Remembering Abdul Rahman Abu Oida, “broken bird”, a beautiful soul,


*Abdul Rahman Abu Oida, at the Wafa Rehabilitation hospital (Eva Bartlett)

 

I am very, very sorry to learn of the death of a stoic young Palestinian man, Abed Abu Oida, a result of years of suffering after being shot in the spine by a zionist mercenary sniper in eastern Jabaliya, March 2008.

I met Abed in a Cairo hospital in mid 2008, where he was wasting away (severely emaciated and had festering bedsores on his backside and heels—which would later be the cause of infection). Steve Sosebee, from the Palestinian Children’s Relief Foundation, was fundamental in getting Abed back to Gaza where–in spite of the severity of life under lockdown-siege, Abed was able to get excellent care at the recently-destroyed al-Wafa Rehabilitation hospital (this hospital came under genocidal zionist attacks in 2009, including w White Phosphorous (see links below), and again during the latest zionist genociding of Gaza this year.

Abed’s story was this:

“Bedridden but painfully conscious, nearly paralyzed with no feeling from the waist down, 16-year-old Abdul Rahman (Abed) is one of the hundreds who were injured by intense Israeli shelling and firing on Gaza between 27 February – 3 March 2008, during an operation dubbed “Hot Winter” by Israel. According to a World Health Organization report, during this period the Israeli army killed at least 116 Palestinians, nearly half of them civilians and more than a quarter children, including a six-month-old and a 20-day-old baby, and injured 350. Later counts put the number killed as high as 150, with more than 55 killed in one day alone. Over half of the week’s fatalities and injuries occurred in and around Jabaliya, the northern Gaza region where Abed was born.

At 11:00am on 2 March, Abed stood on the roof of his family’s home, observing as Israeli tanks overran the area. No curfew had been announced, and he was unaware of the presence of soldiers on a neighboring rooftop. The youth was struck from behind by an Israeli sniper’s bullet that dug into his spine, destroying three of his vertebrae and leaving him paralyzed and bleeding on the roof where he lay for 15 minutes before his younger brother found him. The 13-year-old dragged Abed to the stairs and down into the family’s home, dodging further sniper fire as he went. The invasion outside continued, preventing ambulances from coming for Abed. Three hours after his injury, the teen finally reached a hospital in Gaza City where doctors, after seeing his injury, were surprised to see the youth was still alive. Unable to provide adequate emergency care in Gaza, they immediately loaded him into an emergency transfer ambulance bound for the Rafah border crossing to Egypt.”

                                         

*the water tank Abed had gone to check on. [photo December 2008];  *direction of zionist sniper fire. [photo December 2008]

“With the high number of serious injuries, Rafah crossing — closed virtually continuously since June 2007 when Israel imposed a total closure on Gaza — was opened temporarily to allow some of the wounded passage for treatment in Egyptian hospitals. Due to the siege and its detrimental impact on the availability of essential medicines and functioning equipment, Gaza’s own hospitals are not able to meet patients’ needs. Among the more critically injured, Abed was transported to a hospital in al-Arish, roughly 50 kilometers from the Rafah border, and eventually to Cairo’s Nasser Hospital, where he arrived 15.5 hours after being shot.

Four months later, Abed lies gaunt and sickly pale, wondering how this happened to him, and waiting for a series of operations which may help him recover. The operations to strengthen the broken vertebra and plug the bullet-hole wound in Abed’s spinal cord have only a minimal probability of success, allowing him the luxury of sitting a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. Dr. Saleh Abu Sobheh, a surgeon who treated Abed in Cairo’s Palestine Hospital for a period, is more grimly pragmatic: “spinal surgery is a highly risky procedure. Abed will be paralyzed for life, and will be lucky if he does not suffer brain damage from the operation.”

Upon seeing him in the hospital, one might imagine he had always been a slight, sickly boy, not a youth who used to enjoy football and lifted weights every day. Activity and sport were some of the things he didn’t allow Israel to deny him under the siege. Now he can scarcely lift a bottle of water.”

More on Abed’s story:

“Abed’s time in Egypt was hellish, separated from his family who were not granted exit permits by the Egyptian authorities.  Orphaned in Cairo, Abed was moved from hospital to hospital but his situation continually deteriorated, to the point that he was near starvation and incoherent.  He developed large, painful bedsores on his backside and feet from lack of proper hospital care and lack of an overseeing parent to ensure he was being treated properly.  These bedsores remained with him when he eventually was returned, in worse condition than when he’d left, to Gaza.  They were eventually operated on and treated, but he continued to develop other ailments related to his spinal injury.”

    

“I followed Abed’s case while in Egypt and helped arrange to have him returned to his family and cared for in the Al Wafa Rehabilitation hospital, thanks to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund.  Abed improved somewhat.

The Israeli war on Gaza occurred, but Abed was thankfully not in Wafa when the Israelis shelled and shot at it numerous times, including with white phosphorous (there were roughly 60 residents in the hospital at the time, most of whom were invalid or comatose and incapable of moving on their own, as well as residents in the complex’s home for the elderly.  The hospital sign was ironically targeted, rendering baseless any doubts that the Israeli army did not realize it was a hospital.  This and the fact that hospital staff were on the phone throughout the evening of attacks, trying to coordinate via the ICRC with the Israelis to stop attacking the hospital.  This is the 4th time the Israeli army has attacked the hospital, its Director said. Seven years ago,  2 nurses were shot dead. )”

   

***

Over the years in Gaza, I was able to visit Abed or otherwise get updates. Sometimes it seemed he had progressed, that there was hope he would not only live but maybe even walk, or at least be able to sit in a wheelchair instead of being bedridden.  That never transpired.

In June, 2012, Tuesday’s Child updated me:

“–Abed is not keeping so well, he is in hospital most days now, his mother is also ill, with a blood disorder. Life is so hard on families in Gaza. We will send him your good wishes. He set up an email last year and you could maybe try that also. His email broke my heart, it translated as broken bird.

