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Egypt, Cyprus sign accord to build gas pipeline

MEMO | September 20, 2018

Egypt yesterday signed an agreement with Cyprus to construct a maritime pipeline between the two countries, which will transfer of natural gas from Cyprus to Egypt for re-export to different markets, especially the European Union (EU) countries.

The agreement was signed in a meeting held in Cyprus between the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El-Molla, and the Cypriot minister of Energy, Industry, Tourism and Trades, Georgios Lakkotrypis.

The project, which was said to cost around $800 million, will involve building a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Cypriot Aphrodite field to Egypt’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.

El-Molla said that the agreement contributes “to boosting the economic relations between Egypt and Cyprus and is considered as an important step in maximising the benefit of the discoveries of the Cypriot gas fields.”

“The Egyptian-Cypriot agreement is not only about the implementation of a maritime pipeline, but it will contribute positively to securing gas supplies to the EU,” he added.

The deal, El-Molla reiterated, will encourage further research exploration activities in the region and will contribute to further support joint cooperation in the field of oil and gas between the two countries.

Referring to another memorandum of understanding, which was signed between Egypt and the EU in the field of energy last April, the Egyptian minister stressed that it “will open up important prospects for the role that Egypt can play in the industry.”

On his part, Lakkotrypis said that the deal was “an important milestone, not only for Cyprus but also the entire eastern Mediterranean region,” adding that “it’s [the joint agreement] the first of its kind in Cyprus and Egypt’s shared region.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt president approves law restraining social media

Press TV – September 2, 2018

Egypt seems to be intensifying its crackdown on opponents with a new law. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has approved the legislation, authorizing officials to monitor social media users.

As reported by the official gazette on Saturday, the new law gives state authorities the right to monitor the activities of social media users on the internet.

The legislation, it said, places social media accounts with over 5,000 followers under the supervision of the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media.

That means any popular blog, website or even account on Facebook, Twitter or other platforms, could be considered a media outlet and subject to the supervision of the media regulator which could block them for spreading fake news.

The controversial law was passed in the parliament back in July.

Critics argue that it increase state power to crack down on opposition activists.

Human rights groups have on numerous occasions criticized Egypt for its tough approach towards opponents.

The Sisi government has silenced most critics in the media, rolled back social freedoms, and placed draconian restrictions on demonstrations and the work of rights groups.

Tens of thousands of people have been detained since 2013, when the military, led by Sisi, overthrew Mohamed Morsi.

Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, came to power after the 2011 uprising toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Read more:
Egypt arrests prominent blogger amid crackdown on dissent
Egypt subjecting prisoners to horrendous abuse, torture

September 2, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Corbyn attacked for Islamist hand-sign, claims it was in solidarity with Cairo massacre victims

RT | August 15, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has found himself involved in a row after a picture of him making a sign linked to the Muslim Brotherhood surfaced. His spokesperson said it was done in solidarity with the victims of a 2013 massacre in Egypt.

The picture, published by the Daily Telegraph and reportedly taken in Finsbury Park Mosque in 2016, shows Corbyn with four outstretched fingers and his thumb tucked in against his palm. The hand-gesture is called Rabbi’ah and used by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in a sign of solidarity with ex-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the victims of the Rabaa massacre.

Morsi, who was democratically elected following the Arab Spring and the subsequent fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown by, now-president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a July 2013 coup d’etat.

A spokesperson for Corbyn said he had been “standing up for democracy” when he used the Rabbi’ah symbol, telling the paper: “The four fingered gesture is a well-known symbol of solidarity with the victims of the 2013 Rabaa massacre in Cairo.”

The hand gesture stems from the August 2013 massacre, when Egyptian security forces under the command of el-Sisi raided two Morsi supporter camps in Cairo; including one in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square where the gesture gets its name. Human Rights Watch, who described the raids as “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history,” estimated that a minimum of 817 people and more likely at least 1,000 died during the dispersal.

The Islamist MB is a transnational organization which originated in Egypt, before spreading across the Arab world. Its brand of political Islam has influenced groups such as Hamas in Gaza, and cites Turkey and Qatar amongst its supporters. The organisation is listed as a terrorist group by countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia and Syria

In 2003 the Supreme Court of Russia listed MB as a terrorist organisation for its role the creation of a largely Chechen Islamic extremist group, which has committed multiple terrorist attacks on Russia

While it is not considered a terrorist group by the UK, upon the conclusion of an investigation into the MB ex-British prime minister David Cameron said aspects of the group’s ideology “run counter to British values of democracy.”

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

UK doubles arms deals with governments on its own rights blacklist: Report

Press TV – July 19, 2018

The UK has almost doubled its arms deals with governments that it has blacklisted as violators of human rights, figures show.

The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May approved some £1.5 billion in arms licenses in 2017, up from £820 million it did the year before, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) pressure group reported Wednesday.

The licenses allowed weapons sales to 18 countries on Home Office blacklist, which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan and the Israeli regime.

Arms deals with Saudi Arabia, which has been running a deadly military aggression against Yemen since March 2015, accounted for £1.13 billion of the total amount, the group said.

The ruling Tory government is “actively arming and supporting many of the regimes that even it believes are responsible for terrible human rights abuses,” CAAT’s Andrew Smith told The Independent.

“There is little oversight in the system, and no controls over how these arms will be used once they have left the UK,” he added.

