Friday, June 21, 2013

Spring Cleaning

“Cleanliness is half the faith.” – Prophet Mohammed (s)
Next to a clean conscience, there is almost nothing that makes a person feel more relaxed than a clean house. When our home is tidy, we feel more eager to invite somebody inside, and we feel more able to think clearly.
According to Tirmidhi, the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said: “Allah is pure and likes purity, He is clean and likes cleanliness, He is generous and likes generosity, He is hospitable and loves hospitality, so clean your courtyards.”
When our home is a mess, cleaning up that mess usually takes up space in our brains as something that must be dealt with before we can truly focus on our true life goals and desires. Living in a cluttered or dirty home drains one’s energy and mood so much that the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) taught that living in filth erodes the faith. He taught that a Muslim is not even supposed to look at filth. Obviously we cannot clean something properly without looking at it. But what we should never do is look at filth and leave it there, forcing others as well as ourselves to look at it again and again, while telling ourselves we will get around to cleaning it up later. Looking at a messy house is often more mentally draining than the actual work of cleaning it.
“People who constantly live in a state of chaos are prone to procrastination and an inability to commit to work or relationships. They get anxious and overwhelmed with change and usually give up before they even start the project. Their finances and time are wasted; they feel stuck and bad about themselves,” writes Ranka Burzan, author of The SOS Guide to Organize and Clean Your Home.
How many marriages have stalled, because one or both partners have felt overwhelmed by organizational tasks, so that year after year they promised their spouse, “I’ll have time to pay attention to you after I do x,y and z”? Let’s pretend x,y, and z are fixing the garage door, filing taxes, and finding gainful employment. These things could be seriously delayed by lack of organization, in other words they are dependent on u,v and w – finding one’s lost tools, locating one’s lost receipts, and overcoming a lost sense of self. Meanwhile, the hair becomes grey and youth fades away. The house is still messy but years of potential joy and togetherness have been wasted without being fully lived.
Regina Leeds, author of One Year to an Organized Life, writes that to remove the chaos, we must examine the psychological inner workings that influence our behaviors in order to create lasting change. Leeds states that clutter creates a “brain dance,” an agitation and inability to think clearly amidst the stuff. She believes that “our clutter makes noise” keeping us “upset and churned.” When confronted with the piles and junk drawers we are also haunted with the “tyranny of shoulds,” stemming from our feelings of guilt about our disorganization. Leeds goes on further to describe disorganization as a “waste of time, waste of money, and waste of energy.”
Imam al Baqir said: “Cleaning of the house banishes misery”.Islamic ahadith suggest that satans and djinn live in dusty and neglected places. Some of the unseen beings that could result in evil might also include germs, mold and bacteria. The good news is that the actual act of cleaning your house not only improves your state of mind but cures spiritual lethargy.
Cleaning up significantly improves your quality of life without spending a penny. It’s something a poor person can do to make his or her home more beautiful and valuable. Islam teaches that the act of cleaning up actually increases your blessings.
Remove cobwebs from your house, for they cause poverty,” the Prophet reportedly said.
Sherrie Bourg Carter discusses in Psychology Today that not only is clutter a symptom of mental clutter and a side effect of stress, but in a vicious cycle, clutter in itself causes us stress: “Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed… Why does mess lead to so much stress?”
“Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.
Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organized”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brain storm, and problem solve.
Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter).”
One of the best things we can do as parents is to teach our children how to clean, by giving them the responsibility and showing them how to do it. Many children will respond best to cleaning up with help, as a group. In time, this will give children the confidence and organizational skills that come with experience. It’s best if we can find a way to make it fun, like “Let’s pretend we are playing basketball with the toys into the toy box!” rather than screaming and demanding. But even if you have to force them to clean, every boy and girl will need to know how to clean a toilet, how to mop a floor, how to scrub a stovetop or it will hurt their future chances for marriage!
Most of us often find it hard to muster up the excitement to throw ourselves into organizational tasks. In order to conquer this feeling, we can make a fun plan for what we are going to do after we finish cleaning. For example, “After cleaning the kitchen, I will set up candles and flowers to romance my spouse,” or “After I fix the leak under the sink, I will go out and play tennis with my neighbor.”
Viewing home upkeep as a step towards goal, not the goal, will make the task seem less daunting or at least more worthwhile.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pakistani Rape Laws Islamic or Un-Islamic?

