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Britain is accused of uprooting families in Ascension Island

Press TV

A newly leaked classified document has revealed the US military knew that foreign-backed militants fighting against the Syrian government had sarin gas.

In a classified Secret/Noforn (not for foreign distribution) document obtained by WND, the US military has confirmed that militants from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Syria had sarin gas.

According to the document, which came from the US intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), al-Qaeda elements in Iraq produced a “bench-scale” form of sarin and transferred it to Turkey for use by foreign-backed militants in Syria.

The lethal gas was provided to militants in Syria through the Turkish town of Antakya in Hatay Province with Turkey’s cooperation, reported WND.

The document also says that sarin gas was used by militants in an attack on civilians and Syrian government forces last March.

Yossef Bodansky, a former director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, has told WND that the US intelligence community’s describing the sarin gas in the hands of militants as “bench-scale” shows the alleged chemical attack of August 21 near capital Damascus was perpetrated by the militants to provoke a US military intervention in Syria.

Bodansky based his argument on a preliminary analysis of the sarin which showed it was of a “kitchen” variety and not military grade.

Washington has accused the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons in an attack near capital Damascus on August 21.

Damascus has categorically rejected the accusations. In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, the Syrian president rejected the allegations that he was behind the deadly chemical attack in August.

US President Barack Obama has sent Congress a draft resolution for strike on Syria over the accusations.

However, he asked Congress on Tuesday to delay a vote, originally set for Wednesday, on his call for the use of military force against Syria in order to give a Russian diplomatic proposal a chance to play out.

On Tuesday, the Syrian government said it would accept a proposal offered a day earlier by Russia to put its chemical weapons under international control.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the CIA has begun delivering weapons to US-backed militants in Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also told a congressional hearing on Tuesday that US lawmakers should keep “the threat” of attacking Syria “on the table.”

Tony Blair attacks Islam as “fundamentally extremist” religion

(Bush-Blair, file photo)

Press TV

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has shamelessly attacked Islam as a “fundamentally extremist” religion, which could threaten future security of the UK.

In an interview with the BBC, Tony Blair lashed out at opposition Labour Party chief Ed Miliband for opposing the coalition government’s push for launching an invasion against Syria, moaning that the country “could become a potent source of extremists”.

The former head of the Labour party, who engineered the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq together with former U.S. president George W. Bush on the pretext of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), acknowledged that the true reason western warmongers are spearheading wars in the Middle East region was fighting Islam.

There is a “fundamental battle about religion and politics within Islam, which has vast consequences for our future security”, Tony Blair claimed.

“The truth is, the reason why Iraq makes us hesitant is because Iraq showed that when you intervene in the circumstances, where you have this radical Islamist issue, both on the Shia side and the Sunni side, you are going to face a very difficult, tough conflict”, the warmonger former premier added.

Blair and fellow invading countries in Iraq failed to find even a trace of WMDs in the country, but left the scene with hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed and millions more displaced as a result of expansionist policies of certain warmongers both in the UK and the U.S.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair conceded the fear western warmongers cannot sleep with whenever there is Iran and its anti-imperialistic ideology.

He called for a military intervention in Syria to topple the popular government of President Bashar al Assad, warning “without intervention there would be an Assad-dominated state, and that means in this instance an Iran-dominated state, probably around the borders of Lebanon and controlling most of the wealth of Syria.

“And then you’ll have a larger geographical hinterland to the east that will be controlled by various Sunni groups, most of whom are likely in these circumstances to be extreme, and you could have a breeding ground for extremism actually much worse and much more potent than Afghanistan.”

Blair went on to say that he was “disappointed” that the House of Commons killed a government motion that called for invading Syria militarily.

“This is something where I just have to disagree with the leadership of the party,” he said. “I know it’s a difficult position for political leaders to be put in when they have got to take decisions like this.”

Blair was forced to resign as premier in 2007 in the aftermath of the failed military invasion of Iraq, after 10 years in office.

Responding to Blair’s intervention, a Labour source told The Independent, “We have learnt the lessons of the Iraq War. That is why Ed was determined to stop David Cameron’s ill-judged and reckless rush to war.”

Expert: Firing rockets message for military, Congress, Syria and allies & related news

Lebanese Expert: Firing Rockets Message for Military, Congress, Syria and Allies

Al Manar

The Lebanese military expert and strategist retired Brigadier General Amin Hoteit said Tuesday that the joint Israel-American military force that has been formed on the sidelines of the NATO Navy forces.

A Zionist navy piece was attached to these forces without being the so-called ‘Israel’ a member of NATO,” Hotiet told Al-Manar website.

“This new attached force has tested today the rocket systems (Tomahawk and cruise missiles, as well as interceptors platform for missiles),” he added.

As for the regional and international messages behind firing the rockets, Hoteit believed that the operation holds a certain message to the military force that it is mobilized for a serious and imminent war.

“There is also a message to the U.S. Congress that the forces are ready and wait for the war approval.”

“Another message to Syria and its allies in the framework of intimidation and psychological warfare to say that the war is coming, the threat is serious and that there is no retreat from aggression,” he added.

In the final evaluation, the Lebanese expert said the rockets will not change the landscape and the balance of power, but if the United States wants to attack, it must prepare with its agents in the region for an open war.

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Israeli Army Launched Med Missiles as Part of Joint US-Israeli Drill

Al Manar

Missiles that Russia reported were launched in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday were part of a joint American-Israeli military exercise, Israeli media said.

A missile launch early Tuesday in the Mediterranean Sea was part of joint American-Israeli military exercises, Israel’s defence ministry said.

“The Israeli defence ministry and the American MDA (Missile Defence Agency) Tuesday morning at 9:15 (0615 GMT) successfully launched an Ankor-type radar missile,” it said in a statement.

The Zionist army said it was “not familiar” with any missiles being fired in the Mediterranean. It said it didn’t detected signs missiles were launched into Syria or had exploded in Damascus.

Russia on Tuesday announced that its missile early warning system had detected the launch of two missiles from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea fired towards the Sea’s eastern coastline.

