Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Human Rights Watch: 62-page report : "No Questions Asked..."

Don’t Accept Torture Intelligence From Abusive Countries

Human Rights Watch

"Berlin, Paris, and London should be working to eradicate torture, not relying on foreign torture intelligence. Taking information from torturers is illegal and just plain wrong."

(London) June 28, 2010 -- France, Germany, and the United Kingdom use foreign intelligence obtained under torture in the fight against terrorism, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 62-page report, "No Questions Asked: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture," analyzes the ongoing cooperation by the governments of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom with foreign intelligence services in countries that routinely use torture. The three governments use the resulting foreign torture information for intelligence and policing purposes. Torture is prohibited under international law, with no exceptions allowed.

"Berlin, Paris, and London should be working to eradicate torture, not relying on foreign torture intelligence," said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Taking information from torturers is illegal and just plain wrong."

The intelligence services in France, Germany, and the UK do not have detailed instructions on how to assess and follow-up on information coming from countries that torture, Human Rights Watch said. Parliamentary oversight in each country is also inadequate.

Intelligence services in all three countries claim it is impossible to know the sources and methods used to acquire shared information. But officials in the UK and Germany have made public statements indicating that they believe it is sometimes acceptable to use foreign intelligence even if it is obtained under torture. Such statements send the wrong message to abusive governments, Human Rights Watch said.

Information tainted by torture has also been used in criminal and other proceedings in France and Germany, Human Rights Watch said, despite both international and domestic rules banning the use of torture evidence in any proceedings.

The report cites the case of Djamel Beghal, whose statements made under ill-treatment in the United Arab Emirates were used against him in a French court, where he was on trial for plotting a terrorist attack. In another example, the alleged confession of a man known as Abu Attiya under ill-treatment in Jordan was used against terrorism suspects on trial in France. German courts have allowed as evidence the summaries of interrogations of three high-profile terrorism suspects in incommunicado US detention, as well as evidence collected as result of statements made by Aleem Nasir, a Pakistan-born German citizen suspected of terrorist ties, while in the custody of the notorious Pakistani intelligence services.

Human Rights Watch said that in practice, overseas torture material can end up being used in court because the burden falls on defendants to prove it was obtained under torture, a nearly impossible task.

"The rules meant to exclude torture from the courts don't work," Sunderland said. "It should be up to prosecutors to prove that evidence originating in countries that torture wasn't obtained through abuse."

The use of torture intelligence in the fight against terrorism by France, Germany, and the UK damages the credibility of the European Union, Human Rights Watch said. The actual practices of these leading EU states contradict the EU's anti-torture guidelines, which make eradicating torture and ill-treatment a priority in its relations with other countries. Over the long-term, abuses in the name of countering terrorism also feed the grievances that fuel radicalization and recruitment to terrorism, Human Rights Watch said.

The global ban on torture under international law imposes clear obligations: states must never torture or be complicit in torture, and they must work toward the prevention and eradication of torture worldwide. States must repudiate torture in their own territories, and never encourage or condone torture anywhere in the world. Cross-border intelligence cooperation is vital in the fight against international terrorism, but it cannot, under international law, operate in contradiction to these obligations.

France, Germany, and the UK can engage in necessary intelligence cooperation without undermining the global torture ban, Human Rights Watch said. To do so, they must make genuine inquiries of countries that provide information to determine whether torture was used to obtain it and to determine what steps the authorities have taken to hold to account those responsible for any abuse that comes to light.

Cooperation should be suspended in cases where there are grounds to believe torture or ill-treatment were used to obtain shared information. There is also a need for tighter parliamentary oversight of intelligence cooperation, and stronger rules to prevent torture material from entering the judicial process.

"Europe has been forced to confront its complicity in US counterterrorism abuses," Sunderland said. "It is time for France, Germany, and the UK to take responsibility for their own role in third-party abuse, and to ensure that their intelligence cooperation isn't perpetuating abuse."

Human Rights Watch called on the governments of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to:

* Publically repudiate reliance on intelligence material obtained from third countries through the use of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment;
* Reaffirm the absolute prohibition on the use of torture evidence in any kind of proceeding;
* Clarify procedure rules on excluding torture evidence in criminal and civil proceedings to make clear that where an allegation that a statement was made under torture is raised, the burden of proof is on the state to show that it was not made under torture;
* Ensure that national intelligence services have clear guidance on appropriate engagement with partner services with known records of torture, and that intelligence cooperation arrangements with third countries include clear human rights stipulations, including the duty to discontinue cooperation in an individual case if credible allegations of torture come to light;
* Strengthen parliamentary oversight over national intelligence services; and
* Ensure that any form of complicity in torture is a criminal offense in domestic law, and that state agents who are complicit in torture anywhere in the world are prosecuted, including those who systematically receive information from countries and agencies known to practice torture.

To read, "No Questions Asked: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture," please visit: here

Human Rights Watch Press release

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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

UPDATED: Peace Demonstration in Toronto (against G20)

See updated video (some of protestors or usurpers may have encouraged riots which may not be in best interests of such a protest?) How can we who want peace strategize to minimize violent riots...or is the news merely giving ALL peace protestors a bad name? Are there other ways to protest which may be ultimately more effective?

See Al Jazeera item and more from 06-28 at:
Non Violent News from the most comprehensive global news network on the internet. International News and analysis on current events, etc. GO here

Canadian police have arrested nearly 600 people in the wake of violent protests at the G20 summit in Toronto. The latest clashes occurred on Sunday as several hundred protesters marched on a temporary detention centre for demonstrators arrested in riots the previous day during which police used tear gas against the public for the first time ever in the country's most populous city. The weekend...

Sadly, looks like many many people wanted nothing to do with any violence at all:

25,000 people peacefully demonstrate against G20 in Toronto - GO:


(An event like many others "of the people" that) was hardly covered by the media,

its a great show of solidarity and a must watch!


(Sent by a lovely peacemaker from a peace list)


Also from the leader who sent the above item:

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget. - Arundhati Roy

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's Rigged? What's Real?

image found at Caravan of Dreams dot com

Just for a little conversation...no particular intent here...I am on the same quest as you...

This poem is attibuted - as is - to Rumi (sorry not to know if this is an accurate translation?) Funny, I have not noticed it before? Is the line: "maybe a relationship with God" included in the same list as the other "positions" listed? How and when and in what manner are these goals worthy of our divine mission here, if there is one? How do they fit in with "the gold mine in you"?

What of all this is true and worthy of "the search" ?


It’s rigged — everything, in your favor.
So there is nothing to worry about.

Is there some position you want,
some office, some acclaim, some award, some con, some lover,
maybe two, maybe three, maybe four — all at once,

maybe a relationship

I know there is a gold mine in you, when you find it
the wonderment of the earth’s gifts
you will lay aside
as naturally as does
a child a

But, dear, how sweet you look to me kissing the unreal:
comfort, fulfill yourself,
in any way possible — do that until
you ache, until you ache,

then come to me

– Rumi

painting: Odilon Redon. Flower Clouds c. 1903. Pastel. The Art Institute of Chicago

Friday, June 25, 2010

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - 26 June 2010

Joint Statement on the Occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - 26 June 2010

Four United Nations mechanisms involved in preventing torture and helping its victims have stated that despite a well-built international legal framework, torture prevails in many regions of the world and is often accompanied by an alarming degree of impunity.

The United Nations Committee against Torture; the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture; the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture with the following statement:

“We are deeply concerned that torture continues to be widespread and that certain practices amounting to torture as well as to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment were reinvigorated, in particular in the context of the so-called global war on terror after 11 September 2001. The prohibition against torture and other forms of inhumane treatment is absolute and cannot be derogated even under emergency situations."

“States must take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under their jurisdiction. In addition they should ensure that no reason based on discrimination of any kind be used as justification for torture or inhumane treatment The lack of criminalization of torture and inadequate sanctions are main factors contributing to impunity. We often see that in the few instances where perpetrators are held accountable they often receive sentences far below what is required by international law. In order to live up to their obligation to protect everyone subject to their jurisdiction from torture, States must ensure that all acts of torture are criminalized as offences in their domestic penal law and punishable with appropriate penalties that take into account their gravity.”

“Recent studies have shown that some States, invoking different types of emergencies, have been directly or indirectly involved in practices such as secret detention, disappearances, expulsion or extradition of individuals to countries where they were in danger of torture, and other unlawful treatment or punishment in violation of the Convention against Torture and other international human rights instruments and humanitarian law. We are dismayed to see that in almost no recent cases have there been judicial investigations into such allegations; almost no one has been brought to justice; and most victims have never received any form of reparation, including rehabilitation or compensation.”

