Ultras Ahlawy organized several marches across Giza and Cairo on 18 January 2012 to remind people about the upcoming verdict on the Port Said Massacre , due January 28th. Thousands of Ultras members and their supporters marched from different points towards Tahrir square.
Today there is a big conference [ar] starting, organised by Mauritania’s Tewassoul party, with high-level delegates in attendance from many Arab states, including Tunisia, Kuwait, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Algeria. I’d expect increased security in and around Nouakchott, but have not seen the usual reports of any. Last night, the political opposition coalition held a licensed event which tens of thousands attended, but they were denied permission for a similar event a couple of weeks ago, with the authorities claiming the need to avoid large gatherings because of the security risks. Yet a few days ago, the American Embassy in Mauritania issued an oddly paranoid statement to nationals, warning them to be cautious in case of unrest or protests on or near December 14 and 19. These events are likely, they claim, because of the anticipated release of another film which is deliberately insulting to Muslims, as well as a new video about Osama bin Laden.
The Embassy in Mauritania has a quiet little Facebook page that mainly posts friendly invitations to attend the regular sessions they host for throngs of hopeful student visa applicants at the “American Corner” of Nouakchott University. The statement is not posted on Facebook, and I would never have known about it, except for a tweet from the US State Dept’s travel advisory account:
To be honest, I had ignored an earlier “exclusive” report on a local website with little to commend it in the way of credibility, which claimed the embassy had sent all residents a warning note.
People in Mauritania were baffled by the embassy’s official warning. “When did we ever see a protest in Mauritania about bin Laden?” one asked. Another said “bin Laden is no prophet, people can make any film they want about him, and no one will care.” One replied to @TravelGov:
Bearing in mind that less than 5% of the population has internet access, and even then most of the time it’s like dial-up that has been heavily sedated, there’s precious little chance either film will reach a sizeable audience even in Nouakchott. To be super helpful in case any random terrorists really do fancy their chances, Ould Abdel Aziz listed a few potential targets during his recent speech at a UNESCO event in Paris, his default location since the 13 October incident. Taking all this into account, and in light of recent events in Egypt and the Maghreb region, it makes sense to stay tuned.
The sequel to the highly successful (in terms of provoking riots, and making a few people in the State Department look foolish) but very stupid “Innocence of Muslims” movie is called “The Innocent Prophet” and was delayed by the Spanish authorities threatening to revoke the Pakistani film maker Imran Firasat’s refugee status if he released it on 14 December as planned. But it’s out now, and the news cycle has calmed down enough to make space for a bigger splash than it would have gotten on December 14, given the terrible tragedy that occurred in Connecticut that day. Like it’s fore-runner, The Innocent Prophet has a staggeringly small number of views so far. I suppose intelligence agency cyber trolls will have to post the link liberally on “jihadist” forums if they want to see more riots, arson attacks and deaths in time for Christmas.
(Updated 21 Dec) While I am thinking about false flags, do be on the lookout for more news about the two Alabama men arrested separately in Georgia, allegedly planning to make their way to Mauritania to “wage violent jihad”. It’s possible* Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair** and Randy (Rasheed) Wilson***, like so many others before them, got the idea after speaking to an undercover FBI agent. Including the agent, that is three people I would not want to have near any weapons or explosives. In any case, you could probably staff an entire katiba of terrorists and the necessary weapons for the price of their air fare from Alabama, by recruiting within the region. It just does not make sense for people to travel half way across the world to do it, unless they were incredibly dumb, or were just playing along, intending to renege on their end of the deal and get a free desert safari in the process. Now that international aid and development agencies are more interested in hiring locally, would it be too much to expect the FBI to follow suit?
Still on jihad, something that is jarring my instincts: these pastebin posts allegedly from a new(ish) cyber army of angry “Qassam Cyber Fighters” who hate American banks so much they decided to give advance notice of their intention to take down their websites, and even apologised for the delay in staging their onslaught, codenamed “Operation Ababil”. Nice and polite, if not exactly stealthy, but thanks for giving all your targets time to tighten security, change passwords, etc. Anyone would think they were not a real cyber army at all. If you are a linguaphile, have fun analysing and comparing their use of Arabic and English. If not, have fun wondering why an Iranian regime cyber operation (as claimed) would use Arabic, when they apparently have a proud, Farsi-speaking, cyber army.
