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A True Holocaust that the World Will Deny: Syrian Foreign Minister Blasts Syria War Lies at Geneva II


SANA | January 23, 2014

Montruex – The international conference on Syria, Geneva2, kicked off on Wednesday morning with the participation of Syria’s official delegation, headed by Deputy Premier, Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid al-Moallem.

Minister al-Moallem said at the opening session of the conference:

Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic, SYRIAN – steeped in history for seven thousand years. ARAB – proud of its steadfast pan-Arab heritage despite the deliberate acts of aggression of supposed brotherly Arabs. REPUBLIC – a civil state that some, sitting in this room, have tried to return to medieval times. Never have I been in a more difficult position; my delegation and I carry the weight of three years of hardship endured by my fellow countrymen – the blood of our martyrs, the tears of our bereaved, the anguish of families waiting for news of a loved one – kidnapped or missing, the cries of our children whose tender fingers were the targets of mortar shelling into their classrooms, the hopes of an entire generation destroyed before their very eyes, the courage of mothers and fathers who have sent all their sons to defend our country, the heartbreak of families whose homes have been destroyed and are now displaced or refugees.

Al-Moallem: My delegation and I carry the hope of a nation for the years to come

My delegation and I also carry the hope of a nation for the years to come – the right of every child to safely go to school again, the right of women to leave their homes without fear of being kidnapped, killed or raped; the dream of our youth to fulfill their vast potential; the return of security so that every man can leave his family safe in the knowledge that he will return.

Finally, today, the moment of truth; the truth that many have systematically tried to bury in a series of campaigns of misinformation, deception and fabrication leading to killing and terror. A truth that refused to be buried, a truth clear for all to see – the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic representing the Syrian people, the government, the state, the Army and the President – Bashar al-Assad.

It is regrettable that seated amongst us are representatives of countries that have the blood of Syrians on their hands

It is regrettable, Ladies and Gentlemen, that seated amongst us today in this room, are representatives of countries that have the blood of Syrians on their hands, countries that have exported terrorism along with clemency for the perpetrators, as if it was their God given right to determine who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Countries that have prevented believers from visiting holy places of worship whilst abetting, financing and supporting terrorists. Countries that gave themselves the authority to grant and deny legitimacy to others as they saw fit, never looking at their own archaic glasshouses before throwing stones at acclaimed fortified towers. Countries that shamelessly lecture us in democracy, in development and in progress whilst drowning in their own ignorance and medieval norms. Countries that have become accustomed to being entirely owned by kings and princes who have the sole right to distribute their national wealth granting their associates whilst denying those who fall out of favour.

They lectured Syria – a distinguished, virtuous, sovereign state, they lectured her on honour whilst they themselves were immersed in the mud of enslavement, infanticide and other medieval practices. After all their efforts and subsequent failures, their masks fell from their quivering faces, to reveal their perverse ambitions. A desire to destabilize and destroy Syria by exporting their national product: terrorism. They used their petrodollars to buy weapons, recruit mercenaries and saturate airtime covering up their mindless brutality with lies under the guise of the so-called “Syrian revolution that will fulfil the aspirations of the Syrian people.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, how is what has happened and continues to plague Syria, meeting these aspirations? How can a Chechen, Afghani, Saudi, Turkish or even French and English terrorists deliver on the aspirations of the Syrian people, and with what? An Islamic state that knows nothing of Islam except perverse Wahhabism? Who declared anyway that the Syrian people aspire to live thousands of years in the past?

In Syria, the wombs of pregnant women are butchered and their foetuses killed

In Syria, Ladies and Gentlemen, the wombs of pregnant women are butchered and their foetuses killed; women are raped, dead or alive, in practices so heinous, so vile and repulsive that they can only be attributed to their perverse doctrine. In Syria, Ladies and Gentlemen, men are slaughtered in front of their children in the name of this revolution; worse still, this is done whilst the children of these foreign perpetrators sing and dance. In Syria, how can so-called revolutionaries cannibalize a man’s heart and claim to promote freedom, democracy and a better life?

Under the pretext of the “Great Syrian Revolution,” civilians, clergymen, women and children are killed, victims are indiscriminately blown up in streets and buildings regardless of their political views or ideologies; books and libraries are burned, graves are dug up and artifacts stolen. In the name of the revolution, children are killed in their schools and students in their universities, women are extorted in the name of jihad al-nikah and other forms, mosques are shelled whilst worshippers kneel at prayer, heads are severed and hung in the streets, people are burned alive in a true holocaust that history and many countries will deny without being accused of anti-Semitism.

