Sources to Al-Akhbar: Not enough evidence found in al-Hassan case to implicate Hezbollah

Wissam al-Hassan, the former head of the ISF’s Information Branch, was killed in a massive car-bomb explosion in Beirut’s Achrafieh neighborhood on October 19, 2012. (Photo: Marwan Bou Haidar)
Published Wednesday, October 22, 2014
During an event commemorating the two year anniversary of the assassination of the former head of the Internal Security Forces’ (ISF) controversial Information Branch, Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk declared Saturday that the investigation into Hassan’s assassination was “close to an end.” However, leaked information from the highly-secretive investigation shows that further evidence is still needed if the results are to match the accusations adopted by a certain political faction.
What did Machnouk mean when he said that the investigators are on the verge of finding the “truth” behind the assassination? And what did he mean when he said that the Information Branch has the picture but lacks the sound?
Machnouk and the March 14 coalition believe, without the slightest doubt, that Hezbollah is behind Hassan’s assassination. In their opinion, Hezbollah killed Hassan and the Future Movement will determine when is the “appropriate” time, according to local and regional circumstances, for this “truth” to be revealed.
Machnouk directed his speech towards the family members of both Hassan and his bodyguard and driver, Ahmed Sahyouni, who was also killed in the assassination, which implies that his talk about the investigation being “close to an end” is solely to reassure and console the two families.

Sources close to the case told Al-Akhbar that the investigation still needs more evidence and proof in order for the results to match the accusations made by the March 14 coalition.

Security-wise, the investigation, which has been ongoing for two years, is surrounded by a level of secrecy unprecedented since 2005. A very restricted number of people are involved in the investigation and they report exclusively to the head of ISF’s Information Branch, Imad Othman.
Sources close to the case told Al-Akhbarthat the investigation still needs more evidence and proof in order for the results to match the accusations made by the March 14 coalition.
The limited information leaked from the investigation has lead to the following conclusions:
1-The investigators were not able to trace cell phones or landlines used by the perpetrators to surveil Hassan up until the day of his assassination.
2-The investigators from the Information Branch created an investigative program, similar to that used to search cell phone data, and applied it to security cameras. Footage from hundreds of surveillance cameras were collected from the crime scene in Ashrafieh and its surrounding areas, up until the northern, eastern, and southern entrances of Beirut. The content was then analyzed in order to locate cars and people suspected of being involved in the crime.
3- The analysis of the security cameras’ contents revealed that the car (a 4×4 Toyota), which was used in the assassination, had been parked in the same spot it that it was detonated in a few days before the assassination, meaning that the assassination was not scheduled on October 19, 2012, but a couple of days earlier.
However, Hassan, did not take Ibrahim al-Mounzer Street where the car was initially parked, forcing the perpetrators to change the date of the assassination and relocate the car until October 19. Meanwhile, they used a Volkswagen Golf to reserve the exact same parking spot.
Further investigation revealed that Hassan was not even in Lebanon on the day the perpetrators originally chose to carry out the assassination, which shows that the perpetrators were not fully aware of Hassan’s movements, including his flights outside of the country.
4- The perpetrators used more than 10 cars to monitor Hassan and the area he lived in, which is a significant number in comparison to any other surveillance operations.
5- By going through the security camera recordings, the investigators were able to spot 10 suspects and take relatively close pictures of some of them. However, the images taken were not sufficient to identify any of the suspects.
The investigators were taken back by the fact that the perpetrators moved freely in the Achrafieh neighborhood of Beirut, with some of them acting in a manner that implied that they lived or worked in the area. Moreover, nothing about the perpetrators’ appearances helped in profiling the group behind the assassination.
6- The investigators still don’t know how the perpetrators knew specifically which car Hassan was in when he left the “secret apartment,” as no hidden security cameras were found in the parking lot of the apartment’s building.
The investigators doubt that the perpetrators had access to high-tech devices that could track Hassan’s whereabouts through his mobile phone because such devices deactivate the cell phone being monitored while Hassan’s phone was on when he came out of his apartment and up until he was assassinated. (Hassan was on the phone with a journalist who runs a newspaper in the Gulf region when he was assassinated.)
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Lebanese Army Arrests ISIL Top Figure, Kills Three Gunmen

Local Editor

SeizuresThe Lebanese Army intelligence managed today to apprehend terrorist Ahmad Salim Mikati in a critical security operation in Doniyeh, after it raided the apartment he occupied with other terrorists, a communiqué by the army’s Guidance Directorate indicated on Thursday.

Three gunmen were killed and one soldier was slightly wounded during the operation.

