Posts tagged ‘human rights’

January 27, 2016

Iceland Boycotts Israel

by mkleit

Source
By Stephen Lendman

The whole world needs to follow Iceland’s lead. Its capital City of Reykjavik no longer will buy products made in Israel.

 

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Map of Iceland

 

Its city council voted for boycott as long as it continues occupying Palestinian territory – a bold act deserving high praise, perhaps inspiring greater numbers of cities worldwide to follow suit, then maybe countries if enough effective popular resistance against its viciousness materializes.

Petitions in Britain and America to arrest Netanyahu attracted growing thousands of ordinary people – expressing justifiable anger against an apartheid state brutalizing Palestinians for not being Jewish.

Reykjavik Social Democratic Alliance councilwoman Bjork Vilhelmsdottir introduced the motion to boycott – her last action before retiring from politics, expressing support for long-suffering Palestinians, recognizing their self-determination right, free from Israeli oppression.

Left Green Alliance governing coalition member Soley Tomasdottir expressed hope Reykjavik’s action will be a step toward ending Israel’s illegal occupation. Boycotting other countries guilty of human rights abuses may follow, she said.

By acting, “we as a city council, even though we are a small city in the far north, are doing what we can to put pressure on the government of Israel to stop the occupation of Palestinian territory,” she told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV.

Israel reacted as expected. “A volcano of hatred is erupting in the Reykjavik city council,” blustered foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

“There is no reason or justification for this move, besides hate itself, which is being heard in the form of calls for a boycott against Israel, the Jewish state,” he added.

“We hope that someone in Iceland will wake up and stop this blindness and one sidedness which is aimed against the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.”

The move is largely symbolic, yet another BDS success. Its web site highlighted “a decade of effective solidarity with Palestinians,” citing the following:

 

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BDS activists in Iceland – Reuters

 

A UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report shows year-over-year direct foreign investment in Israel declined 46% in 2014.

UNCTAD’s Ronny Manos said “(w)e believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing.”

French transnational company Veolia failed to win major contracts across Europe and in other countries because of its involvement in Israeli human rights abuses.

The University of Johannesburg cut ties to Israel’s Ben-Gurion University in response to boycott calls from 400 South African academics. Three-fourths of London’s SOAS University academics and students voted to back BDS.

Growing numbers of entertainers refuse to perform in Israel. Many academics decline to lecture there or participate in Israeli conferences. Thousands of professionals and activists support culturally boycotting Israel.

Over 30 US student associations and 11 in Canada voted to support BDS. Israel’s largest defense company Elbit Systems lost a major Brazilian contract. SodaStream closed its settlement factory.

The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest organization involved in the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history. It voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

Kuwait boycotted 50 companies profiting from Israel’s occupation. The African National Congress declared support for BDS. Sao Paulo Festival organizers ended a sponsorship arrangement with Israel.

Major European banks divested from Israeli companies. Community actions blocked Israeli ships from docking at world ports.

 

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Gazan boy stand in front of destroyed house due to israeli bombs in last war over Gaza

 

Israeli exporters are experiencing sales declines in Europe. Chile suspended a trade agreement with Israel following its summer 2014 Gaza aggression.

US churches are divesting from companies involved in Israel’s occupation. Its state owned Mekorot water company lost contracts in Argentina, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Over 500 European academics called for EU nations to boycott Israeli settlement products. Growing numbers of European city councils support BDS.

Citing Israeli “state terrorism,” Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic ties. Norway refuses to sell it weapons.

These and numerous other examples of BDS effectiveness show growing world outrage against daily Israeli crimes too horrific to ignore, including against young Palestinian children.

They’re terrorized, brutalized, or murdered in cold blood. Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) reported around 2,000 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in the past 15 years.

It blamed Israel’s “hyper-militarized environment” – calling its summer 2014 Operation Protective Edge a war on Gazan children. Over 550 died – 68% under age 12.

It blasted Israel’s judicial system for denying Palestinian children basic rights. It said conditions won’t improve until occupation ends.

Global BDS activism is the single most effective campaign against Israeli lawlessness. It hits hard where it hurts most – economically, as well as exposing its phony image as a democratic state. It highlights its apartheid viciousness.

September 2, 2015

The Syrian kid who killed the world

by mkleit

The body of a Syrian migrant child was washed ashore on a beach after a boat carrying 12 migrants heading to Greece sank off the coast of Mugla’s Bodrum district, Turkey on September 02, 2015.

and these images summarize the saddest story in history.

The boy was part of a group of 11 Syrians who drowned in the coastal town of Bodrum in Turkey

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July 14, 2015

Yemen: A Voice in the Wilderness

by mkleit

“Yemeni people are not bad people, they are good people. They want to be respected, they want their sovereignty to be respected. We did not wage a war, a war was brought upon us. Our issue was an internal one and it would have been sorted out internally”

Hanan al-Harazi, her mother and her 8 year old daughter fled Yemen 10 days after the first bombs started to tear holes in her beloved country. Hanan’s daughter had begun to present the early signs of PTSD and for her sanity, the family decided to split itself down the middle, leaving Hanan’s husband behind in Yemen with his family and her two brothers. Hanan brings us a moving and powerful insight into the events leading up to the present devastation of Yemen at the hands of their Saudi oppressors and their imperialist allies.

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

Vanessa Beeley: When did you leave Yemen?

Hanan al-Harazi: I think we were in Yemen for almost 10 days after the bombing started and then there was a rocket attack on our immediate neighbourhood, very close to where we lived. After this, my daughter developed urinary incontinence and a sudden fear of any loud sound. Recently, I was looking for her for over an hour and I eventually found her hiding in the closet because she had heard an aircraft flying overhead. It will take decades to erase this trauma from her memory. I can’t even imagine what the other children still in Yemen have been going through after almost 103 days of continuous air raids. It is devastating.

V: How old is your daughter?

H: She is turning 9 in August. I used to work at a school so I know that children are not able to express themselves in words as well as adults.

I just gave her a piece of paper and I told her to write down her feelings. It was heart-breaking for me to read the pain and suffering in those baby words. A few days later, it’s the same thing, all she can draw or paint are jets bombing her country, really sad images. I know that the sun represents something really positive in a child’s life but when you have a child depicting a crying sun with a sad face, it should really pass a powerful message to the world.

We were lucky enough to have foreign passports that meant we could leave Yemen.Nobody is issuing visas to Yemeni nationals so this means 23 million people trapped inside a country that is being mercilessly and indiscriminately bombed with complete disregard for civilian life.

V: There are reports that state over 80% of the population are now enduring a humanitarian crisis. Is this figure realistic?

H: Absolutely! There is a catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Yemen. My fear is that if the blockade is not lifted we are going to witness something horrific by all standards. You are talking about a population of which almost 60% are living below the poverty line. They don’t know how to secure the next meal and this was when their world was “ok” and not in a state of war. I would say the few people who had jobs have lost them and food prices have rocketed. The capital may have slightly better facilities than some outlying areas but even there, the water is now contaminated and the cost of bottled water has trebled in price. I have no idea how people are coping.

