Saturday, 19 January 2019

25 Years Ago an Agreement on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine Was Signed



25 Years Ago an Agreement on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine Was Signed
January 16, 2019
On January 14th 1994 in Moscow the presidents of Ukraine, Russia, and the US signed the tripartite declaration for the liquidation of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Under the treaty 176 intercontinental missiles and 1500 nuclear warheads on the territory of Ukraine had to be liquidated.
One might ask what has Donbass got to do with this?
When today Ukrainian radicals say that if Ukraine had preserved the world’s third biggest nuclear arsenal nobody could stop Kiev strangling an anti-fascist uprising not only in Donbass but also in Crimea, this is the absolute truth. People generally don’t joke about such things. Despite the fact that it’s unlikely that Kiev could’ve created a fully-fledged system of controlling, servicing, and using in combat all the missiles it inherited, even the existence of this arsenal made Ukraine almost invulnerable in relation to any external pressure. Taking into account the fact that Ukraine, in principle, could bring a considerable part of its available weaponry (except intercontinental missiles) to combat readiness (today, 23 years after the last warhead left the territory of “independent” Ukraine, it is possible to talk about it openly), nobody would start to clash with a monkey armed with a nuclear “grenade”.
Ukraine relinquished nuclear weapons only because its leaders attached too much value to diplomatic tinsel under the name “recognition of independence”. It is exactly what we regularly hear from patriotically dilettanti, crying out: “Why hasn’t Russia recognised Donbass yet?”
I can understand people who suffer from the fact that units of the 1st Guards tank army still haven’t come to the Dnieper, Vistula, Oder, Rhine, and, finally, the Atlantic. The desire to capture everything, to kill all enemies, and to throw internal opposition into jail – cleaning snow in Siberia – is the natural reaction of small children and infantile adults concerning the complicated and unclear to them world that surrounds them. But I am surprised by the ritual surrounding abstract recognition [of the DPR/LPR – ed] by the people who don’t understand its significance.
Here is a simple example: Russia did not recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This did not prevent it from dispersing the Georgian army in one week when Saakashvili tried to restore the control of Tbilisi over these territories via armed force. Russia does not recognise Transnistria, but everyone perfectly knows that in a similar situation the reaction of Moscow will be the same. Russia never presented territorial claims to Ukraine, recognising its territorial integrity, but one month hadn’t even passed after the coup in Kiev and Crimea reunited with its Motherland. On the other hand, Japan does not recognise the Southern Kuril Ridge as Russian, but does this strongly help it? Up to the 70’s the US did not recognise the People’s Republic of China, considering the Taiwanese Kuomintang as the legitimate authority of China. And what?
Returning to Crimea. Not many people in the world recognised Crimea’s transition to the structure of Russia. But, besides the Kiev provokers, nobody tries to challenge the right of the Russian border guards to control the territorial waters of the peninsula.
In international law there is the concept of “an authority that actually controls the territory”. Irrespective of whether or not this authority is recognised by someone, or whether or not it was formed as a result of a coup, separation, or the voluntary division of the former state (as an option of merging two or several former ones), what’s important is not the fact of its international recognition, but the fact of its ability to support military-political control over a certain territory. If you have such an ability, then people will interact, trade, and even conclude quite official agreements with you. But if you formally own something but are not capable of controlling this ownership, then people will only sympathise with you whilst reaching agreements with those who control the territory.
In fact, this is what the Minsk process is based on. For several years Russia, France, and Germany have tried to explain to Kiev that it must speak and agree with the real authorities in Donbass. If it will reach an agreement on maintaining unity, then nobody will interfere, and if it won’t be able to reach an agreement, then it will be obliged to reach an agreement about a civilised divorce. But Ukrainian politicians, like 25 years ago, drag its heels concerning the question of formal recognition and demand that Donbass is returned to them under the Christmas tree either by Ded Moroz [Russia – ed], Santa Claus [America – ed], or Père Noël [France – ed].
But they could’ve learnt at least something from the story with nuclear disarmament.
Ukraine likes to remember the Budapest memorandum in connection with Crimea and Donbass. On Russian talk shows it as a rule is presented as a piece of paper without meaning (like saying: the memorandum is not a treaty and doesn’t oblige anyone to do anything). This isn’t true. A memorandum is a publicly given word of honour to follow certain rules. In some sense it is even more than a treaty. The latter, as a rule, is concluded over a certain period of time. But even termless contracts can be denounced (or just stop working) if the situation changes. But a memorandum indeed is not a binding document, it is not ratified, thus it cannot be denounced, but violating it is also not comme il faut [as it should be – ed]. This is like publicly promising a girl that you’ll marry her, and then, also publicly, bragging that you deceived her.
But notice that, unlike Kiev, the US and Great Britain, which together with Russia signed the Budapest memorandum, and also France and China, which gave Ukraine similar guarantees in special separate declarations, do not see any violations of the mentioned document. The answer to the question “Why?” is in the mentioned Tripartite declaration, the 25th anniversary of which we celebrated on January 14th. The following provisions were a part of the Budapest memorandum in an unchanged form. Ukrainian diplomacy likes to refer to them, but in practice they haven’t been violated:
“- reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;
– refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in selfdefense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;
– reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;
– reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a nonnuclear weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;
– reaffirm, in the case of the Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a state in association or alliance with a nuclear weapon state”.
It is not difficult to notice that exactly the same obligations that were given to other states that joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as non-nuclear states also apply to Ukraine. Help to Ukraine (including via immediate actions of the UNSC) is promised only if Kiev becomes a victim of aggression or the threat of aggression with the use of nuclear weapons. I.e., in the event of non- nuclear aggression, nobody owes Ukraine anything. It was promised to Ukraine to not use economic coercion against it. But even now, despite all the unfriendly steps made by Kiev, Russia did not tear up any treaty or any agreement on the initiative. Economic ties were torn up only where Ukraine tore them up.
Concerning territorial integrity, guarantees are given only within the framework of the CSCE final act. At the same time, peacefully changing the borders is allowed (who will say that Crimea was conquered? And, by the way, it is precisely for this reason that Turchynov demanded war in March 2014 – back then it was possible to try to record a violation of the Budapest memorandum). Moreover, even the obligation not to use armed force against Ukraine has no absolute character, the vague formulation “except in selfdefense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations” was used. Let’s note that the UN did not record a violation of the Charter by Russia (only the UN Security Council has the competence to do this).
So formally the Memorandum hasn’t been violated.
Let’s be frank, it is indeed formulated in such a way that it is impossible to violate it whatever may happen. And Ukraine knew this. Pay attention: the Tripartite declaration is dated January 14th 1994 (it was signed by Kravchuk), and the Budapest memorandum was signed on December 5th (practically one year later) by Kuchma. During all this time Ukrainian diplomacy tried to squeeze out the best conditions from the guarantor states. But it didn’t squeeze them out, and couldn’t have.
A critical mistake was made by Kiev on May 23rd 1992. On this day Russia, the US, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan signed the Lisbon protocol on the basis of which, Kiev, Minsk, and Astana joined the NPT as non-nuclear countries. Kazakhstan and Belarus also did not apply for nuclear status. For them, the signing of this document was natural. However Ukraine tried to keep its nuclear arsenal. But Kiev decided that it would be possible to bargain later, and that the most important thing at the time was international recognition. And Ukraine was frankly blackmailed with the refusal to recognise it as a nuclear state.
Kiev did not understand that a country with the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal would be recognised anyway. Even if it doesn’t happen immediately, it will be possible to wait for however long is necessary – agreements will be made with it all the same and its opinion will be taken into account in international affairs. Kravchuk was afraid that the people [of Ukraine – ed] won’t treat the “sovereign” government seriously if it isn’t internationally recognised. His Minister of Foreign Affairs (Zlenko) hurried to report on recognition by “the whole world” (to start with – by “all the civilised world”) and open embassies everywhere where it was possible. And he signed the Lisbon protocol in which Ukraine unambiguously took upon itself the obligation to relinquish nuclear weapons. All the rest is two years of floundering in an attempt to get out of the already undertaken obligations or to at least squeeze out at least some dividends from this.
In fact, the issue of Kiev’s relinquishment of its nuclear status was decided by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (not the Rada, not the government, and not the president). Of course, Zlenko had the correspondingly issued powers, but it is his signature that is underneath the protocol, and, most importantly, it is he and his department who developed recommendations for decision-making bodies. Ukraine at the time had no other experienced foreign affairs specialists.
The fact of recognition and having their own diplomatic missions played the same role for the Ukrainian authorities that pieces of glass, beads, and broken guns played for African savages in the 15th-16th centuries, or blankets and whisky for Indians a couple of centuries later. It was a fetish for which it is possible to give everything. And they indeed gave. And thank God. It is difficult to imagine what would’ve happened to the world if Ukraine had kept its nuclear weapons. In any case, Kiev would’ve for sure launched a war against Russia in the 90’s.
Since the clever learn from the mistakes of fools, it is worth remembering the story of Ukrainian nuclear disarmament and not to make a fetish out of the recognition of someone’s independence and sovereignty. This is a little more than a mere formality that sometimes others try to flog expensively. The fact of recognition does not give anything other than the right to officially maintain diplomatic mission in the countries that recognised you. But, for example, Taiwan, after most of the world recognised the People’s Republic of China and severed diplomatic relations with Kuomintang, simply renamed its embassies into trade missions. Nothing else changed and won’t exchange until Taipei is able to keep the island under control. But as soon as the unity of China will be restored, even those ten countries that still recognise not the People’s Republic of China, but the Republic of China (Taiwan), will absolutely quietly accept the new reality.
What’s important is the actual state of affairs, and not the theoretical one. Imagine that Zlenko didn’t sign the Lisbon protocol, Kravchuk didn’t sign the Tripartite declaration, Kuchma didn’t sign the Budapest memorandum, and Ukraine would’ve kept its nuclear arsenal. Do you think that it would’ve remained unrecognised for long? Right. And now let them kick themselves.

