“The Inquisition Comes to Boston” – The case of Dr. Tarek Mehanna

11006 Viers Mill Rd, STE L-15, PMB 298
Silver Spring, MD. 20902
(December 21, 2011)
Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):
In taking a quick break from the road, I came across this excellent fact-based commentary that I wanted to immediately forward out to our listserve. What Richard Hugus writes about the trial of Dr. Tarek Mehanna (with respect to the motive and driving force behind the government-orchestrated preemptive prosecution of this committed young Muslim) also applies to the recently concluded Raleigh 7 trial; the Newburgh 4 trial; the Fort Dix 5 trial; the Fahad Hashmi trial; the “Virginia Jihad” trial; and the list goes on and on!
I followed Hugus’ article with a powerful piece of commentary by Tarek, to remind most of our readers, and introduce to others, the connection that our brother has to another political prisoner – Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
The struggle continues…
El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
The Inquisition Comes to Boston
by Richard Hugus
December 21, 2012

The recent finishing off of the Bill of Rights in the National Defense Authorization Act was actually just a formality. The United States has been able to persecute and convict US citizens for a long time now
whether they had a trial by jury or not. José Padilla was convicted without a trial. Aafia Siddiqui and Lynn Stewart were convicted with a trial. Convictions with a trial are a sure thing for Uncle Sam because he has carried out so much political indoctrination that just about any jury pool in the United States has had the alleged facts of the war on terror so deeply imprinted in their minds that a prosecutor has only to press the right buttons for the jury to reach a guilty verdict.

The buttons are words like “al-Qaeda” and “Osama bin Laden”, perhaps a video clip of the World Trade Center attack. They have worked time and time again. Jury trials don’t make any difference when it comes to terrorism cases because the American public is deeply ignorant and long trained to be intimidated by authority.

A case in point is the conviction of Tarek Mehanna in a Boston federal court on December 20, 2011. Mehanna is an Egyptian-American Muslim who was arrested by the FBI in 2009, at the age of 27, on charges of material support for terrorism. He spent two years in solitary confinement in a prison in Plymouth, Massachusetts before facing trial — in a sense, convicted without a trial. When the trial finally took
place it went on for eight weeks. It was a circus of prejudicial evidence, government-coerced informers, Patriot Act snooping by the FBI, phony government experts on terrorism, and all-around ignorance about
the Muslim religion. Federal Judge O’Toole allowed everything put forward by the prosecution, no matter how irrelevant, and denied almost all defense objections. Tarek’s sentence, scheduled for April 12, 2012,
could be life in prison.

Among the supporters of the government case against Mehanna was Americans for Peace and Tolerance, who demonstrated outside the courthouse on the first day of  trial. Americans for Peace and Tolerance
is a new front group led by Charles Jacobs, a professional right-wing Zionist from Boston. Jacobs also led the anti-Muslim media watchdog, CAMERA; the anti-Muslim American Anti-Slavery Group, which promoted the attack on Sudan; and the anti-Muslim pro-Israel on campus David Project. Jacobs has been involved for years in an attack on a mosque in the Roxbury area of Boston, and now on the mosque’s Imam.

The dark side of the conviction of Tarek Mehanna is the involvement of Zionism in the attack on Muslims in general. This attack is an important part of the foundation of the war on terror. Eager to find an enemy to
replace Communism, fascist America took a cue from Zionist Israel and created a new all-purpose enemy out of Arabs and Muslims.  Where Arab and Muslim terrorists do not exist, the FBI is now there to create them. Mehanna’s original offense was refusing to become an informant at his mosque for the FBI. The assumption here is that mosques are  places of criminal activity — an idea clearly promoted by Charles Jacobs. Elsewhere the FBI has duped young men who could be identified as Arab by their names and planted them in the midst of so-called terrorist plots which were conceived, funded, and all but carried out by that same FBI.

Another Massachusetts man recently became the victim of such a plot, when the FBI arrested him for planning to send model airplanes provided by them to attack buildings chosen by them, with explosives, also provided by them. This is the new COINTEL program — an undercover operation to support a factitious war, based on what we must remember is a central Zionist imperative: demonizing Arabs and Muslims in order to
steal their land and resources. What Zionist Israel has done to Palestine, Zionist USA will do to the world, all the while claiming itself the victim, acting in self-defense.

The only thing the United States was able to prove in its case against Tarek Mehanna was that he was opposed to the war in Iraq. There was nothing he said in the hundreds of instant messages and online chats,
stolen from his computer and introduced absurdly as evidence, which would not have been said by any opponent of that genocidal attack. Oddly, the US government in this trial became like the infallible Church
in the Spanish Inquisition — the arbiter of thoughts which only it was in a position to declare heresy, and thoughts about a subject which, by relentless propaganda, it had the power to make into a reality: the
deservedness of Arab people, indeed all people of color, to undergo extermination by white supremacy. How fitting that Tarek now awaits his sentence in Plymouth, the place where it all began.

