Saturday 1 May 2021

Massive Fire Rages in Haifa Oil Refinery in North of Occupied Palestine

A large fire broke out in one of the facilities at the Bazan oil refineries in the city of Haifa in the Occupied Palestine on Friday night, according to the Zionist media.

The following video shows the large fire:

Najah Wakim: Mahmoud Abbas offers condolences to Israel….have you seen a dog worse than this dog?

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EU gives lip service to Palestinian elections once again

Hamas warns against delaying next month's Palestinian election - France 24

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -April 30, 2021

EU’s Borrell calls on Israel to facilitate elections across all Palestinian territories

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note:  The Palestinians now have two boots on their neck, Israel’s and Mr. Abbas’. He knew that Israel would refuse his fake request for election polls in East Jerusalem, and that is what he wanted.

Why? Because he knows the majority of Palestinians know he is hanging on to power purely for the sake of having it. He has never groomed any leadership to come behind him, revealing he wants it all for himself, literally dying in office.

The Israeli government is his partner in crime because it is just fine with the weak, selfish, non-threatening Abbas, and wants to block Hamas rising to power, hence postponing elections suits both.

It is a great irony, as we see a similar struggle taking place in the Israeli election, contenders seeking power not to serve the public, but to serve themselves. Israelis are so sick of “it’s all about Bibi”.

A coalition of political parties with divergent views is considering making compromises they all can live with under a united banner of “anyone but Bibi”.

The Islamic party is even in play with the latest attempt for a new coalition that can form a government, as the others do not have the numbers to break the magic 60 number without it.

Netanyahu is desperate to remain in power so that he can find some way to stop his corruption trial. This was put on display when he tried, illegally, to replace the current justice minister with his hand picked replacement, whom he could rely on to stop his trials.

What followed was an historic cabinet meeting where charges were hurled at each side that they did not have the authority to declare themselves the ruling power. The current Justice ministers said only the Justice Minister could name his replacement. Bibi lost.

And as a bonus, all the other former fractioned parties seem to now see that they must make whatever sacrifices are needed to form a government.

They have a new understanding banner uniting them all, that says ‘No more Netanyahu tyranny…we have had enough’. Bibi’s window to form a government ends at midnight on Saturday. Expect the final deals that parties have been saving for the last minute to start being unveiled Saturday night… Jim W. Dean ]

The EU’s Joseph Borrell

First published … April 30, 2021

The European Union has urged Israel to ensure that elections are held across the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem al-Quds, expressing regret over a postponement of planned parliamentary polls.

“We reiterate our call on Israel to facilitate the holding of such elections across all of the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a written statement on Friday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the parliamentary elections amid a dispute over voting in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds, as well as splits in his Fatah movement and its unpopularity.

Abbas told a conference of senior Palestinian officials on Thursday night that the first Palestinian national elections in 15 years would be indefinitely delayed.

The dispute over East Jerusalem al-Quds was reportedly the official rationale for the postponement cited by Abbas in a speech early Friday following the meeting of Palestinian political factions.

In his statement, Borrell described the decision to postpone the planned elections as “deeply disappointing” and said the EU has repeatedly thrown its weight behind “credible, inclusive and transparent elections for all Palestinians.”

“We firmly believe that strong, inclusive, accountable and functioning democratic Palestinian institutions based on respect for the rule of law and human rights are vital for the Palestinian people, for democratic legitimacy and, ultimately, for the two-state solution,” he added.

The top EU official said, “We strongly encourage all Palestinian actors to resume efforts to build on the successful talks between the factions over recent months.”

He also emphasized the need to set a new date for elections without delay.

He called for calm and restraint “from all actors at this sensitive time” and expressed the bloc’s readiness to “work with all those involved to facilitate EU observation of any electoral process.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for President Abbas, told the Voice of Palestine radio station on Tuesday that Israeli authorities have so far refused to agree to European observers monitoring the Palestinian elections, and that the European Union is yet to receive an approval.

The official called for international help to remove the hurdles put by the Israeli regime to undermine the Palestinian polls, particularly in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Abu Rudeineh reiterated the Palestinian stance that there will be no elections without al-Quds.


Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing EditorJim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

Read Full Complete Bio >>>

Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014

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Scores Of ‘Israelis’ Killed, Many Others Injured in Stampede in The Occupied Territories

Scores Of ‘Israelis’ Killed, Many Others Injured in Stampede in The Occupied Territories


By Staff, Agencies

At least 45 ‘Israeli’ settlers were killed and scores of others injured, many critically, in a stampede during a Jewish bonfire festival held in the north of the ‘Israeli’-occupied Palestinian territories.

Tens of thousands were attending the annual Lag B’Omer Jewish festival at, what has been identified as, the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a religious figure, in a town named as ‘Meron’ in the occupied territories.

Initial reports citing Magen David Adom of the Zionist regime’s emergency services’ organization, suggested that 24 of those injured were in critical condition. Six helicopters were sent over to address the situation

Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as a “heavy disaster.”

