Australia finds no funds diverted in World Vision probe, further debunking Israeli claims against al-Halabi
In yet another blow to the propaganda-driven case against Palestinian aid worker Mohammed al-Halabi, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported on Tuesday, 21 March that “an internal review into World Vision funding in Gaza has uncovered nothing to suggest any diversion of government aid funding to Hamas.”
Al-Halabi was seized by Israeli occupation forces at the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing and in August 2016, Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, went on a propaganda offensive, claiming that Halabi had redirected World Vision funds to the Palestinian resistance organization, Hamas. Israeli occupation officials declared that he had diverted $43 million in charitable funds to the Palestinian resistance, including a video from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing Palestinians of not caring about their people. The amounts cited dwarfed the actual budget to which al-Halabi had access, by all accounts. These seemingly impossible claims were made after nearly a month of interrogation, during which Halabi was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment.
The claims against Halabi were accompanied by similarly touted claims against civil engineer Waheed Bursh, a contractor with the UN Development Program, also accused of redirecting resources to the Palestinian resistance – in his case, rubble from the Israeli bombing of Gaza. However, despite the large-scale publicity surrounding Borsh’s arrest, he was released seven months later, indicating that no serious charges were ever made. He was cited as a “witness” againat al-Halabi, and later confirmed that he completely denied any allegations against the aid worker.
“The news DFAT found no evidence of the misuse of World Vison funds comes as Mr Halabi’s trial continues in Israel. He has rejected a plea deal offered by Israeli authorities and has pleaded not guilty, claiming he is innocent of all charges,” reported the Australian Brodcasting Corporation. The plea agreement he rejected would have seen him imprisoned for three years, a short sentence which again indicates a lack of serious charges or evidence in the case.
Indeed, rather than presenting any evidence to back up the widely-publicized public claims against World Vision and Halabi, Israeli occupation officials have instead submitted additional, lesser charges against Halabi that have no relation to diverting funds or his work with World Vision; two such charges are those of “passing information to the enemy” and of “aiding and abetting the enemy in a time of war,” with the enemy in question being Palestinians in Gaza. Al-Halabi is, himself, of course, a Palestinian living under occupation and siege in Gaza.
He is also charged with giving small donations of his own money, rather than redirecting World Vision funds, to charities and mosques in Gaza. ABC notes that “One incident detailed accuses El Halabi of allegedly giving ‘300 Israeli shekels on a monthly base to a charity managed by Hamas’…Another says the defendant transferred ‘hundreds of shekels during 2015-2016 to a mosque managed by Hamas’… No details are given of the ‘millions’ of dollars Israeli intelligence officials initially accused El Halabi of diverting.” 100 NIS is approximately $26 USD.
“So far, our own ongoing forensic audit has not uncovered any money subverted and to hear DFAT say their investigation hasn’t either is consistent and is very good news,” said Tim Costello of World Vision.
Despite the severe lack of evidence or credibility for Israeli claims in this case, World Vision’s work in Gaza – and government funding from the Australian and German governments – have been shut down. Over 100 Palestinian workers for World Vision have lost their jobs in Gaza in an area already suffering from massive unemployment and poverty.
Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied Michael Lynk [Alhadath24/Facebok]
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, has described the Israeli occupation as “the most malignant” in the world. The Canadian official added that perpetuating an alien rule over almost five million people, against their fervent wishes, inevitably requires the repression of rights, the erosion of the rule of law, the abrogation of international commitments and the imposition of deeply discriminatory practices.
Lynk accused Israel of humiliating the Palestinians and intensifying the crackdown on human rights activists. He presented his report to the UN Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Council during its latest session on Israel. Israeli and US diplomats boycotted the session dedicated to several UN reports criticising Israeli settlements, the blockade of Gaza and the excessive use of force against Palestinians.
The report also criticised the Palestinian authorities for their violations, including unlawful killings and detentions. It comes after the resignation of the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Rima Khalaf, after her report accusing Israel of being an apartheid state was rejected by the international body under pressure from Israel and the US.
The US boycotted the debate on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in Geneva on Monday, claiming that the UN Human Rights Council is biased against Israel. The move came after the US administration announced in March that it would review its relationship with the Geneva-based council, in light of its strong focus on Israel, Washington’s ally.
The HRC regularly addresses many areas of tension, including Syria and North Korea. However, Israel is the only state regularly placed on a separate agenda item with numerous human rights reports.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner claimed in a statement from Washington that the discussion of the Monday session is an additional reminder of the long-standing bias of this body against Israel. “The continued existence of this item on the agenda is among the greatest threats to the council’s credibility,” he added.
TUBAS – Israeli forces on Wednesday morning detained a young Palestinian man in the village of Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank and confiscated a tractor and a private vehicle in the area.
Muataz Bisharat, an official who monitors settlement activity in the Jordan Valley, told Ma’an that Israeli forces, escorted by several Israeli Civil Administration jeeps, detained Mahmoud Muhammad al-Hroub, 23, and confiscated a tractor belonging to his father and a vehicle belonging to Hayil Turkman.
The confiscated vehicles were taken to the Nahal military site in the al-Maleh area of the Jordan valley, Bisharat said.
A spokesperson from Israel’s civil administration declined to comment on the incident.
Bisharat highlighted that Israeli forces had confiscated at least three tractors from the surrounding areas, which are located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civilian control — during the past two months.
Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations and interruption due to Israeli military exercises on or near their land. The Jordan Valley district of Tubas is one of the occupied West Bank’s most important agricultural centers.
The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, while at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises.
According to the Palestinian nonprofit the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), using data from the Palestine Ministry of Wall and Colonization Affairs, the group reported that more than 400,000 dunams (98,842 acres) of the 720,000 dunams (177,916 acres) that make up the total area of the Jordan Valley has been transformed into closed military and firing zones, with at least 27,000 dunams (6,672 acres) confiscated for illegal Israeli settlement building.
Palestinian legislator Mohammed al-Tal seized by Israeli forces; Samira Halaiqa indicted by military court
The number of imprisoned Palestinian Legislative Council members climbed to 11 on Tuesday, 21 March after a pre-dawn raid by Israeli occupation forces seized PLC member Mohammed al-Tal from al-Khalil, along with 19 more Palestinians. Al-Tal has previously spent 11 years in Israeli prisons, half of those in administrative detention without charge or trial.
Also on Tuesday, 21 March, an Israeli occupation military court at Ofer submitted an indictment against PLC member Samira Halaiqa, 53, from al-Khalil, accusing her of participating in political and social activities and engaging in “incitement” for making political posts on Facebook. Halaiqa was seized on 9 March by occupation forces who invaded her home. She, along with her husband Mohammed Halaiqa, had previously been imprisoned for one year in 2006 under administrative detention, following her election to the PLC.
Both Halaiqa and al-Tal are part of the Change and Reform bloc, the PLC bloc associated with Hamas.
The 11 detained PLC members include: Khaled Tafesh and Anwar Zboun, both from the Bethlehem area, members of the Change and Reform bloc, seized on Monday, 6 March. Zboun spent over six years in Israeli prison, including several months in administrative detention in 2014. Tafesh, a former deportee to Marj al-Zohour, was also previously held in administrative detention in 2014. Tafesh, Zboun, Halaiqa and al-Tal were all arrested in the month of March.
Other detained PLC members include Hassan Yousef and Ahmad Mubarak of Ramallah and Azzam Salhab and Mohammed Jamal Natsheh of al-Khalil. All members of the Change and Reform bloc, they are held in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli prison, while Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi is serving several life sentences. Jerusalemite PLC member of the Change and Reform bloc, Mohammed Abu Teir, was subject to expulsion from his home city of Jerusalem and is now serving a 17-month sentence in Israeli prison.
Recent developments at the United Nations–(with regard to the censoring of a report on Israeli apartheid and the resignation of a high-ranking UN official who had been ordered to repudiate it)–should be viewed in the context of remarks made earlier this month by Alan Dershowitz.
Speaking at an anti-BDS conference in Los Angeles, the former Harvard Law School professor and now CNN contributor offered the following advice to his fellow Jews:
People say Jews are too powerful, we’re too strong, we’re too rich. We control the media. We have too much this. We have too much that. And we often apologetically deny our strength and our power. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. We have earned the right to influence public debate.
As you can tell from the above video, the event where Dershowitz made those remarks was sponsored by Stand With Us, a Zionist lobby organization based in Los Angeles. Entitled, “Combating the Boycott Movement Against Israel,” the conference took place March 4-6 and was billed as “the crucial counter BDS conference.” Admission was $500 per person for “regular attendees” and $1,000 for “VIPs.”
“All registration levels include five gourmet kosher meals, all sessions, and materials,” reads the online promotional brochure. “VIP rates also include a private reception with Alan Dershowitz and other BDS experts, preferred seating throughout the conference, and valet parking.”
The conference is said to have been attended by more than 250 people. Less than two weeks later, on March 15, a UN organization, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, published a report concluding that Israel imposes a policy of apartheid against the Palestinians–hardly a controversial allegation in this day and age. Yet the New York Times described it as “a politically explosive assertion” and said that the release of the report had “led to furious denunciations by Israel and the United States.”
Two days later, on Friday, March 17, Rima Khalaf resigned as head of the ESCWA after being ordered by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to withdraw the report. That same day, the report was removed from the UN’s website. The Israeli lobby had once again given the world a not-so-subtle demonstration of its power.
You can go here to read an analysis of the report by Stephen Lendman and here to access an archived copy of the full report (how long it will remain archived at the location is unclear). The report seems well grounded in international law, drawing upon the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and other international agreements for the basis of its conclusions. Its authors, Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, both come from a legal and scholarly background, and both were commissioned by the ESCWA to produce the report.
“Although the term ‘apartheid’ was originally associated with the specific instance of South Africa, it now represents a species of crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” they write in the report’s executive summary. They then proceed to quote the pertinent section of the Rome statute:
“The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts… in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.
As you can tell, the report was produced in a scholarly manner, but I’d like to return now to the comments of Dershowitz as shown in the video above. What he seems to be saying in effect is that Jews should no longer deny the power they hold. Better to be open about it, maybe even brag on it a little bit. The upside to this, presumably, is that it might help eliminate confusion about who really runs much of the world now. He also seems to feel that being open about Jewish power would enable Jews to more effectively use their power “in the interest of peace,” as he puts it.
Are Jews really using their power to promote peace in the world? In the paragraphs above I initiated what in essence amounts to a timeline beginning with the Stand With Us conference in L.A. That conference took place March 4-6. On March 15 came the UN report, followed by the resignation of Khalaf, on March 17, and the removal of the report from the UN’s website. That’s where I ended, but let’s expand the timeline a bit further and see what happens.
