The Last Word- Gates, Crowley and Police


copI am going to let this be the last post on the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Henry L. Gates confrontation with Cambridge Police, by saying Crowley lied in his police report using the inflammatory assertion he was sent to the house to look for two black men carrying back packs, using all the frightful  imagery he could to justify his illegal arrest of Gates.  Police officers are not accustomed to people who assert their rights; they prefer people who are cooperative or acquiesce to the abuse which comes with the power of yielding a badge and a gun.   Someone in the comments sections of another post here at Miscellany101. com asked why didn’t the black officer present for Gates’ arrest “represent”, and the answer quite simply is because that black officer sees himself in much the same way as the white officer, who thinks civilians are always suspect no matter who they are or what they have or have not done.  I would hazard a guess that there are very few if any officers on the Cambridge police who would go out on a limb and say what Crowley did was wrong because it would literally be professional suicide.  Their lives depend on whether they have the support of one another, either during encounters with civilians or procedurally, doing paper work that makes false assertions like being called to a home break-in looking for two black men.  An officer like Crowley can have a very successful career with such sloppy police work because he has had the help or the backing of other officers who covered up his abuse.   Unfortunately, such attitude is more common than we may think.

Have you seen the latest about a Boston Police officer who referred to Gates as a “banana eating jungle monkey”?  Obviously you can have any opinion you want of someone, but doing so without expecting any reaction is the height of chutzpah.  Indeed in his missive regarding Gates,  officer Justin Barrett claims he would pepper spray Gates for a verbal barrage he, Barrett,  himself makes without fear of reprisal.  This is the problem with the police; they demand a deferential attitude from civilians who risk the wrath of the State  by way of brutality or  arrest if such deference is not forthcoming to the satisfaction of police.  So this is what Barrett says,

his (Gates) first priority of effort should be go get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance.

It’s clear from this quote Barrett doesn’t understand his role as a law officer in relation to the public; instead he places himself the arbiter of the law who exacts punishment as he sees fit.  Barrett was also a member of the National Guard and a veteran and those roles played a part in shaping his attitudes towards members of the public.   While it is not a very intelligent thing to do, writing a media outlet with such overt language, it’s equally not smart to allow yourself to be identified as a member of the police department where you live and the Boston Police department has reacted swiftly, as did Barrett’s National Guard unit, both suspending him pending administrative review.  Good; perhaps Barrett doesn’t need to be in a position where he has to interact with a public he thinks “owes” him and not the law compliance.  However, even if Barrett was not exposed to the public officially he still has issues which make him an anachronism in today’s world.  His letter is directed towards a Boston Globe writer who he calls a “fool” and an “infidel”.  Earlier in the same letter he rhetorically asks if that same writer is still in the 5th grade in Catholic school.  Does that mean Barrett thinks Catholics are infidels or is the “infidel” remark a throwback to the days when he was serving in the military fighting the war on terror and infidels the world over?   Barrett’s world, and I think he has found a home among police officers in the Boston police department, is an encapsulated world where everyone on the inside is good, an “us” and everyone on the outside is bad, evil, against us, and there are no limits to fighting these against us elements who are fools, banana-eating jungle monkeys and infidels.

Our leaders led this charge back so many years ago…….2001 to be precise and they used the same kind of language as Barrett with no consequences for it.  In fact they may still enjoy a public following and there’s no reason to believe a cadre of supporters like Barrett and fellow law enforcement officers who emulate the “attitude” and language of those leaders in the past don’t think they are similarly entitled to do and say the same things AND get away with it!  I was also struck by his xenophobia, towards women, apparent with his remark how the writer should stay home and make him breakfast on Sunday mornings.  While such comments are harmless they show a callous regard to people he doesn’t know, and it is this type of person, an unknown, a stranger who Barrett would most likely would come in contact with as a police officer.  Would he be as callous in discharging his duties towards such a person, like Gates?  Most likely.

Finally Barrett sees nothing wrong with what he wrote; indeed he says that he’s not a racist and most likely believes that.  In an apology he made in response to the aforementioned letter, Barrett again claims he’s no racist and that he treats everyone with respect.  What’s chilling about that is a similar pronouncement was made about Sgt. James Crowley, that  he’s not racist and he teaches others about racial profiling in the police department and this total disconnect from reality, on the one hand one can spew the most specifically targeted racist infective yet claim he/it is not racist is what is surreal about the entire Gates-Crowley-Barrett-police force episode.  Just because you teach racial profiling to a department of like minded people doesn’t make you immune from the affliction, and likewise,  the mere announcement one is not a racist doesn’t mean it’s so, or that you can’t be a bad public servant who shouldn’t be turned loose on the public.

Hijab allowed in Georgia Courtrooms


hijab-demo-17jan04-741Any form of religious expression which is incontrovertibly linked to a religion should be classified as free speech in America and therefore the bearer or wearer should be allowed to go wherever need be.  It was disgraceful for personnel in a Georgia court room to cite a Muslim woman for contempt of court and sentence her to 10 days in prison for the “offense” of wearing her religiously mandated scarf to court.  She wasn’t scheduled to testify, she wasn’t a defendant or lawyer in court, she was merely accompanying a relative and was met at the door with the State’s infringement on her right to freedom of religion.  That has now changed, for the Muslim citizens of Georgia.

Georgia courtrooms will allow religious headgear after last year’s arrest of a Muslim woman who refused to remove her headscarf in a west Georgia courthouse.The Judicial Council of Georgia voted unanimously this week to allow religious and medical headgear into Georgia courtrooms. It also allows a person to request a private inspection if a security officer wants to conduct a search.

“If this had been a nun, no one would have required her to remove her habit,” said Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, who heads the Judicial Council. “I think this is a good rule, and I think it’s clear.”

The policy shift stems from the December 2008 arrest of Lisa Valentine, who was ordered to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court after she refused to remove her hijab at a courtroom in Douglasville, a town of about 20,000 people west of Atlanta. She was released in less than a day.

Muslim rights activists were infuriated by the incident, pressing the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the incident and organizing a protest. The city also said its employees would take sensitivity training classes.

City officials at the time said they were trying to follow courtroom rules that restricted headgear, but the city said the officer who detained Valentine should have sought a solution that “would preserve the spirit of the law.”

Valentine, who did not immediately return phone messages Friday, said she was accompanying her nephew to a hearing when officials stopped her at the metal detector and told her she couldn’t enter the courtroom with the headscarf, known as a hijab.

She said she was stopped by officers when she objected and turned to leave, and that she was later brought before a municipal court judge who ordered her held for contempt of court.

City officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment, but Douglasville Police Chief Joe Whisenant characterized the incident at the time as a miscommunication.

The police department said in a news release that Valentine was found in contempt for fighting with one of the officers, not for wearing a scarf. The city said she was released after it was determined there had not been a fight.

Muslims are just as much a part of the American fabric as any other ethnic group and their rights as citizens cannot and should not be abridged because of personal dislikes or community wide prejudices.  Personal likes and dislikes have no place in determining what is legal and illegal.  The Constitution, and particularly the 1st amendment  says in clear language that the legislative body of this Republic cannot make any law prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.  In this regard we are different and better than our European cousins who bend the rules to satisfy contemporary societal mores usually directed towards those they deem distasteful.  Whether we like it or not, we have become a pluralistic society that is home to people of faiths, colors, creeds that span the entire breath of human existence; we must live under this umbrella of law that has been developed throughout the lifetime of America, sometimes carefully and deliberately, and at other times impulsively yet judiciously.  To do otherwise would make us criminals before the law and before our Creator.

More of the same


WIFE OF NC TERRORISM SUSPECT DESCRIBES ELABORATE POLICE RUSE

McClatchey Papers

The wife of Daniel Boyd, accused of being a terrorist ringleader, said Tuesday that her husband and two sons are “completely innocent” of charges that they plotted to kill themselves and others in the name of Islam.

Meeting at a restaurant in Garner on Tuesday afternoon, Sabrina Boyd sat covered head to toe in traditional Muslim garb, only her brown almond eyes visible. She and her husband, who years ago had military training in Afghanistan and fought with Muslim rebels against the Soviets, were committed to living pure and honest lives, she said. They believed in helping their neighbors and they attempted, on occasion, to help the children of immigrant Muslims hold their faith while growing up amid the pressures of American culture.

“My husband was not plotting,” Boyd said. “It’s premature for everyone to jump on the guilty bandwagon.”

