund, train, and acclimate the hijackers to American society.  All four were provided with Saudi Government cover jobs.  Two were allegedly provided with falsified documents by the Saudi Government Two additional suspected Saudi intelligence officers were tied to two different incidents of casing/dry run. In addition, there is the matter of al-Hajjii, not named in the 28 Pages (or referenced, but redacted). That brings the total of known and suspected Saudi intelligence operatives to seven, in addition to the Saudi hijackers. All of these men were paid by the Saudi intelligence apparatus, which reported directly to Prince Turki. While not named directly in the 28 Page report, the role of the GID is clear. There is enough evidence to warrant naming Prince Turki a suspect in the attacks of 9/11.
5. An unnamed Saudi Royal provided funding to Bassnan. This person should be named a person of interest.
6. The Saudi Government’s refusal to share intelligence before 9/11 as well makes them a questionable ally. But their refusal to make available all of the suspects as well as protect the highest members of the Saudi Royal Family who may or may not be involved (although should be named suspects), makes them conspirators after the fact. The Saudi Government’s refusal to allow civil action against key suspects by the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families demonstrates that Saudi Arabia is not an ally of the American people. The Saudi Government’s threats of undermining of US currency should the victims of 9/11 be allowed to take civil action further underscore that they are no friend or ally to the United States. Source of analysis
*****
U.S. government finally released 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report that detail possible ties between the Saudi Arabian government and the 9/11 hijackers.

The document lists various forms of assistance provided by Saudi agents to the hijackers, including help finding a flight school and various forms of financial support when the hijackers arrived in the United States. Many of the findings in the report have not been fully vetted as several of the Saudi agents named in the 28 pages have refused to cooperate.

But that has not stopped Saudi-funded lobbyists and media outlets from claiming that the disclosure of the 28 pages ends all speculation about the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terror attacks. Several outlets controlled by Saudi Arabia’s vast public relations machine are trumpeting the document as a vindication that closes the door on any suggestion that the Saudi government had any ties to the 9/11 terrorists.

“The question of Saudi involvement in 9/11 should be entirely put to rest,” said Fran Townsend, a former Bush administration official, in a 28-pages-related video posted on social media this week. The video was produced by Focus Washington, an interview series managed by Qorvis MSL, a lobbying firm retained by the Saudi government to influence American policymakers. The Saudi Embassy Twitter account distributed the video.

    Watch: Frances Townsend on the release of the 28 pages https://t.co/vGcaCswgYI

    — Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) July 20, 2016

Other media outlets with ties to the Saudi government have used the 28 pages to dismiss concerns about Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Andrew Bowen, writing for al Arabiya, declares that the document ends any “conspiracy” that the Saudi government provided support to the hijackers. Another al Arabiya columnist, Turki Aldakhil, goes a step further, and in a piece about the 28 pages (“The Sept. 11 road began from Tehran”), attempts to claim that the declassified document should raise questions about Iran. The 28 pages, notably, does not include any information about Iran, and in contrast to Aldakhil’s claims, Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah is at war with al Qaeda.

Al Arabiya is an English language news outlet controlled by members of the Saudi Royal family. As we’ve reported, the outlet has responded quickly to other Saudi-related controversies to push stories that reflect a narrative promoted by the Saudi government. Source of analysis.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fighters from US-backed Syrian rebel group beheads child in Aleppo, Syria

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016   No comments
The US is investigating a video which appears to show members of one of the Syrian rebel groups it has funded beheading a child. U.S. said its support to the group might be reconsidered.

Images of a fighter cutting off the small boy's head with a knife matched some of the worst brutalities committed by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) group, which has killed hundreds of captives in Syria and neighbouring Iraq in the past three years.

The boy, who looked to be around 12 years old, was captured near Handarat Refugee Camp in northern Aleppo by Nour al-Din al-Zenki - the main opposition faction fighting the Syrian regime in newly besieged city.



Before being killed, he is shown on the back of a truck being taunted by several men who say he was from a Palestinian faction which fights in Aleppo in support of President Bashar al-Assad.


"This is a prisoner from the Quds Brigade. They don't have men any more so they've sent us children today," one of the men is heard saying. "These are your dogs, Bashar, children of the Quds brigade," said another.

A fighter then cuts off his head and holds it up for the camera as others in the group shout “Allahu akhbar”, or God is great.

It is thought the boy, who was bloodied and could be seen with an IV drip tube in his arm, was being treated by activists in the group before more radical elements dragged him away.

The graphic video has been shared on social media, where it has been met with outrage and condemnation.

The group has received military support from Washington, including anti-tank TOW missiles. While Zenki’s funding stopped last year, the footage raises questions about the groups the US has backed in the Syrian civil war.
An Amnesty International report released earlier this year found that Zenka was responsible for torture and forced confessions in Aleppo, where it is based... source

The US may reconsider its support for the “Syrian moderate rebels” if reports of anti-Assad rebels beheading a Palestinian boy are confirmed. The State Department has vowed “consequences” if the gruesome videos of the death are true.

The State Department has said that videos of the boy’s death are not proven to true, yet.
    If we [the United States] can prove indeed what happened and this group [al-Zenki] was involved in it… it would give us pause about any assistance or frankly any further involvement,” Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department, Mark Toner, said at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

Toner refused to provide information what “consequences” the Syrian “moderates” would face if it turns out that they had been behind the bloody incident.