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Trump Ordered Lawyer to Lie To Congress Over Moscow Tower Deal - Report


US President Donald Trump reportedly ordered his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow.
According to the explosive report, law enforcement officials said Trump instructed Cohen to claim negotiations over the Russian project ended months earlier than they actually did.
The officials said Cohen confirmed to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team – which is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia – that Trump instructed the attorney to lie to the senate and house intelligence committees.
It prompted immediate calls for the president to resign or face impeachment if the allegations, first reported by BuzzFeed News, were confirmed by Mueller’s office.
“If Mueller does have multiple sources confirming Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, then we need to know this ASAP,” Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator, said on Twitter.
“Mueller shouldn’t end his inquiry, but it’s about time for him to show Congress his cards before it’s too late for us to act.”
Commenting on the news, Joaquin Castro, a Democratic congressman for Texas, said Trump “must resign or be impeached” if the report was confirmed.
Mueller reportedly learned about Trump’s instruction to Cohen through interviews with multiple Trump Organization witnesses, as well as internal emails, text messages and other documents.
Cohen later acknowledged the order during interviews with the special counsel, the report said.
If confirmed, the revelation would be the first known incident on Trump explicitly and illegally directing someone to lie about their interactions with Russia.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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EU Snubs Pompeo’s Warsaw Anti-Iran Summit

EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini will not take part in an anti-Iran conference to be held by the US in the Polish capital of Warsaw in mid-February, according to media reports.
An EU official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Iran’s official news agency IRNA that Mogherini will not attend the conference due to her tight schedule.
Mogherini will be “traveling in those days, hence her attendance is not foreseen,” the official told IRNA’s correspondent in London.
A senior EU official also confirmed IRNA’s report on Thursday, saying Mogherini will not attend the gathering because of a prior engagement, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The meeting is to be held in Poland on February 13-14 as part of US efforts to increase global pressure on the Islamic Republic.
However, ministers from several European Union countries will likely skip the summit, a report by the Wall Street Journal quoted officials as saying.
There is “a lot of uncertainty about participation of many other EU member states at ministerial level,” one official told the paper.
In further details, European diplomats said in recent days that France is unlikely to send its foreign minister. The UK and Germany haven’t decided who will represent them. Luxembourg’s foreign minister said he would miss the event because of a prior arrangement.
One European diplomat said the bloc will not be “joining an anti-Iran coalition.”
Meanwhile, a group of activists in the United States and other countries recently signed a petition, calling on European countries to boycott an anti-Iran summit.
The activists started the petition on the website of the anti-war group Code Pink to ask European countries not to attend the summit.
More than 3,400 people have so far signed the online petition, which urges EU countries to skip US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “belligerent conference” and “instead host an alternative one with all nations of the region, including Iran.”
The EU is a strong supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and is seeking to help retain economic ties with Tehran despite renewed US sanctions on Iran following US President Donald Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the accord.
The summit, which will be co-hosted by Poland and the US and take place in Warsaw, was announced during Pompeo’s tour of the Middle East last week.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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The Enemy’s Main Threat In 2019: Hezbollah’s Precision Missiles