Leaders of the Muslim American Society’s Raleigh branch made a similar point earlier in the day at a news conference held to urge the media not to convict the men before they’ve had a trial.

But Boyd, a 41-year-old mother of five and U.S.-born convert to Islam, reserved her sharpest comments for what she called a cruel trap that law enforcement authorities set up to get her out of her house Monday while agents scoured it for documents after the arrest of her husband, two sons and four other men.

Boyd, whose family lives in the Johnston County community of Willow Spring, described a harrowing experience Monday afternoon when she answered the door to find a man she thought was a family friend wearing a shirt that appeared to be bloodied. He told her that Daniel and their three sons, Dylan, Noah and Zakariya, were in a serious car crash. He asked her to get into a Highway Patrol cruiser that would take her to Duke Hospital, where they were being treated.

Boyd summoned her daughter and pregnant daughter-in-law. They wrapped their heads in scarves, grabbed their Qurans and flew out the door. For Boyd, it was a particularly painful experience. Her 16-year-old son, Luqman, died in a car crash near their home in 2007.

When they arrived at Duke Hospital, the cruiser took them to a construction site at the rear of the facility. A man dressed as a doctor came out and asked whether she was the wife. When she said yes, he extended his hand. She told him she does not shake men’s hands. He then grabbed her wrist and handcuffed her.

“I’m not a doctor. I’m an agent and your family is not in the hospital,” he told her. “You’re being detained, and you need to cooperate with us.”

Boyd estimates she was then surrounded by 30 agents who frisked her and asked whether she had weapons or weapons of mass destruction.

They drove her in a car, separate from her daughter and daughter-in-law, to the Johnston County’s Sheriff’s Department, where she picked up Noah, 15, who was not arrested.

“That was an awful dirty trick,” Boyd said she told the agents. “You guys pulled a horrific lie on me and on my daughters. You know we’ve been through this before.”

U.S. District Attorney George E. B. Holding declined to respond to Boyd’s version. “I am sticking to the four corners of the indictment. We try our cases in court and won’t go back and forth before then,” he said Tuesday.

Trips called pilgrimages

Boyd said the many trips the family made abroad, especially to Jerusalem, were pilgrimages to give her sons an exposure to the Arabic language and a chance to experience the daily rhythms of life in predominantly Muslim communities.

“The point of a pilgrimage is to see the Al-Aksa mosque, the Dome of the Rock, to hear the call to prayer and to make a prayer,” she said.

Boyd said her husband and sons attempted to make two trips to Israel. Daniel and Noah were admitted in 2006. One year later, when her husband wanted to take Zakariya to Jerusalem to help him cope with his brother’s death, the two were denied entry at the airport in Tel Aviv. After being detained for two days, they were flown to France.

As to charges her family stockpiled military-style weapons, Boyd said her family enjoyed hunting and shooting. “They exercise their constitutional right to bear arms,” she said.

The Race Card-Again, from Main Stream Media


There was a rally in Jerusalem against Obama’s policies towards our petulant ally, in which he was called a racist.  Big deal.  Israelis are upset at what they think is a slight by the President against their occupation of Palestinian land and have resorted to playing the race card and it’s a much improved choice of words than those on display here.  Check out the vitriol levelled at the President of the United States.  The link provided is the only place you can find this video on the web today.  So much for free speech.

Who Played the Race Card in the Gates’ Arrest?


89236432RS003_The media, that’s who and with the insertion of the word black men, the media played us the public.  It  was able to inflame American passions about a subject we’re known to want to avoid, and embroil the Obama presidency at a time when it needs public support for issues like health care and Afghanistan.  Turns out the word “black” men was NOT used by the caller who placed the 911 call.  In fact when she was asked if the people she saw were black she said she wasn’t sure, so how did this description get inserted into media accounts??  Anyone?

One other interesting point I noticed about what was heard from the released police tapes is Sgt. Crowley asks the dispatch to send someone from Harvard’s police.  Why?  Gates supposedly supplied both his state’s driver’s license as well as his university identification; did Crowley not accept them, were they not good enough, were they suspect, would he only accept the word of a fellow police officer?   Perhaps this was the cause of Gates’ ire; having done everything he was asked to do, i.e. give identification and then some, it still was not good enough for Crowley to stop what at some point must have been considered harassment by Gates. 

The media gets knocked around a lot, and this time, it’s deserved.  If anyone thinks media doesn’t have an agenda, think again.  By touching on a hot button topic, race, the media was able to portray all in a way they determined and at a time and place of their choosing.  That said, this wasn’t an issue of bad policing, as I think it was, but rather a racial issue, which the media made.    One solution to that is to forsake organized, main stream, corporate media and turn to citizenship media.  It has some of the same risks, but it provides you more choices and I am a believer people are their best police, leaders, politicians, defenders, doctors, owners of companies.  Try it.

Harvard Scholar Disorderly

Identifying with the struggle of the people of Gaza


I don’t know why it took so long for this story to come to light, but better late than never, and although I’m not a fan of Alice Walker I admire her integrity for identifying with the struggle of people who are as oppressed as some of the people of Walker’s novels.  Now there are two African American women who have put their lives on the line by defying Israeli authority and going to Gaza to see first hand what it’s like there; the other being Cynthia McKinney.  Where are African-American males on this issue or any other American male for that matter?  You can read what Walker had to say here, at DesertPeace.  Hat tip to them.  Check out an interview with Walker while in Gaza below.

Islamic Law in the UK


The Islamophobes were up in arms when this issue began to receive the press it has, but here’s what they didn’t tell you.

Increasing numbers of non-Muslims are turning to Sharia courts to resolve commercial disputes and other civil matters, The Times has learnt.

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) said that 5 per cent of its cases involved non-Muslims who were using the courts because they were less cumbersome and more informal than the English legal system.

Freed Chedie, a spokesman for Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siqqiqi, a barrister who set up the tribunal, said: “We put weight on oral agreements, whereas the British courts do not.”

In a case last month a non-Muslim Briton took his Muslim business partner to the tribunal to sort out a dispute over the profits in their car fleet company. “The non-Muslim claimed that there had been an oral agreement between the pair,” said Mr Chedie. “The tribunal found that because of certain things the Muslim man did, that agreement had existed. The non-Muslim was awarded £48,000.”

Imagine that, a non Muslim going before a Muslim court system in the UK and actually winning!?!?  We don’t know the percentage of cases where non Muslims prevailed against Muslims in Sharia court and is it really important to know?  What counts is it’s a voluntary process that is similar to other tribunals at work in the UK judicial system and it’s only binding if both parties agree and sign BEFORE their case is heard.  So what’s so extraordinary about this development in the UK?  Nothing at all.

Sage Advice


In light of all the controversy surrounding the Henry L. Gates arrest, I offer this advice to him and anyone else who may have to deal with the police.  Don’t say a word, unless you are in the presence of your lawyer.

Human Trafficking In America


The FBI was so busy carrying out the phony war on terror, WOT, the ignored the pleas of one person who tried to tell them about a man who was trafficking in humans…a modern 21st century slave trader.  I’m astonished really.  How could this be?  I found it ironic that next to the story of Levy Rosenbaum in the New York Daily News was a poll for its readers which asked, Do you think people should be allowed to sell their kidneys, as if Rosenbaum was merely paying people for their kidneys.  In fact, he was extorting them:

Rosenbaum “a thug” who would pull out a pistol he was apparently licensed to carry and tell the sellers, “You’re here. A deal is a deal. Now, you’ll give us a kidney or you’ll never go home.’ “

Here’s the piece from the Daily News.

The Brooklyn man arrested Thursday for dealing in black-market kidneys was identified to the FBI seven years ago as a major figure in a global human organ ring.

Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum‘s name, address and even phone number were passed to an FBI agent in a meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan by a prominent anthropologist who has been studying and documenting organ trafficking for more than a decade.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes of the University of California, Berkeley, was and is very clear as to Rosenbaum’s role in the ring.

“He is the main U.S. broker for an international trafficking network,” she said.

Her sources include a man who started working with Rosenbaum imagining he was helping people in desperate need. The man then began to see the donors, or to be more accurate, sellers, who were flown in from impoverished countries such as Moldova.

“He said it was awful. These people would be brought in and they didn’t even know what they were supposed to be doing and they would want to go home and they would cry,” Scheper-Hughes said.