Mikati, AKA Abu Bakr or Abu al-Hoda, born 1968, is considered as a top ISIL figure in the north region. He has established cells linked to the organization in the region. He was also planning to carry out a huge terrorist act in coordination with his son who is currently fighting alongside ISIL in Arsal. Moreover, the man had connections with ISIL leaders inside Syria, whereby he has recently sent Lebanese young men to join fighters in Qalamoun outskirts, among whom his nephew, Bilal Omar Mikati, involved in the beheading of army martyr Ali Sayyed.

Furthermore, the arrested was found involved in the events in Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, whereby he led a group of tens of gunmen after he got out of prison in 2010 where he served a six-year sentence for planning for a terrorist attack against foreign diplomatic interests.

His name was also linked to the explosions that hit McDonalds in 2003. He had also participated in Doniyeh events against the army in 1999.

Source: NNA

23-10-2014 – 16:25 Last updated 23-10-2014 – 16:25

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Brazil under CIA Pressure

Nil NIKANDROV | 21.10.2014 | 00:00

Over two thousand Brazilian political activists, intellectuals, people of art and culture signed a manifest on October 26 highlighting the hostile actions of Washington aimed at prevention of Dilma Rousseff election victory. The document is posted to social nets. It says the coming to power of Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira – PSDB), who serves the interests of tycoons, will inflict irreparable damage to the country and take away all the snags on the way of US direct interference into the Brazilian internal affairs. Neves is to play the role of obedient tool in the hands of US administration. Washington goes to any length to achieve its goal and bring the desired candidate to power – some things are done covertly, some tricks are resorted to in a clandestine way. 

All CIA information and propaganda resources are used to support Neves. Around 80 million Brazilians have access to Internet, 150 million are cell phone users. The US special services have perfect command of destabilization techniques. The recent protests and social unrest in Brazil threatened the World Cup proving that the forces are ready to react as the «color revolution» scenario to be implemented at any time. 

The activities of non-government organizations are not restricted in any way; their members have close ties with US embassy and consulate staff, as well as ISAID workers. The human intelligence is used to discredit the policy of the Dilma Rousseff government. The lies about its ineffectiveness are spread around by all available means. «Experts» forecast collapse in case the President wins another term. They disseminate dubious results of «rating polls» that complicate the vision of reality. 

Propaganda publications devoted to forecasts often use the term «technical draw» which provides many opportunities for CIA to manipulate, falsify and juggle with facts as a way to bolster the chances of the presidential hopeful the US wants to win the race. Some years ago the same thing took place in Mexico. Enrique Peña Nieto, the US-supported candidate ran against Lopez Obrador, a populist and a supporter of Hugo Chavez. The manipulations and rigging to make Peña win were widespread, many Mexicans still doubt his victory, but Washington said the election was transparent and honest. 

Rubens Antônio Barbosa, the senior adviser of Aécio Neves on international affairs and a candidate for the position of Minister of Foreign affairs. The Rousseff supporters believe him to be the leading CIA’s agent of influence. He has been US ambassador to London. Now he heads the Superior Council of Foreign Trade of Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo. In accordance with his pro-US orientation, he calls for «depoliticization of foreign policy» and the «reconsideration of US strategic priorities in relation to the United States and China». 

After the spying scandal, when the fact of taping the phone of Dilma Rousseff, members of cabinet, military leadership and top leaders of special services by the CIA surfaced, followed by the refusal by President Obama to apologize, Brazil strengthened the relationship with China – the leading trade partner since the tenure of former President Lula da Silva. Now Barbosa says that in case Neves wins the United States will occupy a proper (meaning predominant) place in the Brazil’s foreign policy priorities. 

There is a phrase said by Barbosa which provides a clue to what the would-be foreign policy of Brazil will be like. He said that the protection of national interests will no more be that passive. Bolivia has expropriated two oil refineries of Petrobraz and the government has done nothing to protect the interests of Brazil. Neves and Barbosa promise to provide access to US oil companies to oil extraction in the Brazilian continental shelf. The Neves staff says the policy will be «more pragmatic» and completely devoid of ideological approach typical for the Workers’ Party. The stand on such issues as relationship with Mercosur (the Southern Common Market, a sub-regional bloc), BRICS and other international groups will be corrected. 

Washington has gone through thorough preparation for the election race in Brazil; it is at the final stage now. The US State Department and special services have sent to the country dozens of seasoned operatives with rich experience of being involved in similar operations conducted across the world. For instance, Liliana Ayalde, the current US ambassador to Brazil, has done good job in Paraguay doing her best to contain the spread of «populist ideology». Brazil is next. There leading actors involved in the conspiracy against Dilma are the officers of the US embassy and consulate in Brazil: Alexis Ludwig (political counsellor), Paloma Gonsalez (political economic section officer), Samantha Carl-Yoder (chief of consular section), Kathryn Hoffman (political officer, the US Consulate General in São Paulo), and Amy Radetsky (political and economic chief, U.S. Consulate Rio de Janeiro).

