Archive | September 15th, 2015

Secret Saudi Zio-Wahhabi executions shame the West



Secret Saudi Zio-Wahhabi executions

Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent, reveals a frenzy of beheadings in the first of a series on women victims of Gulf ‘justice’

Amid a frenzy of executions in the Arab Gulf states, at least 12 women have been put to death after Islamic trials, most of them publicly beheaded by the sword in Saudi Arabia. The majority of the executions were kept secret from all but spectators for fear of public reaction in the West, and followed unfair hearings which often denied the women a defence lawyer.

Among the more shocking cases over the past three years were a mother and her daughter who were decapitated together in front of an audience of men in a Dhahran market last August for allegedly killing the elder woman’s husband.

In most cases, the condemned women – who include not only Saudis but Filipina, Sri Lankan, Nigerian, Indonesian and Pakistani nationals – were taken from their prisons to be beheaded, without warning that they were about to meet their death. In the Saudi coastal town of Dammam, a Christian Filipina accused of killing her employer and his family was dragged into a public square in 1993, and forced to kneel on the ground where her male executioner snatched her scarf from her head before decapitating her with a sword.

In the emirate of Ras al-Khaymah last April, a Sri Lankan girl stood weeping in the prison courtyard before a seven-man firing squad shot her dead for killing her employer’s child – a crime she had told her fellow prisoners she did not commit. She was 19.

The nature of the Islamic trials and the cruel methods of execution call into question the morality of the West’s military and political support for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states whose supposedly civilised values were defended by 500,000 US, British and other Western troops after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Not a single Western embassy, however, is known to have protested at the beheading of women – nor at the increasingly ferocious lashing of hundreds of foreign female workers in the Gulf for alleged misdemeanors.

The chilling list of executions, with most of the women under 30, will increase fears for Sarah Balabagan, the 16-year-old Muslim Filipina housemaid whose death sentence for the murder of her employer comes before an Abu Dhabi appeal court this morning. She was only 14 when she killed the elderly man, whom she said had tried to rape her. Amnesty and other human rights organisations have appealed for her to be spared.

The rapidly increasing number of women beheaded in Saudi Arabia – six this year alone – has shocked even normally conservative Saudis. “Most people accept traditional sharia Islamic law but the principles of execution are in doubt,” a Saudi Islamist intellectual said yesterday. “Nobody can produce anything from the Koran which says the only way to execute people is by beheading – this is an old Nejdi tribal tradition and has nothing to do with Islam. Fear of a breakdown in security is pushing our rulers to put women as well as men under the sword.” So far this year, there have been 182 public executions in Saudi Arabia.

Of the 12 women known to have been executed in the Gulf over the past 32 months, 10 were put to death for alleged murder, four for killing their husbands, one for killing her father, one for killing a stepdaughter, two for killing employers and three on drugs-related offences. One woman, a Saudi named Fatima bint Abdullah, was publicly beheaded last 27 March for allegedly running a brothel and “chewing qat”, a leaf containing a mild drug from Yemen. According to a Saudi source, it was the qat rather than the brothel-keeping that prompted the Islamic court to sentence her to death.

Several of the executed women appear to have been deeply mentally disturbed when they committed their alleged crimes. Several were crimes of passion. The Filipina maid who was accused of murdering her employer and his children in Dammam, for example, apparently tried to preserve the bodies in salt before calling the police. Del Ferouza Delaur, a Pakistani girl executed two weeks ago, was reportedly unaware that heroin had been smuggled into her baggage when she was arrested by Saudi security police.

She was what the authorities call a “mule”, an innocent person set up by drug smugglers to carry narcotics. But she was publicly beheaded in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on 25 September.

Occasionally, Saudi authorities have released brief announcements of the execution of women but have never revealed how their sharia courts reached their verdicts, nor why they could find no extenuating circumstances for the instances of husband-murder. Two of the women executed in the Gulf contended – as Sarah Balabagan has done in Abu Dhabi – that their victims had attempted to rape them.

Dozens of expatriate female workers from developing countries have been deported or have fled Gulf states after their employers had beaten or raped them.

The bodies of foreign women beheaded in Saudi Arabia, however, have never been repatriated to their home countries – Saudi authorities routinely refuse to reply to such requests.

Outside the Gulf, women have been largely spared capital punishment, although Jordan hanged a young housewife in November 1993 – the second woman to be executed in the country’s history.

Identified as “Tamatheel S”, she was taken to the gallows in Sawaka prison outside Amman for allegedly beating her elderly husband to death with a brick and burning his body in kerosene. She was just 26.

The first of the recent female deaths at the hands of the Saudi police was reported by Amnesty International, who say that Zahra Habib Mansur al-Nasser, a 40-year-old Shia Muslim housewife from Awjam in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, was arrested with her husband on the Saudi-Jordanian border in July 1989, with a photograph of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in her baggage.

Both were taken to the Hudaitha detention centre where the woman was reportedly tortured to death by Saudi security men three days later.

Leading article, page 18

The victims

16 January 1993: Rani bint Khamisallah Bishk. Pakistani. Beheaded in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly murdering her husband

29 January 1993. Salwa bint Mohamed bin Ali. Saudi of Egyptian origin. Beheaded in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly murdering her husband

12 February 1993. Jumua bint Abdul Khaleq bin Mufrih Al-Ghamdi. Saudi. Beheaded in al-Baha, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly murdering her husband

7 May 1993. Leonarda Akula, Filipina. Beheaded in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly murdering her employer and his family

7 October 1994. Konti Vidarati Tonotoni. Indonesian. Beheaded in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, along with her husband, for alleged murder

27 March 1995. Fatima bint Abdullah. Saudi. Beheaded in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly running a brothel and chewing the mild drug “qat”

13 April 1995. Sithi Mohamed Farouq. Filipina. Executed by firing squad in Ras al-Khaimar, United Arab Emirates, for allegedly killing her employer’s child

27 June 1995. Unknown Saudi woman. Beheaded in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly murdering her stepdaughter

11 August 1995. Laila bint Abd al-Majid bin Al-Hamid and her daughter, Khalud Khalid bin Husain bin Ahmed Al-Naf. Both Saudis. Beheaded in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly killing their husband/father

25 August 1995. Rabi bint Mohamed bin Hamed. Nigerian. Beheaded at unknown location in Saudi Arabia for allegedly trafficking in cocaine

25 September 1995. Del Ferouza Delaur. Pakistani. Beheaded in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly smuggling heroin

The only non-Gulf Arab state to have executed a woman in the past 32 months is Jordan where a 26-year-old Jordanian woman identified only as “Tamatheel S” was hanged at Sawaka prison on 19 November 1993, for allegedly murdering her husband.