Food is still available in the markets but supplies are sparse. Once these supplies do run out, Yemen will starve. We produce very little food in Yemen itself, the majority of foodstuff is imported so the movement of goods is essential to our survival. The blockade will ensure that we cannot survive. There has been a tiny trickle of aid via certain aid groups and NGOs but this has only reached hardest hit areas like Aden, leaving entire swaths of the country without food, water or medical facilities. The cumulative effects will be horrendous and the Humanitarian crisis will be crippling.

V: I am assuming that KSA [as Israel did in Gaza] is targeting Yemen’s infrastructure in order to destroy the civilian ability to survive this onslaught.

H: Yes absolutely. If you look back to yesterday, the events in Amran and Lahj, they have targeted food markets and livestock markets. More evidence of the coalition determination to starve the people of Yemen. The livestock constitutes part of our minimal domestic produce, so this is a deliberate destruction of the civilian ability to survive. The footage that is coming out shows that they are targeting civilian areas, schools have been hit, stadiums, sports facilities, you name it. They have hit everything. They are saying they are only targeting military centres. Perhaps in the beginning this was true. Over the last few weeks we have seen far more random & intense bombing of civilian sites.

The Ansarullah movement is pretty much part of the Yemeni fabric, the Yemeni society. They don’t carry any markings or insignia to distinguish them from the local population so it is beyond ridiculous to say that they are hitting only Ansarullah targets in a city like Sanaa, that has a population of 3 million people .The civilian death toll is way higher than if they were only targeting Ansarullah operatives.

Doctor holds bomb-surviving three-days-old girl in Sanaa, Yemeni capital

Doctor holds bomb-surviving three-days-old girl in Sanaa, Yemeni capital

V: In your view is there any alternative to resisting this attack on Yemen? Is there an option for surrender and negotiation?

H: Look, I will speak for myself and for a lot of people in Yemen. The question of Yemen’s sovereignty has always been uppermost in Yemeni minds and this led to the 2011 revolution to get rid of our long- time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh because we knew he was largely a Saudi puppet. He was pushing the Saudi agenda in Yemen and giving it priority over the interests of the country. During this time many people lost their livelihoods and their lives and most of the major cities caught up in the revolt, came to a standstill for a while.

We have not come this far only to have another Saudi puppet government in place in Yemen. If this continues we no longer have an identity. Yemeni people are not bad people, they are good people. They want to be respected, they want their sovereignty to be respected. We did not wage a war, a war was brought upon us. Our issue was an internal one and it would have been sorted out internally.

Jamal Benomar, the former UN peace envoy to Yemen stated very openly that the warring factions were actually reaching an agreement before the first bomb hit. “When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis,” said Mr. Benomar, a Moroccan diplomat. Thus it becomes obvious that our aspirations are being sacrificed at the altar of Imperialist greed and ambition.

V: We are seeing this across the region, these internal attempts at reconciliation and agreement that are being derailed by the Imperialist agenda and their sectarian propaganda. From what you are saying, this is also happening in Yemen?

H: I can categorically state, there is no sectarian conflict in Yemen. They have been trying to ignite a sectarian war in Yemen but Yemen is one country where we have had Shafi Sunnis and Zaydi Shias praying in the same mosques for hundreds of years. We are a society that is known to intermarry between these two sects. In reality they instigated this territorial war when they wanted to split Yemen into a 6 federal state system. We are tired of having their agenda imposed upon us and being forced to implement it.

I have lived in Yemen for the last 21 years and I never knew that my next door neighbour was a Shafi Sunni or a Zaydi Shia. It was not part of our culture, we never asked. We peacefully coexisted. This balkanisation agenda was the start of the entire problem. Their division was all wrong. They left some areas totally isolated.

The Ansarullah movement and the Southern Separatist movement were both in favour of a confederal state system where Yemen would be divided into north and south existing within a federal state. Most of us were ok with that.

President Hadi [although I hate to call him our President] was pushing the Saudi agenda of the 6 state system. Another thing that a lot of people don’t realise, is that when they divided the 6 state system they purposefully isolated one state called Azal. Azal incorporated many of the Zaydi strongholds, Sadaa, Amran, Sanaa and Dhamar. Azal was left without any resources or any access to the sea. It was blatant imprisonment and suppression of what we would term the “traditional powers” in that area. It was a deliberate attempt to weaken their influence in Yemen.

So Hadi’s plan would have divided Yemen into smaller sectarian states while the Ansarullah plan was more like going back to the boundaries before unity where the south would have greater autonomy over its own internal affairs.

V: How great is the “extremist” threat in Yemen?

H: Let me give you an example. The al-Jauf area has both Sunni and Shia populations and so does Marib and elsewhere. The Zaydi Shias and Shafi Sunnis are both very moderate sects. Yemeni people have no affiliation to the Wahabi sect of Saudi Arabia. Wahabism is alien to Yemen.

We do see certain areas in the South, like Hadramaut which has been in the media lately, parts of which are totally under control of Al Qaeda. The funny thing is, the bombs are falling on the very people that are fighting these extremists. Not a single bomb has been dropped on the extremist strongholds. Even though they know that AQ is in total control of al-Mukalla in Hadramaut and the seaport in that area. That has to be a huge question mark over their true agenda in the region.

The bombing has only achieved one thing and that is to further strengthen these extremist groups in Yemen. I know that in Ansarullah controlled-areas we have the local popular committees that are in charge of security and they have been working round the clock to ensure that the extremist elements are kept at bay. On the battleground their progress has been immensely impeded thanks to the airstrikes that serve as cover for the advancing extremists.

I am not sure if there are any foreign fighters at the moment. I know there are some Saudis, but I am not aware of foreigners from Afghanistan, Chechnya for example. If things escalate I believe we will see many more of these extremists entering Yemen via our borders, yes. Right now the northern borders are secure, apart from Marib where there is heavy fighting going on.

V: How much support are you receiving from Iran?

H: I do not believe that Iran is playing any active role. They support Yemen from a media perspective only. I believe Iran’s “support” is a propaganda ploy to justify hitting Yemen. This war was planned a long time ago, even before Ansarullah moved towards the capital. It becomes very suspicious when you have a president in power and a minority group leaves its stronghold in the northernmost tip of Yemen and moves down towards the capital, Sanaa, in the centre of the country. One city after another in the north falls to them and the president says nothing. Then just as they reach agreement which was the Peace and Partnership Initiative, Hadi suddenly decides that he does not want Ansarullah to have even marginal representation in Government. That was obviously never going to be acceptable, Ansarullah is a force on the ground that must be considered part of the coalition. That is where the conflict originated and that is why they placed Hadi under house arrest because he was following Saudi instructions. Saudi was against the Ansarullah inclusion in Yemen’s government. Then Hadi fled to the south.

My personal take was that the plan was always for Hadi to flee to the south and ask the Saudis for help which justified their bombing of the north of Yemen which has traditionally been the Zaydi stronghold and a thorn in their side. Ansarullah and the army discovered this plan and moved very quickly down to the south and hence you see this widespread bombing in all areas, not just in the north.

