Israeli Intelligence Involved in Killing of Soleimani: NBC

NBC said one Israeli informant at the Damascus International Airport confirmed that Soleimani had been on a nightime flight from the Syrian capital to Baghdad, which was used to tip off the CIA.

The Israeli intelligence played a role in the U.S.' assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3rd, NBC News reported over the weekend.

RELATED: Pentagon Had No Evidence of Iran's Plan To Attack US Embassies

NBC News claimed, citing unnamed sources, that Israel's intelligence apparatus helped the U.S. stage the operation that led to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and the Deputy Head of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes.

According to the NBC sources, Israeli intelligence provided the U.S. military command with key details on the matter, which later proved critical in the assassination of Soleimani in Baghdad.

NBC said one Israeli informant at the Damascus International Airport confirmed that Soleimani had been on a nightime flight from the Syrian capital to Baghdad, which was used to tip off the CIA.

The New York Times, in turn, reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ahead of Soleimani’s killing, and that the Jewish state likely became Washington’s only ally which was in the know about the issue.   

In October, the Iranian news agency Tasnim cited the IRGC’s head of intelligence Hossein Taeb as saying that Israel and the West had collaborated to assassinate Soleimani in order to “trigger a religious war inside Iran”.                                                             

“Frustrated by their failure to upset security in Iran or to harm the IRGC military bases, the enemies had hatched an extensive plot to hit Maj.-Gen. Soleimani in his home province of Kerman,” Taeb claimed at the time.

Following the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would respond by firing 22 missiles at the U.S. forces in Iraq. The attack, which was carried out on the night of Qassem Soleimani's burial, was considered a success by Tehran, despite claims by Washington that no military personnel were killed or wounded. 

Since the assassination, however, tensions between Iran and U.S. have been at a four-decade-long high, with Washington furthering the divide between the two countries by imposing more sanctions against Tehran.

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Israeli and U.S. access visas to Bolivia questioned

La Paz, Dec 12 (Prensa Latina) Numerous questions were made today to the decree of the Bolivia coup government that eliminates visas to US citizens and Israelis to enter the country.

Social networks, practically the only space to express the rejection of the coup in this country, were filled with criticism regarding this new measure.

For Twitter's Compa Jorge5862 user, this decree promulgated by the self-proclaimed president Jeanine Áñez would allow mercenaries to enter freely the Andean nation.

'Now: Holidays paid to gringos mercenaries Courtesy of #jeanineanezasesina,' he wrote.

Áñez promulgated on Wednesday decree 4107 that eliminates the visa requirements for citizens of Israel and the United States 'with the aim of promoting tourism in the country'.

According to her, Bolivia needs commercial opening to increase the flow of tourism and foreign investment.

For this reason the de facto government determined to eliminate those requirements to citizens 'of two countries that are very important'.

In her speech to publicize such a determination she contradicted herself because on the one hand she pointed out that during the government of Evo Morales - overthrown by the coup d'etat - relations with other countries were subject to ideology.

And on the other hand, she pointed out that Bolivia wants to keep its policy of 'open doors to the world'.

The measure is part of her race against the clock to dismantle the entire system of government built in the 13 years of the Evo presidency.

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Evo Morales says the Bolivian people will prevail against U.S. and Israeli-backed coup

Mexico City, December 2 (RHC)-- From exile in Mexico City, Evo Morales has said that the Bolivian people will continue their fight against an American and Israeli backed military coup in the country and ultimately prevail.

The coup government, "assisted by Israel and the U.S., will prepare itself [to stifle resistance], but when a nation rises, no system can stop it, like the Bolivian nation which has risen in quest for truth, unity and freedom,” Morales said during an exclusive interview with Iran’s Spanish-language television channel HispanTV.

Morales was forced to resign on November 10th under pressure from the country's armed forces after the US-backed opposition there rejected the October election results.  He was granted asylum in Mexico.

Evo Morales has described his ouster as a coup and said there is evidence that Washington orchestrated it.  The former Bolivian also says that the United States opposes his return to Bolivia.

