Archive | June 18th, 2019

Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10

NOVANEWS
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman poses during a group picture ahead of Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday, June 1, 2019. Muslim leaders from some 57 nations gathered in Islam's holiest city of Mecca late Friday to discuss a breadth of critical issues ranging from a spike in tensions in the Persian Gulf, to Palestinian statehood, the plight of Rohingya refugees and the growing threat of Islamophobia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ahead of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Islamic Summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on June 1, 2019.

Photo: Amr Nabil/AP

IN 2011, as Arab Spring protests swept across the Middle East, demonstrations also kicked off in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. Members of the kingdom’s repressed Shiite minority took to the streets, calling for equal rights and a fairer distribution of oil revenues. The protesters included a group of around 30 kids on bicycles. As a videoreleased last week by CNN shows, those children were led by a smiling 10-year-old in flip-flops named Murtaja Qureiris.

“The people demand human rights!” the young boy can be seen shouting through a megaphone.

Here’s the problem: Demanding human rights in Saudi Arabia lands you in prison. Even if you’re a kid.

Three years later, in September 2014, 13-year-old Murtaja was arrested while on his way to neighboring Bahrain with his family.

“At the time,” reports CNN, “he was considered by lawyers and activists to be the youngest known political prisoner in Saudi Arabia.

Over the past four years, say human rights groups, this teenager has been subjected to torture and intimidation, as well as a spell in solitary confinement. He has been denied access to a lawyer while interrogators try to get him to confess to the trumped-up charges against him. These include “participating in anti-government protests, attending the funeral of his brother Ali Qureiris who was killed in a protest in 2011, joining a ‘terrorist organization,’ throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station, and firing at security forces,” according to Amnesty International.

Last week, we learned that Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 18-year-old Murtaja, who is being tried in an anti-terror court. CNN reports that the prosecutors want to “impose the harshest form of the death penalty, which may include crucifixion or dismemberment after execution.”

Got that? The unelected government of a close ally of the United States is planning on brutally executing an 18-year-old member of a minority group, for crimes allegedly committed when he was 10 years old.

Let me repeat: Ten. Years. Old.

We shouldn’t forget the person who is primarily responsible for this outrage: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS. Since his father installed him in power, the violent crushing of political dissent has escalated. According to the CIA, MBS ordered the horrific murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He is also behind the targeting of three Arab activists in Norway, Canada, and the United States.

Much has (rightly) been made of the crown prince’s shocking record on extrajudicial killings. But what of the growing number of judicially sanctioned killings inside of Saudi Arabia on his watch? The planned execution of Murtaja Qureiris may be the most horrendous act yet.

“There should be no doubt that the Saudi Arabian authorities are ready to go to any length to crack down on dissent against their own citizens, including by resorting to the death penalty for men who were merely boys at the time of their arrest,” says Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director at Amnesty International.

The Gulf kingdom is one of the world’s top executioners and, according to Maalouf, Saudi authorities have “a chilling track record of using the death penalty as a weapon to crush political dissent and punish anti-government protesters — including children — from the country’s persecuted Shi’a minority.”

The majority of the country, and the ruling family, are from a strict school of Sunni Islam called Salafism. In April, 37 people were executed in a single day — the biggest mass execution in the kingdom since 2016 — and the vast majority of them were believed to be Shiites. Three of them, according to human rights group Reprieve, were “minors at the time of their alleged offences.” Such executions, as both Reprieve and Amnesty International have noted, are a brazen violation of international human rights law.

Another three Saudi Shiites — Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher — who were also below the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crimes, are still on death row and could be executed at anytime.

It isn’t just Shiites, either. MBS has also targeted Sunni clerics who have failed to fall into line. There have been reports that the belligerent and thin-skinned crown prince plans on executing three high-profile Saudi religious scholars — Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omari — all of whom have been held on multiple charges of “terrorism.” 62-year-old Odah is famous in the Arab world for his relatively progressive views on Islam and homosexuality and his 2007 denunciation of Osama bin Laden. His actual “crime”? Tweeting a prayer for reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and its Gulf rival, the Emirate of Qatar. (Full disclosure: I host two TV shows for Qatar-funded Al Jazeera English.)

Supporters of MBS often try and argue that these executions are the product of decisions made in court, not in the royal palace. This is a laughable defense. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. There is no independent judiciary. As CNN reports, “The death penalty can only be enforced by order of King Salman or his authorized representative. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is frequently characterized as the King’s deputy.”

Forget MBS the reformer; meet MBS the executioner. The fact that he has been embraced closely by everyone from Donald Trump to Emmanuel Macron to Theresa May should be a source of shame for those of us living in the West. To quote former Obama-era National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor, MBS is “Kim Jong Un with oil money.”

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10

Egypt’s ex-President Mohamed Morsi dies after court appearance

NOVANEWS

Egypt’s first freely elected president had suffered from neglect during years of imprisonment after his 2013 overthrow.

Egypt‘s former President Mohamed Morsi has died after appearing in court in the capital, Cairo, according to authorities.

The public prosecutor said the 67-year-old collapsed in a defendants’ cage in the courtroom and was pronounced dead in hospital at 4:50pm local time (02:50 GMT) on Monday. A medical report showed no apparent recent injuries on his body, the prosecutor said.

“Morsi died today while attending a session in his trial on espionage charges. During the session, he was granted permission to address the judge,” a presenter with Egypt’s state TV said.

“After the session was adjourned, the former president blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital.”

The former president’s son, Abdullah Mohamed Morsi, told Reuters news agency that the family did not know the location of his body. He added that the authorities had refused to allow Morsi be buried at his family’s cemetery.

Morsi had a history of health issues, including diabetes and liver and kidney disease. He had suffered from medical neglect during his imprisonment, compounded by the poor conditions in jail.

There have been various reports over the years that Morsi had been mistreated and tortured in jail, with activists saying on Monday his death should be seen in context of the Egyptian authorities’ systematic isolation and mistreatment of political detainees.

Human Rights Watch called the news of Morsi’s death “terrible” but “entirely predictable”, citing the government’s “failure to allow him adequate medical care”.

“The government of Egypt today bears responsibility for his death, given their failure to provide him with adequate medical care or basic prisoner rights,” the group said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood banned from politics (2:35)

Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after the Arab Spring uprising saw the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

He was then deposed in July 2013 following mass protests and a military coup led by Egypt’s current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and was immediately arrested.

Morsi served just one year of a four-year term, while the organisation to which he belonged, the Muslim Brotherhood, has since been outlawed.

Morsi, who was facing at least six trials, had been behind bars for nearly six years and was serving a 20-year prison sentence for a conviction arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012. He was also serving a life sentence for espionage in a case related to the Gulf state of Qatar.

Other charges against the former president included jailbreak, insulting the judiciary and involvement in “terrorism”.

His supporters say the charges against him were politically motivated.

In November 2016, the Court of Cassation scrapped the life imprisonment sentence for Morsi and 21 other defendants, including some who had received the death penalty in the same case, and ordered a retrial.

Throughout his imprisonment, Morsi was only allowed three visits from his family.

The first was in November 2013, and the second, which only his wife and daughter were allowed to see him, was in June 2017.

The final visit where his entire family was permitted to see him in the presence of security forces was in September 2018.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first world leader to pay tribute to Morsi, calling him a “martyr.”

“May Allah rest our brother Morsi, our martyr’s soul in peace,” said Erdogan, who had forged close ties with late former president.

INSIDE STORY: Will death sentences deter Sisi’s opponents? (25:01)

Denied medical treatment

Last year, a report by three British members of parliament, under the Independent Detention Review Panel, warned that the lack of medical treatment could result in Morsi’s “premature death”.

“Our conclusions are stark,” Crispin Blunt, the panel’s chairman, said at the time. “The denial of basic medical treatment to which he is entitled could lead to his premature death.”

He added: “The whole overseeing chain of command up to the current president would have responsibility for this.”

The members of the panel were denied access by Egyptian authorities to visit Morsi, and relied on testimonies, witness statements, NGO reports and independently submitted evidence.

They said that Morsi was being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, which under the UN guidelines, would classify as torture.

“Morsi’s trial was not put on live TV, he was put on a glass soundproof cage,” Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal said.

“He wasn’t allow to see his lawyers one-to-one and he wasn’t allowed family visits; his family repeatedly complained that aside from the solitary confinement he also wasn’t being given the medical treatment he should have,” added Elshayyal.

“Therefore, these are the facts that we know. Whatever the state decides to tell us afterwards has to be taken in the context.”

Egypt's Morsi: The Final Hours

AL JAZEERA WORLD

Egypt’s Morsi: The Final Hours

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Turkey: Erdogan slams Egypt’s ‘tyrants’ as thousands mourn Morsi

Mosques across Turkey hold prayer services for former Egyptian president, who died in a Cairo court on Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he doesn't believe that Morsi died of natural causes [Murad Sezer/Reuters]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he doesn’t believe that Morsi died of natural causes [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has attended a prayer service in Istanbul for former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who collapsed and died during a court session in Cairo on Monday.

Turkey’s religious authority, the Diyanet, had called for absentee funeral prayers to be held on Tuesday throughout the country’s 81 provinces.

At Istanbul’s Fatih mosque, where thousands joined in prayers, Erdogan called Morsi a “martyr” and blamed Egypt’s “tyrants” for his death, adding that he doesn’t believe that Morsi died of natural causes.

“I don’t believe that this was a normal death,” Erdogan, a key supporter of Morsi, said.

The Turkish president also denounced the Egyptian authorities for burying Morsi discreetly, with only a small number of family members and confidants present.

“They are so cowardly that they could not even deliver his body to his family,” Erdogan said.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan attends the funeral prayer at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul [Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency]

Istanbul, Ankara gatherings

A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood group, Morsi won Egypt’s first free presidential election in 2012, a year after an uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

His term in office was short-lived, however, as he was overthrown and imprisoned in a July 2013 military coup led by Egypt’s then-defence minister and current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party supported Morsi’s government and many Brotherhood members and supporters have fled to Turkey since its activities were banned in Egypt in 2013.

