Archive for November, 2008

The United Nations’ Darkest Day

November 30, 2008

By Robert Thompson | Axis of Logic, Nov 27, 2008

This Saturday, 29th November, is the sixty-first anniversary of the darkest day in the history of the then still youthful United Nations.   The Organisation then member states carelessly breached the provisions of the Charter by voting in favour of a partition of Palestine without any attempt at asking the population what it wished to have as a future, after the British Empire wished to give up its mandate due to a general desire on the part of the government headed by Clement Atlee to decolonise, cut expenses and end the terrorism of the Zionist gangs, Irgun Zwai Leumi, the Strern Gang and Haganah. The British Empire had been bled dry by the cost incurred for the supply of very expensive arms from the USA manufacturers before their country finally joined in the Second World War half-way through. Also the cost in British lives and injuries at the hands of the terrorists was a strong argument in favour of leaving what had become a hell-hole not only for the indigenous people but also for the British before, during and after the War, as a result of the attrocities committed by these de facto allies of the Nazis.


For those who do not understand the extent of the injustice of the Proposition for which the United Nations then voted, the Zionist occupied land in Palestine was approximately 7% and that occupied by indigenous Palestinians some 93%, whereas, apart from the proposal to make Jerusalem and its immediate neighbourhood into an international area, the land was attributed almost equally between the indigenous people and the incoming Zionists, with the latter being given areas largely occupied by the former, especially in the centre and in the south, including the Naqab (or in Hebrew Negev) giving access to the Gulf of Aqaba.

We should all condemn this terrible breach of justice, as well as of their Charter, by the United Nations and work towards the establishment in all of Palestine of a single democratic state, where all those driven out by force in 1947-1948 (and their descendants) can, as the United Nations did later resolve, return and recover their homes and lands, and where full citizenship rights do not depend on one’s belonging to any specific religious group.

© Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com

The Corruption That Makes Unpeople Of An Entire Nation

November 30, 2008

By John Pilger | Information Clearing House, Nov 27, 2008

I went to the Houses of Parliament on 22 October to join a disconsolate group of shivering people who had arrived from a faraway tropical place and were being prevented from entering the Public Gallery to hear their fate. This was not headline news; the BBC reporter seemed almost embarrassed. Crimes of such magnitude are not news when they are ours, and neither is injustice or corruption at the apex of British power.

Lizette Talatte was there, her tiny frail self swallowed by the cavernous stone grey of Westminster Hall. I first saw her in a Colonial Office film from the 1950s which described her homeland, the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, as a paradise long settled by people “born and brought up in conditions most tranquil and benign”. Lizette was then 14 years old. She remembers the producer saying to her and her friends, “Keep smiling, girls!” When we met in Mauritius, four years ago, she said: “We didn’t need to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in Diego Garcia. My great-grandmother was born there, and I made six children there. Maybe only the English can make a film that showed we were an established community, then deny their own evidence and invent the lie that we were transient workers.”

During the 1960s and 1970s British governments, Labour and Tory, tricked and expelled the entire population of the Chagos Archipelago, more than 2,000 British citizens, so that Diego Garcia could be given to the United States as the site for a military base. It was an act of mass kidnapping carried out in high secrecy. As unclassified official files now show, Foreign Office officials conspired to lie, coaching each other to “maintain” and “argue” the “fiction” that the Chagossians existed only as a “floating population”. On 28 July 1965, a senior Foreign Office official, T C D Jerrom, wrote to the British representative at the United Nations, instructing him to lie to the General Assembly that the Chagos Archipelago was “uninhabited when the United Kingdom government first acquired it”. Nine years later, the Ministry of Defence went further, lying that “there is nothing in our files about inhabitants [of the Chagos] or about an evacuation”.

“To get us out of our homes,” Lizette told me, “they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs. The American soldiers who had arrived to build the base backed several of their big vehicles against a brick shed, and hundreds of dogs were rounded up and imprisoned there, and they gassed them through a tube from the trucks’ exhaust. You could hear them crying. Then they burned them on a pyre, many still alive.”

Lizette and her family were finally forced on to a rusting freighter and made to lie on a cargo of bird fertiliser during a voyage, through stormy seas, to the slums of Port Louis, Mauritius. Within months, she had lost Jollice, aged eight, and Regis, aged ten months. “They died of sadness,” she said. “The eight-year-old had seen the horror of what had happened to the dogs. The doctor said he could not treat sadness.”

Since 2000, no fewer than nine high court judgments have described these British government actions as “illegal”, “outrageous” and “repugnant”. One ruling cited Magna Carta, which says no free man can be sent into exile. In desperation, the Blair government used the royal prerogative – the divine right of kings – to circumvent the courts and parliament and to ban the islanders from even visiting the Chagos. When this, too, was overturned by the high court, the government was rescued by the law lords, of whom a majority of one (three to two) found for the government in a scandalously inept, political manner. In the weasel, almost flippant words of Lord Hoffmann, “the right of abode is a creature of the law. The law gives it and the law takes it away.” Forget Magna Carta. Human rights are in the gift of three stooges doing the dirty work of a government, itself lawless.

As the official files show, the Chagos conspiracy and cover-up involved three prime ministers and 13 cabinet ministers, including those who approved “the plan”. But elite corruption is unspeakable in Britain. I know of no work of serious scholarship on this crime against humanity. The honourable exception is the work of the historian Mark Curtis, who describes the Chagossians as “unpeople”.

The reason for this silence is ideological. Courtier commentators and media historians obstruct our view of the recent past, ensuring, as Harold Pinter pointed out in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, that while the “systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought” in Stalinist Russia were well known in the west, the great state crimes of western governments “have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented”.

Typically, the pop historian Tristram Hunt writes in the Observer (23 November): “Nestling in the slipstream of American hegemony served us well in the 20th century. The bonds of culture, religion, language and ideology ensured Britain a postwar economic bailout, a nuclear deterrent and the continuing ability to ‘punch above our weight’ on the world stage. Thanks to US patronage, our story of decolonisation was for us a relatively painless affair…”

Not a word of this drivel hints at the transatlantic elite’s Cold War paranoia, which put us all in mortal danger, or the rapacious Anglo-American wars that continue to claim untold lives. As part of the “bonds” that allow us to “punch above our weight”, the US gave Britain a derisory $14m discount off the price of Polaris nuclear missiles in exchange for the Chagos Islands, whose “painless decolonisation” was etched on Lizette Talatte’s face the other day. Never forget, Lord Hoffmann, that she, too, will die of sadness.

www.johnpilger.com

Mumbai May Derail India-Pakistan Peace Progress

November 30, 2008
Shuja Nawaz | The Washington Post, Nov 29, 2008

Even as the civilian death toll of the Mumbai attacks climbs, fallout from these terrorist actions threatens thawing relations between India and Pakistan.

The danger signals are already evident, as first reactions from the Indian government tended to blame “foreign” intervention, a code word for Pakistan. However, the prompt response from the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi indicates a willingness to stem the ratcheting of tensions between the two rival states.

Pakistan will send the head of its Inter Services Intelligence, Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, to India to help in the investigation. Referring to Lashkar-e-Tayaba, the group whose tactics in the past resemble those employed in the Mumbai attacks, Qureshi told an Indian press conference “we have no patience for such organizations” in Pakistan.