“The arms sales being agreed today could be used to fuel atrocities for years to come. Right now UK-made fighter jets and bombs are playing a central role in the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen, and the government and arms companies have totally failed to monitor or evaluate how this deadly equipment is being used.”

“These arms sales don’t just provide dictatorships and human rights abusers with the means to kill, they also give them a huge degree of political support,” Andrews continued.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall its former Riyadh-allied government. The military aggression has so far killed over 13,600 Yemenis.

The UK has increased its weapons sales by around 500 percent since the onset of the Saudi invasion, according to a report by The Independent. The UK has, so far, sold more than £6 billion worth of arms to the kingdom.

Israel second largest blacklisted buyer

With a total of £221 million of licenses granted, Israel was the second-biggest purchaser of UK arms last year to be featured on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) human rights priority list.

In its latest version of the watch list, published this week, the FCO blasted Israel for violating the international law during its ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and Gaza.

It also slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s “systematic policy of settlement expansion,” despite constant calls by the UN, the European Union and many other international organizations to end them.

Bahrain became the third largest buyer on the list, acquiring £30.7 million of British arms in 2017, while Egypt imported £6.5 million and Pakistan, £11.2 million.

CAAT’s figures came amid efforts by British members of Parliament sitting on the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) to reform the UK’s arms export regime and stop arms sales to blacklisted governments.

In its latest report, the committee called on cabinet ministers to consider imposing a “presumption of denial” when weighing arms sales applications for such countries.

“We believe there must always be a more stringent process in place for any arms exports to such countries,” read the report.

July 19, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’

By Ida Audeh | CounterPunch | June 22, 2018

For weeks now, Palestinians everywhere have been galvanized by events taking place in the Gaza Strip, the site of weekly (since March 30) mass protests demanding the end of the siege and blockade of Gaza (in place now since 2007) and the right to return to the homes from which they or their elders had been kicked out. Dubbed the Great March of Return, Gazans have assembled as close as they can to the Israeli-designated buffer zone separating Gaza from Israel. Israeli soldiers at a distance, crouched behind earth barriers that they created in the days preceding the march, and at absolutely no danger of attack from the unarmed protestors, pick off demonstrators at their leisure. By June 14, at least 129 Palestinians had been killed and 13,000 injured; the dead included medics like the 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar and journalists including Yaser Murtaja—typically seen as off-limits in conflict zones but transformed by Israel into prime targets.

On June 4, Ida Audeh spoke to Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, about the popular resistance in Gaza, the Trump administration’s policy toward the question of Palestine, and Palestinian options to chart a new course. Salah Khawaja, an activist who works with the campaign, joined the conversation.

Ida Audeh: I interviewed you in August 2011 to learn more about the separation wall and its effect on communities in its path.[2] Describe Israel’s current system of control over the occupied territories, of which the wall is a part.

Jamal Juma’: It is clear that the wall was designed to isolate and lay siege to Palestinians. The project to place Palestinians under siege by means of the wall has been completed. It closed off all the dynamic areas that Israel considered necessary to isolate various areas. Eighty percent of the Wall is within the West Bank. The second part of the siege is reinforcement of the settlements. Each settlement has what Israel calls a buffer zone – a security apparatus consisting of barbed wire and roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use. This, together with the alternative (bypass) roads (which we call the apartheid roads), allows them to control the territory. Today there are two road networks: one is for Israeli settlers, about 1,400 km long, and its purpose is to connect all settlements to one another and to Israel in a kind of network. And this is complete. This network is the dominant one in the West bank, and it includes the major roads. The other, the alternative roads, are for Palestinians to use; these roads will intersect through 48 planned tunnels and bridges, some of which have been created already. The two road systems are separate. This is the basis of the racist discriminatory system we talk about: isolating Palestinians and confining them in limited spaces, control of their resources through settlements, the road network, and military installations, and the wall, which take up about 62% of the area of the West Bank.

With the extension of the settlements, we no longer just talk about Palestinians being ghettoized in the north, south and central region. There is more fragmentation of Palestinian residential areas. New settlement outposts are not being discussed in terms of whether they should be removed or not.  They are being transformed into settlements. When you see 150 outposts, you are really talking about 150 new settlements. This project is being intensified, and especially since Trump took office.

IA: So you noticed a clear acceleration after Trump?

JJ: It’s much more than an acceleration. This is a watershed moment in Palestinian history.  We consider that since Trump took office, US policy fully adopted the Zionist project and embarked on a process of liquidating the Palestinian cause, of eliminating it. It is clear program. This began with Jerusalem and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist entity, transfer of the embassy, targeting the refugees by cutting financing of UNRWA, and other forms of pressure on areas that host large numbers of refugees including getting them settled permanently in the host countries.

Israeli colonization, the geographic engineering of the political map, is another component in the liquidation of the Palestinian cause. Israeli proposals for colonization are massive. They are concentrating on the Jordan Valley – creating new settlements, expanding existing settlements, creating the supportive infrastructure, with huge incentives for Israelis who work in agriculture (including cash payments of $20,000 for anyone willing to move there). Now the settlements are on the tops of the mountain chain that overlook the Jordan Valley, which enable them to encircle lower lying towns. When you talk about Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, and so on, it will be as though the entire West Bank is a suburb of Tel Aviv. This will make it impossible for there to be any separation in the future, for there to be any independent Palestinian entity; instead, an apartheid system of cantons will be imposed on Palestinians.  This is the reality on the ground.