As a final point in the analysis of Iran’s role in Yemen. Yemen is a sovereign state and we are free to have bilateral ties with whomsoever we choose. Saudi had a problem with Yemen opening up about 12 flights per week to Iran mainly for bilateral reasons because the rest of the world shut down against Yemen. We have been under Saudi influence for, at least, the last 30 years. Many will say it’s much longer due to Saudi having been implicated in the assassination of President Ibrahim Al Hamdi who was probably the best President that Yemen has ever had.

Yemen’s greatest problems are economic in nature. Saudi never did anything to resolve our economic issues other than putting our leaders on their payroll in order to effectively destroy the country. It’s nearly impossible for a Yemeni to get a visa to travel, even to the UAE.

How can a country flourish when there are so many restrictions upon its people? When Ansarullah came to power our options were reviewed and bilateral ties with Iran were naturally investigated.

Injured kid after Saudi bombing on Talah, in Sada district, northern Yemen

Injured kid after Saudi bombing on Talah, in Sada district, northern Yemen

V: There is a very strong sense of Yemen’s isolation. Even last night 180 Yemeni civilians were massacred in Amran and Lahj yet the media barely mentions it. Is this how you perceive it?

H: Yes. This goes back to decades and decades of isolation. Let me ask this question to the world. The government collapsed in Yemen in September 2014. Can you imagine a country that has gone months and months without a government in place, without a police force, without an army, with a population that does carry arms and with crushing poverty, yet the crime rate is less than “first world” countries like America. Why are these people isolated when they have this inestimable respect for human life? They are an example to the world.

News trickles out via internet, Yemen Today channel and Ansarullah’s channel, al-Masirah. It pains me that people seem to be largely ignoring our suffering, particularly when it is relatively easy to inform themselves these days. For instance, Yemen has had no coverage regarding the internationally banned weaponry that is being used against us. I know that where I work, the area has been decimated. It is an area called Faj Attan a densely populated civilian area where there are shopping areas, thousands of residential homes, schools. How can you use such weapons of mass destruction in an area like this and be exempt from investigation?

V: Are you receiving any help through Oman?

H: Oman appears to have taken a neutral stance, for which I am grateful. The interesting thing is, about a month before the bombing started, I read a report from inside Oman stating that they were preparing for a refugee crisis. They were talking about the possibility of setting up refugee camps on the Yemen/Oman borders. So when the first bombs hit at 1.30 am when we were all asleep, I knew immediately that this had all been pre-planned. Maybe because Oman are part of the Gulf Cooperative [GCC] they had information that something was being prepared against Yemen. I do know that a lot of people have been flown into Oman for treatment, particularly during the suicide bomb attacks on the mosques in Yemen.

V: How is the internet in Yemen? How much electricity or alternative power source is available?

H: People are struggling, there is no power. Can you imagine a country in the 21st century without any power at all? Many people don’t realise that much of the water used in Yemen is pumped from underground reservoirs and so we need diesel or electricity to enable this pumping process, neither of which are available.

From what I hear, electricity is available maybe 40 minutes per week in the capital, Sanaa. There are other areas in the country that have no power at all. We did have this black out problem even before the war but never to this extent. Yes some have generators but black market fuel prices are crippling.

V: You mention WMD. I know there were reports on the use of nuclear bombs. The information coming out of Yemen is sketchy. Do you have any further information or evidence of this claim?

H: I know that 2 of the bombs that were used did produce a nuclear “type” mushroom cloud. Obviously the effects of any radiation will only be seen after time.

Yemen cluster bombs, But even if they did not use nuclear missiles..the weapons they are using are still illegal and devastating. Their use of cluster bombs is well documented, some have failed to detonate and have been photographed on the ground. They have used neutron bombs which generate so much pressure. When my neighbourhood came under attack in first 10 days, the pressure I felt from a relatively distant explosion was terrifying. I had pain in my ears from the pressure draft for weeks afterwards.

The Yemenis were leading normal lives before being suddenly flung into a war zone, its bewildering for everyone. My husband is part of a food distribution network for the poor during Ramadan. He had just gone to deliver some goods to someone in the neighbourhood. Two minutes after he left there were direct rocket hits on this area and this poor man who didn’t even know where his next meal was coming from, was killed. How many more people must die senselessly to serve an Imperialist agenda?

V: Do you have a personal concept of what that Imperialist agenda is?

H: I do not think it is related to Iran despite the propaganda to the contrary. I think we are paying dearly for trying to free ourselves from Saudi slavery. We are paying for our freedom with our lives.

I have been told there are oil and more importantly, gas reserves in al-Jawf which is bordering Saudi Arabia and has been protected by them for years. In 2011 when the people took to the streets demanding a better life, President Saleh was forced to admit its existence publicly for the first time. So we are cursed, we are cursed because we have oil & gas. Every country that has natural resources is cursed and a target of Imperialist intervention.

Saudi Arabia has fostered corruption in Yemen for decades. Ansarullah were committed to ending this poisonous influence on our leaders and this would have countermanded Saudi power in Yemen. When the first bombs hit, the “sold” tribal sheikhs and politicians were seen fleeing to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

V: Would you be able to just elaborate on the situation in Aden and also address why Yemen is so important to Saudi Arabia.

H: Aden is being portrayed by the pro aggression media as being a battle for the legitimacy of Hadi. In 2011 Hadi was the only viable choice to fill the power vacuum. 6 million northerners voted for him while the south actually boycotted elections. This alone should counter the claims that he has legitimacy in the South of Yemen.

In Aden what is happening now is that Hadi has gone back to the South but it has to be made clear that the people of Aden and the surrounding area are not pro Hadi, they are also fighting for their independence and are not pro Saudi aggression.

If you look at a map of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is landlocked. Its only access or lifeline to the outside world is via the Bab-el-Mandeb straits in the south of Yemen and the Straits of Hormuz which are controlled by Iran. Yemen has never attempted to block or to impede movement through the Yemeni controlled Mandeb straits. To be honest I don’t even think that Yemen truly controls this area, it is covertly under the control of the Imperialist nations. Saudi Arabia has a lot of internal turmoil and is brutally crushing its own internal opposition. We would never interfere in Saudi internal affairs but I believe that they fear a strong Yemen. With our new constitution clearly stating that leaders can only have two terms in power, we would be the only republic in the GCC block. In Saudi Arabia, which is a despotic regime, our evolution could threaten the stability of their ruling families.

V: What is the message that you would like to convey to the outside world.

H: My hope right now, apart from a miracle from God, is that there are more good people than bad people in this world and I wish we could reach out to them and tell them, today it is me, tomorrow it is you.

We just want to survive, we want to live. Yemen is not the country it is being portrayed to be. We are not terrorists. We are proud of our culture. We are a peace loving people. Yemen is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. We are being portrayed as savages by a media that is supporting the savaging of our land.

I also have to say I respect Ansarullah for their wisdom and self -restraint especially when our mosques came under attack. Mosques that may have been built by Zaydi but are inclusive of all sects for worship. Ansarullah released a statement instructing people not to be drawn into the foreign conspiracy to ignite sectarian divisions. I feel they genuinely represent millions of Yemeni who are fighting for self-determination and recognition as a sovereign nation.

