Yemen to UNSC: Seized UAE-flagged Ship Was Carrying ‘Weapons’ Not Toys!

January 16, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

A senior Yemeni official dismissed the United Nations Security Council [UNSC]’s call for the immediate release of an Emirati-flagged vessel, stressing that the ship was carrying various munitions and military equipment when it was seized in Yemen’s territorial waters earlier this month.

“The Rwabee was neither loaded with dates nor children’s toys. It was rather carrying weapons destined for extremist groups who jeopardize the lives of ordinary citizens,” Hussein al-Azi, deputy foreign minister in Yemen’s National Salvation Government, said in a series of tweets published on his Twitter account.

On Friday, the 15-member Security Council “demanded the immediate release of the vessel and its crew and “underscored the necessity of ensuring the crew’s safety and well-being.”

The Council highlighted “the importance of freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea” and urged “all parties to de-escalate the situation in Yemen,” including by working with the UN’s special envoy to return to the negotiating table.

Azi said the Rwabee belongs to a country involved in the devastating Saudi war on the Yemeni nation, highlighting that the vessel trespassed into Yemen’s territorial waters in contravention of international law.

The senior Yemeni official emphasized that financial considerations have eclipsed the Security Council’s statement, stating it actually has nothing to do with moral principles and maritime safety.

He expressed regret that the UN body is misleading the world public opinion, and is outrageously demonstrating solidarity with killer regimes and violators of international law.

“Even though Yemeni naval forces could rightfully target the hostile Rwabee ship, they opted not to do so. It is very important to respect Yemen’s sovereignty and not to violate its territorial waters,” Azi pointed out.

On January 3, the spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces said the country’s naval troops, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, had managed to seize a UAE-flagged vessel off the port of Hudaydah as it was carrying military equipment and engaging in hostile acts.

Brigadier General Yehya Saree stated that the Yemeni forces and their allies captured the vessel after it trespassed into Yemen’s territorial waters and was acting against the security and stability of the country.

Saree added that the ship was loaded with various munitions and was seized off the coast of Yemen’s strategic western province of Hudaydah.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States and regional allies, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.

The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.

Despite heavily-armed Saudi Arabia’s incessant bombardment of the impoverished country, the Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi-led invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

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A nation imprisoned: A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey in 2021.

January 3, 2022

Erkan’s Field Diary labor in Turkey: Prisoners build prisons

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A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey this year, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Case of killed HDP worker Deniz Poyraz: ?Treat the murderer like a murderer?

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An armed assailant stormed the HDP?s provincial office in İzmir and killed party worker Deniz Poyraz. He is facing an aggravated life sentence. The hearing has been adjourned to January 24.

Attack on HDP office in İstanbul leaves two injured

Party members said that the assailant ran away after they took away his weapons in what was the third armed attack targeting the party in six months.

?Seeking justice, not begging?: Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk in prison despite severe illness

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Soldiers Invade Silwan And Shu’fat In Jerusalem, Abduct One Palestinian

 DEC 29, 2021

Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, Silwan town and Shu’fat refugee camp, in the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, in the West Bank, before abducting one Palestinian, and invading homes and stores while military helicopters hovered overhead.

Media sources said dozens of soldiers invaded and searched many homes in the Shu’fat refugee camp, causing damage.

They added that the soldiers, accompanied by tax officers, also ticketed several merchants, and imposed fines on them.

During the invasion, the soldiers closed many allies and isolated the refugee camp, preventing the Palestinians from entering or leaving it.

In related news, the soldiers invaded Ein al-Louza neighborhood in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and started installing an electronic gate at the Ein Silwan junction, which would lead to isolating it whenever it is closed, for the benefit of the illegal Israeli colonizers, living on stolen lands and buildings in the area.

In addition, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center In Silwan (Silwanic) has reported that the soldiers also abducted a young man, identified as Ali Sofian Obeid, from his work at a gas station in the al-‘Isawiya town, in Jerusalem. Many soldiers attacked the young man and forced him onto the ground before abducting him.

The soldiers also removed Palestinian flags which were raised by the residents on their homes and balconies in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan, Silwanic added.

Video By Silwanic

South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Icon Desmond Tutu Dies Aged 90 (VIDEOS)

December 26, 2021

South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, died on Sunday at the age of 90, the South African presidency said.

“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal.”

In 1984, Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent opposition to apartheid. A decade later, he witnessed the ends of that regime and he chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed during those dark days.

Tutu was a staunch supporter of the Palestinian people’s struggle against Israeli apartheid. After one of his visits to Palestine, he famously wrote an article in the Guardian under the title Apartheid in the Holy Land.

In it, he said,

“I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy land: it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”

Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years he was hospitalized on several occasions to treat infections associated with his cancer treatment.

The outspoken Tutu was considered the nation’s conscience, an enduring testament to his faith and spirit of reconciliation in a divided nation.

(MEMO, PC, Social media)

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Palestinian Refugees are Struggling to Survive amid Lebanon’s Deepening Crisis

December 23, 2021

– Katarzyna Rybarczyk is a Political Correspondent for Immigration Advice Service, an immigration law firm based in the UK but operating globally. Through her articles, she aims to raise awareness about security threats worldwide and the challenges facing communities living in low and middle-income countries. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

By Katarzyna Rybarczyk

As a result of the ongoing Israeli occupation, more than seven million people have fled Palestine to nearby countries. Unfortunately, leaving Palestine does not always mean that their dreams of finding peace and better quality of life are fulfilled. On the contrary, often they find themselves living in degrading conditions and being pushed to the margins of host societies that were supposed to protect them.

In Lebanon, for example, there are nearly half a million Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and almost half of them live in the country’s twelve official refugee camps for Palestinians. Not only are the living conditions there very poor but refugees receive practically no support from the state.

The situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was concerning even before the crisis but now, faced with meager savings, limited employment opportunities, and skyrocketing inflation, they are destitute and unable to meet their basic needs.

Ghetto-like Settlements

Some Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in informal tented settlements, but the twelve official camps have turned into permanent dwellings that resemble small impoverished cities with tall concrete houses.

One of the places that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon now call home is the Shatila refugee camp, located on the outskirts of southern Beirut. Shatila, established in 1949, is known primarily for the Sabra and Shatila massacre that lasted for approximately thirty-six hours from 18:00 on 16 September to 08:00 on 18 September 1982. During this time the Lebanese Christian militia, which was under the command of the Israel Defence Forces, slaughtered as many as 3,500 civilians. The exact number of victims is not and most likely will never be known, though.

Initially, Shatila was supposed to temporarily house five hundred people but since its establishment, the camp has grown tenfold. The biggest problem associated with that is that, as refugees in Lebanon are not allowed to build outside of the state assigned camp areas, the growth has mainly been vertical. To accommodate the rapidly expanding population of the camp, new stories keep being added randomly without careful planning or solid foundations being laid first.

Flags with Yasser Arafat in Shatila. (Photo: Katarzyna Rybarczyk, supplied)

Since Shatila was frequently targeted during the civil war in Lebanon, a significant proportion of the camp was destroyed. To this day, the infrastructure has not been renovated and those who reside there often live in buildings that pose a threat to their lives or that have no windows, doors, or running water.

Furthermore, the Lebanese government does not get involved in what is happening in refugee camps, so there is no garbage collection system in place, no security forces, and no education or healthcare services provided by the state.

The situation is similar in all other Palestinian camps, or even worse in the ones that house more people such as the Ein El Hilweh Camp, which has the largest concentration of Palestinian refugees in the country.

Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon Lack Fundamental Rights

The exclusion of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is apparent not only when looking at the conditions they live in but also at their legal status. They are not entitled to Lebanese citizenship and they pass on the refugee status to their children. That means that even new generations of Palestinians born and raised on the Lebanese territory are stuck in the limbo of limited employment opportunities and being stuck in refugee camps.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not have the right to own property and work in certain skilled professions. Even if they want to undertake menial jobs in agriculture or construction, they face obstacles as many of the Lebanese exercise pressure on them to return to violence-ridden Palestine rather than try to settle down in Lebanon. Consequently, Palestinian refugees work mainly in the informal sector where abuses and exploitation are common.

Moreover, to avoid closing their doors completely during Lebanon’s almost total collapse of the economy, employers often have no choice but to lay off some employees. Sadly, unskilled Palestinian workers are usually the first ones to be let go.

Not being able to obtain Lebanese citizenship, Palestinians cannot get Lebanese identity cards and therefore, they cannot access social assistance and government services. To receive medical help or any other form of humanitarian aid, they need to turn to UNRWA and charities.

