Israeli forces continue to restrict access to Aqsa compound

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces imposed severe restrictions on Palestinian entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the second day in a row Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Endowment said.A ministry official in Jerusalem told Ma’an that all gates to the compound, except for Hatta, Council and Chain gates, were closed, and that Israeli forces denied all Palestinian women entry and carefully inspected Palestinian men before allowing them inside.Children attending religious schools in the compound were also inspected thoroughly, the official said.He highlighted that Israeli forces had been deployed inside the compound to protect right-wing Jews touring the site.The director of the ministry’s Jerusalem office, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, denounced the Israeli restrictions, accusing Israeli police of having “suspicious plans in Al-Aqsa.””They insisted on keeping the gates closed even though we contacted them repeatedly today and yesterday,” he said.Israeli media on Monday reported that Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called on Defense Minister Moshe Yalon to ban from the Al-Aqsa compound a group of Palestinians who protest the entry of right-wing Jews into the compound.The Palestinians, known as Murabiteen for men and Murabitat for women, are volunteers who stay inside the compound with the aim of preventing groups of right-wing Jews from touring the compound.

The official Wafa news agency reported that the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly condemned the call, saying that it constitutes new evidence that Israel intends to divide the holy Mosque between Muslims and Jews.Wafa reported: “Palestinians worry that if Jewish visitors were allowed to pray in the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards on [a] daily basis, it would eventually lead to a permanent change, which will result in full Israeli control and [a] ban on Muslims’ entry and prayer.”The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.Following Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained an agreement with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa compound not to allow non-Muslim prayer in the area.Jewish prayer is allowed at the neighboring Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Second Temple.However, Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to Al-Aqsa, leading to anger among Muslim worshipers.At the end of June, International Crisis Group reported discussions between Israel and the Islamic trust in Jordan on allowing non-Muslim worship at the site, although the move has not been confirmed.

(Source / 26.08.2015)

9 Years Later: My Journey to see my Father; 45 Minutes, a Window and a Telephone by Sumoud Sa’adat

Published originally on Sumoud Sa’adat’s Facebook:

For us Palestinians, life has a different meaning and taste. While people around the world go on journeys to embrace nature, hike its mountains, or dive in its seas, we, the families of Palestinian political prisoners, go on journeys of our own to completely different places.

We journey to the Israeli occupation’s prisons where our loved ones are held in captivity. Although these prisons were forcibly imposed on us Palestinians, yet we go there with joy and excitement in our hearts while trying to ignore the harsh and bitter reality that lies within the prison walls. The night before the visit, many are unable to sleep the night, as was my case. Others cannot sleep deeply and instead spend the night tossing and turning in their beds trying to relax their anxious bodies in the hopes of being in their best shape for the visit.

Preparations Before the Visit

Our day started at four o’clock in the morning. First, we thoroughly packed the things my dad asked for so we wouldn’t forget anything. Then we prepared some food, coffee and cold water given the hot weather in the place we were heading to.

My mother, my brother(Ghassan) and myself left the house at 6:00 am, and headed towards the buses, which were located in front of ‘Isa’ad Al-toufeleh’ Park in Al-Bireh, Ramallah. Upon arrival, all the prisoners’ families gazed at us as we were getting off the car. When we approached them they met us with smiles and morning greetings. I heard someone saying: “this is the family of Ahmad Sa’adat. They are visiting with us!” Some approached us with warm greetings and said: “finally! They are allowing you to visit!”

The interaction between us and the other families started instantly and went smoothly without any barriers. After all we knew most of them. Some, used to deliver clothing and books to my father whom we were banned from visiting while visiting their sons and loved ones. To some we were relatives, and others I knew though my work in Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

There, I met my seventh grade Arabic school teacher. But today she came as the mother of the prisoner Mohammed Wahbeh who was sentenced to five years in Israeli prisons. In such moments, you can only see hopeful faces full of energy, smiles, laughter and joy. At some point you realize all of us that bus stop shared the same pain, the same  purpose; visiting our loved ones in Nafha Prison.

Beit Seira Checkpoint: The Fear of Being Returned

The bus moved at 6:50am. Since it was my first visit, the families were explaining what the next stop was. Beit Seira checkpoint was our next stop. At this checkpoint you wait with the fear of not being allowed to pass through. We arrived at Beit Seira check point at 7:30 am, we got off the bus and we walked around 50 meters until we reached an open yard sheltered with metal plates. In that yard there was but one filthy toilet which the families are forced to use because of the long journey. In that yard an employee from the International Committee of the Red Cross would hand the families tickets which allow the visit. We got our tickets and headed to the inspection point.

At the inspection point,you come across a revolving metal gate (gate number one). This gate is referred to as Al-Ma’atah, a gate usually used for animals especially chicken. Then, you have to empty your pockets, and if you are a woman, you put your hand bag on the inspection machine. At this gate, you present your identity card and wait for a while before being allowed to proceed to the next gate (gate number two).Gate number two is the gate which the families hate and despise. At this gate,there is a window and behind it two armed- Israeli female soldiers to whom you hand-over your identity card, the visit permit and the Red Cross ticket. When I presented my visit permit, identity card and ticket, one of the soldiers asked me to wait after she read my name. I noticed that she handed all my documents to the other soldier who was sitting behind her on a computer. I had to wait for a while during which two families passed the checkpoint as I watched the soldier one sitting at the computer. She kept staring at me which made me wonder what sort of information was she reading on her computer.

Shortly after, she returned my documents to the soldier at the window who then gave them back tome. Without a doubt, my mother went through the same procedure. Unlike me, my mother holds a Jerusalem ID, that allows her to pass checkpoints without needing a permit. Nevertheless she decided to share this experience with me.

Eventually we passed through the checkpoint and waited on the other side for the rest of the families to gather. In total we were 72 visitors on that bus. On the bus one of the families explained that their child, who was 15 years old was banned from passing the checkpoint and visiting his brother. The soldiers claimed that he was 16 years old and thus needed a permit. His mother however insisted his 16th birthday was in four months and he didn’t need a permit. To our sorrow,however, the soldiers did not allow him to pass and continue his journey.