Pakistani civil society has been generally quiet in attacking religious extremism. Neither the government nor the military can successfully proceed against terrorism without public support. Yet, there are signs of hope. President Asif Ali Zardari recently offered to open up borders with India for visa-free travel and to eschew a first nuclear strike. Earlier this week, the Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan met in Islamabad and agreed to begin cooperating against terrorism and to bring the Federal Bureau of Investigations of Pakistan and the Central Bureau of Investigation of India in close contact to that end.

But the Mumbai attacks and India’s response to them could derail the peace process — presumably what the militants would want — particularly if India’s leaders attempt to tie homegrown militants to Pakistan-based Islamist groups or the Pakistani state.

India is preparing for a general election in 2009, which may account for tough talk by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Moreover, focusing on possible involvement of foreign groups in the Mumbai attacks may distract attention from the urgent need to resolve the underling issues of the Indian Muslim community that foster militancy among its youth.

Four out of every 10 Muslims in India’s cities — and three out of 10 in the countryside — are living below the poverty line, according to the government-sponsored Sachar Commission Report of November 2006. One third of villages in India with a majority Muslim population do not have any educational institutions at all. As a result, Indian Muslims have not been able to benefit from the development and explosive growth of India’s economy in recent years.

Economic and political deprivation may have spawned the Indian Mujahideen movement and its offshoot, the Students Islamic Movement of India. Those groups, in turn, may have had links to the extremist Lashkar-e-Tayyaba of Pakistan and its affiliate the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami of Bangladesh (HUJI). The tactics of the Mumbai attacks resemble Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operations: a swarming attack with handheld weapons and grenades, often timed with significant Indo-Pakistan peace talks or friendly actions.

What to do?

Both the Indian and Pakistani governments need to stay firmly on the path of peace. The costs of inaction are too high for both. Pakistan is fighting a huge insurgency on its western border. It cannot afford another hot border facing India. It is also worth recalling that of the 60 suicide bombings in Pakistan in 2007, 47 per cent were directed against the military, 20 per cent against the police, and 13 per cent against the government and politicians. Over 420 hundred military personnel and 220 civilians were killed in these attacks, according to figures compiled by the Ministry of Interior. Militancy and the military do not mix anymore.

India needs to quell the rise of its many internal insurgencies that jeopardize its development. It needs to focus on bringing Indian Muslims into the mainstream. Civil society in both countries, especially the leadership of Islamic organizations, need to speak out against terror in the name of Islam. At the recent meeting of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, a leading Indian editor and poltiical analyst, M.J. Akbar, reminded those present of the Prophet Mohammed’s injunction: “Islam has clearly laid down that killing one human being is like killing the entire humanity and saving one’s life is like saving the entire humanity.”

Muslims of the sub-continent need to mount a Jihad against terror and for peace between India and Pakistan. The alternative is likely to be more mayhem and chaos.

Shuja Nawaz, an independent political analyst, is the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within (Oxford University Press 2008). He can be reached at www.shujanawaz.com

Badri Raina: Mumbai Attacks, Some Questions

November 30, 2008

Enough is Enough

Says who to whom?

The Light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

(Gospel, Matthew, 6:22)

I

My skimpy acquaintance with the Taj hotel in what was then Bombay goes back to 1962.

I had been selected as a rookie sales executive by the then world’s largest corporate house, Standard Oil, whose Asia division was called ESSO.

Our offices, also then the only air-conditioned building in Bombay, was at Nariman point.

Such was the nature of my job that on two or three occasions I had to be inside the Taj, full of smiles and business.

Some three years later I decided I wasn’t going to sell oil for the next forty years, and I quit cold turkey to return happily to an academic life, liberally enlivened with activist involvements.

In short, the Taj hotel is truly a magnificent structure, although those days it made me happier to look at its magnificence from the outside than wheeling-dealing inside.

Like every other Indian, therefore, I am deeply saddened both by the insane loss of life, notable and ordinary, and by the damage done to this edifice. Especially when I recall that the Taj was the result of a laudable anti-colonial impulse, since Jamshedji had been refused entrance to another hotel reserved exclusively for the British.

II

My thoughts are here occasioned by a programme that one premier English-language electronic channel has been running since last night.

It is captioned “enough is enough.”

As I have listened to the outrage pouring out from a diverse assortment of some celebrity Mumbai citizens whose haunts habitually remain restricted to the affluent South Mumbai—a zone of peace and prosperity that has had its first rite of passage to the ugliness that afflicts the rest of the city, indeed the rest of India, and rest of the world—I find myself asking the question “who is it saying ‘enough is enough’, to whom, and why now”?

And how credible is the slogan of unity-at-any-cost that now so invigorates the fortunate classes in the wake of this traumatic experience?

And why should these imperious syllables calculated to shut off debate be received with unquestioning compliance when the mind is wracked by instances when South Mumbai-India has failed to employ the same “single eye” to pronounce on other murderous and murderously divisive events?

Today, thanks to the exemplary courage and discipline of India’s security forces, the Taj may have been disfigured and damaged, however brutally, but not demolished—something that seemed to have been the intent of the terrorist attack.

But, alas, some sixteen years ago a four-hundred year old iconic mosque was axed and hatcheted out of existence while the forces stood and watched, as did the whole nation on television.

Neither that fateful day, nor once in the last sixteen years, has the cry gone up “enough is enough” on behalf of those that are now so outraged. Educated noises have been made, which is not the same thing as saying never again should this country countenance social forces that brought that watershed calamity about.

Only conscientious citizens have struggled since to bring succour and justice to the victims, often suffering opprobrium from elite India that sees them as busybodies.

Indeed, the worthies that were visibly culpable in inflicting that blood-thirsty catastrophe on the nation continue to remain in good favour with influential sections of the corporate media which may have carried on a debate on the issue but never admonished “enough is enough.”

Some two hundred lives have been lost to the terrorist attack in Mumbai. Yet when, following the demolition of the Babri mosque, our own people killed a thousand or so of our own people in the very same Mumbai, the debate never ceased, and has not to this day.

Nor has the same terminal urgency that is now in evidence informed elite comment as to why those found guilty in that massacre (1992-93) by a high-powered Commission of Enquiry have not been given their due deserts

And what of the Gujarat massacres of 2002? No terrorists from outside there too, but our own good citizens, secure in the knowledge that they had the blessings of the top man in the job. The very top man who continues to be the darling of many elites who do not fight shy of drooling over what a wonderful chief executive he would make for the whole country, full of “development” and profit maximization.

No wonder that Mr. Modi should have been the first to hold a press briefing outside “ground zero” (am I sick of that copy-cat phrase) even while the bullets were flying, making it an occasion to deride no less than the Prime Minister.

The same Mr. Modi who until the other day publicly vented his strongest barbs at the ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) for daring to enquire into cases of Hindutva terrorism.

Narry an “enough is enough” there; only a shamefaced disapproval barely audible on the channels.

Indeed, should you ask me, I might say that the most heroic vignette during the current imbroglio has been the refusal of the widow of the slain Karkare, erstwhile head of the ATS, to accept Modi’s devious offer of money.

As also an SMS doing the rounds, asking where Raj Thackeray, the great divisive champion of Marathi interests, has been while Mumbai was being butchered? And did he know that it was security personnel drawn from all over the country, including overwhelmingly from the north and the south, who were dying to save his Marathi manoos as much as anyone else in the city?