Murtaza Haider in an important article, “A License to Rape” published in Dawn newspaper, discusses the British (not Islamic) origins of the Hudood laws of Pakistan, which prosecute women and even minor girls for being raped, while excusing the rapists.
Prof. Asifa Quraishi’s Michigan Journal of International Law article entitled “Her Honor: An Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan from a Woman-Sensitive Perspective,” details how the rape provisions of Pakistan’s Hudood Ordinance directly contradict Islamic law regarding sex crimes.
The Quran states: “Those who defame chaste women and do not bring four witnesses (shuhada) should be punished with eighty lashes, and their testimony should not be accepted afterwards, for they are profligates” (24:4).
“The Quranic speech is clear and without confusion. The requirement to produce four witnesses, and not just male witnesses, is required by the Quran to prevent false accusations of fornication against women,” Haider writes.
However, in Pakistan and in some other Muslim countries that have experienced the legacy of British rule, a woman is considered guilty UNLESS she can provide four male witnesses to prove that she is innocent!
This has given a lot of ammunition to Western and feminist critics of Islam and Muslims, because of the obvious injustice – especially regarding high rates of incest involving children within extended families. In the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Pakistan in 2010, Dr. Iram Manzoor wrote that most rape victims were aged between 10 and 19 years old.
“A series of events in the past few weeks have again highlighted the injustices being committed against women in the name of Islam in Pakistan,” writes Haider. “Recently, the three accused of raping an 18-year old woman at Jinnah’s Mausoleum were set free by a court in Karachi. The court refused to entertain the DNA evidence, which reportedly proved the guilt of the accused, and gave the accused the benefit of the doubt because the victim could not produce four eyewitnesses to the rape. Weeks later, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) decreed that the DNA evidence in the absence of four righteous men as witnesses to rape is not sufficient for conviction under Islamic law.”
“By turning our collective backs on science, logic, and ijtihad, we have brought ourselves to a state where discrimination against women and the disenfranchised is being committed in the name of Islam.” The CII ruling “contradicts the Islamic tradition of using scientific procedure to determine the truth or falsehood of rape accusations,” concludes Haider.
Anwar Mahmud Dabur in al-Qara’in wa Dawruha fi al-fiqh al-Jina’i al-Islami narrates the story of a woman who falsely accused another man of rape. She spread egg white on herself and her clothes and brought it as evidence to Caliph Umar ibn Khattab. The Caliph consulted another woman who confirmed the woman’s clothing bore semen stains. The Caliph consulted Ali (subsequently the fourth Caliph), who immersed the stained cloth in boiling water that turned the stains into white solid, which smelled and looked like egg.
In another case, “The Prophet himself (saw) is reported to have consulted an expert on face recognition to settle a paternity dispute (Sunan al-Dar Qutni).
Modern feminist theory considers rape to be a violent crime to be understood within the context of the power relationship between the rapist and the victim. A woman who is pressured into sex by an employer, or a prisoner who consents to sex with a prison guard, is considered blameless. The Quran similarly warns against raping slave women, and absolves the raped woman of sin.
“… And do not, in order to gain some of the fleeting pleasures of this worldly life, coerce your slave women into whoredom if they are desirous of marriage, and if anyone should coerce them, then, verily, after they have been compelled (to submit in their helplessness), God will be much forgiving, a dispenser of grace (to them)” (24:33).
During the time of the Prophet (saw), punishment was inflicted on the rapist on the solitary testimony of the victim. Wa’il ibn Hujr reports of an incident when a woman was raped. Later, when some people came by, she identified and accused the man of raping her. They seized him and brought him to Allah’s messenger, who said to the woman, “Go away, for Allah has forgiven you,” but of the man who had raped her, he said, “Stone him to death.” (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud).
During the time when Umar (raa) was the Khalifah, a woman accused his son Abu Shahmah of raping her; she brought the infant borne of this incident with her to the mosque and publicly spoke about what had happened. Umar (raa) asked his son who acknowledged committing the crime and was duly punished right there and then. There was no punishment given to the woman. (Rauf)
Uzma Mazhar writes in “Rape & Incest: Islamic Perspective,” that traditional Islamic legal scholars interpret rape as a crime in the category of hiraba (violent crime). Rape and incest are not considered a subcategory of zina (fornication). Al-Dasuqi held that if a person forced a woman to have sex, his actions would be deemed as committing hiraba. Ibn ‘Arabi held that “hiraba with the private parts” is much worse than hiraba involving the taking of money, since anyone would rather be subjected to the latter than the former.
“Each school of Islamic law has held that where a woman is harmed through sexual intercourse (some include marital intercourse), she is entitled to financial compensation for the harm. Further, where this intercourse was without the consent of the woman, the perpetrator must pay the woman both the basic compensation for the harm, as well as an additional amount based on the ‘diyya’ (financial compensation for murder, akin to a wrongful death payment),” concludes Mazhar.
Holding rapists accountable for their crimes is a good start, but in the long run we must also look at the social conditions that lead to rape. In the west, free mixing of men and women is often viewed by Muslims as leading to fornication (consensual sex). However, the extreme cultural segregation of men and women in some Muslim countries can also be viewed as possibly leading to rape and incest, in the same way that priestly celibacy leads to pedophelia and homosexual perversions within the Catholic church.
Respectful and appropriate interaction rather than total avoidance of females should probably be encouraged before secret perversions develop, so that boys and men will more likely respect girls and women as equally valuable human beings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Timeline of Zionist Criminality