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Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime carries out its 100th beheading this year


Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded a Syrian drug trafficker and a convicted murderer, taking to 100 the number of executions in the kingdom this year.

The number of executions has surged in 2015 compared with the 87 recorded for all of last year. But it is still far below the record 192 which rights group Amnesty International said took place in 1995.

Syrian Ismael al-Tawm smuggled ‘a large amount of banned amphetamine pills into the kingdom’, said an interior ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Highly visible: Executions in Saudia Arabia are carried out in public, mostly by beheading with a sword. The country has now executed its 100th person this year

Highly visible: Executions in Saudia Arabia are carried out in public, mostly by beheading with a sword. The country has now executed its 100th person this year

He was beheaded in the northern region of Jawf. A separate statement said that Rami al-Khaldi was convicted of stabbing another Saudi to death and was executed in the western province of Taef.

Drug and murder convictions account for the bulk of executions in Saudi Arabia.

The Berlin-based European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights said in a report that the death penalty in the kingdom is ‘often applied to powerless individuals with no government connection’.

Ali Adubisi, the group’s director, has said that economic factors could be leading to a rise in drug crimes. Many are turning to the illegal business ‘because they are poor’, he said. 

According to London-based Amnesty, use of the death penalty for other than the ‘most serious crimes’ — premeditated killings — violates international law.

Saudi judicial proceedings ‘fall far short’ of global norms of fairness, according to the rights watchdog.

Under the Gulf state’s strict Islamic sharia legal code, drug trafficking, rape, murder, armed robbery and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Those beheaded this year include Siti Zainab, an Indonesian domestic worker convicted of murder despite concerns about her mental health, according to the Indonesian newspaper Kompas.

Protest: Lebanese human rights activists hold signs saying 'Do not kill' outside the Saudi embassy in Beirut. The conservative Islamic kingdom beat its total for the whole of 2014 with its 88th execution last month

Protest: Lebanese human rights activists hold signs saying ‘Do not kill’ outside the Saudi embassy in Beirut. The conservative Islamic kingdom beat its total for the whole of 2014 with its 88th execution last month.

Jakarta summoned Riyadh’s ambassador over her case, a rare diplomatic incident linked to Saudi Arabia’s executions, around half of which involve foreigners.

Also among this year’s dead are at least eight Yemenis, 10 Pakistanis, Syrians, Jordanians, and individuals from Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Chad, Eritrea and Sudan.

Saudi Arabia ranked among the world’s top five executioners in 2014, according to Amnesty.

Executions are carried out in public, mostly by beheading with a sword. A surge in executions began towards the end of the reign of King Abdullah, who died on January 23.

It accelerated this year under his successor King Salman, in what Amnesty has called an unprecedented ‘macabre spike’.

Activists are unable to explain specific reasons for the surge, and officials have not commented. One activist said the death penalty is carried out only with the king’s final approval. 

Salman has adopted a more assertive foreign policy, and in April promoted his powerful Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef to be crown prince and heir to the throne.

Saudi Arabia recently advertised for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out the increasing number of death sentences.

The main role is ‘executing a judgement of death’ – but workers must also perform amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, according to the advert posted on the civil service jobs portal. 

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I$raHell Agent of Influence

By Philip Giraldi 

“An agent of influence is an agent of some stature who uses his or her position to influence public opinion or decision making to produce results beneficial to the country whose intelligence service operates the agent.” So goes the book definition but any experienced intelligence officer will note that there are degrees of cooperation and direction in such a relationship. The agent might be fully controlled and on a salary or he or she might be very loosely guided, ideologically motivated but cautious and reluctant to receive any favors in return. The key is that the agent has to be acting on behalf of the interests of the foreign government, which will at least some of the time mean working directly against the interests of his own.

I thought of how an agent of influence operates on the morning of September 9th when I opened the Washington Post and read two letters to the editor, both written by constituents, regarding Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin’s refusal to support President Barack Obama’s Iran deal.

The first, from Carole Anderson of Bethesda said that “my U.S. senator, Benjamin L. Cardin, has forgotten that he represents Maryland — not the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, not a portion of the Jewish community, not Israel. His constituents expect him to vote based on the best interests of the United States, which in this case also is in Israel’s long-term interest, not based on what his rabbi says. He has demonstrated that he is incapable of doing his job.”

The second, from Stephen O. Dean of Gaithersburg observed that “Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin’s plan to oppose the Iran nuclear deal is an embarrassment to the people of Maryland. Though a Democrat, he allied himself with the Republicans in Congress, the Republican presidential contenders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the powerful pro-Israel lobby. He turned his back on President Obama and rejected the long, difficult work of Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his counterparts from five other major countries. The alternative he offered is a bill he will introduce to send more U.S. taxpayer money to Israel. One wishes he took the path to peace with Iran, instead of to potential war.”

Cardin’s position was not unexpected even though he is reliably liberal on any issue but Palestine and a solid Democratic Party water boy. As an elected official, Cardin has frequently framed himself as being personally responsible for delivering benefits to his Jewish constituents. He sponsors the Senator Ben Cardin Jewish Scholars Program and also has been active in steering Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to what he calls “high risk” Jewish organizations in Baltimore. Due to the assiduous efforts of Congressmen like Cardin fully 97% of all DHS grants go to Jewish groups.