Also on March 17, Israeli war planes crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a bombing raid at a site near the recently-liberated city of Palmyra. In response, Syria fired upon the Israeli planes using a Russian-supplied air defense system. Claims and counter-claims were made about the incident: Syria says it shot down one of the planes; Israel denies this.
But two days later, on March 19, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel will destroy Syria’s air defenses if it fires on any more Israeli planes. The implication seems to be that Israel assumes to itself the God-given right (and you’ll recall Dershowitz speaking about the “strength” putatively given by the Old Testament god Yahweh) to cross into another country’s airspace and carry out a missile attack whenever it feels like it. This in fact is a point that was made by a writer at Russia Insider :
“The serious exchange of missile fire between Israel and Syria early Friday morning reflects the Assad regime’s attempts to change the unofficial rules of the game.”
So begins a column published in Israel’s Haaretz.
The newspaper is of course referring to the Israeli jets that “breached Syrian air space early in the morning and attacked a military target near Palmyra”, apparently in an attempt to “aid” Islamic State forces.
According to reports, it’s suspected that the Syrian Army responded to this “breach” by firing off a few S-200 missiles.
The writer, Rudy Panko, then goes on to supply a direct quote from the Haaretz opinion piece:
Presumably the Syrian anti-aircraft salvo was a signal to Israel that the regime’s policy of restraint in the face of the airstrikes will not remain as it was. President Bashar Assad’s recent successes – first and foremost the conquest of Aleppo – have seemingly increased the dictator’s confidence. Israel will have to decide whether the operational need – to thwart advanced weapons shipments to Hezbollah – also justifies the possible risk of the downing of an Israeli fighter jet and a broader conflict developing with Syria.
There is an interesting question as to whether the aircraft detection radar system was deployed by Israel’s new great friend, Russia, precisely one week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from Moscow after yet another successful visit to see President Vladimir Putin.
One can imagine that the intelligence community will also be interested to learn whether the Syrian decision to fire back was coordinated with Assad’s collaborators and partners: Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
He then makes the point that “Syria’s decision to defend itself from hostile, foreign jets dropping bombs on Syria shows a lack of ‘restraint’ on Assad’s part, according to Haaretz.” A similar point was made by another writer at Russia Insider, who put it perhaps in an even more sarcastic vein:
The moral of this story is: Israeli military jets enjoy diplomatic immunity. Harming them under any circumstances is prohibited by the Geneva Convention, the U.N. Charter, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Carrying the timeline a bit further–as far as we can carry it now–on March 19, the same day Lieberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defenses, an Israeli drone carried out an attack in Syria’s southern province of Quneitra, killing one person; on Monday, March 20, reports came out confirming that Russia had summoned the Israeli ambassador over the March 17 attack in Syria; and also today, news has emerged of yet another Israeli air attack inside Syria–the third in three days–said to have been carried out sometime during the night of March 19-20.
Does it appear, from all of this, that Jews are using their power in the interest of peace? Keep in mind, that the events cited here are from one 20-day period in but one month only. Let’s return to the words of Dershowitz:
“Never ever apologize for using our strength and our influence in the interest of peace,” he says, and then he cites “the psalmist” whom he quotes as saying, “God will give the Jewish people strength…only then will God give the Jewish people peace. Peace will come for the Jewish people and the Jewish nation only through strength. Never apologize for using your strength for peace.”
It’s hard to say which biblical passage Dershowitz is referring to (the word “Jewish” is not found anywhere in the Psalms), but I would venture a guess and say that perhaps it’s a reference to Psalm 118, which reads in part:
All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
The whole passage, and particularly the words “all the nations,” would suggest a tribe of people who are at war with the entire world. The notion that such people would use their power to bring about “peace” would seem preposterous and nonsensical.
When the UN report was first released, Israel rushed to invoke the holocaust. According to a Reuters report, “Israel fiercely rejects the allegation and likened the [UN] report to Der Sturmer – a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly anti-Semitic.” There are two ironies here that need to be pointed out. The first is that Falk, one of the authors of the report, is Jewish. The second has to do with Khalef, a Semitic woman of Arab descent–and that such a woman would be accused of “anti-semitism” by those claiming to be Jews but who are not even Semites. How do people who are descended from the Khazars of southern Russia, who are not semitic, get away with accusing actual, genuine Semites of being “anti-Semitic”? Does any of this make sense? It doesn’t have to.
The likening of the report to the Nazi publication mentioned is a knee-jerk, emotional reaction that is devoid of logic–but this too is a manifestation of Jewish power: that accusations made by Jews don’t have to be logical. It is enough simply that it is a Jew making them. This alone renders them beyond question.
Below is a discussion on the issue of Israeli apartheid featured a couple of days ago on Press TV. You will note that one of the guests, Brent Budowsky, a columnist for The Hill, not only denies that Israel is an apartheid state, he even denies the existence of Jewish power.
Apparently Budowsky didn’t get the memo about Dershowitz’s speech at the Stand With Us Conference–or perhaps he did get it but had already previously internalized the unspoken principle that while it’s okay for Jews to discuss Jewish power, the same freedom of speech does not apply to Gentiles.
At any rate, Jewish power is real. It immerses us; we are swimming in it. A future awaits us in which we, Americans, could very well find ourselves facing jail time for criticizing Jews or Israel, much as Europeans now are jailed for questioning the holocaust.