Supporting the existence of a State for Jews is a total betrayal of
fundamental American values.
Forced transfer of native Palestinian population proposed by
Zionist leader Theodor Herzl.
Racist Eastern European settlers organize to terrorize the native
people of Palestine.
Zionists collaborate with Nazis to fund the creation of a Jewish
State on Palestinian land.
Arab leaders offer asylum to European Jews fleeing the Nazis and
present a plan for legal Jewish immigration to Arab countries.
Zionist leader Ben-Gurion refuses offer and condemns millions of
Jews to death.
Zionists begin genocide of Palestinians to create a racist Jewish
State. Arab states attempt humanitarian intervention but fail.
Israel destroys hundreds of Biblical villages, murders or expels
700,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians.
Israel wages two aggressive, premeditated wars against Arab
nations, grabs land from Syria, Egypt, and Jordan, expels hundreds
of thousands of people, and kills thousands of Egyptian and
Palestinian prisoners.
Israel invades Lebanon and starts a war in which 20,000 Lebanese
civilians are killed. 2,000 unarmed Palestinian women, children and
old men are massacred at Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps.
Arafat initiates the Middle East Peace Process at the UN General
Assembly in Geneva.
Oslo agreement solidifies Israel’s apartheid system and
disenfranchises Palestinian refugees.
Arafat rejects Israel's “generous offer” to imprison
Palestinian natives on isolated reservations.
Israel begins construction of a 650-km Wall to surround and starve
Palestinian population areas.
Israel attacks Jenin refugee camp with bulldozers and buries
Palestinians alive in the rubble.
Israeli bulldozer deliberately crushes and kills 23-year old
American peace activist Rachel Corrie while she takes part in
nonviolent protest to stop the demolition of a Palestinian doctor's
Worldwide Boycott of Israeli products, vacations, and investments
gains momentum.
Racist Ethnic Ashkenazi Neoconservatives manipulate the USA into
attacking Iraq for the benefit of Israel and to the detriment of the
national interest. Americans die for Israel. American wealth is
wasted for Israel. The increasing debt needed to support Zionist-
dictated policy threatens the economic well being of all Americans.
Now the USA is directly involved in the same sort of criminal
occupation that the State of Israel maintains. Increasing hatred of
the USA spreads throughout the world.

Support the Palestinian Right to Return.

