Saturday, June 02, 2012

(GLOBALRESEARCH) THE HOULA MASSACRE: Opposition Terrorists "Killed Families Loyal to the Government"

COMMENT - Take it for what it is, but if any of this is true then there is absolutely no reason or excuse to invade Syria. To say the least. If these atrocities are carried out by the 'Free Syrian Army' to provoke a western invasion, then the UN's 'Responsibility To Protect' doctrine itself is used as an instrument to enter into war. Shame on Susan Rice for invoking it for that purpose.

(GLOBALRESEARCH.CA) THE HOULA MASSACRE: Opposition Terrorists "Killed Families Loyal to the Government"
Detailed Investigation
by Marat Musin
Global Research, June 1, 2012
ANNA NEWS (Original Russian) and

Global Research Editor's Note

This incisive report by independent Russian journalist Marat Musin dispels the lies and fabrications of the Western media.

The report is based on a chronology of events as well as eyewitness accounts. Entire pro-government families in Houla were massacred. The terrorists were not pro-government shabbiha militia as conveyed, in chorus, by the mainstream media, they were in large part mercenaries and professional killers operating under the auspices of the self-proclaimed Free Syrian Army (FSA):

"When the rebels seized the lower checkpoint in the center of town and located next to the local police department, they began to sweep all the families loyal to the authorities in neighboring houses, including the elderly, women and children.

Several families of the Al-Sayed were killed, including 20 young children and the family of Abdul Razak. The people were killed with knives and shot at point blank range.

Then they presented the murdered [corpses] to the UN and the international community as victims of bombings by the Syrian army, something that was not verified by any marks on their bodies."

We call on our readers to forward this report far and wide, post it on facebook. .

The massacre in Houla is being blamed on the Syrian government without a shred of evidence. The objective is not only to isolate Syria politically and economically, but to develop a pretext and a justification for waging an R2P humanitarian war on Syria.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has hinted that if the Security Council does not act, the US and its allies may consider "taking actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of the [UN Security] Council.”

This report by Marat Musin confirms that crimes against humanity are being committed by terrorist militia.

It is essential to reverse the tide of war propaganda which uses civilian deaths as a pretext to wage war, when those killings of civilians were carried out not by government forces but by professional terrorists operating under the helm of the US-NATO sponsored Free Syrian Army.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Montreal, June 1, 2012

In the weekend of May 25, 2012, at about 2 PM, big groups of fighters attacked and captured the town of Al – Hula of the Homs province. Al-Houla is made up of three regions: the village of Taldou, Kafr Laha and Taldahab, each of which had previously been home for 25-30 thousand people.

The town was attacked from the north-east by groups of bandits and mercenaries, numbering up to 700 people. The militants came from Ar-Rastan (the Brigade of al-Farouk from the Free Syrian Army led by the terrorist Abdul Razak Tlass and numbering 250), from the village of Akraba (led by the terrorist Yahya Al-Yousef), from the village Farlaha, joined by local gangsters, and from Al Houla.

The city of Ar-Rastan has long been abandoned by most civilians. Now Wahhabis from Lebanon dominate the scene, fueled with money and weapons by one of the main orchestrators of international terrorism, Saad Hariri, who heads the anti-Syrian political movement “Tayyar Al-Mustaqbal” (“Future Movement”). The road from Ar-Rastan to Al-Houla runs through Bedouin areas that remain mostly out of control of government troops, which made the militant attacks on Al Hula a complete surprise for the Syrian authorities.

When the rebels seized the lower checkpoint in the center of town and located next to the local police department, they began to sweep all the families loyal to the authorities in neighboring houses, including the elderly, women and children. Several families of the Al-Sayed were killed, including 20 young children and the family of the Abdul Razak. Many of those killed were “guilty” of the fact that they dared to change from Sunnis to Shiites. The people were killed with knives and shot at point blank range. Then they presented the murdered to the UN and the international community as victims of bombings by the Syrian army, something that was not verified by any marks on their bodies.

The idea that the UN observers had heard artillery fire against Al-Houla in the Safir Hotel in Homs at night… I consider nothing short of a bad joke. 50 kilometers lie between Homs and Al-Houla. What kind of tanks or guns has this range? Yes, there was intensive gunfire in Homs until 3 am, including heavy weapons. But, to give an example, on the night of Monday to Tuesday shooting was due to an attempt by law enforcement to regain control for a security corridor along the road to Damascus, Tarik Al-Sham.

After a visual inspection of Al Hula it is impossible to find traces of any of fresh destruction, bombing and shelling. During the day, several attacks by gunmen are made on the last remaining soldiers at the Taldou checkpoint. Militants used heavy weapons and snipers made up of professional mercenaries were active.

Note that once, the exactly same provocation failed at Shumar (Homs) and 49 militants and women and children were killed, when it was organized just before a visit of Kofi Annan. The last provocation was immediately exposed as soon as it became known that the bodies of the previously kidnapped belonged to Alawites. This provocation also contained serious inconsistencies – the names of those killed were from people loyal to the authorities, there were no traces of bombings, etc.

However, the provocation machine is running all the same. Today, the NATO countries directly threat to bomb Syria, and a simultaneous expulsion of Syrian diplomats has begun … As of today, there are no troops within the city of Al Hula, but there are regularly heard bursts of automatic fire, nonetheless. Moreover, it is unclear whether the militants are fighting with each other, or whether supporters of Bashar al-Assad are being cleaned out.

Militants opened fire on virtually everyone who tries to get closer to the border town. Before us a UN convoy was fired upon and two armored jeeps of the UN observers were damaged, when they tried to drive up to an army checkpoint in Tal Dow.

In the attack on the convoy a twenty-year-old terrorist was spotted. The fire was directed on the unprotected slopes of the first jeep, the back door of the second armored car was hooked by a fragment. There are wounded among those accompanying.

According to a wounded soldier:

“The next day, UN observers came to us at the checkpoint and as soon as they arrived, gunmen opened fire on them. And three of us were injured. One was wounded in the leg, the second – in the back, and I was hit in the hip.

When the observers came, they could hear a woman who was standing next to them and cried, the woman stood and pleaded the observers’ help – to protect her from the bandits. When I was wounded, the observers watched as I fell, but none of them tried to help. Our checkpoint no longer exists. There are no civilians any longer in Taldou, only militants remain. Our relationship to the locals was excellent. They are very good to us; they called on the army to enter Taldou. We were attacked by snipers.”

Unfortunately, many of the militants are professional snipers. 100-200 meters from our group TV-crew, militants attacked a BMP that went to replace soldiers at the checkpoint. During this a soldier – draftee got a concussion and slight tangential wound in the head by a sniper bullet. Looking at the pierced Kevlar helmet, it seems he did not even realize that he survived by a miracle.

Snipers kill up to 10 soldiers and policemen at checkpoints each day. It is true, that the daily casualties of law enforcement agencies in Homs were dozens of victims daily. But, unfortunately, at 10 am, six dead soldiers were taken to the morgue. Most were killed by a shot in the head. And the day had just begun…

So, these are the names of those were killed by snipers in the early morning hours of May 29:

1. Sergeant Ibrahim Halyuf
2. Sergeant Salman Ibrahim
3. Policeman Mahmoud Danaver
4. Conscript Ali Daher
5. Sergeant Wisam Haidar
6. the dead soldier’s family name could not be clarified

The bandits even fired an automatic burst on our group of journalists, although it was clear that this is a normal filming crew, consisting of unarmed civilians.


After Friday prayers at about 2 PM on May, 25th a group from the Al Aksh clan started firing on a checkpoint of law enforcement officers from mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Returning fire from a BRDM hit the mosque, and this was the very aim to lead to a bigger provocation.

Then, two groups of militants led by the terrorist Nidal Bakkour and Al-Hassan from the Al Hallak clan, supported by a unit of mercenaries, attacked the upper checkpoint on the eastern outskirts of the city. At 15.30 the upper checkpoint was taken, and all the prisoners executed: a Sunni conscript had his throat cut, while Abdullah Shaui (Bedouin) of Deir-Zor was burned alive.

During the attack on the upper checkpoint in the east, the armed men lost 25 people, which were then submitted to the UN observers, together with the 108 dead civilians – “victims of the regime”, allegedly killed by bombing and shelling of the Syrian army. As for the remaining 83 bodies, including 38 young children, they were from the families that were executed by militants. These families were all loyal to the government of Syria.


with a law enforcement officer:

“My name is Al Khosam, I am a law enforcement officer. I served in the village of Taldou, the district of Al-Houla, a province of Homs. On Friday, our checkpoint was attacked by a large group of militants. There were thousands.

Q: How do you protect yourself?

Answer: A simple weapon. We had 20 people, we called support, and when they were coming for us, I was wounded, and regained consciousness in the hospital. The attackers were from Ar-Rastan and Al-Hula. Insurgents control Taldou. They burned houses and killed people by the families, because they were loyal to the government. Raped the women and killed the children.”

Interview with a wounded soldier:

“I am Ahmed Mahmoud al Khali. I’m from the city Manbej. Was wounded in Taldou. I come from a support group that came to the aid of our comrades, who were stationed at the checkpoint.

Militants destroyed two infantry fighting vehicles and one BRDM standing at our checkpoint. We moved out to Taldou in a BMP, to pick up our wounded comrades from the checkpoint within the city. We drove them back in the BMP, and I filled in their place.

And after a while the UN observers came. They came to us, we led them to the homes of families who were cut by thugs.

