Isha khan’s Weblog


Fort Hood: A media orgy of rumors, speculation and falsehoods
November 22, 2009, 11:08 am
Filed under: Muslims, Socalled WarOnTerror, USA
Fort Hood: A media orgy of rumors, speculation and falsehoods
Much of the initial coverage turned out to be wrong. Is there anything wrong with that?
by Glenn Greenwald

Last night, right-wing blogger (and law professor) Glenn Reynolds promoted this media analysis from right-wing blogger (and Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney) Patterico regarding coverage of the Fort Hood shootings.  Patterico wrote:  “Whenever there is breaking news, it’s good to keep a few things in mind: . . . Always follow Allahpundit” — referring to one of the two bloggers at Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air site.
Upon reading that, I went to Hot Air to read what he had written, and it’s actually quite revealing — not in terms of what it reveals about Hot Air (that topic wouldn’t warrant a post) but, rather, what it reveals about major media coverage of these sorts of events.  Allahpundit’s post consists of a very thorough, contemporaneous, and — at times — appropriately skeptical chronicling of what major media outlets were reporting about the Fort Hood attack, combined with his passing along of much unverified gossip and chatter from Twitter, most of which turned out to be false.

 

It’s worth focusing on what the major media did last night, and one can use the Hot Air compilation to examine that.  I understand that in the early stages of significant and complex news stories, it’s to be expected that journalists will have incomplete and even inaccurate information.  It’s unreasonable to expect them to avoid errors entirely.  The inherently confusing nature of a mass shooting like this, combined with the need to rely on second-hand or otherwise unreliable sources (including, sometimes, official ones), will mean that even conscientious reporters end up with inaccurate information in cases like this.  That’s all understandable and inevitable.

But shouldn’t there be some standards governing what gets reported and what is held back?  Particularly in a case like this — which, for obvious reasons, has the potential to be quite inflammatory on a number of levels — having the major media “report” completely false assertions as fact can be quite harmful.  It’s often the case that perceptions and judgments about stories like this solidify in the first few hours after one hears about it.  The impact of subsequent corrections and clarifications pale in comparison to the impressions that are first formed.  Despite that, one false and contradictory claim after the next was disseminated last night by the establishment media with regard to the core facts of the attack.  Here are excerpts from Allahpundit’s compilation, virtually all of which — except where indicated — came from large news outlets:

Number of shooters

The fact that at least three gunmen are involved already has Shuster and Miklaszewski mentioning similarities to the Fort Dix Six plot on MSNBC . . . two of the gunmen are still at large and one has fired shots at the SWAT team on the scene . . . . New details from CNN: One gunman “neutralized,” one “cornered,” no word on the third. . . . Whether there are two shooters or three seems to be in dispute at the moment, but there’s certainly more than one:  The second shooting on the base evidently occurred at a theater. . . . Fox News says there are reports that the men were dressed in fatigues. . . . MSNBC TV says two shooters are in custody now. . . . it sounds like both shooters are military . . .According to MSNBC, there were three shooters. . . In case you’re wondering whether the other two soldiers in custody were actual accomplices or just being questioned because they knew Hasan, Rick Perry just said at the presser he’s holding that all three were shooters. . . . Hearing rumblings on Twitter right now that Perry was wrong and that the two other “suspects” have now been released. Was Hasan, in fact, a lone gunman? . . . . According to the general conducting the briefing going on right now, he appears to be a lone gunman.

The fate of the shooter

One of the shooters is dead. . . One is dead, two more are in custody. Has there ever been a case of “battle stress” that involved a conspiracy by multiple people? . . . So poor and fragmented have the early media reports about this been that only now, after 9 p.m. ET, do we learn that … Hasan’s still alive. He’s in stable condition.

The weapons used

M-16s involved: . . . From the local Fox affiliate, how it all went down. Evidently McClatchy’s report of M-16s was wrong:

The shooter’s background

According to Brian Ross at ABC, Hasan was a convert to Islam. . . . Contra Brian Ross, the AP says it’s unclear what Hasan’s religion was or whether he was a convert. . . . Apparently, one of Hasan’s cousins just told Shep that he’s always been Muslim, not a recent convert. . . .

I’m hearing on Twitter that Fox interviewed one of his neighbors within the last half-hour or so and that the neighbor claims Hasan was handing out Korans just this morning. Does anyone have video? . . . . “Brenda Price of KUSJ reported to Greta at 10:33: ‘also, the latest I am hearing, this morning, apparently according to his neighbors, he was walking around kind of giving out his possessions, giving away his furniture, handing out the Koran…'” . . .: Evidently CNN is airing surveillance footage from a convenience store camera taken this just morning showing Hasan in a traditional Muslim cap and robe. . . “A former neighbor of Hasan’s in Silver Spring, Md. told Fox News he lived there for two years with his brother and had the word ‘Allah’ on the door.”

Miscellaneous claims

Good lord — there’s a report from BNO News on Twitter that new shooting is being heard on the base. . . . For what it’s worth, an eyewitness report of Arabic being shouted during the attack: . . .Federal law enforcement officials say the suspected Fort Hood, Texas, shooter had come to their attention at least six months ago because of Internet postings that discussed suicide bombings and other threats. . . . The $64,000 questions: What was he doing at Fort Hood among the population if he thought suicide bombers were heroes?

Isn’t it clear that anyone following all of that as it unfolded would have been more misinformed than informed?

The New York Times‘ Robert Mackey did an equally comprehensive job of live-blogging the media reports, and his contemporaneous compilation reflects many of these same glaring errors in the coverage:  “CNN reports that two military sources say that the second gunman at Fort Hood is ‘cornered’ . . . Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison told Fox 4 News in Texas that one shooter was in custody and ‘another is still at large’ . . . CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports that 12 people have been killed and up to 30 wounded. One of the dead is said to have been one of the gunmen. . . . Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, just revealed that earlier reports that the suspected gunman, Major Nidal Hasan, had been killed were incorrect. Major Hasan was wounded but remains alive.”
Perhaps most irresponsible of all is the unverified claim that Hasan had written on the Internet in defense of suicide attacks by Muslims, even though the origins of those writings are entirely unverified.  Similarly, certain news organizations — like NPR — used anonymous sources to disseminate inflammatory claims about Hasan’s prior troubles allegedly grounded in activism on behalf of Islam.  Much of this may turn out to be true once verified, or it may not be, but all of the conflicting, unverified claims flying around last night enabled many people to exploit the “facts” they selected in order to create whatever storyline that suited them and their political preconceptions — and many, of course, took vigorous advantage of that opportunity.

I’m obviously ambivalent about the issues of media responsibility raised by all of this.  It’s difficult to know exactly how the competing interests should be balanced — between disclosing what one has heard in an evolving news story and ensuring some minimal level of reliability and accuracy.  But whatever else is true, news outlets — driven by competitive pressures in the age of instant “reporting” — don’t really seem to recognize the need for this balance at all.  They’re willing to pass on anything they hear without regard to reliability — to the point where I automatically and studiously ignore the first day or so of news coverage on these events because, given how these things are “reported,” it’s simply impossible to know what is true and what isn’t.  In fact, following initial media coverage on these stories is more likely to leave one misled and confused than informed.  Conversely, the best way to stay informed is to ignore it all — or at least treat it all with extreme skepticism — for at least a day.

The problem, though, is that huge numbers of people aren’t ignoring it.  They’re paying close attention — and they’re paying the closest attention, and forming their long-term views, in the initial stages of the reporting.  Many people will lose their interest once the drama dissolves — i.e., once the actual facts emerge.  Put another way, a large segment of conventional wisdom solidifies based on misleading and patently false claims coming from major media outlets.  I don’t know exactly how to define what the balance should be, but particularly for politically explosive stories like this one, it seems clear that media outlets ought to exercise far more restraint and fact-checking rigor than they do.  As it is, it’s an orgy of rumor-mongering, speculation and falsehoods that play a very significant role in shaping public perceptions and enabling all sorts of ill-intentioned exploitation.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15948

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Tariq Mehanna: Obama’s Latest Muslim Target
November 22, 2009, 11:03 am
Filed under: Muslims, Socalled WarOnTerror, USA
Tariq Mehanna: Obama’s Latest Muslim Target
by Stephen Lendman

Post-9/11, Muslims have been victimized, vilified, and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, prominence, activism, and charity. They’ve been targeted, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, given long sentences, then incarcerated for extra harsh treatment as political prisoners in segregated Communication Management Units (CMUs) in violation of US Prison Bureau regulations and the Supreme Court’s February 2005 Johnson v. California decision.

An October 21 FBI press release announced Tariq (mispelled Tarek) Mehanna as its most recent target saying:

“A Sudbury, Mass. man was charged today in federal court with conspiracy to provide support to terrorists.”

