nadimgemayelThis question is directed to MP Nadim Gemayel. He attended today the Mass that was held in Damour village in the memory of Damour’s massacre. After the Mass MP Nadim Gemayel said:”no matter how intense the difficulties are, we stand firm in our land, we are anchored in our roots, we believe in our principles and our values.  We will return to our land because it is the land of our fathers, grandfathers and martyrs.”
Great words, but can you tell me, MP Gemayel, what did you do for those who left to return? In addition, what kind of program you presented in order for people to return? Furthermore, can you please enlighten us, what kind of programs you, the Kataeb MP’s, Tayyar MP’s, LF MP’s, ….. put in place in order for those who stayed to be able to live and not leave? The garbage been on the streets for yours and as MP’s none of you proposed a solution. None of you resigned because he is incapable of serving the people. Remember an MP serves the people and not vice versa. From my part, I had enough of few nice words said in some occasions. Don’t you think it is better to resign because you are not capable of presenting one single project to help our youth from immigrating? I think it will be too much to ask from you to introduce programs in order for those who left to return. You and other MP’s been elected in 2009 and you guys extended your terms in 2014 to 2017. Can any of you, besides empty words, tell us what did you do for people to return? or to stay? I know I’m asking too much but “birabak” your words can’t be cached in any bank.

Historical Fact: The Massacre and Destruction of Damour

Damour lay across the Sidon – Beirut highway about 20 km south of Beirut on the slopes of a foothill of the Lebanon range. On the other side of the road, beyond a flat stretch of coast, is the sea. It was a town of some 25,000 people, containing five churches, three chapels, seven schools, private and public, and one public hospital where Muslims from nearby villages were treated along with the Christians, at the expense of the town.On 9 January 1976, three days after Epiphany, the priest of Damour Father Mansour Labaky, was carrying out a Maronite custom of blessing the houses with holy water. As he stood in front of a house on the side of the town next to the Muslim village of Harat Na’ami, a bullet whistled past his ear and hit the house. Then he heard the rattle of machine-guns. He went inside the house and soon learned that the town was surrounded. Later he found out by whom and how many — the forces of Sa’iqa, consisting of 16,000 Palestinians and Syrians, and units of the Mourabitoun and some fifteen other militias, reinforced by mercenaries from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a contingent of Libyans.

Father Labaky telephoned the Muslim sheikh of the district and asked him, as a fellow religious leader, what he could do to help the people of the town. ‘I can do nothing,’ he was told ‘They want to harm you. It is the Palestinians. I cannot stop them.’

While the shooting and some shelling went on all day, Father Labaky telephoned a long list of people, politicians of both the Left and the Right, asking for help. They all said with apologies and commiserations that they could do nothing. Then he telephoned Kamal Jumblatt, in whose parliamentary constituency Damour lay. ‘Father,’ Jumblatt said, ‘I can do nothing for you because it depends on Yasser Arafat.’ He gave Arafat’s phone number to the priest. An aide answered, and when he would not call Arafat himself, Father Labaky told him, ‘The Palestinians are shelling and shooting at my town. I can assure you as a religious leader, we do not want the war, we do not believe in violence.’ He added that nearly half the people of Damour had voted for Kamal Jumblatt, ‘who is backing you,’ he reminded the PLO man. The reply was, ‘Father, don’t worry. We don’t want to harm you. If we are destroying you it is for strategical reasons.’

Father Labaky did not feel that there was any less cause for worry because the destruction was for strategical reasons, and he persisted in asking for Arafat to call off his fighters. In the end, the aide said that they, PLO headquarters, would ‘tell them to stop shooting’.By then it was eleven o’clock in the evening. As the minutes passed and the shooting still went on, Father Labaky called Jumblatt again on the telephone and told him what Arafat’s aide had said. Jumblatt’s advice was that the priest should keep trying to make contact with Arafat, and call other friends of his, ‘because’, he said, ‘I do not trust him’.

At about half-past eleven the telephone, water, and electricity were all cut off. The first invasion of the town came in the hour after midnight, from the side where the priest had been shot at earlier in the day. The Sa’iqa men stormed into the houses. They massacred some fifty people in the one night. Father Labaky heard screaming and went out into the street. Women came running to him in their nightdresses, ‘tearing their hair, and shouting “They are slaughtering us!” The survivors, deserting that end of the town, moved into the area round the next church. The invaders then occupied the part of the town they had taken. Father Labaky describes the scene:

‘In the morning I managed to get to the one house despite the shelling to bring out some of the corpses. And I remember something which still frightens me. An entire family had been killed, the Can’an family, four children all dead, and the mother, the father, and the grandfather. The mother was still hugging one of the children. And she was pregnant. The eyes of the children were gone and their limbs were cut off. No legs and no arms. It was awful. We took them away in a banana truck. And who carried the corpses with me? The only survivor, the brother ofthe man. His name is Samir Can’an. He carried with me the remains of his brother, his father, his sister-in-law and the poor children. We buried them in the cemetery, under the shells of the PLO. And while I was burying them, more corpses were found in the street.’

