Haaretz exclusive: Organizer of Gaza flotilla sought assistance from Assad’s office

May 24, 2012

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(haaretz) The organizer of one of the flotillas to the Gaza Strip sought assistance from the office of Syrian President Bashar Assad, requesting it facilitates their departure from the Syrian port at Latakia.

Ths request came to light through the disclosure of emailed correspondence between former British MP George Galloway, who heads an organization called Viva Palestina, and Bouthaina Shaaban, who serves as media adviser to Assad.
What do you think about the leaked emails from Assad’s media adviser’s account? Follow Haaretz.com on Facebook and share your views.
The correspondence, which was obtained by Haaretz, was leaked following an attack by the hacker group Anonymous.
Galloway, who is identified with the extreme left in Britain, served as a member of the British parliament until May 2010. A former member of the Labour Party, he was thrown out in 2003 in the wake of his attacks against party chairman and then-prime minister Tony Blair, and his opposition to the war in Iraq.
Galloway has for many years carried on close contacts with dictators and extremist elements in the Arab world. In the late 1990s, he was closely linked with Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, the Assad regime in Syria, Hamas in Gaza and the Iranian regime.
In July 2011, at a time when Assad was perpetrating massacres of his own people, Galloway was interviewed on Hezbollah’s al-Manar network, where he heaped praises on the Syrian president. “Bashar Assad wants reform and change, to realize the aspirations of his people,” he said in the interview, which was quoted in the official Syrian news agency Sana. “They are trying to pressure Syria and President Assad because of the good things that he did, such as supporting Palestinian and Lebanese resistance and rejecting to surrender to Israel.”
In January 2009, Galloway founded the Viva Palestina organization, which began to organize aid flotillas to the Gaza Strip. The Shin Bet security service describes the organization as being “pro-Hamas” and assesses that Viva Palestina activists are involved in the transfer of funds to Hamas.
Galloway is considered persona non grata in several countries. In March 2009, Canada refused to permit his entry, stating that his organization was aiding Hamas in several ways, including the transfer of funds. In January 2010, Galloway was deported from Egypt following a visit he made to the Gaza Strip in the course of which members of his organization clashed with Egyptian soldiers at the Rafah border crossing, leading to the death of an Egyptian policeman. Egypt has since then refused to permit his entry into Gaza from its own territory.
On August 11, 2010, Galloway wrote to Bashar Assad’s media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, who is considered to be one of the closest aides to the Syrian president. In an email message that bore the subject heading “IMPORTANT – private and confidential,” Galloway asked Shaaban for Syrian help in organizing the aid flotilla to Gaza.
“I am writing once again to ask for Syria’s co-operation although I do not doubt it for one moment. Syria is as I have often said is the last castle of Arab dignity,” Galloway noted. “This convoy sets out simulataneously [sic] on September 18th 2010 from London, from Casablanca and from the Gulf. The London and Gulf columns of vehicles would like to converge on Latakia and sail from there to Al Arish.”
Galloway listed the organizations that would be taking part in the flotilla, including IHH, the Turkish group that organized the flotilla to Gaza in May 2010. “It is intended that the vehicles and passengers should sail to Al Arish on board the Mavi Marmara, which as you know is owned by IHH,” he wrote. “If His Excellency the President Bashar al Asad and his government can accept this proposal in principle perhaps you could nominate partner organisation(s) and individuals with whom my colleagues could liaise about the practical details?”
Galloway informed Shaaban that the two members of Viva Palestina responsible for the flotilla were Kevin Ovenden and Zaher Birawi. The Shin Bet charges that Birawi is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He lives in England, where he engages in intensive anti-Israeli activity. Birawi has been linked to the organizing of past convoys and flotillas to the Gaza Strip. Ovendon is a far-left British activist who was aboard the Mavi Marmara in the May 2010 flotilla to Gaza.
Three days later, Shaaban sent an emailed response to Galloway in which she expressed enthusiasm for the idea. “God bless your amazing efforts and I will be honored to be part and parcel of it and to be the catalyst for my country too,” she wrote. “You will find me happy to put my time and energy to help with this most important cause of the Twenty First Century.”
Galloway responded in another email, in which he wrote, “I knew that I could rely on you and the last Arab country in this historic endeavour. Can I respectfully request that you task officials in Damascus and Latakia to make contact with my comrades in advance of your arrival back to Syria?”
The flotilla ultimately sailed from Latakia on October 18, 2010 and arrived in Al Arish three days later, and from there continued in a land-based convoy comprising dozens of vehicles and hundreds of activists to the Gaza Strip. The entry into Gaza by Galloway and 16 others was denied by the Egyptian security services, although the convoy itself was permitted to enter following talks between the Egyptian and Syrian governments.
The following is the original correspondence between George Galloway and Bouthaina Shaaban:

