Sunday, January 25, 2009



Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams: Chapter 154

Palash Biswas
Deep Impact Trailer

Deep Impact - Small Meteor

Obama swiftly lays Bush era to rest
San Francisco Chronicle - 8 hours ago
President Obama's first week in office was short - just four weekdays long, and one of them was lost to the pomp and circumstance of Inauguration Day.
Obama draws a clear line between himself and Bush Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Audacity of Hoping Newsweek
Panthic Weekly - Pottstown Mercury - Voice of America - Central Maine Morning Sentinel
all 15,251 news articles »

BBC News
2 suspected Pak terrorists killed on Delhi's doorsteps - 3 hours ago
In a pre-dawn encounter, two suspected terrorists, both in their 20s, on their way to Delhi from Ghaziabad were intercepted and killed in Noida's sector 97, on Sunday at about 2.15 am.
Noida encounter linked to Pak-based terror: India Times of India
Indian police shoot dead two suspected Pakistani militants Deutsche Welle
Indopia - BBC News - The Australian - Economic Times
all 352 news articles »

India’s Singh to recover soon after heart surgery
Financial Times - 58 minutes ago
By Amy Kazmin in Mumbai Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, was in intensive care yesterday recovering from a 12-hour quintuple heart by-pass surgery, with doctors predicting a full recovery from the operation in time for the leader to campaign in ...
PM must have had stress: Mukherjee Indopia
World leaders wish PM swift recovery Hindu - Times of India - - Monsters and
all 1,729 news articles »

India seeks global cooperation to put pressure on Pak
Times of India - 23 Jan 2009 - NEW DELHI: Welcoming US President Barack Obama's statement that Afghanistan-Pakistan constitute the main front for ...
Economic Times - Chandigarh Tribune - eTaiwan News
all 460 news articles »

Sri Lanka troops overrun last Tiger town: army chief
AFP - 50 minutes ago - COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops on Sunday overran the last town controlled by Tamil rebels, army chief Lieutenant ...
Times of India - Reuters India -
all 2,625 news articles »

Chandrayaan detects X-ray signals
Hindu - 23 Jan 2009 - BANGALORE: Chandrayaan-I has picked up first X-ray signals from the Moon, revealing the presence of three elements. The ...
Express Buzz - - Zee News
all 41 news articles »

Pranab to control the 'nuke button' till PM recovers! Brahaminical Marxist Bengali Pride might be APPEASED a little bit as the Ruling Brahamins in West Bengla bank on the ICONS like AMARTYA, the so called NOBEL Laureate, TAGORE, Vivekanand, Netaji, Saurabh and Brands like BUDDHA, the Gestapo head and PRANAB, the NEVER TO BE PRIMEMINISTER World Bank slave! A day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh got admitted into AIIMS for his heart-bypass, he signed a document delegating the vital Nuclear Command Authority powers to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Besides, the PM appointed Mukherjee as the Finance Minister till he is fully recovered to take the charge back.Contrary to reports, the so-called nuclear button was handed over to Pranab as soon as the decision to go for surgery was taken by the PM. However, the decision to put Mukherjee as head of Finance was taken after discussions with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
PRANAB MUKHERJEE launched the DEPORTATION DRIVE against the Resettled Bengali Refugees COUNTRYWIDE banking on ADWANI ENACTED new Citizenship ACT with the MOST Active support of BUDDHADEB Bhattacharya! Whatever may be the POLITICAL Scenerio, the CHESTRY of the LETHAL TRIO works with DEEP MOST IMPACT!

TUSSU showed me the film DEEP IMPACT today. In fact, he was showing the film to INCA, the twelve year girlie from Bhuvneshwar who visited us with her parents with us. There are moments when you realize how fragile and precious life is, and that's saying something for a film of this budget.While the visual effects are indeed impressive, there are other features that make Deep Impact a necessary film to watch. James Horner's music is strikingly similar to his previous "Titanic" and "Apollo 13" scores, but it is still hauntingly beautiful and fits the tone of the movie perfectly. Tea Leoni does a good job of portraying a newscaster attempting to cover the events surrounding her while dealing with her own personal emotions, which is undoubtedly a hard act to pull off. Elijah Wood shows his skill years before "Lord of the Rings" hit theaters. The other actors and actresses are very realistic and emotional, and the movie flows smoothly with their presence.

Ujjwal and Aparna, the couple based in Bhuvneshwar happens to be our family friend. We have visited them in Bhuvneshwar. They came to us for the first time.

Sabita is always ailing. Only yesterday, my nephew Niranjan, his wife Jhumur, another nephew NRIPEN and JHOOM`s two son BHADOO and only three years old visited us yesterday>sabita was damned tired and could not sleep last night suffering body ache! I was also little bit puzzled with the EMI City Bank as I have given them no less than theirty eight Post dated cheques advance and the fund is there in my account. The Citi Bank officials could not change my ECS Mandate simply because they never know how to load a new bank Code. At last I opted for PDC. Two EMIs have been already clear. Last month, they informed me of DEFAULT. i answered , it is already paid. Last evening, they informed me again DEFAULT whereas they have informed me earlier that the PDC was cleared as I enquired in advance. I was confused. the bank has to send their man to collect the money. I had to go to the ATM in the morning and found the cheque was clear. I am leaving station on 27th. It is nothing but a strange Harrasement. I rang CITI bank and told them that they had not cared enough to CNCELL the ECS mandate as I deposited the PDCs! Hence, despite being paid, the SMS captures the SMS space with CITI bank Alert. A person like me is harrassed for months! How do they behave with COMMON Custmers?

UJJWAL, Aparna and Inca landed home in the morning. I had to go to the market and it was full of HOLI day people. Though the ENTIRE BT ROAD side people have been served ULTIMATUM for DISPOSAL of ENCROACHMENT creating TENSION. But the bazar was quite normal.

Only yesterday, Dainik Jansatta has published a first page report on Assam how our people , the Resttled Hindu Partition Victim Refugeees, Bonafied Indian citizens re being BRANDED as Foreign nationals and are deported to Bangladesh. It is happening in Bengali populated Cachhar district while bangladesh never aceepts the deportation and push back the deported people who Abscond ultimately for ever.

I have been continuously writing on the Persecution of our Black untouchable People in Indian Killing fields. Wherever possible, I do address the Audiances , too. I am going to maharashtra this time. But it is always very hard to encounter the Misinformation as well as hatred campaign of the Ruing Brahaminical hegemony zionist. Mind control and Brainwashing cretes such a DEEP IMPACT, greater than any Hollywood film , that ourpeople are not aware of either Politics or Economy. They are also unaware of the DEEP IMPACT of Citizenship Amendment Act, development and Deportation drive, Twin TERROR acts and the war Against terrorism. Blind Nationalism has justified already the WAR HYPE, RECESSION and BAILOUT, ILLUMINITI and worldbank gangsters and RULING Imposters, Indo US Nuclear deal and Strategic realliance in US lead!

We had to visit the MARICH JHANPI film director, YUSHAR Bhattacharya, a part of whose house has to be demolished. he informed of KOLKATA TV Coverage of the Anti demolition agitation. We switched on the Channel and saw the COVERAGE. We reached the spot in Agarapara immediately catching the next BUS. The OB van of KOLKATA TV had left the place and BT road was quite BUSY with FULL SWING Road Business. We saw no impact of the agitation. The TV informed us that the AGITTEORS are demanding for the relevant SURVEY report and the Map.

Returning home, we discussed the condition of our suffering people. After LUNCH, TUSSU arrranged the FILM show on his PC.

User Rating:5.9/10 45,170 votes
Director:Mimi Leder

Writers (WGA):Bruce Joel Rubin (written by) and
Michael Tolkin (written by)

Release Date:8 May 1998 (USA) more
Genre:Sci-Fi | Thriller more
Tagline:Heaven and Earth are about to collide. more
Plot:Unless a comet can be destroyed before colliding with Earth, only those allowed into shelters will survive. Which people will survive? full summary | full synopsis
Plot Keywords:Disaster Film | Female Director | End Of The World | Black President | Black U.S. President more
Awards:5 wins & 7 nominations more
(45 articles) Review of the beautifully apocalyptic Before The Fall
(From QuietEarth. 24 January 2009, 8:00 PM, PST)
Peter Sellers named top Us president
(From BoxWish. 20 January 2009, 4:52 AM, PST)

User Comments:Fantastic and Moving more


Cast (Cast overview, first billed only)

Robert Duvall ... Capt. Spurgeon 'Fish' Tanner

Téa Leoni ... Jenny Lerner

Elijah Wood ... Leo Beiderman

Vanessa Redgrave ... Robin Lerner

Morgan Freeman ... President Tom Beck
Maximilian Schell ... Jason Lerner

James Cromwell ... Alan Rittenhouse

Ron Eldard ... Dr. Oren Monash

Jon Favreau ... Dr. Gus Partenza
Laura Innes ... Beth Stanley

Mary McCormack ... Andrea 'Andy' Baker

Richard Schiff ... Don Beiderman

Leelee Sobieski ... Sarah Hotchner

Blair Underwood ... Mark Simon

Dougray Scott ... Eric Vennekor

Deep Impact (film)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Deep Impact.
Deep Impact

Original theatrical poster
Directed by Mimi Leder
Produced by David Brown
Richard D. Zanuck
Written by Bruce Joel Rubin
Michael Tolkin
Starring Robert Duvall
Téa Leoni
Elijah Wood
Morgan Freeman
Vanessa Redgrave
Blair Underwood
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Dietrich Lohmann
Editing by Paul Cichocki
David Rosenbloom
Kurt Kustellson
Distributed by North America:
Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) May 8, 1998 (1998-05-08)
Running time 121 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $75 million
Gross revenue $349,464,664
IMDb • Allmovie

Deep Impact is a 1998 sci-fi-drama disaster film released by Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks SKG in the United States on May 8, 1998. The film was directed by Mimi Leder, and stars Elijah Wood, Téa Leoni, Morgan Freeman, and Robert Duvall. The plot describes the attempts to prepare for and destroy a fictional comet (named "Wolf-Biederman"), which is expected to collide with the Earth and cause an Extinction Level Event.

A competing "space impact" film, Armageddon, was released about two months after Deep Impact in the United States.[1] Deep Impact was lauded by astronomers as being more scientifically accurate,[2] but Armageddon fared better at the box office.[3]

1 Plot
2 Cast
3 Production
4 Reception
5 References
6 External links

[edit] Plot
A teenaged astronomy-club member, Leo Biederman (Wood), alerts astronomer Dr. Marcus Wolf (Charles Martin Smith) to his sighting of an unusual comet. Wolf realizes the comet will hit Earth and attempts to alert his colleagues, but dies in a car accident after leaving the observatory. Twelve months later, a reporter for MSNBC in Washington, DC, Jenny Lerner (Leoni), is researching the resignation of the United States Secretary of the Treasury and is told by a former aide of his constant phone conversations about "Ellie". Lerner misconstrues this as a mistress and politically-charged affair, when in reality, "Ellie" is "E.L.E.": an acronym for extinction-level event.

As a consequence of Lerner's investigation, the government decides to make the knowledge public. U.S. President Tom Beck (Freeman) announces the grim facts: the comet, named "Wolf-Biederman," is seven miles (11 km) wide, large enough to destroy civilization if it strikes Earth. The USA and Russia will dispatch a crew of astronauts on the spaceship Messiah to destroy the comet, using nuclear weapons. In order to prevent opportunism, Beck freezes all wages and prices. Life changes drastically worldwide, and Biederman and Lerner both become celebrities.

Messiah is constructed in orbit, and the crew use the Space Shuttle Atlantis to reach it. When the astronauts travel to the comet and drill the bombs into the surface they lose one crew member in the process and another is seriously burned--and blinded--by sunlight. When the bombs are detonated, the vessel is slightly damaged and the crew's contact with Earth is cut off. The comet is not destroyed; instead, it splits into two chunks, one much smaller than the other. President Beck acknowledges Messiah’s failure and announces that special underground shelters have been built in limestone caves of Missouri.

The government will conduct a lottery to select 800,000 ordinary Americans to join 200,000 pre-selected scientists, engineers, teachers, artists, soldiers and officials. These people will be part of a worldwide effort to save mankind from extinction. Beck declares martial law as the lottery's selectees are notified. Jenny and Leo are both among the pre-selected. Leo gets permission to marry Sarah, to save her and her family, but on evacuation day, the soldiers have no record of the agreement to save Sarah's parents and sister. Sarah refuses to leave without them. A last-ditch effort to use all of Earth's missile-borne nuclear weapons to deflect the comets fails. Leo decides to return home and get Sarah. Later, he manages to locate Sarah and her family on a gridlocked freeway. Sarah's parents insist that Leo take Sarah and her infant sister to high ground. Sarah objects, but decides to do so. Leo takes Sarah and the baby to higher ground in the Appalachian Mountains. Meanwhile, MSNBC is being evacuated by helicopter. Jenny gives her seat to Beth, a co-worker, who is also Jenny's business rival and friend, who has a young daughter. Jenny heads to her childhood beach house to be with her estranged father. The two stand on the beach, reconcile and remember happy times.

The smaller of the two comet fragments ("Biederman") hits the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda, creating a Mega tsunami about 1,000 to 3,500 ft high. Jenny and her father die, along with Sarah's parents and millions of others on America's east coast, Europe, and Africa. Leo and Sarah manage to get high enough in the mountains to avoid the wave, along with many others.

The world then braces for the impact of the larger comet, "Wolf," which is predicted to strike western Canada and create a cloud of dust that will block out the sun for two years, killing all remaining plant, animal, and human life aside from that evacuated to the caves.

The crew members of Messiah decide to try to destroy the comet by flying into a fissure that has formed on its surface and exploding the remaining bombs on board. They will all die in the process, and have only enough time to say goodbye to their families. Messiah does succeed in breaking up "Wolf" into small pieces that burn up entering Earth's atmosphere, saving humanity. Afterward, President Beck gives an inspirational speech in front of the United States Capitol which is being rebuilt, in which he urges the nation to begin its recovery and efforts to rebuild.

[edit] Cast
Robert Duvall as Capt. Spurgeon "Fish" Tanner
Téa Leoni as Jenny Lerner
Elijah Wood as Leo Biederman
Morgan Freeman as President Tom Beck
Vanessa Redgrave as Robin Lerner
Maximilian Schell as Jason Lerner
Leelee Sobieski as Sarah Hotchner
James Cromwell as Al Rittenhouse
Ron Eldard as Dr. Oren Monash, NASA
Jon Favreau as Dr. Gus Partenza
Laura Innes as Beth Stanley
Mary McCormack as Andrea "Andy" Baker, NASA
Richard Schiff as Don Biederman
Blair Underwood as Mark Simon, NASA
Charles Martin Smith as Dr. Marcus Wolf
Dougray Scott as Eric Vennekor

[edit] Production
As it was a Paramount/DreamWorks co-production, it would be decided that one studio handle domestic rights and the other international rights. Paramount would distribute in the USA, and DreamWorks overseas. International video distribution rights were originally with Universal Studios.

In 2005, Paramount's parent company, Viacom, announced its acquisition of DreamWorks, and completed it in early 2006. Around that time, Viacom split into two companies, the other being called CBS Corporation. CBS inherited Paramount's TV operations, now called CBS Paramount Television.

Today, worldwide video and theatrical rights to Deep Impact are with Paramount, while television rights are in the hands of CBS Television Distribution.

Jenny Lerner, the character played by Tea Leoni, was originally intended to work for CNN. CNN rejected this because it would be "inappropriate". MSNBC, which was a new network at the time, is featured in the movie instead[4].

[edit] Reception
Deep Impact debuted at the North American box office with $41,000,000 in ticket sales. The movie grossed $140,000,000 in North America and an additional $209,000,000 worldwide for a total gross of $350,000,000. Some believed that Deep Impact could under-perform due to the release of a similar film in the summer of 1998—Armageddon—which had more hype, but Deep Impact still made a sizable amount and was the higher opener of the two.[5]

[edit] References
^ "Release in 1998 USA". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2008-03-23.
^ Plait, Phil (2000-02-17). "Hollywood Does the Universe Wrong".
^ "Disaster Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-03-23.
^ AP: MSNBC gets role in ``Deep Impact after CNN declines 30/4/98:
^ "Deep Impact (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-02-22.

[edit] External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Deep Impact

Deep Impact at the Internet Movie Database
Deep Impact at Box Office Mojo
Deep Impact at Allmovie
Deep Impact at Rotten Tomatoes
Deep Impact -vs- Armageddon at Movie Smackdown!

Deep Impact (space mission)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Deep Impact.
Deep Impact
Illustration of the Deep Impact space probe after impactor separation (artist's conception).
Organization NASA
Major contractors Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.,
Mission type Flyby, Impactor
Launch date 12 January 2005
Launch vehicle Delta II
Mission duration 3 months 22 days[1]
NSSDC ID 2005-001A
Home page Deep Impact at JPL
Mass 650 kg (1,430 lbs)

Deep Impact is an ongoing NASA space probe launched on 12 January 2005 that was designed to study the composition of the interior of the comet 9P/Tempel (old-style name "P/Tempel 1") by colliding a section of the spacecraft into the comet. At 5:52 UTC on 4 July 2005, the impactor of the Deep Impact probe successfully impacted the comet's nucleus, excavating debris from the interior of the nucleus. Photographs of the impact showed the comet to be more dusty and less icy than expected. The impact generated a large, bright dust cloud that obscured the hoped-for view of the impact crater.

Previous space missions to comets, such as Giotto and Stardust, were fly-by missions, only able to photograph and examine the surfaces of cometary nuclei from a distance. The Deep Impact mission was the first to eject material from a comet's surface. The mission garnered large publicity from the media, international scientists, and amateur astronomers.

After the completion of its prime mission, proposals were made to utilize the spacecraft further. Consequently, Deep Impact flew by Earth on 31 December 2007 on its way to an extended mission called EPOXI with a dual purpose to study extrasolar planets and comet Hartley 2.[2]

1 Scientific goals
2 Spacecraft design and instrumentation
3 Mission profile
4 Mission events
4.1 Before launch
4.2 Launch and commissioning phase
4.3 Cruise phase
4.4 Approach phase
4.5 Impact phase
5 Results
6 Public interest
6.1 Media coverage
6.2 Send Your Name To A Comet!
6.3 Reaction from China
6.4 Contributions from amateur astronomers
6.5 Musical tribute
7 Extended mission
8 See also
9 Cited references
10 Other references
11 External links

[edit] Scientific goals
The Deep Impact mission was planned to help answer fundamental questions about comets, which included what makes up the composition of the comet's nucleus, what depth the crater would reach from the impact, and where the comet originated in its formation.[3][4] By observing the composition of the comet, astronomers hoped to determine how comets form based on the differences between the interior and exterior makeup of the comet.[5] Observations of the impact and its aftermath would allow astronomers to attempt to determine the answers to these questions.

The mission's Principal Investigator was Michael A'Hearn, an astronomer at the University of Maryland. He led the science team, which included members from Cornell University, University of Maryland, University of Arizona, Brown University, Belton Space Exploration Initiatives, JPL, University of Hawaii, SAIC, Ball Aerospace, and Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik.

[edit] Spacecraft design and instrumentation

Spacecraft overview

Cameras of the flyby spacecraft, HRI at right, MRI at left
The spacecraft consists of two main sections, the 370-kg (815-lb) copper-core "Smart Impactor" which impacted the comet, and the "Flyby" section, which imaged the comet from a safe distance during the encounter with Tempel 1.[6]

The Flyby spacecraft is about 3.2 meters (10.5 ft) long, 1.7 meters (5.6 ft) wide, and 2.3 meters (7.5 ft) high.[3] It included a solar panel, a debris shield, and several science instruments for imaging, infrared spectroscopy, and optical navigation to its destination near the comet. The spacecraft also carried two cameras, the High Resolution Imager (HRI), and the Medium Resolution Imager (MRI). The HRI is an imaging device that combines a visible-light camera, infrared spectrometer, and an imaging module. It has been optimized for observing the comet's nucleus. The MRI is the backup device, and was primarily used for navigation during the final 10-day approach.

The impactor section of the spacecraft contains an instrument that is optically identical to the MRI, called the Impactor Targeting Sensor (ITS). Its dual purpose was to sense the Impactor's trajectory, which could then be trimmed (adjusted) up to four times, and to image the comet from close range. As the impactor neared the comet's surface, this camera took high-resolution pictures of the nucleus (as good as 0.2 meters (0.7 ft) per pixel) that were transmitted in real-time to the flyby spacecraft before it and the impactor were destroyed. The final image taken by the impactor was snapped only 3.7 seconds before impact.[7]

The impactor's payload, dubbed the "Cratering Mass", was 100% copper (impactor 49% copper by mass) to reduce debris interfering with scientific measurements of the impact. Since copper was not expected to be found on a comet, scientists can eliminate copper from the spectrometer reading.[8] Instead of using explosives, it was also cheaper to use copper as the payload.[4]

The name of the mission is shared with the 1998 Deep Impact film, in which a comet strikes the Earth; but this is coincidental, as the scientists behind the mission and the creators of the movie devised the name independently of each other, at around the same time.[9]

[edit] Mission profile

Deep Impact about to be launched with a Delta II rocket
Following its launch on 12 January 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft traveled 429 million kilometers (267 million mi) in 174 days to reach comet 9P/Tempel at a cruising speed of 28.6 km/s (103,000 km/h or 64,000 mph).[3] Once the spacecraft reached the vicinity of the comet on 3 July 2005, it separated into two portions, an impactor and a flyby probe. The impactor used its thrusters to move into the path of the comet, impacting 24 hours later at a relative speed of 10.3 km/s (37,000 km/h or 23,000 mph).[3] The impactor, a 350-kilogram (770-pound) copper projectile,[10] delivered 1.96 × 1010 joules of kinetic energy—the equivalent of 4.7 tons of TNT. Scientists believed that the energy of the high-velocity collision would be sufficient to excavate a crater up to 100 m (328 ft) wide (larger than the bowl of the Roman Colosseum).[3] The size of the crater was still not known one year after the impact.[11]

Just minutes after the impact, the flyby probe passed by the nucleus at a close distance of 500 km (310 mi), taking pictures of the crater position, the ejecta plume, and the entire cometary nucleus. The entire event was photographed by Earth-based telescopes and orbital observatories, including the Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer and XMM-Newton. The impact was also observed by cameras and spectroscopes on board Europe's Rosetta spacecraft, which was about 80 million km (50 million mi) from the comet at the time of impact. Rosetta determined the composition of the gas and dust cloud that was kicked up by the impact.[6]

[edit] Mission events

[edit] Before launch

Simulation: The collision of comet 9P/Tempel and the Deep Impact impactor, simulated by Celestia software using pre-impact information. The sun and the earth are on the right side. Note: The Deep Impact itself faces the wrong direction. The solar array should face the sun and the high-gain antenna should point to the earth.
A comet-impact mission was first proposed to NASA in 1996, but at the time, NASA engineers were skeptical that the target could be hit.[12] In 1999, a revised and technologically-upgraded mission proposal, dubbed Deep Impact, was accepted and funded as part of NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost spacecraft. The two spacecraft (Impactor and Flyby) and the three main instruments were built and integrated by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.[13] in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Developing the software for the spacecraft took eighteen months and the application code consisted of 20,000 lines and 19 different application threads.[3] The total cost of developing the spacecraft and completing its mission reached $US330 million.[14]

[edit] Launch and commissioning phase
The probe was originally scheduled for launch on 30 December 2004, but NASA officials delayed its launch, in order to allow more time for testing the software.[15] It was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on 12 January 2005 at 1:47 p.m. EST (1847 UTC) by a Delta 2 rocket.[16]

Deep Impact's state of health was uncertain during the first day after launch. Shortly after entering orbit around the Sun and deploying its solar panels, the probe switched itself to safe mode. The cause of the problem was simply an incorrect temperature limit in the fault protection logic for the spacecraft's RCS thruster catalyst beds. The spacecraft's thrusters were used to detumble the spacecraft following third stage separation. NASA subsequently announced that the probe was out of safe mode and healthy.[17]

On 11 February, Deep Impact's rockets were fired as planned to correct the spacecraft's course. This correction was so precise that the next planned maneuver for 31 March was canceled. During the "commissioning phase" all instruments were activated and checked out. During these tests it was found that the HRI images were not in focus after it underwent a bake-out period.[18] After mission members investigated the problem, on 9 June, it was announced that by using image processing software and the mathematical technique of deconvolution, the HRI images could be corrected to restore much of the resolution anticipated.[19]

[edit] Cruise phase

Comet 9P/Tempel imaged on 25 April by the Deep Impact spacecraft
The "cruise phase" began on 25 March, immediately after the commissioning phase was completed. This phase continued until about 60 days before the encounter with comet 9P/Tempel. On 25 April the probe acquired the first image of its target at a distance of 64 million km (40 million miles).[20]

On 4 May it executed its second trajectory correction maneuver. Burning its rocket engine for 95 seconds the spacecraft speed was changed by 18.2 km/h (11.3 mph).[21] Rick Grammier, the project manager for the mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reacted to the maneuver stating that "spacecraft performance has been excellent, and this burn was no was a textbook maneuver that placed us right on the money."[21]

[edit] Approach phase
The approach phase extended from 60 days before encounter (5 May) until five days before encounter. Sixty days out was the earliest time that the Deep Impact spacecraft was expected to detect the comet with its MRI camera. In fact, the comet was spotted ahead of schedule, sixty-nine days before impact (see Cruise phase above). This milestone marks the beginning of an intensive period of observations to refine knowledge of the comet's orbit and study the comet's rotation, activity, and dust environment.

On 14 June and 22 June Deep Impact observed two outbursts of activity from the comet, the latter being six times larger than the former.[22] The spacecraft studied the images of various distant stars to determine its current trajectory and position.[3] Don Yeomans, a mission co-investigator for JPL pointed out that "it takes 7½ minutes for the signal to get back to Earth, so you can't joystick this thing. You have to rely on the fact that the Impactor is a smart spacecraft as is the Flyby spacecraft. So you have to build in the intelligence ahead of time and let it do its thing."[23] On 23 June, the first of the two final trajectory correct maneuvers (targeting maneuver) was successfully executed. A 6 m/s (13.4 mph) velocity change was needed to adjust the flight path towards the comet and target the impactor at a window in space about 100 kilometers (62 mi) wide.

30 May 2005, 35 days from impact

15 June, 19 days from impact

21 June, 13 days from impact

27 June, 7 days from impact, near end of approach phase

Impact phase

Deep Impact comet encounter sequence
Impact phase began nominally on 29 June, five days before impact. The impactor successfully separated from the Flyby spacecraft at 6:00 (6:07 Ground UTC) 3 July UTC.[24][25] The first images from the instrumented Impactor were seen two hours after separation.[26]

The Flyby spacecraft performed one of two divert maneuvers to avoid damage. A 14-minute burn was executed which slowed down the spacecraft. It was also reported that the communication link between the flyby and the impactor was functioning as expected.[27] The Impactor spacecraft executed three correction maneuvers in the final two hours before impact.[28]

The impactor was maneuvered to plant itself in front of the comet, so that 9P/Tempel would collide with it.[4] Impact occurred at 05:45 UTC (05:52 Ground UTC, +/- up to three minutes, One-Way Light Time = 7m 26s) on the morning of 4 July, within one second of the expected time for impact.

The Impactor returned images as late as three seconds before impact. Most of the data captured was stored on board the Flyby spacecraft, which radioed approximately 4,500 images from the HRI, MRI, and ITS cameras to earth over the next few days.[29][30] The energy from the collision was similar in size to exploding five tons of dynamite and the comet shone six times brighter than normal.[31]

Comet 9P/Tempel, imaged from 4.2 million km at the start of Impact phase.

Impactor imaged by Flyby spacecraft shortly after separation.

Nucleus imaged by the Impactor.

Image from Impactor.

Impactor close-up image, taken shortly before impact.

The moment of impact, as shown on NASA TV.

Full scope of the impact plume.

HRI movie of impact.

Impact Phase Timeline (NASA)

[edit] Results

Mission team members celebrate after the impact with the comet
Mission control did not become aware of the impactor's success until five minutes later at 0157 ET.[14] Once news of a successful impact had taken place, the mission control team members applauded and hugged each other. Don Yeomans confirmed the results for the press, "We hit it just exactly where we wanted to"[32] and JPL Director Charles Elachi stated "The success exceeded our expectations."[33]

In the post-impact briefing at 0100 Pacific Daylight Time (08:00 UTC) on 4 July 2005, the first processed images revealed existing craters on the comet. NASA scientists stated they could not see the new crater that had formed from the impactor, but it was later discovered to be about 100 meters (328 ft) wide and up to 30 meters (98 ft) deep.[34] Lucy McFadden, one of the co-investigators of the impact, stated "We didn't expect the success of one part of the mission [bright dust cloud] to affect a second part [seeing the resultant crater]. But that is part of the fun of science, to meet with the unexpected."[35] Analysis of data from the Swift X-ray telescope showed that the comet continued outgassing from the impact for 13 days, with a peak five days after impact. A total of 250 million kilograms (551 million pounds) of water[36] and between 10 and 25 million kilograms (22 and 55 million pounds) of dust were lost from the impact.[34]

Initial results were surprising as the material excavated by the impact contained more dust and less ice than had been expected. The only models of cometary structure astronomers could positively rule out were the very porous models which had comets as loose aggregates of material. In addition, the material was finer than expected; scientists likened it to talcum powder rather than sand.[37] Other materials found while studying the impact included clays, carbonates, sodium, and crystalline silicates which were found by studying the spectroscopy of the impact.[11] Clays and carbonates usually require liquid water to form and sodium is rare in space.[38] Observations also revealed that the comet was about 75% empty space, and one astronomer compared the outer layers of the comet to the same makeup of a snow bank.[11] Astronomers have expressed interest in more missions to different comets to determine if they share similar compositions or if there are different materials found deeper within comets that were produced at the time of the solar system's formation.[39]

Astronomers determined that the comet had possibly formed in the Uranus and Neptune Oort cloud region of the solar system. Based on its interior chemistry, astronomers were able to determine that a comet which forms farther from the Sun will have greater amounts of ices with low freezing temperatures, such as ethane, which was present in 9P/Tempel. If comets have similar compositions as Tempel, astronomers believe they could have formed in the same region.[40]

[edit] Public interest

[edit] Media coverage

This image was circulated widely in the media.
The impact was a substantial news event reported and discussed online, in print, and on television. There was a genuine suspense because experts held widely differing opinions over the result of the impact. Various experts debated whether the impactor would go straight through the comet and out the other side, would create an impact crater, would open up a hole in the interior of the comet, and other theories. However, twenty-four hours before impact, the flight team at JPL began privately expressing a high level of confidence that, barring any unforeseen technical glitches, the spacecraft would intercept 9P/Tempel. "All we can do now is sit back and wait", said one senior personnel. "Everything we can technically do to ensure impact has been done." In the final minutes as the impactor hit the comet, more than 10,000 people watched the collision on a giant movie screen at Hawaii's Waikiki Beach.[31]

Experts came up with a range of soundbites to summarize the mission to the public. Iwan Williams of Queen Mary, University of London, said "It was like a mosquito hitting a 747. What we've found is that the mosquito didn't splat on the surface; it's actually gone through the windscreen."[41] One of the NASA investigators, Dr. Jessica Sunshine, explained the mission by analogy with how a geologist examines a rock: "He doesn't just look at it, he gets his hammer out and hits it, to find out about what it's like inside and how it's put together: is it a loose association of particles or is it solid?"

One day after the impact Marina Bay, a Russian astrologer, sued NASA for $300 million for the impact which "ruin[ed] the natural balance of forces in the universe."[42] Her lawyer asked the public to volunteer to help in the claim by declaring "The impact changed the magnetic properties of the comet, and this could have affected mobile telephony here on Earth. If your phone went down this morning, ask yourself Why? and then get in touch with us."[43] On 9 August 2005 the Presnensky Court of Moscow ruled against Bay, although she did attempt to appeal the result. One Russian physicist said that the impact had no effect on Earth and "the change to the orbit of the comet after the collision was only about 10 cm (3.9 in)."[44]

[edit] Send Your Name To A Comet!

The CD containing the 625,000 names is added to the Impactor
The mission was notable for one of its promotional activities, "Send Your Name To A Comet!". Visitors to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website were invited to submit their name between May 2003 and January 2004, and the names gathered—some 625,000 in all—were then burnt onto a mini-CD, which was attached to the impactor.[45] Dr. Don Yeomans, a member of the spacecraft's scientific team, stated "this is an opportunity to become part of an extraordinary space mission...when the craft is launched in December 2004, yours and the names of your loved-ones can hitch along for the ride and be part of what may be the best space fireworks show in history."[46] The idea was credited with driving interest in the mission.[47]

[edit] Reaction from China
Chinese researchers used Deep Impact mission as an opportunity to highlight the efficiency of American science because public support ensured the possibility of funding long-term research. By contrast, "in China, the public usually has no idea what our scientists are doing, and limited funding for the promotion of science weakens people's enthusiasm for research."[48]

Two days after the U.S. mission succeeded in having a probe collide with a comet, China revealed a plan for what it called a "more clever" version of the mission: landing a probe on a small comet or asteroid to push it off course.[49] China will begin the mission after sending a probe to the Moon.

Deep Impact participation certificate of Maciej Szczepańczyk

[edit] Contributions from amateur astronomers
Since observing time on large, professional telescopes such as Keck or Hubble is always scarce, the Deep Impact scientists called upon "advanced amateur, student, and professional astronomers" to use small telescopes to make long-term observations of the target comet before and after impact. The purpose of these observations was to look for "volatile outgassing, dust coma development and dust production rates, dust tail development, and jet activity and outbursts."[50] By mid-2007, amateur astronomers had submitted over a thousand CCD images of the comet.[51]

One notable amateur observation was by students from schools in Hawaii, working with US and UK scientists, who during the press conference took live images using the Faulkes Automatic Telescope in Hawaii (the students operated the telescope over the Internet) and were one of the first groups to get images of the impact.

One amateur astronomer reported seeing a structureless bright cloud around the comet, and an estimated magnitude 2 increase in brightness after the impact.[52] Another amateur published a map of the crash area from NASA images.[53]

[edit] Musical tribute
The Deep Impact mission coincided with celebrations in the Los Angeles area marking the 50th anniversary of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets becoming the first rock and roll single to reach No. 1 on the recording sales charts. Within twenty-four hours of the mission's success, a two-minute music video produced by Martin Lewis had been created using images of the impact itself combined with computer animation of the Deep Impact probe in flight, interspersed with footage of Bill Haley and His Comets performing in 1955 and the surviving original members of The Comets performing in March 2005.[54] The video was posted to NASA's website for a couple of weeks afterwards.

On 5 July, the surviving original members of The Comets (ranging in age from 71 to 84) performed a free concert for hundreds of employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to help them celebrate the mission's success. This event received worldwide press attention.[55] Later, in February 2006, the International Astronomical Union citation that officially named asteroid 79896 Billhaley included a reference to the JPL concert.[56]

[edit] Extended mission
Main article: EPOXI
Deep Impact is now on an extended mission designated EPOXI, originally planned as a flyby of Comet Boethin, but which has now been retargeted to Comet Hartley 2.

