Content about Asia

November 16, 2013

Ankara - Symbolizing the emerging trend of rejuvenation of the letter and spirit of Islam in practice, four Turkish Members of Parliament, who happen to be Muslim ladies, broke a decades-old veil ban by wearing their headscarves to work.

The ladies’ entrance into Turkey's parliament chambers in Ankara began their term in office, marking an end to the early 1920s ban on the Muslim symbol of female modesty imposed in the early days of the Turkish Republic, when secularist dictator Kemal Ataturk sought to transform Turkey into a progressive and prosperous nation by removing religious practice and effects from outward public expression.

The symbolic action highlights an emerging trend in Turkey where the issue of headscarves remains highly sensitive, as it is viewed by secularists as a sign of political Islam in stark contrast to the republic's strongly secular traditions, reported Agence France Presse (AFP).

The four Members of Parliament (MP)  - Sevde Beyazit Kacar, Gulay Samanci, Nurcan Dalbudak and Gonul Bekin Sahkulubey are members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) which has [religious] roots and has gained a strong following in this nation of 74 million.

The main secular opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which had previously said it would contest any parliamentarians seeking to wear headscarves in the chamber, did not officially respond to the move, reported Reuters, mentioning that a few of its members did jeer as the four women entered the assembly, while another wore a T-shirt depicting the face of the Turkish Republic's secular founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who also founded the CHP.

Other fellow members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) greeted the four female lawmakers with hugs and kisses when they entered the chamber.

November 16, 2013

When Malala Yusufzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen simply because she wanted to gain an education it sent shockwaves around the world.

Straight away the Western media took up the issue. Western politicians spoke out and soon she found herself in the UK. The way in which the West reacted made me question the reasons and motives behind why Malala's case was taken up and not so many others.

There is no justifying the brutal actions of the Taliban or the denial of the universal right to education, however there is a deeper more historic narrative that is taking place here.

This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalized. Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armor to save her.

The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations, the wars - all seem justified now, "See?  We told you. THIS is why we intervene to save the natives."

The truth is that there are hundreds and thousands of other Malalas. They come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places in the world. Many are victims of the West, but we conveniently forget about those as Western journalists and politicians fall over themselves to appease their white-middle class guilt, also known as the white man's burden.

Gordon Brown stood at the UN and spoke words in support for Malala, yet he is the very same Gordon Brown that voted for the war in Iraq that not only robbed people of their education but of their lives. The same journalists that failed to question or report on the Western wars in an intelligible manner now sing the praises of the West as they back Malala and her campaign without putting it in context of the war in Afghanistan and the destabilization of the region thanks to the Western occupation of Afghanistan.

Malala's message is true, it is profound, it is something the world needs to take note of; education is a right of every child, but Malala has been used as a tool by the West. It allows countries like Britain to hide their sins in Afghanistan and Iraq. It allows journalists to report a feel good story whilst they neglect so many others, like the American drone strikes that terrorize men, women and children in Pakistan's border regions.

The current narrative continues the demonization of the non-white Muslim man. Painting him as a savage, someone beyond negotiating with, beyond engaging with, the only way to deal with this kind of savage is to wage war, occupy and use drones against them. NATO is bombing to save girls like Malala is the message here.

Historically the West has always used women to justify the actions of war mongering men. It is in the imagery, it is in art, in education, it is even prevalent in Western human rights organizations. Amnesty International's poster campaign coinciding with the NATO summit in New York encouraged NATO to 'keep the progress going!' in Afghanistan.

Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz were also shot along with Malala, the media and politicians seem to have forgotten about them. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi - how many of the Western politicians and journalists know about this name? She was the 14-year-old girl violated by five US soldiers, then she and her family, including her six-year-old sister were murdered. There are no days named after her, no mentions of her at the UN, and we don't see Gordon Brown pledging his name to her cause.

I support Malala, I support the right to education for all, I just cannot stand the hypocrisy of Western politicians and media as they pick and choose, congratulating themselves for something that they have caused. Malala is the good native, she does not criticize the West, she does not talk about the drone strikes, she is the perfect candidate for the white man to relieve his burden and save the native.

The Western savior complex has hijacked Malala's message. The West has killed more girls than the Taliban have. The West has denied more girls an education via their missiles than the Taliban has by their bullets. The West has done more against education around the world than extremists could ever dream of. So, please, spare us the self-righteous and self-congratulatory message that is nothing more than propaganda that tells us that the West drops bombs to save girls like Malala.

November 16, 2013

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland gave the warning recently, adding that there would be serious repercussions for the UN body, AFP reported. “We’ve made the point that there are very clear red lines in US legislation,” Nuland said.

US legislation requires that funds to any UN body which recognizes Palestine as a full UN member be cut off.

Overwhelming support for Palestine’s membership on the bid to join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was a huge boost for their campaign for international recognition of an independent state, and a blow to Israel and the US, who had opposed the move, as reported by  the UK Guardian.  Amid loud cheers from delegates from Paris, members voted 107 to 14 to accept Palestine as a full member state, with 52 countries abstaining - including the UK. The US currently provides 22 percent of the UNESCO budget.

UNESCO’s executive committee on October 5 overwhelmingly voted to approve the Palestinian membership bid at the UN. The decision still needs the approval of the general assembly of the organization.

On September 23, acting Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas presented UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with the statehood proposal during the UN General Assembly’s annual session in New York, based on the pre-1967 borders.

The US has repeatedly threatened to veto the bid at the UN Security Council. Washington, however, does not have a veto power at the UNESCO.

More than 100 countries have so far officially recognized Palestine as a state based on the 1967 borders, the boundaries that existed before Israel captured and annexed East al-Quds (Jerusalem), the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

November 8, 2013

 

(Lahore) A young American housewife has experienced the unfortunate corruption, cruel and inhumane treatment that exists within the Pakistani government. Married to a Pakistani businessman, the young housewife, whose name is withheld to prevent further incident, has lived in Pakistan for over six years and recently required a routine renewal of her Visa. During the process, she and her family were met with rudeness, disregard and an unwillingness to help. Unfortunately, her appalling encounter is becoming the routine for Americans when dealing with corrupt elements in Pakistan. Still, for this young housewife, the memory of years of service by American Muslims shines in contrast to the disrespect delivered to innocent housewives, students, and humanitarian workers who have sacrificed, given aid, and shown kindness to the people of Pakistan who overwhelming support and respect American Muslims. The young housewife speaks exclusively to The Islamic Post about those good works with the aim of exposing and ridding the Pakistani government of those who fraudulently represent them.

 

As an expectant mother in her last trimester, the young American housewife sent her husband’s brother with the paperwork to renew her visa at the Ministry of Interior office in Islamabad. Oddly, it was after review of the documentation that he was spoken to harshly, treated rudely, and told he must bring the passport owner to Islamabad. Her brother-in-law insisted on processing the visa immediately explaining the delicate condition of the young housewife who was under doctor’s orders to refrain from travel. Furthermore, there was no security to accompany her in an area highly susceptible to the abduction of foreign nationals. The explanations afforded no leniency. The reply from the Pakistani official was a firm “no” as well as an indication that the young housewife’s visa might be cancelled altogether.

 

Against doctor’s orders, the young housewife travelled five hours to Islamabad. The Pakistani government official remained discourteous to the young housewife, not caring that she was visually suffering from apparent maternal pangs. Thankfully, his boss learned of the entire situation and immediately gave due and proper respect as well as provided a one-year extension to the visa. After leaving, the young housewife learned that the rude official who initially rejected the paperwork brazenly reversed his boss’s permission and changed the visa to expire in three months. Furthermore, he advised that the young housewife cannot come back to the office for renewal, but instead might have to go to America. She knew these were not empty threats because some years ago several American doctors, humanitarian workers and students were sent home from Pakistan after visa extensions were denied.

 

This type of corruption, hatred and ill-treatment of American Muslims has permeated the government of Pakistan for years and should be known by every American organization. It is well understood that when Muslims from America come to know that one of their honorable daughters has been mistreated, it could cause great strife. To create disruption between the American Muslims and Pakistanis living in America would be a great failing after decades of faithful service provided by American Muslims who work hard to look after Pakistanis everywhere.