But it could be even worse than that. Much worse. Israel is intent on expanding its boundaries from the Nile to the Euphrates, while Zionist Jews in America seem to have a fixation on an even larger goal: complete, total, unchecked and uninhibited global hegemony, and possibly, in the course of trying to achieve this ambition, nuclear war with Russia if it should come to that. Israeli apartheid, the “species of crime” now being committed against the Palestinians, could end up going global… unless we find a way to defeat it.
Jadaliyya | March 18, 2017
The following is the resignation letter by ESWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf in response to the formal request by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that ESCWA withdraw the publication of a scholarly report (below) that found Israel guilty of apartheid.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
I have carefully considered your message conveyed through the Chef de Cabinet and assure you that at no point have I questioned your right to order the withdrawal of the report from our website or the fact that all of us working in the Secretariat are subject to the authority of its Secretary-General. Nor do I have any doubts regarding your commitment to human rights in general, or your firm position regarding the rights of the Palestinian people. I also understand the concerns that you have, particularly in these difficult times that leave you little choice.
I am not oblivious to the vicious attacks and threats the UN and you personally were subjected to from powerful Member States as a result of the publication of the ESCWA report “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”. I do not find it surprising that such Member States, who now have governments with little regard for international norms and values of human rights, will resort to intimidation when they find it hard to defend their unlawful policies and practices. It is only normal for criminals to pressure and attack those who advocate the cause of their victims. I cannot submit to such pressure.
Not by virtue of my being an international official, but simply by virtue of being a decent human being, I believe, like you, in the universal values and principles that have always been the driving force for good in human history, and on which this organization of ours, the United Nations is founded. Like you, I believe that discrimination against anyone due to their religion, skin color, sex or ethnic origin is unacceptable, and that such discrimination cannot be rendered acceptable by the calculations of political expediency or power politics. I also believe people should not only have the freedom to speak truth to power, but they have the duty to do so.
In the space of two months you have instructed me to withdraw two reports produced by ESCWA, not due to any fault found in the reports and probably not because you disagreed with their content, but due to the political pressure by member states who gravely violate the rights of the people of the region.
You have seen first hand that the people of this region are going through a period of suffering unparalleled in their modern history; and that the overwhelming flood of catastrophes today is the result of a stream of injustices that were either ignored, plastered over, or openly endorsed by powerful governments inside and outside the region. Those same governments are the ones pressuring you to silence the voice of truth and the call for justice represented in these reports.
Given the above, I cannot but stand by the findings of ESCWA’s report that Israel has established an apartheid regime that seeks the domination of one racial group over another. The evidence provided by this report drafted by renowned experts is overwhelming. Suffice it to say that none of those who attacked the report had a word to say about its content. I feel it my duty to shed light on the legally inadmissible and morally indefensible fact that an apartheid regime still exists in the 21st century rather than suppressing the evidence. In saying this I claim no moral superiority nor ownership of a more prescient vision. My position might be informed by a lifetime of experiencing the dire consequences of blocking peaceful channels to addressing people’s grievances in our region.
After giving the matter due consideration, I realized that I too have little choice. I cannot withdraw yet another well-researched, well-documented UN work on grave violations of human rights, yet I know that clear instructions by the Secretary-General will have to be implemented promptly. A dilemma that can only be resolved by my stepping down to allow someone else to deliver what I am unable to deliver in good conscience. I know that I have only two more weeks to serve; my resignation is therefore not intended for political pressure. It is simply because I feel it my duty towards the people we serve, towards the UN and towards myself, not to withdraw an honest testimony about an ongoing crime that is at the root of so much human suffering. Therefore, I hereby submit to you my resignation from the United Nations.
Osama bin Laden, it’s a name every American knows and loves to hate. After the horrific terrorist attacks on 11 September 2011, former US President George W Bush told his countrymen that this terrorist bin Laden orchestrated the 911 attacks in New York City, Washington DC and Shanksville, Pa. and people believed it. They envisioned his face with a target on it and blamed him for the deaths of thousands of Americans. Why shouldn’t they? No president would lie about something so serious, right?
The real truth may never be known, the Central Intelligence Agency will see to that. But here is what we do know… in the simplest terms: GW Bush told the nation almost immediately that bin Laden was responsible, but Osama bin Laden denied having any involvement in 9/11. Americans are widely familiar with the first part, but almost nobody knows the latter.
On 17 Sept. 2001, Bush placed the blame on bin Laden in an ABC News article titled, Bush Says Bin Laden Wanted Dead or Alive,
“Bush reiterated today that bin Laden is ‘the prime suspect’ in Tuesday’s attacks, in which hijacked planes slammed into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, where thousands are feared dead. Another hijacked airliner crashed in Pennsylvania, apparently after passengers overwhelmed the hijackers.”
I have been watching all of this unfold for many years. Media agencies all over the world, including mainstream agencies in the US, carried bin Laden’s denial initially. The Saudi dissident flatly denied having anything to do with 9/11. Isn’t that odd? Why, after all, would a terrorist who was actually able to strike the world’s premier super power from a cave while dying of kidney failure, deny it? Wouldn’t he want everyone in the world to know that he scored three direct hits on the Great Satan, the USA itself?
Osama bin Laden knew, of course, that such an act would bring an overwhelming military response. If you toss enough stones at a beehive, they’re going to get your ass. The only thing that 9/11 really did, was inspire a series of bloodbath wars in the Middle east, none of which were legal or justified, and put billions and billions of dollars into the pockets of Dick Cheney and an assortment of other military contractors and mercenaries. Well over a million Muslim people have died as a result. Mr. bin Laden, in spite of his reputation for committing acts of terror (bin Laden is the suspect in the bombing of American embassies in Africa in 1998) said at the time that he did not seek to invoke a massive reprisal against his own people.