“Torture leaves indelible traces on the body and minds of the victims and reparation can almost never be complete. Often, the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of torture is non-existent or severely limited. Adequate reparation, tailored to the needs of the victim including compensation and rehabilitation, is rarely provided or entirely dependent on the limited resources of private entities and civil society organizations. In light of these concerns, we call upon all States to ensure that victims of torture and other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment obtain full redress and urge them to adopt general guarantees of non-repetition including taking determined steps to fight impunity.”

“In this troublesome context, more than twenty years after its entry into force, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is still far from universal ratification. As of today, it has 147 States parties, of which only 64 States have made the declaration under article 22 recognizing the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive individual communications. We urge all States to become party to the Convention against Torture and make the declarations provided under article 22 of the Convention, on individual complaints, in order to maximize transparency and accountability in their fight against torture and its related impunity.

“Four years after its entry into force, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture has 51 State Parties. The Optional Protocol is a key instrument to prevent torture and ill-treatment by ensuring the establishment of independent and effective national preventive mechanisms empowered to visit places of detention. We therefore urge all States to ratify the Optional Protocol and thus to engage with the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. We further call upon those States Parties to the Optional Protocol that have not yet done so to establish the National Preventive Mechanisms to thus live up to their obligations related to the prevention of torture and ill-treatment.”

“On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we pay tribute to the Governments, civil society organizations and individuals engaged in activities aimed at preventing torture, punishing it and ensuring that all victims obtain redress and adequate compensation, including the means for as full a rehabilitation as possible. We express our gratitude to all donors to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, which currently supports the work of over 200 organizations in more than 60 countries, and hope that contributions to the Fund will continue to increase to make it possible for victims of torture and members of their families to receive the assistance they need. We call on all States, in particular those which have been found to be responsible for widespread or systematic practices of torture, to contribute to the Voluntary Fund as part of a universal commitment for the rehabilitation of torture victims and their families.”

UNITED NATIONS Press release
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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Witness Against Torture Trial: "You are not alone"

In case you want to find/send this from another site, I am also posting this to:
nomorecrusades dot blogspot.com or CLICK here

(There is a stirring rendition of a Joan Baez song at the end and I will place it at the beginning on nomorecrusades.)

Report on June 14 trial of 24 activists acquitted after being arrested in an action organized by Witness Against Torture on January 21, 2010, the day by which President Obama had promised he would close Guantanamo:

Joy First's very powerful essay touches on legal, moral, political themes that relate to many of issues we encounter as well as personal goals. Bill Quigley, Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, is a person to be honored too.

'We sang, "Courage Muslim brothers. You do not walk alone. We will walk with you, and sing your spirit home."' (excerpt from personal report below.) Some who read this may know or notice that the people who came as advocates and were in courtroom represent various spiritual/cultural backgrounds.

Published on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 by CommonDreams dot org
Witness Against Torture Trial: Broken Promises, Broken Laws, Broken Lives

by Joy First

When I talk about my work in nonviolent civil resistance, working for peace and social justice, I always tell people that we are never acquitted by a judge at a bench trial. No matter what the facts are, judges will always find us guilty. I tell people that only a jury of our peers will acquit us and we don't often have a jury trial. I have had two jury trials in 29 arrests and have been acquitted in both of those trials. However, I will not be able to say that anymore as 24 activists were acquitted during a bench trial with Judge Russell Canan in DC Superior Court on June 14, 2010. You can definitely expect the unexpected when you go to court.

I have been participating with Witness Against Torture (WAT) here for the last several years to close Guantanamo and end torture by the U.S. government in Guantanamo, Bagram, and other black hole sites around the world. We went to trial on June 14 after being arrested in an action organized by WAT on January 21, 2010, the day by which President Obama had promised that he would close Guantanamo.

In this action 28 activists lined up outside on the steps of our United States Capitol wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods. They were holding large banners reading "Broken Promises, Broken Laws, Broken Lives". These 28 individuals, PRACTICING THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS, were arrested for standing in a public space reading the names of the men who are being detained in Guantanamo.

Inside the rotunda I joined 13 other activists in honoring and memorializing three men who died in Guantanamo in 2006. After they died in 2006, we were initially told by the military that they committed suicide. However, evidence came out this past January that they were tortured to death by the military at Guantanamo. Because of this, we decided that part of the group would go inside the rotunda and hold a prayer service for these three men who were murdered. We brought with us a banner that we laid on the floor in the center of the rotunda where president's lie in state. The banner read, "We mourn Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani." Carmen spoke about the crime to tour groups and staff who were in the rotunda and others gave a short biographical description of the lives of these men who were murdered. We sang, "Courage Muslim brothers. You do not walk alone. We will walk with you, and sing your spirit home." These men were killed by our government. We were committed to honoring and memorializing these men, in a prayerful and respectful manner. For our action inside the rotunda, 14 of us were arrested.

Though Obama promised that Guantanamo would be closed by January 21, 2010, it is still open today. There are about 200 men still being detained in Guantanamo. Many of them have been cleared for release and they are still being held. Many of them have not been charged with any crime in eight years of detention and they are still being held. Some of them are on hunger strikes and they are being force-fed in a manner which amounts to torture. But it is not only Guantanamo. The situation has become much worse in Bagram where torture by our government continues, and in other black hole sites around the world.

And so we continue to find ways to get this story out. We continue to try to hold our government accountable and call on them to end these illegal actions. We do these actions in the spirit of, and following the principles of nonviolence that have been handed down by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and others. We do not do these actions to get arrested. We are exercising our First Amendment rights and following our obligations under Nuremberg. If we do not speak out as our government continues to be involved in criminal activities, then we are complicit.

So as we celebrate our acquittal, our spirits are dampened as we remember those still suffering at the hands of our government around the world, and we recognize that this is a small victory. As Attorney Bill Quigley, legal adviser to the defendants and the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said after the trial, "With his decision, the judge validated the effort of the demonstrators to condemn the ongoing crime of indefinite detention at Guantanamo." And we know that we must and that we will continue our struggle for justice.

Since our arrest in January, a number of activists paid a fine rather than go to trial. At the end we had 24 activists who went to trial on June 14 to defend our First Amendment rights and to shine a light on the continuing torture by our government. As usual, we would go pro se, meaning we would be defending ourselves. We do this so that we can speak for ourselves about what we were doing and why. We had three attorney advisors working with us. Ann Wilcox has been working with us for a number of years and we deeply appreciate all the hours she has put in. We were very happy to welcome Mark Goldstone back. He has been away for about a year and it was good to be working with him again. We felt very fortunate to have Bill Quigley join our team. Bill is a nationally known attorney. He has represented some of the men being illegally detained in Guantanamo and his expertise in this area was invaluable.

We spend a couple of months preparing for trial through conference calls and email. Members of the group volunteer for different roles in the trial and we individually work on those pieces. I volunteered to give the closing statement. It is a lot of work to get ready for trial. The final planning session and trial rehearsal was a meeting at St. Stephen's church on Sunday, the day before the trial started. I flew out to DC early Sunday to be there for the planning meeting.

It was difficult leaving home because I wasn't sure when I was going to be returning to Madison. There were quite a few people who thought we might get some jail time for this action. I think that being separated from my husband, Steve, is the most difficult part of this work I am involved in. I travel to DC several times a year. But I know how much Steve loves me and I know how committed he is to supporting my work. And I know that whenever I come home he will be waiting for me with loving and open arms. His love sustains me. I also think about the many men still being illegally detained in Guantanamo. They have been there for over eight years and not only have they not seen their loved ones in that time, but communication through letters and phone calls has been extremely limited, and in some cases nonexistent.

The planning meeting at St. Stephen's on Sunday afternoon and evening was long and intense, but it went very well. I was tired after getting up at 4:00 am to catch my plane. We talked about some general trial strategies, and then went through a trial rehearsal step-by-step. I was able to read my closing statement to the group. When the meeting was over, I think most people were feeling prepared and committed to continuing our struggle to end torture in the courtroom the next day.

On Monday morning, we met at the Navy Memorial metro stop and formed a procession to the courthouse. We were all dressed in black. We carried three black coffins in memory of Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, the men who were murdered by our government in Guantanamo. Three members of our group were dressed in orange jumpsuits with black hoods and carried a sign with the name of each of the three men. Outside the courthouse, we held a press conference with Bill Quigley, Kathy Kelly, and Carmen Trotta speaking to the group.

The trial was scheduled to start at 9:30 am. Once we were seated in the courtroom, there were some preliminary matters to deal with before the trial started. Most notably, Bill Quigley argued a motion we had entered for an acquittal, but if we were not acquitted he argued that we would be allowed to use international law and the necessity defense.