Endnotes and References

1902 Muhammad Ali Khalidi details the forced transfer plan in
“Utopian Zionism or Zionist Proselytism? The Journal of Palestine
Studies, 120, Volume XXX, Number 4, Summer 2001, pp. 55-67. A
careful reading of Altneuland by Herzl is also worthwhile. A
carefully prepared edition may be found in 'Wenn ihr wollt, ist es
kein Märchen' from Juedischer Verlag bei Athenaem. Walid Khalidi
reproduces and analyzes the forced transfer text in “The Jewish-
Ottoman Land Company: Herzl's Blueprint for the Colonization of
Palestine, Journal of Palestine Studies 21, no. 2 (Winter 1993), pp.
1908 Zionist paramilitary groups existed before 1908, but haShomer,
which is the best known, was founded in that year. Asher Ginzburg or
Ahad ha`Am) criticizes them; he even accuses them of 'fundraising,'
creating incidents that could be used in campaigns to solicit
contributions. Rashid Khalidi provides a good discussion in
Palestinian Identity on pp 89-117 of Bar Giora and HaShomer, which
were paramilitaries established to prevent Palestinians from
exercising water rights. Zionism and the Arabs (1882 - 1948) by
Yosef Gorny (p. 100) discusses Ahad ha`Am's opinion of Zionist
attempts to suppress the native population. Dr. B. Hofman discusses
the Zionist militias and their intimidation and terrorization of the
native Palestinian population in Meyn Reyze in Erets Yisroel. Anita
Shapira includes a somewhat mendacious discussion of early Zionist
terrorism in Hereb hayyonah.
1933-39 Because of the close collaboration of Zionists and Nazis
during the 1930s, Hannah Arendt called this period the Zionist phase
of Nazism (viz. Heidegger's Children by Richard Wolin). Edwin
Black's book, The Transfer Agreement, is the standard text on Nazi-
Zionist collaboration. It makes clear that the transfer of funds
from Nazi Germany under this agreement made the Jewish State
1934 Al-Jabiri, Ihsan, 'La Visite de M. Ben Gurion - la delegation
Syro-Palestinienne Geneve, La Nation Arabe (Nov-Dec 1934), 144-146.
If the Zionists had accepted the offer, at least one million more
European Jews could have survived WW2.
1947-48 The international legal definition of genocide is assumed
(viz. Benny
Morris' The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, is
the basic text on Zionist ethnic cleansing. The War for Palestine,
Rewriting the History of 1948, edited by Eugene L. Rogan and Avi
Shlaim, updates Morris' data and conclusions. The web page,, gives a
somewhat inadequate translation of the Arab League's declaration of
reasons for humanitarian intervention in Palestine in 1948. The
Arabic title of the document uses the phrase humanitarian
intervention and not invasion.
1948-56 The web site,, provides a
tremendous amount of data on this issue. Facts on the Ground by
Nadia Abu el-Haj discusses the ideology of destroying the physical
record of the presence of Palestinians as does Meron Benvenisti's
Sacred Landscape: Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948.
1956-67 How Israel Was Won, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli
Conflict, by Baylis Thomas (pp 115-172) provides a reasonable
summary (with citations) of the history of the premeditated
aggressive war by UK, France and Israel's against Egypt in 1956.
Thomas discusses the issue of the 1967 aggression on p. 165, and his
assessment is not much different from what Moshe Dayan has said in
his memoirs and comments on the 1967 war. The web page,,
discusses the IDF killing of Egyptian POWs in 1956. The web page,, discusses the IDF killing
of Egyptian and Palestinian POWs in 1967.
1982 Robert Fisk's Pity the Nation provides the standard description
of Israel's aggression against Lebanon.
1988 Arafat's speech to the UN General Assembly
( speaks for itself.
1993 The Oslo Agreement gave the Israeli State the legal basis for
setting up the checkpoint and pass system within the occupied
territories that is so similar to (actually much worse than)
Apartheid South Africa. The Oslo Agreement ignores refugee claims.
Uri Savir's The Process discusses the history of Oslo. The web page, provides an index of
Oslo documents.
2000 The web page,, provides a good
summary with maps of the proposed Palestinian reservations.
2002 The relationship of the Wall to increasing Palestinian hunger
is clear on visiting Palestine. Food must be shipped through the
checkpoints, and the IDF hinders such shipments. But perhaps a more
important issue has been the confiscation of Palestinian farmland
near the Wall and on what is now the Israel side of the Wall.
Palestinians are still mostly an agricultural population. If Israel
takes away their farmland, it takes away their food. Jenin Jenin
starring and directed by Mohamad Bakri addresses the IDF rampage
through Jenin. It is worth noting that Jenin (Biblical `Ein Gannem)
is probably the second oldest city on the planet. The web document,, describes
the attack on Jenin from the standpoint of an Israeli reservist.
2003 Senior IDF commanders seem to have decided to try to drive
internationals out of the Occupied Territories (by treating them
like Palestinians) in order to obtain the freedom to commit greater
acts of terrorism and brutality. In short succession the IDF
murders Rachel Corrie, mortally wounds Tom Hurndall and shoots the
face off Brian Avery (see, and
2003-04 The Israeli tourism industry is for all intents and purposes
dead. Investment in Israel has dried up, and Israeli academics are
personae non gratae throughout Europe.
2004-05 Presidential advisers Perle, Feith and Wurmser wrote A Clean
Break:A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
( as a strategy to serve
Israeli interests. This strategy has become US policy. Either
these advisers cannot distinguish US interests from Israeli
interests, or they can. In either case, their behavior is probably
treasonous, and Bush by accepting this policy recommendation has
effectively renounced his duty to serve the USA and to uphold the
constitution for the sake of Israel. Bush is now guilty of high
crimes and misdemeanors. He should be impeached, convicted, removed
from office, sent to Guantanamo so that he can be interrogated to
determine the extent of his treason.
ISRAEL IS RACIST. Zionism is un-American and racist because Zionism
presumes that the 'national, ethnic or historical rights' of Jews to
Palestine are superior to the human rights (including property
rights and residence rights) of the native population - a statement
of volkisch and colonialist racism. The only workable solution in
Palestine requires without limitation: (1) absolute rejection of
the concept of an ethnicity-based nation state as unethical, (2)
establishment of a nonracial multicultural democracy in Palestine,
(3) a sincere apology from Zionists to the Palestinian people, (4)
complete restitution to Palestinians for their losses, (5) return of
all property to its rightful owners, (6) repatriation of all
Palestinians, who will receive full citizenship in the nonracial
state, and (7) creation of Nuremberg-style tribunals for all
Zionist perpetrators of crimes against humanity. Supporting the
existence of Israel as a State for Jews is a total betrayal of
fundamental American values.
Joachim Martillo
Israeli History 101
By Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, PhD
Chaim Weizmann (1874?-1952) was born in Motol, Russia and became a
British subject in 1910. During World War I, Weizmann discovered an
improved method of making acetone and butyl alcohol for explosives
to aid British war efforts. He was thus instrumental in securing
British government commitment to Zionism in the form of the Balfour
Declaration (which was secured in a letter addressed to Weizmann).
He also served as special advisor to the British Ministry of Supply.
For his efforts on behalf of the Zionist project he was rewarded by
becoming first president of the state of Israel.
David Ben-Gurion was born David Green in Plonsk, Russia (now in
Poland). He settled in Palestine in 1906. As chairman of the
Executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine from 1935 to 1948, Ben-
Gurion directed all Jewish affairs to transform the country from
multi-ethnic/multi-cultural area to a Jewish state "to redeem its
Jewish nature". His activities ranged from land development and
settlement of immigrants to secret activities against natives and
later (after the Palestinian revolt of 1936 jolted the British
rulers) against the British. Here is an excerpt from Rabin's memoirs
about Ben Guion: "We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us.
Allon repeated his question, 'What is to be done with the
Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture
which said 'Drive them out!'" (Yitzhak Rabin's memoires, leaked
censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times,
23 October 1979; Rabin's description of the conquest of Lydda, after
the completion of Plan Dalet).
Moshe Sharett, 1894?1965, Born in Russia, originally named Shertok.
In 1906 he settled in Palestine where he was active in the labor
movement. In 1933 he became head of the political department of the
Jewish Agency for Palestine. Sharett was David Ben-Gurion's closest
associate in the struggle for an independent Jewish state. In 1948
he was appointed foreign minister of Israel and from 1953 to 1955
served as prime minister. He resigned from the government in 1956.
Sharet sought to strengthen Israel's position by statesmanship
rather than confrontation. His replacement as premier by Ben-Gurion
in 1955 and retirement in 1956 reflected the movement in Israel
toward confrontation that resulted in the 1956 Arab-Israeli War.
Levi Eshkol (1895?1969) was born Levi Shkolnik in Ukraine (then
under Russian control). In World War I he served in the Jewish
Legion, which supported the British forces in Palestine. He moved to
Palestine and helped build up the Haganah, the Jewish underground
organization that helped ethnically cleanse Palestine between 1947-
Golda Meir (1898-1978) was born Golda Mabovitz in Kiev, Ukraine. Her
family moved to Milwaukee in 1906. In 1921, she and her husband,
Morris Meyerson (the name was changed to Meir in 1956) settled in
Palestine. She once declared "There are no such thing as
Palestinians." Her secret agreements with King Abdullah in 1947 was
instrumental in thwarting the formation of a Palestinian state and
in the Hashemite's control over the area known as the "West Bank"
(see Avi Shlaim "Collusion across the Jordan")
Menachem Begin was born in Brest-Litovsk, Russia (now Brest,
Belarus). In the 1930's, he became active in the Zionist underground
terror movement and moved to Palestine in 1942 whereupon he engaged
in terrorism including bombings in civilian areas. Wanted for murder
by the British mandate authorities. Once called
Palestinians "cockroaches"
Yitzhak Shamir was born 1915 in Ruzinoy, a village in eastern
Poland. His last name was Jazernicki and he changed it. He joined
the Irgun Zvai Leumi, an underground Jewish terrorist group in 1937
and was involved in several terrorist attacks against civilians. In
1940, Shamir joined the more radical Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Israel
Freedom Fighters), or Stern Gang. He was twice arrested for his
terrorist activities by the British and fled to France in 1946. When
Israel was established, he came back and then worked for the Mossad,
Israel's intelligence agency responsible for continuing terrorism
against the native Palestinians.
Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995), was born in Jerusalem to Zionist settler
parents. In 1941, Rabin joined the Palmach, a unit of the Jewish
underground army in Palestine and was deputy commander of the
Palmach in 1947-1948 when the group engaged in ethnically cleansing
Palestinians (as Benny Morris documented expulsion of Palestinians
in the LOd and Ramle areas were carried out under Rabin's command).
Famous as Israeli defense minister in the late 1980s for ordering
troops to "break the bones" of Palestinian demonstrators (mostly
children). Rabin stated that "The Oslo "Peace Process" is "A new
instrument for reaching traditional [Israeli] objectives" (according
to Uri Savir, his chief negotiator, from ). Henry Kissinger stated "I
ask Rabin to make concessions, and he says he can't because Israel
is too weak. So I give him arms, and he says he doesn't need to make
concessions because Israel is strong" (quoted in Findley's
Deliberate Deceptions p.199). Yitzhak Rabin, once said (in the
Knesset): "For all its faults, Labor has done more and remains
capable of doing more in the future [in expanding Jewish
settlements] than Likud with all of its doing. We have never talked
about Jerusalem. We have just made a 'fait accompli.' It was we who
built the suburbs in [the annexed part of] Jerusalem. The Americans
didn't say a word, because we built these suburbs cleverly."
Ehud Barak, was born 1942 as Ehud Brog, son of East European
immigrants in Palestine. He later adopted the Hebrew name Barak
[meaning lightning]. He began his military service in 1959. He was a
member of a secret assasination unit that killed a number of
Palestinian political leaders in Lebanon (e.g. Beirut 1976) and
liquidating resistance in teh occupied territories. He was rewarded
by rising quickly through the ranks to become the youngest army
chief of staff in Israeli history.
Ariel Sharon (Arik Scheinerman) was born in British-ruled Palestine
in 1929 from Russian immigrant settlers. In 1953, he was asked to
set up a unit for "preemeptive strikes" across the borders.
This "unit 101" spread terror and murderous violence among the
Palestinian population to force them to flee from their homes and
land near the border. On October 14, 1953, Sharon committed a
massacre in the village of Qibya (then under Jordanianrule). Ben
Gurion lied when he said the massacre was committed by enraged
Israeli villagers (as later documents showed). 69 civilians (mostly
women and children) were murdered. In the early 1970s, his forces
were charged with the task of "pacifying" the recalcitrant Gaza
Strip. He imposed a brutal policy of repression, blowing up houses,
bulldozing large tracts of refugee camps, imposing severe collective
punishments and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians. The
whole area was effectively transformed into a jail. He was to become
involved in the settlements project, in founding Likud, and a number
of other "acheivements." He was the archjitect oF Israel's invasion
of Lebanon. His funded and armed a mercenary/proxy Phallange forces
committed the massacres at Sabra and Shatila for which he is being
indicted for war crimes. His crimes continue to date unchecked (both
Amnesty and Human Rights Watch stated that recent actions in teh
past two months amount to war crimes). See
Shimon Peres (1923 -) was born as Shimon Perski in Vishniva, Poland
(now Belarus). He and his parents came to Palestine in 1934 (under
British rule). He joined the underground Israeli forces, the
Haganah, and served as a chief of its manpower division in the
1940s. He is the architect of Israel's nuclear program. Appointed in
1953 as dorector general of the ministry of defense, he immediately
started exploring teh nuclear development. In teh late 1950s and
early 1960s, Israel developed its nuclear program primarily with eth
help of France while maintaining the Peres doctrine of "ambiguity."
The US and Britain and other countries looked the other way. He was
awarded (with Rabin and Arafat) the Nobel Peace Prize for their Oslo
accords. The Nobel committee members recently signed a letter
regretting their awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize (based on his
recent actions as member of the Sharon government).


Friday, June 07, 2013

Lost Innocence at Guantánamo

Rebuffing President Barack Obama’s latest plea, House Republicans last week proposed keeping open the military-run prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, barring the administration from transferring its terror suspects to the United States or foreign countries, and giving the Pentagon $247.4 million to upgrade Guantanamo.
Former Guantánamo guard Terry Holdbrooks, who worked at Camp Delta from June 2003 through July 2004 and wrote a book about his experiences entitled “Traitor,” said that the US military base in Cuba “was essentially chosen for the legal limbo that it posed so long ago, being that it was not under Geneva Convention soil. We have held people there in nearly every conflict, particularly, WW2, Cold War, Desert Storm, and now this. At any rate, there is no longer a concern for legal limbo, as with the War on T’error’ and the bills that have been passed, Bush, and now Obama can essentially do as they please, legal or not, and claim that it is in the best interest of the US.”
There are currently 166 men left at Guantánamo. They are indefinitely detained at a cost of $1 million a year per inmate, despite nearly all being cleared for release. The only men at Guantánamo who are still considered guilty of terrorism are the so-called “masterminds” of 9/11: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin ‘Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.
“I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is famous for confessing.
These five men are not being held with the general population, but housed in Camp 7, otherwise known as “Camp No.” Holdbrooks told TMO he has never seen them and has no idea who is in charge of guarding them. He has no doubt the men are being severely tortured, but also expressed certainty that there is nobody who cares.
“No one is coming for them. It would not matter if the men in Guantánamo were in the US, they would still be locked up, and no one would come for them.”
The U.S. Justice Department released a 2005 memo which states that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 alone. As a result of these interrogations, he confessed to 26 pages of terrorist acts around the globe.
The US government seriously charges him with “training hijackers to hide knives in carry-on bags before boarding the planes. Under Mohammed’s direction, the hijackers learned how to slit the throats of passengers by practicing on sheep, goats and camels.”
On May 5, 2012 CNN reported, “The five refused to co-operate with court proceedings in various ways. They are each charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.”
The actual evidence against the five men ranges from wiring relatively small amounts of money to suspicious persons to repeatedly applying for US tourist visas after being rejected. They seem to be most guilty of not recognizing the US government’s authority to try them and using the trial as a platform to make political statements. 
During his pretrial hearing, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed stated that the U.S. government sanctioned torture in the name of national security and compared the plane hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people to the millions who have been killed by America’s military. After Mohammed’s remarks, military judge Captain James Pohl refused to allow any other personal comments by the accused at trial.
“If martyrdom happens to me today, I welcome it. God is great! God is great! God is great!” Binalshibh told his trial judge, Marine Colonel Ralph Kohlmann.
While it appears that the five men are seeking execution as a way of escaping prison, many more men are starving themselves to death to protest their indefinite detention.
“Emaciated and frail, more than 100 men lie on concrete floors of freezing, solitary cells in Guantánamo, silently starving themselves to death,” reports Terri Judd in the Independent, UK.
“They’ve lost hope. They’ve decided it’s better to die,” Holdbrooks said. “One of them is down to 70 pounds… With nothing to do but read a book you have memorized, or pace in a 6 by 8 cell, there really isn’t much to be hopeful for.”
Terry Holdbrooks described their situation: “You are on an island, surrounded by a mine field, surrounded by fences with lookout towers, in a cage within a larger cage called a block in a larger cage called a camp in a larger cage known as Camp Delta. You have at a minimum 4 sally ports to make way out of, each requiring ID, keys, and searching of persons. The cells are guarded by people like me, who walk up and down a block all day and night… Guantánamo is not a place people can break out of, it is impossible, literally, impossible. 90 miles from land (Florida) surrounded by mine fields, men in towers, automatic weapons and grenade launchers and sniper rifles…”
Author David Hicks, an Australian man who was kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance and sold to the US for bounty wrote in a letter to his father that his confessions made at Guantánamo were false and made only to get released. Hicks told his father that he was pressured into pleading guilty to a wide-range of war crimes charges and he feared that if he didn’t comply he would be sent to “Camp 5,” a “very bad place with complete isolation…”
“Know that if I make a deal it will be against my will,” Hicks wrote. “I just couldn’t handle it any longer. I’m disappointed in our government. I’m an Australian citizen. If I’ve committed a crime I can be man enough to accept the consequences but I shouldn’t have to admit to things I haven’t done or listen to people falsely accuse me. We can’t let them get away with it.”
“I feel bad about the idea that Guantánamo is even in existence,” concludes Holdbrooks. “I would love to see Guantánamo given back to Cuba and for the facility and land to be free of US persons. None the less, what will happen with Guantánamo when these men go home is what worries me. It will get filled again, probably with Americans… Guantánamo is really, to me, nothing more than a blatant example of where we as a country are heading if citizens do not take back control of our own country.”

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Jericho Conference Convenes in Boston

The annual National Jericho Conference to support political prisoners in the US was held on May 25-26 in Boston, Massachusetts. The small but intense gathering brought together community organizers and activists from near and far.

Ethiopia Belay of Portland, Oregon told TMO, “I joined Jericho because I can’t imagine living in a world where fighting for freedom and justice results in your freedom being taken away... All these people were fighting for their people, for all people, for me. Their work paved the way for our own work as activists.”

The civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s was crushed by government spying, assassination and imprisonment of the leadership. Activists today face similar threats, but there is no longer a community standing together. Individualism has caused the movement to degenerate into a “workshop seminar culture, remiss of infrastructure,” said Jericho co-chair Jihad Abdulmumit, who largely presided over the conference. 

“There is no movement anymore. Unless we build it. Don’t know how to talk? Learn it. Study what we’re about. Learn what you are about. Then talk to people... We are each others’ responsibility,” said Abdulmumit.

“We are living in an age where they can detain you without trial, where they can arrest you for speaking, for associating with the wrong people. If they come for me today they’ll come for you tomorrow. Those who stand silent while others are incarcerated for their political beliefs don’t deserve freedom themselves,” said Ray Luc Levasseur, who spent 20 years in Marion and Florence ADX for his involvement with United Freedom Front.

Dozens of political prisoners from the Civil Rights era lost their lives behind bars. Jalil Muntaqim of the Black Liberation Army (BLA) has spent the past 39 years in solitary confinement inside Attica Prison. David Gilbert from the Weather Underground is maintaining spiritual calm living out his life sentence. Former Black Panther Veronza Bowers served out his 30 year sentence but on the day of his release nearly ten years ago, was slapped with the new “terrorism” designation and remains imprisoned, despite model behavior. Some activists, like Lefty Gilday, have died in prison. Jericho empowers people to make sure these aging warriors don’t die alone, to work for their release, and failing that, to demand that their body be returned to friends and family for burial.

“Prison is social death. As long as we talk about them and remember them, they are not dead,” said Ahmad Rahman, associate professor of African and African-American History at the University of Michigan Dearborn, who spent nearly 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, because of his organizing work with the Black Panthers. He also believes it is necessary for social justice advocates to revise their tactics, because what worked in previous decades is ineffective now.

Rahman spoke to TMO about his concern that Muslim prison chaplains are being hired by the government to recruit informers. “These Arabs have developed a reputation of yearning badly to be recognized as equally white with the prison guards and administrators. This makes them identify more closely with these non-Muslims in opposition to the ‘black criminals’ they were hired to serve... After 911 especially, the federal and state law enforcement agencies have sought to use them in prisons to "protect national security" from the ‘Islamic threat.’”

Several former political prisoners and family members of political prisoners were in attendance at the conference, including Sharmin Sadaquee, the sister of Ehsanul Shifa Sadaquee, who was kidnapped in Bangladesh and is serving a 17 year sentence. The new baby daughter of Black Panther alum Ashanti Alston was applauded as a symbol of hope for the future. Also inspiring hope were students from Youth Against Mass Incarceration, who work to raise the political awareness of communities affected by the prison system.

“These young people are the answer to our prayer!” exclaimed Sheila Hayes, the wife of Robert Seth Hayes, who is serving a life sentence due to his involvement with the Black Panther Party. She said that for a prisoner, knowing that there are people out there who support you makes a huge difference, especially young people who learn about the huge sacrifices of the Civil Rights era and who say, “I appreciate that you fought for my rights before you even knew me.” Hayes loves that her husband walks proudly and without shame, knowing that he fought a government that was wrong.

