Arwa Ibrahim/Al Jazeera
Tens of thousands of worshippers have descended on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the first Friday prayers after US President Donald Trump announced his Middle East plan to resolve the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict…
Under Trump’s plan, the eighth-century site, regarded by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam and important for all three Abrahamic faiths, would be under Israeli control…
In 1947, the United Nations drew up a plan to divide Palestine between Jews and Palestinians, leading to the creation of Israel. Since then, the Al-Aqsa compound has been under UN administration.
Palestinians decry the increasing Israeli encroachment over the site, which intensified after the 1967 war, which resulted in an Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, where the Old City and the Mosque are located.
Trump’s 181-page document says Jerusalem’s holy sites “should remain open and available for peaceful worshippers and tourists of all faiths”…
The two smirking pimps who decide who is “peaceful”
❝ The Mueller investigation is over. The Special Counsel has delivered his findings to Attorney General Barr, and now Barr must disclose those findings to Congress. We demand that these findings be made public, and will support the congressional investigations that are still pending.
Meanwhile – Relatives of 43 missing students protest at the presidential residence in Mexico City –
– victims of the same interlocking directorate of government and gangsters in Mexico
With the Mexican government facing widespread public outrage over the alleged role of police and other officials in the September forced disappearance of 43 students, and the killings of at least six others, from Ayotzinapa Normal School, the country’s federal prosecutor (PGR) has for the first time declassified a document on the suspected participation of police in the kidnapping and massacre of hundreds of migrants in San Fernando massacres of 2010-11.
The new revelations, along with key U.S. documents on how violent drug cartels gained control of local police forces in parts of Mexico during the last decade, are the subject of “San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: las similitudes” (“San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: the similarities”), an article published online…in Mexico’s Proceso magazine in collaboration with Michael Evans and Jesse Franzblau of the National Security Archive.
According to declarations from members of the Los Zetas drug cartel named in the newly-declassified “Tarjeta Informativa” (“informative note” or “information memo”), the police acted as “lookouts” [“halconeo”] for the group, helped with “the interception of persons,” and otherwise turned a blind eye to the Zetas’ illegal activities.
Those crimes included the summary execution of 72 migrants pulled from intercity buses in San Fernando in August 2010 and an untold number of similar killings that culminated in the discovery, in April 2011, of hundreds more bodies in mass graves in the same part of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The victims were mainly Central American migrants making their way to Texas, which borders Tamaulipas to the north. The state’s highways are at once primary avenues for migrants and highly-contested narcotrafficking corridors.
One of the police detainees cited in the memo, Álvaro Alba Terrazas, told investigators that San Fernando police and transit officials were paid to deliver prisoners to the Zetas…
If the facts surrounding the San Fernando case seem eerily familiar, it is beacuse they follow pattern seen over and over again in recent years. Like the Ayotzinapa case, the San Fernando massacres are symptomatic of the dirty war of corruption and narcopolitics that has consumed parts of Mexico over the last decade. Killings like these are disturbingly common, and the forces behind the mayhem—usually drug cartels counting on the collaboration of, at a minimum, local police—are remarkably consistent.
RTFA for more details of government corruption than the most cynical might imagine.
The task of decriminalizing the Mexican government is Herculean. It feels like that nation and the government should take a year or two off from every other activity and simply focus on jailing all the politicians and their gangster compadres. Only then might Mexico start all over again as a free and democratic nation.
PHOTOGRAPH BY OMAR TORRES/AFP/GETTY
Every morning, the newspapers in Mexico City announce how many days it has been since forty-three students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School disappeared while in Iguala, Guerrero. On Friday, the number—twenty-eight days—was accompanied by an announcement that the governor of Guerrero state, Ángel Aguirre Rivero, had finally resigned after weeks of outrage over the violence and lawlessness that marked his tenure.
The disappearance of the forty-three has aroused horror, indignation, and protest throughout Mexico and all over the world. An air of sadness, disgust, fear and foreboding hangs over Mexico City, where I live, like the unseasonably cold, gray, drizzly weather we’ve been having. This is usually a festive time of year, with the Day of the Dead holidays approaching, but it’s impossible to feel lighthearted. As one friend put it, the government’s cardboard theatre has fallen away, exposing Mexico’s horrifying truths.
The journalists John Gibler (the author of the book “To Die in Mexico”) and Marcela Turati (who has been reporting on the disappearance in the weekly magazine Proceso and elsewhere) have provided the most complete reports of what happened in Iguala on the night of September 26th. “Scores of uniformed municipal police and a handful of masked men dressed in black shot and killed six people, wounded more than twenty, and rounded up and detained forty-three students in a series of attacks carried out at multiple points and lasting more than three hours,” Gibler wrote to me in an e-mail. “At no point did state police, federal police, or the army intercede. The forty-three students taken into police custody are now ‘disappeared.’ ” On September 27th*, the body of another student turned up. His eyes were torn out and the facial skin was ripped away from his skull: the signature of a Mexican organized-crime assassination.