I hadn't been feeling too anxious up till then, but when we sat down in the courtroom and the judge began dealing with some of the preliminary matters, I could feel the anxiety rising in my stomach and moving up to my chest. A couple of defendants had not shown up by the 9:30 start time and we had to deal with that. Judge Canan had to ask the defendants a series of questions to make sure we understood that by going pro se we were giving up our right to an attorney.

Judge Canan then asked the prosecutors if they had developed their theory of the case and if they understood what it meant to be charging us with breach of the peace, a part of the unlawful assembly statute. The two young women, who turned out to be very inexperienced and naïve, said they were ready to proceed to trial. They said that they were not required to prove that we DID cause a breach of the peace, but that we COULD HAVE caused a breach of the peace. They said that we were loud and boisterous, a key element they pulled from the statute, and that we were blocking others from moving freely.

Mark Goldstone stood up and told Judge Canan that he believed that under the unlawful assembly charge, the government is required to prove that we DID cause a breach of the peace.

My anxiety melted away when Bill began his arguments on the motion for acquittal and if not acquittal, that we be allowed to use the international law and the necessity defense during the trial. I was looking forward to hearing Bill as he is a national figure and very well known as the Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights. His arguments were so eloquent and moving. He laid the whole thing out brilliantly and really spoke to the essence of what we were doing and why. When he was done, it seemed like we could just go home because he had said it all.

In his conclusion, Bill said that if we act as if there is the possibility for change, change will come. He said that we were acting for that possibility for change on January 21st. Finally, he said that it is a sad fact that in our culture today, we have the tendency to adjust to injustice. The outrageous and criminal actions that are perpetrated by our government continue. We, as citizens, become more complacent every day in the face of this malfeasance. We must show our outrage and demand change so that we are not dragged down into the depths of despair.

The judge was very interested in what Bill had to say and asked a lot of questions of Bill throughout his presentation. The judge seemed to lack a real understanding of the issues and was willing and anxious to learn from the expert standing before him.

Art gave a stirring follow-up to Bill's arguments. He said that any treaty is the supreme law of the land according to the constitution. What is at stake is people's lives. People have died. He reminded the judge that we were acting on behalf of these prisoners who have not had their day in court after being held for over eight years. We have the legal as well as the moral right to present evidence on international law.

Others also spoke to this motion, but after listening to everyone, and after taking a short break to consider the arguments, Judge Canan denied the motion. It was a blow to hear his decision, but not unexpected.

The trial began and after the opening statement by the prosecution, the government attorney's called several police officers as witnesses to provide evidence for their case. The officers recounted what happened on January 21, but it was clear by the end of their testimony that they could not prove we were loud and boisterous, a key element needed for us to be found guilty. Malachy and Claire were the pro se defendants who did most of the cross examination of the prosecution witnesses and they did an excellent job. A couple of the officers specifically stated that we were not loud and boisterous.

When the prosecution rested their case, Beth and Paki made a motion for judgment of acquittal They said that the government did not prove their case and so we should be acquitted at this point. We've never been granted a motion for judgment of acquittal at this point in the trial. We have always had to present our case, and I didn't expect anything different this time.

But this time Judge Canan began to quiz the prosecutors. He said that he had asked them what their theory was at the beginning of the trial and what it meant to charge us with breach of the peace. He said that now it is an issue because the prosecution did not prove that we had breached the peace. The judge said that according to case law, in a breach of the peace individuals use words that could incite violence.

Judge Canan reminded the prosecutors that in the original charging statement we were charged with unlawful assembly, but the government only used part of the unlawful assembly statute in the charging statement. This was the section on breach of the peace and being loud and boisterous.

After the judge and the prosecutors argued back and forth several times the government said they wanted to use the whole statute at this point. This was absolutely ludicrous that they would ask for a change in the charging statement AFTER they had rested their case.

After giving the prosecution several chances to try to state how they could save their case, Judge Canan said that he would give them one more chance. After one more attempt by the prosecutor, the judge said that we were not properly charged and he would grant the motion for judgment of acquittal.

We were stunned. This kind of victory was unprecedented for us. There was speculation that the judge wanted to acquit us after Bill Quigley's passionate argument before the trial began. We thought maybe the judge was just looking for a good excuse to acquit us. And of course we will never really know what was going on in the judge's mind, but we were all very happy to win for a change.

I thought I would be in DC for at least a week, but the trial was over in one day. I stayed an extra day to make a visit to Rep. Tammy Baldwin's office and talk to a senior aide about several matters, including upcoming supplemental funding for the war, and asking what she could do in the wake of the Israeli armies attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla.

I flew home on Wednesday morning, and today I am sitting in my garden writing this report, rather than sitting in jail. As happy as I am to have my freedom, I think about the men who are still in Guantanamo and have been illegally detained without being charged with any crime, and without having their day in court for over eight years. What will our next step be in continuing the struggle for their freedom?

My grandchildren are the light of my life. I would do anything for them. But as the years pass, and as I continue this work in nonviolent civil resistance, I realize more and more strongly that as a grandmother I must reach my arms wide to embrace all the children of the world. And so as I think of my own grandchildren and what kind of a world this will be when they grow up, I also think of the children whose fathers, brothers, grandfathers, and uncles are in Guantanamo. What is it like for these children who have not seen the men who love them for eight long years? I think of the children of Iraq whose lives have been devastated by the illegal and immoral war of aggression that we have been waging on their country. I think of the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan who don't even feel safe in their own beds at night as they lie there listening for the drones that could destroy their lives. I think of all these children and know that I must do everything I can to try to make the world a better place for them. I will not be deterred - and so our struggle continues.

Joy First, PhD, is a long-time peace activist. She is convener of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. She is also affiliated with Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice and Madison Pledge of Resistance.

Article printed from CommonDreams dot org

A most stirring rendition of Joan Baez singing "We Shall Overcome"

As the friend who sent this to a common list said:

Status: Bee-yoo-ti-fulll!!!!


Peace flame in Tokyo where a thousand string "cranes" have been hung

A Just Peace is the Best Non-Proliferation Guarantee

Bitter Lemons International

Edition 14 Volume 8 - June 24, 2010

Israel and the NPT

A just peace is the best non-proliferation guarantee
Waleed Sadi

Israel's nuclear weapons saga preceded the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that came into force in 1970. The country started producing and stockpiling nuclear bombs from plutonium reprocessed in its Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev as far back as 1958.

Right from the outset Israel developed a policy of opacity regarding its nuclear program, presumably to drive home a two-pronged message to the Middle East. One was that if push came to shove and its very existence was at stake it had the military tools to destroy all enemies.

The second was to eliminate or at least reduce the risk of nuclear weapons proliferating in the region by "pretending" that Israel was not a nuclear power and therefore there could be no reason for the other states to acquire nuclear weapons. Israel sandwiched its ambiguity in this regard with the repeated pledge that it would not to be the first to use its arsenal of mass destruction.

But keeping the Arab world guessing isn't working. It has for decades been an open secret that Israel is a nuclear state.

Israel's anxiety about its very existence dates back to its fears that the Arab world would never accept its existence as an "alien" state in the region. The Israeli leaders who ushered in their country's nuclear program had convinced themselves that the end game as far as the neighboring Arab and Muslim nations were concerned would be nothing short of the elimination of the Zionist state. In other words, the founding fathers of Israel were aware of a sense of guilt that the creation of their homeland had come about on the ashes of another people and that sooner or later this injustice would be corrected. This Israeli posture was and still predicates the need for Israel to maintain its monopoly over nuclear weapons in the region.

In fulfillment of this strategy, Israeli warplanes bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor and research facility in Osirak in 1981 and Syria's alleged covert nuclear site in Deir Ezzor in 2007. Israel's peace of mind will not be complete, however, until it rids Iran of nuclear facilities capable of enriching uranium for military purposes.

Israel's contingency plan to execute a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities is therefore in the cards, at least for the time being. Unlike Iraq and Syria, however, any military strike against Iranian nuclear sites will not necessarily eliminate Iran's nuclear capability. For one thing, Iranian nuclear facilities are farther away than the Iraqi and Syrian sites. Second, Iran's nuclear sites are numerous, scattered all over the country and hidden in bunkers deep underneath the ground. Third, the Iranian military is superior to anything that Iraq or Syria ever produced and its retaliatory strength is such that it does indeed serve as an effective deterrent.