A report authored by “Israel’s” Institute for National Security Studies [INSS] outlined next year’s strategic assessment as well as the threats facing the enemy entity.  According to INSS, these include a full-scale war in the north against Iran and the classification of Hezbollah and the Syrian state as the most dangerous threat of 2019.
The head of the institute, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, submitted the report to the president of the “Israeli” entity, Reuven Rivlin. The report notes that “in early 2018, Iran intensified efforts to strengthen its military capability in Syria and provide Hezbollah with advanced military capabilities.” The report alleged that the enemy “applied firm military activities against the Iranian attempt and that its attacks damaged the Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”
The report questioned “whether Iran will abandon its positions in Syria,” warning that “stabilizing the Syrian state’s strength and rearming the Syrian army by Russia, will limit the freedom of the “Israeli” army’s work in the region.”
“Because of the developments in Syria, Iran has transferred part of its accumulating strength – used to fight “Israel” – to Iraq and Lebanon,” the report added.
“It is true that Iranian support for building Hezbollah’s strength in Lebanon is not new. However, the quality of the weapons transferred in recent years from Tehran to Hezbollah is worrying.”
According to the report, the main source of concern for “Israel” is the transformation of Hezbollah’s inaccurate and heavy rocket-propelled projectiles into precision missiles as well as improving the party’s air defenses and supplying it with long-range naval missiles.
The report pointed out that the enemy’s efforts against the Iranian “precision project” in Lebanon will be managed in different and more complex circumstances than was the case in Syria throughout recent years.
It warned that should a full-scale confrontation take place in the north, it will not be restricted to one front. “We will find ourselves in a situation where “Israel” will be confronting Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in the north and terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip [i.e. the Palestinian resistance factions].”
It noted that “the possibility of war with Hamas in Gaza is very likely in the coming year, even if the seriousness of the threat has diminished substantially.”
The report explained that “the main reasons for a possible escalation in the south is the continued deterioration of the socio-economic situation in the Gaza Strip, the pressure exerted on Hamas by the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, and the erosion of the deterrence achieved by the enemy during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.”
The report warned of the deterioration of the situation in the West Bank, pointing out that the entity must be prepared for the weakening of the Palestinian Authority’s stability and the possibility of the end of Abu Mazen’s era.

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Like Father Like Son: Jihad Imad Mughnyieh




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Friday, 18 January 2019

IRGC Cmdr.: Iran Will Keep Military Forces in Syria, Despite «Israel» Threats




The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday that they will retain their military presence in Syria, defying Israeli threats that they might be targeted if they do not leave the country.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will keep its military advisors, revolutionary forces and its weapons in Syria,” the top commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.
In a related context, Jafari warned the entity’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of playing with the lion’s tail.
“Fear the day when Iranian precision missiles hit you and take revenge of all the blood of oppressed Muslims which you have shed,” Jafari said on Wednesday.
The remarks came after Netanyahu said Tuesday that “Israel” will continue conducting airstrikes in Syria targeting what is claimed to be Iranian units. He also urged Iran to “get out of there fast”.
Describing Netanyahu’s threat as ‘ridiculous’, Jafari stressed that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will keep in Syria all the military and revolutionary advisers, and equipment and weapons which aim to train and empower Islamic Resistance forces and support oppressed people of the country.”
“Be sure that we do not take into account your ridiculous threats. You know that if we have chosen to wait against your hostile measures, some considerations lies behind it.”
Referring to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Ghasemi who has said that Iran does not have any military force in Syria, IRGC chief noted Ghasemi’s remarks means that Iran does not have a military unit in Syria.
“Israeli” regime is well aware of Iranian military forces power and hence fears the presence of even one Iranian in Syria, he added.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Who gets to vote in israel’s (apartheid state) version of democracy?