After catastrophic disasters, floods and earthquakes, it is the American Muslims who sacrificed time, money and family to travel to the country of Pakistan to offer help to the people. Following the devastating 2005 earthquake, American Muslim Medical Relief Team, AMMRT, sent doctors, nurses and medical staff worked in tent camps to offer food, medicine and comfort to those affected and displaced from their homes. On the contrary, it is well known that many corrupt individuals within the Pakistani government took donations of medicines and money and embezzled them to sell on the black market - denying comfort and healing for their own people. Due to this corruption, the American doctors working in Pakistan were faced with medical supply shortages. At one time there were two hundred burned children seeking medical care, but doctors had no surgical knives. It was the American Muslims who provided the much-needed supplies to save the lives of suffering Pakistani children. In return, the Pakistan government provided not even a word of thanks, except one article found in the daily Nation newspaper.

American Muslims have touched even the lives of Kashmir refugees when the rest of the world turned a blind eye. For four years, American Muslim ladies provided money, food, shelter, education and assistance to the refugees from Kashmir. In 2010, flooding in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan was described by General Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, as the worst disaster he’d seen in his life. The American Muslims responded with immediate aid. A member of the American Muslim Medical Relief team recalls their flood relief effort, “During the flood relief work, we were not treated well by the government even though we were there to help the people of Pakistan who appreciated us. When our team was preparing to return home to America, we had a lot of unexpected expenses and unfortunate experiences. For one, we incurred the expense of transporting our medical supplies because Pakistan International Airlines withdrew their offer to carry aid for free. We also had trouble with our visas similar to the young housewife. I remember those two issues being a major setback. We were in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, in which travel visas and transportation should not have been an issue.”  

In the case of the young housewife, the Pakistani official who cancelled the one-year visa should never be allowed to again interfere and mistreat citizens. The family calls for the immediate transfer of the Pakistani official and restoration of the one-year visa as promised. The American Muslims have also formed a delegation who will further pursue the matter in the US. Therefore, this resolution has been promptly adopted by The Muslims of America, Inc., and the staff and students of the International Quranic Open University, Inc for immediate attention.

October 27, 2013

Residents of the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan are still struggling to dig out of the rubble left by two recent major earthquakes in September. The central government, meanwhile, is being accused of dragging its feet in allowing international aid to reach the disaster zone.

Islamabad has been involved in an intense struggle to crush the separatist aims of the province's Baluch population. This has heightened the complications of providing relief following the quakes that hit on September 24 and 28, killing nearly 700 people and leaving some 1,000 injured.

The central government has maintained tight control over the relief effort amid the continuing insurgency and, with their safety in mind, has denied the involvement of outside aid agencies.

Local aid workers acknowledge that there have been some cases of insurgents attacking security forces following the disaster. But aid workers, they say, have not been targeted.

“We will not allow army or FC (paramilitary Frontier Corps) here, only NGOs or local officials are allowed to come here,” Balochistan National Movement’s Dr. Manan Baloch  told Agence France Presse (AFP).

In 2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross scaled down its operations in the country, including ending its activities in Balochistan, following the death of one of its staff members.

Only a small number of local organizations have ongoing operations in the province. One of them is the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, whose local network on the ground enabled it to be among the first responders in the quake’s aftermath.

Provincial officials have stated that international aid workers cannot be allowed in until their security can be ensured. Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch, the province's top elected official, has nevertheless written to Islamabad requesting that international aid agencies be allowed to participate in the relief effort. But weeks after the quakes, with government agencies were on leave to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday, Minister Baloch is still awaiting a reply.

Help Desperately Needed

Zahid Ali is a local aid worker participating in relief efforts in Awaran district, which is located at the epicenter of the September quakes. He paints a grim picture of utter destruction. He says that more than 90 percent of the traditional mud-brick houses in the region have collapsed and remaining ones have been damaged so badly that they are not usable.

He says that aid in the form of food, medicine, and tents has reached disaster-hit areas, but a lot of work remains to be done. "I request that international agencies, the United Nations in particular, come here quickly because the people need them urgently," Ali says. "We need their aid in the form of food items and non-food items. We need blankets because the winters are approaching. We require lots of daily-use utensils for cooking. Above all, we need a lot of medical assistance."

Ali says that Minister Baloch spent five days in Awaran following the earthquakes. At the time, Ali says, the chief minister pledged to push Islamabad to appeal to the United Nations for help.

Minister Baloch's spokesman, Jan Muhammad Bulaidi, accused the insurgents of hampering the delivery of aid to the very people they claim to be fighting for. "The separatists should curtail their activities in the aftermath of the disaster. They should allow aid workers and state agencies to help people," he said.

"The separatists need to change their attitude. They need to be aware of the problems of their people. They should allow aid organizations to go to the affected regions and help people," Bulaidi said. "Aid workers would go there only if they can be assured of their security by the authorities."

Agencies At The Ready

International aid organizations cite Islamabad's reluctance as the main hurdle to them reaching quake victims. Many aid workers, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that they are ready to go to Awaran as soon as they get a nod from Islamabad.

In particular, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is only awaiting a green light from Pakistani authorities. MSF was one of the first organizations to publically call on Islamabad to allow humanitarian access to Awaran. "It's crucial that the authorities allow impartial humanitarian assistance into the Awaran area in order to respond to any unmet needs," the international aid agency's operations manager, Chris Lockyear, said in an October press statement.

The magnitude 7.7 and 6.8 earthquakes that struck in late September left more than 100,000 people homeless and affected more than 300,000 people. In addition to Awaran, they jolted the nearby districts of Kech, Khuzdar, Kharan, Gwadar, Panjgur, and Chaghi.

These regions are a stronghold of Baluch separatists who have waged many violent insurgencies against Islamabad over the past six decades. Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in the latest rebellion, which erupted after the 2006 killing of prominent Baluch politician Nawab Akbar Bugti. Many hard-line Baluch factions now claim to be fighting for a separate homeland.

Resource-rich Balochistan has experienced a few major earthquakes. In April, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake across the border in Iran killed at least 35 people in Balochistan. In 1935, a major quake killed 60,000 people.

October 27, 2013

Protests in the Biryulyov neighborhood, on Moscow’s southern fringes, were apparently triggered by the fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old, Yegor Shcherbakov. Police have described the alleged attacker – captured on grainy CCTV footage – as "not a Russian citizen." Russian media, meanwhile, have described him as a migrant.

Labor migrants [who are predominantly Muslim] in Russia number in the millions, and have become a focus of public discontent and divisive political rhetoric.

RIA Novosti reported that  Russian police detained 1,200 people in Moscow at a vegetable warehouse targeted by anti-migrant rioters during violent clashes in the area the night before. During demonstrations in Biryulyov, protesters called on police to detain the suspect in Shcherbakov’s murder and tighten migration laws, according to local media reports.

By the next day, the crowd turned violent, when a group of young men began smashing windows in a shopping centre and briefly set it on fire. A video posted on Youtube showed them chanting "White Power!" as they forced their way in, attacking police and local businesses, including the vegetable warehouse. Helicopters and over a thousand police officers were dispatched to Biryulyov. Observers cite that the peaceful protest may have been targeted by political instigators who seized an opportunity to ignite an already volatile situation.

Police called the latest round of arrests “preventative,” saying they would check the thousand-plus people taken into custody “for involvement in criminal activity.”

Preliminary reports suggested that the initial detentions targeted people, mostly migrant Muslims,who worked at the vegetable warehouse which had come under attack the previous day, while the earlier detentions focused on those taking part in the weekend’s violence. Russia's top investigative agency said it was looking into the killing. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a close ally of President Putin, called for a thorough investigation and said those behind riots must also be held responsible for their actions.

 

The rioting in Biryulyov was the worst outbreak of unrest over a racially-charged incident in Moscow since December 2010, when several thousand youths rioted just outside the Kremlin.

While Russia's overall population is dropping, the number of Muslims in the country is on the rise. The population of indigenous Muslims, mainly hailing from the Russian Caucasus, in Russia has risen since the fall of the Soviet Union, including a 69 percent increase in Dagestanis, a 50 percent increase in Chechens and a 100 percent increase in Ingush. Similarly, the number of Muslim immigrants is also rising. According to official state data, some 240,000 immigrants enter Russia annually -- Russia's Center for Migration Studies puts this number at more than 400,000 after accounting for illegal immigration. Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky has said 3 million immigrants work illegally in Russia every year.

Increased anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has accompanied these demographic changes. The opinion research center poll in January suggested that 55 percent of Russians reported feelings of enmity toward other ethnicities, and 63 percent believed that Russians should have more rights than other ethnicities.

