Faruq Faisel

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Democracy Now: If CNN or Al Jazeera are your only source of global information, good luck and enjoy your daily fixes. But only if you are not happy with their new coverage, then may be you should try Democracy Now! This is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 400 stations in North America. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television (DISH network: Free Speech TV ch. 9415 and Link TV ch. 9410; DIRECTV: Link TV ch. 375); as a "podcast," and on the internet. The program is hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and produced out of the Downtown Community Television Center, a community media center in New York City’s Chinatown (shown to the right). Democracy Now!'s War and Peace Report provides our audience with access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S.corporate-sponsored media, including independent and international journalists, ordinary people from around the world who are directly affected by U.S. foreign policy, grassroots leaders and peace activists, artists, academics and independent analysts. In addition, the War and Peace Report hosts real debates - debates between people who substantially disagree, such as between the White House or the Pentagon spokespeople on the one hand, and grassroots activists on the other. New stations are adding Democracy Now! to their programming schedules all the time, and there are several movements going on around the country right now to bring Democracy Now! to new communities.

WHY INDEPENDENT MEDIA ? For true democracy to work, people need easy access to independent, diverse sources of news and information. But the last two decades have seen unprecedented corporate media consolidation. The U.S. media was already fairly homogenous in the early 80s: some fifty media conglomerates dominated all media outlets, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, music, publishing and film. In the year 2000, just six corporations dominated the U.S. media. In addition, corporate media outlets in the U.S. are legally responsible to their shareholders to maximize profits. And U.S. “public” media outlets accept funding from major corporations, as well as from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Every Corporation for Public Broadcasting board member is appointed by the White House and confirmed by the Senate. Democracy Now! is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations. We do not accept advertisers, donations from corporations, or donations from governments. This allows us to maintain our independence.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nepal is not only a regional but a world problem

Ottawa, Canada (19 February 2006): Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Flora MacDonald warned that the current crisis of Nepal is not only a regional but a world problem.

She was speaking on Saturday at a seminar in the capital, Ottawa.

Canada Forum for Nepal and Harmony International, a Canadian institute that focuses on sustainable livelihood and human security issues in Asia, jointly organized a panel discussion on “Peace, Democracy and Human Rights in Nepal” in Ottawa, Canada on 18 February 2006. The program was well attended by Nepalese community in Ottawa and concerned Canadians. Guest speakers for the program came from different background, and covered many aspects of current crisis in Nepal.

As chief guest Hon. Flora MacDonald, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, demonstrated her through knowledge of Nepal in the course of many visits she has paid in the last 10 years. She was of the opinion that Nepal is on the verge of failing state and was critical of the government decision for not reciprocating the four- month old Maoists ceasefire. She raised concern about the severe constrain that the ordinary people are facing in their daily activities following coup by King Gyanendra with the support of the army. She criticized the recent municipal polls as not being reflective of the will of the people.

Regarding what to be done, she fully concurred with the International Crisis Group’s recommendations.

She said that Nepal must take up the UN Secretary-General’s offer to help broker and monitor a bilateral ceasefire to create an environment for talks in which to test Maoist willingness to compromise, and consider international offers to assist in a process of reconciliation, including working towards viable postconflict elections. She disagreed with the US approach that rules out dialogue with the Maoists.

Dr. Krishnahari Gautam, a rural development specialist of Nepal, was of the opinion that the present crisis in Nepal is due to multiple factors such as caste system, land holding, access to resources, religion, and gender discrimination. He expressed that the king unconstitutionally rules Nepal and appointed administrators. These appointed bodies have paralyzed Nepal from the top to the grass root level. At the local level, this has resulted into resource degradation, downturn in small, cottage industry, and hardship in rural livelihood. He emphasized that unless the issues of peace, democracy and human rights are addressed, Nepal cannot move forward. In his opinion, the 12-point memorandum of understanding between the parliamentary parties and the Maoists is the only plausible outlet for peace.

Another speaker, Roger Clark, former Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada, shared his broad experience in many troubled countries including Nepal. He also agreed that Nepal is a failing state with one of the worst human right situation in the world. He deplored the highest number of disappearances under state custody in the world, unwarranted arrests followed by torture and beating and violations of economic and social rights that are happening in Nepal. He was critical of media censorship in Nepal.

Quoting Amnesty International report, he said that in Nepal, since 1996, more than 12,000 people have been killed; more than 2000,000 people have been displaced. During the last six weeks alone, more than 1,500 people have been arrested and about 800 are still in custody. Journalists and media activists are targeted; over the last two and half years, more journalists are arrested in Nepal than any where in the world. He suggested many ways through which awareness can be brought to Canadian public, and the government.

Faruq Faisel, Nepal Media and Peacebuilding Specialist, provided eyewitness account of many events in Nepal including Kings’ coup of last February. He expressed his dismay in the way the Nepalese king is pretending as if nothing is happening. He said that we are always talking about three parties in Nepal, but there is a fourth party, the Nepalese people who wants to see the end of conflict. He was of the opinion that due to conflict, the economy is hit hard, commodity prices have skyrocketed, and people are hurt. In concluding he expressed that unless various socio-economic disparities such as caste system, and topdown approach of government are addressed, ending Maoists conflict alone would not end future crises in Nepal.

Moderator of the event, Richard Harmston, former Executive Director of South Asia Partnership (SAP) Canada expressed great concern in unfolding tragedy in Nepal. He felt that people of Nepal should develop the solution of the Nepal’s problems but substantial role has to be played by international community. He maintained that each one of us should take initiative for finding solution for Nepal. We may not be able to see the entire path at once, but we should continue walking, as we know which way the top of the mountain lies.

The Sunday Times - Review

The Sunday Times
February 19, 2006

Go and live in Saudi Arabia, mad mullahs

Saira Khan, loudmouth star of The Apprentice, tells Deirdre Fernand that young Muslim women like her are the true voice of British Islam and they are sick of the bearded extremists giving them all a bad name.

‘Yeah, definitely I would.” Saira Khan, the 35-year-old star of The Apprentice, the reality TV show, wants to be prime minister. “I would like to see an Asian woman in power. You see, you have to aim high in life.” If she can’t be top dog, she says, she would settle for a lesser role as an adviser. Her portfolio? “Muslim affairs . . . As a modern British Asian woman I don’t see how I am represented in government.”

Viewers of the hit show in which would-be entrepreneurs compete for a £100,000-a-year job — a new series starts this week — will remember her as the gobby, motor-mouthed one. “More terrifying than the Daleks,” commented one reviewer. As Khan ran roughshod over the other contestants and their feelings, she seemed to have emerged from the womb with power shoulder pads.

In the event she was pipped to first place. Many people thought she had been robbed. When she met the singer Julian Lennon on holiday recently he told her he had been glued to every episode. Losing was a “miscarriage of justice”, he said. “Like watching the OJ Simpson trial.”
A year on from the show, she has a new book, Push for Success, out next month, and a television series, Temper Your Temper, to be shown in the autumn. “It’s about anger management,” she says. “It’s to help people negotiate and to deal with confrontation.”

This from Khan? Has the woman gone soft? Admittedly her harsh style is toning down. Last year’s heavy glasses have given way to contact lenses and today’s outfit is all about displaying a softer wrap-dress silhouette and two inches of power cleavage.

Her latest objective is all about less confrontation, more moderation, a word we don’t readily associate with her. Over the past weeks she has watched the Muslim demonstrations following the publication of the Muhammad cartoons with mounting horror.