The launches took place at 10:16 am Moscow time (0616 GMT) and were detected by the early warning system in Armavir in southern Russia, the defense ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

It said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had already reported to President Vladimir Putin about the event, which comes amid growing expectations of Western military action in Syria.

“The launch was detected by the early warning radar in Armavir,” the Interfax news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying. “The trajectory of the targets in question was from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea towards the eastern part of the Mediterranean coastline,” it added.

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Miqdad to al-Manar: Saudi Arabia Wants to Eliminate Syria by Every Means

Al Manar

Syrian deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Miqdad stressed on Monday his country’s readiness to confront any aggression waged against it, underlying that any attack on Syria will set the whole region ablaze.

“We all know that the West cannot be trusted, because of this we are ready for confrontation and for anything that might happen,” Miqdad said.

“Any attack on Syria will set this region ablaze. When the first rocket got fired, no one can predict the resulted repercussions,” he added.

During an exclusive interview with Al-Manar TV, the Syrian deputy FM criticized Riyadh position of Syria, and pointed out that the Saudi regime wants to end Syria by every means, to serve the American and Zionist interests.

“The Saudi regime is fallen since long in its people’s eye, as well as in the Arab nation’s eye. They are facing now the battle of challenge and last downfall.”

Fielding a question about the Saudi hastening to attack Syria, Miqdad justified it as spite, hatred:
“This is the attitude of the salve who seeks to pacify his master and to present more services which have not been requested.”

Addressing the Lebanese file, the Syrian politician expressed beliefs that Lebanon is strong due to its will and diplomats.

“Lebanon is strong because it has the will and the foreign ministers who are able to be united and defend the Lebanese interest,” Miqdad stressed.

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Lawmakers Blast Obama’s Syria War Draft

Al Manar

American lawmakers have criticized the draft of President Barack Obama’s authorization for military action in Syria, saying it could open the door to attacks on other countries.US

Obama and other White House officials pressed lawmakers on Monday to approve military force against Syria.

However, there is deep disagreement on how to proceed, with some lawmakers saying the draft authorization is too broad in scope and duration.

The lawmakers are worried that the draft could let Obama attack other countries as well. They say although the authorization’s focus is on the use of chemicals in Syria, it has not set a time limit on military action, and has not confined it only to Syria.

The proposal authorizes the president to use the armed forces “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria,” Reuters reported.

The proposal also explicitly allows military action to deter or prevent the transfer of those weapons into or out of Syria.

Congressional hesitancy reflects the overall weariness of war among Americans who oppose getting involved in Syria.

“People have become, it’s more than just war-weary, they’ve become skeptical of the effectiveness of these military involvements,” said Rep. James McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

“The resolution that they are presenting right now is so open-ended, I think even people who are sympathetic to the administration might have trouble supporting it,” he added.

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Human Shields Campaign: To Protect Syria from Potential Attack

by Ali Abdallah, Syria, Al Ahed news

A group of Syrians from all walks of life, including young artists and athletes, participated in the campaign called “Over our Dead Bodies” on Monday, to help protect the country from potential foreign military action.

The participants are shielding key facilities in the capital, Damascus, pledging to stand their ground until the US military threats are stopped or they are killed. The organizers of the campaign said they have received calls from all over the world asking for permission to join the movement. The campaign comes as amid threats of foreign military intervention in Syria.

The campaign was launched at Damascus’s Sheraton hotel through a press conference, in which Syrian artist Laura abu Asaad, Journalist Ogarit Dandash, and Swimmer Firas Maala took part. The campaign was welcomed by a vast audience, and the number of volunteers increased after a facebook page was established for the campaign.

Ghassan Najjar, the media coordinator of the campaign said “The goal of this campaign is to deliver a message to the world that says: The Syrians will not stand still before the US possible attack to be launched against their country. They will rather stand in face [of this attack] to protect Syria and its facilities with their bare bodies.”

In a statement to al-Ahed news, Najjar stated “The initiative started in Qasyoun Mount in Damascus, as it stands symbol to the capital Damascus and to all Syria. Tens of young men, women, and even children gathered in the tents that were set up for the campaign, while more volunteers arrive day after day.”

For her part, well-known Lebanese journalist Ogarit Dandash accentuated “Syrian expatriates, also some Arabs [Egyptians, Jordanians, Morrocan] and Westerners from Germany and the US have a strong desire to participate in the campaign, therefore they contact the organizers and ask about how they can support the movement, and what to do to contribute in prevent a military strike.”

According to the organizers, some young Syrians who do not belong to any party or political side have already started to execute the idea of human shields in other Syrian provinces. Also, striking it is that the campaign is not funded by any group or party.

The idea of human shields, according to Dandash, is not a similar to protests and rallies. Being a human shield means presenting oneself as armor to protect the civil and military facilities, and risk their safety.
On August 21, terrorist militants and the foreign-backed opposition in Syria claimed that 1,300 people had been killed in a chemical attack the Syrian government launched on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar.

A number of Western countries, including the US, France, and the UK, were quick to adopt the rhetoric of war against Syria despite the fact that Damascus categorically rejected having had any role in the chemical attack.

The Syrian government announced later that the chemical attack had actually been carried out by the militants themselves as a false flag operation.

On August 29, the British parliament voted against participation by Britain, the United States’ closest ally, in any potential military intervention in Syria. While the British government had primarily sought a second vote in the parliament as well, it ruled out any such vote on September 2, saying that the parliament “has spoken,” and that the government “has absolutely no plans to go back to parliament.”

On Friday, August 30, NATO also distanced itself from participating in any military intervention in Syria, with the chief of the Western military coalition, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, saying he did not “foresee any NATO role” in a war on Syria.

Syrian armed groups in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

In a report published on Friday, the armed groups revealed that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by militants mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.

“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the deadly gas attack,” wrote Gavlak.

Despite warnings from the UN, as well as Iran, Russia, and China against war, Washington has remained defiant, saying that it is willing to go ahead with its plans for a strike on Syria without the approval of the United Nations or even the support of its allies. However, US President Barack Obama said on Saturday, August 31 that his administration will first seek authorization from the Congress.

