Muslim in Suffer

Bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem. Assalamu\’alaikum Warohmatullahi Wabarokatuh!

Archive for July 31st, 2007

European Hypocrisy: A Palestinian View

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

European Hypocrisy: A Palestinian View

Saifedean Ammous, Rootless Cosmopolitan

July 30, 2007

It is with great pleasure that I welcome back Saifedean Ammous, one of my favorite Rootless Cosmopolitan readers and correspondents ­ he really is a far better political analyst than he is at predicting football results! Saifedean, currently completing a Ph. D. at Columbia, hails from Palestine and is a passionate and eloquent advocate of its national cause, known for skewering the logic of its foes. Read more of his work at his own site, The Saif House.

While in Paris a few weeks ago, whenever I would discuss Middle East politics with anyone, I would be overwhelmed with the traditional refrains of classical anti-Americanism: “they have no culture and deal with the world as if it had no culture”, “they have no morality in their foreign policy”, “they go to war for oil and money” and so on with inane over-simplified stereotypes. Soon after would come the cackle of self-righteous pride: “we Europeans are different”, “we want our foreign policy based on a concept of morality”, “we attempt to promote justice in the world and fix up the mess left behind by the Americans”. I would then usually be told something about all the aid that Europeans give to Palestinians as proof of the decency of Europeans as opposed to the rabidly Zionist Americans who give billions to fund Israel’s murderous army.

Would that this were true.

Europe’s policy with regard to Palestine/Israel is so racist, short-sighted, counter-productive and hypocritical that it could almost pass for American policy.

When looking at the current situation in Palestine, an observer will find an illegal Israeli occupation that has been festering for 40 years, combined with illegal ethnically-exclusive colonies built on stolen Palestinian land, and the world’s only ethnically-segregated road network, where many routes can only be accessed by Jews. An internationally-illegal apartheid barrier surrounds Palestinian towns and villages, not only cutting them off from one another, but also cutting off farmers from their lands, children from their schools, patients from their hospitals and workers from their jobs. Israel controls all of the Palestinians’ openings to the outside world, stifling not only Palestinians’ freedom of movement, but also their economy and trade. One of the world’s strongest armies, the IDF, is regularly unleashed on civilian populations in Palestine, murdering thousands and killing innocent children with complete impunity. The Israeli government has as its Deputy Prime Minister an unabashed Fascist who openly and regularly calls for ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Arabs as a solution to the conflict. Israel continues to deny millions of Palestinians their legal right to return to their own homes from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948, restricts land-ownership to Jews only, and has discriminatory racist laws in countless areas from marriage to immigration.

In the face of this travesty of justice, what is the only thing that the Europeans do? Demand that the oppressed, the Palestinians, only elect political parties that “recognize Israel’s right to exist” as a precondition for sitting on one table and discussing what to do about all these travesties.

Let us first bear in mind that the idea of Hamas­or any Palestinian political party for that matter­recognizing Israel’s “right to exist” is a patently meaningless idea that makes as much sense as Manchester United Football Club recognizing Tanzania’s “right to exist”. Nowhere is it written that nation states have a “right to exist” themselves. What is meant by “recognition” in an international setting is what happens when countries exchange embassies and establish diplomatic relations. Nowhere but in Palestine has the idea of a non-state entity recognizing a state ever been seriously discussed. Further, the imbeciles who repeat this canard conveniently ignore that Israel is not merely “not recognizing Palestine’s right to exist”, but actively, deliberately and comprehensively destroying any chance of a Palestinian state ever existing. But, for the morally-superior Europeans, Hamas’ “recognition” of Israel is the thing that bothers them the most about Palestine/Israel today, and not all of the crimes listed above. The kicker, of course, is not just that this is a morally and logically absurd position, but that Israel’s actions are the root of the conflict, and not whether Hamas recognizes Israel. This recognition won’t change anything on the ground and won’t affect the lives of anyone in any way, but the walls, settlements, killings, checkpoints and Israel’s racist policies will. Only when these are ended can there be peace, regardless of what Hamas “recognizes” or declines to “recognize.”

All of the aforementioned crimes by Israel constitute clear violations of the EU Neighborhood Policy terms under which EU neighbors get preferential access to EU markets and a slew of other benefits and perks. The EU regularly uses its economic and diplomatic influence to try and get countries to desist from carrying out racist policies: it makes trade deals dependent on improvements in human, labor and minority rights; it has made Turkey’s accession to the EU dependent on Turkey’s human rights record, and has stopped Austria from bringing Jorg Haider into the government. Far from taking any action to try to pressure Israel to stop some of its crimes in Palestine, the EU has cowardly chosen a policy of rewarding their transgressions with more carrots, and Israel continues to enjoy extremely generous benefits from its relationship with European countries, even being sold arms by many of them.

The tragic aspect of Europe’s policy with regard to Palestine today is not just that is practically indistinguishable from the policy of the US, but that it comes bundled with great self-righteousness and an unshakable belief that it is not only the correct policy, but is also vastly morally superior to anything anyone else is doing. The financial aid provided by Europe is the major rationale supporting this smugness.

