Kashmiris observing Black Day today

Source

Srinagar, January 26 (KMS): Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and across the world are observing Indian Republic Day, today, as Black Day in protest against India’s continued denial of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

Call for the observance of the Black Day has been given by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani, and other Hurriyat leaders and organizations including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat forum. The day is marked with a complete strike in occupied Kashmir and anti-India demonstrations and rallies in world capitals.

This year, the observance of the Black Day is also aimed at registering protest against the continued lockdown of occupied Kashmir imposed by India for the past almost six months since August 5, last year.

Meanwhile, stringent measures in the name of security have been taking on the India’s Republic Day, today, brining more miseries to the already besieged people in occupied Kashmir. Indian troops have intensified checking and frisking in Srinagar city and other parts of the territory.

While the Kashmir Valley remains under strict military lockdown on 175th straight day, today, Indian troops and police personnel have been deployed in strength to keep a watch on the movement of people. The forces’ personnel have set up check points on every road and chowk where commuters and pedestrians are being frisked and vehicles are checked thoroughly.

In Srinagar, all roads leading towards a cricket stadium, where the main function of 26th January is scheduled to be held, have been sealed with barbed wire and barricades have been erected around the stadium. Unprecedented arrangements have been made in and around the stadium.

A close vigil is being maintained on all vehicles and pedestrians entering the city. Police personnel can be seen carrying out surprise checking of the vehicles on the entry and exit points in the summer capital. The cops are also frisking motorcyclists and passengers of vehicles in the city. Similar reports have emerged from other parts of the territory.

The occupation authorities have ordered closure of all tuition and coaching centres as well as computer institutions.

“My trip to China exposed shameful lies peddled by American empire” – Danny Haiphong — The Wall Will Fall

In diplomatic terms, this indicated that China is very aware that the United States is holding back global progress toward peace and prosperity by way of its imperial model of governance.

via “My trip to China exposed shameful lies peddled by American empire” – Danny Haiphong — The Wall Will Fall

US Agency for Global Media: the Empire’s Newest Propaganda Arm — Astute News

My first reaction to learning about the creation of a new government agency, the US Agency for Global Media, was one of complete surprise and ANGER. Does not the US government already have at its disposal enough purported media – VOA and democracy support groups, NDI, collaborating media and a wide range of related agencies? […]

via US Agency for Global Media: the Empire’s Newest Propaganda Arm — Astute News

Netanyahu/Gantz White House Invitation to Discuss Trump Regime’s No-Peace/Peace Plan

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Leaked information shows Trump’s so-called deal of the century is a one-sided scam, favoring Israel at the expense of fundamental Palestinian rights.

The so-called peace process is the greatest hoax in modern times, along with the US war OF terror worldwide, not on it.

Israeli/Palestinian no-peace/peace plans have been around since the 1970s — a near-half century of failure to reach accommodation proof positive of US/Israeli unwillingness to respect Palestinian rights.

If both countries wanted conflict resolution resolution with Palestinians, it would have happened long ago.

Former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir explained why not. He and his predecessors wanted forever talks accomplishing nothing – giving Israel time to steal all valued Palestinian land.

His successors to the present day followed the same strategy.

Since Israel seized control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in 1967, colonizing and developing the most valued Palestinian land for exclusive Jewish use became official state policy — explained by Yigal Allon’s regional scheme, its elements including:

• permanent militarized occupation;

• maximum land for Jews with minimum Arabs;

• dispossessing Palestinians from areas Israel wants for exclusive Jewish development and use;

• annexing all valued parts of Judea and Sumaria;

• controlling Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital;

• establishing settlements, military bases, free-fire zones, commercial locations, tourist sites, nature reserves, no-go areas, Jews-only roads, checkpoints, other barriers, and other exclusive Jewish areas — non-Jews excluded from them;

• stealing Palestinian resources; and

• cracking down hard on resisters. 

The above policies make peace, stability, equity and justice for Palestinians unattainable.

Achieving them defeats the US/Israeli agenda — dependent on endless regional conflicts and instability.

It’s why decades of peace plans when unveiled were dead on arrival, Trump’s let em eat cake deal of the century dead before arrival.

Partly introduced last June at a so-called “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” in Bahrain, the Trump regime’s dog and pony PR show was boycotted by Palestinians.

