Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Syria crackdown horror catalogued in Amnesty deaths in detention report

Majority of 88 detainees who have died since start of uprising against regime said to have been tortured
Syrian forces
An image from a YouTube video apparently showing Syrian forces beating up detainees near Homs. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
At least 88 people, including 10 children, have died in detention in Syria since the uprising against the regime began in March in what amounts to “systematic persecution on a vast scale”, according to Amnesty International.

The majority of victims were tortured or ill-treated, with injuries ranging from beatings, burns and blunt-force traumas to whipping marks, electrocution, slashes and mutilated genitals.

Amnesty documented the names, dates and places of arrest of victims, while independent forensic pathologists have established possible causes of death in some cases by examining film of the bodies.

Amnesty’s report was released as at least seven people were killed when thousands protested outside mosques following prayers to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saudi Arabia – human rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism

Saudi special forces outside the hotel where the Counter Terrorism International Conference. Riyadh, February 2005.
Saudi special forces outside the hotel where the Counter Terrorism International Conference. Riyadh, February 2005.
© AP/PA Photo/Hasan Jamali

Amnesty International, 22 July 2009

We were afraid that something bad might have happened to him, that he might have been tortured. We called the prison but they would respond: “Be patient, the investigation is not finished.” I cried: “Let me just hear my husband’s voice”. His disappearance was so sudden…me and my family kept asking ourselves: why is it happening?

Wife of Khalil ‘Abdul Rahman ‘Abdul Karim al-Janahi who was arrested at Riyadh airport in April 2007. 

The Saudi Arabian authorities have launched a sustained assault on human rights under the façade of countering terrorism, Amnesty International said in a new report on Wednesday.
Thousands of people have been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy, while others have been killed in uncertain circumstances. Hundreds more people face secret and summary trials and possible execution. Many are reported to have been tortured in order to extract confessions or as punishment after conviction.

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Ai Weiwei breaks gagging order in scathing attack on China’s human rights

Dissident artist speaks out after weeks of muted criticism

By Clifford Coonan in Beijing, The Independent, Aug. 30, 2011
“Beijing’s slaves squat in illegal structures, which Beijing destroys as it keeps expanding. Who owns houses? Those who belong to the government, the coal bosses, the heads of big enterprises… Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare.”

China’s best-known dissident, the artist Ai Weiwei, delivered a calculated and outspoken attack about repression in Beijing, in an apparent rebuke to the regime that had sought to secure his silence by detaining him for nearly three months.

Mr Ai criticised the police, judiciary and the unfairness of Chinese society despite controls imposed on his release on bail in June that were designed to minimise his ability to embarrass the leadership.

In a commentary for Newsweek magazine’s website, Mr Ai – best known for designing the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing – called the capital a “city of violence” where nobody could speak out because they were denied basic human rights. He also damned the legacy of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which has been trumpeted as a victory of Communist Party organisation and source of national pride.

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It’s business as usual for merchants of death

Morning Star Online, Monday 29 August 2011
by Paddy McGuffin, Home Affairs Reporter
A huge surge in British arms exports to the Middle East and north Africa shows that for all its talk it is “business as usual” for the government, campaigners said today.

The Foreign Office has pledged to revoke export licences to regimes where they may have been used to suppress democratic protest during the “Arab spring” uprisings.

But the most recent figures show that arms exports between February and June increased by almost 30 per cent on the same period the previous year.

And while the Foreign Office revoked an estimated 160 armaments export licences in February, around 600 remain in place – including licences to sell shotguns and ammunition to Bahrain where the monarchy has brutally suppressed peaceful protests.

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Blair and Bush planned Iraq war without second UN vote, letter shows

Five months before invasion, pair agreed to go ahead if weapons breach was revealed, according to newly released letter

George Bush and Tony Blair
George Bush and Tony Blair in April 2003. A letter shows they had agreed five months before to invade Iraq without a second UN resolution. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Britain and the US were planning to take action against Saddam Hussein without a second UN resolution five months before the invasion of Iraq, a newly released letter from Tony Blair‘s office shows.

A letter from Blair’s private secretary reveals that “we and the US would take action” without a new resolution by the UN security council if UN weapons inspectors showed Saddam had clearly breached an earlier resolution. In that case, he “would not have a second chance”.

That was the only way Britain could persuade the Bush administration to agree to a role for the UN and continuing work by UN weapons inspectors, the letter says.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

How Israel takes its revenge on boys who throw stones

Video seen by Catrina Stewart reveals the brutal interrogation of young Palestinians
The  Independent, Friday, 26 August 2011
Boys throw stones at Israeli soldiers
AFP Boys throw stones at Israeli soldiers

The boy, small and frail, is struggling to stay awake. His head lolls to the side, at one point slumping on to his chest. “Lift up your head! Lift it up!” shouts one of his interrogators, slapping him. But the boy by now is past caring, for he has been awake for at least 12 hours since he was separated at gunpoint from his parents at two that morning. “I wish you’d let me go,” the boy whimpers, “just so I can get some sleep.”

During the nearly six-hour video, 14-year-old Palestinian Islam Tamimi, exhausted and scared, is steadily broken to the point where he starts to incriminate men from his village and weave fantastic tales that he believes his tormentors want to hear.

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The West Wants to take Control of Libya’s Oil Wealth

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Axis of Logic
Global Research
Sunday, Aug 28, 2011
Editorial comment: Seeing the headline, we might think, at first sight, ‘Well, what else is new?’ but in this interview Professor Chossudovsky makes it very clear who the rebels really are. It goes far beyond explaining that it’s the oil the allies are out to get.  – SON
Interview with Michel Chossudovsky, Director of Centre for Research on Globalization.
While Libyan revolutionaries have not yet won the war in the oil-rich country, Western powers are already discussing the post-Gaddafi period on such issues as how the interim government there needs to honor its oil contracts.

In case of internal fighting in the Libyan crisis, will the US and its coalition NATO allies deploy boots on the ground to protect their oil interests?