It was a set up.
Today, most of the US media links referencing bin Laden’s denial of having any role in the 11 Sept attacks, are all dead ends. Fortunately, long before they disappeared, I mapped them all out in a Salem-News.com article titled Bin Laden’s Ghost and the bigger truth, is that all of these articles exist today in hard copy archives. One example of an article that made it through, is the 15 Sept. 2001 LA Times piece, On Trail of the Real Osama bin Laden which states, “Bin Laden denies involvement in Tuesday’s attacks, and some terrorist experts caution that others might have been more directly involved. They cite evidence that terrorist cells tied to other radical groups and governments could have been the organizers.”
(Entrance to bin Laden’s former training camp in Jalalabad, Afghanistan during the Soviet war. Photo by Tim King)
Among the US news archives that are still intact, is a story by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel titled, Bin Laden denies being behind attacks, which carries the statement, “Jamal Ismail, a Palestinian journalist, has said a bin Laden aide called him after Tuesday’s attack to say bin Laden denied being involved but ‘thanked almighty Allah and bowed before him when he heard this news.’”
(CNN and almost all western media carried the denial initially)
A Yahoo News article from 13 Sept. 2001, Taliban says Bin Laden Denies Role in Attacks, contains the quote from Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef who told Reuters, “We asked from him, (and) he told (us) we don’t have any hand in this action.”
Many mainstream world agencies still maintain online copies of the bin Laden denials.
Trump Says Bush Knew About Pending Attacks
Many have suggested that the US government was well aware of the pending attacks in Sept. 2001.
Willie Brown, Former Mayor of San Francisco and Former Speaker of the California State Assembly, was warned not to fly on 9/11 several hours before he was to take to the not so friendly skies. And even newly elected US President Donald Trump spoke out about GW Bush’s alleged knowledge that the 11 Sept. attacks were going to take place before they did. Politifact wrote in the article, Donald Trump says CIA warned George W. Bush of Sept. 11 attacks, “Trump claims that the CIA told the Bush administration that a domestic terror attack was coming. The report assembled over a span of three years after Sept. 11, 2001, found no specific alert. The potential for a domestic attack was discussed in early August, but it was mentioned only in broad terms and was not brought back up. Investigative reports in the years since found that the CIA warnings emphasized possible targets overseas.”
The 17 Sept. 2001 article Bin Laden and family flee to the hills and family goes into hiding by The Guardian, states, “In a statement faxed to the pro-Taliban Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) agency, Bin Laden yesterday denied having anything to do with last week’s attacks in New York and Washington. ‘I am residing in Afghanistan. I have taken an oath of allegiance [to the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar] which does not allow me to do such things from Afghanistan,’ he claimed.”
The Bin Laden Interview
The most direct response from bin Laden was the article, Who was behind 9/11? – an interview with Osama Bin Laden by The Daily Ummat of Karachi. This is an excerpt, a direct quote from Osama bin Laden.
“I have already said that I am not involved in the September 11 attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other human beings as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of battle. It is the United States which is perpetrating every sort of maltreatment on women, children and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that has been going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to invoke the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel. There is also a warning for those Muslim countries that witnessed all of this as silent spectators. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya and Bosnia? Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers, namely that America is an anti-Islamic power and is patronising anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just show, or rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Cast a glance around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims.”
I suggest reading the entire interview. It is hard for Americans to understand, but one of bin Laden’s principle concerns was the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. The US, irreversibly pro-Israel, misses the point that most of the world does not approve of the suffering of Palestinians, this fact is key to all of the world’s problems in the Middle east. Just this week, a UN report confirmed that Israel has established an ‘apartheid regime’ with separate laws for people of different religions; affirming many of the political points made by both bin Laden, and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who was a stalwart supporter of Palestinian human rights.
The authorities of the self-proclaimed Kosovo republic have decided to confiscate up to 200 billion euros’ worth of real estate of the former Yugoslavia’s Serbia and Kosovo Province, adding pressure to an already strained relationship between Pristina and Belgrade.
The Kosovo cadastral agency has been instructed to immediately register all real estate, amounting to more than 2 million square meters of buildings, including a ski resort and a mining complex, but also land, as the property of Kosovo.
Meanwhile, according to the Serbian cadaster agency, Serbian immovable property in Kosovo amounts to 1 million square meters and Serbian-owned enterprises in the region are valued at about 200 billion euros.
The region’s strategic natural resources “privatized” by the Pristina government include almost 15 billion tons of lignite and over 42 billion tons of lead and zinc.
Reacting to the news, Serbian First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said the decision was “completely illegal, and unacceptable.”
No serious investor will spend money in Kosovo based on this decision of the government in Pristina — “because they won’t know whose property it is in the end,” he added.
According to the former head of the Kosovo cadastral agency, Slavica Radomirovic, 58 percent of industrial enterprises and real estate in Kosovo belong to Serbia and its citizens as proved by original documents taken out of the region after the 1999 war.
Radomirovic warned that the Kosovo authorities had prepared their own cadaster books based on forged data.
In an interview with Sputnik Serbia, Dusan Prorokovic, an expert with the Belgrade-based Strategic Alternative Fund, said that Pristina prefers to resolve all disputes with Belgrade by military force and that all it really wants is property.
