Sunday, November 29, 2009

US Escalations and Related

LBJ's Road to War Who's Who of the Vietnam Escalation Debater (from Nov 20th)

And then maybe almost as interesting: the comments still coming in as of 28th

On Tuesday 24th first Update under "Worsening..." article, Greenwald said about the above Moyer's Journal: "And if you haven't seen or read Bill Moyers' amazing -- and obviously relevant -- examination this week of how and why President Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam, I can't recommend highly enough that you do so."

The number of comments are coming in on this topic of more war in Afghanistan on his site as well:

By the way, have you yet found this important site from Pakistan? Note article on Blackwater:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

UPDATED: Why Afghans Dig Empire Graveyards by Nicolas JS Davies ( A MUST Read)


Published Monday, December 7, 2009

Interview with Nicholas Davies (Between the Lines)
Obama Ups the Ante in Afghanistan, Graveyard of Empires

Interview with Nicholas Davies, author of "Blood on our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq", conducted by Scott Harris

After weeks of consulting with his advisers and the Pentagon, President Obama announced his administration's new strategy on the Afghan war in a nationally televised address from West Point military academy, Dec. 1. The plan calls for the deployment of an additional 30,000 American troops over the next six months -- and a timetable to withdraw most U.S. soldiers within three years. Obama plans to step up the training of Afghan forces to take over their nation's security.

Public opinion polls reveal widespread opposition to expansion of the war among Americans. The peace movement organized anti-war protests across the country to respond to the Obama speech. In the Senate, Democrat Russell Feingold of Wisconsin and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont have pledged to block congressional authorization of the White House plan to escalate the Afghan war. In a recently published article, "Why Afghans Dig Empire Graveyards," Nicolas J.S. Davies recounts the multiple unsuccessful attempts by a succession of colonial powers to occupy Afghanistan. The strategic geographic location of Afghanistan for building critical oil pipelines may have as much to do with U.S. designs on the country as the potential threat posed by the Taliban and al Qaeda. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Davies about the current conflict in the context of Afghan history and his view of President Obama's plan to escalate the war.

Nicolas J.S. Davies is author of the forthcoming book, "Blood on our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq." Read Davies' article, "Why Afghans Dig Empire Graveyards," online at consortiumnews dot com (find his latest there as well: Obama, blood on his hands)

Real Audio:


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:


DOWNLOAD the MP3 by visiting:

VIEW the Between the Lines website by clicking on the link below:


"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).

TO US NOW: STOP Creating HELL Abroad

Both the US Left and the US Right (and all nations who participate in our Foreign Occupations) are are giving the name "OBOMBA" to US and history.

NO to All US Pro-War Policy-Makers: NO MORE WAR! End the US OCCUPATIONS!



Inside sources reveal that the firm works with the US military in Karachi to plan targeted assassinations and drone bombings, ...

US ABUSING Afghan Teens?

UNVEILING: Huge New Prison in Afghanistan (Keep Watching Human Rights Watch, Tina Foster and International Committee of the Red Cross)

Why Is the State Department Speaking for JSOC? (Keep Watching Jeremy Scahill)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Along with Occupation - Worsening Civil and Human Rights?


***Many if not most detained in the "war on terror" by US authorities (including "Rendered" from Bagram)are being denied trials and face military tribunals or worse - "indefinite detention"

*** many of the policies once widely declared by Democrats to be a grave threat to the Constitution are now explicitly adopted by the Obama administration. And it's flatly inconsistent to invoke "the rule of law" to defend Obama's decision to give trials to a few Guantanamo detainees without pointing out that he's violating that very same precept by denying trials to so many.

***UPDATE: The Nation's Jeremy Scahill reveals that the U.S. military is using Blackwater -- as part of "a secret program in [Pakistan in] - including Karachi - which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives." McClatchy reports that Obama has made a decision to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan which, if true, means, as Juan Cole says, that "Gen. Stanley McChrystal has won the struggle for policy decisively." (ADD ON from oneheart blogger: now Obama is saying that his intention is to "finish the job" -
does this mean war without end or a scenario in keeping with the litany in the recent article at Consortiumnews dot com Why Afghans Dig Empire Graveyards

So, to recap: we have indefinite detention, military commissions, Blackwater assassination squads, escalation in Afghanistan, extreme secrecy to shield executive lawbreaking from judicial review, renditions, and denials of habeas corpus. These are not policies Obama has failed yet to uproot; they are policies he has explicitly advocated and affirmatively embraced as his own.

And if you haven't seen or read Bill Moyers' amazing -- and obviously relevant -- examination this week of how and why President Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam, I can't recommend highly enough that you do so. here Hearing History: Lessons from a Quagmire (Vietnam Views)

See Greenwald piece in full:

Glenn Greenwald: Greg Craig and Obama's Worsening Civil Liberties Record

US Law Students and Staff Call for Investigation

Boalt Alliance to Abolish Torture (BAAT): Berkeley Law Students and Staff Call for Investigation of "Torture Memo" Lawyers

War and Human Rights

How the US Funds the Taliban

Afghan Army Turnover Rate Threatens US War Plans

On Trial: System That Locks Children up for Life Without Hope of Freedom

Déjà Vu: Obama Plans to Send 34,000 More Troops to Afghanistan





Ray McGovern: Obama's Profile in Courage Moment

Miriam Pemberton: Bush-Style Military Spending Not Over Yet



Human Rights Watch: UN: Secretary-General Should Evaluate Gaza Inquiries

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That OTHER Marketplace A Ghazal by Gilbert Webb

A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient...

Credit for the photo here

Tejas no longer goes to the that other marketplace to work,
he only deals in the currency of God.
What will become of him no one knows since he has given up
all the ways of the Western world?
The treasure within him is recognized only by him or the
mad lovers of God.
In the company of fools he is seen as a fool, in the
company of saints he is seen as a saint, but he knows he is
simply THAT and cares not for such titles or rewards.
His little toddy shop is always open, he gives drinks away
for no charge.
There is only Allah's mercy spoken of there, no talk of
apocalypse, crusade or holy war.
Krishna, Ram and Jesus provide the spit for the ferment of
the brew, the Divine Mother herself keeps up with the pots
and kettles and wipes the glasses clean with her shawl.
Tejas no longer goes to work in that other marketplace he
deals only in the currency of God

Peace Prayer of St. Francis (written 1915)

See info on logo below

The Story Behind the Peace Prayer of St. Francis

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis is a famous prayer which first appeared around the year 1915 A.D., and which embodies the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi's simplicity and poverty.

According to Father Kajetan Esser, OFM, the author of the critical edition of St. Francis's Writings, the Peace Prayer of St. Francis is most certainly not one of the writings of St. Francis. This prayer, according to Father Schulz, Das sogennante Franziskusgebet. Forshungen zur evangelishen Gebetslitteratur (III), in Jahrbuch fur Liturgik und Hymnologie, 13 (1968), pp. 39-53, first appeared during the First World War. It was found written on the observe of a holy card of St. Francis, which was found in a Normal Almanac. The prayer bore no name; but in the English speaking world, on account of this holy card, it came to be called the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.

More information about this prayer can be found in Friar J. Poulenc, OFM, L'inspiration moderne de la priere « Seigneru faites de moi un instrument de votre paix », Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, vol. 68 (1975) pp. 450-453.

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis
by an anonymous Norman c. 1915 A.D. Peace Prayer

Lord make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, Joy.

O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood,as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

LOGO or header above is from an interfaith organization (Hands of Peace) developing peace-building and leadership skills in Israeli, Palestinian, and American teens through the power of dialogue and personal relationships.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

So Many Gifts Still Unopened...

There are so many gifts
Still unopened from your birthday,
there are so many hand-crafted presents
that have been sent to you by God.

The Beloved does not mind repeating,
"Everything I have is also yours."

Please forgive Hafiz and the Friend
if we break into a sweet laughter
when your heart complains of being thirsty
when ages ago
every cell in your soul
capsized forever
into this infinite golden sea...

There are so many gifts, my dear,
still unopened from your birthday.

O, there are so many hand-crafted presents
that have been sent to your life
from God.

from, The Gift (Page 67)
Translations by Daniel Ladinsky
Published by Penguin Books Ltd.

The beautiful water color above gives credit to
Award Winning Watercolor Artist Andy Mathis who donated this Painting to
Gift for Life. The painting is auctioned off during the anniversary gala and fundraiser. See latin paintings dot com - GO here

Did Japan give permission to allow US nukes on it's territory?

Image by AP
Hiroshima flame shrine. Photo by Sean in Japan.

