Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 6 January 2010
Khaled Abu Jbarah with baby Lina and Jihad, whose father was killed in an Israeli missile strike on their Gaza home. (Rami Almeghari)
“Four months after the martyrdom of my husband and two of my sons, my granddaughter Lina was born — the daughter of my martyred son Basel,” said Fathiya Abu Jbarah. Fathiya is the widow of Jihad Abu Jbarah and mother of Basil, 30, and Usama, 21 who were killed on 4 January 2009 by an Israeli missile that struck their home in al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Their home was hit during Israel’s 22-day air and land attack that killed more than 1,400 persons and wounded thousands of others.
The Electronic Intifada visited the family a few days after the attack (see “Targeting a cup of tea in Gaza,” 12 January 2009) and came back one year later to see how they are coping.
Reflecting on the birth of Basel’s daughter Lina, Fathiya Abu Jbarah said, “My heart almost popped. What did this innocent baby do to be born without a father?”
“We Palestinian mothers like any other mothers, never want to see our children and grandchildren become orphans or for wives to become widows,” Fathiya who is in her mid-50s, said as she carried Lina in her arms. “We want to live in peace as any other nation in this world. Yet, the Israeli occupation never leaves us alone, they have continued to attack us regularly for decades now. Isn’t it time for us to live normally?”
In addition to the killings of Jihad and his two sons, a fourth family member, Khaled, 19, suffered severe shrapnel wounds to his abdomen and arms, and was transferred to a hospital in Saudi Arabia for treatment.
Khaled recalled the moment, just before 10:30pm on 4 January 2009, when the missiles struck the house. He had been sitting outside with his father and brothers. However, Khaled said, “The weather was cold, so I went in my room, while my brothers and father were keeping warm outside in front of a wood stove.”
Khaled then heard missiles striking near the home and rushed out of his room to see what happened. “I saw the three [Jihad, Basel and Usama] dismembered by the strike, but I did not know I was also hit.” Khaled recalled going out of the house to a nearby hospital.
The family’s rented home was badly damaged in the Israeli attack, but now they live in a newly-built three-room house. Khaled now lives there along with his brother Muhammad and other family members including a teenage brother, his mother, his sister-in-law, the widow of Basil and other nieces and nephews.
The Abu Jbarah home is one of the very few to be built in the past year, as thousands of homes damaged or destroyed in the Israeli attack remain unrepaired. Virtually no building supplies have come in due to the ongoing Israeli blockade, but the Abu Jbarahs built the house with the help of friends and family, and using building supplies smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt, and sold at inflated prices.
Muhammad Abu Jbarah, 24, explained that his late father had decided to build a family home in 2006, but due to the blockade he could never get the raw materials, which is why he rented the home that was attacked by Israel last year. After the attack, the family lived for months at the home of a relative, but with their needs, they decided to build the new house. It has been an enormous struggle.
“We have been building this new house for almost eight months, trying to get use of any raw building material available in local markets,” Muhammad explained. The cost has been enormous — about $70,000, much of which was borrowed from relatives or friends. “We owe about 70 percent of that amount,” said Muhammad,” and it will take us at least six or seven years to pay it off, but we have no choice.”
Despite the agony he has endured during the past year, Khaled Abu Jbarah sounded hopeful and looked forward to a better life in the new year. “I do look forward to a better situation, not only for me but also for these little children. We Palestinians want to live in peace and tranquility for generations to come, but unfortunately, every generation of us experiences the same suffering at the hands of this occupation, which never abides by ceasefire declarations, peace agreements, or any other international resolutions.”
Although the situation has been generally calm, Khaled pointed out that the “Israeli army continues to open fire from time to time [and] some people have been killed and wounded recently.”
The home provides some comfort now, but Fathiya Abu Jbarah said, “what you see can never compensate me for my loss. During Ramadan I cried a lot for my dear husband and children, while serving iftar [the fast-breaking meal] to the rest of my family.” As she spoke, the memory brought the tears back to her eyes.
Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.
