Rather than scrap it as un-American and authoritarian, Godfather Obama has institutionalized the practice of “unlawful indefinite detention” he inherited from his predecessor in the White House.
That’s the view of Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the rule of law. Romero says that instead of closing down the Guantanamo operation and resolving its legal cases in the Federal courts, Obama has done the opposite and, in fact, revived “the illegitimate Guantanamo military commissions.” Romero doesn’t refer to Obama as “Godfather,” of course. Maybe because he doesn’t have to.
Like a true godfather, though, the man in the White House doesn’t want to hear about what went down during those illegal detentions. He refuses to have his Justice Department consigliere investigate the illegal kidnappings and torture by the CIA GoodFellas at any of their secret sites. McClatchy News Service reports this includes dungeons in Poland, Thailand, Romania, and Lithuania.
While Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski wants a “thorough investigation” of what went on at a CIA-run villa about 100 miles north of Warsaw, McClatchy’s Roy Gutman reports, “The U.S. government has stonewalled all known requests for assistance.”
Likely it’s concealing gross, cowardly, and obscene tortures of the most revolting nature, such as threatening prisoners with murder using power drills, as well as waterboarding them. And that’s just what’s known. Poland has 20 books of as yet unreleased testimony.
“If former officials are brought to trial, or if the classified files in the (Polish) prosecutors’ offices are made public, the result will be revelations about an American anti-terrorism operation whose details U.S. officials are fighting to keep secret,” Gutman writes.
Keep in mind that the prisoners in such secret dungeons are kidnapped off the streets in the first place, without the benefit of legal proceedings, and held for years. Writing of Guantanamo in the Miami Herald of October 3, 2011, Joseph Margulies, perhaps the most prominent defense lawyer who has served there, says prisoners “may never hold their children or say goodbye to a dying mother. Their fate is the four walls of a prison cell… ”
Even some men cleared for transfer by the Bush and Obama regimes “remain in custody,” Margulies writes—despite Obama’s pledge to shut Guantanamo. But there’s worse, much worse.
“Murder” is the term for killing without legal proceedings or a state of war. Protests stream in regularly from Pakistani officials over the U.S. killing of civilians by drone attacks, yet the godfather continues to sign off on them. The protests make a sham of Obama’s claim the drone attacks are the outcome of some careful screening process.
At minimum you would think a president would shut down any criminal cell he found operating out of the coils of the federal establishment. Yet, after George W. Bush expanded the CIA into a veritable federalized Ku Klux Klan, Obama refuses to dismantle it or prosecute its officials.
The Obama crime syndicate is operating on many fronts—it prosecutes whistle-blowers, it expands germ warfare, it threatens nuclear war against UN members, it lavishes billions on research into new ways of killing and disabling people, and, not least, it makes criminal wars. In short, it does everything you’d expect a godfather to do. All that’s left is for the world to kiss his ring.
Sherwood Ross can be contacted at email@example.com
- Poland peels back layers on secret CIA prison for suspected terrorists (mcclatchydc.com)
- The Obama GITMO myth (salon.com)
As he urged the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) members to stand against the sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stressed that the foreign interference in the events taking place in our region was unacceptable.
“The NAM… should seriously confront unilateral sanctions of certain nations against some members of the NAM,” Salehi said in a speech opening days of preparatory meetings for the summit on Thursday and Friday.
“So far, the NAM has condemned these measures,” he noted, adding: “we take this opportunity to thank the NAM for its support to the legitimate rights” to nuclear activities.
“Regarding our peaceful nuclear program… we have always said that we are only seeking our legitimate rights” to nuclear energy as permitted under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Salehi said.
The Iranian FM called for the active role of the NAM in annihilation of the weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), saying that the Zionist entity should be forced to respect the non-proliferation of WMDs.
“Israel’s refusal to sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a hurdle to the globalization of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,” he added.
Talking about the regional events, and especially the Arab revolutions, Salehi said the foreign interference was unacceptable.
“We have learned from the events which our region has witnessed that any forces cannot ignore the legitimate demands of people.”
“The popular uprisings and the regional events that follow it, affect the consecutive developments on the International level,” Salehi added.
