Jordanian journalists arrested for exposing tax dodging

This video from Britain says about itself:

Censorship & torturePrince Charles visits Jordan amid questions over human rights

9 February 2015

Prince Charles visits Kuwait today as part of his tour of the Middle East. On Saturday he visited Jordan, with the world rightly outraged that one of their pilots was burned to death by ISIS. Obama was angered by that, but seemed to forget the 2,500 people that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism report have been killed by drone strikes in countries we’re not actually at war with. Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, warn that Jordan is stepping up attacks and censorship on independent media, criminalising speech critical of the King, and claims torture enjoys near-total impunity. According to the recent unauthorised biography of Prince Charles, he doesn’t like peddling arms to Arab countries, so what is he up to in the region?

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Press Freedom: Jordanians demand release of journalists who exposed minister’s tax-dodging

PRESS freedom advocates are calling for the release of two Jordanian journalists who were arrested after they accused the country’s finance minister of tax evasion.

Shadi al-Zinati and Omar al-Mahrama, of the Jfranews website, were nabbed by police on Tuesday after Finance Minister Omar Malhas claimed the allegations against him were false.

They face charges under Jordan’s press and cybercrime laws, which contain sections that make it easy for authorities to arrest journalists.

The Middle East Eye reported that dozens of media workers rallied outside the Jordan Press Association (JPA) yesterday, holding a banner bearing a quote from King Abdullah promising that journalists would not be prosecuted for doing their jobs.

JPA freedoms committee chair Khaled Qudah said the body was working to free the pair.

He told the Alghad newspaper that “these arrests strike at the heart of freedom of expression in Jordan.”

MP Saddah Alhabashneh accused the government of trying to “muffle” dissent after recent decisions that impoverish ordinary Jordanians.


Bird poacher caught in Jordan

This is a golden oriole video.

Another video used to say about itself:

Beautiful singing golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus)

3 October 2015

I love this bird!!! I could listen to this song every day…I got this injured male (Oriolus oriolus); he hit a glass window and I fed him for about 20 days before he was able to fly again. Like he knew that I was helping him he was rewarding me with his beautiful song.

From BirdLife:

The largest hunting violation ever recorded in Jordan

By Majd Abu Zaghlan, 1 Nov 2016

The illegal hunting and trading of birds is one of the rising issues for conservationists in the Mediterranean region. It is a major challenge for governments and conservation organizations, as penalties in the region are not currently serving as a deterrent to illegal hunting activities.

Authorities in Jordan announced recently the seizure of 7,000 dead birds in the largest hunting violation ever recorded in the Kingdom of Jordan after receiving reports about a person who was in possession of large numbers of dead birds in the eastern desert.

The rangers from the Royal Department for Protecting the Environment and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN – BirdLife in Jordan) caught the hunter and seized the dead birds in October. The hunter was found in possession of 6,800 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, 40 Eurasian Golden Orioles Oriolus oriolus and 45 Laughing Doves Spilopelia senegalensis.

Both entities are working together to enforce Agriculture law number 13 for the year 2015, which was issued in the Official Gazette in April last year, stipulates that it is illegal to hunt down wild birds and animals without obtaining a license and it is also illegal to hunt in areas and times where and when hunting is not permitted. The same appendix also stipulates that it is illegal to kill, possess, transport, sell or display for selling wild birds and animals. The rangers are following all environmental legislations and supporting the specialized agencies in their patrolling through their wide distributions across the country.

Abdul Razzaq Hmoud, acting director of RSCN’s conservation and hunting regulation section, says most of the birds discovered were migrant species that have been hunted during the year in different private areas along the flyway in the eastern desert. “The hunter had the birds frozen and packaged, as he was either planning to export the dead birds to a Gulf country, according to his claims, or sell them to upscale restaurants that serve the birds as a delicacy for high prices”.

RSCN rangers are covering sensitive hunting areas through agreed schedules that are set on a weekly basis together with law enforcement. They are widely supported by other officials such as police departments, customs and awarded public communities.