Against this backdrop, the NPT will not save the day. Besides its many imperfections, the 189 member states of the accord cannot even agree on its three pillars, especially with regard to nuclear disarmament. What the provisions of the NPT call for is simply to conduct "negotiations in good faith" to end the nuclear arms race with a view to achieving nuclear disarmament. There is nothing in the treaty that specifically calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons and this is where the real problem lies.

Only four countries have decided to remain outside the ambit of the NPT, namely Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. India joined the nuclear club in 1974 and is reputed to have a nuclear arsenal of no less than 150 warheads. Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons in 1998 and is believed to possess between 80 to 120 warheads. Israel has stockpiled more than 200 nuclear weapons, enough to blow the entire region to smithereens. No one knows for sure how many nuclear bombs there are in North Korea, which acceded to the NPT back in 1985 but withdrew in 2003.

That said, the nuclear genie is already out of the bottle in the Middle East. Israel's state of mind excludes a disarming of or even reduction in its nuclear arsenal. Even if Israel acceded to the NPT at this late hour, there is really nothing specific in the NPT that would require it to relinquish its nuclear capability. The most that can be achieved by Israeli membership is to place its nuclear facility or rather facilities under the international supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The problem does not, however, end with Israel. There is no way that Iran will accept to roll back its aggressive program to acquire nuclear weapons. Tehran has already crossed the line for the manufacture of nuclear weapons with its ambitious uranium enrichment program. For all intents and purposes, the current Iranian leadership has already taken an irreversible decision to acquire nuclear weapons.

The probable scenario of Iran becoming a nuclear power is the application of mutual deterrence between it and Israel. As long as both nations risk nuclear annihilation, they would most probably avoid using nuclear weapons. That would seemingly leave Arab countries out in the cold as long as Israel is determined to go to war to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in any nearby Arab countries. This situation, however, cannot last forever. Sooner or later, some Arab countries will decide to go nuclear themselves, including Egypt and possibly Syria.

Turkey cannot be so easily contained in this regard either and could be well on its way to acquiring nuclear weapons of its own. As long as Ankara remains a key member of NATO, however, its nuclear ambitions may remain in check if for no other reason than being unnecessary for its own security. NATO's nuclear umbrella would be sufficient for Turkeys' security purposes as long as NATO remains intact.

Israel still holds the key to stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons and this objective can be attained only if it supports, in good faith, efforts to achieve a durable and just peace with the Palestinians and other Arab states still in a state of war with it. This would be the only effective way to reverse the tide of nuclear proliferation in the region beyond the stage it has already reached.

The absence of regional peace would no doubt lead to the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It is imperative that Israel mend its national psyche and recognize that its long-term survival is predicated not on nuclear weapons but rather on becoming a true partner in a new Middle East. The longer the international community waits to attain this objective, the harder it will become to free the region of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones.- Published 24/6/10 © bitterlemons-international.org

Waleed Sadi is a former Jordanian ambassador to Turkey and the UN and other international organizations in Geneva. He is currently a columnist for the Jordan Times and Al Rai newspapers.


Bitterlemons-international.org is an internet forum for an array of world perspectives on the Middle East and its specific concerns. It aspires to engender greater understanding about the Middle East region and open a new common space for world thinkers and political leaders to present their viewpoints and initiatives on the region. Editors Ghassan Khatib and Yossi Alpher can be reached at ghassan@bitterlemons-international.org and yossi@bitterlemons-international.org, respectively.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Part Two: Seeking Equanimity

The following includes an addition to the "comparative religion" section of this post. (A wise and illuminating distillation}.

I want to be aware of and a contributor to my relationship with all of life. I'm adding another image here for a reminder of the color, creativity and variety which I must not kill - even now as I see stillness - if I want to maintain and grow this capacity for a richer equanimity later...I am again welcoming responses out of readers' own experience with balance/equalibrium or whatever word you choose...See my Part One: a few posts down...

Bird-of-paradise Flower Jardim Botânico, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
20 Mar 2002 Photographer Carsten Clasohm (more on photo end of post)

Equanimity is promoted by several major religious groups as also given at the list-serve mentioned above. See here how even Buddhism doesn't speak of equanimity as dull, dry or always cool in temperature:

(SEE ADDITION under these "comparative religion" paragraphs.)

In Buddhism, equanimity is one of the four immeasurables and is considered:
Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality's transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as "abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will."

Equanimity is also mentioned in Patañjali's Yoga Sutras as one of the four sublime attitudes, along with loving-kindness (maitri), compassion, and joy (mudita). This list is identical to the four immeasurables in Buddhist literature. The Upeksha Yoga school foregrounds equanimity as the most important tenet of a yoga practice.

In Hinduism, equanimity is the concept of balance and centeredness which endures through all possible changes in circumstances. According to the Bhagavad one may achieve equanimity through meditation.

Many Jewish thinkers highlight the importance of equanimity (menuhat ha-nefesh or yishuv ha-da'at) as a necessary foundation for moral and spiritual development. The virtue of equanimity receives particular attention in the writings of rabbis such as Menachem Mendel Lefin and Simcha Zissel Ziv.

Samuel Johnson defined equanimity as "EVENNESS OF MIND", neither elated nor depressed." In Christian philosophy, equanimity is considered essential for carrying out the theological virtues of gentleness, contentment, temperance, and charity.

The word "Islam" is derived from the Arabic word Aslama, which denotes the peace that comes from TOTAL SURRENDER and acceptance. Being a Muslim can therefore be understood to mean that one is in a state of equanimity. I want to learn about this understanding from my Muslim friends and I too have MUCH to share on the deep wisdom from Islam.

The following list is from Khurram Ali Shafique Sahib, an historian and much more
(See The Republic of Rumi web and blogsites):

I have been thinking about this subject for quite some time now, and some rudimentary observations are:

1. Vedanta teaches a balance between thought and intuition
2. Buddhism (and Judaism) a balance between body and spirit
3. Zoroastrianism a balance between self and the other, through the self
4. Christianity a balance between the other and the self, through the other
5. Islam a balance between here and the Hereafter

Achieving one of the types of balance invariably leads to other kinds, in some way: or else the true follower of one religion would have been at less advantage as compared to someone who knows about many religions.

End Shafique Sahib's list

Here are a few more notes I've found in assorted places and edited or added some of my own notes from within:

-Observing self and others without judgment and with acceptance
-When I see something unfavorable in others, to find that part of me
-To find inner empathy even when outer firmness is required by seeing myself capable of or within another's pain, anger, compulsive or impulsive actions.
-To continually recognize where I am allowing too much static or stimulation
-To offer gifting from my own soul not out of duty.
-To exempt or prevent(wherever possible with love and compassion) the opportunity of another to control my life, time and choices and to see where I may be controlling another and stop both. In observing manipulation, to remember most of us may also do this consciously or unconsciously. To be empathetic without feeding the "conning" from others as this would be unhealthy for the doer as well as those affected and overly trusting.
-Breath deeply, steadily and often to ground myself in my body
-Daily exercise, walking meditation and stretching. Healthy eating and rest.

Just a little more from that Enneagram discussion I began to share in Part One:

"I remember when I was first a musician, I wanted to be really good but never wanted to practice. Once I started practicing, I became good. It's a matter of looking at life rationally. That helps achieve equanimity since it's easy to feel balanced when one is aware of balance in the world rather than just seeing a lot of complicated and stormy emotions internally."

And here's another from that site:

"As for fours, I think their integration consists in seeing the sacred in the ordinary. For me, reality is very sacred. Fours identify with some sense of being special to counteract feelings of being defective, hence embracing being an outsider or somehow different. To find equanimity, they need to see that the whole of themselves is sacred, which entails letting go of identification with the select parts of themselves they hold to, to the exclusion of other parts, to avoid being ordinary. In this way, they find the sacred in the ordinary because the whole of themselves is already special without any special effort to be different. Ordinary/sacred turns out to be a false dichotomy.

And here's another gift: "I've actually been getting a lot lately out of looking into all the types (not so much as a means of finding myself reflected in a given type, but to see the full spectrum and how it plays out in all of us to varying degrees). I'm also finishing up with Heidegger's Being and Time which I still recommend...there's a lot of great stuff in there."

And another: "Like with all the image types, the path to their development involves realizing that a sense of identity will not offer freedom, since each type in the feeling triad limits themselves by needing to somehow be true to an identity. All types need freedom from their fixation...When healthier, they realize how they contribute objectively to the world through action and are able to create the beauty they imagine and love, and this becomes a greater source of fulfillment than any perceived, internal identification with aesthetics that has no grounding in reality.
Incidently someone at that mentioned discussion said for those who may be interested yet confused with the Ennegram or other typing systems: "I think taking a step back from immediately typing yourself and looking at yourself objectively while witholding judgement is a great way to type yourself...I also think that's a well-put point about how fours learn to manifest their perception of beauty creatively in the world as they become more practical and realistic, seeing things more objectively."

