Sunday, November 30, 2008

UPDATED: MUMBAI: Condemn killings in name of God or Religion – any Religion


Be sure to see the UPDATES after this first item posted here on Mumbai which would
also go along with the call to condemn all killings in the name of any God at all... implicitly naming the potential contributions to killing in the name of imperialism, greed, money and other means of manipulating and controlling the welfare of others. Please take a look and keep some of the points in mind in the crucial days ahead...
(Be sure also to see the work of John Perkins: -Confessions of an Economic Hit Man- and other writings/talks...Some leaders in sorting out the current crises are able to help us connect possible dynamics between and among these various "gods" of our day...

Mumbai: UN should condemn all killings in name of God or any Religion

Comments by David G. Littman, NGO Representative for the Association for World Education (AWE) and the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), United Nations, Geneva. For David Littman's comments on the current human rights activities at the UN in Geneva, see: Stealth Jihad with Dialogue vs. Freedom of Expression at the UN (Act 2) (November 25)...

(I decided to leave this rather dense preface as after several readings, this description of the events leading to the statement of condemnation demonstrates the frustration that lack of participation and dialogue is causing when leaders from various nations, religions are so essential in the Mumbai and other challenges...
Connie, the blogger here on One Heart For Peace)

The 8th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the tragic “Situation of human rights in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo” began on Friday. It was called at the request of 16 Western countries; the number of co-sponsors soon reached 39 States, but not one from the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement). The DRC even alleged that the host country refused visas for two ministers, which the Swiss ambassador categorically refuted in diplomatic terms. The Egyptian ambassador, acting as coordinator of the African group, tried to halt the discussion at 5:30pm; this was unacceptable for France (on behalf of the European Union) and also for the Council president. The histrionic statement delivered by Sudan’s ambassador woke up some representative to the sheer absurdity of this UN masquerade, and the conclusion of the statement by the ambassador of Pakistan, speaking for the OIC, completed this grim ‘picture’:

In conclusion, the OIC reiterates its call that the Council’s Special sessions should not become tools for castigating weak and vulnerable countries, while condoning impunity in case of influential members of the international community. An ongoing siege in Gaza, which has been widely condemned by the International community and continues to pose severe hardships for hundreds of thousands, must also merit the attention of the Council as any situation in the world, on the basis of consensus.

Considering that four of the eight Special HRC sessions (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th), since July 2006, targeted Israel in “the occupied Palestinian territories” (with one on Gaza and another on Lebanon), and only one on Darfur, on Myanmar and on ‘food’, such a gross distortion portrays the HRC’s natural ‘climate’ – a UN body often referred to as “this august body” and “the conscience of the world”. A glance at the proposed draft resolution on the “human rights situation” in the DRC – as “submitted by Egypt on behalf of the African Group” – reveals a blatant refusal to face the manifold atrocities being carried out non-stop in that region and beyond. Its preamble states blandly: “Reiterating the principles and objectives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights” – but there is no mention throughout the text of either the grave ethnic strife or what the EU strongly deplores in its resolution: the “increasingly widespread cases of sexual violence, summary executions, recruitment and use of child soldiers by the armed groups, cases of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment, massive displacement of populations and plundering of villages…”

This ‘Comedy of Errors’ Council took place while barbaric horrors in Mumbai continued – with an expression of condolence from the president to the Indian ambassador, but nothing else. Before the session began, we handed to the president and the High Commissioner for Human Rights our ‘Urgent Appeal’ concerning those bloody massacres, broadcast on all TV networks – aimed thereby at spreading fear worldwide. Our text is reprinted below. It was also handed to about 30 Western ambassadors and delegates. We shall refer to it tomorrow in concluding AWE’s statement on the ongoing tragedy in the DRC – and will prepare a factual follow-up with both our oral and written statements.

* * * * *
Case Postale 205 – 1196 Gland – Suisse


Human Rights Council President Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay

28 November 2008

Your Excellencies,

MUMBAI: Condemn killings in name of God or Religion – any Religion

The horrors committed at Mumbai by the Deccan Mujahideen (i.e. “Jihadist Soldiers”) call for an unequivocal condemnation by the UN Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the Human Rights Council. A condemnation of “terrorism” should include a condemnation of all those who kill or incite to kill in the name of God or religion – of any religion.

In 1999, representatives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other faiths and of civil society, meeting in Geneva, promulgated the Geneva Spiritual Appeal which called on global decision-makers “not to refer to any religious or spiritual imperative to justify any form of violence.” This appeal was reaffirmed in March 2003 in St. Peter's Cathedral, Geneva by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai and other religious leaders declaring: “Together we denounce all references to God to justify and foster hatred.”

This same subject was addressed positively at the recent seminar organized by the “Catholic-Muslim Forum”, established between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and representatives of the 138 Muslim leaders who signed the Open Letter to Christian leaders of 13 October 2007.

As we have warned year after year at the Commission, at the Sub-Commission, and also at the Council, “more indiscriminate Jihadist attacks are anticipated daily” – and this is now evident to all. A policy of silence on this use of an “Ideology of Jihad” by Muslim spiritual and secular leaders, by the OIC and Arab League, and by the international community, implicitly condones a blasphemous evil that should be condemned unequivocally by all Muslim thinkers, theologians and clerics as a “Defamation of Islam.” If this policy of silence is accepted by the international community – a form of complicity – the future for humanity will be bleak. The bells are tolling loud and brutally clear.

It is not our purpose to attack Islam, nor, by turning the spotlight onto abuse carried out “in the name of Islam”, to condone the abuse of human rights by the followers of other religions, by military forces, by governments, or by non-state actors.

In face of this cult of hate, death and destruction against “the other” – we are appealing to you as President of the Human Rights Council, and as High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn all those who kill – and call to kill – in the name of God or religion – of any religion.


René V.L. Wadlow
Main Representative

David G. Littman
Association for World Education to the United Nations Office in Geneva
Michel Chossudovsky at the European Meeting of IPPNW, speaking on America's Doctrine of Preemptive Nuclear War, Berlin, May 2004

bECAUSE OF THE WIDE ACADEMIC AND HUMAN RIGHTS BACKGROUND of the following writer who evidently speaks 10 languages and is widely versed on many aspects of international understanding, I am adding the following item of unmeasurable concern....Michel Chossudovsky is a Canadian economist. He is (or has been) a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa.

Chossudovsky has taught as visiting professor at academic institutions in Western Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, has acted as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has worked as a consultant for international organizations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Development Bank, the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (AIEDEP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). In 1999, Chossudovsky joined the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research as an adviser.(Find more bio material after the following article.)

India's 9/11. Who was Behind the Mumbai Attacks?
Washington is Fostering Political Divisions between India and Pakistan

By Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, November 30, 2008

The Mumbai terror attacks were part of a carefully planned and coordinated operation involving several teams of experienced and trained gunmen.

The operation has the fingerprints of a paramilitary-intelligence operation. According to a Russian counter terrorist expert, the Mumbai terrorists "used the same tactics that Chechen field militants employed in the Northern Caucasus attacks where entire towns were terrorized, with homes and hospitals seized". (Russia Today, November 27, 2008).

The Mumbai attacks are described as " India's 9/11".

The attacks were carried out simultaneously in several locations, within minutes of each other.

The first target was in the main hall of Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station (CST), where the gunmen fired indiscriminately into the crowd of passengers. The gunmen " then ran out of the station and into neighboring buildings, including Cama Hospital"

Attacks by separate groups of gunmen took place at two of Mumbai's luxury hotels - the Oberoi-Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace, located at the heart of the tourist area, within proximity of the Gateway of India.

The gunmen also opened fire at Café Leopold, a stylish restaurant in the tourist area. The third target was Nariman House, a business center which houses Chabad Lubavitch, Mumbai's Jewish Center. Six hostages including the Rabbi and his wife were killed.

The domestic airport at Santa Cruz; the Metro Adlabs multiplex and the Mazgaon Dockyard were also targeted.

"The attacks occurred at the busiest places. Besides hotels and hospitals, terrorists struck at railway stations, Crawford Market, Wadi Bunder and on the Western Express Highway near the airport. Seven places have been attacked with automatic weapons and grenades.(Times of India, 26 November 2008),

Indian troops surrounded the hotels. Indian Special Forces commandos were sent into the two hotels to confront the terrorists. Witnesses at the hotels said that the gunmen were singling out people with US and British passports.

