Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hamas decree Alan Johnston to be released

I do not usually comment on the Levant because I grew up there and have some strong but in my view well informed views, but I notice that comenting in the area tends to attract some loonies.

I did predict in the very early stages that Hezboulah would "win" in the Lebanon in the sense of achieving their primary objectives (In warfare you do have to understand that victories come in all sorts of shapes and forms) but with no enthusiasm. That said if I thought Israel was going to win, I would have predicted it with the same level of enthusiasm.

It appears that Hamas have "won" a military victory in Gaza. That surprised me, and I have to say I wonder where their new equipment came from. I don't think they will fair quite so well in the west bank, and very much hope I am right.

However we move on to the kidnapping of Alan Johnston.

I grew up in Beirut. (I was 2 months old when my family moved there). I was 5 or 6 when the civil war started and 8 when we left. I can tell you now that I never felt in an personal danger. Neither did my family, in the sense of "being a target". Rather obviously any of us could have been caught in crossfire or by a stray shell or Israeli bomb. The risks were there, but NO ONE wanted to harm US as European and indeed British citizens (the same applied to Americans) deliberately.

Broadly speaking the same ethic applies in the West Bank and Gaza strip though it also extends to Israeli citizens on human rights missions. The Palestinians want people there reporting what is going on, and what is more the day is brighter with a foreigner. I know this myself from personal experience as my family were invited to Southern Lebanon before the civil war kicked off to visit the Shia farmers of the south and the Palestinian refugee camps.

They want their story out there and they want the human rights activists there to protect them when they go about their daily business by just being there.

This all begs the question of who kidnapped Alan Johnston and why?

Well it seems to be a marginalised clan, but one with enough guns to make a mess, and a very real one, should someone try to face them down. They are not as far as I can work out all that politically affiliated in the way most of the clans are. nevertheless they still hold Alan, and it has been obvious since before say one to any party (including both Hamas and Fatah) that kidnapping Alan was a very bad move.

Fatah and Hamas know which clan have Alan, as do the Israelis. They don't know where with sufficient certainty otherwise he would have been freed by now.

Well Hamas has effectively decreed he should be released. What they are saying if that in Gaza, they have whipped all of Fatah's clans, and unless you free Alan, and we know who you are, you are next.

Hamas, like Hezboulah can play politics to their audience very well. This will go down well on the street.

I hope Alan is freed, and last month would not be quick enough for me, but I do fear for the future of the region where I grew up.

The BBC has this.


Anonymous said...

The Fatah-led general intelligence and security services caved in too fast to shred, wipe or burn documents, computer disks and archives. The entire collection fell into Hamas’ hands when they seized Palestinian Preventive Intelligence HQ at Tel Awa (henceforth Tel al-Islam) and the Palestinian General Intelligence center near Gaza port.

A bonanza of Western intelligence secrets on this scale has never reached an implacably hostile Islamist terrorist gang before. The US, British and Israeli intelligence services may have suffered their greatest debacle in the war on Islamist terror. It will take them many years to recover.

Hamas has taken possession of hundreds of thousands of documents cataloging the clandestine operations of Western intelligence services in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the oil emirates. It is now the owner of complete archives of Palestinian undercover links with foreign intelligence services going back decades, with names of spies, political collaborators and double agents. The documentation covers the secret ties Palestinian intelligence maintained from the 1970s, when Yasser Arafat was based in Lebanon, with the Americans, the British, the French, the Israelis and many others.

Most intelligence experts say Israel should have bombed the two buildings and destroyed their contents rather than letting them fall into the hands of an organization and country dedicated to its eclipse.