In a Press TV interview, Michel Chossudovsky, Director of Center for Research on Globalization, shed more light into the development. The following is a rush transcription of the interview:

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INDIA: Response to SHRC’s report on unknown and unmarked graves of Kashmir

AHRC, August 29, 2011
A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir and The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons 

We welcome the report of the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu and Kashmir (SHRC) on unmarked graves in the north of the Indian-administered Kashmir (dated July 2011 and recently released), taking suo moto cognizance of the matter, and appreciate the courage and labour that this work signifies.

SHRC’s report acknowledges and corroborates the research documented in the report, BURIED EVIDENCE, released by the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPTK) in December 2009.

SHRC investigated unmarked graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, and Handwara districts across 38 graveyards and verified 2156 unidentified bodies in unidentified graves.

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Republicans Attack Obama as No Friend of Israel; Will Obama Promise to Do Better?

by Ira Glunts, Dissident Voice,  August 29th, 2011
Twenty years ago, the influence of the pro-Israel lobby was greater among Democrats than Republicans. It was greater in Congress than in the White House. Today, the Republicans, with their Christian Zionist wing at the forefront, have taken the lead in obeisance to Israel’s right-wing government. The Democrats are as supportive as ever, and are uneasy in their role of defending their President who has alienated Israel and its U.S. lobby. The pro-Israel forces are presently attempting to wield the kind of influence on the executive branch as it has enjoyed with members of Congress. This trend can only serve to strengthen the lobby’s ability to distort U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

US planning to leave Afghanistan in 2024-ish

By Tom Engelhardt, Axis of Logic
AlterNet and TomDispatch
Thursday, Aug 25, 2011
Maybe you thought we’d get out of Afghanistan this very year, the drawdown date President Obama set as he surged U.S. troops into the country in December 2009; or maybe you thought the Obama administration’s target for withdrawal might be the last day of 2014, that date certain of recent vintage for turning over U.S. and NATO combat duties to the Afghans; or maybe — if you happen to be a news jockey — you took note when Brigadier General Walter Givhan suggested that the Afghan air force he was training might finally be up and running in 2016; or when his successor Brigadier General Michael  Boera suggested that the date might slip to 2018 if Congress insisted that the Pentagon buy American, not Russian, helicopters for its pilots.  Or maybe you noticed when Lieutenant General William Caldwell, commander of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, recently suggested that the Afghan military would need the support of thousands of foreign trainers until at least 2020.

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CERN experiment weighs antimatter to unprecedented precision

By Bryan Dyne,,  August 26, 2011
Artist rendition of the creation of a particle
and antiparticle [Photo: CERN]

The CERN experiment ACACUSA has weighed antiprotons to an unprecedented level of accuracy. The results, published in Nature [1], do not reveal a significant difference in mass between the antiproton and its proton counterpart.

Though this answer is to be expected based on current physics, it does not help understand why matter dominates almost exclusively over anti-matter in our universe. This preponderance of matter over anti-matter is one of the main unknowns in contemporary physics.

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Doctors unleash legal challenge over inquest Dr David Kelly never had

By Miles Goslett, Mail Online, Aug. 27, 2011
Doctors are preparing to challenge the Government’s decision not to hold an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.

In June, Attorney General Dominic Grieve ruled one out after telling Parliament evidence that the weapons inspector killed himself was ‘overwhelmingly strong’.
He was responding to legal papers sent to his office by the doctors.

British government weapons advisor Dr David Kelly
Doctors are preparing to challenge the Government¿s decision not to hold an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.
 Attorney General Dominic Grieve, right, ruled out an inquest after deciding evidence that David Kelly, left, killed himself was ‘overwhelmingly strong’
But now they have told the Daily Mail that they still believe it vital that a coroner consider the case and are seeking a judicial review of Mr Grieve’s decision.

The doctors said they had spent ‘a considerable amount of time reflecting on the situation’ and had read Mr Grieve’s recent response ‘extremely carefully’.

But they concluded that there were matters which he did not address satisfactorily and they felt ‘a duty’ to carry on with their campaign.

What Really Happened in the Bin Laden Raid?

 Mark Follman, Mother Jones, Aug. 26, 2011
A US Army soldier and his dog jump off a helicopter ramp during water training in March 2011. Manuel J. Martinez/U.S. Air Force Handout
Details of the story don’t add up. Footage of the raid either exists or doesn’t. The tale of that night in Abbottabad keeps getting more muddled.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to be still scratching your head about the end of Osama bin Laden. Between the Obama administration and major media reports, there have been multiple divergent accounts of the Navy SEALs’ mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with the story seeming to be colored by politics, sensationalism, and outright fantasy. In some respects that’s unsurprising for one of the most important and highly classified military missions in modern memory‚ the outcome of which, many would argue, is all that really matters. But precisely because of its importance, it is worth considering how the tales have been told, and where history begins to bleed into mythology.
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Richard Daly: Reflections on terrorist attacks in Norway

“No Man Is an Island”: Reflections From Norway

 by: Richard Daly, Truthout | News Analysis, Aug. 24, 2011
Social Pathology

We are spending a few days at a cottage on Vesterøy (Western Island) off the eastern shore of Oslofjord. The rainy afternoon is interrupted by the ringing of our host’s mobile telephone. The woman we expect to join us from Oslo calls to postpone her arrival for a day. She reports that, moments ago, there was a huge explosion. It appears that the government buildings in Oslo have been bombed. She’s tied up in traffic, and, like us, in deep shock. We do not believe such a thing could have happened in Norway, this sliver of a country “way up north of Europe”(Oslo, in the south of the country, is at 61 degrees north latitude). We switch on the television. The mobile rings again. Only five minutes have passed since the explosion. Our host’s son, who is in France, rings to find out if his father is safe. He has already heard about the event from his mother, who inquired in turn about his safety from Southern Africa, where she read the news over the Internet. The time and space of the human world are contracting, despite what scientists call our expanding universe. But worse is yet to come.

