Hillary Halloween

Posted on October 31, 2016

hillaryhalloweed

Scoopfeed

Thank you to all our Patreon members who submitted ideas. It was a tough decision because there were so many good entries! Tina and I decided on one that included the phrase “I’m Witch Her” — a play on Hillary’s lame slogan, “I’m With Her.”

I decided to make the cartoon extra scary for Halloween, but the prospect of a criminal in the White House truly IS scary. Trump should win in a landslide—especially considering the latest FBI investigation—this time also involving Hillary’s aide Huma Abedin and her ex-husband, Anthony Weiner.

It’s my feeling the only way Hillary can win is if she and her operatives try to rig the election. If the witch Hillary succeeds in corrupting the election itself, it would lead to a lot of anger and protests. Maybe even a revolution.

Crooked Hillary and Bill the rapist are double trouble.

—Ben Garrison

Hillary’ Secret Speeches to Corporate Lobbyists & CEOs

Hillary’ Secret Speeches to Corporate Lobbyists & CEOs

ERIC ZUESSE | 16.10.2016

Hillary’ Secret Speeches to Corporate Lobbyists & CEOs

Wikileaks has recently released what the press refers to as Hillary Clinton’s paid secret speeches to corporations, but that’s a gross mischaracterization of the Wikileaks data-dump, because not a single one of her at least 91 paid secret speeches has been released anywhere. Only excerpts, brief quotations from them, have been released. The Wikileaks dump isn’t of her speeches at all, but instead from the email file and other computer files of her campaign chief, John Podesta, when he told his staff to look through her speeches and send to him brief passages that might be used against Hillary’s campaign if the passages were to leak out prior to the election.

Even Podesta hadn’t read the speeches, and he didn’t select the passages that would he «flagged». The complete file is an 80-page docx document (titled «HWA Speech Flags,» meaning excerpts that might cause problems for Hillary) which file Wikileaks unfortunately failed to convert into the universally available, free-of-charge, and more-easily-usable pdf format. (Wikileaks apparently doesn’t much care about accessibility of the information it leaks.)

Podesta’s staff excerpted only non-incriminating passages, which actually won’t be particularly disturbing to progressives, other than indicating that Hillary proudly self-identifies as being part of the monied elite, not as being part of the masses — and conservatives wouldn’t be at all disturbed at her pro-aristocracy views; they too admire the aristocracy; only progressives (including Sanders supporters) might find such passages disturbing. As I’ll indicate at the end of this article, her speeches actually did contain some seriously incriminating passages, but Podesta’s staff failed to include any of them. Perhaps Podesta’s staff are so conservative that that’s the reason why the far-right-wing things she said in her speeches weren’t flagged by them — Hillary’s blatantly fascist assertions didn’t strike them as being at all controversial.

First, then, from the Wikileaks dump, here are some of the excerpts that I found to be marginally interesting (and nothing, really, in the wikileaked dump, was more than that):

Hillary Clinton Said There Was «A Bias Against People Who Have Led Successful And/Or Complicated Lives,» Citing The Need To Divese Of Assets, Positions, And Stocks.* «SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. Well, you know what [GoldmanSachs then Citigroup] Bob Rubin said about that. He said, you know, when he came to Washington, he had a fortune. And when he left Washington, he had a small – MR. BLANKFEIN [GoldmanSachs head]: That’s how you have a small fortune, is you go to Washington. SECRETARY CLINTON: You go to Washington. Right. But, you know, part of the problem with the political situation, too, is that there is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks. It just becomes very onerous and unnecessary». [Goldman Sachs Builders And Innovators Summit, 10/29/13]

It’s found on page 55 of Podesta’s master-file of all of the excerpts (that’s the docx file).

Hillary Clinton is there opposing the requirement for extremely wealthy people to separate, or otherwise insulate, their wealth from becoming impacted by (grown by) political decisions that they might make while serving as public officials. According to this excerpt, she gave that speech on 29 October 2013. She was implying there that her listeners, if they should decide to leave «the private sector» for «public service» like she has done, oughtn’t be required to sacrifice anything of their existing private income-stream (much less required not to use their public office for enhancing their wealth) — that such personal ‘sacrifice’ should instead be able to be ‘rewarded’ in ways that currently aren’t legal.