The Hiroshima Flame, which stands in the Hiroshima Peace Park, was lit from the embers of the nuclear explosion in 1945 in memory of those who perished. It will remain alight until all nuclear weapons are eliminated. A torch was lit from the Hiroshima Flame on August 5 and is being carried on a march around the world to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons. This torch is to end up at the United Nations in May 2010a major inter-governmental conference on nuclear non-proliferation. (From PressenzaHiroshima 2009-08-04)

ESSENTIAL Statement: Allegedly, "Japan, the only nation to have suffered nuclear attacks and which has campaigned for the worldwide abolition of the weapons, has had a policy of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear arms on its territory since 1967. But the confidential US State Department memo prepared in 1960 said the US could use Japanese soil "as needed" in an emergency if communist neighbor North Korea attacked." (from end of article) or go here

Evidence claimed of secret Japan-US nuclear pact
4:00 AM Monday Nov 23, 2009

TOKYO - A Japanese Government team has found documents on an alleged secret pact with the United States to transport nuclear weapons through its territory, after decades of official denial.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's centre-left Government launched a probe into the alleged nuclear pact and other secret agreements with the US days after it took office in September.

The probe team reported to Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada that it had discovered documents linked to the pact from among thousands of files at the Foreign Ministry, the Mainichi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun newspapers reported, citing unnamed ministry sources.

"Foreign Minister admits 'nuclear secret pact"' declared the headline in the Mainichi, while the Yomiuri echoed: "Government view likely to change - 'nuclear secret pact"'.

The existence of the agreement has been denied for decades by previous conservative Administrations, even though US documents declassified last month showed US officials believed they had an understanding with Japan when the allies signed a new security treaty in 1960.

"The question of black or white will become clear in January. We will clear the burden of previous Administrations which had insisted there was no secret pact," Okada said.

The papers said the minister would set up a committee of experts to examine the documents before announcing the Government's final judgment in January of whether the secret pact did indeed exist.

Japan, the only nation to have suffered nuclear attacks and which has campaigned for the worldwide abolition of the weapons, has had a policy of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear arms on its territory since 1967.

But the confidential US State Department memo prepared in 1960 said the US could use Japanese soil "as needed" in an emergency if communist neighbour North Korea attacked.

Copyright ©2009, APN Holdings NZ Limited

So lets stay alert for that final judgment in January and then find an appropriate way to vigil for peace and to continue to campaign for the worldwide abolition of the weapons - particularly calling the US to task and accountability as would be leaders of a world at war...

Good News for all peace-lovers on FATHER ROY & SOA WATCH

For immediate release
Sunday, November 22, 2009

Father Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
Father Roy Bourgeois, MM, and School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) have been nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in the world - the Nobel Peace Prize - for their sustained faithful nonviolent witness against the disappearances, torture, and murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians (peasants, community and union organizers, clerics, missionaries, educators, and health workers) by foreign military personnel trained by the U.S. military at U.S. taxpayer expense at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The candidacy of Father Roy and SOA Watch for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize has been officially submitted to the Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The official announcement was made by AFSC representative John Meyer on Sunday, November 22 at 9am at the gates of Fort Benning (home of the School of the Americas) during the annual November vigil to close the SOA.

"We are deeply honored, and deeply humbled, to be nominated for this prize for peace," commented Bourgeois, a Vietnam veteran, Purple Heart recipient and a Catholic priest, who helped found SOA Watch. "This nomination is a recognition of the work of the thousands struggling against militarism across the Americas."

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and grassroots media work to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA/ WHINSEC represent.

This weekend, SOA Watch is gathering by the thousands at the gates of Ft. Benning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the killings of 14-year-old Celia Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and the six Jesuit priests she worked with at the Central American University in San Salvador in November 1989. Human rights defenders from Colombia and Bertha Oliva, founder of human rights organization COFADEH, Committee of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras, which has been actively resisting the SOA graduate-led coup as part of the resistance front.

Additional note from the Vigil:

John Meyer of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) came to the Vigil and made the announcement at 9 am. AFSC won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, and Nobel laureates can nominate one person/group each year.

While Roy could not be with us this year, as he is caring for his ailing father in Louisiana, added to his earlier statement: "This nomination is a recognition of the work of the thousands struggling against militarism across the Americas."

Congratulations to all of you, all over our hemisphere, who have been working to resist oppression and state violence wherever you are. La lucha sigue!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Woman who forgave daughter's killer receives Peace Prize

I heard Marietta for first time in my hometown and was in tearful awe. I became part of her "family" when on The Journey of Hope in Texas. In each occasion she speaks without flinching yet from the most tender place of her heart and faith.

(from Connie, blogger here...)

Three Forks (Montana) Woman to Receive Peace Award


ERIK PETERSEN/CHRONICLE Marietta Jaeger Lane poses for a photo by her Three Forks area home Monday evening. Lane has been named the recipient of the 2009 Jeannette Rankin Peace Award for her work against the death penalty

Excerpt: “The bottom line is: Do we really honor the victims by taking on the same mindset of resolving our problems that the murderer did?” she said Monday... “Forgiveness is life-giving,” she said. “Initially, I would have been happy to kill the kidnapper myself; I just didn’t know who he was.”

By DANIEL PERSON Chronicle Staff Writer

A Three Forks woman who has embarked on an unlikely crusade against the death penalty will be honored with an award previously bestowed on luminaries like Sens. Mike Mansfield and George McGovern.

Marietta Jaeger Lane has been named the recipient of the 2009 Jeannette Rankin Peace Award, given by the Institute for Peace Studies at Rocky Mountain College to one person for “having lived a life dedicated to peacemaking at any level.”

In 1973, Lane’s 7-year-old daughter was kidnapped from her tent while she was camping near Three Forks, molested and killed. While Lane says she initially would have killed the murderer, David Meirhoffer, if she could have, for the last 36 years she has been a vocal opponent of the death penalty, speaking internationally on the subject.

“The bottom line is: Do we really honor the victims by taking on the same mindset of resolving our problems that the murderer did?” she said Monday.

“Forgiveness is life-giving,” she said. “Initially, I would have been happy to kill the kidnapper myself; I just didn’t know who he was.”

Meirhoffer admitted to killing Susie Jaeger and three others in Gallatin County, but hanged himself in jail before he stood trial.

Cindy Kunz, administrator at the Institute for Peace Studies, said board members who select the award recipient were impressed by both Lane’s work on the death penalty n which has included in presentations to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland n and her work with the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, where she worked to end racism and prejudice.

“She had every right to have a vendetta, but she stepped past that,” Kunz said. “It’s a unique award, and Marietta fit our criteria to a T.”

The award will be presented in Billings Nov. 20. Along with Mansfield and McGovern, previous recipients have included Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, an Anaconda-born Catholic who protested nuclear weapons and advocated for the poor, and Greg Mortenson, the Bozeman man who builds schools in Central Asia.

Lane said she attended a presentation given by Mortenson in Bozeman last week, and was humbled by it.

“There is no way I belong in the same category as this man,” she said. “He is a real hero, a real servant.”

Last winter, Lane lobbied for a bill that would have abolished the death penalty in Montana. While the measure passed the Senate, it died in a House committee on a nearly party-line vote.

She is also speaking out against the execution of John Allen Muhammad, better known as the “D.C. sniper,” which is scheduled for today.

“I just think we need to aspire to higher moral principles,” she said.

Daniel Person can be reached at or 582-2665.

Remember the ONLINE World Can't Wait conference!

Debra Sweet's opening presentation to the National Conference of World Can't Wait will be webcast as will the presentations of the panels, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST, Saturday November 21. Other webcasts will begin at 2:00 p.m. EST, featuring Sunsara Taylor and representatives of the women's movement. Click here here for a link to the webcast.

Find out much more:
Sunday's schedule online two posts below - see the two posts on World Can't Wait (one with video of Debra Sweet) just below.

BAGRAM: A living hell (This MUST end!)

NOTE: I hesitated perhaps over an hour as to whether or not to post this because there's so much going on of a negative nature that we all become so overwhelmed. Yet until the truth comes out we can't heal and change. What a shame that the US has allowed these horrific travesties to go on so so long! This article's report should go a long way in convincing our citizens, leaders and all who cooperate with such war crimes to develop some manner of NO cooperation! Now, I must post soon some well-defined suggestions to specifically address this report. Perhaps readers here will also suggest some actions?

Morning Star Online dot co dot uk or GO here

Torture victim Omar Deghayes on the US air base dubbed 'Guantanamo Bay's more evil twin'

The US military has allowed journalists into its newly expanded secret detention centre at Bagram air base in Afghanistan this week.

The base has been described by campaigners as Guantanamo Bay's "more evil twin" and the allegations of torture and murder within its secretive walls continue to this day.

The US claims this is proof of its determination to provide greater transparency and openness in its policy of extraordinary rendition and detention without trial.

The claim was somewhat undermined by the fact that the touring journalists had no access to the hundreds of inmates held at the facility.

Omar Deghayes is one man who has personal experience of both Bagram and Guantanamo. He was not impressed by US grandstanding.