“All they are doing was previously approved by the Obama Administration. They started with a demand for a Kosov army and within the next few weeks we could expect further such steps by Pristina. They know that the international community will look on as a new balance of forces is emerging in the Balkans,” he said.
Political analyst Dusan Janjic said that all this was a logical continuation of the EU-launched process of illegal privatization of Serbian property in Kosovo.
“Pristina is speeding up this whole process across the board. Just like its [Western] sponsors, it wants things like the army and property cut out for it before they start a dialogue in a new format,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kosovo Vice-Premier Branimir Stojanovic told the Serbian TV channel RTS that the decision to confiscate Serbian property in Kosovo was legally null and void and could seriously complicate relations with Belgrade.
He added that the decision was taken behind closed doors without asking the opinion of Serbian representatives in the regional parliament.
Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by over 100 UN member states. Serbia, as well as Russia, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.
Dear Israeli Government:
You’ve recently banned foreigners who support boycotts against Israel or Israeli settlements from being allowed to enter Israel – even Jewish foreigners, a first for the self-proclaimed Jewish state After all, your “Law of Return” has allowed (and encouraged) Jewish foreigners to freely immigrate to Israel, even as multitudes of Palestinians have been banned from returning to their homes.
People throughout the Western world have objected in outrage to your new law, particularly Jewish Westerners who have family and connections in Israel from whom they’ll be cut off in retaliation for their political positions.
Critics, even some who oppose boycotting Israel and who have had no problem with excluding Palestinians, have called out the law for diverse reasons: its quashing of free debate and political expression, its anti-democratic nature, how it will affect them and others personally.
I support these objections.
But I’m not trying to visit Israel.
I want to go to Bethlehem and Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron, Jenin and Tulkarem. I hope to return to Khan Yunis, Rafah, Gaza City, and numerous other towns and villages in the West Bank and Gaza.
In other words, I want to go to Palestine – a country recognized by 136 countries around the world. But your law, astoundingly, prevents me from visiting that country. You control entry and exit to the places I want to visit, even though they’re not part of your territory, or included in your exclusive democracy.
When I was born, Palestine referred to the whole of the land that your founders then ethnically cleansed and renamed. Now, it officially refers to a few segments of land, surrounded and trapped.
Unlike the residents of every other country on earth, Palestinians are not free to travel to and from their own country unless a foreign country gives them permission – a normally universal right that you routinely deny: to young and old, Muslims and Christians, professors and paupers, men and women.
Visitors are similarly obstructed. You decide whether they can get in, and whether they can get out.
When I try to visit Bethlehem, for example, I must face your armed soldiers manning the Kafkaesque, towering concrete wall you have erected on Palestinian land. These gun-toting youngsters will decree whether or not I and others – including Palestinian descendants of Bethlehem’s ancient shepherds – can pass through.
In other words, Israel is essentially imprisoning over 4 million men, women, and children (with some help from Egypt, its proxy to the south). Israeli jailers, euphemistically “border guards,” determine who may even visit this incarcerated population, and what supplies may reach them.
Over the years I’ve seen you prevent numerous individuals and groups, many bringing medicines and life-saving supplies, from visiting this captive population. You’ve blocked sons from visiting dying mothers, suffering children from receiving critical medical care, malnourished toddlers from receiving help.
It is a profound shame upon the world that this cruel and unconscionable condition has been permitted to persist year after year. There should have been massive and irresistible objections long before your recent legislation.
I remember when the United States opposed the Iron Curtain. Today, the U.S. gives the perpetrator of this current captivity $10 million per day.
Israel already denied me entry once 15 years ago, locking me up for 28 hours in a detention cell in Ben Gurion Airport before expelling me. I remember Israeli officials telling me I was not “allowed into Israel.” They didn’t even supply a reason.
Next time, they may say it’s because I endorse BDS, which I wholeheartedly do.
But I’m not trying to go to Israel. I want to go to Palestine.
– Alison Weir
Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on March 18, 2017, on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of Fatima al-Zahra (as), Women’s Day
Extract of the Political Section of the Speech
Today, or (rather) these days are actually a (special) opportunity, namely that the events in Syria and the war waged against Syria have entered their seventh year. That is to say, six years have passed, with all that they contain in terms of sufferings, wars, conspiracies, confrontations and sacrifices of human lives. With the end of the sixth year and the beginning of the seventh, we must stop briefly on this occasion, because it concerns us also in the first place.
All those who met in the first few months of the beginning of the events six years ago of state forces, great powers, regional countries, 140, 130 or 120 countries that have gathered under the name of “Friends Of Syria” and who plotted, doing everything they could (against Syria). They bet on their ability to seize Syria in 2 or 3 months in 2011. Today, with the end of the 6th year, they face a bloody and painful truth, namely rout and failure. After six years, these powerful and important countries of the world and the region have failed, a bitter failure, in achieving their goals.
For six years, tens of billions of dollars of Arab money – Turkey did not spend money, France and the United Kingdom did not spend money. All the money that financed the war in Syria is Arab money. This money could have eliminated the poverty of the Arab world. It could have brought Somalia out of famine and Yemen as well. It could have (re)built the houses of the Palestinians in Gaza. It could have strengthened the Palestinians at Bayt-al-Maqdis (Sanctuary House / Jerusalem). This money could have guaranteed hundreds of thousands of job opportunities for unemployed Arab youth. It could have ended the illiteracy of hundreds of millions, unfortunately, tens of millions of men and women in the Arab world who are illiterate. Not a single dollar has been spent on these problems, but tens of billions of dollars of Arab money have been spent on the war in Syria, against Syria, its regime, its state, its army and its people, and against the Resistance Axis within it.