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Vatican renews calls against Syria strike

Source

A top Vatican official on Monday warned the war in Syria could escalate into a global conflict, a day after Pope Francis made an impassioned call for peace.

“The Syria conflict has all the ingredients to explode into a war of global dimensions,” Monsignor Mario Toso, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican radio.

“The solution to Syria’s problems is not in armed intervention. Violence will not decrease and there is a risk of a conflagration that extends to other countries,” he said…

Francis called for a day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria, calling on Christians, believers of other religions and non-believers to take part.

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Two Thirds of British People Oppose Strikes on Syria

Al Ahed news

A poll published by The Independent British daily showed that “the Iraq War has turned the British public against any military intervention in the Middle East.”

According to a ComRes survey for the daily, “By a margin of two-to-one, the British people oppose President Barack Obama’s plan for military strikes against Syria and say that the UK should keep out of all conflicts in the region for the foreseeable future.”

The ComRes survey suggests that MPs were right, at least according to public opinion, to veto air strikes by Britain last Thursday.

It found that only 29 per cent of people agree that the US, without Britain, should launch air strikes against the Syrian regime, while 57 per cent disagree.

Four out of five people believe that any military strikes against Syria should first be sanctioned by the United Nations, while 15 per cent disagree with this statement.

Asked whether the experience of the 2003 Iraq war means that Britain should keep out of military conflicts in the Middle East for the foreseeable future, 62 per cent agree and 31 per cent disagree.

A majority of supporters of every party agree with this statement, with Labor and UK Independence Party voters more likely to believe Britain should “keep out” than Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters.

After his Commons rebuff, a majority of people 54 per cent agree that David Cameron showed he is “out of touch with Britain” in his handling of the Syria crisis, while 34 per cent disagree. Worryingly for the Prime Minister, a third of current Tory supporters (33 per cent) and almost half of voters overall (42 per cent) believe Cameron showed he is out of touch, as do 76 per cent of Ukip supporters.

Andrew Mitchell, the Tory former International Development Secretary, said: “It may be, after lengthy and careful consideration, [the US] Congress affirms its support for the President’s plans and, in the light of that, our Parliament may want to consider this matter further.”

But Cameron’s spokesman said: “Parliament has spoken and that is why the Government has absolutely no plans to go back to Parliament.”

Downing Street indicated that Britain does not expect its military bases – such as RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, less than 200 miles from Syria – to be used in any air strikes.

Britain sold nerve chemicals to Syrian groups 10 months after crisis began

Al Manar

The UK Daily Record website revealed Sunday that the United Kingdom had allowed firms to sell nerve gas chemicals to parties in Syria in January 2012, i.e. 10 months after the Syrian conflict began.

The website noted that those chemicals, just like the sarin, are capable of being used to make chemical weapons.

The chemical export licenses were granted by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, but were only revoked six months later, when the European Union imposed tough sanctions on the Arab country.

On Saturday, politicians and anti-arms trade campaigners urged Prime Minister David Cameron to explain why the licenses were granted.

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, MP Angus Robertson, said he will be raising the issue in Parliament as soon as possible to find out what examination the UK Government made of where these chemicals were going and what they were to be used for.

“Approving the sale of chemicals which can be converted into lethal weapons during a civil war is a very serious issue,” he stated.

“We need to know who these chemicals were sold to, why they were sold, and whether the UK Government were aware that the chemicals could potentially be used for chemical weapons,” the British MP added.

Daily Record noted that the UK government have refused to identify the license holders or say whether the licenses were issued to one or two companies.

The Syrian government has denied blame for the nerve gas attack, saying the accusations are “full of lies,” pointing the finger at militant opposition groups.

UN weapons inspectors investigating the atrocity left Damascus on Saturday after gathering evidence for four days. It could take up to two weeks for the results of tests on samples taken from victims of the attack, as well as from water, soil and shrapnel, to be revealed.

Syria still on alert & calls on UN to stop US strike

Syria Still on Alert Even If Strike Threat Has Receded

Al Manar

Syria’s army is still on alert, a security official said Monday, even if the threat of an imminent US-led strike has receded after US President Barack Obama decided to ask Congress for approval.

“American aggression against Syria, if it happens, is a form of support to terrorism. The army is on alert and will remain so until terrorism is completely eradicated,” the official stated.

The Syrian army has continued its military operations against the terrorist groups across Syria, according to the Syrian News Agency (SANA).

“The Syrian troops has killed a large number of fighters, including Libyans, Saudis as well as Jordanians and destroyed their weapons in Damascus countryside and in the city of al-Zabadani,” SANA mentioned.

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Syria Calls on UN to Stop US Strike, “Prevent Absurd Use of Force”

Al Manar

Syria asked the UN to prevent “any aggression” against Syria following a call over the weekend by US President Barack Obama for punitive strikes against the Syrian military for last month’s chemical weapons attack.

SyriaUS military action will be put to a vote in Congress, which ends its summer recess on September 9.

In a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council Maria Cristina Perceval, Syrian UN envoy Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari called on “the UN Secretary General to shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria and pushing forward reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria”, state news agency SANA said on Monday.

He called on the Security Council to “maintain its role as a safety valve to prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy”.

Ja’afari said the United States should “play its role, as a peace sponsor and as a partner to Russia in the preparation for the international conference on Syria and not as a state that uses force against whoever opposes its policies”.

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Putin Approves Duma Decision to Send Envoy to US for Syria Talks

Al Manar

Russian President Vladimir Putin supported Monday the Russian parliament’s special initiative to send a Russian parliamentary delegation to the U.S. Congress to discuss the Syrian crisis.

Head of the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, and head of Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, submitted a request to President Putin to use the links between the two countries in order to encourage dialogue with Washington over Syria.

Putin stressed that he is ready to support the parliamentary initiative, stating that there is no better way of direct dialogue along with presenting positions in public.

“Such a dialogue will contribute greatly to the development of Russian-American relations in general,” he said.

