Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's with Sinai?

The Sinai Joins the Axis of Resistance
The Sinai Peninsula has rejoined the Arab and Islamic Resistance as this great awakening spreads inexorably across the region toppling Western imposed security states and replacing them with governments of greater popular legitimacy.  Egypt and other countries in the region are contributing to righting the historic wrong done to the Palestinian people as millions around the World are employing an increasing variety of resistance strategies in solidarity with this regions central cause of liberating Palestine from the crumbling but ultra-violent Zionist colonial project.

Historically, the 23,000 sq. mile triangular Sinai Peninsula has been an area of Resistance against a series of occupiers and despots since it was joined to Egypt during in Mamluk Sultanate (1260-1517) when the Ottoman sultan, Selim the Grim, won the Battles of Marj Dabiq and al-Raydaniyya, and added Egypt to the Ottoman Empire.

Following the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty‘s rule over the rest of Egypt in 1805, the Ottoman Porte, faced with increasing resistance from Sinai, transferred administration of the restive Peninsula to the Egyptian government, by this time under the control of the colonial power, the United Kingdom. The British occupied Egypt since 1882 and imposed the border in an almost straight line from Rafah on the Mediterranean to Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba which has remained the eastern border of Egypt. At the beginning of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Egyptian forces invaded Palestine from Sinai to support the Palestinian Resistance in their struggle against the imposed State of Israel.

Last week’s  Sinai operation by “terrorists in Bedouin clothing” against the occupiers of Palestine resulted in the deaths of 16 Egyptian guards protecting the Israeli border as well as several of the Fedayeen, signals again that the Sinai Peninsula has returned to its historic role in confronting colonialism on Egypt’s border.  The Egyptian people, if not yet fully their leaders are returning to their historic struggle to liberate Palestine.
The regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would purposefully undermine relationship between the Egyptian and Palestinian people. However, over the past 18 months, much of the Sinai has become more Resistance oriented, as police stations in the Sinai were dismantled, the gas line with Israel repeated severed, and Bedouin tribes and others began to stockpile weapons arriving from Libya and from Israel’s black market and elsewhere.  The area is becoming a major Resistance base with fighters vowing to repel any attempt by the US and Israel to retain control.

No proof positive has been proffered to support a number of claims being made regarding those responsible for the Sinai attacks and other recent attacks against  Israeli installations that number more than 30 just since last year’s Tahrir revolution.

A spokesman for the Hamas government has claimed that the Sinai attack was an Israeli “attempt to tamper with Egyptian security and drive a wedge between the Egyptians and the residents of the Gaza Strip.” Tarek Zumar, a spokesman for the group, claimed that Israel was behind all recent terror attacks against the Egyptians “because it wants to make changes along its border with Egypt.” The day after the attack, and relying on its own intelligent sources, Hamas announced that:  ”This crime can be attributed to the Mossad, which has been seeking to abort the revolution since its inception and the proof of this is that it gave instructions to its Zionist citizens in Sinai to depart immediately a few days ago.”

An American critic of Israel’s influence over the U.S. Congress, who is an Assistant Staff Director on a Congressional Committee, emailed that “We are looking into what Israeli leaders knew about the Sinai attack and when they knew it, but no definite responsibility for this operation has been established.”
The Muslim Brotherhood has also blamed Mossad for the attack.

One of the reasons the Egyptian public is increasingly calling for abolishing or at least re- negotiating the “Treaty of Shame” as the Camp David agreement is commonly known, is that Egyptian security forces in Sinai are not enough to protect the borders.   Under Camp David’s “Peace Agreement” it is Israel, and not the Egyptian government who determines how many Egyptians security personnel can stand guard at Egypt’s border.

On 8/4/12, Egypt’s new pro-Palestinian President, Mohammad Morsi, responded to the attack by sacking the pro-Israeli intelligence chief Murad Muwafi, as well as the governor of Northern Sinai  Abdel Wahab Mabrouk. The same day Mursi  ordered his defense minister to relieve the head of the country’s military police, as his spokesman said  to “turn a page” in the Palestinian struggle and also as a confidence  building move in the face of a predicted  Zionist campaign to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack. There has been a relentless campaign by Zionist leaders since Mubaraks ouster, to weaken the Egyptian public’s determination to isolate Israel and cancel their governments relations with the occupiers of Palestine.