On 21 July 2005 Deep Impact executed a trajectory correction maneuver that allows the spacecraft to use Earth's gravity to begin a new mission in a path towards another comet. The proposed $500,000 extended mission is called EPOXI (Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation) and in January 2008 will have Deep Impact begin studying the stars around several known extrasolar planets to attempt to find other nearby extrasolar planets using astrometry and transit methods.[57]

The original plan was for a 5 December 2008, fly by of Comet Boethin, coming within 700 kilometers (435 miles) of the comet. Michael A'Hearn, the Deep Impact team leader, explained "We propose to direct the spacecraft for a flyby of Comet Boethin to investigate whether the results found at Comet Tempel 1 are unique or are also found on other comets."[58] The mission would provide about half of the information as the collision of Tempel 1 but at a fraction of the cost.[58] Deep Impact will use its spectrometer to study the comet's surface composition and its telescope for viewing the surface features.[57]

However, as the Earth gravity assist approached, astronomers were unable to locate Comet Boethin, which may have broken up into pieces too faint to be observed. Consequently, its orbit could not be calculated with sufficient precision to permit a flyby. Instead, the team will target Deep Impact toward Comet Hartley 2. However, this will require an extra two years of travel for Deep Impact. NASA has agreed that the spacecraft be targeted toward Hartley 2[59] and has confirmed funding.[60]

[edit] See also
Unmanned space mission

Cited references

^ "NASA Mission Dates.". Deep Impact. Retrieved on 24 June, 2007.
^ "NASA: Deep Impact Legacy Site". Mission Update June/July/August 2005. Retrieved on 17 October, 2007.
^ a b c d e f g "Military Embedded Systems". Case study: NASA's "Deep Impact" employs embedded systems to score bullseye 80 million miles away. Retrieved on 6 June, 2007.
^ a b c "NASA". Deep Impact: Mission Science Q&A. Retrieved on 24 June, 2007.
^ "NSSDC Master Catalog Display:Spacecraft". Deep Impact. Retrieved on 5 July, 2007.
^ a b "Rosetta monitors Deep Impact". ESA Portal (2005). Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
^ "Solar System Exploration". Deep Impact: Technology: Instruments. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "NASA". First Look Inside a Comet. Retrieved on 12 June, 2007.
^ "ABC News". NASA's Deep Impact Spacecraft Blasts Off. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "NASA Mission Profile.". Deep Impact. Retrieved on 24 June, 2007.
^ a b c "New York Times". Composition of a Comet Poses a Puzzle for Scientists. Retrieved on 5 July, 2007.
^ "Solar System Exploration". Deep Impact: Mission: How Deep Impact got its name. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.". Deep Impact. Retrieved on 24 June, 2007.
^ a b "CNN". Deep Impact probe hits comet. Retrieved on 3 June, 2007.
^ "Spaceflight Now". Rocket trouble stalls launch of Deep Impact mission. Retrieved on 4 June, 2007.
^ "Boeing Image Gallery". Boeing Launches NASA Deep Impact Spacecraft to Intercept Comet Tempel 1. Retrieved on 4 June, 2007.
^ "Jet Propulsion Laboratory". Deep Impact Status Report. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Spaceflight Now". Deep Impact's comet-watching telescope is blurred. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "". Deep Impact Team Solves Blurry Photo Problem. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Jet Propulsion Laboratory". NASA'S DEEP IMPACT SPACECRAFT SPOTS ITS QUARRY, STALKING BEGINS. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ a b "Spaceref". NASA Deep Impact Mission Status Report 13 May 2005. Retrieved on 4 June, 2007.
^ "Jet Propulsion Laboratory". NASA'S DEEP IMPACT CRAFT OBSERVES MAJOR COMET "OUTBURST". Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "". Bullseye: Deep Impact Slams Into Comet. Retrieved on 8 June, 2007.
^ "Deep Impact homepage". Deep Impact: A Smashing Success. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "". Deep Impact Launches Projectile to Blow Hole in Comet (Update1). Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Jet Propulsion Laboratory". DEEP IMPACT STATUS REPORT. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "NASA". A Cyber-Astronaut's Final Moves. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "BBC". NASA probe strikes Comet 9P/Tempel. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "NASA". NASA's Deep Impact Tells a Tale of the Comet. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ a b "Wired". Deep Impact Scores Bull's-Eye. Retrieved on 3 June, 2007.
^ "NewsFromRussia". NASA is sued for Deep Impact probe. Retrieved on 5 July, 2007.
^ "". NASA Hails a Direct Hit on Comet. Retrieved on 6 July, 2007.
^ a b "". Deep Impact collision ejected the stuff of life. Retrieved on 6 July, 2007.
^ "NASA". Mission Results: Excavating Comet 9P/Tempel. Retrieved on 3 June, 2007.
^ "BBC News". Impactor ejects mighty water mass. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "vigyanprasar" (PDF). A Deep Cometary Impact. Retrieved on 4 June, 2007.
^ "". Scientists Gaining Clearer Picture of Comet Makeup and Origin. Retrieved on 5 July, 2007.
^ "C&EN". A Comet's Chemical Composition. Retrieved on 5 July, 2007.
^ "". Comet Tempel-1 May Have Formed in Giant Planets Region. Retrieved on 6 July, 2007.
^ "BBC News". Nasa probe strikes Comet Tempel 1. Retrieved on 12 June, 2007.
^ "MSNBC". Astrologer's comet lawsuit lingers. Retrieved on 5 July, 2007.
^ "BBC News". Russian sues Nasa for comet upset. Retrieved on 5 July, 2007.
^ "". Court Rejects Russian Astrologer's Lawsuit Against NASA. Retrieved on 6 July, 2007.
^ "NASA". Send Your Name To A Comet. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "NASA". Your Name Could Make a 'Deep Impact' on a Comet. Retrieved on 6 June, 2007.
^ "". 625,000 names to be vaporised in Deep Impact. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "xinhuanet". Deep impact for Chinese scientists. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "The Economic Times". After US, China plans "Deep Impact" mission. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Amateur Observers' Program". Advanced Guide. Retrieved on 8 June, 2007.
^ "Small Science Telescope Program". Welcome to the Deep Impact Mission's Small Telescope Science Program. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Google Groups". Deep Impact/Tempel 1 Observation. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Jost Jahn". My Deep Impact. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Reviews & News about Bill Haley and The Comets". Clockathon rocks Hollywood, NASA. Retrieved on 4 June, 2007.
^ "USAToday". The Comets rock for NASA scientists. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ "Klet Observatory". Comet Billhaley. Retrieved on 1 June, 2007.
^ a b "Science Daily". Deep Impact Mission: Aiming For Close-ups Of Extrasolar Planets. Retrieved on 3 June, 2007.
^ a b "Skymania News". Deep Impact will fly to new comet. Retrieved on 12 June, 2007.
^ EPOXI Mission Status, NASA, 5 November 2007.

[edit] Other references
"Deep Impact: Our First Look Inside a Comet." June 2005 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, pp. 40-44. PDF file.
"Deep Impact encounter press kit." PDF file.
"Deep Impact: Mission Science Q&A." NASA. [1]

[edit] External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Deep Impact (space mission)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Deep Impact
Wikinews has related news: NASA's Deep Impact probe strikes comet successfully

Official websites
Deep Impact at JPL
Deep Impact at NASA
EXPOXI (Extended Mission at NASA
Deep Impact Mission Profile by NASA's Solar System Exploration
Deep Impact at the University of Maryland, College Park
Deep Impact at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
Additional information Technology page on Deep Impact
Watch a mini-doco about Deep Impact from Australian TV, 4 August 2005
Deep Impact Reveals Comet's Components - Scientific American
Maps, photos, and other images
Real-time image viewer
Real-time Java viewer of Deep Impact's position
Other languages
Croatian: Deep Impact images and information
French: Photos and videos of the impact

India seeks global cooperation to put pressure on Pak
Times of India - 23 Jan 2009 - NEW DELHI: Welcoming US President Barack Obama's statement that Afghanistan-Pakistan constitute the main front for ...
Economic Times - Chandigarh Tribune - eTaiwan News
all 460 news articles »

Sri Lanka troops overrun last Tiger town: army chief
AFP - 50 minutes ago - COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops on Sunday overran the last town controlled by Tamil rebels, army chief Lieutenant ...
Times of India - Reuters India -
all 2,625 news articles »

Chandrayaan detects X-ray signals
Hindu - 23 Jan 2009 - BANGALORE: Chandrayaan-I has picked up first X-ray signals from the Moon, revealing the presence of three elements. The ...
Express Buzz - - Zee News
all 41 news articles »

Zee News
Did Satyam funds evaporate after September 2008?
Economic Times - 2 hours ago
25 Jan 2009, 1739 hrs IST, PTI NEW DELHI: Satyam may have been loaded with funds of over Rs 5000 crore as on September 2008, but it could have been left with just Rs 200 crore of maturable fixed deposits by the time IT firm's founder Ramalinga Raju ...
PwC auditors sent for judicial custody till Feb 6 MSN India
Satyam case: Two auditors of Pricewaterhouse produced in court
Livemint - - Hindustan Times - Hindu
all 339 news articles » BOM:500376 हिन्दी में »

HUL Q4 net dips marginally to Rs 616 cr
Business Standard - 1 hour ago
Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the country's biggest fast moving consumer goods company, today reported a 2.49 per cent dip in quarterly net profit, missing analyst expectations.
HUL Q4 net dips by 2.49% to Rs 615.74cr Times of India
HUL Q4 net profit up 12.8% at Rs 612.6 cr
Reuters - Reuters India - - Business Standard
all 24 news articles » BOM:500696 - LON:ULVR

L&T's move in Satyam left investors guessing
Economic Times - 11 hours ago
Larsen & Toubro, or just L&T to most people, to put it simply is an engineering, construction and infrastructure giant. It has been associated with the largest infrastructure projects in the country and enjoys a healthy level of equity among its ...
Satyam board may touch L&T stake issue, finalise on CEO, funds Hindu
India Inc intrigued by L&T stake hike in Satyam Hindu Business Line
MSN India - - Business Standard - Reuters India
all 243 news articles » BOM:500376 - BOM:500510 हिन्दी में »

Modi's remarks on Kasab helped Pakistan: Congress
Hindustan Times - 2 hours ago
PTI Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's controversial remarks on Kasab has "immensely helped Pakistan" which was being isolated internationally, Congress spokesperson Rajiv Shukla said in Ahmedabad today.
Gujarat Congress flays Modi Hindu
Gohil calls Modi Pakistani agent Times of India
Indian Express - Calcutta Telegraph - DeshGujarat - Daily News & Analysis
all 52 news articles »

Calcutta Telegraph
Security in Assam tightened ahead of Republic Day
Hindu - 34 minutes ago
Guwahati (PTI): Security has been tightened in Assam following a general strike called by the ULFA, which has also asked the people to boycott all official functions being organised in the state for the Republic Day, official sources said on Sunday.
New threat on Republic Day in Assam
‘Protect Guwahati’ on every cop lip Calcutta Telegraph
Zee News - MorungExpress - Assam Tribune - Zee News
all 11 news articles »

BBC News
Obama faces pressure for faster action
International Herald Tribune - 1 hour ago
By Emily Kaiser Reuters WASHINGTON: The rapidly unraveling US economy is piling pressure on President Barack Obama to try bolder recession-fighting tactics even before all his economic advisers have found their desks.
Obama Pushes Stimulus, Meets Economic Team Voice of America
Obama focuses on economy in first Presidential radio address New York Daily News
Newsday - Washington Post - Chicago Tribune - Detroit Free Press
all 4,940 news articles »

Sydney Morning Herald
Danville honors hero US Airways pilot 'Sully' with small-town ...
San Jose Mercury News - 3 hours ago
By Jeanine Benca Chanting "Sully! Sully!" a crowd of several thousand gathered in downtown Danville on Saturday to salute the hometown hero, US Airways pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger.
Pilot Returns Home to a Hero’s Welcome New York Times
Sullenberger gets hero's welcome in Calif. hometown Newsday
Baltimore Sun - Boston Globe - San Francisco Chronicle - CNN
all 1,076 news articles »

New York Daily News
Paterson may feel backlash from angry Democrats
Buffalo News - 3 hours ago
The governor’s handling of the appointment to New York’s US Senate seat has political insiders scratching their heads. By Tom Precious ALBANY - She started out as the genteel daughter of a slain president, an icon of the Democratic Party’s most famous ...
In Becoming a Willing Bridesmaid to Gillibrand, Cuomo Plays ... New York Times
Comment by Alan Van Capelle Executive Director, Empire State Pride Agenda
Newsday - New York Daily News - The Associated Press
all 6,574 news articles »

BBC News
Happy 25th Birthday, Apple Macintosh!
E Canada Now - 29 minutes ago
New York (ECN) - Saturday January 24th marked one of the most important birthdays in the world: the 25th birthday of Apple Macintosh.
Apple thriving on 25th anniversary of the Mac Apple Insider
25 years ago: Apple’s Macintosh says hello VentureBeat
CNN - Gizmodo - CNET News - PC Magazine
all 241 news articles »
Study: Western forests dying at increasing rate
The Associated Press - Jan 23, 2009
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - Trees in old growth forests across the West are dying at a small, but increasing rate that scientists conclude is probably caused by longer and hotter summers from a changing climate.
Environment Blamed in Western Tree Deaths New York Times
West's trees dying faster as temperatures rise Los Angeles Times
Reuters - Bloomberg - Santa Rosa Press Democrat - BBC News
all 334 news articles »

New Zealand Herald
Computer worm called 'real threat'
News Courier - 7 hours ago
By Karen Middleton Various major newspapers and television news shows reported Friday morning that the latest computer worm might now infect as many as 10 million computers worldwide.
Worm Infects Millions of Computers Worldwide New York Times
Conficker Worm Spreads Fast, Infects Millions CRN
PC World - Computerworld - eWeek - Register
all 130 news articles »

Dear India ,
Is it true your celebration of Repubic
Is it reality of your celebration of Repubic
Is it true you are a good republic?


It is true you are a billion corrupted public,
Is it not?
You make any crime,
Injustice,custodial killings,desappearence,
rape and huge human right violations,

You leads in big corruption and crime,
And all your politicians make all their means,
Then Innocents cry and scream,
And end of in innocent bloodshed,

You are a fake master of Kashmir Paradise,
Now Kashmiri new generation of a different kind,
It is time for their revolution,
Untill there is satisfication,
Satisfication of right of self

You are a hypocratic India,
Your all laws are just hypocraties,
Under the rule of fake politicians,
Now tell me,
Is it true you are a good repubic?

Kashmiri blindfolded walk to their graves,
And your walk to celebrate Republic day,
Kashmiri with stones their helpless hands,
And your political priests preachs violence,

Kashmiri now understand your hypocratic acts,
They say its better to fight than cry,
You celebrate your Republic day with
new hopes,
Kashmiries have no problem but be real
India not hypocratic,
Celebrate with real words and means,

Let the fullfill your promise today on your
Republic day,
Make your real annocement for Kashmir,
Let the know all world reality of Kashmir ,
Kashmiries have right to get right of self
Please stand up for this truth ,don't give
up this truth,
Truth for helpless Kashmir if you beleive in
real democracy and real Republic day,

@25/01/2009 copy right by hazeen hasrat
Bush's Laws of Looting
The First Law:
A defenseless resource-rich country will remain in a state of rest or uniform progress unless an external force is applied.
The Second Law:
The degradation of a State of constant mass is proportional to the associated neglect or bombing campaign applied. We do not loot countries; we liberate them.
The Third Law:
Whenever resources allocated for one State's protection are exerting a force upon a second State, the resultant resource deficit exerts an equally destructive force upon the first State in opposition to the intended effect. Since we oppose looting, any desperate starving masses commandeering food or drink are to be shot on sight.


The event is about educating our community as well as any non-Muslim who may attend. It is a memorial to the Palestinians who died in the invasion of Gaza. It is not a debate . No questions or answers at the

The president Elect for ISB will be welcoming and introducing ISB to the people. He also will shed light on the peaceful and just teachings of Islam. Ayyub Hanif, a young rising star in Baltimore, will talk about the nature of hope in Islam. El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan then comes in with a brief history of Palestine. People need to know the time line in broad sense, in order to make sense of what happened on December 27,2008 and for 24 days after. this time line is about facts of the past. Bash Pharoan will make a short movie clip of the destruction of Gaza and the civilian loss due to the Israeli invasion. Imam Yahya HENDI will come in to wrap it up and to offer prescription to a better future. The end will be Muhammad Jameel closing remarks, symbolic Janaza prayer in absentia for the Palestinian victims of the Gaza Invasion.

11006 Veirs Mill Rd, STE L-15, PMB 298
Silver Spring, MD. 20902

Muharram 1430 AH
(Jan 21, 2009)

Assalaamu Alaikum: Important Info re: Janaza Program for Gaza


Paying tribute to the loss of Palestinian life and property

The Islamic Society of Baltimore
6631 Johnnycake Road, Baltimore, MD 21244
Saturday January 24, 2009, 6:00 PM

Goal: Console the people of Maryland due to the devastating loss of life and suffering of the Palestinian people.
Directions: From 695 take exit 17 (west) towards Security Boulevard. Travel 0.5 mile and make a left onto Rolling Road. Travel about 0.25 mile on Rolling Road then make a left at third traffic light onto Johnnycake Road. Travel 0.1 mile on Johnnycake Road, and then make a left at the fork. ISB is the first entrance to your right, 6631 Johnnycake Road.
6:00 PM: welcome remarks by the MC.
6:05 PM- 7:10 PM: recitation of Quran Kareem.
6:10 PM: 7:30 PM speakers: Government officials and Imam Yahya Hendi: Georgetown University; El-Hajj Mauri Salakhan: Director of The Peace and Justice Foundation; Maqbool Patel: President-Elect of ISB; Muhammad Jameel: BCMC; Bash Pharoan: ADC.
7:30 PM close by dua of peace and salat janaza.

Supported by:

The Maryland Muslim Community
The Islamic Society of Maryland,
The Gwyn Oak Islamic Community
Society for Arab American Surgeons

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates taught his students that the pursuit of truth can only begin once they start to question and analyze every belief that they ever held dear. If a certain belief passes the tests of evidence, deduction, and logic, then it should be kept. If it doesn’t pass the tests, the belief should not only be discarded, but the thinker must also then question why he was led to believe the erroneous information in the first place.

In a series of meetings and public appearances Wednesday and Thursday, and with the first military strikes of his administration, President Barack Obama has given a clear signal that he plans intensified bloodshed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the US escalates its military intervention in Central and South Asia. On the other hand, United States of America – It can now be reported that Caroline Kennedy, daughter of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, received at least THIRTY (30) DEATH THREATS by email correspondence from known sources within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli Mossad. It is both KHAZARIAN Jew Hillary Rodenhurst Clinton and White House Legal Counsel Greg Craig (Skull and Bonesman and year 2000 Elian Gonzalez attorney), who are currently leaking dirt and bogus rumors about Caroline to both FOX News and media internet mogul KHAZARIAN Jew Matt Drudge aka Drecht.

It was only through the patriotic work of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a current member of the joint U.S.-French Anti-Terrorist Task Force, who alerted then president-elect Barack Obama of the death threats against Caroline Kennedy and, accordingly, offered 24 hour, around the clock, full Secret Service protection to the daughter of the assassinated President.

"...Herzilya, Israel, the small town north of Tel Aviv, which happens to be where Mossad's headquarters
are located." "...Mossad's Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzilya..." Christopher Bollyn

One death threat, which originated from Herzliya, Israel (Mossad headquarters), stated that should she (Caroline) continue her quest to become a U.S. Senator, she would be a statistic like her brother, a direct reference to the assassination of her brother John F. Kennedy Jr., who was likewise murdered when threatening to take the New York U.S. Senate seat that he had been told belonged to then First Lady Hillary Clinton, the wife of the departing President.

Missiles fired from unmanned Predator drones struck two targets inside Pakistan Friday morning, killing at least 18 people. As is always the case with such exercises in remote-controlled murder, US officials claimed they were targeting Al Qaeda, although even US media accounts admitted that the majority of those killed were local residents.

Three missiles struck the village of Zharki in North Waziristan, killing ten people, of whom five were described by US "security sources" as Al Qaeda militants. A few hours later, another missile hit a house in South Waziristan, killing eight people whose identities were not known.

The strikes were the latest in a series of more than two dozen such attacks since last August, and Pentagon officials said they had carried out the attacks under existing authority from the outgoing Bush administration, while keeping the new president fully informed of the action.

The death toll from the missile campaign, according to Pakistani government figures, numbers at least 263 people. Even US government officials claim only a handful of those killed had any ties to Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

The attacks on sovereign Pakistani territory are blatant violations of international law, which the regime in Islamabad protests verbally, while continuing to accept billions in US subsidies to the country's military.
Obama and his newly confirmed secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, staged what amounted to a political rally at the State Department Thursday, at which they announced the appointment of two new US pro-consuls to the region.

Former senator George Mitchell is to reprise his role from the Clinton administration as the US envoy to the Middle East. Former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke is special US representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The different titles reflect different roles. Mitchell has been given responsibility for reviving and supervising negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as between Israel and neighboring Arab states. His job is strictly diplomatic.

Holbrooke is to work with the US-backed regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the US military command in Kabul, to coordinate joint action against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He is not labeled an "envoy," according to the State Department, because he will have input into military policy as well as diplomacy, and because he will not be negotiating with the Taliban—a rebuff to pleas for such talks by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and some European countries.

Clinton called the two appointments "a loud and clear signal ... that our nation is once again capable of demonstrating global leadership." Obama said the two would "convey our seriousness of purpose" in both areas.

Mitchell chaired the negotiations in Northern Ireland that led to the 1998 Good Friday agreement, under which the IRA disarmed and Irish Republican politicians have joined the provincial government. He later chaired a commission on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict whose report, delivered in April 2001, was ignored by the incoming Bush administration because it called for a freeze on Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
Israeli officials, and particularly the right-wing Likud Party, which is favored to win the country's February 10 parliamentary elections, have openly expressed their distrust of Mitchell, who is partially of Lebanese-American ancestry (his mother was a Maronite Christian).

Mitchell's appointment cannot disguise the fundamental policy of US imperialism in the region, which makes use of the Zionist regime as its military spearhead against the Arab masses. Both Obama and Clinton, to whom Mitchell will report, have made clear their support for the 24-day Israeli onslaught on Gaza, in which more than 1,300 Palestinians lost their lives, and over 5,000 were wounded.

The selection of Holbrooke is even more ominous, since he has long served as one of the most ruthless representatives of American imperialism, going all the way back to his early days in the Foreign Service in Vietnam. He came to public notice as the leader of the US diplomatic team at the 1995 talks on the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, held in Dayton, Ohio, that concluded with a US-imposed settlement in the civil war in Bosnia.

In his encouragement of ethnic cleansing by the Croatian regime of Franjo Tudjman, which drove a quarter million Serbs out of the Krajina region of southern Croatia in a 1995 offensive, Holbrooke could deservedly face war crimes charges. He later boasted, in his memoir of the Dayton talks: "Tudjman wanted clarification of the American position. He bluntly asked for my personal views. I indicated my general support for the offensive ... I told Tudjman the offensive had great value to the negotiations. It would be much easier to retain at the table what had been won on the battlefield than to get the Serbs to give up territory they had controlled for several years."

Holbrooke was fully aware at the time of the Dayton talks that the Croatian Army was carrying out atrocities against the Serbs, and was later quoted saying, "We ‘hired' these guys to be our junkyard dogs because we were desperate. We need to try to ‘control' them. But this is no time to get squeamish about things." He will now seek to find new "junkyard dogs" to do the dirty work of American imperialism in south and central Asia.

In his remarks at the State Department rally, Obama reiterated his concern over what he called a "deteriorating situation" in both Afghanistan and Pakistan," a region that is "the central front" of the struggle against terrorism. This language, echoing George W. Bush's description of Iraq, underscores the new administration's commitment to military subjugation of the Afghan population and wider attacks on the Pakistani population of the border region, largely Pushtun-speaking and linked by tribal ties to the majority Pushtun population in Afghanistan.

Clinton said that Holbrooke's mandate would be to "coordinate across the entire government an effort to achieve United States' strategic goals in the region." These goals have little to do with the remnants of Al Qaeda hiding out in the mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The real focus of the intervention, under Obama as much as under Bush, is to establish the United States as the principal power in the oil-rich region of Central Asia.

The renewed focus on military problems in Afghanistan was signaled as well by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has been retained in his position during the transition from Bush to Obama. He told a press conference Thursday that US goals in Afghanistan had been "too broad and too far into the future. We need more concrete goals that can be achieved realistically within three to five years, in terms of reestablishing control in certain areas, providing security for the population, going after al-Qaeda, preventing the reestablishment of terrorism."

There is mounting anxiety in the Pentagon over the viability of US supply lines to Afghanistan, especially if the force on the ground is doubled, as Obama plans. Two-thirds of US supplies go through Pakistan and convoys through the Khyber Pass to Afghanistan have come under repeated attacks. General David Petraeus, the former Iraq commander who was promoted to head the US Central Command, with responsibility for war planning throughout the region, recently completed a trip through Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan, seeking agreements on expanding US supply shipments through those countries. He reported on his findings to the Obama White House on Wednesday.

According to a report in the New York Times January 22, another major concern of US military authorities in Afghanistan is the strengthening of Taliban influence in the southern provinces around Kandahar, patrolled now mainly by British, Canadian and Dutch troops, who are spread thinly through a vast area.

The Times reporter noted worriedly: "It is perhaps in Kandahar, one of the provincial capitals, where the lack of troops is most evident. About 3,000 Canadian soldiers are assigned to secure the city, home to about 500,000 people. In a recent visit, this reporter traveled the city for five days and did not see a single Canadian soldier on the streets. The lack of troops has allowed the Taliban to mount significant attacks inside the city."

Hamas Sees New Bush in Barack Obama

The Palestinian resistance group Hamas has disparaged new US President Barack Obama, saying he is repeating the same mistakes of the Bush administration.

"I think this is an unfortunate start for President Obama in the region and the Middle East issue," Osama Hemdan, Hamas representative in Lebanon, told the Doha-based television.

"Obama insists that no change will happen. He is trying to move along the same path that previous US presidents have followed."

Laying out his vision on the Middle East peace, Obama said that Hamas must recognize Israel before any contacts with the group.

"For years Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at innocent Israeli citizens. No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people," Obama said.

He said Hamas must abide by Quartet conditions on recognizing Israel, halting "violence" and upholding previous agreements.

"To be a genuine party to peace ... Hamas must meet clear conditions, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and abide by past agreements," he told a press conference as he named veteran negotiator George Mitchell as his Middle East peace envoy.

Obama said that the US would support a "credible anti-smuggling and interdiction regime, so that Hamas cannot rearm.."

The Bush administration has rejected any contacts with Hamas, which overwhelmingly won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006.

The US and Israel also led an international campaign to impose a crippling siege on Gaza, home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

Same Mistakes

Obama said he would send his Middle East peace envoy to the region to secure the setting up of two states living side by side in peace.

"It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

The new US president said that was deeply concerned by the suffering of the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

"I was deeply concerned by the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent days, and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs in Gaza," he said.

"Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water and basic medical care, and who have faced suffocating poverty for far too long.

"Just as the terror of rocket fire aimed at innocent Israelis, is intolerable, so, too, is a future without hope for the Palestinians."

Obama, however, renewed the US support to what he said Israel's right to "self-defense".
More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed and 5,450 wounded in 22 days of air, sea and land Israeli attacks in Gaza.

Hamas said that Obama is repeating the same mistakes of the Bush administration.

"It seems that Obama is trying to repeat the same mistakes that George Bush made without taking into consideration Bush's experience that resulted in the explosion of the region instead of reaching stability and peace in it," said Hemdan.

"It looks like the next four years, if it continues with the same tone, will be a total failure."
( and Agencies)

Gazans See No Hope in Obama

The fever of joy and optimism may be sweeping the world, but for Leila Khalil, Barack Obama's landmark inauguration on Tuesday, January 20, falls absolutely flat.

"Obama won't bring my husband back to life," the Gazan woman, whose husband was killed during Israel's bloody offensive on the Palestinian territory, told Agence France Presse (AFP).
Across the bombed-out coastal enclave, people hold little hope that Obama, who took the oath as America's 44th president, will appease their sufferings after a brutal three-week Israeli blitz.
Khalil, who lost her husband when Israeli bombs fell on a school in north Gaza, says the new American leader will not bring her back what she has lost.

"He was martyred and left me with six children to feed on my own ," Khalil, 42, said of her late husband.

"Obama won't repair our house that was damaged in the raids."

She is not alone.
"No American president will compensate us for our losses from the war nor resuscitate the martyrs nor heal the amputated nor rebuild the homes that have been restored," fumes Samih Zouhdi, 53.

For Umm Mohammad, Obama's inheritance of the Oval Office from the unpopular George W. Bush brings no hope for her traumatized children.

"Neither Bush nor Obama will make us forget the fear and the homelessness with which we have lived."

At least 1,300 Palestinians, including 410 children, have been killed during Israel's air, sea and ground attacks on Gaza.

The onslaught has turned the impoverished Strip, home to 1.6 people, into piles of rubble and clouds of smoke, forcing more than 200,000 people to flee their homes.

Pro-Israel US

Khalil al-Attar, a civil servant, believes Obama will never alter the historically pro-Israel US policy.

"He will act according to the interests of the people who elected him," said the 30-year-old.

"These interests coincide with those of Israel…As for the Palestinians, they have always been the scapegoats."

Eyeing the Jewish votes, Obama has frequently voiced support for Israel during his presidential campaign.

He has told the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC) lobby that Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) must20remain the "undivided" capital of Israel.

He later swallowed the remark after coming under fire.

Obama has since pledged that his administration will engage on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from day one.

But Zouhdi, who works in a bank, does not believe Obama's words will be ever translated into actions.

"Politics understands only the language of interest and we do not represent an interest for the United States."

Khalil, the widowed Gaza mother, agrees.

"If we can't even count on Arab presidents, what can we hope for from an American president when they've always supported Israel?

"No one cares about us."

( and Agencies)

Roy Walker

The People of Gaza Have Spoken and Persevered
The Struggle of an Un-People
Watching and reading the Western mainstream media coverage of the war in Gaza as well as the Palestinian question is frequently a source of never-ending frustration. One must continuously suppress one’s outrage at the deceptive and convoluted framing of what is essentially the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence, but which has become transmogrified into an inherent and almost genetic Arab / Muslim irrational hatred and violence towards Jews / Israel.

In the mainstream, Zionist-inspired narrative, Israel’s “right to exist” precedes and supersedes all else and, in fact, does so uniquely in the world of nations, since under international law, no other nation has or demands such a right. For Israel to have this right entails the obliteration (and not even acknowledgement) of a similar parallel right of the displaced population, the Palestinians, to also exist. Therefore, any war that Israel starts – or in most Western media narratives, does not start -- it is ipso facto defensive and justified. Any questioning of this frame of reference is liable to be branded “anti-semitic”, thus conflating (and importantly from a propagandistic point of view, confusing) the actions of a state, which is first and foremost a political actor, with the belief system and religion of an entire group of people.

One of the many consequences of this superimposed narrative is to render the Palestinians almost un-human -- untermenschen if you will. I use the term “human” here in its full sense as embodied in the spirit and law of the United Nations Charter and Resolutions as well as the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Very briefly, the former guarantees the rights of a national people to independence and guarantees them the right to resist occupation. The second additionally guarantees political, cultural, and economic rights to all human beings. And yet, today we find the Palestinians as the last still colonized people who are deprived of any right to resist the colonizing and occupying power.

Acknowledging, and even demanding a guarantee, for Israel’s “right to exist” necessarily demolishes and abrogates Palestinians as a people and as human beings. Thus we constantly hear the re-iteration of Orwellian phrases like “arms smuggling” through underground tunnels into the Gaza Strip – when in reality it is the Palestinians’ right and duty to resist occupation; or that “Hamas seeks Israel’s destruction” without the concomitant Israel seeks Hamas’ destruction; or the classification of Hamas as a terrorist organization, without mention of the extensive social and charitable work that they do or, more significantly, the fact that they were democratically elected. We, the readers of mainstream Western media, further face oxymoronic classifications of buildings, infrastructure, schools, and hospitals being designated “terrorist strongholds” and of any male over the age of ten being lumped in with “Hamas terrorists”.

The stripping away of Palestinians’ basic human rights has even deprived them of the right to choose their own representatives. Therefore, ever since the Oslo Accords, puppet masters in Israel, the US and to a lesser extent, Europe and “moderate” Arab states have designated the Palestinian Authority and its (now ex-) president, Mahmoud Abbas as “leaders” of the Palestinian people and the only interlocutors in any “negotiation”.

Unsurprisingly, these “leaders” seem to be for life, like all other Arab dictators. This, despite the fact that Mahmoud Abbas’ presidential term has officially ended on January 9th, 2009. Even after the horrific Israeli attack on the Palestinians in Gaza, during which time Abbas sided with the attackers and thereby lost all credibility and legitimacy among the majority of Palestinians, he is still invited to “speak” for them in Arab Summits and in various “talks”. If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would be laughable.
Another dimension of treating the Palestinians as subhuman is that the atrocities that they suffer at the hand of the Israelis, not just in war, but also in their very cultural, social, political, and economic existence, when acknowledged at all, are presented as some sort of humanitarian crisis. A charity case that has no human rights dimension.

From the very beginning others have tried to speak for them, thereby denying them their own voices. So when Palestinians staged an uprising in the late 1930s against Jewish immigration that was aided and abetted by the British Mandate, Arab governments told them to quiet down and that they would extract their freedom and independence from the British colonizers for them. Instead, Arab leaders emerged with the completely inadequate White Paper in which the British government promised to reduce immigration, but which did not grant the Palestinians a promise of their own independence and statehood. Afterwards, they were also treated as a non-people, this time by the Zionists who falsely claimed the “land without a people for a people without a land.” And even when denial of their physical existence was no longer possible, they were simply referred to as “refugees” and not as political actors with legitimate inherent rights.

From Israel’s perspective, the forcible removal and ethnic cleansing in their newly created state was thus morally justified because those being removed were ostensibly non-existent. They were at best a humanitarian crisis, and not a human rights / political actor issue. Thus, the 400,000 Palestinians that were forcibly displaced by Israeli terrorist armed militias like the Haganah, Irgun and Lehi as well as by psychological warfare, in the wake of the United Nations Partition resolution in November of 1947 – and flagrantly before the establishment of the state of Israel, were designated mere “refugees” and responsibilities of Arab governments. As more recent historiographers have proven, the un-peopled land narrative adopted by the Zionists, was used to hide the forced and often violent expulsion of the original inhabitants. With the declaration of the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948 and the Arab-Israeli war that followed, an additional 370,000 Palestinians were removed or displaced under the organized execution of Plan Dalet . They too were deemed not Israel’s responsibility, since it and only it, had the right to exist. Even after the armistice talks of the war in 1948, Israel still forcibly removed the inhabitants of the village of al-Majdal. Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared essentially a policy of non-compromise. “Expel them [the villagers of Lydda and Ramleh, July 1948]!” he ordered his officers.