The same Thackeray clan to whom South Mumbai never seems to say “enough is enough,” cannily remembering that in time of trouble they may after all have no recourse but to their lumpen mercy.

And how ironic that we should then lament how the spirit of a grand unity so eludes us ?

In one brief word, why do we not ever hear an unequivocal “enough is enough” in relation to the politics of fascist communalism? Or an unequivocal recognition of its intimate bearing on terrorism? Why do these realities remain subjects of TV debates from endless week to endless week wherein the culprits are afforded more than equal time?

Continued >>

Mumbai atrocities highlight need for solution in Kashmir

November 30, 2008

    Jihadi groups will exploit Muslim grievances unless peace can be brought to the troubled state

  • guardian.co.uk, Sunday November 30 2008 00.01 GMT
  • The Observer, Sunday November 30 2008

Three weeks ago, in the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar, I met a young surgeon named Dr Iqbal Saleem. Iqbal described to me how on 11 August this year, Indian security forces entered the hospital where he was fighting to save the lives of unarmed civilian protesters who had been shot earlier that day by the Indian army. The operating theatre had been tear-gassed and the wards riddled with bullets, creating panic and injuring several of the nurses. Iqbal had trained at the Apollo hospital in Delhi and said he harboured no hatred against Hindus or Indians. But the incident had profoundly disgusted him and the unrepentant actions of the security forces, combined with the indifference of the Indian media, had convinced him that Kashmir needed its independence.

I thought back to this conversation last week, when news came in that the murderous attackers of Mumbai had brutally assaulted the city’s hospitals in addition to the more obvious Islamist targets of five-star hotels, Jewish centres and cafes frequented by Americans and Brits. Since then, the links between the Mumbai attacks and the separatist struggle in Kashmir have become ever more explicit. There now seems to be a growing consensus that the operation is linked to the Pakistan-based jihadi outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose leader, Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed, operates openly from his base at Muridhke outside Lahore.

This probable Pakistani origin of the Mumbai attacks, and the links to Kashmir-focused jihadi groups, means that the horrific events have to be seen in the context of the wider disaster of Western policy in the region since 9/11. The abject failure of the Bush administration to woo the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan away from the Islamists and, instead, managing to convince many of them of the hostility of the West towards all Muslim aspirations, has now led to a gathering catastrophe in Afghanistan where the once-hated Taliban are now again at the gates of Kabul.

Meanwhile, the blowback from that Afghan conflict in Pakistan has meant that Asif Ali Zardari’s government has now lost control of much of the North West Frontier Province, in addition to the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, while religious and political extremism flourishes as never before.

Pakistan’s most intractable problem remains the relationship of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) over the last 25 years with myriad jihadi groups. Once, the ISI believed that they could use jihadis for their own ends, but the Islamists have increasingly followed their own agendas, to the extent that they now feel capable of launching well-equipped and well-trained armies into Indian territory, as happened so dramatically in Mumbai.

Visiting Pakistan last week, it was clear that much of the north of the country was slipping out of government control. While it is unlikely that Zardari’s government had any direct link to the Mumbai attacks, there is every reason to believe that its failure effectively to crack down on the country’s jihadi network, and its equivocation with figures such as Hafiz Muhammad Syed, means that atrocities of the kind we saw last week are likely to continue.

India meanwhile continues to make matters worse by its ill-treatment of the people of Kashmir, which has handed to the jihadis an entire generation of educated, angry middle-class Muslims. One of the clean-shaven boys who attacked CST railway station – now named by the Indian media as Mohammad Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab, from Faridkot in the Pakistani Punjab – was wearing a Versace T-shirt. The other boys in the operation wore jeans and Nikes and were described by eyewitnesses as chikna or well-off. These were not poor, madrasah-educated Pakistanis from the villages, brainwashed by mullahs, but angry and well-educated, middle-class kids furious at the gross injustice they perceive being done to Muslims by Israel, the US, the UK and India in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir respectively.

If Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is the most emotive issue for Muslims in the Middle East, then India’s treatment of the people of Kashmir plays a similar role among South-Asian Muslims. At the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the state should logically have gone to Pakistan. However, the pro-Indian sympathies of the state’s Hindu Maharajah, as well as the Kashmiri origins of the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, led to the state passing instead to India – on the condition that the Kashmiris retained a degree of autonomy.

Successive Indian governments, however, refused to honour their constitutional commitments to the state. The referendum, promised by Nehru at the UN, on whether the state would remain part of India, was never held. Following the shameless rigging of the 1987 local elections, Kashmiri leaders went underground. Soon after, bombings and assassination began, assisted by Pakistan’s ISI which ramped up the conflict by sending over the border thousands of heavily armed jihadis.

India, meanwhile, responded with great brutality to the insurgency. Half-a-million Indian soldiers and paramilitaries were dispatched to garrison the valley. There were mass arrests and much violence against ordinary civilians, little of which was ever investigated, either by the government or the Indian media. Two torture centres were set up – Papa 1 and Papa 2 – into which large numbers of local people would ‘disappear’. In all, some 70,000 people have now lost their lives in the conflict. India and Pakistan have fought three inconclusive wars over Kashmir, while a fourth mini-war came alarmingly close to igniting a nuclear exchange between the two countries in 1999. Now, after the Mumbai attacks, Kashmir looks likely to derail yet again the burgeoning peace process between India and Pakistan.

Kashmir continues to divide the establishment of Pakistan more than any other issue. Zardari might publicly announce that he doesn’t want to let Kashmir get in the way of improved relations between India and Pakistan, but Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is officially banned, continues to function under the name of Jama’at al-Dawa, and Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed continues openly to incite strikes against Indian and Western targets. At one recent meeting, he proclaimed that ‘Christians, Jews and Hindus are enemies of Islam’ and added that it was the aim of the Lashkar to ‘unfurl the green flag of Islam in Washington, Tel Aviv and New Delhi’.

Sayeed also proclaims that the former princely state of what he calls ‘Hyderabad Deccan’ is also a part of Pakistan, which may explain the claim of responsibility for the attacks by a previously unknown group named the Deccan Mujahideen. It is clear Sayeed appears to operate with a measure of patronage from the Pakistani establishment and the Zardari government recently cleared the purchase of a bulletproof Land Cruiser for him. When Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was yesterday asked on Indian TV whether Pakistan would now arrest Sayeed, he dodged the question answering: ‘We have to recognise that there are elements in every society that can act on their own.’

In the months ahead, we are likely to see a security crackdown in India and huge pressure applied to Pakistan to match its pro-Indian and pro-Western rhetoric with real action against the country’s jihadi groups. But there is unlikely to be peace in South Asia until the demands of the Kashmiris are in some measure addressed and the swamp of grievance in Srinagar somehow drained. Until then, the Mumbai massacres may be a harbinger of more violence to come.

• William Dalrymple’s Last Mughal won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Crossword Indian Book of the Year prize.

Crimes against Humanity: Iraqi academics assassinated during the US-led occupation

November 29, 2008

Global Research, November 27, 2008

Pakistan Daily – 2008-11-26

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Editor’s note

Pakistan Daily has published the list of Iraqi academics assassinated by US and allied occupation forces. The objective of these targeted assassinations is to “kill a nation”, the destroy Iraq’s ability to educate its people, to undermine its research and scientific capabilities in literally all fields of endeavor, to transform a nation into a territory, and ultimately to destroy civilization.

