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Archive for July 2nd, 2008

Islam is real threat to church, says Synod member

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Telegraph - Print Version

Islam is real threat to church, says Synod member

Last updated: 12:49 AM BST 28/06/2008

Divisions in the Church of England over homosexuality and women bishops are nothing compared with the threat it faces from Islam, a prominent member of its governing body has warned.

More than 1,000 conservative Anglicans have been meeting in Jerusalem this week to develop a new movement within the worldwide Communion, in order to combat liberals who they say are departing from the Bible’s teaching by supporting gay clergy.

Next week the General Synod, the Church of England’s parliament, gathers in York to discuss the introduction of women bishops without provisions for those who oppose the historic move, which could see dozens of conservative clergy leave the church and claim millions in compensation.

But Alison Ruoff, an evangelical lay member of the Synod and a former magistrate who is at the Gafcon summit in Jerusalem, told The Daily Telegraph that the church needs to get past these divisions and concentrate on fighting the rise of Islam in Britain.

She says that under an Archbishop of Canterbury who said it is inevitable that elements of Sharia will be introduced in the UK, the church has not done enough to put its message across.

And she believes the Government, out of politically correct sensitivity, is not preventing the growth of Muslim communities which do not integrate with those around them.

Mrs Ruoff, who earlier this year called for a halt to mosque building in Britain, said: “The problems of homosexuality and women bishops which face the Church of England are minor compared with the threat to the church and the nation from Islam.

“The church is sleepwalking into an Islamic state. Hopefully we can unite against it.

“The leaders of the church have lost their confidence in the Gospel. We have got an Archbishop of Canterbury who doesn’t stand up for Christianity but wants a degree of Sharia law.

“The church should be getting out with the Christian message.

“Our Government is allowing it to happen out of political correctness, but it should be protecting our values and heritage.”

She added that many people share her fears but do not like to speak out about it in case they are criticised.

“People are genuinely worried. There’s a general concern in the nation about its building blocks being rapidly eroded.

“But we are very afraid of the law and of being persecuted. The police in many respects are standing up for Islam rather than Christianity.”

Mrs Ruoff believes the problem with the growth of Islam in Britain is that some communities do not integrate, and that some immigrant imams do not learn English, leading to segregation.

She fears that if these communities introduce Islamic law, all non-Muslims and women will be treated as second-class citizens by them.

Gafcon leaders are still working on a statement which will determine the structure of their new movement, which is more likely to be an organization for traditional Anglicans worldwide rather than an outside rival.

However Mrs Ruoff believes a complete split is justified as liberals, particularly in America, have departed so far from the traditional teaching of the Bible and church rules by consecrating an openly gay bishop.

Yesterday, Gafcon leaders said the conference was itself an ultimatum and a challenge to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the existing structures of the Anglican Communion.

Dr Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, said: “Gafcon poses a challenge now. If all we did was meet here it would pose a challenge to others in the Communion and the leadership.

“The fact that Gafcon has now come into existence as a conference and possibly a movement, that has got to be taken into account.

“All around the world, the sleeping giant of orthodox Anglicanism has been awoken.”

He said it was an “act of folly” for the liberal Americans to consecrate a gay bishop without thinking there would be serious consequences.

Archbishop Greg Venables, Primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, said he was sorry that more conservative church leaders at Gafcon were not also going to the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops, as he is.

“I personally would have liked us all to be there,” he said.

A final statement is expected to be signed by Gafcon leaders on Sunday.

Story from Telegraph News:

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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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VIDEO – The Pentagon 9/11 Lie Fest

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

VIDEO – The Pentagon 9/11 Lie Fest

The FBI didn’t want you to know what was going on in Venice, FL before 9/11.

Specifically that terrorist/fundamentalist “ring leader” Mohamed Atta was really a coke-snorting, lap dance buying, scotch drinking drug pilot who appeared to be operating under the protection of the US government.

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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Senator John McCain: Is He Lying or just Insane?

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US’ Violation of Human Rights in Afghanistan

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

US’ Violation of Human Rights in Afghanistan

Ash Narain Roy

nato_victim1.jpg

Monday 30 June 2008

Afghanistan has endured a quarter century of brutal wars during which human rights have been violated systematically by the occupying forces, the various regimes in power and the insurgent groups. The “war on terror” unleashed by the US promised a new dawn. But the Operation Enduring Freedom has brought neither the end of nightmare and miseries for the Afghans nor freedom of any consequence. The war on terror has led to widespread civilian deaths, often at the hands of unaccountable units led by the CIA and other foreign intelligence agencies. These foreign intelligence units “operate” with “impunity” in Afghanistan.