In the name of a revolution, “to free the oppressed Syrian people from the regime and to spread democracy,” does a father blow himself up with his wife and children to prevent foreign intruders from entering his home? Most of us in this room are fathers – I ask you then, what would compel a man to kill his own family to protect them from freedom fighting monsters. This is what happened in Adra, a place that most of you have not heard of but where the same alien monsters attacked: killing, looting, beheading, slaughtering, raping and burning people alive. You have heard nothing of this brutality for sure, yet you have heard of other places where the same heinous crimes were committed and where the same blood soaked finger was pointed at the Syrian Army and government. And when these flagrant lies were no longer credible, they stopped spinning their web of deceit.

This is what their masters ordered them to do, these countries that spearheaded the war against Syria, trying to increase their influence in the region with bribes and money, exporting human monsters fully soaked in abhorrent Wahhabi ideology, all at the expense of Syrian blood. From this stage, loud and clear, you know as well as I do that they will not stop in Syria, even if some sitting in this room refuse to acknowledge or consider themselves immune.

Ladies and Gentlemen, everything you have heard would not have been possible, had our border sharing countries been good neighbours during these challenging years. Unfortunately they were far from it; with backstabbers to the North, silent bystanders to the truth in the West, a weak South accustomed to doing the bidding of others, or the tired and exhausted East still reeling from the plots to destroy it along with Syria.

Misery and destruction, which has engulfed Syria, has been made possible by the decision of Erdogan’s government

Indeed, this misery and destruction, which has engulfed Syria, has been made possible by the decision of Erdogan’s government to invite and host these criminal terrorists before they entered into Syria. Clearly, oblivious to the fact that magic eventually turns on the magician, it is now beginning to taste the sour seed it has sown. For terrorism knows no religion, and is loyal only unto itself. Erdogan’s government has recklessly morphed from a zero problems with its neighbours policy to zero foreign policy and international diplomacy altogether, crucially leaving it with zero credibility.

Nevertheless, it continued on the same atrocious path falsely believing that the dream of Sayyid Qutb and Mohammad Abdel Wahab before him was finally being realized. They wreaked havoc from Tunisia, to Libya, to Egypt and then to Syria, determined to achieve an illusion that only exists in their sick minds. Despite the fact that it has proven to be a failure, they nevertheless are still determined to pursue it. Logically speaking, this can only be described as stupidity, because if you don’t learn from history, you will lose sight of the present; and history tells us: if your neighbour’s house is on fire, it is impossible for you to remain safe.

Some neighbours started fires within Syria whilst others recruited terrorists from around the globe – and here we are confronted with shockingly farcical double standards: 83 nationalities are fighting in Syria – nobody denounces this, nobody condemns it, nobody reconsiders their position – and they impertinently continue to call it a glorious SYRIAN Revolution! While when a few scores of young resistant fighters supported the Syrian Army in a few places, all hell broke loose and it suddenly became foreign intervention! Demands were made for the departure of foreign troops and the protection of Syrian sovereignty and for it not to be violated. Here I affirm, Syria – the sovereign and independent state, will continue to do whatever it takes to defend herself with whatever means it deems necessary, without paying the least bit of attention to any uproar, denunciations, statements or positions expressed by others. These have been and always will be Syria’s sovereign decisions.

They imposed sanctions on our food, our bread and our children’s milk

Despite all of this, the Syrian people remained steadfast; and the response was to impose sanctions on our food, our bread and our children’s milk. To starve the population, pushing them into sickness and death under the injustice of these sanctions. At the same time, factories were looted and burned, crippling our food and pharmaceutical industries; hospitals and healthcare centers were destroyed; our railroads and electricity lines sabotaged, and even our places of worship – Christian and Muslim – were not spared their terrorism.

When all of this failed, America threatened to strike Syria, fabricating with her allies, Western and Arab, the story about the use of chemical weapons, which failed to convince even their own public, let alone ours. Countries that celebrate democracy, freedom and human rights regrettably only choose to speak the language of blood, war, colonialism and hegemony. Democracy is imposed with fire, freedom with warplanes and human rights by human killing, because they have become accustomed to the world doing their bidding: if they want something, it will happen; if they don’t, it won’t. They have heedlessly forgotten that the perpetrators who blew themselves up in New York follow the same doctrine and come from the same source as those blowing themselves up in Syria. They have heedlessly forgotten that the terrorist that was in America yesterday is in Syria today, and who knows where he will be tomorrow. What is certain, however, is that he will not stop here. Afghanistan is an ideal lesson for anyone who wants to learn – anyone! Unfortunately, most do not want to learn; neither America nor some of the ‘civilized’ western countries that follow its lead, starting from the city of lights to the kingdom over which “the sun never set,” in the past; despite the fact that they have all felt the bitter taste of terrorism in the past.

