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  • Masoud Dalvand 8:31 pm on 29 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Breakfast in Damascus Syria — dlockyer 

    A turbid atmosphere prevails over a new morning in Damascus where birds’ songs are silenced, the smell of jasmine fake, and a poor soul can be heard appealing to the gods. It’s a typical morning in Damascus these days. It’s all quiet for now before the shelling begins on the suburb of Ghouta. The air […]

    via Breakfast in Damascus Syria — dlockyer

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  • Masoud Dalvand 5:39 pm on 28 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    In gloominess of the nothingness.. Here they are(2). 

    Luna

    Written by :Luna Watfa

    Translated by: Diane Lockyer

    A question constantly circulating in social media, buzzing like a humming bee in my head: What are your demands?

    Intuition tells you that freedom tops the demands sought by detainees, but at this stage in the hell of the prison where you fall a prey to your executioners’ practices, you are ready to compromise for freedom because you realize how far-fetched the idea is.  The situation you find yourself in now is more important than freedom. Finding enough space to toss your exhausted body on striving for unattainable sleep; a few analgesic tablets perhaps to relieve you of the severe pains from beatings; sufficient food to eat, sun and air, a clock … and to put it in one single word: You…. You above anything else!

    The very last thing that comes to mind is getting out of the security branches for several reasons. The most important is that you are aware of how investigations in the security branches are carried out. You realize that your journey with them has just begun, and from that moment on, you have completely disappeared from the outside world. It does not matter who you know and who knows you, nor the extent of your contacts and outside relationships. What you should worry about now is how much evidence they have against you in their possession which will determine how long the investigation will take and the methods they will use to put pressure on you.

    Why do you think of evidences? And how your conscience turns to a condemnation that you fear?

    Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, arbitrary killings and detentions have been carried out on peaceful demonstrations simply because someone had a social network account. So the question arises and you begin to wonder if what you are doing may be used as proof against you and putting you in danger of being arrested? The answer to this question can be found in a realistic reading of the history of al-Assad’s rule in Syria over the last forty years where many cases have been documented through history and detainees’ narratives. Those forty years of al-Assad’s rule have become synonymous with tyranny, oppression and unjust laws similar to a sword hanging over the head of all those who dared to openly, or in whispers, criticize the ruling regime or even tackle the question of the corruption that plagued the regime. So as not to get bogged down in this long history, let’s simply highlight the four years of the Revolution to see how any kind of activity whatsoever  in civilian relief work can be targeted, or even a written word in an attempt to clarify the truth without its being falsified as evidence and condemned under Syrian law.

    Since the issuance of a legislative decree to set up a Terrorism Court to condemn terrorism, numerous labels have appeared under the cover of fighting terrorism including the financing of terrorism, turning relief work into what was termed terrorist acts, demonstrations, legal counsel, research on intellectual and political organizers seeking to overthrow the government, banners with slogans at demonstrations undermining the prestige of the State and weakening national sentiment – an endless number of charges. Yet, despite all those charges, the Terrorism Court until recently was unable to determine how long a detainee could legally be held thus avoiding the wrath, outwardly at least, of international legal organizations and humanitarian organizations. So, by not defining an arrest as such, some detainees became mere forgotten numbers and some lost the luxury of having a number because their files were missing in the Court Office

    What I had practiced in relief, media and legal work during the revolution is not more nor less than any Syrian, who inspired by his/her conscience and refused to surrender to fear, had done. It was when I saw people displaced from their homes, in the streets with starving children, men who had become so oppressed and humiliated a teardrop would fall from their eyes, women reciting a mourning prayer every day, and others I participated in lifting their coffins whose hands were lifting coffins of the formers who died yesterday. Since the beginning of the revolution, relief work started like a ray, sometimes dim and terrified in other times, because the security forces considered the displaced populations there as a popular incubator of terrorism that deserved to be exterminated entirely and those who helped as partners deserved prosecution.

    “ They’re just children. I was feeding them because they were starving,” I angrily replied to ‘Jameel’ the security policeman who and his squad had just arrested me and described me as terrorist who deserves the toughest punishment.

