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The Daily TIP: Former Al Jazeera Bureau Chief: Qatar Used Network as a “Weapon Against its Neighbors”

Posted by Tip Staff - August 24, 2017

Former Al Jazeera Bureau Chief: Qatar Used Network as a “Weapon Against its Neighbors”
Argentinian Prosecutor: New Toxicology Report Suggests Alberto Nisman was Murdered
Photos Show Iran Flying Soldiers to Syria in Civilian Craft, Violating Nuclear Deal
Israeli Scientists Develop More Nutritious, Colorful Potatoes

Former Al Jazeera Bureau Chief: Qatar Used Network as a “Weapon Against its Neighbors”

A former Al Jazeera English bureau chief in Cairo has spoken out about the Qatari-owned network’s unethical methods, calling it a “weapon against its neighbors” and accusing it of endangering the “lives of journalists because of dealings with Hamas, [and] the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Mohamed Fahmy, who previously reported for the Los Angeles Times and CNN before being hired by Al Jazeera in September 2013, told The Jerusalem Post he first noticed that something was not right when he spent time in an Egyptian prison during the Arab Spring.

A group of Muslim Brotherhood inmates “described how they were involved in organizing protests and filming them, and a lot of their footage was being aired on Al Jazeera and that doesn’t represent citizen journalism,” Fahmy said, adding that the group of students was “banned and later designated as terrorists, and the network kept us journalists in the dark about it.”

“We were sent to [Tora] Scorpion Prison hell hole with ISIS members and Muslim Brotherhood and others,” Fahmy explained, speaking of how he and his colleagues were arrested on charges of conspiring with terrorists and operating without licenses, a result of Al Jazeera being “clearly biased to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

He added that “the network coordinated and took directives from Qatar’s government,” which put its journalists in harm’s way.

He rejected the accusation that, by trying to revoke Al Jazeera press credentials, Israel is violating press freedom. “They [Qatar] use the press,” Fahmy said, repeating his view that the network engages in “unethical journalism.”

Argentinian Prosecutor: New Toxicology Report Suggests Alberto Nisman was Murdered

A new toxicology report on the body of Alberto Nisman, the late Argentinian prosecutor, found that ketamine and clonazepam were in his blood at the time his death, Argentinian federal criminal prosecutor Ricardo Saenz announced Monday.

Nisman was investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires and accused then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman of covering up Iran’s role in the bombing through a memorandum of understanding with Tehran. Nisman was found dead in his apartment of a gunshot wound to his head hours before he was due to present his findings to a closed-door session of Congress.

While clonazepam is a tranquilizer, ketamine is an anesthetic that is often used by veterinarians on animals. According to Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, after the toxicology analysis was released, Saenz said (Spanish link) in a radio interview that “there is plenty of evidence in the case that indicates that it is a homicide,” he added that the discovery of ketamine “would be one more.”

Echoing Saenz's charge a Wall Street Journal editorial on Thursday observed that “it is highly unlikely Nisman would have voluntarily ingested such a drug." The Journal also raised the question of Iran’s involvement in Nisman’s death. This is not the first time that Iran’s connection to the death of the prosecutor was raised. In 2015, Christopher Dickey, foreign editor for The Daily Beast, raised the possibility that Nisman was murdered by the Islamic Republic, highlighting that Iran has a history of assassinating opposition figures and others who might harm their regime.

Photos Show Iran Flying Soldiers to Syria in Civilian Craft, Violating Nuclear Deal

Pictures have emerged of troops headed to Syria to fight in support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in planes marked with the insignia of Iran Air, Iran's national airline.

The pictures, Emanuele Ottolenghi wrote in an op-ed Tuesday in The Hill, present a challenge for President Donald Trump. The images show that Iran, by ferrying troops to fight on behalf of Assad, is violating United Nation Security Council resolution 2231, which implemented the nuclear deal, and prohibits Iran from transferring weapons to other nations or provide services that involve the use of arms.

After violating this term of resolution 2231, Trump, Ottolenghi explained, will have to consider whether to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal. The Corker-Cardin legislation mandates that to certify compliance, the Islamic Republic must be "transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement, including all related technical or additional agreements."

In addition, Ottolenghi wrote, because Iran violated international law by using a civilian airline to ferry troops to war, the United States should again sanction Iran Air, initially removed from the sanctions list as part of the deal.

Earlier this month, Iran claimed that newly imposed U.S. sanctions on a company involved in its ballistic missile program violated the nuclear deal. However, Ottolenghi wrote that the nuclear deal "only prohibits new sanctions on the Iranian nuclear enterprise."

In recent months, Iran has been criticized for violating and defying its obligations under resolution 2231 by shipping weapons to Syria and developing ballistic missiles.

Israeli Scientists Develop More Nutritious, Colorful Potatoes

Are you ready for violet-colored potatoes? How about orange tobacco? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how produce betalain pigments in plants and flowers that don’t normally have them.

If you’re thinking, “Who needs violet tomatoes?” you should know that red-violet and yellow betalain pigments contain healthful antioxidant properties. They’re also the basis for natural food dyes for products such as strawberry yogurt.

Antioxidant activity is 60 percent higher in betalain-producing tomatoes than in average ones, said Prof. Asaph Aharoni of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, who teamed up with Dr. Guy Polturak for the pigment research.

Betalain pigments also protect plants against gray mold, which annually causes crop losses worth billions of dollars. The Weizmann study showed that resistance to gray mold rose by 90% in plants engineered to make betalains.

The research was exact enough that scientists could turn the fruit of a tomato purple but leave the leaves their normal green.

The research may have benefits in the pharmaceutical industry too. When plants start manufacturing betalains, they convert the chemical tyrosine into an intermediate chemical called L-dopa, a starting point for making drugs such as morphine.

The research team included Noam Grossman, Yonghui Dong, Margarita Pliner and Ilana Rogachev of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department and Maggie Levy, David Vela-Corcia and Adi Nudel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

(via Israel21c)

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