Palestinians as a people did not exist, and as “refugees”, they were the Arabs’ problem. Under this rubric, Israel legalized the widespread confiscation of Palestinian land when it opined /declared those lands “abandoned properties” whose owners were “absent”, thus wiping out and Judaizing 400 Palestinian villages. Similarly, shops, homes and even bank accounts were declared “abandoned” and were expropriated. They even created a “Transfer Committee” in 1948 to supervise the destruction of Palestinian villages. And yet the Orwellian Zionist narrative of an un-peopled land persevered for several decades in Israel and in the Western mainstream.

Forced expulsions are how Gaza became essentially a giant refugee camp. Some 80% of its current inhabitants are descendants of those originally displaced Palestinians from the pre-1948 territory.

And so it continues to the present day. Israel and her backers still deny the Palestinians their own voice and their own political identity. With impunity and excessive and rabid force, Israel attacks the un-people of Gaza, now conveniently designated as “terrorists”. The attack on Palestinians, becomes an attack on Hamas. Buildings (even UNRWA schools), children, water pipes, workshops, similarly become Hamas strongholds, fighters, weapons labs or bases….
This narrative of un-peopleness has evolved over time: from non-existent, to generic Arab squatting on “Jewish” land, to refugee, to low-paid wage laborers, to terrorists, (to even “cockroaches” according to Ariel Sharon).

Eventually, it reached the Oslo “Peace Process” and the designation of certain individuals (who are of course willing to concede anything and everything) as potentially worthy of “talking” to (ostensibly, with). These were people like the Israeli approved-, Egyptian and Jordanian trained- and equipped- native police force (Dahlan and his thugs) and the Palestinian Authority. Any Palestinians who disagree or demand their rights, even if they are the majority of Palestinians in Gaza, are automatically outside the pale and once again consigned to join the new outcasts in this period of world history. They are part of the “Axis of Evil”, a jumbled all-inclusive collection of boogey men of Hamas-Hezbullah-Iranian-backed-terrorist-Muslim-jihadists.

They are anything but a people with their own nationalist aspirations and an undefeated desire for freedom and equality with all other humans on this earth.

Continuing the tradition of Great Britain when Lord Balfour declared that they will not consult the “wishes of the present inhabitants” and that Zionism, “be it right or wrong” is more important than the “desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land,” the state of Israel today continues to deny the Palestinians’ basic human rights to have any rights.

And the Palestinian Authority is colluding with this denial of the nationalist expression of the Palestinian people’s right and their will to resist forced “solutions”. But the people of Gaza have spoken, have persevered, and have withstood this latest vicious attack. Their continued resistance is an inspiration for all those who resist oppression. And more importantly, their persistence is a reaffirmation that peoplehood / humanity and all its inherent basic rights, are from within, and are not qualities to be granted and bestowed by those in power.

Dina Jadallah-Taschler is an outraged Arab-American of Palestinian and Egyptian descent, a political science graduate, and an artist.

Myth of United India & Democracy or Hypocrisy?

Maryam Mehboob


efore the Muslim conquests to the Indian subcontinent, little was known about India or her dwellers. Historians concede “the historical phase of India began with the Muslim invasion. Muslims were India's first historians.” (Gustave Le Bon). Thereafter how the Muslims contributed to the culture of the Indian subcontinent, is all too well known. Muslim reign lasted for around 1000 years, before they met their waterloo at the hands of the British.

The English plunder of the Indian land is too gruesome for words. They robbed India
of everything that there was, right from their gems and jewels to their culture and
language. They went further. They mercilessly divided India along ethnic lines for the
sake of their own convenience. The mess that the Indian subcontinent finds itself in
today is a gift by her imperial rulers.

The rise of Hindus to the realm of Indian politics occurred while the British ruled.
They had long served under the Muslim charge, and now saw their way to the top by
licking the boots of their new gora masters. What a pity! They shamelessly stabbed
their Muslim brethren in the back who in their rule of 1000 years had treated them as
equals. Whereas the British enslaved them, brutally murdered them and trampled
over their customs and values.

But if nothing else, one is forced to acknowledge the shrewd mentality of these
disciples of Chanakya. After the British departure from India had become imminent,
these Hindu politicians began to chant slogans of right of self determination and
liberation of India. Muslims, who by that time were well aware of the despicable
aspirations of these politicians, had been insisting on the creation of an independent
homeland. The Hindu politicians under the banner of congress played their cards very
intelligently. They convinced the world to have single-handedly rescued their land
from the clutches of their colonial occupiers only to have been beaten by a few
traitors who in their greed for power imposed the dissection of their beloved mother

Six decades onwards, they play along similar lines. Their politicians, media
and intelligentsia are all part of an age long campaign to demonize Pakistan, a failed
state plagued with terrorism and at the verge of a collapse. At the same time, they are
quick to remind how India in all these years has risen as the world’s largest secular
democracy, where people of all castes, religions, color and creed co exist in harmony.

Of course it all sounds very remarkable, especially when one looks at their thriving
film industry, where the most notable names in the business are Muslims. In sports
too, with the emergence of the likes of Pathans, Khans and Mirza’s one is deceived
into believing such professes.

But if truth is to be told, this impression of Incredible India couldn’t be more
erroneous. William Dalrymple, the distinguished author of numerous works
particularly involving the Indian subcontinent, notes, In the world's media, never has
the contrast between the two countries appeared so stark: one is widely perceived as
the next great superpower; the other written off as a failed state
…..He further adds,
On the ground, of course, the reality is different and first-time visitors to Pakistan are
almost always surprised by the country's visible prosperity. There is far less poverty
on show in Pakistan than in India, fewer beggars, and much less desperation. In
many ways the infrastructure of Pakistan is much more advanced: there are better
roads and airports, and more reliable electricity. Middle-class Pakistani houses are
often bigger and better appointed than their equivalents in India. Moreover, the
Pakistani economy is undergoing a construction and consumer boom similar to
India's, with growth rates of 7%, and what is currently the fastest-rising stock market
in Asia.

It would take a fool to not to see the direction towards which India is headed.
Far from being the next superpower or the sole ruler of the entire Indian Ocean, India
is a country at the brink of disintegration. And not only because she has earned
enemies due to a hostile foreign policy towards neighboring countries, and its desire
to create hegemony in the region with the hope to expand her boundaries to include
countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ceylon, Burma, Nepal and more to create a huge
Indian empire, or Vishal Bharat. It’s her Troubles at home that are most likely to
drive India towards a fate similar to that of Soviet Union.

To say the Indians are unaware of the gravity of the issue would be untrue.
They have paid a heavy price already at the hands of various existing sub nationalists
and continue to do so. In 1984, Indira Gandhi, daughter of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
and the then Prime Minister was assassinated by Sikh separatists. Such an event
shouldn’t have surprised the world, particularly after how Mrs.Gandhi dealt with the
Sikh demand of Khalistan- a separate country for India’s Sikhs carved out of the
(Indian) Punjab province. In September of 1981 a group of Sikh separatists had taken
refuge in the Golden Shrine, one of the most revered shrines of Sikhism. Knowing
that the civilian presence in the temple was in great numbers, Gandhi ordered her
army to storm into the temple with full force to flush out the militants. There is much
uncertainty over the exact number of causalities. Some estimates put it at 3000. Much
to the despair of the Indian establishment, the Khalistan movement did not die with

Delhi’s Nightmare - Sikh Militants

Though the threat of an independent Sikh state is not as great as it was in the
80’s, the concept is well alive amongst the Sikh community of India. According to
news reports the exiled leader of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF),
Dabinderjit Singh has been making attempts to approach Canadian politicians and
radical Sikh leaders in the hope of reviving the Khalistan movement. Earlier this year
Jet Airways Flight 225, that flies from India to Canada, was delayed for several hours
because of a bomb scare. This brought back to life grim memories of the 1985
bombing of Air India Kaniskha, in which all 329 passengers, 280 of whom were
Canadian nationals, were killed. In the court rulings that followed the incident, the
worst in the history of terrorist attacks on aircrafts prior to the September 11, Inderjit
Singh Reyat
was convicted of manslaughter. Investigations hinted that the attack had
been masterminded by at least two Sikh terrorist groups, to avenge the golden temple
massacre. Even though the latest incident was no more than a hoax, the Indian
establishment was not amused. India is overwhelmed by the number of secessionist
movements, threatening to breakaway from the country. An addition to these will
surely have Indians panicking, signs of which are evident already.

They lost Rajiv Gandhi too, son of Indira Gandhi in an assassination attempt
by the nationalist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), more casually
known as the Tamil Tigers. It had so happened, that in the summer of 1987, the Sri
Lankan government had decided to start an offensive against the Tamils in the Jaffna
peninsula, situated in the north of the country. Under pressure from the Indian
government Sri Lanka agreed to the signing of an accord in which it was decided that
the Indian Peace Keeping force or IPKF would take to the task of disarming the
Tamil Tigers and bring about a ceasefire. But relations between the Tamils and IPKF
turned sour by October of that year. An intense fighting broke out between the two
which lasted till the year 1989. Without delving much into the details it is enough to
mention that the operation ended with India taking heavy casualties. The IPKF had to
finally withdraw from the Sri Lankan territory, but not without leaving behind traces
of brutality, a hallmark of the Indians.

Rajiv’s assassins – Tamil Tigers

The residents of Jaffna still recount the pain and misery that was inflicted upon them
by IPKF which was renamed by its victims as the Indian People Killing Force.

Women of Jaffna were known for adorning themselves with gold. After the Indian
operations in the peninsula it is unknown if the Indian peacekeeping force spared any
for the locals. They raped their women, young and old. Many natives were killed
brutally by this Indian force. But perhaps the final showdown to this battle came with
the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, under whose leadership the entire operation was
orchestrated. The Tamil struggle continues till date and is gaining momentum each
passing day.

This is a worrying trend for the Indians and for a good reason. The Tamils lay a claim
on the Tamil Nadu state of India. Since 2006, Sri Lankans have come hard on the
Tamil Tigers. The LTTE is now taking refuge in Tamil Nadu, using it as a base to
regroup and reorganize. In the recent past, many confiscations have been made
involving highly explosive devices and other weaponry. They are also finding recruits
on the Indian soil from the Sri Lankan refugees and local sympathizers.. Indians
understand the challenge this development poses to the national sovereignty, and they
acknowledge that the LTTE has a huge support base in the state and beyond. It will
take more than a military action to dilute the LTTE organized campaigns because of
the strong cultural, linguistic, ethnic and historic affinity that the Tamils on both sides
of the border share. Besides, the humiliation from the failed offensive of 1987 will
keep Indians in two minds before they launch another military attack against the
LTTE.Tamil Nadu has a population of 62,405,679; it makes up 6.05% of the total
population of India.

une 29, 2008 a bomb rips through a market place in a village located in the
northeastern state of Assam. According to initial reports, eight killed and 45
injured, some critically. So was reported in the media. But the mess in Assam
and other regions in the northeastern part of India have a much more violent
history than the blast on June, 29, the most recent of many since the conception
of India as an independent country.

The responsibility for the blast was taken by ULFA, United Liberation Front of
Assam, one of more than two dozen militant groups, fighting for either an
independent homeland or then more political economy. In the past 25 years as many
as 10,000 people have lost their lives in the violence. Thousands more have been
displaced; now living in refugee camps.

The tensions have never seemed to subside; while certain militia groups dird make
deals with the government which brought some calm in the region; other armed
groups have continued with their terrorist activities. The year 2006 saw a spate of
bombings by ULFA until August when the government agreed to stop its military
operations in the region. The truce only lasted till September, and in November the
military operation resumed. There have been constant attacks on politicians, security
forces and railway construction workers ever since. Like Assam are six other states
with equally fierce movements calling for more autonomy, known as the Seven Sister
States of India. They are situated in the northeastern part of the country, comprising
of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and
Tripura states. The states are joined to rest of India by a narrow piece of land, called
the chicken’s neck.“Seven sisters” in deadly distress – Naga rebels

The region is marked by multiplicity of tribes, ethnicities, cultures and religion. it is
home to around 400 tribes or sub tribes. The whole of northeast India is marred by
conflicts, including infighting amongst various villages, tribes and other warring
factions, all for secession for their many districts, villages and tribes. Violence is also
pitted against migrants of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal.Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya are relatively more peaceful than the rest.

Nagaland is the oldest of insurgencies of India and is believed to have inspired almost
all the ethnic groups in the region. More than 20,000 have been killed before a
ceasefire was announced in 1997. They demand a separate homeland comprising of
mainly Christian dominated areas of Nagaland along with certain areas in Manipur,
Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The region is endowed with oil reserves worth
billions. A state owned company – Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was
forced out of the area until 2006, when it was allowed back in.

The government has been trying to ease tension in the region by striking deals with
the rebel groups but no real breakthrough has been made to ensure a long term peace
in the area. Manipur has been fighting for an independent country since 1974. The
Indian army took control of the state in 1980. Lack of education and job opportunities
has forced many to join separatists groups. Army has been carrying out operations to
tackle the insurgency problem but that has only added to the sufferings of the locals.
Some 6000 people have been displaced because of the operations and rebel fighting.
A controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA has been a subject of
debate and criticism for long. This act gives various concessions to the army which
has led to extreme violation of human rights.

Another issue that haunts Manipur is its proximity to the opium fields of the Golden
Triangle, which has driven people to drug addiction. Incidents of HIV/AIDS are also
on an increase as a result.

The last of the seven states Tripura, has been a refuge for many Bengalis after the war
of 1971, when Bangladesh got its independence. The influx of refugees and the
building of a fence by the government along the border of Bangladesh have prompted
attacks by the two major rebel groups, the National Liberation Front of Tripura
(NLFT) and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF). With thousands homeless and harsh
living conditions, life is miserable for the local population.

The Naxal movement of India was inspired by the revolutionary ideology of Mao
Zedong. The movement feeds on a similar philosophy to that of Nepal’s. It first
originated in the 1960’s in a remote area of West Bengal, Nexalbari. Today it has
under its influence eastern Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar, popularly known as the Red
Corridor. Naxalites (also known as Maoists and Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries)
pose a serious ideological threat to the state of India. Earlier this year, Indian PM
Manmohan Singh, described the rebels as "the single biggest internal security
challenge ever faced by our country.”

The PM had good reasons to grant Naxalites the title of the single biggest internal
security challenge ever.
They have been involved in ruthless train hijacking,
jailbreaks and murder of local politicians. They have refused to accept anything other
than independence, a Naxalite leader has been found saying on record Talks are a
part of our tactical line. Naxalism is not a problem, it is a solution..'
With a strong
army of 15,000 soldiers, the Naxalites control one fifth of India’s total forests. They
have grown into 160 off 604 administrative districts of India.

“India’s single biggest internal security challenge ever faced” – Indian PM on naxal
rebellionThe Indian army has been compelled to arm the villagers to take on these rebels.
They are supplied with guns, spears and bows and arrows. Child soldiers too go
through a rigorous training. The entire forest has been turned into a battlefield. The
battlefront between the Indian army and the Naxalites is one of the most fertile lands
in the entire country, with heavy deposits of natural minerals including iron core,
coal, limestone and bauxite. The land has been sold off to some big Indian companies
to extract the minerals for industrial purposes. This guerilla movement believes in a
violent revolution. With the backing of half of the tribal population, by choice and
otherwise, Naxalites maintain a strict control over the area, most of which is off limits
to the government.

The government has been desperate and has begun a new terror campaign against the
guerillas. As a result the locals are bearing the brunt of these military operations; on
one hand they are tortured and killed by the rebels for supporting the government and
on the other, the mobs backed by the army bundle the villagers into trucks to dump
them at refugee camps where they are met with harsh treatment and tough conditions.
The unrest in the region is growing with each passing day.This battle is perhaps the fiercest of all that India has to encounter on home ground.

Minorities reeling under violence in Hindu secularism
fter the British departure from the sub continent, came into existence two
independent states- India and Pakistan. Pakistan, the Islamic republic of, is
known to be the first country to have been founded on ideological grounds;
Israel being the only other.

Quaid e Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had said at a certain occasion,
"We maintain and hold that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any
definition or test of a nation. We are a nation of a hundred million, and, what is
more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and
literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and
proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and
traditions, aptitudes and ambitions. In short, we have our own distinctive outlook on
life. By all canons of international law we are a nation."

In these words not only had Jinnah refuted his critics who in their twisted logic had
insisted that Muslims and Hindus were nothing but one people, but had at the same
time given Pakistan the ethos on which were to be erected the various institutions of
this newly founded state. Islam was the cause of the birth of this country and only
Islam can justify its existence.

India chose a completely different direction than that of Pakistan; declaring itself a
secular state. With time many such jargons have been attached and detached with the
state name of India as per required- progressive, world’s biggest democracy,
incredible… to quote a few. Phony as they sound, India has been wise in using them
for its best interests. By portraying itself as a state not governed by any religious
philosophy, it targeted the Muslim claim that Muslims couldn’t survive in a country
dominated by Hindus. Last year Indians marked 150 years of the infamous Indian
mutiny of 1857 against the British, celebrating it as a day when the Hindus, Muslims
and Sikhs of India had united against their occupiers to fight for the liberation of their
homeland. It was more than just a mere commemoration of that historic day; it was
yet another attempt to question the legitimacy of Pakistan’s independence movement.
What wasn’t highlighted was the fact that the first seeds of the independence struggle
which ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan were sowed in the wake of this
mutiny. In the days after the uprising was crushed by the British, the Hindu betrayal

of Muslims had forced Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to prophesize that Muslims and Hindus
will never be able to live next to one another in peace.They have used this religious versus secular rhetoric to establish that Pakistan is a
failed state marred by religious sectarianism and violence; a state hostile to the
religious minorities that make up hardly 2% of the total population; a state where
women are oppressed in the name of religion and most recently a state that has
become the breeding ground for terrorists. Thus, a state that poses a serious threat to
world peace. While India stands as a total contrast to its unruly neighbor.
Abraham Lincoln had illustrated the spirit of democracy in the words, of the people,
by the people and for the people.
The authenticity of any country’s democratic status
is measured against this set criterion. That said it is not difficult to determine that
there is nothing democratic, or even secular for that matter, about India.
One of the leading political parties in India is the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]. The
party was in power between 1998 and 2004. It is widely accepted as a radical right
wing political party. Those who share similar radical ideologies with this political
party include the nationalist organization which goes by the name of Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS] and Sangh Parivar. Another such political party is the
Shiv Sena of Maharashtra headed by Bal Thackeray. What’s common between all
these political and nationalist outfits is the radical doctrine of Hinduvta, which
dictates (as mentioned in the "The Struggle for India's Soul," World Policy Journal,
fall 2002) that India is "not only the [Hindu] fatherland but also ... their punyabhumi,
their holy land." To Hindu extremists, all others on this land are viewed as "aliens"
who do not belong there.

Recently The Hindu, a national daily carried comments of Bal Thackeray which
invited Hindus to organize suicide squads in response to the Islamic terror threat to
India. The plea was made after a bomb planted in a movie theatre by Hindu terrorists
had failed to explode. Thackeray was pushing them to make more powerful bombs.
Sociologist Dipankar Gupta explains the mindset of the members of the Shiv Sena

“A good Hindu for the Shiv Sena is not necessarily a person well versed in Hindu
scriptures, but one who is ready and willing to go out and attack Muslims … To be a
good Hindu is to hate Muslims and nothing else.”
(Citizens versus People: the Politics of Majoritarianism and Marginalization in
Democratic India, Sociology of Religion, Spring 2007)
John Dayal while commenting on the book titled "Religious Demography of India"
disrobes the Indian propaganda (forwarded by the said political parties) of inciting
public opinion against Muslim and Christian minorities of India. Much has been said
about such schemes in this commentary and the one that preceded it. Selective pieces

from Dayal’s observations only reaffirm all that has been said. Following are a few
chosen sections which stand strong without the need to be accompanied by any
additional remarks.

“Narendra Modi ensured his continuance and canonization as Chief Minister by
repeating a gutter phrase Hum Paanch Hamare Pachees (we are five - husband and
four wives, and we have twenty-five children, five per wife), perpetuating a myth that
defies both logic and time…The slogan however caught on. Civil society watched in
horror as god fearing, and sensible Hindus, made a beeline to the polling booths to
vote for Modi.”

He continues: “My friend Prof Ram Puniyani wrote a fine piece exploring the
political psychology behind the Hum Panch Hamare Pachees slogan and its success.
Said Ram, "One of the major factors in perpetuation of communal violence is the
doctoring of the mass consciousness. The social common sense is manufactured
in such a way that the targeted community is made to appear as the culprit.
The classic case of' Victim as Culprit'. And that's how so many myths
percolate about the minorities. Apart from the Historical myths the one's
related to demographics are playing a dangerous role in the demonisation of
Muslims in particular.”

One another statement from the same article ties all of this together to the ultimate
dream of the creation of The Greater India:“Liken their patrons in the Sangh, the authors are living in a dream land of Vrihata
Bharat, a Greater India.”Throughout our analysis, we employ the term "India" for
the geographical and historical India that encompasses the three countries into
which India was partitioned in this course of the twentieth century.”
To think that such is only harmless oratory wouldn’t be true. They have practically
demonstrated these principles whenever an opportunity came their way.
The 2002 Gujarat attacks against Muslims were appalling to say the least; they
generated a strong reaction from around the globe. The stories of violence and
bloodshed were so dreadful that even the international media, which otherwise
maintains silence over such issues, couldn’t turn a blind eye to the occurrences in

A human rights watchdog reports the events in a manner all too well known to the
Muslims who survived the atrocities of 1947- The looting and burning of Muslim
homes, businesses, and places of worship was also widespread. Muslim girls and
women were brutally raped. Mass graves have been dug throughout the state.
Gravediggers told Human Rights Watch that bodies keep arriving, burnt and
mutilated beyond recognition

The investigation also brought out the fact that those involved were the members of
the Sangh Parivar. The BJP tried to erase traces that bore marks of their involvement
in this mass murder. But their sins were so ghastly no amount of cover up could hide
the truth. So much so that some within the country were forced to speak against the
then government and their heinous criminal activities.
Smita Narula, senior South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch and author of
the report relates, “What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was
a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims. The attacks were planned in advance
and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government

So cowardly are these terrorists that they only take on their targets where they exit in
small pockets. Never have they dared to step into areas where Muslims live in a
considerable number. This trend is so obvious that Muslims, who in their attempt to
assimilate with the Hindus had chosen to reside in Hindu majority areas, had to find
new homes in Muslim neighborhoods.

But Muslims are not the only targets. Christian minorities too have had a taste of this
vicious campaign which is bent on cleansing India of its alien (non Hindu)
population. Attacks have been made against priests and nuns, also including
institutions like churches, hospitals and even charitable organizations associated with
Christians. Such assaults occurred most frequently under the BJP regime. The
assurance by the PM Vajpayee, that these attacks were isolated incidents and not an
indication of an ethnic war against Christians, convinced but only few.. For these
attacks were simultaneously accompanied by hate literature that was widely
distributed. The compilation included not just quotations, which wrongly established
Christianity as a religion that encourages violence against non Christians but also
carried suggestions as to how to harass them.

Mr. Dara Singh is believed to have been involved in the brutal murder of Graham
Staines along with his two young sons, Philip and Timothy on 22 January 1999 in

Orissa. He and many more like him have never been brought to justice up to date.
And so their malicious acts continue to make India a living hell for such minorities.
But the worst of the worst are those Hindus whose killing is approved by their own

Khairlanji is a remote village in the Bhandara district, in the north-east of the
Maharashtra state of India. On 29th September 2006, a group of upper caste Hindus
attacked a house in the said village and killed four members of Bhaiyyalal
Bhotmange’s family; including his wife Surekha Bhotmange, his daughter Priyanka,
17, his two sons Roshan, 19 and Sudhir 21. Details of the murder as narrated by the
witnesses are soul numbing- they were dragged outside the house, beaten with
bicycle chains, sticks and other weapons that this mob could find at their disposal.
The gang, many of whom were neighbors of this unfortunate family had the women
stripped, raped and killed. Their only offence, they belonged to a lower caste Hindu
family, otherwise known as dalits or untouchables.

In this progressive, secular democratic country, Dalits make up for most part of the
total population. The recent boom in the Indian economy has done little good to these
underprivileged. Between the upper/middle class Hindus and those belonging to the
lower stratum lie barricades that bar the untouchables from getting education, fair job
opportunities or even state sponsored medical and food facilities for their infants.
In Tamil Nadu alone, 45 special types of “untouchability” are practiced by the higher
caste Hindus. Translated in other words, the high class Hindus deem themselves too
high to share their temples, cremation grounds, river bathing points or even their

barbers with dalits and when these boundaries are transgressed, the punishment is
severe.As quoted in a report prepared for the WashingtonPost by Emily Wax; Anup
Srivastava is a researcher with the People's Vigilance Commission on Human Rights
in Varanasi. His job requires him to investigate complaints filed by Dalits about
discrimination among neighbors, in schools, at hospitals and at work. He says, "India
is not a true democracy. The country is independent. But the people aren't. How can
there be a democracy when there are still people known as untouchables who face
daily discrimination?"

To cite references from another article authored by an Indian named, V..B.Rawat, he
protests, “All those who talks of "great democratic" India and non violent and
tolerant Hindu community must address to this issue as where were they when Dalits
were being butchered by the Hindu Upper castes
. Also, “The Hinduism that is being
preached these days is in fact Varnashram dharma which believes in caste
hierarchy…. And this caste system makes India as world's biggest practising racist
country, worst than the South Africa of apartheid period.”

Desperate, most Dalits are forced to convert to other religions, hundreds every year.
But now the silence is being broken. The nobodies of India are taking on the
government, be it through an interview to a foreign magazine or protest on the streets.
They have also found strength in the aphorism majority is authority. The wrath of
dalits is a thing local politicians just cannot afford, especially during election season.
They can swing election results in the favor of any political party that impresses them
or vice versa. These are testing times for the government and a wide interest from
international human rights organizations is only adding pressure.

But of all, violence against women is the most brutal practice justified as a religious
duty in accordance with the teachings of the Hindu Holy Scriptures. The Hindu texts
sanctify the killing of infant girls, by parents who deem themselves not capable of
shouldering the responsibility of having a girl child. The Hindu holy book Bhagvad
Gita clearly calls women embodiment of the worst desires and justifies the killing of

Here is an excerpt from Hindu book which allows killing of women;
“Killing of a woman, a Shudra or an atheist is not sinful. Woman is an embodiment
of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealousy and bad character. Women should never
be given freedom.” Bhagvad Gita (Manu IX. 17 and V. 47, 147)
Similarly another holy script of Hindu religious book preaches looking down upon
women by terming a woman equal to a dog, crow and shudra (a low cast poor Hindu
who has no rights in Hindu society).

“And whilst not coming into contact with Sudras and remains of food; for this
Gharma is he that shines yonder, and he is excellence, truth, and light; but woman,
the Sudra, the dog, and the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at
these, lest he should mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and
untruth.” – Satapatha Brahmana 14:1:1:31.

Perhaps it’s the same teaching of hatred and enmity towards women in Hindu society
that still prevails though in the modern times it is being done in a modern way.
In ancient Hindu society new born girls were buried alive while the practice is very
much prevalent in the so-called secular, democratic India even today. The killing of
newborn babies and the abortion of women fetuses in India is a common practice.
In all cases, specifically female infanticide reflects the low status accorded to women
in most parts of India.

As John-Thor Dahlburg points out, "in rural India, the centuries-old practice of
female infanticide can still be considered a wise course of action." (Dahlburg, "Where
killing baby girls 'is no big sin'," The Los Angeles Times [in The Toronto Star,
February 28, 1994.]) According to census statistics, "From 972 females for every
1,000 males in 1901 the gender imbalance has tilted to 929 females per 1,000 males.
In the nearly 300 poor hamlets of the Usilampatti area of Tamil Nadu [state], as many
as 196 girls died under suspicious circumstances [in 1993] ... Some were fed dry,
unhulled rice that punctured their windpipes, or were made to swallow poisonous
powdered fertilizer. Others were smothered with a wet towel, strangled or allowed to
starve to death." Dahlburg profiles one disturbing case from Tamil Nadu: Lakshmi
already had one daughter, so when she gave birth to a second girl, she killed her. For
the three days of her second child's short life, Lakshmi admits, she refused to nurse
her. To silence the infant's famished cries, the impoverished village woman squeezed
the milky sap from an oleander shrub, mixed it with castor oil, and forced the
poisonous potion down the newborn's throat. The baby bled from the nose, then died
soon afterward.

A study of Tamil Nadu by the Community Service Guild of Madras similarly found
that "female infanticide is rampant" in the state, though only among Hindu (rather
than Moslem or Christian) families. "Of the 1,250 families covered by the study, 740
had only one girl child and 249 agreed directly that they had done away with the
unwanted girl child. More than 213 of the families had more than one male child
whereas half the respondents had only one daughter." (Malavika Karlekar, "The girl
child in India: does she have any rights?," Canadian Woman Studies, March 1995).
A report by PALASH KUMAR published on Dec. 15, 2006 says India Has Killed 10
Million Girls in 20 Years. The report says “Ten million girls have been killed by their
parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately
after, a government minister said on Thursday, describing it as a "national crisis".

A UNICEF report released this week (December 2006) said 7,000 fewer girls are
born in the country every day than the global average would suggest, largely because
female foetuses are aborted after sex determination tests but also through murder of
new borns. "It's shocking figures and we are in a national crisis if you ask me,"
Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury told Reuters..
Girls are seen as liabilities by many Indians, especially because of the banned but
rampant practice of dowry, where the bride's parents pay cash and goods to the
groom's family. Men are also seen as bread-winners while social prejudices deny
women opportunities for education and jobs. "Today, we have the odd distinction of
having lost 10 million girl children in the past 20 years," Chowdhury told a seminar
in Delhi University.

"Who has killed these girl children? Their own parents." In some states, the minister
said, newborn girls have been killed by pouring sand or tobacco juice into their
nostrils. "The minute the child is born and she opens her mouth to cry, they put sand
into her mouth and her nostrils so she chokes and dies," Chowdhury said, referring to
cases in the western desert state of Rajasthan. "They bury infants into pots alive and
bury the pots. They put tobacco into her mouth. They hang them upside down like a
bunch of flowers to dry," she said. "We have more passion for tigers of this country.
We have people fighting for stray dogs on the road. But you have a whole society that
ruthlessly hunts down girl children." The Indian Minister for Women and Child
Development lamented. It is arguably the most brutal and destructive manifestation of
the anti-female bias that pervades in Indian Hindu patriarchal society..

Most such negative attitudes are linked with the oppressive practice of dowry. Girls
who do survive to grow up to be adults are mostly murdered by their husbands or in
laws. Around 5000 women die each year for not bringing enough dowries.
The bias against females in India is related to the fact that "Sons are called upon to
provide the income; they are the ones who do most of the work in the fields. In this
way sons are looked to as a type of insurance. With this perspective, it becomes
clearer that the high value given to males decreases the value given to females."
(Marina Porras, "Female Infanticide and Foeticide".) The problem is also intimately
tied to the institution of dowry, in which the family of a prospective bride must pay
enormous sums of money to the family in which the woman will live after marriage.
Though formally outlawed, the institution is still pervasive.

A woman can be accused by her husband of immorality and must survive walking
through a blazing fire to prove her innocence. It is believed that an innocent woman
can not be harmed in the slightest way by fire. In whose favor are the most cases
decided? This need not be answered in words. Women are killed in a practice called
sati, which is the burning of wife along with the dead body of her husband. Those
who escape with only mutilated organs, a punishment for minor offences are the
lucky ones.

The incidents of death in the ways mentioned, has decreased incredibly since ancient
times. However once every while these practices are revived in some corner of the
country and demands a constant check by the government. Recent international
surveys also suggest that some customs that are hostile towards women are still very
much prevalent in India.

One such incident that gave way to a huge cry all over the world was the compilation
of a report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) that recorded as many
as 50 million girls and women to have gone missing as a result of systematic gender
discrimination in India. Women are also subjected to discrimination and have poor
access to education and food. Spousal violence is a norm, which has driven most of
the Indian women to the streets in frustration.

Deficits in nutrition and health-care also overwhelmingly target female children.
Karlekar cites research indicat[ing] a definite bias in feeding boys milk and milk
products and eggs In Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh [states], it is usual for girls and
women to eat less than men and boys and to have their meal after the men and boys
had finished eating. Greater mobility outside the home provides boys with the
opportunity to eat sweets and fruit from saved-up pocket money or from money given
to buy articles for food consumption. In case of illness, it is usually boys who have
preference in health care. ... More is spent on clothing for boys than for girls which
also affects morbidity. (Karlekar, "The girl child in India.")

Sunita Kishor reports "another disturbing finding," namely "that, despite the
increased ability to command essential food and medical resources associated with
development, female children [in India] do not improve their survival chances
relative to male children with gains in development. Relatively high levels of
agricultural development decrease the life chances of females while leaving males'
life chances unaffected; urbanization increases the life chances of males more than
females. Clearly, gender-based discrimination in the allocation of resources persists
and even increases, even when availability of resources is not a constraint."
(Kishor, "'May God Give Sons to All': Gender and Child Mortality in India,"
American Sociological Review
, 58: 2 [April 1993], p. 262.)

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of India unearthed some extremely
disturbing trends in India. Statistics suggest that in 2005 around 50 women were
raped and 480 molested and abducted, every day. India is also to known to have the
highest rate of violence against pregnant women; around 50% were kicked while
pregnant- some 74.8% tried to commit suicide. While one can continue to delve into
such matters to bring to light the ugly truth of the present Indian state that is adamant
in its claim to be a secular democracy, it is only a matter of time that these oppressed
factions will threaten the establishment. The fate of every Pharaoh has been nothing
but disgrace and death. This is the law of nature, which will not change its course no
matter what the epoch.
End of Part 2.

Leader's letter to Hamas
Fri, 16 Jan 2009

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei'
The following is the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah
Seyyed Ali Khamenei's letter to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya in which
the Leader praises the bravery of resistance fighters in the Gaza

In the Name of God the Compassionate and the Merciful

To the Hamas leader Ismail Haniya

"Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings"

The 20-day perseverance of you, the courageous resistance fighters
and the people of Gaza against one of the most atrocious war crimes
in the history of the world has hoisted the flag of glory overhead
the Islamic Ummah. You have proven that Muslim hearts filled with
confidence in God and the Day of Judgment, which will not bow to
oppression, can create such heroism that will bring the arrogant
powers of the world and their well-equipped armies to their knees.

The army, which you have managed with your perseverance to keep
outside Gaza City for the past 20 days, is the same army that took
large portions of three Arab states in just six days.