–Eva, you were a very good friend to Abed and he will be glad to hear from you. He has great spirit and the most beautiful smile. Unfortunately, in Egypt and with his mum not allowed to visit even, he developed pressure sores to the bone, his infection was treated with IV gentamicin but at an adult dose too much for his weight, this knocked his kidneys and hearing out and why he now has only one kidney and is permanently deaf. We had an audiologist out to help with the deafness. Otherwise he is very weak.”

***

Today, Tuesday’s Child explained:

“…He was treated with a too high dose of IV antibiotic that damaged his hearing and his kidneys. He had one kidney removed and he had irreversible deafness. He struggled with repeated infections and regular hospitalisations, often 3 times a week….He suffered terribly yet he always managed to smile. He was incredibly brave. His greatest joy were his family – his parents, brothers and sisters. In his email address he called himself “broken sparrow”.

He died yesterday. To the sniper who shot Abed, who gave you the right to maim a child? Who gave you the right to cause so much pain and suffering to an innocent boy?”

***

Back in July, before I’d ever been to Gaza I wrote of Abed and another Palestinian man from Gaza in a Cairo hospital:

“Abed and Ziyad are just two of the faceless victims, testimony to the agony of Palestinians in Gaza confronting continued military attacks and a cruel siege which has largely been ignored and minimized by the international community. Abed hopes one day to sit in a wheelchair with his father by his side, and like Ziyad, wants to see an end to Israel’s siege and the attacks which brought them here.”

How naive I was.

Rest peacefully, Broken Bird.

 

prior entries on Abed:

-yet he still smiles

-injured: time doesn’t heal all wounds

-Putting a name to Gaza’s injured

 

The Non-Useful Atrocities

Yara Abbas: Sharmine Narwani’s moving article on the young Syrian journalist.

 

Oct 26, 2014, Eva Bartlett, Zero Anthropology

Who outside of Syria knows the names Yara Abbas, Maya Naser, Mohamed al-Saeed…? The corporate media has inundated us with news of the two American journalists allegedly beheaded, the first of whose execution video has been deemed faked. But what of the non-Western journalists and civilians beheaded and murdered by ISIS, al-Nusra, and associated terrorists in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, as well as the ruthless Zionists in Palestine?

Why didn’t the August 2012 execution (which some reported as a beheading) of TV presenter Mohamed al-Saeed, claimed by the Nusra gang, create the same outrage? Or the December 2013 kidnapping and point blank execution in Idlib by ISIS of Iraqi journalist Yasser al-Jumaili?

Why wasn’t the murder of Yara Abbas—a journalist with al-Ikhbariaya, whose crew’s car was attacked by an insurgent sniper—broadcast on Western television stations? Or that of Lebanese cameraman for al-Mayadeen, Omar Abdel Qader, shot dead by an insurgent sniper on March 8, 2014 in eastern Syria.

Maya Naser, Ali Abbas, Hamza Hajj Hassan (Lebanese), Mohamad Muntish (Lebanese), Halim Alou (Lebanese)…all were media workers killed by the Western-backed insurgents in Syria. Their deaths were reported by local media, some even got a passing notice in corporate media, but none resulted in a media frenzy of horror and condemnations as came with the alleged killings of Westerners. Another at least 20 Arab journalists have been killed by NATO’s death squads in Syria in the past few years.

The killing of 16 Palestinian journalists in Gaza, at least 7 targeted while working, during the July/August 2014 Zionist Genocide of Gaza, also fell on deaf ears. Nor were the previous years of murdering Palestinian journalists noted, let alone whipped into a media frenzy. [see also: Silencing the Press, Sixteenth Report, Documentation of Israeli Attacks against Media Personnel in the opt ]

In Syria, there are thousands of civilians and Syrian soldiers who have been beheaded—and in far more brutal and realistic manner than the SITE videos insinuate—by the so-called “moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA), al-Nusra, Da’esh (ISIS), and hoards of other Western-backed mercenaries. At the hands of the various NATO-gangs, tens of thousands more civilians have been assassinated and subjected to various sadistic practices—torture, mutilation, crucifixion, burning in ovens, throwing into wells, and a sick lot more. Thousands more, including children and women, remain missing after being kidnapped during mercenary raids and massacres.

Nidal Jannoud, a farmer from Banias (southwestern Syria), was one of the earlier victims of “moderate rebel” assassination. Jannoud was tortured and slaughtered by “peaceful demonstrators” in April, 2011. Omar Ayrout and Yahya Al Rayes confessed later that they aided a mob in killing Janoud. “I heard gunfire and saw a group of people detaining Jannoud….I took a knife from Taha al-Daye and stabbed Jannoud in his right shoulder…Then the group attacked him with knives and mutilated his body afterwards,” Yahya al-Rayyis confessed.

In the case of the organ-eating al-Farouq Brigade militant “Abu Sakkar,” who bit into the lung of a Syrian soldier, there was corporate media notice and general horror. Yet, very quickly corporate media like the BBC, The Guardian, TIME, among others, rushed to justify his cannibalism (see: Face-to-face with Abu Sakkar, Syriasheart-eating cannibal and BBC whitewashes Syriaheart-eating cannibalto justify arming al-Qaeda). How the tides would have turned if the lung in question belonged to a Western soldier, or worse, an “Israeli”soldier… would the BBC have then humanized the perpetrator of this barbaric act? Would the world have so quickly moved on, forgotten? Of course not.

Apart from the thousands more individual slaughters, there are also numerous massacres, mostly overlooked or simply lied about in the media.

