Archive | October 19th, 2014

Press TV reporter in Turkey killed in suspicious car accident

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr
 ”Killed by Ordogan intelligence agency” Shoah

Because she dared to report THE TRUTH as she saw it on PRESS TV, exposing TURKEY’SINVOLVEMENT WITH THE ISIL in SYRIA,. She reported live on air to Press TV that she feared for her safety because the corrupt Government of Turkey suspected of her being a ‘spy’ for the opposition!!


Press TV’s correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim, has been killed in a suspicious car accident near the Turkey-Syria border.

Shim was killed on Sunday as she was on a working mission in Turkey to cover the ongoing war in the strategic Syrian town of Kobani.

She was going back to her hotel from a report scene in the city of Suruç in Turkey’s Urfa Province when their car collided with a heavy vehicle. The identity and whereabouts of the truck driver remain unknown.

Shim, an American citizen of Lebanese origin, covered reports for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq, and Ukraine.

On Friday, she told Press TV that the Turkish intelligence agency had accused her of spying probably due to some of the stories she has covered about Turkey’s stance on the ISIL terrorists in Kobani and its surroundings, adding that she feared being arrested.

Shim said she was among the few journalists obtaining stories of militants infiltrating into Syria through the Turkish border, adding that she had received images from militants crossing the Turkish border into Syria in World Food Organization and other NGOs’ trucks.

Shim flatly rejected accusations against her, saying she was “surprised” at this accusation “because I have nothing to hide and I have never done anything aside my job.”

Kobani and its surroundings have been under attack since mid-September, with the ISIL militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.

Turkey has been accused of backing ISIL militants in Syria.

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Oslo is dead! Long live Oslo! The UK House of Commons Supports Diplomatic Recognition of Palestine


by Dr Richard Falk

(Prefatory Note: The post below is a modified version, especially the ending, of a piece published online two days ago in AlJazeera English.  While appreciating the importance of the European moves to endorse Palestinian statehood, seeks a more definitive repudiation of the Oslo Approach. It calls for an end to the U.S. role as exclusive intermediary and the presumed outcome of a peace process being two states without indicating the character of the Palestinian states. So far, the two-state mantra has been cut back to allow Israel to retain at least the unlawful settlement blocs and to insist on arrangements that uphold their security against unforeseen threats, while granting not a word of acknowledgement to Palestinian security concerns. My own strong belief is that unless the two peoples are treated with full equality in seeking a solution, the result will not be sustainable or just even in the unlikely event that some sort of agreement is reached.)

Oslo is dead! Long live Oslo! The UK House of Commons Supports Diplomatic Recognition of Palestin.

On October 13 the House of Commons by an overwhelming vote of 274-12 urged the British government to extend diplomatic recognition to Palestine.

At first glance, it would seem a rather meaningless gesture. It is a non-binding resolution, and Prime Minister David Cameron has already declared that this expression of parliamentary opinion will have no effect whatever on existing government policy. So far Britain along with the states in Western Europe adhere to Israel’s stubborn insistence, echoed by Washington, that Palestinian statehood can only be established through a solution to the conflict negotiated by the parties.

Even if the British vote was binding, why should it be seen as a dramatic move in Palestine’s favor? After all, Palestine has already been accorded recognition by 134 states since Yasir Arafat declared the existence of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders back in 1988.

Such downgrading of the significance of what took place is also part of the Israel tactical response. Its ambassador in London now declining even to comment on the decision after earlier indicating extreme disapproval with the evident hope of discouraging affirmative votes. Before the vote Israeli leaders used their levers of strong influence to discourage the vote. Netanyahu even insisted that such a step would seriously diminish prospects for resumed negotiations and would seriously harm peace prospects. After losing out, the Israeli tone changed, now calling the vote meaningless and devoid of importance.

In actuality, the UK initiative is an important symbolic victory for the Palestinians. Until the recently when the elected Swedish government indicated its intention to recognize Palestine as a state at some future undesignated time, no Western European government had broken ranks on the Oslo approach as interpreted by Israel and the United States. It is this approach that has put a straightjacket on diplomacy, requiring any progress toward a solution to be exclusively through direct negotiations for a Palestinian in which the U.S. acts as the one and only intermediary.

At stake, then, is not only the momentum building for European countries to extend recognition to Palestine, but also a belated admission that this Oslo approach after more than 20 years of futility should no longer be respected as the consensus foundation of Israel-Palestine conflict resolution. The UK action needs to be joined with the recent diplomacy of the Palestinian Authority, first the Fatah/Hamas agreement of April to form a unity government, and even more so, the resolution to be submitted to the Security Council on behalf of the Palestinian Authority that calls for Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, no later than November 2016. It is expected that the U.S. will veto this resolution if it is unable to mount enough pressure to prevent nine SC members from voting affirmatively. Such an initiative by Ramallah further signals that the PA is no longer willing to play the waiting game that has given Israel ample time for settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem past points of no return.

In Mahmoud Abbas’ speech of September 26th to the General Assembly he clearly indicated that he was refusing to cooperate any longer with these diplomatic maneuvers facilitated by the Oslo framework. Responding to Palestinian pressures from below, Abbas left no doubt that he would not pretend that he had ‘a partner for peace,’ thereby turning the tables on Tel Aviv. He signaled this clearly when he described Israel’s 50-day military operation against Gaza this past summer as “a genocidal war.” The G-word was bound to elicit an angry Israeli response, which Netanyahu provided a few days later in the same UN venue, calling Abbas’ speech “shameless.”

There still remains a lingering and unfortunate ambiguity in these developments suggesting we have not yet truly arrived at a post-Oslo phase of diplomacy. The UK resolution accepted an amendment stating that its purpose was “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.” The former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, elaborated on this, suggesting that was being done was to exert additional pressure on the parties to get on with negotiating a two-state outcome. This tail wagging the dog is a regression, sustaining the illusion that Israel, whatever the context, is at all willing at this stage to allow an independent sovereign Palestinian state to be established within 1967 borders, even if these are slightly modified. In effect, “Oslo is dead! Long live Oslo!”

Since the latest Gaza war there have been two developments of lasting significance : first, the inter-governmental diplomacy is slowly moving away from the Oslo approach, and Western Europe is beginning to fill the diplomatic vacuum created by the April collapse of the Kerry round of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And Secondly, civil society nonviolent militancy and political leadership is beginning to occupy center stage in Palestinian hopes and dreams, particularly taking the form of the growing BDS campaign, but also visible in the refusal of Oakland, California workers to unload an Israeli cargo ship.

This latter fulcrum of resistance within Palestine and without raises serious leadership and representation questions—who now speaks with authority and authenticity on behalf of the Palestinian people? how can this question be answered given the statist manner in which the world is organized? Let me put my own understanding of this issue more directly: I find that the voices of Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah to be more authoritative and authentic than are those of the diplomats from Ramallah who a few years ago showed themselves ready to give the store away in the Palestine Papers and on other occasions. They couldn’t manage such a transaction since Israel apparently felt it already owned the store and was not ready to show gratitude even for a political outcome heavily slanted in their favor.

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Reminding India of Nuclear Deterrence


By Sajjad Shaukat

By setting aside the principles of nuclear deterrence, intensity in the Indian unprovoked firing

along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (WB), which killed several persons

since October 6, this year inside Pakistan, is alarming for peace-loving countries of South Asia

including those of the world.

Calling for restraining its forces from constant violations of the ceasefire agreement of 2003,

Pakistan government has lodged a strong protest with the India government through diplomatic

channels, and also raised the issue with the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan.

In this regard, the UN observers visited the affected areas, and have shown serious concerns

over the casualties inside Pakistan. On October 14, US Special Representative for Pakistan and

Afghanistan Daniel Feldman also expressed his concerns over tension at LoC and WB, and

stressed to resolve it through dialogue. Feldman elaborated, “He believes, Indian dream for

world leadership and progress could not come true without better ties with Pakistan.

Meanwhile, contact through hotline was established between Directors-General Military

Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries. Pak army’s DMO conveyed Pakistan’s concerns to

his Indian counterpart, and pointed towards India’s consistent unprovoked firing on the civilian

population living across LoC and WB.

In 2013, the Pakistani and Indian DGMOs had pledged to uphold the 2003 LoC ceasefire accord.

But, by acting upon a preplanned scheme, Indian soldiers crossed over the LoC in Kashmir on

January 6, 2013 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring

many troops. While, Pakistan military officials indicated that Indian hostility has gradually

increased since 2010, making lives of civil population living in closer vicinity of the LoC and

WB difficult. Indian troops committed 86 ceasefire violations in 2011, 230 in 2012 and 414 in

2013. And, Indians have again resorted to deliberate firing for about 224 times and killed several

people on the Pakistani side in 2014.

