US and Britain wrangled over Iraq’s oil in aftermath of war, Chilcot shows

US and Britain wrangled over Iraq’s oil in aftermath of war, Chilcot shows

Terry Macalister, 7 July 2016, The Guardian

Iraq war inquiry finds Britain arguing for ‘level playing field’ for its companies in access to oilfields.

The US and British governments fought bitterly over control of Iraq’s oil following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the Chilcot papers show. Tony Blair seemed more concerned than the Americans about any invasion being seen by critics as a war for oil, telling them it would be very damaging if the two countries were seen to “grab Iraq’s oil”.

But Sir David Manning, foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair, told Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser, in Washington on 9 December 2002 that Britain still wanted more of the spoils.

“It would be inappropriate for HMG [Her Majesty’s government] to enter into discussions about any future carve-up of the Iraqi oil industry,” he said. “Nonetheless it is essential that our [British] companies are given access to a level playing field in this and other sectors.”

UK government officials called in a team from BP for a briefing about the prospects for the Iraq energy sector on 23 January 2003, two months before the invasion, which ended in May.

Later that year, the British oil company started a technical review of the Rumaila field, the second largest in the world. By 2009 BP had won a service contract to raise production on the field, which has 20bn barrels of recoverable oil.

Edward Chaplin, the British ambassador in occupied Iraq, talked of raising “BP and Shell’s interests” when he held discussions with Iraq’s interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, on 13 December 2004.

Blair had told the US president, George W Bush, at a meeting mid-invasion on 31 March 2003, that a clearer picture was needed of the shape of a post-Saddam Iraq to “sketch out a political and economic future and dispel the myth that we were out to grab Iraq’s oil”.

Yet a civil service briefing note in the same year for Geoff Hoon – then the UK defence secretary – before talks with his US counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld, discusses the need for “Level playing field: big contracts to rebuild Iraq. Putting UK lives on line. Expect level playing field for UK business in oil and other areas.”

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the United Nations, identified budgeting and oil as the two clearest examples of issues on which the UK was not consulted by the US-run coalition provisional authority put in to run Iraq.

“We did not see anything whatsoever in the oil sector; they [the CPA] kept that very closely American, because they wanted to run the oil sector,” he told the Chilcot inquiry, and was quoted in the final report.

Meanwhile, a note between two British civil servants on 6 September 2004, headed “Energy strategy for Iraq”, highlighted that the UK was to take advantage of Iraq, which has some of the world’s largest oil reserves. It said: “Iraq’s energy sector development to be complemented by the increasing involvement of UK firms, leading to sustained investment over the next five to 10 years and substantial business for the UK.”

BP declined to comment.

Iraq invasion was about oil

Iraq invasion was about oil

Maximising Persian Gulf oil flows to avert a potential global energy crisis motivated Iraq War planners – not WMD or democracy
By Nafeez Ahmed,
The Guardian, 20 March 2014
Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War – yet to this day, few media reflections on the conflict accurately explore the extent to which opening up Persian Gulf energy resources to the world economy was a prime driver behind the Anglo-American invasion.

The overwhelming narrative has been one of incompetence and failure in an otherwise noble, if ill-conceived and badly managed endeavour to free Iraqis from tyranny. To be sure, the conduct of the war was indeed replete with incompetence at a colossal scale – but this doesn’t erase the very real mendacity of the cold, strategic logic that motivated the war’s US and British planners in the first place.

According to the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) document endorsed by senior Bush administration officials as far back as 1997, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification” for the US “to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security,” “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”-

So Saddam’s WMD was not really the issue – and neither was Saddam himself.

The real issue is candidly described in a 2001 report on “energy security” – commissioned by then US Vice-President Dick Cheney – published by the Council on Foreign Relations and the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. It warned of an impending global energy crisis that would increase “US and global vulnerability to disruption”, and leave the US facing “unprecedented energy price volatility.”

The main source of disruption, the report observed, is “Middle East tension“, in particular, the threat posed by Iraq. Critically, the documented illustrated that US officials had lost all faith in Saddam due his erratic and unpredictable energy export policies. In 2000, Iraq had “effectively become a swing producer, turning its taps on and off when it has felt such action was in its strategic interest to do so.” There is a “possibility that Saddam Hussein may remove Iraqi oil from the market for an extended period of time” in order to damage prices:

“Iraq remains a destabilising influence to… the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export programme to manipulate oil markets. This would display his personal power, enhance his image as a pan-Arab leader… and pressure others for a lifting of economic sanctions against his regime. The United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments. The United States should then develop an integrated strategy with key allies in Europe and Asia, and with key countries in the Middle East, to restate goals with respect to Iraqi policy and to restore a cohesive coalition of key allies.”

The Iraq War was only partly, however, about big profits for Anglo-American oil conglomerates – that would be a bonus (one which in the end has failed to materialise to the degree hoped for – not for want of trying though).

The real goal – as Greg Muttitt documented in his book Fuel on the Fire citing declassified Foreign Office files from 2003 onwards – was stabilising global energy supplies as a whole by ensuring the free flow of Iraqi oil to world markets – benefits to US and UK companies constituted an important but secondary goal:

“The most important strategic interest lay in expanding global energy supplies, through foreign investment, in some of the world’s largest oil reserves – in particular Iraq. This meshed neatly with the secondary aim of securing contracts for their companies. Note that the strategy documents released here tend to refer to ‘British and global energy supplies.’ British energy security is to be obtained by there being ample global supplies – it is not about the specific flow.”

To this end, as Whitehall documents obtained by the Independent show, the US and British sought to privatise Iraqi oil production with a view to allow foreign companies to takeover. Minutes of a meeting held on 12 May 2003 said:

“The future shape of the Iraqi industry will affect oil markets, and the functioning of Opec, in both of which we have a vital interest.”

A “desirable” outcome for Iraqi’s crippled oil industry, officials concluded, is:

“… an oil sector open and attractive to foreign investment, with appropriate arrangements for the exploitation of new fields.”

The documents added that “foreign companies’ involvement seems to be the only possible solution” to make Iraq a reliable oil exporter. This, however, would be “politically sensitive”, and would “require careful handling to avoid the impression that we are trying to push the Iraqis down one particular path.”

Media analyses claiming lazily that there was no planning for the aftermath of the Iraq War should look closer at the public record. The reality is that extensive plans for postwar reconstruction were pursued, but they did not consider humanitarian and societal issues of any significance, focusing instead on maintaining the authoritarian structures of Saddam’s brutal regime after his removal, while upgrading Iraq’s oil infrastructure to benefit foreign investors.

A series of news reports, for instance, confirmed how the State Department had set up 17 separate working groups to work out this post-war plan. Iraq would be “governed by a senior US military officer… with a civilian administrator”, which would “initially impose martial law”, while Iraqis would be relegated to the sidelines as “advisers” to the US administration. The US envisaged “a broad and protracted American role in managing the reconstruction of the country… with a continued role for thousands of US troops there for years to come”, in “defence of the country’s oil fields”, which would eventually be “privatised” along with “other supporting industries.”

The centrality of concerns about energy to Iraq War planning was most candidly confirmed eight years ago by a former senior British Army official in Iraq, James Ellery, currently director of British security firm and US defence contractor, Aegis.

Brigadier-General James Ellery CBE, the Foreign Office’s Senior Adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad since 2003, had confirmed the critical role of Iraqi oil reserves in alleviating a “world shortage” of conventional oil. The Iraq War has helped to head off what Ellery described as “the tide of Easternisation” – a shift in global political and economic power toward China and India, to whom goes “two thirds of the Middle East’s oil.” His remarks were made as part of a presentation at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, sponsored by the Iraqi Youth Foundation, on 22nd April 2008:

“The reason that oil reached $117 a barrel last week was less to do with security of supply… than World shortage.”

He went on to emphasise the strategic significance of Iraqi petroleum fields in relation to the danger of production peaks being breached in major oil reserves around the world:

“Russia’s production has peaked at 10 million barrels per day; Africa has proved slow to yield affordable extra supplies – from Sudan and Angola for example. Thus the only near-term potential increase will be from Iraq.”

Whether Iraq began “favouring East or West” could therefore be “de-stabilising” not only “within the region but to nations far beyond which have an interest.”

“Iraq holds the key to stability in the region”, Ellery continued, due to its “relatively large, consuming population,” its being home to “the second largest reserve of oil – under exploited”, and finally its geostrategic location “on the routes between Asia, Europe, Arabia and North Africa – hence the Silk Road.”

Despite escalating instability and internal terrorism, Iraq is now swiftly reclaiming its rank as one of the world’s fastest-growing exporters, cushioning the impact of supply outages elsewhere and thus welcomed by OPEC. Back in 2008, Ellery had confirmed Allied ambitions to “raise Iraqi’s oil production from 2.5 million bpd today to 3 million by next year and maybe ultimately 6 million barrels per day.”

Thus, the primary motive of the war – mobilising Iraqi oil production to sustain global oil flows and moderate global oil prices – has, so far, been fairly successful according to the International Energy Agency.

Eleven years on, there should be no doubt that the 2003 Iraq War was among the first major resource wars of the 21st century. It is unlikely to be the last.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books. Follow him on Twitter @nafeezahmed

Turkey burned mosque during Cyprus conflict to make to look as if carried by Greek

Turkey burned mosque during Cyprus conflict, Turkish general said

ISTANBUL – Bloomberg | 9/24/2010 12:00:00 AM

Source: hurriyet daily news (Turkey):  (accessed 30.6.2016)

A retired Turkish general has said Turkish authorities burned a mosque on Cyprus to increase civil resistance against Greeks on the disputed island.

Retired Turkish Gen. Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu said Turkish authorities burned a mosque on Cyprus to increase civil resistance against Greeks on the disputed island, private channel Habertürk reported.

Speaking about military strategy during a Habertürk interview, the general said Turks burned a mosque to increase animosity toward Greeks on Cyprus, Habertürk said. He did not say when the mosque-burning occurred. Turkey intervened on the island in 1974 in response to an Athens-backed coup aimed at union with Greece.

Yirmibeşoğlu, who was in charge of civil resistance during the Cyprus war, said it was a rule of war to engage in acts of sabotage made to look as if they were carried out by the enemy.

Yirmibeşoğlu was later named secretary-general of Turkey’s National Security Council.

Israel: Tax haven for Jews

Lyin’ to Zion: Israel Is Haven for Fraudsters From France
Efforts to attract Diaspora Jews have made Israel a haven for a few who are trying to escape the long arm of the law.

Hagai Amit

Jun 24, 2016 9:40 AM

In a recent article on the connections between alleged French fraudster Arnaud Mimran, currently on trial in France, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the French newspaper Liberation featured a headline calling Israel a “paradise” for French swindlers.

“Six of the 12 junior defendants in the Arnaud Mimran case were not in court, because they were in Israel, including Eddie Abittan, Michael Haik, Gabriel Cohen, Jeremy Grinholz and Frederic Sebag,” the French daily reported.

“Others involved in the ‘sting of the century’ also found sanctuary in Israel before being extradited to France. That’s the case with Cyril Astruc, alias Alex Khan … who found sanctuary in Israel and was arrested in January 2014. If the vast majority of French Jews who emigrate to Israel are honest, hundreds of others choose to immigrate to Israel to evade legal proceedings in France or use Israel as a base for fraud that they plan to carry out abroad,” the newspaper wrote.

The coverage was prompted by a series of fraud cases that have surfaced involving French Jews. And that is even before Haaretz reported that the star witness in the “sting of the century,” Eithan Liron, is hiding in an apartment on Tel Aviv’s Nordau Boulevard.

In early May, seven Netanya residents with French citizenship were arrested on suspicion of committing massive fraud against several foreign companies. They allegedly hacked the email accounts of senior executives at the targeted multinationals in order to impersonate them and persuade company employees to transfer large sums into bank accounts under their control, ostensibly in order to pay suppliers.

In April, French media outlets reported that five Israeli foreign currency firms were at the center of a French investigation of a 105-million-euro ($118 million) alleged fraud against investors. Fifteen suspects were detained on suspicion of involvement in the case. And in January, five suspects of French origin were arrested for allegedly impersonated corporate executives for the purpose of fraud.

Liberation reported that the instigator of the alleged scheme was Gilbert Chikli, who it said was living in a home with a pool and Jacuzzi in Ashdod, protected by armed guards, “even though he had been sentenced [abroad] to seven years in prison and a fine of a million euros.”

Reports from recent months also allege connections with other cases from the last two years, including one reported at the beginning of last year involving two Jewish suspects of French origin who are accused of systematically collecting information about executives at hundreds of French companies that they were said to be seeking to defraud.

The reports claimed that the two, who live in Tel Aviv and Herzliya, impersonated lawyers and business people and approached the companies demanding that funds be transferred to the pairs’ bank accounts.

If international investigators in Israel perceive crime from Central and South American as relating to drugs, and crime from Russia and Ukraine as fraud-related, in recent years, crime from France has related more and more to sophisticated technology-related crime, in their view.