Some suggest: "Work is very healthy for 4s, spend a few hours a day doing concentrated study this will relieve a lot of self-consciousness since work gives you self esteem, it will also make you feel a lot more relaxed afterwards and better able to think clearly...

Other tips offered: "Try not use your imagination too much - stay away from self critical thoughts and remembering past hurts as it consists of mostly irrational thinking...I mapped out my thoughts by writing down some of my thinking patterns in situations where I felt socially awkward or anxious...write down some healthy objective thoughts and complement them with a positive image of yourself in those awkward/anxious situations and then justify them to yourself by explaining why the healthy thought is a better and more sensible mode of thinking than your current means of thinking."

"The writing part is crucial since we are not really aware of our thoughts when they are floating around in our minds. Writing them down will give some clarity. I'd advise against writing down your negative thoughts as you may start to believe them more when you read them - yet, on the other hand by reading them you may realize how overly self critical and irrational these thoughts are and so will give you peace of mind. To help you avoid this trap maybe after writing these negative thoughts ask someone you feel close to whether this appears rational, or in tune with their image of you...engage your mind in something productive. 4s are very creative - try writing, art or making movies - you may surprise yourself with how good you are!I hope these work, they worked for me so I'm sure they will work for you, the crucial thing is to stick with it, it may seem like everything is against you but in the end it is really worth it."

Conclusion: People like me benefit often from more interaction with others and action which comes with inner integrity and mindfulness. At same time we will always need more time alone than others. We don't need to be greedy finding this. Yet we can do our best to give ourselves the space and quiet we need to do our best. Presence with others can be accomplished also without needing always to move in the direction of the other or the group. We have choices even when it seems the only choice is to "give in" to the other's expectations and demands. And we don't have to be rude or angry to say "no" or "not right now" or "let me let you know later". When events arise which are unusually demanding, remember to stay in the calm place - the "eye of a storm". (Thanks to friend for this reminder.)

END Part Two

*** More on the photo of the "Bird of Paraidise" plant found mid-way in this post:
Camera Canon EOS 33, Fuji Velvia 50; Unique ID 20020546 find more at this site: clasohm.com : Gallery : 200205

Music for People

The following reminded me of one little possibility or response to a recent series of film-clips showing musicians (representing artists in general) who connect with "the people" and those who don't. Of course, most who see this will be unable to participate. Yet, surely there may be some ideas inspired by this little happy effort.


Music for People is dedicated to re-vitalizing your music-making and promoting music as a means of self-expression. We offer music improvisation workshops throughout the year, as well as a four-year program called the Musicianship and Leadership Program (MLP) of which there are 83 graduates (Certified Facilitators). We operate through dedicated persons paying yearly membership and generous persons who make tax deductible donations.

Founded by cellist David Darling and flautist Bonnie Insull in 1986, Music for People is a not for profit organization that seeks to promote a humanistic approach to the way music is taught, performed, and appreciated. Its philosophy is embodied in a musical Bill of Musical Rights that profoundly respects the creative impulse in everyone.

Music for People was founded to fulfill a key missing element in the training of many skilled music students, and especially to call back to music those former students who were lost along the way, when the form of their music schooling became too filled with criticism and harshly communicated judgement. Music for People also strives to act as a catalyst in gathering people together to play and sing by creating safe environments in which they can explore music improvisation.

Our improvisation workshops are open to everyone — no matter what your musical background and experience. For the workshop schedule, see the Calendar page.

The activities we teach and our inclusive teaching philosophy are described in our book, Return to Child: Music for People's Guide to Improvising Music and Authentic Group Leadership. There is now new writing for the Musicianship and Leadership Program!

“Ten Questions” is a 28-page booklet the contains an integrated way of looking at the Return to Child techniques. It includes information on how to practice them, how to lead them, and what use the techniques are in forwarding one’s musicianship in the area of improvisation.

Music for People publishes a newsletter Connections twice a year for its members, helping them stay in touch with each other. Connections shares members' activities; the Calendar includes notices about workshops and gatherings; and the feature articles on music and improvisation offer inspiring tales of newfound musical delights, and more. Annual dues entitle MfP members to a year subscription to Connections as well as discounted tuition to all MfP workshops.

Music for People has benefited from the support of many generous contributors since its beginning. Continued financial support is critical to sustain the growth of both the organization and its work: the workshops, teacher certification program, and expanded member services. MfP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Make a donation to Music for People!

If you want to make improvisational music, we invite you to browse around this site and join us for a workshop.

See more photos and class listings. Even for non-musicians, there are ideas for connecting with others.

Music for People
May 18, 2010 ... MUSIC FOR PEOPLE BENEFIT CONCERT: ... "David Darling and the wonderful Music for People staff have created a fun, nurturing and creative ...

Music for People - Workshop Calendar
P. O. Box 397 • Goshen, CT 06756 • USA Toll free: (877) 44-MUSIC • Phone: (860) 491-3763. Ver. 2.20 • Updated : May 17, ...

Have fun taking a look...and why not more "music for people" events around the world?

Standford Center for Ethics in Society (Courses, Programs)

Photo credit goes to Standford U - online for Undergraduate Human Rights Fellowships

This year, in partnership with the Program on Human Rights, we launched our new Human Rights Fellowship program. These fellowships are intended to enable students to make a valuable contribution to human rights theory and practice. Offered to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors, grants will be given to four undergraduates (per year?) who will partner with human rights organizations, government agencies, NGOs, or international organizations (either here or abroad) during the summer. It is our hope that these fellowships will encourage students to build human rights work into their future careers, whether those careers are in academic life, in governmental or intergovernmental organizations, as activists, or as legal practitioners.

For more information, contact Joan Berry.

Application deadline: January 15 (of each year.) Please deliver a hard copy of your application material to Joan Berry, Galvez Modular (next to Sweet Hall), Room 118.

Sample Fellowships
Although this is the first year the Center for Ethics in Society is offering Human Rights Fellowships, Stanford students have been doing human rights work for quite some time.

This fellowship program is open only to Stanford University freshman, sophomores and juniors. Students from any field of study who have strong human rights interests are invited to apply.

Fellowship Details (these samples are from summer program currently underway):

* A $4000 stipend to support work with a human rights organization.
* A late spring workshop to prepare students for their summer fellowships.
* An informal event bringing the fellows together at the start of the Fall Quarter following their fellowship.
* A formal mini-conference in which fellows report on their experiences and present their research in the end of Fall Quarter.
* A formal write up of their experiences due at the end of the Winter Quarter.

Application Process (There is no application form per se. All we need are the pieces mentioned below, submitted in hard copy.)

Some potential students here may want to consider applying for other Undergraduate Studies and then to apply for the Human Rights Program next January by the 15th for NEXT Summer.

Also, educators who are reading this post may want to learn from this Program:

Standford Center for Ethics in Society:

The Program in Ethics in Society offers undergraduates the opportunity to write a senior honors thesis within a community of interdisciplinary scholars. Our course of study combines the analytical rigor of moral and political philosophy with the subject matter of each student’s self-chosen major to develop a sophisticated understanding of problems of social concern. Such problems include: the nature and implications of treating people with equal dignity and respect; the scope of liberty; the legitimacy of government; and the meaning of responsibility. The Program poses these issues, and others, in the context of debates which arise in our common public life. It thus extends moral concern and reflection across disciplines such as medicine, law, economics, political science, sociology, international relations, and public policy.

Students in the Program write honors theses on topics which use moral and political philosophy to address practical problems. Previous theses have considered such questions as the just distribution of health care, our obligations to future generations, the role of moral values in education, the moral implications of genetic engineering and the relationship between gender inequality and the structures of work and family. Many of our students have won scholarships to graduate study including Marshall, Rhodes and Fulbright Fellowships. Others have taken the step from moral analysis to moral commitment, pursuing careers of public service.

The Program in Ethics in Society is open to all students with a GPA of 3.3 or higher. Students take two required core courses in moral and political thought, a thesis seminar, and an elective related to their thesis topic. They spend their senior year writing their honors thesis. The Program fosters moral reflection, discussion and practice among students as well as encourages close work between faculty and students.

For more information about the Program, contact the Program's coordinator, Andrea Kuduk (akuduk@stanford.edu) or the Program's director, Professor Rob Reich (reich@stanford.edu).

Also feel free to stop by the Program office, located in the Galvez Modular (next to Green Library).

What are the strengths of the Program in Ethics in Society?