But as complete deference to Israel is all too common inside the beltway, I was, to put it mildly, shocked that two letters expressing such dissident views regarding Cardin actually appeared in the Post, a haven of neoconservatism on its editorial page. One might enthuse that it is perhaps a welcome sign that popular views on the extremely damaging Israel relationship really have begun to shift.

I have previously written that the so-called Corker-Cardin bill that reportedly gave Congress a chance to safely vent over the Iran deal was actually a Trojan horse in that it was intended to lead to eventual defeat of the agreement. I noted at the time that Cardin was the snake in the woodpile as he was pretending to give a lifeline to his party and president while all the time intending to vote no and do everything in his power to overturn any rapprochement with Iran.

Now what I predicted has come about. And Cardin has even admitted that he discussed with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) how he should vote. AIPAC, for all its posturing about American interests, is not a source of objective information on the Middle East as it often pretends to be. It actively and aggressively lobbies on behalf of the Israeli government and would be listed under the Foreign Agent Registration Act of 1938 but for the fact that it is politically powerful and no White House has been willing to take it on. Cardin was also heavily lobbied by his rabbi, who called him repeatedly.

Cardin justified his opposition to the agreement based on alarmist talking points that could have been, and maybe were, written by AIPAC to include, “…there cannot be respect for a country that actively foments regional instability, advocates for Israel’s destruction, kills the innocent and shouts ‘Death to America.’” And Cardin has also gone on record pledging to back up his “no” vote by introducing legislation that he is already working on that will allow congress to overturn the agreement while also sending 30,000 pound penetrator bombs to Israel that will enable Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Iran, which would clearly not be in America’s interest.

The Cardin supported initiative to undermine the Iran agreement through further congressional meddling and delaying tactics is being referred to in some circles as “Plan B. There are a number of aspects to it, but it involves creating new legislation and imposing other conditions that will permit additional congressional review of both the deal itself and, more particularly, Iran’s compliance. It has become axiomatic to refer to Iranians as “liars and cheaters,” setting the stage for any number of contrived revelations about their behavior.

As has often been the case in the past where friends of Israel have sought either military action or other punitive measures, the planned new congressional initiatives will likely seek to create red lines or tripwires that will mandate congressional or presidential action. In the past, these red lines have been described in a way that permits them to be interpreted subjectively, meaning that there will be a push to find fault with Tehran and that evidence might easily be manufactured to suit or even provided by Israel. Cardin appears to be the driving force behind this effort if one is to go by his own words and the praise that has been heaped upon him by organizations like Christians United for Israel.

So who does Cardin actually represent? I would suggest that he fits the mold of the classic agent of influence in that his allegiance to the United States is constrained by his greater loyalty to a foreign nation. I do not believe that he does it for money or other material favors and I would not imagine that Mossad actually gives him his marching orders, but I would bet that his contact with the Israeli Embassy and AIPAC to both obtain and synchronize with their views is frequent and ongoing. One has to hope that Cardin will both fail in his new legislative efforts on behalf of Israel and also that he will be turned out of office in the next cycle by his constituents for his failure to support actual American and Marylander interests.

The question of what to do about the Cardins of this world is, of course, clouded by the broader issue of “dual loyalty,” a label that has rightly been of particular concern for many diaspora Jews because it often is employed as a classic anti-Semitic canard. Those who promote it think that some or even most Jews can never be truly loyal to the country that they reside in, that they will always have a higher allegiance to their tribe. Since the founding of Israel that alleged supranational allegiance has also embraced the Jewish state, with questions raised regarding whether it is possible to actively promote all-too-often uncritical support for a foreign nation while living and working in another country that will inevitably have quite different national and international interests.

In reality, of course, it is not so simple. Some Jews will relate to their “tribe” more than to their non-Jewish fellow citizens but most will not and many will even regard that kind of sentiment as completely unacceptable. But all of that given, the issue of where one’s loyalty as a citizen of a nation should lie and to what degree is something that just will not go away. Nearly all of the neoconservatives who cajoled Americans into the disastrous war against Iraq were Jews and they were at least in part motivated by perceived Israeli interests. Bush Administration senior official Philip Zelikow subsequently even claimed that the Iraq war was primarily fought to eliminate a threat to Israel. And if that is not convincing enough, there is the Clean Break policy document that was presented to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996 recommending inter alia the systematic break-up of Israel’s Arab neighbors into tribal groups to “secure the realm” of Israel. Many of the signatories were the very same American Jews who later promoted the war with Iraq and are now orchestrating the agitation vis-a-vis Iran, which itself is being overwhelmingly funded by Jewish groups.

Because of the potential problem posed by divided loyalty, many Americans now believe that no citizen should hold any foreign passport in addition to that of the United States. An increasing number are beginning to understand that competing parochial loyalties of various kinds have been detrimental to the viability of the United States as a nation and destructive of Teddy Roosevelt’s once proud assertion that it doesn’t matter where we came from but “we are all Americans.”

The dual loyalty question becomes more serious when one is considering the roles of government officials, both elected and as members of the federal bureaucracy, as they are in a position where they can actually do damage. The United States is currently wrestling with problems posed by Christian officials who believe that what they are told by God preempts what they are obligated to do as bureaucrats. This type of deference to tribe and culture is also where Cardin is both tone deaf and dissimulating. He is the stereotype of what has frequently been disparagingly described as an “Israel firster.” There is absolutely no reasonable argumentto be made against the Iran agreement from a U.S. perspective and the mere fact that it is opposed by Israel should have no weight, but Cardin clearly does not see things that way.

