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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mexico vows to win drug fight

Eduardo Medina Mora, the Mexican attorney general tells Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi how the country will win the battle against the drug cartels.

Monday, March 30, 2009

US feels impact of Mexico drug war "spillover"

US officials and politicians, particularly those in states that border Mexico have repeatedly warned of a "spillover" of violence from Mexico's drug violence.

And both the Texan and Arizona governors have gone as far as calling for the deployment of the US national guard to the US-Mexico border.

But others have disputed the concept of Mexican violence bleeding over the border.
Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar went to Phoenix, Arizona, to try and separate fact from fiction

US illegal drugs - demand fuels supply

FBI and American Muslims at Odds

27/03/2009 | reported in Almanar
(exclusively author's view)

source : Alexandra Marks - CSM | March 25, 2009

An informant at a California mosque has hampered efforts to find home-grown terrorists.

Law enforcement efforts to root out home-grown terrorists are jeopardized by deteriorating relations between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Muslim and Arab-American communities.

The situation began last fall when the FBI quietly withdrew formal relations with all local chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the largest Muslim American civil rights organizations. The FBI cited "a number of distinct narrow issues" that it has refused to make public.

The situation worsened in February, when it became public that the FBI had planted an informant at a California mosque who, a coalition of more than a dozen Muslim American groups charges, actively tried to recruit terrorists.

Last week, the coalition accused the FBI of engaging in "McCarthy-era tactics" and announced it was considering suspending all ties with the FBI unless it made public its concerns with CAIR and "reassessed its use of agent provocateurs in Muslim communities."

The FBI would not comment, except to issue a statement saying: "Limiting honest dialogue, especially when complex issues are on the table, is generally not an effective advocacy strategy."

That has not satisfied many in the Muslim and Arab-American communities, including some who have not joined the coalition threatening to terminate FBI ties.

"We believe that we have to keep our place at the table in this discourse. We believe it's too important for our community's interest and America's interest to leave the table," says Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles. "But the damage was done [when the FBI planted the agent].... The way the FBI handled the case stigmatized the whole mosque community, and the disengagement from CAIR field offices was a mistake because people don't understand it – there's no explanation."

In the aftermath of 9/11, the FBI made an aggressive effort to reach out to Muslim and Arab-American organizations throughout the country. In general, the effort was viewed as a success by all parties.

Relations had been good

On its website, CAIR lists dozens of laudatory quotes from FBI officials they cooperated with since the attacks. FBI officials regularly attended their banquets, mosques and community outreach efforts.

CAIR officials said the FBI's decision to sever formal ties with its 30 field offices in 19 states came as a shock.

"Historically, we've had very good relations with the FBI at the local, state, and federal levels," says CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

The FBI declined to say what "distinct narrow issues" had prompted it to suddenly sever ties with CAIR. But in a statement, FBI spokesman John Miller said, "We have made CAIR's national leadership aware of these issues."

CAIR's Mr. Hooper says that is not the case.

"They have not communicated specific issues to us, and when we ask, they say, 'Well, let's have some future conversation about it'," says Hooper. "And we say, 'No, we'd like to know now.'"

CAIR believes the decision goes back to May 2007, when it was named along with 300 other Muslim American groups and individuals as an "unindicted coconspirator" in the controversial terrorist funding trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States.

After a mistrial in 2007, the charity and some of its officials were found guilty in 2008 for ties to Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization.

In a letter to the FBI, CAIR argues that the "unindicted coconspirator" designation should never have been made or made public.

"Making this unjust designation public violates the Justice Department's own guidelines and wrongly implies that those listed are somehow involved in criminal activity," the CAIR letter states.

A source within the FBI confirmed that the alleged ties to the Holy Land Foundation were the basis for the FBI's actions. He also said, that as a result of the final conviction in the Holy Land case, "there was a public policy problem with us going forward" in formal relations with CAIR.

Muslim and Arab American groups are also upset with the FBI's decision to allegedly place an ex-convict as an informant in the Muslim American Community in Orange County, California.

The informant posed as a new convert to Islam and reportedly espoused terrorist ideology to several members of the Islamic Center of Irvine. That prompted two members of the mosque, including a man named Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, to report the informant's inflammatory statements to the FBI and ask for a restraining order against him.

FBI officials then began investigating Mr. Niazi and asked him to become an informant, according to the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, which has formally filed a complaint with the FBI. When Niazi refused, an agent told him he'd make his life "a living hell." Niazi has since been arrested and charged with making false statements to gain his citizenship and failing to disclose that his sister is married to an Al Qaeda operative, according to court documents.

At his bail hearing, an FBI Agent also said Niazi had allegedly been recorded discussing terrorist ideology, jihad and plans to blow up abandoned buildings. Niazi pleaded innocent."

An 'agent provocateur?'

Members of the Muslim American community say they're incensed by the FBI's use of what they call an "agent provocateur" within its community.

"It's pretty devastating, it came as a shock," says Kareem Shora – executive director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

"What this has done is undermine what was a 10-year relationship of trust, or what we thought was trust," says Mr. Shora.

The FBI insists it is not targeting mosques or the community, but individuals.

"We do not target places, we don't investigate mosques. We identify individuals who merit investigation under a set of laws and guidelines," says the FBI's Mr. Miller.

"In the course of those investigations sometimes those people will take us to the places they go," Miller said.

But the FBI informant, a man named Craig Monteilh, told reporters last week that he was sent to several mosques and that he had alerted the FBI about Niazi's alleged terrorist sympathies.