I saw a family of three brothers and their father in the same room. In another room we found dead young children and their mother. And another one- an old man killed in this house. Only five men, women and children. The woman raped and shot in the head, I covered her with a blanket. And the commission had seen them all. They put them in the car and drove away. I do not know where they took them, probably for burial.”

A resident of Taldou on the roof of the police department:

“On Friday afternoon I was home. Hearing the shots, I came out to watch what was happening and saw that the fire came from the north side, towards the location of army checkpoint. As the army did not respond, they started to approach the homes, were subsequently the family was killed. When the army started to return fire, they used the women and children as human shields and continued firing at the checkpoint. When the army began answered, they fled. After that, the army took the surviving women and children and brought them into safety. At this time, Al Jazeera aired pictures and said that the Army committed the massacre at Al Hula.

In fact, they killed the civilians and children in Al-Hula. The bandits did not allow anyone to carry out their work. They steal everything that they can get their hands on: wheat, flour, oil and gas. Most of the fighters are from the city of Ar Rastan.”

After they captured the city, they carried the bodies of their dead comrades, as well as the bodies of people and the children they killed to the mosque. They carried the bodies in KIA pickups. On May, 25th, at around 8 PM, the corpses were already in the mosque. The next day at 11 o’clock in the morning the UN observers arrived at the mosque.

Media Disinformation

To exert pressure on public opinion and change the positions of Russia and China, texts and subtitles in Russian and Chinese languages were prepared in advance, reading: “Syria – Homs – the city of Hula. A terrible massacre perpetrated by the armed forces of the Syrian regime against civilians in the town of Houla. Dozens of victims and their number is growing, mainly women and children, brutally killed by indiscriminate bombing of the CITY.”

Two days later, on May 27, after the residents’ stories and video recordings made showed that the facts do not support the allegation of shelling and bombing, the bandits’ videos had undergone significant changes. At the end of the text appeared this postscript: “And some were killed with knives.”

Marat Musin, Olga Kulygina, Al-Houla, Syria

Original text / source:

video: Russian[/quote]

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(HERALD) Land reform has potential to change lives: UN rights chief

Land reform has potential to change lives: UN rights chief
Thursday, 24 May 2012 00:00
Obert Chifamba Senior Agriculture Reporter

VISITING United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navanethem Pillay yesterday acknowledged that the land reform programme had opened up economic empowerment opportunities for ordinary Zimbabweans. She said the land reform had the potential to change the lives of many Zimbabweans if they got the necessary support.
Ms Pillay was responding to questions from journalists during a tour of Panashe Estates Lot 1B in Mazowe, on the outskirts of Harare.

Referring to the owner of the farm, Mr Godwin Chitsinde, Ms Pillay said: “What we are witnessing here is part of the land reform process in which the farmer started farming on 5ha belonging to his family but has now blossomed into a commercial producer employing more than 90 people.

“I do not know how the land reform is being implemented elsewhere, but what I have seen here is very encouraging, especially Government’s involvement in deploying extension officers to help the farmers.”

Farmers, she said, had the capacity to produce even more were it not for challenges of funding and shortage of spare parts for equipment.

Most beneficiaries of the land reform she had seen, she said, were using their pieces of land and just needed to have the playing field levelled.

“People are working productively. They are not just holding on to land for speculative purposes,” she said.

Mashonaland Central provincial administrator Mr Josphat Jaji said the farmers could even be producing more if it were not for the illegal sanctions that were making it difficult for them to secure lines of credit and import spare parts.

To this, Ms Pillay responded that she could not say whether the farmers’ plight was sanctions or weather induced, as she did not know much about the country’s land reform process.

Panashe Estate sits on 337ha of which 240ha are arable while the remainder is used for cattle pastures.

Mr Chitsinde has 50ha of seed maize while the remainder of the farm is put under soya beans, commercial maize and sugar beans. He was resettled in 2002. He boasts a herd of 120 cattle.

Earlier in the day, the UN chief visited Boka Tobacco Auction Floors where she also acknowledged that farming, especially tobacco production, had vastly improved the livelihoods of women.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairperson Mrs Monica Chinamasa told her that tobacco was one of Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earners accounting for over 80 percent of its total agricultural exports.

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(HERALD) Setting the election agenda

Setting the election agenda
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 21:47

In 2000, MDC was in its infancy and the party went into its maiden election race wielding nothing else but the slogan “Chinja!” — a rather vacuous, albeit populist, chant for a departure from the then 20-year rule of Zanu-PF.

This chant for undefined change was more of an “anything, but Zanu-PF” attraction for most of Zimbabwe’s urban voters, as the subsequent election result proved.
MDC itself had been launched as an expression of protest against Zanu-PF’s anti-labour and

pro-liberal governance that started with the deadly and murderous Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) prescribed by the IMF’s Washington Consensus, as gullibly adopted by a spectacularly duped Zanu-PF Government of 1991-1992.

Just like the very party it sought to topple by preaching a vacuous gospel of change, the MDC itself was spectacularly hijacked by the same Western forces that had sponsored ESAP, a policy against which the MDC was building so much mileage; indeed at the expense of the revolutionary Zanu-PF — itself certainly far from being revolutionary between 1991 and 1999 — a time the party pursued the privatisation and belt-tightening austerity policies of the IMF with indisputable conviction and even arrogance.

As the MDC was hijacked by the West to be used as a puppet tool against Zanu-PF, the only viable political option for Zanu-PF was to remember its revolutionary beginnings and to go back to the same people it had so much pushed into involuntary austerity for the benefit of Western investors.

Just like the MDC went across Zimbabwean cities with its chinja slogan in 2000, Zanu-PF heroically came back into the picture, setting the election agenda on compulsory land reclamation, encouraging and even taking over commandeering of occupation of white-held commercial farms by landless masses — that way absolutely infuriating the Western imperialist anaconda, particularly the Tony Blair government in London, joined in fury by the Howard and Bush governments in

Australia and the US respectively.
Employment remained the significant concern for the urban population, but that was relegated to a matter of little moment as the MDC successfully preached more their hatred for Zanu-PF’s alleged dictatorship than they outlined their capacity to create jobs for the urban youths, strangely getting away with it as well.

While Zanu-PF fervently promoted land reclamation through whatever media the party could muster, the best opportunity to rebut MDC accusations availed itself when the ousted white commercial farmers began to actively and openly fund-raise for the MDC, with the Westminster Foundation posting its financial backing of the labour-turned-puppet-party on its website. The incriminating evidence was later pulled down after the damage had already been inflicted.

Apart from capitalising on the immensely popular land reclamation policy, Zanu-PF damningly and correctly labelled their political opponents in the MDC insidious puppets of former colonisers. That label is the widely held view across the African continent, notably in Zambia, South Africa, Ghana and the DRC.
The end result of the 2000 election was that the election agenda became a matter of the trampling and roar of the bewildered landless masses on the one hand and the rhetoric of the “responsible men,” who vainly tried to rubbish land occupation as a “lawless land grab,” warning endlessly that Zimbabwe was going to become a “basket case” for the foolishness of reclaiming her stolen land. Britain was even so daring as to raise the issue of property rights; colonially stolen land being the property in question.

At the peak of the 2000 electioneering one Fidelis Mhashu of the MDC went public through the BBC, boldly promising that his party would kick out black farmers and give back the land to ousted white commercial farmers. Zanu-PF feasted heavily on this propaganda scoop and Mhashu’s party could not reverse his foolishness for fear of ramifications from the sponsoring white farmers. The sell-out label just stuck firmer.

One reason the MDC does not speak a lot about policy is that the party is sponsored to practise capitalist politics — where those elites deemed responsible for the success of all others must be spared the foolishness of the bewildered masses, usually considered ignorant and dependant, and whose only function is to be spectators and never participants. It is like the way blacks were meant to watch white colonialists develop Africa.

Of course spectators are not supposed to bother their heads with complex matters like ownership of resources and reclamation of land, only limiting themselves to simple matters like waiting to be employed by smart-thinking Western investors.
The MDC election agenda for 2012 is “vote for a new Zimbabwe,” or “Let us complete the change,” — a lot more vacuous than the original chant for change. The

MDC election manifesto is shaped not exactly by the vision of the party leaders or by their innovativeness in matters of policy. It is entirely moulded and anchored on the shortcomings of Zanu-PF — real, alleged or imagined ranging from the alleged dictatorship and brutalities to the real shattering of democratic systems within the party itself — like some of the recent Zanu-PF sham District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) elections held in parts of the country, some of them ordered to be nullified by the party’s leadership.

Reports are that some Zanu-PF charlatans instructed voters on who should win, in many cases barring popular candidates from contesting, citing the dictatorial jungle rule that says “juniors must not contest positions that are of interest to senior members” of the party. There is no worse insult to democracy than this filthy logic, and Zanu-PF needs to stop this madness before the electorate is fed up with the nonsense.

But away from its internal democratic shortcomings, Zanu-PF has set a more plausible election agenda for 2012 than their MDC partners in the current inclusive Government. The party has repeated another mass-resonating economic policy in Saviour Kasukuwere’s indigenisation drive, especially the 51 percent local ownership of essential businesses in the country.

Predictably the MDC-T is concerned that the policy will disappoint the responsible and civilised people of this world, who must be attracted at all cost to come and employ our labour-gifted people.
In fact, the MDC-T actually brags about a “jobs policy” that it says shadows Zanu-PF’s economic empowerment drive and Tendai Biti is not at all ashamed of it. He is convinced we are jobs people and not investors or a people capable of running businesses.