Particularly, leader of the fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister of India, Narendra

Modi is reported to have given a free hand to the Indian forces to go on aggressively with the

violations. While, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff convened a meeting of the National

Security Committee on Oct 10, this year, and discussed the recent ceasefire violations by India at

In this respect, Pakistan’s military officials revealed that Indian perennial escalation across

the LoC and WB is according to a deliberate plan. The spokesman of the Inter-Services Public

Relations (ISPR), Maj-General Asim Bajwa said that Pakistan Rangers and troops “befittingly”

responded to “unprovoked firing” by Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) and military troops.

He also clarified that Pakistan’s Armed Forces are fully prepared to meet any aggression.

In fact, by promoting Hindu chauvinism on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans,

extremist party, BJP won a landslide victory in the India elections 2014 by defeating the

Congress. Now, BJP-led Prime Minister Modi has been implementing its party’s agenda against

Pakistan. In this context, border violations by the Indian forces at the Line of Control and

Working Boundary, accompanying hostile statements by Indian leadership are aimed at hyping

up Hindu sentiments against Pakistan.

Besides, other negative steps of the BJP government like cancellation of the Foreign Secretary

level talks with Islamabad, schedule to be held on August 25, 2014, raising baseless issues of

terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue, slow pace of trial in Pakistan

against the terrorists of the Mumbai 26/11 terror case, pledge of revoking the special status,

given to Kashmir under Indian constitution’s Article 370, and to strengthen its measures to

annex the area—are part of the same scheme to create a war like situation between the two rival

countries which have fought three wars, since the Partition of 1947.

It is of particular attention that BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swami stated on July 12, 2014 that

India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was

war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution.” Responding to the withdrawal of the US-
led NATO forces from Afghanistan, he remarked, “Americans will hand over Afghanistan to

Taliban and go…India should send at least 200,000 troops to Afghanistan.”

In these terms, Indian hawks think that in the aftermath of the withdrawal of NATO, they will

keep their anti-Pakistan network in Afghanistan by harming the genuine interests of Pakistan

which shares geographical, cultural and religious bonds with the former, and is determined to

bring peace and stability there.

Now, as part of its blame game, India has accelerated unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kashmir

and WB in Sialkot to delay the Pak-India peace process, without caring for latter’s nuclear

weapons. Although despite numerous military skirmishes, there has not been a full-blown

war since India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998, yet BJP-extremist rulers seem

determined to initiate the same without bothering even for nuclear war. Therefore, Pakistan’s

media and defense analysts must remind India of the principles of nuclear deterrence.

However, it is wishful thinking of the BJP leader that India can destroy Pakistan through nuclear

bombs. While both the neighboring adversaries are nuclear powers, New Delhi should not ignore

the principles of deterrence, popularly known as balance of terror.

After the World War 11, nuclear weapons were never used, and were only employed as a

strategic threat. During the heightened days of the Cold War, many crises arose in Suez Canal,

Korea, Cuba and Vietnam when the US and the former Soviet Union were willing to use atomic

weapons, but they stopped because of the fear of nuclear war which could eliminate both the

super powers. Therefore, the two rivals preferred to resolve their differences through diplomacy.

Similarly, many occasions came between Pakistan and India, during Kargil crisis of 1998, and

Indian parliament’s attack by the militants in 2001, and particularly in 2008, in the post-Mumbai

terror attacks when New Delhi started a blame game against Islamabad in wake of its highly

provocative actions like mobilization of troops. Pakistan had also taken defensive steps to meet

any prospective aggression or surgical strikes by New Delhi. But, India failed in implementing

its aggressive plans, because Islamabad also possesses atomic weapons.

Political strategists agree that deterrence is a psychological concept which aims to affect an

opponent’s perceptions. In nuclear deterrence, weapons are less usable, as their threat is enough

in deterring an enemy who intends to use its armed might. In this context, a renowned scholar,

Hotzendorf remarks that nuclear force best serves the interests of a state when it deters an attack.

In the present circumstances, BJP is badly mistaken, if it overestimates India’s power and

underestimates Pakistan’s power. As Pakistan lacks conventional forces and weapons vis-à-vis

India, so, in case of a prolonged conflict, Pakistan will have to use nuclear weapons and missiles

which could destroy whole of India, resulting into Indian political suicide.

It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and

defense purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence,

various injustices have further intensified regional and ethnic disparities in India, while giving

impetus to insurgency and wars of liberation in Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland,

Tamil Nadu and Tripura. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official

It is worth-mentioning that one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former

Soviet Union was that its greater defense expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into

economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the

former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” However, militarization of

the Soviet Union failed in controlling the movements of liberation, launched by various ethnic

nationalities. On the other hand, while learning no lesson from India’s previous close friend,

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is acting upon the similar policies.

Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of

separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighboring states. Similarly, civil war

and unrest either in Somalia or Sudan have affected all the states of Darfur region, while violent

uprising in Egypt, Syria etc. has radicalized a number of the Middle East countries. Indian state

terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir and country’s other regions in wake of Israeli atrocities on

the Palestinians will further radicalize Asia.

Nonetheless, irresponsible and unrealistic approach of the BJP-led government in the modern

era of peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development could culminate into political

suicide of the India union. Therefore, India is reminded of nuclear deterrence in wake of creating

war hysteria in its own country and Pakistan.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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Judge rejects US call for anonymous jury in trial of Palestinian-American


Submitted by Ali Abunimah

Rasmea Yousef Odeh

(Arab American Action Network)

A federal judge has rejected a government request for an anonymous jury in the upcoming trial of Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh.

This was one of two setbacks for the prosecution.

But Judge Gerswhin A. Drain granted a government request for “partial sequestration” of the jury – meaning they will be brought to court from an off-site location to ensure they do not see demonstrations by Odeh’s supporters outside the courthouse.

Drain’s ruling came in response to a bizarre government motion filed earlier this month that the public protests outside the Detroit federal courthouse during pretrial hearings in the case were part of a potentially “criminal” attempt at “jury tampering.”

These rallies, as witnessed repeatedly by this writer, have been entirely orderly, despite several instances of petty harassment by Department of Homeland Security marshals.

The government had alleged that Hatem Abudayyeh, director of Chicago’s Arab American Action Network (AAAN), and “his hoard of supporters have created a public, emotional and political atmosphere aimed at improperly influencing the jury.”

But the judge rejected this, stating “it does not appear that ‘an emotional, political atmosphere’ exists here.”

The judge also noted that other legal grounds for an anonymous jury are absent: Odeh, he wrote, does not “have a criminal history involving organized crime, mob-style killings, or any evidence that [Odeh] has engaged in dangerous or unscrupulous conduct.”

In October 2013, Odeh was arrested and indicted for allegedly lying on her US citizenship application a decade ago by failing to disclose her conviction in an Israeli military court for allegedly participating in two bombings in Jerusalem in 1969.

Odeh has pleaded not guilty to the US immigration fraud charge and says the Israeli convictions were obtained in the unfair Israeli military court system based entirely on a confession extracted through prolonged, brutal torture including sexual assault.

If convicted, Odeh, associate director of AAAN, could face prison time, as well as the prospect of being stripped of her US citizenship and deported.

Odeh’s attorneys have argued that the charges against her are part of a politically motivated witch hunt targeting the Palestinian community.

Serious blow

In what Politico reporter Josh Gerstein called a “more serious blow” to the prosecution, Judge Drain ruled last week that the prosecution would need to prove not only that Odeh knowingly lied on her naturalization application but that she made the false statements “with the purpose of procuring naturalization unlawfully.”

Gerstein notes that this could be “a tough burden for prosecutors to meet in the absence of documents or other witnesses who could say that Odeh knew someone with her record couldn’t be naturalized or that she admitted sanitizing her background in order try to get US citizenship.”

“Prosecutors also seem to have concluded that would be a tough row to hoe,” Gerstein observes, and they have asked the judge to reconsider.

“I think it is correct ruling interpreting the statute,” defense Attorney Michael Deutsch told Politico. “We have said all along that the government has to prove that for the purpose of procuring her citizenship she intentionally lied. … It’s the first step in terms of getting our defense before a jury.”

Limiting protest

The judge did however grant the government’s request to shield the jury from the opinions of Odeh’s supporters in several ways.

Drain ordered a ban on any of Odeh’s supporters “wearing inappropriate attire if they enter the courthouse, such as t-shirts with ‘free Rasmieh [sic]’ emblazoned on them.”

He also ordered federal marshals to “work with city police to ensure compliance” with Detroit ordinances that make it unlawful to “disturb the public peace … unreasonably” by playing loud music or using amplification equipment.

On previous occasions, marshals have told rally speakers that they are not allowed to use a bullhorn on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse. Speakers have instead done so on the sidewalk across the road.

But the judge’s order is likely to raise concern among Odeh’s supporters that the marshals will be emboldened to step up their harassment of protests.

The judge also granted the request for “partial sequestration” meaning that “instead of arriving at the courthouse on their own each morning, the jurors will be directed to meet at an off-site location determined by the Marshal Service.”