Supporters of Morsi’s rival in the presidential election, Ahmed Shafik, a former air force commander, have called for Egyptians to rise up against the Brotherhood and President Morsi as a result of the Sinai operation. Such attacks underscore the divide between new pro-Palestinian government and the military, which continues to hold enormous political power and has limited the president’s authority.

The Resistance operation comes only a week after Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya made a rare visit to Egypt to meet with Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi to discuss easing travel restrictions on Gaza imposed by Israel’s siege, restrictions respected by Mubarak for years. That meeting, coupled with Morsi meeting both Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian President Abbas last month, resulted in the opening the Rafah border for 12 hrs a day and increasing the daily limit on passengers from Gaza to 1,500. By opening the border Morsi was following through on a campaign promise he made during the run up to Egypt’s hotly contested election. With the advent of the Arab Spring a number of Egyptian pro Resistance organizations demanded the complete opening of the Rafah crossing to all traffic, including commercial. During his campaign Morsi stated that “the time has come to open the Rafah crossing to traffic 24 hours a day and all year round.”

Unfortunately, following the most recent operation the Rafah crossing has been indefinitely closed  just like  it was under the deposed Egyptian president which will cause great hardship to Gazans and  amounts to nothing less than Israeli style “collective punishment” as claimed by Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official.

As one Gazan young woman, Rana Baker, a member of the Gaza-based BDS organizing committee recently observed, “It is worth recalling here the official Egyptian stance on the murder of two Egyptian security guards in an Israeli raid along the Israeli-Egyptian border last year. Not one Egyptian helicopter took off in search of the assailants and not one bullet was aimed at “suspects” from the Israeli side. Not only did the SCAF bury the incident as if it had never happened, but it went as far as to quell Egyptian protestors at the Israeli embassy in Cairo almost a year ago today. Days later the SCAF erected a high wall around the embassy to “protect” it against “extremists.”

The Gaza Strip has now been closed off, as it was during the time of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The siege is now expected to intensify following the indefinite closure of the Rafah and Karm Abu-Salem border crossings. The siege is now expected to intensify following the indefinite closure of the Rafah and Karm Abu-Salem border crossings.

Robert Satloff , Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), founded by AIPAC,  presented the Zionist lobby’s reaction to the Sinai operations and the expanding geography of Resistance. He offered the following suggestions presented on their website and in Lobby publications:
“The US must undertake firm communication to Egypt’s Morsi that if he wants international support to bolster his flagging economy, he cannot pander to the worst instincts of Egyptian public opinion. Indeed, any serious effort to prevent terrorist infiltration in Sinai requires coordination with Israel, and this will not proceed in an environment of public vilification.”

“Second, U.S. policymakers should reaffirm to the Egyptian military that Washington views securing Sinai as an essential aspect of Egyptian-Israeli peace, and that continued provision of substantial military aid, which has exceeded 35 billion over the past three decades, is absolutely contingent on the investment of adequate personnel and resources to do the security job. Failure to direct the right people and resources to the peninsula will trigger an overall reassessment of the U.S. military assistance package, with an eye to updating this 1980s-era relationship for the current environment.”

Satloft’s views are reflective of the vast disconnect between reality and expectations of Zionist officials and their shills, over  what the past 18 months has birthed in the Middle East with respect to Resistance to the continuing colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

With the Sinai Peninsula returning to the era and culture of Resistance the liberation of Palestine draws every nearer and more certain, perhaps sooner than later.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable c/o

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Legal Clarification on Sea Shepherd Skipper

Setting the Record Straight on Paul Watson's Legal Status: Sea Shepherd Addresses the Impact Of Interpol ‘Red Notice’ On Captain Watson and the Organization’s Operations