Here’s their Facebook page, where the old news reports were reposted yesterday, which I assume explains the tweet.
Back in February, they posted this video claiming to show evidence of an intrusion that netted “all” Bank of Israel customer accounts:
Ignoring the fact that it looks decidedly fake, note the speed with which typing errors of English words are corrected, and use of words like “bingo” and the phrase “don’t try this at home”. Add to that the use of classroom French, typed more slowly with far higher accuracy in their next video. It gives the impression whoever created at least the first and probably the second would feel more at home in Oxshott than Nouakchott. No offence to Oxshottonians, it could be any cosy corner of over-privileged middle-class and perhaps even middle-aged (bingo? really?) England.
Additional information added 21 December 2012:
* In the criminal complaint that led to his arrest, Randy Wilson was said to be a former room mate of another Mobile, Alabama man, Omar Shafik Hammami (aka Abu Mansour al-Amriki), who was just reportedly kicked out of Somalian al-Qaeda franchise Al-Shabaab for spreading the wrong message in videos he posted online. Although they did know one another about 10 years ago, the information about Wilson and Hammami’s living arrangements turned out to be false (see below). There was a rather long delay between news about his first video - in which he said he feared his life was in danger – appearing in March 2012, and the 17 December reports of the announcement of Hammami’s expulsion. March was also when the coup in Mali was claimed to have accelerated the spread of rebel groups in the north, as the vast region was abandoned by both civil and military authorities along with most NGOs and aid agencies. This heightened activity was accompanied by reports that fighters from other al Qaeda groups were moving into Mali. Wherever Hammami – who incidentally is married to a Somali woman, and they have at least one child, a daughter – shows up next, it is unlikely to be America.
** According to this post, a Syracuse, NY native by the name of Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair was arrested in Egypt in 2010 on charges of suspected terrorist activity. In 2011, he was deported back to the U.S., taking residency in both Ohio and Alabama.
*** Randy Wilson appeared in court and was refused bail after the judge heard testimony from FBI Special Agent Tim Green, who had established an online relationship with the defendant and his co-accused over a period of two years, by pretending to have a shared interest in Islam. Green also confessed in court that the story about Wilson being a former room mate of Omar Hammami was a lie and claimed he” didn’t know where it came from”. Wilson’s case will be heard on December 27, local press reported. There are no similar reports for Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair as yet. Given the fact that the two New Jersey men arrested in the almost identical “Operation Arabian Knight” case in 2010 have still not been sentenced, despite accepting a plea bargain, we should not expect any swift justice.
- Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour, defrocked cleric, transferred to Yazd Prison.
- Human Rights activist Navid Khanjani has been transferred from Evin to Rejaei Shahr prison.
- Hossein Ronaghi Maleki transferred to Tabriz prison quarantine in preparation for transfer to Evin.
- Isa Saharkhiz transferred from Evin to Rejaei Shahr prison.
- 6 of the earthquake volunteer aid workers arrested in Azerbaijan have been transferred to Evin 350:
- Navid Khanjani
- Sepehr Saheban
- Esmaeil Salmanpour
- Saeed Shirzad
- Hooman Taheri
- Masoud Vafabakhsh.
- Samin Ehsani summoned to Evin to purge her sentence.
- Rashid Esmaili member of Policy Council of Advar Tahkim (Alumni Society ) was arrested by IRGC agents.
- Soleiman Mahmoudian arrested in Saqez and sent to Saqez prison.
- Mehran Malaveisi arrested in Marivan and sent to Saqez prison.
- Journalist/Human Rights activist Shiva Nazarahari sentenced to 4 years + 74 lashes reported to Evin to start serving her sentence.
- Hamed and Jamal Sheikhi arrested in Marivan and sent to Saqez prison.
- Popular poet Mohammad-Reza Ali-Payam (Haloo) released on 100 million toman bail.
- After 3 years imprisonment, journalist Masoud Bastani is released on furlough.
- Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani released, acquitted of apostasy.
- National-Religious activist Alireza Rejaei has been released from Evin on a 3 day furlough.
- Abdollah Shahbazi, jailed Iranian historian, released.
- Ali Tase released from Marivan prison after 2 months detention.
- Obeid Zarei released from Marivan prison after 2 months detention.
