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Archive for December 16th, 2007

Explosive Report by Indian Magazine Exposes Those Responsible for 2002 Gujarat Massacre

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 16, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Explosive Report by Indian Magazine Exposes Those Responsible for 2002 Gujarat Massacre

An explosive report by Indian magazine Tehelka reveals important new information about those responsible for the massacre of 2,500 Muslims in the western Indian state of Gujarat in March of 2002. The expose was published after a reporter infiltrated a rightwing Hindu organization for six months. It reveals that the anti-Muslim violence was highly organized and premeditated. We speak with Tehelka’s editor-in-chief, Tarun Tejpal. [includes rush transcript]

Guest:

Tarun Tejpal, veteran journalist and the editor-in-chief of Tehelka.

AMY GOODMAN: An explosive report by the Indian magazine Tehelka reveals new information about those responsible for the massacre of 2,500 Muslims in the western Indian state of Gujarat in March of 2002.

The brutal violence against Muslims took place over a span of three days, followed an attack on a train carrying rightwing Hindu activists. Fifty-eight people on the train were burned to death when it stopped in the town of Godhra.
Mainstream analyses have explained the statewide violence against Muslims as a “spontaneous” reaction to the attack on the train. However, Tehelka’s extensive exposé challenges this understanding of what happened in Gujarat five-and-a-half years ago and demonstrates that the anti-Muslim violence was highly organized and premeditated.
The exposé was published in late October after a reporter infiltrated a rightwing Hindu organization for six months. It includes spycam video footage of Hindu activists bragging about killing Muslims and detailing the support they received from the highest levels of the state government.

With state elections in Gujarat beginning next week, the exposé could have a significant political impact. Narendra Modi, who was Chief Minister during the 2002 massacre, never lost his position. He remains one of the leading contenders. Modi is from the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], which is tied to a network of rightwing Hindu organizations. Many of the activists interviewed by Tehelka say the anti-Muslim violence could not have happened without Modi’s tacit support.

Haresh Bhatt is a BJP member of the Gujarat state assembly from Godhra. He said Narendra Modi gave Hindu rightwing activists three days to act with impunity.

    HARESH BHATT: [translated] He had given us three days to do whatever we could. He said he would not give us time after that. He said this openly. After three days, he asked us to stop, and everything came to a halt. It stopped after three days. Even the army was called in. All the forces came, and we had three days and did what we had to do in those three days. Yes, he did what no other chief minister could have done.

AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt from Tehelka spycam videos implicating the Gujarat chief minister, the equivalent of governor, Narendra Modi.
We go now to Tarun Tejpal. I interviewed him earlier this week and began by asking him to lay out the sequence of events that took place in Gujarat five-and-a-half years ago.

    • BABUBHAI PATEL, aka BABU BAJRANGI: [translated] It has been written in my FIR. There was this pregnant woman. I slit her open, sisterf**r, showed them what’s what, what kind of revenge we can take if our people are killed. I am not a feeble vegetarian. We didn’t spare anyone. They shouldn’t even be allowed to breed. I say that even today. Whoever they are—women, children, whoever—nothing to be done to them but cut them down, thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards.
  • TARUN TEJPAL: Well, what had happened was that in 2002, in what remains probably the most outrageous act of religious violence aided and abetted by the state, Hindu mobs—which were then designated as Hindu mobs, but now seems increasingly were Godhra workers of Hindu rightwing parties—they assaulted and massacred, killed, raped, more than 2,000 Muslims, unarmed innocent Muslims.
    And for five years, the whole version of what happened has been contested. I mean, there has been the version of the victims, there’s been a version of the state, there’s been a version of police, a version of civil rights groups. But there’s been virtually no justice or any remorse shown for what happened.
    What the Tehelka investigation, I think, brought forward was, for the first time in five years, the version of the men who actually committed the crimes. I mean, what the Tehelka reporter managed to do was get from the horse’s mouth exactly how these mass murderers killed—who they killed, how they killed, on whose orders they killed—and then, not just that, how the entire process of justice was subverted after the massacres were over and how many of these men have then been protected by the state.
    AMY GOODMAN: How has it been that it’s taken five-and-a-half years to expose what took place?
    TARUN TEJPAL: Well, you know, Amy, in India, this is not uncommon. We have some sort of an amnesia about these carnages and these riots and these massacres that take place periodically. There’s religious violence, but there’s also very often caste violence and class violence, and we are amnesiac about how we deal, you know, with these things. For example, if you remember, there were the 1984 riots against the Sikhs in Delhi by Hindu mobs after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in 1984. And even today, twenty-three years later, only three people have been convicted for the killing of more than 3,000 Sikhs. So it’s not uncommon that for five years the Gujarat case has not come to a head.
    And as I said, you know, the way it’s dealt with in India normally is that charges and counter-charges begin to fly; there’s a whole miasma of contested versions that’s created in the public space. And the hope is that very soon a new tragedy will overstep the old one, and public memory will actually just let it slide, and things will go on. And it mostly does happen like this.
    Just that in the case of Gujarat, it seemed that the kind of schism that was actually going to hurt the very idea of India, the very idea of this great plural, modern nation, and so civil rights activists, in particular, and ordinary citizens have kept the issue alive, but did not receive the kind of shot in the arm for their work, until Tehelka broke this story, giving a shot in the arm. In all this, of course—let me just add that the central government, the congress government, which is—reigns at the center, continues to behave in a reasonably shabby and shameful way.
    AMY GOODMAN: Tarun Tejpal, explain the chain of command. Lay out for us exactly how it happened in March of 2002, how these events unfolded to this mass murder of more than 2,500 Muslims.
    TARUN TEJPAL: Well, you know, two things happened at that point. First, on the 26th of February, a train carrying a buggy full of rightwing Hindu activists was attacked by a Muslim mob near Godhra. Now, this Godhra incident has for a long time—the train incident, the killing of these fifty-nine Hindu pilgrims—has become a point of defense for the rightwing Hindu organizations who say that that’s what sparked the riots, which they claim were spontaneous.
    Now, the Tehelka investigation reveals that, contrary to what Narendra Modi has been saying, the Godhra incident was a spontaneous incident, not a conspiracy or a preplanned massacre, whereas what followed was a planned massacre and not a conspiracy. I mean, it’s just exactly the opposite way.
    I mean, our investigation reveals that what seems to have happened is that on the railway station at Godhra, there was an altercation between the pilgrims and Muslim hawkers who were selling their wares on the platform. And there was, it seems, an attempt to abduct a young Muslim girl by these pilgrims. Then, in the course of it, altercation. Then, when the train leaves the station, it seems somebody pulls the chain to stop the train, and Muslim mobs from the adjoining slums arrive in large numbers and attack that particular buggy. And in the course of this entire assault, the buggy gets burned down, tragically killing these fifty-nine pilgrims.
    What follows then is, as you just read out, the MLA of Godhra telling you—the elected legislator—it seems Modi gives his Hindu organizations and the mobs three days to get even. So the state sanctions three days of violence against Muslims. And in those three days, I mean, the police looks the other way, and these organizations, as is detailed extensively in our investigation, go ahead and massacre more than 2,000 Muslims. Women are raped. Children are killed. Groups of families are burned. Three days later, it does come to a stop, but by then more than 2,000 people are dead. And the police collusion, by the way, has also been fairly established by the Tehelka investigation.
    AMY GOODMAN: I want to play a clip that was secretly recorded. This is of Babu Patel, leader of the Bajrang Dal, the militant youth wing of the network of Hindu rightwing organizations. He was imprisoned for his role in the killing of Muslims, but was released on bail eight months later. When Tehelka spoke to him in September, he bragged about one of the most infamous incidents during the 2002 violence in Gujarat: slitting open the womb of a pregnant Muslim woman and pulling out the fetus.