By Dr. Tarek Mehanna
During the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), those who entered Islam were of two types: those who remained in their lands with the general populace practicing the basic tenets of the religion, and those who took it upon themselves to migrate and join the Prophet in his expeditions. There are ahadith that show that the Prophet treated these two groups differently from each other due to their difference in status. For example, Muslim and at-Tirmidhi report that when appointing a leader to a battalion, he would instruct him on how to deal with those of the enemy who became Muslims, saying: “…invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of the Muhajirin, and inform them that if they do so, they will have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajirin. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of the Bedouins, and will be subjected to the commands of Allah like the rest of the believers…” This distinction was simply of one group deciding to take upon its shoulders certain responsibilities in contrast to the other whose inactivity limited them to a very individualistic, localized, benign practice of Islam. One can in essence say that the Prophet divided the practice of the Muslims at the time into two types: the religion of the Migrants (Din al-Muhajirin, whose adherents took upon their shoulders the responsibilities of aiding and giving victory to Islam), and the religion of the Bedouins (Din al-A’rab, whose adherents did not go beyond the basics).
Although the depiction is of a situation that existed over a thousand years ago, it is an eternal pattern that Muslims will be distributed amongst these levels in every era and in every place. So, one can notice this distinction even amongst the practicing Muslims of the East and West. The Din al-A’rab of the past can be compared to the Islam that is limited to the five pillars, eating zabihah, and keeping the local mosque clean. Considering how difficult it is in the West to come across even these Muslims, imagine what joy comes to the eye and heart to see those who go a step further and reach the level of adhering to Din al-Muhajirin – those whose concern spans the entire Ummah, driving them to get up and become active workers for Islam, to dedicate their every minute to the service of Allah however they can no matter what other responsibilities clutter their busy lives, to have their hearts beat with the rest of the Muslims – all this with their heads raised high and paying no regard to those around them who eat and live like cattle, as it was said:
هكذا الاحرار في دنيا العبيد
Such are the free in a world of the enslaved…
Recently, the entire world has been speaking about one such person – a short, thin college student, wife, and mother of three small children. Her name is Aafia Siddiqui.
I want you to be drawn to the story of this woman and also understand why I was drawn to it. I want you to come to know of the concern and dedication that this woman had for Islam as described by those who knew her – a dedication that was manifested by way of actions that were very simple and easy, yet seldom carried out by those who are able.
Those who knew Aafia recall that she was a very small, quiet, polite, and shy woman who was barely noticeable in a gathering. However, they add that when necessary, she would say what needed to be said. She was once giving a speech at a fundraiser for Bosnian orphans at a local mosque in which she began lambasting the men in the audience for not stepping up to do what she was doing. She would plead: “Where are the men? Why do I have to be the one standing up here and doing this work?” And she was right, as she was a mother, a wife, and a student in a community full of brothers with nothing to show when it came to Islamic work.
When she was a student at MIT, she began organizing drives to deliver copies of the Qur’an and other Islamic literature to the Muslims in the local prisons. She would have them delivered in boxes to a local mosque, and she would then show up at the mosque and carry the heavy boxes by herself all the way down the three flights of very steep stairs. Subhan Allah, look at the Qadar of Allah: this woman who would spend so much time and effort to help Muslim prisoners is now herself a prisoner (I ask Allah to free her)!
Her dedication to Islam was also very evident on campus. A 2004 article from Boston Magazine mentions that… “she wrote three guides for members who wanted to teach others about Islam. On the group’s website, Siddiqui explained how to run a dawah table, and informational booth used at school’s events to educate people about, and persuade them to convert, to Islam.” The article continues to mention that in the guides she wrote: “Imagine our humble but sincere dawah effort turning into a major dawah movement in this country! Just imagine it! And us, reaping the reward of everyone who accepts Islam through this movement, through years to come. Think and plan big. May ALLAH give this strength and sincerity to us so that our humble effort continue, and expands until America becomes a Muslim land.”
Allahu Akbar…look at this himmah (concern)…look at these lofty aspirations and goals! As men, we should be ashamed to have to learn such lessons from a sister.
She would drive out of her way every week to teach the local Muslim children on Sundays. I was told by a sister that she would also drive out of her way every week to visit a small group of reverts to teach them the basics of Islam. One of the sisters who attended her circles described Aafia as “not going out of her way to be noticed by anybody, or to be anyone’s friend. She just came out here to teach us about Allah, and English wasn’t even her first language!”
Another sister who would attend her circles describes: “She shared with us that we should never make excuses for who we are. She said: “Americans have no respect for people who are weak. Americans will respect us if we stand up and we are strong.””
Allahu Akbar…O Allah, free this woman!
But Aafia’s biggest passion was helping the oppressed Muslims around the globe. When war in Bosnia broke out, she did not sit back and watch with one knee over the other. Rather, she immediately sought out whatever means were within her grasp to make a difference. She didn’t sit in a dreamy bubble thinking all day about how she wished that she could go over to Bosnia and help with relief efforts. She got up and did what she could: she would speak to people to raise awareness, she would ask for donations, she would send e-mails, she would give slideshow presentations – the point I’m trying to make here is that Aafia showed that there is always something we can do to help our brothers and sisters, the least of which is a spoken word to raise awareness to those who are unaware. Sitting back and doing nothing is never an option. She once gave a speech at a local mosque to raise funds for Bosnian orphans, and when the audience was just sitting there watching her, she asked: “How many people in this room own more than one pair of boots?” When half the room raised their hands, she said: “So, donate them to these Bosnians who are about to face a brutal winter!” She was so effective in her plea that even the imam took off his boots and donated them!
There is much more to say about how passionate this sister was for Islam. However, the above gives you an idea of what she was like, and should hopefully serve as an inspiration for brothers before sisters to become active in serving Islam through whatever means are available. Remember that she was doing all of this while being a mother and a PhD student, and most of us do much less despite having much more free time.
So, having this image of Aafia in my mind, I was taken aback at what I saw when she was brought into court for what should have been her bail hearing. The door on the front left side of the courtroom was slowly opened to reveal a frail, limp, exhausted woman who could barely hold her own head up straight in a pale blue wheelchair. She was dressed in a Guantanamo-style orange prison uniform, and her frail head was wrapped in a white hijab that was pulled down to cover her bone-thin arms (the prison uniform is shortsleeved). Her lawyers quickly sat around her, and the hearing began.
The head prosecutor, assistant US attorney Christopher LaVigne, walked in with a group of three or four FBI agents, one of whom was a female who looked Pakistani (لعنة الله عليهم). The defense began by announcing that the bail hearing was to be postponed because of Aafia’s medical condition. Essentially, Aafia’s lawyers reasoned that there was no point of her being out on bail if she was near death. So, they demanded that she be allowed a doctor’s visit before anything else. LaVigne got up and objected, saying that Aafia was a risk to the security of the United States. The judge didn’t seem to buy that, and the prosecutor continued arguing that “this is a woman who attempted to blast her way out of captivity.” As soon as this was said, I looked over and noticed Aafia shaking her head in desperation and sadness, as if she felt that the whole world was against her. By the way, Aafia was so small and weak that I could barely see her from behind the wheelchair. All I could see was her head slumped over to the left and wrapped in the hijab, and her right arm sticking out.
I got a better understanding of why she was so sad and desperate when her lawyer began listing details of her condition:
* She now has brain damage from her time in US custody
* One of her kidneys was removed while in US custody
* She is unable to digest her food since part of her intestines was removed during surgery while in US custody
* She has layers and layers of sewed up skin from the surgery for the gunshot wound
* She has a large surgical scar from her chest area all the way down to her torso
With all of this, she had not been visited by a single doctor the entire time of her incarceration in the US despite being in constant incredible abdominal pain following her sloppy surgery in Afghanistan – pain for which she was being given nothing more than Ibuprofen! Ibuprofen is purchased over the counter to treat headaches!
With all of this, the prosecutor had the audacity and shamelessness to try to prevent her from being seen by a doctor due to her being a “security risk.” When he was pressed by the judge as to why Aafia was sitting all this time in a NYC prison without basic medical care, the government attorney stuttered, said that it was “a complicated situation,” and capped it with the expected cheap shot that “it was her decision as she refused to by seen by a male doctor.” As soon as the prosecutor said that last bit, I saw Aafia’s thin arm shoot up and shake back and forth to the judge (as if to say ‘No! He’s lying!’). I felt so sorry for her, as she was obviously quite frustrated at the lies being spilled out before her very eyes. Her lawyer then put her hand on her arm and began stroking it to comfort her and calm her down.
When the hearing was over, one scholarly statement stuck in my mind, and it is where Ibn al-Qayyim said that a person rises in his closeness to Allah until: …there remains only one obstacle to which the enemy calls him, and this is an obstacle that he must face. If anyone were to be saved from this obstacle, it would have been the Messengers and Prophets of Allah, and the noblest of His Creation. This is the obstacle of Satan unleashing his troops upon the believer with various types of harm: by way of the hand, the tongue, and the heart. This occurs in accordance with the degree of goodness that exists within the believer. So, the higher he is in degree, the more the enemy unleashes his troops and helps them against him, and overwhelms him with his followers and allies in various ways. There is no way around this obstacle, because the firmer he is in calling to Allah and fulfilling His commands, the more the enemy becomes intent upon deceiving him with foolish people. So, he has essentially put on his body armor to confront this obstacle, and has taken it upon himself to confront the enemy for Allah’s Sake and in His Name, and his worship in so doing is the worship of the best of worshippers.”
And this was absolutely clear that day when looking at the scene in the court. Despite Aafia’s apparent physical weakness and frailty, there was a certain ‘izzah (honor) and strength that I felt emanating from her the entire time. Everything from the way she forcefully shook her hand at the judge when the prosecutor would lie, to how she was keen to wear her hijab on top of her prison garments despite horrible circumstances that would make hijab the last thing on most people’s minds, to the number of FBI agents, US Marshals, reporters, officials, etc. who were all stuffed in this small room to observe this frail, weak, short, quiet, female “security risk” – everything pointed to the conclusion that the only thing all of these people were afraid of was the strength of this sister’s iman.
This is the situation of our dear sister, a Muslim woman in captivity…
What can I say…?
I will not close by mentioning the obligation of helping to free Muslim prisoners. I will not mention how al-Mu’tasim razed an entire city to the ground to rescue a single Muslim woman. I will not go back to the days of Salah ad-Din or ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz, who rescued Muslim prisoners in the tens of thousands. I cannot be greedy enough to mention these things at this point because what is even sadder than what is happening to Aafia Siddiqui is how few the Muslims were who even bothered to show up to her hearing in a city of around half a million Muslims (not counting the surrounding areas), and that not a single Muslim organization in the United States has taken up the sister’s cause or even spoken a word in her defense, and as Ibn al-Qayyim said: If ghayrah (protective jealousy) leaves a person’s heart, his faith will follow it.”
Unfortunately, in a time where most of us are following Din al-A’rab, it seems that the best person to teach us a lesson in how to help Aafia Siddiqui would have been Aafia herself.
This commentary was written by Dr. Tarek Mehanna shortly after Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was brought (half dead) to the United States from Afghanistan (where she was a secretly held prisoner) in the summer of 2008.