What often happens in elections is that the needs of people often recede drastically as party managers and their PR agencies focus on character politics — elevating vilification of political opponents to the status of national interest, with slander and hate sometimes converted to pure logic. To this end the MDC-T cannot see itself winning an election where Zanu-PF is not portrayed as demonic.

Senator Morgan Femai’s recent lunatic contributions towards the HIV and Aids policy are not only a matter of personal inadequacy but rather a disturbing reflection of the shallowness in policy among candidates that are allowed by political parties to contest for positions of power. Specifically the utterances that women need to be shabby and unattractive in order to curb the spread of HIV and Aids were an indication of the lack of seriousness the MDC-T places on policy formulation.

That Douglas Mwonzora could not even gather enough courage to discredit the utterances, save for blaming the “unfortunate” blame on his party makes it even more concerning. It has become more important to block a propaganda coup for Zanu-PF that even perfect foolishness can be subtly defended. That is the logic at the MDC-T.

Senator Femai is certainly a foolish politician, but he is definitely not the only nut case in the political community.
The late Senator Joseph Culverwell was ejected from Parliament in the eighties after he labelled the late Sydney Malunga “a lunatic” for suggesting that rapists were motivated by hunger, advising the House that providing food to poverty-stricken males would help reduce rape cases.

Culverwell declared he could not put up with such “empty mouthing.” Sadly Zimbabwe still has to put up with this kind of empty-mouthing.
One MDC-T legislator recently proposed the administering of a libido-suppressing substance to all men, and also passing a law that limits sex for men to once a month. The vanguard who uphold the elevated ideals of our liberation struggle have among them some who believe they are uniquely charged with managing the

Zimbabwean society and directing the course of our collective actions, even regardless of our choices. To these the drift towards unchallenged occupation of political office must be acceptable to all loyal members of the revolution — in happiness and in sorrow, in good performance or otherwise, simply on the most important understanding that those who fought colonialism are immune to challenge.

Zanu-PF lost quite a chunk of parliamentary seats to this phenomenon of mistaking docility for loyalty in 2008. Imposed candidates chose to sink with the party instead of upholding the views of the voting public and allowing electable candidates to contest.
If this does not change in the immediate, Zanu-PF can prepare to escort those unelectable members of its vanguard into political oblivion. Fortunately the revolution is greater than the party.

Each time this writer has raised the issue of the MDC-T’s incapacity to articulate policy, there has always been this blame that the party has no access to outline its policies through the public media.

What has not been explained is why the slogan CHINJA has been so successfully promoted outside access to public media and why the soaring rhetoric about Zanu-PF’s alleged dictatorial tendencies has been so widely peddled outside this public media access.
It is a wonder that the pages of pro-MDC-T privately owned newspapers are all blank on MDC-T policy, writing on behalf of the insidious party more about Zanu-PF’s problems than the successes of the MDC-T — of course because no such successes exist.

Zanu-PF must forget totally about the MDC-T in the competing agenda setting of elections. Rather the party must learn to contend with the reality that the West’s marvels about free elections are only spared for situations where elections are believed to have come out the “right way,” for Zimbabwe the MDC-T way.
The 2008 June election in Lebanon was hailed as free and fair by the entirety of the West just because the Western-sponsored Saad Hariri’s March 14 coalition had won more representatives in Parliament, despite having lost the popular vote 47 percent to 53 percent to Hizbollah’s March 8 coalition.

The 2006 Hamas election win in Palestine resulted in the brutal US-Israel response to a genuinely free election, with other shameless people lauding George W. Bush’s administration for its noble dedication to “democracy promotion,” even suggesting that it was the US responsibility to make the lesser people of the Arab world appreciate democracy, not to do the unthinkable of voting such “terrorists” like Hamas into power.

Zanu-PF must watch out for this trend in the coming election.
The whole idea of elevating debate about alleged human rights abuses and “war crimes” by Zanu-PF and its leadership is designed to criminalise Zanu-PF and whatever the party stands for, land and indigenisation included, even criminalising membership to the party.

The idea is to set an election agenda that threatens to punish the electorate for voting Zanu-PF, starting by labelling all Zanu-PF supporters criminals by association — threatening those who openly support the policies of Zanu-PF with retribution in the event Zanu-PF does not win the election one day. The hell promised to instil fear is, of course, The Hague.

If the people of Lebanon had voted Hizbollah into power in 2008, the USA would not hesitate to instruct Israel to bomb them for it, the same way the Palestinians were starved, bombed and brutalised after voting in Hamas in 2006.
Zanu-PF must henceforth insist that intimidation of its supporters by Western-sponsored human rights activists and other Western surrogates must stop forthwith if ever there will be a truly free and fair election in Zimbabwe.

Rhodesian Eddie Cross recently posted an article portraying Zanu-PF as a party in waiting for some retributive trials and punishment and, surely, that kind of behaviour must be halted if Zanu-PF is serious about asserting itself as the true revolutionary party responsible for bringing about the nation’s independence, a legacy Zimbabwe cannot afford to lose.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome! It is homeland or death!!

* Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in Sydney, Australia.

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Interfin faces massive lawsuits

Interfin faces massive lawsuits
Saturday, 02 June 2012 00:00
Herald Reporter

FIRMS and individuals who invested millions of dollars with Interfin Bank are likely to lose out amid reports of gross mismanagement of the funds by the bank. Many clients reportedly failed to access their money on demand.

Some of the companies are already facing financial crises owing to failure to access their money. It is understood that the bank is facing liquidation as monetary authorities seek to protect depositors. The bank’s top depositors have a combined US$70 million in deposits.

Some of them are, Al Shams Global with US$22, 393,731, the Ministry of Finance deposited US$17, 913, 689 while NSSA has US$15, 371, 204.

Zimra deposited US$3, 053, 743, ABC Holdings US$3, 000, 000 while Seed Co has US$2, 549, 782, POSB US$1, 812, 500 and High Court Temp deposited US$1, 737, 191.
Swixfield Investments and Havercroft NA also deposited US$1, 214, 675 and US$1, 167, 606 respectively.

As a result, the bank is now facing lawsuits as companies and individuals swarming the High Court in a bid to recover their deposits.

Alshams Global BVI Ltd is owed US$26 million while Second Nominees (PVT) Limited is claiming US$3 million, which it says it lent the bank two years ago through a revolving credit facility.

However, Interfin defaulted in making due punctual repayments and as at February 29, 2012 it had paid US$935 944, 43, leaving a balance of US$3 million in capital and US$151 666, 67 interests, which it has failed to pay despite demand.
In his claim, Mr James Maposa is demanding US$500 000 from Interfin.
Through his lawyers Scanlen and Holderness, Mr Maposa submitted that on October 27, last year, he deposited US$500 000 to mature on November 25.

On November 25, he said he rolled over the investment for 30 days.
Prior to the expiry of the 30 days, Mr Maposa gave notice to Interfin not to roll over his investment as he intended to withdraw the money.

“By arrangement with the defendant (Interfin), the plaintiff (Mr Maposa) completed a Real Time Gross Settlement form on January 4, 2012 requiring the defendant to

pay the sum of US$500 000 to his agent Olmac Zimbabwe Limited,” his lawyers submitted.

“In breach of its undertaking, the defendant has failed and or neglected to pay the plaintiff’s agent or to the plaintiff the said sum of US$500 000, 00 or any portion thereof.

“In all the circumstances, the plaintiff is entitled to cancel the contract between the parties and to repayment of the capital and interest accumulated thereon.”
In breach of its undertaking, Interfin has reportedly failed or neglected to pay Mr Maposa.

In all circumstances, Mr Maphosa averred that it was agreed that the money would accrue interest at the rate of 20 percent per annum payable monthly in arrears or credited to his account.

FBC, is claiming US$309 000 plus interest at the rate of 25 percent per month calculated on a daily balance and compounded on a monthly basis as from 1 February 2012 to the date of payment in full.

City of Masvingo is also claiming US$110 000 that it transferred through Real Time Gross for the purchase of motor vehicles from Zimoco.

“On the 28th of February 2012, plaintiff presented a Real Time Gross Settlement (R.T.G.S) application form, serial number 011955 for a sum of US$110 000 payable to the account of Koodant Investments (PVT) Ltd trading as Zimoco’s Account at African Banking Corporation, ABC Zimbabwe, Mt Pleasant Branch,” City of Masvingo submitted through its lawyers Chihambakwe, Mutizwa and Partners.

The city argued that there was money in its account to cover for the payment adding that Interfin Bank knew that the payment was for a deposit of the purchase of vehicles to be used by the city.

“Defendant failed to perform its statutory duty and to act in good faith by failing to transfer the sum of US$110 000, 00 into Zimoco’s Account as instructed by Plaintiff.

“Despite demand, Plaintiff has failed to pay the sum of US$110 000, 00,” averred City of Masvingo.



(HERALD) Troika upholds poll decision

Troika upholds poll decision
Saturday, 02 June 2012 00:00
From Munyaradzi Huni in LUANDA, Angola

THE Sadc Troika on Defence, Politics and Security Co-operation yesterday said elections in Zimbabwe should be held within the next 12 months. The organ urged parties to the Global Political Agreement to agree on the timeline for harmonised elections.

It also asked the facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma to assist the GPA parties find common ground on the remaining contentious issues. The troika sought to accommodate the views of all parties as Zanu-PF maintains that elections should be held this year while the MDC formations want the polls in March next year.

Sources said the “notion to go for elections has been upheld”.