Raising awareness level is one of RSCN’s main roles in addition to building rangers’ capacities, reviewing and amending laws and legislations and enforcing laws in collaboration with other environmental entities to eliminate the illegal killing of birds in Jordan.

RSCN has formulated a strategy in cooperation with the rangers to enforce the laws, including intensifying inspection patrols in areas where the birds spread, and setting up checkpoints to inspect hunters’ vehicles and make sure they abide by the new decision.

United to stop illegal killing and trading of migratory wild birds in North Africa: here.

MacQueen’s bustard nest found in Jordan

This video says about itself:

MacQueen’s Bustard on a mating dance

Filmed at Nizzana, Israel 18.1.2013.

This article writes about ‘houbara bustards’. Houbara bustards, however, are an African species. Their Asian relatives, now usually considered to be a separate species, are called MacQueen’s bustard.

From Gulf News in Dubai:

Houbara Bustard nest discovered in Jordan

15 August 2016

For the first time since its release between 2014-2016 under the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Houbara Reintroduction Project, a Houbara bustard nest has been spotted by field teams from the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan (RSCN). The initiative is managed by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC).

The Houbara bustard is a vulnerable species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the authoritative global body which categorises species according to the threat of extinction. The release is part of the IFHC’s strategy to breed and release African and Asian Houbara bustards across their natural range covering Asia, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, in a bid to re-establish a sustainable population. The nest was discovered thanks to tracking devices utilised by the IFHC as part of its breeding and release programme and was found to contain three eggs.

Mohammad Saleh Al Baidani, Director General of the IFHC said: “The discovery of this nest highlights the accuracy of our research and serves as an indication of the first step towards a viable population of Houbara across the Kingdom of Jordan. Thanks to the data we gather through the use of tracking devices, we are able to carefully monitor the migration routes and capacity of the released captive-bred Houbara to adapt to the wilderness, thereby increasing our knowledge of this vulnerable species and hopefully the success of our programme.”

The IFHC released 500 Houbara in Jordan in 2014, and 300 in 2016 after an agreement between Abu Dhabi and Jordan to work together towards the re-establishment of a viable population of Houbara across the Kingdom. The agreement includes initiatives to implement a national awareness raising programme, specialised research to assess the programme’s success, development of legislation to establish protected release sites, and implementation of programmes for the development of local communities located around the release sites.

Jordanian monarchy’s eye for an eye ‘helps’ making the whole world blind

This video from the USA says about itself:

Jordan executes ISIS prisoners in retaliation for pilot burning

4 February 2015

Jordan executed two prisoners, including a female Iraqi militant whom it had sought to trade with ISIS, on Wednesday morning in retaliation for the death of a Jordanian pilot who was reportedly burned alive in an ISIS video, Jordanian state media and police said.

The title of this video is misleading. These two prisoners had not been arrested for being ISIS members. ISIS did not exist yet when they were arrested.

As we know, the self-styled ‘Islamic State’ ISIS are criminals, committing rape, torture, beheadings and other atrocities.

One of their more recent crimes is murdering Jordanian prisoner of war Muath Al-Kaseasbeh.

ISIS’ evil actions did not arise suddenly, out of thin air.

Their ill-treatment and torture of prisoners is derived from the ill-treatment and torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and other secret and not so secret prisons of the government of the USA, close allies of the absolute monarchy Jordan. The CIA used Jordanian territory for torturing its prisoners.

The US Bush administration’s Iraq war is at the origin of ISIS. ISIS was greatly helped by the CIA’s and US NATO allies’ undeclared war against the Syrian regime in Damascus. An undeclared war which in 2013 almost escalated into an official war, in which ISIS would have been allies of the self-styled ‘free world’. Anti-war demonstrations in many countries and a vote in the British Parliament against warmonger David Cameron’s plans stopped that then.