Members of the Indian security forces taking up firing positions between fire trucks and ambulances on the grounds of the Taj Hotel on Friday. (Ruth Fremson/ The New York Times )

Casualties, according to reports, are in excess of 150 killed. Most of those killed were Indian nationals, many of whom died in the attack on the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway Terminus.

At least 22 foreigners were killed in the attacks. Fourteen police officers, including the chief of the anti-terror squad, were killed in the attacks.

Who was Behind the Attacks?

A virtually unknown group called "the Deccan Mujahideen", has according to reports, claimed responsibility for attacks. The Deccan Plateau refers to a region of central-Southern India largely centered in the State of Andhra Pradesh. This unknown group has already been categorized, without supporting evidence, as belonging to the Al Qaeda network of terrorist organizations.

Police reports confirm that nine "suspected attackers" have been arrested and three of the attackers have, according to unconfirmed police sources, confessed to belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba [Lashkar-e-Tayyiba], a Pakistani Kasmiri separatist organization, covertly supported by Pakistani military intelligence (ISI). At least one of the arrested, according to the reports, is a British citizen of Pakistani descent.

In chorus, both the Western and Indian media are pointing fingers at Pakistan and its alleged support of Islamic terrorist organizations:

"Strategic gurus and security analysts in the US and from across the world are examining Pakistan's role in terrorism following yet another terror episode in India ending with fingers pointed at its widely-reviled neighbor.

While initial reports from India suggested the Mumbai carnage was a localized attack by militant malcontents in India because of the "Deccan Mujahideen" decoy that was used to claim responsibility, evidence cited by Indian army and security experts based on phone intercepts, nature of weaponry, mode of entry by sea etc., has quickly focused the attention on Pakistan." (Times of India, November 27, 2008)

The US media has centered its attention on the links between the Mumbai attacks and the "resurgent terrorist groups [which] enjoy havens in Pakistan's tribal areas as well as alleged protection or support from elements of Pakistani intelligence." (Washington Post, November 28, 2008).

"Clash of Civilizations"

In Europe and North America, the Mumbai attacks by Islamic fundamentalists are perceived as part of the "Clash of Civilizations". "Militant Islam is involved in a war against civilization".

The dramatic loss of lives resulting from the attacks has indelibly contributed to reinforcing anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the Western World.

The outlines of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are becoming clear. The terrorists targeted India, the U.S. and Britain, and the Jewish people. (Market Watch, November 28, 2008)

According to the media, the enemy is Al Qaeda, the illusory "outside enemy " which has its operational bases in the tribal areas and North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Washington's self-proclaimed holy mandate under the "Global War on Terrorism" is to take out bin Laden and extirpate Islamic fundamentalism.

America's right to intervene militarily inside Pakistan in violation of Pakistan's sovereignty is therefore upheld. Bombing villages in the tribal areas of North West Pakistan is part of a "humanitarian endeavor", in response to the loss of life resulting from the Mumbai attacks:

"Before these awful raids, news from South Asia had been encouraging. The central problem remains pacifying Afghanistan, where U.S. and other NATO forces struggle to stamp out Taliban and al-Qaeda elements." (Washington Post, November 28, 2008)

"Washington, however, wants the Pakistani army's cooperation in fighting terrorism. In recent weeks, U.S. officers in Afghanistan reported better results, crediting the Pakistanis with taking the offensive against the Taliban on Pakistani territory."

Media Disinformation

US network TV has extensively covered the dramatic events in Mumbai. The attacks have served to trigger an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across America.

The Mumbai attacks are said to be intimately related to 9/11. Official US statements and media reports have described the Mumbai attacks as part of a broader process, including the possibility of an Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack on US soil.

Vice President Elect Joe Biden during the election campaign had warned America with foresight that "the people who... attacked us on 9/11, -- they've regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks". (emphasis added)

These are the same people who were behind the terror attacks in Mumbai.

These are also the same people who are planning to attack America.

Immediately following the Mumbai attacks, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg put New York City's subway system "on high alert" based on "an unsubstantiated report of potential terrorism here in New York. This report led the New York Police Department to take precautionary steps to protect our transit system, and we will always do whatever is necessary to keep our city safe," Bloomberg said in a statement" (McClatchy-Tribune Business News, November 28, 2008, emphasis added).

It just so happens that one day before the Mumbai attacks, "the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had warned that there is a 'possible but uncorroborated' Al -Qaeda threat against the New York transportation system." (Ibid)

"As the attacks in Mumbai were carried out, U.S. authorities issued a warning that Al-Qaeda might have recently discussed making attacks on the New York subway system. A vague warning, to be sure. 'We have no specific details to confirm that this plot has developed beyond aspirational planning, but we are issuing this warning out of concern that such an attack could possibly be conducted during the forthcoming holiday season,' the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said." (Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2008)

Pakistan's Military Intelligence is America's Trojan Horse

The media reports point, in chorus, to the involvement of Pakistan's Military Intelligence, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), without mentioning that the ISI invariably operates in close liaison with the CIA.

The US media indelibly serves the interests of the US intelligence apparatus. What is implied by these distorted media is that:

1. The terrorists are linked to Al Qaeda. The Mumbai attacks are a "State sponsored" operation involving Pakistan's ISI

2. The Mumbai gunmen have ties to terrorist groups in Pakistan's tribal areas and North West Frontier Province.

3. The continued bombing of the tribal areas by the US Air Force in violation of Pakistan's' sovereignty is consequently justified as part of the "Global War on Terrorism".

The ISI is America's Trojan Horse, a de facto proxy of the CIA. Pakistani Intelligence has, since the early 1980s, worked in close liaison with its US and British intelligence counterparts.

Were the ISI to have been involved in a major covert operation directed against India, the CIA would have prior knowledge regarding the precise nature and timing of the operation. The ISI does not act without the consent of its US intelligence counterpart.

Moreover, US intelligence is known to have supported Al Qaeda from the outset of the Soviet Afghan war and throughout the post-Cold War era. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Al Qaeda and the War on Terrorism, Global Research, January 20, 2008)

CIA sponsored guerilla training camps were established in Pakistan to train the Mujahideen. Historically, US intelligence has supported Al Qaeda, using Pakistan's ISI as a go-between.

"With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a "parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government". (Dipankar Banerjee, "Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry", India Abroad, 2 December 1994).

In the wake of 9/11, Pakistan's ISI played a key role in the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, in close liaison with the US and NATO military high command. Ironically, in October 2001, both US and Indian press reports quoting FBI and intelligence sources, suggested that the ISI was providing support to the alleged 9/11 terrorists.(See Michel Chossudovsky, Cover-up or Complicity of the Bush Administration, The Role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI) in the September 11 Attacks, Global Research, November 2, 2001)

Pakistan's Chief Spy Appointed by the CIA

Historically, the CIA has played an unofficial role in the appointment of the director of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

In September, Washington pressured Islamabad, using the "war on terrorism" as a pretext to fire the ISI chief Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj.

"Washington is understood to be exerting intense pressure on Pakistan to remove ISI boss Nadeem Taj and two of his deputies because of the key agency's alleged "double-dealing" with the militants.( Daily Times, September 30, 2008

President Asif Ali Zardari had meetings in New York in late September with CIA Director Michael Hayden. (The Australian, September 29, 2008), Barely a few days later, a new US approved ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was appointed by the Chief of the Army, General Kayani, on behalf of Washington.

Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha

In this regard, the pressures exerted by the Bush administration contributed to blocking a parliamentary initiative led by the PPP government to put the country's intelligence services (ISI) under civilian authority, namely under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior.

In other words, Washington exerts more control over the ISI than the duly elected civilian government of Pakistan.

The U.S. Violates Pakistan's Territorial Sovereignty

The US is currently violating Pakistan territorial sovereignty through the routine bombing of villages in the tribal areas and the North West Frontier Province. These operations are carried out using the "war on terrorism" as a pretext. While the Pakistani government has "officially" accused the US of waging aerial bombardments on its territory, Pakistan's military (including the ISI) has "unofficially" endorsed the air strikes.

In this regard, the timely appointment of Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha to the helm of the ISI was intended to ensure continuity in US "counter-terrorism" operations in Pakistan. Prior to his appointment as ISI chief, Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was responsible, in close consultation with the US and NATO, for carrying out targeted attacks allegedly against the Taliban and Al Qaeda by the Pakistani military in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Upon his appointment, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha implemented a major reshuffle within the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), replacing several of the ISI regional commanders. ( Daily Times, September 30, 2008). In late October, he was in Washington, at CIA headquarters at Langley and at the Pentagon, to meet his US military and intelligence counterparts:

"Pakistan is publicly complaining about U.S. air strikes. But the country's new chief of intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, visited Washington last week for talks with America's top military and spy chiefs, and everyone seemed to come away smiling." (David Ignatieff, A Quiet Deal With Pakistan, Washington Post, November 4, 2008, emphasis added).