Matvienko noted that members of the two parliamentary boards are concerned about the development of the situation in Syria and consider military intervention without UN Security Council authorization is not acceptable.

Matviyenko expressed the hope to establish a dialogue with the U.S. Congress, urging it to adopt a more balanced stance.

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Warmongers want Syria war ploy back on table in UK

Press TV

Certain British warmongers are seeking to revive a bill killed by lawmakers last week that called for military invasion of Syria in a joint attempt by the U.S. military apparatus.

The attempt was put to vote by Prime Minister David Cameron, who together with U.S. President Barack Obama were readying their militaries to launch yet another military adventurism based on certain intelligence reports provided by Zionist and CIA spies in the wake of chemical weapons use in Syria.

However, British lawmakers, who had a bitter lesson learnt from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, unanimously rejected another war ploy which was in the making by super spies in the MI6. The rejection inflicted a strong blow on the Conservative-led coalition government, and on David Cameron and other fellow warmongers, in particular.

After the parliamentary defeat in London, Barack Obama, who was left alone in yet another military adventurism, took the initiative to put it to Congress and attribute the defeat to the U.S. lawmakers.

Back in London, chief Conservative warmongers, who see their political longevity in plotting wars anywhere in the world, began putting pressure on David Cameron to put the Syria invasion ploy back on the table.

The chief conspirers who called for reconsideration included Tory leader Lord Howard of Lympne, London Mayor Boris Johnson, former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, and former Tory foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

“The Opposition in Parliament last week got itself into something of a muddle,” said Lord Howard, adding that he hoped the question to parliamentary approval would be reopened.

Lord Ashdown said that Ed Miliband (head of the opposition Labour Party) should hold a debate on the US evidence available since last Thursday’s parliamentary vote.

“Of course the government cannot ask Parliament (for which, read, in effect Mr Miliband) to think again. There’s nothing to stop Parliament deciding to do so in light of new developments,” he was quoted as saying.

In an article in the Daily Telegraph, London Mayor Boris Johnson suggested that a new motion could be put before parliament “if there is new and better evidence that inculpates Assad [the president of Syria].”

Jim Murphy, the Shadow Defence Secretary said that if there were “really significant developments in Syria” or al-Qaeda obtained chemical weapons, “then of course the Prime Minister has the right to bring that back to Parliament.”

This is while that the popular government of President Bashar al Assad has categorically dismissed U.S.-led allegations of using chemical weapons against their own people as “blatant lies”.

This happened when UN arms inspectors were present in the country, trying to collect evidence of who used those weapons on innocent people, including women and children. The inspectors have said they need at least three weeks to submit their findings to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Assad: We were waiting for US attack & ‘no smoking gun linking Syria to gas attack’

by Martin Rowson

Assad: We were Waiting for US Attack, We’ll Emerge Victorious

Al Manar

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Syrians were waiting for such an intervention by the US, promising to get out from this war victorious.

During his latest meeting with Syrian military leaders after speculations grew on a US military strike on allegations of chemical attack on Damascus, Assad said that “since the beginning of the crisis, and we were sure that the moment will come when our real enemy knocks his head into our country intervening,” adding that he knows well that the Syrian leaders’ morals are high and “you are on full readiness to face any aggression and protect the homeland.”

But he ordered them to convey these high morals to their inferiors and to the Syrian citizens, according to Al-Akhbar newspaper.

“This is a historic confrontation that we will come out of victorious,” he ended up saying.

President Assad told a visiting delegation of Yemeni politicians also on Thursday that Syria will defend itself against any attack. “Syria will defend itself in the face of any aggression, and threats will only increase its commitment to its principles and its independence,” he said, according to Syria’s state television.

“Syria, with its resistant people and valiant army, is determined to wipe out terrorism which is being backed by Israel and Western nations to serve their own purposes of sowing division in the region, fragmenting its people and forcing them into submission,” the president added. “The people are the guarantors of victory and that is what is happening in Syria.”

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Russia Sending Warships to the Mediterranean

Al Ahed news

The Russian Interfax news agency reported Thursday that Moscow “over the next few days” will be sending an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the Mediterranean as the West prepares for possible strikes against Syria.

“The well-known situation shaping up in the eastern Mediterranean called for certain corrections to the make-up of the naval forces,” a source in the Russian General Staff told Interfax.

It further mentioned that “a large anti-submarine ship of the Northern Fleet will join them [the existing naval forces] over the next few days.”

“Later it will be joined by the Moskva, a rocket cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet which is now wrapping up its tasks in the northern Atlantic and will soon begin a Transatlantic voyage towards the Strait of Gibraltar,” the agency stated.

In addition, a rocket cruiser of the Pacific Fleet, the Varyag, will join the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean this autumn by replacing a large anti-submarine ship.
However, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a high-ranking representative of the naval command who said the changes to the country’s forces in the region were not linked to the current tensions over Syria and called them “a planned rotation.”

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Cameron Faces Mounting Opposition over Syria: Up to 70 Tory MPs Not Convinced by Case for Strike

Al Ahed news

The Guardian British daily reported Thursday that PM David Cameron is facing bigger opposition than expected over an attack on Syria, with up to 70 Tory MPs yet to be persuaded by the coalition’s case for military action.

The scale of hostility before Thursday’s initial vote in the Commons on intervention underscores why the prime minister felt it necessary to promise MPs a second vote before British forces have any direct military engagement in Syria.

He made the concession as a growing number of Conservatives publicly expressed their reservations about the case for action, including three of Cameron’s former ministers – Cheryl Gillan, Peter Luff and Sir Gerald Howarth.

Several ministerial aides, including David Burrowes and Daniel Kawczynski, have also spoken of their reluctance to back military intervention, raising the prospect of their resignations if they fail to be persuaded by the government motion.

Backbencher support will be crucial for Cameron as Labor leader Ed Miliband has said he will not back the coalition’s motion for action against Syria.

Instead, Miliband is planning to put forward a more cautious amendment favoring action only if certain conditions have been met in a move that could win round Labor opponents of strikes such as Diane Abbott.