But as the demand for their services is rising and the costs of preparing food baskets or distributing medicines are going up, UN agencies and aid groups are struggling to cope with helping all those who need it.

The Palestinian Issue is Not a Priority

With seventy-eight percent of the Lebanese living below the poverty line, the economic meltdown and political crisis have caused unimaginable suffering for a significant part of the country’s population, not only for refugees.

Lebanese families desperately need support to cover basic needs, including food. After all, as the Lebanese lira loses value each day, going grocery shopping often means spending one’s whole monthly wage, now equivalent to around $34.

Hence, aid organizations have been focusing primarily on reaching out to the vulnerable Lebanese. Still, more attention needs to be given to the alarming situation of Palestinian refugees as Lebanon is now their home too.

And yet, looking at the Shatila camp reveals the fact that the conditions Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in are humiliating. Walking around the narrow streets paved with garbage, one is under the impression that those living there are not just ill-treated but have been completely abandoned.

A narrow street filled with waste in the Shatila refugee camp. (Photo: Katarzyna Rybarczyk, supplied)

These people have been in Lebanon for more than seventy years, waiting for the moment when Palestine is stable enough for them to go back. Now, Lebanon is becoming unlivable so thousands fear that they might lose their newly found safety and have to once again seek protection elsewhere.

In Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Palestinian flags can be seen at every corner but instead of representing pride, it seems like they signify longing to return to their motherland. As the prospects of that happening are currently slim, however, Lebanon needs to at least give refugees a chance to live in dignity.

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Will the Islamic world save Afghanistan?

Between the complex internal dynamics of the Taliban and the western trick of conditional aid, it is the Muslim world that must act to save Afghanistan

December 21 2021

An earlier meeting between Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood QureishiPhoto Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Afghanistan was at the heart of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers representing 57 nations at the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

It was up to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to deliver the keynote address to the session, held on 19 December at the Parliament House in Islamabad.

And he rose to the occasion: “If the world doesn’t act, this will be the biggest man-made crisis which is unfolding in front of us.”

Imran Khan was addressing not only representatives of the lands of Islam, but also UN officials, the proverbial “global financial institutions,” scores of NGOs, a smattering of US, EU and Japanese bureaucrats and, crucially, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

No nation or organization has yet formally recognized the Taliban as the new, legitimate Afghan government. And quite a few are frankly more interested in engaging in an elaborate kabuki, pretending to deliver some sort of aid to the devastated Afghan economy after 20 years of US/NATO occupation instead of actually coordinating aid packages with Kabul.

The numbers are dire, and barely tell the full extent of the drama.

According to the UNDP, 22.8 million Afghan citizens – over half of Afghanistan – are facing food shortages, and soon, acute hunger; while no less than 97 percent of Afghans could soon fall under the poverty line. In addition, the World Food Programme stresses that 3.2 million Afghan children risk acute malnutrition.

Imran Khan emphasized that the OIC had a “religious duty” to help Afghanistan. As for the ‘hyperpower’ that stunned the world with its humiliating withdrawal show after 20 years of occupation, he was adamant: Washington must “delink” whatever grudges it may hold against the Taliban government from the destiny of 40 million Afghan citizens.

Imran Khan did ruffle a few Afghan feathers – starting with former President Hamid Karzai, when he observed that “the idea of human rights is different in every society,” referring to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.

“The city culture is completely different from the culture in rural areas …,” he said. “We give stipends to the parents of the girls so that they send them to school. But in districts bordering Afghanistan, if we are not sensitive to the cultural norms, then they won’t send them to school despite receiving double the amount. We have to be sensitive about human rights and women rights.”

This was interpreted in a few quarters as Pakistani interference – part of a secret, devious strategic narrative. Not really. The prime minister was stating a fact, as anyone familiar with the tribal areas knows. Even Afghan Foreign Minister Muttaqi said the prime minister’s words were not “insulting”.

Imran Khan also observed that there are already over three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Moreover, Islamabad is sheltering more than 200,000 refugees who overstayed their visas. “They can’t go back. We are already suffering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are not in a position to deal with an influx of refugees.”

Would you ever trust NATO?

Then there’s the ultimate nut to crack: internal Taliban dynamics.

Diplomatic sources confirm off the record that it’s a non-stop struggle to convince different layers of the Taliban leadership to allow for some concessions.

Discussions with the NATO block are for, all practical purposes, dead: bluntly, there will be no help without visible concessions on girls’ education, women’s rights and the heart of the matter – on which everyone agrees, including the Russians, the Chinese and the Central Asians – a more inclusive government in Kabul.

So far, Taliban pragmatists – led by the Doha political office – have been on the losing end.

The OIC meeting at least came up with practical suggestions involving Islamic development banks. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was keen to emphasize the necessity of getting Kabul to access banking services.

This is the heart of the problem: there are no solid banking channels after NATO departed. So it’s technically impossible to transfer financial aid into the system and then distribute it across hard-hit provinces. Yet, once again, this is ultimately linked to those lofty western humanitarian aid pledges crammed with conditionalities.

In the end, Qureshi, together with the OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha, announced that a ‘humanitarian trust fund’ will be established as soon as possible, under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank. The fund should be able to incorporate international partners, non-politicized westerners included.

Qureshi put out his bravest face, emphasizing that “the need is felt to forge a partnership between the OIC and the UN.”

Taha, for his part, was quite realistic. No funds whatsoever have been pledged so far for this new OIC humanitarian operation.

As Qureshi mentioned, there is one thing which Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and other actors may decisively help with: investment “in the people of Afghanistan, bilaterally or through the OIC, in areas such as education, health and technical and vocational skills to the Afghan youth.”

So now it comes to the crunch – and fast. It’s up to the OIC to play the leading role in terms of alleviating Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian drama.

The official declaration calling on all OIC member states, Islamic financial institutions, donors, and unnamed ‘international partners’ to announce pledges to the humanitarian trust fund for Afghanistan will have to go way beyond rhetorical flourish.

At least, it’s all but certain that from now on, it will be up to the lands of Islam to decisively help Afghanistan. A bitter, defeated, vengeful, internally corroded NATO simply cannot be trusted.

Nobody today remembers that the Empire had concocted its own version of the New Silk Road over 10 years ago, announced by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Chennai in July 2001.

That was no ‘community of shared future for mankind,’ but a very narrow obsession on capturing energy resources – in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; ‘stabilizing’ Afghanistan, as in perpetuating the occupation; giving a boost to India; and ‘isolating’ Iran.

The energy supply routes to the west should have gone through the Caspian Sea, and then across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey – the three actors of the BTC pipeline – thus bypassing Russia, which was already then being depicted in the west as a ‘threat’.

All this is dead and buried – as post-occupation Afghanistan alongside the five Central Asian ‘stans’ are now back as one of the key foci of interest of the Russia–China strategic partnership: the heart of a Greater Eurasia spanning from Shanghai in the east to St. Petersburg in the west.

Yet to make it happen, it’s imperative that the OIC helps Afghanistan as much as the Taliban must help themselves.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Some Lebanese Politicians Bow to Foreign Diktats: Will Self-disrespect Solve Any Problem?

By Mohammad Youssef

Lebanon is experiencing a surge of Saudi intervention in its internal affairs. A malice intervention that amounts to be not only a violation for its sovereignty; rather a distortion of its identity.

Lebanon has always been and continues to be an oasis of freedom and a beacon of personal and collective liberty that defends and respects the basic principles like freedom of expression and religious diversity. This has made the country traditionally a platform for expressing free opinions and a hub for free press.

Last week Lebanon hosted a human rights conference by Bahraini activists to expose the grave violation of human rights perpetrated by the Bahrain’s government against its people.

The conference did not breach any of the observed protocols or legal measures; yet it has induced a huge campaign by Bahraini dictatorship against Lebanon, calling upon its government to deport the Bahraini individuals that organized the event.

The Lebanese minister of interior quickly responded to the request and has issued a memorandum directing the authorities to deport the organizers.

This Lebanese obedience and submission to the Saudi and Bahraini dictations reflect lack of respect to the country’s dignity, sovereignty and independence.

Earlier this month the Lebanese minister of information Goerge Kordahi has submitted his resignation from the cabinet due to mounting Saudi pressure and persistent request. The reason why Riyadh demanded Kordahi’s resignation was because he commented on the Saudi war against Yemen describing it as absurd and with no reason.