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Amnesty Calls for Investigation into Mass Graves in Kashmir

Voice of America News, August 23, 2011

Kashmiri villagers walk past a graveyard containing unidentified dead at Bimyar, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Srinagar, India (File Photo)
Photo: AP
Kashmiri villagers walk past a graveyard containing unidentified dead at Bimyar, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Srinagar, India (File Photo)

Amnesty International is calling for an impartial investigation into mass graves found in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Sunday, India’s Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission released a report saying a three-year investigation had uncovered 2,156 unidentified bodies in 38 sites in the region.

In a statement released Monday, Amnesty International asked Indian officials to allow impartial forensic experts to carry out a thorough investigation of the skeletal remains.

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See also: 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brahminism, Hindutva And The Dalit Question

By Yoginder Sikand,, Aug. 26, 2011

Some weeks ago, Subramanian Swamy, President of the Janata Party and former Union Cabinet Minister of Commerce, Law and Justice, created a major stir by publishing what was widely denounced as a hard-hitting anti-Muslim article in a leading daily newspaper. The media was agog for a while with news about the story, and an irate National Commission for Minorities even threatened to take Swamy to court for it. However, the controversy appeared to have died soon out thereafter.

Scanning the Internet for material for a piece I was writing about the Swamy affair, I learned that he had written an entire tome detailing his Hindutva-grounded vision for India, and that his newspaper piece, devoted to his solution to the ‘Muslim problem’, was a modified version of a chapter of this book. I purchased the book, and forced myself to read it (despite finding it eminently avoidable) in order to learn how Swamy and folks like him who share a common commitment to Hindutva conceive of the future of this country.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Haaretz: The extreme Israeli right’s alliance with lunatics

In recent years, the extreme Israeli right has developed an alliance with heads of the evangelical movement, who define themselves as Christian Zionists, some of whom believe that another Holocaust of the Jews will ensure the resurrection of Jesus.

Haaretz Editorial, Aug. 25,  2011

Against the backdrop of what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his spokesmen call the “delegitimization” of Israel, a “support event” was held in Jerusalem yesterday evening led by American preacher-broadcaster Glenn Beck. Beck was accompanied by personages identified with the Republican Party’s extreme right and a group of Christian Zionist evangelical leaders.

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Stretching Charges of Anti-Semitism

Hard-line Israeli defenders have tried to shut down protests over how the Palestinians have been treated by accusing critics of “anti-Semitism” and by labeling dissenting Jews as “self-hating.” These intimidating tactics are now common on U.S. college campuses, Lawrence Davidson writes.
By Lawrence Davidson, Consortium News, Aug. 26, 2011

Can criticism of Israel, particularly a) criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and b) criticism of the state ideology of Zionism that justifies that treatment, be labeled anti-Semitic?

This is not a hypothetical query. An affirmative answer to this question is being advocated by influential Zionist lobbies in the United States. The question is of particular importance on the nation’s college and university campuses.

In places like the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Cruz, and also at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Zionist students are now threatening to sue these institutions for failing to prevent an “atmosphere of anti-Semitic bigotry” allegedly created by the presence of pro-Palestinian student groups and faculty.

One might ask if it isn’t a stretch to assert that protesting Israeli and Zionist behavior is the same as anti-Semitism? Common sense certainly tells us this is so.

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On War, Obama Has Been Worse Than Bush

Mises Daily: Thursday, August 25, 2011 by
 [This is a transcript of a lecture given at the Austrian Scholars Conference, March 7, 2011]
Anthony Gregory
Obama said he would divert resources from Iraq to Afghanistan. To his everlasting shame, he has not broken this promise.
The real critique of the wars certainly goes beyond the numbers. It is good, however, to look at the figures. Most people in the country know that Obama hasn’t exactly ended the wars. I’m sure people say, Yeah, but Obama is ending the wars.

This claim is not obviously 100 percent false in every respect, perhaps. And so we need to be careful when we get into the details.

So, during the run-up to the ascension of Obama to the throne, he was critical of the Iraq war. He said things like This war’s lasted longer than World War I, II, the Civil War; 4,000 Americans have died (and of course Americans are the only people that matter in the war). More than 60,000 have been injured; we spent trillions of dollars; we’re less safe.

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U.S. Army Reservist Told He’s Barred From Re-Enlistment for Speaking to Truthout About Guantanamo

Thursday 25 August 2011
by: Jason Leopold, Truthout | Report
Pfc. Albert Melise was accused by the US Army of leaking classified information to Truthout during an interview about Guantanamo. (Photo courtesy of Albert Melise)

The US Army has told a reservist who has spent half his life in the military that he is barred from re-enlisting, asserting he “leaked” classified information to this reporter during an interview in which he spoke candidly about his experiences working as a guard at Guantanamo Bay eight years ago.

“In accordance with your security clearance agreement during 2003-2004, you are not authorized to freely talk to the press about your duties at GITMO or what you might think have occurred there to the press,” states an April 2 “developmental counseling form” presented to Pfc. Albert Melise that was signed by Alphonso Holt, a lieutenant colonel in the US Army reserves and the battalion commander of Melise’s reserve unit. “I have reported your actions to the security manager and I am initiating a bar to re-enlist.”

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INDIA: Action must follow the report discovering mass graves in north Kashmir

AHRC, August 25, 2011
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) appreciates the efforts taken by the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu and Kashmir in conducting an enquiry and filing a report concerning the mass graves in the state. The 17-page report of the Commission’s special investigation team, headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police, reveals that 2,730 unidentified bodies are found buried in 38 sites in north Kashmir’s Bandipore, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts. This could of course just be a fraction of the real number of persons, reportedly disappeared or killed and buried, in unmarked or marked graves spread across the state. The question is, now that the Commission has filed its report, what will be done next?

On August 15 this year, the Union Defence Minister, Mr A K Anthony, urged the country’s defence units to protect and respect human rights. Given the track record of the defence units stationed in states like Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur, the Defence Minister’s speech can only be viewed as an acknowledgment of the fact that human rights violations by the army units is a matter of concern for the government. . .