She’s implicitly praising both herself and them, as being especially valuable persons, who therefore have an intrinsic right to use their private wealth in any way that they want, not be restrained by ‘unnecessary’ anti-corruption laws, which shouldn’t even exist for such terrific people, who have earned the right to be living «complicated lives». (She speaks in code, which they understand.)

Here’s another excerpt from that speech, and it’s on page 54 of the complete file:

Many of you in this room are on the cutting edge of technology or health care or some other segment of the economy, so you are people who look over the horizon. And coming into public life and bringing that perspective as well as the success and the insulation that success gives you could really help in a lot of our political situations right now.

So: these rich people shouldn’t be required to separate their personal investments from the decisions that they would be making if they were to come to be holding public office (and is she referring to herself there?), but they should be taking advantage of, or exploiting «the insulation that success gives you,» because, somehow, supposedly, it «could really help in a lot of our political situations right now». But does that really make any good sense, from the standpoint of the public? Or is it instead perhaps dangerous to the public?

On page 22 of the complete file, is this:

Hillary Clinton Praised The Increase In Gas And Oil Production In The US, Saying «We Are Now Energy Independent, Something We Have Hoped For And Worked For Over Many, Many Years». In her remarks at Ameriprise, Hillary Clinton said, «And as we speak, Gazprom is attempting to take over other strategic energy infrastructure in Europe. This is pure power politics. And that’s why as secretary of state, starting in March of 2009, I pushed the Europeans to get serious about finding alternative energy sources, and to invest real resources in their infrastructure so they would not be at Putin’s mercy. […]

And we’re in such a great position to do that because of the increase in gas and oil production in our own country, we are now energy independent, something we have hoped for and worked for over many, many years. That gives us tools we didn’t have before. And it also gives us the opportunity not only to invest those resources in more manufacturing and other activities that benefit us directly here at home, but to be a bulwark with our supplies against the kind of intimidation we see going on from Russia». [Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at Ameriprise, 7/26/14]

She elsewhere was pushing Europe to do all that it can to reduce its purchases of oil and gas from Russia. On page 25:

Hillary Clinton Began Urging Europe To Be More Energy Independent And Pushing For »A More Competitive Marketplace For Energy». «HILLARY CLINTON: [On Putin] Secondly, the effort to undermine the market in oil and gas and commodities goes right at the source of Russia’s wealth. When I was Secretary I cannot say I saw this coming, but what I saw was that in 2006 in January he cut off gas to Eastern Europe. I think like a dozen people froze to death in Poland. He did it again in 2009, primarily focused on Ukraine. He has used his energy weapon to intimidate Europe. And starting in 2009 I began having conversations with the Europeans that they had to do more to be more independent and to push for a more competitive marketplace for energy. I formed something called the US-EU Energy Council and began trying to look at what more we could do to really wean people away from Russian supplies. The more we can do that the more difficult it will be for Putin to maintain his hold on leadership, even with his inner circle without changing course». [Hillary Clinton Remarks at Marketo, 4/8/14]

Europe’s main supplier of oil and gas is Russia. The US fracking companies, including especially the majors, would benefit by Europe’s importing more of America’s oil and gas from them, less from Russia. Also, US companies work with, and could build pipelines for, oil and gas from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait, all of which royal families are likewise anti-Russian, which means pro-American-aristocracy. Hillary is making clear to her financial supporters, that she’s on their side, against Russia. She portrays «a dozen people frozen to death in Poland» referring actually to a situation where Russia’s gas supplies through Ukraine had been halted due to Ukraine’s demanding even bigger price-discounts than Russia already was granting to them, but her listeners are anti-Russian and she is bonding with them. Then, on page 38 is this, likewise assuming that when the stockholders of US-based companies benefit, the United States is necessarily benefiting — in other words: assuming that the interests of America’s corporate owners are necessarily identical to the interests of ‘America’:

Hillary Clinton: «I Visited The Boeing Design Center In Moscow… I Made The Case That Boeing’s Jet Set The Global Gold Standard». «In 2010, President Obama set a target of doubling America’s exports over five years, and at the State Department I made export promotions a personal mission. So as I traveled the world on behalf of our country, I did everything I could to go to bat for American companies trying to break into new markets and compete on a level playing field. It took me to some really interesting places, particularly now with all the problems we’re seeing with Russia and President Putin. Back in 2009, when Dmitri Medvedev was actually president, I visited the Boeing Design Center in Moscow, because Boeing had been trying to secure a contract for new planes with the Russians. And I made the case that Boeing’s jet set the global gold standard. And after I left, our embassy kept at it, and in 2010 Russians agreed to buy 50 737s for almost $4 billion, which translates into thousands of American jobs». [Hillary Clinton Remarks at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Convention, 4/10/14]