Deceptively billed as “a vision to empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society,” the economic plan has nothing to do with peace, equity and justice for long-suffering Palestinians — everything to do with one-sidedly serving US/Israeli interests. 

Based on what’s known so far, subject to fine-tuning, Trump’s overall scheme ignores fundamental final status issues, especially real Palestinian self-determination free from Israeli occupation and control, Israeli land theft, air and water rights, other resources, the right of diaspora Palestinians to return to their homeland, and East Jerusalem as exclusive Palestinian capital. 

He illegally recognized Jerusalem (a UN-established international city) as Israel’s exclusive capital, moved the US embassy there, abandoned a legitimate two-state solution, recognized Israel’s unlawful Golan annexation, and no longer considers illegal settlements occupied territory.

Trump and hardliners surrounding him are no friends of Palestinians or ordinary people anywhere, not at home or abroad.

Information leaked last month about his no-peace/peace plan revealed it excludes 70% or more of West Bank land controlled by Israel, including the Jordan Valley, closed military zones, exclusive Jewish commercial areas, tourist sites, no-go areas, and illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. 

Jerusalem is to remain undivided, the city “shared between Israel and New Palestine” — Israel maintaining exclusive control, the way it’s been for over half a century.

On July 30, 1980, the Knesset Jerusalem Law officially annexed the city as Israel’s exclusive capital — breaching Security Council Res. 465 (March 1980).

It declared actions taken by Israel “to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity…”

In July 2004,  the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development (and) have been established in breach of international law.”

Time and again, the US and Israel breach Security Council resolutions and other international laws.

Trump’s no-peace/peace plan is all about serving US and Israeli interests at the expense of regional peace, stability, and fundamental Palestinian rights.

According to Mike Pence on Thursday, Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz will meet with Trump in the White House next week to discuss regional issues and what PA official Saeb Erekat called Trump’s “deal of the next century,” a conspiracy against Palestinian rights.

Reuters reported that the Trump regime will release his no-peace/peace plan ahead of the January 28 meeting with Netanyahu and Gantz.

DJT calling it “a great plan” defies reality. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh reaffirmed the Palestinian demand for an independent state within June 1967 borders — free from Israeli occupation and control.

On Thursday, Israel’s Channel 12, citing unnamed Netanyahu regime sources, said Trump’s plan includes exclusive Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, illegal settlements, and the Jordan Valley adding:

It supports the illusion of Palestinian self-determination, demanding a demilitarized Hamas, along with Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Jerusalem its capital.

It also reportedly stipulates that if Palestinians reject the so-called plan, the Trump regime will support Israeli annexation of illegal settlements unilaterally.

According to the Wafa PA news site, Rudeineh said the following:

“If the announcement of this deal, with these unacceptable formulas, is made, the (PA) leadership will announce a series of measures to preserve our legitimate rights, and we will call on Israel to assume its responsibilities as an occupying power,” adding:

“We warn (the Netanyahu and Trump regimes) to not cross the red lines.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassim said “any deal or project that does not contain our people’s full rights in our land and holy sites will not stand,” adding:

“All the attempts to make this deal come to pass will be squashed by our people’s resistance and steadfastness.” 

“Our Palestinian people will determine its fate by way of its ongoing revolution, legitimate struggle and absolute belief in the justness of its cause.”

On Thursday, Trump tweeted:

“Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative.”

If its provisions resemble what’s discussed above, it’ll clearly be rejected by the PA, Hamas, and the Palestinian street.

War on Dissent by the US and West Threatens Speech, Media and Academic Freedoms

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Censorship is the new normal in America and the West, wanting the message controlled, targeting what conflicts with it for elimination, notably on major geopolitical issues.

Digital democracy is the last frontier of free and open expression.

It’s threatened by social media, Google, and other tech giants —  complicit in a campaign against content conflicting with the official narrative.

Media scholar Robert McChesney earlier said without digital democracy, “the Internet would look like cable TV…a handful of massive companies (controlling) content” — deciding what’s permitted online and what’s suppressed.

Without free expression rights, all others are threatened — where things are headed in US and other Western societies.

Fundamental rights are eroding, at risk of disappearing altogether on the phony pretext of protecting national security at a time when alleged foreign threats to the West are invented, not real.

Pompeo earlier claimed “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms (sic)…He’s not a US citizen.”