Back to the new US policy: In addition to a shift in standing US positions on Jerusalem and the refugee issue, there is the use of Arab countries that are ready for normalization with Israel and eager to be aligned with the American project – first and foremost, Saudi Arabia, and also Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, which are pressuring the Palestinians to accept the US project to liquidate the Palestinian cause. This has complicated things and taken it out of the sphere of international law and the UN; everyone had previously worked within that framework. We have been demanding the implementation of resolutions. But the US dealt a blow to international law.

IA: The US now proposes the “deal of the century,” which Gulf states are eagerly endorsing. Can you describe the contours of that deal?

JJ: The proposal is to create a Palestinian state in Gaza with extensions into the Sinai Desert, to be administered by the Palestinian Authority. The West Bank and Jerusalem are not part of these calculations, although Israel might be willing to give up some areas around Jerusalem that are densely populated with Palestinians. (This part of the proposal has been floated by extremist Israeli groups even before the Trump proposal.) They might be willing to remove from Greater Jerusalem areas with high Palestinian density, like Jabal Mukkaber, Isawiya, Silwan, and Sur Bahir; there has been some discussion about removing Beit Hanina and Shufat. The Israelis would retain control of the Jewish settlements and the Old City, which together make up about 87% of the area of East Jerusalem—not exactly a small territory.

IA: What is the Palestinian response to these plans?

JJ:  On the formal political level, the PA is in a crisis. It placed its faith in the US, but now US determination to liquidate the Palestinian cause is very clear.  The only real option remaining to the PA is to cast its lot with the Palestinian people and on free people around the world, international solidarity and movements that support us. The Palestinian people have to make a decision, and so does the PA.

On the popular level, we see serious activity in search of an alternative to the status quo, the largest and the most important of which is taking place now in Gaza with the Great March of Return. These actions are important for a number of reasons. They changed the stereotypes about Gaza as a launchpad for rockets, a place of terrorism that has been hijacked by Hamas. In fact, the marches in Gaza since March 30 represent a widespread popular movement, massive popular resistance. Just like the first intifada emerged from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, today we have the beginnings of a mass civil disobedience movement. Gaza has a population that is resisting, and Hamas does not control this resistance. The discourse we generally hear, that Hamas is leading people to their death, should be recognized as racist and dehumanizing. People are not robots. Gazans of all ages, family situations, and economic and educational levels are taking part in these marches to raise their cause to the world.  These people are saying that the siege of Gaza cannot continue. We are human beings, we have rights, and one of those rights is to live like human beings. Gaza is no longer inhabitable. Gaza has been turned into a prison and a hell. Even the UN acknowledges that. The numbers around Gaza are just astounding.[3]

The Great March has returned focus on the refugee issue and put it squarely on the table despite all the efforts to ignore and erase it. More than 70% of Gaza residents are refugees, and they are demanding the right to return to their original hometowns.

For that reason, the marches in Gaza are very important in defining the trajectory of the Palestinian question and restoring the role of popular resistance to the forefront. They lay the popular foundation for the coming phase. They might also have prevented another massive disaster. I think Israel was preparing to implement the Trump administration’s proposals; the scenario that the Israelis were planning for was to pull Gaza into a military confrontation, which would justify more intense bombing than it has done in the past. The borders with Egypt would open, and people would flee into Egypt. But the march with its mass participation thwarted that plan.

IA: I find it hard to understand how Ramallah can be so tranquil considering the carnage in Gaza.

JJ:  It might seem that what is happening in the West Bank is not at all comparable to what is happening in Gaza. And that is true, it isn’t as massive. But actions are taking place in the West Bank, and they are also important. On a weekly basis people are gathering to protest at the checkpoints. Since 2011 there have been continuous outbursts (in Arabic, habbat); for example, in Jerusalem in the Bab al-Shams encampment and in the aftermath of the Abu Khdeir and Dawabshe killings (January 2013, July 2014, and July 2015, respectively).[4] These outbursts were significant and exemplary, the way Gaza is today. They reminded us of what the Palestinian people are capable of doing. I expect that these outbursts here and there will lead to widespread civil disobedience. Young people in Jerusalem and the West Bank have been going out to checkpoints in the hundreds, on a daily basis, and these conditions put one in the mindset of the first intifada.

We should take note of what Palestinians in Israel are doing as well. There are youth movements that are taking action in ways that are very impressive and a source of pride.  They defy the occupation and they involve large numbers of people, in Haifa and elsewhere.

IA: Let’s look at the relationship of Palestinians to formal political bodies. Recently the Palestinian National Council held its first meeting in 22 years. One might have thought that over the course of more than two decades, several issues and events warranted a meeting – regional events, the assassination of Yasir Arafat, and the status of the Oslo accords come to mind. But the convening of the PNC doesn’t seem to have generated much popular interest.

JJ: People did not pay much attention to it, but in fact they should be talking about it because it poses a threat. Meeting for the first time in 22 years, it did not even discuss what it has done since the last meeting! What it did do is effectively cancel itself, which means it is changing the structure of the PLO. There is an attempt to replace the Central Committee with a body consisting of the private sector, the political currents in the PA today, and elements of the security apparatus. No representation of Palestinians from the 1948 areas, or the diaspora, or even the Palestinian street. This is a threat to the Palestinian project.