    AMY GOODMAN: That was Babu Patel. Explain the significance of this group and how it ties up into the power structure.
    TARUN TEJPAL: See, Babu Bajrangi is today one of the founts of sort of bigotry in that part of Gujarat. I mean, he represented at that point an extreme rightwing grouping called the Bajrang Dal, which is associated with the mainline rightwing party, the BJP. And this man has been obviously deranged by the kind of poisonous ideology, the communal ideology, that is fostered by the right-wingers. And you can see the man has no remorse. For us at Tehelka, the most frightening thing about the whole investigation was that not a single person, not a single one of the mass murderers, exhibited any remorse.
    Now, Babu Bajrangi’s case is very interesting, because in other portions of the tapes on Babu Bajrangi, he talks about what happened after all this was done. He tells us that the home minister of Gujarat asked him to leave the state. So Babu Bajrangi, after his—after all the mass murders, called up the home minister of Gujarat, who said, “Leave the state.” Now, the home minister in India is responsible for maintaining law and order in the state. So the home minister says, “Leave the state, Babu.” Then the state actually gives this man shelter in another part of India.
    When the heat gets too much in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, because of civil rights noises and media noises, they stage an arrest for Babu Bajrangi and bring him back to Ahmedabad and stage an arrest. This is information being given to us by Babu Bajrangi, Babu Patel. He is giving us this information.
    Then, he says, the case goes to court. When it goes to court, the magistrate says, in Babu’s own words—the magistrate says, “You are such an evil man that you should be hanged, not once, but ten times.” So what happens? So Babu Bajrangi then tells us that particular case, the magistrate is transferred out. A second magistrate comes in. The second magistrate says almost the same thing, that “You are such an incredibly evil man, you should be hanged, not once, but ten times.” This is Babu telling us the story. The second magistrate is also moved out. A third magistrate is brought in. In the meantime, he also tells us that Modi is assuring him not to worry, things will be taken care of. So a new magistrate is brought in. And then Babu tells us, on camera, he says, “I am given bail, and so is everybody else. We are all freed up.” So this is the kind of incredible subversion of justice that is seen, even after the killings.
    AMY GOODMAN: So, Tarun Tejpal, can you talk about the significance of who Modi is—equivalent to a governor? And he’s running again for the governor of Gujarat, is that right?
    TARUN TEJPAL: Well, Narendra Modi is a national-level leader of the BJP, which is the rightwing Hindu political sort of umbrella party. And Narendra Modi was sent into Gujarat just a year before the Godhra incident and the Gujarat riots took place, and Modi was sent there to stop the slide of the BJP’s political fortunes, because they were on the decline, and the general understanding was that the BJP would lose this election. And then, Narendra Modi comes in. The Godhra incident takes place. The riots take place. The Hindu vote, which is by now very polarized, consolidates behind Modi, and Modi has a landslide victory. And Modi then becomes the chief minister, which is the equivalent of a governor in America, of Gujarat, which is a very prosperous state.
    And Gujaratis, by the way, are one of India’s greatest diasporas. I mean, they’re around the world. They’re all over America. And they’re a very strongly business and mercantile community, known for their ability to make money, to run very efficient businesses.
    And so, Modi has, for the last five years, reigned in Gujarat as a sort of an upholder of macho Hinduism, of aggressive Hinduism. And for everybody on the secular end of the spectrum, he remains the most hated figure in India, because they see in him an embodiment of everything that can go wrong with the great Indian democratic experiment if it begins to turn religious and communal.
    AMY GOODMAN: Now, Modi was supposed to come here and speak in the United States in 2005, but the US denied him the visa he required to come in, for part of the immigration rules around being responsible for serious human rights violations.
    TARUN TEJPAL: Well, I think that was a great victory for all those—all the secular fronts and secular forces that are trying to fight this kind of religious virus which is, you know, growing in India. I think it was a great victory, because it was an international snub. You know, it at least—though in India, we have not been able to defeat him electorally, or the people have not defeated him electorally so far, at least this was a clear international snub, that you will not be able to get away continually with the kind of record of human rights violations that you carry.
    AMY GOODMAN: Tarun Tejpal, you’re the editor of this independent weekly Tehelka. What has been the significance, the impact, of your magazine doing this exposé, not only the most important story of our time—the headline on the front page “The Truth: Gujarat 2002 in the Words of the Men who Did It”—but also the one that followed, “India Writes Back: An Avalanche of Hope and Despair”?
    TARUN TEJPAL: Well, I think the second one, the second cover, pretty much says it: an avalanche of hope and despair. You know, I mean, both things were seen after we broke this story. The first thing it did was it gave an incredible shot in the arm to civil rights groups and civil rights warriors and civil rights activists, because in India today, most of the big battles for the soul of India, for modernity, for democracy, for secularism, are not being fought by political parties, but are being fought by civil rights warriors who are very strongly still aligned to the founding region of India.
    The despair had a lot to do with the fact that people expected the national government, the congress government at the center in Delhi, to act with some amount of political will and political vision, and nothing of that has been seen in the last six weeks. I mean, the despair actually carries on. The fact that such testimony, such graphic testimony, has been brought into the public space—I mean, this is probably the first time in the history of the media that you hear mass murderers live telling you about how they killed and why they killed and who asked them to kill. And despite that, the center—that is, the congress government at the center in Delhi—has found itself unable to move and act.
    Most lawyers, most people in India think that the central government should have imposed president’s rule, which in India is the equivalent of a central rule, in the state of Gujarat, moved in and removed the state government of Modi and insisted that fast-track justice be done on the entire series of cases that have been pending for the last five years. Unfortunately, none of this has happened, and that’s disappointed a lot of people.
    Elections are due in Gujarat in a week from now, and everyone feels today that the congress’s inaction has to do largely with its need to make vote calculations and electoral calculations, and that, again, is disappointing, because one of the reasons for the continuing slide of public property, public discourse in India is the fact that everything today is only weighed in vote terms and electoral terms.

AMY GOODMAN: Tarun Tejpal is the editor-in-chief of the magazine Tehelka, which just came out with this exposé on what happened in Gujarat five-and-a-half years ago, the slaying of 2,500 Muslims.

The full story in
http://www.democracynow.org/2007/12/5/explosive_report

===

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

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Dictatorship : Bush Demands Freedom to Torture

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 16, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Dictatorship : Bush Demands Freedom to Torture

By Dan Froomkin

Special to washingtonpost.com

Friday, December 14, 2007; 12:50 PM

President Bush’s repeated insistence that “we don’t torture” appeared even more transparently bogus yesterday as the White House threatened to veto a House bill that would explicitly ban a variety of abhorrent practices.

The bill would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow interrogation rules adopted by the armed forces last year.

What does that mean? As Pamela Hess writes for the Associated Press, those rules explicitly prohibit “forcing detainees to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner; placing hoods or sacks over detainees’ heads or duct tape over their eyes; beating, shocking, or burning detainees; threatening them with military dogs; exposing them to extreme heat or cold; conducting mock executions; depriving them of food, water, or medical care; and waterboarding.”

Administration officials have consistently refused to confirm or deny whether any of those methods have been sanctioned by the White House and are in use. But really all you need to know is this: According to yesterday’s formal statement of administration policy, limiting intelligence agencies to the army rules “would prevent the United States from conducting lawful interrogations of senior al Qaeda terrorists to obtain intelligence needed to protect Americans from attack.”

The White House then asserted, without a scintilla of evidence (see Tuesday’s column): “Such interrogations have helped the United States disrupt multiple attacks against Americans at home and abroad, thus saving American lives.”

Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus write in The Washington Post that the legislation’s passage “set[s] up another political showdown over what constitutes torture. . . .

“The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 made the Army Field Manual applicable to all Defense Department employees, but it left a loophole allowing the CIA to use aggressive techniques barred by that document. . . .

“Retired Army Gen. Paul J. Kern, a lead investigator of the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, said he thinks that having two sets of standards for interrogation — one for the CIA and another for the military — has created problems of credibility and accountability. Kern, who signed a letter along with 27 other retired general officers asking the intelligence committees to hold the CIA to the military’s rules, endorsed the standards set by the military.

“‘We ought to have one set of standards, period,’ Kern said.”

The Contempt Conundrum
Paul Kane writes in The Washington Post: “A Senate panel found former presidential adviser Karl Rove and current White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten in contempt of Congress yesterday for refusing to testify and to turn over documents in the investigation of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee approved contempt citations against Rove and Bolten on a 12 to 7 vote, rejecting the White House position that the work of two of President Bush’s closest advisers is covered by executive privilege. . . .

“Two senior Republicans, Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), supported the contempt charges. . . .

“The White House yesterday repeated its offer to allow Rove and other current and former senior aides to testify about the firings behind closed doors, not under oath and with no transcript. White House press secretary Dana Perino said the Justice Department would refuse to convene a grand jury if either the full House or the full Senate approved the contempt citations; that would leave Democrats unable to force the question of the limits of executive privilege into the federal courts.”

The White House position, of course, exposes an amazing conundrum: That the same Justice Department whose politicization is being investigated is also in a position to hand out get-out-of-testifying-free cards.

Here’s what Perino had to say at yesterday’s press briefing: “[T]he Democrats should know the futility of trying to press ahead with a criminal case. It’s long been understood that the Justice Department, in situations like these — that the constitutional prerogative of the President would make it a futile effort for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys. The Department of Justice would not require a U.S. attorney to convene a grand jury or otherwise pursue a prosecution of an individual who carries out a President’s instruction not to provide documents or testimony on the basis of the President’s assertion of executive privilege.

“And it’s interesting that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who called for this vote today, actually summed it up back in September of 1999, when he said exactly that — that it would be futile in order to request certain documents or testimony. And I can give you the full citation later.”

John Bresnahan reports for Politico.com that Perino later explained: “Senator Leahy may have summed it best in September 1999 when he said the following: ‘The criminal contempt mechanism, see 2 U.S.C. section 192, which punishes as a misdemeanor a refusal to testify or produce documents to Congress, requires a referral to the Justice Department, which is not likely to pursue compliance in the likely event that the President asserts executive privilege in response to the request for certain documents or testimony.'”

But what’s at issue today is whether Bush’s assertion of executive privilege here is supported by the facts — and whether the Justice Department is able to take an objective position on the issue.

In a November 29 memo about this assertion of privilege, Leahy found that the “complete lack of particularity of the White House claims, including the lack of a privilege log or any specific factual basis for the privilege claims, makes the scope of the claims improper.” And he called the assertion of executive privilege on behalf of the president “surprising in light of the significant and uncontroverted evidence that the President had no involvement” in the firings of the U.S. Attorneys.

David Stout writes in the New York Times that “in practice, disputes between Congress and the White House in which the specter of contempt charges has been raised have typically been settled well short of the jailhouse door.”

But the White House so far has categorically refused to negotiate.

Mukasey’s View
Attorney General Michael Mukasey may end up playing a key role here, and one that may test his independence from the White House.

During his confirmation hearings, Mukasey indicated that he would back the White House position. But the linchpin for him was that this assertion of privilege was supported in a letter from the department’s Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, itself based on a review by the Office of Legal Counsel.

Mukasey said it would be untenable for the Department of Justice “to prosecute someone who followed the advice that originated with the Department of Justice.”

But in that letter, Clement took an expansive view of a privilege that many scholars say is actually quite limited. And he further argued: “Congressional interest in investigating the replacement of U.S. Attorneys clearly falls outside its core constitutional responsibilities, and any legitimate interest Congress may have in the disclosed communications has been satisfied by the Department’s extraordinary accommodation involving the extensive production of documents to the Committees, interviews, and hearing testimony concerning these communications.”

White House Counsel Fred Fielding then cited Clement’s letter as the rationale for his assertion that Rove was absolutely immune from congressional oversight.

When Leahy asked Mukasey if he would review the underlying legal opinion once he became attorney general, Mukasey said he would.

What’s Next
No further action on the contempt citation is expected anytime soon. The House Judiciary Committee cited Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers for contempt in July, but nobody is expecting floor action by either chamber until at least late January.

And yet, the White House’s blithe assertion of its prerogatives is sure to reignite debate over one Congressional option that doesn’t depend on Justice Department cooperation.

As Adam Cohen wrote in a New York Times opinion piece earlier this month: “If the Justice Department refuses to enforce the subpoenas, as seems likely, Congress will have to decide whether to do so. Washington lawyers are dusting off an old but apparently sturdy doctrine called ‘inherent contempt’ that gives Congress the power to bring the recalcitrant witnesses in — by force, if necessary.”

Poll Watch
Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen write in The Washington Post that “a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds discontent toward the war easing slightly, with Republicans and independents significantly more positive about the situation than they were 12 months ago.

“Baseline judgments about the war are unchanged — six in 10 in the poll said the war is not worth fighting — but the public is somewhat more upbeat about progress in Iraq. . . .

“Although a majority say the United States is not making significant gains toward restoring civil order in Iraq, the public’s views are more positive than at this time last year. About four in 10 say the United States is making progress, an increase of 10 percentage points over last year. . . .

“Bush’s overall approval rating, at 33 percent, remains at his career low point in Post-ABC polling, with 64 percent disapproving. The percentage of Americans approving of the president has been the same since July and has been under 50 percent for more than 2 1/2 years.”

The story’s headline in particular indicated good news for Bush: “Poll Shows More Optimism on War; After Record Lows, Bush Gains With Republicans, Independents.”

But what the poll really shows, in a nutshell, is that despite feeling a bit less profoundly pessimistic about the war, the public is still overwhelmingly against it and continues to disapprove of Bush by a whopping 2 to 1 margin.

A closer look at the actual poll results also shows that Bush’s approval ratings on the war have not in fact improved — they’ve been up and down ever since his career low of 28 last December. Indeed, his ratings on the war were higher in January and early September than they are now. And the percentage of Americans who think the war was not worth fighting is actually higher now than it was in late September.

The one number that is definitely trending upwards is the percentage of people who think the United States is making significant progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq. But it’s still only 41 percent.

The Post’s question on withdrawal is poorly phrased: “Do you think the United States should keep its military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored there, even if that means continued U.S. military casualties, or do you think the United States should withdraw its military forces from Iraq in order to avoid further U.S. military casualties, even if that means civil order is not restored there?”

But even given such a limited choice, 53 percent of those polled last week said troops should be withdrawn, down a few points from the summer, but still up considerably from last year.

Bush v. Congress
Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes in the New York Times that Bush’s recent legislative victories (see yesterday’s column, Congress Goes Belly Up) “underscore the surprising amount of clout that Mr. Bush still wields against a Democratic-run Congress. Late in his presidency, with his poll numbers stuck at record lows, he has been able to persuade Republicans to stick with him.”

But, Stolberg writes: “Unlike presidents before him, Mr. Bush has not used the power of the Oval Office to hammer out a compromise with his legislative foes. Instead, he has vetoed bills he does not like, refused to budge on spending limits and let his subordinates do the negotiating — a strategy that has his critics, including some Republicans, wondering why the most powerful dealmaker in Washington is not practicing the art of the deal. . . .

“When the White House and Congress are at an impasse, these critics argue, there is both symbolic and practical value for a president who appears to rise above party politics by trying to broker a deal.”

E. J. Dionne Jr. writes in his Washington Post opinion column: “If Bush’s strategy is to drag Congress down to his low level of public esteem, he is succeeding brilliantly. A Post-ABC News poll released this week found that only 33 percent of Americans approved of Bush’s handling of his job — and just 32 percent felt positively about Congress’s performance. The only comfort for Democrats: The public dislikes Republicans in Congress (32 percent approval) even more than it dislikes congressional Democrats (40 percent approval).

“The Democrats’ core problem is that they have been unable to place blame for gridlock where it largely belongs, on the Republican minority and the president.”

The New York Times editorial board writes that “Congress certainly has not done [its] job. For six years, it stood by mutely or actively approved as President Bush’s team cooked the books to justify war, drew the nation’s electronic spies into illegal wiretapping and turned intelligence agents and uniformed soldiers into torturers at outlaw prisons.

“Now, with the opposition party in control on Capitol Hill, lawmakers have a chance to start setting right some wrongs in these areas. But there are disturbing signs that they will once again fail to do what is needed.”

Among other things, the Times calls for the completion of a long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report “into what Mr. Bush and other officials knew about the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons when they used it to stampede the country into war. . . .

“Americans need to know what Mr. Bush knew on both Iraq and Iran, and when he knew it. Anything less is unacceptable.”

Bush in ’08
Thomas M. DeFrank writes in the New York Daily News: “Thirteen months before the 2008 election, GOP officials and contenders face not only the albatross of Bush’s unpopularity, but a surprising lack of interest from the party’s leader in their fate.

“Some Republicans believe the White House is too consumed with the Iraq war and its legislative agenda to pay enough attention to the battle for the presidency.

“‘The White House political machine is very different without Karl [Rove],’ a prominent GOP powerbroker said. ‘They’re somewhat disconnected from the campaign for the first time I can remember.’

“‘They don’t realize Bush’s legacy in large measure is tied up in whether a Republican succeeds him or not,’ a Republican mandarin told the Daily News. ‘If a Democrat wins, the conclusion will be that eight years of George W. Bush have been repudiated by the American people. There’s no coordination, no togetherness.'”

At the same time, it’s amazing how averse the Republican candidates are to mentioning the president. Bush’s name was uttered only twice during the GOP’s two-hour CNN/YouTube debate on Nov. 8. At the Dec. 9 Univision debate in Miami, the name Bush was mentioned once, by Sen. John McCain — and McCain was referring to the president’s brother Jeb, the former governor of Florida. At Wednesday’s Des Moines Register debate, the Bush name again came up only once — this time, it was former governor Mitt Romney talking about the current president’s dad.

And yet, what the GOP candidates think of the Bush presidency — what they consider its strengths and weaknesses, which elements they would emulate, which they would reject — is crucial information for figuring out what they would be like as presidents themselves.

There is one way to get the candidates to address the Bush legacy in their debates or elsewhere. And that’s to ask them. At NiemanWatchdog.org, where I am deputy editor, I suggest some questions.

MSNBC Watch
Over at MSNBC, it’s been beat-on-Bush week. Keith Olbermann on Monday launched a new segment called “Bushed — “a reminder of late developments or lack thereof in the other Bush administration scandals pushed off the front page by the Bush administration scandal du jour.” And Dan Abrams, in his swan-song as a late-night host, anchored a week-long series he called “Bush League Justice.”

Abrams blogged: “Bush League Justice is a series that stems from my increasing frustration and outrage over how the Bush administration has politicized the usually apolitical Justice Department. In the process, it has significantly abused its authority to try to enhance power at the expense of any sense of objective justice. Many of the administration’s most controversial maneuvers have been widely reported, from the torture memos to the NSA’s warrantless searches to the U.S. Attorney scandal to the appointment of only the most conservative of judges and justices.

“But that is really just the tip of this administration’s ongoing effort to uproot the Justice Department . . . . [T]hey have regularly circumvented Congress, and decimated some of the most fundamental and cherished principles that define justice in this country.”

Full transcripts of both shows are available here.

On Wednesday night, Abrams took up one of my favorite subject: Bush’s signing statements. Among his guests: Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage. Said Abrams: “It’s astounding to me how they continue to get away with this, and no one, apart from Charlie Savage and a few others have been making a big deal.”

Harpers blogger Scott Horton joined Abrams last night for a discussion of the possibly politically-motivated federal prosecution of Democratic former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Horton blogs: “As Abrams said, the prosecutors have had a pass on their completely outrageous conduct for far too long, and now it’s time for the mainstream media to keep on top of them and expose the extremely seedy underside of a political hit job.”

He adds: “I am hearing from three different news groups suggestions that each is close to breaking a significant further lead in this case. The new information, it was suggested, will show that prosecutors in the case used evidence that they knew, or had substantial reason to know, was simply false, and will link Karl Rove much more closely to Alabama Governor Bob Riley and to the plans to ‘get’ Siegelman using a false corruption charge. The journalists in question are pushing for further corroboration before going with these stories, but I am still expecting more by the end of the year.”

Recess Watch
Al Kamen writes in The Washington Post: “Christmas is usually a time when controversial nominees for top federal jobs wait for Santa, in the form of the president of the United States, to come down the chimney with their recess appointments.

“Maybe not this year. Word is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in order to prevent President Bush from handing out those goodies, is now thinking about keeping the Senate in session during the Christmas-New Year’s break. . . .

“The unusual maneuver, which Reid first used during the recent Thanksgiving vacation, would block Bush from using his constitutional power — derived from the days when the Senate could be out of session for months — to fill vacancies. Such appointments made now would be valid through the end of Bush’s presidency.”

Bush on Steroids
Deb Riechmann writes for the Associated Press: “President Bush said Friday that baseball players and owners must take seriously the Mitchell Report on steroid use, but cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the individuals named.

“‘My hope is that this report is a part of putting the steroid era of baseball behind us,’ he said, surrounded by Cabinet members in the Rose Garden.

“Bush, who once owned the Texas Rangers, said, the Mitchell Report means that ‘we can jump to this conclusion: that steroids have sullied the game.'”

John D. McKinnon blogs that Perino was asked yesterday why Bush didn’t notice the epidemic of performance-enhancing drugs that was taking hold of the game when he was an owner.

Perino pointed to an ESPN interview in which he said that he’s thought long and hard about it, but doesn’t recall ever seeing or hearing evidence of a steroid problem.

Writes McKinnon: “A Fox News reporter, Wendell Goler, pointed out that former Ranger Jose Canseco has said ‘he cannot comprehend why Mr. Bush didn’t know that steroid use was going on on the team.’ So does Bush regret not picking up on the problem, Goler asked?

“‘I don’t think it’s a time for regret,’ Perino said. ‘I think it’s time to do what the president has done, which is . . . to shine a light on the issue. And now we have a result . . . a report that is getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so.'”

Holiday Party Watch
The Houston Chronicle’s Julie Mason and FishbowlDC’s Patrick Gavin photoblog last night’s White House holiday party for print reporters. TVNewser lists some of the bold-faced names from the broadcast party. I guess my invitation was lost in the mail.

Cartoon Watch
Ann Telnaes and Steve Sack on the torture tapes.

Animated Cartoon Watch
Slate presents Mark Fiore‘s “Learn to speak intel” — starring President Bush. “We’ll learn to conjugate fear,” the Bush character says. “My favorite tense is future infinite incarcerative. . . . And of course another of my favorite tenses: The president perfect rhetorical. . . . Booga booga!”

The full story in
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/12/14/BL2007121401204_pf.html

===

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

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Pro Torture GOP Protects Bush, Blocks Torture Ban, Supports Bush Torture Policies

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 16, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Pro Torture GOP Protects Bush, Blocks Torture Ban, Supports Bush Torture Policies

Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

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December 15, 2007

The GOP blocks passage of a bill that would have banned torture outright even as Bush had threatened to veto it. Bush and his criminal conspirators –the GOP leadership in Congress –have thus worked mightily to cover up his crimes, obstruct justice and make legal —ex post facto –the crimes that Bush has already committed. But that’s not all. The GOP is moving to quash an investigation of Bush that will involve “obstruction of justice”, an investigation that one hopes would end in Bush’s impeachment, removal, arrest and trial for war crimes.

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US government has asked a Congressional committee to suspend its probe into the destruction by the CIA of videotapes, citing ‘significant risks’ to its own investigation, the New York Times reported Saturday.The US Justice Department’s request Friday to the House Intelligence Committee came after the panel had summoned two CIA officials to testify next week — a hearing that now is likely to be postponed, the daily reported.The committee had demanded that the CIA produce by Friday all cables, memorandums and e-mail messages related to the videotapes, as well as the legal advice given to agency officials before the tapes were destroyed.The deadline passed without the arrival of any of those documents, the Times wrote.US government seeks hold on probe into torture tapes

There is mounting evidence that the dubious “authorization” for the widespread tactic of torture by the US goes all the way to the White House –Bush himself! There is also evidence that “Water boarding” is not the only torture that US/CIA torturers employ. Integral to Bush policy is “sleep” deprivation” –the subject of correspondent Brian Ross’ interview found on Uruknet:

BRIAN ROSS: And did you know the CIA officers feel without a doubt you had the legal right to do what you were doing? JOHN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I remember – I remember being told when – the President signed the – the authorities that they had been approved – not just by the National Security Counsel, but by the – but by the Justice Department as well, I remember people being surprised that the authorities were granted.

JOHN: You know, you may not think about it, but– but exhaustion is– is a very difficult thing to handle. It’s one thing to be tired. It’s another thing to be so tired that you begin to hallucinate.

And after a while some people just can’t take it anymore. And they’ll tell you if– “Just give me an hour. Give me two hours of sleep, I’ll tell you anything you wanna know.”

BRIAN ROSS: Really?

JOHN: Uh-huh (AFFIRM)

BRIAN ROSS: And that’s after how long generally?

JOHN: I recall the handful of times it was used on people it was usually 40 hours plus. They just simply couldn’t take it anymore.

Like all criminals desperately trying to cover their tracks, the conspirators forgot an important detail and it is too late to rewrite the history. The destruction of the so-called torture tapes violated a federal court order.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal courts had prohibited the Bush administration from discarding evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA destroyed videotapes that revealed some of its harshest interrogation tactics.Normally, that would force the government to defend itself against obstruction allegations. But the CIA may have an out: its clandestine network of overseas prisons.While judges focused on the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and tried to guarantee that any evidence of detainee abuse would be preserved, the CIA was performing its toughest questioning half a world away. And by the time President Bush publicly acknowledged the secret prison system, interrogation videos of two terrorism suspects had been destroyed.The CIA destroyed the tapes in November 2005. That June, US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. had ordered the Bush administration to safeguard “all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.”CIA Destroyed Tapes Despite Court Order

White House press secretary Dana Perino said Bush does not recall being informed about the destruction of the tapes. That is not a denial. If Bush himself had not authorized the US program of torture at GITMO, Abu Ghraib and the CIA’s Gulag Archipelago throughout Eastern Europe, why is he and the GOP leadership intent upon making legal the crimes for which there is probable cause in the public record to prosecute Bush. Why did the CIA obstruct justice, violating a Federal Court order not to destroy the tapes?

It must be pointed out that Bush did not issue a preservation order until after the tapes had been destroyed. UPDATE II: Perino says she’s “not allowed” to comment on Bush’s reaction to the destruction of the tapes:Q Dana, is the President concerned about the impact on the CIA’s reputation and its integrity, not just here but around the world? I mean, there’s been similar episodes — we don’t know the full scope of this — but we know what we know, based on his point, that may be comparable to Abu Ghraib, where there were photos that were released –

MS. PERINO: No. No.

Q — the President spoke extensively about that.

MS. PERINO: Well, one, I haven’t — I’m not allowed to characterize the President’s reaction to this, but what I can tell you is that he — as I said Friday, he has complete confidence in General Hayden, and that remains.

White House Finally Issues Preservation Order, Days After Destruction Of Torture Tapes Revealed]

Despite their worst efforts this criminal conspiracy, consisting of George W. Bush, the CIA, and the leadership of the GOP in Congress, the US is still bound to the Geneva Convention and US criminal codes which make Bush subject to trial on charges that he committed capital crimes. Water boarding is torture! It is not an “enhanced interrogation technique”; nor is it mere “harsh interrogation”. It was torture when Torquemada did it for the Spanish Inquisition and it is torture now! Nor is “water boarding” the only procedure inflicted by modern versions of Torquemada. Check out the pic on the right. This is not water boarding. We have no reason to assume that this victim of US torture is alive. We have less reason to suppose that useful information of any kind was ever elicited. We have no more reason to believe that this man was in any way at any time, a “terrorist”. He most certainly had nothing to do with 911. We have every reason to suppose that George W. Bush is personally culpable for what may very well be a capital crime. Even Britain, considered our closest ally, has dealt with this issue –but not Bush. In the year 2005, the British government was told by the courts that it would be required to demonstrate that evidence obtained under torture had not been used in some 30 cases in which foreign terror suspects were held in Britain. The GOP, by contrast, attempts to re-define the issue with euphemisms. I expected nothing more from them. The GOP is, after all, not a party, it is a crime syndicate, a criminal conspiracy. The party in Congress will try to re-write the laws to make legal the crimes Bush has already committed.

Senate Republicans blocked a bill Friday that would restrict the interrogation methods the CIA can use against terrorism suspects.The legislation, part of a measure authorizing the government’s intelligence activities for 2008, had been approved a day earlier by the House and sent to the Senate for what was supposed to be final action. The bill would require the CIA to adhere to the Army’s field manual on interrogation, which bans water boarding, mock executions and other harsh [torture] interrogation methods.GOP Senators Block Bill That Bans Torture

What else could have been expected from a rogue “President” eager to cover up his complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity? Just recently it has been charged that Bush himself may have ordered the destruction of video tapes depicting US torture in progress. I appeal to Federal Judges throughout the US. A Federal Judge, by law, may, upon his own motion convene, a Federal Grand Jury with broad investigatory powers and the power to issue subpoenas. If you are reading this and you are Federal Judge, I appeal not only to your sense of patriotism but to your regard for the law and the jurisprudential principles which constitute the legal foundation of American justice. A cowardly Congress, perhaps threatened, has proven itself incapable of investigating 911 let alone the myriad of crimes that Bush openly boasted about in his State of the Union Address of 2003.

All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way — they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.–George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2003

This ominous remark most certainly refers to the summary execution of more than 3,000 thousand people. How many more have died upon an imperious order is just a matter of conjecture. Bush, typically, delivered this aside with a demonic sneer, a smirk notable for what it does not say. It does not claim that these victims of Bush’s megalomania are in fact terrorists; only that they are “suspected” terrorists. Even in “barbarous” countries “suspects” are given a chance to prove their innocence. But the US was once a civilized nation. Prior to Bush, it was the responsibility, the duty of prosecutors to prove guilt. Those accused of crimes were not expected to prove innocence. The arbitrary abrogation of this “presumption of innocence”, as we have witnessed in Bush’s criminal regime, is a defining characteristic of tyrannies. Down with tyrants!

The full story in
http://uruknet.info/?p=m39242&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

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

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Former US interrogator recounts torture cases in Afghanistan and Iraq

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 16, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Former US interrogator recounts torture cases in Afghanistan and Iraq

Juan Cole, Informed Comment

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December 15, 2007

The USG Open Source Center translates an interview in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo with Damien Corsetti, a former private in the US army who served as an interrogator and was charged with crimes. He says he witnessed torture but did not commit it himself. He also says that most of the individuals he interrogated had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Many of the practices Corsetti says he witnessed are already illegal. Others would be banned by a new bill passed by the House of Representatives, which George W. Bush has threatened to veto. The bill would place the Central Intelligence Agency under the same rules as obtain for the US military and would disallow waterboarding, mock executions, and sexual humiliation. I repeat, Bush has pledged to veto this legislation.

Former US interrogator recounts torture cases in Afghanistan and Iraq
El Mundo (Internet Version-WWW)
Monday, December 10, 2007 . . .
Document Type: OSC Translated Text . . .

Former US interrogator recounts torture cases in Afghanistan and Iraq

Discharged US army private Damien Corsetti has described the “morally unacceptable” cases of physical and psychological torture he says he witnessed as an interrogator at the prisons of Bagram in Afghanistan and Abu-Ghurayb in Iraq. Speaking in an interview with a Spanish paper, he said the vast majority of the individuals he questioned in the course of his duties “had nothing to do with either the Taleban or Al-Qa’idah” and that while he never took part in acts of abuse, many were tortured “to make them suffer, not to get information out of them”. The following is the text of the report on the interview with Corsetti published by the Spanish popular liberal newspaper El Mundo website on 10 December; subheading as published:

Fairfax (Virginia): Damien Corsetti looks at me with his small eyes and says: “Look, they leave us alone in this room, they give me a roll of duct tape to tie you to the chair, I turn off the light and in five hours you sign a piece of paper for me saying that you’re Usamah Bin-Ladin”.

It is a Thursday night. Damien Corsetti – who, according to The New York Times was nicknamed “The King of Torture” and “The Monster” by his colleagues at Bagram prison, in Afghanistan – is sitting down having a glass of wine in a French restaurant in Fairfax, on the outskirts of Washington. Four days ago, this US private arrived on the outskirts of Washington from North Carolina, where he had been living since September 2006, when he was discharged from the army following a trial in which he was found not guilty of the charges of dereliction of duty, maltreatment, assault and performing indecent acts with prisoners at Bagram.

Now, Corsetti – who was also under investigation in the Abu-Ghurayb torture case – only wants to put his life “in order”. It is a difficult task. Because first he will have to forget the torture to which he says he was a witness in Afghanistan of prisoners such as Al-Qa’idah leader Omar al-Faruq. “The cries, the smells, the sounds are with me. They are things that stay with you forever”, he recalls.

Corsetti arrived in Afghanistan on 29 July 2002. He was a military intelligence soldier, not an interrogator. “But the army needed reliable interrogators, because most interrogators do not meet security requirements. They are not reliable. So we arrived there”. A five-hour course in Afghanistan and, at 22, Corsetti began trying to extract information from the prisoners in the jail – prisoners who, in his opinion, “in 98 per cent of cases had nothing to do with either the Taleban or Al-Qa’idah”.

That is how Corsetti found himself interrogating prisoners at the jail. Many of them were people who had nothing to do with (George W.) Bush’s war on terror, like his first prisoner, whose name he still remembers: Khan Zara. “He was a peasant and grew opium. But he was there three months until he told us. Do you know how I found out. Because of his hands. His hands were full of calluses. Those are not the hands of a terrorist”.

Other prisoners include a farmer who had put mines on his land to kill his neighbour, with who he had a long-standing family dispute, and an Afghan who had bombs in his house to fish in the river. They were people like Dilawar, a taxi driver detained in 2002 who had nothing to do with the Taleban and who died after four days of beatings from US soldiers.

Because Bagram is a very tough prison. “Each prisoner has in his cell a carpet measuring 1.2 m by 2.5 m. And they spend 23 hours a day sat on it, in silence. If they speak, they are chained to the ceiling for 20 minutes and black visors are put on them so they can’t see and protectors are put on their ears so they can’t hear. They are taken down to the basement once a week, in groups of five or six, to shower them. It’s done to drive them crazy. I almost went crazy”, recalls Corsetti. Apart from those normal cells, in the basement of the prison there are six isolation cells, plus two rooms for who the former soldier describes as “special guests”.

But Bagram has an underworld in which the CIA tortures the leaders of Al-Qa’idah. “One day I went to an interrogation session and as soon as I arrived I knew that it was not a normal case. There were civilians, among them a doctor and a psychiatrist. The prisoner was called Omar al-Faruq, an Al-Qa’idah leader in Asia who had been brought to the prison by one of those agencies”, recalls Corsetti. “I don’t want to go into details because it could be very negative for my country, but he was brutally beaten – daily. And tortured by other methods. He was a bad man, but he didn’t deserve that”. Al-Faruq escaped from Bagram in action which, according to some, was tolerated by the USA and was killed in April 2006 by the British in the Iraqi city of Basra.

Corsetti says that he never took part in the torture. “My sole job was to sit there and make sure the prisoner didn’t die. But there were several times when I thought they were about to die, when they were interrogated by those people who have no name and who work for no-one in particular. It’s incredible what a human being can take”. A resistance similar to that of the memory of those torture sessions. Because Corsetti, a veteran of two wars, says: “I have seen people die in combat. I shot at people. That is not as bad as seeing someone tortured. Al-Faruq looked at me while they tortured him and I have that look in my head. And the cries, the smells, the sounds, they are with me all the time. It is something I can’t take in. The cries of the prisoners calling for their relatives, their mother. I remember one who called for God, for Allah, all the time. I have those cries here, inside my head”.

