Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to attend US-led Palestinian conference

MEMO | June 11, 2019

Egypt, Jordan and Morocco have informed the Trump administration they will attend a US-led conference in Bahrain this month on proposals for boosting the Palestinian economy as part of a coming US peace plan, US officials said on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

Egypt and Jordan’s participation is considered especially important since historically they have been key players in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and are also the only Arab states to have reached peace agreements with Israel.

However, Palestinian leaders’ decision to boycott the June 25-26 conference has raised doubts about its chances for success. They have shunned a broader diplomatic effort that US President Donald Trump has called the “deal of the century,” which they see as likely to be heavily tilted in favour of Israel and denying them a state of their own.

Despite that, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a chief architect of the long-delayed peace plan, is pressing ahead with arrangements for the Bahrain meeting, where the economic components are expected to be unveiled as the first step in the plan’s rollout.

Acceptance of the invitation to the conference by Jordan and Egypt will bring to the table two countries that border both Israel and Palestinian areas.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have previously confirmed their attendance, a White House official said.

The official declined to say what level of representation the countries would send. US officials have said they were inviting economic and finance ministers, as well as business leaders from the region and around the world.

Global financial bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank also plan to be present.

US officials have been vague about the timing for the second phase of their initiative, which would be the release of proposals for resolving the thorny political issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With Israel heading for new elections in September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to meet a deadline to form a government, uncertainty is expected to further delay the full release of the plan.

Most experts are skeptical the Trump administration can succeed where decades of US-backed efforts have failed.

 

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas: Warsaw summit serves Israel only

Hazem Qasem
Palestine Information Center | February 15, 2019

GAZA – Hamas’s spokesman Hazem Qasem on Thursday said that the US-led Warsaw conference serves the interests of Israel only.

Qasem said in a brief statement that the US administration seeks to integrate Israel into the regional community and liquidate the Palestinian cause.

“Warsaw conference portrays Iran as the most dangerous enemy instead of the Israeli occupation, which will lead to more divisions in the Middle East. All this is a free service offered by the US administration to Netanyahu,” he added.

Qasem pointed out that Warsaw conference is a thinly-veiled attempt by Israel and the US to pass the so-called Deal of the Century.

The conference will be attended by representatives from dozens of countries including Arab countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the UAE.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran: Morocco’s false claims aim to please third parties

Press TV – May 24, 2018

Iran has hit out at Morocco for accusing Tehran of interference in the African country’s affairs, saying the “false claims” are aimed at pleasing certain third parties.

Morocco has close ties with Saudi Arabia which has accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs, with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita repeating those claims in a recent interview with Fox News.

“The Moroccan foreign minister knows himself well that the unjust charges he is making are utterly wrong, false and based on delusions and fictions written by those who resort to such provocations only in line with their illegitimate interests,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday.

Bourita first made the accusations against Iran early this month as he announced Morocco’s decision to sever diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic over what he called Tehran’s support for the Polisario Front.

The Polisario is a guerrilla movement fighting for independence for the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara which is claimed by Morocco after colonial Spain left the territory.

In his interview with Fox News aired on Wednesday, Bourita claimed that Hezbollah members had met with senior Polisario military leaders recently and that the Iranian embassy in Algeria was used to fund the Polisario.

“The Moroccan authorities’ insistence on repeating their false claims for cutting diplomatic ties with Iran and repeatedly raising baseless allegations against our country is merely a bid to please certain third parties,” Qassemi said.

Bourita also claimed that Iran was in part trying to destabilize the area due to Morocco’s good relations with the US and Europe.

Earlier this month, he had said that Iran and Hezbollah were supporting Polisario by training and arming its fighters, via the Iranian embassy in Algeria.

Algeria, Iran and Hezbollah were all quick to reject the claims as baseless back then.

Iranian Foreign Ministry said there was no cooperation between Tehran’s diplomatic mission in Algiers and the Algeria-backed movement.