Some of the ISIS torturers learned their trade of abuse while serving in the police force of the absolute monarchy Bahrain, also close allies of the absolute monarchy Jordan (and of the United States Pentagon).

The ISIS beheadings are imitations of the beheadings in Saudi Arabia, the only government in the world practicing the death penalty in this way.

The ISIS ideology of fanatical salafism, a perversion of Sunni Islam, is derived from the state religion of the Saudi absolute monarchy; again, close allies of the absolute monarchy Jordan.

How did the absolute monarchy Jordan react to ISIS killing Jordanian prisoner of war Muath Al-Kaseasbeh? According to the ‘logic’ of ‘An eye for an eye’, as the Bible calls it. Mahatma Gandhi replied, correctly, to that maxim, saying ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’.

From Associated Press:

Jordan Executes 2 Prisoners After ISIS Killing Of Pilot, Official Says


AMMAN, Jordan — Islamic State group militants burned a captured Jordanian pilot to death in a cage, according to a purported video of the violence released Tuesday. The kingdom, which had vowed a swift and lethal response, executed two al-Qaida prisoners by hanging early Wednesday. …

The Jordanian military confirmed the death of 26-year-old Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured by the extremists in December when his F-16 crashed while he was flying a mission as part of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State group. …

In a first response to the killing of the pilot, Jordan executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly, two Iraqis linked to al-Qaida, government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said. Another official said they were executed by hanging.

The executions took place at Swaqa prison about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the Jordanian capital of Amman. At sunrise, two ambulances carrying the bodies of al-Rishawi and al-Karbouly drove away from the prison with security escorts.

Over the past week, Jordan had offered to trade al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber, for the pilot, but froze any swap after failing to receive any proof that the pilot was still alive.

The man and the woman killed today by Jordanian state violence did not kill prisoner Muath Al-Kaseasbeh. They did not plan the death of Muath Al-Kaseasbeh. They had not been arrested for membership of ISIS. ISIS did not exist then yet. This was revenge. Which may lead to more revenge killings by ISIS, very probably of people not connected to the hangings of the two people in Jordan today. And so on. And so on.

Another example of this clueless ‘eye for an eye’ mentality: Isis militants should be crucified for the burning of Jordanian hostage, says Sunni academic.

Meanwhile, the bombing campaign against ISIS controlled areas, a campaign in which the late air force Lieutenant Muath Al-Kaseasbeh participated, continues. The Pentagon has confirmed that civilians are being killed in this campaign. Which may lead to civilians, whose friends or family are killed by coalition bombing, joining ISIS as fighters. Which they may have never wanted to do before, but which they may want to do now. In blind rage. As revenge. Which will lead to more revenge. Etc.

Read the story of a Sudanese family forced to flee Mosul following airstrikes against ISIS: here.

There is an anti-war movement in Jordan. One should hope pro-peace in Jordan, and everywhere in the world, will help to stop this escalation to a completely blind world.

The release of a video showing the immolation of captured Jordanian pilot First Lt. Moaz al-Kasabeh by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been followed by a wave of hypocritical moralizing, combined with threats of more violence, from the imperialist powers and their regional allies. The killing of al-Kasabeh, which apparently took place in early January, not long after the fighter jet he was piloting crashed in Syria, has evoked revulsion among ordinary people around the world. It is a reflection of the backward and reactionary character of ISIS. However, this act did not occur in a political vacuum. Both ISIS and the disaster unfolding in Iraq and Syria are the direct products of the criminal policies of the governments that now proclaim their moral indignation: here.

The latest ISIS atrocity – releasing a video of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot being burned alive – prompted substantial discussion yesterday about this particular form of savagery. It is thus worth noting that deliberately burning people to death is achievable – and deliberately achieved – in all sorts of other ways: here.

BRITISH TROOPS FOR JORDAN! – Stop the War demands issue be put before parliament: here.