Bilateral cooperation

Some 7,500 Jews immigrated to Israel last year, compared to 6,700 in 2014 and 3,300 in 2013.

Most are at least middle- class individuals and families who come to Israel in order to escape religious tensions and anti-Semitism in France, and because they want to live in the Jewish state. But for a small minority of these immigrants, Israel is a haven of another sort.

The criminal ties between the two countries have for some years accounted for a significant amount of the workload in the international investigation units of the Israel Justice Ministry and its French counterpart. Cooperation between agencies is close and includes annual meetings to review outstanding cases. The number of extraditions from Israel to France rises every year.

It’s not only legitimate Jewish immigration from France that worries Israeli officials. The Law of Return, which gives Jews and their extended families the right to immigrate to Israel and become citizens, has also been a subject of the authorities’ attention. When there is a new wave of immigrants from a particular country, there is frequently also a rise in the number of people who try to “hitch a ride” at their expense, in order to settle in Israel and exploit their knowledge of the language and customs of their country of origin to engage in criminal activity from their new Israeli base.

The French immigrant community is not thrilled about the reports of criminal links between Israel and France.

“There are a few French Jews who have done things that are not good in France and Israel has taken them in,” says Ouriel Boubli, a lawyer who works with French immigrants. “Apparently that was a mistake. It causes problems and the French community in Israel is angry at these people who have tainted it.” The recent cases have also made it difficult for “good folks” who want to come to Israel to invest, he added.

People of means are choosing to immigrate, Moti Morad, the CEO of the Rishon Letzion branch of Mati, which works with French immigrants, confirms. “People who used to come here just on visits and would count the number of days that they could remain without paying taxes have become citizens, but I don’t see a trend involving the transfer of black [market] money to Israel. There is always a certain percentage.”

An article in Newsweek in late March reported data from the group New World Wealth, which seeks to estimate the flow of capital around the world. The data included an effort to survey international migration by people of means and it reported that a quarter of the 10,000 millionaires who left France in 2015 were Jewish.

This year, the report claims, 4,000 new immigrant millionaires have come to Israel, half of whom have settled in Tel Aviv, but Herzliya, Netanya and Jerusalem were also mentioned as cities that have attracted new immigrant millionaires. The figures reflect the fact that in recent years, Israel has become a magnet for wealthy Jews from around the world and not just from France.

Italy, too

“There is an extensive Italian community that is currently transferring a lot of money to Israel out of concern over steps that the government there would take, but we know that there are also a lot of French people coming and buying property in Israel,“ says Arik Gruber, a lawyer.

One possible reason for Israel’s attractiveness for some is the fact that in 2008, the law was amended to give new immigrants and returning Israelis who had left the country a 10-year tax exemption on income produced outside of Israel or generated from assets outside the country. The amendment also exempted them from reporting overseas income and assets. That’s no small attraction for someone seeking to bring black market assets into the country, but Israeli government authorities have no data on the extent to which such assets have been transferred here.

Avichai Snir of the Netanya Academic College, who conducts research on the subject of black market capital in Israel, says: “The phenomenon exists of money laundering by Jews from around the world in Israel. Historically, the Israeli view was that Jews were to be pitied even under those circumstances and that we needed to help them smuggle their capital. That’s a view from the early years of the country, that persisted for a long time.”

Gruber says a lot of black-market money has come into the country through a variety of means. And a former senior staffer in the Israel Tax Authority’s investigation department added: “Israel has always supported Jews bringing their money here. As a result of legislation, they come here, and for their first ten years here, they have almost no contact with law enforcement authorities.”

Suspicion over money laundering is sometimes the only grounds on which the Israeli police can deal with crime committed abroad. To open a money-laundering investigation in connection with activity committed abroad, the activity has to be significant not only from an Israeli standpoint, but also where it is committed, Israel Police sources say.

If it involves gambling money that is sent to Israel, in a place like the Czech Republic, for example, gambling is legal. If the law is broken in the country of origin, when the property comes into Israel, it is coming in as part of an effort to remove it from where the offense was committed. In such a situation, the money laundering is a separate offense that is divorced from the original offense, according to law enforcement officials.

The officials add that if the profits from fraud are brought into Israel, Israeli law enforcement addresses only the economic aspects of the case, attempting to prosecute the alleged offender for money laundering.

That still requires the cooperation of officials in the country where the initial offense was committed to prove that the motive was to hide the assets in Israel.

“The moment that parties with illegal funds enter Israel, they look for cash-rich transactions through which in one fell swoop they can launder a lot of money,” said a knowledgeable source.

“Investment in real estate is the last stage in the process, after I’ve put the money into the system. Leaving the money in the bank is more problematic, because it’s much more exposed. In real estate, you can register the property in the name of an aunt or sister or a straw man, whereas an account with several million euros in it is something that is usually reported and that could arouse suspicions,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

Speech by NATO Secretary-General, 26 November 1993


Ladies and gentlemen,

Just a few years ago, we entertained the vision of a Europe “whole and free”, in which relations between peoples would be based not on ideology or military might but on tolerance and common democratic values. Now a gap has emerged between that vision of a new peaceful order in Europe and our willingness to pay the price to bring it about. This gap produces instability and undermines the credibility of Western institutions that have helped to inspire change. Today, four years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is not euphoria but increasing disorder and a crisis of confidence which dominate our European agenda.

Let us be honest. The international community has failed to deal effectively with the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and this failure has affected all international institutions. Moreover, Somalia reminds us of how difficult it is to strike the right balance between the understandable impulse to intervene and the difficulties of implementation.

Does this mean that we should abandon our objective of building a new international order? Shall we just leave the world to the forces of disorder and limit ourselves to safeguarding our own national security, or at most, to containing the crisis spots so as to prevent them from spreading?

My answer is clearly no. We cannot live in security surrounded by chaos. I do not believe that we should succumb to pessimism. We must come to grips with the changed security environment. We have to realise that the end of the Cold War has spelled the end neither of history, nor of forward-looking security policy. Security still comes at a price, and we must pay it.

We enjoy a tremendous advantage over previous generations – namely, a structure of international institutions and an ingrained pattern of international cooperation which can enable us to build a better and more peaceful order in the era to come – if we use this advantage properly. That remains our challenge – the main challenge of our times.

We cannot meet this challenge without NATO; to master major security challenges you need NATO. To provide stability in a world that has become more unstable you need NATO. To prevent, manage and resolve major crises and conflicts in the wider Europe you need NATO. To prevent Europe from sliding back into renationalisation and fragmentation you need NATO. To keep transatlantic relations working smoothly and effectively you need NATO. To face the new kinds of risks emerging from proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, from mass migration and from extremism you need NATO.

So this Alliance is not sustained merely by nostalgic memories or by purely philosophical reflections on common values and destinies. It survives, indeed prospers, because it serves the concrete requirements of its member nations in North America and Europe.

I am aware, however, that a different view has been expressed by some, to whom the international community’s failure to prevent or reverse the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia is a demonstration of NATO’s irrelevance today.

I reject this argument. As much as I am personally disappointed with the way this crisis has been handled, I think we have to recognize that the international community was unprepared for the different security environment with which we would be confronted in the post-Cold War era, just as the West was initially unprepared for the type of challenge Soviet power would confront us with in the years immediately following World War II. The argument that we should disband NATO because of Yugoslavia is masochistic in the extreme; it is as if we were to banish doctors for the persistence of illness, or abolish police for the persistence of crime. What we need to do, obviously, is to draw the lessons of Yugoslavia so that there will be no more Yugoslavias.

It goes without saying that one lesson is that NATO must be used differently, and indeed that NATO itself must continue to adapt to a wholly different set of challenges from those we faced during the Cold War. That is why we are holding the NATO Summit in January. So today I want to address two questions:

– Why NATO?

– What kind of NATO do we need for this new era?


First, in a world full of crises and conflicts where history moves fast and is full of surprises NATO still serves its main strategic purpose: to maintain the common defence and security of its member countries. Today it does so with fewer troops and at lower cost. NATO serves as the insurance policy against the remaining risks and new dangers. Once dissolved an effective Alliance could not be recreated overnight.

Second, the transatlantic relationship is the most stable and valuable geopolitical asset on the globe today, bringing together the world’s two largest trading zones, and the two regions with the greatest global outreach and sense of global responsibilities. How could we seriously hope to achieve a more stable world without a strategic alliance of these two major power centres? Where else but in NATO could they coordinate their policies and pool their capabilities to deal with major security challenges, as was done so successfully in the Gulf War? Moreover, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe already rely upon the stabilising influence which the Alliance exerts around its periphery. The disintegration of NATO would increase the risk of conflict in Europe dramatically.

Third, one of the greatest achievements of the Atlantic Alliance has been to put an end to the bad habits of European power politics. There was simply no longer any need for secret pacts and cordial, or not so cordial, ententes. The American presence provided for a stable balance between former rivals and enemies. It even made possible the realisation of German unification without a major crisis in West European politics. By contrast the dissolution of NATO or the disengagement of the United States from Europe could and would undermine the European integration process. This would be damaging not only for Western Europe and the United States, but would also gravely affect the political and economic transition of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe which are urgently looking for links to the political, economic and security institutions of the West.

Fourth, NATO is the only organization that possesses the right package of political-military tools for effective crisis management. It provides the bedrock of “hard” security on which any new security order must be based. Only NATO has the means to turn political declarations into coherent action, a fact which the United Nations, after decades of viewing us with suspicion, has recognized in calling upon NATO to perform a range of peacekeeping functions in the former Yugoslavia. Which other instrument could you turn to in a crisis situation, assuming the political will was there to act? Which other institution could offer the integrated structure and the political/military consultation mechanism?

The Yugoslav crisis demonstrates not NATO’s irrelevance but its vitality and its potential. For the first time in our history we are both acting out of area and ready, if it is judged necessary to conduct air strikes, for actual combat operations. NATO has offered its support to the United Nations and it has done everything the UN has asked; and the Alliance has done so efficiently. We are enforcing the embargo at sea and the no-fly zone in the air. We have supplied UNPROFOR with command and control equipment and we have coordinated our military planning with the United Nations. We have also offered the United Nations our protective air power in case of attack against UNPROFOR and we are prepared to use air strikes, if necessary, to relieve strangulation of Sarajevo and other areas. All of these tasks are being performed with the professionalism and dedication you expect from this Alliance.

II. The Way Ahead: A New NATO for a New Era

So what is the way ahead for NATO? Contrary to what some have argued, NATO has not stood still since the end of the Cold War. This Alliance has changed more than any other international institution in the last three years, and remains a state-of-the-art model. We have had to accept two new missions to meet the demands of a vastly changed security environment: (a) projection of stability to the East and; (b) crisis management. We have adopted a new strategy and force posture. We have started to strengthen our European pillar. Most importantly, we have established close relations with our former adversaries by creating the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, and we have started participating in crisis management beyond our borders. So the slogan “out of area or out of business” is obviously out of date. We are acting out of area and we are very much in business.

Still, we need to continue to adapt the Alliance to play its role in stabilising Europe. Let me list five main areas which will be at the top of the Summit’s agenda.

The first and most important area where change must come is in further developing our ability to project stability to the East. Security is the oxygen of democracy; if we want our new democratic partners in the East to survive and to flourish, then we must seek to give concrete meaning to our 1991 Declaration in Rome that “our own security is inseparably linked to that of all the other States of Europe”.

I sense a growing consensus that, in principle, the Alliance should open up to new members. Even if there are no immediate plans to enlarge NATO, giving such a perspective would increase the stability of the whole of Europe, particularly if we are also willing to enhance fundamentally our security relationship with Russia. The same holds true for Ukraine and other cooperation partners. Nobody will be isolated. We intend to build bridges and not barriers.

But while incorporating new members is a long-term process, we are also studying new ideas which can be implemented already in the short term. I would like to mention, in particular, the proposal made by the United States for a “Partnership for Peace”.

The “Partnership for Peace” is designed to intensify the process of cooperation and give it a new dimension. Let me first clarify that I do not consider it to be an alternative to eventual membership of Central and Eastern European Countries to NATO. The “Partnership for Peace” will be open to all cooperation partners and other states in Europe. The core idea of this initiative is that interested States will sign bilateral cooperation agreements with NATO. The extent of cooperation would be largely up to the partner countries themselves, depending on their individual requirements. This would lead to a flexible network of cooperative links within Europe and across the Atlantic. The goal is to make our partners more capable of interacting with NATO member states in a broad range of multinational missions such as peacekeeping and crisis management. While “Partnership for Peace” is a proposal that is still under discussion within our Alliance, the reactions so far have been favourable and I have no doubt that it could lead the way towards an ever closer relationship between NATO Allies and our cooperation partners.