Who gets to vote in Israel’s democracy

Michael Omer-Man
Israel is about to hold elections, but not everyone living under Israeli rule gets to vote. A breakdown of who has rights and who doesn’t.
Archive photo of a Palestinian citizen of Israel casting a ballot in Abu Gosh, a village outside of Jerusalem, February 10, 2009. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Archive photo of a Palestinian citizen of Israel casting a ballot in Abu Gosh, a village outside of Jerusalem, February 10, 2009. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
On April 9, 2019, Israel will hold general elections. Israelis will head to the polls to choose their elected leaders and representatives. If they are unhappy with the way things are going, like citizens of democracies around the world, their votes will help shape the ideological and political direction of the government and the institutions it controls.
In a vacuum, that sounds like fairly standard democratic practice. But there is nothing standard about Israel’s democracy.
Israeli citizens get to vote in Israeli elections, choosing elected leaders and how they rule the country. But the Israeli government doesn’t just rule over Israeli citizens, or just over Israel, for that matter.
Nearly 14 million people live under Israeli rule. The extent of that control varies, as does the ability of those 14 million people to exercise control over the policies, personalities, and institutions that determine so much about their day-to-day lives.
At the end of 2018, the population of Israel was approximately 8,972,000 people. That includes more than 330,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who do not have Israeli citizenship and thus do not have the right to vote in national elections. It also includes more than 214,000 Jewish Israeli citizens who live in occupied East Jerusalem and more than 435,000 Jewish Israelis who live in the occupied West Bank
Then there is the West Bank, which has been governed undemocratically by the Israeli military since it occupied the territory in 1967. Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed again and again, the Israel will not give up military control over the West Bank — ever.
In that territory, over which Israel plans to rule in perpetuity, live more than 2,623,000 Palestinians — over 2,953,000 including East Jerusalem Palestinians — who do not have the right to vote in Israeli elections. In the West Bank, Israel and its army are responsible for everything from road infrastructure, deciding who may live where, who may build where and what, who is allowed to move between different parts of the territory and when, who is allowed in and out of the West Bank, who is allowed to hold a political protest (only Jews), what the laws are and how they are enforced, and whether they will ever be granted independence.
Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers arrest a Palestinian woman after she allegedly tried to cross a checkpoint with a knife, Hebron, West Bank, on September 27, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers arrest a Palestinian woman after she allegedly tried to cross a checkpoint with a knife, Hebron, West Bank, on September 27, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
The 435,000 Jewish Israelis who live in the West Bank have the right to vote in elections that can determine every one of those policies. They have elected representatives who can work to rectify any grievances they might have regarding how those policies affect their lives. The 2,623,000 Palestinians living in the same territory do not have the right to vote in elections that determine any of those policies. When their lives are negatively affected by the democratic country that rules over so many aspects of their lives, they have zero recourse within that democratic system to address their grievances.
Then there is the Gaza Strip. Despite having withdrawn its troops from inside the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel and its military still control a great number of significant aspects of life in the strip and the way it is governed. Israel determines what may be imported and exported; who can come in and out of the territory; and who can travel between the West Bank and Gaza. It has unilaterally claimed a buffer zone of farmland inside Gazan territory and enforces who may enter it; it determines and enforces limits to where Palestinian fishermen can fish; it controls the flow of electricity; and even had to give its permission for cash from a third country to be brought into Gaza to pay civil servants’ salaries.
None of the 1,961,000 people living in Gaza get to vote in the democratic elections that could affect those policies, including how much violence Israel uses against them.
Palestinians participate in the Great Return March near the Gaza-Israel fence, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, November 30, 2018. (Abdel Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Palestinians participate in the Great Return March near the Gaza-Israel fence, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, November 30, 2018. (Abdel Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
So when Israel goes to vote this April, when everyone is talking about democracy, remember that out of the more-than 13,556,000 people whose lives are directly affected by Israeli policy, only 8,642,000, or around 64 percent of them have the right to participate in that democracy.
In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Israel exercises absolute and direct control on a daily basis, 650,000 Jewish settlers can vote while 2,953,000 Palestinians in the exact same territory cannot. Put differently, of the 3,603,000 people living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, only 18 percent, or fewer than one in five can vote in the elections that affect almost every aspect of their lives.
And of the 6,463,000 Palestinians living under varying degrees of Israeli rule in territory fully or partially controlled by Israel, only 1,548,000 — 24 percent, or fewer than one in four — have the right to vote in Israeli elections.
Some statistical notes: Aside from the numbers of Jews and Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem, which are from the end of 2016, and therefore can be assumed to be lower than the actual figures, all of the numbers given are official end-of-2018 projections published by the Palestinian Census Bureau and the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, respectively. Both agencies include Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem in their figures, so the aggregate numbers were adjusted accordingly in order to not double count. Lastly, the figures do not refer only to the population of voting age, but the entire population, and therefore does not technically refer to voter eligibility in the current election but rather to whether someone will ever have the right to vote under the current regime’s rules of suffrage. In addition, there is a small number of East Jerusalem Palestinians who have acquired Israeli citizenship over the years, in addition to a small number of Palestinian citizens of Israel who have moved to West and East Jerusalem