As the Europeans continue to do nothing to stop Israel from destroying the livelihood of the Palestinian people, they take out their checkbooks and assuage their conscience by providing money to the Palestinians. Before the election of Hamas, this money went to prop-up the increasingly unpopular Palestinian Authority in order to guarantee its survival and a continuation of the painful status quo. After Hamas’s election, they tried to surpass the PA by sending money through increasingly complex, inefficient, and often counter-productive mechanisms.

Here is a small microcosm of how this madness works: A Palestinian town has a wall built surrounding it from all sides, making it impossible for previously prosperous farmers to access their land, patients to reach their doctors and children to reach their schools. Naturally, the town is devastated. That’s when Europeans send in their conscience-assuaging, smugness-propping aid “experts” to “save” the town, in the process relieving Israel from having to deal with the consequences of its crimes. They provide the farmers with food instead of the food they could have produced themselves, and proceed with projects to teach Palestinians “alternative industries”, “new business models”, “good local governance”, “participatory development”, “creative educational techniques” and countless other meaningless prattle that the Palestinians would gladly give up for having the wall removed, an independent state and some sense of normalcy bestowed on their lives. Naturally, these projects have a short shelf-life; the funding soon dries up, the “experts” leave, but the apartheid wall remains, the livelihood of a whole town is devastated, and the mirage of Palestinian independence is even more distant. And worst of all: the next time an unfortunate Palestinian like myself visits Paris, they will be bombarded with self-righteous recitation of countless such micro projects, and expected to bow in deference of the mighty superiority of European morality.

This combination of criminal politics combined with generous futile charity is what Ann Le More brilliantly dissected in her appropriately entitled paper: Killing with Kindness: Funding the Demise of a Palestinian State.

High percentages of European citizens have a good understanding of the conflict and would like to see a better policy and a just solution. Countless Europeans spend a lot of time and money in helping Palestinians, many volunteering to travel there to protect Palestinians and protest and document the occupation. These brave souls are some of my personal heroes. There are many sincere and honest European politicians who have opposed these policies. I do not doubt the sincerity of many of those who genuinely want to improve the lives of Palestinians, and am personally very grateful to them. But a combination of indifference on the part of many and malice on the part of the leaders kow-towing to the US produces this criminal policy, and donates a lot of aid to try to appease those who care. Europeans have to recognize that the only way things will improve is not through charity, but proper, principled and sustained political action.

True, Europe has shown some principled and humanist action in their foreign policy in many countries. They may give more aid, send more peacekeepers and broker more peace deals than the Americans, and they have certainly improved a lot in the way they deal with the world over the last few decades. But whatever Europe does, its complicity in the abhorrent oppression of Palestinians will remain to blight any claims it has to moral authority. After all, you are only as moral as your least moral action.

source:
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m34919&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Fatah in disarray over Gaza probe

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Fatah in disarray over Gaza probe

Khalid Amayreh , Palestine-info

Occupied East Jerusalem, July 30, 2007

Fatah leaders have been trading accusations over responsibilities for the group’s mid-June defeat in Gaza at the hands of the Hamas resistance movement.

Earlier this week, a committee appointed by Fatah’s PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to investigate Hamas’s takeover in Gaza issued a report indicting dozens of Fatah officers from the various Palestinian security agencies.

The report also concluded that the security agencies suffered “serious structural problems” and were beset by chronic flaws, including lack of professionalism, nepotism, favoritism and cronyism in addition to other forms of corruption.

Parts of the report faulting high-ranking Fatah leaders such as former Gaza strongman Muhammed Dahlan and his aide Rashid Abu Shbak will remain secret for the time being, according to Fatah sources.

However, the conclusions and recommendations issued by the investigating committee, headed by Tayeb Abdul Rahim, have already been castigated by several Fatah leaders, including Samir Masharawi, a former aide to Dahlan and a prominent Fatah leader in the Gaza Strip.

Masharawi, who fled to Ramallah along with dozens of pro-Dahlan officers after Hamas took over Gaza , called the committee report “preposterous and unfair.”

He pointed out that a week prior to Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas instructed seven high-ranking Fatah leaders to travel to Gaza and to lead the movement, in light of the deteriorating circumstances there.

“He gave them the authority, telling them you are authorized to do whatever you consider necessary to bolster Fatah. You claim that Dahlan is the problem. Now Dahlan is not there, take care of the problem.”

Masharawi said that none of the seven people instructed to travel to Gaza came to Gaza for unknown reasons.

“Two of the committee members, Tayeb Abdul Rahim and Rawhi Fattouh agreed to travel to Gaza immediately. The other five found all sorts of excuses not to do so. In the end, none of the seven came to Gaza. How is it that a committee investigating the failure of Fatah didn’t find them responsible?”

Another Fatah leader in the southern part of the West Bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, apparently because he is worried that his views may not be popular among Fatah circles, said the problem within Fatah “goes beyond Dahlan and Masharawi and Abu Shbak.”

“The problem lies squarely with Abu Mazen. It was Abu Mazen who instructed Dahlan to liaise with the Americans, to collaborate with the CIA, to do all the dirty work he did and was planning to do.”

The Fatah leader accused Abbas of “trying to undermine and destroy all the ideals of Yasser Arafat by converting the entire Fatah organization into a mercenary group in the service of the CIA and some specific Arab regimes.”