Later reports put the number of the injured at 400.

A Zionist police official said “dozens of participants in a concert had ‘slipped,’ falling on those below them in the stands and causing a crushing domino effect.” The incident took place at around 1 a.m. on Friday at a bonfire lighting ceremony.

Other reports said the crush was caused after “a section of stadium seating had collapsed at the event site,” and many were killed as a result of asphyxiation after it was set off.

Others were killed being trampled upon during the stampede.

The Zionist military said a roof had collapsed at the site of the incident.

Footage recorded before the crush showed the thousands-strong participants dancing, reveling, and jumping on stands at, what the newspaper identified as, a “makeshift arena.”

A makeshift hospital is reportedly being set up in the area to address the situation.

The event was held without any regard for standing health precautions against the spread of the new coronavirus, including respect for social distancing rules and prohibition of mass gatherings.

Pictures provided both during the celebration and in the immediate aftermath of the stampede, meanwhile, showed many attending the site without facemasks.

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Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford

Finian Cunningham

April 30, 2021

Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford -  TheAltWorld

“The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away,” says former British ambassador to Syria in an interview with Finian Cunningham.

The United States, Britain, and other NATO powers failed in their covert military efforts for regime change in Syria, thanks in large part to the principled intervention by Russia to defend its historic Arab ally. However, Peter Ford, the former British ambassador to Syria, contends that regime change is still very much a top priority for Western powers and their criminal agenda of reshaping the Middle East according to their imperial objectives. In the following interview, Ford explains how the Western tactic has now shifted to intensifying economic warfare in order to buckle the Syrian government led by President Assad. Nevertheless, the former British envoy envisages that the presidential election on May 26 will see Assad being resoundingly re-elected by a nation defiant towards Western aggression.

peterford hashtag on Twitter

Peter Ford is a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) who has publicly denounced Britain’s proxy-terror war for regime change in the Arab nation, along with other NATO accomplices. He is a seasoned diplomat having graduated in Arabic Studies from Oxford University and serving as an envoy in several Middle East countries. Ford has incurred the wrath of the British establishment for his outspoken truth-telling about their nefarious agenda in Syria. On the other hand, he has won the admiration of many people around the world for his courage and integrity. He is a recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism.


Question: What do you make of the ruling last week by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to strip Syria of its member rights based on allegations that the Syrian government military forces have repeatedly used chemical weapons during the 10-year war? It seems that the OPCW has become extremely politicized by the United States and its Western allies. Do you see a lot of arm-twisting of member states by Western powers to produce OPCW sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away. Why? Because the trope that “Assad gasses his own people” has become a cornerstone of the whole Western propaganda narrative on Syria. Without it, justifying the cruel economic war on Syria, largely through sanctions, would be harder to justify. And with military efforts at regime change having failed, economic warfare is now the last hope for the Western powers of destabilizing Syria enough to topple the government. For this strategy to work the Western powers are more than ready to undermine the credibility of the OPCW by abusing their ability to manipulate it in the Syrian context.

Question: The OPCW’s executive has been exposed in distorting its own reports for the objective of incriminating the Syrian government over alleged chemical weapons attacks. Do you think the OPCW has been turned into a lever to enable Western powers to harass Syria because these powers have been blocked by Russia and China from using the United Nations Security Council as a mechanism for aggression against Syria?

Peter Ford: The United States and the United Kingdom have not hesitated to ventriloquize the OPCW executive to get their way on Syria, stifling whistleblowing even where the cases of misreporting have been flagrant. As a former United Nations official myself, I can say that international organizations are nearly all controlled and used by the U.S./UK, with the Security Council thankfully the one arena where they are unable always to get their own way. This irks them considerably, leading them to go even further in exploiting and debasing agencies like the OPCW.

Question: Three months into a new administration in the United States under President Joe Biden, is there any discernible change in Washington’s policy towards Syria? You have stated publicly before that the whole war in Syria was a regime-change operation orchestrated by the U.S., Britain, France, and others. Is regime change in Syria still on the Western powers’ agenda?

Peter Ford: Regime change is very much still on the agenda. It cannot be openly avowed, of course, but how else to describe a policy of seeking a  “transition” under conditions that would guarantee removal of the present government? Those conditions include rigged elections and “justice” against “war criminals”. The economic warfare is as severe as anything that was waged against Iraq to bring Saddam down. It is blatant deceit to pretend this policy is not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. Biden brings no change. If anything he is doubling down on the policy of his predecessor, without even the pretense of wanting out of Syria, holding on to sanctions, and deliberately hampering reconstruction.

Question: The United States still has troops illegally occupying parts of eastern Syria near the country’s oil fields, denying the Syrian state important resources for national reconstruction. You have described the American forces there as functioning like a “tripwire”. Could you expand on that concept?