The bus moved again at 9:20 am. My heartbeat started to pace. I was asking myself, how will the meeting be? Will I cry? Will I laugh? Will I, by some miracle, be able to get a hug from my father? How will my dad react? Last time he saw me I was 20. Today I was 29 years old. Will he even recognize me?! What about his features? Has he grown old? Will I find in his reassuring eyes the comfort they always gave? Is he calm? Will I see that smile which grants me strength and hope?

I decided to escape all this anxiety by sitting next to the driver and asking him about the places around us and the weather in an attempt to kill some time but also because it has been a very long time that I was in south of occupied Palestine. When I was young, we used to visit my father in Al-Naqab prison, and now I was reminiscing memories long forgotten. We passed by the junction which leads to the Israeli Naqab prison. We also passed by the Israeli Eshel prison which I heard so much about.We also passed by stunning desert mountains of such a beauty that I never saw before.

Two hours later, we arrived to the Rimon and Nafha Prisons. Suddenly all the anxiety returned, but even stronger this time. All my attempts to control this anxiety failed. When the driver announced that we arrived, all of the questions which I tried to avoid were back. I was like a butterfly which wants to fly, my heart was racing,my eyes were full of tears and absurdly, I had a strong urge to smile. A strong feeling overcame me, one that I haven’t felt for 9 years. Finally I was going to see my father, but I was certain it wasn’t going to be easy, for Indeed long waiting hours and humiliation were ahead of us.


We arrived at Nafha prison at 11:30 am. One shouldn’t expect to just get off the bus and proceed to visit their loved ones, for this isn’t the case here. Right at the entrance, a security vehicle approached us and we were asked to wait. The bus had to park on the side while waiting, and we were surprised when a large bus passed by.The bus was a white and had the logo of the Israeli Prison Service’s (IPS) Nahshon unit on it. It had tiny and high windows and looked like a dairy truck. This was the bus which transports prisoners. Of course we couldn’t glimpse any of the prisoners, but we saw the dozens of Nahshon personnel surrounding the bus.

For 20 minutes we waited inside the bus as we were banned from moving. Eventually a policeman who was wearing the IPS uniform came and opened a gate which led into a yard. As we entered the closed yard, the policeman was making sure everyone had entered so he can close the door behind us. In the yard were uncomfortable metal seats and only two fans in this unbelievable heat. The toilets were so filthy to the point that you rather not use them or end up using them with difficulty if it’s absolutely necessary. Inside the yard were two windows; one for smoking and the other one was the window through which the families hand-over the clothes and books to prisoners. I really wish I could have destroyed that window because of the humiliation one faces at it. The policeman at the window was dull, slow and mean. He seemed to have creative ways of making the families suffer. On the left, there was a window where one hands their visit permit and identity card after they call the prisoner’s name. I called that window, the window of luck.

One of the jailers called out the names of several prisoners, which he categorized as the first group. The divided us, the 72 visitors into four groups. Although the fourth group was only of four families, yet it was an excuse for the IPS to delay us further and cause us more suffering. My mother, Ghassan and I each separately headed to the three windows. Ghassan went to the smoking window, I went to the mean soldier window, and my mom went to the window of luck- and I wished she hadn’t.

At the window, the soldier told my mother that only me (Sumoud) was allowed to visit on that day,and both of Ghassan and herself weren’t. My mom started shouting at him saying that the whole family was allowed to visit, and he replied in a very cold manner saying that was decision. At that moment, I felt my mom’s deep pain and saw her tearful eyes. Ghassan’s face was full of rage. They completely disrupted our happiness and eagerness for that long awaited visit. My mom was trying to look away from me to hide the tears in her eyes. Ghassan was hugging me and telling me to greet our dad warmly, while in fact he was trying to hide his anger. It was an extremely painful and stressful moment for all three of us. My mom wasn’t allowed to visit my dad for over two years, and my brother hasn’t seen my dad since the last war on Gaza in 2014. How can I visit my dad while they can’t see him? I felt like I wanted to cry and shout as loud as I can, but I didn’t let‘them’ destroy this precious and priceless meeting for me. My mum and Ghassan left and I was alone. It was a very cruel feeling that moment, however I had to proceed with this long awaited visit.

The Mean Window

Ever since we entered the waiting hall and until the time of the visit, I and a group of no more than ten people were waiting at window with the mean policeman. We waited at the window from 11:45 until 1:00 pm all through which the mean policeman was doing anything he could to make us suffer. He would allow some clothes and reject others based on their colors and his mood. One of the mothers with us said last time black was allowed, wherea sthis time black was prohibited! Each of the family’s had at least one piece of clothing which the mean policeman decided were not permitted. Moreover, the policeman kept disappearing without giving any explanation leaving us to wait even further. Instead of having a moment of calm to plan how and what to say to our loved ones in the 45 minutes of the visit, this policeman kept us waiting,feeling bitter and humiliated.

For 9 years I dreamed of visiting my father. After 9 years of waiting, I will get to see him for 45 minutes! Around 1:15, they called the names of the prisoners in the first group. We stood by a metal gate waiting to enter. A policeman would ask which prisoner each person was visiting and then would make one wait while he checks the names. More waiting! At the moment I was wishing these doors, these mean people and faces did not exist! I just wanted to go through the gate to see my father. I wished these restrains and limits did not exist and that this suffering be over, for I couldn’t wait anymore.

I finally went through the gate. Behind it was a metal detecting machine. I was asked to take off my shoes, put them through the machine and walk through. If the machine would buzz, you will have to take off anything that could possibly make a sound. Sometimes women would be asked to takeoff their underwear if it had a metal hook. They would give the women prayer clothes, ask them to go to the bathroom to take off their underwear and then place it in the machine for further inspection!

Lucky enough, the machine did not buzz, so I was able to proceed. I then entered a second inspection room. There stood two heavily armed female soldiers who were about 22 years old. They held a portable metal detecting machine. The look in their eyes lacked any innocence, which one think they would have at their age, or humanity. I almost felt like shouting them, how does it feel for you as women to be oppressing other women? But I didn’t. After the inspection I entered a hall, and there waited again. I waited and waited. Slowly I started feeling happy. Behind the next door I will be seeing my father, at last. I will see the bright face that I love and miss.