    ” These kids are just like the offspring of those who killed my brother!!” he replied in the same angry tone.

    ” And what is their sin? Do they deserve to die of starvation? Aren’t they just children?”

    “ Yes, they deserve to die because they will grow up and kill me and my family as well – all of them deserve to die!

    Saeed was watching me from behind indicating that I should remain silent. Jamil had come out and Saeed began talking very calmly. “Although Jamil is Christian and I am Alawite, I personally don’t think you committed a crime. When I pass by tents for refugees in the gardens after finishing my work here, I buy bread for them from my modest salary. The difference between you and me is that I am with them and you are not so I will not be held responsible and no one considers what I’m doing as a crime. In any case you have hurt no one. Have faith that God will not harm you. “

    I didn’t need Saeed to reassure me I had not committed a crime that warranted an arrest, but what he said was a confirmation of something more serious than the case of an individual’s arrest. The act itself is multifaceted. It is permitted when you are affiliated to some party ( theirs) and you can do what you believe is right as long as you are not afraid of being held accountable, while it could be otherwise an evidence for condemnation. You know that when you start relief work or media activities, you can be arrested at any moment, and you can’t help that terrible feeling of terror going through your mind, especially after the leaked photos of hundreds of detainees who had died under torture. And I had been arrested just two weeks later. Is it courage or fear? It was a question akin to walking a fine tightrope. Do you do what your conscience dictates you to do and tell the truth, despite the risks, or do you remain silent for your own safety fearing a possible arrest?  It is a question, however, that is constantly lived with all of us, but seeing a child suffering from hunger or a detainee who died under torture or the pity of losing one’s soul were enough to mirror the picture and personalize what you see whereas you picture your beloved ones in the same condition, and to be human against all odds and fears. Being a human means feeling their pain and not remaining silent confronted with their tragedy.

    Detainees had died under torture and that had happened just two weeks before I was arrested. prison in not that place which was pictured by the multiplicity of narrations of prisoners who experienced detention in the course of the revolution, because talking about such experience was hard-pressed for those who went through it, thus having a clear conception about it is almost impossible. I am in a place I am seeing for the first time where the real issues are not just bad food, insults or torture. There are many details that a detainee is sometimes unable to remember for the pain they evoke, and preferably to be simply forgotten sometimes.

    “Give me your identity card and don’t make a scandal” and then “Come with us”. My arrest started with those two sentences. On the way to 40th Branch, I was not blindfolded yet, only a scarf they wrapped my head with. There were two large cars and at least 10 security force members and security equipment’s enough to capture the entire homeland as though It required a full security branch to arrest a single opponent. Their fear of our humanity was as much as our fear of their barbaric ways.

    Once I had been taken and forcibly entered into one of the cars,I looked at the people who gathered  in one of  Damascus squares, hoping the moment would come when all those people would react as one and prevent a young woman from being arrested in this way, but they remained silent not uttering a word,  but their faces were swallowed by silence and gloom, the very same faces that had raised with such fear for long years.

    What you have now is to maintain your composure and tenacity as much as you can, because you knew in advance that one day you might fall into their hands when you chose to walk on that taut tightrope. Your composure provokes them, so they strive by all means to get to your weak points, which vary from person to another indeed, but once they get them- which often happen- your life as you know it would reach its end, to start a new life entirely, a life of tedious steps, blocked horizon and blurred destiny.

    Article in Arabic  

     

    Source: In gloominess of the nothingness.. Here they are(2).

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:41 pm on 26 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Maryam Rajavi attends exhibition in Paris for the victims of the 1988 Iranian prison massacres 

    Maryam Rajavi- 1988 Massacre

    At an exhibition in the mayor’s office of Paris’ 2nd district on August 24th commemorating the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, many guest speakers lent their time a…

    Source: Maryam Rajavi attends exhibition in Paris for the victims of the 1988 Iranian prison massacres

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 2:37 pm on 23 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Dozens arrested for throwing mixed-gender parties in Iran 

    Dozens arrested for throwing mixed-gender parties in Iran

    A series of raids on mixed-gender parties, which are illegal in Iran, has led to the arrest of more than 80 young people this week. 