Peter Ford: U.S. forces in occupied parts of Syria number around a thousand. The Syrian Arab Army could overrun these forces and their Kurdish allies in a matter of days. What stops them? The certain knowledge that any advance towards the American forces would trigger massive retaliation from the U.S. Air Force operating from its bases in the region. So the function of these U.S. forces is not to help “eradicate ISIS terror remnants” as implausibly claimed, but to serve as a tripwire and thereby deter Syrian forces from recovering territories that hold most of Syria’s oil and grain resources. Denial of these resources is key to bringing Syria to its knees via economic warfare.

Question: Could Biden step up the military intervention in Syria? Or is it more likely that the U.S. and its Western allies will pursue economic warfare through sanctions against Syria?

Peter Ford: It must be considered unlikely that the U.S. would put many more boots on the ground but many in the Pentagon are straining at the leash to bomb Syria at the slightest pretext. For the moment, the policy planners are counting on economic sanctions and are content to wait for the Syrian government to buckle.

Question: What are the strategic reasons for Western regime change in Syria?

Peter Ford: It’s a way of getting at Russia and Iran, essentially. A little thought experiment proves it. Imagine Assad suddenly said he was ready to get rid of the Russians and Iranians and complete America’s set of Arab powers in return for being left in power. Egypt’s Sadat did something similar in the late 1970s so it’s not unthinkable, and Assad was having tea with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth not so very long ago. Would the U.S. not then cast aside without a moment’s hesitation all the blather about democracy and human rights?

Question: How significant was Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian war in October 2015?

Peter Ford: It was a life-saver. Most people do not realize how close ISIS and other terrorist proxies were to grabbing control of Damascus. Naturally, the Western powers never like to acknowledge this awkward truth.

Question: France’s former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas remarked in a media interview back in 2013 how he was privately approached by British officials with a scheme for regime change in Syria two years before the war erupted in 2011. As a former British ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) can you recall noticing any such plot being considered?

Peter Ford: Planning for regime change in Syria only really began when the aftermath of the Iraq war went really sour and rather than blame themselves, the U.S./UK sought to deflect blame on to Syria. It accelerated after Britain’s Conservatives with their anti-Russian and anti-Iranian obsessions, and their support for Israel, came to power in 2010.

Question: Your principled and outspoken criticism of the British government’s involvement in the Syrian war has won you much respect around the world. Do you feel personally aggrieved by the malign conduct of Britain in Syria?

Peter Ford: I feel ashamed for my country’s actions. It really is quite shameful that we have been instrumental in causing suffering for millions of Syrians while hypocritically claiming we are doing it for their own good.

Question: Finally, Syria is holding presidential elections on May 26 in which incumbent Bashar al-Assad is running for re-election. The Western powers disparage Syria as an “undemocratic regime”. How do you view Syria’s polity? Is Assad likely to win re-election?

Peter Ford: Of course Assad will win and of course the Western powers will try to disparage his victory. But I can state with certainty that if you could offer the Conservative party in Britain a guarantee of achieving in the next general election anything anywhere near Assad’s genuine level of support, albeit some of it reluctant from a war-weary people, the Tories would bite your hand off for such an electoral gain. Much of the current Western propaganda effort against Syria is geared at trying to spoil Assad’s victory and deny it legitimacy. But inside Syria itself, the people will see the election as setting the seal on 10 years of struggle, and Assad will emerge strengthened as he faces the next phase in the Western war on Syria.

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Hezbollah is the main target of Riyadh’s ban on Lebanon

April 30, 2021 – 22:36

By Mohammad Ali Saki

Tehran – Riyadh has kicked off a series of widespread economic pressures on Beirut to push the Lebanese government to exclude Hezbollah from the country’s political and military scene.

Saudi officials announced on Friday an indefinite ban on Lebanese agricultural products under the pretext of a failed attempt to smuggle 5.3 million pills of the illegal amphetamine Captagon hidden in a shipment of pomegranates at Jeddah Port.

Waleed Bukhari, the Saudi ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon, has said in a tweet the kingdom had found more than 57 million illicit pills from cash-strapped Lebanon since the beginning of 2020.

Riyadh is going to prevent Lebanese vegetables from entering or passing through Saudi Arabia.

The move has provoked reactions inside Lebanon. Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, reacted to the Saudi ban on his country, saying that “Lebanon and the Lebanese people do not want to irritate the Saudi brothers. We want the best relations with Saudi Arabia. We support Saudi Arabia in fighting the smuggling networks and their perpetrators.”
Furthermore, Lebanese President Michel Aoun commented on the Saudi ban on Lebanon. “It is important for us to maintain economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia, and we are working today to explain the existing ambiguities and return to the right stance.”

But many experts say that Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states are well aware that banning the import of Lebanese crops does not prevent drug trafficking.
This is an unjust decision in the eyes of Lebanese farmers and agriculture workers who are astonished that a country like Saudi Arabia has made such a hasty and unstudied decision.

