In the last week the Department Of Homeland Security and various corporate media outlets have hyped the possibility of Al Qaeda implanting bombs inside would be assassins.
The problem? The main example of this form of terrorism that is being used is, according to multiple news reports, is an absolute lie.
Abdullah Hassan al Asiri, an Al Qaeda operative from Yemen, attempted to assassinate the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince bin Nayef with what was first claimed to be an implanted belly bomb.
Multiple reports after the fact confirmed that it was actually sewn into his underwear. Apparently this fact is unimportant to DHS and this particular ABC News report.
Certain facts in the broadcast are easily debunked.
The briefing to Brennan was delivered at the White House by Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s chief counterterrorism official. In late August, Nayef had survived an assassination attempt by an operative dispatched by the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda who was pretending to turn himself in.
The operative had tried to kill the Saudi prince by detonating a bomb on his body, but stumbled on his way into the prince’s palace and blew himself up.
Saudi officials initially thought the bomb had been secreted in the operative’s anal cavity.
But after investigating the matter more thoroughly, they concluded it had likely been sewn into his underwear, thereby allowing the operative to bypass security checks before his meeting with the prince. A main purpose of Nayef’s briefing for Brennan was to alert U.S. officials to the use of the underwear technique.
CNN also reported this fact:
The would-be assassin of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Nayef hid his bomb in his underwear, apparently believing that cultural taboos would prevent a search in that part of his body, according to a Saudi government official close to the investigation.
The prince was slightly injured when the bomb exploded in the August attack. Several news reports this week have said the assailant hid the bomb inside his rectum, but according to the Saudi official, the government assessment discounted those reports, based on various factors.
That’s right, one of the main examples being used for so called belly bombs is an outright lie.
The idea that Al Qaeda is trying to find new and innovative ways to attack our country is simply not supported by facts. The reality is that a full scale revolt is taking place against the TSA.
As public outrage is being directed towards the TSA and their abusive polices, the elements of our government who wish to continue their fraudulent war on terror are working tirelessly to scare the public into accepting abusive TSA procedures, not only in airports but in so called soft spots nationwide.
A friend writes:
Isabel Kershner has some useful information about Israel’s hysterical response to the fly-in today, though she leaves out the frightening scenes of angry crowds at the airport.
But she obfuscates the basic reality that the fly-in was mean to underline, that Israel controls all borders and entry and exit of Palestinians and foreigners into and out of the West Bank, and cuts Palestinians off from the outside world. Readers won’t learn these very basic facts about Israeli control over Palestinian lives in the NY Times.
Instead, this is how Kershner describes the initiative to fly-in via Israel’s Ben Gurion airport:
There were persistent reports that the foreign visitors would try to create chaos and paralyze Ben-Gurion Airport, despite strenuous denials from the organizers of the campaign, who advocate nonviolence. They insisted that the foreigners only wanted to transit the airport and “go to Palestine.” (The West Bank has no airport of its own.)
A less knowledgeable reader might ask, “Well why didn’t they just cross a land border to visit the West Bank?” (Kershner didn’t tell you that Israel similarly controls the land borders).
Another reader might ask, “Why don’t the Palestinians just build their own airport rather than using Israel’s? Don’t they get enough foreign aid?” (The NY Times didn’t explain that Israel won’t allow Palestinians to have their own airport).
This is how AP has described Israeli control of the borders in it’s reporting on the fly-in:
Visitors can reach the West Bank only through Israeli-controlled crossings, either through international airports or the land border with Jordan. Citing security concerns, Israel bars most Palestinians from entering Israel or using its airport, meaning they must travel to neighboring Jordan to fly out.
Why can’t the NY Times describe these basic structural realities?
Tripoli – Briefly noted below are five recent instances of undisputed NATO bombings of Libyan civilians selected because they are still among the most discussed by residents of Tripoli.
On May 13, 2011, a peace delegation of Muslim religious leaders having arrived in Breda to seek dialogue with fellow Sheiks from the east of Libya was bombed at 1 a.m. in their guesthouse by two MK 82 bombs. Eleven were killed instantly and 14 were seriously injured. NATO claimed the building housed a “Command and Control Center.” All witnesses and the hotel owner have vehemently denied this claim. This observer interviewed the leader of the delegation, Shiek Khalad Ali on three occasions, seeking details. He is recovering from shrapnel wounds to his right leg and confirms the eye-witness accounts. NATO has offered the families compensation.
During the early morning of June 20, 2011, 8 missiles and bombs targeted the home of Khaled Al-Hamedi and his parents and family. Fifteen people were killed including Khaled’s pregnant wife, his sister and three of his children. NATO said it bombed the home because it was a military installation of some kind. Witnesses, neighbors and independent observers deny there was ever any military installation on the property.
In late June, 2011 on the main road west of Tripoli a public bus with 12 passengers was hit by a TOW missile killing all the passengers. NATO claimed that public buses are being used to transport military personnel. Foreign observers, including this one, unanimously aver that they have not seen military personnel in Tripoli, including tanks, APC’s or even military equipment. Local police provide security in the cities and neighborhood watch teams cover the suburbs.
