Lebanon’s President: Justice will be served, economic siege now lifted

Via The Saker

Lebanon’s President: Justice will be served, economic siege now lifted

August 11, 2020

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/lebanons-president-justice-will-be-served-economic-siege-now-lifted/

Description:

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun fielded various questions from local media surrounding the fallout from the national disaster at the Port of Beirut on August the 4th.

Source: Al Jadeed News (YouTube)

Date: August 7, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript:

Lebanese President Michel Aoun:

Lebanese people are angry and I am angry too, and they have the right to be angry. But as you know, excessive anger causes people to boil with rage (and act incorrectly). So our responsibility today is to reveal the truth, because public opinion is slowly changing its direction, it is moving towards deflecting blame onto innocents and not the perpetrators. Nothing but the (ongoing) investigation can reveal what happened, and we are working on it, first by assigning the officials (responsible for the investigation), and then by following the required actions after this investigation.

I want to reaffirm today that we understand the heartache of the Lebanese people (who lost their dear ones), (hearts) that will not be healed unless they take revenge from the perpetrator. And punishing those responsible (for the explosion) is the only (possible) path that we can tread in order to heal the heartache.

In addition, we will seek to compensate them for their material losses. But this is not the real condolence. Rather, the real condolence is expressed by achieving justice. You know me or your parents do, I am Michel Aoun! You know me in war and in peace, no one can drive me towards (committing) a mistake and no one can prevent me from revealing the truth. I wanted to talk today so that all citizens hear me, and ultimately, I belong to these citizens, I did not come from the palaces but rather from the homes of these people. I know every house, I know all families from north to south and from east to west, and they feel my love and affection.

They knew me in war and in peace, they witnessed how I don’t draw back from any responsibility and I never hesitate to defend my country. In this sense, what is the homeland? The homeland is people. Today, I condole all (Lebanese) people with all my heart through these words, and my second condolence is expressed by realising justice, (a type of justice) in which no (guilty individual) will be excluded. This time is not like usual where the weak are the scapegoats of powerful officials. Here I recall the quote of Honore de Balzac, a famous French writer, “Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.” In this case, there will be neither weak nor powerful, the courts’ doors will be wide-open for the perpetrators (regardless who they are).

Reporter:

Your Excellency, in my name and on behalf of my (press) colleagues we extend our sincere condolences to you as President of all the Lebanese people. My question is: In the Council of Ministers you determined the structure of the investigation committee – have you received any information yet about this investigation? I mean the causes of the blast? And how do you take some people’s demand for an international investigation? Don’t you think that the purpose behind demanding an international investigation is hiding the truth?

President Aoun:

Yes of course, and we have a historical example in the form of a similar incident which indicates to us that “The late decision is useless”, because the judgment should occur fast. Here we refer to what they say, “Late justice is (in fact) not justice (at all)”, justice should be immediate yet without hastiness, such that the criminal is determined as well as the innocent.

In this case, we can say that there are two possibilities divided into three parts: The first part is how these explosive materials entered (our country) and were stored in the Port (of Beirut), and here the responsibility rests with the officials who were aware of the storage of these materials for 7 years. During this period, a number of governments and officials came to power, some of which wrote to the relevant (Lebanese) authorities in the port warning them about (the danger of) this issue. No doubt that there was a lack of awareness and negligence in doing what is required so that we don’t reach what has occurred today. It is possible that (the explosion) was caused by negligence or by external action, whether via a missile or a bomb. Personally, I requested the French President to provide us with aerial photographs (of the explosion) in order to determine if (the explosion) was caused by a bomb. In case they don’t have these photographs, we will request them from other countries.

Reporter:

Mr. President, you said that courts will be opened for (both) weak and powerful (Lebanese officials), you also said that there were (Lebanese) officials who have written letters about the danger of these (high) explosive materials in at the port, and yesterday we heard about arrests starting from the head of the port’s temporary committee and other employees. Today, Lebanese people are awaiting at least for the arrest of a former minister or a current minister or an official, yet till now we didn’t see any of this. The story begins in 2013 and stretches up until today, and thus there are many concerned ministers (in this file).

President Aoun:

Do you know how many problems have been accumulating from 2013 until today ?! Many (officials) came (to power) successively, and things need time. We can’t (just) randomly send any minister or citizen to jail. We have to be rational and to listen to the statements of all those tied (to this matter), in order (for us) to make the right decision.

Reporter:

Your excellency, if the (investigations) lead to the finding that (a) prime minister (holds) some responsibility (for the disaster), will that prime minister be prosecuted, in addition to all (officials) below the prime minister’s post (that are found to be in the wrong)? And will the (political) cover that is rooted in (each official’s) religious sect play a role this time as it usually does? And why are (political) investments being made directly accusing Hezbollah of being the responsible for the (Beirut) explosion by claiming that (Hezbollah) was hiding stuff there in the port. This (narrative) has caused much confusion. So, can we say now that the true story is the one that you have just told, Mr. President?

President Aoun:

The investigation has not revealed anything yet. The port officials and those who are responsible for the port storages are now under investigation. Those responsible for the explosion are being identified according to a report prepared by the (Lebanese) State Security.

Reporter:

Mr. President, yesterday Mr. Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, was in Beirut. How was the atmosphere of the discussions? Did he discuss with you the issue of an international investigation into (the port) explosion because yesterday at the press conference he spoke about this issue when he was asked about it?

President Aoun:

(I think) it is just a piece of advice. The issue of an international investigation was not raised.

Reporter:

Well, how was the atmosphere of the discussions? Did you discuss France’s aid to Lebanon and was the CEDRE conference suggested (as a solution)?

President Aoun:

Definitely we spoke about aid but we didn’t specify what that will be. Today, we are before several types of aid:

1) food and medical aid;

2) reconstruction assistance.

(So far) we have resolved the first problem (concerning the food and medicine); we still have the issue of reconstruction which we are now in the process of planning how we will implement that.

Reporter:

Mr. President, yesterday the French President suggested a new issue which is forming a new pact with Lebanon. What is meant by a ‘new pact’? How did you receive this idea? Are we before the establishment of a new political regime? Are we before a new international understanding (regarding Lebanon as a polity)? Can you please clarify the French view in this regard?

President Aoun:

We are certainly before changes, and when we say changes we mean a new regime. So, yes, we have to reconsider our political system. It became clear to all that the consensual system (in Lebanon) is a paralysed system in which no one can pass any resolution and achieve it quickly. Any decision must be consensual and must be first approved by multiple authorities. Ten (people) cannot reach an agreement and that’s why rarely do we see reforms (being passed).

Reporter:

So, are we going towards internationalising the Lebanese conflict?

President Aoun:

No, no. if we are not able to govern ourselves, no one can govern us. Second, no one has the right to violate Lebanese sovereignty during my term as president.

Reporter:

Mr. President, some information or rather news stated that, your excellency was aware (that) the explosive materials were (stored there at) the port. So we would like to know about this issue from you. Also, you spoke about accountability, will the government pledge to proceed with the accountability process till the end and not spare any (corrupt official or individual)?

President Aoun:

Yes, we were informed around July 20. (A) military specialist directly called the Secretary General of (Lebanon’s) Higher Defence Council, discussed the issue together and called upon all those concerned. As I said, nothing can console and compensate people for their loss. What happened, those who have lost dear ones cannot be consoled. What may console people a little bit is the investigation and justice. In addition, there will be no political cover for anyone.

Reporter:

Mr. President, it is clear since a year ago that Lebanon has been facing an international siege or has been abandoned, whether by its regional or international surroundings. We have noticed in the previous two days after the (port) explosion that there is solidarity concerning essential foodstuffs, reconstruction and such matters. Yet it is clear that even during such a crisis and dire situation, (Lebanon) is still abandoned. Are there any endeavours being made to overcome these obstacles that have been placed, particularly by the Americans?

President Aoun:

The explosion broke the siege. Approximately all heads of states, i.e. the US, Arab and European states, communicated with me and declared their support for the Lebanese people and their readiness for financial and material aid. Indeed, all these states have started sending planes loaded with medical aid that we were really in need of. (Lebanese) hospitals have consumed all the available medicine they have. The number of people wounded and injured is nearly 4000, thus we are in need of all the materials used in surgery since they are almost finished. All the states responded to our calls rapidly, and you can notice the number of planes loaded with medicines and medical materials that are arriving.

Reporter:

Mr. President, you said that you received on July 20 a report from the relevant authorities and that both your Excellency and the Higher Defence Council have sent that report to the relevant (state) bodies. Your honour, as the President of this country and as the commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, why didn’t you issue a direct order to remove these explosive materials especially since the report indicates how dangerous they are in such a populated area.

President Aoun:

These explosive materials were stored in the port from 7 years ago, from 2013. I am not responsible, nor do I even know where they are stored, nor how dangerous they are. I have no direct authority over the port, there is a hierarchy (with oversight over the port) that must know (and act) upon its responsibilities. All were aware of the presence (of these materials). Is not reporting the same as ordering? When you report something that says necessary actions must be taken, is it not the same as issuing an order?

Reporter:

Should not there be a complete revision of the entire port, since it seems like the (Port of Beirut) is like the Cave of Aladdin, no one knows what is stored inside it, nor what is going into it or out of it, nor does anyone have authority over it. Should not the port be (completely) overhauled?

President Aoun:

(Is an overhaul) required just for the port?!

Reporter:

At least the port, since it is the reason behind the disaster we are facing today, and the vagueness surrounding the port (and how it functions) has been an issue for a long time…

President Aoun:

It is the case at the Port (of Beirut), the Central Bank (of Lebanon) and all places of authority (and government institutions). Is there anything that does not require (urgent) change and reform (in Lebanon)? Why (else) are we talking about reforming (and establishing) a new political system as you said earlier? Do you have any idea about the (magnitude) of the cumulative and accumulated problems that we are suffering from since the 1990s?

Reporter:

General, you spoke about the public anger and you said that they are totally right. However, some political parties are investing in the public anger. You said that these explosive materials have been stored (in the port) since more than 7 years, but some are trying to place the responsibility of what is happening now on the current government. Moreover, some are trying to impose a blockade on a certain political party. What do you say about that?

President Aoun:

That is happening of course, and some have surpassed the normal limits. The person can make accusations (perhaps), but it is not his responsibility to decide to take revenge (himself). They are truly taking revenge, but not revenge from the perpetrators but rather political revenge. The way the (current) investigations around financial (corruption in the country) are taking place creates indignation and anger at us (the current presidential administration). This indignation arises against us because we are taking significant measures of reform that could affect certain people whom the (angry people) know very well. All (Lebanese) people know them well but no one mentions their names.

Reporter:

Mr. President, will what happened on August the 4th (i.e. the Port Disaster) be able to reunite the divided (Lebanese) political class, some of which is corrupt, and some of which is responsible for what happened today? But is it even possible for the (Lebanese people) to have the necessary awareness (and wisdom) after this disaster that befell Lebanon?

President Aoun:

No, they (certain politicians) sleep and wake up to the dream of gaining power through all possible means. Always people stand side by side as they face family, neighbourhood and national tragedies, even if there is enmity between them, real enmity, they overcome this enmity and keep it aside and go forward to carry out their duties. I didn’t hear yet that any of the (Lebanese politicians)…[inaudible]

Reporter:

Mr. President, you have mentioned that the international blockade is over following the August 4th (disaster). But on the 4th of August we were before a real catastrophe in terms of the loss of life and an economic catastrophe as well. Today Lebanon (continues) to suffer from this matter, can we say that international aid will be offered to Lebanon within this context?

President Aoun:

Yes, Lebanon will be offered significant international aid. We are setting up a plan aimed at rebuilding Beirut such that it will become more beautiful than what it was.

Reporter:

This talk confirms the holding of an international conference for the reconstruction of Lebanon ….

President Aoun:

Not just reconstructing – there are states ready to immediately launch the reconstruction (on their own). Though our idea is the most suitable, whereby it seeks to give every state a specific part (of the damaged area) to reconstruct it. This way the reconstruction will be accomplished faster and easier.

Reporter:

Will the investigation into this (disaster), Mr. President – you upon whom the Lebanese people rely and who believe your presidential term is one dedicated to reforms – allow us to break through the sectarian barriers and enable all related files to be opened transparently?

President Aoun:

Without investigation justice won’t be achieved. No one will admit his guilt without accountability. When held accountable, he will confess to it. And here our own problem lies. We cannot forgo (the principles of) justice and democracy. Instead of helping us (to unveil the truth) they (certain people) insult us on social media and they call it “free speech”. Even though there are laws that outlaw insults. It is only in Lebanon where you find that “insult” equals “free speech”.

Lebanese Presidency: Calling for Int’l Investigation into Beirut Blast Aims at Wasting Time

ٍSource

Capture

The Lebanese Presidency Information Office stressed Sunday that the goal of calling for an international investigation is a waste of time, the judiciary should be swift, without rushing, to confirm who is guilty and who is innocent.

The following statement was issued by the Information Office of the Presidency of the Republic on Sunday:

The “Asas” website published false information about the meeting of the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The media reported this information about the position of the President of the Republic regarding Arab or international parties undertaking the investigation of the big explosion in the Beirut port.

The Information Office of the Presidency of the Republic affirms that there is absolutely no truth to the “Asas” story, because the president’s position was stated during the dialogue with the media last Friday, where he considered that the demand for an international investigation into the port issue “is aimed at wasting the truth,” stressing that “the verdict has no meaning if its issuance is prolonged, and the judiciary must be swift” because delayed justice is not fair, rather it must be immediate and without haste to ascertain who is a criminal and who is innocent.

It must be emphasized that His Excellency the President did not issue except this stance, on the subject of the international investigation, so correction was required

Tehran to Washington: Let your people breathe

June 1, 2020 – 17:37

TEHRAN — Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has condemned the U.S. government’s brutal crackdown on protests over the killing of an unarmed African-American man by the police in Minneapolis, urging Washington to let the American people breathe.

“Stop violence against your people and let them breathe,” Mousavi said during a press conference on Monday, pointing to the eruption of demonstrations in major U.S. cities in protest at the tragedy of death of George Floyd.

“The world has heard your outcry over the state oppression. The world is standing with you,” he said, Tasnim reported.

He also censured the U.S. government for its destructive domestic and foreign policies, adding, “The American regime is perusing violence and bullying at home and abroad. We are greatly sad to see, along with the people across the world, the violence the U.S. police have recently unfolded.”

“We deeply regret to see the American people, who seek respect and no more violence, are suppressed and met with outmost violence,” Mousavi said.

The demonstrations came as Derek Chauvin, the officer involved in Floyd’s death, was arrested and charged with one count each of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

MH/PA

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Full speech about Imam Mahdi and the West’s moral failure against coronavirus

Full speech about Imam Mahdi and the West’s moral failure against coronavirus

source 

April 14, 2020

The following is the full text of a televised speech delivered on April 9, 2020 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, on the occasion of the 15th of Sha’ban.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household

May the auspicious 15th of Sha’ban be a blessed eid for all you dear brothers and sisters, the entire Iranian nation and all Muslims and all liberated people in the world. Unfortunately, I do not have the opportunity to meet with you up close and I have to speak to you from a distance, but this is an experience in itself. Today, I will say a few things about the Imam of the Age- may our souls be sacrificed for his sake- and I will raise a few points about the current issue of the country, but first of all, let us send greetings to the Imam of the Age:

Greetings be upon you Imam of the Age, greetings be upon you God’s firm pledge, greetings be upon you God’s promise – such promise whose fulfillment He guaranteed – greetings be upon you the hoisted flag, and you the manifestation of knowledge, of protection, of vast mercy and of inviolable promises.”