The town tried to defend itself. Two hundred and twenty-five young men, most of them about sixteen years old, armed with hunting guns and none with military training, held out for twelve days. The citizens huddled in basements, with sandbags piled in front of their doors and ground-floor windows. Father Labaky moved from shelter to shelter to visit the families and take them bread and milk. He went often ‘to encourage the young men defending the town’. The relentless pounding the town received resulted in massive damage. In the siege that had been established on 9 January the Palestinians cut off food and water supplies and refused to allow the Red Cross to take out the wounded.

Infants and children died of dehydration. Only three more townspeople were killed as a result of PLO fire between the first night and the last day, 23 January. But on that day, when the final onslaught came, hundreds of the Christians were killed. Father Labaky goes on: ‘The attack took place from the mountain behind. It was an apocalypse. They were coming, thousands and thousands, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar! God is great! Let us attack them for the Arabs, let us offer a holocaust to Mohammad ‘And they were slaughtering everyone in their path, men, women and children.’

Whole families were killed in their homes. Many women were gang-raped, and few of them left alive afterwards. One woman saved her adolescent daughter from rape by smearing her face with washing blue to make her look repulsive. As the atrocities were perpetrated, the invaders themselves took photographs and later offered the pictures for sale to European newspapers. Survivors testify to what happened. A young girl of sixteen, Soumavya Ghanimeh, witnessed the shooting of her father and brother by two of the invaders, and watched her own home and the other houses in her street being looted and burned. She explained: ‘As they were bringing me through the street the houses were burning all about me. They had about ten trucks standing in front of the houses and were piling things into them. I remember how frightened I was of the fire. I was screaming. And for months afterwards I couldn’t bear anyone to strike a match near me. I couldn’t bear the smell of it’.

She and her mother Mariam, and a younger Sister and infant brother, had been saved from being shot in their house when she ran behind one Palestinian for protection from the pointing gun of the other, and cried out ‘Don’t let him kill us!’; and the man accepted the role of protector which the girl had suddenly assigned to him. ‘If you kill them you will have to kill me too,’ he told his comrade. So the four of them were spared, herded along the streets between the burning houses to be put into a truck, and trans-ported to Sabra camp in Beirut. There they were kept in a crowded prison hut. ‘We had to sleep on the ground, and it was bitterly cold.’

When eventually Father Labaky found the charred bodies of the father and brother in the Ghanimeh house ‘you could no longer tell whether they were men or women’.

In a frenzy to destroy their enemies utterly, as if even the absolute limits of nature could not stop them, the invaders broke open tombs and flung the bones of the dead into the streets. Those who escaped from the first attack tried to flee by any means they could, with cars, carts, cycles and motorbikes. Some went on foot to the seashore to try to get away in boats. But the sea was rough and the wait for rescue was long, while they knew their enemies might fall upon them at any moment. Some 500 gathered in the Church of St Elias. Father Labaky went there at six in the morning when the tumult of the attack awakened him. He preached a sermon on the meaning of the slaughter of innocents. And he told them candidly that he did not know what to tell them to do. ‘If I say flee to the sea, you may be killed. If I say stay here, you may be killed.’

An old man suggested that they raise a white flag. ‘Perhaps if we surrender they may spare us.’ Father Labaky gave him his surplice. He put it on the processional cross and stood it in front of the church. Ten minutes later there was a knock on the door, three quick raps, then three lots of three. They were petrified. Father Labaky said that he would go and see who was there. If it was the enemy, they might spare them. ‘But if they kill us, at least we shall die all together and we’ll have a nice parish in Heaven, 500 persons, and no check points!’ They laughed, and the priest went to the door.

It was not the enemy but two men of Damour who had fled the town and had seen the white flag from the seashore. They had come back to warn them that it would not help to raise a flag. ‘We raised a flag in front of Our Lady, and they shot at us.’

Again they discussed what could be done. The priest told them that one thing they must do, although it was ‘impossible’, was to pray for the forgiveness of those who were coming to kill them. As they prayed, two of the young defenders of the town who had also seen the flag walked in and said, ‘Run to the seashore now, and we will cover you.

