Showing posts from April, 2016

Egyptian cleric defends CIA agent convicted over his rendition

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who is known as Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric who was kidnapped in Milan by the CIA in 2003 has come to the defence of a former CIA officer convicted for her alleged role in his extraordinary rendition. He told the Guardian in a telephone interview that he believed Sabrina De Sousa, who faces imminent extradition to Italy, was a scapegoat and ought to be pardoned by Italy’s head of state, Sergio Mattarella. De Sousa, a 60-year-old dual American and Portuguese citizen, faces a four-year prison sentence and is due to be extradited from Portugal on 4 May. “Sabrina and the others who were convicted are scapegoats. The US administration sacrificed them. All of those higher up in the hierarchy are enjoying their immunity,” he said. “These people higher up, without doubt they should be convicted in this case. They should face trial.” The remarks mark an extraordinary turn of events in a story that has vexed the US and Italian governments since Abu Omar’s case becam…

Emperor has no clothes

The justification for the Iraq was a false one. It was full of lies, manufactured by the Bush-Cheney administration, which was bolstered by other war criminals like Tony Blair of the UK. In a Senate Hearing speech on October, 2003, summed up the case eloquently: "This entire adventure in Iraq has been based on propaganda and manipulation. Eighty-seven billion dollars is too much to pay for the continuation of a war based on falsehoods. The Emperor has no clothes."

This phrase owes it to Sufi wisdom. Here is the background below.
Based on Sufi wisdom, Hans Christian Andersen tells the tale in his "The Emperor's New Clothes", the story this expression derives from.

There existed an emperor who loved wearing fine clothes and spent all of his people's money on them. He had a different set for each hour and was, without doubt, the finest dressed man in the land.

One day, two swindlers claiming to be weavers entered the Emporer's city and proclaimed they wer…

Bombing of Hospitals in War-torn Places

Death is almost never welcome. And it is simply unacceptable to find out that someone had died in a hospital not because of his or her illness but because of bombing sustained by the facility. 
It is a major crime to attack a hospital. Unfortunately, that is what has been happening in war ravaged territories from Afghanistan to Israel. 
Last year, the US forces bombed a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan that was managed by MSF (Doctors Without Borders). The hospital was well known to everyone, esp. the US and NATO forces. It was catering to the needs of the sick and wounded in the locality. And yet, it was bombed by the US forces killing not only the patients there but also many of the hospital stuffs, including doctors and nurses.
This week, the US military while disciplining some of its rogue members failed to acknowledge their war crime only saying that it was a mistake. Pentagon officials say that 16 personnel, including one general, will face “administrative discipline” for thei…

Suicide girls of Boko Haram

Suicide is haram or forbidden in Islam. And yet, the new Khawarij, the deviants/heretics from Islam are employing this deadly tactics to kill innocent people and others that they consider enemies. No group has perfected this technique more than the Boko Haram in West Africa, esp. in Nigeria. It is estimated that the group has killed some 27,000 people in the last 7 years.

Often times the extremist group has used young girls to carry out their suicide mission. In March, two girls killed more than 20 people in a mosque at the edge of Maiduguri. Just a few days later, a girl blew herself up in front of a military patrol while a second girl tried to run away, but was shot. There were at least 89 such attacks in 2015, the majority of them carried out by women. In the Dikwa refugee camp in February, two more girls killed more than 70 people.

Here is an article to understand the Suicide Bombing Girls of Boko Haram.

Life of a 12-year old girl under Israeli prison

What's it is like to be a 12-year-old Palestinian girl in Israeli jail? To find out, please, click here.

Us and Them

Here is a link to Uri Avnery's latest article.

Myanmar's 'R' problem

The criminal Buddhist monks are again making a mockery of their religion. They have been behind the ethnic cleansing/ genocidal drives in Myanmar against the minority Muslims that resulted in internal displacement of nearly a million people since 2012, let alone the torching of hundreds of Muslim towns and villages, and deaths of thousands. They were the gay hound-dogs of the erstwhile Thein Sein's military regime. And now with the NLD and Suu Kyi in power, they want to again rekindle the flames of intolerance and hatred to create problem for the new government. Typical of the genocidal maniacs of the past, they deny the very existence of the targeted victim - the Rohingya people.
Hundreds of demonstrators, including Buddhist monks, denounced the United States for its use of the term Rohingya to describe Myanmar's stateless Muslim community during a protest outside of the U.S. embassy in Yangon on Thursday. 
The Rohingya, most of whom live in apartheid-like conditions, are seen…

Hospital bombed again

Death is almost never welcome. And it is simply unacceptable to find out that someone had died in a hospital not because of his or her illness but because of bombing sustained by the facility.
It is a major crime to attack a hospital. Unfortunately, that is what has been happening in war ravaged territories from Afghanistan to Israel.
Last year, the US forces bombed a hospital in Afghanistan that was managed by MSF (or Doctors Without Borders). The hospital was well known to everyone, esp. the US forces, and was catering to the needs of the sick and wounded in the locality. And yet, it was bombed by the US forces killing not only the patients there but also many of the hospital stuffs, including doctors and nurses. This week, the US military while disciplining some of its rogue members for the war crime failed to acknowledge the war crime only saying that it was a mistake. Pentagon officials say that 16 personnel, including one general, will face “administrative discipline” for thei…

Christian wedding stopped in India

The life of non-Hindus are coming under increasing threat in Modi's India.
The Madhya Pradesh Police Wednesday entered a church in Satna and stopped a wedding ceremony following a complaint by the Bajrang Dal that the bride and the groom had been unlawfully converted to Christianity.
Accompanied by Bajrang Dal activists, a Kolgawan police team entered the Church of God in India and arrested 10 people, including pastor Sam Samuel and the groom’s parents.
To read the news, please, click here.

U Gambira needs to be released immediately

I am saddened to learn that U Gambira, a former monk and leader of the 2007 anti-junta uprising has been sentenced by a Myanmar court on Tuesday  for six months with hard labor on immigration charges. I hope that he is released immediately.
A member of his defense team said that he was likely to be released soon because of time already served.
The sentence came amid widespread excitement that has followed the release and dropping of charges against more than 100 political prisoners since Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy took power earlier this month.
Nyi Nyi Lwin, better known as Gambira, was arrested in January for illegally entering Myanmar from neighboring Thailand. He has been held without bail since his arrest at a prison in Mandalay, Myanmar's second largest city.
Gambira was freed from prison during a 2012 general amnesty, a year after the junta handed power to a semi-civilian government, following 49 years of direct rule of the Southeast Asian nation…

Burma’s Rohingya Muslims in Desperate Straits

Here is an article on the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar by David Scott Mathieson   of the  HRW.

Secular politics needs Gandhian courage

The article below is from the Indian Express. It deals with poor health of secularism in increasingly Hindutvadi India.
“Festival rubs off scars,” claimed a newspaper report that was accompanied by a photograph of Muslim men distributing water and sweets to Hindus celebrating Ram Navami. The place was Balu Math in Latehar, Jharkhand. The scars meant the murder of two Muslim men, one of them an adolescent, by members of the local Gau Raksha Samiti. Rub off your scars and do not complain, Muslims are told after each violent incident against them. Their insistence on talking about their wounds is seen as a sign of their grumbling nature, love of their victimhood, and a proof of their disaffection towards Hindus.
Responding to criticism against his study of the sources of the authoritarian personality in Germans in the post-Hitler years, Theodore Adorno wrote “… in the house of the hangman one should not speak of the noose, otherwise one mi…

Golam Rabbi found shot dead in San Jose

A childhood friend of mine, Rabbi, has been found dead along with his wife. They were victims of a double homicide in San Jose, CA. Rabbi was a very gentle and nice human being, and we occasionally spoke over the phone.
I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn of their untimely death. 
Are they victims of a hate crime, or something utterly sinister? I don't know. I hope truth will come out soon about their murder.
May Allah have mercy on their soul and give enough sabr to the family members to withstand this calamity.
Here, here and here are some links to the story.

Shameful Ordeal of Abu Zubaydah

Here is an article by Rebecca Gordon about a victim of injustice who is rotting in a solitary confinement in the Guantanamo Bay prison. She writes, "The capture, torture, and propaganda use of Abu Zubaydah is the perfect example of the U.S. government’s unique combination of willful law-breaking, ass-covering memo-writing, and what some Salvadorans I once worked with called “strategic incompetence. The fact that no one — not George Bush or Dick Cheney, not Jessen or Mitchell, nor multiple directors of the CIA — has been held accountable means that, unless we are very lucky, we will see more of the same in the future."

Southwest: the official airline for racists and bigots!

As a frequent flyer, I have traveled with the Southwest Airlines a few times. In my operational excellence classes, I have often used it as an example of standardization. But I have stopped flying the airline for quite some time. Its “You Are Now Free To Move About The Country” has become a wildly outdated slogan, and, as noted by other observers, perhaps the addition of the phrase “If Not A Minority” would help. Truly, when it comes to Southwest Airlines the terms – bigotry and racism - come to mind now, and nothing else. That is a sad commentary for the world’s largest low-cost airline carrier whose crew were once considered very sky-friendly!

Last year, Ali Gharib (a frequent contributor to The Nationwho has also written for The Daily Beastand Salon) summed up the case against Southwest precisely when he commented, “There are already more than enough indignities associated with flying for all Americans, from ever-lessening leg room to creeping fees. But apparently, those indignities…

Netanyahu's mind

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester, PA. His latest article on Netanyahu's mind is very interesting and can be read by clicking here.

How Israel Killed the ‘Two-State Solution’

Except for Bernie Sanders, the remaining presidential candidates (Clinton, Trump, Cruz and Kasich) have pledged fealty to Israel’s right-wing government as hopes for a two-state solution fade away, explains Chuck Spinney. To read his article, click here.

The tragedy of the Rohingyas of Myanmar

While the world feels sympathetic to the plight of refugees fleeing killing fields, the Government of Bangladesh, sadly, seems to have been setting a new record on being nonchalant or unmindful of plight of the distressed people who require all the protections to ensure that they are not further victimized. Recently, it forcibly deported nearly 340 Rohingyas of Myanmar back to their homeland where they have faced death and starvation in recent years.

According to a report in the Myanmar Times that cited information from the U.N.’s refugee agency, as many as 500,000 Rohingyas are living in Bangladesh, but their repatriation has been stalled since 2005. Of the total, only 30,000 Rohingyas have refugee status and live in two camps in Cox’s Bazar. Other Rohingyas don't have the status and live inside Bangladesh illegally. A survey done by a parliamentary committee in 2013 estimated that more than 300,000 Rohingyas were living illegally in Cox’s Bazar, where they live in shantytowns.

West Bengal – politics of Appeasement or Exclusion?

Here below is an article from Neha Debhade about the politics with minority Muslims in the state of West Bengal of India. It is from the Secular Perspectives (Centre for Study of Society and Secularism). ====================================
Status of Muslims in West Bengal – Appeasement or Exclusion? Neha Dabhade “Muslims constitute a very large proportion of the poor. The fact that Muslims in West Bengal are disproportionately poorer and more deprived in terms of living conditions is an empirical recognition that gives this report an inescapable immediacy and practical urgency,” said Amartya Sen while releasing the report entitled “Living Reality of Muslims in West Bengal”(The Hindu, 2016). This Report takes a stock of the condition of Muslims in West Bengal. The state of West Bengal is significant since 27.01% of its population is Muslims. Sachar Committee Report portrayed a very disturbing picture of Muslims in India. The Sachar Committee Report put forth a compelling narrative on excl…

Boycott Southwest Airlines

Yesterday I reported about harassment of an Arab speaking UC Berkeley student. Today while browsing the net,  I found out that he was not the only victim of Southwest Airlines.  A hijab-clad Muslim woman in the US was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane after she asked for switching seats with a flight attendant saying she “did not feel comfortable” with the passenger. Hakima Abdulle, a Muslim woman from Maryland, said she was removed from the flight from Chicago to Seattle “without any credible explanation”. Abdulle said she wanted to switch seats but instead, she ended up being removed from the flight. This was the second such incident involving the carrier this month after an Iraqi man claimed that he was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane after a fellow passenger heard him speaking in Arabic. Zainab Chaudry, an official with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a news conference that Abdulle had boarded the Seattle-bound aircraft on Wednesday when a flight …

Shame on the Southwest Airlines

A UC Berkeley student was ejected from Southwest Airlines flight after speaking Arabic. What's happening with America? It's shameful and simply unacceptable! All the non-English speaking people, esp. Arab speaking ones, should rethink before buying a ticket with  airlines like the Southwest that profile racially.

The victim of harassment, Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old Iraqi refugee, left Iraq in 2002 after his father, an Iraqi diplomat, was killed under Saddam Hussein’s regime. His family fled to Jordan, where they lived until the United States granted his family asylum.

One day prior to the incident, Makhzoomi attended a dinner at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.

On his way back to Berkeley, Makhzoomi, a loyal Southwest premier rewards member, boarded his flight to Oakland and called his uncle in Baghdad to tell him about Ki-moon’s event. At the end of the phone call, conducted in Arabic,Makhzoomi said goodbye to his …

Creation of Europe

Robert D. Kaplan is the author of  In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond. He is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. His latest article is worth-reading and can be read by clicking here.

Why Bernie Sanders is a better presidential candidate

Last week, I watched the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I am glad that I had the time to do so. To me, the most important task of the President of the USA is about foreign policy, which he conducts through his Secretary of State. The debate allowed me to understand the candidates' views on Israeli state that has benefitted enormously from the US patronage since its birth.

So complete has been the domination of the 'Amen Corner' – the Israel-firsters within the Capitol Hill – Israel will continue to benefit from the USA, no matter who occupies the White House. This was quite evident from the speeches of all those political aspirants for the highest office in the land during the AIPAC's yearly event last month. From Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton –every candidate (minus one) of the major two parties bowed down to the powerful Israeli lobby, almost prostrating down to the altar of Zionism – the very toxic racist ideology that gave us the Palestinian pr…