Of particular significance is the assassination of prominent scientists and physicians, professors of medicine in the country’s leading academic institutions, its social scientists and historians, its physical scientists, its biologists, its engineers.

We are dealing with a carefully devised covert operation. The plan to kill the nation’s scientists and intellectuals emanates from US intelligence and the military. It is a deliberate process.

Is the new Obama administration going to turn a blind eye to this diabolical and criminal agenda?

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 27 November 2008



The following relation has being created against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq with the information provided by direct Iraqi university sources and international and Arab media. It only includes names and data referred to university academics assassinated during the Occupation period.

BAGHDAD, Baghdad University

Abbas Al-Attar: PhD in humanities, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Humanities.

Abdel Hussein Jabuk: PhD and lecturer at Baghdad University.

Abdel Salam Saba: PhD in sociology, lecturer at Baghdad University.

Abdel Razak Al-Naas: Lecturer in information and international mass media at Baghdad University’s College of Information Sciences. He was a regular analyst for Arabic satellite TV channels. He was killed in his car at Baghdad University on 28 January 2005. His assassination led to confrontations between students and police, and journalists went on strike.

Ahmed Nassir Al-Nassiri: PhD in education sciences, Baghdad University, assassinated February 2005.

Ali Abdul-Hussein Kamil: PhD in physical sciences, lecturer in the Department of Physics, Baghdad University.

Amir Al-Jazragi: PhD in medicine, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Medicine, and consultant at the Iraqi Ministry of Health, assassinated 17 November 2005.

Basil Al-Karji: PhD in chemistry, lecturer at Baghdad University.

Essam Sharif Mohammed: PhD in history, professor in Department of History and head of the College of Humanities, Baghdad University.

Faidhi Al-Faidhi: PhD in education sciences, lecturer at Baghdad University and Al-Munstansiriya University. He was also member of the Muslim Scientists Committee. Assassinated in 2005.

Fuad Abrahim Mohammed Al-Bayaty: PhD in german philology, professor and head of College of Philology, Baghdad University.

Haifa Alwan Al-Hil: PhD in physics, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Science for Women.

Heikel Mohammed Al-Musawi: PhD in medicine, lecturer at Al-Kindi College of Medicine, Baghdad University. Assassinated 17 November 2005.

Hassan Abd Ali Dawood Al-Rubai: PhD in stomatology, dean of the College of Stomatology, Baghdad University. Assassinated 20 December 2005.

Hazim Abdul Hadi: PhD in medicine, lecturer at the College of Medicine, Baghdad University.

Khalel Ismail Abd Al-Dahri: PhD in physical education, lecturer at the College of Physical Education, Baghdad University.

Kilan Mahmoud Ramez: PhD and lecturer at Baghdad University.

Maha Abdel Kadira: PhD and lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Humanities.

Majed Nasser Hussein Al-Maamoori: Professor of veterinary medicine at Baghdad University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Assassinated 17 February 2007.

Marwan Al-Raawi: PhD in engineering and lecturer at Baghdad University.

Marwan Galeb Mudhir Al-Heti: PhD in chemical engineering and lecturer at the School of Engineering, Baghdad University.

Majed Hussein Ali: PhD in physical sciences and lecturer at the College of Sciences, Baghdad University.

Mehned Al-Dulaimi: PhD in mechanical engineering, lecturer at Baghdad University.

Mohammed Falah Al-Dulaimi: PhD in physical sciences, lecturer at Baghdad University.

Mohammed Tuki Hussein Al-Talakani: PhD in physical sciences, nuclear scientist since 1984, and lecturer at Baghdad University.

Mohammed Al-Kissi: PhD and lecturer at Baghdad University.

Mohammed Abd Allah Al-Raawi: PhD in surgery, former president of Baghdad University, member of the Arab Council of Medicine and of the Iraqi Council of Medicine, president of the Iraqi Union of Doctors.

Mohammed Al-Jazairi: PhD in medicine and plastic surgeon, College of Medicine, Baghdad Univeristy. Assassinated 15 November 2005.

Mustafa Al-Hity: PhD in medicine, paediatrician, College of Medicine, Baghdad University. Assassinated 14 November 2005.

Mustafa Al-Mashadani: PhD in religious studies, lecturer in Baghdad University’s College of Humanities.

Nafea Ahmmoud Jalaf: PhD in Arabic language, professor in Baghdad University’s College of Humanities.

Nawfal Ahmad: PhD, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Fine Arts. She was assassinated at the front door of her house on 25 December 2005.

Nazar Abdul Amir Al-Ubaidy: PhD and lecturer at Baghdad University.

Raad Shlash: PhD in biological sciences, head of Department of Biology at Baghdad University’s College of Sciences. He was killed at the front door of his house on 17 November 2005.

Rafi Sarcisan Vancan: Bachelor of English language, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Women’s Studies.

Saadi Daguer Morab: PhD in fine arts, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Fine Arts.

Sabri Mustafa Al-Bayaty: PhD in geography, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Humanities.

Saad Yassin Al-Ansari: PhD and lecturer at Baghdad University. He was killed in Al-Saydiya neighborhood, Baghdad, 17 November 2005.

Wannas Abdulah Al-Naddawi: PhD in education sciences, Baghdad University. Assassinated 18 February 2005.

Yassim Al-Isawi: PhD in religious studies, Baghdad University’s College of Arts. Assassinated 21 June 2005.

Zaki Jabar Laftah Al-Saedi: Bachelor of veterinary medicine, lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Basem Al-Modarres: PhD and lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Philosophy. [Source: Al-Hayat, 28 February 2006.]

Jasim Mohammed Achamri: Dean of College of Philosophy, Baghdad University. [Source: Al-Hayat, 28 February 2006.]

Hisham Charif: Head of Department of History and lecturer at Baghdad University. [Source: Al-Hayat, 28 February 2006.]

Qais Hussam Al-Den Jumaa: Professor and Dean of College of Agriculture, Baghdad University. Killed 27 March 2006 by US soldiers in downtown Baghdad. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university source.]

Mohammed Yaakoub Al-Abidi: Baghdad University. Department and college unknown. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Abdelatif Attai: Baghdad University. Department and college unknown. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Ali Al-Maliki: Baghdad University. Department and college unknown. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Nafia Aboud: Baghdad University. Department and college unknown. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Abbas Kadem Alhachimi: Baghdad University. Department and college unknown. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Mouloud Hasan Albardar Aturki: Lecturer in Hanafi Teology at Al-Imam Al-Aadam College of Teology, Baghdad University. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Riadh Abbas Saleh: Lecturer at Baghdad University’s Centre for International Studies. Killed 11 May 2006. [Source: CEOSI university source, 17 May 2006.]

Abbas Al-Amery: Professor and head of Department of Administration and Business, College of Administration and Economy, Baghdad University. Killed together with his son and one of his relatives at the main entrance to the College 16 May 2006. [Source: CEOSI university source, 17 May 2006.]

Muthana Harith Jasim: Lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Engineering. Killed near his home in Al-Mansur, 13 June 2006. [Source: CEOSI university source, 13 June 2006.]

