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General to stand in next Egyptian presidential election

Egyptian General Ahmed Shafik is likely to stand as a candidate in the next presidential election, the National Movement Party revealed on Friday. According to a report on website, he decided to stand having served and fought for the state for many years. The party pointed out that Shafik also stood in the presidential race after the 2011 January Revolution. “He is one of the most aware and knowledgeable people who recognises the meaning and value of the state and the country,” it explained. Shafik himself said that he would be “honoured” to make the formal announcement of his candidature in Egypt. “This would be at Cairo International Airport,” he added, “which witnessed the beginning of my involvement in […]

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Syrian parliament ousts its own chair

The Syrian parliament has ousted its Chair, Hadia Abbas, after she was accused of being undemocratic, media reports said on Thursday. In a country noted for the undemocratic nature of its government, it is said that she prevented MPs from discussing some issues. “The parliament session was held and Dr Hadia Abbas, the Chair of the parliament, prevented members from speaking,” said a statement from the institution. “She ignored the opinion of the majority regarding the discussion of certain articles.” Furthermore, it added, Abbas “ignored all the democratic rules and refused to accept objections on votes.” More than 160 MPs then called for the chair to be ousted. “A parliamentary session was held headed by the Deputy Chair, Najda Ismail […]

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Man Behind Trump “Dossier” Subpoenaed After Refusing To Testify, Will Plead The Fifth

For all the talk of obstruction and interference by the Trump camp, it’s neither Donald Trump Jr. nor Paul Manafort who are challenging their scheduled testimony in the Senate next Wednesday, but rather the man who according to many started the whole “Trump Russia collusion” narrative, who is doing everything in his power to avoid testifying next week.

FUSION GPS head Glenn Simpson won’t testify before Senate Judiciary next week, his rep attacks “partisan” hearing and vows to plead Fifth

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 21, 2017

On Friday, attorneys for Glenn Simpson, a former WSJ reporter who now runs the infamous Washington political intelligence firm Fusion GPS – best known for compiling the salacious “dossier” of unverified research about President Trump – told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter that their client was on vacation through July 31 and traveling abroad through August 3, and would be unavailable for next week’s hearing. Perhaps for writers of opposition research fiction, vacations take precedence over being summoned to Congress.

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson

As a reminder, Simpson’s Fusion GPS is the firm which hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, and his London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, to conduct opposition research on then presidential candidate Donald Trump, resulting in a 35-page dossier that was widely shared in political and media circles during and after the 2016 election. Steele and Orbis are currently being sued in the U.S. and U.K. by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive who says he was falsely accused in the dossier of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s email systems.

McClatchy News recently reported that Steele filed new documents in that lawsuit. In one, dated May 18, Steele says that he was instructed by Fusion GPS to meet with reporters at various outlets in order to publicize some of the allegations made in the dossier. It has been widely known that Fusion GPS and Steele were in contact with reporters to discuss the dossier. It has been reported that rumors of the dossier were floating around in Washington, D.C. political and journalist circles for months prior to BuzzFeed’s decision to publish it on Jan. 10.

Intelligence agencies made the existence of the dossier known to Trump in a January meeting. The dossier contains unverified, hyperbolic and in some cases, disproven, information about Trump’s activities and engagement with Russians. It served as a the basis for many of the ongoing allegations of Trump camp collusion with Russia.

Ex-British spy Christopher Steele was the author of the Trump Dossier, which Fusion

GPS put together as opposition research by Trump political opponents in 2016

In any case, Simpson’s attorneys asked that their client be excused from appearing, adding that allegations he had failed to register as a foreign agent were “nothing more than an effort to smear him.”  The lawyers also said that they were “profoundly disturbed” that the hearing had been expanded due to “partisan agendas” to include allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The letter also said they were prepared to fight a subpoena and invoke Mr. Simpson’s constitutional right not to give testimony if compelled to appear.

According to the WSJ, the letter explaining Simpson’s refusal to appear cites his obligations to keep his client information confidential and his First Amendment right under the Constitution to engage in political speech and political activity, as well as his Fifth Amendment reight to refuse self-incriminating testimony, also known as the “I admit I am guilty” option.

His gambit did not work however, and late on Friday the Committee issued a subpoena to compel Simpson to testify next Wednesday.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and the committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, in a joint statement said: “Glenn Simpson, through his attorney, has declined to voluntarily attend Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing regarding compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Therefore, a subpoena has been issued to compel his attendance. Simpson’s attorney has asserted that his client will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to the subpoena.