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don’t look away from Kashmir’s mass graves and people’s struggle

Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Aug. 24, 2011
A protester faces Indian paramilitary forces in Srinagar, Kashmir on 19 August 2011
Last Summer, during a massive unarmed revolt against Indian rule in Kashmir, the writer Pankaj Mishra posed the following question about the situation in the territory. It remains as valid today as a year ago – especially after the recent discovery of thousands of bodies in mass graves:
Once known for its extraordinary beauty, the valley of Kashmir now hosts the biggest, bloodiest and also the most obscure military occupation in the world. With more than 80,000 people dead in an anti-India insurgency backed by Pakistan, the killings fields of Kashmir dwarf those of Palestine and Tibet. In addition to the everyday regime of arbitrary arrests, curfews, raids, and checkpoints enforced by nearly 700,000 Indian soldiers, the valley’s 4 million Muslims are exposed to extra-judicial execution, rape and torture, with such barbaric variations as live electric wires inserted into penises.

Why then does the immense human suffering of Kashmir occupy such an imperceptible place in our moral imagination? After all, the Kashmiris demanding release from the degradations of military rule couldn’t be louder and clearer. India has contained the insurgency provoked in 1989 by its rigged elections and massacres of protestors. The hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that fill the streets of Kashmir’s cities today are overwhelmingly young, many in their teens, and armed with nothing more lethal than stones. Yet the Indian state seems determined to strangle their voices as it did of the old one. Already this summer, soldiers have shot dead more than 50 protestors, most of them teenagers.

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Marjorie Cohn: Explaining Why ‘They Hate Us’

The big question that President George W. Bush posed after the 9/11 attacks was “why do they hate us?” followed by his ridiculous answer, “they hate our freedoms.” A new book by BBC correspondent Deepak Tripathi offers a more realistic analysis, writes Marjorie Cohn.
By Marjorie Cohn, Consortium News, Aug. 23, 2011

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration rolled out its “Global War on Terror.” Although the Obama White House doesn’t use that moniker, many of its policies are indistinguishable from those of its predecessor.

Both administrations have focused on combating the symptoms of terrorism rather than grappling with its root causes.

Longtime BBC correspondent Deepak Tripathi was based in Kabul, Afghanistan for 15 months in the early 1990s, where he gained a unique perspective about the genesis of terrorism from his access to Afghan leaders and citizens during the civil war following the expulsion of the communist regime there.

His book Breeding Ground makes a significant contribution toward understanding the origins and triggers of terrorism. Tripathi traces the development of a “culture of violence” in Afghanistan — largely due to resistance against foreign invasion — from the “U.S.-led proxy war” against the USSR to the current U.S. war. Without such historical insight, efforts to make us safe from acts of terror will prove futile.

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Israeli raids kill 9 Gazans in 24 hours

Islamic Jihad says ‘will halt rockets if Israel stops raids’ against Palestinians in besieged Gaza.
Middle East Online, Aug. 25, 2011

‘The truce is related to Israel action’

GAZA CITY – A series of Israeli air strikes on Gaza over a 24-hour period killed nine Palestinians and injured 30, a spokesman for the enclave’s emergency services told AFP on Thursday.

Adham Abu Selmiya said nine people had been killed in a series of raids across the strip that ended before dawn on Thursday.

Among the dead, at least two were Islamic Jihad militants.

The first attack on Wednesday hit a car in the southern city of Rafah, killing 34-year old Jihad militant Ismail al-Ismar.

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9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything?

By Paul Craig Roberts,, Aug. 24, 2011

In a few days it will be the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. How well has the US government’s official account of the event held up over the decade?

Not very well. The chairman, vice chairman, and senior legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission wrote books partially disassociating themselves from the commission’s report. They said that the Bush administration put obstacles in their path, that information was withheld from them, that President Bush agreed to testify only if he was chaperoned by Vice President Cheney and neither were put under oath, that Pentagon and FAA officials lied to the commission and that the commission considered referring the false testimony for investigation for obstruction of justice.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The end of Gaddafi is welcome. But it does not justify the means

We may all applaud Gaddafi’s downfall, but it remains the case that Britain’s intervention in Libya was wrong
Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, Aug. 23, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi
 ‘If Cameron wants to take credit for the removal of Gaddafi then he cannot avoid responsibility for the aftermath.’ Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
The downfall of a dictator is always welcome. Especially welcome is the downfall of Gaddafi of Libya. He was not the worst of his genre, but for 42 years was the beneficiary of the crassest western intervention, veering between ineffective sanctions and ostracism and Tony Blair’s cringing, oil-drenched “friendship”. More welcome still would have been his downfall clearly at the hands of his own people, not courtesy of western armies.

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US Drone Strike Kills Five in North Waziristan

Villagers Complain of Rising Fear Over Constant Drone Strikes

by Jason Ditz,,  August 23, 2011
A US drone fired a pair of missile attacks against the Nork area of the town of Miramshah in North Waziristan Agency today, killing at least five people who witnesses described as local tribesmen.

The strike was the fifth drone attack by the US so far this month, and the 51st of the year. Reports have an estimated 800 people slain this year alone in the attacks, which have escalated dramatically since President Obama took office in 2009.

The latest escalations have spawned growing concern in the area, with some villagers complaining that the constant drone flights overhead are interrupting their nightly prayers and sparking fear among tribesmen.

Research into the strikes have indicated that a large number of the slain are likely innocent civilians, and even among the “suspects” only a few dozen have ever been named as confirmed militants out of thousands killed since 2009.

PAKISTAN: One year after the floods-women continue their struggle to rebuild their lives & livelihoods

AHRC, August 24, 2011

PAKISTAN: One year after the floods-women continue their struggle to rebuild their lives & livelihoods 

By Bushra Khaliq

One year ago during the months of July and August the floodwaters that ravaged the southern parts of Pakistan have long receded. Though gone are the makeshift tent camps on roadsides but revival of normal life and livelihood still remain a challenge. Thousands continue a daily struggle to support their families and re-establish livelihoods. As a new monsoon season is in full swing, last year’s trauma and economic pain still linger. While last year’s victims struggle to recover, others now worry that changing world weather patterns will cause renewed flooding.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Norway’s Terror as Systemic Destabilization: Breivik, the Arms-for-Drugs Milieu, and Global Shadow Elites

by Prof. Peter Dale Scott

Global Research, August 23, 2011

Breivik’s Terror: Was It a Deep Event?