Hani Aref Al-Dulaimy: Lecturer in the Department of Computer Engineering, Baghdad University’s College of Engineering. He was killed, together with three of his students, 13 June 2006 on campus. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university source, 13 June 2006.]

Hussain Al-Sharifi: Professor of urinary surgery at Baghdad University’s College of Medicine. Killed in May 2006. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 12 June 2006.]

Hadi Muhammad Abub Al-Obaidi: Lecturer in the Department of Surgery, Baghdad University’s College of Medicine. Killed 19 June 2006. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university source, 20 June 2006.]

Hamza Shenian: Professor of veterinary surgery at Baghdad University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Killed by armed men in his garden in a Baghdad neighborhood 21 June 2006. This was the first known case of a professor executed in the victim’s home. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 21 June 2006.]

Jassim Mohama Al-Eesaui: Professor at College of Political Sciences, Baghdad University, and editor of Al-Syada newspaper. He was 61 years old when killed in Al-Shuala, 22 June 2006. [Source: UNAMI report 1 May-30 June 2006.]

Shukir Mahmoud As-Salam: Lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Medicine and dental surgeon at Al-Yamuk Hospital, Baghdad. Killed near his home by armed men 6 September 2006. [Source: TV news, As-Sharquia channel, 7 September 2006, and CEOSI Iraqi sources.]

Mahdi Nuseif Jasim: Professor in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Baghdad University. Killed 13 September 2006 near the university. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university source.]

Adil Al-Mansuri: Maxillofacial surgeon and professor at the College of Medicine, Baghdad University. Kidnapped by uniformed men near Iban Al-Nafis Hospital in Baghdad. He was found dead with torture signs and mutilation in Sadr City. He was killed during a wave of assassinations in which seven medical specialists were assassinated. Date unknown: July or August 2006 [Source: Iraqi health service sources, 24 September 2006.]

Shukur Arsalan: Maxillofacial surgeon and professor at the College of Medicine, Baghdad University. Killed by armed men when leaving his clinic in Harziya neighbourhood. He was killed during a wave of assassinations in which seven specialists were assassinated. Date unknown: July or August 2006. [Source: Iraqi Health System sources, 24 September 2006.]

Issam Al-Rawi: Professor of geology at Baghdad University, president of the Association of University Professors of Iraq. Killed 30 October 2006 during an attack carried out by a group of armed men in which two more professors were seriously injured. [Sources: CEOSI sources and Associated Press.]

Yaqdan Sadun Al-Dhalmi: Professor and lecturer in the College of Education, Baghdad University. Killed 16 October 2006. [Source: CEOSI sources.]

Jlid Ibrahim Mousa: Professor and lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Medicine. Killed by a group of armed men in September 2006. During August and September 2006, six professors of medicine were assassinated in Baghdad. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi sources.]

Mohammed Jassim Al-Thahbi and wife: Professor and dean of the College of Administration and Economy, Baghdad University. Killed 2 November 2006 by a group of armed men when he was driving to university. His wife, a lecturer at the same university (name and academic position unknown) and son were also killed in the attack. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi sources and Tme Magazine, 2 October 2006.]

Mohammed Mehdi Saleh: Lecturer at Baghdad University (unknown position) and member of the Association of Muslim Scholars. Imam of Ahl Al-Sufa Mosque in Al-Shurta Al-Jamisa neighbourhood. Killed 14 November 2006 while driving in the neighbourhood of Al-Amal in central Baghdad. [Source: UMA, 14 November 2006.]

Hedaib Majhol: Lecturer at College of Physical Education, Baghdad University, president of the Football University Club and member of the Iraqi Football Asociation. Kidnapped in Baghdad. His body was found three later in Baghdad morgue 3 December 2006. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 2 December 2006.]

Al-Hareth Abdul Hamid: Professor of psychiatric medicine and head of the Department of Psychology at Baghdad University. Former president of the Society of Parapsychological Investigations of Iraq. A renowned scientist, Abdul Hamid was shot dead in the neighbourhood of Al-Mansur, Baghdad, 6 December 2006 by unknown men. [Sources: CEOSI Iraqi sources, 6 December 2006, and Reuters, 30 January 2007.]

Anwar Abdul Hussain: Lecturer at the College of Odontology, Baghdad University. Killed in Haifa Street in Baghdad in the third week of January 2007. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 23 January 2007.]

Majed Nasser Hussain: PhD and lecturer at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Baghdad University. He was killed in front of his wife and daughter while leaving home in the third week of January 2007. Nasser Hussain had been kidnapped two years before and freed after paying a ransom. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 23 January 2007.]

Khaled Al-Hassan: Professor and deputy dean of the College of Political Sciences, Baghdad University. Killed in March 2007. [Source: Association of University Lecturers of Iraq, 7 April 2007.]

Ali Mohammed Hamza: Professor of Islamic Studies at Baghdad University. Department and college unknown. Killed 17 April 2007. [Sources: TV channels As-Sharquia and Al-Jazeera.]

Abdulwahab Majed: Lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Education. Department and college unknown. Killed 2 May 2007. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 5 May 2007.]

Sabah Al-Taei: Deputy dean of the College of Education, Baghdad University. Killed 7 May 2007. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources. 8 May 2007.]

Nihad Mohammed Al-Rawi: Professor of Civil Engineering and deputy president of Baghdad University. Shot dead 26 June 2007 in Al-Jadria Bridge, a few meters away from the university campus, when exiting with his daughter Rana, whom he protected from the shots with his body. [Sources: BRussells Tribunal and CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 26-27 June 2007, www.wmin.ac.uk]

Muhammad Kasem Al-Jebouri: Lecturer at the College of Agriculture, Baghdad University. Killed, together with his son and his brother-in-law, by paramilitary forces 22 June 2007. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 27 June 2007.]

Samir (surname unknown): Lecturer at Baghdad University’s College of Administration and Economy. His body was found shot one day after being kidnapped in Kut where he was visiting family. Professor Samir lived in the Baghdad district of Al-Sidiya. [Source: Voices of Iraq, www.iraqslogger.com, 29 June 2007.]

Amin Abdul Aziz Sarhan: Lecturer at Baghdad University. Department and college unknown. He was kidnapped from his home in Basra by unidentified armed men 13 October 2007 and found dead on the morning of 15 October. [Source: Voices of Iraq, 15 October 2007.]

Mohammed Kadhem Al-Atabi: Head of Baghdad University’s Department of Planning and Evaluation. He was kidnapped 18 October 2007 from his home in Baghdad by a group of armed men and found dead a few hours later in the area of Ur, near to Sadr City, which is under the control of Moqtada Al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 26 October 2007.]

Munther Murhej Radhi: Dean of the College of Odontology, Baghdad University. He was found dead in his car 23 January 2008. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 24 January 2008.]

Mundir Marhach: Dean of Faculty of Stomatology, Baghdad University. He was killed in March (exact day unknown), according to information provided by the Centre for Human Rights of Baghdad. [Source: Al-Basrah reported 12 March 2008.]

Al-Mamoon Faculty (private college, Baghdad)

Mohammed Al-Miyahi: Dean of Al-Maamoun Faculty in Baghdad. He was shot with a silencer-equipped gun in front of his house in Al-Qadisiah district, southern Baghdad, as he stepped out of his car 14 December 2007. [Source CEOSI Iraqi source and Kuwait News Agency, reported 19 December 2007, IPS reported 19 December 2007, and Al-Basrah, reported 12 March 2008.]