They would then be picked up by the marshals who would “take them to the courthouse garage so that the jurors will not be exposed to the Defendant’s supporters who will be in front of the courthouse during the trial.”

The judge said that the jury would be given “a neutral explanation” for the procedure.


The Rasmea Defense Committee, a group that mobilizes support for Odeh, welcomed the judge’s ruling against the anonymous jury, but stated “we are still very concerned about the ruling to allow partial sequestration.”

This decision, the committee said in a statement, “creates a militarized and security state atmosphere that will cause apprehension amongst the jury members, and prompt them to believe that Rasmea is somehow dangerous. She is innocent, and this ruling does not guarantee her a fair trial.”

The group vowed to “pack the courtroom” when Odeh’s trial begins on 4 November.

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Olive trees burned as anti-Palestinian incitement grips Galilee


Palestinian residents of Tarshiha received backlash for protesting Israel’s war on Gaza this summer.

Osama Tannous has long campaigned for the municipal independence of Tarshiha, his hometown in the Galilee region of present-day Israel.

For decades, Tarshiha has been administratively connected to the neighboring Jewish-Israeli community of Maalot and the two share a municipality.

On all government records, paperwork and tax documents, the two have, since 1963, been classified as the town of Maalot Tarshiha. Yet the communities are geographically separated and local Palestinians have been campaigning for independent representation and municipal sovereignty for decades.

“It’s important to control your own land, institutions and budget,” Osama, a 29-year-old activist and pediatric physician, told The Electronic Intifada. “It is also politically necessary to break away from a colonial entity that was built on our land with a view that we’re the enemy.”

In addition to their uniquely challenging situation, Tarshiha’s indigenous villagers face the same institutionalized discrimination as the rest of the estimated 1.7 millionPalestinian citizens of Israel. More than fifty laws curb their political freedoms and limit their access to state resources — most importantly land.

On 24 October, the villagers will mark the sixty-sixth anniversary of when Israel occupied the village — five months after the State of Israel was established in May 1948.

The tragedy will be commemorated with tours for children. The tours will focus on life before the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, as well as the village’s links to iron industry and tobacco production.

There will also be music events and small exhibitions, including photography collections illustrating the massive changes imposed on Palestinian life in the village.

“Destroying our existence”

Osama Tannous said that Israel often claims that the joint municipal project in Maalot and Tarshiha is an example of coexistence between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, a claim roundly rejected by most of the indigenous Palestinian residents.

“Maalot was established deliberately to usurp Tarshiha and to eventually destroy our existence,” he said.

Locals also accuse the Israeli land authorities and the local municipality of land theft and systematically privileging their Jewish Israeli counterparts over Palestinians.

“When Maalot takes land that belongs to Tarshiha, it is technically done in a ‘legal’ way … because we are classified as part of the same municipality,” said Nakhleh Tannous, a city council representative and a member of Balad, a political party representing Palestinians in Israel.

Israeli authorities recently began building Oranim, a religious Jewish neighborhood in Maalot on the outskirts of Tarshiha’s present-day borders. “This one neighborhood will have about the same number of houses as all of Tarshiha,” Nakhleh added.

“We all know that Maalot is allocated a larger portion of the [municipal] funds,” Nakleh explained. “It’s clear that they get more resources than we do.”

“But it’s impossible to calculate the disparities — how much they take and we don’t. On paperwork, it all goes to the same place. But we are certain that being connected to Maalot’s municipality hurts us a lot.”

Blocking independence

A member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, during the 1990s, Shlomo Bohbot has been the mayor of Maalot since 1976.

Bohbot has repeatedly denied and blocked Tarshiha’s attempts to gain municipal independence. Ten years ago, when locals began a basketball team for Tarshiha’s youth, Bohbot pulled the funding because locals didn’t include Maalot in the team’s name.

“We raised money on our own to keep the team going,” Nakhleh said.

Today only three Palestinians are allotted seats on the thirteen-person municipality. Together, they represent the entirety of the estimated 5,000 Palestinians living in Tarshiha.

Zionist forces occupied Tarshiha on 24 October 1948 during Operation Hiram, a military offensive that aimed to expel as many Palestinians as possible from the Galilee region of historic Palestine.

Only approximately 500 of the estimated 5,000 villagers in Tarshiha were able to stay or return following the Nakba.

Zochrot, an Israeli organization that seeks to raise awareness about the Nakba, has cited estimates that the number of Tarshiha’s refugees has swelled to 60,000 due to family growth.

Nakhleh said that the problematic joint municipality “is a continuation of the Nakba. The inequality today can only be understood by looking the village’s history since the Nakba.”

Maalot was founded on Tarshiha’s land in 1957, mostly by Jewish Arab settlers from North Africa. Another seven moshavim and kibbutzim — semi-cooperative Jewish agricultural settlements — also sit atop land that belonged to Tarshiha before the Nakba.

Israel’s interior ministry has stated that the purpose of Maalot’s establishment was to prevent an independent council being set up to cater for Tarshiha’s indigenous residents.

In 1963, Tarshiha was officially absorbed into Maalot’s municipality.

Famous for tobacco

Due to the brutal assault Israel launched on the town, using warplanes to bomb large swathes of it, most of the indigenous residents fled to Lebanon and Syria. Today the surviving refugees and their descendants are in refugee camps in cities across southern Lebanon, as well as in and around the Syrian capital Damascus.

Mahmoud Abu Hassan, 87, has farmed tobacco on Tarshiha’s agricultural lands for more than seven decades. Referring to a destroyed Palestinian village about twelve miles away — near Israel’s present-day boundary with Lebanon — he recalled that “until 1948 our lands used to stretch all the way to Iqrit.

“Tarshiha was famous for its tobacco production,” he said. “After the Nakba, most of our lands were taken and Israeli companies had a monopoly on tobacco.”

“We also sold locally grown wheat and produce to places all across Palestine, like Nablus and Gaza,” Abu Hassan added. “That mostly stopped because our best lands were taken and we didn’t have access to water as much as before [the Nakba].”

Though most of his family became refugees in Lebanon and Syria, Abu Hassan and his remaining immediate relatives in Tarshiha are one of the last families still farming tobacco in the village.


Eight Jewish-Israeli settlement communities — including Maalot — have been built on Tarshiha’s historical lands since 1948. Despite suffering from severe overcrowding, “we were only allowed to build our first new neighborhood in 1996,” Nakhleh Tannous said.

Though Israel often promotes communities that include both Palestinians and Israelis as examples of coexistence, Palestinians in Israel suffer from pervasive racism that touches nearly every part of their daily life.

Since Israel began an intensive attack on the Gaza Strip in July this year, anti-Palestinian incitement has soared in Israel. Tarshiha has not been spared from this racism.

When local Palestinians protested against Israel’s assault on Gaza, Israelis from Maalot “incited against us and economically boycotted us,” Nakhleh said. “The mayor accused us of destroying coexistence between Arabs and Jews, [rather than] Israel’s bombs on Gaza.”

Elsewhere, Palestinian and leftwing Israeli protesters were attacked by both violent rightwing mobs and police alike.

Palestinian-owned olive groves in Tarshiha were burned twice at the beginning of this month. Locals told The Electronic Intifada they suspect Israelis from a conservative religious neighborhood in Maalot were behind the attacks, though police have yet to investigate the matter.

“We will keep requesting independence and our own municipality,” Nakhleh said.

While the local Palestinians try to live as normally as possible, Nakhleh added that the surrounding Israeli settlement communities “are expanding, closing in around Tarshiha and suffocating us.”

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After summer of horror, Gaza families face winter in cramped shacks



After being displaced by Israel during its summer war, families in Gaza are still living in temporary accommodation.

Ned’a al-Najjar — also known as Um Ayman — cannot access the clothes she has bought for the baby she is expecting. They are buried under the rubble of her house, which Israel bombed during the summer.

As her pregnancy becomes more advanced, she spends much of her time trying to keep her temporary home — a cramped metal shack — as clean as possible.

Um Ayman and her husband have three children, including twin girls. The latter are blind. Their shack has two small rooms.

Water from its tiny kitchen keeps falling on the floor. And Um Ayman is worried that the entire temporary home will be flooded if it rains heavily during the winter.

“I hope this will be the last war on us,” she said. “We want a normal life.”

Many of her relatives and neighbors in the Khuzaa area of Gaza are encountering similar problems.

Hamdan Suleiman al-Najjar’s house was bombed by Israel in the final hours of its 51-day attack on Gaza this summer.

There are nine people in his family. Yet the shack sheltering them only has room for six. “I am trying to put some metal sheets around my caravan in order to expand it,” he said.

“Completely destroyed”

The shacks have been provided by the Khuzaa municipality, with assistance from foreign charities.

Hatem al-Khour, a shelter coordinator with the municipality, said: “We’ve counted 460 completely destroyed homes in Khuzaa. We are hoping to provide accommodation for all the people affected. But we are restrained by limited donations.”