Lebanon's Independence gift: MiG 29s

Sun, 29 Mar 2009 23:58:12 GMT | PressTV

The Russian built MiG-29
Russia has promised to deliver two of the ten MiG-29 fighters it has donated to Beirut on Lebanon's Independence Day on Nov. 22.

The An-Nahar daily reported Sunday that during a visit by Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr to Moscow on December 2008, Russia promised to deliver the first two fighter planes to Lebanon on November 2009, to show 'new military relationship' between the two countries.

The daily failed to mention the name of the Russian official.

However, the Lebanese government was advised in February to 'wait' before accepting the fighters that are 'possibly unsafe', according to a report by An-Nahar.

A pilot was killed in a MiG-29 crash in southern Siberia of Russia on Dec. 5 2008, and another MiG-29 had crashed in October that year, the report said.

Lebanese military sources said the donated MiG-29s would be checked by the Lebanese army before they are shipped to Lebanon.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman had announced earlier that Lebanon welcomes any arms donation on condition that no political concession is wanted from Beirut.

The MiG-29 jet fighter was designed in 1970s to challenge the United States' F-15 fighter.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gore Vidal on "The Emperor"

"He smiled benignly at the oil wells"
The great message of Roosevelt: End all the empires -- save one.

Gore Vidal on the Democrats and religion

- How different would a Democratic Party administration be? "The Democratic Party is a machine to get votes for its people. None of whom should probably be elected to the high offices of state.The Republican Party is fundamentally crooked."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Komodo dragons maul man to death

JAKARTA, March 25 — reported by : malaysianinsider — source : Guardian

Two Komodo dragons have mauled a fruit picker to death after he fell out of a tree in an orchard in eastern Indonesia, in a rare attack on humans by the world’s largest lizard.

The man, Muhamad Anwar, 31, was found bleeding from bites to his hands, body, legs and neck within minutes of falling out of a sugar-apple tree on the island of Komodo and died later at a clinic on neighbouring Flores. The giant lizards had been waiting for him under the tree, according to a neighbour, Theresia Tawa.

The carnivorous Komodos, which live for up to 50 years, can grow to 3m in length and weigh up to 90kg. Though they rarely attack humans — and had not previously killed an adult for more than 30 years — an eight-year-old boy died after being mauled in 2007 and attacks are said to be increasing as their habitat becomes restricted. Their diet usually consists of smaller animals, including other members of their own species.

There are thought to be only about 4,000 left in the wild on the five Indonesian islands they inhabit, Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Dasami and Gili Motang, although there are more than 50 in captivity, including 13 in European zoos. Indonesians, who are said to believe the dragons are reincarnations of their ancestors, have in the past propitiated them by sacrificing goats.

Komodo dragons, first identified by western explorers only 99 years ago, are meat-eaters and can move at up to 19kph in pursuit of prey. They can climb trees, though they mainly lurk in scrubland waiting for passing potential victims, and have been known to eat up to 80 per cent of their own body weight in a single meal.

They use sharply serrated teeth to tear meat and their saliva is particularly poisonous, containing more than 50 strains of bacteria, which means that even if victims escape, without treatment they are likely to die of infection: the dragons trot after them, or use their strong sense of smell – reputedly able to sniff out decaying flesh at 8-km’s range – to track their prey.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

French professor sacked over 9/11 conspiracy theory

An academic in France has been sacked by the Ministry of Defence after questioning the official version of events surrounding the 9/11 attacks. He now reportedly plans to sue the government.

Aymeric Chauprade lost his job allegedly over the introduction to his latest book about political crises around the world, and more specifically, that the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. were an orchestrated "American-Israeli conspiracy". The Defence Minister had strong objections to the material, so Aymeric had to go.

Jean Dominique Merchet, a French journalist, was the first to report on the sacking.The Ministry of Defence has reacted too brutally. They have transformed Chauprade into a victim, and not an intellectual opponent even if what he defends is not good, Merchet said.

Chauprade explained his firing by the Ministry of Defence as the result of him speaking about a subject that was considered off limits. I touched upon a taboo the theory of a conspiracy plot. Apparently there is only one possibility in an accidental world. And all the wars have sprung from this Afghanistan and so on.The book's introduction highlights a theory that the twin towers were blown up as part of an American-Israeli pact. He did scientific work see it's written here, the theories included here are contesting the official theory of Muslim responsibility. That's an opinion! says Chauprades lawyer Antoine Beauquier.

Defence Minister Herve Morin was reportedly outraged by the suggestions and demanded the academic's sacking from his job at the French Military College in Paris, where Chauprade was teaching geopolitics.

The Ministry has refused to comment on the affair.

G20 plan will leave Africa in poverty

Socialistworker UK | 23 March 2009

Teachers won a major strike in Nigeria last year

Teachers won a major strike in Nigeria last year

World leaders claim they can save the global economy from recession. But, as Mani Tanoh tells Ken Olende, people will be left behind.

he G20 will do little to help Africa escape the cycle of debt and misery, according to studies by leading NGOs and aid agencies working in the continent.

The reports from the World Development Movement (WDM), Actionaid and Christian Aid state that far from helping countries in the Global South, the policies advocated by the G20 are keeping them poor.

This is one of the many reasons for people to protest against the G20 meeting in London, say activists from the Global South.

Mani Tanoh, a leading socialist and anti-privatisation campaigner in Ghana, spoke to Socialist Worker.