He had seen it all before and has strong reason to doubt the announcement of improved conditions at Bagram.

Having suffered hellish torture there himself, he has now discovered that his brother-in-law has been detained at Bagram for the last two months and, if anything, he appears to have been treated even more brutally.

Deghayes was born in Libya in 1969. He was forced to flee the country with his mother and siblings after the torture and murder of his father by the Gadaffi regime.

Arriving in Brighton as a teenager, he went on to study law in Wolverhampton. The family were granted refugee status here in 1987.

In 2002 Deghayes was arrested in Pakistan and was "sold" to the US for a bounty. He was taken first to Bagram and then Guantanamo, where he was imprisoned without trial for five years.

During his time at Guantanamo he was blinded in one eye, which was already damaged since childhood, after guards repeatedly rubbed pepper spray in it.

The only "evidence" against him was a clip from an Islamic propaganda film showing Chechen fighters, one of which the US authorities claimed was him.

It later transpired that the image was not of Deghayes but of an Abu Walid, a Chechan rebel who had been killed some time in 2004.

Deghayes had in fact never been to Chechnya and had always maintained as much.

Speaking to the Morning Star, he gave his opinion on the US press tour of Bagram.

"This is how they manipulate things," he says.

"I have experienced it personally at Guantanamo. They gave guided tours of the camp like it was a tour of the Himalayas or something."

In 2002 a group of congressmen were given a guided tour of "Gitmo," albeit a much sanitised one.

Following his tour of the facility Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe told CNN: "We are giving very good treatment to these people.

"Quite frankly, I personally think better than they deserve. We're dealing with terrorists here."

As if to complete the bizarre theme park atmosphere, each congressman was given a souvenir cap, a Guantanamo flag and a DVD of their visit to take home with them.

Select journalists were also given guided tours, reminiscent of this week's at Bagram.

Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, who represented Deghayes and many other Guantanamo prisoners, notes in his invaluable book Bad Men that, for one tour, "there was a show block in camp four ... there was a show interrogation cell in camp five, designed to make solitary confinement look like a private suite."

He goes on to say that "various military personnel were wheeled out for interviews about one humanitarian highlight of the prison or another.

"Whenever an inconvenient question might arise, they could shelter politely behind the barricade of institutional security."

Deghayes agrees. "Those on the tour, the congressmen and reporters were not allowed to meet the prisoners. They were shown all the new facilities and it was like a nice party for them.

"Then they went back and gave glowing reports about how good it all was there," he says.

"It was only when a whistle-blower told the real story that they became aware of what it was really like.

"The Obama administration is just copying the same policy as Bush. It is the same bureaucrats giving the same camouflage and using the same deceptions."

READ REST of the story: here

Friday, November 20, 2009

WORLD CAN'T WAIT - National Meeting Saturday - NY - U Can TUNE IN!

YOU can tune into the LIVE Web Cast of presentations at the World Can't Wait National Meeting Saturday. Or you can come to Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street NYC

Check out Debra Sweet's message to volunteers at the World Can't Wait office on why YOU should join us at tomorrow's national meeting: either in New York or via webcast!


Debra Sweet's opening presentation to the National Conference of World Can't Wait will be webcast as will the presentations of the panels, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST, Saturday November 21. Other webcasts will begin at 2:00 p.m. EST, featuring Sunsara Taylor and representatives of the women's movement. Click here here for a link to the webcast.

Saturday & Sunday

November 21/22 2009

All sessions at Alwan for the Arts
16 Beaver Street NY, NY 10004

Sliding scale meeting fees for those in attendance

9am - Registration & Coffee
10am - 10:30 Opening presentation by Director Debra Sweet (WEB cast)

10:30 - 12:30 Panel: Re-igniting the Antiwar Movement. Elaine Brower; Andy Zee; Mac Bica; Matthis Chiroux, Todd Ensign with full group discussion.

12:30 lunch & small group discussions

2:00 - 3:45 (Items related to Women and Healthcare)

4:00 - 6:00 Panel: Torture, Indefinite Detention & Political Repression: The Change People Hoped for? Frida Berrgian and Matt D'Aloisio of Witness Against Torture & Stephanie Tang from Fire John Yoo. Full group Discussion

6:00 and 8:00 pm Film "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo"
by Andy Worthington. General public invited.
The conference continues Sunday 9am - 3pm Details. here

More from the Poet: FAIZ

In the memory of FAIZ:

aur jab yaad ki bujhti hui shammon main
nazar aya kahin aik pal
akhri lamha teri dildari ka,
dard itna tha kay is say bhi guzrna chaha
ham nay chaha bhi magar dil na tharna chaha

To which Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

This is Faiz's answer:

Last night
I thought of you,
All the deserts
Became fragrant with zephyrs
Spring was everywhere
My dying heart
Suddenly came back
to Life.

The above is again thanx to Akhtar Sahib and a responder on his blogsite. (see the posts on Faiz below)

Plz inform me - anyone- if my wild attempt to post and learn URDU is problematic in any way...I am highly motivated and so I will not take offense to any corrections and will need many more translations/suggestions/favorite URDU literataure (even children's songs) or tips along the way.

The Poet FAIZ Ahmad Faiz : Friday is/was this 25th Death Anniversary

Photo found at the site: here The Poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born on 1911.

Here's a couplet which was on my face book site from a Pakistani friend, Asim Ghani Sahib who says that this "couplet is never quoted, although it's so applicable to South Asian society" : "bajuz deevaangi vaaN aur chaara hi, kaho, kya-hai,/jahaaN aql o khirad ki Ek bhi maani naheeN-jaati?"

Translated: What alternative is there to insanity - Where rational thought is prohibited?

And then he posted this related one - "unhi ke faiz-se baazaar-e aql raushan hai,
jo ikhtiar junooN gaah-gaah karte haiN gaah-gaah=kabhi-kabhi, now and then, once in a while. And here faiz is used as a word, not as the poet's takhallus (poetic nom de plume).


The world of wisdom is illuminated by those
Who, now and then, turn to madness.

"baazaar" is "bazaar", he tells me, "with both a's long in both spelling and pronunciation. I avoided the word in the first line," he says, "because it would have made the English paraphrasing idiomatically awkward."

Well, thanx, Asim Sahib! I (Connie) would say this is also applicable around the world these days! Yet in a universal state of conflict - where we often can't afford but moments of insanity - may both our sanity and our insanity be FREELY chosen.

This photo is obviously from Pakistan Links - thanx to blogger-friend at "My Page on Web" Here's a wonderfully surprising Intro to Faiz on that site: "He was the man and the poet that captivated my imagination all my youth. His poetry cast a spell and showed me the path in utter serenity of love for humanity. Faiz not only raised Urdu poetry to new heights of perception and eloquence but also filled it with the sensibilities of human touch. As it is said there is no final view of things in Faiz; he is supremely aware of man’s vulnerability and yet he believes in the possibility of happiness."


Wearing necklaces of the hangman’s noose
The singers kept on singing
Tinkling the ankle-bells of their fetters
The dancers merrily jigged their dance.
We in neither one group, nor the other
Stood by the roadside
Watching enviously
And wept silent tears.
On returning home
The erstwhile red flowers
Had turned deathly pale
And where there was once a heart
Now there was only pain.
Round our necks hallucinations of a noose
And on our feet the dance of chains.
Then one day came Love
And like the others haltered and enchained
Dragged us into the same caravan

Translated by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Posted by Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib

To find this blogsite, first go to Republic of Rumi blog and then look for My Page on Web! You will most likely be delighted with not only Akhtar Sahib's blogs but all the others as well.

Or you could go directly to the website:

And here's just a little more sampling from the famous poet from in June, 2008 "...Faiz achieved international fame...It was after reading his Nazm 'Raqeeb Se', that I fell in love with his poetry. It was an overwhelming experience to read the Nazm, every time I read it. Raqeeb is your competitor in love.

'And here the poet recalls how both of them had fallen in love with the same woman, and only they can understand each other's pain and passion. How failure in love becomes an inspiration for the poet to understand the pain of others and it becomes a mission for him to fight for the poor and underdog.

'Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in Sialkot (Punjab, Pakistan)...he emerged as the most outstanding voice among the poets of Progressive Writers' movement...

'I specially love his verses on Palestine, the nazm he wrote on his return from Bangladesh, Sar-e-Vaadi-e-Sina, Karbala-e-Beirut etc. Faiz's poetry is now easily available in Hindi. Every poetry lover must have a collection of Faiz. Get it if you don't have one."