The man called Rosenbaum “a thug” who would pull out a pistol he was apparently licensed to carry and tell the sellers, “You’re here. A deal is a deal. Now, you’ll give us a kidney or you’ll never go home.’ ”

Scheper-Hughes felt she had to stop Rosenbaum. She met with the FBI.

“I always thought of it as my Dick Tracy moment,” she said Thursday.

She waited and waited for something to be done. The FBI may have been following the lead of the State Department, which dismissed organ trafficking as “urban legend.”

“It would be impossible to conceal a clandestine organ trafficking ring,” a 2004 State Department report stated.

Scheper-Hughes had better luck in Brazil and in South Africa, where law enforcement corroborated her findings and acted decisively.

But the ring kept operating elsewhere. Scheper-Hughes visited villages in Moldova where, “20% of the men were siphoned off to be kidney sellers in this same scheme.”

Back in Brooklyn, Rosenbaum stayed busy. He was contacted by an FBI informant who introduced Rosenbaum to an undercover agent who supposedly wanted to buy a kidney for her uncle.

“I’m doing this a long time,” Rosenbaum was recorded saying.

The undercover asked how many organs he had sold.

“Quite a lot,” he answered.

On Wednesday, the FBI called Scheper-Hughes, who is putting her findings into the upcoming, “A World Cut in Two, The Global Traffic in Humans for Organs.”

“Why are you calling me now?” she asked.

Thursday, seven years after her Dick Tracy moment with the FBI at the Roosevelt Hotel, Rosenbaum was finally arrested.

For the last eight years we have been led to believe the greatest threat to us as a society has been Islam and Muslims, and of course now, Barack Obama, and during that same time people have been robbing the national treasury, Bernie Maddof, and human resources, Rosenbaum and no one lifted a finger until all the money was gone and scores of bodies were piled up and all this was done while we were diverted with the bogey man ruse. Are you not convinced the war on terror is a fraud?

Obama’s re-calibrated apology was a mistake


President Obama did not need to clear the air, or the record regarding his remarks that the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department acted stupidly, because they did.  I know it was a political move doing so, he didn’t want to upset his base that may think police are above the law, but frankly the arresting officer, James Crowley blew it and he was wrong.  I don’t think anything more needs to be said about that; should professor Henry Gates decide to take civil action against the city of Cambridge or not, I’m not weighing in on that for the moment.  It appears to me the city realized Crowley’s mistake and dropped the charges, disorderly conduct is a catch all for when the police don’t really have anything else to charge you with, as they should have.

President Obama has shown himself to be a politician and that’s unfortunate; we in America have too many of those.  What we need is a leader who takes a position regardless of public opinion, for the public good; who has enough foresight to know the outcome will be beneficial for all even when no one else thinks so.  What we don’t need, is someone who gives in to every whim and cross wind that plows across the American body politic  with an eye on the next election cycle.  Police brutality has always been pandemic in American society and the only way to treat this disease is to attack it at its roots; those people in authority who enable it, pardon it, condone it and practice it need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.  Obama didn’t even do that; he merely said the practitioners of the brutality with respect to Gates acted “stupidly” and for that choice of words all the angst about his election is now being rehashed in corporate media, the home of profit over substance, agenda over truth.

Quite frankly what happened in professor Gates’ home will never really be known, but the outcome of those unknown actions is he was charged with disorderly conduct.  That didn’t happen.  But Gates was arrested because he wasn’t deferential enough with Crowley who reached a point where he could no longer walk away from a citizen who demanded more than he, Crowley, was willing to give.  Cops know this charge is aimed at quieting down someone who doesn’t go along willingly with the police program, but in the case of Gates who didn’t go along while in his own house, the charge could not stick.  I was struck by how other police officers had become judge and jury for Gates in deciding that he should have been charged, one officer saying Gates had become “openly hostile for what, I think, was no good reason.”  This , however, is the sanitized definition of disorderly conduct removed from the atmosphere of the Gates case:

The term disorderly conduct is used in statutes to identify various acts against the public peace. It has been held to include the use of obscene language in public, the blocking of public ways, and the making of threats. A statute must identify acts that constitute disorderly conduct with sufficient clarity in order to avoid being held unconstitutional because of vagueness.

I hope you understood that last sentence; the statute as it is is so vague municipalities have to be so specific about it that Cambridge’s definition couldn’t cut it enough to keep Gates tied up. If you want to say that it was dismissed because of politics then I’ll venture to say the arrest was made because of race. As I mentioned in the previous post about the Gates arrest, that when Crowley knew he was face to face with the occupant of the residence should have done an about face and left. That’s what I think as a private citizen should have been Crowley’s concession to the altercation; for those who say that wasn’t necessary or mandatory, I would say equally as forcefully that Gates’ deferential attitude to Crowley was not necessary nor called for in order to avoid a stupid result.

Let me take it a step further………and what if after Gates had identified himself as the legal resident he asked Crowley to leave, exit, get out of his house and Crowley refused. What would Gates’ rights have been then? The 2nd amendment in me says, when confronted with an intruder from whom you fear for your personal safety, and who is armed, you have a right to deadly force. What then would have been the outcome had Gates exercised this right to self defense? Thankfully, we don’t have to go there and despite all the scenarios one could picture that could have happened, the best one is the one that did happen. It’s been reported Obama has offered to have the two main participants to the White House for a friendly get together. That would be nice, I’m sure, but his re-calibration wasn’t necessary.

If You Think the Gates’ arrest was bad, there’s more!


UPDATED STORY BELOW

BLACK PHILADEPHIA POLICE SUE OVER MESSAGE BOARD

A group of black Philadelphia police officers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against their department, alleging an online forum geared toward city police is “infested with racist, white supremacist and anti-African-American content.”

The suit alleges white officers post on and moderate the privately operated site, Domelights.com, both on and off the job.

Domelights’ users “often joke about the racially offensive commentary on the site … or will mention them in front of black police officers,” thus creating “a racially hostile work environment,” according to lawyers for the all-black Guardian Civic League, the lead plaintiff in the suit.

A look at the site’s forums Friday for racist comments found several possibilities.

Reads one: “In urban areas, it seems [African-Americans] living on welfare in paid for housing is ingrained in their culture as well as fighting. … Kids, along with adults can’t speak proper English or spell at a 3rd grade level, but they can sing among “theyselves” the lyrics to a rap song.”

Said another Domelights user of an African-American woman: “She is a classic example of that exact non tax paying, no car insurance driving, bad weave wearing, all the whitey’s are racist black women.”

The site’s tagline is “the voice of the good guys.”

“Every time African-Americans do or say something in our city, we get this backlash of cops who think they’re anonymous on this Web site — just racist, nasty, hurtful things about what we do,” said Rochelle Bilal, the president of the Guardian Civic League and a 23-year veteran of the force.

The league’s attorney said other black officers echo Bilal’s statement.

“We’ve heard the same story over and over again, which is that [African-American officers] witness in the workplace Domelights being used and discussed [in a racial manner],” said Brian Mildenberg, whose firm is also representing several campers from a mostly black Philadelphia day camp that recently gained national attention when its members were turned away from a swim club.

He said it was “a gift from the heavens in a way that the two things happened at once.”

While Mildenberg and Bilal said they had been monitoring the 10-year-old Web site for years, the pool incident did seem to play into the timing of the lawsuit.

“When they said something about our pretty, brown, young, innocent children and called them monkeys because they wanted to go swimming, that was enough,” Bilal said.

She may have been referring to this comment posted on Domelights: “Maybe the people who work for a living didn’t want to swim with a bunch of ghetto monkey faces.”

The lawsuit also highlights comments made on Domelights by the site’s founder and administrator, a sergeant in the Philadelphia police force who goes by the online handle “McQ.”

A statement from McQ that Mildenberg described as “racially abusive commentary” reads, “Blacks and other minorities frequently don’t have the resources that white people have. Consequently, blacks may not be able to keep their vehicles inspected, registered, and roadworthy.”

McQ is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit. Asked why McQ bears responsibility for the racist remarks of his site’s anonymous commenters, Mildenberg said it was because “he started it.”

The person known as McQ did not respond to a request for comment, but posted a message on the site citing the lawsuit. McQ wrote that the suit may cause the Web site to be suspended, but added his statement was not an admission of wrongdoing.

“I categorically deny any wrongdoing on my part,” the message reads. “I did not make racist posts. I did not maintain the Web site on city time.”

