Memo to America: Stop murdering my people

Almost every day, the NATO occupation of our country continues to kill innocent people. Each time, it seems, military officials try to claim that only insurgents are killed, or they completely deny and cover up their crimes. The work of a few courageous journalists is the only thing that brings some of these atrocities to light.

For instance, it was only after the reporting of Jerome Starkey of the Times of London that officials admitted to the brutal Feb. 12 murder of two pregnant women, a teenage girl, and several young men in a night raid at a home where a family was celebrating the birth of a child.


Night raids, air raid “mistakes,” firing on civilian buses and cars at checkpoints — the occupation finds many ways of killing the people of Afghanistan. The excuses and lies for these deaths are like salt in our wounds, and it is no wonder that protests against the U.S. military are growing. The Afghan people have had enough.


Continue reading

Report: US ordered assassination of Yemeni cleric

The United States has ordered the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric, over alleged links to a failed Christmas airline bombing in Detroit, a report says.

Citing unnamed US officials, The Washington Post reported Wednesday that US President Barack Obama’s administration has authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to capture and kill Awlaki.

Al-Awlaki, 38, was born in New Mexico and spent years as an imam in Virginia, before moving to Yemen.

The report claims he has moved from the category of being militant preacher to becoming an operational figure in al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Al-Awlaki is charged with ties to an alleged failed attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.

Let Dr. Aafia go home, Mr. President

Reading all those legal thrillers by John Grisham and watching Hollywood blockbusters that portray innocent individuals framed and ensnared by a powerful system, one always thought: Of course, these things do not happen in real life.

I am not so sure anymore though. The abduction, persecution and now conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated neuroscientist, by the U.S. authorities reads like a regulation Grisham thriller written for Hollywood.

Aafia disappeared with her three children on her way to Jinnah International Airport airport for Islamabad way back in 2003. Five years later, she was presented in a New York court in March 2008 as “a top al-Qaeda terrorist” and the “most dangerous woman on earth,” as United States Attorney General John Ashcroft put it.

The U.S. authorities claimed then that Aafia was captured near Ghazni governor’s office in Afghanistan with a bag that carried instructions on making explosives and a list of U.S. landmarks.

But more damningly, the U.S. authorities claimed that the frail mother of three attacked a team of eight U.S. soldiers, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Afghan officials in Ghazni with a highly sophisticated, heavy M-4 gun in Ghazni when they went to question her. Surprisingly though, it’s Aafia who ended up with two gunshot wounds, inflicted point blank. None of the officials she allegedly attacked sustained any injuries or wounds.

Last week, after months of courtroom drama and charade of a trial, Aafia was convicted of attempted murder and attacking U.S. soldiers and FBI officials with a deadly weapon.

Continue reading

United Nations report blasts US over human rights abuses

A United Nations report says the US has been violating basic human rights by kidnapping and holding terrorism suspects in secret detention centers during the past nine years.

The US is among dozens of countries that have kidnapped suspects, four independent UN rights investigators said in a year-long study based on flight data and interviews with 30 former detainees.

“On a global scale, secret detention in connection with counter-terrorist policies remains a serious problem,” they wrote in the 226-page report which is expected to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March.

“Secret detention as such may constitute torture or ill-treatment for the direct victims as well as their families,” the report said.

Victims and their families deserve compensation and those responsible should be prosecuted, said the four independent investigators.

The UN report explained that the purpose of the secret detentions was to cover up torture and inhuman treatment of the detainees in an effort to obtain information or silent the subjects.

The rights investigators said running facilities such as those used by the Nazis, the Soviet gulag system and Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and ’80s, was banned under the internationally recognized laws laid out in the Geneva Conventions.

They also said establishment of secret detention could not be justified under any circumstances, including during states of emergency or armed conflict.
Continue reading

Engineers Most Likely to Become Islamic Radicals

Engineers of Jihad

Why Are There So Many Engineers Among Islamic Radicals?

What sort of people are more likely to become religious fundamentalists?

Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog recently released two reports demonstrating that individuals with degrees in subjects such as science, engineering, and medicine are most likely to become Islamic extremists. The two most well-known cases are Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who studied engineering in university, and Al-Qaeda second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri who received a degree in medicine.

Continue reading

Mumbai terror suspect David Headley was ‘rogue US secret agent’

A key terror suspect who allegedly helped to plan last year’s attacks in Mumbai and plotted to strike Europe was an American secret agent who went rogue, Indian officials believe.

David Coleman Headley (aka Daood Sayed Gilani), 49, who was born in Washington to a Pakistan diplomat father and an American mother, was arrested in Chicago in October. He is accused of reconnoitering targets in India and Europe for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based terror group behind the Mumbai attacks and of having links to al-Qaeda. He has denied the charges.

He came to the attention of the US security services in 1997 when he was arrested in New York for heroin smuggling. He earned a reduced sentence by working for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) infiltrating Pakistan-linked narcotics gangs.

Indian investigators, who have been denied access to Mr. Headley, suspect that he remained on the payroll of the US security services — possibly working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — but switched his allegiance to LeT.

“India is looking into whether Headley worked as a double agent,” an Indian Ministry of Home Affairs official said yesterday.

Continue reading

Lithuania ‘hosted at least two secret CIA prisons’

A Lithuanian inquiry has found that the US Central Intelligence Agency set up and used secret prisons on its soil following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US.

Lithuania‘s intelligence agency assisted the CIA-run secret prisons, which were used to hold at least eight al-Qaeda suspects, the parliamentary panel in charge of the probe said in a report on Tuesday.

The National Security Committee report records instances in 2005 and 2006 when chartered planes were allowed to land in Lithuania, adding that all the Lithuanian officials, including President Dalia Grybauskaitė, were kept in the dark about the aircraft’s passengers.

The report, which is based on testimony of top politicians and intelligence officials, also sought to close the door on any charges of human rights violations on the grounds that no official was ever aware of exactly what was happening in the US-run prisons.

It said Lithuania’s State Security Department (Valstybės saugumo departamento) provided two facilities to the CIA.

Continue reading