Books, wild thoughts, and stuff
Monday, May 31, 2004
Sudan: Arab militia use 'rape camps' for ethnic cleansing of Sudan
By Benjamin Joffe-WaltThese Arab Janjaweed are sub-human pieces of filth.
"In the evening, the Janjaweed attacked. The area was full of crying from every direction, and shooting," says Ilham Isaak Abakker Abdullah. Aged 13, and light-voiced, she wears a pink dress and scarf and hasn't shown her face in weeks. "I saw many people killed, then I was grabbed by two men on horses wearing Sudan army uniforms."
My local translator stops, no longer willing to delve into her story. "She is only 13," he says, and walks away. Tentatively, she continues talking to me in Arabic: "They tied me to a tree and raped me all night. I became very ill and fell down. They thought I died, so they left me."
Unable to walk and barely conscious, Ilham crawled out of the "rape camp" near Funu, in northern Darfur, where she was being held. "I was very lucky," she says. She found a relative nearby who carried her just over a mile to a donkey, and they rode together a few hours to Abu Lehah, a village that has become a safe haven for the survivors of this secret rape camp. "I was unconscious and stayed there 16 days," she says. Ilham then set out on a 125-mile trek south to Bahai in Chad, where she eventually found medical help.
After 50 years of conflict that have claimed almost 2 million lives, Sudan is now officially at peace - but unofficially, the war goes on. In Darfur, Sudan's western-most region, the people remain untouched by last week's peace agreement signed between the country's Islamic government and Christian rebels. Sudanese soldiers and the government-backed Janjaweed militia still terrorise, and at the centre of their campaign of "ethnic cleansing" is a policy of systematic rape designed to drive civilians from their settlements.
Ilham is one of countless women, young and old, who have made the journey to Chad after escaping the "rape camps". I was unable to confirm first-hand the existence of such camps, but based on testimony to The Sunday Telegraph of refugees in the area, interviews by human rights organisations and the data, though scant, of aid agencies, it is clear that one such camp exists 10 miles outside Abu Lehah. It is also clear that rape by Janjaweed militias, the Arab soldiers intent on "ethnic cleansing" in the black African-dominated region of Darfur, is prevalent.
"When we arrived in Abu Lehah we saw hundreds of women unable to walk," says Asha Abdara Haman, 25, who helped Ilham and other girls on the long journey to Bahai. "Many girls were under 15 and couldn't walk. We carried them for 16 days."
Asha and her 17-year-old sister, Radiya, were taken by Janjaweed and held as sex slaves for two days. "Five to six people raped each of us," Asha says. "They did everything they wanted with us, our condition was horrible."
To escape, the sisters manipulated the Janjaweed. "We said, 'You Janjaweed, you are very good people, we will not leave you,' so they didn't watch us closely and we escaped into the trees." Unable to walk properly, they almost crawled to Abu Lehah nearby, where they stayed for two days before making the trek to Chad with Ilham and other women.
Read the whole story. Click the button in the left column and contribute to help the victims of Arab Muslim terrorism and genocide in Sudan.
U.S.: Memorial Day
For all those who have served freedom's cause, who have fallen in battle, who live on with the memory of war, thank you.
FREEDOM ISN'T FREE
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform;
so young, so tall, so proud.
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
he'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought, how many men like him
had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many Mother's tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers'
No, Freedom is not free.
I heard the sound of 'Taps' one night,
when everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
and felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
that 'Taps' had meant 'Amen',
when a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
of Mothers and the Wives,
of Fathers, Sons and Husbands
with interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
at the bottom of the sea,
of unmarked graves at Arlington.
No, Freedom isn't free!
Remember this ..... and
GOD BLESS AMERICA
The Burial Of Sir John Moore After Corunna
by Charles Wolfe (1791-1823)
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light
And the lanthorn dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed
And smooth'd down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that 's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him—
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
But we left him alone with his glory.
TT: Jail in TT not a bed of rosesSo, what else is new? Amnesty International thinks that TT jails are really bad. I wonder how they compare to Abu Ghraib as run by U.S. soldiers? -- something that Caribbean journalists have had much to say about. What will these same journalists say about AI's report on TT's jails, or will they keep silent because U.S. soldiers don't run the jails?
Amnesty International has painted a damning picture of Trinidad and Tobago's prison system.For AI, the glass is never half full. AI uses American jails as the standard for what jails, prison and social services ought to be; then, they determine that what the U.S. offers is insufficient. So, if the U.S. cannot reach the AI goalpost, can anyone else?
"Conditions in places of detention continue to cause grave concern, and in some cases amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," it said in a report published at the weekend covering 2003.
Amnesty said many prisoners lacked "the most basic facilities to ensure hygiene".
"Inmate-upon-inmate violence" continued, including "some of a sexual nature," the report said, giving examples of cases where inmates were allegedly beaten by prison guards. It referred to the trial of a prison officer charged with the murder of detainee Anton Cooper in 2002 which had not begun by the end of 2003.
It said that the system of evidence taking and the court system remained hostile to victims, resulting in fewer perpetrators being brought to justice.
"Services such as shelters counselling and support for victims and perpetrators remained inadequate, mediation centres closed and magistrates and judges remained insufficiently aware of and unresponsive to issues related to violence against women, the report said.
It noted that "there were continuing reports of torture and ill-treatment by the police and army, sometimes resulting in death," and cited the death of Shaun McLeod in September last year as an example.
I'm not arguing that jail ought to be a hell hole; however, I don't believe that jails ought to be the vacation resorts they are here in the U.S. Half of these characters in jails here need to be doing hard time with really serious manual labor and the cat, instead of spending their days pumping iron and filing frivolous lawsuits.
Can TT jails be improved? Most definitely. They should be; moreover, police and prison officers should be properly trained so that they do not abuse criminals. Nevertheless, jails weren't made to ripen figs, and their austerity ought to serve as an object lesson to keep men from indulging in the criminal behavior that would merit a return trip.
Ja: Some things need no comment at all
Cuba is no more a paradise than many other countries. It is a Communist society and as such is very different in organisation and control, but not in culture, from the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. Despite this, it is nowhere near as monolithic as many outside imagine. Its views are nuanced and frequently led by nationalism. There is strong internal debate, albeit within a single party, and it is flexible on everything but the key matters of political principle on which it will not compromise.
It has provided extensive social rights for its people and can speak on many international issues with a moral authority that is lacking in much of the developed world. This is why so many developing nations continue to respect its government.
However, its record on some internal issues, including dissent, remains questionable. The arrest and trial of dissidents over the last year have caused rifts with many nations, including the EU. On May 13, Europe again censured Cuba for human rights abuses relating to the trial and detention of human rights activists and journalists 'arrested while peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, opinion, association and assembly' - principles that the EU said it strongly defends.
For its part, Cuba argues that some of these dissidents were being paid by the US to ferment dissent with the objective of provoking turmoil. Cuban officials suggest the US intent was to bring about a refugee crisis, a situation that would result in a US naval blockade.
The resulting heightened military profile that Cuba would have then had to adopt would, they believe, have led to a subsequent US military response, retaliation and the possibility of war. For this reason they suggest the present Cuban policy on dissidents is driven by strategic concerns, national security and the dangers of instability around the time of a US presidential election.
In the past few days, the new US policy began to be implemented. In what appears to be an attempt to weaken growing Caribbean interest in trade and investment with Cuba while sending a warning to Jamaica over other issues, Washington notified the Jamaican resort group SuperClubs that it intended enforcing the US Helms Burton legislation in respect of their tourism investments in Cuba. The decision suggests that the US Administration may be choosing to send a chill through nations such as those in the Caribbean, with the possible objective, as with Europe, of eventually striking deals that will lead to a more critical political stance on Cuba.
Such a policy is alienating nations that should be friends. Moreover, such threats or promises of deals will not affect China which has now deepened its relationship with Cuba to levels close to those once enjoyed with the former Soviet Union. Russia, too, has begun to look at a closer relationship with Havana.
The present United States Administration seems driven by a fundamentalist belief that if its policies and culture are right for its own people they are, by extension, appropriate for adoption by everyone else in the world.
Despite what is now being proposed for Cuba, a moment will come when generations younger than those who changed its history will be able to choose their own leaders and the ways in which they want to move forward. Until then, the best way to ensure stability is to increase contact and dialogue through business, tourism and culture.