You must be proud of your unshakable faith in God almighty and his
promises, of your courage, patience and sacrifices, as today, the
whole of the Muslim world is proud of it. Your resistance has brought
shame on the US, the Zionist regime and their supporters in the
United Nations and in certain Islamic countries.

Today, not only Muslim nations, but also many European and American
nations have acknowledged your righteousness. In our eyes, you are
victorious today and with the continuation of your resistance, you
will further bring shame to the enemy.

You must remember that "Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has He
become displeased," and that "Soon your Lord will give you so that
you shall be well pleased," God willing.

But even so the atrocities committed in Gaza and the death of
innocent Palestinians, especially the children, has deeply saddened
us. Our entire nation is in mourning because of the crimes committed
by the occupiers of Palestine which are broadcast from our television
channels everyday.

I pray to God for a speedy victory. As God almighty never goes back
on his promises and has said "And surely Allah will help him who
helps His cause; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty" and "Those who
strive, strive for their own good"….

Those among the Arab world who have committed treachery must know
that a fate no better than that of the Jewish people involved in the
battle of the clans will befall them, as God almighty has said "He
also brought down their allies among the people of the scripture from
their secure positions."

The nations of the world stand beside the people and resistance
fighters of Gaza. Any government that goes against the will of its
nation will further distance itself from its people and the fate of
such government is obvious.

They must remember that the Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abi
Talib has said "Living a life of defeat is death and a death with
dignity is life."

I salute you and the resistance fighters of Gaza and the oppressed
and resistant people of Gaza.

Aside from the Islamic Republic of Iran's efforts to aid you, which
we have viewed it as our duty, I pray for you day and night. I wish
you patience and victory from God almighty.

"Peace be unto you and unto every pious person so may the mercy of
Allah and His blessings"

Seyyed Ali Khamenei

July 4, 2001 Quotes from Tariq Majeed, a defense analyst and author of “MASTERMINDS of AIR MASSACRES’ published August 2006:

“The scheme in the Gulf is a part—the final stage—of Zinjry’s Global Plot to fulfill the aims of Zionism and seize direct control of the world. The goals include: expanding the geographical boundaries of Israel; breaking up all other countries into mini-states or cantons on ethnic, linguistic or sectarian lines and disintegrating or diluting their military assets, including nuclear power; privatizing all their essential services, communications, transportation, media, banks, financial institutions and development projects, thus giving the control of the mini-states to Multinational Companies, IMF and the World Bank, all of which are in the hands of Zionist Jews; secularizing the educational systems and the political institutions; eliminating religious customs and practices and the institutions of formal marriage and home life; enforcing the Zionist culture of obscenity, promiscuity, total freedom of women and children, and freedom of all immoral forms of amusement and pleasure.” --The Real Nature of the India-Pakistan Conflict and the Global Game that Surrounds and Directs it, published in a Lahore monthly, Vision, in Sept 2001pp. 355, 356.

“Sensible Americans should be able to realize why Senator John Tower, chosen by Bush for the post of US defense secretary was prevented from getting the post on an utterly frivolous allegation, and why, in September 1990, General Michael Dugan, the US Air Force Chief, was removed from his post by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney? Zinjry knew it would not be able to easily manipulate them to play the Zionist Game.” -- (p. 357).

“With this exposure it is equally imperative to expose Zinjry’s henchmen and instruments: Al-Qaida, Osama Bin Laden, Mulla Omar, Ayman AlZawahri, Abu Mossab AlZarqawi and the likes of them. As mentioned earlier, it is immaterial whether these so-called Jihadis or Jihadists are doing it knowingly or unknowingly but they are serving Zinjry as its most useful and effective agents in the implementation of its evil Plot against Muslim Ummah. They are the foundation on which America’s War on Terrorism, that in reality is World Zionism’s War Against Muslims, stands. Expose them as Zionism’s own creation, and the entire structure of the so-called War on Terrorism will crumble.”

“Zonism’s diabolical Plot is: enslaving all humanity under Zionist rule, banishing God from the people’s minds and lives and making them worship Satan. Will Zinjry succeed in reaching its goals? Can it be stopped?”

“We cannot ignore the ground realities. After doggedly pursuing its secret satanic schemes against divine religion and humanity for centuries, with ups and downs, Zionism has clearly met with triumph in the 20th century. Dressed as Capitalism [and Communism], Zionism rules the governmental machinery as the politico-economic ideology for policymaking in almost every country in the world. Most of the countries, including Russia, India and China, and even some Muslim Countries, have also accepted it as the guiding philosophy for their social, educational and information systems. The UN with its global network is an arm of Zionism. Zinjry is, thus, very close to establishing a Zionist World Order.”

“There is only one obstacle in its way—the cultural, ideological and spiritual system of Islam. And herein lie the means to not only block its path but also turn it back. But the means have to be comprehended and developed by the followers of Islam, or to be specific, by the leading sections of Muslims. Only then the battle can be joined. “


By Tariq Majeed

“When we at last definitely come into our [Anti-Christ] kingdom by the aid of coups d’état prepared everywhere for one and the same day, after the worthlessness of all existing forms of government has been definitely acknowledged we shall make it our task to see that against us such things as plots shall no longer exist.” -- Protocol 15, para 1 – Protocols of the Elders [Lunatics] of Zion.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him [Lucifer], firm in your faith.” – Peter 5:8-9.

“Those before them did (also) devise plots; but in all things the master-planning is God’s. He knows the doings of every soul; and soon will the conspirators know who gets home in the end”. —Qur’an, 13: 42.

Starting Gun

The Mega-Terror of Sept 11 was the starting gun for the last lap in the Zionist International Jewry’s race to its major End Goals. This hidden Cabal of anti-God, anti-Humanity Zionist Jews has been stealthily but methodically marching on for centuries toward diabolical goals that it has been also refining and expanding all along.

The Zinjry had captured whole of the Christian World in its invisible clutches by the end of the 19th century and turned its guns fully onto the Muslims and Islam. It was sure that before the 20th century closed, it could engender its planned worldwide tectonic upheavals and fulfill its key final goals of setting up One-World Government and imposing the satanic creed of Zionism as the universal ideology and way of life. And as the century and the millennium turned, it would ring out a dramatic declaration of its global rule!

The Zinjry failed to enforce its timetable in the last quarter of the century. The second stage in the final phase of its Global Plot was delayed by 10 years or so. However, with its terror strikes in America successfully pulled off, Zinjry moved its machinery into high gear to get to its final goals as quickly as possible.

Zinjry’s game is extremely devious. It is only by thoroughly studying its composition, nature and conduct and by learning to decipher the code that it uses to have its programs implemented by the deceived nations of the world, that one can read its actions and aims. This process, combined with certain other inputs, enabled me to envision its villainous projects and intentions. In this context shedding some more light on the 9/11 Terror is useful.

A Forecast of Cataclysmic Events

The horror of the Air Attacks at WTC and the Pentagon, all the more magnified by the fear and suspense that the Media imparted to the coverage of the events, shocked and stupefied the Americans, and the world. This was a designed effect of the preplanned terrorism. As I mentioned earlier, I was surprised at the method of the terrorist act and its targets but not shocked at its occurrence. I had expected cataclysmic events and had predicted in July 2001 that such events would occur.
As General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s President, Chief Executive and Chief of the Army Staff, prepared for a summit with Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee to be held in Delhi (Agra) from 14 to 16 July 2001, I wrote a special point paper on 4 July and dispatched it to him, the Navy and Air Force Chiefs and the other top commanders. Its title was The Real Nature of the India-Pakistan Conflict and the Global Game that Surrounds and Directs it. The paper was also published, first in a Lahore monthly, Vision, in Sept 2001, and subsequently in another monthly, Voice of Islam, and a weekly, Orbit, also of Lahore.

I discussed in it the Kashmir Dispute, the Israel-India Linkage, and the issue of Strategic Parity that is the core reason of India’s irreconcilable hostility toward Pakistan. I also gave an overview of the ZINJRY and its aims, and predicted occurrence of “engineered cataclysmic events” with “the Zionist Game centered on Osama and the Taliban.”

The entire July 4, 2001, paper remains strikingly relevant. Here are some excerpts:

Prime Movers of Events. India is not the only entity with this aim (of undoing Pakistan). There is another entity, more powerful and sinister, the Zionist Jewry, which has the same aim and which has India aligned with it for this specific purpose. India is Zinjry’s most useful tool against China and, more so, Pakistan. Whatever is happening in India and Pakistan, and the other countries, is according to Zinjry’s schemes - the Zionist Agenda.

The Zionist schemers are the prime movers of the (Agra) summit on Kashmir, and it is their plan on which the settlement or the accord would be based. This must be kept in mind. The accord won't be coming soon; only principles will be set now. The plan envisages in this area and the nearby regions: change of government on both sides, political turmoil, greater US pressure and animosity toward Pakistan, etc. What is happening in the Middle East, and the Israeli savagery against the Palestinians, is a deliberate, planned course of events.

Orchestration of Cataclysmic Events.

The Zionist Game centered on Osama and the Taliban, who go along with it, is also shaping toward a critical turn. There are other crises brewing below the surface. The point is that the Zionist schemers have brought about the big turn in the Kashmir Dispute at this juncture, because they are aiming at an orchestration of several cataclysmic events that they intend to engineer. A new political environment is in the offing. Series of Cataclysmic Developments That was written in July 2001. And the Zionist Game that followed was, exactly as forecast, “centered on Osama and the Taliban” with “an orchestration of cataclysmic events!”

Cataclysmic events didn’t take long to come. September 11 was one cataclysm. The US Blitzkrieg on Afghanistan, let loose on 7 October 2001, was another cataclysm. The third cataclysmic storm was the US Attack on Iraq, launched on 21 March 2003. These cataclysms deeply affected Pakistan, yet there were other upheavals in the wake of 9/11 that were also cataclysmic by any reckoning. The offensive and insulting behavior, assumed enbloc by the Western Countries toward the Muslim people, Muslim Countries and Islam, was nothing less than a cataclysmic phenomenon.

Saudi Arabia faced a cataclysmic situation that hit at not only its strategic interests but also its political stability and governmental system. The US policymakers and media managers, who had long hailed it as a most trustworthy and pliant ally of America, all of a sudden turned vehemently hostile to Saudi Arabia depicting it as an enemy of the Western political and cultural values! The Saudi rulers were flabbergasted at this unimaginable change.

Pakistan’s rulers were coerced into conceding the most vital national interest—the country’s sovereignty! The shock treatment given to the military decision makers and the enormity of what they had been made to surrender stunned the nation. The United States demanded, and got possession of several air and naval bases on Pakistan’s soil, and the Pakistan Air Force and Navy were ordered by the government to vacate the bases. The government was compelled to provide logistical and intelligence support to the US Central Command for its invasion and subsequent war operations against Afghanistan. It let CIA and FBI operate in Pakistan under US control. Further, it acquiesced on a most sensitive matter: it let the US ground and air forces carry out search and slaughter operations in Pakistan’s own territory, its Tribal Areas—a vitally important and sensitive area along the border with Afghanistan.

These and other similarly inimical measures were thrust upon Pakistan like a whirlwind, immediately after 9/11. Once the Army regime in Pakistan had shown acquiescence in these matters, the US kept it bending in that posture while demanding Pakistan meet not only other US interests but also the interests of Israel and India. While Pakistan was shaken by these cyclonic developments, it encountered another critical situation that threatened war! In December 2001, India, using the pretext of an engineered terrorist attack on its parliament building in Delhi, massed its army and air force, along the border with Pakistan, in full strength and poised for war. Pakistan had to reciprocate and order its own forces to the front. The two armies remained face to face for over a year before standing down.

Orchestration of several cataclysmic events and a new political environment, that I had anticipated, turned out also to be true. The new, ever-changing, political environment was so staggering that people were still dazed, four years after 9/11!

Process of Forecasting

My forecast of cataclysmic events was not derived from any isolated analysis or select case study. It was a result of a painstaking and methodical process involving a number of inputs. One major input came from constant observation and analysis of a wide range of national, regional and international issues and events. Another was from a critical study of the Zionist Protocols and Zinjry’s Goals. A third source was the knowledge of its ongoing schemes and strategies and of its various programmed puppets.

From my study of a number of major events, e.g., the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the ensuing Guerrilla War by the Afghans, the Iraq-Iran War, and the emerging European Union as a super-state, it was obvious that, toward the end of the 1980s, the Zinjry’s Game for global control was entering its final phase. I also knew that in this phase its main target was Islam and the Muslim World, and in that its most malicious schemes were focused on the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

To begin the turmoil to initiate this phase, whom would Zinjry use but Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, and George Bush Sr, president of America! Both had been serving Zinjry for many years and were considered fit to respond to the new schemes as directed. Saddam’s handlers guided him to invade and occupy Kuwait. Bush’s handlers advised him to give a befitting response—invade Kuwait, to free it from Iraqi occupation!

The 1991 US War on Iraq—Forerunner of 9/11

As America attacked Iraq on, 17 January 1991, I exposed the Game plan in writing. My first article, in Urdu, was published in a couple of weeklies and also as a monograph. The second, in English, appeared in the Nation on 2 and 3 February 1991, under the title The Zionist Jewry and the US-Iraq Gulf War, and in the Pakistan Times on 4 February, titled as Gulf Crisis is the Design of Zionist Jewry. It is included in my 1995 book on Global Game.

The entire article is valuable, as it provides an excellent perspective and explanation to the 9/11 horror and the cataclysms that have occurred and those that are to come. It is also useful for understanding and combating the dangerous and confounding current situation. However, quoting a few passages from it may be adequately instructive. Readers should keep it in mind that the article was written 15 years ago, in January 1991, as the scenario it describes is amazingly similar to the present situation.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Iraq’s tiny neighbor Kuwait on 2 August 1990, thus creating the conditions for starting a war in the Middle East, the world was surprised by that sudden move. For the Zionist leadership of the world’s Jews, however, it was the reward of their sustained efforts of at least forty years of planning and manipulation. (p. 355).

To the people the obvious manipulator seems to be the United States. Actually, US Administration led by President Bush is itself an instrument in the unseen hands of another entity. The Gulf Crisis, the ongoing War, the Catastrophes that will still come are not the work of America, but the schemes of the Zionist Jewry. The Jews are directing the War from both sides—fairly visible on one side, hidden on the other. (p. 355).

The scheme in the Gulf is a part—the final stage—of Zinjry’s Global Plot to fulfill the aims of Zionism and seize direct control of the world. The goals include: expanding the geographical boundaries of Israel; breaking up all other countries into mini-states or cantons on ethnic, linguistic or sectarian lines and disintegrating or diluting their military assets, including nuclear power; privatizing all their essential services, communications, transportation, media, banks, financial institutions and development projects, thus giving the control of the mini-states to Multinational Companies, IMF and the World Bank, all of which are in the hands of Zionist Jews; secularizing the educational systems and the political institutions; eliminating religious customs and practices and the institutions of formal marriage and home life; enforcing the Zionist culture of obscenity, promiscuity, total freedom of women and children, and freedom of all immoral forms of amusement and pleasure. (pp. 355, 356).

Any intelligent Pakistani should be able to note the success of these Zionist Goals in Pakistan. The same thing is happening in every other country, including China. (p. 356).

The crisis in the Gulf is primarily aimed at demolishing the existing and potential power of the Muslim Countries and radically changing their geographical and political status and their psychosocial conditions, as mentioned above. One of its major victims is going to be the American Nation. Thousands of American dead bodies, including those of female soldiers, would return to the US. Americans will be killed not only by direct war but also by terrorism created by Zinjry, partly as a result of natural reaction against Americans amongst the Arabs, but more by the Jewish Mafia whose terrorists from amongst Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian, Moroccan and Egyptian Jews look and speak like native Arabs. (p. 356).

It is in the Zionist Plot to disintegrate the American political unity and power, and to do the same with the Soviet Union, China and India. Right now in the United States, the fervent supporters of the War are Jews, and its strongest opponents leading the movement against the War are also Jews! They are always active on both sides of the fence, i.e., in both camps. (p. 356).

Sensible Americans should be able to realize why Senator John Tower, chosen by Bush for the post of US defense secretary was prevented from getting the post on an utterly frivolous allegation, and why, in September 1990, General Michael Dugan, the US Air Force Chief, was removed from his post by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney? Zinjry knew it would not be able to easily manipulate them to play the Zionist Game. (p. 357).

According to Zinjry’s Global Plot, the Gulf War/Crisis would last for around seven years. All the disasters, so far projected in the Zinjry’s media: shortage of oil supplies, escalation of petroleum price to around $ 60 per barrel, big fires in the Gulf oil wells, severe economic depression, great bloodshed and devastation, use of chemical and nuclear weapons, would take place. Israel would enter the war and then all Middle Easy countries, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, etc, would also declare war. The US, which has a defense pact with Israel, will be made to defend it, and American men and women soldiers will be killed for the sake of the Zionist state. (p. 361).

Saudi Arabia will have a new leadership who will fight against Israel and the United States, with the enemy troops on its soil. (p. 361).

Zinjry will continue to employ its other strategies of psychological and subversive warfare to engineer coups and crises, and shape the events, as it wants. It will create conditions to oust King Hussein and establish a secular, pro-US, and pro-Israel Palestinian state within Jordan. The Soviet Central Asia will be turned into independent Cantons. Zinjry employs multi-layered deception in its schemes and exploits everything in its favour. It will use the spirit of Islam in the Central Asian Soviet Republics to separate them from the Soviet Union, and then will instigate their linguistic and religious feelings to reshape them into ethnic units. Ethnic and sectarian prejudices are being inflamed side by side with Islamic fervor, in the people there. (p. 361).

If the Muslims wish for a positive outcome of the current crises, they must act to deserve it. The first requirement is to put up a determined struggle against the enemy of Islam and Muslim Ummah. But the struggle will be useless if the real nature of the enemy is not known. For example, the Muslim leaders and policymakers do not know how the Jewish people, Zinjry’s principal asset, are organized and directed to produce the required results. (p. 361).

Two Stages in the Phase

What I wrote on the First US War on Iraq may have looked farfetched or puzzling to probably many people in January 1991. It won’t look so now. The course of events has by and large confirmed my assessment. The price of oil, $24/bbl in early 1991, had shot up to $50/bbl in October 2004 and was $60/bbl in August 2005, The Soviet Central Asia had broken up into independent states, each of which was facing engineered ethnic and religious conflicts, and Israel was setting up a phony Palestinian state. If certain developments, e.g., severe economic depression, scarcity of oil supplies, etc, had not yet materialized, they were merely farther down in the Zinjry’s timeline.

Here, I should explain a point about the nature of this phase. When the Zionist schemers launched their Weapon of Mass Deception, Saddam Hussein, in Kuwait, I knew right away that they had activated the final phase of their demonic 100-year Plot. Being aware that they sought full victory by the end of the 1990s, I reckoned they would now let loose on the world the storm of crippling catastrophes, war and mega-terror, which they claim is essential for grabbing global control, and the phase would be an unbroken period of multiplying disasters and chaos lasting for seven years or so.

Only a bit later did I realize that Zinjry was rescheduling its deviltries in stages during this phase, and that it had fallen well behind its schedule. Zinjry’s trick of leaving its WMD in power in Iraq after liberating Kuwait showed that Saddam had still more role to play—to bring doom and destruction on Iraq and the region. This and the other planned disasters were left for the next stage or stages. The terror-blasts of Sept 11, 2001, heralded the second stage.

Brief Introduction to the Zionist Plot

Much of Zionism’s alarming Plot is already sketched in the previous chapters. It looks more dreadful when its many evil features are seen enbloc. Will Zinjry succeed in reaching its goals? Can it be stopped?

We cannot ignore the ground realities. After doggedly pursuing its secret satanic schemes against divine religion and humanity for centuries, with ups and downs, Zionism has clearly met with triumph in the 20th century. Dressed as Capitalism, Zionism rules the governmental machinery as the politico-economic ideology for policymaking in almost every country in the world. Most of the countries, including Russia, India and China, and even some Muslim Countries, have also accepted it as the guiding philosophy for their social, educational and information systems. The UN with its global network is an arm of Zionism. Zinjry is, thus, very close to establishing a Zionist World Order.

There is only one obstacle in its way—the cultural, ideological and spiritual system of Islam. And herein lie the means to not only block its path but also turn it back. But the means have to be comprehended and developed by the followers of Islam, or to be specific, by the leading sections of Muslims. Only then the battle can be joined. This has to be done soon, which is possible, as the instructions required in this regard are given in the Holy Qur’an.

About twenty-five years ago as I began to define and list Zinjry’s aims, I assessed these fell into three parts, which I termed as Immediate Objectives, Intermediate Aims, and Final Goals. A decade later, I found the Objectives, having been met, had merged into the Aims, and the Goals looked ominously closer! Now the Aims are fused into the Goals.

While pondering Zinjry’s Plot, two things ought to be kept in mind. A big part of this last Phase is already in place, since its first stage that was facilitated so efficiently by the agent Saddam who was kept disguised till the end of his task. Now in the second stage, Osama will facilitate Zinjry in its end Goals just as efficiently and deceptively, unless he is exposed, as what he really is: a great tool in the hands of the Zionists who have turned him into a most lethal weapon against Islam and the Muslim Ummah.

End Game and Goals of Zionism’s Diabolical Plot

In briefest words, Zionism’s diabolical Plot is: enslaving all humanity under Zionist rule, banishing God from the people’s minds and lives and making them worship Satan.

Would the Muslim rulers and leaders of society realize that the foremost target of World Zionism and the Zionist State of Israel, which a number of them have befriended, is Islam? An insight into what the Zionist Jewry plans to achieve in all the spheres of life is actually given in the foregoing chapters. A look at some of the more malicious and critical Zionist/Israeli goals is again offered below.

¦ Targeting Islam. Attacking Islam in countless ways from every side; Making all Islamic fundamental beliefs, constituents, commands, precepts, prayers and practices look controversial, irrational, outdated and impracticable; Creating and deepening conflict between various sects in Islam; Intensifying subversion of Islam from within through programmed Muslim zealots like Osama, Mullah Omar, Zawahri, Zarqawi etc, programmed westernized Muslim females, and disguised Zionist Jews and Gentiles infiltrated into Muslim communities; Making Muslims confused and disenchanted with their religion.

¦ Targeting the Qur’an. Manufacturing an extensive make-believe case against the authenticity and divine nature of the Sacred Qur’an; Portraying this revealed Book as a man-made work like the Old and the New Testaments and producing forged proofs to back this propaganda; Alleging that the Qur’an teaches terrorism, hatred of non-Muslims particularly the Jews, violation of human rights, suppression of women, handing out cruel punishments, restricting human freedom; Launching an international campaign demanding that all the Verses considered objectionable be expunged from the Qur’an; Producing clandestinely such a forged Koran and distributing it widely; Demanding, and imposing, international measures for banning recitation of the Qur’an on radio and television and in public, then banning its publication and import in the Western Countries followed by other countries.

¦ Targeting the Prophet of Islam: Spreading cleverly crafted disinformation casting doubt on the personality and life, and even the existence in history, of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); Making him target of worldwide blasphemous propaganda through electronic and print media and literature, including text books; Breaking the universally long-accepted sacred tradition of not making the Prophet of Islam a subject in pictures and not portraying him in films, videos, CDs and other visual channels; Gathering by remote imaging and other technologies detailed data of the contents in the crypt under the tomb of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in Madinah; Stepping up their centuries-old secret quest for underground access to break into the grave, with the intention of stealing the coffin and at a preplanned time, regardless of success or failure in the break-in, broadcasting fabricated news that the grave was broken into by a terrorist group but found empty, projecting the incident as a ‘virtual reality’ and thereby unleashing an emotional and political storm in the Muslim World, and advancing several Zionist goals at the same time.

¦ Forcing Entry of Jews into Madinah. Putting into effect the long-held Zionist scheme of having Madinah opened for occupancy of [Askenazi European] Jews; Arranging international backing for claim of Jews to return to Madinah; Citing for Jewish claim on Madinah the precedent of acceptance of the Jewish claim on Palestine and their right to return and occupy the area, citing the establishment of state of Israel as a precedent, and the cases of the expulsion of Jews from various European countries in the 13th and 14th centuries and their subsequent return to these countries; Producing historical data and fabricated documentary proofs for the right of Jews to resettle in Madinah, its suburb of Khyber and at other places, where Jewish settlements existed in the Arabian peninsula at the time of the advent of Islam, and their right to reclaim their land and property; Demanding with the Western Countries’ backing that Jews having suffered expulsion be also financially compensated by Saudi Arabia and the other Arab States of the Gulf.
¦ Targeting the Sacred Ka’bah. Executing the heinous Zionist scheme, at the programmed time, of demolishing the Ka’bah through aerial or underground attack, using their Muslim puppets and/or disguised Jewish Bondsmen; Propagating that terrorists were responsible for the crime; Letting loose massive unrest among the Muslims and exploiting the blind mobs to heap more harm on the Muslim States and Communities.

¦ Blocking Hajj. Halting or obstructing performance of Hajj by Muslims, thus striking at one of the great pillars of the Islamic system of prayers and spiritual exaltation, and of the unity of Muslim Ummah; Even with Ka’bah intact, blocking the Hajj on one or more occasions by covertly obstructing by wicked tricks the gathering of Muslims in Makkah; Halting the Hajj for several years by attacking and demolishing the Ka’bah; Throwing the Muslims into utter hopelessness and demoralization; Declaring at some stage that Jews, and even Christians, had also a right to perform Hajj in their own way as Hajj is a tradition of Prophet Abraham.

¦ Destroying Masjid AlAqsa. At a programmed time demolishing Masjid AlAqsa by planned clandestine means, fire, underground explosion, etc, employing trained Zionist agents but broadcasting it as an act of madmen or terrorists; Strengthening the hands of Mossad’s Al-Qaida terrorists and creating upheaval in the Muslim World; Preventing rebuilding of the Mosque, disregarding protests by Muslim public while keeping their puppet Muslim leaders incapable of taking any effective action.

¦ Erecting Temple of Zionism. Building a Temple on the site of the AlAqsa Mosque, deceiving people into believing it to be Solomon’s Temple, and claiming it was a biblical right of Jews to rebuild the Temple; Outwardly giving the structure the so-called original shape of the Solomon’s Temple, but stealthily instituting in it blasphemous symbols and signs and profane forms characteristic of the creed of Zionism; Cleverly proclaiming the building to be a Three-Faiths Temple—a place of worship for the Three Faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Gradually orientating the Three-Faiths’ rites and forms of worship to those of Zionism; Declaring, after crafting a favourable political and psychological environment and silencing potential opponents, that the Temple, in fact, was for worship of the goddess of Zionism—the ‘sacred feminine Lucifer—source of light, through which people were transformed into Illuminati, the receivers of light.’

¦ Setting up a Make-Believe Palestinian State. Creating a bogus Palestinian state, using the ever-pliant Puppet PLO leaders and the long-disguised Zionist agents within the various Palestinian groups; Allocating geographically detached walled-enclaves having Palestinian residents, guarded by Israeli soldiers, to form a so-called Palestinian state, and keeping it under Israel’s rule, but making the world believe by deceptive propaganda as if the new entity was an independent state; Engendering more unrest and civil war among the Palestinians, banning the return of the Palestinian Refugees to the Palestinian state, Keeping Jerusalem and the West Bank under Israeli occupation but announcing to the world that the Palestinian problem had been settled.

¦ Obtaining Recognition for Israel and “Greater Israel.” Forcing the leading Muslim Countries, especially Pakistan, to recognize Israel without any conditions, thus automatically also gaining from them recognition for the so-called Greater Israel, to which the present Zionist state delineates its boundaries; For this purpose, subjecting the Muslim Countries, especially Pakistan, to intense psychological propaganda and deception, and exerting on them immense pressure through United States, European Union, Russia, Japan, IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and other such entities; Completing the process of enforcing full diplomatic relations with the entire Muslim World before letting it be known that Israel was synonymous with Greater Israel.

¦ Advancing toward Greater Israel. After acceptance of Israel by all the Muslim Countries, letting the world know, first indirectly then plainly, of Israel’s claim, and aim, to expand to biblical boundaries; Letting it be known that the ‘historical claim’ of the Jews to reestablish their state in Palestine actually pertained to the Expanded State, and the creation of Israel in 1948 in a small area was just its first stage, and that the international recognition given to Israel was a recognition of its expanded biblical borders; Formally establishing the so-called Greater Israel, may be giving it a new name to deceive the world—especially the Muslims.

¦ Producing Make-Believe Proofs for Absolving Zionist Jews of their Evil Deeds described in the Bible and the Qur’an. Bringing out strings of crafted virtually real evidence, showing that the Jews were not responsible for crucifixion of Jesus Christ and that the Bible and the Qur’an had charged them wrongly of various evils; Orchestrating this publicity with propaganda that Zionist Jews are specially gifted people.

¦ Manufacturing Discovery of a Clan of the Seed of David and Setting up one of its members as King of the Jews and of the One-World Government. Accepting the historical fact of Prophet Jesus being Jewish and from the seed of Prophet David, unearthing a Jewish family from the bloodline of Jesus and declaring one of its members as the legitimate King of the Jews and the Zionist World Government.

¦ Extending NATO to M-E and South Asia. After or before Israel’s entry, incorporating into NATO some of the US satellites in the region, e.g., Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman, in their current or future geographical shape; Enrolling Afghanistan, intact or fragmented, into NATO, then extending NATO’s arms to take in Pakistan and India.

¦ Stirring Ethnocentricity. Breeding narrow ethnic prejudices and mind-set in the people to make ethnicity, i.e., racial, linguistic, sectarian or tribal feelings, predominant in their view of communal existence; Creating Sub-Nationalism or Chauvinism of Ethnocentricity to displace Nationalism, Religion and the other motivations of national or communal unity and thus shatter nations into ethnic fragments.

¦ Extinguishing the Nation States. Breaking up the existing States, including America, Canada, Australia, Britain, China, India, South Africa, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Iraq, Turkey, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and all the others that were founded and internally united by the concept and motivation of multi-ethnic Nationalism; Extinguishing the independent status and even the existing names of the present and future member states of the European Union by fully absorbing them within the Union, and fragmenting each of them into small political entities and integrating the entities in the Union as separate members.

¦ Creation of Mini/City States. In the process of dismantling and demolishing the Nation-State Countries, carving up each country into Ethnic Mini States and Multi-Nationalities City States, e.g., Bombay, Delhi, London, Tokyo, New York, etc, to be Multi-Nationalities City States like Singapore, while Amritsar in India to be an Ethnic Sikh State, Barcelona in Spain to be an Ethnic Basque State, Wales, Cornwall, York, etc, in Britain also to be Ethnic Mini-States; Creating the conditions that should compel people of common ethnicity to move into their future Ethnic States; Crafting such measures as would ensure that in every Muslim mini/city state, over a period of time, Non-Muslims become the majority population and the controllers of the political, economic, administrative and social affairs of the state.

¦ Regional Federations. Tying together every region’s Mini/City States in a Regional Federation, on the model of the European Union, under a Federal Government, with the constituent mini/city states having the status of district governments; Governing all the mini/city states through a Federal Constitution giving full powers to the Federal Government in all the major sectors of life, Economy, Defense, Finance, Currency, Education, Culture, Industry, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs.

¦ Regional Banks. Setting up a Regional Bank in each Regional Federation as the Central Bank for all the Mini/City States; the Regional Bank to control the Currency, the local banks and the financial and trading activities related to banking, in the Federation.

¦ Making Muslim Politico-Religious Parties Faithful Supporters of the wretched Western Political System. By covert manipulation of the political environment and the election process, letting the so-called Islamist Political Parties win limited success in certain Muslim states, for Zionism’s own hidden aims, thus deceiving them and the Muslim masses into accepting the vile system of Western Democracy.

¦ Enforcing a New Political System and Political Culture. Replacing the existing form of Democracy, Election System etc, with new institutions and systems, still more suitable for the Zionist Order; Making it obligatory to hold elections under UN supervision; Appointing in each state political rulers, decision makers and policy planners by selection and nomination and not by elections or from governmental cadres; Imposing a new political culture making all kinds of disabled, queer and immoral characters eligible to participate in every political process and to enter government service, thus permitting blind, crippled or otherwise seriously handicapped persons, eunuchs, male and female homosexuals and sex sellers to be members of parliament, leaders in politics and rulers in states.

¦ Zionist Order in Islamic Camouflage. On setting up the anti-God, anti-Islam Zionist One-World Regime, Instituting certain attractive Islamic measures, such as, eliminating interest from banking and commerce, heavily taxing the rich, making it easier for the public to obtain justice, propagating that working of the One-World Government and the process of appointing its leaders and advisers is akin to the order of Caliphate, etc, thereby deceiving the Muslims by this illusion and creating from among them a lobby in support of the Zionist Government.

¦ Universal Holiday on Saturday. Making Sabbath (Saturday) that is the religious “rest-day” of Jews a compulsory weekly holiday along with Sunday throughout the world; Forcing Muslim Countries to discard Friday as a holiday.

¦ Zionist-Declared International Days. Making all countries observe the so-called International Days, ost

Teji Malik wrote:

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 13:42:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Teji Malik
Subject: Re: Obama's omission of .......... religion.. WE SIKHS SHOULD NOT ACT SO HASTELY...

Dr Sahib,

Guru Fateh.

First of all my name is Tejwant. Secondly :

I agree that he should have mentioned Sikhs , Buddhists, American Indians etc. etc. He should have added those lines. But on the other side you all are missing the point. He was quoting Jefferson what the state of Virginia tried to do was to add JESUS CHRIST is the constitution which he objected to. Those are Jefferson's words. Not President Obama's.

So we are mixing apples and oranges and being sensitive without knowing the facts. Many Sikhs who griped about it did not even have the curiousity to do some research. Isn' t that the duty of all the Seekers- Sikhs?

One can find Jefferson's quotes on this site:

Tejwant Singh


Sardar Tejwant Singh Malik

Piare Sardar Sahib ji,

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa,
Waheguru ji ki Fateh!

This is in response to your post "Obama's Omission....". I am glad you have noted the 'Omission of the President Obama. However, with all due respect, Sardar Sahib ji, I have to ask especially those Sikhs (the Dastaardhari Hindus in The Sikh Identity), who have been the nationals and residents of the United States of America and were present at the President's Inaugural Ceremony, knew their own history, the History of the Sikhs from the Sikh point of view, and the History of the Sikh Nation, Khalistan, Punjab (under the occupation of the Brahmins autocracy/Zamhooriat/Zulamhooriat or the 'Democracy of Persecution, Genocide and Terror' alias the alleged Indian democracy, since 15th August, 1947)? Those who had been present and circulated their photographs had any idea that they are under 'Enslavement of the Brahmins/Hindus and pro-Hindus'? Sardar Sahib ji, please prove me wrong, if you can, that these people even do not know that they belong to the House of Guru Baba Nanak Sahib (not the Hindu Dev), which is the 5th largest religion of our world. When they are 'confused' to such an extent about themselves, in that case what can you expect from these 'stooges of the Brahmins' that they will raise the matter of 'omission' with the President of the United States and his cabinet, in particular to the Honourable Hillary Clinton.