    In Shiraz, a city in southern Iran, 63 young men and women were arrested in two separate raids on parties that were deemed “unlawful” by the Iranian state.

    “After receiving reports about two parties held in the middle of the night in north-east Shiraz, a joint operation was carried out by the police and another security agency and 63 half-naked boys and girls were arrested,” Colonel Yousef Malek-Zadeh, commander of Iran’s State Security Forces in Shiraz said on Friday, August 19. Hist statement was reprinted on Friday by the Tasnim news agency, affiliated to the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force.

    “In these two mixed-gender parties that took place last night, boys and girls had gathered together under the guise of a birthday celebration,” Zadeh added.

    “With the arrival of the police, all of them were arrested and sent before the judiciary.”

    “Given the attraction of the gardens in the vicinity of Shiraz, the police have tried to fully monitor all the venues and gardens in this region. Police deputies and commanders stringently monitor these venues through snap inspections,” he said. “With the arrival of summer, police monitoring of these venues has been stepped up.”

    Elsewhere, the prosecutor-general of Amol, northern Iran, announced on Friday that 20 university students were arrested for attending a mixed-gender party.

    “These individuals were arrested at 11pm last night in a residential property in Hezar Street,” he said.

    “Following their arrest these individuals were handed over to the local judiciary for prosecution. We will deal with anyone in this city who disturbs public order,” he added.

    Regarding the recent arrests, Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said:

    “The clerical regime has never been so isolated at home and loathed by the Iranian people, in particular by the youth and women. As such, it is resorting to more and more repressive measures to confront this growing trend. This once again proves that the notion of moderation under Hassan Rouhani is a total myth. But it also indicates the vulnerable and shaky state of a regime that cannot even tolerate private festivities of the people, particularly the youth. It is becoming more evident that the mullahs are totally paranoid of any social gathering in fear of a popular uprising.”

    Source: Dozens arrested for throwing mixed-gender parties in Iran

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 2:36 pm on 23 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Struan Stevenson: “Iraq Being Killed by Corruption” 

    Struan Stevenson

    Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a venally corrupt political class that has systematically pillaged public revenues has ruled the country. Plummeting oil revenues and a deteriorating security situation have created further chaos with little hope or expectation that things will improve. With no sign of historically low oil prices rising in the short term, Iraq looks set to run out of money, defaulting on payments to its civil servants and abandoning pledges to build roads, bridges and power stations. The country’s infrastructure is crumbling and major cities like Baghdad have less than 2 hours of electricity supply daily. The gravity of the crisis is such that many Iraqis are now wondering where 13 years of oil income worth hundreds of billions of dollars has gone.

    They will not have to search far. Despite repeated warnings, the UN, US and EU backed Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister in Iraq for 8 disastrous years. Maliki is the Godfather of the gangster class of politicians who have robbed Iraq. He was a puppet of the theocratic Iranian regime, doing their bidding by opening a direct route for Iranian troops and equipment heading to Syria to bolster the murderous Assad regime. Maliki’s policy of genocide against his own Iraqi Sunni population aided and abetted by the Iranian mullahs and their sectarian Shi’ia militias, started a civil war in Iraq that opened the door for Daesh/ISIS.

    Maliki also became a serial thief, systematically robbing the Iraqi people of their oil wealth. The Iraqi Commission of Integrity told the Parliament in Baghdad last year that Maliki stole a staggering $500 billion during his term in office between 2006 and 2014. This was corruption on an industrial scale and according to Transparency International, Iraq is now considered as the third most corrupt country in the world. And yet the West insisted Maliki should remain as Prime minister, because he was the favoured candidate of the mullahs in Tehran and the UN, US and EU couldn’t contemplate doing anything that might upset the mullahs! Maliki is still a manipulative force in Iraqi political circles using the vast wealth he corruptly accumulated during his eight years in office to finance his own private army and continually to undermine his successor Haider al-Abadi.