Webster G. Tarpley
January 5, 2010
Washington DC , January 5, 2010 — Obama’s speech this afternoon was an incongruous performance. On the one hand, he angrily detailed a catastrophic breakdown in US intelligence procedures leading to the near-massacre of hundreds of airline passengers in the skies over Detroit on Christmas Day. On the other hand, there was no purge of the corrupt, complicit, and incompetent officials who had made this incident possible. No firings were announced. No heads rolled. The rogue network or invisible government of treasonous and subversive moles inside the US government which is behind the Detroit incident, and so many other incidents, remained untouched once again.
Wolffe on MSNBC: “Cock-Up Or Conspiracy?”
The expectation that Obama might actually do something to combat the rogue network across US government institutions which inflicts terrorism on the American people and the world had been raised the night before in an interview by Washington journalist Richard Wolffe on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC Countdown program. Wolffe, citing high-level White House officials, had reported that there was an investigation into whether the security lapses leading to the Detroit Christmas incident had been intentional and deliberate, and thus the products of conscious sabotage. Wolffe had stated: “It seems that the president is leaning very much towards thinking this was a systemic failure by individuals who maybe had an alternative agenda.The question there is again, cock up or conspiracy. Was there a reason these agencies were at war with each other that prevented that intelligence from being shared?” The goal, summarized Olbermann, was either a “turf war” or else the desire “to make somebody [Obama] look bad.” In reality, the goals involve a domestic police state and foreign geopolitical adventures.
Wolffe’s report had suggested that at least some firings were in the offing for officials responsible for the failure to stop Umar Farouk Mutallab from boarding his flight from Amsterdam to Detroit , despite the cascade of red flags associated with this particular patsy. But in his speech, Obama did not lay a glove on the invisible government forces which stage false flag terror incidents to manipulate public opinion and politics in the direction of increased totalitarianism at home and aggression abroad. Obama talked about what he would not tolerate, and about accountability in the abstract, but did not provide any concrete retribution to make moles think twice about future actions. Even David Gergen, the former White House official who faithfully represents the oligarchical point of view, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that he considered it virtually inconceivable for Obama to make such a speech without firing some failed officials.
The Bay Of Pigs, 1961 – A Distant Mirror For Obama
Obama’s situation offers certain parallels to the experience of John F. Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961. Upon entering office, Kennedy had been convinced by Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell of the CIA to support an invasion of Cuba , which the CIA promised would lead immediately to an insurrection throughout the island and thus to the overthrow of Fidel Castro. Instead, the invasion was a catastrophic failure and humiliation for the United States and for Kennedy personally. When Kennedy came into office, he had been inclined to work closely with operatives like Allen Dulles and Bissell, who personified the rogue network in its then-current form. Helped along — according to some accounts — by General Douglas MacArthur, Kennedy realized that the geopolitical forces behind and above the presidency which were seeking to use him for their own ends were also more than willing to ruin him politically and to cast him aside as an expendable puppet at the first opportunity. Over time, this led to Kennedy’s deep and abiding mistrust of the rogue elements dominating the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, and other elements of the US government — a mistrust which allowed Kennedy to resist the lunatic proposals for general war advanced by the rogue elements during the Cuban missile crisis. In the short run, Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs experience impelled him to fire Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, and CIA deputy director Charles Cabell within less than a year after the failed invasion. Obama needs to imitate Kennedy’s response, on the fast track.
Today, the breakdown crisis of the Anglo-American world system is far more acute than anything Kennedy had to face. Obama needs to muster something more than mere impotent rage about what is happening to himself. If Obama wants to avoid the disastrous outcomes for himself and the country which are now clearly delineated, he will need to mount an ambitious purge of subversive and treasonous moles inside the federal bureaucracy, along with the incompetents, time servers, and bunglers who are happy to play along with the rogues.
