ANKARA, TURKEY (WeAreChange) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said “it’s very clear” that the US-led coalition is supporting terrorist groups in Syria including Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL or in Arabic, ‘Daesh’).
“They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (Arabic for IS),” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara on Tuesday, adding that US coalition forces “give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It’s very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos.”
Apart from the Islamic State, he also mentioned Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northern Syria (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) as groups supported by the US coalition.
Erdogan also said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and Qatar should join its meeting with Russia and Iran to discuss Syrian peace efforts.
The Associated Press said Erdogan said the meeting of foreign ministers should include Saudi Arabia and Qatar, saying they had “shown goodwill and given support” to Syria.
The main backers of rebels seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Al Assad,who is closely allied with Moscow and Tehran, are Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The US State Department has dismissed Erdogan’s claim as being “ludicrous”.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said there was no was basis for such an accusation and added that Washington is “100 percent behind the defeat and destruction of Daesh, even beyond Syria and Iraq.”
However, Michael Maloof, a security analyst and former Pentagon official told RT that “the evidence [mentioned by Erdogan] is quite ample, [the US] have been doing it for a number of years, including running secret CIA operations through Jordan, then through Turkey and into Syria.”
He added that Erdogan’s comments were “disingenuous,” given the fact that “he continues to supply arms [into Syria] as well, with his ultimate aim [being] to go after the Kurds, and ISIS is secondary.”
Moscow also accused Washington of “sponsoring terrorism” in Syria on Tuesday.
In remarks on the latest National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Barack Obama, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the new bill “openly stipulates the possibility” of delivering more weapons to Syria.
Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said those arms “will soon find their way to the jihadists,” adding that America had “refused” to fully cooperate in fighting terrorism.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (WeAreChange) — Israeli online news agency Times of Israel reported a months-long inquiry into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s affairs has taken a new twist on Monday, with police reportedly convinced that they will be able to open a full-blown criminal investigation against him in a matter of days.
Israel’s Channel 2 reported police recently received new documents as part of a secret inquiry that began almost 9 months ago. Backed up with these files, police have sought permission from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit requesting that he allow them to open a full criminal investigation. The report stated that among the suspected offenses are bribe-taking and aggravated fraud.
However, a spokesperson for the prime minister has said the allegations are “all nonsense,” Haaretz reported. “Since Netanyahu’s victory in the last elections and even before, hostile elements have used heroic efforts to attempt to bring about [Netanyahu’s] downfall, with false accusations against him and his family. This [latest attempt] is absolutely false. There was nothing and there will be nothing.”
Mr Netanyahu and his family have been the subject of several allegations of corruption during his time in office.
In June this year, it was reported that Israel Police Chief Roni Alsheich gave his approval on the secret investigation by special police unit Lahav 433, but that he had demanded full cooperation on secrecy and that no details be leaked to the media.
Mandelblit also reportedly instructed employees in the state prosecutor’s office to look into allegations that Netanyahu accepted 1 million euros (about $1.1 million) from accused French fraudster Arnaud Mimran in 2009.
The Times also reported that in May, Israel’s state comptroller issued a critical report on Netanyahu’s overseas trips, some of which were taken with his wife and children, from the period of 2003 to 2005, when he served as Israel’s finance minister.
In an apparently unrelated case earlier this month, there were calls for the prime minister to be investigated for his role in a Defense Ministry deal to purchase submarines from a German company partly owned by the Iranian government – which Israel sees as a major enemy.
The affair sparked public controversy in the country last month, after accusations surfaced that the prime minister may have been swayed in the decision by links between his personal lawyer David Shimron and the submarines’ builder, ThyssenKrupp. Both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Shimron denied any wrongdoing.
Mr Netanyahu said: “Increasing the security and strength of the state of Israel is the only consideration that guided me in acquiring the submarines.”
On Sunday, police swooped on the Defense Ministry to gather information relating to a ship-building contract with Germany, as part of a probe into how negotiations for multi-billion shekel naval deals were handled.
The question that must be asked is, “is this latest investigation legitimate or is it a mere setup to frame Prime Minister Netanyahu?”
MOSCOW (WeAreChange) — According to Interfax News Agency, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a Russian military plane with 81 passengers and 10 crew members aboard has disappeared from radars.