She was there equating the interests of America’s big exporters — that’s to say the large international corporations that are headquartered in the US — as constituting the interests of «America». «As I traveled the world on behalf of our country,» she was saying there that ‘our country’ was people like themselves — the major executives and stockholders in US international corporations, and their lobbyists. That’s the Wall Street view of ‘America’. But if she had been selling Medvedev planes that were made in America by American workers but for Airbus or another non-US-owned-and-run company, then would Wall Street, and Hillary Clinton, equally think that to be patriotic, or «on behalf of our country»? Clearly: she is equating the United States with the owners and top executives of corporations, instead of with the workers, or the consumers. No wonder, then, that her entire career has been financed by Wall Street — her viewpoint is consistently theirs. She doesn’t have to say that it’s true; she displays that it’s true, regarding her mindset. But she speaks it in code, because saying such things in direct language doesn’t sound nearly so kosher, much less pretty.

On page 60, she pretends that she had no awareness at all of the coup that weeks earlier overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine, for whom 75% of Crimeans and 90% of Donbass residents had voted — the February 2014 coup that her own State Department (including her close friend Victoria Nuland) had started preparing inside the US Embassy in Ukraine by no later than 1 March 2013, which was a year before the coup itself culminated; the coup that included a massacre by US-hired mercenaries of the racist Right Sector, against Crimeans who had demonstrated peacefully against the overthrow; she pretended utter ignorance about it all, and alleged that instead it was Putin — not she and Obama — who was copying Hitler by invading an independent country (in this case Ukraine, by means of that bloody Kiev coup):

Hillary Clinton Stated What She Said Yesterday Is That Claims By Putin And Other Russians That They Had To Go Into Crimea Was Reminiscent Of Germany In The 1930s. »What I said yesterday is that the claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into Eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities. And that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere throughout Europe. So I just want everybody to have a little historic[al — she’s so illiterate that she uses «historic» when she actually means historical] perspective. I’m not making a comparison, certainly, but I am recommending that we, perhaps, can learn from this tactic that has been used before». [03052014 HWA Remarks at UCLA.DOC, p. 19]

Finally, and not at all included in the Wikileaks dump, there was a reporter who, unlike the people on the Clinton campaign staff, did happen to obtain access to, and find to be shockingly fascist, not merely one thing but two things that that reporter actually heard her deliver, and made note of at that time, when he managed to sneak into the particular event where Hillary was giving that particular speech. This occurred at the Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in San Diego, on 25 June 2014, a $225,000 speech that she was giving to lobbyists for GMO firms, a speech that ended up being excerpted-from in just two brief and innocuous excerpts in the Wikileaks dump, but that actually — based upon what the local newspaper reporter heard and transcribed from it — contained far worse in it than Podesta’s ‘researchers’ found and reported to him. As I wrote summarizing the matter, in my own article about this speech, two years after the speech, on 26 June 2016:

In other words: As President, she would aim to sign into law a program to provide subsidies from US taxpayers to Monsanto and other biotech firms, to assist their PR and lobbying organizations to eliminate what she says is «a big gap between the facts and what the perceptions are» concerning genetically modified seeds and other GMOs. In other words: she ignores the evidence that started to be published in scientific journals in 2012 showing that Monsanto and other GMO firms were selectively publishing studies that alleged to show their products to be safe, while selectively blocking publication of studies that — on the basis of better methodology — showed them to be unsafe. She wants US taxpayers to assist GMO firms in their propaganda that’s based on their own flawed published studies, financed by the GMO industry, and that ignores the studies that they refuse to have published. She wants America’s consumers to help to finance their own being poisoned by lying companies, who rake in profits from poisoning them.

The original 25 June 2014 article about the speech, written by reporter Ken Stone in the Times of San Diego, was appropriately titled, «Hillary Clinton Cheers Biotechers, Backing GMOs and Federal Help». It makes clear that she really does feel that Americans should be subsidizing, not resisting, the GMO foods industry, and that Americans even should be subsidizing those corporations’ propaganda, so as to boost those companies’ sales to America’s consumers.