- These aid workers were released from custody:
- Morteza Esmailpour
- Danial Hasani
- Esmail Salmanpour
- Saeed Shirzad
- Bahram Shojaei
- After writing a letter to the Chief of the Judiciary, former Tehran mayor Mohammad Tavasoli summoned to court on a case that was closed 3 years ago.
News of injustice in Iran
- Farzad Ahmadi, a labour activist and tailor, sentenced to 4 months in prison in Sanandaj.
- Court of Appeals has upheld a 3 year sentence of Maryam Alangi. Her husband Mohsen Dogmechi died in prison last year.
- The Appeals Court in Tehran has upheld a 5 year sentence for the Child Rights activist Samin Ehsani.
- Court of Appeal has sentenced Zahra Mansouri to 2 years in prison and 5 years suspended.
- Amanollah Mostaghim’s 5 year sentence upheld by Appeals.
- Shahnaz Sagvand, wife of jailed worker Ali Nejati on trial, charged with spreading propaganda against the system through an interview with Foreign Media.
- Gonabadi Dervish, Nosrat Tabasi, sentenced to 5 years in prison.
- 11 people who were transferred from Ghezel Hesar prison to Evin Ward 240 were hanged, among them 5 Afghans.
- A man was hanged in public on Monday in Shahrood.
- Verdicts have been issued for 40 people involved in the bank fraud case. 4 have received the death penalty and 2 have received life in prison.
University – Culture
- Gender Segregation forces girls to drop out from school in the villages of Yasuj due to lack of accommodation.
- Qaraati: Iranian Universities should be equipped with “temporary marriage” headquarters.
- Iran censures text messages containing the word “dollar” following collapse of its currency.
- $1 = 2305 Toman on Saturday, 2430 on Sunday, 2600 on Monday, and 2500 (Euro 3250 ) on Tuesday.
- Black Market estimated to account for 21% of Iranian economy.
- Two manufacturing factories in Arak and Esfahan closed in one week; 600 workers lost their jobs.
- Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Mines: 38% decrease in car production in the first 5 months of the year.
- Iran’s Central Bank went bankrupt.
- Iran surpasses Bolivia to become number one in the world in inequality in distribution of wealth.
- Rent prices increase by a staggering 60% says Iran’s Census Bureau.
- Sierra Leone takes 10 Iranian ships off register.
- Iran seeks to reopen London embassy; UK refuses.
- Egypt denies in talks to buy Iranian oil.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, slammed Bahrain’s imposition of jail terms on 13 leading opposition figures in the kingdom.
Politics in Iran
- The Majlis has set up a special joint friendship group to boost parliamentary ties with Syria, Egypt, Palestine and Morocco.
- Protest against the American film caricaturing Mohammad in front of the Swiss Embassy.
- 100 teachers in Hamadan protested deceptive announcement of Minister of Education claiming 15% rise been implemented.
- Iran ambulance personnel get equipped with teargas.
- Iranian Paralympians take home 24 medals.
Nouvelles des Prisonniers
Ø Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour, religieux défroqué, transféré à la prison de Yazd.
Ø Le militant des droits humains Navid Khandjani transféré d’Evine à la prison de Redjaï Shahr.
Ø Issa Saharkhiz transféré de la prison d’Evine à celle de Redjaï Shahr.
Ø 6 des volontaires qui aidaient les victimes du tremblement de terre arrêtés en Azerbaïdjan ont été transférés au bloc 350 d’Evin :
o Navid Khandjani
o Sepehr Saheban
o Esmaïl Salmanpour
o Saïd Shirzad
o Houman Taheri
o Massoud Vafabakhsh.
Ø Samine Ehsani convoquée à Evine pour purger ses 5 ans de prison
Ø Rashid Esmaïli membre de la direction politique d’Advar Tahkim (association d’étudiants) a été arrêté par des gardes révolutionnaires.
Ø Soleiman Mahmoudian arrêté à Saqqez et envoyé à la prison de Saqqez.
Ø Mehran Malaveisi arrêté à Marivan et envoyé à la prison de Saqqez.
Ø La journaliste et militante des droits humains Shiva Nazarahari, condamnée à 4 ans + 74 coups de fouet, s’est rendue à Evine pour commencer à purger sa peine.
Ø Djamal et Hamed Sheikhi arrêtés à Marivan et envoyés à la prison de Saqqez.