One might reasonably object that Cardin is far from unique and to be sure there are many in Washington that are feckless in their relationships with Israel’s government. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who has declared himself to be the “shomer” or guardian of Israel in the U.S. Senate, is a case in point and undoubtedly many of the criticisms leveled against Cardin would fit just as well with Schumer. One might also note the unanimous Republican opposition to the Iran deal but that is a bit of a red herring. In many cases the attachment is more likely than not based more on politics than on any genuine affinity towards Israel. A frequently cynical kowtowing to perceived Zionist and evangelical demands is coupled with the expectation that Israel’s most powerful and wealthy backer in the U.S. Sheldon Adelson will shower his billions on the GOP and its preferred presidential candidate as long as the whole campaign is in key areas subordinate to Israeli interests. The Republican hard line is also a reflexive rejection of Obama foreign policy to create a wedge issue for 2016 and is not linked to any rational assessment of the merits of the Iran agreement.

On balance, Senator Ben Cardin in his apparent collusion with both the Israeli government and its powerful domestic Lobby appears to cross lines that should not be crossed by any American elected official. My contention that he may be a de facto agent of influence for Israel is, of course, somewhat conjectural. I would imagine that Cardin rationalizes his behavior by choosing to believe that Israeli and American interests are identical, which is, of course, not true. If he claims that he is not in fact preemptively guided by Israeli interests it would be interesting to have him reveal full details of the frequency and nature of his encounters with Israeli officials and also with the components of the Israel Lobby, most particularly AIPAC, which are established conduits for relaying Israeli perspectives to accomplices in the U.S. government. I would also be interested in hearing Cardin’s views on how a war with Iran would possibly benefit the people of Maryland.

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Fears that Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime is set to crucify juvenile prisoner


Highly visible: Executions in Saudia Arabia are carried out in public, mostly by beheading with a sword. The country has now executed its 100th person this year

Secret Saudi executions shame the West

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested when he was 17 and initially held at a juvenile offenders facility. There is evidence that he was tortured and forced to sign a document amounting to a confession, which then formed the basis of the case against him.

Last week, his family found out that his final appeal had been heard in secret, without Ali’s knowledge, and dismissed. This means that there are now no remaining legal hurdles before he faces his sentence of ‘death by crucifixion,’ originally handed down on 27 May 2014.

Ali was arrested on 14 February 2012 in the wake of anti-Government protests, and has been accused by the authorities of participation in an illegal demonstration and firearms offences – no evidence has been produced for the latter charge, which he and his family strongly deny. The opaque nature of the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) through which Ali was convicted makes it hard to determine the detail of the charges against him.

The Government appears to have rested its case against him in large part on his relation to Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent religious leader in the Kingdom and human rights activist.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime its heavy-handed response against protesters and human rights activists since Arab Spring demonstrations began – including a death sentence for Sheikh Nimr. Ali is one of a number of people – thought to possibly include other juveniles – who has been sentenced to death following involvement in those protests. In January 2015, prominent Saudi blogger Raif Al-Badawi received the first of 1,000 lashes as part of his sentence for his statements critical of the Saudi regime in 2012.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime has carried out executions at a high rate since the coming to power of King Salman in January 2015, surpassing 100 for the year so far.

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of the death penalty team at legal charity Reprieve said: “No one should have to go through the ordeal Ali has suffered – torture, forced ‘confession,’ and an unfair, secret trial process, resulting in a sentence of death by ‘crucifixion.’ But worse still, Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began. His execution – based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests – would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”

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Nazi regime Rejects Compensation For Burnt Historic Christian Church



The Israeli Tax Authority has rejected a claim for compensation by officials of the Catholic Church demanding compensation for the Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, which was burnt in an Israeli terrorist arson attack, last June.

Israeli Channel 2 has reported, Wednesday, that tax officials, who visited the burnt historic Christian church, where according to Christianity Jesus Christ multiplied loaves and fishes, have decided that the assault “was not a terrorist attack.”

Rejecting to label the attack on the Christian church in the Galilee as a terrorist attack means that the Israeli government has no obligation to pay any compensation, as Israel only pays compensation to victims of attacks it deems as terrorist.

The decision of the Tax Authority even ignores statements by senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who both labeled it as a terrorist attack.

Israel apprehended and charged three Israeli Jewish extremists, believed to be responsible for the attack, and for writing racist graffiti saying, “Idols will be cast out.”

The church filed a request for compensation for damages, but their appeal was denied.

The Times Of Israel quoted Amir Cohen, a tax authority official, saying that he was not convinced the attack on the church was politically motivated.

Cohen said, “the charges filed against the three Israeli suspects state that their attack carried a religious motivation,” and “was based on religious hatred of Christians.”

In light of these “findings,” and statements, the Tax Authority absolved itself of any financial responsibility, as the law only requires the state to pay compensation for victims of war and terrorism. It said the attackers believe that the expulsion of Christians is a commandment, as they consider them “idolators.”

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Protests in Lebanon against burial of ‘biggest traitor’


Activists oppose burial in Lebanon of Antoine Lahd, who commanded units allied to Israel during its occupation.

Lahd is loathed among many Lebanese people for his leadership of militias allied with Israel[Nour Samaha/Al Jazeera] 

Beirut, Lebanon- Traffic came to a standstill on Beirut’s airport road as hundreds of activists gathered to protest against the burial of one of Lebanon’s most controversial figures in Lebanese territory.

Those taking part in Monday’s protests against the burial of Antoine Lahd included civil society activists, leftists, and members of the Communist Party and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

Antoine Lahd was the former head of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia, which was established during Lebanon’s civil war and was financially and militarily supported by Israel throughout its occupation of south Lebanon until 2000.

Lahd died of a heart attack while in exile in Paris last week and his burial is set for September 18.

‘Message to traitors’

For an overwhelming number of Lebanese people, Lahd is seen as the biggest traitor in the country’s recent history. When reports emerged over the possibility of bringing his body back to his hometown in the south of Lebanon for burial, many, including those whose families have suffered at the hands of the SLA, were in uproar.