And then suddenly they became “Friends of Syria.” Four of these ‘friends’ are autocratic, oppressive monarchies that know nothing of a civil state or democracy, whilst others are the same colonial powers which occupied, pillaged and partitioned Syria less than one hundred years ago. These so called ‘friends’ are now convening conferences to publicly declare their friendship with the Syrian people, whilst covertly facilitating their hardship and destroying their livelihoods. They openly express their outrage over the humanitarian plight of Syrians whilst deceiving the international community of their complicity. If you were truly concerned about the humanitarian situation in Syria, you would remove your strangle hold on her economy by lifting the sanctions and the embargo, and by partnering with her government in tightening security by fighting the influx of weapons and terrorists. Only then can we assure you that we will be well as we once were, without your deep concern for our well-being.

Some of you may be asking yourselves: Are foreigners the sole manufacturers of the happenings in Syria? No Ladies and Gentlemen, Syrians amongst us here, having been legitimized by foreign agendas, have played a contributing role as facilitators and implementers. They did this at the expense of Syrian blood and the people whose aspirations they claim to represent, whilst they themselves were divided hundreds of times and their leaders on the ground were fleeing far and wide. They sold themselves to Israel becoming her eyes on the ground, and her fingers on the trigger for Syria’s destruction; and when they failed, Israel intervened directly to reduce the capabilities of the Syrian Army and thus ensuring the continued implementation of her decades old plan for Syria.

Our people were being slaughtered while opposition figures legitimized by foreign agendas were living in five star hotels

Our people were being slaughtered while they were living in five star hotels; they opposed from abroad, met abroad betraying Syria and selling themselves to the highest foreign bidder. And yet, they still claim to speak in the name of the Syrian people! No, Ladies and Gentlemen, anyone wishing to speak on behalf of the Syrian people cannot be a traitor to their cause and an agent for their enemies. Those wishing to speak on behalf of the people of Syria should do so from within her borders: living in her destroyed houses, sending their children to her schools in the morning not knowing if they will return safe from mortar shelling, tolerating the freezing cold winters because of the shortage in heating oil and queuing for hours to buy bread for their families because sanctions have prevented us from importing wheat when we were once exporters. Anyone wanting to speak in the name of the Syrian people should first endure three years of terrorism, confronting it head on, and then come here and speak on behalf of the Syrian people.

Syrian has welcomed hundreds of international journalists and facilitated their mobility

Ladies and gentlemen, the Syrian Arab Republic – people and state, has fulfilled its duties. It has welcomed hundreds of international journalists and facilitated their mobility, security and access; and they in turn have reflected the stark and horrific realities they witnessed to their audiences, realities that have perplexed many Western media organisations who couldn’t bear their propaganda and narrative being exposed and contradicted. The examples are too many to count. We allowed international aid and relief organizations into the country, but the clandestine agents of certain parties sitting here, obstructed them from reaching those in dire need of aid. They came under terrorist attack several times, whilst we, as a state, did our duty in protecting them and facilitating their work. We issued numerous amnesties and released thousands of prisoners, some even members of armed groups, at the anger and dismay of their victim’s families; these families though, like the rest of us, ultimately accepted that Syria’s interests come before anything else, and hence we must conceal our wounds and rise above hatred and rancour.

What have you done, you who claim to speak on behalf of the Syrian people. Where is your vision for this great country? Where are your ideas or your political manifesto? Who are your agents of change on the ground other than your armed criminal gangs? I am certain that you have nothing and this is only too apparent in the areas that your mercenaries have occupied or to use your words “liberated.”

In these areas, have you freed the population or have you hijacked their moderate culture to enforce your radical and oppressive practices? Have you implemented your development agenda by building schools and health centres? No, you have destroyed them and allowed polio to return after it had previously been eradicated in Syria. Have you protected Syria’s artifacts and museums? No, you have looted our national sites for your personal profit. Have you demonstrated your commitment to justice and human rights? No, you have enforced public executions and beheadings. In short, you have done nothing at all except muster the disgrace and shame of begging America to strike Syria. Even the opposition, over which you are the self-appointed masters and guardians, do not acknowledge you or the methods in which you manage your own affairs, let alone the affairs of a country.