Surrender is not an option while our own internal peace process is being derailed by external aggression. Saudi Arabia has failed to send in ground troops and they are attempting to bomb us into submission. They see that this will not succeed so they have now imposed this brutal, horrific, cruel, vicious blockade on Yemen in the hope that the Yemeni people will turn against those who are fighting the Saudi invaders. I am proud of the solidarity that my people have shown to one another. Even in a situation like this where they have so few resources they will still take care of their neighbours. We are human beings and we have a right to a decent life.

Yemen is far from perfect but no country in this world is perfect. We did not wage this war, we did not provoke this war. For the first 40 days of the Saudi offensive, Yemen did not fire one bullet towards Saudi Arabia. It is rank hypocrisy from Saudi Arabia to label us the aggressor. It has always been the opposite, Saudi Arabia has always been sending its filthy elements into my country and attempting to spread its disgusting Wahabi ideology. Whether Zaydi or Shafi we will never adopt this distorted, twisted, ugly version of Islam.

I would go so far as to state that Yemen has potential to be a model for true democracy in the Middle East. There are 25 million people who call Yemen, home. We simply ask to be left in Peace. Is that too much to ask?

Two small refugees from Sada district to Houdeida in Yemen

Two small refugees from Sada district to Houdeida in Yemen

This interview first appeared at thewallwillfall.wordpress.com

Vanessa Beeley is a photographer, writer, peace activist and volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. She lived in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defence and again in 2013. In 2014 she established the Gaza Smile Project to raise funds for children in Gaza. She spent her childhood in Egypt with her father, Sir Harold Beeley who was Special Envoy to Cairo during both Suez Crises, confirmed Nasserist and Middle East Advisor to Ernest Bevin. Since 2011, Vanessa has spent most of her time in the Middle East . She was recently invited to be on the steering committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement. Visit her blog thewallwillfall.wordpress.com.

July 1, 2015

Gaza: The hijacking of The Marianne by “The Pirates of the Mediterranean”Map of occupied Palestine

by mkleit

London Progressive Journal

Map of occupied Palestine

Map of occupied Palestine

Piracy:” The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

The “international community” is, it would seem, remarkably selective over piracy.

Concern over Somali pirates was such that foreign navies were sent to protect shipping in international waters. In one incident three alleged pirates were killed and a Somali teenager spirited a way to the US to be tried, whilst eleven others were sent for trial to Kenya.(1)

However, in the early hours of the morning (local time) of 29th June, three Isr aeli Navy ships intercepted and hijacked a Swedish flagged ship, the Marianne av Göteborg on route to Gaza in the State of Palestine (recognized as a State by the United Nations on 30th November 2012 by an overwhelming vote of 138-9, elevating Palestine to Non-Member Observer State – a status bestowed on just one other entity, The Vatican).

The ship was in international waters (approximately one hundred nautical miles off shore) but was boarded, towed by Israeli Navy vessels to Israel’s port of Ashdod. Cameras, computers, mobile phones and belongings h ave been allegedly stolen by those who boarded. It is hoped they will be returned but the track record is not good judging by the lack of return of personal – or any – items, including aid cargo purchased by public donations destined for the people of Gaza, from the numerous previously pirated vessels. The Marianne was carrying a consignment of solar panels for a people whom, for most, a constant electricity supply has become a distant memory

Israel’s territorial waters (in to which the Marianne had no intention of heading) presumably should extend just twelve nautical miles from shore, as laid down in the 1984 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which directs that :

“Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.” They do not extend one hundred nautical miles.

Israel has stated the Marianne was requested to change course a number of times. Israel has no legal right to demand anything of a vessel in international waters

Marianne av Göteborg flotilla

Marianne av Göteborg flotilla

In a mind numbingly schizophrenic communication to the Marianne, the Israeli government wrote:

“There is no blockade on the Gaza Strip, and you are invited to transfer humanitarian supplies through Israel. ”If there is “no blockade”, it has to be asked, why should humanitarian supplies be sent to Israel and why indulge in multiple warship piracy, towing the ship to a foreign country to which it had never intended to travel?

The communiqué ended in regret that the Marianne’s passengers had not chosen to visit Israel where they would have been “impressed” by the democracy upheld by the Jewish state that affords equality and religious freedoms for all its citizens. So they we re forcibly taken there to experience the “freedoms” from the inside of Givon prison, where all but two are currently being held. It is surely a truly mad world in “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Perhaps the government scribe was unaware of the latest of innumerable acts far from resembling democracy or equality , targeting, as ever, children:

“While budget allocations for private Christian schools have steadily shrunk, the private yeshivas serving Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish population have received increased allotments, to the point that the state now covers 100 percent of their budgets. The yeshivas do not teach the Ministry of Education’s core curriculum, and their matriculation rate hovers at a dismal 10 percent.” (2)

Further: “State schools that serve Palestinian citizens of Israel are notoriously underfunded, with a recent report finding that the state allots $1,100 per year per Jewish student versus $192 per Arab student in the state system. No surprise, then, that average matriculation rates at state-run Arab high schools are about 27 percent, compared with 95 percent for the leading Christian schools. What’s more, teachers at state schools in the Arab sector must be vetted by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service. And the schools’ state-mandated curriculum places draconian limitations on teaching Palestinian history and literature.”

However, regarding the Christian schools:

“Last summer, the situation became critical after the ministry set a cap so low on the amount the schools may raise through tuition that they could no longer make up the shortfall caused by the shrinking state budget allocation.

Father Fahim Abdelmasih , the head of the Christian Schools’ Office in Israel, said that six months of negotiating with the Ministry of Education yielded no solution, calling the tuition caps a ‘death sentence’ for Christian schools in Israel.”

So much for equality and religious freedom for all its citizens – and then there is that wall, the segregation roads, the segregation buses, the checkpoints, the travel bans, bombed home repair bans, home demolitions, olive grove arsons, flower, fruit, vegetable export bans – an embargo on all normality.

The passengers of the Marianne currently being “impressed” by Israeli democracy from the inside of Givon Prison are:

Dror Feiler (Sweden) Musician and Composer

Ana Miranda (Spain) Member of the European Parliament

Nadya Kervorkova (Russia) Journalist

Kajsa Ekis Ekman (Sweden) Journalist, Author

Robert Lovelace (Canada) University Professor and retired Algonquin Chief

Joel Opperdoes (Sweden) Crew

Gustave Bergstrom (Sweden)

Herman Reksten (Norway)

Kevin Neish (Canada)

Jonas Karlin (Sweden)

Charlie Andreasson (Sweden)

Ammar Al- Hamdan (Norway) Aljajeera Arabic

Mohammed El Bakkali (Morocco) Aljazeera Arabic

Ohad Hemo (Israel) Channel 2 Israeli TV

Ruwani Perera (New Zealand) Maori TV

Jacob Bryant (New Zealand) Maori TV

Alarmingly , the whereabouts of passengers Dr Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia (2011-2014), and Palestinian politician Bassel Ghattas, a Member of the Israeli Knesset, are unknown at the time of writing.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, binding for one hundred and fifty four nations and the European Union (not yet ratified by the United States) makes “piracy a universal crime and subjects pirates to arrest and prosecution by any nation. ” However, for all the quoting of its fine words here, surprise, Israel has not signed this important, detailed Convention as it has ignored or violated innumerable UN Resolutions (3), starting from the country’s infancy with Resolution 57 of 18th September 1948, which expressed: “deep shock at the assassination of the UN Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, by Zionist terrorists. ”

Marianne's position before being pirated by israeli navy

Marianne’s position before being pirated by israeli navy

No doubt some of the reasons for disregarding the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea can be found in Part 7:

Article 89: No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.