READ MORE

Mohamed Morsi’s death: World reaction

“There are Arab dissidents and journalists who have been residing in Turkey since the Arab Spring began and people are here to give support for Morsi’s cause,” Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul’s Fatih Mosque, said.

While thousands joined in prayer in Istanbul, in the capital, Ankara, about 500 people prayed in a central street, halting traffic outside the Egyptian embassy.

Members of the Ankara crowd chanted: “Murderer Sisi, martyr Morsi” and held up banners reading “Putschists will be defeated”, a reference to Muorsi’s overthrow.

“We will take back our country from the military coup, and that day, we will go to the tomb of Muhammed Mursi and pray to thank him for staying in prison for six years to free our country of tyrants,” Mumin Ashraf, a 25-year-old Egyptian man studying in Ankara was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Turkey prayers Morsi
Thousands of people gathered in Istanbul to honour Morsi [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Short-lived presidency

At the time of his death, Morsi, 67, faced a host of legal charges, which he, along with many human rights groups and independent observers, said were politically motivated.

Egypt’s government has dismissed accusations that Morsi was badly treated.

He was buried in eastern Cairo on Tuesday alongside other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Family members were permitted to attend the funeral, although authorities refused to grant permission for a burial in Morsi’s home province of Sharqiya, his son, Ahmed, said in a post on Facebook.

Turkey’s main opposition leader lashed out at the circumstances surrounding Morsi’s burial, saying his party would have wished Morsi to be buried with a presidential ceremony.

“He lost his life in a courtroom. We wish God’s mercy on him. We would have wished Mohamed Morsi to be buried with a presidential ceremony,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said.

“He was buried secretly, in a hurry, in the presence of only his family. I would like to express that I do not find this right in terms of our democracy, culture, beliefs and morals,” Kilicdaroglu added.

Egypt's Morsi: The Final Hours

AL JAZEERA WORLD

Egypt’s Morsi: The Final Hours

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Egypt’s ex-President Mohamed Morsi dies after court appearance

Mohamed Morsi’s death: World reaction

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Malaysia, Qatar pay tribute to former Egyptian president, but reaction from other governments has been largely muted.

Morsi had been in jail since he was toppled by the military in 2013 after mass protests against his rule [File: Mark Wilson/Reuters]
Morsi had been in jail since he was toppled by the military in 2013 after mass protests against his rule [File: Mark Wilson/Reuters]

The United Nations has called for an “independent inquiry” into the death of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who died aged 67 after collapsing in a Cairo court on Monday, according to state media.

Morsi, who was buried on Tuesday, was a top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood and the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s modern history.

He had been in jail since he was toppled by the military in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

His death has been mourned by many people around the world, including in Turkey where mosques held special prayers on Tuesday, while leaders in Malaysia and Qatar offered tributes.

However, the reaction has been largely muted in many capitals.

Here are some of the statements on the sudden death of Morsi:

UN rights office calls for ‘transparent investigation’

The United Nations human rights office has called for a “prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation” into Morsi’s death.

“Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr. Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family, during his nearly six years in custody,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Monday.

Tunisia’s Ennahda party

The Tunisian Ennahda political party said it received the news with great sadness and shock and extended condolences to Morsi’s family and the Egyptian people.

The movement expressed hope that “the painful incident would be a reason to put an end to the suffering of thousands of political prisoners in Egypt” and for starting dialogue for a new democratic political life in Egypt.

Jordan’s Muslim Brotherood

Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood held “the coup authorities in Egypt responsible for Morsi’s death after his detention for seven years in solitary imprisonment”.

The group also held the international community responsible for “the crimes of the coup” in Egypt.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

Doha funeral prayer for Morsi
People attend the funeral prayer in absentia for former President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi at Muneera Al Suwaidi Mosque in Doha, Qatar [Serdar Bitmez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani offered his condolences to Morsi’s family and Egyptian people.

“We received with great sorrow the news of the sudden death of former president Dr Mohamed Morsi. I offer my deepest condolences to his family and Egyptian people. We belong to God and to him we shall return,” Sheikh Tamim said in a Twitter post.

تميم بن حمد

@TamimBinHamad

تلقينا ببالغ الأسى نبأ الوفاة المفاجئة للرئيس السابق الدكتور محمد مرسي .. أتقدم إلى عائلته وإلى الشعب المصري الشقيق بخالص العزاء.. إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey prayers for Morsi
People attend a symbolic funeral prayer for Mohamed Morsi at the courtyard of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, on Monday blamed Egypt’s “tyrants” for the death of Morsi.

“History will never forget those tyrants who led to his death by putting him in jail and threatening him with execution,” Erdogan, a close ally of Morsi, said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

The Turkish leader called the former Egyptian president a “martyr,” Turkey had been among Morsi’s biggest supporters.

“May Allah rest our Morsi brother, our martyr’s soul in peace,” said Erdogan, who had forged close ties with the former president.

Thousands in Istanbul joined in prayer on Tuesday for Morsi on Tuesday. The prayer was called by Turkey’s religious authority Diyanet and took place in the city’s Fatih mosque.

Erdogan is expected to attend an absentee funeral for Morsi in Istanbul on Tuesday.

United Nations

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric offered condolences to Morsi’s relatives and supporters.

Human Rights Watch

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch‘s Middle East and North Africa division, called Morsi’s death “terrible but entirely predictable”, given the government’s failure to allow him adequate medical care.

“What we have been documenting for the past several years is the fact that he has been in the worst conditions. Every time he appeared before the judge, he requested private medical care and medical treatment,” Whitson told Al Jazeera.

“He was been deprived of adequate food and medicine. The Egyptian government had known very clearly about his declining medical state. He had lost a great deal of weight and had also fainted in court a number of times.

“He was kept in the solitary confinement with no access to television, email or any communication with friends and family,” Whitson said, arguing that there would not be a credible independent investigation on Morsi’s death “because their [Egyptian government] job and role is to absolve themselves of wrongdoing ever”.

Sarah Leah Whitson

@sarahleah1

BREAKING – news says only democratically elected Pres has died in prison after stroke. This is terrible but ENTIRELY predictable, given govt failure to allow him adequate medical care, much less family visits. @hrw was just finalizing a report on his health.

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Mohamed Morsi’s son

In a Facebook post, Morsi’s son, Ahmed, confirmed the death of his father.

“In front of Allah, my father and we shall unite,” he wrote.

Muslim Brotherhood

Mohammed Sudan, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, described Morsi’s death as “premeditated murder”, saying that the former president was banned from receiving medicine or visits and there was little information about his health condition.

READ MORE

Obituary: Egypt’s first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi

“He has been placed behind [a] glass cage [during trials]. No one can hear him or know what is happening to him. He hasn’t received any visits for months or nearly a year. He complained before that he doesn’t get his medicine. This is premeditated murder. This is slow death.”

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice political party said in a statement that Egyptian authorities is responsible for Morsi’s “deliberate slow death”.

“[The Egyptian authorities] put him in solitary confinement… they withheld medication and gave him disgusting food… they did not give him the most basic human rights,” the political party said in a statement published on its website.

The Brotherhood also called for crowds to gather outside Egyptian embassies around the world.

Egyptian politicians close to Morsi

In a joint statement, Amr Darrag, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a minister of planning and international cooperation under Morsi, and Yehia Hamed, a former Egyptian investment minister under Morsi, said an international independent investigation into the death of Morsi should be made public.

“The Egyptian regime knew that the continued denial of access to medical treatment would lead to his premature death. To that effect, the death of President Morsi is tantamount to state sponsored murder,” they said in the statement.

“The first democratically elected President has died through a concerted and active campaign by the Egyptian regime. This is a gross violation of international law. It must not be allowed to stand.”

Independent Detention Review Panel

In a statement released after Morsi’s death, Crispin Blunt, chairman of the UK’s Independent Detention Review Panel, said his death in custody was representative of Egypt’s inability to treat prisoners in accordance with both Egyptian and international law.

“The Egyptian government has a duty to explain his unfortunate death and there must be proper accountability for his treatment in custody. We found culpability for torture rests not only with direct perpetrators but those who are responsible for or acquiesce in it,” he said in a statement.

“The only step now is a reputable independent international investigation.”

Last year, a report by three UK MPs, under the panel, warned that the lack of medical treatment could result in Morsi’s “premature death”.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International urged Egyptian authorities to investigate the death of Morsi.

“We call on Egyptian authorities to conduct an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mursi’s death, including his solitary confinement and isolation from the outside world,” the London-based rights group said in a twitter post.

It also called for an investigation into the medical care Morsi was receiving, and for anyone found responsible for mistreatment to be held accountable.

Amnesty International

@amnesty

Egypt must carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into the death of former President Mohamed Morsi who collapsed in a courtroom today. He was held in solitary confinement for six years and was only allowed three family visits during that time. http://amn.st/6015EqGXt 

Egypt must investigate death of Mohamed Morsi

The former Egyptian president was held in prolonged solitary confinement

amnesty.org

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Hamas

Funeral prayer in absentia for Mohamed Morsi in Jerusalem
People perform funeral prayer on Monday night in absentia over the death of Mohamed Morsi following the night prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem [Anadolu Agency]

Hamas issued a statement paying tribute to Morsi, who had been a close ally of the Palestinian movement administering the besieged Gaza Strip.

It praised Morsi’s “long struggle spent in the service of Egypt and its people, and primarily the Palestinian cause”.

At the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, funeral prayers were performed by Palestinians on Monday night.

Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami

Siraj ul Haq, head of Pakistan's political and religious party Jama'at e Islami, leads the funeral prayers in absentia for the former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, in Peshawar
Siraj ul Haq, head of Pakistan’s political and religious party Jamaat-e-Islami, leads the funeral prayers in absentia for the former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in Peshawar, Pakistan [Fayaz Aziz/Reuters]

Pakistan’s religious-political group, Jamaat-e-Islami, said the “Muslim world has lost a true hero”.

“Morsi stood tall in the face of all pressures aimed at forcing him to withdraw his struggle for fundamental rights of the people of Egypt and his support to Palestine,” the group’s chief Senator Siraj-ul- Haq said in a statement on Twitter.