The following section of the holy ziyarah “Al-e Yasin” is full of love: “Our greetings be upon you when you rise and re-appear at the behest of God and when you put on the veil of disappearance. Our greetings be upon you when you engage in recitation and tafsir.”

Perhaps, there have been few historic eras during which humanity was in as much need as the present time for the existence of a savior. This holds true for both elites who feel this need consciously and the masses of the people who feel the need as well, but unconsciously. Everyone feels the need for a savior, a Mahdi. Everyone feels the need for the hand of divine power, for an infallible Imam, for purity and for divine guidance. We know of few historic eras during which there was so much need for this lofty truth.

Today, after having experienced various schools of thought and various philosophies – ranging from communism, western liberal democracy to the current form of democracy in the world, with the oversized claims that they make – humanity does not feel at ease. Despite all the astonishing scientific breakthroughs which have completely changed the way of life, humanity does not feel happy. Humanity suffers from poverty, disease, perversion and sins. It is afflicted with injustice, inequality and deep and growing class rifts. Humanity is subject to the abuse of power at the hands of big powers. They abuse science and natural discoveries, the capabilities discovered in nature. Humanity is faced with all these. These things have caused humans, throughout the world, to feel exhausted and to feel the need for a liberating hand.

Billions of people throughout the world are suffering. Some people might have prosperity, but they are not really tranquil. Humanity suffers from anxiety, and scientific breakthroughs and various developments have not managed to bestow bliss on humanity. Of course, human intellect is a great blessing. Similarly, experience is a valuable blessing. These are God’s blessings and they can solve many problems in life, but there are some knots that cannot be untied with these tools.

An example is justice. The issue of justice cannot be resolved with today’s advanced science and technology. Its knot cannot be untied with them. Today, injustice is fed by science. In other words, advanced science is at the service of injustice and warmongering. It is at the service of occupying others’ lands and of dominating nations. So, science cannot untie such knots. These things require a spiritual and divine hand and the powerful hand of an infallible Imam. It is he who can do these things. Therefore, his great mission is to administer justice. This has been pointed out in many prayers and ziyarahs.

The administration of justice is something that cannot be achieved by anyone other than the hand of divine power which is manifested by the Imam of the Age. And the kind of justice that Hazrat is expected to administer is not particular to one specific area, rather it covers all aspects of life:  Justice in power, wealth, health, human dignity, social status, spirituality, the possibility for growth and in all other dimensions of life. These are the things that are expected to be established by the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and by Allah’s favor, this will happen. All people- including elites and those who can understand events and the masses of the people some of whom might be preoccupied with their daily life and therefore are unaware of the developments in the world– have this need, either consciously or unconsciously.

All religions have promised a big “faraj” and a great divine movement at the end of history, which is of course not the end of history. When the era of the Imam of the Age begins, the real world and the real life of humanity begins to take shape. However, all religions have promised an end to the current condition of life that we have today. Therefore, this is a need, but in order to channel this need and render it fruitful, we have been asked in Islam to anticipate his re-appearance. This “anticipation” is beyond a mere sense of need. They have said that we should anticipate. Anticipation means hope. It means believing in a definite future. So, it is not just a mere belief. Anticipation is constructive. Therefore, in our narrations and teachings, the anticipation for this big faraj enjoys a high position. Later on, I will expand on this anticipation.

In a towqi’ [holy edict] of the Imam of the Age to Ibn Babawayh– Ali ibn Babawayh– he quotes the Holy Prophet (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) as saying “The best action that my Ummah can take is to anticipate the faraj.” There is a narration by Imam Musa ibn Ja’far which says, “After knowledge and understanding, the best course of action is anticipation for the faraj.” The Arabic word “ma’rifah” means monotheism and understanding divine truths. The Commander of the Faithful (greetings be upon him) says, “Anticipate the faraj and do not lose hope in the spirit of God.” It says that we should anticipate and we should not lose hope of divine spirit, mercy and assistance.

So in anticipating the faraj, there is dynamism and action. Well, this has been said about anticipating the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age. It is evident that anticipating the faraj means anticipating the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age. However, this is one manifestation of the anticipation. When the Holy Prophet says, “The best action that my Ummah can take is to anticipate the faraj” this reflects on all the problems that might occur to us in life. We should not become disappointed when confronting problems and we should anticipate a faraj, knowing for certain that it will materialize. The anticipation for the faraj is a faraj in itself. There is a narration by Hazrat Musa ibn Ja’far which says, “You should know that the anticipation for the faraj is a faraj in itself.” So, the anticipation for the faraj is a kind of opening for us as it liberates us from a state of despair and desperation which might force one into doing strange things. Well, this is what it means.

When the Holy Prophet and the Imams said this, it means that Mohammad’s (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) Ummah never becomes disappointed at any incident in life and that it always waits for the faraj. Well, anticipation does not mean sitting idle and fixating one’s eyes at the door, rather it means preparing oneself, taking action and feeling that there is an end that can be achieved and for that, one should work hard. We who anticipate the faraj and the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) should work to that end. We should work hard on the path of establishing a Mahdawi society. We should get close to the Mahdawi society as much as we can because the Mahdawi society is the society of justice, spirituality, understanding, brotherhood, camaraderie, science and dignity.

There is one point about the anticipation: anticipating the faraj is different from showing impatience and setting a timeline – for example by saying to ourselves that such and such an incident and difficulty should come to an end at such and such a time or that Hazrat should re-appear in such and such a day. This anticipation for the faraj does not mean showing impatience and being restless.

This anticipation means preparing oneself. Showing impatience and being in a rush are among the forbidden things. There is a narration which says, “God will not hurry up if His servants hurry up.” If you are in a rush, this does not mean that God will make hasty decisions because of you. No, there is a time and a reason for everything and things will be done based on divine providence. As I mentioned before, the anticipation for the faraj means both the re-appearance of the Hazrat and the opening after big difficulties: the opening after difficult incidents that involve everyone such as the incidents that occur today in the world which disappoint many and force others into suicide. However, when there is the anticipation for the big opening, this will not happen as one knows that such incidents will surely come to an end.

Well, there is another point here: the tranquility resulting from the anticipation and one’s self-confidence – as a result of which individuals feel calm and undisturbed – could be strengthened with prayers, with supplication and by speaking to God. “For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction” [The Holy Quran, 13: 28]. Now, we are in the month of Sha’ban and after that, we have the month of Ramadan. There are numerous duas and various prayers and speaking to God without any interceder is very valuable. And speaking to the infallible Imams (greetings be upon them), who are the closest people in the whole world to Allah the Exalted, will give one tranquility and peace of mind. Remembrance of Allah the Exalted opens our path, gives us joy and attracts divine mercy.

Surely, the millions of hands that were raised last night will bear fruits. Last night, millions of people succeeded in familiarizing their hearts with God, in connecting with Him, in holding up one’s hands and in speaking to Him. Without any doubt, the results of this action will show themselves both in individuals themselves and in the whole society and many blessings will ensue. These were the points that I wished to discuss about the issue of the re-appearance, the faraj and the uprising of the Imam of the Age. Of course, many things can be said in this regard, but for today, this much is enough.

As for the current issue of the country – the coronavirus outbreak – well, this is an epidemic and a test. It is a test for the whole world: for both governments and nations. Governments are tested in this incident and so are nations. It is indeed a very strange test. Of course, enough has been said about the statistics, the very good measures that have been adopted and the recommendations of officials. The IRIB has also had a good performance, to be fair, in this regard. I do not want to speak about these matters, but I have certain other points to raise:

One point is that the Iranian nation has had a brilliant performance in this test. During the coronavirus test and during this pandemic, is modern pandemic, the Iranian nation shone brightly. First of all, the peak of this national glory belongs to the medical staff of the country. I have spoken many times and I would like to reiterate again the significance of their work and the value of their self-sacrifice, including that of physicians, nurses, laboratory experts, radiologists, medical assistants in health centers, public services divisions, the sections in charge of research, and management inside the Ministry of Health and outside it – the managers active in this area. The peak of this glory belongs to them. They placed their lives and their health at the service of the people. This is very significant and magnificent.

They endured the pain of being away from their family. Many of them did not see their family even during Nowruz holidays and they suffered from sleeplessness and psychological pressures resulting from treating patients in a critical state. They welcomed all these things and therefore, a good memory of the medical staff and system of the country will be engraved in the minds of the Iranian nation. This is a good and happy memory left behind at this point in time by the medical, nursing and treatment society of the country.

As well as them, we should mention volunteers: those who were not part of the medical staff, but who entered the arena voluntarily. Jihadi clergy and students, thousands of diligent basijis throughout the country and the masses of the people presented such valuable services that are beyond description. On the one hand, such services make one really happy and on the other hand, they make one feel grateful.

We should mention the Armed Forces as well. The Armed Forces truly utilized all their power of construction and creativity. They placed all their resources at the service of the task which even included scientific resources, scientific discoveries and the manufacture of medical instruments and medical equipment for hospitals and clinics as well as other goods and instruments which were at the disposal of the Armed Forces. They did their best to utilize their power of construction and creativeness in the area of science and pragmatism.

Later on, new capacities were discovered and it became clear that there are numerous capacities inside and outside the Armed Forces while we had been unaware of them beforehand. Youth appear on television and explain the things that they have built, but we did not know of them before. These are the new discovered capacities.

The people’s cooperation has also created beautiful, fascinating and astonishing scenes and they can be seen everywhere. I would like to cite instances of this popular cooperation. Of course, these are not all the cases, rather these are the ones that have been reported to me: in Sabzevar, for example, they have launched the plan “A sacrifice for every neighborhood”: the people in the neighborhood gather together, sacrifice an animal and give the meat to the needy in that neighborhood. This is a very essential, important and interesting plan for feeding the needy. In Yazd, the mother of a martyr has enlisted the help of several ladies in order to turn their houses into sewing workshops with the purpose of producing masks and giving them to the people for free. In Nahavand, a group of ladies who used to bake bread and send it to the frontlines during the Sacred Defense Era have become active again in order to control the disease and help fight it. In Khuzestan, the clergy have set up groups to disinfect the people’s houses. In Shiraz, local well-established personalities speak to the owners of different properties – such as the owners of houses and shops – so that they will not receive their rent or give a discount and delay the payments during the outbreak, thus helping local shopkeepers. In Tabriz, the head of the seminary has entered the arena on the ground to offer help. In another city, a hezbollahi candidate for the parliamentary elections, who was not elected, has decided not to close down his committee so that he can organize activists at the service of a jihadi movement and of fighting the coronavirus.

Of course, these examples are based on a few reports available to me, otherwise, there are hundreds or rather thousands of examples like this in different shapes throughout the country, some of which I have also cited in my previous speeches. It is important to pay attention that these are signs of the depth and the influence of Islamic culture in the hearts of our people. This is contrary to the claim of those who unfortunately tried to humiliate Iranian culture– Islamic-Iranian culture– in the past two decades in order to divert the attention of the people towards the western lifestyle. However, despite their wishes, this is not the case. Fortunately, this feeling of Islamic thinking and Islamic culture is a very strong and firm feeling in our people.

Western culture and civilization showed their mettle as well! Well, our national television showed some of the things that happened in western countries, in Europe and in the US, but some of them were not broadcast because this is the information that we receive and therefore, we are aware of it. The west displayed its cultural products as well. In some western countries– in Europe and the US– it so happened that governments confiscated masks and gloves belonging to another government while they were being transferred in order to use them for themselves. This happened in European and American governments. And the people there emptied the stores in a short time, in the space of one, two hours- as they were anxious to fill their fridges and they emptied the shops. They showed the whole world on television the empty shelves in the stores. Our television showed it as well. And there were some people who fought with one another over toilet paper. There were also long rows of people trying to buy guns. It was broadcast on television that the people were lining up to buy guns because they felt insecure and felt the need to buy guns in this sensitive period of time. We can also refer to their prioritization of patients: their preference not to treat the elderly. They said, “It is not necessary for us to bother treating the elderly, the disabled and the like who suffer from various conditions and ailments considering the restrictions that we have.” These are the things that have happened there.

Some people in those countries have committed suicide out of fear of the coronavirus and of death. This is the conduct that some western nations have shown. Of course, this is a logical and natural consequence of the philosophy ruling over the western civilization, which is an individualistic, materialistic and secular philosophy. Even if there is belief in God in that philosophy, it is not based on correct, towhidi and deep tenets. This is another issue.

I would like to add that a western official said a few days ago that the “Wild West” has been revived. This is what they say. When we say that there is a spirit of wildness in the west which is not incompatible with their perfumed and neat appearances, some people express their surprise and deny it. Now, they themselves are saying this! They say that such behavior is a symbol of the Wild West being revived.

Another dimension of this issue is the public behavior of our dear nation in acting on the recommendations. One can see that the people are really acting on what the National Anti-Corona Headquarters announces in a definite manner. Of course, they might announce something while they have doubts and the people might conclude that it is not necessary to do it, but when something is announced in a definite manner and they feel that they should do something, they cooperate with officials on the recommendations that they issue.

One example is this year’s “sizde-bedar” ceremony. Nobody would have believed that the people would cancel it, but they did. The people did not attend sizde-bedar. This shows that the people have accepted public discipline in confronting this disease in the true sense of the word. Of course, this should continue. This public discipline should continue to exist and the decisions announced by the National Anti-Corona Headquarters – as the Headquarters is the first-tier organization in charge of this task – should be taken seriously and acted upon.

Another dimension of the issue is that coronavirus is clearly a grave problem for today’s humanity. It is a big and dangerous outbreak that has occurred to humanity, but compared to other problems, it is a relatively small matter. We have been witness to many problems in the world and in our own country, which were not less important, rather more important than this recent malady, including the fact that Saddam’s planes dumped chemicals on our country 32 years ago– on exactly the same days that coronavirus has now entered our country. They killed thousands of people in our cities and in their own cities and they did so with mustard gas and the like. This happened and of course, all big powers in the world supported and helped Saddam on that day. Some of these so-called civilized and advanced countries gave him chemical substances and weapons and until today, none of them has answered for the crimes that they committed back then.

And that criminal Saddam, behaved towards our people and his own people in Halabja in the same manner, because he felt that the people of Halabja might be cooperating with the soldiers of the Islamic Republic, he killed them on the streets in a brutal manner. Well, these things have happened. During the two world wars, millions of people were killed as well. In the case of the coronavirus, it is said that one million-plus individuals have been infected and some have lost their lives. However, in the first and second world wars which occurred in Europe with an interval of about 20 years, several million people were killed. I do not remember exactly how many, but I know that tens of millions of people were killed during those wars.