In Raqqa, overtaken by al-Nusra and the so-called FSA in March 2013, then two months later by ISIS, civilians have faced floggings (including whipping of women), executions and crucifixions…with bodies left on public display for days, usually for the “crime” of supporting President Assad and the Syrian army, and often for the “crimes” of not living up to the warped version of Islam by their executioners. [see also: Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently]

With the May 2012 slaughter of 108 Houla civilians (including 49 children and 34 women)—among them patients in a hospital and entire families in their homes—most corporate media and political fingers pointed at the Syrian Arab Army as the culprits, without a shred of evidence. The BBC brandished Italian journalist Marco Di Lauros image of dead Iraqi civilians in shrouds, claiming it to portray Houla victims. Upon demand of the aghast journalist, the claim was later retracted and corrected, anaccident…but who was listening by that point? Once the trickery of the BBC and other corporate media was revealed, the massacre was no longer newsworthy. [see: “Syria: Media Lies, Hidden Agendas and Strange Alliances” and “Syria : One Year After the Houla Massacre. New Report on Official vs. Real Truth” and Syriasfalse flagterrorism, Houla and the United Nations”]

While later investigations into Houla revealed the culpability of the insurgents, the MSM had already moved on, leaving the average person confused, or stuck with the initial lies. Investigative articles aside, there was the confession of an insurgent member who was present that Friday in Houla:

“…we’d been asked by our supporters from outside to do something to inflame the situation…The planning came from outside…On Friday after prayers, a large number of armed men came…they didn’t enter the mosque or pray. …The goal was to attack an army checkpoint and to liquidate these families supportive of the government. There were men, like Haytham al-Hassan, who had weapons including a cleaver. They butchered families….They sent people to announce that ‘Shabbiha’ had entered the village and slaughtered everyone. I was there. There were no Shabbiha.”

The December 2012 slaughter in Aqrab of at least 150 Alawites was likewise misreported, in spite of survivor testimonies. The UK Channel 4’s Alex Thomson met Aqrab survivors whose separately-given accounts corroborated one another:

“…our eyewitnesses say Sunni rebels took hundreds of Alawite civilians as prisoner,” noted Thomson, also writing, “They all insist…rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) corralled around 500 Alawite civilians in a large red-coloured two-storey house…” kept there for 11 days.

“They had long beards, and sometimes you couldn’t quite understand what they said. They were not dressed in the normal way,” said one survivor, Madlyan Hosin. A second interviewee, Hayat Youseh, said, “…they forced us out of our homes and set fire to them.”

A Syrian from a village three kilometers from Aqrab told me, “When Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya started saying that the Syrian Arab Army had attacked Aqrab, I went there to find out. I interviewed a lady from Aqrab who said that no army had come near there at the time of the massacre.”

Kassab, a predominantly Armenian Christian village near the Turkish border, came under heavy assault earlier this year by insurgents and Turkish soldiers. Kim Kardashian tweeted about Kassab…then, otherwise, the world largely forgot. In Latakia, some of Kassab’s internally-displaced spoke of the March 21, 2014 assault originating from Turkey. One young woman reported that the insurgents “raped our older women because they couldn’t find any girls.”

According to a Latakia resident, with friends and a home in Kassab, 88 Christians were murdered, 13 of whom were beheaded, others who were shot dead on the spot. Another 22 elderly were kidnapped and taken to Turkey where they were held for about three months before being released into Lebanon.

The fact that Christians were murdered by foreign mercenaries, let alone beheaded, should have created shock waves in the media. But, not surprisingly, it has had the exact opposite effect, because spotlighting those crimes doesn’t serve the West’s stated agenda to overthrow President Assad, to dismember Syria as the NATO-backed takfiris are dismembering Syrians.

It the case of the Kassab massacre, it became transparent that the lack of any governmental/political condemnation of the massacre and kidnappings was not due to lack of knowledge: Turkey helped commit the attack and housed the kidnapped [see: NATO and Turkeys Genocidal War on Syria and Searching for casus belli: Turkeys assault on Kassab?]; the West’s darling, Ahmed Jarba, visited soon after, sitting with “what appeared to be local rebel commanders in a house that was said to be in Latakia province,” the Daily Star reported, noting “Jarba also said ‘the Coalition has provided assistance to (fighters on) the front’, according to his office.”

Four months after it was liberated of the terrorists, most of the displaced from Kassab still have not returned to their desecrated and looted homes. According to the Latakia resident who keeps informed on Kassab, “The roads are fairly safe, but they have been targeted by short range missiles and mortars from Turkey. The ‘threat’ of attack and lack of money or resources to rebuild their homes and shops has kept most away. A handful will have enough money to repair, and those who are dirt poor may freeze this winter.”

The August 2013 insurgent massacre and kidnappings in the villages of Balouta, Hambushiya, and a number of other agricultural hamlets in the Latakia countryside did briefly receive some corporate media coverage…and also absolutely zero international outrage. That outrage was reserved for the falsified sarin gas attacks not long after, using the kidnapped children to stage their videos. [For a very detailed account of the Latakia massacre and its relation to FSA-falsified Sarin gas videos, see: “Combating the Propaganda Machine in Syria”]

In the nearly two weeks of attacks on these rural hamlets, 220 civilians were massacred (according to doctors in a Latakia hospital), including infants, children, women, and elderly—even a nonagenarian. At least one hundred were kidnapped (mostly children, some women), only 44 of which were nine months later released. These kidnap survivors spoke of torture at the hands of their “moderate rebel” captors. Al Akhbar reported that “according to another freed child, the fighters gouged out the eyes of one of the abducted children.”

The assault took place by roughly 20 coordinated factions, including ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the so-called FSA (with the knowledge and approval of the SNC’s George Sabra).

But, there was no outcry by the humanitarian, would-be interventionalists and their public.

Two months after the fact, the Guardian’s Jonathan Steele reported on the attacks, including the insurgents’ move early on August 4 from their base in nearby Salma village to attack the Latakia countryside. Surprisingly, the article actually quoted Syrian Arab Army and National Defence Forces (NDF) officers’ testimonies:

Special forces officer Hassan told Steele, “I heard a rebel telling another rebel: ‘Kill this one, but not that one’. One rebel asked: ‘What do I do about the girls?’ The answer came: ‘I’m sending a truck to pick them up’. Several were taken and raped, and have not been seen again.”

NDF officer Shadi told Steele, “When we got into the village of Balouta I saw a baby’s head hanging from a tree. There was a woman’s body which had been sliced in half from head to toe and each half was hanging from separate apple trees.’”

SAA soldier Ali told Steele, “We found two mass graves with 140 bodies. They were not shot. They had their throats slit. About 105 people of different ages were kidnapped…Salafists from abroad were behind the attack.”

