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Iran's Zarif: Israel lying about Gaza rocket ship

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The Israeli military released pictures of the ship's cargo on its blog on Wednesday
Iran has rejected Israeli allegations that it was behind a shipment of Syrian-made rockets intended for Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed them as "failed lies".

He claimed they were published "just in time" for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, which took place earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Israel's military said it had found the rockets on a ship it seized in the Red Sea off Sudan.

The Klos-C, a Panamanian-flagged vessel, is currently being escorted to the southern Israeli port of Eilat, and is expected to arrive on Saturday. Its 17-member crew were apparently unaware of their cargo.

Comment: Meanwhile:

'U.S. admits Mossad behind Iran scientists assassinations'
U.S. pushing Israel to stop assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists
Anti-Semitism comes full circle: Israeli Defence Forces unit led fascist militia in Kiev - How much involvement did Israel have in neo-Nazi coup d'état?
Amnesty International accuses Israeli psychopaths of war crimes


Ambulance

NATO airstrike 'accidentally' kills 5 Afghan soldiers

drone
© Reuters/US Air Force/Bobbi Zapka/
Five Afghan soldiers have been killed and 17 people wounded in an airstrike by the NATO-led force in Afghanistan in eastern Logar province.

The airstrike, one of the deadliest friendly fire incidents in recent years, occurred at about 3:30 am local time and seriously wounded a further eight soldiers, bringing the total number of injured people to 17.

Dead bodies and wounded personnel have been transferred from the Chark district of Logar province to Kabul, the Afghan defense ministry said in a statement. It added that a delegation has already been sent to investigate.

Coalition forces operating in Afghanistan have said in a statement that the bombing was an accident, but did not give any further details of what might have been the cause of the deadly error.

"We value the strong relationship with our Afghan partners, and we will determine what actions will be taken to ensure incidents like this do not happen again," the ISAF statement said, adding that they are conducting an investigation "to determine the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident."

Magnify

The bizarre story of the 'kidnapped' UN envoy in Crimea

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© MYKHAILO MARKIV, POOL/ASSOCIATED PRESSUkraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych, left, greets United Nations Special Coordinator Robert Serry prior talks in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, on Jan. 29, 2014.
News that United Nations envoy Robert Serry had been kidnapped or detained in Crimea spread through the UN press briefing room in New York on Wednesday morning, minutes before a previously scheduled telephone question and answer session with UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson from Kiev.

When Eliasson came on the line, he said Serry had just called him from a cafe in Crimea to say that he had been not kidnapped, but he unidentified men had threatened him. Some of them were armed.

According to Eliassion, when Serry came out of a naval headquarters building, he was accosted and told to go to the airport and leave Crimea, but he refused. Serry instead got in his car, but abandoned shortly after and set out on foot for his hotel. That's when he stopped at the cafe to call Eliasson. Eliasson said it is not clear if Serry's work in Ukraine, or at least the Crimea region, would continue.

Two hours later, the UN told correspondents that Serry was "taking a late flight out of Simferopol and will shortly return to Kiev to continue his mission, which was cut short by today's incident."

USA

U.S. and Russia fail to reach Ukraine deal - Not a surprise, Russia is in the Right and the U.S.-EU won't admit it

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John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov to resume talks on Thursday as pressure grows on EU to pass punitive measures against Moscow

The first western attempts to get Moscow to back down over its seizure of Crimea failed on Wednesday evening, putting pressure on the EU to resort to punitive action against the Kremlin at an emergency summit on Thursday.

Negotiations in Paris between John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, broke up without agreement on Wednesday. The Americans and the Europeans hoped to persuade Moscow to open a dialogue with the new government in Kiev and also to withdraw its forces in Crimea to their bases and allow in international monitors.

But while Lavrov accused the Americans of tabling unacceptable ultimatums, Kerry said there were "a number of ideas " up for discussion. Both men are expected to resume negotiations in Rome on Thursday after consulting their respective presidents, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

"Things have moved in a good direction," said Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister.

Network

Ukraine crisis: No wonder Vladimir Putin says Crimea is Russian

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© Independent
Much recent comment on Ukraine in the British press has been marked by a barely forgivable ignorance about its history and politics, an overhasty willingness to put the blame for all its troubles on Vladimir Putin, and an almost total inability to suggest practical ways of bringing effective Western influence to bear on a solution.

So perhaps we should start with a short history lesson. A thousand years ago Kiev was the capital of an Orthodox Christian state called Rus with links reaching as far west as England. But Rus was swept away by the Tatars in the 13th century, leaving only a few principalities in the north, including an obscure town deep in the forests, called Moscow.

What became known as Ukraine - a Slav phrase meaning "borderlands" - was regularly fought over by Tatars, Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Turks, Swedes and Cossacks. One large chunk, including Kiev itself, joined Russia in the 17th century. Galicia in the west fell to the Austrians in the following century, but was taken by Poland after the First World War, when the rest of Ukraine joined the Soviet Federation. Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin handed Galicia and its capital Lviv to Ukraine in 1945. All these changes were accompanied by much bloody fighting.

Ukraine's Crimean peninsula followed a different but equally tumultuous path. The seat of a powerful and predatory Tatar state, it was conquered and settled by the Russians in the 18th century. Stalin deported its Tatar minority in 1944 because, he said, they had collaborated with the Germans. They were later allowed to return. Crimea only became part of Ukraine in 1954, when Khrushchev gave it to Kiev as a present.