Hezbollah also blamed the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia for the diplomatic tensions, saying Rabat had cut ties with Tehran under pressure from the trio.

In turn, Algeria summoned Morocco’s ambassador to protest the “unfounded” claims.

Rabat annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975, and has since been in conflict with Polisario, which demands a referendum on self-determination and independence.

The movement, which aims to end Morocco’s presence in the Saharan region, recently said they sought to set up a “capital” in the region, prompting Rabat to caution it would respond with force.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Severance of Iran-Morocco ties: Algiers responds to Rabat’s “baseless” allegations

MEMO | May 7, 2018

Algerian authorities rejected Wednesday as “completely baseless” Morocco’s allegations in the aftermath of the cut of diplomatic relations with Iran, over the alleged Teheran’s support of the Polisario Front implicating “indirectly Algeria, reports Sahara Press Service.

Morocco’s ambassador to Algiers was received Wednesday by the secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who expressed “Algerian authorities’ rejection of the completely baseless statements, made by its Foreign Minister while announcing the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Morocco and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and which indirectly implicate Algeria,” said the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdelaziz Benali Cherif.

The Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson responded to the allegations made, the day before, by Morocco’s minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, who announced at a news conference in Rabat that Morocco had decided to cut diplomatic relations with Iran over its “support” to the Polisario Front, the legitimate and only representative of Western Sahara people.

The Polisario Front, which dubbed “big lie” Morocco’s allegations of military relations between the Polisario and Iran, defied Rabat to produce evidence for its “false allegations.”

Polisario Front’s coordinator with MINURSO (UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), M’hamed Khadad, said Rabat acted out of political opportunism to “circumvent the resumption of direct political negotiations called for by the United Nations” for the settlement of Western Sahara conflict through a referendum on Saharawi people’s self-determination.

Khadad denied any military relations with Iran, saying “the Polisario Front has never had military relations, has never received arms and has never had military contacts with Iran or Hezbollah”.

Iranian authorities said the accusations are “completely baseless, far from reality and wrong.

“They stressed that “one of the most fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy in its relations with other governments and countries in the world has been and continue to be deep respect for their sovereignty and security as well as non-interference in the domestic affairs of other states.”

Lebanese Hezbollah also rejected Morocco’s accusations, saying it was regrettable that Rabat had given in to foreign “pressure.

“The Lebanese political party invited “Morocco to look for a more convincing argument to sever its ties with Iran.”

READ ALSO: 

Morocco to cut diplomatic ties with Iran

Hezbollah accuses Morocco of bowing to US pressure

May 7, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Polisario Front: There Is No Military Presence by Any Foreign Power in Western Sahara

Al-Manar | May 2, 2018

The Polisario Front denied on Wednesday there was military presence by any foreign power in Western Sahara, a day after Morocco cut ties with Iran, accusing the Islamic Republic of providing support to the Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement.

UNews news agency reported that the Polisario Front hit back at Moroccan move to cut ties with Iran, stressing that the movement’s fighters are alone operating in the Western Sahara.

Meanwhile, Mehr news agency reported that the Front spokesman has dismissed the Moroccan government accusations against Iran as baseless and fabricated.

According to the Polisario Front’s website Hespress, the Front’s spokesman Muhammed Haddad has asked the Moroccan government to release any previously alleged evidence showing the links between Iran the Western Saharan movement.

Haddad added “through these maneuvers and accusations, Rabat seeks to refrain from negotiation on the desert, which the United Nations has called for.”

On Tuesday, Morocco’s foreign affairs minister, Nasser Bourita, claimed that Rabat had evidence showing Iranian government had provided financial as well as logistical support to Polisario through its embassy in Algiers.

The Morracan government has announced it will cut diplomatic ties with Iran over the accusations.