Ideally, Mildenberg said, his clients would like to see the site shut down. Failing that, they want Philadelphia police officers to be prohibited from posting comments on the site, particularly during working hours.

The plaintiffs in the class-action suit also are seeking unspecified financial damages available under the Civil Rights Act for Philadelphia’s 2,300 African-American police officers, according to Mildenberg.

Shelley Smith, Philadelphia’s city solicitor, said. “The lawsuit is about a private Web site. It’s not a police department Web site. It’s not operated or overseen by the police department. The allegations against the city and police department are misplaced.”

Hat tip to Cincinnati, Ohio!

With each step we take forward, we take three steps back.  Our denial that there is a problem on our shores, insures we will continue to wage wars on distant ones in order to satisfy our blood lust to denigrate, destroy or kill people who are “different” from us.  We’ve taken more than 200 years to fix this problem of racialism in America and we still haven’t gotten it right!  Wake up America and FIX THIS!

UPDATE

I’m so sorry, I meant to say for every step forward we take five or six steps backwards.  In what could only be called momentously stupid, it appears Philadelphia police have taken the story above to another level.  I now know why Obama was asked about the Gates story, because his remarks, while headed in the right direction, will not be sought after to comment on what follows.

After the Guardian Civic League sued Domelights last week in federal court, several postings on the site attacked league president Rochelle Bilal.

One said she “deserves to be gang-raped.”

Bilal, a sworn officer who works in narcotics intelligence, has been assigned officers from the dignitary protection unit to guard her during the investigation.

Two uniformed officers accompanied Bilal Wednesday night at a meeting at Guardian Civic League headquarters.

The investigation is to “determine if the threat requires any further police action,” said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman.

Domelights, which is administered by a police sergeant, had been a public forum until this week, when access was restricted to registered users.

Last night, the site was disabled. A message posted by the site operator read: “Until further notice, all Domelights.com services (i.e. forums, galleries, blogs) have been suspended. Thank you. McQ”

While the site is commonly seen as a forum for police to discuss crime news and gossip, not all of its members are active-duty officers.

“If the person making the threat is identified, they will face the same action criminally” whether it’s an officer or a civilian, Vanore said.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey initiated the investigation, Vanore said. Bilal did not file a complaint.

Hats off to the Police Commissioner, for now, for taking the step to investigate this “threat” and let’s hope something comes of it.  We have the best cyber law enforcement money can buy, so we can know to a 100% certainty, or at least that’s what Homeland Security tells us, who wrote the offending posts and from where.  But this speaks to something I’ve said here all along, and which I picked up from a former police officer’s article that unless people in authority speak out against, AND punish officers who commit acts of violence or threaten acts of violence against citizens, nothing will change and the brutality will continue.  There has to be  zero tolerance towards police brutality, given the judicial system’s determination it did indeed occur.  Police officers are not above the law, merely the enforcers of the law; their standard is no different from mine.  Either obey it or face the consequences; it’s just that simple.  It is NOT rocket science.  I like how the city of Philadelphia blocked the offending message board from its computers in order to keep some people from posting on the forum while at work.  The City should not be the editor of offensive comments by its employees against other employees.  You can say whatever you want, but if it interferes with job place cohesion, not on my dime, seems to be the reasonable attitude of the city.  I hope to post some of the more offensive comments here at some point if they can be found.  Frankly I don’t care about racist remarks as long as they are not incediary, threatening violence as in the case of the ‘gang rape’ remark.  Some sensitivities are a bit too hyper, in my opinion, but it appears the city of brotherly love is keeping a level head while dealing with a very un brotherly situation, and quite simply any inappropriate behaviour on the part of Philadelphia’s police should be dealt with severely and swiftly.  I hope the police are listening.

From Your Neighbor…..perhaps


A Daughter of Detroit, by Najah Bazzy

I was born on April 15 in Downtown Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital on a Christian holiday, Good Friday, to a blue collar Arab Muslim family, while all of America was rushing to the post office to mail their taxes, in a decade called the Sixties that would belong to civil rights, civil strife, old glory, grief, and greatness.

With such a start I can’t pretend to be surprised that a lot of my life has since been shaped and defined by civil rights, human rights, grief and sadness, joy and greatness. My father called me Najah, (it means ‘success’), after an artist named Najah Salam. Salam, the root word of Islam, means ‘peace.’ I learned early in life that a person who aspires to peace would model success, while a person who aspires to success may not always be peaceful. I am a Muslim by birth and by choice, a person who submits her will to God in a collaborative partnership between Creator and Created. The message of Islam in the Holy Qur’an, coupled with the example of the Messenger Muhammed and his holy family’s way of life, play key roles in shaping who I am, what I do, how I do it, and why.

Being a Muslim is not rooted in the rote performance of religious rituals. It is based on living your faith every moment of the day. Islam is cellular to a devout Muslim. It is a blue print for humanity, a blue print I use daily as a guide. I pay reverence to my Lord, and I reference His messengers, including Muhammed, Jesus, Moses, Noah and Abraham. It is, however, the life of Muhammed that has most influenced how I conduct myself and make decisions. He was the most complete of human beings, a mosaic of man and prophet, who taught us how to live a faithful life through his day-to-day example. He was, to paraphrase one of his contemporaries, the living Quran manifested in humanity. For Muslims, he is the divinely inspired messenger whose teaching completes the divine ring of dialogue between humankind and the Creator, beginning with Judaism and ending with Islam.

*

I measure my daily life by my impending death, as did the Prophet Muhammad. For me, he remains a constant reminder of the sacredness of time. He did not waste time. He utilized every moment to be of service to his Creator. For Muslims, Muhammad is the exemplary manifestation of a principled life. He has taught me that each breath is a gift, as is every thought. He has taught me to be efficient.

As a Muslim nurse, I am doubly aware of my physical body and its miracle. How it moves, walks, talks, sees, hears, speaks, and regenerates itself. Muhammad’s prayers and supplications have been handed down to us. Through them, I have learned to thank God for all of these faculties, which allow me to be productive as a human. I might have been created a bird, or an animal that slithers on the floor. I might have been born to crawl on my belly or carry a burden on my back. Instead, I was born a human, with a brain, free will, a heart that loves, and a womb that can bear children. How grateful I am to this Creator, and how worthy He is of my admiration and acknowledgment.

Raising a righteous family has been a primary goal in my life. I sometimes ask myself about the legacy or imprint I want to leave behind. When I depart this life what will my children say about me? I look to Muhammad’s legacy to help me answer these questions. On his deathbed he said, “I leave behind two weighty things, the Holy Quran and my revered Family. And he who holds firm to these two will never go astray; they will meet me at the fountain of abundance in Heaven.” I draw from these words the notion that our legacy lies in our most inspired actions and in our children.

Islam has taught me how to live with a conscious difference. It has taught me to be a nurse of a different kind, one that advocates for the rights of patients to exercise their faith, so that as they lie sick in their hospital beds their faith can play its proper role in their healing or their dying. Islam has taught me to be a daughter of a different kind, often through lessons derived from the life of the Prophet’s glorious daughter, Fatima. The Messenger taught me how to be a parent of a different kind, one that would not favor a son over a daughter, one that would love children and grandchildren. Islam has taught me how to be a wife of a different kind, one who understands that a marriage is a society’s strongest unit, because the family rests on its foundation. Islam and the Prophet have taught me how to exercise modesty as a testimony to the status of women. It has taught me that women are not commodities to be exploited by a billion dollar pornography industry. A woman is precious, valuable. She is not for sale. In all these ways, Islam has taught me how to hold my physical nature back, and move my humanness forward. This is the way I’d like to be remembered. This is the legacy I want to leave my children.

My favorite “watch words” are called the Key to Success. They were written by an unknown author. When I was in junior high school, it was a tradition for the ninth-grade class to pass down the “Key to Success” to upcoming students. It was a large, white key made of hard cardboard wrapped with red ribbon. The words inscribed on the key became a creed for me. It was presented to me as an upcoming class representative, and the following year I presented it to the next class. I quote it here because it expresses the legacy I’d like to leave behind. Its message is the cellular message of Islam.

“She was a success because she lived well, laughed often and loved much. She gained the respect of intelligent people and the love of little children. She filled her niche and accomplished her task whether by a kind gesture, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul. She always looked for the best in others and gave the best she had to give. For mom was a person for whom peace was a noun, verb, adjective, and an article of her faith. Her success was that she was a Muslim, she loved Islam, the faith of peace, and to God she did indeed humbly submit.”