Hillary’s top donor for 2016 is Paloma Partners, advisors to Wall Street. Previously, her top contributors were virtually all of Wall Street. She has all the right support, from all the far-right people, irrespective of their political Party. She is expecting the American public to tag along behind them. Current polls suggest that they probably will.

Nasser Kandil: 60 minutes On Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon

ستون دقيقة مع ناصر قنديل 19 6 2015

 مع الحدث | المحامي انطوان نصر الله | المنار

حوار اليوم : سالم زهران | NBN 20.6.2015

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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

Secret CIA report provided by WikiLeaks to Al-Akhbar admits to failure of ‘targeted killings’

Screenshot of the cover page of the ‘CIA Review of High-Value Target Assassination Programs’ report, released on December 18, 2014. Image credit: WikiLeaks
Published Thursday, December 18, 2014
A secret CIA review by the Office of Transnational Issues on the use of High-Value Targeting (HVT) – in other words, capture and killing of important enemy military targets for the United States – as part of an overall counterinsurgency strategy has been released by WikiLeaks. It is the first in a series of leaks regarding the CIA, and was obtained by Al-Akhbar English. The review is a small peak into the rational and planning of the US’ counter-insurgency tactics, and reveals that these policies persist despite their failure.
The 18-page study titled, “Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Tool,” and distributed on June 7, 2009, is labeled as Secret//NOFORN, meaning that it has the second-highest classified categorization – considered a serious threat to US national security if leaked – and is strictly off limits to foreign nationals.
The study provides an overall assessment of the use of HVT, relying “on clandestine and defense attache reporting, discussions with HVT practitioners, a CIA-sponsored study on HVT operations in counterinsurgencies, and our review of current and historical case studies.” [pg. iii]
Essentially, it is a tiny glimpse into the logic and reasoning within the American intelligence organization of programs involving assassination, kidnapping, and other tactics to eliminate military opponents.
According to the study, HVT is defined as:
[F]ocused operations against specific individuals or networks whose removal or marginalization should disproportionately degrade an insurgent group’s effectiveness. The criteria for designating high value targets will vary according to factors such as the insurgent group’s capabilities, structure, and leadership dynamics and the government’s desired outcome. [pg. 1]

What is notable in terms of the CIA’s own assessment of these case studies is the admission by the authors that the least successful HVT operations involve countries that the US and its close ally Israel have occupied or are currently at war with.

At first glance, the photo used on the front page of the report portraying military images with a dash of Orientalism cannot be ignored. It is a collage of bearded men with guns, a white man riding a camel, military men in full gear, and an army man facing a tank.
The study’s language and format are akin to those generally used in corporate documents. There is great care not to use the words “assassination,” or “killing,” and other similar terms to denote the practice. Moreover, there is no in-depth account of the historical, political, and social contexts that are at play in the conflicts referred to in the study. The latter is firmly from a state-military perspective, and it builds its review from that standpoint.
In terms of case studies, the review relies on the experiences of eight countries: the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (2001 – to present), France’s war against Algerian independence (1954 –62), Colombia’s war against the ultra-left wing militia the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the US and Iraqi government’s military campaigns against the Iraqi resistance (2004 – present), Israel’s war on different Palestinian resistance organizations (1972 – present), Peru’s war with the communist Shinning Path (1980-99), the UK’s war with Northern Ireland’s Irish Republican Army (1969-98), and Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers (1983-2009). The review also notes that it relied on additional examples from Russia’s war with Chechnya, US strikes on armed groups in Libya and Pakistan, and Thailand’s fight against southern secessionists.
What is notable in terms of the CIA’s own assessment of these case studies is the admission by the authors that the least successful HVT operations involve countries that the US and its close ally Israel have occupied or are currently at war with. Israel, in particular, scored the lowest, with its HVT program labeled as “limited” in its contribution of a “counter-insurgency success.”
The review does not go into the details of the program’s failures, but for anyone well-versed in the more than half a century of incremental genocide of the Palestinians by Israel, the answer is starkly clear.
What is telling is that other case studies that include US involvement, like Iraq and Afghanistan, and France’s attempt to maintain hold of Algeria in the 1950s are also deemed less successful. The lesson, one that seems to have not been part of the authors’ calculations, is that these specific cases involve issues of self-determination, decolonization, and struggles for liberation from foreign control. It is not simply a matter of failed HVT practices, but is linked to issues that are far deeper, and more essential.
’Potential Strategic Effects of HVT Operations’
In discussing the use of HVT, the study states that:
“Civilian and military leaders of governments fighting insurgencies have often turned to high-value targeting (HVT) operations to achieve objectives such as damaging an insurgent group by depriving it of effective direction and experience, deterring future guerrilla actions by demonstrating the consequences, demoralizing rank-and-file members, promoting perceptions of regime viability in providing security, and imposing punishments for past acts.”
Both potential “positives” and “negatives” of the practice were highlighted by the review. In terms of positives, the authors of the review notes,
“Potential positive effects of HVT operations include eroding insurgent effectiveness, weakening insurgent will, reducing the level of insurgent support, fragmenting or splitting the insurgent group, altering insurgent strategy or organization in ways that favor the government, and strengthening government morale and support.” [pg. 1]
On the other hand, the negatives include
“increasing insurgent support, causing a government to neglect other aspects of its counterinsurgency strategy, provoking insurgents to alter strategy or organization in ways that favor the insurgents, strengthening an armed group’s popular support with the population, radicalizing an insurgent group’s remaining leaders, and creating a vacuum into which more radical groups can enter.” [pg. 1]

