ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Al-Arabiya Posts Video of Saudi F16 Shooting-Down Qatari Airliner

[Video evidence that the Saudi royals, like ISIS, do not understand that shooting-down airliners is “terrorism”.]

Saudi state TV justifies shooting down of

Qatari airliners

 

Al-Arabiya video shows missile attack on Qatar Airways jet, claiming ‘international law’ allows destruction of flights violating airspace

A Qatar Airways Airbus A350 XWB (Reuters)

A Saudi state TV channel has produced a video showing the potential consequences of a Qatari passenger jet entering Riyadh’s airspace – being shot out of the sky.

In a short animation published on Al-Arabiya TV a few days ago, a commercial Qatar Airways passenger jet is shown entering Saudi airspace, before being escorted to land by a Saudi fighter jet.

A voiceover says that, “according to international law, a state that bans flights from entering its airspace has the right to deal with the violating plane in any way it wishes”.

“The options in this case either take the form of deploying a fighter jet that forces the plane to land whereby the flight crew are then tried on several charges.”

Or, the voice adds, “international law also allows states to shoot down any flight that violates a state’s airspace, classing it as a legitimate target, especially over military areas.”

In early June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a commercial and economic blockade on Qatar, ostensibly for the emirate’s support for terrorism, a claim Doha denies.

The release of the video – and its implications for unarmed passenger jets – was condemned by scores of Twitter users.

In a bid to boost tourism, Qatar last week announced visa-free travel to citizens of 80 countries.

Qatar Airways chief Akbar al-Baker said his carrier, which this year plans to extend its network to 62 new destinations, would be a primary beneficiary.

“This historic announcement comes at time of historic significance; while some countries in the region have decided to close their skies and their borders, Qatar has instead opened its borders,” he said.

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“Calling for the assassination of the President is a federal crime”

Maria Chapelle-Nadal
Candidate Maria N. Chappelle-Nadal speaks on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, during the First District Congressional Candidates debate at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

With five written words Thursday morning, one of Missouri’s most controversial state lawmakers spawned a U.S. Secret Service investigation, potentially endangered her own political career — and flung St. Louis squarely into the middle of America’s raging racial-political debate in the wake of the unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

“I hope Trump is assassinated!” Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wrote during a morning Facebook exchange, referring to Republican President Donald Trump.

She quickly deleted her post, but not quickly enough. By mid-afternoon, the political verdicts of her own party were rolling in:

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.: “I condemn it. It’s outrageous. And she should resign.”

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis: “(C)alling for the assassination of the President is a federal crime. . . . (She is) an embarrassment to our state. She should resign immediately.”

Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber: “The . . . Party will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the President. I believe she should resign.”

Missouri Senate Democratic Caucus leader Sen. Gina Walsh: “(She) should be ashamed of herself for adding her voice to this toxic environment.”

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, and state Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, also called for Chappelle-Nadal’s resignation. Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ office said late Thursday afternoon that a statement from him is forthcoming.

In an interview, Chappelle-Nadal acknowledged she wrote the offending line on her personal Facebook page in response to another commenter before deleting it.

“I didn’t mean what I put up. Absolutely not. I was very frustrated. Things have got to change,” Chappelle-Nadal told the Post-Dispatch. “It was in response to the concerns that I am hearing from residents of St. Louis. I have deleted it, and it should have been deleted, but there is something way more important that we should be talking about.”

She added later: “I am not resigning . . . What I said was wrong, but I am not going to stop talking about what led to that, which is the frustration and anger that many people across America are feeling right now.”

Chappelle-Nadal said her comment stemmed from frustration over the events in Charlottesville over the weekend, in which a white supremacist protester allegedly rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

Trump’s reaction to the tragedy, which included the assertion that “both sides” of the protests were to blame for the violence, has drawn criticism across the political spectrum.

“There are people who are afraid of white supremacists” in the aftermath of Charlottesville, she said. “There are people who are having nightmares. there are people who are afraid of going out in the streets. It’s worse than even Ferguson.”

According to a screenshot of the now-deleted conversation obtained by the Post-Dispatch, another commenter named Christopher Gagné was writing about a cousin of his who he said was on Trump’s Secret Service detail.

“But, what I posted earlier, I truly believe will happen, sooner … not later,” he wrote.

In a subsequent interview with the Post-Dispatch, Gagné said that wasn’t a reference to assassination, but to his earlier-stated belief that Vice President Mike Pence will use the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to have Trump removed from office.

“Damn,” Gagné then wrote, “now I’ll probably get a visit from the secret service.” He followed that comment with “smdh,” an abbreviation for “shaking my d— head.”

