Sunday, December 27, 2009

Abhorred & Harvested

Abhorred & Harvested
(commemorating Gaza massacre and
lamenting Israelis harvesting organs of the Palestinians)

Life abhorred
Death harvested

Moments into eternity
pain slows time

Days fly away
joys speed moments

Robbed and ripped
from adolescence to age

Tender hands - oblivious
tears on the white beard

Grandma’s wrinkles
long stories and sighs

Maidens - tippy toes
hope across the Wall
Hope renews itself
and [often] buries itself

Uprooted trees
dew drops homeless

Mountains, rivers
waiting to be trampled, splashed

Hamlets, villages
last few pearls left on the bride

Church - loudly still
Mosque - silently screaming
Synagogue - peacefully afraid

God All-Mighty, the All Hearing, the All Knowing
we are abhorred when alive and harvested when dead!

Shakeel Syed
Culver City – Dec 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Hostile Takeover of Zionism

A Hostile Takeover of Zionism (

The rise of Israel's Military Rabbis ...

The Rise of Israel's Military Rabbis (

BBC Newsnight: Monday, 7 September 2009

Israel's army is changing. Once proudly secular, its combat units are now filling with those who believe Israel's wars are "God's wars".

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Global List of BDS against Israel's Occupation

Global Actions to end Israel's Occupation & Human Rights Violations.

Organizations and governments worldwide are taking action that can help bring freedom for Palestinians and an end to the colonization of Palestinian land. This representative review of diverse approaches was initiated by the Palestine-Israel Action Group, Ann Arbor, Michigan Quakers ( As new actions are taken, the list is updated by Interfaith Peace Initiative. Information for inclusion is welcome at

For a global list of organizations signed on to BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) - click here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Educated Racism in Israel

Old problems, new challenges
Sep. 2, 2009
On the opening week of the school year, amid the already staggering conditions of the Arab education system in Israel - grossly unequal funding, nominal Arab representation on curricular committees, substantial lack of classrooms and often basic facilities or outdated textbooks, all contributing to significantly lower performance and matriculation rates than Jewish pupils - it seems that the new school year and the new education minister are bringing new challenges as well.

If in the past Arab students have had to face discrimination in funding, access and quality of education, it appears that the coming era is one of cultural exclusion - or even repression.

ALREADY IN mid-July, the Ministry of Education announced that it would ban the use of the term "Nakba" (catastrophe) widely used in the Arab narrative to describe the events that led to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Although Arab Palestinians, who comprise 25 percent of schoolchildren in Israel, generally recall a different experience of the war and its consequences in 1948-1949, their lessons at schools will even further ignore their collective history, replaced with the Jewish narrative.

This is the case, despite the fact that before the end of her term, former education minister Yuli Tamir appointed a joint team of Arab and Jewish education experts to produce a host of recommendations for a "shared life" program in public schools - one that would foster mutual understanding between Arabs and Jews, coexistence and shared, equal participation in society.

Current Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar has frozen the implementation of the recommendations, and instead is pushing for a new "Jewish heritage and culture" program for fourth through ninth grades, which he hopes to bring to all public schools starting in the 2010/11 school year. In the program, Jewish and Arab students alike will learn about the Hebrew calendar, the centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish history, the significance of the flag and national anthem and will be encouraged to enlist in the IDF.

What is more, last week Sa'ar proposed a plan under which schools with high rates of student army enlistment will be rewarded financially - and parents too! To be sure, Sa'ar is as aware that no Arab school will qualify for such rewards as he knows of the blatant discrepancy between the budgets allocated to Arab versus Jewish schools.

In fact, last summer under Tamir, a joint committee of the Ministry of Education and Arab civil society representatives published findings detailing the exact shortage of funds and human resources in the Arab education system. According to the committee's projections, as we enter the present school year, if action is not taken immediately, Arab schools will continue to lack NIS 500 million in funds for curricular and pedagogical programs; NIS 300m. in rent for Arab kindergartens; 9,236 classrooms; 200 school psychologists and 250 guidance counselors (already there are no guidance counselors in 75% of Arab schools).

DESPITE THE bleakness of this picture, however, the good news is that although the challenges are mighty, the solutions are at everyone's fingertips - they just need to be implemented. After all, the "shared life" program, and the joint committee's fully detailed plan and budget for improving the Arab education system simply await the green light from Education Minister Sa'ar.