The second major Summit issue, is how to re-balance the Alliance so that Europe assumes a greater share of responsibility for security in Europe and beyond. Let me state very clearly from the outset that I regard a greater European role not as a threat but as a precondition of NATO’s longer-term vitality. The WEU has an essential role to play in this regard, and I regard it as one of NATO’s accomplishments that we have established a very close working relationship between our organisations. For example, we are now running an efficient joint naval operation in the Adriatic. Our objective is to coordinate our planning so that forces assigned to NATO can operate under WEU authority in those crises that affect first and foremost European interests.

We now have to move to practical, operationally sound arrangements in this respect. For example, we are currently looking at the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces for peacekeeping and other contingency operations. Such a concept would earmark resources within the integrated military structure for non-Article V missions in addition to their role in defence. In a crisis these resources could be used in conjunction with non-NATO contributions. This could provide the basis for “separable but not separate” forces which could accommodate both the needs of NATO and of an emerging European Security and Defence Identity.

The third issue the Summit must address, is the further development of the Alliance’s capabilities for crisis management, peacekeeping and peacemaking. I would maintain — notwithstanding the frustration about Yugoslavia — that NATO’s track record in this area has been as good, as I set out earlier, and that we have established a good cooperation with the UN. But I believe that we can and must achieve more. We should not succumb to false modesty. The UN is overextended and underfunded. If it wants our support, it must accept that we will push for clearer mandates and that we will insist that the chain of command and the rules of engagement must be agreed in a satisfactory manner as a precondition to any major Alliance involvement. I have repeatedly stated that if NATO acts on behalf of another organisation it does so as a partner and not as a sub-contractor. The closer our interface with the UN, the better the chance of obtaining a mandate suitable for effective implementation.

And this is not all. As we all agree that prevention is better than cure, we must find ways of making Allied assets more relevant not only to peacekeeping and peace enforcement, but to crisis prevention as well. In this respect I believe that we should look for ways of enhancing the Alliance’s contribution to the CSCE.

The fourth issue concerns the need to address the question of what “defence fundamentals” will be required in future. Otherwise, there is a risk of free-fall, structural disarmament which would rapidly deprive our member nations of meaningful military capabilities for many years to come. This would affect our traditional collective defence mission as well as our new tasks in peacekeeping. So the stabilisation of defence budgets agreed by NATO Defence Ministers in May is of major significance. In handling any crisis, what you have available very much determines what options you have: the fewer deployable forces, the fewer options for decision-makers, and the less credibility accorded subsequent actions.

The fifth issue is counter-proliferation. Already in 1991 the Alliance’s Strategic Concept stated that the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction should be given special consideration. A viable solution to this increasingly serious problem requires a complementary approach of various elements, focusing first and foremost on traditional prevention mechanisms, such as export controls, but also including political disincentives and missile defence. We are currently examining ways to deal with this issue within the framework of the Alliance. I look to the Summit to draw up a road map for further action.

In closing, I want to underline that we need to make it clearer to our publics that NATO has been transformed, that it continues to change, and that it plays the leading role in Euro-Atlantic security. In particular, we must make it clear that security still comes at a price, whether the issues at stake are collective defence, peacekeeping or crisis prevention. We also have to make it clearer than before that the political strength of our Alliance as a cornerstone for European security derives directly from its perceived military value, and that to allow military atrophy means to deprive the Alliance of its political weight as an instrument to shape the peace.

The Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom has an important role to play in these efforts. NATO has been the most successful Alliance in history not only because its policies were the right ones, but also because they were consistently supported by the great majority of our public opinion. Indeed, if there is one lesson that we have learned from difficult times in the past, it is that the more we have explained those policies directly to the public, the more support we have gained.

The need to explain NATO’s roles and missions has become even more important now that we have adopted the new task of projecting stability into Central and Eastern Europe. Despite the NACC and numerous other contacts, there are still many misconceptions about our Alliance in some of our Cooperation Partner countries. So the Atlantic Council also has a vital role in building bridges between public opinion in our countries and in Central and Eastern Europe. Our aim must be to bring together the successor generations of future political leaders. We must foster among them a sense of common values, outlook and culture as well as the personal ties that make our vision of a Euro- Atlantic community a reality. These are our tasks. Let’s start tackling them today.

Full text of Xinhua’s exclusive interview with President Putin

Full text of Xinhua’s exclusive interview with President Putin
June 23, 2016 
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, June 23 (Xinhua) — Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an hour-long exclusive interview with Xinhua President Cai Mingzhao ahead of his upcoming visit to China, elaborated his views on bilateral ties, China-Russia trade, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and international cooperation, among other issues.  The following is the full text of Xinhua’s exclusive interview with Putin:
Cai: Honorable President Putin, it is my great pleasure to have an exclusive interview with you here in your beautiful hometown St.Petersburg, ahead of your once-again visit to China. Please allow me to express our respect to you on behalf of Xinhua News Agency.

Putin: Thanks.

Cai: Thanks to the joint efforts made by Chinese President Xi Jinping and you, the China-Russia relationship is currently at its best in history. I believe that today’s interview will also be conducive to our bilateral relations. Shall we start the interview please?

Putin: Yes, please.

Cai: According to our calculation, President Xi had five meetings with you last year. And you are visiting China again very soon. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has been deepened thanks to the joint efforts made by President Xi and you.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, as well as 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination. What in your opinion are the highlights of China-Russia ties? What are their future prospects? What do you expect from this visit?

Putin: You said our bilateral relations are standing at a very high level, which is your comment on our bilateral ties. Here I want to remind Xinhua readers of two historical junctures:

Twenty years ago, we announced a new type of relations — a strategic partnership; 15 years ago we signed the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. As a lot of work has been done since then, trust between Russia and China has reached an unprecedented level and laid a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation.

Since it is a level that probably has never been reached in our relationship in the past, it is very hard for our experts to define today’s common cause that binds our two countries together. In fact, it is not enough now to simply call it a strategic coordination. Therefore, we started to call it “a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.” The word “comprehensive” means that we are cooperating on almost all vital areas, and “strategic” demonstrates the prime importance we are attaching to our relationship.

You mentioned the coordination between President Xi and me. Indeed, the work between us, the work at our level, serves without doubt as an engine for the development of bilateral relations. We are currently discussing together some basic issues in our cooperative strategy. President Xi himself values a lot the development of Russia-China relations. He is a very good friend and reliable partner.

However, the smooth growth of Russia-China ties can not merely depend on our efforts. It calls for further improving the working mechanism between the governments of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. The heads of government of our two countries meet on a regular basis. More than 20 sub-commissions and intergovernmental commissions have been set up — I believe there are 26 sub-commissions in fact. People in these commissions are working diligently and efficiently. Although the two countries are still far from being able to swiftly reach consensus on every complicated problem, we always share the common goal of pushing forward our cooperation no matter how complex the issues are. So we always find a solution.

The difficulties that the global economy is going through are widely known. They are also reflected in the coordination between the two countries. For instance, the trade volume between Russia and China has declined a bit. But we believe it is merely a temporary downtick resulting from the current market prices of certain commodities and differences in exchange rates.

Meanwhile, actions have been taken to solve the major problems. To optimize the bilateral trade structure, we have taken some substantial actions.

I may not remember correctly and may need to check up, over the past year, Russian export of mechanical and technical products to China has grown significantly, by 44 percent. This means a lot to us. We have been negotiating this with the Chinese partners for years. I want to thank our friends for making this a reality, which makes it possible for us to gradually realize our goals in the most important direction. This is our common goal, which we have consensus with. We are going forward together in the direction that we need to go.

Therefore, the most important task in bilateral relations is bringing diversities and higher quality to trade relations, particularly boosting cooperation in high-tech areas.

We are also working together in the fields of space projects and aviation, notably with a joint research on wide-body airplanes and heavy-weight helicopters. We are jointly seeking solutions to ecological problems and continue to launch giant programs in the field of energy, including nuclear energy.

Cai: Russia has a lot of strength in these sectors.

Putin: Indeed, yes. Rosatom (Russian state-owned nuclear corporation) has a remarkable orderbook. The two reactor units at Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant have been operating for eight years and have been recognized for their performance. We are building two more reactor units and I don’t think we will stop there. We should expand our cooperation, not just building more nuclear power plants in China but also broaden our technological collaboration in this respect.

China is now gradually strengthening its presence in our energy market. Not only it’s one of the main shareholders of the Yamal LNG plant, an important liquefied natural gas mega-project, but also China bought 10 percent of the shares of the Siberian-Ural Petrochemical and Gas Company, one of the top chemical shareholding companies in Russia. We welcome such investment by China, not only because of capital inflows but also because it helps deepen our partnership.

On the famous Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway line, we are seeing very good progress, and we are expecting a speed of up to 400 km per hour at some segments. We are closely following the work on the projects, and it may very well be only the beginning of our broad cooperation in infrastructure.

Our cooperation in culture is also of great value, including the Chinese Year and Russia Year, held alternately in our two countries, the Sino-Russian Youth Friendship Exchange Year, the Russian and Chinese Language Year, the Tourism Year, etc. Some of these were proposed by Russia while others were initiated by China. All of them have been very successful and will undoubtedly promote the mutual trust between our two peoples. The importance of these activities is no less than that of mega energy projects like the “Power of Siberia,” by which I am referring to the eastern gas pipe project between Russia and China that supplies China with 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Apart from this, we have also had steady progress in cooperation on international and military affairs and on military technologies.

We usually discuss all these cooperation when President Xi and I meet. You know, my upcoming visit had packed schedules, very packed actually. So I expect to have friendly meetings with President Xi on a broad range of topics, with mutual trust, as we have always had.

Cai: Thank you. You mentioned the growth of economic and trade cooperation, and a lot of the mega cooperation projects, which are very encouraging. You have said many times that we should align the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China. China’s economic sector is following this closely. So specifically what do you suggest the two countries do in this respect? How can we leverage on the alignment of these development plans to promote the economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia?

Putin: What you’ve raised is an interesting topic. We know that President Xi Jinping put forward the Silk Road Economic Belt. We think that Xi’s proposal is very well-timed and appealing, and the initiative holds great potential as it aims to expand China’s cooperation with the world. China’s neighbors naturally come first in such cooperation, as the road, wherever it leads to eventually, first goes through the neighboring countries.

We are undertaking two negotiations: one is bilateral between Russia and China, and the other is between China and the EEU. Just recently, the five member countries of the EEU discussed relevant issues in Astana (the capital of Kazakhstan). We all agreed to develop our cooperation with China within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative.

I have to be absolutely frank with you. Of course, we do have to take care of the interests of our producers. But we share the consensus that our fundamental approach to world economic development and our cooperation with China is to gradually eliminate the various barriers to our common cause of opening up. So I think what we can do at the first stage is to establish a free trade area.

We are realists. We are aware that it is impossible at the first stage to rule out exceptions and special cases, but we should be clear about where we want to go. Given that more and more countries in our region are enthusiastic about our cooperation, in order to achieve our aim, we shall try to create favorable conditions for what we call Eurasian cooperation, and we shall try to avoid establishing a closed economic and trade bloc.

Cai: Thank you. The 16th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is to be held in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Established 15 years ago, the SCO, with both China and Russia as founding member states, has played an important role in boosting regional security and development. What’s your anticipation for the upcoming summit? And what do you think of the SCO mechanism?

Putin: The SCO, at its early days, set itself pretty low-profile goals. I want to say those goals were both important and pragmatic, which were aimed at addressing various kinds of problems in cooperation along the borders. However, whether they are easy or not, those issues were still no more than cooperation along the borders. But we are aware that those issues would have stayed unsolved for decades without sincerity and could be easily solved with enough sincerity. Whether those issues could be solved or not depends on a country’s internal situation and how it conducts itself on the world stage, to a great extent.

It was based on their utmost sincerity that Russia, China and other SCO member states achieved all of the pre-set goals in this area. Obviously, it is advisable for us not to abandon this mechanism and to cherish our achievements as well as the current development level of the inter-relations among all the SCO member states. As a matter of fact, we have begun to solve other problems through the SCO mechanism, starting with cooperation in a number of fields. Such cooperation is not only political but also involves infrastructure construction. We have also begun to discuss issues concerning security and drug trafficking, among others.

I will not say that we have achieved many magical results or that we have carried out a series of exemplary operations. But I will say the SCO has become a popular and attractive organization in the region. Many countries around the world have expressed willingness to join it.

At the SCO Ufa Summit last year, we decided to initiate the procedure of admitting India and Pakistan into the bloc. At the Tashkent summit, we will implement the decision and hold discussions on other countries’ willingness to participate in the work of the organization.

The expansion of the SCO’s functions and the increase in its member numbers, particularly the inclusion of those important countries mentioned above, have made it an authoritative and popular international organization in the region and the world at large.

As the international situation is complex and diverse, some countries might differ from others in terms of stance and opinion over certain international issues. Although their inclusion into the SCO might not offer solution to their disagreements, we will make efforts in paving the way for the settlement of those issues. We are full of expectations for that.

