Monday, November 19, 2012
http://www.globalresearch.ca The ruling Al Khalifa monarchy is one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. It’s also a valued US ally. Bahrain is home to America’s Fifth Fleet. Imperial priorities matter most. Washington backs Bahraini harshness. State terror is policy. Murder, torture, lawless imprisonments, and daily atrocities get tacit support. Bahrain ruthlessly wages war on freedom. Fundamental human and civil rights are spurned. Activists, protesters, medical professionals treating them when injured, independent journalists, and others supporting right over might are brutalized and imprisoned. Nabeel Rajab is one of Bahrain’s best. He’s a prominent human rights leader. Activism got him targeted. His resume includes many impressive credentials. In 1999, he and others co-founded the Bahrain Human Rights Society. In 2002, he, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, and others co-founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). Authorities terrorized its members for years. Nonetheless, it remains viable. It promotes civil, political, and economic freedom, ending racial discrimination, and universal human and civil rights. Bahraini despots equate these principles with terrorism. Last August, Bahrain’s Lower Criminal Court sentenced Nabeel to three years in prison. Supporting right over wrong in the emirate is dangerous. Expressing democratic views is criminalized. So is championing social justice publicly. King Hamad calls peaceful protests “foreign plots.” Nabeel and others like him put their lives on the line for years. Bahraini activists face arrests, harsh interrogations, torture, and imprisonment. The mainstream media largely ignores it. Nabeel’s been in prison since July. He’s charged under Article 178 of Bahrain’s penal code. It prohibits unauthorized gatherings of five or more people for the “purpose of committing crimes (or) undermining public security, even if intended to achieve a legitimate purpose.” His lawyers appealed. A Bahraini court delayed proceedings. Its ruling won’t be known until around mid-December. Peaceful protests are criminalized. State courts tolerate no challengers. They give kangaroos a bad name. Bahrain banned protests earlier. On July 20, 2006, King Hamad ratified Code 32 on “Public Gatherings, Processions and Assembly.” Doing so amended the 1973 Decree No. 18. Human rights groups condemned the action. It lawlessly targeted free expression and peaceful gatherings. Unauthorized public meetings and seminars were prohibited. So was anything thought potentially threatening monarchal rule. Activists were targeted. Arrests and prosecutions followed. Bahraini repression is brutal and longstanding. On October 30, public gatherings were again prohibited. Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said “rallies and gatherings will be considered illegal, and legal action will be taken against anyone calling for or taking part in them.” That’s how police states work. Fundamental rights are criminalized. Daily nonviolent protests continue nonetheless. Participants face tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings, arrests, and at times death. Anyone challenging regime harshness faces arrest and brutal imprisonment. Even The New York Times noticed. On October 30, it headlined “Citing Violence, Bahrain Bans All Protests in New Crackdown.” Protesters refrain from violence. Security forces commit it against them. Banning public gatherings “drew swift condemnation from human rights groups and opposition activists who said it was intended solely to stifle criticism of the ruling monarch in the tiny Persian Gulf nation.” Activists accused the monarchy of “methodically blocking all avenues for dissent.” “In recent weeks, activists have been prosecuted for postings on social media, and doctors, charged with illegal gathering and other crimes after treating protesters, have been sent to jail.” It’s gone on repeatedly since early last year. The Times and other Western media gave it scant coverage. They still do. Reports exclude important information readers most need to know. Dozens of deaths, hundreds imprisoned, torture, and kangaroo court justice go largely unnoticed. On November 10, a Washington Post editorial headlined “Bahrain’s broken promise,” saying: Last November, King Hamad promised 26 reforms. “That promise has gone unfulfilled.” At best, only three were partly implemented. “The most important ones – on the release of political prisoners and relaxation of controls on free expression – have