This is not the propaganda of the Taliban or jehadi outfits. This is what the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Philip Alston, has said in his preliminary report on civilian deaths in Afghanistan a few days ago. Though he has not directly named the CIA, he has clearly alluded to the CIA and the US Special Operation Forces. The killing of 200 civilians by the US and international military forces in the first four months of 2008 is too high to escape global attention. Besides those targeted indiscriminately, Alston also refers to “a number of raids for which no state or military command appears ready to acknowledge responsibility”.

The report cites several cases of extra-judicial killings. In January 2008, two brothers were killed in Kandahar in a raid led by the international personnel. Even the Afghan Government officials admitted he had no connection to the Taliban. But Alston failed to get any international military commander to even admit that their soldiers were involved. The Alston report provides a partial glimpse into the illegal actions of intelligence agencies, occupying forces and Afghan Police. A more detailed final report will be released later this year.

The UN Security Council on June 19, 2008 described sexual violence during armed conflict as a “war crime” and a component of genocide and made a call to end it. Ironically, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chaired the Council meeting that approved the Resolution 1820 which said: “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” But she was silent about the American troops and the intelligence units committing war crimes, including rape, in Iraq and Afghanistan with impunity.

After seven years of American military operations, there is no peace, human rights, democracy and freedom. The Operation Enduring Freedom has turned out to be the biggest farce. The Taliban is perhaps as strong as it was at the time of the war on terror. It hits where it hurts. It ambushes military patrols, targets NATO troops and even enforces the law in remote villages. Afghanistan is back to full-blown insurgency. The Karzai regime’s writ runs hardly beyond Kabul. The people are falling victims of jehadi infightings, the Taliban’s untargeted blasts and the US/NATO’s bombardments. In short, an ungovernable Afghanistan is reverting to what it was before the overthrow of the Taliban: a failed state that can spread instability across Central Asia.

THAT the CIA is involved in covert operations in Afghanistan is an open secret. The Bagram Air Force Base near Kabul continues to work as a transit point for prisoners captured by the US and destined for Guantanamo Bay, secret CIA prisons or other countries that practise torture.

Tens of thousands of detainees are held in Afghanistan without charge and without access to lawyers. According to a report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 70-90 per cent of detainees have been rounded up without evidence. Secret trials are held based on allegations forwarded by the Pentagon “that would never have been admissible in a US court or even a military commission in Guantanamo”. No wonder the UN Human Rights Council compares such operations to “South American death squads”. A BBC report is equally damning; it says that “this is all happening under the eyes of American commanders who seem unwilling or unable to intervene”.

Some years ago, Human Rights Watch, in a 59-page report, titled “Enduring Freedom: Abuses by US Forces in Afghanistan”, said that the Bush Administration was setting a “terrible precedent” to the rest of the world by its practices of arbitrary arrest, detention and mistreatment of detainees. It accused the US forces for using interrogation tactics that have been condemned by the State Department in the federal agency’s own Country Reports of human rights abuses.

During a hearing of the Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi case, when a Supreme Court judge wondered aloud how the court could be sure the government interrogators were not abusing the detainees, the Deputy Solicitor-General, Paul Clement, said: “You just have to trust the executive.” The Abu Ghraib exposed the farce of that policy of “trust”.

Some information is, of course, available about the US military bases at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Bagram in Afghanistan and the unlawful conduct within these bases have been widely publicised. But there are several other officially undisclosed locations, including facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordon and on Diego Garcia. Each of these centres is maintained in either partial or total secrecy. Despite being bound by international treaties, the Bush Administration has refused ICRC access to these locations.

The Human Rights First has failed to identify any official list of US detention facilities abroad employed in the course of the “war on terror”. Likewise, there is no public accounting of how many are detained or for what reason they are held. Are the detainees prisoners of war, civilians who took a direct part in hostilities, or are they suspected of criminal violations under civilian law? No one seems to have the answer. Now the US Defence and Justice Departments have come out with a weird reason, saying a key purpose of these indefinite detentions is to promote national security by developing detainees as sources of intelligence!

On June 8, 2008, several human rights leaders have written a letter to the Congress urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop funding torture in the so-called “war on terror”. It says: While there continues to be considerable media and Congressional attention to torture in Guantanamo, there is comparatively little attention to the mounting evidence of human rights violations, including torture and target killings of civilians in Iraq since the 2004 Abu Ghraib revelations, and virtually none at all devoted to Afghanistan.

The letter also points to the public outcry that the “Phoenix programme” had raised during the Vietnam War as well as the death squads during the Central American wars and wonders how the top counter-insurgency adviser to General Petraeus could call for a “global Phoenix programme”. The human rights leaders further maintain that Building a 40-acre, $ 60 million detention facility in Afghanistan, allegedly to provide better conditions for detainees, ignores the question of why our troops are sinking into a deeper quagmire in Afghanistan in the first place. There is no way to safeguard human rights or due process under an unpopular military occupation.

