War on Terror=War on Islam? II


The brutality and torture many prisoners at Guantanamo faced was both physical and psychological.  It was aimed to hurt them as well as humiliate them and in most cases it was aimed at their religion, Islam.  US authorities seized on the animosity generated by 911 and perceptions that Muslims were either responsible to that atrocity or indifferent about it to allow a floodgate of abuse to be directed towards inmates as Muslims and their faith.  This was done through the abuse of Islamic symbols, sexual abuse and intimidation, as well as physical distraction and torture.  Overt attempts at proselytizing of Muslim inmates that had nothing at all to do with their incarceration and or military personnel,  were even employed to intimidate and stir religious passions.  There should be no doubt such tactics were at the very least approved at the highest levels of the command structure in the military if not designed and implemented by them.  It is another dark strain on the American conscience left by the Bush administration.

….desecration of the Qur’an is alleged to have taken many other forms in U.S. detention facilities. Former detainees say it has been handled with disrespect by guards and interrogators—written in, ripped or cut with scissors, squatted over, trampled, kicked, urinated and defecated on, picked up by a dog, tossed around like a ball, used to clean soldiers’ boots, and thrown in a bucket of excrement. A Russian ex-detainee, Timur Ishmuratov, remembers how it would be laid on the back of a handcuffed, bent-over prisoner, so that it would fall to the ground if he stood up. With just a Qur’an and a pair of handcuffs, a Muslim detainee could in this way be made to torture himself.

*snip*

In A Question of Torture, historian Alfred McCoy has chronicled how such “no-touch torture” techniques have been rigorously developed by U.S. interrogators, especially in the CIA. The power to torment Muslims by abusing the Qur’an was not discovered accidentally by Gen. Miller or a clumsy guard at Guantánamo. Bill Dedman of MSNBC has reported how the Qur’an has been used by the U.S. Army as a tool for intelligence gathering. When asked about an “interrogation scenario” called “Fear Up,” one intelligence officer offered Dedman this example of the technique: “Disrespect for the Qur’an.”

*snip*

At Gen. Miller’s Guantánamo, expressions of disrespect for religious practices grew into a kind of regimen. To interrupt prayers, guards made noise by striking things against the holding cages or playing loud rock music. Every morning and evening, just as the detainees were being called to pray, “The Star-Spangled Banner” blared over the loud speaker.

*snip*

In addition to mockery and systematic distraction, professional interrogators used grotesque methods of sexual harassment to impede religious observances. For Muslims, impurity prevents prayer. In Inside the Wire, former Army translator Erik Saar recounts a shocking exploitation of Islamic rules about ritual impurity. Saar was translating for a female Army interrogator who was having trouble getting information out of a young Saudi detainee named Fareek. She told Saar that she wanted to break the strength of Fareek’s relationship with God: “I think we should make him feel so fucking dirty that he can’t go back to his cell and spend the night praying. We have to put up a barrier between him and his God.” So she did a striptease. When Fareek wouldn’t look at her, she walked behind him and “began rubbing her breasts against his back.” According to Saar, she told Fareek that his sexual arousal offended God. Then she told him that she was having her period, and showed him her hand covered in what he thought was menstrual blood (it was red ink). She cursed him and wiped it on his face. As she and Saar left the room, she informed Fareek that the water to his cell would be shut off that night. Even if he managed to calm himself down, he would be too defiled to pray. As for Saar himself, he writes that “there wasn’t enough hot water in all of Cuba to make me feel clean.”

That episode is not the only documented example of such torture. The Bahraini detainee Jumah al-Dossari suffered a darker, more explicitly religious adaptation of the method in late 2002, according to a legal motion filed in U.S. District Court (District of Columbia) by Joshua Colangelo-Bryan and others on his behalf. During al-Dossari’s torture, a female interrogator had his clothing cut off, then removed her own and stood over him. Just before wiping what she said was menstrual blood on his face, she kissed the crucifix on her necklace and said, “This is a gift from Christ for you Muslims.”