The PLO as it has been transformed by Mahmoud Abbas threatens the national cause. It has been hijacked; our task is to restore it as a representative and unifying entity that works to support the Palestinian cause. The reform should be led by Palestinian groups and movements.

People have no confidence in the leadership; they don’t think it is capable of leading in the coming phase.  In fact, the outbursts I referred to earlier had the potential of triggering a third intifada.  People were waiting for a leadership to emerge, as happened during the first intifada; three months into the intifada, a unified leadership emerged and took charge. But this time, the PA wasn’t interested in assuming that role; three months into these protests, the PA sent its people to disrupt actions and prevent young people from gathering at checkpoints. The national factions were unable to form a unified leadership for obvious reasons.

IA: What is the alternative?

JJ: People have to create a national movement that can lead the change. What will lead the movement for change will not be a single individual. It will be a widespread national movement that has a real relationship with people on the ground, a movement that will direct the street. This is the only way change will take place. People have been waiting for a long time, but who are we waiting for? There is not going to be a great charismatic leader. We don’t talk about a heroic leader, we talk about a heroic people and a leadership of institutions.

We want a Palestinian state that represents all Palestinians. Within that broad outline, we say that right now, we have to protect the Palestinian project – the right to self-determination, and we all struggle for that right. We don’t have to get into a discussion about the final outcome. The time for the two state solution is clearly over—and in fact, that proposal provided the basis for trying to destroy our cause. The other option is clear. But like I said, we don’t want that discussion to detract from our focus now or to place us in conflict with the position of the PLO.

How do we support the Palestinian project? We have to confront what is happening in Jerusalem, the settlements. There has to be a practical program, not just slogans on paper. Palestinians in the diaspora should support these activities, get involved in the boycott movement, because we are part of that boycott movement. We are trying to keep the political work and the boycott movement separate to protect the boycott movement, because there is a Palestinian effort underway to weaken the BDS movement; through normalization, by invoking the PLO position. We consider the boycott movement an essential component of our activism.

This is what people are discussing today, here and with our people in the 1948 areas, and in the diaspora. There has to be a movement that preserves the unity of the Palestinian people and protects the national cause from liquidation. That’s what we are working on now. I expect that in the next few weeks there will be a meeting to put in writing some of the agreed upon principles underlying all of these actions. Many meetings have taken place, and they are being expanded.

SK: We are looking at all ways to get all Palestinians to participate under a banner of a common cause that unites us all. In the 1948 areas, the issue is colonization and civil rights, but Palestinians within Israel don’t find themselves too far apart from those in the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank, the issues are Judaization, settlements, attacks against the holy sites. Those in Gaza are concerned about 12-year siege and blockade, hunger, and murder. Those in the diaspora want the right of return. All of these are national issues that unite us, but each location faces specific threats.

The next phase will be difficult, as we figure out how to present a vision that unites all people, especially the youth, which have been marginalized, to be effective participants.  Since 2012, we have been in contact with the youth. About 76% of the population is 35 years old or younger. And yet no one is making a practical effort to involve them in political planning and decision making. As a campaign, we made a deliberate decision about this. Programs grow old, and so do people. So we need an extension, and the youth movement is part of that. Our hope is to create a mass youth activist base so that our energy will be renewed. We see in the diaspora and in the 1948 areas that the majority of activists are young – the marches in Haifa, confronting the Judaization of the Galilee, activism around the depopulated villages of 1948, the attempt to seize homes in Akka — young people are confronting these issues. We must raise the slogan of confronting colonialism, which is the main cause of what we face.  We Palestinians  have to work together, not against one another, and not expect solutions from others.

What they are doing is preparatory to a major outbreak; there will be a launch of boats to break the blockade, and not just from Gaza, and a rush toward all entry points to Palestine, without exception. Either we live with dignity, or we declare an intifada on those who deny us a life with dignity.

Everyone is targeted. In the West Bank, there are mass arrests, home demolitions, checkpoints, and people on the run. The idea of civil disobedience is not a slogan. We can rebel against all forms of Israeli control within the framework of a national program. Since the international community has not acted, what prevents Palestinians from adjacent countries from moving on mass to the border, as occurred in 2012 (and some were able to make it to Jaffa). Those in the diaspora might have ongoing marches in front of Israeli embassies and its supporters. They can paralyze Israel’s work in all countries. These are not the usual slogans or approaches to political work.  There is no need to hold on to agreements and positions that Israel long ago abandoned.

In 1948 we looked to what the international community might give us; it gave to Israel but nothing to us. There were conditions placed on it for recognition: its treatment of the Palestinian minority, accepting the Palestinian right of return, and the creation of a Palestinian state. None of them was fulfilled. After 1967, Palestinians agreed to accept 22% of historical Palestine, but even that was unacceptable for Israel. Palestinians can’t continue to think in terms of what Israel might be willing to give us.

We have a right to exist and to determine our own destiny. This is the issue that concerns us.

Notes.