    The former Vice President of Iraq – Ayad Allawi said last week: “There are organised corruption syndicates running the country, let alone militias. I tell you very frankly, no Iraqi power can take action on this.” Allawi says he recently handed a plan to Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, which would involve inviting forensic auditors to examine Iraq’s books. “I was met by silence and blank stares,” Allawi said. “It was like a bomb went off in the room.” Such is the frustration and contempt of the Iraqi people with their political leaders that there have been massive demonstrations and even assaults on Baghdad’s Green Zone and Party headquarters and offices, forcing al-Abadi to replace many ministers with supposedly non-corrupt technocrats.

    Abadi’s attempts to expose government corruption and hold the guilty to account have been encouraged by Iraq’s most revered religious leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, whose increasingly strident condemnation of dishonest government officials has become a central theme of his Friday sermons. Now Abadi’s Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari has been given the unenviable job of finding a solution to a budget shortfall that threatens to plunge the country into civic unrest. Last week Zebari said: “This year, our situation is far more difficult than in any other year. We have exhausted our domestic borrowing. We need to go through a soul-searching process. We need to lose our dependability on oil.”

    Iraq’s public sector is – per capita – one of the biggest in the world, employing around 7 million people out of a population of just over 21 million. It is here that Zebari believes much of the systemic corruption is hidden. “Our biggest issue is ghost soldiers,” he claims. “There is maybe $500-$600m in salaries being paid to soldiers who don’t exist.” It is believed that the salaries of the estimated 30,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ are collected by corrupt military officers. In other cases, soldiers pay officers half their salaries so they don’t have to show up for duty. This scam was held to be partly responsible for the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to Daesh (ISIS) two years ago. There were far fewer Iraqi soldiers protecting the city than declared in the military accounts. But the generals and other senior officers responsible for this scam have yet to be brought to justice. There have also been many scandals involving inflated tenders for weapons and civic projects. Billions of dollars were paid for warplanes that never arrived. Money for roads and power stations simply vanished. Corruption is deep-rooted and endemic.

    Edmund Burke – the eighteenth century Irish statesman famously said: “Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.” After 13 years of venal corruption, the concept of liberty has become almost as rare to Iraqis as the concept of peace. Corruption has brought Iraq to its knees and only a major onslaught against the criminal classes will have any chance of restoring order. Haider al-Abadi must start by ordering the arrest of his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki on charges of crimes against humanity, dishonesty and corruption. He should then systematically root out the senior government ministers, military chiefs and religious leaders who have robbed Iraq of its oil wealth and hold them to account. Only then can there be any hope of restoring law and order and stability to the affairs of state.

    Struan Stevenson

    President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)

    (Struan Stevenson was a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and was President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014.)

    Source: Struan Stevenson: “Iraq Being Killed by Corruption”

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:20 am on 23 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Iran Court upholds decision to flog blogger 

    Saveh-based journalist and blogger Mohammad Reza Fathi

    Savey-based journalist and blogger Mohammad Reza Fathi should be flogged because of his posts about city officials!!

     

    22.08.2016 – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that an appeal court in the city of Saveh, in central Iran, has upheld a lower court’s decision that the Saveh-based journalist and blogger Mohammad Reza Fathi should be flogged because of his posts about city officials.
    Under the original ruling handed down on 13 April, Fathi was sentenced to 444 lashes (to be administered in six sessions of 74 lashes) on charges of defamation and publishing false information. In its 12 July ruling, the appeal court confirmed the decision to flog Fathi but modified the sentence. It sentenced him to three sessions of 77 lashes for defamation and three sessions of 76 lashes for publishing false information – for an increased total of 459 lashes.
    But the appeal court added that only the second sentence (three sessions of 76 lashes) will be administered in accordance with article 134 of the new Islamic penal code (as amended in 2013), which says that when a defendant is given more than one sentence on criminal charges, only the sentence corresponding to the gravest charge is implemented.
    RSF again calls on the judicial authorities to overturn this sentence, which is inhumane and medieval, and contrary to international law.
     