Every person should have a mission and vision, says Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Today, corporate America looks to Mr. Covey to teach principle-centered guidelines to run profitable businesses with integrity. I was introduced to his lessons and philosophy as part of a corporate training seminar for the health care system I worked for. Covey says that to be effective you need to start with the end in mind, as your first guiding principle. His second guiding principle is, Put first things first. I became enthralled with Mr. Covey’s message because it expresses Islam’s code of conduct in plain English. Its value system has been around for 1500 years, (somewhat longer than Mr. Covey). As I listened to the trainers teach the seven habits for success, I thought to myself, How interesting: I grew up with the seven habits rooted in my faith. Using Covey’s frame of reference, the developer of my program is God, the trainer is Muhammed, and the training manual is the Holy Quran. As a nurse in my field, these principles resonate with the tone of who I am now and who I will continue to be.

Through everyday learning experiences like this one, I have come to see that the principles I was taught as a child are principles worth sharing. For a Muslims, to “think with the end in mind” means to strive each day on earth to be worthy of Heaven. “Putting first things first” means giving God first place in life, my family second, and all else will follow. This coordination of priorities is powerful and effective in building a character of peace and success. Islam is indeed a way of life. Muslims believe that everything we do is a form of worship. Even sleep is a form of worship.

*

My first conscious memory, at the age of three-and-a-half, is marked with vivid images I still recall.

My mom was opening the oven to baste the turkey and, as always, I was under foot. I remember the smell, and the hustle of the kitchen laid with gray and red tiled linoleum. I remember my mother in her white shirt and apron, and how pretty I thought she was. Then I heard a sudden scream from the living room and my mom rushed to my father, who stood motionless, crying out loud. Seeing my father cry surprised me; I’m not sure that I understood anything except the sadness. I also recall a few days later, televised pictures of the hearse and seeing a little boy about my size saluting his daddy’s flag draped casket. I remember the death of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

More than pictures, the sadness remains imprinted on my brain. This first impression of grief, I am sure, remains the unconscious base of my deep feelings for the dying and for those they leave behind. Today in my practice as a nurse, I am keenly aware of the power of grief and how it manifests itself in the many patients I see and serve.

I am one of those privileged people whose work permits me to listen often to the war stories of men, women and children. Over the last decade, many of my patients have immigrated from Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. When they relate heart-wrenching stories of losing their homes, their babies, their spouses, their parents, their hope and even their minds, I listen and cry along with them, wondering at our cruelty and hoping that one day mankind will grow up. If it weren’t for my faith in Islam, and my belief in a Judgment Day that will bring justice to oppressors and joy to those oppressed, I would not be able to do my work. It is hard to fathom the mind of a child who has watched a bomb falling on his home. It is difficult to hear elders speak of the black skies over Iraq after the air strikes, the fleece of white sheep turned black by debris, the wanton destruction of life in the years following the Gulf War. Yet with each painful story comes a surrender, an acceptance, and a proof that the human spirit has the capacity to endure somehow, some way. It is one of the aspects of my work that intrigues and attracts me and keeps me coming back.

Certain events in the Prophet Muhammad’s life affirm my own responsibility to the poor, the orphaned, the wayfarer, and even to one’s enemies. I keep these stories close to me.

According to one report, the Prophet had a neighbor, a pagan Meccan with a tribal mentality who hated him. Every night, the man would place his household trash in front of the Prophet’s door to humiliate him. Each morning the Prophet would open his door to leave his home and be greeted with the man’s garbage. In time, however, the neighbor fell ill, and the Prophet knocked at his door and went in to visit him. When the Prophet sat by his bedside, the man was so surprised, he asked, “What would bring you here to see me? Don’t you know I don’t like you?” The Prophet said, “Yes I know, but I am a man of principle, and my faith tells me to take care of my neighbors and to visit the sick. You are my neighbor and you are sick.”

This story has always been dear to me. Through it, I’ve been taught something about humility, grace, and caring for the ill. And because the man was of Jewish descent, the story also teaches me to respect people whose faith differs from mine.

*

One day I was giving a lecture to a group of nurses on caring for Muslim mothers. I was out of state and speaking at a hospital that served a high concentration of Muslim women seeking obstetric services. My lecture was on Women in Islam the first hour, and Care of the Muslim Mother the second hour. I was explaining the ethical code of Islam concerning birthing, death, burial of babies and fetuses, abortion, genetic counseling, grief counseling and other related issues. When the discussion ended, a managing nurse came to me and asked if she could see me privately. She wore a troubled expression. Of course I obliged. When we were alone, she began by asking if I had a strong stomach. Then she invited me to visit their pathology laboratory. As I followed her through the corridors, she unlocked one door after another. I could feel a coolness as we approached the room, and then we entered a typical pathology lab. There the woman raised her hands and gestured to the shelves lining the walls. “Here is our museum of babies,” she said. “I don’t know what to do with them all. I’ve had them on shelves here for years.”

I could see by their dated labels that some of the containers were seven years old. I looked at the white tubs filled with human beings, little bodies of people in formaldehyde, and my eyes welled. Some of the containers held two and three babies settled on top of each other. They ranged in fetal age from 12 weeks to full term. Little hands and feet, little faces and bodies. I thought of the Prophet.

Each day as he left his home, on the way to his Mosque in Medina, he would stop at the cemetery along the way. He would stop on the way and again coming back and say Salaam, the salutation of peace, to the people in their graves.

I asked to be left alone for a while. When the nurse had gone, I began to lift down the containers one by one. I said “Assalamu Aleikum, little ones, from me and your Messengers.” As I looked over the lab file of 220 babies with no names, I thought of the Prophet’s warning to care for the orphaned and those who are homeless and helpless. I wondered what to do and knew from his teaching that Muslims must be buried. But the responsibility, I slowly realized, was not just to bury the Muslims among these babies (of which I found none), but to bury all of them, since Islam concerns itself with everyone.

In the old days in Arabia, before Muhammad became a prophet, there was a widespread practice of burying babies alive- especially baby girls. Later, Muhammad put a stop to this. The Holy Quran contains a verse that says babies buried alive will call out a question on Judgment Day, before God’s eternal tribunal of justice, asking what sin they had committed to warrant being buried alive.

I recall all this now because it taught me two things: The babies in their bottles were orphaned, homeless, helpless. And I was guided.

On another occasion a mother miscarried her fetus, which fell into the toilet.

The mother became so upset that the nurse panicked. I was entering the room to visit the mother and heard the commotion. Luckily, I caught the nurse, who was about to flush the toilet, grabbing her hand. Then I found a sifter and lifted the baby. As we rinsed it, it lay in the palm of my hand, about 10 weeks old. That baby was buried, like the others.

*

When I was about fifteen, I began to assist in the ritual washing of the Muslim women who have died. The first person I attended was my aunt, who passed away suddenly. She was the love of our lives and many of us grieved for her. I remember watching as we wrapped her body with the plain sheets Muslims use to shroud the dead. I recall how we placed a scarf-like head covering over her hair. I remember thinking, How interesting it is, that we are born without clothes but die shrouded. I wondered: Were we born naked and innocent, only to die shrouded, as if to cover up a life of sins? I wasn’t learned in the rites of Islam at 15. I was a practicing young Muslim girl, who observed modesty in my character and clothing, but there was a lot I didn’t understand.

One day a few years later, I came across a book called simply, Muhammed. It was a biography. Near the end, when I reached the part about his death, I wept over the story. How does the world lose an Abraham, a Moses, a Jesus, a Muhammad? How does the world recover from such a loss? He died in his home, in the arms of his beloved cousin and son-in-law Ali. In my tradition Ali, who was raised by the Prophet, washed, shrouded, and buried the Prophet’s body. Reading about this, I recalled the shrouding of my aunt, and realized that if the Prophet was shrouded, it must teach us something about death: The body is a dignified gift and carrying case, and even in death the genitals should be covered and the body clothed. I began to revise my thought of a few years before, about shrouding and sin, for I realized that Muhammad was a man without sin, yet in death he was shrouded.

From that time on, the circumstances surrounding death became sacred moments for me. Today, I spend many of my working hours helping people through the dying process, the grieving process, and more. I advocate for improved hospice services, and I belong to several coalitions dedicated to treating people with dignity near life’s end.