Al-Mustansiriya University (Baghdad)

Aalim Abdul Hameed: PhD in preventive medicine, specialist in depleted uranium effects in Basra, dean of the College of Medicine, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Abdul Latif Al-Mayah: PhD in economics, lecturer and head of Department of Research, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Aki Thakir Alaany: PhD and lecturer at the College of Literature, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Falah Al-Dulaimi: PhD, professor and deputy dean of Al-Mustansiriya University’s College of Sciences.

Falah Ali Hussein: PhD in physics, lecturer and deputy dean of the College of Sciences, Al-Mustansiriya University, killed May 2005.

Musa Saloum Addas: PhD, lecturer and deputy dean of the College of Educational Sciences, Al-Mustansiriya University, killed 27 May 2005.

Husam Al-Ddin Ahmad Mahmmoud: PhD in education sciences, lecturer and dean at College of Education Sciences, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Jasim Abdul Kareem: PhD and lecturer at the College of the Education, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Abdul As Satar Sabar Al Khazraji: PhD in history, Al Munstansiriya University, killed 19 June 2005. [A same name and surname lecturer in Engineering at the College of Computer Science Technology, Al-Nahrein University was assessinated in March 2006.]

Samir Yield Gerges: PhD and lecturer at the College of Administration and Economy at Al-Mustansiriya University, killed 28 August 2005.

Jasim Al-Fahaidawi: PhD and lecturer in Arabic literature at the College of Humanities, Al-Mustansiriya University. Assassinated at the university entrance. [Source: BBC News, 15 November 2005.]

Kadim Talal Hussein: Deputy dean of the College of Education, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Mohammed Nayeb Al-Qissi: PhD in geography, lecturer at Department of Research, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Sabah Mahmoud Al-Rubaie: PhD in geography, lecturer and dean at College of Educational Sciences, Al-Mustansiriya University.

Ali Hasan Muhawish: Dean and lecturer at the College of Engineering, Al-Mustansiriya University. Killed 12 March 2006. [Source: Middle East Online, 13 March 2006.]

Imad Naser Alfuadi: Lecturer at the College of Political Sciences, Al-Mustansiriya University. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Mohammed Ali Jawad Achami: President of the College of Law, Al-Mustansiriya University. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Husam Karyakus Tomas: Lecturer at the College of Medicine, Al-Mustansiriya University. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Basem Habib Salman: Lecturer at the College of Medicine at Al-Mustansiriya University. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers report, March 2006.]

Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Ani: PhD in engineering, lecturer at the College of Law, Al-Mustansiriya University. Kidnapped, together with his friend Akrem Mehdi, 26 April 2006, at his home in Palestine Street, Baghdad. Their bodys were found two days later. (CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 5 May 2006.]

Jasim Fiadh Al-Shammari: Lecturer in psychology at the College of Arts, Al-Mustansiriya Baghdad University. Killed near campus 23 May 2006. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university source, 30 May 2006.]

Saad Mehdi Shalash: PhD in history and lecturer in history at the College of Arts, Al-Mustansiriya University, and editor of the newspaper Raya Al-Arab. Shot dead at his home with his wife 26 October 2006. [Source: Al-Quds Al-Arabi, 27 October 2006.]

Kemal Nassir: Professor of history and lecturer at Al-Mustansiriya and Bufa universities. Killed at his home in Baghdad in October 2006. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 2 November 2006.]

Hasseb Aref Al-Obaidi: Professor in the College of Political Sciences at Al-Mustansiriya University. Since he was kidnapped 22 October 2006 his whereabouts is unknown. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources.]

Najeb Al-Salihi: Lecturer in the College of Psychology at Al-Mustansiriya University and head of the Scientific Commitee of the Ministry of Higher Education of Iraq. Al-Salihi, 39 years old, was kidnapped close to campus and his body, shot dead, was found 20 days after his disappearance in Baghdad morgue. His family was able recover his body only after paying a significant amount of money. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources.]

Dhia Al-Deen Mahdi Hussein: Professor of international criminal law at the College of Law, Al-Mustansiriya University. Missing since kidnapped from his home in the Baghdad neighborhood of Dhia in 4 November 2006 by a group of armed men driving police cars. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 5 November 2006.]

Muntather Al-Hamdani: Deputy dean of the College of Law, Al-Mustansiriya University. He was assassinated, together with Ali Hassam, lecturer at the same college, 20 December 2006. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 24 December 2006. The Iraqi police identified Ali Arnoosi as the deputy dean assassinated 21 December, and Mohammed Hamdani as another victim. It is unknown whether [Muntanther Al-Hamdani and Mohammed Hamdani] both are the same case or not.]

Ali Hassam: Lecturer at the College of Law at Al-Mustansiriya University. He was killed together with Muntather Al-Hamdani, deputy dean of the college, 20 December 2006. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources, 24 December 2006. The Iraqi police identified Ali Arnoosi as the deputy dean assassinated 21 December, and Mohammed Al-Hamdani as another victim. It is unknown whether both [Muntanther Al-Hamdani and Mohammed Hamdani] are the same case or not.]

Dhia Al-Mguter: Professor of economy at the College of Administration and Economy of Al-Mustansiriya University. He was killed 23 January 2007 in Baghdad while driving. He was a prominent economist and president of the Consumer’s Defense Association and the Iraqi Association of Economists. A commentator at for As-Sharquia television, he participated in the Maram Committee, being responsible for investigating irregularities occuring during the elections held in January 2006. Al-Mguter was part of a family with a long anti-colonialist tradition since the British occupation. [Source: CEOSI Iraqi university sources and Az-Zaman newspaper, 24 January 2007.]

Ridha Abdul Hussein Al-Kuraishi: Deputy Dean of the University of Al-Mustansiriya’s College of Administration and Economy. He was kidnapped 28 March 2007 and found dead the next day. [Source: Iraqi Association of University Lecturers, 7 April 2007. See the Arabic letter sent to CEOSI.].


Continued >>

Israel’s Settlement on Capitol Hill

November 29, 2008

Robert Weitzel | November 28, 2008


“With [traditional Israeli defense strategists] it’s all about tanks and land and controlling territories . . . and this hilltop and that hilltop. All these things are worthless.” -Incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert-

Soon after the sand settled following the Six Day War in 1967, Jewish settlements began dotting the hills in the occupied territories. These settlements are typically located on the high ground to better control the surrounding landscape. Today there are 127 Jewish settlements with a population exceeding 468,000 in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and in the suburbs of East Jerusalem—the last of nearly 8,000 settlers were removed from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

According to a recent Amnesty International report, “In the first six months of 2008 Israel has expanded settlements in the West Bank/East Jerusalem at a faster rate than in the previous seven years.”

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Israel’s westernmost settlement is not located in Palestine-Israel, but is 6000 miles away on the high ground overlooking Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C.

This Capital Hill settlement of pro-Israel lobbies and think tanks strategically controls the high ground overlooking the United States’ Middle East policy landscape by having made kibbutzniks of most members of the executive and legislative branches of the government—including President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden (a wannabe Zionist), and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a born Zionist).