Most glaringly, not once throughout the whole assessment is there any consideration of how HVT impacts or violates international law, or domestic US law, or the laws of war.

Most glaringly, not once throughout the whole assessment is there any consideration of how HVT impacts or violates international law, or domestic US law, or the laws of war. Not once is the death of civilians, dubbed “collateral damage,” emphasized as a major matter of concern in this practice.
The effectiveness and consequences of these capture or killing programs, according to the authors of the study, are based on a number of variables within both government and non-state organizations.
In terms of non-state organizations, or in the words of the study, “insurgent” or “terrorist” groups, factors that affect the viability of surviving assassinations or capture that is usual of HVT programs include:
  • the groups’ structure, whether it is centralized or decentralized,or if it is led by leaders who “posses a rare combination of initiative, charisma, strategic vision, and communications skills” [pg. 4]
  • the groups’ “succession planning, breadth and depth of military and political competence, and ability to elevate promising commanders through their ranks” [pg. 4]
  • the level of visibility, in which “[t]he loss of visible public figures” that could create “wider psychological repercussions than the loss of underground leaders” [pg. 4]
  • the “life cycle” of a group, where its initial or declining stages makes it more vulnerable to HVT
  • the groups’ “unifying cause, deep ties to its constituency, or a broad support base can lessen the impact of leadership losses by ensuring a steady flow of replacement recruits” [pg.4]
  • or whether a non-state military group has access to internal or external sanctuaries.
For states, the factors that impact HVT programs, according to the CIA review, is predicated on:
  • the “duration and intensity of HVT operations,” where in “extensive and protracted” operations are deemed more effective than “short or inconsistent” ones [pg.5]
  • the “choice of HVT method” based off of “culture and the likelihood of collateral damage” to shape strategies that include “using psychological operations to marginalize them, or conducting kinetic strikes,” and are then adapted to fit a “functional approach” – ie “targeting aimed at logistics or financial” – or “pruning approach” that could “stunt an organization’s growth, interrupt sources of supply, or isolate portions of an insurgent network” or could “remove effective midlevel leaders, protect incompetent leaders or restore them to positions of authority, separate insurgent personalities from potential sources of government sponsorship, or protect human sources that are collecting intelligence on the networks” [pg. 5]
The use of the term “pruning” garners a moment’s pause by the reader. It is an example of the dehumanizing terms and expressions used against targets that are common in these reports. In this case, the term “pruning” for a process of gradually killing off ‘targets’ is almost presented as a light-hearted form of gardening. It is a terrifying notion that lives of human beings, even if they are armed, is compared to the selective removal of parts of a plant.
’Best [killing] practices’
The end of the review provide a “best practices” guideline on how to conduct HVT operations.
It states that since
“HVT operations can have unforeseen effects, such as empowering radical leaders” therefore success is most likely “when governments are clear about the desired impact on the insurgent group’s trajectory.” [pg. 6]
It further states that success also relies on a government’s ability to have
“a deep understanding of the targeted group’s internal workings and specific vulnerabilities, which is usually gained by penetrating the group or debriefing defectors.” [pg.6]
“Social, ethnic, or ideological differences among leaders and members and within leadership groups offer vulnerabilities to exploit,” it adds.
Moreover, the review cautions that “best practices” in terms of assassinations or capture of highly-valued targets is based on “how well a government conducts the other military and nonmilitary elements of its counterinsurgency campaign … that shapes the HVT programs’ contributions to overall counterinsurgency success,
” as well as “[d]irecting HVT operations against the most violent and extremist leaders may increase the likelihood of an eventual political settlement,” and by “[e]xacerbating or exploiting leadership fissures, for example by co-opting disaffected insurgent leaders, can be as effective as targeting a group’s leadership militarily.” [pg. 7]
What is remarkable about the problematic “best practices” guidelines presented here in July 2009, is that a mere few months later the US decided to expand its drone policy, especially in Pakistan, in December 2009. The result of that policy since is the deaths of nearly 900 civilians, of which almost 200 are children, in Pakistan – according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism – immense anti-American sentiment in the region, and the growth of armed groups like the Pakistan Taliban and others in Afghanistan. From 2009 to 2010 alone, drone strikes on Pakistan doubled in number, from 52 CIA drone strikes to 128.