Lebanon is concerned about other countries’ intention to follow Riyadh’s decision, endorsed by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Lebanese farmers and the agricultural sector are facing an immense tragedy as every farmer is going to yield less and earn less. 

According to Aljazeera, various estimates say the Lebanese fruit and vegetable trade is worth between $20m and $34m annually.

Although Saudi Arabia’s sanction against Lebanon has caused controversy in the country’s agricultural sector and among farmers, it seems that Riyadh is exploiting the story of smuggling only as a pretext to put pressure on Hezbollah. 

Indeed, this is an attempt to cover up the actual dimensions of Riyadh’s policies against Beirut.

The Saudis are aware that Lebanon is living through a severe economic crisis at the moment. They (the Saudis) became convinced of this a while ago after Hassan Diab’s remarks about the deterioration of the economic conditions in Lebanon. Then, they have made every effort to achieve their political goals through a package of economic pressure on Lebanese people.

Arab political observers believe that Saudi Arabia tries to tighten the siege on Lebanon, a move encouraged by the United States and the Zionist regime to keep the Lebanese people hungry and lead the country to a civil war.

So, it seems quite clear that the primary goal of Saudi Arabia in banning the import of fruits and vegetables from Lebanon is to increase political pressure on a country that has lost 85 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar, pushing it into alarming inflation rates that are hamstringing farmers. 

Saudi officials seek to take full advantage of the current dire economic situation in Lebanon so that the Lebanese government gives up and kneels.

One of the most critical demands of Saudi Arabia from Lebanon is to exclude Hezbollah from the country’s political structure.

 This is a demand that the Saudis have made from Lebanese officials for at least over a decade. 

Indeed, Saudi Arabia has always been a staunch opponent of Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon’s political scene and system. Now, the Saudis who never miss the opportunity to apply their agenda against Hezbollah are trying to fish in troubled waters and make their old dreams come true.

Marginalize Hezbollah through spreading dissent in the country, because in their eyes, Lebanon as a whole must pay the price for hosting the resistance axis and defending Palestine’s cause.


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محمد زهير الصدّيق شاهد الزور في جريمة اغتيال الحريري: أريد اللجوء إلى لبنان Muhammad Zuhair Al-Siddiq was a false witness in the Hariri assassination: I want asylum in Lebanon

* Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation *
أرشيف لبنان Lebanon Archives on Twitter: "١٤ شباط ٢٠٠٥ ذكرى إغتيال رئيس  وزراء لبنان السابق رفيق الحريري… "

محمد زهير الصدّيق شاهد الزور في جريمة اغتيال الحريري: أريد اللجوء إلى لبنان

 رضوان مرتضى الجمعة 30 نيسان 2021

«الشاهد الملك» وصاحب الاسم الأبرز في ملفّ الشهود الزور في جريمة اغتيال رفيق الحريري

ظهر زُهير محمد الصدّيق مجدداً. «الشاهد الملك» وصاحب الاسم الأبرز في ملفّ الشهود الزور في جريمة اغتيال رفيق الحريري، خرج إلى الضوء بعد سنوات. الرجل الذي اتّصل من مخبئه يريد أن يُقدّم رواية مغايرة عن روايته السابقة بشأن دوره في مراقبة الرئيس رفيق الحريري بتكليف من الاستخبارات السورية. من يتّهم بتهديده لإجباره على الكلام وماذا يُريد اليوم؟

ورد اتصالٌ من رقمٍ هاتف أجنبي قبل أسابيع. عرّف المتّصل عن اسمه وصفته بأنّه طبيبٌ يُشرف على علاج رجلٍ مخطوف يطلب المساعدة. ادّعى أنّه لا يعرف اسم المعتقل، إنما يعرف اسم زوجته المدعوّة دعد الغُصيني.

بحثٌ سريع على الإنترنت كفيلٌ بكشف هويّة زوجها. هو «الشاهد الملك» في جريمة اغتيال رفيق الحريري زهير محمد سعيد الصدّيق. طلبتُ إثباتاً، فأخبرني أنّ زوجته ستُعاود الاتصال بي. أخبرته بأنّ ذلك لا يكفي، بل أُريد دليلاً حسيّاً بشأن ما يقول. طلبت فيديو مسجلاً من الصدّيق نفسه، فأجاب بأن ذلك غير ممكن لكونه موجوداً في إقامة جبرية تحت حراسة أمنية حيث يُمنع إدخال الهواتف. لم أُكمل التواصل معه. غاب لأسبوعين قبل أن تصلني رسالة عبر أحد التطبيقات من شخص يقول إنه زهير محمد الصدّيق ويُريد محادثتي. طلبت إجراء المحادثة بالصوت والصورة لأتأكد من هوية الشخص الذي أُكلّمه.

كان زهير الصديق نفسه، «الشاهد» الأبرز في جريمة اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري، والذي بنت لجنة التحقيق الدولية، عام 2005، عملها على أقواله، لتتهم سوريا بالجريمة، وتمنح فريق الادعاء السياسي الذخيرة اللازمة لتنفيذ انقلاب في لبنان.