The most surprising aspect of the recent unexpected terrorist violence in Norway is that, in retrospect, it is not surprising. Our revived hopes after the end of the Cold War, that we might finally be emerging into a world of diminishing bloodshed, have been abundantly disabused. Events of seemingly random irrational violence, such as that which so shocked us when President Kennedy was assassinated, have become a predictable part of the world in which we live.

To some extent we can blame the violence on our social system itself. It is clearly unsatisfactory, and needs fundamental reconstructions that nonviolent actions have been painfully slow to deliver. Thus violence slowly builds up at all levels, from the flash mobs of the hopeless at the base of society to the war schemes of those in high places. In such a milieu Anders Breivik is only one of many, from the Unabomber in America to the jihadi suicide bombers everywhere, who have chosen to dedicate themselves to sacrificial violence, rather than to an eventless survival in an alienating status quo.


Robert Fisk: How Long Before the Dominoes Fall?

By Robert Fisk, ZNet, Aug. 23, 2011
The remaining Arab potentates and tyrants have spent a second sleepless night. How soon will the liberators of Tripoli metamorphose into the liberators of Damascus and Aleppo and Homs? Or of Amman? Or Jerusalem? Or of Bahrain or Riyadh? It’s not the same, of course.

The Arab Spring-Summer-Autumn has proved not just that the old colonial frontiers remain inviolate – an awful tribute to imperialism, I suppose – but that every revolution has its own characteristics. If all Arab uprisings have their clutch of martyrs, some rebellions are more violent than others. As Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said at the start of his own eventual downfall, “Libya is not Tunisia, it’s not Egypt…It will become civil war. There will be bloodshed on the streets.” And there was.

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Benny Morris: History as Platform for Racism

by Innovative Minds, Dissident Voice,  August 20th, 2011

On Tuesday 14th June 2011 human rights activists came together to oppose the visit of Israeli historian Benny Morris to the London School of Economics.

The visit was organised by the Anglo Israel Association, whose honorary president is the Israeli Ambassador. The Anglo Israel Association boast that their most fruitful work is as propagandists for Israel bringing ‘opinion formers’ to the UK on speaking tours in partnership with British think-tanks and universities to push the Israeli perspective.
Benny Morris is well known for his racist views of Arabs and Muslims, his support and whitewashing of ethnic cleansing and his justification of genocide.

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AIPAC’s Misguided Advocacy

Pro-Israel organizations, led by AIPAC have too often sought to advance short-term goals over long-term interests, to the detriment of genuine advocacy in support of peacemaking, stresses Alon Ben-Meir
Middle East Online, Aug. 23, 2011

The effusive standing ovations Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received during his speech to a joint session of Congress despite his recent public clashes with President Obama, raised anew questions of the power and influence of the so-called “Israel lobby,” led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Suggestions that AIPAC is all-powerful in Washington, or that its aims and actions are nefarious, are baseless. AIPAC is an effective interest group that has wielded grassroots activism and political contributions to foster a closer relationship between the United States and the State of Israel based largely on common interests, values, and cultural affinity. Yet criticism of AIPAC is not unwarranted, especially with regard to its muted efforts to support actions to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East.

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Messiah-ism Is The Product Of Brahmanical System

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat,, Aug. 22, 2011

India at the moment is at the cross roads. Anna Hazare and his team have presented a Janlokpal bill which according to them will wipe out corruption from India. They feel that corruption is the root cause of all our evils. Now, one does not know whether they consider the caste system, untouchability, dowry as corruption or not. We do not know whether billions of rupees of cash, Gold and other treasure in our religious institutions are corruption free or meant for something else.

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Badri Raina: Anna Hazare versus the Idea of India

“India is Anna, Anna is India.” This slogan, reeking of the memory of Indira-imposed Emergency — “India is Indira, Indira is India” — tells you how much of what is now on display is about democracy

Badri Raina – Delhi. Hard News, August 2011

Bliss is it in this dawn to be alive,
But to be old is to be doubting.
(With apology to William Wordsworth)

Maha Kumbh

These are heady days in India. An orgy is underway in many parts, as angels of virtue shriek holy imprecations, ostensibly, to exorcise the demon ‘Corruption’, a word that has a nice Biblical-postlapsarian ring to it. This inventively constituted Ravana of our times, embodied, we are told, chiefly in the conjoint body of the politicians of the day, especially of the ruling Congress party, is now faced with the equally inventively constituted Ram in the person of Anna Hazare. Suitably, this crusader, although he wears the pristine white, topped with a Gandhi cap, opposes the demon in hues which are increasingly more and more saffron as the hours go by (see ‘Is Anna’s Crusade Changing Colour?’HindustanTimes, August 19). No wonder that some electronic channels seem to have nothing better to do than to pour incandescent ablutions of fuel into the corruption-Kumbh, in the full knowledge of the politics they seek to advance.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Palestinian Right of Self-Defense

Repeatedly, Israel preemptively bombs, shells, and inflicts other forms of lawless violence on Gazans, bogusly claiming self-defense.

When they respond, Israel calls it terrorism, claiming justification for greater attacks in “self-defense,” what international law prohibits.

In fact, UN Charter Article 2(4) says:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

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Young Americans flock to Israel to join army

Big News Network, Aug. 22, 2011
The 104 young Americans joining the Israel Defense Forces want to see action.

Hundreds of new immigrants from the U.S. landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Tuesday.

An unprecedented 104 of the 360 new arrivals, came to enlist in the Israeli army.

Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister, the Chief Education Officer, was among a delegation of officials on hand to greet the 18 to 22 year olds.