A policeman entered the hall and said it’s time for the visit. At that moment I felt like running, or walking! I really didn’t know what to do. We finally entered the visiting hall. The first thing I noticed there was the window which separates us from the prisoners. I was trying to glimpse my dad. Where are you dad? I was eagerly trying to find him. At the first window was a young man, at the second a man. But not my father. And suddenly I saw him. Walking next to the last guy. I ran towards the empty window so quickly that I even jumped over a set of steps. Suddenly he was therein front of me. My father, Abu Ghassan. I wished the glass separating us could break so he would hug me as he did when I was young. But some dreams are never meant to come true. The glass did not break.

My father, my source of power and happiness, was finally there in front of me where our eyes can finally meet. Despite the glass that was separating us, I held up the phone and I shouted as loud as I could:(Baba Habibi!) Dad, my love! Finally! Then I sent him several kisses from behind the glass. At that moment my eyes were full of tears and my voice was shaking.My father’s eyes were full of tears as well. However, we did not want to cry at that moment because it was a time for joy, so out of nowhere I made a loud Zaghrouta (ululation: a celebratory sounds usually made in weddings and other celebrations) and we started laughing. It was here that the visit properly started.

My dad was still the same. His sight made me feel like I am at the top of the world. We laughed and talked. I sent him more kisses though the glass. I passed greetings from many people. He told me about this daily life, how he spent his days and his new and I the same. These moments felt like a dream that I can never forget.

I started at him a lot, in an attempt to satisfy my need of him, my warm loving father, and his gaze which I will not be seeing again anytime soon. These moments felt like I was a child again living my happy childhood. Although he looked the same, yet he looked older as well. This annoyed me a lot, however, his spirit does not sound any older for he had the same strength and smile to which we were used. The beautiful grey had spread to the rest of his hair. His eyes were somewhat sad, probably because my mother and Ghassan could not visit him today, but also because today was my uncle’s 13th memorial. My father was also sad for his companion in prison, Ishrak Rimawi, who’s son, Ahmad, had passed away just two days ago. We spoke about how painful and shocking Ahmad’s death was. Ahmad was only recently released from Israeli occupation prisons and he actually spent time with his own father inside the same prison.

Despite all the sadness and pain, we still managed to smile and send each other kisses every now and then. We also managed to joke and laugh loudly about some family matters. Towards the very end of the visit,my dad was about to say goodbye and tell me to take care, when suddenly the phone was cut off. I could no longer hear his voice. The 45 minutes were over.Still he continued to speak from behind the glass and he placed his hand at the window. I said very loudly, do not worry abu Ghassan, and I placed my hand at the window facing his. I glanced at him one last time and he as well. That moment was the most difficult. My dream came to an end and I did not have enough of my father. I still yearned for him and missed him.

My father stood up to walk towards the door. I walked on the other side of the glass following his footsteps and watching him.A police officer was asking me to hurry up, but I did not hear him for I was trying to listen to my father’s steps. When I got to the door and was about to leave, I shouted as loud as I could: “Baba (dad), Abu Ghassan! I will miss you a lot” and I sent him a kiss. He waved his hand goodbye, smiling and we both left.

45 minutes are not enough for a 9 year old conversation. It was not even enough to quench my thirst and yearning for my father, but it was enough to give both me and him some strength and hope. My dream was over and I did not want it to end. Nevertheless, the beauty of the situation is that one could break the shackles placed on his happiness and could be happy, although briefly, despite all the difficult circumstances. For 45 minutes we ignored the police officer surrounding us, from my side and his watching the families and their loved ones. I ignored their reactions to our interaction, or their reaction to how the glass separates us from our loved ones or the inhuman phone. We simply were looking for minutes of happiness throughout our pain to keep us going, and we found them.

After the Visit… Reflecting on the Dream

The visit was over, but the journey did not end yet. We left around 2:50 pm to a room where we would have to wait for the other families to finish their visits. I can’t but describe how sad was the situation in that waiting room. The room was very quiet. The families were waiting,eating some of the food they got with them. Sad looks were all over their faces. They all were busy thinking, remembering every detail of the short visit that went by too quickly. Everyone was tired and filled with sadness. We all had to wait for over two hours for the remaining families to finish their visits. It was 5:10 pm already when we were about to leave. As we were leaving through the prison doors and I wished I could stay a little longer. Even if I couldn’t see my father, yet I did not want to leave him there alone. These moments were very difficult for me and for the other families. To leave your loved ones behind. Yet, we will continue to dream. We will continue to hope.

(Source / 26.08.2015)

Unraveling the Myth of Al Qaida

13 January 2008 

The myth of “al Qaida” is built on an expansive foundation of many half-truths and hidden facts.  It is a CIA creation.  It was shaped by the agency to serve as a substitute “enemy” for America, replacing the Soviets whom the Islamist forces had driven from Afghanistan.  Unknown American officials, at an indeterminate point in time, made the decision to fabricate the tale of a mythical worldwide network of Islamic terrorists from the exploits of the Afghan Mujahedeen. The CIA already had their own network of Islamic militant “freedom fighters,” all that was needed were a few scattered terrorist attacks against US targets and a credible heroic figurehead, to serve as the “great leader.”

The really tricky part of creating a mythical terrorist monster out of an incomplete truth is laying-out the facts behind your mythical story without revealing the whole truth about your part in its creation.  In order to explain away the billions of dollars worth of weapons and training that went into the operation, they chose a rich jihadi, a Saudi millionaire named Osama bin Laden, who had been a faithful recruiter and business agent of the Mujahedeen.  He was painted as the sole financier of the entire enormous operation that was centered in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Bin Laden may not even have known that he was playing a part in a deceitful CIA global drama until after the fact.  It is more likely that his history was chosen many years later to serve as the legacy of “al Qaida,” than it is that he was a brainwashed tool of the spy agency all along.

The story of bin Laden is the story of the secret CIA/ISI insurgent camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  According to Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Osama was 22 years old in 1979, when he was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp near Peshawar, Pakistan.