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The Cowardly Abduction of Journalist: The FBI Abducts Journalist Marzieh Hashemi



A journalist has been kidnapped inside US territories without any charge or crime. On Sunday January 13, the FBI abducted American-born journalist and anchor Marzieh Hashemi , born Melanie Franklin, upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, , according to her family and friends.
Marzieh Hashemi, a journalist and anchor working for Iran’s English-language Press TV television news network, has been detained and imprisoned in the United States for unspecified reasons and is reportedly being treated badly by the authorities who abducted her. Press TV reported that Marzieh had arrived in the US to visit her ill brother and other family members. Her relatives were unable to contact her, and she was allowed to contact her daughter only two days after her arrest.
Hashemi, who has been living in Iran for years and is a Muslim revert, has told her daughter that she was handcuffed and shackled and was being treated like a criminal. The journalist also said that she had her hijab forcibly removed, and was photographed without her headscarf upon arrival at the prison.
As if forcing her hijab off was not enough humiliation for Hashemi, she has only been allowed to wear a T-shirt, and is currently using another one to cover her head. Furthermore, she has been offered only pork as meal – which is forbidden under Islamic law – and even denied bread and any other halal food after refusing to consume the meat. Hashemi told her daughter that the only food she has had over the past two days has been a packet of crackers.
The United States of America, which likes to remind us daily how it is amongst the few countries around the globe to respect human rights, freedom of speech and tolerates religious differences, has showed the world the absolute opposite by abducting Marzieh. Not only did the FBI illegally detain a person without any charges, they also resided to humiliating her by forcing her to remove what every pious Muslim woman holds sacred, her Hijab. To add salt to the injury, they offered only the type of food, which they knew for sure she wouldn’t eat because it contains pork which is considered ill-gotten in Islam.
Just think about it for a second, if a this is how an American citizen is treated while in FBI custody without any charge then imagine the cases inside US illegal detention centers which are spread across the globe to torture “suspects” whom the US “ believes” are a “threat to national security”. Who’s to say that Marzieh will get to have legal presentation to defend her? Who’s to say she will ever go to court? Who’s to say if we ever see Marzieh again?
The FBI or whichever US authority that had Marzieh abducted had only one thing in mind by incarcerating her. They want to punish Hashemi for being a beacon of truth at times of fake news peak and to intimidate all other journalist especially in English speaking TV channels in order to stay silent and not report what the US believes to be against its imperial agenda.
Violence against journalists which the US usually accuses other states of conducted has become the bread of the US authorities.  What the US has shown its own citizen Marzieh now is simply hatred because of her voice and her activism, which was amplified on social networks by Press TV’s viewers who now became the loudest defenders of Hashemi.
These expressions of hatred by US authorities against Marzieh legitimize violence against journalists all across the world, thereby undermining journalism, and democracy itself. The same democracy that the US wages wars and commits war crimes in order to impose on other “less fortunate countries”.
At a time when the US supposedly a “democracy” that has made “tolerance” its number one social goal, is failing miserably at both democracy and tolerance because the US is slowly but surely killing Freedom of Speech. The US allows journalists to say what they want, as long as their words don’t cause tangible harm to the empire’s agendas and interests.
Where the concept of Freedom of Speech is absent, people believe they are entitled to kill others who say things they find offensive or that may threaten their interests. Without Freedom of Speech, we would literally be living in the Dark Ages and that is exactly where the US government wants to take all of us who dare challenge the empire’s narrative and who dare expose the empire’s complicity in crimes all over the world.
However, we shall not be silenced, neither shall Marzieh. We shall be Marzieh’s voice and we shall make sure her message will be heard, one of tolerance, righteousness and sympathy with the oppressed. We can all voice our support to Marzieh Hashemi and our contempt to the illegal actions of the US authorities against Marzieh by tweeting, posting and writing about her story. Marzieh’s family members and media activists have launched a social media campaign with the hashtags #FreeMarziehHashemi and #Pray4MarziehHashemi in support of the detained journalist. Let us all use these hashtags and raise our voices to end violence against journalists everywhere.