“It’s an honor to have you join the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Israeli nation,” the Brig. Gen. said. “There are no words to describe my appreciation for you, your courage and the Zionistic values you hold. The State of Israel is coping with security threats every day and defending its security is the main goal of the IDF.”

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Norway remembers 77 terror victims with words, music

Norwegian PM calls for embracing ‘openness, tolerance’ one month after Islamphobic ‘Crusade’ massacre. 

Middle East Online, Aug. 22, 2011

By Pierre-Henry Deshayes – Oslo

A display of unity

Norway held an emotional commemoration Sunday for the 77 victims of last month’s twin attacks with survivors, relatives, royals and pop stars all remembering the country’s worst peacetime bloodshed.

Some 6,700 people gathered in the Spektrum concert hall in Oslo in a display of unity, almost exactly a month after Anders Behring Breivik bombed the government quarter in the capital before mowing down participants at an island youth camp.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg urged Norwegians to help the victims’ relatives and stand by the very ideals of democracy and openness that the far-right extremist 32-year-old self-confessed killer sought to shatter.

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31 Million U.S. Kids Live in Poverty Today As Racial Inequality Deepens

By Julianne Hing, ZNet, Aug. 21, 2011
Source: Colorlines
Today, one in five U.S. kids are living in poverty, says a new report on how kids are faring in the recession. Everything about the foreclosure crisis and recession and the attack on the public safety net that has made the last few years difficult for U.S. adults has also made things tough for U.S. children. But for kids of color, the numbers are much worse.

More than one in three black kids—a full 36 percent of black youth—live in poverty and 31 percent of Latino kids lives in poverty. And for many of the indicators of child welfare that the Annie E. Casey Foundation, whose 2011 Kids Count Data Book was released on Wednesday, tracks, like infant mortality rates and school achievement, black and Latino kids fare far worse than their white counterparts.
For example, in 2009, a full 16 states reported poverty rates for black children that were upwards of 40 percent. And in five states, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and Alabama, more than 40 percent of Latino kids there lived in poverty. However, no state has a white children’s poverty rate that’s over 23 percent.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jeff Gates: Carnage in Norway: Refreshing the Narrative

by Jeff Gates, Dissident Voice,  August 19th, 2011
So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists….
— Manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik
War-making storylines tend to lose their steam. Sustained warfare requires more than just a plausible Evil Doer. A credible narrative is also essential. To remind us who to hate, who better than a murderous Nordic Muslim-hater?

Far-fetched? How many Americans had heard of the Taliban before March 2001 when destruction of the ancient Buddhas at Bamiyan was reported worldwide as a ‘Cultural Holocaust’? Voila! An Evil Doer brand emerged and was soon repackaged as Islamo-fascism.

Six months later, an attack on U.S. soil left little doubt that outraged Americans would be provoked to war. Combine an emotionally wrenching mass murder with manipulated intelligence and an invasion was assured—of Iraq. That miscue required sophisticated pre-staging.

Residents of Washington, DC well recall the sniper attacks that left ten dead during the October 2002 lead-up to a Senate vote on a war resolution sponsored by Jewish Zionist Senator Joe Lieberman. Those well-timed murders ensured a heightened sense of insecurity and helped ratchet up the requisite hatred—to invade a nation that played no role in 911.

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Gaza; 15 Palestinians Killed Due To Israeli Bombardment In 24 Hours

author by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies Report post, Aug. 20, 2011

As Israel continued the bombardment of the Gaza Strip since Thursday, Palestinian medical sources in Gaza reported that the number of slain residents arrived to 15, while more than 40 others, were wounded in the last 24 hours of military escalation.

The sources stated that the Israeli Air Force fired a missile at a motorcycle driving in Ath-Thaltheen Street, in Gaza City, killing three residents, including a child. Their bodies were severely mutilated.

Adham Abu Salmiyya, spokesperson of the Higher Committee of Medical and Emergency Services in Gaza, reported that the child was only two years old, and that one woman is among the injured.

The casualties were identified as Dr. Monther Qreiqe’ and his brother Mo’taz of the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, and a two-year-old child identified as Islam. They were transporting Islam to a local hospital as he needed urgent medical care.

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BURMA: 14 accused over bombing in fabricated case

AHRC, August 19, 2011
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-145-2011
Dear friends,

At a time that the proxy military government in Burma is purporting to bring about political change, it is continuing to arrest and falsely accuse citizens in various criminal cases. In this appeal, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) draws your attention to 14 persons accused in connection with a bombing in Pegu town during 2010. The police have brought charges against the accused following illegal detention of over three months and having falsified records.


On 29 September 2010 a bomb exploded in a local council office in Pegu, northeast of Rangoon. During the next month, officials arrested 13 persons over the case, while three who have been named as accused escaped capture.

The police have lodged charges against 14 of the accused over having allegedly gone to Thailand to get training in political defiance and use of Internet and having got financial support with which they made the bomb attack.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Haider Farooq Maududi: Truth About Jamaat-e-Islami (in Urdu)

 You Tube about the extreme right-wing political party of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami
پاکستانی فا شسٹ سیاسی تنظیم جماعت اسلامی کے بارے میں حیدر مودودی کا انٹرویو

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Drones Direct Hit Upon Rule of Law

By News Wire,August 17, 2011
The Obama Administration continues to use unmanned drones as a tool of war — a tool that according to the New York Times, the Administration claims has killed 600 militants in Pakistan and no civilians since May 2010. But the math doesn’t add up.

A recent report released by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that at least 2,292 people have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. The Bureau estimates that of that number, over 350 are civilians. A July 2009 Brookings Institution report stated ten civilians die for every one suspected militant from U.S. drone strikes. Yet another study by the New American Foundation concluded that out of 114 drone attacks in Pakistan, at least 32% of those killed by the strikes were civilians.

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Growing Palestinian displacement in West Bank Area C

Hundreds of Palestinians in Area C have their homes demolished by Israeli authorities every year.

Middle East Online, Aug. 18, 2011

Children of the Saed family playing in Khallet Zakariya

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Each year, hundreds of Palestinians in Area C have their homes demolished by the Israeli authorities because they are unable to obtain permits for their buildings, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Area C covers 60 percent of the West Bank with a Palestinian population of about 150,000.