عائلة الشهيد وسام الحسن: شكرا لكل من واسانا وخصوصا الحريري
سعد الحريري ووسام الحسن

هذه المرة، كان الصدّيق يعتمر قلنسوة ويتحدث من منزلٍ ليس فيه سوى فراش. بدا أنّ السنوات مرّت ثقيلة عليه. اتّهم الصدّيق الرئيس سعد الحريري ورئيس فرع المعلومات السابق وسام الحسن باختطافه وتهديده بذبح ابنه سمير. ذكر أنّ الحسن نقله على متن طائرة خاصة إلى الإمارات. تحدث الصدّيق عمّا سمّاه «جريمة حرب» ارتُكبت بحقّ عائلته، قائلاً إن ابنه سمير حُرِم ١٦ سنة من التعليم. يزعم أنه أوقف في السعودية عام 2005، وتم تجنيده لتقديم شهادة كاذبة في جريمة اغتيال الحريري، قبل أن يُسجن في الإمارات وفرنسا.

الصدّيق يتّهم سعد الحريري ووسام الحسن باختطافه وتهديده بذبح ابنه

ينفي «الشاهد الملك» أنه كان ضابطاً في الاستخبارات السورية، مؤكداً أنه كان يعمل عطّاراً في لبنان وأن والده كان موظفاً في وزارة المالية السورية. يذكر أنّ عائلته كانت مهددة، كاشفاً أنه تعرض للتعذيب والسجن والتهديد ما تسبّب بضياع ١٦ عاماً من حياته. يُقدم الصدّيق أسماء كاملة ومجتزأة، ليعزّز روايته، لكنه لم يُبرز أي مستند أو تسجيل يُثبت روايته.

ورداً على سؤال بأنّ لا مصداقية له بعد ارتباط اسمه بملف شهود الزور وعن الأدلة التي بحوزته لإثبات حقيقة ما يقول، أجاب بأنّ لديه أحد عشر مستمسكاً على الحريري وعلى الرواية التي يُقدمها اليوم، مؤكداً أنه سيكشفها قريباً وأنه مستعد لإبرازها لرئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون. سُئِل عن توقيت ظهوره اليوم بعد سنوات وعقب صدور حكم المحكمة الدولية في جريمة اغتيال الحريري، فأجاب بأنه خرج الآن بعد تمكنه من الهرب من مكان احتجازه.

وردّاً على سؤال عما يُريد، أجاب بأنه يُناشد رئيس الجمهورية اللبنانية ميشال عون منحه اللجوء ليأتي إلى لبنان ليُقدم روايته في جريمة دفع لبنان أكثر من 500 مليون دولار على محاكمة دولية لتبيان حقيقة لم تظهر. ويذكر الصدّيق أنّ جواز سفره وبطاقة هويته انتُزعا منه، مناشداً منحه بديلاً منهما.

كذلك ناشد الصدّيق الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون التدخّل لفتح تحقيق بشأن توقيفه المخالف للقانون في فرنسا، متوجّهاً إلى أي محامٍ في العالم ليتوكّل للدفاع عنه وللادّعاء على دولة الإمارات وفرنسا والرئيس سعد الحريري.

أما عن إمكانية عودته إلى بلده في سوريا، فيُجيب بأنه سيعود مرفوع الرأس، مشيراً إلى أن الرئيس بشار الأسد وحده من أعطاه حقه في مقابلة مع صحيفة كويتية عندما أجاب بأنه لا يعرفه، لكنه قد يكون تعرّض للضغط ليُدلي بما أدلى به. وبشأن مكانه، فقد طلب الصدّيق أن يبقى سرياً لكون حياته مهددة، متحدّثاً عن مستندات أودعها لدى قريب له ستُنشر في حال اختطافه او اغتياله.

Mohammed Zuhair al-Siddiq, King witness in Hariri’s assassination: I want to go to Lebanon

Radwan Morteda

Friday, April 30, 2021

“The King’s Witness” the most prominent name in the file of false witnesses in the assassination of Rafik Hariri

Zuhair Mohammed al-Siddiq reappeared. “The King’s Witness” and the most prominent name in the file of false witnesses in the assassination of Rafik Hariri came to light years later. The man who called from his hideout wants to give a different account of his earlier account of his role in monitoring President Rafik Hariri commissioned by Syrian intelligence.

A call came from a foreign phone number weeks ago. The caller gave his name and description and said he was a doctor overseeing the treatment of a kidnapped man who was seeking help. He claimed that he did not know the name of the detainee, but knew the name of his wife, Da’ad al-Ghussini.