The Polisario Front is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara. It is an observer member of the Socialist International. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people and maintains that the Sahrawis have a right to self-determination. The Polisario Front is outlawed in the parts of Western Sahara under Moroccan control, and it is illegal to raise its party flag (often called the Sahrawi flag) there.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Spain falls short of apologising for 1920s use of chemical weapons in Morocco

Spanish soldiers are seen during the Rif War in 1922 [Military Archive of Ávila/Wikipedia]
MEMO | February 15, 2018

Spain has said it will respond to the Amazigh World Assembly’s (AMA) request concerning the use of chemical weapons by King’s Alfonso XIII military during the Rif War from 1921-1926 but has fallen short on agreeing to apologise for its actions.

Spain’s Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis confirmed that the request had been made to Madrid and “as a result of the request of the King, the [AMA] were received in the Spanish embassy to submit their demands and also examine possible ways of cooperation.”

Speaking during a parliamentary meeting, Dastis answered questions from Joan Tarda, a member of the Esquerra Republicana, who has been pushing for the Spanish government to admit its use of chemical weapons in the Rif war.

However, though showing his willingness to hear the AMA’s demands, Dastis fell short of expressing his country’s readiness to apologise for its use of chemical warfare on civilians.

The conflict lasted from 1920 to 1927 between Berber rebels led by Mohamed Ibn Abd Al-Karim Al-Khattabi against Spanish colonial forces in Morocco’s Rif region. Following the defeat of Spanish troops in the Annoual battle in July 1921, Spain reportedly used chemical and toxic gas indiscriminately against the Rif civilian population in order to inflict maximum damage. The chemical attacks were a violation of the 1919 Treaty of Versaille which prohibited the use of chemical weapons.

The AMA filed a request calling on Spanish authorities to officially apologise to the Rif people and to compensate the victims and families for the tragedy. A similar request by AMA was last made in 2015 to King Felipe VI.

The Moroccan Centre for Common Memory, Democracy and Peace echoed calls by AMA and called on the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs to honour previous pledges to respond to the requests of Moroccan civil society organisations calling on Spain to recognise its culpability.

As a result of the chemical warfare, many of those in the Rif have suffered the highest rates of cancer than in any other region in Morocco with 80 per cent of cases of larynx cancer in Morocco found in the Rif region.

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Protests in Western Sahara against solar and wind plant construction

MEMO |November 8, 2016

Protests erupted yesterday in the Western Sahara over the construction of renewable energy plants without the permission of the Sahrawi people.

The protests, which took place in the capital Laayoune, coincided with the United Nation’s COP22 conference on climate change yesterday in Marrakech.

Siemens and Enel are building solar and wind plants in the region

“Siemens should not back Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara through energy infrastructure,” the Western Sahara Resource Watch (WRSW) said on social media.

Siemens has constructed 22 new renewable energy plants in the Western Sahara, which power over 95 per cent of mineral extraction plants in the Sahrawi region.

The World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the European Union have previously refused to finance development projects in Western Sahara.

“If we support those investments, it would look like we are supporting the Moroccan position. We are neutral regarding that conflict,” a banker told Reuters.

The contested region has recently been engrossed in tensions between Morocco and the Sahrawi Polisario Front which has been ongoing since 1975.

November 9, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi invasion of Syria: The bluff that could ignite World War III

By Finian Cunningham | RT | February 7, 2016

The Saudi plan to send ground troops into Syria appears to be just a ruse. But this is precisely the kind of reckless saber-rattling that could ignite an all-out war, one that could embroil the United States and Russia.

Saudi rulers have reportedly amassed a 150,000-strong army to invade Syria on the alleged pretext “to fight against terrorism” and to defeat the so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIS/ISIL). Saudi officials told CNN that in addition to Saudi troops there are ground forces from Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem gave a categorical response, saying the move would be seen as an act of aggression and that any invasion force regardless of its stated reasons for entering Syria will be sent back in “wooden coffins”.

Nevertheless, US President Barack Obama has welcomed the Saudi plan to intervene in Syria.

Obama’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is this week due to meet in Brussels with counterparts from the US-led so-called “anti-terror” coalition to make a decision on the whether to activate the Saudi plan. A Saudi military spokesman has already said that if the US-led coalition gives its consent then his country will proceed with the intervention.