Sardar Sahib they must not forget the words of the Father of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Janab MA Jinnah who had said to a bunch of few Sikhs, "You have seen the Hindus as your (Sikh) co-slaves, you will know when they will be your master and you their slaves." How true were the words of Janab MA Jinnah! And just see what these ‘Dastaardhari Hindus in The Sikh Identity are?

This is not the matter of any 'omission'. Rather, it is a clear cut reflection of their 'stupidity and sycophancy’ is, to misguide the Sikhs at large.

I would appreciate hearing any comments you may have on my writing, my dear brother. Let us not forget that "The Sikhs are a lawless community and menace to the 'law-abiding' Hindus-Brahmins and pro-Brahmins'.

The Sikhs' holy and historic Homeland was robbed in a daylight on 15th August, 1947.

Best wishes and regards.

Your brother,

Awatar Singh Sekhon (Machaki) of Canada
Associate Professor (Retired), Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Director (Former), National Centre for Mycotoic Diseases CANADA
Managing Editor and Acting Editor in Chief
International Journal of Sikh Affairs ISSN 1481-5435

The "Sole Superpower" Eyes Afghanistan
Posted By Mike Ely on US based grouping of Maoist Revolutionary forces of which Maoist Revolution is proud to identify with.

The proposed pipeline across Afghanistan -- 1990s
The U.S. has a number of different strategic goals – as the world's aspiring "sole superpower": It has sought to secure for itself long-term military and political control over the world's most strategic resources — especially oil and natural gas in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea region. And by controling those resources, it has sought to prevent the rise of a new rival bloc of states — similar to the Soviet bloc that challenged the U.S. through so much of the world in the 1980s.
at the same time, the U.S. wants to solve the problem it has with "failed states" — i.e. countries where the superpower can't control events `on the ground" by threatening the government in power. there are countries where the central governments don't exhist (Somalia) or don't exercise effective control (Afghanistan, Congo, etc). And they have proven to provide fringe areas outside the world system where armed non-governmental forces can regroup to challenge governments (including the U.S.).
Afghanistan both has strategic value (as this article suggests) and also has been a "failed state" (which is why the energy corporations did not ultimatelyu pursue an expensive pipeline in partnership with the Afghan Taliban, and which is one reason why the U.S. has trouble relying on government forces in Afghanistan to identify and uproot anti-U.S. forces.)
These strategic concerns are, in a fundamental way, not the concerns of the people of the world. They are imperialist concerns. They are the politics of those who have empires and want to hold onto empires. And they are concerns and interests sharply opposed to the people of the world, whose hopes for a better world require the breakup of imperialist empires, and the economic and military control over humanity by a few.
The article we are posting here originally appeared under the title "Afghanistan: The Oil Behind the War" (Revolutionary Worker newspaper #1125) in November 2001. In other words it was a Maoist analysis of U.S. interests in Afghanistan — written just as the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan was starting.
Its points are all the more valid now that the new president Obama is planning rapid escalations of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan — and as quite a few people (unfortunately) have started to see Afghanistan as "the good war" (in contrast with the occupation of Iraq, which so many see as the "bad war" — meaning the unjustified war.)

Afghanistan: The Oil Behind the War
By Mike Ely
"U.S. policy was to promote the rapid development of Caspian energy… We did so specifically to promote the independence of these oil-rich countries, to in essence break Russia's monopoly control over the transportation of oil from the region, and frankly, to promote Western energy security through diversification of supply."
Sheila Heslin, energy expert, at the
White House National Security Council,
Senate Testimony 1997
"The U.S. strategy toward Russia is aimed at weakening its international position and ousting it from strategically important regions of the world, above all, the Caspian region: the Transcaucasus and Central Asia."
Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, 1999
"The circumstances in the world have shifted. In a year or two, or three, we'll see considerably different arrangement in the globe than existed prior to September 11 because the event is of that magnitude."
Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense,
Washington Times, Oct. 24
A decade ago, many republics of the former Soviet Union declared their independence across a sweeping arc of the Eurasian landmass–tearing the whole southern half of the Soviet Union from Russia. This region contains many of the world's largest and most undeveloped sources of energy–vast oil and gas fields starting at the oil city of Baku on the Caspian Sea and stretching eastward through the five countries known as the Central Asian Republics (CARs)–Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Control of oil means control of those who need that oil. It is a lifeblood of modern empire.
The United States ruling class considers these countries from Turkey to China as key "prizes" to be snatched up after the collapse of the Soviet Union. For Russia–struggling, bankrupt and weakened through the 1990s–control of these energy-rich countries is essential for any hopes of re-emerging as a world-scale superpower.
Whoever controls the Caspian region has a counterweight to the Persian Gulf–a way to strengthen control over all oil-producing states by hooking up a new energy source to the world market.
The Caspian region's energy fields are landlocked–far from the oceans. Exploiting the people and resources of the Caspian region takes huge pipelines traveling hundreds of miles over mountains and deserts. Whoever controls the pipelines controls the oil. And so there has been an intense fight over who will build these new pipelines and where they will go.
If the pipelines go north through Russia to Europe, Russia will reestablish control over the Caspian region and the European imperialists will have a source of energy that the U.S. does not control.
If a major pipe goes west, from Baku in Azerbaijan, across Turkey to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan–then the U.S. expects to have control over that oil and everyone who needs that oil.
If the pipes go south through Iran to its refineries and harbors, then the U.S. containment of Iran is broken. And, in that case, the Caucasus region becomes an inland extension of the Persian Gulf–not a separate competitive region.
And, if a U.S.-built pipeline goes south through Afghanistan to Pakistan, Russia loses control in the CARs, and the U.S. gains power over those who use it–especially Pakistan and India.
Throughout the 19th century, the expanding Russian and British empires fought over control of Afghanistan and Central Asia–in a colonial contest for power that the British called the "Great Game." Today, oil has become the focus of the "New Great Game" for the Caspian region.
Western capitalists have poured billions of dollars into exploration, infrastructure, massive bribes, and military build-ups. And yet, after ten years, almost no Caspian oil or gas is reaching the world market. Oil pipelines are fragile, vulnerable and extremely expensive. No capitalist wants to build a multi-billion-dollar pipeline unless they are sure that local governments can protect it.
This brings us to Afghanistan–and to the intense new U.S. war on Afghanistan.
Oil was not the trigger that started this war. The events of September 11 were. But the U.S. imperialists have also seized on these events to pursue goals of dominating the oil wealth of this region.
The main Caspian oilfields are in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. And the main U.S. plan for the region has been the Baku-to-Ceyhan pipeline. Afghanistan, which has no oil of its own, lies far away below the southern rim of Central Asia. But stability in Afghanistan is important to the U.S. pipeline plans, and, now, after September 11, Afghanistan has been thrust center stage in this struggle for Caspian oil.
In the "war infomercial" we all get on TV, the current U.S. attack on Afghanistan is described as a war to stamp out terrorism and protect the American people. Amidst the flag waving, there is no discussion of oil or of rivalry with Russia and other imperialists. But, in fact, oil politics and imperialist interests are woven into all the moves and alliances that the U.S. is now making.
Central Asia: From Days of Revolution to Al Haig's Pipeline Dreams
"We have no idea now who will buy our gas and how they will pay for it."
Avde Kuliyev, foreign minister of
Turkmenistan, December 1991
The 1917 communist revolution, centered in the industrial cities of European Russia, stirred radical new hopes in the internal Asian colonies of the Tsar's empire. In June 1921, women delegates from Central Asia dramatically threw off their veils at the 2nd Women's Conference of the new Communist International. Then, on International Women's Day in 1927, 100,000 women stood together in Bukhara in the newly founded Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. They tore off their veils, dipped them in wax, and burned them. Intense confrontations with feudal patriarchs followed, and hundreds of women were lynched for refusing to go back under cover. But by 1930, after years of underground organizing and complex struggle led by the Communist Party, there were no veiled women in Bukhara.
Thirty years later, in the mid-1950s, Nikita Khrushchev's capitalist counter-revolution within the Soviet government and party overthrew the socialist revolution. The Central Asian Republics were treated as internal colonies. The rulers of these CARs remained officially "communists," but in reality they served as the local representatives of the new Soviet state capitalism–charged with carrying out the exploitation of labor and mineral wealth.
The collapse of the Soviet Union by 1991 was not a big change in these societies. Almost everywhere, the same Soviet-era state capitalists ruled the newly independent CARs and Caucasus republics, using the same means, the same state structures, the same police. The main difference was that they were looking for new masters. They took Turkey as their new "model"–a secular, repressive Third World state with close military ties to NATO and an open door to Western exploitation.
Turkmenistan is a good example. This land of deserts and mountains, the size of California, borders the Caspian Sea (to the west), with Iran and Afghanistan to the south. It is very sparsely populated–by 4 million Turkic peoples who historically lived as nomads. Its government was headed by President Saparmurad Niyazov, who had been the General Secretary of the Communist Party there before independence.
Turkmenistan is believed to have 159 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under its soil (the fourth largest reserves in the world). It has 1.5 billion barrels of proven oil–but may have as much as 32 billion barrels. All its old pipelines run north, to Russia and other former Soviet countries. But after 1991 there was no profit to be made there. These countries were all bankrupted after the Cold War and could not pay their gas bills. Russia is itself one of the world's greatest natural gas producers, and its gas corporation had no interest in shipping Turkmeni gas to the world market.
The Turkmenistan President Niyazov hooked up with the U.S. and openly proclaimed neocolonialist dreams of setting up the world's "new Kuwait." By 1993, Niyazov was being escorted to ruling class conferences in Washington, DC by Gen. Alexander Haig, former head of Reagan's National Security Council.
The plan that emerged involved oil and gas pipelines running south from Turkmenistan to the sea. The U.S. vetoed any Iranian route and insisted the pipes run over Afghanistan–to Pakistan.
But after the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, no force had been able to form a national government and Afghanistan remained gripped by civil war between various reactionary forces.
In 1994, the fundamentalist Islamist movement called Taliban emerged among the Pashtun people in Pakistan and Afghanistan. With the backing of the Pakistani secret police, ISI, Taliban made a bid to take over Afghanistan.
By November, as the Taliban was taking its first city, Kandahar, the Argentinean oil company Bridas set up a "working group" with the Turkmeni government to plan a gas pipeline–over 800 miles through the Afghan oasis at Herat. Bridas opened secret negotiations with the Taliban and a wide array of local feudal warlords. The Pakistani government officially joined the project four months later.
A year later, a major U.S. oil company Unocal came onboard to provide capital and expertise. Unocal quickly shoved Bridas out of the way and made their own deal directly with Turkmenistan and Pakistan. Unocal met with Turkmeni officials in Houston in April 1995. The Clinton administration gave its support.
Asif Zardari, the husband of Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto, told the journalist Ahmed Rashid at the time, "This pipeline will be Pakistan's gateway to Central Asia." Pakistan's ruling class hoped to be the point-of-entry for large amounts of gas and oil–including for Japan and South Korea, who are eager to diversify their source of oil. The gas pipe was expected to pass through to India. This would give Pakistan major leverage over India, its longtime South Asian enemy, and draw both of those countries much farther into U.S.-dominated economic networks.
It is often said these days that "the problem in Afghanistan is that the U.S. just left after 1989." But the U.S. never left Afghanistan alone. The U.S. remained officially neutral in the Afghan civil war of the 1990s–but it continued to operate (as it had all during the 1980s) through its allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and through U.S. oil companies. And they, in turn, were supporting the Taliban.
In October 1995, Niyazov signed an agreement with Unocal and its partner, the Saudi-owned Delta Oil Company, to build the gas pipeline though Afghanistan. Henry Kissinger, the guru of imperialist geo-politics, attended the signing. He was officially working as a "consultant" for Unocal–but everyone saw his presence as the blessing of the U.S. ruling class. Kissinger quipped that this Afghan pipeline deal was a "triumph of hope over experience."
The Tactic of "Permanent Smoldering"
"Certainly the Taliban appear to serve the U.S. policy of isolating Iran by creating a firmly Sunni buffer on Iran's border and potentially providing security for trade routes and pipelines that would break Iran's monopoly on Central Asia's southern trade routes."
Reuters new agency, Oct. 1, 1996
"The outside interference in Afghanistan is now all related to the battle for oil and gas pipelines. The fear is that these companies and regional powers are just renting the Taliban for their own purposes."
Yasushi Akashi,
UN Under Secretary General,
Jan. 22, 1997
"It's uncertain when this project will start. It depends on peace in Afghanistan and a government we can work with. That may be the end of this year, next year, or three years from now, or this may be a dry hole if the fighting continues."
Unocal Vice President Marty Miller,
June 5, 1997
It is now 2001, and there is no pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan.
There are several reasons, including a drop in world oil prices. But the Unocal plan fell apart mainly because the Taliban did not win the Afghan civil war. The World Bank, for example, pulled out, saying it would not finance the Unocal pipeline until there was a unified government in Afghanistan.
The Taliban is rooted in Afghanistan's southern nationality, the Pashtuns, and promoted a brutal, intolerant fusion of Islam and Pashtun feudal traditions. Many people in southern Afghanistan hoped the Taliban would end the murder, rape and theft by competing warlords. But meanwhile, the Taliban faced armed opposition among the non-Pashtun peoples, led by the Northern Alliance. This Northern Alliance had support outside Afghanistan–from Russia and Iran. And this support was no accident: both Iran and Russia would gain if continuing war sabotaged plans for the southern pipeline.
In the struggle over Caspian oil, various powers disrupt rival pipelines by supporting what the Russian defense minister called "the permanent smoldering of manageable armed conflict." No monopoly capitalist is about to spend billions building a vulnerable overland pipeline through an area that is "permanently smoldering"–where it would be a constant target of sabotage.
There are several of these "permanent smolderings" in the Caspian region. At the far northwest edge of this region, the rebellion in Chechnya has prevented the Russian imperialists from building the pipeline they want connecting Baku with Russia through Groznyy. The Russian ruling class responded with a brutal war of counterinsurgency, killing thousands–while accusing the U.S., Pakistan and the Saudis of secretly supporting the rebellion.
The Search for "Strategic Anchors"
Both the U.S. and the Russians have made major, direct strategic and military moves in the Caspian region, including the CARs, to influence what pipelines get built.
When a pro-Russian government in energy-poor Tajikistan faced an Islamic fundamentalist uprising, the Russian government moved 25,000 Russian troops in and re-annexed the country. In 1993, Boris Yeltsin, then President of Russia announced that the Tajik-Afghan border was now "in effect Russia's border."
But Russia has been in economic crisis, with little capital or market to offer the newly independent Central Asian ruling classes. While Russia has the historic ties there, it is the U.S. which has the initiative.
The U.S. has operated in Central Asia by developing allied states as "strategic anchors." Its main anchor has been Turkey, the Muslim NATO member at the far western edge of the region. The people of oil-rich Azerbaijan and much of Central Asia are Turkic people–who share language and culture with Turkey. Since 1991, Turkey has gone on a puffed-up "pan-Turkic" campaign–dreaming of its own new empire, but really serving an expanding U.S. empire. Turkish culture and businessmen have flooded the region. In Azerbaijan, schools have officially switched away from the Russian alphabet to the one used in Turkey–so a whole generation is emerging that can't read any of the books published over five years ago.
In the final analysis it takes guns to pry the Caspian oil from rivals.
The U.S. and Turkey developed an anti-Russian military alliance in the Caspian–drawing Azerbaijan and Georgia into close cooperation with NATO. Azeri military officers are now trained in Turkey and Azeri soldiers served within a Turkish battalion during the Balkan war.
Then on October 12, the whole world learned that the U.S. had taken over the major Uzbekistan military base at Khanabad–100 miles from the Afghan border, and moved in at least a thousand U.S. mountain troops. The U.S. and Uzbek governments announced their alliance included U.S. guarantees of protecting the government of President Islam Karimov.
The arrival of U.S. troops directly in the heart of Central Asia is a quantum leap in its global moves. It is presented as a sudden result of the new "U.S. war on terrorism." What remains largely unknown is that the U.S. had been developing this Uzbek military alliance long before September 11–not to "fight terrorism" but to take over Central Asian oil and gas.
Green Beret Treks to the Uzbeks
"There were the makings of two coalitions emerging in the region. The U.S. lining up alongside Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan and encouraging its allies–Israel, Turkey and Pakistan–to invest there, while Russia retained its grip on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan."
Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam,
Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia
Uzbekistan is at the very center of Central Asia. It has some oil and natural gas reserves, but to the U.S. power structure its main importance comes from its size and location. With 22 million people, fully half of the region's population, and the area's richest agricultural region in the Ferghana valley, Uzbekistan sits strategically on the northern Afghan border between energy-rich Turkmenistan and the Soviet troops of Tajikistan.
In the mid-1990s, the U.S. imperialists picked Uzbekistan to be their eastern "anchor." In the words of Foreign Affairs magazine (Jan/Feb 1996), Uzbekistan was supposed to be the "Central Asian stabilizer" to "create a healthy balance [against Russian moves] that would best serve the interests of regional security, Europe and NATO."
Recently, the New York Times revealed (Oct. 25): "In 1999, teams of Green Berets arrived at former Soviet garrisons outside the capital here. The mission was straightforward: to train the army of a former foe, in part to prepare its inexperienced conscripts for skirmishes with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan… The long-term goal was more ambitious. The Green Berets were one element of an accelerating security arrangement in which the two nations were laying the groundwork for more extensive military cooperation…. As Green Berets were familiarizing themselves with their new Central Asian partners, officials from the United States Central Command in Florida and the American Embassy in Tashkent were meeting with Uzbek defense officials, coordinating military programs. Soon, under a military education program that began here in 1995, more Uzbek officers were admitted to military schools in the United States…. Some American troops were involved in exercises in Uzbekistan as long ago as August 1996, according to the Department of Defense, although Uzbek officials say those exercises did not involve Special Forces. Rather, military officials said that under Gen. Anthony C. Zinni of the Marine Corps, the regional commander who supervised the military presence in the region until retiring last year, engagement efforts and Special Forces missions took much of their current shape in 1999. They have continued under the current commander, Gen. Tommy R. Franks of the Army. Several Green Beret teams have passed through the nation this year, for instance, and during the summer a Navy SEAL team also trained here."
During the 50th anniversary conference of NATO, in April 1999, an anti-Russian alliance, GUUAM, was formed out of former southern Soviet republics–Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
Ahmed Rashid describes an angry Russian diplomat saying in 1997, "We don't accept NATO in our backyard. The U.S. must recognize that Central Asia will remain within the `near abroad'–Russia's sphere of influence."
There is much speculation now about why Russian President Putin seems to have agreed to U.S. occupation of southern Uzbekistan. Gleb Pavlovsky, an advisor to President Vladimir Putin, said that Russia's government decided it "would rather have the U.S. in Uzbekistan than the Taliban in Tatarstan." (Tatarstan is a Russian region a few hundred miles from Moscow.) It is widely reported that the U.S. secretly agreed to allow the Russian army to stomp out the "permanent smoldering" in Chechnya–while the U.S. stomps out the "smoldering" Islamist forces operating from Afghanistan.
In any case, this U.S.-Uzbek military alliance was in the works for years before September 11–and there has been little the Russian government could do about it.
Tipping the Balance Against the Taliban

The U.S. ties to Uzbekistan are a direct sign of their deepening hostility to the Taliban–and to the forces of fundamentalist Islamism generally in central Asia.
Starting with President Carter in the late '70s, and expanding greatly under President Reagan in the 1980s, the CIA sought out, funded, trained and armed fundamentalist Islamic forces in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Their goal was to unleash an anti-Russian "jihad" and spread it from Afghanistan to Central Asia.
But when the Soviet Union fell apart, the governments that emerged in the Caspian region were not Islamic fundamentalists. They were basically the same governments which had been in power when they were part of the Soviet Union. The revisionists of several key former-Soviet republics went from pro-Russian state capitalists to pro-Western state capitalists. And the U.S. oil companies and military operatives were deepening ties to these existing governments.
Meanwhile, the Taliban sponsored Islamist movements in Central Asia, helping armed forces that were threatening new U.S. allies like Uzbekistan's secular President Islam Karimov. Karimov's army has been fighting his internal Islamist opposition, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)–whose forces reportedly find refuge under the protection of the Taliban and training from al-Qaida.
In many ways, 1996 marked a turning point for the U.S. imperialists. It became clear that the Taliban might not win the war and stabilize Afghanistan for larger U.S. imperialist plans. By 1996, the U.S. was developing stable new military and political ties with several formerly revisionist states in Central Asia–who were often facing internal Islamist challenges. And the U.S. was coming to see the fundamentalist Taliban and the permanent civil war in Afghanistan as destabilizing to its interests throughout much of Central and Southern Asia. And at the same time, the Taliban took its stand by welcoming the increasingly anti-American Saudi fundamentalist Osama bin Laden back into Afghanistan–and protecting him after he declared "jihad" on the U.S.
Also, after 1996, it became increasingly clear that Caspian oil was being bottled up by continuing instability of the post-Soviet governments. In 1996 only 140,000 barrels-a-day of Caspian oil were being exported outside the former Soviet republics, and Caspian oil was still less than 4 percent of total world oil production. The only pipeline that was successfully completed in the 1990s was the one over Russian soil, from the Tenghiz oilfields in Kazakhstan to the Russian port of Novorossiysk.
Only a small part of the U.S.-backed Baku-Ceyhan pipe has been built–opening a stretch from Baku to the Georgian Black Sea port of Supsa in 1998. An ongoing civil war in Georgia has put even those operations in danger. With no outlet to the world market, Turkmenistan's natural gas production dropped from 2,000 billion cubic feet in 1992 to 466 billion in 1998.
The U.S. decided that the Taliban (and its al-Qaida allies) were inflaming "permanent smolderings" in parts of the world that the U.S. wants to pacify–and that made them U.S. targets, even before the events of September 11.
Maoists have a saying, "It's not easy being a running dog." And that applies well to the experience of the reactionary, backward-looking Islamist movement. It was nurtured as "freedom fighters" by the U.S. all through the 1980s, and now finds its most prominent leaders on the empire's "Most Wanted" lists.
Meanwhile, the former Soviet governments headed by Karimov and Niyazov are welcomed into the U.S. imperialist networks–with military aid and promises of investment capital.
Ten years ago, the U.S. started planning to run oil and gas pipelines through the Afghan town of Herat. This month, the U.S. bombers attacked that same desert town from the air–reportedly killing a hundred people in a hospital there.
There is a connection between these two events.

Falk likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto
Thu, 22 Jan 2009 19:32:11 GMT

UN investigator Richard Falk says Israeli crimes in Gaza will leave Palestinians mentally scarred for life.
There is more than enough evidence that Israel committed war crimes in its three week-long offensive into Gaza, says a UN investigator.

UN special rapporteur Richard Falk called for an independent inquiry into Israel's violation of international humanitarian law.

Falk said Israel's actions against the besieged Gazans are reminiscent of "the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto" which included the starvation and murder of Polish Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two.

"There could have been temporary provision at least made for children, disabled, sick civilians to leave, even if where they left to was southern Israel," said the Jewish American academic on Thursday.

Falk, who was denied entry to Israel in December, said Gazans may have been mentally scarred for life because Israel made no effort to allow civilians to escape.

Israeli officials moved closer to being prosecuted for war crimes after Norwegian medics in Gaza found traces of depleted uranium on Gaza victims, suggesting that Israel used the illegal weapons in its war on the impoverished territory, which houses some 1.5 million Palestinians.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there is a "high risk of developing cancer from exposure to radiation emitted by ... depleted uranium weapons. This risk is assumed to be proportional to the dose received."

The Geneva Convention has classified depleted uranium ammunitions as 'illegal weapons of mass destruction' due to their high radioactivity and toxicity.

Israel faces potential war crimes charges over its excessive use of other controversial weapons on the densely-populated coastal strip.

Human rights group Amnesty International has also touched on the issue, saying that Tel Aviv used white phosphorus munitions "indiscriminately and illegally" in overcrowded areas of Gaza.

"The repeated use [of White Phosphorus] in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," said Donatella Rovera of the Amnesty International.

White phosphorus is a high-incendiary substance that bursts into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, burning flesh to the bone and often leading to death.

Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to allegedly defend its territories from Hamas rockets, which were fired in retaliation for Israel's violation of a ceasefire that had then been in place.

Falk dismissed Israel's argument that the assault was for self-defense, saying that "the UN charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defense."§ionid=351020202

Al-Jazeera journalists become faces of the frontline
By Andrew England in Jerusalem
Fri 1/16/09
Financial Times

Ayman Mohyeldin was in a coffee shop joking with colleagues in Gaza
City when the first Israeli bomb struck, smashing into a police
station just a short distance from where they were sitting. The
tremors from the explosion shook the café, but it took a few minutes
for the reality to sink in - Gaza was under attack.

Since that moment 18 days ago, Mr Mohyeldin and his colleagues at al-
Jazeera English, the satellite channel, have worked day and night,
providing 24-hour coverage of the Israeli offensive in Gaza and the
humanitarian crisis it has triggered.

Donning a helmet and a flak jacket, Mr Mohyeldin has become one of
the faces of the war, delivering calm and balanced analysis of the
chaos and destruction going on around him in a soft American accent.

With Israel banning foreign journalists from entering Gaza, al-
Jazeera, the Qatari state-owned channel, has laid claim to being the
only international broadcast house inside the strip.

It has a team working for its Arab-language network, which made its
name with reports from conflict zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the English-language service, launched in 2006, the war has been
covered by Mr Mohyeldin, a 29-year-old American of Egyptian and
Palestinian descent, and Sherine Tadros, a 28-year-old Briton of
Egyptian descent.

And the crisis could mark a seminal point in al-Jazeera English's
fortunes - just as the first Gulf war put CNN on the map.

Last year the channel was struggling following high-profile
defections. Tony Burman, a former editor-in-chief at the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation, was brought in as managing director to turn
things round. He admits it was a "rocky ship" but says morale at the
station is soaring.

"I think one of the great morale challenges for al-Jazeera English
has been a fear that a lot of its hard work is not being seen by
enough people," he says. "I think that has turned around, I think
people realise they are at the centre of a very important event."

The channel is broadcast in 105 countries, including Israel, where it
offers a stark alternative to terrestrial channels. But in the US,
part ly as a result of hostility to al-Jazeera from the Bush
administration, its coverage is limited to a handful of states. It
hopes to make further inroadswithin months, Mr Burman says.

As an American citizen, Mr Mohyeldin finds the lack of coverage in
the US the most annoying. "It's very frustrating to know that your
work, and al-Jazeera English's work, which I think can really give
people the reality of the situation . . . is not reaching people who
can make an impact here on the ground immediately," he says.

Minutes before the first strike Mr Mohyeldin, who has been covering
Gaza since last May, and Ms Tadros, who is normally based in Doha,
were joking about the improbability of an Israeli offensive,
believing that no military action would take place until after the
new US administration was in office and Israel had held its elections
scheduled for February 10.

But since then, the pair has witnessed the huge bombardment and loss
of life, reporting from hospitals, rooftops and United Nations
schools crammed with Palestinians seeking refuge. At night, they
snatch two or three hours' sleep in their office in between working
and the din of explosions. The biggest fear is the randomness of the
attacks, says Mr Mohyeldin. "Even if you are just going to the
supermarket to get food, there's a chance a car driving right by you
could be a target of the Israeli military."

On Friday, Mr Mohyeldin reported that a building next to the al-
Jazeera office had been struck by Israeli fire. There were no
casualties, but it was a frightening moment. "It was certainly
something everybody started to read into; was it a message for this
building, what were they trying to convey to journalists?" he
says. "I mean, already three journalists have been killed in this

Australia: Haneef "terrorism" inquiry produces a whitewash
By Mike Head

The Rudd government's Clarke review of last year's aborted terrorist
witch-hunt of Dr Mohamed Haneef has proven to be a whitewash of the
former Howard government and a vehicle for the current Labor
government to bolster the country's draconian counter-terrorism

A basic contradiction lies at the heart of the report by former judge
John Clarke QC, which the government released just before Christmas.
Clarke declared that Haneef was entirely innocent of the serious
terrorist charge levelled against him; yet held no one responsible or
accountable for the massive police, intelligence and media operation,
led by the Office of the Prime Minister, to railroad the young doctor
to jail.

Haneef was arrested on July 2, 2007, in the wake of two failed
terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow at the end of June. Amid
media headlines about a "terrorist doctors' network" in Australia, he
was detained without trial for nearly two weeks. Eventually he was
charged with "supporting a terrorist organisation" by giving his old
mobile phone SIM card to a second cousin in Britain who was later
accused of withholding information about the attacks.

When a magistrate ordered Haneef to be released on bail because of
the weak case against him, the Howard government effectively overrode
the court by cancelling his visa, thus consigning him to immigration
detention. Within three weeks, however, the case disintegrated in the
face of mounting public concern about Haneef's treatment and the
exposure of key falsehoods in the police evidence. The Director of
Public Prosecutions dropped the charge and, in damage control, the
Howard government facilitated Haneef's immediate departure for India,
his home country.

After an almost exclusively closed-door inquiry, Clarke said he could
find "no evidence" that the Howard government brought "political
influence to bear" in relation to the decisions to arrest, detain and
charge Haneef, or that his visa was revoked "to achieve some actual
or perceived political advantage".

In reality, all the evidence, including much of the material compiled
in the 310-page public version of Clarke's report itself, indicates
that, facing defeat at elections due before the end of 2007, the
Howard government seized upon the British attacks to try to launch a
new terrorism scare campaign.

Extraordinarily, Clarke reached his conclusions without examining any
of the relevant cabinet documents—to which the Rudd government
blocked access. These included the minutes of a July 16, 2007 cabinet
National Security Committee, which approved the decisions to cancel
Haneef's visa and issue a Criminal Justice Stay Certificate so that
he would be sent to an immigration detention centre.

Clarke said he was told by the Department of Prime Minister and
Cabinet, now headed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, that he was
forbidden by long-standing government "conventions" from viewing any
of the cabinet records or reporting anything that might reveal
cabinet deliberations. "I had no option but to abide by the
conventions," Clarke stated.

These conventions mean that no government can ever be held to account
for its crimes, even after it leaves office. Under the so-called 30-
year rule, all cabinet-related documents are kept secret for three
decades, and even then, those classified as relating to national
security are withheld from the public.

Moreover, ex-Prime Minister John Howard refused to be questioned by
Clarke and blocked a former adviser from making a written statement
to the inquiry. Another key witness, the ex-chief of staff of
Howard's immigration minister Kevin Andrews, refused to make a
statement. Andrews himself consented to be interviewed (behind closed
doors), while Howard's Attorney-General Philip Ruddock gave Clarke
just one hour of his time.

Remarkably, Clarke decided not to probe the constant stream of leaks
to the media, obviously emanating from high-level government and
police sources, throughout July 2007 that gave the impression that
Haneef was intimately involved in the failed British bombings and in
planning similar attacks in Australia. Clarke said he could not have
examined the leaks satisfactorily without statutory powers to compel
witnesses to appear. Such powers, however, Clarke refused to request
from the Rudd government, which had originally denied them to him.

Clarke's report simply failed to mention the series of public
statements made by Howard and his leading ministers insinuating not
only that Haneef was guilty but that he represented the ever-present
danger of "home-grown terrorism". Soon after the young doctor's
arrest, Howard declared it to be a wake-up call to the public of the
need for the "war on terrorism": "There are people within our midst
who would do us harm and evil if they had the opportunity of doing

Nevertheless, a careful reading of the Clarke report leaves little
doubt that, as soon as the British attacks occurred, and the British
police requested assistance to locate Haneef to ask him about his
discarded SIM card, the Howard government began orchestrating a
security scare campaign. According to Clarke's account, in less than
four weeks, Howard's office convened no fewer than 16 high-
level "whole of government" meetings and 27 teleconferences to
discuss the Haneef case.

The meetings, some of which involved the state and territory Labor
governments, began on July 1, the day before Haneef was arrested.
They included 10 meetings of the National Counter-Terrorism
Committee, as well as the cabinet National Security Committee meeting
of July 16. Between July 3 and 6, Howard personally received five
written briefings from his department, and thereafter his office
obtained "regular" telephone updates from his department's senior
national security official, former SAS commander Duncan Lewis.
(Lewis, who played a central role in the Haneef affair, was recently
appointed as the Rudd government's national security adviser).

Ruddock and Andrews were involved on a daily basis. Ruddock, who as
attorney-general was responsible for both the Australian Federal
Police (AFP) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
(ASIO), received four written briefs from ASIO and six from the AFP,
as well as two security intelligence reports and four threat
assessments. In addition, he met with AFP Commissioner Mick
Keelty "on a number of occasions during July 2007".

According to Clarke's account, from July 3, the day after Haneef was
arrested, Andrews received frequent updates from his department and
the prime minister's department on various contingency plans to
cancel the doctor's visa so that he could be detained or deported if
he were not charged or if he were granted bail. On July 9, a
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade email noted that Ruddock and
Andrews were preparing a joint ministerial submission on the visa

Both Andrews, in his testimony to Clarke, and Howard, in a brief
statement to the inquiry, insisted that Andrews made the ultimate
decision to revoke the visa on July 16 independently, exercising his
own ministerial discretion. Yet, Andrews had told his departmental
heads that he would not make any decision until after the cabinet
National Security Committee meeting, due that day. Clarke reported
that Andrews was called to a meeting with Howard and Ruddock that
morning to discuss the visa issue. Clarke noted, without comment,
that in a letter to the inquiry, Ruddock denied attending any such

The visa decision was officially made at 1 p.m. on July 16, just one
hour after the conclusion of the cabinet committee meeting, to which
Andrews had been invited. However, at 1.01 p.m. the prime minister's
office sent an email to two senior officials advising that the
Solicitor-General had confirmed that "no contempt issue" would arise
if Andrews cancelled the visa. This suggests that Howard was involved
in securing legal advice that the decision would not be in contempt
of the court's grant of bail.

For nearly a month, Howard, Ruddock and Andrews presided over a
massive operation, involving more than 600 federal and state police,
the intelligence agencies, foreign affairs personnel and customs
officers, in an effort to produce evidence against Haneef. Clarke
revealed that the operation extended to the Defence Signals
Directorate (DSD), the military's signals intelligence agency, which
answered 71 requests to intercept Haneef's telecommunications, the
Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), the overseas spy
organisation, which established a "crisis team" to support the
investigation, and the Australian Customs Service, which covertly
searched Haneef's luggage at Brisbane airport before he was arrested
there on the night of July 2.

Yet, as late as July 13, the day before Haneef was charged, all the
federal and Queensland police engaged in the joint investigation had
concluded that insufficient evidence existed to charge the doctor.
Clarke recorded that these officers included the AFP's lead
investigator, national counter-terrorism manager Ramzi Jabbour.

Jabbour had prepared a document on July 10, in which he stated he did
not currently have "sufficient evidence to charge HANEEF" and he told
Clarke that was still his view on July 13. Early the next morning,
however, and without explanation, Jabbour decided to lay the charge,
just before Haneef was due to be released from detention. After
consulting his superiors in Canberra, Jabbour overrode the two
arresting officers, both of whom had refused to charge Haneef
(legally, the charge should be laid by the arresting officers), even
after a prosecutor, Clive Porritt, had advised there was enough
evidence to justify the arrest.

