The Suffering Goes On and On

[The lies will continue to enslave us, until we stop letting them pass.  If we accept the lies that we know are wrong then they become the same as the truth.  SEE: Gaza Is Our Guernica The “civilized world” accepts, in paralytic mute silence, the malevolent abuse that Israel heaps upon all the Palestinian people as state policy, acceptable state terrorism.  We would not accept this treatment for any other people–the wholesale destruction of most of their homes, accompanied by a blockade of all building supplies…at the onset of winter!  The Western world deserves the judgment of Hell’s worst punishment for endorsing this sick policy.]

The Suffering Goes On and On

By Ron Forthofer

 

6gaza_horizon_smoke.jpg
Novembert 16, 2009

This past September, the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict issued its report. Richard Goldstone, a South African Justice and a strong supporter of Israel, headed the effort. During the period under investigation, Israeli forces killed over 1400 Palestinians, the majority of whom were defenseless civilians, while 13 Israelis were killed. Although the report was well covered elsewhere, the U.S. corporate media did not give much attention to its findings.

Excerpts from the press release of the report provide an overview:

“Following its 3-month investigation, the four-person Mission concluded that serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel in the context of its military operations in Gaza from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.

The Mission also found that Palestinian armed groups had committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity.

“The report concluded that the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population. The Report states that Israeli acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, and could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed. …”

This report’s findings are consistent with those of other groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as well as testimonies from Israeli soldiers who served in Gaza during the massacre.

The Obama administration dismissed the report, expressing “serious concerns about many recommendations in the report” according to Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the UN. In October, the U.S. opposed a UN Human Rights Council resolution that supported taking the report to the Security Council, and just last week the U.S. also voted against a General Assembly Resolution calling for the report to be sent to the Security Council. These Obama administration’s positions, along with its backtracking on Israeli settlements, again make it clear that the U.S. is not an honest broker in peace negotiations involving Israel.

Additionally, last week the U.S. House of Representatives considered a resolution calling for President Obama to continue his opposition to the Goldstone report. Despite Judge Goldstone’s documentation that the resolution was almost entirely based on falsehoods and misrepresentations, 344 members (including the seven Colorado representatives) still voted in favor of it.

Lost in all these maneuvers to sidetrack the Goldstone report is the fact that the Israeli attack was unnecessary. A ceasefire had effectively ended rocket firing into Israel for over four months until Israel broke the ceasfire in early November, 2008. After the ceasefire ended in mid-December, Hamas eventually offered a new ceasefire under the conditions that Israel would lift the siege on Gaza and stop its attacks. Israel’s response was to initiate its long-planned attack.

Also overshadowed in the dispute about the Goldstone report is the siege of Gaza that continues today. Eleven months before the Israeli attack, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner general for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, wrote: “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and – some would say – encouragement of the international community.” The situation she described has greatly worsened since Israel’s attack. Israel has refused to allow material for rebuilding homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, civil administration buildings, sanitation facilities, etc. into Gaza. There is also a critical shortage of food, clean water and medicine. Unfortunately, the U.S. and Europe, leaders of the so-called civilized world, are active partners in this crime against humanity. Through their silence, the U.S. corporate media also abet this crime.

Please inform your elected representatives of your dismay at their support for a cover-up of war crimes. As supporters of human rights and justice for all, we can also join the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (http://www.bdsmovement.net/) to apply pressure on Israel akin to the movement against South African apartheid. Locally, please join the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (303-444-6981).

The fire is spreading

The fire is spreading

Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

Some six months ago I wrote a critique of the media on these pages for not abiding by professional journalistic ethics in its coverage of the military action in Malakand. Among other things, I emphasised how the daily Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press releases were printed almost word for word without independent source verification (or a mention that no such source existed).

It is perhaps not surprising that the same exercise is being repeated now with Operation Rah-e-Nijat. But it is a damning indictment of those who claim to be committed to freedom of information and other principles of media democracy all the same. Through the course of this year, as the state’s long-standing policy of patronising religious militancy has unravelled in the face of increasing pressure from Washington, the media has answered the call of the powers-that-be to be loyal to the “greater national interest.” It is perhaps considered by and by that protecting the “greater national interest” requires the sacrifice of basic journalistic principles.