Ja: Jamaica bellies up to the bar again
JAMAICA will be providing drinking water along with medical and other relief supplies to flood-ravaged Haiti, Prime Minister P J Patterson said over the weekend.From this, it appears that Caricom's response to the Haiti-Dominican Republic crisis will not be a well-coordinated and regional one, but will be highly individualistic with the likelihood of aid duplication.
In addition, Jamaica will be sending medical and technical personnel to assist with the flood relief efforts.
Jamaica flood relief effort is being spearheaded by the Office of the Prime Minister, with the assistance of the foreign, security and health ministries, and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.
The Port Authority will ship the medical supplies and drinking water.
While I laud Jamaica's consistent generosity towards its Caricom sister, I can't help wishing that Caricom would get its act together and have a strategy in place to respond to catastophes such as these.
Ja: Aristide expresses sorrow for Haiti
Yesterday, after spending two and a half months in Jamaica, Aristide and his family left for temporary asylum in South Africa.
Before leaving, he offered condolences to flood victims, saying "We stand in solidarity with the residents of Mapou, Fond Verrettes, Jimani, and with all the Haitians and Dominicans directly affected."
U.S.: What is Caricom doing to help?I have yet to find any statement of Caricom assistance for either Haiti or the Dominican Republic in this time of need.
What relief effort has Caricom mounted on behalf of these two countries? Or, is Caricom allowing anger over Aristide's departure to get in the way of providing assistance to these two flood-stricken countries?
Hti: Elvis has left the building!
Ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has gone to South Africa, ending a two-and-a-half-month exile in Jamaica.
He said South Africa would be his "temporary home" until he can return to his country, Haiti.
Earlier this month the Pretoria government announced it had granted asylum to Mr Aristide, following consultations with the US and France.
South African opposition parties had urged the authorities to deny entry to the former Haitian president.
Mr Aristide and his family boarded a South African government jet in Kingston on Sunday.
Hti-DR: Flood relief
Rescue teams are scrambling to get food, clean water and first-aid kits to survivors in flood-ravaged regions of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Flash floods have killed more than 900 people in the two countries and many more are missing as rain still falls.
The number of dead has continued to rise, with another two dozen bodies found in the Dominican town of Jimani.
About 300 bodies have been found in the Haitian town of Mapou, under so much water it has been described as a lake.
The race is on to recover corpses floating in the water to stop disease spreading throughout the region.
Aid workers say that up to 1,500 people are still missing in the Haitian village of Mapou, one of the areas worst affected by Caribbean flooding.You can contribute to the relief effort for Haiti and the Dominican Republic by giving to Lutheran World Relief, World Vision, Batey Relief Alliance, or to Haiti Democracy Project.
Tonnes of aid were airlifted to Mapou on Sunday, but rescue workers say they are struggling to reach survivors in other remote areas.
Continuing rain is also hampering their efforts.
At least 2,000 people are known to have died or disappeared in severe flooding in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
On Saturday an earthquake of magnitude 4.4 struck the border area between the two countries, compounding problems further.
Hti: Caricom drinking bush for Aristide's fever
Without mentioning the United States, the summit called for a multilateralist approach in solving most pressing global problems and vowed to combat terrorism in all its manifestations.So, Caricom is talking France's language of "counterbalance"; does that mean that Caricom is willing to play an obstructionist anti-U.S. role at the corrupt U.N.?
In a veiled criticism of US difficulties in Iraq, French President Jacques Chirac said: "Security problems that raise the use of force have become global and should be dealt with in a multilateral framework in order to be handled legitimately."
Caribbean ministers at the summit echoed Mr Chirac's call.
"All the Caricom ministers who spoke, they've made that point, particularly after our experience at the United Nations and our efforts at the security council with regard to helping Haiti," Bahamian Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell told BBC Caribbean Service.
"It just shows the necessity for the multilateral movement to be very strong," he said.
Mr Mitchell said he saw the relationship between EU and the Latin American and Caribbean region as a "counterbalance" to the world's superpower, meaning the United States.
I would imagine it does, especially since Caricom's voting record at the U. N. is not one that supports its most reliable ally in the region and the world.
What has France to offer Caricom but the same betrayal that it handed to Colin Powell at the U.N. in the run up to the Iraq war? What does the EU have to offer, especially in light of the weakness of the various economies overburdened by the socialist welfare state?
If Caricom wants to be the mouse that roared, then it is better off acting independently of both the EU and Latin America, both of which are gradually being overrun by the Islamic horde and neither of which has economies that are doing anything much.
The irony of this all is that Caricom, willing to take American aid, would side with the malevolently powerless French who are willing to use the Islamists as a check to American power without reckoning the ultimate cost to Western civilization.
Hti: Weeping endures for a nightAnd the night is very long for Haiti. When morning will come, nobody knows. Come it will, though, because God gives us no more than we can bear.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Last year there was drought followed by flash floods at Christmas. This year, an armed revolt left the nation in shambles. Now, as they try to meet growing needs with limited resources, aid agencies confront yet another disaster in Haiti's never-ending cycle of crises.Let us keep Haiti in our prayers and contribute to the relief effort.
Deadly rains have left more than 50,000 homeless, helpless and hungry in floods that lashed Haiti and the Dominican Republic and killed at least 1,000 people, aid workers said.
Aid agencies braced for epidemics, particularly in Haiti's southwest corner where workers are trying to free trapped corpses that risk contaminating water sources. The putrid, standing water could cause eruptions of dysentery, hepatitis, giardia and E. Coli. Mosquitos, which carry parasites that cause malaria and dengue fever, already are breeding in the standing water.
The U.N. World Food Program was having to dip into supplies meant for victims of the rebellion that helped force President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power Feb. 29. Rebels blocked roads, preventing food and fuel shipments from reaching tens of thousands of drought victims in northern Haiti.
On Friday, aid workers rushed to deliver rice and beans to flood victims, but torrents that washed out and submerged roads left them dependent on U.S. military helicopters with a small capacity. Deliveries were taking days to complete and could continue for weeks.
Many of the worst affected villages remain under water.
Left bankrupt by Aristide's administration, Haiti's interim leaders are struggling to find money to rebuild and prepare for elections next year while keeping a tentative peace.
Gya: Coked up snapper
The interception of a large amount of cocaine stuffed into frozen grey snappers provides law enforcement officers with a meaty opportunity to help unravel the knotty threads of the drug insurgency.
To what extent local drug enforcement agencies are trusted by their overseas counterparts and are therefore involved in joint operations is unclear. There have been suggestions in law enforcement circles that high profile shipments of cocaine in timber and rice and another involving a former national cyclist were allowed to leave the country with the full knowledge of local agencies so that the importers or the consignees could be nabbed by foreign law enforcers such as the US DEA and Scotland Yard. There is much doubt about this as our interception agencies have had little success in tapping the roots of the trade and prosecuting its high-profile participants. Moreover, the recent successes scored in the US against traffickers between the Timehri and Kennedy airports and the indictments handed down seem to be built exclusively around efforts by US lawmen. Which is why the netting of the grey snappers at Timehri seems to be based more on local intelligence and alertness rather than any joint effort with an overseas agency, otherwise the cocaine-stuffed fish would have been allowed to reach its destination so that its importers could be identified and prosecuted.
Gya: Guyana's bam-bam police refuse to act against a pedophile
The heart-wrenching trauma for the mother of a 13-year-old who was allegedly kidnapped by a businessman continued yesterday when the girl fled from her relative's home on Saturday night and apparently returned to the man.A number of factors are worthy of consideration here: the age and belief system of the businessman, and the attitude of the police.
The child's mother, Bibi Shameeza Hamid, yesterday questioned where a desperate mother could go for help for her child as she said it seems that the police and the courts are unable to help her.
Hamid told Stabroek News yesterday that her child escaped from her aunt's house at around 11:15 pm in a small jeep, PCC 3725. She said this vehicle is under the authority of businessman Reeaz Khan who the mother earlier this month accused in habeas corpus proceedings of abducting her daughter.