On June 6, 2011, at 2:30 a.m. the central administrative complex of the Higher Committee for Children in central Tripoli, two blocks from this observer’s hotel was bombed with a total of 12 bombs/rockets. The complex housed the National Downs Syndrome center including its records office, the Crippled Women’s Foundation, the Crippled Children Center, and the National Diabetic Research Center.
On June 16, 2011 at 5 a.m. NATO bombed a private hotel in central Tripoli, killing three and destroying a restaurant and Shisha smoking bar.
According to doctors from the Sirte Central Hospital, and the Libyan Lawyers Group representing the victims of NATO atrocities, who spoke during a briefing on 7/8/11, numerous health issues have resulted from NATO’s attacks.
Among these are an increase of strokes among the general population from five to twenty per month, a 300 per cent increase in diabetes and high blood pressure from February 15 to June 15, 2010 to the same four month period in 2011.
Miscarriages in Libya are up dramatically according to the Prelate of the Catholic Church in Libya, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, one of the most popular religious leaders in this 99.5% Sunni Muslim country, who informed visitors that in one day at the Green Hospital in Tripoli, following NATO bombing runs in March, 2011, there were 50 miscarriages and forty deaths. These statistics were confirmed during a meeting with this observer on 7/5/11 by Dr. Mohamed Milhat, cardiac specialist at the Libyan British Medical Center who described the large number of citizens complaining of stress-related illnesses.
History will judge NATO harshly for its crimes. Hopefully the citizens of every NATO member state will work to end its mission so as to protect the civilian population of Libya.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Libya and can be reached c/o email@example.com
Millions of Egyptians have converged on Liberation Square in the capital, Cairo, to demand the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and his associates.
Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement and several other political parties decided to join the protests on Friday.
People and opposition activists began arriving in the landmark square throughout the night to set up their tents. Cairo’s Liberation Square has been the focal point of the Egyptian Revolution that toppled the Mubarak regime.
Reports say thousands of protesters have also gathered at main squares in the two coastal cities of Suez and Alexandria.
The protesters say they will keep protesting until their demands are met. They urge Egypt’s military rulers to speed up promised democratic reforms. Many are complaining that more and more civilians are being tried in military courts while members of Mubarak’s regime have not yet faced justice.
A report by Human Rights Watch estimates that Egypt’s ruling junta has tried more than 5,000 civilians in military tribunals. Many of them were protesters detained during anti-government demonstrations in February that toppled Mubarak.
The rallies come after several police officers accused of killing protesters were released on bail on Tuesday
Also on Tuesday, a court cleared at least six former ministers of ousted President Mubarak’s era of graft.
“The people were shocked at the verdict exonerating six former ministers on charges of corruption and wasting public funds, and the release of officers suspected of killing revolutionaries. So we are here today to announce our rejection of this deferral of justice, as well as the pampering of the former president and his family. We reject all of this completely,” Reuters quoted Metwally Mohamed Metwally, an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood, as saying.
Following Mubarak’s downfall, a military council took over in Egypt. Many Egyptians believe it is trying to derail the uprising. Egyptians are still skeptical about a rapid transition towards democracy and civilian rule in the North African country.
A Few Facts about the Case of Judge Aﬁuni
Some of my friends in the US and internationally have had some concerns about recent events in Venezuela. From here in Venezuela, however, it seems there may be some misinformation, something common, of course, in mass media. One of these issues is the case of Judge Maria Lourdes Aﬁuni, who was indicted for corruption and placed in detention for her illegal actions and abuse of her judicial power. Despite the fact that the US government and other international “human rights defenders” claim Venezuela has a terrible problem with judicial corruption, when authorities act against such malaise, then the government is accused of “cracking down on dissent” or being “authoritarian”.
Ironically, Judge Aﬁuni has claimed to be innocent and a political prisoner of President Chavez.
Aﬁuni was judging a ﬁnancier named Eligio Cedeño who was involved in several corruption cases. He was initially charged with embezzlement of millions of dollars from banking institutions, essentially stealing the money from customers. Another charge against him was that he and an accomplice deceived CADIVI, our ofﬁce of currency control, by ostensibly buying computers for almost US $30 million but bringing only empty containers to the country. The ﬁnancier’s accomplice was arrested in Panama more than a year and half ago, and after being turned over to the authorities of Venezuela confessed the whole scheme. His lawyers delayed the trial with legal maneuvers, until about six months ago, when Judge Aﬁuni herself walked Mr. Cedeño out of the courtroom and escorted him with two other employees of her court to the internal parking lot for judges, where Cedeño boarded a motorcycle that was let into the lot by Aﬁuni’s instruction.
Then Aﬁuni returned to the courtroom to write the ruling with the decision to liberate Cedeño and afterwards she sat down and said loud and clear that she would sit where she was to wait for the suspension letter to arrive from her superiors.