In recent weeks, Carter and other senior US officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have been calling for increased regional Arab military action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Carter and Biden have also said the US is prepared to send in its own ground troops en masse if the Geneva peace talks collapse.

Now, those talks appear to be floundering. So, does that mean that a large-scale invasion of US-led foreign armies in Syria is on the way?

Let’s step back a moment and assess what is really going on. The Saudi warning – or more accurately “threat” – of military intervention in Syria is not the first time that this has been adverted to. Back in mid-December, when Riyadh announced the formation of a 34-Islamic nation alliance to “fight terrorism”, the Saudis said that the military alliance reserved the right to invade any country where there was deemed to be a terror threat – including Syria.

Another factor is that the House of Saud is not pleased with US-led diplomatic efforts on Syria. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s bustling to organize the Geneva negotiations – supposedly to find a peace settlement to the five-year conflict – is seen by the Saudis as giving too many concessions to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and his foreign allies, Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

The Geneva talks – which came unstuck last week – can be arguably assessed as not a genuine internal Syria process to resolve the war – but rather they are a cynical political attempt by Washington and its allies to undermine the Syrian government for their long-held objective of regime change. The inclusion among the political opposition at Geneva of Al Qaeda-linked militants, Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, with Western backing, illustrates the ulterior purpose.

The Washington Post gave the game away when it reported at the weekend: “The Obama administration has found itself increasingly backed into a corner by Russian bombing in Syria that its diplomacy has so far appeared powerless to stop.”

In other words, the Geneva diplomacy, mounted in large part by Kerry, was really aimed at halting the blistering Russian aerial campaign. The four-month intervention ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned the tide of the entire Syrian war, allowing the Syrian Arab Army to win back strategically important terrain.

That the Russian military operations have not stopped, indeed have stepped up, has caused much consternation in Washington and its allies.

Russia and Syria can reasonably argue that the UN resolutions passed in November and December give them the prerogative to continue their campaign to defeat ISIS and all other Al Qaeda-linked terror groups. But it seems clear now that Kerry was counting on the Geneva talks as a way of stalling the Russian-Syrian assaults on the regime-change mercenaries.

Kerry told reporters over the weekend that he is making a last-gasp attempt to persuade Russia to call a ceasefire in Syria. Indicating the fraught nature of his discussions with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Kerry said: “The modalities of a ceasefire itself are also being discussed… But if it’s just talks for the sake of talks in order to continue the bombing, nobody is going to accept that, and we will know that in the course of the next days.”

Moscow last week was adamant that it would not stop its bombing operations until “all terrorists” in Syria have been defeated. Syria’s Foreign Minister al-Muallem reiterated this weekend that there would be no ceasefire while illegally armed groups remain in Syria.

What we can surmise is that because the US-led covert military means for regime change in Syria is being thwarted and at the same time the alternative political means for regime change are also not gaining any traction – due to Russia and Syria’s astuteness on the ulterior agenda – the Washington axis is now reacting out of frustration.

Part of this frustrated reaction are the threats from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other regional regimes – with US tacit approval – to go-ahead with a direct military intervention.

In short, it’s a bluff aimed at pressuring Syria and Russia to accommodate the ceasefire demands, which in reality are to serve as a breathing space for the foreign-backed terrorist proxies.

From a military point of view, the Saudi troop invasion cannot be taken remotely serious as an effective deployment. We only have to look at how the Saudi regime has been battered in Yemen over the past 10 months – in the Arab region’s poorest country – to appreciate that the Saudis have not the capability of carrying out a campaign in Syria.

As American professor Colin Cavell noted to this author: “Saudi intervention in Syria will have as much success as its intervention in Yemen. History has clearly shown that mercenary forces will never fight external wars with any success or elan, and no Saudi soldier in his right mind truly supports the Saudi monarchy. Everyone in Saudi Arabia knows that the House of Saud has no legitimacy, is based solely on force and manipulation, propped up by the US and the UK, and – if it did not have so much money – is a joke, run by fools.”