Despite no evidence suggesting it, Pompeo called Assange “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia (sic),” adding:

“We have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us (sic).”

“To give (him and others) space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for (sic). It ends now.”

Pompeo declared war on speech, media, and academic freedoms — supported by Trump, falsely calling Assange an “enemy of the people.”

Following his latest kangaroo court hearing in London on Thursday, pertaining to the Trump regime’s unjustifiable extradition request, the UK complicit in its war on free expression, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said the following:

“We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” adding: 

“Now let that sink in for a second. At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach.” 

“They have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States.” 

“So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange. It’s about press freedom.”

Denying Assange the universal right of free expression endangers all journalists and everyone else. His case is precedent-setting. 

If extradited to the US, convicted of the “crime” of truth-telling journalism and imprisoned, it’ll have far-reaching consequences, all truth-telling journalists potentially threatened the same way.

Fundamental rule of law principles are universal, in place to protect everyone from abuses of power.

Dark forces in the US and other Western societies want views conflicting with official ones silenced.

In the US, earlier Supreme Court rulings upholding First Amendment rights are ignored, notably Justice William Brennan’s majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson (1989), saying:

“(I)f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.”

Justice Thurgood Marshall once said: “(A)bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” Nor does anyone else.

Separately he said: “If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.” 

“Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.”

No one on the US Supreme Court today approaches the stature of Brennan and Marshall.

Their support for equal justice under law no longer exists in the US, police state injustice replacing it, including efforts to censor views dark forces consider objectionable.

We’re all Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and others like them. 

Their fate could be ours by challenging powerful interests — wanting free and open expression replaced by controlling the message.

What’s going on is the hallmark of totalitarian rule — enforced with police state harshness.

When truth-telling and dissent are considered existential threats, free and open societies no longer exist — the slippery slope where the US, UK, and other Western states are heading.

A Final Comment

Last year, WikiLeaks said the following:

Assange is “an Australian journalist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006.”

He “was the editor of WikiLeaks until September 2018: six months of his effective incommunicado detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London then prompted Julian to appoint Kristin Hrafnsson as WikiLeaks editor-in-chief. Julian remains WikiLeaks’ publisher.”

“Wikileaks’ publications have had enormous impact. They have changed many peoples’ views of governments, enabling them to see their secrets.” 

“They have changed journalism as a practice, as debates have raged over the ethics of secrecy, transparency and reporting on stolen documents.” 

“WikiLeaks has gained the admiration of people and organizations all over the world, as evidenced in the numerous awards it has won.”

“For these contributions to public accountability and the historical record, Assange has been arrested in the United Kingdom and indicted in the United States.” 

“The US requests Assange’s extradition and has charged him with 17 counts under the Espionage Act of 1917 for the publication of truthful material in the public interest.” 

“Assange is the first journalist in history the US has charged with Espionage for publishing.” 

“He also faces one count of conspiracy to commit computer crime based on his alleged reporter-source communications with whistleblower Chelsea Manning.” 

“This charge would criminalize basic journalistic activity, as the indictment details alleged attempts to help Manning protect her anonymity as a journalistic source.”

“If extradited, Assange faces the prospect of life imprisonment in the United States” — for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be, what establishment media long ago was abandoned, operating as press agents for powerful interests.

Drone Strikes Leave Innocent Widows and Orphans — Astute News

The killing of Iranian General Soleimani was big news. There were a few points made in the Western mainstream media about its legality being dubious, but nobody seems to be concerned that it contravened international law, in addition to be totally amoral. One wonders if any of the drone operators, the little key-tapping techno-dweebs thousands […]

via Drone Strikes Leave Innocent Widows and Orphans — Astute News

Houthis Anticipate US Assassination Attempts, Warn US Troops Will Be Targeted in Retaliation

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

As tensions in the Middle East continue to rise, there are indications that Donald Trump’s administration is planning to carry out assassination operations against high-ranking Houthi officials inside of Yemen similar to the U.S. assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard General, Qassem Soleimani, a move likely to open the door for further escalation in the region.

On Thursday, a high ranking Houthi official in Sana’a told MintPress News on condition of anonymity that the Houthis would not hesitate to target U.S. troops in the region if the Trump administration targets its personnel inside Yemen.