A quick online search revealed her husband’s identity. He is the “king witness” in the assassination of Rafik Hariri Zuhair Mohammed Saeed Al-Siddiq. I asked the caller for proof, and he told me that the detainee’s wife would call me back. I told him that’s not enough, I want sensory evidence of what he’s saying, and requested a recorded video from al-Siddiq himself, and he replied that this was not possible because the detainee is in house arrest under security guard, where the entry of phones is prohibited.

Two weeks later, I received a message via an app from someone saying he is Zuhair Muhammad Al-Siddiq and want to talk to me. I requested a the video and audio chat to confirm the identity of the person I’m talking to.

Zuhair al-Siddiq himself was the most prominent “witness” in the 2005 assassination of President Rafik Hariri, whose work on his statements was built by the International Commission of Inquiry to accuse Syria of the crime and give the political prosecution team the ammunition needed to carry out a coup in Lebanon. This time, Zuhair al-Siddiq was wearing a hood and talking from a house with only a mattress. The years seemed to pass heavy upon him. Al-Siddiq accused President Saad Hariri and former information branch chief Wissam al-Hassan of kidnapping him and threatening to slaughter his son Samir. Hassan was reportedly transported by private jet to the UAE. Zuhair al-Siddiq spoke of what he called a “war crime” committed against his family, saying that his son Samir had been deprived of 16 years of education. He was allegedly arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2005 and recruited to give false testimony in Hariri’s assassination, before being imprisoned in the UAE and France.

عائلة الشهيد وسام الحسن: شكرا لكل من واسانا وخصوصا الحريري
Saad Hariri and Wissam Al-Hassan

Siddiq accuses Saad Hariri and Wissam al-Hassan of kidnapping him and threatening to slaughter his son him

The King’s Witness denies that he was a Syrian intelligence officer, asserting that he was working in Lebanon and that his father was an employee of the Syrian Ministry of Finance. He revealed that his family was threatened, he had been tortured, imprisoned which caused the loss of 16 years of his life. Zuhair al-Siddiq mentioned full and fragmented names, to reinforce his story, but without giving any documents or recordings to support his story.

In response to a question that he has no credibility after his name is linked to the file of false witnesses and the evidence in his possession to prove the truth of what he says, he replied that he had eleven charges against Hariri confirming the story he is presenting today, which he will reveal soon and that he is ready to show it to the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun.

When asked about the timing of his appearance today years after the assassination and following the International Tribunal’s verdict on Hariri’s assassination, he replied that he was not free had he appeared after escaping from his place of detention.

I asked him what he wanted now? He replied that he is appealing to the President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Aoun, to grant him asylum to come to Lebanon to present his story about a crime that Lebanon paid more than $ 500 million for an international trial to show a fact that has not emerged.

Zuhair al-Siddiq states that his passport and identity card were taken from him, appealing for a replacement. Al-Siddiq also appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron to intervene to open an investigation into his illegal arrest in France, hoping that any lawyer in the world would initiate his defense and prosecute the UAE, France and President Saad Hariri.

As for the possibility of returning to his country in Syria, he replies that he will return with his head raised, pointing out that only President Bashar al-Assad gave him his right in an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper when he replied that he did not know him, but he may have been pressured to give what he made.

Regarding his whereabouts, Al-Siddiq requested that his whereabouts be kept secret because his life is threatened, moreover he said that he had deposited documents with a relative that would be published in the event of his abduction or assassination.

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!

“What Will We Lose?”


April 30, 2021


This article is by my brother Alex Bartlett and was first published at Off Guardian.

What have we lost? ____ What are we losing?
What will we lose?

This is the question is it not? Even though tens of thousands of experts, thousands of skeptics and all of the rest of us have been consumed over the last year debating, questioning, arguing and worst of all, just listening to endless stream of covid coverage it really comes down to this.

After sifting through all of the science-sourced “facts”, claims, death statistics, cases updates (so many, many cases) and the dire, ever grim projections from our modern-day high priests with their computer models it really just comes down to this question.

What will we lose?

For many reasons I am reluctant to write about this subject. I know nothing of epidemiology or virology or public health. I really have no business writing about loss due to covid 19, my profession is in high demand for the moment, my wife is gainfully employed and recently promoted and our living situation is quite good.

I will not dare pretend that I can speak about real hardship or suffering due to covid compared to what small business owners would be going through or what the working poor have had to endure but at the same time, only a complete fool would suggest that they have not lost anything in the past year.

With this in mind, at the same time, I cannot fully ever hope to comprehend all that I, no, all that we have lost and all of the ways this has happened. The sheer magnitude of these changes, almost all entirely some kind of loss for the vast majority of us is truly staggering. Perhaps for the 1st time in a very long time, perhaps ever, the other majority, the world’s poorest citizens will finally see the rest of us experience real empathy, a genuine understanding of some of the challenges and daily injustices they have been forced to accept as a normal way of living.

The worst aspect of my personal situation so far is that my elderly mother has been basically imprisoned in a care facility for over a year, unable to see any family save for myself and my brother who have been permitted to be designated “essential caregivers” so that she may have a few visitors.