Each of the temporary homes costs $6,000, according to al-Khour. He added that the municipality has leased a piece of land with a surface area of two square kilometers for temporary shelters. Electricity and water connections have been established.

Human shields

Khuzaa, located near Khan Younis in southern Gaza, witnessed some of the most horrific incidents during Israel’s offensive. Evidence indicates that some of Khuzaa’s inhabitants were deliberately used as human shields by Israel.

On 25 July, for example, Israeli troops stormed the home of the Qdeih family in Khuzaa, where numerous people were seeking refuge. After shooting 65-year-old Muhammad Qdeih dead, others from his extended family, including children, were forced to stand at open windows as Israeli soldiers fired from behind them.

Some members of the al-Najjar family were killed as a result of Israeli shelling in Khuzaa that same day. They included Motassem al-Najjar, a five-year-old boy.


Shehda Abu Rouk, the mayor of Khuzaa, likened the impact of Israel’s attack to an earthquake.

Although the attack is over, the results of the destruction cannot be missed. “We need, at least, fifteen machines — including bulldozers and trucks — to be able to remove all the rubble from the houses that were destroyed,” Abu Rouk said.

On Sunday, international donors attending a conference in Cairo promised $5.4 billion in reconstruction aid to Gaza.

That figure may sound impressive.

Yet the anti-poverty group Oxfam has warned that much of this money could languish in bank accounts for decades if Israel does not lift its siege on Gaza.

Under current restrictions, building the 89,000 new homes, 226 schools and health, water and sanitation facilities required by Gaza could take 50 years, Oxfam has estimated.

There is an even more fundamental issue to be addressed.

Israel has conducted three major offensives against Gaza since December 2008. On each occasion, international donors have promised reconstruction aid. Yet Israel has not been brought to court over the damage it has caused to previous aid projects or for its crimes against humanity.

The families living in Khuzaa certainly need new homes. Even more importantly, they need Israel to be held accountable.

Unless that step is taken, they will be vulnerable to further attacks.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on After summer of horror, Gaza families face winter in cramped shacks

Under cover of reconstruction, UN and PA become enforcers of I$raHell’s Gaza sieg

Submitted by Ali Abunimah
Gaza Siege 2.0: Under guise of reconstruction, UN will help Israel gain even more intrusive control over Palestinian lives.

Details given in a confidential briefing this week confirm that the UN has agreed to become the chief enforcer of Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza.

Under the guise of reconstruction, the UN will be monitoring and gathering private information about Palestinian households to be passed onto Israel, which will have a veto over which families get aid to rebuild their homes.

This was presented as part of an effort to try to entrench and legitimize the Israeli-backed Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza.

Under the arrangements, Israel will be given even more intrusive control over the lives of Palestinians in Gaza, who will be subjected to onerous ongoing monitoring as they try to rebuild their houses, communities and lives following Israel’s summer massacre.

UN agencies estimate that almost 90,000 homes must be rebuilt, in addition to hundreds of schools and other major infrastructure systematically destroyed in Israel’s attack, or degraded by years of blockade.

At a recent donor conference, $5.4 billion was pledged to help rebuild Gaza, but as The Electronic Intifada reported, half of the money will be diverted to fill holes in the PA budget.

This week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has faced forceful Palestinian criticism for his own inaction and complicity in the face of the Israeli attack, visited the devastated Gaza Strip.

There, he said the destruction caused by Israel was “beyond description.”

The next stage of Israel’s blockade

The high-level briefing was given by Nicholas O’Regan, country director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and a colleague, in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

It was attended by more than a dozen heads and senior officials from international nongovernmental organizations and joined by colleagues in Gaza by telephone.

An attendee gave The Electronic Intifada a detailed account of the briefing because they were alarmed at its contents and felt Palestinians had a right to know what was being kept from them.

But the attendee asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized by their agency to speak publicly about the matter.

The UN factsheet below on the so-called “Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism” provides an overview, but not all the details of what was revealed in the briefing.

The attendee said that at the outset O’Regan warned participants, “Be careful what you put out from this meeting. Don’t undermine this. Think about all the people who want to have their houses rebuilt.”

But the attendee concluded that O’Regan was using the plight of Palestinians to cover up the controversial political aspects of the deal which was brokered between Israel and the PA last month by Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) – although its details have been kept under wraps.

“This is the next stage of Israel’s blockade of Gaza,” the attendee said. “It started with a very crude blanket blockade, where pencils and coriander were not allowed in, but now it is becoming much more sophisticated, like the occupation of the West Bank. And now, the international actors are being embedded and made complicit in the siege.”

Sullen resignation

The secretive nature of the negotiations and now the details of the agreement have antagonized international aid groups working in Gaza.

The mood at other key UN agencies appears to be one of sullen resignation rather than enthusiasm.

“We welcome the new mechanism and hope it becomes functional as soon as possible to ensure that Gaza’s reconstruction needs are fully met,” Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, told The Electronic Intifada.

But he added, “While the mechanism must facilitate full reconstruction it cannot be a substitute for the complete lifting of the blockade including for exports, a position which UNRWA and the international community strenuously demands.”

“Gaza has moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We also need political action to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict. Without this and accountability for violations of international law by all parties to the conflict we fear a return to the unsustainable pattern of blockade, rockets and destruction,” Gunness said.

“Legitimate government”

According to the attendee, O’Regan said repeatedly that the UNSCO deal is all about the “legitimate Government of Palestine rebuilding Gaza.”

O’Regan claimed that the UN had only gotten involved at the request of the “Government of Palestine” and that the “process is owned and led by the Government of Palestine, under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.”

But despite the PA – the so-called “Government of Palestine” – serving as the public front, the details revealed in the meeting indicate that the UN is now colluding to entrench, not lift, Israel’s siege.

This could be seen, the attendee said, in the four-stage mechanism for individuals to rebuild their homes in Gaza.

Before reconstruction gets underway, vendors – authorized businesses that will procure building materials and distribute them to end-users in Gaza – must be approved. UN officials have already paid visits to six out of an expected twelve vendors.

Vendors are nominated first by the PA and then the UN inspects them. Selection criteria include such things as having secure facilities, CCTV cameras and an inventory system to account for every bag of cement.

The restrictions are motivated by Israel’s demand that Palestinians be unable to use so-called “dual-use” items to exercise their right of resistance and self-defense against Israeli occupation and repeated attacks.

No such international controls have been placed on Israel, the occupying power that is in violation of dozens of UN resolutions, to prevent it from obtaining weapons or other supplies it uses to occupy and colonize Palestinians or to attack Gaza.

Information passed to Israel

Then comes the four-stage process Palestinian households must go through. It begins with a needs assessment for families whose homes were destroyed. Data for each household including confidential information like family ID card numbers, GPS coordinates of the family’s home and other personal information is then put into a database ostensibly under the control of the PA.

Once the information is in the database, Israel will be given forty-eight hours to object to any name on the list.

According to the attendee, O’Regan said that the UN itself was not sharing information with Israel, but that this sharing would be done by the PA and it would be up to the PA to decide what information to share.

But, according to the attendee, “this is nonsense. If the UN is doing the needs assessments along with the PA, then it is a joint information-gathering and information-sharing effort.”

The attendee said that giving Israel an effective veto over who gets aid violates a fundamental principle of humanitarian aid agencies against beneficiary vetting based on such criteria as religion or political affiliation. “But that’s what the database allows, with the support and complicity of the UN,” the attendee said.

“Throughout this whole talk [O’Regan] tried as much as he could to make the UN seem a very naive player who is just doing this to support the PA,” he observed.

Profiting Israel

Once the needs assessments are done, the approved vendors will order supplies through Israel and vendors will have to be able to track every item down to the last bag of cement.

Orders will be done in bulk through the PA, which will work with the vendors. This raises concerns not only about the high potential for corruption and profiteering by PA-linked middlemen, but the likelihood that Israel will be the main beneficiary.

With Israel severely restricting their access to world markets, Palestinians must buy the bulk of their cement from an Israeli near-monopoly called Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises, a company deeply involved in exploiting the occupied West Bank, including the construction of illegal colonies.

In the third stage, after vendors have received the supplies, families will be able to pick up their building materials on presentation of their IDs. They will receive only the exact amount of supplies called for in the needs assessment.

And then many families will be subject to strict monitoring. UN monitors will perform a “desk review” of ten percent of cases and then up to a fifth of those will have on-site spot checks by some one hundred monitors.

Job notices for “supply chain specialists” to monitor the building materials coming into Gaza have been posted by a United Arab Emirates-based multinational contractor called CTG Global, which works for governments and militaries around the world and which has apparently been contracted by the UN to enforce the new regime.

O’Regan presented this inspection regime – reminiscent of the controls Iraq was placed under during the decade before the 2003 US-led invasion – as being about “reconstruction with integrity, to make sure the most needy receive their aid.”

The process for large-scale projects – schools, roads, the power plant and sewage facilities – will be similar to the one for individual households. The PA will submit each project proposal to Israel and Israel will approve the projects on a case-by-case basis, leaving it in overall control.