The FBI alleged that from “about 2001 and continuing until (about) May 2008, Mehanna conspired with Ahmad Abousamra and others to provide material support and resources for use in carrying out a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, main or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country and extraterritorial homicide of a US national.”

With no substantiating evidence, “Mehanna and coconspirators (were accused of having) discussed their desire to participate in violent jihad against American interests and that they would talk about fighting jihad and their desire to die on the battlefield. (They also) attempted to radicalize others and inspire each other by, among other things, watching and distributing jihadi videos. (In addition), Mehanna and two of his associates traveled to the Middle East in February 2004, seeking military-type training at a terrorist training camp (to) prepare them for armed jihad….including (against) US and allied forces in Iraq….(One) of Mehanna’s coconspirators made two similar trips to Pakistan in 2002.”

“….Mehanna and the coconspirators had multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons (from a Mr. Maldonado, now serving a 10-year sentence for training with Al Queda in Somalia) and randomly shooting people in a shopping mall, and that the conversations went so far as to discuss the logistics of a mall attack, including coordination, weapons needed and the possibility of attacking emergency responders.”

Yet no attack occurred. None ever was likely planned, but according to the FBI, it was because no automatic weapons could be obtained even though legal semi-automatic ones are freely sold and illegal automatic ones easily gotten.

The web site eastcoastfirearms.com lists for sale numerous ones, including AK-47 (Kalashnikov) assault rifles, AR-15/M16 type rifles, Uzi assault weapons, LWRC M6A2s called the most modern carbine rifle in the world, and various others with considerable firepower.

“Mehanna was previously indicted in January 2009 for making false statements to members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI in connection with a terrorism investigation. If convicted on the material support charge, (he) faces up to 15 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.”

Federal Judge Leo Sorokin ordered Mehanna held without bail pending his next court hearing on October 30. After his ruling, his attorney, JW Carney, Jr. said:

“This is the type of case that challenges our commitment and faith in the United States Constitution. Our country is respected around the world because we presume people are innocent, and we require the government to prove its allegations in open court at trial.”

Mr. Carney will soon discover how prosecutors use secret evidence, paid informants, and will go to any lengths to intimidate juries to convict, regardless of a defendant’s guilt or innocence, especially targeted Muslims charged with intent to commit or provide material support for terrorism.

According to the Bureau, Mehanna and his “coconspirators” used code words like “peanut and jelly” to mean fighting in Somalia and “culinary school” for terrorist camps, but perhaps they said precisely what they meant, and what proof suggests otherwise.

The FBI also claimed when they weren’t able to join terror groups in Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan, the 2002 Washington-area sniper shootings inspired them to attack shopping malls instead as well as two (unnamed) former executive branch members.

Mehanna is a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy where his father, Ahmed, is a professor. They reside in Sudbury, MA, an affluent Boston suburb.

Neighbors expressed shock by the news. Chafic Maalouf called Mehanna “very sweet (and) soft-spoken. He seemed so harmless. He has a beard and a dark complexion, so to the average American he fits the terrorist profile. But if you look in his eyes, he seemed to be a very genuine, kind, loving person,” not a jihadist.

Paul McManus called him “everyday normal. When he was out walking, he was friendly (and) neighborly.” Another supporter said the FBI is “painting the wrong picture of the Muslim community” by targeting one of its up and coming members. Still others cited his work with youths as a teacher at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, MA.

Abdul Cader Asmal, the Center’s former president, said he gave lectures at Friday services in Worchester, MA and translated poetic Arabic scriptures into English. Over time, he became dedicated to his beliefs as many people of all faiths do who plan no terrorist acts.

Ahmad AlFarsi defended Mehanna in a 2008 article following his previous arrest that’s pertinent to his current charges. At first, he hesitated “so as not to expose (his) privacy,” then felt he had to support his friend “since the media has already made his case and name public” and practically convicted him in the court of public opinion.

AlFarsi called him “one of the most gracious, kind, caring, thoughtful, and respectable people I have ever known….I have seen him go above above and beyond what most others would do to help others in need. Those who know him personally know exactly what I am talking about. I am sure any of his peers, Muslim or non-Muslim, would testify to his excellent character.”

He’s also been “very involved in the Muslim community. I remember many times that he would be giving halaqaat (Islamic lectures) in the local masjid (Muslim place of worship) on an Islamic text he was studying. And he helped many many other Muslims in the community come to the straight path….I’d also like to emphasize that he does not and never has supported nor been involved with terrorism, in any way whatsoever.”

Consider “the implications of this incident: we have another (Muslim man, an American citizen) with no previous criminal record of any kind, being held without bail (for now) in his own country….Such a tactic serves only to smear Muslims, and brings pain and suffering to him, his family, and his future,” and leaves all Muslims “fearful, marginalized, and unable to trust the authorities.”

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) October 20 Affidavit

JTTF Special Agent Heidi L. Williams assisted in the investigation of Mehanna, Ahmad Abousamra, and others, and presented alleged evidence to establish probable cause, but said “classified national security information” would remain secret, unavailable to the defense, and therefore beyond its capability to disprove.

Williams claimed Mehanna’s “Computer and its contents constitute evidence of the commission of a criminal offense, contraband, fruits of crime and things otherwise criminally possessed as well as property designed and intended for use, and that has been used, as a means of committing….criminal offense(s under US law).”

She also said “information set forth herein comes from two cooperating witnesses (‘CW1’ and ‘CW2′ – aka commonly used FBI informants to entrap). Both CWs provided information that was based on personal knowledge, including actions and statements by MEHANNA and ABOUSAMRA.” Their trial testimony will show “corroborative evidence in the form of consensually recorded conversations” with defendants and others. “Further evidence is provided by Daniel Maldonado, who was a friend of MEHANNA and ABOUSAMRA, and is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence for Receiving Military-type Training from a Foreign Terrorist Organization (to wit: Al Qa’ ida….).”

“Additional information was obtained from a review of records of governmental agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and Department of State, Passport Office, as well as records of private entities, such as banks, airlines, telephone companies and internet service providers, and interviews of friends, relatives and acquaintances (of defendants).”

Williams cited more evidence from:

— Mehanna’s bedroom;

— a computer hard drive;

— “false information” he provided the JTTF with regard to his 2004 Yemen trip and knowledge of “Maldonado’s circumstances at the time of the interview;”

— recorded conversations in which “Mehanna admitted to other individuals that he lied to the FBI” regarding Maldonado;

— the November 2008 charge of lying about Maldonado during JTTF interrogations;

— the December 2006 charge that Abousamra lied during JTTF interrogations in claiming his 2004 Yemen trip was to study Arabic and Islam;

— Williams’ assertion that both defendants went to Yemen in 2004 “to learn how to conduct, and to subsequently engage in, jihad;” to Pakistan twice in 2002 for the same purpose;

— that defendants “continued in their efforts to train for jihad (and) received information and assistance from an individual (referred to) as Individual A, about who to see and where to go to find terrorist training camps in Yemen;”

— in February 2004, Abousamra also entered Iraq, stayed for about “15 days” and two months later went to Syria and Jordan before returning to the US in August 2004; he subsequently visited Syria “multiple times;” he “made fictitious and fraudulent statements to the FBI” that he went to Jordan to “look for colleges,” to Iraq “to look for a job” and to Syria “to visit his wife.”

The lengthy 55-page affidavit, plus attachments, also claimed:

— CW 2 was a coconspirator;

— Abousamra had “extremist views by citing Islamic teachings;”

— “the three men engaged in serious conversations about jihad;”

— they discussed “going to terrorist training camps in Pakistan (and) conducted logistical research on the internet pertaining to terrorist training camp locations and how to travel there, but no concrete plans materialized;” and

— extensive further allegations that defendants sought but never received terrorist training; that they wished to engage in jihad, but never did; and they subsequently “discussed logistics of a mall attack, including the types of weapons needed, the number of people who would be involved, and how to coordinate the attack from different entrances (but) Because of the logistical problems of executing the operation (and their inability to obtain the type weapons they wanted), the plan was abandoned.”

From all this, an observer might conclude there was no plan, no weapons, and no crime in what appears to be clear entrapment using a paid informant, a coconspirator CW 2, offering testimony in return for leniency, and Maldonado (imprisoned for 10 years) promised it as well for his cooperation. Nonetheless, under US conspiracy law, if prosecutors can convince juries that defendants words implied actions they can get convictions, especially when they cite terrorism and the urgency to prevent it at all costs, even if innocent victims are imprisoned for offenses they never committed of planned.

Mehanna Friends, Supporters, and Family Express Doubts about the Charges

With no previous criminal record, his friends and family call him a maturing Muslim community leader, a passionate writer, and a young man wanting a career in Saudi Arabia as a pharmacist, not a jihadist, even though he supports the right of oppressed peoples to resist as international law allows. In the Kingdom, he was promised good pay, generous benefits, and free trips home. He was boarding a plane in Boston en route when he was arrested.

