Saturday, April 24, 2010

Moluccas - another neglected human rights issue

You've heard about the oppressed Palestinians and you might even have heard that a few people have died in Darfur and Iran and Syria and China and that the Burmese government is pretty nasty. A few of you might know that the Kurdish people are suffering repression at the hands of the Turkish and Syrian governments. Chances are though that you never heard of the Moluccas islands and don't even know they are in Indonesia. Moluccan separatists are being brutally repressed by the Indonesian government, but nobody seems to care very much. There is no UN special Rapporteur on Molucca. No UN Security Council meetings about Molucca. No special UN department on the rights of Moluccans. HRW did a report on them a while ago, but that was a while ago. Check out this Website:   Moluccas International Campaign for Human Rights
Ami Isseroff .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

U.S. summons Syrian diplomat over arms transfer to Hezbollah

Last update - 13:35 20/04/2010       
U.S. summons Syrian diplomat over arms transfer to Hezbollah
By Natasha Mozgovaya and The Associated Press
The United States State Department released a statement on Monday saying that Syria's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was directly related to its support for groups like Hezbollah.
The statement was released as the State Department summoned Syria's most senior diplomat present in Washington, Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S., Zouheir Jabbour, to discuss the recent reports that Syria was transferring scud missiles to the Lebanon based Iranian- and Syrian-backed Islamist group Hezbollah.
Earlier this month, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-Aam reported that Syria had shipped ballistic Scud missiles to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
Israeli officials say the introduction of Scuds could alter the strategic balance with Hezbollah, who battled Israel in a month-long war in 2006. Hezbollah pelted Israel with nearly 4,000 unguided Katyusha rockets during the war, causing widespread damage and dozens of casualties in Israel's north. Scud missiles have several times the range and explosive firepower of Katyusha rockets and would pose a much more serious threat.
U.S. State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid released a statement on Monday condemning "in the strongest terms" any transfer of arms to Hezbollah and calling for an immediate cessation of any arms transfer of this kind.
"The transfer of these arms can only have a destabilizing effect on the region, and would pose an immediate threat to both the security of Israel and the sovereignty of Lebanon," Duguid said.
"The risk of miscalculation that could result from this type of escalation should make Syria reverse the ill-conceived policy it has pursued in providing arms to Hizballah," Duguid said, stressing that the move was an impediment to achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
Lebanon's Western-backed prime minister on Monday compared accusations that Hezbollah has obtained Scud missiles to charges that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The media suddenly started reporting that there are Scud missiles in Lebanon.
"Do you know what a Scud missile means? I believe it is as big as this room," Hariri said.
"Threats that Lebanon now has huge missiles are similar to what they used to say about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," he added. "These are weapons that they did not find and they are still searching for.
"They are trying to repeat the same scenario with Lebanon," the Lebanese prime minister said.
Saad Hariri made his comments late Monday during a meeting with members of the Lebanese community in Italy, where he is on an official visit. The comments were carried by Lebanese media Tuesday.
Doubts were raised by U.S. officials on Friday over whether the Scuds were delivered in full and whether they were moved to Lebanon. Hezbollah leaders refuse to confirm or deny the reports.

Itbach al South Park: Islamic website targets TV's South Park over Prophet Mohammed depiction

Is there really no end to the trivial terrorization of Western society by Islamist lunatics?
Last update - 11:09 20/04/2010       
Report: Islamic website targets TV's South Park over Prophet Mohammed depiction
By Haaretz Service
An Islamic website is targeting the creators of the television series South Park, after an episode that aired last week depicted the Prophet Mohammed disguised in a bear suit, CNN reported on Sunday.
The website,, was the subject of a CNN investigation last year over its support for "jihad" against the West and for praising al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
According to CNN, the website posted an entry on Sunday that warned South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that they will "probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show," making a reference to Dutch filmmaker murdered by an Islamic extremist in 2004 after making film on Islam and violence against women.
The posting on says: "We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."
The website also urges its readers to contact Parker and Stone as well as Comedy Central, which airs the show.
"You can contact them [the makers of South Park], or pay Comedy Central or their own company a visit at these addresses...." the site wrote, and included Comedy Central?s New York address, and the Los Angeles address of Parker and Stone's production company.
The author of the post, Abu Talhah al Amrikee, told CNN that providing the addresses was not intended as a threat but as an opportunity to allow people to protest.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Defense Secretary Gates sounds alarm over Iran policy (what policy?)

