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Monday, August 31, 2015

Ukraine: angry clashes as bill adopted granting more autonomy in the east

Arrest warrants issued for two new Bangkok bombing suspects

Former Cop Arrested for Mexican Journalist's Killing



MEXICO CITY- A 24-year-old former police officer was arrested over the weekend in connection with the killings of photojournalist Ruben Espinosa and four women in Mexico City last month, the Federal District Attorney's Office said.

"Police investigators managed today, Sunday, to arrest a person identified as Abraham Torres Tranquilino for his presumed role in the incidents mentioned," Federal District Attorney Rodolfo Rios said in a statement.

Torres, a Mexico City resident, worked for the Federal District Public Safety Secretariat and has a prior criminal record, Rios said.

The former officer was remanded to a court for torture and later convicted of abuse of authority, the DA said.

"He was sentenced to a term of four years and eight months in prison, winning his release on Oct. 29, 2012," Rios said.

Torres's photograph is not being released due to a request from the Federal District Human Rights Commission and prosecutors expect to determine the extent of his role in the slayings by Tuesday, Rios said.

A judge will determine what Torres's level of criminal responsibility is in the case, the DA said.

The bodies of Espinosa and the four women were found with gunshot wounds and signs of torture inside an apartment in the central Mexico City neighborhood of Narvarte on July 31.

Both Espinosa and human rights activist Nadia Vera, one of the female victims, had received threats in Veracruz.

The 31-year-old Espinosa, who was working for the Cuartoscuro photo agency and the Proceso newsweekly, had returned to Mexico City in June after eight years as a journalist in Xalapa, capital of the Gulf state of Veracruz.

Espinosa said he had been forced to flee due to death threats and harassment, friends and colleagues said.

A few days before he was killed, Espinosa expressed concern that he was being pursued by someone in the capital, Cuartoscuro director Pedro Valtierra told EFE last month.

A total of 102 journalists were murdered between 2000 and 2014 in Mexico, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media, the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression, or FEADLE, said. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thai police arrest ‘Turkish’ man over Bangkok bombing

Appeasing Iran? ( by the Hill )

The following is an article written by Alan J. Kuperman in The Hill on Wednesday, August 26th. Kuperman is associate professor in the Global Policy Studies graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin, and editor of “Nuclear Terrorism and Global Security: The Challenge of Phasing out Highly Enriched Uranium.”
Irans nuclear program has already advanced due to the West appeasement policy
As Congress reviews the Iran nuclear deal, it faces the hardest choice in foreign affairs: whether to threaten or appease an adversary.  The proper choice, scholars agree, depends on the rival’s intent.
If the other country is “status quo” – just wants to be left alone to prosper without dominating other countries or flouting international rules – we should concede its limited demands.  Appeasement is not a dirty word in such a case, but the ideal foreign policy.  However, if the other country is “revisionist” – seeking to dominate others and overturn the global order – we must deter it through coercion including the threat of force.
Such advice may sound simple, but misreading intent can lead to disaster.  If we threaten a status quo country, the result can be unnecessary war, such as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  The opposite mistake – appeasing a revision state – can be even worse.  Conciliating Nazi Germany led to a war so terrible that “appeasement” has forever been transformed into an epithet.
Though no two historical moments are identical, the similarities between the pending Iran nuclear deal and the Munich agreement of 1938 are haunting.
In each case, our adversary clearly demonstrated its intent to upend the international order by taking control of neighboring countries, starting with co-ethnics.  The Nazis absorbed Austria, then set their sights on Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland, which had a large ethnic German population.  Similarly, revolutionary Iran has deployed forces or provided arms to militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen – which have significant populations of fellow Shiite Muslims or related sects.  It also funds the military wing of Hamas and threatens to destroy our ally Israel.
Prior to negotiation, our adversary in each case repeatedly broke international legal commitments.  Nazi Germany violated the Versailles Treaty by expanding its military, reoccupying the Rhineland, and taking Austria.  Iran violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by separating plutonium, testing nuclear weapons components, and constructing multiple secret facilities for uranium enrichment and heavy-water production.
Rather than reversing these violations, negotiators in both cases acquiesced to them and further rewarded the adversary.  In Munich, Britain authorized Germany to seize part of Czechoslovakia, whose industries greatly enhanced the Nazi war machine.  Under the nuclear deal, Iran not only keeps its uranium enrichment and heavy-water programs, but gets sanctions lifted and assets unfrozen, enabling expansion of its nuclear program, regional aggression, and terrorism.
After 15 years, Iran’s enrichment program would be permitted to grow so large, according to U.S. expert Gregory Jones, that “Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for five nuclear weapons in just over one week.”  The consequence, reports the Institute for Science and International Security, is that Iran’s “breakout with enough weapon-grade uranium for one, two, or three nuclear weapons could occur without the International Atomic Energy Agency being aware it happened until after the fact.”  This means our military option effectively would be off the table – contrary to President Obama’s repeated claims – since we would not dare attack a nuclear-armed country.  Iran’s rewards would thus include an unstoppable path to the bomb.
Perhaps the eeriest parallel is that each deal was promoted as the only alternative to war.  British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proudly declared that his Munich agreement had “averted a catastrophe which would have ended civilization as we have known it.”  President Obama likewise declares that his agreement is the only way to prevent “another war in the Middle East.”
In retrospect, of course, Britain should have stood firm at Munich.  At best, Hitler would have been deterred from further aggression.  At worst, the allies’ war effort would have been facilitated by not gifting Czechoslovakia’s industrial base to Nazi Germany.  Similarly, Iran should be confronted before it has nuclear weapons, not after.
Proponents of the Iran deal say it is too late to reverse course because other countries favor it and will lift sanctions anyway.  But Munich also was a multilateral negotiation, including both France and Italy.  Has anyone ever argued that Chamberlain was right to appease Hitler because Mussolini favored doing so?
To the contrary, Winston Churchill argued eloquently at the time that the only responsible policy was to reject appeasement of a country, “which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force.”  That perfectly describes revolutionary Iran, whose supreme leader calls for “Death to America.”
In 1938, Chamberlain reassured the British people that his agreement was “bringing peace with honor. I believe it is ‘peace for our time.’ Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”
Let us hope that Congress is not lulled to sleep this time.