USA: Code Pink Leader Gives Fox News Sound Advice On Nonviolent Ways To Fight ISIS: here.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has seized on the brutal murder of two citizens—Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa—by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to press for new legislation to further extend the government’s powers to dispatch military forces overseas. A video of Goto’s execution was released by ISIS last weekend, and followed the Islamist organisation’s beheading of Yukawa a week before: here.

Protesters Say Jordanian Law Encourages ‘Honour Killings’ and Must Be Changed: here.

Japanese government abuses ISIS terror for its own militarism

This video says about itself:

Uncomfortable Truth Behind Japan’s Comfort Women

29 May 2013

Japan’s Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, committed a bit of a faux pas when he tried to justify Japan’s use of “comfort women” during World War 2. In case you didn’t know, “comfort women” is a fun euphemism for invading Japanese military forcing women at gunpoint into prostitution.

By Ben McGrath:

Japanese government exploits hostage crisis to push remilitarisation

28 January 2015

The Japanese government has announced that it will use the current parliamentary session to push through a raft of legislation to codify its “re-interpretation” of the country’s constitution to allow for “collective self-defense.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is exploiting the current hostage crisis, in which Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has killed one Japanese citizen and continues to hold another, in a bid to overcome public opposition to remilitarisation.

The regular 150-day session of the Japanese parliament or Diet that began on Monday is the first since the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won reelection in December. Among some 80 bills expected to be submitted are 10 to remove restrictions on the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), Japan’s military. The LDP will begin negotiations with its coalition partner Komeito in early February and plans to submit the bills for a vote following April’s local elections.

Speaking to Japan’s NHK public broadcaster on Sunday, Abe declared: “The legislation is aimed at protecting the lives and well-being of the people by structuring a seamless legal security structure. For example, if Japanese abroad come under harm’s way, as in the recent case, the Self-Defense Forces currently aren’t able to fully utilize their abilities.”

These new laws are being drawn up not to protect Japanese citizens, but to facilitate the Japanese military’s involvement in US wars of aggression, in particular its war preparations against China as part the US “pivot to Asia.” The legislation is in line with new defense guidelines that Washington and Tokyo agreed to last October.

The legislation will allow Abe to dispatch the SDF overseas without seeking the Diet’s approval. Currently, each time the military is sent abroad, a new law must be passed authorizing the mission, as was the case in Japan’s military support for the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The proposed laws will ensure that Japan is more closely integrated into US war planning in Asia against China. The Pentagon regards its military bases in Japan as crucial components of its “AirSea Battle” strategy, which envisages a massive missile and air attack on Chinese mainland bases, missile sites, command centers and communications. Japan is also critical to another element of US military planning, for an economic blockade of China.

Other laws are specifically directed against China. These include allowing the prime minister to dispatch the SDF if foreign ships or people enter the waters around Japanese islands or land on the islands themselves. The disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea have been at the centre of sharp tensions with China since the Japanese government provocatively nationalised them in 2012 by purchasing three of the islands from their private owner.

A particularly insidious bill will allow the government to restrict the rights of Japanese citizens if Japan is attacked or threatened with an attack. The legislation will give the government broad scope to crack down on anti-war protests or opposition to remilitarization in Japan, on the pretext, for example, of a supposed threat from North Korea.

The Abe government is clearly considering measures that go beyond its proposals for “collective self-defense.” Reuters reported that at Abe’s request Japanese officials drafted a briefing paper last Friday to consider a series of questions, including whether the planned legal changes would allow Japan to launch a military attack on ISIS to secure the release of the hostages. The paper’s conclusion that there was no legal basis for such action could well be used by Abe to press for further legislative changes.

However, the briefing paper did conclude that the new legislation would permit Japan to give military support to the US-led war in Iraq and Syria. “We are proceeding with consideration of a legal framework to implement support activities necessary to support other militaries in contributing to Japan’s peace and safety and the peace and stability of the international community,” it stated, without directly referring to ISIS.