“This is an incredibly important issue for us, and through the protest we want to send a message to all other traitors, that you cannot be considered part of this country, and we will never accept you back,” said Maher Dana, one of the protest organisers.

“The people who came out today came out not because this is a political or religious issue, but because [bringing his body back to Lebanon] is something no one will accept.”

The SLA was formed in the seventies after the Lebanese civil war started. It was founded originally by a Lebanese army major, Saad Haddad, in order to fight against the Palestinians in the south of the country.

The largely Christian militia also fought against other Lebanese groups in the area, including the Communists, the Amal militia, and then Hezbollah.

Israeli ally

When Israel first invaded south Lebanon in 1978, the SLA allied itself with the Israelis, and from the late 1970s until 2000 it was very much Israel’s militia in south Lebanon.

Lahd, a former general in the Lebanese army, took over from Haddad after he died in 1984, and for two decades, ordered and oversaw the atrocities committed by the SLA on behalf of the Israeli army. The notorious Khiam prison in the south, where the Israelis used to hold and torture Lebanese and Palestinian detainees, was run by the SLA.

Following the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon in 2000, Lahd and several hundred of his militia men and their families fled to Israel, where they have been based ever since.

Lahd attempted to gain asylum in France but was refused, returning to Tel Aviv. There are currently a few thousand Lebanese, mostly Maronite Christians, living in Israel after having fled Lebanon 15 years ago. Lahd moved back to Paris approximately five years ago.

He was a traitor, a puppet for the Israelis

“He was a traitor, a puppet for the Israelis,” Rami Khouri, political analyst and senior fellow at the Issam Fares Institute in Beirut, told Al Jazeera.

“[The SLA] allied with the Israelis and created an Israeli protectorate in the south, and were out and out traitors.”

“The majority of Lebanese were against it but couldn’t do anything about it; the Lebanese army was too weak and Hezbollah was still growing.”

Khouri continued, “What Lahd did is about the worst thing you can do to your country; not just side with your enemy, but carry out their atrocities.”

The reports over where his final burial spot will be are still unconfirmed.

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How Neocons Destabilized Europe

By Robert Parry

The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe – dramatized by gut-wrenching photos of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey – started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.”

Instead of the promised wonders of “democracy promotion” and “human rights,” what these “anti-realists” have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine and the heart of Europe. Yet, since these neocon forces still control the Official Narrative, their explanations get top billing – such as that there hasn’t been enough “regime change.”

For instance, The Washington Post’s neocon editorial page editor Fred Hiatt on Monday blamed “realists” for the cascading catastrophes. Hiatt castigated them and President Barack Obama for not intervening more aggressively in Syria to depose President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime neocon target for “regime change.” But the truth is that this accelerating spread of human suffering can be traced back directly to the unchecked influence of the neocons and their liberal fellow-travelers who have resisted political compromise and, in the case of Syria, blocked any realistic efforts to work out a power-sharing agreement between Assad and his political opponents, those who are not terrorists.

In early 2014, the neocons and liberal hawks sabotaged Syrian peace talks in Geneva by blocking Iran’s participation and turning the peace conference into a one-sided shouting match where U.S.-funded opposition leaders yelled at Assad’s representatives who then went home. All the while, the Post’s editors and their friends kept egging Obama to start bombing Assad’s forces.

The madness of this neocon approach grew more obvious in the summer of 2014 when the Islamic State, an Al Qaeda spin-off which had been slaughtering suspected pro-government people in Syria, expanded its bloody campaign of beheadings back into Iraq where this hyper-brutal movement first emerged as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” in response to the 2003 U.S. invasion.

It should have been clear by mid-2014 that if the neocons had gotten their way and Obama had conducted a massive U.S. bombing campaign to devastate Assad’s military, the black flag of Sunni terrorism might well be flying above the Syrian capital of Damascus while its streets would run red with blood.

But now a year later, the likes of Hiatt still have not absorbed that lesson — and the spreading chaos from neocon strategies is destabilizing Europe. As shocking and disturbing as that is, none of it should have come as much of a surprise, since the neocons have always brought chaos and dislocations in their wake.

When I first encountered the neocons in the 1980s, they had been given Central America to play with. President Ronald Reagan had credentialed many of them, bringing into the U.S. government neocon luminaries such as Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan. But Reagan mostly kept them out of the big-power realms: the Mideast and Europe.

Those strategic areas went to the “adults,” people like James Baker, George Shultz, Philip Habib and Brent Scowcroft. The poor Central Americans, as they tried to shed generations of repression and backwardness imposed by brutal right-wing oligarchies, faced U.S. neocon ideologues who unleashed death squads and even genocide against peasants, students and workers.

The result – not surprisingly – was a flood of refugees, especially from El Salvador and Guatemala, northward to the United States. The neocon “success” in the 1980s, crushing progressive social movements and reinforcing the oligarchic controls, left most countries of Central America in the grip of corrupt regimes and crime syndicates, periodically driving more waves of what Reagan called “feet people” through Mexico to the southern U.S. border.

Messing Up the Mideast

But the neocons weren’t satisfied sitting at the kids’ table. Even during the Reagan administration, they tried to squeeze themselves among the “adults” at the grown-ups’ table. For instance, neocons, such as Robert McFarlane and Paul Wolfowitz, pushed Israel-friendly policies toward Iran, which the Israelis then saw as a counterweight to Iraq. That strategy led eventually to the Iran-Contra Affair, the worst scandal of the Reagan administration. [See’s “When Israel /Neocons Favored Iran.”]

However, the right-wing and mainstream U.S. media never liked the complex Iran-Contra story and thus exposure of the many levels of the scandal’s criminality was avoided. Democrats also preferred compromise to confrontation. So, most of the key neocons survived the Iran-Contra fallout, leaving their ranks still firmly in place for the next phase of their rise to power.