The timeframe for such approval has not even been agreed. O’Regan told the briefing that the mechanism is already up and running and the first bags of cement have already entered Gaza.

And while O’Regan described the arrangements as “temporary,” they have no end-date – giving a high likelihood that like so many other “temporary” arrangements governing the lives of Palestinians, this one too will become permanent.

Gaza as SuperMax Prison

The details of the UNSCO arrangements come just days after revelations in the Israeli media about Israel’s new approach to the besieged Gaza Strip.

As Israeli journalist Dimi Reider reports for Middle East Eye, the new Israeli strategy “represents a decisive shift away from the idea of negotiating an independent state for the Palestinians and toward a tightly monitored ‘conflict management’ approach. Under this approach, Palestinians will be allowed greater freedom of movement and greater autonomy, but under close Israeli and international surveillance.”

What this means for Gaza is alarming, as Reider reports:

True, the influx of construction material and other goods into the Strip will doubtless be a great relief to the artificially starved Gazan economy. But the tight, almost dystopian new controls envisioned in the plan underline Israel’s approach to the Strip as being first and foremost a gigantic prison – only it is being upgraded from a third-world prison camp to an American cutting-edge SuperMax facility. Much of the more tantalizing promises should be taken with a heap of salt: complete freedom of movement except where security concerns are raised is pretty much what Gazans enjoy today; it just so happens that all of them, together and apart, are seen as security concerns.

He adds: “The reconstruction sites will then be monitored by Israeli drones, to make sure no materials are used for any other purpose and that each bit of materiel is accounted for.”

And matching the attendee’s account of the briefing, “Private homes will be rebuilt by private but also Israeli-vetted Gaza contractors, who will manage the construction materials through special software accessible also to Israel, and whose works will also be monitored by drones.”

The attendee’s account of O’Regan’s briefing given to The Electronic Intifada also accords with an account of the arrangements leaked to The Guardian earlier this month.

“Critics argue that plans for monitoring the import, storage and sales of building materials – including installing video cameras, setting up a team of international inspectors and the creation of a database of suppliers and consumers – are more appropriate for a suspect nuclear program than a postwar reconstruction effort,” The Guardian observed.

Dr. Ramy Abdu, chair of Euro-Mid Observer For Human Rights, also discussed some leaked information about the plan in an article in Arabic at Alaraby Aljadid earlier this month.

Gaza is to become ground zero for disaster capitalism, profiting from the suffering and incarceration of an entire population.

This is the Gaza Siege 2.0. And it is brought to the Palestinian people with the full complicity of the UN, the Palestinian Authority and the so-called “international community.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Under cover of reconstruction, UN and PA become enforcers of I$raHell’s Gaza sieg

Rwanda and the Criminalisation of International Justice: Anatomy of War Crimes Trials


Global Research

The Nato ordered indictment of Muammar Gadaffi by the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the Nato attack on Libya in 2011 echoed the indictment of President Milosevic by International Criminal Tribunal For Yugoslavia, during the Nato attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Both men ended up dead as a direct consequence. The indictments of these two men, had only one purpose, to serve as propaganda to justify Nato’s aggression and the elimination of governments that refused to bend the knee.

The international criminal justice machine has become a weapon of total war, used not to prosecute the criminals who conduct these wars, but to persecute the leaders of the countries who resist.

Milosevic and Gaddafi are not the only victims of this criminalised international legal structure. The list is long:

President Saddam Hussein of Iraq,

President Charles Taylor of Liberia,

Prime Minister Jean Kambanda of Rwanda,

President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast,

President Bashir of Sudan and

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

The charges against them trumped up, created out of whole cloth. Recently there was talk in the western press of charges against President Putin. We all see how absurd and surreal the game has become.

The structural role these tribunals have played in the attempt by the USA and its Nato allies to create a New World Order has been analysed and described by distinguished jurists and writers around the world. Since I am a trial lawyer, I wanted to contribute to your understanding of the criminal nature of this international justice machine by relating to you some of my experience defending a particular political prisoner held by it. I could tell you about the scandalous practices of the ICTY in the Milosevic trial in which I was involved through his international defence committee but these are well known and have been recounted by a number of eminent persons and writers. There are many victims of these tribunals but I will focus on this one particular case because it stands as an exemplar of the many. However, the criminality was so deep and so extensive that when I began writing down the history of this trial I realised I would need a book to relate it all. So, in the time permitted us, I decided to provide you with a sketch of how these trials work.

So I am going to talk about the Rwanda tribunal because it is the most familiar to me and because the war in Rwanda is used time and again by the United States in its propaganda to justify its wars of intervention, so-called. The US claims that the violence that occurred tin Rwanda in 1994 would not have happened if only America and others had acted instead of standing by and doing nothing. But now, after 15 years of trials and investigations, we know that the America and its allies did directly intervene. It was they who controlled that war and it was they who unleashed violence of an unprecedented magnitude and savagery simply in order to overthrow a regime that was an obstacle to greater conquests and riches in the Congo. Their forces, we now know, did most of the killing and Bill Clinton’s lie that the US was not involved is one of the great lies of history. As Boutros-Ghali told the Canadian writer on Rwanda, Robin Philpot, in 2004, “The Americans are 100% responsible for what happened in Rwanda.” Clinton’s big lie has been accepted and acted on because of the propaganda campaign that accompanied it in the media and the key to that propaganda campaign are the show trials at the Rwanda Criminal Tribunal, set up and financed by the same Nato countries and corporations and Soros connected ngos as control the Yugoslav, Sierra Leone and Hariri tribunals.

In January, 2000, General Augustin Ndidiliyimana, the former Chief of Staff of the Rwanda gendarmerie and most senior ranking Rwandan military officer in 1994, was arrested in Belgium based on an indictment issued by Carla Del Ponte, then prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda, the ICTR. He fled to Belgium in June 1994 after receiving threats on his life. His entry into Belgium was authorised by the then Belgian Foreign Minister, Willy Claeys, later Secretary-General of Nato, who stated at the time that he had saved the lives of many Rwandans.

It is with the arrest that the criminality begins to appear. It was speculated in the Belgian press at the time that it was for political reasons and indeed, 11 years later, this speculation was confirmed when the trial judges delivered their judgement.

They stated, in the judgement dated May 17, 2011 the following: General Ndindiliyimana was considered a political “moderate” during the Rwanda War of 1990-94, a Hutu respected by Tutsis and Hutus alike and, as attested to by many witnesses including witnesses for the prosecution, his gendarmes did not commit crimes against civilians but tried to protect them where they could. So why was he arrested?

Because he was a potential leader of the country, because he refused to cooperate with the RPF regime installed by the United States after the war, because he knew too much about what really happened in Rwanda and who was really responsible for the violence, because he knew that UN and American forces, despite Clinton’s denials, were directly involved in the final RPF offensive of 1994 and the murder of President Habyarimana. All these reasons were no doubt involved in his arrest but it quickly became clear that the prosecutor used his arrest to pressure him to give false evidence against Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former deputy minister of defence in Rwanda who was their primary target, the “big fish” of the prosecution.

The criminal methods used against him began immediately on his arrest. He and his counsel in Brussles met with two ICTR prosecution staffers who informed him that the indictment was just a formality to give the ICTR jurisdiction over him and that the real reason for his arrest was to accompany them to Arusha, Tanzania, the home of the ICTR, to meet with the prosecutor to be interviewed regarding events in Rwanda. The Rules of Procedure require that an accused be shown the indictment on arrest. He was shown nothing. Yet he voluntarily accompanied the ICTR staffers to Tanzania, and was immediately thrown in prison.

In June 2000 Ndindiliyamana contacted me by letter and asked me to be his counsel. I agreed and he submitted my name to the registrar to have me assigned. But their immediate reaction was to try to dissuade him from engaging me, stating that I had no experience, that I could not speak French, (he spoke no English) both false and attempted to persuade him to take counsel they preferred. This was a frequent occurrence at the ICTY and R and is now the norm at the ICC. Defence counsel who are seen to be too effective and willing to bring out the all the facts and let justice be done though the sky may fall, or, as Kant phrased, it “to let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world should perish from it”, are prevented from representing accused by various means in favour of counsel who are either active agents of the western powers or who will only put up token defences The few strong defence counsel who are able appear are hampered in every way possible and even thrown in prison on charges trumped up by the prosecution, and the intimidation of counsel trying to defend them, as we recently saw in the Bemba case at the ICC. Nevertheless, Ndindiliyimana persisted and, finally, I was allowed to represent him and to meet him later that summer.

The first thing to do obviously was to get hold of the indictment and see what the charges were. But that proved to be very difficult. The indictment was not a simple statement of a criminal charge. It was, instead, a 65 page propaganda tract, setting out the mass media version of the war, all of it false, all of it meant to prejudice the accused in the eyes of the judges but, more especially, meant for public consumption and prosecution press releases. In other words it was pure propaganda, and written as such. The other surprise was that entire lines, sections and even entire pages of the indictment were blacked out, including the names of co-accused.