So far with this measure, our Ontario Government has not been heartless enough just yet to completely isolate the elderly but all other friends and family are forbidden to visit. The last time she was allowed outside, almost 8 months ago, she was in the presence of a “minder” who kept us 6 feet apart, masked and who afforded us no privacy. I will lose my mom soon, she may die alone, forcibly confined with simple pleasures like walks in a park, the chaotic, non-judgemental love of grandchildren with their extra exuberance on holidays and birthdays all but eliminated.

My children are also no longer allowed in school even though kids are not and never were at risk and at the moment, over 75% of our schools in Ontario did not even have a single “case” when last in session. They are not only losing education but also social skills, study skills, valuable daily interactions and life lessons as well as exercise and fresh air and tragically, a large portion of that small, finite amount of time where they could just simply be kids.

I feel despair most days when I see my daughter, perched at the dining room table in front of a laptop ready to sign into virtual school, on her own and alone. Our wonderful, neighbourhood school sits shuttered while my daughter emulates the routine of an office worker at the age of 8. At the end of the day we can sometimes catch ourselves almost berating her like low level managerial assholes for not paying attention and fooling around during the day with the computer. For Christ sakes, what have we become as parents?

My 5 years old son cannot even last a 20 minute lesson online by himself. I initially felt frustrated that he could not persist in the same fashion the other young innocents can in these disembodied zoom classes but now I could be more accepting of this except that we both have to work during this “school time” and we need him to be occupied. Maybe this lack of digital “focus” speaks to how little screen time he had prior to this abomination of online “learning” or maybe it is simply because he is just 5 years old and he has no business being treated like this.

Am I surprised at how easily I just became a jaded, middle aged man who mostly complains to like minded friends and who wears himself and others out with the same impotent questions about “why and “how” could this happen? I did try emailing almost anyone in authority to question the safety and efficacy of the school mask mandate but this effort soon failed after so many “cut and paste”, formulaic responses from the bureaucratic minders along with their links on “community spread” and “how to safely wear a mask.”

It would have been nice to actually have been able to talk to school staff about my concerns in person but parents have not been permitted inside the school for over a year now. Will we ever be allowed back inside our schools or will there be new measures, new “threats” to keep us outside or have we simply just lost this ability to view and interact with this critically formative environment we immerse our children into?

I have not had a haircut since November 2020. “Unsafe” they say while putting all hairdressers on welfare for the better part of a year and also while making “working from home” just that much more undignified. Dogs have actually been permitted more frequent access to professional grooming than adults have here in Ontario in the last year.

Perhaps this is why booze, marijuana and fast food have always been available during this pandemic. I guess they know that as long as we remain in a well-fed stupor with Netflix porting us from reality, there will be no real angst or frustration on the streets.

For a brief moment last week, when announcing our latest stay at home order due to our hypersensitive, 47 cycle PCR test cases (approximately 1 case for every 4,500 residents here in Ontario mind you), our bumbling high school educated Premier tried to impose a quasi-martial law edict. The police would have been able to stop you and question your intent if you ventured outside of you home. I found it laughable that you could legally comply by saying you were “off to buy booze, weed or fast food” and these would all be valid, essential destinations for such an excursion. Meeting a friend for a walk in the park though, this is not safe, nor recommended or even permitted!

Luckily, they pulled back from this stance, the lawyers probably said it was unlawful, the police probably said that they did not want to enforce this heavy handed stance and perhaps the weary, bleary eyed, stumbling public would have probably, finally, maybe have said “enough”.

At this point, I think only the naïve believe that our old lives are coming back. Perhaps that is why they are so willing, so adamant to get the jab. It is not really to save the lives of others or prevent the scourge of an infectious disease but because it mainly seems like most people just want to travel again or to have the chance to no longer have to hear or worry about covid constantly.

Once again, I realize I have no business writing about loss. My friends are still all employed, I really do not know anyone who runs a small shop or a restaurant. I have no idea what it would be like to watch your business disintegrate, the debts pile up and the financial vultures start circling around you. I do understand why these small business owners and employees would be so motivated for everyone to get vaccinated so that they can finally open up and claw their way out of this deep covid hole they have been plunged into with the other end of their government issued loan lifelines handed to the big banks as a financial noose around their necks that will continually tighten in the months and years to come.

For the moment the rest of us are all still shielded by this work from home employment model that has not had any significant layoffs due to a massive, unchecked national Government wage subsidy program that even pays a 70% wage subsidy to large, significantly profitable corporations that are still paying dividends to shareholders. This white-collar job market stability is still further enhanced here in Canada by the re-bounding stock market that keeps rising to ever record heights thanks to the government debt printing machines.

So, how much will they really take from us in the months and years to come?

Let’s forget about PCR testing cycles, what constitutes a “case” vs. a clinical case, vaccine trials, if masks work or if lockdowns really achieve anything. These are all unnecessarily divisive discussions that, in the absence of any real or honest mainstream journalism, will never be permitted to be resolved in the public forum.