[1] “Gaza protests: All the latest updates,” Al Jazeera, June 14, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/gaza-protest-latest-updates-180406092506561.html. See also Kate, “Israel has shot 29 medics at Gaza border, killing two,” Mondoweiss,http://mondoweiss.net/2018/06/israel-medics-killing/amp/

[2] Ida Audeh, “Interview with Jamal Juma’: PA ‘killing popular resistance.’” Electronic Intifada, August 8, 2011,https://electronicintifada.net/content/jamal-juma-pa-killing-popular-resistance/10249

[3] “Living conditions in Gaza ‘more and more wretched’ over past decade, UN finds,” UN News, 11 July 2017, https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/07/561302-living-conditions-gaza-more-and-more-wretched-over-past-decade-un-finds. Status Audio Journal Hosts, “Under siege: Daily life in Gaza with Rawan Yaghi,” Jadaliyya, May 16, 2018, http://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/37563/Under-Siege-Daily-Life-in-Gaza-with-Rawan-Yaghi. Gaza in Context Team, “Understanding Gaza in context,” Jadaliyya, May 16, 2018, http://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/37562/Understanding-Gaza

[4] The 2013 encampment known as Bab al-Shams was an attempt by Palestinians to thwart Israeli plans to establish a settlement on land in the E1 zone, between East Jerusalem and the Jewish-only settlement Ma’ale Adumim; the Israeli plan was designed to permanently sever the West Bank from East Jerusalem. Another encampment, Bab al-Karama, was set up in Beit Iksa and stormed by Israeli soldiers two days later. In July 2014, Israeli settlers in Jerusalem abducted 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir from Shufat and set him on fire; the ensuing demonstrations resulted in 160 Palestinians injured. Israel’s assault on Gaza began five days later. One year later, settlers set fire to a residence in Duma. The soul survivor of the attack was a 4-year-old child; the child’s parents and infant brother were killed. In 2015, a tent encampment, “Gate of Jerusalem,” was set up in Abu Dis to protest the Israeli government’s plans to displace Bedouin communities there. Beginning in September 2015 and lasting until the end of the year, protests spread from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem throughout the West Bank; 108 Palestinians were killed and 12,260 were injured.  Palestinians in Israel demonstrated in solidarity.

Ida Audeh is a Palestinian from the West Bank who lives in Colorado. She is the editor of Birzeit University: The Story of a National Institution, published by Birzeit University in 2010. She can be reached at idaaudeh A T yahoo D O T com.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joe Rogan interview with Robert Schoch

JRE #1124 – Robert Schoch from JoeRogan on Vimeo.

The Joe Rogan Experience #1124

Robert Schoch is an associate professor of Natural Sciences at the College of General Studies, Boston University. He has been best known as a proponent of the Sphinx water erosion hypothesis.

Check out links to more of his work at http://robertschoch.com


ORACUL

The scientific debate surrounding the origins of human civilization is far from settled. Independent research by scholars and professionals in the hard sciences has begun to challenge the accepted narrative of civilization’s beginnings. Today, there is a large body of evidence from a myriad of fields which argues convincingly for a revision of that narrative – pushing back the timeline for advanced culture by thousands of years.

Opposed by many orthodox scholars (whose interests are served by maintaining the status quo), serious scientists and professionals who attempt to bring attention to this contrary evidence are often ignored and ridiculed. Handicapped by a lack of funding, publicity, and professional networking, breakthrough research related to ancient cultures continues to languish in relative obscurity.

ORACUL works to bring this existing research to the attention of both the academic community and the public, as well as conducting new investigations into ancient cultures. This pioneering research involves not only professionals in the hard sciences, but also serious, out-of-the-box thinking in other disciplines. ORACUL will accomplish this goal by focusing on three primary areas of activity: Research Advocacy, Publishing, and Educational Outreach.

June 3, 2018 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Egypt demolished 3,600 Sinai buildings in three months: Report

MEMO | May 22, 2018

The Egyptian army has “vastly expanded” the destruction of homes, commercial buildings and farms in Egypt’s North Sinai region since 9 February 2018, a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today.

Since 2014 the Egyptian government has pursued plans to create a buffer zone along its border with Gaza on the pretext that fighters and weapons are being smuggled through the tunnels that connect the peninsula to the Strip.

Activists have said this war on terror is better described as a war on civilians. Between July 2013 and August 2015 the Egyptian Army demolished at least 3,250 buildings to this effect, according to HRW.

In late 2017 authorities resumed demolitions with the view to creating another buffer zone around Al-Arish airport following a missile attack on an air base and military helicopter. On 9 February 2018 the Egyptian military intensified this military campaign with the launch of “Operation Sinai” which they said would rid the region of terrorism once and for all.

Under this operation demolitions have escalated. By analysing a time series of satellite imagery HRW has revealed that the military destroyed at least 3,ooo homes – the largest number since the 2014 campaign began – in just two months. Homes of alleged terrorists, activists and their relatives in North Sinai’s largest city Al-Arish have also been set on fire and then demolished.

There has been no judicial oversight of the demolitions and the government has cut electricity and water of the houses they are evicting to force people to leave.

According to the report residents were given between 24-48 hours warning to evict, no assistance for moving to temporary housing, no process to appeal compensation decisions or for destruction of or damage to farmland.

Middle East Director at HRW Sarah Leah Whitson said: “Turning people’s homes into rubble is part of the same self-defeating security plan that has restricted food and movement to inflict pain on Sinai residents.”