Who Obama Should Fire
Almost any of the twenty-odd officials who attended Obama’s special meeting in the White House today could be candidates for ouster for reasons of incompetence or worse. One obvious choice would be Michael E. Leiter, the head of the National Counter-Terrorism Center , which has the responsibility of integrating all the information from 16 agencies which was so obviously not integrated in the Mutallab case. Another might be Leiter’s boss Dennis C. Blair, the Director of National Intelligence or intelligence czar created after 9/11. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is widely discredited, and has lost the confidence of the American people through her interviews if nothing else. Napolitano is also the keeper of the no-fly list, on which Mutallab needed to be listed, but was not. Hillary Clinton’s State Department failed to revoke Mutallab’s US entry visa after the Nigerian’s father warned the US Embassy in Nigeria about his son’s visit to Yemen — an outrageous lapse, or a deliberate sabotage. Leon Panetta’s CIA also had that information, and failed to make sure it was acted on. Gen. James Jones, the head of the National Security Council, is responsible for the overall coordination of the government, which in this case was substandard. FBI Director Robert Muller’s agents are up to their usual tricks of suppressing evidence in regard to the well-dressed Indian and the man in orange on the Detroit flight reported by an eyewitness, the Detroit attorney Kurt Haskell. (See http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2009/12/flight_253_passenger_kurt_hask.html) Firing any of these failed or complicit officials would be a good start.
If Obama continues to punt on real accountability, the rogue network will conclude that he is indeed the weakling and pushover which French President Sarkozy and others have suspected him to be. In that case, the handwriting will be on the wall for new world catastrophes.
By Ein Katzenfreund | Aletho News | January 6, 2010
It is widely known that Al Qaeda is a subsidiary brand under the control of CIA, MI6 and Mossad with the purpose of spreading fear and terror. When the Western media use “Al Qaeda” to produce war sentiments in the population, then it should be immediately clear to everyone that there is something very suspicious happening. Currently, the mass media are scaremongering using the label “Al Qaeda” to persuade the population of the western world to join a US war in Yemen. But the US is not at war in Yemen against Al Qaeda. It is against the Shia Houthis whose strict anti-Americanism has already been a thorn in the US’s and its lackeys in the Arabian peninsula’s flesh.
Since August 11th 2009 the Shia Houthis have resisted being “eradicated” by the presidents’ “Operation Scorched Earth” and are defending the area around Sadah against Yemeni government troops, Saudi artillery and aircraft, Moroccan and Jordanian special forces and the US. It has been admitted in the Western press that the US has used “Special Operations Forces“ and “specialists from the CIA” for over a year, and more recently, cruise missiles. General David Patraeus has declared that the US Navy on the coast of Yemen is there to prevent arms smuggling to the Houthis. According to information provided by Houthis the United States also operates a top secret airfield in northern Yemen, from where, almost daily, deadly bomb attacks are launched against the population in the area controlled by the Houthis.
According to the Yemeni government the Houthis only have about 3,000 fighters, but they managed to repulse an offensive of 30,000 Yemeni soldiers from their territory. This is the reason the US is currently planning to extend the secret war in Yemen against the Houthis so severely that it couldn’t any longer be hidden from the public.
What the war of annihilation against the Houthis is all about is as far as possible concealed. In the region of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia the world has witnessed violent protests in recent months by the local Shia majority against the oppression, economic disadvantage and discrimination by the US supported dictators from the Saudi capital Riyadh. The Wahhabi Saudi dictators and its backers in the US have shown naked panic of an armed revolt in Qatif by the Shia majority. The Houthis have responded to attacks from Saudi Arabia by repeatedly capturing border posts inside Saudi Arabia, gaining completely free access to heavy weapons and know-how for serious Shia resistance in Qatif.
If it comes to an anti-American revolution in Saudi Arabia, that would be a massive economic problem for the U.S. mafia state and it’s empire of global dominance. While the warfare state was busy assaulting Afghanistan and Iraq, they thought they dominated the Arabian Peninsula safely, but they have now got a resistance movement there.
The US war to eradicate the Houthis is fought to secure the Saudi dictatorship. The Western population is lied to about who the enemy is in Yemen, what is at stake in the war and what kind of crimes the United States are responsible for there. The population is to be sold the war to eradicate Houthis by the mass media as an operation against Al Qaeda. Therefore Al Qaeda in Yemen is made by the mass media larger and larger.