The Program in Ethics in Society devotes itself to undergraduate education and we facilitate close interaction with distinguished faculty. The Program offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of ethics and includes course offerings from Philosophy, History, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Economics, and Political Science. Additionally, students who write an Honors Thesis in the Program major in many disciplines, including Earth Sciences, Human Biology, Economics and Religious Studies.

The Program in Ethics in Society organizes itself around the Senior Honors Thesis. Students take a broad range of courses that prepare them for the challenge of integrating ethical theories with real world moral and political problems.

The Program offers individualized advising, because of its committed faculty and small size. Students meet with an advisor upon embarking on their Honors Thesis, and continue a relationship with their faculty mentors until graduation.


Here are a few of the XTRA courses offered at Standford in the Ethics Program:

ETHICSOC 20. Introduction to Moral Philosophy—(Same as PHIL 20.) What is the basis of moral judgment? What makes right actions right and wrong actions wrong? What makes a state of affairs good or worth promoting? What is it to have a good or virtuous character? Answers to classic questions in ethics through the works of traditional and contemporary authors. GER:DB-Hum, EC-EthicReas 5 units.

ETHICSOC 30. Introduction to Political Philosophy—(Same as PHIL 30, POLISCI 3.) State authority, justice, liberty, and equality through major works in political philosophy. Topics include human nature and citizenship, the obligation to obey the law, democracy and economic inequality, equality of opportunity and affirmative action, religion, and politics. GER:DB-Hum, EC-EthicReas 5 units.

ETHICSOC 133. Ethics and Politics in Public Service—(Same as POLISCI 133.) Provides the basis for a connection between an undergraduate's service activities and his or her academic experiences at Stanford; especially for freshmen and sophomores who participate or intend to participate in service activities through the Haas Center or register for courses with service learning components. What does it mean to do public service? Why should or should not citizens do volunteer work? Is public service by definition a good thing? The history, hazards, responsibilities, and dilemmas of doing public service. A historical context of public service work in the U.S., introducing the range of ethical concerns involved with service.
GER: DB-SocSci. 5 units.

ETHICSOC 136R. Introduction to Global Justice—(Same as INTNLREL 136R, POLISCI 136R, POLISCI 336.) Recent work in political theory on global justice. Topics include global poverty, human rights, fair trade, immigration, climate change. Do developed countries have a duty to aid developing countries? Do rich countries have the right to close their borders to economic immigrants? When is humanitarian intervention justified? Readings include Charles Beitz, Thomas Pogge, John Rawls. 5 units.

ETHICSOC 137R. Justice at Home and Abroad: Civil Rights in the 21st Century—(Same as EDUC 261X, POLISCI 137R, POLISCI 337R.) Focus is on theories of justice. How the core ideals of freedom, equality, and security animate theories which John Rawls considers the first virtue of social institutions. Topics include the U.S. Constitution as a legal framework for the operation of these ideals, civil rights legislation and litigation as the arena of tensions between those ideals, and how ideas of justice function both at home and abroad to impact civil liberties in today's war on terror. 5 units.

ETHICSOC 157/257. An interdisciplinary examination of alternative and largely incompatible twentieth century defenses of the morality of capitalism, with a concentration on economic, Objectivist, and Christian arguments, considered historically, economically, politically, and philosophically. GER: DBHum. 5 units.

ETHICSOC 170. Ethical Theory—(Same as PHIL 170/270.) Major strands in contemporary ethical theory. Readings include Bentham, Mill, Kant, and contemporary authors. GER:DB-Hum, EC-EthicReas 4 units.

ETHICSOC 171. Justice—(Same as IPS 208, PHIL 171/271, POLISCI 136S, PUBLPOL 207.) Focus is on the ideal of a just society, and the place of liberty and equality in it, in light of contemporary theories of justice and political controversies. Topics include protecting religious liberty, financing schools and elections, regulating markets, assuring access to health care, and providing affirmative action and group rights. Issues of global justice including human rights and global inequality. GER:DB-Hum, EC-EthicReas 5 units.

UPDATED: IBNE SAFI - NEW article just out - with references

A recent UPDATE with Newest from Rashid...(Also refer's to TV program out Monday and Wednesday week of 26 July 2010):

Some more facts…..Here, you have mentioned three soft links of info on House of Fear i.e of flipcart, rediff books Hungry Reader...There are a few another link which may be referred here:

Hindustan Times dot com here -- this article is written on Feb 05, 2010 by Aasheesh Sherma Amrita Talwar for Hindustan Times.

Soft link of the second article as regard with Ibne Safi’s novels translation is as below. This article was published on Dec 2, 2009 in ExpressIndia.com - GO here

Beside busy with a private TV channel of Karachi for a 01 hour documentary on Ibne Safi, I am preparing a comprehensive list of English/Urdu articles written on Ibne Safi along with web sites, blogs, Audio Clips of Ibne Safi , Video Clips of friends of Ibne Safi, M.Phil/PHd done or being done on Ibne Safi, Books written on Ibne Safi, Books/magazines in which Ibne Safi is mentioned etc. My Goodness! It would be surprising for me and all Ibne Safi lovers that as yet, there are 144 Urdu and 12 English articles written on Ibne Safi. This is unbelievable. All these articles are written with a great affection by different writers/literary personalities/poets/literary critics/university professors etc etc. I will soon include the list at wadi-e-urdu as well as at ibnesafi.info as I always like to share my work for my MURABBI Hanif Sahab.

I also like to inform Ibne Safi lovers that after 40 years, I have traced and contacted Maulana Hippy (Muhammad Hussain Talpur) who was the producer of film Dhamaka written by Ibne Safi. It was released on December 29 , 1974...Maulana Hippy went back to SINDH province where from he came to Karachi in 1970s to start his film carrier. Now, if we will be able to meet him, it would be a big deal.

The quest is on.


See also English article “Ibne Safi - The Master Craftsman” published in Daily Pakistan on July 22, 2010 on 30th death anniversary of Safi Sahab...

---- Another Urdu article “Bayad Ibne Safi” (In Memeory of Ibne Safi) published in a widely circulated magazine of Pakistan Nae Ufaq here

---- To pay tribute to the great prolific mystery writer Janab IBNE SAFI, a one hour complemntary program will be telecasted from GEO TV (Geo News) Karachi time: The date and timings are as under July 26, 2010 on Monday: 4.05 PM to 5.00 PM
Repeat Telecast: July 28: Wednesday: 11.05 PM - 12.00 PM - In this program you will have the opportunity to see & hear members of Ibne Safi's family along with some other (celebrities and dignitaries).


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Credit for the portrait of Ibn-e-Safi goes to the official home page

Again, for ongoing official information related to the work of Ibne Safi, we refer you to the family-approved Website:

IBNE SAFI. (1928-1980)

GO here

SEE a few "Notes & Tid-Bits" from the Ibne Safi Official Site at end of this post (such as Ibne Safi's skill with poetry and a little on Consensus Literature) with a few other related references.

Rashid Ashraf Sahib who wrote the following article also just sent this comment to oneheartforpeace (See an earlier article this year - under blog archive for April: Saturday, April 24, 2010 "Updated: Ibn-e-SAFI reviewed upon occasion of 1st English translation")

Dear Nash!

I have written a fresh article on Ibne Safi which was published in Daily Business Recorder, Pakistan on June 19, 2010. Here is the link:


It (was meant) to be published on July 26, 2010 on the occasion of 30th anniversary of Ibne Safi Sahab, however, for some particular reason, editor of the newspaper decided to publish a little earlier.

The third (to) last paragraph is of immense significance as this request was not made by anyone before this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ibne Safi - a great fiction-writer By RASHID ASHRAF for WEEKEND MAGAZINE (June 19 2010): There was a time when people wrote a literary piece and then ascribed it to someone whom they held in high esteem or out of love, admiration, reverence or some other strong sentiment. There could be tens of hundreds of such Urdu writers who can ascribe their writings to one who taught them to write that is undoubtedly fully none other than Asia's greatest mystery writer Ibne Safi.

Coincidentally Ibne Safi's date of birth and date of death falls on July 26. Ibne Safi, was born in Allahabad on July 26, 1928. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Agra University and started his first job at 'Nikhat Publications' as an Editor in the poetry department, in 1948.

He began writing detective stories in January 1952 in the monthly 'Nikhat', naming the series 'Jasoosi Dunya' and the same year, he migrated to Pakistan. Ibne Safi created the Imran Series in 1955 when he settled in Karachi, where he lived until pancreatic cancer caused his death in 1980 on July 26, that was also his 52nd birthday...