For Hamas, this booty is priceless – and not only as the repository of bombs for planting under Mahmoud Abbas and his aids. The Palestinian group’s Syrian and Iranian sponsors will pay well for this unique collection of explosive secrets hidden by many a Western intelligence agency and government. Damascus and Tehran will be hugely empowered with the means to stay a jump ahead of American moves in the region and tools to sabotage US policies at any time. They will have a store of national secrets and compromising information to hold over the heads of Western leaders and officials, lists of undercover agents, and records of covert operations carried out by the Israeli Mossad, Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, CIA, British MI6 and other Western agencies. Iran, Syria and Hamas will know the names of politicians, including Israelis, who worked secretly with Palestinians and their shady deals.

The Gaza hoard left in enemy hands by Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan are the crown jewels compared with Saddam Hussein’s intelligence archives.

In the Palestinian security service building, Hamas found computer hard disks covering years of undercover activity and a complete set of sophisticated wiretapping and surveillance equipment and sensors which the CIA and MI6 gave Mahmoud Abbas and his forces. It was all in perfect condition ready to switch on.

After the Nazi regime was defeated at the end of World War II and Eastern Germany fell in the 1990s, there were officials willing to make a desperate effort to destroy or hide their intelligence treasure. Palestinian intelligence officers did not burn a single page. Murders will be ordered, families relocated, organisations remodeled. There are interesting times coming.

Anonymous said...

Benedict "and I have to say I wonder where their new equipment came from".
Well that is glaringly obvious!

Anonymous said...

Benedict, I'm gonna revisit this again.You asked me a question, I gave an answer, so I consider my answer to be ON TOPIC

erik said...

erik said
Benedict, this was an answer I gave a few days ago to your question, perhaps you may consider...........

Benedict Erik, So what would you rather we do? Let the French run the EU?
My response was:-
Pull out, become a free trader. Bi-lateral agreements with everyone. Operate own laws/case law/immigration/foreign policies.
Pull-out of EU "army", alter structure/articles of NATO.
Temporary farming chaos but manageable.
Get rid of many thousands of box tickers/quango squatters/uncivil servants. De-politicize everything, - Stats office, treasury, etc leave education to professionals, cream will rise to the top. Strive once again for excellence.
Flat rate tax, with high threshold, bring back married couples allowances, structure taxes to reinforce the family unit. Capital gains tax to 20%, IHT threshold to 1m pounds, indexed to RPI. Corporation tax to 15%, and after 1 year, 12%. Qualifications for all MPs/lawmakers to include 15 years at management level in Industry.
Industry to have vote proportional to manpower employed, in local and national elections.
Most important, be honest.
And do it all in the first 100 days
How much more would you like, benedict?

8:57 PM, June 12, 2007

7:58 PM, June 14, 2007

To which you answered

"Erik, I get an email every time someone comments, so you should comment where it is on topic. Do so and I will answer.

Would you now care to comment, given that it was your question that prompted the response??

Benedict White said...

Erik, interesting first two comments. As to where they got their weapons from perhaps I should of been clearer. How did they get them past Egyptian intelligence?

As for you last comment, it is not on topic here, it would be here:

If you post it there I will look at it.

Anonymous said...

I don't care about Alan Johnson. He sucked up to Hamas. He wrote against Israel. He is on the side of the terrorists, and I imagine he thought he would be safe from harm from them. Then they went and kidnapped him and threatened to murder him. How unfair! He as on their side! He reported everything from their point of view and trashed Israel for defending itself.

He forgot the one vital fact that anyone dealing with islamics needs to bear in mind at all times. He is an infidel. That means his life is worth nothing, no matter how nicely he sucked up.

Perhaps he will have learned his lesson. More likely, he will now have developed Stockholm syndrome (which he actually had even before he got captured) and think his kidnappers and abusers of his human rights are stand-up dudes.

He should be more careful in choosing his "friends" in future.

Benedict White said...

Verity, Yawn,

What makes you think Hamas kidnapped Alan Johnston? Or indeed Fatah?

My understanding is that it is a clan who have no particular political connection, but are involved in criminality.

Anonymous said...