And tens, hundreds of thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition (were sent there). And they came from all over the world with tens of thousands of fighters, white, black, brown, red, yellow, whatever you want. They have left no side, no color, no tongue, no race, they have brought fighters from every spot of the whole world. The Americans, their allies, the plotters funded and facilitated (sending fighters) and brought tens of thousands of fighters to fight in Syria to achieve a clear and precise goal: to bring down Syria, to get it out of the Resistance Axis and take control of it. To take control of its decisions, its sovereignty, its people and its choices on its territory, and its strategic position on the Mediterranean Sea (between Asia) and Europe, and its strategic position in the struggle against the Israeli enemy.
Today, the result is clear: failure, defeat and retreat.
Well, let me remind you a bit, at the beginning of the 7th year, about the beginning of the first year. We do not deny that some of the people really wanted reforms and changed some realities in Syria. But what came (on the scene) with force and changed all that are the takfiri forces that were brought from all over the world, and who refused political dialogue in the first weeks. They refused any political outcome, any discussion, and their choices were definitive: they went to the bloody, general and total military confrontation. They have formulated sectarian slogans and revived (religious) school quarrels, and have lifted the veil on their objectives and their hostility towards the Resistance in the first weeks.
Well, who brought the al-Qaeda organization? When they arrived in Syria, what was their name? The Islamic State in Iraq. They then added “and in the Levant” (Syria). Then they divided, the members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant divided. There were two factions: Daesh and the Al-Nosra Front. But in truth, they all belong to al-Qaeda, which is listed by the Americans on the list of terrorist organizations, as well as by the UN Security Council, by Saudi Arabia and by Europe. They brought tens of thousands of fighters, whom they regarded as terrorists themselves, gave them money and weapons, opened borders and brought them to Syria. They recognize that they themselves created (these groups), that they created Daesh to fight the Resistance and the Resistance Axis.
Today, the situation is different. I do not want to dwell on this point, and I will just focus on the new elements.
I want to remind you first of all that in the first year, the question did not require much political understanding, and that there was no need to make predictions and wait (and see). Anyone who had studied contemporary experiences in Afghanistan and elsewhere could reach the following conclusion, as I told them in the first months, I addressed the Al-Qaeda organization and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Daesh and the Al-Nosra Front who separated from it, and I said to them: “All of you of all nationalities, you were brought to Syria to gather you there, you were brought to Syria – now, anyone can check this out from 6 years ago – you were brought to Syria to gather you there and use you as combatants to achieve the American-Israeli goals in the region and when you will be pressed to the end, whether you have won or lost, you will be liquidated. We collect you (en masse) in order to liquidate you after having used you. You have been used… – and that is why I called them initially to be careful and wake up, and not to turn into wood and fuel for the fire lit by America and Israel as well as some regional countries, against whom they also plot, and who will pay the price. But sectarianism, foolishness, ignorance and stupidity have given them no opportunity (of lucidity).
They thought they were very smart, they believed that they were instrumentalizing America, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the countries of the world and the West so that they’d allow them to implement their own project in Syria. And they wrote all that in their strategic projects. And that was the pinnacle of stupidity.
Today, what happens? After Daesh became an object of scandal for the American project here, Daesh sees its last days in Iraq – (it’s a question of) weeks, months, (but) it’s over. Daesh has no military or political future in Iraq. And similarly in Syria, Daesh no longer has any military or political future in Syria. At best, they will have dormant cells that will carry out suicide bombings because the suicide bombings targeting civilians in Baghdad, Tikrīt, Damascus, Homs and elsewhere reflect strategic and military failure. When someone sends suicide bombers to kill children, women, in restaurants, passers-by, schoolchildren and students, this reflects his strategic failure and military failure. These are acts of vengeance, not of fighting. This is the future of Daesh. The future of Al-Nosra is the same.
Today, Daesh is bombed by the international coalition led by the United States, Britain, Turkey, Jordan, as well as Russia and the forces fighting them in Syria. And the Al-Nosra Front, the Al-Nosra Front brought (and supported) by the Americans and their Turkish and Gulf allies, the Al-Nosra Front is now bombed in Idlib and at the West of Aleppo. Is not that what I told you six years ago? Now we hear voices rising from Idlib and West of Aleppo against America, its betrayals and hypocrisy. Did you sleep well? After destroying Syria, after destroying Iraq, after destroying Yemen, you finally wake up and you understand? (You realize the nature of) this treacherous and hypocritical America, who uses you then massacres you? That is the truth.
And with that, of course, Israel interferes every day, with various pretexts. The pretext of striking weapons intended for Hezbollah, as they claimed yesterday, for any pretext: on the pretext that a mortar shell hit the Golan (occupied), etc., Israel intervenes and strikes positions of the Syrian Army in order to provide support and assistance to Daesh and these (other) terrorist groups. Today, this arrogant and occupying project, the project of hegemony and control over Syria, I frankly declare to you that it has failed, and that Syria has won, but that it is still waiting for the great and decisive victory. As for the rest of the factions, Daesh will disappear. And the Al-Nosra Front will disappear. And the terrorist takfiri groups will disappear. It is only a matter of time.