Veteran Fatah leader and former Chief of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank , Jebril Rajoub, tacitly supported these views, calling the Dahlan network in Gaza a “for-hire intelligence operation” which he said “was active around the Middle East and provided information to the Americans, the British and others.”

Hamas officials in Gaza have revealed that they possess “thousands of damning” documents indicting Dahlan and his cohorts for working for the CIA and spying on Islamic movements and a number of Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

A Hamas intelligence official, Khalil al Hayya, was quoted on Monday as saying that the CIA utilized Palestinian agents for covert intelligence operations in other Middle Eastern countries. Hamas, he said, now possesses a roadmap detailing the names and actions of “those they thought were going to be their hand across the region.”

source:
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m34925&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Exclusive: For Alberto Gonzales, a Decade of Scandals, with a Child Molestation Cover-Up to Boot

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Exclusive: For Alberto Gonzales, a Decade of Scandals, with a Child Molestation Cover-Up to Boot

 

Gonzales Helped Bush Hide His Drunk Driving Conviction


Mike Swenson | Real Inside News

July 30, 2007

[]

The Washington Post released an article today that detail the various scandals Attorney General Gonzales has been involved in over the past decade.

According to the article, back in 1996, Gonzales “intervened to prevent then-Gov. Bush from serving jury duty in a drunken driving case in Texas…by not serving jury duty, Bush was able to keep his own drunken driving conviction a secret for several more years.” If Bush had served on the jury, according to an article on Raw Story, Bush would have been forced to reveal his drunken driving conviction.

In regards to President Bush’s warrant-less wiretapping program, the Washington Post article outlines Gonzales’ heavily disputed testimony involving the program, which had led four senators to request a special prosecutor’s investigation, and his involvement in last year’s dismissal of nine US Attorneys.

“It’s obvious that Gonzales owes Bush his career,” Schott said. “Part of his behavior comes from this gratitude and extreme loyalty to Bush.”, according to the article.

One scandal that was not noted by this article, and has routinely been ignored by the mainstream media in general, was the sex scandal cover-up Attorney General Goznales was involved in during his days as part of general counsel in Texas under George W. Bush.

In an article released by Dr. Jerome Corsi of WorldNet Daily News back in March, Gonzales was accused of failing to prosecute members of the Texas Youth Commission “after a Texas Ranger investigation documented that guards and administrators were sexually abusing the institution’s teenage boy inmates….among the charges in the Texas Ranger report were that administrators would rouse boys from their sleep for the purpose of conducting all-night sex parties.”

According to Corsi’s article, ” a criminal investigation was conducted in 2005 by Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski. The investigation revealed key employees at the West Texas State School in Pyote, Texas, were systematically abusing youth inmates in their custody….Burzynski presented his findings to the attorney general (Gonzales) in Texas, to the U.S. Attorney Sutton, and to the Department of Justice civil rights division. From all three, Burzynski received no interest in prosecuting the alleged sexual offenses.”

In an article posted on Wired.com last week, “Gonzales, speaking to police and prosecutors in Illinois this week, called on them to get “extremely graphic” in discussing internet child porn to get the public’s attention. According to this account, Gonzales repeatedly stressed the need to give the public more lurid accounts of what officers have seen.”

These disturbing findings by Dr. Corsi and Wired Magazine detail an even more disturbing picture of an Attorney General already embroiled in controversy. Further, it is clear that the mainstream media has continued to ignore this issue and will continue to do so as long as Gonzales remains by Bush’s side.

source:
http://www.realinsidenews.com/governmentnews007.html

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Reclaiming Palestine

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Reclaiming Palestine

Osamah Khalil, The Electronic Intifada

plo-khalil.jpg

In Gaza City, a member of Hamas’ Executive Forces stands in front of a mural of the late leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat. In 1993 Arafat signed the Oslo Accords that created the Palestinian Authority (PA). Now, especially after Fatah’s deposing of the democratically elected Hamas government, the PA is said to no longer be a body that represents the Palestinian people and only through a reviving of the PLO will Palestinians around the world once again have a sole representative organization to speak on their behalf. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

July 30, 2007

Today, Palestine and the Palestinians are divided as never before. The West Bank and Gaza are geographically and politically separated, and Israel’s Apartheid Wall is carving the West Bank into isolated cantons. These divisions are exacerbated by the political rift between Fatah and Hamas and the specter of civil war. Meanwhile, stateless Palestinian refugees are largely disconnected from their brethren in Palestine and the Diaspora, as well as from any semblance of a representative national movement. Another far more intangible factor, has been the impact on the Palestinian psyche not just of 41 years of a brutal occupation, but of assisting in their own oppression since the Oslo Accords were signed. This environment does not create states or peace, it perpetuates personal and societal devastation. Thus begging the question: what can be done to reverse this trend toward permanent dislocation? By concentrating on dissolving the Palestinian Authority (PA) and reviving the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinians, and all those sympathetic to their cause, can take advantage of a window of opportunity that currently exists to reclaim their national movement.

