Former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt was hauled off to prison last Friday. It was a historic moment, the first time in history that a former leader of a country was tried for genocide in a national court. More than three decades after he seized power in a coup in Guatemala, unleashing a U.S.-backed campaign of slaughter against his own people, the 86-year-old stood trial, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He was given an 80-year prison sentence. The case was inspired and pursued by three brave Guatemalan women: the judge, the attorney general and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
“My brother Patrocinio was burnt to death in the Ixil region. We never found his remains,” Rigoberta Menchu told me after Rios Montt’s verdict was announced. She detailed the systematic slaughter of her family: “As for my mother, we never found her remains, either. … If her remains weren’t eaten by wild animals after having been tortured brutally and humiliated, then her remains are probably in a mass grave close to the Ixil region. … My father was also burned alive in the embassy of Spain [in Guatemala City] on January 30th, 1980.”
Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She continued telling me about her family’s destruction: “In 1983, my brother Victor Menchu was also shot dead. His wife had her throat slit, and he was fleeing with his three children. Victor was jailed in the little town, but his three children were kept in a military bunker. My two nieces died of hunger in this military base, and my brother Victor was shot. We still have not found his remains.”
By: Jonathan Kay
Here in the West, the killing of Osama Bin Laden was considered a triumph. In Pakistan, where the al-Qaeda leader lived out his final years, attitudes are very different: On Wednesday, a Pakistani court brought down a guilty verdict against the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate bin Laden in May, 2011. Having been convicted of treason, Shakil Afridi now faces a 33-year prison sentence.
Each story like this brings fresh evidence that Pakistan, a nominal Western ally in the war on terrorism, actually is doing more to enable the jihadis than fight them. We don’t yet have definitive evidence to suggest that the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment was actively housing and protecting bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. But that certainly would have been in keeping with long-standing Pakistani policies.
And those policies won’t change any time soon: With the Americans, Canadians and others having announced their exit date in Afghanistan, Pakistan has less incentive to co-operate in the war on terrorism than at any time since 9/11. In coming years, the better way to deal with Pakistan will be to acknowledge the reality that the country is nothing less than a full-blown state sponsor of terrorism.
by Glen Ford
The American atrocities in Afghanistan roll on like a drumbeat from hell. With every affront to the human and national dignity of the Afghan people, the corporate media feign shock and quickly conclude that a few bad apples are responsible for U.S. crimes, that it’s all a mistake and misunderstanding, rather than the logical result of a larger crime: ….
Read more » Common Dreams
US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY: Pakistani national Majid Khan pleaded guilty Wednesday at a Guantanamo military tribunal in a landmark case that could speed the trials of September 11 suspects.
Majid Khan, 32, a protege of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, murder and attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, and to material support for terrorism and espionage.
Dressed in a dark suit and pink tie, he spoke in English without an interpreter in delivering his plea.
Khan, who has spent the last nine years behind bars, faced possible life in prison but is expected to receive a reduced sentence as part of a plea agreement.
In exchange for the lighter sentence, he will testify against other “high value” detainees, including Mohammed and four others alleged to have taken part in the 2001 attacks.
Many of the terms of the plea agreement remain classified. The Washington Post reported that the military plans to delay Khan’s sentencing for four years to ensure he complies with the agreement.
“It’s part of a strategy of building more solid cases against the handful of defendants that the government plans to try before the commissions,” said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer who has represented other Guantanamo detainees.
More than 10 years after the September 11 attacks, Mohammed and four co-defendants accused of plotting them are still awaiting trial at the prison, part of a US naval base in Cuba.
Military-Mullah-Judicial Establishment – Husain Haqqani under virtual house arrest yet Laskhar-e-Jhangvi leader freed from jail – Strategic assets cannot be abused?
Malik Ishaq released from Kot Lakhpat prison
Ishaq, accused in 44 cases involving 70 killings, has been acquitted in 34 cases and granted bail in 10.
By Asad Kharal
LAHORE: Malik Ishaq, the former leader of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has been released from Kot Lakhpat jail, official sources confirmed on Saturday.
On Friday, a review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had denied an extension for the detention of Malik Ishaq, for one more month and issued orders for his release. The board said the police had failed to provide concrete evidence of Ishaq’s involvement in terrorist activities. …
Read more » The Express Tribune
via » Twitter
- Norwegian mass killer ruled insane, likely to avoid jail
By Gwladys Fouche and Victoria Klesty, Reuters
(Additional reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by David Stamp)
OSLO (Reuters) – Court-appointed psychiatrists have concluded that Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is criminally insane, prosecutors said on Tuesday, meaning he is likely to be sent to a psychiatric institution indefinitely rather than to jail.