During the Vietnam War too, which was waged by the US, many people were killed and the same is true of other wars. Just recently, many people were killed and martyred during the attack that the US and others launched in Iraq. These cases have been frequent. Therefore, when we think about the recent matter, we should not ignore the other important incidents that have always occurred in the world and we should know that at the very moment, millions of people are under the pressure of oppression at the hands of big powers and enemies in the world and they are deeply suffering. The people in Yemen, Palestine and many other parts of the world are under pressure. Therefore, the issue of coronavirus should not make us forgetful of the plots of enemies and of arrogance and we should know that the enmity of arrogance is based on the essence of the Islamic Republic.

If someone thinks that we should not show enmity so that they will not show us enmity either, this is not true. The essence of the Islamic Republic is the principle of Islamic democracy and this is not acceptable, understandable and tolerable to them! This is another point.

I will tell you that officials in the National Anti-Corona Headquarters are working seriously. We receive the reports in this regard and we are aware of their activities. They have also come up with certain plans for underprivileged classes, but I wish to stress and recommend that executive officials should implement the plans for helping these classes as soon as possible and in the best way they can, God willing.

However, the people are also responsible. There are some people who really find it very hard to make ends meet and they cannot manage their daily affairs. The people whose hands are open and who are financially well-off should begin extensive activities in this regard.

We read in the holy dua “Shajarat-un Nubuwwa”: “Feed me so that I can help- by means of what you bestowed on me with Your Grace- those who are deprived of your bounties and blessings to a large part, as you provided me with Your shelter.” This is one of the necessary tasks that should be carried out, in particular because the month of Ramadan is imminent. The month of Ramadan is the month of giving alms, making sacrifice and helping the needy. It will be such an excellent move to launch a big movement in the country for charitable purposes and offering pious help to the needy and the poor. If this happens, there will be a good memory of this year in the minds of the people.

In order to prove our love for the Imam of the Age, we should create scenes and reflections of the Mahdawi society. As I mentioned before, the Mahdawi society is the society of justice, dignity, knowledge and assistance. We should realize these things within the scope of our capability in our life. This will help us get closer to that ideal society.

The last point that I would like to raise is that in the absence of public meetings in the month of Ramadan – as this year, we are deprived of these very valuable public meetings which are places for making dua, speaking to one another and supplicating to God – we should not forget about acts of worship, praying and showing humility towards God. We can do the same things and show the same humility in our own homes, when we are alone or when we are among our family members and our children. Of course, there will be some television programs as well which can be benefitted from. And we are obliged to do so.

I also have one word of advice for officials and for young activists in the arena of science and technology. Two things should not be forgotten: one is the issue of “surge in production” which is vital for the country. We should pursue the issue of production in the country at any cost and we should help production witness a surge in the true sense of the word. And another is the issue of manufacturing the many things that we need and doing laboratory wok. By Allah’s favor, the youth in laboratory sections will pursue this matter.

I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow salvation on the Iranian nation. May God gladden the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam, that He associates the pure souls of our dear martyrs with the Holy Prophet, that He will realize the big dreams of the Iranian nation and that He hastens the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age- may our souls be sacrificed for his sake- God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

Must Watch – Storyville, Lea Tsemel-an Israeli true hero

 BY GILAD ATZMON

In the past I have been critical of many aspects of contemporary Left, in general and Jewish Left, in particular. But my criticism of Jewish Left ends with Lea Tsemel. This Israeli human rights lawyer is out of this world. For decades Tsemel has been supporting the Palestinians and their rights including their rights to emancipate themselves and their land, Watch this video before it is removed

Down The Path of Justice, Oppression Becomes an Inspiration

By Nour Rida

So little has been written in mainstream media on Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, yet many people are learning about his case and cause. Nigerian people have been taking to the streets of the capital, to demand the immediate release of ailing the Muslim cleric.

Sheikh Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a 2015 raid by security forces that left more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons dead. His wife also sustained serious wounds. The Islamic Human Rights Commission [IHRC], based in London, said earlier this week that the cleric’s health condition has further deteriorated, since he was reportedly poisoned in prison.

On this note, the Sheikh’s daughter, Suhaila al-Zakzaky, told al-Ahed news “The updates we have on my father’s condition is that he is still having difficulty getting things done. He is experiencing a lot of pain physically, and as a result it is difficult for him to sleep. His blood pressure has been fluctuating. Generally we have been very concerned; the doctors have not been able to conduct any proper further investigations into his condition. So, there is no full or conclusive statement on the status of his health.”

According to earlier reports, medical examinations on the Sheikh have found that the levels of lead toxicity in his body are much higher than the critical levels previously reported and 45 times over the normal acceptable limit. They have also found worrying levels of cadmium poisoning in the Sheikh. The news said that such are the levels of toxicity that the doctors have concluded that Sheikh Zakzaky is at risk of death unless he is urgently treated.

The daughter said she had no information on how lead poisoning took place. “I am not exactly sure how lead got there, they might have done it, and a medical team must investigate the case to conclude if he was poisoned or comment on how the lead got into his blood in first place.”

Answering whether she has direct contact with her father today, Suhaila pointed out “Yes, we do have direct contact because they gave him a phone now. Since the court case, they have allowed him to have a phone.”

Nigerians, according to the young activist, are protesting the injustice to which Sheikh Zakzaky is being subjected. “As you know there have been continuous protests almost on a daily basis and when it comes to the people, tremendous numbers have come to condemn what the government is doing,” Suhaila noted, adding “There are also some people who believe whatever the news says and think that the government is doing the right thing. The president’s aide held a press conference and claimed that the government has no power to interfere in the judicial process. However, the Islamic movement is trying as hard as possible to spread awareness and allow people to understand what is truly going on. It is so far very impressive how people are realizing the truth, and even many people in the government today condemn what is taking place.”

In regards on how this experience has affected her life, Suhaila explained “I would say that we have always expected possible adversities to be faced, and the massacre and the events that followed after to me, are more like what I would call the cost of this path (of justice). The only thing I can say is that it affects my outlook on everything. You know we have already sacrificed down this path, therefore it serves as an inspiration or motivation which would hopefully make us more steadfast.”

Furthermore, Suhaila underscored that she strongly believes that the detention of her father does make the Islamic movement stronger. “I believe that many people are finding out more about the Islamic movement not only due to the detention of my father but also due to the massacres that have happened. In terms of Nigeria for example, we have had a great level of supporters that we never knew we had. These people who show support to the Islamic movement did not bother to look into the Islamic movement earlier or even understand what it’s about. But now they show a great deal of support. Even on an international level, I believe that people, especially outside of Nigeria do not know much about the Islamic movement and with the level of media silence still a lot of people have become acquainted with the Islamic movement because of this, and hence yes I think it makes the Islamic movement stronger.”

Suhaila concluded that she, like many other young activists, will remain to participate in protests to sound her objection to the unjust detention of the Sheikh who is not only a father but also a leader in her eyes.

Related News/Posts

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

August 02, 2019

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plusJustice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

by Mansoureh Tajik for The Saker Blog

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

For a brief moment in human history, or what feels like only a fraction of a second now, the United States of America experienced a mirage of a position, dubbed a “superpower,” self-appointed1. Those who lacked ethical and moral imagination went along with that coronation2. Or, perhaps they were just humoring it until a better replacement came along3.

Internally and externally, the United States maintained its illusion of superpower status through the application of diverse tools, some hard and harsh, some soft, and some gray in nature. On the economic front, it mass produced an industrial-scale fiat currency4 as a trading tool and adopted games of chance, fundamentals of speculation5 and gambling as its “genius” economic principles. It manufactured large bubbles of debt6, mimicking a toddler’s birthday party, then divided and sold the airs within as investment bonds. The illusion of trust in an untrustworthy entity was the collateral. No worries though. Whenever the time got ripe and the bubbles burst, sophisticated air-capturing devices and adjustment tools were customized, nicely packaged, and were readied for retail. The hamster on the wheel of finance kept on running but never arriving; alas, the chicanery of economic progress was kept alive.

On the military front, the United States dropped two atomic bombs killing and genetically maiming hundreds of thousands of people for generations to come. In the Eyewitness Account of Hiroshima, August 6th, 1945, Father John A. Siemes, then a professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo’s Catholic University, concluded his remarks by saying:

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

While the “moralists” on whom Father Siemes pinned his hopes seventy four years ago were too busy theorizing about their own slumber, the United States of America stockpiled thousands of ready-to-be-deployed nuclear bombs, as fear-inducing threat tools. It deviated enormous amounts of world’s precious resources into the development of military hardware and software gadgets, using “defense” and “American interest” as its rationale8. It then created chaos and mayhem all over the planet9 as its pressure lever to sell death toys to teeny-weeny boys10—expensive batteries not included and costly -900- numbers for instructions on operations and maintenance11.

On the public relations and propaganda front, it used industrial-scale colorful media forms12 as its tool to lie, to cheat, and to fool. It is useful to remember that the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, freely burnt alive and made melted charcoals13 of tens of its own defenseless and unarmed mothers, fathers, and children in Mt. Carmel, Waco, Texas14. It bravely broadcasted, live, the entire event on several television networks for days to nip it in the bud for its own agitated population exactly how low it is capable of sinking to maintain its clutch and subdue dissent. For sure, that trick alone silenced many for a few years, Timothy McVeigh15 and his disloyal company excluded, while it worked on another script for another terror-inducing spectacular performance. Too many tricks to remember and too many tools to recount in this short essay; but at last, the jig is up.

Internally, the house has fallen on moral, ethical, justice, and economic grounds, but has forgotten to collapse. Those who cannot see this need corrective lenses or the right standards to evaluate and measure things. Externally, and more relevant to our topic here, the structure of the world’s power relations and alignments are changing rapidly in a tangible and measureable way away from the United States’16 autocratic clutch. While the self-absorbed and the infatuated speak of dangers of a power vacuum, others are quite busy realigning themselves. Let us remind ourselves of Saxon White Kissinger’s poem about delusions of indispensability,

“Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.”17

Coalitions, partnerships, and algebraically aligned groups of countries around the globe, some with hybrid letter-number titles of “this plus that minus the other,” are emerging left, right, and center. Even multi-billioners, themselves cheerleaders and enablers of the Empire of Illusions, are busy, like rats, circling the globe door to door to release their poisonous capital in the hope of infesting another Titanic, another morality-free sinking ship into making. There is a buzz that George Soros is trying to establish his own anti-war ‘Code Pink’ group (should name it Code Navy Blue, perhaps). No doubt, the irony would not have been lost to George Orwell had he lived to see it.

Enough eulogizing. What do all these mean, or should mean, to ordinary people and local community groups around the world? That is, for what, where, when, why, and how should the very people who often shoulder the brunt of all the dregs that roll downhill prepare themselves? For the rest of us, too, no matter what positions we hold and what relationships we have with the rest of the world, the same questions apply. I and the local community groups with and within which I work are grappling with these questions on a daily basis. We are doing what we can to ensure that our short and borrowed lives on this earth is worth the breaths we take. Many of us find ourselves feeling increasingly fortunate to live in Iran where doing so many things in so many ways is possible. More fortunately for us, the general frameworks within which we ask questions, analyze situations, design solutions, and implement them are all intertwined and enmeshed in our culture and belief system: Quran, Our Prophet’s and Imams’ teachings, and an important element called “Al-Hekmah” or the Wisdom. So, how do we evaluate the current transformations in the world around us and how do we try to choose the correct position and make a difference? Here, I present a brief and simple snapshot of our local-universal eye-view.

Firstly, Quran’s ethical teachings, as exemplified through the words and deeds of our Prophet, Imams, and pious scholars, tell us that there is no separation of religion and politics in Islam. As Allammeh Seyyed Hassan Modarres (1249 – 1316 HS, parallel in date with 1870-1937 AD), a religious sage and one of the champions of Iranian Constitutional movement, said in one of his most famous speeches, and Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Revolution, quoted, “Siasat-e ma eyn_e dianat_e ma, va Dianat_e ma eyn_e Sia’sat_e mast.” (“Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”) The paragraph from which the line is borrowed reads,

“The source of our politics is our religion. We are on friendly terms with the entire world so long as they have not aggressed against us. But, if anyone aggresses against us, we will respond. Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”18

Notwithstanding a particular religious belief and appealing simply to human logic, how would it even be possible for someone to have an authentic personal and private ethical and religious belief about, for instance, “thou shall not kill the innocent,” and live, work, and play within the rules and regulations of countries and political systems that kill innocent people to generate revenues and to maintain their national economic lifestyles of choice? Or, appealing to a more rudimentary level of human thought, how could we possibly afford not to be political, when the concentration of the very oxygen in the air we breathe, the amount of poisons with which our waters and foods are laced, the diseases we suffer, the so-called cures we are allowed to access, our fertility, our sexuality, our freedom to move from point A to point B are all determined by politics? Are we living with our heads buried in the sand?

Given these realities, for our people and local community groups here, being political is not a matter of choice but a religious obligation, a human necessity, and a critical survival instinct. Since we cannot avoid this, we do our utmost and take great deal of care to be well informed in order to be able to choose the right (as in correct) politics. People here take the trouble of going that extra kilometer so that, God forbids, they do not end up assuming they are on the right side and the followers of Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shi’a belief) and Imam Hussein (the third Imam of Shi’a belief) but, in fact, do things that are tantamount to carrying water for the turbines of Mo’avieh and Yazeed (Father and Son corrupt tyrants in Ummayyad dynasty against whose policies the Shi’a imams stood, resisted, and eventually got martyred).

Secondly, our religion and our pious religious scholars teach us that we should neither oppress others nor submit to oppression by others. So, our resistance has at least three dimensions: one, we must resist our own urges to oppress others, while at the same time, resist being sucked into siding with oppressors. Two, we must resist oppression against ourselves by anyone. Three, whenever and wherever we hear the cry for help of the oppressed people (Muslim and/or non-Muslim), we are obligated to respond and help, within our means and capacity to do so, and in a sound and appropriate way. Standing silently on the sideline and keeping quiet out of fear or greed is not an option for us. People here commemorate Imam Ali as the epitome of excellence in justice and in “qist” (particular form of justice). They commemorate Imam Hussein as the epitome of resistance against oppression and injustice. When you hear the chants of “Kullu Yau’men Ashura, Kullu Arzen Karbala” -Every day is Ashura, Every place is Karbala, it is useful to remember that today’s Karbala extends from Afghanistan to Yemen to Syria to Palestine to Nigeria to Sudan to Caracas and to any other place on the globe that people are fighting injustice, resisting oppression, and asking for help.

This stance is not just an isolated religious belief of some uninformed local community groups. It is written clearly into our constitution, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran19. In Article 2, Section 6.c, and in Article 3, Section 5,6,15, and 16, it reads:

2:6.c – the negation of all kinds of oppression, authoritarianism, or the acceptance of domination, which secures justice, political and economic, social, and cultural independence and national unity.

3:5 – the complete rejection of colonialism and the prevention of foreign influence.

3:6 – the eradication of all kinds of tyranny, autocracy, and monopolization of power.

3:15 – the cultivation and strengthening of Islamic brotherhood and general cooperation among the people.