The human rights leaders have demanded that the Congress insist on an exit strategy from the Afghanistan war, determine whether the 1997 Leahy Amendment, which prohibits assistance to sectarian and repressive human rights violators, applies to US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and oppose the proposed $ 60 million detention facility in Afghanistan, which implies a long-term Western military occupation in violation of basic human rights, judicial due process and national sovereignty.

It is evident that the US doesn’t believe the laws of armed conflict apply to the war against terror. The US Congress and the people at large must raise questions or else the world community would think the Americans support spending their tax dollars on torture, secret prisons and death squads. That John Negroponte was charged with violating human rights in Central America was an open secret. And yet, he was made Ambassador to Iraq. Even more surprising was the fact that the Congress directed few questions at Negroponte during the Congressional hearings.

James Madison once noted: “A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or Tragedy.” The “war on terrorism” has turned out to be both a farce and a tragedy.

The author is an Associate Director, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.

source : http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m45309&hd=&size=1&l=e

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-muslim voice-
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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Bush’s top general quashed torture dissent

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Bush’s top general quashed torture dissent

New evidence shows that despite warnings from across the military, former Gen. Richard Myers shut down legal scrutiny of brutal interrogation tactics.

By Mark Benjamin

News

Reuters/Ahmad Masood

U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers listens to questions during a news conference March 16, 2005, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

June 30, 2008 | WASHINGTON — The former Air Force general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, helped quash dissent from across the U.S. military as the Bush administration first set up a brutal interrogation regime for terrorism suspects, according to newly public documents and testimony from an ongoing Senate probe.

In late 2002, documents show, officials from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps all complained that harsh interrogation tactics under consideration for use at the prison in Guantánamo Bay might be against the law. Those military officials called for further legal scrutiny of the tactics. The chief of the Army’s international law division, for example, said in a memo that some of the tactics, such as stress positions and sensory deprivation, “cross the line of ‘humane treatment'” and “may violate the torture statute.”

Myers, however, agreed to scuttle a plan for further legal review of the tactics, in response to pressure from a top Pentagon attorney helping to set up the interrogation program for then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The documents unearthed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with testimony from a recent hearing, shed new light on the role played by the man who was the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and who acted, by law, as the top military advisor to President Bush. Until now, it was unclear how Myers handled those duties during the genesis of the military’s harsh-interrogation program.

“He is rarely referenced as one of the usual suspects,” noted Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington Law School who is following the continuing Senate investigation. “He did play a much more central role” than previously known, Turley said. “The minute the military lawyers expressed concern, they were shut down.”

The chain of events involving Myers began in late 2002. Rumsfeld was considering the approval of three categories of interrogation techniques for use at Guantánamo. The list included some brutal tactics, including stress positions, exploitation of phobias, forced nudity, hooding, isolation, sensory deprivation, exposure to cold and waterboarding, or simulated drowning.

According to written correspondence that came to light during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing June 17, various military leaders balked at the plans in a series of memos produced during the first week of November 2002. In addition to the criticisms raised by the Army, the Air Force leadership cited “serious concerns regarding the legality” of the list of proposed techniques. The Navy also called for further legal review, and the Marine Corps stated that the techniques “arguably violate federal law.”

Because of these concerns, Myers’ legal counsel, Rear Adm. Jane Dalton, began a fresh evaluation of the legality of the interrogation tactics. “My recollection is that all four of the [military services] suggested that there needed to be further legal and policy review,” Dalton testified. The legal review, she told the committee, would have included further input from the military services and provided for a full airing of their concerns.

But such an analysis threatened to undermine Rumsfeld’s agenda — and that’s when Myers stepped in. Dalton testified that Myers ordered her to stop that review because of a request from Pentagon general counsel William Haynes. Haynes was spearheading Rumsfeld’s efforts to set up a harsh-interrogation program at the Pentagon. “The best of my recollection as to how this occurred is that the chairman called me aside and indicated to me that Mr. Haynes did not want this broad-based review to take place,” Dalton testified. “When I learned that Mr. Haynes did not want that broad-based legal and policy review to take place, then I stood down from the plans.”

Dalton said Myers was aware that the military services believed the interrogation techniques might be against the law. “It is my recollection that he was aware of these concerns and that I made him aware of those concerns,” she said.

Rumsfeld signed off on almost all of the techniques on Dec. 2, 2002. At the time, the military’s interrogation of the so-called 20th hijacker, Mohammed al-Khatani, had recently begun at Guantánamo — an interrogation in which Rumsfeld was personally involved. Al-Khatani was stripped naked, isolated, given intravenous fluids and forced to urinate on himself, exercised to exhaustion, called a homosexual, forced to wear a mask and dance, leashed and made to perform dog tricks. His interrogations lasted 18 to 20 hours a day for 48 of 54 days.