Kordahi’s statement was given during a political interview months before he assumed position at the cabinet, and even before the formation of the government itself.

Unfortunately and unjustifiably, senior leaders in Lebanon bowed down to the Saudi pressure and requested his resignation.

This event holds a very negative connotation from both sides; the Saudi side because it indicates how much Riyadh is sure that it can exercise pressure and dictate orders to our government, and from the Lebanese side because it shows clearly how much some of the Lebanese leaders lack dignity and are ready to sacrifice the country’s national pride to appease foreign Arab and non-Arab powers.

In conclusion, this policy of bowing to foreign pressure by senior officers in Lebanon is not going to do the country any good. Surrendering the national will to foreign diktats will not restore the country nor its interests. It will only degrade Lebanon and its citizens more and more and will induce the appetite for more pressure that will not necessarily boil down to our interest.

It is time to learn a very important lesson that the policy of self-disrespect and making concessions will not deliver and cannot remedy Lebanon’s ailments and crisis whatever.


Yemeni Resistance Pounds Several Saudi Cities in Retaliatory Operations

Dec 20 2021

By Staff, Agencies

The forces of the Yemeni resistance launched intense retaliatory fire against several Saudi Arabian cities, using ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Reporting on Sunday, al-Alam television network cited Saudi sources as saying “several explosions rang out in the [southwestern] Saudi cities of Jizan and Khamis Mushait.”

Yemen’s own War Media outlet confirmed targeting several Saudi cities with missiles and drones.

The counterstrikes shut down Jizan’s airport, where many incoming aircraft were barred from landing.

News sources affiliated with the Saudi kingdom, meanwhile, alleged that the country’s air defense had intercepted and destroyed two drones that were flying towards the Abha International Airport in Asir, another southwestern Saudi Arabian region.

Enjoying complete arms, logistical, and political support from the United States, Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies started a war against Yemen in March 2015.

The military campaign has been seeking to restore power to Yemen’s former Washington and Riyadh-aligned officials.

The war has stopped way short of the goal, while killing tens of thousands of Yemenis in the process and pushing the entire Yemen close to the brink of outright famine.

The Yemeni armed forces and their allies have vowed, though, not to lay down their arms until Yemen’s complete liberation from the Saudi-led aggression.


Yes Ms. Diplomat, Canada Does Arm and Fund Israel

December 19, 2021

A pro-Palestine protest in Canada. (Photo: Jim Miles, Supplied)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ENGLER.png
 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine

By Yves Engler

Did Canada’s representative to the Palestinian Authority lie or was she simply ignorant of important facts?

On Wednesday Robin Wettlaufer criticized Electronic Intifada editor Ali Abunimah for tweeting that Canada “arms and funds the apartheid state to murder Palestinians and steal their land.” She responded by writing, “we neither arm nor fund Israel.”

Canada’s Representative to the Palestinian Authority, Ms. Robin Wettlaufer

After Abunimah and others provided evidence of Canada “arming and funding Israel” the Canadian diplomat blocked Abunimah on Twitter.

It’s odd Wettlaufer would object to saying Canada arms Israel since Canadian weapons sales to Israel have received a decent amount of attention in recent months. At their convention in April, the NDP passed a resolution calling for Canada to (among other things) end arms sales to Israel, which party leader Jagmeet Singh raised on multiple occasions during the rise of Israeli violence in May. The party included this plank in their recent election platform. Between 2015 and 2020 Canada exported about $15 million a year in weapons directly to Israel.

An equal or greater number of Canadian weapons sales are delivered to Israel through US exports. Under the Canada-US Defence Production Sharing Agreement, the two countries’ arms industries are highly integrated so there is little data about weapons exports to the US, some of which would be exported to Israel. A 2009 Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) report concluded that over 100 Canadian weapons makers exported products to Israel.

Canada has been sending and selling weapons to Israel for a long time. During the 1947-8 Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) Canadian Zionists bought weapons for the war/ethnic cleansing effort. Between 1950 and 1956 Canadian companies sold Israel significant amounts of weapons.

“By the summer of 1950,” notes In the Strategic Interests of Canada: Canadian Arms Sales to Israel and Other Middle East States, 1949-1956, “Israeli arms requests were being placed in Canada with an almost regular frequency, and from this point until the 1956 Suez war, there was never a time when a substantial Israeli arms request was not under consideration by the Canadian government.” At the time Egyptian President Abdul Nasser criticized Canada’s arms sales to Israel.

Alongside weapons sales, Ottawa funds collaboration between Canadian and Israeli arms firms. The Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Fund has pumped tens of millions of dollars into joint research ventures on military-specific projects. Additionally, Defence Research and Development Canada has worked with Israeli partners and financed initiatives with Israeli institutions. DRDC spent $230,000, for instance, on a collaboration between McGill University, Israel’s Technion and Lockheed Martin ​​on missile guidance systems technology.

A more significant Canadian financial contribution is the quarter-billion dollars a year raised by registered “charities” for Israel-focused projects. Canadian taxpayers effectively cover about $100 million of this sum even though Israel’s GDP per capita is equal to Canada’s. Among many various projects, Canadian charities support the Israeli military, racist organizations and West Bank settlements, which should all contravene Canada Revenue Agency regulations.

There’s another major Canadian financial contribution to Israel that Wettlaufer ought to be familiar with as representative to the PA. Over the past decade, at least a hundred million dollars in Canadian “aid” has been spent training and supporting a Palestinian security force to serve as an arm of Israel’s occupation.

Part of the US Security Coordinator office in Jerusalem, two dozen Canadian troops, police, and border security are based in the West Bank as part of Operation Proteus. In Security Aid: Canada and the Development Regime of Security Jeffrey Monaghan details Canada’s role in turning Palestinian security forces in the West Bank into an effective arm of Israel’s occupation. Monaghan describes a $1.5 million Canadian contribution to Joint Operating Centers whose “main focus … is to integrate elements of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces into Israeli command.” Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, vets all of the Palestinian security recruits trained by the US, Canada and UK.

In 2012 the president of the Canadian International Development Agency, Margaret Biggs, made it clear that Israel pushed Canada to finance the PA. An internal note released through an access to information request noted, “there have been increasing references in the past months during high-level bilateral meetings with the Israelis about the importance and value they place on Canada’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority, most notably in security/justice reform.”

The heavily censored note suggests the goal of Canadian “aid” is to protect a corrupt, unelected PA from popular backlash. Biggs explained that “the emergence of popular protests on the Palestinian street against the Palestinian Authority is worrying and the Israelis have been imploring the international donor community to continue to support the Palestinian Authority.”

Whether Wettlaufer lied or was simply ignorant, the claim that “we neither arm nor fund Israel” reflects poorly on Canada’s representative to the PA.

الضفة تنتفض ضد بلطجة السلطة

يتصاعد الغضب الشعبي ضدّ السلطة الفلسطينية في عدد من مناطق الضفّة الغربية المحتلّة، وذلك على خلفية حالة الانفلات الأمني المتصاعدة، والتي لا تفتأ تحصد المزيد من أرواح الشبّان الفلسطينيين، وآخرهم الطالب مهران خليلية. وفيما تُواصل السلطة تغذية مبدأ «العطوات» في حلّ قضايا القتْل والثأر، لاعتبارات كثيرة أهمّها التخادُم المتبادل بينها وبين «جاهة الإصلاح»، تتزايد حدّة الرفض الأهلي لتفعيل ذلك المبدأ الذي جعل الأرواح بخسةً إلى حدّ مساواتها «فنجان قهوة» عربياً، توازياً مع تكاثر الاتّهامات للسلطة وأجهزتها الأمنية ومنظومتها القضائية بالتقاعس عن محاسبة الجُناة والقتَلة، والتواطؤ في توسيع دائرة الجريمة. على المقلب الآخر، تتواصل العمليات الفدائية الفلسطينية ضدّ جنود العدو الإسرائيلي ومستوطنيه في الضفة والقدس، في موجة جديدة تخشى دولة الاحتلال من أن تكون قد فقدت السيطرة عليها. ولذا، فهي بدأت سلسلة إجراءات احترازية، أبرزها رفع درجة التأهّب على الحواجز والمعابر، وتعزيز تواجد قواتها في مناطق التماس، فضلاً عن محاولة تكبير كُلفة مثل هذه العمليات على الفلسطينيين، خصوصاً في ظلّ التماسها حافزية عالية لديهم لاستلهام الحوادث السالكة خطّاً تصاعدياً منذ أواسط تشرين الثاني الماضي. تصاعدٌ لا يبدو، بحال من الأحوال، مفصولاً عمّا يحدث على خطّ قطاع غزة، حيث حرصت المقاومة، طيلة الفترة الماضية منذ انتهاء معركة «سيف القدس»، على إبقاء فعلها حاضراً في الأراضي المحتلّة، لا لهدف استراتيجي متمثّل في توسيع دائرة المواجهة مع العدو فقط، وإنّما أيضاً لهدف تكتيكي عنوانه استثمار زخم الضفة والقدس في فكّ الحصار عن غزة. لكن المباحثات الدائرة بخصوص ملفّات القطاع مذّاك، يبدو أنها آلت إلى طريق مسدود اليوم، وهو ما سيدفع فصائل المقاومة إلى استئناف التصعيد الشعبي بدءاً من الأسبوع المقبل، وربّما العسكري لاحقاً، سعياً لإنهاء الدائرة المفرغة المصرية – الإسرائيلية، والتي تستهدف إبقاء الضغط مسلّطاً على الفلسطينيين، لانتزاع تنازلات جوهرية منهم