Porritt had told other prosecutors as late as July 13 that he did not
consider the evidence adequate. He told Clarke that he changed his
stance after coming under "unspoken but considerable pressure" from
police commanders. Clarke concluded that Porritt would not have given
his advice, which was "unsupportable—on any test," if not for the
police conduct. Clarke's only explanation for what transpired was
that Jabbour had "lost objectivity" because he became too intimately
involved in the case.

Later it was revealed that the police information given to Porritt,
and relayed to a court, contained at least two crucial lies. One was
that Haneef's SIM card was found in the jeep that had crashed into
Glasgow airport, when, in fact, it was located in Liverpool, 200
kilometres away. The other was that Haneef had resided in Britain
with his second cousin Kafeel Ahmed, who drove the jeep, although the
two had never lived in the same house. Also withheld from Porritt and
the court was the fact that, before his terrorist attack, Ahmed had
sent an email to his brother, Sabeel, which effectively cleared
Haneef of any fore-knowledge of his actions. The AFP had this
information from July 8, six days before Haneef was charged.

The obvious question that arises is why the entire national security
apparatus, not just Jabbour and Porritt, produced what Clarke
described as a "multitude of errors and omissions". The only
plausible explanation is that the real pressure was coming from the
top, from the Howard government itself.

Not surprisingly, Ruddock and Andrews declared that the report
vindicated them. Andrews insisted he had acted "courageously" in
cancelling Haneef's visa, while Ruddock said the report proved there
was no cause for a government apology or compensation to Haneef for
his detention and the trashing of his reputation.

The Rudd government also welcomed the findings, and used them to
underscore its "commitment to a bipartisan approach to national
security". Attorney-General Robert McClelland released an overall
response to the report and several previous reviews of the anti-
terrorism legislation. In essence, the government's proposals consist
of extending aspects of the laws, while adding cosmetic safeguards.

McClelland said the government would expand the legislation to cover
psychological as well as physical harm, to apply to threats of
terrorist action, to cover threats to international organisations,
such as the United Nations, and to apply to terrorist-related hoaxes.
At the same time, sedition offences would be modified and re-badged.

under the title of "urging violence".

A National Security Legislation Monitor would be established, within
the prime minister's portfolio, to conduct ongoing reviews of
the "practical operation" of the legislation. Oversight of the
intelligence agencies by a parliamentary committee and the Inspector-
General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), another office within
the prime minister's department, would be extended to the AFP. The
token character of such scrutiny was demonstrated by the failure of
the IGIS and the existing parliamentary committee to expose or halt
the Haneef witch-hunt.

In a comment in the Australian, Dennis Shanahan spelt out the central
message, noting that the Rudd government was once again disappointing
those seeking retribution and "justice" as a result of the assaults
on civil liberties and democratic rights by the former Howard
government. The Labor government was "not about to roll back any anti-
terror laws that have the general support of the electorate, no
matter what appeals there are for 'social justice'."

Despite Shanahan's claims about public backing for the laws, the
Haneef debacle showed that ordinary people were becoming increasingly
distrustful of the terrorism measures. It was this shift in sentiment—
which intensified after Haneef's lawyers released the transcript of a
police interview with their client, exposing the lack of evidence
against him—that ultimately led to the implosion of the government's

Having given Clarke a brief to "restore public confidence" in the
terrorism powers, the Rudd government is now seeking to utilise his
report to bolster the legislation and the agencies that enforce it.
Like the Howard government, it is committed to pursuing the "war on
terror," both as a diversion from deepening economic and social
tensions at home and as a rationale for backing the criminal, neo-
colonial US-led military operations in the Middle East and Central

America's "Divide and Rule" Strategies in the Middle East
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research
January 17, 2008

The Presidential Tour of George W. Bush to the Middle East: A New
Cold War?

In 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech in
Missouri that helped set the rhetorical stance for the rivalry
between the two camps or poles respectively formed by the Soviet
Union and the United States after the Second World War.

Starting in 2006, the Middle East has been depicted in a similar way
by the White House and 10 Downing Street. In the end, history will
decide and give its verdict on the miniature version of the Cold War
now unfolding in the Middle East.

It is no secret that the 2008 presidential tour of George W. Bush Jr.
to the Middle East is more about rallying hostility and antagonism
against Iran and those forces resisting Washington's political and
socio-economic curriculum for the Middle East. The U.S. President's
tour is part of an exhorted effort to replace Israel with a vilified
Iran as a looming threat to the Arab World. This undertaking which is
part of America's Project for a "New Middle East" was initiated after
Israel's war against Lebanon in July of 2006.

Balkanization and the Muslim Divide: Shiite Muslims versus Sunni

In relationship to the preparations for creating the "New Middle
East" there have been attempts, with partial success, to deliberately
create divisions within the populations of the Middle East and
Central Asia through ethno-cultural, religious, sectarian, national,
and political differentiations.

Aside from fuelling ethnic tensions, such as those between Kurds and
Arabs in Iraq, a sectarian divide is being deliberately cultivated
within the ranks of the people of the Middle East which consider
themselves Muslims. This divide is being fostered between Shiite and
Sunni Muslims.

These divisions have been fuelled by the U.S., British, and Israeli
intelligence apparatus. The intelligence agencies of Arab regimes
within the Anglo-American orbit have also been involved in the
construction of these divisions. This divide is also being cultivated
with the help of various groups and leaders in these respective

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the rulers of the Arab League
countries were aware that the U.S. and Britain intended to redraw the
borders of the Middle East. It was openly mentioned at the summit of
Arab rulers being held in Egypt prior to the Anglo-American invasion.
The interests of many of the corrupt Arab elites, the self-proclaimed
cream of the crop within the Arab World, and autocratic Arab
authorities have historically convened and adhered to Anglo-American
and Franco-German political and socio-economic interests.

The House of Saud, the Hariri clan of Lebanon, and the absolute
rulers established throughout the Arab World all share common
financial and economic links with the Project for the "New Middle
East." They have a vested interest in the promotion of the economic
and political model that the U.S. wishes to entrench in the Middle

The "Shia Crescent" and the Phantom Iranian Conquest of the Middle

To create hostility within the Muslim populations of the Middle East,
Iran is being portrayed as the vanguard of Shia or Shiite
expansionism in the region, vis-à-vis the so-called "Shia Crescent,"
and Saudi Arabia portrayed as the champion of the Sunni Muslims.

The truth of the matter is that Iran does not represent all the
Shiite Muslims nor does Saudi Arabia represent all the Sunni Muslims;
these efforts are part of the politicizing of religious faith, which
serves U.S. foreign policy goals. It also contributes to misleading
public opinion throughout the Middle East.

This animosity between peoples of Muslim faith and the populations of
the Middle East has been created to justify animosity against Iran
and those perceived to be in the same camp as Iran, such as Syria and

Arab leaders also have an easier time controlling their populations
when they are fighting against each other and are consequently
weakened as a result of sectarian and ethnic divisions. The latter
also create confusion within the various populations, distract them
from their problems at home, and projects their animosity towards
their leaders on others. Fear or anger towards the "Other" or
the "Outsider" has always been a form of manipulating large groups
and whole segments of societies.

With the peoples of the region divided against each other, their
resources can be controlled and they themselves governed and further
manipulated with greater ease. This has been part of the objective of
British and American foreign policy all along. In this effort, local
rulers and foreign forces have been partners.

"The Coalition of the Moderate" in the Mid-East and the manipulation
of the Arabs

"We [Israel] must clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that
it also persuades the U.S. to strike Iran."

-Brigadier-General Oded Tira, Israeli Military

"Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do
it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you
are to help them, not to win it for them." The historical context of
this statement is very significant. This admission was made during
the First World War in the Middle East when the British were fighting
against the Ottoman Turks with the help of the Ottoman's rebellious
Arab subjects. The Arab's help was insured through false promises and
London's deception. What was being revealed by this interlocutor of
British policy was British forces should not do most the active
fighting in the Middle East and let the Arabs fight Britain's war
against the Turks.

Revealing the author, these were the words of a man who has been
inscribed into the pages of history as a legendary figure and as a
hero to the Arabs. In reality he was an agent of British imperialism
that misled the Arabs with the help of of corrupt local leaders. His
name was Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence or, as most people
know him, "Lawrence of Arabia."

The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence (August 20, 1917) is where these
words can be found for all to scrutinize. Thus started the road down
to the modern entanglement of the Arab masses to colonial masters and
handpicked Western vassals.

Some may argue that the British were helping the Arabs gain autonomy,
but history shows this to be an absolute lie. London was furthering
its own interests and it had been a geo-strategic objective of theirs
to divide the Ottoman Empire up regardless of the fact that that
there was a war with the Ottomans and the Central Powers.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement reveals this as does the creation of
British and French mandates in the place of what were supposed to be
independent Arab nations. It should also be noted that all the major
problems in the Middle East are rooted in this period from the
Armenian Genocide, the Kurdish Question, and the Arab-Israeli
Conflict, to the issue of Cyprus and the territorial disputes of the
Persian Gulf and the Levant.

The Arab elites are being marshaled into formation yet again to do
the dirty work of foreign powers. Once again, Arab leaders are also
accessories to the agenda of foreigners in the Middle East against
their own people.

Links between the U.A.E. Speeches of Messrs Bush and Blair: Dividing
the Mid-East into Camps

The "us and them" mentality is being lodged into the mindset of
Middle Easterners in regards to themselves. The ancient region is
being divided into two camps by the White House and its partners.

After the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in July 2006, Condoleezza
Rice the U.S. Secretary of State and others such as Tony Blair
started this venture by categorized the Middle East into two
groupings. Those in the Middle East that fell into the Anglo-American
camp and colluded with Israel were described as "moderates"
and "reformers" and as part of what became called the "Coalition of
the Moderate." It is also around this time that the Pentagon
announced its plans to arm Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Arab
regimes allied to the U.S. and Britain.

Those in the Middle East who either opposed foreign intervention and
hegemony in the region, either because of their own agenda or because
of the right for self-determination, were labeled "extremists"
and "rejectionists." [1] These anti-hegemonic forces in the Middle
East were categorized as members of the "other camp" even though in
some cases they had no links aside from fighting foreign tutelage.
This latter camp includes the Iraqi Resistance, Hamas, and Iran,
amongst others.

There is an obvious theme in the underlying rhetoric of the December
2006 and January 2008 Middle East policy speeches of Tony Blair and
George W. Bush. Both were presented in the U.A.E. and held almost
exactly a year apart. Both speeches depict a bloc of radicals in the
Middle East led by Iran and both speeches attempt to divide the
Middle East into two opposing blocs.

It was soon after the disastrous 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon
that Tony Blair, in line with Condoleezza Rice, subtly called for "an
alliance of moderation in the region and outside of it to defeat the
extremists." [2] While in Dubai the former British prime minister
called Iran a "strategic challenge," which according to Paul
Reynolds, an international affairs correspondent, was a replacement
for the words "strategic threat" from his original speech read in
California. He also replaced the words "trying to acquire a nuclear
weapon" with "trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability." [3] This
obvious change in word selection was because the people of the
countries living next to Iran know better and would not have taken
Tony Blair's speech seriously.

This was simply the beginning of the public revelation of the
alliance system that already informally subsisted in the Middle East.
Tony Blair's U.A.E. speech was another stage in the media phase of
the war effort that includes the preparation of the general public
for confrontation in the Middle East. It was also part of the attempt
to turn the conflict into one of ideas and an ideological one like
the Cold War.

The U.A.E. and Israel as models for the "New Middle East"
By the start of 2008, the White House and its allies have ceased
their insincere chatter about democratization in the Middle East,
except in the case of Iran where it is mentioned ad nauseam. This
sidesteps the reality that Iran holds democratic elections and that
Iran is a far less inhibited state than any of America's Arab
sponsored regimes. Democracy has never been a goal for the U.S. in
the Middle East, especially in regards to its own set of autocratic
and dictatorial allies.

The White House is promoting two models on two different levels in
the Middle East as a part of its regional project. One is the latent
model of Israel as a homogenous nation. The second model, which is
openly promoted, is the Khaliji (Gulf) model or that of the Arab
Sheikhdoms that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the
Persian Gulf littoral. The Khaliji model applies in particular to the
U.A.E. and one of its seven emirates, Dubai, as its embodiment.
Israel is the socio-political model for the Middle East, whereas
Dubai is the socio-economic model for the Middle East. Both models
also bare staggering social ramifications.

The Israeli model, which is being moved forward is not based on any
democratic values, quite the opposite. It is predicated on
ethnocentrism and discrimination. The Middle East is being
reconfigured in Israel's image as a region with homogenous states and
this is evident in Iraq and a reason for the tensions being fanned by
foreign influence in the multi-confessional Lebanese Republic. Just
as Israel is considered the "Jewish State" the Project for the "New
Middle East" wants to establish a whole series of single-identity
states in the ancient region.

The socio-economic model of Dubai and the GCC is based on a vertical
mosaic, in the tradition of John A. Porter's The Vertical Mosaic: An
Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada, where ethnicity,
heredity, and origins play a role in individual status and its system
in itself is a reconstruction of the caste system of India.

Dubai is a place that is rabid with the exploitation of foreign
workers and nationals and is infamous for the institutionalization of
gross inequities and immorality. Local laws are made to only benefit
the privileged and powerful, while the poor are suppressed. Money
laundering and prostitution are also far spread in Dubai and the
U.A.E. is a modern Sodom and Gomorrah.

Israel, NATO, and the Arab Regimes: A Nexus against Resistance
The House of Saud and Saudi Arabia have emerged as the main force in
configuring a public embracement between Israel and the Arab World
under the auspices of the 2002 Arab Initiative. [4] This Saudi-
proposed initiative is deeply tied to the Project for a "New Middle
East" and allows Israel to integrate its economy with that of the
Arab World and allows for the creation of an alliance between Israel
and the Arab regimes against any forces in the Middle East resisting
America, its allies, and more importantly their political and socio-
economic model.

Despite King Abdullah's speech in Riyadh during the March 2007 Arab
League Summit, Saudi Arabia has officially opposed any end to the
Anglo-American occupation of Iraq and the withdrawal of foreign
troops from Iraq under the pretext that the Iraqi Shiites and the
Iranians will kill the Iraqi Sunnis.

A representative of the Saudi Monarchy, quoting Prince Turki Al-
Faisal, informed the U.S. press that, "Since America came into
[meaning invaded] Iraq uninvited, it should not leave [end the Anglo-
American occupation] uninvited," and rhetorically added that "If it
[the U.S.] does [withdraw its troops from Iraq], one of the first
consequences will be a massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-
backed Shia militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis." [5]
Israel has always considered the leaders of Jordan as important
assets and allies to pacify the Arabs. On April 18, 2007 King
Abdullah II of Jordan reconfirmed this publicly known Israeli secret.
King Abdullah II told a visiting Israeli delegation that Jordan and
Israel were allies, emphasizing that he not only spoke for the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan but for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Arab
Sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf. [6]

The Jordanian King narrated to Dalia Itzik, Acting Israeli
President, Tzachi Hanegbi, the Chairman of the Israeli Foreign
Affairs and Defence Committee, and other Israeli officials that "we
[Arab rulers and Israel] are in the same boat; we have the same
problem [the forces of resistance in the region]. We have the same
enemies [Syria, Iran, the Palestinians, and Lebanon]." [7]

It is worth noting that the Saudi government and the Arab leaders of
Egypt, Jordan, and the Arab Sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf were fully
involved, covertly and/or overtly, in the 1991 Gulf War and in the
2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. These rulers also played major
roles in the Iraq-Iran War and the economic warfare against Iraq
which prodded Iraq into invading Kuwait for economic relief after its
bitter war with Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan are all firmly in the Anglo-American
camp. They are part of the extended international military network
controlled by the United States. They are already members of the
coalition that has been formed against Iran, Syria, and those forces
that have allied themselves with Tehran and Damascus. [8] To varying
degrees these Arab states are also allied with Israel and NATO. All
of these Arab governments that are labeled as "pro-Western" or "pro-
American" also have bilateral military and security ties and
agreements with the United States or Britain and NATO. However, it is
not certain that these states will stay by the side of Washington,
D.C. and London.

Turning the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf into NATO Lakes
NATO is expanding, but not only in Europe and the former Soviet
Union. There have been longstanding plans to turn the Mediterranean
into a permanent "NATO lake" and an arena closely linked to the
European Union. The Russian naval build-up in the Eastern
Mediterranean and off the Syrian coast is a move to challenge this

Several Arab regimes have had agreements and military arrangements
with NATO through NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue (established in 1995)
for over a decade. Amongst them are Egypt and Jordan. These are the
Arab nations that border the Mediterranean or are in close proximity
to it. While on the other hand, the Arab Sheikhdoms of the Persian
Gulf have lately entered into arrangements with NATO. For example,
Kuwait recently signed security agreements with NATO and effectively
opening the door for NATO entrance into the Persian Gulf.

The GCC agreements underway with NATO are effectively an extension of
the Mediterranean Dialogue and NATO expansion eastwards. The shift to
create a Gulf common market similar to the E.U. and a Mediterranean
Union are also linked to NATO expansion and the project to
permanently compel the Washington Consensus on the Middle East and
the Arab World

The expansion of a mandate for NATO in the Persian Gulf has been in
motion for years and has followed behind NATO's objectives in the
Mediterranean Sea. NATO influence in the Persian Gulf effectively
allows the area to fall under the joint management of Franco-German
and Anglo-American interests. It is no coincidence that Nicholas
Sarkozy started his presidential tour of the Middle East in the same
window of time as the U.S. President nor is it a twist of fate that
France and the U.A.E. signed an agreement on January 15, 2008
allowing France to establish a permanent military base in U.A.E.
territory on the shores of the Persian Gulf. [9]

The Real Divisions in the Middle East: Indigenous Forces versus
Foreign Clients

In Palestine, during past demonstrations in 2006, the press reported
that small groups of Fatah supporters chanted "Shia, Shia, Shia" in
mockery of Hamas because of its political links to Tehran, because
Iran is a predominately Shiite Muslim country.[10] This was a dismal
sign of the growing animosity that has been inseminated in the Middle
East. Yet, it also reflects that the divisions in the Middle East,
such as the Shiite-Sunni divide, are manufactured and artificially

Hamas, like Syria, is Sunni Muslim in identity and it is allied with
Iran, which is predominately Shiite Muslim. This alliance clearly
demonstrates that the real divisions in the Middle East are not based
on religious or ethnic affinity or differences. Similarly, in Lebanon
the forces of resistance are Muslim, Christian, and Druze and not
just Hezbollah or Lebanon's Shiite Muslims as is often described in
the Western media.

In reality, the regional differences in the Middle East are between
the independent and indigenous forces, regardless of religion,
politics, and/or ethnicity, in the region and the client forces and
governments in the region that serve Anglo-American and Franco-German
foreign policy and economic interests.

The Resistance Bloc

"As Lord Chatham said, when he was speaking on the British presence
in North America, he said `if I was an American, as I am an
Englishman, as long as one Englishman remained on American native
soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms.'"

To generalize, the independent and indigenous forces of the Middle
East are:

.1. Most of the various Palestinian fractions. This included the
Palestinian Authority under Hamas before the Mecca Accord and the
truce that was reached with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah;
.2. The Lebanese Resistance and National Opposition in Lebanon, which
is a combination of Muslims, Druze, and Christians;
.3. The Iraqi Resistance, which is a genuine series of diverse
peoples' movements that reflects the will of the Iraqi people(s);
.4. Syria;
.5. Iran, which is both a rival and the centre of the organized
political and state-levels of resistance.
People-based Resistance and State-based Resistance
The forces of resistance in the Middle East and neighbouring
Afghanistan can be classified as being either a peoples' resistance
or being a state-level force of resistance. However, there is a third
and hybrid category.
Iraq and Afghanistan both purely represent peoples' resistance
movements. Iran and Syria, for whatever rationale (good and bad),
represent cases of state-level centres of resistance to the U.S.,
NATO, and Israel. Sudan also falls into this category.

The forces of resistance in Palestine and Lebanon fall in between
these two categories as a mixture of state-level and people-based
resistance. In close proximity to the Middle East in the Horn of
Africa, Somalia is a debatable case, but is also an authentic centre
of resistance against foreign control that is linked to the struggle
to reconfigure the Middle East.

The forces of resistance in Lebanon and Palestine are also
distinctive in that they are also locked in internal or domestic
struggles between client and co-opted forces serving the Anglo-
American, Franco-German, and Israeli agenda in the Middle East.
The involvement of a whole nation's assets is obviously one of the
major differences between the state-level centres of resistance, such
as Iran, and the peoples' movements of resistance that is
disenfranchised from governing, such as in Iraq. However, wherever
there is a greater amount of foreign military subjugation the forces
of resistance are stronger and spring from the support of the local
populaces. The heavy casualties that the U.S., Britain, and NATO are
facing in Iraq and Afghanistan are because of the will of the
peoples' and their resistance.

Struggles across the Mid-East: The "Coalition of the Moderate" versus
the Resistance Bloc

The existing divisions between the independent and indigenous forces
of the Middle East and those aligned within the Anglo-American orbit
are represented by the following:

.1. The struggle between Hamas and its allies with Israel, Fatah, and
their allies in the Palestinian Territories;
.2. The ongoing struggle between the Iraqi Resistance, which is
essentially the Iraqi people, with the U.S. and Coalition forces over
the occupation of Iraq;
.3. The political face-off between the Lebanese National Opposition
(the majority in Lebanon) and the Lebanese governing parties (the
minority in Lebanon);
.4. The clash over Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq taking place between
Syria and both NATO powers and their Arab clients;
.5. And finally the many bitter regional and international rows
between Iran and the United States, which includes the Iranian
nuclear energy program and Iraq.

The Bush Tour: War Drums, Resistance, and the "New Middle East"

"One cause of instability is the extremists supported and embodied by
the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran is today the world's leading
state sponsor of terror. It sends hundreds of millions of dollars to
extremists around the world -- while its own people face repression
and economic hardship at home. It undermines Lebanese hopes for peace
by arming and aiding the terrorist group Hezbollah. It subverts the
hopes for peace in other parts of the region by funding terrorist
groups like Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad. It sends arms to
the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shia militants in Iraq. It seeks to
intimidate its neighbors with ballistic missiles and bellicose
rhetoric. And finally, it defies the United Nations and destabilizes
the region by refusing to be open and transparent about its nuclear
programs and ambitions. Iran's actions threaten the security of
nations everywhere. So the United States is strengthening our
longstanding security commitments with our friends in the Gulf -- and
rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it
is too late."

-George W. Bush Jr., 43rd President of the United States (Speech
in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, January 13, 2008)

It is no secret that the main purpose of the U.S. presidential tour
of the Middle East was to raise opposition against Iran and anyone
resisting the "New Middle East." Almost immediately, Syria claimed
that the presidential Middle Eastern tour of George W. Bush Jr. was
mostly made to try and further isolate Syria and orchestrate a future
war scenario against Iran. [11]

The U.S. President's tour of the Middle East came at a time when the
U.S. Navy made false claims about threats being made by Iranian
Revolutionary Guard speedboats in the Persian Gulf.

After the U.S. Navy withdrew its allegations the U.S. President
stated that if any thing negative should happen to U.S. warships in
the region it would be Tehran that would be held responsible.

At the same time there was a bombing in Beirut that was directed
against the American embassy. The bombing in Beirut could have been
staged, just as the U.S. Navy's claims were fictitious, to justify
the U.S. President's position against Iran and the Resistance Bloc.
In addition, reports were released from Israel about an Iranian-made
rocket being fired from the Gaza Strip by the Palestinians during the
U.S. President's tour of the Middle East.

In 2007, the Syrian President while in Deir ez-Zor, on the eve of an
important conference on Iraq in Sharm el-Sheikh in which Condoleeza
Rice publicly initiated contact with the foreign ministers of Syria
and Iran, warned his countrymen that "Syria, the Arab region and the
Middle East are going through a dangerous period. Destructive
colonial projects are seeking to divide and reshape our region
creating a new Sykes-Picot [Agreement]." [12]

Abdel Al-Bari Atouani, a noted Palestinian figure and the editor-in-
chief of the Al-Qods Al-Arabi in London, warned in a televised
interview with ANB TV in early-February, 2007 that the U.S. is
exploiting the Arab countries through their governments as the
firewood to wage a war against Iran and its allies in the Middle

The Jerusalem Post, in sequence with the U.S. President's arrival in
Saudi Arabia from the U.A.E., released statements from an unnamed
senior Palestinian official from the West Bank claiming that "Syria
and Iran have stepped up their efforts to overthrow Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his ruling Fatah party." [13]
The claims were compiled by Khaled Abu Toameh and also brought to
light the political gathering of a large array of Palestinian
political parties (referred to by Abu Toameh as "radical groups")
that will be hosted by the Syrians in Damascus.

Not surprisingly, Khaled Abu Toameh's article failed to point out
that the Palestinian government running the West Bank is illegitimate
and follows the orders of Mahmoud Abbas instead of a popularly
elected Palestinian prime minister. The Palestinians gathering in
Damascus will study ways to make the Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO) more inclusive and representative of mainstream
Palestinian desires instead of the edicts of Mahmoud Abbas and a few
other individuals that run portions of the West Bank as personal
fiefdoms with Israel and the White House as their overlords.

In Lebanon, a newspaper affiliated with the Hariri family and its
political allies also started to toe the American-led campaign line
to demonize Iran. An-Nahar, the newspaper once edited by the slain
Lebanese parliamentarian Gebran Tueni, stated in an opinion piece by
Ali Hamade that the Arab League must pressure Tehran for a settlement
in Lebanon and it is in Iran that the path lies to a Lebanese
settlement or towards confrontation "if developments [in the Middle
East] headed towards a confrontation with the Iranian imperial agenda
for the Arab East."

The Oval Office, the Establishment, and Anglo-American Foreign Policy
in the Middle East

U.S. and British foreign policies are more about the objectives of
the Anglo-American establishment than the distinctiveness of the
individuals that hold the office of American president and British
prime minister. This reality has been confirmed in the course of the
election campaign by the potential successors of George W. Bush Jr.,
Democrats and Republicans alike.

Aside from a few individuals who represent the true aspirations of
the American people, the majority of presidential contenders in the
U.S. are talking about a virtual continuation of the military
policies of the Bush Jr. Administration.

John McCain has talked about attacking Lebanon and Syria. [14]

Hilary Clinton wants a permanent occupation of Iraq or a "post-
occupation phase" as U.S. officials decadently call it and she has
threatened Iran.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, has made it clear
he intends to mirror the Bush Jr. Administration and that he does not
intent to recognize a Palestinian state and that he would use nuclear
weapons against a non-nuclear Iran.

The era of wars will not be over with the departure of George W. Bush
Jr. and Vice-President Cheney from the White House.

The problem is deeper and more complicated than the persona of one
man and his cabinet. George W. Bush Jr. is only a figurehead in the
mechanisms of a larger machine; he represents the establishment but
he alone or his cabinet do not steer the helm of U.S. foreign policy.
Important Questions: The Nature of Cooperation and Rivalry between
America, Iran, and Syria

Our reality is a far more complicated one. Once upon a time, before
coming to power, Hamas used to collaborate with Israel against Yasser
Arafat's Fatah.

The Christian Science Monitor made a good point in an article by Marc
Lynch: "`Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment
instability and chaos,' Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned Gulf
dignitaries in Bahrain last month [December, 2007]. But in reality,
everywhere you turn, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia to Egypt, you now see
Iranian leaders shattering longstanding taboos by meeting cordially
with their Arab counterparts." [15]

In fact the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was invited to
the important GCC Summit in the Qatari capital, Doha, which discussed
the economic integration of the Persian Gulf and GCC-Iranian
cooperation. Iran, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia also were making
public shows of drawing closer even before the gathering in Doha,
which included military and economic agreements between Oman and Iran.

Cairo and Tehran have also publicly opened the door for the full
normalization of diplomatic relations. What develops in Egyptian-
Iranian relations is yet to be seen. Iran is also making further
economic and commercial inroads into both Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran
and Syria are also linking their energy infrastructure with Iraq and
also taking steps that undeniable assist the U.S. in Anglo-American
occupied Iraq.

The nomination of General Michel Sulaiman as the next Lebanese
president has also been called a concession to Syria for its
cooperation with the U.S. in Iraq and even for its attendance at the
Annapolis Summit.

However, if this is so then there are unanswered questions not only
about Syrian-American cooperation, but about the meeting between
David Welch, the U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Near Eastern
Affairs, and General Sulaiman before the fighting between Fatal Al-
Islam and the Lebanese Army erupted in 2007.

It is clear that there is an agenda to redraw the borders of the
Middle East in order to institute lasting economic policies that
benefit Anglo-American and Franco-German interests, along with their
Israeli bulldog in the Middle East.

The Syrians and the Iranians are well aware of the plans to divide
their home region and to play the peoples of the Middle East against
one another. Tehran and Damascus too have been guilty of playing the
same game for their own interests, but what America and its allies
envision is a far broader partition and reconfiguration of the Middle
East, which also places Syria and Iran in the sights of this historic

The question here is: are these efforts to divide the Middle East
(into "moderates" and "radicals") part of a policy of containment, a
war strategy, or something far more sinister?

The intentions of people-based resistance movements like those of the
Iraqi Resistance are simple and mostly clear, but state-based
resistance — if it can really be called that — is often ambivalent in
its intent.

Are Iran and Syria genuinely resisting the "New Middle East" which in
the end serves the Washington Consensus? The ongoing economic reforms
including the privatization programs in both Iran and Syria suggest
that these countries are not totally opposed to the dominant neo-
liberal agenda, which characterises Washington's expansionary
policies. [16]

It is no sin to question motives, especially when circumstances call
for it, but it is a sin and a crime to mislead the masses. As
developments in the Middle East unfold, the political stance of Iran
and Syria will become clearer.


[1] Jonathan Beale, Rice seeks Mid-East support on Iraq, British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), January 13, 2007.
[2] Paul Reynolds, Blair and the `strategic challenge' of Iran,
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), December 20, 2007.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Uzi Mahnaimi, Saudis lead Israel peace bid, The Times (U.K.),
December 3, 2006.
[5] Simon Tisdall, Iran v Saudis in battle of Beirut, The Guardian
(U.K.), December 5, 2006.
[6] Shahar Ilan, Jordan's Abdullah tells Israel: We share same
enemies, Haaretz, April 19, 2007.
The remarks were immediately denied by the Jordanian King once they
were circulated by the Israeli press. These denials are parallel to
the denials of the House of Saud about its diplomatic meetings and
negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel which were divulged as
true after the initial denials.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Anatole Kaletsky, An unholy alliance threatening catastrophe, The
Times (U.K.), January 4, 2007.
[9] Laurent Pirot, France Signs UAE Military Base Agreement,
Associated Press, January 12, 2008; Emmanuel Jarry, France, UAE sign
military, nuclear agreement, Reuters, January 15, 2008; Paul
Reynolds, French make serious move into Gulf, British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC), January 15, 2008.
[10] Fatah, Hamas clash in Gaza after Abbas calls early elections,
Associated Press, December 16, 2006.
[11] Damascus slams Arab leaders for allowing Bush's `criticism of
Syria,' Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)/ German Press Agency, January
14, 2008.
[12] Mazen and Thawra, President al-Assad says Arab Region passes
through new juncture, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), April 30, 2007.
[13] Khaled Abu Toameh, Syria, Iran trying to overthrow Abbas, The
Jerusalem Post, January 15, 2008.
[14] Shani Rosenfelder, McCain: Disarm Hizbullah, tackle Assad, The
Jerusalem Post, August 9, 2007.
[15] Marc Lynch, Why U.S. strategy on Iran is crumbling: Gulf states
no longer want to isolate Iran, Christian Science Monitor, January 4,
[16] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, The Sino-Russian Alliance: Challenging
America's Ambitions in Eurasia, Centre for Research on Globalization
(CRG), August 26, 2007; Julian Barnes-Dacey, Even with sanctions,
Syrians embrace KFC and Gap, Christian Science Monitor, January 11,

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an independent writer based in Ottawa
specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of
the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Chavez Guidelines for Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez said the only way to achieve Venezuela's independence is through a national revolution.

2009-01-22 | 17:29:37 EST
Photo: GoogleZoom
Caracas, Jan 22 (Prensa Latina) President Hugo Chavez said the only way to achieve Venezuela's independence is through a national revolution.

In thoughts echoed by 28 papers titled "Chavez Guidelines" the statesman stresses that "there is no other road for the homeland than the one we already follow, of socialism, our Bolivarian socialism: Socialist Democracy!

The leader of the changes Venezuela began in 1999 reminds that as a ball player he always batted to the right field but in field of politics and the revolution the balls will fly in every direction with similar strength.

"Only that they are now accompanied by the force of ideas, conviction and patriotic passion," he added.

He said the referendum on the 15th will be "20 years after ‘El Caracazo’ that gave me birth, 17 years after the Bolivarian Military Rebellion and 10 years after the ascension that brought me here. I put my life and future again in the hands of the people and their sovereign decision. This revolutionary soldier will follow the people's orders."

"If the majority says No then I'll leave in February, 2013," he assured. "But, if most Venezuelan men and women vote in support of the amendment, then I will be able to=2 0lead the country beyond 2013," he assured.

Chavez said he is basically a soldier and as such he was "forged in the school of commitment and obedience to the legitimate power leading collective effort, in search for tactical and strategic goals."

So, circumstances and conditions "made me a revolutionary soldier," and he has since "assumed as legitimate and superior, the sovereign power of the Venezuelan people, to which I am now an absolute subordinate. And I will be for the rest of my life."

The statesman assured that amid the events marking early 2009, and when the political battle started 200 years ago intensifies, "some, the majority, want national independence. Others in the minority wish to turn Venezuela into a colony again, a sub-empire, pseudo-republic.

President Chavez warns that "the other road, which those who bow to colonialism want to take, would condemn our country to disability, insignificance and a historic tomb. That is the road of capitalism and its political expression: "bourgeois democracy."

From: Walter Lippmann
To: Karen Lee Wald
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 5:40 PM
Subject: More on Michelle Obama's dress and Santeria

Hi, Karen -

One of my readers sent this response:

Subject: Re: [CubaNews] Michelle Obama's dress and Santeria
Date: Jan 24, 2009 8:27 PM

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar ... but if the Cuban-American designer was thinking of or under the influence of Ochun, I'd like the add this: Ochun is the most powerful, most revered oricha. She was not married to but had affairs with Chango and Oggun, was married to to Orunla, Inle Abata and Babaluaye. Chango was married to Oya Yansan. Ochun was given the river as a domain by Yemaya and Aggayu. Ochun has the last word in all affairs, so she is ONE oricha you never want to piss off, she is the oricha who always wins. Annoy Obatala, but if Ochun has your side, you will come out alright.

One of my favorite patakins [stories/folktales] is when humanity had come to dishonor the gods and be lured into new ways. When death and drought came, the people prayed to the gods for relief; none took pity, having lost faith in human beings. Uniquely, Ochun, the youngest oricha, took her beautiful messenger bird to Heaven to speak on humanity's behalf. God heard her and brought rain and relief. The beautiful bird Ochun used was forever scarred by the journey so close to the sun: this is how the vulture came to look as it does. The vulture is one of her messengers, as are the partridge and quail.

The arts of divination were the sole propriety of Orunla, until Ochun studied after him with certain limits: so while babalawos may read the full range of texts, priests of oricha retain this limit. One of Ochun's titles is APETIBI ORUNLA, wife of Orula, who was a king and was able to spre
ad his divination message thanks to his wife, Ochun's study. IYALODDE [the crowned woman] is another of Ochun's titles. Just as Orula would not have had success without Ochun, his priests, the babalawos, have a special place for Ochun in their worship ... Obama?

Ochun is the only oricha of LIFE and the FIGHT FOR LIFE. Ochun is the oricha of SOCIAL JUSTICE.

Fidel is from the region of Cuba where Ochun's basilica is located. When he started fighting, his mother took offerings to the basilica for Ochun [la virgen de caridad del cobre]. The persistent rumor is Fidel is a babalawo.


-----Original Message-----
From: Walter Lippmann
To: CubaNews
Sent: Sat, 24 Jan 2009 4:39 pm
Subject: [CubaNews] Michelle Obama's dress and Santeria

Since several people commented that Michelle Obama was wearing a yellow dress designed by a Cuban American, and that yellow is the color of the African and Afro-Cuban goddess or orisha, Oshun, I thought it worth passing on some information about Oshun, for whatever it is worth to you. :)

Specialists in the topic can add more, this is just from googling it:

Oshun is beneficient and generous, and very kind. She does, however, have a horrific temper, though it is difficult to anger her. She is married to ?àngó, the god of thunder, and is his favorite wife because of her excellent cooking skills. One of his other wives, Oba, was her rival. They are the goddesses of the =E
1?un and Oba rivers, which meet in a turbulent place with difficult rapids.


In Cuban Santería, Oshun (sometimes spelled Ochún or Ochun) is an Orisha of love, maternity and marriage. She has been syncretized with Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), Cuba's patroness. She is associated with the color yellow,

Havana, Cuba
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

I didn't expect to find this in The Wall Street Journal, but here it is, for all to see, so perhaps more and more people today will understand this major component of the current situation.
Jane Franklin

JANUARY 24, 2009
How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas
more in World »
Moshav Tekuma, Israel
Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.
"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction.
Instead of trying to curb Gaza's Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat's Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with "Yassins," primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

View Slideshow

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas.
Last Saturday, after 22 days of war, Israel announced a halt to the offensive. The assault was aimed at stopping Hamas rockets from falling on Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hailed a "determined and successful military operation." More than 1,200 Palestinians had died. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.
Hamas responded the next day by lobbing five rockets towards the Israeli town of Sderot, a few miles down the road from Moshav Tekuma, the farming village where Mr. Cohen lives. Hamas then announced its own cease-fire.
Since then, Hamas leaders have emerged from hiding and reasserted their control over Gaza. Egyptian-mediated talks aimed at a more durable truce are expected to start this weekend. President Barack Obama said this week that lasting calm "requires more than a long cease-fire" and depends on Israel and a future Palestinian state "living side by side in peace and security."
A look at Israel's decades-long dealings with Palestinian radicals -- including some little-known attempts to cooperate with the Islamists -- reveals a catalog of unintended and often perilous consequences. Time and again, Israel's efforts to find a pliant Palestinian partner that is both credible with Palestinians and willing to eschew violence, have backfired. Would-be partners have turned into foes or lost the support of their people.
Israel's experience echoes that of the U.S., which, during the Cold War, looked to Islamists as a useful ally against communism. Anti-Soviet forces backed by America after Moscow's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan later mutated into al Qaeda.

APA /Landov
Hamas supporters in Gaza City after the cease-fire.
At stake is the future of what used to be the British Mandate of Palestine, the biblical lands now comprising Israel and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Since 1948, when the state of Israel was established, Israelis and Palestinians have each asserted claims over the same territory.
The Palestinian cause was for decades led by the PLO, which Israel regarded as a terrorist outfit and sought to crush until the 1990s, when the PLO dropped its vow to destroy the Jewish state. The PLO's Palestinian rival, Hamas, led by Islamist militants, refused to recognize Israel and vowed to continue "resistance." Hamas now controls Gaza, a crowded, impoverished sliver of land on the Mediterranean from which Israel pulled out troops and settlers in 2005.
When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and '80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
"When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake," says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early '90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. "But at the time nobody thought about the possible results."
Israeli officials who served in Gaza disagree on how much their own actions may have contributed to the rise of Hamas. They blame the group's recent ascent on outsiders, primarily Iran. This view is shared by the Israeli government. "Hamas in Gaza was built by Iran as a foundation for power, and is backed through funding, through training and through the provision of advanced weapons," Mr. Olmert said last Saturday. Hamas has denied receiving military assistance from Iran.
Arieh Spitzen, the former head of the Israeli military's Department of Palestinian Affairs, says that even if Israel had tried to stop the Islamists sooner, he doubts it could have done much to curb political Islam, a movement that was spreading across the Muslim world. He says attempts to stop it are akin to trying to change the internal rhythms of nature: "It is like saying: 'I will kill all the mosquitoes.' But then you get even worse insects that will kill you...You break the balance. You kill Hamas you might get al Qaeda."
When it became clear in the early 1990s that Gaza's Islamists had mutated from a religious group into a fighting force aimed at Israel -- particularly after they turned to suicide bombings in 1994 -- Israel cracked down with ferocious force. But each military assault only increased Hamas's appeal to ordinary Palestinians. The group ultimately trounced secular rivals, notably Fatah, in a 2006 election supported by Israel's main ally, the U.S.
Now, one big fear in Israel and elsewhere is that while Hamas has been hammered hard, the war might have boosted the group's popular appeal. Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in Gaza, came out of hiding last Sunday to declare that "God has granted us a great victory."
Most damaged from the war, say many Palestinians, is Fatah, now Israel's principal negotiating partner. "Everyone is praising the resistance and thinks that Fatah is not part of it," says Baker Abu-Baker, a longtime Fatah supporter and author of a book on Hamas.

A Lack of Devotion
Hamas traces its roots back to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group set up in Egypt in 1928. The Brotherhood believed that the woes of the Arab world spring from a lack of Islamic devotion. Its slogan: "Islam is the solution. The Quran is our constitution." Its philosophy today underpins modern, and often militantly intolerant, political Islam from Algeria to Indonesia.
After the 1948 establishment of Israel, the Brotherhood recruited a few followers in Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza and elsewhere, but secular activists came to dominate the Palestinian nationalist movement.
At the time, Gaza was ruled by Egypt. The country's then-president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was a secular nationalist who brutally repressed the Brotherhood. In 1967, Nasser suffered a crushing defeat when Israel triumphed in the six-day war. Israel took control of Gaza and also the West Bank.
"We were all stunned," says Palestinian writer and Hamas supporter Azzam Tamimi. He was at school at the time in Kuwait and says he became close to a classmate named Khaled Mashaal, now Hamas's Damascus-based political chief. "The Arab defeat provided the Brotherhood with a big opportunity," says Mr. Tamimi.
In Gaza, Israel hunted down members of Fatah and other secular PLO factions, but it dropped harsh restrictions imposed on Islamic activists by the territory's previous Egyptian rulers. Fatah, set up in 1964, was the backbone of the PLO, which was responsible for hijackings, bombings and other violence against Israel. Arab states in 1974 declared the PLO the "sole legitimate representative" of the Palestinian people world-wide.

View Full Image

Heidi Levine/Sipa Press for The Wall Street Journal
A poster of the late Sheikh Yassin hangs near a building destroyed by the Israeli assault on Gaza.

The Muslim Brotherhood, led in Gaza by Sheikh Yassin, was free to spread its message openly. In addition to launching various charity projects, Sheikh Yassin collected money to reprint the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian member of the Brotherhood who, before his execution by President Nasser, advocated global jihad. He is now seen as one of the founding ideologues of militant political Islam.
Mr. Cohen, who worked at the time for the Israeli government's religious affairs department in Gaza, says he began to hear disturbing reports in the mid-1970s about Sheikh Yassin from traditional Islamic clerics. He says they warned that the sheikh had no formal Islamic training and was ultimately more interested in politics than faith. "They said, 'Keep away from Yassin. He is a big danger,'" recalls Mr. Cohen.
Instead, Israel's military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the recent war.
Brig. General Yosef Kastel, Gaza's Israeli governor at the time, is too ill to comment, says his wife. But Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who took over as governor in Gaza in late 1979, says he had no illusions about Sheikh Yassin's long-term intentions or the perils of political Islam. As Israel's former military attache in Iran, he'd watched Islamic fervor topple the Shah. However, in Gaza, says Mr. Segev, "our main enemy was Fatah," and the cleric "was still 100% peaceful" towards Israel. Former officials say Israel was also at the time wary of being viewed as an enemy of Islam.
Mr. Segev says he had regular contact with Sheikh Yassin, in part to keep an eye on him. He visited his mosque and met the cleric around a dozen times. It was illegal at the time for Israelis to meet anyone from the PLO. Mr. Segev later arranged for the cleric to be taken to Israel for hospital treatment. "We had no problems with him," he says.
In fact, the cleric and Israel had a shared enemy: secular Palestinian activists. After a failed attempt in Gaza to oust secularists from leadership of the Palestinian Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross, Mujama staged a violent demonstration, storming the Red Crescent building. Islamists also attacked shops selling liquor and cinemas. The Israeli military mostly stood on the sidelines.
Mr. Segev says the army didn't want to get involved in Palestinian quarrels but did send soldiers to prevent Islamists from burning down the house of the Red Crescent's secular chief, a socialist who supported the PLO.

'An Alternative to the PLO'
Clashes between Islamists and secular nationalists spread to the West Bank and escalated during the early 1980s, convulsing college campuses, particularly Birzeit University, a center of political activism.
As the fighting between rival student factions at Birzeit grew more violent, Brig. Gen. Shalom Harari, then a military intelligence officer in Gaza, says he received a call from Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint on the road out of Gaza. They had stopped a bus carrying Islamic activists who wanted to join the battle against Fatah at Birzeit. "I said: 'If they want to burn each other let them go,'" recalls Mr. Harari.
A leader of Birzeit's Islamist faction at the time was Mahmoud Musleh, now a pro-Hamas member of a Palestinian legislature elected in 2006. He recalls how usually aggressive Israeli security forces stood back and let conflagration develop. He denies any collusion between his own camp and the Israelis, but says "they hoped we would become an alternative to the PLO."
A year later, in 1984, the Israeli military received a tip-off from Fatah supporters that Sheikh Yassin's Gaza Islamists were collecting arms, according to Israeli officials in Gaza at the time. Israeli troops raided a mosque and found a cache of weapons. Sheikh Yassin was jailed. He told Israeli interrogators the weapons were for use against rival Palestinians, not Israel, according to Mr. Hacham, the military affairs expert who says he spoke frequently with jailed Islamists. The cleric was released after a year and continued to expand Mujama's reach across Gaza.
Around the time of Sheikh Yassin's arrest, Mr. Cohen, the religious affairs official, sent a report to senior Israeli military and civilian officials in Gaza. Describing the cleric as a "diabolical" figure, he warned that Israel's policy towards the Islamists was allowing Mujama to develop into a dangerous force.
"I believe that by continuing to turn away our eyes, our lenient approach to Mujama will in the future harm us. I therefore suggest focusing our efforts on finding ways to break up this monster before this reality jumps in our face," Mr. Cohen wrote.
Mr. Harari, the military intelligence officer, says this and other warnings were ignored. But, he says, the reason for this was neglect, not a desire to fortify the Islamists: "Israel never financed Hamas. Israel never armed Hamas."
Roni Shaked, a former officer of Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, and author of a book on Hamas, says Sheikh Yassin and his followers had a long-term perspective whose dangers were not understood at the time. "They worked slowly, slowly, step by step according to the Muslim Brotherhood plan."

Declaring Jihad
In 1987, several Palestinians were killed in a traffic accident involving an Israeli driver, triggering a wave of protests that became known as the first Intifada, Mr. Yassin and six other Mujama Islamists launched Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement. Hamas's charter, released a year later, is studded with anti-Semitism and declares "jihad its path and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief."
Israeli officials, still focused on Fatah and initially unaware of the Hamas charter, continued to maintain contacts with the Gaza Islamists. Mr. Hacham, the military Arab affairs expert, remembers taking one of Hamas's founders, Mahmoud Zahar, to meet Israel's then defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin, as part of regular consultations between Israeli officials and Palestinians not linked to the PLO. Mr. Zahar, the only Hamas founder known to be alive today, is now the group's senior political leader in Gaza.
In 1989, Hamas carried out its first attack on Israel, abducting and killing two soldiers. Israel arrested Sheikh Yassin and sentenced him to life. It later rounded up more than 400 suspected Hamas activists, including Mr. Zahar, and deported them to southern Lebanon. There, they hooked up with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed A-Team of anti-Israeli militancy.
Many of the deportees later returned to Gaza. Hamas built up its arsenal and escalated its attacks, while all along maintaining the social network that underpinned its support in Gaza.
Meanwhile, its enemy, the PLO, dropped its commitment to Israel's destruction and started negotiating a two-state settlement. Hamas accused it of treachery. This accusation found increasing resonance as Israel kept developing settlements on occupied Palestinian land, particularly the West Bank. Though the West Bank had passed to the nominal control of a new Palestinian Authority, it was still dotted with Israeli military checkpoints and a growing number of Israeli settlers.
Unable to uproot a now entrenched Islamist network that had suddenly replaced the PLO as its main foe, Israel tried to decapitate it. It started targeting Hamas leaders. This, too, made no dent in Hamas's support, and sometimes even helped the group. In 1997, for example, Israel's Mossad spy agency tried to poison Hamas's exiled political leader Mr. Mashaal, who was then living in Jordan.
The agents got caught and, to get them out of a Jordanian jail, Israel agreed to release Sheikh Yassin. The cleric set off on a tour of the Islamic world to raise support and money. He returned to Gaza to a hero's welcome.
Efraim Halevy, a veteran Mossad officer who negotiated the deal that released Sheikh Yassin, says the cleric's freedom was hard to swallow, but Israel had no choice. After the fiasco in Jordan, Mr. Halevy was named director of Mossad, a position he held until 2002. Two years later, Sheikh Yassin was killed by an Israeli air strike.
Mr. Halevy has in recent years urged Israel to negotiate with Hamas. He says that "Hamas can be crushed," but he believes that "the price of crushing Hamas is a price that Israel would prefer not to pay." When Israel's authoritarian secular neighbor, Syria, launched a campaign to wipe out Muslim Brotherhood militants in the early 1980s it killed more than 20,000 people, many of them civilians.
In its recent war in Gaza, Israel didn't set the destruction of Hamas as its goal. It limited its stated objectives to halting the Islamists' rocket fire and battering their overall military capacity. At the start of the Israeli operation in December, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told parliament that the goal was "to deal Hamas a severe blow, a blow that will cause it to stop its hostile actions from Gaza at Israeli citizens and soldiers."
Walking back to his house from the rubble of his neighbor's home, Mr. Cohen, the former religious affairs official in Gaza, curses Hamas and also what he sees as missteps that allowed Islamists to put down deep roots in Gaza.
He recalls a 1970s meeting with a traditional Islamic cleric who wanted Israel to stop cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood followers of Sheikh Yassin: "He told me: 'You are going to have big regrets in 20 or 30 years.' He was right."

Write to Andrew Higgins at

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Gitmo East
by Ed Brayton

Time magazine has an article about the prison for detainees at the
Bagram military base in Afghanistan, a prison that holds three times
as many inmates as Guantanamo Bay and has perhaps an even worse
history of abuse and a similar history of locking up innocent people.

The incoming Obama Administration says it wants to shut down the U.S.
military prison at Guantánamo Bay. But even if Guantánamo closes, the
controversial U.S. practice of jailing suspected al-Qaeda militants
and other terrorists indefinitely won't end, because such detentions
continue on an even greater scale at the U.S. military base at
Bagram, Afghanistan, 40 miles north of Kabul. Approximately 250
detainees are currently being held at Guantánamo; an estimated 670
are locked up under similar conditions at Bagram.The Obama transition
team has declined to comment on whether U.S. detention policy for
enemy combatants will change with a new Administration. Nevertheless,
the U.S. military is building a new prison for what it
calls "unlawful enemy combatants" at Bagram that won't be finished
until Obama is well settled in the White House. "The Obama
Administration is inheriting not so much a shrinking Guantánamo as an
expanding Bagram," says Tina Foster, executive director of the
International Justice Network, a nonprofit legal group based in New
York City.

There is an ongoing case involving one man held at Bagram after being
shifted among various CIA black sites:

Foster and a consortium of other human rights lawyers will be in
Federal District Court in Washington on Jan. 7 to demand that those
being held at Bagram get the same habeas corpus rights — the right to
know the charges against them, and to be freed if a court deems those
charges insufficient — that the Supreme Court gave Guantánamo
detainees last summer. Their case centers on Redha al-Najar, a 43-
year-old Tunisian national who has been held without charge in U.S.
military custody since May 2002. Al-Najar was arrested in Karachi,
Pakistan, where he had been living with his wife and child. According
to his attorneys, al-Najar spent the next two years being shifted
among various CIA "black sites" before ending up at Bagram. They
argue he has been held for more than six years, virtually
incommunicado and without charges or access to a fair means to
challenge his imprisonment. The suit asks the court to order al-
Najar's release.

It will be interesting to see what the court does with this one. One
of the keys to getting even minimal habeas relief in Guantanamo was
based on the fact that the Navy base in Cuba is under full U.S.
control. Will they rule the same thing about a prison at a base in
Afghanistan in an active war zone? My guess is that they won't.
Either way, there has been a history of abuse at Bagram:

The original U.S. prison, established early in 2002, was the main
screening site for those captured by Americans and their allies
during initial fighting in Afghanistan. At least two detainees died
there in December 2002 after being beaten by U.S. troops. While
conditions are said to have improved since then, hundreds of
prisoners remain in wire mesh pens edged with coils of razor wire,
and earlier this year U.S. military officials revealed that a Bagram
interrogator had been convicted of assaulting an Afghan detainee who
later died. Just last month, the military issued a statement saying
it would investigate whether a pair of U.S. soldiers had abused
Afghan detainees.

This base was also mentioned in memos released by the Senate Armed
Services Committee as one where the military intentionally hid abused
detainees from the Red Cross.


Osama bin Laden's former driver has gone back to Yemen. But what
countries will take the remaining detainees?

Life After Gitmo
By Dan Ephron

Hamden spent five years at Gitmo

With the economy commanding most of his attention, President-elect
Barack Obama has probably had little time to work on his campaign
pledge to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. But he's
benefited from two Guantánamo-related developments lately that are
not of his own making. This week the Pentagon sent home Yemeni
national Salim Hamdan, who had been convicted by a military tribunal
earlier this year of acting as Osama bin Laden's driver. Hamdan was
close to serving out his sentence but the Pentagon had been insisting
it could hold him indefinitely as an enemy combatant. Separately, a
Washington federal court ruled last week there was insufficient
evidence to continue imprisoning five Bosnians and ordered the Bush
administration to set them free. About 250 people remain locked up at

One of the lesser-known aspects of Guantánamo is the complicated
negotiation the State Department conducts with countries around the
world before releasing their nationals and sending them home. To
understand more about the Hamdan repatriation and other cases,
NEWSWEEK's Dan Ephron spoke with Vijay Padmanabhan, who served until
August of this year as an attorney adviser in the State Department
with responsibility for detainee issues. He now teaches at the
Cardozo School of Law in New York. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: How are these negotiations conducted? What kinds of issues
come up?

Vijay Padmanabhan: As a general matter, the United States looks for
two sets of assurances from every country that we send Guantánamo
detainees back to. The first set would be security assurances. And
the essence of the security assurance would be that the country that
is taking back the detainee will manage the threat posed by the
individual so they don't pose a threat to the U.S., its allies and
that home country. The second set of assurances is linked to humane
treatment. It's a policy of the United States not to transfer anyone
from one country to another where it's more likely than not [the
individual] will be tortured.

How do countries respond to these conditions?

The responses really run a large gamut from countries that are very
eager to get their nationals back and eager to do what the United
States asks, to countries that have poor human-rights records where
you really do get bogged down in concerns about human-rights
situations, to countries with very poor security situations where
it's difficult for the United States to trust assurances that are
being provided on the security front. And we know that Yemen tends to
fall in that third category. The fear is Yemen doesn't have the
capacity to make sure former detainees do not pose a security threat
going forward.

You ' ve been out of government since August, so obviously you
weren ' t involved in the diplomacy that led to Salim Hamdan ' s
repatriation but what issues do you think were raised in that

A small number of detainees have previously been repatriated from
Guantánamo Bay to Yemen. The concern with Yemen as a general matter
is that the security situation there is very poor. Just earlier this
year there were mortar shells being lobbed into the [U.S. Embassy]
compound in Sana. There's a great deal of instability in Yemen … and
a limited ability by the government to actually exercise control over
its own territory. So I think there are some very legitimate
concerns. But I'm guessing that with Mr. Hamdan, contrary to what was
portrayed by the military-commission prosecutors, he is a very, very
small fish. And so I'm guessing the determination was made that the
political costs of continuing to detain someone who has served his
sentence … are too great. It made sense to send him home.

So you don't conclude from the fact that Hamdan was repatriated that
maybe some new understanding was reached with Yemen that will allow
the release of other Guantánamo detainees back to Yemen?

I do not at all … I think this is just an admission that the
government really has overstated the case against Mr. Hamdan, and it
makes sense to just let him go home. The next administration is going
to have to figure out how many of the Yemeni detainees at Guantánamo
are like Mr. Hamdan in terms of their security threat. I do think
there's an opening to continue transferring people back to Yemen who
fit the profile of Mr. Hamdan, detainees who may have been involved
at a very low level with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Send them home and
let the Yemeni government worry about the problem those people pose.
But I don't think that you can draw from the Hamdan example anything
with respect to the more serious individuals who are being held there.

Would the majority of Yemenis h eld at Guant á namo fall under the
same category as Hamdan — small fish?

I don't know, and to be honest with you I don't think the Department
of Defense really knows. I think the next administration needs to
approach this with clean eyes, people who have not been trying to
justify detention for seven or eight years, who look at these facts
with jaundiced eyes. You need someone new to come in and take a look
at the facts and make a cold-hearted assessment and say, "OK, these
people are like Hamdan and they can go home." Keep in mind the
Defense Department up until three months ago was saying he should be
given a life sentence for his activities. So I think there's no
credible assessment that's been done by this administration as to who
would fall under that category.

The Saudis have a rehabilitation program to deprogram jihadis who
served at Guantánamo. How successful has it been?

The Saudi program has been a great success. And the way you judge if
it's been a success or not is by the recidivism rate of people who
leave the program. The Saudi government says the recidivism rate is
very, very low. And I think the U.S. government has been very happy
with the way the Saudi government has conducted itself with respect
to the rehabilitation program. Now, it works because Saudi society is
organized around very close-knit family and clan structures, so the
Saudi government enlists the entire family and clan in being
responsible for ensuring that once these people get through the re-
education program, they don't go back to the fight because they know
there are going to be consequences for the village and the family.

What about the third-country resettlement diplomacy that was going
on? The way I understand it, about 50 people at Guantánamo would face
torture if sent home and need to be resettled in third countries. But
only Albania, so far, has been willing to accept former detainees, is
that right?


Tell me about that type of negotiation. What do third countries say
when the United States approaches them on the resettlement issue?
Well it's been a very difficult process. The State Department over
the past few years has approached almost every country on the globe
and asked them to take Guantánamo detainees for third-country
resettlement. The problem is a sort of obvious one, that is, you are
not the country of nationality for these people, what is your
incentive to want to take people who the U.S. often believes have
some links to terrorism, although they may be able to be managed, and
bring them to your country? These governments have parliaments, they
have domestic political opposition to bringing these folks in, and
then they have some security considerations. Why do they want to bear
the burden, in their minds, to bringing these people in? And lastly,
one of the most frequently mentioned stumbling blocks would be the
fact that the United States itself has not let anyone in from
Guantánamo. So you often get people saying, "Well why don't you take
in people first?"

What ' s the U.S. response to that question?

This administration made a decision a long time ago that it was not
going to allow Guantánamo detainees into the United States … The U.S.
basically makes a burden-sharing argument: the U.S. is bearing the
burden of detaining all these people and their detention helps the
whole world so it's up to our allies to help with the burden and that
would come in the form of resettling people once the U.S. has
determined they no longer need to be detained.

It seems to me you're saying that until the United States agrees to
take in some number of Guantánamo detainees, we're not going to be
able to persuade our allies—European countries, Canada, Australia and
others—to do so. Is that your view?

It is my view. Although one caveat on that is there is no guarantee
even if we were to take people in that these countries would actually
take people in themselves. Many times the countries will say, "OK,
we'll do it if you do it," as a stalling tactic. So we won't know for
sure until we do take some people in whether in fact that will grease
the wheels and get other countries to take them in. I think one thing
the president-elect can do is think about convening some kind of
detainee conference where the U.S. pledges to take a certain number
of detainees for resettlement in exchange for pledges from other
countries at the conference.

But one way or another, it sounds like you're saying we should get
used to the idea that some number of Guantánamo detainees in perhaps
a year or two will be living freely in or or elsewhere in the United
States. There is a certain irony here, given that the Bush
administration has told us Guantánamo detainees are the "worst of the

I can see the irony in that situation and I can see why as a
political matter it would be very difficult to do but the reality of
the situation is there may be few if any options with respect to some
of these people … One thing that should be explored is the extent to
which the FBI and the Justice Department more generally would have
tools at their disposal to monitor Guantánamo detainees once they are
released to the United States.


Ex-terrorism prosecutor flags flaws at tribunal

NEW YORK (AP) — Like many human rights observers, Anthony Barkow has
harsh words about the government's treatment of detainees at
Guantanamo Bay. But Barkow offers a unique perspective: He's the only
observer who successfully prosecuted terrorist sympathizers in his
former life as an assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan.

President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to close the prison on the
U.S. Navy base in Cuba, but no decision has been made about how and
where to try the detainees. Barkow said the federal courts can handle
most national security issues but did not want to take a position on
where the prosecutions should occur.

"Federal prosecutors would like doing cases like this — and they can
do them, too," he said in a recent interview after returning from
observing military tribunals at Guantanamo for a week.

He acknowledged that the tribunals are more protective of classified
information, interrogation techniques and U.S. relationships with
foreign governments than are U.S. district courts. But, he
insisted, "certainly, all of these things could be done in federal

Barkow was a federal prosecutor for 12 years, much of that time under
the Bush administration.

He left the office in May, soon after arguing the appeal of three
defendants convicted in 2005 of letting Egyptian Sheik Omar Abdel-
Rahman communicate with his followers from the U.S. prison cell where
he is serving a life sentence. Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 in
a plot to blow up five New York City landmarks.

Today, the 39-year-old Barkow is executive director of the Center on
the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of
Law, a think tank dedicated to the promotion of good government
practices in criminal matters.

He lived at Guantanamo for a week in September, returning to his tent
at night to write a blog about his observations for the group Human
Rights First. One of the things that surprised him most was the lack
of openness.

Court observers, including himself, the media and representatives of
human rights groups, sat behind a glass partition during the most
sensitive proceedings, listening to testimony with a 40-second or so
tape delay.

Monitors could press a button to black out information they believed
was classified, some of which was later revealed to be trivial.
Barkow gave an example of censors blotting out a reference by 9/11
mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to a book by Richard Nixon — "as if
the book title was classified."

He said defendants were unable to understand the proceedings and the
court and jury unable to completely hear them. As a result, the
record did not accurately reflect what happened.

In one blog, he wrote that some interpreters "are simply not up to
their tasks," which led to "deathly slow and inefficient" proceedings
in which interpreters sometimes got it wrong even when working at
half speed.

Deborah Colson, a Human Rights First lawyer, said Barkow's
observations about the interpreters were important, noting how "that
really undermines the system as a whole."

Because of security concerns, families of the victims and the accused
were not permitted to attend the hearings and no other observers were
allowed in without military clearance.

Barkow wrote almost longingly of access to federal courts where "the
public, victims and their families, scholars, the entire media, and
others can follow federal court proceedings as closely as they wish."

In the interview, Barkow acknowledged that the Guantanamo cases are
complicated because so many detainees were picked up on battlefields
and interrogated by the military or the CIA to gather intelligence
rather than build a criminal case. The detainees, he said, had been
so traumatized by their treatment that establishing attorney-client
relationships was "extremely difficult and often impossible."

But he said federal terrorism prosecutors have dealt with most of
those problems in one form or another in the federal court system,
though not as frequently.

Barkow said he was impressed by judges at Guantanamo who seemed fair
and were patient and respectful with defendants, and that most
prosecutors and defense lawyers seemed earnest, professional and well-
meaning. But they were left "practicing within a flawed, ad hoc
system," he said.

Jameel Jaffer, dirctor of the ACLU National Security Project, said it
was useful to hear observations from prosecutors and defense

"Lawyers who have prosecuted cases or defended cases in ordinary
federal court should and will find aspects of the Guantanamo system
to be totally unacceptable," he said.

Former terrorism prosecutor Anthony Barkow poses for a photograph in
his apartment in New York, Monday, Oct. 27, 2008. Barkow is the
executive director at New York University Law School's Center on the
Administration of Criminal Law. The center is an apolitical advocacy
organization and think-tank dedicated to the promotion of good
government practices in criminal matters. Barkow has been a human
rights observer of the military commission hearings in Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Immokalee U.S.A.:
Bleak but sympathetic view of migrant farmworkers' conditions
By James Brewer
19 January 2009

Picking tomatoes: A scene from Immokalee U.S.A.
Directed by Georg Koszulinski

Immokalee U.S.A., the documentary distributed in DVD format by
Substream Independent Films, describes itself as "an account of
migrant farmworkers in the U.S.A."

The notes cite this comment from the Maine International Film
Festival: "What is our collective role in this chain of servitude?
the film seems to ask us, providing an opening for self-reflection
rather than didactic sermonizing."

The film, directed by Georg Koszulinski, begins slowly and makes
clear from the start that it aims to present the reality of the life
of the migrant worker without any intervening point of view. It opens
with scenes of different stages of the agricultural process of tomato
growing, from planting to harvesting, packing, warehousing and

First, these processes are shown with as few people as possible,
focusing on their mechanization. Little by little, we see glimpses of
the labor force, initially in dark scenes of the Bluebird buses
loading up with anonymous looking workers and moving out to the
fields well before dawn.

We also see that not everyone who shows up gets to work. A worker is
turned away after having traveled to Immokalee, Florida—in the
southern part of the state, 120 miles northwest of Miami—on the
promise of work. He says he has been there fifteen days, and there is
nothing for him. We encounter him later, numerous times throughout
the film, on each occasion more demoralized.

An unemployed worker repeatedly tries to make contact with his family
in Mexico

It takes a certain effort to watch the film's opening sequences. The
viewer is presented with a bleak and rather uninteresting image of
this industry, apparently to transmit the harshness of the life the
workers are compelled to endure. It becomes more engaging when we get
a glimpse of the mothers and children left behind in the trailer
camps, as they get ready for school. Initially though, these scenes
are without dialog of any kind, forcing us to draw our own
conclusions from the images we see. Cute kids, devoted mothers, in
many ways like the typical American family.

Eventually dialog is introduced. The children speak the most
directly, sometimes to each other, sometimes to the camera. "The man
that lives over there hates my daddy, he wants to kill my
daddy," "Mommy says when I'm old enough, I will have to work, but I
don't want to. It´s so hard."

We overhear charity workers trying to raise funds for relief projects
in the community. The hopeless worker speaks about his condition,
unable to gain employment in the fields, and feeling lost and
abandoned in this strange country far from his birthplace. He can't
get money for a telephone call home. Yet his pride won't allow him to
accept charity. He wants to work and provide for his family.

A crew boss puts forward the company's view. He is not totally
unsympathetic to the plight of the workers, but his outlook is shaped
entirely by the needs of production. "These are the only people who
will do this work. Americans won't do it. I take care of my workers.
All the bad things you hear about aren't any of the farmers'
[growers'] fault. There are bad people all over. But it all comes
back to the farmer."

Pictured also are devoted community workers who seek to provide those
in need with healthy meals and shelter.

In general, Immokalee, U.S.A. presents a highly sympathetic and
sincere view of the migrant workers' conditions, but it is limited by
the liberal outlook with which it is imbued. We are presented with a
sense of the striving of the children and the hopefulness of their
mothers for a better future.

How is this to come about?

This is the fundamental weakness of the film. It's one thing to make
a film that doesn't lecture and allows for some spontaneity,
permitting an audience to reflect and think for itself. But a
thoroughly hands-off "see for yourself" approach to filmmaking
sidesteps the critical issues. The filmmaker's responsibility lies in
drawing certain conclusions.

Workers are not simply victims. Nor do migrant laborers f

From Dachau to Gaza
Prof. Francis A. Boyle
Tuesday, 30 December 2008

During the summer of 1982 I had the opportunity to visit the Nazi
concentration camp just outside Dachau, Germany and then the little
town itself. Given the proximity of the town to the camp, my
immediate reaction was: "This town is so close to the camp that the
citizens of Dachau must have known what was going on out there. Why
did they not do anything about it?" I had the exact same reaction
during the last two weeks of May 1986 as I traveled up and down the
West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to investigate Israel's atrocities
and war crimes against the Palestinians.

When I then complained about these reprehensible practices to the
appropriate high-level legal officials sequentially at the Israeli
Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, I was told that they were all required by and could
be justified under the doctrine of "military necessity." Rather than
engaging in an extended debate over this point, I simply responded to
all three of these lawyers that this was precisely the argument used
by the Nazi war criminals before the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945 to
justify their own incredible outrages upon humanity, including the
Jewish people. After a bit more argumentation, these three lawyers
basically conceded my Nuremberg analysis, but then each
independently, uncannily, and matter-of-factly informed me: "We have
public relations people in the United States who take care of these
matters for us."

Even more distressingly, upon a visit to the office of the Legal
Adviser to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the prospects for peace, I
was immediately informed by him that Israel had a "claim" under
international law to the West Bank: it might not constitute the basis
for perfect title, but it was nevertheless a "claim." At the time I
recalled the fact that of course Hitler had a "claim" to the
Sudetenland as well. Although the Munich Pact of 1938 permitted
German occupation and annexation of the Sudetenland into the Nazi
Reich, this act of cowardice by Great Britain and France ultimately
paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War one year
later, with all the tragic consequences that conflagration entailed
for the Jewish people, among others.