*

When I was growing up my grandmother lived with us. She was my love and I was hers. We shared the same bedroom. She would tell me stories of the old country and her youth. One day she called me to our room. I was about 20 at the time. . She told me to get a pad and paper and write her last will down. I wasn’t ready to live without my grandmother. I would never be ready. But I sat with her, and as she spoke her wishes, I wrote them down. She asked me to be sure her shroud was white and green, to visit her grave often, to always plant flowers at her grave. She asked me to be sure her daughters and I washed her and to be sure no one other than us saw her. She held me to this Amana or trust, that I would care for the elderly and that I would never as a nurse be harsh with the ill or the elderly. I have until this day lived up to the promise. Tomorrow, God willing, I’ll go on.

The Prophet Muhammed was once brought to a dying man who was suffering so terribly with a lingering illness. The Prophet asked many questions and discovered that this was a man who had been harsh with his mother, and she in turn was unforgiving of him for it. The Prophet went to speak to the mother. “Will you forgive your son? He is suffering because you have not forgiven him for what he has done to you.” The woman replied, “He was too harsh with me, after I gave him all I had in my life.” At this point, the Prophet of God instructed his companions to build a bonfire. And he said to her, “Then push your son into this fire.” She said, “Prophet of God, you ask me to do what I cannot, he is my son.” The Prophet replied, “If he dies without your forgiveness the fire will be his eternal home.” The mother quickly forgave her son, and he died in peace.

I carry these stories with me. They are living lessons of a dynamic faith.

*

This year my mother joined me on the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. It was the second time each of us had performed these sacred rites. Holding her hand, praying next to her, eating with her, and hearing her supplication for her children, as she made her circuit around the holy Ka’ba, are among the peak memories of a lifetime. I looked at my mother often on our trip.

A young person once asked the Prophet, “If my mother and father call me at the same time, to whom should I respond?” the Prophet replied, “Your mother.” “And the second time?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother.” “And the third time?” The Prophet replied,”Your mother.” “And the fourth time?” The Prophet replied, “Your father.”

Although I am 42 years of age, my mother looked after me constantly while we were on the pilgrimage. She tried to feed me and felt concerned about my whereabouts every minute that I was not with her. In short, she worried about me as though I were a baby. I thought, “Yes indeed, all six of her children will always be her babies. Just as all four of my children will always be my babies.” I watched her with sadness in my heart because she was aging, slowing down and, when fatigued, forgetful.

There we were in Mecca, the Prophet’s birthplace, and then Medina, his chosen place of refuge, the two holiest cities in Islam, and I was with my mother. I couldn’t help recalling in those surroundings that the Prophet Muhammed had lost his father soon after his birth, or that he had lost his mother a few years later. I wondered about the trials of a child without parents, how much he must have missed them. He knew what it was to be orphaned. When he called upon his people to care for orphans, he knew first hand the lonely heart of a child without parental love. At the age of seven or so, he came into the protecting arms of his grandfather, Abu Muttalib, but lost him too before long, then passed into the hands of a loving uncle, Abu Talib, who raised him into adulthood. No wonder this safety net, the extended family, remains important in Islam. For me, it is as important as the nuclear family.

In Mecca and Medina, I could feel the presence of this man, this messenger, Muhammed. I could feel his spirit and his blessings in my life. In Mecca when I prayed before the Ka’ba, and again in his Mosque in Medina, I recommitted myself to being the best example of a human being that I can be. I recommitted myself to the principles laid down by this most complete human being: a man and a messenger, a father and husband, an advocate for human rights, founder of a just and fair government. If more people knew his story and the world in which it took place, they would understand that Muhammad liberated women and the voice of the oppressed. He exiled racism, freed slaves, married widows, and protected orphans. Moreover, his message lived after him, and soon united much of the world under the banner of monotheism. Muhammad’s teaching lives on today, attracting new people, revitalizing the lives of those who learn about him. He makes me proud to be a Muslim.

Henry Louis Gates Must Have Thought He was still in China


Having recently returned from a trip to China, Gates must have thought he was still there when he was arrested in his own home for disorderly conduct after police arrived to investigate a break in.  How does one get arrested for disorderly conduct in his own home when he is the only person there?!?  Inside his own home?  Who lodged the complaint?  Why, it was the police officer who happened to make his way into Mr./Dr. Gates’ home that’s who, and how did he get inside Gates’ home?  There is so much wrong with this story, so let’s back up just a bit.

It seems a “neighbor” called police to report two black men breaking into Gates’ home.  If this neighbor saw two men, obviously one of them Gates, why didn’t he/she recognize him…I mean after all they are neighbors.  That’s problem number one.  Our lives are so transient, we don’t take time to know who the people are who live near or around us, and in many cases view people in such close proximity with us  suspiciously.    But the next problem is worse than that and involves the hot button topic of police brutality/fascism.  If you don’t think it exists you haven’t talked to Henry Louis Gates.  His questioning of police authority and insistence they treat him as a citizen and not as a criminal is what got him arrested.  When anyone comes into your home…..so goes the social customs of America, they either treat you with respect in your own home, or they leave.  It appears the police officer did neither; instead he arrested Gates.

What’s ironic is America for the last several weeks has shown images of the  police’s crackdown of Iranian dissidents after their elections and condemned the actions of the Iranian government; what US officials have issued statements regarding police brutality against US citizens in America at ANYTIME, and especially after the Gates arrest?  The double standard is stark and one more stain on the American fabric of “just-us” justice.  Returning from a trip to a totalitarian government, Gates must have thought as he was led away from his home he was in a parallel universe.

police-brutality-small We have come a long way, in time,  from these two extremes yet socially  very little has changed. APTOPIX Harvard Scholar Disorderly Check out Jesse Washington’s take on the Gates arrest. It is pointed and disappointing to realize  that more than 200 years after this country’s appearance on the international stage we have only barely advanced.

Americans Punked by the Israeli War Machine


MIDEAST-ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CLASHESIt’s sad to see how helpless Americans feel when they try to help Palestinians and have to deal with the Israeli government instead.  Placing themselves at great danger when confronted with Israelis, Americans have come to learn they cannot depend on Washington to help them in such confrontations.  Witness the hopelessness in the Shapiro post here.  It’s interesting to note that Shapiro’s cargo that was interdicted by the Israelis included toys, medicines, toolkits, olive tree saplings, and one 50-kilo bag of cement.  This is the same relief effort that got Cynthia McKinney arrested, who said the cargo was mostly crayons for kids to draw; the point being there was nothing that could be even remotely considered threatening to the existence of Israel.  A simple check of the ship’s cargo by all the people assembled to block this one boat could have ascertained this more quickly and at less expense to US taxpayers than all the showboating and bluster put on by F16 overflights and the incarceration of those aboard.   Existential threats to Israel ceased long ago and what Israel seeks to do with it’s blockade of Gaza, an act of war, is to get Palestinians to leave Gaza, or at the very least accept serfdom under the authority of the Israeli government.

By accepting this 2nd class international relationship,  the US is giving up its claim to being a superpower and has become instead a super bitch to the Israeli war machine.  Even now the US Secretary of Defense is headed to Israel to hold talks with officials there about Iran.  There is no mutual give and take in the American-Israeli alliance there is only take on the part of the Israelis who leave even people of good will feeling utterly hopeless, and which makes Washington look increasingly more impotent.

Another Bad Bushism Bites the Dust


tariq ramadanNot that President Obama had anything to do with it, but a federal court has reversed a ruling against one Tariq Ramadan, who had been denied a visa to come to the US by the Bush Administration.  You can read about that decision here.  Ramadan had previously visited the US many times, but when the University of Notre Dame wanted to make him a tenured professor there, many within the political zionist movement, notably Daniel Pipes, would have none of that and so a well organized campaign began which resulted in the revocation/denial of a visit for Ramadan.  Oxford University snatched him up quickly, however, which proves this isn’t a fringe political hack we’re talking about in Ramadan.    What’s really happening  here is Islamophobes who are  trying to isolate Islamic thought from the main stream and keep it isolated,  feared and reviled; allowing Tariq Ramadan such a mainstream audience as Notre Dame in the heart of the midwest is anathema to political zionism’s goals of hate/fear based interaction with targeted religions such as Islam.  During the era of fear, accusations were made about or against people who were unable to counter those accusations or defend themselves against them in a court of law.  Witch hunts were carried out and people detained or denied their rights merely on the face of an accusation and without judicial recourse or review.  It remains to be seen whether Ramadan will be given a visa, but the ruling gives him a chance to defend himself in court and that’s what the Bill of Rights allows.