{Ft. Worth Texas}
An emergency mobilization for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, and all other female prisoners suffering abuse in a federal institution that has a long, shameful record of violating the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee against “cruel and unusual punishment.”
While ALL ARE INVITED to join this urgently needed mobilization, we feel it is a special obligation on Muslim Men!

Iran Hits American Satellite

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Fengyun-1C debris | War Goes to Space

The Scoop of Yedihot Aharonot

Today, December 17, 2011, the largest Hebrew newspaper brought the scoop of the year. According to the newspaper, Iran blinded a CIA spy satellite. The paper added that a European intelligence source claimed Iran stunned the West by accurately aiming a laser burst at an American satellite in a never before reported incident.

One should be careful when assessing such a scoop from an Israeli newspaper. After all, Israel is openly pushing an American attack on Iran and this could be the false flag needed for launching such an attack. Israel wants to Wag the Dog Yet, the news appeared at an interesting time.

Iranian Jamming Technology

According to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, Iranians have successively gained access to jamming technology, allowing them to track unmanned aerial vehicle navigation capabilities. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Fox News last Sunday that such an option is possible. There are additional testimonies of that.

On December 4, Iran downed an American drone. Iranian TV has shown a video footage of a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel drone. It had been intercepted by an Iranian army’s electronic warfare unit over the city of Kashmar. American sources had unofficially confirmed the loss. Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Unit, told that the drone “fell into the trap of the unit, which then managed to land it with minimum damage”. This happened 140 miles from the Afghan border, well within Iranian air-space.

The drone events apparently shows Iran owns the technological base needed to develop such weapons.

Where did the technology originate in?

Bolton added “Some reports have said Russia sold (Iran) a very sophisticated jamming system a short time ago. Now, our military says that is not true, it came down because of a malfunction. I certainly hope that’s right because if the Russians have provided Iran with sophisticated jamming equipment it means a lot else is at risk too.”

However, this may be inexact. There is another option. It has been reported that in 2005 China has fired high-power lasers at US spy satellites flying over its territory in what experts see as a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft. It remains unclear how many times the ground-based laser was tested against U.S. spacecraft or whether it was successful. Pakistan Defence reported then that “a lower-power (30-watt) laser intended for alignment of the system and tracking of the satellite was the primary laser source used during the test, and it appeared that this lower-power laser was sufficiently powerful itself to blind the satellite temporarily, although it could not destroy the sensor.” American sources keep quiet about this. We may be witnessing the testing of Chinese technologies by Iran, or Iranian new technologies developed upon Chinese prototypes.

Due to international sensitivities, China may have restrained from new tests on foreign satellites. Simply, there are no news on that. As of now, the Iranian success seems to be a first of its kind.

A New Theater

Despite international agreements prohibiting the use of weapons in space, the USA, Russia and China had developed Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT). On September 13, 1985, the United States destroyed US satellite P78-1 using an ASM-135 ASAT anti-satellite missile. On January 11, 2007, China destroyed an old Chinese orbiting weather satellite. A year later on February 21, 2008, USA destroyed a malfunctioning US spy satellite USA-193 using a RIM-161 Standard Missile 3.

Now, Iran has apparently destroyed a CIA satellite.

Several times I have argued on this website, that neither Israel nor the US will attack Iran. Would the USA sacrifice two million sons in the event? Israel can make just surgical strikes. In a country as large as Iran that would be almost worthless.

If the scoop of Yedihot Aharonot is true, then the theatre has changed and the USA cannot anymore attack Iran in its favored fashion. If Iran can blind imagery sensors on CIA satellites, it can also easily hit communications satellites. The American army relies on these satellites for its communications. Coordinating an American attack on Iran without imagery and communications satellites would require an American army that ceased to exist a generation ago.

Have we entered the era of Pax Iraniana?

Swedish Professor Links Israel To Norway Massacre!

Average’s comment: I encourage everyone to also check out Northern Truth Seekers page at:


When the massacre in Norway occurred back on July 22nd of this year, the first thoughts that crossed my mind was that the massacre had all the earmarks of being a Mossad operation.  The articles that I posted at that time pointed the finger directly at Israeli involvement in the brutal murder of 69 Norwegian students from the word go…. I have to this date not swayed from that being my opinion and have found very little information that has ever changed that opinion…

For this article, I want to “borrow” an article that I just came across from my friend, Noor, who writes the website: Snippits and Snappits, at www.snippits-and-slappits.blogspot.com, entitled: “Swedish Professor Links Israel To Norway Massacre”.    I have that entire article right here, and of course some of my own comments to follow:

Friday, 16 December, 2011


Ola Tunander suggests Israel behind bloody terror attacks committed by Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik in July, stirring up controversy in Oslo
From News that Matters: This is the claim from senior political scientist  Ola Tunander in PRIFO. (Peace Research Institute of Oslo).

In a long political analysis published in idunn.no, he accuses pro-Israel forces to be the inspiration of Utøya-terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.

”When Anders Behring Breivik was arrested and we were able to look at his video and read his manifesto, it became clear that he was inspired by Jewish-Christian anti-jihadist writers”, claims Tunander.

He continues:

Some critics argued that Breivik had been used by Israeli forces with an interest in changing Norway’s policy towards Palestine, as if Breivik had copied the Israeli bombing of the British headquarters in Jerusalem in 1946, on the very anniversary of that attack”.

December 16, 2011
A Swedish professor suggested Israel was behind the bloody terror attacks committed by Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik this past July, stirring up controversy in the country.
Research professor Ola Tunander of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) published an article in the Norwegian academic journal Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift in which he called to further examine Brevik’s motives.
According to Tunander, it is possible that some country was behind the terror attacks, hinting that Israel might be that country.
Far right extremist Breivik, 32, had previously confessed to the Oslo bombing, which killed eight people, and to the youth camp massacre which killed 69 at the small island of Utoeya northwest of Oslo earlier in July.
In December the confessed killer disputed an expert conclusion that he is criminally insane. His lawyer was quoted as saying: “We have examined a good part of the report that details the conversations he had with the psychologists.”
Breivik “reacted by saying that it contained factual errors (and) lies and that his statements were taken out of context,” his lawyer added.
Tunander claimed that in order to carry out a terror attack of such magnitude the involvement of state forces is needed, “and we can’t rule out that being the case this time too,” he wrote.
While quoting the controversial article, the Swedish news site The Local presented the professor’s theory. Tunander mentioned the political tensions between Oslo and Jerusalem in the months prior to the terror attacks in light of Norway’s intent to recognize a Palestinian state.
He goes on to link between July 22, the date of Breivik’s killing spree, and the significance of that date in Israel’s history. 
Tunander brings up the Lillehammer affair of 1973, when Mossad agents accidentally killed a Moroccan waiter in the Norwegian city believing he was Ali Hassan Salameh, the chief of operations for the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes. One of the agents was arrested the day after the murder, on July 22nd.
The Norwegian professor also discussed the bombing at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem carried out by the Irgun on July 22, 1946.
“We have discussed the right-wing extremist Israeli and Judeo-Christian side of Breivik’s network, Israel’s interest in disciplining Norway, and Israel’s celebration of bomb attacks. In this respect, Breivik’s attack appears to resemble a new king David Hotel attack: July 22nd,” he said.
PRIO director Kristian Berg Harpviken told Norwegian magazine Minerva that Tunander’s article left him with a feeling of “considerable unease.” Harpviken added that it was a wrong call on behalf of the Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift to publish it.
Tunander said that it was unfair to conclude from his article about any intention to link between Israel and the most murderous event in Norway’s history since World War II.
Posted by Noor al Haqiqa at 9:26 AM

NTS Notes:  I fully agree with this Swedish professor’s assertions, due to the fact that little news is discussed about Breivik’s “handler” Isak Nygren, who was the Swedish Jewish man (Mossad?) who actually was in contact with Breivik just minutes before Breivik launched his “attack” in Oslo.  It is also a fact that this mysterious Jewish man, Nygren, quickly got on a plane in Sweden and high tailed it to Israel to prevent his capture due to his possible connections to the massacre coming to light.