It’s enough to look at the Radetsky’s career record to understand that Washington has prepared for a «non-standard situation in Brazil. In the State Department she has been responsible for monitoring the events in Brazil to see how they affect the bilateral relations and working out the policy towards this country. She was the one to see all the messages going out of the US embassy in the Brazilian capital. A bit later she headed a special State Department team monitoring the emergence and development of crisis situations in the region and preparing situation reports for State Secretary John Kerry. Now she was urgently sent to Rio! What crisis situation makes Radetsky go to Brazil? 

Political scholar for Venezuela Eleazar Díaz Rangel calls a possible defeat of Dilma a «disaster». The governments of Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff have made life better for dozens of millions in Brazil who had not even had electricity before. The Workers Party has initiated drastic positive changes on the South American continent. According to Rangel, the Obama administration has mobilized all the opposition forces in Brazil and other Latin America countries, all the potential of media and information agencies to prevent the re-election of Dilma. There are funds allocated for providing support to Neves in the presidential race. Influential US financial and economic circles are involved to help Neves win. 

Will Brazilians mobilize themselves and avoid the disaster predicted by Eleazar Díaz Rangel? We’ll know in a week. 

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Withdraw from the US-led coalition for war in Iraq and Syria! [PETITION]

Via Syria Solidarity Movement

Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War

1) The recent divisive vote to deploy warplanes, reconnaissance aircraft, support personnel, and special forces on a combat mission to Iraq – carried only by the Conservative government’s slim majority in Parliament – was a bad decision. It will make things worse, not better, for the people of the Middle East and is the thin edge of the wedge to pull Canada deeper into another long quagmire of a war, just six months after the failed twelve-year mission to Afghanistan. Moreover, this instance of mission creep is being conducted without United Nations Security Council approval and is therefore illegal under international law.

2) According to NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Paul Dewar, who was part of the recent Canadian mission to Iraq, the Iraqi government asked that Canada send humanitarian, rather than military, assistance. The Iraqi government also did not request that Canada become involved in Syria. Rather, it appears that it was completely at the initiative of the Harper government that Canadian troops have joined the latest US-led “coalition of the willing” in Iraq. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who, in 2003, wisely bowed to the wishes of hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets – organized by the Canadian Peace Alliance and Collectif Échec à la Guerre – and refused to send Canadian troops to join Bush and Blair’s previous “coalition of the willing”, has recently spoken out against the present combat mission and urged a massive humanitarian mission instead.

3) Whether or not the Iraqi government has authorized air strikes by foreign powers on its territory, the US and its allies have no right under international law to bomb targets inside Syria, without the approval and cooperation of the legitimate government of Syria.

4) The true purpose of the US campaign against ISIL is not to destroy terrorism. In fact, since at least 2011, the USA and other countries in the “Friends of Syria” Group (FSG), including Canada, financed, armed, and organized a deadly covert war of aggression using jihadi mercenaries against Syria. ISIL grew out of this explicitly terrorist operation against the people of Syria, which so far resulted in about 200,000 deaths, millions of refugees, and the laying waste of much of Syria. In other words, the USA, Canada, and their FSG partners created this terrorist ISIL Frankenstein. In our opinion, the ISIL crisis is being used by the USA and some countries neighbouring Syria as a pretext for bombing for regime change in Syria and perhaps, eventually, other countries such as Lebanon and Iran. The Turkish government’s recent call for a “no fly zone” over Syria is a case in point and reminiscent of NATO’s abuse of UN Resolution 1973 for the illegal overthrow of the government of Libya.

5) The USA has “dirty hands.” Its 2003 attack on Iraq was also without UN approval and left that country in ruins, with at least half a million dead, millions of refugees, and effectively split into three parts. The USA should not be entrusted to play any role in Iraq. In fact, the result of the US and NATO-led “humanitarian” interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Haiti, and Syria has uniformly been to make things much worse for civilians and to destroy the territorial integrity of those countries.

6) If the Canadian government is sincerely interested in dealing with ISIL, it needs to cooperate with all the governments of the region, including Syria and Iran, as well as Russia and China, to develop a common strategy. That strategy would best be developed at the United Nations where recent resolutions 2170 and 2178 might serve as first steps in a global action against terrorism. To deal with ISIS, the Harper government of Canada could ask the Turkish, Israeli, and Jordanian governments to close their borders to ISIL terrorists and to remove any terrorist bases on their territories. It could demand that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait stop funding jihadi mercenaries altogether. It could call for disbanding the “Friends of Syria” Group.