Yet while the vacation-challenged Simpson is afraid of revealing the true identity of his “client(s)” who commission the Trump smear piece, also on Wednesday appearing in the Senate will be Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, along with Russia sanctions activist and businessman Bill Browder. The Judiciary Committee said Messrs. Trump Jr. and Manafort are providing documents to the committee and are still negotiating the terms of their testimonies.

As the WSJ adds, in addition to the dossier compiled on Trump, Grassley has alleged that Simpson’s firm has worked with a Russian-American lobbyist on a campaign against a package of Russian sanctions that was being considered by Congress. That lobbyist was present in a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 with the younger Mr. Trump. Grassley has raised questions about whether Simpson’s firm should have registered as a foreign agent for its work on the Russia sanctions.

And while Simpson’s attorney called those questions and allegations “nothing more than an effort to smear him and his firm”, many are curious to find out just who it was that worked with Fusion GPS to launch the narrative that Trump’s victory in the elections was the result of Kremlin interference.

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Even as piracy moves from the sea to the media, Arab consciousness will not be decreased

The diplomatic curtains parted recently to reveal the source of the hacking that ignited the current Gulf crisis and led to the air, land and sea blockade of a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Qatar. An FBI investigation in the US has demonstrated the UAE’s involvement in the hacking of the Qatari News Agency and falsification of statements attributed to the Emir of Qatar. The terms used to describe the operation revolve around internet piracy and infiltration, both of which indicate aggression within the framework of military operations carried out by one state against another. Infiltration is the violation of sovereign territory by illegal means, usually in order to undermine a state and achieve hostile objectives. It is a […]

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Israeli measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque ‘damage tolerance’, insists Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday that the “radical” Israeli measures at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque are provocative, noting they damage “tolerance” between civilisations and religions, it has been reported. After performing his Friday prayer in Istanbul, Yildirim told reporters that Israeli restrictions on access to the Noble Sanctuary would not solve any problems. “Implementing these measures is wrong,” he insisted. “Taking such radical measures over a [perceived] terror threat, blocking or restricting Muslims’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, will not contribute to solving any problems.” The prime minister pointed out that the issue of Al-Aqsa Mosque is sensitive to all Muslims all over the world. “I hope that in the near future everything will return to normal,” […]

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Syrian regime sentences Al-Jazeera presenter to death in absentia

The regime in Syria has sentenced to death in absentia a presenter at Al-Jazeera TV, reported on Friday. Faisal Al-Qasim is adjudged to have “taken part in bloodshed” in Syria, a local source said. According to Tayseer Al-Samadi, an aide of the Syrian Justice Minister, the “death sentence was issued against him [Al-Qasim] in case he is captured.” He also revealed that other complaints were filed against the mass media which are alleged to have contributed to the bloodshed of the Syrians and spread sedition. “These include Al-Jazeera.” The official stressed that the complaints did not just call for Al-Jazeera to be closed down, but also for it to pay compensation. This is not the first time that punitive […]

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‘You belong here,’ Germany tells Turks as row with Ankara rages

Germany sought on Saturday to reassure the country’s three million people of Turkish descent it would stand by them as a political row with Ankara escalates, saying they were not the target of changes to government policy on Turkey. In a letter published in German and Turkish on Saturday in daily newspaper Bild, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Germany had no quarrel with Turkish people in either country but could not stand by as “innocent” German citizens were jailed. On Friday German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble compared Turkey’s detention of six rights activists, including a German, to the authoritarian former communist East Germany. “However difficult the political relations between Germany and Turkey, one thing is clear: you, people of Turkish […]

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Four German women who joined Daesh detained in Iraq

Four German women, including a 16-year-old girl, who joined Daesh in recent years are being held in an Iraqi prison and receiving consular assistance, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday. It said diplomats had visited the four in a prison at the airport in Baghdad on Thursday and they were doing well given the circumstances. They could face the death penalty in Iraq for belonging to the militant group, the magazine added. It said Iraqi authorities had given Germany a list with the women’s names at the beginning of the week, identifying the teenager only as Linda W. from the small town of Pulsnitz near the eastern city of Dresden. Germany’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report. German […]

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Arabs are too busy with in-fighting, says Al-Aqsa imam

The veteran Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque and former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, said on Friday that the Arab states are too busy fighting each other to worry about the Noble Sanctuary, has reported. Speaking during the Friday sermon, Sheikh Sabri said that the Israeli occupation authorities had placed the electronic metal detectors at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to test the will of the Arab world. He explained: It is not a test for us because our stance, as Jerusalemites, is very clear…but it is a test for the will of the Arab states who are diplomatically weak due to their fighting against each other. Sabri was hit by two rubber-coated bullets fired by Israel’s security […]