Even the world that supported, funded, helped and assisted them has now abandoned them and is fighting them. For the spell has turned against the sorcerer. For the world has discovered that this serpent which he has raised in his bosom (and launched against Syria) has become a danger and a poison to him, in Paris, London, Germany, Belgium, inside Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, etc.
The rest of the factions of the Syrian opposition, what is their current situation? They have no leader, no leadership, no united front, no national project, they don’t know what they want, they are divided, lost, and wander between (foreign) embassies and security services. Yes, there is still a bet on patriotic personalities or cadres of the opposition, that they can participate in the political solution and dialogue to rebuild Syria.
Today, for the commemoration of the birth of (Fatima al-Zahra), the daughter of the Prophet of God, who was sent to the worlds as a Mercy, allow me to renew my address to all those still fighting in Syria in the enemy front, and who believe that they are fighting in the front of Islam, the front of the (Islamic) Community or the front of the Fatherland, and who are 100% wrong. Allow me to appeal to them, to address them and tell them: this project has failed. Your struggle is in vain and leads to nothing but more deaths, battles and destruction, and bloodshed on both sides, which benefits America and Israel.
Look, Netanyahu went to Moscow imploring. Why? He went to intercede with President Putin because he is afraid of the defeat of Daesh in Syria. For the defeat of Daesh for Putin – excuse me, for Netanyahu, constitutes a victory for the Resistance and the Resistance Axis. Because for Netanyahu, Daesh’s defeat in Syria is a failure of the project he has supported for 6 years. So he went to beg (Putin). Oh, what do you do with Daesh, calm down with Daesh! For if you finish Daesh, what are you going to do with Iran, Hezbollah, President Assad, and the rest of the Resistance Axis?
Do not believe, (you Daesh fighters), that you are on the Front of Islam, the Community or the Fatherland. Whether you realize it or not, you have fought for 6 years on the Front of America and Israel and the Front of those who plot against you to kill you, imprison you and massacre you. Will not all this blood poured in Syria and Iraq awaken you? Is not that enough to reconsider things? I call upon them to lay down their arms, to cease fighting, to a real ceasefire, to seek a genuine humanitarian and political solution, to leave the front of hypocrisy for the front of Islam, leave Israel and America for the front of the Community, and leave the front of the enemy for the front of the Resistance. And it is still possible. It is still possible. (I call them to) stop these destructions. Your project has no future.
The Resistance Axis, as we said in the first days and months, today, after six years, from the beginning, we declared that the Resistance Axis would not be defeated in Syria, neither in Iraq, nor in Yemen, and that it would not break. And now that six years have passed, the Resistance Axis triumphs in Syria, and it triumphs in Iraq, and it is steadfast in Yemen where it will also win, if God wills, a great decisive victory. But these people must be aware of what they do with their lives, their blood, their future and their afterlife, and they must reconsider all their bloody actions that persist in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.
The secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, says Israel seeks an end to Russia’s military campaign against the ISIS terrorist group in Syria to avert the Tel Aviv regime’s collapse.
Nasrallah said on Saturday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to express his deep concern over the likely collapse of ISIS in Syria since such a development would mark a great triumph for the resistance front in the Middle East region.
The Hezbollah chief added that the defeat of the ISIS Takfiri group in Syria would be tantamount to the fall of Netanyahu himself.
Russia launched a military campaign against the terrorist groups in Syria in late September 2015 at the official request of the Damascus government.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah said that Western powers were drawing on Takfiri terrorists in order to carry out their schemes in conflict-ridden Syria.
“I have repeatedly called on Syria militants not to put trust in [the] West and implement their plots in Syria, because the US and its allies are only using them as cannon fodder and will abandon [them] as soon as they are defeated,” he said.
He added, “I am telling militants fighting within the ranks of the enemies that you are only serving Israel, and shedding the blood of innocent people.”
The Hezbollah leader noted that the days of ISIS, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, and other terrorist groups fighting to topple the Damascus government are numbered as Syrian army forces continue to achieve victories across the country.
Even those Arab and Western countries that once supported these terror outfits are now fighting them, Nasrallah pointed out.
The Hezbollah chief argued that all the Arab money spent to fan the flames of militancy in Syria over the past six years could have been used to eradicate poverty and illiteracy in the Arab world, feed starving Somalis, and accommodate homeless Palestinians.
Nasrallah said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to express his deep concern over the likely collapse of Daesh in Syria since such a development would mark a great triumph for the resistance front in the Middle East region.
If Americans Knew
What is anti-Semitism today, two generations after the Holocaust? In his continuing exploration of modern Israeli life, director Yoav Shamir travels the world in search of the most modern manifestations of the “oldest hatred”, and comes up with some startling answers.
In this irreverent quest, he follows American Jewish leaders to the capitals of Europe, as they warn government officials of the growing threat of Antisemitism, and he tacks on to a class of Israeli high school students on a pilgrimage to Auschwitz.
On his way, Shamir meets controversial historian, Norman Finkelstein, who offers his views on the manner that anti-Semitism is being used by the Jewish community and especially Israel for political gain. He also joins scholars, Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer, while they give a lecture in Israel following the release of their book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, about the disproportional influence the Israel lobby in Washington enjoys.
Yoav visits Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, the must stop for all world leaders on their visits to Israel. While in Jerusalem, he drops by the house of his grandmother that offers her insight on the issue and declares that she is the “real Jew”.