A country they want to homogenize; not in the sectarian, ethnic or religious sense, but rather in a warped ideological sense. Anyone against them, whether Christian or Muslim, is an infidel; they killed Muslims of all sects and targeted Syrian Christians with severity. Even nuns and bishops were targeted, kidnapping them after they attacked Ma’loula, the last community that still speaks the language of Jesus Christ. They did all this to force Syrian Christians to flee their country. But little did they know, that in Syria we are one. When Christianity is attacked all Syrians are Christians, when mosques are targeted all Syrians are Muslims. Every Syrian is from Raqqa, Lattakia, Sweida, Homs or the bleeding Aleppo when any one of these places is targeted. Their abhorrent attempts to sow sectarian and religious sedition will never be embraced by any level-headed Syrian. In short, Ladies and Gentlemen, your “glorious Syrian revolution” has left no mortal sin uncommitted.

There is another side to this dark gloomy picture. A light at the end of the tunnel shinning through the Syrian people’s determination and steadfastness, the Syrian Army’s courage in protecting our citizens and the Syrian state’s resilience and perseverance. During everything that has happened, there are states that have shown us true friendship, honest states that stood on the side of right against wrong, even when the wrong was clear for all to see. On behalf of the Syrian people and state, I would like to thank Russia and China for respecting Syria’s sovereignty and independence. Russia has been a true champion on the international stage strongly defending, not only with words but also with deeds, the founding principles of the United Nations of respecting the sovereignty of states. Similarly China, the BRICS countries, Iran, Iraq and other Arab and Muslim countries, in addition to African and Latin American countries, have also genuinely safeguarded the aspirations of the Syrian people and not the ambitions of other governments for Syria.

The Syrian people, like other people of the region, aspire to more freedom, justice and human rights

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Syrian people, like other people of the region, aspire to more freedom, justice and human rights; they aspire to more plurality and democracy, to a better Syria, a safe, prosperous and healthy Syria. They aspire to building strong institutions not destroying them, to safeguarding our national artifacts and heritage sites not looting and demolishing them. They aspire to a strong national army, which protects our honour, our people and our national wealth, an army that defends Syria’s borders, her sovereignty and independence. They do not, Ladies and Gentlemen, aspire to a mercenary army ‘Free’ to kidnap civilians for ransom or to use them as human shields, ‘Free’ to steal humanitarian aid, extort the poor and illegally trade in the organs of living women and children, ‘Free’ to cannibalise human hearts and livers, barbequing heads, recruiting child soldiers and raping women. All of this is done with the might of arms; arms provided by countries, represented here, who claim to be championing “moderate groups”. Tell us, for God’s sake, where is the moderation in everything I have described?

Where are these vague moderate groups that you are hiding behind? Are they the same old groups that continue to be supported militarily and publicly by the West, that have undergone an even uglier face-lift in the hope of convincing us that they are fighting terrorism? We all know that no matter how hard their propaganda machine tries to polish their image under the name of moderation, their extremism and terrorism is one and the same. They know, as we all do, that under the pretext of supporting these groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates are being armed in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region.

This is the reality, Ladies and Gentlemen, so wake up to the undeniable reality that the West is supporting some Arab countries to supply lethal weapons to al-Qaeda. The West publicly claims to be fighting terrorism, whilst in fact it is covertly nourishing it. Anyone who cannot see this truth is either ignorantly blind or wilfully so in order to finish what they have begun.

Is this the Syria that you want? The loss of thousands of martyrs and our once cherished safety and national security replaced with apocalyptic devastation. Are these the aspirations of the Syrian people that you wanted to fulfill? No, Ladies and Gentlemen, Syria will not remain so, and that is why we are here. Despite all that has been done by some, we have come to save Syria: to stop the beheadings, to stop the cannibalizing and the butchering. We have come to help mothers and children return to the homes they were driven out of by terrorists. We have come to protect the civil and open-minded nature of the state, to stop the march of the Tatars and the Mongols across our region. We have come to prevent the collapse of the entire Middle East, to protect civilization, culture and diversity, and to preserve the dialogue of civilizations in the birthplace of religions. We have come to protect tolerant Islam that has been distorted, and to protect the Christians of the Levant. We are here to tell our Syrian expatriates, to return to their home country because they will always be foreigners anywhere else, and regardless of our differences we are all still brothers and sisters.