3:16 – the organization of the nation’s foreign policy based on Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and unrestrained support for the impoverished people of the world.

Any of our elected and/or appointed officials who would tell you otherwise, is either ignorant of the very law he must uphold (in which case, shame on him) or he has gotten to his position by lying, cheating, and swearing to uphold the very laws he is deliberately breaking (in which case, he is a hypocrite and double shame on him). On a bright note though, the ordinary people in the trenches feel extremely blessed that the most senior person in their land, the Leader, is also the most steadfast champion and the flag bearer of the constitution. To put him on a sanction list means to put the Iranian constitution and millions of ordinary people in local communities on a sanction list. Of course, had the US done differently, we would have questioned our own authenticity.

More generally though, as the current situation in the world unfolds, it is useful to remember some basic facts. No imperialist, no arrogant power, no superpower wannabe operates in a vacuum. There are always cheerleaders, enablers, junior and senior accomplices, profiteers, and conspirators. Regardless of what their mouth says, their action speaks louder. Let’s consider a simple example. The Unites States was able to spend trillions in military adventures killing millions of innocent people around the world and expropriating their resources in two fundamental ways: 1) It shortchanged its own tax-paying population, the young, the retired, and even the unborn in all sorts of social and public rights and amenities. 2) It kept on issuing treasury bonds on its accumulated debt, currently about 22.5 trillion dollars20, with People’s Bank of China, Central Bank of Japan, and naïve citizens21 as its most devoted purchasers.

To speak inside a parenthesis and to be totally candid, the ordinary people here find Japan’s “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up!” attitude which has lasted nearly 74 years quite puzzling. Once upon a time, they lost a war. Who doesn’t at one point or another? Now that it happened, shouldn’t they stand up, dust off, and shake off this subdued and subservient house servant role and assume an independent position with dignity and self-respect? I am told. As Imam Hussein said, “If you do not have any religion and are not fearful of the Day of Judgment, at least be protective of your liberty and autonomy in your life in this world.22 People hope and pray to God that hardworking and noble people of Japan will rise up and will one day free themselves of the US occupation. Again, regular, ordinary people here are genuinely willing to provide support, if the Japanese themselves are willing to fight for their independence.

We will assume being under occupation by the US is Japan’s excuse. But, what has been China’s excuse? China has been buying the US debt as an export-led strategy to ensure its economic growth23. Therefore, to the extent that China, out of self-interest, has acted as an enabler of the United States aggressions and wars, it, too, is responsible. Its development, too, is contaminated with the crime and injustice against, and the blood of innocent people proportionate to the amount of advantage it had gained through its indirect support of those acts. We will not even address its voting record, until just a couple of years ago, as the UN’s Security Council permanent member. Now that it, too, is a target, its change in behavior is not trustworthy enough because it does not appear to be based on ethical and moral principles. It would not be illogical to assume that the moment the direction of winds changes, it is likely that China’s current stance would change, too.

Therefore, for ordinary people in local communities here, that is, the very same people who are active, and who willingly volunteer their own lives and their children and spouses to go and fight alongside those who resist oppressions and hegemony by the US and the West, these and other critical points and lessons will not go unchallenged and unlearned. Only those who have a proven record of being honest and trustworthy, of acting on principles, and steadfast in their resolve fighting against oppression are worthy of trust and long-term partnership, regardless of their race, nationality, and religious affiliation. Others must work much harder, regardless of what they profess to be.

As the entire world is moving on, and as partnerships and coalitions are constantly dissolving and forming, and as the nuclear strike buzzes & hypes are being heard again, I would like link back to the beginning of the essay and re-insert, again, the quoted parts of Father Siemes’ remark, but this time, I complement the segment with a new twist in interpretation and prediction. He recounted,

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

I can guarantee anyone who reads these lines that ordinary people in local communities here in Iran are fully aware that what is currently going on is, in fact, a total war against their very existence. They also know there is no difference between civilians, soldiers, and [they add] our Commander in Chief (Seyyed Ali Khamenei). Should one, two, or more nuclear bombs be added to the United States’ repertoire of its pressure levers in its ongoing total war against Iran, unlike the Japanese, the ordinary devout Shi’as in Iran (who are quite significant in number), from all levels of the society, are not going to be sitting around philosophizing, musing, and theorizing about whether or not the total war against them was justified, where all the moralists have gone, or play the role of an obedient house servant. Furthermore, they are not going to enter into a shock & awe state, not knowing what to do. Bihawl’lallah wa Quwwatah (By God’s Power and Might), they will, however, make sure that will not end the bloodshed; rather, it will begin a very effective and exact bloodshed. From my reading of the population here, I can bet my life on that. Can the US, holding tight and fast to its nuclear Trump card, be equally sure of its own bet? If yes, Bismillah.

Mansoureh Tajik lives in Alborz Province in Iran. She has a background in teaching and research in the areas of community and environmental health, environmental justice, and media literacy. She collaborates with various local community members, groups, and organizations to provide support in addressing health and environmental problems, sustainable agriculture, and in design, implementation, and evaluation of relevant improvement projects.

References

1. Thomas Donnelly, Donald Kagan, and Gary Schmitt (2000). “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New American Century,” A Report of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available online at: https://archive.org/details/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.

2. Fotios Moustakis & Rudra Chaudhuri (2006). “Counting the Cost of an American Unilateralist Policy: a Superpower at Risk?” Published By: Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Conflict Studies Research Centre, Special Series, 06/43. ISBN 1-905058-88-8, August 2006, UK.

3. Jan Nijman (1992). “The Limits of Superpower: The United States and the Soviet Union since World War II.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 82, No. 4 (Dec., 1992), Pages 681-695. Published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American Geographers.

4. Steven Russell (1991). “The US Currency System: A Historical Perspective.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, September/October 1991. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available Online at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c909/a844511a78720c5d2800170c06109d797fde.pdf

5. Ricardo J. Caballero, Emmanuel Farhi, and Mohamad L. Hammour (2006). “Speculative Growth: Hints from the U.S. Economy.” The American Economic Review,” Vol. 96, No. 4, Pages 1159-1192.

6. Nathan Perry (2014). Debt and Deficits: Economic and Political Issues. A GDAE Teaching Module on Social and Environmental Issues in Economics. Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, Medford, MA.

7. The Manhattan Engineer District Report (1946). The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Manhattan Engineer District of the United States Army under the direction of Major General Leslie R. Groves on June 29, 1946. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://www.abomb1.org/hiroshim/hiro_med.pdf

8. Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Chief Financial Officer (Feb. 2018). Defense Budget Overview, Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. Generated on 2018Feb02. Ref. ID: A-6E677F4. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/FY2019-Budget-Request-Overview-Book.pdf

9. Sarah N Pedigo (2016). “United States Interventions: Power Vacuums and the Rise of Extremist Groups.” Master of Arts (MA) Thesis, Sociology/Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/86pc-ex82 Available Online at: https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/sociology_criminaljustice_etds/6

10. Zahra Aghamohammadi1 and Ali Omidi (2018). The Prospect of the United States and Saudi Arabia’s Relations In Light of the Khashoggi Murder. Journal of World Sociopolitical Studies, Vol. 2, No. 4, October 2018, Pages 605-632.

11. Congressional Research Service (2019). “The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative,” Updated April 5, 2019. R41916· VERSION 49.

12. Sebastian Kaempf (2019). “A relationship of mutual exploitation’: the evolving ties between the Pentagon, Hollywood, and the commercial gaming sector.” Journal of Social Identities, Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 25:4, 542-558, DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2018.1514151.

13. Official Death Reports, Autopsies and Other Reports of the Davidian Dead. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: http://www.holocausts.org/waco/death/reports/county-list.html

14. Timoty Lynch (2001). “No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident”. Policy Analysis, No. 395, April 9, 2001, Pages 1-18.

15. Linder, Douglas (2007). The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Trial of Timothy McVeigh, University of Missouri at Kansas City – School of Law, Posted on Nov. 17, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1030565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1030565.

16. Robbert Kappel (2015). “Global Power Shifts and Challenges for the Global Order.” German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Policy Paper 2/2015.

17. Saxon White Kessinger (1959). “Indispensable Man.” Available Online at: http://www.appleseeds.org/indispen-man_saxon.htm.

18. Hossein Razmjoo (1366 H.S.). “Modarres and His Principle Non-Equilibrium in Politics.” Meshkaat, The Center for Computerized Research in Islamic Sciences, Dr. Shariati College of Literature and Humanities. Original in Farsi, Translated by the author.

19. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (English Version). Available Online at: https://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/ir/ir001en.pdf

20. US Debt Clock. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.usdebtclock.org/

21. Kimberly Amadeo (2019). “Who Owns the US National Debt? The Biggest Owner is You!” The Balance. Accessed 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.thebalance.com/who-owns-the-u-s-national-debt-3306124

22. Muhammad Baqer Majlisi (1403 HQ). Translation, by the author, of a portion of Narration (Hadith):

ان لَم یَکُن لَکُم دینٌ و کُنتُم لاتَخافونَ المَعادَ فَکونوا اَحراراً فِی دُنیاکُم

from Bihar ul-Anwar, 2nd Edition, Vol. 45, Page 51.

23. Ingvild Borgen Gjerde, DNB Markets (2019). “Why China will not sell its US Treasuries.” The Note, Market Matters, 15.05.2019. DNB Markets, a division of DNB Bank ASA. DNB Bank ASA is a part of the DNB Group.

Report on Hassan Diab’s Illegal Extradition from Canada. The Segal Report

Global Research, July 27, 2019
Hassan Diab Support Committee 25 July 2019

We were informed that the Department of Justice will release tomorrow (Friday July 26) the findings of an external review of Dr. Hassan Diab‘s extradition to France in 2014.

The external review was conducted by Murray Segal, former Deputy Attorney General of Ontario. Mr. Segal was asked to assess whether Department of Justice officials followed the law and departmental procedures while pursuing France’s request to extradite Diab.

 

Background

Dr. Hassan Diab is a Canadian citizen and sociology professor who lives in Ottawa. He was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014, even though the Canadian extradition judge, Robert Maranger, described the evidence presented against Diab as “very problematic”, “convoluted”, “illogical”, and “suspect”. However, given the low threshold of evidence in Canada’s Extradition Act, the judge felt compelled to order Diab’s extradition.

Diab spent more than three years in prison in France while the decades-long investigation in his case was ongoing – this despite the fact that Canada’s Extradition Act only authorizes extradition to stand trial, not to continue an investigation.

In January 2018, the French investigating judges dismissed all charges against Diab and ordered his release. They stated that there is consistent evidence that Diab was not in France at the time of the 1980 bombing in Paris that tragically killed four people and injured dozens. They also notably underlined the numerous contradictions and misstatements contained in the anonymous intelligence, and cast serious doubts about its reliability. The investigating judges also stressed that all fingerprint and palm print analysis excluded Diab.

Shortly thereafter, Diab was released from prison in France, and returned to his home and family in Canada. He had spent almost ten years of his life either imprisoned or living under draconian bail conditions, including more than three years in near solitary confinement in a French jail.

In June 2018, CBC News reported that a key fingerprint analysis exonerating Diab was not disclosed to the court in Canada during the extradition proceedings. The court in Canada was told that no such evidence existed, when in fact the fingerprint analysis that excluded Diab was done in early 2008, many months before France requested Diab’s extradition. CBC News also reported that in 2009 a senior lawyer at the Canadian Department of Justice (DOJ) urged the French authorities to obtain new handwriting ‘evidence’ against Diab when the extradition case was about to collapse. In another effort to shore up the case, the DOJ lawyer requested another fingerprint analysis of a police document signed by the suspect as he believed that the evidence would be very powerful in getting Hassan extradited. When the RCMP fingerprint analysis excluded Diab, the DOJ lawyer never disclosed this fact to the court in Canada or to the defense.

Numerous human rights, civil society organisations, and labor unions – including Amnesty International Canada, British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), among others – have called on the Canadian government to conduct an independent public inquiry into Diab’s extradition, as well as to undertake a complete review of the Extradition Act so no other Canadian would go through what Hassan Diab and his family had to endure.

*

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Featured image is from Ottawa Citizen

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War on Qatif: Demolishing Al-Thawra Neighborhood, The Cradle of Peaceful Protests…

By Latifa al-Husseini

The Saudi authorities are escalating their arbitrary measures against the people of al-Qatif eastern province and its towns. Random detentions, executions and raids in the eastern province contradict all humanitarian, ethical, rights and internationally-recognized legal standards.

The Saudi security apparatuses are implementing the royal orders they are receiving, imposing the rulings militarily and violently against safe civilians at their homes, those civilians who don’t enjoy the freedom of objecting to those tyrannical rulings.

The regime’s scheme goes beyond oppressing the opposition members or those trying to voice objection to the Al Saud’s family. The issue is way more dangerous as the information obtained from inside Saudi Arabia suggest a sectarian proposal the Saudi regime tends to apply in al-Qatif against its people’s will.

An insider source told al-Ahed News that the “security sources are on the brink of razing hundreds of houses inside Qatif, namely those located in al-Thawra Street to displace thousands of residents like the issue of razing the al-Mosawara neighborhood back in 2017.”

Apparently, the Saudi authorities claim implementing a developmental plan that includes charitable projects, in an attempt to gain some popular support, but what is hidden is worse. The source stresses to al-Ahed that in this context, “the Saudi regime seeks to change the Shia demographic formation in the region to weaken the biggest portion of the people; the original landowners, by nationalizing foreigners and intruders.”

The source further links the anticipated plan with the popular movement of 2012. What is meant here is to eliminate the symbolism it used to represent, especially that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman seeks to muzzle people and silence any voice of opposition by detaining or killing them afar from the judicial system.”

“The goal behind destroying houses and displacing their people is way beyond the Saudi media claims of chasing terrorist groups, according to them. The issue, as simple as it is, is that the Saudi regime is waging a sectarian war under the strategy of dominating people by dividing them, in which it is distracting the people with “reformative” religious instructions, although it is manipulating the governance as well as the people’s resources and wealth,” the source tells al-Ahed.

According to the source, the direct responsible for the scheme of razing the houses is the King and his heir. “The scheme is managed, under their order, by their affiliated spies and tradesmen in al-Qatif. They want to harm all walks of the people living inside those houses, including the youths who long for obtaining the simplest aspects of a dignified life Al Saud has stolen from them by force someday; the families of the activists who took to the al-Thawra street in 2011.”

While people were informed about the scheme, the source explains that “there were reports on those malicious intents, but the people refused to leave their houses for many reasons, including that the compensations supposed to be paid for them are not convenient with the inflation as well as hiking house prices. Hence, the family that leaves its home cannot buy another one with the amount of money it will receive in exchange of the razing; they can only rent a house.”

The source affirms that the “Saudi regime doesn’t care for those issues, it only continue its oppression by destroying and razing houses against their owners’ wills.”

The provided information signal a scheme similar to previous ones in other neighborhoods and streets. The historic al-Mosawara neighborhood is a good evidence to remember.