In her quest for help, Hamid had moved to the High Court seeking to have Khan produce her daughter after he had refused to return the minor to her custody. As a result, on May 20, Justice BS Roy had instructed Khan to release the teenager into the joint custody of her mother and maternal aunt and to avoid contacting her. However, Hamid alleged that Khan abducted the child from her sister's home around 1 am the next day and she was returned to her mother at a private hospital early the following morning.
In a counter-move, Khan's lawyer last Friday moved to the High Court and filed proceedings seeking to have the court allow him to marry the child. This move, Hamid said, she would fight all the way.
Yesterday the woman said she was frustrated, as it appears as if Khan could do whatever he liked.
She yesterday questioned how come he had been allowed to get away with his actions after the judge had instructed him not to make contact with the girl.
She stated that a report was made to the Wales Police Station again yesterday and policemen took a statement from her but nothing else was done.
The Guyana Indian Heritage Association (GIHA) is the only group thus far to come out in support of the woman in her ordeal. The group in a release yesterday expressed grave concern about the issues raised in this particular case.
According to the release, Hamid related that she had entrusted her daughter to Khan for a work-study programme in good faith and that he had betrayed this trust by having sexual relations with the girl and holding her against her mother's consent.
"While GIHA hopes that the judicial system will provide a just and legal decision in the matter, the group is concerned about the serious moral issues the case raises."
The group stated that in this case where a businessman used his public profile as a senior member of a masjid and his financial clout to lure an unsuspecting parent and her child into a situation where he betrayed their trust, Khan showed contempt for the mores of civilised society and the rules of acceptable and decent behaviour. The group offered support to Hamid and hoped that her daughter would be returned to her care.
Yesterday Hamid related that persons are encouraging her to settle the matter by allowing Khan to marry her child.
"But how could I do that? That is my little child how I could marry her off to a big man like that? I know she is going to be miserable and in the long run he will treat her bad and I am hurting now but I will hurt more if I allow it to happen, I can't do that," the woman said.
"I don't know what to do but things really terrible for me as a mother."
The woman yesterday said that she was afraid that her daughter might be taken out of the country since the child had taken her passport to Khan. She wants all the airlines and travel agencies to be on the alert for this.
From all I've been able to discover, Reeaz Khan is the director of Reaaz Trading Enterprises. His age, I've yet been unable to determine because it appears in none of the documents online searchable at Land of Six Peoples. That Ms. Hamid describes Khan as a "big man" indicates that Khan is either in his thirties or older.
Given his position in the company and in the Islamic masjid, I would estimate that Reeaz Khan is not less than 40-years old, and is old enough to be the child's father, if not her grandfather. Whatever his age, his actions though despicable are permissible under Islam. After all, the prophet Mohammed had a wife younger than this child.
What is equally distressing is that here is a senior member of a mosque, a wealthy businessman, engaging in pedophilia with the consent of the Guyanese police who are disinclined to uphold court orders. Thus, the case demonstrates that Guyana is a way away from being a nation of rule of law. Why the police will do nothing, no one knows. It is possible that money could have changed hands; it is also possible that the police choose to do nothing because they see nothing wrong with the actions of Reeaz Khan. It is also possible that there are no anti-pedophilia laws on the books in Guyana. Either way, none of this looks good for the South American nation.
In spite of his flouting of the law,
[city] businessman Reeaz Khan has petitioned the High Court for permission to marry a 13-year-old girl, stating among other things, “that much love and affection had grown between us”.It will be interesting to see what the court does inasmuch as Justice Roy had barred Khan from having any contact with the child. Apparently, also, citizens of Guyana can petition the court to marry underage children "under Section 33 of the Marriage Act, Chapter 45:01 of the laws of Guyana."
The filing of the petition in the Supreme Court Registry yesterday afternoon follows Court proceedings in which the mother of the child had approached Justice B.S. Roy via a habeas corpus order to compel Khan to produce the girl. The girl was allegedly in the businessman’s custody at the time.
Here is the substance of Khan's petition:
“Between March 2004 and April 2004 Bibi and her mother Bibi Shameeza Hamid stayed at your Petitioner’s home at 51 Eccles, East Bank, Demerara.One can only hope that the Chief Justice of Guyana jails this pedophile and throws away the key.
“That after the first week in April 2004, Bibi Shameeza Hamid left Bibi Natalia at your Petitioner’s home. She would from time to time visit your Petitioner’s home, sometimes staying over for nights. During this period much love and affection grew between your Petitioner and Bibi Natalia Hamid.
“On April 19, 2004 Bibi Shameeza Hamid told Bibi Natalia Hamid to return home with her. Bibi Natalia refused.
“That your Petitioner, Bibi Natalia Hamid and her mother, went to a family meeting at La Retrait, West Bank, Demerara. At that meeting, the relatives of Bibi Natalia Hamid, including her mother Bibi Shameeza Hamid, agreed that it would be in the interest of Bibi Natalia Hamid for her to return with your Petitioner.
“That your Petitioner has no contact with Bibi Natalia Hamid and consequently she could not have been able to make this petition jointly,” Khan declared in his petition. He is urging the Court to allow the girl, who will be 14 years in September, this year, to marry him.
The Petition was taken to the Chambers of the Chief Justice, who will take evidence from the girl and her parents in considering the application.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Gya: Revenge via grenade
THREE persons were reportedly injured, one of them so serious as to require emergency surgery, following a grenade-throwing incident mid-afternoon yesterday at a city restaurant.I guess the Guyanese have taken to watching Al Jazeera.
The incident reportedly occurred around 14:00hrs at a Chinese restaurant on the corner of Charles and Sussex Streets in Charlestown. According to a source, the intended target was a man who frequents the eating house.
A previous attempt was said to have been made on the man’s life some time last week, but failed. On that occasion, the source said, a gun was used. This time around, the would-be assassin was more successful as the man is among the injured. He is a patient at a city hospital reportedly suffering from injuries to the knee.
Efforts to have the story corroborated by the Police proved futile
Gya: To cut arse or not to cut arseTo answer the question, Guyana is planning to ask the inmates of the asylum.
As to what role the children are expected to play in deciding whether corporal punishment should be abolished or not, Ms Jagdeo said: “As always, we want to hear from the children. We want to know how they feel about being beaten, and to see what they propose as alternatives.”Not every problem in the home or school can or should be solved with corporal punishment; however, neither should it be entirely omitted from the range of solutions available to parents and principals.
It's great to ask kids what they think about things; however, in the final analysis, they're better off being guided by adults than we are being guided by them. I don't imagine that any kid worthy of the name will argue for keeping corporal punishment, and it would be sheer folly for the government anywhere to listen to children in this regard.
If part of adult guidance comes with a proper cut arse, well, generations of us were subject to that when we were children, and it did us no harm.
Gda: Squashing freedom of the press
Media workers in Grenada on Tuesday, walked out from the weekly Ministerial press conference to protest the threat issued to them last week by Director of the Government Information Service (GIS) Selwyn Noel.Noel might as well have pinned this sign on PM Mitchell's forehead: I am not a crook!
The local media were harshly warned by Noel against reproducing an article from the Miami-based KYC News involving Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and German businessman Eric E Resteiner who was given a diplomatic post by the Grenadian Leader.
The ruling New National Party (NNP) government is denying anything was wrong with the relations it had with Resteiner whose diplomatic appointment was revoked two years ago. According to a release from the GIS, there was nothing improper about Dr. Mitchell accepting an all expenses paid overseas trip to Europe and the Middle East from Resteiner.
The KYC News spoke of an exchange of a large sum of money in a briefcase in Switzerland in connection with the German Fraudster. At least two media houses on the island were recipients of letters from the GIS Director warning them against publishing the article since they "will feel the full force of the law". The threat resulted media workers to call an emergency meeting of the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) over the weekend where a number of decisions were taken.
Cuba: Seven and none filled
HAVANA, May (www.cubanet.org) - Dr. Dulce Leonor Torres slapped her hand to her forehead; she had just written seven prescriptions for an older patient and not one had been filled: the medicines were not available in the pharmacy.How can this be when the Cuban dictatorship has barred Fr. Fidencio of La Pastora Church from giving away donated medicines and such?
Lupe Rabala, 75, who suffers from diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and nervous disorders, said she is tired of hearing "we don't have..."
Yet the government guarantees her the medicines needed for her treatment, as the ration card she recently received attests.