He said, “The G20 constitutes the political leadership of the main countries in the world – the people who relate to the big financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“It is amazing how little clue they have about what is happening. The G20 leaders are still recommending ‘liberalisation’ – solutions that are the opposite of what African countries need.

“So the IMF insists that African governments should pass on higher food and fuel costs to the general population as a precondition for new loans.”

The WDM report shows how Western banks have made matters worse for poorer countries.

It states that the “liberalisation agenda” being pushed by the leading powers “seems especially remarkable in the context of 2009, where the fragile nature of the liberalised bank sectors of the US and Europe has been exposed and almost universally criticised”.

Mani said, “The conventional wisdom has been that as Africa is marginal to the global economy, it will escape the crisis by‘decoupling’ from the rest of the world. But now they are having to go back on their words.

“In recent years the restructuring of global production has meant that Africa has fallen behind, apart from a small number of enclaves.”


Meanwhile Actionaid has produced a report which shows how the neoliberalism being pushed by the banking sector affects foreign trade.

Free market policies failed to benefit the Global South, even before the recession.

The report takes South Africa as an example: “Since 1994, the South African government has adopted a strategy of extreme openness to the global economy, but this has not been particularly effective in stimulating economic growth.”

As Demba Moussa Dembele of the Forum for African Alternatives in Senegal has pointed out, the experience of the credit crunch has been that state intervention is vital to lessen the impact of the crisis.

But this hasn’t stopped the WTO pushing for a reduction in state intervention in poorer countries.

The free market insistence on growing cash crops has left African countries increasingly vulnerable to fluctuations in the world market.

Mani explained, “In general agriculture is collapsing. Much of this is due to the way Africa is forced to rely on exporting products to make money.

“But we are told that ­gover­nments must maintain foreign trade and foreign revenue, and that they must fight inflation and cut public sector wages.”

In its report Death and Taxes, the charity Christian Aid shows how Africa is losing nearly £110 billion each year as a result of lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.

Mani said, “The rich Western governments operate with double standards. Some get to print more money, the so called ‘quantitative easing’, while others are tightly squeezed. And it’s the African poor getting squeezed.

“Look at Ghana. Between August 2007 and August 2008 the number of families that could afford one nourishing meal a day fell from 65 percent of the population to 41 percent.

“African economies are hit again because many are reliant on one or two commodities. For instance Zambia is suffering because of the falling copper price on the world markets. But the rule applies across the continent.

“The key thing is how ordinary people respond. The recession is already sparking political unrest.

“In Ghana we have seen an increase in public sector wages, but now the government is trying to renege on the deal. This is what the G20 leaders want.

“Instability is on the increase, as with the power struggles in countries such as Guinea or Madagascar. But anger can go in different directions.

“That is why we need socialists who can offer critical thinking and organisational effort.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Abortion, premature births surge in Gaza after war

Tue, 17 Mar 2009 11:42:51
Yousef Al-Helou, Press TV, Gaza

Two US Navy Vessels Collide in Strait of Hormuz

20/03/2009 | almanarTV

A US Navy submarine and a US amphibious vessel collided in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday slightly injuring 15 sailors and creating a fuel spill of around 25,000 gallons, the US Navy said.

"The collision between USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) occurred at approximately 1:00 am local time (2030 GMT on Thursday)," the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said. "Fifteen sailors aboard the Hartford were slightly injured and returned to duty. No personnel aboard New Orleans were injured," it added. A US Navy submarine and a US amphibious vessel collided in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday slightly injuring 15 sailors and creating a fuel spill of around 25,000 gallons, the US Navy said.

"The collision between USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) occurred at approximately 1:00 am local time (2030 GMT on Thursday)," the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said. "Fifteen sailors aboard the Hartford were slightly injured and returned to duty. No personnel aboard New Orleans were injured," it added.

The New Orleans' fuel tank ruptured, causing the spill of diesel fuel. Both ships are operating under their own power, and the overall damage to both vessels is being evaluated, the statement added.

The Strait of Hormuz separates Oman from Iran and is the gateway into the oil-rich Gulf. An estimated 40 percent of the world's crude oil passes through the strait on the way to market. Both the submarine and the ship are on regularly scheduled deployments to the US Navy Central Command area of responsibility, the navy said.

Ships from the Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, patrol a 7.5 million square mile (19.4 million square kilometer) area of eastern Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

The New Orleans' fuel tank ruptured, causing the spill of diesel fuel. Both ships are operating under their own power, and the overall damage to both vessels is being evaluated, the statement added.

The Strait of Hormuz separates Oman from Iran and is the gateway into the oil-rich Gulf. An estimated 40 percent of the world's crude oil passes through the strait on the way to market. Both the submarine and the ship are on regularly scheduled deployments to the US Navy Central Command area of responsibility, the navy said.

Ships from the Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, patrol a 7.5 million square mile (19.4 million square kilometer) area of eastern Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Brunei denies Limbang story

Borneo Bulletin | By Azlan Othman | March 18,2009

YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Awg Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II, yesterday said claims on Limbang were never discussed during Monday's deliberations between Brunei and Malaysia.

He was responding to YB Dato Paduka Hj Puasa bin Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin's query on the contents of the "Letter of Exchange" signed between Brunei and Malaysia, which also touched on Brunei's claims over Limbang at the Legislative Council meeting yesterday.

Pehin Lim said there were certain press reports yesterday claiming that Brunei has dropped claims over Limbang.

"In actual fact, the claim on Limbang was never discussed. What was discussed was the demarcation of land boundaries on the whole," he said.