Thus, while a military gambit is decidedly unrealistic, the real danger is that the Saudi rulers and their American patrons have become so unhinged from reality that they could miscalculate and go into Syria. That would be like a spark in a powder keg. It will be seen as an act of war on Syria and its allies, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. The US would inevitably be drawn fully into the spiral of a world war.

History has illustrated that wars are often the result not of a single, willful decision – but instead as the result of an ever-quickening process of folly.

Syria is just one potential cataclysm.


Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Syrian blues

By M K Bhadrakumar | India Punchline | December 11, 2015

At the Brookings Institution in Washington last Friday, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon gave an expose of his country’s perspectives on the conflict in Syria. Ya’alon is a former chief of staff of Israeli armed forces. His extensive remarks betrayed Israel’s acute dilemma on the policy front following the traumatic defeat its diplomacy suffered in attempting to forestall the Iran nuclear deal. Israel is finding it hard to turn a new leaf, while other protagonists in the region and indeed the Obama administration are moving on. Ya’alon made the following points:

  • Russia is playing a “more significant role” than the US in the Syrian conflict at present. This is not to Israel’s liking, because Russia supports the ‘Shia axis’, which includes Iran, Syria (Assad regime), Hezbollah, Houthis in Yemen and other Shia elements in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, etc.
  • Israel disfavors the Syrian peace process devolving upon the UN-sponsored International Syria Support Group and the Vienna talks because it recognizes Iran’s key role in reaching any settlement, which can only lead to the consolidation of Iran’s ‘hegemony’ in Syria.
  • The geopolitics of the Middle East in general and in Syria are centred around three groupings: a) The “very solid” Shia axis which at present enjoys the support of Russia, is anathema to Israel; b) The Muslim Brotherhood axis which comprises Turkey, Qatar, and Gaza (Hamas), which is “not on the same page” as with the US or Israel; and, c) The Sunni Arab camp, “the most significant camp” in the region, which lacks leadership, but brings together Israel with Saudi Arabia and other GCC states, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco.
  • The US should “orchestrate” and lead the Sunni Arab camp; in Syria, this means defeating Daesh with the foot soldiers provided by Sunni Arabs and Kurds, whom, therefore, Washington should ‘empower, support, finance and arm’. The US should have done this from the very beginning, but it is not yet “a lost cause. There is still a chance to do it”.
  • One of the dangerous implications of the Iran deal is that Tehran is increasingly perceived as “a part of the solution” in Middle East’s hot spots, whereas, a resurgent Iran is a more confident Iran which is all set on the path to become a big military power. The S-300 missiles supplied by Russia recently “are going to be operational within a couple of weeks.”
  • The Russian military operations in Syria have been a failure insofar as Moscow had estimated that a 3-month offensive would gain more territory for the Syrian regime, whereas, this hasn’t happened, and, therefore, pressure has built on Moscow to explore a political settlement.
  • A settlement is hard to reach in Syria and the country will remain unstable for a very long time to come.

Interestingly, Ya’alon conceded that the “apocalyptic, messianic” regime in Iran is firmly ensconced in power in Tehran and “with more money now, without political isolation, without external pressure”, it has more room to maneuver. Thus, no change can be expected in the Iranian policies. As he put it, “I don’t see the chance to have McDonald branches in Tehran as the new future”.

The remarks by Ya’alon underscore the stark isolation of Israel in the politics of the Middle East. Evidently, Israel’s preferred option is that the US resumes its containment strategy against Iran, and, as part of the policy, should lead its regional allies to militarily push for regime change in Syria. On the other hand, the Obama administration has had enough of confrontation with Iran, has no stomach for getting involved in a prolonged war in Syria or anywhere in the Middle East. Besides, Israel is overlooking that the West’s attitude toward the Assad regime has mellowed significantly and there is overall acceptance that Assad has a role in the transition.