What is remarkable about the problematic “best practices” guidelines presented here in July 2009, is that a mere few months later the US decided to expand its drone policy, especially in Pakistan, in December 2009.

 The outcome of such “counterinsurgency strategies” is grim when taking into account Yemen, Somalia, and other places in which US death squads and drone strikes are in use.
Similarly, the American policies in Iraq, which seemed to have ignored much of the guidelines, have facilitated the growth of more radical militant organizations like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and have allowed sectarianism and governmental abuses in the country to flourish. In light of the report’s clear recommendation to have goals to ensure HVT’s success, and considering the US’ current campaign against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria, which is murky and lacks specific aims, the outcome can be predicted to be as disastrous as its other campaigns against militant groups.
Even if we were to assume the US has the legitimacy to carry out such operations, and that its targets do indeed pose a threat to the security of the US and its allies, the question remains: why do US political and military authorities continue to use tactics that its own agents admit are failing their intended purpose?
The current scandal over the US Senate report on the continued brutal use of torture by the CIA, despite the fact that numerous experts and military and intelligence personnel have stated that torture does not work, presents an obvious symbol of the inherent problems of US policy-making. Incompetence, personal and commercial interests, politics, and xenophobia within US political, intelligence, and military sectors, among other factors, seem to be the main drivers behind these failed tactics. US policy makers’ inability and lack of will to reverse these policies ensure that they will fail in the future and continue to pose a threat to the security of civilians in targeted states.
Yazan is a senior writer for Al-Akhbar English. Follow him on Twitter: @WhySadeye
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Ibrahim al-Amin’s full speech before the STL

