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Blackwater back at work in Iraq September 21, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iraq War, USA, War on Terror.
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Despite killing 11 people and wounding many others, the US security firm Blackwater is still working in Iraq, the BBC reports.

Ironically:

A separate Iraqi interior ministry investigation has found that Blackwater was “100% guilty” of the incident in which 11 Iraqi civilians were killed.

Clearly, the Iraqi government has no authority if a trigger-happy US security firm kills some civilians, they find the firm guilty, but are then practically ordered by the US to allow the firm to continue working in the country.

A US embassy spokeswoman said the decision to allow Blackwater to resume work had been taken in consultation with the Iraqi government.

Do we really believe this? It’s unlikely that the decision was taken ‘in consultation’ with the Iraqi goverment, but rather forced upon them by the US.

The US embassy said it would not comment on the Iraqi report while its own investigation is under way.

What a waste of time. The US is not going to find Blackwater guilty.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has described the shooting as a “criminal act” and vowed not to tolerate it.

Complete rubbish. By allowing Blackwater to continue operating in Iraq, it sends the message that this behaviour will be tolerated, and that the US can do whatever it wishes as it will not be held accountable.

Iraq shootout firm loses licence September 17, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iraq War, News Commentry, USA, War on Terror.
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The BBC reports:

Iraq has cancelled the licence of the private security firm, Blackwater USA, after it was involved in a gunfight in which at least eight civilians died.

The Iraqi interior ministry said the contractor, based in North Carolina, was now banned from operating in Iraq.

It would appear that it’s not just the US Army who are trigger happy (and have been involved in numerous friendly fire cases, but refuse to liase with British authorities); US private security firms are also joining in and shooting down whoever they feel like.

The Blackwater security guards “opened fire randomly at citizens” after mortars landed near their vehicles, killing eight people and wounding 13 others, interior ministry officials said.

Most of the dead and wounded were bystanders, the officials added. One of those killed was a policeman.

The comment from a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Baghdad is pathetic:

“We are taking it very seriously indeed,” she told the BBC, adding that discussions were still taking place about Blackwater’s status now that they had been ordered to leave.

Can’t expect much more from Condoleeza Rice either:

A spokesman for the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said she wanted to ensure that everything was being done to avoid the loss of innocent life and to make sure this kind of incident never happened again.

If Condie really cared about the loss of innocent life, then she wouldn’t be such a staunch support of the Iraq war until this day.

She is also expected to telephone Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to reassure him that the US had launched its own investigation.

I’d be surprised if US authorities find Blackwater guilty of anything, especially considering that the firm has a reputed $300m contract with the state department.

Australian Racism July 29, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry, War on Terror.
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It’s good to see Dr Mohammed Hanif’s innocence has been proven, and he does not have any links with terrorist organisations and the bombings carried out in the UK earlier this month.

The BBC reports:

The doctor who was accused in Australia of links to failed bomb attacks in the UK says he is relieved to have been cleared and denies any terrorist links.

Indian Mohammed Haneef said he felt “great… my Lord has restored my honour back to me, that I am innocent”.

It is sad then, that despite his innocence, that Australian Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, has decided to stick by his decision to cancel Dr Hanif’s visa, thereby stopping him from from returning to live and work in Australia.

Mr Andrews said on Sunday that he still harboured suspicions against the Indian doctor.

The fact that Dr Haneef decided to leave the country “actually heightens rather than lessens my suspicion”, he said.

It’s absurd that a government official can act in this way. Dr. Hanif has gone through the Australian legal system, his story has been checked, and he has proved he had good reason to be leaving the country (to go and see his new-born daughter).

Hopefully, the world hasn’t gone completely crazy, and action will be taken against Kevin Andrews for using his position of power to enforce his own personal prejudices against Muslims. Such a person does not deserve to be in a position of power.

Having said that, it’s a widely held view that Australia is racist. Having their Immigration Minister behave in this way just re-enforces that perception to the world.

I’d certainly think twice about visiting Australia now. They aren’t worthy of my tourist dollars.

World owes US a debt, says Brown July 29, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry, USA, War on Terror.
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Unsurprisingly, Blair’s replacement is wasting no time getting ‘in bed’ with George Bush saying that the world owes the US a debt.

The world owes a debt to the United States for its leadership in the fight against international terrorism, Gordon Brown has said.

The prime minister described the link with the US as the UK’s “most important bilateral relationship” ahead of his first talks with President George Bush.

Which is strange as the BBC article also says:

A foreign office minister had suggested the two countries would no longer be “joined at the hip” on foreign policy.

Analysts will be looking for signs of the Brown regime distancing itself from the US during the trip.

As BBC political editor Nick Robinson said, Brown is walking a very, very thin line. It’s hard to believe that the countries will no longer be joined at the hip, or that things will be any different under Brown’s leadership, when he says:

… Mr Brown described himself as an “Atlanticist and a great admirer of the American sprit”.

“As Prime Minister I want to do more to strengthen even further our relationship with the US,”

“It is firmly in the British national interest that we have a strong relationship with the US, our single most important bilateral relationship”

It sounds like he has every intention of serving George Bush without question, just as his predecessor did. I’m going to be very surprised if there is any change in the UK’s interactions with the US under this new leader.

US ‘ignored’ UK rendition protest July 25, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iraq War, News Commentry, USA, War on Terror.
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The BBC reports:

British concerns appear to have had no “material affect” on US actions in its “war on terror”, the UK’s intelligence and security committee has said.

The committee, which reports to the prime minister, was probing possible UK involvement in rendition flights.

Does this tell us anything new? It’s no secret that the US doesn’t particular care what the UK thinks. Rumsfeld was prepared to go to war with Iraq without Blair’s support

As Labour MP, Graham Allen said:

“He’s made it very clear that the US can and will go to war without the UK. Our participation is not necessary,”

Why the UK continues to maintain this so called special relationship between itself and the US is anyone’s guess.

CIA torture Iranian diplomat April 7, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iran, Iraq War, News Commentry, USA, War on Terror.
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The BBC reports that an Iranian diplomat freed last week claims that that his CIA captors tortured him. It wouldn’t be surprising; the US has a history of violating human rights, as previously stated.

The statement of Whitehouse spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, is amusing:

This is just the latest theatrics of a government trying to deflect attention away from its own unacceptable actions

The irony of this statement is hilarious, coming from the spokesman of a government that invaded one country and wrecked it (Afghanistan), so it invaded another to deflect attention away from this, and made an even bigger mess (Iraq), and is now trying to deflect attention away from that, and get support for a war on Iran.

Oh, and not one of the British sailors released by Iran was tortured. The US could learn a thing or two from the Iranians about how to treat captives.

Rosie O’Donnell speaks out on Iran and 9/11 April 3, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in Iran, Islam, USA, War on Terror.
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Another excellent video, Rosie O’Donell speaks out on Iran, 9/11, and America’s war on terror.

US violating human rights – again February 2, 2007

Posted by Some Muslim in News Commentry, USA, War on Terror.
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The BBC reports that –

A Lebanese-born German, who accuses the CIA of having kidnapped and tortured him, says he is determined to get an apology from the US authorities.

Khaled al-Masri alleges that he was seized in Macedonia, flown to a secret jail in Afghanistan and tortured there.

It’s good to see that German authorities have some sense, are looking after their citizens, and have ordered the arrest of 13 suspected CIA agents.  Just as the US would not be expected to accept any other government kidnapping and treating American citizens in such a manner, it cannot expect that such actions will go unnoticed when done to other countries.

As the article reports:

Mr Masri says he was abducted at the end of 2003 and detained for five months before being released in Albania after the Americans realised they had got the wrong man.

That’s right.  This man was abducted and detained, and tortured for five months before the CIA realised he was innocent, and simply threw him back out on the street, without so much as an apology.

Elsewhere in Europe:

Meanwhile in the Italian city of Milan, court hearings to decide whether to indict 25 alleged CIA agents and several Italians accused of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in 2003 are under way.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, or Abu Omar, says he was abducted from the streets of Milan and then tortured in Egypt.

The fact that the US is engaged in such activity is not new, and first made news headlines when the story of Maher Arrer unfolded.  What’s worse about this case, is not only the fact that he was kept for just under a year, but also that he’s from Canada, and you’d think the US would excercise a little more care to its neighbours.

Maher Arar is a 34-year-old wireless technology consultant. He was born in Syria and came to Canada with his family at the age of 17. He became a Canadian citizen in 1991. On Sept. 26, 2002, while in transit in New York’s JFK airport when returning home from a vacation, Arar was detained by US officials and interrogated about alleged links to al-Qaeda. Twelve days later, he was chained, shackled and flown to Syria, where he was held in a tiny “grave-like” cell for ten months and ten days before he was moved to a better cell in a different prison. In Syria, he was beaten, tortured and forced to make a false confession.

He was held for nearly a year in Syria before being released to Canadian authorities. Although Syrian and Canadian authorities later found that Arrar had no terrorist links, he remains on the US terrorist watch list.

Then there’s the story of the three British Muslims held in Guantanamo Bay for nearly three years without charge or trial.  Their story is well narrated in the 2006 movie, The Road to Guantanamo.

The film tells the story of Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul (the ‘Tipton Three’); three young British men from Tipton in the West Midlands who were captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001 and detained as “enemy combatants” at Guantánamo Bay, without charge or legal representation, for nearly three years. As well as interviews with the three men themselves and archive news footage from the period, the film contains an account of the three men’s experiences following their capture by the Northern Alliance, the subsequent handover to the United States military and their detention in Cuba. It contains several scenes depicting their alleged beatings during interrogation, the use of alleged torture techniques such as ‘stress positions’ and attempts to extract forced confessions of involvement with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Tipton Three were all released without charge in 2004.

If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend watching it.  The full thing is on Google Video.  Within a day of returning from Cuba and being questioned by British police, they were released.

How much more injustice are we going to see from the US?