الضفّة تنتفض بوجه السلطة: راعيةُ بلطجة

 الأخبار الأربعاء 8 كانون الأول 2021

أدّت المواجهات إلى إصابة نحو 11 فلسطينياً جرّاء إطلاق الأمن قنابل الغاز بكثافة (أ ف ب )

جنين | تتصاعد حالة الفلتان الأمني في الضفة الغربية والقدس المحتلّتَين، لتمتدّ أخيراً إلى قلْب الجامعات الفلسطينية، وتتّخذ أشكال جرائم قتْل وشِجار بالأسلحة البيضاء. وفيما تتكاثر الاتهامات للسلطة الفلسطينية والمنظومة القضائية التابعة لها بالمسؤولية عن استمرار تلك المظاهر الكارثية، يربط آخرون هذه الحالة بالواقع السياسي المعقّد والفوضوي وغياب الأولويات الوطنية. قبل أيّام، تطوَّر خلاف أمام حرم الجامعة العربية – الأميركية في جنين إلى هجوم بالسكاكين أدّى إلى مقتل الطالب مهران خليلية وإصابة ثلاثة آخرين، في حادثةٍ ولّدت صدمةً لدى الرأي العام الفلسطيني، وأعادت طرْح الأسئلة حول كيفية تعامل القانون مع الجُناة والقتَلة ومرتكبي الجرائم. وعلى إثر الغضب الشعبي الواسع الذي أثارته الحادثة، خاصة في بلدة جبع جنوب جنين التي يتحدّر منها خليلية، الطالب في كلية التمريض، تجمهر عشرات الشبّان، وأغلقوا الشارع الرئيس الواصل بين نابلس وجنين، والذي يمرّ بمحاذاة جبع، وخاضوا مواجهات عنيفة مع أمن السلطة، وسط مطالبات شعبية بالاقتصاص من القاتل، وارتفاع شعار «يسقط فنجان القهوة» للدلالة على رفض الحلّ العشائري و«العطوات» التي تُنهي عادةً هكذا خلافات. لكن بعد أيّام من ذلك التوتر، عاد أهالي القرية واستقبلوا عدداً من وجهاء العشائر، حيث تمّ الاتفاق على «عطوة دفن»، في حلّ مؤقّت، تضمّن بنوداً أبرزها: دفن جثمان الطالب وتشييعه بمراسم عسكرية رسمية، وفتح الطرق المغلقة، مقابل ضمان الكشف عن كلّ المشتركين في الشجار الذي أودى بحياة مهران، مع احتفاظ العائلة بـ«حق الثأر». التتمة

موجة العمليات الفدائية لا تنقطع: إسرائيل تتوسّل حلّاً

فلسطين الأخبار الأربعاء 8 كانون الأول 2021

أوعز وزير الأمن، بيني غانتس، برفع مستوى التأهّب في جميع المعابر والحواجز (أ ف ب )

طولكرم | تصاعدت، في الآونة الأخيرة، العمليات الفدائية في الضفة الغربية المحتلة، وسط اعتراف إسرائيلي بالعجز عن إيقاف مسلسلها، ودعوات إلى الاستعداد لإمكانية تطوّرها، واتّهامات لحركتَي «حماس» و«الجهاد الإسلامي» بتغذيتها والوقوف خلفها. وفي أعقاب عملية الدهس الأخيرة التي نفّذها، صباح الإثنين، الشابّ الفلسطيني محمد يونس في طولكرم، وأدّت إلى إصابة ضابط في جيش الاحتلال بجروح خطيرة، أعربت مصادر أمنية وعسكرية إسرائيلية عن قلقها من تصاعد العمليات الفردية في الضفة والقدس المحتلّتَين، فيما عدّدت وسائل الإعلام العبرية 5 حوادث «خطيرة» شهدها الأسبوعان الماضيان، من دون أن تكون لدى الأجهزة الأمنية الإسرائيلية أيّ إشارات أو معالجات مسبقة لها، وهذا ما يدفع المستوى العسكري في الكيان إلى التحذير من فقدان القدرة على إيقاف هذه الموجة. وما يصعّب الموقف، بالنسبة إلى إسرائيل، هو أن استمرار وقوع هكذا حوادث يُلهم المزيد من الفلسطينيّين إلى تقليدها، في ظلّ تشجيع يلقاه هؤلاء من قِبَل الفصائل الفلسطينية بشكل مباشر، وعلى مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي، وهو ما تخشى تل أبيب خروجه عن السيطرة. ولعلّ من بين العوامل التي تسهم، أيضاً، في تعزيز الدافعية الفلسطينية، تَوسُّع سياسة الاستيطان الإحلالي، وعمليات القتل المتواصلة للشبّان الفلسطينيين، والتضييق على حركة سكّان الضفة، فضلاً عن تدهور الوضع الاقتصادي لدى شرائح كثيرة من هؤلاء. التتمة

أخبار متعلقة

The US Should Concede to Its Diminishing Role in the Region As Iran Will Not Accept Compromise

Nov 5, 2021

By Mohammad Youssef

Beirut – The world scene seems very confusing, a lot of tension and strain stretching and extending across the continents, nonetheless, there are doorways that can lead to temporary solutions or compromises in the worst case scenario.

  • The escalating tension between Russia and the western world over Ukraine, and the western military measures there
  • The western-eastern tension between China and the western world over Taiwan
  • The continuous strain in world politics over the Iranian nuclear file, and Vienna negotiations taking place without any hope looming about a longstanding agreement that could be finalized.

This file is preoccupying the world because of its repercussions and ramifications that could translate all over.

Washington has dragged itself and the whole Western governments into a tough place when it unilaterally and without any reasonable justification withdrew from the agreement with Tehran.

Iran proved credibility and has delivered over the agreement with all its articles and subdivisions.

Contrary to this, the US did not respect its commitments nor delivered its share of conditions in the agreement.

It is Tehran’s right to ask for more guarantees from the world society involved in the negotiations to make sure Washington would not dare to breach its commitments again.

One of the issues at stake during the current negotiations is that Tehran wants a direct and complete lift of American and Western sanctions, meanwhile Washington continues the procrastination policy.

Washington, furthermore, is attempting to add new files to the negotiating table, especially those in link to Tehran’s role in the region, more particularly, those in relation with advancing its rockets arsenal and supporting the resistance movements.

Iran continued to insist in limiting the negotiations to the same issues discussed before without adding any extra point.

What are the anticipated results for the ongoing Vienna negotiations?

It seems clearly that the Americans are not in anyway in a position to hand the Iranians guarantees that former US president Donald Trump’s scenario of pulling out of any reached  agreement would not be repeated again. So, the most probable outcome is to reach a temporary agreement that would generally ease the tensions in the region, especially in Iraq and allow for mutual intersection points that would secure a level of stability over different issues.

For its part, Tehran that has never aimed  anytime to have a nuclear weapon, has given and is ready to give necessary assurances to this effect, but will never accept to compromise its full sovereign position vis-a-vis other issues that boils down to its basic interests and principles.

Washington, who day and night preaches about real politics and pragmatism, should accept its dwindling position and diminishing role in the region and the world. 

This entails a different approach that renders the US accept to abandon its arrogant policy, and strike a settlement that would necessarily recognize the vital interests and role of Iran in its surrounding region. This is the most likely scenario; otherwise, we would be entering another vicious cycle of escalation!