The Egyptian army claims it is protecting people from militants, but it’s absurd to think that destroying homes and displacing lifelong residents would make them safer.

The demolitions and forced evictions have exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation in North Sinai, according to HRW, which has calculated that 420,000 residents in North Sinai have been in urgent need of humanitarian assistance since “Operation Sinai” began. With the destruction of farms entire extended families have lost their livelihoods.

Because it is illegal to enter Sinai without a permit, the lack of journalists and human rights workers there means there is an information blackout on the atrocities committed.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Russia welcomes Egypt’s refusal to send troops to Syria on US proposal

Al-Masdar News – 14/05/2018

Russia views positively Egypt’s decision against sending its troops to Syria as was proposed by Washington, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after negotiations between Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers in the 2+2 format on Monday.

“We touched upon this issue in the context of discussing the Syria situation, in the context of discussing actions of the so-called foreign players, including, of course, the United States, because it is precisely its idea to invite Arab countries to send their contingents to the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“As I understand, this is done for the dual purpose: on the one hand, to share responsibility for the direct and gross violation of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Syria, which did not invite the United States and other participants of the US-led coalition to its territory, and the second goal is to share the financial burden,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

“Washington is talking directly and openly about this. I believe everyone understands what stands behind this invitation and we appreciate the position assumed by Egypt,” Lavrov said.

“We discussed this issue as part of the general discussion. Egypt has numerously stressed that it will not send its troops outside its territory as the Egyptian military doctrine stipulates that Egypt’s armed forces must defend only the borders. We discuss such issues only from the theoretical point of view as possible steps,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.

Some Western media outlets earlier reported about a possible dispatch of Arab armed forces, including from Egypt, to Syrian districts controlled by the United States instead of the US military contingent present there for the purpose of assisting stabilization in the country’s northern part after the defeat of the Islamic State terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia).
ALSO READ Syrian Army on the verge of liberating all of Hajar Al-Aswad from ISIS

Commenting on this information, Shoukry stated that Egypt did not consider sending a military contingent to Syria as part of the US initiative.

More:
http://tass.com/politics/1004214

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Leaked video appears to show extrajudicial execution in Sinai

A leaked video appears to show a child being executed at close range in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by an army officer [Twitter]
MEMO | May 8, 2018

A leaked video appears to show a child being executed at close range in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by an army officer.

In the 30 second video the young boy is lying on a hill partially covered in white material. Moments before his death he asks for his mother.

“Don’t worry,” replies the army officer. “We’ll call your father to pick you up. We’ll cover you,” he adds, before shooting him in the head.

The incident took place in 2015 though the video was leaked today after being sent to Egyptian activist Haitham Ghoneim by a soldier who was serving in Sinai.

Ghoneim drew attention to a statement posted on Twitter in March this year which shows a picture of what looks like the same young boy with bomb-making equipment placed next to his body. The army spokesman vows to destroy terrorist dens and hotbeds and declares success in eliminating a terrorist cell and arresting 345 individuals.

Although the video cannot be independently verified, if it is true this young boy is another victim of the heavy-handed war on terror Egyptian security forces are waging in Sinai which purports to be against the local Daesh affiliate, Sinai Province. Under this counterterror operation authorities have forcibly disappeared hundreds of civilians. Several have been extrajudicially executed and then presented to the public as terrorists.

Egyptian authorities released a video last year which alleges to show an anti-terror raid that killed ten Daesh fighters yet experts who analysed the footage said there were indications that it was fake, for example the positions of the bodies suggest they had been moved. At least some of the men in the footage were arrested some months before its release.

In April last year Mekameleen TV station based in Istanbul broadcast a video of an Egyptian military officer executing young men then placing their rifles next to the bodies for photographs to film them and then removing the guns. Two of the victims were identified as 16-year-old Daoud Sabri Al-Awabdah and his brother, 19-year-old Abd Al-Hadi Sabri, who were forcibly disappeared on 18 July 2016.

A violent crackdown in Sinai has been ongoing since 2013 but intensified earlier this year when the government launched Sinai 2018 ahead of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s deadline to “restore stability and security” in the region.

Roads have closed isolating cities from each other and the North Sinai governorate from Egypt’s mainland. There is not enough food, schools and universities have shut and homes are being evacuated and demolished including around Al-Arish airport to create a security buffer zone.

Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings are rife yet the details of what takes place in the region are murky. Journalists and human rights organisations are not allowed into Sinai without permission from the government, which is rarely granted.

READ:

Extrajudicial execution of 54 people over ‘terrorism’ allegations

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Egypt presidential decree allows Bahrain King to own villas in Sinai

MEMO | May 2, 2018

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has issued a presidential decree permitting the King of Bahrain, Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, to own two villas located in the South Sinai province of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt’s state’s official Gazette reported on Monday.

In accordance to the Sinai Development Law No.14/2012, any land on the peninsula can only be owned by Egyptian nationals.

However, a statement released on the State Information Service website claims that Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree approving treating Bahraini King Al Khalifa as an Egyptian citizen in 2016.

“The decree is also applicable to the possession of lands and villas in Naama Bay of Sharm El-Shiekh city for the purpose of residence,” the statement concluded.

The news comes just days after the announcement of a $15 billion project to develop the restive Sinai Peninsula that should be completed by 2022, with a presidential aide describing the scheme as “a project for national security”.