The two youths stood in front of the church and shot in the direction from which the fedayeen were firing. It took ten minutes for all the people in the church to leave the town. All 500 got away except one old man who said he could not walk and would prefer to die in front of his own house. He was not killed. Father Labaky found him weeks later in a PLO prison, and heard what had happened after they left. A few minutes after they had gone, ‘the PLO came and bombed the church without entering it. They kicked open the door and threw in the grenades.’ They would all have been killed had they stayed. The priest led his flock along the shore to the palace of Camille Chamoun. But when they got there they found it had already been sacked and partly burnt. They found shelter, however, in the palace of a Muslim, who ‘did not agree with the Palestinians’, and then got into small boats Which took them out to a bigger boat, in which they sailed to Jounieh. ‘One poor woman had to give birth to her baby in the little open boat on the rough winter sea.’

In all, 582 people were killed in the storming of Damour. Father Labaky went back with the Red Cross to bury them. Many of the bodies had been dismembered, so they had to count the heads to number the dead. Three of the men they found had their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouths.

The horror did not end there, the old Christian cemetery was also destroyed, coffins were dug up, the dead robbed, vaults opened, and bodies and skeletons thrown across the grave yard. Damour was then transformed into a stronghold of Fatah and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). The ruined town became one of the main PLO centers for the promotion of international terrorism. The Church of St Elias was used as a repair garage for PLO vehicles and also as a range for shooting-practice with targets painted on the eastern wall of the nave.

The commander of the combined forces which descended on Damour on 23 January 1976 was Zuhayr Muhsin, chief of al-Sa’iqa, known since then throughout Christian Lebanon as ‘the Butcher of Damour’. He was assassinated on 15 July 1979 at Cannes in the South of France.

michel_samaha

The Lebanese military court on Wednesday convicted former minister Michel Samaha on charges of plotting a wave of bombings at the behest of neighboring Syria and sentenced him to four-and-a-half years in prison. The court also stripped former Information Minister Michel Samaha of his civil rights in its verdict, meaning that after serving his sentence he cannot take up any government jobs or run in elections. Lebanon’s intelligence chief, Wissam al-Hassan, who helped uncover the bombing plot, was assassinated in a car bomb in Beirut only months after Samaha’s indictment.

I am not a lawyer nor I have any notion about law and verdicts. So I decided to run a few searches to see what other verdicts were issued by courts around the world for the same charges.

The first search on transporting explosives came close to the verdict of the Lebanese Military court. In 2013, a U.S. court sentenced Anthony Nicholas Gallo to 5 months in jail for transporting explosives. It is to note that Gallo didn’t transport military grade explosives.

When I ran the second search on forming an armed gang, I realized that there is something really wrong in the Lebanese Military court verdict. On the charge of conspiring to form an armed gang, a Yemeni court sentenced Malik Harhara and Mohsin Ghailan to seven years in prison each.

So my 2 cents: The Lebanese Military court fucked up.

walid joumblatt

“Syria Killed my father”, Kamal Jumblatt was killed in 1977 by Syrian intelligence. Since that date, his son, Walid, “was forced” and “Based on my conviction that I am an Arab nationalist and based on the threats that were surrounding Lebanon, I had no choice but to go to Syria and to seal a deal, a political settlement, with those who assassinated Kamal Jumblatt,” became a Syrian ally till few months before the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri (in 2005).

It was interesting to listen to Walid Beyk. He laid down before the court a political testimony in Hariri assassination case. Walid words made me remember how his “deal” with those who killed his father affected Lebanon, its people, sovereignty and independence. His words took me back to those dark days, where people were killed because they didn’t believe in “Arab Nationalism”. It made me wonder what is the difference between the actions of “Arab Nationalists” during Lebanon civil war and ISIS actions in Bilad al-sham? Getting killed by a bullet is different from getting killed by a knife? Getting your head chopped by an axe is different from having your through cut by a knife?

Let’s see what Walid Jumblatt forgot to mention how his “deal” with those who killed his father was translated on the ground. This is just a short specimen:

– After the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt, his supporters, proceeded to commit revenge killings against the Christians of the Chouf which left 250 civilians dead.

– In 1978, Walid Jumblatt PSP artillery joined their Syrian allies in bombarding the Christian region of Beirut who were under siege for 100 days.

– In April 81, Syrian troops in Aramoun (jumblatt region) bombarded the East Beirut at a time when students were leaving schools to head home. Casualties and injuries were in the Hundreds.