Cai: Thank you. Today the world faces many grave challenges, including a sluggish global economic recovery, instability and volatility in some regions, rampant terrorist activities, and environmental problems such as climate change. As two influential and responsible major countries, China and Russia are important forces in maintaining world peace and stability, especially under such challenging international situations. So, what additional efforts do you think China and Russia should make to maintain world peace and improve global governance?

Putin: As you know, coordination between Russia and China on the global stage is itself a stabilizing factor in international affairs.

Let’s recall Chinese President Xi Jinping’s address at the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. Please recall his words. He advocated for all controversial issues to be resolved in accordance with international law and through peaceful means only. President Xi also said China stands ready to aid poor countries, and even put forward specific measures accordingly. He is one of the few national leaders who are dedicated to international poverty reduction. It is these positions, instead of just geographic proximity, that unite us in international affairs.

Apart from our cooperation within the framework of the SCO, we have been cooperating with each other within the BRICS framework as well. Actually, we jointly created the BRICS mechanism. We also have active cooperation with each other at the United Nations.

In retrospect, it was my country, the then Soviet Union, that tried its best to help the People’s Republic of China secure its permanent seat at the UN Security Council, a respectable place where we always think China should be. Until today, we have always been very happy that this happened, as our two countries, in the language of diplomacy, have the same or very similar viewpoints in international affairs. Such alignment of our stances is also substantiated at the technical level. We have maintained contact regularly, and carried out consultations on global and regional affairs. We see each other as close allies, so of course we always listen to each other, by this I mean we keep in mind each other’s interests.

I believe that during my visit to the People’s Republic of China, our cooperation will continue to follow this spirit.

Cai: Thank you Mr. President. We sincerely look forward to your visit to China and wish you enormous success. I would also like to tell you that during your visit, Xinhua News Agency and Tass News Agency will sign a new cooperative agreement.

Putin: You have been a great help on this front. Thank you. In today’s world, the work of news reporting is no less important than that of diplomats.

Putin’s Historical Speech at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, 2007

Vladimir Putin’s Historical Speech at the
Munich Conference on Security Policy

The Washington Post,
Monday, February 12, 2007; 11:24 AM

Putin (in Russian): Thank you very much dear Madam Federal Chancellor, Mr Teltschik, ladies and gentlemen!

I am truly grateful to be invited to such a representative conference that has assembled politicians, military officials, entrepreneurs and experts from more than 40 nations.

This conference’s structure allows me to avoid excessive politeness and the need to speak in roundabout, pleasant but empty diplomatic terms. This conference’s format will allow me to say what I really think about international security problems. And if my comments seem unduly polemical, pointed or inexact to our colleagues, then I would ask you not to get angry with me. After all, this is only a conference. And I hope that after the first two or three minutes of my speech Mr Teltschik will not turn on the red light over there.

Therefore. It is well known that international security comprises much more than issues relating to military and political stability. It involves the stability of the global economy, overcoming poverty, economic security and developing a dialogue between civilisations.

This universal, indivisible character of security is expressed as the basic principle that “security for one is security for all”. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the first few days that the Second World War was breaking out: “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.

These words remain topical today. Incidentally, the theme of our conference — global crises, global responsibility — exemplifies this.

Only two decades ago the world was ideologically and economically divided and it was the huge strategic potential of two superpowers that ensured global security.

This global stand-off pushed the sharpest economic and social problems to the margins of the international community’s and the world’s agenda. And, just like any war, the Cold War left us with live ammunition, figuratively speaking. I am referring to ideological stereotypes, double standards and other typical aspects of Cold War bloc thinking.

The unipolar world that had been proposed after the Cold War did not take place either.

The history of humanity certainly has gone through unipolar periods and seen aspirations to world supremacy. And what hasn’t happened in world history?

However, what is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.

It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.

And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.

Incidentally, Russia – we – are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.

I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today’s – and precisely in today’s – world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.

Along with this, what is happening in today’s world – and we just started to discuss this – is a tentative to introduce precisely this concept into international affairs, the concept of a unipolar world.

And with which results?

Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centres of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. Mr Teltschik mentioned this very gently. And no less people perish in these conflicts – even more are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!

Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.

We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?

In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate.

And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasise this — no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.

The force’s dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, significantly new threats – though they were also well-known before – have appeared, and today threats such as terrorism have taken on a global character.

I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.

And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue. Especially since the international landscape is so varied and changes so quickly – changes in light of the dynamic development in a whole number of countries and regions.

Madam Federal Chancellor already mentioned this. The combined GDP measured in purchasing power parity of countries such as India and China is already greater than that of the United States. And a similar calculation with the GDP of the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – surpasses the cumulative GDP of the EU. And according to experts this gap will only increase in the future.

There is no reason to doubt that the economic potential of the new centres of global economic growth will inevitably be converted into political influence and will strengthen multipolarity.

In connection with this the role of multilateral diplomacy is significantly increasing. The need for principles such as openness, transparency and predictability in politics is uncontested and the use of force should be a really exceptional measure, comparable to using the death penalty in the judicial systems of certain states.

However, today we are witnessing the opposite tendency, namely a situation in which countries that forbid the death penalty even for murderers and other, dangerous criminals are airily participating in military operations that are difficult to consider legitimate. And as a matter of fact, these conflicts are killing people – hundreds and thousands of civilians!

But at the same time the question arises of whether we should be indifferent and aloof to various internal conflicts inside countries, to authoritarian regimes, to tyrants, and to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? As a matter of fact, this was also at the centre of the question that our dear colleague Mr Lieberman asked the Federal Chancellor. If I correctly understood your question (addressing Mr Lieberman), then of course it is a serious one! Can we be indifferent observers in view of what is happening? I will try to answer your question as well: of course not.

But do we have the means to counter these threats? Certainly we do. It is sufficient to look at recent history. Did not our country have a peaceful transition to democracy? Indeed, we witnessed a peaceful transformation of the Soviet regime – a peaceful transformation! And what a regime! With what a number of weapons, including nuclear weapons! Why should we start bombing and shooting now at every available opportunity? Is it the case when without the threat of mutual destruction we do not have enough political culture, respect for democratic values and for the law?

I am convinced that the only mechanism that can make decisions about using military force as a last resort is the Charter of the United Nations. And in connection with this, either I did not understand what our colleague, the Italian Defence Minister, just said or what he said was inexact. In any case, I understood that the use of force can only be legitimate when the decision is taken by NATO, the EU, or the UN. If he really does think so, then we have different points of view. Or I didn’t hear correctly. The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN. And we do not need to substitute NATO or the EU for the UN. When the UN will truly unite the forces of the international community and can really react to events in various countries, when we will leave behind this disdain for international law, then the situation will be able to change. Otherwise the situation will simply result in a dead end, and the number of serious mistakes will be multiplied. Along with this, it is necessary to make sure that international law have a universal character both in the conception and application of its norms.

And one must not forget that democratic political actions necessarily go along with discussion and a laborious decision-making process.

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

The potential danger of the destabilisation of international relations is connected with obvious stagnation in the disarmament issue.

Russia supports the renewal of dialogue on this important question.

It is important to conserve the international legal framework relating to weapons destruction and therefore ensure continuity in the process of reducing nuclear weapons.

Together with the United States of America we agreed to reduce our nuclear strategic missile capabilities to up to 1700-2000 nuclear warheads by 31 December 2012. Russia intends to strictly fulfil the obligations it has taken on. We hope that our partners will also act in a transparent way and will refrain from laying aside a couple of hundred superfluous nuclear warheads for a rainy day. And if today the new American Defence Minister declares that the United States will not hide these superfluous weapons in warehouse or, as one might say, under a pillow or under the blanket, then I suggest that we all rise and greet this declaration standing. It would be a very important declaration.

Russia strictly adheres to and intends to further adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as well as the multilateral supervision regime for missile technologies. The principles incorporated in these documents are universal ones.

In connection with this I would like to recall that in the 1980s the USSR and the United States signed an agreement on destroying a whole range of small- and medium-range missiles but these documents do not have a universal character.

Today many other countries have these missiles, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Pakistan and Israel. Many countries are working on these systems and plan to incorporate them as part of their weapons arsenals. And only the United States and Russia bear the responsibility to not create such weapons systems.
It is obvious that in these conditions we must think about ensuring our own security.

At the same time, it is impossible to sanction the appearance of new, destabilising high-tech weapons. Needless to say it refers to measures to prevent a new area of confrontation, especially in outer space. Star wars is no longer a fantasy ¿ it is a reality. In the middle of the 1980s our American partners were already able to intercept their own satellite.

In Russia¿s opinion, the militarisation of outer space could have unpredictable consequences for the international community, and provoke nothing less than the beginning of a nuclear era. And we have come forward more than once with initiatives designed to prevent the use of weapons in outer space.

Today I would like to tell you that we have prepared a project for an agreement on the prevention of deploying weapons in outer space. And in the near future it will be sent to our partners as an official proposal. Let’s work on this together.

Plans to expand certain elements of the anti-missile defence system to Europe cannot help but disturb us. Who needs the next step of what would be, in this case, an inevitable arms race? I deeply doubt that Europeans themselves do.

Missile weapons with a range of about five to eight thousand kilometres that really pose a threat to Europe do not exist in any of the so-called problem countries. And in the near future and prospects, this will not happen and is not even foreseeable. And any hypothetical launch of, for example, a North Korean rocket to American territory through western Europe obviously contradicts the laws of ballistics. As we say in Russia, it would be like using the right hand to reach the left ear.

And here in Germany I cannot help but mention the pitiable condition of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

The Adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was signed in 1999. It took into account a new geopolitical reality, namely the elimination of the Warsaw bloc. Seven years have passed and only four states have ratified this document, including the Russian Federation.
NATO countries openly declared that they will not ratify this treaty, including the provisions on flank restrictions (on deploying a certain number of armed forces in the flank zones), until Russia removed its military bases from Georgia and Moldova. Our army is leaving Georgia, even according to an accelerated schedule. We resolved the problems we had with our Georgian colleagues, as everybody knows. There are still 1,500 servicemen in Moldova that are carrying out peacekeeping operations and protecting warehouses with ammunition left over from Soviet times. We constantly discuss this issue with Mr Solana and he knows our position. We are ready to further work in this direction.

But what is happening at the same time? Simultaneously the so-called flexible frontline American bases with up to five thousand men in each. It turns out that NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders, and we continue to strictly fulfil the treaty obligations and do not react to these actions at all.

I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee”. Where are these guarantees?

The stones and concrete blocks of the Berlin Wall have long been distributed as souvenirs. But we should not forget that the fall of the Berlin Wall was possible thanks to a historic choice – one that was also made by our people, the people of Russia – a choice in favour of democracy, freedom, openness and a sincere partnership with all the members of the big European family.

And now they are trying to impose new dividing lines and walls on us ¿ these walls may be virtual but they are nevertheless dividing, ones that cut through our continent. And is it possible that we will once again require many years and decades, as well as several generations of politicians, to dissemble and dismantle these new walls?

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

We are unequivocally in favour of strengthening the regime of non-proliferation. The present international legal principles allow us to develop technologies to manufacture nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. And many countries with all good reasons want to create their own nuclear energy as a basis for their energy independence. But we also understand that these technologies can be quickly transformed into nuclear weapons.

This creates serious international tensions. The situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme acts as a clear example. And if the international community does not find a reasonable solution for resolving this conflict of interests, the world will continue to suffer similar, destabilising crises because there are more threshold countries than simply Iran. We both know this. We are going to constantly fight against the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Last year Russia put forward the initiative to establish international centres for the enrichment of uranium. We are open to the possibility that such centres not only be created in Russia, but also in other countries where there is a legitimate basis for using civil nuclear energy. Countries that want to develop their nuclear energy could guarantee that they will receive fuel through direct participation in these centres. And the centres would, of course, operate under strict IAEA supervision.

The latest initiatives put forward by American President George W. Bush are in conformity with the Russian proposals. I consider that Russia and the USA are objectively and equally interested in strengthening the regime of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their deployment. It is precisely our countries, with leading nuclear and missile capabilities, that must act as leaders in developing new, stricter non-proliferation measures. Russia is ready for such work. We are engaged in consultations with our American friends.

In general, we should talk about establishing a whole system of political incentives and economic stimuli whereby it would not be in states¿ interests to establish their own capabilities in the nuclear fuel cycle but they would still have the opportunity to develop nuclear energy and strengthen their energy capabilities.

In connection with this I shall talk about international energy cooperation in more detail. Madam Federal Chancellor also spoke about this briefly – she mentioned, touched on this theme. In the energy sector Russia intends to create uniform market principles and transparent conditions for all. It is obvious that energy prices must be determined by the market instead of being the subject of political speculation, economic pressure or blackmail.
We are open to cooperation. Foreign companies participate in all our major energy projects. According to different estimates, up to 26 percent of the oil extraction in Russia – and please think about this figure – up to 26 percent of the oil extraction in Russia is done by foreign capital. Try, try to find me a similar example where Russian business participates extensively in key economic sectors in western countries. Such examples do not exist! There are no such examples.