From: b.shaaban@mopa.gov.sy
Sent: Sun 15/08/10 6:30 PM
To: buthainak1@hotmail.co.uk
Fwd: VivaPalestina5 convoy to Gaza
Your Excellency dear Ambassador and honourable lady Dr Shaaban,
Assalam o Aleukum.
Thank you for your beautiful reply. I knew that I could rely on you and the last Arab country in this historic endeavour.
Given the shortness of the time (we leave London Casablanca Doha on September 18th, and these three columns joined by big contingents from Turkey Jordan and Lebanon hope to sail from Latakia aboard the Mavi Marmara between October 5-7th) can I respectfully request that you task officials in Damascus and and Latakia to make contact with my comrades in advance of your arrival back to Syria?
I remind you they are Kevin Ovenden kevin.ovenden@gmail.com and Dr Zaher Birawi zkb2002@hotmail.com
This would be very helpful to us.
I hope you are enjoying your travels and have a safe journey back to Damascus.
With all my good wishes,
Yours fraternally
George Galloway
VivaPalestinaArabia
From: b.shaaban@mopa.gov.sy
Sent: Sat 14/08/10 12:05 PM
To: office@georgegalloway.com
Re: IMPORTANT – private and confidential
Dear George
Thank you very much for your email which I was delighted to receive. God bless your amazing efforts and I will be honored to be part and parcel of it and to be the catalyst for my country too. I am now abroad for about 10 days and expected to be back in Syria on August 24. If we can touch base then and get further details about what is really required and from whom in more details you will find me happy to put my time and energy to help with this most important cause of the Twenty Firtst Century. I hope you are following my writings in Counter Punch. Take care and God bless you and your efforts.
As ever
Bouthaina
On Wed 11/08/10 3:05 PM , Ayesha Bajwa <office@georgegalloway.com> wrote:
Your Excellency Dr Bouthaina Shaaban
Special Advisor to President Bashar al Asad
President of the Syrian Arab Republic
Damascus
By e-mail
Your Excellency, dear Dr Shaaban
I hope this letter finds you well. Please be assured of my warmest fraternal greetings always. I am writing on behalf of Viva Palestina whose world-wide family of solidarity organisiations and registered charities will soon be setting out for beseiged Gaza again with our fifth convoy of aid. You will recall the outstanding assistance
afforded us in Syria on previous occasions over the last period. I am writing once again to ask for Syria’s co-operation although I do not doubt it for one moment. Syria is as I have often said is the last castle of Arab dignity. My only regret is to have to ask for your help again.
This convoy sets out simulataneously on September 18th 2010 from London, from Casablanca and from the Gulf. The London and Gulf columns of vehicles would like to converge on Latakia and sail from there to Al Arish. The Casablanca column hopes to join us in Al Arish and we hope all three columns – hundreds of vehicles strong – will enter Gaza through Rafah without hinderance.
The aid on board the vehicles will be 50% medical equipment and 50% educational, construction and other aid.
The organisers of the convoy are Viva Palestina UK, Viva Palestina USA, Viva Palestina Arabia, Viva Palestina Malaysia, Viva Palestina Ireland, the Turkish NGO IHH,the International Committee to break the Seige on Gaza, Kia Ora – the Viva Palestina sister organisation in New Zealand, Viva Palestina Australia, Viva Palestina South Africa, Viva Palestina Spain, Viva Palestina Italia, and Viva Palestina France.
It is intended that the vehicles and passengers should sail to Al Arish on board the Mavi Marmara, which as you know is owned by IHH.
If His Excellency the President Bashar al Asad and his government can accept this proposal in principle perhaps you could nominate partner organisation(s) and individuals with whom my colleagues could liaise about the practical details? The liaison from our side would be Mr Kevin Ovenden and Mr Zaher Birawi of Viva Palestina UK (as we believe 2 is enough).
In any case please convey my respect and my admiration to His Excellency the President.
With all good wishes
George Galloway