After much speculation and misinformation about the impact of the recently announced ‘Red Notice’ issued by Interpol for Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who was arrested at Frankfurt airport on May 13th and held in Germany for 70 days until his departure on or around July 22nd, Sea Shepherd is setting the record straight.  Using information posted to its website as provided in a letter from Captain Watson’s lead legal counsel in Germany, Oliver Wallasch, Sea Shepherd addresses the speculation head-on with the legal facts of this case. Click the thumbnail to read the entire unedited letter.
Questions & Answers
Q.: What is the impact of Captain Watson forfeiting bail to leave Germany?
A.: Skipping bail in Germany is not a crime! This is totally different from U.S. jurisdiction and from other countries in the world. Article 2 of the German constitution states, that Germany grants personal freedom. Therefore it is not even a crime in Germany to escape from prison. The decision of the client to leave the country leads only to the consequence that the local (not international!) arrest warrant of the Higher Regional Court was set into force, and that bail is seized (forfeited) on decision by the court. Because of the fact that the client was arrested in an extradition procedure, Germany is not actively searching for Mr. Watson locally or internationally.
Letter from Paul Watson's lawyer. (Click to read the entire unedited letter)Letter from Paul Watson's lawyer. (Click to read the entire unedited letter)
Q.: What is the extradition procedure in Germany as it pertains to this case?
A.: In the case of Mr. Watson, we knew that besides the request of Costa Rica, there was also a ‘blue’ note issued by Interpol on charges from Japan against the client. This ‘blue’ note on the warrant from Japan has been active since 2010 and has not converted into a ‘red’ notice with Interpol during the whole extradition procedure with Costa Rica. But we learned that Japan was highly interested concerning the procedure with Costa Rica because they sent requests through Interpol Tokyo to the Higher Regional Court to gather more information on the procedure itself. This was absolutely unusual. The German authorities are allowed to extradite even without a special treaty with the requesting country. Therefore it was very likely that Japan would ask for extradition itself on a bilateral basis; after Mr. Watson left the country, we learned that such an extradition request was forwarded by the Japanese Embassy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the General Public Prosecution Office in Frankfurt.  The scenario would have been that Mr. Watson would have been extradited to Costa Rica, and then extradited after the procedure to Japan.
These facts show, that there was a link between the extradition request from Costa Rica and the 
upcoming extradition request from Japan. Having in mind that the president of Costa Rica visited Japan at the end of 2011, having in mind that Japan granted an enormous amount of money for “environmental protection” in Costa Rica, it is obvious that these two countries have a very close relationship.

Q.: Is the Interpol ‘Red’ Notice a warrant and what is its impact?

A.: Interpol Notices are international alerts allowing police in member countries to share information. Interpol is not actively issuing arrest warrants, Interpol is not actively searching for the defendant, and Interpol is not involved in the extradition procedure.  Interpol just exchanges information between the police in the member countries.
The information that Interpol has issued a ‘red’ notice against Mr. Watson on the charges of Costa Rica only means that the police in the member countries shall be aware that Mr. Watson is wanted by Costa Rica.   It is up to the police and the judicial authorities within the Interpol member countries whether or not they want to act on this local arrest warrant from Costa Rica.

Q.: What is the impact of the ‘Red Notice’ on Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (S.S.C.S.)?

A.: Because of the fact that these are individual cases and charges against Mr. Watson (in Costa Rica and in Japan) which are as stated probably politically motivated, there is no impact on the work of S.S.C.S. as an NGO itself; it is a general principle that criminal charges are against individuals, not against legal bodies.

Q.: Will Captain Watson be able to travel for the upcoming Antarctic and other campaigns?

A.: “I am convinced that Captain Paul Watson is able to continue his work, even with these bogus charges against him,” Wallasch said.
Statement by Sea Shepherd's Administrative Director

In speaking about Japan’s transparent attempts to thwart Sea Shepherd’s campaigns, Susan Hartland, Administrative Director of Sea Shepherd, had this to say:  “The warrant and ‘blue’ notice generated is just another feeble attempt by Japan to try and keep us from our mission to protect, conserve and defend our oceans,” she said.  “We operate within the legal confines of the United Nations World Charter for Nature. We are an enforcement entity acting legally against their relentless and archaic illegal whaling operations in a designated sanctuary and, as such, we will continue our direct action to protect the oceans and the wildlife in and around it.  Our supporters expect no less and that is what we will continue to deliver.  Our supporters stand by us and we stand by Captain Watson, all the other captains of our ships, and all of our courageous crew,” she said.

Hartland added:  “Of course, we know that Japan would love nothing more than to have their own ‘red’ notice issued on Captain Watson. They tried for ‘red’ but Interpol recognized their attempts as politically motivated, so they were forced to settle for a ‘blue’ notice instead,” she said. “Colluding with Germany and Costa Rica, Japan tried to extradite him, they have brought suit against us in the US, they have harassed and arrested Sea Shepherd crew members, and charged them with benign or bogus offenses when they’ve had the chance,” she said.

“Nothing Japan does will stop us from returning to Antarctica this season with four vessels and four crews of committed and passionate volunteers to shut down the Japanese whaling fleet,” she added.