"The joint press statement issued yesterday mentioned that the demarcation of the land boundaries between the two countries will be resolved on the basis of five existing historical agreements between the Government of Brunei and the State of Sarawak, and, as appropriate, the watershed principle.

"After that a working group comprising general surveyors of the two countries will follow with the technical aspect to solve the land border issue," Pehin Lim added.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi held a four-eye meeting at the Istana Nurul Iman on Monday and signed the Exchange of Letters to mark the successful conclusion of negotiations.

The negotiations have been ongoing for many years on outstanding bilateral issues between the two countries with regard to historical, legal and other relevant criteria involving both sides.

Both noted the agreement of their respective governments on the key elements contained in the Exchange of Letters, which included the final delimitation of maritime boundaries between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, the establishment of Commercial Agreement Area (CAA) on oil and gas, the modalities for the final demarcation of the land boundary between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia and unsuspendable rights of maritime access for nationals and residents of Malaysia across Brunei's maritime zones en route to and from their destination in Sarawak, Malaysia provided that Brunei's laws and regulations are observed.

Meanwhile, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan, the Minister of Home Affairs, said an allocation has been made in the budget to upgrade the Kuala Lurah Control Post.

After the border issue between Brunei and Malaysia is resolved, work will be carried out to identify the site.

He was responding to a query by YB Dato Paduka Hj Puasa on the long queues that border hoppers normally experience during school holidays, Hari Raya and other public holidays and the need to upgrade Pandaruan ferry services and Puni Control Post in Temburong.

YB Dato Paduka Hj Puasa added that the opening of a new bridge soon in Trusan, Lawas will further aggravate the situation should these control post projects are not carried out.

Initial >>>>>>>>>>> news from Malaysia

Staronline | Tuesday March 17, 2009 | By LEONG SHEN LI

Brunei drops claim over Limbang District, says Abdullah

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei has officially dropped its long-standing claim over Sarawak’s Limbang district after the two countries resolved various land and maritime territory disputes.

“Brunei has decided to drop the Limbang issue and as a result, Limbang is part of Malaysian territory,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced to Malaysian media.

The resolution of the disputes were sealed via the signing of the Letters of Exchange by Abdullah and the Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at Istana Nurul Iman here yesterday.

A new era: Abdullah (second from left) and Sultan Hassanal exchanging the Letters of Exchange that mark the end of the territorial dispute. Looking on is Dr Rais (left) and Brunei Foreign Minister Pengiran Muda Mohamed Bolkiah. — Bernama

The other disputes include over where the maritime boundary between the two countries in the South China Sea should run, the rights to exploit potentially rich oil deposits in the disputed maritime territory, the right of movement by Malaysian vessels over Brunei waters and the demarcation of the common boundary of the two countries.

The dispute over Limbang can be traced back to the cession of the territory by Brunei to Sarawak’s White Rajahs in 1890. The cession had been strongly disputed by the Sultanate which regarded the transfer as annexation by Sara-wak.

Yesterday, Abdullah thanked the Sultan for the resolution of the various disputes, especially that of Limbang.

He said bilateral relations between the two countries would now enter a new era.

Abdullah and the Sultan said in a joint statement that they had reached agreement over the maritime boundaries between the two countries in the South China Sea.

They also agreed to establish a “commercial arrangement area” where oil and gas revenue in the disputed area would be shared between the two nations. How much each country would get was not disclosed.

The two sides also agreed to the existence of “unsuspendable rights of maritime access” which guaranteed the right of movement by Malaysian vessels through Brunei territorial waters provided Brunei’s laws and regulations are obser-ved.

Lastly, the Letters of Exchange also established the methods to demarcate the land boundary between the two countries.

The negotiations over the agreements, which began in 1995, took 39 rounds of talks to reach the resolution.

The dispute over maritime territory arose out of a 1979 map published by Malaysia which indicated that all deep-sea territorial waters off the coast of Brunei belonged to Malaysia.

The latest dispute over maritime territory occurred in 2003 when Malaysia and Brunei awarded petroleum production-sharing contracts for four exploration blocks to different companies in the disputed area, close to where a 440 million-barrel discovery had been made the year before.

Following the dispute, both countries agreed to stop drilling activities in the area.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Halabja remembers chemical weapons attack

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 02:40:18 GMT | PressTV

The colors of the Kurdish flag reflect off a memorial wall inscribed with the names of each victim of the 1988 Halabja chemical attack.
Halabja has commemorated the 21st anniversary of the chemical weapons attack that killed between 5,000 and 6,000 people, mostly Kurds and mostly civilians.

On March 16, 1988, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's military helicopters swooped down into Halabja and the surrounding towns in Iraqi Kurdistan's Sulaymaniyah province and unleashed first bombs, then a combination of deadly gases.

Bodies of civilians were littered on the streets with children in their parents' arms.

The Halabja massacre took place at the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq.

The city still lacks adequate schools, medical care, and housing, residents say.

A new monument, depicting two clasped hands reaching skywards, a symbol for those who were killed, was unveiled on Tuesday and an attached museum was opened .

This year was the first time that the United Nations commemorated the 1988 tragedy. Ambassadors, members of the Iraqi parliament, human rights acivists, and massacre survivors decried the world's silence at the time and urged that steps be taken to ensure that such acts of genocide never occur again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Leaving So Soon?

Sat, 14 Mar 2009 23:33:12 GMT       |      PressTV
By Kian Mokhtari

Given the CIA's long line of total cock-ups in its reports leading up to the Iraq War, we can all be excused should we choose to take the agency's latest crystal ball predictions with a pinch of salt. The Central Intelligence Agency now says it has serious doubts about Israel's survival beyond 2030.