George Galloway flatters Assad’s media advisor | FP Passport

February 7, 2012

((blog.foreignpolicy.com) Posted By David Kenner ) As my boss Blake Hounshell noted this morning, Syrian activists are having a field day trawling through the hacked e-mails of officials in President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. One particularly interesting note was sent by former British parliamentarian George Galloway to Assad advisor Bouthaina Shaaban.Galloway was writing to request the Syrian government’s help in organizing a convoy to the Gaza Strip. The plan was for vehicles to travel over land from London and the Gulf to the Syrian city Latakia, at which point they would board the Mavi Marmara – which had been the scene of a deadly raid by Israel Defense Forces solders only months earlier, as it tried to breach the Gaza blockade — and travel to the Egyptian port city of al-Arish. From there, they would enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. While the convoy did complete its mission, the Mavi Marmara does not appear to have ultimately taken part. In securing Assad’s help, Galloway recited the Baath Party’s own rhetoric back to Shaaban. “Syria is as I have often said is the last castle of Arab dignity,” he writes.

Von: b.shaaban@mopa.gov.sy
Reply-to: b.shaaban@mopa.gov.sy
An: buthainak1@hotmail.co.uk
Betreff: Fwd: IMPORTANT – private and confidential
Datum: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 06:03:38 +0300 (14.08.2010 05:03:38)
Your Excellency Dr Bouthaina Sha’aban
Special Advisor to President Bashar al Asad
President of the Syrian Arab Republic
Your Excellency, dear Dr Sha’aban
 
I hope this letter finds you well. Please be assured of my warmest fraternal greetings always. I am writing on behalf of Viva Palestina whose world-wide family of solidarity organisiations and registered charities will soon be setting out for beseiged Gaza again with our fifth convoy of aid. You will recall the outstanding assistance afforded us in Syria on previous occasions over the last period. I am writing once again to ask for Syria’s co-operation although I do not doubt it for one moment. Syria is as I have often said is the last castle of Arab dignity. My only regret is to have to ask for your help again.
This convoy sets out simulataneously on September 18th 2010 from London, from Casablanca and from the Gulf. The London and Gulf columns of vehicles would like to converge on Latakia and sail from there to Al Arish. The Casablanca column hopes to join us in Al Arish and we hope all three columns – hundreds of vehicles strong – will enter Gaza through Rafah without hinderance.
The aid on board the vehicles will be 50% medical equipment and 50% educational, construction and other aid. The organisers of the convoy are Viva Palestina UK, Viva Palestina USA, Viva Palestina Arabia, Viva Palestina Malaysia, Viva Palestina Ireland, the Turkish NGO IHH,the International Committee to break the Seige on Gaza, Kia Ora – the Viva Palestina sister organisation in New Zealand, Viva Palestina Australia, Viva Palestina South Africa, Viva Palestina Spain, Viva Palestina Italia, and Viva Palestina France.
It is intended that the vehicles and passengers should sail to Al Arish on board the Mavi Marmara, which as you know is owned by IHH. If His Excellency the President Bashar al Asad and his government can accept this proposal in principle perhaps you could nominate partner organisation(s) and individuals with whom my colleagues could liaise about the practical details? The liaison from our side would be Mr Kevin Ovenden and Mr Zaher Birawi of Viva Palestina UK (as we believe 2 is enough).
In any case please convey my respect and my admiration to His Excellency the President.
 
With all good wishes
George Galloway

more will come out later.


Why does your media ignore these stories?