The caveats include seeing the results of UN weapons inspections, compelling evidence that the Syrian regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons, and clear legal advice that any strike is within international law.
Cameron and Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, have a majority of 77 in the House of Commons, so they will need to win round skeptics in the debate, which starts at 2.30 and could run for eight hours.

However, the threatened rebellion may not materialize on Thursday, as Conservatives MPs may be mollified by the text of the motion promising a second vote.

But one Tory MP said it showed the prime minister’s weakness. Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, suggested the motion offering a second vote in future was a climbdown for Cameron in the face of major opposition. “What to do when you cannot command a majority in Commons for Syria strikes? Table a motion about something else,” he wrote on Twitter.

So far about 30 Tories have publicly come out as skeptics about military strikes, putting Cameron under pressure to set out a robust legal basis and strategy in Thursday’s debate. But there are thought to be more doubters in private.
One Tory MP said he believed at least 70 of his colleagues harbored reservations about handing the coalition a broad mandate for a strike on Syria without more details and a firm timetable being spelled out to parliament.

Gillan, a senior Tory backbencher, said on Wednesday that she and many colleagues had “great doubts”, and warned that intervention could lead to “absolute disaster”. She told the Guardian she did not know how she would vote, but felt “very strongly that we must have a clear objective and thought through the ramifications”.

“I’m very cautious,” she said. ” I sat in the House of Commons listening to Tony Blair and I really believed he was telling me there was no choice. We haven’t had the Chilcot Inquiry yet but I feel we were sold a pup. This is also too important to get wrong. I need to know they have thought this through.”

Peter Luff, one of Cameron’s defense ministers until last year, also told the Guardian he remained to be persuaded in favor of an attack on Syria. “I am yet to hear a compelling case that military action would be for the best,” he said.

Another former defense minister, Sir Gerald Howarth, said he was concerned that Britain was at risk of “getting our hand caught in the mangle” of a civil war between Syrian factions.

Howarth told the BBC Radio 4′s The World at One that he was still open-minded about the vote but skeptical about the benefits of military action as Britain had to “be realistic about what it is we can achieve”.

Davis, a former shadow home secretary, told the Times he could not see a “clear outcome” and was yet to be convinced about military action, but would make up his mind during the debate.

Kawczynski, a parliamentary private secretary to the Wales secretary, said: “People are very torn about the prospect of Britain being involved again in an overseas conflict.” Asked whether he would vote against the motion and give up his government role, Kawczynski said: “The wording will be crucial. It has to refer to the UN.”

David Burrowes, an aide to the environment secretary, wrote on his website that he was “very reluctant to approve the use of British weapons or military in Syria and would need an extremely compelling case to be made to change my mind”.

While many Tory MPs said they were waiting for the debate to make up their minds, some appeared ready to vote against.

One prominent Tory backbencher, Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes, said she would vote against a military strike and called the lack of a free vote an abuse of power by her leadership. After reading the motion, she said it seemed like an “entrapment” to bury an endorsement for military action inside an “over-long and blindingly obvious essay”.

Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, said she was “extremely reluctant to support British interference”, and would be voting against any attack “as things stand”.

Among the Lib Dems, one senior politician said there was deep unease in the 55-strong parliamentary party, which was the only major one to vote against the Iraq war. There are believed to be several Syria sceptics in the party, but it was not possible to get a more precise estimate of numbers.

Lord Oakeshott, a Lib Dem peer, called on the coalition to release its legal advice about the basis for intervening before asking parliament to approve a campaign in Syria.

“This touches a very raw nerve for Liberal Democrats,” he said. “Now we’re in government there’s a very large responsibility to ensure the full legal advice on which any British act of war is based must published in full before any British button is pressed.”

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China: No Excuse for West to Strike Syria

Al Ahed news

Chinese state media warned the West against strikes on Syria Thursday as momentum mounted for attacking Syria.

In an editorial headed “No excuse for strikes”, the state-run China Daily said the US and its Western allies were “acting as judge, jury and executioner”.

“Any military intervention into Syria would have dire consequences for regional security and violate the norms governing international relations,” it said, adding such a move “will only exacerbate the crisis and could have unforeseen and unwelcome consequences”.

Making a comparison with the war in Iraq, it said the international community should not allow “itself to be led by the nose by US intelligence, which after all was responsible for claiming Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”.

China is a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council.

In an unsigned commentary, the Global Times, which is close to the ruling Communist Party, added that Washington lacked “a clear political end goal”.

“Citing ‘moral obscenity’ as an excuse to gear up for military action seems rash and hasty,” it said.

If strikes do take place, it added that “it is necessary for Russia and Iran to consider providing direct military aid” to al-Assad’s government.

In parallel, Beijing called for a “cautious” approach to the crisis, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi backing a UN investigation to “find out the truth as soon as possible”.

All parties “should avoid interfering in the investigation work or prejudging the results of the probes”, he told the official Xinhua news agency Wednesday.

Beijing says it opposes intervention in other countries’ internal affairs and has previously attempted to block moves leading to military action in overseas conflict.

————————————————————————————-

NYT: No Smoking Gun Linking Al-Assad to Gas Attack

Al Ahed news

American officials said Wednesday there was no “smoking gun” that directly links Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to last week’s alleged chemical attack near Damascus, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

They said Thursday’s public intelligence presentation will not contain specific electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or detailed reporting from spies and sources on the ground.

According to the daily, “the White House faces steep hurdles as it prepares to make the most important public intelligence presentation since February 2003, when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made a dramatic and detailed case for war to the United Nations Security Council using intelligence – later discredited – about Iraq’s weapons programs.”

“With the botched intelligence about Iraq still casting a long shadow over decisions about waging war in the Middle East, the White House faces an American public deeply skeptical about being drawn into the Syrian conflict and a growing chorus of lawmakers from both parties angry about the prospect of an American president once again going to war without Congressional consultation or approval,” it added.

The bellicose talk coming from the administration is unnerving some lawmakers from Obama’s party, who are angry that the White House seems to have no inclination to seek Congress’s approval before launching a strike in Syria.