Earlier this week, Bolivia's self-proclaimed interim president, Jeanine Anez, signed a law preventing Morales from participating in a new election, which is expected to be held in upcoming months.  Interior Minister Arturo Murillo has hinted that the self-appointed government may seek to imprison Evo, accusing him -- without any evidence -- of terrorism and sedition.

Speaking to HispanTV, however, Evo Morales explained that his “biggest crime was returning hope to the Bolivian people,” as his economic policies had benefited the Bolivian people to the detriment of certain political and business figures.  “Be sure that under the orders of Washington, the right-wing party will not allow me to return,” he said, adding that “my crime is defending the oppressed, the workers and the indigenous peoples.”

“This is why I fear nothing and if anything happens to me or if I am arrested while returning [to Bolivia], the main culprit is the fascist right which carried out the coup, and secondly the United States,” he said.

Promising a strong movement against the coup government and stressing his right to participate in new elections, Morales did not specify if he would ultimately run for office or return to Bolivia in the near future.  “With Evo or without Evo, we will guarantee the freedom of the Bolivian people,” he said, calling on all “idigenous, workers and everyone to be alert and try to regain political power” in order to protect the “interests of the nation.”

Morales vowed that the Bolivian nation will unite almost unanimously against the “self-appointed government” in the near future once it starts implementing its “neoliberal’ economic policies which are “dictated from abroad.”   During the interview, Evo sent his “regards to all truth seekers within the international community" and "compatriots who are fighting for democracy.”

Edited by Ed Newman

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‘Cross our red lines & be destroyed’: Iran’s elite IRGC chief warns US, Israel and Saudi Arabia at large pro-govt rally

All external foes will be defeated if they make moves against Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander warned at a massive pro-government rally amid protests over fuel price hikes.

Major General Hossein Salami addressed people in downtown Tehran on Monday. He said that the country’s rivals are “no longer capable of anything” in their attacks against the nation.

We have shown patience towards the hostile moves of America, the Zionist regime [Israel] and Saudi Arabia against the Islamic Republic of Iran... but we will destroy them if they cross our red lines.

Thousands have marched on the streets of the country’s capital and gathered on the Enqelan Square (Revolution Square). Calling themselves the ‘Supporters of the Leadership’, the demonstrators waved national flags, carried placards and chanted slogans in support for the Supreme Leader Ali Khanemei and the current government. Some were also seen burning American flags.

The rally is meant to denounce “anyone who wants to create insecurity in the country,” one demonstrator told the state-run IRNA news agency.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said that the demonstration allows the foreign states “to see who the real people in Iran are and what they are saying.”

Iran has been hit by protests in various parts of the country after the government, which is under pressure from US sanctions, began to ration fuel and approved a hike on fuel prices, in hope that the additional revenue could be used for subsidies to poor families.

Amid peaceful demonstrations, some angry mobs also torched banks and department stores, as well as attacked police stations, killing several officers. The authorities said that there were dead and injured among the protesters as well.

Also on ‘Foreign-trained’ dual nationals among those arrested for stirring up violent fuel price riots – Iranian semi-official news agency...

Tehran claimed that “anarchists” and US-backed “mercenaries” were behind the rioting. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced his support for the anti-government protesters. Rallies in solidarity with them were held in several North American and European cities.

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U.N. investigator says expectations low for Trump's peace plan

Expectations for the success of the Trump administration’s peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appear to be very low, UN special investigator Michael Lynk told reporters at the United Nations in New York ahead of US special envoy Jared Kushner and his assistant Avi Berkowitz.

Kushner, who has taken the lead on the Trump peace plan, is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz to discuss the plan. Kushner’s assistant, Avi Berkowitz, is expected to join as well.
No date has been set for the release of the political component of the plan, but it is presumed that it would only be published after the formation of a government.

“There seems to be a very low expectation that [the peace plan] would have much meaningful impact on the ground, if and when it ever winds up getting released,” said Lynk, who is the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories.

He spoke with reporters on Thursday about the plan as part of a press conference he gave about the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its continued “occupation” of the West Bank. Right-wing Israelis hold that Area C of the West Bank, and certainly the settlements located there, should be annexed to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would annex the settlements, should he become prime minister. It is widely believed that the Trump peace plan would allow Israel to retain the settlements.