We have come to stop terrorism as other countries that have experienced its bitter taste have done, whilst affirming loudly and consistently that a dialogue between Syrians is the only solution; but as with other countries that have been struck by terrorism, we have a constitutional duty to defend our citizens and we shall continue to strike terrorism that attacks Syrians regardless of their political affiliations. We have come to hold those accountable, for as long as particular countries continue to support terrorism, this conference will bear no fruit. Political pluralism and terrorism cannot coexist in the same landscape. Politics can only prosper by fighting terrorism; it cannot grow in its shadow.

Nobody has the authority to grant or withdraw legitimacy from a president, a government, a constitution, a law or anything else in Syria except Syrians themselves

We are here as representatives of the Syrian people and the state; but let it be clear to all, – and experience is the best proof – that nobody has the authority to grant or withdraw legitimacy from a president, a government, a constitution, a law or anything else in Syria except Syrians themselves; this is their constitutional right and duty. Therefore, whatever agreement is reached here will be subject to a national referendum. We are tasked with conveying our people’s desires, not with determining their destiny; those who want to listen to the will of the Syrian people should not appoint themselves as their spokesperson. Syrians alone have the right to choose their government, their parliament and their constitution; everything else is just talk and has no significance.

Finally, to all those here and everyone watching around the world: in Syria we are fighting terrorism, terrorism which has destroyed and continues to destroy; terrorism which since the 1980’s Syria has been calling, on deaf ears, for a unified front to defeat it. Terrorism has struck in America, France, Britain, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan; the list goes on and it continues to spread. Let us all cooperate to fight it, let’s work hand in hand to stop its black, horrifying and obscurantist ideology. Then, let us as Syrians stand united to focus on Syria and start rebuilding its social fabric and material structures. As I said, dialogue is the foundation to this process, and despite our gratitude to the host country, we affirm that the real dialogue between Syrians should in fact be on Syrian soil and under Syrian skies. Exactly one year ago, the Syrian government put forward its vision for a political solution; think of how much innocent blood we would have saved had some countries resorted to reason instead of terrorism and destruction. For a whole year, we have been calling for dialogue, but terrorism continued to strike at the Syrian state, her people and institutions.

Today, in this gathering of Arab and Western powers, we are presented with a simple choice: we can choose to fight terrorism and extremism together and to start a new political process, or you can continue to support terrorism in Syria. Let us reject and isolate the black hands and the false faces, which publicly smile but covertly feed terrorist ideology, striking Syria today, but ultimately spreading to infect us all. This is the moment of truth and destiny; let us rise to the challenge.

Thank you.

Al-Moallem: We hope that Geneva Conference be a first step to start Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Syria

Later, Minister al-Moallem said, “The orchestra that we have heard from some sides today and the content of some hostile speeches from some states, to the extent that in some minutes we seemed to have heard old rhetoric with no difference except for the place of delivering them, do not deserve to be answered.”

Concluding the second session of the conference, al-Moallem added, “Because we want to stop bloodshed in Syria, to protect the lives of citizens, to build Syria again and because, as a state, we play our constitutional, political, security and social role to save Syria from what is going on, we are here and we hope the Geneva conference will be a first step on the way to start Syrian-Syrian dialogue on the Syrian territories.”

“I thank those who have stood by us from the friendly countries for three years so far and we say to all that we will continue hitting terrorism wherever it was with one hand and we will build Syria democratically, politically and socially with the other,” al-Moallem said.

Minister al-Moallem added, “I say to those who are interfering in the Syrian affairs through any sort of interference: three years and you are still trying; have you not become desperate yet? … Enough! … Put your hands off Syria so that we can indeed achieve the people’s aspirations of a secure and developed life.”

January 27, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Israeli forces kidnap two teenagers fishing off Gaza


(Photo by Charlie Andreasson)
By Rosa Schiano | International Solidarity Movement | January 27, 2014

Gaza, Occupied Palestine – On Monday, 20th January, at about 6:00 am, Yousef Amin Abo Warda (age 18) and his cousin Ahmad Kamal Abo Warda (age 16) left their house to go fishing in a small boat without an engine.