President Mugabe came out of the meeting maintaining that elections will be held this year. Speaking soon after the meeting, the President told journalists that all parties to the GPA had made their contributions which all negotiators described as cordial.

“We discussed the situation in our country and we all made contributions. We should go and finish the business to see when we can have elections within the period left for us. We have to finish what is to be done. We want elections to be held this year,” he said.

Negotiators from the two MDC formations, Mr Tendai Biti and Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said the troika meeting went well, but maintained that elections should be held after the reforms.

It is understood that PM Tsvangirai, who rushed to his hotel without addressing journalists, told the troika that he also wanted elections but spoke about the need for reforms.

The troika, clearly showed respect for Zimbabwe’s sovereignty by asking Zimbabweans to solve their issues and went on to call for the speeding up of the Constitution-making process to pave way for the elections.

It is understood that the troika expressed to all the parties that time was of essence in terms of the lifespan of the GPA as it now only has about 12 months left.

The President reportedly highlighted the constitutional constraint that the terms of Members of Parliament end in March while the inclusive Government can continue beyond March.

Sources said Zambian leader Michael Sata took the MDC formations head-on saying they should go for elections this year.

He said if the MDC formations have a message to take to the people, they should not be afraid of elections.

The troika acknowledged economic improvements in Zimbabwe despite the sanctions and went on to call for the removal of the embargo.

Recently, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Ms Navanethem Pillay called for the suspension of the illegal sanctions.

During the troika meeting, Professor Welshman Ncube spoke about the sanctions saying when the inclusive Government started, some parties were not sincere in calling for the lifting of the embargo but now everyone seemed to be pulling in one direction.

He spoke about the recent meeting between representatives from the three political parties and the EU adding that “let’s wait and see what happens in July” when the EU is expected to review its position on sanctions.

The troika meeting took over three hours.

After the troika meeting, the Extraordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government started in the afternoon and went well into the night after which the summit was supposed to release a communique.

The troika position was later upheld by the full Sadc Extraordinary Summit amid reports that President Sata, King Mswati of Swaziland and President Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola urged parties to the GPA not to become too comfortable with the arrangement.

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(HERALD) 107m kg tobacco delivered

107m kg tobacco delivered
Friday, 01 June 2012 00:00
Agriculture Reporter

FLUE-cured tobacco deliveries have for the third successive season surpassed the 100 million kilogrammes mark, hitting 107 million-kg this marketing season. The auctioned tobacco fetched US$400m and was sold at an average price of US$3,76 per kg. This marks a 7,11 percent change from last season.

Last year, 99 million kg worth US$266m had been auctioned during the same period at an average price of US$2,67 per kg. So far a total of 1 378 190 bales have been laid, while 1 306 687 bales have been sold with the remaining 58 167 bales getting rejected.

On the other hand, during the 2011 tobacco selling season a total of 1 307 285 bales had been laid with 1 217 714 getting sold, while 89 571 bales were rejected during the same period.

The average bale weight for both seasons has remained at 82 kg.
The four auction floors have so far sold 43 million kg of tobacco worth US$159m.
The average price was US$3,65 per kg.

They have all laid 651 453 bales, sold 600 707 bales and rejected 37 410 bales in the process. The average bale weight was 72kg.

Contract sales have so far accounted for 63 million kg of tobacco with a value of US$242m. The average price was US$3,83 per kg.

The contract floors have laid a total of 726 737 bales and sold 705 980 bales while another 20 757 bales were rejected.


* Land reform has potential to change lives: UN rights chief

* Cattle buying scheme launched

* Government, cotton farmers deadlocked

Tobacco Sales Floor has so far sold 15 million kg of tobacco valued at US$54m. TSF’s average price was US$3,69 per kg.
TSF has laid 216 418 bales and sold 197 792 bales with 18 626 bales being rejected. The average bale weight was 74kg.
Boka Tobacco Floors have sold 13 million kg of the golden leaf with a value of US$47m.

The average price was US$3,58 per kg.
BTF laid a total of 200 522 bales and auctioned 187 186 bales, while the remaining 13 336 bales were rejected.

The average bale weight was 71kg.
Millennium Tobacco Floors have on the other hand sold 8 million kg of tobacco with a value of US$28m. Their average price was US$3,66 per kg.
MTF laid 111 767 bales and sold 104 083 bales while 7 684 bales were rejected. Their average bale weight was 73kg.

Premier Tobacco Floors have like their counterparts, MTF sold 8 million kg of the golden leaf with a value of US$28m. PTF’s average price was US$3,67 per kg.
PTF laid 122 746 bales and auctioned a total of 111 646 bales while 11 100 bales were rejected. Their average bale weight was 73kg.

Tobacco volumes to all floors have been steadily declining, something attributed to the smooth flow of business at the opening of the season, which allowed most farmers to deliver their tobacco without hassles.

The country expects at least 150 million-kg of the golden leaf this season.



(HERALD) Govt to strengthen horticultural sector

Govt to strengthen horticultural sector
Friday, 01 June 2012 00:00
Agriculture Reporter

GOVERNMENT will strengthen research and extension services in the horticultural sector to ensure the Horticultural Promotion Council is represented in regional and global trade negotiations. In a speech read on his behalf by his Permanent Secretary

Ngoni Masoka , Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, recently said Government was committed to promoting the participation of smallholder farmers in the production of fresh produce.

“The Government Medium Term Plan 2011-12 recognises the importance of horticultural production to export generation capacity and employment creation.

“In this regard Government will facilitate the training of new horticulture farmers who need to meet certification requirements and processes that enable them to participate in the export market,” said Minister Made.

He was addressing delegates attending a field day held at the Prime Seed Research Station and Nursery at Gletwyn Farm in Harare recently.

The occasion also drew delegates from Switzerland, Kenya and South Africa, among others.

Minister Made described horticulture as a major foreign currency earner after tobacco and cotton accounting for approximately 4,5 percent of the national Gross Domestic Product.

“The agricultural sector ranks as one of the largest employers employing approximately 500 000 people with horticulture accounting for 15 percent of the figure.

“The major horticultural crops grown in Zimbabwe include tomatoes, onion, cabbage, kales, baby corn, mange tout peas, pepper, cauliflower and broccoli, which we have seen on our field tour today,” he said.

Tea, coffee, citrus, bananas and flowers, he said, had been some of the country’s major export crops in the past.

Minister Made said a lot of research and work had been done on horticulture production with various Horticulture Research Institutes across the country.

“Nyanga Research Institute has the mandate to conduct research on potatoes and deciduous fruits, Chipinge Coffee Research Institute does coffee and tea while

Marondera Horticulture Research Institute does brassicas and solanaceous crops among others.

“Private companies like Prime Seed Group and institutions like ART Farm are also involved in horticulture research work. More, however, still needs to be done to develop new varieties better adapted to the local climatic conditions and breeding for pest and disease tolerance in horticulture,” said Minister Made.

He also revealed that Zimbabwe used to export close to 20 000 tonnes of horticultural produce in the 1990s and had grown to export over 80 000 tonnes by 2001.
Despite experiencing a 56 percent drop in export volumes afterwards, the industry had started showing signs of recovery as of 2007 to the present, said Minister Made.

“The country has the capacity to export close to 200 000 tonnes of horticultural produce annually with major exports including mange tout peas, sugar snap peas, runner beans, baby corn, sweet corn, broccoli and courgettes.
“Passion fruit, plums, mangoes, nectarines and raspberries have also been identified as export winners and are being exported in increasing volumes,” he commented.

Minister Made also challenged Government to come up with a horticultural crop development authority to spearhead the development of the horticultural sector like Kenya has done.

In an interview on the sidelines of the field day, Prime Seed managing director, Mr Willie Ranby, challenged farmers to visit the Prime Seed Research Station and Nursery on any day for assistance and not just wait for field days.
“We are here 365 days a year and farmers should take advantage of that to come and seek technical assistance to improve their yields,” he said.

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Friday, June 01, 2012

(MATHABA) BBC Wages Propaganda War on Syria

BBC Wages Propaganda War on Syria
Posted: 2012/05/31
by Stephen Lendman

`British Barbaric Colonial` (BBC) news media, far from independent and free, is one hundred percent government owned, paid for by the taxes of British working people, and directed by MI6

Millions globally follow BBC reports regularly. Most perhaps don't know they get propaganda, not real news, commentary and opinion. Since established in October 1922, it's operated as a UK imperial tool. Its first general manager, John Reith, set the tone, saying: "They (meaning the UK government) know they can trust us not to be really impartial."

Straightaway he betrayed the public trust. Operating as a reliable business and government partner got BBC labeled the "British Falsehood Corporation." Some today call it the "British Bombing (or Bombast) Club."

Reith used BBC as a strikebreaker.

[I remember the 'slow trickle back to work' meme from the 1980s strikes. - MrK]

He secretly wrote anti-union speeches. He refused air time for worker representatives. He and current officials represent elitist interests, not public ones media outlets are supposed to serve.

Job applicants are vetted to assure pro-government, pro-business credentials. Aberrant ones aren't wanted. Whether on domestic or foreign issues, fair and balanced reporting isn't tolerated.

How can it be when government officials appoint senior managers. Any stepping out of line get fired. Nothing changed from inception to now.

Its claim about "honesty, integrity (being) what the BBC stands for, free from political influence and commercial pressure" is willful, deceptive hype.

UK-based Media Lens offers independent, "authoritative criticism." Its reports reflect "reality." It's free from corporate or government influence.