I would also recall the parity of foreign investments in Russia and those Russia makes abroad. The parity is about fifteen to one. And here you have an obvious example of the openness and stability of the Russian economy.
Economic security is the sector in which all must adhere to uniform principles. We are ready to compete fairly.
For that reason more and more opportunities are appearing in the Russian economy. Experts and our western partners are objectively evaluating these changes. As such, Russia’s OECD sovereign credit rating improved and Russia passed from the fourth to the third group. And today in Munich I would like to use this occasion to thank our German colleagues for their help in the above decision.

Furthermore. As you know, the process of Russia joining the WTO has reached its final stages. I would point out that during long, difficult talks we heard words about freedom of speech, free trade, and equal possibilities more than once but, for some reason, exclusively in reference to the Russian market.

And there is still one more important theme that directly affects global security. Today many talk about the struggle against poverty. What is actually happening in this sphere? On the one hand, financial resources are allocated for programmes to help the world’s poorest countries – and at times substantial financial resources. But to be honest — and many here also know this – linked with the development of that same donor country’s companies. And on the other hand, developed countries simultaneously keep their agricultural subsidies and limit some countries’ access to high-tech products.

And let’s say things as they are – one hand distributes charitable help and the other hand not only preserves economic backwardness but also reaps the profits thereof. The increasing social tension in depressed regions inevitably results in the growth of radicalism, extremism, feeds terrorism and local conflicts. And if all this happens in, shall we say, a region such as the Middle East where there is increasingly the sense that the world at large is unfair, then there is the risk of global destabilisation.

It is obvious that the world’s leading countries should see this threat. And that they should therefore build a more democratic, fairer system of global economic relations, a system that would give everyone the chance and the possibility to develop.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, speaking at the Conference on Security Policy, it is impossible not to mention the activities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As is well-known, this organisation was created to examine all – I shall emphasise this – all aspects of security: military, political, economic, humanitarian and, especially, the relations between these spheres.

What do we see happening today? We see that this balance is clearly destroyed. People are trying to transform the OSCE into a vulgar instrument designed to promote the foreign policy interests of one or a group of countries. And this task is also being accomplished by the OSCE’s bureaucratic apparatus which is absolutely not connected with the state founders in any way. Decision-making procedures and the involvement of so-called non-governmental organisations are tailored for this task. These organisations are formally independent but they are purposefully financed and therefore under control.

According to the founding documents, in the humanitarian sphere the OSCE is designed to assist country members in observing international human rights norms at their request. This is an important task. We support this. But this does not mean interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and especially not imposing a regime that determines how these states should live and develop.

It is obvious that such interference does not promote the development of democratic states at all. On the contrary, it makes them dependent and, as a consequence, politically and economically unstable.

We expect that the OSCE be guided by its primary tasks and build relations with sovereign states based on respect, trust and transparency.

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

In conclusion I would like to note the following. We very often – and personally, I very often – hear appeals by our partners, including our European partners, to the effect that Russia should play an increasingly active role in world affairs.

In connection with this I would allow myself to make one small remark. It is hardly necessary to incite us to do so. Russia is a country with a history that spans more than a thousand years and has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy.

We are not going to change this tradition today. At the same time, we are well aware of how the world has changed and we have a realistic sense of our own opportunities and potential. And of course we would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.

Thank you for your attention.

Israel’s Weapons Sales to Europe Double Amid Refugee Crisis

Israel’s Weapons Sales to Europe Double Amid Refugee Crisis

Overall, Israel signed contracts worth $5.7 billion in sales of weapons and military technology; Official data shows a drop in sales to African nations, Asia and Latin America, and a rise in sales to Europe and the U.S.

Gili Cohen
Apr 06, 2016 11:00 PM

Israel in 2015 signed contracts worth $5.7 billion in sales of weapons and military technology – an increase of about $100 million over the previous year, Defense Ministry figures published on Wednesday show.

Sales to Europe more than doubled since 2014, reaching $1.6 billion, compared to $724 million the previous year. Most of 2015’s deals included aircraft upgrades, ammunition and unmanned aircraft sales.

Ministry data showed a drop in sales to African nations, Asia and Latin America, and a rise in sales to Europe and the U.S., in comparison to 2014. The apparent reason is the refugee crisis in Europe and the rise of terrorism on the continent.

The Defense Ministry said 2015 was “another challenging year for security industries around the world” and saw the effects of falling oil prices and the fall of currency values. According to the ministry’s military aid branch, which seeks to increase Israeli weapons exports, the number of deals is expected to remain stable in the coming year.

“The military industries have succeeded, via a series of actions, joint work and determination all over the world, to restore stability to the Israeli military exports market,” branch head Brigadier-General (res.) Mishel Ben Baruch said.

After three years of consistent rises in weapons deals with African nations, 2015 saw a drop of almost 50% in new contracts signed for the sale of Israeli defense products to African countries.

The extent of deals with African nations stood at $163 million that year, compared to $318 million in 2014 and $223 million in 2013.

African nations represent a small portion of Israeli defense exports. Similarly to other years, most of the weapons were sold to Asia and the Pacific. But there was also a drop in defense sales to Asian countries in 2015. In 2014, contracts signed with Asia totaled close to $3 billion, compared to $2.3 billion in the past year.

The Defense Ministry doesn’t detail weapons deals signed with foreign agents or bodies, or their costs, nor does it provide details on the identities of who purchases Israeli weapons or technology. In the United States, however, official deals done via the site of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) are reported.

“There is an extreme lack of transparency in the data, especially which countries are purchasing,” Meretz lawmaker Tamar Zandberg told Haaretz. “And the data, time after time, conceal shady undemocratic and not peace loving countries – despotic regimes using the weapons and technology to control or otherwise operate against civilians.

“Each time we see that Israel is unfortunately on the wrong side of history in these matters, and the most current example is South Sudan. Israel is still apparently selling monitoring equipment and various control mechanisms being used against civilians,” she said.

According to Defense Ministry data, some 15 percent of deals signed in 2015 focused on improving aircraft or aerial systems and there’s a similar figure for the sales of ammunition and gun positions. Twelve percent of the deals have to do with radar sales, and 11 percent in sales of unmanned weapons.

The Defense Ministry takes pride that Israel is “among the leading 10 defense exporters in the world,” Brigadier-General Ben Baruch said.

20 questions regarding the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015

20 questions regarding the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015

by Elias Davidsson, 15 November 2015

1.  The Bataclan attackers came by car they left outside. What became of that car?

2.  When did police and special forces arrive to the Bataclan? Why did it take more than two hours to assault the attackers at the Bataclan? What did the police do in these two hours?  How many forces participated in the assault on the attackers? How long did it take to overcome the attackers? Did any independent person witness the police’s assault?  Why did they insist that three attackers blew themselves up and one was shot dead, if the next day this figure has changed?  What was the role of the woman seen with the attackers? Who is she?

3.  Who witnessed the circumstances in which the attackers of the Bataclan died?

4.  Why has the situation at the Bataclan been described as “hostage taking”?

5.  Why did the attackers fail to kill their “hostages”?

6.  Did the attackers speak French without accent, as claimed by witnesses?

7.  Who from the police negotiated with the attackers, as mentioned by witnesses, and about what was negotiated?

8.  Did anyone really blow himself up outside the Stadium? Are there any independent witnesses?

9.  Who issued bomb threats earlier in the day?

10.  Were some of the attackers 15-18 years old, as estimated by the Institut médico-légal?

11.  Who was shooting from the window of the Bataclan on the outside, as experienced by Le Monde journalist Daniel Psenny and witness Carole Massemba, and why?

12.  Who left a car related to the attack in Montreuil?

13.  Why were weapons left the car in Montreuil?

14.  Will the police release the CCTVs from the attacks, that it is currently examining?

15.  Did the alleged attackers shoot at the police in Bataclan in self-defense?

16.  From where did the attackers obtain weapons, explosives and cars?

17.  How could the police immediately identify the type of explosives used?

18.  What did the Procureur de Paris mean when he said that five terrorists had been ”neutralized”? Were they killed?

19.  What was the origin of the IS communiqués? From where were they sent? How is it possible to authenticate these communiqués?  What is the telephone number and email address of the Islamic State’s government (It is assumed that a government ruling over a huge territory has a fixed location, uses telephones and has access to internet)?

20.  How was President Holland able to announce a state of emergency, the closure of borders and designate the attacks as an “act of war” before consulting his government and before the attacks had ended?

Why is Benjamin Netanyahu trying to whitewash Hitler?

Why is Benjamin Netanyahu trying to whitewash Hitler?

Ali Abunimah Lobby Watch 21 October 2015
Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly asserted that Adolf Hitler had no intention of exterminating Europe’s Jews until a Palestinian persuaded him to do it.

The Israeli prime minister’s attempt to whitewash Hitler and lay the blame for the Holocaust at the door of Palestinians signals a major escalation of his incitement against and demonization of the people living under his country’s military and settler-colonial rule.

It also involves a good deal of Holocaust denial.

In a speech to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Netanyahu asserted that Haj Amin al-Husseini convinced Hitler to carry out the killings of 6 million Jews.

Al-Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the highest clerical authority dealing with religious issues pertaining to the Muslim community and holy sites during the 1920s and ‘30s, when Palestine was under British rule.

He was appointed to the role by Herbert Samuel, the avowed Zionist who was the first British High Commissioner of Palestine.

In the video above, Netanyahu claims that al-Husseini “had a central role in fomenting the final solution. He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he asked. ‘Burn them!’”

There is no record of such a conversation whatsoever, and Netanyahu provides no evidence that it ever took place.

The Mufti did meet Hitler, once, but their 95-minute conversation took place on 28 November 1941. Husseini used it to try to secure the Führer’s support for Arab independence, as historian Philip Mattar explains in his book The Mufti of Jerusalem.

By then, Hitler’s plans to exterminate the Jews were already well under way.

Hitler’s orders
In her classic history The War Against the Jews, Lucy Davidowicz writes about the preparations among Hitler’s top lieutenants to carry out the genocide: “Sometime during that eventful summer of 1941, perhaps even as early as May, Himmler summoned Höss to Berlin and, in privacy, told him ‘that the Führer had given the order for a Final Solution of the Jewish Question,’ and that ‘we, the SS, must carry out the order.’”

She adds: “In the late summer of 1941, addressing the assembled men of the Einsatzkommandos at Nikolayev, he [Himmler] ‘repeated to them the liquidation order, and pointed out that the leaders and men who were taking part in the liquidation bore no personal responsibility for the execution of this order. The responsibility was his alone, and the Führer’s.’”

Davidowicz also explains that “In the summer of 1941, a new enterprise was launched – the construction of the Vernichtungslager – the annihilation camp. Two civilians from Hamburg came to Auschwitz that summer to teach the staff how to handle Zyklon B, and in September, in the notorious Block 11, the first gassings were carried out on 250 patients from the hospital and on 600 Russian prisoners of war, probably ‘Communists’ and Jews …”

According to Netanyahu’s fabricated – and Holocaust denialist – version of history, none of this could have happened. It was all the Mufti’s idea!

The Mufti in Zionist propaganda
Why would Netanyahu bring up the Mufti now and in the process whitewash Hitler?

The bogus claim that the Mufti had to persuade reluctant Nazis to kill Jews has been pushed by other anti-Palestinian propagandists, notably retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.

As Columbia University professor Joseph Massad notes in his 2006 book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, Haj Amin al-Husseini has long been a favorite theme of Zionist and Israeli propaganda.

Husseini “provided the Israelis with their best propaganda linking the Palestinians with the Nazis and European anti-Semitism,” Massad observes.

The Mufti fled British persecution and went to Germany during the war years.

Massad writes that al-Husseini “attempted to obtain promises from the Germans that they would not support the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. Documents that the Jewish Agency produced in 1946 purporting to show that the Mufti had a role in the extermination of Jews did no such thing; the only thing these unsigned letters by the Mufti showed was his opposition to Nazi Germany’s and Romania’s allowing Jews to emigrate to Palestine.”

Yet, he adds, “the Mufti continues to be represented by Israeli propagandists as having participated in the extermination of European Jews.”

Citing Peter Novick, the University of Chicago history professor who authored The Holocaust in American Life, Massad notes that in the four-volume Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, sponsored by Israel’s official memorial Yad Vashem, “the article on the Mufti is twice as long as the articles on [top Nazi officials] Goebbels and Göring and longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined.”

The entry on Hitler himself is only slightly longer than the one on Husseini.

In a 2012 article for Al Jazeera, Massad explains that “Zionism would begin to rewrite the Palestinian struggle against Jewish colonization not as an anti-colonial struggle but as an anti-Semitic project.”

Keystone of Zionist mythology
The story of the Mufti has thus become a keystone for the Zionist version of Palestinian history, which leaves out a basic fact: the Zionist movement’s infamous agreement with Hitler’s regime as early as 1933 .