Israeli Disinformation in a Media Outlet You May Read or Watch


The Israeli government is clearly up to, planning,  attacks against some of its neighbors as it hypes up, read that lies, allegations about what they are doing.  First comes this incredible, un-sourced story, a former Revolutionary Guard member talks about deflowering Iranian girls who were to be executed.  Clearly this piece of work is aimed at legitimizing an Israeli attack on Iran.  It is doubly anonymously un-sourced so isn’t really worth the bandwidth it passes on, but it has already gotten play in such reputable places as here, although it’s good to see in the comments section people aren’t buying it as readily as some would like.

The next incredibly stupid story is this one about the Pope and the Vatican, which appeared here.  This story was so unbelievable that halfway through the article the writer seems to doubt the authenticity of what he/she’s writing about!  This second story is more insidious because it takes aim at both the Roman Catholic Church as well as Hizbollah.  Jews it seems are at war with both Christianity, that is the branch that’s not politically zionist leaning, as well as Islam, so both are fair game.  While you read this latest bunch of news emanating from Israel to cover Netanyahu’s belligerence towards his US sponsors, consider this: Israel is the only country in the Middle East and Europe that is a foreign occupier and which regularly wages war against its neighbors.  Murder is the engine that drives and gives meaning to the Israeli government.  Just ask the Palestinians.

gazaSlaughter

Memory Hole Material


I’m posting this because of the source, Israeli, of an accusation that hasn’t been admitted by them before, i.e. the issue of using human shields during the Gaza invasion.  Check out the spin that has already begun.

Breaking the Silence activist group presents report of testimonies from Gaza offensive in which soldiers say destruction, civilian casualties were direct result of IDF policy. Army: Testimonies are general, anonymous, and unreliable

A number of IDF soldiers who took part in Israel’s recent Gaza offensive say they were urged by commanders to shoot first and worry later about sorting out civilians from combatants. Accordingly, they say, the force went into Gaza with guns blazing.

In print and video testimony published on Wednesday by the activist group Breaking the Silence, the 30 soldiers say the army’s imperative was to minimize its own casualties to ensure Israeli public support for the operation.

“Better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy,” is a typical description by one unidentified soldier of his understanding of instructions repeated at pre-invasion briefings and during the 22-day operation, from Dec. 27 to Jan. 18.

“If you’re not sure, kill. Fire power was insane. We went in and the booms were just mad,” says another. “The minute we got to our starting line, we simply began to fire at suspect places. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.”

The 112-page report by Breaking the Silence includes testimonies of 30 soldiers “who served in all sectors of the operation”.

“The majority … are still serving in their regular military units and turned to us in deep distress at the moral deterioration of the IDF,” it says. Their narratives “are enough to bring into question the credibility of the official IDF versions”.

Except for a sergeant named Amir, the soldiers are anonymous and their faces digitally blurred. The group said it had funding from Israeli human rights groups and the governments of Britain, the Netherlands and Spain, and from the European Union.

“We believe that the existence of a moral society clearly requires a profound, honest discussion, of which the voice of soldiers on the ground is an inseparable part,” the group says.

Soldiers describe a “Neighbor Procedure” in which civilians were forced to enter suspect buildings ahead of troops. They cite cases of civilians advancing in front of a soldier resting his rifle on their shoulder.

The report repeats charges denied by Israel that white phosphorus was fired indiscriminately into Gaza streets. It cites “massive destruction was unrelated to any direct threat to Israeli forces” and “permissive” rules of engagement.

“We did not get instructions to shoot at anything that moved,” says one soldier. “But we were generally instructed: if you feel threatened, shoot. They kept repeating to us that this is war and in war opening fire is not restricted.”

The report also mentions armored bulldozers razing whole areas including gardens, and olive and orange groves. “We didn’t see a single house that was intact … that was not hit. The entire infrastructure, tracks, fields, roads, was in total ruin. The D-9 (bulldozer) had gone over everything,” the report quotes a soldier as saying.

“There was a clear feeling, and this was repeated whenever others spoke to us, that no humanitarian consideration played any role in the army at present. The goal was to carry out an operation with the least possible casualties for the army.”

IDF: Soldiers should come forth

The testimonies challenge assertions by Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups in the United States that “Israel did all it could to avoid civilian casualties”, as Kenneth Jacobson of the Anti-Defamation League wrote last week to the New York Times.

The League denounced Amnesty International for labeling Israel’s actions as “wanton” destruction and said it was “outrageously accusing the Israeli military of war crimes”.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak asserted after the war that Israel had the most moral army in the world. These critics say Israelis should not be asked simply to accept that their army’s conduct was “faultless and public accountability uncalled for”.

The IDF, Breaking the Silence said in the preamble to its evidence, went to great lengths to prove that if there were any excesses they were by the “delinquent soldier”.

The testimony suggests that “the massive and unprecedented blow to the infrastructure and civilians of the Gaza Strip was a direct result of IDF policy”.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office stated in response that the army “regrets the fact that a human rights organization is presenting to Israel and the world, once again, a report containing general and anonymous testimonies without ascertaining their details or reliability and without allowing the IDF, with minimal fairness, a chance to probe the affairs and respond prior to their publication”.

The statement adds that the IDF “believes Breaking the Silence should encourage testifiers to break their silence and present specific claims in order for it to be possible to deal with the claims properly and investigate them, and not to hide behind anonymous testimonies”.

The army also stated that the Gaza offensive was a “no other choice operation” and that five different probes had already been authorized regarding the IDF’s conduct in Gaza. “The IDF is committed to investigating any complaint”, the statement says.

A Palestinian rights group has stated that 1,417 people were killed, 926 of them civilians, during Operation Cast Lead. But the army has put the death toll at 1,166 and estimated 295 dead were civilians. Ten IDF soldiers and three Israeli civilians were also killed.

Afghan Women: A Political Football for Western Feminists


AfghanIt all started back in 2001 with Laura Bush when she gave the rallying cry, “Afghan women know, through hard experience, what the rest of the world is discovering: The brutal oppression of women is a central goal of the terrorists”, which was one of the justifications for the US military invasion of Afghanistan.  Of course after the legitimacy of the invasion was accepted by the majority of Americans, Bush had little to say about the treatment of Afghani women under a newly installed and US backed government, even though it’s record of women’s rights was as deplorable as it was under the Taleban.  The lip service of the feminist movement given to the plight of Afghan women has been insulting to Afghani women who view with a certain disdain the paternalistic attitude some Western women bring to the discussion of women’s rights for people that are  as far removed from the West as can be.

Now comes word, Afghan women are again in the cross hairs of the feminist movement, with one group, the Feminist Majority Foundation, lending its moral support for the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, stating as one of its objectives: Increase security and safety for Afghan people, especially women and girls, by increasing the number of US combat troops in Afghanistan.

Addressing this point other more politically aware feminists had this to say:

First of all, coalition troops are combat forces and are there to fight a war, not to preserve peace. Not even the Pentagon uses that language to describe U.S. forces there. More importantly, the tired claim that one of the chief objectives of the military occupation of Afghanistan is to liberate Afghan women is not only absurd, it is offensive.

Waging war does not lead to the liberation of women anywhere. Women always disproportionately suffer the effects of war, and to think that women’s rights can be won with bullets and bloodshed is a position dangerous in its naïveté. The Feminist Majority should know this instinctively.

Here are the facts: After the invasion, Americans received reports that newly liberated women had cast off their burquas and gone back to work. Those reports were mythmaking and propaganda. Aside from a small number of women in Kabul, life for Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban has remained the same or become much worse.

Under the Taliban, women were confined to their homes. They were not allowed to work or attend school. They were poor and without rights. They had no access to clean water or medical care, and they were forced into marriages, often as children.

Today, women in the vast majority of Afghanistan live in precisely the same conditions, with one notable difference: they are surrounded by war. The conflict outside their doorsteps endangers their lives and those of their families. It does not bring them rights in the household or in public, and it confines them even further to the prison of their own homes. Military escalation is just going to bring more tragedy to the women of Afghanistan.