“Bin Laden family was put in charge of raising money for the Islamic brigades. Numerous charities and foundations were created. The operation was coordinated by Saudi intelligence, headed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, in close liaison with the CIA. The money derived from the various charities was used to finance the recruitment of Mujahedeen volunteers. Al Qaeda, the base in Arabic was a data bank of volunteers who had enlisted to fight in the Afghan jihad. That data base was initially held by Osama bin Laden.”

Researcher Kurt Nimmo writes:

“The database of Islamic fighters that was collected by the program was labeled n Arabic, ‘Q eidat ilmu’ti’aat’, which is the exact translation of the English word database. But the Arabs commonly used the short word ‘Al Qaida” which is the Arabic word for ‘base.’”

In 1989, the US, under George Bush Sr. moved to abandon Afghanistan, making preparations to attack Saddam Hussein long before he had ever moved against Kuwait in 1991.  As far as Bush knew, the spy agency had obeyed his orders to abandon the Afghan tribal bloodbath and civil war, but the CIA knew better than the Commander-In-Chief.  This fit in well with a deceitful Secretary of Defense, who had also believed that he knew better than his boss, (as evidenced by Cheney ordering his underling Paul Wolfowitz to draw-up an alternative foreign policy, known as the “Defense Planning Guidance”).  The covert foreign policy of Reagan and Carter had became even more secret, as control of the camp network was submerged even deeper into the bowels of the secret world of the CIA.

The CIA  did not pull out of the jihadi program after the Soviet withdrawal, leaving it solely in the ISI’s hands.  There is a massive trail of evidence which proves that all the Islamist extremists who were trained under this program, to undermine Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Egypt, the US and England, were not all Pakistan’s doing.  This has always been a CIA program.  The attempt to pretend that we were washing our hands of it, was to give “plausible deniability” to the President of the United States, that he had ordered an end to the effort.  CIA appeared to comply, as they covertly ignored the position of their old boss and set their own foreign policy.  The ensuing Kashmiri conflict, started in 1989 by American and Pakistani trained forces, was an act of war against India. Which part of the Executive Branch was responsible for the new plan?  Who this a presidential decision, or was it a rogue agency that decided on its own to turn the Islamists against us, manipulating the Islamists into openly kill 3000 Americans on 9/11?  Whose plan were the Islamists and the covert planters of explosives executing on that new day of infamy?

Pakistanis seethed with anger at the US for abandoning them in the mess we had made; they were only doing what America had demanded of them.

“Many in the ISI loathe the United States. They view America as an unreliable and duplicitous ally, being especially resentful of the 1990 sanctions, which came one year after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan. Furthermore, the ISI is dominated by Pashtuns, the same tribe that is the Taliban’s base of support across the border in Afghanistan. Partly because of its family, clan, and business ties to the Taliban, the ISI, even more than Pakistani society in general, has become increasingly enamored of radical Islam in recent years.” [Slate, 10/9/2001]…

On October 12, 1999 the ISI installed the government of Pervez Musharref, in a coup d’etat, removing Nawaz Sharif out of fear that he might give-in to American pressure and stop supporting the Taliban.

After the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, the camps kept churning out highly-skilled terrorists, to foment other armed insurgencies in places like Kashmir (lasting until the war with India in 1999).  The CIA/ISI camps were terrorist factories, as they kept turning out successive armies of paramilitary units and skilled terrorists.  They trained many of the Bosnian fighters in 1992 and 1995, Chechens in 1994 and 1996, Taliban in 1995 and 1996, and the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1998-99.  Former honor students of the camps went on to attempt to kill Benazir Bhutto in 1993 (Yousef and KSM), bomb the World Trade Center the first time (Yousef). Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was an agent of chaos, who immediately set about destabilizing the victorious Mujahedeen in Afghanistan by firing rockets at Kabul, igniting the Afghan civil war.  Mullah Omar received satellite intel from the CIA, revealing to him the location of a hidden convey of Soviet trucks loaded with weaponry, giving him the upper hand in the civil war.

According to India’s Embassy, Pakistan’s terrorism network consisted of :

“38 terrorist training centres from where recruits were regularly sent on “jehad” missions to Kashmir and other parts of the world…Facts and figures about Pakistan’s role in fostering terrorism in India compiled by Indian security forces are as follows: Number of terrorist camps in Pakistan 37; number of terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 49; number of Pakistan-run terrorist camps in Afghanistan: 22; total number of hardcore terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir: 2300; total number of foreign mercenaries operating in Jammu and Kashmir: 900; number of Pakistan terrorists killed by Indian security forces: 291; number of Indian civilians killed by Pakistan terrorists: over 29,000…Harkat-ul-Ansar, Al-Badr, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, all associated with terrorist financier Osama bin Laden.”

In the early years, the camps produced two terrorist superstars, Ramsey Yousef and Ali Mohamed.  While Yousef did spread his talents and skills liberally throughout the Muslim world, it was Ali who made the terrorists more skilled and successfully instigated many large terrorist attacks.  As an officer in the Egyptian military, he had served in the same unit as the assassins who killed Anwar Sadat.  He later moved about freely in the world of Islamist radicals at the al-Farouq mosque and al Qaida recruitment center in Brooklyn, which had produced El-Sayeed Nosair, the killer of Rabbi Meir Kahane, brought the “blind sheikh” together with bin Laden and his Islamic “charities,” as well as Osama’s spiritual mentor, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

As an American Special Forces trainer, Ali acquired specialized skills and combat training programs, which he taught in the camps.  Under the name “Abu Mohamed al-Amriki,” he offered Zawahiri a CIA bribe of $50 million to attempt to overthrow the Egyptian government in 1998.  He did the groundwork for the plot to blow-up two American embassies in Africa and at least one attempt to assassinate Qaddafi.  Ali Mohamed is the linchpin in the plot to fabricate the al Qaida super-enemy.  It will be the task of future historians to determine whether he was manipulating al Qaida for the CIA or playing the CIA for al Qaida – perhaps both answers are correct.