The Cowardly Abduction of Journalist Marzieh Hashemi by the US Regime

News reached us of the cowardly abduction of prominent Journalist and Press TV news anchor Marzieh Hashemi by the Trump regime. Hashemi was born in the US and she is a US citizen. She went to visit her sick brother and other relatives in the US and was abducted. She is presently held in a FBI detention facility in Washington DC with no formal charge press against her.
Hashemi’s hijab was forcefully removed and they denied her halal food in the detention facility. Dear Friends, these are the barbarians that are always fraudulently parroting freedom and respect for Human Rights.
The abduction of an innocent Journalist is part of the Trump regime obsession with Iran. Trump and gang want the resistance axis to recognize the existence of the illegal and illegitimate Zionist regime occupying Palestine. The Trump gang are ignorant of the fact that the Political Earthquake that happened in Iran in 1979 is today bigger than Iran. Millions around the world are inspired by that glorious Revolution with hundreds of thousands of them in the US itself. That Revolution changed the course of history forever and the sanctions and savage barbarism of the Trump gang can never be able to alter this.
Marzieh Hashemi is a big fan of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and a strong supporter of the Islamic Movement. When I was in Iran I was informed that she organized workshops to highlight the extreme savagery and barbarism of Zaria Genocide by the Buhari regime.
Hashemi went to visit her sick brother and she was abducted be the desperate Trump regime. My blood brother is a US citizen but I cut all contacts with him when he became a US citizen. He protested but I told him I did that to protect him. I am already marked by them. They know me. They will try to use him to get at me. Murderous imperialists are genocidal savages.
God willing, we will mount campaign for the freedom of Hashemi from the dungeon of the Trump regime on all social media platforms. The Hash Tags are:
#FreeMarziehHashemi #Pray4MarziehHashemi
Source: elbinawi.wordpress.com, Edited by website team

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The Farewell Visit, Hours before the Execution...



