(CNN) — Two Norwegian lawmakers have jointly nominated National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize, they said Wednesday on their party website.
Snowden has “revealed the nature and technological prowess of modern surveillance,” and by doing so has contributed to peace, said a joint statement by Bard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen of the Socialist Left Party.
Nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize — whose previous winners include such figures as the late South African President Nelson Mandela
When people ask me about my experience studying abroad in India, I always face the same dilemma. How does one convey the contradiction that over the past few months has torn my life apart, and convey it in a single succinct sentence?
“India was wonderful,” I go with, “but extremely dangerous for women.” Part of me dreads the follow-up questions, and part of me hopes for more. I’m torn between believing in the efficacy of truth, and being wary of how much truth people want.
Because, how do I describe my three months in the University of Chicago Indian civilizations program when it was half dream, half nightmare? Which half do I give?
Do I tell them about our first night in the city of Pune, when we danced in the Ganesha festival, and leave it at that? Or do I go on and tell them how the festival actually stopped when the American women started dancing, so that we looked around to see a circle of men filming our every move?
Do I tell them about bargaining at the bazaar for beautiful saris costing a few dollars a piece, and not mention the men who stood watching us, who would push by us, clawing at our breasts and groins?
When people compliment me on my Indian sandals, do I talk about the man who stalked me for forty-five minutes after I purchased them, until I yelled in his face in a busy crowd?
Do I describe the lovely hotel in Goa when my strongest memory of it was lying hunched in a fetal position, holding a pair of scissors with the door bolted shut, while the staff member of the hotel who had tried to rape my roommate called me over and over, and breathing into the phone?
How, I ask, was I supposed to tell these stories at a Christmas party? But how could I talk about anything else when the image of the smiling man who masturbated at me on a bus was more real to me than my friends, my family, or our Christmas tree? All those nice people were asking the questions that demanded answers for which they just weren’t prepared.
When I went to India, nearly a year ago, I thought I was prepared. I had been to India before; I was a South Asian Studies major; I spoke some Hindi. I knew that as a white woman I would be seen as a promiscuous being and a sexual prize. I was prepared to follow the University of Chicago’s advice to women, to dress conservatively, to not smile in the streets. And I was prepared for the curiosity my red hair, fair skin and blue eyes would arouse.
But I wasn’t prepared.
There was no way to prepare for the eyes, the eyes that every day stared with such entitlement at my body, with no change of expression whether I met their gaze or not. Walking to the fruit seller’s or the tailer’s I got stares so sharp that they sliced away bits of me piece by piece. I was prepared for my actions to be taken as sex signals; I was not prepared to understand that there were no sex signals, only women’s bodies to be taken, or hidden away.
I covered up, but I did not hide. And so I was taken, by eye after eye, picture after picture. Who knows how many photos there are of me in India, or on the internet: photos of me walking, cursing, flipping people off. Who knows how many strangers have used my image as pornography, and those of my friends. I deleted my fair share, but it was a drop in the ocean– I had no chance of taking back everything they took.
By Samuel Burke, CNN
Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service, have spoken out as a group for the first time and are making stunning revelations.
The men who were responsible for keeping Israel safe from terrorists now say they are afraid for Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state.
Israeli film director Dror Moreh managed to get them all to sit down for his new documentary: “The Gatekeepers.” It is the story of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, as told by the people at the crossroads of some of the most crucial moments in the security history of the country.
“If there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s those guys,” the director told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Against the backdrop of the currently frozen peace process, all six argue – to varying degrees – that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is bad for the state of Israel.
The oldest amongst the former chiefs, Avraham Shalom, says Israel lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians as far back as the aftermath of the Six Day War of 1967, with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, when the country started doubling down on terrorism.
“We forgot about the Palestinian issue,” Shalom says in the film.
By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst
(CNN) — Pakistan can’t get no respect.
In 2007, Newsweek published an influential cover story proclaiming it “the most dangerous country in the world.”
The bill of particulars for this indictment typically includes the inarguable facts that the Taliban is headquartered in Pakistan, as is what remains of al-Qaeda, as well as an alphabet soup of other jihadist terrorist groups.
And in 2011, it became embarrassingly clear that Pakistan had harbored Osama bin Laden for almost a decade, even if unwittingly, in a city not far from the capital, Islamabad.
Leading Pakistani liberals are routinely assassinated by militants. Two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed when she returned from exile in 2007.
Around three years later, the governor of Punjab was shot to death by one of his own bodyguards because he had the temerity to suggest, correctly, that Pakistan’s onerous blasphemy laws tend to penalize its tiny Christian minority. The governor’s assassin was feted as a hero by many Pakistanis.
Pakistani scientists have proliferated nuclear technology to the rogue state of North Korea. And Pakistan now has the fastest-growing nuclear weapons program in the world.
Pakistan is also routinely gripped by Sunni-Shia violence, has a serious secessionist movement in the vast gas-rich province of Baluchistan and its financial capital, Karachi, is one of the world’s most dangerous cities.
Add to this toxic brew the fact that Pakistan operates like a tea party paradise; only about 2% of the population pays income taxes, as a result of which the government doesn’t do much of anything for anybody.
Lengthy power cuts are hollowing out Pakistan’s already weak economy, which, at its present 3% growth rate, cannot possibly sustain Pakistan’s youth bulge.
But there is another side to Pakistan that suggests some underlying strengths that don’t make quite as good copy as the Taliban marching towards Islamabad, as they did in 2009.
Those strengths are Pakistan’s maturing institutions.
Pakistan has a largely ineffectual state, but it has a vibrant civil society that picks up at least some of the government’s slack. The private Edhi Foundation, for instance, runs a fleet of 1,800 ambulances and a slew of other welfare services for the poor across Pakistan.
As a result of this strong civil society, Pakistan had its version of the Arab Spring long before the wave of demands for accountable governments emerged in the Middle East. It was, after all, a movement of thousands of lawyers taking to the streets protesting the sacking of the Supreme Court chief justice by the military dictator Pervez Musharraf in 2007 that helped to dislodge Musharraf from power.
Pakistan has a vibrant media. A decade ago, there was only Pakistan TV, which featured leaden government propaganda. Now there are dozens of news channels: many of them conspiracist and anti-American, but many of them also anti-Taliban and pro-democracy.
In the past year, the Supreme Court has taken on the IsI, Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency, successfully demanding that the organization produce prisoners who had disappeared for years.
In November, Pakistan agreed to a pact with long-time rival India granting India “most favored nation” trading status; something that would have been unimaginable a few years back. This important development was sanctioned by Pakistan’s powerful army, which is a significant player in the country’s economy and understands that one way out of Pakistan’s economic mess is to hitch itself to India’s much larger economy.
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — A shot rings out, but the burqa-clad woman sitting on the rocky ground does not respond.
The man pointing a rifle at her from a few feet away lets loose another round, but still there is no reaction.
He fires a third shot, and finally the woman slumps backwards.
But the man fires another shot.
And another. And another.
Nine shots in all.
Around him, dozens of men on a hillside cheer: “God is great!”
By Reza Sayah, CNN
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s Supreme Court postponed a rare public hearing for the country’s secretive and powerful spy agency Thursday, a lawyer for one of the alleged victims of the agency said.
Long thought to be untouchable, the ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence, has been ordered to produce seven men it’s accused of holding since 2010 and explaining the deaths of four other detainees.
But attorney Tariq Asad told CNN the court had delayed the hearing until Friday because other proceedings took up much of the day.
Asad said it was clear the lawyer for the ISI, who was present when the postponement was announced, had not brought the seven detainees to court as ordered. …
Read more » CNN
– ISI always keeps its hand in politics: Ijaz
The S Branch of the ISI was involved in manipulating elections in Pakistan: Mansoor Ijaz
ISLAMABAD: The principal character in the memogate scandal, Mansoor Ijaz, has said that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is under nobody’s control and always keeps its hand in politics.
In an interview with CNN host Fareed Zakaria, Mr Ijaz said: “The ISI has two critical branches in it. One is called CT, for counter-terrorism, and the other one is called S Branch for strategic —it’s sort of the arm of the ISI that does everything from political interventions in other countries, for example, Afghanistan, which is what they’re doing through the Haqqani network and the Taliban right now.”
He said the ISI was an organ of the state that nobody could control. “And it is essentially the organ of the state that the army and the intelligence wings are using to, shall we say, coordinate or obstruct what it is that the political side of the government, the civilian side of the governments do in Pakistan,” he said.
Mr Ijaz said the ISI does a lot of political interventions in its own country as it has been reported in the past by Pakistani press that S Branch was involved in manipulating elections and doing things of that nature inside Pakistan.
“Now, there have been so many wrong things that have happened since the death of Bin Laden in the early part of May, so many things that indicated some hidden hand, if you will, in what was going on,” Mr Ijaz said.
Mansoor Ijaz, who claimed himself a ‘messenger’ for a memo from Pakistan’s civilian government to the Pentagon asking Washington to clamp down on Pakistan’s military, said he had been involved in different operations in Pakistan now for a very long time. However, he did not mention that what kind of operations these were. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
Pakistan funded Washington lobby group, U.S. says
Washington (CNN) — Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington front group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over the disputed territory of Kashmir, federal agents alleged Tuesday.
A Pakistani-American man who served as director of the Kashmiri American Council is in federal custody, while a second man accused of steering money to the organization is believed to be in Pakistan, the Justice Department said. The KAC director, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, “acted at the direction and with the financial support of the government of Pakistan for more than 20 years,” an FBI arrest affidavit states.
One U.S. congressman quickly gave $4,000 donated by the two men charged in the case to charity, while another said he would consider a similar move if the source of the money was in question.
Fai and his co-defendant, Zaheer Ahmad, have been charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires lobbyists acting on behalf of another nation to register with the U.S. government. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to five years. ….
Read more → CNN
CNN’s Phil Black reports on a community in Pakistan under siege by militants for more than four years.
Courtesy: CNN, YouTube
A special CNN report was featured on CNN and repeatedly broadcast by CNN today (June 6, 2011) about the Khan Academy that offers more than 2,100 educational videos and 100 self-paced exercises on many academic and non-academic subjects. This wealth of educational materials is available for free downloads from Khan ACademy’s web site http://www.khanacademy.org/. The academy was founded by Salman (Sal) Khan, who has multiple degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. Although the project is supported by Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, the academy is actively seeking donations from others including general public.
Musharraf was hostile when he telephoned Benazir: Siegel
* BB’s confidante says Musharraf offered to drop charges if she quit politics for 10 years
* Former premier emailed him asking whom to hold accountable after October 18 incident
LAHORE: Former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf was hostile and had a confrontational discussion with former premier Benazir Bhutto before her return to Pakistan, a private TV channel quoted Benazir’s close friend and adviser Mark Siegel on Friday.
Washington : US Vice-President Joe Biden, today said that his greatest concern was not Afghanistan nor threat of Iran turning nuclear but Pakistan, which he said had a significant radicalised population and only a “functional democracy“.
“I think its a big country that has nuclear weapons that are able to be deployed. It has a real significant minority of radicalised population”, Mr. Biden said in an interview to CNN.
Pakistan is not “a completely functional democracy in the sense we think about it, and so that is my greatest concern” the US Vice-President said.