The Russian government faces several problems with tensions stemming from these demographic trends. Early in his tenure, Russian President Vladimir Putin exploited ethnic Russian xenophobia of the Muslim populations. But now that the Muslim populations have become larger and have moved from the borderlands into Russia's interior, the Kremlin is having more difficulty balancing the interests of all its constituencies. In the lead-up to the 2011 elections, Russia saw protests of more than 100,000 in the streets of Moscow calling for immigration reform and a cessation of government subsidization for the Russian Muslim republics.

October 8, 2013

A shocking report prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) circulating in the Kremlin today says that the mainstream propaganda media organs in the United States are continuing to keep covered up the Obama regimes freeing of what Russian intelligence agencies claim is, perhaps, the most dangerous CIA spy-operative ever to have lived and who nearly caused World War III.

According to this report, former US Army veteran and current CIA operative Eric Harroun [man in forefront] was ordered released recently by US District Judge Claude Hilton after Harroun’s guilty plea to a felony count of conspiring to violate American arms-control laws and who further ruled that this sentence was appropriate and that “certain documents” would remain under seal for three months during this highly secret proceeding, a feat which would not have been possible without Obama’s blessing.

Harroun was first arrested on 28 March after a ten-page criminal complaint was filed against him by the FBI charging him with using a weapon of mass destruction outside of the United States. This charge carries the penalty of either death or life imprisonment if convicted.

He then appeared in court with his public defender in a hearing on 8 April in Alexandria, Virginia and was denied bail. At the hearing, US Federal Prosecutor Carter Burwell said it would be illegal for an American to travel to Syria and take up arms against Assad’s regime with any opposition group. This echoes what he was previously told by the FBI officer at the US consulate – leading Harroun to previously remark that it was ……….. ; that an American couldn’t fight in Syria.

He was indicted by a US Federal grand jury on the additional charge of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group (which carries the maximum penalty of 15 years in prison) on 20 June. He appeared in court again on 8 July, and was ordered by the Judge to remain in detention, pending trial.

From Harroun’s arrest, which was widely trumpeted by the Obama regimes mainstream media lapdogs, to his “silent release” this past Thursday, this report continues, clearly shows that America’s military establishment and intelligence agencies are at war with each other with no clear winner, as of yet, being able to be determined.

Not since the 1961 CIA-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba incident that precipitated the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the MoFA report says, has the world been brought closer to a nuclear apocalypse than it has due to Harroun’s actions in Syria on behalf of his CIA and Saudi Arabian “paymasters.”

What has made Harroun particularly dangerous, Russian intelligence analysts contributing to this report say, was his trafficking to Syrian rebels of US captured Soviet era chemical weapon missiles from the former weapons depots of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

After Gaddafi’s fall from power, the report says, the CIA began a massive arms smuggling operation in Benghazi, Libya to their al-Qaeda rebel factions in Syria.

So dangerous was this operation to the Obama regime, reports London’s Telegraph News Service, the CIA began subjecting its operatives, like Harroun, to monthly polygraph tests in an attempt to suppress details of their arms smuggling operation in Benghazi that was ongoing when its Ambassador, Christopher Stephens, was killed by a terrorist attack in the city last year.

Important to note is that Russia had delivered, this past July, to the United Nations a 100-page report detailing the rebels use of chemical weapons in Syria, a finding confirmed by UN inspectors this past May who confirmed Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime.

Even worse, in May, this year, Turkish police arrested Syrian rebels caught in the act of carrying weaponized Sarin gas into Syria.

October 4, 2013

Israel’s consistently rogue refusal to comply with any international  mandate ( in particular, signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty against producing nuclear weapons) that it has been issued since its inception has once again been broached on the international forum.  

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani requested that Israel be compelled to sign and become a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as he spoke for a second time at the United Nations General Assembly. “As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat of their use exists,” Rouhani said, citing the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Rouhani  called for a “nuclear-free zone” in the Middle East. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has not and will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel would use nuclear weapons if it felt it was threatened by any nation in the Middle East.

The nuclear capability of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) defensive capabilities just reached another plateau this past April. It purchased its 5th nuclear submarine that can be deployed anywhere in the world with first strike capability. The Israel News Agency reported that Israel purchased a fifth Dolphin class submarine called the “INS Rahav” from Germany. In the article headlined “Israel Launches Ninth Submarine, Ready To Strike Iran Nuclear Weapons,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “The submarines are a strong, strategic tool for the IDF. The State of Israel is ready to act anytime, anywhere – on land, sea and air – in order to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens.”

The submarines are equipped with Israeli-designed Popeye missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and it is no secret that Israel has nuclear weapons. Some estimates suggest that Israel has between 100 and 400 nuclear weapons.

Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli technician at the Dimona nuclear research center in the Negev desert, exposed Israel’s nuclear program to the world in the 1986 Sunday Times (UK). The Times report cited that Vanunu was kidnapped in Italy by Mossad agents and brought to Israel to face an Israeli court. He was convicted and imprisoned for more than 18 years at Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, Israel. Half of his prison term was in solitary confinement. He was eventually released in 2004. Since then, Vanunu has been arrested and even imprisoned for violating his parole. He was also arrested for trying to leave Israel at one time. Former Israeli Prime Minister and Noble Peace

Prize winner Shimon Peres said “he was a traitor to this country”.

Since Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Dimona Nuclear Research center is not subject to inspections from the international community such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to the Federation of American Scientists in a 2007 report, Israel has between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads, but some estimates have their  nuclear warheads at less than 200. It is also known that Israel has the ability to deliver them by intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of 5,500 kilometers or 3,400 miles, the Jericho III missile named after the biblical city of Jericho, various aircrafts and of course submarines.

The report stated the following:

“By the late 1990s, the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided”

Israel’s nuclear program began after World War II. David Ben-Gurion wanted to establish a Jewish State with a military force that would repel an attack by any of its adversaries, especially in the Arab world.

Ben-Gurion’s speech to the elected assembly of Palestine Jews on October 2nd, 1947 made it clear on the intentions of a new Jewish state:

“Political developments have swept us on to a momentous parting of the ways – from Mandate to independence. Today, beyond our ceaseless work in immigration, settlement and campaign, we are set three blazing tasks, whereof fulfillment will condition our perpetuity: defense, a Jewish State and Arab-Jewish Cupertino, in that order of importance and urgency. Security is our chief problem.

Between the years of 1955 and 2007 more than 130 United Nations Resolutions have been issued against Israel related to injustices perpetrated against the Palestinian people which were all abjectly ignored by Israel.  Among these are Security Council Resolution 242, Nov. 22, 1967 , which declared the occupation of Palestine illegal, Security Council Resolution 446, March 22, 1979, which declared Israeli settlements in Palestine illegal. There has been no action on the part of the UN to bring Israel to book and conform to its mandates, including, as the Iranian president insisted, declaring its Nuclear arsenal. Iran has endured years of sanctions and has no nuclear weapons.

September 27, 2013

Sixty years ago, the Shin Bet devised one of the strangest operations in its history (and the archives are filled with some very strange ones!).  It planted Jewish agents deep undercover inside Palestinian communities.  For 15 years these men became Palestinian: they married Palestinian wives, raised Palestinian families, and participated in their communities as if they were a natural part of it.  But all the while they were funneling intelligence back to their handlers.

Then, seven years after Ulysses began, the Mossad told most of the agents to come in from the cold.  But what to do with their families?  Neither wives nor children knew their fathers had double identities and were Mossad spies.  Not to mention, imagine the shame and hostility to which you’d be subjected in the Palestinian community for having a father who informed on his “fellow Palestinians.”

Though this story was known in its bare outlines, Ronen Bergman unveils for the first time the identity of one of the Jewish agents.  He was the  ironically-named Uri Yisrael.  He was an operative of the Caesarea unit, which performs some of the Mossad’s most secretive and sensitive undercover operations.  His codename was “Ladya.”  He has the honor of being the Mossad agent who served the longest period of time with a double identity (15 years).  The second agent, whose identity Bergman was forbidden to expose by order of the military censor (presumably this means he’s still alive), had the code name “Yitzhak.”  Bergman interviewed Yisrael’s Palestinian son, who had no idea of his father’s double life.  He also interviewed the Mossad officer who ran the operation, Sami Moriah, now 87.