He announced that the party on Tuesday would hold funeral prayers in absentia for Morsi across Pakistan.

Malaysia expresses condolences

Malaysia’s foreign ministry said it was “shocked and saddened by the sudden death” of Morsi.

“During his tenure as president, Mr Morsi showed courage and moral fortitude in his attempt to lead Egypt away from decades of authoritarian rule and establish true democracy there,” Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said in a statement.

“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Mr Morsi and the people of Egypt.”

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

 ‘s ex-President Mohamed Morsi buried in Cairo: Son

Egypt’s first freely elected president buried in Cairo at dawn, his son says, with some Morsi family members present.

Egypt‘s former President Mohamed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, his son said. Morsi had collapsed in court on Monday and died shortly after.

He was buried at dawn alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood, his son, Ahmed Morsi, said on his Facebook page.

The burial was attended by members of the family in Cairo’s Madinat Nasr after authorities refused to grant permission for a burial in Morsi’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, Ahmed Morsi said.

“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, performed prayers for him in the prison mosque … the burial was at the cemetery for Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides,” Ahmed wrote.

Morsi’s lawyer, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud, confirmed the burial took place in Al-Wafaa wa al-Amal cemetery early on Tuesday.

Al-Wafaa Wa al-Amal cemetery after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
Al-Wafaa Wa al-Amal cemetery in Cairo where Morsi was buried [Khaled Elfiqi/EPA]

Morsi, who was a leading figure in the Brotherhood, became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after the Arab Spring uprising saw the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

He was deposed in July 2013 following mass protests and a military coup led by Egypt’s current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after which he was immediately arrested. He had been in detention ever since.

‘Hasty burial’

The Brotherhood, which has since been outlawed, said Morsi’s death was a “full-fledged murder” and called on Egyptians to gather for a mass funeral.

Mohamed Morsi
Security officials stood guard outside the cemetery where Morsi was buried [Khaled Elfiqi/EPA]
vehicle guard the cemetery were former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
[Khaled Elfiqi/EPA]

In a statement on its website, the Brotherhood also called for crowds to gather outside Egyptian embassies around the world.

Meanwhile, observers on social media decried the apparent haste with which Morsi’s burial was carried out.

“The sudden, abrupt and restricted manner in which the Egyptian regime has enforced President #Morsi’s burial, raises even more questions regarding the circumstances of his death, and intensifies calls for an independent medical enquiry,” Anas Altikriti, founder of The Cordoba Foundation, said on Twitter.

Mahmoud Refaat, a foreign policy advisor at the European Institute for International Law and International Relations said the burial went against Egyptian tradition.

“In Egyptian tradition, which is considered quite sacred, we bury our dead during daylight hours, either after the duhr (noon) or afternoon (asr) prayers,” Refaat said on Twitter.

“It is also done where the dead was born. Forcing Morsi’s family to bury him in the middle of the night with only two of his sons present, and without his wife, only confirms that Egypt (authorities) has no honour and is being ruled by the Emirates,” he added, referring to the political ties between the government of el-Sisi and the United Arab Emirates.

Al Jazeera has not been able to verify who was present at the burial.

The news of Morsi’s death quickly spread through Egypt’s prison population, sources within two prisons told Al Jazeera.

A source at a facility in the Nile Delta, who asked not to be identified, described emotional scenes as prisoners learned about the ex-president’s demise.

Speeches were given by senior prisoners, the source said, adding that some inmates were “crying as if they cried for a dear family member”.

“We cried for the symbol that was lost, and we cried of the deterioration of the prison conditions,” the prisoner said.

Grief quickly turned into anger among some of the younger inmates, the source said, adding that senior prisoners stepped in to calm the situation.

‘Mistreatment of detainees’

There have been reports over the years that Morsi had been mistreated and tortured in jail, with activists saying on Monday his death should be seen in the context of the Egyptian authorities’ systematic isolation and mistreatment of political detainees.

READ MORE

Mohamed Morsi’s death: World reaction

Human Rights Watch called the news of Morsi’s death “terrible” but “entirely predictable”, citing the government’s “failure to allow him adequate medical care”.

“The government of Egypt today bears responsibility for his death, given their failure to provide him with adequate medical care or basic prisoner rights,” the group said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

Egypt's former president Mohamed Morsi sentenced to 20 years in prison
In 2015 an Egyptian court sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters during a 2012 demonstration outside the presidential palace in Cairo [Ahmed Ramadan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Amnesty International said the Egyptian government bears responsibility for the death of the former president, amid pressing international demands for a fair and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his final hours.

Rami Khouri, from the American University of Beirut, said military governments in the Middle East and North Africa are now worse than ever in the treatment of their civilian populations.

“The extent of the brutality of which the Egyptian and other Arab governments are doing – jailing tens of thousands of people, arresting people simply because of an opinion they expressed on social media, preventing any kind of free media … as well as torture and fake trials – this is much worse than it’s ever been in the Arab world,” Khouri told Al Jazeera.

“This is the double tragedy. Not only were Morsi and the Muslim Brothers and their democratic allies crushed after 2012, but the pressure against them has become even more brutal … These things need to be exposed to daylight and be analysed honestly and accurately.”

According to Egyptian authorities, a medical report showed no apparent recent injuries on Morsi’s body.

Health issues

The 67-year-old, who had been behind bars for nearly six years, had a long history of health issues, including suffering from diabetes, as well as liver and kidney disease.

Morsi, who was facing at least six trials, was serving a 20-year prison sentence for a conviction arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012. He was also serving a life sentence for espionage in a case related to the Gulf state of Qatar.

READ MORE

Obituary: Egypt’s first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi

Other charges against the former president included jailbreak, insulting the judiciary and involvement in “terrorism”.

His supporters say the charges against him were politically motivated.

In November 2016, the Court of Cassation scrapped the life imprisonment sentence for Morsi and 21 other defendants, including some who had received the death penalty in the same case, and ordered a retrial.

Throughout his imprisonment, Morsi was only allowed three visits from his family.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first world leader to pay tribute to Morsi, calling him a “martyr.”

“May Allah rest our brother Morsi, our martyr’s soul in peace,” said Erdogan, who had forged close ties with the late former president.

Erdogan blamed Egypt’s “tyrants” for Morsi’s death.

“History will never forget those tyrants who led to his death by putting him in jail and threatening him with execution,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

Egypt's Morsi: The Final Hours

AL JAZEERA WORLD

Egypt’s Morsi: The Final Hours

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Mohamed Morsi’s death: World reaction

World reacts to Mohamed Morsi’s death

NOVANEWS
Here’s how world leaders and prominent figures are reacting to the sudden death of Egypt’s first democratically elected civilian president Mohamed Morsi.
In this June 21, 2015 file photo, former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, wearing a red jumpsuit that designates he has been sentenced to death, raises his hands inside a defendant's cage in a makeshift courtroom in Cairo, Egypt.
In this June 21, 2015 file photo, former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, wearing a red jumpsuit that designates he has been sentenced to death, raises his hands inside a defendant’s cage in a makeshift courtroom in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

The world is reacting to the death of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, who died during a court session on Monday.

Turkey

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his condolences. Erdogan, who had close ties to Morsi said, “May Allah have mercy on our brother, our martyr Morsi.”

Pakistan

Expressing sorrow and grief over the martyrdom of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, Jamat e Islami, the country’s mainstream religious party, said the Muslim world has lost a true hero.

In a statement, JI chief Senator Siraj-ul- Haq said on Monday that Dr. Morsi had refused to bow to dictatorship, and withdraw support to Palestinians’ freedom struggle, which were his only crimes.

“Dr. Morsi stood tall in the face of all pressures aimed at forcing him to withdraw his struggle for fundamental rights of the people of Egypt and his support to Palestine,” Haq noted adding, “the dictatorial regime miserably failed to break his nerves.”

He announced that the party would hold funeral prayers in absentia for Dr. Morsi across Pakistan on Tuesday.

“Indeed — sad news. What hope there was and how tragically it all ended. RIP,” Shireen Mazari, Pakistan’s human rights minister, said on Twitter.
Ahsan Iqbal, leader of the main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former interior minister, said Morsi will be remembered.

Ahsan Iqbal

@betterpakistan

First democratically elected President of Egypt Mohammad Morsi will be remembered in history for his courage and dignity in the captivity. May Allah Bless his soul Ameen!

Shakoor Raheem@ShakoorRaheem

BREAKING: #Egypt former ousted President Mohammed Morsi has died.
He was jailed after removal from power in 2013…

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, daughter of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PML-N vice president, expressed similar sentiments.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif

@MaryamNSharif

Egypt’s 1st democratically elected President, charged with ‘espionage’, ’leaking state secrets’& ’insulting the judiciary’. Charges every elected representative faces before being thrown out. It is how you’re remembered & honoured by history& posterity that matters. You win. RIP.

Sarah Leah Whitson

@sarahleah1

BREAKING – #Egypt news says only democratically elected Pres #Morsy has died in prison after stroke. This is terrible but ENTIRELY predictable, given govt failure to allow him adequate medical care, much less family visits. @hrw was just finalizing a report on his health.

“I am deeply saddened at death of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. He was not granted right to fair trial & faced political victimization by military regime. International community, especially Islamic world, must raise voice against it,” Mohammad Sarwar, governor of Punjab province, said on Twitter.

Mohammad Sarwar

@ChMSarwar

I am deeply saddened at death of former Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi. He was not granted right to fair trial & faced political victimisation by military regime. International community, especially Islamic world, must raise voice against it.

Muslim Brotherhood

Mohammed Sudan, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, described Morsi’s death as “premeditated murder,” saying that the former president was banned from receiving medicine or visits and there was little information about his health condition.

He added, “I offer my condolences to all of my brothers who walked the path with him. I offer my condolences to the Egyptian people.”

Freedom and Justice, the Brotherhood’s political arm, said in a statement on its Facebook page that prison conditions led to Morsi’s death in what amounted to “assassination.”

“He was jailed in a single room without anyone. No one could contact him, no one could ask about him,” senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar told TRT World.

Human Rights Watch

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director with the Human Rights Watch, tweeted on Monday that Morsi’s death was “terrible but entirely predictable” given the government’s “failure to allow him adequate medical care, much fewer family visits.”