In a separate video interview, a resident of one of the villages (unnamed for his safety) testifies:

“There were Chechen, Libyan, Saudi, and Afghan terrorists among them….One group was killing people by swords. And the other group was running after those who had been able to escape and killing them by shooting them….They broke into house while people were sleeping and beheaded them. They removed the foetus of a pregnant woman. I lost 42 from my family. Some of them were killed and others arrested (kidnapped).”

In the face of mounds of evidence, eyewitness testimony, mass graves, doctor and coroner reports of death by throat slitting, the massacre in Latakia resulted again in none of the fervor that we’ve seen in recent months…in spite of 220 civilians being brutally massacred, another 100—mostly children—abducted by the West’s freedom-loving terrorists.

Twenty km north of Damascus, Adra industrial town suffered horrific atrocities that went largely unreported in the corporate media. The town came under Jabhat al-Nusra and Liwa Al-Islam insurgents attack on December 11, 2013, Russia Today reported, massacring at least 80 residents.

In another report, Russia Today interviewed eyewitnesses, one of whom said:

“There was slaughter everywhere…The eldest was only 20 years old; he was slaughtered. They were all children. I saw them with my own eyes. They killed fourteen people with a machete. I don’t know if these people were Alawites. I don’t know why they were slaughtered. They grabbed them by their heads and slaughtered them like sheep.”

In addition to the massacre of entire families”, bakery workers were executed and “toasted…in ovens used to bake bread ,” an Adra resident told RT.

Professor Tim Andersons report noted “Beheaded bodies from Adra were proudly displayed by the terrorists… Severed heads were also said to have been hung from trees.”

In Latakia city in April, 2014, I met refugees from Harem, a northwestern city 2 km from the Turkish border, who had fled after Harem came under attack by McCains moderates, with the help of Turkey.

One man told me:

“The terrorists attacked us, terrorists from Turkey, from Chechnya, and from Arab and other foreign countries. They had tanks and guns, like an army, just like an army. For 73 days we were surrounded in the citadel of Harem. They hit us with all kinds of weapons. We had women and children with us. They showed no mercy. When they caught any of us, they slaughtered him, and then send his head back to us. They killed over 100 people, and kidnapped around 150… children, civilians, soldiers. Until now, we don’t know what’s happened to them.”

 

Harem refugee

The first Turkish-backed attacks on Harem were in September, 2012, and by October 31, al Akhbar reported that 4,000 civilians were under siege in the town fortress, warning of a potential massacre by insurgents who are “known to have been supplied with Turkish-made short-range missiles and launchers mounted on four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as an abundance of mortars.” The report also noted Turkey’s role in treating the FSA terrorists: “the FSA wounded are transported across the border to Turkey in ambulances,” and in killing Harem residents: “Dozens of people were killed in Harem’s al-Tarmeh neighborhood after it was subject to a missile bombardment from a Turkish police station.”

Once again, the FSA and ISIS attack was misreported in the corporate media, and the kidnappings of Harem residents not reported period. The situation of occupied Harem has been non existent in the media since. Breaking that silence, on October 12, Twitter user “Nutsflipped @Nutsflipped_z_1 ” tweeted a series of updates on Harem:

“I just talked to someone from #Harem near the Turkish borders. 60 SAA held off 5000 Islamist all coming from #Turkey for 1 year. #Syria

They literally killed 1000s of attackers, until the Turks gave Islamist Grad MLRS and flooded the town with fighters from #Turkey. #Syria

#Kobani, #Kessab and #Harem, cities in #Syria near the Turkish border attacked in the same manner by Islamist coming from #Turkey.”

In a personal message, he explained further. His information, he said, is from a contact from Harem now displaced who has “lost many male relatives. Executed. He was almost executed himself fleeing.”

“ISIS is genociding the natives of Harem, throwing their bodies in caves, selling their women and children. This has been going on since 2012, it was first FSA but they were losing. Then Turkey unleashed ISIS. Now ISIS has stepped up the massacre. Turkey is behind this. The West turns a blind eye. Turkey did the same thing all across the border.”

Some of the most recent massacres and atrocities at the hand of the Western/NATO/Gulf-backed/financed/trained terrorists that have gotten scant notice or tears include:

Shim’s suspect death went unnoticed by corporate media for at least a day; were she a Western journalist who died—accident or assassination—all the major media would have been broadcasting her death endlessly. [see: Journalists under attack, hypocritical Western media remains silent]

And this is the point. The murders of non-Westerners—whether in Syria, Palestine or elsewhere—doesn’t matter to the media and public, unless it serves an Imperialist or Zionist agenda.

In fact, supremacism and racism aside, the only reason the alleged-beheadings of the two Western journalists, among others, is really being trumpeted and shoved down our fear-mongered throats is that these questionable stories serve perfectly the Axis-of-Destruction’s agenda: a justification to bomb Iraq and Syria, to re-invade, to attempt to implement the Yinon Plan.

The murders of Syrians and other Arab journalists and civilians by NATO thugs are not forgotten, even if the corporate media would have it otherwise. And whereas the corporate media shirks their obligation to report these murders, let alone to report honestly on the real agenda to oust President Assad and destroy Syria as per Iraq, Libya,… independent journalists and pro-Resistance activists must fill the gap.

 

see also:

Journalists under attack, hypocritical Western media remains silent, Eric Draitser

The History of ISIS Beheadings: Part of the “Training Manual” of US Sponsored Syria “Pro-Democracy” Terrorists, Julie Lévesque

Syria: The hidden massacre, Sharmine Narwani

‘ISIS a pretext for US-sponsored regime change in Iraq’, Eric Draitser

Non-Aligned Media: “Canadian authorities ran war game drills depicting ISIS attack scenarios”

[posted by In Gaza]

Brandon Martinez, Non-Aligned Media :Canadian authorities ran war game drills depicting ISIS attack scenarios:

**excerpts, see entire article on Non-Aligned Media

“Joshua Blakeney has pointed out that Adrienne Arsenault of CBC reported last night that in the weeks leading up to the two so-called ‘terror’ incidents that took place this week in Quebec and Ottawa Canadian authorities had been running war games exercises depicting such attacks.