The Timing of the Mumbai Attacks

The US air strikes on the Tribal Areas resulting in countless civilians deaths have created a wave of anti-US sentiment throughout Pakistan. At the same token, this anti-American sentiment has also served, in the months preceding the Mumbai attacks, to promote a renewed atmosphere of cooperation between India and Pakistan.

While US-Pakistan relations are at an all time low, there were significant efforts, in recent months, by the Islamabad and Delhi governments to foster bilateral relations.

Barely a week prior to the attacks, Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari "urged opening the Kashmir issue to public debate in India and Pakistan and letting the people decide the future of IHK."

He also called for "taking bilateral relations to a new level" as well as forging an economic union between the two countries.

Divide and Rule

What interests are served by these attacks?

Washington is intent on using the Mumbai attacks to:

1) Foster divisions between Pakistan and India and shunt the process of bilateral cooperation and trade between the two countries;

2) Promote internal social, ethnic and sectarian divisions in both India and Pakistan;

3) Justify US military actions inside Pakistan including the killing of civilians in violation of the country's territorial sovereignty;

4) Provide a justification for extending the US led "war on terrorism" into the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia.

In 2006, the Pentagon had warned that "another [major 9/11 type terrorist] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets" (Statement by Pentagon official, leaked to the Washington Post, 23 April 2006). In the current context, the Mumbai attacks are considered "a justification" to go after "known targets" in the tribal areas of North Western Pakistan.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that "external forces" forces carried the attacks, hinting to the possible role of Pakistan. The media reports also point in that direction, hinting that the Pakistani government is behind the attacks:

US officials and lawmakers refrained from naming Pakistan, but their condemnation of "Islamist terrorism" left little doubt where their anxieties lay.
What has added potency to the latest charges against Islamabad is the Bush administration's own assessment - leaked to the US media - that Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI was linked to the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul some weeks back that killed nearly 60 people including a much-admired Indian diplomat and a respected senior defense official. (Times of India, November 27, 2008)

The Attacks have Triggered Anti-Pakistani Sentiment in India

The attacks have served to foster anti-Pakistani sentiment within India as well as sectarian divisions between Hindus and Muslims.

Time Magazine has pointed in no uncertain terms to the insidious role of "the powerful Inter Services Intelligence organization — often accused of orchestrating terror attacks on India", without acknowledging that the new head of the ISI was appointed at Washington's behest. (Time online).

The Time report suggests, without evidence, that the most likely architects of the attacks are several Pakistani sponsored Islamic groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure), "which is part of the 'al-Qaeda compact'", Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Kashmiri separatist organization belonging to Al Qaeda which claimed responsibility in the December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Union parliament in Delhi and The Students Islamic Movement of India, (SIMI). (Ibid)

Both Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are known to be supported by the ISI.

Islamabad-Delhi Shuttle Diplomacy

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari indicated that his government would fully collaborate with the Indian authorities.

Pakistan's newly elected civilian government has been sidetracked by its own intelligence services, which remain under the jurisdiction of the military high command.

The Pakistan's People's Party government under the helm of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has no control over the military and intelligence apparatus, which continues to maintain a close rapport with its US counterparts. The Pakistani civilian government, in many regards, is not in control of its foreign policy. The Pakistani Military and its powerful intelligence arm (ISI) call the shots.

In this context, president Asif Ali Zardari seems to be playing on both sides: collusion with the Military-Intelligence apparatus, dialogue with Washington and lip service to prime minister Gilani and the National Assembly.

On November 28, two days following the Mumbai attacks, Islamabad announced that the recently appointed ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha would be dispatched to Delhi for consultations with his Indian counterparts including National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and the heads of India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau, responsible for internal intelligence. RAW and Pakistan's ISI are known to have been waging a covert war against one another for more than thirty years.1

On the following day (November 29), Islamabad cancelled the visit of ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha to India, following Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee's "very aggressive tone with Pakistani officials [in a] telephone [conversation] after the Mumbai attacks". (Press Trust of India, November 29, 2008 quoting Geo News Pakistan).

Tense Situation. Deterioration of India-Pakistan Relations

The Mumbai attacks have already created an extremely tense situation, which largely serves US geopolitical interests in the region.

Islamabad is contemplating the relocation of some 100,000 military personnel from the Pakistani-Afghan border to the Indian border, "if there is an escalation in tension with India, which has hinted at the involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai carnage." (Pakistan news source quoted by PTI, op cit).

"These sources have said NATO and the US command have been told that Pakistan would not be able to concentrate on the war on terror and against militants around the Afghanistan border as defending its borders with India was far more important," (Ibid, Geo News quoting senior Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir).

US Interference in the Conduct of the Indian Police Investigation

Also of significance is Washington's outright interference in the conduct of the Indian police investigation. The Times of India points to an "unprecedented intelligence cooperation involving investigating agencies and spy outfits of India, United States, United Kingdom and Israel."

Both the FBI and Britain's Secret Service MI6 have liaison offices in Delhi. The FBI has dispatched police, counter-terrorism officials and forensic scientists to Mumbai "to investigate attacks that now include American victims..." Experts from the London's Metropolitan Police have also been dispatched to Mumbai:

"The U.S. government's "working assumption" that the Pakistani militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are suspects in the attacks "has held up" as Indian authorities have begun their investigation, the official said. The two Kashmiri militant groups have ties to al Qaeda." (Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2008)

The role of the US-UK-Israeli counter terrorism and police officials, is essentially to manipulate the results of the Indian police investigation.

It is worth noting, however, that the Delhi government turned down Israel's request to send a special forces military unit to assist the Indian commandos in freeing Jewish hostages held inside Mumbai's Chabad Jewish Center (PTI, November 28, 2008).

Bali 2002 versus Mumbai 2008

The Mumbai terrorist attacks bear certain similarities to the 2002 Bali attacks. In both cases, Western tourists were targets. The tourist resort of Kuta on the island of Bali, Indonesia, was the object of two separate attacks, which targeted mainly Australian tourists. (Ibid)

The alleged terrorists in the Bali 2002 bombings were executed, following a lengthy trial period, barely a few weeks ago, on November 9, 2008. (Michel Chossudovsky, Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings? Global Research, November 13, 2009). The political architects of the 2002 Bali attacks were never brought to trial.

A November 2002 report emanating from Indonesia’s top brass, pointed to the involvement of both the head of Indonesian intelligence General A. M. Hendropriyono as well as the CIA. The links of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to the Indonesian intelligence agency (BIN) were never raised in the official Indonesian government investigation --which was guided behind the scenes by Australian intelligence and the CIA. Moreover, shortly after the bombing, Australian Prime Minister John Howard "admitted that Australian authorities were warned about possible attacks in Bali but chose not to issue a warning." (Christchurch Press, November 22, 2002).

With regard to the Bali 2002 bombings, the statements of two former presidents of Indonesia were casually dismissed in the trial procedures, both of which pointed to complicity of the Indonesian military and police. In 2002, president Megawati Sukarnoputri, accused the US of involvement in the attacks. In 2005, in an October 2005 interview with Australia's SBS TV, former president Wahid Abdurrahman stated that the Indonesian military and police played a complicit role in the 2002 Bali bombing. (quoted in Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings?, op cit)


1. In recent months, the head of India's external intelligence (RAW), Ashok Chaturvedi has become a political target. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is intent upon firing him and replacing him with a more acceptable individual. It is unclear whether Chaturvedi will be involved in the intelligence and police investigation.

End of this article

More Bio Material:
Chossudovsky is also past president of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He is a member of research organisations that include the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER), the Geopolitical Drug Watch (OGD) (Paris)and the International People's Health Council (IPHC).[3]

...After the September 11 terrorist attacks he has also been involved in highlighting the historical relationship between the US government, Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. He is a frequent contributor to Le Monde diplomatique, Third World Resurgence and Covert Action Quarterly.[4] His publications have been translated into more than twenty languages. His latest book is titled America's "War on Terrorism".

He is editor for the Centre for Research on Globalization, which operates a website at The Centre for Research on Globalization states to be "committed to curbing the tide of "globalisation" and "disarming" the New world order".