U.S. jails (San Diego ) man for attempting to export military-capable technology to Iran

A U.S. district court has sentenced a man to 6½ years in prison for attempting to sell sophisticated U.S.-made military-capable technology to the regime in Iran.
"The electron tubes designed for military airborne radar, as well as the gyrocompasses used for swift boat navigation, were actually destined for Iran, despite long-standing U.S. sanctions that forbid such business transactions with the Middle Eastern nation," The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote on Friday.
“For six months, in more than 200 emails, 100 phone calls and hundreds of text messages, Arash Ghahreman negotiated on nearly a daily basis for the exportation” of the sophisticated technology.
"And it turns out, the U.S. negotiators on the other end of Ghahreman’s communications weren’t really third-party suppliers, but undercover federal agents in San Diego," the paper wrote.
"On Thursday, Ghahreman, an Iranian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced in San Diego federal court to 6½ years in prison for skirting U.S. trade sanctions and laundering the illegal proceeds."
"What may set apart Ghahreman’s case is the sophistication behind the scheme and the possibility for the items to be used by military."
"Ghahreman, a Staten Island, N.Y, resident, had worked as a marine engineer for various shipping companies when he got an email from his old dorm mate from an Iranian university. Koorush Taherkhani had founded TIG Marine Engineering, a company based in Dubai, and needed Ghahreman’s help procuring some equipment from the United States."
"A German man living in Dubai, Ergun Yildiz, had been hired as president and CEO, acting as the face of the company."
"Ghahreman, 45, approached a U.S. supplier of gyrocompasses. Because they weren’t in stock, the supplier inquired with the manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, prosecutors said. The manufacturer took one glance at the request and saw red flags, according to testimony at trial."
"Federal authorities were tipped off. Ghahreman was also told to contact another supplier if he was still interested in the gyrocompasses. He made contact the same day, unknowingly launching a six-month negotiation with undercover agents from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service."
"Ghahreman requested quotes for numerous items, including a pump station, semiconductors, pressure transmitters, boat engines and valves, according to prosecutors."
"In the end, he agreed to buy four NAVIGAT-2100 fiber optic gyrocompasses and 50 Y-690 electron tubes from the undercover agents."
The items were not innocuous, but sophisticated equipment that had both military and civilian applications: The electron tubes were initially designed for military airborne radar, and the gyrocompasses have applications in vessels used by the military, including on U.S. Coast Guard boats, the paper quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane Harrigan as saying.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Iran: Jannati appointed as head of women-youth crackdown apparatus

Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council has been named the head of the “Enjoining virtue and prohibitting vice” crackdown entity. This is the main agency in charge of imposing pressures and further crackdown on women and youth.
Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council

Mortez Agha-Tehrani, a member of Iran’s so-called parliament, told reporters on August 25th on the sidelines of an open-door session, “With the order issued by parliament speaker Ali Larijani, preparations for the implementation of the ‘enjoining good and forbidding wrong’ have been paved.”
Background:
Jannati is a senior mullah who has always backed crackdown and executions in Iran. In an interview aired on state-run TV on October 18, 2014 he referred to the executions back in the 1980s in Iran without any due procedures, saying Khomeini personally supervised the executions. (BoyerNews.com – October 18, 2014)
“When we used to work in the revolution court some people had doubts on executing this or that person. [Khomeini] said don’t hesitate on anyone whose crime is obvious,” Jannati stipulated.
(State-run Ana website – August 25, 2015)

Double gold win for Japan at World Judo Championships

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Iran student sentenced to 15 years for insulting Khamenei

NCRI - The mullahs’ fundamentalist regime has sentenced a young university student to 15 years imprisonment for insulting the regime’s Supreme Leader and spreading anti-regime messages. His ill wife was also sentenced to six years in jail.
 Husband and wife: Arash Sadeqi and Golrokh Ebrahimi
Arash Sadeqi was previously expelled from Tehran’s Allameh Tabataba'i University and arrested on September 6, 2014 by intelligence agents of the Revolutionary Guards. He was held in solitary confinement for seven months.
The mullahs’ notorious “Judge Salavati” in Tehran sentenced him to serve 15 years behind bars. His wife Golrokh Ebrahimi, who is recovering after an operation, was sentenced in absentia to six years imprisonment.
Salavati had prevented Mr. Sadeqi’s lawyers from examining all the documents in his case.
Mr. Sadeqi was handed down sentences of 7 and a half years for attending anti-regime gatherings, 3 years for insulting the regime’s Supreme Leader, 3 years for setting up a group, and 1 and a half years for ‘propaganda’ against the regime.
Ms. Ebrahimi received a 5 year sentence for “insulting religious sanctities” and a further 1 year for ‘propaganda’ against the regime.

Iran - Kurdish Political Prisoner Scheduled to Be Executed in Uremia Prison ( He was executed )

 Posted on: 25th August, 2015   (killed executed ) update

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Behruz Alkhani
HRANA News Agency – Behruz Alkhani, death row political prisoner has been transferred to the solitary confinements of Uremia Prison in order to be executed.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Behruz Alkhani has been transferred to the solitary confinement this morning and his family has been called for the last visit.
Behruz Alkhani, son of Fares, born in 1985 in Salmas, was arrested along with 15 others on January 27, 2010. He was first charged with cooperation with PJAK but after some months faced a new charge, namely “involvement in murdering Khoy city’s prosecutor”. He was sentenced to death by branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Uremia with chief judge Chabok.
His case was then sent to the Supreme Court where the death sentence was canceled and his case was sent to branch 10 of the Appeal Court of East Azerbaijan Province. The appeal court upheld the death sentence.
Behruz Alkhani appealed once more and the case was again sent to the Supreme Court. It was said that the Supreme Court has made yet no decision.
He was also sentenced to 10 years in prison on charge of holding gun. However close sources to him state that at the time of arrest there were no guns found on him.

More violent protests as Lebanon’s cabinet splits over rubbish crisis

Boy slips in museum, puts hand through $1.5 million painting



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

IRAN: Homeless pregnant women forced to sell unborn babies at $585 out of poverty