 

To read the Arabic version click here

Let Issam Al-Yamani Stay in Canada Campaign

May 3, 2019

Dear Readers

One year ago we wrote to inform you that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) had recommended to the Minister of Public Safety (Ralph Goodale) that he deny Issam Al Yamani’s request for Ministerial Relief from threat of deportation to statelessness. Thanks to your efforts, Minister Goodale received more than 200 letters of unwavering support, asking Minister Goodale to act fairly by granting Issam the ministerial relief he rightly deserves.

Now, with much disappointment and frustration, we are writing to inform you that the Minister has denied ministerial relief to our friend Issam Al Yamani.  In doing so, he has denied justice to Issam by putting in jeopardy his right to continue to live in Canada, which is his only home.

This decision has been made despite the fact that nothing substantive has changed …:

The truth remains that Issam remains, is and has been a law-abiding resident of Canada and an active member of his community for more than 30 years.  He has never been charged or convicted of breaking the law, and the Minister has not substantiated the unfair claim that Issam’s presence is a danger to the security of Canada.

The truth remains that the CBSA itself confirmed (in a July 14, 2014 assessment) that Mr. Al Yamani did not constitute a danger to the national security of Canada.  In a letter to Minister Goodale dated July 4, 2017, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) also affirms that, far from being a threat to the national interest, “Mr. Al-Yamani is a model of civic and political engagement”.

The truth remains that Issam Al Yamani is being unjustly and unfairly penalized for exercising pro-Palestinian views that any Canadian would be legally allowed to express. It is Issam’s right to the freedom of expression that appears to be the reason for the denial of ministerial relief. Specifically, the Minister did not like Mr. Al Yamani’s statements made at a rally on July 30, 2014 in support of the Palestinian people during the time that Israel was bombing Gaza.

Of course, we will not let the struggle for Mr. Al Yamani’s rights to end here.

The next step is a formal legal appeal to the Minister’s decision, and it will be costly.

We need your help once more. At this time we are asking you to make a donation to support the legal expenses that will be required to win this appeal.

Our target fundraising goal at this time is $10,000. All donations – however small or large – will be needed, deeply appreciated, and will go directly to legal expenses in this effort to win the appeal.

  • Donate through Paypal or credit card here 
  • Mail a cheque to
    Let Issam Stay Campaign
    PO Box 494
    Station P
    Toronto, ON M5S 2T1
    Make cheques payable to ” Barbara Jackman and Associates

 

While the legal system moves slowly, we will provide updates as soon as information comes available.  And we will keep you informed of other ways in which you can continue to show your support to Issam has he continues to fight for justice.

In solidarity,

Let Issam Stay Campaign

Dear friends, hope you’re well. I also hope that you can help our friend Issam Al Yamaniin covering the legal expenses of his case.

Donate

The Bahraini Revolution in the Words of its Elite

By Zeinab Daher

With every anniversary of an uprising against oppression, a person recalls a glimpse of hope that the winds of change are blowing again.

Bahrain, the country of Shia-majority ruled by Sunni-minority, was a platform for peaceful popular demands back on February 14 of 2011. Today, there is nothing more honest than the words of those who lived the revolution, its early days, and the impressions they made as such time has passed over the first day since its birth.

In an exclusive interview with al-Ahed News, Sheikh Abo Yasser Abdullah al-Saleh, Deputy Chief of Bahrain’s Islamic Work Association (Amal), listed the many achievements of the revolution atop of which is the clear popular alignment against the oppressive and dictatorial authorities that is a major achievement in Bahrain.

 

“The opposition in Bahrain is deep-rooted, it is nothing new, but the current impression is that the opposition is something new.”

In the 1980s, before and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, demanding to topple the Al Khalifah regime was a fantasy. Now, however, there is a sort of popular agreement that this family should be changed because it doesn’t deserve to rule the Bahraini people, and that the Bahraini people deserve more just government, that is finer, more aware of the demands of peoples and more independent, afar from any foreign and western alliances.

Additionally, in Bahrain, there became a clear orientation and understanding by all parties that it is necessary to establish a just democracy through inclusive elections that get rid of all kinds of tyranny and appropriation as well as ties to the foreign colonialism practiced by Al Khalifah.

The revolution was able over 8 years to draw attention that there is a major determination by the Bahraini people to reach their rightful and legitimate demands and that it is never possible to play the minds of people and deceive them just like what happened during the 1990s uprising.

“There is total agreement that this authority in untrustworthy and can’t be dealt with by any means, even if it still controls the country.”

Another achievement is uniting the local lines and tending to a true change which wasn’t clear in the past era. This revolution has serious tendency to change the country’s status and make a true shift that suits the Bahraini people.

The Al Khalifah authority treat the opposition as if it is a zero. It is oppressive and try to kill any activism before it is born.

“The glow of revolution didn’t change.”

It is true that the protests in which the majority of people used to participate are not happening now. The figures and major symbols who used to participate in the protests are not there, but the movement itself didn’t stop, even if the momentum has decreased. There are still protests and demands in some places. There are also detentions, since the beginning of the revolutions, detentions didn’t stop. If the authority claims that it has got rid of the revolution, then why it is still carrying out the non-stopping arbitrary detention campaigns.

There are some 930 people, including clerics, symbols, academics, youth and citizens, whose citizenships have been revoked. More than 7824 people are detained by the authority, and the number is still climbing. We sacrificed more than 200 martyrs, scores of victims and thousands of displaced people. But the Al Khalifah authority couldn’t, through all this, to prove that it has got rid of the February 14 revolution. The revolution is being renewed in different ways and remains with the same slogans and demands.

The most important among all is that the Bahraini people didn’t retreat any of its legitimate demands. And the latest statement made by His Eminence Sheikh Isa Qassim was a clear evidence that this people didn’t and will not compromise.

Why remaining peaceful?

The Bahraini people is not a violent one. The people of Bahrain are known for love, peace, mercy, generosity, containing others and coexisting with them.

The rightful demands the Bahraini people are asking for are not new for any people, they are rather part of their basic due rights whether by understanding or another mean. When the Al Khalifah denies the people their rights, it must expect that the people won’t remain silent. And now, they insist to fulfill their demands.

For our people, we would like to stress that the international situation in this particular anniversary is on our side and it is not on Al Khalifah’s and Al Saud’s. They were previously more arrogant and stronger, but the situation in the entire region now carries the promises of a near victory, by God’s willing. It carries the promises of a change in the regional map. The Bahraini people tolerated over many years, but the less has remained. The Al Khalifah authorities are in a bad situation while the morale, practices and rights of our people are way stronger than ever before. The legendary endurance presented by the Bahraini people over the past years is able to drive them towards fulfilling their demands. It is matter of a little patience and we will reach our goals.

We are demanding democracy and inclusive elections in which the source of authority and sovereignty should be the Bahraini people. We only need to be a free people in an independent state.

Normalization

Normalization is nothing new. It has existed since before, at least all Gulf states, most Arab and Muslim countries related to the west, whether the US or the UK, have sorts of ties with the “Israeli” entity. However, ties today became public. What has been under cover, became today public.

Exchanged visits weren’t born recently, they are since the 1950s but they were low. The King Saud’s condition for the UK was that ties with the Zionists should be secret. Today, however, the Zionists set their condition that any price should be paid in exchange of public relations. This is the reason why we notice today public relations whether with the Al Saud or the Al Khalifah governments or others. Zionists now insist on publicized ties, this is why we are witnessing them on the surface.

In the past, the colonial scheme tried to indirectly run its issues in the region. But now, it is being faced by the peoples of the region, which are looking for their interests and trying to build their future the way they want. This is why the government now cannot fulfill the task and this explains with the Americans and the British are coming to the region repeatedly, weighing more and intervening much than before in the country’s internal affairs which is exposing those governments’ betrayal.

To Al Khalifah, the Bahraini people would never accept dealing with Zionists and would never be part of any alliance against its Arab and Muslim state. You can do whatever you want because the decision is in your hands, but the Bahraini people will breach any agreement that would be made with the Zionist entity.

For his part, Bahraini Journalist Hussein Youssef recalled some painful and emotional spots from the time of the revolution’s first days:

Among the most significant of the scenes of the February 14 revolution I recall is the youths’ advance as they were topless against the Bahraini army’s tanks that were supposed to protect the protesters and civilians, however, they were directed towards them and killed martyr Abdul Rida Bou Hmayyed. This scene would never be erased from the Bahrainis’ memory.

Another scene that I could never forget over seven years of the revolution is that of revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassim and the Imam Hussein-inspired speech delivered by Sayyed Maji al-Mashaal.

In between the two scenes, there is the very important event when Sheikh Ali Salman addressed the Bahraini people as the ‘Peninsula Shield forces’ entered the country. He referred to their behavior as defeatist and called the Bahraini people for sticking to peaceful activism until achieving its fair demands.

“Regarding the presence of the Bahraini issue in media, the activism is actually peaceful, political and rightful. There is no direct presence on which media can feed as it wants.”

However, there are other media outlets that are trying to turn a blind eye to the reality of the Bahraini people for certain political goals and reasons. They want to blind what is happening in Bahrain, and most of them are pushed by Saudi and American motives. This is something constant for us. An evidence is that many political and rights events, major protests, political speeches and stances issued by the Bahraini opposition are blinded by such paid outlets.

I don’t believe the regime has succeeded in silencing the opposition. Now, everybody confesses that there is a political crisis in Bahrain. The important evidence on this is that the leader of the opposition His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salman is in prison and sentenced to life. This firstly means that the political crisis in Bahrain will remain as long as such symbols and figures, atop of them is Sheikh Ali Salman, stay in jail. Hence, the opposition movement is non-stopping in different forms and during different circumstances. It is sometimes in Australia, another time in Bahrain… the movement is represented by the rights and political conferences held by the opposition at home and abroad. In conclusion, even if the regime had security-wise tightened the grip on the opposition movement, this doesn’t mean that it will be able to cancel the presence of the opposition and the popular demands.

There are huge numbers over the 8 years of revolution. There has been more than 40.000 protests, in addition to more than 5000 prisoners in Bahraini jails. This number makes Bahrain the most crowded country with political prisoners in the Arab world as per comparison to its population. There are also violations against journalists. Over 8 years of revolution, there is more than 25 years of imprisonment sentences against activists and journalists and even politicians who expressed their opinions. The law is very ‘flexible’ since whoever express their opinion via Twitter are subject to ‘anti-terror’ crimes for opposing the authority.

The international community raises the slogans of human rights in the area of political abuse and not in the place where people do believe in it… the international community is disabled in front of the Saudi-American decision; hence, the political cover baking the Bahraini regime is due to weighing political interests and Gulf oil heavier than human rights and the people’s rights to self-determination.

“All what happened over the previous period (8 years) is a motive for Bahrain to continue.”

The words of Sheikh Ali Salman and Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassem say there is no way for retreat, and it is necessary to continue with strength and determination to fulfill this people’s demand for reform.

“I do believe that what is waiting the Bahraini people is way better than what the authorities are practicing.”

There is no room for political settlement and fulfilling the national demands without democracy and respecting citizenship in Bahrain, he concluded.

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RT Documentary on Ahed Tamimi

Posted on 

The above documentary is very much worth watching. Uploaded on March 9 and entitled “The Slap Heard Around the World: The People of Israel vs. Ahed Tamimi,” the video focuses not only on the Tamimi family and Ahed’s case in the Israeli military court system, but also the hysteria that has erupted in Israeli society over the whole affair. It includes interviews with members of the Tamimi family as well as Israeli journalist Gideon Levy.

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to find out what, if anything, occurred in the Ofer military court on Sunday, March 11, the day Ahed’s trial was supposed to open. For some reason the Israeli media, at least the outlets that publish in English, have largely gone mum on the case. About the only reference I could find was a Haaretz piece published a bit earlier today and which, though vague on details, seems to suggest that the trial has been postponed once again so that the court may consider an appeal of its decision to close proceedings to the public.

Ahed’s pre-trial hearings were open to the public, but on February 13 a ruling was issued saying the trial would be held behind closed doors. Then on February 26, Israeli soldiers carried out another raid in Nabi Saleh, arresting Mohammed Tamimi, Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin, the boy who was shot in the head by a rubber-coated bullet. One day after that arrest an Israeli official went public with a claim that Mohammed had “admitted” under interrogation that the head injury had been from a bike accident. The bogus claim is covered in the video above.

The latest charade the Israelis seem to be playing is that it is not the prosecution that objects to having the trial opened to the public, but that this decision was made by the court alone and with Ahed’s best interest at heart.

“We left the request to open the hearings to the judgment of the court of first instance, and we will leave that request to the discretion of this honorable court,” says Maj. Gilad Peretz, the military prosecutor quoted in the Haaretz story.

In other words, Peretz purports to be neutral on the question of a trial behind closed doors, but with an air of touching concern for the girl’s welfare believes that keeping the proceedings closed would be “to Tamimi’s advantage.”

The appeal, filed by defense attorney Gabby Lasky, calls for the trial to be opened to the public, and while the court did not issue a ruling in a hearing held on Monday, it is “expected to do so shortly,” the report states.

It’s interesting that the Israeli media, aside from the Haaretz article (which is very brief) have gone so quiet on the story–in stark contrast to the kind of reporting we were seeing back in January, February and the latter part of December, when stories were coming out virtually every day. Apparently “out of sight out of mind” is the operative theory now.

Meanwhile, Ahed and her mother, Nariman, remain locked up in an Israeli prison.

Below is a commentary written by Jonathan Cook and published a bit over a week ago by Mondoweiss.

***

Israeli Army’s Lies Can No Longer Salvage Its Image

By Jonathan Cook

It is has been a very bad week for those claiming Israel has the most moral army in the world. Here’s a small sample of abuses of Palestinians in recent days in which the Israeli army was caught lying.

A child horrifically injured by soldiers was arrested and terrified into signing a false confession that he was hurt in a bicycle accident. A man who, it was claimed, had died of tear-gas inhalation was actually shot at point-blank range, then savagely beaten by a mob of soldiers and left to die. And soldiers threw a tear gas canister at a Palestinian couple, baby in arms, as they fled for safety during a military invasion of their village.

In the early 2000s, at the dawn of the social media revolution, Israelis used to dismiss filmed evidence of brutality by their soldiers as fakery. It was what they called “Pallywood” – a conflation of Palestinian and Hollywood.

In truth, however, it was the Israeli military, not the Palestinians, that needed to manufacture a more convenient version of reality.

Last week, it emerged, Israeli officials had conceded to a military court that the army had beaten and locked up a group of Palestinian reporters as part of an explicit policy of stopping journalists from covering abuses by its soldiers.

Israel’s deceptions have a long history. Back in the 1970s, a young Juliano Meir-Khamis, later to become one of Israel’s most celebrated actors, was assigned the job of carrying a weapons bag on operations in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. When Palestinian women or children were killed, he placed a weapon next to the body.

In one incident, when soldiers playing around with a shoulder-launcher fired a missile at a donkey, and the 12-year-old girl riding it, Meir-Khamis was ordered to put explosives on their remains.