On his arrival in Arusha the general was not taken immediately before a judge for an initial appearance as required by the ICTR Rules of Procedure. Instead he was held incommunicado for almost 4 months and did not make his first appearance before the judges of the tribunal until April 28th of that year. The delay was a deliberate tactic meant to soften him up psychologically. The same tactic was used against other prisoners, one example being Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, who instead of being brought before a judge on arrest was taken to a location hundreds of kilometres from the tribunal, held incommunicado for nine months and threatened by two Canadian police officers every day to make him confess to crimes he had not committed.

When Ndindiliyimana was finally brought before a judge the lack of a proper indictment was raised by the duty counsel who stated the accused was being asked to plead to a document that was half blank. The judge did nothing.

Upon my arrival at the tribunal, in July 2000, an American woman approached me in a hallway of the tribunal offices and informed me that she was in charge of the prosecution staff and wanted to talk with me. She informed me that she was not only a lawyer. She was also a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves. She asked to meet me the next day to discuss a deal which was strange considering the charges they had made against my client of genocide. The next day, about 20 people walked into the meeting room where I was sitting alone. The attempt to intimidate me was clear. The American colonel made various proposals for a deal if we agreed to cooperate and testify for the prosecution. Our response was that the charges, so far as we could make them out, were false, that we could not accept his arrest and detention as a means of forcing him to give false testimony and demanded to have a trial. As an aside, I heard a number of times in private meetings with UN staffers, some at high levels, that everyone at the tribunal knew the general was a good man and not guilty of any thing but, as one insider told me, that’s the way the Americans “are playing things here”, and to watch my back.

On my next trip to Arusha, a couple of months later, to argue a motion for his release, I found that he had “disappeared” from the prison. The UN and Tanzanian guards refused to tell me where he was. It took a day of angry arguing with obstructive officials to find out that he had been transferred to a UN safe house in the town of Arusha. The excuse given to me was that he was in danger from other prisoners but in reality it was to keep him isolated psychologically, to weaken him, to soften him up, and to discredit him with the other prisoners by making it look like he was “making a deal.”

We demanded that he be taken back to the UN Detention Unit but all our legal efforts to effect that were useless until I raised the issue in the press and to avoid further scandal, two days after the press raised the issue, he was returned to the UN prison, where, soon after, he was elected head of the prisoners’ committee.

Over the next 4 years we faced constant obstructions in trying to find out what was going on, what charges he actually faced, what they were going to do and when he was going to have a trial. During this period, repeated offers were made by the prosecutors, including dropping all the charges but all were refused; our position being simply that his arrest and detention to pressure him to testify were illegal and immoral and that he would only cooperate as a free man.

Demands for a speedy trial were met with shrugs of indifference. We were not given any relevant disclosure and even at the end of the trial the prosecution kept hidden thousands of documents that were exculpatory and only came to light by accident. So, in effect we never got any disclosure and had to create a defence for what we thought the general charges to be. To compound the problems, we were also refused sufficient investigative missions to locate and meet with witnesses to build our defence.

Two Irish lawyers found out through sympathetic contacts in the UN security office that defence office phones and fax lines were tapped. We learned that at least one defence lawyer was an agent of the prosecutor. Lawyers noticed they were followed and hotel rooms were broken into. Attempts were made to put women net to us who worked for the Tanzanian and Rwandan intelligence services. Rumours were spread in the UN detention unit to discredit defence counsel with their clients.

In 2003, a Scottish lawyer, Andrew McCarten, representing another accused at the ICTR, came to see me in Toronto stating he knew all about how the US and CIA controlled the tribunal at every level and that he feared for his life. He was very agitated. He had just arrived from New York where had tried to meet with Bill Clinton, and had been thrown out of his office. He told me details of the US military and CIA penetration of the tribunal and said he was going to send me documents of even darker things. The tribunal accused him of financial irregularities and kicked him out. Two weeks late he was dead. The police could find no cause for his car going off a cliff in Scotland. He was Scotland’s foremost military lawyer.

On a visit to Arusha just after that I was visited by a major in American army intelligence, accompanied by an intelligence officer from the American State Department Research Intelligence Bureau who wanted to know what our trial strategy was and what my client’s views were of African politics.

The defence lawyers were not the only ones who faced problems. In 1997, Louise Arbour ordered an investigation into the shoot-down of the presidential plane, which resulted in the massacre of all on board, including the Hutu President of Rwanda, Habyarimana and the Hutu president of Burundi, Ntaryamira and the Army Chief of Staff. The invading Ugandan-RPF forces and Americans claimed that Hutu “extremists” shot down the plane.

An Australian lawyer, Michael Hourigan, was assigned to lead the investigation and in due course he reported to Arbour that his team had determined that it was in fact the RPF that had shot down the plane with the help of a foreign power and the CIA was implicated. Arbour, he stated in an affidavit, seemed enthusiastic when he first informed her by telephone but when he was summoned to The Hague to meet with her, her attitude had totally changed to open hostility. He was ordered to hand over his evidence and ordered off the case.

To this day that file has been kept secret and no one named in his report has been charged.

In January 2004 the defence lawyers organised a strike to protest the political nature of the charges and trials, the poor working conditions for the defence, the searches of defence counsel when they went to meet with their clients, and the isolation and conditions for the prisoners. A few weeks after the strike the strike leader, Jean Degli, a Congolese lawyer based in Paris, an excellent advocate and a strong leader of the defence lawyers’ association, was implicated by the prosecution in a financial scandal and forced out from the defence of a senior military officer. He had to go and he was gone. Once he left the tribunal the defence lawyers’ association fell apart and never took any effective action again.

British and American lawyers would sometimes appear in the prison and announce to several accused that they had been appointed their lawyers. But the prisoners had not asked for them, did not know them, did not want them and became convinced that they were sent in by western intelligence agencies to control the outcome of the cases. The prisoners themselves created a list of defence lawyers they believed to work for western intelligence agencies. For those cases the tribunal could not control through friendly counsel the prosecution tried to insert someone inside the defence team to pass on information and to influence defence tactics and strategy. We detected several people who were working for the prosecution as spies.

They sabotaged our team by trying to trap and arrest our lead investigator, a former Rwandan police major, very useful to us in locating witnesses. On the very day that he arrived in Arusha, I was informed by a sympathetic official that they intended to arrest him on genocide charges, that his work programme had been suspended and that I better get him out of the country. So we had to quickly smuggle him out of Tanzania, at considerable cost, to avoid his arrest or worse. The charges were patently false, as he had been cleared by UN security and Rwanda well before he was engaged as our investigator. But the prosecution tactic effectively crippled our defence for over a year and we were never able to locate an investigator again with his experience and contacts. To this date, our demands to know why he was charged have been met by silence but it is worth noting that after this episode he was accepted into the Dutch police force which did a complete security check on him and determined that he had no involvement in the events of 1994.

The pressure increased when the prosecution circulated rumours that indicated they were intending to charge the general’s wife as well.

Finally, almost 5 years after the general’s arrest, the trial began, in September, 2004. To our complete surprise, at the very start of the trial the prosecutor stood up and filed a brand new indictment containing dozens of new charges including allegations of massacres we had never heard of and personal murders allegedly committed by the general himself. The accusations were of the worst and most sensational kind. It was clear they were meant to prejudice the accused in the eyes of the judges before the trial got going and in fact, as we saw in their judgement many of those were dropped without any evidence ever being presented. It was all a sham. We protested and demanded a delay to prepare a defence. We were denied and forced on and so had to prepare a defence on the run. At that point I was alone without co-counsel as the registrar refused to allow us to have counsel we wanted. The judges’ attitude from the first day was openly hostile and they refused to allow us to discuss certain issues, or to cross-examine witnesses as we wanted. They openly sided with the prosecutors and sat back and did nothing as, each day, the prosecutors launched into vicious personal attacks on defence counsel and the accused.

The prosecution witnesses were mainly Hutu prisoners of the RPF, held without charge for ten years or more, in terrible conditions, many tortured, none of their testimony agreeing with the statements they had made prior to trial, much of it, double and triple hearsay. No RPF officers were called to testify though they did call a few witnesses who were members of Rwandan government propaganda groups. The only evidence they had came out of the mouths of these Hutu prisoners and government agents.

Nevertheless, a number of them, once on the stand, had the courage to state that they had been forced to sign statements and testify falsely in return for release, favours or to avoid execution. We learned from these witnesses that the regime had set up schools in the prisons to recruit and train false witnesses, and the judges heard detailed accounts of how witnesses were recruited in these prisons, and that prosecution staff at the tribunal were involved in this scandal. What the fate of these prisoners was when they returned to Rwanda we do not know but the fate of those that cross the Rwanda regime is always unpleasant and permanent.