In the 1990s, the neocons built up a well-funded infrastructure of think tanks and media outlets, benefiting from both the largesse of military contractors donating to think tanks and government-funded operations like the National Endowment for Democracy, headed by neocon Carl Gershman.

The neocons gained more political momentum from the U.S. military might displayed during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91. Many Americans began to see war as fun, almost like a video game in which “enemy” forces get obliterated from afar. On TV news shows, tough-talking pundits were all the rage. If you wanted to be taken seriously, you couldn’t go wrong taking the most macho position, what I sometimes call the “er-er-er” growling effect.

Combined with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the notion that U.S. military supremacy was unmatched and unchallengeable gave rise to neocon theories about turning “diplomacy” into nothing more than the delivery of U.S. ultimatums. In the Middle East, that was a view shared by Israeli hardliners, who had grown tired of negotiating with the Palestinians and other Arabs.

Instead of talk, there would be “regime change” for any government that would not fall into line. This strategy was articulated in 1996 when a group of American neocons, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, went to work for Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign in Israel and compiled a strategy paper, called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.”

Iraq was first on the neocon hit list, but next came Syria and Iran. The overriding idea was that once the regimes assisting the Palestinians and Hezbollah were removed or neutralized, then Israel could dictate peace terms to the Palestinians who would have no choice but to accept what was on the table.

In 1998, the neocon Project for the New American Century, founded by neocons Robert Kagan and William Kristol, called for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, but President Bill Clinton balked at something that extreme. The situation changed, however, when President George W. Bush took office and the 9/11 attacks terrified and infuriated the American public.

Suddenly, the neocons had a Commander-in-Chief who agreed with the need to eliminate Iraq’s Saddam Hussein – and Americans were easily persuaded although Iraq and Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. [See’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

The Death of ‘Realism’

The 2003 Iraq invasion sounded the death knell for foreign policy “realism” in Official Washington. Aging or dead, the old adult voices were silent or ignored. From Congress and the Executive Branch to the think tanks and the mainstream news media, almost all the “opinion leaders” were neocons and many liberals fell into line behind Bush’s case for war.

And, even though the Iraq War “group think” was almost entirely wrong, both on the WMD justifications for war and the “cakewalk” expectations for remaking Iraq, almost no one who promoted the fiasco suffered punishment for either the illegality of the invasion or the absence of sanity in promoting such a harebrained scheme.

Instead of negative repercussions, the Iraq War backers – the neocons and their liberal-hawk accomplices – essentially solidified their control over U.S. foreign policy and the major news media. From The New York Times and The Washington Post to the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, the “regime change” agenda continued to hold sway.

It didn’t even matter when the sectarian warfare unleashed in Iraq left hundreds of thousands dead, displaced millions and gave rise to Al Qaeda’s ruthless Iraq affiliate. Not even the 2008 election of Barack Obama, an Iraq War opponent, changed this overall dynamic.

Rather than standing up to this new foreign policy establishment, Obama bowed to it, retaining key players from President Bush’s national security team, such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, and by hiring hawkish Democrats, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, who became Secretary of State, and Samantha Power at the National Security Council.

Thus, the cult of “regime change” did not just survive the Iraq disaster; it thrived. Whenever a difficult foreign problem emerged, the go-to solution was still “regime change,” accompanied by the usual demonizing of a targeted leader, support for the “democratic opposition” and calls for military intervention. President Obama, arguably a “closet realist,” found himself as the foot-dragger-in-chief as he reluctantly was pulled along on one “regime change” crusade after another.

In 2011, for instance, Secretary of State Clinton and National Security Council aide Power persuaded Obama to join with some hot-for-war European leaders to achieve “regime change” in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi had gone on the offensive against groups in eastern Libya that he identified as Islamic terrorists.

But Clinton and Power saw the case as a test for their theories of “humanitarian warfare” – or “regime change” to remove a “bad guy” like Gaddafi from power. Obama soon signed on and, with the U.S. military providing crucial technological support, a devastating bombing campaign destroyed Gaddafi’s army, drove him from Tripoli, and ultimately led to his torture-murder.

‘We Came, We Saw, He Died’

Secretary Clinton scurried to secure credit for this “regime change.” According to one email chain in August 2011, her longtime friend and personal adviser Sidney Blumenthal praised the bombing campaign to destroy Gaddafi’s army and hailed the dictator’s impending ouster.

“First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it,” Blumenthal wrote on Aug. 22, 2011. “When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation home. … You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. … The most important phrase is: ‘successful strategy.’”

Clinton forwarded Blumenthal’s advice to Jake Sullivan, a close State Department aide. “Pls read below,” she wrote. “Sid makes a good case for what I should say, but it’s premised on being said after Q[addafi] goes, which will make it more dramatic. That’s my hesitancy, since I’m not sure how many chances I’ll get.”

Sullivan responded, saying “it might make sense for you to do an op-ed to run right after he falls, making this point. … You can reinforce the op-ed in all your appearances, but it makes sense to lay down something definitive, almost like the Clinton Doctrine.”

However, when Gaddafi abandoned Tripoli that day, President Obama seized the moment to make a triumphant announcement. Clinton’s opportunity to highlight her joy at the Libyan “regime change” had to wait until Oct. 20, 2011, when Gaddafi was captured, tortured and murdered.

In a TV interview, Clinton celebrated the news when it appeared on her cell phone and paraphrased Julius Caesar’s famous line after Roman forces achieved a resounding victory in 46 B.C. and he declared, “veni, vidi, vici” – “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Clinton’s reprise of Caesar’s boast went: “We came; we saw; he died.” She then laughed and clapped her hands.

Presumably, the “Clinton Doctrine” would have been a policy of “liberal interventionism” to achieve “regime change” in countries where there is some crisis in which the leader seeks to put down an internal security threat and where the United States objects to the action.

But the problem with Clinton’s boasting about the “Clinton Doctrine” was that the Libyan adventure quickly turned sour with the Islamic terrorists, whom Gaddafi had warned about, seizing wide swaths of territory and turning it into another Iraq-like badlands.