One more item, this time a special video from a most beautiful friend of Asim Sahib's: see the documentary by Sharjil Baloch and S.M. Shahid, for Faiz Sahib's death anniversary last year, broadcast on BBC:

Jab Tujhe Yaad Kar Liya

JUST IN: US Federal Court Dismisses Aafia's Appeal

Mohammad Ahmed, the son of detained al-Qaida suspect Aafia Siddiqui takes part in a demonstration demanding the release of Siddiqui. -AP File Photo as Published on large Pakistan-English newspaper

SEE the latest article (21/2 hours ago upon posting)in full:

Demonstrators demand the release of detained scientist Aafia Siddiqui in Pakistan.— Photo from Reuters/File posted on

Aafia Siddiqui Promises NY Trial Boycott

Find other related items at
* US Federal Court dismisses Aafia Siddiqui’s appeal
* US judge rejects Aafia’s plea to represent herself
* Aafia’s lawyers to visit Pakistan
* FIA seeks access to Dr Aafia through FBI
* SHC issues notices in Dr Aafia’s case

RELATED news published in the US in The Global Report is an award-winning human rights newspaper
"Gray Lady of Bagram" to boycott her terrorism trial By Steve Livingston
LINK here

Earlier Item (21 1/2 hours ago upon this posting)
ONLINE - International News Network
Nov 19, 2009 ... NA body adopts resolution demanding early release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. ISLAMABAD: National Assembly (NA) standing committee on human rights

A sneaky way to continue the occupations? (JUST IN)

Democrats Propose Surtax to Cover War Costs CQ TODAY MIDDAY UPDATENov. 20, 2009 – 1:43 p.m. (Shall we stop it before it gets off the floor?)


Surely there's a better way to take care of military families and healthcare?

World Can't Wait Updates on Justice (or lack of) in NYC

"Non-compliant" captives wearing orange uniforms held in Guantanamo's Camp X-Ray in 2004 Photo credit goes to Wikipedia dot org Similar uniforms, sometimes with black hood are often donned by human rights and peace groups during vigils or demonstrations. The World Can't Wait led the way.

From Debra Sweet, President of The World Can't Wait

A bad week for justice in NYC, except for the fact that resisters are beginning to come to town for the World Can't Wait meeting. See below.

Last Friday, the Obama administration announced that 5 alleged "al Queda terrorists" will be brought from Guantanamo and tried in federal court here. Already Giuliani and other right-wingers are howling about how unsafe Obama is making the country by using the courts -- instead of an immediate firing squad? Five other detainees will be tried in military tribunals. I'll get to these first ten in a minute.

But what about the rest of the men still sitting in Guantanamo? Over 80 have been cleared for release, meaning they did no crime at all...but no country, including the US, will take them. See the terrible story of Candace Gorman's client, Al-Ghizzawi, who is desperately ill. She's known he has been cleared for release but was barred from telling his relatives, or anyone else for the last 5 months.

And, yesterday, Barack Obama told Fox News what has been long evident: Guantanamo won't be closed by his self-imposed deadline of January 22, 2010. And now, he will not give himself any deadline to close it. Even if it's eventually closed, or moved to a federal prison, the plan seems to be for most of those detained -- indefinite detention. At this rate, they will die without charges, trial, or release.

Glen Greenwald wrote about the trial plans, "By refusing to embrace and defend the core principle of justice at stake here -- that a distinguishing feature of our political system is that we don't imprison or kill people without charging them with a crime and proving their guilt in a real court, and that military commissions and indefinite detention are un-American (which Democrats argued under Bush) -- the Obama administration has made it far more difficult for it to defend what it is doing, as well as for those who want to defend their decision to give trials to 9/11 defendants." See (below)

Detainees to get the "state-always-wins" system of "justice"

Attorney General Holder, trying to defend the tiered system of justice the administration is arbitrarily using, openly admits that civil trials are only for the defendants the government knows they will win on. "On the same day I sent these five defendants to federal court, I referred five others to be tried in military commissions. I am a prosecutor, and as a prosecutor, my top priority was simply to select the venue where the government will have the greatest opportunity to present the strongest case with the best law. . . ."

The Talking Dog finished a piece on Candace Gorman's client, with: "For advocates of "hope and change" who foolishly think that with our young and handsome new President that everything is somehow 'better" now... I just want you to know that while the nomenclature has changed (Al-Ghizzawi is no longer an "enemy combatant" or "unlawful enemy combatant"... he is simply a poor schmuck we're holding)... and he is "cleared for release"... the same great executive overreach with its very real and very tragic personal consequences just goes on... and on... and on..."

(Schedule for coming Conference to be posted soon on this blog-site)

...Attorney Lynne Stewart, a friend and supporter of World Can't Wait since its beginning, went in to federal prison a few hours ago. Many of us were there to support and cheer her as she went in.

Lynne was out on bail since 2005 while her appeal was heard. The bail was suddenly revoked Tuesday when the appeals court upheld her conviction. I'll have more to say in coming days on the utter injustice that she was convicted and is now in prison.

Lynne was on Democracy Now Wednesday. See her comments in NY Metro Wednesday.

The AP reported tonight, "Stewart has remained defiant since she was arrested in 2002 on charges of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, defrauding the government and making false statements. She was convicted of those charges.

She maintained her innocence Thursday, calling her prosecution a "warning shot to lawyers" who might decide to vigorously represent suspected terrorists and other unsavory clients.

As she walked to the courthouse, the lawyer who fought breast cancer several years ago said: "I'm fine. ... I tell my kids I don't have cancer. I'm going to come out."

She was accompanied by lawyers inside the courthouse, where she told several reporters just before she went through a heavy door and into custody: "You haven't seen the last of me."

Only the independent action of the people will bring the hoped-for change!

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait

Why not check out the website and call Debra to get involved? Go to the website: here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

REMINDER: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Court Event Today - Thursday

PLEASE be sure to check website muslims for justice dot org (or call the courthouse asking for specific case by name of judge and time scheduled) before leaving for the court to be sure there are no last minute changes or cancellations. (Sometimes these can happen very close to scheduled event.)

2:15 PM - US District Court, 500 Pearl St. Manhattan, NY - In front of Judge Berman

TRAINS: J, M or Z to Chambers St. (north exit to Foley Sq.); #4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall (north exit); A, C to Chambers; R, W to City Hall; 1, 2, 3 to Chambers; E or PATH to WTC; B, D to Grand.

If you are in area or know someone who is, please consider going and/or getting out the word.

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Also make note and help get out the word:


Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

United States District Court
500 Pearl St.
Manhattan, NY
@ 9:45am

*Please note: Court dates are subject to change at the government's discretion. Please check the website muslims for justice dot org before leaving to attend court hearings (or call courthouse to ask for specific judge and time)

Last I knew, THAW (a group of theatre folk in NYC) was still doing vigils and programs for Fahad - GO here

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

PEACE after todays' Storms

"GOD/Allah/The Creator is the nation and the religion of lovers":
RUMI and Global Peace (And Tolerance) In beautiful Farsi and English
VIDEO of Professor Majid M Naini

A Sufi Poem to Photos and Music: Go Toward the Light

You may want to pray your way through the above as I did and then suddenly as I was posting these both of the two videos blended together in an unexpected ecstasy of glory and the inner promise (known to Rumi and many other "believers") that "All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well" and that this is Will of the God - the Allah of Love now and forever.

Of course we (around the world) have to do our part to help this come to fruition!

JOIN Weekend SOAW Events and/or Support the Efforts to Change US Foreign Policy

Making a last minute decision to join the mobilization to close the SOA and you still need a hotel room? Most of the hotels in and around Columbus, Georgia are sold out for the weekend but SOA Watch Austin has 20 rooms at the new Country Inn (exit 10 I-185) available. Contact Ken at 512 750-4647 or if you would like a room (2 queen beds, non smoking, $85 per room).

This Weekend: Join us at the Gates of Fort Benning, Georgia for the Mass Mobilization to Close the SOA and to Change U.S. Foreign Policy
The movement to close the infamous "School of the Americas" will bring together thousands of human rights activists, torture survivors, veterans, faith-based communities, union workers, students, musicians and others from across the Americas for a Vigil, Rally, Funeral Procession and Nonviolent Direct Action to close the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, GA from November 20-22.

Organizers for justice in the Americas have been gathering at the gates of Ft. Benning since 1990, and as our demonstration against the SOA has evolved into one of the most vibrant anti-militarization convergences in the United States, we continue to learn from one another's stories, tactics, ideas, information, theater, friendships, trainings, workshops, films, and more, click here to see the schedule of events!

Bertha Oliva, the founder and coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared (COFADEH) will travel from Honduras to join the mobilization. Bernardo Vivas from the Cacraica Community for Self-Determination, Life, and Dignity is coming from Colombia to speak out at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community-based worker organization whose members are largely Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants are traveling up from Florida. Celebrity entertainers such as the Indigo Girls and Rebel Diaz will attend as well.

Much more info at SOAW dot org ! Check the site out and support the closing of the "School of Assassins" as it's called often.

EXCLUSIVE: CIA Secret 'Torture' Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Site

Photo credit obviously goes to ABC as posted on the Exclusive news story November 18, 2009

This former Lithuanian horse stable was converted into a secret CIA detention center, according to a former U.S. intelligence official and a current Lithuanian government official. Some al Qaeda detainees were held at this facility, the officials said

ABC News Finds the Location of a "Black Site" for Alleged Terrorists in Lithuania
The CIA built one of its secret European prisons inside an exclusive riding academy outside Vilnius, Lithuania, a current Lithuanian government official and a former U.S. intelligence official told ABC News this week. Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at a café, the CIA installed a concrete structure where it could use harsh tactics to interrogate up to eight suspected al-Qaeda terrorists at a time. A full report on the can be seen on ABC's World

COMMENTS on ABC coming in fast here (I left my comment around # 28 - please add your's at ABC or below)

Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described - Sources Say Agency's Tactics Lead to Questionable Confessions, Sometimes to DeathBy BRIAN ROSS and RICHARD ESPOSITO
Nov. 18, 2005 FIND here

Also on the ABC site: A "Building Within A Building" In March 2004, the family sold the property to Elite, LLC, a now-defunct company registered in Delaware and Panama and Washington, D.C. That same month, Lithuania marked its formal admission to NATO.

The CIA constructed the prison over the next several months, apparently flying in prefabricated elements from outside Lithuania. The prison opened in Sept. 2004.

RELATED: Officials: Lithuania Hosted Secret CIA Prison To Get "Our Ear""Irresponsible" To Identify Secret Sites, Says CIA; Lithuania Denies Allegation By MATTHEW COLE August 20, 2009

EXPECT these to change often but this does indicate patterns which we must investigate: "Secret" List of U.S. Military Bases to Replace Gitmo:
Pendleton, Leavenworth, Miramar Included as Possible New Home for 250 Detainees

Also go to the listings at bordc dot org scroll down for daily news or go to the most recent post below... and watch for more analysis and aspects of this story to emerge from various sources - some, of course, will USE this to make such a site sound justifiable and we need to even watch to see if this story itself (unsuspected by ABC) may be itself "damage control" as more and more such stories are emerging.

(some of the) NEWEST and MOST important US Rights News Wednesday

Current News at Bill of Rights Defense Committee BORDC dot org

FIND all these below at here and sign up for free emails almost daily at here

11/18, Adrienne Bennett, WABI-TV (Bangor, ME), Has Government Gone Too Far? A Closer Look at Real ID

11/18, Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic, As Many As 75 Detainees Could Remain In Limbo

11/18, Dan Simpson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, American justice on trial

11/18, Jack Healy, New York Times, Guantánamo Won't Close by January, Obama Says

11/18, Brian Ross & Matthew Cole, ABC News, CIA Secret 'Torture' Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Riding Academy

11/17, William Fisher, TruthOut, Legislation to Limit Use of State Secrets Privilege an Uphill Battle

11/17, Daphne Eviatar, Washington Independent, Senators Ask Holder to Declassify Evidence on Patriot Act

White House Blog and Links (Why not make use of these for Rights?)

Find all the links here and USE them!


WH Blog:

Find more, Press, Videos, get on email list, Etc.

Presidents Obama and Hu discuss Tibet at their first summit (Report)

Found on Save Tibet dot org

Let's now hold BOTH leaders to their very word!

ICT Report (11/17/09): Presidents Obama and Hu discuss Tibet at their first summit: Presidents Obama and Hu have released a joint statement at the US-China summit in Beijing that indicates they discussed a resolution for Tibet, human rights and religious freedom. In the joint statement, President Obama said, "I spoke to President Hu about America's bedrock beliefs that all men and women possess certain fundamental human rights … We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve any concerns and differences that the two sides may have." President Hu said, "The two sides reaffirmed the fundamental principle of respecting each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity... We will continue to act in the spirit of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and engage in dialogue and exchanges on such issues as human rights and religion in order to enhance understanding, reduce differences and build common ground."

FIND here

IRAN, US, ISRAEL and Nuclear Weapons: TELL your Friends in DC about this FOUR-group - Friday Event

Foundation for Middle East Peace,
Americans for Peace Now
Churches for Middle East Peace
and Middle East Institute

Invite you to a talk by

Trita Parsi, PhD

Iran, the United States, Israel and Nuclear Weapons
Can Diplomacy Work?

Friday November 20, 3-4:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, DC

Trita Parsi, one of America’s foremost experts on Iran, is the author of Treacherous Alliance – the Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (2007) which won the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Polk Award. Dr. Parsi has a PhD from Johns Hopkins/SAIS. He is now the President of the National Iranian American Council, adjunct scholar at the Middle East Insitute and a regular writer and sought-after commentator on Iran. He will speak on the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian decision making process, the Iran dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and prospects for a resolving the crisis.

Refreshments will be served

RSVP: Foundation for Middle East Peace,, 202-835-3650
1761 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

Afghan (Iraq, Vietnam) Lessons (include Pakistan Concerns) and suggested Action

SUGGESTED ACTION WORLD-WIDE here This action concerns Pakistan as well = Add your own suggested actions to Comments below

Afghan Lessons from the Iraq War (Occupation)
By Ray McGovern You don’t have to go back 40 years to the Vietnam War to feel the sting of déjà vu. Returning to the Iraq War just three years ago will suffice.

Although most of us who vote for peace and justice (including me) usually say "Out Now!" I am including a variety of perspectives here:

A Three-Step Afghan Strategy
By Bruce P. Cameron Editor’s Note: Given the three decades of American mistakes and misjudgments in Afghanistan, foreign policy expert Bruce P. Cameron says the Obama administration must face reality and accept a more limited role for U.S. troops. READ in full here

From Sojourners Jim Wallis:

It has been eight years since the United States military began operations in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I know you join me in lamenting the suffering, violence, and death on both sides of the conflict. Our scriptures and history teach us that war is not the answer to building the peace and security we are striving for in this world.

I’ve joined with other faith leaders in sending an open letter to President Obama, urging him to build a new strategy in Afghanistan that leads with bold humanitarian aid and development instead of more military escalation. Will you join me?

Tell President Obama: We need a whole new approach in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the options being debated are far too narrow and are unlikely to bring the peace and stability we so desperately need to end this war.

The two strategies contending for prime time - counterinsurgency, requiring a substantial escalation of troops, and counterterrorism, relying on precision targeting technology to apply military pressure on the most dangerous operatives, often at the expense of civilian lives - don't address the deep moral and practical issues we face in Afghanistan.

There are many moral concerns at stake in President Obama’s decision: legitimately protecting Americans from further terrorism, protecting the lives of our men and women in uniform, protecting the Afghan people from the collateral damage of war, defending women from the Taliban, and genuinely supporting democracy - to name a few.

Focused and effective humanitarian assistance and development can no longer be an afterthought. They must be central to any strategy the U.S. government puts forward. The president must choose nonmilitary strategies to lead the way, rather than the other way around, which often just makes aid and development work another weapon of war.

Tell President Obama: More war will not bring peace.

We know what can rebuild a broken nation, inspire confidence, trust, and hope among its people, and most effectively undermine terrorism: massive humanitarian assistance and sustainable economic development.

And it costs less - far less - than continued war. The Congressional Research Service has said it currently costs about $1 million per U.S. soldier, per year in Afghanistan.

We all share in responsibility for a war that has been waged in our names and with our tax dollars. Join me and many faith leaders across our country in praying for the president as he considers a new strategy in Afghanistan.

After you pray, sign our letter to President Obama urging his serious consideration of a humanitarian and diplomatic surge, instead of more military options. We'll make sure it gets to the White House.

Blessings and peace,

Jim Wallis


Watch for more items and actions on the Afghan War/Occupation coming here on this post. You may want to bookmark?

Tell your New Orleans Friends about: Middle East Film Festival!

An image from the film 'Rough Cut,' which was screened as part of the 2009 New Orleans Middle East Film Festival.

See many more films on Gaza, Palestine and Palestinians coming, including -- See Below...

Also read about how this New Orleans Middle East Film Festival becomes the first in the US to Join Cultural Boycott of Israel -- By Mike Scott [] 12 November 2009 -- Originally, the New Orleans Middle East Film Festival was to be held every two years because of the limited number of films available from countries in the region. That was the plan, anyway. READ more on New Orleans and the boycott movement at large here

Although poignant and compelling-looking films have already been shown: Look what's still to come...

Wednesday, November 18:

* 9:30 p.m. - EGYPT WE ARE WATCHING YOU (Egypt)

Thursday, November 19:

* 7:30 p.m. - BUDDHA COLLAPSED OUT OF SHAME (Iran/Afghanistan)
* 9:30 p.m. - SHIRIN (Iran)

Friday, November 20:

* 7:30 p.m. - MOMMO (THE BOGEYMAN) (Anatolia/Turkey)
* 9:30 p.m. - THE SONG OF SPARROWS (Iran)

Saturday, November 21:

* 5:30 p.m. - CAIRO STATION (Egypt)
* 7:30 p.m. - GARBAGE DREAMS (Egypt)
* 9:30 p.m. - CITY OF BORDERS (Palestine/Israel)

Sunday, November 22:

* 3:30 p.m. - SALATA BALADI (EGYPTIAN SALAD) (Egypt)
* 5:30 p.m. - RECYCLE (Jordan)
* 7:30 p.m. - AMREEKA (Palestine)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Target of Obama Rendition Policy Suggests Abuse Scott Horton

November 17, 2009 Huff Post

UN Chief: Hunger Kills 17, 000 kids daily


More about Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (who's next court event is scheduled for Thursday)

See the post several items below for more details...

Bottom line, this coming hearing/event scheduled for Thursday is NOT I am surmising the actual trial (or there would be more available publicity, I'm quite sure and the event would have been labeled "TRIAL". Perhaps Judge Berman will want to test a newer approach and work out some details to Dr. Aafia's satisfaction, the lawyers' and the courts as well as for the prosecution? This is an educated guess as there are many details to be worked out before the scheduled Trial date. Yet, who knows for sure in this case with so many missing pieces?

One and top among other considerations, Dr. Aafia is quite willing to give up all her rights in order not to be body-searched and more which are reminders of other abuses. (The big question is why since she's watched round the clock is this necessary?)

I felt that letting some empathetic folk know to be there in the court room is important without in any way organizing a media blitz. People need to be there to witness how the detention staff handles Dr. Aafia so roughly as if she has been ruled guilty (or even if she would be -the way they treat her and the lawyer is beyond conscience--pulling, yanking her on way out, grabbing a note Dr. Aafia wrote and refusing to give it to the lawyer and much else.)

Many of the other sources are probably not in conflict ultimately - just various perspectives and slices of the whole.

I was there and have followed the case for years - just very complicated series of events and hearings. Family is hoping the lawyers will be able to help her to return to her family and one child. (Two are still missing - one is considered dead)

Judge Berman may be seeking her humane treatment - more than he seems to have been doing in the past and is trying to adjust some things so that Aafia will trust the court and the newly set up three lawyer team (one who has known and worked with Aafia for some time.) Keep in mind that very little if anything has happened in general for ANY of the US detained in the "war on terror" which would encourage cooperation and trust...That is the bottom line...That and the horrific extraordinary and common RENDITIONS that are still taking place today, despite the promises and statements by the new administration that there will be NO MORE.

Andy Worthington once said about Dr. Aafia's situation that this is " the most mysterious" of all the detainee-imprisonment cases that of which he knows since he has been writing about them.

There's a lot of mystery to which no one knows the answers...but a REAL trial whether or not it happens in Jan 19th could make all the difference. Legally, Dr. Aafia is in a position now to be considered INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY. (This should have been the case all along - however since this was NOT the case before, this needs to be constantly emphasized if we in America are to be considered a nation which abides by the RULE of LAW (which legally includes our signature with the Declaration of Human Rights and similar treaties - even in times of war) and our own Constitution/Bill of Rights.

Watch for select passages from what I consider the best articles and information to come out on this case soon. Please add your comments, questions and information below.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Guardian, UK - Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja
are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in
infants and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked
to toxic materials left over from the fighting. . . Neurologists
and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say
the rise in birth defects - which include a baby born with two
heads, babies with multiple tumors, and others with nervous system
problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.

A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former
Iraqi minister for women's affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai,
and the British doctors David Halpin and Chris Burns-Cox, have
petitioned the UN general assembly to ask that an independent
committee fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic
materials left over decades of war - including the six years
since Saddam Hussein was ousted. . .

Act Against Torture and More News from Muslims for Justice

Join Steven King and Nine Others in seeking an end to torture (The Amnesty 10)

'My life under a control order' By Dominic Casciani - BBC News - Go here

More News at Muslims for Justice Go here


United States District Court
500 Pearl St.
Manhattan, NY
@ 2:15pm
[In front of Judge Berman]


Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

United States District Court
500 Pearl St.
Manhattan, NY
@ 9:45am

[In front of Judge Preska]

Hear the audios for both - GO here

See Supporting group: THAW Theaters Against War for more on Fahad: here

Blackwater: New Orleans signs petroleum storage contract

Advocate business staff - Published: Nov 16, 2009 - UPDATED: 4 p.m.Blackwater New Orleans LLC has signed a deal with an undisclosed customer for the lease of four additional base oil storage tanks, totaling 20,000 barrels, at Blackwater’s system in Westwego. The additional capacity came as part of Blackwater’s acquisition of NuStar Energy's storage terminal on the West Bank in December.

Find this article at:here

Whether or NOT Blackwater has been part of the reason for the killings and injuries in Pakiatan, there is NO excuse - NONE - for their presence under any name anywhere in Pakistan. Nor is there any justification for Blackwater (or any other group, linked or not) to be part of operating drones.


Handy Chart Tracks Proposed Amendments to Patriot Act


Current News at Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Find all items below - here

11/16, Daphne Eviatar, Washington Independent, International Justice Group Takes Aim at Bush Officials

11/16, Kim Zetter, Wired, Handy Chart Tracks Proposed Amendments to Patriot Act

11/16, Adam Serwer, TAPPED: Blog of The American Prospect, The Utter Uselessness Of Military Commissions.

11/16, Christina Bellantoni, TPMMuckraker, Conservatives Say Gitmo Detainees Would Be Fine In IL Prison, Warn GOP Of 'Scaremongering'

11/16, Adam Serwer, American Prospect, Covering Up Torture Is Obama Policy.

11/16, Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Andrea Nill, and Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress, The Road To Reform

11/15, Jim Abrams, Associated Press, Dems, GOP split on NY trials of alleged terrorists

11/15, Joseph Berger, New York Times, Giuliani Criticizes Terror Trials in New York

11/14, Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, Obama presses Congress to rework immigration laws

Find all the above - here

A letter on holding (trying?) 911 suspects within US


Founding of US Constitution: Scott Horton & References

Portrait James Madison from Wikipedia (left)

Portrait John Calvin from Wikipedia (right)

Since Scott Horton's name has come up in the most recent (long yet terribly interesting) Ray McGovern video on current US participation in torture right above McGovern's recent article on this blogsite and also at

So, I was reminded that Horton also has some crucial perspectives and study to add to the mix of seeking balance and understanding in these times, I want to his blogsite and I pulled this interesting piece from his latest. (I am posting here for my own record and possibly for some dialogue now or later.)
Calvin and Madison on Men, Angels and Government by Scott Horton

It’s an article of faith among the religious right that the U.S. Constitution is a vessel of their religious values. On the other hand, the view of mainstream constitutional historians has been pretty consistent to the effect that many of the Founding Fathers were deists and the Constitution itself rested on a firm belief in the separation of church and state designed to create a matrix in which all religions would be equally welcome and the state firmly disentangled from all of them.

Easy as it is to pick apart many of the claims of figures on the religious right about the role of Christianity in the Constitution, it’s undeniable that theological considerations played a vital role in the crafting of the Constitution and in the process of building popular support. This passage from The Federalist Papers might just be the most often quoted because it so forcefully summarizes the key animating principle that drives the doctrines of separation of powers and checks and balances—the essential innovations of the American Constitution. But, as a friend on the faculty of the Army JAG School in Charlottesville recently flagged for me, these lines were not original to James Madison. They were lifted almost without change from a sermon written by John Calvin.

Can we be certain that Madison did not arrive upon this image on his own? Yes. Recall that Madison, though a Virginian, traveled north to Princeton, New Jersey to get his education—at an institution that rested firmly in the bosom of Presbyterianism and made the teaching of Calvinist doctrine an essential part of its curriculum. Guiding the process at this time was Dr. John Witherspoon, a stern son of the Scottish Kirk and simultaneously a Founding Father who served for New Jersey in the Continental Congress. Witherspoon had a favorite student with whom he collaborated closely throughout this period: James Madison.

Calvinist doctrine about the nature of man, about man’s inherent fallibility, had a strong influence on political philosophy as it was taught and discussed in Princeton. And there was a second very practical consideration: unlike its name-brand Protestant competitors Lutheranism and Anglicanism, Calvinism was not, by and large, a state religion. This led Calvinist philosophers, particularly those operating in the English-speaking world, to advance the notion of separation of church and state and ideas of religious liberty–as a matter of pragmatic self-interest. A number of historians, pointing to the overlap between pockets of Calvinism and democracy, convincingly argue that Calvinist thought propelled Enlightenment values including respect for the dignity of humankind and democracy. That argument may be made clearest in the United States, in fact.

But saying that Calvinist theory helped support the architecture of the Constitution is different from saying that it rests on Calvinism or indeed any theology. And indeed, that point may be made most effectively by looking at James Madison himself. Was he the “stern Calvinist” that Witherspoon sought to make of him? Biographers who want to make Madison into a model Presbyterian can scour his life and find some evidence of it, particularly from his younger days. He actually wrote and told friends in 1773 that he had a “transient inclination” to enter the ministry. He was a pewholder in a Presbyterian church. On the other hand, he married in the Anglican church and often attended Episcopal services as well. But as Madison turned to the world of politics and emerged as an important public figure, he seems to have drifted steadily away from organized religion. His religious views were so carefully guarded that his political adversaries attacked him, just as they attacked Jefferson, as an atheist. An Episcopal bishop recorded his sense, following a dinner time conversation with Madison, that he held a skeptical view of organized religion and was probably a deist, like Jefferson. In 1815, a visiting merchant from Boston has Madison expressing enthusiasm for the Unitarian ideas then sweeping New England. On other occasions he bragged about not having attended religious services for “many years.” But overall, Madison is so tight-lipped about his religious convictions that it is impossible to draw any ultimate conclusions about his faith or lack of faith. As to Constitutional politics, by contrast, that task is an easy one.

James Madison may be the most important of the Founding Fathers on questions of Constitutional theory. But he also plays a vital role in helping us understand how theology indeed influenced the United States Constitution—and also in allowing us to chart the limits of that influence.

Eugène Delacroix, Jacob Wrestles with an Angel (1852)
Found on Scott Horton's "No Comment" page at Harper's Magazine

posted November 14, 2009 here

The US Contitution
James Madison - Wikipedia

John Calvin - Wikipedia

For the best current news source on matters constitutional I watch along with reports and action - try Bill of Rights Defense Committee's usually daily offerings: . For the isolated news GO:

If interested in a deeper look at current US activity in US and around the world pertinent to US Constitution and US Bill of Rights, be sure to check out the periodical reports and suggested actions often on the home page. GO:

You can also sign-up for free e-mailings which I find invaluable on a daily basis with longer reports that also show up in your box.

Personally, I doubt that one needs to know much of anything about the Bill of Rights and the US constitution to see the inhumane - war crimes litany practiced by US leaders day after day after day. So glad at least we have some of these standards and resources with which to hold up these travesties and some of the founding history and perspectives - however flawed - with which to remind those among us who claim to be practicing and supporting these principles whether from a totally deist original framework or one pulled from some Christian principles - even famous sermons or a position of complete separation from the gitgo. At the same time, what matters most of all is how we are treating our fellow humankind as well as the earth which sustains us all or could if we let her.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Australia's Rudd says sorry to orphans, child migrants

Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:29pm


1849 "Resistance to Civil Government" By Henry David Thoreau

With annotated text

Thoreau Reader: Home - GO here

Desobediencia Civil - Spanish translation by Hernando Jiménez GO here

While Walden can be applied to almost anyone's life, "Civil Disobedience" is like a venerated architectural landmark: it is preserved and admired, and sometimes visited, but for most of us there are not many occasions when it can actually be used. Still, although seldom mentioned without references to Gandhi or King, "Civil Disobedience" has more history than many suspect. In the 1940's it was read by the Danish resistance, in the 1950's it was cherished by those who opposed McCarthyism, in the 1960's it was influential in the struggle against South African apartheid, and in the 1970's it was discovered by a new generation of anti-war activists. The lesson learned from all this experience is that Thoreau's ideas really do work, just as he imagined they would.

"Civil Disobedience" in three parts: One GO here - Two GO here - Three GO

Henry Thoreau and 'Civil Disobedience' - by Wendy McElroy - "Americans know Thoreau primarily as the author of Walden, but it is 'Civil Disobedience' that established his reputation in the wider political world. It is one of the most influential political tracts ever written by an American." GOhere

The Theory, Practice, and Influence of Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience' - by Lawrence Rosenwald - "The essay is individualist, secular, anarchist, elitist and anti-democratic; but it has influenced persons of great religious devotion, leaders of collective campaigns, and members of resistance movements. GO here

Did Thoreau change his mind? Because this essay is often associated with passive civil disobedience, some have assumed that Thoreau's support of John Brown was a change from his earlier position. But Michael J. Frederick, in "Transcendental Ethos: Thoreau’s Philosophy & Antebellum Reform," explains why this was not the case.
GO here

"Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself. ... He went to goal for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable." - Mohandas Gandhi

"... when, in the mid-1950's, the United States Information Service included as a standard book in all their libraries around the world a textbook ... which reprinted Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience,' the late Senator Joseph McCarthy succeeded in having that book removed from the shelves — specifically because of the Thoreau essay." - Walter Harding, in The Variorum Civil Disobedience

"I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest." - Martin Luther King, Jr, Autobiography

More information: Other "Civil Disobedience" sites GO here

"Civil Disobedience" originated as a Concord Lyceum lecture delivered on January 26, 1848. It was published as "Resistance to Civil Government," in May of 1849, in Elizabeth Peabody's Aesthetic Papers, a short-lived periodical that never managed a second issue. The modern title comes from A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers, an 1866 collection of Thoreau's work. It's not known if Thoreau ever used the term "civil disobedience."

Thoreau Reader: Home - GO here

This edition copyright © 1999-2009 Richard Lenat, All Rights Reserved

RAY MCGOVERN Talks about Torture (with VIDEO)

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says the Bush administration invited devastating consequences with its “demonic” descent into torture. GO here

Shining Light on Roots of Terrorism By Ray McGovern

November 15, 2009

Media commentary on the upcoming 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has raised concern that state secrets may be divulged, including details about how the Bush administration used torture to extract evidence about al-Qaeda.

“I think that we’re going to shine a light on something that a lot of people don’t want to look at” is how American Civil Liberties Union attorney Denney LeBoeuf put it, according to The New York Times on Saturday.

No problem, says Attorney General Eric Holder, who claims to have “great confidence” that other evidence – apart from what may have been gleaned from the 183 times Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, for example – will suffice to convict him.

Maybe so, But what the Fawning Corporate Media (or FCM) have so far neglected is the likelihood that the testimony will be so public that they will have to break their studied silence about why Sheikh Mohammed and his associates say they orchestrated the attacks of 9/11.

For reasons that are painfully obvious, the FCM have done their best to ignore or bury the role that Israel’s repression of the Palestinians has played in motivating the 9/11 attacks and other anti-Western terrorism.

It is not like there is no evidence on this key issue. Rather, it appears that the Israel-Palestine connection is pretty much kept off limits for discussion.

Yet, as Sheikh Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 conspirators go to trial, the FCM's tacit but tight embargo will be under great strain. Eyes will have to be averted from the sensitive Israeli-Palestinian motive even more than from torture, which most Americans know about (and, God help us, are willing to explain away).

The Bromides

To refresh our memories, let’s recall the bromides we were fed by the likes of President George W. Bush about why the terrorists attacked on 9/11.

Rather than mentioning long-held grievances expressed by many Arabs – such as Western intrusion into their region, Washington’s propping up of autocrats who enrich themselves in deals with multinational oil companies, and Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territory – Bush told the American people that “the terrorists hate our freedoms.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney reprised that feel-good theme in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on May 21. Cheney said the terrorists hate “all the things that make us a force for good in the world — for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences.”

Some observers might have found those qualities strange for Cheney to cite given his role in violating constitutional rights, torturing captives and spreading falsehoods to justify an aggressive war against Iraq.

But Cheney also slipped up in the speech, presumably because he had lost his best speechwriters upon leaving office. He inadvertently acknowledged the Israeli albatross hanging around the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

“They [terrorists] have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion … our belief in equal rights for women … our support for Israel… — these are the true sources of resentment,” Cheney said.

Yet “our support for Israel” is hardly ever included in these formulations, but Cheney at least got that part right.

Rarely in the FCM – and not even often on the Web – does one find Sheikh Mohammed’s explanation for what motivated him to “mastermind” 9/11. Apparently, few pundits have made it as far as page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report.

The drafters were at work on the report when they learned that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been captured. They knew that he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T in Greensboro in 1986, before going to Afghanistan to fight the Russian occupier.

And it seems their first assumption was that he suffered some major indignity at the hands of Americans in Greensboro. Thus the strange wording of one major finding on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report:

“By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

Moreover, the footnote section reveals that KSM was not the only “mastermind” terrorist motivated by “U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel,” although in the footnote the Commission dances around a specific reference to Israel, leaving it to the reader to infer that point from the context. Note the missing words in the footnote on page 488:

“On KSM’s rationale for attacking the United States, see Intelligence report, interrogation of KSM, Sept. 5, 2003 (in this regard, KSM’s statements echo those of Yousef, who delivered an extensive polemic against U.S. foreign policy at his January 1998 sentencing),” the footnote said.

Was Yousef, who happens to be Mohammed's nephew, perhaps upset about U.S. foreign policy favoring NATO expansion, or maybe toward Guam? Obviously, the unstated inference in the footnote was about Israel.

The First Attack

The family connection between Yousef and Mohammed was not incidental, either. “Yousef’s instant notoriety as the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing inspired KSM to become involved in planning attacks against the United States,” the 9/11 Commission Report noted on page 147.

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on Feb. 26, 1993, when a car bomb was detonated below Tower One. The 1,500-pound urea nitrate-hydrogen gas-enhanced device was intended to knock the North Tower (Tower One) into the South Tower, bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people.

It failed to accomplish that, but the bombing did kill six people and injured 1,042.

Motive? Ramzi Yousef spelled out his motive in a letter to The New York Times after the bombing:

"We declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel, the state of terrorism, and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region."

Yousef was captured in Pakistan in 1995, imprisoned in New York City, and held there until his trial. On Nov. 12, 1997, he was convicted of “seditious conspiracy” and was sentenced the following January to life without parole. He is held at the high-security Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

Regarding the touchy Israel connection, the 9/11 Commission stepped up to the plate in the “Recommendations” section of its final report, which was issued on July 22, 2004, but then bunted:

“America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world. … Neither Israel nor the new Iraq will be safer if worldwide Islamist terrorism grows stronger.” (pp 376-377)

A more convincing swing at this issue was taken in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004, just two months later. The board stated:

“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.

“Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”

The report directly contradicted what Bush had been saying about “why they hate us,” letting the elephant out of the bag and into the room, so to speak.

But, you say, you didn’t hear much about that report either, despite 24-hour cable “news” networks and the “change-everything” importance of 9/11 in justifying U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq?

Creative Editing

If you’ve read down this far, you will not be surprised that the FCM ignored the Defense Science Board findings for two months. On Nov. 24, 2004, The New York Times, erstwhile “newspaper of record,” finally published a story on the report — but only after some highly instructive surgery.

Thom Shanker of the Times quoted the paragraph beginning with "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom'" (see above), but he or his editors deliberately cut out the following sentence about what Muslims do object to, i.e., "what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights" and support for tyrannical regimes.

The Times did include the sentence that immediately followed the omitted one. In other words, it was not simply a matter of shortening the paragraph. Rather, the offending middle sentence fell victim to the “delete” key.

Similarly creative editing showed through the Times' reporting in late October 2004 on a videotaped speech by Osama bin Laden. Almost six paragraphs of the story made it onto page one, but the Times saw to it that the key point bin Laden made at the beginning of his speech was relegated to paragraphs 23 to 25 at the very bottom of page nine.

Buried there was bin Laden's assertion that the idea for 9/11 first germinated after "we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American-Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon."

There is other evidence regarding the Israeli-Palestinian motive behind 9/11.

Though Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was not allowed to talk to the attorneys in the 2006 trial of 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, the judge did allow into the official record a statement by Mohammed on the “Purpose of the 9/11 Attacks,” which was drawn from “numerous written summaries of Sheikh Mohammed’s oral statements in response to extensive questioning.”

The following statement from Sheikh Mohammed appears on page 11 of Defense Trial Exhibit 941 from “United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, Criminal No. 01-455-A”:

“Sheikh Mohammed said that the purpose of the attack on the Twin Towers was to ‘wake the American people up.’ Sheikh Mohammed said that if the target would have been strictly military or government, the American people would not focus on the atrocities that America is committing by supporting Israel against the Palestinian people and America’s self-serving foreign policy that corrupts Arab governments and leads to further exploitation of the Arab/Muslim peoples.”

Some recent articles about Mohammed’s upcoming trial also have mentioned the Israel-Palestine motive behind 9/11, though usually in passing and deep inside the stories. For instance, Sunday’s New York Times carries a front-page article giving a “portrait of 9/11 ‘Jackal,’” Mohammed.

But one has to read deep into the jump on page 26 to learn that the original plan for the 9/11 attacks envisioned Mohammed flying on one of 10 planes that were to be hijacked and that “he would be on the one plane not to crash, and after the plane landed would emerge and deliver a speech condemning American policy on Israel.”

Revisionist View

Yet, the Fawning Corporate Media won’t stop performing its creative editing – or creative composition – to obscure this motive. Never mind what the 9/11 Commission Report said about Mohammed not being driven by resentments from his college days in North Carolina, the Washington Post offered a revisionist view on that point on Aug. 30:

“KSM’s limited and negative experience in the United States — which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills — almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist,” according to an intelligence summary, the Post reported. “He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country.”

A telling revision perhaps extracted from one of Mohammed’s 183 waterboarding sessions – and certainly politically more convenient in that it obscured Mohammed’s other explanation implicating “U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

But let’s look for a moment at the “debauched and racist” part. Could Mohammed be speaking some truth here – and not just about his college days of the 1980s?

Would the Washington Post’s editors be so supportive of the “war on terror” if captives from a more favored ethnic or religious group were stripped naked before members of the opposite sex, put in diapers, immobilized with shackles in stress positions for long periods, denied sleep and made to soil themselves?

In my view, racism comes very much into play here. If Mohammed and other detainees looked more like us, would it be so easy to demonize and waterboard them? [See, for example,’s “Bush’s Interrogators Stressed Nudity.”]

Unguarded Moments

At rare moments, however, hard truths about the 9/11 motivations slip out – although not in high-profile presidential speeches nor in Washington Post op-eds. For instance, at a public hearing in June 2004, 9/11 Commissioner Lee Hamilton asked a panel of government experts, “What motivated them [the hijackers] to do it?”

The CIA analyst in the group is seen in some panic, directing his eyes toward the other panelists in the all-too-obvious hope that someone else will answer the politically loaded question. FBI Supervisory Special Agent James Fitzgerald rose to the occasion, saying:

“I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem; they identify with people who oppose oppressive regimes, and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States.”

For Hamilton and his colleagues that proved to be a politically incorrect answer. Ergo, you will not find that testimony in the 9/11 Commission Report. And notably absent from the report’s recommendations is any suggestion as to how one might address the question of Israeli treatment of Palestinians and U.S. support for it.

In their book Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, Chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton are unusually candid in admitting that this issue was so sensitive and contentious that they chose the course of least resistance.

Despite the findings of the Commission staff – and FBI Agent Fitzgerald – that the hijackers were not motivated by religious ideology, many of the Commissioners much preferred attributing the attacks to Islam than to U.S. policy toward Israel.

Kean and Hamilton explain that those commissioners were dead set against identifying Israel as a major factor motivating the terrorists, because someone might get the idea that Washington should reassess its policy.

But it’s a legitimate and urgent question: Would a more determined commitment by the U.S. government to secure an independent state for the Palestinians and to alleviate their suffering undercut the appeal of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups to young people in the Muslim world?

Or put differently, why should ardent supporters of Israel in the U.S. Congress behave in such a way as to make the Muslim world view the United States as disinterested in the plight of the Palestinians and thus increase the danger of future attacks against the United States, as well as against Israel?

The Goldstone Report

The rest of the world and most Americans opposed the Israeli strikes on Gaza last December and January that resulted in the killing of 1,400 Palestinians, with 13 Israelis also killed. And there was wide criticism of the silence not only of the Bush/Cheney administration, but also of President-elect Barack Obama.

The UN-authorized investigation by the widely respected South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, himself a Jew, pointed to war crimes by both Israel and Hamas, although the inquiry’s harshest criticism landed on Israel for the staggering civilian death toll.

This finding led Israel’s Likud government to activate its powerful U.S. lobby, which pressed the House of Representatives to denounce the Goldstone report, which the House did on a 344-36 vote.

In a wondrous display of pot-and-kettle, House members branded the Goldstone report “irredeemably biased.” Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called the report “unbalanced and unfair and inaccurate.”

These so-called “friends of Israel” either don’t know or don’t care that this sort of resolution only makes matters worse regarding American attempts to defuse the explosive anger building across the Middle East. It is a gift to al-Qaeda.

This U.S. pandering to the Likud Lobby – and the implicit suggestion that the lives of 1,400 Palestinians don’t much matter – also is bad for the people of Israel. Indeed, it may prove suicidal, by delaying the geopolitical imperative for Israel to make peace with its Arab neighbors and thus avert some future catastrophe.

Closer to home, by further identifying itself with – and justifying – Israeli repression of the Palestinians, the United States helps breed more Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds and Ramzi Yousefs, more young terrorists determined to make Washington and the American people pay a price.

It requires no logical leap to conclude that Likud-friendly lawmakers — the Steny Hoyers, the Howard Bermans, the Ileana Ros-Lehtinens of this world — could scarcely think up a better way to raise the threat level from terrorists who feed on festering sores like the calamity in Gaza.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He worked as an Army intelligence officer and CIA analyst for almost 30 years, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). He spent a few weeks in Israel and the occupied territories in summer 2008.


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