In 2010, when the initial ‘blue notice’ for Captain Watson was issued by Interpol, Captain Watson knew it was as a result of Japan wielding their political and financial might once again, just like they continue to buy off member nations of the IWC.  At the time, Captain Watson had this to say: "Give me my name on a blue list, the red list, the black list, or the death list, for it is preferable to the I-don’t-give-a-crap list.”
The specific incident in question took place in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by the Costa Rican vessel, the Varadero I. On order of Guatemalan authorities, Sea Shepherd instructed the crew of the Varadero I to cease their shark-finning activities and head back to a Guatemalan port to be prosecuted. While escorting the Varadero I back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew. To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where the crew uncovered even more illegal shark-finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by the thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings.

The Curious Sinai Attack

Shifting Truths in Sinai: Who Stands to Gain from the Carnage?

by Ramzy Baroud

Two Toyota Land Cruisers filled with about 15 well-built gunmen in ski masks and all-black outfits appear seemingly out of nowhere. Behind them is vast, open desert. They approach a group of soldiers huddled around a simple meal as they prepare to break their Ramadan fast. The gunmen open fire, leaving the soldiers with no chance of retrieving their weapons.

This is not an opening scene of a Hollywood action movie. The massacre actually took place at an Egyptian military post in northern Sinai on August 5. The description above was conveyed by a witness, Eissa Mohamed Salama, in a statement made to The Associated Press (AP; Aug 8).

The gunmen were well trained. Their overt confidence can only be explained by the fact that "one militant got out a camera and filmed the bodies of the soldiers". One is immediately baffled by this. Why would the masked militants wish to document the killings if they were about to embark on what can be considered a suicide mission in Israel? "The gunmen then approached the Israeli border," with two vehicles, one reportedly a stolen Egyptian armored personnel carrier. The British Broadcasting Corp, citing Israeli officials, reported that one of the vehicles "exploded on the frontier", while the other broke through the Israeli border, "travelled about 2 kilometers into Israel before being disabled by the Israeli air force" (BBC News Online, Aug 7).

According to the BBC report, citing Israeli sources, there were about 35 gunmen in total, all clad in traditional Bedouin attire. Their mission into Israel was suicidal, since, unlike in Sinai, they had nowhere to escape. But who would embark on such a logistically complex mission, document it on camera, and then fail to take responsibility for it?

 The brazen attack seemed to have little military wisdom, but it did possess a sinister political logic. Only 48 hours before the attack, the media were awash with reports about the return of electricity in the Gaza Strip. The impoverished Strip's generators have not run at full capacity for about six years, since Hamas was elected. The Israeli siege and subsequent wars killed and wounded thousands, but they failed to bend Gaza's political will. For Gazans, the keyword to their survival in the face of Israel's blockade was "Egypt".

The Egyptian revolution on January 25, 2011, carried a multitude of meanings for all sectors of Egyptian society, and the Middle East at large. For Palestinians in Gaza, it heralded the possibility of a lifeline. The nearly 1,000 tunnels dug to assist in Gaza's survival would amount to nothing compared with a decisive Egyptian decision to end the siege by opening the Rafah border. In fact, a decision was taking place in stages. Hamas, which governs Gaza, was a branch of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. The latter is now the leading political force in the country and, despite the military's obduracy, it has managed to claim the country's presidency as well.

In late July, a high-level Hamas delegation met in Cairo. All the stress and trepidation of the last 16 months seemed to have come to an end, as Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, his deputy Musa Abu Marzouq and other members of the group's politburo met with President Mohammed Morsi. Egypt's official news agency reported Morsi's declarations of full support "for the Palestinian nation's struggle to achieve its legitimate rights". According to Reuters, Morsi's top priority was achieving unity "between Hamas and Fatah, supplying Gaza with fuel and electricity and easing the restrictions on the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt".

Juxtapose that scene - where a historical milestone has finally been reached - with an Agence France-Presse photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, standing triumphantly next to a burned Egyptian vehicle that was reportedly stolen by the Sinai gunmen. The message here is that only Israel is serious about fighting terror. Israeli newspaper Haaretz' accompanying article started with this revelation: "Israel shared some of the intelligence it received with the Egyptian army prior to the incident, but there is no evidence Egypt acted on the information."

This was meant to humiliate Egypt's military further.

Naturally, Israel blamed Gaza, even though there is no material evidence to back such accusations. Some in Egypt's media jumped on the opportunity to blame Gaza for Egypt's security problems in Sinai as well. The loudest among them were completely silent when, on August 18, 2011, Israel killed six Egyptian soldiers in Sinai. Then, Israel carried out a series of strikes against Gaza, killing and wounding many, while claiming that Gaza was a source of attacks against Israeli civilians. Later the Israeli media dismissed the connection as flawed. No apologies for the Gaza deaths, of course, and AP, Reuters and others are still blaming Palestinians for the attack near Eilat last year.