According to Arsenault,

“They [Canadian authorities] may have been surprised by the actual incidents but not by the concepts of them. Within the last month we know that the CSIS, the RCMP and the National Security Task Force … ran a scenario that’s akin to a war games exercise if you will where they actually imagined literally an attack in Quebec, followed by an attack in another city, followed by a tip that that ‘hey some foreign fighters are coming back from Syria.’ So they were imagining a worst case scenario. We’re seeing elements of that happening right now. … [Canadian authorities] may talk today in terms of being surprised but we know that this precise scenario has been keeping them up at night for awhile.”

What an amazing coincidence that Canadian intelligence ran a drill envisioning an attack first in Quebec, then another city.
CONTINUE READING

A Good Friend’s Project: Midwife to Gaza

    

This is the fundraising campaign of a good friend of mine, Sharyn Lock, who I worked with in Gaza in 2008/9 [her blog from Gaza].

A bit of background: Sharyn was on the first Free Gaza boat to Gaza in August 2008, and was a core component of organizing the boats, five trips of which (six boats) successfully arrived at Gaza’s port (I was on the third).  Along with others in Gaza at the time, we did farmer and fisher accompaniment, trying to be in solidarity with these vulnerable sectors who are bullied (read: killed, maimed, abducted) on a daily basis by the world’s most immoral army, and to document these crimes.  Similarly, during the 2008/9 Gaza massacre, we accompanied medics in their ambulances, documenting the worst of the war crimes. Sharyn was in the Quds hospital when it was bombed repeatedly [see her blog entry on that], including with white phosphorous.  And was among the first rescuers to reach the Samouni district in al-Zeitoun, where horrific crimes and massacres were committed against the extended family.

But beyond some of those key moments, Sharyn interacted with Palestinians in Gaza respectfully, whole-heartedly, with dedication and professionalism, and continued her activism after leaving Gaza.

Since then, she’s thrown herself into studying and practising to become a mid-wife, which she just has.

 

Please look at and consider supporting and sharing her fundraising appeal, to get back to Gaza. From Sharyn’s appeal:

I am aiming to raise £3000 after site fees. Rounding up, £5=$9, £10=$17, £20 =$34, £50=$84, £100=$167. I will be blogging here, so you can go click “follow” to be all ready if you like :)
CONTINUE READING

Ottawa readings/listening

Posted by In Gaza

Brandon Martinez: Ottawa shooting: a false flag designed to steal away our freedoms?:

“I’m not one to hastily jump to conclusions about events like these, but the alleged shooting at the Canadian parliament and a nearby war memorial that took place today smells like a false-flag operation designed to expedite the Harper regime’s militarist agenda.

The mainstream media is in a furor over the incident. Non-stop wall-to-wall coverage has commenced. Even American and British outlets have picked up the story.

One very noticeable clue as to the fraudulent nature of this event is the immediate calls from establishment propagandists for a crack down on free speech (what they call “hate speech”) and the bolstering of Orwellian “anti-terrorism” laws which will in effect hand the state unlimited powers to spy on the citizenry of Canada and snuff out dissidents.

For example, the former CSIS Assistant Director Ray Boisvert said this on CBC:

“We need to get at those who are the purveyors of hate. So those who proselytize, those who are radicalizing, we need to find ways to go after them with respect to hate speech or perhaps its time for new legislation under the anti-terrorism act as we’re seeing in the UK.”

The former Canadian spy boss essentially echoed what British PM David Cameron said in a UN speech last month wherein he called for “non-violent extremists” to be criminalized. The traitorous British statesman specifically named 9/11 and 7/7 skeptics as falling within his dubious definition of “non-violent extremists.”

Another suspicious guest on the aforementioned CBC program used innuendo to try to link the Ottawa shooting to ISIS and Islamism, conveniently at a time when Stephen Harper is looking to justify his decision to whore out our military in the US-led bombing initiative in Iraq.

Shortly after the false-flag attacks of 9/11, the Canadian government mimicked its US counterpart by passing anti-terror laws which included the infamous “Section 13″ provision in the Human Rights Act that was consequently used by Zionists and their agents to silence critics on the internet.

Look for more of the same from the Zionist regime in Ottawa in the coming days. The mainstream media’s job is to whip up hysteria in order to scare the populace into accepting draconian laws that will eliminate our freedoms. Unfortunately most of the population are lemmings who will believe anything the government or media tells them and willingly forfeit their freedoms to the deceptive miscreants who currently occupy our government.

In any case, one cannot discount the very real possibility that the Canadian state had a hand in this.

Click here to listen to Joshua Blakeney’s commentary on the matter.”

***

Eric Draitser, of Stop Imperialism, interviewed on the Ottawa shooting. He notes:

“–an investigation into the knowledge/role of intelligence agencies in the event is critical to an understanding of how this event really happened (What did they know? When did they know it?).

–the convenient timing of the incident and how it will be capitalized on politically by the Harper government.

–how this incident will harden the policies of the government as it relates to the US-led coalition in the Middle East, rather than forcing it to rethink them.”

***

Tony Cartalucci: Canadian Terror Wave a Modern-Day Gladio:

“As warned, after multiple staged incidents used to ratchet up fear and paranoia in the build-up to US and its allies’ military intervention in Syria and Iraq, at least two live attacks have now been carried out in Canada – precisely as they were predicted.

The first attack involved a deadly hit-and-run that left one Canadian soldier dead. AP would report in its article, “Terrorist ideology blamed in Canada car attack,” that:

A young convert to Islam who killed a Canadian soldier in a hit-and-run had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey, authorities said Tuesday.