The so-called Transfer Agreement facilitated the emigration of German Jews to Palestine and broke the international boycott of German goods launched by American Jews.

Massad explains: “Despairing from convincing Britain to stop its support of the Zionist colonial project and horrified by the Zionist-Nazi collaboration that strengthened the Zionist theft of Palestine further, the Palestinian elitist and conservative leader Haj Amin al-Husseini (who initially opposed the Palestinian peasant revolt of 1936 against Zionist colonization) sought relations with the Nazis to convince them to halt their support for Jewish immigration to Palestine, which they had promoted through the Transfer Agreement with the Zionists in 1933.”

Indeed, the Mufti would begin diplomatic contacts with the Nazis in the middle of 1937, four years after the Nazi-Zionist co-operation had started.

Ironically, Massad adds, “It was the very same Zionist collaborators with the Nazis who would later vilify al-Husseini, beginning in the 1950s to the present, as a Hitlerite of genocidal proportions, even though his limited role ended up being one of propagandizing on behalf of the Nazis to East European and Soviet Muslims on the radio.”

It should be kept in mind that many Third World nationalist movements colonized by the British were also sympathetic to the Nazis, including Indian nationalists. This was primarily based on the Nazis’ enmity toward their British colonizers, and not based on any affinity with the Nazis’ racialist ideology. It was certainly on this basis that India’s Congress Party opposed the British declaration of war on Germany, as Perry Anderson notes in The Indian Ideology.

Indeed, the Mufti made it clear to the Germans as well as to the fascist government of Benito Mussolini in Italy, as Mattar states, that he sought “full independence for all parts of the Arab world and the rescue of Palestine from British imperialism and Zionism. He stressed that the struggle against the Jews was not of a religious nature, but for Palestinian existence and for an independent Palestine.”

That Husseini met Hitler and had relations with the Nazis is no secret. But the fabrications of Netanyahu and other Zionists should be seen for what they are: an attempt to falsely blame Palestinians for Europe’s genocide of Jews and in the process erase from memory Zionism’s own collaborationist history with Hitler’s genocidal regime.

This vile propaganda can have no other purpose than to further dehumanize Palestinians and justify Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing and murder.

Netanyahu’s attempt to blame Palestinians for the Holocaust is itself a form of genocidal incitement.

The Single-state Solution Is Already Here

The Single-state Solution Is Already Here

Now, of all times, out of the fire and despair, we must start talking about the last way out: one Israeli state with equal rights for both Jews and Arabs.
Gideon Levy
Oct 17, 2015 8:28 PM

Here is irrefutable proof that the one-state solution should not even be considered: the bloodshed, hatred and fear currently washing over the country. Advocates of the two-state solution and, especially, those who seek no solution, those Israelis who saw the one-state solution as treason and heresy, are now proclaiming victory. “There, that’s what the binational state will look like,” they are saying. “It will be a bloody, endless civil war.”

The same intimidatory arguments that were used for years against the two-state solution (the “Auschwitz borders”) are now being enlisted against the one-state solution. Now, as then, everything is judged according to the contours of the current, depressing reality, and it doesn’t occur to anyone that another reality is possible.

The nationalists say, “An agreement will never be possible with those bloodthirsty people.” The center-left says, “There’s no way to live together.” The common denominator is racism, and the assumption that the hatred will last forever. To this we must add the arguments over the Jewish state’s sanctity and the end of the Zionist project. In short, one state means the end of the world.

And now to the facts. One state already exists here, and has done so for 48 years. The Green Line faded long ago; the settlements are in Israel, and Israel is also the settlers’ land. The fate of the two million Palestinians who live in the West Bank is decided by the government in Jerusalem and the defense establishment in Tel Aviv, not by Ramallah. Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, is their ruler far more than Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is. They are clearly part of the binational state and have been its subjects, forcibly, for some three generations. This state has three regimes: democracy for the Jews; discrimination for the Israeli Arabs; and apartheid for the Palestinians. But everyone lives in one inseparable state.

The binational state that was born in 1967 is not democratic. In fact, it’s one of the worst states in the world, because of the military dictatorship it upholds in part of its territory – one of the most brutal, totalitarian regimes in existence today. It is also one of the most racist states, since it determines its residents’ rights based solely on their nationality. This is the one state that is washed in blood right now, and will continue to be washed in blood as long as it remains in its malicious, nondemocratic format.

Those who say the current bloodbath is proof that Arabs and Jews can’t live together base this on the current state of injustice. And they’re right. If Israel continues to be a state of iniquity, Jews and Arabs will never be able to live together in peace. But the growing few advocating the one-state solution are not thinking of this state – quite the opposite. They wish to undermine it and establish a different, more just and egalitarian regime. When that is established, the hatred and despair will most likely be forgotten.

One may not want to believe this, of course, but one must not deceive. You cannot deny the possibility of life together with arguments based on the existing conditions. Blood is being spilt because of the injustice, and stems from it. How can you rule out in advance the possibility that in a democratic, egalitarian state, different relations will be formed? There are quite a few historic precedents of hatred and horror that dissipated when the injustice dissipated.

We could go back to the two-state solution, of course. Not a bad idea, perhaps, but one that has been missed. Those who wanted a Jewish state should have implemented it while it was still possible. Those who set it on fire, deliberately or by doing nothing, must now look directly and honestly at the new reality: 600,000 settlers will not be evacuated. Without evacuation, there will not be two states. And without two states, only the one-state solution remains.

Now, of all times, out of the fire and despair, we must start talking about the last way out: equal rights for all. For Jews and Arabs. One state is already here, and has been for a long time. All it needs is to be just and do the right thing. Who’s against it? Why? And, most important, what’s the alternative?

Secret trial defendant pleads guilty to possessing terrorist document

Secret trial defendant pleads guilty to possessing terrorist document

The Guardian, October 9, 2014

Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar was due to face charges in Old Bailey trial, much of which was to take place in secret

One of the defendants due to face charges in a partly secret trial has pleaded guilty to possessing a terrorist document.

Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, 26, entered the plea at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, but it was only reported on Thursday after reporting restrictions were lifted.

Rarmoul-Bouhadjar was due to go on trial next week with co-defendant Erol Incedal, also 26, with much of the case being heard behind closed doors.

Mr Justice Nicol had originally ruled that the trial should take place entirely in private with the identity of both defendants withheld and a permanent prohibition on reporting the case.

After media organisations challenged his “unprecedented” decision, three appeal judges overruled the ban on naming the defendants, both from London, who were previously known only as AB and CD.

They ruled in favour of the core of the trial being held “in camera”.

At the Old Bailey hearing on Tuesday the court was told that Rarmoul-Bouhadjar admitted possessing a “document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, namely a document entitled Bomb making”. A second charge of improperly obtaining an identity document was dropped.

Rarmoul-Bouhadjar was in court for Tuesday’s hearing, and Incedal appeared via videolink.

Incedal will now stand trial alone next week accused of an offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (preparation of terrorist acts) and an offence contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (collection of information).

Rarmoul-Bouhadjar will be sentenced after Incedal’s trial.

Selected letters by Elias Davidsson

Selected letters by Elias Davidsson

To Mr. Helmut Kohl, Chancellor, Germany, April 23, 1991 (198)
To Mr. Teddy Kollek, Mayor of the City of Jerusalem, August 14, 1991 (179)
To the Jewish Chronicle, London, August 18, 1991 (177)
To Mr. Marc Eyskens, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brussels, Belgium, August 24, 1991 (182)
To Mr. Enrique Baron Crespo, President, European Parliament, Strasbourg, August 24, 1991 (183)
To Mr. Eberhard Diepgen, Mayor, City of Berlin, Germany, August 24, 1991 (186)
To Newsweek, October 5, 1991 (199)
To the Permanent Representative of France in the United Nations, October 19, 1991 (201)
To Mr. Melvin Salberg, Anti Defamation League, New York, November 19, 1991 (40)
To Sir David Hannay, UK Mission to the United Nations, January 7, 1992 (225)
To Sir David Hannay, UK Mission to the United Nations, June 8, 1994 (300)
To the Guardian, July 10, 1994 (296)
To the Economist, April 21, 1996 (298)
To the Editor, The Economist, January 9, 1997 (87)
To Mr. Jean-Pascal Delamuraz, Minister of Economy, Berne, Switzerland, January 10, 1997 (81)

U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

Police forces pay £25million to informants and nearly half is spent by London’s Met 

Police forces pay £25million to informants and nearly half is spent by London’s Met  

By Martin Robinson, Daily Mail, 18 June 2013

Informants have been paid more than £25million for snitching to police in the past five years.
Despite facing massive cuts and thousands of jobs being at threat, new figures show the overall spend by forces has only decreased by £1million a year since 2008.

There are also concerns about safety, after Met informant Kester David, 53, was found burned to death two years ago and another force was fined for losing a memory stick containing a list of their informants.

Scotland Yard has spent more than any other force in England and Wales, with its costs over five years topping £9million.

In total £25,268,798.40 has been spent by England and Wales’ 43 police forces, with more than £4million being spent on average each year.

Police informant Kester David, 53, was found burned to death under railway arches in north London two years ago

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has today defended the practice of paying informants, or Covert Human Intelligence Sources as they are officially known, saying it is ‘vital’ in bringing criminals to justice.
Commander Richard Martin, ACPO lead for covert human intelligence, said: ‘The use of informants to assist in police investigations is one of many covert methods used to gather intelligence to aid forces in defending and protecting the public.

‘Each force has a rigorous chain of command in place to ensure proper management of informants and decide appropriate levels of reward. We are looking to protect our neighbourhoods from harm and to ensure that when and where we use sources, we are tackling the serious crimes that damage our communities.’

In responses to Freedom of Information requests, the forces refused to reveal how much was paid to each individual informant as it may lead to their identification.They said where an informant is identified it can endanger them. 

Other than the Met, West Midlands Police was the only force who spent in excess of £1million over the five year period. In total 11 forces spent more than £500,000. 

Warwickshire Police paid just £63,679.06 over the five years, the least out of all the forces.

Metropolitan Police: £9,098,058.

West Midlands Police: £1,461,311

Greater Manchester Police: £991,681.28

South Yorkshire Police: £893,375

Northumbria Police: £809,416

Thames Valley Police: £764,509

West Yorkshire: £736,684.70

Lancashire Constabulary: £672,678

Nottinghamshire Police: £605,508

Devon and Cornwall Police: £564,352

Last year Greater Manchester Police were fined £120,000 by the Information Commissioner after the details of 1,075 informants on a memory stick was lost.

Police forces are audited on their use of informants and is inspected annually by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners to ensure they’re not breaking the law. 

The family of one informant who was found burned to death under a bridge in North London three years ago said that he was murdered, but the Met Police have stated his death was unexplained.

Kester David, 53, from Wood Green, North London, was killed by a criminal gang after acting as a police informant. 

A new investigation was ordered last year after it was ruled that there were errors in the original police investigation.

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What can we learn from court testimonies?

What can we learn from court testimonies?

by Elias Davidsson, 26 July 2015

In order to assess the fairness of a trial, it is essential to hear what the defendant has to say, and how it was said. Does the defendant deny the charges, express regret, sound aggressive, ask for pity, get entangled in contradictions?

An interesting case is that of Mohammed Junaid Babar who appeared on June 3, 2004 before the United States District Court at the Southern District of New York, charged inter alia by the United States of America with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation (see  As he made a plea agreement, the court asked him numerous questions, to which he answered either Yes or No. Thereafter, the learned judge said: “Mr. Babar, I would like you to tell me in your own words what you did in connection with the crimes which you’re entering a plea of guilty. Please state when the crimes occurred, where, what happened, and what your involvement in the crimes was. Please begin with the crimes set forth in count one of the information.”

Here is, according to the court transcript, what Babar said (emphasis added):

“Starting the summer of ’03, your Honor, summer of ’03, I — that’s when I first started providing, you know, funding, material support to Al Qaeda, you know, for the war in Afghanistan. And from summer ’03 to about March of ’04, I provided night vision goggles, sleeping bags, water proof socks, water proof ponchos, and money to a high ranking Al Qaeda official in South Waziristan. In summer of ’03, I handed off to someone else, you know, to send it to South Waziristan. Then in January and February ’04, I went myself, personally, to South Waziristan and handed over money to, and supplies to a high ranking Al Qaeda official.”

Thereupon the Court asked him a few questions, to which he answered with a short Yes. He then continued:

“The agreement that I with others was, A, was, you know, concerning people was, A, to provide funding that would — then I would then transport, you know, to, you know, to South Waziristan, Al Qaeda, and also to provide supplies, you know, you know, when I would give them a list of anything that I needed, and they would provide the supplies that I would need that I would then pass over in South Waziristan.”