The statement comes in the wake of an announcement by United States officials that the U.S. military tried, but failed, to kill another senior Iranian commander on the same day a U.S. drone strike killed Soleimani.

According to reports, a U.S. military air attack targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-ranking commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) while he was in Yemen, but the mission was not successful. The U.S. Department of the Treasury claimed that Shahlai was based in Yemen and accused him of having “a long history of targeting Americans and US allies globally.”

Meanwhile, Yemeni activists and media pundits are expressing concerns over what they consider serious threats from Trump administration, pointing out that news of the unsuccessful assassination in Yemen should not be underestimated. Others have called on U.S. Congress to prevent any attacks on Yemeni soil and to keep U.S. soldiers in the region out of harm’s way.

The pretexts for U.S. attacks in Yemen are not without precedent. On October 13, 2016, the U.S. military announced that it had struck three coastal radar sites in Hodeida, an area of Yemen controlled by Houthi forces, in retaliation for an alleged failed missile attack on the USS Mason, a U.S. Navy destroyer. The Houthis maintain that they were not involved in any missile attacks against the Mason.

For their part, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) were clear in their warning to U.S. leaders in the wake of U.S. assassinations in Iraq, promising that U.S. troops in the Arabian Gulf or the Red Sea would be targeted without hesitation if the Trump administration attempts to target Houthi leaders in Yemen.

Yemen Soleimani assassination

The Yemeni army, which is loyal to Ansar Allah, is already preparing for anticipated U.S. attacks. Ansar Allah’s leadership has reaffirmed that their anti-U.S. position is based on a principled and ideological commitment, but historically, Ansar Allah has not directly targeted the United States or its interests in the region.

During a televised speech broadcast live on January 8 during Yemen’s martyr’s week commemoration, Abdulmalik Badr al-Din al Houthi, the leader of Ansar Allah, said that “We will no longer acquiesce to Trump’s equation in killing us and interfering in our affairs and to do nothing is no longer acceptable.” He went on to say that the Houthis’ dealings with the “carelessness of the United States which targets the nation’s leaders will be different.”

The Ansar Allah leader pointed out that if there was no U.S. support for Saudi Arabia, the war against Yemen would not have occurred, adding that the role of the United States in the war against his country includes supervision, management, political protection, destruction, and the supply of weapons.

He also warned Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from continuing their military campaign in Yemen, saying that “developments in the region are not in their interests.” Implying that the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran could be used against both the United States and Saudi Arabia in some way.

The threats of Ansar Allah, a group known to strike sensitive targets without hesitation, should not be underestimated. On September 14, Yemen hit two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais in a retaliatory attack that the United States blamed on Iran. Now, they have developed their arsenal of ballistic missiles and drones even further and experts say are likely capable of hitting U.S. troops in the region.

According to Houthi officials in Sana’a, the Trump administration appears to be using allegations of an Iranian troop presence in Yemen, an allegation that Houthis deny, as a pretext for further military action in the country, despite no evidence to back the claim.

Furthermore, the contrast between the Houthi reaction to that of Iran’s allies in the region after the U.S. assassinated Soleimani further suggests that Iran has no significant measure of influence over the Houthi’s decision-making process.

In fact, the Houthis fiercely rejected any and all foreign attempts to influence their decisions after the assassination of Soleimani. The group, thus far, has not promised to retaliate against U.S. troops as revenge for the murder of Soleimani as Iran’s allies in the region did in near unanimity. Moreover, they treated the incident with caution and decided not to be drawn into an escalation despite angry demonstrations that took place in many of Yemen’s cities over the assassination.

However, the Houthis have signed a military cooperation deal with Iran as a result of the continued war and blockade against their country and may work with Iran to take action against U.S. troops in the region should the U.S. target Houthi leaders in Yemen. According to some strategic decision-makers in Sana’a, retaliatory attacks could take place if even a single case of a U.S. attack in Yemen were to take place.

A legacy of targeted killings

In the wake of the U.S. killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi military leader Abu Majd al- Muhandis, many Yemeni politicians fear the Trump administration could carry out similar operations against high-ranking leaders in Yemen. The Saudi-backed assassinations of former presidents Saleh al- Sammad and Ibrahim al-Hamdi, both popular figures among Yemenis, are cemented in the country’s collective memory.

On November 6, 2017, Saudi Arabia released a list of 40 names of Houthis leaders and senior figures that the Kingdom wanted dead or alive. The list was issued by the Saudi Ministry of Interior, which offered rewards of between $5 to $30 million. On April 19, 2018, former president of the SPC, Saleh al-Samad, was assassinated by Saudi airstrikes in Hodeida while preparing for a protest to statements made by the American ambassador that the Houthi-controlled city of Hodeida will fall.

Almost two years after al-Sammad’s assassination, a criminal court in Hodeida has begun the trial of U.S. President Trump along with 61 Yemenis and foreigners, all believed to be involved in the assassination of the former head of the SPC. After finding ten suspects guilty, the court held its first hearing, trying Trump and the remaining 51 foreign and Yemeni defendants in absentia in late October.

The trial, which has drawn national media attention, may only be symbolic, but it sends a clear message to the U.S. that its operations in Yemen and its ongoing complicity in the worst man-made humanitarian crisis in the world is unacceptable and will undermine U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Before his assassination, Al-Sammad was attempting to carry out a plan to rebuild Yemen into a modern, stable and democratic state by 2030. He penned the National Vision, a manifesto of 175 goals focused on independence, freedom and non-submission to foreign influence.

Yemenis’ concerns about .U.S and Saudi intentions towards their national leaders were reinforced when the Yemeni Defense Ministry revealed that both U.S intelligence and Saudi princes’ were involved in the 1977 assassination of popular Yemeni president Ibrahim al-Hamdi after he refused Washington and Riyadh’s interference in Yemen’s internal affairs.

At a press conference, Brigadier Abdullah bin Amer, a senior official at the Yemeni Defense Ministry, released important documents related to the assassination of President al-Hamdi, including the names of those involved in his murder.

Before his death, al-Hamdi was attempting to pivot Yemen away from the Saudi kingdom and the United States and build Yemen’s independence by developing it’s oil reserves and its strategic location on the Bab al-Mandeb Strait. Now, according to senior Houthi officials, Sana’a is in possession of evidence that confirms the role of President Carter’s administration and the Saudi regime in the assassination, including planning, supervising and covering up the crime, according to Brigadier bin Amer.

The Last Lunch

MintPress was shown documents allegedly exchanged between U.S. and Saudi intelligence that indicated the involvement of the United States and former Saudi Kings Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Fahd bin Abdulaziz and their brother Sultan in the assassination, but was unable to independently verify their authenticity.

According to the documents as well as witness testimony, al-Hamdi was invited to lunch at the residence of Ahmad al-Qashmi, who was the Army chief of staff under his command. During his stay there, Ali Abdullah Saleh, then a brigade commander, and one of his bodyguards entered the house. Moments after they entered, al-Hamdi was killed in a hail of bullets.

Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, according to the documents, was in direct contact with Saleh al-Hadyan, the Saudi military attaché in Northern Yemen’s capital Sana’a at the time of the targeted killing. Riyadh allegedly dispatched three Saudi intelligence operatives to Sana’a hours before the assassination who then left Yemen three hours after the operation concluded.

“Saudi Arabia killed al-Hamdi under the supervision of Saudi military attaché, Saleh al-Hadyan because he was an opponent of Saudi Arabia and did not comply with its instructions and interventions in Yemen,” The late Abdullah Saleh said in a 2016 interview with RT Arabic in which he claimed that he had “evidence of the involvement of Saudi Arabia.”

When al-Hamdi came to power in 1974, North Yemen lacked even the most basic services and infrastructure. Moreover, the country was on the brink of collapse and tribesmen held significant power and influence. Al-Hamdi, much like Al-Sammad, created a development plan supervised by a number of committees which encouraged local communities to contribute to road construction, school buildings, and water networks.

Under al-Hamdi’s direction, North Yemen underwent a period of rapid economic growth. The country’s GDP rose from 21.5 percent in 1974 to 56.1 percent in 1977 and per capita income rose by 300 percent. Al-Hamdi, according to WikiLeaks documents, was also working to “prepare the groundwork for eventual elections” in North Yemen.

Given the fate shared by those willing to risk charting a path free of foreign intervention in Yemen, it is unlikely that the Houthis, nor their fellow countrymen, will take attempts by foreign countries to assassinate Yemeni leaders lightly.

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