Continued here

 

ملفّ لا يحتمل اللفلفة… مطلوب أجوبة

ملفّ لا يحتمل اللفلفة… مطلوب أجوبة

Image result for ‫زياد عيتاني المحكمة الجنائية الدولية‬‎

مارس 5, 2018

ناصر قنديل

العناوين التي تثيرها قضية زياد عيتاني تتخطاه كشخص وتتخطّى براءته أو إدانته ولا يحلها الكلام الهادئ الذي يريد سحبها من التداول بالإيحاء أنّ كلّ شيء تحت السيطرة ويسير وفقاً للأصول، فليست قضيتنا إنْ جرى تحويل ملف القضية من جهاز إلى جهاز بقرار وزاري أو بقرار قضائي.

زياد عيتاني يعترف بالعمالة والتخطيط لإغتيال نهاد المشنوق في لبنان

قضيتنا أنّ أمامنا عملياً روايتين لا يمكن الجمع بينهما رواية صدرت عن وزير الداخلية، تقول ببراءة عيتاني وباتهام مَن حقق معه ووجّه له الاتهام بالخلفيات الحاقدة والطائفية، وما أعقب كلام الوزير من مصادر أمنية منسوبة لشعبة المعلومات، اتهام للرئيس السابق لفرع مكافحة جرائم المعلوماتية بفبركة التهمة استناداً لخبرة قراصنة، ولأهداف شخصية بعضها ملتبس وبعضها وصفه الوزير بالحقد والطائفية. وفي المقابل أمامنا رواية وردت في بيان رسمي لجهاز أمن الدولة، تتمسّك بالاتهام وتسنده لاعترافات عيتاني الموثقة والمسجلة والواردة دون ضغوط، وبحضور مفوض الحكومة لدى المحكمة العسكرية. وأمام هاتين الروايتين لا ننحاز لإحداهما، وما يعنينا أبعد مما ينتج في القضية نفسها. فالقضية تطال أموراً أشدّ خطورة لا تحتمل اللفلفة وعلى الدولة كدولة بمؤسساتها أن تجيب المواطنين عن الأسئلة التي تطرحها.

السؤال الأول، إذا تبنينا رواية وزير الداخلية والتي تبدو مسنودة بتحقيقات شعبة المعلومات. فهذا يعني أمرين، الأول أنّ اتهامات خطيرة يمكن أن تُسند لمواطنين لبنانيين بغير وجه حق، باعتراف مرجعيات مسؤولة في الدولة، خصوصاً أنها ليست المرة الأولى التي يسقط فيها ضحايا لفبركة الاتهامات. فهل صار الوقت مناسباً لنقول إنّ كلّ الاتهامات التي تلقفها نصف اللبنانيين وصُفّق لها بحماسة في قضية اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري كانت فبركات وأفلاماً هوليودية؟ فهل سيطال ضحايا هذه الفبركات اعتذار وتوضيحات تشبه الحملة التي قادها الوزير في قضية عيتاني، وما لم يحدث ذلك، يصير واجباً تصديق ما ورد في بيان أمن الدولة من تلميح للاعتبارات الانتخابية؟ فهل هناك «مواطن بسمن ومواطن بزيت» عند وزير الداخلية، وكلاهما ضحية فبركة جهاز أمني بتوجيه اتهامات تعادل التحريض على القتل، ولهم عائلات وأبناء أسيء لهم وسمعة جرى النيل منها وكرامة تمّ انتهاكها، وفي ظروف أشدّ قسوة، من تلك التي لحقت بعيتاني، الذي يستحق الإنصاف من مظلوميته إذا كانت براءته حقيقية، وإذا كانت مفاعيل عائلته الانتخابية تقف عند حدود الاحتفال ببراءته، هل يذكر الوزير يوم خرج الرئيس فؤاد السنيورة محتفلاً في مؤتمر صحافي، بحضور رئيس لجنة التحقيق الدولية ديتيليف ميليس يعلن توجيه الاتهام باغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري، ولاحقاً تبيّن أنّ الأسماء المعلنة، ضحايا تلفيق وفبركة وشهود زور؟

Image result for ‫الضباط الأربعة‬‎

الأمر الثاني أنّ الاتهام يستند لما عرف بداتا الاتصالات، ولا زالت وزارة الداخلية وشعبة المعلومات تصرّ على الحصول عليها بصفتها صمام أمان البلد والمستند الذي لا ترقى إليه شبهة في بناء اتهاماتها وملاحقتها للمشتبه بهم، لتطلّ علينا مصادر شعبة المعلومات في قضية عيتاني، وخلفها البراءة التي طلب الوزير من اللبنانيين الاعتذار من عيتاني على أساسها، وتقول إنّ الداتا مفبركة، وإنّ ضابطاً محترفاً بمعونة قرصان يملك القدرة على تركيب ملف متكامل لا يرقى إليه الشك بالفبركة، وأمام اللبنانيين قضية مفتوحة اسمها اتهام المحكمة الدولية لمجموعة لبنانيين ينتمون لحزب الله في قضية اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري والمستند الوحيد لاتهامهم هو داتا مشابهة وضعتها شعبة المعلومات بتصرف هيئات التحقيق الدولية، ونال ضباطها تنويهاً على إنجازاتهم في هذا المجال، لا زلنا نذكر الشروح التي أطلّ بها علينا بعضهم عن الدائرة الصفراء والدائرة الرمادية والدائرة الحمراء، ليقولوا لنا إنّ هذه وقائع لا يمكن فبركتها ولا التدخل فيها ولا لأيّ قرصان تصنيعها، فبربكم أيّ الروايتين نصدّق؟

المسألة ببساطة هذه المرة أنّ الضابط المتهم بالفبركة محسوب على الخط السياسي ذاته الذي يحتاج براءة عيتاني انتخابياً، والفبركة تهمة وجهت لهذا الضابط الذي شغل مسؤوليات هامة في فروع الأمن، ووفقاً لرواية أمن الدولة إذا صدّقناها، البراءة مفتعلة ومفبركة، لاعتبارات انتخابية قال جهاز أمن الدولة إنها تخدم «إسرائيل» فقط. وإن صدقنا فهذا يعني تكراراً لحكاية مشابهة قبل سنوات، عنوانها شادي مولوي الذي قامت الدنيا ولم تقعد يوم تمّ توقيفه من قبل الأمن العام اللبناني، وبدأ معها الحديث الطائفي والمذهبي المقيت، وخرج رئيس الحكومة وفي ظروف انتخابية مشابهة يومها يحتفل بإخلاء سبيله، وبعد سنوات قليلة تبيّن أنّ مولوي مسؤول تنظيم داعش علناً في لبنان، فأخبرونا بمن نثق ومن نصدق، وأيّ الروايتين نعتمد، لكن تيقنوا، أنّ اتّباع أيّ من الروايتين له تبعات، واحدة تبدأ ببراءة عيتاني وردّ الاعتبار له وملاحقة المفبركين، لكنها تنتهي بسحب اتهامات المحكمة الدولية والاعتذار من ضحايا الفبركة وشهود الزور وفتح التحقيق لملاحقة كلّ مَنْ تورّط في لعبة الاتهام الملفق، والثانية تبدأ بوقف التلاعب بتحقيق أمن الدولة وردّ الاعتبار له وللضابط المتّهم بالفبركة وملاحقة مَن أراد إلصاق هذه التهمة به، وتنتهي باستقالة وزير حاول التلاعب بملف خطير لحسابات انتخابية، فاعتمدوا رواية واحدة واتبعوها حتى نهاية موجباتها، عليكم إن طلبتم احترام اللبنانيين لكم أن تختاروا.

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Gilad Atzmon is listed amongst “100 Peace & Justice Leaders and Models”

January 31, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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GA: I am honoured  to find my name  listed amongst this international list of incredible peace loving people.  

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2018/01/in-pursuit-of-peace-and-justice-100-peace-justice-leaders-and-models/

In Pursuit Of Peace And Justice: 100 Peace & Justice Leaders And Models

BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 29 Jan 2018

Anthony J. Marsella and Kathleen Malley-Morrison – TRANSCEND Media Service

Introduction

26 Jan 2018 – The annual memorial holiday on January 15, 2018, celebrating Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s enduring contributions to peace and justice, has passed.

The events of the day linger in our minds, eternally grateful for Reverend King’s efforts to free people and nations from the brutal oppressions imposed by governments, nations, societies, organizations, and individuals, who willfully continue to support and sustain the evils of racism, prejudice, violence, and war.

Reverend King’s commitment to freedom from oppression and abuse compel us to continue his efforts far beyond the words, songs, and promises of his day.

To this end, we, (i.e., Kathy Malley-Morrison & Anthony J. Marsella), the authors of this article, have chosen to demonstrate our responsibilities to continuing the work of Reverend King, by identifying 100 living peace and social justice leaders and models.

The number is arbitrary for there are tens of thousands more who deserve citation. Many are not listed, but will be listed in future efforts. Do not be dismayed! Patience! We believed it essential to create a dynamic list of living peace and justice activists and advocates to encourage peace and justice work.

The individuals included on our list are from all genders, ages, roles.  They are from many nations, ethnocultural groups, and “races.”  We sense a rising tide of commitment to peace and justice, and an intolerance of the corruption, cronyism, and asymmetric power sustaining current abuses.

We consider our efforts a beginning, and we will continue to publish new lists. This is because the struggle for peace and justice is endless, and each day new people are rising to the call.

This is as it should be, and must be, until such time the forces of oppression yield to the forces of good; evil will continue, but human virtue, endowed in conscience will triumph! While the work of many included will be recognized, some of those listed may not be apparent. We have attached website information after each name to offer insight into their efforts.

Before sharing our list, however, we wish to include two charts offering graphic displays of essential material for understanding and appreciating living leaders.

CHART 1: PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PEACE AND JUSTICE LEADERS AND MODELS

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In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Originally published in CounterPunch Magazine December 25, 2017

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Many take their liberty for granted even as they have endless time to rail on and on about how “they” are coming for us. Be it the “coup”, apparently now underway, or the spread of domestic McCarthyism that seeks to cower us into silence, or the baffling, sudden, corrupt reach of the Department of Justice, for most white men here we enjoy a privilege that says not us. Typically, it works.

A world away, liberty is less a race-based edge than it is the benefits you gain by the day of the week you celebrate your faith. For those who get directions from god on Saturdays, there appear to be no limits to the dispensation to which you are entitled; be it the execution of an unconscious prisoner, the mass arrest of a family with the temerity to fight for their land or a Prime Minister protected by legislative fiat empowered well beyond the reach of mere mortal law.

Israel has long preached justice and equality to the world. How often have we heard its mantra about democratic ideals and traditions as so much a unique historical tenet of its travel… a journey for the chosen that get to choose who the beneficiaries are… and are not.

For those of us in the US, either schooled in the classic process of the law or victimized by its aim, we’ve grown spoiled by its safeguards even though they remain but abstract and elusive for those many in the prisoner dock of  “wrong” color, with but coins in their pocket or militant politics in their gait.

Yet, despite the betrayal of equal hope for all, the march from investigation to arrest to trial and result knows no formal de jure distinction along the way. Of course, one would be so much a fool to argue that justice is blind, or little more than a commodity for purchase, or the skill of one’s advocate, or the luck of one’s judicial draw. Yet these damning imperfections leave hope along the way that justice may, on occasion, just slip and fall into ones lap despite a long and tarred drop.

That is not the case in Israel. Israel has two systems of justice… one for Jews and the other for Palestinians be they Muslim, Christian or atheist. Nowhere is that more apparent or destructive than it is in the Occupied Territory.

The Detention of Children

Several days ago, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested, by heavily armed Israeli soldiers, during a violent pre-dawn raid on her home. It followed a video, since gone viral, of her slapping a soldier on the face and arm and pushing another soldier, standing nearby, who she was ushering away from the family home… this, after her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed,  had been shot by an Israeli rubber coated bullet that entered through his mouth and lodged in his brain.

For Ahed, it was not the first time that her challenge to the occupation received international attention and acclaim.  As an 11 year old, she was video recorded confronting soldiers with clenched fist. She did not back down.  At 13, she helped to wrestle her 11 year old brother, his arm in a cast, from the clutches of an Israeli soldier who was physically assaulting him during a standoff near her family home. For that, she was the recipient of the Handala Courage award in Turkey.

Not long after Ahed’s current arrest, Nariman Tamimi was seized when she went to the local police station to check on her daughter. After attending his daughter’s initial military court appearance, Bassem Tamimi, a prominent land defender and non-violent organizer in the village of Nabi Saleh, was also taken into custody. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces. In 2012, he was termed a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International during one of his several detentions in an Israeli prison.

Later that night, soldiers seized a family cousin, Nour Tamimi, a 21 year old journalism student, from her own family home.

Mother, father, daughter, and cousin arrested after another cousin shot… all within a matter of a few days.  Welcome to Palestine. Welcome to the Occupation.

Liberty means more than the freedom to walk in and out of your home with the approval of those who occupy the streets that lead to it. 

Though the arrest of Ahed has captured the attention of many, it is as much the force of her charisma as it is the call of justice that has produced it. Since 2000, over 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military system devoid of any meaningful protection for the most vulnerable and traumatized among those that have known nothing but the bark of occupation their entire lives.  It is a military justice process notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.

The majority of these children have been seized in middle of the night raids by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. By now, military kidnappings have become so much the expected norm that Palestinian teens sleep with their clothes on to maintain their modesty when the doors to their bedroom are kicked in with the shouts of “get up get up” by heavily armed soldiers.

Dragged out the door to the screams of their powerless parents, for most, it will be the last they will hear from them without the watch and eavesdrop of prison guards for the many months of detention to follow.

Several hours after their arrest, children arrive at an interrogation and detention center alone, tired, and frightened.

All Interrogations, by their very nature, are inherently coercive no matter the age or experience of its target.  None are more so than for an often bruised and scared child forced to go through the process without the benefit of counsel or the presence of parents who are never permitted to participate.

Israeli law provides that all military interrogations must be undertaken in a prisoner’s native language and that any statement made by them must be reduced to writing in that language. Despite this prohibition, detainees are typically coerced into signing statements, through verbal abuse, threats, and physical violence, that are written by police in Hebrew… which most cannot understand. These statements usually provide the main evidence against these children in Israeli military courts.

By virtue of the military court process, as of the end of this past summer there were 331 Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 2 administrative detainees.

The Military Court Process

The military courts, themselves, are held inside military bases and closed to the public… and usually family members of the accused.  Within these courts, military orders supersede clear Israeli and international law.  The court proceedings reduce the prospect of any justice to little more than a military dress parade where soldiers exhibit their uniform without any independence or skill attached to it whatsoever.

In military courts, all parties to the proceeding… the judge, prosecutor and translators… are members of the Israeli armed forces. The judges are military officers with minimal judicial training and, by-in- large, served as military prosecutors before assuming the bench

The prosecutors are Israeli soldiers appointed to the position by the Area Commander.  Some of them are not yet certified as attorneys under the Israeli Bar Association.

Under the rules of occupation, all defendants in military courts are Palestinian… with the jurisdiction of the Israeli military court never extended to some eight hundred thousand Jewish settlers living in the West Bank.  They are accorded the full benefit and safeguard of Israeli civil law.