The part played by this Isak Nygren in the Breivik Massacre is exposed in my previous article with the link here:


It is also a fact that Breivik did not act alone, and possibly was not even one of the shooters in the massacre.. As shown in previous articles on this matter, it seems that there was a hit team that got to Utoya island to do the mass murder, and was able to escape before the police arrived to find Breivik, who was most certainly the patsy in this entire escapade, quickly giving himself up and subsequently charged with being the “Lone Gunman” in this entire sad episode.

Therefore, as far as I am concerned, this Swedish Professor is absolutely correct in his assertion that Israel, through its criminal Mossad, was indeed directly involved in the Breivik Massacre in Norway.   It may still take time, but eventually everyone with any common sense will come to the same conclusion.

More to come


Why Islamists Are Better Democrats

Average’s comment: Something is not right about this article. Suddenly they are supporting Islamists! After years of demonization of Islam and Muslims, don’t tell me that the new view is that Muslims and Islam is now pancakes and syrup! After years of smoking the weed that muslims are anti-democracy and for YEARS Time magazine has been in the forefront to demonize Islam, we get this article. Something is up, I tell you. Something is up! The alternative media in the likes of Michael Collins Piper, Jonathan Azaziah, and Mark Glenn have stated outright that these Arab revolts were at least in part directed if not controlled from Tel Aviv and Washington. Now we have this and other articles talking up the Islamic parties in those countries. I see a talking up, and then a tearing down moving towards an all out disaster within the next 5 years.
By Bobby Ghosh

If the Arab Spring was seeded by a liberal insurrection, the Arab Fall has brought a rich harvest for Political Islam. In election after election, parties that embrace various shades of Islamist ideology have spanked liberal rivals. In Tunisia, the first country to hold elections after toppling a long-standing dictator, the Ennahda party won a plurality in the Oct. 23 vote for an assembly that will write a new constitution. A month later, the Justice and Development Party and its allies won a majority in Morocco’s general elections. Now, in perhaps the most important election the Middle East has ever witnessed, Egypt’s Islamist parties are poised to dominate the country’s first freely elected parliament.
In the first of three rounds of voting, two Islamist groups won a clear majority between them: a coalition led by the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) got 37% of the vote, while the al-Nour Party won 24.4%. The Egyptian Block, a coalition of mostly liberal parties, was a distant third, with 13.4%. The FJP is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, a mostly moderate Islamist group; al-Nour represents more-hard-line Salafis. With momentum on their side, the Islamists are expected to do even better in the second and third rounds, scheduled for Dec. 14 and Jan. 3. (See pictures of Egyptians flocking to the polls.)
Why have the liberals, leaders of the Arab Spring revolution, fared so poorly in elections? In Cairo, as the votes were being counted, I heard a raft of explanations from disheartened liberals. They were almost identical to the ones I’d heard the previous week, in Tunis. The litany goes like this: The liberals only had eight months to prepare for elections, whereas the Brotherhood has 80 years’ experience in political organization. The Islamists, thanks to their powerful financial backing from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, outspent the liberals. The generals currently ruling Egypt, resentful of the liberals for ousting their old boss Hosni Mubarak, fixed the vote in favor of the Islamists. The Brotherhood and the Salafists used religious propaganda — Vote for us or you’re a bad Muslim — to mislead a largely poor, illiterate electorate.
These excuses are all plausible, as far as they go. But they don’t go very far. After all, the Salafis had no political organization until 10 months ago, and they still managed to do well. The liberals were hardly penurious: free-spending telecom billionaire Naguib Sawiris is a leading member of the Egyptian Block. Even if you buy the notion that the generals — themselves brought up in strict secular tradition — prefer the Islamists to the liberals, international observers found no evidence of systematic ballot fixing. (See photos of the recent clashes between police and protesters in Cairo.)
And to argue that voters were hoodwinked by the Islamists is to suggest that the majority of the electorate are gullible fools. This tells you something about the attitude of liberal politicians toward their constituency. And that in turn may hold the key to why they fared so badly.
The Islamists, it turns out, understand democracy much better than the liberals do. The Ennahda and the FJP were not just better organized, they also campaigned harder and smarter. Anticipating allegations that they would seek to impose an Iranian-style theocracy in North Africa, the Islamists formed alliances with some secular and leftist parties and very early on announced they would not be seeking the presidency in either country. Like smart retail politicians everywhere, they played to their strengths, capitalizing on goodwill generated by years of providing social services — free hospitals and clinics, soup kitchens — in poor neighborhoods. And they used their piety to assure voters that they would provide clean government, no small consideration for a population fed up with decades of corrupt rule. Even the Salafis, who openly pursue an irredentist agenda and seek a return to Islam’s earliest days, benefited from the perception that they are scrupulously honest.
Having shown themselves adept at winning elections, will the Islamists now prove to be good democrats? There’s reason for hope. Ennahda and FJP leaders have for the most part sounded conciliatory rather than triumphal: they have sought to broaden alliances and bring more liberals into their tents. Critics say this is all a ruse, but Tunisian and Egyptian voters have insured their democracy against ruses by leaving Ennahda and FJP well short of absolute majorities. (Read “In Egypt, Will Democratic Legitimacy Trump Military Legitimacy?”)
Having proved themselves poor campaigners, will the defeated liberals now play by the rules? These require them to play a constructive role in parliament’s opposition benches rather than undermine the elections by returning to street protest. They also must prepare for elections expected in 2012 and ’13. They still have time to learn to be better democrats — like the Islamists.

Cut Aid to Israel be (finally) Cut?


Dear Friends,
With Congress having failed to cut our staggering national debt – thereby triggering automatic across-the-board spending slashes – Israel stands to lose $250 million a year out of an annual $3.1 billion in US military aid.
Yet, uncharacteristically, the lobbyists at AIPAC haven’t yet issued any statements or talking points against cutting aid to Israel, reportedly fearing a backlash if Israel got blatantly special treatment while everything else is being cut.
For almost a decade now, we’ve been shining a light on the huge amount of US tax money going to Israel, hitting this home in our articles, op-eds to small newspapers around the country, speeches, and analyses on diverse news sites, as well as distributing tens of thousands of our booklet on the subject to almost every state in the US – and we’d like to believe that is beginning to have an effect.
The cuts don’t go into effect until the start of 2013, though, and a lot could change before then.
Those who’ve followed the special financial arrangements Israel has finagled over the years may wonder whether that’s exactly what AIPAC is banking on. Traditionally, the Lobby has avoided cuts to Israel’s unparalleled bankroll of US tax money, whether through public lobbying or backroom deal-making.
Let’s show AIPAC that times have changed.
With belts tightening around the country and throughout government programs, this is a good time to highlight the obscene sums our country spends to arm Israel, which uses the aid to perpetrate horrifying violence against Palestinians, including civilians and children, as well as internationals.
Below are resources for informing your community about our massive tax money to Israel:

  • “The Cost of Israel to the American People” – an in-depth booklet detailing the full story. We urge you to download this or order it in bulk. Also, our website section on the subject provides additional information, and our informational business cards are useful for distributing widely.
  • The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a monthly magazine that for 29 years has produced the best ongoing reporting on this topic (and some of whose articles we reprint in our booklet!), and The Link, which has been publishing in-depth analyses on Israel-Palestine since 1968. These publications should be in every library in the country — please make sure that yours carry them!
  • The Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in recent years has been producing valuable and innovative tools you can use to spread information on US aid to Israel.
  • The new website of our sister organization, the Council for the National Interest explains the damage to US interests by this massive and unexamined aid to Israel; CNI website cards emphasize US aid to Israel and can be distributed everywhere.