The usual legal practice is that whenever an inmate is freed by ruling of a judge, he is taken back to prison where he waits for the arrival of the release order signed by the judge, something that usually happens in a matter of one or two hours. This was violated by Aﬁuni to be sure Cedeño would get away.
The judge, suspected of a felony, was suspended pending further investigation, and usually, in the corrupt system, nobody ever got sanctioned because in cases of bribery people released simply ﬂee to another country to enjoy the money they’ve stolen stashed in some bank account of a family member, like to Miami, USA, for example, where Cedeño went. This explains the approach of Aﬁuni, but this time things worked out differently because she was arrested and held to trial for bribery.
I have to say that I ﬁnd it strange for people abroad concerned with justice and Venezuelan progress, to defend people like Judge Aﬁuni. I think she deserves to have the same treatment as any other citizen who is judged for similar reasons and is under custody because a serious and probable ﬂight risk exists. Aﬁuni already has privileges, including originally being in a fairly comfortable cell with TV and a laptop (and Twitter), and enjoying visits at times no other inmate is allowed. Now she is in house arrest, where she enjoys all the comforts of home.
Since Aﬁuni knows the judicial position she is in, she keeps on playing the card of being a political prisoner, which of course she is not. We have no news of Aﬁuni being a political partisan of any group or defender of any ideology. Simply, Aﬁuni was a judge who received a payoff for the release of Cedeño and now is eager to part the country and enjoy the money.
If we had had a violent Revolution we could ﬁght corruption with violent means, but since our Revolution follows a democratic and peaceful path, we can only put the felons in jail. To forego that option would be to forego law, on the one hand, and open the door to further violations on the other.
Fernando Vegas Torrealba is a Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice.
Source: Correo del Orinoco International
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week approved the confiscation of private Palestinian land in the Palestinian village of Karyut in the Occupied West Bank for Israeli settlement activity. The move is the first of its kind in three years and the first during Netanyahu’s current term. The confiscation breaks the terms of the agreement with the United States not to confiscate land for settlement expansion.
The Israeli Civil Administration last week declared the confiscation of 189 dunams of private Palestinian land for the Hayovel neighbourhood in the Israeli settlement of Eli, according to Haaretz. The Administration cited Ottoman Law from 1858 in justifying the expropriation.
The move will contribute to retroactively legalising Hayovel which was judged to be private Palestinian land in a 2005 Israeli report. Hayoyel was built in 1998 as a settler outpost after which permenant structures, including a road, were built.
Netanyahu had repeated guarantees made by his predecessors Arial Sharon and Ehud Barrack to the US that private land would not be confiscated in the territories to expand settlement activity. “We have no intention to build new settlements or set aside land for new settlements. But there is a need to have people live normal lives and let mothers and fathers raise their children like everyone in the world”, he stated.
Israel uses a mix of British, Ottoman and Israeli military law when dealing with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The 1858 Ottoman Land Law states that working and cultivating land for 10 years results in ownership of the land irrespective of how it was acquired. The law has been used extensively to expand existing Israeli settlements as well as create new ones.
Palestinian negotiators have demanded an end to Israeli settlement expansion as a precondition for peace talks. The International Court of Justice has ruled that Israeli settlement in the Palestinian territories is illegal under international law.
Palestinians now have 45 days to appeal the ruling.
Israeli occupation authority destroys solidarity tent supporting sit-in legislators in Occupied Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has destroyed the solidarity tent that human right activists erected in support of the three Palestinian officials the IOA threatens to deport from their hometown.
The solidarity tent was put up opposite to the ICRC headquarters in Sheikh Jarrah suburb in the occupied city where the three officials had been in a sit-in for more than a year now.
According to local residents and eyewitnesses, special forces from the Israeli occupation army stormed the area and surrounded the solidarity tent before they leveled it to ground shortly before the activists held their final session to end a one-week conference in support of the threatened officials.
The three officials, MP Ahmad Atton, MP Mohammed Tutah, and former Jerusalem minister Khaled Arafa vowed to resist the Israeli decision to push them out of the city at all costs, saying they were democratically elected by the Palestinian people in clear and transparent elections witnessed by the entire world. All three are affiliated with Hamas Movement.
High-profile personalities, including members of the supreme follow-up committee, Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, members of the PLC, and officials of local human rights institutions and lawyers have attended the conference and hailed the exemplary steadfastness of the three Jerusalem officials against the deportation order.
The three officials sent letters to consulates and international representatives in occupied Jerusalem asserting that they would remain in a sit-in till the IOA revokes the deportation order against them, describing the Israeli measures against them as “unprecedented” that could pave the way to deport more and more Palestinian-Jerusalemites out of their homes.
“For our part as elected Palestinian officials, we are convinced that we have the full right to stay in our city and to attend to the needs of our constituents as international laws stipulate and dictate; and based on this fact and principle we decided to stay in the sit-in till the IOA revokes its order, and allows MP Mohammed Abu Tair back to the city,” said the three officials in a statement they issued during the conference. Abu Tair was coercively deported by the IOA to Ramallah city.