It covers BBC reporting. It once called it fundamentally one-sided, imbalanced, "biased, blinkered and culpable."

"Anyone can spot the propaganda with a modicum of vigilance while watching the news."

Western interests alone are represented. Viewers and listeners get one side only. They're "clearly expected to identify with NATO." They're "asked to assume there is a moral basis to (its) killing."

Attacking nations Washington and Britain declare "officially-decreed enemies" is supposed to be just and righteous no matter how lawless and indefensible.

BBC does what it's told. It's government funded, operated and controlled. It's Britain's official voice. It pretends to be independent and impartial.

"Propaganda merchants R Us," says Media Lens.

"In each decade, from its inception to the present day, the BBC bears the scars of its entanglements with those in power."

Media Lens quoted BBC news director, Helen Boaden. On June 10, 2011, she spoke the above words. She discussed the "value of journalism speech."

She quoted Groucho Marx once saying:

"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing....And if you can fake that, you've got it made!"

Journalists are supposed to speak truth to power. Few, in fact, do it. None working for scoundrel media. BBC falls woefully short. It represents interests it's supposed to confront and hold to account.

Instead it serves wealth and power. It's a "propaganda system for elite interests," says Media Lens. Viewers and listeners are betrayed, especially on issues mattering most.

What's more important than war or peace? When Britain and America rage to fight, BBC marches in lockstep.

On February 1, 2012, the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) headlined "BBC Peddles War Propaganda," saying:

BBC willfully misrepresents Iran's nuclear program. For example, on January 26, it "explicitly stated that Iran has nuclear bombs!"

A "tirade of demonization and misinformation" followed. Spurious accusations claimed Iran threatens world peace. Question Time host David Dimbleby breached journalistic fairness and accuracy codes. He featured guests stating spurious misinformation, not truth and full disclosure.

Journalist Melanie Phillips claimed "Iran is threatening genocide against Israel virtually every week, and it means it." She referred to the canard about wiping Israel off the map.

She continued saying:

"You are dealing in Iran with people who are not rational. You are dealing with people who believe that if they provoke the apocalypse, the end of days, they will bring to earth the Shiia Messiah, the Mahdi, and so they are in the business of provoking an apocalypse."

"It does not matter to them that in a nuclear exchange they may lose half of their own country. It doesn’t matter. This is the mentality that you are dealing with. And the threat is to all of us."

Broadcasting these type comments is unconscionable. Other guests say similar things. BBC features them. Viewers and listeners are misinformed. It repeats daily, especially when Britain and America plan war. CASMII had every right to complain. Doing so fell on deaf ears.

Last March, Alastair Crooke headlined his Asia Times article "Syria: Straining credulity?"

He quoted an unnamed US officer defining the future of warfare. In a 1997 US Army War College Quarterly article, he said:

"....we are already masters of information warfare. Hollywood is 'preparing the battlefield.' (We) will be writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties. Our creativity is devastating."

"Hatred, jealousy, and greed - emotions, rather than strategy - will set the terms of (information warfare) struggles."

Media scoundrels play the same role. The Syrian conflict "is scripted in emotional images and moralistic statements that always....trump rational analysis."

Baseless suspicions bring charges of crimes against humanity. Opposition and Western sources are cited. Warmongering officials write the scripts. Media scoundrels regurgitate their misinformation.

"Those who try to argue that Western intervention can only exacerbate the crisis are confronted (with images) of dead babies."

Those who write the scripts set the tone. Who'll contradict them without major media support? Expect none from BBC.

"Are we now to (believe) that armed opposition (insurgents are) motivated by" humanitarian concerns? "Will a Kosovo-type solution (improve things) in Syria?"

Does "anyone really believe American and European objectives in Syria (are) purely humanitarian?" Info-wars have other things in mind. At issue is regime change, not reform. It's about isolating Iran. It's about setting the stage for toppling its government after disposing of Syria.

"Do these reporters really believe" the agitprop they air? "Perhaps some do, but others (say things) to prepare the battlefield."

It bears repeating. When America, Britain, and rogue partners go to war or plan one, media scoundrels march in lockstep. BBC's done it for decades. Now it's at it again.

Spurious accusations claim Iran is developing nuclear weapons. In fact, none exist, and Iran threatens no one.

On May 27, Houla's massacre was featured. Reporting from Beirut, Jim Muir said:

"Some opposition groups are saying this could be a turning point."

"Western nations are pressing for a response...."

America wants "an end to (Assad's) 'rule by murder.' "

"The killings have sparked a chorus of international condemnation."

US, UK, French, and UN officials were quoted. They all pointed fingers one way. So did BBC by featuring them. The blame game accuses victims. Perpetrators get scant mention. Heated interventionist calls increase. "(I)ndiscriminate and disproportionate use of force" was charged.

On May 29, BBC reported on "how a massacre unfolded," saying:

"Anti-government activists, eyewitnesses and human rights groups - including the UN's high commissioner for human rights - point the finger at the Syrian army and the shabiha, a sectarian civilian militia that supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad."

BBC claimed army shelling began the attack. Syria categorically denies it. No tanks or artillery targeted Houla. None were positioned nearby. Hundreds of heavily armed Western-sponsored gunmen bear full responsibility.

Like other scoundrel media, BBC reported a tsunami of misinformation and lies.

On May 27, the London Telegraph headlined "BBC News uses 'Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre," saying:

Willful deception was caught red-handed. The image used "was actually taken on March 27, 2003...." It "shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad."

BBC posted it on its web site under the heading "Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows." The caption suggests Houla bodies awaited burial.

Photographer Marco di Lauro spotted the deception. He took the photo. When he saw it he said he nearly "fell off his chair," adding:

"One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming (Houla body images were) sent by an activist."

BBC pulls stunts like this often. So do US and other Western media. Notoriously they misreport on imperial wars and events preceding them. Propaganda substitutes for real news and information. Apologies after the fact when caught don't matter. Damage done can't be reversed.

What could Assad gain by killing babies, young children, women and the elderly? How would cutting their throats or shooting them at point blank range help? Obvious questions go unanswered. Regurgitated lies substitute.

The pattern repeats when Washington, Britain, and rogue partners want independent governments toppled. Media propaganda promotes wars.

It rages against Syrian civilians. Insurgent death squad assassins target them. They've been doing it since early last year. Like other scoundrel media, BBC ignores truths and features willful misinformation and lies. Fake images are prominently featured.

Viewers and listeners are misinformed and betrayed. Many wonder what's next. Domestic needs suffer to serve ravenous imperial appetites. No end of conflicts appear near.

Iran parliamentarians condemned the Houla massacre. They compared it to Israel's Sabra and Shatila slaughter. They called it "blatant....terrorist acts (of) mass murder...." Insurgents bear full responsibility. Assad is wrongfully blamed.

America should be held accountable, they said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said it was done "to create chaos and instability." It's also about preventing peace and paving the way for war.

On May 29, Press TV reported that the Habilian Association human rights group said:

"We have conclusive proof and documents showing that the MKO (Mujahedlin-e Organization) has a strong and significant presence in Syria."

"The terrorist group has begun, in an all-out fashion, acts of sabotage and terrorism against the Syrian government and nation, and has found major influence among the Syrian rebels."

Washington is directly involved. So are Western and regional partners. MKO plans a "large-scale attack." Preparations are underway.

Everything ongoing facilitates Washington's war plans. The worst could erupt any time. First Syria, then Iran, then new targets in an endless cycle of violence, killing, and destruction. Expect it. It's coming.

-- Mathaba Analyst Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War".
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→ The BBC and Zionist talking points on the evening of 9/11/01
→ BBC, Libya, & Cluster Bombs
→ BBC = Bin and Bypass Complaints
→ BBC Defends Refusal to Cover War Crimes Tribunal
→ Time to pull the plug on the BBC
→ The BBC, Impartiality, And The Hidden Logic Of Massacre (Part 2)
→ The BBC, Impartiality, And The Hidden Logic Of Massacre
→ The BBC Refuses To Broadcast Gaza Charity Appeal
→ In Focus: BBC's Pro-Israeli Bias
→ Covering Israel-Palestine - The BBC'S Double Standards
→ BBC: Imperial Tool

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(MATHABA) The Houla Massacre

The Houla Massacre
Posted: 2012/05/31

The appalling massacre of 108 people, including 49 children, in Houla, Syria, dominated the Independent on Sunday’s latest front cover. Above a few short lines of commentary the banner headline read:


The text beneath observed:

‘There is, of course, supposed to be a ceasefire, which the brutal Assad regime simply ignores. And the international community? It just averts its gaze. Will you do the same? Or will the sickening fate of these innocent children make you very, very angry?’ (Independent on Sunday, May 27, 2012)

Readers, then, knew exactly where to direct their anger - the 'brutal' Syrian 'regime' was responsible for the massacre.

It is not quite true that the 'international community' has averted its gaze. And the Syrian government is not the only party to have violated the April 12 ceasefire. Earlier this month, four weeks into the attempted pause in fighting, the Washington Post reported:

‘Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials.’

The weapons were having an impact:

‘The effect of the new arms appeared evident in Monday’s clash between opposition and government forces over control of the rebel-held city of Rastan, near Homs. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel forces who overran a government base had killed 23 Syrian soldiers.’