7) The sending of Canadian forces personnel and equipment the Middle East raises the likelihood of a major confrontation between Canada and Russia, because Russia has important national and traditional interests in the Middle East, where it has a major base on the Mediteranean Sea in Syria. Removing Canadian military personnel and equipment from this theatre of war would reduce the threat of any regional or global confrontation.

8) Canadians are rightly proud of the fact that our post-WW2 history, until recently, was marked by support for international institutions such as the United Nations, for the international rule of law, and for a preference for peace-keeping and diplomacy over war-making.

9) Therefore, we the undersigned, call on all members of parliament to use their individual and partisan influence to withdraw Canada from the US-led coalition for war in Iraq and Syria and also from the so-called “Friends of Syria” Group.

VIEW AND SIGN PETITION HERE

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Whitewashing Kiev Mass Murder

by Stephen Lendman

Washington ousted Ukraine’s democratically elected president. It elevated fascist thugs to power.

They’re radicalized ultranationalists. They’re overt anti-Semites. They’re militant hate-mongers. They have no legitimacy whatever.

They’re convenient US stooges. They’re puppets. They take orders from Washington.

They masquerade as politicians. They represent mob rule. They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison.

For the first time since WW II, overt fascists have real power. They hold major government posts.

They represent the epicenter of European fascist reemergence. They usurped power by force. They’re waging war on their own people.

Right Sector neo-Nazis attacked Kiev residents and police. They bear full responsibility for Maidan killings.

Clear evidence proves it. Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had nothing to do with what happened.

Previous articles discussed it. What Kiev won’t reveal. What it suppressed. Whitewashed.

Wrongfully blamed on Yanukovych. Shamelessly regurgitated by Western governments and media scoundrels.

Investigations when conducted conceal what’s most important to reveal. Regime killings are systematically whitewashed.

On October 10, Reuters headlined “Special Report: Flaws found in Ukraine’s probe of Maidan massacre.” More on this below.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s leaked conversation last April with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton revealed what happened.

He visited Kiev. He commented on what he learned. It’s polar opposite mainstream propaganda. He explained what’s vital to know.

Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed, he said. “(T)here is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovyich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”

“The Russian side is enraged by the militant provocation which is an indication of the reluctance of the authorities in Kiev to bridle and disarm nationalists and extremists.”

On March 12, 2014 former Ukrainian Security Service head Aleksandr Yakimenko confirmed Paet’s assessment. He blamed putschist official Andrey Parubiy.

He co-led Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. He’s a neo-Nazi Svoboda party leader.

He served as National Security and Defense Council secretary. He did so until stepping down in August.

“Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall,” said Yakimenko. “Maidan Commandant Parubiy was responsible for this building.”

“Snipers and people with automatic weapons were ‘working’ from this building on February 20. They supported the assault on the Interior Ministry forces on the ground who were already demoralized and had, in fact, fled,” he added.

“When the first wave of shootings ended, many have witnessed 20 people leaving the building.”

They were carrying military-style bags used for sniper and assault rifles with optical sights.

Many witnesses saw them. Foreign elements may have been involved. Perhaps CIA, US special forces, and secret service operatives.

What happened was well planned in advance. “These were the forces that carried out everything that they were told by their leadership – the United States,” Yakimenko stressed.

Maidan leaders practically lived at Washington’s embassy, he added. It was coup d’etat headquarters.

As security chief, Parubiy controlled access to weapons used for Maidan killings. He took full advantage.

Reuters investigated what happened. It conducted interviews with prosecutors, defense attorneys, protesters, police officers and legal experts.

It discovered “serious flaws” in Kiev’s investigation. In April, three suspects were arrested. Members of an elite Berkut riot police unit.

Including decorated commander Dmytro Sadovnyk. He was wrongfully charged with ordering his men to fire on Maidan protesters.

He and two others were accused of killing 39 Kiev residents. They were framed. So-called evidence against Sadovnyk was fabricated.

Included was a photograph allegedly showing him masked on the day of the killings. Holding a rifle with two hands. His fingers clearly visible.

He doesn’t have two hands. An earlier training accident blew off his right hand. A stump replaced it.

His lawyer, Serhiy Vilkov, said “(h)e can’t shoot. To blame him for the crime is a political game.”

According to Reuters, “probes into the killings have been hindered by missing evidence.”