Egyptian Intel,- cough, splutter, -don't make me laugh.
They are part of the problem.
They only report insignificant details to appear to be following agreements.
Literally thousands of tonnes of contraband comes through those tunnels, and other routes, unchallenged.
Now let me see, how many rockets have landed in Sderot in the last few months?

Anonymous said...

"As for you last comment, it is not on topic here, it would be here:

If you post it there I will look at it.

It is already there Benedict, and has been since the 12th june.

Anonymous said...

Benedict, What makes you think Hamas kidnapped Alan Johnston? Or indeed Fatah?

I told you who kidnapped AJ, here on your blog.
Perhaps you missed it.
Post No, 1

Anonymous said...

As long as cretinous politicians entertain terrorists and refuse to research their backgrounds, nowhere on the planet will be safe from terrorist predations.
Western gov'ments have a monopoly of power within their boundaries. It's called policing by consent.
Consent by the public to give up the right to carry arms, in return for the gov't undertaking to carry out successful defence of the realm in general, and police defence of the public against "crime" in particular.
It is called a "trusting society", and remains a feature of western democracies, or has done until lately. Populations expect treatment by the state to be homogeneous, wherever in the state it is applied for. Contrast with tribal, or clan societies in the ME, where the "family, clan, tribe, etc" is the source of refuge, or arbiter of justice, often unfairly, rather than the "state".
This Gov't has failed abjectly on both counts to defend its population of indegenes, some would say, given the degree of failure, and the evidence, by design.
There comes a point in the decline and failure of all societies, when the prevailing gov't is seen by the remaining indigenes as being the enemy of the people it allegedly works for, and is charged with the protection of. Society then reverts to "family, clan, tribe, etc" for justice. We witness this daily with "honour killings" etc, by peoples from "non trusting societies".

I frequently ponder where, on this declining line on a graph of societal fragmentation, we currently sit.

Anonymous said...

Benedict (please don't yawn with your mouth open; your mother told you it was rude), when you say "clan", do you mean clan or a general grouping of malfeasants?

This is a genuine question.

My impression was it was generally accepted that it had been Hamas,but I confess that I stopped reading about it after a couple of days because the man is so anti-Israel and pro-terrorist that I don't care about his future.

But are you saying this kidnapping had no religious connotations and was simply done by a gang? Has there been a ransome demand? Otherwise, why,if they were a gang, would they kidnap someone?

Erik - I agree with you that allowing Britain to become overrun with primitives and then forcing the British to give up tax money to house and feed them, and give up their countryside to build houses for them, and give up their religious festivals so as not to "offend" them has been utterly deliberate.

The first time I saw Tony Blair on TV, I had a sense of terrible evil surrounding him.

Anonymous said...

So go home and fix it. I get so tired of people who leave their countries and whine about them from a safe distance.

Anonymous said...

Nancy - You surely do not think that a few people, or a few thousand people, could have defeated Tony Blair and his destruction of the infrastructure, the government, the constitution and the civil society of Britain?

Blair's thugs were handing out thought crime ASBOs for anyone who spoke against the Little Father. Alastair Campbell didn't allow the newspapers to have opinions or print a word of contradiction to Blair. The letters editors - until the advent a couple of years ago of Comments sections - didn't print letters that were opposed to the Blair regime.

If the mighty organs of Fleet Street were too timid to hold Blair to account, how do you suggest that the people who have left could have "fixed it".

This is the same kind of thinking as "What if they gave a war and nobody came?". In total contradiction to the reality on the ground.

You want people to walk round the streets carrying "Down with Blair" signs? What good would that do, even were he not, at long last, leaving? The Leader of the Opposition has declared himself the heir to Blair.

In other words, there's no leadership and Britain's bent on suicide. The people are weak. They've allowed themselves to be robbed of their sovereignty and have accepted Big Government as their boss. In a mere 10 years.

What have you done to "fit it", Nancy?

Anonymous said...