On the other hand, the S-300 missiles supplied by Russia recently are becoming operational within the coming week or so and they will considerably strengthen Iran’s air defence system. In sum, an Israeli military option against Iran is inconceivable from now onward. Both Iran and Israel are acutely conscious that the power balance in the region has shifted. Put differently, the spectre that is haunting Israel is the inexorable rise of Iran as a regional ‘superpower’. At one point Ya’alon put it as follows:

  • We believe in the end Daesh (Islamic State) is going to be defeated. Iran is very different. It’s actually an original superpower… That is why we worry about this regime, and if they are perceived as a key for the solution because they are ready to fight Daesh, then they are going to gain more hegemony in the region… to be more dangerous, to be situated on our border, as part of the political settlement in Syria. This is very dangerous.

The implications of a Syrian settlement, reached on the basis of a consensus involving Iran, are very serious indeed for Israel. Iran put its cards on the table recently by stressing that the fate of President Assad is a ‘red line’ for Tehran – non-negotiable. And Iran openly regards Assad as an anchor sheet of ‘resistance’. Significantly, one of the most influential figures in the Iranian establishment, Ali Akbar Velayati, the advisor on foreign affairs to the Supreme Leader and a distinguished former foreign minister himself, made a stunning statement last week that Tehran expects Russia to join the resistance soon — and China too in a conceivable future. Velayati’s statement cannot be without any basis.

Israel has adopted a tactful line so far by engaging Russia and avoiding any skirmishes with the Russian forces operating in Syria. But it thoroughly dislikes the Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis in Syria, which is only going from strength to strength. Israel watches with unease that the Russian-Iranian military ties are poised for a phenomenal makeover. (Iranian and Hezbollah forces apparently helped in the rescue of the Russian pilot recently on the Syrian-Turkish border.) The Russian operations go hand in hand with the ground attacks by the Syrian government forces, who are assisted by the Hezbollah and are operating under the guidance of Iranian military advisors.

The crunch time comes if and when the military operations intensify in the southern regions of Syria bordering the Golan Heights. The instability in Syria is useful for Israel to disrupt the supply lines for Hezbollah. But the new reality could be a strong Iranian-Hezbollah presence in southern Syria in the approaches to the Golan Heights enjoying Russian air cover. If that happens, Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights could become a theatre for the forces of the ‘resistance’. Read Ya’alon’s extensive remarks here.

December 13, 2015 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US government publicly concedes case against ex-Gitmo prisoner collapsed in 2011

Reprieve | October 21, 2015

On the eve of a hearing in Morocco that will determine whether ex-Guantánamo prisoner Younous Chekkouri is to be set free, the US government has released a letter admitting that the central allegation against him in the US was withdrawn in 2011.

Younous Chekkouri was held without charge or trial in Guantanamo for 14 years before being transferred to his native Morocco on September 16, 2015. His transfer was subject to diplomatic assurances between Morocco and the US, which included agreements that there was no basis to charge him; that Morocco would not prosecute him; and that he would be detained no longer than 72 hours. However, after his arrival in Morocco Mr Chekkouri was taken to Salé prison near Rabat, where he continues to be held in violation of the assurances.

At a court hearing tomorrow (22nd), the investigating magistrate will determine whether Mr Chekkouri should be set free. It is believed that the Moroccan authorities are detaining Mr Chekkouri on the basis of the same allegations that the US government has now withdrawn against him.

In a letter released today, the US Justice Department concedes that several years ago the US “withdrew all reliance” on “all evidence identifying Mr. Chekkouri with the group known as Group Islamique Combatant Maroc [sic] “GICM””. The concession – made during a US habeas case brought by Mr Chekkouri with the help of human rights organization Reprieve – confirms that the evidence used to make the allegation was unreliable. During those proceedings, Mr Chekkouri explained in federal court that the information resulted from a mixture of the torture of himself and other prisoners, as well as stories fabricated by informers within Guantánamo who concocted false stories on hundreds of other prisoners in order to win better treatment in the prison.