“I just — I understood that the money and supplies that I had given to al Qaeda was supposed to be used in Afghanistan, you know, against U.S. or International, International Forces or against the Northern Alliance.”
“The activities are basically the same. It was the same. We got together with a couple of people to provide funding and to provide supplies for A1 Qaeda, and we knew what the supplies where, the supplies and weapons were going — what they were going to be used for, and we know who they were going to, and that’s what we did. We got together with people, tried to raise money and supplies and tried to give them to high ranking a1 Qaeda official to be used with the ongoing war inside of Afghanistan.”

“Count three, one of the things that we did was I set up a jihad training camp where those who wanted to go into Afghanistan where they could learn how to use weapons, and also, you know, any explosive devices that they wanted to test out over there. And I also provided lodging and transportation in Pakistan for them, and I transported them to and from the training camp. At the same time, I was aware that some of the people who attended the jihad training camp had ideas about, you know, plotting against some targets in the United Kingdom, and I provided some of the materials, like I mentioned, aluminum nitrate, ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder for them in the use of explosive devices that was then tested out at the training camp.”

“As far as the aluminum powder goes, I knew purchasing aluminum powder, what it was going to be used for, and they had told me, you know, what it would be used for, explosive device, and they wanted to, you know, plot or target some targets in the UK, and I knew purchase of aluminum powder, that’s what I was purchasing it for. And the ammonium nitrate was the same thing. Although I never purchased it, I tried to get it, but at that time I couldn’t get it. So I was able to get the aluminum powder, which I then passed along to them, which I knew where it was going to, what it was going to be used for, eventually.”

“Count four is the same as count three and I — it’s the same. You know, they wanted to set up a jihad training camp, and I provided — I, you know, provided the area and the weapons for them where they can get the training, and also provided some of the materials like aluminum powder and ammonium nitrate for the explosive devices that were used at the training camp. Also same thing, also I purchased aluminum powder, ammonium nitrate knowing it was going to be eventually be used — well, not the nitrate, the aluminum powder I purchased with the knowledge that it was going to be used for a plot somewhere in the UK, and the ammonium nitrate which I tried to purchase but wasn’t able to.”

“Count five is the same as count one and two. I tried to raise money with other people, money and gear which I mentioned before, like night vision goggles, sleeping bags, water proof socks, water proof ponchos and other military gear to then pass it onto a high ranking a1 Qaeda official in South Waziristan. And the timeframe is same with the spring, summer of ’03, up to ’04, March of ’04. And it was sometimes I passed it along to someone else. And in the beginning of ’04 I personally went to South Waziristan and I gave money and gear, the gear I just mentioned, to a high ranking a1 Qaeda official, which I knew was going to be used in the ongoing war in Afghanistan against U. S. and International forces and Northern Alliance in military operations.”
”I understood that it was involved in ongoing military operations within Afghanistan, and also that A1 Qaeda was involved in military organizations outside of Afghanistan, namely, bombings and highjackings and kidnappings outside of Afghanistan, so that’s what I understood that A1 Qaeda was involved in, those kinds of military operations.”

A casual reading of the above text reveals that Babar was not at all reporting real events or personal experience, but repeating terms he learned from the charge sheet and from those who prepared him for the trial.  Leaving aside the hesitations, duly transcribed above, a genuine account of personal experience normally includes specifics, such as locations, names, times, and other incidental information that put an action in context. The account here lacks all specifics. It is entirely abstract, smacks of a written report. Note also the repeated use of the word “provided”, a term not used colloquially, or his use of the expression “with the knowledge that”, that is only used in legal texts.

An experienced judge – and defense counsel – would hardly be oblivious to the manifestly bogus account. But perhaps they were not interested in the truth of his account, for Babar was actually working as an informant for the US government. The point here is though not the guilt or innocence of Babar, but the importance of studying testimonies. While in this case, the transcript alone reveals the scam, sometimes court attendance, where body language can be observed, is necessary to gauge whether a witness or defendant spoke the truth.  The bottom line is that in order to assess the fairness of criminal trials, particularly where political issues are involved, such as terrorism, it is incumbent to obtain access to verbatim court transcripts and if possible, to audio or video recordings of such proceedings.  Any attempts to restrict such access in this type of cases must be regarded as an attempt to corrupt the course of justice.

Bali Bombings Cover-Up: “Fool Me Twice” (documentary)


Released on Youtube and Googlevideo , FOOL ME TWICE, exposes the cover-up of the Bali bombings and provides evidence that it was a Falseflag Operation.

The film begins by documenting the Australian government’s prior knowledge of the Indonesian military’s plan to use violence to maintain autonomy over East Timor. Contrary to The Howard Governments claims they argued against peacekeeping forces allowing the Indonesian Special Forces to carry out their campaign of fear and suppression.

Within 24 hours of the 2002 Bali bombings a team of FBI, UK special agents and Australian federal police started arriving in Bali. The investigation team continuously claimed different explosive devices were responsible for the main blast. Days after the attacks, Indonesian Police Chief, General Dai’ Bachtier, announced that the FBI had discovered C4 pointing the blame towards Jemaah Islamiah, JI (“SE Asia wing of Al qaeda”). Eventually, investigators concluded that the main explosive device was a potassium chlorate car bomb. C4 was never included in final reports.

The main explosive device was so powerful it seriously damaged buildings in a 2/400 metre radius and left a 1 metre deep, 10 metre wide crater. 202 people perished in the blasts, the majority incinerated from the main explosive device. Investigators quickly excavated the crater contents and dumped the remaining debris off the coast of southern Bali, including completely stripped concrete reinforcing bars. Potassium chlorate is a low velocity explosive and does not have the overpressure force to create a 1 metre deep crater or completely incinerate humans, let alone strip concrete. Only a high-tech explosive device has the power to strip concrete.

FBI claims of C4 announced by General Dai’ Bachtier, ensured Jemaah Islamiah was immediately blamed for the Bali bombings. All prior intelligence of the Bali bombings came from so called JI leader, Omar Al-Faruq. Omar Al-Faruq was secretly handed over to the US by Indonesia months prior to the bombings under the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. Australian intelligence agencies reported that intelligence obtained from captured “JI suspect”, Omar Al-Faruq, warned of possible terrorist attacks in Bali. After the attacks the Bush administration denied access to Al-Faruq for questioning in the Bali bombing trials. When Omar Al-Faruq was suddenly called by US court to provide evidence in a trial of another terrorist suspect – he had “escaped high security prison”. No JI leaders have ever been brought to trial.

Prior to the Bali bombings the Indonesian government denied the existence of terrorists within Indonesia and opposed US anti-terror operations in Afghanistan. After the bombings President Megawati signed a joint statement – “Agreeing that terrorism poses a continued threat to international peace and security, and that the two Presidents are committed to enhancing their bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism”. The Bush administration provided funds to the Indonesian police and military and setup a national terrorism unit under the control of national police chief, General Dai’ Bachtier.



The Bali bombing, a comprehensive overview and timeline

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, January 03 2003

The following timeline is excerpted from reports published in The Jakarta Post unless otherwise attributed.

Tuesday Oct. 15:

Police say C-4 was explosive material used to make bomb.

U.S. says al-Qaeda and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir responsible for bombing.

Hamzah Haz says Muslims not responsible and bombing was “”engineered””.

Wednesday Oct. 16

Hendropriyono says both technology and skills of bombers indicate they are from abroad and must have carried out surveillance before the attack.

Bali Police Chief Brig. Gen. Budi Setyawan said there is no indication of al-Qaeda involvement so far.

The Washington Post reports Indonesian police arrest former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who allegedly confessed to building bomb that killed over 180 people and expressed regret for huge loss of life.

Air First Marshall says suspect released and this proves no Air Force Involvement.

Thursday Oct. 17

Susilo Yudhoyono admits possible involvement of foreigners in bombing.

Authorities focusing on seven “”foreigners”” suspected to have masterminded and carried out the bombings, a terrorist cell said to have been led by a Yemeni national, his Malaysian deputy and a European with links to Philippine bombings.

Police Chief Brig. Gen. Budi confirms bomb made of RDX.

Indonesian Army Brig. Gen. Ratyono denies Army supplied C-4 to terrorists. Denies Army possesses C-4 “”bombs””.

Friday Oct. 18

Hendropriono says technology and skills employed by attackers indicate they are from abroad.

Sunday Oct. 20

Pastika says investigation team focusing on four persons, including a security guard and a retired Air Force officer.

Monday Oct. 21

Police receive order to release former Air Force Officer Dedi Masrukhin although suspicions of his link to Bali blasts remain strong.

Forensics experts admit some victims could have been completely consumed by blast.

Tuesday Oct. 22

Omar al-Faraq allegedly tells CIA bin Laden transferred US $133,440 to JI for purchase of three tons of explosives from Indonesian military sources.

AFP agent Brett Swan says because of scale of explosion “”highly organized perpetrators”” carried it out.

U.S. declares “”technology transfer review”” between U.S. and RI as high-tech U.S. items may be found at bomb site.

Wednesday Oct. 23

Aritonang says investigators have determined specifications of bombs but not how they were deployed, large bomb made of RDX with a “”derivative”” of Ammonium Nitrate.

Friday Oct. 25

Aritonang says bomb was RDX and Ammonium Nitrate.

Saturday Oct. 26

Maj. Gen. Muhdi Purwopranjono (Kopassus) claims to have identified bombers.

Joint investigating team says it’s still in dark.

Aritonang says bombings were carefully and professionally planned and executed.

Sunday Oct. 27

Pastika says bombs made by Indonesians who “”could not have done it without help from foreign bomb experts. We believe that the explosives were brought in from outside Bali”” and “”The technology using mobile phones as a remote control is new for Indonesia and something that requires guidance from foreign experts.””

Monday Oct. 28

Two Generals, one police, one army named as possible suspects in bombing and subsequently file suit against Washington Post for libel.

Tuesday Oct. 29

Susilo Yudhoyono denies Army, Police Generals involved in bombing.

Wednesday Oct. 30

Pastika says “”main player”” identified who is also bomb maker.

Thursday Oct. 31

Police release three sketches of bomb suspects. Muchyar Yara says that the three were part of a list of 10 names submitted to police.

Friday Nov. 1

Da’I Bachtiar says they have identified East Javanese man but have not found him yet, along with driver of the van. Bachtiar says they used TNT, RDX, HDX and Ammonium Nitrate.

U.S. ambassador Ralph Boyce says media accusations of U.S. involvement in bombing “”inaccurate and unhelpful.””

Defense Minister Matori Djalil links bombing to JI and al-Qaeda.

ASIO director Dennis Richardson does the same.

Saturday Nov. 2

International investigation team finishes forensics after less than three weeks on site, concluding that bomb was TNT, RDX and other “”materials”” including chloride. AFP forensic team member says “”we have all we need to nail these bad guys down,””

BIN says bombings involved “”skilled foreign experts””.

Muchyar Yara says “”We are sure that foreign experts along with Indonesian experts or perpetrators were involved.””

National Police said bombs were constructed of TNT, RDX and HMX.

AFP officer Graham Ashton say that the degree of coordination and vehicle placement reflected a high degree of planning and expertise.

BIN issues a report saying bombs were made of Semtex.

Sunday Nov. 3

Police release on Nov. 2 man arrested in Ngada regency. Brig.Gen Aritonang says it’s the wrong guy.

Police raid house on Java and find photo matching suspect in composite sketch release earlier in week.

120 Australian police and intelligence officers working in Bali in addition to international investigators.

Minister of Defense Matori Jalil accuses al-Qaeda of bombings.

Australia accuses JI of bombing.

Monday Nov. 4

International team says bombers are professionals.

Intelligence sources say foreign perpetrators would hide for 6 months before trying to get out of the country.

Thursday Nov. 07

Mitsubishi van owner arrested in East Java on Nov. 5.

Gen. Heru Susanto identifies owner of van as Amz, 30, arrested in Paciran village in Lamongan. Amz says he bought van from man identified as Her from Tuban.

Joint inquiry team issues statement that a white Mitsubishi L300 van loaded with explosives stopped minutes before the blast in front of Sari club in drop off area not normally used for parking.

Aritonang says police have not named any suspects in relation to the bombing. Are focusing investigation on ten persons.

Friday Nov. 8

Da’I Bachtiar says Amrozi admitted using van for bombing and renting motorcycles and other car for bombing. Admits Amrozi does not match sketches.

Panorama in Italy reports Italian national bar owner “”Sartoni”” in Bali arrested in connection with bombing.

Asian Wall Street journal reports Hambali as planning bombing during meetings in south Thailand.

Saturday Nov. 9

Pastika says Amrozi admits to helping build main bomb, admits to being field coordinator for bombing.

Sunday Nov. 10

Police claim Amrozi bought sulfur, ammonium, fluorine and chlorate from Tidar Kimina chemical store in Surabaya.

Monday Nov. 11

Police claim to have produced an initial reconstruction of planning and execution of bombing, also that Amrozi purchased over one ton of chemicals to produce bombs from Silvester Tendean.

Former Bakin official AC Manullang expresses doubts about Amrozi’s part in pro team responsible for bombing.