The PA currently represents Washington and Israel’s most vulnerable ally in their shared vision for reshaping the Middle East. With a “caretaker government” populated by a coalition of bland unelected technocrats and led by a president who long ago chose the United States and Israel over his own people, the PA is no longer a viable political entity for Palestinians. For Israel, however, it is essential because it maintains the facade of Palestinian civil rule, from which it derives extensive political and economic benefits. From a public relations perspective, the existence of the PA has allowed supporters of Israel to claim that there is no occupation, that these territories are “disputed” or the more extreme statement that the Palestinians already have their own “dysfunctional state and government.” This situation has also served to confuse the basic facts of the conflict, leading some misguided observers to believe that there are two states whose armies are at war, rather than one state, Israel, occupying an entire people on their own land.

By outsourcing civil services to the PA, Israel has been able to free itself from the burdens of providing an Israeli staff for the top bureaucratic positions, as it did from 1967 to 1994. Moreover, because it is still collecting tax revenues for the PA, one of many myopic provisions of the Oslo Accords, and withholding them when and for as long as they see fit, Palestinian civil service employees are compensated intermittently, if at all. The fanfare surrounding Israel’s recent release of $120 million dollars in an attempt to bolster President Mahmoud Abbas, largely ignored that this was a fraction of the $500 to $700 million owed. Israel claims that it continues to withhold money due to PA debts, including for water and power services. Due to another short-sighted arrangement under Oslo, Palestinians have the privilege of paying more for inconsistent and inadequate utility services than either Israeli citizens or Israeli settlers in the occupied territories. Moreover, Israel’s political and military policies prevent the establishment of efficient and independent utility services for the Palestinians. Indeed, Israel’s monopoly over these services is more than just a deliberate policy of “de-development,” as Harvard scholar Sara Roy has demonstrated; it ensures a perpetual state of dependence and occupation, to which the PA is an active participant.

The PA will not dissolve itself. Without pressure from the entire Palestinian community, inside and outside of the occupied territories, the political hacks and their entourage of sycophants that populate the PA leadership will not relinquish power. Their careers and personal fortunes, skimmed from the public coffers, are dependent upon their continued rule. Success requires that this effort be led by Palestinians living in the occupied territories across all levels of society. They elected both Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas in free and fair elections, and they must declare that they no longer have confidence in the body that purports to represent them. As past attempts have demonstrated, this must be a broad-based effort, not just limited to an elite clique of intellectuals or an isolated group of committed grass-roots activists. This will require “rank and file” members of Fatah to acknowledge that their leadership has failed them and the Palestinian people. Similarly, the Hamas leadership must reiterate its commitment to national unity and to join a larger movement whose goal is an independent Palestinian state. While those Palestinians who have advocated for a “third way” now have an opportunity to be part of a broader coalition which will help them achieve the political goals they have advocated. At the grassroots level, this process must be supported by the different trade unions and federations in the territories, whose membership comprises a broad swath of the Palestinian public that has arguably suffered the most from the brutality of the Israeli occupation and the corruption and incompetence of the PA. Similarly, the civil servants of the PA who have attempted to serve their people honorably must also recognize that the leadership has not done the same. Obtaining participation by all these groups will not be easy, but it is essential. National unity is the only path to success, factionalism and petty fiefdoms will result in failure.

These efforts can, and must, be supported by Palestinians in the Diaspora. Those who believe in the need for national unity should begin organizing at the local and national levels to withdraw the political, financial, and moral support for the PA and its leadership. This support must be redirected toward those individuals and groups in the West Bank and Gaza organizing against the PA. Roughly 160,000 Palestinians are currently employed by the PA, but they represent over 750,000 Palestinians due to extended family networks, and mechanisms must be developed to support them financially. Palestinian professional and intellectual groups outside the territories must coordinate and unite with their counterparts inside Palestine to declare as publicly and widely as possible, in Arabic and English, that the PA must be disbanded. This declaration should be expanded by boycotting officials and institutions associated with the PA, including diplomatic fronts like the American Task Force on Palestine, a group that boasts among its slim record of “achievements,” sponsoring polo matches and hosting a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. At the very minimum, all Palestinians who live in countries with a PA mission should contact it and demand that the PA leadership resign, the PA be dissolved and new elections to the Palestine National Council (PNC) be held. Silence is no longer an option; it provides a leadership that has lost its legitimacy with security and consent and further enables the occupation.

In conjunction with these efforts, a delegation of former PLO officials who resigned after Oslo must meet with the remaining current leadership untainted by the PA. It is imperative that these current PLO officials live up to the duties of their office and reaffirm their commitment to the national movement by helping to organize new elections to the PNC. Similarly, negotiations must be held with key Hamas leaders, inside and outside the occupied territories, to formally bring the organization into the PLO so they can participate in the PNC elections. If the current officials refuse to act, then they must be pressured to step aside. This is a time for leaders, not divas.

However, Palestinians can expect that any attempt to reassert control over their representative institutions will be resisted by the United States and Israel with assistance from the European Union and conservative Arab regimes. This will include promoting alternative organizations and leaderships, as well as rebranding a revived PLO as a “terrorist organization,” regardless of its political strategies and policies. Yet, this cannot be a deterrent or an excuse for non-action. Palestinians have faced these obstacles before and must do so again if they have any hope of ending Israel’s occupation, realizing the right of return, and achieving an independent state.