Al-Akhbar editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin speaks to Al-Jadeed from his office after walking out of his STL hearing. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
Published Thursday, May 29, 2014
Editor’s note: The following statement is the full version of a speech prepared by Al-Akhbar‘s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin to be delivered to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Thursday during a preliminary session into the charges leveled against him and the newspaper. Amin only read about half the speech to the court. The court’s contempt judge Nicola Lettieri interrupted Amin during his statement, drawing a rebuke from Amin who has called on the judge to publicly apologize.
To the Honorable Judge Nicola Lettieri,
My presence here is not the result of my own free will, but is rather more akin to the execution of an arrest warrant. This is because your court professes, on the one hand, to respect the standards of justice, while neglecting, at the same time, the most basic of procedures that are required for the holding of a fair trial.
I have previously expressed to you my reservations regarding any rulings that might be issued concerning me by your court, and I reiterate, today, that I do not acknowledge the legitimacy of this tribunal. This is an institution that was created by the United Nations Security Council – the body that has never guaranteed the safety of the World.
Slightly over a hundred kilometers from here is a land called Palestine, whose people is the only population in the world that remains deprived of the right to self determination.
All forms of crimes are committed against the Palestinian people and this “Security Council” never acts; international tribunals are never created in order to prosecute Zionist war criminals. How then can any rational and educated person, who respects human rights trust the decisions of the UN Security Council?
This tribunal’s mandate is restricted to a single case of political assassination and was not referred to other existing international tribunals, because this case does not have the required elements to be referred to such international tribunals. However, the Security Council established this tribunal as a political tool.
I hereby remind you that, recently, and after the first steps to establish such tribunal were taken, Israel committed a massacre resulting in the death of 1,300 Lebanese within 30 days in July 2006. Impunity prevails in this case. Neither the Security Council nor any international legal body held Israel accountable.
During the past year alone, horrible massacres and crimes against humanity were committed by car bomb attacks targeting Lebanese citizens just because of their sectarian identity, and no one was held accountable. And I note here that the killers and criminals are backed by some Lebanese, regional and international groups that support this tribunal.
How would you expect us to trust the Security Council and its decisions or its various tribunals?
This tribunal was established in the dark. It was established against the Lebanese constitutional and legal principles. Even its funding is made secretly without the approval of the concerned authorities.
2359881892_a698712Your tribunal was established as part of a political process that started with the formation of international investigative commissions to look into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. We all know that the local, regional, and international powers that stood behind the establishment of the Special Tribunal are the same ones that are inciting for perpetual wars in my country, against my people, and against my country’s heroic resistance in the face of American, European, and Israeli terrorism.
My presence here today does not signify, in the slightest of ways, that I acknowledge you as an institution that seeks to accomplish justice. To the contrary, my forced presence here is due to my legitimate concern that members of my family, or colleagues in the newspaper that I manage, may be subject to abusive measures by your court regarding a case to which they have no relation. Such measures would only be in fulfillment of the desires of the forces of oppression, in my country, in the region, and in the world.
As for me personally, I care little for any of the actions that you have taken, or that you may yet take, for I do not acknowledge you as legitimate, and I view your court’s entire course of action as a flagrant assault against my freedom and the freedom of the press in my country.
I do not find myself, here, to be in need of a lawyer, or of legal aid of any sort, for I have nothing to say regarding the charges filed against me, the very issuing of which by your court represents a lack of respect for all the international laws guaranteeing human rights and the right to free expression.
My decision to re-publish material that was already published in the press reflects, precisely, the essence of my professional and ethical commitment toward my people, which was – and remains – subjected to the greatest process of deception under the name of justice and the law.

Al-Akhbar Coverage of the STL

All the successive officials that took charge of the dossier of Hariri’s assassination have engaged in evidence-fabrication that may result in the death of innocent people, after having caused the imprisonment of others, in addition to becoming a constant alibi for the massive breach of the privacy of my people. Therefore, I unequivocally reject the accusation filed against me and I view it as void, in form and in substance.
On a different front, and since I am today representing Al-Akhbar newspaper, it is my duty to bring to your attention the fact that it is the only Arab newspaper not to have any links to any oppressive regime in the entire world. And I hereby challenge anyone to prove the existence of any such relationship.
Al-Akhbar, which you are attempting to punish, is a forum that stands in the heart of the battle against political, social, and cultural persecution, in Lebanon, and in all corners of the globe.
It was not a coincidence that one of our own, our colleague Assaf Abu Rahhal, would fall martyr to the bullets of the Israeli army of occupation with nobody among those who support this tribunal, in Lebanon and abroad, lifting a finger to provide him with justice by punishing the murderers.
It is also not a coincidence that this newspaper, whom you threaten with closure, is still subject to political, judicial, and financial litigation by those who support this tribunal in Lebanon, the region, and globally. The Lebanese camp that supports you is incessantly prosecuting Al-Akhbar in front of the judiciary and the executive organs in Lebanon, while its economic team works to deprive Al-Akhbar from advertisement revenues.
Al-Akhbar is a newspaper that is banned throughout the Arab World.
  • Saudi Arabia blocks Al-Akhbar’s website.
  • Qatar is financing the attempts to empty the newspaper of its personnel and employees.
  • The Syrian government rejects our criticisms, so they ban the circulation of Al-Akhbar in Syria, while the criminals among the Syrian opposition threaten us with beheading.
  • France’s Ambassador in Beirut gloats over Al-Akhbar’s imminent closure, as his colleague in the United Nations publicly accuses our correspondent of not being a journalist, but “a security agent.” Why? Simply because we demand the freeing of the international freedom fighter Georges Ibrahim Abdallah who is being held hostage by the French administration – against the decisions of justice and the logic of the law.
Al-Akhbar is a newspaper that is viewed as a threat by the American government after we published the “Wikileaks” cables, which revealed the American conspiracies against our peoples, and the US government is currently attempting to prevent us from publishing the documents that divulge its ongoing espionage against hundreds of millions of individuals.
Al-Akhbar is a newspaper that is described by the government of the Israeli enemy, in its letters to the United Nations, as the mouthpiece of terrorism.
Mr. Lettieri,
My personal experience with your Special Tribunal has been extremely bitter. It began with threats launched by the head of the first Investigation Commission, Detlev Mehlis, and then by his successor, Serge Brammertz, to subject me to meaningless interrogations; not to forget the “friend of the court,” Stéphane Bourgon, who oversaw a selective interrogation. And here I stand today, enduring a similar treatment with you as well, after you refused to grant me my most basic right to know the legal basis of your accusation, and the penalties that could be imposed against the institution that I represent. This entire experience increases my fears regarding the realization of justice.
Based on the above, I have decided to exercise my right to remain silent during the entire proceedings, and I refuse to appoint a lawyer to defend me or the “Akhbar Beirut Company.” I also strongly reject being assigned a lawyer by the tribunal.
Glory to freedom.
Glory to the martyrs of the resistance and to its heroic freedom fighters.
Ibrahim Al-Amin