The CIA/ISI camps, organized by Ali, the trainer, were a source of instruction for nearly every terrorist attack upon the West.  Graduate Ramsey Yousef and “the blind Sheikh”  were instrumental to the first World Trade Center bombing, while Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the brains behind the successful second bombing.  Their associate, CIA pawn Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, was instrumental in turning the successful Afghan revolution into a civil war and keeping it going.  He was also a key player in the Taliban resurgence against the US.   The Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization trained 300 men at these camps.  The London 7/7 terrorists and the “shoe bomber” all visited these camps before their attacks. Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols allegedly came into contact with some of this group (possibly in the same area as Ramsey Yousef, at a time when both were there) on his visits to the Philippines before the OKC  attack.  It is rumored on the Internet that Saudi intelligence told the FBI that Saddam Hussein had commissioned Pakistanis to bring down the Murrah Building.  The infamous dark-skinned “John Doe No. 2″ might have been a Pakistani.  He was described as a Middle Eastern type.

After Clinton took over from Bush, he rediscovered the Islamist Network.  Parts of the hidden program begin to resurface.  According to author Yossef Bodansky (director Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare), in 1993,

“Clinton began a covert operation with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, to send money and arms to Bosnia-Herzegovina…complicity in the delivery of weapons from Iran to the Muslim government in Sarajevo…involvement with the Islamic network’s arms pipeline  elements of Al Qaida in Albania.” 

“Some of these actions were under direct command of Al Qaida “number two” Ayman al-Zawahiri, who oversaw the program to smuggle weapons and mujahedeen though Croatia into Bosnia.  This secret program was later duplicated with the Kosovo Liberation Army, and again in nearby Macedonia, as well as in Chechnya.”

Clinton also is alleged to have used these Al Qaida offshoots against Egypt, after President Mubarak opposed Clinton’s use of force against Iraq in February 1998.  Some of these Islamists, again led by Zawahiri, had tried to assassinate Mubarak in 1995.

The Islamist foreign policy of the United States did not end with Bill Clinton, or even with the 9/11 attacks.  Bush is playing the same card throughout the Muslim world, as we see him apply the “El Salvador option” (adapted from the Islamist program) to every situation claimed to be caused by “elements associated with al Qaida.”  We are hiring and training gangs of Sunni mercenaries to start wars throughout the Muslim world.  Either we hire them openly, like the “Awakening” group in Iraq, semi-secretly, like the PAJEK Kurds hired to hit Iran and the Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon, or back them super-secretively, like elements of the Pakistani Taliban, whom we mislabel as “al Qaida.”

Our own spy agency is behind the killing of thousands of American soldiers and civilians all over the world.  They are also responsible for continued Afghan opium production, as it has always served as the primary funding source for CIA paramilitary operations there.  The poppies funded the original Pakistani camps and their current resurgence.  Much of the poppy fields and most of the camps lie within a sixty-mile radius of Peshawar.  This is the zone of instability that overlaps the northernmost regions of Pakistan bordering Kashmir, the epicenter of the massive October 2005 earthquake that further devastated the people.

Within this sixty-mile radius lies the infamous Tora Bora “fortress,” bin Laden’s redoubt, where his forces made their last stand in Afghanistan.  It was built on the Kabul River, near the Swat Valley, the site of the original camps and the current Pakistani/Taliban battles, set-off by Musharref’s  meeting of US demands.  Tora Bora is part of the Darunta Camp complex [34°28’00″N 70°22’00″E], the former location of Al-Badr I military base near Jalalabad.  According to Internet sources, bin Laden allegedly took possession of this facility directly from the CIA, upon his return from Sudan in 1996.  At the time of the US invasion of Afghanistan, American media sources were hyping Tora Bora as a super fortress, equipped as an underground city, even having its own hydroelectric plant.  This underground facility would have had to have cost at least a billion dollars to construct.  They released this artist’s rendition to the public as US bombers were dropping everything they had on it.   disputed the fortress story 

The satellite photos below are supposed to be from the Darunta site, matching closely the level of complexity attributed to the facility during the battle, which the media quickly denied as hype, after our troops failing to get bin Laden there, preferring to show instead, a bunch of primitive caves.

The following map pinpoints the large helipad used to supply Darunta–

The ongoing offensive in the Swat zone of instability began when Pakistan agreed to US demands to assault the “Red Mosque” Islamic compound in Islamabad.  The storming of the compound ignited an uprising in the Northwest Provinces by followers of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz.  The Islamists had become more and more successful at their attempts to spark the building democratic-revolution, emboldening Pakistani lawyers to mount large protests, threatening to sweep Musharref and his US allies away.  Musharref has escalated the confrontation with the Islamists by supporting the ISI attempt to blame one of them, Baitullah Mehsud, for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

One-hundred seventy-five miles south of the Swat Valley war zone, around the town of Wana, Mehsud has stood with al Qaida and the foreign Taliban against local Islamists, headed by Maulvi Nazir, who has been waging war to evict al Qaida foreigners (mostly Uzbeks) and Afghan Taliban from his territory.  The al Qaida flocked to the area in 2001 after being driven from the Kandahar area in Afghanistan, which adjoins northwest Baluchistan.  Nazir has followed the same pattern that we have seen the people adopt in Iraq, where Sunnis turn against al Qaida because of their brutal attacks to force harsh Sharia law upon them.  After Nazir could stand no more, he gathered together 900 of his friends from the “local Taliban,” to drive the mostly Uzbeki al Qaida from South Waziristan.  The government provided aid to Nazir’s fight, but when government forces tried to actively fight alongside the defending Waziri, it felt the combined retaliation of both sides.

Recently, nine of Nazir’s representatives to upcoming peace talks with the government were killed in rocket attacks, blamed on Uzbekis who were connected to Mehsud.  The attack was probably another part of the ISI disinformation campaign to turn local Islamists against Mehsud’s Taliban, designed to trigger more of the anti-Uzbeki attacks.  After the attack, Nazir issued a deadline for all of the Mehsud to leave the area.  The Waziri are expected to attempt to drive the Mehsud tribesmen northward of Wana, into the Kurram Agency, which has a large Shiite population.  This area will have to become the focus of CIA/ISI secret plans to foment religious war against the Shia, supporters of Iran, by driving the Sunnis and Shiites together.  Kurram adjoins the area of Tora Bora, on the edge of the large circular zone of instability.  Baitullah Mehsud has also been linked to attacks upon Shiites in the Kohat area.  Other reports from the area claim that Mehsud is marked for assassination by a government death squad.

Wana sits squarely on the trail used by Islamic fighters traveling from the Swat region to the heated battlefield in Southeastern Afghanistan, on the northern edge of the Baluch region.  This is the border area between the multinational Pashtun and Baluch tribes.  The Taliban are primarily a Pashtun movement.  It appears that the goal of the US is to use these inter-tribal hostilities to erase the borders of the two countries.  In 2005, al-Qaeda and the Taliban took over this area, “transforming Baluchistan from a logistics center to an operational base.”

The sparsely populated Baluch area is also home to Pakistan’s huge reserves of natural gas, the chosen route for the India-Iran gas lines, and several nuclear research and delivery sites.

Recent attacks by Jundallah terrorists into Iran came from this region.

The recent attempt to blame Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a textbook example of the Pakistani ISI duplicity in the region.  Even while government spokesmen finger Mehsud for the hit, other ISI operatives and journalists (Pakistani neocons) are spreading rumors, alleging his involvement with the anti-America/Musharref resistance.

“To neutralise that strategic blunder, the ISI operatives are trying to present Pakistan and Pakistan army as a target of the US aggression. Of course they are the primary targets of the US.  But Musharraf definitely is not.  To indirectly generate sympathies for Musharraf, the ISI analysis try to explain how Pakistan military is being strategically sabotaged, forgetting the fact that this has nothing to do with the US plans against Musharraf because Musharraf is the key facilitators of all anti-Pakistan plans by the neocons and warlords in Washington.  The ISI attempt to parade Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Baitullah Mehsud, and the Maulana of Swat as ISI agents just doesn’t hold water…If Al-Qaeda is in fact fighting for the US against Pakistan, what is all this fuss about the ‘war on terrorism’ on the part of Mush and his cronies in Islamabad?”

The author of that commentary may have been more of a prophet than he realized, when he asked if al Qaida was fighting for the United States.  Hasn’t it been said, that the best place to hide something is to put it in plain sight?  Rumors created by ISI liars may be more factual than that which they proffer as truth.  By starting a whispering campaign to tell the truth about their intentions they know that it won’t be believed, because of its source.  Known liars like Bush and Musharref, speaking honestly about their intentions, cover the truth with their  dishonest reputations.

In the northern quadrant of this zone is the critical Swat Valley region, the focal point of the ongoing military offensive.  In this jihadi stronghold, we find al Qaida Uzbeks again fomenting rebellion.  “Radio Mullah,” otherwise known as Maulana Fazlullah of Swat, works diligently to broadcast his fundamentalist Wahabbi/Taliban values, backed up by 500 well-armed followers, including Uzbek fighters.   He is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Mohammad, founder of the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws).  Here hardcore Taliban, al Qaida, TNSM and other organizations await the promised arrival of the American Special Forces, planning to repel them just as they have successfully done with the Pakistani Army.   Also within this same circle lies a large percentage of Pakistan’s nuclear development and delivery systems.

The escalating drama that is planned for this region, dreamed-up by the sick mind of Dick Cheney and his pals from the dark side over at CIA, is now set to play out in the planned Frontier Corps.  The insane notion of training still more paramilitary units to fight the old ones is a continuation of the same tragedy that has played-out in this cursed region for thirty years or more.  The plan is to use Special Forces to train new Islamists and to stage attacks that will hopefully ignite an intra-Taliban war, or, even better, an Iraqi-type religious civil war.  Either scenario will open a path to American bombers heading through the back door into Iran.

(Source / 26.08.2015)

Aid groups urge removal of Israeli blockade on Gaza

Palestinian children play next to the rubble of buildings that were destroyed during Israel’s 50-day war in the summer of 2014, in Gaza City, August 25, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian children play next to the rubble of buildings that were destroyed during Israel’s 50-day war in the summer of 2014, in Gaza City, August 25, 2015

Some 35 aid agencies have launched a petition calling for an end to Israel’s inhumane siege on the Gaza Strip, which is grappling with the repercussions of the Tel Aviv regime’s deadly military aggression last summer.

“One year on from the Israeli military operation in Gaza, we are calling on you (world leaders) to press Israel to end the blockade and to immediately remove wood, steel bars, cement, aggregates, and other essential construction materials from the list of items restricted from entering the Gaza Strip,” read the petition, which was posted on the website of the Avaaz campaigning group on Wednesday.

The aid groups said in a statement that Israel’s siege on the coastal sliver is resulting in incalculable delays in reconstruction efforts in the Palestinian territory.

They further went on to say that approximately 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza are still homeless, while none of the 19,000 homes demolished during Tel Aviv’s latest onslaught against the blockaded enclave have been fully rebuilt.

It could take 17 years to reconstruct Gaza as just five percent of the 6.7 million tons of steel bars, cement and aggregates required to rebuild the region have been permitted entry, the aid agencies added.

They also said that Egypt’s closure of its border with Gaza has further limited the supplies entering the Gaza Strip. The Rafah border crossing, which is Gazans’ only way of access to the outside world free from Israel’s control, has been shut by Egypt, further complicating the humanitarian situation in the enclave.

The petition has so far garnered more than 467,000 signatures from across the globe.

No water to drink for 120,000 Gazans

In another development on Tuesday, Palestine’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) warned that some 120,000 Gazans lack drinking water due to the damage inflicted on infrastructure during Israel’s war on the territory last year.

“Twenty-three percent of the Gaza Strip’s population is not connected to the sanitation network,” the utility said in a statement.

Palestinian workers remove the rubble of a building that was destroyed during Israel’s 50-day war in the summer of 2014, in Gaza City’s eastern suburb of al-Shujaiyah, August 25, 2015

Tel Aviv imposed an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade on Gaza in June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. The siege has turned the coastal sliver – home to over 1.8 million Palestinians – into the largest open-air prison in the world.