On Sept. 11, 2012, this reality hit home when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was overrun and U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomatic personnel were killed. It turned out that Gaddafi wasn’t entirely wrong about the nature of his opposition.

Eventually, the extremist violence in Libya grew so out of control that the United States and European countries abandoned their embassies in Tripoli. Since then, Islamic State terrorists have begun decapitating Coptic Christians on Libyan beaches and slaughtering other “heretics.” Amid the anarchy, Libya has become a route for desperate migrants seeking passage across the Mediterranean to Europe.

A War on Assad

Parallel to the “regime change” in Libya was a similar enterprise in Syria in which the neocons and liberal interventionists pressed for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, whose government in 2011 cracked down on what had quickly become a violent rebellion led by extremist elements, though the Western propaganda portrayed the opposition as “moderate” and “peaceful.”

For the first years of the Syrian civil war, the pretense remained that these “moderate” rebels were facing unjustified repression and the only answer was “regime change” in Damascus. Assad’s claim that the opposition included many Islamic extremists was largely dismissed as were Gaddafi’s alarms in Libya.

On Aug. 21, 2013, a sarin gas attack outside Damascus killed hundreds of civilians and the U.S. State Department and the mainstream news media immediately blamed Assad’s forces amid demands for military retaliation against the Syrian army.

Despite doubts within the U.S. intelligence community about Assad’s responsibility for the sarin attack, which some analysts saw instead as a provocation by anti-Assad terrorists, the clamor from Official Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists for war was intense and any doubts were brushed aside.

But President Obama, aware of the uncertainty within the U.S. intelligence community, held back from a military strike and eventually worked out a deal, brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Assad agreed to surrender his entire chemical-weapons arsenal while still denying any role in the sarin attack.

Though the case pinning the sarin attack on the Syrian government eventually fell apart – with evidence pointing to a “false flag” operation by Sunni radicals to trick the United States into intervening on their side – Official Washington’s “group think” refused to reconsider the initial rush to judgment. In Monday’s column, Hiatt still references Assad’s “savagery of chemical weapons.”

Any suggestion that the only realistic option in Syria is a power-sharing compromise that would include Assad – who is viewed as the protector of Syria’s Christian, Shiite and Alawite minorities – is rejected out of hand with the slogan, “Assad must go!”

The neocons have created a conventional wisdom which holds that the Syrian crisis would have been prevented if only Obama had followed the neocons’ 2011 prescription of another U.S. intervention to force another “regime change.” Yet, the far more likely outcome would have been either another indefinite and bloody U.S. military occupation of Syria or the black flag of Islamic terrorism flying over Damascus.

Get Putin

Another villain who emerged from the 2013 failure to bomb Syria was Russian President Putin, who infuriated the neocons by his work with Obama on Syria’s surrender of its chemical weapons and who further annoyed the neocons by helping to get the Iranians to negotiate seriously on constraining their nuclear program. Despite the “regime change” disasters in Iraq and Libya, the neocons wanted to wave the “regime change” wand again over Syria and Iran.

Putin got his comeuppance when U.S. neocons, including NED President Carl Gershman and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland (Robert Kagan’s wife), helped orchestrate a “regime change” in Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014, overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and putting in a fiercely anti-Russian regime on Russia’s border.

As thrilled as the neocons were with their “victory” in Kiev and their success in demonizing Putin in the mainstream U.S. news media, Ukraine followed the now-predictable post-regime-change descent into a vicious civil war. Western Ukrainians waged a brutal “anti-terrorist operation” against ethnic Russians in the east who resisted the U.S.-backed coup.

Thousands of Ukrainians died and millions were displaced as Ukraine’s national economy teetered toward collapse. Yet, the neocons and their liberal-hawk friends again showed their propaganda skills by pinning the blame for everything on “Russian aggression” and Putin.

Though Obama was apparently caught off-guard by the Ukrainian “regime change,” he soon joined in denouncing Putin and Russia. The European Union also got behind U.S.-demanded sanctions against Russia despite the harm those sanctions also inflicted on Europe’s already shaky economy. Europe’s stability is now under additional strain because of the flows of refugees from the war zones of the Middle East.

A Dozen Years of Chaos

So, we can now look at the consequences and costs of the past dozen years under the spell of neocon/liberal-hawk “regime change” strategies. According to many estimates, the death toll in Iraq, Syria and Libya has exceeded one million with several million more refugees flooding into – and stretching the resources – of fragile Mideast countries.

Hundreds of thousands of other refugees and migrants have fled to Europe, putting major strains on the Continent’s social structures already stressed by the severe recession that followed the 2008 Wall Street crash. Even without the refugee crisis, Greece and other southern European countries would be struggling to meet their citizens’ needs.

Stepping back for a moment and assessing the full impact of neoconservative policies, you might be amazed at how widely they have spread chaos across a large swath of the globe. Who would have thought that the neocons would have succeeded in destabilizing not only the Mideast but Europe as well.

And, as Europe struggles, the export markets of China are squeezed, spreading economic instability to that crucial economy and, with its market shocks, the reverberations rumbling back to the United States, too.

We now see the human tragedies of neocon/liberal-hawk ideologies captured in the suffering of the Syrians and other refugees flooding Europe and the death of children drowning as their desperate families flee the chaos created by “regime change.” But will the neocon/liberal-hawk grip on Official Washington finally be broken? Will a debate even be allowed about the dangers of “regime change” prescriptions in the future?

Not if the likes of The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt have anything to say about it. The truth is that Hiatt and other neocons retain their dominance of the mainstream U.S. news media, so all that one can expect from the various MSM outlets is more neocon propaganda, blaming the chaos not on their policy of “regime change” but on the failure to undertake even more “regime change.”