"It's a contradiction," she says. "How is it possible that they run out of a medicine that I have guaranteed by the card? Where do these medicines go? To the black market, to the resellers! There, you can buy it for 15 times its price. They have everything that they don't have at the pharmacy."
Cuba: Cuba is a world power in the medical field with no scarcity of medicines
SANTA CLARA, May 24 (Cubanacán Press / www.cubanet.org) -The sign at the door of La Pastora church, in Santa Clara, reads: "After June 1, no more medicines will be donated since the church is not authorized to provide that service."I guess that means that all those Cubans who had been depending on the medicine from La Pastora church really don't need it.
Every Tuesday and Friday, missionaries had been distributing soup, bouillon cubes, crackers, medicines and soap donated from Spain and Malta. The Catholic charity Caritas had also been involved in the distribution of medicines to those that showed an appropriate medical prescription. The medicines are either not available in pharmacies or are available only in the dollar market, to which many Cubans don't have ready access.
Last Tuesday, Father Fidencio, himself a Spaniard, came out at the usual time and announced to all that were waiting for the distribution that he had been told Cuba is a world power in the medical field and that there was no scarcity of medicines or any need for them to give away medicines, which only caused unnecessary public gatherings. He said the last distribution will take place May 30.
Father Fidencio quoted the Public Health official who came to see him as saying: "In Cuba we have a surfeit of medicines and large public gatherings are forbidden."
Hmmm. I wonder why La Pastora Church was giving away medicine if there's no scarcity and no need for it in Cuba?
Cay: The domino effectIn this age of terrorism, economic independence from the U.S. is a good thing. That's what the Cayman Islands discovered in the wake of 9/11, and challenge the government faces is how to create an economy that is less dependent on the U.S. for its prosperity.
The article is worth reading if only to help one understand the interdependence of the global economy. What happens to the U.S. affects not just the American economy, but also those related and inter-woven economies, such as in the Caribbean.
The Islamic nuts might tell themselves that a blow at the U.S. and the West will see the rise of Islamic fortunes around the globe. However, that kind of thinking is fantastical at best and unrealistic at worst. The fact is, if the U.S., the world's fastest growing economy, takes a major hit, expect the global economy to fold. China will lose its largest market and be even more unable to fund its oil and raw material purchases around the globe. Tourist-oriented economies in Europe, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world will also be devastated. As for the Islamist notion that they will be on top of the dung heap because they control the oil ... Fox News recently did a report on a trio of students who produced a model car with an extremely high fuel efficiency ratio -- something like several hundred miles per three inches of gas. (Wish I could find the link.)
As the Caymans have realized, terrorism is not an American problem; it's a global one. The Caymans will realize, as will the rest of the world, that it is not possible to have an economy that is separate from the U.S.
BVI: Hospitality with attitudeThe BVI government is instituting a training program to change the attitude of the country's hospitality workers ... make them more hospitable.
They should. That's all any tourist needs, a vacation spot that has workers needing an attitude adjustment.
Bmda: Drug tests for thee but not for meSo says the government in Bermuda. The opposition United Bermuda Party wants all members of parliament to undergo drug and alcohol testing. The government is stonewalling on the most risible of grounds.
Government whip Ottiwell Simmons said the Opposition was not allowed to bring motions to the House which had financial implications.So, Bermudan athletes, bus and taxi drivers must be tested for drug and alcohol abuse, but not parliamentarians ... the ones who stand to gain the most from being involved in the drug trade and whom the public must trust to make decisions unimpaired either by drugs or alcohol.
The motion, introduced by Opposition MP John Barritt, called for twice yearly testing which Mr. Simmons said would cost money.
Bmda: Pink flamingo far from the madding crowd
Flo the flamingo was spotted at Warwick Pond yesterday. The independent-minded flamingo bolted the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo after Hurricane Fabian and has been content to spend her days alone away from the...
Blz: Creole and creolitéRead this here.
I've got no objection to Creole or dialect or however one wishes to call it. As a TTian, I speak it with the best of them and am proud to say I've retained my accent after thirty years, plus or minus a few, in these United States. Hey, it helps to sound like a Trini when you go back to TT and go buy things in the market. More than that, I like to practise adjusting the register of my speech to suit my company. Call it camouflage or what you will. I call it a disarming first step in finding common ground and using that as a basis for further dialogue.
To get back to the Belize story, though, my point is the lingua franca of the business world is English, and the young become confused and unable to adjust register (adapt their kind and level of language use) to suit their audience when they are taught Creole. Pretty soon, and I have seen it to be so, even the teachers are speaking Creole to the kids who soon become unable to see where they are making errors in standard English.
I remember teaching Michael Smith's poem "Me Cyaan Believe It!" to a fifth form Literature class, two stanzas of which ran:
Waan goodThe words on the page meant nothing to the students because of their unfamiliarity with the scribal Creole. However, they were well experienced in the orality of Jamaican Creole through dub music.
nose haffi run
but me naw go siddung pon high wall
like Humpty Dumpty
mea a face me reality
One little bwoy come blow im horn
an me look pon im wid scorn
an me realize how me five bwoy-picni
was a victim of de trick
dem call partisan politricks
So, on the one hand, I lamented because my students were unable to appreciate the richness of the poem on the page; on the other hand, I was glad because their inexperience with scribal Creole meant they would be less likely to replicate its orthography and grammar when doing CXC English A and B.
Also, in some secret inner part of me, I can't help thinking that the rich orality of Creole loses something in transcription. Next thing, you're dealing with issues of standardization. Pretty soon, you're on the track from Chaucer to Shakespeare. Then what, do we develop a new Creole to express our creolité?
Bdos: What would happen if Americans said this?Accusations of racism would ring loud and clear from every country at and outside our borders.
ONE hopes that Minister of Education Reginald Farley has not opened a can of worms by calling for an investigation about the children of non-nationals who are receiving primary and secondary education in Barbados. It might even be discovered that a number might be receiving free tertiary education as well.I wonder how many children of Bajan illegals in the U.S. are receiving "free" education paid for by the American taxpayer? I wonder what is the Nation's position on the children of illegal Bajans who receive up to tertiary education "free" in the U.S.?
Farley has suggested that the Immigration Department will have to work closely with the Ministry of Education “to get a handle on the matter.”
The suspicions grow, however, that some students especially at the primary school level, are the children of non-nationals who are not properly documented. These could include people who have overstayed their welcome in Barbados and might even be keeping their children away from school, disregarding laws about compulsory education, to avoid having to answer questions about their reason for being in Barbados.
Farley also hinted that parents from other Caribbean countries are suspected of sending their children to friends and relatives in Barbados “to get a Barbadian education” for free.
Barbados spends millions of dollars each year on educating its people, young and old.
The figures on the surface are so far not startling, but once we start digging they could be a lot higher than what we now suspect. It follows that when students from overseas gain places at various levels in our education system, from primary right up to university level, these are places that will not be available for Barbadians and we cannot be sure how many such students are involved if there is no proper documentation.
This is why Farley indicated that we have to be sure that everything is being done to protect the school places of Barbadian children. This is no CSME issue involving free movement of students from one territory to another, to enjoy the benefits of a better education for free.
This talk right now is about the free movement of labour, not the free movement of students.
Seems we all like illegals ... except in our own country.
Atg: Demanding property rightsThe United Progressive Party of Antigua has placed a "hold" on land transactions with the result that people who have bought and paid for land are denied title to support their claims. Naturally enough, this is delaying home construction by the land purchasers, and it appears that the freeze may be because the UPP has some land distribution scheme up its sleeve. The opposition Antigua Labor Party is vigorously objecting to this unconstitutional UPP policy and arguing that the freeze is negatively impacting the Antiguan economy since "[h]ousing construction is one of the tested means by which economic activity is stimulated and the UPP administration is curtailing this very important sector."
Read the story yourself.
St. Kts: Debating reformPM Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts sees voter identification and voting rights re Nevis' secession as part of the national debate about electoral reform.
U.S.: Graduation and matriculation
Tip o' the hat to Tech Monkey.