–  July 14, 1982, Jumblatt PSP ambushed a Lebanese army detachment. Fourteen Lebanese regular soldiers in the attack, and in riposte the artillery units of Jumblatt’s PSP shelled on 18th, 20th and 23rd the Christian-held neighbourhoods of East Beirut (in which over 30 people were killed and 600 injured, mostly civilians).

– September 1983, the famous ethnic cleansing of Christians from the Chouf. The attack was led by Jumblatt PSP and backed by various “Arabist Nationalist” and the Syrian army. Results: over 1,200 killed and butchered and Christians were uprooted from their homes and villages.

The list is long. Walid Jumblatt failed to tell the court the scale of death and destruction that his “deal” with those who killed his father brought with it. Between 1977 till 2005, Walid Jumblatt was a Syrian agent, a Syrian puppet, served the Syrian occupation, lead wars and massacres for them, gained politically from his deal….

Wasn’t it better for him to stand with his father wishes and political ideas (his father opposed Syrian involvement in Lebanon) than killing thousands of Lebanese in the name of “Arab Nationalism”?

Fadel-Shaker

The Lebanese singer who became a Jihadist and joined Sheikh Ahmad al-Asir group, shaved his beard and is asking for forgiveness. He is planning on surrendering himself to authorities after being a fugitive for 2 years. Fadel Shaker is wanted for his connections in the killing of Lebanese army soldiers in Abra, south Lebanon in 2013.

Shakerbeen charged with belonging to a terrorist group, attempting and participating in attacks against the military, carrying out terrorist operations, inciting sectarianism, possessing unlicensed weapons and issuing statements deemed harmful to civil peace, according to the Daily Star. Last week, some politicians started to polish the image of Fadel Shaker and preparing the public opinion for his return to “normal” life. Shaker claims that he is innocent, but we all remember the video that was released during the clashes with the army in which he said: “We killed two of you pigs …”.

It seems his Saudi link his pushing for setting him free. The LBC TV, owned by Prince Walid Bin Talal, reached his hiding place and had an interview with him. Salem al-Hindi, head of Rotana, owned by Prince Walid Bin Talal, said that Shaker is welcome to return to Rotana to produce his songs.

I strongly believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty. But it seems we will have another masquerade in court and Shaker will be set free. He will not be accountable for his involvement in clashes against Lebanese army, killing of Lebanese soldiers and incitement to murder. He will be set free due to his Saudi connection.

Haret Hreik Car Explosion

At least five people were killed and 20 others wounded in a car bomb attack that rocked the Beirut southern suburb of Haret Hreik. The booby-trapped car exploded near al-Manar television’s old building on al-Arid Street in Haret Hreik, the TV network said. The bombing occurred hundreds of meters away from the headquarters of Hizbullah’s political bureau, al-Manar said, after media reports said the blast went off near the HQ. According to Naharnet post.

kaboom

According to LBC news, the Lebanese General Security arrests Al-Nusra Front militant in Halat as he prepared explosives. Let’s see if those whom I previously criticized concerning their stand in Maaloula, will comment on this event. Didn’t they want Halat airport or Hamat airport to open? They feared Hizbullah right? Now they go al-Nusra (Qaeda) members preparing for bombs in their own backyard. They used to talk about “fertile ground” right? So what will they say about Jabhat al-Nusra in Halat preparing bombs? Halat is not Tripoli …

Tripoli bombing (Reuters)

We thought that we will not have to smell it again.

We thought that those days are over.

We thought that after all these years of war and destruction we had learned our lesson.

We thought we will not see death on streets anymore.

We thought we will never see burned bodies in their cars anymore.

We thought we will never have to pick up people by pieces from streets, balconies, …

We thought we will not see red blood mixed with car oil, firefighters water, … on the streets.

From Dahyeh (Beirut suburb) to Tripoli (North Lebanon), the angel of death passed by and reminded us that we were wrong.

The ugly faces and speeches of politicians brought us back to reality. Lebanese are bunch of ignorant, bunch of fool, bunch of idiots for marching and clapping for these politicians.

The angel of death will keep collecting lives in ugliest ways as long as these politicians are running the country.

They all denounced the car bombs the first day. On the second day, they all showed their ugly faces and their rented mouth. Yes their rented mouth, because each one of them is bought by a regional or international power. The game of blaming began and none of them really cared about the innocent blood that was shed on the streets from Dahyeh to Tripoli.