In a summer 2009 interview with the Boston Globe and subsequent statements through his lawyer, he denied FBI allegations and accused federal investigators of targeting him with bogus charges because they wanted him as a government informant, pressured him to accede, but he refused and wouldn’t cooperate. That made him suspect, an enemy, and got him targeted.

The Dominant Media’s Jihad against Muslims

Whenever Muslims are charged, the dominant media provides support without ever questioning the legitimacy of accusations. As a result, innocent victims are vilified. They’re presumed guilty unless proved innocent. Fear is instilled in the public, while law enforcement officials are portrayed as public defenders, working to keep us safe from bad guys. Below are some samples of media bias:

— The New York Times headlined, “Mass. Man Arrested in Terrorism Case….The authorities said he had conspired to attack civilians at a shopping mall, American soldiers abroad and two members of the executive branch of the federal government.”

— AP called Mehanna “an Incompetent Wannabe” and practically accused him of “plotting to shoot up a mall, kill US troops fighting overseas, and assassinate US officials” here at home;

— Fox News highlighted the alleged plot, called Mehanna “Defiant in Court,” and said he was only foiled by being “unable to get into terror camps for training and failed to get access to automatic weapons;”

— the Wall Street Journal headlined the “Plots to Shoot Up Mall, Kill Federal Officials” by a man “out on bail (from an earlier unsubstantiated charge and) awaiting trial;”

— the Washington Post reported about the: “Massachusetts man arrested on terror charges” (for) conspiring to support terrorists by seeking training from Islamic extremist fighters overseas….”

— Time magazine offered a “two-minute bio” about an “Alleged US Terrorist….plann(ing) to carry out a ‘violent jihad’ by killing US politicians, (and) attack(ing) US shopping malls;”

— the Christian Science Monitor headlined how the “FBI traced Tarek Mehanna in his quest to become a jihadi” and practically accused him of “try(ing) to become a terrorist for eight years following the 9/11 attacks….;” and

— Jihad Watch, an Islamaphobic web site, called Mehanna “a Misunderstander of Islam,” then accused him of “plotting ‘violent jihad.’ “

Nowhere do major media or hate group reports suggest possible bogus charges, ulterior motives behind them, innocent people being targeted, secret evidence withheld to compromise a proper defense, intimidation of juries, or that everyone is presumed innocent unless proved guilty in fair and open proceedings with defendants having competent counsel.

According to muslimmatters.org after Mehanna’s 2008 arrest, the FBI was “Desperate for Results (so they) Arrest(ed a) US Citizen on Two-Year-Old (unsubstantiated) Charges” and got their usual scare headlines for support.

These comments followed his October 21 arrest:

“All of us here at MM believe, based on the facts that we know, that Tareq is innocent of the crimes that he has been accused of….MM is often on the front lines against disinformation about Islam, and actively seeks to counter the radicalization of Muslims.”

MM’s goal “is to educate readers about the fallacies and dangers of all types of extremism by promoting Orthodox Islam….we believe that Islamophobes are indirectly aiding and abetting terrorists’ recruiting efforts by fitting into their agenda and supporting their stereotypes.”

Many Muslims were shocked about the news on Mehanna. “It was generally thought (his 2008 charges were bogus) and that (he) had been falsely accused. After all, (post-9/11), the civil liberties of the Muslim American community had been slowly withered away by the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, the denial of the basic American right of habeas corpus, and unsavory tactics that targeted (Muslims) in general….we at MM” know his “reputation as a family man and a peaceful citizen” and presume he’s innocent “unless proven otherwise…. (We) remain highly skeptical that he was actually a ‘terrorist in disguise.’ ”

A Final Comment

More than any other ethnic-religious group, Western discourse has long portrayed Muslim/Arabs stereotypically as culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, and violent.

According to Jack Shaheen’s book, “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People,” defaming them has been fair game throughout decades of cinematic history (from silent films to today’s blockbusters) as a way to foster prejudicial attitudes and reinforce notions of Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.

Worse still are slanderous media characterizations of dangerous gun-toting terrorists who must rounded up and put away, never mind the rule of law, right or wrong, or whether those accused are guilty or innocent.

It’s no surprise why it’s dangerous to be Muslim in America at a time when we’re all as vulnerable as Tariq Mehanna.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday – Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15861



Report: “Seen and Not Heard”
October 18, 2009, 9:04 am
Filed under: Islam, Muslims, UK
Report: “Seen and Not Heard”
Listen closely
A new assessment of young Muslims in the United Kingdom suggests that common assumptions regarding their identity are oversimplified, misleading, and – most of all – failing to take into account their own views and opinions
By Hena Ashraf, October 16, 2009
Faceless
Seen and Not Heard is an assessment of young Muslims in the United Kingdom, by Sughra Ahmed of Britain’s Policy Research Centre. The study, conducted over 18 months and released in September 2009, aims to give voice to young Muslims who are often analyzed by researchers, but rarely heard from. And as someone who was born in the United Kingdom, spent her early years there, and recently lived in London’s East End – an area with a large urban Muslim population – I found Ahmed’s report to be highly topical and necessary.

Over 100 young Muslims were interviewed across the country in various focus groups, all representing over 15 ethnicities. Ahmed’s work is an intriguing analysis on the state of young Muslims in the UK and clearly has much input from the young Muslims that she spoke to. Seen and Not Heard informs us that young Muslims have a plethora of issues to deal with – including poverty, education, subcultures, the generational gap, media, police interactions – and of course, religion.

But first, there’s the terminology itself. Ahmed notes that a primary distinction must be made in addressing and discussing young Muslims in Britain. The term “youth” has the negative connotations of being affiliated with gangs and violence, which occurs all too often in perceptions by the government, police, and media. “Youth” are seen as a problem in society and Ahmed therefore proposes that Muslim youth be addressed as “young Muslims” or “young people,” which some of her interviewed youth workers also recommended, for a step in preventing “otherization.”

A highly refreshing aspect of Seen and Not Heard is Ahmed’s analysis of the interactions between young Muslims and their parents, and how education comes into play. Overall, the tensions between the two are often comparable to what young people in general experience with the older generation – this intergenerational gap is present in many communities, Muslim and non-Muslim.

However in Muslim communities, factors such as language and culture are also present and frequently cause distance between parents and their children. Such circumstances do affect the education of young Muslims and their attitudes towards it, as many Muslim parents in the UK are not able to engage with their children’s education:

“The research shows that attitude, language, poor education background and feeling insecure with systems of school governance can turn parents away from helping children with their homework, coursework and other assessments, remembering that many parents of the first generation didn’t attend school in the UK and in fact have a generally poor track record of education themselves.”

In other words, this results in young Muslims thus not taking their education very seriously, for their parents do not check on their progress. This was certainly the case with me – my parents, like many, were either too busy with work or were not able to understand my teachers and coursework, resulting in disengagement (though not indifference) with my education.

In contrast, after we moved to the United States, I noticed that young American Muslims around me often had their parents involved with their education, while I was left to my own means. Ahmed has shed much light onto my shared UK experience and recommends that schools need to extend outreach to parents of young British Muslims with a better cultural understanding. This would result in a better education for young Muslims, and ultimately, better life and job opportunities.

A discussion of the media’s treatment of young Muslims is another critical and necessary – but rare – insight offered by the report. Ahmed quotes many young Muslims on their perceptions of how media portray them negatively, and documents how this affects their identity. For example, young Muslims are often unfairly forced to answer for the actions of Muslims abroad, and more frequently so because of an increasingly globalized media network.

Some interviewees often times felt helpless at the expense of the media, saying, “You can’t really make a difference.” Ahmed recommends that young Muslims be encouraged to enter media fields as a means of empowerment. As a precursor to this, other interviewees have proactively countered the negative perceptions enforced by the media simply by getting to know their non-Muslim peers.

Ahmed concludes that the identities of young Muslims in the United Kingdom are constantly in flux, because of shifting attitudes towards education, culture, and religion – and that the media’s everyday barrage also spurs perceptions to shift quickly. By dispelling many stereotypes and misconceptions, Seen and Not Heard demonstrates that young Muslims in the United Kingdom do have a lot of potential. It’s just that their potential needs to be recognized and respected.

Hena Ashraf is a filmmaker and a fierce advocate for the making and use of independent media. She can be reached at hena@a2palestinefilmfest.org . Download and read Seen and Not Heard here.
 


President Ahmadinejad’s Speech At The Durban Review Conference On Racism
April 23, 2009, 11:51 am
Filed under: Muslims, USA

President Ahmadinejad’s Speech At The Durban Review Conference On Racism

The following is the speech of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Durban Review Conference on racism in Geneva on April 20

Mr. Chairman, honorable secretary general of the United Nations, honorable United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Ladies and gentleman:

We have gathered in the follow-up to the Durban conference against racism and racial discrimination to work out practical mechanisms for our holy and humanitarian campaigns.

Over the last centuries, humanity has gone through great sufferings and pains. In the Medieval Ages, thinkers and scientists were sentenced to death. It was then followed by a period of slavery and slave trade. Innocent people were taken captive in their millions and separated from their families and loved ones to be taken to Europe and America under the worst conditions. A dark period that also experienced occupation, lootings and massacres of innocent people.

Many years passed by before nations rose up and fought for their liberty and freedom and they paid a high price for it. They lost millions of lives to expel the occupiers and establish independent and national governments. However, it did not take long before power grabbers imposed two wars in Europe which also plagued a part of Asia and Africa. Those horrific wars claimed about a hundred million lives and left behind massive devastation. Had lessons been learnt from the occupations, horrors and crimes of those wars, there would have been a ray of hope for the future.

The victorious powers called themselves the conquerors of the world while ignoring or down treading upon rights of other nations by the imposition of oppressive laws and international arrangements. Ladies and gentlemen, let us take a look at the UN Security Council which is one of the legacies of World War I and World War II. What was the logic behind their granting themselves the veto right? How can such logic comply with humanitarian or spiritual values? Would it not be inconformity with the recognized principles of justice, equality before the law, love and human dignity? Would it not be discrimination, injustice, violations of human rights or humiliation of the majority of nations and countries

The council is the highest decision-making world body for safeguarding international peace and security. How can we expect the realization of justice and peace when discrimination is legalized and the origin of the law is dominated by coercion and force rather than by justice and the rights?

Coercion and arrogance is the origin of oppression and wars. Although today many proponents of racism condemn racial discrimination in their words and their slogans, a number of powerful countries have been authorized to decide for other nations based on their own interests and at their own discretion and they can easily violate all laws and humanitarian values as they have done so.

Following World War II, they resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering and they sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine. And, in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine.

The Security Council helped stabilize the occupying regime and supported it in the past 60 years giving them a free hand to commit all sorts of atrocities. It is all the more regrettable that a number of Western governments and the United States have committed themselves to defending those racist perpetrators of genocide while the awakened-conscience and free-minded people of the world condemn aggression, brutalities and the bombardment of civilians in Gaza. The supporters of Israel have always been either supportive or silent against the crimes.

Dear friends, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. What are the root causes of the US attacks against Iraq or the invasion of Afghanistan?

Was the motive behind the invasion of Iraq anything other than the arrogance of the then US administration and the mounting pressures on the part of the possessors of wealth and power to expand their sphere of influence seeking the interests of giant arms manufacturing companies affecting a noble culture with thousands of years of historical background, eliminating the potential and practical threats of Muslim countries against the Zionist regime or to control and plunder the energy resources of the Iraqi people?

Why, indeed, almost a million people were killed and injured and a few more millions were displaced? Why, indeed, the Iraqi people have suffered enormous losses amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars? And why was billions of dollars imposed on the American people as the result of these military actions? Was not the military action against Iraq planned by the Zionists and their allies in the then US administration in complicity with the arms manufacturing countries and the possessors of wealth? Did the invasion of Afghanistan restore peace, security and economic wellbeing in the country?

The United States and its allies not only have failed to contain the production of drugs in Afghanistan, but the cultivation of narcotics has multiplied in the course of their presence. The basic question is that what was the responsibility and the job of the then US administration and its allies? Did they represent the countries of the world? Have they been mandated by them? Have they been authorized by the people of the world to interfere in all parts of the globe, of course mostly in our region? Are not these measures a clear example of egocentrism, racism, discrimination or infringement upon the dignity and independence of nations?

Ladies and gentlemen, who is responsible for the current global economic crisis? Where did the crisis start from? From Africa, Asia or from the United States in the first place then spreading across Europe and their allies?

For a long time, they imposed inequitable economic regulations by their political power on the international economy. They imposed a financial and monetary system without a proper international oversight mechanism on nations and governments that played no role in repressive trends or policies. They have not even allowed their people to oversea or monitor their financial policies. They introduced all laws and regulations in defiance of all moral values only to protect the interests of the possessors of wealth and power.

They further presented a definition for market economy and competition that denied many of the economic opportunities that could be available to other countries of the world. They even transferred their problems to others while the waves of crisis lashed back plaguing their economies with thousands of billions of dollars in budget deficit. And today, they are injecting hundreds of billions of dollars of cash from the pockets of their own people and other nations into the failing banks, companies and financial institutions making the situation more and more complicated for their economy and their people. They are simply thinking about maintaining power and wealth. They could not care any less about the people of the world and even their own people.

Mr. President, Ladies and gentlemen, Racism is rooted in the lack of knowledge concerning the root of human existence as the selected creature of God. It is also the product of his deviation from the true path of human life and the obligations of mankind in the world of creation, failing to consciously worship God, not being able to think about the philosophy of life or the path to perfection that are the main ingredients of divine and humanitarian values which have restricted the horizon of human outlook making transient and limited interests, the yardstick for his action. That is why evil’s power took shape and expanded its realm of power while depriving others from enjoying equitable and just opportunities of development.

The result has been the making of an unbridled racism that is posing the most serious threats against international peace and has hindered the way for building peaceful coexistence in the entire world. Undoubtedly, racism is the symbol of ignorance which has deep roots in history and it is, indeed, the sign of frustration in the development of human society.

It is, therefore, crucially important to trace the manifestations of racism in situations or in societies where ignorance or lack of knowledge prevails. This increasing general awareness and understanding towards the philosophy of human existence is the principle struggle against such manifestations, and reveals the truth that human kind centers on the creation of the universe and the key to solving the problem of racism is a return to spiritual and moral values and finally the inclination to worship God Almighty.

The international community must initiate collective moves to raise awareness in afflicted societies where ignorance of racism still prevails so as to bring to a halt the spread of these malicious manifestations.

Dear Friends, today, the human community is facing a kind of racism which has tarnished the image of humanity in the beginning of the third millennium.

World Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religions and abuses religious sentiments to hide its hatred and ugly face. However, it is of great importance to bring into focus the political goals of some of the world powers and those who control huge economic resources and interests in the world. They mobilize all the resources including their economic and political influence and world media to render support in vain to the Zionist regime and to maliciously diminish the indignity and disgrace of this regime.

This is not simply a question of ignorance and one cannot conclude these ugly phenomena through consular campaigns. Efforts must be made to put an end to the abuse by Zionists and their political and international supporters and in respect with the will and aspirations of nations. Governments must be encouraged and supported in their fights aimed at eradicating this barbaric racism and to move towards reform in current international mechanisms.

There is no doubt that you are all aware of the conspiracies of some powers and Zionist circles against the goals and objectives of this conference. Unfortunately, there have been literatures and statements in support of Zionists and their crimes. And it is the responsibility of honorable representatives of nations to disclose these campaigns which run counter to humanitarian values and principles.

It should be recognized that boycotting such a session as an outstanding international capacity is a true indication of supporting the blatant example of racism. In defending human rights, it is primarily important to defend the rights of all nations to participate equally in all important international decision making processes without the influence of certain world powers.

And secondly, it is necessary to restructure the existing international organizations and their respective arrangements. Therefore this conference is a testing ground and the world public opinion today and tomorrow will judge our decisions and our actions.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, the world is going through rapid fundamental changes. Power relations have become weak and fragile. The sound of cracks in the pillars of world systems can now be heard. Major political and economic structures are on the brink of collapse. Political and security crises are on the rise. The worsening crisis in the world economy for which there can be seen no bright prospect, demonstrates the rising tide of far-reaching global changes. I have repeatedly emphasized the need to change the wrong direction through which the world is being managed today and I have also warned of the dire consequences of any delay in this crucial responsibility.

Now in this valuable event, I would like to announce to all leaders, thinkers and to all nations of the world present in this meeting and those who have a hunger for peace and economic well-being that the unjust economic management of the world is now at the end of the road. This deadlock was inevitable since the logic of this imposed management was oppressive.

The logic of collective management of world affairs is based on noble aspirations which centers on human beings and the supremacy of the almighty God. Therefore it defies any policy or plan which goes against the influence of nations. The victory of right over wrong and the establishment of a just world system has been promised by the Almighty God and his messengers and it has been a shared goal of all human beings from different societies and generations in the course of history. Realization of such a future depends on the knowledge of creation and the belief of the faithful.

The making of a global society is in fact the accomplishment of a noble goal held in the establishment of a common global system that will be run with the participation of all nations of the world in all major decision making processes and the definite root to this sublime goal.