For a few days recently some media personalities made hay about restrictions on media coverage of “terrorism” which apparently all parliamentary parties deemed necessary. The expected furore never came to pass, and it has recently been reported that most media outlets have voluntarily agreed to a code of conduct vis-a-vis what can be shown on live TV and what cannot. No democratic government should ever employ draconian measures against the media. On this occasion, however, it appears to make sense that a confrontation was avoided by the media’s own admission that showing mutilated bodies strewn around bomb sites is not beneficial to the public interest. But in general the media’s practice of self-censorship is motivated rarely by public-interest concerns.

The media is a commercial entity and therefore can always be expected to cater, first and foremost, to its profit-making needs. In Pakistan the private TV media revolution was welcomed by ordinary people who have historically been fed a surfeit of state ideology via Pakistan Television (PTV). Only a few short years after a glittering christening, however, the private media has proven that the profit-motive can coexist quite well with the ideological agenda that we all thought had been left behind with the state’s monopoly on information.

In recent times the media has clamoured about the imperative of military action in Waziristan while at the same time recovering the familiar narrative of an Indian-Israeli-American conspiracy to deprive Pakistan of its nuclear arsenal and eventually dismember it. It is amazing that these two narratives can go together, but that is exactly how the choreographers behind the scenes would have it. In short, the ideational leap that was first made immediately prior to the Swat operation – that the once loyal jihadi protégés of the state are now its most lethal enemies – is being taken to its logical conclusion; that is, through the insistence that those who claim to be undertaking jihad against the Pakistani state are actually agents of RAW, Mossad and the CIA.

The “foreign hand” theory is back in a big way, and the media is proving to be more loyal than the king in propagating it far and wide. Caches of arms captured in high-profile operations read “Made in India.” Newspaper headlines accuse the “foreign hand” of constructing special aircraft to storm our nuclear installations. In a very conspicuous parallel development, the Afghan Taliban have reportedly dissociated themselves with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claiming that real warriors of Islam never target Muslim innocents. This fits the media narrative that has now cast away all pretensions in making a clear distinction between genuine holy warriors and “enemy” agents masquerading as jihadis. The former are essential to the security of “Islam,” and therefore the Pakistani state, whereas the latter are out to malign Islam and wipe Pakistan off the map.

The right-wingers in the media, educational institutions and within the state are of course aided in drumming up nationalist hysteria by the increasingly conspicuous man-management that Washington insists upon. It is a fact that there has been an influx of American “security men” into Islamabad and other cities. It was widely reported that Americans completed deserted their positions on the Pakistani-Afghan border as soon as the South Waziristan operation started. Then there is the recently published story in The New Yorker by Seymour Hersh rehashing the tired theme of Pakistani nukes’ safety.

Notwithstanding the disastrous role that American imperialism has played, and continues to play, in the wider region, it is crucial to understand why anti-Americanism (and its anti-India corollary) is being cultivated by the media at the present time. The goal is not to facilitate democratisation or foster genuine anti-imperialist sensibilities; the media’s harping on about America and India directly aids the security establishment’s attempts to paper over the contradictions that have erupted in recent times to reassert its strategic vision and its control over state affairs.

American forces must leave Afghanistan and American control over policymaking in Pakistan must be resisted. But the same security establishment and right-wing media that got into bed with the Americans in the first place some 30 years ago are part of the problem, and are not the heroic defenders of the people that they claim to be.

As the operation in South Waziristan is concluded, to great media fanfare, the people of Pakistan will be no closer to lasting peace than they were before the “mother of all operations” was started. In fact, very little appears to have changed. Change will only happen if and when we undertake an exercise in collective introspection and accept that the Frankenstein that we have created cannot be understood, and therefore tamed, by engaging in unaccountable military operations in one part of the country after another.

This is not a “war” against the proverbial “foreign hand,” or even, as the liberals would have it, against the “extremists.” After all, those who blow themselves up are products of this society and the ideas that circulate freely within it. The real battle must be waged against the obsolete and poisonous ideas that litter our textbooks and the hyper-nationalist propaganda that is spewed out by those who claim to be providing us with unadulterated facts. Underlying all of this is a gory struggle for power in which all players invoke state sovereignty and willingly expend human lives in the name of this sovereignty.