Last Updated: 6:20 AM, April 18, 2010
Posted: 3:49 AM, April 18, 2010
Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a stinging warning to the White House that the administration doesn't have an adequate plan to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, according to a report.
The highly classified memo served as a "wake-up call" for the Obama administration, sending the White House and the Pentagon scrambling to develop a new set of military options, one senior official told The New York Times.
In the secret missive, sent in January to Obama's national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, Gates took the administration to task for not being more prepared if its efforts fail to change the rogue state's course.
The administration tried last year to engage Iran, which recently produced its first significant batch of enriched uranium, in dialogue, but those efforts failed. Now it is pursuing a "pressure track" that includes a push for sanctions.
The most pressing matter, according to Gates, is what the White House would do if the repressive regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad develops most of the pieces of a nuclear weapon, but stops short of assembling it.
This would mean Iran wouldn't be in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but would become a "virtual" nuclear state -- technically compliant with the treaty, but possessing nuclear capabilities, the paper said.
Gates also said the White House must rethink its options if Iran were to provide nuclear material to a terrorist group.
The defense secretary has said that recognizing Iran's progress in taking the final steps towards building a nuke would be very difficult to verify, according to an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"If their policy is to go to the threshold, but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled?" he asked.
The president and his advisers have said they would not allow Iran to become a nuclear state, but have not delineated how they would handle a nuclear-capable Iran.
But White House officials insisted that they haven't been asleep at the switch and have been developing a detailed plan to deal with Iran for 15 months.
"On Iran . . . the fact that we don't announce publicly our entire strategy for the world to see doesn't mean we don't have a strategy that anticipates the full range of contingencies -- we do," Jones told the paper.
"It's absolutely false that any memo touched off a reassessment of our options," National Security Council spokesman Benjamin Rhodes said.

Engagement with Syria? Just say "No"

 "Nothing can be gained from engaging tyrants" - not the words of a Zionist warmonger neocon, but those of a liberal Syrian dissident and human rights activist.
From the American Spectator:
  "Down With Dictatorship!"

John Tabin on 4.17.10 @ 6:44PM

As part of the Obama Administration's ongoing campaign to appease enemies and alienate allies, the President has decided to send an ambassador to Damascus for the first time since 2005. Laura Rozen'sPolitico report this week on the battle in the Senate over the confirmation of career diplomat Robert Ford to the post led Michael Rubin to observe how weak the argument in favor of sending an ambassador is. "The simple fact is that restoring an ambassador legitimizes Syria and its stonewalling into the investigation surrounding Rafik Hariri's assassination as well as its support for Hezbollah," argues Rubin.

I would add that it has the potential to send a terrible message to dissidents in Syria, which is why the ambassadorship issue was the subject of some angst amongst protestors at the Syrian Embassy in Washington today.

About 50 people showed up for the protest. In between chants of "Down with dictatorship," "Down with terrorism," "Down with Bashar Assad" and "Enough silence" in both English and Arabic, the crowd listened to speeches (about half in English, half in Arabic) by activists with first-hand knowledge of the Assad regime's brutality.

Mohammad al-Abdallah, along with his father Ali, was imprisoned for six months for the crime of "criticizing the state of emergency laws" by the Assad regime. (The "state of emergency" under which the Syrian government justifies its human rights abuses has been officially in place since 1963. Hell of an emergency, huh?) He is pictured above holding an image of his brother Omar, who remains in prison in Syria, serving a five year sentence for things he wrote on his blog. He described how political prisoners are mixed with ordinary criminals, who enjoy harrassing and beating the political prisoners regularly; the prison guards have no interest in stopping this. (Political prisoners are often forced to sleep on the floor while criminals get cots.) Abdallah said he is "not against engagement," but that it must be "conditional engagement" and human rights must be on the agenda.

Ammar Abdulhamid, the Executive Director of the pro-democracy Tharwa Foundation, was much more critical of the Obama Administration's policy (as well as that of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently visited Syria). "Nothing can be gained from engaging tyrants," he said. Abdulhamid noted that the regime that Western governments are attempting to engage does not speak for the Syrian people, saying "the true leaders of Syria are in prison."

"Peace and stability cannot happen at the expense of our freedom," Abdulhamid insisted. He's right of course. I fear that the Obama Administration is determined to learn this lesson the hard way.