Many detainees perceived their incarceration as a general attack on Islam….During the trial of Abu Ghraib’s Specialist Charles Graner, ex-detainee Amin al-Sheikh reported that he had been compelled to eat pork and curse Allah. A Guantánamo detainee informed Capt. Yee that a group of prisoners had been forced to “bow down and prostrate” themselves inside a makeshift “satanic” shrine, where interrogators made them repeat that Satan, not Allah, was their God. Others told of being draped in Israeli flags during interrogation, a claim corroborated by the FBI, while one interrogator explicitly told al-Dossari that “a holy war was occurring, between the Cross and the Star of David on the one hand, and the Crescent on the other.”

The militarization of America


Bush has decided the only way to solve America’s problems is through military force.  I’m a proponent of an adequate defense, and I as an individual citizen, practice it regularly but not all problems are solved with force and certainly not with the American military.  I am glad to see there are others who feel the same way.

The California Highway Patrol in the High Desert and the Twentynine Palms Marine Base are receiving dozens of calls complaining about a controversial DUI checkpoint. Military Police joined the CHP for a recent checkpoint in Yucca Valley.

The Friday night checkpoint was in front of the Yucca Valley Home Depot on Highway 62. What has High Desert residents confused is that they are not used to military police so far from the Marine Base.

From the local radio to internet blogs, residents were concerned the Military Police presence violated federal law.

The original California Highway Patrol news release mentioned the military presence. One released shortly later doesn’t mention the military, arising community suspicion of a cover-up.

Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act more than a hundred years ago forbidding the military from enforcing civilian law such as traffic stops.

Marine Lt. Thomas Beck tells News Channel 3 the Military Police were not arresting people. They were just watching the checkpoint to see how they should do it on base.

“We were not actively participating in enforcing any laws. We were there to observe and observe only, ” said Lt. Beck.

The California Highway Patrol says they invited the Marines to tag along.

“We had the DUI checkpoint and invited the Marine Corps in a show of good relations between our two departments,” said CHP Officer Rob McLoud.

A recent KCDZ 107.7 FM broadcast out of Joshua Tree stated, “By law, to avoid entrapment, the CHP is requested to provide the location of the checkpoint to the media at least two hours prior. They did provide Z 107.7 with a phone number to call at 7 PM to get a location, but – defense lawyers take notice – no one ever answered the phone.”

Then there is this ominous headline.

US military mobilizes troops for inauguration

They will fly combat air patrols and man air defenses, organize large scale medical support, and help local law enforcement provide security in the capital, said General Gene Renuart, head of the US Northern Command.

“(It’s) not because we see a specific threat, but because for an event this visible, this important and this historic, we ought to be prepared to respond if something does happen,” he told reporters.

Renuart said some 7,500 active duty troops and 4,000 national guard troops will take part in the operations in support of the inauguration of the 44th US president on January 20.

Overall responsibility for security during the inauguration falls to the Secret Service.

Local and federal law enforcement agencies post 911 have huge, hefty budgets to increase security and allay citizen concerns and no doubt most have seen their local swat, set teams at work with dangerous criminals.  One of the biggest complaints I have about the post 911 attitude of people is that government is supposed to protect them in every nook and cranny and this notion is fostered by a government that wants people to rely on it.  Instead, government should disabuse people of this reliance and arm them with a more martial spirit whereby they are more self reliant and proactive about their and indeed the nation’s self defense.  I don’t think, however that will be as popular an idea with big government.

WOT=War on Islam?


There’s no mistake that America had every reason to be angry at what happened on September 11, 2001, but that tragedy was used by some to take out centuries old grudges against people in the Middle East and steer America on a course which has led it to become a violator of international treaties and agreements unparalleled in our nation’s history.  Nowhere is that exemplified more than with Guantanamo Bay where scores of Muslim men were snatched up from all over the world and placed in an isolated military camp where they were tortured for no apparent reason.

An Algerian man who spent nearly seven years in Guantanamo Bay says his U.S. interrogators never questioned him on the main terrorism allegation against him.

Mustafa Ait Idir, who was freed this week and returned to his adopted homeland of Bosnia, was accused of planning to go to Afghanistan to fight against U.S. forces.

“They’ve never asked anything about charges which were brought against us. They’ve never asked about Afghanistan,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Ait wasn’t captured on some battlefield endangering the lives of US servicemen and women, rather he was taken from his country, Bosnia and imprisoned in Gitmo Bay after his own country’s court had determined he was innocent of the charges for which the US government picked him up. It seems however that US authorities were interested in Islamic relief organizations working in Bosnia, which appears to be even the focus of officials even here in America.  (The Holy Land Foundation trial recently concluded in Texas is an example where relief efforts particularly for Palestinians suffering under the worse case of state sponsored terrorism were shut down under flimsily constructed charges.)

The charge for which the US picked up Ait, conspiring to attack the US embassy in Sarajevo,  was dropped by authorities while he was in Gitmo and a US federal judge ordered and government officials acceded to the order that he be released from his unlawful imprisonment, but why was he picked up in the first place?

From this observer’s perspective it appears America has given into its dark side, filled with sadism and masochistic fantacies played out in our artistic and entertainment culture which could be acted out in reality against an enemy we were told only responded to such brutality.  The Bush administration was/is not the least bit interested in fighting its true enemies it merely wanted bodies, the 21st century version of the body count notion that came out of the Vietnam war, to fill up Guantanamo and justify its existence.

At a Pentagon briefing in the spring of 2002, a senior Army intelligence officer expressed doubt about the entire intelligence-gathering process.

“He said that we’re not getting anything, and his thought was that we’re not getting anything because there might not be anything to get,” said Donald J. Guter, a retired rear admiral who was the head of the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps at the time.

*snip*

In 2002, a CIA analyst interviewed several dozen detainees at Guantanamo and reported to senior National Security Council officials that many of them didn’t belong there, a former White House official said.

Despite the analyst’s findings, the administration made no further review of the Guantanamo detainees. The White House had determined that all of them were enemy combatants, the former official said.

Rather than taking a closer look at whom they were holding, a group of five White House, Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers who called themselves the “War Council” devised a legal framework that enabled the administration to detain suspected “enemy combatants” indefinitely with few legal rights.

The threat of new terrorist attacks, the War Council argued, allowed President Bush to disregard or rewrite American law, international treaties and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to permit unlimited detentions and harsh interrogations.

The group further argued that detainees had no legal right to defend themselves, and that American soldiers — along with the War Council members, their bosses and Bush — should be shielded from prosecution for actions that many experts argue are war crimes.

This attitude that the executive could unilaterally re-write or even ignore existing law is a theme that has been consistently explored during the Bush administration and found expression in a doctrine known as  “unilateral executive”. With this gloves off approach, people in the field were allowed to do whatever they wanted; there were no limits to the power or the abuse they could reap on people under their control and consequentially torture and physical abuse were more normal than not.

(Ait) said he was kept for four months, lightly dressed, in a very cold refrigerated container. For short periods of the day he was taken outside, where it was very hot. Other prisoners were subjected to long periods in total darkness or very bright light, he said.

There was torture every minute,” Ait Idir said. “It did not matter to them if we were terrorists or not.

Indeed.

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It was greed that killed the Beast


Fifty billion dollars to be stolen by ONE man is a lot of money.  How did he get away with that?!!?!?  It really boils down to that fact that Bernard Madoff played on the greed of his investors who forked over huge sums of money in hopes of even larger returns.  The old adage if it’s too good to be true means it usually is was ignored by many who saw visions of large dollar signs flashing before their eyes.  Madoff was a consummate con man, but his deceit didn’t fool everyone.

Hedge fund investment adviser Aksia LLC warned clients not to put their money with Bernard Madoff after learning of “red flags” at his company, including that its books were audited by a three-person accounting firm. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC used Friehling & Horowitz, an auditor operating out of a 13-by-18 foot location in an office park in New York City’s northern suburbs.

New York-based Aksia urged clients last year not to invest with Madoff’s firm after learning the identity of the New City, New York-based auditor, according to Jake Walthour, head of advisory services at Aksia. Friehling & Horowitz included one partner in his late 70s who lives in Florida, a secretary, and one active accountant, Aksia said.

“Our judgment was swift given the extensive list of red flags,” Aksia wrote Dec. 11 in a letter to clients.

Aksia’s Jim Vos said he spent several months probing Madoff’s firm on behalf of clients, only to recommend against investing in it. Vos, who had an investigator stake out the New City office, said eight “feeder funds” invested about $15 billion with Madoff. Vos declined to name the clients.

“I’m shocked by how investors turned a blind eye to returns that were too good to be true, constant steady small positive monthly returns,” Vos said. “When something is too good to be true, it probably is.”

It’s interesting that red flags were galore but only now, amidst all the other bad economic news is this getting any play in the media.  in my wildest dreams the scenario playing out in my head is the corporate media is finally getting their revenge on a Bush administration which had so easily manipulated it for every conceivable illegal and immoral purpose, and like a woman scorned has decided to get back at its former lover with all the bad news a President concerned with his legacy cannot afford.  Possibly, however, something more sinister than that is at play with the release of all of the bad news at the end of a president’s tenure, but I can’t say what it is…..yet.

Cheney admits to war crimes


So why isn’t he in jail? Perhaps it’s the mood of the country, overwhelmed by all that has gone wrong during the Bush administration finally being exposed by the main stream media.  Trillions, not billions as we were originally told, of tax payers’ money needed for a bail out of an economy that some say has been in a recession for over a year, and that’s the best thing that can be said about that, jobs eliminated or on the verge of being wiped out and fraud exposed at every level of the financial markets, people are unsure which shoe will drop next, so Cheney’s admission to something that doesn’t directly affect the everyday person most likely was met with a sigh of relief it didn’t involve them directly.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the investigation of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, has said “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Most likely the answer is they will not be held accountable because the blame for a government intent on torturing people it didn’t like should fall on the shoulders of people of all political persuasions and the people who elected them.  For the moment the ball rests in the Bush court.  Will he issue pardons to the members of his administration guilty of such crimes, or will he let them go? There will be hearings about this in both houses of Congress, but that will probably be the extent of any accountability, so it’s up to the “people” to make their voices heard on this issue.  What has muted our response before is our realization we are responsible for Bush/Cheney serving 8 years in the White House. I hope we can get past that and let these criminals know where we stand today!   I don’t think Cheney will find an sympathetic ear with them/us.  Time will tell.

Memory hole material on Islam


I was cruising through my daily reading material and found another very good link that contains hundreds of  examples where Muslims have condemned acts of terrorism in very explicit language, since 911.  Too many times the hue and cry has gone out that the Muslim community is silent and that their silence equals approval of acts of terror done in the name of Islam.  Well, the Muslim community hasn’t been silent and if Miscellany101 can find these examples of condemnation so can a media which is paid lavish sums of money to report the news.  The silence has been on the part of a corporate media in reporting the words of these organizations and individuals who had nothing to gain in making their statements against terrorism, so the next time someone says or you the reader ask where are the voices of reason in the Muslim world, take a look here and see for yourself.  They are loud and vociferous, like a tree crashing in the forest…..the problem is no one wants you to hear them.  Your question should be why is that?

Glad to be included….


In the state where 911 occurred seven years earlier a community has placed the “Islamic symbol” star and crescent in a Christmas display.  I for one, welcome the attitude behind the “inclusion”, that law abiding citizens of any and all religious faiths are welcomed in the town of Armonk, NY, but don’t think that necessarily means having your religious symbol displayed during the prominent holiday of another religion.

“We’ve decided to go in the direction of being all-inclusive,” said Reese Berman, supervisor of the town of 11,000, about 30 miles north of New York City and the site of IBM headquarters.

Armonk’s display is centered on a gazebo in a towering pine grove. One tree about 11 feet tall, strung with white lights, has been placed inside. A silver menorah is a few steps to the right of the cobblestone walk leading to the gazebo. The bright-white crescent and star are on 6-foot-high stanchions to the left.

Craig Mason, 63, a retired town resident who was walking past the display on a rainy morning last week, said he had no strong religious feelings but felt the display “says nice things about the people here, about how we welcome everyone.”

He found the star and crescent symbol “very attractive in its simplicity.”

Judy Wesley, director of the Armonk Chamber of Commerce, said she was raised Catholic and “in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with having a spirit of inclusion. Jesus Christ himself would have gathered everyone around him.”

To the good people of all faiths everywhere, I salute you for your tolerance and good citizenship.

The Liberator’s reception in Iraq


Take that!

Another day another couple of billion dollars


I read stories like this, Wealth of richest Arabs plunged in 2008

The wealth of the richest Arabs plunged in 2008, with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest of all, seeing his investments shrivel nearly 20 percent, according to a list published in Dubai on Sunday.

The Saudi prince’s wealth has shrunk by four billion dollars to 17.08 billion under the impact of this year’s global financial turmoil, Arabian Business online magazine said in a survey of the richest 50 Arab people.

The combined assets of the top 50 have plummetted by 25 billion dollars or 12 percent to 199.48 billion dollars, based on data calculated on December 2, the magazine said.

Despite his losses, Prince Alwaleed remains top of the list, though his wealth sank twice as much as that of second placed Nasser al-Kharafi, a Kuwaiti businessman whose value is estimated to have dropped by two billion dollars to 9.6 billion.

In May, Prince Alwaleed ranked 19 in the Forbes list of world billionaires with 21 billion dollars. His wealth includes a five percent stake in the troubled US banking giant Citigroup and a private Airbus superjumbo A380, dubbed as the “flying palace” and valued at 330 million dollars.

and am forced to remind one and all that all of those “Arabs” losses put together don’t equal what this one guy swindled from American investors!

Bernard Madoff, a quiet force on Wall Street for decades, was arrested and charged on Thursday with allegedly running a $50 billion “Ponzi scheme” in what may rank among the biggest fraud cases ever.

The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market is best known as the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the closely-held market-making firm he launched in 1960. But he also ran a hedge fund that U.S. prosecutors said racked up $50 billion of fraudulent losses.

Madoff told senior employees of his firm on Wednesday that “it’s all just one big lie” and that it was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme,” with estimated investor losses of about $50 billion, according to the U.S. Attorney’s criminal complaint against him.

No excuse now!


Guantanamo Bay can be closed, and America’s allies are willing to help in that effort.

European Union countries should offer to take in any detainees released from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo, Portugal’s foreign minister said in a letter published Thursday.

Portugal is willing to grant asylum to Guantanamo detainees who cannot return to their home countries, Foreign Minister Luis Amado said in the letter sent to his EU counterparts.

Let’s see how long it takes for impediments to get in the way of seeing this travesty of justice shut down.

Mumbai and more memory hole material


Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.  I wonder how long it will be before the carnage carried out in Mumbai late last month will turn out that way as well?  The news story highlighted below has some interesting twists that resemble too close for comfort to this obersever what happened in Mumbai.  First off the rush to blame the usual suspects, i.e. Muslims.

India is in something of a state of shock after learning from official sources that its first Hindu terror cell may have carried out a series of deadly bombings that were initially blamed on militant Muslims. The revelation is forcing the country to consider some difficult questions.

Bomb attacks are not uncommon in India – there has been a flurry in recent months – but police usually blame them on Muslim extremists, often said to have links to militant groups based in either Pakistan or Bangladesh. As a result, the recent cracking of the alleged Hindu cell has forced India to face some difficult issues.

…senior right-wing leaders have made no secret of their wish that Hindus should form suicide squads to protect themselves against Muslim extremists. Bal Thackeray, leader of a group called the Shiv Sena, which has been responsible for communal and regional violence in Mumbai, wrote recently in the party’s magazine: “The threat of Islamic terror in India is rising. It is time to counter the same with Hindu terror. Hindu suicide squads should be readied to ensure the existence of Hindu society and to protect the nation.”

Observers say the fact that the police have arrested the alleged cell members amid considerable political pressure suggests the growing professionalism of its security forces. “It’s the first Hindu cell and it’s the first time Hindus have been shackled and taken to jail,” said Professor Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist at Delhi’s Jawarlahal Nehru University. “I’m quite pleased with the way the police have done their jobs.”

It should be pointed out one of the casualties in Mumbai was the counter terrorism police official Hemant Karkare, Maharashta Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad chief, who was among 11 police officials who were killed.  He was investigating the bomb blast initially blamed on Muslims but as it turned out was carried out by Hindus.  His death reportedly will affect the probe into the Malegaon blast in the western state of Maharashtra in September, which left six people dead.  Karkare’s death at the hands of Muslims who his investigation had exonerated in previous terrorist acts and amid cries by Hindu terrorists to ensure the existence of Hindu society and to protect the nation through acts of violence is more than coincidental.  Doesn’t  anyone see a setup here?

Unacceptable


mary1This is unacceptable and Playboy realized that, which is why they issued an apology. The apology was made because Playboy acknowledged the cover was offensive to many Roman Catholics in Mexico.   Read about the controversy here. There hasn’t been any hue or cry about the holding hostage of a free press by those who were offended by this image; their mere objection and expression thereof was enough to warrant an appropriate apology from Playboy.

turbanbomb This is unacceptable too, but the difference is the religious community offended by this image was vilified because they took offense, and the image was used to incite anger and rage.  The followers of Muhammad should now know how media is used to provoke a certain response which is in turn highlighted to demonize Islam.  Knowing that, they should never fall into the trap of being prodded to react by images like the one above, while joining with the worldwide community in condemning any inappropriate images of religious figures anywhere in the world.  I hope that’s the lesson Muslims learn from Playboy’s foray into obscene religious images, but I doubt it.  You can expect Miscellany101 to highlight them whenever and wherever he can.  Stay tuned.

Dumb and dumber


I thought George Bush took the cake with his many dumb platitudes, but along comes former Attorney General John Ashcroft who tops even his former boss, Bush. In Ashcroft’s mind a person is guilty regardless of guilt or innocence; the mere accusation is enough to sentence someone to indefinite detention, torture and no recourse to the criminal justice system.  Countless numbers of people presently locked up in Guantanamo Bay are there because financial bounties were offered up by the US military for the capture of “al-Qaida” members, and no regard was made whether a person turned over to authorities was really a member or not.  It was accepted at face value that he was, and off he was wisked to Cuba never to be seen or heard from again.  Ashcroft thinks that’s ok and the presumption of innocence should have nothing to do with this process.  It’s a good thing he’s no longer Attorney General.  You can hear his ramblings below.

This comes on the heels of the announcement that Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking Bush administration officials were responsible for the harsh interrogations against captured terrorist suspects that took place at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, according to a bipartisan report issued Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The report concludes:

“Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s… authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody………What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there.”

Read what a former detainee at Gitmo Bay, Moazzam Begg , said about his imprisonment here.  Look for more historical revisionism to take place in the days before the end of the Bush presidency.

The Bush legacy: A failed economy


bushiv1Having built his Administration on lies beginning with 911 and the sordid attempt to justify the invasion of Iraq because of what happened in NYC, it’s completely characteristic of Bush to obfuscate and deny the inevitable: The U.S. economy has been in a recession since December 2007

By one benchmark, a recession occurs whenever the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, declines for two consecutive quarters. The GDP turned negative in the July-September quarter of this year, and many economists believe it is falling in the current quarter at an even sharper rate.

*snip*

The White House commented on the news that a second downturn has officially begun on President George W. Bush’s watch without ever actually using the word “recession,” a term the president and his aides have repeatedly avoided….

*snip*

Many economists believe the current downturn will be the most severe since the 1981-82 recession. The country is being battered by the most severe financial crisis since the 1930s as banks struggle to deal with billions of dollars in loan losses.

Loss revenue and jobs are the mark of this recession.

In a worrisome sign of further weakening in the U.S. labor market, November saw the highest number of layoffs in the private sector in more than 32 years.