The people in the Middle East have always had their doubts about the viability of a state made up of European refugees formed on Palestinian land. But polite Arab society has always chosen 'subtle' gestures over words in the past to get its point across!

Arab etiquette obviously has a lot to answer for.

The CIA report predicts the return of all Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, and the exodus of two million Israelis who would move to the US in the next fifteen years. It adds "There is over 500,000 Israelis with American passports and more than 300,000 living in the area of just California," with those who do not have American or Western passports, having already applied for them.

Over in California, unknown to the CIA, a resistance movement is already being formed but there are some minor disagreements in its leadership over the name for the movement. Should it be called the People's Front for Liberation of California or the Front of the People for the Liberation of California?

But seriously, population studies demonstrate beyond any doubt that if Israel does not settle for a two-state solution soon, the disparity in the growing Arab population and shrinking Jewish population will see to the entity called Israel whether the Jews likes it or not.

Using the examples of the unexpected quick fall of the apartheid government in South Africa and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the CIA suggests the end to the dream of a Jewish homeland is about to happen.

The CIA study is likely to go down like a lead balloon in Tel-Aviv, coming hot on the heels of an award winning book by Jewish history professor Shlomo Sand's, "When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?"

The book calls into question the modern day Jews' genetic lineage and argues that the mythical perception of the Jews as an ancient people is in fact little more than racism revisited.

There have been many factors at work against the long-term survival of a Jewish state in the Middle East ever since its conception just over sixty years ago. But the most prominent obstacle to the success of Israel has been a long line of extremist, militaristic zealots in its leadership. Israel's behavior in its treatment of the native Palestinian population, its attacks against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, its invasion of Lebanon and atrocities committed against civilian Arab populations can not be perceived as particularly endearing it to the locals throughout its existence.

Demographics has been given particular attention and prominence in the CIA forecast, one cannot help but wonder whether it has been used to paint over all the other factors that may indeed make their presence felt in the CIA's predicted final demise of Israel.

Oh, and there's another thing: at a time when many people worldwide have serious doubts about the United States' own survival, wouldn't CIA resources be better spent in concentrating on matters closer to home?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Protest against UK troops : Has everyone gone mad?

Fri, 13 Mar 2009 12:46:40 GMT | PressTV

A group of about 20 Muslims in Luton protested against British soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, who were parading in the town after coming back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Tuesday March 10.
The world must have gone crazy while I looked the other way.

In recent days the British establishment, media and public have roundly condemned a group of about 20 Muslims who peacefully (if provocatively) protested against British soldiers who were parading in the town of Luton.

Yet the British army - which has invaded and occupied two sovereign nations in the last decade, killed and tortured innocent civilians, and has been complicit in secret rendition - was hailed as heroic.

The Muslim protestors outraged the nation when they carried placards with slogans including "Butchers of Basra", "cowards, killers, extremists" and "British government terrorist government."

Gordon Brown and MPs from all parties spoke out against the protest. The prime minister summed up the national mood when he said, “The whole country is proud of our brave servicemen and women who serve their country with great distinction and courage.”

Radio phone-in shows were deluged with outraged callers who labeled the protestors unpatriotic traitors who wanted to create a medieval Islamic state. References were made to their “menacing” Islamic dress, and the general consensus was they were the enemy within and should be booted out of the country.

Escorted by police, British soldiers from the 2nd Battalion parade through the town of Watford, England, Wednesday March 11, 2009.
Mainstream Islamic groups feebly indulged in damage limitation, saying the protestors were inciting Islamophobia and did not represent ordinary Muslims. They said anger over the war on terror should be directed against politicians, not soldiers who were only obeying orders. Others with more forthright views have been cowed into silence.

Although I admit mine is a minority view in the UK, all of this strikes me as illogical and highly hypocritical.

A majority of British people, of all religions and none, think the war on terror has been a disaster and has unleashed the gates of hell in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also believe that far from protecting the British public against their enemies, the war on terror has incited terrorism and made the British mainland a target.

And while it is true that the politicians are primarily to blame for taking the country into these wars, surely the soldiers cannot be completely absolved of responsibility. After all, they are the ones who pull the triggers, or in the case of British soldiers in Basra, kick innocent Iraqis to death.

Moreover, soldiers are not robots. They are human beings with critical faculties who can refuse to fight if they believe they are involved in an unjust war. We know that many British soldiers don't believe what they're doing is right, yet they continue to pull the triggers nevertheless. Surely that makes them unscrupulous killers.

Don't forget the Nazis argued at the Nuremberg Trials that they were “only obeying orders.” That lame excuse has been rightly discredited forever.

So perhaps it's time for those Britons who opposed the Iraq and Afghan wars to face up to their own hypocrisy.

And perhaps it's time the British establishment, media and public reserved their righteous indignation for the right target - those who start illegal wars as well as those who carry them out.

The truth is the Muslim protestors offered an easy target - a weak minority who think and dress differently. Yet let's get things in proportion - all they did was wave a few banners around. They harmed nobody.

I wish I could say the same about the British army.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

China military 'copy' machine irks Russia

Mon, 09 Mar 2009 19:32:07 GMT | PressTV

SU-33 aircraft
Moscow shrinks from selling Beijing the warplanes it needs for its future aircraft carriers after China manufactures 'fake' Russian fighters.