Even the judges, selected and groomed to be hostile to the defence, began slowly to become uncomfortable with what they were hearing and disturbed on learning that all the witness statements disclosed to us post-dated the general’s arrest.

The judges threatened my self and other counsel with arrest if we continued lines of questions they didn’t want us to pursue, and there were daily angry confrontations in court between the judges and defence counsel when we tried to protect the rights of the accused and insisted on a fair trial. Throughout the trial, evidence came out that the enemy forces had committed mass atrocities against civilians but instead of the judges asking the prosecution why these forces were not charged they tried to silence us.

In 2005, during my cross-examination of a Belgian Army colonel concerning what is known as the Dallaire genocide fax, we learned that the translators were reading from scripts prepared by the prosecution instead of translating actual testimony of the witness. We demanded an investigation and demanded the prosecutors be charged. The judges again sat there stone-faced and despite our demands, did nothing.

It was during this cross-examination that the Dallaire fax was proved to be a forgery and placed in UN files by a colonel in the British Army. But the prosecution was so embarrassed by this revelation that the fax was never again mentioned in any of the trials at the ICTR and though it was claimed to be the most important prosecution document in our trial, the prosecution never again raised it.

In 2006, the prosecution arranged to have the Appeal Chamber make the astounding declaration that the “genocide” was a judicially noticed fact despite the clear denial by the defence, despite the contrary evidence in the trials and despite the fact that the primary charge all the accused faced was genocide. In effect the tribunal stated the defence could not deny the principal charge against them.

But we persisted in presenting our defence in spite of this decision and in our case, at least, the judges gave up fighting with us day after day and we continued to present the facts.

In September 2006 the well-known prosecution expert, Dr Alison Des Forges, testified in our trial and prepared an expert report for that purpose. The problem was that she removed from that report statements she had made in an earlier report that Ndindiliyimana was a man opposed to genocide and had tried to protect civilians. When she was confronted in cross-examination as to why she had attempted to mislead the judges she refused to answer the questions but it was clear from the reaction of the prosecutors that she had removed those exculpatory statements in an attempt to obstruct justice and did so on the orders of the prosecution. The trial judges took the rare step of censuring Dr. Des Forges for this deceit in the trial judgement.-

In 2007 we witnessed another bizarre scene in which the Judges and prosecutors held a secret meeting on how to eliminate the unwanted testimony of a Tutsi prince, son of the last Tutsi king, and well known personality in Rwanda, named Antoine Nyetera, who testified that the RPF had done all the killing and not the government and that he was a witness to it. Not liking the fact a prominent Tutsi was stating that the mass media version of events was false and that the RPF forces the prosecution refused to charge were responsible for most of the killings, they decided, in a secret meeting with the prosecutors, to announce in court that they were going to eliminate his testimony from the record. When all the defence counsel objected, we were met by a stone wall. To cover up what they did the daily minutes for that day were doctored as well.

Transcripts were doctored. We were given draft transcripts each day in the morning but when we received the final version, certain words or key phrases were changed to the benefit of the prosecution, Again, complaints went nowhere. We were being surveilled by UN security officers when meeting with witnesses in hotels. This was done quote openly and the effect was clearly to intimidate us.

In July 2008, a senior American ICTR official approached me in a café in Arusha, and told me he was a CIA officer, that they had murdered others who went too far at the tribunal, including an American prosecution counsel who he stated was poisoned after ignoring a warning to reveal sensitive information. He told me that if I did not stop my defence work they were going to kill me too. I reported this bizarre conversation to the President of the Tribunal the Norwegian judge, Mose, but again I was met with complete indifference. This was not the first time such a threat had been made. A member of the Rwandan government approached me at the beginning of the trial after watching me cross-examine their witnesses and told me that if I continued I did not have long to live. Complaints to the judges and UN security led nowhere. Tanzanian secret police approached me several times over the years and made similar remarks and it has not stopped even now. In July of this year Canadian intelligence officers came to see me in Toronto to tell me I was on a Rwandan hit list and asked me if I was going to stay active in the Rwandan file. It seemed to me they used the device of warning me of a threat to convey one.

In November 2005 Juvenal Uwilingiyimana, a former cabinet minister in Rwanda, who was being interviewed by two Canadian investigators working for Stephen Rapp, then chief of prosecutions at the ICTR, disappeared when he went to meet these investigators in Lille, France. These were the same Canadians who had kept Prime Minister Kambanda incommunicado for 9 months to extract a false confession from him. Weeks later, Uwilingiyimana’s body was found in a canal in Brussles, naked, with its hands cut off. Just before he disappeared he wrote a letter to the tribunal stating that Rapp and his men were pressuring him to give false testimony and that they had threatened to kill him and cut his body into pieces unless he cooperated. I and other counsel raised this letter and the murder in court and demanded that the prime suspects in the murder, Stephen Rapp and the two Canadians, be suspended and detained pending an investigation. Nothing was done. The Belgian police did no investigation and Rapp was promoted to the position of US roving ambassador for war crimes.

In 2008, a prosecution witness in our trial recanted stating that he was forced, under threat of death, to give false testimony. The defence succeeded in getting the judges to order his recall to be questioned about it and he was brought from Rwanda to a UN safe house in Arusha, The day before he was to testify he disappeared from that safe house and has never been seen since. The UN could not explain how he could disappear from one of their safe houses. Another prosecution witness recanted stating the same thing but in this case the prosecution accused me of bribing him. Two investigations concluded he was telling the truth, which included the fact that a prosecution counsel was involved in suborning perjury.

At about the same time an RPF military intelligence officer who had fled the regime testified that all the sections of the tribunal were penetrated by western and RPF intelligence officers and that the translators all worked for Rwandan intelligence and that the judges were seen as useful puppets.

We noticed the presence several times during the trial of American army officers and senior members of the American Department of Justice sitting with the prosecutors. When we found out who they were we demanded that they be ejected and the judges were forced to order them removed from the courtroom. During the short cross-examination we were permitted of General Dallaire, by video link from Canadian Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, the cameraman made the mistake of pulling back from the close-up shot of the General’s face and torso to a wide angle shot and we were shocked to see 5 senior Canadian Army officers sitting next to him when we had been told he was alone in the room with the technician and a court official. When we demanded to know who they were and who had given them orders to be there they refused to answer and the judges refused to order their removal.

In 2008, I found hidden in prosecution files a letter from Paul Kagame, dated August, 1994, in which he refers to his and President Museveni’s “plan for Zaire,” in which he stated that the Hutus are in the way of that plan but that, with the help of the Americans, British and Belgians, the plan would go ahead. I raised this letter in court the next day as it indicated that the war in Rwanda was just the first phase for the greater war in the Congo that was planned probably as far back as 1990. The prosecution immediately accused me of forging this document, even though it came from their files, and that night I was openly followed by a Tanzanian police detective. I was forced to ask the judges for protection the next day who insisted that I be left alone.

In 2011, despite the overwhelming evidence that Ndindiliiyimana had done all he could to save lives and to restore peace to Rwanda and that he was innocent of all the charges, the judges convicted him for failing to punish subordinates for two alleged crimes though they acquitted him on all the substantive charges and ordered his release. The convictions were absurd on their face as one of the alleged incidents had never occurred and in the other his men were not involved.

When the Appeal Chamber threw out those convictions on February 7 2014, I learned from an inside source that the judges felt they had to convict him of something despite his clear innocence because they were afraid of the consequences from the Americans if they acquitted. It was also speculated by a number of commentators that they had convicted him to justify his long illegal detention. As an aside, the day after the conviction was announced, I was surprised to receive an email from the American woman, the colonel, who had first dealt with the case in 2000 and offered us a deal. She is now a high official in the US State Department. She stated that she was angry that Ndindiliyimana had been convicted, that things were never meant to go that far and that, if ever I was in Washington, she would tell me what was really behind everything. But I have not gone to Washington.

Each trial has its own stories to tell. Each has its own anatomy but the disease is the same in all. It is a very depressing and dark picture. It was a very bitter experience. There is not much more I can say except that it seems to me that international justice worthy of the name cannot exist without an international order that is democratic; a world order in which the sovereignty and equality of nations is fundamental. Law and its legal structures reflect the social, economic and political relations of a society. To rebuild the legal architecture of international justice so that it is fair, impartial and universal we first have to change the fundamental economic, social and power relations that are its foundation. Without this mankind will continue down the path of reaction and war and the list of victims of these truly criminal tribunals will be long and the victims of a world war will include all of us. How is this to be done? I leave that to you.

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U.S. is Responsible for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Liberian Scientist


Global Research

A History of Guatemala’s Syphilis Experiment: How a U.S. Led Team Performed Human Experimentations in Central America

Dr. Cyril Broderick, A Liberian scientist and a former professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Liberia’s College of Agriculture and Forestry says the West, particularly the U.S. is responsible for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Dr. Broderick claims the following in an exclusive article published in the Daily Observer based in Monrovia, Liberia. He wrote the following:

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is funding Ebola trials on humans, trials which started just weeks before the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The reports continue and state that the DoD gave a contract worth $140 million dollars to Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, to conduct Ebola research. This research work involved injecting and infusing healthy humans with the deadly Ebola virus. Hence, the DoD is listed as a collaborator in a “First in Human” Ebola clinical trial (NCT02041715, which started in January 2014 shortly before an Ebola epidemic was declared in West Africa in March.