“I am still waiting to see what specifically the administration and other involved partners have to say about a potential military strike, but I am concerned about how effective such an action could be,” said Representative Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat who is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I am worried that such action could drag the United States into a broader direct involvement in the conflict.”

Meanwhile, US Speaker John A. Boehner wrote a letter on Wednesday to Obama asking the president to provide a “clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action – which is a means, not a policy – will secure US objectives and how it fits into your overall policy.”

The discussion has even brought in former officials intimately involved in making the hurried public case for the Iraq war. In an interview with Fox Business Network, Donald Rumsfeld, who was War secretary at the time, said Wednesday that “there really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation.”

Americans over all have been skeptical about the United States getting involved in Syria’s war.

A poll published by Quinnipiac University last month found that 61 percent of people said it was not in the national interest to intervene in Syria, while 27 percent said it was. By a similar split, 59 percent opposed providing weapons to rebel forces, while 27 percent were in favor.

Snowden Leaks: UK operates secret Middle East web surveillance base

Al Ahed news

The UK has been working on a secret Middle East web surveillance base which is a part of a $1.5 billion project, a new report suggests. It intercepts and gathers emails, telephone calls, and web traffic for Western intelligence.

According to Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, as studied by The Independent, “The secret internet-monitoring project is still a work in progress and is being organized by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters [GCHQ].”

The intelligence station can intercept data both by satellite and underwater fiber-optic cables that pass through the Middle East. The data will then be copied into large computer storage “buffers.” After that, it can be analyzed and passed on to CGHQ, where it later can be shared with the National Security Agency [NSA].

In response to the leaked information, the UK argues that the base is central for the West’s “war on terror” and helps with “early warning” when it comes to possible attacks. It can also gain access to submarine cables passing through the region.

British intelligence sources maintain the base is used strictly to monitor “security, terror and organized crime.”
In its article, The Independent made clear that it was not revealing the exact location of the base. It did say that it received the information from the 50,000 top-secret GCHQ documents leaked by Snowden, many of which the whistleblower downloaded from “an internal Wikipedia-style information site called GC-Wiki” in 2012.

The UK’s main concern is that the location of the secret Middle East web intelligence base will become known in the public domain, according to the newspaper.

The base is part of a larger US$1.5 billion surveillance project code-named “Tempora,” whose overall goal of global interception of digital communications was revealed earlier though Snowden’s leaked documents.

The Middle East base was created after a warrant was signed by then Foreign Secretary David Miliband. It gave permission to the GCHQ to monitor, store, and analyze data that passed through the fiber-optic cables that link up the internet around the world.

It is worth mentioning that the issued certificates allow GCHQ to collect information about the “‘political intentions of foreign powers,’ terrorism, proliferation, mercenaries and private military companies, and serious financial fraud.”

Certificates are reissued every six months and ministers have the authority to change them at will.
GCHQ was essentially given the power to monitor anyone overseas or communicating from overseas, bypassing all other legal checks and balances in place in the UK.

The budget of the Middle East base alone is not known.

The revelation follows the Metropolitan Police’s launch of a terrorism investigation into information found on the computer of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda. The data, along with all of Miranda’s electronic devices, was seized during a nine-hour detention in Heathrow airport on Sunday. British authorities held Miranda under Schedule 7 of the UK’s Terrorism Act.

British police said the information found is “highly sensitive,” the disclosure of which “could put lives at risk.”

The Guardian newspaper took the case to court on Thursday to demand the materials seized from Greenwald’s Brazilian partner be protected by injunction.

The court ruled on Thursday that British authorities can sift through electronic documents seized from Miranda, in the interests of “national security.” The two judges gave authorities until August 30 to analyze “thousands” of documents, according to a police lawyer.

Spain demands UK to remove Gibraltar reef

Al Ahed news

Spain demanded Britain on Tuesday to remove 70 concrete blocks that had been dropped into the waters off the autonomous Gibraltar before agreeing to dialogue.

For his part, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo sharply slated Gibraltar’s concrete reef built last month in disputed waters of the Mediterranean.

Spain is renew dialogue talks with Britain, according to Garcia-Margallo, but “as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy observed earlier month to his British counterpart David Cameron, it is first necessary for the UK to show that it intends to undo the damage that has already been caused, in particular by removing the concrete blocks.”

The Gibraltarian government, belonging to the British Overseas Territories, believes the concrete reef in the Bay of Gibraltar will regenerate marine life and that Spanish fishermen illegally fish in their waters.

However, Garcia-Margallo stated in response that “Spain had no doubt about its sovereignty over the waters,” and that “they were never included in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht under which Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity.”

“These waters and this land therefore have always remained under Spanish sovereignty,” he added.

The concrete reef came amidst heated diplomatic disputes over the 6.8 km2 Gibraltar territories, home to about 30,000 people of Gibraltarians and other nationalities.

UK destroys Guardian hard drives to stop Snowden publications

by Carlous Latuff

Al Ahed news “Security experts” raided the British Guardian’s office and destroyed hard drives to stop publications of documents leaked by former NSA contractor whistleblower Edward Snowden. The daily along with the Washington Post had published classified documents on the tight surveillance that the American National Security Agency (NSA) has over citizens worldwide and in the US and revealed monitoring of internet activities, which sparked debate among Americans and worldwide governments. The US administration claims that this surveillance aims at stopping potential terrorist threats and plots, however controversy questions how effective this surveillance when it comes to monitoring activities made on the internet. On this note, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger wrote in the Monday issue of the paper that the British government officials watched as computers containing classified information passed on by Snowden were physically destroyed in one of the newspaper building’s basements. The officials had ordered Guardian employees to destroy the paper’s hard drives in an attempt to halt further publications of the Snowden documents. “Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that [reporter Glenn] Greenwald lived in Brazil?” Rusbridger wrote. Rusbridger further pointed out that “the whole incident felt like a pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age.” This “security” procedure comes after Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was held at London’s Heathrow airport under the UK Terrorism Act for nine hours before being released without pressing charges. Moreover, Rusbridger promised that the paper “will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won’t do it in London. The seizure of Miranda’s laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald’s work.” Greenwald, who first published secrets leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, had also promised to release more documents. He added that the UK would be “sorry” for detaining his partner for nine hours. Snowden, who has been granted asylum by Russia, gave Greenwald up to 20,000 documents with details about the US National Security Agency and the UK’s GCHQ surveillance operations. The latest release of top-secret documents revealed last week by the Washington Post that the NSA has broken privacy rules thousands of times each year since 2008.