Under Israeli military orders, a Palestinian can be held without charge, for the purpose of interrogation, for a total period of 90 days during which he or she is denied the benefit of counsel. These detention periods can be extended without limit and require but an ex parte request of military prosecutors.  By comparison, an Israeli citizen accused of a security offense, within the Occupied Territory, can be held without indictment within the civil process for a period of 64 days during which time counsel is available at all times.

Though Palestinian detainees are entitled to trials in military proceedings which must be completed within eighteen months, if the trials have not concluded within that time frame, a judge from the Military Court of Appeals can extend the detention of a Palestinian by multiple six-month increments… indefinitely. It is this process which has left thousands of Palestinian political detainees imprisoned for years on end without the benefit of counsel, formal charges, or trial. The comparable time limit for detainees before Israeli civilian courts is nine months.

While criminal liability begins at age 12 for Palestinians and Israelis alike, under the military system Palestinians can be tried as adults at age 16. For Israelis, the age of majority for trial as an adult in a civilian court is 18.  This two year difference, without physical distinction of consequence, can mean the difference of many years in sentence should a conviction ensue.  In some cases, it can literally mean a variance between a few years in prison versus decades upon conviction.

For those Palestinian detainees who have been accorded a military trial in the Occupied Territory, the conviction rate is but a bit short of 100%. All military trials are undertaken by a judge and not a jury.

Although the United Nations has repeatedly held that the military justice system in the Occupied Territory violates international law, it has done nothing to ensure equal protection to hundreds of thousands denied justice by virtue of being Palestinian and nothing else.

Detention as a Political Weapon

For fifty years, the justice system in the Occupied Territory has been the exclusive domain of the Israeli army… completely removed from any oversight by civilian laws, courts, and safeguards. It’s been estimated that, during this time, several hundred thousand Palestinians have been sentenced for a wide range of “security violations” as defined by arbitrary military fiat on a case by case basis. It has been reported that 20% of the Palestinian population have been swept up and detained by the military during this time.

While Israel has tried to portray its exercise of judicial authority in the Occupied Territory as one largely concerned with traditional criminal offenses or serious acts of “violence”, in point of fact, most of those seized have been detained for little more than non-violent political activity.

Designated as “Hostile Terrorist Activity,” these offenses often target speech, association, cultural expression, “unauthorized” assembly and movement, non-violent protest, and political activity carried out by elected representatives of local Palestinian government entities.

Others have been detained for “incitement” or membership in “illegal associations” as determined by the local Israeli military commander… or for “leaving the area without permission.”

Journalists have been arrested because of their critical coverage of the military at demonstrations or for reporting about the occupation in general. One was arrested for making a Facebook comment on another arrested Palestinian’s mugshot: “your smile will end the occupation.”

Troops have raided and shut down several broadcast outlets for six months on the grounds of incitement including the Manbar al-Hurriya radio station and eight local outlets operated by PalMedia, Ram Sat and Trans Media.

Documentation of almost two dozen Palestinians, in the West Bank, detained by the Israeli military for nothing more than Facebook posts or exchanges is claimed by 7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement. Additionally, Israel’s security system handed over a list of 400 other Palestinians, having posted to Facebook, to the security of the Palestinian Authority, who arrested them.

Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been arrested and detained for carrying out a population census in occupied East Jerusalem which the military deemed as “illegal work” with the Palestinian Authority.

Although International law prohibits interference with the free exercise of one’s political opinions, the Israeli military has sought to suppress the Palestinian political process, as a whole, for decades. Palestinian political leaders and activists are routinely arrested and detained.

In July of 2014, a high of 38 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were detained for political activity. As of November 2017, the current number is 11 members.    Others have been prevented from travelling outside the Occupied Territories.  A number of Legislative Council members had their residencies in Jerusalem revoked and were forcibly deported to other parts of the Occupied West Bank.

70 lawmakers from the Palestinian Legislative Council have been arrested since 2002 for political activity and little else, including a number that have been detained on multiple occasions.

Among the current members of the PLC in Israeli detention is 55-year-old Khalida Jarrar, a female legislator and senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Head of the Prisoners’ Commission of the PLC and vice-chairperson of the board of directors of Palestinian Prisoners’ Rights Group, Jarrar, who was last released from Israeli detention a year ago, was accused of “promoting terror activities”.

For seventy years, Israel has held itself out as a nation under siege.  It has used this talisman to evade and avoid the clear mandate of international law. Nowhere is that more readily apparent and painful than in the Occupied Territory which, with the passage of time, has become illegally annexed and policed by military force of law.

Jails do not break the back of resistance. They firm it with the price expected for the cost of freedom. In Palestine, it is a price willingly embraced by both the young and those who have aged with the slam of the prison gate.

Perhaps one day, Israel will awaken to the truth that the siege it fights is the very one it promotes. Until then, neither the military nor its sham courts will quell the taste of freedom or the natural beckon for it.

Seattle Protestor Says ‘We Need to Start Killing People’

Posted on February 3, 2017

Warning: the language is graphic. The protest reportedly took place in Seattle. The woman with the bullhorn engages in a five-minute tirade against white people, an outburst that includes the words, “We need to start killing people.” She also says, “The White House must die.”

It is unclear whether the woman is officially connected with Black Lives Matter, but if you watch the video  closely you will see that she is wearing a t-shirt that reads “Black Lives Matter” on the back. She also, during her speech, identifies herself as a pre-school teacher.

A Fox News report on the protest can be found here. Unfortunately, however, the article does not identify the woman by name.

Below is an edited version of the video without all the annoying screen pop-ups, and which also includes subtitles. Basically it just gives a clearer picture. I put up a post yesterday discussing the “mass insanity” currently sweeping America. This woman would seem to be another prime example. (H/T Jill rowan)

Appeal Aimed at Fordham University: ‘Don’t Ban Students for Justice in Palestine!’

 

Posted on January 31, 2017

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[ Ed. note – Imagine a student organization at a major American university–(where such lofty ideals as academic freedom and free speech presumably are held dear)–being banned before it even gets organized or holds its first meeting.

Well, that’s what happened at Fordham University with the local Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

The school’s dean of students, Keith Eldredge, vetoed a measure approved by the University Student Government association which would have recognized the SJP group. Eldredge announced his decision in a December 22 email sent out to the young student activists who had applied for permission to form the organization on campus.

“After consultation with numerous faculty, staff and students and my own deliberation, I have decided to deny the request to form a club known as Students for Justice in Palestine at Fordham University,” he wrote. “While students are encouraged to promote diverse political points of view, and we encourage conversation and debate on all topics, I cannot support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country, when these goals clearly conflict with and run contrary to the mission and values of the University.”

So in other words opposing an apartheid state and calling for an end to a decades-long occupation runs against the “mission and values” of Fordham University? What’s disgusting about this is that Fordham is, at least nominally, a Christian university that was founded by the Catholic diocese of New York. So is Eldredge trying to imply that SJP’s support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement somehow violates the teachings of Jesus?

“There is perhaps no more complex topic than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it is a topic that often leads to polarization rather than dialogue,” Eldredge goes on.

So Jesus–a man who called the Pharisees hypocrites, turned over the tables of the money changers, and accused the Jewish scribes of turning his Father’s house into a den of robbers–was somehow timidly averse to being polarizing when a clear need presented itself?

“The purpose of the organization [SJP] as stated in the proposed club constitution points toward that polarization,” the dean continues. “Specifically, the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel presents a barrier to open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding.”

Thank you, Dean Eldredge, and I’m sure the Zionist settlers in the West Bank are also aware of the dire need for “open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding”

Maybe the occupation of Palestine is a “complex topic” to the deans at Fordham University, but of course for most of the rest of us, it’s really not that hard to figure out.

The current president of Fordham is the Rev. Joseph M. McShane. If you follow one of the links below you will find a letter addressed to McShane written by Palestine Legal, whose mission is to protect “the civil and constitutional rights of people in the US who speak out for Palestinian freedom.” Quite a big job obviously and probably about to become even more challenging.

Also below you will find an appeal addressed to Fordham University by the Friends of Sabeel North America. I must say I admire their diplomacy. It’s probably more than I could have mustered. FOSNA, by the way, is a Christian ecumenical group affiliated with Sabeel, an international peace movement launched by Palestinian Christians. ]


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After subjecting Palestinian student activists to an extensive and abnormally elongated vetting process that lasted over a year, Fordham University in New York City has banned its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights stated that the ban “blatantly violates [the University’s] promise to guarantee freedom of inquiry on campus,” calling on Fordham’s administration to “immediately permit and facilitate the formation of SJP.”

On Monday, FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata sent an open letter to Fordham’s administration urging them to reinstate the chapter.

Help us tell Fordham University that as people of conscience, now more than ever, we have a responsibility to take action and support Palestine solidarity efforts.

Please call, write, or e-mail:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
president@fordham.edu

Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
eldredge@fordham.edu

Office of the President, Fordham University
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Help us ensure that Fordham University gives students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel the opportunity to do so as part of their educational experience.

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Letter in support of Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
Office of the President, Fordham University
president@fordham.edu
eldredge@fordham.edu
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Dear President Rev. McShane and Dean Eldredge,

Friends of Sabeel North America is a Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education. As executive director, I write to express deep concern that Fordham University has decided to prohibit students from organizing a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on your campus.

You may have seen this week’s statement from the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination. This statement provides an urgent plea for the people of the world (and Catholics in particular) to pray and act for justice in the Holy Land:

Fifty years of occupation demands action.

For fifty years the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have languished under occupation, violating the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis. This is a scandal to which we must never become accustomed.  Our Coordination has called for justice and peace every year since 1998, yet the suffering continues. So this call must get louder. As Bishops we implore Christians in our home countries to recognise our own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.

So many people in the Holy Land have spent their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation, yet still profess hope and strive for reconciliation. Now, more than ever, they deserve our solidarity.

(See the signatories and full text)

We implore you to encourage your students to become active for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel by allowing the SJP chapter to form. As you know, throughout history students have been at the forefront of debating and organizing for justice causes (women’s rights; abolition of slavery; equality in racial, ethnic, and economic matters; opposition to war and to the apartheid regime in South Africa).

The First Amendment protects free speech as a hallmark of our democracy. Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Please give to the students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel this fundamental opportunity as part of their educational experience at Fordham University.

Friends of Sabeel North America has worked closely with SJP groups across the country. We find they are composed of bright, compassionate, highly conscientious students. SJP chapters are usually comprised of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular students. They represent a cross-section of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity.

Please allow your Fordham students the freedom all Americans hold dear. Encourage rather than prohibit their work for justice in Palestine and Israel as the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination have urged.

With warm regards,

Tarek Abuata, Executive Director

Friends of Sabeel North America


Fordham University’s Ban on Palestinian Rights Group Sets Dangerous Precedent

By Joe Catron | January 26, 2017

Mint Press News

NEW YORK — Nearly a hundred students and community members rallied on Fordham University’s Manhattan campus before marching to nearby Columbus Circle on Monday.

The protest marked the latest chapter in an ongoing effort by students at the Jesuit institution to found a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on their campus.

SJP organizations, which take their name from a still-existing student group founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993, already exist on over a hundred campuses in the United States, as well as several overseas.

A national organization using the same name organizes annual conferences attended by many of these loose affiliates, but maintains no formal relationship with them.

On Nov. 19, 2015, four students at Fordham applied with the university’s administration to register an SJP club at the school’s Lincoln Center campus.

By all accounts, they did not expect the grueling ordeal that lay before them.

Their plans finally ground to a halt on Dec. 22, 2016, when Keith Eldredge, dean of students at the Lincoln Center campus, informed several SJP activists in an email that he had overruled a vote by the school’s United Student Government to recognize the group a month earlier and denied it registration as a student organization.

“According to sources within student government, he has never even reviewed a club for veto, let alone actually vetoed one, in his entire ten years here at Fordham,” Sapphira Lurie, a senior and lead campus organizer for Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine, told MintPress News. “This is a clear example of the Palestine exception to free speech.”

“The Palestine exception,” a term popularized by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a 2015 report of that name, refers to barriers to free speech and organizing faced by Palestinian and solidarity activists in the US.

In a Jan. 17 statement on Fordham’s ban of SJP, Palestine Legal, a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance and representation to Palestine activists, said it had responded to more than 600 attempts to repress their activities nationally since the start of 2014.

Of these, it said, “the vast majority” targeted students and faculty.

On campus, these efforts often include obstacles to student organizing, like challenges to event funding and space registration, or the unwarranted suspension of recognized groups, as well as the intimidation, and occasional termination, of faculty.

But Fordham’s preemptive ban of a student organization sets a dangerous new precedent, one students and other local activists are determined to fight.

“As far as we’re aware, this is the first time a college has summarily banned a group supporting Palestinian rights before students even held their first meeting,” Radhika Sainath, a Palestine Legal staff attorney and cooperating counsel at the CCR, told MintPress News.

‘Fordham breached its express promise’

Palestine Legal’s statement summarized a letter, sent by it and the CCR to Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Fordham’s president, on the same day.

When they filed their application, the letter said, “[T]he students expected Fordham would approve their group within a few weeks so that they could start their educational programming.”

[[[ Read Palestine Legal’s letter to Fordham’s president Rev. Joseph M. McShane. ]]]

Instead, they faced months of stonewalling, punctuated by meetings at which administrators asked if they would consider a different name, expressed concern at their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and use of the word “apartheid,” and inquired about their willingness to work with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, and Seeds for Peace.

The administrators also inquired whether an anti-BDS resolution passed by the New York City Council or an executive order and blacklist opposing the movement issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all last year, should preclude SJP’s recognition by the university.

As the USG decision on Nov. 17 neared, one administrator, Dorothy Wenzel of the university’s office of student leadership, who had previously admitted to polling Jewish faculty on whether SJP should be allowed to register at Fordham, instructed a USG officer to notify the school’s Jewish Student Organization of the pending vote.

Continued here

Bahrain …. toward the resistance البحرين… الى المقاومة

Bahrain …. toward the resistance

يناير 27, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Six years ago, the people of Bahrain were facing all the provocations of Al-Jazeera shield led by Saudi Arabia, but they remained sticking to the peaceful path. The people of Bahrain who are led today by Islamic movement have sacrificed a lot in all stages, under the banners of Liberalism in the forties, when they were demanding of elections, under the banner of Gamal Abdul Nasser in the fifties, when they were demanding of liberation, and under the banner of the Left, when they were leading the struggle of the trade union which is the most avant -grade in the Arab world. The people of Bahrain did not leave the arenas and no one can call their revolution as the sectarian awakening.

The people of Bahrain insist on the peaceful path despite the cascade of blood that is shed by the Saudi intervention and despite the semi-complete negligence of what is so-called the International Community, comparing with the allegations of the defense for the human rights where the West has interests, so the killers of Al-Qaeda organization become martyrs and its fighters become the heroes of freedom as described by Laurent Fabius the Former French Foreign Minister on the Turkish-Syrian borders. Here the insistence is more than a historic patience; it is a strategic choice and may be it reaches its final stages.