This kind of detail was not allowed to disturb the trans-spectrum media insistence that Assad, and Assad alone, was responsible for the slaughter of innocents in Houla. Nobody reading and watching the national media could come to any other conclusion. Also in the Independent on Sunday, David Randall wrote bitterly:

‘He is the President; she is the First Lady; they are dead children. He governs but doesn't protect; she shops and doesn't care… And one hopes that those on the United Nations Security Council, when it reconvenes, will look into the staring eyes of these dead children and remember the hollow words of Assad's wife when she simpered that she “comforts the families” of her country's victims.’

In March, US soldier Robert Bales shot dead 16 Afghan civilians, nine of them children, in a night-time massacre in a village outside a US base in southern Afghanistan. The Guardian reported:

‘Among the dead was a young girl in a green and red dress who had been shot in the forehead. The bodies of other victims appeared partially burned. A villager claimed they had been wrapped in blankets and set on fire by the killer.’

What kind of evidence would the media need before finding Barack Obama (and even Michelle Obama) personally responsible for this or any other massacre? Clearly, the involvement of US forces would need to be confirmed beyond doubt. They would need to have been acting under orders. Presumably Obama would need to have signed these orders, or at least to have been aware of them and agreed to them on some level.

But in the case of the Syrian leader, direct personal responsibility was attributed instantly, even before the killers had been identified. Within hours of the massacre being reported, a cartoon by Martin Rowson in the Observer depicted Assad with his mouth and face smeared with the blood of children. In the Independent, Assad was shown sitting in a bath filled with blood.

We challenged Rowson on Twitter: ‘On what actual evidence about the massacre in Houla is your cartoon based?’

We were asking what sources Rowson could offer indicating that Syrian forces were responsible, indeed that Assad was himself personally responsible. Rowson replied:

‘I have no more evidence than media & UN reports, like anyone else. Also used cartoonist's hunch - are you saying I'm wrong?’

We asked: ‘Would you rely on a "hunch" in depicting Obama and Cameron with mouths smeared with the blood of massacred children?’

Rowson continued: ‘Or are you saying I need New Yorker levels of verification for every story I cover? I'm a cartoonist, for f*ck's sake...'

Media Lens: ‘But shouldn't a cartoon also be based on fundamentally rational analysis, on credible evidence?'

We repeatedly and politely asked Rowson to supply some of the evidence (links to articles, quotes) that had informed his thinking. We received numerous and varied responses but no mention of evidence. Instead, Rowson erupted:

‘[Media Lens] has succeeded in riling me. Well done. If I'm proved worng I'll apologise. Meanwhile, f*ck off & annoy someone else.’

And: ‘No time for this anymore. Sorry. I stand convicted as a c*nt. End of...’

But Rowson did continue Tweeting and explained: ‘I'm answering you out of politeness…’

He finally pointed to one sentence in a BBC article quoting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:

‘There is no doubt that the government used artillery and tanks and this has been reported by UN observers who have visited the scene.’

This single sentence, Rowson claimed, 'seems to nail it'.

This was indeed the initial Western focus in blaming the Syrian government. Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said:

‘We are appalled at what appears to be credible reports that the Syrian regime has been responsible for the deaths of 92 civilians in Houla, including 32 children. The UN Head of Mission has been able to confirm the numbers and also that artillery tank shells have been used. If this is the case then it's an act of pure, naked savagery and we condemn it in the most strongest possible terms.’ (Our emphasis)

But it turns out that shelling was not the major cause of deaths. Associated Press has more recently reported:

‘The U.N.'s human rights office said most of the 108 victims were shot execution-style at close range, with fewer than 20 people cut down by regime shelling.’

Also, if Rowson felt that the quote from Lavrov justified blaming Assad solely and personally for the massacre, he should have checked the previous sentence, also from Lavrov:

‘We are dealing with a situation in which both sides evidently had a hand in the deaths of innocent people…’

The exchange with Rowson is available, in full, here.

Two days after Rowson’s cartoon appeared, the BBC reported the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, Maj Gen Robert Mood, as saying: ‘the circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear’. Mood commented: ‘Whatever I learned on the ground in Syria... is that I should not jump to conclusions.’

The BBC’s Washington Correspondent – ‘Was Russia Actually Persuaded?... Who Knows?’

The BBC also had no doubts about culpability. Diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins, claimed on the BBC's News at Ten:

‘The UN now says most victims, including many children, were murdered inside their homes by President Assad’s militias.’ (BBC News At Ten, May 29, 2012)

Thus, in a change from the initial claims, the Syrian government was now additionally being blamed for the close-quarter killings. But this is what UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous had actually said that day:

'Part of the victims had been killed by artillery shells, now that points ever so clearly to the responsibility of the government. Only the government has heavy weapons, has tanks, has howitzers. But there are also victims from individual weapons, victims from knife wounds and that of course is less clear but probably points the way to the (pro-Assad) shabbihas, the local militia.' (Our emphasis)

This gave the lie to Robbins' emphatic claim on the BBC's highest profile news programme. We emailed him asking for alternative sources but received no reply.

According to the BBC, even the Russians agreed with the Western view that the Syrian government was wholly to blame. The BBC’s Washington correspondent, Jonny Dymond, commented on a UN meeting in response to the massacre:

‘Going into the meeting, Syria's big-power ally, Russia, made it clear that it needed to be convinced of the Syrian government's culpability for what had happened at Houla. It appears to have been persuaded.’

Activist and filmmaker Gabriele Zamparini challenged Dymond, asking: ‘Was Russia persuaded?’ Zamparini quoted from the Guardian:

‘Russia said it is unlikely government forces would have killed civilians at point-blank range and suggested there was a third force – terrorists or external agents – seeking to trigger outside intervention.’

Also in the Guardian:

‘Lavrov said “both sides” were to blame for the deaths of innocent civilians in Houla.’

Dymond responded:

‘Dear Gabriele,

‘Thanks for writing.

‘Who knows the truth of Great Power diplomacy? People are still arguing about the intentions of Metternich.

‘Going into the meeting the Russian deputy ambassador to the UN said he needed to see proof (I paraphrase). According to diplomatic sources Major General Mood said there was a direct link between the deaths from shelling and Syrian government forces. The UNSC then issued a statement making that link, to the surprise of some that believed Russia would veto such criticism of Syria. Was Russia actually persuaded? Does it really need persuasion or is this part of a diplomatic dance entirely unconnected with the truth or the lives of those in Houla? Who knows[?] But I wrote that it "appears" (the qualification is important) to have been persuaded because to an observer of the process, that's the story of the day, and I stand by it.

‘Thanks again for taking the time to write in touch.


‘Jonny’ (Email, forwarded to Media Lens, May 28, 2012)

And so, on the BBC website, Dymond asserted that Russia ‘appears to have been persuaded’ that the Syrian government was responsible. And yet, on the same day in response to an activist, Dymond asked: ‘Who knows[?]’

This is typical of the propaganda that issues forth from the BBC. Under the headline, ‘Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows,’ the BBC website published a picture of a young child jumping over a huge number of white body bags. But the picture was actually taken on March 27, 2003 of a young Iraqi child jumping over bags of skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad. The photographer who took the picture, Marco Di Lauro, said he nearly ‘fell off his chair’ when he saw the image being used to illustrate a story from Syria:

‘What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn't check the sources and it's willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever.’

In similar vein (to select at random), offering literally no serious supporting evidence at all, two Guardian articles casually reported claims that the Syrian government was behind the massacre:

'Syria's fragile peace process is in shreds after what was claimed to be a regime-backed massacre left 32 children among more than 90 dead and triggered a wave of international revulsion.'


'Although long-planned, the visit gained new urgency following the weekend massacre in Houla, when more than 90 people, including 32 children, were killed in an attack claimed to have been backed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.'

The Case For Critical Thinking

There are reasonable grounds for questioning the claim that the Syrian government, and Assad personally, was wholly responsible for the massacre. First, as the Sunday Telegraph noted:

‘Damascus has long accused activist groups of exaggerating and falsifying accounts to draw international attention to their plight, a charge that independent observers say has sometimes been justified.’ (Ruth Sherlock, Colin Freeman, Richard Spencer, Magdy Samaan, ‘Massacre of the innocents,’ Sunday Telegraph, May 27, 2012)

A rare dissenting view was offered by the highly respected Syria analyst Alastair Crooke, founder and director of Conflicts Forum. On responsibility for Houla, Crooke commented:

‘We don’t know for sure yet… But one thing that stands out quite clearly, and which is very important, is that the methodology, this type of killing - of beheadings, of slitting of throats, slitting of throats of children, too, and of this mutilation of bodies - has been a characteristic, not of Levantine Islam, not of Syria, not of Lebanon, but really of what happened in the Anbar province of Iraq. And so it seems to point very much in the direction of groups that had been associated with the war in Iraq against the United States, who have perhaps returned to Syria, or perhaps Iraqis who have come up from Anbar to take part in it…. But this whole process of mutilation is so very much against the tradition of Levantine Islam that I think it’s very hard to see this will have come either from soldiers or even from others who might have been bent on revenge… I don’t think this speaks of soldiers going on the rampage.’

Crooke added:

‘This is very much a possibility; that what we’re looking at here is a deliberate and cold-blooded attempt to cast Syria into civil war, to initiate civil war, to bring Western intervention, if possible. But simply, again, to bring down the regime. And it is clearly, I think, perpetrated in the interests of those external parties and groups at the end of the spectrum of the opposition, which are jihadi groups, who want no part in the peace process but who want to bring down the system and for Syria to turn into civil war.’