These politicians and their supporters are partners in slaughtering the country.

louay-khalil

According to Global News, a Lebanese man (Louay Khalil) was deported from Canada on July 17, 2013 for “serious criminality”. He was convicted of two sex offences. One of the charges allegedly involved a developmentally disabled woman. He served his prison term in Canada and now he is in Lebanon.

The question that poses itself was Mr. Khalil been questioned once he entered Lebanon? Was he put under surveillance? Were his neighbors notified of his crimes in Canada? Who is doing a follow up on him? Who is making sure that he doesn’t commit similar crimes in Lebanon?

sejaan-azzi

A car bomb late Thursday afternoon went off on the main road between the Al-Roueiss and Bir al-Abed areas of Beirut’s Hezbollah-stronghold of Dahiyeh, leaving at least 27 people dead and 230 injured. There are different ideas on who placed the bomb but this is not the subject I am tackling in this article.

This car explosion wasn’t directed against a political leader, a military on security official from Hizballah. It was placed to kill innocent people or maybe supporters of Hizbullah. In short, its purpose is to kill civilians, spread terror among Lebanese and maybe put a final sword in the Sunnite-Shiite relation in Lebanon.

Regardless of the purpose behind this bomb, March 14 leaders failed to grasp a major opportunity to close the schism between the shiite community and the rest of the Lebanese. The first day, March 14 leaders declared their sorrow for such bombing and the next day used this bombing that killed innocent people to attack Hizbullah involvement inside Syria. Some, like MP Nadim Gemayel, went further and held Hassan Nasrallah responsible for this attack due to his policy in Syria. Yet none of March 14 criticized the involvement of Sunnite fighters in Syria. It is to note that Sunnite fighters entered Syria way before Hizbullah decided to enter the battle. Never heard them opposing using Lebanese borders to send sunnite and Qaeda fighters from Lebanon to Syria.

As usual, they failed in making a step that might have helped our situation in Lebanon. Only the Deputy Head of Kataeb party Sejaan Azzi did so. He visited the place of the bombing and stood with the innocent people. He didn’t attack Hizbullah political stand and instead he used this sad moment to call for unity among the Lebanese political party.

Chapeau Mr. Azzi.

“This leaked request asks the Ministry of Information to turn over the contents of all ‘DATA Sessions,’ Meaning the Data sessions of all 3G and 2G data subscribers in Lebanon. These include log files. The log files detail access to Internet websites and IP addresses. Aside from the log files, the requests ask for usernames, phone numbers, addresses, names, passwords, and so on. The request asks for personal information including the applications that are used on the mobile phones of subscribers. The request asks for all data of this nature within the time-frame of 13/9/2012 until 10/11/2012.’”

In search for leads in the assassination of General Wissam al-Hassan, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) asked the Ministry of telecommunication to hand over the content of all SMS text messages sent between September 13 and November 10 of this year, as well as usernames and passwords for services like Blackberry Messenger, Whatsapp and Facebook.

There is nothing wrong in intelligence services in the country to monitor the internet activities of certain people or group that might be a danger to the security of the country. It could be understandable if the ISF asked for all the SMS or Messages sent via different apps on specific dates and in the area of the assassination, if they don’t have any suspect. In case they have a suspect, the ISF would need a judge order to collect his data. What is shocking is this blanket request for digital communication data.

As usual, this is Lebanon and everything is politically charged. We understand the ISF eagerness to find who is behind the assassination of one its officers but that eagerness should not cross the line and steps upon the privacy of millions of Lebanese. The ISF should not label everyone as a suspect in their search of the real killer. It is illegal and must stay illegal to dig into the chats and messages of millions without a court order.

Lebanese ministers voiced their rejection of the ISF’s request for all mobile phone SMS and internet data in the two months prior to the assassination of ISF Intelligence Chief Wissam al-Hassan. Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui said that his ministry will give the Internal Security Forces’ intelligence branch the SMS activity data without the content of the SMS messages. With a court order, the ISF should get the SMS activity in the area of the assassination. If a certain activity looks suspicious or might generate leads in the investigation, another court order must be provided in order to reveal the content of the data.

From his part, Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi referred to Article 104 of the Lebanese Constitution to determine the legality of the data request made by the security forces. “Article 104 of the constitution stipulates that a judicial committee should be set up to determine whether the request is legal or not.” Qortbawi said that “the judicial committee agreed that the request is illegal … The French system, which is at the base of the Lebanese Constitution, prohibits the access to nationwide information.”

Any request by any security or intelligence service in Lebanon must be inline with people personal privacy.  It is illegal to treat people millions of Lebanese as guilty of an assassination in order to find leads and those behind the assassination.