What has happened in Bahrain as a remorseless killing, a felony that did not get an investigation or a trial of youths who were arrested in the movement of the Bahraini street; they were accused of bombing a vehicle of Al-Jazeera Shield’s vehicles, and a summary execution  without an actual trial said that Saudi Arabia which has ordered of killing is drawing a red line for accepting the settlements in the region, it is the recognition of making the people of the Gulf countries slaves for the family of Saud as a precondition for settlements outside the Gulf, otherwise there is no objection by Saudi Arabia from keeping the agitating wars and spending all the money to bring the extremists and the mercenaries to wage them. This means the transformation of Saudi Arabia to a greater opportunity for the dominance of ISIS practically and gradually.

The dominance of ISIS on Saudi Arabia geographically, demographically and militarily as well as the rootedness of its project in it seems as a salvation of ISIS in the light of the defeats which affected it in Iraq, and the difficulty of resilience in the war of Syria, and in the light of the European Russian race to prevent ISIS from the stability in Libya as an expected substitute for ISIS after Iraq and Syria. So it is logical that ISIS will aspire to Saudi Arabia for the next two years. It seems that the rulers of Saudi Arabia do not mind that or they are not aware of it, on the contrary they say to the world; you have to choose between our dominance with our savagery on oil and ISIS’ dominance on it with its brutality.

Saudi Arabia puts the region and the world between the two options of the recognition of humiliated bondage for the people of the Gulf or giving the sources of oil to ISIS. The comparison between what has happened in Iraq and what might happen in Saudi Arabia makes the matter logical, since the background is ready popularly and the devotions to extremism, atonement, and the blood according to the sheikhs of Wahhabism are shown through their public fatawas.

Between the two parts of this duality, it is no longer possible for anyone to address the people of Bahrain by asking them to be patience and to endure. The resistance has become an option that no one can denounce it or considered it a haste or emotion. If the Saudis want to weaken the influence of Iran in the Gulf, they are succeeding because they make the people rebel against the advices of Iran to be calm and sticking to the peaceful path because they kill every call for wisdom.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

البحرين… الى المقاومة

ناصر قنديل

– منذ ست سنوات يقف شعب البحرين في الشوارع يواجه كل استفزازات درع الجزيرة بقيادة السعودية، متمسكاً بالمسار السلمي. وشعب البحرين الذي تقوده اليوم حركة إسلامية لم يبخل على النضال العربي بالتضحيات في المراحل كلها. فكان تحت شعارات الليبرالية في الأربعينيات يطالب بالانتخابات، وتحت لواء جمال عبد الناصر في الخمسينيات يطالب بالتحرر، وتحت لواء اليسار يقود النضال النقابي الأشدّ طليعية في العالم العربي، فشعب البحرين لم يغادر الساحات ولا يمكن لأحد تسمية ثورته بالصحوة الطائفية.

– بقي إصرار شعب البحرين على المسار السلمي، رغم شلال الدم المسال بتدخّل سعودي، ورغم التجاهل شبه التام لما يُسمّى بالمجتمع الدولي قياساً بمزاعم الدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان حيث للغرب مصالح، فيصير قتلى تنظيم القاعدة شهداء ويصير مقاتلوها أبطال حرية، كما وصفهم لوران فابيوس وزير خارجية فرنسا الأسبق على الحدود التركية السورية. وهذا الإصرار أكثر من صبر تاريخي، بل هو خيار استراتيجي، ربما يكون قد بلغ مراحله النهائية.

– ما جرى في البحرين من قتل بدم بارد بجرم لم ينل تحقيقاً ولا محاكمة لشبان اعتقلوا من حراك الشارع البحراني، ووجّهت لهم الاتهامات بتفجير آلية من آليات درع الجزيرة، وتنفيذ حكم الإعدام بهم من دون محاكمة فعلية، يقول إن السعودية التي أمرت بالقتل ترسم خطاً أحمر لقبولها بالتسويات في المنطقة. وهو التسليم بجعل شعوب بلاد الخليج عبيدا لآل سعود كشرط مسبق لتسويات خارج الخليج، وإلا فلا مانع لدى السعودية من بقاء الحروب مشتعلة وإنفاق كل المال والمجيء بكل المتطرفين والمرتزقة لخوضها. وهذا يعني تحويل السعودية عملياً وتدريجياً إلى أكبر فرصة لسيطرة داعش.

– سيطرة داعش على السعودية جغرافياً وسكانياً وعسكرياً، وتجذُّر مشروعه فيها يبدو خشبة خلاص داعش في ضوء الهزائم التي يُمنَى بها التنظيم في العراق، وصعوبة الصمود عندما تدور آلة الحرب عليه في سورية، وفي ضوء التسابق الأوروبي الروسي على منع داعش من الاستقرار في ليبيا، كبديل متوقع لداعش بعد العراق وسورية، فيصير المنطقي أن يبني التنظيم خطته نحو السعودية للسنتين المقبلتين، ولا يبدو أن حكام السعودية يمانعون بذلك أو لا يدركونه، بل يقولون للعالم عليكم أن تختاروا بين سيطرتنا بهمجيتنا على النفط، أو تسليمه لداعش بوحشيته.

– السعودية تضع المنطقة والعالم بين خيارَيْ التسليم بعبودية ذليلة لشعوب الخليج أو تسليم منابع النفط لداعش. والمقارنة بين ما جرى في العراق، وما قد يجري في السعودية يصير الأمر منطقياً. فالبيئة جاهزة شعبياً والولاءات للتطرف والتكفير والدم لدى مشايخ الوهابية تُظهرها فتاوى علنية.

– بين حدَّيْ هذه الثنائية لم يعد ممكناً لأحد مخاطبة شعب البحرين بطلب الصبر والتحمّل. فالمقاومة صارت خياراً لا يمكن لأحد استهجانه واعتباره تسرّعاً أو انفعالاً، وإذا كان السعوديون يريدون إضعاف نفوذ إيران في الخليج فهم ينجحون، بأن يجعلوا الشعوب تتمرّد على نصائح إيران بالتهدئة والتمسك بالسلمية، لأنهم يغتالون كل نداء للحكمة.

 

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US Court: Jewish baby is worth US$178.5 million

Rehmat

Posted on

On Tuesday, Washington DC District Court ruled that Tehran and Damascus have to pay US$178.5 million compensation to parents of Chaya Zissel Braun, the 3-month old Jewish baby killed in a car accident in occupied Jerusalem in a 2014 vehicular accident.

The vehicle was driven by Abdelrahman al-Shaludi from East Jerusalem who happened to be released from Israeli prison after 14 months on charges of being sympathizer of Gaza-ruling Hamas.

Braun’s parents hold the US-Israel dual citizenship. Such Americans become a national threat once they hold some higher administration or media position in United States such as Michael Chertoff, former head of DHS, Michael Mukasey, former attorney-general, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Larry Franklin, Douglas Feith, and The Atlantic magazine’s new editor, Jeffrey Goldberg, a former Israel’s army prison guard.

Since Hamas government in Gaza has no assets, frozen or otherwise, in United States – Israeli government founded law firm Shurat HaDin sued anti-Israel regimes in Damascus and Tehran to pay the compensation.

How much you think a US court demand Israeli government to pay compensation to the family of Abdel Fateh al-Sharif, an unarmed wounded Palestinian youth shot to death by Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (see cartoon above) in March 2016?

If you think that’s is ridiculous – in March 2016, a lawsuit initiated by Shurat HaDin, a Manhattan federal court ruled that Tehran must pay $10.5 billion to the families of the disputed victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which has been proven to be work of the Zionist regime.

In February 2015, a lawsuit initiated by the Israeli lawfare firm Shurat HaDin led to the conviction of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization of liability for terrorist attacks in Israel between 2000 and 2004. The New York Federal jury awarded damages of $218.5 million, but under a special feature of the Anti-Terrorism Act the award was automatically tripled to $655.5 million.

Now you know how the Holocaust Industry has succeeded in sucking trillions of dollars from the US, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and other western taxpayers.

American Jewish writer, author and radio-talk host, Stephen Lendman commented on this Jewish highway robbery, saying: “Israel calls wars of aggression, lethal shootings of Palestinians, and other barbarous acts self-defense. It considers legitimate resistance against brutal occupation harshness terrorism – a knee-jerk response to all incidents, Palestinians automatically guilty by accusation. The family in question has dual Israeli-American citizenship. Their three-month-old infant was killed  when Palestinian Abdel Rahman Shaludi’s vehicle struck people at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill light-rail station in October 2014. Israel accused him of ties with Hamas, illegally called a terrorist organization. It’s Palestine’s legally elected government. Parents of the deceased child sued in the US district court, awarded a default judgment, the entire procedure a sham, a scheme to denigrate and punish Iran and Syria illegally (here).”

Deterioration of Interracial Relations During Barack Obama’s Presidency

South Front

Inter-racial conflict in the US continues to escalate despite the fact that a black president has been leading the country for 8 years. All of the various ethnic groups that comprise American society, hoped that Barack Obama would be able to “sew” together the fabric of a nation torn by racial and social divisions, but racism is still on the rise. This poses a significant threat to US homeland security. Government institutions and big business continue to be controlled by the white elites and the perilous social situation of ethnic minorities continues to be accompanied by an increase in crime. This causes growing racial intolerance at all levels. People are frustrated by the lack of change in inter-racial relations, which has led to a new round of racial violence.

The most striking example of the exacerbation of racial conflict is the situation prevailing around so-called police violence. Every case of the killing of an unarmed African American in recent years becomes an occasion for demonstrations, which very often degenerate into riots. The new mass protest movements are thriving and growing in influence, aided by social media. For example, “Black Lives Matter,” which is compared to the ‘Black Panthers’ of the 70s. Despite the lack of talented leaders and clear programs, in such associations, their ongoing radicalization is evident. That was demonstrated by the riots in Ferguson of 2014 and the case of the murder of police officers in Baton Rouge.

The indignation of the colored population at police actions is justified. The level of police violence in the United States is quite high. It is known that American cops kill 5 times more people than Canadian police, 40 times more than German police, and 140 times more than  police in England and Wales.

All segments of the American population are suffering from a disproportionate use of force by police. According to the resource “Mapping police violence”, from the 1st of  January, 2013 to the 31st of December 2015, 3,486 people were killed by police, or approximately 1100 people per year. Of these, 571 were Hispanic (16%), 949 African-American (27%) and 1522 (43%) were White. These figures must be compared to the fact that Whites are 64% of the US population, African-Americans are 13% of the overall population, while 16% are Hispanic. However, the divergent behavior of the white population is much rarer due to a higher level of income and social stability.Of course, most of those killed by police were carrying weapons, and the lives of the policemen were in danger. But it is generally thought that US cops are more willing to open fire on people of color, because the policemen believe that the level of criminality and readiness for violence of Hispanics and African Americans is much higher. Additional factors which lead to an increase in racial tensions are racial prejudices and the established practice of cops consistently being acquitted by the U.S. court system.

Largely because of the actions of the US ruling elites, there now exists a group of people who are above the law whose members have a license to kill. Shooting at unarmed people, including children and teens, beating of pregnant women, shooting at people with disabilities and other “controversial” actions of American cops all are commonplace occurrences in the United States. The Members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted that in the United States there exists such inhumane methods as testing experimental medicines on inmates (predominantly African American) in prisons, the forced sterilization of minority women, and numerous incidents of police abuse of power directed towards the non-white population. However, the increased use of cameras amongst both the civilian population and police departments has facilitated increasingly frequent recordings of such cases of violence and has helped in gaining them publicity. That increased awareness that, in turn, has led to the outrage of the African-American population.

Many US police forces continue to subject African Americans to more thorough searches and more forceful tactics during arrests. Unofficially, they explain these practices by referring to statistical data presented by such sources as American Renaissance and Daily Stormer. For example, blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery. They are also three times more likely to use a hand gun, and twice more likely to use a knife. A number of police officers believe that “special attention” to African American citizens improves crime detection rates. However, it has a significant impact on the rise in police dissatisfaction. Although the number of attacks on police and their killings has declined in recent years, experts explain it by the fact that US police are increasingly avoiding “black” neighborhoods, where they can be particularly vulnerable.

Moreover, a large part of the US population is puzzled with the public position of President Obama who invariably condemns the actions of the police and grieves for the black victims of police violence, but is silent about the cases of murder of police officers in the course of discharging their official responsibilities. Such a situation leads to an increase in real crime, which is not reflected in official statistics. We should not forget that the number of firearms in the United States recently surpassed the number of inhabitants and according to various estimates there are more than 320 million guns in the US, of which more than 270 million are in the hands of the civilian population. Therefore, a further escalation of violence in the American society, at any time, can lead to very dire consequences.

In general, ethnic tensions peaked since the beginning of the Barack Obama presidency. Thus, according to the official FBI statistics, in 2015 the number of white-on-black murders and vice versa reached their highest levels in 2008. The number of white-on-black murders has increased by 12%, while the number of black-on-white murders increased 22%.

According to the report of the Chair-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent Ricardo III Sunga (Philippines), the US maintains “structural racism”. It is a correct assessment of the situation. Despite the fact that the police officers are under the special protection of the state, laws aimed at fighting race discrimination, have the opposite effect of reverse discrimination, harming ordinary Americans. The use of unofficial, but very real quotas for the appointment of people of color at schools and businesses sometimes does not allow qualified “white” experts to get jobs or promotion. In case of conflicts of a civil nature between people with different skin color, they are usually subjected to racial profiling. At the same time, public opinion and the Supreme Court often find themselves on the side of national minorities.

On the other hand, the US still has a low level of political representation of ethnic minorities. As of November 2015, there have been a total of 1,963 members of the United States Senate, but only nine have been black, including Barack Obama. Out of 10,884 US Representatives, only 131 have been black. At present, there are no black governors at all. This lack of political representation also leads to more social tension.

No improvement has been observed during the final year of the first US African American presidency, instead, considerable aggravation of interracial conflict has been noted, to the point of it becoming one of the most dangerous threats to homeland security. Obama failed to cope with social problems, although he managed to stabilize the economy following the crisis. Still, 27% of African Americans continue to live below the poverty line, an average of 12% do not have steady employment. In some cities this figure reaches 40% and even as high as 50%. The level of culture, education and labor skills is also low. All this leads to an increase in crime among African Americans, and thus foments racist sentiment in society at large. This also leads to an exacerbation of black on black crime. For example, in Chicago, over the past 3 years, 75% of murder victims are young black males and 72% of murder perpetrators are also young black males. Social conditions in such places are affected by the fact that a large percentage of children grow up in broken homes.

As far as inter-party competition is concerned, it is obvious that in spite of the election of a black president, the Democrats failed to improve the lives of African Americans. Their criticism of the GOP’s harsh race rhetoric in order to attract voters, this is also an attempt to hide the fact they are not interested in changing the status quo. Paradoxically, only Republicans with their strict “law and order” approach are truly interested in the implementation of certain changes. Although the consequences of their policies in the event of capturing the White House, remain to be seen.

Summing up President Obama’s activities in the sphere of interracial relations, we can say that he has not developed a new national idea in order to deal with the problem of racism. US history will remember the first black president not as an idealist fighting for the rights of the oppressed, but as a servant of the ruling white elite and its interests.

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