Amr Magdi, a Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch says he’s not surprised that Morsi died in custody, and says his death “should bring attention to the state of thousands of prisoners in Egypt’s prisons.”
“We believe that President Morsi’s isolation and ill treatment might actually amount to torture according to the UN convention against torture,” Magi said.

Amr Magdi

@ganobi

Whether ppl supported or opposed , here are the facts:
1- He was kept in isolation for 6 years. Treatment amounts to torture according to international law.
2- He was deprived from sufficient medical treatment.
3- He was not offered a fair trial in any of his charges.

United Nations

UN spokesman Dujarric offered condolences to the family of Mohamed Morsi and his supporters.

Qatar

Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, offered condolences to Morsi’s family and the Egyptian people, and also expressed “deep sorrow” over his death.

Hisham Melhem

@hisham_melhem

One could argue was not fit to be pres.of ,that he was not a true democrat & w/known prejudices; but he was first civilian democratically elected in Egypt’s history.Not as brutal as those preceded him or the monstrosity that toppled him.https://nyti.ms/2IoaPtj 

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, during an interview in Cairo in 2012.

Mohamed Morsi, Ousted Egyptian President, Dies

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, died in an Egyptian courtroom on Monday.

nytimes.com

 

Yusuf al Qaradawi

Noted Muslim scholar Yusuf al Qaradawi said Morsi suffered a lot while “languishing” in his jail.

Ali al Qaradaghi

Prominent Muslim scholar Ali al Qaradaghi has said Morsi was “slowly killed.”

ian bremmer

@ianbremmer

Morsi “had just addressed the court…warning that he had ‘many secrets’ he could reveal…A few minutes afterward, he collapsed.”https://apnews.com/d8cd2185ee7a40cb9eae735c1c2797db 

Egypt TV says ousted president Morsi dies in court

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s state TV says the country’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi has collapsed during a court session and died. The state TV says the 67-year-old Morsi was attending a…

apnews.com

Tunisia’s Ennahdha Party

Tunisia’s Ennahda mourned Morsi, and hoped his ”painful death ends the suffering of thousands of political prisoners in Egypt.”

Amnesty International

Amnesty International called for fair, transparent and comprehensive Egyptian investigation into Morsi’s death.

Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director for the Middle East at Amnesty International, said Morsi’s death “raises serious questions about his treatment in custody.”

She called for Egyptian authorities to order “an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his death, as well as his detention conditions and his ability to access medical care.”

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

Posted in EgyptComments Off on World reacts to Mohamed Morsi’s death

Condemned to a ‘slow death’: Egypt’s Morsi mourned as a martyr

NOVANEWS
Former president’s Freedom and Justice Party describes death as an ‘assassination’ while others accuses government of ‘criminal negligence’
Supporters of Mohamed Morsi celebrate at his party headquarters following his election victory in June 2012 (Reuters)

Sympathisers of Egypt’s first freely elected leader Mohamed Morsi took to social media platforms on Monday to mourn his sudden yet long-predicted death and denounce the dire conditions in which he, his supporters and other political dissidents have been held for years.

The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood from whose ranks Morsi rose to power, described his death as an assassination.

On its Twitter feed, the movement said it holds the “authorities of the coup fully responsible for the martyrising of Morsi”, refererring to how the then-president was deposed in a military coup headed by then-defence minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s current president, in 2013.

حزب الحرية والعدالة@FJparty

اغتيال الرئيس محمد مرسيhttp://fj-p.net/?p=776873 

اغتيال الرئيس محمد مرسي

fj-p.net

Translation: Mohamed Morsi assassinated.

Bahey el-Din Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, said Morsi was subjected to “slow death” over six years, and warned that “a long queue of [President Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi prisoners, and victims of medical negligence in death waiting rooms” faced similar fates.

Bahey eldin Hassan

@BaheyHassan

هل آن الأوان ليقظة الضمير الإنساني في والعالم؟
وفاة الرئيس السابق بعد ٦ سنوات من القتل البطئ. أخشي أن هناك طابورا آخرا طويلا من سجناء السيسي وضحايا الإهمال الطبي المتعمد في غرفة انتظار الموت ..

BBC Arabic – عاجل

@bbcarabicalerts

التلفزيون المصري يعلن وفاة الرئيس السابق محمد مرسي

Morsi’s family members, along with those of others held in Egyptian political prisoners, as well as international human rights monitors, have long criticised the conditions in which detainees are being held.

The 67-year-old had been in prison since his overthrow in July 2013, spending much of that time in solitary confinement.

Sarah Leah Whitson, director for the Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch, cited concerns raised by the US-based organisation about the conditions of Morsi’s detention in a report published two years ago, and said his death was a “predictable outcome of the government’s criminal negligence”.

Sarah Leah Whitson

@sarahleah1

Here’s what we said TWO years ago about Pres cruel and inhumane imprisonment (on trumped up BS charges), solitary confinement, deprived of family visits and medical care. Nothing improved. Predictable outcome of govt’s criminal negligence. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/19/egypt-morsys-isolation-violates-rights 

Egypt: Morsy’s Isolation Violates Rights

Egyptian authorities have unlawfully prevented former President Mohamed Morsy from contacting or receiving visits from his family and lawyers in the years since the military forcibly removed him from

hrw.org

Ayman Nour, one of Morsi’s rivals in the 2012 presidential election and now himself an exiled dissident in Istanbul, said on Twitter that Morsi was a “martyr” who had been “deliberately killed slowly”.

Ayman Nour

@AymanNour

الرئيس
شهيد قتل عمدا ببطئ
علي مدار ٦سنوات
تعرض خلالها لكافه
صور العسف والعنت

السيسي ونظامه يتحمل
كامل المسئوليه عن النتيجة
ولا بديل عن تحقيق دولي
في كل ما تعرض له من إهمال طبي وحرمان من كافه الحقوق

Translation: President Mohamed Morsi, a martyr killed slowly over six years, during which he was subjected to all forms of cruelty and repression. Sisi and his regime bear full responsibility for the outcome, and there is no other option but international arbitration into what he was subjected to, of medical negligence and deprivation of all rights

Human rights defender Gamal Eid expressed condolences on Twitter, posting “whether we agree or disagree with him, may Allah forgive Dr Mohamed Morsi, the one president in Egypt’s history to rule through real elections – one which Egypt did not witness anything like”.

Gamal Eid

@gamaleid

نتفق نختلف ، لكن رحمه الله الدكتور محمد مرسي ، يعتبر الرئيس الوحيد في تاريخ مصر الذي جاء بانتخابات حقيقية ، لم تشهدها مصر قبلها ولا بعدها.

Morsi, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected in 2012, but his removal from power was accompanied by a bloody crackdown in which hundreds of his supporters were killed in a massacre in Rabaa Square in August 2013, and a wave of arrests that have landed thousands behind bars for years, in many cases without trial.

Salma Hussein@salmaahussein

وفاة محمد مرسي تسلط الضوء على أوضاع السجون. الناس دي -سياسيين وجنائيين- بيتعرضوا للقتل. والسياسيين بالذات مع الحبس الانفرادي ورفض ذهابهم للمستشفى ومنع الزيارة والدواء.. لا دولة انتقام

Translation: The death of Mohamed Morsi sheds light on prison conditions. These people – politicians and criminals – are subjected to death. Especially politicians who are held in solitary confinement and denied hospital visits, family visits and medication.

Some on Twitter drew comparisons between Morsi’s treatment and that of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president who was deposed during the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ultimately brought Morsi to power. Like Morsi, Mubarak, who is now 91, spent time in prison and was convicted on corruption charges but received medical care throughout his time in prison.

Bushra Tareq@bushratareq

Revolution Story:
“Mubarak is alive, and Morsi died”
“Bashar is alive, and the Syrian people died”

Other notable Egyptians to post tributes to Moris included Mohamed ElBaradei, a former vice president who resigned from government after Sisi’s coup, and exiled footballer Mohamed Aboutrika who posted the words of a common prayer for the deceased.

Mohamed ElBaradei

@ElBaradei

رحم الله الدكتور محمد مرسى وألهم آله وذويه الصبر والسلوان

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Condemned to a ‘slow death’: Egypt’s Morsi mourned as a martyr

Morsi vs Sisi: Who really supported the plight of Palestinians?

NOVANEWS
Egypt’s first democratically elected leader was toppled for many reasons, one of them his stance toward Gaza.
The then Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi meeting with then Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo on 1 September, 2012 (AFP/Egyptian Presidency).

“We will never leave Gaza on its own,” said Mohamed Morsi, the ousted Egyptian president, during the brutal offensive of Israel in 2012. He denounced Israel’s bellicosity labelling it as “a blatant aggression against humanity”. Urging the cessation of the onslaught against Palestinian civilians, he vehemently reiterated: “The Israelis should know that Egypt today is completely different from Egypt yesterday.”

Just a couple of days ago Morsi, the first democratically elected president in the history of Egypt, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, just a year after an Egyptian court upheld the death sentence imposed on him over a ridiculous slew of charges.

For the Gazans, it is a bitter comparison between two diametrically opposed Egyptian regimes. While Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s Egypt doesn’t only bow to Israeli and US pressure to isolate the Gaza Strip, it also recommends further sanctions and means of subjugation. Morsi relentlessly worked hard to ease the strangling conditions and the inhumane siege imposed on the people of the coastal enclave for more than 10 years. In the orphan year of his governance, he alleviated travel restriction for Palestinians across the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza. Morsi stood firm in his reluctance to compromise with Israel’s atrocities.

On the contrary, since Sisi took power after a brutal military coup, Egypt has unequivocally buttressed Israel’s extremist government against neighbouring Gaza. Bizarrely, during the latest Gaza war, Azza Sami, deputy chief editor of Egypt’s most read and government-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, overtly applauded Israel’s prime minister: “Thank you Netanyahu, and May God give us more leaders like you so that we can destroy Hamas.”