Around 7:30 am they were fishing in front of the al-Waha area, in the northern Gaza Strip, and sank their fishing nets about three kilometers, or 1.6 nautical miles, offshore.

The arrest

Yousef said two large Israeli gunboats approached the fishing boats. While other fishermen were able to escape, for Yousef and Ahmad it was impossible, as their boat had no engine and was made heavy by seawater seeping through a hole.

“Soldiers from one of the gunboats began shooting into the water, while the second gunboat quickly turned around us to create waves,” Yousef said.

The soldiers, as they usually do when they want to arrest fishermen, asked the two young Palestinians to undress, dive into the water and swim to the Israeli ship.

“I tried to get closer to their ship by swimming, but the ship moved away, so it became hard for me,” Yousef said. ”I cried that I was tired moving my arms. I could no longer swim. The ship stopped. I went directly to the ladder that they putdown and I climbed on board the ship.”

“They made me kneel down and handcuffed my hands behind my back,” Yousef added. ”They gave me some clothes and helped me put them on. They yelled to my cousin Ahmad to swim toward the ship. After about half hour Ahmad was sitting behind me. Our hands and feet were tied.” Moreover, the soldiers kicked the two fishermen on their back.

The arrival at the port of Ashdod

After about half an hour the ship reached the Israeli port of Ashdod. The soldiers removed the bandages from the fishermen’s eyes, as well as their cuffs, to allow them to get off the ship. On shore, the fishermen were again handcuffed and blindfolded. They were asked personal information: their names, place of residence, dates of birth, phone numbers. Some soldiers wrote this information in Hebrew on a paper. They asked Yousef to hold the paper in his hands and took a picture of him. Yousef and Ahmad were held in two separate rooms for about three hours. Then some soldiers took Yousef into the room where Ahmad was detained. They left them handcuffed in a room for another three hours. Then some soldiers made the fishermen get in a Jeep and brought them to Erez.

Erez and the interrogation

At Erez, the two fishermen were brought into a room and interrogated separately.

The investigator asked Yousef about his name, his family, his brothers, the age of his relatives, his work and other personal information. “The detective showed me on a computer a map of the city of Jabalia, he told me the name of the streets with specific details,” he said. “He asked me to select my house. He showed me a house in which some people working for Hamas and the al-Qassam brigades are living, and he asked me if I know them. I said no. Then he showed me other houses belonging to people connected with Hamas. He indicated more than two houses. He was trying to get information from me. I said I don’t know anything. He told me ‘Are you afraid? You are in a safe place and you can tell us everything. These people are trying to destroy your life, they are terrorists.’ He indicated about six families that live in my neighborhood”.

The investigator showed him also the beach and asked him on which part of the beach he usually works and where he keeps his boat. The investigator also asked him about a police site in the area and how many people work there. Yousef replied that he knows only two policemen, to whom the fishermen show their permits on the beach, and that he doesn’t go to the governmental site. The investigator asked Yousef about a training site of the al-Qassam brigades. Yousef replied that he doesn’t know anything about it. “The investigator then showed me photos of some hasakat [small fishing boats] and asked me to whom they belong, and he asked me about some cafes on the beach and about the harbor. I told him that I don’t know anything about the harbor and I don’t go there. The investigator asked me ‘In Jabalia refugee camp there is a site that belongs to Hamas?’ I told him that I don’t know.”

“The investigator asked me what I thought of al-Sisi [commander of the Egyptian armed forces] and how the relation are between Hamas and al-Sisi. I told him that I do not follow the news or politics. I said,‘I go to fish and I go home’.

“The detective told me ‘If you are near the border and you get shot by the army, who will you blame and would you consider responsible?’ ‘You are responsible,’ I said. He replied ‘Hamas should be blamed, not us.’”

“The investigator then asked me, ‘What do you think of the Hamas government and what is your opinion of it in comparison with Fatah? Do you feel comfortable? Why did you elect them? You were happy under the Israeli government. Many Palestinians came here to work and had money. Can you compare your current life to the life in which Israel controlled Gaza?’ I told him that I’m only 18 years old. I can’t know and I have never gone to Israel.”

The investigator then asked Yousef about the tunnels , Yousef replied that he’s just a fisherman and has never seen one. Finally, the investigator asked him if he was feeling hungry. Yousef said yes. The soldiers brought him a shawarma sandwich and a Coke.

Yousef was then taken to another room and remained there for an hour. Meanwhile, investigators had questioned his cousin Ahmad. The soldiers then accompanied the two young fishermen to the Erez gate and told them to return to the Gaza Strip.