British warships’ arrival at Gibraltar adds to already heated tensions

Press TV

Amid an escalation of diplomatic tensions between the UK and Spain over the disputed territory of Gibraltar, British warship HMS Westminster, accompanied by two smaller support vessels, have docked at a naval base in Gibraltar for what Britain claims as ‘navy drills’.

HMS Westminster, a Type 23 frigate fitted out with torpedoes, anti-ship and surface to air missiles as well as an anti-submarine helicopter arrived on Monday after a six-day-long sail from the UK’s southern naval port in Portsmouth.

London claims the “long-planned annual deployment” of the nine-vessel group is to take part in naval war-games, but the Spanish consider the deployment as a provocative move.

The war-game entitled Cougar ’13 officially starts later this week and involves thousands of Royal Navy, Marines and Fleet Auxiliary personnel as well as aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, which arrived on Sunday, according to British media reports.

The row between Spain and Britain erupted last month after Gibraltar authorities began building an artificial reef in the sea which Madrid says is harming Spanish fishermen. In response, Spain imposed strict border controls on vehicles coming to or leaving the so-called Rock, creating long queues for workers and tourists entering Gibraltar.

Spanish fishermen have complained that since the artificial reef was constructed they have lost a large proportion of their annual revenue as they no longer have access to rich fishing grounds.

Gibraltar was occupied by Britain in 1713 and has been since a bone of contention between Madrid and London.

Spain claims ownership over the territory with a population of about thirty thousand. Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in a treaty three-hundred years ago.

The United Nations (UN) lists the strategic 6.8-kilometer area that overlooks the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean as a territory waiting to be decolonized.

Britain sends warships to Gibraltar as dispute with Spain continues

Press TV

Britain is sending navy warships to Gibraltar amid growing tension between London and Madrid over the territory’s sovereignty.

According to reports, Royal Navy rapid-reaction force including aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious and two frigates will sail for the Mediterranean on Monday, August 12 for a four-month deployment after a diplomatic row with neighboring Spain over the territory heated up.

British Ministry of Defence (MoD), however, claimed the deployment was long-planned and not connected to recent tensions between the two countries.

“Gibraltar is a strategic base for UK Defence and as such Royal Navy ships visit its waters throughout the year as part of a range of regular and routine deployments,” an MoD spokesperson said.

The deployment of warships in Gibraltar follows weeks of rising tension after Spanish border officers caused delays of up to six hours for cars trying to enter Spain, carrying out searches on vehicles.

The move drew an angry reaction from London and British Foreign Office formally protested to Spain’s ambassador to London over the matter.

Tensions between Spain and Gibraltar flared up last month when the Rock’s authorities announced plan for creating an artificial reef for fish and boats began dumping concrete blocks into the sea. On other side of the border, Spanish authorities said the reef would block its fishing boats.

Gibraltar was occupied by Britain in 1713 and has been since a bone of contention between Madrid and London.

The United Nations (UN) lists the strategic 6.8-kilometer area that overlooks the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean as a territory waiting to be decolonized.

Leaked documents: NSA pays £100m to GCHQ

Al Ahed news

The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programs, according to leaked documents published by the British daily The Guardian.

The top secret payments indicated that GCHQ has to work hard to meet their demands.

“GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight,” a GCHQ strategy briefing said.

“The funding underlines the closeness of the relationship between GCHQ and its US equivalent, the National Security Agency,” the daily reported. “But it will raise fears about the hold Washington has over the UK’s biggest and most important intelligence agency, and whether Britain’s dependency on the NSA has become too great.”

Ministers denied that GCHQ does the NSA’s “dirty work”, but in the documents GCHQ described Britain’s surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a “selling point” for the Americans.

The documents seen by the Guardian and leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden who is now living in Russia revealed:

• GCHQ is pouring money into efforts to gather personal information from mobile phones and apps, and has said it wants to be able to “exploit any phone, anywhere, anytime”.

• Some GCHQ staff working on one sensitive program expressed concern about “the morality and ethics of their operational work, particularly given the level of deception involved”.

Moreover, details of the NSA payments are organized in GCHQ’s annual “investment portfolios”.

The papers showed that the NSA gave GCHQ £22.9m in 2009. The following year the NSA’s contribution increased to £39.9m, which included £4m to support GCHQ’s work for Nato forces in Afghanistan, and £17.2m for the agency’s Mastering the Internet project, which gathers and stores vast amounts of “raw” information ready for analysis.

Also, the leaked papers revealed that the UK’s biggest fear is that “US perceptions of the … partnership diminish, leading to loss of access, and/or reduction in investment … to the UK”.

“War Criminals are Us”. British government supports prosecution of war criminals “whoever they are.”

by Felicity Arbuthnot, source

UK Foreign Secretary Supports Prosecution of  War Crimes: “ Whoever they are.”

On 16th July, Foreign Secretary William Hague answered questions in the British Parliament, from the Foreign Affairs Committee on Developments on UK Foreign Policy.

Ann Clwyd (Labour,  Cynon Valley) whose cheer-leading and misleading for the invasion of Iraq and whose numerous visits to Iraqi Kurdistan and alleged close friendship with Kurdish war lord, Jalal Talabani, led Iraqis and Iraq watchers to dub her “Mrs Talabani”, is seemingly on the war path again.

She asked the Foreign Secretary: “

… to what extent the UK government is prepared to hold the (Syrian) opposition to account, as well as Assad, for serious human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity and so on?”

Never mind that she is seemingly ignorant of the correct form of address to the President of a nation whose ”sovereignty and territorial integrity” is enshrined in fine legalese at the UN – as was Iraq’s prior to the illegal invasion.