Ø Le poète populaire Mohammad-Reza Ali-Payam (Halou) libéré sous une caution de 100 million de tomans.
Ø Après 3 ans d’emprisonnement, le journaliste Massoud Bastani bénéficie d’une permission.
Ø Le pasteur Youssef Nadarkhani libéré, acquitté de ses charges d’apostasie.
Ø Le militant National-Religieux Alireza Redjaï en liberté provisoire sous caution pendant 3 jours.
Ø Abdollah Shahbazi, historien iranien, libéré.
Ø Ali Tasseh libéré de la prison de Marivan après 2 mois de détention.
Ø Obeed Zareï libéré de la prison de Marivan après 2 mois de détention.
Ø Ces volontaires qui aidaient les victimes du tremblement de terre ont été libérés :
o Morteza Esmaïlpour
o Danial Hassani
o Esmaïl Salmanpour
o Saïd Shirzad
o Bahram Shojaï
Ø Après avoir écrit au chef de la justice, l’ancien maire de Téhéran Mohammad Tavassoli est convoqué au tribunal pour une affaire déjà jugée il y a 3 ans.
Nouvelles de l’injustice en Iran
Ø Farzad Ahmadi, tailleur syndicaliste, condamné à 4 mois de prison à Sanandaj.
Ø La cour d’appel a confirmé la peine de 3 ans de Maryam Alangui. Son mari, Mohsen Dogmetchi, est mort en prison l’année dernière.
Ø Samine Ehsani condamnée en appel à 5 ans de prison.
Ø La cour d’appel a condamné Zahra Mansouri à 2 ans de prison et 5 avec sursis.
Ø Amanollah Mostaghim voit sa peine de 5 ans confirmée en appel.
Ø Shahnaz Sagvand, épouse du syndicaliste emprisonné Ali Nedjati a été condamnée pour propagande contre le système par le biais d’interview avec des medias étrangers.
Ø Le derviche Gonabadi, Nosrat Tabassi, condamné à 5 ans de prison.
Ø Les 11 personnes qui avaient été transférées de la prison de Ghezel Hesar au bloc 240 d’Evine, ont été pendues, parmi eux, 5 Afghans.
Ø Un homme a été pendu en public lundi à Shahrood.
Ø Les verdicts ont été prononcés pour les 40 personnes impliquées dans le scandale de la fraude bancaire : 4 sont condamnés à mort et 2 à perpétuité.
L’université – la Culture
Ø La ségrégation des sexes oblige les filles à abandonner leurs études à cause du manque d’établissements les acceptant dans les villages autour de Yassoudj.
Ø Ghara’ati : Les universités iraniennes devraient s’équiper de centre de « mariages temporaires ».
Ø L’Iran censure les SMS contenant le mot “dollar” suite à la chute de sa monnaie.
L’economie de l’Iran
Ø $1 = 2305 tomans samedi, 2430 dimanche, 2600 lundi, 2500 mardi et l’euro à 3250 tomans le même jour.
Ø Le marché noir représente 21% de l’économie iranienne.
Ø Deux usines, à Arak et à Ispahan, ferment en une semaine, 600 ouvriers ont perdu leur boulot.
Ø Le secrétaire d’Etat à l’industrie, au commerce et aux mines: 38% de réduction dans la production de véhicules Durant les 5 premiers mois de l’année.
Ø La banque centrale fait banqueroute.
Ø L’Iran surpasse la Bolivie et devient le numéro 1 pour l’inégalité de la distribution des richesses dans le monde.
Ø Le bureau des statistiques confirme l’augmentation des loyers de 60%.
L’Iran à l’étranger
Ø La Sierra Leone retire 10 bateaux iraniens de son registre maritime.
Ø L’Iran cherche à rouvrir son ambassade en Grande Bretagne qui le lui refuse.
Ø L’Egypte réfute toute discussion avec l’Iran sur l’achat de pétrole brut.
Ø Le porte-parole du ministère des affaires étrangères, Ramin Mehmanparast, condamne le royaume de Bahreïn pour avoir condamné 13 membres dirigeants de l’opposition à de la prison.
La politique en Iran
Ø Le parlement a mis en place un groupe spécial d’amitié pour resserrer les liens parlementaires avec la Syrie, l’Egypte, la Palestine et le Maroc.