Israel also launched a 50-day bloody war on Gaza last summer that ended in August 2014 with an Egyptian-brokered truce. The offensive left about 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, dead and over 11,100 others wounded.

(Source / 26.08.2015)

Israeli forces arrest 32 Palestinians in West Bank

Israeli forces arrested on Wednesday 32 Palestinians citizens in several cities and villages across the occupied West Bank.

Relatives of the prisoners said that the Israeli occupation forces “stole money and jewellery from the house” during the arrest raids.

Days of Palestine, West Bank –Israeli forces arrested on Wednesday 32 Palestinians citizens in several cities and villages across the occupied West Bank.

Families reported that the Israeli occupation forces arrested six Palestinians in Nablus, three in Bethlehem, two in Ramallah, and one in Jericho.

Rights group interested in prisoners’ issues said that the Israeli occupation forces stormed the village of Salem and arrested six Palestinians.

Relatives of the prisoners said that the Israeli occupation forces “stole money and jewellery from the house” during the arrest raids.

The Israeli occupation forces also raided the village of Azmout and arrested four young Palestinian men.

During the raid of Azmout, witnesses said, the Israeli soldiers smashed a private vehicle belonging to Abdul-Jalil Salah after ransacking his home.

Israeli forces also raided the village of Awarta, east of Nablus, and arrested two Palestinian citizens.

Palestinian sources said that the Israeli occupation forces arrested eight Palestinians in the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem.

(Source / 26.08.2015)

Emergency General Assembly Meeting to Discuss de Mistura’s Plan

The General Assembly will hold an emergency three-day meeting on August 28th to discuss the action plan put forward by the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, which was adopted by the UN Security Council.

The political committee earlier issued a statement confirming that the plan, besides lacking clear mechanisms, gives the Assad regime more time to continue the killings of civilians and bypass the legitimate representative of the revolution and the Syrian opposition.

The political committee members met with ambassadors and representatives of several countries of the Friends of the Syrian people to discuss de Mistura’s plan yesterday.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 26.08.2015)

120,000 Gazans have no access to water

palestinian children carrying clean and safe drinking water.

One year after the war, the water situation is still bad and thousands are suffering from lack of access to clean and safe drinking water

Some 120,000 people in the Gaza Strip have no access to water due to the damage left by last summer’s Israeli war on the Strip, official sources said.

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) said in a statement published today: “Around 120,000 people in the Gaza Strip are not connected to the water network and 23 per cent of the population is not connected to the sanitation network.”

As a result of damages and losses caused by the Israeli war which took place last summer, the water situation in the Gaza Strip is “extremely dangerous”, the organisation warned.

“One year after the war, the water situation is still bad and thousands are suffering from lack of access to clean and safe drinking water.”

CMWU estimated losses in the water and sanitation sector to be about $34 million, adding: “96 per cent of the underground aquifer is no longer fit for human consumption, forcing the population to allocate one-third of their income for buying water.”

Some 95 million litres of either raw or partially treated sewage were pumped into the sea negatively impacting the health of civilians, it warned.

The statement also emphasised that the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip has exacerbated the water crisis and disrupted the execution of 60 per cent of projects.

(Source / 26.08.2015)

Addameer Condemns the Arrest of 19 Students from An-Najah University

26 August 2015

Addameer Condemns the Arrest of 19 Students from An-Najah University

Ramallah – 26/8/2015 – Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association condemns the wave of political arrests held by Palestinian security forces in which 19 students from An-Najah University in Nablus were arrested in the aftermath of their participation in new student welcome events organized by the Islamic Bloc in the University.

The detainees are: Assem Ishtayeh, Obada Shadeed, Naseer Abu Thabet, Islam Shuaibi, Mo’men Sabah, Salah AlDeen Dweikat, Mohammad Al Haj, Mohammad Baraa Amer, Baraa Abdullah, Haroun Abul Heija, Obada Qet, Mohammad Amin Halbuni, Mahmoud Aseeda, Hani Sharaf, Hamza Qar’awi, Humam Fitash, and Obada Shalhoub.

Addameer believes that such a step by the Palestinian security forces is only a continuation to the targeting of the Palestinian university students which started in the midst of the student council elections in the West Bank during May during which the Palestinian security forces targeted students affiliated with the Islamic Bloc in these universities. The Palestinian security forces continue to base these campaigns against students in accordance to their political affiliation; for example, the secretary of the sports committee in Birziet University, Mohammad Fuqaha’, who is also a member of the Islamic Bloc in the Univerisy, was summoned by the Palestinian security forces on 23/8/2015 and detained for a number of days.

Addameer stresses that the practices committed by the Palestinian Authority’s security forces are a grave violation of the right of expression and the right to hold political opinions which are guaranteed by the amended Palestinian Basic Law as well as the international conventions, especially noting that the Palestinian authority has signed the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. In addition, the continuation of such practices increases the political division and undermines any efforts aimed at national reconciliation.

(Source / 26.08.2015)

‘They are not just taking a church – they are cutting our future and history’

Residents of Beit Jala protest against the newest extension of Israel’s separation wall, which will literally carve the heart out of their community

Archbishop Atallah Hanna helped lead the protest. “We will not let Beit Jala stand alone, and we will not be silent. This is our holy land, and it’s our history and we will protest always until they leave our land.”

BEIT JALA, West Bank – The upturned land where olive trees once grew in front of Amira Abu Saad’s home portray what Abu Saad said she has already known for weeks: the battle for her community has been lost.

Abu Saad, 62, lives on the edge of a residential block in Beit Jala, a Christian-majority town just outside Bethlehem in the central occupied West Bank. The western-facing windows of her traditional Jerusalem-stone home overlook the vast land of the Cremisan Valley – at least for now.

Bulldozers and Israeli forces showed up outside her home last week and uprooted olive trees to make room for the newest extension of Israel’s separation wall.

Protesters gathered around the bulldozers, chanting against their destruction, as Israeli forces stood guard. Small groups have gathered in the area every day since to voice their opposition.