NCRI – Some pregnant women living rough on the streets of Tehran are forced to sell their unborn babies in advance out of sheer poverty and destitution, an official of the mullahs’ regime in Iran has acknowledged.
Poverty among homeless people in 13 neighborhoods of District 12 of the Iranian capital has reached unbearable levels, university professor Dr. Chit Chian, who is a member of the 30-member Society Workgroup of the Tehran Municipality, said.
“Unfortunately in these neighborhoods we have witnessed the sale of children,” he said, adding that he had spent several nights among the homeless people in the capital to get a true picture.
“The situation is so critical that babies are being bought in advance while in their mother’s womb for the going rate of 1.75 million Tomans ($585),” Dr. Chit Chian added.
The shocking admission was made at the latest monthly session of the Society Workgroup of the Tehran municipality.
His remarks were published by the state-run Mehr news agency on Saturday. Other state-run dailies also published his account.
Ms. Farideh Karimi, a member of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, on Tuesday said the suffering of the Iranian people had nothing to do with international sanctions on the regime and everything to do with the regime’s policies.
“It’s wrong to see this as just another unfortunate news story. Iran holds one tenth of the world’s proven oil reserves and has the second largest global natural gas reserves. It’s also wrong to think that this disturbing news is related to international sanctions,” Ms. Karimi said.
“As economists have reported, from 2005 to 2008, Iran’s oil export revenue amounted to $244 billion, equalling the 13 preceding years from 1992 to 2004. That’s close to $500 billion in just 17 years. This windfall could have brought about an exceptional set of circumstances for Iran; if the money was spent properly today we would not be witnessing such harrowing examples. Unfortunately however, aside from the money pocketed by the mullahs and their Revolutionary Guards, the vast proportion of Iran’s revenue has been spent on export of terrorism and fundamentalism to the region and on the regime’s nuclear weapons projects,” she said.
“Even if international sanctions are lifted, we would not witness any improvement in the lives of ordinary Iranians. None of the money will go to the pockets of the Iranian people, just as it never went prior to the sanctions taking effect.”
Addressing the same Society Workgroup in Tehran on Saturday, Reza Mahboubi, the director of the Social Office of the regime’s Interior Ministry pointed out that throughout Iran more than 18 million people are living in shanty towns or are homeless on the streets.
“These figures are truly worrying. I can’t announce many of the figures here because there are journalists present,” he said.
Last week a senior official of the regime acknowledged that at least 20,000 homeless Iranians are living in cardboard boxes on the streets of Tehran, even as the real number of homeless people in the Iranian capital is believed to be several times the official figure.
“Ten percent of those who sleep in cardboard boxes suffer from contagious illnesses and another 10 percent are affected by aids,” the official state news agency IRNA quoted the spokesperson of the Social Services Organization of the Tehran Municipality as saying. Farzad Hoshyar Parsian added that these problems have “complicated” the situation in the Iranian capital.
One of the vice presidents in the cabinet of Hassan Rouhani said last month that women make up a third of homeless people living on the streets in Iran.
"Our research indicates that there are 15,000 people sleeping in cardboard boxes in the country, of who 5,000 are women," Shahindokht Mollavardi said.
The 20,000 figure provided by the Tehran Municipality of the number of homeless people in Tehran alone dwarfs the national figures provided by Mollavardi.
The true number of Iranians living on the streets is substantially higher than official records.
Last year, a deputy director of the Tehran municipality’s Welfare Organization announced that the average age of homeless women in Iran’s capital is 32.
The head of the Social Committee in Tehran’s city council, Fatemeh Daneshvar, said in June that the number of pregnant women and children living on the streets in the city is increasing.
Homeless women and street children live in dire conditions where they survive in abandoned buildings, containers, automobiles, parks, or even on the street itself.
Street children experience many social and psychological traumas on the streets on a daily basis.
Determining the numbers of street children in Iran is virtually impossible. In a 2005 report by the U.S. State Department, by the Iranian government’s own admission, 60,000 street children were accounted for in Iran.
Numerous child rights organizations suspect that the number is substantially higher, citing figures of 200,000 or more. Of this number, about 55 percent are the children of Afghan refugees.
The Iranian regime's supreme leader Ali Khamenei and his family have amassed a huge fortune, amounting to billions of dollars, even as the people of Iran including a majority of the working class have been living in poverty and destitution.
Much of Khamenei's personal wealth is in the hands of his sons and daughters, large amounts of which are held in banks in the United Kingdom, Syria and Venezuela. Read the full report here.

Iran - Navy boats run over civilian man "killing him"?

Iranian navy boats
Iran’s navy murdered a defenseless civilian on Saturday, August 22 in Chabahar, southern Iran. This individual has been identified as Shah Bakhsh Gargij.
Authorities deliberately ran over this civilian with a Golf navy boat. Despite his wounds Navy forces kept this individual and did not transfer him to a hospital for a few hours, resulting in him losing his life. (Baloch Campaign website – August 24, 2015)

Chinese Woman Downs a Bottle of Cognac She Couldn't Carry on the Flight



BEIJING - A Chinese passenger at Beijing airport's security check-in downed an entire bottle of cognac when she was not allowed to board her flight with the bottle in her hand luggage on Aug. 21.