Crooke believes ‘al-Qaeda-like groups’ were to blame. (Crooke, RT, May 29, 2012)

John Bradley, author of After The Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts, wrote in the Daily Mail:

'The expressions of outrage over Houla and the consequent threats of military action all feed into the conventional Western narrative of the Syrian crisis whereby Assad is portrayed as a bloodthirsty tyrant and the rebels as heroic freedom-fighters trying to liberate the Syrian people from oppression. It is a picture that has been sedulously cultivated by the anti-Assad opposition, who are masters of manipulative propaganda aimed at gullible Western politicians, broadcasters and protest groups. But the truth about the violence in Syria is far more complex than Assad’s enemies would have us believe.'

Massacres and crises of this kind (real, imagined, or manufactured) have been used to justify Western armed intervention in the past. In 1999, the contested Racak massacre provided the trigger for Nato military intervention in Kosovo. In 2003, as the Downing Street memo made clear, the US and UK conspired to manufacture a trigger event to justify war on Iraq. Britain and the US did not use UN diplomacy as a way to avoid war, but as a way to lure Iraq into supplying a casus belli for war. Last year, the alleged threat of a massacre in Benghazi was used to trigger an attack on Libya. Clearly, Syrian rebels are hoping for a ‘Benghazi moment’ enabling Western intervention in Syria.

Emails leaked by WikiLeaks from the influential risk analysis group, Stratfor, noted that 'most of the opposition's more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue'. Stratfor argued that Syrian government massacres against civilians were unlikely because the ‘regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario. Regime forces have been careful to avoid the high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds’.

So why would the Syrian government order the one action that risks triggering Western intervention, regime change and the fate suffered by Gaddafi in Libya? Perhaps Syrian government forces, or allied militias were responsible. Would that mean the Syrian government, and Assad himself, ordered, or knew about, the killings? Might the killers be rogue supporters of the government acting independently? These would be natural questions if the finger of blame was pointing at the US or UK. They are almost unthinkable, now, when the latest official enemy is being targeted for destruction.

Sharmine Narwani, Senior Associate at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, quotes from the US 2010 Unconventional Warfare (UW) Manual of the US Military’s Special Forces on the dark art of generating regime change.

‘First, there should be local and national “agitation” – the organization of boycotts, strikes, and other efforts to suggest public discontent. Then, the “infiltration of foreign organizers and advisors and foreign propaganda, material, money, weapons and equipment.”

‘The next level of operations would be to establish “national front organizations [i.e. the Syrian National Council] and liberation movements [i.e. the Free Syrian Army]” that would move larger segments of the population toward accepting “increased political violence and sabotage” – and encourage the mentoring of “individuals or groups that conduct acts of sabotage in urban centers.”

‘Now, how and why would an uncommitted – and ostensibly peaceful - majority of the population respond to the introduction of violence by opposition groups? The UW manual tells us there is an easy way to spin this one:

‘“If retaliation [by the target government] occurs, the resistance can exploit the negative consequences to garner more sympathy and support from the population by emphasizing the sacrifices and hardship the resistance is enduring on behalf of “the people.” If retaliation is ineffective or does not occur, the resistance can use this as proof of its ability to wage effect combat against the enemy. In addition, the resistance can portray the inability or reluctance of the enemy to retaliate as a weakness, which will demoralize enemy forces and instill a belief in their eventual defeat.”’

We recognise the bloody ruthlessness of the Syrian Baathists, epitomised by Assad's father and continued now by his son, Bashar. Whatever the truth of Houla, the reaction of the corporate media has, yet again, made a mockery of the claim that it is a 'free press'. Rather, it has propagandised relentlessly in promoting the US-UK view of the conflict. Once again, war in pursuit of regime change is the real goal behind the 'humanitarian' deceit.

With its usual depth of sincerity and compassion, Murdoch’s Times commented:

‘This newspaper is as wary as anyone in Britain of becoming once again involved in foreign struggles.’

Tragi-comically echoing John Lennon, the editors sighed:

‘We wanted and argued to give peace a chance… But what kind of country would Britain be, and what kind of people would young Syrians take us for, if we allowed the slaughter to continue?’ (Leader, ‘Responsibility to Protect,’ The Times, May 30, 2012)

War, again war, always war - endless war! But then corporate greed is a form of eternal war in pursuit of profit. We are living, very clearly, in a pathologically violent and structurally insane society.


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(MATHABA) Seif al-Islam Gaddafi and the Fight behind the Scene over His Fate

Seif al-Islam Gaddafi and the Fight behind the Scene over His Fate
Posted: 2012/05/29
Alexander MEZYAEV | 12.05.2012 | Strategic Culture Foundation

The legal proceedings against Seif al-Islam, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, have developed into an unusual situation, that has had no precedents in the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) history. The matter is that the Court itself is exerting efforts to destroy the case so that the accused would never have to face it.

It has started from a strange leak of information that took place a few days ago from the International Criminal Court. And it happened through a formal source: the ICC’s website. First the two documents1 were posted for public view, but disappeared in a few hours without any explanation.

They were related to the report of the ICC’s delegation that had visited Seif al-Islam Gaddafi in Zintan. The questions change places while reading the text: it is becoming clear why they have been taken away from public view. But the question pops up, why have they been made public at all? There is ground to believe that some kind of clash between two opposing forces took place inside the Court. One of the forces had never made itself known before…

So, what did the ICC delegation find out while meeting Seif Gaddafi? The following is what the report prepared by the Registry says. The importance of the information and the way it has got to the Court justifies extensive citation.

The ICC delegation visited Seif Gaddafi in early March. At first the Libya’s government indicated it couldn’t take the delegation to Zintan because the city was under the control of two factions, only one them being loyal to the National Transitional Council. But at the last moment when the delegation was about to return to the Hague, the authorities said the visit would take place. The report goes further:

“All shutters were closed. The door was heavy and in metal. The members of the Registry and the OPCD waited for approximately 40 minutes. Seif al-Islam appeared smiling and wiling to talk to the Court…It was difficult to assess whether he had lost a lot of weight as he was wearing large clothes. He appeared slimmer than on the picture annexed to his arrest warrant. He was missing part of his thumb and index at the right hand. He had no visible bruise on his face”.

“The Registry representative asked to continue the meeting alone as another person from the Libyan authorities was present in the room. This person said that the law prevented the Registry to meet the suspect alone and that he had to stay”.

“The Registry representative explained that the delegation was there pursuant to the Court order to give him information and to transmit information regarding his status to the Chamber. She also explained that the Chamber had appointed a lawyer to represent him before the Court. Mr. Gaddafi was very interested in knowing whether the lawyer would help him in Libya. The Registry indicated that the lawyer could help him in Libya but only in relation with the ICC proceedings.”

“When asked whether he was familiar with the Court and whether he knew an arrest warrant was issued against him for crimes against humanity, Mr. Gaddafi replied that he was familiar and that he had heard about the arrest warrant. He however indicated he was not served the arrest warrant. Mr. Gaddafi explained that he was being interviewed in Libya regarding his camels and fish farms.”

“He declared: “I hope I can be tried in my country whether they will execute me or not”. He inquired about the detention centre in the Hague. The Registry representative gave him a brief description of the detention centre and replied to the questions put to her regarding the possibility to have fresh air, to see other people and regarding the food. Mr. Gaddafi indicated that he would like to see the sun. When the Registry representative indicated that inmates could have access to an open air yard, he said that they were lucky to be able to see birds and trees”.

“At this point, the representative of the Libyan Prosecution left the room for five minutes. The Registry representative quickly asked the suspect how he was and whether he was mistreated. His attitude changed from relaxed to intense and without saying a word he waived the hand where two fingers missing and pointed to a missing tooth in the upper front of his dentition. He then said that he was kept in total isolation, and that he had not seen the sunlight in 20 days and he had nobody to speak to.”

“As the Libyan prosecutor came back to the room, the Registry representative indicated she was going to read him his rights before the ICC. Mr. Gaddafi was very skeptical while he was read his rights. He asked whether these rights should apply to him immediately. He was told that these were basic rights respecting ICC standards. 2 When asked whether these rights were respected in Libya, he said: “ What do you think?” 3

The second report by the Office of Public Council for Defence contains by and large the same information, but one can’t miss the significant differences existing between the two. Only the report of Office of Public Council for Defence mentions that Seif al-Islam wished to be transferred as soon as possible to the Hague or Tripoli to discontinue his detention under the present conditions (paragraph 33). Only this report says the Libyan authorities lied saying S. Gaddafi didn’t want to see the ICC representatives (paragraph 34). Only this report says the Libyan authorities denied his request for a lawyer, saying “it’s impossible” (paragraph 35). 4 The both reports had classified parts omitted in the public versions.

The differences between the two reports, the information they contained, their initial publication and sudden secrecy imposed – it all goes to show there are two opposing forces clashing inside the ICC. The first one is represented by the Registry and the Prosecutor’s Office. The second – by the Gaddafi’s Defence. But it’s a very unusual defence. The matter is Gaddafi didn’t have a lawyer since the arrest warrant was issued. But on April 17 the Court assigned him a temporary lawyer - Xavier Jean-Keïta, Principal Counsel, Office of Public Counsel for Defence. 5 It’s him the second ICC force is associated with. On May 3 he delivered a major blow to the other side. He addressed the Appeals Chamber demanding the disqualification of the ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.6 Indeed, the prosecutor displayed extreme lack of professionalism. No doubt he was trying to accomplish political missions but was doing it rudely, like a drill Sergeant giving an order.