Among their intelligence achievements were bearing news of the creation of the PLO and participating in attempts to assassinate Yasir Arafat and Abu Jihad.  Operation Ulysses was a creature of then-Shin Bet chief, Iser Harel who, starting in 1952, sought to plant Israeli agents among the Palestinian refugee camps both in Israel and the Arab world.  Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus believed it was only a matter of time before Arab armies made another attempt to attack Israel.  They saw the Palestinians as a “fifth column” which would betray Israel at the first opportunity.  So they wanted spies planted in their midst to report back on any potential threats.

For Ulysses, Harel sought out Jews who’d recently emigrated to Israel from Arab lands.  It was an operation that was emotionally brutal.  Most of those recruited were in their early 20s.  Moriah chose them because they’d participated in the underground Zionist youth groups in their native Arab land.  Their ideological training allowed them to swear unfaltering allegiance to their adopted Zionist motherland.  Upon joining, they were severed from their own families and lived alone in apartments in Jaffa during their 18-month training period.   Moriah tells Bergman that when he brought letters from one of the Ulysses participants to his mother she pleaded:

Let me see him just for two minutes.  Even in the street from afar.  Just so that I know my boy is OK.

Ulysses members prepared intensively for their mission with study of Islam, recitation from the Koran, along with training in spycraft and terrorism.  They also had to undo their native accents and learn the special Palestinian accent and dialect.  Of the scores of candidates Moriah recruited, only nine completed the training.  They were all natives of Iraq, as was Moriah.  These were planted among Israel’s Palestinian population.  Their mission was to warn of planned uprisings or civil unrest.  They were also meant to make their way outside Israel to the Palestinian Diaspora.

The agency decided to end the project in 1959.  Most were returned to Israel (except Uri Yisrael and “Yitzhak” who remained undercover till 1967).  Tellingly, Bergman doesn’t discuss the emotional upheaval this must’ve caused to these families and perhaps the agents themselves.  The details of this story were published in Israel Defense article, which delves much more poignantly into the tragedy.  It describes the great personal suffering of the children who were forced to confront the dark secrets of their fathers and then to somehow pick up the pieces and put them back together again.  The reporter describes the meetings at which Moriah had to inform the Palestinian women that their husbands weren’t who they thought they were.  He offered to convert them and their children to Judaism (!), as if this would somehow miraculously heal the damage.  He also promised the Shin Bet would take care of them “till they were 120.”  Some of the women agreed and their children were raised as Jews and some even became officers in the IDF.

Of the nine original agents, two remained undercover and were transferred to the Mossad.  They continued their double lives for another eight years.  It was these men who first reported that the leadership of the new nationalist organization, the PLO, included two hitherto little-known figures, Arafat and Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad).  Yisrael paid for the apartment in which the first meetings of Fatah occurred and in which there were microphones which picked up every detail of their plans.

September 25, 2013

(IP) The political overture  offered by Russia and hammered out in meetings between Russia and the US – the collection and subsequent  destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile - has temporarily defused the rapidly ticking time bomb lit by the US and its western allies. Diplomacy has forced a diplomatic ‘time-out’ in the rush of the Obama administration to direct a ‘limited’ strike against Syria. China, the UK, and France have lauded the plan on condition of its implementation. Syria apparently had no reservations and accepted the opportunity, along with other nations, to avert world war.The conditions set out dictate the surrender of all chemical weapons in the possession of the Syrian government to an international body which will expedite their removal and destruction.  Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has also agreed to become a signatory of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).  Russian President Putin, in an op-ed address to America published on September 11 in the New  York Times, stated unequivocally the dire consequences of adding fire to fire by attacking Syria, citing how the circumventing of international law and failure to defer to the decision of the UN Security Council will erode the validly and strength of those bodies, causing the UN itself – like the League of Nations – to collapse.

Observers now suggest that similar force should, like the pretext of the agreement with Syria  on chemical weapons,  be used to pressure  Israel to follow suit, as demanded by the US and Russia, to ratify the international treaty banning the use of chemical weapons, which Israel signed in 1993.

The factor that prefaced escalation of US military action in the Syrian conflict – the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against his people – has been disputed since the atrocities occurred; both times with no conclusive proof against the Assad regime. Yet, these findings were flaunted.  Once again, even before any official investigation could take place, the Syrian government was implicated in the deaths of over 1,400 Syrian people after exposure to chemical agents.  After weeks of debate, an Associated Press report surfaced (that was eventually suppressed) which stated that Yahyah Ababneh, of the Minit Press, interviewed some Syrian rebels who claimed that chemical weapons were discharged accidentally by Syrian rebels due to mishandling.  The story was picked up by an Associated Press reporter:  “The interviews were conducted by Ababneh of residents, rebels and their families in Damascus and Ghouta are putting together a different picture of what happened. Many believe that rebels received chemical weapons provided through the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. It's being reported that these weapons are responsible for the deadly gas attack.

The father of a rebel who was killed in what's now being called an accident by many in Ghouta and Damascus said: "My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim. The father said at least 12 rebels including his son were killed by the chemical weapons.

Allegedly, they were killed in the tunnel that was used to store the chemicals. These were provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha. He is said to be leading a fighting battalion in the effort to unseat Assad.

Ababneh reported that the rebels said the gas "attack" was the result of them mishandling the chemical weapons they acquired from the Saudis. She said in the Mint Press report the following:

"They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.“We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.” A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta [on the outskirts of Damascus] named ‘J’ agreed. “We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions."

Prince Bandar's intelligence agency is said to have been the first to bring allegations that Assad's regime used Sarin gas in February of 2013.

It is a well-known fact that Saudi Arabia is one of the primary financiers of the Syrian rebels from the outset of their rebellion and  control of the global oil and gas markets is the stimulus for the relentless crusade to rein in Syria and Iran.

A meeting between Russian President Putin and Saudi Prince Bandar reportedly occurred this summer, during which Bandar, in no uncertain terms, threatened Russia to relinquish its support of the Assad regime. Afterwards, an urgent alert was issued  from the office of President Putin to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation  ordering a “massive military strike” against Saudi Arabia in the event that the West attacked Syria.

September 9, 2013

There is so much to mourn when we think of Hiroshima. Most importantly, as many as 80,000 Japanese civilians evaporated when the Enola Gay dropped Little Boy on August 6, 1945. Fifty thousand victims later succumbed to radiation poisoning and other ailments. But we also mourn the end of whatever human innocence remained intact after the atrocities of the previous six years of war, not to mention the preceding tens of thousands of casualties. “With this bomb,” President Harry Truman announced, returning from Potsdam aboard the USS Augusta, “we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction.” That, too, should be—and in the pages of The Nation since 1945, has been—mourned.

Initially, The Nation’s response to Hiroshima echoed Truman’s justification for it as a necessary, and desirable, means of ending the Pacific war—one which saved Japanese and American lives. In an editorial in the first issue after August 6, then editor-in-chief Freda Kirchwey wrote:

From the point of view of military strategy, $2,000,000,000…was never better spent. The suffering, the wholesale slaughter it entailed, have been outweighed by its spectacular success; Allied leaders can rightly claim that the loss of life on both sides would have been many times greater if the atomic bomb had not been used and Japan had gone on fighting. There is no answer to this argument.

Future Nation writers, as well as many historians, would disagree, as we’ll see below. But just days removed from the event itself, Kirchwey was understandably more concerned about planning for a drastically transformed future than doubting the official story—which would have been a difficult task anyway, given the scant information the Truman administration had provided about the decision to use the bomb. Kirchwey argued that there was only one way to safely and justly contain what Truman had called “a harnessing of the basic power of the universe”:

If we are to survive our new powers we must understand their full meaning. We shall have to move fast, both internationally and within each country. No longer can we afford a world organized to prevent aggression only if all of the great powers wish it to be prevented. No longer can we afford a social system which would permit private business, in the name of freedom, to control a source of energy capable of creating comfort and security for all the world’s people. This seems self-evident, and so it is. But it calls for changes so sweeping that only an immense effort of will and imagination can bring them about.

September 9, 2013

Kirchwey dialogue continued from part 1

... A new conference of the nations must be assembled to set up a World Government, to which every state must surrender an important part of its sovereignty. In this World Government must be vested the final control over atomic energy and within each nation the people must establish public ownership and social development of the revolutionary force that was thrust into their hands. This program will sound drastic only to people who have not yet grasped the meaning of the new discovery. It is not drastic. We face a choice between one world or none.

That fall, the Nation Associates—now the Nation Builders—hosted one of the first forums to discuss how atomic energy and weaponry had changed domestic and international political questions, as Sara Alpern records in her outstanding 1987 biography of Kirchwey. The British political theorist and Labor Party chairman Harold Laski, headlining the event, seconded Kirchwey’s argument, telling the crowd that only international socialism could protect humanity from destruction. “No one nation is fit to be trusted with the development of atomic energy,” Laski declared. “We must plan our civilization or we must perish.”

Several articles in the decade after 1945 explored the impact of the bomb on the ground—including a 1946 review of John Hersey’s seminal book Hiroshima and, in 1955, translations of excerpts from the recently published memoirs of several Japanese survivors.

As the decades passed and the Cold War congealed into a seemingly perpetual state of nuclear standoff, Nation writers began to consider the ways in which so much of contemporary political thinking and behavior could be traced directly to Hiroshima. In 1981’s “Hiroshima and Modern Memory,” the Pulitzer-winning historian and current Nation editorial board member Martin Sherwin wrote:

The American public’s sense of powerless before a monster its own government created and used may be the single most important reason behind the easy acceptance of the idea—so vigorously promoted by the Reagan Administration—that only nuclear superiority can guarantee our national security. Even here, the debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is relevant, for it is of paramount importance to those who wish to rely increasingly upon nuclear weapons that these weapons not be tarnished with a sense of guilt that could inhibit their use as an instrument of diplomacy.

However, the least obvious impact of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may be the most important: the subtle conversion of tens of millions of people over the course of thirty-six years of nuclear arms racing to the idea that nuclear war is inevitable. The button exists and someday someone will push it; nothing can prevent that. Technology has altered our confidence in free will.

Nation writers also began to reconsider whether the bombing needed to happen in the first place, and why it did. While Kirchwey saw the post-war diplomatic implications of the atomic bomb as secondary, though important, consequences, Sherwin—and many Nation writers since—have tended to view the impending power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union as the primary motivation behind the bomb’s use, if not its design:

Truman inherited the basic policy that governed the atomic bomb, just as he inherited every other policy related to the war, a point that commentators on both sides of the debate often ignore. It was therefore possible to use the bomb only because Roosevelt had made preparations to do so. Truman was inclined to use the bomb because of those preparations. But he decided to use it because there seemed no good reason not to. On the contrary, the bombs were available and the Japanese fought on; the bombs were available and precedents of burned cities were numerous; the bombs were available and $2 billion had been spent to create them; the bombs were available and revenge had its claim; the bombs were available and the Soviet Union was claiming too much.

In 1995’s “The Atomic Curtain,” the psychohistorian Robert Jay Lifton and current Nation blogger Greg Mitchell, co-authors of Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial, found in the ultra-secretive creation of the bomb and in the deliberations over using it the origins of the same National Security State that today identifies as a top national priority the persecution of a 29-year-old former intelligence analyst for telling the American people what they have every right to know. “Hiroshima was the mother of all cover-ups,” they wrote, “creating distortions, manipulative procedures and patterns of concealment that have affected all of American life. Secrecy has been linked with national security—and vice versa—ever since.”

Starting with Hiroshima, officials advised Americans to leave all problems surrounding the bomb to political, scientific and military leaders—the nuclear priesthood. Americans were not supposed to think critically or engage in the debate over the gravest issue of our age. Over time, we became accustomed to bowing out of that discussion, and then of debates involving other major issues. We got used to putting the greatest problems, military and social, completely in the hands of experts and political leaders who claimed to have them under control—only to recognize in painful moments that they didn’t have them in hand at all. Surrendering our right to know more about Hiroshima, and later nuclear policies, contributed to our gradual alienation from the entire political process.

The message of the official Hiroshima narrative was control: controlling the story of Hiroshima, controlling nuclear weapons, controlling history. But the official narrative also increased ordinary Americans’ sense of being out of control of their own destiny, of being out of control of the forces that determine their future.

No wonder, then, that the American people have come to feel deceived by the bomb and its caretakers. We know that ominous truths have been concealed from us—starting with Hiroshima. One reason we remain confused is that part of each of us psychologically colluded in the concealment. But our resentment at what has been concealed and falsified does not necessarily limit itself to nuclear matters but can spread, vaguely and bitterly, into just about any aspect of social and national experience.

We have to ask ourselves, then, how much of our mistrust of politicians and public officials, of the media, of our government and just about all who govern us—how much of this angry cynicism so evident in our public life in recent years—is an outcome of the Hiroshima and post-Hiroshima nuclear deceptions and concealments. To what extent do we feel ourselves a people who have been unforgivably deceived in that most fundamental of human areas—having to with how, when and by whose hand, or lethal technology, we are to die?

August 23, 2013

The relentless use of US assassination drones in Yemen has once again put the Yemeni government on the spot light. Sana’a(the Yemeni capital) is blamed for failing to meet the people's demand and bring an end to what many believe is the illegal targeted killing of Yemenis.

President Obama, in a speech on drones earlier this year, claimed America’s actions are legal - the latest in a string of attempts made by his administration to justify covert strikes carried out by the US overseas, in countries including the Arab peninsula’s poorest nation, Yemen. US officials claim that the drone program in Yemen-which has claimed the lives of about 15 Yemenis since June- is being conducted with the cooperation of the Yemeni government.

Due to the increase in drone attacks in Yemen, many rights activists and international anti-war organizations have called on the administration of US President Barack Obama to end its drone program in the country.  Members of Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC), a US-supported initiative intended to influence the political future of Yemen after the overthrow of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule,  overwhelmingly voted to criminalize drone strikes in Yemen. While it is clear that no leader may lawfully authorize another sovereign to slaughter his own people, the decision to criminalize drones strikes sends a clear warning message to current Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi - if the current practice is to continue, it may well lead to a criminal prosecution.

Through his unconditional consent to the use of drones in his country, President Hadi, a former major general who was elected president early in 2012, has already alienated many of his supporters - especially those people who, like him, are from the southern region, which bears the brunt of the strikes.

In a Press TV interview,  Baraa Shiban,  project coordinator for the London-based human rights organization, Reprieve,  stated that his organization  has commenced an anti-US drone campaign in Yemen.  A member of the transitional justice team in the National Dialog Conference, Mr. Shiban says  they have successfully passed a law in the first phase of the conference to criminalize killings outside the rule of law.

Press TV also reported that Sahar Ghanem,  also a national dialogue member, stated that according to medical experts, nearly 70 percent of drone attack survivors, including many children, are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They are now terrified to even leave their homes and go to school in areas of the country which have experienced numerous US assassination drone strikes.

In a recent meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, President Hadi stated that he hoped that the dialogue will lead "Yemen into security and stability", a major goal of the NDC.  However, observers cite an uneasy situation arising in relation to the intentions and expectations of US involvement in Yemeni internal affairs via the NDC.  Though injecting large sums into the push for ‘democratic reforms’ in Yemen, there are apparent rankles of hypocrisy visible to Yemenis as the US ‘ignores outcomes and decisions of the NDC that it doesn’t like’, mentioned  Ghada  Eldemellawy, investigator for the NGO Reprieve, which currently represents 15 prisoners in Guantanamo, including three Yemenis.  Ms. Eldemellawy  stated that  although  US President Obama claims that the drone program is operating in order to safeguard America’s national security, the targeting killings have had the opposite effect of rallying more Yemenis towards  aggressive and defensive attitudes and actions – extremism. Some militants may have died through these strikes, but the US is losing the long battle for hearts and minds.

August 18, 2013

There is so much to mourn when we think of Hiroshima. Most importantly, as many as 80,000 Japanese civilians evaporated when the Enola Gay dropped Little Boy on August 6, 1945. Fifty thousand victims later succumbed to radiation poisoning and other ailments. But we also mourn the end of whatever human innocence remained intact after the atrocities of the previous six years of war, not to mention the preceding tens of thousands of casualties. “With this bomb,” President Harry Truman announced, returning from Potsdam aboard the USS Augusta, “we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction.” That, too, should be—and in the pages of The Nation since 1945, has been—mourned.

Initially, The Nation’s response to Hiroshima echoed Truman’s justification for it as a necessary, and desirable, means of ending the Pacific war—one which saved Japanese and American lives. In an editorial in the first issue after August 6, then editor-in-chief Freda Kirchwey wrote:

From the point of view of military strategy, $2,000,000,000…was never better spent. The suffering, the wholesale slaughter it entailed, have been outweighed by its spectacular success; Allied leaders can rightly claim that the loss of life on both sides would have been many times greater if the atomic bomb had not been used and Japan had gone on fighting. There is no answer to this argument.