What we should really care about is that our children have been forbidden to interact with each other, to pursue hobbies, musical lessons, school clubs or just simple play-time with their peers. They are sent to school, when deemed “safe” based on the computer models, bound and gagged as invalids for up to 8 hours a day. Lunchtimes and playtimes are truncated, discouraged and replaced with silent lunches in front of a screen and ”socially distanced” outdoor play during shortened recess periods.

What will school look like in the years to come? What kind of digital ID’s will our children be forced to carry with them at all times and which big Tech conglomerate will collect, curate, market and disseminate all of their medical, scholarly and personal data?

What will replace all of the small restaurants, pubs and shops that have gone under? Will all of these beautiful brick and mortar establishments be bought up on the cheap by a large private equity firm that will offer the least equitable employment terms to desperate applicants?

At the moment I am not supposed to leave my neighbourhood limits. When will I be able to travel internationally and what risks must I accept with new vaccines and boosters to qualify to come and go and what private information must I sacrifice upon request to comply?

I feel that most of the online world I encounter is awash in mis-information, how soon will it be before the small and beleaguered sources of genuine information that I can find online are completely demonetized, de-linked, banned or de-platformed from the internet? The access to content and commenting that we have lost in the last year alone would have been incomprehensible to almost all of us just a few years ago, now the most “liberal democrats” are braying for big tech and the regulators to do more, to take more stringent actions. Soon we may experience a very harsh and unforgiving internet, one that reports us for straying outside of the ever-narrowing community guidelines.

What about my freedom, my right to refuse a hastily developed medical technology, one that has not been thoroughly tested but is still supposed to, guaranteed to (almost) provoke the appropriate immune response to a virus that poses almost no harm to me whatsoever?

What about unintended consequences? What happens to me if I suddenly develop any number of rare or debilitating health conditions in the future? My chances of catching covid-19 or experiencing ill effects from it are quite low so why can’t I be allowed to take this risk without being judged for doing so?

What happened to our acquired knowledge as a society as to how to behave when sick? This has served us well for thousands of years. When our amazing immune systems were fighting a significant illness, it was almost always obvious that the sick individual should be cared for but isolated and kept from others.

Why have we lost this trust in ourselves and in our own judgement? We are still permitted to raise our children (for now) but we are unable to properly assess our own health and infectivity as it may pertain to others at work or at school? Exercising our own good judgement is a critical aspect of a well functioning, civil society. Removing this right, this freedom of choice will only lead to a punitive, dystopian type of society, one that eagerly turns on each other rather than to help one another.

The optimists, those that believe in the system, the same system that has half the planet living in poverty mind you but don’t worry about that, just a minor flaw, they believe this fabulous system of democracy and commerce will deliver us the health outcome we all deserve. It will protect us and our weakest and all we need to do is take a shot, or two or three, every year and don’t mind the costs or how or to whom the money was distributed, it was necessary, it will be worth it.

Once this happens, once we reach the now newly re-defined as solely vaccine derived “herd immunity” then life is back! School, travel, friends and family. You can have it all but you may need a mask for just a bit longer, maybe two masks actually.

The rest of us, a small vocal minority or perhaps, hopefully a larger, mostly silent and dumbfounded mass of citizens will finally start taking stock of what we have lost and what we are truly at risk of losing.

It is hard to do. I still want the others to be right. I want the vaccine to be safe and effective. I want the sacrifice to be worth it. I want to travel and do all the things I imagined I would do with friends and family and at work. I want my kids to have these same options that I had. I want to believe that my government and our health officials are working with our best interests in mind while unaffected by conflicts of interest.

But the data says otherwise. This data that has always been there. That data that shows us that Covid is neither dangerous or all that contagious to anyone under the age of 70. The historical data that tells us that Influenza A and B and all the other sub-types could not possibly just disappear worldwide in the last twelve months. The data, all the data, these recent 12 months of newly acquired covid raw numbers from all over the world that does not lie

So, the media does.

So do almost all Governments as well.

They have the full cooperation of all of the big tech companies for maximum efficacy. Information has never been more widely available but then immediately censored or “fact” checked. Prominent voices of reason, objectivity and truth are shadow banned or de-platformed. Even the miniscule, insignificant frustrated comments I make against my better judgement on our national news website are quickly and automatically deactivated within minutes of posting. I should know better than to waste the pixels, however temporary they might be.

What can be done? Not much on our own but then quite a lot if we all do something. Close to a half a million marched in London on April 24th. It was wonderful to see. How many more will march in May? I hope at least twice as many will next time and that they will persist, and persist and persist. I hope that as the weather warms, more and more people will see that it is possible to be outside and inside, to be together and to celebrate our lives, our professions and our passions together without shame or fear.

What else do we have to lose?


His previous article: Together But Falling Apart


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!