Aritonang says Amrozi prime suspect in bombing.

Tuesday Nov. 12

Pastika says 10 Indonesians suspected of bombing.

Amrozi states he wanted to kill Americans in bombing. Bachtiar says Amrozi held four meetings in Surakarta to plan bombings.

Anti-terrorism officer and chemical expert express doubt over police claims they have identified bombers. Kopassus NCO says bombing would take a year of practice to execute. Chemical expert rules out conventional explosives, say they are incapable of causing level of destruction at Kuta.

Wednesday Nov. 13

Amrozi says he did not assemble bomb. Pastika says bomb consisted of 100 kilos TNT, PETN detonator and RDX “”booster””.

Thursday Nov. 14

Amrozi fingers Samudra as one of the masterminds of the bombing, says he drove van to Bali but denies assembling bomb.


JL named as prime suspect in blast.

Monday Nov. 18

Joint investigation team identifies 6 more suspects: Patek, Samdura, Imron, Wayan, Dulmatin, Idris with Samdura, Dulmatin and Idris as bomb assemblers. Samdura leader of group, Idris second in command, Dulmatin as detonator with his cell phone, electronics expert.

Amrozi refuses to identify driver of van.

Tuesday Nov. 19

Pastika says investigators have not yet focused on source of explosives, too early to move on that and only arrest of perpetrators would lead them to device.

Police say they found RDX and TNT trace at blast site. TNI denies ever storing RDX or C-4. PT Dahana confirms importing RDX for limited parties and military.

Wednesday Nov. 20

Da’I Bachtiar says there are other “”materials”” Amrozi did not procure in Surabaya and “”has no capacity to make bombs””.

AFP says they have not found RDX residue at site, only Chlorate and TNT.

Pastika will not confirm or deny foreign involvement.

Thursday Nov. 21

Hermawan Sulistyo says amount of explosives required do not match van story.

Police confirm chemicals purchased by Amrozi were not main bomb materials.

Pastika says main bomb materials TNT and RDX.

Friday Nov. 22

Three “”mystery”” men appear in Amrozi interrogation transcript, Amrozi appears to be in dark about Sari and Paddy club bombings until he sees it on TV.

Pastika claims he has not read interrogation report, now claims that only seven suspects have been identified.

Saturday Nov. 23

Bachtiar says that Amrozi himself provided the vehicle and materials for the bombs.

Sunday Nov. 24

Bachtiar says bombings carried out by three groups under leadership of Hambali.

Monday Nov. 25

Police claim that the device used at Paddy’s was detonated 118 centimeters above the ground.

Time Magazine claims Yemeni terrorist mastermind of Bali Bombing.

Tuesday Nov. 26

Police detain “”accomplices”” in bombing.

Police reveal Samudra was in process of getting fake passport to travel to Malaysia.

Wednesday Nov. 27

Legal experts say Amrozi and Samudra confessions inadmissible under KUHP.

Thursday Nov. 28

Bali bombing victims call for death of perpetrators. Friday Nov. 29

Aritonang says Samudra interrogation transcripts on Bali bombing not included in his case file because a lawyer did not accompany suspect.

Saturday Nov. 30

Police now say JI “”operating in Indonesia””.

Samudra claims he masterminded Batam bombings.

Sunday Dec. 1

Lawyers for Samudra say he is not linked to Ba’asyir or Mukhlas.

Monday Dec. 2

Political analyst Hermawan Sulistyo hints that media reports, including those from Time, which relied on “”intelligence sources””, may be false.

Tuesday Dec. 3

Police release names of 163 Bali bombing victims.

Wednesday Dec. 4

Bali investigating team “”not sure”” when investigation into the approximately 200 missing in the bombings will begin.

Thursday Dec. 5

Police say they have captured alleged JI operations chief Mukhlas.

Bomb blasts rock McDonald’s and car dealership in Sulawesi, killing three.

Monday Dec. 9

Pastika says at least “”90 percent”” of the Bali bombing plot had been uncovered.

Tuesday Dec. 10

Pastika says dossiers on Bali bombing suspects had to be “”perfect””, but has yet to assign responsibility for the three blasts to suspects or determine explosives used.

Sulawesi Police Chief Gen. Firman Gani says they have linked Sulawesi bombers with Bali bombings.

Wednesday Dec. 11

Samudra lawyer expresses doubt on client’s ability to assemble explosives, alleges that Samudra and other suspects had been manipulated by a “”third party”” to discredit Islam in Indonesia, suggests two devices were used in bombings: one conventional and one “”high tech device of great power””. Lawyer also says eyewitness saw something fall from sky before explosion.

Thursday Dec. 12

Joint investigative team says Makassar, Bali bombings closely linked.

Friday Dec. 13

Aritonang says he has strong case in Bali bombings. Says he does not have specialized knowledge to discuss explosives used in detail.

Saturday Dec. 14

Samudra denies knowing Mukhlas, Gufron, denies receiving funds from them. Wanted to kill Israeli spies, Americans. Says he did not assemble bombs or know where they were assembled.

Bachtiar questions whether Amrozi and Samudra acted alone in all bombings.

Bali bombing: An investigator’s analysis

Bali bombing: An investigator’s analysis
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Fri, January 03 2003

Robert S. Finnegan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country’s history.

Investigators and forensics experts from both national and international teams that had quickly been assembled flocked to the crime scene, ostensibly to begin what should have been a long, drawn out exercise in forensics and investigative sleuthing to identify and capture the foot soldiers, coordinators and masterminds behind the attack that has left over 190 known dead, scores missing without a trace and hundreds more wounded.

It has turned out to be anything but that.

The Indonesian government immediately vowed to unite in the hunt for the bombers.

The U.S. government along with the international community seized the opportunity to point the finger at the shadowy al-Qaeda group along with Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir as the culprits.

In hindsight, it would appear that perhaps these individuals, given their apparent intimate knowledge of the perpetrators immediately following the bombing should have been included on the investigating team. Perhaps if they had we would know more than we do today, which is very little despite the volume of information (or disinformation) being vomited out by the spokesmen for the investigative teams on a daily basis.

A creeping sense of foreboding began soon after the forensics people and other investigators (inclusive of Insp. Gen. I Made Pastika and his army of hundreds of supposedly top-notch investigators with virtually unlimited resources at their disposal) announced after only a week and a half that they were wrapping up their on-site work and retreating to the labs to analyze their findings. Astounding work, as it must have set a world record for crime scene forensic analysis.

Given the scope of the bombing and the sheer size of the primary and secondary blast areas – where trace from a plethora of different explosive compounds were swabbed from – this was a feat that escaped even the vaunted investigators working the World Trade Center crime scene in New York, who spent nearly a year literally sifting by hand for evidence at the site. It would appear that the teams on Bali possessed far superior skills and techniques … or was there something else responsible for their haste in wrapping up so quickly and then sending the rest of the evidence as quickly as possible to the bottom of the ocean off Bali?

At this point in their investigation National Police Chief Gen. Da’i Bachtiar states for the record that “”traces of a chemical powder used in the bomb”” were found in the van allegedly used to transport the large device. What powder? Even a cursory examination of the crater and primary site immediately following the bombings would make this statement laughable were it not for the circumstances.

If indeed the Mitsubishi L300 van was used in the large blast, the five-foot deep by twenty-foot wide crater indicates that it would have been completely vaporized, including the engine block which they apparently found intact – along with the victims who instantly vanished. Indeed, this begs the question: Where did the investigators obtain this evidence in relation to the crater?

Is it possible that if the van survived the large blast it was because it was parked at the edge of the primary blast zone, packed with small amounts of all the explosives – whose traces were found at the sites – in order to throw off independent investigators?

In addition, there is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), allegedly signed jointly by the National Police and the international investigation team, specifically restricting the scope of the “”investigation links”” and prohibiting international inquiries. Could this at least partially explain why Pastika has continually stonewalled, intimidated and generally obstructed independent investigators during the course of their work?

During the first weeks of the investigation, notables such as State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Chief Hendropriyono, Susilo Yudhoyono, Assembly Speaker Amien Rais and Pastika focused or pretended to focus on foreigners – without specifying “”which”” foreigners – who they said were behind the attack. Somehow this twisting, turning trail dried up and disappeared into thin air without explanation, along with the former retired Air Force Officer who allegedly confessed to police his involvement in the bombing and was then released. To this day his whereabouts remain unknown and police investigators either cannot or will not release any information on this man, an officer who was allegedly trained in America in explosives and is an incredible lead that should have been followed-up on aggressively and thoroughly. Why was it not?

Are these the statements and actions of professional investigators – or the actions of individuals engaged in a cover-up?

Let’s look at the myriad of explosive traces found at the site and subsequently cited individually off and on by investigators and police as “”the explosive”” used in the bombings.

First it was C-4, then RDX. These two are actually the same, the difference being nine percent mallable plastic used in C-4. So, which is more powerful? RDX – nine percent more powerful than C-4.

Day after day, investigators trotted out a different explosive and combinations of explosives purportedly responsible for the blasts. In addition to C-4 and RDX there was now TNT, Ammonium Nitrate, HMX, Semtex, PETN, Chlorate and napalm. Everything but the kitchen sink. Was this gross ineptitude? Or another ploy to throw independent investigators off the trail?

For example, had the originators of the napalm theory studied up on the material before opening their mouths they would have known that napalm leaves a sticky, smelly residue on everything, including victims. This was not in evidence at the blast site or at the Sanglah burn ward and morgue, where the burn victims were taken. Therefore, in the absence of any physical evidence, napalm must be excluded and the originators of this farce be awarded a grade of “”F”” in “”explosives analysis.”” In other words, if you are going to lie, be professional about it at least know what you are lying about and have the mental capacity to remember what you said when you said it. This single evidentiary template could easily be applied and extended to the entire “”official investigation”” of the Bali bombings where deceit, obstruction and obfuscation are and have been the name of the game.

To put this in perspective, let us look at three of the explosives claimed by official investigators to have been used in the bombings, starting with the compound that has the lowest velocity of detonation in feet per second (FPS) which is Potassium Chlorate at 3,500 FPS; compared to 12,000 FPS for Ammonium Nitrate and diesel and finally 27,800 FPS for RDX. In simple terms, at any given distance from ground zero these different explosive compounds will exert pressure in pounds per square inch. Damage to people and structures are a result of this pressure in varying degrees depending on the velocity of detonation. Even if RDX were used, the amount needed to cause the level of destruction in evidence at the crime scene should have been in excess of anything available through even the military, who denied possession of the explosive. There is also the delivery of the device to be taken into account.

Each of the explosives cited by investigators (with the exception of napalm) have unique and individual characteristics that vary for usage, stability and explosive yeild. They require specific detonators for each in order to obtain maximum effect.

Also now at the bottom of the ocean off Bali is the reinforcing bar (rebar) located more than fifty feet from ground zero that had been completely stripped of concrete as a result of the blast. Documented military estimates of the force required to accomplish this is roughly 1 million to 1.5 million pounds per square inch.

What kind of weapon or device could accomplish this? And for that matter leave a crater of that size? Why was it filled in? This arguably could have been one of the most important pieces of evidence available to investigators not only for the trace explosive in evidence, but from which also could have been determined (roughly) the size and composition of the device.

With the police claiming (off and on) that Amrozi, Mukhlas and Samudra (who allegedly at one point denied involvement in the Bali bombings) were the perpetrators of the blasts, then why do the official investigators not know EXACTLY the type of device used in the main bombing and its precise composition? To put it quite simply, how can we have a bomber or bombers in the absence of a bomb?

Why were Amrozi and Samudra so quick to confess and finger their “”accomplices””? Were these the actions of dedicated, radical, Islamic fundamentalists? “”Professionals””? Did they expect to further their cause by eviscerating their own organization? Does it make sense that they were willing to kill and maim hundreds of innocents – including many fellow Indonesians – and yet implicate their comrades to save their own skins?

Given this dismal investigative performance, exactly what role did the international investigating team play in this debacle?

If indeed there is one thing that has been glaringly apparent throughout this investigation, it is that perhaps nothing close to the truth has been told as of today. It is also apparent that something is very, very wrong not only with the procedural aspects of this case, but also with the suppression and outright destruction of evidence. The international investigators bear a heavy responsibility for this, and should be held accountable.

Jakarta Post Editor Robert S. Finnegan is an internationally published investigative reporter with over two decades investigative experience. He currently holds an Alaska (U.S.) Private Investigator license.

Unlawful Resolutions of the Security Council and their Legal Consequences

Unlawful Resolutions of the Security Council and their Legal Consequences

by Karl Doehring

in Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 1997 (91-109)

Resolutions of the Security Council might violate rules of dispositive law and thos of peremptory nature as well. States being convinced that the Security Council disregards peremptory norms of international law and, therefore, taking the position to the not obliged to respect these resolutions, are under the duty to inform the Security Council about their scruples. they ahve to warn the Security Council before, unilaterally, acting against the order of a resolution.

Truth – Justice – Peace