been ignored.” The Post exhibited a rare moment of candor. It should have done more much sooner. Nonetheless, it said “convictions of leading regime opponents (were) reconfirmed.” It mentioned Nabeel’s imprisonment. It excluded his activist history and harsh treatment. It said public protests were banned. Without explanation, it said “five bombs exploded around the capital of Manama on Monday, killing two people.” Protesters spurn violence. Despite brutal security force crackdowns, they remain peaceful. Bahraini authorities called Monday’s explosions “terrorism.” They were state-sponsored false flags. Expect more of the same ahead. Four suspects were arrested. They won’t be treated kindly or fairly. Bahrain’s head of public security blamed Hezbollah elements. No evidence whatever suggests it. Minister Samira Ibrahim bin Rajab said opposition groups use Iranian tactics. He blamed pro-Iran television stations for supporting Bahraini protests. Press TV reports them accurately. So do Russia Today and independent journalists. The Post downplayed what’s happening. “Bahrain is no Syria,” it said dismissively. Editorial policy belligerently attacks Assad for doing his job. Bahraini state terror over the same time frame got scant coverage. The Post said the emirate is home to America’s Fifth Fleet. Implied is its presence legitimizes harsh security. The editorial admitted that Washington supported a Bahraini nominee for “an advisory position at the UN Human Rights Council.” Congress approved military sales and aid. “Such action(s) damage US credibility across the Middle East.” On the one hand, Washington lawlessly challenges Assad’s independence. On the other, it supports Al Khalifa despotism. It not only largely ignores its worst repression, it condones and encourages it. The Post editorial went so far but no further. What readers most need to know was omitted. What’s going on in Bahrain, why, and who benefits wasn’t explained. Readers know little more now than earlier. A Bahrain Center for Human Rights report headlined “The BCHR Holds the King Responsible for the Spread of the Culture of Impunity which Has Claimed the Lives of Tens of Victims.” Facts don’t lie. Disturbing truths were revealed. BCHR compiled compelling evidence. Ruling Al Khalifa despots remain unaccountable. Security forces commit daily “gross violations of human rights.” Bahraini and international laws are violated. Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary execution, torture, mock trials, and excessive force are commonplace. “(I)mpunity is still entrenched in the doctrine of the Authority and its security institutions as a basic prevalent culture. It operates as an instrument of state terror. Authorities get away with murder, torture and other atrocities. Ordinary Bahrainis wanting equal rights face brutalizing repression. BCHR expressed special concern about a “systematic policy of impunity and of providing immunity to criminals and enabling them to continue with their duties and their security positions without accountability.” Innocent people are shot and killed. Some are executed in cold blood. Others are beaten, arrested, and imprisoned. Justice is a four-letter word. Principles relating to Effective Prevention and Investigation call for careful examination of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, and other security force violence. Authorities whitewash state-sponsored crimes instead of prosecuting offenders. King Hamad bears full responsibility. Bahraini law is what he says it is. Equity, justice and freedom don’t have a chance. Activists challenging state repression may end up dead by gun shots, lethal gas or slit throats. Obama wholeheartedly endorses what legitimate leaders condemn. Fundamental human and civil rights don’t have a chance. A Final Comment On November 7, Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 31 activists. An interior ministry statement announced it. Doing so coincided with more state-sponsored violence and arrests. Prominent opposition figures affected include: (1) Saaed Shehabi, a London-based Bahraini political activist and Bahrain Freedom Movement member. (2) Former MP Jalal Fairooz. (3) Hasan Mushaima, Haq Movement head. It’s a high-profile Bahraini opposition group. Revocations were ordered for violating Article 10 Bahrain’s Citizenship Act. It permits targeting individuals accused of threatening state security. Justice in Bahrain is none at all. Activists wanting to live free may end up dying for it. That’s how police states operate. Bahrain is one of the worst.
Let Us Build Pakistan
Abdul NishapuriWhy are 6000 Shia children killed in Pakistan by Saudi-sponsored Takfiri Deobandis (Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba) less important than a few dozen Palestinians killed by Israel? We condemn all those thugs who express sympathy for rocket-firing Hamas militants but remain silent on Shia genocide in Pakistan. If you see a Salafist-Deobandi circulate pictures from Palestine or Burma, throw the present post on his/her face. Since mid-1980s, more than 20,000 Shia Muslims, thousands of Sunni Sufi (Barelvi) Muslims, hundreds of Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus have been killed in Pakistan by Takfiri Deobandi terrorists sponsored by Jihadist-minded generals of Pakistan Army. A detailed database of Shia genocide can be accessed here: http://criticalppp.com/archives/132675 According to an estimate, at least 30 per cent of the 20,000 Shias killed are children or minors (age 18 or below). This makes their number at least 6,000. On mainstream media and social media, one frequently sees pictures of Palestinian children killed or injured during Israel’s attacks on Hamas (Saudi-sponsored Salafist militants) hideouts in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza. However, there is completely no mention of the 6,000 Shia children killed by Saudi-funded Takfiri Deobandis (Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba) who are not only killing Shias but also Sunni Sufi (Barelvis), Ahmadis and Christians. The attitude of the Arab League, OIC, United Nations and human rights groups is equally hypocritical and disturbing. While they shed crocodile tears on the loss of innocent life in Palestine (and Israel), hardly any mention is made of the thousands of Shia, Sunni Sufi Muslims and other non-Salafist, non-Deobandis killed in Pakistan (and other countries, e.g., Afghanistan, Bahrain, Syria, Saudi Arabia) by the Saudi- and Qatar-sponsored terrorists. In the present post, we are providing a collection of only a few of thousands of Shia children killed by Takfiri Deobandis in the last few years in Pakistan. Things to note: Many Pakistani and international groups remain silent on Shia genocide in Pakistan. In fact while the same groups clearly mention the identity of the killed and the killer in Palestine, they make every possible effort to hide or obfuscate the identity of the killed (Shia Muslims, Sunni Sufis) and the killers (Takfiri Deobandis and their Saudi masters) in Pakistan. Supporters and enablers of Takfiri Deobandis dishonestly misrepresent Shia genocide and murder of Sufi Sunnis in Pakistan as Sunni-Shia sectarian violence in order to justify and hide the violence. While Iran and Iran-funded Shia Mullahs keep supporting Hamas and other militant groups, Hamas remains extremely hostile to Sunni Sufi Muslims and Shia Muslims. In fact, in 2011, Hamas forcibly stopped Shia Muslims of Palestine from celebrating the Ashura of Muharram and physically attacked and injured many Shias. It may be noted that majority of the Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza are militants or activists of Hamas. In contrast, almost all Shias killed in Pakistan by Takfiri Deobanids are ordinary citizens with no link with any political or militant group. Shias face Gaza in Pakistan every day. But no Shia are firing rockets at ordinary Sunni Muslims or calling for Sunni destruction. Pakistan’s and the entire world’s Shia and Sunni Muslims should realize that Saudi-sponsored Takfiri Deobandis and Takfiri Salafist are bigger threat to Islam and Muslims than any other country or group. It is high time that we set our priorities in order and focus our attention on Saudi-funded Deobandis and Salafist, the biggest threat to humanity, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews.
Radi PakistanPresident Asif Ali Zardari
The Express TribuneFor the first time in the history of Pakistan, an elected president – Asif Ali Zardari – addressed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly on Monday. Zardari became the first ever elected president to have addressed a provincial assembly session on the invitation of the provincial chief minister and speaker of the assembly. The speaker had invited the president to address the assembly during the SAARC conference in Islamabad. Upon arrival, the president was received by K-P Governor Barrister Masood Kausar and Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti. Addressing the session, the president said that it was a huge example of maturity and patience of parliamentarians and politicians that the assembly had completed its five years. Zardari emphasised on the need of defeating the extremist mindset in order to save Pakistan, while condemning the attack on former Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad which took place earlier during the day in Mohmand. He expressed happiness over visiting Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and thanked the provincial chief minister for inviting him.
Afghanistan is “very, very vulnerable” and will descend back into “chaos and civil war” unless the world — especially the United States, and NATO allies such as Canada — remains engaged and committed there. That stark warning was issued here Sunday by a panel of high-profile Afghan business and political leaders. They spoke on the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual conference on global security issues hosted by Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay. Afghanistan “needs a lot of resources and patience on the part of the international community,” said Abdul Rahim Wardak, a former defence minister and current advisor to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.“Unfortunately the Taliban and their supporters have counted from the beginning, that sooner or later the international community will run out of patience and they will leave, and that is why they are preparing for that day.” For that reason, said Wardak, “we hope international support will continue.” Canada has already ended its five-year combat mission in Kandahar province. About 900 Canadian troops remain in the capital city Kabul, training Afghan soldiers and police. All Canadian troops are scheduled to be withdrawn by March, 2014, before the Afghan elections that year. Other western nations are also winding down their military missions. The United States has said it will withdraw its 67,000 troops by 2014, although a small contingent of soldiers will remain as trainers and advisers, along with anti-terrorism special forces units. During the transition period leading to 2014, Afghanistan will prepare for a new round of elections, in which Karzai is prohibited from seeking a third term.Observers say it’s critical for the 2014 vote to take place freely and fairly, without interference from Karzai or intimidation from the Taliban, for the next government to have legitimacy and for Afghanistan to have any hope of a stable future. “How much leverage can the West bring to bear, to make sure those elections are free and fair?” said Ahmed Rashid, a respected Pakistan journalist and longtime Afghanistan observer. “The last elections were rigged openly by Karzai. If the next elections are rigged, Afghanistan will fall apart, and we’ll face a multi-dimensional war there like we’ve never seen before.” Said Amrullah Saleh, a former Afghan government intelligence chief who now runs an opposition, anti-corruption movement in Kabul: “Afghanistan is very, very vulnerable. If you in the West think, ‘We helped them for 11 years, and they didn’t help themselves, so now we will abandon them’ then we will collapse and the militants will come back.” Saad Mohseni, a Middle East media mogul whose company the Moby Group, owns several Afghanistan broadcast outlets, said despite the ongoing war with the Taliban, Afghan society has been transformed by the security offered by NATO and its allies over the past decade.He said millions of people are now going to school, moving to the cities, and a new generation of young people are hungry for peace and prosperity. But Mohseni warned that the “world needs to remain engaged in Afghanistan” if this progress is to be maintained. “If neglected, Afghanistan and Pakistan will become the world’s problems in the years ahead. With the nuclear weapons, the drugs and the terrorism, this region must not be abandoned. You have to understand the consequences. I think it’s very important for the political leadership in countries like Canada to explain the importance of Afghanistan to their people,” Mohseni said. “It’s very easy to disengage now, and it’s very easy to be insular and say your economy’s not doing well, so we have to walk away from Afghanistan. The last time the Americans walked away from Afghanistan, we saw 9/11.” After listening to the discussion Sunday, MacKay reiterated Ottawa’s position to fully end its military mission there by 2014, but to continue sending financial aid, currently budgeted at $110-million a year until 2017. “We will, I believe, be working with Afghans for many, many years to come on many levels. But the [Canadian] military piece is over.” MacKay, who visited Canadian forces in Kabul last weekend, said he came away from the recent visit more optimistic than before. “I saw first-hand the incredible efforts being made by Canadians and our allies to present the Afghan army and police with the skills they need to go out and defend their country,” he said. “We’re under no illusion as to the enormity of the task, but they are now a very capable force.”Afghanistan will descend into ‘chaos and civil war’ unless the international community remains committed there: Forum panel
http://www.wnd.com/Iran and Pakistan are jockeying for influence in Afghanistan once troops of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization leave at the end of 2014, but the internal dynamics – especially with the Taliban which envisions running the country – could cause the country to degenerate into a civil war, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin. In Afghanistan, there already is an effort under way by some anti-Taliban officials to set up militias to oppose the Taliban once U.S. and coalition forces leave, but this effort is facing internal opposition by current Afghan officials who believe working with the Taliban will be necessary. One Afghan lawmaker taking such an initiative is Afghan Minister of Water and Energy Mohammad Ismail Khan, who is closely allied with Iran. He wants to create a group of militias to fight the Taliban. This initiative strongly suggests a lack of confidence in the ability of the government to deal with the Taliban after 2014. It also will impair efforts to limit the Taliban in any post-NATO period. Khan’s efforts suggest an early effort by neighboring Iran to assert its own influence in competition with that of Pakistan, the other neighbor to Afghanistan. Given Iran’s interest in a post-NATO Afghanistan, sources say that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force is assisting in forming the group of militias to fight the Sunni al-Qaida-backed Taliban, which Shi’ite Iran opposes. Sources believe that such an arrangement of backing the creation of the militias gives Iran more clout in negotiating the future of Afghanistan and giving it a final say in the outcome of any political settlement. Pakistan similarly seeks to extend its influence in Afghanistan in a post-NATO period, but now Pakistan is beginning to have a change of heart on its backing of the Taliban which it originally created as its proxy in Islamabad’s fight with India. Now, the Taliban has developed into such a major Islamist force that the group it created could turn on the Pakistani government. For that reason, Pakistan is undertaking a major shift in approach by now wanting to work more with the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Up until recently, Pakistan opposed the U.S.-backed Karzai government, but due to the rising influence of the Taliban may be more inclined to work with it to contain the Islamist militant group’s growing influence in Afghanistan at the expense of its own. In addition, Pakistan also appears to be reaching out with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, India and Iran and Russia. “Pakistan’s goal is to have a broad-based coalition government in power in Afghanistan that can limit the power of the Afghan Taliban,” according to a report of the open intelligence group Stratfor. “The dilemma that Pakistan faces is how to deal with an inevitable Taliban political resurgence on its western flank while neutralizing the jihadist threat at home – since the latter is a natural outcome of the former,” the report said. Sources acknowledge, however, that it will be difficult to contain the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In addition, the Taliban increasingly is linked with al-Qaida and other transnational Islamist militant groups. Further muddling an already big mess is the shaky relationship the United States has not only with Pakistan and Afghanistan and its efforts to attempt to manage a situation that clearly is leaning in favor of the Islamist militants. Given this trend, sources believe that in a post-NATO period, Afghanistan could disintegrate into another civil war while a rebounding Islamist insurgency in the region could threaten the government of Pakistan.
The Express Tribune
EDITORIAL :DAILY TIMESAs predicted in this space when the Supreme Court’s (SC’s) detailed judgement in the Asghar Khan case was released, the observations of the court regarding the status of the president’s office have been challenged by the government in a review petition. What was strange about the declaration by the SC that the president’s office is one in the “service of Pakistan” is that this question was not before the court or even germane to the Asghar Khan case. While castigating the role of then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan in manipulating the 1990 elections to deny Benazir Bhutto’s PPP victory, the court went far beyond the issues before it by declaring the president’s office as one in the service of Pakistan, implying that the restrictions on, for example, taking part in politics until two years after leaving office would apply to the office. It is an interesting piece of jurisprudence for the court to have begun from and based itself on Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s misdemeanours to take a sideswipe at the present incumbent by denying the real character of the president’s office. This is the very issue the review petition takes up, arguing that the president’s office is political, not one in the service of the state. The petition requests the court not to make observations that weaken other institutions. The petition has been filed under Article 188 of the constitution read with the relevant SC rules for a review of the October 19 order in this regard. The government’s contention is that the conduct of the present incumbent of the president’s office was never an issue in the Asghar Khan case, nor was it relevant for a decision in the matter. The petition regards the court’s observations regarding the president’s office as academic or hypothetical, which runs counter to sound juridical precedents. Also, that the alleged activities of the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan were conducted in his individual capacity and not on behalf of the presidency as an institution. Similar findings in the same case regarding the individual capacity in which Generals Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani conducted their hanky panky and did not imply any involvement of the army or ISI as institutions apply and strengthen the argument of the petitioners. While it is not our place to advise the SC how to approach the review petition, it is within the purview of fair comment on the October 19 order to examine the implications of the court’s observations regarding the president’s office. Redefining an office that is part of parliament, elected by an electoral college of the Senate, National Assembly and provincial assemblies, and always the choice of a political party or parties, as one in the service of the state went beyond the case before the court as well as beyond any known jurisprudential precedent, political philosophy, and parliamentary democratic norms. Such an out of the way observation can only bear comparison with an earlier observation of the court that the theory of parliament’s supremacy was out of date. Overturning the philosophic, jurisprudential and parliamentary democratic principles evolved over hundreds of years cannot do any good to the credibility, respect and dignity of the court nor to the political system. With the greatest respect, a tendency on the part of the restored judiciary to stray beyond its established purview into areas that are either the turf of other institutions of the state under the separation of powers doctrine, or into ‘speculative’ realms that have no solid jurisprudential bases is a disquieting development. In this space we have consistently argued for the time honoured principle of judicial restraint precisely because the honour, respect and dignity of the judiciary is dear to us, as it should be to any citizen of a modern, civilised state based on the rule of law. By straying into areas not strictly and uncontrovertibly within its legitimate purview, the judiciary continues to run the risk of being rendered controversial, a development no one can view with sanguinity, given our judiciary’s chequered past and newfound respect.
Radio PakistanPresident Asif Ali Zardari who arrived in Peshawar performed earth-breaking ceremony of Torkham-Peshawar Road extension project in the provincial metropolis. The project will be completed in two years at a cost of Rs5.90 billion with cooperation of the USAID. President Asif Ali Zardari will address an extraordinary session of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in Peshawar today. President Zardari will be the first elected President‚ who will address the provincial assembly session on the invitation of the Provincial Chief Minister and Speaker of the Assembly. Radio Pakistan will broadcast the president's address to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly live at 2pm today. In a press statement‚ Speaker Karamatullah Khan said that President's landmark address to the legislators of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be a great honour for the Assembly and people of the province. He said speaker had powers to relax rules and invite head of the state or any high profile dignitary to address the special session of the provincial assembly.
http://www.cbsnews.comPresident Obama has become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar. He landed there Monday. While he's there, the Burmese public will hear him congratulate the former pariah state "on having opened the door to a country that respects human rights and respects political freedom," he said during a press conference Sunday. "But what they'll also hear is that the country has a long way to go." Mr. Obama's unprecedented stop through the nation - also called Burma - during his Southeast Asia trip has angered some human rights activists who believe the country should prove it has truly moved on from its years of brutal military rule before a sitting president pays it a visit. But Mr. Obama argued during Sunday's news conference in Thailand that Myanmar's steps toward democratization deserve acknowledgement.The visit "is not an endorsement of the Burmese government," the president pointed out, but "an acknowledgement that there's a process under way inside that country that even a year and a half, two years ago, nobody foresaw." Citing positive leadership from Myanmar President Thein Sein and Parliament member Aung San Suu Kyi - both of whom he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with during their visit - as well as the release of political prisoners, Mr. Obama said the nation is demonstrating "an articulated commitment to further political reform." While admitting no one "is under any illusion that Burma has arrived," he argued, "If we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is we'd be waiting an awful long time. "One of the goals of this trip is to highlight the progress that has been made, but also to give voice to the much greater progress that needs to be made in the future," the president continued. "Change can happen very fast if a spotlight is shown on what's going on in a country, and the people there start believing that their voices are heard around the world. And one of the things that we can do as an international community is make sure that the people of Burma know we're paying attention to them, we're listening to them, we care about them. "And this visit allows me to do that in a fairly dramatic fashion," he concluded. The president's stop in Myanmar also gives him an opportunity to see a place that helped form his Kenyan grandfather, according to the New York Times. Hussein Onyango Obama spent part of World War II in what was then Burma as a cook for a British Army captain. Later Monday, another presidential first: Following his Burmese visit, Mr. Obama will travel to Cambodia to attend the East Asia Summit.