What has been proposed above is not a comprehensive strategy or a blueprint, it is a starting point for a discussion in which all Palestinians must engage and contribute. Nor are these suggestions novel or revolutionary. For ten years until his death, Edward Said wrote and spoke eloquently and passionately about the depravity of the PA and the need for a new representative body free of the machinations of Yasser Arafat and his coterie. If you agreed with him then, his words are even more relevant today. Even those who dismissed his contentions as ivory tower griping must now acknowledge that his analysis was prescient. The PA is not the future of Palestinian self-government but an abortion masquerading as one. In the name of all those who have sacrificed their lives for freedom and justice in Palestine, it is imperative that Palestinians act now.

Osamah Khalil is a Palestinian-American doctoral candidate in US and Middle East history at the University of California, Berkeley, focusing on US foreign policy in the Middle East. He can be reached at okhalil at berkeley.edu.

source:
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m34918&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Taliban kill up to 13 private security guards in ambush

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Taliban kill up to 13 private security guards in ambush

The Associated Press

Published: July 30, 2007

KABUL, Afghanistan: Taliban militants ambushed a convoy of private security guards on a dangerous highway south of the capital, and officials said Monday up to 13 guards were killed.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said the ambush was against civilians, but Afghan officials said the attack came against private security guards on the Kabul-Kandahar highway Sunday, the same roadway 23 South Koreans were kidnapped from on July 19.

The Taliban attack Sunday sparked a three-hour gunbattle and resulted in the deaths of 13 private security guards and five Taliban militants, said Jailani Khan, the commander of highway police in Zabul province.

Gulabshah Alikhail, the governor’s spokesman, said seven guards were killed and five wounded, while an Interior Ministry statement said 10 private guards were killed.

NATO’s ISAF reported that Romanian soldiers came upon a civilian convoy ambushed by the Taliban and that 12 civilians were killed and eight wounded.

source:
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/07/30/asia/AS-GEN-Afghan-Violence.php

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Bush Lied to a Group of 50 High School Student : It’s not torture, it’s sex

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Bush Lied to a Group of 50 High School Student

It’s not torture, it’s sex

By By A.S. Hamrah

July 30, 2007

When a group of 50 high school students visiting the White House in June handed President Bush a letter urging him to stop the torture of suspected terrorists, the president took their letter, read it, then told the students that “the United States does not torture.”

By the time a president has alienated even high school overachievers, the cat is out of the bag; it is now general knowledge that the United States of America tortures people. We know that torture rarely if ever works. So what are government officials getting out of it?

Right before his recent colonoscopy, Bush announced that he had issued an executive order banning cruel and inhumane treatment in interrogations of suspected terrorists. This clarified interrogation guidelines he had issued last fall banning techniques that “shock the conscience.” While the guidelines appear to be a step toward more concrete protection of human rights, the administration’s constant rejiggering of the border between interrogation and torture reveals something else: a Sadean interest in the refinement of torture, a desire to define what is and is not “beyond the bounds of human decency,” as the order puts it.

The claim that there is an element of sexual perversity in the government’s interest in prisoner abuse may seem broad, but consider how officials discuss it. And when it comes to pictures documenting torture, they react in ways that should be as interesting to psychoanalysts as they are to constitutional lawyers, civil libertarians or investigative reporters.

In April, former CIA Director George Tenet appeared on “60 Minutes,” telling interviewer Scott Pelley — between swigs from a tiny bottle of Evian and his insistent, repetitive bark that “we don’t torture people” — that the reason he has never personally seen the evidence of the interrogation techniques he refuses to talk about is because he is “not a voyeur.”

Tenet’s reference to voyeurism — which the dictionary defines as “the practice of obtaining sexual gratification by looking at sexual objects or acts, especially secretly” — would seem to imply that these unmentionable techniques are sexual in nature and therefore inappropriate. But Tenet can never know if that’s the case because he, not being a voyeur, claims never to have seen them. So why bring up voyeurism at all?

A quote from an unidentified lieutenant general in Seymour Hersh’s article, “The General’s Report,” in the June 25 issue of the New Yorker exposes a similar unwillingness to confront scenes of torture. “I don’t want to get involved by looking” at photographs and videos of torture, the officer told Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba during the torture investigation at Abu Ghraib, “because what do you do with that information, once you know what they show?”

When babies cover their eyes, they assume the world has disappeared because they can’t see it; they think they’re invisible too and that the world can’t see them. Donald Rumsfeld, in Hersh’s article, comes off like an innocent child rubbing his eyes and waking in a world he never made. “My God! Did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy’s head and telling him all his buddies knew he was a homosexual?” asks the former Defense secretary. Heck, was it all just a dream?

Maybe the reason members of the Bush administration are reluctant to look at evidence of torture is that if they did, they would be forced to admit that, for them, what happened at Abu Ghraib really wasn’t torture. For them, evidently, it was sex, and that’s why they won’t watch.

It’s not like government officials have never come right out and said that. In 2004, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) bridged the gap between the painful and the erotic by dismissing the Abu Ghraib abuses as a mere “sex ring”: “I’ve seen what happened at Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture. It was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops who were involved in a sex ring.” When asked to clarify, Shays backtracked and dug himself in deeper at the same time. “It was torture because sexual abuse is torture

This is more about pornography than torture.”

Last winter, when an Australian TV network released photos and videos from Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, speaking for the coalition forces, called the report “unnecessarily provocative.” He didn’t say the images were wrong or criminal.

Instead of just banning torture outright, as the high school students asked him to do, Bush’s new executive order, which purports to be an “interpretation of the Geneva Convention Common Article 3,” reduces torture to a series of deviant acts. It dwells on “sexually indecent acts undertaken for the purpose of humiliation, forcing the individual to perform sexual acts or to pose sexually, threatening the individual with sexual mutilation.”

It’s the exact kind of list you’d expect to find from the kind of people who go on TV and announce to the public that they’re not voyeurs. Now that they’ve defined torture so carefully, it should be much easier for them not to look at it.

A.S. Hamrah is a writer and brand analyst living in Brooklyn, N.Y.

source:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-hamrah30jul30,0,1775266.story?coll=la-tot-opinion&track=ntothtml

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Corruption ‘mars Iraq rebuilding’

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Corruption ‘mars Iraq rebuilding’

[]
Construction site in Iraq
Reports of widespread fraud and waste of funds in Iraq

The US agency overseeing reconstruction in Iraq has told the BBC that economic mismanagement and corruption there are equivalent to “a second insurgency”.

The chief auditor assigned by Congress, Stuart Bowen, said the Iraqi government was failing to take responsibility for projects worth billions of dollars.

Mr Bowen also said his agency was investigating more than 50 fraud cases.

Meanwhile, nearly a third of Iraq’s population is in need of emergency aid, a report by Oxfam and Iraqi NGOs says.

See graph showing humanitarian aid to Iraq

The report said the Iraqi government was failing to provide basic essentials such as water, food, sanitation and shelter for up to eight million people.

It warned that the continuing violence was masking a humanitarian crisis that had escalated since the US-led invasion in 2003.

On Monday, six people were killed and at least 12 injured in a car bomb attack in Baghdad. The US military also announced the deaths of three of its soldiers in the western province of Anbar.

‘Troubling’

US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen was appointed to audit $44bn (£22bn) allocated since 2003, after reports of widespread fraud and waste.

The agency publishes quarterly reports on the situation, most of which have complained about a serious lack of progress. Monday’s report was no different.

[]
Iraqis try to get the attention of a US soldier giving out boxe
[] Millions of Iraqis have been forced to flee the violence, either to another part of Iraq or abroad – many of those are living in dire poverty [], Jeremy Hobbs – Director of Oxfam International

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Bowen said corruption was endemic and described it as “an enemy of democracy”.

He added: “We have performed 95 audits that have found instances of programmatic weakness and waste, and we’ve got 57 ongoing cases right now, criminal cases, looking at fraud.”

Mr Bowen said the transfer of projects to Iraqi government control was “troubling”, and expressed concern about delays and cost overruns.

The report gave the example of the Doura power station, rebuilt with tens of millions of US dollars, which fell into disrepair once it was transferred to Iraqi control.

Mr Bowen also said Iraqi ministries were struggling to administer funds.

Last year, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s government only spent 22% of its budget on vital rebuilding projects, while spending 99% of the allocation for salaries, he said.

He said “a pathway towards potential prosperity” could be found only if oil production was brought up to optimal levels, and security and corruption effectively managed.

‘Ruined by war’

The Iraqi parliament has now adjourned until 4 September, despite US calls for it to remain in session and pass already-delayed legislation.

The recess means parliament will reconvene just days before America’s top commander in Iraq, Army Gen David Petraeus, reports to Congress on the US troop “surge” strategy.

His assessment will likely provide the backdrop to the next round of war spending.

The BBC’s Nicholas Witchell in Baghdad says the report by the UK-based charity and the NGO Co-ordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI) makes alarming reading.

The survey recognises that armed conflict is the greatest problem facing Iraqis, but finds a population “increasingly threatened by disease and malnutrition”.

It suggests that 70% of Iraq’s 26.5m population are without adequate water supplies, compared to 50% prior to the invasion. Only 20% have access to effective sanitation.

Nearly 30% of children are malnourished, a sharp increase on the situation four years ago. Some 15% of Iraqis regularly cannot afford to eat.

The report also said 92% of Iraq’s children suffered from learning problems.

It found that more than two million people have been displaced inside the country, while a further two million have fled to neighbouring countries.

On Thursday, an international conference in Jordan pledged to help the refugees with their difficulties. Oxfam has not operated in Iraq since 2003 for security reasons.

graph

source:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6922347.stm

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A Tsunami of Refugees : Four Million Iraqis on the Run

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

A Tsunami of Refugees

Four Million Iraqis on the Run

PATRICK COCKBURN, CounterPunch

iraq_09.jpg

Sulaymaniyah, July 30, 2007

Two thousand Iraqis are fleeing their homes every day. It is the greatest mass exodus of people ever in the Middle East and dwarfs anything seen in Europe since the Second World War. Four million people, one in seven Iraqis, have run away, because if they do not they will be killed. Two million have left Iraq, mainly for Syria and Jordan, and the same number have fled within the country.

Yet, while the US and Britain express sympathy for the plight of refugees in Africa, they are ignoring – or playing down- a far greater tragedy which is largely of their own making.

The US and Britain may not want to dwell on the disasters that have befallen Iraq during their occupation but the shanty towns crammed with refugees springing up in Iraq and neighbouring countries are becoming impossible to ignore.

Even so the UNHCR is having difficulty raising $100m (£50m) for relief. The organization says the two countries caring for the biggest proportion of Iraqi refugees – Syria and Jordan – have still received “next to nothing from the world community”. Some 1.4 million Iraqis have fled to Syria according to the UN High Commission for Refugees, Jordan has taken in 750 000 while Egypt and Lebanon have seen 200 000 Iraqis cross into their territories.

Potential donors are reluctant to spent money inside Iraq, arguing the country has large oil revenues. They are either unaware, or are ignoring the fact that the Iraqi administration has all but collapsed outside the Baghdad Green Zone. The US is spending $2 billion a week on military operations in Iraq according to the Congressional Research Service but many Iraqis are dying because they lack drinking water costing a few cents.

Kalawar refugee camp in Sulaymaniyah is a microcosm of the misery to which millions of Iraqis have been reduced.
“At least it is safe here,” says Walid Sha’ad Nayef, 38, as he stands amid the stink of rotting garbage and raw sewage. He fled from the lethally dangerous Sa’adiyah district in Baghdad 11 months ago. As we speak to him, a man silently presents us with the death certificate of his son, Farez Maher Zedan, who was killed in Baghdad on May 20, 2006.

Kalawar is a horrible place. Situated behind a gas station down a dusty track, the first sight of the camp is of rough shelters made out of rags, torn pieces of cardboard and old blankets. The stench is explained by the fact the Kurdish municipal authorities will not allow the 470 people in the camp to dig latrines. They say this might encourage them to stay.

“Sometimes I go to beg,” says Talib Hamid al-Auda, a voluble man with a thick white beard looking older than his fifty years. As he speaks, his body shakes, as if he was trembling at the thought of the demeaning means by which he feeds his family. Even begging is difficult because the people in the camp are forbidden to leave it on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Suspected by Kurds of being behind a string of house robberies, though there is no evidence for this, they are natural scapegoats for any wrong-doing in their vicinity.

Refugees are getting an increasingly cool reception wherever they flee, because there are so many of them and because of the burden they put on resources. “People here blame us for forcing up rents and the price of food,” said Omar, who had taken his family to Damascus after his sister’s leg was fractured by a car bomb.

The refugees in Kalawar had no option but to flee. Of the 97 families here, all but two are Sunni Arabs. Many are from Sa’adiyah in west Baghdad where 84 bodies were found by police between June 18 and July 18. Many are young men whose hands had been bound and who had been tortured.

“The majority left Baghdad because somebody knocked on the door of their house and told them to get out in an hour,” says Rosina Ynzenga, who runs the Spanish charity Solidarity International (SIA) which pays for a mobile clinic to visit the camp.

Sulaymaniyah municipality is antagonistic to her doing more. One Kurdish official suggested that the Arabs of Kalawar were there simply for economic reasons and should be given $200 each and sent back to Baghdad.

Mr Nayef, the mukhtar (mayor) of the camp who used to be a bulldozer driver in Baghdad, at first said nobody could speak to journalists unless we had permission from the authorities. But after we had ceremoniously written our names in a large book he relented and would, in any case, have had difficulty in stopping other refugees explaining their grievances.

Asked to list their worst problems Mr Nayef said they were the lack of school for the children, shortage of food, no kerosene to cook with, no money, no jobs and no electricity. The real answer to the question is that the Arabs of Kalawar have nothing. They have only received two cartons of food each from the International Committee of the Red Cross and a tank of clean water.

Even so they are adamant that they dare not return to Baghdad. They did not even know if their houses had been taken over by others.

Abla Abbas, a mournful looking woman in black robes, said her son had been killed because he went to sell plastic bags in the Shia district of Khadamiyah in west Baghdad. The poor in Iraq take potentially fatal risks to earn a little money.

The uncertainty of the refugees’ lives in Kalawar is mirrored in their drawn faces. While we spoke to them there were several shouting matches. One woman kept showing us a piece of paper from the local authority in Sulaymaniyah giving her the right to stay there. She regarded us nervously as if we were officials about to evict her.

There are in fact three camps at Kalawar. Although almost all the refugees are Sunni they come from different places and until a month ago they lived together. But there were continual arguments. The refugees decided that they must split into three encampments: one from Baghdad, a second from Hillah, south of Baghdad, and a third from Diyala, the mixed Sunni-Shia province that has been the scene of ferocious sectarian pogroms.

Governments and the media crudely evaluate human suffering in Iraq in terms of the number killed. A broader and better barometer would include those who have escaped death only by fleeing their homes, their jobs and their country to go and live, destitute and unwanted, in places like Kalawar. The US administration has 18 benchmarks to measure progress in Iraq but the return of four million people to their homes is not among them.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of ‘The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq’, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for best non-fiction book of 2006.

source:
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m34923&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Sunday, 29 July 2007

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 31, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Sunday, 29 July 2007

Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice.

Sunday, 29 July 2007.