Sisi’s response to the latest Gaza war was undoubtedly catastrophic. He tightened the borders with the beleaguered embattled enclave. He reportedly conspired, as a one-sided mediator, to prolong Gaza’s bloodiest war by blackmailing the resistance factions and embracing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was desperately keen to avenge Hamas. He also took advantage of Egypt’s geopolitical clout to refrain any Turkish or Qatari mediation to end the war.

In comparison, Morsi promptly responded to the Israeli aggression in 2012. He immediately summoned Egypt’s ambassador from Israel, called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council and instructed an immediate convening of the Arab League. He also opened the Rafah crossing to receive and treat Gazan casualties on the Egyptian side of the border. Most importantly, in an unprecedented move, he dispatched his prime minister, Hisham Qandil, to visit the Gaza Strip during the war. Eventually, his diplomatic measures succeeded in bringing a lull in tensions and ultimately brokered a ceasefire in less than seven days.

In the 50-day war of 2014, Sisi orchestrated a truce which was totally favourable to Israel. It empowered Israel to dictate its conditions of when and how to ease the embargo on Gaza. Egyptian mediators were literally ruthless in their attempts to impose a unilateral ceasefire that was coordinated only with Israel, and when Hamas understandably flinched, Israel intensified its aggression using the excuse of Hamas intransigence. Thus the flaunted Egyptian proposal to halt atrocities paved the way for Israel to savagely escalate its crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip through massive ground incursions.

Eventually, the regime of Sisi engaged resistance factions in a ceasefire proposal under which Egypt would permit building materials to enter Gaza. However, the Sisi regime appeared disinclined to make any concession in the opening of the Rafah border crossing which remained mostly closed, with only sporadic transitory openings to permit the entry of wounded Gazans.

Would Morsi have been able to defuse the current blockade? Definitely yes. Under Morsi’s government, his advisor for development, Ahmed Omran, proclaimed that there were plans to bolster bilateral trade exchange by launching a series of projects in the fields of agriculture and olive industries. If those projects had started, Gaza would not be in such need of the tunnels to smuggle its food and medicine.

In contrast, the Sisi regime says that jihadists who have shattered the Sinai Peninsula with armed assaults get training and weapons from the Gaza Strip, supporting its claims with allegations by the Palestinian president in an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al-Akhbar. Ironically, Mahmoud Abbas publicly provided cover for Sisi, who was desperate to suffocate Gaza and destroy all the tunnels.

Abbas in that interview said thanks to the tunnels, hundreds of Gazans have become millionaires by smuggling weapons, drugs, cash and equipment to forge documents. Abbas went further to say that he’d recommended previously flooding the tunnels and punishing the households that contain tunnel entrances or exits.

It’s no secret that Abbas is notoriously averse to Gaza and its people and he abjectly took advantage of the Egyptian mainstream media’s deliberately fabricated surge of hatred toward Gaza to grudgingly incite besieging and even attacking Hamas, the offshoot of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Though unable to legally or publicly substantiate the claims, the Egyptian army incessantly declares that Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, a jihadist extremist militant group based in the Sinai Peninsula, receives its arms from Gaza via the tunnels. Subsequently, they flooded the tunnels and completely destroyed them, clearing a strip up to half a kilometer wide along the border in a bid to destroy smuggling tunnels into Gaza and demolish the homes of Egyptians and Palestinians located along the border.

The Egyptian generals’ allegations don’t hold water: Egypt’s intelligence services are well aware that most of the heavy arsenal in the hands of the militants in Sinai are smuggled from Libya. Thus, flooding the tunnels caused no harm to the militants’ capabilities but undeniably inflicted needless damage to the suffering Palestinian enclave.

Abbas and Sisi’s alleged reasons are merely slanderous lies because Sisi’s Egypt is able to devise thousands of methods to eliminate tunnel smuggling without their capricious annihilation of Egyptian and Palestinian habitats in the border districts.

Times have changed, and Morsi isn’t around to help mitigate the ongoing Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Egypt’s first democratically elected leader was toppled for many reasons: the lead among them was definitely his stance toward Gaza and his uncompromising attitude to the suffocating of his neighbours. He simply didn’t accept the role of being a watchdog in Israel’s backyard.

Unlike the way his opponents tried to portray him, Morsi, a real statesman, repeatedly endorsed Egypt’s commitments and previous agreements; he pledged his adherence to the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty and even during times of war, he maintained channels of communication with Israel and the United States. The then US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton explicitly appreciated Morsi’s efforts to conclude a truce, saying: “We appreciate President Morsi’s personal leadership and Egypt’s efforts thus far.” What a bizarre stance when the now US presidential candidate doesn’t dare to condemn Egypt for putting Morsi behind bars, basically because her administration is complicit in Sisi’s crimes.

There is little doubt that the so-called international community is completely complicit with Israel in keeping the “Arab axis of moderation”, headed by tyrants and dictators who only excel in suppressing their nations and meekly accepting Western orders.

Sisi’s Egypt is an unreliable broker during any future Gaza-Israel conflict and an erratic mediator who would definitely fail to mediate reconciliation talks between the two rival Palestinian groups, Fatah and Hamas.

It’s a fatal flaw in international policy to allow such a brutal and weak regime to take the helm of such a strategic state; the retreat of Egypt’s diplomatic role will complicate the situation in the Middle East during the inevitable moments of conflagration to come.

 

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, EgyptComments Off on Morsi vs Sisi: Who really supported the plight of Palestinians?

Lebanon: A woman was admitted to the hospital and suffers from half paralysis

A woman was admitted to the hospital and suffers from half paralysis, and they beat her and stripped her clothes !!!
In the unfortunate pictures in Lebanon

“Spread on communication sites, sick pictures, hit in a hospital.

In the details published on the websites, a woman was admitted to the Mercy Hospital in Abu Samra five days ago and suffers from half paralysis for the necessary treatment for one million lira per month.

However, it was different to surprise her children with the terrible sight in which they found their great mother of the age and what they were subjected to by the nurses, according to what has been deliberated.

She lost her hair and beat her and stripped her of clothes and her workers because she was so mentally ill that they used all kinds of psychological torture with her, according to the media.

The leaders of the sites contacted the Minister of Health, asking him to move on this issue. ”

Source: VDL

Posted in Middle East, LebanonComments Off on Lebanon: A woman was admitted to the hospital and suffers from half paralysis

US and Canada Are Backing an Elite White Supremacist Minority in Venezuela

NOVANEWS

“Racism is one of the main engines and expressions of the current counter-revolution. In Venezuela the revolutionary struggle to end white supremacy and for self-determination is slow, and complicated by white elites, backed by US imperialism, and by the denial of many that racism persists.” Quote from Venezuelanalysis.com, “Racism Without Shame in the Venezuelan Counter-Revolution

The US and Canada are not supporting “the return of democracy” in Venezuela as they claim. Instead, they are following in their histories of colonialism, imperialism, exploitation, illegal wars of aggression, and overthrowing governments. They are crushing democracy in Venezuela by exploiting class and race warfare, being carried out by an elite white-supremacist minority against the poor, Afro-Indigenous, and other Venezuelans of color.

A white-minority has dominated commerce and politics in Venezuela since the days of slavery in the 19th century. Venezuela had slavery, just as did the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America. Slavery went back to the early 16th century Spanish conquistadors. More abducted Africans were trafficked to the Caribbean and Latin America, than to the USA.

[Map, South African History online]

Slavery was officially abolished in all of the Americas in the 19th century. The history of slavery in the Caribbean and Latin America has left a legacy of prejudice, discrimination and class conflict, which has largely gone unresolved.

Different skin complexions of Latin Americans are due mostly to various mixtures of European, Spanish and Indigenous bloodlines. The darker the skin color, along with other ethnic features, the more there is of discrimination in education, employment, and opportunity. Discrimination against blacks and people of color perpetuates poverty and class conflict. In Venezuela, as elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America, political power, commerce and wealth is largely in the hands of a minority of upper-class elites, whom are mostly whiter and lighter than those with darker skin complexion.

One can get a sense of how much class and race affect Latin American society by watching Spanish language movies and soap operas. Here are just two examples below: the setting for the TV series “The White Slave” is 19th century Colombia; and the setting for “Teresa” is contemporary Mexico.

[One can get a sense of how much class and race affect Latin America society by watching Spanish language movies and soap operas. The setting for “La Esclava Blanca” is 19th century Colombia. The setting for “Teresa” is contemporary Mexico. Photos Wikipedia.]

Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro are exuberantly despised by the elite white-supremacist minority. They still call Chavez negro, savage, monkey and ape. Maduro gets the same; and the media never fails to remind the public that he was a former bus driver, which is code for “low-class”. Maduro is proud of his humble beginning as a bus driver and his Afro-Indigenous ethnicity. Chavez was proud of his poor Afro-Indigenous background too, and his final resting place is in the barrio where he and Maduro came from.

In 1998 the elite white minority was voted out of the presidential residence Miraflores Palace. Instead of being purged by Chavez, as an authoritarian dictator would have done, the elites maintained their political power base, dominance in commerce, and control of the media. They have been trying to get back the Miraflores Palace, and indignantly consider it their birthright. They have used every means at their command, and even invited the US to invade the country, which would result in thousands of deaths.

In April 2002 the elite white minority tried a coup against Chavez, backed and financed by the US, which failed. In December 2002 they tried a strike by the management at the Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela. They tried a recall referendum against Chavez in 2004, and lost at the polls. They tried to unify the opposition political parties with the sole purpose of defeating Maduro in 2013, and failed. They tried to delegitimize the 2018 presidential election by organizing a boycott. They tried to assassinate Maduro with a drone in 2018. Their attempts have failed.

The white elites have sabotaged the economy, used mass demonstrations, and organizeD violence. The self-appointed Juan Guaido declared himself the interim president, and called for a military coup d’etat, that failed miserably. Even with their control of the media and commerce they have failed to oust Maduro.

The elite upper class has millions of dollars of financial support from the US and Canada. Some of the EU countries, following pressure from the US, have thrown their support for the Guaido coup plotters too. The UK froze $1.2 billion of Venezuela’s much needed reserves for life-saving food and medicine. Spain turned its back on the people of Venezuela.