*snip*

Since the start of the recession in December 2007, as recently announced by the National Bureau of Economic Research (see “Congratulations, It’s A Recession”), the number of unemployed persons increased by 2.7 million, and the unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points with two-thirds of these losses sustained in the last 3 months.

What started out as a $700 billion bailout has now ballooned into over $8.5 trillion dollars of US taxpayer money which can be given away in any way the chairman of the Federal Reserve sees fit, with or without the consent of ANYONE, including Congress.

“Most of the money, about $5.5 trillion, comes from the Federal Reserve, which as an independent entity does not need congressional approval to lend money to banks or, in “unusual and exigent circumstances,” to other financial institutions.

Now Bush is even faced with rebellion within his own party as the bailout for the automobile industry he was in favor of has been defeated in the Senate with the help of members of the Republican party.

Obama under the Zionist lobby’s thumb


What’s going on?  First we have Martin Indyk who as far as we know has not been picked to be in an Obama administration making a statement that ‘ Israel can no longer expect “blank cheques” ‘ from America?!  On whose authority does a regular, or in Indyk’s case a highly irregular citizen of the US make such a statement?    Did he say that hoping to be appointed to something in Obama’s government, or was he merely testing the waters for his real bosses at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy to see how  such a statement would be received in America?

The real kicker is Obama’s pledge to attack Iran with nuclear weapons should it attack Israel first, that coming on the heels of pronouncements by the deputy director of national intelligence and chairman of the National Intelligence Council’s Thomas Fingar that Iran has not diverted low-enriched uranium produced at a facility at Natanz, 160 miles south of Tehran, to weapons use, and that Iran did suspend its nuclear program back in 2003 at a time when that country was making peace overtures to the US.  So why does Obama want to pick a fight with Iran now and make the most war mongering Administration in American history seem like a peaceful one?  Perhaps politicians can’t accept the premise Iranians aren’t making nuclear weapons because its unfathomable a country could keep its promise all the while US lawmakers continue to lie about Iranian intentions?

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Muslim students representin’


I was glad to see this article on Muslim students preparing themselves to enter the fields of law and journalism.  God knows, because of the last eight years of the Bush Administration, Muslims need to be concerned with the interpretation of the laws that criminal was able to push through Congress which in some ways threaten the very existence of freedom of religion and religious expression in our country.  In the polarized atmosphere of a rabid chief executive officer, our country thought it was ok to entertain the notion that rights could be curtailed in the name of safety, and the first group to start with were people of the Islamic faith…or so the theory went.  Fortunately young Muslims are seeing the need to prepare themselves for the eventuality such byzantine laws might bring.

“Our parents were focused on economic stability,” said Qureshi, a second-year law student at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“Our needs are not economic stability but social and political empowerment.”

*snip*

“We’re trying to make sure every American is entitled to civil rights guarantees in the Constitution,” said Abbas Ravjani, president of the National Muslim Law Students Association and a student at Yale Law School. The organization was formed six years ago and now has 300 students on its electronic mailing list.

I am also happy to see their interest in journalism.

Young Muslims are also studying journalism. Yasmin Amer said she was tired of seeing Muslims misrepresented in the media. On Tuesday, Amer, a third-year journalism and Arabic double major at UNC-CH, organized a panel discussion of an inflammatory DVD called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.

I personally can’t think of a better venue with which to start.

Disturbing video out of Palestine


I blogged some time ago about the idea of people being armed with cameras to film Israeli aggression.  I didn’t think it was a good idea, or rather that it wouldn’t stop state sponsored terrorism against Palestinians.  The following video makes that point, in my opinion.

For as long as many reading this blog have been alive, blood has been shed on the sacred ground of the three major religions of the world.  We all know that; it’s not a pretty sight, and not something we need to see in order to convince the Israelis to stop their indiscriminate killing of Palestinians who’ve said time and time again they recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli state and seek the same in return. It won’t be long before they turn their weapons on the film makers, or declare cameras illegal, weapons of mass destruction.  Once again, the Israelis have shown they are impervious to the world’s eye.