Sayyed Al-Houthi Denounces Brutal Saudi Crimes in Yemen’s Hudaydah

Nov, 30 2021

By Staff, Agencies 

The leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah revolutionary movement Sayyed Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi slammed the Saudi aggression’s brutal crimes in the western coastal city of Hudaydah.

Speaking in a meeting with a delegation of AL-Bayda tribal leaders in the capital Sana’a on Monday evening, Sayyed Al-Houthi warned against seditious conspiracies and divisive attempts by enemies in order to establish their control over Yemen.

“Enemies are seeking to dominate Yemeni people through incitement of sedition and division,” he said.
The Yemeni leader further underscored that “Meetings and reunions among people from various walks of life are truly indicative of the level of fraternity, cooperation and understanding within the Yemeni nation. The opportunity is ripe to push for promotion of brotherhood, cooperation and social peace in order to restore security and stability in Al-Bayda province.”

“We want to beef up nationwide peace and resolve lingering disputes… We want the government and the nation to work together in order to provide civil services,” the Ansarullah chief pointed out.

Sayyed al-Houthi also pointed to the anniversary of the expulsion of colonial British forces from Yemen, stressing that November 30 marks a bright page in the history of the Arab nation.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Ansarullah leader also condemned the execution of ten prisoners by Saudi-sponsored Takfiri militants in Hudaydah, describing it as a “heinous crime” and a blatant violation of international humanitarian law.

According to Abdulqader al-Mortadha, head of the Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs in the Yemeni National Salvation Government, Saudi mercenaries executed the victims on November 13 and dismembered their bodies.

Five of the prisoners were residents of Yemen’s Hudaydah province, while the rest were respectively from the provinces of Hajjah and Mahwit.

Judges protecting judges: why the Beirut blast investigation is a dud

October 28 2021

Can the Beirut blast’s lead investigator, Judge Tarek Bitar, take on his negligent colleagues? Events so far suggest he won’t.Photo Credit: The Cradle

Lead investigative Judge Tarek Bitar refuses to prosecute his judiciary colleagues who signed to unload, store, then ignore the ammonium nitrates that devastated Beirut last August.

By Radwan Mortada

The Lebanese are split on the performance of Judge Tarek al-Bitar, the lead judicial investigator in the massive 4 August Port of Beirut explosion last year.

One side blindly trusts the man, believing Bitar will spearhead the fight against Lebanon’s existing corrupt political class and discover the identities of those responsible for the deadly port blast.

The other side views him as a foreign tool used to create sedition in Lebanon by targeting political figures critical of the US. The Lebanese resistance, Hezbollah, was the first to draw suspicion to Bitar’s performance, whose arbitrary and biased allegations seemed to target only one side of the political divide.

Hezbollah’s charges have gradually escalated over the months. When Bitar first took on the blast investigation – the second judge to do so – Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah urged him to publish the blast site’s technical report so it would quash unsubstantiated rumors about the group’s role in the explosion, or allegations that it stored ‘weapons’ at the Port of Beirut.

Bitar did not respond to Nasrallah’s request for transparency, however, and allowed political and media disinformation to go unchecked during a national crisis.

In one example of this, an alleged ‘witness’ named Imad Kashli appeared in a Lebanese media outlet claiming that he transported ammonium nitrate for Hezbollah from the Port of Beirut to a village in the south, in what was later discovered to be false testimony. Bitar failed to take any action against Kashli under the pretext that he was ‘sick,’ and media outlets never bothered to refute or retract the fabricated story.

Furthermore, Bitar’s political targets say the judge’s own allegations are not comprehensive, but deliberately selective. His interrogation roster focuses overwhelmingly on personalities belonging to one political affiliation, while unjustifiably excluding officials in the very same posts with opposite political views. Bitar has interrogated former Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander Jean Kawahji, for instance, while skipping over current LAF Commander Joseph Aoun, a Washington-favored army man.

U.S. Ambassador Richard Meets Army Commander General Joseph Aoun - U.S.  Embassy in Lebanon

Aoun cannot be bypassed or absolved of responsibility. The explosion happened on his watch, during his tenure. Bitar’s detractors rightly point out that the ultimate responsibility for the Beirut blast must focus on the Lebanese judiciary and the military. The former signed the papers that allowed in and continued to store tons of illegally-stored ammonium nitrate in Beirut, and the latter has the final word on any explosives inside Lebanon’s legal boundaries.

The fact that Bitar has ruled out questioning the current army leadership, most of the judges, the Ministers of Justice and Defense, and the Justice Ministry’s cases commission from has raised eyebrows, obviously. Nasrallah did not mince his words when he stated, in a recent speech, that the greatest responsibility for the 2020 calamity rests with the judges who gave permission to unload vast amounts of ammonium nitrate explosives from a foreign ship seized by Lebanese authorities, and then gave permission to store these substances in dangerous conditions inside the Port of Beirut.

Bitar’s choices lead to armed confrontations

Leaked reports in the media and from within the corridors of Lebanon’s Judiciary, instead deflected blame onto cabinet ministers and members of parliament (MPs), revealing that they would be arrested even before Bitar issued the summons. Furthermore, he has been quoted as saying that he wanted to fight, not avenge, the political class, which he did not deny in a press interview – thus, confirming the words attributed to him.

His behavior and the investigation’s bias has only reinforced suspicions against Bitar, who was expected, at the very least, to handle these processes and suspects impartially, and to display good faith by muzzling rumors and disinformation.

The judge’s questionable performance finally prompted supporters of Hezbollah, Marada, the Amal Movement, and members of professional organizations (lawyers, etc) to hold a protest in front of the Beirut Palace of Justice.

On 14 October, a peaceful demonstration by these groups was ambushed in Beirut’s Tayouneh neighborhood by far-right Lebanese Forces (LF) party gunmen. Rooftop sniper fire quickly escalated into an armed clash that killed seven Hezbollah and Amal supporters and injured dozens of others.

The Black Record of Samir Geagea

The attack could have easily spiraled into a civil war had it not been for Nasrallah’s public calls for restraint, which gave space for an investigation by army intelligence, under the supervision of the judiciary, that this week summoned LF leader Samir Geagea for interrogation. That case continues.

Judiciary and military responsibility for the explosives

Why has Bitar overlooked the judicial and military responsibilities for the ammonium nitrates and its storage at the port for seven years? Why does he persist in focusing his investigation on cabinet ministers and parliamentarians mainly, despite the fact that the explosion was primarily a security and judicial failure?

If the army had carried out its function, entrusted exclusively to Lebanon’s military under the country’s Weapons and Ammunition Law, by supervising the nitrate storage, destruction, or re-export, the devastating explosion would have been averted.

Similarly, if judges had done their job, a legally binding – not a political one – decision would have ensured the destruction or immediate exportation of the explosive materials from Warehouse 12 in the Port of Beirut.

Despite the negligence of his judicial colleagues, Judge Bitar has been noticeably timid about addressing their liabilities in the lead-up to the explosion. The politicization of his investigation has all but buried the legal distribution of responsibility – the truth, so to speak – for the blast.

The judges who escaped Bitar’s ‘judgement’

Gassanoff on Twitter: "المجرم القاضي جاد المعلوف هو المسؤول عن انزال  النيترات لمصلحة من أمر بانزالها او بطلب من من؟ من هنا يبدأ التحقيق مع  المجرم جاد المعلوف .هذا هو الصندوق الاسود…
Judge Jad Maalouf

To this day, the ‘guardians of justice’ continue to remain unaccountable. But the names of seven judges and a state attorney suspected of negligence have been identified as those most liable for the judiciary’s failings: Judges Jad Maalouf and Carla Shawah from the Beirut Urgent Matters Court, Ministry of Justice Judges Marwan Karkabi and Helena Iskandar, head of the Beirut Executive Department Mirna Kallab, government commissioner at the Military Court Judge Peter Germanos, Appeals Court Attorney General Ghassan Khoury, and state attorney Omar Tarabah.

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF) had identified these judges in a report presented to Judge Bitar at the start of his investigation.

The judiciary’s responsibility in the blast has also been lost amid blanket local media focus on Lebanon’s political class since 17 October 2019, when a street ‘revolution’ arose in response to the country’s economic collapse. The prevailing trend in the country has been to lay all blame on the politicians and bankers who let this happen.

So there would be little fallout for Bitar if he took the easy path, focused on the easy ‘villains,’ and didn’t rock the boat with his judicial colleagues or Lebanon’s ‘neutral’ military establishment.

