In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
The Universal Lessons of Hajj
Millions of pilgrims from all over the world will be converging on Mecca in the coming days. They will retrace the footsteps of millions who have made the spiritual journey to the valley of Mecca since the time of Adam.
Hajj literally means, “to continuously strive to reach one’s goal.” It is the last of the five pillars of Islam (the others include a declaration of faith in one God, five daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan). Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey.
The Muslim Mary
If you are looking for the religious text with the most references to Mary, the mother of Jesus, look no further than the Koran, Jennifer Green writes.
Islam and Christianity revere Mary above all other women, a human divinely appointed to bear Jesus in a virgin birth. But the Koran mentions Mary 34 times, and names an entire chapter after her — more than she gets in the Bible, according to Cruden’s Complete Concordance. She is the only woman mentioned by name in the Koran, and some scholars say Muslims actually revere her more than Christians do.
Allahhu Akbar : Indonesian court clears Bashir
Indonesia’s supreme court has overturned the conviction on conspiracy charges in the 2002 Bali bombings against cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
The verdict effectively clears his name and is largely symbolic as he has already served his two-and-a-half year sentence.
Bashir has been accused by the US and other intelligence services of being a founding member of Jemaah Islamiyah, the regional terrorist group blamed for the Bali bombings and linked to al-Qaeda.
“I Don’t Think We Westerners Care About Muslims” – Robert Fisk Delivers Keynote Address at MPAC Convention
AMY GOODMAN: With more than 30 years of experience covering almost every major event in the Middle East, Robert Fisk was asked to give the keynote address in the evening. Robert Fisk’s latest book is called The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. He began his address by recalling one of his first experiences in the Middle East.
ROBERT FISK: Ladies and gentlemen, when I first went to the Middle East — on holiday from Belfast, of all places — 1972, I went to Egypt, and anxious to try and pick up a few first words of Arabic, I had the misfortune of purchasing a very old book produced by the British army in Egypt in the 19th century. I still recall the three principal clauses which you were advised to learn if you were an Englishman: “We shall board the steamship, for there is talk of war,” “Help,” and “Where is the British embassy?” And I can tell you, I never believed I would actually watch people say these things, as I had to in Lebanon this last summer. There were all the refugees, all the foreigners, boarding the steamships because there was a real war, all wanting help and all demanding to know the way to their national embassies. “So it has come to this,” I thought to myself.
Dictatorship : Who pays for the liberty you demand?
And prove to me, America, that you care
And prove to me, America, you’re aware
Who’s dying for your freedom in this land
Who pays the cost for the liberties you demand.
In case you missed it: Militarism and the American Empire
Distinguished social scientist and public intellectual Chalmers Johnson, joins host Harry Kreisler for a conversation on the nature of the American Empire and its costs and consequences for the future of American democracy and power in the world. Video
War Crime : Bush “Developing Illegal Bioterror Weapons” for Offensive Use
In violation of the US Code and international law, the Bush administration is spending more money (in inflation-adjusted dollars) to develop illegal, offensive germ warfare than the $2 billion spent in World War II on the Manhattan Project to make the atomic bomb.
War Criminal : The $2 Trillion Dollar War
When America invaded Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would turn a profit, paying for itself with increased oil revenues. So far, though, Congress has spent more than $350 billion on the conflict, including the $50 billion appropriated for 2007.
But according to one of the world’s leading economists, that is just a fraction of what Iraq will actually wind up costing American taxpayers. Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, estimates the true cost of the war at$2.267 trillion. That includes the government’s past and future spending for the war itself ($725 billion), health care and disability benefits for veterans ($127 billion), and hidden increases in defense spending ($160 billion). It also includes losses the economy will suffer from injured vets ($355 billion) and higher oil prices ($450 billion).
War Criminal : Who Will Pay For Haditha?
With charges expected to be filed Thursday against five to eight Marines accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005, it now appears that at least one senior officer will also be charged in the case.
The attorney for Capt. Lucas McConnell, who was not present at the alleged massacre but was the commander of the Marines under investigation, said Tuesday that his client had been informed that he will be charged with dereliction of duty.
War Crimes Report Advertised In The Military Times Newspapers
12/21/06 “Information Clearing House” — – “U.S. War Crimes in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability” is being advertised for the month of December in the classified sections of the weekly newspapers Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force Times, published by Military Times. The newspapers are distributed to all U.S. military bases around the world and are read by an estimated 1 million military people, according to a Military Times advertising representative.