Ø La milice bassidj manifeste contre le film qui caricature Mahomet devant l’ambassade suisse.
Ø 100 enseignants de Hamadan ont manifesté contre la fausse annonce du ministère de l’Education prétendant qu’une augmentation de 15% avait été appliquée.
Nouvelles en vrac
Ø Les ambulanciers iraniens sont désormais équipés de gaz lacrymogène.
Ø 24 médailles aux jeux paralympiques pour l’Iran.
- Journalist Isa Saharkhiz transferred from hospital to Evin 209; he started a hunger strike to protest.
- Akbar Amini (who climbed on top of a crane on 14 February 2011 in symbolic protest), summoned and arrested.
- Amin Chalaki, who led Mousavi’s presidential campaign in Saveh, reported to Evin to begin serving his 4 year sentence.
- Isa Faridi summoned to begin serving his sentence.
- Student activist Nasim Soltan-Beigi summoned to Evin to serve her sentence.
- Hossein Yazdi, arrested in Isfahan for posting news, was released the next day.
- An underground music group arrested in Tehran.
- Ali Moslehi, member of Karroubi’s election campaign, was released on bail..
- Mohammad Nazari is on hunger strike, after sewing his lips together. He was arrested when 22 years old and has already spent 20 years in prison.
- Mohammad Tavakoli, jailed secretary of teachers’ Union in Kermanshah, was severely beaten by prison guards.
- More than 15,000 people are confined in overcrowded and sub-standard prisons of Khuzestan province.
- Some people arrested last week when helping earthquake’s victims have reportedly started a hunger strike to protest the arrests :
- Navid Khanjani
- Vahed Kholoosi
- Milad Panahipour
- Hossein Ronaghi Maleki
News of injustice in Iran
- Meysam and Siamak Azadi, who protested the drying of Lake Urmia, each received a suspended sentence of 100 days in prison.
- Political prisoner Hasan Ashtiani was sentenced to 15 years for Moharebeh. The Judge dismissed his lawyer and replaced him by a court-appointed duty lawyer; the trial lasted only 11 minutes. Hasan was sentenced for selling his sister’s home and sending her the money: the Court claimed she was a member of the outlawed MEK group. Hasan denied the charges, saying if his sister has any involvement with MEK, he was not aware of it.
University – Culture
- Last week, 1400 satellite antennas were confiscated in Bokan, 29,000 in Bushehr.
- Iranian women beat the UAE team 4-0 in the Istanbul Chess Olympiad.
- Green site Kalameh collected over 11,000 signatures from Iranian people for an appeal to UN General Secretary within two days. The unusually high volume of traffic was accompanied by reports that the site was under attack.
- Mazandaran Textile, which used to have 7000 workers, now has 700, all waiting 26 months to be paid.
- Japan did not import any Iranian crude in July, for 1st time since 1981.
- Two production lines in the largest drug manufacturing company in Iran are idle due to sanctions preventing import of raw material.
Iran abroad & NAM Summit
- Iran reportedly withdrew its invitation to Hamas to take part in NAM.
- 10 people arrested for spying for Iran in Turkish Igdir region. Two of them, Mohammed Reza Esmaılpour and Shahram Zargham are charged with sending information about Syrian opposition.
- Iran will use 850 security units and 110,000 personnel to ensure “security” during NAM.
- Citizens in North of Tehran impacted by traffic restrictions because of NAM. Traffic forbidden in several freeways and streets, with reports of compensation payments being offered – and largely rejected. On the first day of meetings, locals reported no change in the number of people or vehicles in Tehran.
- Police are said to have removed 1,400 beggars from Tehran’s streets before the NAM summit.
- Ban Ki-moon denies having been contacted by families of assassinated nuclear scientists to request a meeting.
- Egyptian president Morsi made a speech criticising repression in Syria and Bahrain and calling for support for opposition movements at the NAM summit in Tehran. The Syrian Prime Minister left the room during the speech, and Iranian translator and state-run radio/TV censored Morsi’s words, rendering ‘’revolution’’ as ‘’sedition’’. Morsi left the meeting immediately after he finished speaking, without attending Ahmadinejad’s speech.
Politics in Iran
- Mehr News reported thousands of burials were organized by Red Crescent after the earthquake in Azerbaijan, indicating that the death toll was many times higher than official figures. The news was widely shared, and then the original article was removed from the Mehr website