Future Nation writers, as well as many historians, would disagree, as we’ll see below. But just days removed from the event itself, Kirchwey was understandably more concerned about planning for a drastically transformed future than doubting the official story—which would have been a difficult task anyway, given the scant information the Truman administration had provided about the decision to use the bomb. Kirchwey argued that there was only one way to safely and justly contain what Truman had called “a harnessing of the basic power of the universe”:

If we are to survive our new powers we must understand their full meaning. We shall have to move fast, both internationally and within each country. No longer can we afford a world organized to prevent aggression only if all of the great powers wish it to be prevented. No longer can we afford a social system which would permit private business, in the name of freedom, to control a source of energy capable of creating comfort and security for all the world’s people. This seems self-evident, and so it is. But it calls for changes so sweeping that only an immense effort of will and imagination can bring them about.

July 25, 2013

According to reports, the Chinese Authorities have forbidden Uyghur Muslims who are returning from summer vacations from fasting in the month of Ramadan and taking part in religious activities. ”Before the fast began, they were extracting guarantees from parents, promising that their children won’t fast in Ramadan,” Sweden-based spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress (WUC), Dilxat Raxit said in a radio interview.

The restrictions state that Muslim students under 18 years of age are banned from fasting and taking part in the religious activities during the month of Ramadan. Students failing to abide by the orders are being reported to and punished by the Chinese Authorities.

“They have also made groups of 10 households responsible for spying on each other, so that if a single child from one family fasts for Ramadan, or takes part in religious activities, then all 10 families will be fined,” Raxit said, ”It’s called a 10-household guarantee system.”

In Beijing and Xinjiang, security crackdowns prevent Muslims from gathering to observe prayers and other religious practices which are required during Ramadhan. A human rights group reported that Uyghur Muslims are being sentenced to prison terms for engaging in religious studies and government employees, teachers, and students are being fined if they observe the Ramadan fast

July 3, 2013

In what is the first conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were found guilty of war crimes.  Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.  The actual trial was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War.

Mainstream media news did not announce the tribunal finds, limiting the public’s knowledge of the proceedings and convictions and also confining the realization by the most emphatic anti-war, human rights activists and organizations that justice had, in some small sense, been served.  

Journalist Danny Weil, of Next News Network, was reminded of the Kuala Lumpur Tribunal conviction, when, during the dedication ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, he noted that none of the speeches of the living presidents, who delivered remarks, on the occasion  mentioned the event that will unquestionably define the Bush presidency - the unlawful invasion of Iraq.

The conviction has rendered former president Bush fearful to travel abroad due to the possibility of arrest by those countries who are signatories to the UN Charter and international treaties that have relegated torture as a war crime, as well as a crime against humanity.

Yvonne Ridley, UK journalist reported that “the trial held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [ in November of  2011], heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. They included testimony from a British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.”

“At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.”

Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material has been sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is also asking that the names of the convicted be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals for public record.

June 26, 2013

 

In a world where Europe and the United States are struggling, both East Asia and Latin America are outperforming the pack, even if they, too, face challenges.

And yet, more than 12 years since it started, the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) has not grabbed headline attention — not in the way, say, the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have. Still, the relationship has grown.

Notwithstanding the considerable distances, inter-regional trade has grown at an average of 20.5 per cent over the past decade, projecting to reach US $500 billion (S$626.9 billion) this year. The full range of goods crosses the oceans, from manufactures to agricultural products, with resources especially important.

Global conditions are pushing the two regions closer. With the developed markets of the West still soft, the search is on for new markets and South-South cooperation. As the meeting’s host, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said FEALAC can assist in “the next major shift in the world’s geopolitics and geo-economy”.

Yet, this cannot happen overnight — and if left to market forces, relations would be dominated by the larger or more developed countries. China, for instance, accounts for nearly 50 per cent of East Asia’s trade with Latin America. Japan, too, has substantial ties.

Among the Latin Americans, Brazil attracts the most interest despite a recent slowdown. Mexico, too, is considerable in its own right and provides access to the US market through the North American free trade area.

But smaller economies on each side tend to be less noticed. Yet, Peru and Colombia rack up impressive growth rates, after making political changes and policy reforms. The recently-formed Pacific Alliance brings them together with Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica, accounting for US$445 billion in exports.

On the Asian side, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — whose collective population of 650 million is more than all of Latin America — deserves more attention. As they integrate as an ASEAN community, their competitiveness will further improve, and the group could do more to link with the Pacific Alliance.

Individual countries, too, can further their ties. An estimated 100 Singaporean companies are present in Latin America, including Keppel, Sembcorp, Olam and Wilmar. Latin American companies venturing into Singapore include petrochemical company Braskem and mining giant Vale.

Thailand has a free trade agreement with Peru and has seen its exports to Latin America more than double in recent years. The efforts of different countries and sub-groups can serve as building blocks for FEALAC to become the premier forum for the inter-regional relationship and broaden the connections for all 36 participating countries. This is where governments can make a difference.

There remain gaps in business connectivity — information, infrastructure, logistics and trade facilitation. Progressively, the aim must be to fill these gaps, so that even the smaller and medium-sized enterprises, and not only the larger corporations, can access the inter-regional opportunities.

A broader foundation for engagement is also needed. This is difficult given the lack of historical interaction between the two regions.

Nevertheless, networks between universities and cultural institutions, and using the media and tourism, can foster better understanding and increase people-to-people contact. Building for the future, efforts are needed to interest the youth of both regions and help them develop intercultural skills.

These were among the recommendations put forward in Bali by a ‘Vision Group’ appointed by the FEALAC ministers. Some ideas aim to jump-start a new stage in relations with iconic projects — such as a regular business forum and a network among universities. The longer-term goal is to deepen and broaden the inter-regional relationship, so that it can take its place alongside ties with the US and Europe.

Cliches about revolutions and drug smuggling may persist when Asians think about Latin America, and vice versa. The realities of trade and changes in global politics are, however, pushing both sides to rethink old assumptions.

The opportunities are real and substantial — more than when FEALAC began. But for these to be realized, Asians and Latin Americans must increasingly give attention to each other as a new frontier for engagement.

June 25, 2013

The Vice Chancellor of International Qur’anic Open University at Islamberg, New York, and chairman of the Abdul Qadir Gillani Institute of Sufic Sciences at Islamville, South Carolina scientifically demonstrated the miraculous powers of Holy Qur’an. He has proven the healing effects of Holy Qur’an on human and non human beings, as well as plants.

This is a rebuttal to extremist Wahhabis who deny the miraculous powers of Holy Qur’an and bring a lie against Almighty God. They also bring lies against our great Sheikh, who helped Saudi Arabia to solve their problems via Holy Quran. When the government of Saudi Arabia accepted the challenge of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to demonstrate the healing powers of Holy Qur’an as a means of alternative remedy for incurable mental and physical diseases, their scholars such as Sheikh Abu Sadir Maudoudi made excuses and refused to come forward and assist. Then our Sheikh, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani Qadri El Hashmi, came forward and accommodated their request, accepting the challenge of  the W.H.O. The results: patients suffering from various previously incurable mental and physical diseases were healed. This is because of the miraculous power of  the Holy Qur’an, the final Divine Revelation from Almighty God. It was in Saudi Arabia that our Sheikh and  great Sufi Master was declared Imam of Sufic Science.

 

Those interested should read the books Qur’anic Psychiatry and the Ultimate Fraud of the Freudists, available at the bookstore in the village of Islamberg, New York. The following is an excerpt from Qur’anic Psychiatry, written by El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, which explains the scientific experiment that undoubtedly confirmed the healing powers of the Holy Qur’an; followed by the translation of an article by Hamaad Al Salmi containing a report on the success of Qur’anic Psychiatry by the Saudi Arabian Government in the Daily Alnadawa.

Qur’anic Psychiatry

 

“And We have sent down in the Holy Qur’an that which has healing and mercy for the believers.” (Holy Qur’an)

 

For the first time in the history of medical science and the world: A scientific demonstration of the healing powers of the Holy Qur’an based on the El Jilani Methodology, in healing incurable mental diseases, conducted before a team of international researchers in Taif, Saudi Arabia (1976-77), once and for all disproving the baseless, pseudo-scientific theories of modern psychiatry and Freudism. Includes a report of the revival of a brain-dead patient in Germantown Hospital, PA, USA.

Unprecedented in medical History! Establishment of the first Institute of Qur’anic Therapy!

Healing through the Holy Qur’an has begun under scientifically controlled conditions for the first time in the world. A complete wing has been established in the Shahar Mental Hospital, Taif, where this type of therapy is being practiced. This project commenced last month under the supervision of a group of qualified doctors headed by Dr. Osama Radi. They heal various conditions through selected [lines] of the Holy Qur’an. Dr. Mubarik Jilani is the physician who has formulated Qur’anic Therapy. Dr. Munir Jaber is the assisting general physician and Professor Abdullah Tooyail controls the investigations’ developments and serves as the project registrar. Mrs. Elahi Daj is the project nurse. Another group of doctors and nurses are cooperating with the members of this undertaking.

Invitation to the Islamic Ulema and Ummah

Healing through the Holy Qur’an: This was the topic on which Sheikh Saleh bin Lehyan lectured last Monday, where many notables were present. This topic, for the first time, opens ways of such scientific investigations. The Honorable Sheikh has removed successfully all the doubts which were raised by some people about this therapy. Following this, details of the formation of the new project laid down a month ago in Shahar were narrated.

Al Nadwa reporter Hamaad Al Salmi wrote:

“I was thinking after the lecture that though this type of therapy has been known since the days of Rasulallah (sallallahu alayhi wasalaam), what would be its shape nowadays? Before I could put my question, Dr. Osama Radi announced that whosoever participated in the experiment should cooperate with the medical group to whom it has been assigned. But when would this wing be established? When would the healing start? What would be the results? What type of diseases would be cured? I asked many such questions, as I was eager to receive their immediate reply.”

Patient Suffering From Continuous Bouts of Epilepsy Healed Through Holy Qur’an

A person suffering from severe bouts of epilepsy, for one full month was rendered speechless, nor could he take any foods or liquids. He was unable to walk or attend to his own hygiene. With the first treatment of Qur’anic therapy, he showed immediate improvement. After the second treatment, the patient was able to speak and take meals. Normally, the conventional treatment for such a condition, with the use of electric shock and medicines, would take up to one full year to show improvement, yet this patient became normal in some weeks time. By the virtue of Allah’s Might, and the effect of Wisdom contained in the Holy Qur’an, clear results were achieved.

Experiment Conducted on Two Trees

During my visit to Pakistan, I met a friend of mine, Dr. Mubarik Jilani, who is a physician in the project. He conducted an experiment before witnesses, myself being one of them, using two plants  of the same species in the same soil. Dr Jilani  thereby recited [lines] of Holy Quran over one plant and something else over the other plant. The plant over which Holy Quran was read grew to double the size of the other in due course of time, although their nurturing and care was identical. This experiment concluded the demonstration of the effects of Holy Quranic [lines]on other living things.

 

How this Began

Dr. Osama Radi states “From 24th to 26th Safar, 1396 A.H., experimentation commenced in Cairo following an in-depth study at a conference sponsored by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) whereby the significance of Quranic Therapy was recognized. The resolution was adopted to continue  research in this method of healing and present the findings at the next conference , InShaAllah. We were to present modern literary, scientific means to continue research, so that its discussion becomes reasonable.”

 

” Dr. Mubarik Jilani received many invitations from American institutions and universities while he was in Pakistan. These invitations were extended with the intent that he would continue his research development abroad.Dr. Osama further elaborated  “He (Dr. Jilani) wrote to me regarding going to America and completing the experiments there. I instructed him to carry on (at the institute in Taif). He is therefore working solely for Allah’s happiness, and is not taking any fees or salary.”

 

A Case of Chronic Madness

What are the states of chronic madness, and how can they best be healed? Foremost, chronic mental disorders and madness alike are subject to relapse if the patient discontinues the therapy or leaves his specialized outpatient treatment. In the case of one patient previously diagnosed as insane, Dr. Jilani read [lines] of Holy Quran over him and ordered the patient’s doses of medicine to be reduced gradually. At present, the patient has shown remarkable improvement and is completely drug- free. The patient had undergone extensive treatment with drugs, but displayed only insignificant changes in his behavior. The patient remained in a constant state of fear, which drugs did not relieve. These symptoms dissipated with each treatment of Quranic Therapy, allowing the patient to resume a happy life.

 

Dr Jilani’s Open invitation
Anyone who desired to witness demonstrations of the Quranic Therapy were invited by Dr. Jilani to visit the wing in Shahar Hospital specially established for the experiments. Dr. Jilani was confident in welcoming observers to witness and document the state of each patient under his care, before treatment and afterwards.

June 20, 2013

 

The US forces in Afghanistan handed over the full control of a key US-run detention center -- the Bagram prison to the Afghan Defense Ministry, putting an end to a source of tension between Kabul and its main ally Washington.

An official ceremony was held there in Bagram prison, located next to the Bagram airbase, the main US military bastion 50 km north of Afghan capital Kabul.

Subsequently, Afghan authorities have released more than 2,156 prisoners since the US forces handed over the notorious prison to the Kabul government, Press TV reported.

The office of President Hamid Karzai said in a statement recently that the prisoners were acquitted after Afghan judicial authorities found no evidence of their involvement in militancy.

Several months ago, Washington and Kabul signed a deal under which the US consented to give control of the Bagram Detention Center in the northeastern province of Parwan to Afghan forces.

In November 2012, Karzai ordered Afghan forces to take control of the prison and accused US officials of failing to fully comply with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Detentions, an official agreement between the US and Afghanistan detailing the transfer of  US detention centers in Afghan territory to Afghanistan.

Karzai has often accused the US of acting in cahoots with the Taliban to justify the presence of foreign troops in the war-torn country.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, in May 2010, confirmed reports on the existence of a secret detention facility at the Bagram Airbase, located 11 kilometers (7 miles) southeast of the city of Charikar in Afghanistan's Parwan Province.

Human rights groups had said that Bagram detainees were menaced, forced to strip naked and kept in solitary confinement in windowless cells.

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan took place in 2001 under the pretext of combating terrorism, toppling the Taliban regime and establishing security in the country.

However, insecurity continues to rise across Afghanistan despite the presence of foreign forces in the country.

President  Karzai  set a two-week deadline for the British armed forces to hand over all Afghans in the UK-run Camp Bastion to the Afghan government.

The announcement by Karzai’s spokesperson came after recent  revelations that the UK forces in Afghanistan are holding over 90 Afghan nationals without trial.

The presidential spokesperson says no foreign country has the right to run detention centers inside Afghanistan and that the detaining of Afghan citizens by foreign troops is against the country’s sovereignty.

The illegal detentions were made during military operations. The British kept the Afghans in Camp Bastion jail in the southern province of Helmand for a long time without trial, when  normally allowed to detain suspects for only four days.

The detainees’ lawyers said they have been held in custody without charge for up to 14 months, which amounts to unlawful detention and internment. Lawyers say the case is against international law and the British constitution.

General Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, also recently criticized the detentions as “illegal” and “inhuman.”

June 19, 2013

The Church of Scotland says God’s promise of Israel to the Jews should not be taken literally

In a new report titled “The Inheritance of Abraham: A Report on the ‘Promised Land,”’ the Church of Scotland, once a staunch supporter of the Jews’ right to their ancient homeland, casts serious doubt on the biblical Jewish claim to the land.

The report is a culmination of more than a decade of increasingly strident anti-Zionism and pro-Palestinian activism by the church, especially by its local Palestinian Christian chapters.

“Promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory,” it concludes. “The ‘promised land’ in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This ‘promised land’ can be found, or built, anywhere.”

Local Jewish leaders fear that if the church adopts the document at its annual general assembly, it may be become official church policy, the London Jewish Chronicle reported. The Church of Scotland’s annual general assembly is to vote on the report soon.

In the report, the church states that there has been a “widespread assumption” by many Christians and Jews that the Bible supports an essentially Jewish state of Israel.

“This assumption of biblical support is based on views of promises about land in the Hebrew Bible, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, as well as the fulfillment of biblical prophets such as Ezekiel, who spoke about ‘the barren mountains of Israel’ becoming fruitful and ‘the ruined towns’ being rebuilt as the people returned from exile. These views are disputed,” the report says. On God’s promise to Abraham to make the Land of Israel a home for the Jewish people (“To your offspring I will give this land,” Genesis 12:7), the Church of Scotland says that a purely literal reading does show that God promised the land to Abraham and his descendents, but that the exact geography of the land is unclear, and the land was given “conditionally to the Jewish people, and on the understanding the land is God’s, and in any case, given in trust to be cared for and lived in according to God’s instruction.”

June 19, 2013

 

Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi has announced the breaking of all diplomatic ties with the Syrian government, including the closing of its embassy in Damascus and the recall of  Egypt's charge d'affaires", as reported by AFP. Mursi also called on the international ‘community’ to declare a ‘no-fly-zone’ over Syria, echoed by Jordan’s king Abdullah’s pledge to take all “necessary measures” to protect his country after a Pentagon announcement that it will leave behind a squadron of F-16 fighters and a battery of Patriot missiles at the end of joint US-Jordan military drills. These actions have prompted “speculation that a no-fly zone [over Syria] is being prepared,” The Washington Post stated, indicating the possibility of an impending attack. The US has reiterated its claim, backed by France and Britain, that the Syrian government used ‘chemical weapons’ - the condition warranting the US to provide Syrian rebels with weapons - while ignoring  the UN special rapporteur’s conclusive findings that it was the rebels and not the Syrian government who used the toxic sarin gas.

Mursi also said he has encouraged other Wahhabi Arab states to follow his lead in a renewed political as well as military onslaught against the Assad regime.

Defected Syrian general Salim Idriss, who heads the Supreme Military Council of the anti-Damascus militants,  recently submitted his list of weapon requirements to US officials in Turkey, whom he told reporters had said ‘a no-fly-zone’ over Syria would be ‘difficult to enforce’.

Meanwhile, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad recently stressed  his country's determination to reach a political solution to the  crisis and to combat "terrorism" on the ground, state-run SANA news agency reported.

While stressing his country's desire for a political solution, Mekdad underscored that combating "terrorism" is an international responsibility, affirming Syria’s determination to fight " terrorism" in order to restore stability and security to the country.

June 16, 2013

 

Dr. Alejandro Centurion, who specializes in neurology, is one of the doctors behind a White House petition that seeks to end forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China, said the United States needs to act on the large body of evidence that has emerged in the past five years.

It is well known that China harvests the organs of prisoners who are executed. But in 2006, it was first reported that adherents of Falun Gong—a type of meditation practice that gained popularity in China before the Communist Party launched a persecution against it in 1999—are being killed solely for their organs, constituting a crime against humanity. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are believed to have been killed for their organs, which were later sold.

“The main piece of evidence is simply the disparity between the number of transplanted organs in China and the number of organs that are available,” Dr.Centurion,told New Tang Dynasty Television.

Centurion said this factor and other evidence “have convinced me and many other medical professionals that these crimes are truly taking place.”

Elaborating further, he said that upon request, transplant tourists in China are promised an organ within weeks–or sometimes even days. However, it takes years to get an organ in other countries.

 Centurion said that officials in the United States likely have information about organ harvesting in China. The White House “We the People” petition that Centurion launched Dec. 2 asks President Barack Obama to make these records public.

“As a world leader in protecting human rights,” the petition reads, “the United States has a moral obligation to expose these crimes, stop them, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

June 16, 2013

 

Dr. Alejandro Centurion, who specializes in neurology, is one of the doctors behind a White House petition that seeks to end forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China, said the United States needs to act on the large body of evidence that has emerged in the past five years.

It is well known that China harvests the organs of prisoners who are executed. But in 2006, it was first reported that adherents of Falun Gong—a type of meditation practice that gained popularity in China before the Communist Party launched a persecution against it in 1999—are being killed solely for their organs, constituting a crime against humanity. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are believed to have been killed for their organs, which were later sold.

“The main piece of evidence is simply the disparity between the number of transplanted organs in China and the number of organs that are available,” Dr.Centurion,told New Tang Dynasty Television.

Centurion said this factor and other evidence “have convinced me and many other medical professionals that these crimes are truly taking place.”

Elaborating further, he said that upon request, transplant tourists in China are promised an organ within weeks–or sometimes even days. However, it takes years to get an organ in other countries.

 Centurion said that officials in the United States likely have information about organ harvesting in China. The White House “We the People” petition that Centurion launched Dec. 2 asks President Barack Obama to make these records public.

“As a world leader in protecting human rights,” the petition reads, “the United States has a moral obligation to expose these crimes, stop them, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

June 12, 2013

 

 

By G. N. Abdullah

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) says it is “a matter of serious concern” that the Obama Administration rebuked the recent announcement of settlement expansion as “a deeply negative signal.” AIPAC is calling “on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State,” after an ill-timed announcement made by the Israeli government during the height of US Vice President Joe Biden’s Middle East tour that settlements in East Jerusalem would increase by 1600 persons.

But perhaps more troubling is a lesser known declaration made by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is being made into a national heritage site by his administration, according to Aletho News and agencies. There is a fear that the rehabilitation project scheduled for the mosque of the father of three religions may become reserved for one religion only.

The site, also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque, is believed to contain the grave of the Holy Messenger Abraham -who is the father of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Located in Hebron, the Ibrahimi Mosque also lies within Palestinian territory, in the midst of uncontested land.

The Holy Messenger Joseph, or Yusuf, in Arabic, is also believed to be buried in the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The Biblical and Qur’anic patriarchs after which the tomb is named, however, are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as three matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah.

These holy sites -and others such as the resting places of the Holy Messenger Job, or Ayyoub, and the Holy Messenger ‘Imran, the father of Mary, mother of the Holy Messenger Jesus (peace be upon them all), in Oman; the Holy Messengers Jonah, or Yunus, and his father Amittai, whose name is Matta in Arabic, as well as the Holy Messenger Lot -also in the Hebron area; Ezekiel or Zul Kifl in Iraq; Aaron, or Harun, in Jordon; the Holy Messenger Seth, or Sheeth, in Lebanon; and the father of mankind, the Holy Messenger Adam and his wife, our mother, Eve are said to be buried in Saudi Arabia - have all been maintained for almost 1000 years, with respect and love, by Muslims.

The Ibrahimi Mosque has been in existence since 1206. In the 12th century, after capturing almost every other Crusader city, the world renowned Muslim general, Salahhuddin Ayyoubi, advanced on Jerusalem. The city surrendered, Salahhuddin, whose name is commonly spelled Saladin, invited the Jewish people to return to the city. In Hebron, Christians were also allowed to worship freely at the Ibrahimi Mosque.

But in the modern age, Israeli forces began restricting Palestinian visits to the Mosque as far back as May of last year, as reported by Ma’an News.

Dr Elias Akleh, a Palestinian author living in the United States, considers the announcement of Mr Netanyahu’s decision regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs -like the declaration regarding more settlements during Vice President Biden’s visit- untimely. The decision to make the Ibrahimi Mosque an Israeli national heritage site “coincided with the sixteenth anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre perpetrated by the Zionist Israeli terrorist Baruch Goldstein, who murdered in cold blood 29 Moslems while kneeling in prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque,” writes Dr Akleh in his article, “Netanyahu Re-igniting Religious War in the Holy Land.” Dr Akleh continues: “After the six-days-war in 1967 the Israeli government took control of the Ibrahimi Mosque, and provided protected and free entry to extremist Zionist Jews to pray while limiting access to Moslems’ prayers, who have to go through electronic gates and body search[s] before entering.”

Israeli journalist, Avi Shavit, condemns recent acts of Prime Minister Netanyahu not only as ill-timed, but “insane” in Haaretz: “Our need for the United States is unprecedented at this critical juncture; any national interest should be subservient to the supreme interest of strengthening this alliance. But now of all times, at the most sensitive moment, Israel chooses to act insanely… The continuation of the occupation makes Israel disfigure itself and its image; with its own hands it undermines the legitimacy of Zionism.”

In the wake of more uncertainty surrounding the not quite fledgling peace process, it was not Muslims or Jews, but Christians, who convened from all over the world in Bethlehem to discuss a way forward during a seminar entitled “Christ at the Checkpoint,” at Bethlehem Bible College on March 12-17. The point of the week long meeting was not only stated as gaining understanding of “Holy Scripture as related to the Palestinian context, but “to discuss the theological importance of Peace and Justice.”