While Israel’s hilltop settlements in the occupied territories—violating over 30 UN Security Council resolutions since 1968—are “facts on the ground” that make the two state peace solution unlikely, their hilltop settlement in the center of the world’s only superpower makes it equally unlikely that Israel’s right-wing government will feel compelled to end their “self defensive” brutalization of the Palestinian people, which has been condemned by the international community (UN, EU) as crimes against humanity.

John Holmes, UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that Israel’s blockade of vital supplies to the Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket attacks “amounts to collective punishment and is contrary to international humanitarian law.”

Collective punishment is forbidden by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states, “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.” A “protected person” is someone who is under the control of an “Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.” Only the most ideologically blinkered individual would fail to recognize the Gaza Strip as occupied territory.

Israel’s current blockade of Gaza, which began on November 4, is resulting in what the UN Relief and Works Agency is calling a humanitarian catastrophe. Before the blockade, 1000 truckloads of food, fuel and essential supplies per day were necessary to sustain the 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned behind the concrete and barbed wire of the 25-mile long border. Eighty percent of Gazans live on two dollars a day and depend on international aid to survive. Since the border crossings were sealed, less than 100 truckloads have been permitted through.

The imprisoned Palestinians—50 percent of whom are younger than 15—are slowly starving. They lack the fuel to generate electricity for lighting, water purification, and sewage treatment. The erratic, intermittent electrical power puts the lives of patients in intensive care wards and those who are connected to live-sustaining equipment in grave peril. The lack of basic medicines such as antibiotics and insulin pose an equally fatal threat.

Twenty human rights organizations and all Israeli and international journalists have been barred from entering the Gaza Strip since the blockade began. A letter of protest signed by most major news organizations was sent to Prime Minister Olmert. Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror responded to the letter by saying that Israel was afraid journalists would inflate the Palestinians’ suffering. No one is allow to speak out on behalf of this beleaguered population.

President-elect Obama has been speaking out “swiftly and boldly” about the economic catastrophe threatening our 401Ks, but his silence regarding the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe threatening the lives of Palestinians is both deafening and telling of the price he’s willing to pay to maintain his status as kibbutznik-in-good-standing in Israel’s westernmost hilltop settlement.

Obama’s unconditional support for Israel’s policy of “self defense,” preemptive attacks, and repressive occupations is not one iota different from that of George W. Bush, an internationally recognized war criminal. This is not an encouraging beginning for a man whose battle cry was “change we can believe in.”

By any rational, humanitarian standard, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians amounts to collective punishment and crimes against humanity. Perpetrators of such crimes, whether they are individuals or governments or willing allies, are criminals who should one day sit in the dock of the International Court of Justice in The Hague—just as defendants sat in a Nuremberg court 60 years ago—and be held accountable for their crimes.

Until Israel’s hilltop settlement in our nation’s capital is dismantled, allowing for the possibility of a just and lasting peace in Palestine-Israel, its influence on both branches of our government and its insidious affect on US Middle East policy will continue to make willing—or unwitting—kibbutzniks of all Americans. We will be held as complicit, and as culpable, as the citizens of the country whose leaders sat in the dock at Nuremberg.

The world will ask, “Why didn’t you do something to stop it?” The majority of us will reply, “We didn’t know!”

Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience (www.mwcnews.net). His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He can be contacted at: robertweitzel@mac.com

Indigenous People Demand Voice in Climate Talks

November 29, 2008

UNITED NATIONS – Calls for greater participation of the world’s indigenous leaders are on the rise as another round of talks on global climate change opens in the Polish city of Poznan next week.

[At the banquet on the first evening of the 2008 World Summit of Indigenous Cultures in Taipei. (flickr photo by davidreid)]At the banquet on the first evening of the 2008 World Summit of Indigenous Cultures in Taipei. (flickr photo by davidreid)

“It is incomprehensible how governments believe they can discuss the effects of climate change and agree targets without the input of those who already face [its] impacts,” said Mark Lattimer of the London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG).

In a study released last week, MRG researchers warned that a new climate change agreement would be “seriously compromised” if policymakers continued to shut out the voices of those most affected by global warming.

More than 8,000 delegates from around the world are expected to participate in the meeting at Poznan. The two-week meeting is supposed to hammer out further international commitments to fight climate change, including climate-related financial assistance for developing countries.

UN officials hope the meeting will prove to be a “milestone on the road to success” for the negotiation process launched at past conferences, because it is tasked with setting the agenda for next year’s final talks on a climate change treaty.

But in Lattimer’s view, the UN process is deeply flawed, because it does not allow the communities that have first-hand experience of dealing with climate change to participate in the negotiations.

For one, official delegates in Poznan are expected to set targets on carbon emissions from deforestation, but forest-dwelling communities who are mostly indigenous people may not be included in those discussions.

According to MRG’s new report, the impact of climate change hits indigenous communities hardest because they live in ecologically diverse areas and their livelihoods are dependent on the environment.

To cite some examples of climate change impact on indigenous communities, the report refers to unprecedented levels of ice-melt in the Arctic region, droughts in east Africa, and a rapid fall in crop yields in Vietnam.

Minorities, according to the report, are often among the poorest and most marginalized communities and are most likely to face discrimination when disasters occur during climate changes.

“There has been a lot of attention paid to the damage climate change is doing to the environment and the loss of certain plant or animal species, but we aren’t sufficiently recognizing its impact on people,” said Farah Mihlar, the report’s author.

“There are entire communities that could be lost,” she added in a statement. “Cultures, traditions, and languages could be wiped off the earth.”

At the climate change conference held in Bali, Indonesia, last December, indigenous rights activists held a series of demonstrations against their exclusion from the official talks.

Siege ends at Mumbai’s Taj hotel

November 29, 2008
Al Jazeera, Nov 29, 2008

Soldiers gained control of the Taj hotel a day after storming another hotel and a Jewish centre [Reuters]

The siege at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel is over after security forces killed the remaining armed men inside the building.

The attackers were killed on Saturday, about 59 hours they took part in a string of deadly assaults across India’s financial capital.

“All (combat) operations are over. All the terrorists have been killed,” Hasan Gafoor, Mumbai’s police chief, said.

More than 195 people have been killed, including at least 21 foreigners, since the attackers began their co-ordinated assaults on Wednesday, officials have said.

At least another 295 people have been injured.

Among the foreigners who have died are five Israelis, two Americans, two French nationals, two Australians, a German, a Japanese, a Canadian, a British Cypriot, an Italian and a Singaporean.

Police said that the attacks had been carried out by 10 people who had travelled to Mumbai, police said.

“Ten people had come, we killed nine and one has been captured alive,” Gafoor said.

Final operation

At least three attackers and one security officer were killed in Saturday’s final raid at the Taj Mahal hotel, Jyoti Krishna Dutt, the country’s commando chief, said.

In depth

Timeline of Mumbai attack
Media reacts to mayhem
Voices from Mumbai
Photos: A city under fire
Video: Economic fallout
Map: Assault flashpoints
Your Views on the assault

“Our operations will continue until we check each and every room and floor,” he said.

Sniffer dogs were later taken into the hotel as security forces made a final sweep through the rooms of the building.

James Bays, Al Jazeera’s correspondent at the scene, said some Indian news journalists had been allowed into the hotel amid the clean-up operations.

“The media have been allowed a lot closer to the hotel to see what has gone on here. When you look up close you can really see the kind of battle that has taken place here. You can see glass on the ground, bullet holes … parts of the hotel are burnt out,” he said.

“This is a very large hotel, with 600 rooms for guests. I’m told that the back half of the hotel is a real maze and security forces are going through the building to clear every room. This will be a long and painstaking task.”

Nariman House siege

A day earlier, security forces took control of Mumbai’s Jewish centre, Nariman House, after exchanging gunfire with attackers inside the building.

Troops found the bodies of six hostages inside the building after killing the men who had stormed the Jewish centre.

Al Jazeera’s Matt McClure, reporting from outside Nariman House, said several armed men were killed in the assault by security forces.

Among the bodies recovered from Nariman House were those of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, who ran the centre, and his wife, the Chabad Lubavitch organisation said.

Their two-year-old son had earlier managed to escape and is now in the care of his grandparents.

Security forces at another hotel, the Trident-Oberoi, found 24 bodies after gaining control of the building on Friday.

Attackers ‘remorseless’

Describing Friday’s security operation inside the Taj Mahal hotel, the chief of India’s marine commando force said: “The [attackers] were the kind of people with no remorse – anybody and whomsoever came in front of them, they fired.

The Taj hotel was the last building to fall into the hands of Indian security forces [Reuters]

“We could have got those terrorists but for so many hotel guests … The bodies were lying strewn here and there. There was blood all over and in trying to avoid the casualty of those civilians, we had to be that much more careful,” he said.Ratan Tata, the Indian business baron who runs the company that owns the hotel, said the attackers had detailed knowledge of the layout of the buildings.

The strikes by small bands of armed men starting on Wednesday night shocked Mumbai, the nerve-centre of India’s growing economic might and home to the Bollywood film industry.

Pointing the finger

The Indian media, citing unidentified police investigators, reported that three alleged attackers had confessed to being members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group which aims to end Indian rule in Kashmir.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, which means army of God, had earlier denied any role in the attacks.

Earlier, a little known group calling itself the Deccan Mujahidin claimed responsibility for the attack in emails to news organisations.

In a speech on Thursday, Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, blamed “external forces”, a phrase sometimes used to refer to Pakistan-based fighters.

RK Raghavan, a former chief of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, pointed to claims that the police have seized a mobile phone which the “terrorists” used for communication with unidentified contacts in Pakistan.

“I think there is irrefutable evidence that elements which have been giving sanctuary in Pakistan are responsible,” he said.

“Presumably, initial evidence is that they have been in touch with anti-Indian elements who may or may not have any links to the Pakistani government. These elements are probably acting on their own, but they have been given a lot of freedom to move around in Pakistan.”

Raghav also named Pakistan and Bangladesh as nursing grounds for al-Qaeda-influenced groups.

Pakistani reaction

For its part, Pakistan has condemned the attacks and said it will fully co-operate with an Indian investigation.

Fresh commando raids early on Saturday ended the siege of the Taj Mahal hotel [EPA]

However, Islamabad has abandoned its earlier decision to send the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate to India.”A spokesman of the Prime Minister’s House has said that a representative of ISI will visit India instead of the Director General of the ISI to help in investigating the Mumbai terrorism incident,” a government statement, released on Saturday, said.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that US officials and Indian diplomats were working out details for the departure of a team of FBI agents to join the investigation into the attacks.

In a diplomatic exchange that raised the prospect of renewed tension between India and its neighbour, Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian foreign minister, urged Pakistan to dismantle what he called the infrastructure that supported armed groups.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said: “More and more people here are inclined to think that this is an indigenous, internal Indian phenomenon and that India is scapegoating Pakistan.

“The Indian media have insinuated that elements within Pakistan were involved,” he said.

“However, on the Pakistani side there has been relative quiet and also a sense of responsibility shown by the journalists not to jump to conclusions.”

Bush’s ‘coalition of the willing’ abandons Iraq

November 29, 2008

President Bush’s “coalition of the willing” is set to all but disappear from Iraq by the end of the year, with 13 countries, including South Korea, Japan, Moldova and Tonga preparing to withdraw their few remaining troops.

Britain, Australia, Romania, Estonia and El Salvador are the only nations, apart from the US, that plan to remain after a UN mandate authorising their presence expires on December 31.

London must still reach an agreement with Baghdad, however, to keep its 4,100-strong contingent on the ground into the new year. Failure to do so in time would leave British troops without legal cover and they too would have to leave.

“We are going to say farewell to 13 different nations in the space of two and a half weeks,” said Brigadier-General Nicolas Matern, a deputy commander for Multi-National Corps Iraq, which oversees the US military’s coalition partners.

“We started off with 35 countries but it has steadily been going down … As from December it is going to go all the way down,” he told The Times.

A farewell ceremony took place on Wednesday for 76 Macedonian soldiers. Another is due today for 86 troops from Bosnia and Herzegovina and a third is scheduled for South Korea’s contingent tomorrow. Others set to follow suit include soldiers from Albania, Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania and Ukraine.

President Bush and Tony Blair scrambled the coalition together in the build-up to the Iraq invasion in a bid to put an international face on what was fast becoming an unpopular war. But the list of participants drew scorn for failing to include a greater number of powerful states, with the US and Britain the main contributors.

The size of the outgoing contingents ranges from just 4 Lithuanians to 300 South Koreans. Many countries have reduced their presence over the past five years, but it has always been a fraction of the US deployment, now standing at 146,000.

Bulgaria – with only 150 troops left in Iraq – has had forces south of Baghdad since June 2003, taking part in various operations, including patrols and guard duty. Thirteen Bulgarian soldiers have been killed and 81 injured in that time.

Lieutenant Colonel Valeri Kolev Valchanov said: “I think we have contributed somehow towards the stabilisation of the country.”

Bulgaria’s troops are also preparing to pull out next month, a move that triggers mixed emotions for the Bulgarian officer. “I will never forget my friendships with Romanian soldiers, Ukrainian soldiers, Polish soldiers, American soldiers,” he said. “We were in dangerous conditions together and celebrated good moments together.”

Major Mario Ernesto Argueta is from El Salvador, which has 200 troops working on humanitarian projects in Wasit province, south of the Iraqi capital. He too believes that the efforts of a tiny contingent make an impact.

“It doesn’t matter how many we are, the most important part is that you made a difference, not for the whole country but for the person who got the aid,” he said.

El Salvador is one of four coalition countries – excluding the United States and Britain – which have been invited to stay in Iraq beyond the end of the year.

“The US approached the Government of Iraq asking that we consider asking a few countries other than the United Kingdom to continue to provide some specialist forces for non-combat tasks after 31 December,” said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security Adviser. “After considering the request, the Prime Minister agreed and those countries were invited to continue to assist us.”

Formal agreements will be made with El Salvador, Australia, Romania and Estonia once a long-awaited security pact with the United States, which was approved by Parliament on Thursday, becomes law.

Outside the coalition, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which has 200 troops from 15 countries in Iraq, is also trying to finalise an accord with Baghdad to continue a training mission in the country beyond the end of 2008.

In addition, the United Nations has a number of Fijian troops working in Iraq.

While the coalition is dissolving, another force of foreigners is still thriving in the country: thousands of private contractors from developing countries such as Peru, Uganda, the Philippines and Bangladesh.