Lynk holds that settlement activity is a war crime. Both he and the UN support a two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines, a move that would have to include the evacuation of some 130 settlements that are home to more than 430,000 Israelis.

Lynk said that any peace plan put forward by the United States must adhere to international law, a move which he holds would make it impossible for it to include the settlements.

In a report he presented to the UN in New York last week, and in his Thursday press conference, Lynk said that international pressure is the best way to halt settlement activity and force an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

In particular, he said, the international community and the UN must ensure compliance, particularly with the 30 to 35 UN Security Council resolutions, that have been approved with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967.

The international community has long promised to hold Israel to account and it has the power to do so, Lynk said.

The starting point for compliance is a “complete ban on all goods and services produced in whole or in part [in] the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from entering the international market,” Lynk said.

Secondly, he called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to complete her database of businesses operating over the Green Line, which her office has worked on since 2016.

This database could become a template for other global conflicts, he said.

Should those mild measures not work, Lynk said, harsher measures could be employed, such as an arms embargo, travel bans and international arrest warrants. Countries or entities, such as the European Union and the UN, could refuse to ratify agreements with Israel until it ended its settlement enterprise, he said.

The UN General Assembly could ask the International Court of Justice at The Hague for an advisory opinion on the “legality of the occupation,” Lynk said.

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Netanyahu Tells Israeli President He Gives up on Forming Gov't

His failure to form a government comes just weeks after the country had its second snap general elections this year after Bibi had already failed to form a government. 

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he was giving up his effort to form a new government after failing to secure a majority coalition in parliament following an inconclusive election in September.

Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, said he was returning the mandate back to Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin after "working unceasingly ... to establish a broad unity government".

Rivlin said he will now hold consultations with the various political parties to tell them he intends to task Netanyahu's centrist rival Benny Gantz with the job of putting together a new government.

Gantz's Blue and White party was the largest to emerge from the Sept. 17 ballot, though he also has no clear path to a parliamentary majority. Should he also fail to bring in enough partners it would almost certainly lead to another general election, the third since April.

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Palestinian prisoners go on hunger strike to protest administrative detention

Ramallah, October 18 (RHC)-- Over 6000 Palestinian prisoners are languishing in Israeli jails. Hundreds of these inmates are held without any charge or trial under what’s known as administrative detention deemed illegal based on international law.  Now, six Palestinian prisoners are refusing food to protest the policy.  Among those six protesters there is Heba al-Labadi, a Palestinian-Jordanian national who has been on a hunger strike for over three weeks. 

Among other detainees protesting their unlawful incarceration and the horrific conditions in Israeli prisons, there’s Ahmed Ghannam, who began his hunger strike in July. Human rights groups say Israel should either prosecute those prisoners or release them.  But Tel Aviv insists that they were arrested on secret reports which are inaccessible to prisoners and their lawyers.

Experts say Israel uses the policy of administrative detention to silence the voices of Palestinians but lacks any concrete evidence that could be presented in an open, military court. Palestinians say administrative detention is a whole other level of injustice. 

Israel’s administrative detention law allows it to imprison Palestinians for renewable periods without trial or charge.  Administrative inmates in Israeli jails say going on hunger strike is one of their few options to make their voice heard and to force Tel Aviv end this illegal policy. 

Several Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike in recent months over Israel’s administrative detention.

Edited by Ed Newman

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Cuba condemns Israel’s plan to annex Jordan Valley

Cuba voiced concern over the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the north of the Dead Sea in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo said that the action elicits the island’s strongest condemnation as it constitutes another serious violation of international law and of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and threatens to stimulate a new escalation against the Palestinian people, nullifying the possibility of any international effort for peace.

The diplomat reiterated Cuba’s unrestricted support for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause on the basis of the creation of two states, allowing Palestinians the right to self-determination and to an independent and sovereign state on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In that regard, Vice minister Rodriguez called on the United Nations Security Council to fulfil its Charter responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

  • Published in Cuba
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