Let’s remember that it was Ocampo who “gathered evidence of fault” against Muammar and Seif Gaddafi in a few weeks without going to the place where the alleged crimes were committed. In other cases investigations lasted for years (7 years in the case of Cote d’Ivoire). Now the Ocampo’s statements for the media fully coincide with the position of the Libyan authorities. Ocampo says the Libyan “insurrection” was a result of the crimes committed by the Gaddafi family. Thus he takes the side of criminals himself: no way he may not be aware that the report of the UN Inquiry Commission says the crimes have been committed by the both sides that is by those who is called “the Libyan government” today. Ocampo renders active support to it making statements expressing confidence in the ability of the authorities to try Seif Gaddafi. And that’s after the warrant to hold the trial exactly in the Hague has been issued upon the request made by the ICC! It means the Ocampo’s activities prevent the execution of the arrest warrant issued by the court! The situation is unique. An ICC’s prosecutor has deliberately taken the side of the criminals. It’s not the disqualification of Ocampo from the Seif Gaddafi’s case, but rather the disqualification from the ICC prosecutor’s position that we should be in consideration.

At the same time it’s not just another prosecutor who has lost his mind. There are facts that say there are some forces inside the ICC acting with the help of Ocampo trying to wind up the Seif Gaddaf’s case and prevent it from going to the Hague.

First, there is no real evidence of his guilt the same way there was no evidence produced in the case against his father (here one can recall the ICC’s approach to the Muammar Gaddafi’s suit, when instead of demanding to investigate the murder of the person who had been brought charges against in the already open case, it was decided to “close it” 7 ). It’s a rather scandalous decision taken by the court that pretends to be “the most just in the world” that “sets the universal justice standards”.

Secondly, the ICC’s interest is to prevent Seif Gaddafi from getting an international tribune to give evidence against NATO and make public secret mechanisms of Libya’s destruction. Eight out of eighteen judges are citizens of NATO countries, that committed an act of aggression against Libya (besides two more judges from NATO member states “temporary hold their positions till concrete cases are closed”). Thus, NATO controls half of the ICC judges. In the chamber that is responsible for preliminary investigation of the Seif Gaddafi’s case, two out of three judges are citizens of NATO countries (Germany and Belgium). And third at last, the only defence left for Seif al-Islam in case his trial goes to the Court is the information revealing real identity of the new Libyan authorities and their crimes, that would inevitably lead to new arrest warrants by a court that is really independent. So, the fact of transferring the Seif Gaddafi’s trial to the ICC would be a blow against all countries without exclusion whose citizens hold top positions there. Is it really so, that nobody wants the trial to go to the ICC? No, not exactly.

Though the chief ICC prosecutor Xavier-Jean Keïta is French, he comes from Mali. The motivation of his strong actions lies on the surface, Mali is especially grateful to Muammar Gaddafi for the aid rendered by the Libyan leader in all spheres including deterring the Tuaregs, what at the very least made possible for the government to exercise control of the northern part of the country. It was Mali that suffered most as a result of M. Gaddafi’s overthrow: practically half of its territory was cut off by the Tuaregs who became absolutely insolent receiving the most modern arms, including heavy weapons systems, from Libyan depots. The coup d’etat in Mali in March this year and an attempt to make a coup by the end of April – portend the destruction of southern part of the country and rivers of blood. The main contradictions between the putschists and “counterputschists” lie in strategy and tactics of getting back the lost land in the North. Everyone understands Mali is not able to return it now, so what makes difference is how many lives these or that new authorities are ready to sacrifice – dozens of thousand or hundreds of thousand. The domestic situation is more than dramatic. Under the circumstances the call of blood of the leading ICC lawyer played a significant role in unusual development of the Seif Gaddafi’s case proceedings. Still Keïta is French and he remains to be French. He didn’t start to act at once but only when the balance of political power inside France became finally clear.

It’s hard to say whose interests Keïta pursues trying to transfer the case to the Hague. It’s not excluded he is offered the role of a driving force of those who not only want to get rid of Sarkozy as the president of France (and weakening the globalist lobby staying behind him) but also his total destruction with the help of further revelations. Let’s not forget it is Seif al-Islam Gaddafi who possesses the most full information about financing the Sarkozy’s presidential campaign. Supposedly those who want at any price to get S. Gaddafi out of Libya and take him to the Hague to make public revelations stay behind Keïta.

The fact of making public the report of the ICC delegation in Libya should become a basis for investigation. It’s clear its publication (at least concerning the part of the talk of the ICC delegation with Gaddafi alone) prompts retaliation against S. Gaddafi. Just recently on May 1 the Libyan government sent an application to the ICC demanding to recognize the S. Gaddafi’s case as inadmissible pursuant to the article 19 of the ICC Statute. One of the main arguments is “a lie presented by the Court’s Registry about Seif Gaddafi being mistreated” 8. The report’s publication can be considered as an attempt to liquidate Seif Gaddafi. The Libyan authorities have prepared an alibi in advance. They constantly importunately repeat that they don’t control the tribes that Seif Gaddafi happened to be in the hands of. Still, the rumors about lack of control over the Zintan local powers are exaggerated, at least concerning Seif al-Islam. It was no other but a prosecutor from Tripoli who was present al the time during the meeting between S. Gaddafi and the ICC delegation.

So, talking about the S. al-Islam’s case in the ICC a new, unparalleled until now situation has shaped. Two forces have clashed. One is trying at any price to close the case of Gaddafi, the other opposes these activities. It’s by and large clear what exactly one of them doesn’t want to hear about. What the other wants to hear from the defendant will become clear only if Seif al-Islam faces the Hague trial. In any case the dream of Seif Gaddafi will hardly become true. The matter is he dreams about seeing the Libyan sun…

1. The ICC delegation sent to visit Seif al-Gaddafi included the teams of two bodies formally independent from each other - the Registry and the Office of Public Council for Defence. Correspondingly they have submitted two independent reports.
2. Isn’t it an exhaustive reply? Still, it gives an idea of what goals are set by different forces inside the ICC.
3. At present one can see only secondary sources. The whole text of the quoted report by the ICC Registry is available:
4. The full text of the Office of Public Council for Defence:
5. Prosecutor v. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, [Pre-Trial Chamber] Decision Appointing Counsel from the OPCD as Counsel for Saif Al-Islam, 17 April 2012, //
6. Prosecutor v. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, [Defence] Request [to the Appeals Chamber] to Disqualify the Prosecutor from Participating in the Case Against Mr. Saif Al Islam Gaddafi, 3 May 2012, //
7. Prosecutor v. Muammar Gaddafi, [Pre-Trial] Decision to Terminate the Case Against Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, 22 November 2011, //
8. Prosecutor v. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Application on behalf of the Government of Libya pursuant to Article 19 of the ICC Statute, 1 May 2012, //

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(LUSAKATIMES) Windfal tax would have generated K4 trillion – HH

Windfal tax would have generated K4 trillion – HH
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, June 1, 2012, 1:59 pm

United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has said that the country could have realized about K4 trillion if the government had reintroduced the windfall tax for mining companies.

Mr. Hichilema said that the money collected from the mines in form of tax could have been channeled into infrastructure development in the country. The opposition leader observes that investing in infrastructure would have helped in reducing the cost of doing business in the country.

Mr. Hichilema adds that this would have further encouraged the private sector to participate in the economic activities that would among other things contribute to job creation.

He has told QFM news that the PF government does not seem to have a clear policy on investment citing the take over of Zamtel as one example that makes the government’s position on foreign investment questionable.

Mr. Hichilema notes that government should be mindful in the way it handles cases involving companies suspected to have been corruptly sold to ensure that investor confidence is not eroded.


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(HERALD) No fertiliser for winter wheat farmers

No fertiliser for winter wheat farmers
Saturday, 26 May 2012 22:07
Faith Mhandu

Government and fertiliser companies are at loggerheads over a US$50 million debt, a development that has seen winter wheat farmers failing to access the critical input. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made last week accused the fertiliser companies of holding Government to ransom.

“I have just been informed by the Grain Marketing Board that fertiliser companies are refusing to deliver the fertiliser we ordered.

“Admittedly, we owe them some money, but this is a clear case of sabotage by detractors of the land reform programme.

“Right now, we are being accused of poor planning, yet we had our scheme on time. The Minister of Industry and Commerce (Professor Welshman Ncube) does not allow me to have dialogue with the fertiliser companies, saying I will be interfering with his duties,” he said.

Dr Made said although Government owns a 50 percent stake in the Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company (ZFC), its efforts were being frustrated by other shareholders.

“The three fertiliser companies — ZFC, Windmill and Myiombo — have pushed me to the edge and I am left with no option but to propose that we set up a Zimbabwe National Fertiliser Authority that is 100 percent owned by Government. For the winter inputs we no longer have an option but to import the fertiliser,” he said.

Fertiliser company representatives argue that they cannot continue supplying Government when it has failed to service its debt.

ZFC marketing executive Mr Justice Chimuka noted that his company is yet to renew its agreement with Government and will only do so after the State pays the US$10 million it owes the company.

“We have the fertiliser in stock and are willing to supply if Government pays us what it owes from last season,” he said.

Windmill marketing executive Mr Herbert Chakanyuka disclosed that the Government and the fertiliser companies were also failing to agree on the pricing of the input for this season.

“Government is offering to pay US$500 per tonne but we feel that US$600 is the correct price. A price of US$500 per tonne will push us out of business,” said Mr Chakanyuka.

Government last month launched the US$20 million winter wheat input scheme.
However, the programme has not yielded much with most farmers missing the May 15 winter wheat planting deadline.

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