The U.S. military may have removed the Taliban, but it installed warlords who are as anti-woman and as criminal as the Taliban. Misogynistic, patriarchal views are now embodied by the Afghan cabinet, they are expressed in the courts, and they are embodied by President Hamid Karzai.

Paper gains for women’s rights mean nothing when, according to the chief justice of the Afghan Supreme Court, the only two rights women are guaranteed by the constitution are the right to obey their husbands and the right to pray, but not in a mosque.

These are the convictions of the government the U.S. has helped to create. The American presence in Afghanistan will do nothing to diminish them.

Sadly, as horrifying as the status of women in Afghanistan may sound to those of us who live in the West, the biggest problems faced by Afghan women are not related to patriarchy. Their biggest problem is war.

….in the eight years since the U.S. invasion, opium production has exploded by 4,400 percent, making Afghanistan the world capital of opium. The violence of the drug mafia now poses greater danger to Afghanistan and its women than the rule of the Taliban.

Some of the biggest drug-traffickers are part of the U.S. puppet regime. To make matters worse, corruption in the Afghan government has never been so prevalent — even under the Taliban. Now, even Western sources say that only pennies of every dollar spent on aid reach the people who need it.

If coalition forces are really concerned about women, these are the problems that must be addressed. The military establishment claims that it must win the military victory first, and then the U.S. will take care of humanitarian needs. But they have it backward.

Improve living conditions and security will improve. Focus on security at the expense of humanitarian goals, and coalition forces will accomplish neither. The first step toward improving people’s lives is a negotiated settlement to end the war.

The U.S. presence in Afghanistan is doing nothing to protect Afghan women. The level of self-immolation among women was never as high as it is now. When there is no justice for women, they find no other way out but suicide.

Columbia Professor Lila Abu-Lughod, a woman of Palestinian descent, writes: “We need to be suspicious when neat cultural icons are plastered over messier historical and political narratives; so we need to be wary when Lord Cromer in British-ruled Egypt, French ladies in Algeria, and Laura Bush, all with military troops behind them, claim to be saving or liberating Muslim women.”

It’s sad to see western feminists being used as tools for the military occupation of a country, but it shows how political affiliations of the left and the right converge when it comes to certain policies such as military expansion and imperialism over poor people who are far removed from the West’s reality.

What do White Supremacists and Israel have in common?


If you are Jewish it’s safe haven in Israel.  I found this interesting story of an American whose brush with American law enforcement included racist assault, setting fire to vehicles belonging to federal agents and a series of violent incidents.  How does a neo-Nazi supremacist find common ground with the Jewish state?  How does a “neo-Nazi” fall in love with and father a child by an Israeli Jew?  Mayon was given a one month tourist visa to stay in Israel back in ’07 and stayed on until caught a few days ago.  Needing a valid passport at least six months old to travel to Israel, how does a man on the FBI’s most wanted list enter the Jewish state undetected and then live there for 17 months while his parents send him money to “make ends meet”?  What led to Mayon’s downfall was the conscious of his pregnant girlfriend who upon learning he was a racist supremacist turned him in to authorities.  Word has it Mayon is fighting his extradiction to America based on his impregnating the young lady, and it will be interesting to see how far this appeal to Israeli courts gets.  If tribal justice applies, Mayon won’t be returned to the US.

Israel’s free fall descent into chaos


It’s not a pretty sight, and there are still years to go before Israel hits rock bottom and it’s people scattered, once again, into the Diaspora, despite their ‘never again’ cries; what precipitated it all was the enabling done by Israel’s allies.  We just couldn’t say no to them at all.  We didn’t even say no once, and like most other spoiled children who always get their way, Israel has become a sociopath nation without boundaries that wanders around looking for prey to attack so that it can call itself a victim.

It’s not enough that we’ve seen and heard the racist diatribe spew from the mouths of their youth, no doubt picked up at the dinner table from their parents.  Or that the average Israeli intimidates, bullies, assaults and defames all those who even  remotely disagree with them about the slightest little thing.   Or that they continuously violate international law and treaties regarding the occupied territories.  (Why is there any discussion about a two state solution, when that is the ONLY alternative since 1948?)  Now comes word that even Israeli politicians have drunk the Kool-Aide and are dangerously close to becoming psychotic and international pariahs.

First off, look at what this Likud party member says about what the Israeli relationship should be with the US.  Before you go and say this guy is the fringe, guess again.  Some say he’s the left leaning side of Likud, but what really caught my attention is he is a cabinet  member  without portfolio……the same designation and party of one Ariel Sharon after the disaster in Lebanon, called Sabra and Shatilla,  so many years ago.

In the 11-page letter, obtained by The Jerusalem Post from a minister on Monday, Peled recommends steps Israel can take to compensate for the shift in American policy, which he believes has become hostile to Israel.

“Obama’s ascendance represents a turning point in America’s approach to the region, especially to Israel,” he wrote in the letter. “The new administration believes that in order to fight terror, guarantee stability and withdraw from Iraq, a new diplomatic slant is needed involving drastic steps to pacify the Muslim world and the adoption of a more balanced approach to Israel, including intensive pressure to stop building in settlements, remove outposts and advance the formation of a Palestinian state.”

Peled added that faced with an American government with an activist agenda that does not mesh with Israel’s, traditional reactions are no longer relevant. He said he expected that Obama would eventually realize that appeasement and dialogue with countries that support terror would not have positive results.

But in the interim, the minister suggests reconsidering military and civilian purchases from the US, selling sensitive equipment that the Washington opposes distributing internationally, and allowing other countries that compete with the US to get involved with the peace process and be given a foothold for their military forces and intelligence agencies.

Peled said that shifting military acquisition to America’s competition would make Israel less dependent on the US. For instance, he suggested buying planes from the France-based Airbus firm instead of the American Boeing.

In what may be his most controversial suggestion, Peled recommends intervening in American congressional races to weaken Obama and asking American Jewish donors not to contribute to Democratic congressional candidates. He predicted that this would result in Democratic candidates pressuring Obama to become more pro-Israel.

Peled called for the formation of a new body intended to influence American public opinion. The groups he suggests courting include Hispanic Americans and Labor unions in industries that benefit from Israeli military acquisitions.

I would like to see Israel boycott American military hardware, and the American dollars they are given to buy that hardware.  Unfortunately, Mr. Peled thinks he is entitled to the latter and too many in American government agree with him.  I also note the centuries old conflict still being played out in the halls of political zionism which seeks to associate Islam with extremism in order to reduce its exposure to a western audience.  As you can see there’s a lot wrong with his wish list, but the one thing I find most egregious is his apparent attempt to use one group of Americans against another, a dressed up form of divide and conquer, to incite a race/class war or divide in the American body politic.  Does anyone else see something wrong with that?  American history is full of the struggle this country has gone through in accommodating, many times very poorly, the different races and ethnically diverse groups  on our shores, and with great human sacrifice; for someone to say that is worth exploiting for another country’s benefit is akin to sedition.  I hope Mr. Peled is on the Homeland Security Department’s no fly list because he should never step foot on American soil with that idea in mind.  The rest of the article is full of political zionist angst and sadly pathetic, but worth the read, in my opinion.

Meanwhile Benjamin Netanyahu has also joined the ranks of the “brain damaged” with his rant about self-hating American Jews.  You know where he’s going with that right?  Miscellany101 already mentioned how many Israelis expect American Jews to be subservient to Israeli interests even when they are at odds with American interests, and if they aren’t well then they get labeled the next worse label after anti-semite that political zionists can hurl at them, which is self-hating!

Netanyahu appears to be suffering from confusion and paranoia. He is convinced that the media are after him, that his aides are leaking information against him and that the American administration wants him out of office. Two months after his visit to Washington, he is still finding it difficult to communication normally with the White House. To appreciate the depth of his paranoia, it is enough to hear how he refers to Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, Obama’s senior aides: as “self-hating Jews.”


Notice the reference to the lack of mental stability and this is who the Israelis voted for just six short months or so ago, which suggests to me a national sickness or mental illness. The bunker like mentality of Netanyahu is also a throwback to, and here it comes y’all, the days of Hitler, hunkering down in his bunker/tomb with the illusion of running a country that was in reality falling down around him. The falling down part is not what’s happening to Israel at the moment….it’s too early for that to happen, but the process has started and we who have said “yes” too often are to blame. One can only hope that as Israel continues its free fall, her  enablers don’t go down with the ship.