The usually slithery Mr Hague’s answer, however, was surprisingly  illuminating:

“I think this is a very important point, and we must be prepared to do so … But this country will always have a position that war crimes and crimes against humanity must be rooted out, their perpetrators prosecuted, and it doesn’t matter who did it.”

Surely then, immediate steps will be taken to deliver Tony Blair; former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon; former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith to the International Criminal Court at the Hague for the plotting of the illegal invasion, occupation and decimation of Iraq based on a pack of lies.

I have to hand a copy of Lord Goldmith’s legal advice to then Prime Minister Tony Blair, of 30th January 2003. Paragraph 4 states: “I remain of the view that the correct legal interpretation of (UN Security Council Resolution 1441) does not authorize the use of force without a further determination by the Security Council …”

Against this paragraph Blair has scrawled: “I just don’t understand this.” Goldsmith meekly changed his advice.

“Crimes and crimes against humanity” must indeed be “rooted out” and “perpetrators prosecuted.”

I await with hope, the sound of a few dawn raids and splintered doors. Hopefully one will be in the Cynon Valley for just one of Ms Clwyd’s outrageous untruths. She had seen personally the shredding machines, through which Saddam Hussein fed live human bodies, feet first, she told the House of Commons, in a voice-breaking Oscar performance. They did not, of course, exist.

Britain pockets £12bn from arms exports to controversial regimes

Press TV

The British Foreign Office has approved more than £12 billion worth of current export licenses for arms and military gear to countries with a bad human rights record.

According to a cross-party group of MPs, 3,000 current export licences for arms and military equipment have been approved for 27 regimes on the Foreign Office’s list of human rights violators that include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel.

“The government should apply significantly more cautious judgments when considering arms export licence applications for goods to authoritarian regimes‚ which might be used to facilitate internal repression‚ in contravention of the government’s stated policy”, said the former Conservative defence minister Sir John Stanley.

The agreement of almost 400 arms export licences for the Israeli regime and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, for equipment worth nearly £8billion, includes sections for body armour, parts for “all-wheel drive vehicles with ballistic protection”, assault rifles, pistols, military support vehicles, and small arms ammunition.

The existence of one licence to Israeli regime and the Occupied Palestinian Territories has not been made public until Wednesday. Worth £7.7bn, it relates to cryptographic equipment, which has dual defence and civilian use.

Over 400 current export licences to the Saudi regime include vehicles, components for military communications equipment, crowd-control ammunition, hand grenades, smoke/pyrotechnic ammunition and teargas.

“It would be hard not to conclude that the UK government’s arms sales practices are at odds with its stated policy not to send weapons to anywhere that poses a clear risk that they could be used for human rights violations,” Amnesty Intl.’s arms control expert Oliver Sprague said.

The scale and detail of the deals emerged after a forensic investigation by a committee of MPs, who also discovered that strategically controlled items have been sent to Belarus, Zimbabwe, China, Sri Lanka and Russia, – all of which feature prominently on the Foreign Office’s list of states with worrying civil rights records.

There are even three existing contracts for Syria, notwithstanding the fact that the UK is sending equipment to foreign-backed terrorists fighting the popular government of President Bashar al-Assad regime and is considering arming them. There are also 57 for Argentina, which is not on the list, but which remains in confrontation with Britain over the Falklands.

The countries for which the largest numbers of licences have been issued include China with 1,163 with individual licences worth £1.4 billion, Saudi Arabia with 417 licences and a value of £1.8 billion, and Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories with 381 licences and a value of £7.8 billion.

Labour MP Richard Burden, who chairs the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, said: “Many of the countries on the list are in the Middle East and North Africa. But what is most striking is that over half of the total is going to ‘Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories’. Look a little closer and you see that almost all of those exports are going to Israel, with only £5,539 going to the Occupied Territories. Look closer still and you see something utterly astonishing – 380 different licences have been granted for exports of arms and military equipment to Israel”.

The total cost of the exports remains unknown as some of them are approved with unlimited licenses.

‘Infiltrated from all sides’: Bug found in London’s Ecuadorian embassy

RT

A hidden microphone has been discovered in the Ecuadorian ambassador’s office in London, said Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino. He denounced the find as yet more evidence of the loss of ethics at an international level in government relations.

“We regret to inform that we have found a hidden microphone in the London embassy,” said Patino at a press conference He added that he had received intelligence that pointed at the origin of the security breach and would reveal it later on Wednesday.

The device itself had been discovered almost three weeks ago on June 16 in the office of the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the UK, Ana Alban, in a routine security check ahead of Patino’s visit.

“I did not bring this up before because I didn’t want my visit to London to hold talks on Julian Assange to be confused with accusations over this surveillance device found in the ambassador’s office,” he told press.

The head of the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry stated that he would have to consult with President Rafael Correa on the issue and they would require an explanation from the country responsible.

Moreover, Patino clarified that he was not insinuating this discovery had anything to do with the US spy network, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Patino went on to voice his concerns that the Ecuadorian government was being “infiltrated from all sides.”

“This is a testament to the loss of ethics at an international level in the relations that we have with other governments,” noted Patino.

During his visit to London, Patino held negotiations with his British counterpart, William Hague, to push for the safe-conduct of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to Ecuador where he has been granted asylum. Assange has now been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over a year as UK authorities threaten to arrest him if he sets foot outside the diplomatic mission.

The British government refused to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador and reiterated their commitment to extradite the whistleblower to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over accusations of sexual assault.

Ecuador is also currently assessing the asylum request of former CIA employee Edward Snowden, who is held up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. He is currently unable to travel as his passport is invalid.

Washington has issued an extradition order against Snowden under the espionage act and called for international cooperation in returning him to American jurisdiction.

The US threatened the Ecuadorian government with taking away a lucrative customs tax agreement if the Latin American country grants Snowden asylum.

The Ecuadorean government reacted with ire, stating that in the face of “insolence” and “threats,” Ecuador will renounce its trade benefits with the US.

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