Myers has never been forced to answer many questions about his role in the interrogation program. When a reporter gathering information for a May 2008 Vanity Fair article showed him a copy of the December 2002 memo signed by Rumsfeld, Myers responded, “You don’t see my initials on this.”

In a telephone call, Salon provided Myers’ office with a detailed description of this Salon article. He declined an interview request. A source close to Myers said he expects to be called in front of the Senate committee to answer questions about his role in the interrogation program.

In addition to Myers’ role, the testimony and documents from the Senate investigation show that in 2002 Rumsfeld raced to start the interrogation program — duplicating harsh tactics already being used by the CIA — in part because of a bureaucratic turf war between the Pentagon and the intelligence agency. “You actually have agencies trying to outrun each other to create a torture program,” Turley said, noting the odd nature of that battle. “It was like there was a debate over who would have jurisdiction over interstate highways.”

As Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld was known across Washington for jealously guarding and seeking to expand his control over U.S. national security policy and operations, particularly when it came to intelligence activities. He often duplicated CIA capabilities by setting up separate operations at the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld’s decision to create an undersecretary of defense for military intelligence in late 2002, for example, was widely seen as a snub at the CIA. He reportedly sought to end the Pentagon’s “near total dependence on the CIA,” as he put it, by creating a new espionage arm, the Strategic Support Branch, specifically to bring some activities traditionally carried out by the CIA under his own control. Interrogations became a key part of that fight.

Richard Shiffren, a former deputy counsel in the Department of Defense, told the Senate committee that Rumsfeld was adamant about expanding the Defense Department’s reach. “The secretary was very jealous of other agencies,” Shiffren said, “specifically, with respect to DOD’s inherent capabilities.” He said that because of Rumsfeld’s competitive spirit, when it came to interrogations, the defense secretary “ended up, sort of, building a capability that mirrored the CIA.”

In March 2002, the CIA asked the Department of Justice about the legal limits for interrogating suspected al-Qaida member Abu Zubaydah, who had been captured by American and Pakistani agents on March 28, 2002. After that request, the Justice Department produced on Aug. 1, 2002, the infamous “Bybee memo,” which defined torture as treatment “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” This was the start of the CIA’s brutal interrogations at so-called black sites, or secret overseas prisons. Zubaydah’s interrogation included waterboarding.

John Yoo, one of the Justice Department attorneys who helped draft that memo, told the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday that after the CIA had asked for a memo on the limits of interrogation, a similar request soon arrived from the Pentagon. Yoo said in written testimony that the Justice Department “gave substantially the same advice to both agencies.” All the wheels were now in motion to implement the interrogation plan.

To develop the CIA interrogation program, the agency turned to two psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, hired as contractors. The two were formerly involved with the military’s secretive Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape program, which trains U.S. soldiers to resist torture if they’re captured, by exposing them to brutal treatment. The psychologists helped the agency to “reverse-engineer” the techniques — originally meant to help protect U.S. soldiers from enemies who disregarded the Geneva Conventions — for use in prisoner interrogations by the United States.

The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this month further elucidated Pentagon efforts to do the same thing. Top Pentagon attorneys were requesting information from the military’s SERE school in July 2002. Officials there supplied information on a range of harsh tactics. In September 2002, military interrogators from Guantánamo Bay traveled to SERE school for training.

In the preface of a recent report on U.S. abuse of detainees by Physicians for Human Rights, retired Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba, the man the Army enlisted to conduct an initial investigation into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, railed against the Bush administration. “The Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture,” Taguba wrote. “After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

For a variety of complicated political and legal reasons, few in Washington think any high-level Bush administration officials will ever face a judge because of their actions. “It is not likely there are going to be prosecutions,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. But he hopes that one day there will be a fact-finding commission that will expose the full truth. “There is definitely a story that needs to be told,” he said.

Richard Myers retired from service on Oct. 1, 2005. Bush awarded Myers with the Presidential Medal of Freedom the following month. Myers was elected to the boards of two major U.S. defense contractors, United Technologies and Northrop Grumman, in 2006.

source : http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/06/30/richard_myers/

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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Vacate Entire Central Somalia Region

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Vacate Entire Central Somalia Region

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

Abdinasir Mohamed Guled

The last units of Ethiopian military troops have wholly withdrawn from Hiran region central Somalia on Saturday night according to the residents.

In the midnight residents saw the final Ethiopians army base of Kalabeyrka in Jawil area on the outskirt of Beledweyne empty following the soldiers pulled en route for the neighboring Galgadud region.

Some truck vehicle’s drivers use street near the vacated army base told Shabelle English service that The Ethiopian troops with more than 30 armored vehicles have partially gone to Ferfer a town in Ethiopia.

It’s yet unknown the motive behind their withdrawal.

The vacated army base is a strategic area for the civilian vehicle’s activities between Hiran and Galgadudu regions.

No Ethiopian soldiers now Hiran in region at the moment.

The troops were deployed in April, after ex-Hiran Governor Yusuf Daboged fled Beledweyne in the face of an Islamist militia takeover.

It is not clear why the Ethiopian forces withdrew from the town and none of the regional officials have spoken publicly about the matter yet.

Else where armed Islamic courts union fighters have expanded into several areas of Hiran region where they have conducted anti-robber’s operations following they entered into Beledweyne town later than the Ethiopian troops have in part pulled out.

The fighters arrived in the town early on saturday morning taking positions and keeping guard at the streets.

Locals ransacked the offices of the regional and municipal administration and the whereabouts of the regional Governor and mayor of the city of Beledweyn are not yet known, resources in Beledweyn, 300 km north of Mogadishu, told Shabelle.

Commanders of the UIC fighters spoke with local residents saying they will fight with Ethiopian troops if they returned to the city which has fallen to the Islamists early this year but they withdrew hours after they took over.

Sources in the city said that Ethiopian troops who since they returned to Beledweyn after they left early this year had been stationed in the town with the newly installed administration trying to consolidate their authority in the region.

The new Governor had said early this year that Islamists were inside the region and had been trying to reign in.

Ethiopian troops were deployed in the town and the former governor’s forces disbanded.

Ethiopian troops, who are currently deployed in Somalia to assist the Somali transitional government assert its influence throughout the country, were reportedly heading to towns in the central region of Mugud.

The near daily attacks on Somali and Ethiopian troops by UNIC fighters continued unabated despite the signing of a peace deal early this month between Somali transitional government and a faction of the opposition group The Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia.

Another faction of the alliance based in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, and the Al-shabaab Islamist group have boycotted the talks held in Djibouti last month.

They vowed to continue their attacks on Ethiopian and Somali transitional government forces and officials until Ethiopian troops withdraw from Somalia.

Somali has been without a central authority since the ouster of former Somali ruler Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991.

source : http://allafrica.com/stories/200806290003.html

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Palestinians Hold “Monitoring Human Rights Compliance in Places of Detention” Conference on UN Day in Support of Torture Victims

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Palestinians Hold “Monitoring Human Rights Compliance in Places of Detention” Conference on UN Day in Support of Torture Victims

Written by Cheryl Rettig for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

pal_torture_in_israel.jpg

Despite the Israeli High Court decision on 6 September 1999, outlawing the use of arbitrary torture as an interrogation method, methods of torture are still applied by Israeli interrogators of Palestinian detainees (photo by TRC).

30 June 2008

The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June) is an occasion when human rights organizations, torture survivors and concerned individuals raise public awareness of the continued prevalence of torture around the world and discuss methods of eradicating this evil. This year, the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC) and United against Torture (UAT) organized a conference in Ramallah titled “Monitoring Human Rights Compliance in Places of Detention.” This series of lectures by national and international organizations and experts examined torture in Palestine and Israel, and discussed the best practices for prevention. Dr. Mahmud Sehwail, General Director and Consultant Psychiatrist at the TRC stressed the importance of this day when he said it is an opportunity to support victims of torture, remember those who are suffering, and show international concern to eradicate this crime.

According to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), of which Israel is a signatory, torture is defined as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity” (Article 1). The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) summarizes this definition as “the intentional infliction of severe mental or physical pain or suffering by or with the consent of the state authorities for a specific purpose.”

Unfortunately, torture is used as a routine method of interrogation and punishment in more than half of the world’s countries, including Israel, despite being prohibited by international human rights and humanitarian law. The TRC defines torture as “the purposeful and systematic annihilation of a human being’s physical and psychological well-being.” This sentiment is echoed by Palestinians who have survived torture at the hands of Israeli security forces.

Ms. Manal Ghanim was tortured in prison and was courageous enough to speak of her experiences at the conference. She said she was arrested in her third month of pregnancy, gave birth to her son in prison (who remained with her for 13 months until he was taken away) and was kept in prison for four years. Ms. Ghanim described the conditions in prison, including a lack of light (she couldn’t tell what time of day it was); mistreatment by the guards such as showering prisoners with water while outside in the cold; breaking prisoners’ hands; denial of medical treatment; and being deprived of food for three days. It is clear her experiences are still very painful and difficult to talk about, since she “never forgets; always remembers.” She also said, “Torture is a wound inside every prisoner” and “can only end by releasing every prisoner from Israeli jails,” revealing her lack of confidence that torture will be abolished in Israeli prisons. She further articulated her hope that Israel will sign laws and conventions to put an end to torture and that the international community will act to prevent torture.

At the conference, as well as in scores of fact-finding reports and publications, numerous experts, torture survivors, and human rights advocates discussed the many forms of torture documented in Israel over the past several decades. One of the speakers at the conference, Mr. Ashraf Ajrami, Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, outlined various forms of physical and psychological torture such as beatings, sleep deprivation, being forced to wear a hood for long periods of time, not being allowed to go to the bathroom, lack of ventilation due to closed quarters (2 square meters per prisoner versus Europe’s 3.5 square meters), and a lack of health care for sick prisoners. These actions clearly illustrate Israel is not complying with international law. Further, prisoners are often detained inside of Israel, instead of where they live, preventing their families from visiting because they need permits.

In addition to the methods mentioned above, human rights organizations have documented various other forms of physical torture such as electric shocks, stretching, violent shaking, being forced to stay in a painful position for long periods of time, submersion, suffocation, burns, rape and sexual assault, as well as psychological methods such as isolation, threats, humiliation, mock executions, mock amputations, and witnessing the torture of others. In addition, the pain of torture lasts much longer than the acts themselves. For example, many victims (according to the TRC, as many as 40 percent) experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including flashbacks, severe anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, depression and memory lapses.

There are numerous “reasons” for acts of torture to be used against prisoners. According to the IRCT, “the aim of torture is to break down the victim’s personality and is often used to punish, obtain information or a confession, take revenge on a person or create terror and fear within a population.” Torture usually involves severe physical and/or emotional suffering and is designed to prolong the pain and fear of a victim as long as possible. Further, when a particular group of people, such as an ethnic or religious minority, are targeted through torture, this sends a strong warning to other members of these groups and increases their fear of the same thing happening to them.

It is important to stress Israel is a signatory to the CAT and as such, it is obligated to adhere to the principles outlined in this important international treaty. However, Israel has routinely ignored many of its responsibilities to international and human rights law regarding torture. Specific responsibilities include:

* Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction;

* No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture; and

* Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law.

While there are numerous other responsibilities contained in this Convention, it is clear Israel has violated key components of the CAT when they fail to prevent acts of torture through the legal system, justify acts of torture due to security reasons, and fail to criminalize torture.

In addition to the Convention against Torture, its Optional Protocol was adopted in 2002 to further protect the rights of prisoners. However, Israel is one of the few states that have refused to ratify this important protocol. In fact, on 7 November 2002, the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture passed by 104 votes in favour and 8 against (China, Cuba, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Vietnam, Syria, United States), with 37 abstentions. According to the Optional Protocol, “the objective of the present Protocol is to establish a system of regular visits undertaken by independent international and national bodies to places where people are deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” In other words, states that sign this Optional Protocol would open up their detention facilities to external scrutiny and independent monitoring so torture could be prevented. However, Israel has so far refused to sign this Optional Protocol.

Before 6 September 1999, Israeli interrogators of Palestinian prisoners operated under the Landau Commission Recommendations of 1987 which approved the use of “moderate physical pressure and non-violent psychological pressure” while interrogating Palestinian detainees, effectively permitting torture by law. However, despite the landmark decision by the Israeli High Court in 1999 which outlawed the use of arbitrary torture as an interrogation method and ruled that torture is illegal under any circumstances, Palestinian detainees and human rights organizations have continued to routinely report acts of torture by Israeli interrogators. This is in large part due to the fact the Court allowed interrogators who use force to prevent a terrorist attack to use the “defense of necessity” if the courts attempted to prosecute them.

Due to the widespread prevalence of torture and the large number of victims, numerous human rights organizations have formed to work on this important issue. The Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC), is a Palestinian non-governmental, non-profit organization which assists survivors in overcoming the lasting effects of torture and politically-motivated violence. The TRC is the only center of its kind in the West Bank and was formed in response to the human rights abuses committed against Palestinians under the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. It was specifically created to “combat the effects of the systematic practice of torture in Israeli prisons on individual, family and community members which has been carried out on hundreds of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners since 1967.”

Dr. Mahmud Sehwail, the General Director and Consultant Psychiatrist at the TRC, spoke at the conference in Ramallah on 25 June 2008. He said, “Torture kills the spirit” and is designed to terrify the prisoner and his family. The goal of the TRC is to build a Palestinian society that is violence free through public awareness, and the training of governments, NGOs, and Palestinian security services, many who have been tortured by Israelis and are therefore at a high risk of committing these abuses themselves. The TRC is also involved in a variety of initiatives such as therapy, training, research, advocacy, and public awareness.

The Legal Advisor and Program Manager at the Prevention of Torture Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT), Mrs. Therese Rytter, said the monitoring of places of detention is one way to improve conditions and protect the rights of prisoners. In the global struggle for the prevention and eradication of torture, there are two streams of thought. The first is that torture is most effectively eradicated through the punishment of torturers. Second, torture must be prevented in the first place through visits to places of detention on a regular, unannounced basis, thereby deterring torture. It is due to this concept that the Optional Protocol to CAT was introduced. The hope is to identify efficient methods and procedures to prevent torture.

A member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mrs. Khalida Jarrar, discussed the role of the PLC in preventing torture. She said one of the main roles of the PLC in preventing torture is to create laws banning torture and signing international conventions. She hopes the PLC will adopt a law against torture that includes mechanisms for holding people accountable. She also complained numerous countries that claim to be democratic are actually committing acts of torture. With the absence of monitoring institutions, many are encouraged to violate human rights.

Mrs. Khalida Jarrar believes there is a double standard with the EU. She said they adopt international conventions on human rights, but at a practical level, the standards for honoring human rights are not applied. She was clearly frustrated that “Israel is supported while they violate human rights on a daily basis” such as acts of collective punishment and extrajudicial killings. Further, Mrs. Jarrar questioned why Palestinians should work for democracy when those who are supposedly democratic commit or condone abuses and laughingly said “My words are not diplomatic enough.” She stressed it is necessary to create a political and legal framework for preventing torture that does not include a double standard. Finally, Israel has not ratified the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture and this is not acceptable since individuals and states must be punished and held accountable for their actions. Accountability for torturers and an organized plan for preventing torture among national and international actors are the only ways torture will be eradicated in Israel.

source : http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m45312&hd=&size=1&l=e

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UN: Israel violated truce 7 times in one week

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

UN: Israel violated truce 7 times in one week

UN records 7 incidents of IDF soldiers attempting to drive Palestinian farmers away from border fence by shooting at them. Only one offence marked against Palestinians for firing on Sderot; report does not include most recent rocket fire

Roi Mandel

Published: 06.27.08, 00:31 / Israel News
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Since it went into effect last week, at least eight violations of the new ceasefire agreement with Hamas and the Palestinian factions have been recorded, a UN source told Ynet on Thursday. According to the source, seven violations were committed by the IDF, while the Palestinians are responsible for just one.

However the UN report does not include the Qassam fire launched towards the Negev during the day. “It is important that both sides honor the ceasefire, in order for it to be the first constructive step towards a wider and more extensive peace process between the sides,” the source said.

Most of the offences committed by the IDF include shots fired by soldiers at Palestinian farmers attempting to reach their land near the border security fence. According to the UN, on June 20 an IDF patrol shot at Palestinian farmers near the fence east of Rafah. The soldiers fired for ten minutes in order to drive the farmers away, but no injuries were reported.

During the evening of the same day a similar incident was recorded, in which IDF forces shot at Palestinian farmers near the Maghazi refugee camp. Soldiers reportedly fired for five minutes, and no injuries were reported. An hour later soldiers fired towards fisherman near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya in an attempt to drive them away.

Early on June 21 Navy forces opened fire in the same area, and later the same morning forces fired towards Palestinians near the Maghazi refugee camp. No injuries were reported in either case.

70-year old Jamil al-Gahoul was injured from IDF fire two days later, when an army patrol opened fire on a group of Palestinians reportedly gathering wood near Beit Lahiya at 7 am.

Only one Palestinian offence

The first violation committed by the Palestinians was recorded a day later, on June 24, when Islamic Jihad fired three rockets at Sderot from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.

On Wednesday morning IDF forces opened fire towards Palestinian farmers near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. An 82-year old man was seriously injured from the fire, which lasted a few minutes.

Regarding the accusations against Israel the IDF stated that no attacks had been carried out in the Gaza Strip during the past few days, but that some incidents had occurred in which IDF soldiers had carried out operations.

Israel and Hamas have accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement. Following the rocket fire at Sderot, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the fire constitutes a blatant violation of the truce. Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided that the Gaza border crossings would remain closed following the fire, causing Hamas to accuse Israel of infringement of the agreement.

source : http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/1,7340,L-3560972,00.html

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Tactics That Ended Apartheid In S. Africa Can End It In Israel

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Tactics That Ended Apartheid In S. Africa Can End It In Israel

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

30 June 2008 – The Electronic Intifada

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict often inspires a sense of powerlessness. What can average Americans do to bring an end to this decades-old conflict when our leaders have failed so miserably?

And what good is speaking out about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land as the primary obstacle to peace when even former President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu are condemned for their criticism of Israeli policies?

This month in San Jose, California, average Americans will have the opportunity to take a stand for peace and justice in the Middle East. The Presbyterian Church US’s General Assembly began Saturday and runs through Sunday at the San Jose Convention Center. At the meeting, which takes place once every two years, delegates will make policy decisions for the 2.3 million-member denomination.