October 12, 2011
Another Florida Imam Arrested by the FBI, Media Ignores (h/t:Docs Talk/Creeping Sharia)
On August 23, 2011 the FBI arrested Imam Abu Taubah aka Marcus Dwayne Robertson. The charge was possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, Case Number: 6:11-mj-1380 Attached to Imam Abu Robertson’s case is a Notice of Intent To Use Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Information (FISA).
The U.S. Government’s intention to use its FISA powers signals probable cause to charge Imam “Taubah” Robertson “the target of such search is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power”.
The facts presented in these filed charges leads this reporter to suspect an element of foreign intrigue may be a key component in the prosecution of this case. Imam Robertson’s Mosque is located at 6630 Pershing Road in Orlando, FL. The Mosque’s website Masjid al-Ishaan is down for maintenance and hopefully out of business, if these charges prove the Imam’s guilt. Thank you to The Internet Haganah for breaking this story, and shame on The Orlando Sentinel’s refusal to publish a story on the arrest. This reporter sent all the court case documents to Sentinel reporter Jeff Kurneth, a letter to the editor accompanied the documents.
On September 2nd the Orlando Sentinel did run a front page story on Imam Muhammad Musri who was charging his fellow Muslims $5 to park for Friday Jumma prayers calling it the infamous “Pay to Pray” scandal. As important as “pay to pray” may be to some, it does not take a Sentinel Editor to realize that when the FBI arrests an Orlando Muslim Imam it is big news, especially to the residents who live and work near the Mosque in question.
In another Orlando Imam related story, the Orlando Sentinel neglected to print an alarming incident with Imam Musri back in 2010. A team of eight investigative reporters caught on film Orlando Imam Muhammad Musri hosting a fundraiser featuring the infamous George Galloway, who raised over $50,000 from local Orlando Muslims for Hamas – video link. After the video was released George Galloway’s visa to enter the United States was revoked by United States Government. Imam Musri remains on the Governor of Florida’s Faith Based Advisory Council and is considered the “go to” person in Orlando for all things Islamic.
A poster at Internet Haganah states correctly that,
“In Brooklyn, NY during the early 90s, Abu Taubah and a group of young Muslims executed a number of postal office and bank robberies under the direction of Abu Taubah, who used his military expertise to plan the armed robberies. When the young men and a sister were apprehended by authorities, Abu Taubah turned to a federal witness testifying against the very Muslims he trained to commit crimes.”
Imam Taubah Robertson was a snitch who sold out his Muslim friends to successfully receive a lighter sentence for himself. Imam “Snitch” Robertson is out of jail while his Muslim partners in crime are serving 50+ year sentences according to court records. The Qur’an demands harsh punishments against those Muslims who turn on their fellow Muslims.
Read it all.
A bio from Robertson/Taubah’s website states he is a former United States Marine and the first mosque he attended was that of unindicted co-conspirator to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Siraj Wahhaj.
Also read this post at The Ummah.com for the comment thread as Muslims defend Taubah and infight.
Comment: We are entering a critical stage in the evolution of the world and specifically the democracy in the USA. From the beginning the media had a major responsibility in our developing Democracy and it has abandoned its necessary role at this point in time. The tragedy is that the public is not receiving the information that is required of a responsible citizen in a democracy in order to make correct judgments. The cost to a republic is enormous. This is but one of an ever increasing nimber of such stories that is going unreported.
Orlando Sentinel? Covering up Islam? Nah!

Guardian airbrushes extremist links of British ‘flytilla’ participants. « CiF Watch

July 10, 2011
Pippa Bartolotti

The UK news section of the Guardian’s website included on July 10th an article about the British ‘flytilla’ participants detained at Ben Gurion airport last Friday.  In it, much is made of both the ages and ‘respectability’ of the arrested Britons, with their ages and professions  meticulously listed, apparently according to information provided by the organisers of the British ‘flytilla’ contingent, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
There’s a retired statistician (66), a community worker, a retired university lecturer (83), a retired nurse (77) and an Open University research fellow (61), which all sounds terribly tame and benign until one takes note that the chairman of the SPSC, 64 year-old Mick Napier, is also described solely as a “university teacher”.  Readers will no doubt remember Mr Napier’s name from the article Comment Is Free Watch published with regard to the SPSC’s recent attempts to persuade Dundee council to implement a boycott of Israeli goods. It is worth viewing that video again in order to comprehend exactly what the Hizbollah-praising Mr Napier stands for.
Another name mentioned in the Guardian article is that of former Parliamentary candidate Pippa Bartolotti – deputy leader of the Wales Green Party and a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Ms Bartolotti initially managed to evade detention at the airport in Tel Aviv and was interviewed by RT – but was also later detained.

“How can we be a threat?” protests Ms. Bartolotti, making the most of her staid appearance and fluent English.
Oh dear, Pippa – you weren’t being entirely honest with that reporter, were you? No mention of your trip to Syria last October as part of George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy.  No reference to the fact that you had yourself photographed in Latakia, beaming away enthusiastically whilst sporting your ‘Viva Palestina’ badge and holding the flag of the Syrian Socialist National Party – a Nazi outfit.

The SSNP flag’s similarity to the Nazi swastika is not coincidental and there is plenty of available information about them, both old and new.