The letter has been released by the Justice Department as a partial summary of the US government position in the US case. While not a complete picture of the near-total collapse of the case against Younous in the US habeas process, the document is the only evidence relating to the habeas case that the Justice Department would agree to release to Mr Chekkouri’s lawyers in time to enable his defense on the same spurious charges in Morocco.

Mr Chekkouri’s attorneys at Reprieve – who are in Morocco seeking to see Mr Chekkouri and defend him in court – have raised concerns that he now faces potential prosecution for long-disproven allegations that the United States withdrew years ago. The lawyers will urgently seek to provide the letter to the investigating magistrate and to Moroccan government officials.

October 21, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

US must release files proving innocence of former Guantanamo detainee, say lawyers

Reprieve | September 25, 2015

Lawyers at human rights NGO Reprieve yesterday filed an emergency motion demanding the US government release information which could exonerate a former Guantanamo detainee facing the possibility of charges in Morocco.

Younous Chekkouri, 47, was transferred to his native Morocco last week. He has been detained ever since and the prosecution in Morocco announced on Wednesday that he is now facing the possibility of charges of ‘attempting to disrupt the internal security of the country.’

It is believed that these charges are based on allegations made years ago by the US – almost every one of which was dropped during Younous’ habeas corpus proceedings in federal court. Yet almost all the files from the case remain held under seal by a Washington D.C. court. Without the files being released, Younous’ lawyers will not be able to defend him against the possible Moroccan charges.

Reprieve first began asking the U.S. government to release the files in 2009, and in 2011 presented a “priority list” of thirteen documents. In the nearly four years since, the government has released only one of the requested files. In the rules governing Guantanamo proceedings, the US is obliged to produce public versions of all filings. The emergency motion filed yesterday demands that the government make available all remaining information by October 1st.

The US government cleared Younous for release from Guantanamo in 2010, a process involving unanimous agreement by six US federal agencies – including the CIA, FBI, and Departments of State and Defense – that he poses no threat to the US or anyone else.

Cori Crider, attorney for Younous and a director at human rights NGO Reprieve, said: “The Americans’ spurious allegations against Younous have already collapsed once when examined in US federal court and it is entirely unfair for him to face any further charges. Yet Younous is now living a Groundhog Day from hell where he may face yet more years of wrongful imprisonment because the US has failed to release information that I could use, this time in a Moroccan court, to prove his innocence yet again. So we are now forced to fight tooth and nail for information that should have been released years ago.”

September 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , | Leave a comment

Former Guantanamo detainee facing possibility of ‘utterly baseless’ charges in Morocco

Reprieve | September 23, 2015

Younous Chekkouri, who was released from Guantanamo last week, is facing the possibility of charges in Morocco that his lawyer has described as ‘utterly baseless’.

The prosecution in Morocco today announced that Younous – who has been held in detention since his release last week – is facing the possibility of charges of ‘attempts to disrupt the security of the country’. A judge will decide in two weeks whether to formally charge him. Meanwhile he has been placed in ‘provisional detention’ in Salé without bail.

Younous, 47, was cleared by the US government in 2010 – a process involving unanimous agreement by six federal agencies including the Departments of State and Defense and the CIA and FBI. He was never charged with a crime. His petition for habeas corpus was litigated through to a hearing, and saw the US government drop almost every allegation it had originally made against Younous.

Cori Crider, Younous’ attorney and director at Reprieve, said: “Younous facing charges is nothing short of an absolute disgrace. The US government, responsible for his being in this position in the first place, saw fit to clear him for release from Guantanamo following an exhaustive review. They never charged him with a crime and indeed they dropped almost every one of the ridiculous allegations they ever made against him while his case was being litigated in federal court. Any charges the Moroccan prosecutors are attempting to lay at Younous’ door are utterly baseless and must be revoked at once. Younous Chekkouri must go free.”

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , | 1 Comment