“They closed the door behind us,” he said.

Their relatives, frightened by the lack of news, had tried to contact the International Committee of the Red Cross and other organizations. They also asked some fishermen to look for them in the sea. But only around 11:00 pm did the ICRC inform them that the two had been arrested.


The fishermen told us that since the beginning of 2014, there has been an increase in Israeli attacks on Gaza fishermen and the situation is worsening day by day. According to the fishermen, Israeli attacks increase during fishing seasons.

Loss and hope

The large family Abo Warda, whose name is also used to denote the area where it lives, includes about 35 fishermen, of whom about half have been arrested.

In November, two other young men from the same family, Saddam and Mahmoud Abo Warda, were also arrested. One of them suffered a light injury in the abdomen caused by Israeli gunfire. Both were attacked while fishing on a boat without an engine, and were therefore unable to escape.

Several of the family’s boats have been confiscated and are currently in the Israeli port of Ashdod.

Yousef and Ahmad have lost their fishing nets.

“Before, we had three boats with nets,” Yousef said. ”Now my family has only one boat and no nets. I ask the international community to stop these Israeli attacks.”

“Eight persons in this house are fishermen,” another fisherman said. “One of our boats was damaged during Israel’s ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ in November 2012. We can’t fix it and need to buy new nets.”


Israel has progressively imposed restrictions on Palestinian fishermen’s access to the sea. The 20 nautical miles established under the Jericho agreements, between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1994, were reduced to 12 miles in the Bertini Agreement of 2002. In 2006, the area Israel allowed for fishing was reduced to six nautical miles from the coast. After its military offensive “Operation Cast Lead” (December 2008 – January 2009) Israel imposed a limit of three nautical miles from the coast, preventing Palestinians from accessing 85% of the water to which they are entitled under the Jericho agreements of 1994.

Under the ceasefire agreement reached by Israel and the Palestinian resistance after the Israeli military offensive “Operation Pillar of Defense” (November 2012), Israel agreed that Palestinian fishermen could again sail six nautical miles from the coast. Despite these agreements, the Israeli navy has not stopped its attacks on fishermen, even within this limit. In March 2013, Israel once again imposed a limit of three nautical miles from the coast. On 22 May, Israeli military authorities announced a decision to extend the limit to six nautical miles again.

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , | Comments Off on Israeli forces kidnap two teenagers fishing off Gaza

Memo: Government ‘Minders’ at 9/11 Commission Interviews ‘Intimidated’ Witnesses

History Commons | April 27, 2009

A recently released 9/11 Commission memo highlights the role of government “minders” who accompanied witnesses interviewed by the commission. It was added to the National Archives’ files at the start of the year and discovered there by History Commons contributor paxvector.
The memo, entitled “Executive Branch Minders’ Intimidation of Witnesses,” complains that:

  • Minders “answer[ed] questions directed at witnesses;”
  • Minders acted as “monitors, reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staffs lines of inquiry and witnesses’ verbatim responses.” The staff thought this “conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution;” and
  • Minders “positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions.”

The memo was drafted by three staffers on the commission’s Team 2, which reviewed the overall structure of the US intelligence community. One of the drafters was Kevin Scheid, a senior staffer who led the team. His co-writers were Lorry Fenner, an air force intelligence officer, and lawyer Gordon Lederman. The complaint was sent to the commission’s counsels, Daniel Marcus and Steve Dunne, in October 2003, about halfway through the commission’s 19-month life.

According to the memo, some minders merely policed prior agreements between the commission and their parent agency about what the commission could ask witnesses, and others were simply there to make a list of documents the commission might want based on a witness’ testimony. However, some minders saw their role differently.

Intimidation through Physical Positioning

The three staffers argued minders should not answer questions for witnesses because they needed to understand not how the intelligence community was supposed to function, but “how the Intelligence Community functions in actuality.” However: “When we have asked witnesses about certain roles and responsibilities within the Intelligence Community, minders have preempted witnesses’ responses by referencing formal polices and procedures. As a result, witnesses have not responded to our questions and have deprived us from understanding the Intelligence Community’s actual functioning and witnesses’ view of their roles and responsibilities.”

The memo also describes the minders’ conduct in detail: “… [M]inders have positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions. Minders generally have sat next to witnesses at the table and across from Commission staff, conveying to witnesses that minders are participants in interviews and are of equal status to witnesses.”

The staffers also worried about minders taking “verbatim notes of witnesses’ statements,” as they thought this “conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution.” They believed that “the net effect of minders’ conduct, whether intentionally or not, is to intimidate witnesses and to interfere with witnesses providing full and candid responses.”

Another problem with the verbatim notetaking was that it “facilitates agencies in alerting future witnesses to the Commission’s lines of inquiry and permits agencies to prepare future witnesses either explicitly or implicitly.”


In response to this, the three staffers proposed not that minders be banned from interviews, but a set of rules governing minders’ conduct. For example, minders were to keep a “low profile,” sit out of witnesses’ sight, not take verbatim notes and not answer any questions directed at the witnesses.

Perhaps the most remarkable proposal is that the number of minders be limited to one per witness. The memo indicates that where an interviewee had served in multiple agencies, more than one minder would accompany the witness. The memo therefore requests, “Only one minder may attend an interview even if the witness served in multiple agencies,” meaning a witness would at least not be outnumbered by his minders.

False Statement by Chairman Kean

Commission Chairman Tom Kean, a Republican, first raised the issue of minders in a press briefing in early July 2003 . He said, “I think the commission feels unanimously that it’s some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who you either work for or works for your agency. You might get less testimony than you would.”

He was asked about the minders again on September 23 at another press briefing. Instead of saying the minders represented “intimidation,” he commented: “Talking to staff, what they have told me is that as they’ve done these interviews, that the interviewees are encouragingly frank; that they by and large have not seemed to be intimidated in any way in their answers. … I’m glad to hear that it’s — from the staff that they don’t feel it’s inhibiting the process of the interviews.”

The commission’s Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, commented, “it is our feeling that thus far, the minders have not been an impediment, in almost all cases.” He added that there were “one or two instances where the question has arisen,” but, “neither are we aware at this point that the presence of a minder has substantially impeded our inquiry. And nor have we run into a situation where we think a witness has refrained from speaking their minds.”

However, the Team 2 memo, sent a mere nine days after Kean and Hamilton’s remarks, shows Kean’s statements to have been untrue. The memo even referenced “Minders’ Intimidation of Witnesses” in the title, contained unusually strong language and was co-drafted by a leader of one of the commission’s teams.

Nevertheless, it is unclear whether Kean and Hamilton made the false statements knowingly. One of the criticisms at the commission was that the ten commissioners were cut off from the body of the staff, and all information that flowed from the staff to the commissioners went through the commission’s executive director, Philip Zelikow.

Author Philip Shenon, who wrote a history of the commission, found that at the start of the commission’s work Zelikow drafted a welcome memo containing ground rules for staffers, such as not talking to journalists. One of the rules was that the staff should not talk freely to the commissioners. If a staffer were contacted by a commissioner, he should not deal with the commissioner himself, but contact Zelikow or his deputy, who would then “be sure that the appropriate members of the commission’s staff are responsive.”

This rule was rescinded after complaints from some of the commissioners, including former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick. Nevertheless, Zelikow’s control of information continued. When the commission’s counterterrorism team found a draft of the final report to be overly deferential to the FBI, they did not launch a formal objection to the draft’s language through the commission’s bureaucracy, but a female staffer cornered Gorelick “where Zelikow would not see it”–in the ladies room.

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Permanent deal with Iran impossible: Netanyahu

Press TV – January 27, 2014

Israel’s prime minister says a permanent nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers is impossible as Tehran has made it clear that it will not dismantle its centrifuges.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks came shortly after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani stipulated that Tehran would not dismantle any of its existing centrifuges “under any circumstances,”.

“It is part of our national pride, and nuclear technology has become indigenous … And recently, we have managed to secure very considerable prowess with regards to the fabrication of centrifuges,” said Rouhani in an exclusive interview with CNN news network on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

In a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said, “If Iran stands by that statement that means that a permanent agreement – which is the goal of the entire diplomatic process with Iran – cannot succeed.”

He also added that US Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged Washington will maintain the existing sanctions against Tehran.

On November 24, 2013, Iran and the six major world powers – Russia, China, the US, France, Britain and Germany – inked the nuclear accord in the Swiss city of Geneva. The two sides started implementing the agreement as of January 20.

Under the Geneva deal, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities including a voluntary suspension of its 20 percent uranium enrichment program.

Nuclear-armed Israel has publicly announced its opposition to the Geneva deal.

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment