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Archive for December 20th, 2007

US warrantless wiretapping predates 9/11

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

US warrantless wiretapping predates 9/11

Fuel to the fire

By John Leyden

Published Tuesday 18th December 2007 21:00 GMT

Fresh evidence has emerged that the US government’s warrantless wiretapping program predates the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Secret surveillance operations that enabled the National Security Agency (NSA) to access telecommunications traffic data have been in place since the 1990s, according to the New York Times. In an attempt to gain intelligence on narcotics traffickingThe NSA forged an uneasy alliance with telcos to gather data on phone calls and emails from the US to Latin America.

The alliance between the US government and telcos to gather call records involving thousands of US and foreign citizens was constrained by legal worries and fears of public exposure. Even so, it took until 2004 for one unnamed carrier to break ranks and refuse to provide customer data, the paper reports.

Separately, US carrier Qwest refused to provide NSA spooks with access to local communications switches (a move that would have allowed surveillance of domestic phone calls without a court order) in early 2001 – before the devastating World Trade Center attacks in September that year.

Negotiations between the NSA and AT&T in February 2001 allegedly involved replicating a New Jersey network centre to allow the US signals intelligence “access to all the global phone and email traffic that ran through it”. The incident has become one aspect of a lawsuit which also brings in allegations that Verizon set up a dedicated fibre-optic line from New Jersey to a large military facility in Quantico. Spooky.

An AT&T technician at the time has provided evidence supporting the allegations. However, other AT&T technicians are due to testify that the project was confined to improving internal communications within the NSA.

News that the NSA eavesdropped on the international communications of terrorism suspects making calls from the US without warrants first emerged two years ago. The latest revelations that this was a development of a much longer running practice that also involved US domestic calls come as the Bush administration is pushing Congress to pass legislation indemnifying telecoms carriers from liability in assisting law enforcement with warrantless eavesdropping programs. Since 2005, the warrantless wiretapping program has become the topic of 40 lawsuits. ®

The full story in
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/18/warrantless_wiretapping_latest/

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

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More Than 250 Iraqi Torture Victims Come Forward to Sue CACI for Participating in Conspiracy to Torture, According to Legal Team

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

More Than 250 Iraqi Torture Victims Come Forward to Sue CACI for Participating in Conspiracy to Torture, According to Legal Team

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Hundreds of innocent torture victims came forward and filed a complaint late Monday in Washington federal court against CACI, the private military contractor involved in torturing and abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq.

The complaint in “Saleh et al. v. CACI et al” alleges that these victims were repeatedly sodomized, threatened with rape and harm to their family members, stripped naked, kept naked in their cells, chained and handcuffed to the bars of their cells, forced to wear women’s panties on their heads and bodies, subjected to electric shock, subjected to extreme heat and cold, attacked by unmuzzled dogs, subjected to serious pain inflicted on sensitive body parts, and kicked, beaten and struck.

CACI employees did not play a limited, passive, or secondary role in this torture, according to the complaint. Rather, two CACI interrogators — Stephen Stefanowicz (known as “Big Steve”) and Daniel Johnson (known as “DJ”) — were viewed as among the most aggressive. These two men were responsible for directing former U.S. military personnel Charles Graner, Ivan Frederick, and others to torture and abuse prisoners. Indeed, CACI employees Big Steve and DJ directed such harsh torture that both Graner and Frederick, who were convicted and sentenced, respectively, to 10 and 8 years in prison for abusing prisoners, refused to follow the CACI directives to torture prisoners.

The complaint sets out how Stefanowicz and Johnson and other CACI employees directed soldiers to give prisoners the “special treatment,” which was code for making naked prisoners to crawl back and forth over rough concrete until they were bloodied and unable to move. The complaint also alleges CACI, working with others, wrongfully killed Ibrahiem Neisef Jassem, Hussain Ali Abid Salin, and Ahmed Satar Khamass.

Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, stated, “These private military contractors cannot act with impunity outside the reach of the law — CACI must be held accountable for its participation in the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and other facilities.”

Susan L. Burke of Burke O’Neil LLC, stated, “CACI employees conspired with Graner, Frederick and others who have already been convicted and sentenced. Yet CACI employees have evaded accountability, and CACI itself made millions of dollars from the United States. Is this conduct our taxpayer dollars should be paying for?”

Shereef Akeel of Akeel & Valentine, PLC said, “The men and women we represent have been seeking justice for the nightmares they lived at the hands of their torturers. This civil action will bring much needed accountability to the rogue defense contractor willing to torture and abuse innocent persons.”

The victims in the case are represented by Susan L. Burke, William T. O’Neil, Elizabeth M. Burke, and Katherine R. Hawkins of Burke O’Neil LLC, of Philadelphia; Michael Ratner and Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Shereef Hadi Akeel, of Akeel & Valentine, PLC, of Birmingham, Michigan. This is the same legal team that recently sued Blackwater for killing civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad this September.

The case is “Saleh et al. v. CACI et al,” in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Case No. 05-cv-1165 JR).

Media Contacts: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Burke O’Neil LLC and Akeel & Valentine, PLC, (281) 703-6000 or (281) 362-1411; Jen Nessel, the Center for Constitutional Rights, (212) 614-6449; and David Lerner, Riptide Communications, for the Center for Constitutional Rights, (212) 260-5000.

The full story in
http://sev.prnewswire.com/legal/20071218/LATU08318122007-1.html
http://uruknet.info/?p=m39343&hd=&size=1&l=e

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

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Picture of Secret Detentions Emerges in Pakistan

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Picture of Secret Detentions Emerges in Pakistan

By CARLOTTA GALL

Published: December 19, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, apparently trying to avoid acknowledging an elaborate secret detention system, have quietly set free nearly 100 men suspected of links to terrorism, few of whom were charged, human rights groups and lawyers here say.


Akhtar Soomro for The New York Times
A Pakistani mother held a portrait of her missing son during a protest this month in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pressure has mounted to bring the cases of people detained in secret to the courts.

Those released, they say, are some of the nearly 500 Pakistanis presumed to have disappeared into the hands of the Pakistani intelligence agencies cooperating with Washington’s fight against terrorism since 2001.

No official reason has been given for the releases, but as pressure has mounted to bring the cases into the courts, the government has decided to jettison some suspects and spare itself the embarrassment of having to reveal that people have been held on flimsy evidence in the secret system, its opponents say.

Interviews with lawyers and human rights officials here, a review of cases by The New York Times and court records made available by the lawyers show how scraps of information have accumulated over recent months into a body of evidence of the detention system.

In one case, a suspect tied to, but not charged with the 2002 killing of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist, was dumped on a garbage heap, so thin and ill he died 20 days later. He, like one other detainee, was arrested in South Africa several years ago and released in Pakistan this year.

The Pakistani government denies detaining people illegally and says that many of the missing are actually in regular jails on criminal charges, while other cases have been fabricated.

In at least two instances, detainees were handed over to the United States without any legal extradition proceedings, Pakistani lawyers and human rights groups say. American officials here and in Washington refused to comment on the cases.

“They are releasing them because these cases are being made public,” said Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, a lawyer working at the Supreme Court who has taken many cases of the missing. “They want to avoid the publicity.”

In addition, human rights groups and lawyers here contend, the government has swept up at least 4,000 other Pakistanis, most of them Baluchi and Sindhi nationalists seeking ethnic or regional autonomy who have nothing to do with the United States campaign against terrorism.

Human rights groups and lawyers describe the disappearances as one of the grimmest aspects of Pervez Musharraf’s presidency, and one that shows no sign of slowing.

Under previous governments, “there were one or two cases, but not the systematic disappearances by the intelligence agencies under Musharraf,” said Iqbal Haider, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent nonprofit organization.

The issue of the missing became one of the most contentious between President Musharraf and the Supreme Court under its former chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The releases are particularly galling to lawyers here because as one justification for imposing emergency rule on Nov. 3, President Musharraf accused the courts of freeing terrorism suspects. That decree was lifted Saturday, but the former chief justice and other judges were dismissed and remain in detention. The Supreme Court hearings on the missing have been halted.

While Mr. Musharraf criticized the court as being soft on terrorists, court records show that Mr. Chaudhry was less interested in releasing terrorism suspects than in making sure their cases entered the court system.

He said at each hearing that his primary concern was for the families of the missing, who were suffering anguish not knowing where their loved ones were.

His main aim was to regularize the detention of the missing, not to free them, Mr. Siddiqui said. “Not a single person who was convicted was released on the Supreme Court’s order,” he said.

Detainees have been warned on their release not to speak to anyone about their detention, yet fragments of their experiences have filtered out through relatives and their lawyers. A few even appeared in court and told their stories, and it became increasingly clear that the “disappeared” men had in fact been held in military or intelligence agency cells around the country, often for several years without being charged.

Still, the government denies detaining people illegally or torturing them. Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry and leader of the national crisis management cell that deals with terrorism, said many of the men said to be missing had been found in jails or police cells and had been charged with crimes.

The full story in
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/world/asia/19disappeared.html?_r=2&ref=world&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

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

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French journalist investigated over intelligence leaks regarding 9/11 attacks

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

French journalist investigated over intelligence leaks regarding 9/11 attacks

 

September 11: the French had long known

Global Research, December 17, 2007

 

Committee to Protect Journalists

 

New York, December 10, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about a criminal investigation launched by French authorities against Guillaume Dasquié, a reporter for the daily Le Monde, on accusations of publishing state secrets related to the 9/11 hijackings.

Officers from the Directorate of Territorial Security, a counterespionage agency, searched Dasquié’s Paris home on Wednesday. They detained him for 48 hours, during which time he was interrogated and pressured to reveal his sources, according to international news reports. Dasquié faces five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros (US$110,000) under Article 413-11 of France’s penal code if convicted.

“We are troubled by the criminal probe against Guillaume Dasquié and his detention for two days by French security services who pressured him to reveal his sources,” CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Dasquié should not be prosecuted for serving the public’s right to know.”

On Thursday, investigating magistrate Philippe Coirre, who is in charge of the probe, filed preliminary charges against Dasquié. Under French law, the filing of preliminary charges means the investigation has found sufficient evidence to suggest that Dasquié has been involved in a crime, The Associated Press reported.

The probe against Dasquié stems from his April 16 article in Le Monde, titled “September 11: the French had long known,” which said French intelligence services, the General Directorate of External Security (DGSE), had warned their U.S. counterparts of a possible terrorist plot that involved the hijacking of planes and crashing them into buildings some eight months before 9/11, according to international news reports.

The article contained excerpts from a DGSE file titled “Aircraft hijack plan by radical Islamists”—part of a 328-page classified report on al-Qaeda activities, which Le Monde said it possessed. One excerpt from the report, dated January 5, 2001, said al-Qaeda had a list of potential airline targets, which included the United and American Airlines carriers used in the 9/11 attacks, the AP said. Le Monde said the DGSE files in its possession contained maps, analyses, graphics, and satellite photos, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.

The full story in
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7638

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

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Catholic leader: Israel discriminates against non-Jews

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Catholic leader: Israel discriminates against non-Jews

Saed Bannoura – IMEMC

michel_sabbah.jpg

Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbahdecember 19, 2007

A top clergyman in the Catholic church challenged Israel’s self-definition as a ‘Jewish state’, saying that it discriminates against non-Jews.

Arab lawmakers inside Israel have long pointed to nineteen specific laws that favor Israeli Jews over Israeli non-Jews inside Israel. In addition, the Israeli military has maintained a military occupation over the two Palestinian territories, the West bank and the Gaza Strip, since 1967.

Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, a Palestinian himself, made the statement in Jerusalem Wednesday during a pre-Christmas press conference. Sabbah stated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been perpetuated by Israel’s “unwillingness to make peace”.

He added that all religions should be allowed to share the Holy Land. ”If there’s a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against,” said Sabbah. He said that this is a Holy Land for Christians, Muslims and Jews, adding, “God made this land for all three of us, so a suitable state is one who can adapt itself to the vocation of this land.”

The Catholic clergy in the Holy Land have an annual press conference leading up to Christmas. In recent years this has come to be a forum whereby Catholic clergy have voiced their concerns over Israeli policies, particularly regarding the effects of these policies on Christians.

The full story in
http://uruknet.info/?p=m39380&hd=&size=1&l=e

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

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Catholic leader rejects Israel’s Jewish identity

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Catholic leader rejects Israel’s Jewish identity

News agencies

Published: 12.19.07, 17:35 / Israel News

 

Top Roman Catholic clergyman in Jerusalem slams definition of Israel as Jewish nation, says land must be shared by all religions. Latin Patriarch says Israeli-Palestinian conflict has unleashed ‘forces of evil’ across Middle East, conflict perpetuates because of Israel’s ‘unwillingness’ to make peace

Israel‘s identity as a Jewish state discriminates against non-Jews, its top Roman Catholic clergyman said in a pre-Christmas address on Wednesday in Jerusalem.

”If there’s a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against,” Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah told reporters at the annual press conference he holds in Jerusalem before Christmas. In his address, which he read in Arabic and English, Sabbah said Israel should abandon its Jewish character in favor of a ”political, normal state for Christians, Muslims and Jews.”

Sabbah denounced Israel’s demand to be recognized as a Jewish state by the Palestinians and said “God made this land for all three of us, so a suitable state is one who can adapt itself to the vocation of this land.

”This land cannot be exclusive for anyone,” he said, adding that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had unleashed “forces of evil” across the Middle East and that it was Israel’s obligation, as to end the warring. “The one who will decide is Israel. If Israel decides for peace, there will be peace… Until now, there has been no peace, simply because there has been no willingness to make it.”

Sabbah expressed hope for peace in the Holy Land and urged both sides to shun violence, whether “carried out by the state or by extremists”.

Arye Mekel, a spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry, said Israel provides full religious freedom to people of all faiths. ”We reject his claim that other religions are not enjoying equal rights in Israel,” Mekel said.

Israel has long pointed out that other countries call themselves Islamic republics and are not criticized.

Sabbah, who has been the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem since 1987, is the first Palestinian to hold the post and is frequently critical of Israel.

He also lashed out at Israel for visa restrictions he said were unfair to Christian clergy.

The full story in
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3484608,00.html

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

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ISRAELI TROOPS LITERALLY GET AWAY WITH MURDER

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

ISRAELI TROOPS LITERALLY GET AWAY WITH MURDER

(Ben Heine © Cartoons)

Israeli prisons are overcrowded with innocent Palestinians, many of whom were never even charged with a criminal offense. These prisoners include scores of young children as well, again not charged with any particular crime other than the fact that they are Palestinian…. a crime itself in an apartheid state.

Adding ‘insult to injury’, Israeli soldiers that ARE suspected of criminal offenses are NOT prosecuted as reported in the following Associated Press article…

Report: Israel rarely prosecutes troops

By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – In the past seven years, the Israeli military has indicted just 10 percent of soldiers suspected of criminal offenses against Palestinians, an Israeli human rights group reported Tuesday, saying the figure raises questions about Israel‘s willingness to prosecute.

The Yesh Din group said just 9 percent of investigations led to convictions. The conviction rate was less than 7 percent when the investigations focused on the killing and injury of civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it said.

“The low number of investigations opened and the minute number of indictments served reveal the (military’s) de facto derogation of its duty to protect the civilian Palestinian population against offenses committed by its soldiers,” said Michael Sfard, Yesh Din’s legal counsel.

Basing its report on statistics solicited from the military, Yesh Din reported that 1,091 criminal investigations were launched between September 2000 — the start of the second Palestinian uprising against Israel — and June 2007. Of that number, 118, or 10 percent, were indicted, and 101, or 9 percent, were convicted.

Of the 239 investigations into the killing and injury of Palestinian civilians, 16 resulted in convictions, or 6.7 percent, Yesh Din reported.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the Israeli legal system takes all complaints seriously.

“Israel is a country in which we pride ourselves on our independent and professional judiciary,” he said. “No one — no institution and no individual — is above the law.”

The military said it was looking into Yesh Din’s report.

The full story in
http://desertpeace.blogspot.com/2007/12/israeli-troops-literally-get-away-with.html

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

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Fatwa against the dollar?

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 20, 2007

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

=== News Update ===

Fatwa against the dollar?

Posted by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Tags: , , ,

on 17 Dec 2007 at 14:38

To all intents and purposes, the Wahabi religious establishment of Saudi Arabia has just issued a fatwa against the US dollar. This bears watching.

Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia's oil minister
Anti-dollar clerics have lobbied Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister

A message issued by 26 leading clerics warns that inflation has reached intolerable levels in the Gulf kingdom.

While it does not vilify the dollar explicitly, the apparent political aim is to undermine the country’s dollar peg.

“The rulers should seek to try to remedy this crisis in a way that would ease people’s suffering.”

“We direct this message to the rulers and officials: we remind you of Prophet Mohammad’s words that you are shepherds who are responsible for your flock,” it said.

The statement was posted across the Islamic world. The background to this has been a raging debate in Gulf religious and economic circles about the destructive effects of the sliding dollar.

Among the lead-authors is Sheikh Nasser al-Omar, known for his fatwa against US-led forces in Iraq.

He has long preached the collapse of American-led capitalism, and now sees a perfect moment to plunge the knife. We can guess that al-Qaeda Inc is thinking along the same lines.

My own hunch is that the next al-Qaeda strike will not be a symbolic blow to a great building or city, but rather a carefully-timed economic blow: either by cutting – or trying to cut – the oil jugular, or by trying to precipitate a run on the dollar.

The Gulf pegs are preventing the region from taking action to stop the oil boom spiralling out of control.

Half the Mid-East is now overheating. Property booms have reached unstable extremes in almost all the oil states. Construction has become maniacal.

CPI inflation is 5.35pc in Saudi Arabia, the highest in over ten years. It has reached 10.1pc in the United Arab Emirates and 12.2pc in Qatar.

The dollar pegs – designed to anchor the currencies – are now forcing the Petrodollar economies to import US devaluation and monetary stimulus.

What has been a simmering problem for over a year, has become untenable since the Federal Reserve began slashing interest rates.

The Gulf has roughly $3.5trn under management in wealth funds and central banks, so a dollar shift makes waves.

Qatar has already slashed the dollar holding of its future generation fund from 40pc to 98pc.

Stephen Lewis, global strategist at Insinger de Beaufort, said the Fatwa was ominous.

“The Saudi government has been the one institution in the region battling to preserve the oil link with the dollar. If these clerics are able to wear down Saudi resistance, this could breach the bulwark. The dollar would quite likely be abandoned as the chief currency for pricing oil in world markets,” he said.

If the Mid-East breaks the pegs, a chain reaction threatens to follow across Asia. China now has 6.9pc inflation. It may have to ditch its cheap yuan policy soon enough anyway, or face the sort of double digit rises that destroy regimes.

The Saudi royal family rules by a delicate compromise. Although pro-Western in military and economic alliances, it relies on the endorsement of the Wahabi clerics as a key source of legitimacy.

Reluctance to confront this menacing bloc is the main reason why Riyadh tolerated – and helped – the Bin Laden network for so long.

The statement called on the Saudis to take action to stop food price soaring to fresh highs, if necessary with subsidies on key staples.

For now, the dollar is bouncing back. Speculative flows have swung back from euros to dollars after America’s CPI inflation shock of 4.3pc released last week.

One week’s data mean nothing. As the Fed cuts rates ever further to the cushion US property crash bites, Mid-East inflation will go from bad to seriously ugly with the policies now in place.

The Saudis, Qataris, and Emirates have all said they will preserve the pegs. But fatwas tend to up the ante.

The full story in
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/business/ambrosevanspritchard/december07/fatwa.htm

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

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