The second, most recent attack, involved a shooting in Ottawa injuring several and killing another Canadian soldier. RT in its article, “Ottawa gunman ‘identified’ as recent Muslim convert, high-risk traveler,” would report that:

While the name of the Ottawa gunman is yet to be announced, a number of officials told numerous media that the shooter is believed to be Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent Muslim convert, allegedly designated as a high-risk traveler.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall north of Montreal, two US officials told Reuters, claiming that American law enforcement agencies have been advised that the attacker recently converted to Islam

AP sources also identified the man to be Zehaf-Bibeau. A Twitter account associated with Islamic State militants tweeted a photo they identified as the Ottawa shooter. The Globe and Mail reports that the shooter was designated a “high-risk traveler” by the Canadian authorities with his passport seized.

Clearly, both suspects were under the watch of not only Canadian authorities, but also US investigators, before the attacks.

It was warned last month after security agencies staged scares in both the US and Australia, that suspects under investigation, being walked through planned terrorist attacks by Western security agencies as part of “sting operations” would inevitably be switched to live terrorist attacks.

In mid-September A Rochester man, Mufid A. Elfgeeh, was accused by the FBI of attempting to provide material support to ISIS (undercover FBI agents), attempting to kill US soldiers, and possession of firearms and silencers (provided to him by the FBI). The FBI’s own official press release stated (emphasis added):

According to court records, Elfgeeh attempted to provide material support to ISIS in the form of personnel, namely three individuals, two of whom were cooperating with the FBI. Elfgeeh attempted to assist all three individuals in traveling to Syria to join and fight on behalf of ISIS. Elfgeeh also plotted to shoot and kill members of the United States military who had returned from Iraq. As part of the plan to kill soldiers, Elfgeeh purchased two handguns equipped with firearm silencers and ammunition from a confidential source. The handguns were made inoperable by the FBI before the confidential source gave them to Elfgeeh.

It was warned that only an inoperable firearm stood between Elfgeeh’s arrest and his successful execution of deadly plans hatched by him and his undercover FBI handlers. This script, written by the FBI to entrap Elfgeeh, would be followed almost to the letter in live attacks subsequently carried out in Canada resulting in the death of two Canadian soldiers. Conveniently, both suspects are now dead and little chance remains of ascertaining the truth of who they were in contact with and how they carried out their deadly attacks.

With both suspects having been on both US and Canadian watch lists – it is very likely undercover agents were involved in either one or both cases. While many possibilities exist, Western security agencies should be among the first suspects considered as potential collaborators.

Before Elfgeeh’s entrapment and later live attacks in Canada, US policymakers and pundits had begun in earnest setting the rhetorical stage for eventual staged attacks. With serial beheadings failing to raise Western public support necessary for an expedient intervention in Syria, more insidious provocations appeared to be in the works. Setting the stage, a CBS/Associated Press story titled, “Former Deputy CIA Director: ‘I Would Not Be Surprised’ If ISIS Member Shows Up To US Mall Tomorrow With AK-47,” would claim immediately after the initial James Foley ISIS execution video that:

“The short-term concern is the Americans that have gone to fight with ISIS and the west Europeans that have gone to fight with ISIS could be trained and directed by ISIS to come to the United States to conduct small-scale attacks,” Morell stated. “If an ISIS member showed up at a mall in the United States tomorrow with an AK-47 and killed a number of Americans, I would not be surprised.”

Morell warned that over the long-term the extremist group could be planning for a 9/11-style attack that killed thousands of Americans.

The FBI has a long list of foiled terror plots of its own creation. More disturbingly are the plots they conceived but “accidentally” allowed to go “live.” One might recall the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. FBI agents, according to the New York Times, were indeed overseeing the bombers that detonated a device killing six and wounding many more at the World Trade Center.

In their article, “Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast,” NYT reported:

Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.

The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.

The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City’s tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars.

Considering the 1993 bombing and the fact that the FBI literally oversaw the construction and deployment of a deadly bomb that killed 6, it is clear that the FBI can at any time through design or disastrous incompetence, turn one of their contrived entrapment cases into a live terror attack. One can only guess at how many similar FBI operations are currently taking place within the United States involving ISIS sympathizers – any one of which could be turned into a live terror attack provided the weapons handed over to potential terrorists are functioning, just as the bomb was in 1993 when it was driven into the lower levels of the World Trade Center.

It is very likely that the recent attacks in Canada involved at least one “informant” working for the FBI. Because the FBI uses confidential informants to handle suspects, if a plot is switched “live,” the informant will be implicated as an accomplice and the FBI’s covert role will remain uncompromised.

The FBI has an impressive portfolio of intentionally created, then foiled terror plots. Its methods include allowing suspects to handle both real and inoperable weapons and explosives. These methods allow the FBI to switch entrapment cases “live” at any moment simply by switching out duds and arrests with real explosives and successful attacks. Because the FBI uses “informants,” when attacks go live, these confidential assets can be blamed, obfuscating the FBI’s involvement.

Everything from a mass shooting to a bombing, and even an Operation Northwoods-style false flag attack involving aircraft could be employed to provide Wall Street and London with the support it needs to accelerate its long-stalled agenda of regime change and reordering in both Syria and across the Iranian arc of influence. Readers may recall Operation Northwoods, reported on in an ABC News article titled, “U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba,” which bluntly stated:

In the early 1960s, America’s top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. 

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

In addition to Operation Northwoods, the public must also consider NATO’s Operation Gladio, and its larger “stay behind” networks established after World War II across Europe and at the center of multiple grisly assassinations, mass shootings, and terrorist bombings designed to demonize the Soviet Union as well as criminalize and crush support for left-leaning political parties growing in popularity in Western Europe. It would be determined that NATO’s own covert militant groups were killing innocent Western Europeans in order to effect a “strategy of tension” used to instill fear, obedience, and control over Western populations.

That the FBI and Australian authorities had coordinated staged security operations in tandem on opposite ends of the globe to terrify their respective populations into line behind an impending war with Syria, and now two highly suspicious attacks have been carried out using the very script Western security agencies were using to lead suspects through “sting operations,” suggests a new “Operation Northwoods” or “Operation Gladio” of sorts is already being executed

Staged executions on cue by ISIS in the Middle East of US and British citizens at perfectly timed junctures of the West’s attempt to sell intervention both at home and abroad, and now live shootings just in time to heighten a new “strategy of  tension” reek of staged mayhem for the sole purpose of provoking war. Could grander and ultimately more tragic mayhem be in store? As ABC News’ article on Operation Northwoods and the Military Channel’s documentary on Operation Gladio suggest, there is no line Western special interests will hesitate to cross.

