الاثنين، أغسطس 31، 2009
الأحد، أغسطس 30، 2009
Cops: Islandia man tried to run down Muslim mom, daughter
August 27, 2009 By SUMATHI REDDY email@example.com
An Islandia man was charged thursday with threatening to kill a Muslim woman and her 20-year-old daughter and trying to run them down with his car at a Smithtown gas station, a misdemeanor charge that Muslim groups condemned as too light.
Joseph Ballance, 23, pleaded not guilty Thursday at an arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip, where he was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment.
Prosecutors asked for $5,000 bail, but Judge Joseph A. Santorelli ordered Ballance held on $10,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond. He also issued an order of protection for the victims and ordered a mental health screening for Ballance.
The police report says, on Aug. 20 at 3:50 p.m. at the Hess gas station on Smithtown Bypass, Ballance threatened the victim with extreme violence.
The victim, 49, and her daughter, both of Smithtown, were dressed in an abaya, a traditional Muslim garment that completely covered their bodies and face, except for their eyes.
The report said Ballance then started driving toward the mother. Det. Sgt. Robert Reecks, who heads the Suffolk County Police Department's Hate Crimes unit, said the man drove the car in reverse but didn't get close enough to the older woman to be charged with attempted assault.
In the mother's statement, she said a white male came up behind them yelling, "Take that stuff off. What do you think it is, Halloween?" The man followed them into the store, continuing to yell.
The woman said the man then drove his car so close to hers that she couldn't open the gas cap and he "kept striking a match on a matchbook like if I was to start pumping the gas he would throw the match at me," according to the statement.
In a statement signed by Ballance, he said that while he was at the station, "two people dressed for Halloween looking like the wicked witch," pulled in.
"They shouldn't be allowed to wear that around here," the statement said.
"I did nothing to them," he said in the statement. "There is nothing wrong with their car. I never touched them.
"This is not Iraq. They should not be dressing like that here. Send them back to Iraq."
Ballance's attorney could not be reached. Police did not identify the victims. Reecks said the hate component upgraded the charge to a misdemeanor.
But Muslim leaders criticized the charge as too lenient, and pressed for federal civil rights charges.
Nayyar Imam, president of the Islamic Association of Long Island in Selden, said he would request to meet with authorities about the charges. "These charges have to be ramped up," he said. "It's unacceptable."
الخميس، أغسطس 27، 2009
67. O Messenger. proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith.
68. Say: "O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord." It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith.
69. Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
70. We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them apostles, every time, there came to them an apostle with what they themselves desired not - some (of these) they called impostors, and some they (go so far as to) slay.
71. They thought there would be no trial (or punishment); so they became blind and deaf; yet Allah (in mercy) turned to them; yet again many of them became blind and deaf. But Allah sees well all that they do.
72. They do blaspheme who say: "(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.
73. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.
74. Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.
75. Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!
76. Say: "Will ye worship, besides Allah, something which hath no power either to harm or benefit you? But Allah,- He it is that heareth and knoweth all things."
77. Say: "O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by,- who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the even way.
78. Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.
79. Nor did they (usually) forbid one another the iniquities which they committed: evil indeed were the deeds which they did.
80. Thou seest many of them turning in friendship to the Unbelievers. Evil indeed are (the works) which their souls have sent forward before them (with the result), that Allah.s wrath is on them, and in torment will they abide.
81. If only they had believed in Allah, in the Messenger, and in what hath been revealed to him, never would they have taken them for friends and protectors, but most of them are rebellious wrong-doers.
82. Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.
83. And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognise the truth: they pray: "Our Lord! we believe; write us down among the witnesses.
84. "What cause can we have not to believe in Allah and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?"
85. And for this their prayer hath Allah rewarded them with gardens, with rivers flowing underneath,- their eternal home. Such is the recompense of those who do good.
86. But those who reject Faith and belie our Signs,- they shall be companions of Hell-fire.
الثلاثاء، أغسطس 25، 2009
According to American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Jameel Jaffer, this is the first document released publicly which categorizes diapering as an enhanced interrogation technique. Another ACLU source told RAW STORY that while they are familiar with the use of diapers on clients being transported, this is “news to us.”
The document in Appendix F of the IG report reads: “Captured terrorists turned over to the CIA may be subjected to a wide range of legally sanctioned techniques, all of which are used on U.S. military personnel in SERE training programs. They are designed to psychologically ‘dislocate’ the detainee, maximizing his feelings of vulnerability and helplessness, and reduce or eliminate his will to resist our efforts to obtain critical intelligence.” The list, organized in “ascending degree of intensity,” says the following were approved standard measures “without physical or substantial psychological pressure”:
Shaving Stripping Diapering Hooding Isolation White noise or loud music (at a decibel level that will not damage hearing) Continuous light or darkness Uncomfortably cool environment Restricted diet, including reduced caloric intake (sufficient to maintain general health) Water dousing Sleep deprivation (up to 72 hours)
A second list of “enhanced” measures “with physical or psychological pressure beyond the above” reads:
Attention grasp Facial hold Insult (facial) slap Abdominal slap Prolonged diapering Sleep deprivation (over 72 hours) Stress positions –On knees, body slanted forward or backward –Leaning with forehead on wall Walling Cramped confinement Waterboard
The appearance of diapering on the list seems to contradict an Office of Legal Counsel memo (PDF link) written by former Bush administration lawyer Steven Bradbury in 2005. Bradbury claimed diapering “is not used for the purpose of humiliating the detainee, and it is not considered to be an interrogation technique.” However, in the appendix of the IG’s report, “prolonged diapering” was on the list of approved interrogation techniques (P. 150). While diapering is included on page 149 as a standard technique — along with shaving, stripping, hooding and isolation — it is also listed as one of a number of “enhanced measures,” with an intensity level below waterboarding, but above the “abdominal slap.”
The report does not define “prolonged” as it applies to diapering, nor does it confirm whether it was used on any prisoners. It is also unknown when exactly diapering was authorized as an EIT, and whether or not the order was rescinded before the 2005 Bradbury memo. Describing standard diapering, Bradbury wrote, “The detainee’s skin condition is monitored and diapers are changed as needed so that the detainee does not remain in a soiled diaper.” Bradbury is one of three former Bush administration attorneys — including John Yoo and Jay Bybee — whose legal memos are being probed by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly in the process of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate instances of CIA detainee abuse.
Spencer Ackerman, reporting for the Washington Independent, speculates that “prolonged diapering” could be the “eleventh” EIT.
“The 2004 CIA inspector general’s report on torture says clearly that in 2002, the CIA proposed to the Justice Department the use of eleven “enhanced interrogation techniques,”’ Ackerman writes. “Ten of them got the approval of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in August 2002 in the infamous Jay Bybee/John Yoo memo declassified by the Obama administration in April: the attention grasp; walling; the facial hold; the facial or insult slap; cramped confinement; insects; wall standing; stress positions; sleep deprivation; the waterboard. But what happened to the eleventh?”
Quoting the memo, he writes, “The Agency eliminated one proposed technique — [REDACTED] — after learning from DoJ that this could delay the legal review.”
“But an appendix to the report written by former CIA Director George Tenet gives an indication as to what that eleventh technique was — and says that it’s permissible,” Ackerman continues. “Take a look at Appendix E, Tenet’s January 28, 2003 memorandum on guidelines for both ’standard’ and ‘enhanced’ interrogations. Tenet’s list of ‘enhanced’ techniques, you’ll notice, number eleven:
These techniques are, [sic] the attention grasp, walling, the facial hold, the facial slap (insult slap), the abdominal slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation beyond 72 hours, the use of diapers for prolonged periods, the use of harmless insects, the water board, and such techniques as may be specifically approved pursuant to paragraph 4 below.
Ackerman adds, “All the others on Tenet’s list were approved by the Office of Legal Counsel in August of 2002. But that diapering technique was never approved by the Justice Department. Tenet considered ‘the use of diapers for limited periods (generally not to exceed 72 hours)’ to be a ’standard’ technique, as I blogged earlier. But it’s at least conceivable that the Justice Department would have thought reviewing prolonged diapering would have delayed the 2002 review, since the humiliation and health issues of forcing someone to remain in their own filth for over three days raise serious legal issues.”
Ron Brynaert contributed to this report.
August 24, 2009 : "Information Clearing House" -- You see, here's the thing. When you hear about the sick, twisted things that America's torturers have been doing, courtesy of President George W. Bush and Vice President Darth Cheney, you have to remember that the US military and the CIA were not really all that reliable when it came to picking up the real terrorists. In fact, their batting average was pretty lousy.
According to even the Pentagon's own reckoning, for example, probably 85% of the captives being held at Guantanamo over the past eight years were not terrorists at all, and a fair number--probably the majority--weren't even fighting anyone when they were captured. I'm sure that the averages at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, or at the secret prison in Iraq are no better. The military was offering bounties in Iraq and Afghanistan for alleged terrorists, you see, and probably still is, but in both of those lawless, tribal countries, many people have used the offer to settle old feuds, turning in people they wanted to punish or dispose of, and many others just turned in random people to get the reward money.
Remember this when you hear about torture tactics that we are learning were used by our side--things that make waterboarding sound like a walk in the park. We're now getting confirmation of things that we journalists were hearing rumors of earlier: faked executions using blanks, faked executions in neighboring rooms, followed by threats of the same to a person who had just heard the screams and a shot in the cell next to him, threats with an electric drill, and now perhaps the worst yet--the threat to kill a captive's children. And of course there is the already disclosed case of a captive who had his genitals cut with a razor, and generous use of tasers in places on the body designed to cause maximum pain. That, and of course there are a lot raped captives (including young boys), and a lot of bodies yet to be dug up of captives who were simply killed during torture.
We've got a litany of horror and abuse here that sounds like the worst kind of stories that used to come out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or the Argentine Junta or Idi Amin's Uganda. About the only thing missing is word that the military and CIA torturers were eating their victims, or feeding them their own genitals, but who knows? Maybe we'll get there yet. It's hard at this point to rule anything out.
What has become of the US? We started out the victims of an attack in 2001, with the whole world rallying to our side, and within a matter of weeks, our government, acting in our name, had secretly embarked on a wholly unnecessary and totally criminal descent into the barbarity of Middle Ages.
And now? The new administration has claimed to have put a stop to the atrocities, but it remains adamant that it is not going to root out the evil that was already done to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people.
President Barack Obama says he does not want to look back at any crimes that were committed. He wants to go "forward." This is not the voice of justice, though. This is the voice of political gutlessness and of big power exceptionalism. The same America that demands the prosecution of war criminals in little countries like Cambodia or Serbia or Sudan, considers itself exempt from criminal liability for its own crimes.
Attorney General Eric Holder now says he is appointing a special prosecutor, John Durham, to investigate cases where CIA or private contract torturers "overstepped" the rules set by the White House and Justice Department, but he has said he will not allow the investigation to go beyond that to pursue the people who enabled those acts of torture--people like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who personally instructed torturers in Afghanistan to "take the gloves off" in one case, or Assistant Attorney Generals John Yoo and Jay Baybee (now a federal judge), who ruled that anything short of the destruction of bodily organs or of a pain level equivalent to death was okay. Nor will he allow any investigation to look at acts of torture that were authorized, like waterboarding, if they had the sanction of the Bush/Cheney White House.
This position taken by the new administration should sicken us all. Worse, it should be broadly condemned, because if the descent into barbarity which occurred with the highest White House sanction is not investigated thoroughly, and punished fully, there is no way we can say it will not happen again. In fact, it's safe to say that it will happen again, the next time another charlatan gets into office and uses fear to blind the American people to all that is right and decent, and to the importance of maintaining the rule of law.
I know there are terrible things happening right now which demand our attention and action--an escalating, endless war in Afghanistan that increasingly resembles Vietnam in 1966 or 1967, a presidential cave-on on health care reform, a sell-out on real action against climate change, and on and on--but this particular crime--the crime of failing to act to punish violations of the Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners of war, which is being committed today by the Obama administration--is so obscene, so directly in our faces, and is such a stain on the whole nation, that it demands action.
We will probably never know how many innocent lives have been destroyed by America's eight years of officially sanctioned torture, but we can at least see to it that the people who sanctioned it, and not just those who engaged in it (and that goes right up through the chain of command to the Commander in Chief and to the real power behind the throne, Dick Cheney), are put in the dock like the criminals at Nuremberg, to face the charge of war crimes. and crimes against humanity.
As the citizens of what we call a democracy, we can demand nothing less.
Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-area journalist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
الاثنين، أغسطس 24، 2009
The Peoples Voice @ thepeoplesvoice.org
The US War against Iraq: The Destruction of a Civilization
The US seven-year war and occupation of Iraq is driven by several major political forces and informed by a variety of imperial interests. However these interests do not in themselves explain the depth and scope of the sustained, massive and continuing destruction of an entire society and its reduction to a permanent state of war. The range of political forces contributing to the making of the war and the subsequent US occupation include the following (in order of importance):
The most important political force was also the least openly discussed. The Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC), which includes the prominent role of long-time, hard-line unconditional Jewish supporters of the State of Israel appointed to top positions in the Bush Pentagon (Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz ), key operative in the Office of the Vice President (Irving (Scooter) Libby), the Treasury Department (Stuart Levey), the National Security Council (Elliot Abrams) and a phalanx of consultants, Presidential speechwriters (David Frum), secondary officials and policy advisers to the State Department. These committed Zionists ‘insiders’ were buttressed by thousands of full-time Israel-First functionaries in the 51 major American Jewish organizations, which form the President of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO). They openly stated that their top priority was to advance Israel’s agenda, which, in this case, was a US war against Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein, occupy the country, physically divide Iraq, destroy its military and industrial capability and impose a pro-Israel/pro-US puppet regime. If Iraq were ethnically cleansed and divided, as advocated by the ultra-right, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and the ‘Liberal’ President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and militarist-Zionist, Leslie Gelb, there would be more than several ‘client regimes’.
Top Zionist policymakers who promoted the war did not initially directly pursue the policy of systematically destroying what, in effect, was the entire Iraqi civilization. But their support and design of an occupation policy included the total dismemberment of the Iraqi state apparatus and recruitment of Israeli advisers to provide their ‘expertise’ in interrogation techniques, repression of civilian resistance and counter-insurgency. Israeli expertise certainly played a role in fomenting the intra-Iraqi religious and ethnic strife, which Israel had mastered in Palestine. The Israeli ‘model’ of colonial war and occupation – the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 – and the practice of ‘total destruction’ using sectarian, ethno-religious division was evident in the notorious massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, which took place under Israeli military supervision.
The second powerful political force behind the Iraq War were civilian militarists (like Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney) who sought to extend US imperial reach in the Persian Gulf and strengthen its geo-political position by eliminating a strong, secular, nationalist backer of Arab anti-imperialist insurgency in the Middle East. The civilian militarists sought to extend the American military base encirclement of Russia and secure control over Iraqi oil reserves as a pressure point against China. The civilian militarists were less moved by Vice President Cheney’s past ties with the oil industry and more interested in his role as CEO of Halliburton’s giant military base contractor subsidiary Kellogg-Brown and Root, which was consolidating the US Empire through worldwide military base expansion. Major US oil companies, who feared losing out to European and Asian competitors, were already eager to deal with Saddam Hussein, and some of the Bush’s supporters in the oil industry had already engaged in illegal trading with the embargoed Iraqi regime. The oil industry was not inclined to promote regional instability with a war.
The militarist strategy of conquest and occupation was designed to establish a long-term colonial military presence in the form of strategic military bases with a significant and sustained contingent of colonial military advisors and combat units. The brutal colonial occupation of an independent secular state with a strong nationalist history and an advanced infrastructure with a sophisticated military and police apparatus, extensive public services and wide-spread literacy naturally led to the growth of a wide array of militant and armed anti-occupation movements. In response, US colonial officials, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agencies devised a ‘divide and rule’ strategy (the so-called ‘El Salvador solution’ associated with the former ‘hot-spot’ Ambassador and US Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte) fomenting armed sectarian-based conflicts and promoting inter-religious assassinations to debilitate any effort at a united nationalist anti-imperialist movement. The dismantling of the secular civilian bureaucracy and military was designed by the Zionists in the Bush Administration to enhance Israel’s power in the region and to encourage the rise of militant Islamic groups, which had been repressed by the deposed Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. Israel had mastered this strategy earlier: It originally sponsored and financed sectarian Islamic militant groups, like Hamas, as an alternative to the secular Palestine Liberation Organization and set the stage for sectarian fighting among the Palestinians.
The result of US colonial policies were to fund and multiply a wide range of internal conflicts as mullahs, tribal leaders, political gangsters, warlords, expatriates and death squads proliferated. The ‘war of all against all’ served the interests of the US occupation forces. Iraq became a pool of armed, unemployed young men, from which to recruit a new mercenary army. The ‘civil war’ and ‘ethnic conflict’ provided a pretext for the US and its Iraqi puppets to discharge hundreds of thousands of soldiers, police and functionaries from the previous regime (especially if they were from Sunni, mixed or secular families) and to undermine the basis for civilian employment. Under the cover of generalized ‘war against terror’, US Special Forces and CIA-directed death squads spread terror within Iraqi civil society, targeting anyone suspected of criticizing the puppet government – especially among the educated and professional classes, precisely the Iraqis most capable of re-constructing an independent secular republic.
The Iraq war was driven by an influential group of neo-conservative and neo-liberal ideologues with strong ties to Israel. They viewed the success of the Iraq war (by success they meant the total dismemberment of the country) as the first ‘domino’ in a series of war to ‘re-colonize’ the Middle East (in their words: “to re-draw the map”). They disguised their imperial ideology with a thin veneer of rhetoric about ‘promoting democracies’ in the Middle East (excluding, of course, the un-democratic policies of their ‘homeland’ Israel over its subjugated Palestinians). Conflating Israeli regional hegemonic ambitions with the US imperial interests, the neo-conservatives and their neo-liberal fellow travelers in the Democratic Party first backed President Bush and later President Obama in their escalation of the wars against Afghanistan and Pakistan. They unanimously supported Israel’s savage bombing campaign against Lebanon, the land and air assault and massacre of thousands of civilians trapped in Gaza, the bombing of Syrian facilities and the big push (from Israel) for a pre-emptive, full-scale military attack against Iran.
The US advocates of sequential and multiple simultaneous wars in the Middle East and South Asia believed that they could only unleash the full strength of their mass destructive power after they had secured total control of their first victim, Iraq. They were confident that Iraqi resistance would collapse rapidly after 13 years of brutal starvation sanctions imposed on the republic by the US and United Nations. In order to consolidate imperial control, American policy-makers decided to permanently silence all independent Iraqi civilian dissidents. They turned to the financing of Shia clerics and Sunni tribal assassins, and contracting scores of thousands of private mercenaries among the Kurdish Peshmerga warlords to carry out selective assassinations of leaders of civil society movements.
The US created and trained a 200,000 member Iraqi colonial puppet army composed almost entirely of Shia gunmen, and excluded experienced Iraqi military men from secular, Sunni or Christian backgrounds. A little known result of this build up of American trained and financed death squads and its puppet ‘Iraqi’ army, was the virtual destruction of the ancient Iraqi Christian population, which was displaced, its churches bombed and its leaders, bishops and intellectuals, academics and scientists assassinated or driven into exile. The US and its Israeli advisers were well aware that Iraqi Christians had played a key role the historic development of the secular, nationalist, anti-British/anti-monarchist movements and their elimination as an influential force during the first years of US occupation was no accident. The result of the US policies were to eliminate most secular democratic anti-imperialist leaders and movements and to present their murderous net-work of ‘ethno-religious’ collaborators as their uncontested ‘partners’ in sustaining the long-term US colonial presence in Iraq. With their puppets in power, Iraq would serve as a launching platform for its strategic pursuit of the other ‘dominoes’ (Syria, Iran, Central Asian Republics…).
The sustained bloody purge of Iraq under US occupation resulted in the killing 1.3 million Iraqi civilians during the first 7 years after Bush invaded in March 2003. Up to mid-2009, the invasion and occupation of Iraq has officially cost the American treasury over $666 billion. This enormous expenditure attests to its centrality in the larger US imperial strategy for the entire Middle East/South and Central Asia region. Washington’s policy of politicizing and militarizing ethno-religious differences, arming and encouraging rival tribal, religious and ethnic leaders to engage in mutual bloodletting served to destroy national unity and resistance. The ‘divide and rule’ tactics and reliance on retrograde social and religious organizations is the commonest and best-known practice in pursuing the conquest and subjugation of a unified, advanced nationalist state. Breaking up the national state, destroying nationalist consciousness and encouraging primitive ethno-religious, feudal and regional loyalties required the systematic destruction of the principal purveyors of nationalist consciousness, historical memory and secular, scientific thought. Provoking ethno-religious hatreds destroyed intermarriages, mixed communities and institutions with their long-standing personal friendships and professional ties among diverse backgrounds. The physical elimination of academics, writers, teachers, intellectuals, scientists and professionals, especially physicians, engineers, lawyers, jurists and journalists was decisive in imposing ethno-religious rule under a colonial occupation. To establish long-term dominance and sustain ethno-religious client rulers, the entire pre-existing cultural edifice, which had sustained an independent secular nationalist state, was physically destroyed by the US and its Iraqi puppets. This included destroying the libraries, census bureaus, and repositories of all property and court records, health departments, laboratories, schools, cultural centers, medical facilities and above all the entire scientific-literary-humanistic social scientific class of professionals. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi professionals and family members were driven by terror into internal and external exile. All funding for national, secular, scientific and educational institutions were cut off. Death squads engaged in the systematic murder of thousands of academics and professionals suspected of the least dissent, the least nationalist sentiment; anyone with the least capacity to re-construct the republic was marked.
The Destruction of a Modern Arab Civilization
Independent, secular Iraq had the most advanced scientific-cultural order in the Arab world, despite the repressive nature of Saddam Hussein’s police state. There was a system of national health care, universal public education and generous welfare services, combined with unprecedented levels of gender equality. This marked the advanced nature of Iraqi civilization in the late 20th century. Separation of church and state and strict protection of religious minorities (Christians, Assyrians and others) contrasts sharply with what has resulted from the US occupation and its destruction of the Iraqi civil and governmental structures. The harsh dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein thus presided over a highly developed modern civilization in which advanced scientific work went hand in hand with a strong nationalist and anti-imperialist identity. This resulted especially in the Iraqi people and regime’s expressions of solidarity for the plight of the Palestinian people under Israeli rule and occupation.
A mere ‘regime change’ could not extirpate this deeply embedded and advanced secular republican culture in Iraq. The US war planners and their Israeli advisers were well aware that colonial occupation would increase Iraqi nationalist consciousness unless the secular nation was destroyed and hence, the imperial imperative to uproot and destroy the carriers of nationalist consciousness by physically eliminating the educated, the talented, the scientific, indeed the most secular elements of Iraqi society. Retrogression became the principal instrument for the US to impose its colonial puppets, with their primitive, ‘pre-national’ loyalties, in power in a culturally purged Baghdad stripped of its most sophisticated and nationalistic social strata.
According to the Al-Ahram Studies Center in Cairo, more that 310 Iraqi scientists were eliminated during the first 18 months of the US occupation – a figure that the Iraqi education ministry did not dispute.
Another report listed the killings of more than 340 intellectuals and scientists between 2005 and 2007. Bombings of institutes of higher education had pushed enrollment down to 30% of the pre-invasion figures. In one bombing in January 2007, at Baghdad’s Mustansiriya University 70 students were killed with hundreds wounded. These figures compelled the UNESCO to warn that Iraq’s university system was on the brink of collapse. The numbers of prominent Iraqi scientists and professionals who have fled the country have approached 20,000. Of the 6,700 Iraqi university professors who fled since 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported than only 150 had returned by October 2008. Despite the US claims of improved security, the situation in 2008 saw numerous assassinations, including the only practicing neurosurgeon in Iraq’s second largest city of Basra, whose body was dumped on the city streets.
The raw data on the Iraqi academics, scientists and professionals assassinated by the US and allied occupation forces and the militias and shadowy forces they control is drawn from a list published by the Pakistan Daily News (www.daily.pk) on November 26, 2008. This list makes for very uncomfortable reading into the reality of systematic elimination of intellectuals in Iraq under the meat-grinder of US occupation.
The physical elimination of an individual by assassination is an extreme form of terrorism, which has far-reaching effects rippling throughout the community from which the individual comes – in this case the world of Iraqi intellectuals, academics, professionals and creative leaders in the arts and sciences. For each Iraqi intellectual murdered, thousands of educated Iraqis fled the country or abandoned their work for safer, less vulnerable activity.
Baghdad was considered the ‘Paris’ of the Arab world, in terms of culture and art, science and education. In the 1970’s and 80’s, its universities were the envy of the Arab world. The US ‘shock and awe’ campaign that rained down on Baghdad evoked emotions akin to an aerial bombardment of the Louvre, the Sorbonne and the greatest libraries of Europe. Baghdad University was one of the most prestigious and productive universities in the Arab world. Many of its academics possessed doctoral degrees and engaged in post-doctoral studies abroad at prestigious institutions. It taught and graduated many of the top professionals and scientists in the Middle East. Even under the deadly grip of the US/UN-imposed economic sanctions that starved Iraq during the 13 years before the March 2003 invasion, thousands of graduate students and young professionals came to Iraq for post-graduate training. Young physicians from throughout the Arab world received advanced medical training in its institutions. Many of its academics presented scientific papers at major international conferences and published in prestigious journals. Most important, Baghdad University trained and maintained a highly respected scientific secular culture free of sectarian discrimination – with academics from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
This world has been forever shattered: Under US occupation, up to November 2008, eighty-three academics and researchers teaching at Baghdad University had been murdered and several thousand of their colleagues, students and family members were forced to flee.
The Selection of Assassinated Academics by Discipline
The November 2008 article published by the Pakistan Daily News lists the names of a total of 154 top Baghdad-based academics, renowned in their fields, who were murdered. Altogether, a total of 281 well-known intellectuals teaching at the top universities in Iraq fell victim to the ‘death squads’ under US occupation.
Prior to the US occupation, Baghdad University possessed the premier research and teaching medical faculty in the entire Middle East attracting hundreds of young doctors for advanced training. That program has been devastated during the rise of the US-death squad regime, with few prospects of recovery. Of those murdered, 25% (21) were the most senior professors and lecturers in the medical faculty of Baghdad University, the highest percentage of any faculty. The second highest percentage of butchered faculty were the professors and researchers from Baghdad University’s renowned engineering faculty (12), followed by the top academics in the humanities (10), physical and social sciences (8 senior academics each), education (5). The remaining top academics murdered at Baghdad University spread out among the agronomy, business, physical education, communications and religious studies faculties.
At three other Baghdad universities, 53 senior academics were slaughtered, including 10 in the social sciences, 7 in the faculty of law, 6 each in medicine and the humanities, 9 in the physical sciences and 5 in engineering. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s August 20, 2002 pre-invasion joke, “…one has to assume they (scientists) have not been playing ‘tiddlywinks’(a child’s game)”( justifying the bloody purge of Iraq’s scientists in physics and chemistry. An ominous signal of the academic bloodletting that followed the invasion.
Similar bloody purges of academics occurred in all the provincial universities: 127 senior academics and scientists were assassinated at the various well-regarded universities in Mosul, Kirkuk, Basra and elsewhere. The provincial universities with the highest number of murdered senior faculty members were in cities where the US and British military and their Kurdish mercenary allies were most active: Basra (35), Mosul (35), Diyala (15) and Al-Anbar (11).
The Iraqi military and allied death squads carried out most of the killing of academics in the cities under US or ‘allied’ control. The systematic murder of academics was a nation-wide, cross-disciplinary drive to destroy the cultural and educational foundations of a modern Arab civilization. The death squads carrying out most of these assassinations were primitive, pre-modern, ethno-religious groups ‘set loose’ or instrumentalized by US military strategists to wipe out any politically conscious intellectuals and nationalist scientists who might pursue an agenda for re-building a modern, secular society and independent, unified republic.
In its panic to prevent the US invasion, the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate provided a list, which identified over 500 key Iraqi scientists to the UN on December 7, 2002. There is little doubt that this list became a core element in the US military’s hit list for eliminating Iraq’s scientific elite. In his notorious pre-invasion speech to the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin Powell cited a list of over 3,500 Iraqi scientists and technicians who would have to be ‘contained’ to prevent their expertise from being used by other countries. The US had even created a ‘budget’ of hundreds of millions of dollars, drawn from the Iraqi ‘Oil for Food’ money held by the United Nations to set up ‘civilian re-education’ programs to re-train Iraqi scientists and engineers. These highly touted programs were never seriously implemented. Cheaper ways of containing what one American policy expert termed Iraq’s ‘excess scientists, engineers and technicians’ in a Carnegie Endowment Paper (RANSAC Policy Update April 2004) became clear. The US had decided to adopt and expand the Israeli Mossad’s covert operation of assassinating selected key Iraqi scientists on an industrial scale.
The US ‘Surge’ and ‘Peak Assassination’ Campaigns: 2006-2007
The high tide of terror against academics coincides with the renewal of the US military offensive in Baghdad and in the provinces. Of the total number of assassinations of Baghdad-based academics for which a date is recorded (110 known intellectuals slaughtered), almost 80% (87) occurred in 2006 and 2007. A similar pattern is found in the provinces with 77% of a total of 84 scholars murdered outside of capital during the same period. The pattern is clear: the murder rate of academics grows as the occupying US forces organize a mercenary Iraqi military and police force and provide money for the training and recruitment of rival Shia and Sunni tribesmen and militia as a means of decreasing American casualties and of purging potential dissident critics of the occupation.
The terror campaign against academics intensified in mid-2005 and reached its peak in 2006-2007, leading to the mass flight of tens of thousands of Iraqi scholars, scientists, professionals and their families overseas. Entire university medical school faculties have become refugees in Syria and elsewhere. Those who could not afford to abandon elderly parents or relatives and remained in Iraq have taken extraordinary measures to hide their identities. Some have chosen to collaborate with the US occupation forces or the puppet regime in the hope of being protected or allowed to immigrate with their families to the US or Europe, although the Europeans, especially the British are disinclined to accept Iraqi scholars. After 2008, there has been a sharp decline in the murder of academics – with only 4 assassinated that year. This reflects the massive flight of Iraqi intellectuals living abroad or in hiding rather than any change of policy on the part of the US and its mercenary puppets. As a result, Iraq’s research facilities have been decimated. The lives of those remaining support staff, including technicians, librarians and students have been devastated with few prospects for future employment.
The US war and occupation of Iraq, as Presidents Bush and Obama have declared, is a ‘success’ – an independent nation of 23 million citizens has been occupied by force, a puppet regime is ensconced, colonial mercenary troops obey American officers and the oil fields have been put up for sale. All of Iraq’s nationalist laws protecting its patrimony, its cultural treasures and national resources, have been annulled. The occupiers have imposed a ‘constitution’ favoring the US Empire. Israel and its Zionist flunkies in the Administrations of both Bush and Obama celebrate the demise of a modern adversary…and the conversion of Iraq into a cultural-political desert. In line with an alleged agreement made by the US State Department and Pentagon officials to influential collectors from the American Council for Cultural Policy in January 2003, the looted treasures of ancient Mesopotamia have ‘found’ their way into the collections of the elite in London, New York and elsewhere. The collectors can now anticipate the pillage of Iran.
Warning to Iran
The US invasion, occupation and destruction of a modern, scientific-cultural civilization, such as existed in Iraq, is a prelude of what the people of Iran can expect if and when a US-Israeli military attack occurs. The imperial threat to the cultural-scientific foundations of the Iranian nation has been totally absent from the narrative among the affluent Iranian student protesters and their US-funded NGO’s during their post-election ‘Lipstick Revolution’ protests. They should bear in mind that in 2004 educated, sophisticated Iraqis in Baghdad consoled themselves with a fatally misplaced optimism that ‘at least we are not like Afghanistan’. The same elite are now in squalid refugee camps in Syria and Jordan and their country more closely resembles Afghanistan than anywhere else in the Middle East. The chilling promise of President Bush in April 2003 to transform Iraq in the image of ‘our newly liberated Afghanistan’ has been fulfilled. And reports that the US Administration advisers had reviewed the Israeli Mossad policy of selective assassination of Iranian scientists should cause the pro-Western liberal intellectuals of Teheran to seriously ponder the lesson of the murderous campaign that has virtually eliminated Iraqi scientists and academics during 2006-2007.
What does the United States (and Britain and Israel) gain from establishing a retrograde client regime, based on medieval ethno-clerical socio-political structures in Iraq? First and foremost, Iraq has become an outpost for empire. Secondly, it is a weak and backward regime incapable of challenging Israeli economic and military dominance in the region and unwilling to question the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian Arabs from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Thirdly, the destruction of the scientific, academic, cultural and legal foundations of an independent state means increasing reliance on the Western (and Chinese) multinational corporations and their technical infrastructure – facilitating imperial economic penetration and exploitation.
In the mid 19th Century, after the revolutions of 1848, the conservative French sociologist Emil Durkheim recognized that the European bourgeoisie was confronted with rising class conflict and an increasing anti-capitalist working class. Durkheim noted that, whatever its philosophical misgivings about religion and clericalism, the bourgeoisie would have to use the myths of traditional religion to ‘create’ social cohesion and undercut class polarization. He called on the educated and sophisticated Parisian capitalist class to forego its rejection of obscurantist religious dogma in favor of instrumentalizing religion as a tool to maintain its political dominance. In the same way, US strategists, including the Pentagon-Zionists, have instrumentalized the tribal-mullah, ethno-religious forces to destroy the secular national political leadership and advanced culture of Iraq in order to consolidate imperial rule – even if this strategy called for the killing off of the scientific and professional classes. Contemporary US imperial rule is based on supporting the socially and politically most backward sectors of society and applying the most advanced technology of warfare.
Israeli advisers have played a major role in instructing US occupation forces in Iraq on the practices of urban counter-insurgency and repression of civilians, drawing on their 60 years of experience. The infamous massacre of hundreds of Palestinian families at Deir Yasin in 1948 was emblematic of Zionist elimination of hundreds of productive farming villages, which had been settled for centuries by a native people with their endogenous civilization and cultural ties to the soil, in order to impose a new colonial order. The policy of the total deracination of the Palestinians is central to Israel’s advise to the US policymakers in Iraq. Their message has been carried out by their Zionist acolytes in the Bush and Obama Administrations, ordering the dismemberment of the entire modern Iraqi civil and state bureaucracy and using pre-modern tribal death squads made up of Kurds and Shia extremists to purge the modern universities and research institutions of that shattered nation.
The US imperial conquest of Iraq is built on the destruction of a modern secular republic. The cultural desert that remains (a Biblical ‘howling wilderness’ soaked in the blood of Iraq’s precious scholars) is controlled by mega-swindlers, mercenary thugs posing as ‘Iraqi officers’, tribal and ethnic cultural illiterates and medieval religious figures. They operate under the guidance and direction of West Point graduates holding ‘blue-prints for empire’, formulated by graduates of Princeton, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Yale and Chicago, eager to serve the interests of American and European multi-national corporations.
This is called ‘combined and uneven development’: The marriage of fundamentalist mullahs with Ivy League Zionists at the service of the US.
James Petras is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet. James Petras, is a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books) and his most recent book is Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power (Clarity Press, 2008). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. | Read other articles by James petras, or visit his website: http://petras.lahaine.org/index.php
الأحد، أغسطس 09، 2009
produced by 1Dawah
Allaah says in the Qur’an:
“And I (Allaah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” [Qur’an 51:56]
When contemplating on this verse from the Qur’an we have to realise that the sole purpose of our creation, existence and being is nothing except to worship Allaah. As a result we must continue asking ourselves if we are fulfilling the purpose for which we were created.
Take the example of a brand new car that has countless features from a CD/MP3 player, DVD player, games console, satellite navigation, Bluetooth control and many other features that are not usually seen in cars. When someone learns of these features in a car they may become astonished and amazed! However, what would their reaction be if the engine was not able to start and drive the car around? If that was the case it would not be much of a car!
It’s the same with human beings. Yes, we are the most superior of creation. We can do many things that the animals in the jungle would be jealous of! However, do we fulfil the reason for which we were created?
One of the many ways that we are lacking in the worship of our Lord is our abandonment of prayer despite the fact that it would be the first thing that a Muslim is asked on the Day of Judgment by his Lord! Allaah said in the Qur’an:
"Guard strictly (the five obligatory) the prayers especially the middle prayer (i.e., the best prayer - `Asr).'' [Qur’an 2:238]
Some of us even after knowing about this verse still make excuses to not perform the prayers. We come up with excuses like “but I do this sin and that sin so what is the point of praying?” Perhaps they are not aware of what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) meant when he asked his companions:
“Say, if there were a river at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day, would any soiling remain on him?” The companions replied, "No soiling would be left on him.'' He (peace be upon him) said, '' That is the five (obligatory) prayers. Allaah obliterates all sins as a result of performing them.''
Imagine what prayer would do the deeds of most us if only we performed the five daily prayers regularly and on time! The Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated that praying five times a day does to sins what water does to dirt!
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:
"The five (daily) prayers and the Friday (prayer) to the Friday (prayer) expiate whatever (minor sins) may be committed in between, so long as major sins are avoided.''
We should never ever allow ourselves to think that we are not “good enough” to pray! Allaah will forgive our sins when we perform our prayers so let us not make excuses.
Not only will Allaah forgive our sins but Allaah will give us the ability to abandon the sins completely:
"Verily, the prayer prevents from Al-Fahsha' (i.e., great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil, wicked deed).'' [Qur’an 29:45]
Think about what that means! All those bad things that deep down we hate doing, whether it be smoking, listening to music, drinking, mingling with boys & girls, clubbing, sheesha and countless other deeds that make us shameful, Allaah will actually give us the means to abandon them just by performing the prayer which will allow us to become a better Muslim and one of the best examples for others to follow!
In addition to knowing the benefits of prayer we must also realise what the consequences of abandoning the prayer are. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of prayer.''
Meaning that the person who is regular in performing prayer, will raise a wall between himself and disbelief and that the one that does not perform prayer does not have a wall which separates him from disbelief! Leaving prayer is like demolishing the wall that separates Islam from disbelief.
Imagine what that would mean! Any good deeds that we have done are rendered null and void just because we did not pray our five daily prayers!
The next time it is time for prayer, do not forget to pray! Think of the rewards that have been promised:
“For those who have done good is the best (reward, i.e. Paradise) and even more (i.e. having the honour of glancing at the Countenance of Allaah) Neither darkness nor dust nor any humiliating disgrace shall cover their faces. They are the dwellers of Paradise, they will abide therein forever.” [Qur’an 10:26]
“And those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah and His Messengers and whatever they brought) and did righteous deeds, will be made to enter Gardens under which rivers flow, - to dwell therein forever (i.e.in Paradise), with the permission of their Lord. Their greeting therein will be: Salaam (peace!)” [Qur’an 14:23]
السبت، أغسطس 08، 2009
“I Will Kill Muslim Per Day”
"We are calling for consistency,” Asif Ahmed, chairman of the Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF), told The Scotsman.
A Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday released Neil MacGregor, 36, after he threatened to kill Muslims until all mosques in the country are demolished.
The Court only placed the Scottish racist on three years’ probation despite his anti-Muslim threats.
"I'm a proud racist and National Front member,” MacGregor said in an e-mail sent to Strathclyde Police.
"We as an organisation have decided to deal with the current threat from Muslims in our own British way, like our proud ancestors.
"Our demands are very small. Close all mosques in Scotland,” he said.
"If our demands aren't met by next Friday, we'll kidnap one Muslim and execute him or her on the internet, just like they did to our Ken Bigley."
The racist Scot also telephoned police, threatening to blow up Glasgow’s Central Mosque.
MacGregor was arrested last year over the anti-Muslim threats.
Instead of being tried by a high court judge on terrorism offences, he was only tried by a sheriff and indicted on a charge of breach of the peace, aggravated by racial hatred.
Scottish Muslims accused the Scottish legal system of applying “double-standards”.
“The authorities have got to explain the apparent discrepancy," Ahmed said.
The SIF chairman said that a Muslim had made similar threats, he would have been dealt with far harsher punishment.
He cited the case of Mohammed Atif Siddique, a student who was jailed for eight years for internet-related terror offences.
The lenient ruling also drew fire from human rights lawyers.
"If a member of a far-Right organisation threatens to murder or cause mayhem, then they are dealt under ancient legislation and existing common law powers,” lawyer Aamer Anwar said.
“If you happen to have a beard and are dark-skinned, then you will be prosecuted under the Terrorism Act.”
Anwar, who represented Siddique, said that there is a perception that the Scottish legal system is applying double standards in prosecuting such cases.
"There is real anger in the community."
There are more than 50,000 Muslims making up less than one percent of the Scottish population, according to the Scottish Islamic Foundation.
Muslims are the second largest religious group in Scotland, which has thirty mosques, including twelve in Glasgow.
A recent government poll found that half of Scots see Muslims as a threat to the country's culture and identity.
Our double standards on terrorism
Muslim terror suspects are condemned on the basis of secret evidence, while far-right terrorists are treated with kid gloves
The Guardian's Slow Torture series rightly highlights the government's powers to impose a wide array of illiberal and often draconian restrictions on Muslim terror suspects, without a proper trial and often on the basis of secret evidence.
In contrast however, there is a growing group of terrorists who are treated with kid gloves by the British state and by the media – white terrorists of the far-right, neo-Nazi variety.
Take Neil Lewington.
Neil who? You may not have heard of Lewington, who was found guilty of a range of terrorism and explosives offences earlier this week, and described in court as being on the cusp of embarking on a campaign of terrorism against those he considered "non-British" via the use of "tennis ball bombs". During his trial there were no BBC or Sky News reporters camped outside the Old Bailey, as there so often are for similar trials involving Muslim suspects – and BBC News at Ten chose to entirely ignore the guilty verdict on Wednesday, as did Channel 4 News. Not a single national newspaper splashed the story on its front page on Thursday morning, the Times, for example, burying it on page 23.
Why the double standard? Is it because far-right terrorists tend to be loners and misfits, unconnected to wider terrorist conspiracies or networks? If so, how do we explain the treatment of Kamel Bourgass, a loner and misfit whose case was nonetheless blown up into a vast, complex and dangerous al-Qaida plot to poison the Tube with ricin in 2003?
The reality is that far-right extremism is no longer dominated by loners. The Met police has warned of how organised neo-Nazis may be plotting a "spectacular" terrorist attack in Britain to try and fuel racial tensions – and recent police raids on a network of alleged far-right extremists uncovered 300 weapons and 80 bombs in the biggest seizure of suspected terrorist materials in England for over a decade.
Yet the press continues to turn a blind eye, preferring to focus on dastardly Muslims – and so too does the British state. As I argued in a column for the New Statesman last week, compared to Islamists, who have been subjected to a battery of punitive and illiberal measures – from detention without charge to control orders to secret evidence – white supremacists seem to be given preferential treatment by our criminal justice system. Former BNP activist Robert Cottage, arrested in 2006 in possession of the largest amount of chemical explosive of its type ever found in this country, was charged under the Explosive Substances Act 1883, not the panoply of modern anti-terror laws now at the disposal of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Neil MacGregor, the self-professed white racist who threatened to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead a Muslim each week until every mosque in Scotland was closed, was tried in a sheriff's court, rather than the high court where such cases normally go, and on the ludicrously lenient charge of breaching the peace.
So how do we ensure parity in the treatment of terror suspects, be they brown Islamists or white supremacists? A simple first step would be for police forces across the land to follow the lead of Hampshire Police which this week suspended its use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act, after figures showed no arrests in connection with terrorist activity were made despite over 3,400 stops.
Victims of stop-and-search tactics are disproportionately black and Asian and the method itself tends to be, in the words of a Metropolitian Police Authority report only a few years ago, "influenced by racial bias". But the growing and undeniable terrorist threat from the far right makes a nonsense of the case for any form of racial (or religious) profiling in counter-terrorism policing, be it stop-and-search or simple surveillance.
The noxious Hazel Blears, in an earlier but equally controversial guise as police minister in 2005, warned that counter-terrorism powers would "be disproportionately experienced by the Muslim community". Only last month, Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror laws, rebuked the police for allegedly trying to "racially balance" stop-and-search figures, warning it would be wrong for officers to stop and search blonde women who do not fit the terrorist profile.
This is preposterous – if the Met's warnings are correct and the next terrorist "spectacular" comes from neo-Nazis, how will Lord Carlile then justify having let dangerous and extreme white people, blonde or otherwise, escape the attention of the authorities? The double standards in our anti-terror laws, and the relentless and discriminatory focus on Muslims, means we are in danger of catching the next Mohammed Siddique Khan but letting the next Neil Lewington slip through the net – with catastrophic consequences for us all.
Since the revelation earlier this week of allegations by two former employees of security firm Blackwater that its owner was complicit in murder to cover up the deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians, more explosive charges have continued to emerge.
Perhaps the most shocking of those charges — quoted by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday from the employees' sworn declarations — is that Blackwater was guilty of using child prostitutes at its compound in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone and that owner Erik Prince knew of this activity and did nothing to stop it.
The declarations describe Blackwater as "having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the 'Blackwater Man Camp' in exchange for one American dollar." They add even though Prince frequently visited this camp, he "failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men."
One of the statements also charges that "Prince's North Carolina operations had an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring, which was participated in by many of Mr. Prince's top executives."
According to the two former employees, Blackwater supervisors in Iraq sometimes sent men back to the United States for wanting to "kill ragheads," excessive drinking, steroid use, or failure to follow weapon safety procedures, but "Mr. Prince and his executives would send them back" with a reprimand to the supervisor for costing the firm money. Blackwater even fired "those mental health professionals who were not willing to endorse deployments of unfit men."
The former employees additionally state that Prince was engaged in illegal arms dealing, money laundering, and tax evasion, that he created "a web of companies in order to obscure wrong-doing, fraud, and other crimes," and that Blackwater's chief financial officer had "resigned … stating he was not willing to go to jail for Erik Prince."
Prince has repeatedly insisted his company has done nothing wrong and Blackwater — now renamed Xe — continues to fulfill its contracts with the United States government.
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