Al-Akhbar chief: The STL refused to clarify the charges against us

Ibrahim al-Amin (right) gives a press conference regarding his decision to boycott the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on May 29, 2014. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
Published Thursday, May 29, 2014
Updated 8:19 pm: Al-Akhbar‘s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin criticized the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) contempt judge for refusing to clarify the charges brought against him and the newspaper at a press conference Thursday following Amin’s first hearing before the international court.
“We realized that there was a lot of ambiguity regarding the charges against me and in the trial procedures,” Amin said. “We demanded clarifications but we didn’t get any.”
“We were surprised that the judge wanted me to say that I understood the charges against me even though I said they were ambiguous. He insisted that I answer if I’m guilty or not, even though I don’t even understand the charges,” Amin added.
He was referring to charges filed by STL prosecutors related toAl-Akhbar‘s decision in January 2013 to publish the names of 32 prosecution witnesses.
The Hague-based court was ostensibly set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri. But its critics accuse it of being a mere tool for the West and Israel to push their mandates in Lebanon.
The STL last month announced it had charged Amin, deputy director of Al-Jadeed TV Kharma Khayat, and their news organizations with obstruction of justice and contempt.
Prosecutors accuse the journalists of “knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice” by publishing secret information about STL witnesses.
Amin attended his preliminary hearing Thursday via video-link during which he told the court that he does not recognize its legitimacy and therefore would not recognize any charges it files against him or his paper.
During the hearing, STL contempt judge Nicola Lettieri asked Amin if he understood the charges against him. He responded by saying that he did not understand them and has asked for clarification, but that the STL has refused to provide them with further detail.
Lettieri told Amin that he will regard his statement as a “not guilty” plea. Amin said he will not attend any further hearings and that he refuses that the court appoint a counsel to defend him or his paper in the “illegitimate” trial.
“The penalty is unknown. What is the penalty if Amin gets convicted?”, Nizar Saghieh, Al-Akhbar‘s legal adviser asked during Thursday’s press conference.
“This is the first time in an international tribunal that a company is put on trial,” Saghieh, referring to Al-Akhbar said. “What will happen to the newspaper?”
Amin also criticized the judge for cutting him off during his statement before the court when he began talking about the recent wave of car bombs targeting Shia neighborhood in Lebanon.
The judge told him that those details were not relevant to the case.
“How is talking about assassinations, explosions and terrorist attacks in Lebanon irrelevant to the STL? The STL allegedly aims to restore peace and punish the ones threatening stability, but the judge told Amin that bringing up these attacks or the lack of security is not of concern to the court,” Saghieh added.
Amin and Khayat could face up to seven years in jail and a 100,000 euro fine if convicted. But it remained unclear what would happen to their media organizations should the STL find them guilty as this case is without precedent.
(Al-Akhbar)
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