A few hours before the execution of three Bahraini activists, Ali al-Singace, Abbas al-Sami’ and Sami Mushaima, the Bahraini prison’s administration summoned the families of the martyrs in an unexpected call to visit their sons.
The regime in Manama carried out the death verdicts on Sunday [January 15, 2017], triggering angry demonstrations across the kingdom mainly in the villages of Diraz, Bani Jamra and Sanabis.
The youngest among them is Martyr Ali al-Singace who was under the legal age, only 15, when he was first arrested before the Bahraini revolution. He was allegedly accused of attacking an officer, and was later released after the breakout of the Bahraini revolution.
Ali was later kidnapped at the age of 16 and was threatened with being killed unless he operates as a secret agent for armed militias. The young martyr, who was still a student back then, was soon after sentenced to 5 years in prison for the case of February 14, for which he remained on the run, away from his family.
Finally, on the day of the alleged murder of Emirati officer Tariq al-Shihi and two policemen in al-Daih blast [March, 2014], Bahraini authorities stormed Ali’s house. He was detained about a year later and was sentenced to death, along with martyrs Abbas al-Sami’ and Sami Mushaima, for fabricated accusations.
However, it is worth mentioning that Ali, his family and all evidences confirm he had not been interrogated regarding the case of al-Shihi’s death.
So how could he be sentenced to death in a case he wasn’t even investigated for?
Speaking to al-Ahed News website, mother of 22 year-old Martyr Ali al-Singace described the procedure they went through one day ahead of the crime against the Bahraini activists: “The day before the execution, on Saturday, we were informed that we are allowed to visit our sons.”
They asked the martyrs on Saturday morning to give them the numbers of their families, the mother noted. “They wanted to give us their personal stuff, their clothes, food, shampoo, toothpaste… they wanted them to hand in all their personal stuff.”
The prison’s administration called Ali’s father, they informed him that at 16:00 they have to visit their son.
The family was suspicious of the news since no visits are allowed on Saturdays: “We called the family of martyr Abbas al-Sami’, they also said they have a visit at 14:30, then I called the family of martyr Sami Mushaima, they still hadn’t received any phone call at the time. But they were later informed that their visit is scheduled to be at 13:00,” the mother added.
“Our sons didn’t know that we will visit them. They learned about the visit half an hour before the first meeting of the Mushaima family. Each one of them was in solitary confinement, yet they could hear each other’s voices. All of them learned at 12:30 that they will be visited by their families.”
According to the bereaved mom, the martyrs themselves were cautious about the news: “Everybody knows that there are no visits on Saturdays. This, itself, represented an execution.”
“The visit wasn’t like any other… we underwent very careful inspection. Before we entered the prison, we were inspected in an outside cabin, then we were inspected again before we entered a car accompanied with 4 policewomen and 2 policemen,” the mother explained. She further noted that “after we got out of the vehicle, we were inspected again. The moment we entered the place, we saw many police officers on both sides. Between 50 or 60 police personnel, males and females, were deployed in the place.”
“Some four or five policewomen were standing next to us. They kept wearing their sunglasses, observing us during the one-hour visit.”
Martyr Ali al-Singace’s mother told us that the same strict inspection was applied on them as they exited the place… “We were surprised, we were only thinking of the entire procedure we went through.”
The mother explained the treatment they went through as “brutal inspection.”
“I told myself that the moment was a goodbye moment. I told my son to expect that this is the final visit… I told him this might be the last time we see each other although we didn’t know before. I had that feeling… I felt it is the time to say goodbye…”
On the next day, Ali’s father received a call at 09:00 in the morning informing him to come take his son’s corpse from a very far area, not in the region where they live.
“We wanted to bury him an al-Sanabis but they didn’t accept. We feared that they would bury them some place without knowing anything regarding their whereabouts,” the mom said.
Although our sons were executed, people here in Bahrain won’t be silenced and won’t stop their protests.
Ali, just like many other ‘opinion detainees’ in Bahrain, received his judgement in absentia. Also like many other innocent detainees, he was subjected to electric shocks, torture and insults to confess committing ‘crimes’ he actually didn’t.
Ever since the peaceful popular protests started in early 2011, Manama has provided a heavy-handed security response. The clampdown has cost scores of lives.
Later during the popular uprising, the regime called in Saudi and Emirati reinforcements to help it muffle dissent.
1,300 Bahrainis have been arrested and those still in detention have been tortured and denied access to medical care. Hospitals have been militarized as doctors and nurses are harassed for treating victims of the protests. Thousands of workers have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs for taking part in the demonstrations.
Meanwhile, as the international community – particularly in the West – has been quite vocal in condemning atrocities committed against protesters in some Middle Eastern countries, things in Bahrain go the other way. When it comes to the injustice practiced against people there, calls from the West for an end to the authorities’ human rights abuses have been rather muted.
People who demand freedom would definitely offer big sacrifices, and so is the case of the families of Bahraini martyrs. They well accept the martyrdom of their loved ones. They believe that their sons are in heaven, and that justice would spread some day, when the tyrant would receive his due punishment.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!