Thank you for helping get this information to the American public. Merry Christmas and may this be a happy and peaceful holiday season for all people, of every nationality and faith.
Best wishes,
Alison Weir, Executive Director

If Americans Knew
3020 El Cerrito Plaza #157
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(202) 631-4060

ACT NOW: Inform your communities of the massive amount of US military aid to Israel and the harm it does.

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The dog (son of a dog) has left – President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan — is he on the way out?

Pakistani President Asif Ali Kutta ka bacha left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament on theMemogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.
On Dec. 4, Kutta ka bacha announced that he would address Pakistan’s parliament about the Memogate issue, in which his former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to take power away from Pakistan’s senior military and intelligence leadership and asking for U.S. help in preventing a military coup. Haqqani has denied that he wrote the memo at the heart of the scheme, which also asked for U.S. support for the Kutta ka bacha government and promised to realign Pakistani foreign policy to match U.S. interests.
The memo was passed from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to former National Security Advisor Jim Jones, to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on May 10, only nine days after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad.
Ijaz has repeatedly accused Haqqani of being behind the memo, and Ijaz claims that Haqqani was working with Kutta ka bacha‘s implicit support.
Early on Tuesday morning, Kutta ka bacha‘s spokesman revealed that the president had traveled to Dubai to see his children and undergo medical tests linked to a previously diagnosed “cardiovascular condition.”
A former U.S. government official told The Cable today that when President Barack Obama spoke with Kutta ka bacha over the weekend regarding NATO’s killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers, Kutta ka bacha was “incoherent.” The Pakistani president had been feeling increased pressure over the Memogate scandal. “The noose was getting tighter — it was only a matter of time,” the former official said, expressing the growing expectation inside the U.S. government that Kutta ka bacha may be on the way out.
The former U.S. official said that parts of the U.S. government were informed that Kutta ka bacha had a “minor heart attack” on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance today. He may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of “ill health.”
“This is the ‘in-house change option’ that has been talked about,” said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, in a Tuesday interview with The Cable. Nawaz said that this plan would see Kutta ka bacha step aside and be replaced by his own party, preserving the veneer of civilian rule but ultimately acceding to the military’s wishes to get rid of Kutta ka bacha.
“Unfortunately, it means that the military may have had to use its muscle to effect change yet again,” said Nawaz. “Now if they stay at arm’s length and let the party take care of its business, then things may improve. If not, then this is a silent coup with [Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani as the front man.”
In Islamabad, some papers have reported that before Kutta ka bacha left Pakistan, the Pakistani Army insisted that Kutta ka bacha be examined by their own physicians, and that the Army doctors determined that Kutta ka bacha was fine and did not need to leave the country for medical reasons. Kutta ka bacha‘s spokesman has denied that he met with the Army doctors.
One Pakistani source told The Cable that Kutta ka bacha was informed on Monday that none of the opposition party members nor any of the service chiefs would attend his remarks to the parliament as a protest against his continued tenure. This source also said that over a dozen of Kutta ka bacha‘s ambassadors in foreign countries were in the process of being recalled in what might be a precursor to Kutta ka bacha stepping down as president, taking many of his cronies with him.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that before leaving, Kutta ka bacha met separately with Gilani, Chairman of the Senate Farooq H Naik, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
This past weekend, the Memogate scandal worsened for Kutta ka bacha when Ijaz alleged in a Newsweekopinion piece that Kutta ka bacha and Haqqani had prior knowledge of the U.S. raid to kill bin Laden, and may have given permission for the United States to violate Pakistan’s airspace to conduct the raid.
On May 2, the day after bin Laden was killed, Wajid Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said in an interview with CNN that Pakistan, “did know that this was going to happen because we have been keeping — we were monitoring him and America was monitoring him. But Americans got to where he was first.”
In a statement given to the Associated Press of Pakistan Monday, White House spokespersonCaitlin Hayden said that information on the actual operation to kill bin Laden was not given to anyone in Pakistan.
“As we’ve said repeatedly, given the sensitivity of the operation, to protect our operators we did not inform the Pakistani government, or any other government, in advance,” she said.
Kutta ka bacha lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai from 2004 through 2007 after being released from prison, where he had been held for eight years on corruption charges. His three children live there, but his 23-year son Bilawal Bhutto Kutta ka bacha , the chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), is in Pakistan now.
Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad

William Dalrymple on that person who referred to herself as Benazir

Average’s comment: I never pray for the souls of dead politicians. When a gangster (politician) is gone, it is simply one less of them to push us regular folks around. For those of you who think BB was some kind of saint or martyr for the “cause”, think again. She is probably suffering in the grave or in hell for being a thug, a gangster and a “lotero”.
The life and times of the Bhuttos is seen afresh in a passionately partisan but well-constructed memoir. William Dalrymple reviews it in context.
The Bhuttos’ acrimonious family squabbles have long resembled one of the bloody succession disputes that habitually plagued South Asia during the time of the Great Mughals. In the case of the Bhuttos, they date back to the moment when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested on July 5, 1977.
Unsure how to defend their father and his legacy, his children had reacted in different ways. Benazir believed the struggle should be peaceful and political. Her brothers initially tried the same approach, forming al-Nusrat, the Save Bhutto committee; but after two futile years they decided in 1979 to turn to the armed struggle.
Murtaza was 23 and had just left Harvard where he got a top first, and where he was taught by, among others, Samuel Huntington. Forbidden by his father from returning to Zia’s Pakistan, he flew from the US first to London, then on to Beirut, where he and his younger brother Shahnawaz were adopted by Yasser Arafat. Under his guidance they received the arms and training necessary to form the Pakistan Liberation Army, later renamed Al-Zulfiquar or The Sword.
Just before his daughter Fatima was born, Murtaza and his brother had found shelter in Kabul as guests of the pro-Soviet government. There the boys had married a pair of Afghan sisters, Fauzia and Rehana Fasihudin, the beautiful daughters of a senior Afghan official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Fatima’s mother was Fauzia.
For all its PLO training in camps in Syria, Afghanistan and Libya, Al-Zulfiquar achieved little except for two failed assassination attempts on Zia and the hijacking of a Pakistan International Airways flight in 1981. This was diverted from Karachi to Kabul and secured the release of some 55 political prisoners; but it also resulted in the death of an innocent passenger, a young army officer. Zia used the hijacking as a means of cracking down on the Pakistan Peoples Party, and got the two boys placed on the Federal Investigation Agency’s most-wanted list. Benazir was forced to distance herself from her two brothers even though they subsequently denied sanctioning the hijack, and claimed only to have acted as negotiators once the plane landed in Kabul. While much about the details of the hijacking remains mysterious, Murtaza was posthumously acquitted of hijacking in 2003.
I first encountered the family in 1994 when, as a young foreign correspondent on assignment for the Sunday Times, I was sent to Pakistan to write a long magazine piece on the Bhutto dynasty. I met Benazir in the giddy pseudo-Mexican Prime Minister’s House that she had built in the middle of Islamabad.
It was the beginning of Benazir’s second term as Prime Minister, and she was at her most imperial. She both walked and talked in a deliberately measured and regal manner, and frequently used the royal “we”. During my interview, she took a full three minutes to float down the hundred yards of lawns separating the Prime Minister’s House from the chairs where I had been told to wait for her. There followed an interlude when Benazir found the sun was not shining in quite the way she wanted it to: “The sun is in the wrong direction,” she announced. Her hair was arranged in a sort of baroque beehive topped by white gauze dupatta like one of those Roman princesses in Caligula or Rome.
A couple of days later in Karachi, I met Benazir’s brother Murtaza in very different circumstances. Murtaza was on trial in Karachi for his alleged terrorist offences. A one hundred rupee bribe got me through the police cordon, and I soon found Murtaza with his mother — Begum Bhutto — in an annexe beside the courtroom. Murtaza looked strikingly like his father, Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto. He was handsome, very tall — well over six feet — with a deep voice and, like his father, exuded an air of self-confidence, bonhomie and charisma. He invited me to sit down: “Benazir doesn’t care what the local press says about her,” he said, “but she’s very sensitive to what her friends in London and New York get to read about her.”
“Has your sister got in touch with you since you returned to Pakistan?” I asked.
“No. Nothing. Not one note.”
“Did you expect her to intervene and get you off the hook?” I asked. “What kind of reception did you hope she would lay on for you when you returned from Damascus?”
“I didn’t want any favours,” replied Murtaza. “I just wanted her to let justice take its course, and for her not to interfere in the legal process. As it is, she has instructed the prosecution to use delaying tactics to keep me in confinement as long as possible. This trial has been going on for three months now and they still haven’t finished examining the first witness. She’s become paranoid and is convinced I’m trying to topple her.”
Murtaza went on to describe an incident the previous week when the police had opened fire on Begum Bhutto as she left her house to visit her husband’s grave. When the Begum ordered the gates of the compound to be opened and made ready to set off, the police opened fire. One person was killed immediately and two others succumbed to their injuries after the police refused to let the ambulances through. That night as three family retainers lay bleeding to death, 15 kilometres away in her new farmhouse, Benazir celebrated her father’s birthday with singing and dancing:
“After three deaths, she and her husband danced!” said the Begum now near to tears. “They must have known the police were firing at Al-Murtaza. Would all this have happened if she didn’t order it? But the worst crime was that they refused to let the ambulances through. If only they had let the ambulances through those two boys would be alive now: those two boys who used to love Benazir, who used to run in front of her car.”
The Begum was weeping now. “I kept ringing Benazir saying ‘for God sake stop the siege’, but her people just repeated: ‘Madam is not available’. She wouldn’t even take my call. One call from her walkie-talkie would have got the wounded through. Even General Zia…” The sentence trailed away. “What’s that saying in England?” asked the Begum: “Power corrupts, more power corrupts even more. Is that it?”
Two years later, to no one’s great surprise, Murtaza was himself shot dead in similar and equally suspicious circumstances.
Murtaza had been campaigning with his bodyguards in a remote suburb of Karachi. As his convoy neared his home at 70 Clifton, the street lights were abruptly turned off.
It was September 20, 1996, and Murtaza’s decision to take on Benazir had put him into direct conflict not only with his sister, but also with her husband Asif Ali Zardari. Murtaza had an animus against Zardari, who he believed was not just a nakedly and riotously corrupt polo-playing playboy, but had pushed Benazir to abandon the PPP’s once-radical agenda — fighting for social justice. Few believed the rivalry was likely to end peacefully. Both men had reputations for being trigger-happy. Murtaza’s bodyguards were notoriously rough, and Murtaza was alleged to have sentenced to death several former associates, including his future biographer, Raja Anwar, author of an unflattering portrait, The Terrorist Prince. Zardari’s reputation was worse still.
So insistent had the rumours become that Zardari had ordered the killing of Murtaza at 3 pm that afternoon, that Murtaza had given a press conference saying he had learnt that an assassination attempt on him was being planned, and he named some of the police officers he claimed were involved in the plot. Several of the officers were among those now waiting, guns cocked, outside his house. According to witnesses, when the leading car drew up at the roadblock, there was a single shot from the police, followed by two more shots, one of which hit the foremost of Murtaza’s armed bodyguards. Murtaza immediately got out of his car and urged his men to hold their fire. As he stood there with his hands raised above his head, urging calm, the police opened fire on the whole party with automatic weapons. The firing went on for nearly 10 minutes..
Two hundred yards down the road, inside the compound of 70 Clifton, the house where Benazir Bhutto had spent her childhood, was Murtaza’s wife Ghinwa, his daughter, the 12-year-old Fatima, and the couple’s young son Zulfikar, then aged six. When the first shot rang out, Fatima was in Zulfikar’s bedroom, helping put him to bed. She immediately ran with him into his windowless dressing room, and threw him onto the floor, protecting him by covering his body with her own.
After 45 minutes, Fatima called the Prime Minister’s House and asked to speak to her aunt. Zardari took her call:
Fatima: “I wish to speak to my aunt, please.”
Zardari: “It’s not possible.”
Fatima: “Why?” [At this point, Fatima says, she heard loud, stagy-sounding wailing.]
Zardari: “She’s hysterical, can’t you hear?”
Fatima: “Why?”
Zardari: “Don’t you know? Your father’s been shot.”