Alarmed at probable leakage of military information, Russia has canceled its plans to provide China with seaborne SU-33 fighter planes, Russia Today reported quoting a report by the Canada-based Kanwa Defense Review.

Russian refusal followed China's insistence on 'trying' the aircraft before purchasing them and after findings that Beijing had been illegally copying equipment for Su-27SK fighters.

China had ordered two SU-33's for the trial period but its request was rejected by Russia even after the quantity was increased to 14, on the basis that at least 24 units of the aircraft should be sold to recoup the production.

In February, Russian defense official Mikhail Pogosyan said the Chinese defense manufacturers had done so in breach of intellectual property agreements, DefenseNews reported.

The Chinese had apparently earned the license to build the Su-27SK but then developed their own version outfitting it with their own avionics and system against the provisions, the source added.

Cargo ship sinks in Red Sea off Egypt

Tue, 10 Mar 2009 09:02:53 GMT | PressTV

Safaga port
At least three people have been killed and seventeen others remain missing after a cargo ship sank off the Red Sea coast of Egypt.

The Cypriot-flagged Ibn al-Battuta with 26 crew members onboard sank Monday shortly after leaving the port of Safaga.

Six sailors were saved and rescue workers are still searching for the missing crewmembers, who are of Indian, Pakistani, Bengali, Somali, Iraqi and Sudanese nationalities.

Although the cause of the incident is yet unknown, some reports suggest that the 5,600-ton ship had experienced bad weather with low visibility and high waves.

The cargo ship carrying a shipment of silicon was on its way to the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt experienced one of its deadliest disasters in modern maritime history in 2006 when an Egyptian ferry traveling to Safaga from Saudi Arabia sank in the Red Sea, killing more than 1,000 passengers.

Katsav to be indicted over rape

Sun, 08 Mar 2009 18:58:35 GMT | PressTV

Moshe Katsav will be indicted on several charges.
Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav will be indicted on several charges including rape and sexual offenses, the Justice Ministry says.

"Following the completion of the investigation... the Attorney General and the state prosecutor decided to indict Mr. Moshe Katsav over sexual offences against several of his employees when he acted as tourism minister and president, including charges of rape and sexual assault," said a justice ministry statement.

"The decision was made after the attorney general and state prosecutor reached the conclusion that the complainants' testimony was reliable and that there is sufficient evidence for an indictment," read the statement.

The local media reported that the official indictment would be filed within days.

The case against Katsav was opened in 2006 when the then president alleged that a former female employee was trying to blackmail him.

After an investigation was launched, however, the female employee accused Katsav of raping her while she was his secretary in the late 1990s. Katsav was forced to leave office following the scandal.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Outdoing Abu Gharib

Khalid Samad is MP for Shah Alam. He is also Head of Shah Alam PAS Division and also member of the PAS political bureau which is the most powerful bureau in the party. His website is www.khalidsamad.com

MARCH 7 — The second autopsy report carried out on the body of A. Kugan was released on Thursday. It confirms without a shadow of a doubt that he was tortured and died as a result of this torture. The torture sustained by him was mind-boggling and only a sick mind can even begin to understand the reasons why it was done. How anyone can do something as terrible as this to another human being is beyond comprehension.

He was tortured continuously for six days, starved, beaten and branded like a cow. We do not treat even animals this way where pain is inflicted purely for the pleasure of it. How could this be carried out in the premises of the police itself? How could it happen without the knowledge of the other police personnel, especially the officers and the OCPD themselves? Are prisoners or detainees handed over to the interrogators and no supervision is undertaken whatsoever?

I was really upset on reading the report. We can only imagine the pain which Kugan suffered. The way the incident was handled seems to indicate that it is not necessarily an exception to the rule. There may have been other similar cases, and had it not been for the tenacity of Kugan’s family insisting on a second autopsy, this case would have been closed. How many similar cases have gone by unnoticed is anyone’s guess.

The first autopsy report was misleading to say the least. It is quite obvious that the doctor had no personal interest in this case and as such had no reason to hide the facts. Either he was completely incompetent, which is unlikely, or very slip-shod in undertaking his duties. This is also unlikely. The only other possibility is that he was instructed to provide the kind of report which he did. I believe the majority of people following this case are convinced that this is the case.

Similar is the case with the 11 police personnel involved in the incident. I do not believe that they would have done this, in the premises of the police station itself, if they did not believe that they could get away with this. In fact, I cannot conceive of a situation where they would be willing to do this without the consent or instruction from their leaders. The level of torture was such that there was no way for it to be hidden or concealed. It can therefore be safely deduced that the they were not planning to hide anything from their superiors nor did they think they had anything to hide.

This situation is obviously very worrying. The fact that their actions are condoned by the system which also provides for a cover up necessitates the revamping of the police system as a whole. This should start by the resignation of the Inspector-General of Police. It is unacceptable that the IGP can carry on with his job knowing full well that he has completely failed in the carrying out of his duties by ensuring high standards of justice and fair treatment of those detained by his personnel. The “lackadaisical” attitude shown by the IGP when shown the findings of the second autopsy is a clear indication that this is something which is not new.