Seeing marches turn ugly, mullahs pronouncing and embassies blazing, precipitated a personal crisis: “As a person who wants to live here, in a tolerant country as a British Muslim, I couldn’t understand the hatred that some people have.”

At the same time Abu Hamza, the preacher from Finsbury Park mosque, was jailed for seven years for inciting murder and race hate. “I want to say to people like him, ‘Why are you living in the West? Why don’t you go and live in Saudi Arabia?’ “Being a Muslim in Britain is different from being a Muslim in other countries. I am all for peaceful demonstration. If you live in this country there are democratic ways to behave. If you don’t like it, then go and live in a Muslim country.”

Khan believes there is an urgent need for mainstream Islam to speak out. Ever the businesswoman, she would “build a new brand”. Our images of Muslims are skewed, she argues.
On one hand we see the mad mullahs who represent fundamentalists; the other the moderates such as Sir Iqbal Sacranie, leader of the Muslim Council of Britain. But both, and we’re talking broad brush here, are swarthy old men with beards. “We need to rebrand Islam and present a different face. The Muslim council is very important as an organisation but I’m not sure that it means a lot to young British Asians.”

She wants high-profile Muslims such as Imran Khan and the boxer Amir Khan to join forces with her in raising the profile of those who keep the faith — but not too vehemently. Some of them may pray regularly, attend the mosque, forswear pork, but do touch alcohol.

“People like Tony Blair should seek out role models like me who appeal to the majority of people to head up a taskforce. I want British Muslims to be the examples for moderates all around the world.

“I want that group to include women and a cross-section of the Muslim community, not just middle-aged men in beards who were not even born in this country.”

As the daughter of two Pakistani immigrants, Khan knows about growing up both Muslim and British. In her childhood, cultures were always clashing.

Her parents had left their village in Kashmir in the 1960s to seek a better life in Britain. They arrived with only £5 in their pockets and settled near Nottingham. Her father took a job in a lace factory; her mother, who could not read or write, assembled components for Austin Rover.
She was the only Asian girl in her class, one of only three at her comprehensive. Her father was strict, telling her: “It is the woman who carries the respect for the family.” In a school where uniform had been abolished, he made her wear one. When he saw her walking back from school with her knee socks pulled down to her ankles, he whipped her legs from ankle to thigh with a wire coat hanger. She wasn’t allowed to cut her hair and never went to discos like her classmates.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

French Fries and Danish Pastries: Remember when some outlets in the United States of America changed the name of "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries" when at the UN France oppossed the Americal plan to invade Iraq? Now they are not alone anymore, some Iranians have joined that insane crowd as well. I am surprized to see that there are some similarities between American and Iranina mentality, even when (according to Bush) the two nations belong to two different civilizations!

BBC reported today: Iranians rename Danish pastries

Iranians wishing to buy Danish pastries will now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad".

Bakeries across the capital, Tehran, are covering up signs advertising the pastries and replacing them with ones bearing the dessert's new name.

The confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

The images have caused angry protests across the world.

The union said that their decision was prompted by the "insults by Danish newspapers against the Prophet".

Danish pastries are very popular in Iran and not subject to a boycott affecting other Danish products as they are made locally.

Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake shop owner in Tehran, backed the move. This is a punishment for those who start misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam

"This is a punishment for those who start misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam," he said.

But others were less convinced.

"I just want the sweet pastries. I have nothing to do with the name," shopper Zohreh Masoumi said.

This is not the first time a popular snack has been hit by fallout from a political row. French fries and French toast were renamed "freedom fries" and "freedom toast" at cafeterias in the US House of Representatives in 2003, after France opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Cool Friends: Dr. Abdun Noor

One thing that I am very happy in my life is about my friends. I must say that I am blessed regarding my friendships. Some of my friends are from different generations than me. I have closest friends who are much younger than me. I also have great friends who are from previous generation. In Bangla we call elder friend as Bhai- means brother. Noor bhai is one of my those friends, who belongs to my bhai category. I was introduced to Noor bhai by my editor at that time, Ahmed Zaman Chowdhury.

Noor bhai, Abdun Noor, is a novelist, playwright, and development Practitioner. He was with the World Bank at Washington D.C. when I came to live in Washington in 1990. Like this year, I was going through a hard time in 1990. Noor bhai took me under his wings. I used to go to the Bank to have lunch with him many times a week. And went to his house on the Potomac River for many other times.

Noor bhai has devoted his entire professional life of 44 years to foster development among least developing countries of Africa, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Caribbean; of which 35 years were from the World Bank.

He received his PhD in Educational Administration from Michigan State University (1965); and studied at Graduate School of Education of Stanford University (1987). He joined the World Bank in 1970. As a young policy planner during early seventies, he has articulated for the World Bank its policy initiative on “Education and meeting of Basic Human Needs”, 1979; for the UNESCO he has written a think piece on “Managing Adult Literacy Programs”.

He has lead preparation of the education and manpower development program of the First Five Year Plan of the Governments of Bangladesh (1973), and the Fourth Five Year Development Plan of Pakistan (1968).

Noor bhai has carried out design and delivery of innovative learning and training courses on The World Bank’s Operations and Portfolio Management for senior staff of the World Bank; Islamic Development Bank; European University of Peace; and Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution and for Arab Bank for development of Africa.

But the work at the Bank is not the only achievement that he has. He is recognized as a playwright, novelist and essayist, in Bangladesh and abroad. He has carried out his creative writings since 1952. His writings reflect the internationalism of his life and span the globe. The first novel, PEGUSUS, 1980, is based on the life of Guyana; the second novel, ”SHUNNA BRITTO” -The Empty Circle- 1990, is based on the life of expatriate immigrant Indians sub continentals residing is USA; the third novel, UTTARAN, Transition of A Married Women” 2003, is based of midlife crisis of a modern Bangladeshi in her own land.

I feel proud that I was involved in publishing some of his works, when I was editing periodicals in Bangladesh.

Noor Bhai has just published an epic novel, “ BICHOLITO SOMOY - The Uncertain Time-, of over thousand pages in two volumes, covering rise of Bengali nationalism during the period of 17th century India.

I am thankful that he has mentioned my contribution behind the writing of this epic.

Reviewer Azizul Jalil, wrote in Daily Star published from Dhaka on Bicholito Somoy:
Married to Najma, an Assamese, Noor was inspired to look east in his quest for a romantic story with an authentic underpinning. This led to a research into available historical documents over a period of five years on the relationship between the Mughals and Assam, then known as Ahom Rajjya.

The result of this work of love, inquisitiveness and imagination is a book of four hundred plus pages in Bangla, "Bicholito Somoy". It is a story of romance, intrigue and valour. Aurangzeb's third son, Prince Mohamamd Azam Shah, sent by the emperor as the Subedar to the difficult but rich province of Bengal in 1678, is one of the principal characters. The book was published by Magnum Opus during the last Boi Mela in Dhaka. A worthy feature is that all profits from the sale of this book would be contributed to the Grameen Shikkha Trust of the Grameen Bank for awarding scholarships to poor students in the rural areas.

Primarily a writer of plays and fiction, Abdun Noor has produced a historical novel of great interest to those who are eager to know about Dhaka's ancient history, glory and tragedies. Readers will not be disappointed. The book is rich in historical events, around which the fictional account has been woven, in an intricate tapestry of fine prose. The characters speak softly into the reader's ears, with the author taking the role of a behind the scene prompter and narrator.
The fictional part of Bicholito Somoy is the story of the life and times of that era in Dhaka when it was a mixture of the grandeur of the life of the nobles and the hard life and reality of the common people.