“The participation of the real independent political powers in a comprehensive dialogue needs a political operation based on the internal views of a country,” the Iranian FM stressed, noting that this operation should not be away from the foreign interference.
Salehi also said that the Palestinian issue, as the most important problem in the region, should be taken seriously during the ongoing NAM meeting and the “criminal measures of Israeli regime, as the biggest threat to the region” must be taken into consideration.
British officials refrain from giving full backing to Egypt’s $4.8 billion loan request, having previously supported such funding under military rule
London – The United Kingdom has refrained from backing Egypt’s request of a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We prefer to wait and see the results of the negotiations between Egypt and the IMF,” a UK Foreign Office spokesperson told Ahram Online.
During her recent visit to Cairo, the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, received a formal request from Egypt for a $4.8 billion loan.
“The UK thinks that this is a good opportunity for dialogue between the two parties,” the spokesperson added.
Asked whether the UK would back the Egyptian request if the IMF board decides in its favour, the spokesperson replied: “We do not have anything to say for the time being.”
The UK’s caution seems to mark a significant change in its attitude towards Egypt’s calls for international assistance to overcome its economic difficulties.
The UK provides 5 per cent of the IMF budget, making it the fourth biggest contributor, with equivalent voting power. It follows the US (18 per cent), Germany (6 per cent) and Japan (6 per cent).
Early this year, the UK government was enthusiastic about an IMF offer of a $3.2 billion loan at a 1.5 per cent interest during Egypt’s period of direct military rule.
A high level UK diplomat then told Ahram Online that the offer was “an amazingly good deal” with “virtually no conditionality.”
UK support at the time followed a meeting of British representatives with the Supreme Council for Armed Force (SCAF), which until July 2012 had veto power on all political decisions.
The diplomat explained that his government felt the deal the IMF put to Egypt was very favourable.
Speaking this week, the Foreign Office spokesperson insisted there was no change in the UK positions on the IMF loan after President Morsi took the reins of power from SCAF.
During her visit to Egypt last Wednesday, Lagarde met Morsi and his prime minister Hesham Kandil, and praised the Egyptian vision for reform.
“We are impressed by the strategy that President Morsi and Prime Minister Kandil have proposed during our meetings today,” she said at a joint press conference with Kandil.
An IMF technical team is due to arrive in Cairo in early September to begin work on arrangements for the mooted loan.
“We prefer foreign borrowing at this stage given the low interest rate of the IMF loan compared to much higher rates when borrowing domestically,” said Kandil, on the matter.
He added that borrowing domestically would crowd out the private sector and the IMF loan would help ease liquidity problems.
The IMF said in a statement it had maintained close dialogue on economic policy with Egyptian authorities since the start of the transition period in February 2011. It said it has also provided considerable technical assistance upon request from the government.
- Egypt requests $4.8bn IMF loan (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- IMF hopes to sink claws into Egypt (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- Egypt to get IMF technical team in September, says Managing Director Christine Lagarde (bikyamasr.com)
An undated photo shows a Rohingya refugee woman carrying a child in an unregistered camp in Kutupalong, some 400 kilometers southeast of Dhaka.
I am writing to every contact listed at Buddhanet.info’s American Buddhist Directory to ask:
Are you aware of the ongoing genocide in Myanmar (Burma) — a genocide that is being committed in the name of Buddhism?
And did you know that the United States of America bears responsibility for this genocide, since the US has been rewarding the Myanmar regime with ever-closer political and economic ties during recent months of accelerating atrocities?
As American Buddhists, you are in a position to help stop this genocide, by pressuring the US and Myanmar governments as well as international human rights organizations. Your visible participation in the campaign to save the Rohingya people from extermination by murderous Buddhist fanatics will not only help draw the world’s attention to this horrific situation, but also help restore the image of Buddhism as a religion of compassion.
The facts about the genocide in Myanmar are not in dispute. The fanatical Buddhist nationalists, who unfortunately represent a large segment of the roughly 60 million Buddhists in Myanmar, admit that they are trying to uproot and exterminate the roughly one million Muslim Rohingya from land that the Rohingya have lived on for centuries.