The project includes plans for a comprehensive network of roads, residential and industrial developments, four water desalination plants, hospitals and sewage networks. Funding sources for the initiative remain unclear.

Egypt is reportedly preparing to launch a significant military attack in upcoming days in the area bordering Gaza and Israel, with Egyptian forces amassing near the Rafah crossing.

However, last week, New York based watchdog Human Rights Watch expressed concern over the risk of a looming humanitarian crisis in North Sinai as a result of the Egyptian army’s military operation. Nearly 420,000 residents in four north-eastern cities are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing battle.

According to the report, security forces have also imposed strict restrictions on the movement of goods and people throughout the governorate.

The report quoted local residents as saying that “the authorities have also banned the sale or use of gasoline for vehicle use in the area and cut telecommunication services for several days at a time. The government has cut water and electricity almost entirely in the most eastern areas of North Sinai, including Rafah and Sheikh Zuwayed.

Egypt has been facing a Daesh insurgency in the remote North Sinai region that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in recent years.

Human rights organisations have, however, accused Egypt of using the fight against terror in Sinai as a ruse to cover up the extrajudicial killing of opponents and critics.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

The idea of replacing the US contingent in Syria with Saudi troops is doomed to failure

By Dmitry MININ | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.04.2018

The White House has had a hot new idea – to leave Syria but also stay there at the same time by deploying an Arab contingent to US military bases, primarily from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). So to Arabize one of the bloodiest wars of our time in keeping with the bitter memory of Vietnamization.

It seems that the plan was worked out during the almost month-long stay of Saudi Arabia’s defence minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in America. And the plan’s existence was announced on 17 April by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, during a joint press conference with the UN secretary general, António Guterres. Following the missile attack on Syria, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, reiterated that President Donald Trump still wants an early withdrawal of US troops from the country. The introduction of a Saudi contingent in their place seems to Washington to be in the interests of the United States. And the US government has not just suggested to Saudi Arabia that it replace the American contingent, but to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well. They would take a back seat to the Saudis, however. There is also talk of these regimes providing money to rebuild Syria’s destroyed north. It seems they wouldn’t just be counting on military force, but on “buying” the local population as well.

It does raise a question, of course: have the Americans asked the Syrian government or its own allies – the Kurds and, at the very least, Turkey, Russia and Iran – about the desirability of such a replacement? No, of course they haven’t. Even while withdrawing, the US is unable to forget about its “exclusivity”. For many reasons, however, the idea of replacing Americans with Arabs is doomed to failure.

That Damascus will resolutely resist the proposed reoccupation of its territory by the forces of a “fraternal country” is obvious. It can only lead to more fighting and a rise in regional tensions. Almost as well-equipped as the Americans, the Saudis will never be a worthy opponent of the battle-hardened Syrian army. They have already shown what they’re capable of in the endless war in Yemen, where barefoot Houthis are inflicting one embarrassing defeat after another. Riyadh’s intention to fight a “decisive battle” against Iran on foreign soil will not be realised, either. With its ally Iraq behind it, Tehran would soon have the advantage.

All in all, not a single one of Syria’s neighbours is in favour of the arrival of Saudi troops to replace the Americans except Israel. Iraq is categorically against the idea, since it wants to avoid having to deal with an upsurge in fighting between Sunnis and Shi’ites on its borders. Turkey has no need for the Saudis either, because they would undermine its influence in the Ankara-controlled area of northern Syria. Suffice it to say that the nearly 30,000 troops now under Turkey’s wing from Eastern Ghouta, which was recently liberated by government troops, have been on Riyadh’s payroll for the entire war. Turkey has every reason to fear that Saudi Arabia will use these and other groups to assert its dominance over the area. Libya is also against the appearance of Saudi Arabia on the Syrian stage, fearing that clashes between Sunnis and Shi’ites will move to within its own borders. Even Jordan, which is dependent on Washington and London, is weary of the initiative. As a pragmatic politician, King Abdullah II of Jordan has a good idea of all the possible negative repercussions of such an undertaking.

The proposals have also been criticised by Egypt, which has completely ruled out its involvement in their realisation. Mohammad Rashad, a senior official in Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, expressed himself in no uncertain terms: “The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries and cannot be leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy in a certain area.” Rashad continued: “This is not acceptable. No one should dare to direct or give orders to Egypt’s army.” The statement is an indirect response to an appeal by the US president’s new national security advisor, John Bolton, to the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, Abbas Mustafa Kamil, inviting Cairo to be involved in the project.

Just as many problems await the Saudis in and around the area of their proposed location. To begin with, the Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who control the area with the help of the US will certainly not welcome their arrival. It would mean the Kurds giving up control of the local Arab population in favour of the incoming contingent and losing most of the power they have won. It is quite possible that the Americans are secretly pushing for a scenario in which, as well as Arabization, there will also be a “dekurdization” of northern Syria, but at someone else’s hands. Then it would seem as if they are not betraying the Kurds, while calming Arab national feelings and ironing out differences with the Turks at the same time. Don’t think that the Kurds will remain passive bystanders in this situation, however. Chances are they will occupy the vacated US bases and refuse to let anyone in. It is even possible they will finally realise that, in the current situation, the most sensible course of action to resolve the Kurdish national question would be an alliance with Damascus. For the time being, Damascus is prepared to extend the rights of Kurds, but should they find themselves on the losing side later on, their window of opportunity will gradually close.