  • Three bombs target American patrols in Baghdad.
  • US admits one more American soldier killed in Iraq.
  • Shi‘i sectarian torture, murder spree continues: 20 more victims found dumped around Baghdad on Saturday.
  • Resistance bomb rips through US military vehicle in western Baghdad.
  • Resistance sharpshooter wounds two puppet policemen in al-A‘zamiyah.
  • Bomb targets US patrol in Baghdad al-Jadidah Saturday evening.
  • British troops engage attackers in gun battle in al-Basrah.

Baghdad.

Resistance bomb sets American armored Humvee ablaze in southwestern Baghdad Sunday morning.

In a dispatch posted on its website Sunday, Quds Press reported that an Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded by a US patrol at it drove through the al-Bayya‘ district of southwestern Baghdad on Sunday morning.

Quds Press reported a source in the Iraqi puppet security services as saying that the blast completely destroyed a US armored Humvee, which was seen blazing in the street. No information on the nature or extent of US casualties was available.

Resistance bomb rips through US military vehicle in western Baghdad.

In a dispatch posted on its website Sunday, Quds Press reported that a violent explosion shook the western Baghdad district of al-‘Amiriyah when an Iraqi Resistance bomb went off by a passing US patrol.

Quds Press reported that the blast destroyed a US military vehicle, wounding its crew.

Bomb targets US patrol in southeastern Baghdad.

In a dispatch posted on its website Sunday, Quds Press reported that a bomb exploded by a US patrol in the southeastern Baghdad district of al-Fadiliyat.

The attack set an American armored vehicle on fire and wounded two US troops. Immediately after the assault, the Americans closed off the area preventing anyone from coming in or going out.

US admits one more American soldier killed in Iraq.

In a dispatch posted at 6:54pm Makkah time Sunday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the US military admitted that one more of its soldiers had been killed in occupied Iraq.

Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the American army announced in a statement published on Sunday that attackers equipped with small arms killed an American soldier in Baghdad. In keeping with the US policy of concealing facts regarding American losses in Iraq, the Pentagon released no further details regarding the engagement.

Shi‘i sectarian torture, murder spree continues: 20 more victims found dumped around Baghdad on Saturday.

In a dispatch posted at 9:51am Baghdad time Sunday morning, the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) reported that the Iraqi puppet police recovered 20 bodies of sectarian murder victims dumped in various parts of Baghdad on Saturday.

The AMSI reported a source in the puppet police as saying that most of the bodies were bound, blindfolded and shot to death, in addition to showing signs of torture. Torture is the trademark of the Shi‘i sectarian militias and the American-backed puppet forces most of whose members come from the sectarian militias.

Resistance sharpshooter wounds two puppet policemen in al-A‘zamiyah.

In a dispatch posted at 9:51am Baghdad time Sunday morning, the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) reported that an Iraqi Resistance sharpshooter opened fire on puppet policemen in the northern Baghdad district of al-A‘zamiyah.

The AMSI reported a source in the puppet police as saying that two patrolmen were wounded in the attack.

Bomb targets US patrol in Baghdad al-Jadidah Saturday evening.

In a dispatch posted at 9:51am Baghdad time Sunday morning, the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) reported that a bomb exploded by a US patrol in the Baghdad al-Jadidah area of southeastern Baghdad on Saturday evening.

The AMSI reported that no information on the nature or extent of American casualties was available because the US troops quickly closed off the area to prevent news of their losses being reported.

Al-Basrah Province.

Al-Basrah.

British troops engage attackers in gun battle in al-Basrah.

In a dispatch posted at 9:57am Baghdad time Sunday morning, the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) reported that armed men ambushed a British patrol in the Karmah area to the north of al-Basrah on Sunday morning.

The AMSI reported eyewitnesses as saying that the clash left two of the armed attackers dead. The rest of them then left the area.

Prominent lawyer murdered in al-Basrah, one month after son’s killing.

In a dispatch posted at 9:57am Baghdad time Sunday morning, the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) reported that the former doyen of lawyers in the southern Iraqi city of al-Basrah was shot and killed by unknown assailants on Friday evening.

The AMSI reported a source in the city as saying that armed men attacked the office of Husam an-Nahi in the al-‘Ashshar area of al-Basrah and opened fire on him, killing him instantly. The attackers then left the scene.

AMSI noted that an-Nahi’s son, who was also a lawyer, had been killed in June.

http://www.albasrah.net/pages/mod.php?mod=art&lapage=../en_articles_2007/0707/iraqiresistancereport_290707.htm

Sources:

http://www.qudspress.com/look/sarticle.tpl?IdLanguage=17&IdPublication=1&NrArticle=21931&NrIssue=1&NrSection=1

http://www.qudspress.com/look/sarticle.tpl?IdLanguage=17&IdPublication=1&NrArticle=21954&NrIssue=1&NrSection=1

http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=18668&1c1bcf84b98a47edfeb566ebdeb4a341

http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=18666&1cd815319cfca1b4de982f27e97b31ca

http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=18665&b529131fa67b78a901c2269fbf81c6f8

http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=48325

http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=48323

http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=48320

http://www.freearabvoice.org

http://www.albasrah.net/pages/mod.php?header=res1&mod=gis&rep=rep

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »