Behind the Billowing Smoke


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Jawed Naqvi

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By Jawed Naqvi

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BEFORE he was stopped for questioning at the Boston airport last week, Azam Khan was perceived as a ghetto-embracing politician, an Indian Muslim with a provincial worldview.

He was once quoted as famously wanting to lead a mob to tear down the Taj Mahal because it symbolised a waste of money. He had earlier claimed that the Babri mosque could only be demolished over his dead body. Well? And he runs an educational institution after a Muslim hero who strove to restore the caliphate in Turkey against Kemal Ataturk’s modernising efforts.

After he was checked at the Boston airport, following which he kicked up a right royal fuss, Azam Khan comes across as the gross neighbour who walked into a house in mourning with an eye on the warm biryani.

The minister from Uttar Pradesh mistimed it though. He had gone to the United States to be feted by the Indian diaspora but was quizzed at the airport where security happened to be on a higher alert than normal.

He claimed he was singled out for being a Muslim. It is perfectly possible that the computerised data on the US terror watch flickered when it saw someone close to his description, and why not?

After all, Muslims have been in the thick of these things. Two Muslim migrants had shockingly wreaked havoc in Boston the other day, evidently in pursuit of their religious calling. They attacked a marathon race, making it the third time when people with Muslim names targeted sportspersons at events where the prize was a cornucopia of human fellowship.

How does Azam Khan respond to the fact that people bearing Muslim names killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972? They targeted a friendly Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.

Who knows what the computer threw up on him, but Azam Khan is known to be so self-absorbed he wouldn’t have noticed that Meera Shankar was handed a pat-down at a US airport when she was India’s ambassador in Washington DC. It’s a country in serious trouble. Former defence minister George Fernandes and movie actor Shahrukh Khan were questioned too.

What seems even more ironical for Azam Khan’s pervasive sense of victimhood is the fact that Narendra Modi has been denied a US visa, ostensibly because of the extremist politics he practises in Gujarat.

The tangled skein of terror and counter-terror of course goes beyond easy references to religious pursuits as the source.

The example of Timothy McVeigh has been cited in the context of the Boston tragedy. McVeigh was a former US soldier with a disturbed childhood. He was decorated with a military medal for his services in the Kuwait-Iraq expedition before he rammed a truck loaded with explosives in Oklahoma into a government building packed with people.

His grouse with the American government seems to have had little to do with his Roman Catholic faith.

McVeigh was executed with a lethal injection, but every year militarist American policies create more and more disturbed war veterans. The Guardian in February detailed a horrific tragedy unfolding in the United States with practically every military outing.

Describing what it said was a suicide epidemic among US war veterans, The Guardian homed in on the heartrending story of William Busbee, “archetype of the US soldier” whose mother feels he was let down by the army he loved so much.

“Libby Busbee is pretty sure that her son William never sat through or read Shakespeare’s Macbeth, even though he behaved as though he had,” wrote The Guardian. “Soon after he got back from his final tour of Afghanistan, he began rubbing his hands over and over and constantly rinsing them under the tap.”

The reference was to Lady Macbeth’s writhing with guilt at the cold-blooded murder of King Duncan by his trusted lieutenant, her husband.

“Mom, it won’t wash off,” the 23-year old William Busbee said. “What are you talking about?” the mother replied. “The blood. It won’t come off.”

The paper records how on March 20 last year, the “soldier’s striving for self-cleanliness came to a sudden end. That night he locked himself in his car and, with his mother and two sisters screaming just a few feet away and with SWAT officers encircling the vehicle, he shot himself in the head.”

Busbee became part of a gruesome statistic. In 2012, for the first time in at least a generation, the number of active-duty soldiers who killed themselves, 177, exceeded the 176 who were killed while in the war zone, the report noted. “To put that another way, more of America’s serving soldiers died at their own hands than in pursuit of the enemy.”

But who is the enemy that young men like William Busbee and Timothy McVeigh are routinely deputed to fight? Before the blood of the three victims killed in the Boston blast was dry, President Obama had sanctioned $133 million or thereabout to arm religious extremists fighting the secular albeit undemocratic Assad regime in Syria.

The trouble is that many of the beneficiaries of the American largesse in the Syrian conflict are the same people whose ideological perversion was responsible for the tragedy of the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001.

This cynical American pursuit of make-believe strategic security becomes equally untenable when the Boston bombers turn out to be inspired by anti-Russian religious bigots who are considered to be kosher by Washington as long as they don’t harm Americans.

I can fully understand Azam Khan getting frisked at the Boston airport, but it is difficult to accept the rest of the story behind Boston’s billowing smoke, which masks America’s unending tryst with self-inflicted horrors.

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.

jawednaqvi@gmail.com

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Re-posted from DAWN.com

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16 Injured in Blast near BJP Office in Bangalore


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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The blast on Wednesday damaged two cars, a motorcycle and a van of the Karnataka State Reserve Police. (Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint)

The blast on Wednesday damaged two cars, a motorcycle and a van of the Karnataka State Reserve Police. (Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint)

Yesterday, April 17, 2013, just a few weeks ahead of key elections in Karnataka state (scheduled for May 5, 2013), a blast ripped through the Malleshwaram area of Bangalore near the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office. The blast gutted several vehicles including a police van parked near the BJP office and injured 16 people including eight police officers on duty.

According to several eyewitnesses on spot it was a “big explosion that shook nearby buildings.” Television footage showed several cars and two-wheelers at the blast site were badly damaged.

Television footage showed several badly damaged cars and two-wheelers at the blast site.

There are conflicting reports about the blast. Initial reports suggested that a gas cylinder had exploded. Raghavendra Auradkar, Bangalore police chief told reporters: “We initially thought it was a gas cylinder explosion. [Now] we believe it is a motorcycle blast – a motorcycle [has been] destroyed,” he said. BBC reported that “bombs had been planted on bicycles 150 metres (500 feet) apart near a crowded fruit market.”

Banglore Blast - Injured policemen - 2

Press Trust of India news agency quoted Lalrokhuma Pachau, Karnataka police chief: “Due to the blast, 16 people are injured – eight policemen on duty and eight civilians. Nobody is critically injured. All are being treated at hospital … As of now, we do not know what material was used in making the bomb.” Pachau added that officials of the anti-terrorism National Investigation Agency had reached the site.

This is the first major bomb attack in India since the September 2011 blast outside Delhi’s High Court that killed 13 people.

R.P.N. Singh, Federal junior Home Minister, said investigators were “looking at all possibilities” and requested the public not to “give credence to rumours.”

R. Ashok, Karnataka Home Minister, said it was a “terror attack”; however, he did not elaborate.

The Union home ministry has pointed to an Indian Mujahideen (IM) signature in targeting crowds.

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Explosions near Boston Marathon Finish-Line: 3 Dead, More than 100 Hurt


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Explosion at Boston Marathon - 00

The Boston Marathon held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April every year, is an annual event hosted by several cities in Greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts. Inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition held in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon, one of six World Marathon Majors, began in 1897, and is the world’s oldest annual marathon. Since then, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) manages this event. Amateur and professional runners from all over the world compete in the Boston Marathon each year. The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England’s most widely viewed sporting event.

The Boston Marathon started with just 18 participants in 1897 now attracts an average of about 20,000 registered participants each year. In 1996, the Centennial Boston Marathon established a record as the world’s largest marathon with 38,708 entrants, 36,748 starters, and 35,868 finishers.

Yesterday, April 15, the third Monday in April, the day the state of Massachusetts celebrates Patriots’ Day to commemorate the U.S. war of independence every year, was the day of the annual Boston Marathon. On this bright and radiant spring day, around 3 pm ET, cheers became screams and panic. A pair of bombs ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing at least two people and injuring more than hundred people. The two explosions occurred a few seconds apart knocking some runners off their feet.

Many were seriously injured by shrapnel. According to the officials, at least 17 people are critically wounded, and the injuries resulting in several amputations.

Dozens of police vehicles, ambulances, and fire trucks converged at the scene.

The Wall Street Journal citing two unnamed people briefed on the investigation reported that investigators found what could be five more undetonated explosive devices around the Boston area. However, FBI Boston Special Agent In Charge Richard DesLauriers declined to comment on media reports that police found unexploded devices.

This happens to be the worst bombing in the US after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In a televised address, President Barack Obama vowed to bring those behind the attack to justice.

A White House official said that President Barack Obama has promised to hunt down those responsible for the attack. No one has been arrested and whether the attack came from a foreign or domestic source has to be determined he said.

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“A Promise Is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women”


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity… If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior… If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women… - Mahatma Gandhi

A promise is a promise - the theme for International Women’s Day 2013

On March 8th every year, the day originally known as the International Working Women’s Day, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) focusing on respect, appreciation and love towards women and to celebrate the achievements of women in economic, political and social arena without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments of women, and for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

This day was originally known as the International Working Women’s Day. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th. Two years later, in December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and increase support for women’s full and equal participation. To this to effect, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women Rights and International Peace observed on any day of the year according to their historical and national traditions by Member States.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” seeks to strengthen international community’s commitment to put an end to violence against women – a gross human rights violation that affects up to 70% women.

As part of the effort the UN leads to fight violence against women, UNiTE campaign, the United Nations Secretary-Generals Ban Ki-moon’s “Unite to End Violence Against Women” calls on all governments, civil society, women’s organizations, men, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing this global pandemic.

The song “One Woman” written for UN Women and performed by acclaimed singers and musicians from China to Costa Rica, from Mali to Malaysia spreads a message of unity and solidarity. The song is a rallying cry to inspire listeners to join the drive for women’s rights and gender equality, and overcome violence and discrimination against women.

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Impact of Armed Conflict on Children


Children at both ends of the gun

Child soldiers are “more obedient, do not question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers.”

War games in the divided city of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Photo: War games in the divided city of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The psychosocial effects of armed conflict on children can be devastating and may haunt them through life, says the Machel report, particularly when children are attacked by those they have considered neighbours and friends, as happened in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. ©

The exploitation of children in the ranks of the world’s armies must end, says a new United Nations report. “One of the most alarming trends in armed conflict is the participation of children as soldiers,” declares the report, by Graça Machel, the Secretary-General’s Expert on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.

The report says the use of child soldiers is a problem created by adults, to be eradicated by adults. It calls for a global campaign to demobilize all child soldiers and to “eradicate the use of children under the age of 18 years in the armed forces.” The report further calls upon governments to renounce the practice of forced recruitment, which has put increasing numbers of children under arms against their will.

“Children are dropping out of childhood,” commented Devaki Jain of India, one of Ms. Machel’s Eminent Persons’ Group of advisers. “We must envision a society free of conflict where children can grow up as children, not weapons of war.”

The use of child soldiers is hardly new. “Children serve armies in supporting roles as cooks, porters, messengers and spies,” the report notes. “Increasingly, however, adults are conscripting children as soldiers deliberately.” Children under 15 years of age are known to be serving in government or opposition forces in at least 25 conflict zones and it is estimated that some 200,000 child soldiers under 16 years of age saw armed combat in 1988. Generally, however, child soldiers are statistically invisible as governments and armed opposition groups deny or downplay their role.

The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child defines childhood as below the age of 18 years, although it currently recognizes 15 as the minimum age for voluntary or compulsory recruitment into the armed forces. However, momentum is building for an Optional Protocol to the Convention that would raise the minimum age to 18.

With new weapons that are lightweight and easy to fire, children are more easily armed, with less training than ever before. Moreover, as was stated in one background paper prepared for the Machel report, child soldiers are “more obedient, do not question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers.” And they usually don’t demand pay.

A series of 24 case-studies on child soldiers, covering conflicts over the past 30 years, makes it clear that tens of thousands of children — many under the age of 10 — have been recruited into armies around the world. In Liberia, children as young as seven have been found in combat, while in Cambodia, a survey of wounded soldiers found that 20 per cent of them were between the ages of 10 and 14 when recruited. In Sri Lanka, of 180 Tamil Tiger guerrillas killed in one government attack, more than half were still in their teens, and 128 were girls. Solid statistics are hard to come by, however, as most armies and militia do not want to admit to their use of child soldiers.

According to the report, children are often press-ganged from their own neighbourhoods where local militia or village leaders may be obliged to meet recruitment quotas. In the Sudan, children as young as 12 have been rounded up from buses and cars. In Guatemala, youngsters have been grabbed from streets, homes, parties, and even violently removed from churches. In the 1980s, the Ethiopian military practised a ‘vacuum cleaner’ approach, recruiting boys, sometimes at gunpoint, from football fields, markets, religious festivals or on the way to school.

The report deplores the fact that children are often deliberately brutalized in order to harden them into more ruthless soldiers. In some conflicts, children have been forced to commit atrocities against their own families. In Sierra Leone, for example, the Revolutionary United Front forced captured children to take part in the torture and execution of their own relatives, after which they were led to neighbouring villages to repeat the slaughter. Elsewhere, before battle young soldiers have been given amphetamines, tranquillizers and other drugs to “increase their courage” and to dull their sensitivity to pain.

Some children become soldiers simply to survive. In war-ravaged lands where schools have been closed, fields destroyed, and relatives arrested or killed, a gun is a meal ticket and a more attractive alternative to sitting home alone and afraid. Sometimes a minor soldier’s pay is given directly to the family.

For girls, recruitment may lead to sex slavery. The report notes that in Uganda, for instance, young girls abducted by rebel forces were commonly divided up and allocated to soldiers to serve as their ‘wives’. A case-study from Honduras, prepared for the Machel report, illustrates one child’s experience of joining armed groups:

“At the age of 13, I joined the student movement. I had a dream to contribute to make things change, so that children would not be hungry … later I joined the armed struggle. I had all the inexperience and fears of a little girl. I found out that girls were obliged to have sexual relations ‘to alleviate the sadness of the combatants. And who alleviated our sadness after going with someone we hardly knew? At my young age I experienced abortion … In spite of my commitment, they abused me, they trampled my human dignity. And above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I had rights.”

It is difficult to reintegrate demobilized children after a peace settlement is reached. Many have been physically or sexually abused by the very forces for which they have been fighting, and have seen their parents killed, sometimes in the most brutal manner, in front of their eyes. Most have also been led into participating in murder, rape and other atrocities. These children have no skills for life in peacetime and they are accustomed to getting their way through violence.

The report urges that all future peace agreements include specific measures pertaining to the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, ranging from job creation and the rebuilding of schools, to the training of teachers who are sensitive to the special needs of child victims of war.

The report calls on governments to regularize recruitment procedures for their armed forces and to prosecute violators to ensure that under-age recruitment does not occur. The Machel report also illustrates how the recruitment of children can at least be minimized when parents and communities are better informed about existing national and international law.

While much remains to be done, there have been some successes. In Peru, for example, forced recruitment drives reportedly declined in areas where they were denounced by parish churches. And in Myanmar, protests from aid agencies led to the release of boys forcibly recruited from a refugee camp. In the Sudan, humanitarian organizations have negotiated agreements with opposition groups to prevent the recruitment of children.

Source: UNICEF

UNICEF campaign for the disarmament of (female) child soldiers in Sri Lanka

A billboard campaign in Sri Lanka highlighting the plight of girl child soldiers. (Photo: Rebecca Murray/IRIN)

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Texas School District To Allow Teachers to Carry Guns


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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The massacre of school children known as the Columbine High School massacre or the Columbine Incident took place on April 20, 1999. Two senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine High School in Columbine, in Jefferson County, Colorado, murdered 12 students and one teacher. They also injured more than 21 other students. After the shooting spree, the pair committed suicide.

The Columbine incident sparked heated debates across the nation over gun control laws, gun violence involving youths, and emphasis on increasing security in schools.

Last October, Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change to allow teachers to carry guns to prevent any incident in the future, similar to the Columbine incident. Their employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings. However, the teachers have to follow certain requirements.

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The mass murder committed on December 14, 2012, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, by a heavily armed young man who gunned down 20 children and six adults, has surpassed the atrocity that took place at the Columbine High School.

Scott Wilson, president of the Groton-based Connecticut Citizens Defense League suggested that lawfully arming school faculty and staff might help.

On Monday, December 17, Attorney General Greg Abbott said that 78 Texas school districts do not meet the state-mandated safety standards to protect their students.

Rep. Villalba

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas

Jason Villalba, the newly elected state representative from North Dallas said: “Unfortunately, law enforcement personnel cannot be everywhere at all times, … We need to talk very frankly, about how we can protect our children if the unthinkable should occur.” He further added that he would file legislation to allow public school teachers to carry concealed weapons while on campus.

The bill, which Villalba calls the “Protection of Texas Children Act,” would allow schools in Texas to appoint a member of their faculty as a “school marshal.” The marshal, with training and certification, would be able to “use lethal force upon the occurrence of an attack in the classroom or elsewhere on campus,” said a press release from Villalba’s office.

We can hear questions such as these floating around:

  • Should teachers be armed?
  • Should parents with permits be allowed to bring guns to school?
  • Would it give a school a fighting chance when under siege by armed lunatics?
  • Would the guns lead to more violence?

Now, debates have heated up between the advocates of “gun control” and those favoring “gun rights”. Both factions agree on what happened in Newtown on Friday as unthinkable, but when the discussion turns to preventing future school shootings, they disagree.

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“The Dark And Secret Dungeons Of Iraq: Horror Stories Of Female Prisoners” by Wijhat Nadhar


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By Wijhat Nadhar

An Iraqi Woman

.When women in Iraq are arrested, they routinely go through three gruesome phases, starting with humiliation, followed by torture, and often ending with rape. I have received disturbing information from two different, well informed sources: one from qualified social workers in Al-Kadimiyah Women Prison, the other from three national guards officers who worked in the prison.

The common procedure is as follows:

During the Arrest

The torture journey starts when security forces raid and search the houses, through random raids or ordered raids. The Fourth Commander of the Second Brigade – Team 6, Major Jumaa Al-Musawi, has confirmed this information. This man has a criminal record, and he was assigned to this position by the American Forces during their first training courses in intelligence gathering. He used to live in Al-Thawra (now called Sadr City) / Sector 87. In his own words:

“When we receive the raid and search orders from the Brigade Intelligence, we usually start with a little party and drink alcohol, or take some drugs. We choose the most cruel soldiers to carry out such operations. The first thing we do is to lock the men and youngsters in a room, and the women and children in another room. We start to steal what can be taken fast, like jewelry, and we mess up the house, like throwing the women’s underwear here and there; some soldiers even steal some of this underwear. After that, we start to do a body search on the women, and having fun touching their private parts or breasts. We threaten them to arrest the men in the house when they refuse to be touched. If those women are pretty, we usually rape them immediately, and leave the house when we find no weapons or incriminating material. In case we find some weapons, every man and youngster in the house will be arrested, and if there are no men at home, we arrest all the women instead. This is totally according to the orders we receive.”

What follows is one of many stories about the crimes committed by these corrupt creatures, who shamelessly brag about their misdeeds to each other. Al-Musawi and his assistant Lt. Rafid Al-Darraji (another criminal who was imprisoned in Abu-Ghraib and sentenced to death, but was released by the Americans, using him as a guardian, along with their own guard dogs, giving him the Lt. rank. He used to live in Al-Nuariyah District. Here is what they state:

“In July 2006, we received an order to raid and search the house of one of the fabric merchants in Karradah (his name is not mentioned). When we reached his house at 1:00 a.m., we didn’t find the man, we only found his wife and his 17 year old son. During the search we found a rifle, which – according to our law – is permitted for the personal protection of civilians. But we threatened the woman that we would arrest her son if she didn’t let us rape her. So, we handcuffed the son and locked him in a room, and one soldier after the other raped the lady in the other room. The other soldiers stole what they could find, then we headed to a well-known brothel in Al-Doura District in Um Alaa’s house to enjoy the rest of the night there.”

They continue: “The first thing we do when an arrested woman is being transported to the detention location, is that every part of her body is touched by all the soldiers in the vehicle, while using dirty language. When we reach the detention facility, we leave her in the investigation room, supervised by the intelligence officer and his assistants. They directly take all her clothes off, blindfold her, handcuff her, then the intelligence officer starts to rape her with his assistant. And later they ask her some questions: if she’s guilty or innocent and so on. Then they blackmail her, saying that she should be cooperative and give important information about the District where she lives, otherwise they would distribute photos of her while she was naked and being raped. They would accuse her of false charges if she would file a complaint about harrassment and torture. If she receives a “guilty” verdict, she usually stays in the same location for a period of one to three months, in order to finish the procedures of her “case”, to be sent to the headquarters. During these months, every single intelligence officer and soldier in the Brigade will rape her. After that, she will be sent to Al Tasfeerat Prison in Shaab Stadium, or to Al-Muthanna Airport Prison. Sometimes the prisoner is transferred to the facility of the Chief Commander’s Office in the Green Zone, which is a cellar under the building of the Baghdad Operations Headquarter, supervised by Major General Adnan Al-Musawi. This place is one of the most dangerous, dirtiest prisons of Al-Maliki.

Al-Tasfeerat Prisons

This is the second stage of the unfair arrest journey. The female detainee will be sent either to Shaab Stadium Prison or the notorious Al-Muthanna Airport Prison. A group of the worst psychopaths in the government is supervising these prisons, a corrupt committee of criminals of the Military Intelligence, the Intelligence services of the Ministry of Interior, and an Intelligence and Security Representative from the Chief Commander’s Office. This management is appointed by the Iraqi Correction Office through the Ministry of Justice. 45% of its employees are Al-Mahdi Militia members, 30% from the Badr Organisation. The other 25% is divided among the other criminal parties of the government.

This phase is considered as the most barbaric. The security forces, prison guards and members of the prison management practice the most terrible ways of torture, humiliation, profanation, deprivation, blackmailing the prisoners, ethnic and sectarian and political discrimination, and raping men and women without exception. Female prisoners are detained for very long periods, without legitimate accusations or investigating their case. In criminal Maliki’s jails, there are many women who were imprisoned for periods between one year and six years, without any legal representation or procedures regarding their case.

There are many examples of the immoral and brutal practices being committed against female and male prisoners in Al-Tasfeerat Prisons. Some officers from the Ministries of Interior and Defense, the Office of the Chief of Command, and some partisan and criminal militia leaders visit these prisons, and choose some detainees to be tortured for hours and raping them for sectarian reasons. Some of the prisoners die as a result of this brutal torture. Between 2008-2012 Al-Rasafah Tasfeerat Prison recorded the death of more than 250 prisoners, among them 17 women. During the same period Al-Muthanna Airport Prison recorded the death of 125 prisoners, among them three women.

And these torture practices do not only take place in Al-Tasfeerat Prisons, but in all the prisons supervised by the Ministry of Justice, especially the Juveniles Prison, Al-Kadimiyah Women Prison, the notorious Abu-Ghraib Prison, in addition to the secret prisons of Al-Maliki where no accurate records are available about the male and female detainees who died because of the brutal torture they faced there.

It’s worth mentioning that under Al Maliki’s rule, some notorious high risk level prisoners – men and women alike- were released or secretly smuggled out Al-Tasfeerat Prisons, after destroying all the documents and papers related to their cases, on the orders of Ministers and VIPs in the Ministries of Interior and Defense, and the Commanding Chief’s Office. Here are some of prisoners who were “released”:

Radiyah Kadum Muhsin : she was one of the prominent leaders of the Dawa Party, and was released after an order from Al-Maliki himself, and under the supervision of his Intelligence and Security Consultant. She was accused of leading one of the biggest human trafficking criminal gangs that kidnap children and sell them, in addition to prostitution, seducing some officers and government officials, and blackmailing them with their own pornographic photos, or even eliminating them. She was also accused of drug dealing, and forging official documents.

Adnan Abdulzahra Al-Aaraji: he is one of the prominent leaders of the Mahdi Militia, and the head of one of the most notorious gangs known in Iraqi history in terms of sadism, criminality and discrimination. He was arrested by the Americans while he was trying to smuggle 5000 corpses of his victims to Iran during the sectarian wars in 2006. Those corpses were sent to Iran in three cooled vehicles for the sake of human organs trade. He was accused of smuggling antiques, explosives, weapons, and drugs. We mentioned here only two of the prisoners who were “released” from Al-Maliki prisons.

After The Trial

Here begins the real tragedy. After the arrest, the prisoner – if she’s still alive – has physical wounds all over her body, having many psychological problems because of the unfair trials and the terrible treatment she faced during the time in prison, including torture and rape.

And here is another serious hardship the female prisoners are facing inside the detention centres.

There are women in these prisons with criminal records, convicted for various crimes. The prison supervisors use those inmates to bully the arbitrarily detained, innocent female detainees, imprisoned for sectarian reasons, because of false accusations or reports by secret informants. Those inmates are scaring the arbitrarily detained, watching them, blackmailing them through continuous attempts to find out things about their personal lives. Then that information is used against these innocent women to break them psychologically, through disinformation and lies about the families of those innocent prisoners.

Various Ways of Torture of Iraqi Female Prisoners

1- Physical and Psychological Torture:

The prison supervisors use many different forms of physical and psychological torture, which they learned from their Americans and the Iranians supervisors. These methods include:

Taking off the clothes of the prisoners for more than two hours, while insulting them.

Beating them hard with sticks, or kicking them hard in the loins.

Electrical shocks in their breasts, loins and head.

Using all kinds of sexual harassment (we will not reveal more details because of the extreme shameful nature).

Recurrent rape after midnight by the guards and other persons who work in the prison, in the presence of the prison manager, because the rape often happens in his room.
Those criminals: the prison manager and the other supervisors, continuously repeat their disgusting acts. They invite other security officers from the Ministries of Interior and Defense to participate in their savage orgies, that always end in rape of the prisoners.

I will mention only one incident I witnessed in Al-Kadimiyah Prison in 2008 and can be confirmed by a social assistant who works there:

In one of the secret prisons of Al-Maliki in the Green Zone, there was a prisoner named A.A.Al-Zaidi. He was a Police Colonel before, and also held a position in the Intelligence Dept of the Badr Org., known as one of the terrorist extremist militias. His task was to assist the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in getting information, names and addresses of security and intelligence officers from Saddam’s regime, so that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards could find them and eliminate them. His wife was helping him too, along with her cousin who is a lieutenant in the Ministry of Interior Special Commandos, called Sayid Jalal Al-Magsoosi.

A.A.Al-Zaidi was also responsible for recruiting women to carry out suicide attacks in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Sunni areas in Iraq, especially Diyala and Baghdad. He was arrested by the American Forces while he was trying to illegally enter Jordan with his wife and other three women, carrying spying equipments. His wife and the three women were put in Al-Kadimiyah Prison, but he was taken to Al-Maliki’s secret prison in the Green Zone.

On New Year’s Eve, while the intelligence officers and some interrogators were partying and drinking in the prison, they told one of the guards to bring A.A.Al-Zaidi. The prisoner entered and the drunken officers asked whether he wanted to talk to his wife on the phone. They phoned the manager of Al-Kadimiyah Prison, asking him to bring the prisoner’s wife. The two talked on the phone, and the prisoner was taken to his cell again.

After that, the chief interrogator talked to the wife and said: “we want to party with you and five other pretty friends of yours. We will be coming within an hour to the women prison, so you should all be ready. You will be five and we are six. The prison manager prepared a room for them, and all the prisoners were raped many times by the officers and two of the prison guards. While they were partying and raping the women, they cheered: “hail to Al-Maliki, the pimp, the liar, the thief of Baghdad!”

2- Deprivation:

This word does not accurately describe the dire situation of the women in prisons who are devoid from the simplest rights and needs, like;

Deprivation of family visits, phone calls, and all kinds of contact.
Deprivation of health services, health care, and other sanitary needs.
Deprivation of legal rights, no authorization to see or consult a lawyer.
Deprivation of regular exposure to sunlight, and having no detergents or necessary disinfectants.
Deprivation of complaining to the concerned committees, prisoners are threatened that they should not complain to those committees or else… And even if the prisoners file a complaint, no one will ever listen, because those committees will hear the complaints and then neglect them.

3- Blackmail and Terrorization:

Female prisoners often receive threats that their family members will be arrested and false accusations are made against the families of the prisoners. The prisoner has to pay a huge amount of money and has to beg to make a phone call to her family. Those who have not enough money can sell their bodies to make a phone call.

This is just a brief account of what is happening in the women prisons. Baghdad alone has more than 3000 women imprisoned. The prisoners are distributed among the following jails:

Al-Kadimiyah Prison
Al-Tasfeerat Prison in Shaab Stadium.
Al-Muthanna Airport Prison.
Al-Baladiyyat Prison.
Al-Rustumiyah Prison.

There’s another secret prison supervised by the Chief Commander’s Office, containing 65 imprisoned women. The site of this prison is changed regularly. in addition to these prisons other small detention centres are located in different security and intelligence operations headquarters.

Translation from Arabic: Lubna Al Rudaini

Editing: Dirk AdriaensensRe-posted from Countercurrents.org (December 12, 2012)

NO U.S. Sailors Witnessed Osama bin Laden’s Secret Burial at Sea


Revealed: Military emails show that NO U.S. Sailors witnessed Osama bin Laden’s secret burial at sea

  • Emails describe how Osama bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet and slid into the sea after religious remarks in Arabic
  • Defense Department says it cannot find any images or videos of bin Laden’s aboard USS Carl Vinson
  • Pentagon failed to produce autopsy report, death certificate or results of DNA tests
  • Military officials referred to bin Laden’s body as ‘package’ in coded missives
  • Release of emails mark first public disclosure of information about bin Laden’s May 1, 2011 death

 

Enemy No 1: Internal emails released by the Defense Department show that no U.S. sailors witnessed Osama bin Laden's burial at sea aboard USS Carl Vinson .

Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no American sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson, and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the secret ceremony.

The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader’s death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

According to another message from the Vinson’s public affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.

‘Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed,’ the May 2 email from Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette reads. ‘The deceased’s body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag.

‘A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body slid into the sea.’

Final destination: Bin Laden's body was taken to an unknown location aboard USS Carl Vinson and dropped into the sea, but the Defense Department says that it cannot find any images showing the terrorist mastermind's remains on the ship Final destination: Bin Laden’s body was taken to an unknown location aboard USS Carl Vinson and dropped into the sea, but the Defense Department says that it cannot find any images showing the terrorist mastermind’s remains on the ship.

.Fallen mastermind: In this undated file image from video seized from bin Laden's walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the al Qaeda leader watches TVFallen mastermind: In this undated file image from video seized from bin Laden’s walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the al Qaeda leader watches TV

.Stronghold: Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where bin Laden was killed by Navy SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad May 4, 2011Stronghold: Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where bin Laden was killed by Navy SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad May 4, 2011

The email also included a cryptic reference to the intense secrecy surrounding the mission.

‘The paucity of documentary evidence in our possession is a reflection of the emphasis placed on operational security during the execution of this phase of the operation,’ Gaouette’s message reads.

Long-awaited news: U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured after announcing live on television the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington May 1, 2011Long-awaited news: U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured after announcing live on television the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington May 1, 2011

Recipients of the email included Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. James Mattis, the top officer at U.S. Central Command. Mullen retired from the military in September 2011.

Earlier, Gaouette, then the deputy commander of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and another officer used code words to discuss whether the helicopters carrying the SEALs and bin Laden’s body had arrived on the Vinson.

‘Any news on the package for us?’ he asked Rear Adm. Samuel Perez, commander of the carrier strike group that included the Vinson.

‘FEDEX delivered the package,’ Perez responded. ‘Both trucks are safely enroute home base.’

Although the Obama administration has pledged to be the most transparent in American history, it is keeping a tight hold on materials related to the bin Laden raid.

In a separate response to requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the Vinson.

The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed.

Historic moment: In this May 1, 2011, image, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive an update on the bin Laden mission in the Situation Room Historic moment: In this May 1, 2011, image, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive an update on the bin Laden mission in the Situation Room

The Defense Department also refused to confirm or deny the existence of helicopter maintenance logs and reports about the performance of military gear used in the raid.

One of the stealth helicopters that carried the SEALs to Abbottabad crashed during the mission and its wreckage was left behind. People who lived near bin Laden’s compound took photos of the disabled chopper.

The CIA, which ran the bin Laden raid and has special legal authority to keep information from ever being made public, has not responded to AP’s request for records about the mission.

Reproduced from MailOnline

Ajmal Kasab the 26/11 Pakistani Terrorist Hanged Atlast. Indians Satisied.


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Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai in 2008, was hanged at the Yerwada Jail in Pune at 7.30 am IST today.

Today, Wednesday Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that the Indian government tried to reach to the family members of Mumbai terror attack accused Ajmal Kasab, who was hanged this morning in Pune’s Yerwada jail. He said: “Kasab has been hanged to death today morning at Pune’s jail. He was taken to Pune from Mumbai two days back. Kasab has been buried in Yerwada jail premises itself.”

Here are some reactions on the hanging:

K. Unnikrishnan, father of NSG commando Major Sandeep who died during the 26/11 terror attacks:  

“I have said in the past during my emotional moments that he should be hanged by the lamp post. But today I say it is done. This is one step. Surely , this is not a closure for us. The investigation must continue and the other culprits should be booked by Pakistan more than by India.”

Smita Salaskar, wife of police officer Vijay Salaskar who was killed during the attacks:

“With this hanging, homage has been paid to my husband. But the real homage will be the conviction of other accused shielded in Pakistan. Late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had also demanded Kasab’s hanging. His wish and our wish have been finally fulfilled. The entire family is happy to hear the news that Kasab was hanged, ahead of the fourth anniversary of the attack. I hope the death sentence of Parliament House attack convict Afzal Guru would also be executed soon.”

Eknath Omble, brother of police officer Tukaram Omble who died while trying to capture Kasab:

“I am proud and very happy that my brother’s efforts have paid off. We are very happy and satisfied. Ajmal Kasab should have been hanged in public, but I know our law does not permit this. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has stood by his promise that he would take decisions that would satisfy the Indians.” 

Sushil Kumar Shinde, Minister of Home Affairs:

“Ajmal Kasab was hanged in Yerwada at 7:30 this morning. The President had rejected Kasab’s mercy plea on November 5. I signed it on the 6th and the Maharashtra government signed it on the 8th. The same day, we decided that he will be hanged on the 21st. We would have considered Pakistan’s request for the body, however, we have not yet received a request. The External Affairs Ministry had informed Pakistan that Kasab will be hanged.”

Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs:

“Everything has been done as per law. This shows the law applies to everyone the same. If Pakistan or the family asks for the body, we will consider it. Right now, we don’t have any such request. Our letter was not accepted by the Pakistan foreign office. We then sent them a fax indicating that the hanging will take place. We have fulfilled our obligation. Hope rule of law will prevail in Pakistan as well.”

Prithviraj Chavan, Maharashtra Chief Minister:

“According to the law, proceedings were carried out. He was moved to Pune from Mumbai two days ago. The judge had fixed the date for hanging and the sentence was carried out accordingly. Kasab had refused a will.  He has been buried in Yerwada jail. With this it has been proved that India’s rule of law prevails. If someone breaks the law of land, he will be punished, even if it takes time and expenses. Any attack on the country will not be tolerated.”

R R Patil, Maharashtra Home Minister:

“This was an attack on our country. Many of our citizens were killed, including our brave officers. Nine terrorists were killed but one was caught alive. The special 26/11 court awarded death penalty to Kasab, the High Court and Supreme Court upheld it. He filed a mercy petition, but was rejected and he was hanged at 7:30 am this morning. This is a tribute to people and police officers who lost their lives during the attack.

Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister tweeted:

“Gotta hand it to the Govts at the centre & in Mumbai for the mature way they handled this. Shows we can still keep a secret if we need to.”

Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister:

Narendra Modi tweeted this message: What about Afzal Guru, who attacked Parliament, our temple of democracy, in 2001? That offense predates Kasab’s heinous act by many years.

Digvijaya Singh, Senior Congress leader tweeted:

“Finally Kasab hanged. GOI should pursue the case of the Handlers in Pakistan. Afzal Guru’s case should also be expedited now.”

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP leader:

“Better late than never. This was in order. The enemy of the country has been punished.”

Milind Deora, Minister of State for Information Technology tweeted:

“So much for the right-wing sponsored ‘Congress is soft on terror’ debate! The Government’s actions make me a prouder Indian.”

Ujjwal Nikam, Special public prosecutor:

“It is a victory for the country. By hanging Kasab, we have paid homage to all those policemen and innocent persons who lost their lives. By Kasab’s conviction and death penalty, we have proved how the entire conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan. We have set an example that India will not tolerate such attacks and the accused will be brought to justice.”

Lalu Prasad Yadav, President Rashtriya Janata Dal:

“Kasab’s crime was established in the court of law and justice was accordingly served. Bad deeds will lead to a bad outcome.”

J.K. Dutt, National Security Guard Chief:

“On hearing the news of Kasab’s hanging, I felt all the ten terrorists who were involved in the incident were accounted for. But there is still some distance to be covered because there are other conspirators behind this incident sitting elsewhere and they need to be brought to account. We must remember those who lost their near and dear ones (during the 26/11 attacks), the incident will remain with them.”

Anna Hazare, Anti-corruption activist:

“It’s taken too long to hang Kasab. He should have been hanged in public (chauraha). A public hanging of Kasab would have been a lesson for anybody who causes loss of life in our country.”

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