The ministry says the Tu-155 plane was on its way to Latakia in Syria for a New Year’s concert when it disappeared over the Black Sea just minutes after it took off from the resort town of Sochi on Sunday.
Other news agencies, including Itar Tass, reported that up to 100 people were on board.
Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Moscow, said the plane disappeared from radar about 20 minutes after takeoff.
“Reports here in Moscow are saying that the passengers included journalists, military personel and members of the famous Alexandrov Ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian armed forces.
“Rescue crews have been deployed to search for the aircraft,” Ghoneim said.
This information comes just after the assassination of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov last week.
This is a breaking story. More to follow.
WASHINGTON (WeAreChange) — United States federal law enforcement agencies cautioned their local counterparts on Friday to be aware of ISIL inspired attacks on holiday gatherings, including churches, a law enforcement official said.
The warning, issued in a bulletin to local law enforcement, noted there were no known specific, credible threats.
However, the precautionary measure comes after a hit list of U.S. churches was published on pro-ISIL websites this week and also follows the deadly Berlin terror attack on Monday.
“The FBI is aware of the recent link published online that urges attacks against U.S. churches. As with similar threats, the FBI is tracking this matter while we investigate its credibility,” the agency said in a statement.
Islamic State sympathizers “continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches,” CNN quoted the bulletin as saying.
The notice describes different signs of suspicious activity for which police should be alert, it said.
LONDON (WeAreChange) — The controversial co-founder and editor in chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, confirmed Friday that his internet access at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been finally restored after it was severed in October.
Assange revealed new details on his current situation as well as the state of WikiLeaks in an exclusive sit-down interview with Repubblica.it.
In reply to the question “Is the internet still cut of?” Assange confirmed, “the internet has been returned.”
Assange’s internet was “intentionally severed” on October 17 by the Ecuadorian government amid the publication of thousands of emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta.
Wikileaks tweeted this at the time confirming internet access was cut.
We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speechs.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 17, 2016
The Ecuadorian government confirmed the following day that it had cut Assange’s internet over fears it would be seen as aiding WikiLeaks’ influence on the US election.
Assange also confirmed the “anti-secrecy” organisation would survive because of its contingencies in place even if he were to be charged and extradited to Sweden and then to the United States.
“Yes, we have contingency plans that you have seen in action when my Internet was cut off and while I was in prison before. An organisation like WikiLeaks cannot be structured such that a single person can be a point of failure in the organisation, it makes him or her a target.”
Assange in reply to the question, “You’ve declared on more than one occasion that what you really miss after 6 years of arrest and confinement is your family. Your children gave you a present to make you to feel less alone: a kitten. Have you ever reconsidered your choices?” said:
“Yes, of course. Fortunately I’m too busy to think about these things all the time. I know that my family and my children are proud of me, that they benefit in some ways from having a father who knows some parts of the world and has become very good in a fight, but in other ways they suffer”.
During the interview Assange also commented on Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss and his views on Trump’s burgeoning administration.
“Hillary Clinton’s election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States,” Assange said. “Donald Trump is not a DC insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities.”
“They do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilizing the pre-existing central power network within DC. It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States: change for the worse and change for the better.”
Looking back on 10 years of publishing, Assange reminisced on WikiLeaks’ unique ability to shed light on the establishment’s “illusion of power.”
“Power is mostly the illusion of power. The Pentagon demanded we destroy our publications. We kept publishing,” Assange said. “Clinton denounced us and said we were an attack on the entire ‘international community.’ We kept publishing.”
“I was put in prison and under house arrest. We kept publishing. We went head to head with the NSA getting Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, we won and got him asylum. Clinton tried to destroy us and was herself destroyed. Elephants, it seems, can be brought down with string. Perhaps there are no elephants”.
As many would be aware, Assange has lived and worked in Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012, having been granted asylum there after a British court ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in an ongoing sexual molestation case involving two female WikiLeaks supporters.
Finally after years of judicial paralysis, Swedish prosecutors travelled to London in November to question him in relation to the allegations. In a matter of just a few weeks, they will be deciding whether to charge or absolve him once and for all. Next February, Ecuador will be holding political elections. If Julian Assange loses asylum, the question is: “will he be extradited to Sweden and then to the US?”