And should the ministry continue to neglect Arab schools, the movement for an independent, professional Arab pedagogical council is growing rapidly among Arab educators, as it becomes increasingly clear that without direct influence over its own education policy, budgets, standards and curricula, the Arab minority will continue to be repressed - both in access to equal opportunity to succeed in life and break the cycle of poverty, and in the ability to fully participate in Israeli society as truly equal citizens.

The writer is the general director of Dirasat, the Arab Center for Law and Policy, based in Nazareth. He also teaches minority rights at the University of Haifa.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

O Palestine - My Bride

O Palestine, My Bride …
(Jerusalem, July 2009)

Dreams … Aspirations,
Love … Laughter,
Tears … Sorrow,
All in you, yet unrealized,
O Palestine, My Bride …

Your Silwan … screams,
Your Gaza … gagged,
Your Hebron … horrified,
Your Ramallah … wrenching,
All in you, yet in tears,
O Palestine, My Bride …

Your green gardens … brown,
Your flowing rivers … dried,
Your mighty mountains … humbled,
Your dreamy deserts … ruined,
All in you, yet you smile,
O Palestine, My Bride …

O Palestine, My Bride …
You measure yourself not in miles … but in Checkpoints and Roadblocks,
You name your cities & towns - not by name … but by Walls, Fences & Barriers,
You visit your Villages and Hamlets … but through Trenches and over Boulders,

All in you – keep smiling and
All of me - keep dreaming
for your Love & Laughter,
for my Tears & Sorrow,

One Day – O Palestine
You Will Be My Bride.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alarming (NOT surprising) Record of FBI

The Alarming Record of the F.B.I.'s Informant in the Bronx Bomb Plot
By Graham Rayman
published: July 08, 2009

Last month, police and the FBI arrested four Newburgh men on charges that they had plotted to bomb synagogues in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx and fire a missile at a military jet.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly held press conferences at the synagogues to reassure New Yorkers about their safety. During Kelly's remarks, it was startling to hear the commissioner refer to al-Qaeda by name, if only to say that the four purported home-grown terrorists had no ties to Osama Bin Laden's organization.

As more details emerged, however, the less the four defendants sounded like men with the skills to plan a sophisticated terror plot. They were small-time crooks, felons with long criminal records whose previous activities revolved around smoking marijuana and playing video games. One defendant, Laguerre Payen, was arrested in a crack house surrounded by bottles of his own urine; his lawyer describes him as "mildly retarded."

It seemed fairly astounding that, for a full calendar year, such a group could remain interested in and plan anything more complex than a backyard barbecue, let alone a multipronged paramilitary assault, as the indictment against them alleged.

But what the indictment didn't say, and what the initial news reports didn't fill in, was the extent to which the fifth man in the plot, an unnamed FBI informant, had provided the glue to hold the Newburgh 4 together.

That informant was a Pakistani man named Shahed Hussain, code-named "Malik," who agreed to work for the FBI to obtain leniency after he was arrested in 2002 for fraud.

Over a period of about a year, Malik met with defendants James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Payen while under FBI surveillance. Cromitie allegedly said he was upset about U.S. forces killing people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He talked about being willing to die as a martyr, and threatened to "do something to America."

The Newburgh bomb plot isn't the first of Malik's operations for the government. He played a similar role four years ago in an Albany case, in which he helped the FBI arrest a man named Mohammed Hossain, a cash-poor pizzeria owner, and his imam, Yassin Aref, after persuading them to launder $50,000 in a made-up plot to bring a missile to the U.S. and assassinate the Pakistani prime minister.

In both cases, Malik did not stumble upon active terror cells plotting to bring destruction on American soil. Instead, in both Newburgh and Albany, he needed long periods of time to recruit his Muslim contacts, spin elaborate tales about his terror contacts, and develop solid plans of action, all the while providing the defendants with large amounts of resources and cash incentives.

Malik was so successful that in Riverdale, the Newburgh 4 planted what they believed were actual bombs at two synagogues. In Albany, the defendants were only involved in a cash transaction that, theoretically, was tied to the sale of a weapon.

But in each case, the question remains: Would either set of defendants have done anything remotely like plant bombs or launder money for terrorists if not for the prodding and plotting and encouragement of Malik and the FBI?