“Many guns allegedly used to shoot protesters have vanished; many of the bullets fired were taken home as souvenirs.”

“Barricades, bullet-pierced trees and other items of forensic evidence were removed, lawyers say.”

So-called investigations “are testing Ukraine’s ability to rise above the kinds of failings that have hobbled the country” since its 1991 independence.

“(E)ndemic problems” persist. Including radicalized governance, indifference to rule of law principles, state-sponsored violence, “political corruption, racketeering, a divide between” Ukrainian and Russian language speakers and “a broken justice system.”

“The two prosecutors and a government minister who have led the Maidan shooting probes all played roles in supporting the uprising,” said Reuters.

“To date,” Maidan killers haven’t been apprehended. Justice remains denied.

Prosecutors wrongfully declared three Berkut officers guilty by accusation. Ukraine is party to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Its principles are clear and unequivocal. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proved otherwise beyond a shadow of a doubt. According to international criminal law attorney Richard Harvey:

“A public statement by a prosecutor that directly challenges that presumption is a denial of due process.”

Kiev fabricated evidence. It did so to blame innocent victims for its crimes. They had nothing to do with what happened. Nor Yanukovych.

Ukraine’s “general prosecutor’s office declined to discuss” evidence proving it. Innocent victims remain jailed.

No trial date was set, said Reuters.  “All three men face life imprisonment.” For killings they didn’t commit.

A previous article discussed Ukraine’s whitewashed Odessa massacre report. What happened revealed fascism’s dark side.

Kiev bore full responsibility. Premeditated mass murder was committed as planned. Coverup and denial suppressed it.

Verifiable evidence proved otherwise. Neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs set Odessa’s Trade Union House (TUH) ablaze.

People were trapped inside. Dozens were massacred. Scores more were injured. Many were missing.

They were either dead or in neo-Nazi hands. Early reports way underestimated what happened. It was multiples worse than reported.

Neo-Nazis isolated Odessans inside the TUH. A largely unwitnessed massacre followed.

Setting the building ablaze was strategy. It was done to conceal mass murder. Ordinary Ukrainians were slaughtered in cold blood.

Nearby tents were set on fire. Doing so preceded what followed. Right Sector thugs positioned themselves inside the TUH. They were there in advance.

They were armed and dangerous. Police did nothing to intervene. They conspired with fascist killers. So did Odessan firefighters.

They only appeared when TUH’s entrance doors burned through. Its building was five stories. From outside, fire was only visible in a single room.

Bodies were shown on upper floors untouched by fire. How did they get there? Who bore responsibility?

They were murdered in advance. Things were staged. They were made to seem like fire consumed them.

Corpses were dragged from where they died. People perished inside from gunshot wounds, strangling and beatings.

Some were thrown from windows. They didn’t jump. It bears repeating. Setting TUH ablaze masked what happened. Fire didn’t kill activists inside. Neo-Nazi hoodlums did.

Some corpses had burnt heads and shoulders only. Clothes they wore showed no signs of fire.

Someone doused their shoulders and heads with “flammable stuff.” Hands and wrists were burned to the bone.

Photos showed strange whitewash floor markings. It was powder from extinguishers.

Right Sector thugs used it on people they killed. They did so to protect themselves from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hardwood floors showed no signs of fire damage. Victims were murdered other ways.

Photographic evidence was damning. So were independent videos. They showed mass murder by means other than fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Some bodies had multiple gun shot wounds to the head. They were executed in cold blood at point blank range.

A pregnant woman was strangled with an electric wire. Hundreds were killed. As many as 300 or more.

Most were hacked to death with axes or clubbed to death with bats. Some were shot. Others were thrown from windows.

Fascists operate this way. Ukraine is a hotbed of extremism. No-holds-barred barbarism reflects official policy.

Washington manipulates things covertly. Coup-appointed putschists are convenient stooges.

They committed gruesome atrocities. They murdered hundreds of Odessans in cold blood.

Western leaders buried truth. So did MSM scoundrels. Whitewash substituted for truth and full disclosure. Justice remains denied.

Kiev declared war on its own people. It massacred thousands in cold blood. It continues doing it despite Minsk protocol ceasefire terms.

Its high crimes against peace go unpunished. On October 13, RT International headlined “Five Ukraine war tragedies: Questions unanswered, investigations drawn out,” saying:

“Human rights groups…call(ed) for Kiev to conduct forensic analyses of corpses from mass graves uncovered in E. Ukraine to learn what happened to them.”

“But like four other tragedies, scant progress has been made in bringing the truth to light.” Coverup and denial persist.

According to OSCE spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic:

“We are aware of the reports about anonymous burials in Donbass, in particular as reported by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.”

