I walked from a community centre in south Edinburgh talking to a grandmother who’d just been at a public meeting I was talking at. She told me she’d never been involved in politics but that she’d been out putting leaflets through doors (the older generation always tell me its for their grandkids but I suspect they’ve been itching to do something subversive for ages…) “And I’ll tell you what” she told me conspiratorially “I’m not going back to my sofa when this is all over”.
She’s Team Scotland.
A man in his early 30s emailed me to say he’d been reading Common Weal stuff and articles on Bella and National Collective and he wrote (in his words) “I can’t remember being interested in politics like this, I’ve not been this excited since I was a teenager”.
He’s Team Scotland.
I spoke in Lasswade last week and on…
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Originally posted on Uprootedpalestinians's Blog:
Saudi replaces veteran intel chief Prince Bandar
Saudi Arabia has replaced its veteran intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan “at his own request”, an official television station in the kingdom announced Tuesday.
In a royal decree, the powerful official was replaced “at his own request” by his deputy, Yousef al-Idrissi, said Al-Ekhbariya, a government-run satellite channel.
Bandar was abroad for several months for health reasons, with diplomats saying he had been sidelined in Saudi efforts to support terrorists fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Originally posted on Uprootedpalestinians's Blog:
The U.S. is assembling the rudiments of imperial infrastructure throughout Africa, and hardly anybody knows about it. Hardly anybody knows about it because the government and military refuse to divulge much of U.S. foreign policy towards Africa. You see, U.S. foreign policy is really none of our business.
The Obama administration has been slowly – and very quietly – peppering the U.S. military throughout the continent and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of government contractors to build the necessary infrastructure for a permanent U.S. military presence.
Washington has been increasing its support for African regimes, many with records of human rights violations, and boosting efforts to train African militaries to keep them dependent on the Pentagon. The U.S. is training and equipping militaries in countries including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia – not to mention operations in…
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BBC & Israel
Originally posted on Uprootedpalestinians's Blog:
Israel’s slaying of university student Saji Darwish was not deemed newsworthy by the BBC.
Over the last five weeks, the trend in BBC reporting to ignore events that show Israel in a negative light, while affording coverage to tenuous claims from the Israeli army that it has uncovered Palestinian “terror” plots, has become quite glaring.
On 19 March, a 14-year-old Palestinian child, Yussef Shawamreh, was shot in the back and hip by Israeli soldiers as he foraged for edible wild thistles on his family’s land in the occupied West Bank.
The child bled to death. His two friends, aged 12 and 17, were seized by soldiers dressed in black fatigues and wearing black face masks, and taken to a nearby illegal settlement, in handcuffs and blindfolds. There they were beaten for failing to answer questions in Hebrew, a language neither understands.
By any standards, the cold-blooded…
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“My name is Munira and I’m 18 years old. I live in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Me, my mother and my siblings suffer a horrible situation here. We have nowhere to go except my father’s house, he beats me and beats my brother.
He thinks that we’re his property.
We shouldn’t say no to anything that he said, but when we refuse he locks the house so we can not run from him. He now took my education from me and this is my last year of high school so I can graduate and go to college. He said that I’m not gonna go to school anymore because I didn’t do what he wants.
He always threaten us. My mother can’t have a job with out his permission we can’t do anything with out his permission!
That’s the law here.
The men must accept the women’s choices, if any woman doesn’t have a man with her, means her life is over.
And it shouldn’t be any man! It should be a father or a husband only! But our father is an xxxxxxx he’s so selfish and mean!!!! He doesn’t believe in human rights.
My youngest brother is mentally retarded, my father didn’t do anything about it. My mother has heart disease, my father threaten her that he’ll stop her treatment.
We’re locked here without money, without rights or freedom. We’re afraid that our lives can be taken from us anytime.
When my mother asked help from her brothers they kicked her and said you belong to your husband if you don’t want him then your kids will be with him and you have to find somewhere else to live.
How can we live without our mom?”
Abuse of women behind closed doors is not a PRIVATE MATTER but gobsmacking Intl CRIME
#FreeThe4 fights for rights. No If’s No But’s. Wakeup
Ex-wife of Saudi king pleads for her daughters
Despite the many doubts about the princesses’ story, one thing is for sure: These women do exist and they are suffering from the absence of their mother, who hasn’t been allowed to see them for over 10 years. Meanwhile, Saudi authorities are refusing to comment on the story, making it harder to get to the bottom of it.
Saudi princesses Sahar and Jawaher, daughters of King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz, have been in captivity and deprived of food and water for 25 days. They are trying to survive on only one meal a day to preserve the food left in the house for the longest time possible.Nothing has changed in the lives of these princesses since their story was reported by UK Channel 4 last March. Over three years have passed and they are still restricted from going out with their guards to buy food and beverages like they used to do in the past ten years.