And there's a more troubling question: When Malik tells his FBI handlers that the defendants are saying menacing things about America, is he actually telling the whole truth? Translations from the Albany case transcripts suggest that Malik routinely exaggerated and, in some cases, wholly fabricated the words of the defendants. When they talked about Islam being a religion of peace and of jihad being a way of inspiring fealty to Islam, Malik instead told his handlers that they had talked about Islam inspiring them to kill. Those exaggerated reports became the basis for the FBI's case against Hossain and Aref, who were both convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Aref is now housed in a maximum-security federal prison in Marion, Illinois, where he is held under strict rules that limit his ability to speak with the outside world, in a unit euphemistically called the Communication Management Program. Under the program's rules, he is allowed just one 15-minute phone call each week and is not allowed any contact visits. Hossain is housed in a federal prison in New Jersey.

The Newburgh 4 will face far longer sentences because they are accused of actually planting what they believed were explosive devices.

Like in the Albany case, however, they will be prosecuted almost entirely on the work done by Malik, who arrived in Newburgh about a year ago, driving a shiny black BMW and flashing a lot of cash.


As he had done in Albany, Malik showed up in Newburgh, went to a local mosque, and started looking for recruits.

He found them in four convicted felons with dozens of arrests between them. He initiated the conversations, introduced the idea of a terror plot, and delivered the money, equipment, and resources to back it up. He quickly became known as the guy with ready cash who was interested in the lives of others and was quick to provide aid and comfort.

Malik even offered to pay medical bills when he found out that one of his targets, David Williams, had a brother fighting liver cancer.

Williams's mother, Elizabeth McWilliams, tells the Voice that Malik approached her son with an offer of monetary assistance for her ailing younger son, Lord McWilliams, 20.

"He told my son [David] that he was going to help with the bills," she says. "He only met him [Malik] in March. My son came to me and said, 'Mom, don't worry about Lord. I met this Muslim brother who says he's going to help us.' "

Her younger son had signed up for the U.S. Navy and was preparing to ship off to boot camp when he was diagnosed with the disease. He was hospitalized for three months and had his spleen removed. Malik not only offered to help with her son's bills, McWilliams says, but also talked about sending him to Universal Studios, the Florida amusement park, when he was well enough to travel.

McWilliams says that Malik was supposed to hand over the cash on the very day that the police made the arrests.

Her son has been taken away, but the medical bills remain. "Right now, we're waiting to see a specialist in Manhattan," she says. "The liver is enlarged right now. We'll have to do another biopsy. He goes to Westchester every Thursday to have his blood checked."

Kathleen Baynes, girlfriend of defendant James Cromitie, says Malik was always around, driving in one luxury car or another—a Mercedes, a BMW, a Hummer, an Expedition, a tan Jeep.

"At one point, he promised to give James $10,000 with no problem," she says. "He came around so much that it was like he was stalking us. James would hide from him."

Baynes says that Malik also gave his targets large amounts of marijuana. He offered to pay an outstanding fine that Baynes owed. He gave the couple $217 for rent. He bought chicken and soda for the family. He paid for a birthday party for Baynes's child. He took them out to dinner on several occasions. He gave away a cell phone. He promised to buy the child a kid-size motor scooter. He offered to give Cromitie his BMW, and bought him a camera.

Baynes says she never heard her boyfriend make comments about Afghanistan: "He just liked to work and play video games and smoke a little weed."

Once, Baynes says, Cromitie was in North Carolina. Malik called him and demanded that he return to New York. "Brother," he said to Cromitie, according to Baynes, "You bring your ass the fuck back, and I will pay you even more. I'll send you a plane ticket."

"I was always skeptical," Baynes says. "I would say to James, 'What the hell is going on with this man? Something is not right. He's fraudulent, a fake.' He just came up here and ruined a lot of lives."


Malik came to the attention of law enforcement in 2002, when he was seen hanging around the Albany office of the State Department of Motor Vehicles.

Although he owned a dollar store, Malik approached people at the DMV offices offering his services as an interpreter. He would tell immigrants that the written test for a driver's license was very difficult and that, for a price, he would take the tests for them. He fraudulently took tests for other people about 90 times before he was arrested.

Things soon got worse for him. He declared bankruptcy in the summer of 2003. Then, in October, a building he owned was destroyed in a fire—it was uninsured, and he lost everything.

With so many setbacks at one time in his life, Malik may not have been difficult to persuade to accept work as an FBI informant in return for wiping away his criminal case and the assurances that he wouldn't be deported.

His first case: helping the agency set up a sting to catch two DMV employees who had aided him in his own illegal schemes.