Ibne Safi was the successful pioneer of the mystery genre in Urdu literature. He was an immensely well-read man. His thorough study of English, Urdu and Persian literature enabled him to create his own unique style of captivating story-telling. He blended mystery with quality humour, espionage, law enforcement, credible science fiction, thrilling adventure and fabulous drama. His creative mind imagined and foresaw scientific and technological inventions like robot, laser beam, cloning etc. He then convincingly merged these inventions into his plots with equal skill in fiction-writing.

His understanding of the human nature gave his characters a living, breathing existence of its own kind. Some of his characters shyly displayed their weaknesses and flaunted their strengths, whereas others worked hard to unsuccessfully conceal them. That was the master craftsman, Ibne Safi.

His name is familiar to generations of readers in Pakistan. So are the names of his characters, Colonel Faridi, Captain Hameed and Ali Imran. As a boy, Ibne Safi grew up reading Tilism-e-Hoshruba. As an adult, he created a magical universe of his own.

A pioneer in the field of detective fiction in Urdu, he wrote 245 books at an astonishing rate of two books a month. His place in Urdu literature was recognised by Maulvi Abdul Haq (Baba-e-Urdu), Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan (Nuclear Scientist/Mohsin-e-Pakistan), Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's Chairman I.H Usmani, Pir Ali Muhammad Rashidi, Mir Ali Ahmed Talpur, Dr Abulkhair Kashfi, Professor Majnoon Gorakhpuri, Professor Muhammad Hasan Askari, Khawaja Nazim Uddin (Second Governor General of Pakistan), Mushtaq Ahmed Qureshi (Former Finance/Joint Secretary APNS), Miraj Rasool, Munir Hussain (Cricket Commentator), Raees Amrohvi, John Alia, Shair Lakhnavi, Professor Sarshar Siddiqui, Obaid Ullah Baig (Kasooti Fame), Writer/ Dramatist Kamal Ahmed Rizvi (Allan of Alif Noon), Daily Hurriyat's Columnist Nassar Ullah Khan, Dr Aslam Farrukhi, Amjad Islam Amjad, Qazi Akhtar Jonagari, Indian poet Zubair Rizvi, Indian Poet/lyricist Javed Akhtar, the Sahitya Academy president Dr Gopi Chand Narang etc.

He had tremendous flair and sophistication, says Indian Poet/lyricist Javed Akhtar. "Ibne Safi's novels created an imaginary city that could have been the San Francisco of the 50s in India. His penchant for villains with striking names like Gerald Shastri and Sang Hi taught me the importance of creating larger-than life characters such as Gabbar and Mogambo as a scriptwriter."

The Sahitya Academy president Dr Gopi Chand Narang questioned why 'Jasoosi Adab' is not considered literature and if it is not literature then why the word 'Adab' (literature) is attached to it, during such seminars. He said that Ibne Safi was published in Devanagari and Bengali as well, and rather than ignoring his works, there is need to change our own attitude.

Ibne Safi was also a poet. He used to write poems under the pen name of "Asrar Narvi". He wrote in various genres of Urdu poetry, such as Hamd, Naat, Manqabat, Marsia, Ghazal and Nazm. His collection of poetry, Mata-e Qalb-o-Nazar (Urdu: The Assest of Heart & Sight), remains unpublished. It would be a delightful news for his admirers and lovers that the collection of his poetry is being published by his son Ahmad Safi.

Writer Syed N. Hussaini commended about the Maestro, "One of Ibn-e-Safi's distinguished writing qualities includes formation and development of characters. He has established characters in such a fashion that they appear to be real and materialised. Imran Series has a range of diverse, colourful, and sentient characters. His lead characters, Colonel Ahmad Kamal Faridi and Ali Imran, M.Sc, P.H.D., Oxon, were scholarly, celibate and sober. Endowed with exceptional physical strength, quick reflexes and great survival skills, they were master spies, brilliant detectives and top-of-the-line law-enforcement officers. They were of immaculate character, utterly incorruptible. Colonel Faridi and Ali Imran, both were fabulously rich with inherited and earned wealth, as well. Ibne Safi knew how to back up the credibility of his characters.

In the late 50's, starting with "Dilchasp Hadsa," Ibne Safi launched an epic adventure to be completed in three books ending with "Darh Matwalay." After writing two books of this thrilling series, he had a nervous breakdown, an episode of schizophrenia. He was out of his work for about three years but, when he came back, he did so with a big hit masterpiece "Dairh Matwalay". It was not only an immense success but a witness to the strength of Ibne Safi's mind. With flawless continuity, "Dairh Matwalay" brought the three-book adventure to its climatic conclusion with no literary signs of the fact that the writer was absent from the scene for three years. A poster of 1963 of Daily Hurriyat announced the came back of Ibne Safi with the words: "app ka mehboob musanif app kay liye deewangi kay sehra say wapas aa gaya hai" (Your beloved writer has arrived back for you from the desert of insanity)

Ibne Safi had a great ability to read and analyse the values prevalent in society and momentum of changes that would occur. In this context, foreword of novel 'Sitaron Ki Cheekhain', (Jasoosi Dunya-92) (written in 1964) may be referred where, in response to a letter, he stated that perda (veil) was supposed to be the icon of dignity, however nowadays, it is antiquated and becomes a symbol of less privileged. Ibne Safi forecasted that hardly after 10 years (ie in 1974), these types of social values will vanish. Needless to say that his apprehensions were proved with the passage of time.

A few forewords of his novels are remarkably interesting. In the foreword of 'Sehmi hoi Lerki' (Jasoosi Dunya-96), a telephone operator from the city of Tando Adam, Sindh declared the said novel a trash as he thought that the name of the novel does not match with its plot. In response, Safi sahib showed his wit while saying "Yar Tando Admi sahib, khud hi likh ker perh liya karo".

Books written by Ibne Safi are considered an intrinsic part of the rich Urdu literature. Ibne Safi wrote impeccable, accurate, authentic, modern, industrial-age Urdu proving that it can be done while following all the rules of the language. He standardised Urdu to a level that excerpts from his works could be considered as a template to teach Urdu prose-writing at the universities.

How good was Ibne Safi for intellectual stimulation? Every now and then, in his work, one finds profound philosophical insights. Critics have noted that he had it in him to write more exalted prose. But the imperative of earning his livelihood restricted his range and confined him to a formula. Ibne Safi was the most prolific Urdu novelist making history with 245 titles of Jasoosi Dunya and Imran Series to his credit.

Ibne Safi fans would be delighted to know that the English versions of two of his novels of Imran Series have been published by Random House, New Dehli and will soon be available in Pakistan. Random House has initially selected two novels of Imran series ie House of Fear (Khofnak Imarat) and Shootout in Rocks (Chatanoon Main Fire). In addition to that, about eight Hindi Editions of Ibne Safi's Jasoosi Dunya have also been published by Harper Collins, India.

It would certainly be a befitting, though posthumous adoption and acknowledgement of the stature of this prolific writer that the higher authorities of City District Government of Karachi dedicate any one of the roads, bridge/flyover or building of this city in the name of Ibne Safi. It is also suggested that the higher-ups of Karachi University start conducting M.Phil and PhD works on this great writer so as to unravel the hidden characteristics of detective story writing, an art, which holds a significant place in rest of the World's literature.

Apart from the official site ibnesafi.info CLICK here a new non-commercial web site wadi-e-urdu.com CLICK here has been launched in 2009 which contains lots of rare material and information pertaining to Ibne Safi.

Ibne Safi was a true genius, gave new dimensions to art of writing suspense novels. I think the farewell salute I could give to the maestro is this: "Life is only action and reaction. The rationalizations are added later." (Edlava - Imran Series-78).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2010


Note that although the new non-commercial site mentioned above by Rashid Sb is not yet official - there are quite a few videos (YouTube) and some interesting-looking documents in URDU, etc. web site wadi-e-urdu.com CLICK here Do you recognize anyone?

SEE Also and Especially: Ibne Safi Website
www.compast.com/ibnesafi/ CLICK here

The following little "Notes & Tid-Bits" (including poem at end) are from the Official Ibne Safi Site - Find more at the family's Official Ibne Safi Website:

Photo of Khurram Ali Shafique

See, particularly, the compelling idea of Consensus Literature by going to end of home page on official site and looking in right column. Ibne Safi has been named the "pioneer" of this genre by Khurram Ali Shafique, an historian, educationist, playwright and much more. ( Find selections from Shafique Sahib's work on Consensus in Urdu script on the Official site. ) See also under English essays on official site's home page the article in English "Literature for the Thrill-Seeker's Literati" also by Shafique Sahib.