Part history and part fiction, Bicholito Somoy would be a thoroughly enjoyable reading for the richness of its story and the manner of its telling.

Why striking bus drivers in Tehran are the real defenders of Muslim rights
Nick Cohen
Sunday February 12, 2006
The Observer http://www.observer.co.uk/

For three weeks, there have been demonstrations across the planet about a great injustice done to Muslims. After baton-wielding cops inflicted dozens of injuries, the fear of death is in the air. George W Bush's State Department has warned of 'systematic oppression', while secularists and fundamentalists have revealed their mutually incompatible values. Since you ask, I am not talking about the global menace of Scandinavian cartoonists that has so terrified our fearless free press, but mass arrests in Iran.

The media have barely mentioned the story, even though it cuts through the nonsense about a clash of civilisations between the 'West' and the 'Muslims'. The Muslims of Tehran are proving themselves to be anything but a monolithic bloc happy to follow the orders of the ayatollahs and their demented President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

There are huge class divisions to begin with, and close to the bottom of the heap are the city's bus drivers. The authorities refused to allow them an independent trade union and ruled that an 'Islamic council' in the offices of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company would represent their interests. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pious have not proved the doughtiest fighters for better pay and conditions. The bus drivers claimed that managers were stealing money from their pay packets. They formed their own union and threatened to strike at the end of January.

Ahmadinejad won the rigged Iranian elections last year with a promise to stand up for the little man against the Islamic Republic's corrupt elite. Faced with a choice between sticking to his word and carrying on with despotism, he showed his true colours by allowing the most ferocious crackdown Tehran has seen since the religious authorities crushed dissident journalists and students in 1999.

The company's managers and Islamic council called in the paramilitary police who arrested the union's six officers and beat workers until they agreed to renounce the strike. Bravely, the majority refused. The state's thugs then targeted their wives and children.

Mahdiye Salimi, the 12-year-old daughter of one of the strike leaders, told a reporter that they had poured into her home in the early hours of the morning trying to find her father. When his wife said she didn't know where he was, the assault began. 'They kicked my mum's heart with their boots and my mum had an enormous ache in her heart. They even wanted to spray something in my [two-year old] sister's mouth.'

No one knows how many people the authorities arrested. The highest figure the British TUC has heard is 1,300. International trade union federations and the British embassy in Tehran estimate that somewhere between 400 and 600 people are still in prison.

Owen Tudor, the TUC's international officer, went to the Iranian embassy to protest and was knocked back by the hatred of unions he met. Probably without realising it, Iranian officials parroted the language of Margaret Thatcher and told him unions were 'the enemy within'. From their perspective, you can see why they would think so. Unions instil democratic habits and encourage solidarity with others regardless of colour and -more importantly in this case - creed. Neither of these admirable traits is likely to appeal to your average fanatic who believes he can read the mind of God.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the US State Department and British Foreign Office have all protested. Trade unions, Iranian exiles and gay groups have demonstrated. Yet the media have barely noticed. The failure is due in part to my trade's perennial inability to walk and chew gum at the same time: we consider stories one by one and today's story is Muslim anger with cartoonists.

I'm not saying it isn't newsworthy, but you shouldn't forget that it was manufactured by hard-line Danish imams who hawked the cartoons round the Muslim world for four months (and, somewhat blasphemously, added obscene drawings of their own). The religious right and Syrian Baathists welcomed them and proved yet again that they need to incite frenzies to legitimise arbitrary power.

Iran has seen all the stunts before because it has endured Islamism longer than any other country. Cheeringly, the old tricks no longer appear to be working. The Associated Press's reporter said that about 400 people demonstrated outside the Danish embassy in Tehran last week, most of them state employees obeying orders, according to the Iranian opposition.

Even if you take the lowest estimate, there are as many striking bus drivers in prison in Tehran as rioters prepared to play the worn-out game of throwing Molotov cocktails at Western embassies. No one ever made money by being optimistic about the Middle East, but after nearly 30 years of Islamist rule, Iranians seem sick of it.

It cannot be said often enough that this is not a clash of civilisations but a civil war within the Islamic world between theocratic reaction and the beleaguered forces of liberty and modernity. As I have tried to emphasise, the best service the rich world's liberal left can render is to get on the right side for once.

This article can be found on the web at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060206/benjamin

When Will US Women Demand Peace?
[posted online on January 24, 2006]

Whenever I travel to international gatherings to talk about the war in Iraq, economic development and women's rights, the question I get asked most frequently is: "Where are the women in the United States? Why aren't they rising up?"

I hear it from women in Africa, who have lost funding for their health clinics because of the Bush Administration's ban on even talking about abortion; from Iraqi women, who are suffering the double oppression of occupation and rising fundamentalism; from European women, who wonder how we can tolerate the crumbling of our meager social services; and from Latina women opposed to unresponsive governments that represent a tiny elite.

The question is variously posed with anger, contempt, curiosity or sympathy. But always, there is a sense of disappointment. What happened to the proud suffragettes who chained themselves to the White House fence for the right to vote? What happened to the garment workers, whose struggles for decent working conditions inspired the first International Women's Day in 1910? What about those who emulated Rosa Parks, risking their lives or livelihoods to confront the evils of racism? Given their tradition of activism, why aren't American women today rising up against a government that dragged them into war with lies, that spies on their peaceful activities and diverts money from their children's schools or their mothers' nursing homes to pay for an immoral war?

I mumble excuses. We have no strong opposition parties or militant trade unions. We have a corporate media that keeps women ignorant. We're either too affluent to care or too poor to do anything about it. I insist that we keep trying, with efforts like CodePink: Women for Peace, the National Organization for Women and other women's groups, like Gold Star Families for Peace. I say that millions have come out to protest against the war but get demoralized when our government refuses to listen. But deep inside, I ask myself the same question: Where are the women? Why aren't they rising up?

I remember when we first started CodePink before invasion of Iraq, and we felt compelled to leave our families, our jobs, our warm homes, and camp out in front of the White House to try to stop the war. "We'll put a call out to women across the country," we said, "and the streets of Washington, DC, will be flooded with angry women saying no to an unjustified war." During the four cold, winter months we spent in front of the White House, hundreds of women came to join us, and more than 10,000 marched with us when we ended the vigil. But we kept wondering, Where were the millions of women who, according to the polls, were strongly opposed to the war? When a grieving Cindy Sheehan called on people all over the country to join in her vigil at Crawford, Texas, last summer, a few thousand people responded, most of them women. But why didn't tens of thousands come? Or 100,000?

Over the years, hundreds of thousands of women--perhaps millions-- have marched in antiwar rallies. Why don't they become part of an ongoing movement? Why do they get demoralized so quickly when their efforts don't bear fruit?

A few months back, I asked a group of international women for advice. Two issues kept cropping up: persistence and solidarity. "It took us decades to overthrow the oppressive apartheid regime," said one woman from South Africa, "and one of the things that kept us going was solidarity from the outside world--people getting arrested at South African embassies abroad, refusing to buy South African products, sending us moral support." The others agreed. "The struggle has to come from within," said a woman who had spent years organizing landless peasants in Brazil, "and you in the US have more freedom to organize than we ever had. But US women need to feel the support of their sisters overseas, just like we have had tremendous international support."

So a few weeks ago, CodePink drafted a Global Women's Call for Peace in Iraq with the idea of asking women around the world to sign on and then march to US embassies on March 8, International Women's Day. We thought that the idea of women worldwide putting pressure on the US government would inspire US women to stand up as well.

We sent our friends overseas a draft of demands--withdrawal of foreign troops, no permanent bases, rebuilding funds going directly to Iraqis instead of US companies and equal rights for women. It immediately "went viral," on the Internet, with women from Mongolia, Mexico, Australia, Albania, the Philippines and Pakistan requesting to be among the initial endorsers.

Our goal of getting 100 prominent women to sign quickly become 150, then 200, and before we even officially launched the campaign, more than 3,000 women (and male allies) had signed on to the new website, Women Say No to War.

So please join us in building this global call, sending it to our friends at home and abroad to get at least 100,000 women on board. Please commit to doing a local action on March 8--shut down a recruiting center, sit in at a Congressional office, hold a vigil on a crowded street corner, paint a peace mural. Or join us in Washington, DC, where Iraqi, US and British women--including Cindy Sheehan--who have lost sons in this war will try to meet with US women leaders, from Condoleezza Rice to Hillary Clinton, to push our peace plan.

Let's make March 8 a day when we revive the fighting spirit of International Women's Day and unleash the power of women across generations, races, ethnicities, religions and borders. Let's make it a day to show our anger over the war, our compassion for our sisters in Iraq, our disgust with our leaders and our determination to change course. And let's commit to building, over the long term, a women's peace movement that will make our global sisters--and our grandmothers--proud.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My Cool Friends: Partha I have never been to Paris. I am going to this city on a day's notice and only for two days. My duaghter is jealous of me that I will be in Paris on Valentine's day. One of my closest friends, said- "the city of love - or is it the city of light? I hope you're taking an extra day or two to walk around. Will you put pictures on your blog? That would be exciting (I love pictures, and I like blogs - for people I know (like you) - not inane "I went to a party last night blablabla") I like your blog. It's intelligent & funny & interesting (like you?). Wow, I seem to have been overcome with a case of sudden sincerity! Anyhow....I will be keeping my eye on it (no pressure - e-mails are good too) :) I hope you have a good time!"

My friend Partha lives in that city. Please see his website: http://www.mimepartha.com

"Partha is undoubtedly a forerunner in the field of mime in Bangladesh. He started as a musician and his keen sense of rhythm enabled him to let his limbs move and express his surroundings through gestures. Initally Jogesh Dutta of Calcutta imparted some education in mime craft, but Partha's thirst was for world class artists under whom he could develop. He attended the school of Etienne Decroux, the founder of corporal mime and later he worked with world's greatest mime Marcel Marceau. Partha's artistic excellence has unfolded during the past fifteen years on the illuminated stages of both at home and Europe and North America. His devotion and sensitivity uplift an ordinary theme to a sublime height. Partha wrote and choreographed a mimodrama (Cauchemar), in a record time of two months, which was staged in Bangladesh in 1994. This was achieved with the collaboration of different group theatres and professional dancers from Dhaka. The mimodrama concerning child abuse was the first of its kind to be shown on South East Asian stages and its enormous success was acclaimed by the media. Partha travels all over the world to teach the art of mime, organizes workshops with young people and create productions with the attendees. Currently he is in the process of creating a new episode on the theme of environmental pollution. Partha also teaches the art of mime to speech-impaired people."

We spent our youth together in Dhaka. He was an upcoming mime artist and I was a journalist. We became close friends. And then he went to France and I went to Norway. He stayed in France and I came back to Bangladesh. Later I moved to Canada.

Partha came to Canada to visit us almost four years back. That was the last time that I saw him.

Yesterday, when I sent him an e-mail with the news that I was coming to Paris in two days and asked for some directions, he wrote me back write way:

1.I don't know in which terminal of CDG - Air Port are you coming ? If it is terminal no 1 or 2 take Paris bus ( Destnation : OPERA )There is two service one for OPERA and other one for Porte Maillot.So you must take PARIS - OPERA.

When you will reach OPERA end stop - it is behind of Paris Opera house - you walk down in the front of Opera , you will find Metro entrance - the staton call also M° OPERA, if you stay more then three days please buy weekly ticket 1-5 zone , it will cost 30.90 euros.You can come to my house( I live in 1-4 zone, Paris is 1-2 zone ) and go back to the Air Port with that- also hole Paris all the times.You can buy this ticket only in the counter of the Metro.You need one passport size photograph.

The ticket call Hebdomadaire ( means weekly ticket) for 1-5 zone.So when you will come from Airport buy in the bus just one ticket for Paris Opera - it will cost near about 10 euros.

Then from Opera you take Metro: direction call : BALARD ( Line no 8 )and get down in Metro station call : La Moutte Picquet Grenelle.Your Unesco is next stop from this staion.You can walk down or from this station you take the direction call: NATION and get down in next stop call : CAMBRONNE.Don't go towards main building of UNESCO it is parallel to the train line.Keep on your left the train line and walk 5 min. you will reach Annexe of UNESCO.Call me from there.

Wish you safe and happy journey."

So now I am confidant that I will have no problem cruising around Paris. I am excited to see Paris, to see Partha, my friend.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Denmark My Love: I went to Denmark for the first time in 1983. This was my first foreign trip outside my native Bangladesh. I did fall in love with Denmark right way.

I found that people of Denmark were more socialy aware, at least those who were my friends. And now I am surprized to see what a mess has been created around Denmark and Islam. I am realy sorry about these events.

I am glad that EU Justice Commissioner calls for media code as Muslim cartoons controversy rages.

The report that I just read says that Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said in an interview published Thursday that the EU may draw up a new media code of conduct to forestall any repetition of the global controversy now raging over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in European newspapers.

Speaking to the London Telegraph newspaper, he noted that Muslims felt "humiliated" by the drawings and urged European media to agree to a charter that would allow them to "self-regulate" when reporting on religion, emphasizing that "the exercising of a right is always the assumption of a responsibility".

In this way, he said, the press will give the Muslim world the message: we are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression, we can and we are ready to self-regulate that right.

The contemplated code would be drawn up by press outlets themselves with the assistance of the European Commission; it would not have formal legal status and would not be legally enforceable by EU authorities against offenders, but could have a persuasive and informally mitigating effect.

Frattini first sought to intervene in the cartoons controversy Tuesday, when he issued a statement calling the publication of the Muhammad caricatures "somewhat imprudent," while acknowledging that freedom of expression was a "'founding principle' of most European nations."

In other developments in the cartoons controversy, large scale but peaceful protests took place Thursday in Lebanon and in Bangladesh. In Beirut, where a crowd attacked and burned the Danish embassy Saturday, an estimated 300,000 Shiite Muslims marched in a traditional Ashura mourning observation that turned into a mass cartoons protest. The leader of the Hezbollah guerrilla group told the marchers that Muslims would insist on getting a full apology from Denmark and wanted the EU to pass laws against insulting the Prophet.

Meanwhile about 2000 Muslims rallied around the main mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They shouted "burn the Danish embassy" and torched Danish flags but took no further action.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused the governments of Iran and Syria of encouraging some of the protests and agitation, saying "they have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes, and the world ought to call them on it."

Syrian Ambassador to Washington Imad Moustapha immediately denied the allegations, saying "We in Syria believe anti-Western sentiments are being fueled by two major things: the situation in Iraq and the situation in the occupied territories, the West Bank and Gaza."

On the otherhand, the news in Canada itself is not healthy at all. Two Calgary based publications will be among the first in Canada to print the now-infamouse Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have sparked bloody riots across the Islamic world and protest in the West.

The Jewish Free Press, which is sent to 2,000 Calgary homes is running them in this week's edition.

Calgary based Western Standard magazine will follow suit in its issue hitting the news stand late next week.

I am so sad!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Military Hides Cause of Women Soldiers' Deaths
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t Report
Monday 30 January 2006

In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq.

Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark.

The latrine for female soldiers at Camp Victory wasn't located near their barracks, so they had to go outside if they needed to use the bathroom. "There were no lights near any of their facilities, so women were doubly easy targets in the dark of the night," Karpinski told retired US Army Col. David Hackworth in a September 2004 interview. It was there that male soldiers assaulted and raped women soldiers. So the women took matters into their own hands. They didn't drink in the late afternoon so they wouldn't have to urinate at night. They didn't get raped. But some died of dehydration in the desert heat, Karpinski said.
Karpinski testified that a surgeon for the coalition's joint task force said in a briefing that "women in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the port-a-lets or the latrines were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and in 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep."

"And rather than make everybody aware of that - because that's shocking, and as a leader if that's not shocking to you then you're not much of a leader - what they told the surgeon to do is don't brief those details anymore. And don't say specifically that they're women. You can provide that in a written report but don't brief it in the open anymore."

For example, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez's top deputy in Iraq, saw "dehydration" listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, he directed that the cause of death no longer be listed, Karpinski stated. The official explanation for this was to protect the women's privacy rights.
Sanchez's attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," Karpinski quoted him as saying. Karpinski told me that Sanchez, who was her boss, was very sensitive to the political ramifications of everything he did. She thinks it likely that when the information about the cause of these women's deaths was passed to the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld ordered that the details not be released. "That's how Rumsfeld works," she said.

"It was out of control," Karpinski told a group of students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law last October. There was an 800 number women could use to report sexual assaults. But no one had a phone, she added. And no one answered that number, which was based in the United States. Any woman who successfully connected to it would get a recording. Even after more than 83 incidents were reported during a six-month period in Iraq and Kuwait, the 24-hour rape hot line was still answered by a machine that told callers to leave a message.

"There were countless such situations all over the theater of operations - Iraq and Kuwait - because female soldiers didn't have a voice, individually or collectively," Karpinski told Hackworth. "Even as a general I didn't have a voice with Sanchez, so I know what the soldiers were facing. Sanchez did not want to hear about female soldier requirements and/or issues."

Karpinski was the highest officer reprimanded for the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, although the details of interrogations were carefully hidden from her. Demoted from Brigadier General to Colonel, Karpinski feels she was chosen as a scapegoat because she was a female.

Sexual assault in the US military has become a hot topic in the last few years, "not just because of the high number of rapes and other assaults, but also because of the tendency to cover up assaults and to harass or retaliate against women who report assaults," according to Kathy Gilberd, co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild's Military Law Task Force.

This problem has become so acute that the Army has set up its own sexual assault web site.

In February 2004, Rumsfeld directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to undertake a 90-day review of sexual assault policies. "Sexual assault will not be tolerated in the Department of Defense," Rumsfeld declared.

The 99-page report was issued in April 2004. It affirmed, "The chain of command is responsible for ensuring that policies and practices regarding crime prevention and security are in place for the safety of service members." The rates of reported alleged sexual assault were 69.1 and 70.0 per 100,000 uniformed service members in 2002 and 2003. Yet those rates were not directly comparable to rates reported by the Department of Justice, due to substantial differences in the definition of sexual assault.

Notably, the report found that low sociocultural power (i.e., age, education, race/ethnicity, marital status) and low organizational power (i.e., pay grade and years of active duty service) were associated with an increased likelihood of both sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The Department of Defense announced a new policy on sexual assault prevention and response on January 3, 2005. It was a reaction to media reports and public outrage about sexual assaults against women in the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ongoing sexual assaults and cover-ups at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, Gilberd said. As a result, Congress demanded that the military review the problem, and the Defense Authorization Act of 2005 required a new policy be put in place by January 1.

The policy is a series of very brief "directive-type memoranda" for the Secretaries of the military services from the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. "Overall, the policy emphasizes that sexual assault harms military readiness, that education about sexual assault policy needs to be increased and repeated, and that improvements in response to sexual assaults are necessary to make victims more willing to report assaults," Gilberd notes. "Unfortunately," she added "analysis of the issues is shallow, and the plans for addressing them are limited."

Commands can reject the complaints if they decide they aren't credible, and there is limited protection against retaliation against the women who come forward, according to Gilberd. "People who report assaults still face command disbelief, illegal efforts to protect the assaulters, informal harassment from assaulters, their friends or the command itself," she said.

But most shameful is Sanchez's cover-up of the dehydration deaths of women that occurred in Iraq. Sanchez is no stranger to outrageous military orders. He was heavily involved in the torture scandal that surfaced at Abu Ghraib. Sanchez approved the use of unmuzzled dogs and the insertion of prisoners head-first into sleeping bags after which they are tied with an electrical cord and their are mouths covered. At least one person died as the result of the sleeping bag technique. Karpinski charges that Sanchez attempted to hide the torture after the hideous photographs became public.

Sanchez reportedly plans to retire soon, according to an article in the International Herald Tribune earlier this month. But Rumsfeld recently considered elevating the 3-star general to a 4-star. The Tribune also reported that Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, the Army's chief spokesman, said in an email message, "The Army leaders do have confidence in LTG Sanchez."

For background, see: Marjorie Cohn Bush on Trial for Crimes against HumanityMarjorie Cohn Abu Ghraib General Lambastes Bush Administration

Danish paper refused "offensive" Jesus cartoons
By James Kilner
Wed Feb 8, 12:08 PM ET
(Additional reporting by Rasmus Jorgensen)

The Danish newspaper that first published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad infuriating Muslims worldwide previously turned down cartoons of Jesus as too offensive, a cartoonist said on Wednesday.

Twelve cartoons of the Prophet published last September by Jyllands-Posten newspaper have outraged Muslims, provoking violent protests in the Middle East, Africa and Asia."My cartoon, which certainly did not offend any Christians I showed it to, was rejected because the editor felt it would be considered offensive to readers -- readers in general, not necessarily Christians," cartoonist Christoffer Zieler said in an email he sent to Reuters on Wednesday.

Jens Kaiser, the former editor of Jyllands-Posten's Sunday edition who turned down the cartoons three years ago, said he had done so because they were no good.

"Having seen the cartoons, I found that they were not very good. I failed to see the purportedly provocative nature," he said in a statement.

"My fault is that I didn't tell him what I really meant: The cartoons were bad.

" Kaiser said he told Zieler he had not used the cartoons because they were offensive to some readers.

Zieler's five colored cartoons portrayed Jesus jumping out of holes in floors and walls during his resurrection. In one, gnomes rated Jesus for style, another entitled "Saviour-cam" showed Jesus with a camera on his head staring at his feet.

"I do think the cartoons would offend some readers, but only because they were silly," Kaiser said.

Unlike Muslims, who consider depictions of the Prophet to be deeply offensive, many Christians adorn churches with images and sculptures of Jesus. However, some Christian congregations have protested at portrayals they perceive as blasphemous, especially in the cinema.

The editor of Jyllands-Posten has apologized for offending Muslims by printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, including one of the founder of Islam holding a bomb in his turban, but defended his right to do so in the interests of free speech.

Dozens of newspapers in Europe and elsewhere have reproduced them with the same justification."Perhaps explaining my story of three years ago in its proper context at least won't make matters any worse," Zieler said.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Blog Buster- Horoscope: Once you have a blog, it is like you are all out there. Because of this blog, I get all kind of e-mails. Some of those are unexpected, but often interesting.

Today I got a message that said," Hi, Fellow!I like your blog!I just came across your blog and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.I have a weekend love horoscope
site. It pretty much covers weekend love horoscope related subjects. Come and check it out if you get time :-)Best regards!"

So, I was flatered and visited this blog. I learned that Chinese Horoscopes Much More Than An Animal . Colette York wrote: These days, when it comes to Chinese horoscopes most people know which of the 12 Chinese animals they are, based on the year they were born. However, nothing in life is ever that simple. If all there was to it was 12 animals that would mean there wouldn't be much variation between the characteristics of people, just 12 types, or possibly 24 if you consider male and female. Well I can tell you there is FAR more to a Chinese horoscope than knowing which of the 12 animals you are.

The first thing to remember is that Chinese horoscopes are based on the Lunar calendar not the solar one, that is why Chinese New Year falls anywhere between the middle of January and the middle of February. So you see if your birthday is during this period you may not be the dog you thought you were, you may be a pig instead! But, with 12 animals in the list each twelfth year the animal is repeated as they cycle through; doesnt seem so complicated? Well unfortunately the Chinese calendar works on a 60 year cycle not a 12 year one. This means that each animal occurs 5 times in the 60 year cycle (12 x 5 = 60) and each one is unique so there are actually 5 types of each animal. So if you are a Rat, you could be a Rat on the roof, or a Rat in the field, or a Rat in the Warehouse, or a Rat on the beam or finally a Rat on the mountain.

Then there are the 12 Palaces, Ming, Brothers and Sisters, Marital, Man and Woman, Wealth, Sickness, Moving, Servants, Officials, Property, Fortune and Virtue and finally the Parents Palace. Each Palace influences a different aspect of your life.

There are 5 elements, Wood, Metal, Water, Fire and Earth and 37 Stars and they all come together to produce a unique chart just for you.The key to it all is your 8 character horoscope determined from your year, month, hour and time of birth, 2 characters for each, in Lunar years of course.

In fact your very own personalised Chinese horoscope has so many possible variations that there are millions and millions of combinations. So you see with all these parts that make up a full Chinese horoscope it is not enough just to know that you are a Pig or a Dog or a Cock."

Intersting! Isn't it? So, if you are into horoscopes, may be you should have a look at this blog: http://all-about-horoscope.com/

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cartoon Controvercy: I was not posting any thing on the Cartoon Controvercy on my blog on principle. However, I saw this editorial in the Outlook, which is published from nowehere but Afghanistan. I thought you might find it interesting.

Freedom of Press or Contempt of a Faith

On Friday, September 30, 2005, a Danish paper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons, showing the images of Prophet Mohammad, seriously lacerated the feelings of the Muslims of the world. According to the Muslim faith no one can draw the images of the Prophet Mohammad and the violation considered to be a serious contempt of the religion Islam. Regardless of being affiliated with this or that religion an important principle should always be followed which is the promotion of intra religious harmony. This is only possible by respecting the faith of each other. When ever this principle is neglected human societies faced grave consequences. The situation further deteriorated when on Wednesday, February 1, 2006 the France Soir, alongside the 12 original cartoons, printed a new drawing on its front page showing Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy figures sitting on a cloud, with the caption "Don't worry Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here." Later on the other Publications in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain also re-ran the same cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, perhaps as a symbolic action to show their support for free speech.

No doubt that freedom of press is a prominent value which should be defended unanimously by not only the journalist community but all the peace and freedom loving people throughout the world but a thin border between the freedom of press and expression and the contempt of the faith of the people should also be kept in mind.

But the case of Danish cartoonist is a little bit different, no one has the right to use the excuse of freedom of press and expression to offense the faith of the others since these freedoms which are the globally accepted values must also consider others' rights and aspiration that might hurt other people's freedom. It becomes more important issue at a time when a bunch of unsound people are creating misunderstanding among the human societies. The misuse of the freedom will do nothing but to strengthen the hands of those elements who believe in violence. The cartoons in the Danish paper were the second in nature after the desecration of the Holy Quran last year in the US naval detention center in the Guntanamo bay, which sparked a series of violent protests all over the Muslim world including Afghanistan which left behind tens of dead.

Keeping in view the gravity of the issue, immediately Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the paper which for the first time published the cartoons, apologized the Muslim community. This move of the Danish officials to some extent healed the strong wave of hatred against the Danish government in the Muslim world, where the series of the huge protests still continues against the contempt of their religion. Nevertheless now it is clear that the Danish Cartoonist did not draw the cartoon with the intentions of insulting the Muslim. The Muslims of the world should accept the apologies of the Danish government and the paper and showing their generosity and broad heartedness, forgive both the government and the paper of Denmark.

At any cost this issue should not be misused by the militants and the radical elements who just want to lapse the freedom under these pretexts. The promotion of violence under any context is not a desirable phenomenon. The Daily Outlook Afghanistan also advises the journalist community of the west that in addition to preserve the freedom of press and expression, should also keep in mind the other values, including to respect the faith and beliefs of the others people. We need to promote the harmony among the various religions, regions and civilizations. We have to promote the concept of global family with the mutual respect with all it dimensions.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Iran Next: Here's a very interesting take on the what's happening/may happen in Iran and the reasons behind it..........

Muckracker Report
On November 10th 2005, the Muckraker Report published an article that described one of the unspoken reasons why the United States had to invade Iraq; to liberate the U.S. dollar in Iraq so that Iraqi oil could once again be purchased with the petrodollar. (See The liberation of the U.S. Dollar in Iraq)

In November 2000, Iraq stopped accepting U.S. dollars for their oil. Counted as a purely political move, Saddam Hussein switched the currency required to purchase Iraqi oil to the euro. Selling oil through the U.N. Oil for Food Program, Iraq converted all of its U.S. dollars in its U.N. account to the euro. Shortly thereafter, Iraq converted $10 billion in their U.N. reserve fund to the euro. By the end of 2000, Iraq had abandoned the U.S. dollar completely.

Two months after the United States invaded Iraq, the Oil for Food Program was ended, the country's accounts were switch back to dollars, and oil began to be sold once again for U.S. dollars. No longer could the world buy oil from Iraq with the euro. Universal global dollar supremacy was restored.

It is interesting to note that the latest recession that the United States endured began and ended within the same timeframe as when Iraq was trading oil for euros. Whether this is a coincidence or related, the American people may never know.

In March 2006, Iran will take Iraq's switch to the petroeuro to new heights by launching a third oil exchange. The Iranians have developed a petroeuro system for oil trade, which when enacted, will once again threaten U.S. dollar supremacy far greater than Iraq's euro conversion.

Called the Iran Oil Bourse, an exchange that only accepts the euro for oil sales would mean that the entire world could begin purchasing oil from any oil-producing nation with euros instead of dollars. The Iranian plan isn't limited to purchasing one oil-producing country's oil with euros. Their plan will create a global alternative to the U.S. dollar. Come March 2006, the Iran Oil Bourse will further the momentum of OPEC to create an alternate currency for oil purchases worldwide. China, Russia, and the European Union are evaluating the Iranian plan to exchange oil for euros, and giving the plan serious consideration.

If you are skeptical regarding the meaning of oil being purchased with euros versus dollars, and the devastating impact it will have on the economy of the United States, consider the historic move by the Federal Reserve to begin hiding information pertaining to the U.S. dollar money supply, starting in March 2006. Since 1913, the year the abomination known as the Federal Reserve came to power, the supply of U.S. dollars was measured and publicly revealed through an index referred to as M-3. M-3 has been the main stable of money supply measurement and transparent disclosure since the Fed was founded back in 1913. According to Robert McHugh, in his report (What's the Fed up to with the money supply?), McHugh writes, "On November 10, 2005, shortly after appointing Bernanke to replace Greenbackspan, the Fed mysteriously announced with little comment and no palatable justification that they will hide M-3 effective March 2006."

Is it mere coincidence that the Fed will begin hiding M-3 the same month that Iran will launch its Iran Oil Bourse, or is there a direct threat to the stability of the U.S. dollar, the U.S. economy, and the U.S. standard of living? Are Americans being set up for a collapse in our economy that will make the Great Depression of the 1930's look like a bounced check? If you cannot or will not make the value and stability of the U.S. currency of personal importance, if you are unwilling to demand from your elected officials, an immediate abolishment of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the fiat money scheme that the banking cartel has used for nearly a century now to keep our government and our people in a state of perpetual debt, than you are faced with but two alternatives, abject poverty, or invading Iran.

The plans to invade Iran are unspoken, but unfolding before our very eyes. The media has been reporting on Iran more often, and increasingly harshly. For the U.S. government to justify invading Iran, it must first begin to phase out the War in Iraq, which it is already doing. Next, it must portray the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a threat to the region and the world. Finally, once naive American people are convinced the "weapons of mass destruction" that were to be found in Iraq are actually in Iran, coupled with the almost daily media coverage of Iran's nuclear power / weapons program aspirations, and what we will soon have on our hands is another fabricated war that will result in tens of thousands of civilian lives being lost, all because the political elected pawns in Washington DC lack the discipline to return our currency to a gold or silver standard, end the relationship with the foreign banking cartel called the Federal Reserve, and limit the activities of the U.S. government to those articulated in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution for the United States of America.

When a wayward and corrupt fiscal policy and fiat currency, coupled with runaway government spending, forces a nation to only be able to sustain the value of its currency with bullets, the citizenry of the country involved in wars primarily to sustain its currency have historically first became slaves to their government, and then to the nations that finally conquer them. If you question the validity of such a premise, or whether it could happen to the United States of America, study the fall of the Roman Empire. If you read the right books on the subject, you'll quickly discover that towards the end of the Roman reign, the Roman Empire was doing exactly what America is doing today; attempting to sustain a failed fiat money system with bullets.

Understanding fiat money is not an easy task, and the Federal Reserve, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund have purposely made it that way. They do not want the American people to realize that the money in their wallet loses its value with each new dollar that they print. They do not want people to understand that our money does not become money until it is borrowed. When the Federal Reserve has money printed, when it is in uncut sheets of paper, it is not yet money. After it is cut, bundled, and placed into the Federal Reserve vaults, it still is not money. It only becomes money once it is borrowed. Consequently, if all debt were to be paid, if the United States didn't have an $8 trillion national debt and the American people were debt free, and if all loans of U.S. dollars made to foreigners were paid in full, there would be exactly zero U.S. dollars in circulation because it will have all been returned to the vaults of the Federal Reserve. This might seem hard to fathom, but it is the gospel of fiat money.

The major news media in the United States, fed by Washington DC which in turn is fed by the Federal Reserve, literally, has already begun conditioning the American people for invading Iran. Media accounts of Iran's nuclear ambitions along with amplification of the potential instability and core evilness of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is setting the stage to spring the invasion of Iran on the American people. There does appear to be a direct correlation between the winding down effort underway in Iraq and the increase of anti-Iran rhetoric. How American soldiers ultimately arrive in Tehran is uncertain at this time, but it is reasonable to expect that if the Iran Oil Bourse opens for business in March 2006 as planned, it will only be a matter of time before the United States will have to blow it up.

If the United States invades Iran, or if Israel starts military actions by launches missiles at Iran's nuclear power facilities, which then opens the door for the United States to intervene, most Americans will believe that our military actions in Iran will be to defend freedom and liberty while spreading democracy, when the truth is that we'll be fighting a war in Iran because of our nation's relationship with the Federal Reserve, a so-called bank that is not owned by the federal government, maintains no reserve, and isn't a bank at all, but a cartel. Just like our war in Iraq, Americans and foreigners will die in battle so that the historical power bankers and brokers; cartel members such as Rothschild, Morgan, Lehman, Lizard, Schrader, Lobe, Kuhn, and Rockefeller to name a few, can continue collecting interest on every single U.S. coin and dollar bill in circulation, while controlling the U.S. Congress to the extent that the U.S. taxpayer becomes the collateral and lender of last resort to cover bad loans and unpaid debts that these institutions create by loaning money to third world countries, some of which are devout enemies of the United States. Remember the $400 billion savings & loan bailout approved by the U.S. Congress during the Reagan Administration? America is still paying for it - you and me, and so will our children and grandchildren.

It is well overdue for Americans, every American, to do whatever it takes to fully understand the relationship between the United States and the Federal Reserve, along with the grave consequences of our current fiat money system; for even if the United States wanted to continue to sustain the supremacy of the U.S. dollar with bullets, it is historically, impossible. When bullets become the commodity to secure a currency, it is a clear sign of devastating calamity looming. To ignore the warning signs, is to suffer like you have never suffered before, or to die. Harsh words, but true.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So the King Has Spoken: So, the King of Nepal has spoken. Soon after his address Confederation Keti posted the following comments on this blog:

A very dark day for Nepal. I just heard the King's speech an hour or so ago. He is going forward with the farcical elections. Human rights activists, political leaders, students are being rounded up as we speak. I just heard loud sirens going off, many of them. Woke last night with a feeling of dread, almost a portension of what was to come on this day. Let us all pray for Nepal.

Here is the report from Kantipur Online:

Improvement in country’s situation in last one year: King Gyanendra
Kantipur Report

KATHMANDU, Feb 1 - King Gyanendra has said that the situation in the country has improved in the last one year.

Addressing the nation on Wednesday morning on the first anniversary of the royal takeover last year, the King said that the disappointment among the Nepalese people had been removed, self-confidence and dignity of the Nepalese people restored in the country in a short period of one year.


February 1, 2006

Beloved Countrymen,1. It is now a year since the decision was taken to restore law and order and activate the multiparty democratic polity in the country in keeping with the nation's needs and the people's aspirations. Arresting a situation that was slipping into anarchy and reactivating a stalled democratic process has not been easy. Yet, given the commitment of our patriotic countrymen, all the Nepalese people have experienced the nation grow in confidence and the self-respect of the Nepalese people restored within a short span of one year, with the cloud of pessimism dissipating. We are confident that, remaining alert to the sensitivities of the self-respecting Nepalese people and our glorious ever independent history, we will be able to ensure for the nation peace, stability and prosperity within the next one year through mutual understanding and with patriotism as the focal point. We believe that a road-map to sustainable peace and reenergising a meaningful democracy are two sides of the same coin. We are confident that a road-map of consensus will forever end all possibilities of resurgence of violence and terrorism in our motherland, which will otherwise put at risk the universally acclaimed multiparty democracy and hurt the self-respect of Nepal and the Nepalese people. Guided by a national perspective that upholds our political, administrative and civic traditions, we are confident that by April 2007, all popularly elected bodies will be active in ensuring a bright future for the Nepalese people through a dedicated exercise in democracy so as to create a welfare society.

2. The nefarious designs to portray Nepal as a failed state a year back has now begun to unravel with acts of terrorism being limited to petty crimes. The elected government not only dissolved the popularly elected village, municipal and district bodies but also at the national level. The process of activating multiparty democracy and Constitutional Monarchy has now begun with the people exercising their franchise to reinstate these bodies for which the elected government had failed to conduct elections in spite of being given repeated opportunities. The people are determined to ensure the success of the municipal elections currently underway. In fact, the freedom to exercise one's vote through adult franchise forms the democratic basis for a honourable national consensus. Democracy flourishes only through the enfranchisement of the people and democrats are never losers when democracy is upheld. Therefore, the first and foremost preconditions for consolidating democracy are to gain the support of the people through the ballot and respect their mandate. In keeping with these universally accepted democratic principles, the process to reinstate all the elected bodies through free and fair elections has been initiated. We are confident of the active participation of all democrats who have faith in the people's democratic rights. Democratic norm dictates that, while upholding the people's rights, their confidence can be won only through participation in the democratic process.
Beloved countrymen,

3. With efforts to initiate a meaningful exercise in democracy in keeping with the accepted norms, measures are also underway to improve public service utilities for the benefit of the people. As the bureaucracy has been freed of political pressures and discipline instilled among them, criminal activities under political patronage is now under control. The ongoing fiscal and administrative reforms will be implemented in a more effective manner. Rule of law alone will ensure good governance. As long as corruption, which has proved to be a parasite to our society, is allowed to spread its tentacles, a system of governance as aspired by the people cannot be ensured. More effective measures will be adopted to realise the commitment to maintain fiscal discipline. The concept of Land Bank will be effectively implemented to make available land to the landless, agricultural tenants and freed bonded labourers. Internal and external investments will be mobilised to accelerate the pace of economic development, increase employment opportunities, improve transport infrastructure and attain self-sufficiency in the energy sector through optimum utilisation of water resources. An effective integrated policy must be adopted to initiate development activities that have direct impact on the people. A conducive environment exists to utilise the opportunities created by information technology in the economic development of the country. Likewise, the role of the service sector is also increasing in importance. In this context, special programmes will be introduced to create opportunities of self-employment within the country for talented youths. Measures will also be adopted to train those youths going abroad for employment so that their skills and abilities are duly recognised.

4. The Nepalese are well aware of the fact that character without any moral foundation, politics indifferent to national pride and a form of governance bereft of the people's confidence will neither benefit the nation nor the people. They also know that politics will not have the strength to inspire the people and overcome challenges if it is tainted. It is our belief that multiparty democracy cannot be made meaningful in the absence of significant popular participation in governance, effective decentralisation of authority in the village, municipal, district, zonal and regional levels and maximum autonomy to elected local bodies in the formulation and implementation of development projects.

5. Democracy can be adopted into our way of life only if we are prepared to have faith in the people's abilities and the elected representatives. To achieve this, guidelines will be formulated in a transparent manner through collective wisdom and reflections based on experiences and aspirations. Appropriate measures will also be initiated to convincingly address, in the greater good of the nation, grievances regarding indigenous people as well as discrimination relating to regional and other issues. Contributing to efforts aimed at the general welfare of the people alone can ensure the collective well-being of the Nepalese. The nation can be freed from the clutches of poverty and made prosperous only through the collective participation of all. We are confident that all Nepalese, conscious of their national pride, will make significant contributions from their respective places towards the success of the pro-development strategies currently being implemented. While history will be the sole judge of an individual or a generation, it should be our endeavour to ensure that the present generation of Nepalese is given due credit.

Beloved Countrymen,

6. Nepal's foreign policy is now clear and stable. Our foreign policy and relations are solely guided by how best to serve and protect our national interest in a rapidly changing world. This has restored Nepal's prestige and credibility in the international arena. Nepal desires friendship with all and is always ready to cooperate for mutual benefit. Nepal has malice towards none and is ever alert in ensuring that her territory is not used against any friendly country. Nepal is ever ready to have mutually beneficial fruitful relations with both her neighbours. This policy remains unchanged. To act as a catalyst in enhancing economic ties between her two neighbours, Nepal is preparing to be the transit point between them. Nepal's role as a transit point will contribute to the welfare of Nepal, India, China and the region as a whole.

7. Nepal has unflinching faith in and is totally committed to the principles of human rights. It is in this spirit that our country has adopted the policy of institutionalising the promotion and protection of human rights and rectifying its shortcomings. It is not easy for a country combating terrorism to strike a balance between the compulsions of national security and upholding the rights of the citizens - this is a reality faced by all democratic countries afflicted with the scourge of terrorism. But it is our strong belief that the people must be allowed to exercise their democratic rights in a peaceful manner, with due consideration to national security.

8. The Nepalese people desire for sustainable peace. This was clearly spelt out to us when we had direct contacts with our beloved people during our recent visits to various parts of the Kingdom. The vigilant Nepalese have well understood the conspiracy to foment further acts of terrorism in the name of momentary cessation of violence. If those who have gone astray wish to rejoin the mainstream of peace and creativity, democracy and coordination, and if they wish to dedicate themselves in the service of the people through the ballot, abjuring their murderous acts against the nation and people, we make it clear that they will be given the security and opportunity necessary to shoulder the responsibilities of governance in their capacity as the people's representatives, having won the people's confidence through the universally accepted democratic exercise. The people can be won over only through peaceful political and constructive activities. Activities like disrupting peace, encouraging discord and creating hurdles on the road to rapprochement in the name of democracy will benefit none. Let us, therefore, unite, with patriotism as the focal point, in dedicating ourselves to the people's welfare and initiating a new chapter in the exercise in meaningful democracy. We wish to emphasise that all differences can be resolved within the framework of the Nepalese patriotic tradition in keeping with the Nepalese psyche, which has never had to put up with subjugation throughout history.

Beloved Countrymen,

9. We have always, single-mindedly and with determination, strived to fulfil our beloved people's aspirations in the greater interest of the motherland. We have no desire other than the Nepalese people's welfare and the responsibility towards Nepal's glorious history. While utilising the indestructible synergy constantly spouting from the fountain head of patriotism, it will be in the interest of the nation to uphold, with utmost dedication, the glorious history of the Kingdom of Nepal. The success of this alone will keep the nation secure and ensure a meaningful democracy for the people.

10. A clear decision was made for the country last year. Today, let us, once again, pledge to achieve this national goal. The Nepalese are determined to see a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Nepal in tune with the 21st century. The essence of Nepal's glorious history is the fact that the Nepalese people themselves determine Nepal's national agenda in the interest of the country and their own.

11. Patriotism is the only means of creating a democratic society. We, therefore, call upon all Nepalese to consign mutual recrimination to the bitter past and build a secure and prosperous future for the nation and people, while upholding democratic norms.
May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all!
Jaya Nepal!