Chappelle-Nadal responded: “No. I will. I hope Trump is assassinated!”

The U.S. Secret Service’s St. Louis field office “is looking into this,” the office confirmed Thursday.

Kristina Schmidt, special agent in charge, told the Post-Dispatch that “hypothetically” in such investigations, agents try to “determine intent, to determine if there was a violation of federal law. If there is, then we refer it to the U.S. Attorney.”

“Our primary goal is to determine if there is intent and meaning behind it,” Schmidt said.

Richard Callahan, former U.S. attorney in St. Louis, said that generally in cases involving such threats, “we try to distinguish between ‘stupid’ and (actual) intent.” He said the “bottom line” is the question of whether the person was serious about making the threatened action happen.

Another factor, he said, is “whether it’s a person of influence. You look at the person’s station in life, whether they might have influence over others.”

In addition to party-wide condemnation of Chappelle-Nadal’s post, state Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis, issued a formal request Thursday to the Missouri Senate committee that deals with member ethics asking for Chappelle-Nadal’s removal from office, calling her “an embarrassment nationally for the Missouri General Assembly.”

The furious responses from Chappelle-Nadal’s own party might at least partly reflect her history of internal political strife as an outspoken critic of people on both sides of the aisle.

First elected to the House in 2004, she served three terms before winning a four-way primary for the Senate’s 14th District in 2010.

In January 2015, she filed a proposal in the Senate seeking the ouster of former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, for his actions in relation to the August 2014 death of a black teenager in Ferguson by a white police officer. In her proposal, she said Nixon “seems only to acknowledge the existence of the African-American community on or about election day.”

The measure went nowhere. But her attacks on Nixon never dimmed. In a tweet at the time of the protests in Ferguson, Chappelle-Nadal wrote: “You don’t know s*** because you never communicate. F* you, governor!”

She’s also tried to exert political payback against her foes. She spent nearly $20,000 on negative ads against Rep. Joe Adams, whom she had defeated in her race for the Senate five years previously.

She got into a fight with Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, at a Lil Wayne Concert at Scottrade Center in 2011 over legislation regarding local control of the city police department.

Last year, she unsuccessfully challenged Clay, the St. Louis-based congressman, in the Democratic primary.

During the most recent legislative session, Chappelle-Nadal focused her efforts on a controversial buyout program for homeowners in the Spanish Village neighborhood of Bridgeton who have been impacted by pollution in the nearby Westlake Landfill.

Initially, she wanted her colleagues to approve a $12 million program and threatened to shut down the Senate with a filibuster if it didn’t move forward. She backed off when the Senate endorsed a $1 million pilot program. But the House didn’t agree and she left the Capitol in May with nothing.

Kurt Erickson and Joe Holleman of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

Saudi Forces Have Leveled Entire Shia Towns, Creating Their Own Saudi Mosuls and Fallujahs

Awamiya: Inside Saudi Shia town

devastated by demolitions and fighting

 

Remains of a car and buildings in the town of Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017)
Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

 

The BBC’s Sally Nabil has been given rare access to Awamiya in Saudi Arabia, a town in the east of the Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdom that has been rocked in recent months by deadly clashes between security forces and Shia militants that were triggered by the demolition of its old quarter.

“You will have only a few minutes on the ground. When we say ‘go’, you will have to leave at once,” a Saudi police officer told us firmly as we got on an armoured vehicle heading to Awamiya.

As we approached the town, escorted by special forces, officers kept talking to their commanders over the phone to make sure the convoy was safe to proceed.

The security situation in Awamiya remains unstable, although the government says it is in control.

Saudi special forces member holds patrols the town of Awamiya (9 August 2017) The Saudi interior ministry has blamed the unrest on “terrorist groups”   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

When we got to Awamiya, the scale of devastation was shocking. It looked like a war zone – as if we were in Mosul or Aleppo.

The town, which lies in the Qatif region of oil-rich Eastern Province, was home to about 30,000 people, most of them Shia.

Now, there is nothing left of the once vibrant residential area but bullet-riddled houses, and burned-out cars and shops – a testament to the heavy fighting.

Members of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority have for years complained about what they perceive as discrimination and marginalisation at the hands of the Sunni monarchy.

But their protests have always been met by a crackdown.

“The Saudi regime does not accept opposition, whether it comes from a Sunni or a Shia. They are just intolerant,” Ali Adubisi, the director of the Berlin-based European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, told me.

 
A burned-out bulldozer in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017)The local authorities say they have been demolishing “dilapidated buildings”  Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

As I walked around Awamiya, I saw a few bulldozers standing in the middle of the wasteland.