If we are willing to get to the heart of the matter, there may yet be hope that we can build a self-respecting nation on the basis of a new social contract. Such a nation can resist Empire, and make friends with its neighbours. If we persist with fire-fighting, the fire will only spread further.

The writer teaches colonial history at Quaid-e-Azam University and is affiliated with People’s Rights Movement.

Email: amajid@comsats. net.pk

TTP claims ISI headquarters bombing

TTP claims ISI headquarters bombing

PESHAWAR: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the regional headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the city.

Qari Hussain, a top commander of the TTP, phoned reporters to claim responsibility for the suicide bombing that targeted the ISI regional headquarters off the busy Khyber Road in the Cantonment area.

Qari Hussain, cousin of the TTP head Hakimullah Mahsud and known as the trainer of suicide bombers, threatened further attacks against the security forces and law-enforcement agencies.

He said the suicide bombings and other attacks would be carried out and there would be no letup in this campaign. In the past, Qari Hussain, other TTP commanders and spokesmen have been saying that they would continue fighting and attacking the security forces and the government installations as long Pakistan remained an ally of the US.

The TTP did not claim responsibility for the recent spate of attacks in markets and other public places in Peshawar and Charsadda. Rather, leaflets were issued in the name of the TTP denying its involvement in the bombings at public places and blaming the country’s intelligence agencies for these attacks. The TTP spokesman Azam Tariq even blamed the US private security firm, Blackwater, now renamed Xe, for the bombings in bazaars.

Education Best Defense Against Ideology Based on False Teachings

[Teach the Pashtun boys how to read so that they may read the Quran for themselves.]

Illiteracy behind extremism: Taseer

THE outgoing British High Commissioner in Pakistan Robert Brinkley called on Punjab Governor Salman Taseer at the Governor’s House on Sunday.

Mr and Mrs Taseer hosted a farewell luncheon in honour of Mr Robert Brinkley and his wife Ms Marry. Lauding the services of Mr Robert Brinkley for strengthening relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom, the governor said he had significantly contributed to promoting the bilateral cooperation in the fields of commerce and industry. He expressed hope that the relations would further flourish in future.

The governor hailed the role of the UK for supporting Pakistan at the forum of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan. He also appreciated the huge financial assistance from the UK in the development sector of country for next four years. He said the UK should support Pakistan in the fields of education, science, technology and agriculture to strengthen the economy of the country. He said the main cause of extremism in the country was illiteracy and the government was taking all possible measures for the development of education sector.

Lauding the culture and traditions of the country, Mr Brinkley said Pakistanis were a peaceful loving nation and added that he enjoyed his stay in the country. He said that more than one million Pakistanis living in the UK served as a bridge between the two countries and they made great contributions to the British society as well as economy.

The Faithful Brave Certain Danger to Denounce Wahabbi Terrorists

[Here is the answer to this war and a peaceful resolution for all mankind–confront the pretenders who give faith a bad name.]

Taliban under fire at Raiwind gathering

Participants vow to make Pakistan cradle of peace

Monday, November 16, 2009
RAIWIND: Inayatullah Khan sits on a dusty rug and prepares to pray at Pakistan’s biggest religious gathering of 400,000 Muslims in Raiwind, cursing the Taliban for their unholy crusade against humanity.

Khan travelled all the way from South Waziristan to take part in the four-day event, one of the world’s largest Islamic gatherings, in Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore.A resident of Kanigurram, a former Taliban hub that the military says it has captured during its ongoing five-week offensive in the northwest, Khan, 50, accused the Taliban of straying from the path of God and butchering Muslims.

“They call those who refuse to follow their brand of Islam infidels, not knowing they are inviting the wrath of Allah the Almighty by killing Muslims, which I call an unholy crusade,” Khan said.

A Muslim whose faith is important enough to make an arduous three-day journey and sleep in a tent for four days, Khan invited the Taliban “to join us in spreading Islam’s eternal message of love, affection and peace”. The Thursday-Sunday gathering in Raiwind is being held under tight security due to paced up attacks that have swept the country killing more than 2,500 people in two years.