And for Saudi Arabia, a direct clash with the Islamic State (IS), which, according to the official version, is the terrorist group that the Saudis must go to Syria to fight, could prove fatal. The truth is that many of the IS militants still fighting in Syria are mujahideen from Saudi Arabia and their ability to indoctrinate their fellow countrymen should not be underestimated. It could happen that any direct contact between the Saudi contingent and IS militants will eventually extend the latter’s influence to the Kingdom, something that the Islamic State has long dreamed of. In the countries of the Persian Gulf, there are already some who think it would perhaps be better to hire Sudanese nationals, Pakistanis or some other poor souls for the operation.

The new plan for America to save face in the Middle East is just as chimerical as all of America’s previous attempts at a global reorganisation of the region. The outcome of Arabization will not be any better than the outcome of Vietnamization was all those decades ago. And this will continue to be the case until Washington starts taking into account the positions of all interested parties, including Damascus.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lebanese Journalist Names Washington’s Goal Number One in Syria

Sputnik – April 19, 2018

Sputnik spoke to Lebanese journalist and commentator Sharmine Narwani to find out more about situation in Syria and Washington’s goals and actions there.

It has been revealed that US Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, tried to urge US President Donald Trump to obtain congressional approval before launching airstrikes on targets in Syria last weekend. According to reports, President Trump was however set on the use of military force, and overruled the Pentagon chief’s advice. In other developments, Saudi Arabia is reportedly holding talks with the United States and Egypt about sending an Arab coalition force into Syria.

Sputnik: We’re hearing news that the US is in talks with Saudi Arabia to build an Arab force and send it to Syria. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said that he is in talks with US National Security Advisor John Bolton to plan building this force – what do you make of this, what do you think its purpose is?

Sharmine Narwani: Look Trump wants to clear exit the debacle in  Syria and eliminate the need to spend billions of dollars a year in maintaining US forces there and participating in the war. The recent chemical weapons allegations came shortly after Trump vocalised this desire; but the likelihood of an Arab force to physically base themselves in Syria on the Syrian-Iraqi border is virtually nil. We must view this new tactic with some suspicion. The US has always trumpeted ISIS as its main goal in Syria or the elimination of ISIS. If ISIS is gone, then what’s the need to have foreign forces based on that border? It seemed clear all along that containing Iran’s access from Iran to the borders of Palestine has always been the goal. It’s not as though Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stellar or significant nation-building expertise anyway. And they have many differences – the Saudis and the UEA for instance are heavily involved militarily in Yemen and are overextended there. Egypt has shown reluctance to participate in that Arab conflict, let alone another one with a government that it has actually sort of ideologically supported in the Syrian conflict. So it’s not likely to become a reality.

Sputnik: Of course in the lead up to the Western bombing campaign on Syria the US was saying that President Bashar al-Assad had used sarin gas, but we’ve now found out that they did not have sufficient evidence of this at the time. Also, the New York Times has revealed that Defence Secretary Jim Mattis urged Trump to get congressional approval for the strikes, but the president overruled him on that – what does this all tell you about the lead up to the events of last weekend?

Sharmine Narwani: If we look at the recent events leading up to the alleged chemical weapons incident, it took place under cover of two important developments: one was Trump’s declaration of exiting Syria, and removing US troops from there soon. The second would be the Syrian army’s very rapid defeat of terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and the reclamation of that strategically vital territory around Damascus. I think the sort of bringing up Sarin, the nerve gas sarin, it’s always kind of utilised as an emotional trigger, as is the mention of chemical weapons by itself and the general assumption if we’re talking about sarin would be that only states would have access to that particular substance, and not terrorist groups and non-state actors, unlike say with a substance like chlorine that is readily available. So I think it was very deliberately invoked, meaning sarin, to create an emotional response globally.

But Sarin has been used in Iraq by insurgents since at least 2004, in the form of IEDs. Turkey for instance, in May 2013, way later during the Syrian conflict, captured 12 Nusra members, Nusra is the Al-Qaida arm in Syria, they captured 12 Nusra members with significant amounts of Sarin and that was believed to be heading toward Syria. And major US-UK risk analysis firm IHS Conflict Monitor, in 2016, told us in a report that ISIS has used chemical weapons more than 52 times in both Syria and Iraq.

Sputnik: We’ve heard today that US senators are increasingly becoming concerned at the absence of a coherent US strategy in Syria, where do you see things from here?

Sharmine Narwani: Even during Obama’s term, we talked about there being a lack of coherent strategy. I would say that there is maybe a lack of a coherent verbalised strategy, one that was disseminated to the American public and an international one. There was certainly a strategy behind the scenes, one that was not vocalised and actions speak louder than words, so when we look at the arming, training and financing of terrorists when it was clear that there wasn’t enough Syrian support to topple Assad in the way leaders had been toppled in Tunisia and Egypt. We had the arming, training & financing but there was a very clear strategy, and the goal was number one, regime change, and two, to weaken the most important Iranian Arab state ally. So that was the strategy. When people say there wasn’t a coherent one they probably mean there wasn’t a coherent vocalised one. US actions have certainly shown us that regime change and weakening Iran were in fact the strategy in Syria and this is apparent today because the escalation still continues.

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment