Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why Do We Believe In Supernatural Things?

By Reza Varjavand,, July 30, 2011

Recent public opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans still believe in God and a universal spirit, almost nine out of ten people according to the latest Gallop poll published in 2011. The same polls show that a great percentage of people surveyed also believed in miracles, heaven, afterlife, hell, and the devil. Although these percentages have diminished since 1994, the numbers are perplexing in the wake of modern scientific discoveries.

Human beings have always believed in supernatural things, even those that may defy conventional wisdom or are considered scientifically refutable. Scientists and theologians have offered different answers to the question of why people believe in general, especially why they believe in strange things. In his newly published book The Believing Brain, author Dr. Michael Shermer, who is the founder of the Skeptic Society, tries to provide answers to this and similar questions by relying on scientific analyses.

Continues >>

We Will Never Forget – 22.07.2011 – Oslo / Utøya memorial By sudhan

Israeli soldiers attack Palestinian journalist

Ma’an News, July 31, 2011
Font- Font+
Barghouthi was treated for head injuries in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian photojournalist Moheeb Al-Barghouthi was beaten by Israeli soldiers Friday covering a demonstration in the Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah.

Al-Barghouthi, who works for the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, suffered head injuries and sustained bruises across his body in the attack.

He said soldiers destroyed his camera and confiscated some of his equipment.

The journalist said the soldiers accused him of “misrepresenting” the image of Israeli forces. They left him bleeding and handcuffed on the ground in intense heat for several hours, he added.

Continues >>

Afghan civilians pay lethal price for new policy on air strikes

Reducing ‘collateral damage’ is seen as a ‘secondary consideration’ as the coalition prepares withdrawal

By Brian Brady, Whitehall Editor, The Independent, July 31, 2011

 afp/getty images:  Afghan men carry the bodies of those killed in a coalition air strike on 14 July

 Civilians are bearing the brunt of the international forces’ onslaught against the Taliban as the coalition rushes to pacify Afghanistan before pulling out its troops, it was claimed last night.
Human rights groups warned that civilians are paying an increasingly high price for “reckless” coalition attacks, particularly aerial ones. The Ministry of Defence confirmed last week that five Afghan children were injured in an air strike carried out by a British Apache attack helicopter.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) has found that the rate of civilian casualties has reached a record high, with 1,462 killed in January to June this year. But, while the number of civilian victims of “pro-government action” fell, those who died as a result of coalition air attacks were 14 per cent higher than in the same period in 2010 – despite the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) issuing “tactical directives” designed to minimise risk to civilians.

Continues >>

Bloody Sunday in Syria: At least 136 killed in military operations, July 31st, 2011

Syria protest
Syria protest
At least 136 people were killed on Sunday, among them 100 in the city of Hama, when the Syrian military stormed several cities across the country, human rights activists said. Abdul Karim Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for the Defense of Human Rights, said “100 civilians were shot dead Sunday in Hama by security forces.”

According to AFP, Rihawi added that “five people were shot dead by security forces in several neighborhoods of Homs, whose residents took to the streets in support of the city of Hama.” On his part, Ammar Qorabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights, said that elsewhere, “19 people were killed in Deir Ezzor in the east, six more died in Harak in the south and one in al-Bukamal,” near the border with Iraq.

Continues >>

Organized Political Terrorism: The Norwegian Massacre, the State , the Media and Israel

James Petras,  July 30, 2011

The Lone Assassin: A Fascist Superman Travels Faster than a Speeding Bullet Versus the Police Moving Slower than an Arthritic Turtle

“So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionist,s against all cultural Marxists/Multiculturalists”.
Anders Behring Breivik’s Manifesto

“. . . two more cells exist in my organization”. . .
Ander Behring Breivik in police custody (Reuters 7/25/11)

The July 22, 2011, bombing of the office of the Norwegian Prime Minister, Labor Party Jen Stoltenberg, which killed 8 civilians, and the subsequent political assassination of 68 unarmed activists of the Labor Party Youth on Utoeya Island, just 20 minutes from Oslo, by militant neo-fascist Christian-Zionists, raises fundamental questions about the growing links between the legal Far-Right, the ‘mainstream media’, the Norwegian police, Israel and rightwing terrorism.

The Mass Media and the Rise of Rightwing Terrorism:

The leading English language newspapers, The New York Times (NYT), the Washington Post (WP), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and the Financial Times (FT), as well as President Obama, blamed “Islamic extremists”, upon the first police reports of the killings, publishing a series of incendiary (and false) headlines and reports, labeling the event as ‘Norway’s 9-11’,in terms, which echoed the ideological motivation and justifications cited by the Norwegian Christian-Zionist political assassin, Anders Behring Breivik himself. The July 23/24 front page of the Financial Times (of London), read “Islamist extremism fears: Worst Europe strike since 2005”. Obama immediately cited the terrorist attack in Norway to further justify his overseas wars against Muslim countries. The FT, NYT, WP and WSJ trotted out their self-styled “experts” who debated over which Arab/Islamic leaders or movements were responsible – despite Norwegian press reports of ‘the arrest of a Nordic man in police uniform’.

Continues >>

Friday, July 29, 2011

In Memory of Oslo and Utøya 22/07/2011 – I Won’t Let Go – Rascal Flatts

Behind Norway’s Kristallnacht

by Eric Walberg, Dissident Voice, July 28th, 2011

The massacre in peaceful Oslo was a replay of this earlier horror in reverse – no longer the Jews as victims but as the inspiration of terror against non-Jews – as Israel extends its wars not only to Greek ports and French airports but to Norwegian children’s camps, complete with rabbinical blessings for the murderers, notes Eric Walberg:

Norway is in a state of total shock after the 22 July car bombing in Oslo killing seven, followed by the shooting spree at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya Island killing 69. This terrorist operation, the worst massacre in Norway’s recent history, represents a greater loss proportional to its five million people than 9/11 did to the US. Speaking of which, an initial report in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, et al attributed the attack to Islamists (resentful of Norway’s democracy, etc), “a terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or the Helpers of the Global Jihad”.

Continues >>

French neo-fascist officials endorse Norway atrocities

By Kumaran Ira,, July  29, 2011

Members of far-right parties across Europe have endorsed the mass killing last Friday carried out by a right-wing anti-Islamic extremist in Norway, Anders Breivik. At least 76 people were killed in a bombing in Oslo and at a youth camp of the social-democratic Labour Party on nearby Utoya Island.

Two prominent members of France’s neo-fascist Front National (FN), Jacques Coutela and Laurent Ozon, published blog posts defending the mass killings carried out by Breivik, a former member of the fascistic Progress Party in Norway. Prior to the killings, Breivik posted messages expressing hatred of Muslims and immigrants. He also denounced “cultural Marxism” and “multiculturalism,” as obstacles to the defence of national culture.

Continues >>

Air Force Cites New Testament, Ex-Nazi, to Train Officers on Ethics of Launching Nuclear Weapons

Thursday 28 July 2011
by: Jason Leopold, Truthout | Report

Wernher Von Braun, a former member of the Nazi Party who used Jews imprisoned in concentration camps, captured French anti-Nazi partisans and civilians, and others to help build the V-2 rocket for Hitler’s Third Reich, is cited in an Air Force PowerPoint presentation about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons. (Image: Department of the Air Force)

The United States Air Force has been training young missile officers about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons by citing passages from the New Testament and commentary from a former member of the Nazi Party, according to newly released documents.

The mandatory Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare session, which includes a discussion on St. Augustine’s “Christian Just War Theory,” is led by Air Force chaplains and takes place during a missile officer’s first week in training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Continues >>

Washington’s Response to a Failed Economy: More War

Paul Craig Roberts,, July 28, 2011

This article is from the Summer 2011 issue of the Trends Journal, a publication of Gerald Celente’s Trends Research Institute. It is republished below with Mr. Celente’s permission.

As the second decade of the 21st century began, the US economy had not recovered from the Great Recession that began in December 2007.

The economy’s failure to recover was despite the largest fiscal and monetary stimulus in the country’s history. There was a $700 billion bank bailout, a $700 billion stimulus program, a couple of trillion in “quantitative easing,” that is, in debt monetization or the printing of money to finance the government’s expenditures. In addition the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet had expanded by trillions of dollars as the Fed purchased troubled mortgage bonds and derivatives in its effort to keep the financial system solvent and functioning. According to the Government Accountability Office’s audit of the Federal Reserve released by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Federal Reserve provided secret loans to US and foreign banks totaling $16.1 trillion, a sum larger than US Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Continues >>

William Blum: We came, we saw, we destroyed, we forgot

The Anti-Empire Report

by William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, July 29, 2011

An updated summary of the charming record of US foreign policy. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States of America has …
  1. Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were democratically-elected.[1]
  2. Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.[2]
  3. Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.[3]
  4. Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.[4]
  5. Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.[5]
In total: Since 1945, the United States has carried out one or more of the above actions, on one or more occasions, in the following 69 countries (more than one-third of the countries of the world):

Continues >>

U.S. Conservatives, Religious And Political, On Defense After Oslo Killings

The Huffington Post, July  25, 2011
By David Gibson
Religion News Service


(RNS) For years, many religious and political conservatives in the U.S. have sought to connect Islam to violence carried out by Muslims, and argued that Muslims often fail to denounce terrorism committed by Islamic extremists.

But in the wake of the horrific attacks in Norway by a right-wing extremist who identified himself as a Christian warrior against Islam, many of those American conservatives are finding themselves on the defensive, especially after some of them prematurely portrayed the terror attacks as the works of Muslims.

Continues >>

In his rage against Muslims, Norway’s killer was no loner

There is a continuum between the toxic bigotry of the mainstream media, EDL slogans and Breivik’s outpourings
Anders Breivik
Anders Breivik quoted writers such as Bernard Lewis and Melanie Phillips. Photograph: Ho/AFP/Getty Images
It’s comforting, perhaps, to dismiss Anders Behring Breivik as nothing more than a psychotic loner. That was the view of the Conservative London mayor, Boris Johnson, among others. The Norwegian mass killer’s own lawyer has branded him “insane”. It has the advantage of meaning no wider conclusions need to be drawn about the social context of the atrocity.

Had he been a Muslim, as much of the western media concluded he was immediately after the terrorist bloodbath, we can be sure there would have been no such judgments – even though some jihadist attacks have undoubtedly been carried out by individuals operating alone.

Continues >>

Norway: Oslo & Utøya – 22.07.11 – Mitt lille land

Norway killings: Mysterious group called the Knights Templar

Scotland Yard’s domestic extremism unit is attempting to track down the anonymous members of the “European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal” of the Knights Templar.

Norway killings: Mysterious group called the Knights Templar
An image from a right-wing extremist video posted on the internet by Anders Behring Breivik Photo: ENTERPRISE NEWS
Duncan Gardham
By , Security Correspondent,The  Telegraph, July 26, 2011

 Oslo killer Anders Behring Breivik wrote that the group’s aim was to attempt to “seize political and military control of Western European multiculturalist regimes” and to “try, judge and punish Western European cultural Marxist or multiculturalist perpetrators for crimes committed against the indigenous peoples of Europe.”
Using the Latin phrase “pauperes commilitones christi templique solomonici” meaning the “poor fellow-soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon” the Knights Templar declared themselves “re-founded” in London in April 2002 by representatives from eight European countries, according to Breivik.

Continues >>

John L. Esposito: The Rising Tide of Islamophobia

The unspeakable tragedy in Norway is a wakeup call about the dangers of right wing political and religious extremism and Islamophobia which threaten the democratic fabric of American and European societies, notes John L. Esposito.

Middle East Online, July 28, 2011

The unspeakable tragedy in Norway is a wakeup call about the dangers of right wing political and religious extremism and Islamophobia which threaten the democratic fabric of American and European societies. They create a social cancer whose metastasis impacts not only the safety and security of Muslims but also, as the attacks in Norway demonstrate, all citizens. Like anti-Semites and racists, Islamophobes are the first to protest that their stereotyping and scapegoating are not Islamophobic.

What fuels the fires of discrimination against Muslims?

The legacy of the 9/11, 7/7 and other post 9/11 terrorist attacks has been exploited by far right political and religious leaders and media commentators, hard- line Christian Zionists whose fear-mongering targets Islam and Muslims. There is no lack of hate speech in the media, in print and on the internet to empower Islamophobia. The media, whose primary driver is sales and circulations, caters to explosive, headline events: “What bleeds, leads.” The primary focus is often not balanced reporting, or even coverage of positive news about Muslims but on highlighting acts and statements of political and religious extremists. Political and religious commentators write and speak out publicly about Islam and Muslims, asserting with impunity what would never appear in mainstream broadcast or print media about Jews, Christians and established ethnic groups.

Continues >>

Why Anders Behring Breivik Cannot Be Dismissed as a “Madman”

By Max Blumenthal, Axis of Logic, July 27, 2011
Anders Behring Breivik, a perfect product of the Axis of Islamophobia

When I wrote my analysis last December on the “Axis of Islamophobia,”laying out a new international political network of right-wing ultra-Zionists, Christian evangelicals, Tea Party activists and racist British soccer hooligans, I did not foresee a terrorist like Anders Behring Breivik emerging from the movement’s ranks. At the same time, I am not surprised that he did. The rhetoric of the characters who inspired Breivik, from Pam Geller to Robert Spencer to Daniel Pipes, was so eliminationist in its nature that it was perhaps only a matter of time before someone put words into action.

Continues >>

Honoring those who stood against torture

Even if President Obama doesn’t do so formally, we can recognize those who bucked authority to expose and oppose U.S. abuses. 


L.A.Times, July 27, 2011

Protesters, both dressed in an orange overalls to depict detainees at the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, demonstrates outside Britain's Houses of Parliament, where President Obama was to give an address May 25. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo)
Protesters, both dressed in an orange overalls to depict detainees at the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, demonstrates outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament, where President Obama was to give an address May 25. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo)

The American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations have called on President Obama to honor military personnel and civilians who opposed the use of torture in the war on terror. We would support such a gesture by the president, though we consider it unlikely given how often he has said that he wants to “look forward, not backward” regarding abuses committed during the George W. Bush administration.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take the president to shed light on the identities of government employees who balked at or questioned the Bush policies. The ACLU itself has played a valuable role in publicizing the actions of people like Joseph Darby, an Army reservist and whistle-blower who turned over Abu Ghraib abuse photos to Army investigators, and former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora, who led an effort inside the Department of Defense to oppose Justice Department legal opinions condoning coercive interrogation methods.

Continues >>

After Oslo: Europe, Islam and the Mainstreaming of Racism

by Miriyam Aouragh and Richard Seymour, July 27, 2011

Screen shot of Sky News feature of daily headlines showing that of The Sun
European media coverage of the Norwegian tragedy has led with dangerous and clichéd arguments about ‘Islamic extremism’ and multiculturalism, even after the identity of the killer was confirmed – thus contributing to the mainstreaming of racism that helped make Breivik what he is.

An hour before Anders Breivik embarked on his massacre of the innocents, he distributed his manifesto online. In 1500 pages, this urgent message identified “cultural Marxists”, “multiculturalists”, anti-Zionists and leftists as “traitors” who are allowing Christian Europe to be overtaken by Muslims. He subsequently murdered dozens of these ‘traitors’, the majority of them children, at a Labour Party youth camp. His inspiration, according to this manifesto, were those pathfinders of the Islamophobic right who have profited immensely from the framing and prosecution of the “war on terror,” including Melanie Phillips, Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer and Bat Ye’or.

Continues >>

Unity is the way to fight the far right

Jeremy Corbyn, Morning Star Online, July 28, 2011
Finsbury Park in north London, which I represent and live in, is the kind of inner-city area the far right and nazis really despise. It is not wealthy, not iconically beautiful but warm and mixed.

Dozens of languages, nationalities, faiths and activities intermingle. Not without tensions, crime or problems, it nevertheless works as a society and community and has attracted people for many decades.

It is the kind of inner-city community to be found all over Britain in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and beyond. Similar communities are found across Europe.

If you ask people in those areas what they like and dislike about their community it is soon apparent that the worries are housing, jobs, opportunities for young people and environment.

Continues >>

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Norway’s Monster and the Question

by Alan Hart, Dissident Voice,  July 26th, 2011

How much was the mind of Anders Behring Breivik conditioned and warped by Zionist propaganda as peddled with the assistance of Christian fundamentalism by much of the Western mainstream media and many web sites?

In his summary of what the monster had stated behind closed doors in court, Judge Heger said he had argued that he wanted to create “the greatest loss possible to Norway’s governing Labour Party”, which he accused of failing the country on immigration and opening the door to the “Muslim colonization” of Norway and all of Europe.

There could not have been a more effective way of inflicting at a single stroke a great loss than gunning down many members of the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing, the Workers Youth League (AUF), which was assembled on Utoya Island.

Continues >>

Richard Falk: Warfare Without Limits

Richard Falk, MWC News, July 27, 2011

US troops
A Darkening Human Horizon

There are several pressures that push war in the direction of the absolute, and imperil the human future. Perhaps, the foremost of these is emergence, use, retention, and proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as the development of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki there have been several close calls involving heightened dangers of wars fought with nuclear weapons, especially associated with the Cold War rivalry, none more serious than the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. To entrust such weaponry to the vagaries of political leadership and the whims governmental institutions seems like a Mt. Everest of human folly, and yet the present challenges to nuclearism remain modest and marginal despite the collapse of the deterrence rationale that seemed plausible to many during the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Continues >>

O’Reilly’s Muslim-Hatred and Christian Terrorists

by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, July 27, 2011

Television commentator Bill O’Reilly lambasted the press for referring to Anders Breivik as a Christian terrorist, on the grounds that he is not a practicing Christian and on the grounds that no true Christian can be a terrorist and on the grounds that Christian fundamentalists are essentially different from Muslim fundamentalists (“those crazy jihadis”).

O’Reilly, who has engaged in hate speech toward Muslims of the sort that inspired Breivik’s violence, is in part trying to change the discussion so that his guilt in fostering an atmosphere of rancor is not brought up. The in-your-face pundit has insisted that “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” the kind of ‘shouting fire in a theater” discourse that could easily get people killed.

Continues >>

Norway’s self-styled Crusader no ‘lone wolf’

Norwegian mass-murderer had accomplices, says operation meant to ‘send a powerful signal that couldn’t be mistaken’.

By Roddy Thomson — Oslo,

Middle East Online, July 26, 201

‘Two further cells in our organisation’
More than 100,000 Norwegians thronged central Oslo on Monday in a vigil for the victims of a last week’s attacks hours after the suspect told a court hearing that he had an active network of accomplices.

Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman who said he was behind the massacre of 76 people, did not plead guilty and was remanded in custody for eight weeks while the investigation into last Friday’s twin gun and bomb attacks continues.

As thousands of flower-carrying Norwegians filed through the city centre in an overwhelming show of both grief and solidarity, even Behring Breivik’s father said he wished his son had taken his own life.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg admitted the country would be changed permanently by last Friday’s car bombing in Olso and mass shootings on a nearby island, but vowed to ensure it remains an open society.

Continues >>

Who Commits Terrorism?

Robert Parry, Consortium News, July 27, 2011

Exclusive: A right-wing Christian nationalist has claimed credit for the terrorist attacks in Norway, killing at least 76 people. Though his writings show that Anders Behring Breivik was inspired by anti-Muslim extremists in the United States, that bigotry also made Muslims the early suspects in the U.S. media, Robert Parry reports.

If the Fox News promoters of racial profiling had been in charge of investigating last Friday’s terror attack in Norway, they might well have encountered blond, blue-eyed Anders Behring Breivik and his two smoking-hot guns only long enough to ask if he’d seen any suspicious-looking Muslims around.

After all, it has been a touchstone of the American Right, as well as right-wing Israelis, that Muslims are the source of virtually all terrorism and thus it makes little sense to focus attention on non-Muslims. A clean-cut Nordic sort like Breivik, who fancies himself part of a modern-day Knights Templar, is someone who would get a pass.

Or, as Israel’s UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2006, “While it may be true – and probably is – that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim.” [Washington Post, March 7, 2006]

Continues >>

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Urdu song in memory of those killed in Norway on July 22, 2011

Patta patta,  boota boota: Drama Mirza Ghalib

Editor’s comment: On the sad occasion of the mass  killings  in Norway and the bombing of the  official buildings by a Norwegian fascist, who stands against social  democracy,  democratic values and is a committed crusader against Muslims and the Muslim world while being a devotee of Zionist world-view and Israeli policies, I reproduce the following  you tube video.

The setting of the scene is in the mid-nineteenth century  Delhi. It was just before the British took possession of the whole of India. The major revolt against the  farangi rule (common name for the British foreigners then) took place in 1857. The British prevailed and the atrocities they committed defy description. 

The minstrel here is singing a poem by the great Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir (1723-1810). The greatest Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869, in white robes in the drama) acknowledges the poetic genius of Mir.

It is a  sad lyric. Only those who know Urdu or Hindi will know the deep pain it conveys in a poetic form.

My own personal agony and the pain I have felt on the massacres in Norway are best represented in this poem.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Maria Mena – Mitt lille land/My little country (Utoya shooting and Oslo bombing)

Norway killer espoused right-wing and pro-Zionist philosophy

By Toby Axelrod,,  July 24, 2011

During  the 100,000-person Rose March, a man places a flower into the fence separating downtown Oslo from the exclusion zone set up by Norwegian police around the blast site, July 25, 2011. (Alex Weisler)
During the 100,000-person Rose March, a man places a flower into the fence separating downtown Oslo from the exclusion zone set up by Norwegian police around the blast site, July 25, 2011. (Alex Weisler)
BERLIN (JTA) — The confessed perpetrator in the attack in Norway that killed at least 76 people espoused a right-wing philosophy against Islam that also purports to be pro-Zionist.

Anders Behring Breivik is charged with detonating a car bomb outside Oslo’s government headquarters, which houses the office of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, that killed eight people and of shooting and killing at least 68 mostly young people at a political summer camp on nearby Utoya Island. The July 22 massacre reportedly was the the worst attack in Norway since the end of World War II.

In numerous online postings, including a manifesto published on the day of the attacks, Breivik promoted the Vienna School or Crusader Nationalism philosophy, a mishmash of anti-modern principles that also calls for “the deportation of all Muslims from Europe” as well as from “the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

Continues >>

Massacre in Norway– More About the Jewish Right Wing Connection

Gilad Atzmon, MWC News, July 26, 2011

Anders Behring Breivik

Thanks to respected anti-Zionist Jeff Blankfort (who provided me with a crucial link) I have now learned that, just one day before last Friday’s Massacre in Norway, former Trotsky-ite turned neo-con David Horowitz carried an article by Joseph Klein in his Front Page magazine, entitled “The Quislings of Norway,” which might as well have provided mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik with all the motivation he needed to commit his crime.

You are advised to read the article in full here

Continues >>

July 26: Cuba’s Revolution, Morality, and Solidarity

by Ron Ridenour, Dissident Voice, July 26th, 2011

Fifty-eight years ago, on July 26, 1953, 160 Cuban rebels attacked Moncada Barracks near Santiago de Cuba. Had the rebels been able to take the fort with 1,000 troops—a good possibility—it would have started a revolution that might well have defeated the dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista within a short time.

The main cause for failure was a missing vehicle with their heavy weaponry. Nevertheless they were able to cause three times the numbers of casualties that they suffered. Nearly one-half of the rebels were killed but most of them died under or following torture.

Continues >>

Exploiting the tragedy of Norway

By Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy,  July 24, 2011

As soon as the shocking and tragic news from Norway hit the airwaves, it was entirely predictable that various right-wing Islamophobes would type first and think later. They were so eager to exploit the tragedy to peddle their pre-existing policy preferences that they blindly assumed the acts had to have been perpetrated by al Qaeda, by its various clones, or by some other radical Muslim group.

This is the sort of bias one expects from an ideologue like Jennifer Rubin (who gets taken to task for her rush-to-judgment by James Fallows here). Sadly, it is also not out of character for the supposedly respectable Wall Street Journal, whose editorial page has been a reliable source of threat-mongering and distortion for years. Even as Norwegian officials were cautioning that they had no reason to suspect Islamist groups, the Journal was plunging ahead with an editorial entitled “Terror in Oslo,” which drew the following utterly bogus conclusion:

Continues >>

Chris Hedges: Fundamentalism Kills

Chris Hedges,, July 26, 2011

AP / Frank Augstein
People embrace and mourn at the massive flower field laid in memory of victims of Friday’s twin attacks in Norway.

The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.

Continues >>

Aslak S. Myhre: Norway attacks – Norway’s tragedy must shake Europe into acting on extremism

I share the fear and pain of my country – but in Norway this kind of insane act has always had its origins in the far right
Jens Stoltenberg embraces survivor
Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg embraces a survivor of the Utoeya island shooting. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
Like every other citizen of Oslo, I have walked in the streets and buildings that have been blown away. I have even spent time on the island where young political activists were massacred. I share the fear and pain of my country. But the question is always why, and this violence was not blind.

The terror of Norway has not come from Islamic extremists. Nor has it come from the far left, even though both these groups have been accused time after time of being the inner threat to our “way of living”. Up to and including the terrifying hours in the afternoon of 22 July, the little terror my country has experienced has come from the far right.

Continues >>

Monday, July 25, 2011

The slaughter in Oslo

Peter Schwarz,, July 25, 2011

The terrorist attacks in Oslo on Friday that killed at least 92 mostly young people have been compared with the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which also had a right-wing background. The Oslo atrocity has also been compared with school shootings, such as at Columbine High School in Colorado and in Erfurt and Winnenden in Germany.

But the murders in Oslo have a new quality. Far-right extremist violence is now aimed at a political party because the perpetrator sees it—its actual policies notwithstanding—as embodying “cultural Marxism,” internationalism and generally left-wing views.

Anders Behring Breivik, who was arrested at the scene by the police, sought out the offices of Social Democratic Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as the target for his bomb attack. Then, on Utoya island, where the Norwegian Labour Party had held its youth camps for decades, he carried out a cold-blooded massacre of the camp’s participants. It was a politically motivated terrorist attack by a fascist against a social democratic party.

Continues >>

Palestine’s Norwegians

By Vijay Prasad, Counterpunch, July 25, 2011

Sitting on an Amtrak train from New Haven to Washington, DC on Friday, I was enjoying my thriller, Kjell Ola Dahl’s The Man in the Window. Dahl’s police procedural novels are set in Oslo, Norway, where the remarkable detectives Frank Frølich and Gunnarstranda confront the heart of modern evil: Property is often the hub of the conflict, but so too is the ineluctable history of Nazism and the Second World War. Abrave history of pacifism, partly contained in the Norwegian Labour Party, kept the country out of World War I. Its ports and a direct route to Swedish iron ore made it irresistible to the Nazis, whose forces invaded a largely unprotected Norway in 1940.

To run the country, the Nazis turned to the leader of the Norwegian Nasjonal Samling, the local Nazi Party, Vidkun Quisling (from whom we get the noun for traitor). It was the Quisling era (replete with concentration camps) that planted the tree of Nazism in Norwegian soil. The remnants of Scandinavian Nazis regrouped after World War II, but they remained small and obscure.

Continues >>

The Norway massacre and the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism

by Alex Kane, MondoweissJuly 24, 2011

Details on the culprit behind yesterday’s massacre in Norway, which saw car bombings in Oslo and a mass shooting attack on the island of Utoya that caused the deaths of at least 91 people, have begun to emerge.  While it is still too early for a complete portrait of the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, there are enough details to begin to piece together what’s behind the attack.

Although initial media reports, spurred on by the tweets of former State Department adviser on violent extremism Will McCants, linked the attacks to Islamist extremists, it was in fact an anti-Muslim zealot who committed the murders.  An examination of Breivik’s views, and his support for far-right European political movements, makes it clear that only by interrogating the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism can one understand the political beliefs behind the terrorist attack.

Continues >>

Gathafi praises ‘poor and modest’ Mubarak

Embattled Libyan leader says ousted Egyptian President should be honoured instead of being humiliated.

Middle East Online, July 25, 2011

Clinging to power
TRIPOLI – Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi heaped praise on toppled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, describing him as “poor and modest” and saying he deserved honour rather than humiliation.

“I know Hosni Mubarak, a poor and modest man” who loves his people, Gathafi said in an audio message broadcast on state television late Saturday to mark the anniversary of the 1952 coup in Egypt led by Gamal Abdel Nasser against the monarchy.

This “revolution,” Gathafi said, had inspired him to lead a coup in Libya that toppled Western-backed King Idriss on September 1, 1969.

“Instead of being humiliated, Hosni Mubarak should be honoured,” Gathafi said.
Mubarak, 83, whose three-decade rule ended with a popular revolt in February, is expected to go on trial on August 3 with his two sons on murder and corruption charges.

Continues >>

Flotilla activists still have much to learn about Gaza siege

The activists who sailed to Gaza are determined and enthusiastic, but they still have something to learn about the siege that began in 1991.

Amira Haas, Haaretz, July 24, 2011

The glittering lights of the magical Greek island of Kastelorizo, from which we had distanced ourselves only two to three hours earlier, once again came into sight on Saturday night, July 16. For the 12 passengers on board the Karama – including crew and journalists whose presence the coast guard had permitted – the boat was too small. The French delegation in the flotilla had bought a pleasure yacht, called it “Dignite” (karame, dignity ) and turned it into a floating situation room, a sauna full of stale cigarette smoke, with eight sleeping berths without water for showering, a deafening motor and poisonous diesel fumes.

Continues >>

Sunday, July 24, 2011

«Terrormanualen» beskriver pågripelse som en propaganda-mulighet

I terrorsiktede Anders Behring Breiviks «manifest» slås det fast at en pågripelse bare markerer overgangen til en ny fase; propagandafasen.
Les også:
Det 1500 sider lange, svært detaljerte, dokumentet ble lagt ut på Internett kort tid før bombeangrepet i regjeringskvartalet og den grusomme skytetragedien på Utøya.
Den terrorsiktede Anders Behring Breiviks (32) advokat, Geir Lippestad, opplyste lørdag kveld at hans klient har vedgått å ha lagt ut dokumentet.

Av dokumentet, som han selv omtaler som sitt «manifest», går det frem at Breivik planla å drepe så mange som mulig og at skal ha planlagt angrepene i over ni år.

Continues >>

Fade to White: The Tender Treatment of Christian Terror
Anders Behring Breivik, 32, is being named a suspect in the Oslo, Norway, shooting and bombing on Friday, July 22, 2011. (Facebook photo) 

Chris Floyed, Empire burlesque, July 23, 2011

There is not much to say about the horrific events in Norway, beyond this general observation. If a white, Christian nationalist carries out such atrocities, then he is, inevitably and always, a “lone nut,” an outlier, emblematic of nothing but his own individual lunacy. But if a Muslim– or any person of color or non-white ethnicity — does anything similar (or indeed, far less serious in scope), why then, that perpetrator is emblematic of an entire race or religion or ethnic group: a group which must then be laid under collective suspicion, and collective harrasment, by the “security” forces (and the chattering classes) of the West.

In the coming days, we will hear much about the tormented psychology of the Norwegian terrorist … who, as Glenn Greenwald notes, will no longer be known as a “terrorist” at all — precisely because he is white, Christian and a “patriot.”

Puppets in Revolt: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and the United States

Empires are built through the promotion and backing of local collaborators who act at the behest of imperial rulers. They are rewarded with the outward symbols of authority and financial handouts, even as it is understood that they hold their position only at the tolerance of their imperial superiors

Imperial collaborators are referred to by the occupied people and the colonial resistance as “puppets” or “traitors”; by western journalists and critics as “clients”; by the imperial scribes and officials as “loyal allies” as long as they remain obedient to their sponsors and paymaster.

Puppet rulers have a long and ignoble history during the 20th century. Subsequent to US invasions in Central America and the Caribbean a whole string of bloody puppet dictators were put in power to implement policies favorable to US corporations and banks and to back US regional dominance. Duvalier (father and son) in Haiti, Trujillo in the Dominion Republic, Batista in Cuba, Somoza (father and son) in Nicaragua and a host of other tyrants served to safeguard imperial military and economic interests, while plundering the economies and ruling with an iron fist.

Continues >>

Redefining Reality: Seeing is Disbelieving

By Timothy McGettigan,, July 23, 2011

 Redefining reality is a process through which individuals can challenge inadequate paradigms through a combination of astute observation and an ingenious capacity for innovative cognition (i.e., agency). The notion of redefinable reality posits, in agreement with Popper’s realist philosophy, that there is a universe “out there” that exists independently of human cognition (Popper, 1983). As such, I argue that universal Truth does exist, but such Truth is not (nor will it ever be) contained within extant scientific paradigms (McGettigan, 2011). Rather, The Truth extends infinitely into the unlocked mysteries of the expanding universe. In other words, reality is what it is: an asteroid is an asteroid is an asteroid, etc… Truth is an intrinsic, inseparable feature of phenomena as they exist independently of human perception. Lies and distortions come into existence via humanity’s vast capacity for ignorance: humans view the illimitable universe through awed and flawed psyches. Although admirable in many ways, the human grasp of infinite mysteries remains woefully incomplete. Nevertheless, the process of redefining reality permits limited human psyches to transcend the limitations of inadequate paradigms in pursuit of a grander vision of Truth.

The UN Must Again Choose between Capitulation and Credibility

by Greg Felton, Dissident  Voice,  July 23rd, 2011

The upcoming United Nations vote to recognize Palestinian statehood should be a foregone conclusion, especially given the overwhelming support and sympathy for Palestine among the developing world. By the end of May, 112 nations had agreed to recognize statehood, and Palestinians expect to have 135 votes by September—more than the needed two thirds of the 192-member General Assembly. There are no moral, legal or logical reasons to oppose recognition, but morality, law and logic have little relevance where Palestine is concerned.

Continues >>

Mass Syrian protest against Assad regime adds to death toll

Hundreds of thousands demonstrate as security forces kill at least 11 people with president rumoured to call elections

Nour Ali in Damascus and , Middle East editor

The Guardian, July 22, 2011

Syrian anti-regime protesters carry a picture of President Assad that reads, “Leave. We don’t trust you. You will leave and we will stay because Syria is ours. Enough of injustice and killing,” during a rally in Damascus. Photograph: AP
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians turned out for anti-regime demonstrations across the country on Friday with at least 11 people reported killed by security forces and tensions mounting in the runup to the Ramadan holiday.

Casualty figures – collated by two Syrian human rights groups – were down on previous weeks but the numbers of demonstrators appeared to be some of the largest yet seen in the four-month uprising.

Continues >>

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norway: A right-wing Christian brings death and destruction

Bombing, mass shooting kill at least 91 in Norway

By Mike Head,, 23 July 2011

A bombing and mass shooting in Norway on Friday have left at least 87 people dead. Following a large explosion directed against government buildings in the capital, Oslo, a right-wing anti-Islamic extremist opened fire with automatic weapons on youth at a camp run by the ruling Labour Party on nearby Utoya Island.

At 3:30 p.m. Friday, powerful explosions rocked a government quarter in downtown Oslo that is home to the office of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the finance ministry and the country’s biggest tabloid newspaper Verdens Gang (VG). Seven people died and 15 were wounded in the blasts.

Some two hours later, a massacre occurred at the youth camp, attended by about 600 people. The gunman, dressed as a police officer, fired repeatedly on a crowd of mostly 15- and 16-year-old campers, killing at least 80. More deaths are expected to be confirmed as police and rescue teams search the island and the surrounding lake for bodies and wounded survivors.

Continues >>

Proposed Saudi Arabian anti-terror law would strangle peaceful protest

Amnesty International obtained a copy of the draft anti-terrorism law

Amnesty International, July 22, 2011

A Saudi Arabian government council reviewed the law in June
A Saudi Arabian government council reviewed the law in June
© AP

A draft Saudi Arabian anti-terrorism law obtained by Amnesty International would allow the authorities to prosecute peaceful dissent as a terrorist crime.

The organization has obtained copies of the Draft Penal Law for Terrorism Crimes and Financing of Terrorism, which would also allow extended detention without charge or trial. Questioning the integrity of the King or the Crown Prince would carry a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.

The leak of the draft comes as ongoing peaceful protests across the Middle East and North Africa are being met with government repression.

“This draft law poses a serious threat to freedom of expression in the Kingdom in the name of preventing terrorism,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director.

Continues >>

What lies beneath Jordanian calls for reform

Nisreen El-Shamayleh, MWC News, July 22, 2011

Several pro-reform activists and journalists were injured in clashes with the police during last Friday's protests [Reuters]

In a rare outbreak of violence, a protest in Amman last Friday demanding political reforms ended in broken bones and cameras.

Several pro-reform protesters and journalists were injured in clashes with the police, leaving the media and officials wondering what exactly went wrong.

The Public Security Department said it is fully responsible for what happened but accused the pro-reform protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood of provoking the police and instigating the violence.

Journalists were promised compensation and four policemen were arrested for suspicion of being involved in the July 15 attacks.

Continues >>

Marwan Barghouti forced into solitary confinement by Israel

Middle East Monitor, Friday, 22 July 2011
Marwan Barghouti forced into solitary confinement by Israel 
Ahmed Barghouti was taken for interrogation while Akram Jabarin was also put in solitary confinement.
Israeli prison authorities have placed jailed Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouti into solitary confinement just one day after he called for “million-man marches” in Israel and the Palestinian diaspora. The Fatah leader wants the protests to coincide with the attempts to get Palestine recognised by the UN in September.

The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs in Gaza said that officers of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, and Special Forces targeted the MP’s cell when they trashed through the prison on the pretext that he was using a mobile phone. According to Riad Al-Ashkar, Director of Information at the Ministry, the officers searched the cell thoroughly and then destroyed everything inside, including the personal belongings of all the prisoners in the room. After three hours, Barghouti and another prisoner, Nasser Abyat, were put in solitary confinement.

Continues >>

Sherwood Ross: Impeach President Obama

Sherwood Ross, Global Research, July 22, 2011

It’s time to impeach President Obama and urge candidates who stand for peace to run in the upcoming presidential primaries.  

President Obama is no Democrat in the traditional meaning of the word. He has not only failed to tackle the nation’s unemployment woes and retraining needs, as a real Democrat would do, but he’s been a player in the Bankers’ Bailout and he’s indicated his willingness to compromise Social Security and Medicare, two highly successful, humanitarian systems that are a lifeline to the vast majority of the nation’s elderly, sick, and infirm. 

Mr. Obama has also failed to lift his hand effectively in behalf of the struggling poor, particularly our Hispanic, African-American and rural poor. Again, as in the time of Franklin Roosevelt, we see one-third of a nation ill-housed, while true unemployment hovers at Depression Era levels, closer to 20 per cent than 10 per cent and college graduates cannot find jobs. 

An Economy Destroyed — The Enemy Is Washington, July 22, 2011

Recently, the bond rating agencies that gave junk derivatives triple-A ratings threatened to downgrade US Treasury bonds if the White House and Congress did not reach a deficit reduction deal and debt ceiling increase. The downgrade threat is not credible, and neither is the default threat. Both are make-believe crises that are being hyped in order to force cutbacks in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
If the rating agencies downgraded Treasuries, the company executives would be arrested for the fraudulent ratings that they gave to the junk that Wall Street peddled to the rest of the world. The companies would be destroyed and their ratings discredited. The US government will never default on its bonds, because the bonds, unlike those of Greece, Spain, and Ireland, are payable in its own currency. Regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised, the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase the Treasury’s debt. If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, then so is the US government.
There is no budget focus on the illegal wars and military occupations that the US government has underway in at least six countries, or the 66-year old US occupations of Japan and Germany and the ring of military bases being constructed around Russia. The total military/security budget is in the vicinity of $1.1-$1.2 trillion, or 70% -75% of the federal budget deficit.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jailed Fatah leader Barghouti urges mass protests, July 20, 2011

RAMALLAH (AFP)– Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti has called for large-scale peaceful protests in support of a Palestinian bid for United Nations membership in September.

In a statement released from his cell in Israel’s Hadarim prison, Barghouti, who is widely considered as the architect of the second Palestinian intifada, said winning the “battle of next September” would require mass mobilization in the territories and abroad.

“Winning the battle of next September, which is an important step in our struggle, requires the biggest peaceful popular protests here and in the diaspora, and in Arab and Muslim countries and international capitals,” Barghouti said in the statement.

“This means the mobilization of all the energies of our people and the involvement of everyone in this battle.”

Adding up human costs of Iraq and Afghanistan wars

By Jeremy Schwartz,,  July 19, 2011

At first blush, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan appear less violent and less deadly than previous American conflicts over the last century. While 53,000 U.S. service members died in the Korean War and 405,000 in WW II, a relatively small 6,051 (and climbing) troops have been killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

But a deeper dive into the casualty counts reveals a staggering amount of loss and pain carried by a relatively small group of American troops.

Last month, Brown University’s Watson Institute tried to give a fuller accounting of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan and the results should get our attention. Citing conservative estimates, researcher Catherine Lutz found the total number of casualties for allied troops and contractors to be 28,000 dead and 218,000 wounded. And if we include mental injuries, traumatic brain injury and toxic exposures, the real number of wounded is closer to half a million.

Continues >>

Deception and Invisible Weapons and Wars

The United States has a long history of deception and invisible weaponry. Even before the Second World War was over, biological, chemical, radiological, and environmental weapons were being tested by the US Chemical Corps, writes Dallas Darling.
Middle East Online, July21, 2011

One of the greatest strategies for an army to employ in order to win a war is deception. From the use of smoke, to hide military maneuvering and movements, to unique modern-day camouflage techniques and special paints on military equipment and weaponry, so as to deflect radar and appear invisible to the enemy, deception has been utilized by many armed forces and militaries throughout the history of warfare.

At the same time, armies that are unseen, stealth, covert, and even invisible, have a tremendous advantage in wartime. But effective deception and invisibility requires an enormous commitment of significant resources and endless hours of human ingenuity and innovation to convince an enemy. It can also backfire, causing friendly fire or national self-destruction, as can be observed in several military campaigns of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Continues >>

ASIA: The Societal Importance of the elimination of torture and ill treatment in the South Asian context

Contributor: Basil Fernando
AHRC, July 19, 2011
A summary of a presentation made to the Vigil India Movement, Bangalore by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Each generation has its own challenges. Not long ago the great challenge was to dispel the foreign invader and to claim our land as our own. Today we face a far different challenge, which is, to become our own. Today’s challenge is a societal one. We are call upon to develop our own collective will for development of societal arrangements within which each individual can claim that his or her society as in reality their own, that in a basic sense we belong to each other. That in some basic sense we care for each other.This sense of belonging cannot just be sentimental or merely be ideological. It has to be practical in some basic sense real. This call is for among other things making arrangements for our security. Which is effective and at the same time normal. Abnormal pre-occupation for security is a disease. Such abnormal arrangements divide more than unite create distrust, create fear instead of love. To live in fear of each other is as worst as it can get.

1 Million Dead in Iraq? 6 Reasons the Media Hide the True Human Toll of War — And Why We Let Them

Most Americans turn a blind eye to the violent acts being carried out in their name. 
John Tirman, AlterNet, July 19, 2011   
An Iraqi policeman walks past destroyed cars at the site of a blast near the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. Iraqi forces were on high alert in Baghdad on Monday after 30 people were killed in bomb attacks on foreign embassies blamed on delays in forming a new government after the general election a month ago.
Photo Credit: AFP – Ali al-Saadi
As the U.S. war in Iraq winds down, we are entering a familiar phase, the season of forgetting—forgetting the harsh realities of the war. Mostly we forget the victims of the war, the Iraqi civilians whose lives and society have been devastated by eight years of armed conflict. The act of forgetting is a social and political act, abetted by the American news media. Throughout the war, but especially now, the minimal news we get from Iraq consistently devalues the death toll of Iraqi civilians.

Why? A number of reasons are at work in this persistent evasion of reality. But forgetting has consequences, especially as it braces the obstinate right-wing narrative of “victory” in the Iraq war. If we forget, we learn nothing.

Continues >>

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

US claims of ‘no civilian deaths’ in Pakistan drone strikes are untrue

by Chris WoodsThe Bureau of Investigative  Journalism, July 18, 2011

Reaper UAV Taxis at Kandahar Airfield-Flickr/Defence Images
A Reaper drone on an airstrip in Kandahar. Library photo/Ministry of Defence.

Claims by President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan that ‘there hasn’t been a single collateral [civilian] death’ in Pakistan since August 2010 are found to be untrue today, following a major Bureau investigation.

According to Brennan, Barack Obama himself has ‘insisted’ that US drone strikes are ‘exceptionally surgical and precise’ and ‘do not put… innocent men, women and children in danger’.

Yet a detailed examination by the Bureau of 116 CIA ‘secret’ drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2010 has uncovered at least 10 individual attacks in which 45 or more civilians appear to have died.

The Bureau has identified and can provide the family names for, six children among those killed.

Continues >>

American Drone War in Pakistan

Photos from the Ground Show Civilian Casualties

By Hasnain Kazim, Spiegel Online, July 18, 2011

Photo Gallery: The Victims of the Drone War
Noor Behram

In the US, remote-controlled drones are considered great tools in the war on terror. For years Washington has sent these high-tech weapons into western Pakistan, lauding their precision. But a local journalist says he has photographic evidence that civilians are often the victims.

Noor Behram remembers why he started on his mission to photograph the scenes of drone attacks in Pakistan. The reason was 12 dead people — an entire family extinguished in what was officially a US attack on militants. But the 39-year-old, who works for Arabic language news network Al Jazeera, had sources in Waziristan who told him the official story was only half of the truth.

He climbed in his car and travelled from his home in Miranshah to Shawal, the location of the bombing, and he saw something that remains burned into his mind: charred body parts and shredded clothes, hanging from the trees.

“In actuality an American helicopter had attacked a hotel where insurgents were allegedly hiding out,” Behram said. “A family that lived on a neighboring slope heard the noise and watched the incident down in the valley. In this moment a US fighter jet roared over and shot a rocket at their home. Eight women and girls, along with four men, died.”

Continues >>

PHILIPPINES: Torture victims speak out–” Everybody says torture is wrong, but it is commonly used” Interview 8

Contributor: Basil Fernando
AHRC, July 19, 2011
An interview with Basil Fernando, director for Policy and Programme Development of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


Torture in the Philippines & the unfulfilled promise of the 1987 Constitution

OVERVIEW: In this eighth interview in the series, Basil Fernando, a Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and director for Policy and Program Development of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), shares his thoughts about why the issue of police torture is of the utmost importance in his country

Basil has been helping numerous torture victims, published books and carried out in-depth research and studies on the issue of police torture in Sri Lanka for over a decade. You can read more of his writings online at:

Basil: I think everybody knows the situation of our countries, whether it is the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand or any other country here in Asia except for a few places were rule of law and democracy is more established. The answer to the question as to why we concentrate on police torture is simply because police torture is so common, so widespread and creates so much intimidation on the people as it is a common experience of our daily lives.

Continues >>