The above political caricature of Afro-Indigenous Hugo Chavez, is titled “Ape Commander”, an obvious racial slur. As the article Racism Without Shame in the Venezuelan Counter-Revolution from Venezuelanalysis explains:

”In Venezuela, the revolutionary struggle to end white supremacy and for self-determination is a slow slog, complicated by two forces: One, the white elites, backed by U.S. imperialism, and many of the middle class who support them, cling tenaciously to their power and privilege. Two, the denial by whites, and nearly everyone else that racism persists.”

Above is a caricature of Nicolas Maduro as a donkey, which is a racist slur. Animalization of black and brown people is a common theme in the white media. Maduro is pictured as a dumb animal being driven by a white Cuban. Ironically, one of the early achievements of the Cuban Revolution was to pass strong antidiscrimination laws, and largely end the racial divide in Cuba.

The US and Canada have opposed the government of Venezuela since the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998. Chavez won the election by a landslide on his platform of participatory democracy, local governance, frequent elections, rewriting the constitution, social reforms, healthcare for all, free education, adult literacy programs, and other basic economic freedoms. He called his platform the Bolivarian Revolution, his movement is called Chavismo, his followers are called Chavistas and they are fiercely loyal to Maduro. Maduro is fiercely loyal to Chavez’s memory, and the Bolivarian process. The country is renamed The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, after el libertador Simon Bolivar.

The Bolivarian process has had dramatic success in reducing inequality, cutting poverty in half, providing adequate housing, fighting child malnutrition, improving public education, practically eliminating adult illiteracy, reducing unemployment, and providing social security. (See appendix A for economic charts of the success of the Bolivarian Revolution, or click the link HERE.) The US and Canada are trying to destroy the successes of the Bolivarian process with an illegal economic blockade and violent subversion.

Before his death, Chavez endorsed his Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor. Chavez died in March of 2013, and a new election as required by the constitution was held in April. Maduro won by a surprisingly small margin of 1.5% against the pro-business opponent Henrique Capriles. The opposition cried foul as they always do when they lose.

Venezuela has a voting system with both an electronic ballot and a hard copy, which Jimmy Carter called the best voting technology in the world in 2012. In that election, which Carter monitored, Chavez beat Capriles by a landslide, 55.1% to 44.3%. Still, the US and the mainstream media called Chavez a dictator. Now they call Maduro a dictator.

In the 2018 presidential election Maduro won easily with 67.8% of the vote against his two opponents Henri Falcón and Javier Bertucci. Maduro had invited the United Nations to send election observers, but the UN declined because the opposition told the UN not to come. Why would the opposition disinvite the UN if they thought the election was going to be rigged? Answer, because they have given up on democratic elections. They are outnumbered by the politically awakened poor, Afro-Indigenous, and people of color who live in the barrios.

Barrio de Caracas (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The US and Canada are violating international law and the UN Charter by interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela. The fact that Venezuela has tremendous wealth in oil, gold, precious earth, minerals and abundant natural and human resources is the obvious lure in whetting their greed.

The killer economic blockade that the US and members of the Lima Group (a US-controlled international cabal designed as a propaganda prop to legitimate attacks on Venezuela’s government) have imposed is causing tens of thousands of deaths, needless suffering, and is destroying Venezuela’s economy. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) estimates that 40,000 Venezuelans have died as a direct result of the economic blockade. Since the blockade is intentionally targeting civilians, it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and a crime against humanity.

The CEPR disputes the US, Canadian, and mainstream media narrative that Nicolas Maduro is the blame for the current economic crisis. Mark Weisbrot of CEPR says that denying that the blockade is the cause of Venezuela’s economic crisis is like “climate change denial”.

The US and the mainstream media blame Maduro for “wrecking” the economy. They blame the Bolivarian process for having spent too much on social programs for the poor, not diversifying the economy, not fighting crime, and not putting away reserves in anticipation of low oil prices. The problem is that it is not true. Watch the 17-minute interview of Mark Weisbrot below:

Denying Impact of Venezuela Sanctions is ‘Like Climate Denial’

According to a United Nation’s analysis, and 150 experts and activists, the economic slump from falling oil prices was exacerbated by Obama’s economic sanctions in 2015. The blockade imposed by Trump and the Lima Group in 2017 has sent the economy into crisis. That is what economic sanctions are intended to do, as is well-known (e.g. “make the economy scream.”).

Other oil dependent countries in the region are struggling through the depression in oil prices. Venezuela could have too, except for the economic blockade, confiscation of Venezuela’s US oil company Citgo, and the freezing of assets by the US, Canada, and the EU countries. The constant threat of a US invasion diverts needed resources to increased defense spending, which is another drain on the economy.

What the US and Canada are doing to Venezuela meets the definition of terrorism. They are using violence against civilians, starving them to death and preventing life-saving medicine from getting through, for political and economic purposes. It is robbery in plain sight, but many people believe the mainstream media propaganda, rather than their own “lying eyes”. The blindness is caused by “blockade denial”.

The elite white minority of Venezuelans want control of the vast wealth of Venezuela’s natural resources, and the US and Canada are helping for their own imperial designs. It is a historical pattern. The US and Canada have long supported dictators and opposed anti-colonial and democratic movements in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Before the rise of the US Empire, Canada backed the British Empire in the Caribbean, and even considered annexing its own colonies in the West Indies. Now the UK and Canada are the US Empire’s junior imperial partners.

After the 1898 Spanish-American war the US colonized Cuba and Puerto Rico, as well as the Philippines. The US invaded Mexico in 1914 to support the oligarchy against the nationalists. The US refused to recognize Haiti’s government until 1862, even though it had gained independence from France in 1804. The US militarily occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934. During the Spanish Civil War, the US supported the fascist dictator Franco.

Some of the most notorious dictators that the US has backed are Batista in Cuba, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Pinochet in Chile, Noriega in Panama, and “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier in Haiti. During the 1980’s the US sponsored death squads in Central America. The US backed the French in Indochina and Africa, the British in the Middle East and the 1982 colonial Falkland Island War. The US backed Suharto of Indonesia in his genocidal invasion of East Timor. The US backed apartheid South Africa, and had Nelson Mandela on its terrorist list until 2008. Is this the picture of a country that loves democracy and human rights?

Just as the US overthrew a democratic government in Guatemala in 1954 for United Fruit Company, the US is now trying to overthrow a democratic government in Venezuela for the benefit of US oil companies, and Canadian mining companies. And just as neocon Elliot Abrams was in charge of the death-squads in Central America during the 1980’s, he is now Trump’s special envoy for Venezuela. To believe that the US wants to “restore democracy” in Venezuela takes cognitive dissonance.

The US is supporting a cabal of elite white supremacists in Venezuelan to push the Washington Consensus of IMF loans, privatization of state-owned enterprises, invasion of foreign capital, Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) by the IMF, neoliberal debt slavery and austerity for the poor, Afro-Indigenous, and people of color. Even Monsanto is behind the coup because Venezuela is one of the few countries that bans cancer causing Roundup and GMO seeds.

An article in the Journal of the US Army from 2005 laid out in detail the US’s objections against the Bolivarian process. Even when there was no question about the legitimacy of the elections and the economy was doing great, the US was planning a coup d‘etat. One reason is oil, and the US Army article is blunt about it:

So, the US and Venezuela disagree on their “preference” for “this strategic asset”. The Venezuelan people want to use their oil wealth for the benefit of Venezuelans, and the US objects? Of course, Canada’s “preference” is for Canadian mining companies to control Venezuela’s gold too.

Venezuela is a sovereign country, a member of the United Nations, and Maduro is the internationally recognized president. (A status the US and its vassals and allies in crime continually work to undermine).  Venezuela has the right to choose its own preferences. What the article calls “this strategic asset” is not up for grabs. The US and Canada don’t have a right to vote on it. The fact that the US and Canada even think that they can dictate ownership of “this strategic asset”, shows how arrogant and bullying they are. This is the 21st century, the Monroe Doctrine should be dead, and the Caribbean and Latin America ain’t nobody’s “backyard”.

The US Army article further whines that Chavez and Maduro encouraged the unity of South America, challenging US hegemony. Venezuela has a right to its own foreign relations. Other invented crimes are that Venezuela backed a stronger OPEC, and opposed the illegal Invasion of Iraq, and the Worldwide War on Terror. Venezuela has good relations with Cuba and Nicaragua, thus irritating the US further.

Strangely, the US Army article finds the Bolivarian process of “participatory democracy” rather than “representative democracy” to be nefarious? It’s odd that the US would object to the Venezuelan people having more democracy and local control, rather than less. Try explaining to Chavistas how Trump became president even though he got fewer votes than Clinton, and they will laugh in your face about “representative democracy”.

What is depressing is that most of the North American public is still fooled by the US propaganda that it is motivated by democracy and human rights. The historical evidence is to the contrary. The US is a serial predator of illegal wars of aggression, which have killed millions of people, and Canada has been right there side-by-side. They have invaded at least a half-dozen countries in the past few decades, and they are threatening a half-dozen more. The US has imposed illegal economic sanctions on Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. The US State Department has bragged that the sanctions are “working”because civilians are dying. That is not concern for human rights. It is coercion, hostage taking and demands for ransom.

The US often violates international law, reneges on treaties, ignores the United Nations, defies the International Criminal Court, and breaks domestic laws. It conducts illegal wars of aggression, drone assassinations, night raids, and covert operations . The US supplies weapons, logistics and ammunition that are used by Israel and Saudi Arabia to kill civilians. The US supports 70% of the world’s dictators. Does any of that fit with a country that is concerned about democracy and human rights? The US and Canada are recklessly instigating a bloody civil war in Venezuela.

A State Department official named Brian Hook in a leaked memo disabused his boss at that time, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, about the actual aims of US foreign policy. The memo tutored Tillerson that the US is only interested in weaponizing democracy and human rights to destabilize adversaries. The US should treat friendly dictatorships, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Honduras, “different and better”, according to Hook.

As Hook explains, agitating countries about democracy and human rights is destabilizing, and the US does not want to do that to friendly dictators. With adversaries though, the US wants to destabilize them even if they are democracies, like Venezuela. For adversaries, they are never democratic enough to please the US. They should be destabilized and kept off balance, according to Hook.

It is false that US foreign policy objectives are for the benefit of the US public. US foreign policy is for the benefit of corporations, special interest groups and oligarchs. The beneficiaries of US foreign policy are the elites, and they grease US foreign policy with campaign contributions, bribes and other perks to government officials.

What drives US foreign policy is the quest for absolute military superiority, preservation of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, maintaining the capitalist world order, controlling the world’s natural and human resources, promoting a stable business-friendly environment for Western transnational corporations, and seeking opportunities for windfall profits for cronies.

In other words, the US wants to control the whole world. If that means overthrowing non-compliant democratically elected governments and supporting military coups and dictators, killing millions of people, then as far as the US is concerned, so be it. That is criminally insane.

It is the US public that pays for US foreign policy and wars, either through taxes or by the lack of government programs, such as universal healthcare, education, mass transit and a “Green New Deal”. US foreign policy does not keep the American people safer. Wars and the threat of wars make the American people less safe.

The foreign policy elites, also called the “power elite”, which is a phrase coined by C. Wright Mills in his book The Power Elite, are a closely knit alliance of “military, government, and corporate officials perceived as the center of wealth and political power in the US”. The power elite usually come from wealthy families. They all went to Ivy League schools, they belong to the same country clubs, they are members of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderberg group. They sit on the boards of corporations, the media, banks, foundations, universities, and think tanks; and they become Senators and Presidents.

The power elite is a clique. The members all go to the same cocktail parties, their spouses are friends, and their children go to private schools together. Those not born into the power elite have to earn admission by being faithful servants, and climb to the top while they gain experience, power and influence. The power elite is the Deep State. The Deep State makes US foreign policy and declares war; not the American people. The American people pay, but do not get to “play”.
The Deep State, and those that serve it, such as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, have no moral and legal restraints.

Humanitarian interventionists, the right to protect (R2P), American values, democracy and human rights are weaponized, as Hook explained to Tillerson. It is all about US hegemony and world domination. Under three US presidents, Bush, Obama and Trump, the US has been trying to overthrow the government of Venezuela.

Twenty years ago, the democratically elected president of Venezuela became a target of the US. There was no question that the election was fair, democratic and it was declared so by international observers, including the Carter Center. Hugo Chavez won the presidency by a landslide. Instead of cheering for democracy at work, the US and Canada soon started plotting to overthrow the elected government.

In 2002 the US backed an unsuccessful military coup d’etat. The US immediately endorsed the coup government, and the mainstream media cheered. The coup failed because the people demanded a return of their kidnapped president. Within 48 hours Hugo Chavez was back in the Miraflores Palace.

Below is a 15-minute documentary on the 2002 coup attempt and the US involvement. The video features Eva Golinger. Golinger is a US attorney who has followed events in Venezuela for decades, she was a legal advisor to Hugo Chavez, and she has written several books. The most well-known is The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela.

How America Overthrew The Venezuelan Government

So, how does the US square what it now says is its concern for democracy, when the US tried to overthrow the government in 2002, regardless of it being a democratically elected government? The US’s fallback argument is that an adversary is never democratic enough, as Hook explained.

It is the same answer the US gave in 1954 when it overthrew the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Árbenz. It is the same answer the US gave in 1973 when it overthrew and assassinated Chile’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. It is the same answer it gave in the 1980’s when it was backing the Contras in Nicaragua. It is the same answer the US gave when it overthrew the democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti in 1994, and then overthrew him again when he was elected in 2004. It is the same answer that the US gave when it backed the military coup in Honduras in 2009. For the US, an adversary is never democratic enough, and it must go.

Maduro must go because he is costing US and Canadian corporations and banks money. He challenges the Washington Consensus. Maduro threatens US hegemony in Latin America and the Caribbean. Those are unforgiveable sins in the eyes of the US. It is like putting a great big bull’s eye on your back. Being a US target has nothing to do with democracy and human rights.

Vice President Pence and Prime Minister Trudeau met in Ottawa at the end of May. In their joint statement they spoke about many issues that the US and Canada share. They chitchatted about their peaceful borders, joked about basketball rivalry, and spared about trade. One issue that they agreed on was Venezuela. Both said that President Nicolas Maduro must go. When the US says “must go”, it includes assassination.

Here is what Trudeau had to say on Venezuela:

“This afternoon, the Vice President and I spoke about the concerning situation in Venezuela. Our government remains committed to the importance of finding a peaceful return to democracy and stability for Venezuelans.”

Pence followed with his statement on Venezuela:

“Canada has imposed sanctions on 113 of the dictator’s cronies. You’ve promoted the cause of freedom and a free Venezuela inside the Lima Group and the OAS. And the two of us have said, with one voice, that Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power, and Nicolás Maduro must go.”

Restoring democracy in Venezuela is a red herring. The US and Canadian foreign policies are not concerned about democracy. It is lip service for the home folks. US foreign policy has always preferred strong dictators and puppet governments in their “back yard”. The US and Canada have historically exploited their backyard for its natural resources, tropical monocrops, cheap labor, and schemes to get rich. Those that have opposed the US and Canada can be found in mass graves all over the Caribbean and Latin American.

Trump is refreshingly crude, compared to the smooth-talking Obama. Reportedly when Trump first took office, one of his first questions was why is the US not at war with Venezuela, since they have all that oil and they are right in our backyard?

International law is meaningless to the US, and that is not new with Trump. The US has a long history of ignoring international law. Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton have a vision of the world as the wild west, with no international law, just anarchy. It is the cynical view that might-makes-right, and that the US is above the law.

It was the Bill Clinton administration that injected new currency into the phrases American exceptionalism and the indispensable nation. That was the polite way to say that the US is above the law. It is just that Trump, Bolton, Pompeo, and Abrams do not have good manners. That is not a policy change, it’s Trump stepping into an imperial presidency that was left to him by Bush and Obama.

Oh, the Trump administration still speaks out of both sides of its mouth with platitudes that the US is a force for good in the world, and that its values are democracy and human rights. Only fools believe that anymore.

*

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Appendix

Venezuelan Economic and Social Performance Under Hugo Chávez, in Graphs

1. Growth (Average Annual Percent)

Source: Banco Central de Venezuela

This graph shows overall GDP growth as well as per-capita growth in the pre-Chávez (1986-1999) era and the Chávez presidency.

From 1999-2003, the government did not control the state oil company; in fact, it was controlled by his opponents, who used it to try to overthrow the government, including the devastating oil strike of 2002–2003. For that reason, a better measure of economic growth under the Chávez government would start after it got control over the state oil company, and therefore the economy.

Above you can see this growth both measured from 2004, and for the 1999-2012 period. We use 2004 because to start with 2003, a depressed year due to the oil strike, would exaggerate GDP growth during this period; by 2004, the economy had caught up with its pre-strike level of output. Growth after the government got control of the state oil company was much faster.

2. Public vs. Private Growth – 1999-2012 (Average Annual Percent)

Source: Banco Central de Venezuela

This graph shows the growth of the private sector versus the public sector during the Chávez years.

3. Inflation: Pre-Chávez vs. Chávez Years

Source: Banco Central de Venezuela, INEC / Inflation in Venezuela, consumer price index.

4. Unemployment Rate: Before and After Oil Strike

After the oil strike (and the deep recession that it caused) ended in 2003, unemployment dropped drastically, following many years of increases before Chávez was elected. In 1999, when Chávez took office, unemployment was 14.5 percent; for 2011 it was 7.8 percent.

5. Poverty and Extreme Poverty Rate

Source: INEC

Poverty has decreased significantly, dropping by nearly 50 percent since the oil strike, with extreme poverty dropping by over 70 percent.

6. Gini Coefficient, 2001-2003 – Latin America

Source: Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean

The Gini coefficient, measuring income inequality, fell from 0.5 to 0.397, the lowest Gini coefficient in the region.

7. Social Spending as a Percent of GDP

Source: SISOV

Social spending doubled from 11.3 percent of GDP in 1998 to 22.8 percent of GDP in 2011.

8. Education: Net Enrollment

Source: SISOV

9. Graduates from Higher Education

Source: Ministerio del P.P. para la Educación Universitaria

10. Child Malnutrition- Age 5 and Under

Source: Instituto Nacional de Nutrición

11. Venezuelans Receiving Pensions

Source: Instituto Venezuela de los Seguros Sociales

The number of Venezuelans receiving pensions has increased from less than 500,000 in 1999 to nearly 2 million in 2011.

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on US and Canada Are Backing an Elite White Supremacist Minority in Venezuela

False Identities Become the New Weapon: War with Iran Promoted by Fake Journalists

NOVANEWS
  

One of the claims made about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election was that Kremlin-controlled entities were using fake identities to create dissension and confusion on social network sites. This should surprise no one, if it is true, as intelligence operatives have been using false names since Sumerian times.

The concern over fake identities no doubt comes from the deception involved, meaning that if you are dealing with a real person you at least have some handle on making as assessment of what something means and what is likely to occur. A false persona, however, can pretend to be anything and can advocate or do something without any yardstick to measure what is actually taking place. In other words, if Mike Pompeo says something you know that he is a liar and can judge his words accordingly but if it is someone otherwise unknown named Qwert Uiop you have to wonder if he or she just might be telling the truth. You might even give them the benefit of the doubt.

A prime example of a false internet persona has recently surfaced in the form of an alleged “activist” invented by the Iranian terrorist group Mojahedin e Khalq (MEK). MEK is a curious hybrid creature in any event in that it pretends to be an alternative government option for Iran even though it is despised by nearly all Iranians. At the same time, it is greatly loved by the Washington Establishment which would like to see the Mullahs deposed and replaced by something more amenable to western and Israeli worldviews.