Verity, you recently spoke of memory of limit of 50 pound max to take out of UK, and predicted a return of some sort of restriction.
I salute you, but it came from Eurabia sources.

Anonymous said...

My God, that was quick! I hope they didn't get the idea from my post! I mean, they're bringing it in at the end of next week? With no warning? So no one has time to make alternate arrangements And, of course, it's only to prevent money laundering and drug dealers from profitting from their crimes.


But when I wrote about it, I was thinking it would be at least four or five years ...

Are they going to stop you taking money out of a cash machine overseas?

The state gains an ever-tighter stranglehold round the necks of the citizens.

I'm voting UKIP at the next election. Provided I haven't been disenfranchised by some bizarre new law by then.

Anonymous said...

Erik, what came from Eurabia sources, btw?

The memory of the currency restrictions in Britain came from having heard my parents talking about it.

Anonymous said...

Verity, it's a eurabian law, relating to people leaving Eurabia, not just UK
See here, although HMG seem to have snook it through unannounced. (relatively!)

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's EU-wide. I'm surprised Brown's gone along with this - unless he didn't know; something else that Tony stitched up behind his back - as he is such a control freak he is not going to relinquish his hold on the UK economy.

I think it probably really is to control the movement of drug/terrorism money.

It's the UK the hemhorraging people and that will eventually have to staunch the flow of money leaving with the achievers who are headed off for pastures new. I still think these controls, for this reason, will come in.

I'm sorry for getting derailed, Benedict. I am still interested in my question: is this an actual clan marauding for money, or terrorists?

Anonymous said...

With reference to the Gaza coup by Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhairi, who issued the threat to Fatah on the West Bank following Fatah attacks on Hamas operatives on the West bank, headed a group of Hamas intelligence and terrorist officers who trained near Khartoum, especially for the Gaza coup, under Iranian Revolutionary Guards instructors, now heads the intelligence team urgently sifting through the archives captured in the offices of Palestinian Authority security services. He also led the looting of Yasser Arafat’s villa in Gaza Saturday in search of incriminating materials against Fatah and Israeli leaders in the records of the 12 years Arafat and top PLO leaders spent in Tunis from 1982-1994.
Sami Abu Zuhairi, is a very senior AQ operative!

Benedict White said...

Verity I am going to ignore quite a few of your more wingnut comments.

As Erik has linked to, Alan Johnston has been kidnapped by the Durmush clan, that is a clan as in a family clan.

I read it first in a Haaretz article some time ago.

There is no religious angle to it, they are out to gain some influence, as I understand it they have between none and very little. Everyone knows who they are, and that they hold him, the only question is where.

What Hamas have clearly signalled is that they can take on far bigger fry that the Durmush clan, so they better play ball.

Erik, I note your comments on what information may or may not be in the preventative security organisation that may have just been captured. I certainly hope that is not the case.

However do you have a source for Iranian revolutionary guards training Hamas in Kartoum?

Anonymous said...

Benedict, thanks, but I'll have to ignore a lot of what you post as possibly "wingnut". Dismissing the comments of people who may be informed is a boss way of losing commenters.

I've followed the ME for several years, at an older age than eight, which I believe is what you were when your parents moved away?

Anonymous said...

Erik, I note your comments on what information may or may not be in the preventative security organisation that may have just been captured. I certainly hope that is not the case.
Benedict, the bold emphasis above is mine.
It really rankles when you appear to doubt every word I say.
Can't you understand that there are seasoned, well connected surfers out here?
If you're quick, you'll catch this and also take a look at this and wear filters forthis spectacle.
There are various others, so does that dispel your doubts?

Anonymous said...

here is a list of Taleban suspects
I believe it shows how truly deficient our intel is.

Anonymous said...

Benedict,take look at this court case, to get an idea of the tentacles of terrorism. Yeah, 120 pages, life's a bitch <:-)
The funding is interesting.
I wonder what moves our "stealth tax maestro" has made against funding parties, given his high profile shouting?