The first mass media revelation of US involvement was that the U.S. had carried out two bombing raids with cruise missiles against “Al-Qaida in Yemen”. That was the beginning of a PR campaign, that presented Al Qaeda as the enemy of the US in Yemen. The population was signaled by the US government with the information it gave, that Al Qaeda in Yemen is a great danger. In fact, the US has massacred with their rockets many more innocent people, but who’s interested in such small details when you have mass media. This was followed by another incident for the propaganda needs of the U.S. government. A young man tried supposedly to blow up a US civilian aircraft by lighting his underwear. Given the systematic way, that US security organizations have failed to notice all information before the bomb attempt, it seems reasonable to conjecture that the attack of the underwear bomber was planned by the CIA and was intended as a false-flag operation to make Al Qaeda in Yemen look more dangerous.
Let’s go to the core facts. What is actually the strength of Al Qaeda in Yemen? The German security services mouthpiece “Die Zeit” explained to its readers last week that in Yemen 100 to 200 Al Qaeda fighters might be found. For the transatlantic propaganda leaflet for would-be intellectuals, “Der Spiegel”, this number was too small, and so it said two days later, that in Yemen there are “up to 300″ Al-Qaeda people hiding. For the state run German news programm Tagesschau, which is very well known for it’s stories from 1001 nights about Yemen, this number also was too little, and so they told their audience about the strength of Al Qaeda in Yemen “according to Western Intelligence, 1500 and numbers growing”. There one should agree completely. A tenfold increase of fighters of such an obscure organization as Al Qaeda in a week would be a remarkable growth. But nothing of this is true. It is pure war propaganda from the German media. In an interview with the Austrian paper “Die Presse” Mustafa Alani from the Gulf Research Center from Dubai confesses that all this western propaganda is pure nonsense. He says just 50 Al Qaeda people are on the watch list of Yemenite security services. So, in conclusion, Al Qaeda in Yemen is barely more than a fiction.
Western media is trying to build up fear with photos of Al Qaeda trainees, who are armed with old rifles. While doing this the mass media are quiet about the fact that in Yemen all males are, by tradition, armed. If people knew that, they would understand that pictures of armed Al Qaeda trainees in Yemen are just a circus, photographed by people as a souvenir to take home. If you have a look in comparison to just a few videos from Houthis, you will quickly understand that the Al Qaeda in Yemen stories are ridiculous nonsense.
It is also striking that there have recently been a lot of reports of hijacked ships in the Gulf of Aden. The pirate attacks fit very well into the concept of the U.S. propaganda, because David Patraeus may get more warships then to try to enforce the naval blockade against the Houthis. Gordon Brown and Barack Obama have just announced that at the end of the month, on the brink of a long-planned conference on Afghanistan, they will hold a key international meeting on security in Yemen. By then the public will probably be so filled with fear that they swallow the propaganda for the US-led war in Yemen. The failure of any anti-war movement challenge to the propaganda campaign bodes ill in this regard.
But even if Barack Obama manages to fool the public with the Al-Qaeda nonsense about the war against Houthis, that does not mean that the U.S. and their puppets are winning the war. Al Jazeera has just broadcast a message from a commander from the anti-American resistance group Al-Shabaab in Somalia, that appeared, contrary to the Rita Katz Al Qaeda theatre, very real. Sheikh Mukhtar Robow is calling on Somali fighters in Yemen to enter in the fight “against the enemies of Allah”. In the light of such horrific images of the atrocities of the United States everyone can imagine how much anger the US-colonialists will face. In Yemen the U.S. should be prepared to face legions of experienced resistance fighters and an almost entirely armed population. The US has just declared another dirty global war to conquer the world, but this time they are going to lose it.
The author manages a German language news blog at – http://www.mein-parteibuch.com/
“I do find it quite it extraordinary and I think highly improbable and most unlikely that you would find a fragment like that – it is unbelievable”
– UN European consultant on explosives, John Wyatt
BBC | January 6, 2010
An investigation by BBC’s Newsnight has cast doubts on the key piece of evidence which convicted the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.
Tests aimed at reproducing the blast appear to undermine the case’s central forensic link, based on a tiny fragment identified as part of a bomb timer.
The tests suggest the fragment, which linked the attack to Megrahi, would not have survived the mid-air explosion.
Two hundred and seventy people died in the 1988 attack on Pan Am flight 103.
Megrahi was jailed for the attack in 2001, but he was controversially released from prison in Scotland by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in August 2009 on compassionate grounds.
Megrahi is said to be dying from terminal cancer and, according to reports from Libya, his condition continues to deteriorate.