Next, he was given the names of men who wanted to distribute heroin. Malik wore a wire, bought some of the heroin, and even received a shipment of the stuff from Afghanistan. In that case, 11 people were arrested and pleaded guilty. One man escaped and became a fugitive.

Then began an even more elaborate case. In what may have been their first meeting, the pizzeria owner and father of six, Mohammed Hossain, approached Malik in July 2003, asking for help in obtaining a DMV learner's permit for his brother.

After gaining Hossain's trust, Malik spun a remarkable tale over the next few months: He was actually a wealthy arms importer who backed radical Islamic groups. He told Hossain that he was a smuggler bringing Stinger missiles into the U.S. and laundering the money to pay for them. He eventually claimed that he had been hired by a group of terrorists to bring a shoulder-mounted rocket into New York to assassinate Pakistani prime minister Pervez Musharraf. And he said he would eventually be paid $50,000 to do it.

Malik asked Hossain to loan him $50,000, and Hossain consented, with Malik agreeing to pay the money back at a rate of $2,000 per month. According to Islamic custom, such an informal loan needed a witness. Hossain brought in Yassin Aref, his imam at the local mosque, Masjid Al-Salam.

It turned out that Aref was already being watched by the FBI, for reasons that are somewhat bizarre.

Earlier that year, on a battlefield in Iraq, American soldiers searching dead Iraqi fighters came across a scrap of paper bearing Aref's name, a phone number, and an Arabic word that the Americans mistranslated as "commander."

Actually, the word was Arabic for "brother," a common term used by Muslims the way Americans use "dude" or "buddy."

Aref is a well-educated Iraqi Kurd who had fled the regime of Saddam Hussein and spent several years in Syria before gaining status as a United Nations–sponsored refugee, which allowed him to come to the United States in 1999. Federal investigators say that while in Syria, Aref befriended a man who later formed a terrorist organization. But Aref was not a part of that group himself. The fact that his phone number was found on a soldier, however, understandably made the FBI curious about his connections.

By 2003, Aref was a trusted friend to Hossain, and he agreed to witness the loan to Malik.

Aref's attorney, Terence Kindlon, points out that the imam's participation was minimal: He simply witnessed a transfer of cash—he wrote out receipts for it and gave each of the men a copy.

Hossain and Aref were arrested on August 4, 2004, with the same sort of pronouncements of national salvation that would follow the Newburgh arrests.

Then-Governor George Pataki hailed it as a victory in the War on Terror. Albany mayor Jerry Jennings reassured the public that the government was watching: "We want people to feel good about what happened today because we are on top of it. We are being proactive . . . to make sure our communities are safe."

In the subsequent trial, neither Aref nor Hossain was ever linked to any known terror group.


Shamshad Ahmad believes he may have been the target of Malik's first attempt at a terror case.

Like Aref, he's an imam at Masjid Al-Salam, the Albany mosque. He says Malik contacted him in September 2002 about providing shelter to a battered Pakistani woman and her children. But Ahmad was immediately skeptical, and cut all association with him.

Other members of Ahmad's mosque told him that Malik had approached them with various illegal schemes, apparently trolling for possible targets. In July 2003, he found a potential target in Hossain. (Since the arrest and trial of Hossain and Aref, Ahmad has written a book about the case.)

Ahmad says that Hossain was extremely vulnerable to Malik for three reasons: He was desperate for money to keep his pizzeria afloat; he was a religious zealot; and he was prone to rambling on about religion and politics. As in Newburgh, Malik gave gifts to his target—in this case, toy helicopters for Hossain's children.

The two men met more than 50 times over the next year, resulting in 50 hours of government surveillance tapes.

FBI protocol called for Malik to speak with his FBI handler, Tim Coll, both before and after each of his meetings with Hossain. Memos were then prepared for FBI files to detail each meeting. These memos are known as "302s" in FBI parlance, and provide the agency with a developing summary of evidence that will be used later at trial.

Time and again, however, the material in the 302s in the Albany case were very different from the actual transcripts of recordings that the FBI secretly made of conversations between Malik and his targets.

While Hossain and Aref did make statements that could be construed as anti-American, they were also resistant when Malik tried, repeatedly, to get them to make statements supporting violence against Americans.

"Malik would depict Hossain as anti-American [in the 302s], while the actual translations done several months later showed that Hossain was actually espousing his respect for the United States and criticizing the terrorists," Ahmad writes.

The Voice compared the FBI's 302 memos to actual transcripts of conversations between Malik and Hossain, and found many discrepancies:

• An August 7, 2003, meeting. The 302 memo: Malik arranges to give Hossein's brother the answers to a driver's license test for a $75 fee. The transcript: This meeting actually contains a long discussion on politics and religion. Hossain describes himself as a law-abiding citizen. "I never harming anybody," he says. "People like me, society get benefit." When talk turns to Bin Laden, Hossain notes that suicide is against the Koran. "It is totally wrong—there is no right to suicide yourself," he says. "If someone [commits] suicide, it is haraam [a wrong]. They cannot enter Paradise." The transcript also shows that Hossain criticized the World Trade Center attack as "bad, very bad." He also says, "We should have a good relationship with unbelievers, then because of our goodness, Islam will spread."

• September 30. The 302 memo: The two men meet at Hossain's pizzeria. Malik reports that "Hossain stated it was OK to kill nonbelievers in the name of Allah." The transcript: "Jihad is seeking knowledge," Hossain tells Malik, according to the translation. "Get up early in the morning while the sleep is overwhelming you, do brush, wash up, and go to the morning prayer." At another point, Malik says, "Infidels are killing Muslims left and right. I want to fight with them and teach them a lesson." But Hossain doesn't take the bait: "Muslims are suffering because they are not following the religion, the teaching of the Prophet."

• October 20. The 302 memo: Hossain is reported to say, "Anything you do in the name of Allah is not a sin, including killing people." The transcript: Malik is heard to ask, "What about committing jihad in the name of Allah?" Hossain answers, "Our jihad is to live a righteous life and help guide so many Muslims to the right path, stop the wrong actions, to come to the prayer. This is jihad."

• November 20. The 302 memo: The investigation reaches a critical stage. Malik reveals that he is a weapons dealer. He shows Hossain what he claims is the tube of a surface-to-air missile, which he plans to sell to people in New York for $50,000. Malik reports that Hossain responds by saying, "It was OK to kill the nonbelievers; however, it was not OK to commit suicide bombings because the Koran forbids suicide." The memo also reports that Hossain says that al-Qaeda was "good for Muslims" and that "if Muslims united, they could be the police of the entire world, not America." The transcript: When Malik invites Hossain to participate in his scheme, Hossain refuses, saying that it is illegal. He then goes on at length to say that "creating violence here or there is neither the solution nor the practice of the Prophet." He tells Malik to stay away from the people who are plotting to use the missile. Malik insists that attacking non-Muslims and killing them are his way of pleasing Allah and going to Paradise. "You have your own ways, but Allah will not allow you in a billion years to kill yourself or someone else," Hossain says. "Establish the five daily prayers. That's the way to begin."

• December 5. The 302 memo: Another meeting at Hossain's pizzeria. Malik tells the FBI that Hossain says, "If [I] did not have a family to think about, [I] would pick up arms and start killing Mushriqs [Muslims who betray other Muslims]." Malik reports that Hossain supports the (fictional) attempt to bring in weapons. The transcript: Hossain again speaks against violence. "I don't believe in your method—that's why I don't take that path," the pizzeria owner says.

• January 14, 2004. The 302 memo: Malik meets Hossain's friend, Aref, and tells him that he gets money from selling missiles and ammunition to an Islamic radical group. Malik reports that he tells Aref that the people he is selling weapons to plan to attack the Pakistani prime minister, Musharraf. The report goes on to say that Aref blames Musharraf for betraying Muslims to side with America, that he has heard of the radical group Malik claims to be selling to, but doesn't know much about it, and he warns Malik that anyone with links to the group could go to jail. The memo specifies that Aref doesn't tell Malik not to help the group, but only to be careful. The transcript: Besides telling Malik to be careful, Aref also says he knows little about the group, but if they are fighting for their independence, he may help them. He tells Malik to help refugees and the needy. "I am neither asking you to help them or not help them because I don't know them very well," Aref says. Malik then asks Aref about his views on Bin Laden, but Aref fails to take the bait. Instead, he points out that out of 14 million Saudis, perhaps only 400 follow Bid Laden. "A Muslim leader is whom every Muslim follows," he says.

• July 1. The 302 memo: Malik reports that he has criticized Hossain for pro-American comments he has made in a newspaper article. According to the memo, Hossain responds by saying that he "only loves America's money," and actually hates America. In his heart, Hossain says he feels like Bin Laden. The transcript: When Malik ridicules Hossain for saying positive things about the United States at the same time that he is helping plot a terrorist attack, Hossain objects. He shouts that he is not Bin Laden, and that he came to the U.S. because he saw the good in this country.

In the transcript, Hossain repeatedly says that Muslims should treat Americans well for the good of their religion.


Asked at trial whether the things he told the FBI were the things that Hossain and Aref had actually said, Malik testified that he told his FBI handlers what the defendants had meant.

Defense lawyers for Hossain and Aref tried to make an issue of that at the trial, arguing that Malik misled his FBI handlers about the views of the defendants. In a case that had no real terror plot, in which the defendants did not buy any weapons or make any plans to blow anything up, Malik's portrayal of the two men as anti-American was a key element of the prosecution.

During the trial, Malik was so resistant to the cross-examination that he repeatedly argued with the defense lawyers, gave roundabout or incoherent answers, and said, "I don't recall" a total of 50 times. He was admonished multiple times by Judge Thomas McAvoy to answer the questions that had been asked.

At one point, McAvoy's frustration was reflected in a statement fairly startling for a judge: "Is someone going to read this someday and understand it?"

"I am not sure, at this point," a defense lawyer replied. "I'm working on it."

During Malik's time on the witness stand, federal prosecutors questioned him using only 17 pages of the transcripts, an indication that they wanted only limited testimony from the informant.

Defense lawyers, on the other hand, cross-examined him by referring to more than 100 transcript pages.

"What they're presenting to you was manipulative and deceptive," Hossain's lawyer, Kevin Luibrand, told the jury in his closing statement. "Malik essentially persuaded my client to take part in the scheme.

"Hossain was just a hardworking businessman before Malik arrived," Luibrand argued. "If Malik had not come into his life, Hossain would be making pizzas, tending to his family, and practicing his religion," he said.

Despite whether either Hossain or Aref would have had anything to do with terror organizations without the constant prodding of Malik, the receipts that Aref made out for the $50,000 loan proved to be powerful evidence for the Albany jury.

The two men were found guilty of money laundering, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, conspiracy to provide material support in connection with an attack with a weapon of mass destruction, and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Aref was also convicted for lying to an FBI agent about whether he knew the founder of a radical Islamic group.

Aref, now in special lockup at the Marion, Illinois, federal penitentiary, is among other prisoners caught up in similar stings, says Kathy Manley, one of Aref's lawyers—men who weren't planning on attacking the United States until informants recruited them, who were convicted for laundering money, violating federal rules for reporting financial transactions, or sending money overseas to questionable groups.

A report by the Center on Law and Security at New York University found that of 619 terror cases brought by federal prosecutors, only 10 percent actually resulted in convictions for terrorist charges.


In the Newburgh case, because the four accused men actually did plant what they thought were bombs, the government will have to rely less on statements made on tape. But once again, Malik's role, and what he told his FBI handlers, will be at the center of the case.

There is no publicly disclosed FBI rule about confidential informants giving gifts to the targets of the investigation, but the issue will certainly come up if the defendants don't plead guilty and a trial is scheduled. Defense attorneys will argue that Cromitie and the others did what Malik asked because he was handing out gifts and promising much more.

"One is essentially buying one's way into the confidences of the targets," says Scott Greenfield, a criminal defense attorney not involved in either the Albany or Newburgh cases. "The problem is that as a prosecutor, you want to show that the targets wanted to commit a crime, and the informant simply facilitated that. Now, you have an entirely different motivation."

"Someone up high in the Justice Department has to take a look at this policy of doing cases where it looks like and feels like entrapment," says Terence Kindlon, the lawyer who represented Aref. "You're taking advantage of gullible people in Newburgh. In Albany, you're taking advantage of Hossain's financial needs and Aref's naïveté.

"They manufactured a crime and found four dolts to be defendants," he adds. "If Malik had gone to Newburgh and wanted to have a conspiracy that distributed guns, drugs, did prostitution, he could have found the same four people. I'd be willing to bet my car that not one of these guys could even find Afghanistan on a map."

If convicted, the Newburgh plotters face long sentences. The men convicted of plotting a similarly far-fetched plot to make a military assault on Fort Dix, New Jersey, for example, were sentenced to life in federal prison.

As for Malik, he has now been used in four different stings: the driver's license scam, the Afghanistan drug case, the Albany case, and now the Newburgh case. Will the FBI use him again? A spokesman declined to discuss details of the case.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Same old boring drama with a new title

Who do "they" really think "we" are ... bunch of lolly pop sucking kids ... well, some say that some Muslims are precisely just that ... why - becuase they seem to be ever so ready to happily take a sit-down shower under the breaking news by CNN & the crackling leaks of falsehood & baloney by NY Times. I think the adage fits well here ... "shame on you if you fool me once & shame on me if you fool me twice" ...
Well, friends, other than the barrage of press releases & statements praising spooks ... plz ALSO read this - an informed citizenry with a bit of fire in the belly almost guarantees good democracy.

1) FBI blows it (

2) The Newburgh Four (

3) Portrait of an idiot (

4) Connect the dots that tells us spooks are idiots (

5) This is a long but essential read in view of FBI's agents/provocateurs recently confirmed to be inside the Mosqaues (

6) Not much different across the pond - see this

Sunday, May 10, 2009


A Citizen’s File On President Obama’s One Hundred DaysBy Shakeel Syed

While appreciating the first one hundred days of President Obama’s term, let us examine one of his key foreign relations issue, i.e. Palestine and ask of him to match his rhetoric with actions.

1. Dec ’08 / Jan ‘09: Israeli massacre of Gaza started on Dec 27, ’08 and stopped three days before Obama’s inauguration on Jan 17, ‘09. President Obama chose to remain silent saying, “there’s only one President at one time.” Unlike his silence toward the Israeli massacre in Gaza, he was quite vocal during a similar but relatively less violence in Mumbai.

2. Jan ’09: At his inauguration, although President Obama talked about poor people of the world and the nations with plenty but did not speak of the abject poverty under occupation and their prospects and our promise for peace in Middle East.

3. Jan ’09: Iran’s attempt to make itself energy independent is routinely condemned by the President but he failed to answer the question of Helen Thomas (ABC) – “if he knows of any State in the Middle East region who does have nuclear arms,” and the President answered – “I do not like to speculate.” President Obama clearly lacked the courage to acknowledge the Nuclear Israel and its arsenal.

4. Jan / Feb ’09: President Obama rightfully advocated speaking with all known and perceived adversaries (Iran & North Korea) except Hamas. Even John McCain at one point expressed the importance of speaking to Hamas for peace in Middle East.

5. Feb ’09: In spite of the recent Gaza massacre (arguably war crimes by Israel) and continued Israeli occupation of Palestine, President Obama grants more than $3 billion financial aid (not counting the military aid) to Israel and $900 million to the Palestinians. This is clearly an ethical disparity worth of reconciliation.

6. March ‘09: President Obama deserves to be commended for his stated policy of diplomacy and dialog (Iraq, Iran, Korea, Venezuela, etc) over his predecessor’s preferences. However his administration chose to completely boycott the Durban-II conference (in Geneva) on racism unlike George W. Bush who at least sent a delegation (2001) even though they had walked out.

As the first African-American President one would have expected Obama to champion the discussions on racism even if this conference were to question Israel’s (alleged) apartheid policies.

7. March ’09: The Obama administrations pick to become the nation’s top intelligence analyst has withdrawn his nomination after an intense lobbying campaign by backers of Israeli government policies. Former US Ambassador Charles “Chas” Freeman had come under Republican-led opposition over his comments criticizing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. Freeman has years of diplomatic experience, including stints as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and assistant secretary of defense. Some Democrats joined in on the opposition to Freeman’s appointment.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer took credit for Freeman’s withdrawal, saying, “I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.”

Chas Freeman blasted lobby groups, lawmakers and pundits who support Israeli government policies for forcing his withdrawal. Freeman wrote, “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency…The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.” Freeman continued, “I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.”

One ought to question President Obama what happened to his objectivity and transparency and fairness?

8. March ’09: The same month President Obama appoints Dennis Ross (Israel firster) as a special adviser for Iran and Persian Gulf issues. Ross had already served and failed as Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton’s peace negotiator for Middle East (1980 – 2000) without peace in Middle East. It is paradoxical that Obama, who campaigned on dialoging with everyone, including Iran, would hand the Iran file to Ross, a cog in the machine of Israel's Washington lobby.

9. March ’09: Netanyahu gives his first interview to The Atlantic, in which he threatens to attack Iran to wipe out its nuclear facilities. Following day, President Obama calls Netanyahu and reassures 100% commitment to Israel's defense. One wonders about the anti-war candidate Obama versus the President Obama who is instead of asking Netanyahu to rethink his bombing rhetoric, reassures him.

10. March ’09: Israel attacks Sudan. US media reports that Israel has conducted three military strikes against targets in Sudan. President Obama chooses silence over Israel’s attack on Sudan. Juxtapose his silence toward Israel attacking Sudan versus his vocal demands on Russia to respect Georgia’s territorial sanctity.

11. April ’09: Avigdor Lieberman, a Soviet-born Jew turned Israeli citizen becomes Israeli Foreign Minister. Lieberman, the immigrant/settler Jew from Soviet Union won the Israeli elections, because of, among other rants - “no loyalty, no citizenship,” for Israeli-Arab citizens – who are born and brought up on their Palestinian land occupied by Israel. A fascist demand by any standard but President Obama is quiet to the America’s largest recipient of aid.

These are but few disparities of the US double standards in its dealing with the issue of Israel toward Palestine. So long as the US does not give up these blatant double standards it cannot be an honest broker for peace, neither in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict nor in any other. We must remind President Obama that unless his rhetoric for change is matched by action, peace in Palestine is not possible and without which peace in Israel is impossible.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

An Eye Witness Account of Israeli Terror in Gaza

December 29 6:05 PM, Marna house, Gaza city, Vittorio Arrigoni, Volunteer, International Solidarity Movement

An acrid smell of sulphur fills the air while the sky is shaken by earth-shattering rumbles. My ears are now deaf to the explosions, while my eyes are all out of tears from all the corpses. I stand in front of Al Shifa hospital, Gaza's main hospital, and we've just received Israel's terrible threat that they intend to bomb its wing under construction. This would be nothing new, as Wea'm hospital was bombed just yesterday, along with a medicine warehouse in Rafah, the Islamic university, which was also destroyed, along with various mosques scattered along the Strip. Not to mention many CIVILIAN structures.

Apparently, they can no longer find "sensible" targets, the air force and the navy is targeting places of worship, schools and hospitals. It's another 9/11 every single hour, every minute around here, and tomorrow is always a new day of mourning, always identical to the previous one. You notice the helicopters and airplanes constantly overhead, you see a flash, but you're already a goner and it's too late to take flight.

There are no bunkers against the bombs in the Strip and no place is really safe. I can't contact my friends in Rafah, not even those who live North of Gaza City, hopefully because the phone lines are overloaded. Hopefully. I haven't slept in 60 hours, and same goes for every Gazan. Yesterday three other ISM members and I spent the entire night at the al Awda hospital in the Jabalia refugee camp. We were there because we were fearing the much dreaded ground raid that never happened. But the Israeli tanks are posted all along the Strip's border, and their corpse-hungry creaks will apparently form a funeral march tonight. Around 11:30 PM a bomb fell about 800 metres from the hospital, the shock wave blow several windows apart, injuring the injured.

An ambulance arrived, then they blew up a mosque, thankfully empty at that time. Unfortunately, though it actually has nothing to do with bad luck but with the criminal and a terrorist will to massacre civilians, the Israeli bomb has also struck the building adjacent to the mosque, which was also destroyed. We watched as the tiny bodies of six little sisters were pulled out of the rubble – five are dead, one is in life-threatening conditions.

They laid the little girls out on the blackened asphalt, and they looked like broken dolls, disposed of as they were no longer usable. This wasn't a mistake, but a voluntary, and cynical horror. We're at a toll of 320 dead, more than a thousand wounded and, according to a doctor at Shifa, 60% of these are destined to die in the next few hours or days, after prolonged agony.There are many missing, and for the last two days despairing wives have been searching for their husbands or children in hospitals, often to no avail. The morgue is a macabre spectacle. A nurse told me that after hours of searching, a Palestinian woman recognized her husband from his amputated hand. All that's left of her husband, and the wedding band on her finger from the eternal love they had sworn one another.

Out of a house inhabited by two families, very little has remained of their bodies. They showed their relatives half of one bust and three legs. Right now, one of our Free Gaza Movement boats is leaving the port in Larnaca, Cyprus. I spoke to my friends on board. They've heroically amassed medicine and steeped it everywhere in the boat. It should reach the port of Gaza tomorrow around 8:00 AM. Here's to hoping that the port will still exist after another night of endless bombing. I'll be in touch with them for the entire night. Please, someone stop this nightmare. Choosing to remain silent means somehow lending support to the genocide unfolding right now. Shout out your indignation, in every capital of the "civilized" world, in every city, in every square, covering our own screams of pain and terror. A slice of humanity is dying in pitiful in a useless listening.