For the institution of the police to be cleaned up, it requires leaders who have the vision and the desire to see it cleaned. This is obviously not something which the current IGP and the current administration can do. We are, as always, left with the conclusion that the longer this administration stays, the worse will it be for the nation as a whole.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Umno Palsukan Fakta dan Nafikan Ibrahim Yaakob

Oleh Tarmizi Mohd Jam

 NAMPAKNYA kerajaan begitu giat berkempen bagi menjayakan sambutan '50 Tahun Kemerdekaan Negara' tahun lalu. Kini kempen itu kian suram. Tiada gerakkan yang menyanggah atau membetulkan fakta palsu yang disogokkan kononnya Tunku dan Umnolah yang menggerakkan usaha kemerdekaan. Bagaimanakah laungan 'Merdeka' oleh Ibrahim Yaakob? Dan apa kaitannya dengan gerakkan merdeka yang diperjuangkan oleh PKMM, KMM, API dan AWAS sebelum diharamkan penjajah? Ikuti pandangan Pengarah Jabatan Pilihan Raya PAS Wilayah Persekutuan, CIKGU ISHAK SURIN yang juga antara aktivis yang terlibat diperingkat awal gerakan kemerdekaan, ketika aktif bersama API bersama Pengarang Berita, TARMIZI MOHD JAM.

Harakah: Saban tahun, menjelang Ogos nampaknya kerajaan giat berkempen melalui media cetak dan televisyen sambutan hari kemerdekaan. Tujuannya untuk tanamkan kepercayaan bahawa Umnolah yang mempelopori kemerdekaan. Walhal faktanya palsu...

CIKGU ISHAK SURIN: Memanglah itu yang sedang berlaku. Usaha ini giat dijalankan untuk menafikan gerakkan awal kemerdekaan negara. Pada masa yang sama, kerajaan cuba menonjolkan Umnolah yang mempelopori kemerdekaan.

Bagi saya, usaha terancang begini amat dayus dilakukan oleh kerajaan semata-mata untuk mempengaruhi genarasi muda kini akur bahawa Umno dan pemimpin hari ini adalah kesinambungan pejuang kemerdekaan. Umno cuba menafikan fakta sejarah yang sebenar. Siapa Tunku pada waktu merdeka dulu? Siapa Umno? Macam mana Umno itu ditubuhkan?

Semuanya ini perlu dikaji semula oleh kita supaya fakta sejarah yang sebenar dapat diketahui oleh genarasi akan datang dan seterusya. Pada saya, Umno begitu takut untuk membongkar rahsia sejarah sebenar berhubung gerakan kemerdekaan ini. Pejuang-pejuang terdahulu seperti Ibrahim Yaakob, Ahmad Boeastamam, Dr. Burhanuddi Helmy dan lain-lain cuba dihapuskan dalam buku-buku dan dokumentasi sejarah.

Gerakan KMM, PKMM, API dan AWAS juga tidak disebut sebagai pelopor kemerdekaan sedangkan hakikatnya, kumpulan inilah yang mula-mula melaung dan membakar api kemerdekaan.

Maknanya kita ada pandangan kedua dalam isu ini. Umno bukan pelopor kemerdekaan. Tunku Abdul Rahman bukan Bapa Kemerdekaan. Begitu...

Ya. Ini patut di ketengahkan. Ia bukan idea atau sanggahan membabi buta tetapi ia adalah fakta sejarah. Ia tak boleh ditipu. Sejarah tetap sejarah. Dengan adanya kempen-kempen media cetak dan televisyen ini, kita amat bimbang genarasi muda sekarang dibohongi kerajaan dan Umno khususnya. Mereka mahu fakta sejarah dipesongkan, diseleweng!

Dalam hal ini, saya amat bertegas bahawa Umno bukan pelopor kemerdekaan. Umno ditubuhkan untuk menentang pembentukan Malayan Union. Tidak langsung disebut pada masa itu soal kemerdekaan.

Sebelum itu, telah ada kumpulan tertentu yang bergerak secara tersusun, selepas sahaja tamat Perang Dunia Kedua. Umpamanya penubuhan Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM) yang dipimpin oleh Ibrahim Yaakob. Diikuti penubuhan Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) yang dipimpin oleh Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy dan Ishak Haji Muhamad. Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API) dipimpin oleh Ahmad Boestamam.

Merekalah yang memulakan gerakan tersusun untuk menentang penjajahan Inggeris di tanahair kita. Inilah golongan yang sebenarnya patut diketahui oleh rakyat dan genarasi kini.

Bukannya seperti yag diwar-warkan, Umno atau Tunku Abdul Rahman. Sebaliknya, orang-orang ini dilupakan langsung. Akibat laungan kemerdekaan mereka dan keberanian mereka menentang penjajah, maka mereka akhirnya disumbat dalam penjara dan KMM, PKMM, API dan AWAS diharamkan oleh penjajah.

Jadi, bila Umno muncul dalam catatan sejarah sebagai pejuang kemerdekaan?

Selepas pejuang kemerdekaan tulin macam Ibrahim Yaakob, Dr. Burhanuddin, Ishak Haji Muhamad, Ahmad Boestaman dan lain-lain dipenjarakan. Selepas KMM, PKMM, API dan AWAS diharamkan. Barulah mereka muncul. Seolah-olah pemimpin-pemimpin Umno inilah yang beriya-iya mahukan kemerdekaan setelah ruang kosong yang ditinggalkan oleh KMM, PKMM, API dan AWAS. Kita kena tahu, Umno ketika ini adalah anak didik penjajah dan bukan penentang penjajah.

Tadi disebut kumpulan awal macam KMM, PKMM, API dan AWAS adalah pejuang tulin kemerdekaan. Kemudian ditahan dan pertubuhan mereka diharamkan. Penjajah pula mengetengahkan Umno hasil kekosongan ini sebab hanya Umno yang boleh meneruskan dasar-dasar penjajah. Soalnya, mengapa penjajah menentang atau tidak bersengkongkol dengan kumpulan pejuang gerakan kemerdekaan tulin yang awal?

Inggeris tahu, mereka yang menggerakkan KMM, PKMM, API dan AWAS terdiri dari pejuang kemerdekaan tulin yag tidak mahu bersengkongkol dengan penjajah. Mereka ini tidak dapat diperkotak-katikkan oleh Inggeris.

Jika ditakdirkan mereka ini berjaya memerdekakan tanahair kita, tentu sekali lanskap politik negara kita tidak seperti hari ini. Selepas diberikan kemerdekaan pada 1957, kita masih dibelenggu dengan pemikiran penjajah, dasar-dasar penjajah diteruskan, pendidikan penjajah dijalankan, ekonomi penjajah diperkenalkan dan macam-macam lagi.

Kita diikat oleh penjajah. Dan yang sanggup menjalankan dasar-dasar penjajah ini ialah Umno. Inggeris percaya, jika kemerdekaan diberi kepada pejuang tulin macam Ibrahim Yaakob, dasar-dasar Inggeris tak dapat berjalan.

Sekarang jelas, sejarah dipalsukan dari segi gerakan menuntut kemerdekaan. Ini kerana Umno yang diberi kemerdekaan oleh Inggeris telah menggunakan kesempatannya sebagai kerajaan untuk memalsukan sejarah dalam semua aspek. Dokumentasi, buku sejarah dan seumpamanya. Bagaimana Cikgu melihat, 'jenayah' ini boleh dibetulkan?

Perkara ini harus ditangani secara serius. Lihat balik pemalsuan sejarah dan sejarah sebenar. Betulkan fakta dalam buku sejarah yang jadi rujukan sebagai teks bacaan pelajar kita di sekolah-sekolah. Ini penting.

Kerana melalui paparan dari buku-buku sejarah inilah, pemalsuan berjalan secara rasmi dan terancang. Pelajar-pelajar kita adalah genarasi akan datang yang bakal mentadbir negara.

Tetapi, fakta sejarah yang melekat dalam kepala mereka hanyalah fakta palsu. Mereka tak kenal siapa itu Ibrahim Yaakob, iaitu orang yang mula-mula melaungkan kalimah ?merdeka? kepada rakyat untuk mengnyahkan penjajah ketika itu.

Mengapa Cikgu kata Ibrahim Yaakob yang mempelopori kemerdekaan bukan Tunku Abdul Rahman?

Saya setuju dengan satu kajian yang dibukukan oleh Umno Johor. Buku itu dakwa orang yang mula mempelopori gerakan kemerdekaan tanahair ialah Ibrahim Yaakob. Berpusat gerakanya di Maktab Perguruan Idris, Tanjung Malim.

Bagaimana kita lihat, dia membentuk jaringan dari sini hingga idea kemerdekaan bertaburan ke seluruh tanahair hingga ke Brunei, Singapura, Sabah dan Sarawak. Ibrahim aktif menanamkan api kemerdekaan dalam kesatuan pelajar di Maktab.

Dari sini, pelajar Brunei, Singapura, Sabah dan Sarawak yang tamat pengajian mereka, bawa balik idea dan perjuangan kemerdekaan ini. Jadi menyeluruh. Di sinilah mula bibit kemerdekaan tercetus. Fakta ini dinafikan oleh Umno yang cuba meletakkan Tunku sebagai Bapa Kemerdekaan. Bagi saya, Ibrahim Yaakoblah patut dinabatkan Bapa Kemerdekaan sebenar bukan Tunku yang tak tahu apa-apa.

Jika begitu realitinya, apakah terdapat usaha dari pihak PAS untuk membetulkan senario ini atau menggerakkan suatu penulisan semula sejarah kemerdekaan Malaysia?

Kita kena betulkan fakta palsu Umno itu. Gembelingkan tenaga. Kumpulkan pejuang-pejuang yang terlibat diawal gerakan kemerdekaan tulin. Kumpulkan kajian-kajian ilmiah yang dilakukan oleh universiti-universiti.

Bagi saya, penulisan semula sejarah kemerdekaan wajib dibuat. Kita jangan asyik menyanggah soal kemerdekaan ini dalam tulisan-tulisan picisan ketika menjelang setiap kali sambutan hari kemerdekaan. Kita mesti sedarkan rakyat bahawa Umno bukan parti yang mempelopori gerakan kemerdekaan di tanahair kita. Tunku bukan Bapa Kemerdekaan.

Semuanya ini kita mesti persoalkan semula secara serius. Bukan main-main. Kita kena buat satu jawatankuasa khusus untuk tujuan ini. Saya percaya, semua tokoh-tokoh sejarah dalam negara kita akan bersama dengan kita jika usaha terancang dibuat untuk membetulkan fakta sejarah ini.

Tidak mengikut acuan sejarah yang disediakan oleh Inggeris dan dipekik-pekikkan oleh Umno. Saya yakin, fakta yang ada adalah fakta orientalis Barat yang mahu dilihat sebagai tiadanya penentangan serius dari rakyat terhadap penjajahan mereka.

Pemerintahan diberi secara aman kepada Umno bagi menunjukkan baik dan bijaknya Inggeris pada mata dunia. Saya setuju, PAS mesti mempelopori usaha ini kerana ia penting untuk genarasi akan datang. Ia tak boleh tunggu lebih lama lagi. Kalau lebih lama, maka banyaklah penyelewengan sejarah akan dilakukan oleh Umno.

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