But his release also scuppered Megrahi’s planned appeal and any hopes of challenging the evidence on which he had been jailed.
Newsnight has been reviewing that evidence, and has exposed serious doubts about the forensics used to identify the fragment as being part of a trigger circuit board.
The fragment was found three weeks after the attack. For months it remained unnoticed and unremarked, but eventually it was to shape the entire investigation.
The fragment was embedded in a charred piece of clothing, which was marked with a label saying it was made in Malta.
So the focus turned to Malta and the question of who had bought the clothes.
A shopkeeper on the island identified Megrahi, but this came only years later after he saw him pictured in a magazine as a Lockerbie suspect.
Newsnight has discovered that the fragment – crucial to the conviction – was never subjected to chemical analysis or swabbing to establish whether it had in fact been involved in any explosion.
And the UN’s European consultant on explosives, John Wyatt, has told Newsnight that there are further doubts over the whether the fragment could have come from the trigger of the Lockerbie bomb.
He has recreated the suitcase bomb which it is said destroyed Pan Am 103, using the type of radio in which the explosive and the timer circuit board were supposedly placed, and the same kind of clothes on which the fragment was found.
In each test the timer and its circuit board were obliterated, prompting Mr Wyatt to question whether such a fragment could have survived the mid-air explosion.
He told Newsnight: “I do find it quite it extraordinary and I think highly improbable and most unlikely that you would find a fragment like that – it is unbelievable.
“We carried out 20 tests, we didn’t carry out 100 or 1,000, but in those 20 tests we found absolutely nothing at all – so I found it highly improbable that you would find anything like that, particularly at 10,000 feet when bits are dropping into long wet grass over hundreds of miles.
Salfit- Ma’an – Israel has extended the detention of Abdul Jaber Fuqaha, a Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from Ramallah first arrested in 2006.
Hamas PLC members issued a statement condemning the order to hold Fuqaha in administrative detention for another six months.
The order was the third such order, according to Hamas.
The lawmakers said Fuqaha was not charged with any crime. Fourteen Hamas legislators are still in Israeli prisons, including seven in administrative detention.
Israel seized dozens of Hamas officials in June 2006 following the capture of Isreali soldier Gilad Shalit.
In March Israel detained ten more top Hamas officials, including lawmakers, from the West Bank.
Also on Wednesday Hamas said that the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority arrested three members of the Islamist movement in the West Bank.
LONDON, (PIC)– An alliance of solidarity with the Palestinian people in Europe has called for demonstrations in front of the Egyptian embassies in a number of European capitals to protest the Egyptian security authorities’ assault on members of the international aid convoy Lifeline-3 in El-Arish on Tuesday night.
The alliance, grouping 14 European organizations, said that the rallies would take place at the same time in a bid to pressure Cairo into halting the blackmail against the Lifeline convoy and to protest the savage assault on its members.
The alliance, in a press release, predicted that thousands would attend the sit-ins including Palestinian and Arab communities in addition to foreign sympathizers and human rights groups.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Turkish people gathered in front of the Egyptian consulate in Istanbul after midnight Tuesday to denounce the Egyptian assault, which injured many of the international solidarity activists.
A number of angry protestors threw stones at the consulate building and threatened to storm the premises in the event the Egyptian authorities attacked the convoy anew.
The convoy includes five Turkish lawmakers and tens of Turkish trucks.
Press TV – January 6, 2010 03:16:54 GMT
Around 55 people have been injured in clashes between Egyptian riot police and Viva Palestina activists at the Egyptian port of El-Arish.
The scuffles broke out after Egypt said it would not allow 59 humanitarian assistance trucks of the Viva Palestina convoy to enter Gaza.
Talks in which a delegation of Turkish lawmakers sought to convince Egyptian officials to change their minds proved fruitless.
The convoy arrived in El-Arish to attempt to break the siege of Gaza.
Earlier, Cairo had said it would only allow 157 members of the Viva Palestina convoy, which is led by British politician George Galloway, to drive to Gaza. However, later the Egyptian government agreed to allow 400 of the group’s volunteers entry to the Gaza Strip.
The convoy has over 200 vehicles laden with basic food items and medical supplies.