Comment: It looks as though Crimea is not going to allow its government or citizens to be manipulated and bullied by the Ukraine and the West. Good for them!

Agreement on cooperation between Republics of Tatarstan and Crimea signed in Simferopol
Crimea's Supreme Council makes decision to join Russia as federal subject
BREAKING! Crimean parliament votes to join Russia, hold referendum in 10 days on ratifying


Wolf

Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl resigns live on air over Ukraine crisis - Is she an NSA media agent?

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US-based Wahl said she could not work for a network that 'whitewashed' the actions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin

An American anchor for the Kremlin-funded news channel RT has quit on air and accused the network of "whitewashing" Moscow's military intervention in Crimea.

Liz Wahl, a Washington-based correspondent for RT-America, part of the network formerly known as Russia Today, told viewers on Wednesday she was resigning because of its coverage of President Vladimir Putin's actions in the Ukrainian region.

Veerng off script, Wahl said: "I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I'm resigning."

As the daughter of a military veteran and the wife of a military base physician the network's coverage of a potentially explosive crisis presented ethical and moral dilemmas, she said.

Comment: She's "Proud to be an American" but whitewashes the actions of the USA involved in instigating the conflict in Ukraine. She appears to be a perfect example of Glenn Greenwald's recent expose about social control via the media. Her announcement was totally unprofessional and damaging to one of the few news outlets that DOES publish truth on a wide scale.


War Whore

Clash in Crimea is the fruit of western expansion - has put fascists in power

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© Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesTroops under Russian command fire weapons into the air in Lubimovka, Ukraine.
The external struggle to dominate Ukraine has put fascists in power and brought the country to the brink of conflict

Diplomatic pronouncements are renowned for hypocrisy and double standards. But western denunciations of Russian intervention in Crimea have reached new depths of self parody. The so far bloodless incursion is an "incredible act of aggression", US secretary of state John Kerry declared. In the 21st century you just don't invade countries on a "completely trumped-up pretext", he insisted, as US allies agreed that it had been an unacceptable breach of international law, for which there will be "costs".

That the states which launched the greatest act of unprovoked aggression in modern history on a trumped-up pretext - against Iraq, in an illegal war now estimated to have killed 500,000, along with the invasion of Afghanistan, bloody regime change in Libya, and the killing of thousands in drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, all without UN authorisation - should make such claims is beyond absurdity.

It's not just that western aggression and lawless killing is on another scale entirely from anything Russia appears to have contemplated, let alone carried out - removing any credible basis for the US and its allies to rail against Russian transgressions. But the western powers have also played a central role in creating the Ukraine crisis in the first place.

Chess

Spring fails in Ukrainian plunderland as the bloodsucking IMF is welcomed by "Yats"

Vulture capitalism
© Unknown
Here's the US's exceptionalist promotion of "democracy" in action; Washington has recognized a coup d'etat in Ukraine that regime-changed a - for all its glaring faults - democratically elected government.

And here is Russian President Vladimir Putin, already last year, talking about how Russia and China decided to trade in roubles and yuan, and stressing how Russia needs to quit the "excessive monopoly" of the US dollar. He had to be aware the Empire would strike back.

Now there's more; Russian presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev told RIA Novosti, "Russia will abandon the US dollar as a reserve currency if the United States initiates sanctions against the Russian Federation."

So the Empire struck back by giving "a little help" to regime change in the Ukraine. And Moscow counter-punched by taking control of Crimea in less than a day without firing a shot - with or without crack Spetsnaz brigades (UK-based think tanks say they are; Putin says they are not).

Putin's assessment of what happened in Ukraine is factually correct; "an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power". It's open to endless, mostly nasty debate whether the Kremlin overreacted or not. Considering the record of outright demonization of both Russia and Putin going on for years - and now reaching fever pitch - the Kremlin's swift reaction was quite measured.

Vader

Saadi Gaddafi extradited to Libya for 'fair trial' by U.S. client regime of terror

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© Prison Media Office/ReutersSaadi Gaddaf gets his head shaved in the Tripoli prison
Government says former ruler's son has been transferred from Niger on charges of embezzlement and making armed threats

Niger has extradited Muammar Gaddafi's son Saadi to Libya where he has been placed in a Tripoli prison, the Libyan government said on Thursday.

Libya had been seeking the extradition of Saadi, who had fled to the southern neighbour nation after the toppling of Gaddafi in a Nato-backed uprising in 2011.

"The Libyan government received today Saadi Gaddafi and he arrived in Tripoli," the cabinet of the Libyan prime minister, Ali Zeidan, said in a statement.

Saadi, one of Gaddafi's seven sons, was being held by judiciary police forces, the government said. It thanked Niger for its co-operation and said Saadi would be treated according to international justice standards for prisoners.

Cut

President Maduro breaks diplomatic relations with Panama, citing client state's complicity in 'democratization of Venezuela'

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© Reuters / Carlos Garcia RawlinsVenezuela's President Nicolas Maduro
The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that it was breaking diplomatic and commercial ties with Panama on Wednesday, citing the Central American country's complicity in a "conspiracy."

In strongly worded comments during a commemoration event on the anniversary of the death of the country's late president, Hugo Chavez, Maduro derided Panama's leadership.

"We're not going to let anyone get away with interfering with our fatherland, you despicable lackey, president of Panama," said Maduro.

The Venezuelan leader affirmed that actions to break relations with Panama were in keeping with the day's homage to Chavez.

"This is the best way to honor commander Chavez, by defending our sovereignty."