In May, the authorities started demolishing the 400-year-old al-Musawara area, as a part of what it says is a “development project”.

“Eighty houses were demolished, and we still have about 400 more to go. These are dilapidated buildings, they should be modernised,” acting mayor Essam Abdullatif Al-Mulla told me.

“Families have been relocated after being generously compensated and offered alternative houses.”

Map of Saudi Arabia

As soon as the demolitions started, the confrontation in Awamiya took a violent turn.

Shia groups accused police troops of forcing people to leave, with the aim of crushing dissent.

Activists say security forces sealed off the town’s entrances and exits in late July, denying remaining residents access to essential services such as medical care.

 
Bullet-ridden building in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017) Shia groups have accused the authorities of forcing thousands of people to leave  Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

The violence has killed more than 20 civilians, among them a three-year-old boy who died on Wednesday, in addition to at least five militants, according to activists.

The Saudi authorities say eight police officers and four special forces personnel have died, but did not release any information on civilian and militant deaths.

The interior ministry has blamed the unrest on “terrorist groups who have been in the area for years”.

A statement said government forces had been attacked repeatedly with rocket-propelled grenades, Molotov cocktails and machine guns.

“Terrorists indiscriminately killed civilians, and used them as human shields. People fled because they felt threatened by the militants,” it added.

 
A damaged mosque and remains of buildings in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017) Activists say the violence has left more than 20 civilians and five militants dead   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

But there is another version to this story.

I managed to find a Saudi man who recently fled Awamiya, and is now seeking asylum in Germany.

“Security forces would shoot everyone – a man, a woman, an elderly person, or even a child,” he said.

“For days I couldn’t step out of my house. I was too scared.”

The man, who asked us not to identify him as he feared for his life, told me he had never personally taken up arms but that he understood why some people had chosen to do so.

“You can be sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia just because you are a Shia and you belong to a different religious sect.”

“The people are deprived of their freedom and dignity and might even be executed in unfair trials. They won’t remain silent forever. If someone shoots you, you will have to shoot back.”

 
Members of Saudi security forces stand guard in the town of Awamiya (9 August 2017)Activists say security forces sealed off the town’s entrances and exits in late July   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

The man recalled the start of the Shia protests in Awamiya in early 2011, when people emboldened by the Arab Spring uprisings across the region took to the streets.

“We were peaceful protesters, but security forces used to disperse us with live ammunition,” he said.

Since then, hundreds of people have been arrested. Human rights groups say Specialised Criminal Courts, set up for terrorism cases, have sentenced more than three dozen men and boys to death after convicting them of protest-related crimes following unfair trials.

Activists fear that 14 protesters, including four found guilty of offenses committed when they were children, could be executed at any moment.

They include the nephew of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric and vocal critic of the government who was convicted of terrorism offensives and executed in January 2016.

 
A poster mourning the executed cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr hangs on a lamppost in Awamiya, Saudi Arabia (9 August 2017) A poster mourning the executed cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr still hangs on a lamppost   Image copyright Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser

Our brief visit to Awamiya was interrupted by gunshots, fired from a distance.

We did not know whether it was the police, or the armed groups. But we had to leave at once, just as the commander said.

On our way back, I looked through the car window, and wondered if life would return to this ghost town any time soon.

It is very difficult to tell, as the reasons for the unrest are still very much present.

Afghan Secret Service Claims Arrest of Pakistani ISI Agent In Kabul

 

 

Allah Noor, an ISI agent arrested by NDS, says Pakistani generals cooperated with the Taliban in Helmand and Kunduz wars.

 

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The National Directorate of Security (NDS) has arrested an alleged ISI – Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency – agent in Kabul who was reportedly plotting an attack on Pul-e-Charkhi Prison in the Afghan capital.

The NDS said in a statement that the ISI agent was in Kabul to collect intelligence information and support the Taliban.

The agent was arrested three weeks ago, the statement said.

The NDS says the man named Allah Noor is a resident of Quetta city of Pakistan.

He started working with ISI in 2013.

In a video sent to media by the NDS, the suspect has confessed that he wanted to have a role in an attack on the Pul-e-Charkhi Prison.

He says that he has had roles in organizing meetings between ISI officials with Taliban leaders such as Mullah Haibatullah and Sirajuddin Haqqani as well as Mawlawi Sherin, the designated head of Taliban’s intelligence.

According to him, Pakistani generals had helped insurgents in Helmand and Kunduz wars.

Taliban has not commented on this so far.

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