“Clearly there needs to be an independent investigation in line with international standards which should include forensic examination.”

“It is too early for us to speculate on exactly what has happened here or on who is responsible.”

Kiev stonewalls investigatory efforts. Self-defense forces discovered mass graves.

They responded to information provided by area residents. They said Ukrainian forces dug them to conceal mass murders. To cover up their high crimes.

Victims were killed execution-style. Bodies were discovered about 35 kilometers northeast of Donetsk.

Four sites were found so far. In areas Kiev forces and extremist  National Guard Aidar battalion elements control.

Total body counts are yet to be determined. New sites may be found. Sergey Lavrov believes hundreds were buried secretly. Maybe more than he imagines.

Russia’s Investigative Committee head Vladimir Markin was clear and unequivocal saying:

“For those who have doubts regarding who’s responsible for these murders, the Investigative Committee has irrefutable evidence – witness accounts and appropriate examinations – that directly indicates that this crime was committed by fighters from the National Guard and Right Sector.”

Mass graves “are further eloquent testimony to the atrocities of the Ukrainian nationalists,” he added.

“(A)ll of the victims were tortured before their murder.” Months after mass killings were committed, guilty parties remain free uncharged.

September 5 Minsk protocol ceasefire terms are illusory. Kiev’s war on its own people persists.

Self-defense freedom fighters are wrongfully blamed for its crimes. Justice remains denied.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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JSIL vs. ISIS

Israeli soldiers walk in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, as they visit the site under Israeli police protection in Jerusalem’s old city on October 19, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Ahmed Gharabli)
Published Thursday, October 23, 2014
The Jewish state of Israel in the Levant (JSIL) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are different in many ways. The most fundamental difference is that the former is a recognized state and a member of the United Nations, while the latter is not recognized as a legitimate polity and is considered a political/military terrorist organization. However, the two share core characteristics that define them and by recognising these similarities observers may be able to make predictions about their futures.
Divine right to exist

As such, the Palestinian people are depicted in the official Israeli narrative as the bad people who work hard to inflict damage on the good Israeli Jews.

Both JSIL and ISIS display what might be termed “self-defined righteousness.” Although Israel is a modern state, its politics and treatment of others (Palestinians) are based on religious concepts and principles that can be traced back to the first century BC and the teachings of Rabbi Hillel, someone who would be considered a fundamentalist today. He instructed Jews to have a religious and social identity separate from those of other people (tribes).
Israel introduces itself to the international community as a Jewish state and, based on this interpretation of Zionist Judaism, is a home to Jews wherever they are in the world. In other words, it is a state which includes all Jews but excludes the indigenous people of Palestine, the Palestinians. It uses its interpretation of Judaism to deny Palestinians equal rights and prevent them from accessing their lands.
ISIS believes that it is enacting God’s will and defines itself as the force to enforce the Islamic moral code, religious rituals and law (Sharia). ISIS’ interpretation of Islam goes back to Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328) who promoted the idea that Muslims are different from non-Muslims both in their way of life as well as in religious instruction. This notion of non-acceptance together with cultural differences led Ibn Taymiyyah’s followers to the practice of excluding others and in some cases putting them to death. This particular interpretation of Islam also means the rejection of other branches of Islam.
The form of righteousness practiced by ISIS leaders and Israeli politicians is also used to set apart the “good” people from the “bad” ones. The good are those who believe and support their respective political projects while the bad ones are those who stand against them. It is this stance that makes it permissible for Israel to inflict damage on the bad ones and reward the good. As such, the Palestinian people are depicted in the official Israeli narrative as the bad people who work hard to inflict damage on the good Israeli Jews.
Historically, the state of Israel was established on the self-proclaimed primes of the Zionist movement, that anti-Semitism and murder might surge again in the world. Thus, the resurgence of another wave of anti-Semitism will inflict another Holocaust on the world’s Jews. The Zionist movement took anti-Semitism and the Holocaust out of their historical context. In other words, the concepts were given an absolute ahistoric “religious” meaning. Consequently, the “Jews” started to become reified as an ethnic identity and Israel as a refuge for the world’s Jewry from harm.
For ISIS, one of the underlying reason for Muslims’ degeneration over the centuries is that too many people have strayed far from the fundamental principles of Islam. The role of ISIS is to establish an Islamic state ruled by the caliph. It considers itself to be the force that will revive true Islam and create a state in which all Muslims can live in under its interpretation of Islam. Similarly to Israel, where non-Jews are discriminated against, there is no place for non-Muslims to live as equal citizens in the so-called Islamic State.
Both JSIL and ISIS use the self-serving interpretation of religious texts to enact pragmatic politick. The Zionist narrative that gave birth to the state of Israel and is now its officialideology starts with the idea that the Jews are God’s chosen people and that God promised them the holy land. These two concepts of chosenness are ahistorical, unconditional, and self-limited. Thus, settler colonial expansion in Palestine beyond the 1948 borders is seen as the redemption of the biblically named Judea and Samaria for the Jewish people. Putting Palestinian communities under closure during Jewish holidays is usually disguised as a religious instruction and therefore not seen for what it is: a measure of control.
ISIS also claims it is justified in its actions; it considers itself the group fighting for God and enforcing the latter’s instructions on earth. The group’s interpretation of religious texts is based on its spiritual-political leaders’ rulings that place people into two main categories – believers in ISIS’ ideology are viewed as being on the right path for following the “correct” version of Islam while everyone else, including followers of other branches of Islam, is on the wrong path. Thus the expulsion or execution of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis in Mosul who refuse to convert or pay Jizya (a tax paid by non-Muslims) is introduced as a religious instruction that permits politically motivated discrimination.
Indiscriminate attacks on perceived “enemies”
International humanitarian law forbids parties in armed conflict from deliberately launching attacks against civilians but both Israel and ISIS carry out indiscriminate attacks against their enemies, and they cite similar justifications for such attacks, mainly operational reasons.