The Ayotzinapa Normal School trains people to become teachers in the state’s poorest rural schools. The students, who are in their late teens and early twenties, tend to come from poor, indigenous campesino families. They are often the brightest kids from their communities. According to Gibler, six hundred people applied to the class that included the students who disappeared, and only a hundred and forty were accepted. To become a teacher is seen as a step up from the life of a peasant farmer, but also as a way for those chosen to be socially useful in their impoverished communities. When Gibler and Turati went to visit the Ayotzinapa School in early October, only twenty-two students were left. In addition to the forty-three missing classmates, many others had been taken home by frightened parents.
Well written, detailed, the sort of work rarely matched by TV talking heads. And, of course, both the conservative and not-quite-so-conservative American Press is tame as ever on the topic. Even where it’s fashionable to recall we are a nation of immigrants, the specter of Fox News seems to haunt our nation’s editors.
More than 50 million people were forcibly uprooted worldwide at the end of last year, the highest level since after World War Two, as people fled crises from Syria to South Sudan, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday.
Half are children, many of them caught up in conflicts or persecution that world powers have been unable to prevent or end, UNHCR said in its annual Global Trends report…
The overall figure of 51.2 million displaced people soared by six million from a year earlier. They included 16.7 million refugees and 33.3 million displaced within their homelands, and 1.2 million asylum seekers whose applications were pending.
Syrians fleeing the escalating conflict accounted for most of the world’s 2.5 million new refugees last year, UNHCR said.
In all, nearly 3 million Syrians have crossed into neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, while another 6.5 million remain displaced within Syria’s borders…
Afghan, Syrian and Somali nationals accounted for 53 percent of the 11.7 million refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility. Five million Palestinians are looked after by a sister agency UNRWA.
Most refugees have found shelter in developing countries, contrary to the myth fuelled by some populist politicians in the West that their states were being flooded, Antonio Guterres said.
“Usually in the debate in the developed world, there is this idea that refugees are all fleeing north and that the objective is not exactly to find protection but to find a better life.
“The truth is that 86 percent of the world’s refugees live in the developing world,” he said…
The EU bloc has harmonised its asylum system, but the 27 member states still differ in how they process refugees and in their approval rates for asylum applications, he said.
Republicans and other blivets in the United States characterize pretty much all refugees as someone coming to the United States to steal a job. I’m not clear on how they re-distort that lie to cover the children fleeing Central American gangs and economic disaster.
In truth, virtually all the child refugees streaming into the US from Central America aren’t even trying to sneak across the border. They present themselves directly to the Border Patrol at the Mexican border and ask for asylum. If they have relatives in the United States, they hope to reach out to them. Otherwise, they’re here to ask for aid and mercy – like any others displaced by violence.
Not that our media barons care to make that point.
The mother of Bradley Manning, the US army private who is this week expected to be handed a long jail sentence for his role in the WikiLeaks dump of US state secrets, has said she believes she may never see him again.
Speaking before Wednesday’s sentencing of the 25-year-old who was found guilty of espionage, theft and computer fraud, Susan Manning urged her son to “never give up hope“.
Susan Manning, who lives in Pembrokeshire in Wales, has health problems and has not seen her son since 2011. In a rare statement in the Mail on Sunday, she said: “I know I may never see you again but I know you will be free one day. I pray it is soon. I love you Bradley and I always will…”
Susan Manning reportedly could not bring herself to watch TV or listen to the radio to hear last week’s verdict but waited for her sister, Sharon Staples, to tell her by phone.
Staples told the paper the family is now “praying for leniency” and described her sister’s shock at seeing Manning on her last visit to see him locked up in the US marine base in Quantico in February 2011.
“He was sitting on the other side of a glass partition and when I walked in I heard the sound of the chains round his hands and feet before I saw him,” Staples said. “Most of the time they sat in silence but held each others’ gaze. She didn’t get to hug him but was able to tell him she loved him.”
Afterwards, according to Staples, she said: “You wouldn’t treat a bloody animal like they’re treating Bradley.”
Like in the Land of Liberty and Justice. Well, in our prisons, anyway.
We live in a nation that offers leniency and pardons to economic gangsters who steal billions, politicians responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands. Mail me a penny postcard when we send George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to spend the rest of their lives in a prison in Iraq.
Gunmen shot dead five female health workers who were immunizing children against polio on Tuesday, causing the Pakistani government to suspend vaccinations in two cities and dealing a fresh setback to an eradication campaign dogged by Taliban resistance in a country that is one of the disease’s last global strongholds.
“It is a blow, no doubt,” said Shahnaz Wazir Ali, an adviser on polio to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. “Never before have female health workers been targeted like this in Pakistan. Clearly there will have to be more and better arrangements for security.”
No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but most suspicion focused on the Pakistani Taliban, which has previously blocked polio vaccinators and complained that the United States is using the program as a cover for espionage.
The killings were a serious reversal for the multibillion-dollar global polio immunization effort, which over the past quarter century has reduced the number of endemic countries from 120 to just three: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Nonetheless, United Nations officials insisted that the drive would be revived after a period for investigation and regrouping, as it had been after previous attacks on vaccinators here, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
But the campaign here has been deeply shaken by Taliban threats and intimidation, though several officials said Tuesday that they had never seen such a focused and deadly attack before.
The most corrupt gangsters in the world – masquerading as political activists – are dedicated only to power, greed and theft, caring not in the least about the death spiral they guarantee the poorest of the poor in Pakistan.