Fatima and Ghinwa immediately left the house and demanded to be taken to see Murtaza. By now there were no bodies in the street. It had all been swept and cleaned up: there was no blood, no glass, or indeed any sign of any violence at all. Each of the seven wounded had been taken to a different location, though none was taken to emergency units of any the different Karachi hospitals. The street was completely empty.
“They had taken my father to the Mideast, a dispensary,” says Fatima. “It wasn’t an emergency facility and had no facilities for treating a wounded man. We climbed the stairs, and there was my father lying hooked up to a drip. He was covered in blood and unconscious. You could see he had been shot several times. One of those shots had blown away part of his face. I kissed him and moved aside. He never recovered consciousness. We lost him just after midnight.”
The two bereaved women went straight to a police station to register a report, but the police refused to take it down. Benazir Bhutto was then the Prime Minister, and one might have expected the assassins would have faced the most extreme measures of the state for killing the Prime Minister’s brother. Instead, it was the witnesses and survivors who were arrested. They were kept incommunicado and intimidated. Two died soon afterwards in police custody.
“There were never any criminal proceedings,” says Fatima. “Benazir claimed in the West to be the queen of democracy, but at that time there were so many like us who had lost family to premeditated police killings. We were just one among thousands.”
Benazir always protested her innocence in the death of Murtaza, and claimed that the killing was an attempt to frame her by the army’s intelligence services: “Kill a Bhutto to get a Bhutto,” as she used to put it. But Murtaza was, after all, clearly a direct threat to Benazir’s future, and she gained the most from the murder. For this reason her complicity was widely suspected well beyond the immediate family: when Benazir and Zardari attempted to attend Murtaza’s funeral, their car was stoned by villagers who believed them responsible.
The judiciary took the same view, and the tribunal set up to investigate the killing concluded that Benazir’s administration was “probably complicit” in the assassination.. Six weeks later, when Benazir fell from power, partly as a result of public outrage at the killings, Zardari was charged with Murtaza’s murder.
Fourteen years on, however, the situation is rather different. Benazir is dead, assassinated, maybe by the military, but equally possibly by some splinter group of the Taliban. Fatima is now a strikingly beautiful 28-year-old, fresh from a university education in New York and London. She has a razor-sharp mind and a forceful, determined personality. Meanwhile, the man Fatima Bhutto holds responsible for her father’s death is not only out of prison, but President of the country. The bravery of writing a memoir taking on such a man is self-evident, but Fatima seems remarkably calm about the dangers she has taken on..
As for the book itself, Songs of Blood and Sword is moving, witty and well-written. It is also passionately partisan: this is not, and does not pretend to be, an objective account of Murtaza Bhutto so much as a love letter from a grieving daughter and an act of literary vengeance and account-settling by a niece who believed her aunt had her father murdered.
Future historians will decide whether Murtaza really does deserve to be vindicated for the hijacking in Kabul and will weigh up whether or not Murtaza, who even Fatima describes as “impulsive” and “honourable and foolish”, would have made a better leader than his deeply flawed sister; or indeed whether the equally inconsistent Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto deserves the adulation heaped on him by his granddaughter. But where the book is unquestionably important is the reminder it gives the world as to Benazir’s flaws. Since her death, Benazir has come to be regarded, especially in the US, as something of a martyr for democracy. Yet the brutality of Benazir’s untimely end should not blind anyone to her as astonishingly weak record as a politician. Benazir was no Aung San Suu Kyi, and it is misleading as well as simplistic to depict her as having died for freedom; in reality, Benazir’s instincts were not so much democratic as highly autocratic.
Within her own party, she declared herself the lifetime president of the PPP, and refused to let her brother Murtaza challenge her for its leadership; his death was an extreme version of the fate of many who opposed her. Benazir also colluded in wider human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings, and during her tenure government death squads murdered hundreds of her opponents. Amnesty International accused her government of having one of the world’s worst records of custodial deaths, abductions, killings and torture.
Far from reforming herself in exile, Benazir kept a studied distance from the pioneering lawyers’ movement which led the civil protests against President Musharraf’s unconstitutional attempts to manipulate the Supreme Court. She also sidelined those in her party who did support the lawyers. Later she said nothing to stop President Musharraf ordering the US-brokered “rendition” of her rival Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia, so removing from the election her most formidable democratic opponent. Many of her supporters regarded her deal with Musharraf as a betrayal of all that her party stood for. Her final act in her will was to hand the inappropriately named Pakistan People’s Party over to her teenage son as if it were her personal family fiefdom.
Worse still, Benazir was a notably inept administrator. During her first 20-month-long premiership, she failed to pass a single piece of major legislation, and during her two periods in power she did almost nothing to help the liberal causes she espoused so enthusiastically to the Western media. Instead, it was under her watch that Pakistan’s secret service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), helped install the Taliban in Pakistan, and she did nothing to rein in the agency’s disastrous policy of training up Islamist jihadis from the country’s madrasas to do the ISI’s dirty work in Kashmir and Afghanistan. As a young correspondent covering the conflict in Kashmir in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I saw how during her premiership, Pakistan sidelined the Kashmiris’ own secular resistance movement, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, and instead gave aid and training to the brutal Islamist outfits it created and controlled, such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Harkat ul-Mujahedin. Benazir’s administration, in other words, helped train the very assassins who are most likely to have shot her.
Benazir was, above all, a feudal landowner, whose family owned great tracts of Sindh, and with the sense of entitlement this produced. Democracy has never thrived in Pakistan in part because landowning remains the base from which politicians emerge. In this sense, Pakistani democracy in Pakistan is really a form of “elective feudalism”: the Bhuttos’ feudal friends and allies were nominated for seats by Benazir, and these landowners made sure their peasants voted them in.
Behind Pakistan’s swings between military government and democracy lies a surprising continuity of elitist interests: to some extent, Pakistan’s industrial, military and landowning classes are all interrelated, and they look after each other. They do not, however, do much to look after the poor. The government education system barely functions in Pakistan, and for the poor, justice is almost impossible to come by. According to the political scientist Ayesha Siddiqa, “Both the military and the political parties have all failed to create an environment where the poor can get what they need from the state. So the poor have begun to look for alternatives. In the long term, these flaws in the system will create more room for the fundamentalists.”
Many right-wing commentators on the Islamic world tend to see political Islam as an anti-liberal and irrational form of “Islamo-fascism”. Yet much of the success of the Islamists in countries such as Pakistan comes from the Islamists’ ability to portray themselves as champions of social justice, fighting people like Benazir Bhutto from the corrupt Westernised elite that rules most of the Muslim world from Karachi to Riyadh, Ramallah and Algiers.
Benazir’s reputation for massive corruption was gold dust to these Islamic revolutionaries, just as the excesses of the Shah were to their counterparts in Iran 30 years earlier: during her government, Pakistan was declared one of the three most corrupt countries in the world, and Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari — widely known as “Mr 10%” — faced allegations of plundering the country; charges were filed in Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States to investigate their various bank accounts, and they stood accused of jointly looting no less than $1.4 billion from the state.
When I interviewed Abdul Rashid Ghazi in the Islamabad Red Mosque shortly before his death in Musharraf’s July attack on the complex, he returned time and again to these issues: “We want our rulers to be honest people,” he repeated. “But now the rulers are living a life of luxury while thousands of innocent children have empty stomachs and can’t even get basic necessities.”
This is the principal reason for the rise of the Islamists in Pakistan, and why so many people support them: they are the only force capable of taking on the country’s landowners and their military cousins. Benazir Bhutto may have been a brave, gutsy, secular and liberal woman. But sadness at the demise of this courageous fighter should not mask the fact that as a corrupt feudal who did nothing for the poor, she was a central part of Pakistan’s problems, rather than any solution to them. Songs of Blood and Sword is a timely and forceful reminder of this.
Certainly, readers of Fatima’s book have ahead of them a wonderfully close-focussed and well-constructed memoir from the heart of the most violent and Borgia-like of the South Asian dynasties to savour. They also, most likely, have further instalments to come. During a recent interview, I asked Fatima whether she would consider entering politics herself: “I am political,” she replied, “but there are many ways to be political. I don’t think that becoming an MP is necessarily the best way to influence people. For the time being, I want to be a writer. But who knows? If in the future there was a way I could serve my country, one that did not involve becoming yet another part of dynastic birthright politics, maybe I could envisage putting my name forward.” Watch this space.

William Dalrymple‘s most recent book is Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

Israel faces legal challenge over block on Palestinians exiting Gaza to sue state

Human rights body says those seeking damages for actions of Israeli military are refused entry to the country to appear in court