International humanitarian law forbids parties in armed conflict from deliberately launching attacks against civilians but both Israel and ISIS carry out indiscriminate attacks against their enemies, and they cite similar justifications for such attacks, mainly operational reasons.

JSIL, like ISIS, says that engaging in conflict in residential areas makes it difficult to avoid harm to civilians. Israel, which deems itself “superior” to others, says it launches military operations to prevent harm to its own people whose lives are worth much than those of “others.” ISIS believes it is on the right path and views everyone else as living in a state of sinfulness and, according to the group, sinners deserve to be put to death. Ultimately, ISIS and Israel attack civilians as part of their strategy to dispose of the natives and remove them from their lands. As such, in their quest for control of the land they both practice ethnic cleansing under a myriad of guises.
In areas controlled by ISIS, in both Syria and Iraq, the group has carried out the mass executions of opposition militants captured by its forces and any person who assists its enemies is liable to be sentenced to death. Israel carries out a similar strategy of collective punishment against Palestinian resistance. It used it in its latest war on the Gaza Strip and during the so-called Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09. Even when Israel states that its attacks are intended to kill only resistance fighters, its bombardment of residential areas always leads to the killing of civilians. These attacks are clearly designed to target and punish the combatants’ families and homes.
During Israel’s latest war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, the Israeli army intentionally converted 40 percent of the Gaza Strip into uninhabited land. The Israeli army displaced up to 500,000 Palestinians out of their neighborhoods. This is the same tactic ISIS has been using in vast swaths in Syria and Iraq. The latest incident is the ongoing fighting in Kobane, the Kurdish city under Syrian jurisdiction, where ISIS’ shelling of the city forced the majority of its citizens to be displaced.
Displacement, collective punishment, terrorism and ethnic cleansing in the name of God are but a few similarities between the two entities. It is worth considering how the state of Israel has embraced the legend of the Maccabees, a sect of Judaism which fought other Jews and foreign powers in the name of piousness and righteousness, and how it has incorporated it within the contemporary ethos. The Maccabees were fundamentalists who used violence against their enemies, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and carried out forced conversions much as ISIS does today.
Samer Jaber is a political activist and researcher. He is the managing director for Dar el-Karma Inc. for Media, Researches and Publication. He tweets at @Jerusalem_sbj

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Libya War Continues Three Years After the Assassination of Muammar Gaddafi

Egypt, UAE launch airstrikes as rebel forces battle for control

5440bfd8611e9bcd458b458cBy Abayomi Azikiwe
Libya 360°

On Oct. 20, 2011, the leader of the North African state of Libya was brutally assassinated in the city of Sirte. Col. Muammar Gaddafi had been leading a struggle to defend his country from a war of regime-change coordinated and financed by the United States and NATO.

Since the overthrow of the Jamahiriya system of government in Libya, the social conditions prevailing inside the country are by no means stable. Various factions, most of which were utilized as ground troops in the Pentagon-NATO aerial war between March 19 and Oct. 31 of 2011, remained locked in a mortal conflict for control over the oil-rich state.

Conflicting sources of political power backed up by armed militias exist in the two largest cities of Tripoli, the capital, and Benghazi in the east where the counter-revolution against Gaddafi began. Areas in the south of the country have armed themselves against the U.S.-installed regimes in Tripoli and Benghazi often in sympathy with the previous system under the Jamahiriya.