  • Masoud Dalvand 3:11 pm on 22 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Maryam Rajavi releases statement urging movement to obtain justice for 1988 massacre 

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    Maryam Rajavi- President elect of NCRI

    Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), is urging the creation of a movement to obtain justice for the victims of a 1988 prison massacre in which 30,000…

    Source: Maryam Rajavi releases statement urging movement to obtain justice for 1988 massacre

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:12 pm on 21 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Montazeri’s revelations and Iran’s crime against humanity 

    “You [Iranian officials] will be in the future etched in the annals of history as criminals.

    Source: Montazeri’s revelations and Iran’s crime against humanity

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:11 pm on 21 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    America’s Iran payment sends a troubling message 

    Obama

    By Candice Malcolm

    Canada, the U.S. and other Western countries have a long-standing policy not to pay ransom in exchange for the release of kidnapped citizens.

    The reason is pretty straight forward – if Western governments started handing out cash in exchange for kidnapped citizens, pretty soon, every rouge state, terrorist group and criminal gang would start franchising in the kidnapping business.

    Soon enough, it would no longer be safe to leave your home.

    The policy is necessary, although at times painful. Canadians learned this the hard way earlier this year when two of our own were murdered by Islamist thugs in the Philippines after the Trudeau administration refused to pay the desired ransom.

    It was difficult. But it was the right thing to do.

    New information reported this week in the Wall Street Journal, however, suggests that the Obama administration has broken this cardinal rule.

    We know the U.S. government made a $400 million payment to Iran as part of the nuclear deal, but the new report suggests the payment was contingent on the release of American hostages. A State Department spokesperson confirmed the timeline.

    In a script that could have been written for a Hollywood movie, U.S. officials blocked an Iranian cargo plane filled with $400 million in cash from an airport in Switzerland until three American hostages were able to depart from Tehran.

    It was a coordinated exchange, a textbook ransom payment.

    The Obama administration insists the timing was coincidental, and that the payment wasn’t ransom – it was money the U.S. government owed to Iran. But even that rationale is problematic.

    Nearly 40 years ago, the U.S. entered into an arms deal with Iran. Shortly thereafter, the Iranian government was overthrown by a radical group of Islamists. Those Islamists still rule Iran today.

    Every U.S. administration since has deemed it too dangerous to complete the deal or issue a refund to this nefarious regime. Either response would enable Iran and its proxy terrorist groups to wreak havoc around the world.

    President Obama is making an historical pivot in U.S. foreign policy. He’s not only turning a blind eye to Iran’s bad behaviour, but he’s also misleading the American public about his wheeling’s and dealings with Iran.

    Contrary to White House spin, Iranian officials openly boasted about the exchange and called it a ransom.

    And the story gets even worse.

    The cash-filled Iranian cargo plane was operated by Iran Air – an airline sanctioned by the very same Obama administration for its involvement in smuggling weapons to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Also known as Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards unit is listed as a terrorist entity in Canada for its role in training, arming and bankrolling other terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban.

    There is little doubt the $400 million will end up in the hands of terrorists, used to fund more murders, more arbitrary arrests and more demands for ransom.

    Regardless of Obama’s rhetoric, this exchange sends a message that America does, in fact, negotiate with kidnappers and terrorists. The optics are terrible.

    Obama, however, doesn’t seem to care. He doesn’t seem concerned about the rights and freedoms of Iranian people living under a cruel and oppressive regime. He doesn’t seem worried about the security and stability of the Middle East, particularly for America’s longstanding friend and ally, Israel.

    President Obama, in his final year in office, cares about one thing. His legacy.

    And it might be a legacy Americans live to regret.

     

    Source: America’s Iran payment sends a troubling message

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:58 am on 19 Aug 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Paris: Maryam Rajavi Criticizes U.S. Policy Toward Iran At Free Iran Event 

    Paris: Maryam Rajavi Criticizes U.S. Policy Toward Iran At Free Iran Event

    Source: Paris: Maryam Rajavi Criticizes U.S. Policy Toward Iran At Free Iran Event

     
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