Is it possible that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and other Western countries are directly responsible for infecting Africans with the Ebola virus? Dr. Broderick claims that the U.S. government has a research laboratory located in a town called Kenema in Sierra Leone that studies what he calls “viral fever bioterrorism”, It is also the town where he acknowledges that is the “epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” Is it a fact? Is Dr. Broderick a conspiracy theorist? He says that “there is urgent need for affirmative action in protecting the less affluent of poorer countries, especially African citizens, whose countries are not as scientifically and industrially endowed as the United States and most Western countries, sources of most viral or bacterial GMOs that are strategically designed as biological weapons.” He also asks an important question when he says “It is most disturbing that the U. S. Government has been operating a viral hemorrhagic fever bioterrorism research laboratory in Sierra Leone. Are there others?”

Well, Mr. Broderick’s claims seem to be true. After all, the U.S. government has been experimenting with deadly diseases on human beings for a long time, history tells us so. One example is Guatemala. Between 1946 and 1948, the United States government under President Harry S. Truman in collaboration with Guatemalan President Juan José Arévalo and his health officials deliberately infected more than 1500 soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and even mental patients with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chancroid (a bacterial sexual infection) out of more than 5500 Guatemalan people who participated in the experiments. The worst part of it is that none of the test subjects infected with the diseases ever gave informed consent. The Boston Globe published the discovery made by Medical historian and professor at Wellesley College, Susan M. Reverby in 2010 called ‘Wellesley professor unearths a horror: Syphilis experiments in Guatemala.’ It stated how she came across her discovery:

Picking through musty files in a Pennsylvania archive, a Wellesley College professor made a heart-stopping discovery: US government scientists in the 1940s deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea in experiments conducted without the subjects’ permission. Medical historian Susan M. Reverby happened upon the documents four or five years ago while researching the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study and later shared her findings with US government officials.

The unethical research was not publicly disclosed until yesterday, when President Obama and two Cabinet secretaries apologized to Guatemala’s government and people and pledged to never repeat the mistakes of the past — an era when it was not uncommon for doctors to experiment on patients without their consent.

After Reverby’s discovery, the Obama administration apparently gave an apology to then-President Alvaro Colom according to the Boston Globe:

Yesterday, Obama called President Álvaro Colom Caballeros of Guatemala to apologize, and Obama’s spokesman told reporters the experiment was “tragic, and the United States by all means apologizes to all those who were impacted by this.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had called Colom Thursday night to break the news to him. In her conversation with the Guatemalan president, Clinton expressed “her personal outrage and deep regret that such reprehensible research could occur,’’ said Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.

The study in Guatemala was led by John Cutler, a US health service physician who also took part in the controversial Tuskegee Syphilis experiments which began in the 1930’s. Researchers wanted to study the effects of a group of antibiotics called penicillin on affected individuals. The prevention and treatment of syphilis and other venereal diseases were also included in the experimentation. Although they were treated with antibiotics, more than 83 people had died according to BBC news in 2011 following a statement issued by Dr Amy Gutmann, head of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues:

The Commission said some 5,500 Guatemalans were involved in all the research that took place between 1946 and 1948. Of these, some 1,300 were deliberately infected with syphilis, gonorrhoea or another sexually transmitted disease, chancroid. And of that group only about 700 received some sort of treatment. According to documents the commission had studied, at least 83 of the 5,500 subjects had died by the end of 1953.

Washington’s reaction to the report is a farce. The apology made to Guatemala’s government was for the sake of public relations. Washington knows about its human experimentations in the past with deadly diseases conducted by government-funded laboratories that are known to be harmful to the public. The U.S. government is guilty in conducting numerous medical experiments on people not only in Guatemala but in other countries and on its own territory. As the Boston Globe report mentioned, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study occurred between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the “natural progression” of untreated syphilis in the African American population. The U.S. Public Health Service and the Tuskegee Institute collaborated in 1932 and enrolled 600 poor sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama to study the syphilis infection. However, it was documented that at least 400 of those had the disease (they were never informed that they actually had syphilis) while the remaining 200 did not. They received free medical care, food and even free burial insurance for participating in the study. Documents revealed that they were told that they had “bad blood” which meant that they had various medical conditions besides syphilis. The Tuskegee scientists continued to study the participants without treating their illnesses and they also withheld much-needed information from the participants about penicillin, which proved to be effective in treating Syphilis and other venereal diseases. The test subjects were under the impression that they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government while they were deliberately being lied to by the same administrators who were conducting the tests. Washington is fully aware of its human experimentations with deadly diseases. The government of Guatemala also knew about the Syphilis experiments according to the Boston Globe:

A representative of the Guatemalan government said his nation will investigate, too — looking in part at the culpability of officials in that country. The records of the experiment suggest that Guatemalan government officials were fully aware of the tests, sanctioned them, and may have done so in exchange for stockpiles of penicillin.

However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the study ‘Fact Sheet on the 1946-1948 U.S. Public Health Service Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Inoculation Study’ and was forced to admit what happened in Guatemala during the syphilis experiments:

While conducting historical research on the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, Professor Susan Reverby of Wellesley College recently discovered the archived papers of the late Dr. John Cutler, a U.S. Public Health Service medical officer and a Tuskegee investigator. The papers described another unethical study supported by the U.S. government in which highly vulnerable populations in Guatemala were intentionally infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The study, conducted between 1946 and 1948, was done with the knowledge of Dr. Cutler’s superiors and was funded by a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (which became the Pan American Health Organization) to several Guatemalan government ministries. The study had never been published.

The U.S. government admitted to its wrongdoing, 62 years too late. What Dr. Broderick wrote is not conspiratorial in any sense. The U.S. government has been involved in bioterrorism; Guatemala is a case in point. Dr. Broderick summarized what average people can do to prevent governments, especially those from the West from creating and exposing populations from diseases they experiment with in laboratories:

The challenge is global, and we request assistance from everywhere, including China, Japan, Australia, India, Germany, Italy, and even kind-hearted people in the U.S., France, the U.K., Russia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else whose desire is to help. The situation is bleaker than we on the outside can imagine, and we must provide assistance however we can. To ensure a future that has less of this kind of drama, it is important that we now demand that our leaders and governments be honest, transparent, fair, and productively engaged. They must answer to the people. Please stand up to stop Ebola testing and the spread of this dastardly disease.

After Guatemala’s ordeal with the U.S. government who deliberately infected people with syphilis, West African nations should be extremely skeptical about the U.S. government’s actions combating Ebola. Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois, College of Law questions the Obama administration’s actions in West Africa. RIA Novosti recently interviewed Boyle and he said the following:

US government agencies have a long history of carrying out allegedly defensive biological warfare research at labs in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is now the point agency for managing the Ebola spill-over into the US,” Prof. Francis Boyle said.

Why has the Obama administration dispatched troops to Liberia when they have no training to provide medical treatment to dying Africans? How did Zaire/Ebola get to West Africa from about 3,500km away from where it was first identified in 1976?”

That’s a good question for Washington, but would the public get any answers? Not anytime soon, since it took more than 62 years for the Guatemala syphilis experiments to be exposed to the public, not by the US government, by a medical historian.

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Hezbollah warns against Shia cleric Nimr execution


The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has warned Zio-Wahhabi regime against the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Lebanese movement described the sentence handed down to the cleric as unjust and politically motivated.

“This unjust sentence is political par excellence, and reflects the repressive policy adopted by Saudi authorities against a wide segment of citizens. They cannot tolerate free expression and the peaceful struggle of this oppressed segment to achieve their legitimate demands,” the statement read.

Hezbollah also called on Zio-Wahhabi regime to drop the case against Nimr and listen to the legitimate demands of the citizens seeking to obtain the minimum of their rights as recognized by divine religions and the international law.

The Lebanese resistance movement further urged international rights groups to press Riyadh not to kill the top Shia scholar.

On Wednesday, Nimr was sentenced to death at the Specialized Criminal Court in capital Riyadh. In reaction to the sentence, people took to streets in the city of Qatif in Eastern Province to condemn the move.

Amnesty International has called the death sentence “appalling,” saying the verdict should be quashed.

Meanwhile, a group of protesters have staged a rally in Bahrain to express solidarity with the dissident Shia Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia. The protesters denounced the Zio-Wahhabi regime  for issuing Nimr’s death sentence.

Nimr has been given the death sentence on charges of disturbing the kingdom’s security and making anti-government speeches.

He is the Imam of al-Awamiyya mosque in Qatif and has spent most of his two-year detention in solitary confinement at the al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh, according to Amnesty International.

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