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I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

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May 2009

Erich Follath, when a journalist provides incentive for war

Article in German magazine Der Spiegel says Hezbollah behind murder of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri
Article in German magazine Der Spiegel says Hezbollah behind murder of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri

Did Erich Follath, diplomatic reporter for the German Der Spiegel magazine, imagine what could have happened if his latest article about the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was taken seriously? MENASSAT’s Ghassan Saoud takes a look.

By GHASSAN SAOUD

DER SPIEGEL.jpg
Article in German magazine Der Spiegel says Hezbollah behind murder of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri

BEIRUT, May 29, 2009 (MENASSAT) — At the height of Sunni sectarianism in Lebanon, awakened to counter Shiite support for the leading opposition political party Hezbollah, while Sunni-Shiite relations are tense all over the Muslim world, comes 60-year-old journalist Erich Follath, who published an article last week claiming that Hezbollah was behind the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Published by the German magazine Der Spiegel, a media outlet that enjoys credibility in the Arab and International public opinion, the report claims to have learned from sources close to the UN special tribunal set-up to provide certainty about Hariri’s assassination in February 2005, that the leader of the Sunni in Lebanon, who also happens to be a “moderate” Arab and symbol of western alignment in the Arab world, was murdered by Shiite group Hezbollah.

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Free Gaza Promo

Iran official blames U.S. in deadly mosque bombing

By Zahra Hosseinian and Fredrik Dahl

TEHRAN (Reuters) – An Iranian official accused the United States on Friday of involvement in a mosque bombing that killed more than 20 people in volatile southeastern Iran, two weeks before a presidential election.

Washington denied the allegation.

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Palestine: What it’s all about (video)

John Berger reads Ghassan Khanafani’s Letter from Gaza

John Berger reads Ghassan Khanafani’s Letter from Gaza from Palestine Festival of Literature on Vimeo.

In an address to the inaugural Palestine Festival of Literature (2008), John Berger gives a moving reading of the letter.

27th May 2009 Video Free Gaza News

Greta Berlin is asking questions, about Free Gaza summer plans, to Mary Hughes Thompson, one of the co-founders of The Free Gaza Movement (subtitles in italian, french and spanish, will be added soon)

Abu Ghraib abuse photos ‘show rape’

A previous image of Iraq prison abuse
A previous image of Iraq prison abuse

Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent and Paul Cruickshank
Last Updated: 8:21AM BST 28 May 2009

Iraq prison abuse: Abu Ghraib abuse photos ‘show rape’

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Barack Obama attempts to block alleged torture photos

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.

Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

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Nasrallah: Der Spiegel, Israel teamed for murder

naderian20090526021353500Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

Tue, 26 May 2009 08:21:15 GMT

Hezbollah’s secretary general calls the recent accusatory article in the German daily, Der Spiegel a cover-up for Israeli assassinations in Lebanon.

“I consider the report in the Der Spiegel an Israeli accusation,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in the Lebanese capital, Beirut on Monday calling the move “a plot” of “far-reaching aims”.

“The Israelis are acting preemptively before it is discovered that their spying networks were involved in the assassinations in Lebanon,” he added.

The resistance leader made the comments after the magazine referred to an unnamed source as claiming that the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri was “planned and executed by Hezbollah”.

Nasrallah’s comments also bore reference to Hezbollah and Lebanese intelligence counterespionage forays which have led to the apprehension of around 30 suspected Israeli-commissioned spies. One suspect, Ziad Homsi, has admitted to being tasked to organize the assassination of the secretary general.

While “we are witnessing the uncovering of Israeli espionage networks…,” the Israelis thought “let’s implement this plot against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah continued with regards to the article.

He said the report deliberately coincided with the June 7 Lebanese elections which, he said both the US and Israel feared an overwhelming resistance triumph, the Israeli military maneuvers that begin on May 31 and the growing international expectation from Tel Aviv to submit to a two-state solution and give the right of the Palestinian refugees to return.

“Der Spiegel is ready for this mission” which he said was, on a broader scale aimed at “creating an Arab-Iranian conflict and a Sunni-Shia conflict.”

Within hours of the appearance of the report, the Israeli media headlined the story and Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, called for the International Tribunal’s issuance of an arrest warrant against Nasrallah.

“They made the accusations. They made the judgment. And they want to call for punishment.”

Addressing thousands of his supporters on the occasion of the Resistance and Liberation Day, which marks Hezbollah’s liberation of southern Lebanon in the year 2000 from 22 years of Israeli occupation, the Hezbollah chief concluded with an appeal to the international community to “punish Israel” before Tel Aviv could bring its conspiracy to fruition.

Source

CodePink Delegation Enters Gaza

Report from Cairo, Tuesday, May 26th

We have some great news to report!!! The day started out with a 3am call from one of our delegations in Al Arish saying that secret police had contacted them at 2pm to intimidate them and say they would not get into Gaza. We, in Cairo, told them to go on to the border and see what happens.

Then at 9am in the morning, when all three groups got in their buses to go to the border, they were stopped at the first checkpoint, surrounded by riot police, and not allowed to even get off the bus. They were told that there were military exercises going on in the area and that they could not move forward to the border. Meanwhile, they saw other cars going in and out. But they were forced to turn around to go back to Al Arish.

Ann, Tighe and I were furious, planning all sorts of things—press conferences to denounce the treatment of our delegations, protests, etc. Our first step, however, was to go to the Egyptian foreign ministry’s Office of Palestinian Affairs to see if they could help. We ended spending about 4 hours with the two people in charge of Egyptian relations with Gaza while they talked to the intelligence services and police, trying to get the group official permission and get that permission to all the officials of various Egyptian agencies at the checkpoints and the border.

Phone calls were flying back and forth, back and forth, as we followed the group’s progress, step by step, from Al Arish through all the checkpoints and finally to the border.

Out of all three delegations (Canadian, New York and student delegation from Cairo), only one person was turned back–a Palestinian student with a brand new passport that had not had her basic visa for Egypt transferred into it.

But all the rest—66 in total—made it through into Gaza. Yipppppeeee.

We are all thrilled, and are eager to get the next group of 70 who will be crossing on Saturday, May 30.

It was terrific teamwork between the folks at the border, those of us in Cairo, and our contacts back in the US and Canada who were advocating on our behalf. Thanks to all who helped.

Today we made another dent in the armor that is imprisoning the people of Gaza. Thanks everyone.

Free Gaza!!!

Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, Tighe Barry

CodePink Delegation

CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. Visit the website at http://www.codepinkalert.org/Email Alert from http://www.vivapalestina.org .

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