See another Bio of interest even while older:
Bio of Michel Chossudovsky published in the Ottawa Citizen (5 Jan 1998)

Battling Mainstream Economics
by Juliet ONeill

The faint moans of his daughter's cello practice barely break the hush of Michel Chossudovsky's household.

The kitchen, bathed in winter light, is gleaming. It is here, at a well-worn wooden table, that the University of Ottawa economics professor wants to talk.

The sunken-leather sofas of the living room -- with its gallery of African masks, Peruvian pottery, Chinese teapots and other treasures from some of the 100 countries he has visited --would be "too comfortable."

Stiff-backed chairs do feel more appropriate for the subject at hand: How poverty is increasing around the world and how this is not by accident, but by the design of a small, powerful banking and business elite at whose behest the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have provoked "economic and social collapse" in many countries.

The discussion is about widespread complacency toward what Mr. Chossudovsky calls a global financial crisis -- in which private speculators wield more power than governments over central bank coffers -- that may swerve into a crash far worse than the Dirty Thirties, jeopardizing pension and retirement savings funds.

It is about how so many people, expert and layman alike, accept a dominant "neo-liberal" economic dogma which makes suffering and sacrifice -- from unemployment and social service cuts in Ontario to mass destitution in Russia -- seem inevitable, if not justifiable and acceptable.

"Absurdity," he says. "I have difficulty in understanding why the dismantling or closing down of productive assets -- hospitals and schools -- could constitute the key to prosperity. But that is what is actually being conveyed. The official mainstream economic agenda is that you have to close down, downsize, lay off, and that is the key to prosperity."

Mr. Chossudovsky, a 52-year-old author who has learned to speak 10 languages and writes in three (English, French and Spanish), has persisted for three decades with an increasingly unfashionable perspective on world events.

It keeps him on the margins of mainstream commentary in Canada but wins praise from such equally anti-establishment social theorists as American Noam Chomsky.

He agrees to being described as having a leftist perspective, but emphasizes that he is not allied with any political party, including socialists, at home or abroad.

"One doesn't know who the socialists are any more because the socialists are all in favour of the neo-liberal agenda," he says. "If you look at socialists in Europe, what are they doing? They're adopting austerity measures. I wouldn't want to put a political label on myself because the neo-liberal consensus is supported by right-wing and left-wing parties alike, including the New Democratic Party."

Raised in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr. Chossudovsky followed in his father's footsteps by becoming an economist. But his father, a Russian emigre, made a career as a United Nations diplomat, while Mr. Chossudovsky put his economics training to use as a teacher and analyst. He came to the University of Ottawa in 1968, attracted by the promise of a bilingual lifestyle.

It was as a young visiting professor at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, that Mr. Chossudovsky's interest in "economic repression" was first pricked.

Augusto Pinochet's military junta, which overthrew Salvador Allende in 1973, quadrupled the price of bread and introduced other measures that would now be referred to as "a structural adjustment program."

Mr. Chossudovsky set out, with a doctor, to study the malnourishment resulting from the bread price hike. He wound up with a paper that held the Pinochet regime responsible not only for conventional forms of political repression but for "economic repression" that impoverished three-quarters of Chile's population.

Since then he has documented the purposeful impoverishment of people in dozens of countries. His latest book, the Globalization of Poverty, contains case studies of the collapse of economies and social structures in Somalia, Rwanda, Vietnam, India, Brazil, Peru, Russia and the former Yugoslavia. In some of these countries, IMF/World Bank intervention preceded violent conflict.

He refers often to "the hidden agenda" of the big banking and financial organizations. They orchestrate collapses, he says, by demanding payment of debt service charges and then lending money to cover the charges but only on condition the recipient country impose such measures as austerity, privatization and currency devaluation. The impact is usually destructive: mass shutdowns, huge unemployment, a wipeout of savings and pensions and purchasing power, a loss of social services.

Such economic shock therapy, he says, has pushed Russia, for one, "back to the medieval era," impoverishing millions of people, deepening the country's foreign debt, driving more than half the country's industrial plants into bankruptcy and allowing organized crime to flourish in the banking, real estate and other sectors of the economy.

Mr. Chossudovsky generally condemns "the criminalization" of the global economy in which increasingly large amounts of drug money and other illegally obtained funds are deposited in the world's 55 offshore havens, escaping taxation. The funds are laundered through an international banking system in which capital movement is easier than ever owing to the revolution in digital communications.

"This critical drain of billions of dollars in capital flight dramatically reduces state tax revenues, paralyses social programs, drives up budget deficits and spurs the accumulation of large public debts," he writes.

An end to offshore tax havens is one of the few solutions Chossudovsky advocates. He also says the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and commercial banks should not be allowed to "pillage" the central banks of troubled countries.

He is much stronger on description than prescription. But his descriptions alone constitute a defiance of mainstream economic scholarship in which "critical analysis is strongly discouraged."

It has not, however, stopped him from teaching for 30 years at U of O and as a visiting professor in several other countries, as well as publishing several books, the latest appearing in nine languages. And while the mainstream media in Canada do not publish his commentary, he is published frequently in Le Monde Diplomatique and smaller magazines that don't have investors or business advertisers.

(Prof. Michel Chossudovsky has also documented impoverishment of people in dozens of countries.)

© Copyright OTTAWA CITIZEN 2003 For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement...
CURRENT (the source of the UPDATE above)...
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After reading the above item by Michel Chossudovsky, surely the following items need a studious look?



JUST IN - More evidence of CIA-backed syndicate involvement in Mumbai attacks
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer From Dec 2, 2008, 00:41

(WMR) -- WMR’s Asian intelligence sources have provided additional information on the wave of terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Under pressure from Washington, this past May Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani cut a secret deal with the United States and India to turn over to Delhi a number of residents of Pakistan wanted by India for terrorism. One of those included in the deal was the CIA’s erstwhile asset, Mumbai-born Dawood Ibrahim, a veteran of CIA operations in Afghanistan during the mujahedin war against the Soviets.

Ibrahim, according to our sources, has been under the protection of Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) intelligence agency since June. He is being protected in Quetta, near the Waziristan tribal region. The CIA is fearful that if Ibrahim is deported to India, RAW and Russia’s Vladimir Putin will obtain the entire dossier on the CIA’s sponsorship of criminal activities and terrorist attacks. ISI would prefer Ibrahim to move to the United Arab Emirates, perhaps Dubai, where he has extensive financial interests. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is a business rival of Ibrahim and the ISI would like Ibrahim to be at a distance from Pakistan’s president and “settle scores” with his old “allies” and new enemies in Langley from outside Pakistani territory.

Ibrahim is reportedly using his gangland “muscle” in India to send a clear message to Delhi and Washington that he is a force to be reckoned with. The son of a Bombay (Mumbai) police constable who, himself, dabbled in organized criminal activity, Ibrahim has his informants and agents peppered throughout the Indian police, India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and Pakistan’s ISI. Ibrahim also knows a great deal about the CIA’s operations on the subcontinent, including having the “goods” on the CIA’s “Afghanist” agents, as well as agency veterans of Kathmandu who dabbled in personal loans from Ibrahim to pay off gambling debts, personal favors for the CIA, highly sought after prostitutes, and drugs. Many of these veterans of Nepal are now senior analysts and operational personnel at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The CIA has every reason to blame the Mumbai attacks on a coterie of “Islamist” groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, “Al Qaeda,” and a new group called “Deccan Mujahedin.” If the media takes a closer look at Ibrahim they will find links to Langley and that is something neither the CIA nor Pakistan or India wants to see happen lest other “dirty laundry” also comes to the forefront. Ibrahim’s joint casino interests with the CIA in Kathmandu apparently involves money laundering for top Indian politicians in New Delhi, as well as some of India’s more well-known “Bollywood” actors.

Indian police are now reporting they have seven small boats in their custody that were used by the Mumbai terrorists to sail from Pakistan to the Indian coast. WMR has learned the boats in question are inflatables used by Ibrahim’s commandos who landed on the Mumbai seafront from Karachi with AK-47s and walked down the sidewalk into the lobbies of 5-star hotels and simply opened fire. Part of Ibrahim’s motive is not only to send a message to Washington, London, and Delhi that he will not be traded in a double-cross engineered by the CIA but also to send a warning to the extremist Hindu Shiv Sena terrorist gang that he is not ceding Mumbai’s gangland turf to Shiv Sena without a fight.