Then, Palestinian factions opted not to escalate to spare Egypt an unwanted conflict with Israel during a most sensitive transition. None of that seems relevant now. Egypt is busy destroying the tunnels, continuing efforts that were funded by the US a few years ago. It also closed the Gaza-Egypt crossing, and is being "permitted" by Israel to use attack helicopters in Sinai to hunt for elusive terrorists. Within days, Gaza's misfortunes were multiplied and once more Palestinians are pleading their case. Israeli officials and analysts are, of course, beside themselves with anticipation. The opportunity is simply too great not to be utilized fully.

Commenting in Egypt-based OnIslam, Abdelrahman Rashdan wrote that according to the Israeli intelligence scenario, "Iranians, Palestinians, Egyptians, and al-Qaeda operatives all moved from Lebanon to attack Egypt [and] Israel and defend Syria." In Western mainstream media, few asked who benefits from all of this - from once more isolating Gaza, shutting down the tunnels, severing Egyptian-Palestinian ties, embroiling the Egyptian military in a security nightmare in Sinai, and much more.

The Muslim Brotherhood website had an answer. It suggested that the incident "can be attributed to the Mossad". True, some Western media reported the statement, but not with any degree of seriousness or due analysis. The BBC even offered its own context: "Conspiracy theories are popular across the Arab world," ending the discussion with an Israeli dismissal of the accusation as "nonsense". Case closed. But it shouldn't be. Before embarking on a wild goose chase in Sinai, urgent questions must be asked and answered. Haphazard action will only make things worse for Egypt, Palestine and Sinai's long-neglected Bedouin population.

- Ramzy Baroud ( is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Pipeline by Another Name: Pacific Trail Pipeline LTD and Enbridge

You are right, the Oil and Gas Commission is under strict lock down. All files are being kept in Fort St John. However, as each of us explore the tidbits of info, a picture of is emerging. Verifying facts will take time and many FOI requests. My understanding is comes from some inside sources. There are 8 pipeline at the Morice River area planned, 2 for Enbridge and 2 for PTP and Apache, EnCana and EOG. Security and forest fires are a concern and thus the planned R/W could be up to 3 kilometers wide. This R/W is dubbed the "Energy Cooridor". There is a contract between PTP and Enbridge. In other words, Enbridge is also a part owner in PTP limited partnership. However, they were left out of the Google search announcement below for obvious reasons. Many first nations are beginning to check out the wording of an energy corridor approval and realize that Enbridge could piggy back their pipeline through this Energy Corridor. I can't reveal all I know at this time, however, both PTP and Enbridge have run into problems getting there Free, prior informed consent from the Wet'suwet'en territory. The Chief and Council (imposed by the Indian Act) who's jurisdiction does not extend past the reserve boundaries, were rumour for the gas project, in order that they would receive a sizeable chunk of the 514 million dollars. They fiqured that the money would go far to battle Enbridge pipeline. I can say that the R/W at Morice River has not been granted yet. There is an Investigated pipeline licence permit issued to PTP from the Crown, but these permits do not give you any rights like logging the R/W. It only give you the right of investigation. And Investigated Permits do not need the Free, Prior, Informed Consent from First Nations. Canfor was stopped at the recent blockade at Morice River last Tuesday and were turned back. The Blockade or Action Camp at Morice River had over 200 hard core environmentalists. Later, Rod PACIFIC TRAIL PIPELINES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP The Pacific Trail Pipelines Limited Partnership (PTP LP) is a partnership between managing operator Apache Canada Ltd. with a 40 per cent interest and EOG Resources Canada Inc. and Encana Corporation each holding 30 per cent interests. The PTP LP is developing the natural gas transmission pipeline system from Summit Lake to Kitimat, British Columbia to serve Kitimat LNG’s export facility near Kitimat, British Columbia. The Kitimat LNG facility is the only proposed LNG export facility on the west coast of North America with major environmental approvals in place. One of the facility’s competitive advantages is the ability to access the world class natural gas supplies in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. The proximity to the large Asian LNG markets gives the Kitimat LNG facility a competitive advantage over liquefaction facilities in the Atlantic basin. The 463-kilometre Pacific Trail Pipelines project will provide the facility with a direct connection to the Spectra Energy Transmission pipeline system and excellent access to natural gas supplies in British Columbia and Alberta.