Israel retains military authority and full control over building and planning in Area C: as much as 70 percent of it is inaccessible to Palestinians, classified as Israeli settlement areas, firing zones, or nature reserves.

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Naval Base Tears Apart Korean Village

By Christine Ahn, Foreign Policy In Focus, August 19, 2011

Christine Ahn

“The land and sea isn’t something you bought,” explained Kang Ae-Shim. “Why are you selling something that was there long before you were born?”

Kang Ae Shim is a haenyo, one of the legendary Korean women sea divers from Jeju Island who can hold their breath for up to two minutes while foraging the ocean floor for seafood. But today Kang and others are fighting to save their island from the pending construction of a South Korean naval base in Gangjeong village, which threatens to tear apart the age-old sisterhood of the haenyo and destroy the pristine ecology of Jeju’s shores. The government and construction contractors are attempting to stamp out the outcry by arresting, beating, fining, and threatening villagers and activists.

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Pakistani belief about drones: perceptive or paranoid?

By Glenn Greenwald,, Aug. 18, 2011


Two weeks ago, President Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, excoriated the White House for its reliance on drones in multiple Muslim nations, pointing out, as Politico put it, that those attacks “are fueling anti-American sentiment and undercutting reform efforts in those countries.”  Blair said: ”we’re alienating the countries concerned, because we’re treating countries just as places where we go attack groups that threaten us.”  Blair has an Op-Ed today in The New York Times making a similar argument with a focus on Pakistan, though he uses a conspicuously strange point to make his case:

ASIA: Asian Alliance Against Torture and Ill-treatment launched

AHRC, August 19, 2011
A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission and the Asian Alliance Against Torture and Ill-Treatment

A group of 26 human rights defenders and organisations, today concluded a five-day regional conclave and formed a unique regional initiative – The Asian Alliance Against Torture and Ill-treatment (AAAT). The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT), Denmark took the lead to organise the foundational meeting of the AAAT, first of its kind in Asia. The meeting was held from 15 to 19 September at the AHRC’s office in Hong Kong.

Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong were represented in the meeting.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Daily Rogue State Israeli Lawlessness

Stephen Lendman, MWC News, Aug. 17, 2011

It begs the question why Israelis put up with lawless governance harming them as well as Palestinians. When will weeks of social injustice outrage arouse them to embrace universal equity?

Why haven’t Martin Luther King’s words hit home that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In Israel and Occupied Palestine, Arabs and Jews both are harmed. Injustice to anyone denies it to all.

Since the 1980s, destructive neoliberalism plagued Israel like the West. A race to the bottom followed, producing social injustice, inequality, and growing human need. Israelis finally reacted, demanding change, at the same time showing a hint of solidarity with Arab citizens, far more gravely impacted than themselves.

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The Y-12 Thirteen, MADE in USA WMD and Mordechai Vanunu

By Eileen Fleming,, Aug. 18, 2011
 [Tennessee]–Come September, The Y-12 thirteen nuclear resisters will be sentenced for their July 5th 2010 nonviolent civil disobedience protest against USA MADE Nuclear Weapons.
I was eyewitness to that day when priests and nuns, atheists, anarchists and a clown were among the 23 arrested by the State and 13 by the Federal Government for nonviolently resisting Nuclear Weapons at the Y-12 Complex in Tennessee.

Federal charges were for trespassing-and I was tempted to join those who crossed under the wire fence as MEDIA when I saw the “photographer’ who had been very busy the preceding few hours snapping photos of our crowd of over 200 nuclear resisters who had come together two days prior for a weekend long celebration of 30 years of The Nuke Resister and Nukewatch.

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INDIA: AFSP Act is a deepening blotch on democracy

AHRC, August 18, 2011
A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, REDRESS Trust UK, and Human Rights Alert, Manipur, India 

A draconian legislation like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and the concept of democracy do not go together. While democracy nurture values of justice, equality and fraternity, laws like the AFSPA are synonymous with injustice, discrimination and hatred. A report that analyses the legislation’s complete incompatibility with India’s domestic and international human rights obligations is released today in India, Hong Kong and London. Human Rights Alert, a human rights organisation working in Manipur, India; REDRESS Trust, a human rights group based in London, UK; and the AHRC, a regional human rights body based in Hong Kong have jointly authored the report.

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Two jailed for 6 months for insulting Egypt military

Maan News Agency, Aug. 17, 2011
Egyptian military police stand guard in Tahrir Square. [AFP/File Khaled Desouki]
CAIRO (AFP) — Egypt’s military, which faces growing condemnation for cracking down on critics, on Wednesday sentenced two men to six months in prison each for chanting anti-military slogans, a prosecution official said.

One of the men, 18-year-old activist Hassan Said, was arrested in a central Cairo square on August 2, a day after soldiers and police violently dispersed a weeks-long sit in by activists demanding a civilian government.

The second man was named as 23-year-old Karim Sayid but no further details about when he was arrested were available.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Pakistani Military Demands a Veto on Drone Strikes

By Gareth Porter,, Aug. 17, 2011


ISLAMABAD, Aug 16, 2011 (IPS) – Pakistani civilian and military leaders are insisting on an effective veto over which targets U.S. drone strikes hit, according to well-informed Pakistani military sources here.

The sources, who met with IPS on condition that they not be identified, said that such veto power over the conduct of the drone war is a central element in a new Pakistani demand for a formal government-to-government agreement on the terms under which the United States and Pakistan will cooperate against insurgents in Pakistan.

The basic government-to-government agreement now being demanded would be followed, the sources said, by more detailed agreements between U.S. and Pakistani military leaders and intelligence agencies.

Assassination as Foreign Policy

By William Pfaff, Tribune Media Services, Aug. 16, 2011

PARIS — Following the Second World War, people who had been involved with the American, British and other Allies’ “Jedburgh” teams supporting the European Resistance just before the Normandy landings, and the work of the British Special Operations Executive and the American Office of Strategic Services in Asia, were among those planning for the eventuality of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe.

