Showing posts from September, 2009

The 64th UN General Assembly Session

With the opening of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly last Wednesday, September 23, the UN building and the entire New York City seemed to be busier than ever before. Leaders came from all around the world – from Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Brazil’s Lula, Bolivia’s Morales and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez to Israel’s Netanyahu, France’s Sarkozy, UK’s Gordon Brown and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, just to name a few – to attend the session. There was also a trilateral meeting hosted by President Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday that tried to resume the stalled peace talks.
As expected, the Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi also attended the session, his first appearance in the UN. With his nearly 90-minute long speech, he surely stole the show on the first day. Because of opposition from the local community, Libyan officials agreed not to pitch Col Gaddafi's tent in the grounds of a Libyan-owned property in the New J…

Comments on WSJ op/ed on Japanese PM's visit to Burma


I agree with the authors that Japan has an important role, esp. under the current PM Hatoyama to right its past wrongs. Hatoyama can't hide behind the curtain any more in doing what is right about Burma. Hopefully, things will change for better.

Although, as one who has seen dismal failures with so many of problematic global issues, I don't expect much happening with Burma also unless it changes from within. Her people sadly remain divided, xenophobic of one another and utterly racist - none of which is a good recipe for nation-building. Only when such animosities will die down within the very rank and file of the democracy movement and general people, can we truly hope for a positive change. People will be united for a common cause, and speak with one voice. It is then the international community will take the opposition seriously. Otherwise, even if the SPDC were to walk out today, the Burmese…

Open letter to the US government (President Obama, vice president Biden, senators and Congressmen/women)

Don’t allow Afghanistan/Pakistan to become the next Vietnam. Every bomb that drops creates more terrorists than it kills because innocent civilians are being hurt and killed, too. There is no military solution in Afghanistan.

I was shocked to learn that for every dollar spent there less than a dime goes to non-military aid. This is a sure recipe for disaster and we can't afford it. Please work towards a political solution by increasing humanitarian aid, decreasing military aid and bringing our troops home from Afghanistan/Pakistan. We cannot afford the blood, the treasure, or the animus U.S. escalation is sure to incur. Nor can we afford the collateral damage from drone attacks that kill suspected Taliban and terrorist leaders along with innocent civilians.

There is far too much at stake to become entangled in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Our troops have served us well--but to no avail--please bring them home to their families.

Open letter to Ambassador Susan Rice

Ambassador Susan Rice
Permanent U.S. Representative to United Nations
United States Mission to the United Nations
140 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

Dear Ambassador Rice,

The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza must end. The Goldstone report fairly and accurately documented violations of human rights and international law, war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity committed before, during, and after Israel's December 2008-January 2009 assault on the occupied Gaza Strip. This report is obviously an eyesore to the Israeli-firsters within the USA government and the Congress, including the AIPAC, who are trying to bury the fact-finding report at the UNHRC level where it will be discussed on September 29 so that it is not referred to international bodies with enforcement powers such as UN Security Council, General Assembly, or International Criminal Court, as the report recommended.

From your statement condemning the unbiased report, it is obvio…

Letter to Ambassador Susan Rice on Goldstone Report

Ambassador Susan Rice
Permanent U.S. Representative to United Nations
United States Mission to the United Nations
140 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

September 25, 2009

Dear Ambassador Rice,

The following organizations are writing to you to express their strong support for the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict contained in the Goldstone Report and strongly urge the United States to endorse these recommendations when they are voted on in the UN Human Rights Council on September 29.

Earlier this month, the United States assumed a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the first time. Upon assuming this seat, Dr. Esther Brinner, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, stated that “We can not pick and choose which of these [human] rights we embrace nor select who among us are entitled to them. We are all endowed at birth with the right to live in dignity, to follow our consciences and speak our minds without fear, to cho…

Dick Cheney: the Torture Architect

There is little doubt that the former US vice president Dick Cheney is a sick man – physically and mentally. He has long histories of cardiovascular disease and periodic need for emergency health care. Last Thursday, he had back surgery at George Washington University Hospital. The surgery was to deal with lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal -- the passage for the spinal cord -- which in turn puts pressure on nerves, causing pain. On January 19 of this year, he claimed to have strained his back “while moving boxes” from his vice presidential residence “into his new house”. As a consequence, he was seen in a wheelchair during the 2009 United States presidential inauguration for Obama. Apparently, his recent surgery was successful.

As can be diagnosed from his remarks about the global war on terror, Cheney’s mental health is also wanting. In a recent Fox News interview he was asked about illegal harsh interrogation techniques. Chris Wallace asked, “So even in those c…

More on Obama's health plan

Last Wednesday night, President Obama appeared in a joint session of the Congress in the Capitol Hill pleading his case for humanitarian purposes to cover the uninsured and underinsured with adequate health insurance coverage. The heart of his plan is very simple: bring stability and security to Americans who already have health insurance, guarantee affordable coverage for those who don't, and rein in the cost of health care. He was very pragmatic in outlining a legislative proposal which will restrain costs so that those who are now insured can continue to afford insurance. He insisted that there won’t be any addition to the deficit or to the national debt, and he also outlined a number of ideas where savings can be obtained.

However, something totally unexpected happened during Obama’s speech; Joe Wilson, a Republican congressman from South Carolina, protested with an outburst “you lie”. Such an outburst against the President of the USA is an inappropriate conduct violating th…

Candid Thoughts on This Year’s 9/11

Last Friday, Americans observed the 8th anniversary of 9/11, the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil. Nearly 3000 people died when the four planes crashed in New York, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field. The day was not a government holiday. At a ceremony, held in the Pentagon, President Obama paid tribute to the victims and vowed to "never falter" in defending the US. In New York, thousands gathered for ceremonies in a square near Ground Zero. Vice-President Joe Biden attended the New York ceremony, where planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, causing them to collapse. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell attended the ceremony at the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Subsequent to 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq were attacked by the USA, its European allies and Australia, which saw the overthrow of the Taliban and the Baathist regimes, and wanton killings of nearly a million people, mostly unarmed civilians. O…

Judicial System in Bangladesh is Discouraging to law-abiding citizens seeking justice

The judicial system in Bangladesh is really bad where criminals can get away with so much ease. A personal experience may shed some light. Since April of 2005 when a very powerful criminal gang (with ties to a BNP political leader) intruded our family properties in Khulshi, Chittagong, my family has been keen on seeking justice for the crime of the land-grabbing syndicate. At the time they evicted 16 tenant families and demolished nine homes, and yet they only served a month of their 6.5 year prison term, later all released on bail.

On January 30, 2008, the same syndicate again tried to break into our properties by beating our guards and breaking a wall on the roadside. This matter was widely reported in many Bangla newspapers in Feb. 1-5. We tried to incriminate the gang for that intrusion attempt also. However, today I learned from my father that the Chittagong court has nullified our case for lack of sufficient evidence. Whether the judge was managed or not by the criminal syndicate…

Obama, Religion and Ramadan

While George W. Bush started cabinet meetings with prayer and encouraged the formation of Bible study groups inside the White House, since taking the office, President Barack Obama has expanded the White House’s faith-based activities in a more visible way than any other president in recent memory. In addition to helping social service groups get federal aid—the office’s sole purpose under Bush—Obama has tasked it with reducing demand for abortion, promoting responsible fatherhood, and facilitating global interfaith dialogue.

There is no denying that Obama is a deeply religious man. He is also very liberal on social issues. He caused uproar among homosexuals and liberals when he invited evangelical mega-pastor Rick Warren—an outspoken opponent of gay marriage and abortion rights—to give the opening prayer at his inauguration. And yet, he had the clarity of purpose when he reversed President Bush’s limits on federal funds for embryonic stem cell research, a move which has the support o…

Comments on Hagee and Wiesel

John Hagee Interviews Elie Wiesel


Well, while this interview and kowtowing between Hagee (CUFI) and Wiesel may come as a surprise to some, who have not been following them in recent years, I am not at all surprised. For quite some time, both have been showing their true colors. As we found out during the Bosnian crisis Wiesel is a disguised hypocrite, who, sadly, behaves more like a weasel than an honest advocate of peace or human rights. His tears are only shed for the Jewish suffering and not for other victims of modern-day Holocausts -- not those who were slaughtered in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s by Christian extremists, and surely not the Palestinians who are routinely killed by his own co-religionists - the Zionist Jews in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. He has never condemned the rogue state of Israel for its gruesome murder of Palestinian civilians and destruction of t…