On Sunday hundreds of protesters showed up at the site in a large demonstration against the confiscation, chanting phrases like “Stop, stop the occupation,” and “Free Beit Jala,” as they marched down to a fenced area that separates the neighbourhood from the illegal Gilo settlement on the next mount.

Protesters hurled themselves at the gate and barbed wire, ripping it from the ground and carrying the metal structure away, chanting “How we broke the gate, we will break the wall.”

Protesters pulled down the gate that blocks the nearby Gilo settlement and carried it away chanting “How we broke the gate, we will break the wall.”

Dozens of Israeli troops responded, firing tear gas at the protesters, who ran for cover. Many suffered from tear-gas inhalation and a few were injured by the metal canisters that were launched to disperse the gas.

Israeli forces shot tear gas at protesters, many of which suffered from gas-inhalation

Abu Saad watches the daily demonstrations helplessly from her porch.

“The Israelis want us to leave the land and our homes, but we won’t leave. We live for this land,” she said, sitting in the shade outside her home with a group of women from the neighbourhood as protesters gathered below.

“This land is the future of our children, and now they are taking it. They are taking our children’s future,” she told  Middle East Eye.

Fifty-eight landowners have been fighting the construction and path of the wall in Beit Jala for eight years. A court ruling in April, in which Israel’s High Court ordered the Defense Ministry to reconsider the route, gave residents hope that their efforts might succeed. Instead the route will go ahead as originally planned.

Soon Abu Saad’s view of rolling olive fields and the monastery she cherishes will be replaced by a towering grey wall.

The Cremisan Valley lies directly between the illegal Gilo and Har Gilo settlement blocks on the Palestinian side of the 1967 line. The route of the wall goes around Gilo and down, hugging a Beit Jala residential area, then continues through the valley and around Har Gilo.

The dip around the settlements confiscates the whole of the valley in between, including the Cremisan Monastery, built in 1885, as well as the Cremisan winery, convent and school, all of which are considered by residents as part of the heart of Beit Jala but fall within Israel’s illegally declared Jerusalem municipality boundary.

“They didn’t have to take all the land to build their wall, they could have gone around it,” Abu Saad said. “But we know what they want to do; they want to tear all our trees out of the land, and they’ll put buildings behind their ugly wall and our Cremisan Valley will be nothing.”

Residents who have gathered in protest of the construction believe the wall’s chosen route is nothing more than a land grab to allow settlement expansion without taking into account the deep history of the area.

“They are taking the land to protect the settlements that are built on our land in the first place,” Father Aktham Hijazin, a parish priest in Beit Jala told MEE while standing on the upturned soil where olive trees once stood.

Father Aktham Hijazin is deeply troubled that the people of Beit Jala will be cut off from Cremisan Monastery, he says the land confiscation will have a bigger effect on the community

Father Hijazin helps lead the protests against the confiscation, and while he is deeply troubled that the people of Beit Jala will be cut off from the Cremisan Monastery, he said the land confiscation will have a bigger effect on the community.

“It’s not a matter of the monastery being on this side or that side, it’s the matter of the land itself. The monastery is built on the land of Beit Jala, the land is the future of more than 900 people,” Hijazin said. “They are not just taking a church, they are cutting our land, our future and our history.”

Hijazin also pointed out that last-ditch efforts to change the route at least around the school – separate, but affiliated with the monastery – also failed.

“They will cut the relation between the monastery and the school and our kids. This is all just so, so much more important than the monastery,” Hijazin said.

Issa Khalalia owns part of the land being confiscated by the construction of the wall. He said the rolling Cremisan Valley is an important part of his community’s history, but he also cited the economic importance of the land.

“All the agricultural land in Beit Jala is in the Cremisan valley and is being taken in this land grab. They are confiscating as much as they can, and so many families that depend on this land will be devastated,” he said.

Olive trees account for around 80 percent of the fruit production in the Palestinian Territory and 14 percent of the economy, according to UN estimates. The 740 acres of the Cremisan Valley are covered in terraces and fields of olive trees.

“We fought hard to keep this land. We keep hoping we can still change something even now, but I don’t think it will work,” Khalalia said.

Yusuf Sinat, a resident of Artas village, three miles away from Beit Jala, plans to come to the protests every day this week in solidarity with Beit Jala residents. The residents of  his village have already gone through what the Beit Jala community is now experiencing.

Yusuf Sinat, a resident of Artas village, three miles away from Beit Jala, plans to come to the protests everyday this week in solidarity with Beit Jala residents

“They’ve already taken our land, and the wall is close to our houses. I hate to see that this is happening to these people here as well,” Sinat said.

Sitting under the shade of an olive tree next to a Palestinian flag hanging from its branches, he likened the uprooting of Beit Jala’s olive trees to the destruction of ancient history happening across Iraq and Syria.

“Some of these trees are 2,000 years old,” Sinat said. “How is that any different from the Islamic State destroying ancient ruins? These trees are our history and they are just ripping them from the ground.”

Sinat said he will continue to come to the protests to support the people of Beit Jala for as long as they continue, as will Father Hijazin, but while Hijazin helps lead the protests, at this point, he said, he thinks the only way to save the Cremisan Valley is through divine intervention.

“We have only hope in God, we can’t hope for anything else,” Hijazin said. “The international community has done nothing for us, but we will keep praying here and keep our faith in God to help us.”

(Source / 26.08.2015)

1,000 Children Left Disabled by 2014 War on Gaza

Defense for Children International said, in a special report, on Tuesday, that about a thousand Palestinian children have sustained permanent disabilities as a result of the Israeli aggression on Gaza in 2014.Zorg Gaza

DCIP also documented cases in which at least 30 children sustained permanent facial or physical deformation, according to WAFA.

In July of 2014, Israel waged a relentless offensive on Gaza which claimed the lives of almost 2,240 people, most of them civilians and mainly children and women, while more than 40,000 homes were destroyed either totally or partially.

An estimated 500,000 people have become homeless or left their homes seeking shelter in safer places during the offensive.

See video: Gaza City’s Devastated Al-Shuja’eyya Suburb

(Source / 26.08.2015)