We know now that this invasion never was a serious risk, either while Stalin was alive or after his death in 1953, but it was a threat that preoccupied governments in the West. Before the creation of NATO, a rudimentary “stay-behind” network of Europeans was developed to provide the nucleus for resistance following such an invasion. This was the work of the U.S. State Department-controlled Office of Policy Coordination, predecessor to the CIA, and British Intelligence’s MI9 department, which had run underground networks during the war. The U.S. part of the project was later assigned to the Defense Department. The operation was called “Gladio” (a Roman short sword) and remained secret until 1990. (In Italy and certain other countries, it had been corrupted by acquiring a right-wing conspiratorial political character.)

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The Pueblo revolt of 1680

History demonstrates that colonial subjugation, no matter how brutal its methods, inevitably breeds resistance, according to Christine Darosa.

Socialist Worker, August 17, 2011

An artists' portrayal of the Pueblo Revolt
An artists’ portrayal of the Pueblo Revolt

IN AUGUST of 1680, the indigenous Pueblo nations of the Southwest accomplished something almost unique in the history of the European conquest of North America: they expelled their colonizers completely from their land and returned to self-rule.

In 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led the northward expansion of New Spain into what is now the American Southwest, followed by Don Juan de Oñate, who established the first Spanish colony in the region in 1598. With the colony came both Spanish soldiers to subjugate the indigenous populations to the Crown and Franciscan friars to convert them to Catholicism.

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What’s Worse? Looting or Invading?

Politicians take great umbrage when poor people violate property laws (as in the British riots) but the same leaders readily absolve themselves of guilt over much more serious crimes (like aggressive war in Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands). Such was the hypocrisy of British parliamentarian Jack Straw, writes Robin Beste.
By Robin Beste, Consortium News, August 15, 2011

Jack Straw, former foreign secretary in Tony Blair’s government, was quick to his feet, following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on the UK riots in Parliament on Aug. 11.

“We need more prisons,” Straw told Cameron and the House of Commons.

He may get his wish, looking at some of the sentences that have already been handed down in the hundreds of cases rushed through emergency courts — no doubt at the government’s bidding, to show that instant retribution will take precedence over justice.
A mother of two, who was asleep at home during the riots, has been given a five-month jail sentence for accepting running shorts stolen by someone else. A 23-year-old student got six months for stealing a £3.50 case of water from a supermarket. A 43-year-old man is in jail pending sentence for stealing items worth £1 from a newsagent.

But, if Jack Straw is right and we need more prisons, he should be one of the first inmates, alongside Tony Blair, who he served so loyally throughout the 13 years of New Labour government.

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Egypt’s ‘Secret Minister’ Suleiman; Behind the Scene, Still Pulling the Strings?

 Thomas C. Mountain, Foreign Policy Journal, August 17, 2011

Just exactly what influence Omar “The Secret Minister” Suleiman retains over the military junta that rules Egypt is a question of utmost importance for those who live on the banks of the Nile River. With a résumé including 20 years as head of Egyptian Intelligence, he is not someone anyone of those who helped bring about the downfall of Mubarak can afford to ignore.

He was the CIA’s go-to man when it came to doing the Agency’s dirty work in the Middle East, as well as being the liaison with Israel, and was reported to be in contact with Mossad on an almost daily basis.

Suleiman is infamous for enforcing the blockade of Gaza, saying he wanted the Palestinians there to “be hungry but not starving” in punishment for supporting Hamas; hungry as in a 40% level of malnutrition-related disability rates amongst Gaza’s children.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

INDONESIA: Authorities cover up a journalist murder case

AHRC, August 16, 2011
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-142-2011

INDONESIA: Authorities cover up a journalist murder case
ISSUES: Freedom of expression; police negligence; impunity; prosecution system
Dear friends,
Three police officers accused of the murder of journalist Ridwan Salamun have been acquitted. AHRC-UAC-142-2011IMAGE-1.pngRidwan Salamun was covering the communal clashes in Tual, Southeast Maluku in August last year as a camera man for SUN TV. The police officers witnessed the assault against Mr. Salamun but did nothing to prevent it, effectively consenting to the violence. In the subsequent examination, the prosecution refused to recognize Mr. Salamun’s capacity as a journalist during the clash. The case is currently in cassation at the Supreme Court. It follows a series of killings of journalists in Indonesia that have not been resolved by the authorities. (photo: Ridwan Salamun, source: SUN TV)


According to information the AHRC received from KontraS the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, on 21 August 2010, at around 07.30 am, Ridwan Salamun, a cameraman of SUN TV was covering the clash between the inhabitants of neighbouring villages, Mangon and Banda Eli in Tual, Southeast Maluku. A group of villagers did not welcome his attempt to cover the event and struck him on the neck, back and thighs with machetes. Police who were watching the incident stood by and did nothing to halt the attack or assist the victim. Mr. Salamun was severely wounded and lay on the road side for approximately two hours before being evacuated by the community leader, Jhon Tamher to Kare hospital. Mr. Salamun died one hour later from his injuries.

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Syria orders thousands into stadium in Latakia crackdown

Syrian security forces seize IDs and cellphones from those gathered at the soccer arena, activists say. Five people are killed, and the U.N. is worried about Palestinian refugees in the area.

Latakia crackdownSyrian security forces continued hammering opposition strongholds in Latakia, especially in the district of Ramleh, which has been pummeled with tank, gunboat and automatic weapons fire. (AFP/Getty Images / August 15, 2011)
 By Borzou Daragahi and Roula Hajjar, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 16, 2011
Reporting from Beirut—
Syrian security forces cracking down on opposition strongholds in Latakia herded thousands of people into a stadium and took away their identification cards and cellphones, activists said Monday.

Forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad continued hammering opposition strongholds in the country’s main port city, especially in the district of Ramleh, which has been pummeled with tank, gunboat and automatic weapons fire after unusually large antigovernment demonstrations broke out there Friday.

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