U.S.: Creating history to claim the West for Islam
Sylviane A. Diouf, a research scholar at the Schomberg Center for Research on Black Culture and an award-winning author of Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, discussed the backgrounds of slaves who were brought to America between 1560 and 1860. At least 100,000 were Muslims, political and religious leaders in their communities, as well as traders, students, Koranic teachers, judges and, in many cases, more educated than their American masters. As slaves, they were prohibited from reading and writing and had no ink or paper. Instead they used wood tablets and organic plant juices or stones to write with. Some wrote, in Arabic, verses of the Koran they knew by heart, so as not to forget how to write. Arabic was also used by slaves to plot revolts in Guyana, Rio de Janeiro and Santo Domingo because the language was not understood by slave owners. Manuscripts in Arabic of maps and blueprints for revolts were found here as well as in Jamaica and Trinidad.Somebody kept really good records, you know. If these "Muslim slaves" used wood tablets and "stones" to write, from where did the "manuscripts" come? I hate to nitpick, but words mean things.
This is part of the Islamic agenda to claim the New World for Islam. Just imagine, 100,000 of the slaves who came to the New World had what it takes to set up the New World branch of the caliphate. Now, how can this be true in the absence of any residue of Islamic practice amongst Caribbean blacks? Obviously, it can't. However, sometimes repeating a lie often enough will establish it as "fact"; at least, that's what the Soviet propagandists thought and acted on.
The Caribbean has a rich history of traditional African religion. Orisha, by its many names is strong and thriving throughout the Caribbean and South America today. Call it Shango, Santeria, Candomble, Rada, or whatever you want to, Orisha survived the Middle Passage and is alive and well. Yoruba and Twi are the languages which have survived and make themselves known in Caribbean English.
Had there been an Islamic tradition amongst the African slaves who peopled the New World, that too would have survived in terms of language and worship practice. That it did not points to its absence. One might argue that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; however, in this case, it very well might be so given the tenacity of African slaves regarding their religious traditions. If in Grenada and TT in 2004 one can find Orisha who sing Yoruba chants to the deities, even though the meanings of the words may be unknown, one cannot find any historically Islamic body of African ancestry with a similar retention of language and worship.
Today, there is instead is a well organized effort to create a history for Islam where none exists. Hence the assertion of an approximate percentage or number of "Islamic slaves" and their categorization as "political and religious leaders" of Islam. Once Islamists succeed at this goal, it is but a short step to stating that these "Islamic slaves" -- supposedly more educated than their slave masters -- had claimed the New World for Islam. The catch is that Islamics believe that once a territory has been claimed for Islam it forever belongs to that ideology and must be reclaimed should people of the Jewish or Christian or other faith inhabit the land.
Thus, this "discovery" of an ancient Islamic foothold in the New World is seen as part of a strategy to establish just cause for jihad against all the West.That this strategy has been accompanied by terrorist tactics is evident from the events that occurred in TT where Yasin Abu Bakr, who believes these fables, has declared his intention to recover and restore the Islamic identity of Caribbean blacks and create an Islamic country within TT itself.
Hopefully, the West is looking on at what Islamization and Arabization really means for the history and culture of any peoples. Lest we doubt, we need to pay heed to the words of TT-born Nobel Laureate Vidiadhar S. Naipaul who compares Islam's disastrous impact on the world with colonialism, stating that
Islam ... had both enslaved and attempted to wipe out other cultures."It has had a calamitous effect on converted peoples. To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say 'my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn't matter'."If Pakistan is insufficient an object lesson, then we need only look at Sudan and Nigeria where Islamization and Arabization produce genocide.
Sir Vidia claimed what he called "this abolition of the self demanded by Muslims was worse than the similar colonial abolition of identity. It is much, much worse in fact... You cannot just say you came out of nothing."
He argued that Pakistan was the living proof of the damage Islam could wreak.
"The story of Pakistan is a terror story actually. It started with a poet who thought that Muslims were so highly evolved that they should have a special place in India for themselves.
"This wish to sift countries of unnecessary and irrelevant populations is terrible and this is exactly what happened in Pakistan."
Saturday, May 29, 2004
U.S.: Okay, that's it for a bitI've got this bug that is kicking my rear big time so that all my intake consists of pedialyte, water, and bits of ice-cream. I thought the latter would help my stomach to settle, but it's adding to the problem. So, it's water and pedialyte. The sad thing is, I've got a pack of chocolate chip cookies -- double choc with white chocolate -- staring me in the face and I'm scared to touch it.
Over an out.
Bdos: Bajans wake up and smell TT's coffeeFrankly, I'm stunned. Now, how does the Advocate reconcile these words with their rampant anti-Americanism vis-a-vis Iraq?
The extent to which central authorities fear criticism by today’s permissive liberals is reflected in the latitude they allow the very people whose only ambition is to undermine and destabilise the state.
As previously indicated, we are firmly of the view that it was a mistake from the very beginning to under-estimate the determination of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen in Trinidad & Tobago to make yet another mark on the twin-island republic’s political landscape.
While we await evidence that the group is targeting leading public officials for assassination, it behoves the rest of this region to forego words or actions that would encourage ideas of impunity for persons whose conduct runs counter to democratic governance.
The Jamaat did not suddenly appear as a lawless element. Progress to that stage was gradual, helped in no small measure by apologists for mindless radicalism.
Freedom of expression, in whatever form, does not confer freedom to infringe the rights of law-abiding citizens. CARICOM governments can be certain that so long as the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen is not fully neutralised, other fringes will take heart. In one form or another they have already laid siege to communities, prompting law-enforcers into sometimes controversial tactics to safeguard innocent residents.
Negotiating an end to the bloody coup 14 years ago was T&T’s most humane way to reach a settlement. But the definition of “settlement” is not incentive to commit further mischief. For a start, the Jamaat does not share Port-of-Spain’s idea of government.
It maintains its long-standing determination to be in control of a portion of that country, members living and dying by its rules, but not in conditions equivalent to those on now outdated North American Indian reservations.
There can be no state within a state such as extremists in the radical Islamic group are pressing to establish, and liberals outside seem to accept as desirable, but separatist, drug-related communes are springing up elsewhere in this region.
Meanwhile, Jamaat desperation is setting in. One of its most important sponsors, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, recently made an about-face as regards his relationship with Western democracies. The Jamaat’s leader, Yasin Abu Bakr knows he can no longer expect the same – or any – any level of psychological or other support such as Tripoli previously lavished on him.
There is little prospect of his group achieving its primary objectives while the main pillars of the twin-island republic’s most important institutions remain in place, unshaken. Hopefully, Port-of-Spain learned important tactical lessons from the bloody confrontation in 1990. It can be sure the Jamaat learned some as a well. Whether the group carries out its alleged new threat against key public figures, and be successful at it, may well depend on how much the State lowers its guard under the influence of what is perhaps this region’s largest special interest group – sceptics. Indeed, not only sceptics but also simpletons who parrot a heady philosophy that modern-day terrorists will one day be celebrated as heroic freedom fighters.
Gya: He who pays the piper, part 2
[Haroon] says they were looking for young people who were unemployed, who would be given skills training, housing and clothing. Ebrahimi was particular about standards and was searching for a building to house the students around the time of his abduction.Would Mohammad Hassan Ebrahimi have required that Amerindians -- recruited into Islam with promises of "skills training, housing, and clothing" -- eventually participate in jihad against their fellow Guyanese or elsewhere in the world?
Close associate, Brother Usamah says Ebrahimi was actively involved in teaching at the college, where a small group of students was learning about Islam, the Arabic language and computer science.
Ebrahimi also had plans to introduce a sewing class at the college and had placed advertisements in the newspaper.
The class was made up of about 15 students who began studying at the college at the start of the year.
A considerable number of them were Amerindian, according to Usamah, who says the sheik was trying to give them opportunities they would not normally have.
There is a price for everything. What price would the Amerindians have had to pay for all this solicitous care and learning? How would their learning about Islam and their Arabization have impacted their relations with their fellow Amerindians? Given the track record of Islam, their fellow Amerindians would be likely to face the choice of convert or die.
Gya: He who pays the piperSo what tune will China play for Guyana to dance? China is providing $5M U.S. for the construction of a conference hall in that country and
The Chinese are responsible for construction, leasing machinery, providing materials, and arranging transport. Guyanese would be involved in checking the work to ensure that it is in accordance with design specifications.So, what does China get out of it? Why is Beijing coughing up all this largesse when the Chinese economy is tanking, like other Asian economies did a while back.