Contingents of police guard the single-carriage road, lined by eucalyptus trees, that links Raiwind with Lahore.“Despite having to sleep under tents in cold and inhospitable weather, there is no let-up in our resolve to make this country a cradle of peace, a country free of suicide attacks and explosions,” Khan said.

Faced with near-daily attacks, concentrated most heavily in the northwest, many mourn the mounting civilian toll from bombings, often targeting market places, but lace their comments with pervasive anti-American fears.

“Our hearts bleed for the hundreds of innocent people who have lost their lives and our security officials who are being killed by the Taliban,” said Mohammad Farooq, a resident of Tank, where some of the tens of thousands displaced by fighting in South Waziristan have sought shelter.

“The Taliban are enemies of Islam and humanity and advance only an American and Indian agenda – to destabilise Pakistan,” said Farhan Hamad Khan, who had come from Dera Ismail Khan, where many other refugees are also living.

When the prayer leader gave the call to prayer, people rushed towards hundreds of temporary washrooms to make their ablutions.As Muhammad Azhar, an Islamabad-based chartered accountant, waited his turn, he remembered how Pakistan’s ‘icon of democracy’ Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and suicide attack in 2007.

“Her killers still roam around scot-free,” said the bearded Azhar. “No religion, including Islam, allows the killing of humans. We need to hold gatherings like this one and inculcate in our people a true spirit of Islam,” he added. The prayer leader in his Friday sermon addressed the same issue. “A stern punishment awaits all those who refuse to follow commandments of Allah the Almighty,” he said into a pin-drop silence among the avid masses.

Time to Clean-Out Rats Nest in Bara

Adeel wants action in Peshawar outskirts

PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) Senior Vice-President and Senator Haji Adeel has stressed the need for conducting a military operation in the tribal areas bordering Peshawar.

Talking to the media here on Sunday, Adeel said unless the military operation was launched in the tribal areas located in the suburbs of Peshawar, the incidents of bomb blasts in the provincial metropolis could not be stopped.

He said security forces and police were rendering sacrifices for the safety and security of dwellers of the city, but for the complete stoppage of such practice, a crack down was a must. Adeel said the suicide bomber, who exploded himself at the Pistakhara Chowk had arrived from the adjacent Bara area of Khyber Agency and his target was some populated area in Peshawar Saddar.

Adeel also paid tribute to the police officials, who embraced martyrdom by blocking the entry of the suicide bomber into the city. He said the police officials were effectively maintaining law and order in the city, but the problem was that they did not have any access to the adjacent tribal areas. He also suggested merger of Fata into the NWFP, as a result of which, administrative measures would be taken effectively and security forces could nab the culprits.

Gen. Beg Claims US Helicopter Flew Hakeemullah to Safety

US shifted TTP leaders to Afghanistan: Beg

LAHORE: General (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg has alleged that the US has shifted Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud and the other Taliban leadership to Afghanistan.

In an interview, Aslam Beg said when the Pakistan Army started the operation in South Waziristan, a helicopter flew from the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan and shifted Hakimullah Mehsud and other militants to Afghanistan.

He said Hakimullah Mehsud and other militant commanders were present in Afghanistan. He alleged that the US was backing the militants fighting against the Pakistan Army in South Waziristan Agency.

He said that the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India wanted to detach the tribal areas from Pakistan but it did not succeed in its designs. About the current wave of terrorism in the country, especially in Peshawar, he said these incidents could be a reaction to the Waziristan operation but possibilities of the US and other foreign actors’ involvement could not be ruled out.

Responding to a question about the operation Rah-e-Nijat, he said the people were talking about the difficulties in the operation and the possibility that the Army could be trapped in the area but due to an effective strategy, the military succeeded in clearing the area of the militants within a month and the remaining task would be completed soon.

About the US efforts in Afghanistan, he said the US could neither succeed in Afghanistan nor could get a safe exit from the Afghan soil until it corrected its attitude with the Pakistan Army. Aslam Beg said only the Pakistan Army and the Taliban could give a safe exit to the US from Afghanistan. About the military action in Balochistan, he said there was no need for a military operation in the province.