Heshmat Alavi MEK 4434b

MEK is run like a cult by its leader Maryam Rajavi, with a number of rules that restrict and control the behavior of its members. One commentary likens membership in MEK to a modern day equivalent of slavery. The group currently operates out of a secretive, heavily guarded 84 acre compound in Albania that is covertly supported by the United States, as well as through a “political wing” front office in Paris, where it refers to itself as the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

MEK, which is financially supported by Saudi Arabia, stages events in the United States in Europe where it generously pays politicians like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and Elaine Chao to make fifteen-minute speeches praising the organization and everything it does. It’s paying of inside the Beltway power brokers proved so successful that it was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Hillary Clinton even though it had killed Americans in the 1970s. MEK also finds favor in Washington because it is used by Israel as a resource for anti-Iranian terrorism acts currently, including assassinations carried out in Tehran.

MEK’s fake journalist, who has recently been exposed by The Intercept, is named Heshmat Alavi. He, or if you prefer “it,” has very successfully gained access to a considerable body of generally conservative mainstream western media, including ForbesThe Hill, the Daily Beast and The Federalist. Alavi has placed scores of articles as “an activist with a passion for human rights,” aimed at discrediting Iran and its government while also subtly praising MEK as an alternative to the current regime. His bona fides have never been questioned, even by Forbes, which placed no less than 61 articles under the name between April 2017 and April 2018. The pieces appearing allegedly by Alavi are reportedly composed at a “troll factory” as a so-called “group account” in Albania where MEK members who belong to the organization’s “political wing” toil under tight security.

Alavi’s contribution to the damning of Iran has not been insignificant. An article written by him/it that appeared in Forbes claiming that the Mullahs had been able to increase their military budget due to having money freed up by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement. The article reached the White House and reportedly helped convince the Trump Administration to withdraw from the pact.

MEK Twitter troll factory 83921

*(MEK members working in the ‘Twitter troll factory’ in Manez Camp, Albania)

To supplement the Alavi propaganda effort, MEK’s Albania operation uses banks of computers manned by followers, some of whom are fluent in English, who serve as bots unleashing scores of comments supporting regime change in Iran while also directing waves of criticism against any pro-Iranian pieces that appear on social media, to include Facebook and Twitter. By one account,more than a thousand MEK supporters manage thousands of accounts on social media simultaneously. The objective of all the chatter is to convince the mostly English-speaking audience that there is a large body of Iranians who are hostile to the regime and supportive of MEK as a replacement.

While the Iranian government and MEK might well be regarded by most Americans as a far-away problem, there was considerable shock expressed even by congress and the media when it was learned shortly before The Intercept’s revelations that the United States government had been funding a so-called Iran Disinformation Project that was employing tactics remarkably similar to those of MEK in an attempt to control the discussion over Iran policy.

Saeed Ghasseminejad

@SGhasseminejad

Hooshang Amirahmadi, @tparsi‘s former boss, told @AbdolrezaDavari:
“Yes, Zarif put together NIAC – honestly, sincerely – and gave it strong support, politically and non-politically.”
Amazing that no journalist asks Amirahmadi & Parsi & writes about this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQN2_xbZcZA 

The project, run by the State Department’s global engagement center, consisted of a trolling campaignwhich targeted online American citizens critical of the government’s Iran policy, labeling them as disloyal to the United States and tools of the Iranian government. It used, for example, the website IranDisInfo.org and the hashtag #NIACLobbies4Mullahs. Iranian-American activist and long-time State Department contractor Mariam Memarsadeghi headed the program, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to “relentlessly attack critics of the Iran policy on social media…accusing them of being paid operatives of the regime in Tehran.” In all, the “Iran Disinfo” operation received over $1.5 million through the Memarsadeghi contract entity the oddly named E-Collaborative for Civic Education.

Mariam Memarsadeghi@memarsadeghi

“Constant studying & constant reading”—how @nikkihaley tells @CliffordDMay she got herself so very ready & able to take on everything, not least the tyrants, represented at the UN. So much respect for her. @FDD

The investigation of Iran Disinfo also revealed that the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), which has been leading the charge for war with Iran, had at least one employee working with E-Collaborative. FDD, which has been advising the Trump White House on a more aggressive policy towards Iran, has also been actively involved in the State Department effort and cross-posting material from the Disinfo campaign.

FDD has long been targeting Iran. It received $3.63 million in 2017 from Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot. Marcus is a hard-core Zionist who hates Iran and once referred to that nation as “the devil.” FDD has also received billions from Las Vegas casino mega billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s largest individual donor, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran to send a message. The link between major Republican donors supporting FDD and an increase in FDD quasi-overt cooperation with the Trump Administration in demonizing Iran should not surprise anyone.

Even though the State Department operation was relatively insignificant compared to similar initiatives undertaken by Israel, the idea that an ostensibly democratic government should propagate lies to defend its own policies was definitely unsettling. Some might think that disinformation on Iran is of little importance, that it has little impact on actual policy, but they would be wrong. Bad information that is allowed to circulate freely creates its own reality. Most Americans believe that Iran actually threatens the United States, though they would be at a loss to explain exactly how that could be the case. Dubious stories that originated with Reuters about corruption in Iran have been used by Mike Pompeo to justify sanctions against the regime on humanitarian grounds, measures which have ironically hurt average Iranians disproportionately. The same story was also used in at least four books to discredit the Iranian leadership.

To be sure, the mainstream media is itself largely at fault, as it was with Heshmat Alavi, for not vetting their sources more carefully, particularly when a story is clearly providing unique information or representing a point of view that might be considered controversial. In some cases, of course, the news outlet wants the story to be perceived as true even when it knows that it is not, so it becomes an accomplice in the propaganda effort. A recent attempt to create a mechanism to establish standards by determining the reliability of online news content has, in fact, been little more than a neoconservative scheme to discredit sites that do not support the neocon point of view.

Since governments and various non-governmental constituencies now, by their own admission, are heavily into the game of providing false information and discrediting critics, most Americans will completely tune out of the process, meaning that there will be little or no measurable difference between truth and lies. One already hears complaints from all across the political spectrum that most news is fake. When one reaches the point where such skepticism becomes the consensus, both elections and democracy itself will be rendered pretty much meaningless.

Posted in USA, Iran, MediaComments Off on False Identities Become the New Weapon: War with Iran Promoted by Fake Journalists

US Accuses Iran. Will the Real Bombers Please Stand Up. Japan’s PM Abe: The Danger of “An Accidental Conflict”

NOVANEWS
  

Who is attacking oil tankers in the Gulf between Oman and Iran? So far, the answer is still a mystery. The US, of course, accuses Iran. Iran says it’s the US or its local allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Magnetic mines are blamed for the damage, though there have been claims of torpedo use. Last month, four moored tankers were slightly damaged, though none seriously. This time the attacks were more damaging but apparently not lethal.

A few cynics have even suggested Israel may be behind the tanker attack in order to provoke war between Iran and the United States – a key Israeli goal. Or maybe it’s the Saudis whose goal is similar. The Gulf is an ideal venue for false flag attacks.

One thing appears certain. President Donald and his coterie of neocon advisers have been pressing for a major conflict with Iran for months. The US is literally trying to strangle Iran economically and strategically. By now, Israel’s hard right wing dominates US Mideast policy and appears to often call the shots at the White House and Congress.

However, this latest Iran `crisis’ is totally contrived by the Trump administration to punish the Islamic Republic for refusing to follow American tutelage, supporting the Palestinians, and menacing Saudi Arabia. Most important, the Gulf fracas is diverting public attention from Trump’s war with the lynch mob of House Democrats and personal scandals.

Many Americans love small wars. They serve as an alternative to football. Mussolini’s popularity in Italy soared after he invaded primitive Ethiopia. Americans cheered the invasions of Grenada, Haiti and Panama. However, supposed ‘cake-walk’ Iraq was not such a popular success. Memories of the fake Gulf of Tonkin clash used to drive the US into the Vietnam War are strong; so too all the lies about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction.

Curiously, Trump’s undeclared war against Iran has had unanticipated effects. Japan, which relies on Iranian oil, is furious at Washington. Last week, Japan’s very popular prime minister, Shinzo Abe, flew to Tehran to try to head off a US-Iranian confrontation and assure his nation’s oil supply – the very same reason Japan attacked the US in 1941. Abe warned an accidental war may be close.

Canada used to have warm relations with China. They are now in shambles. Canada ‘kidnapped’ Chinese bigwig Meng Wanzhou, the crown princess of technology giant Huawei, at Vancouver airport while changing planes on a US arrest warrant for allegedly trading with…wait for it…Iran. Canada foolishly arrested Meng on a flimsy extradition warrant from the US.

This was an incredibly amateurish blunder by Ottawa’s foreign affairs leaders. If they had been smarter, they would have simply told Washington that Meng had already left Canada, or they could not find her. Now Canada’s relations with Beijing are rock bottom, Canada has suffered very heavy trade punishment and the world’s biggest nation is angry as a wet cat at Canada, a nation whose state religion is to be liked by everyone.

Now, Japan’s energy freedom is under serious threat. China mutters about executing the two Canadians it arrested for alleged espionage. Meanwhile, US-China relations have hit their nadir as Trump’s efforts to use tariffs to bully China into buying more US soya beans and to trim its non-trade commerce barriers have caused a trade war.

The US-China trade war is badly damaging the economies of both countries. President Trump still does not seem to understand that tariffs are paid by American consumers, not Chinese sellers. Trump’s nincompoop foreign policy advisers don’t understand how much damage they are doing to US interests. Putting gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson in charge of US foreign and trade policy is not such a good idea.

A good way to end this growing mess is to fire war-lover and Iran-hater John Bolton, send Mike Pompeo back to bible school, and tell Iran and Saudi Arabia to bury the hatchet now. Instead, the White House is talking about providing nuclear capability to Saudi Arabia, one of our world’s most backwards and unpleasant nations. Maybe Trump will make a hell of a ‘deal’ and have North Korea sell nukes to Saudis.

And now we wait the all-time bad joke, the so-called ‘Deal of the Century,’ which Trump and his boys hope will get rich Arabs to buy off poor Palestinians in exchange for giving up lots more land to Israel. It’s hard to think of a bigger or more shameful betrayal by Arabs of fellow Arabs, or a more stupid policy by the US. But, of course, it’s not a made-in-the-USA policy at all.

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on US Accuses Iran. Will the Real Bombers Please Stand Up. Japan’s PM Abe: The Danger of “An Accidental Conflict”


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