Bitar checked some boxes, but basically played softball with the judiciary.  As an example, he formally requested that the Cassation Court’s public prosecutor separately verify the negligence of Beirut Judges Maalouf and Shawah in order to charge them with the crime of probable intent, like the rest of the defendants in the case.

Although more than a year has passed since the blast investigation began, any action against the judges, or even checking their files or hearing their statements, has been delayed for months, although the role of one of them – Jad Maalouf – is critical.

Maalouf signed off on the decision to unload the ship’s ammonium nitrate cargo and appoint a judicial guard as the head of the port, Mohammad al-Mawla. After Mawla claimed that he did not hold the keys to the warehouse, Maalouf was supposed to appoint another judicial guard and establish a time period for guard duty, which did not happen. Bitar listened to the statements of Maalouf and Shawah as witnesses only, unlike others who he intends to prosecute. Why?

The file of the ammonium nitrate shipment had swung back and forth for years between the General Customs Directorate and Beirut Urgent Matters Judge Maalouf. Several letters were sent to the Director General of Customs Badri Daher to re-export the goods, but Judge Maalouf kept writing down the request and sending it to the Justice Ministry’s cases commission, which responded only once by approving the re-export.

Maalouf was assigned to transfer the ownership of the goods within a week, even though Article 13 of the UN’s Hamburg Convention permits the destruction of goods – and if they are hazardous, without transferring their ownership – without paying compensation to the owner. The Hamburg Convention, signed in 1978 and enforced in November 1992, is the UN’s ‘Hamburg Rules’ on cargo sea shipments that unified a legal system regulating the rights and obligations of shippers, carriers, and consignees under the contract of transport of goods by sea.

According to legal experts, Judge Maalouf should have ruled to destroy these highly dangerous materials based on both Article 13 of the Hamburg Convention as well as the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 579 of the Lebanese Code of Civil Procedure; that is, without a request from anyone and regardless of the rights of their owners, who are not entitled to compensation for the destruction of hazardous goods.

Instead, four years were spent on issuing notifications, or requesting discussions on jurisdiction and the legality of selling or destroying the goods. If Judge Maalouf had taken the decision to destroy the ammonium nitrates immediately, Lebanon would have certainly avoided its destructive consequence last August.

The same reasoning applies to suspected Judge Shawah, who was referred to the prosecution with Maalouf, but judicial sources tell The Cradle that she has not received any document or review from anyone since she took over the ammonium nitrates case from Maalouf.

Judge Bitar has also asked the Appeals Court public prosecutor to verify the suspected negligence of Public Prosecutor Judge Khoury for authorizing the closing of the nitrates file. But Bitar did not do that for months, and until the day before, he believed that the Court of Cassation might recuse him based on the lawsuits submitted by the defendants and ministers accusing him of bias.

It appears that Bitar initially suspected Khoury of involvement in criminal activities that contributed to the death and injury of people and causing damage to public property as a result of the judge’s decision to shelve the State Security’s investigation report. Then, inexplicably, Judge Imad Qabalan, the Court of Cassation’s public prosecutor, decided those suspicions were unjustified and threw out Bitar’s inquiries by saying he considered “the report of the judicial investigator [Bitar] dated 24 September 2021 to be empty of any suspicions and does not prove fault in the job duties of Judge Khoury.”

The fourth and fifth judges, Helena Iskandar and Marwan Karkabi, who headed the Justice Ministry’s cases commission, are suspected of years of procrastinating before responding to the correspondence of the Director General of Customs and the Urgent Matters Judge. Although they received several letters, they responded only once by proposing to re-export the nitrates without following up on the case, which is one reason the ammonium nitrates remained in the heart of Beirut.

The sixth judge, Peter Germanos, was contacted by State Security investigators – when he was the government representative at the military court regarding the ammonium nitrate stores – to notify him about the high risk of these materials. But Germanos told them this case was not in the jurisdiction of the military prosecution because the Urgent Matters Judge had ruled to remove that material from Warehouse 12.

Although the issue is related to the Lebanese state’s national security and clearly falls within the jurisdiction of the Army Intelligence, Germanos decided that it is not within the powers of the Military Public Prosecution. Why?

Judge Germanos has denied on Twitter that he received any reports or minutes on the ammonium nitrates from the State Security or any other agency. Here, Bitar’s investigation needs to discover which side is telling the truth, bearing in mind that most communications between the judicial police and public prosecutor were conducted orally, over the phone, until written investigation minutes are stamped and referred to the Public Prosecution.

The seventh judge – Mirna Kallab, head of the Executive Department in Beirut – following correspondence from the Justice Ministry’s cases commission on the sale of the nitrates, was tasked specifically with appointing an inspections expert. A dispute emerged from the start between the Ministry of Works and the cases commission over who should pay the expert’s fees, which did not exceed 700,000 (approximately $467) Lebanese pounds.

Here, state attorney Omar Tarabah’s name appears for procrastinating for more than a year over correspondence related to paying the expert’s fees to inspect the Rhusos, the ship which transported the ammonium nitrate to the Port of Beirut.

In a nutshell, it is believed that the reason for Bitar’s leniency in holding negligent judges accountable for the Beirut blast is due to the prevailing conviction among judges of the need to protect and provide their colleagues with immunity, lest they next become scapegoats for the political class who would also wish to protect their colleagues with immunity.

Bitar should have refused to cater to the judiciary and military establishments, and made a beeline for whomever he suspected of negligence, regardless of their affiliations. Having failed to do so, this investigation is now a bust. Unless Bitar changes course and takes on these two protected institutions, only scapegoats will be charged for Lebanon’s deadliest explosion in history.

Jordanians Rally against Water for Energy Deal with ‘Israeli’ Entity

Nov 26, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Thousands of Jordanians rallied in protest against a deal signed with the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity that will reportedly see the two sides swap electricity for water.

The march began in front of the Husseini Mosque in the capital Amman and continued to the Al-Nakhil Square about a kilometer away amid heavy security measures.

The demonstrations were organized by political parties and trade unions in Jordan to reject the Hashemite Kingdom’s decision to negotiate with the Tel Aviv occupation regime on the feasibility of a joint energy and water project.

On Monday, Jordan announced the signing of a declaration of intent for exchanging water for energy with the United Arab Emirates [UAE] and the ‘Israeli’ entity.

The three sides will start talks to explore the feasibility of a joint energy and water project, according to Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

The ministry said in a statement that the declaration of intent meant “entering the process of feasibility studies during the next year 2022 through which Jordan could obtain 200 million cubic meters of water annually.”

Last month, Jordan signed an agreement with the Zionist occupation regime to buy 50 million cubic meters of water from Tel Aviv, an additional amount to what was stipulated in the agreement signed between the two sides in 1994.

Yemeni Forces Score Significant Advances on Marib’s Southern Gates

Nov 26, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

The Yemeni forces advanced on the southern gates of the central Marib city, pushing Saudi-backed militants loyal to former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi further back.

According to a report published on Friday by Lebanese al-Akhbar daily, Saudi forces and their mercenaries failed to stop Yemeni soldiers and their allies from making rapid advances on the southern flank of the provincial capital city.

Hadi loyalists have already withdrawn from most of their positions in the eastern and central parts of the Balaqin sub-district over the past two days, despite intense airstrikes carried by Saudi warplanes in their support.

The paper, citing local military and tribal sources, said Yemeni army troops and Popular Committees fighters have made major advances on the western outskirts of Falaj area after establishing control over all heights overlooking the region.

Sources close to pro-Hadi forces said their defeats appear to have been an inside job.

Pro-Hadi Marib governor general Sultan al-Arada expressed his disappointment over the unfolding developments in the province, confirming that the al-Balaq al-Awsat district and surrounding areas in Wadi al-Zannah region had been taken over by the opposite side.

On Thursday, Saudi warplanes conducted more than a dozen air raids against al-Jubah and Sirwah districts in Marib province.

The military aircraft also launched two airstrikes against the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa late on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and other key Western powers, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.

Having failed to reach its professed goals, the war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.

Despite heavily-armed Saudi Arabia’s continuous bombardment of the impoverished country, Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

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Radio Row on his anti-“Great Reset” music and Covid tyranny in Australia

 Eva Bartlett

Great conversation with Radio Row the other day. Do check out his music, brilliant lyrics, very poignantly addressing the tyranny we are facing globally.