Here's a clue:
Tao said Sino-Guyana bilateral and economic and trade cooperation had great potential because China has strong technical capacity while Guyana is gifted with an advantageous geographical position and rich natural resources.China desperately needs new markets and resources to ensure that its faltering economy doesn't tank. Today, China's efforts at economic expansionism are responsible for the high prices of fuel, steel, and cement because China is busily absorbing what the market has to offer and squeezing out other nations.
If the price to pay for a new source of raw materials and a new market for Chinese goods is a measly $5M U.S., heck, Beijing will pay it with a smile. Whatever it takes to keep the Chinese economy from heading the way of Japan's, Beijing will do. In the meantime, we all suffer because China-induced scarcity of goods is sending prices soaring internationally.
Gya: It's all in the mindBarbados is bitching, whining, and moaning about Caricom nationals, especially Guyanese, entering in search of work. According to Rickey Singh, Bajans are carrying on as though Barbados is the promised land for Caribbean nationals, the one place in Caricom that offers free education, yadda yadda. If Singh is accurately depicting what Bajans are saying, then they have an over-inflated sense of their own importance and need to be reminded that Barbados offers its citizenry nothing that is not part of life in other Caricom nations.
Here's what Singh says Bajans need to be reminded of:
Truth is that among CARICOM countries, it could be Antigua and Barbuda that has, in terms of resident population, the single largest percentage of non-nationals from within the Community, approximately 28 per cent of its estimated 73,000 population.Read the rest of the article and hope that Barbados gets over itself.
And the new government of Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer is currently drafting legislation to facilitate qualified non-nationals living there prior to 2000, to become citizens, many of them from the Eastern Caribbean and also Jamaica and Guyana.
Across in Trinidad and Tobago, a so-called `little Grenada’ has long been very much part of the cosmopolitan mix of the diverse peoples of that twin-island, as that Grenadian-born cultural asset of the Caribbean, `Mighty Sparrow’, would remind anyone interested.
Gya: Foreign aid flowing like a riverThe U.S., U.K., and the EU are coughing up to aid the socio-economic development of Guyana. One can only hope that the money will be used wisely and for the stated purpose. Furthermore, it would be nice if the government of Guyana would reciprocate by supporting the U.S. at the U.N.
Gya: Many a slip...Read the story. She's a condescending twit overburdened with a sense of her own superiority.
Hti - US: Former Aristide goon busted...hard
Former Haiti police official indicted
By Ann W. O'Neill
Posted May 29 2004
A former commander with the Haitian National Police Brigade was charged Friday in a federal grand jury indictment with eight counts of cocaine conspiracy and money laundering.
Rudy Therassan, 39, is the first former Haitian government official indicted in a grand jury's inquiry into drugs, money and corruption under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He is being held without bail in Miami.
Meanwhile Pierre Legrand over at The Pink Flamingos Bar & Grill blog in Haiti has some thoughts on the recent spate of cases of the butterflies exhibited by some conservative publications.
The Money quote?
"Opinion Journal...rushes in where only John Kerry has been"
Hti: Aristide gets a Caribben boot
S.Africa says Haiti's Aristide to arrive on MondayIs it worth reading the rest?
29 May 2004 12:00:18 GMT
JOHANNESBURG, May 29 (Reuters) - Deposed Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide will arrive in South Africa on Monday to start an indefinite stay, Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on Saturday.
Aristide left Haiti on February 29 during an armed revolt and was flown to the Central African Republic on a flight arranged by the United States. He travelled to Jamaica to be reunited with his children and arrange exile elsewhere, and South Africa approved his asylum request two weeks ago.
US: A section of of the NY Times wakes up...rubs eyes, and yawns momentarily
Bush Points the Way
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: May 29, 2004
I doff my hat, briefly, to President Bush.
Sudanese peasants will be naming their sons "George Bush" because he scored a humanitarian victory this week that could be a momentous event around the globe — although almost nobody noticed. It was Bush administration diplomacy that led to an accord to end a 20-year civil war between Sudan's north and south after two million deaths.
If the peace holds, hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved, millions of refugees will return home, and a region of Africa may be revived.
But there's a larger lesson here as well: messy African wars are not insoluble, and Western pressure can help save the day. So it's all the more shameful that the world is failing to exert pressure on Sudan to halt genocide in its Darfur region. Darfur is unaffected by the new peace accords.
I'm still haunted by what I saw when I visited the region in March: a desert speckled with fresh graves of humans and the corpses of donkeys, the empty eyes of children who saw their fathers killed, the guilt of parents fumbling to explain how they had survived while their children did not.
The refugees tell of sudden attacks by the camel-riding Janjaweed Arab militia, which is financed by the Sudanese government, then a panic of shooting and fire. Girls and women are routinely branded after they are raped, to increase the humiliation.
One million Darfur people are displaced within Sudan, and 200,000 have fled to Chad. Many of those in Sudan are stuck in settlements like concentration camps.
I've obtained a report by a U.N. interagency team documenting conditions at a concentration camp in the town of Kailek: Eighty percent of the children are malnourished, there are no toilets, and girls are taken away each night by the guards to be raped. As inmates starve, food aid is diverted by guards to feed their camels.(Emphasis mine)
Of course this ongoing disaster has gone down the left's vast memory hole...
I forgot, does it flush such things counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere?
If you want to help - click here or on the topmost image in the left column.
UPDATE Check out Jane at Armies of Liberation for more info.
U.S.: Remembering the veteransMay 31st is Memorial Day, and we at CaribPundit salute all those who have served in this nation's defense.
Many of these warriors have come from other nations, including the Caribbean. I bring to mind three in particular, Gerard Bacchus, Keith Weekes, and "Scully" Abraham, all from Trinidad & Tobago. Keith and Scully served in Vietnam and returned to TT suffering the psychological impact of warfare. Wherever they and their brethren are, I salute them.
Wherever they came from, native or foreign born, this band of brothers served and continue to serve America well by fighting in defense of freedom's cause. They fought so that this and other nations would be free.
This is why they fought on this soil; why they went to Europe for WWI and II; why they went to Korea and Vietnam; why they went to Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Somalia, and Iraq again. Wherever the men and women of the U.S. military have gone, they have stood for all of us who never joined, who never fought, who were never wounded or died on the field of battle.
For this, we thank and salute them.
We from the Caribbean know that, rumble discontentedly though we might about American power and its projection in the world today, should just one of our nations have somecrisis that threatens the country's freedom, the American president will be the first to offer U.S. military assistance in freedom's defense.
For this, we thank America and her military. We encourage you to visit the Memorial Day Project and contribute a picture and story. (Hat tip to The Indepundit.)
So, we offer a prayer on behalf of all those who have fought for and continue to fight for America. May God watch over them, bless them, and keep them. May He bless the work of their hands in defense of freedom and peace in the Mid East, Africa, the Philippines, and throughout the world. Those warriors who are presently on the field of battle, may He take them into His rest when they fall, comfort the o'erburdened hearts of their loved ones, and bring the survivors safely home. Amen.
Friday, May 28, 2004
U.S.: Letter to former Denver Bronco Reggie RiversAs we approach Memorial Day, Reggie Rivers, a former Denver Bronco player, has had the bad taste to write a column in the Denver Post in which he equates military service with slavery. Not only is the column lacking of a sense of history and of any historical context, the argument it puts forward is similarly devoid of intellectual merit.
Rivers calls his colum "Keep our slaves safe," and in so doing manages to insult every man who serves the military in defense of this nation. The sense of his article is that the proper response to terrorism is that vapid Clintonian one we saw after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 Cole bombing. It seems that, for Rivers, the only war that the U.S. military should wage is that when Army meets Navy on the football field. How else to account for Rivers' disdain for the military's endeavors in Iraq and for those young men and women who heed patriotism's call and sign up?
While reasonable people may disagree about the war, insulting the military which is engaged in this nation's defense is another kettle of fish. The men and women in the military do not need to know that somebody they might have looked up to considers them slaves; they do not need to have Reggie Rivers' unreflective words undermine them just when they are needing our support. Reggie Rivers is free to write the tripe that he does because some young soul out there is willing to die so that Rivers may remain free. Would that Rivers would exercise his freedom to support those who fight.
Anyway, here's the letter I sent to him. It gets snarky cuz I was feeling snarky.
You are a dolt. Here's why.
1. "Our military is one of the last bastions of slavery in the United States. At the moment, our slaves are stuck in a combat zone, getting killed and maimed, and there's nothing they can do about it except hunker down and pray."
You do not understand the meaning of slavery, and you have diminished its horror and demeaning nature by analogizing between military service and slavery. What makes your analogy even more despicable is that blacks in the Sudan and elsewhere are enslaved and mutilated by Muslims, and you, along with a great percentage of blacks in this country, are silent. In the face of genuine and humiliating slavery you say nothing; yet honorable military service you demean. That's despicable, Reggie, truly despicable.
I would suggest that you read Eric Williams's From Columbus to Castro or any decent history book about slavery and the Middle Passage if you really wish to understand the magnitude of your folly.
2. " Yes, our slaves signed up of their own free will, but most of them were as misled about their job as the rest of us were about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
You are unreflective and lazy, Reggie. Had you taken the time to do some research and genuine critical thinking, you would not be parroting the Democrat plantation party line. That you cannot get beyond the plantation party line is proof that you, yourself, have yet to throw off the shackles of mental slavery. Who did the misleading, Reggie? When the entire world believes the same set of information, can anybody be rightly be said to have misled anybody? What do you make of the shell with sarin gas found in the past couple weeks? Did it occur to you that where there is one there will be more? Have you heard of the convoys that moved materiel into Syria's Bekka Valley?
3. "And I don't think 'slave' is too strong a word to describe someone who is not permitted to quit his job no matter how dangerous it becomes or how much he hates it. For most of us, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and guaranteed that we have the right to withhold our labor. It doesn't protect soldiers."
From this, I must conclude that when you were with the Broncos that you were a slave. After all, you were bought and sold without having any say as to where you might be traded, weren't you? Have you ever heard of a contract? When you signed a contract to play, were you free to terminate that contract as you chose without incurring any penalty? Why did you not invoke the 13th Amendment when you played football, Reggie? Why did you not try to withhold your labor while you were with the NFL?
4. "Our armed forces recruiters are quite adept at making military service appear beneficial (it mostly is) and safe (it's not). The threat of war is minimized, because few rational people actually want to fight. According to Chalmers Johnson, author of "The Sorrows of Empire," almost half of our enlisted forces are between 17 and 24 years of age, and they were lured into military service with promises of education, job training, escape from poverty, medical benefits and the chance to operate some cool, high-tech equipment...."
Nobody likes to fight war, Reggie; however, every *man* does what he must when the necessity of war is upon him. He does not get on a field and play pretend war games when his country has been attacked. Remember Patrick Tillman? By the way, what inducements were you offered in high school and college to seduce you into playing pro ball? Money? Fancy cars? Women? Cheap. Sure, the military recruiters offer an education rather than opportunity to fight ... we were not at war then, Reggie. A peace-time military can offer any inducement that it desires, and none will be so cheap as what ball-players go for when they grab the pro ball brass ring.
What you fail to realize is that many of the young men entering the military after 9/11 are doing so for reasons different than they joined before 9/11. Ask Pat Tillman. Oh, you can't. I wonder what inducement the military offered Tillman? It must have been the same as is drawing the young men and women who are signing up in droves -- love of country, desire to serve one's country, patriotism ... have you ever heard of it?
5. "The U.S. Army has an official video game that can be downloaded at www.americasarmy.com It's a recruiting tool aimed to win the hearts and minds of children of all ages. The goal is catch them before they develop critical thinking skills that might lead them to question the wisdom of volunteering for slavery."
Can you not see that the point of the U.S. Army game is the continuity of ideas regarding the role of the military in American life -- especially given how the media have portrayed the military since Vietnam, how your fellow journalists are portraying the military today? With a little bit of critical thinking, the connection would have been discernible; however, one imagines that football recruiters must have got to you before you developed the skills to think critically. Honestly, Reggie, you just don't think critically, and that lack is discernible from the holes in your argumentation.
6. "The recruitment effort gets more aggressive at the high school level. Johnson wrote, 'Complaints about harassment by military recruiters in San Diego became so numerous in 1993 that the San Diego Unified School district adopted a policy against releasing student information to recruiters of any kind.'"
So, Reggie, tell me about recruitment efforts regarding professional sports; tell me how unaggressive it is. Which is the higher calling, Reggie, recruitment to serve in the military to defend one's country, or recruitment to play pretend war games on a grassy field where nothing much is at risk? Why are military recruiters held in such disfavor at high schools and on college campuses, Reggie? Could there possibly be a connection to how the politicians and the media turned the American public against the military during Vietnam? Why is it that the academic types are so virulently anti-military, Reggie?
7. "Bans on overbearing campus recruiters became so common that President Bush addressed the issue in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The bill stated: 'Any secondary school that receives federal funds under this Act shall permit regular United States Armed Services recruitment activities on school grounds, in a manner reasonably accessible to all students of such school.'"
The Constitution talks about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. What does a citizen owe his country regarding its defense, Reggie? If American citizens will not defend America, who will, Reggie? Besides, when Federal funds are given to public institutions, should the Federal government not be free to make demands?
8. "So our kids get bombarded with formal and informal recruiting messages - and they sign up. One day, they find themselves sitting in a Humvee in Iraq, with their best friend lying dead on the floor next to them, and they suddenly realize the deception of their recruitment and the shackles of their slavery.
They just want to go home, but they can't. And domestically, we continue to trot out the tired mantra that supporting the troops means supporting the war.
If we truly care about our young slaves, we should do everything we can to get them out of harm's way."
These last paragraphs signify pure and simple cowardice. We have been attacked; we have had war declared on us, and your response is do nothing. Your response is do not fight. Your response get the troops out of harm's way. When we have got the troops out of harm's way, what will you do when the terrorists come to our soil, as come they will again? Where will you have the U.S. hide its troops while civilians are being slaughtered?
You would have done well to join the military instead of playing pro ball, Reggie. At least in the military you learn how to think.
U.S.: What is an AmericanThanks to Blackfive.
What Is An American? A primer.
By Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law.
September 25, 2001 9:20 a.m.
You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper there an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.
An American is Englishâ¦or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.
An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them choose.
An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God-given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.
An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.
An American does not have to obey the mad ravings of ignorant, ungodly cruel, old men. American men will not be fooled into giving up their lives to kill innocent people, so that these foolish old men may hold on to power. American women are free to show their beautiful faces to the world, as each of them choose.
An American is free to criticize his government's officials when they are wrong, in his or her own opinion. Then he is free to replace them, by majority vote.
Americans welcome people from all lands, all cultures, all religions, because they are not afraid. They are not afraid that their history, their religion, their beliefs, will be overrun, or forgotten. That is because they know they are free to hold to their religion, their beliefs, their history, as each of them choose.
And just as Americans welcome all, they enjoy the best that everyone has to bring, from all over the world. The best science, the best technology, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes.
Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The nation symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed.
These in fact are the people who built America. Many of them were working in the twin towers on the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world.
But in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands too will join the community of free and prosperous nations.
And America will welcome them.
TT: The barbarians inside the gates
While the Police Special Branch has not been able to find records that one of the most wanted Al Qaeda terrorists, Adnan El Shukrijumah, is no longer in this country they believe that he is no longer here.With this clear and strong a terrorist link to Al Qaeda and the Islamists who want to establish a global caliphate, how can TT or anybody in the Caribbean not take terrorism seriously? How can anybody indulge in schadenfreude over the negative things that occur in Iraq? Some in TT and other Caribbean media act as though terrorism will not touch their shores. Yet, here we have it. TT's 1990 coup. Islamist threats of jihad in TT. Al Shukrijumah's connection to Guyana (which has Iranian connections) and TT, and his own involvement in Al Qaeda. Do the Caribbean media need to see another Islamic coup in TT before they realize the enemy in our midst requires Caribbean countries to have close and strong ties with the U.S.?
Police have confirmed that up to last year they, along with the FBI, were searching several parts of this country for El Shukrijumah but could not find him.
The FBI is offering a reward of $30 million for information leading to his capture.
The Special Branch said they have records that El Shukrijumah was in Trinidad in 2001 and 2002 into 2003 but while in the past they were able to confirm him leaving they have not been able to do so on this occasion.
The Express was told: "We have records on him coming and leaving including the fact that he left on a BWIA flight for London in 2001 but on the last occasion he was here we only have records on him coming to Trinidad but none of him leaving."
The US authorities also report that he was in Canada in 2002 looking for nuclear material for a "dirty bomb", with a plot to detonate a dirty bomb-a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material.
El Shukrijumah has been associated with the Darul-Uloom Institute, an Islamic institute in Central Trinidad. It is the same institute which was discussed on Tuesday by the National Security Council chaired by Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
Special Branch sources say: "The US were very worried about this man last year and they sent FBI agents who worked with the local officers trying to locate him here."
The Express was told that part of the problem is that El Shukrijumah has several passports including a Trinidad and Tobago passport and has in the past used several aliases to escape law enforcement agencies. In fact, the FBI has warned that El Shukrijumah may attempt to enter the United States on a Trinidadian, Guyanese of Canadian passport. He is known to have Guyanese links.
If there is a terrorist strike on the U.S. this summer, will Muslims in the Caribbean rejoice?
TT: FBI's most wanted terrorist Al Shukrijumah's TT connection
Four Trinidadians have said US authorities questioned them about their contact with a suspected al-Qaeda operative after he visited T&T in 2001.Also this:
Adnan G El Shukrijumah was named when US attorney general John Ashcroft warned of intelligence showing al-Qaeda plans for an attack against the United States.
Large photos of El Shukrijumah and six others were displayed at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday.
The Saudi native visited Trinidad for six days in May 2001 and stayed with Zainool Ali, who lives in Chaguanas.
Ali and three others were questioned by US authorities in late 2003, they told AP.
FBI agents interviewed them at their homes, a police station and the US Embassy in Port-of-Spain, they said.
All four said they had not heard from El Shukrijumah since the visit. They also said he never mentioned terrorism or links to al-Qaeda.
Ali said he invited him to stay at his home in Chaguanas.
He said he took El Shukrijumah fishing in his small skiff, took him to a beach and prayed with him in a mosque across the street.
“He never even went anywhere that was questionable,” Ali said.
“He just visited friends, had dinner, went to the beach. It’s very strange that he found himself in this situation.”
El Shukrijumah went to Guyana to visit relatives when he left Trinidad, Ali said.
Last week, a man in Guyana, George Bacchus, said US Embassy security officials had shown him a photo of El Shukrijumah this year.
Bacchus said he was “90 per cent” sure he had seen the man in a money exchange office in Georgetown as recently as December.
Bacchus has been at the centre of controversy in Guyana, after accusing the country’s interior minister of directing a hit squad that killed his brother.
El Shukrijumah’s relatives in Guyana refused to comment on Wednesday. One female relative who refused to give her name said, “We don’t know where he is and we can’t say anything.”
Ali said he spoke last week with El Shukrijumah’s father, who lives in Miramar, Florida.
His parents had not heard from him and did not know where he was, Ali said.
Saudi-born El Shukrijumah, whose father is Guyanese, lived in Trinidad as a child in the 1980s. His father taught Arabic and lectured at mosques here. The four Trinidadians said they knew him from that period.
In 2001, the father contacted Ali and told him El Shukrijumah wanted to visit Trinidad. El Shukrijumah was living in Florida at the time.
Imtiaz Mohammed, who also knew the family, said the FBI questioned him twice late last year, with each session lasting about two hours.
They wanted to know when he last saw El Shukrijumah and what they talked about.
Mohammed said they ate lunch together and talked about world politics, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but nothing about terrorism was mentioned, he said.
Mohammed claimed the US officials offered a reward for information.
“I kind of laughed at them and said, ‘I don’t have any information to give you,’” he said.
The others questioned, Munaf Mohammed and Nizam Ali, said they also had nothing to tell authorities since they have not maintained contact with El Shukrijumah.
Authorities say he may be carrying passports from Trinidad and Tobago, Saudi Arabia and Canada.And, this:
Panamanian Security Council Chief Ramiro Jarvis said El Shukrijumah arrived in Panama legally from the United States in April 2001â five months before the September 11 terror attacks â and stayed in Panama for 10 days. He also visited T&T for six days the next month.
Police said the FBI agents arrived with the names and addresses of the four Trinidadians, asking for assistance in locating them as part of US authorities’ search for El Shukrijumah.Where did he get the TT passport from? In the 1990s, the trade in Guyanese traveling to the U.S. on TT passports was a thriving one. They would come in to TT, get hooked up with a TT national who had contacts in Immigration and Passport Control, and would have their picture replace that of the original owner's. From TT, they'd fly out to Barbados on their Guyanese passport, and from Barbados to Miami on the TT passport. On arrival in Miami, the passport would be taken away and returned to TT for fixing and later use.
AP reporter Michael Smith yesterday identified the four as Zainool Ali, Munaf Mohammed, Imtiaz Mohammed and Nizam Ali.
Law enforcers here said the Saudi national was in possession of several passports including a T&T one. They could not say how he obtained the T&T document.
“We don’t know where he got it from,” a senior officer said.
Now, if that was possible to do then, it can be no mystery how Al Shukrijumah got a TT passport. He knew somebody who knew somebody who could get him one. When TT changed its passport to combat the Guyana-TT-Barbados-Miami scam, all Al Shukrijumah had to do was submit his old passport in exchange for a new one. He could've done this any place in the U.S., U.K., or wherever TT has a consulate.
TT: Israeli equipment to combat drug trafficking
INSTALLATION of state-of-the-art radar to boost surveillance of this country’s coastlines was among security initiatives announced by Prime Minister Patrick Manning on Wednesday. It was part of Government’s plan to deal with crime. Manning said aÂ link had been found between the escalating crime situation and the drug trade, and as a result Government intended to focus on eradicating this trade. He said Trinidad and Tobago was strategically located between countries supplying the drugs and countries which are the major consumers of illegal narcotics.Getting equipment from the Israelis is a good sign that the PNM government is really serious about combatting the drug-crime nexus in TT. Israel, by dint of necessity, is on the cutting edge of many a technological innovation that is useful for crime and terrorism purposes.
“The same factors that make us a good location for investment also make us a good location for transshipment and therefore TT has to take special steps,” he said. Noting that there were some things which he could not disclose because they were a matter of National Security, Manning revealed that Government had purchased state-of-the-art radar from Israel, which when completely installed by December, will provide coverage of the critical areas of the country. The radar also has an aerial capability which allows it to see up to a certain height to deal with suspicious aircraft entering local airspace illegally. In addition, he said, Cabinet has decided to purchase vessels to patrol the seas and the air via helicopters with attack capabilities. Apart from this, the Government will purchase helicopters to patrol the waters and deal with high speed crafts used to bring drugs from the South American mainland. Inshore waters will be patrolled by high speed craft.
TT: Tackling terrorism
PRIME MINISTER Patrick Manning will tackle the burning issues of terrorism and crime at today’s Third Summit of Heads of State of Government of the European Union and of Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The summit will be attended by the leaders of 58 countries from Latin America and the EU and is the third of its kind, with previous summits being held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1999 and Madrid (Spain) in 2002.
At the Madrid summit, several declarations were made with two of the most important being in the areas of terrorism and crime. According to a statement issued by EU-LAC, nations at the end of that summit resolved: “To combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestationsÂ which threatens our democratic systems, liberties and development, as well as international peace and security in accordance with the UN Charter and with full respect for international law, including human rights and humanitarian law provisions. We are committed to strengthening our political, legal and operational mechanisms and to promote the conclusion of, and adherence to, all international conventions relating to terrorism and the implementation of UN resolutions on the matter.”
At Madrid, EU-LAC nations also resolved: “To combat the scourges of illicit drugs and related crimes, corruption and organised crime, by enhancing co-ordination mechanisms, combating the sources of funding of drug production and trafficking, and preventing their use in the financing of terrorism and criminal activities.” On Wednesday, the Prime Minister highlighted the creation of a new military helicopter unit, the installation of a hi-tech radar system and the purchase of two offshore patrol vessels as some of the ways in which Government is addressing the issues of crime and terrorism. Last December, Manning held discussions in Washington DC with US President George W Bush on both of these issues.