“In Abu-Ghurayb and Bagram they were tortured to make them suffer, not to get information out of them”. And the fact is that at times the torture had no other goal that “to punish them for being terrorists. They tortured them and didn’t ask them anything”. That is the case of the practice known as “the submarine”: to simulate the drowning of the prisoner. “They have them hooded and they pour water on them. That makes it very difficult to breath. I think you can’t die with the submarine. I certainly never saw anyone die. However, they do cough like crazy because they are totally submerged in water and that gets on their lungs. Perhaps what it can give you is serious pneumonia”. The civilians who took part in the interrogations used the submarine whenever they wanted. They gave it to them for five or 10 minutes and didn’t ask anything”.

Other torture included using extreme cold and heat. “I remember one of my prisoners trembling with cold. His teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. I put a blanket on him and then another, and another, and his teeth never stopped chattering, never stopped. You could see that man was going to die of hypothermia. But the doctors are there so that they don’t die, so as to be able to torture them one more day”. At other times, “they put them under blinding lights that worked mechanically, giving out flashes”.

“They are going to kill your children”

An important subject was that of psychological torture, administered by psychiatrists. “They tell them they are going to kill their children, rape their wives. And you see on their faces, in their eyes, the terror that that causes them. Because, of course, we know all about those people. We know the names of their children, where they live – we show them satellite photos of their houses. It is worse than any torture. That is not morally acceptable under any circumstances. Not even with the worst terrorist in the world”, says Corsetti, before adding: “Sometimes, we put one of our women (female US military personnel) in burqas and we made them walk through the interrogation rooms and we told them: ‘That is your wife’. And the prisoner believed it. Why wouldn’t they! We had those people going without sleep for a whole week. After two or three days with no sleep, you believe anything. In fact, it was a problem. The interpreters couldn’t understand what they were saying. The prisoners were having hallucinations. Because, of course, this is not like if you or me go three days without sleep when we’re partying. I’ve gone five days without sleep when I’ve been partying. But this is different. You’re in a cell where they let you sleep only a quarter of an hour every now and then. With no contact with the outside world. Without seeing sunlight. Like that, a days seems like a week. Your mental capacity is destroyed”.

In the opinion of Corsetti, the only thing his experience as an interrogator taught him “is that torture doesn’t work. One thing is losing your temper and punching a prisoner, another is to commit these acts of brutality. In Bagram we managed to find out about an Al-Qa’idah plan to blow up dozens of oil tankers across the world. We smashed the plot so well that they only managed to attack one, the French oil tanker Limburgh, in Yemen in October 2002. And we managed to get a guy to tell us without laying a finger on him”.

(Description of Source: Madrid El Mundo (Internet Version-WWW) in Spanish — independent national daily) ‘

The full story in
http://uruknet.info/?p=m39237&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

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

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5 million Iraqi orphans, anti-corruption board reveals

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 16, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

5 million Iraqi orphans, anti-corruption board reveals

Voices of Iraq

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Baghdad, Dec 15, 2007 (VOI) – Iraq’s anti-corruption board revealed on Saturday that there were five million Iraqi orphans as reported by official government statistics, urging the government, parliament, and NGOs to be in constant contact with Iraq’s parentless children.

“The government should set up an institutional or legislative program to help the Iraqi orphans. Iraqi is an oil-rich country and it is not acceptable that its orphans remain groaning in this tragedy,” the anti-corruption board chief, Moussa Faraj, said during a conference in Baghdad dedicated to orphans in Iraq.
“The board on its own cannot meet the Iraqi orphans’ needs, but there should be an organization or even a ministry to provide care for orphans,” he said.
The Iraqi parliament’s women & family committee had proposed a draft law to set up a fund for the orphans.

During the conference, Wijdan Salem Mikhail, the Iraqi minister of human rights, said in a speech that the phenomenon “is one of the most passive things that grew immensely during the past few years due to destructive wars and unbridled violence in the country to unprecedented heights.”

“These factors have logically caused the number of widows and orphans to greatly increase,” she said.

The full story in
http://uruknet.info/?p=m39245&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Hideous Crime: Israeli Occupation kills new baby in Gaza Strip

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 16, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Hideous Crime: Israeli Occupation kills new baby in Gaza Strip

Popular Committee Against Siege

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Israeli Occupation kills new baby in Gaza Strip

Gaza Strip, December, 14, 2007, (PCAS)- Palestinian Medical sources reported today, Friday, that a new infant child died due to siege. The infant baby died after Israeli occupation banded her from traveling for treatment abroad!

The sources told PCAS that Hala Zanon, a 3-month-baby, had a severe disease since her birth. Her family tried hard to get her outside for treatment, yet she was prevented several times until she died.

The number of dead patients rise up to 38 individuals due to occupation harsh closure imposed on Gaza Strip.

A long list of patients are waiting death as there are no enough medicines and opened crossings to travel for treatment. Nevertheless, Israeli occupation is still violating International conventions and charts obviously.

The ongoing crime of preventing medicines will affect all sick people, especially the seriously ill ones. ” this is a humanitarian crime against innocent civilians. We call upon the free world to put an en end for this illegal siege.” PCAS said.

It’s remarkable that Israel is collectively punishing all people in Gaza Strip since several months. The fragile economy of Gaza Strip collapsed and more than half of Gazans live under poverty line.

The full story in
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m39217&hd=&size=1&l=e

===

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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Dictatorship : Greek historian convicted over book denying the Holocaust

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 16, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Dictatorship : Greek historian convicted over book denying the Holocaust

By The Associated Press

Last update – 19:09 13/12/2007

A far-right Greek historian was sentenced to 14 months in prison Thursday for inciting racial hatred with a book that denies the Holocaust took place, court officials said.

Historian Costas Plevris appealed his sentence and was not taken into custody.

A three-member panel of judges voted 2-1 to find Plevris guilty of inciting violence and racial hatred. The court cleared three other defendants of similar charges: the publisher, the editor and a journalist at a small right-wing magazine that published extracts from the book.

Greek Jewish community leaders had testified that Plevris’ book The Jews: The whole truth has led to an increase in attacks on Jewish monuments in the country.

Plevris protested to the court that his right to free speech had been violated.

It was the first trial in Greece on the recently introduced incitement charges.

An estimated 60,000 Greek Jews, most of the country’s prewar Jewish population, were killed by the Nazis during World War II.

The full story in
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/934426.html

===

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