Article 90: Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas.

Article 100: All States shall cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State.

Ironically Somalia was an early signatory to the Convention, signing in 1982, thus can be held accountable. Will accountability ever apply to “the only democracy …” Will the UN, the “international community ” ever demand it?

“The “Pirates of the Mediterranean”, tweeted someone this morning.

What a tragedy that a people who have historically suffered so grievously are being tarred by the actions of a relative few and of the government of Israel, a haven defined by Lord Balfour (2nd November 1917) as : “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine …”

The “existing non-Jewish community” are either exiled, bombed, restricted, or in an open prison. Those who raise money and sail in solidarity are hijacked, put in a closed prison or, as in the case of the Mavi Marmara, murdered.

When will impunity end?

1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8003936.stm

2. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/5/israels-funding-policy-on-christian-schools-spurs-controvery.html

3. http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/01/27/rogue-state-israeli-violations-of-u-n-security-council-resolutions/

June 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia Will Fail in Yemen

by mkleit

Asher Orkaby

Asher Orkaby, PhD, is a research fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and is the author of a forthcoming book, The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68.

National Interest

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

As the warring Yemeni parties gather for preliminary peace talks in Geneva, Saudi Arabia continues its unrelenting bombing campaign against the tribes of the Houthi movement. For two and a half months, the air forces of the Saudi coalition have targeted military sites, homes and businesses affiliated with the Houthi movement, as well as the palaces and residences of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his political allies. Yet, as the Houthis sit down at the negotiating table this week, their domestic political and strategic position has not been greatly affected by this extensive bombing. Saudi Arabia’s futile air campaign is a further demonstration of the limits of airpower in general, and in South Arabia specifically.

Saudi Arabia did not pioneer the use of airpower to exercise regional power, which originated with the British imperial policy of “air control” in post-WWI Iraq. Winston Churchill, the postwar Secretary of War and Secretary of State for Air championed the use of air force to maintain British control over Iraq while expending the least amount of military force on the ground. Inaccurate intelligence, inadequate navigation equipment and pilot errors led many bombs astray, often hitting the wrong target and with little distinction between civilians and militants. Attacks and patrols by the British Royal Air Force were guided by sparse local intelligence networks and were intended more for the psychological impact of unfamiliar aerial bombardment rather than the ability to achieve a military objective.

This model of British imperial power and control was used in other colonial arenas, including South Yemen, then the British Aden Protectorate. A decade of British aerial patrols and attacks during the 1960s failed to stem the tide of a Yemeni nationalist movement that supplanted British colonial rule in South Yemen. The success of Britain’s air control in Arabia was limited by two main factors. The mountainous terrain of Yemen provided the guerilla opposition with an impervious natural cover from bombs within a cave system that pockmarks the landscape. International media was stacked against the remnants of the British Empire and bombs that found civilian targets were met with a great deal of negative press.

The British Royal Air Force was not the only imperial force in South Arabia trying to use its air force to dominate a tribal opposition. During the 1960s, Egypt transferred nearly a third of its air capabilities to North Yemen in support of the fledgling republic founded in 1962. The tactical success of the Egyptian aerial campaign was similarly hampered by Yemen’s terrain. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser even went as far as authorizing the use of poison gas against cave shelters, intending to flush the opposition out into the open before coming back around for a second round of high explosive incendiary bombs.

Air superiority was the linchpin of Egypt’s strategic model of maintaining a triangular defensive perimeter around North Yemen’s three main cities of Hodeidah, Sana’a, and Taiz, while forestalling a concerted guerilla offensive from the surrounding rural and mountainous regions. Both Britain and Egypt were under political pressure to limit the number of casualties that would have undoubtedly occurred as a consequences of a more effective large-scale ground operation. Air power in Arabia, however, was limited in its ability to achieve tangible military goals. Rather than subdue domestic opposition, aerial bombardment only fed the flames of propaganda and distrust of a faceless enemy from above. Both Britain and Egypt were forced to make an ignominious withdrawal by the end of 1967, leaving failed states in their wake.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Arab and African countries appears to be taking the same path as the failed imperial policies of the 1960s. The Saudi air campaign was originally met with tepid enthusiasm by members of Yemen’s Southern Movement and supporters of Yemen’s ousted, but still internationally recognized President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Many Yemenis were alarmed by the speed with which the tribesmen of the Houthi movement took control of the government in Sana’a and extended their military presence southward in pursuit of Hadi and his supporters. Two and a half months later, the Saudi bombing campaign has evolved from a series of tactical strikes to slow the Houthi military assault into a vendetta bombing campaign against Saudi political opponents in Yemen. Many of the airstrikes are targeting civilian houses belonging to Saleh’s family and friends, factories deemed suspicious and civilian transportation hubs and airports across the country, all of which have questionable military value.

Sitting comfortably in his luxury hotel of exile, President Hadi continues to condone Saudi bombings even as a staggering number of his countrymen have become internal refugees and are suffering a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions. Rather than garner additional public support for President Hadi, the Saudi bombing campaign has only increased the skepticism of his remote government and has instead played into the hands of Houthi propagandists. All the while, it does not seem that the military capabilities of the Houthi tribesmen or the segments of the Yemeni army still loyal to Saleh have been greatly diminished.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Not only have the Saudi’s not been able to slow the Houthi advance, but on June 6, Scud missiles launched by Houthi forces hit King Khalid Air Base, Saudi Arabia’s largest air base and the operations center for the current bombing campaign. Although Saudi officials tried to downplay the attack, which was shrouded in secrecy, it soon became known that Saudi Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed Al-Shaalan was killed during the attack. This was particularly shocking to the Saudis as the Shaalan family is nationally prominent and connected through marriage and political alliance to the ruling Saud family.

The attack exposed the disturbing unreadiness of Saudi air defense capabilities and the limits of their air force’s ability to affect military and political outcomes in Yemen. Since the beginnings of the bombing campaign in March 2015, Saudi-coalition planes have faced little anti-aircraft fire, hardly a test of the pilots resolve or training. Even though the Houthis lack armed surface-to-air resistance, the recent Scud missile attack reinforced the fact that the Saudi aerial campaign has failed to eliminate the Houthi coalition’s large-scale military capability.

What emerged from the Scud missile debacle was that an American team is operating a Patriot missile defense system in the vicinity of the King Khalid Air Base, which is also the command center for the U.S. drone campaign in the region. It has been reported that several of the fired Scud missiles were intercepted by U.S. Patriot missiles, the first instance where American forces and Houthis exchanged fire, albeit indirectly. Additionally, the U.S. Air Force has been providing Saudi-coalition planes with satellite imagery and intelligence related to Houthi targets. The emergence of these details has reinforced a propaganda line reiterated on the Houthi cable channel al-Masirah that refers to the Saudi coalition as the “Saudi-American coalition.”

Images of Yemeni Scud missile being fired at King Khalid Air Base, Southern KSA

Images of Yemeni Scud missile being fired at King Khalid Air Base, Southern KSA

Despite emerging evidence that the Saudi-coalition’s aerial campaign is not only ineffective but counterproductive to the promotion of a political settlement in Yemen, the bombings continue with no sign of concluding. The relentless pursuit of an aggressive military stance towards the Houthi movement is in part a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s struggle against the ghost of Iranian involvement in South Arabia. There is no Saudi exit strategy in which the bombing can stop, short of a complete Houthi political withdrawal. Otherwise, this war will demonstrate a weakness in Saudi policy towards Iran. This aggressive policy is driven in particular by the new Saudi King Salman’s need to exhibit political and military dominance to quiet his many doubters. The Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the director of operations in Yemen, feels additional pressure to act decisively in order to prove his resolve as the world’s youngest minister of defense at the age of 30.

Even with all of King Salman’s resolve and Mohammad bin Salman’s machismo, the Saudi aerial campaign will be limited by a difficult propaganda war by the Houthis and the same historic terrain that served as an obstacle to British and Egyptian aerial control of Yemen during the 1960s. Saudi Arabia cannot triumph through force of arms alone as its air force has reached the upper limits of what it can achieve against the Houthis. Continuing a fruitless aerial campaign will only foster increasing anti-Saudi political alliance in Yemen and lead to an ignominious withdrawal reminiscent of British and Egyptian withdrawals of the past.

Yemeni soldier destroys Saudi tank from close range inside Saudi-border military camp

Yemeni soldier destroys Saudi tank from close range inside Saudi-border military camp

Yemeni soldiers hold Yemeni flag from Saudi military outpost in Asseer

Yemeni soldiers hold Yemeni flag from Saudi military outpost in Asseer

Yemeni army firing locally-manufactured Zilzal "earthquake" missile at Saudi military base in the south

Yemeni army firing locally-manufactured Zilzal “earthquake” missile at Saudi military base in the south

Yemeni army firing Grad missiles at Saudi bases in south

Yemeni army firing Grad missiles at Saudi bases in south

Yemeni soldier declaring victory over Saudi soldiers in Jizan area south of KSA

Yemeni soldier declaring victory over Saudi soldiers in Jizan area south of KSA

Yemeni soldier holding a LAW during fights against Saudi soldiers in Jizzan

Yemeni soldier holding a LAW during fights against Saudi soldiers in Jizzan

Yemeni Yirivan missiles being fired at Saudi military bases in Jizzan

Yemeni Yirivan missiles being fired at Saudi military bases in Jizzan

December 13, 2013

النفاق الأميركي حول حقوق الانسان بعد تأبين مانديلا

by mkleit

صوت المنامة – خاص 

 

Image

الصحافي نيكولاس كريستوف

انتقد الكاتب الأميريي الشهير نيكولاس كريستوف مواقف الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما وإدارته المزدوجة حيال القضايا والأزمات العالمية ومن بينها الأزمة البحرينية.

وفي مقالته في صحيفة نيويورك تايمز الأميركية هذا الأسبوع حول “كيفية التكريم الحقيقي للرئيس الراحل نيلسون مانديلا”، قال كريستوف أنه إذا أراد الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما وإدارته تكريم روح مانديلا فيجب “الدفاع عن السجناء السياسيين في الصين وكوبا وإيران وكذلك في الدول الحليفة لواشنطن مثل أثيوبيا والسعودية وتركيا والبحرين.

وتابع: “يجب أن تحتج الولايات المتحدة بقوة على الاستطيان الإسرائيلي في الضفة الغربية لأن مانديلا نفسه كان يقول: حريتنا غير مكتملة بدون حرية الفلسطينيين”.

وقال الكاتب أن الرئيس أوباما أعطى مديحاً بليغاً ومميزاً لمانديلا، لكنه أهمل نقطة واضحة وهي “علينا أن نحاول الوقوف على الجانب الصحيح”.

وأوضح كريستوف أن إدارة أوباما لم تكن حتى تستحي من أنها في يوم وفاة مانديلا تزامنت مع زيارة وزير الدفاع تشاك هيغل البحرين حيث هناك يُقام نظام أقلية غير ديمقراطية تضطهد بعنف الأغلبية.

وأضاف الكاتب أن تشاك هيغل جلس مع ملك البحرين دون ان يتحدث حتى علناً وبكل حزم عن نشطاء حقوق الإنسان المسجونين مثل نبيل رجب ، وهو رئيس ذو سمعة عالمية لمركز البحرين لحقوق الإنسان، أو عن زينب الخواجة وهي امرأة متعلمة في أمريكا وتقتبس حراكها من غاندي ، ومارتن لوثر كينغ ومانديلا، وهي الآن في السجن لدفاعها عن حقوق الإنسان

وتابع: “في حين تحدث هيغل عن أن الولايات المتحدة لديها مصالح أمنية مهمة هنا”، وتساءل الكاتب “ولكن هل نحن حقا بحاجة الى تهميش أولئك الذين يحملون مثل رسالة مانديلا؟”.

وقال الكاتب أنه “يوماً ما نبيل رجب وزينب الخواجة يمكن أن يكونا جزءا من حكومة البحرين، وسوف تكون الولايات المتحدة بحاجة إلى القيام بأعمال مشتركة معهما، فإذا كانت واشنطن تسعى لتجنب الاخطاء التي ارتكبتها مع مانديلا ، يجب أن تبدأ الدعوة بشكل صحيح من أجل الإفراج عنهما”.

وأوضح الكاتب أن أوباما في مديحه إلى مانديلا قال “انه لم يغير القوانين وحسب، ولكن غير القلوب أيضاً” لذا دعونا نغير القلوب ليس فقط بالكلام وإنما بالدعم الحقيقي والحازم لدعاة التغيير الديمقراطي السلمي. 

August 15, 2013

صيد الصحافيين مستمرّ في البحرين

by mkleit

تزامناً مع صعود حركة «تمرد» في البحرين، قامت السلطات بموجة من الاعتقالات للمشاركين في التظاهرات من مدنيين وناشطين وصحافيين. وقد اعتقل حفنة من الصحافيين خلال ممارستهم عملهم في تغطية التظاهرات، وكان آخرهم المدوّن محمد حسن والمصورين حسن حبيل وقاسم زين الدين، بسبب نيتهم تغطية أحداث يوم «تمرد» البحريني، وقد هددت الحكومة باعتقال المزيد من الصحافيين إذا ما أصروا على تغطية التظاهرات.  BPA

وقد تم اعتقال الثلاثة، بمداهمة صباحية لمنازلهم يوم 31 من تموز الماضي، من قبل مدنيين محميين من القوى الأمنية، باستثناء حبيل الذي ألقي القبض عليه وهو في طريقه إلى المطار. وقد تمت مصادرة أجهزة الكومبيوتر الخاصّة بهم وهواتفهم. وفي 7 آب الحالي، صدر القرار الاتهامي القضائي بحقّ المعتقلين، ويتهمهم بالانتماء إلى ائتلاف 14 شباط، والتحريض ضد الحكومة والتواصل مع أعضاء منفيين من الائتلاف المعارض، بحسب منظمة «صحافيون بلا حدود».

تندرج تلك الاعتقالات ضمن سياسة التعتيم على تظاهرات أمس، من خلال الاعتقال التعسفي لمراسلي الأخبار ومنعهم من الوصول إلى محامين.

وتعتبر البحرين من أسوأ البلدان في قمعها للصحافيين، حيث احتلت المرتبة 165 من أصل 179 على لائحة «مراسلون بلا حدود» لحريّة الصحافة للعام 2013. وتشهد البلاد اعتقالات بالجملة لناشطين وصحافيين منذ اندلاع الثورة قبل عامين. وتشير بيانات رابطة الصحافة البحرينية إلى أن هناك أكثر من 135 صحافيا وإعلاميا تعرضوا للانتهاكات الحقوقية وسوء المعاملة، «لأنهم يقومون بما تعتبره السلطة البحرينية نوعا من التحدي والتي تحاول الأخيرة إظهار أن لا شيء يحصل في البحرين». ويشمل ذلك صحافيين من قناة «الجزيرة» القطرية، ووكالة أنباء «رويترز»، و«فرانس برس».

ويشير بيان صادر عن الرابطة إلى تقرير للجنة البحرينية المستقلة لتقصي الحقائق التي أكدت وفاة إعلاميين، وتعذيب صحافيين، وتخريب جرائد محلية، بالإضافة إلى مواجهة بعض الصحافيين والمصورين قضايا قانونية لا أساس قانونيا واضحا لها. كلّ ذلك يتعارض مع المعاهدات الدولية التي وقعتها السلطة البحرينية والتي تشمل احترام حقوق الإنسان وحرية التعبير.

ويذكر من تلك القضايا اعتقال واحد وعشرين ناشطاً في 22 حزيران 2011، من بينهم 8 مدونين وناشطين مدنيّين، والحكم عليهم بالسجن في المحكمة العسكرية، ما بين سنتين الى خمسة عشر عاماً، بسبب «انتمائهم لمجموعة إرهابية تحاول إطاحة الحكم».

وشهد أمس، تزامناً مع تظاهرات «تمرّد» في البحرين، منع الصحافيين الأجانب من دخول البحرين. لكنّ العديد من المواطنين قاموا بتسجيل الانتهاكات وتصوير قمع السلطة، بغية إثبات فشل الدولة في ترهيب الصحافيين، بحسب نائب رئيس «مركز البحرين لحقوق الإنسان»، يوسف المحافضة، نائب رئيس مركز حقوق الانسان في البحرين.

السفير صوت وصورة

August 8, 2013

President Obama: Stop drone attacks in Yemen

by mkleit
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US drone firing at targets in Yemen, most deaths are civilians

 

USA drone attacks kill children and innocent civilians in Yemen in the name of “war against terrorisim”. This is illigal and against all international and humanitarian laws. People of the world, please sign this petition to stop this crime.

 
To: 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama 
International Criminal Court 
International court of justic 
President Obama, President of the UAS 
US embassy in Yemen 
US embassy in yemen- Public Affairs, Public Affairs 
American Embassy in Yemen 
Stop drone attacks in Yemen 
USA have -for several years now- launched a “so called war on terrorism” by using drone strikes in Yemen that is resulting in illegal targeted killings and murdering of innocent Yemeni citizens without court trail in any international court of law on sovereign nations. USA should be made accountable, charged of crimes against humanity, people involved sentenced & victims compensated immediately. We need to stop these strikes on innocent children and people of Yemen. 

Sincerely, 
X

 

 

 Names of children killed by the US drone attaks so far in Yemen
  1. Petition Organizer

    Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female 
    Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female 
    Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female 
    Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female 
    Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male 
    Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male 
    Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female 
    Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female 
    hadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female 
    Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female 
    Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male 
    Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female 
    Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female 
    Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female 
    Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female 
    Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male 
    Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female 
    Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female 
    Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male 
    Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male 
    Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female 
    AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male 
    AbdelRahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male

     

    Image

    Estimated deaths from drone strikes in Yemen since 2002 until 2012; number increasing due to “war on terror”

July 25, 2013

Kafala System: Modern Day Slavery (CASES – Itijah TV)

by mkleit

The kafala system (sponsorship system) is a system used to monitor the construction and domestic migrant laborers in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.

The system requires all unskilled laborers to have an in-country sponsor, usually their employer, who is responsible for their visa and legal status.

This practice has been criticised by human rights organizations for creating easy opportunities for the exploitation of workers, as many employers take away passports and abuse their workers with little chance of legal repercussions.

The show CASES, produced by Aly Sleem and hosted by Farah Atoui, deals with human rights violations regardless of any political affiliation/agenda. They stand by oppressed people everywhere so they aim to tackle their cases professionally from both humanitarian and legal perspectives. Their objective is to raise awareness and to speak out for those who have no voice.

In Studio: Mr. Mohammed Kleit: a Social and Human Rights Activist

Through Skype from London: Mr. Nicolas McGeehan: the UAE Researcher at HRW

By Phone from Dubai: Mr. Alex Malouf: a Journalist and Analyst

By Phone from Manama: Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati: the President of Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.

March 23, 2013

Salbuchi: israel and USA’s Nightmare

by mkleit

Adrian Salbuchi for RT

 

Adrian Salbuchi Source: soberaniaargentina.com

 

When Israel invaded Southern Lebanon in 2006 they were ignominiously expelled by Iran-backed Hezbollah. Since then, the Jewish State has gone into ‘we-have-to-take-out-Iran’ mode, doing everything it can to drag America to war against Iran.

Almost seven years later, Israel’s window of opportunity is closing fast.

‘My big brother America is gonna beat you up…!’
That’s been Israel’s implicit message to Iran ever since. When George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and the NeoCons ran America, bringing the US on board this war-mongering effort against Iran did not seem a daunting task. Especially considering that inside the US, Israel can rely on a little help from its ‘friends’: the powerful pro-Israel lobby led by AIPAC – American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

But in 2008 Bush was replaced by Barack Obama whose brand of Democrats are not all knee-jerking ‘Israel First’ fanatics. Add to that the US Military’s growing resistance to a foreign policy that has been led astray by the Israeli lobby, particularly after successive fiascos in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the growing “Arab Spring” mess.

Even more, large sectors of US and global public opinion are becoming aware of the dangers of America’s Israel addiction; of Israel’s use and abuse of the US as a proxy power fighting its wars, something clearly not in America’s national interest.

In his message to the UN General Assembly last September, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu produced a cute bomb-shaped graph to show the world just how close ‘big bad Iran’ is to having a nuclear bomb which he says they will use to obliterate ‘good little Israel’.