With the West attempting to claim ISIS now has a “global” reach, the US and its partners’ attempts to obfuscate the very obvious state-sponsorship it is receiving will become exponentially more difficult. That the FBI is admittedly stringing along easily manipulated, malevolent patsies who at any time could be handed real weapons and sent on shooting sprees and/or bombings – and now apparently have been – Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and Australians would be foolish to conclude that their real enemy resides somewhere in Syria and not right beside them at home, upon the very seats of Western power.”

***

Eric Ritskes: Dark Threats and the Normalization of White Terror: Aboriginals, Muslims & South Americans in the #OttawaShooting:

“…What was unfolding on this Wednesday morning was multiple shooting suspects who, confirmed early, had shot a Canadian soldier next to the war memorial on Parliament Hill. Other details were varied, and emerged sporadically (and are still emerging). Multiple suspects, perhaps one of them dead, other bodies, shooters on the roofs, in the buildings, in the city, multiple shootings, car hijackings, lockdowns. In this jumble of information, reports of who the shooters might be began to emerge as well, from eyewitness reports and panicked speculation.

Bill Curry, a journalist with the Globe & Mail, was one of the first to tweet a description:

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 11.00.07 AM

Was the shooter Indigenous? Conflicting reports began to emerge almost immediately after. An eyewitness on CBC news described a suspect wearing an “Arab type scarf” and speculation on Twitter eagerly emerged that perhaps the shooter was Muslim, a favourite perpetuator of terrorism in the Western imagination.

Not so fast, though. David Reevely, a writer for the Ottawa Citizen tweeted:

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 11.08.15 AM

Numerous other tweets mentioned the suspect’s ‘dark skin’ and ‘dark hair’. This suspect was definitively ‘not white’.

What is both interesting and not surprising in this narrative is the demand for – what was already being called ‘terror’ and ‘terrorism’ – to be found in ‘dark’ bodies. There was the need for dark threats (and the ‘white knights’ of the police/ing). I’ve written previously about how dark bodies become terrorists, while White acts of mass violence get written off as ‘insanity’ or ‘mental illness’. This was clearly terror as nervous Canadians imagined gunmen storming their very own Parliament buildings. And the suspects of this terror, that citizens were certain they saw, were Muslim Aboriginals from South America, wearing a bandana or a scarf or hoodie over his head, but definitely still able to see that he had long dark hair

…these accounts were reported as truth in the race to ‘scoop’ new details and inform people of what was happening. What is most interesting in these, though – beyond the unreliability of reporting and eyewitness accounts, or the race to feed public consumption – is how race and racism operates in these accounts of the suspects.First, colonialism, orientalism and racism (what Andrea Smith calls the ‘three pillars’ of White Supremacy) were all collapsed into a terrorist threat – Indigenous bodies, Arab bodies, brown bodies – it doesn’t seem to matter. They’re all a threat and carry the possibility of terror in white, ‘civil’ spaces, such as Canada imagines itself to be. Terror is always outside of order, elsewhere. These categories are collapsible, the differences are erased, and one ‘other’ can substitute for an-‘other’ in the White imagination. What matters, in this case, is not the differences, but what is similar: racialized, colonized, orientalized bodies embody terror to Whiteness.

Second, each of the differences is conflated into visual signifiers; in fact, into racial signifiers. How does one ‘look Aboriginal’ or become identified as Aboriginal? Aboriginal is not a race, and Indigenous peoples in Canada have a large spectrum of phenotypical appearance. In this case, it seems you identify Aboriginal peoples by their long, dark hair. You identify them by a racial stereotype. Race is a social construct that uses ‘visual markers’ to identify who belongs in what category, typically by phenotypical standards such as skin color and appearance. Indigenous peoples have long been racialized within colonial paradigms, as stereotypes, as Indians. Once again, in the case of the possible gunmen, racial stereotypes are mobilized to understand the threat.

Similarly, the shooter became or ‘looked’ Muslim because of his dark skin and an ‘Arab looking scarf’ (and, in reality, I see more White hipsters wearing/appropriating those scarfs, here in Canada, anyways…Not to mention the Canadian military also wears them at times…). Being Muslim means belonging to a particular religion, not a particular race. Anyone can be Muslim. But the shooter became Muslim due to visual racial signifiers, such as skin and culture (the scarf). Finally, and perhaps the most ludicrously of all of these, the shooter was “South American in color”. What color is South American?! I never learned that color in the color wheel… Again, whole continents are configured as dark, as racialized, as not white – through racial stereotypes. Religion, nationality, location – it doesn’t matter. What comes to matter is that they are ‘dark’, that they are not white, and, subsequently, that they are a threat to the civility of whiteness.

In situations of terror and disorder, Whiteness needs racialized threats to explain why the terror is happening, how it explodes into our realities as an aberration. Whiteness needs racialized threats to secure its own perceived civility and order; it’s existence is secured in opposition to racialized terror and disorder. The shooters need to be racialized, in order to normalize the ‘order’ of everyday life, which is, in reality, a reign of white terror and violence. The shooters need to be racialized to justify the response of the police, to normalize policing as order and civility, when, in reality, they are purveyors and enforcers of white terror and violence. Racialized terrorism is needed to normalize everyday white terror. Terror and violence is only surprising, or an aberration, to those invested in the gloss of White order; racialized peoples around Canada can tell you of the daily acts of terror they endure at the hands of the state and its citizens.

The details of what happened are of little consequence in this narrative. The imagination fills in the details, using the schemas of sense making available. For white eyewitnesses, normalized within a white settler colonial state and its daily violences (one of which is this very normalization…), the suspects must be ‘dark’. Aboriginal, Muslim, South American – any dark threat will do. White eyewitnesses, white experts, all proclaim that the normalization of white violence must go on.