"Moderate" rebels cruelty exceeded Daesh's: The boy was asked for a last wish, he said he wanted to be shot not slaughtered; they laughed, and said, Slaughtered you will be. And they beheaded him.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Amnesty: Syrian rebels guilty of war crimes

    Friday, July 08, 2016   No comments


ISR comment: Four years later, NGOs and western media start to report on the crimes committed by opposition groups in Syria. As early as 2012, ISR reported on war crimes and crimes against humanity--self-documented crimes-- committed by the so-called Free Syrian Army groups, which were--and many of them still are--sponsored and protected by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey and their Western allies.


_______________
Armed groups surrounding the Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo city have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate attacks that have struck civilian homes, streets, markets and mosques, killing and injuring civilians and displaying a shameful disregard for human life, said Amnesty International.

The organization has gathered strong evidence of serious violations from eyewitnesses, and obtained the names of at least 83 civilians, including 30 children, who were killed by attacks in Sheikh Maqsoud between February and April 2016. More than 700 civilians were also injured, according to the local field hospital. Video evidence seen by Amnesty International shows artillery shelling, rocket and mortar attacks carried out by the Fatah Halab (Aleppo Conquest) coalition of armed groups in the area, targeting the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) controlling the area.

“The relentless pummelling of Sheikh Maqsoud has devastated the lives of civilians in the area. A wide array of armed groups from the Fatah Halab coalition has launched what appear to be repeated indiscriminate attacks that may amount to war crimes,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

There are around 30,000 civilians living in Sheikh Maqsoud which is a predominately Kurdish part of Aleppo city. The area is controlled by YPG forces and surrounded from the northern, eastern and western fronts by opposition armed groups who have targeted it from all three sides. Syrian government forces control areas south of Sheikh Maqsoud. In 2014, YPG forces started fighting against the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS). In recent months however tensions have increased with opposition armed groups, particularly in the Aleppo area. Attacks by armed groups have killed at least 62 YPG fighters, according to the Families of the Martyrs Association.

In recent days the very fragile cessation of hostilities across Syria agreed to in Geneva in February was extended to areas around Sheikh Maqsoud in the Aleppo Countryside governorate. However, attacks on Sheikh Maqsoud have continued unabated over the past few months.
Mounting evidence of indiscriminate attacks

Satellite imagery, obtained by Amnesty International and corroborated by testimony from residents, shows destroyed and badly damaged houses in a residential street in the western part of Sheikh Maqsoud, more than 800 metres away from the frontline.

Mohamad lost seven members of his family when his home in Sheikh Maqsoud was struck by an improvised ‘Hamim’ rocket launched by an armed group on 5 April 2016. Those killed included his 18-month-old daughter, his two sons, aged 15 and 10, and an eight-year-old nephew. He and two of his other young nephews sustained shrapnel wounds and were critically injured. His home is 800 metres away from the frontline.

“There are no [military] checkpoints near my house. It is a residential street and there are even people displaced by fighting or who fled airstrikes in Aleppo city living on the same street,” he told Amnesty International.

Two days earlier Mohamad’s neighbour’s house was hit by a mortar which killed two children.

Another resident of Sheikh Maqsoud told Amnesty International that the shelling intensified in February and that people spent days in their homes unable to leave. She described how her home was attacked in April by what she believed was a weapon fitted with a gas canister.

“All I remember was the walls collapsing and hearing an explosion. We got injured – I had shrapnel in my hands and legs […] We live […] very far away from the frontline. There are no checkpoints close by or any other military points,” she said.

Saad, a local pharmacist living in Sheikh Maqsoud, described 5 April 2016 as “the bloodiest day the neighbourhood had witnessed”. Shelling from armed groups continued for nine hours straight, he said.

source...

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Chilcot Report on Iraq War: Devastating critique of Tony Blair and his government

    Wednesday, July 06, 2016   No comments
The effects of the illegal war on Iraq is still being felt in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi casualties of 2003 war and occupation
The Guardian commented and summarized the report as follows:

John Chilcot has delivered a devastating critique of Tony Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003, with his long-awaited report concluding that Britain chose to join the US invasion before “peaceful options for disarmament” had been exhausted.

The head of the Iraq war inquiry said the UK’s decision to attack and occupy a sovereign state for the first time since the second world war was a decision of “utmost gravity”. He described Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, as “undoubtedly a brutal dictator” who had repressed his own people and attacked his neighbours.

But Chilcot – whom Gordon Brown asked seven years ago to head an inquiry into the conflict – was withering about Blair’s choice to join the US invasion. Chilcot said: “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”

The report suggests that Blair’s self-belief was a major factor in the decision to go to war. In a section headed Lessons, Chilcot writes: “When the potential for military action arises, the government should not commit to a firm political objective before it is clear it can be achieved. Regular reassessment is essential.”

The report also bitterly criticises the way in which Blair made the case for Britain to go to war. It says the notorious dossier presented in September 2002 by Blair to the House of Commons did not support his claim that Iraq had a growing programme of chemical and biological weapons.

...
Chilcot’s report is more damning than expected and amounts to arguably the most scathing official verdict given on any modern British prime minister. His 2.6m-word, 12-volume report was released on Wednesday morning, together with a 145-page executive summary.

It concludes:

• There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.

• The strategy of containment could have been adopted and continued for some time.

• The judgments about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – WMDs – were presented with a certainty that was not justified.

• Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam were wholly inadequate.

• The government failed to achieve its stated objectives.

...
The Report of the Iraq Inquiry - The Executive Summary:
http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/246416/the-report-of-the-iraq-inquiry_executive-summary.pdf

Full report can be found here:
http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/the-report/

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