Netanyahu would have certainly loved to see staunch Zionist Mitt Romney make it to the White House in November’s elections but – Alas! – he didn’t, and Obama’s still living there, and even had the nerve of naming non-Zionist moderate Chuck Hagel as head the Pentagon.

It seems the US is taking an increasingly arm’s length approach to the ‘Iran Problem’ given the very serious geopolitical perils and overtones that any unilateral US/Israeli/NATO military attack on Iran would spell, which might even lead to direct confrontation with Russia.

Meanwhile Iran will not back down on its nuclear program, an issue the Obama Administration is taking an oddly calm view on. Significantly, the US even gave Argentina a subtle nod to negotiate with Iran over the 1994 AMIA terror bombing in Buenos Aires.

Since, theories have arisen that Bush, the US president at the time, coaxed Argentina’s President Kirchner into falsely accusing Iran, solely based on CIA/Mossad “evidence” delivered in October 2006, right after Israel’s fiasco in Lebanon.

So in light of all this what, exactly, is going on here? Why are the US and Israel at loggerheads over Iran?

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, uses a diagram of a bomb to describe Iran’s nuclear program while delivering his address to the 67th United Nations General Assembly meeting September 27, 2012 at the United Nations in New York. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)

America’s Worst Nightmare
Today the US and Israel have increasingly divergent interests and objectives regarding Iran. Israel’s are easy to grasp: Iran is Israel’s geopolitical arch-enemy, and one of the few countries that is up to the task of becoming a strong and credible leader in the Muslim World, especially since one of Iran’s key objectives is to do away with Israel’s hardline rule in Palestine.

Mainstream Western media have continually and falsely noted that “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map”, rather than Iran merely wanting an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. America, however, has a different cause for concern.

 

Mainstream Media Control Source: http://www.heydumbasses.com

 

Nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program but rather with the US Dollar. For many decades the US, through its Federal Reserve Bank, has abusively printed huge quantities of unbacked ‘Fiat money’ to finance its huge deficit, which today has ballooned to over 15 trillion. All’s well as long as that money circulates and ends up somewhere far away, such as the vaults of the central banks of friendly countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and even of some not so friendly countries like China.

Even if it is kept going around and around in the global financial merry-go-rounds of the bonds markets or… the huge global oil market.

“Just keep it flowing and busy in all those markets”, Washington seems to be saying, “…so that we can continue printing more and more of it!” Of course, none dare call it inflation, technocrats have nice buzz-words for things like, “Quantitative Easing I, II and III”, “TARP Funding” and “too-big-to-fail-megabank bailouts…” But call it what you may, inflation by any other name smells just as rotten…

Public Enemies
The US knows only too well that, to a great extent, it is a superpower without much power, because if China decided to sell their almost 2 trillion in US-Dollar treasury bills, bonds and other financial instruments, quickly changing them into Euros, it would spell inflationary disaster for America.

Such eventualities however, are unlikely to occur given the complexities of global financial markets; thus, neither China nor any other major US-dollar-holder appears ready to do that – not just now, anyway.

However, there is another much more physical, concrete and strategically complex threat that keeps US leaders awake at night- the oil market. To better understand why America’s joy-ride is fast coming to an end as people’s political awareness grows, let me give you a simple example:

Every time Argentina, South Africa or Japan need to buy a barrel of crude oil, its people must work to earn those 100 dollars oil costs in international markets.

The US, however, only needs to print US$100. The same goes if they need money to overrun Iraq, Libya or drone-bomb Afghanistan to smithereens: just print the money and keep the oil flowing and the bombs falling.

Get the picture? It’s easy to be a “superpower” that way!

But the picture becomes clearer when you join the dots. Imagine what would happen if those trillions upon trillions of Petro-Dollars spinning and gurgling globally were to suddenly slip from the control of the three – and only three – New York, London and Dubai-based global oil markets solely trading in Dollars?

For instance, if a major oil-producing country or group of countries were to create a fourth global oil market trading not in Dollars but in Euros, say Yens, Rubles, Yuans…?

Given the volumes of oil that countries like China, India and Japan gobble up, if successful, such a market would displace very sizeable shares of Petro-Dollar volumes, which would mean fast declining mega-sums of Petro-dollars spinning away from global markets and flowing back towards US-centered financial circuits.

Can you imagine what hundreds of billions of freed up Petro-Dollars flowing back to the US in a short period of time would mean?

Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

Weapons of mass destruction
Well, like the proverbial cat playing with a mouse under its paws, since at least 2005 Iran has been openly toying with the idea of opening up a such fourth non-US$ global oil market. China would probably support them as they get a sizeable share of their oil from Iran, so perhaps would India.

If the followers of Hugo Chavez hold on to power, Venezuela too might tag along (now do we understand why the US needs to get a strong grip on Venezuela?).

Even Russia, which does not really need Iranian oil, might support Iran for its own geopolitical reasons, considering its growing conflicts with the West. Last year, we even heard strong rumors about Iran selling oil to India payable in gold…

Iran fully understands this issue so they are cautiously biding their time. Remember, their Persian forefathers invented chess… So, wouldn’t the US just love to take out Iran to thwart such a threat? I mean, it already happened twice in the last decade:

IRAQ: As part of UN sanctions after the first Gulf War, every year Saddam Hussein was allowed to trade one billion dollars of Iraqi oil for medicines and food. But then, starting in 2000 Saddam started to switch over to the Euro.

Suddenly, the world learned from Bush’s NeoCons that Iraq had arsenals of nasty “weapons of mass destruction”; that Saddam had to be “taken out” otherwise mushroom clouds would explode over London, Washington and New York! And so, a decade ago in March 2003, the US, UK and NATO promptly ransacked Iraq and had Saddam Hussein murdered. WMD’s? Ooopss, sorry… didn’t find any!…but: Iraq continues selling its oil in dollars.

LIBYA: In 2010 Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was planning to introduce a new currency to trade North African oil: the “Gold Dinar” in lieu of the dollar. Suddenly, the world learned from the US, France and Britain that Gaddafi was a formidable monster so…in October 2011 he too was taken out and murdered on live TV to the laughter of Hillary “We-came-we-saw-he-died” Clinton. Now Libya lies in shambles but its new pro-Exxon/BP “authorities” trade their oil solely in dollars…

Turning points
The key question now is which shall prevail in the US in the weeks and months to come: American national interest or Israeli national interest?

This is really top level Machtpolitik so, just to be sure everything’s in order, the most obedient Western mainstream media are keeping “all options on the table” running all sorts of headlines to remind us how nasty Iran is, its nuke ambitions, poor Little Israel and its security issues (which is why they’re allowed to keep the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, right?), the delicate state of the global financial system and why no one should be allowed to rock the boat and, of course, the never-ending “War on Terror…”, But now we know.

It is all about oil; it is all about the US-Dollar; it is all about a global financial system being kept artificially alive for mega-banker profit; it is about Israel… The flip-side of that coin gets even worse: It’s not about the interest of the working masses in the US, Europe and worldwide; and it definitely is not about Democracy or Human Rights.

 

You won’t hear, see, nor speak! This is corporate media Source: http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com

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