Scientific and technical capacities as well as communication technology have created a common and widespread understanding of the world society and has provided the necessary ground for a common system. Now it is upon all intellectuals, thinkers and policy makers in the world to carry out their historical responsibility with a firm belief in this definite root. I also want to lay emphasis on the fact that Western liberalism and capitalism has reached its end since it has failed to perceive the truth of the world and humans as they are

It has imposed its own goals and directions on human beings. There is no regard for human and divine values, justice, freedom, love and brotherhood and it has based living on intense competition, securing individual and cooperative material interest.

Now we must learn from the past by initiating collective efforts in dealing with present challenges and in this connection, and as a closing remark, I wish to draw your kind attention to two important issues:

Firstly, it is absolutely possible to improve the existing situation in the world. However it must be noted that this could be only achieved through the cooperation of all countries in order to get the best out of the existing capacities and resources in the world. My participation in this conference is because of my conviction to these important issues as well as to our common responsibility of defending the rights of nations vis-à-vis the sinister phenomena of racism and being with you, the thinkers of the world.

Secondly, mindful of the inefficiency of the current international political, economic and security systems, it is necessary to focus on divine and humanitarian values by referring to the true definition of human beings based upon justice and respect for the rights of all people in all parts of the world and by acknowledging the past wrong doings in the past dominant management of the world, and to undertake collective measures to reform the existing structures.

In this respect, it is crucially important to rapidly reform the structure of the Security Council, including the elimination of the discriminatory veto right and to change the current world financial and monetary systems. It is evident that lack of understanding of the urgency for change is equivalent to the much heavier costs of delay

Dear Friends, beware that to move in the direction of justice and human dignity is like a rapid flow in the current of a river. Let us not forget the essence of love and affection. The promised future of human beings is a great asset that may serve our purposes in keeping together to build a new world.

In order to make the world a better place full of love and blessings, a world devoid of poverty and hatred, merging the increasing blessings of God Almighty and the righteous managing of the perfect human being, let us all join hands in friendship in the fulfillment of such a new world.

I thank you Mr. President, Secretary General and all distinguished participants for having the patience to listen to me. Thank you very much.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=92046



South Asian Terrorism: All Roads Lead To The British Empire
March 31, 2009, 10:32 am
Filed under: Bangladesh, India, Muslims, Pakistan, SubContinent

South Asian Terrorism: All Roads Lead To The British Empire

By Ramtanu Maitra


This is the first part of a two-part series. Next week:“Baluchistan and FATA in Pakistan.”


The growing violence throughout Pakistan since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the Winter of 2001, the November 2008 attack on Mumbai, India, and many other smaller terrorist-directed killings in India, and the gruesome killing of at least 70 top Bangladeshi Army officers in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed last month, were evidence that the terrorists have declared war against the sovereign nation-states in South Asia. The only bright spot in this context is Sri Lanka, where a powerful terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), better known as the Tamil Tigers, are about to lose their home base. That, however, may not end the LTTE terrorism, particularly since it is headquartered in London, where many South Asian terrorists are maintained in separate cages for future use by British intelligence, with the blessings of Her Majesty’s Service.

 

Since none of the South Asian countries, where the terrorists are gaining ground, have, so far, shown the ability to evaluate, and thus, eliminate, the growth of this terrorism, it is necessary to know its genesis, and how it has affected the leaders of the South Asian nations to the detriment of their respective security. What is evident is that the South Asian terrorism has little to do with territorial disputes among nations, but everything to do with the past British colonial rule which poisoned the minds of the locals, so they have become disloyal to their own countries.

 

In this article, we will deal with the terrorism that continues to prosper in India’s northeast; and the terrorism in Sri Lanka, brought about by the British-induced ethnic animosity among its citizens. This history is the narration of a tragedy, since those who fought for independence in these South Asian nations, made enormous sacrifices to bring about their independence; many of those heroic figures turned out to be mental slaves of the British Empire, and pursued relentlessly the policies that the British had implemented to run their degenerate Empire.

 

India’s Northeast

Six decades after India wrested independence from its colonial rulers, its northeast region is a cauldron of trouble. Located in a highly strategic area, with land contiguous to five countries—Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China—it is full of militant separatists, who take refuge in the neighboring countries under pressure from Indian security forces. Since most of these neighboring countries do not have the reach to control the border areas, the separatist groups have set up armed training camps, which, over the years, have attracted international drug and gun traffickers. As a result of such unrelenting terrorist actions, and violent demonstrations over the last five decades, this part of India remains today a dangerous place.

 

These secessionist groups were not created by New Delhi, although New Delhi failed to understand that the promotion of ethnic, sub-ethnic, and tribal identities were policies of the British, who had come to India to expand their empire. The British Empire survived, and then thrived, through identification, within the subcontinent, of various ethnic and sub-ethnic groups and their conflict points; and then, exploited those conflict points to keep the groups divided and hostile to each other.

 

India and the other South Asian nations failed to comprehend that it was suicidal to allow a degenerate colonial power to pursue such policies against their nations. As a result, they were carried out by New Delhi for two ostensible reasons: One, to appease the militants, and the other, to “allow them to keep” what they wanted— their sub-national ethnic identity. The policy deprived the majority of the people of the Northeast of the justification for identifying themselves as Indians.

 

The die was cast in the subversion of the sovereignty of an independent India by the British Raj in 1862, when it laid down the law of apartheid, to isolate “the tribal groups.” The British came into the area in the 1820s, following the Burmese conquest of Manipur and parts of Assam. The area had become unstable in the latter part of the 18th Century, following the over-extension of the Burmese-based Ahom kingdom, which reached into Assam. The instability caused by the weakening of the Ahom kingdom prompted the Burmese to move to secure their western flank. But the Burmese action also helped to bring in the British. The British East India Company was lying in wait for the Ahom kingdom to disintegrate.

 

The Anglo-Burmese War of 1824-26 ended with a British victory. By the terms of the peace treaty signed at Yandaboo on Feb. 24, 1826, the British annexed the whole of lower Assam and parts of upper Assam (now Arunachal Pradesh). The Treaty of Yandaboo provided the British with the foothold they needed to annex Northeast India, launch further campaigns to capture Burma’s vital coastal areas, and gain complete control of the territory from the Andaman Sea to the mouth of the Irrawaddy River. What were London’s motives in this venture? The British claimed that their occupation of the northeast region was required to protect the plains of Assam from “tribal outrages and depredations and to maintain law and order in the sub-mountainous region.”

 

The ‘Apartheid Law’

Following annexation of Northeast India, the first strategy of the British East India Company toward the area was to set it up as a separate entity. At the outset, British strategy toward Northeast India was:

 

• to make sure that the tribal people remained separated from the plains people, and the economic interests of the British in the plains were not disturbed;

• to ensure that all tribal aspirations were ruthlessly curbed, by keeping the bogeyman of the plains people dangling in their faces; and,

• to ensure the tribal feudal order remained intact, with the paraphernalia of tribal chiefs and voodoo doctors kept in place. Part of this plan was carried out through the bribing of tribal chiefs with paltry gifts.

 

Lord Palmerston’s Zoo

The British plan to cordon off the northeast tribal areas was part of its policy of setting up a multicultural human zoo, during the 1850s, under the premiership of Henry Temple, the third Viscount Palmerston. Lord Palmerston, as Henry Temple was called, had three “friends”—the British Foreign Office, the Home Office, and Whitehall.

 

The apartheid program eliminated the Northeast Frontier Agency from the political map of India, and segregated the tribal population from Assam, as the British had done in southern Africa and would later do in Sudan. By 1875, British intentions became clear, even to those Englishmen who believed that the purpose of Mother England’s intervention in India, and the Northeast in particular, was to improve the conditions of the heathens. In an 1875 intelligence document, one operative wrote: “At this juncture, we find our local officers frankly declaring that our relations with the Nagas could not possibly be on a worse footing than they were then, and that the non-interference policy, which sounds excellent in theory, had utterly failed in practice.”

 

Apartheid also helped the British to function freely in this closed environment. Soon enough, the British Crown introduced another feature: It allowed Christian missionaries to proselytize among the tribal population and units of the Frontier Constabulary. The Land of the Nagas was identified as “virgin soil” for planting Christianity.

 

“Among a people so thoroughly primitive, and so independent of religious profession, we might reasonably expect missionary zeal would be most successful,” stated the 1875 document, as quoted in the “Descriptive Account of Assam,” by William Robinson and Angus Hamilton.

 

Missionaries were also encouraged to open government-aided schools in the Naga Hills. Between 1891 and 1901, the number of native Christians increased 128%. The chief proselytizers were the Welsh Presbyterians, headquartered in Khasi and the Jaintia Hills.British Baptists were given the franchise of the Mizo (Lushai) and Naga Hills, and the Baptist mission was set up in 1836.

 

British Mindset Controlled New Delhi

Since India’s Independence in 1947, the Northeast has been split up into smaller and smaller states and autonomous regions. The divisions were made to accommodate the wishes of tribes and ethnic groups which want to assert their sub-national identity, and obtain an area where the diktat of their little coterie is recognized.

 

New Delhi has yet to comprehend that its policy of accepting and institutionalizing the superficial identities of these ethnic, linguistic, and tribal groups has ensured more irrational demands for even smaller states. Assam has been cut up into many states since Britain’s exit. The autonomous regions of Karbi Anglong, Bodo Autonomous Region, and Meghalaya were all part of pre-independence Assam. Citing the influx of Bengali Muslims since the 1947 formation of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh in 1971, the locals demand the ouster of these “foreigners” from their soil.

 

Two terrorist groups in Assam, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic front of Bodoland (NDFB) (set up originally as the Bodo Security Force), are now practically demanding “ethnic cleansing” in their respective areas. To fund their movements, both the ULFA and the NDFB have been trafficking heroin and other narcotics, and indulging in killing sprees against other ethnic groups and against Delhi’s law-and-order machinery. Both these groups have also developed close links with other major guerrilla-terrorist groups operating in the area, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Muivah) and the People’s Liberation Army in Manipur. In 1972, Meghalaya was carved out of Assam through a peaceful process. Unfortunately, peace did not last long in this “abode of the clouds.” In 1979, the first violent demonstration against “foreigners” resulted in a number of deaths and arson. The “foreigners” in this case were Bengalis, Marwaris, Biharis, and Nepalis, many of whom had settled in Meghalaya decades ago. By 1990, firebrand groups such as the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo People (FKJGP), and the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) came to the fore, ostensibly to uphold the rights of the “hill people” from Khasi, Jaintia, and the Garo hills. Violence erupted in 1979, 1987, 1989, and 1990. The last violent terrorist acts were in 1992.

 

Similar “anti-foreigner” movements have sprouted up across the Northeast, from Arunachal Pradesh in the East and North, to Sikkim in the West, and Mizoram and Tripura in the South. Along the Myanmar border, the states of Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram remain unstable and extremely porous.

 

While New Delhi was busy maintaining the status quo in this area by telling the tribal and ethnic groups that India is not going to take away what the British Raj had given to them, Britain picked the Nagas as the most efficient warriors (also, a large number of them had been converted to Christianity by the Welsh missionaries), and began arming and funding them. The British connection to the NSCN existed from the early days of the Naga National Council. Angami Zapu Phizo, the mentor of both factions of the NSCN, had led the charge against the Indian government, spearheading well-organized guerrilla warfare. Phizo left Nagaland hiding in a coffin. He then turned up in 1963 in Britain, holding a Peruvian passport. It is strongly suspected that the British Baptist Church, which is very powerful in Nagaland, is the contact between British intelligence and the NSCN terrorists operating on the ground at the time.

 

‘Dirty Bertie’ and the Nagas

Once Phizo arrived in Britain, Lord Bertrand (“Dirty Bertie”) Russell, the atheist, courted Phizo, and became his new friend. Russell was deeply impressed with Phizo’s “earnestness” for a peaceful settlement. What, perhaps, impressed Russell the most is that Phizo had control over the militant Nagas, who had launched a movement in the mid-1950s under the Naga National Council (NNC) to secede from the Indian Republic. In a letter dated Feb. 12, 1963, Sir Bertrand told Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, “I find it hard to understand the difficulty of coming to an agreement which would put an end to the very painful occurrences incidental to the present policy of India.”

It is believed in some circles that New Delhi’s 1964 ceasefire with the Nagas might have been influenced by the letter from Russell that was handed to Nehru by Rev. Michael Scott. Scott later went to Nagaland as part of a peace mission, along with two senior Indian political leaders.

 

While Russell was pushing Nehru to make the Nagas an independent country through peaceful negotiations, British involvement in direct conflict continued. On Jan. 30, 1992, soldiers of the Assam Rifles arrested two British nationals along the Nagaland-Burma border. David Ward and Stephen Hill posed as members of BBC-TV, and were travelling in jeeps with Naga rebels carrying arms. Subsequent interrogation revealed that both were operatives of Naga Vigil, a U.K.-based group. Both Ward and Hill claimed that they started the organization while in jail, influenced by Phizo’s niece, Rano Soriza. Both have served six-year prison terms for various crimes in Britain. Naga Vigil petitioned for their release in the Guwahti High Court. Phizo’s niece took up the issue with then-Nagaland Chief Minister Vamuzo.

 

Sri Lanka’s Violent Ethnic Strife

In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tiger terrorist group is in its last throes. Ousted by the Sri Lankan Army from almost all of its “claimed” territories, the militants are now holding on to about 19 square kilometers of land, with about 70,000 Sri Lankan citizens, mostly of Tamil ethnic origin, as their hostages. It is evident that they will be totally routed by the end of this month.

 

While the U.S. Pacific Command personnel in contact with New Delhi are formulating an evacuation plan for the hostages, London and the European Union are trying to protect the last vestiges of Tiger territory by urging Colombo to work out a cease fire with the terrorists.

 

The emergence of violent conflict between the Tamil Sri Lankans and the Sinhala Sri Lankans, which gave birth to the London-backed Tamil Tigers, was yet another product of the British colonial legacy. This ethnic conflict, which has engulfed this little island, and unleashed unlimited violence in the region for almost three decades, is, as in the case of Northeast India, due to the British mindset of the Sri Lankan and Indian leaders involved in “resolving “the crisis.

 

To begin with, Sri Lanka (then, Ceylon) had the misfortune to be colonized by three brutal European colonial powers—the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Nonetheless, it is to the credit of the locals that they withstood these brutes and prevented the break-up of the country.

 

After the Dutch ceded Sri Lanka in the 1801 Peace of Amiens, it became Britain’s first crown colony. Immediately, the British colonials started setting up the chess pieces. The ruling Kandyan King, of Tamil ancestry, was ousted with the help of local chieftains of Tamil and Sinhala origin. The coup set up the British crown as the new King.

 

As part of the “divide and rule” policy, the British colonials promoted the Buddhist religion, resulting in the 1817 Uva rebellion. The Buddhist religion was given protection by the Crown, and the people were told that Christianity would not be imposed on the unwilling masses as had happened during Portuguese and Dutch rule. Following the quelling of the rebellion, the British did what they do best: They carried out one of the worst massacres of the 19th Century, wiping out all able-bodied Sinhalese men from the Hill Country, and 80% of the native population of able-bodied, according to one report. The Kandyan Kingdom was the kingdom of both the Tamils and Sinhalas—both these groups came from India to settle on that island.

 

One specific impact of the British colonial presence was the emergence of English as the local language, undermining both the Sinhala and Tamil languages. According to one historian, the two most important effects observed during British rule were: one, by the start of 20th Century, the English language became the passport to getting employment; and those who had an English education became dominant in Britain’s handcrafted Sri Lankan society. Due to input of the Christian missionaries, more minority Tamils could read and write English, as opposed to the southern Sinhalese and Kandyan Sinhalese.

 

The other observed impact on Sri Lankan society of British colonial rule, was the reconstituting of the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly of 1921 had 12 Sinhalese and 10 non-Sinhalese, at a time when the Sinhalese constituted more than 70% of the population. Things changed in 1931, when, out of 61 seats, the Sinhalese won 38. This troubled the Tamils, because they had had special privileges under British, and never wanted to accept the dominance of the Sinhalese majority.

 

In addition, the British also brought to the island a million workers of Tamil ethnic background from Tamil Nadu, and made them indentured laborers in the Hill Country. This was in addition to the million Tamils already living in the provinces, and another million Mappilla Muslims, whose mother tongue is Tamil. Thus, the British sowed seeds of ethnic discord. During the colonial rule, the minority Tamils had a disproportionate representation in the bureaucracy.

The Role of British Assets in Independent Sri Lanka

However, when in 1948, the British finally left the island, they left behind their assets, in powerful places, many of whom were educated at Oxford-Cambridge, and some of whom had adopted Christianity, on both sides of the ethnic divide London had so carefully created.

 

Instead of seizing the opportunity to build the nation and set about undoing the misdeeds they were forced to carry out under British rule, beginning in the 1950s, Sinhalese-dominated governments implemented public policies that would institutionalize the majority community’s dominance. Sinhala was declared to be the country’s sole official language; Buddhism was favored as the state religion; and the unitary nature of the state ensured Sinhalese political domination. Major Sinhalese-Tamil riots in 1956, 1981, and 1983 further heightened Tamil insecurities.

 

Meanwhile, the Tamils began to press for autonomy. Political parties, such as the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), utilized conventional means, which included participating in coalition governments. Militant Tamils, the LTTE, sought the creation of an independent Tamil state, referred to as Tamil Eelam, which would comprise the North and East of the country.