Sheila Hayes married Robert Seth Hayes five years ago while visiting him in prison. “I’ve been happy ever since!” she told TMO, glowing. She pledged to her husband, “I know you are not going anywhere, but you don’t have to worry because I am not going anywhere!” 

Hayes is concerned about the ailing health of the 65 year old prisoner who suffers from diabetes, neuropathy in his legs, and a broken finger, and has not received adequate medical attention. He was recently found passed out in a diabetic coma in his cell. Hayes calls the prison regularly to demand they take care of him. 

Paulette Dauteuil, who has been an activist since the Vietnam War, told TMO, “These men are people I met on the street. As a single mother who had never been arrested, it became my responsibility to take care of the prisoners - visiting, providing material support, helping out family members, and it became my responsibility to organize white people and educate them about political struggle... It is my duty to support Muslim political prisoners who have been framed by the government as much as these men who have been inside for a long time, because we cannot allow the government to do this to people.”

Dauteuil moderated a discussion on the deteriorating health conditions of several other long term political prisoners and the need for the public to lobby aggressively for their release. Mutulu Shakur had a stroke last February. Abdul Maumin Khabir is suffering respiratory failure. Thomas Manning has not been able to walk for three years due to inadequate treatment of a knee infection. A damaged shoulder prevents him from wheeling his wheelchair. Anthony Jalil Bottom, the first political prisoner to ever submit a petition to the UN in 1976 has suffered a stroke. Mondo We Langa needs an oxygen tank, and Attorney Lynn Stewart, who represented Shaykh Omar Abdul Rahman, and who was jailed for giving a press conference about the his innocence, has Stage 4 breast cancer, which is spreading to her lungs. 

According to a new report by the Justice Department’s independent inspector general, the federal Bureau of Prisons could save taxpayer money and reduce overcrowding if it better manages a program for the “compassionate release” of inmates who are dying or facing other extraordinary circumstances. However, this process requires that the Bureau of Prisons director appeals to the original sentencing judge for permission to release the prisoner! This is impossible without intense public pressure.

Former BLA political prisoner Kazi Toure who did 10 years of time commented, “If we can’t get Lynn Stewart out - a white woman who is not charged with any violent crime - who can we get out?”

Kate Bonner Jackson of the Tarek Mehanna Defense Committee said, “The long haul is harder than mobilizing people to attend a trial,” as it involves teaching community members how to avoid becoming victims of the system themselves. One of the first things we must encourage people to do is to stop using the word terrorist,” advised Jackson. This word “delegitimizes the people’s struggle and is used to repress us.”

Exclusive interview with Jihad Abdulmumit

The legendary Jihad Abdulmumit spent 23 years in prison for his involvement with the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. He now serves as co-chair of the National Jericho Movement and is on the Majlis Ash-Shura of Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). Jihad Abdulmumit told TMO the story of how he found Islam in prison:

“I was a Marxist-Leninist in the Black Panther Party. That was the vibe back then - Maoism was the language we learned from revolutionary independence movements in North Africa in the 1950’s. My mother was a Christian, but I considered it the slavemaster’s religion, with the white Jesus - I ran from that. I always believed in God but my first exposure to the Nation of Islam seemed ludicrous, like a Black form of Christianity, with the Prophet considered God. Also, I had too many white friends to believe in the theory of the blue-eyed devil. Even though I was in BLA, I had white hippie friends. That era reflected struggle: the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, Black Power. 

“In prison I was invited to Jummah. There I met Kamau Siddiki (Fred Hilton), who fathered Assata Shakur’s daughter. He was someone whom I greatly admired and respected, and I was surprised to find out that he was now a Muslim. He got out of prison, but he is back in prison now. For the first time, I saw brothers coming out of the bathroom after making wudu. It was all new to me. Kamal gave me some pamphlets, which I read. I used my Marxist mind to critique it. I looked for flaws in it but found no flaws in the concept of La ilaha il Allah. I made Shahada quickly - it took me about two weeks to decide. Islam answered my questions about the beginning of Creation and satisfied my confusion about whether matter has always existed or whether a Supreme Entity has always existed, with supreme divine consciousness. Now I understand that we will return to that Entity in the same way as our body, as matter, returns to the Earth. I was also moved to learn that the Prophet was illiterate.

“I realized that the real me was the philosophical part, not just the outward revolutionary activist engaged in community building. Once my questions were answered about where we came from and where we are going, and about Allah being the Creator of the universe, and then the whole revelation of the Prophet, understanding his life, I bore witness to the fact that I believe that to be true. My involvement in the community hasn’t changed but my motivation has changed: Now it’s pleasing Allah, doing good deeds, being a good person. My fight against injustice and oppression hasn’t changed but my methods have changed to Quran and Sunnah. I believe it’s the best way of life. I try to set an example and I value other people and their beliefs also. I work with a lot of different people and I relish that. I recognize that we are truly diverse.”