The one hope is that many Americans will not be fooled this time and that a belated “realism” will finally return to U.S. geopolitical strategies that will look for obtainable compromises to restore some political order to places such as Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Rather than more and more tough-guy/gal confrontations, maybe there will finally be some serious efforts at reconciliation.

But the other reality is that the interventionist forces have rooted themselves deeply in Official Washington, inside NATO, within the mainstream news media and even in European institutions. It will not be easy to rid the world of the grave dangers created by neocon policies.

Posted in USAComments Off on How Neocons Destabilized Europe

The ‘Enemy’ Within: US, NATO Want to Silence All Reporters They Dislike


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

Image result for NATO LOGO

The United States and its NATO allies treat information as a weapon designed to shape people’s perceptions across the globe and are ready to use any tool in their arsenals to silence those, who are critical of Washington and its friends, veteran war correspondent Don North warned.

The US calls an activity, which involves combining psychological warfare, propaganda and public relations, “strategic communications,” the journalist explained in an opinion piece titled “US/NATO Embrace Psy-ops and Info-War.”

Within this framework, reporters, who prefer to share information based on facts and not on bullet points prepared by the US State Department, are an enemy that has to be dealt with. They could be viewed as “spies” or “unprivileged belligerents” under the Pentagon’s revised “Law of War” manual.

The highly controversial document essentially equates some journalists to al-Qaeda terrorists and maintains that they “could be subject to indefinite incarceration, military tribunals and extrajudicial execution,” the journalist explained.

This trend of treating journalists as adversaries first manifested itself during the Vietnam War and has been a visible component of all America’s military campaigns ever since. It has been significantly reinforced during the Obama administration.

In the last seven years, “the concept of ‘strategic communication’ – managing the perceptions of the world’s public – has grown more and more expansive and the crackdown on the flow of information unprecedented. More than any of his predecessors, President Barack Obama has authorized harsh legal action against government ‘leakers’ who have exposed inconvenient truths about US foreign policy and intelligence practices,” North noted.

Not surprisingly, Washington’s response to foreign media outlets it dislikes involves a combination of propaganda and brutal force. Take Radio Television of Serbia during the Kosovo war or Al-Jazeera during the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq for instance. Both broadcasters were branded as disseminating false information and bombed: RTS headquarters were reduced to rubble in 1999 and al-Jazeera’s offices in Kabul (2001) and in Baghdad (2003) were hit by US missiles.

Given recent tensions between the United States and Russia, Washington’s latest media enemy of choice is obviously based in Moscow.

“Since RT doesn’t use the State Department’s preferred language regarding the Ukraine crisis and doesn’t show the requisite respect for the US-backed regime in Kiev, the network is denounced for its ‘propaganda,’ but this finger-pointing is really just part of the playbook for ‘information warfare,’ raising doubts about the information coming from your adversary while creating a more favorable environment for your own propaganda,” North explained.

The concept of controlling and manipulating information to achieve desired outcome transcends US borders.

“This growing fascination with ‘strategic communication’ has given rise to NATO’s new temple to information technology, called ‘The NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence’ or STRATCOM, located in Latvia, a former Soviet republic that is now on the front lines of the tensions with Russia,” North observed.

Posted in USAComments Off on The ‘Enemy’ Within: US, NATO Want to Silence All Reporters They Dislike



Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Jordanian Gendarme Caught Helping Jordanians Against Palestinians in Gaza Camp / Jerash Camp Jordan

Image result for king of jordan CARTOON





Nazi Ya’alon: No Arrests in Duma Arson Due to ‘Difficulty’ in Putting Attackers on Trial


Defense Minister was responding to report that authorities haven’t made arrests in attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family by Jewish Nazi gang in order not to reveal intel sources.


Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed on Thursday that Israel believes it knows who is behind the July arson attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family, but said the perpetrators haven’t been arrested yet because there is “difficulty in putting them on trial.”  WHY WHY ?

Ya’alon was responding to Haaretz’s report that Israeli authorities know who the perpetrators are, but that no arrests have been made to avoid revealing intelligence sources in court.

Ya’alon made the remarks about the deadly attack on the Dawabshe family home in Duma, the West Bank on Wednesday to a closed meeting of young Likud activists in Tel Aviv.

Speaking to military correspondents on Thursday, Ya’alon said the defense establishment “believes they know who carried out the terrorist attack, but there is difficulty in putting them on trial. I hope that we’ll find the evidence necessary in order to bring the perpetrator of this heinous attack to justice.”

The defense minister also noted that the perpetrators belong to a group of Jewish extremists that intended to increase tension in the West Bank. Therefore, said Ya’alon, the decision was made to put Jewish suspects in administrative detention, in order to prevent future attacks.

The Dawabsheh family’s home was torched on July 31, immediately burning to death 18-month-old Ali and critically wounding his mother, father and brother. His mother, Reham, and his father, Sa’ad, have since died as well. His four-year-old brother Ahmed is still hospitalized in serious condition.

The words “vengeance” and “long live the Messiah” were spray painted on the torched home, and an empty house nearby was set ablaze as well. An eyewitness reported seeing four men fleeing the scene toward the settlement of Ma’aleh Ephraim.

The IDF described the incident as “Jewish terrorism.” At Ya’alon’s request following the attack, the political-security cabinet approved the use of administrative detention against suspected Jewish terrorists. Such practice is commonly used against Palestinians suspected of terror activities.

Three Jewish suspects are currently being held without trial for terrorist activities: Meir Ettinger, who according to the Shin Bet headed an extreme rightist organization intent on toppling the Israeli government though violent means, and encouraged others to carry out terrorist acts; Mordechai Meyer, the alleged arsonist behind a fire at Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem; and Eviatar Slonim, accused of setting fire to a home in the Palestinian town of Khirbet Abu Falah. None of these names has been explicitly tied publicly to the attack on the Dawabsheh family home in Duma.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi Ya’alon: No Arrests in Duma Arson Due to ‘Difficulty’ in Putting Attackers on Trial

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