During lockdown in Sydney, Australia, Matt Austin produced his first album, “I Bloody Told You This Would Happen!”, a collection of 11 songs on the critical issues we are facing under the Covid mandates. His description:

“When people don’t understand how democracy works, democracy doesn’t work.
Hidden corruption of ‘free’ media; the lobby industry; State infiltration of activist groups; mass surveillance by government institutions and Big Tech; centralized power; Digital ID’s and a Central Bank Digital Currency; Coerced acquiescence, propaganda and censorship.

Part satire, part warning, part therapy: I Bloody Told You This Would Happen!”

[A 12th song followed, The State Of You ]

I spoke with Matt about how he came to make this album, as well as the mood in Australia, and he global growing popular dissent to Covid tyranny.

*Matt recommends Australian singer-songwriter, Ben Mitchell’s Free The Nation Music.


*Lithuania tyranny

*COVID19 PCR Tests are Scientifically Meaningless

*Australian Govt’s OWN WEBSITE admits Covid tests are totally unreliable
*Lies, Damned Lies and Health Statistics – the Deadly Danger of False Positives
*WHO (finally) admits PCR tests create false positives
*Twitter isn’t censoring accounts to keep users ‘safe’, it is using its power to spoon-feed the world establishment narratives

*I’ll likely only see my family on a screen from now on, because I don’t want the Covid jab. What happened to ‘my body, my choice’?
*‘It’s absolutely appalling’: Unvaccinated Canadians become social outcasts and the new persecuted minority

Tourism is returning to Syria which is great news for the people and the world

Nov 14, 2021,


by Eva K Bartlett

The wonders of Damascus, Aleppo and Palmyra are finally opening up to the world again after a decade of Western funded war.

Tourism is finally, slowly, beginning to return to Syria, from Jordan and further afield. Naturally, the governments that fueled terrorism in hopes of toppling Syria’s government are not happy about this development.

I haven’t seen much reporting on this momentous turn of events so far. However, one article I came across mentioned, “international tour agencies have started advertising trips to Syria for later this year and into early 2022,” writing that tours were booking quickly, from the UK and Germany.

This, albeit slow, return of tourism is a good thing—for the shattered economy and the tourists. Before the war, around 8.5 million tourists visited Syria in 2010. With its ancient cities and UNESCO heritage sites like Palmyra, Krak des Chevaliers, old Damascus, and old Aleppo, among others, Syria is a historian’s dream. Over the years, Syrians I’ve encountered frequently told me they wished tourists would return and, now, they can. Even I would like to return as a tourist, not a journalist, to just enjoy traveling across the country, taking in its amazing and ancient culture.

Beautiful Syria

While my fifteen visits to Syria since 2014 have been to report on events on the ground, and to refute the brazen lies of war propagandists in Beirut, Istanbul or still further abroad, I have also had the chance to see much of the country.

It would take far more room than I have here to write about the interesting experiences and beautiful things I’ve seen there (in addition to the tragic testimonies taken), so I’ll just choose a few and suggest those interested to browse the videos in my Syria playlist and likewise those of my colleague Vanessa Beeley, who lives in Syria.

Many who haven’t visited or studied Syria mistakenly assume it is all desert, but it is a rich tapestry of lush coastal regions, mountains, vast forests and lakes as well. During a six month stay last year, I had the chance to join an exploration group to hike and to camp in Latakia’s forests.

When I returned in March last year, I re-visited Aleppo, where city’s historic souks were being painstakingly restored. I saw a little more reconstruction than I had in previous visits, although the Western sanctions against Syria target reconstruction, in addition to crippling the economy and causing the devaluing of the Syrian pound—because that’s how America likes to help Syrians.

At the incredible Aleppo citadel a year prior, I spent an afternoon wandering around, speaking with people, seeing families enjoying themselves, couples holding hands, kids playing, youths dancing…This freedom of movement and enjoyment of life was impossible under the rule of the terrorists whom the West dubbed “rebels”.

Visiting Syria will be not only a fascinating touristic experience, but a profoundly moving one, with each encounter ramming home how terribly the Syrian people have suffered during the war.

In Aleppo last March, I met a man traumatized by the torture he had endured by these Western-backed mercenaries, kept in underground prisons, often in solitary confinement. These underground prisons were common in areas terrorists occupied around Syria.

When I visited the Old City of Homs after its liberation in 2014, the destruction its ancient churches was still fresh.

Volunteers have planted a garden in the courtyard of the burned St. Mary’s Church in Homs. Credit: Eva Bartlett/IPS
Volunteers have planted a garden in the courtyard of the burned St. Mary’s Church in Homs. Credit: Eva Bartlett/IPS

Similarly, in 2014 when I visited ancient Maaloula (where Aramaic is still spoken) just following its liberation, the damage to its ancient monasteries and homes was visible, soot still on walls from fires terrorists set.

Unique altar from around 325 AD smashed by plundering terrorists.
Terrorists mortared the dome of Sts. Sergius et Bacchus church.
Cave where terrorists holed up.
Nusra & co-mortared and looted church in the 4th century A.D. Monastery of Sts. Sergius et Bacchus
Terrorists mortared the dome of Sts. Sergius et Bacchus church.
Where Virgin Mary statue once stood.
Clifftop vantage from which to terrorize villagers below.

In 2016 when I revisited, much restoration had been done.

When I went back in September 2018, during the Festival of the Cross, I attended mass and joined the celebrations afterwards, where men carried others on their shoulders, swigging Arak in the main square, and entire families climbed up the mountainside to celebrate late into the evening, fire spinners creating mesmerizing blazes.

A friend from the village, Abdo Haddad, summarized the importance of the Festival of the Cross:

“Tonight we are celebrating the finding of the cross that happened 1700 years ago. This celebration is represented by putting fire on top of the mountains, from Jerusalem to Constantinople, to tell the people in Constantinople that the cross was found. Maaloula is the only place in the world that is still celebrating this custom. The only time that this custom stopped is when the so-called rebels and other ‘revolution’ people in Syria invaded Maaloula, and instead of putting fire on top of the mountain, they put our houses on fire.”

Had terrorism succeeded there, or across Syria, a rich culture and history would have been erased.

The City of Jasmine

During much of my time last year in Syria I was in Damascus, and I walked around the city daily, getting to know it like I had never had the time to before.

In Damascus, there is ancient history, culture and art everywhere you walk. Fragrant jasmine & bright bougainvillea adorn walls and archways. You can catch a concert at the beautiful Opera House, first class seating, for the equivalent of a dollar.

No, most Syrians can’t afford this now thanks to the shattered economy, but they used to be able to.

Walking around the city you can encounter musicians sitting on the remnants of a historic column and playing for the enjoyment of locals, likewise find oud players, and at night find youths gathered in a central Old City park, playing guitar and singing.

While wandering along the historic Straight Street, you pass endless shops selling handmade crafts and antiques. You’ll find artisans carrying on historic traditions, carving wood, hammering intricate patterns of inlaid silver, creating incredible wood and shell mosaics to adorn furniture, weavers, glass blowers and more. Elsewhere, you’ll find herbal medicine shops with items I can’t even name in English, stores with beautiful pyramids of spices, and the historic markets near the beautiful Umayyad Mosque.

And while most of my encounters have been in Arabic, you will find some English speakers, some due to the nature of their work, others because they have lived abroad. Many will tell you that they support their president, and why.

In the winding back lanes you’ll see men delivering fresh milk by bicycle, kids playing football, and encounter residents eager to talk with foreigners again, equally eager to emphasize that media has been lying about events in Syria. Some are happy to show you around their old Damascene homes (damaged by terrorists’ mortars).

In the many antique shops of the old city, you’ll find exquisitely-carved furniture, ornate chandeliers, and shop owners keen to speak to tourists again, inevitably speaking longingly of how good it was in Syria before the war.

A recent report on a visit to Syria by twelve Jewish New Yorkers, who had left the country some decades ago, revealed they were welcomed by the city residents with open arms, with one of the visitors saying, “We went to shops in every place. They got to know us and said to us, ‘Welcome, this is your country, why aren’t you coming back? Look what happened to the country, please come back.’”

Given the monstrous war propaganda against Syria and Syrians this past decade, people might be surprised by the warm reception the US-based Jews got but that’s the thing about Syrians: they by and large don’t do sectarianism. That was foisted upon them by truly sectarian, tyrannical, entities like Saudi Arabia.

In my many visits to Syria, I’ve had countless encounters with Syrians telling me how they share holidays with their friends of other faiths. And if you visit Syria over Christmas and New Years, you’ll find Muslims going to the holy Christian sites in Old Damascus, and posing for photos in front of Christmas trees in al-Qassaa. Likewise, during ‘Eid holidays, you’ll see streets filled with Muslims and Christians, celebrating and eating together.