“They greet their leaders with a Hitlerian salute; sing their Arabic anthem, “Greetings to You, Syria,” to the strains of “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”; and throng to the symbol of the red hurricane, a swastika in circular motion.”
“These are the hallmarks of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), the oldest terrorist organization in existence today and one of the most secret and deadly. Despite its long history of violence, Western security organs were recently taken by surprise when they learned that a well-camouflaged arm of the SSNP had succeeded in setting up a large terror network in Western Europe—complete with safe houses, weapons caches, and forged passports—and that it was the SSNP that had set off a series of deadly explosions in the heart of Paris, to gain the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. The United States, too, has felt the effects of the SSNP. The explosion aboard a TWA flight nearing Athens in April of 1986, which cost the lives of four passengers—one of them an infant—has been traced to May Mansur, of Tripoli, a veteran member of the SSNP, who debarked at a previous stopover after placing a bomb under her seat.”

The Green Party, of which Pippa Bartolotti is a prominent member, repeatedly insists that it deplores all forms of racism, including antisemitism, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to take such protestations at face value, and certainly one would expect any genuine anti-racist to run a mile in the opposite direction to a Nazi party embellished with blatant Nazi imagery. The involvement of the Green Party in the PSC is equally worrying, in particular in light of the PSC’s promotion of a Hamas website, its involvement in the invitation of Hamas-linked speakers and its silencing of any criticism of the terrorist group.
Pippa Bartolotti and her ‘flytilla’ friends may be so used to flirting with fascists as part of their radical chic hobby that they are no longer able to separate anti-racist wheat from Islamist and Nazi chaff. Here in Israel, however, we – out of necessity – have our eyes wide open on these subjects, which is why we do not take lightly the appearance of hundreds of supporters of such ideologies on our doorstep. We do also not fall into the kind of ageist stereotypes – of which this article and some of last Friday’s Tweets from various ‘flytilla’ supporters are prime examples – which assume that people are unable or incompetent just because they are ‘middle aged’ or ‘retired’.
Rather than this application of cosmetic surgery to the ‘flytilla’ activists, the Guardian would better serve its readers and the British public in general by explaining exactly what kinds of ideologies they stand for: an issue which is no less crucial to contemporary Britain than it is to Israel.
And a final question must go to Pippa Bartolotti, as well as her other PSC-supporting friends in the British Green party and indeed to the Guardian too, which prides itself on its ‘Green’ section: how exactly, from an ecological point of view, do they justify their involvement in and support for the creation of the hundreds of tons of harmful carbon emissions resulting from hundreds of people making totally unnecessary plane journeys purely for the purpose of political provocation?


Libyan Flotilla called Jerusalem 5 or is that the Jackson 5?

September 21, 2010

The Libyan Civil Mission to Support the Palestinian People has announced that it will send an aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip, according to a Palestine Telegraph report on Tuesday.
The flotilla will hold the title of “Jerusalem 5,” the report claimed, and was announced in conjunction with the launch of the British aid convoy “Lifeline” which will be led by British MP George Galloway heading to Gaza early in October.   via jpost.com

#Libyan aid #flotilla plans to leave for #GazaStrip http://is.gd/flKlZ #Jerusalem5
#Lifeline #GeorgeGalloway #Israel #Palestinian


Egypt reiterates: Galloway banned from Egyptian soil

September 20, 2010

In light of the “Viva Palestina 5” convoy that is heading towards Egypt, Hossam Zaki of the Egyptian Foreign Affairs ministry has emphasized that George Galloway is banned from entering Egypt under any circumstances.
He also said that Egypt does not allow land convoys to enter Gaza and restricts the number of people who can enter at one time. He stated that the goods must be unloaded at El Arish where the Egyptian Red Crescent takes over all issues of distribution of the goods.
The Viva Palestina people are not commenting on any of this in their webpage.


Florida Mosque Caught on Video Raising Money for Hamas Fundraiser George Galloway

August 30, 2010

Right Side News: BUSTED: Florida Mosque Caught on Video Raising Money for Hamas Fundraiser George Galloway

ORLANDO, FL, AUGUST 30, 2010: Investigative members of ACT Jacksonville & ACT Orlando led a video team into the Al Rahman Mosque in Orlando and taped at least $55,000 raised for former British Parliamentarian and admitted terrorist/HAMAS supporter – George Galloway.
Randy Mc Daniels, Director of ACT Jacksonville states that, “Galloway was fully supported in this federal crime by Imam Mahdi Bray, a national director with the Muslim American Society (MAS). Watch the video and you will be shocked!”


The Mosque, also known as the Islamic Society of Central Florida (ISCF), is led by Imam Mohammed Musri and owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). MAS and NAIT are co-conspirators in the largest terrorism funding case in US history (US vs. Holy Land Foundation).
More…

Moderates I guess