"To artivists throughout the world, write - because you can’t not write; paint - because you can’t not paint; film - because you can’t not film; and create because you can’t accept what not creating means. Let us unfold our arms out of the fragile stance of spectators. Let us use our tools, sometimes like a scalpel and other times like a sledgehammer, in the service of the oppressed - liberation through imagination."-M.K. Asante Jr., It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop
The Most Beautiful Trees in the World
- Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon. Photo by unknown.
- Red maples trees path. Photo by Ildiko Neer.
- Most beautiful wisteria tree in the world. Photo by Brian Young.
- Yellow autumn in Central Park, New York. Photo by Christopher Schoenbohm.
- Amazing Angel Oak Tree, Charlston, Photo by Mark Requidan.
- Cherry blossom tree path, Germany. Photo by Shoeven.
- California in autumn. Photo by Mizzy Pacheco.
- Jacaranda trees in bloom, South Africa. Photo by Falke.
- Ponthus beech tree in Brocéliande forest, France. Photo by Christophe Kiciak.
- Beautiful cherry blossom road. Photo by unknown.
Mohamed Mahjoub, a father of three, has been in prison or under house arrest in Toronto since he was first slapped with a national security certificate in 2000.
The government’s branding of an Egyptian man as a terrorist threat to Canada’s national security is based on flimsy evidence tainted by torture, Federal Court heard Friday.
In closing submissions, lawyer Johanne Doyon accused Canada’s spy service of unethical tunnel vision in its 12-year quest to have Mohamed Mahjoub deported.
“We know now that there is a large part of the file that was based on (torture),” Doyon told Judge Edmond Blanchard.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, she said, did not have “sufficient morality” to exclude evidence against Mahjoub they knew was obtained from torture.
Mahjoub, a father of three, has been in prison or under house arrest in Toronto since he was first slapped with a national security certificate in 2000.
His lawyers are trying to have the case against him thrown out as an abuse of process.
Doyon said evidence obtained from torture “cannot be established as viable” and accused the government of willingly violating the Charter and subverting the judicial system for its own ends.
“This is not decent at all,” she said. “The only conclusion is to quash the certificate.”
Based in large part on secret evidence, the government insists Mahjoub was a ranking member of the Vanguards of Conquest, an Egyptian group linked to Al Qaeda.
Mahjoub, 52, also worked on an agricultural project in Sudan run by Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s.
Doyon noted a series of problems with the government’s case, including the fact that the spy agency destroyed the original recordings of interviews it did with Mahjoub, who came to Canada in 1995 and was granted refugee status.
All that’s left of those interviews are summaries, which amount to “residual evidence of the evidence that was destroyed,” she said. “This should not be admitted by the court.”
The government has not produced any independent evidence that Mahjoub ever committed, or would commit, terrorist acts, she said.
CSIS also made no attempts to investigate or verify information it was given by foreign intelligence services, and its case against Mahjoub, she insisted, was not based on anything credible.
She noted there was no evidence to show the bin Laden farm was anything other than a legitimate business, and accused the government of trying to convict Mahjoub based on people he might once have had contact with.
“This is guilty by association, which is something you should not allow or should prevent,” she told the judge.
She also noted there was no definitive proof Mahjoub even belonged to the Vanguards of Conquest and accused the spy service of having “paranoid vision.”
Over the years, CSIS has admitted listening in on calls between Mahjoub and his lawyers, and last year, government lawyers mistakenly took files belonging to his defence.
“I’m very frustrated with the Canadian government,” Mahjoub said outside court.
His lawyers’ closing submissions are expected to wrap up on Monday.
Mahjoub has staved off deportation to Egypt on the basis he would likely be tortured there.
Two other Muslim men are also fighting their national security certificates: Egyptian Mahmoud Jaballah and Algerian Mohamed Harkat, whose case is pending before the Supreme Court of Canada.
[ Allah ] said, “Fear not. Indeed, I am with you both; I hear and I see. 20:46
And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein. 50:16
A rap artist was forced off the stage at an inaugural event in Washington, D.C. Sunday night after he performed an anti-Obama diatribe.
The scene unfolded at The Hamilton one block from the White House as Lupe Fiasco, a Grammy-nominated rapper from Chicago, began performing ‘Words I Never Said,’ a single he recorded in February of 2011.
‘I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bull***t, just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets,’ he rapped. ‘… Rush Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist, Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say s**t. That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either, I’m a part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful and I believe in the people.’
Fiasco’s microphone was cut and a handful of security personnel surrounded him on stage. He was reportedly asked to move on to the next song and refused, so he was asked to leave.
As he moved off the stage, Fiasco turned to the audience and waved his hand, then took a bow. The crowd was shouting his name.
The statement continued: ‘We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech. This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.’
Fiasco, 30, was born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco in Chicago and his father was a prominent member of the Black Panther Party, an African-American revolutionary socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982.
His music tends to include political messages and he has criticized Obama in the past.
Most recently, he targeted Obama’s use of drones and accused him of killing children.
‘You have someone who is a great speaker, but kills little children - our President,’ he said during an interview with Philadelphia radio station Power 99FM. ‘I’m talking about ordering a drone attack. Ordering drone attacks that go and kill mothers, innocent bystanders, children. Militants too, but the collateral damage. You’re responsible for that, too.’
Palestinian director of Oscar-nominated film ‘5 Broken Cameras’ Emad Burnat reportedly held by immigration authorities at LAX and threatened with deportation.
"For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds."
“Mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts … These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.” Every parent can connect with what President Barack Obama said about the murder of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut. There can scarcely be a person on earth with access to the media who is untouched by the grief of the people of that town.
It must follow that what applies to the children murdered there by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan by a sombre American president. These children are just as important, just as real, just as deserving of the world’s concern. Yet there are no presidential speeches or presidential tears for them, no pictures on the front pages of the world’s newspapers, no interviews with grieving relatives, no minute analysis of what happened and why.
If the victims of Mr Obama’s drone strikes are mentioned by the state at all, they are discussed in terms which suggest that they are less than human. The people who operate the drones, Rolling Stone magazine reports, describe their casualties as “bug splats”, “since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed”. Or they are reduced to vegetation: justifying the drone war, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser Bruce Riedel explained that “you’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back”.
Like George Bush’s government in Iraq, Obama’s administration neither documents nor acknowledges the civilian casualties of the CIA’s drone strikes in north-west Pakistan. But a report by the law schools at Stanford and New York universities suggests that during the first three years of his time in office, the 259 strikes for which he is ultimately responsible killed between 297 and 569 civilians, of whom at least 64 were children. These are figures extracted from credible reports: there may be more which have not been fully documented.
The wider effects on the children of the region have been devastating. Many have been withdrawn from school because of fears that large gatherings of any kind are being targeted. There have been several strikes on schools since Bush launched the drone programme that Obama has expanded so enthusiastically: one of Bush’s blunders killed 69 children.
The study reports that children scream in terror when they hear the sound of a drone. A local psychologist says that their fear and the horrors they witness is causing permanent mental scarring. Children wounded in drone attacks told the researchers that they are too traumatised to go back to school and have abandoned hopes of the careers they might have had. Their dreams as well as their bodies have been broken.
Obama does not kill children deliberately. But their deaths are an inevitable outcome of the way his drones are deployed. We don’t know what emotional effect these deaths might have on him, as neither he nor his officials will discuss the matter: almost everything to do with the CIA’s extrajudicial killings in Pakistan is kept secret. But you get the impression that no one in the administration is losing much sleep over it.
Two days before the murders in Newtown, Obama’s press secretary was asked about women and children being killed by drones in Yemen and Pakistan. He refused to answer, on the grounds that such matters are “classified”. Instead, he directed the journalist to a speech by John Brennan, Obama’s counter-terrorism assistant. Brennan insists that “al-Qaida’s killing of innocents, mostly Muslim men, women and children, has badly tarnished its appeal and image in the eyes of Muslims”.
He appears unable to see that the drone war has done the same for the US. To Brennan the people of north-west Pakistan are neither insects nor grass: his targets are a “cancerous tumour”, the rest of society “the tissue around it”. Beware of anyone who describes a human being as something other than a human being.
Yes, he conceded, there is occasionally a little “collateral damage”, but the US takes “extraordinary care [to] ensure precision and avoid the loss of innocent life”. It will act only if there’s “an actual ongoing threat” to American lives. This is cock and bull with bells on.
The “signature strike” doctrine developed under Obama, which has no discernible basis in law, merely looks for patterns. A pattern could consist of a party of unknown men carrying guns (which scarcely distinguishes them from the rest of the male population of north-west Pakistan), or a group of unknown people who look as if they might be plotting something. This is how wedding and funeral parties get wiped out; this is why 40 elders discussing royalties from a chromite mine were blown up in March last year. It is one of the reasons why children continue to be killed.
Obama has scarcely mentioned the drone programme and has said nothing about its killing of children. The only statement I can find is a brief and vague response during a video conference last January. The killings have been left to others to justify. In October the Democratic cheerleader Joe Klein claimed on MSNBC that “the bottom line in the end is whose four-year-old gets killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that four-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror”. As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, killing four-year-olds is what terrorists do. It doesn’t prevent retaliatory murders, it encourages them, as grief and revenge are often accomplices.
Most of the world’s media, which has rightly commemorated the children of Newtown, either ignores Obama’s murders or accepts the official version that all those killed are “militants”. The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears. They belong to the other: to the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue.
“Are we,” Obama asked on Sunday, “prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” It’s a valid question. He should apply it to the violence he is visiting on the children of Pakistan.
Me and my sister decided Obama would look better with more hair.