After so many years of being terrorized by terrorist mortars, missiles and snipers, as Syrians around the country were, Syrians in Damascus are finally able to walk their streets without fear of being maimed or murdered. The current terrorism they face is the West’s war on the Syrian economy.

Moving On

On Tuesday, the UAE’s foreign minister met with President Assad, in Damascus, another sign of the thawing of relations from countries that turned their backs on Syria. This follows Jordan’s reopening of its Syrian border and resumption of tourism.

The US, predictably, is crying about this turn of events.

Annoyed that countries are renewing ties with Syria, wretched Western politicians continue to make allegations about Syria that have been refuted, like a chemical attack in Douma, or repeating the initial lies about Syria: lies about peaceful protests and a revolution in the country, long-exposed lies that they should be ashamed to utter in 2021.

But, no matter how much hypocritical US representatives denounce Syria, those sociopaths who backed terrorism in Syria have lost the war, and Syria will re-build. backed terrorism in Syria have lost the war, and Syria will re-build. So, yes, it is a very good thing for Syrians that foreign visitors will return to that beautiful country and put money into its economy. And for the tourists: the only real thing you will be disappointed in if you visit Syria is your time there coming to an end.


Syria playlist (youtube)

SYRIA: My Published Articles From and on Syria (2014-2021)

There are positive developments on the ground in Syria, but for America it’s sanctions and suffering as usual

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Devastation…and Inspiration: Recalling Liberated Ma’loula

Overcoming Savagery and Treachery, Maaloula’s Heroic Defenders Fight for the Future

The Terrorism We Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against Civilians

University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

Syria: NOT A Revolution! (video)

An Open Letter from Palestine to Miss South Africa

November 14, 2021

Lalela Mswane, Miss South Africa 2021. (Photo: video grab)

By Haidar Eid

Dear Ms. Lalela Mswane,

We don’t know each other. I only know that you are Miss South Africa and just heard of your name two days ago when the media reported that you will represent South Africa at the Miss Universe pageant on the ruins of the ethnically cleansed village of Um Al-Rashrash in apartheid Israel. I assume you don’t know enough about the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of Israel’s occupation colonization and apartheid in Palestine. I myself spent six years in South Africa where I got my Ph.D. degree and even citizenship.

Even before the end of the apartheid system in 1994, we, Palestinians, wholeheartedly supported the struggle in South Africa and played a role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that formed one of the major pillars of the struggle to bring apartheid down. Nelson Mandela made it absolutely clear on more than one occasion that without the support of the Palestine liberation organization, among other national liberation movements, the end of the racist regime would have been delayed.

I live in the Gaza concentration camp which has been under a medieval siege imposed by apartheid Israel since 2007. But even before that, Israel had occupied it since 1967. As a result of Israel’s racist policies, our children suffer from malnutrition; the 2 million people living in the strip do not have access to electricity, clean water, medicine, and hundreds of other items that Israel does not allow. Over the last decade, the country you are visiting has launched four massive wars on Gaza killing more than 4000 civilians, including hundreds of women and children, and destroying hundreds of buildings, factories, roads, and schools.

A UN fact-finding mission, headed by none other than your own Richard Goldstone, has labeled these massacres “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.” And anti-apartheid activists, including the likes of Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils, have told us that what we are going through in Palestine is “far far worse than apartheid.” Moreover, two mainstream human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch and Israel’s most respected human rights organization, Btselem, issued two damning reports last year calling Israel an apartheid state that discriminates not only against the residents of Gaza and the West Bank but also against its own third-class Palestinian citizens.

Ms. Mswane, allow me to ask you this question. How would you have felt if a Palestinian woman decided to join a similar contest in South Africa in the 70s and ’80s of the last century? How would you have responded if a similar contest was held in Sofia town, for example? And how would the South African people have reacted to the participation of Palestinians in concerts and sports games in apartheid South Africa?

You must have heard of the tens of beautiful women incarcerated in Israeli dungeons without charge or trial, simply for the mere reason of speaking out against occupation and apartheid. Our women, like South African women before them, are at the receiving end of a multi-tiered system of oppression and expect solidarity from their Black sisters.

I am an associate professor of literature;  I teach hundreds of female students who come from refugee camps and whose parents and grandparents are also refugees. My students have one message when I told them that a South African woman is coming to apartheid Israel; they asked me to write this message and appeal to you to refrain from violating our BDS guidelines and stand on the right side of history. I am certain you will not disappoint them.

Nelson Mandela’s much-quoted sentiment that “(South African) freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” is decorating the walls of refugee camps in the Gaza Strip where millions of refugees are waiting for the day of their return to the towns and villages which were ethnically cleansed in 1948 by racist gangs ruling the country you are visiting. We are only asking you to make the right decision that thousands of artists, writers and cultural figures–including Miss Malaysia and Miss Indonesia– have made – to stand against apartheid Israel.

Sincerely Yours,

Haidar Eid

Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine

Lebanese Interior Minister Justifies Scandal: UAE Dispatches Armed Security Guards to Accompany Football Team in Beirut

November 14, 2021

In an unprecedented move in the history of sports competitions, the United Arab Emirates dispatched armed security personnel to guard the football team in Beirut.

It is worth noting that the local police should secure the foreign delegations in accordance with all the international laws and standards.

The Lebanese interior minister Bassam Al-Mawlawi claimed, in a tweet, that UAE had obtained a permission from the ministry of defense and the Lebanese Army Command to let the security guards enter Lebanon with their guns.

Al-Mawlawi had decided upon the arrival of the Iranian football team at Beirut airport to open a probe into the size and number of bags the players held; however, he serenely comments on the scandalous arrival of security guards to accompany UAE team.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

467 Palestinians Detained by Israeli Occupation in October

Nov 10, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen

Several prisoners and human rights organizations published a report detailing the Israeli occupation’s measures and actions against Palestinian prisoners throughout October 2021.

The Saudi Reality - الواقع السعودي - هل تنفجر الأوضاع في الأراضي الفلسطينية  مجدداً.. نعم وهذا التقرير يكشف التفاصيل
A Palestinian demonstrator is arrested by occupation police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on May 10, 2021, in Jerusalem

A not-so-shocking figure that reflects Israeli brutality showed that the occupation arrested nearly 470 Palestinians throughout October of 2021 across the occupied Palestinian territories. Those detained include 135 children and 10 women.

The figures came up in a monthly joint report issued by several prisoners and human rights organizations, namely the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Al-Dameer Organization, and the Wadi Hilwe Information Center-Jerusalem.

The number of Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli prisons reached 4650 by the end of October 2021, including 160 minors, 34 women, and nearly 500 administrative detainees.

The report lists all policies and measures taken by the Israeli occupation against prisoners monthly. Administrative detentions made by the IOF in October amounted to 106, and since 2015, the Israeli supreme court issued an order related to the so-called suspension of the administrative detention against prisoners who decide to start a hunger strike on an individual basis. While Palestinian organizations considered the court order at the time as an Israeli tool to solidify administrative detentions, the supreme court has not stopped implementing the decision up till today.

The daily arrest rate in occupied Palestine amounted to 15 arrests

There are six Palestinian prisoners hunger-striking in protest of their administrative detention as of the date of the report’s publication.

The Israeli occupation authorities are arbitrarily arresting Palestinians daily to oppose their struggle, suppress their rights, and hijack their freedom.

The daily arrest rate in occupied Palestine amounted to 15 arrests with the IOF arresting Palestinians over their social media posts, completely suppressing their freedom of speech.

The Israeli occupation went as far as designating several Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organizations” in a bid to undermine the Palestinian civil society.

The arbitrary Israeli measure was followed by a military order that puts said NGOs at the risk of being closed and having their employees prosecuted.

The measure shocked human rights organizations all over the world, as the blacklisted NGOs played a pivotal role in delivering aid to those violated and oppressed by the IOF, defending their human rights in the face of Israeli abuses.

The arbitrary decision received denunciations from several international bodies

To add, just yesterday, the United Nations said the Israeli measure “deepens the concerns” of its agencies.

In a statement released Tuesday, the agencies said they “regretted the decision made on 7 November by the Military Commander in the West Bank,” saying it represents “a further erosion of civic and humanitarian space.”

Additionally, the arbitrary decision received denunciations from several international bodies, such as several UN Security Council countries and several European countries.

The organizations in question are the al-Haq human rights group, the al-Dameer rights group, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

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