 

Throughout the 1980s, various Tamil rebel groups engaged in attacks against the Colombo government and its security apparatus. However, the situation worsened on that island because of the British mindset of New Delhi, which made a number of attempts to intervene in the violent Sri Lankan situation. Besides helping the Tamils to get armed training and intelligence, New Delhi, under late-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, deployed around 50,000 Indian peacekeepers (IPKF) in Tamil areas in Sri Lanka to help ensure peace. In return, the Sri Lankan government agreed to devolve power to the North and East through the creation of autonomous provincial councils.

Neither Colombo nor the Tamil militants were sincere about the deal; both were looking at the Indian troops as the barriers against their independent state. The failure of the Indian intervention led to more deaths and the assassination of Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, and India’s Rajiv Gandhi, among many other high-level Sri Lankan officials, by the terrorist Tamil Tigers.

London: Break Up India into 100 Hong Kongs

But, the British were in the middle of all this. Besides the fact that the LTTE was headquartered in London, and raising most of its illegitimate funds from Britain and its former colonies in Australia, South Africa, and Canada, within ten days of Gandhi’s death, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, who would be assassinated by the LTTE in May 1993, forced the hasty departure from Sri Lanka of British High Commissioner David Gladstone. The charge was that Gladstone, a descendant of the Victorian-age Prime Minister William Gladstone, was interfering in local election politics. But he had also been criticized earlier for allegedly meeting with known drug traffickers in Sri Lanka. Gladstone, who had previously spent years in the Middle East, was a known British intelligence link to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, which was involved in training both the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the LTTE

Britain’s continuing intent to break up India was also expressed openly in this political context. On May 26, 1991, only five days after the British-controlled LTTE-led assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the Times of London, the premier voice for the British Foreign Office, put forward this view in an editorial entitled “Home Truths”: “There are so many lessons to be learnt from sorrowing India, and most are being muttered too politely. The over-huge federation of almost 900 million people spreads across too many languages, cultures, religions, and castes. It has three times as many often incompatible and thus resentful people as the Soviet Union, which now faces the same bloody strains and ignored solutions as India. . . .

“The way forward for India, as for the Soviet Union, will be to say a great prize can go to any States and sub-States that maintain order without murders and riots. They should be allowed to disregard Delhi’s corrupt licensing restrictions, run their own economic policies, and bring in as much foreign investment and as many free-market principles as they like. Maybe India’s richest course from the beginning would have been to split into 100 Hong Kongs

http://www.countercurrents.org/maitra250309.htm



Iranian President Ahmedinejad vs. former Pakistani President Parveez Musharaf
March 4, 2009, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Muslims
Iranian President Ahmedinejad vs. former Pakistani President Parveez Musharaf
 
 
Iranian President Ahmedinejad1 musharraf
Iranian President Ahmedinejad2 Pakistani president Parveez Musharaf2
Iranian President Ahmedinejad3 Pakistani president Parveez Musharaf3
Iranian President Ahmedinejad4 Pakistani president Parveez Musharaf4
Iranian President Ahmedinejad5 Pakistani president Parveez Musharaf5
Iranian President Ahmedinejad6 Pakistani president Parveez Musharaf6
Iranian President Ahmedinejad7 Pakistani president Parveez Musharaf7
 
 
http://fisherwy.blogspot.com/2008/01/comparison-of-life-of-two-muslim.html
 
Isha Khan   bd_mailer@yahoo.com


Racism and Religious Desecration as US Policy
February 23, 2009, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Muslims, USA

Racism and Religious Desecration as US

 Policy:Islamophobia, a Retrospective

 
By TRISH SCHUH
It was the potshot heard round the world that touched off a counter-crusade. Packaged in western free speech cliches, and marketed as innocent satire, the newspaper Jylland-Posten’s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist/suicide bomber with a ticking bomb for a turban was “provocation-entrapment” propaganda. Dual-use entertainment, in this case frivolous caricature, is an unexamined aspect of “full spectrum information dominance.” The US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s “Information Operations Roadmap” mandates that ‘information warfare’ utilize all cultural venues to further its agenda- news, posters, books, movies, art, internet, and music etc.
 
Can comedy be far behind? At recent CIA training sessions in Dubai, Iranian opposition agent provocateurs were taught the importance of mockery and ridicule when used to discredit and ‘demythologize’ an enemy or incite against it. Even populist actions like grafitti “could embolden the student movement and provoke a general government crackdown, which could then be used as a pretext to ‘spark’ a mass uprising that appeared to be spontaneous.” (Asia Times, Mar 14, 06). Such provocation tactics operated in the cartoon intifada, as well as in US Embassy-coordinated “color revolutions”.

As a free speech crusader, Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten’s editor behind the Muhammad cartoons (and ally/author of a Daniel Pipes profile “The Threat from Islam”), had earlier refused to publish denigrating cartoons of Jesus, fearing it would “offend readers.” Jylland-Posten also rescinded sponsorship of a Holocaust cartoon contest for the same reason. Kurt Westergaard, Jylland-Posten’s ‘Muhammad bomb’ illustrator even transcribed a Koranic verse onto Muhammad’s turban to reinforce his message. Westergaard later admitted to The Herald of Glasgow, Scotland that “terrorism” which he said got “spiritual ammunition” from Islam was the inspiration for that message.

If propaganda is a weapon of war, Islam is under carpet bombing. Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels described the methods, which define those used today: “Concentrating the fire of all the media on one particular point- a single theme, a single enemy, a single idea- the campaign uses this concentration of all media, but progressively…”
 
Theme: “War on Terror” Enemy: Muslims. Addressing the 2006 AIPAC “Now is the Time to Stop Iran” Conference, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Daniel Gillerman summarized the Idea: “While it may be true- and probably is- that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim.” Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami put it another way: “the West needs an enemy, and this time it is Islam. And Islamophobia becomes part of all policies of the great powers, of hegemonic powers.”

Is Islamophobia de facto state policy? Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi declared in 2001 that Western civilization is superior to the Islamic World: “We should be confident of the superiority of our civilization, which consists of a value system that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it, and guarantees respect for human rights.” He added that this superiority entitled the West to “occidentalize and conquer new people.” Another Italian official MP Roberto Calderoni flaunted his Muhammad cartoon T-shirt on TV, warning of a an “Islamic attack on the West.” French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy pronounced Muslim immigrants “gangrene” and “scum,” and one Danish MP labeled Muslims “a cancer in Denmark.”

 
In America, Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk commented: “I’m okay with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states.” Texas Congressman Sam Johnson bragged to a crowd of veterans that he had advised Bush to nuke Syria, and Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo advocated wiping out Mecca to get even with Muslims for terrorist attacks. Recently the Bush administration itself revealed its plans to “nuke Iran” with bunker buster bombs.

Zionist Daniel Pipes, a representative at the Congress-sponsored think tank US Institute for Peace, (who was appointed by Bush despite heavy public protest against Pipe’s racism) recently diagnosed Muslims as carriers of a sinister, latent psychopathic contagion: “Individuals may appear law-abiding and reasonable, but they are part of a totalitarian movement, and as such, all must be considered potential killers… This is what I have dubbed the Sudden Jihad Syndrome, whereby normal-appearing Muslims abruptly become violent. It has the awful but legitimate consequence of casting suspicion on all Muslims. Who knows whence the next jihadi? How can one be confident a law-abiding Muslim will not suddenly erupt in a homocidal rage?”

 
Muslims’ angry reactions to the cartoon provocation unwittingly served a goal of Pipe’s Anti-Islamist Institute: “the delegitimation of the Islamists. We seek to have them shunned by the government, the media, the churches, the academy and the corporate world.” For once, Israel, America and Europe were united to protect civilization’s free speech virtues against “crazed, rampaging”, “dirty arabs” or, as Pipes himself once remarked, “brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene.”
 
I asked Pipes about the systemic racism and Muslim/Arab ‘terrorist’ stereotypes in the US media. Pipes said: “I would strongly, strongly disagree. There is an enormous amount of media that is very, very positive about Muslims, an enormous amount. I see it everyday. There is a steady stream of media that is very positive about Muslims- steady, steady, steady. I see it everyday- all the time…” When persistently pressed to name five positive stories or Muslim role models among this plethora of good news- authors, academics, lawyers, celebrities etc. Pipes could not give a single example. But he easily supplied numerous names of prominent Arab Americans allegedly ‘linked’ to terrorism.
 