Anonymous said...

Verity, I've tooled around a few words and come up with this link
This part may be relevant to your previous point:-

What are exit taxes?
Exit taxes are taxes which Member States levy on accrued but as yet unrealised capital gains when individual or corporate taxpayers transfer their residence to another State or when corporate taxpayers transfer individual assets from their head office to a permanent establishment situated in an another State (or vice versa).

Why do Member States levy exit taxes?

Member States have different reasons for levying exit taxes. Some Member States levy them to counteract specific types of tax avoidance and tax-induced (temporary) emigrations. For other Member States exit taxes are a means of ensuring that they are able to tax any income which has accrued while taxpayers were resident in their territory. Frequently, national exit tax provisions are also based on a combination of these reasons.

Is there no scope for immediate taxation at the moment of exit?

The European Court of Justice has ruled that immediate taxation at the moment of exit of accrued but as yet unrealised capital gains is not possible if there would be no similar taxation in comparable domestic situations. It follows from ECJ case-law that Member States will have to defer collection of their taxes until the moment of actual realisation of the capital gains, and that such deferral may not be subject to restrictive conditions such as the requirement of a bank guarantee or the appointment of a fiscal representative.

Member States may, however, provide taxpayers with the option to renounce the deferred collection of tax and to choose to pay the tax at the moment of transfer. Such an option must however be truly voluntary and even-handed.

Can you give some examples of existing mismatches between different national rules and proposed co-ordinated solutions?

With respect to individual taxpayers, a mismatch between different national provisions for example arises if the exit State calculates the capital gain at the moment of exit, and collects the tax at the moment of actual disposal, and the new State of residence taxes the whole capital gain from acquisition up to the actual disposal. This causes double taxation of the value increase from acquisition to the moment of exit. The Communication suggests that such double taxation can be eliminated either by crediting taxes levied in the other Member State or by dividing the taxing rights on the relevant assets according to the period that the taxpayer was resident in each of the Member States.

With respect to corporate taxpayers mismatches arise from differences in valuation methods as regards transferred assets. A number of EU Member States allow assets to be transferred to a permanent establishment in another EU Member State at book value. These EU Member States choose not to exercise their taxing rights on the difference between the book value and the market value of the assets at the time of transfer. Generally, these EU Member States also value assets transferred to a permanent establishment in their country at book value. Other EU Member States seek to exercise their taxing rights on the difference between the book value and the market value of the assets at the moment of transfer. In practice, these differences between valuation at book value and market value can result in double taxation or unintended non-taxation of capital gains. The Communication examines different options to overcome such obstacles, ranging from a transfer at market value with a step-up in the receiving Member State to an approach based on book value continuation.

The statement doesn't state whether this is current law, or proposed law, do you have an idea on this?
Many thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

Verity, I've found this
Which seems to say it's still under Eurabian discussion.

Legal base

Documents originated
19 December 2006
Deposited in Parliament
4 January 2007
HM Treasury
Basis of consideration:-
Three EMs of 16 January 2007

Previous Committee Report:-

To be discussed in Council:-
27 March 2007

Committee’s assessment:-
Politically important

Committee’s decision:-
For debate in European Standing Committee

However it does state that HMG already operates an effective exit tax on unrealised capital gains at the time of exit. The question is:-
Treatment of ISAS, pension rights, equity portfolios, freehold interests, trusts, etc, etc.
As you say, make life difficult for asseted achievers and corporations to vote with their feet.

Anonymous said...

Fiddling while Rome burns, I'm afraid, Erik. It comes into force in Britain next Friday.

Anonymous said...

In any event, I don't like Alan Johnson because he sucked up to the Arabs and denigrated Israel.

Peter Hitchens (in The Mail on Sunday) has been in Israel and has done an excellent, well-researched piece on the possible decline of that country. It made sad reading and I hope it doesn't come to pass.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Verity.
Another facet revealed.