Two regional states which participated in the imperialist-engineered war against Libya, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have been carrying out periodic airstrikes against alleged “Islamist” strongholds in various locations in the east and west. Also the former renegade Gen. Khalifa Hefter, a longtime Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset, has mounted a bid for power utilizing sophisticated weapons and air strikes.

Oil Production Rising Despite Internal Conflict

For several months during 2014 oil production in Libya was down considerably. Conflicts between various labor organizations in addition to clashes among the militias resulted in the decline of barrels-per-day extraction to almost nil.

A dispute over who could actually sell Libyan oil on the international market was eventually addressed by the U.S. when it sent a naval warship to reclaim cargo traded by interests inside the country who were not endorsed by Washington. Subsequent efforts aimed at resolution of the disagreements have still not cleared the way for a consistent boost in production.

Unrest has erupted again surrounding which political group claiming authority in Libya would control the proceeds from oil sales. Both the parties controlling the capital of Tripoli who are often labelled as “Islamists” and the “government in exile” in the eastern city of Tobruk, say they are entitled to the revenue generated from the trade in oil.

With the decline in prices on the global market during Oct. the situation involving the struggle over the control of oil in Libya prompted the attention of the Wall Street Journal. Efforts by five western countries designated by the United Nations to reach a political settlement in the Libyan quagmire has failed, and consequently, the major imperialist powers are concerned about the supply of oil and the role of Libya in the process.

“In a joint statement late Saturday, France, Italy, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. said they supported the U.N.-sponsored peace talks and a cessation of hostilities, “noted the Wall Street Journal. “The five governments condemned the violence by Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah, voiced concern about the attacks of the renegade general and said they were ready to sanction those threatening Libya’s security.” (Oct. 19)

This same article went on to point out that “Libya is normally one of Europe’s largest oil suppliers, but disruptions since the fall of strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have reduced its contribution to the continent’s oil supply.” Therefore, even the publication of the international finance capital has to openly acknowledge that the Pentagon-NATO policy of regime-change in Libya has disrupted oil supplies to the European continent.

The Libya Dawn group which is contesting control of the state with the ostensible moderate group led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, who called themselves the House of Representatives, sent their own oil minister, Mashallah al-Zawie, to Turkey to participate in an industry conference held in Istanbul. The rival group headed by al-Thani based in Tobruk dismissed the Central Bank director Sadiq Kabir and claims they have control of the revenue from oil sales.

Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal reports that “officials at NOC (the state-owned National Oil Co.) and at the central bank subsidiary which receives payments from oil buyers said revenues had continued to flow to its Tripoli-based accounts. Mr. al-Kabir also remains in office, they said.”

Such confusion over which entity controls Libyan oil could very well hamper the country’s future production and exports projections. Libyan oil officials say production is at 850,000 barrels a day, marking an increase of 40,000 barrels compared with earlier in Oct., suggesting that some facilities have boosted their output. In contrast operations at oil fields in eastern Libya have been interrupted by labor unrest led by workers seeking jobs at the facilities.

Imperialists Continue Proxy War in Libya

The present situation in Libya is the direct result of the war of regime-change led by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and NATO during 2011. U.S. policy is designed to overthrow all of the sovereign and anti-imperialist governments throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Consequently, the outcome of the current situation in the regions of North Africa and the Middle East will be critical in the future course of imperialist militarism worldwide. Obviously, these policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Libya have prompted massive destabilization of these societies including the vast increase in internally displaced persons and refugees.

Libya, which under the years of the Jamahiriya-Gaddafi rule was the most prosperous state in Africa, now is a major source of instability in the region. The response of aerial bombardments from Egypt and the UAE will only further the generalized sense of lawlessness and terror.

Only the Libyan people themselves united around a political program of national unity and genuine sovereignty will be able to reverse the current malaise. The plans suggested involving the direct intervention of thousands of NATO troops to Libya under the rubric of the United Nations would eventually result in greater anti-western sentiments already prevalent throughout the country.

What the role of the U.S. in Libya has proven is that Washington and Wall Street has no rational policy towards Africa and the Middle East. Its interventionist posture will only breed more anti-U.S. consciousness and mass resistance to imperialist control.



Abayomi Azikiwe 
is the editor of Pan-African News Wire , an international electronic press service designed to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world. The press agency was founded in January of 1998 and has published thousands of articles and dispatches in newspapers, magazines, journals, research reports, blogs and websites throughout the world. The PANW represents the only daily international news source on pan-african and global affairs. To contact him, click on this link >> Email

 


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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

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