U.S. Occupation Forces Squad Leader Charged in Killings Of 24 Iraqi Civilians
Squad leader charged in killings of 24 Iraqi civilians; More Marines expected to be charged
In case you missed it: Iraqi Girl tells of US Attack in Haditha
Ten-year-old Iman Walid witnessed the killing of seven members of her family in an attack by American marines last November. The interview with Iman was filmed exclusively for ITV News by Ali Hamdani,our Iraqi video diarist
Iraqi : All Tears Are Not Enough
All tears in the world are not enough to cry our dear Iraq, our dear brothers, relatives, friends and innocent Iraqis who have been killed for no reason just because they loved their country and wanted to stay loyal to its soil till the last breathe they have in this life.
Can any body explain to me what kind of a world we are living in now, a world that is watching and hearing every day that no less than 100 body found in Baghdad thrown in the trash and does not take a single step to stop that, in the contrary it has become a common piece of news and merely number written in the newspapers and thrown away, no one can feel the impact of that, only the Iraqi families who lose every day,a father, brother, son and relative.
Pentagon wants $99.7 billion more for Iraq, Afghanistan
The military’s request, if embraced by President George W. Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year’s budget for those wars to about $170 billion.
Iraqi pilgrims die at Saudi border
Saudi Arabia has agreed to admit more than a thousand Iraqi pilgrims stranded at the border, where four have died, after the Iraqi government appealed to the Saudi king, an Iraqi official said.
Navy vet says he was tortured by U.S. forces: Suit filed against Rumsfeld
A Navy veteran from Chicago says he was detained and tortured by U.S. forces in Baghdad without being charged. Twenty-nine-year-old Donald Vance was a private security employee in Baghdad at the time of his arrest.
Flouting the laws of war
DAVID Hicks has been accused of some ill-defined war crimes. But is he the victim of a policy promoted by the Australian Government that is itself a war crime?
Iraq: At least 39 killed as U.S. occupation grinds on
A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest killed 15 people and wounded 15 more when he blew himself up at a police recruitment centre in eastern Baghdad
Occupied Iraq: More than 111 killed on Wednesday
Iraqi police found 76 bodies around Baghdad, all with gunshot wounds and most with signs of torture, the Interior Ministry said.
Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Wednesday, 20 December 2006.
- US snipers shoot dead four Iraqi civilians, wound nine more after taking control of downtown ar-Ramadi Wednesday afternoon.
- Resistance blasts puppet police station in Hit Tuesday.
- Americans arrest residents in al-Karmah Tuesday night while their allies in the puppet “Iraqi National Guard” rob their houses.
- Resistance fighters hurl hand grenades at Iraqi puppet police in al-Fallujah Tuesday.
- Resistance blasts Iraqi puppet army headquarters in al-Fallujah at dawn Wednesday.
- Resistance bombards largest US base in al-Fallujah two times within 24 hours.
- Four US troops reported killed in Iraqi Resistance car bombing in Baghdad Wednesday; US admits six Americans killed in three bombings in the Iraqi capital.
- Resistance bomb destroys US intelligence vehicle on Airport Road in western Baghdad.
- Resistance ambush leaves two puppet “Shock Troops” dead on Baghdad’s al-Munazzamah Street midday Wednesday.
- Resistance sharpshooter kills puppet “Shock Troop” soldier at roadblock Wednesday morning.
- Car bomb kills four civilians in predominantly Sunni al-A’zamiyah district of Baghdad.
- Resistance bomb destroys US Humvee in al-Latifiyah Tuesday afternoon.
- US soldier reported killed by Resistance sharpshooter in al-Hawijah Wednesday morning.
- Heavy mortars pound US headquarters in al-Hawijah.
- Resistance bomb explodes under US column in at-Tarimiyah Wednesday.
- Resistance blasts pro-Iranian Jaysh al-Mahdi militia headquarters in Balad with mortars Wednesday noon.
- Resistance sharpshooter kills puppet “Iraqi National Guardsman” in Tikrit Wednesday morning.
- Resistance blasts puppet “Shock Troop” headquarters in al-Mada’in Tuesday night.
- Resistance bomb targets Iraqi puppet army column south of Kirkuk Wednesday.
- Resistance bomb blasts puppet police in Kirkuk Tuesday.
Apartheid in the Holy Land
12/21/06 “Guardian” — – In our struggle against apartheid, the great supporters were Jewish people. They almost instinctively had to be on the side of the disenfranchised, of the voiceless ones, fighting injustice, oppression and evil. I have continued to feel strongly with the Jews. I am patron of a Holocaust centre in South Africa. I believe Israel has a right to secure borders.
A Moral Judgment is Called For On Israel’s “Right to Exist”
Now that the Palestinian civil war long sought by Israel, the U.S. and the EU appears on the verge of breaking out, it may be timely to examine the justification put forward by Israel, the U.S. and the EU for their collective punishment of the Palestinian people in retaliation for their having made the “wrong” choice in last January’s democratic election — the refusal of Hamas to “recognize Israel” or to “recognize Israel’s existence” or to “recognize Israel’s right to exist”.
These three verbal formulations have been used by media, politicians and even diplomats interchangeably, as though they mean the same thing. They do not.
A Parrot Talking : Harper calls Hamas ‘genocidal’
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will not talk with the “genocidal” Islamic groups Hamas and Hezbollah even though he acknowledged that dialogue is the way to peace in the Middle East.
Nuclear Power a Threat to the World – Dirty Bombs Depleted Uranium and WMD
No other country in the Mid East has more weapons of mass destruction than the Israelis. And no other country in the world has escaped scrutiny of its nuclear arsenal as has Israel.Israeli nuclear power is a threat to the Mid East region and to the entire world – So is every other countries use of nuclear power – a threat to its neighbors – and to the entire world -The dangerous connection between nuclear research, nuclear power and nuclear weapons must be understood.
I have vigorously continued to fight the use of nuclear power since I was a high school student – Because the use of nuclear power is an unacceptable risk to the environment and to the human kind.In my perception the only solution is to stop the expansion of all nuclear power – and a shutdown of existing nuclear plants.
Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine
Jimmy Carter says his recent book is drawing knee-jerk accusations of anti-Israel bias. His newest book is “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” published last month.
The book describes the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine’s citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank. An enormous imprisonment wall is now under construction, snaking through what is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers. In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid. I have made it clear that the motivation is not racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis to confiscate and colonize choice sites in Palestine, and then to forcefully suppress any objections from the displaced citizens. Obviously, I condemn any acts of terrorism or violence against innocent civilians, and I present information about the terrible casualties on both sides.
The West is starving the Palestinians
The West is starving the Palestinians in order to overthrow the democratically elected government of Hamas.
Israel ‘poisoning the Palestinians’
“Analyses carried out in laboratories outside Palestine have shown that Israel has had recourse to banned chemical weapons and depleted uranium” in the territories, said environment minister Yussef Abu Sofia in Algiers
Secret Trial Detainee Mahmoud Jaballah’s Indefinite Detention Continues as Bail Hearing Suspended
Secret Trial Detainee Mahmoud Jaballah’s Indefinite Detention to Continue; Bail Process Suspended by Federal Court Decision That Upholds Law While Dismissing Justice; Jaballah No Longer Eligible for Bail For at Least Another Two Months as Hunger Strike Continues at Guantanamo Bay North Facility in Kingston, Ontario
U.S., British warships to head for gulf
The United States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran that would come as the United Nations debates possible sanctions against the country
Ahmadinejad derides Bush for baseless accusations against Iran
“It is 27 years that the US and Britain have stood against our nation to stop national progress but they failed.” Saddam’s defeat during eight years of imposed war (1980-1988) is a good example to the US hostility to Iranian nation, he pointed out.
Iran rejects Blair’s “hateful” criticism
Iran lambasted a call by Prime Minister Tony Blair for Middle Eastern countries to form an alliance against Tehran.
The problem is that he just doesn’t understand race
Tony Blair needs to stop lecturing and start listening when it comes to ethnic minorities. Here’s what he could say
The following is a draft of Tony Blair’s follow-up speech on multiculturalism – or what he might have said if he’d considered the matter more carefully.
Bar investigating lawyer with possible link to CIA
The Oregon State Bar plans to investigate a Portland attorney over his work for a shadowy company linked to allegations of CIA-sponsored torture.
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW