Monday, August 31, 2009

UPDATE: US Health Professionals’ Role in Torture Worse Than Previously Known


(Peter Nicholls/The Times)
Mohammed Jawad says he was arrested in 2002 when only 12. He is now seeking to sue the US for his 7 years of abuse and torture here

MODEL UPDATE for Possible STATES' Campaigns: here
Actions by Issues - See # 13 on health care professionals

See write up on Jawad's torture and medical/psychological abuse here

SHOCKING EXCERPTS from NEW report:

“Medical doctors and psychologists colluded with the CIA to keep observational records about waterboarding, which approaches unethical and unlawful human experimentation,”

“That health professionals who swear to oaths of healing so abused the sacred trust society places in us by instigating, legitimizing and participating in torture, is an abomination,” states co-author Allen Keller, MD, Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. “Health professionals who aided torture must be held accountable by professional associations, by state licensing boards, and by society..."

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Physicians for Human Rights: Health professionals’ involvement in torture even worse than we knew August 31st, 2009

Physicians for Human Rights has issued a new report — Aiding Torture: Health Professionals’ Ethics and Human Rights Violations Demonstrated in the May 2004 CIA Inspector General’s Report — analyzing the roles of health professionals, psychologists included, in the CIA’s torture program, as revealed in the CIA Inspector General’s report released last Monday. Here is the PHR press release:

PHR Analysis: CIA Health Professionals’ Role in Torture Worse Than Previously Known

Cambridge, MA — The extent to which American physicians and psychologists violated human rights and betrayed the ethical standards of their professions by designing, implementing, and legitimizing a worldwide torture program is greater than previously known, according to a report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).

A team of PHR doctors authored the new white paper, Aiding Torture: Health Professionals’ Ethics and Human Rights Violations Demonstrated in the May 2004 Inspector General’s Report. The report details how the CIA relied on medical expertise to rationalize and carry out abusive and unlawful interrogations. It also refers to aggregate collection of data on detainees’ reaction to interrogation methods. PHR is concerned that this data collection and analysis may amount to human experimentation and calls for more investigation on this point. If confirmed, the development of a research protocol to assess and refine the use of the waterboard or other techniques would likely constitute a new, previously unknown category of ethical violations committed by CIA physicians and psychologists.

“Medical doctors and psychologists colluded with the CIA to keep observational records about waterboarding, which approaches unethical and unlawful human experimentation,” says PHR Medical Advisor and lead report author Scott Allen, MD. For example, “Interrogators would place a cloth over a detainee’s face to block breathing and induce feelings of fear, helplessness, and a loss of control. A doctor would stand by to monitor and calibrate this physically and psychologically harmful act, which amounts to torture. It is profoundly unsettling to learn of the central role of health professionals in laying a foundation for US government lawyers to rationalize the CIA’s illegal torture program.”

The Inspector General’s report documents some practices — previously unknown or unconfirmed — that were used to bring about excruciating pain, terror, humiliation, and shame for months on end. These practices included:

Mock executions;
Brandishing guns and power drills;
Threats to sexually assault family members and murder children;
“Walling” — repeatedly slamming an unresponsive detainee’s head against a cell wall; and
Confinement in a box.
“These unlawful, unethical, and ineffective interrogation tactics cause significant bodily and mental harm,” said co-author and PHR Senior Medical Advisor Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD. “The CIA Inspector General’s report confirms that torture escalates in severity and torturers frequently go beyond approved techniques.”

“The required presence of health professionals did not make interrogation methods safer, but sanitized their use, escalated abuse, and placed doctors and psychologists in the untenable position of calibrating harm rather than serving as protectors and healers. The fact that psychologists went beyond monitoring, and actually designed and implemented these abuses – while simultaneously serving as ’safety monitors’ – reveals the ethical bankruptcy of the entire program,” stated co-author Steven Reisner, PhD, PHR’s Psychological Ethics Advisor.

“That health professionals who swear to oaths of healing so abused the sacred trust society places in us by instigating, legitimizing and participating in torture, is an abomination,” states co-author Allen Keller, MD, Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. “Health professionals who aided torture must be held accountable by professional associations, by state licensing boards, and by society. Accountability is essential to maintain trust in our professions and to end torture, which scars bodies and minds, leaving survivors to endure debilitating injuries, humiliating memories and haunting nightmares.”

PHR has called for full investigation and remedies, including accountability for war crimes, and reparation, such as compensation, medical care and psycho-social services. PHR also calls for health professionals who have violated ethical standards or the law to be held accountable through criminal prosecution, loss of license and loss of professional society membership where appropriate.

************
INSERT: MUCH of current torture and malpractice relates to social psychology experiments done decades ago including the following:

This is partly an explanation for how the US public has become immune to ending torture. Unfortunately our leaders know this and have tried to keep the lid on VISUAL images in order to distance citizens from the effect of torture on the victim.
Since many visual evidences of torture via photos and videos have been destroyed - we still have to rely mostly on these written reports. This blogger recommends a balance between over-numbing with photos to make the effect commonplace and the right photos at the right time in the face of all who are complicit - which is all of us unless we speak out. When subjects in this classic experiment actually saw the suffering of another person, only a minority were known to continue to comply with authority figures’ demands for compliance and they refuse to administer the shocks earlier on in the experiment - at lower levels of apparent shock. Apply this pattern to the current circumstance.

PHR Library

Aiding Torture: Health Professionals’ Ethics and Human Rights Violations Demonstrated in the May 2004 CIA Inspector General’s Report
This 6-page white paper, published August 31, 2009, after the new release of the May 2004 CIA Inspector General's report, shows that the extent to which American doctors and psychologists violated human rights and betrayed the ethical standards of their professions by designing, implementing, and legitimizing a worldwide torture program is worse than previously known.

To download and read the 6-page report PHR’s Aiding Torture, visit here

Since 2005, PHR has documented the systematic use of psychological and physical torture by US personnel against detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram airbase, and elsewhere in its groundbreaking reports, Break Them Down, Leave No Marks, and Broken Laws, Broken Lives.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stepping Through "the Door" with Mary Oliver's "When Death Comes"


Rumi with Dervishes by OzarkArtist
WHEN DEATH COMES...

like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity,


wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy,

and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.


When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride

married to amazement



I was the bridegroom,
taking the world into my arms...


When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.



I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.



Mary Oliver

From New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver (Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108-2892, ISBN 0 870 6819 5).
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Find the photos and art at these sites: here and here and here as well as here and here

The Peaceable Kingdom is famous by a Quaker Artist Edward Hicks - find source of painting and interesting bio for him here

The Door with the Pots and the Wise Old Man Omar are both hereNizwa souk, Oman© Eric Lafforguewww.ericlafforgue.com

Autumn River by Ozarkartist (painting near top) - Bride and Groom are Marc Chagall
And the Black Butterfly on Daisy as well as Lotus on US stamp by Jude here and here ...a humble artist who "loves to paint what LOVE gives. I put into canvas what I believe, "THERE IS A RELATIONSHIP OF LOVE IN ALL CREATED THINGS"."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Meeting JOSEPH in the QURAN (for the first time)



Joseph was a man singled out for this amazing purpose: to help his nation's people as well as helping family who had misused him and while so doing and being a forerunner of others specially so marked. Constantly he was forgiving and turning evil into good. Yet Joseph - good man 'though he was - knew he needed supernatural help with some situations like we all do - to ward off misconduct. Striking that to Joseph - doing right was so precious that he risked jail rather than to act wrongly. The way Joseph begged so urgently, fervently for God's help at some points strikes a strong reminiscent chord.

Revenge was not for Joseph - even when it was common - he found other ways. He navigated among peoples with other beliefs apparently at ease with himself, his own role and with great dignity. He worked to help society (the poor as well as the well established) with most basic physical as well as moral needs without becoming part of any war machinery. He neither took on values contradictory to his own convictions nor did he force his on others. He found his own way to accomplish the Divine will.

While Joseph became highly esteemed, he did not reduce his calling by arrogance. Even his imprisonment he turned into blessings. Joseph brings to mind the role of those who "stand in the gap" - who become a bridge between the rich and poor, the oppressed and the rulers who may have ignored or oppressed them.

His role was one of peace.

I noticed something in this the story of 'Joseph' which reminds me of a frequent theme in my discussions and readings: the value of dignity in all. Nor did Joseph reduce this dignity - even to his conniving brothers by offering "cheap grace". Yet for their own sake and for perhaps the sake of his own respect, Joseph made sure some lessons were well-learned. Kind acts for Joseph needed discretion, knowledge and craftily-wise intuition - important qualities to include along with compassion. Those given to natural and frequent acts of charity can sometimes be used or misled and thus lose dignity and then so do those who misuse the giving person.

There is a universal and timeless pattern here between the Divine and the seer, mystic, prophet or savior of the people: "Your Lord is choosing you and teaching you how to interpret events, and completing His favor towards you..." Just consider that it is the One - Love in complete Essence - the only Pure, Merciful, All-Knowing One wants us to learn to discern - to interpret events in our own time and often provides the means.

THERE IS A CONTINUITY HERE IN JOSEPH - a continuity from generation to generation - between historical eras even - which so often we forget. After editing this - I read Khurram Ali Shafique Sahib's offering on Joseph in Republic of Rumi and especially noted this that "every single item is a metaphor that may never run out of applications in the lives of individuals, nations and humanity."

So much of life seems to be an emergency today as then. The fast pace in Chapter 12 of the Quran also gives this sense. Yet by contrast, how helpful to see this universal wisdom from the mouth of Joseph's father earlier in story "Patience is beautiful!" And then in the narrative that - with Joseph - Love "was Dominant in his affair, even though most...do not realize it." Love was there all along.

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Original source of photo at top of page - by Urang Awak - an Indonesian here

University Peace Program Welcomes New Graduate Students

Ahmad Al-Hadidi, from Iraq, shown above with other master’s and Ph.D. students in the International Peace Research class

Looks like there is a new trend here toward students from the East and hopefully more graduates will be soon working alongside and under leadership from Middle Eastern and "Eastern" connected countries - including Central Asia to help the efforts of peace in these volatile places so wrecked and currently being devastated by American interests, military and oil greed. This blogger also prays that there will be more such courses and classes taught by scholars and experts from more Eastern background, Palestinians and Asians as well. I'm hoping and quite sure that students such as those mentioned here - will also be part of the instruction and teaching even now at Notre Dame in America. May many listen well, including their professors?

This is NOT the time for Westerners to dominate such teaching posts nor programs - especially NOT the professorships in my solitary humble opinion. What do you think? Still, this is obviously a fruitful worthy effort and looks much better than most in that not only negotiation principles are taught but also Peace Church people and methods are included (Mennonites, Quakers, Church of the Brethren and other Anabaptists) John Yoder, a Mennonite, is featured along with his NON-VIOLENT methods and many useful books are available through this site.

See what former students have been doing with their studies here

Welcome New Peace Students
August 28, 2009
Contact:Joan Fallon, (574) 631-8819, jfallon2@nd.edu

Peace studies graduate students attending a class in International Peace Research.
Classes began this week for Notre Dame students, including 16 new master’s students and 4 new doctoral students in peace studies.

The Kroc Institute* master’s class of 2011 includes students from Canada, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the United States. Ahmad Al-Hadidi, shown above with other master’s and Ph.D. students in the International Peace Research class taught by professor Peter Wallensteen, is from Iraq.

Most of the students from the class of 2010 have begun their 5-month field internships in Cape Town, South Africa; Kampala, Uganda; the Philippines, and Jerusalem. They will return to campus in January to complete the second year of the 2-year program.

Doctoral students joining the Kroc Institute in this — the new Ph.D. program’s second year — bring to a total of 9 the number of students pursuing doctoral degrees at Notre Dame in peace studies and history, political science, sociology, and psychology.

Approximately 200 Notre Dame undergraduates have chosen peace studies as a second major or minor, combining it with their majors in the social sciences, humanities, business, or science.

======

About Kroc People
The Kroc Institute’s international, multidisciplinary community spans the globe. It includes faculty and staff, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and visiting research fellows. It also includes peace scholars and peace practitioners working around the world in conflict zones and in regions at risk for violent conflict.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

UPDATES: Lullaby for a Palestinian Child

ATTENTION JOURNALISTS AND CONCERNED:

This just in Sept 15 09: Center for Constitutional Rights CCR Recommendations of UN Report on Gaza - CCR Calls on Security Council to Adopt Recommendations of UN Report on Gaza Conflict - here

=======================

The Middle East Institute and The Foundation for Middle East Peace

Invite You to a Talk entitled:
Who Speaks For the Palestinians at the Negotiating Table?

Featuring: Helena Cobban - Author and Journalist

Thursday, September 24
12-1 PM
MEI Boardman Room
1761 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

MEI is proud to host author and Middle East expert Helena Cobban to discuss the dilemmas of Palestinian representation in future peace negotiations. At a time when President Obama's Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy is widely expected to swing into high gear, Helena Cobban will be looking at the thorny issue of Palestinian representation in that diplomacy. In light of recent developments--both positive and negative--in intra-Palestinian politics, does Israel have a Palestinian negotiating partner that is both motivated to participate in the give-and-take of diplomacy and capable of closing on--and enforcing--a final peace agreement.

Ms. Cobban, a former columnist for, and longtime contributor to, The Christian Science Monitor, has been a close student of Palestinian internal politics since the mid-1970s. Her 1984 book The Palestinian Liberation Organization: People, Power, and Politics has been translated into several languages, including Arabic, and is used in universities both in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

She publishes frequently in the Boston Review, writes a weekly news analysis for Inter-Press Service and serves on the Board of Advisory Editors of the Middle East Journal.

Since 2003 Ms. Cobban has published a well-received blog called Just World News. Over the past year, many of her writings have been on Palestinian issues and have included interviews with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Hamas head Khaled Meshaal and a broad range of other Palestinian and Israeli public figures.

Sandwiches will be served

Because of the popularity of MEI programs and limited seating, MEI anticipates a capacity audience. MEI wishes to accommodate all registered guests but will give MEI members and supporters priority seating. We encourage you to become an MEI member if you wish to avoid sitting in the overflow room. Early arrival for all is encouraged.

You can register for this event online or write to rsvp@mei.edu and state your name and affiliation.
===================================================================================
Poem was sent by Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib who said...

The tragedies in Gaza or in other parts of world due to atrocities are condemnable, I would like to share a poem of Faiz Ahmed Faiz here written long ago, about Palestine in seventies, thirty years hence the situation still persists. The poem was translated by Pakistan’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Mehboob ul Haq:

LULLABY FOR A PALESTINIAN CHILD

Don’t cry my child
Don’t cry,
Your mummy has just dozed off
After crying for an eternity.

Don’t cry my child
Don’t cry,
Your daddy has just taken leave
From a lifetime of anguished existence.

Don’t cry my child
Don’t cry,
Your brother has left for an alien land
Chasing the elusive butterfly of his dreams.

Don’t cry my child
Don’t cry,
Your sister has gone to a foreign land
Married to a never-ending future.

Don’t cry my child
Don’t cry,
In your every courtyard
The dead sun has received its funeral bath
The dead moon has received its burial.

Don’t cry my child
Don’t cry,
Your mummy, daddy, brother and sister,
The cold sun and the buried moon,
They are all watching you from afar,
If you cry, they may make you cry some more,
If you smile, they may all come back one day,
And play with you in silent disguise.

==============


Although not at all for the weak of stomach or heart, sometime go through the following and share the anguish in your own deepest way...



Some of the photos are from these sites:
here

here


"... when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked for what crime she had been slain, ...on that Day every human being will come to know what he has done."~ The Qur'an, Sura 81~

Light a candle for a Palestinian Child and for Children everywhere suffering from war and violence

"One Person can Make a Difference": Human Rights University Scholar-Teacher


Thursday, August 27, 2009
SMU professor goes to extremes to fight for equality

EXCERPTED/CONDENSED

...A 20-year-old Czech medical student, Jan Palach, set himself on fire in protest of the communist rule trying to enter his country. One SMU professor, just entering adulthood at the time, was there to see it.

Most students would not think to visit an inmate on death row, witness a lethal injection execution or travel to third world countries and see first-hand the brutality and torture humans are inflicting on others. One SMU professor accompanied an inmate's pregnant sister to see her brother put to death.

One SMU professor goes to all lengths to ensure everyone is given the respect they deserve.

Meet Dr. Rick Halperin, a human rights educator at SMU...

...July 2, 1976, was a night filled with laughter and food, a time spent celebrating with friends, but Halperin does not remember the festivities of the evening. His birthday, instead, will forever be remembered as what Halperin thinks of as a national day of shame.

"When my birthday comes around every year, I just don't celebrate it," Halperin said. "I just can't celebrate that day for my personal reasons when something much bigger and more important to me is at stake."

Halperin, then 26 and a graduate student at Auburn University, only remembers the TV announcing the Supreme Court had made the death penalty legal again. There may have been a birthday cake, but the details are fuzzy. Only the static on the TV was clear. A night commemorating "America's Bicentennial" was nothing worth celebrating to Halperin.

"The last item on the news was a small blurb saying the U.S. Supreme Court had re-legalized the death penalty in the U.S. After a four-year hiatus it was back," Halperin said.

Halperin has relentlessly been fighting for the abolishment of the death penalty for nearly the last four decades. Growing up, his mother told him everyone was to be treated with the same degree of respect; there was no such thing as an inferior person.

"I would say the set of beliefs I grew up with that she instilled in me, the idea that all people, regardless of who they are or what they may have done, need and deserve manners, dignity, respect and understanding," Halperin said

(The Death Penalty):
"It's the most important human rights issue to me - in this country or any country that has it," he said. "I just believe it's wrong to kill, and having witnessed an execution, it's an un-debatable point for me."

Halperin spends what little free time he has fighting for the lives of others. Visiting as many of the prisoners on death row as he can cram in between teaching and fighting for other causes has become routine to Halperin, who spends hours on end chatting with the prisoners during each visit.

Working as a sort of intermediary, Halperin has worked in helping inmates relay messages to their families and fighting attorneys to fight on their behalf. He has even gone so far as to make funeral arrangements...

...Halperin has witnessed a lethal injection execution in Huntsville, Texas at the request of the inmate. One week after the request was extended, Halperin made the three-hour drive with the prisoner's sister to see the man put to death.

Halperin recalls the experience to his students in a way the leaves many shocked and deeply moved...the indifference displayed by the executioners, some students shake their heads in disbelief; others stare transfixed at their professor - a man who stops at no lengths to put himself in these situations in hopes of establishing a sense of equality.

Now 59, Halperin spent his most recent birthday grading final exams from the two classes he taught during summer school.

"It was pretty unglamorous," Halperin joked.

A Tom Sawyer childhood

Halperin, growing up in the South during the Civil Rights Era, explains being subjected to societal brutality at the age of seven.

"I would only say I was sensitized at an early age to deep-rooted social problems in America," Halperin said. "I didn't grow up ever saying 'I don't know what's going on.' I was surrounded by an angry, hateful society that was tearing into itself and it was hard to be indifferent."

Growing up, Halperin was a witness to a "pretty terrible racially motivated act of violence." ...the event caused Halperin to have an epiphany - between the morals instilled by his mother and the events unfolding in front of him - he wanted to be a teacher...

...Since starting with Amnesty International USA in 1971, Halperin has been at the forefront of the organization...in hopes of raising awareness and helping...Before coming to SMU, Halperin was a professor at Auburn University, Ole Miss and Tulane - two state schools and two private institutions all rooted in the South.

"As a human rights educator, the South is the place to be," Halperin explained. "This is where the bulk of the violations occur in America. This is where people's hearts and minds are perhaps in greater need of education."

"I'm on a sense of urgency to help"

...Bringing an unparalleled history of experience and wealth of knowledge to students each year as part of his Human Rights Education Program in the university's Dedman College curriculum, Halperin spearheads the program on the Hilltop, making SMU just one of 14 universities in the country to host a human rights program.

Students know him not only for his intense and gripping teaching style, but also for the signature sunglasses he wears rain or shine...

"I would tell you in all honesty I don't think of myself as anything more than a human rights educator," Halperin said. "I'm just trying to help provide information to people who are going to have to deal with these issues in some capacity in their own lives."

As part of his involvement with the SMU human rights minor, Halperin leads students on yearly excursions to... subject students first-hand to the terrors other people experience...I want to reach as many people and students as possible so long after they're out of my class they can help be an agent of change."

With topics in his America's Dilemma class ranging from Middle East...women's rights...genocide in Africa, Halperin, since coming to SMU in 1985, captivates students with stories, documentaries and personal experiences to teach about the ...importance of valuing a person's basic and guaranteed rights.

Stories about being jailed and arrested on numerous occasions, fasting for days on end and receiving threats from people from all over the world...are all part of Halperin's life. Accounts of organized rallies and protests are peppered into class conversations, as he solemnly retells his past experiences.

As a student at George Washington University in 1970 (just four days after the Kent State shootings), Halperin found himself in the midst of a chaotic riot and face-to-face with a policeman releasing a canister gun against his cheekbone... a blast of acid gas, knocked him unconscious while everyone fled the oncoming riot. The chemical coated his eyes as his vision deteriorated over the 45-minute window it took to get him to a hospital only five blocks away...Now partially blind, with no peripheral vision, depth perception or the ability to see colors, Halperin feels blessed just to be able to see...***

"Sadly, I think it seems to be a theme in my life is just a constant exposure to or an eyewitness to horrific acts of societal violence," Halperin said. "I don't go to these places thinking or wanting to see violence, but as it turned out, I frequently have been at places where violence erupted. It's a quirk, a coincidence, and I certainly do take those experiences with words and hopefully pictures to students."

...One person can make a difference," Halperin said. "I think it's just imperative for young people to demand that their country be better. If you want a better society, work for it."

(Original Source: smucampus.com)

FIND FULL ARTICLE here

*** As I remember him telling me the details, Rick has to go once a month to a medical care facility to get acid build up scraped from his eyes! Rick is a dear encouraging and inspiring friend who has and will influence perhaps millions over time around the world.

Hands Which Touch Through Ours

What I would say today - if I could - from Hafiz and Rumi's sister of the West

Divine hands which shape through ours
Sounds which echo what God never said

The Divine is speechless -
Too in love to chat

The Holy Wind ruffled our hair
and caused a lot of commotion:

We think God made some rules
but how can that be true
when our souls are really
the govenor of all?

The One Mind shapes through ours
Our bodies and the earth are clay...
Is this not so,
My dear?

I have a lovely habit...
At night in my prayers
I touch everyone...
I have seen or felt
that day...

I shape my heart
like theirs
and theirs
like mine.

St Teresa of Avila

via Daniel Ladinsky, translator of -The Gift: Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (slightly adapted by this blogger)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Young Love in Gaza



As poignant testimony that life goes on, even in Gaza, Rana and Mahmoud al-Zourby were recently married in a bittersweet union, the bridegroom in his wheelchair, the bride guiding him. Though Mahmoud lost his eyesight and right leg in the Israeli assault on Gaza, Rana says this marriage is like any other - "a life-long commitment, for better or worse."

"No bomb can ever take his heart" – Rana al-Zourby.

(Abby Zimet worded the above piece)

Read the story by Eman Mohammed in full here

COMMENTS at Common Dreams here

Yet, are we paying attention to the deathly affects of our bombs?

What TASSC Wants

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition

Special Edition August 26, 2009

In initiating a preliminary and limited investigation into CIA interrogation practices and the agents who conducted them, the Department of Justice has finally acknowledged acts committed during the Bush administration are accountable to the law. While TASSC recognizes this small step toward justice, we still direct this question to Attorney General Holder, "What about those who gave the orders?"

Given the already ample evidence, evidence that seems to increase nearly daily, those officials at the highest level of the Bush administration may very well have violated U.S. law by ordering torture, TASSC continues to insist that a special counsel investigator must be appointed to investigate such officials and, if the evidence warrants, prosecute them as well.

As TASSC's accountability project continues to work toward this end, we hope you will join us in this effort. At this time, members of congress have returned to their home states and districts. May we ask that you try to arrange a meeting with them or if this is not possible, attend one of their public gatherings so that you may let them know that accountability includes not just those at the lower levels of government but those at the very top as well? Most of those who represent us will tell you that they stand for law and order. The question for them now is: "law and order for whom." Does the law apply to us all or are those who have held great power free to violate the law, accountable to no one but themselves.

We will not rest until those who gave the orders to torture are held accountable for their actions.

Please visit our website for more information.

Sincerely,

Demissie Abebe
Executive Director

Harold Nelson
Advocacy Director

ACLU & BORDC UPDATES 27th: First Reactions: CIA Torture Reports: Center for Constitutional Rights

Find three pages: here

UPDATES! (Added August 27, 2009 ET PM)

International Tribunal Takes Up Case Of Innocent Victim Of CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program - Petition Filed By ACLU Seeking Justice For Kidnapping And Torture Of Khaled El-Masri Moves Forward.

CONTACT: Robyn Shepherd, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has accepted a petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, an innocent victim of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. The U.S. government has two months to respond to allegations of kidnapping and torture summarily rejected by U.S. courts in 2007.

"The United States has an opportunity to reverse one of the most shameful legacies of the Bush administration and finally give an innocent victim of the extraordinary rendition program his day in court," said Steven Watt, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program. "The State Department should fully engage in this
process and comprehensively address the gross violation of El-Masri's human rights, including his forcible disappearance and torture. To date, the United States hasn't so much as acknowledged its involvement in El-Masri's extraordinary rendition."

Read this August 27th RELEASE More information about Khaled El-Masri and the ACLU's work to end the CIA's here and/or go to ACLU's website.

MORE BREAKING: Current News

8/27, Joe Conason, TruthDig, Law, Not Torture, Protects National Security

8/27, RTT News, Release All Juvenile Detainees From Guantánamo: U.N. Envoy

8/27, Christopher Hayes, The Nation, The Secret Government

8/27, ACLU, International Tribunal Takes Up Case of Innocent Victim of CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program

8/27, Heidi Vogt, Associated Press, Young Afghan freed from Guantanamo to sue US gov't

8/27, Daphne Eviatar, Washington Independent, Memos Suggest Legal Cherry-Picking in Justifying Torture

8/27, Ray McGovern, Common Dreams, Closing In on the Torturers

8/27, Jason Leopold, TruthOut, New Documents Describe in Extraordinary Detail Process of "Rendition," Torture

8/26, Josh Gerstein, Politico, Judge: lawyers must see secrets in spy suit

www.bordc.org or click here

US STATE Actions: Demand real accountability for torture, beyond Holder's limited 'preliminary inquiry'

EXCERPT from item below for important additional STATE actions: "BORDC is...supporting ethics complaints in state bar associations around the country seeking the disbarment of government lawyers who provided legal arguments in support of torture--including John Yoo, William Haynes, David Addington, and others."

-------

...While Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) is pleased that Attorney General Holder has heeded calls for accountability, we are disappointed in the artificially narrow scope of the investigation. Durham will selectively investigate fewer than a dozen cases among many more potential violations, and will examine the actions of only CIA interrogators, not senior officials who authorized torture policies. A limited inquiry that includes only scapegoats--effectively providing immunity for senior officials who bear the greatest responsibility--is simply not enough. In fact, by conferring false legitimacy on officially approved techniques, a limited investigation could be worse than none at all. Justice demands a full investigation, not this limited "preliminary" inquiry.

If the Obama administration will not hold those who authorized torture accountable, private citizens must take action. That is why, in addition to demanding a formal investigation and potential prosecution, BORDC is also supporting ethics complaints in state bar associations around the country seeking the disbarment of government lawyers who provided legal arguments in support of torture--including John Yoo, William Haynes, David Addington, and others. Sign a letter demanding a robust investigation by state bar associations today, and check back in the coming weeks; letters to more state bar associations are coming soon.

America's reputation abroad; the safety and human rights of our soldiers, civilian contractors, and others; our credibility as an international human rights leader; and the legitimacy of our own criminal justice system all depend on keeping our commitments to the Geneva Conventions and United Nations Convention Against Torture, which require prosecution of all those responsible for torture as a matter of law.

...Join us in demanding that no one, not even senior U.S. officials, enjoy immunity from investigation and potential prosecution for enabling torture.

For more information and action tips, GO to BORDC website here

Sincerely,

Shahid Buttar
Executive Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Address: 8 Bridge Street, Suite A, Northampton, MA 01060
Web: www.bordc.org
Email: info@bordc.org
Telephone: 413-582-0110
Fax: 413-582-0116

Top Bush Terrorism Adviser Admits CIA Docs Didn't Prove Torture Worked

here

Related with sharp questions:

What do We Have a Right to Know? By Danny Schecter: here

Facts and Understanding Are Often In ConflictLiving In a Culture of Delusion Leads to Denial, Ignorance and WorseBy Danny SchechterWhat do we have a right to know? In this web-based age, where we can Google almost everything, you’d think we would be better informed than we are.We have Freedom of Information acts and a President who has promised transparency, offering some details on what he’s doing on an easy to access website. And yet, there is much more that we still don’t know, and maybe never will.At long last a report on CIA abuse of detainees came out, but years after the fact, and in a heavily “redacted” form – i.e. censored.

UN Welcomes US Decision: Special prosecutor appointed to examine CIA Interrogations

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has welcomed the decision by the United States Attorney-General to appoint a special prosecutor to look into whether Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers and contractors broke US laws while conducting interrogations outside the US, including at Guantanamo Bay.

“I warmly welcome this responsible decision by the US Government to open a preliminary investigation,” Ms. Pillay said. “I hope there is a swift examination of the various allegations of abuse made by former and current detainees in Guantanamo and other US-run prisons, and if they are verified, that the next steps will involve accountability for anyone who has violated the law.”

Ms. Pillay said her concern all along “has been that there should not be impunity for torture or any other unlawful treatment of detainees, whether it is in the United States or anywhere else in the world. While we now have some idea of what occurred in Guantanamo, and to a lesser extent places like Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, we still need more transparency about secret places of detention, and what went on in them.”

Ms. Pillay said that the use of secret places of detention must be curbed, and called for the release of the names of detainees currently held in these detention centres. “Secrecy has been a major part of the problem with this type of detention regime,” she said. “When guards and interrogators think they are safe from outside scrutiny, and legal safeguards are circumvented, laws become all too easy to ignore.”

The High Commissioner also praised the decision to release Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who was taken prisoner in 2002 when he may only have been 12 years old. Most of the charges against him were ruled inadmissible in 2008, and last month a US District Court ordered his release from Guantanamo.

“I am delighted to hear that on Monday Mohammed Jawad was allowed to return to his family in Afghanistan,” Ms. Pillay said. “It has taken an extraordinarily long time, but the US justice system – once it was able to operate properly in his case – has, I believe, finally delivered justice.”

However, she added that “in Jawad’s case and those of other people held in detention for unacceptably long periods, without any charges being proven, or who were tortured or otherwise treated unlawfully, compensation and other remedies are essential. Some people have lost seven years of their lives, and may have been severely psychologically, physically or financially scarred by their experience, simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Ms. Pillay reiterated her support for US President Barack Obama’s commitment to close the Guantanamo camp by 2010 and asked him to urgently review the status of detainees at the Bagram facility in Afghanistan.

UN News Centre
--
HREA - www.hrea.org

Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) is an international non-governmental organisation that supports human rights learning; the training of activists and professionals; the development of educational materials and programming; and community-building through on-line technologies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Media and CIA Documents on Torture

Major Media Outlets Ignore News That CIA Documents Fail to Back-Up Cheney's Torture Claims

here

Holder opens investigation into CIA interrogationsLA Times August 25, 2009- WH Releases Report

here

latimes dot com
Holder opens investigation into CIA interrogations
At the same time, the White House releases a report detailing allegations of prisoner abuse by the agency.

By Josh Meyer and Greg Miller

August 25, 2009

Reporting from Washington

The Obama administration Monday set the country on a course to confront whether actions taken in the name of defending Americans instead crossed criminal lines.

In simultaneous moves, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. opened an investigation into whether CIA interrogators broke the law and the administration complied with a judge's order and released a long-secret CIA report that cataloged allegations of agency prisoner abuse.

The administration also released memos sought in recent months by former Vice President Dick Cheney that he argued attest to the success of the CIA's controversial methods, but that appeared inconclusive in part because the agency had blacked out large portions of the memos.

The release of the report by the CIA's inspector general provided the most comprehensive account to date of the interrogation program, with previously undisclosed details such as prisoners being choked to the point of passing out or threatened with harm to their families.

The administration sought to limit the impact of Monday's moves, which it appeared to make with some reluctance. Holder described the inquiry as "preliminary," and the White House left many pages of the CIA report blacked out.

But fallout from the decisions could prove difficult to contain.

The investigation is likely to intensify an already bitter battle in Washington over whether to punish career intelligence officials for how they executed the Bush administration's counter-terrorism campaign.

The investigation means that CIA counter-terrorism officials could face criminal scrutiny for years at a time when the agency and the Justice Department are supposed to be part of a seamless counter-terrorism team and contributing to a new elite interrogation outfit, which was also unveiled Monday.

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta, who had fought both the criminal investigation and the release of the inspector general's report, issued a statement to agency employees Monday describing the details of the document as "an old story."

"For the CIA now, the challenge is not the battles of yesterday, but those of today and tomorrow," Panetta said.

In announcing the inquiry, Holder concluded that there was enough evidence to warrant a fresh examination of whether federal law had been violated. He said he realized the decision "will be controversial," but added: "It is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take."

To lead the review, Holder tapped Assistant U.S. Atty. John H. Durham of Connecticut, who in 2008 was appointed by the Bush administration to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations.

Durham already has assembled a team of investigators who will determine whether the preliminary review turns up enough evidence to warrant a criminal investigation.

Holder's decision to open the investigation was driven to a large degree by his reaction to reading the CIA inspector general report earlier this year.

The report was issued in 2004. Officials within the Justice Department at the time reviewed the document and opted to keep it secret. The report became available to the public, at least in part, for the first time Monday as the result of an ACLU lawsuit. The document includes new disclosures on how top Al Qaeda prisoners were told that their families faced harm if they didn't cooperate.

"We could get your mother in here," a CIA interrogator told Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, the man suspected of plotting the 2000 bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole, according to the report. The threat was meant to prey on fears in the Middle East that prisoners are made to witness the sexual abuse of their relatives.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, was told, "If anything else happens in the United States, 'We're going to kill your children,' " according to the report.

In some cases, the report praises how the CIA prisons were run, and acknowledges that the program provided valuable intelligence. During a 19-month stretch after the Sept. 11 attacks, the report said, the interrogation program accounted for 3,000 intelligence reports, providing the agency with much of its understanding of Al Qaeda.

Interrogations "provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots," the report said. Even so, the report concluded that the effectiveness of particular techniques "cannot be so easily measured," raising the question of whether the enhanced methods had been crucial to collecting that data.

But the report also faults CIA personnel across agency ranks for failures in oversight and abuses in the interrogation booth. In one passage, the document warns that the agency's activities "are inconsistent with the public policy positions that the United States has taken regarding human rights." The document also cites the anxieties of CIA case officers fearful they would one day be held to account.

"One officer expressed concern that one day, agency officers will wind up on some 'wanted list' to appear before the World Court," the report said.

The report describes cases in which the CIA turned to off-the-books methods, including mock execution and threatening a prisoner with a gun and a power drill.

One previously undisclosed method was known as "pressure points," and involved applying pressure to a prisoner's carotid artery "to the point that the detainee would nod and start to pass out" before being shaken awake.

Many of the incidents described in the document have been previously disclosed. The report expresses deep misgivings, for example, about the simulated drowning method known as waterboarding.

Two prisoners were subjected repeatedly to that method, despite deep concern among the agency's own medical staff, as well as explicit language in Justice Department memos warning against such repetition. The method appears to be the subject of a 23-page section of the report that was nearly completely blacked out.

But even in laying out potential violations of U.S. anti-torture laws, the document contains details that underscore how difficult it could be to obtain convictions.

The excessive use of waterboarding, for example, appears to have been sanctioned by then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, who "confirmed that DOJ approved of the expanded use of various" techniques.

There are new indications that CIA higher-ups sometimes pushed for the use of brutal tactics even after interrogators believed a prisoner was cooperating.

The opinions of CIA officials at headquarters "are not always supported by an objective evaluation," and were often based on inflated "presumptions of what the individual might or should know," according to the report.

The report was produced by former CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson, who issued a statement Monday saying he was "disappointed" that the government did not declassify large segments of the document, including the recommendations he issued to address problems the report identified.

President Obama outlawed the CIA's use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques in January and ordered the secret prisons closed.

But he has come under criticism for dismantling programs that Republicans, led by Cheney, argue were crucial to keeping the country safe.

In recent months, the former vice president has pushed for the declassification of two documents he said would bolster his argument.

After the administration released them, Cheney issued a statement to the Weekly Standard saying the documents show he was right. The documents "clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about Al Qaeda," he said Monday night. "This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks."

However, the documents provide few details on what role, if any, enhanced interrogation methods played in getting terrorists to talk.

One is titled "Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qaeda." But it indicates that officials believe some top Al Qaeda leaders talked simply because they believed the CIA already had the information from other detainees.

The other document focuses on Mohammed, who gave up crucial information about Al Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction program because "he apparently calculated -- incorrectly -- that we had this information already."

josh.meyer@latimes.com

greg.miller@latimes.com

Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

LIST of Torture Tactics: Extraordinary Cover-ups - How Much Longer?

...The announcement that a Special Prosecutor has been appointed to investigate Bush-era crimes was the direct result of the massive, grassroots movement from below. It was the action taken by you and people all around the country that made this possible.

The investigation must and will lead back to the high officials who ordered their subordinates to carry out the most heinous crimes. Now we must keep up the pressure. In fact we must increase it a hundred fold with newspaper ads, street demonstrations, media outreach and more.

Please make an urgently needed donation today.

As it was stated by the Washington Post lead editorial today:

“The real culprits in this sordid story are those higher-ups, starting with former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney, who led America down the degrading path of state-sanctioned torture and left the next administration to cope with the fallout.”

What does the report that Attorney General Eric Holder released yesterday reveal? That Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld’s torture tactics included:

* Mock executions
* Repeatedly choking detainees carotid artery until unconsciousness
* Threatening sexual attacks against the children and parents of detainees
* Detaining the children of detainees and threatening to kill the children
* “Hard takedowns” meaning repeatedly smashing prisoners into the floor
* Head smashing inmates into walls
* Water dousing, pouring freezing water on naked inmates strapped to plastic sheets followed by holding the still naked inmates in bitterly cold cells for days
* Sleep deprivation lasting for 11 days
* Violent shaking of prisoners
* Waterboarding (mock drowning) 183 times in the case of one detainee
* Hanging prisoners form their wrists for up to three days
* “Scrubbing” the bodies of detainees with metal brushes

(NOTE: include Diapering, threat of executions, mock executions, placing prisoners in grave-like cell or burial box, fear of never seeing family members, friends, attorney's, torture music, threatening to rape wives, hurt children, etc. which we've known about for some time through other reports. Blogger's insert.)

More than one hundred prisoners may have died in these torture centers according to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson who served as Colin Powell’s chief of staff during the Bush Administration.

The IndictBushNow movement is now in high gear for the next phase of this critical struggle to save the Constitution. Every elected official and the mass media must know that the people will not accept finding a few low-level scapegoats to punish.

Members of Congress are echoing this call and we can create an avalanche of public support for the indictment of Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld.

Jerome Nadler, the House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee Chairman said yesterday: “The gruesome acts described in today's report did not happen in a vacuum ... it is vital that this special counsel be given a broad mandate to investigate these abuses, to follow the evidence where it leads, and to prosecute where warranted.”

Now that the investigation has begun all efforts to limit it will fail. Each step of the investigation will inevitably point to those who gave the orders in the chain of command. It is Bush and Cheney who gave the orders and it is they who must be held responsible. END Article

NOTE:
Be sure to go to the daily news and archives at Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Consortiumnews dot come, Center for Constitutional Rights, andyworthington dot com, cageprisoners dot com, Senator Feingold, After Downing Street dot com, Greenwald at Salon dot com and skim through the other items on the blogsite for more URLS

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blackwater and Helen Thomas



Report: Blackwater Involved in CIA Renditions - Helen Thomas' WELL-PUT Comments

The German newspaper Der Spiegel is reporting the CIA used the private military firm Blackwater to transfer foreign prisoners to secret jails. Two former Blackwater employees reportedly claim Blackwater helped move the prisoners to secret prison camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The news follows last week’s disclosures Blackwater has played a major role in the CIA’s drone attacks in Pakistan and in its aborted assassination program. According to the New York Times, Blackwater currently has over $400 million in State Department contracts. On Friday, the veteran journalist Helen Thomas asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the Obama administration’s dealings with Blackwater.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “I asked for an update, which I have not yet gotten, on where we are in different contracts. I would—as it relates to CIA’s use of contracting, I would point you specifically to them for responses on that.”

Helen Thomas: “I don’t think they would tell us.”

Gibbs: “They may tell you, Helen. If you use that sweet voice on the phone, you never know what you could get.”

Thomas: “I want them to stop killing people.”

Gibbs: “You should let them know.”

Thomas: “You should, too.”

=============
Books by Helen Thomas, Dean of the White House Press Corps.
here

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Calley Apologizes for My Lai Massacre for the First Time



Vietnamese women and children in My Lai shortly before being killed in the massacre, March 16, 1968.[11] Photo by Ronald L. Haeberle

SEE VIDEO - READ TRANSCRIPT at Democracy Now! dot org for 8-24-2009

Calley Apologizes for 1968 My Lai Massacre

Over forty-one years after the My Lai Massacre, when US troops killed more than 500 men, women and children in Vietnam, the former Army lieutenant who was convicted for his role in the killings has publicly apologized.

William Calley was the only US soldier held legally responsible for the slayings. He was convicted on twenty-two counts of murder, and his sentence was later commuted by President Reagan.

Last week, William Calley publicly apologized for the first time, saying, “There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai."

He added that he had been FOLLOWING ORDERS.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

RAMAZAN/RAMADAN: Month of Fasting, Remembrance and Reflection

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

Also a month of loving-Kindness and purification

Lebanese man wakes up observant Muslims for their overnight "suhur" meal before the day's fast in Sidon's Old City in south Lebanon just before dawn

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you


This man praying near Swat Pakistan reminds me of the first Muslim man I saw years ago praying in likewise devout manner in a small rural village of Northeast State Nigeria. This memory has has a lifelong effect on me of an individual's unknown yet perhaps most genuine prayer life - whatever that particular religion and certainly opened my eyes to Muslim prayer as equal to any other.

May the light celebrated at Ramadan lead all together on the path of peace and social harmony.

Rabi'a asked someone to buy a blanket for her, giving the person four coins. The person asked: 'Do you want a black blanket, or a white one?' Rabi'a took back the coins, threw them in the Tigris river, and exclaimed: "Must we divide even blankets into distinct groups?"
Attar's Rabi'a

"I can fulfill the need of all of you, with one and the same piece of money. If you honestly give me your trust, your one coin will become as four; and four at odds will become as one united."
Mevlana Rumi

About what do they ask one another?
About the awesome tiding
On which they disagree.
Nay, but in time they will come to understand.
And once again: Nay, but in time they will come to undestand!
The Quran
Chapter 78, 'The Tiding', Lines 1-5

Indonesian women coming together for prayer during Ramadan.
(Photos above were taken by MAHMOUD ZAYAT/AFP/Getty Images for September 2008)

During Ramadan/Ramzan/Ramazan (and several other names for this religious month), Muslims all over the world observe a dawn-to-dusk fast and refrain from anything considered an indulgence...They aim to show patience, modesty and spirituality...this culminates in Eid al-Fitr. This month is also a time - as I understand the case from my Muslim friends - for religious and spiritual reading - in private as well as community. This time is conducive to more than usual reflection with resulting prayer for inner transformation as well as for family, neighbors and the world at large. (A worthy challenge for us all)

Abraham [Ibrahim (A.S.)] received scriptures on the first or third of Ramadan, David [Dawood (A.S.)] on the twelfth or the eighteenth, Moses [Musa (A.S.)] on the sixth, and Jesus [Esa (A.S.)] on the twelfth or the thirteenth of Ramadan.

It was in the very month of Ramadan that the Holy Quran, the last revealed Book, started descending upon Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It testifies: (Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Quran as a guide to mankind ...) (2:185)

* 1st Ramadan day of fasting began at dawn on August 22, 2009
* Lailatul-Qadr (Night of Power) September 16, 2009
* Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) September 20, 2009
* Eid-Al-Adha: November 27, 2009
* Al-Hijra - 1st Muharramn (Islamic New Year) December 18, 2009

Suggested ritual - a prayer for the world's citizens to petition Allah that our world leaders will be most wise and love peace (found in a Sufi's blog for Ramadan and modified)

1. Enter your place of prayer
2. Hold an image of a world leader in your mind
3. Place that person in the region which is closest to your heart
4. Send him/her thoughts of peace along with a symbol such as the scale of balance



And may we pray from the deepest heart of us all for the displaced and the terrorized from many kinds of terrorism - among them the Pakistan's war-displaced in camps during this time:

ICHRIAN, Pakistan, Aug 22 (Reuters) - As the Muslim month of Ramadan begins, tens of thousands of Pakistanis forced to flee their homes by the confusion of battle. Many have no choice but to languish in camps or host families over the religious period.

About 2.3 million people were forced from their homes by fighting in the northwest...creating one of the largest internal displacements in recent times...

"Ramadan is the holiest period of the year for Muslims and it is a period of fasting, prayer and blessings," said Mubashir Fida, communications officer for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC),"It's a tough time for the internally displaced people as they have endured so much over the last few months and had hoped to be back home for Eid as that is the time for family celebrations."

For example, 300 or so live in a poultry farm in the village of Ichrian, 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Islamabad where people live in sheds that once housed fowl.

The IFRC together with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society have built latrines here, provided clean water and are now holding psychosocial sessions for those traumatized by their experiences. (Above report from Reuters - found at a number of news sources August 22-23, 2009)

According to both Pakistani and international visitors at the sites where the displaced persons and families are being helped to survive. There has been a warm generous outpouring of service, hospitality, resources and concern common among many Pakistani people who've volunteered and housed mamy people over these long agonizing months.


Girls from Swat sing Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous poem 'bol ke lub azaad hai tere':
Speak, your lips are free ) at the interactive session in Islamabad. — File Photo Dawn dot com. May we each and all be part of the solace for girls like these. NOTE: Comment #2 below this post beginning: "The awakening, the praying and the life resonating singing of Swat girls, and what a poem they are reciting..." See English translation of the poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz - BOOL KE LUB AZAD HEI TERAY - in full by Azfer Hussain. Also find the touching article that "matches" the photo above about the girls from Swat in a Dawn online column August 22nd by Nosheen's 'Under the Shade of Unity' here

Some lines from Maulana Rumi on fasting (several different poems and translators in a collage) There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness...Fasting is as our sacrifice, it is the life of our soul; let us sacrifice all our body, since the soul has arrived as guest...let a new song come out of the fire...fortitude is as a sweet cloud, wisdom rains from it...When the carnal soul is in need, the spirit goes into ascension; when the gate of the prison is broken, the soul reaches the Beloved...seek that speech and that morsel which has come to the silent ones...Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry...write secrets with the reed pen...A table descends to your tents, the Lord's table. Expect to see it when you fast, this table spread with other food - better than the broth of cabbages.


And once again let us all listen to the message which is even now coming from the East and to the bells announcing that the Infinite Love is being offered for everyone, everywhere...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Say NO! to Blackwater and Drones in Pakistan or anywhere!

iiss dot org publications
Remotely piloted aircraft - or drones - in operation at Creech USAF base in Nevada (unknown at this time which of these particularly are connected to the Blackwater operations)


US Drone -- Reuters News Service Photo

Here are PLENTY of reasons to say NO to Blackwater in any disquise -operating ANY vehicle, helicopter, drone - any moving item - manned or unmanned - or even any Blackwater employee walking on foot:

According to a New York Times report, the Blackwater private security firm (now known as Xe) has taken up a role in America’s most important and contentious counterterrorism program: the use of unmanned drones to kill (supposed) militant leaders.

Dawn.com Leading Pakistani Newspaper
here

C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones:
WASHINGTON — From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees.

The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft ...SNIP...

In interviews on Thursday, current and former government officials provided new details about Blackwater’s association with the assassination program, which began in 2004 not long after Porter J. Goss took over at the C.I.A. The officials said that the spy agency did not dispatch the Blackwater executives with a “license to kill.” Instead, it ordered the contractors to begin collecting information on the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s leaders, carry out surveillance and train for possible missions. CONTINUED...
here

Blackwater’s Unwritten Death Contract By Ray McGovern, outspoken former CIA analyst who points out the behind the scenes supposed "legal" and rampant "Nuremberg Defense" justifications of US war crimes and related shenanigans
here

Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press
Blackwater security contractors flew over Baghdad in 2007. For years, Blackwater played a significant role in the Iraq operation.

Earlier Breaking Article and Comments: New York Times here For years, Blackwater played a significant role in the Iraq operation. COMMENTS: here

Leading Expert on Blackwater Jeremy Scahill's latest with alarming quotes
here

Another by Scahill
here


Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince

In Explosive Allegations, Ex-Employees Link Blackwater Founder to Murder, Threats
- In sworn statements, two ex-employees claim Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince, murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. One also charged Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.” We speak with investigative journalist and bestselling author Jeremy Scahill, who broke the story for The Nation magazine. More on Blackwater's more than questionable history in Democracy Now!
here

NORTH CAROLINA News & Observer August 21, 2009 (where Blackwater has been based) Watch for comments here by people who know of this corrupt group - See Box and watch for future Columns and related articles here

Feds hired Blackwater to hit Qaida brass -- Related Breaking News
here

Erik Prince and the last crusade The Economist
here

REFERENCE: The Drones of War May 2009
here

One Apt Commentary on US involvement:
Reality Is Its Own Caricature for U.S. in Afghanistan and Pakistan
here

Watch for Blackwater officials and contractors in disquise - using other names and titles - read their history. US and Pakistani citizens and concerned legislators/leaders have the right and responsibility to act NOW! This is the time to say NO! en large and growing numbers. Much recent history and many records support saying NO! to Blackwater - a large contributor to War Crimes USA. The current and former administration of the US and all who cooperate with these crimes must be stopped NOW!

Final note: Why would Pakistan ask US military and possibly therefore Blackwater for drone technology known to be counter-productive - inaccurate to kill an estimated 9 civilians for every 1 so-called militant and to lose the hearts and minds of the people?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Music to Help End Intolerance

by Catherine Bailey
posted Jul 07, 2009 see YES! Magazine's "People We Love"

After hearing his sons’ ongoing frustration over the stereotypes of Islam they heard from schoolmates and the media, British producer Waseem Mahmood decided to take action—by creating a pop song and launching a movement.

Mahmood recruited Shuja Haider and Ali Moeen, Pakistan’s foremost lyricist, to write the song, “Yeh Hum Naheen” (“This is Not Us”). The lyrics, like these lines, translated from Urdu, take aim at misperceptions of Islam: “The name by which you know us—we are not that … The stories that are being spread in our name are lies—this is not us.”

Mahmood used the song to launch a petition drive in Pakistan condemning terrorism. Six thousand volunteers helped gather more than 60 million signatures.

“It’s very moving,” Mahmood says. “It’s almost as if we’ve given [the people of Pakistan] something they were waiting for.”

======
Today with so many events at an especially rich intersection, including the first time the UN celebrates HUMANITARIANS in a special way - let's look at Mahmood's message and create our own similar loving challenges for peace. (Connie - One Heart blogger)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tonight in Albequerque: Kathy Kelly on Experiences in Pakistan and Gaza (Think Outside the Bomb)




Pakistani boy who's life has been disrupted due to the bombing in the NW Frontier region and lives in an abandoned building.

Come Hear KATHY KELLY (One of our most respected and most consistent US Peacemakers) Speak about her Experiences and/or TELL OTHERS who may be near the venue

Aug 17 2009 - 7:00pm

This event is part of outreach regarding the “Peaceable Assembly Campaign”
contact: 505-268-9557 or Michael Butler butler.a.michael@gmail.com
Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

For More Info Go here

Ground the Drones Lest We Reap the Whirlwind - here

More of Kathy Kelly's Writings: here

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love and Goodwill to Pakistan for 14th August 2009



PAKISTAN NATIONAL ANTHEM
by Hafeez Jallundri
translation by Akhtar Wasim Dar

پاک سر زمین شادباد
کشور حسین شادباد
تو نشان عزم عالی شان
ارض پاکستان
مرکز یقین شادباد

پاک سرزمین کا نظام
قوت اخوت عوام
قوم ملک سلطنت
پایندہ تابندہ باد
شاد باد منزل مراد

پرچم ستارہ و ھلال
رہبر ترقی و کمال
ترجمان ماضی شان حال
جان استقبال
سایہ خداے ذوالجلال


Blessed be the Land of purity
Blessed be the beautiful country
You are the symbol of high courage and determination
Land of Pakistan
May this center of faith glow in ecstasy

Order of the land of pure
Lies in power of peoples love and affection
Nation, Country, State
May flourish in everlasting glaze
Blessed be the destiny of ambition

This Flag of Star and Crescent
Guide of progress and excellence
Reflective of past and brilliance of present
Future’s inspiration
Be under God Almighty’s care and protection.

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Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib wrote this beautiful English translation of Pakistan's National Anthem for The Republic of Rumi Blog

See more items hosted-distributed, written and taught by historian, writer-journalist, filmaker and educationist, Khurram Ali Shafique Sahib:

“O beautiful land! May Allah keep you happy forever,” says Masroor Anwar (“Sohni Dharti, Allah rakhay…”). “May we see you free as long as the world lasts!”

For more references and music video Go here and here

Speaking of BEAUTY, here is another item from Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib -
from his "pageonweb" blogpost -- Wednesday, 12 August 2009

ABC of Anger, Beauty and Compassion

According to a tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): Allah, the Exalted, is beautiful, and He loves beauty. What is Beauty? Beauty in aesthetics means a Balance. When we achieve Balance things look, feel and reflect Beauty. Our actions, thoughts, reactions, desires and speech are beautiful when they retain Balance.

Things become unbalanced...when we are not compassionate. When we are not compassionate, we become angry or violent. We become angry and violent when we are fearful, lonely and not empowered.

A little compassion, a little detachment, a little benevolence, a little grace, a little show of kindness can work miracles and can bring equilibrium and poise in a situation that has become disproportionate, ugly and unbalanced.

When we find somebody in need of help to Balance his Life, his affairs and his attitude, we must provide that little orientation that balances, so this person may become beautiful.

Allah the Exalted is Beautiful and Loves Beauty, so we must also act as the Beloved acts.

Find this page here

(oneheart blogger has slightly modified spacing and a few words)

Keep checking back for more post by Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib whom I already view as one of the best poets and philosophers of our time!