Here is what a typical genocidal Buddhist fanatic from Myanmar wrote in a comment on a Wall Street Journal article:
“Burma is Buddhist nation created for the 135 Tibeto-Burman tribes. People do not get citizenship just because born there or illegally lived there for centuries. Please do not interfere with the law and internal affairs of Burma just as you do not like other nations to poke their nose in your internal affairs.”
“People do not get citizenship just because born there or illegally lived there for centuries.” This statement, which aptly sums up the official policy of the Burmese regime, could get the person who made it, and the government that follows it, hanged for crimes against humanity. Obviously, being born in a modern nation to a family that has been there for centuries automatically confers citizenship. And obviously, any modern nation that denies citizenship to such people, burns their homes and communities, and murders them en masse, with the aim of removing them from the nation of their birth, is committing the internationally-recognized crime of genocide.
In recent weeks, many thousands of homes, and more than 20 mosques, have been burned by murderous Buddhist mobs, backed by national security forces, in the Arakan state of Myanmar. Estimates of the number of Rohingya Muslims murdered, whether directly or by drowning in the Naf River, as they flee the killers, range from the thousands to the tens of thousands. Every one of the more than 500 mosques in Arakan has been taken over by the genocidal regime’s security forces and shut down, and they are being demolished one-by-one. (This happened during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims are supposed to spend as much time as possible in a mosque.)
Muslims have been living in Burma since roughly 800 c.e. — that is, nearly for as long as the religion of Islam has existed. And Arakan has been a Muslim region, ruled by Muslim kings and/or populated by Bengali Muslims, since 1430. The most notable population increase of Muslims in Arakan took place in the 1600s. The idea that the Rohingya people are somehow “recent immigrants” to the region is clinically insane — a symptom of the larger insanity known as nationalist fanaticism.”
Both Buddhism and Islam are universalist religions: They proclaim truths that are valid for all people, indeed for all of existence. And the core truth that both religions proclaim is the primacy of compassion. In Buddhism, a central feature of the Buddha nature is compassion for all beings. If one were to choose a single hallmark of a successful advanced practitioner of Buddhism, it would be a highly-developed sense of compassion.
Whatever has happened to the Myanmar Buddhists’ compassion for their fellow citizens who happen to be born as Rohingyas?
Islam, too, views compassion as a central reality of creation. Muslim theologians, like the more advanced Christian and Jewish religious thinkers, view God as ineffable; but the primary and overriding tangible characteristic of God in Islam (with the proviso that no tangible characteristics fully express the reality of the one ineffable God) is rahma, or compassion. The two adjectives Muslims use the most to “describe” God are ar-rahman ar-rahim, usually translated as “the merciful, the compassionate.” (The root of rahma and its cognates derives from the word for “womb,” suggesting that this “compassion” has something in common with the nurturing, all-embracing, unconditional love that mothers feel for their children.)
Additionally, both Buddhism and Islam teach us to transcend or even annihilate the (tribal) ego. Buddhism offers a set of teachings that take its practitioners beyond the ego, which is the source of the endless desire that is the cause of the pervasive suffering or disappointment that characterizes ordinary human existence. Likewise, Islam teaches its serious practitioners to annihilate the “ego that desires evil” through absolute submission to God. Each religion offers a very similar cure for the unhappiness of the ordinary human condition.
The kind of chest-thumping egotistical nationalism that proclaims “I am a Buddhist, my heroic nation is Buddhist, I am so much better than those non-Buddhists that I must kill them or exile them” is about as far from the compassionate teachings of the Buddha as it is possible to get. Likewise, extremist Muslims who proclaim that their narrow version of Islam is the only truth, and that everyone who disagrees should be killed, are equally far from the universal, all-compassionate message proclaimed by God through Prophet Muhammad (peace upon him).
Muslims and Buddhists ought to unite against ego-driven nationalist fanaticism, which is an affront to both religious traditions.
- Bangkok Conference On The Rohingyas Of Myanmar – OpEd (eurasiareview.com)
- Democracy and slaughter in Myanmar: Gold Rush overrides Human Rights (Aletho News)
- Stateless Rohingya… Running on Empty (Aletho News)