Monthly Archives: August 2017

Guterres moved by his visit to Gaza

UN chief Antonio Guterres has been cautious in his statements on the Palestine question so far, clearly always having one eye trained on US funding of the international body. But in his first visit to the besieged territory, he was moved enough to order the immediate release of $4 million from the body’s emergency relief fund.

“I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” Guterres said. He then stated that it was “important to open the closures,” in reference to the continued blockade by Israel and Egypt of the territory.

Laying to rest the myth that the 15th July 2016 was a “controlled coup”

Sedat Ergin has been conducting a forensic study of the various indictments and the administrative coming and goings in Turkey since the 15th July attempted coup, with regular contributions on the subject in Hürriyet Daily News. Now an interview with Ergin summarises his findings. In part of the interview he says:

There are a number of questions lingering that need to be clarified. Chief of General Staff Akar and National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan did not conduct a proper crisis management once they received word of the coup attempt. They should have taken a different course of action. So there was operational failure on their part and it was wrong to keep the civil authority uninformed.

Another issue is the fact that Fidan, after assessing the intelligence with Akar, called the president but could not reach him. He then asked the president’s security chief whether they could protect themselves.

This shows that he was concerned about something that could affect the security of the president, and it also needs clarification. But such question marks should not lead us to the conclusion that this was a controlled coup. The huge volume of evidence in the indictments shows us that this was indeed a very serious coup attempt, not the kind you would face in a “controlled coup” environment. Read full article here

A separate question is raised as to the severity of the Turkish government emergency measures that remain in force until today. Such measures necessarily have a “authoritarian” character to them. But what if there is credible evidence that the foreign intelligence services of two major powers were behind the coup attempt, putting the very sovereignty of the Turkish at stake? What then? To paraphrase the German BILD propaganda during the last Turkish referendum on the constitution: What would Atatürk have done?

Egypt blocks Algerian humanitarian-aid convoy into Gaza

Egyptian authorities had stopped an Algerian humanitarian-aid convoy from crossing into the Gaza Strip from Sinai, a Palestinian NGO said Friday.”Egypt’s decision to block the entry of the aid convoy is very unfortunate and does not reflect the positive spirit that has recently characterized Gaza-Egypt relations,” the National Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza said in a press statement.

On Friday, Egypt re-closed its border with the Gaza Strip after having opened it to Palestinian pilgrims for the last four days for their travel to Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, Gaza’s border authority said.

Blockaded by Israel by air, land and sea since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world. Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh — the Rafah crossing — is controlled by Egypt, which has kept it tightly sealed for the most part since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, in a 2013 military coup

Remember Raba’a al-‘Adawiyya and Nahda

Remember how on 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces raided two camps of protesters in Cairo: one at al-Nahda Square and a larger one at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

On November 14, FMA head Dr. Hisham Abdelhamid held a press conference and announced that the final death-toll for Rab’a was 627, including 377 bodies autopsied at the official morgue, 167 bodies identified in Iman Mosque Rab’a Square and another 83 bodies that were taken to different hospitals around Cairo. The quasi-official National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) released a report on the Rab’a dispersal in March 2014, in which it cited the figure of 624 civilians killed.

These figures, though, ignore compelling evidence of additional uncounted bodies in morgues and hospitals across Cairo documented by Human Rights Watch researchers and Egyptian human rights lawyers on August 14 and in the days immediately following the Rab’a dispersal. Based on an extensive review of evidence, which compared death lists put out both by the official FMA and quasi-official NCHR and human rights lawyers and other survivors, Human Rights Watch documented 817 deaths in the Rab’a dispersal alone. Human Rights Watch also reviewed evidence of a possible 246 additional deaths, documented by survivors and civil society groups. This evidence, in addition to credible reports of additional bodies taken directly to hospitals and morgues without accurate record or known identity, and individuals still missing from Rab’a, it is likely that over 1,000 protesters were killed in Rab’a alone.

Of course this count omits the bodies burned to cinders with flamethrowers and the many dead picked up by bulldozer sweeps and dumped in landfill on army land on the Suez road.