Israeli tanks destroy a house in Gaza

Israel says it does not have a legal obligation to allow Gaza residents to cross the border, pictured during the January 2009 war. Photograph: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
An Israeli human rights organisation has launched a legal challenge to the state’s policy of denying Palestinians permission to leave Gaza to pursue claims for damages resulting from military action, which has led to dozens of cases being dismissed by the Israeli courts.
The petition follows a supreme court ruling in 2006 that Palestinians were entitled to sue the state of Israel for compensation for damages caused to civilians by the military outside of “acts of war”. Lawsuits were filed for death, injury, house demolitions, torture and cruel or inhumane treatment.
However, plaintiffs and witnesses have been refused permission to enter Israel to appear in court, give evidence and complete necessary legal processes, such as signing affidavits witnessed by their lawyers, for their cases to proceed. Israel tightly restricts entry from Gaza which it says is necessary on security grounds.
Adalah, a human rights and legal action centre, cites a case in 2009 where the judge concluded “there is no option other than to dismiss the lawsuit”.
The plaintiffs, he said, “live in Gaza City and are unable to enter Israel. Therefore, they cannot hold meetings with their lawyer or sign various documents in front of him. They cannot stand before the court to give their testimony, to prove their case … The situation cannot be expected to change in the foreseeable future.”
The petition, filed by Adalah on behalf of 13 plaintiffs from Gaza plus lawyers and human rights groups, must be heard by the end of February.
The cases include that of Mohammed Asad Mohammed Alloh, disabled after being shot in the head from an Israeli military helicopter at the age of 13 in 2004. He was refused entry to Israel to undergo medical examination by an expert witness, as required by the court. His lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, was forced to withdraw the case in 2010 after a five-year battle.
Hassan Lutfi Saed al-Bishawy was taking his pregnant wife to hospital with her sister and a neighbour in January 2005 when their car came under fire from Israeli soldiers. The neighbour was killed and Bishawy was shot in his thigh and hand. None of the nine plaintiffs and four witnesses in the case have been permitted to enter Israel to testify. The case is still pending.
Kamla Saleh Suliman Abu Said and her niece were shot dead while working in fields near the Gaza-Israel border. The case was dismissed in 2009 after five years of legal battles because three witnesses were not permitted to enter Israel to appear in court. A second case is now pending, but the witnesses are still being refused access to Israel.
“In all these cases, there is a good chance to prove the liability of the state of Israel,” said Fatmeh El-Ajou, a lawyer for Adalah. “This is the way the state is trying to avoid accountability. The plaintiffs are banned from exercising their rights. And in this way [the state] is turning the supreme court ruling into a dead letter.”
Under Israeli law plaintiffs must also deposit a sum of money‚ “usually around 30,000 shekels (£5,000)‚” to guarantee the costs in case they lose their claim. The sum is forfeited if the case is dismissed. “This is another obstacle to the plaintiffs,” said El-Ajou.
Israel’s ministry of justice referred the Guardian to a letter it sent to Adalah prior to the petition being filed. The ministry said there was no legal obligation on the state of Israel to allow the entry of residents of Gaza.
It said there was “an armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terror organisations which are active in the Gaza Strip … Since June 2007 [when Hamas took control of Gaza] there exists alongside this conflict a terror government, which, as a result of a violent revolution which it carried out, which had turned the Gaza Strip into a “hostile territory’ for the state of Israel”. Claimants “have a wide array of methods to establish contact with their lawyers, among others, through telephone calls, faxes, and emails”.

‘**** You, Lady’, A US Embassy Man Yells At Dr. Shireen Mazari In Islamabad Restaurant

‘F**k You, Lady’, A US Embassy Man Yells At Dr. Shireen Mazari In Islamabad Restaurant

‘Fuck You, Lady’, A US Embassy Man Yells At Dr. Shireen Mazari In Islamabad Restaurant

INTIMIDATION: Click to enarge the illustration

‘F**k You, Lady’, A US Embassy Man Yells At Dr. Shireen Mazari In Islamabad Restaurant
A Known Critic of US Meddling In Pakistan is publicly Harassed By An American
A US citizen has apparently tried to intimidate a known Pakistani critic of US presence in Pakistan. She says in a statement she ‘does not feel safe’ because of houses in her area rented out by alleged American intelligence operatives running loose in the country. This is the same part of Islamabad where the residence of Dr. A. Q. Khan is located.
SPECIAL REPORT | Monday | 13 June 2011
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—A military-looking American with a female companion tried to intimidate known Pakistani defense expert Shireen Mazari during Sunday brunch at a restaurant in the federal capital. Dr. Mazari refused to budge and forced the alleged American serviceman to leave after yelling at him saying, “President Zardari cannot protect you everywhere.”
Dr. Mazari is the foreign policy adviser to PTI, a former director of Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies and most recently a newspaper editor.
She was having a quiet late breakfast at a restaurant in the high-security F-6 Sector of Islamabad when two Americans, a man and a woman, sat on a table next to her and the altercation occurred.
Dr. Mazari was shocked when the American stood up at one point and banged his chair into hers. His action appeared to be deliberate. Ms. Mazari turned back expecting an apology or a simple ‘excuse me’ or ‘sorry’. Instead the American arrogantly ignored her.

The American with a Pakistani defending him, in a cell phone image.
The man was somewhat bulky with a military build, which made him look intimidating, Mazari told PakNationalists.com in an email interview.

“So when I got up, I also rammed my chair into his,” she said.
“What the fuck,” the American howled as he turned toward her. “I told him that this is what he had done and had failed to apologize.”
The American aggressively retorted, “Fuck you, lady.”
Says Dr. Mazari, ‘At this point I totally lost my temper and told him that he could not abuse Pakistanis and get away with it and that he better leave.”
The management of the restaurant allowed Dr. Mazari to handle the situation. The manager and the waiters saw the incident from the start and were aware the American was being unnecessarily rough with the Pakistani lady.
The American wouldn’t budge and Dr. Mazari demanded the restaurant manager decline to serve him until he complied.
“You cannot abuse every Pakistani and get away with it. President Zardari cannot protect you everywhere!” Dr. Mazari replied to the American after he uttered the four-letter expletive. “How dare you abuse me – either apologize or get out. This is not the US. This is Pakistan and you cannot mistreat me or abuse me in my own country.”
Interestingly, an elitist-looking Pakistani man on another table intervened and offered Dr. Mazari an apology on behalf of the American serviceman. Dr. Mazari described him as ‘Pakistani burger chamcha’—an expression common among Pakistanis to describe those of their countrymen who flaunt their exaggerated westernization. She asked him why did he have to apologize for the misbehavior of an American.
“If you continue like this you make us Pakistanis look bad,” replied the young. “It is apologists like you,” retorted Dr. Mazari, “who make us look bad by giving foreigners leeway to misbehave with your people.”
The most telling part of the altercation was the point where the American asked her, ‘How do you know I am an American?’ Mazari replied, “Because you look like one with the same obnoxious attitude!”
He added, “Just because you hate Americans …” and Dr. Mazari interrupted and said, “It is you who kill our Pakistanis.
“Oh you are the lady who …” he continued, at which point Mazari interrupted again saying, “Yes I am one of those Pakistanis who want you out of this country.”
Adds Dr. Mazari: “At this point the elitist burger kid intervened again to say they are our guests in the country. I told him they are not guests but killers of Pakistanis.”
“Clearly, the burger boy was ill informed about his country,” Dr. Mazari said later.
She said she told the restaurant management that the American either apologize or leave. The American preferred to leave, in a silver grey BMW with an Islamabad number place that starts with QN.

The American and his female companion leaving the restaurant without offering apology.

Dr. Mazari issued the following statement after the incident:
“I feel threatened since the Yanks are running loose in Islamabad intimidating whomever they choose. Who will guarantee my security? I live in an area where the Yank houses are all over including one right behind my house so there is a common back wall. I think the local police should take note of the US personnel’s movements and restrict them to their homes as they are a threat to every self-respecting Pakistani citizen.”
The American appeared to be another CIA contractor, one of several hundred known to have existed in Islamabad last year. Most of them operate under US diplomatic cover, a practice that has created unease among US diplomats in Pakistan because it unnecessarily endangers their lives. Both Pakistani and American officials have announced recently they have scaled back US military and intelligence presence in Pakistan, but large segments of Pakistanis consider dismiss these statements as spin.
The incident occurred on 12 June 2011. This is not the first time that Dr. Mazari has been targeted for her criticism of US military and intelligence presence in Pakistan. The US Embassy has at least on one occasion tried to block Dr. Mazari’s decade-long newspaper column.
To learn more about explicit cases of US meddling in Pakistan and the activities of US covert agents in the country, click here.
To learn more about illegal CIA activities inside Pakistan, click here.
To learn more about how a CIA agent was caught abetting terrorism inside Pakistan, click here.