Zhao, 40, did not want to hand over the $200 bottle of French Rémy Martin cognac - which she apparently bought at a U.S. airport - to the security officials and instead polished it off, Beijing Times newspaper reported Tuesday.

A few minutes later, airport personnel found her lying on the floor, crying and shouting.

"She was so drunk she couldn't even stand up herself. We took her to a room in a wheelchair so she could rest," said an officer who attended to her.

The captain of the flight, which she was supposed to board between Beijing and Wenzhou, refused to allow her on board, fearing she will pose a security risk to other passengers in her inebriated condition.

The woman recovered hours later, thanked the officers who attended to her and contacted her relatives, who took her home. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Civilians pay heavy price as Yemen violence rages

Iran - Student in prison with no trial or charges ( 9 months ) ?

Amir Amirgholi in the 9th Month of Detention with no Trial

Posted on: 21st August, 2015
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Amir Amirgholi
HRANA News Agency – Amir Amirgholi, political prisoner in ward 8 of Evin prison is spending his 8th month of detention with no trial, neither any changes have been considered about his detention order.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Ali (Amir) Amirgholi political prisoner in ward 8 of Evin prison, after eight months of detention has not been tried yet.
This former student activist was supposed to have a trial in Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, on 23rd May, which was not held due to his transfer, and the new trial date has not been announced yet, by judge Salvati.
Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court and earlier Branch 6 of Evin, despite the peaceful nature of Amirgholi’s activities, has kept him in an uncertainty.
Amir Amirqholi, former student activist was arrested on 1stDecember last year and was held in solitary confinement for about two months in ward 209 of Evin prison under interrogation and after his interrogations he was transferred to ward 8 in Evin prison.
He was charged with gathering and collusion against the national security, propaganda against the regime, blasphemy and insulting the leadership, by Naseri in Branch 6 of persecution, in Evin.
According to one of his relatives; “Allegation of collusion and propaganda against the regime are because of his participation in a gathering to support Kobani, and blasphemy and insulting the leadership allegations are because of what he had posted on his personal Facebook page.”
Amir Amirgholi was arrested earlier in September 2008 because of his political and student activities, and was subsequently expelled from the university.

Iran - Banned female lawyer Summoned to the Court


Posted on: 22nd August, 2015
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Nasrin Sotoudeh
HRANA News Agency – Nasrin Sotoudeh, jurist, charted solicitor and member of the Association of Human Rights Defenders, was summoned to the Court, Branch 2 in Evin.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Nasrin Sotoudeh, with announcing this news, said: “Last Sunday, I was notified by a judicial letter from court that was precisely the same as when a court summons a charged person, just it was not titled as “Summons Letter”.”
She continued: “Presenting some explanation about the allegations in the case, was mentioned as the reason for this summon, and evocative branch, is the second Branch of the Evin Court, which is formed adjacent to the Evin prison.”
She also added: “It was also mentioned that in accordance with the provisions I can have a solicitor with me. I’m not going to put my colleagues in danger, because lawyers are going through difficult days in Iran, but I wish this right to be respected as well for all citizens who do not have legal information.”
Nasrin Sotoudeh, at the end, added: “As always such news can trigger concerns, I had no hurry to announce that news, I just want to say to my friends who are concerned, do not worry, I am a lawyer and I do know how to defend myself.”
It should be noted, Mrs. Sotoudeh, had been sentenced to six years imprisonment, earlier in 2010, for her peaceful and human rights supporting activities, and was sentenced to 10-year ban from practicing law, She was held in prison from 4thSeptember 2010 till 18th September 2013 on charge of “Acting against national security”, in Evin prison and after being released, according to Lawyers Disciplinary Court order, her attorney license was cancelled from October 2014, for 3 years.
Nasrin Sotoudeh Langroodi (born 1963) is a jurist, lawyer and social activist, a member of the Association of Defenders of Human Rights, the campaign to change discriminatory laws against women, Association of Supporting Children, and solicitor of many cases of human rights activists, women’s rights activists, victims of child abuse and the children at risk of execution. She praised the 2009 Human Rights Award by “International human rights organization”.