Breivik killed 77 people in July by bombing central Oslo and then gunning down dozens of mostly teenagers at a summer camp of the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing, in Norway’s worst attacks since World War Two.
Prosecutors said Breivik, a self-declared anti-immigration militant, believed he had staged what he called “the executions” out of his love for his people.
“The conclusion … is that he is insane,” prosecutor Svein Holden told a news conference on Breivik’s psychiatric evaluation. “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe.”
If the court accepts the psychiatrists’ conclusions, Breivik
would be held in a psychiatric institution rather than in a prison. Norwegian courts can challenge psychiatric evaluations or order new tests but rarely reject them. ….
Read more » YahooNews
- 21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor
In the eyes of the corporation, inmate labor is a brilliant strategy in the eternal quest to maximize profit.
By Rania Khalek
There is one group of American workers so disenfranchised that corporations are able to get away with paying them wages that rival those of third-world sweatshops. These laborers have been legally stripped of their political, economic and social rights and ultimately relegated to second-class citizens. They are banned from unionizing, violently silenced from speaking out and forced to work for little to no wages. This marginalization renders them practically invisible, as they are kept hidden from society with no available recourse to improve their circumstances or change their plight.
They are the 2.3 million American prisoners locked behind bars where we cannot see or hear them. And they are modern-day slaves of the 21st century.
It’s no secret that America imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation in history. With just 5 percent of the world’s population, the US currently holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. “In 2008, over 2.3 million Americans were in prison or jail, with one of every 48 working-age men behind bars,” according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research(CEPR). That doesn’t include the tens of thousands of detained undocumented immigrants facing deportation, prisoners awaiting sentencing, or juveniles caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Perhaps it’s reassuring to some that the US still holds the number one title in at least one arena, but needless to say the hyper-incarceration plaguing America has had a damaging effect on society at large.
The CEPR study observes that US prison rates are not just excessive in comparison to the rest of the world, they are also “substantially higher than our own longstanding history.” The study finds that incarceration rates between 1880 and 1970 ranged from about “100 to 200 prisoners per 100,000 people.” After 1980, the inmate population “began to grow much more rapidly than the overall population and the rate climbed from “about 220 in 1980 to 458 in 1990, 683 in 2000, and 753 in 2008.”
The costs of this incarceration industry are far from evenly distributed, with the impact of excessive incarceration falling predominantly on African-American communities. Although black people make up just 13 percent of the overall population, they account for 40 percent of US prisoners. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), black males are incarcerated at a rate “more than 6.5 times that of white males and 2.5 that of Hispanic males and “black females are incarcerated at approximately three times the rate of white females and twice that of Hispanic females.”
Michelle Alexander points out in her book The New Jim Crow that more black men “are in prison or jail, on probation or on parole than were enslaved in 1850.” Higher rates of black drug arrests do not reflect higher rates of black drug offenses. In fact, whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales at roughly comparable rates. ….
Read more » AlterNet
By Jalal Alamgir, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston
It’s Friday, the holy day of the week. The Kingdom’s law enforcers gather up eight Bangladeshi migrant workers from their prison cells and bring them to Justice Square in the capital, Riyadh.
Blindfolded, they are led to the center of the square, and made to kneel down. A small crowd forms in anticipation. At 9 am, a robed man walks up and slowly raises a sword, four feet long and shining. Ambulances wait, stretchers ready.
The sword sweeps down.
The sleek expanse of Justice Square is patterned with beautiful granite. There is no stage, no unnecessary equipment, no fanfare. Underneath runs an efficient drainage system, with a receptacle the size of a pizza box at the center.
Regardless, the head often rolls in unexpected directions. It’s collected and laid alongside the body before being taken away on stretchers. Some of the blood spilled on the granite drains quickly, and the rest is hosed down. Those spraying the water are themselves migrant workers.
This is justice, square and fair in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most backward regimes in the world. Here, hands are chopped, bodies are decapitated. Torture is common in extracting confessions. The accused have little protection.
And racism is stark: Arabs get away with a lot more than dark-skinned migrant laborers do. ….
….. The Kingdom, buttressed by its special relationships, does not waste any opportunity to show who the boss is. A public execution is just such an opportunity. The beheading of the eight was a shameful shock-and-awe tactic, a warning to the millions of other workers to remain submissive, however back-breaking their life may be. The message is clear: obey, and keep your head.
To read complete article » The Huffington Post
Notes From My Memory, Part VII, By Mir Thebo: Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer
by Mir Thebo
In early 1960s, Rasool Bux Palijo and I were neighbors in Rosy Corner flats in Hyderabad. Those were very dirty pigeon hole flats in Tando Wali Mohammad area. Palijo lived on 2nd floor while I lived on the 1st. floor. Occasionally I went to his flat. He had no furniture and no proper bed in the flat. Palijo hated cleanliness. One could rather say that he hated regular life therefore he didn’t like well-dressed petty bourgeoisie people. He never cared about food. Shoes would be lying over the floor. He had good collection of books but they would be scattered all over the place. He didn’t like to live there so most of the time he remained outside.
By profession, he was a lawyer, a mediocre advocate at that because he was not interested in practicing law, although he was intelligent and had a logical mind. He had a small office in the Circular Building, which didn’t look like a professional lawyer’s office. He didn’t care much about these things. He was a good reader though. He read non-fiction, fiction and poetry books. He loved Shah Latif’s poetry. He was also an admirer of Shaikh Ayaz’s poetry. In later period, he disowned Shaikh Ayaz and his followers glorified Ustad Bukhari more than Ayaz but they were friends during 1960s. Ayaz also liked Palijo.
Palijo also read Urdu, Russian, Chinese, English and Arabic literature. He had good knowledge of history and international situation. He also had a good knowledge of the history of Sindh. He was great at appreciating someone. He will make you fly higher and higher until you reach the top of the world. He would say things that will make you wonder if you really possessed such ‘qualities’ as mentioned by Palijo. But if you disagreed with him, he will throw you in the dust mercilessly so much so that he will not allow you even to protest. He is a witty person with good sense of humor. He has good hospitality. He will serve you meals and every thing including drinks, etc. I have few chances to drink with him along with other friends. I never observed him out of control but he is careful not to drink too much with casual visitors.
Palijo was a Marxist at that time. I don’t know if he still is or has changed as many of us old Marxists have said goodbye to our once favorite ideology of Marxism. During my last meeting with him at his residence in Naseem Nagar in 2005, he came across as neither a Marxist nor a Maoist. He didn’t mention either of them in his analysis. He sounded like a populist Sindhi nationalist political leader.
Palijo is considered to be a great tactician but sometimes he is caught in his own tactics and faces failure. Many times he has stumbled and fallen down but he has good stamina to rise up again and start a fresh. He is very swift in changing tactics and at that moment he never cares about the principles. Any way lets talk of his life of the earlier period of 1960s. As a politician, you will see his glimpses many times in my memoir.
In 1960s, Palijo was General Secretary, National Awami Party (NAP), Hyderabad City. NAP at that time was the open united front of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) headed by Khan Abdul Wali Khan.
By ROBIN HINDERY, Associated Press Robin Hindery,
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A U.S. soldier who pleaded guilty in the killings of three Afghan civilians has agreed to testify against four others whom he says were co-conspirators in a case that has raised some of the most serious criminal allegations to come from the Afghanistan War.
Spc. Jeremy Morlock, who was accused of taking a leading role in the killings last year, was sentenced to 24 years in prison Wednesday, the maximum sentence under a plea deal that also calls for him to testify against his co-defendants. He pleaded guilty hours before his sentencing to three counts of murder, and one count each of conspiracy, obstructing justice and illegal drug use. …
Read more : YahooNews
Davis weeps after release, say reports
LAHORE: Raymond Davis was immediately taken to the US consulate after being released by a Pakistan court on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.
The CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistani men was freed from prison after the United States paid ”blood money” to the victims’ families, Pakistani officials said.
Sources in American Embassy told DawnNews that the US was in contact with all the stake holders and it followed rules and regulations for Davis’s release.
Davis started weeping after he was released from jail and seemed to be in a state of trauma, said sources.
He was also given medicines along with counseling and therapy sessions that were carried out in the consulate by the American doctors.
Davis afterwards left for the US because he wanted to reunite with his family and not stay in Pakistan any longer, said sources.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Pakistani poet and journalist, who combined in his poetry the themes of love, beauty, and political ideals into a vision of a better and peaceful world. Due to his opposition to the military dictators, Faiz spent several years in prison and was forced to go into exile at different times in his career.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz is amongst the most famous poets of 20th century. Faiz, who was hounoured by Lenin Peace Prize in 1963, was seldom subjected to arrests by the pro-imperialist military regimes of Pakistan. Once, during the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, he was arrested and taken to the police station in front of the public. In this context, he wrote ‘Aaj Bazar mein’.
The video starts with a ‘mushairah’ (public recitation), where Faiz presents the poem, and describes its context. Then the video, with the melodious voice of Nayyara Noor in the background singing the verses of Faiz, shows the Sufi culture of Pakistan, which was suppressed by the religious fundamentalist government of Zia-ul-Haq. Then, there are some clips of public floggings and public hangings of political dissidents, which were employed to ingrain terror in the people of Pakistan. Public floggings were a norm during Zia’s time.
By Daily Mail Reporter
A Muslim cleric, once decorated by Buckingham Palace, is facing jail after being convicted of ‘preying on’ and ‘abusing’ two boys at his mosque.
Mohammed Hanif Khan, 42, one of Britain’s most influential imams, became the first ever full-time Islamic minister in the history of the British prison service in 2001. ..
Read more: Mail Online
Pakistan: Mistreatment with Minorities increased in the era of dictator general Zia and the same mistreatment is still continue
Amnesty International Report 2010 – Millions of Pakistanis suffered abuses. Pakistani Taliban and other extremist groups targeted civilians and minorities throughout the country, while security forces used indiscriminate and disproportionate force and carried out suspected extrajudicial executions. In areas controlled by the Pakistani Taliban and allied armed groups, civilians faced severe abuses, including arbitrary arrest and detention; torture and other ill-treatment; a near total absence of due judicial process; stringent restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly; religious and ethnic discrimination; and violence and discrimination against women and girls. Violence against minorities increased, with the government failing to prevent attacks or punish perpetrators. There were no executions, although 276 people were sentenced to death. – Pakistan 28 May 2010 Christian minority member Fanish Masih, aged 19, was found dead on 15 September in Sialkot prison where he had been held in solitary confinement. Prison authorities claimed that he had committed suicide but his relatives reportedly noted bruises consistent with torture on his forehead, arms and legs. Three prison officials were suspended for negligence, but no criminal charges were brought against them.
Source – You Tube
Nuclear Fuel Memos Expose Wary Dance With Pakistan
This article is by Jane Perlez, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt.
….. “Kayani will want to hear that the United States has turned the page on past ISI operations,” it said. General Kayani was probably referring to the peace accords with the Taliban from 2004 to 2007 that resulted in the strengthening of the militants.
If the general seems confidently in charge, the cables portray Mr. Zardari as a man not fully aware of his weakness.
At one point he said he would not object if Abdul Qadeer Khan, revered in Pakistan as the father of its nuclear weapons program, were interviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency but tacitly acknowledged that he was powerless to make that happen.
Mr. Zardari, who spent 11 years in prison on ultimately unproved corruption charges, feared for his position and possibly — the wording is ambiguous — his life: the cables reveal that Vice President Biden told Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain in March 2009 that Mr. Zardari had told him that the “ISI director and Kayani will take me out.”
His suspicions were not groundless. In March 2009, a period of political turmoil, General Kayani told the ambassador that he “might, however reluctantly,” pressure Mr. Zardari to resign and, the cable added, presumably leave Pakistan. He mentioned the leader of a third political party, Asfandyar Wali Khan, as a possible replacement.
“Kayani made it clear regardless how much he disliked Zardari he distrusted Nawaz even more,” the ambassador wrote, a reference to Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister.
By 2010, after many sessions with Mr. Zardari, Ms. Patterson had revised the guarded optimism that characterized her early cables about Mr. Zardari.
“Pakistan’s civilian government remains weak, ineffectual and corrupt,” she wrote on Feb. 22, 2010, the eve of a visit by the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III. “Domestic politics is dominated by uncertainty about the fate of President Zardari.”
That assessment holds more than eight months later, even as Mr. Obama in October extended an invitation to the Mr. Zardari leader to visit the White House next year, as the leader of a nation that holds a key to peace in Afghanistan but appears too divided and mistrustful to turn it for the Americans.
To read full article : The New York Times
YANGON, Myanmar – Pro-democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi walked free after more than seven years under house arrest, welcomed by thousands of cheering supporters outside the decaying lakefront villa that has been her prison. …
Read more : Yahoo News
US jails Pakistani scientist for 86 years
Aafia Siddiqui, the female Pakistani scientist convicted of attempting to kill US military personnel, has been sentenced to 86 years in prison.
Siddiqui was being interrogated by US officials in Afghanistan when she grabbed a rifle and opened fire, shouting “death to Americans”.
Prosecutors in New York called her an al-Qaeda sympathiser and sought life imprisonment. …
Read more >> BBC