Ibrahim also sent a warning message to Israel by seizing Chabad House in Mumbai, reportedly a haven for right-wing Jewish Orthodox groups and Israeli military “trainers” who pose as backpackers on holiday in Kashmir during their reconnaissance missions.

Apparently, the Israelis’ uncouth behavior toward Kashmiri locals, including cheating taxi drivers and lodges, became known to Ibrahim who figured he could also take advantage of his assault on Mumbai to teach the Israelis a couple of lessons. The Israelis are in Kashmir to train Indians on their side of the India-Pakistan Kashmiri Line of Control. The Israelis maintain a military training facility, known as the Ibex Center, outside of Leh, the capital of Ladakh. There, the Israelis train Tibetan exiles and local Buddhist soldiers who serve in the Ladakh Scouts, the mountain commandos who patrol the Indian side of the Line of Control and the Siachen Glacier. Also trained by the Israelis is the “Tibetan Army,” the Indian Army unit also known as the Special Frontier Force. The training takes place at the Mussorie parajump base in northern India. Kashmiri separatists claim Israeli trainers have served with Tibetan commandos in putting down insurgencies in Assam and Manipur in northeastern India.

The Israelis began operating out of Chabad House after receiving a contract in 1996, a year after a group of Western tourists were captured by militants in Kashmir. A Norwegian was beheaded in the incident. The attack was condemned by every mujahedin group in Kashmir and Pakistan. Some blamed Israelis for the kidnapping of the Westerners in exchange for the security contract and the use of Indian Air Force bases in Jammu, part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Jammu bases are within a 20-minute striking range of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities and missile bases. Pakistani ISI alleges that Israeli fighter bombers at the Jammu bases are disguised with false Indian markings and are armed with nuclear weapons.

WMR’s Asian intelligence sources report that Chabad Houses are fronts for Israeli military intelligence and Mafia activities in other Asian cities. In Bangkok, Israeli military pilots and drivers who stay at the Chabad House there train Thai Army commandos, divers, and pilots who are fighting a Muslim secessionist movement along the southern border with Malaysia. Bangkok police have long suspected Chabad House as a center for the Israeli Mafia, which runs its Ecstasy and Ice trade from Bangkok for all of Southeast and East Asia. The Israeli Mafia also reportedly runs heroin labs in Myanmar, where an Israeli military officer serves in Myanmar’s feared military counter-intelligence agency.

By torching the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai, Ibrahim has also earned a few extra points with Pakistan’s government. The Taj Mahal is owned by the Taj Group, an enterprise of the multi-billionaire Tata family of India. Tata stands to make a fortune from the U.S.-India nuclear technology sharing pact as a defense supplier for India’s future modernized nuclear arsenal. The targeting of the Tata-owned hotel was a stark warning, via Ibrahim’s gang, that America will pay dearly for backing India’s expanded nuclear ambitions. And for that, Islamabad obviously looked the other way as Ibrahim’s men deployed to Mumbai by sea from Karachi.

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End this post/update...

Muslims condemn Mumbai attacks

There needs to be more Muslim condemnation of such acts just as there must needs be more Christian and Jewish and Israeli and Buddhist and Hindu and other religious leaders' condemnation of any and all terrorism and related attacks around the world...

At least, here is one statement well worth reading in full - with a video (and I plan to update with more): Here


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ex-terrorism prosecutor (Anthony Barkow) flags flaws at tribunal

Anthony Barkow, human rights observer and executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law

By LARRY NEUMEISTER – published November 28, 2008

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 court."

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 attorneys.

"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.
On the Net for more references see * Human Rights First: Here and also The Center on the Administration of Criminal Law: "Here

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Ahead for Obama: How to Define Terror

November 30, 2008
WASHINGTON — Early last Tuesday morning, a military charter plane left the airstrip at Guantánamo Bay for Sana, Yemen, carrying Osama bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan. Once the Bush administration’s poster boy for the war on terror — the first defendant in America’s first military tribunals since World War II — Mr. Hamdan will spend less than a month in a Yemeni prison before returning to his family in Sana, having been acquitted by a jury of United States military officers of the most serious charge brought against him, conspiracy to support terrorism.

The turn of events underscores the central challenge President Obama will face as he begins to define his own approach to fighting terrorism — and the imperative for him to adopt a new, hybrid plan, one that blends elements of both traditional military conflict and criminal justice.

Until now, much of the debate over how best to battle terrorism has centered on the two prevailing — and conflicting — paradigms: Is it a war or a criminal action? The Hamdan case highlights the limitations of such binary thinking. As the verdict in his tribunal this summer made clear, Mr. Hamdan was not a criminal conspirator in the classic sense. Yet, as an aide to the world’s most dangerous terrorist, neither was he a conventional prisoner of war who had simply been captured in the act of defending his nation and was therefore essentially free of guilt.

So how should Americans think about Mr. Hamdan? More broadly, how should they think about the fight against terrorism?

The problems with the war paradigm are by now familiar. Because the war on terror is unlike any other the United States has waged, traditional wartime policies and mechanisms have made for an awkward fit, in some instances undermining efforts to defeat terrorism. The traditional approach to dealing with captured combatants — holding them until the end of hostilities to prevent them from returning to the battlefield — is untenable in a war that could last for generations.

If you treat the fight against terrorism as a war, it’s hard to get around the argument that it’s a war without boundaries; a terrorist could be hiding anywhere. Yet by asserting the right to scoop up suspected terrorists in other sovereign nations and indefinitely detain and interrogate them without hearings or trials, the administration complicated its efforts to build an international coalition against terrorism.

“The war-against-Al-Qaeda paradigm put us in a position where our legal authorities to detain and interrogate didn’t match up with those of our allies, so we ended up building a system that’s often rejected as strategically unsound and legally suspect by even our closest allies,” says Matthew Waxman, a law professor at Columbia who worked on detainee issues in the Bush administration.

Perhaps the most problematic consequence of the war paradigm, though, is that it gave the president enormous powers — as commander in chief — to determine how to detain and interrogate captured combatants. It was the use, or abuse, of those powers that produced the Bush administration’s string of historic rebukes at the Supreme Court, starting in 2004 when the justices ruled in Rasul v. Bush that the president had to afford the Guantánamo detainees some due process.

Some critics of President Bush are now urging President-elect Obama to abandon the war paradigm in favor of a pure criminal-justice approach, which is to say, either subject captured combatants to criminal trials or let them go. This will almost certainly not happen.

Mr. Obama may be more inclined to prosecute suspected terrorists in the federal courts than Mr. Bush has been, and he may even avoid referring to the battle against terrorism as a “war.” But ceding the military paradigm altogether would severely limit his ability to fight terrorism. On a practical level, it would prevent him from operating in a zone like the tribal areas of Pakistan, where American law does not reach.

“If you seriously dialed it back to the criminal-justice apparatus you will paralyze the executive branch’s ability to go where they believe the bad guys are,” says Benjamin Wittes, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “When people talk about a return to the criminal-justice system, they’re ignoring the geographical limits of that system.”

In fact, the military approach to fighting terrorism predates the Bush administration. After Al Qaeda attacked two American embassies in Africa in 1998, President Clinton launched cruise missiles against terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan thought to be making chemical weapons. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama said he would not hesitate to take out terrorist targets in Pakistan — an act of war — if that country’s government was unwilling to do so itself.

Going forward, the fight against terrorism will have to be something of a hybrid. This is a novel idea, as the Constitution lays out only two distinct options: the country is at war, or it is not. Such a strategy may require building new legal systems and institutions for detaining, interrogating and trying detainees.

There has already been talk of creating a national security court within the federal judiciary that would presumably give more flexibility on matters like, say, the standard of proof for evidence collected on an Afghan battlefield. Similarly, it may be necessary to set clear legal guidelines for when the government can detain enemy combatants, and how far C.I.A. agents can go when interrogating terror suspects.

This won’t be easy. It will require striking a balance between the need to preserve and promote America’s rule-of-law values, protect its intelligence gathering and ensure that no one who poses a serious threat is set free.

Such an infrastructure is not likely to survive unchallenged, let alone win popular support, if the executive branch builds it alone. Its chances would be far better with input from Congress, acting as the elected representatives of the people to ensure that any new systems protect both the public and America’s values. And direct advice from the courts could ensure that they are found to be constitutional.

Paradoxically, such an approach might ultimately enhance a president’s power. “We need a strong president to fight this war,” says Jack Goldsmith, a law professor at Harvard who worked in the Bush Justice Department, “and the way to ensure that there’s a strong president is to have the other institutions on board for the actions he feels he needs to take.”

Jonathan Mahler, a contributing writer for The Times Magazine, is the author, most recently, of “The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight Over Presidential Power.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

The End of Guantánamo

Salim Hamdan

The repatriation from Guantánamo of Salim Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, to serve out the last month of his sentence for providing material support for terrorism in Yemen, will surely hasten the demise of the prison, as promised by President-Elect Barack Obama, even though the circumstances of Hamdan’s departure were as furtive and secretive as the long years of his detention. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, his military defense attorney, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, explained, “Attorneys should have many rights under this system, and so should an accused. But those just don’t happen at Guantánamo. The way things happen in Guantánamo is that your client is whisked away in the middle of the night and you find out about it in the newspapers.”

In August, Hamdan became the first prisoner of the United States to face a war crimes trial since the Second World War, and although opponents of the system of trials by Military Commission (dreamt up by Vice President Dick Cheney and his close advisers in November 2001) maintained their disdain for the entire system, pointing out that, amongst other defects, it allowed the judge to withhold all mention of evidence obtained through coercion, the verdict in the trial was a bitter blow for the government.

Prosecutors had hoped to secure a 30-year sentence for Hamdan, who was accused of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, but the military jury dismissed the conspiracy charge, accepting Hamdan’s claim that he was merely a $200-a-month employee, with no inside knowledge of the workings of al-Qaeda, and sentenced him to serve just five and a half years for providing material support for terrorism. When the judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, allowed for time served since Hamdan was first charged, it meant that he would be free by the end of the year.

The sentence infuriated the Pentagon, which refused to rule out the possibility that it would continue to hold Hamdan as an “enemy combatant” after his sentence was served, even though this was a concept that most dictatorships would blanch at pursuing. Unwilling to acknowledge that tampering with the results of a military system of its own devising would resemble the tantrum of a small child, the Pentagon then attempted to put pressure on Capt. Allred to reconvene the jury for a new sentence, arguing that he had no right to reduce Hamdan’s sentence for time served, but on October 30, in a terse response, Allred refused to be swayed, and declared, “The prosecution motion to reconsider, reassemble, reinstruct and re-announce a sentence is denied.”

Beyond demonstrating, however belatedly, that the Bush administration is actually capable of playing by its own rules, Hamdan’s release is also enormously significant for around half the remaining prisoners at Guantánamo. Regarded, as CBS News explained on November 14, as “too dangerous to release but not guilty enough to prosecute,” these prisoners — approximately 125 in total — are caught between the 50 or so prisoners who have been cleared for release but cannot be freed because of international treaties preventing the return of foreign nationals to countries where they face the risk of torture, and the 80 or so regarded as significant enough to face a trial by Military Commission.

However, although CBS News alleged that they could not be put forward for prosecution “because the evidence against them can not be used in court,” the reality is that these are prisoners against whom suspicions of militant activity or of sympathy for militant activity are largely unjustifiable because they are derived from the torture, coercion or bribery of other prisoners, or from the torture and coercion of the prisoners themselves.

The history of Guantánamo is permeated with dubious information, masquerading as evidence, which has been used by the administration to justify holding these men, but as is evident from the verifiable stories of numerous released prisoners, from investigations by their lawyers, from explosive statements made by military officers who worked on the tribunals at Guantánamo that were responsible for presenting the information that was used as evidence, from a study of Pentagon documents by the Seton Law School (PDF), and in my own research for my book The Guantánamo Files, the reason that much of this information is inadmissible is not just because of the manner in which it was gathered, but also because so much of it would not stand up to independent scrutiny, as has been demonstrated in the only two cases that have been reviewed by a US court: those of Huzaifa Parhat, cleared of being an “enemy combatant” in June, and five Bosnian Algerians, cleared of the charges against them in a District Court last week.

The conclusion is stark, but as true as it has ever been: hearsay evidence — whether obtained through kindness (better living conditions) or cruelty (the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”) — is fundamentally unreliable, and at Guantánamo the liberal, even credulous acceptance of hearsay evidence has produced a catalog of farcical allegations that are simply untrue.

What this means, when the window dressing is removed, is that these 125 prisoners are regarded as less significant than Salim Hamdan, who was specifically chosen for a flagship trial because of his known proximity to Osama bin Laden. As a result, when Hamdan’s sentence comes to an end, one month from now, and he is a free man once more, reunited with his wife and children, it will, I believe, be impossible for the administration to justify holding these men any longer, and Barack Obama will, if he wishes, be able to highlight the absurdity of this situation to justify a speedy review leading to their release.

Significantly, over half of these prisoners are also from Yemen. A mixture of innocent men, seized and sold for bounty payments, and lowly foot soldiers for the Taliban, who were recruited to fight an inter-Muslim civil war that began long before the 9/11 attacks, they are among the 100 or so Yemenis at Guantánamo who have watched, over the years, as hundreds of prisoners from other nations were released, and the majority of the 130 Saudis were also repatriated, to be put through a bold rehabilitation program, involving religious reprogramming and psychological and financial support, that met with the approval of the US authorities. With the government of Yemen — a poorer and more fractured country than Saudi Arabia — unable to guarantee that returned prisoners would be put through a similar program, the Yemenis have languished at Guantánamo, despite the similarities, for the most part, between their stories and those of the Saudis.

Hamdan’s release indicates that negotiations between the Yemeni and US governments are now proceeding more fruitfully than before, and suggests that their repatriation — until now a major stumbling block to the closure of Guantánamo — may be only a matter of time.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press/the University of Michigan Press, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK).

As published on, Global Research and ZNet.

Be sure to go Here to find out more and check for almost daily updates from Mr. Worthington

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The situation in Gaza has reached a crisis point

For over a year, Israel has blockaded Gaza and prevented the movement of people and basic goods and services in and out of the small Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean Sea.

On November 4th, the situation worsened when Israel tightened the blockade further, preventing food, fuel and humanitarian aid from entering the region...

The Status Today

* Unemployment is at 45%, the highest in the world according to a UN Report.

* United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), the main UN aid agency in Gaza, has announced that its supplies have run out. Approximately 80% of Gazans rely on the agency's resources for daily needs.

* 70% of Gaza is now without power.

* Diplomats are being denied entry. 20 European diplomats were prevented from entering Gaza on Nov. 14th with no explanation.

* Media are being denied access to Gaza. Foreign Press Association Chairman, Steven Gutnik describes it as "a serious violation of freedom of the press" and said "it is essential that journalists be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip since it is the foreign media that serves as the world's window into Gaza."

* UNRWA has described "unprecedented levels of hardship". It will have to suspend cash assistance to some 98,000 of the poorest people in Gaza due to the unavailability of shekel bank notes in Gaza banks. Mothers being turned away from UNRWA food centers without milk.

* Gaza has a population of 750,000 people and 56% are children.

More info:
Israel Spurns UN Plea to Ease Gaza Blockade, MSNBC, Nov. 19, 2008

Gazans Despair Over Blockade, BBC Nov. 20, 2008

Israel Bans Press in Gaza Strip, Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 26, 2008

Israeli Tanks Rumble into Gaza, Raze Farmland, USA Today, Nov. 18, 2008

What others are saying...

* Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has called for an end of the Gaza Blockade. Press Release, November 18, 2008.

* UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his "deep concern" over the situation in Gaza in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He "strongly urged the Prime Minister to facilitate the freer movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies and of concerned UN personnel into Gaza" UN Deputy-General Spokesperson, Noon Briefing, November 19, 2008.

Contact your legislators in Congress to express your opposition to the blockade of Gaza.

Support the Free Gaza movement which is taking concrete steps to break the Gaza blockade. Donate to support the delivery of aid by boat and to demonstrate international opposition to the Israeli blockade.

NC, USA Complicit in Torture/Renditions Various

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - Got It Goin' On In Carolina!

These are my homeys, kicking torture-complicit derriere last Monday night. . . .
(blog posted by Chuck Fager of Quaker House Fayetteville, NC.)

From the [North Carolina] Independent Weekly website


Johnston County Airport: Stop what torture?

By Bob Geary

For three years, the activist group N.C. Stop Torture Now has blanketed the Johnston County Airport with vigils, reports that CIA rendition flights may originate there and warnings about a half-dozen planes implicated in "torture flights" that are operated by a private carrier based there.

The group wants the county-owned airport to investigate. Start paying attention, members say. Adopt a policy against abetting torture. Call in the sheriff or the State Bureau of Investigation to help.

Airport Authority Chairman John Bullock's latest response,: Investigate what?

"We have no facts," Bullock told Stop Torture Now members who attended the authority's Nov. 17 meeting in Smithfield. Aero Contractors, the private carrier, he added, "is a good tenant, good client; they've been here for years."

At the authority's meeting a month ago, Stop Torture Now members distributed a thick packet of information, including accounts from The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, about the CIA's secret renditions and the role private air carriers, including Aero Contractors, play. According to the reports, terrorism suspects captured in countries where torture is outlawed are "rendered" to other countries—Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan—where torture is practiced.

One case, involving a German citizen mistakenly arrested in Macedonia and tortured in Afghanistan, resulted in the indictment of three Aero pilots on charges of kidnapping by a German grand jury.

In another, the Swedish government agreed to pay $450,000 to an Egyptian citizen seeking asylum who was rendered back to Egypt, allegedly by Aero pilots, and imprisoned and tortured.

"Did you find [the information] compelling?" Allyson Caison, a county resident, asked Bullock.

"I found it interesting," Bullock said, smiling uncomfortably. "I'm not in favor of torture."

Ironically, the 30-minute meeting Monday was dominated by Airport Director Ray Blackmon's revelation that folks are driving too fast around the hangars, where airplanes have the right-of-way. Lest the county be sued for negligence if there's an accident, the authority voted to reduce the speed limit from 20 mph to 10.

"I was happy to hear Ray mention his concern about negligence and liability," Caison told authority members. She urged them to think hard, however, about the liability of allowing a company to use the airport in the commission of kidnappings and torture.

"Winds of change blew through this country on Nov. 4," she said. "There may soon be congressional and international investigations of the rendition program. Johnston County needs to get on the right side of history before these investigations shine the spotlight on us. At that point, it will be too late to claim we didn't know what was going on here."

Bullock said he asked the county attorney for advice but hasn't gotten any yet.

N.C. Stop Torture Now received an "Indy Citizen Award" for its work in 2007. AND An ACLU Award this year.

For more about protests at Aero Contractors, the primo Torture Taxi company go Here

And check out more related items at quakerhouse dot org

And related...Here



More related items to follow soon - for now, especially keep watching
Andy Worthington's site often!

Also: bordc dot org and Center for Constitutional Rights (for those who really want to be ahead of the game, expect lots of sudden attention around the week of December the 9th on a particular case, that of Maher Arar...look him up on both CCR and Andy Worthington's site...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bob Herbert NYTimes: A president who gets it when it comes to jobs

November 25, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Not a Moment Too Soon

It looks as if the U.S. is about to have a president, at long last, who gets it when it comes to jobs.

There doesn’t appear to be anything faint-hearted about Barack Obama’s plans to stimulate the economy, which hasn’t come this close to flat-lining since the 1930s. The president-elect’s recovery plan emphasizes job creation, and the path to that end winds through the nation’s long-neglected infrastructure.

Some of us have been beating that drum for years.

In a radio address on Saturday, Mr. Obama described his plan as follows:

“It will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jump-start job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy.

“We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.”

The message is many years overdue. The hope is that it hasn’t come too late.

The idea that the nation had all but stopped investing in its infrastructure, and that officials in Washington have ignored the crucial role of job creation as the cornerstone of a thriving economy is beyond mind-boggling. It’s impossible to understand.

Impossible, that is, until you realize that bandits don’t waste time repairing a building that they’re looting.

The question now is whether the nation, in the midst of a full-blown economic emergency, can keep its cool and be smart as it marshals billions of public dollars for a new infrastructure initiative. It won’t be helpful to have sparkling new bridges to nowhere being built from coast to coast.

The smartest step when it comes to infrastructure would be for the new administration to follow through on the president-elect’s campaign promise to create a national infrastructure bank that would not just raise money and invest in the nation’s infrastructure, but would also bring a measure of coherence to the myriad projects that need to go forward.

One of the reasons the U.S. is in such deep trouble is that it has stopped being smart — turning its back on excellence, sophistication and long-term planning — in its public policies and corporate behavior. We’ve seen it in Iraq, in New Orleans, in the fiscal policies of the Bush administration, in the scandalous neglect of public education, in the financial sector meltdown, the auto industry and on and on. We’ve lionized dimwits. And now we’re paying the price.

If we’re going to rebuild the nation, with the hope of putting millions to work in the process, we should do it in the way that makes the most sense and brings the biggest bang for our megabucks.

Right now infrastructure projects go forward willy-nilly. They are often financed haphazardly and are subjected to the worst kinds of political influence.

Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut is sponsoring a bill that would create an infrastructure bank with a bipartisan board of directors and a chief executive to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The board would streamline the process of reviewing and signing off on major infrastructure proposals. It would determine the value to the public of each project — and its environmental impact. It would provide federal investment capital for approved projects and use that money to leverage private investment.

“Our major economic competitors in the 21st century are spending seven, eight, nine percent of their gross domestic product on infrastructure,” said Senator Dodd. “We’re spending almost nothing at all.”

The U.S. is moving from a period in which leaders spent money on wars and on lavish tax cuts for the rich, but not on investments in the nation’s future. That era of breathtaking irresponsibility must come to an end. Which means that now, with so much federal money soon to be available for infrastructure projects, it’s crucially important to spend the money as wisely as possible.

Investment in infrastructure right now is vital for two reasons. In a New York Review of Books article pushing the idea of an infrastructure bank, Felix Rohatyn and Everett Ehrlich wrote:

“Ultimately, we face a future of mass transit strained beyond capacity, planes sitting on tarmacs, slow traffic and wasteful sprawl, ports that lack the capacity to operate efficiently, and increasing numbers of bridges and dams that are obsolescent and dangerous to the public’s health and safety.”

That’s one reason. The other is that we’re never going to get out of this economic fix if we can’t swing open the doors to millions of new jobs. Infrastructure investment is one of the keys to that objective.

So we’re going to do it. But will we be smart about it?

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Cynthia McKinney's Speech for The First Arab-International Congregation for the Right of Return (She is prevented from giving in person)

Cynthia McKinney prevented from leaving US
November 23rd, 2008

Forwarded to by Kimberly Wilder

Today, November 23rd, I was slated to give remarks in Damascus, Syria at a Conference being held to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, sadly, the 60th year that the Palestinian people have been denied their Right of Return enshrined in that Universal Declaration. But a funny thing happened to me while at the Atlanta airport on my way to the Conference: I was not allowed to exit the country.

I do believe that it was just a misunderstanding. But the insecurity experienced on a daily basis by innocent Palestinians is not. Innocent Palestinians are trapped in a violent, stateless twilight zone imposed on them by an international order that favors a country reported to have completed its nuclear triad as many as eight years ago, although Israel has remained ambiguous on the subject. President Jimmy Carter informed us that Israel had as many as 150 nuclear weapons, and Israel’s allies are among the most militarily sophisticated on the planet. Military engagement, then, is untenable. Therefore the exigency of diplomacy and international law.

The Palestinians should at least be able to count on the protections of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What is happening to Palestinians in Gaza right now, subjected to an Israeli-imposed blockade, has drawn the attention of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who noted that over half of the civilians in Gaza are children. Even The Los Angeles Times criticized Israel’s lockdown of Gaza that is keeping food, fuel, and medicine from civilians. Even so, Israel stood fast by its decision to seal Gaza’s openings. But where are the voices of concern coming from the corridors of power inside the United States? Is the subject of Palestinian human rights taboo inside the United States Government and its government-to-be? I hope not. Following is the speech I would have given today had I been able to attend the Damascus Conference.

Cynthia McKinney Speech - The one she was planning to give at the
Right of Return Congregation - Damascus, Syria - November 23, 2008

Thank you to our hosts for inviting me to participate in this most important and timely First Arab-International Congregation for the Right of Return. Words are an insufficient expression of my appreciation for being remembered as one willing to stand for justice in Washington, D.C., even in the face of tremendously difficult pressures.

Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, thank you for including me in the Malaysian Peace Organisation’s monumental effort to criminalize war, to show the horrors of the treatment of innocent individuals during the war against and occupation of Iraq by the militaries and their corporate contractors of Britain, Israel, and the United States. Thank you for standing up to huge international economic forces trying to dominate your country and showing an impressionable woman like me that it is possible to stand up to “the big boys” and win.

And thank you for your efforts to bring war criminal, torturer, decimator of the United States Constitution, the George W. Bush Administration, to justice in international litigation.

Delegates and participants, I must declare that at a time when scientists agree that the climate of the earth is changing in unpredictable and possibly calamitous ways, such that the future of humankind hangs in the balance, it is unconscionable that we have to dedicate this time to and focus our energies on policies that represent a blatant and utter disregard for human rights and self-determination and that represent in many respects, a denial of human life, itself.

In the same year as Palestinians endured a series of massacres and expulsions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights became international law. And while the United Nations is proud that the Declaration was flown into Outer Space just a few days ago on the Space Shuttle, if one were to read it and then land in the Middle East, I think it would be clear that Palestine is the place that the Universal Declaration forgot.

Sadly, both the spirit of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the noblest ideals of the United Nations are broken. This has occurred in large measure due to policies that emanate from Washington, D.C. If we want to change those policies, and I do believe that we can, then we have to change the underlying values of those who become Washington’s policy makers. In other words, we must launch the necessary movement that puts people in office who share our values.

We need to do this now more than ever because, sadly, Palestine is not Washington’s only victim. Enshrined in the Universal Declaration is the dignity of humankind and the responsibility of states to protect that dignity. Yet, the underlying contradictions between its words and what has become standard international practice lay exposed to the world this year when then-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour proclaimed:

“In the course of this year, unprecedented efforts must be made to ensure that every person in the world can rely on just laws for his or her protection. In advancing all human rights for all, we will move towards the greatest fulfillment of human potential, a promise which is at the heart of the Universal Declaration.”

How insulting it was to hear those words coming from her, for those of us who know, because it was she who, as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, willfully participated in the cover-up of an act of terror that resulted in the assassination of two democratically-elected Presidents and that unleashed a torrent of murder and bloodletting in which one million souls were vanquished. That sad episode in human history has become known as the Rwanda Genocide. And shockingly, after the cover-up, Louise Arbour was rewarded with the highest position on the planet, in charge of Human Rights.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that justice delayed is justice denied. And 60 years is too long to wait for justice. The Palestinian people deserve respected self-determination, protected human rights, justice, and above all, peace.

On the night before his murder, Dr. King announced that he was happy to be living at the end of the 20th Century where, all over the world, men and women were struggling to be free.

Today, we can touch and feel the results of those cries, on the African Continent where apartheid no longer exists as a fact of law. A concerted, uncompromising domestic and international effort led to its demise.

And in Latin America, the shackles of U.S. domination have been broken. In a series of unprecedented peaceful, people-powered revolutions, voters in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and most recently Paraguay used the power of the political process to materially change their countries’ leadership and policy orientation toward the United States. Americans, accustomed to the Monroe Doctrine which proclaimed U.S. suzerainty over all politics in the Western Hemisphere, must now think the unthinkable given what has occurred in the last decade.

Voters in Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, Spain, and India also took matters clearly in their hands to make “a clean break” from policies that were an affront to the interests of the majority of the people in those countries.

In country after country, against tremendous odds, people stood up and took their fates in their hands. They did what Mario Savio, in the 1960s, asked people in the United States to do. These people-powered, peaceful revolutions saw individuals put their bodies against the levers and the gears and the wheels of the U.S. imperial machine and they said to the owners if you don’t stop it, we will. And I know that people of conscience inside my country can do it, too: especially now that the engines of imperial oppression are running out of gas.

Even though the Democratic Party, at the Convention that nominated Barack Obama, denied its microphone to Former President Jimmy Carter because of his views on Palestine, let me make it clear that Former President Carter is not the only person inside the United States who believes that peace with justice is possible in Palestine.

Inside the United States, millions who are not of Arab descent, disagree vehemently with the policy of our government to provide the military and civilian hardware that snuffs out innocent human life that is also Arab.

Millions of Americans do not pray to Allah, but recognize that it is an inalienable right of those who do to live and pray in peace wherever they are–including inside the United States.

Even though their opportunities are severely limited, there are millions of people inside the United States struggling to express themselves on all of these issues, but whose efforts are stymied by a political process that robs them of any opportunity to be heard.

And then there are the former elected officials who spoke out for what was right, for universal application of the Universal Declaration, and who were roundly condemned and put out of office as a result. My father is one such politician, punished—kicked out of office–because of the views of his daughter.

In my case, I dared to raise my voice in support of the World Conference Against Racism and against the sieges of Ramallah, Jenin, and the Church of the Nativity. I raised my voice against the religious profiling in my country that targets innocent Muslims and Arabs for harassment, imprisonment, financial ruin, or worse. Yes, I have felt the sting of the special interests since my entry onto the national stage when, in my very first Congressional campaign, I refused to sign a pledge committing that I would vote to maintain the military superiority of Israel over its neighbors, and that Jerusalem should be its capital city.

Other commitments were on that pledge as well, like continued financial assistance to Israel at agreed upon levels.

As a result of my refusal to make such a commitment, and just like the old slave woman, Sojourner Truth, who bared her back and showed the scars from the lashes meted out to her by her slave master, I too, bear scars from the lashes of public humiliation meted out to me by the special interests in Washington, D.C. because of my refusal to tow the line on Israel policy. This “line” is the policy accepted by both the Democratic and Republican Party leadership and why they could cooperate so well to coordinate my ouster from Congress. But I have survived because I come from the strongest stock of Africans, stolen then enslaved, and yet my people survived. I know how to never give up, give in, or give out. And I also know how to learn a good political lesson. And one lesson I’ve learned is that the treatment accorded to me pales in comparison to what Palestinian victims still living in refugee camps face every day of their lives.

The treatment accorded to me pales in comparison to the fact that human life is at stake if the just-released International Atomic Energy Agency report is true when it writes that “The only explanation for the presence of these modified uranium particles is that they were contained in the missiles dropped from the Israeli planes.” What are the health effects of these weapons, what role did the U.S. military play in providing them or the technology that underlies them, why is there such silence on this, and most fundamentally, what is going on in this part of the world that international law has forgotten?

Clearly, not only the faces of U.S. politicians must change; we must change their values, too. We, in the United States, must utilize our votes to effect the same kind of people-powered change in the United States as has been done in all those other countries. And now, with more people than ever inside the United States actually paying attention to politics, this is our moment; we must seize this time. We must become the leaders we are looking for and get people who share our values elected to Congress and the White House.

Now, I hope you believe me when I say to you that this is not rocket science. I have learned politics from its best players. And I say to you that even with the failabilities of the U.S. system, it is possible for us to do more than vote for a slogan of change, we can actually have it. But if we fail to seize this moment, we will continue to get what we’ve always been given: handpicked leaders who don’t truly represent us.

With the kind of U.S. weapons that are being used in this part of the world, from white phosphorus to depleted uranium, from cluster bombs to bunker busting bombs, nothing less than the soul of my country is at stake. But for the world, it is the fate of humankind that is at stake.

The people in my country just invested their hopes for a better world and a better government in their votes for President-elect Obama. However, during an unprecedented two year Presidential campaign, the exact kind of change we are to get was never fully defined. Therefore, we the people of the United States must act now with boldness and confidence. We can set the stage for the kind of change that reflects our values.

Now is not the time for timidity. The U.S. economy is in shambles, unemployment and health insecurity are soaring, half of our young people do not even graduate from high school; college is unaffordable. The middle class that was invested in the stock market is seeing their life savings stripped from them by the hour. What we are witnessing is the pauperization of a country, in much the same way that Russia was pauperized after the fall of the Soviet Union. There are clear winners and the losers all know who they are. The attentive public in the United States is growing because of these conditions. Now is the time for our values to rise because people in the United States are now willing to listen.

So the question really is, “Which way, America?”

Today we uplift the humanity of the Palestinian people. And what I am recommending is the creation of a political movement inside my country that will constitute a surgical strike for global justice. This gathering is the equivalent of us stepping to the microphone to be heard.

We don’t have to lose because we have commitment to the people.

And we don’t have to lose because we refuse to compromise our core values.

We don’t have to lose because we seek peace with justice and diplomacy over war.

We don’t have to lose.

By committing to do some things we’ve never done before I’m certain that we can also have some things we’ve never had before.

I return to the U.S. committed to do my part to make our dream come true.

Thank you.

For more information on Cynthia McKinney please visit allthingscynthiamckinney dot com

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A nation can flounder as readily in the face of moral and spiritual bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy." - Martin Luther King, "Beyond Vietnam - A Time to Break Silence" speech on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York