However, the two princesses are communicating with their followers on Twitter via their accounts: @Art_Moqawama and @Jawaher1776 . They are posting photos and tweets stressing that they will keep speaking out against their abuse. Just yesterday, Sahar tweeted “Allah’s victory is approaching.”
Meanwhile, Alanound al-Fayez is supporting her daughters from her London home. She is coordinating with lawyers and human rights activists, protesting and making media appearances. In a phone interview with Al-Akhbar, al-Fayez said she was worried about her daughters who are denied access to food and water, while the food stored in the house was running out. She repeated her story and didn’t seem annoyed by some questions doubting her.
Alanound al-Fayez married King Abdullah in the early 1970s. He divorced her a number of times, with the final divorce being in 1985, “I don’t know why he divorced me, in Saudi Arabia we don’t ask such a question.” However, we may figure out the reason if we take into consideration that the king has about 20 wives, 14 of whom are divorced and 3 deceased.
Al-Fayez stayed in Saudi for a period of time after her divorce, along with her daughters Sahar, Hala, Maha and Jawaher. She made sure they can get as much of an education that a woman in Saudi can and then left to London in 2003. There was no particular reason behind her decision to leave, “There was no last straw between the king and I as you’d say, and it was mostly an accumulation of years of mistreatment. My daughters and I used to bear a lot and the more we bore, the more they abused us. I decided to leave in an attempt to speak out against abuse from abroad.”
Remembering the last chapter of her life in Saudi, she recalled how her small family started to fall apart. Her daughters were subjected to gradual abuse, “Other family members were plotting against them, maybe because of jealousy or envy.. . I don’t know.” Maha and Hala were the first affected, mainly after they fell ill. The mother noticed they were ill and suspected that someone was slipping them drugs to make their condition worse. She asked to oversee their treatment but her request was denied.
Today, Hala and Maha are living in a separate place while Sahar and Jawaher are staying at the villa from which they post their photos online. Al-Fayez only speaks to Hala and Maha once a month “because they are tired most of the time,” while she is in touch with Sahar and Jawaher daily.
But how come the king allows them to have Internet access? “I don’t know why they haven’t stopped them yet, maybe it’s a smart move, they want people to doubt us,” she said. “But why would I fabricate such a story? Where am I heading with this? What will I or my daughters gain from standing against such powerful people?” she asked.
Al-Fayez has been in a conflict with the king since she left Saudi Arabia and has fought her battle alone because her father was dead and she didn’t get any help from her brothers. Back then she appointed lawyers who failed to follow up on her case. “They bought them,” she said in her first interview with the Voice of Russia last November.Le Figaro (in cooperation with AFP) quoted attorney Lord Antony Loster who handled the case eight years ago, saying that he couldn’t go forward with it because the king refused to cooperate.
Later, former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas took over the case but hasn’t reached a solution yet. He highlighted the issue in open letter to the UN Human Rights Council along lawyer Philippe Coupe published in Le Monde on November 28, 2013.
The letter revealed the story of the four captive princesses. It described their living conditions, how they were prevented from getting an education, marriage and travel, while two of them were being drugged.
But why would a father subject his own daughters to this kind of treatment? Al-Fayez couldn’t explain it. However, in one of her previous interviews she said that the king was trying to get back at her, “Why is he seeking revenge from you and your daughters? Isn’t he the one who decided to divorce you?” “I don’t know, you are asking me questions that I can’t answer, he is acting like this because he is an unjust and oppressive person,” she answered.
Al-Fayez said that the king wants her back in Saudi Arabia “so we can close this case,” but she is refusing because she doesn’t trust him.
Asked if she was worried they might come after her in London? She said “No, I am not, they can’t do anything here,” stressing that she only wants to see her daughters and to help them build a better future like all other girls because “they are slowly dying.”
The media as a last resort?
The media is Alanoud al-Faeyz’s last resort to help her daughters. She told Al-Akhbar that refraining from talking to the media since she first left Saudi Arabia allowed the ruling family to go very far. She said that the king met with his daughters two years ago and informed them that they will keep receiving this treatment until they convince their mother to come back to the country. Therefore, she had to do something.
She started with the open letter in Le Monde, then an interview with the Voice of Russia to discuss how her daughters were being “buried alive.” The subject received wider media coverage with US President’s Barak Obama visit to Saudi Arabia last March. Channel 4 reporter Fatima Manji interviewed al-Faez and then recorded an online interview with princesses Sahar and Jawhaer, which today is the channel’s most circulated video.
Western media highlighted the princesses’ story which was reported in newspaper articles and TV shows, however, they lacked a representative on the Saudi side.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.