The current hostage crisis began on January 20 when ISIS released a video featuring two Japanese men, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, and demanding $200 million for their release. Yukawa was captured last August. Goto attempted to intercede for Yukawa in October but was also captured. In the video, ISIS gave a 72-hour deadline for Japan to pay the ransom or the two men would be killed.

The deadline expired Friday afternoon but it was not until late Saturday evening that a second video was released featuring Goto holding a picture of Yukawa, who had been beheaded. ISIS also changed its demand from a ransom to a prisoner exchange. The organization is seeking the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a woman condemned to death in Jordan for her role in a 2005 terrorist attack at hotels in the Jordanian capital, Amman. ISIS issued a new threat saying Goto would be killed along with a Jordanian pilot on Wednesday if its demands were not met.

In 2013, Abe seized on a hostage crisis in Algeria, which resulted in the deaths of 10 Japanese citizens, to pass a new law watering down restrictions on the Japanese military. The law overturned a ban on Japan sending SDF vehicles, including armored vehicles, into a conflict zone.

The widespread public opposition to the government’s constitutional reinterpretation and the planned legislation finds no expression in the political establishment. The LDP’s coalition partner, Komeito, which is nominally pacifist, backed Abe’s constitutional reinterpretation last year and is looking for cosmetic changes to the new legislation. In relation to providing logistical support for US wars, spokesman Natsuo Yamaguchi said on Sunday: “As a basic rule, rear-line support should be to back the response of the international community based on a UN Security Council resolution.”

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has yet to formulate a coherent stance on the government’s planned laws. Newly-installed DPJ leader Katsuya Okada tentatively pointed out that the legislation would mean Japan would be drawn into US wars. “If the United States requests more direct involvement, can the Japanese government refuse it by saying, ‘we only conduct humanitarian aid?’” However, he did not oppose the legislation, or involvement in US-led conflicts, outright.

JORDAN CUTS DEAL FOR ISIS PRISONER SWAP “The Jordanian government agreed on Wednesday to release a convicted terrorist in exchange for the freeing of an air force pilot captured by Islamic State militants in Syria a month ago, according to a statement released on Jordanian state television just before a deadline set by the extremists. The militants had threatened to kill the pilot and a Japanese journalist if the deadline was not met. The Jordanian statement made no mention of the fate of the journalist.” The parents of the hostages had begged each government to agree to the terrorist group’s demand for a prisoner swap. And in the U.S., Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced an ISIS War Authorization bill. [NYT]

The execution of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, as conveyed in a video released late Saturday night, is the latest atrocity to be carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It follows the beheading of another Japanese citizen, Haruna Yukawa, last week after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refused to pay a $200 million ransom for the two hostages: here.

JAPAN VOWS VENGEANCE AFTER ISIS BEHEADS JOURNALIST: “When Islamic State militants posted a video over the weekend showing the grisly killing of a Japanese journalist, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted with outrage, promising ‘to make the terrorists pay the price.’ Such vows of retribution may be common in the West when leaders face extremist violence, but they have been unheard of in confrontation-averse Japan — until now. The prime minister’s call for revenge after the killings of the journalist, Kenji Goto, and another hostage, Haruna Yukawa, raised eyebrows even in the military establishment, adding to a growing awareness here that the crisis could be a watershed for this long pacifist country.” [NYT]

Under conditions where US imperialism is resorting to war as an instrument of foreign policy in Ukraine, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, other major powers are also seeking to remilitarise and remove any restraints on their use of military force. That is the significance of the call by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a fundamental revision of the country’s post-war constitution: here.

The Japanese government announced last week that it would provide aid for the first time to foreign militaries through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program. The move is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s aggressive diplomatic efforts to build Japanese influence and ties, particularly in Asia, on all levels, including military: here.

FILIPINO President Benigno Aquino said yesterday that he wanted Japan to station troops in his country. On a state visit to Japan, Mr Aquino proposed talks on a visiting forces agreement for the first time since Japan’s occupation of the Philippines during World War II: here.