They will consider corporate engagement, up to divestment, with companies that profit from the obstacles to a just peace in Israel and Palestine. The church is considering approaches to Caterpillar, ITT Industries, Motorola and United Technologies.

The TransAfrica Forum, an organization which I was honored to head, played a leading role in the movement to end apartheid in South Africa. Corporate engagement was one of the most powerful tools in our non-violent arsenal. It was the right moral decision then and it is the right moral decision now. Just as it worked in South Africa, it can work in Palestine and Israel.

Yet Presbyterian delegates are being pressured to vote against similar measures. Some say the tactic unfairly singles out Israel for condemnation. But it is not the country we condemn; it’s a system of segregation and inequality.

The Israeli government has established in the Occupied Palestinian Territories a regime of systematic discrimination. It maintains two systems of laws, and a person’s rights are based on national origin. Palestinian land is confiscated to build Israeli-only settlements and roads. Palestinians wait hours in line at more than 500 Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank, while Jewish settlers speed by on modern, well-lit highways.

As Carter, and many Israelis have said, as long as this dual system exists, any peace agreement between Israel and Palestine will be impossible. Palestinians compare Israeli policies to those of apartheid in South Africa. Former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair wrote in 2002, “In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That regime exists to this day.”

South Africans who led the fight against apartheid, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former United Nations envoy John Dugard, make similar comparisons.

To the detriment of both Israelis and Palestinians, we provide financial and diplomatic support to maintain these separate and unequal policies. Israel is the number one recipient of US foreign aid: roughly $2.5 billion last year alone. Our government has cast more than 40 vetoes in the United Nations Security Council to shield Israel from international condemnation.

Divestment from companies that benefit from the occupation is an opportunity for American citizens to do what our government leaders have refused to do: say that our money will not fund human rights abuses any longer.

With humbleness, with love, with compassion for Palestinians and Israelis, I believe in the possibility that both can live as neighbors with security, dignity and respect. As it did in South Africa, corporate engagement, including divestment, can help make that possibility a reality.

source : http://www.countercurrents.org/fletcher300608.htm

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Dutch prosecutors says film denouncing Qur’an hurtful but not criminal

Posted by musliminsuffer on July 2, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Dutch prosecutors says film denouncing Qur’an hurtful but not criminal

Mon Jun 30, 9:44 AM

By Toby Sterling, The Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Legislator Geert Wilders will not be prosecuted for inciting hatred of Muslims with his film denouncing the Qur’an, Dutch prosecutors announced Monday.

Wilders’ film “Fitna,” or “Ordeal” in Arabic, and statements Wilders wrote in Dutch newspapers were hurtful and insulting but not criminal, a prosecution spokeswoman said.

The film juxtaposed Qur’anic verses against a background of violent film clips and images of terrorism by Islamic radicals.

It aroused protests around the Muslim world after it was released on the Internet in March.

Wilders also was investigated for remarks published in the newspaper De Volkskrant calling the Qur’an fascist.

“I’ve had enough of Islam in the Netherlands; let not one more Muslim immigrate,” he wrote in the paper. “I’ve had enough of the Qur’an in the Netherlands: Forbid that fascist book.”

Prosecution spokeswoman Hanneke Festen says Wilders’ statements were allowable under Dutch law, which forbids inciting hatred against groups on the basis of their race or creed but also grants leeway to freedom of speech.

“We came to the conclusion that (Wilders’ statements) may be hurtful and painful for Muslims but they were made in the context of a debate in society,” she said.

“That doesn’t mean you can say anything, but you have to really cross a line and be unnecessarily hurtful and insulting and not add anything” to the national debate in order for prosecutors to act, she said.

Wilders told The Associated Press that he was not surprised by the decision because he had stayed within the boundaries of Dutch law.

Wilders said that in the months since his film attacking radical Islam was broadcast on the Internet, he had received reactions from all over the world. “Most were very negative, but some were very positive,” he said.

Mohamed Rabbae, chairman of the moderate National Moroccan Council, said the Dutch group will go to court to ask a judge to order a prosecution of Wilders anyway.

“My reaction is one of disappointment and divergence with the point of view of the prosecutor,” he said.

Rabbae said the prosecutors had decided that Wilders’ position did not amount to discrimination against Muslims, but that it criticized Islam.

“Islam is a big part of the identity of Muslims, so if you attack Islam it is for us the same as attacking and discriminating against Muslims,” he said.

Wilders said he hopes prosecutors will send a copy of their decision to prosecutors in Jordan, where he faces a lawsuit. Wilders has said he is worried he could be arrested if he leaves the Netherlands because Jordan has informed Interpol he is wanted to face charges there.

source : http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/080630/entertainment/netherlands_muslims&printer=1

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-muslim voice-
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