As I tweeted, it’s terrifying to think what the racist, colonial, police state blow back to these acts of violence will be. Perceived ‘dark threats’ will be sanctioned, erased, disciplined. These narratives will continue. Whiteness will seek policies and solutions designed to further solidify and normalize its presence. White violence will once again reign under the guise of order and civility.”

***

Denis Rancourt: Police kill shooter and lose suspect in Ottawa — Canada’s 911?

“I live in Canada’s capital city Ottawa, walking distance from where a Canadian soldier was murdered at the War Memorial on the morning of October 22, 2014. The shooter, with the help of an accomplice and driver (according to authentic eye witnesses media-interviewed at the scene), then made his way into the particular parliament building (Centre Block) in which the Prime Minister was meeting his cabinet — where he was shot dead by police.

The entire Parliament Hill, City Hall, provincial courthouse, Rideau Centre shopping mall, University of Ottawa, and so on, went into “lock down” for the morning and most of the day. Car traffic dropped to almost zero, as folks were told to stay away from the downtown core.

This morning (October 23rd) the city police chief announced that there was “only one shooter” who had been killed, that there was no remaining threat to the public, and made no mention of the driver. The Mayor put things in perspective by pointing out that there have been a total of four murders in Ottawa this year. Ottawa’s population is approximately 1 million.

Canada has been at war in multiple countries for over a decade, in full support of the US-Israel war machine that regularly attacks civilian populations with aerial bombings and violent occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Gaza, …, as part of geopolitical terrorism aimed at overthrowing governments and controlling territory and resources.

Canada is a waring nation annexed to the US superpower. It is amazing that the Canadian public appears to generally accept the notion that this murder of a soldier in Canada is an act of “terrorism”. It is either an act of war, if it was directed by those being attacked by Canada, or it is a murder. It is not an act that can realistically intimidate a nation. Rather, it is being spun into “terrorism” to justify increased militarization and police-state policies.

The persons most likely to benefit from this murder are Prime Minister Harper and his political party, if the spin and public reaction work out to their benefit. The military-surveillance establishment and those committed to sycophantism towards the US are the other clear beneficiaries of this murder. Those attacked by Canada will derive no benefit whatsoever from the killing of the soldier, to the contrary, and no external group has claimed responsibility.

The last time there was a “terrorism” attack in Ottawa it was the 2010 arson of the entrance of an empty bank, in relation to G20 held in Toronto. The video of the attack showed three criminals (including the videographer) but only two persons were charged, and only one person was prosecuted and found guilty and jailed. It turned out that the condemned arsonist had for years been closely followed and accompanied by a police infiltrator who was never cross-examined, and who disappeared from Ottawa.

Now, we have a similar scene. Who is the driver? Who is behind the premeditated murder and attack on Centre Block? We can dream that a thorough police investigation of the homicide will be made and made public, but without a live suspect there will not ever be a trial.

Days prior to the October 22 murder, a former soldier struck two soldiers with his car in a parking lot, and killed one of them. The driver was chased. His car overturned in a ditch. When he emerged he was shot dead by two police officers, alleging he had a “large knife”. The only suspect was shot dead rather than apprehended. Harper mused in Parliament that the hit-and-run was a “terrorist” attack. There won’t be a trial.”

Understanding domestic crimes and informing the public appears to be the last concern. Justifying Canada’s militarization and its wars is high on the agenda.

***

NOTE: Peace Rally: Canada Out Of Iraq: Saturday October 25, 2014 2:30 pm U.S. Consulate – 360 University Avenue (just north of Osgoode subway station)

“Syria Lambasts Alliance for Terrorism” AND calls for justice for Palestine

[via Nizar Abboud youtube account]

 

**Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari has for years been speaking the truth of Syria’s fight against the zionist-nato-turkey-gulf terrorist coalition.

Note: Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, hence Syria, re-affirms “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and building an independent state from it’s whole territory with Jerusalem as its capital, the right of refugees to return to their lands, their homes (as per ’48 resolution 194). This is a NON NEGOTIABLE right, this is a right that will never disappear… Syria condemns the ‘israeli’ violence against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. This is a yet another new chapter in the overall plot, the overall aggression against the Palestinian people. ‘israel’s’ continuation of such acts of aggression has exacerbated tension in the region. They have reached an unprecedented level, one which will have very heavy consequences which of course will not be limited to the region alone.”

Dr. al-Jaafari noted the training camps for terrorists, who are sent across Syrian borders…violations of the Council… “the very same states which back terrorism in my country are also working to protect ‘israel’ …covering up its crimes…The United States has not just used the right of veto 61 times to protect ‘israel’ and to prolong its occupation of our territories which suffer under its occupation… no, the United States have even disregarded Security Council resolutions  in the past, to forge illegal alliances, targeting the sovereignty of a great many members states of this organization … illegitimate alliances forged by the united states and the united kingdom outside the confines of the council, have resulted in nothing more than violence, destruction, anarchy and terrorism throughout the world…”
CONTINUE READING

articles to follow

Been working on articles and reflections from/on Syria that I should have finished ages ago. That said, they should be done in the coming week or two, including:

-reflections on visiting liberated Ma’aloula

-the massacres that just don’t matter somehow (Only Atrocious When Useful)

-voices from Yarmouk (remember Yarmouk??? the insurgent-infested neighbourhood that “leftist” Palestine supporters lambasted the long-Palestine-supporting Syrian government for, based on the usual corporate media spin –which, like the false allegations of CW use and other “red lines” eventually fell into the dumb silence the lies deserve.  Unsurprisingly, Yarmouk is now absent from the corporate media. Local media does report on Yarmouk, and the combined efforts of the Syrian government, Palestinian reps in Yarmouk and aid agencies to deliver aid to the Syrians and Palestinians remaining in the area). Testimonies from Palestinian and Syrian refugees from Yarmouk (who are quite clear about the origins of their problems–note, I didn’t put “terrorist” in their mouths), as well as meeting with Palestinian security at Yarmouk .

 

Some photos re the coming articles/reflections