Despite disclaimers, bigoted, hideous and contemptuous anti-Muslim content continues unabated: hooded corpses in Abu Ghraib displayed by jovial “thumbs up” troops, force-fed hunger strikers at Guantanamo (who Donald Rumsfeld wisecracked were “on a diet”), refugee camps flattened, Palestinians starving, taunts of “Taliban lady boys” after US troops had set fire to Afghan bodies, ubiquitous car bombings, wedding parties crushed, mosques massacred, civilians attacked with cluster bombs and daisy cutters. Depleted uranium mutating future generations, and a thousand Iraqi pilgrims stampeded to death in an hour… In the midst of which President Bush pantomimed & joked about missing WMD’s to an applauding, jeering Radio & Television Correspondents Association that call themselves a press corp. Antics befitting a noncombatant President who greeted the initial bombing of Iraq with pumped fists: “I feel good!” (BBC) “See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” (George W Bush, 5/24/05)
 
This state-sponsored smirking has trickled down to spawn a climate of recreational cruelty in the US military. Reflecting anti-Muslim propaganda while perpetuating it, is the “Rumsfeld Contingent” of the armed forces. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Lt. Gen. William Jerry Boykin propagated hate at the grassroots level in dozens of speeches to church groups, saying that the war on terror was actually spiritual warfare, with the enemy ‘Satan’ being embodied by Islam. Speaking of God versus Allah he said: “Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol.” Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld defended Boykin, so it was unsurprising that after Abu Ghraib crimes erupted Boykin found “no pattern of misconduct.”
 
Dropping down the chain of command, Marine Corp Lt. Gen. James Mattis’s comments were caught by AP. “Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.” Drawing on the ‘Muslim misogynist’ stereotype, Mattis added that Muslim men were wife-beaters and continued: “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of alot of fun to shoot them.” Some troops on the ground echoed this “raghead” ethos as they shot Iraqis.
 
Or shot down their sacred symbols. In May, 2005, worldwide Muslim reaction compelled Newsweek to retract a story about US interrogators flushing the Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld maintained that the revelation was not true, and demanded that Newsweek explain to the Muslim world “the care that the US military takes” to respect Islamic beliefs.
 
But such behavior had been documented independently elsewhere. The Denver Post: prisoners were “forced to watch copies of the Koran being flushed down toilets” (January, 2005), Financial Times: “they were beaten and had their Korans thrown into toilets” (Oct 28, 2004), NY Daily News: “They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it.” (Aug. 5, 2004), The Independent UK: “Guards allegedly threw prisoners’ Korans into toilets” (Aug 5, 2004), The Observer UK: “copies of the Koran would be trampled on by soldiers and, on one occasion, thrown into a toilet bucket.” (March 14, 2004), Washington Post: “American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them” (March 26, 2003). These were but a few of similar media reports over a period of years.
 
Other instances of Islamic desecration were also recorded. One online fundraiser sold printed toilet paper with the words “Koran, the Holy Quran” which was then distributed to mosques and the media with a letter claiming the Koran was a “cookbook for terrorists” and incited violence. The Mercury News revealed that flyers posted on a Sacramento National Guard military base extolled World War 1 General John Pershing as a hero for executing “Muslim terrorists” with bullets dipped in pigs blood, thus excluding them from Paradise. WorldNetDaily reported on a US Army Reserve recruit’s contest that used pages from the Koran to make porcine figures. His website pabaah.com showed a paper mache’ pig with a US flag on its back, and included paper mache instructions and links to get free Korans.
 
Some troop contests were flippant in a physical way. At Camp Nama adjacent to Baghdad Airport, The New York Times reported that detainees were bruised after being used for target practice by soldiers playing in the High Five Paintball Club. Human Rights Watch later assessed that prisoners were sometimes tortured as a form of stress relief for soldiers to help while away the hours. “Some days we would just get bored so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid. We did that for amusement.” One soldier added “…it was like a game …for sport..” This R & R earned the 82nd Airborne at FOB Mercury a prized nickname from terrified Iraqis: “Murderous Maniacs”. Departing military personnel who did a ‘good job’ were later awarded by commanders with trophies- a detainee’s black hood, and a piece of tile from the medical office that had once held Saddam Hussein. (After the 1990 Iraq War, one soldier tried to smuggle an Iraqi’s limb home in his duffel bag as a trophy under the first Bush/Cheney administration.)
 
At Abu Ghraib, Sgt Michael J. Smith laughed and partied with rival dog handlers as they competed to see who could outscare and humiliate Iraqi prisoners (dogs are considered unclean and human contact is forbidden by Islam) by siccing ferocious, violent killer dogs on them. Smith said: “My buddy and I are having a contest to see if we can get them to defecate on themselves because we’ve already had some urinate on themselves.” Then in a show of good canine conscience (or just good sportsmanship), one trainer’s Belgian shepherd turned its back on the detainee and instead attacked the interrogator.
 
Michael Blake, an Iraq veteran explained that the military indoctinated troops with the idea “Islam is Evil” and “they hate us.” This attitude facilitated the abuse and killing of civilians, and was not just ‘a few bad apples’. (There are around 2000 unreleased torture images). “Most of the guys I was with believed it”, he added. Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, a former 82nd Airborne commander insisted that responsibility for such abuses ultimately lead “directly back to Secretary Rumsfeld,” as an architect of the torture policy.

Lower level troops prosecuted to deflect responsibility from Rumsfeld have also testified that they were following orders from above. An official report in 2005 by the Army Inspector General confirms that authorities at the highest level sanctioned the crimes. The report documented Rumsfeld’s direct, personal briefings by Army Major interrogator Geoffrey Miller.

British Brigadier Alan Sharp (American Bronze Star winner for writing the “coalition campaign plan”) disapproved of the gung ho, swaggering “streak of Hollywood” displayed by US troops. Acknowledging that such “heroics” made for good television back in the States, he warned that heavily armed Americans boasting “how many Iraqis have been killed by US forces today” was no ‘hearts and minds’ winning tool.

But the example had been set after 911 by the “gunslingin’, nuke-totin'” swagger of Cowboy-in-Chief Dubya Bush. His blustering wisecrack “Osama- Wanted: Dead or Alive” mimicked posters of old Hollywood westerns. The New York Times reported that major Tinsel Town executives were working with top Bush advisor Karl Rove to revive the former propaganda partnership between the entertainment industry and the Department of Defense. “Hollywood Now Plays Cowboys and Arabs”, ran one headline. (Ironically, Bush’s grandfather Prescott claimed to have stolen the skull of legendary American Indian warrior Geronimo for his college secret society. It was proudly kept on display as a trophy).

In 2004, the Pentagon previewed its own “coming attractions.” Marines staged a desert “gladiators’ Ben Hur” drill in full historic costume- togas, trojan helmuts, and shields while swinging spiked truncheons to “psych up for a planned invasion” against Fallujah. “Friends, Romans, countryman, fend off their spears. When in Fallujah, do as the Romans do” the New York Post quipped. White phosphorus ‘burning at the stake’ was strictly offscreen. As Lt. Col. Gary Brandl said in the film Fallujah: “The enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He’s in Fallujah. And we’re going to destroy him.”

Internet audiences could catch candids of Iraqi dead “just for fun”. At undermars.com, troops posted photos of bloody faces ground to a pulp. Others showed a birthday candle stuffed into a smashed skull, and various decapitated heads. Evoking Bush’s cowboy spirit, one caption read: “i’m an indian outlaw… look my first scalp.”

NowThatsFuckedUp.com accepted photos of Iraqi war crimes and atrocities as currency to buy pornography when credit card companies refused to ok payment in dollars.After a brief outcry from Iraqi expatriates, the site was closed and diverted to an address called barbecuestoppers.com. There troops laughed and gloated over ‘baked’, charred and hideously disfigured Iraqi cadavers, with captions like “Die, Haji die.” One picture showed a ‘barbecued’ corpse steeped in its own blood and entrails labeled “what every Iraqi should look like.” The US Department of Defense is aware of the site, but it is still accessible to voyeurs despite being in violation of Geneva Conventions.

Unfortunately, this avalanche of damaging associations have increased Americans’ prejudice against Islam. A March 2006 ABC News poll found 46 percent view Islam negatively, up from 39 percent in the months after September 11, 2001. Americans who believe that Islam promotes violence has risen from 14 percent in 2002 to 33 percent today. Former US president Bill Clinton warned: “So now what are we going to do? Replace anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?”

It seems so. In 2005, for the first time since the atomic devastation of Japan, an Associated Press poll found that half of all Americans would approve the use of atomic bombs, especially against terrorist targets. A mushroom cloud of anti-Muslim hate, with a sickly “humorous” spin, has been winning American ‘hearts and minds’ into acceptance of the Bush administration’s nuclear attack against the “axis of evil” terror sponsor- Islamic Republic of Iran.

Meanwhile, another cheap shot has recently been fired at Islam. A provocative ‘Muhammad cartoon’ depicts the Prophet Muhammad cut in half, and burning in Hell, next to a woman among burning coals. Its editor says the cartoon represents policy towards Islam and that any angry reaction to it could serve to further alienate Muslims: “if the cartoon provoked an attack, it would only ‘confirm the idiotic positions’ of Muslim extremists.” Don’t forget to laugh.

Trish Schuh was a co-founder of Military Families Support Network and is a member of Military Reporters & Editors covering the middle east.