Here are ample quotes from another "official" work:
"The Writer Who Sold More Than Agatha Christie" By Khaled Ahmed (Monthly The Herald, February 1983)

In an interview about crime fiction, Dame Agatha Christie once surprised her audience by naming an obscure Asian writer who had written more and sold more than her. Pakistan's early Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin kept a shelf of his novels for 'intellectual entertainment'.

Agatha Christie died in 1976 at the age of 77, after 80 novels and a record 3 million sales. Ibne Safi died in 1980 at the age of 52 after having written more than 200 novels sold by fake writers and pirates in seven languages in India and Pakistan...

He was ten years old...when he read his first thriller, Qaisi Rampuri’s Talismi Fawwara and was fired by the urge to write...His other source of inspiration was Talism-e-Hoshruba, the mammoth treasury of Urdu fable, which he read regularly throughout his life and which gave him the elegant style so admired by his readers...

The hero of Ibne-Safi's second series is Imran...a maddening mixture of traits... His background is uncertain...except that he has been driven into rebellion by a despotic father. He (Imran) is sharp, he is stupid; he is devilishly quick, he is plodding; he is fearless, he is a coward; he is tender...He went to London to become a doctor but received training in detection instead. His father considers him a good-for-nothing, criminals think him a police informer. But he is a patriot, a nemesis of the underworld and the espionage networks. He loves make-up and disguise, is a spendthrift, fond of horseplay, constantly munching on a chewing gum. He is the most feared X-2...but he is in fact an officer of the Foreign Office. In the former guise everyone is scared of him and wants to know his real identity; in the latter guise he is made fun of and considered a dumb bureaucrat.

Imran is trained by a Chinese, Sung Hee, in the martial arts...Julia, a Swiss beauty, is Imran’s frequent aide (who)...she finds the urge to explode his X-2 identity irresistible. But she always fails; Imran is too clever behind his dumb facade. Fayyaz is the local police inspector who gets all his good cases solved through Imran but hates him...Theresa, the Bumble-Bee (Queen Bee?) of Bohemia, the queen of the underworld who loves Imran as X-2 and wants him to join her gang.

...Ibne Safi's...Faridi is a professional like Perry Mason, not terribly forensic but definitely based on the Holmesian principle, reasoning things out in an armchair before taking action. Once action is indicated, he leaves Perry Mason and Holmes behind. Here Ibne Safi is not following the intellectual, non-action-oriented example of Doyle and Gardner; he follows the Anglo-Chinese writer Leslie Charteris, creator of the: 'Saint'. The elegance and suppleness of Faridi is that of the Saint ...Then, in respect of style, Ibne Safi rejects the slang of Cheyney and favours the almost literary excellence of Charteris.

...The women too are there but the liaisons are all toned down and there are no torrid scenes...

...It would be in order here to trace the limitations of Ibne Safi. He took the outlandish background from Rider Haggard and Edgar Wallace with the result that his backdrops are more like Talism-e-Hoshruba than contemporary detective fiction. He has definitely been impressed by Agatha Christie’s plots and her easy, flowing style but not her subtle emphasis on the locales. He has followed Gardner's cue on characterisation and eschewed the detailed inner scrutiny of Chase or even Dorothy L. Sayers...His heroes accepted transgressions only to the extent the Saint did; they were all morally immaculate, sexually virginal. Yet, he was no pastiche-writer. His humour and his style are native to him. He wrote a wonderfully elegant but fluid Urdu, somewhat like Manto, totally organic to what he wanted to describe.

...for 30 years (he wrote) two books a month until till he broke down in 1960, like Edgar Wallace and Dorothy L. Sayers...

Ibne Safi is truly the only real bestseller in Urdu. His novels have been translated into six languages of India and have sold more than any other novel... he created new cultural heroes, built his own microcosm of fiction that readers willingly accepted. He introduced humour into the rather serious world of detective fiction. And, above all, he wrote an Urdu style rarely seen in popular fiction."
END (of excerpts from essay By Khaled Ahmed)

FEEDBACK to the Official site:
Ibn-e-Safi sahib ki Official website www.compast.com/ibnesafi/feedback.htm
arsay say internet per na dastiyab thi....Bus ARCHIVE.COM per wo mehfooz thi....Laikin uska address itna lamba hua ...

"Ibne Safi was basically a poet. He used to write poems under the pen name of “Asrar Narvi”. He has created various Hamd, Naat, Manqabat, Marsia, Ghazals, and Nazms. His collection of poetry, Mata-e Qalb-o-Nazar, remains unpublished."

Seeking a Self-Prescription for 'Equanimity' Part One

NOTE on another post: For friends of Ibne Safi, plz see NEW post near this one. For other topics, plz peruse the lower right column for Blog Archive and check per month.

The Calm Sea by Gustave Courbet (See notes on this painting at end of this post)

This unrefined posting is a vulnerable (a bit scary) effort to "work on self" - and to let others know in case a conversation would help others as well or they might add to the following? I like the sound of the word equanimity best yet use similar words inter-changeably here. Some of us may react to be told by others to seek balance - maybe when younger or maybe much of our lives? Or maybe we tell this to ourselves a lot? Yet, perhaps they say this because they see the need? Maybe finding our own special word to use will help?

Suggestions are welcome from others who recognize the dilemma of seeking and maintaining equilibrium.

Just as I was making this second attempt at such a post and personal effort, a priceless little poetic letter came from a dear friend who will remain un-named here.
(Thank You dear wise friend of such a beautiful soul - what a gift! You are giving me the courage I have needed to make this effort and to do so in this transparent manner!)

Here then are some notes of no particular, planned order as time is lacking for now.
Items here may be paraphrased from others yet merged with some of my own advice to self. Items here in quotes are from a list-serve discussion I found by "accident" a few days ago on The Enneagram # Four (which I here admit I am.) For more on the Enneagram, there's a wealth of material available by easy search online or bookstore. You will also find two posts with "Pearl" in the title on this site. Look at May and maybe early June in Blog Archives lower Right Column. (Earlier, I was looking at healing techniques from The Fourth Way discussions on equilibrium but since that is mostly unfamiliar to me, I felt that I should wait on that approach. However, there appears to be some solid help in that direction.)

I confess here that a #FOUR is encouraged by some Enneagram perspectives to "head toward the healthy #ONE so I do look for them yet like healthy fours they are often found in their less developed forms and instead more on the compulsive end. So, I must still keep looking because:

"Fours learn to address emotional realities rather than indulging in them. It's remarkable how the objective/subjective duality seems to be overcome with the line between four and one."

Someone mentioned in this enneagram discussion: "Several of my favorite creative people ever to live were Fours, including Marcel Proust (novelist), Fredric Chopin (composer), Ingmar Bergman (director), etc. These people I cited were all prolific creators with huge outputs, and created large bodies of high quality work, because they were able to see that anything which cannot be expressed or shared has no bearing on a reality beyond the self."

One wise soul said that for some of us (emotional, passionate and creative/artistic types?) we need to be able to have the "capacity to stand in emotion and not invite any more in, not get stuck in any emotion, not push our emotions at others. To perhaps be merely a conduit?"

In order to be effective truth must penetrate like an arrow - and that is likely to hurt. 'Posthumous Pieces' by Wei Wu Wei

A body is said to be in equilibrium when it is at rest or continues to be in steady linear motion - according to Newton's second law of motion.

Breathing Helps Equilibrium: "Teachings of philosophic value encourage the attainment of a state of balance and harmony."

I found these gems and more to follow:

"Equanimity is the unattached awareness of one's experience as a result of perceiving the impermanence of momentary reality. It is a peace of mind and abiding calmness that cannot be shaken by any grade of either fortunate or unfortunate circumstance."

I seek more consciously more calmness lately as during my most challenging moments in life. Yet for less challenging and sometimes easily joyful portions of my days, nights, moments and relationships, I know I can't substitute "numbing out" or escape now in my hardest "exams". So, I am remembering in my present difficulties not to "train away" or make impossible joy.

The Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying something like this:

Whenever possible be kind - kindness is always possible. (and this includes to ourselves.)


** More on the Painting "The Calm Sea" : In Gustave Courbet's The Calm Sea (1869), the view of calm waters is seen from the coastline at Trouville. It demonstrates the fresh color quality and careful observation associated with plein air painting.
Picture of a seascape by Gustave Courbet, The Calm Sea. Gustave Courbet's The Calm Sea is an oil on canvas (23-1/2 x 28-3/8 inches) that is on display at
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

With his easel set up on the shore, Courbet was able to record the light and the moving clouds over the serene sea. The result is a work that evokes atmospheric sensation rather than detailed observation.