Today, the United States and Israel are striving to consummate a
Middle East version of the Munich Pact that will sell out of the
right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and a real
independent state of their own. Only history will tell if the
consequences shall be as tragic for the fate of the Arab and Jewish
peoples in the Middle East, if not the rest of the world. I fear that
there is a high probability that history will repeat itself.

Toward the end of my 1986 trip to Palestine, I visited the U.S.
Embassy in Tel Aviv to complain about these criminal Israeli
occupation practices. An assistant U.S. political attaché informed
me that such matters concerned "internal affairs" of the Israeli
government. I stridently objected: Under basic rules of international
law, the Israeli government is what is known as a "belligerent
occupant" of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. Pursuant to
article 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, all non-Israelis
living in these occupied territories are what are called "protected
persons." Article 147 thereof provides that any of the following acts
committed against "protected persons" are "grave breaches" of the
Convention: "wilful killing, torture or inhumane treatment. . .
wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or
health. . . ." Furthermore, article 146 mandates all state parties to
impose "effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering
to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present
Convention. . . ." Thus, any Israeli political leaders or military
officers who have ordered or committed such "grave breaches" are "war
criminals" within the meaning of the Geneva Conventions and the
Nuremberg Principles. These Israeli war criminals can and must be
prosecuted by any state in the world community that obtains
jurisdiction over them.

Finally, under common article 1 to the Four Geneva Conventions of
1949, all state parties are obliged not only to respect, but also "to
ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances." When
a party to the Conventions such as Israel is committing "grave
breaches," such practices are not "an internal affair" but rather
international crimes and therefore a matter of international concern.
The United States government, inter alia, has an absolute obligation
to use its enormous political, military and economic leverage over
Israel to terminate such criminal practices immediately. Yet for the
past sixty years the United States government has had no response to
make to the desperate pleas by the Palestinian people for freedom,
justice, dignity, respect and independence" in other words, for self-
determination. After forty years of an incredibly brutal and inhumane
military occupation, the only really effective manner for all states
party to the Geneva Conventions to ensure respect for the terms of
the Fourth Convention in these occupied Palestinian territories would
be to compel all Israeli military forces and colonial settlers to
withdraw immediately and by all means possible from the West Bank,
Gaza, and East Jerusalem. In 1999 President Clinton ordered Indonesia
out of East Timor that it had illegally invaded and annexed as far
back as 1975 with the approval of the Ford/Kissinger administration.
Some future American President must likewise order Israel out of
Palestine. It was toward obtaining that end that I had originally
called for the establishment of an Israeli divestment/disinvestment
campaign in November of 2000. Free Palestine!

Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Illinois, is author
of Foundations of World Order, Duke University Press, The Criminality
of Nuclear Deterrence, and Palestine, Palestinians and International
Law, by Clarity Press. He can be reached at: FBOYLE @ LAW.UIUC.EDU

How Occupation In One Land Led To Incarceration In America

From Ramallah to Rikers Island
Nigel Parry

On 25 May 1998, I arrived to my home in Ramallah to find a mob of
armed Palestinians inside my house, including members of the
Palestinian security forces. All my belongings were scattered in the
yard outside, and a bulldozer had leveled part of my bedroom walls
and roof.

Covering The Hard Places Within

10 February 2007 — I've never shirked from writing about the
difficult aspects of my life, although I will confess to not having
spent as much time as I would have liked covering the hard places

Writing about Palestine was one thing; writing about Palestine within
me and how it has played out through me is something I have
increasingly begun to consider in depth. And it's about time.

An adoption, an abusive school environment, two divorces, four years
in a war zone including surviving a home demolition—and something had
to give. And give it did this last Christmas, in an overwhelming
sense of dread that culminated in a posttraumatic flashback/psychotic
episode of sorts.

The four years I lived in Palestine, in the second half of the 1990s,
did not see the same levels of violence that have characterized the
Second Intifada. Nonetheless, I lived through periods of extreme
violence and, additionally, actively sought out violent clashes to
photograph and document. It was in September 1996 when Israeli tanks
first circled Ramallah, when armed members of the Palestinian
Authority first shot back at Israeli soldiers and when, in one day,
Sept. 25, in one town, Israel shot dead four and injured 263.

After the demolition of my home in May 1998, I spent a week getting
death threats and watching friends get death threats, surrounded by
dusty belongings and rubble, sleeping in the garden or an impossible-
to-secure home in which every door was intentionally and
systematically destroyed. Until you stand on the rubble of your home,
you don't realize how much of your piece of mind and security of self
are tied up in seemingly inanimate bricks. It did not matter that I
was only renting the building. It was my home and destroying it
destroyed part of me. It was not until it happened to me that I truly
grasped how terrible the practice of home demolition is.

Even so, to consider that trauma stems solely from witnessing or
experiencing direct violence would be a mistake. Military occupation
is by definition intrusive and traumatizing. Friends and colleagues
disappear seemingly randomly into timeless detention. Your route to
work or school is blocked for weeks on end, leaving you to stew.
Entire cities are punished. Thousand year old trees are bulldozed.
The entire environment is insidiously stressful and takes a brutal
toll, especially over years.

Throughout all of this, the account of reality that the media offers,
bears no relation to what you can see with your own eyes. You realize
that you, and all those around you, have been abandoned by the world
in a landscape populated by real and murderous monsters. If you were
working for a local organization rather than an international NGO
like the UN, you'd be lucky to clear $1,000 a month.

This leaves you unable to get out of the country for a vacation to
take a break and, when you finally do leave the country, you have no
health insurance and are probably not even aware of the damage
inside. Hey, you survived!

All of which led us to Christmas 2006...

In January 2006, a friend and neighbor burned to death in a house
fire two doors down. Shortly after Christmas, almost a year later,
while moving material from my van parked in front of the still-
charred door, I became overwhelmed with the feeling that my apartment
building was on fire and began breaking a neighbor's door down.

Her screams from inside the apartment told a different story and
snapped me out of the episode instantly, as I hadn't been trying to
hurt her but save her from a non-existent fire. Some dark e-mails
around the same time to someone else, warning of impending doom, and
you get the picture—a mess.

The following day, I left a letter of explanation and apology outside
the neighbor's door, on top of a new multimedia system (it was
Christmas!) and unintentionally violated an order of protection that
had not been explained adequately to me.
She chose to press charges for both incidents.

I was taken to Bellevue Hospital on Dec. 29, where I was detained for
almost a month before being brought to Rikers Island Correctional
Facility at the end of January, from where I am writing this.

While many of the inmates in the main prison population that I exist
in were not functioning too well outside, few were dangerous to
society at large in any immediate way. I have been reflexively guilty
of assuming that prisons basically were doing the job one hopes they
do, namely keeping us safe from dangerous people. It sure was easy to
be an armchair incarceration expert from outside the walls of Rikers
Island. Yet the people around me don't fit that mold.

What the last two weeks have certainly been about—for me—is a walk
through one of the traps set for America's poor, a trap which makes
politicians look like they're doing something to keep us safe from
crime while doing none of the sort.

If most people arrived here at the thorny end of the path as the
result of broken homes, a breakdown of community and opportunities,
held down by poverty and myopic government policies and a ghetto wall
that no one dares confront, then there is nothing in prison to remedy
that lack of love.

Prison is about walls, rules, rejection and negation. You are not the
point. Only the system matters. Which was the problem to begin with.
If you didn't arrive here with the tools to dig yourself out, don't
expect to find them inside these walls.
In fact, don't expect to find a blanket for your first week.

Guilty Until Proven Guilty: Swallowed By Jail

ace their
conditions of life in isolation. They, like all other workers, will
be compelled to seek ways to unite with their class as a whole and
struggle for their interests.

Notable films (documentary or otherwise) in the past about migrant
workers, such as Salt of the Earth, El Norte, even The Grapes of
Wrath, had a forcefulness in their depiction of this inclination of
the working class to fight against the conditions they face.

Recent decades and global economic changes have brought about the
protracted death agony of the official, nationally-based labor
movement in the US and exposed its leadership, including the United
Farm Workers union, as corrupt and bankrupt.

For decades the AFL-CIO bureaucracy has subsisted on national
chauvinism, anticommunism and class collaboration. Union officials,
along with Democratic Party liberals and those who make up the
leadership of the so-called "civil rights" movement, are indifferent
to the plight of the most oppressed layers of the population.

The documentary makers take up an important subject, but what they do
with it has a great deal to do with some of these difficulties.

Immokalee U.S.A. is a serious effort at documenting social
conditions. Its shortcomings are perhaps not so much the fault of the
filmmakers as they are products of the period.

From Dachau to Gaza
Prof. Francis A. Boyle
Tuesday, 30 December 2008

During the summer of 1982 I had the opportunity to visit the Nazi
concentration camp just outside Dachau, Germany and then the little
town itself. Given the proximity of the town to the camp, my
immediate reaction was: "This town is so close to the camp that the
citizens of Dachau must have known what was going on out there. Why
did they not do anything about it?" I had the exact same reaction
during the last two weeks of May 1986 as I traveled up and down the
West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to investigate Israel's atrocities
and war crimes against the Palestinians.

When I then complained about these reprehensible practices to the
appropriate high-level legal officials sequentially at the Israeli
Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, I was told that they were all required by and could
be justified under the doctrine of "military necessity." Rather than
engaging in an extended debate over this point, I simply responded to
all three of these lawyers that this was precisely the argument used
by the Nazi war criminals before the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945 to
justify their own incredible outrages upon humanity, including the
Jewish people. After a bit more argumentation, these three lawyers
basically conceded my Nuremberg analysis, but then each
independently, uncannily, and matter-of-factly informed me: "We have
public relations people in the United States who take care of these
matters for us."

Even more distressingly, upon a visit to the office of the Legal
Adviser to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the prospects for peace, I
was immediately informed by him that Israel had a "claim" under
international law to the West Bank: it might not constitute the basis
for perfect title, but it was nevertheless a "claim." At the time I
recalled the fact that of course Hitler had a "claim" to the
Sudetenland as well. Although the Munich Pact of 1938 permitted
German occupation and annexation of the Sudetenland into the Nazi
Reich, this act of cowardice by Great Britain and France ultimately
paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War one year
later, with all the tragic consequences that conflagration entailed
for the Jewish people, among others.

Today, the United States and Israel are striving to consummate a
Middle East version of the Munich Pact that will sell out of the
right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and a real
independent state of their own. Only history will tell if the
consequences shall be as tragic for the fate of the Arab and Jewish
peoples in the Middle East, if not the rest of the world. I fear that
there is a high probability that history will repeat itself.

Toward the end of my 1986 trip to Palestine, I visited the U.S.
Embassy in Tel Aviv to complain about these criminal Israeli
occupation practices. An assistant U.S. political attaché informed
me that such matters concerned "internal affairs" of the Israeli
government. I stridently objected: Under basic rules of international
law, the Israeli government is what is known as a "belligerent
occupant" of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. Pursuant to
article 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, all non-Israelis
living in these occupied territories are what are called "protected
persons." Article 147 thereof provides that any of the following acts
committed against "protected persons" are "grave breaches" of the
Convention: "wilful killing, torture or inhumane treatment. . .
wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or
health. . . ." Furthermore, article 146 mandates all state parties to
impose "effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering
to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present
Convention. . . ." Thus, any Israeli political leaders or military
officers who have ordered or committed such "grave breaches" are "war
criminals" within the meaning of the Geneva Conventions and the
Nuremberg Principles. These Israeli war criminals can and must be
prosecuted by any state in the world community that obtains
jurisdiction over them.

Finally, under common article 1 to the Four Geneva Conventions of
1949, all state parties are obliged not only to respect, but also "to
ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances." When
a party to the Conventions such as Israel is committing "grave
breaches," such practices are not "an internal affair" but rather
international crimes and therefore a matter of international concern.
The United States government, inter alia, has an absolute obligation
to use its enormous political, military and economic leverage over
Israel to terminate such criminal practices immediately. Yet for the
past sixty years the United States government has had no response to
make to the desperate pleas by the Palestinian people for freedom,
justice, dignity, respect and independence" in other words, for self-
determination. After forty years of an incredibly brutal and inhumane
military occupation, the only really effective manner for all states
party to the Geneva Conventions to ensure respect for the terms of
the Fourth Convention in these occupied Palestinian territories would
be to compel all Israeli military forces and colonial settlers to
withdraw immediately and by all means possible from the West Bank,
Gaza, and East Jerusalem. In 1999 President Clinton ordered Indonesia
out of East Timor that it had illegally invaded and annexed as far
back as 1975 with the approval of the Ford/Kissinger administration.
Some future American President must likewise order Israel out of
Palestine. It was toward obtaining that end that I had originally
called for the establishment of an Israeli divestment/disinvestment
campaign in November of 2000. Free Palestine!

Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Illinois, is author
of Foundations of World Order, Duke University Press, The Criminality
of Nuclear Deterrence, and Palestine, Palestinians and International
Law, by Clarity Press. He can be reached at: FBOYLE @ LAW.UIUC.EDU
How Occupation In One Land Led To Incarceration In America

From Ramallah to Rikers Island
Nigel Parry

On 25 May 1998, I arrived to my home in Ramallah to find a mob of
armed Palestinians inside my house, including members of the
Palestinian security forces. All my belongings were scattered in the
yard outside, and a bulldozer had leveled part of my bedroom walls
and roof.

Covering The Hard Places Within

10 February 2007 — I've never shirked from writing about the
difficult aspects of my life, although I will confess to not having
spent as much time as I would have liked covering the hard places

Writing about Palestine was one thing; writing about Palestine within
me and how it has played out through me is something I have
increasingly begun to consider in depth. And it's about time.

An adoption, an abusive school environment, two divorces, four years
in a war zone including surviving a home demolition—and something had
to give. And give it did this last Christmas, in an overwhelming
sense of dread that culminated in a posttraumatic flashback/psychotic
episode of sorts.

The four years I lived in Palestine, in the second half of the 1990s,
did not see the same levels of violence that have characterized the
Second Intifada. Nonetheless, I lived through periods of extreme
violence and, additionally, actively sought out violent clashes to
photograph and document. It was in September 1996 when Israeli tanks
first circled Ramallah, when armed members of the Palestinian
Authority first shot back at Israeli soldiers and when, in one day,
Sept. 25, in one town, Israel shot dead four and injured 263.

After the demolition of my home in May 1998, I spent a week getting
death threats and watching friends get death threats, surrounded by
dusty belongings and rubble, sleeping in the garden or an impossible-
to-secure home in which every door was intentionally and
systematically destroyed. Until you stand on the rubble of your home,
you don't realize how much of your piece of mind and security of self
are tied up in seemingly inanimate bricks. It did not matter that I
was only renting the building. It was my home and destroying it
destroyed part of me. It was not until it happened to me that I truly
grasped how terrible the practice of home demolition is.

Even so, to consider that trauma stems solely from witnessing or
experiencing direct violence would be a mistake. Military occupation
is by definition intrusive and traumatizing. Friends and colleagues
disappear seemingly randomly into timeless detention. Your route to
work or school is blocked for weeks on end, leaving you to stew.
Entire cities are punished. Thousand year old trees are bulldozed.
The entire environment is insidiously stressful and takes a brutal
toll, especially over years.

Throughout all of this, the account of reality that the media offers,
bears no relation to what you can see with your own eyes. You realize
that you, and all those around you, have been abandoned by the world
in a landscape populated by real and murderous monsters. If you were
working for a local organization rather than an international NGO
like the UN, you'd be lucky to clear $1,000 a month.

This leaves you unable to get out of the country for a vacation to
take a break and, when you finally do leave the country, you have no
health insurance and are probably not even aware of the damage
inside. Hey, you survived!

All of which led us to Christmas 2006...

In January 2006, a friend and neighbor burned to death in a house
fire two doors down. Shortly after Christmas, almost a year later,
while moving material from my van parked in front of the still-
charred door, I became overwhelmed with the feeling that my apartment
building was on fire and began breaking a neighbor's door down.

Her screams from inside the apartment told a different story and
snapped me out of the episode instantly, as I hadn't been trying to
hurt her but save her from a non-existent fire. Some dark e-mails
around the same time to someone else, warning of impending doom, and
you get the picture—a mess.

The following day, I left a letter of explanation and apology outside
the neighbor's door, on top of a new multimedia system (it was
Christmas!) and unintentionally violated an order of protection that
had not been explained adequately to me.
She chose to press charges for both incidents.

I was taken to Bellevue Hospital on Dec. 29, where I was detained for
almost a month before being brought to Rikers Island Correctional
Facility at the end of January, from where I am writing this.

While many of the inmates in the main prison population that I exist
in were not functioning too well outside, few were dangerous to
society at large in any immediate way. I have been reflexively guilty
of assuming that prisons basically were doing the job one hopes they
do, namely keeping us safe from dangerous people. It sure was easy to
be an armchair incarceration expert from outside the walls of Rikers
Island. Yet the people around me don't fit that mold.

What the last two weeks have certainly been about—for me—is a walk
through one of the traps set for America's poor, a trap which makes
politicians look like they're doing something to keep us safe from
crime while doing none of the sort.

If most people arrived here at the thorny end of the path as the
result of broken homes, a breakdown of community and opportunities,
held down by poverty and myopic government policies and a ghetto wall
that no one dares confront, then there is nothing in prison to remedy
that lack of love.

Prison is about walls, rules, rejection and negation. You are not the
point. Only the system matters. Which was the problem to begin with.
If you didn't arrive here with the tools to dig yourself out, don't
expect to find them inside these walls.
In fact, don't expect to find a blanket for your first week.

Guilty Until Proven Guilty: Swallowed By Jail

11 February 2007 — After a month in Bellevue Hospital, where I had
already experienced incarceration, news came through the system's
grapevine that I was to be arrested on the same day I was to be
released. Despite the passage of time, and a month of medication, the
system was not done with you just yet. The crushing disappointment
was too much.

I spent the afternoon in the 30th Precinct in Harlem listening to
cops talking about the new overtime-based salaries, as they left my
transfer to central booking to the last possible, prime, overtime
moment. One of the detectives who arrested me was being paid over
$120,000 a year. The changes could explain why so many of my police,
judicial and correctional processes took place at night. The court
took place well after midnight. Rikers Island processed me overnight.
The machine has adjusted well to the loosening of its financial
shackles. It's the same machine, however.

Manhattan's Central Booking facility and the accompanying "Tombs"
jail date back to 1838 and, although the structure has been replaced
several times, the ambiance of the basement prison doesn't seem to
have changed that much. Long, oppressive stone corridors and heavy
iron gates set the tone, a gothic backdrop for a motley collection of
late night drunks and brawling tourists, nervously waiting to be
swallowed into the earth. Handcuffs dig deep. The junkies sleep where
they sprawl.
Deeper into the catacombs. Searches. Cops shouting at us.

"Stand here!"
"On that line!"

Everyone being led there bemused and stunned, some very familiar with
the process. Medical "screening" cursory. Finally, the "tombs"
themselves, the cells.

15 foot by 15 foot. Spit and piss on the cold concrete floor, hard
wooden benches too narrow to sleep on, and of course no blankets. No
stall walls to the toilets. Get used to your smell. Shit in front of
your cell mates. 24/7 strip lighting.

I spent two sleepless days and nights inside this cell until my
exhausted body fell, dog-like, onto the concrete for a few hours of
unconsciousness. Zombies inhabit these spaces. I met a 60-year-old
man and his son who had been there for three days. They looked dazed.

I hallucinated at times. I made up stories from the shape of paint
chips on the ground. One looked like my dog, Roo. I imagined walking

Parts of my self simply died to endure what was happening. I prayed a
lot. There was nothing left to do to stop imploding. I was about to
spend a very weird 70-80 hours in a kind of turbulent, jet stream

In the Tombs, they make you beg for toilet paper. Evidence
of "innocent until proven guilty" does not exist here. We are all
treated as if we were guilty. The male or female corrections officers
who eventually respond to your desperate calls will be sure to remind
you that you are "in jail," as if toilet paper was a treat.

There are no clocks on the walls. You are not informed of any
timetables. You can feel yourself getting sick. Court is coming,
judgment is coming... sometime.

After midnight, days into the experience, I was taken to the court
above the basement tombs. I don't remember what was said, as I was

I made a very costly averaging mistake when talking about income that
set my bail at an impossibly high $8,000. I signed some papers. And
then I was handcuffed, led out into a cold, dark parking lot, and put
on a bus to Rikers Island.

I was never told explicitly where I was being taken. You get to work
it out yourself by overhearing the guards talking to each other.
Informing you what is happening next is not on their radar. Not
knowing what is next is the norm in jail. It's hard to explain how
disorienting and scary this is when it's happening to you.

The change was a relief. The sight of the ferry man over the River
Styx would have been a relief at that point. After two nights and
days on a phlegm-covered stone floor, with no blanket, the promise of
a bed was all that mattered.

How naive of me. Another night on a stone floor and another day awake
in a holding cell were all that waited.

Prison buses are not the kind of vehicle you would want reviewed by
anyone who has a problem with cramped coach seating on airplanes.

Predominant design media: metal.
Seat cushions: metal.
Ergonomics: square metal.
Ambience: metal.
View: metal grille.
Accessories: metal handcuffs, uncomfortably rear-cuffed for this jour-

Induction into real jail properly introduces you to the concept
of "pens" or "bullpens" that temporary holding facilities such as the
Tombs contain. In a real jail, pens perform the function of holding
groups of prisoners between mass processing actions such as ID
photographing. Mass intakes of detainees involve shuffles through
several of these pens over many hours. Hurry up and wait.

It was more piss-stinking concrete and little sleep as we were
photographed, stripped naked and searched, surrendered "contraband"
(cash, belts, pens, etc), and had our hoods slashed—to deny anonymity
to any inmate who tried to slash or stab another and deny warmth to
the rest of us. I had never been strip-searched before. It was all
people ever said it was.

This marked night three of virtually no sleep since I had been taken
to the Tombs at night. I managed an hour or so, falling exhausted.
The more tired you became, the pain of sleeping on the concrete floor
mattered less—at least for an hour or so, until you were less
exhausted and the hard floor woke you up again. There were no
blankets for us.

We were taken in the morning to the Medical Clinic bullpens where I
met a 50-year-old Caucasian man called Randolf. He explained the lay
of the land as patients freely exchanged piss to ensure positive drug
tests—and therefore Methadone treatment—and freely sold drugs. A
guard warned us that he wouldn't help us if we got ripped off buying

Eventually, after much of the day, we were led through a parade of
doctors and medical staff for a series of legally required questions
that no one cared about the answers to. I was stuck with a TB test
needle without any announcement, even after declaring that I had
already taken the lifetime antibiotic treatment for it. That would
hurt like hell later.

I was asked if I wanted a flu shot. After thinking where I had been
sleeping the last few days and where I was heading, I consented. I
was given the shot, then asked to sign something saying I had read a
form that I had not been given. I pointed this out. The nurse tried
to misread the text in front of me, to me—as if I couldn't read—to
speed the process. I didn't care anymore. She didn't care. I signed.

My experiences are not the exception. They are the norm. It is said
that societies are judged on how they treat their weakest members.
Prisoners and the mentally ill, stripped of all rights and control of
their life, are in a terribly vulnerable position. Is how we are
treating them making our world better or worse, safer or more

As night approached, finally a dormitory room with a mattress but
still no blanket, four days and three nights after my arrest. It was
a cold winter, I was sick at this point, with a raging case of flu
coming on. I would be faced with the choice of enduring uncomfortable
hours in pens to wait for disinterested doctors, or braving it out in
the dormitory in a bed.

At this stage, literally more exhausted than I had ever been in my
life, I chose the latter. After a couple of days, I managed to secure
a cup and a blanket. With the cup, I mixed boiled water and orange
peels for vitamin C and tried to sleep as much as possible. When I
slept, I had normal dreams of being in another situation, then woke
up to bars and (often) chaos. It was like hitting the floor. Waking
was often extremely traumatic. The moment of realizing where I was
like a punch in the stomach.

In this system, regardless of what you have done or not done, you are
presumed and treated as guilty until proven guilty. If you have a
problem with that, the corrections officers in your dorm will be sure
to remind you that "you shouldn't have come to jail."

11 February 2007 — Confinement is frightening. For sure everyone, at
different stages in their lives, has had to cope with different
levels of constriction. But full-on, uncompromising, adult
confinement is utterly terrifying.

There is no "Okay, I'll get up and do something else now." There is
no "I'll go take a walk and come back to this later." There is only a
massive iron, stone and steel barrier that doesn't even need to start
a conversation with you. You can talk to it as much as you want, but
you aren't going anywhere.

Once you realize that there is no reasoning with this reality, this
immutable fact, and that there is only coming to terms with where you
are ahead, this is the point at which fear begins. Your journey will
be within because there is nowhere else left to go. As you cast off,
with no choice to do anything else, you are resigning yourself to
confrontation with one of the deepest human fears—the loss of control.

Cops and jails and courts and prisons solve nothing, bar a genuine
need for a safe confinement mechanism for the tiny minority of
pathologically violent individuals.

As I sat in a cell in Precinct 30 in Harlem on Jan. 25, an optical
illusion put the bars around the detectives outside, not around me. A
metaphor for seeing our relative positions in a more enduring, more
powerful social order?

D.H. Lawrence's short poem, Self-Pity, says:
I never saw a wild thing / sorry for itself / A small bird will drop
frozen dead from a bough /without ever having felt sorry for itself

And I did not. The state I found myself in was beyond self pity.
Parts of my self simply died to endure what was happening. I prayed a
lot. There was nothing left to do to stop imploding. I was about to
spend a very weird 70-80 hours in a kind of turbulent, jet stream

I literally shook and shivered my way through illness and a series of
powerful barriers of fear in my first week at Rikers. Again, this was
not a self-pity process but a straight up stripping of illusions. The
walls weren't going anywhere, so I needed to adjust.

And I needed to understand the process I was going through. As a
volunteer, I'd spent time in prisons in the Far East, the Middle
East, and Europe. Never as a prisoner.

A large part of the violence of confinement, the assault it carries
out on the human soul, is the sheer sense of waste it forces upon
people. The more highly functional you were outside, the more severe
the shock.

Forget even functional phone access. As I measured the lost hours,
days and weeks for current and future clients, including child abuse
prevention and poverty relief networks, I wanted to literally throw
myself at the solid walls, to hurt myself, to register in some
symbolic way the utter pointlessness and damage that my
incarceration, at the hands of the system, was doing to the society
that created it.

After one month in Bellevue Hospital, at the end of which I was
recommended for release, what would my continued incarceration at a
non-therapeutic facility achieve? Not being able to earn money, I
have already lost my home at this point.

In any case, a police search made it look like my bulldozed home in
Palestine, somewhere I could never live after that level of
violation. Many of my personal effects and all of my work tools are
now in police custody. All that was "mine" is once again violated and
gone, 9 years later.

Now, tens of thousands of dollars in debt, my business is in tatters.
And I have yet to be found `guilty' of anything. The feelings of
wanting to smash into the wall were real. Their opposite, the
positive forces that get me out of bed in the morning to work for
good and change are real. Caging and crippling this positive force
produced a similar and contrary tidal movement that turned in on

All of the balance, disturbed as it already was by the events around
Christmas, was teetering and became more to just let go. A good
thing? We'll see on the other side.

In the meantime, I am left with nothing but time to mull over how
easy it is to pick up the phone, call the police, and unleash hell on
a life in America.

If that person does not have money or a good support network of
friends in town to deal with things like bail and lawyers, then
they're going to be unprepared for the sudden way that you are
plucked from everything you control in your life and put away
somewhere where you can only watch it drive off the cliff.

Dealing With Distress

Time is the main arena in which the waste of confinement clumsily
finger-paints out the windows of your shrinking mental home. The
stress this induces can be dealt with in one of two ways—as there is
nothing else to do here—exercise or sleep. Exercise is a release
valve for time's pressure cooker. Sleep takes it off the burner for
a few hours of blessed unconsciousness.

If the physical confines of your jail environment are not big enough
to allow for decent pacing, alternatives such as homemade weights are
possible, but slow burn exercise such as pacing is far better as it
burns time as well as energy. Big cats that pace in small zoo cages
know this very well.

The prison system is 100% dedicated to your confinement, 100%
dedicated to the belief that it is somehow `worthwhile', that `it
works' on some level. The people around me certainly have no respect
for this logic; it is just another form of societal exclusion.

No new lessons are learned here apart from that society really likes
to speak in barriers. With nouns formed from walls, and verbs
fashioned from gates and doors, a message is being spoken that is
nothing new, inspires no one, and will change nothing for the better.

If the poor and the young who we shepherd through these prison gates
need to hear anything, it is the opposite of what we have been
telling them with this place—that there is something beyond all this
negation, and this superficial and brutal communication.

That is the new song they are desperately wanting to hear, a melody
of hope, carrying lyrics of truth and justice, bound together with a
chorus of love. A song of freedom and vision to pull them out of our
lack of hope that ensnared them and brought them here.

I learned to save everything. A discarded piece of plastic here could
become a shower head tomorrow. Little is wasted, apart from your
time, spent finding solutions to things that were not problems
outside. It's not enough to deprive you of your liberty: the only
thing that truly matters when all is said and done—dignity—must also
be stripped from you at every level.

The razor wire outside looks pretty in the sun, shining silver as
planes from nearby LaGuardia Airport buzz overhead.

There have been some sheer moments of light in prison. In Two Main,
the intake dorm I was in for the first week, I asked Payne, a
Jamaican guy from my neighborhood in Harlem, who the woman was in the
corner bed.

It was a weird dormitory, surrounded by people detoxing from heroin
and crack, so I was ready for any answer. We had already decided, in
accent terms, that Jamaicans were the Scottish of the Carribean:

Nigel: Who is that woman in the corner?
Payne: She got addict, man.
Nigel: She got addicted to what? To smack?
Payne: No, man! She got a dick! A dick!

For those who move on, there is the "opportunity" of breaking up the
monotony. The days of prison license plate manufacture and mailbag
sewing are not gone. Both these activities are available in longer
term facilities—ie. prisons, not jails—and a new corporate version

Corporations such as McDonalds, Revlon, IBM and Honda hire prisoners
across the United States, and pay them 95¢ an hour in an environment
unencumbered by minimum wage and other workplace rights. A form of
legal, indentured servanthood for those prisoners who want to make
some dollars.

In jail, with food and provisions intentionally very minimalist and
many institutions banning visitors from bringing in food or
any `luxury items', the Commissary is a very important institution.
And prices are no different to those found on the streets, or are
higher. 35¢ Ramen noodles. 65¢ Snickers. Even in prison, there
are "luxuries" and bling, and we will strive for them inside just
like we do on the outside.

14 February 2007 — The simple things that hold our world in place can
be so easily dislodged. Yesterday, Doob, an African American inmate,
told me how his parole violation (not returning home for curfew) had
fired a missile at his family. His parole officer had attempted to
argue his case—with his otherwise fine record—but the higher ups were
not having it. And so, his newborn son has yet to look up and gaze
into the eyes from which he came.

For a while, I'm back from the brink. Yesterday was yard exercise. It
was an hour of walking anti-clockwise around a running track in
freezing winter wind, and I have few warm clothes, but it helped more
than it hurt. Today there is an ice storm outside. Food has been bad,
so little sleep. But a pen arrived, which saved today. Exercise,
sleep, and writing are the troika that help me cope in here.

Every day is another battle in an unending war. It never ends. There
is no final "breaking free", just the feeling of endlessly treading
water and not drowning.

The System And The Solution

Some people left the dormitory, more arrived to take their place.
Only the system stays the same.

One new guy asked where he could get a cup and a fork. I handed him
two spares that I had collected for this very purpose, not even
getting into how long these two objects had taken to acquire.

He's asking all the new jack questions, even though he's spent time
here before, he says. It's amazing how irritating those questions can
get, even though that was you a couple of weeks ago.

But of course, I made it easy for him. Our kindness is what provides
the cushion for that very cold reality that waits for people in here.
On the outside, we call that kindness "society".

In here, where even the simplest trappings of society are fought for
and won hard, you get to see how much that kindness shines. The crack
in everything, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, is how the light gets in.

The homeless guy who gave me one of his sheets when I was sick and
had no blanket. The ones who offered a T-shirt, or socks, when they
saw I only came in with the clothes on my back. The person who shared
precious coffee with me before a friend outside was able to go
through a tortuous process of paying money into my inmate account.

It's these people, the ones who have fallen hard and got up to try
again, that you want in your corner when the shit goes down. There
are many good people here. They have problems and they need our help,
not this soul-destroying caging.
It is our ignorance and fear of what lies inside human hearts that
makes us shrink away and want to throw away the keys. The solution is
more intimate than that.
While I rushed to get my ducks in a row, I failed to notice the
graceful swan swimming directly towards me. It was singing a song of
loneliness and desire and longing across the water, and I was deaf to
its beautiful music.

I needed to be on a different timetable for my healing. I needed to
be spending more time with friends, and less time working.

Firstly, it reminds me to be more gentle with those people around me
which are going through their own painful processes.

Secondly, it encourages me not to forget to let loose or, in plain
1. Never forget mercy. You will most likely need it next.
2. Party like a rock star.

You Can't Help But Get Sick

18 February 2007 — The lack of means to keep yourself clean has
serious implications in a dorm room situation where many of the
detainees are here for the "three hots and a cot" respite from winter
streets. This segment of society already suffers a higher than
average rate of illness. In a closed environment, with other
problematic conditions, the percentage of ill inmates is therefore
higher than average.

Even during the worst periods in the war zone of Palestine, and there
were some very bad times between 1994 and 1998, the subsequent Second
Intifada notwithstanding, I was never suffering from skin ailments.
Here, three weeks into Rikers, I began to develop eczema on the backs
of my hands and wrists. Looking at that, and knowing there was
nothing that could be done about it, was very hard to cope with.

The absolute legal minimum and—I am confident—many points below that
bare legal minimum of mandated human care is the reality being
practiced on Rikers Island. Several of the old timer inmates have
used a familiar legal phrase to describe their treatment here—`cruel
and unusual punishment'.

From the terrible food, cold dorms, and inadequate provision of
primary healthcare products, to the formulaic medical and psychiatric
interviews that take place at the main Medical Clinic, human rights
are not respected here. People held involuntarily in a State facility
need to not be cold, hungry, and sick because of obvious lacks in
basic care offered.

When I first arrived in a dorm on Rikers, I didn't have a blanket,
cup or toothbrush. Attempting to ask a C.O. for any of these items
resulted in responses ranging from "Haven't got any. I rang but there
are none" (for several days in a row) to "Well, you shouldn't have
come to jail then, should you?"

Often, these comments are delivered as screams in your face. The
female C.O.s were some of the worst in that regard. During one
circular trip to the Manhattan Criminal Court from Rikers Island for
a court appearance, I saw three Correction Officers in a jail cell
kicking the crap out of one prisoner who had taunted them. Two of the
C.O.s assaulting the prisoner—who was no doubt mentally ill—were
women. This scene took place in jail cells one floor beneath where
the judges sit on their benches in the court.

People seem to forget that pretrial detainees are
constitutionally "presumed innocent" until they are found guilty in a
court of law.

Palash Biswas

Pl Read my blogs: