Iran and the nuclear ‘double standard’

March 1, 2007

The following article is by Ibrahim Ramey, who is now with the Muslim American Society. It is available on the MAS website at:

http://www.masnet.org/takeaction.asp?id=4021


The President of Iran has a Point: The World Can’t Live With a Nuclear Double Standard.

It should be clear to everyone that the United States is making concrete plans for war with Iran. American naval forces are positioning themselves for air attacks on Iranian nuclear processing facilities, while the United Nations Security Council, under pressure from the U.S. and other Western powers, is contemplating a new round of even tougher sanctions aimed at the government in Iran.

Iran’s defiance of both the United States and the United Nations is based on the contention, by Iranian President Ahmedinejad, that Iran cannot be forced to abandon their national nuclear fuel program if other nations are free to pursue the atomic energy option. In the view of the government in Tehran, the international community cannot arbitrarily limit Iranian access to this technology if other countries are allowed to have it.

Of course, the real point of contention is the widely-held assumption that Iran is using the nuclear fuel-processing program for the purpose of building atomic weapons. And that might indeed be true, because the technology required to process uranium as fuel for a nuclear power plant is not far removed from bomb-making. Currently, about 45 nations of the world possess this technology, and a few- India, Pakistan, and North Korea-have made the choice to join the nuclear weapons club.

For the record, as an original member of the U.S. Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, I support the elimination of all nuclear weapons everywhere, including the more than 8,000 warheads in the stockpile of the United States. The same call for abolition must also include nations like Israel and North Korea, who are not signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Iran, if indeed than nation is deliberately seeking to develop these weapons.
….

Read more of this article here.

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AFSC Toward Peace & Justice – March 2007

March 1, 2007

Here is this month’s Newsletter from a wonderful organisation that I support, the American Friends Service Committee. The work they do toward peace, justice and human rights throughout the globe is phenomenal!

View this email as a web page.

Dear AFSC Friend,

March 19 will mark year five of the war and occupation in Iraq. In addition to drawing attention to the human cost of preemptive war, we are working to keep that war from spreading to neighboring countries, most notably Iran.

In this issue of Toward Peace & Justice, you can link to a video interview with me, AFSC general secretary Mary Ellen McNish, upon my return from a recent U.S. religious leaders’ delegation to Iran. While there, the delegation met with the Iranian president and other civic and religious leaders to encourage a dialogue in the hope of averting the spread of war. Also find out about events throughout the U.S. commemorating the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, read about the struggles of U.S. day laborers to provide for their loved ones, and more.

At home and abroad, AFSC continues to uphold the causes of peace and justice. As always, we welcome and appreciate your support.

Peace,
MaryEllenMcnish signature
Mary Ellen McNish
AFSC General Secretary


Toward Peace and Justice - AFSC's E-newsletter
In this Issue:

  • Video interview: Mary Ellen McNish on the U.S. delegation to Iran
  • Commemorate the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq
  • U.S. day laborers struggle to provide for loved ones
  • Register today for the U.S. Social Forum
  • Act now to stop cluster bomb sales
  • Colombian peace communities nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
  • North Korea: Diplomacy gets results

U.S. religious leaders find hope in Iran

U.S. religious leaders' delegation to IranIn a video interview, AFSC general secretary Mary Ellen McNish talks about her experiences during a recent U.S. religious leaders’ delegation to Iran. The 13-person delegation traveled to Iran last week to encourage a dialogue in the hope of averting war.

The delegation has issued a statement calling for direct talks between the U.S. and Iranian governments, among other proposals.

Watch the interview with Mary Ellen McNish >

Read the delegation’s statement >


Commemorate the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq

Friends for Peace from Oberlin, Ohio.March 19 will start year five of the war and occupation in Iraq. The human cost is known, yet difficult for most to fathom: An estimated 650,000 Iraqis dead, the creation of 2 million refugees, 1.8 million internally displaced, 82 humanitarian aid workers killed, 150 journalists and media assistants killed.

Here is how you can help to stop the war.

On March 14, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to begin the debate on continued funding for war and occupation. Help us deliver a message to your representative by signing up to deliver the “Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar” letter to Congress. The letter calls for an end to the occupation of Iraq and renewed efforts to help the Iraqi people stabilize and rebuild their country.

We’re also joining with the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq prayer services and vigils on March 16, and nationwide events coordinated by United for Peace and Justice from March 17-19.

Find out about these activities and more on AFSC’s Iraq home page.

Go to the Iraq home page >

Need a peace sign for your house or a peace vigil? Create one that fits your personality and print it out from AFSC’s Friends for Peace web site. (You can also upload a photo of you with your sign.)

Visit Friends for Peace >


The men on the corner

Day laborers struggle to provide for themselves and loved ones in the face of ever more restrictive U.S. immigration policies. Read what they and several of AFSC’s immigrant rights advocates have to say in “The Men on the Corner,” from the latest issue of AFSC’s Quaker Action magazine.

Read the story >


Register today for the U.S. Social Forum

From June 27 through July 1 in Atlanta, Georgia, more than 10,000 people are expected at the first-ever U.S. Social Forum, which AFSC staff are helping to organize.

This inaugural event is an outgrowth of the World Social Forum process, which began in Brazil in 2001 as a way for activists to develop and share alternatives to militarization and corporate globalization.

Find out more and register now >


You might also be interested in these programs and events:

  • Act now to stop cluster bomb sales: Ask your U.S. Senator to co-sponsor the “Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act,” which will limit the use, sale and transfer of all cluster munitions. Take action now >
  • Nobel Peace Prize nomination: The inspiring work of the Colombian communities in peaceful resistance in the face of ongoing civil strife led AFSC to nominate them for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Read about the communities in AFSC’s Peacework magazine >
  • Diplomacy gets results: AFSC welcomes the recent six-party talks and agreement in Beijing about North Korea’s nuclear program as a victory for diplomacy over the bluster of antagonism. Read the statement >


© 2006 AFSC

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
http://www.afsc.org/


MidEast Dispatches: Rape Cases Emerge From the Shadows

March 1, 2007

Rape Cases Emerge From the Shadows

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

Read story at website

BAGHDAD, Mar 1 (IPS) – Reports of the gang-rape of 20-year-old Sabrine al-Janabi by three policemen has set off new demands for justice from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

 

Janabi, who lives in the Hai al-Amil area of southern Baghdad with her husband, was taken from her home Feb. 18 to a police station and accused of assisting resistance fighters.

Janabi told al-Jazeera channel Feb. 19 that three police commandos raped her in the police garrison after accusing her of cooking for resistance fighters.

“One of them put his hand on my mouth so no one outside the room could hear me,” she said in a videotaped statement. “I told them ‘I did not know that an Iraqi could do this to another Iraqi’.”

She said “I begged them not to rape me and I swore to them that I was a good woman and I am like a sister to them, but they did it one after the other.”

Nouri al-Maliki’s office issued a statement that medical evidence showed Janabi had not been raped. That statement has turned the event into a political crisis.

Janabi is Sunni, and the police predominantly Shia. Sunnis have long accused the police of using heavy-handed tactics against Sunnis during “security operations.” But this incident appears to be highlighting widespread displeasure with the Iraqi government at least as much as stoking strained sectarian tensions.

Maliki’s office described Janabi as “a liar” and recommended that the three accused policeman be commended, in response to demands for an independent investigation from both Shia and Sunni opposition groups.

The New York Times reported that an Iraqi nurse who says she treated Janabi saw signs of sexual and physical assault.

Stories of rape committed by both U.S. and Iraqi soldiers have appeared since the early days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The first stories emerged from inside Abu Ghraib prison. These, along with photographic evidence of sexual humiliation, provoked widespread anger across Iraq.

Rape victims in Iraq rarely come forward because they fear public scorn and humiliation. A Muslim woman who acknowledges being raped risks death at the hands of male relatives seeking to restore family honour.

Dr. Harith al-Dhari, secretary-general of the Sunni religious group The Association of Muslim Scholars, told reporters this week that rapes take place often, but victims are not coming forward to file complaints.

But since Janabi went public with her story, other stories of rape have begun to emerge.

On Feb. 22 a 50-year-old Sunni woman accused four Iraqi soldiers of raping her and attempting to rape her two daughters. She took her story to minister Izzidin Dola, who then brought the mayor of her city and a group of tribal chiefs to her home in order to take her statement.

“At least four police officers participated in that crime and they are facing legal procedures,” Dola told IPS.

“The Iraqi police are following the example of those who trained them,” Ahmed Mukhtar, a school headmaster in the northern Iraqi city Mosul told IPS. “American soldiers did it more than a thousand times and got away with it. They sentenced that soldier who killed Abeer after raping her with a hundred years imprisonment, but we Iraqis are not fools, and we know he will be on parole sooner than he hopes.”

Mukhtar was referring to the gang rape of 14-year-old Abeer al-Janabi last year near Mahmudiya south of Baghdad. Janabi was then killed together with her parents and younger sister. Soldiers then burnt the bodies in an attempt to cover their crime.

Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, was sentenced Feb. 23 to 100 years in prison, but is eligible for parole in 10 years. Cortez pleaded guilty to the rape and killing.

Iraqi resistance groups have issued statements declaring that the Iraqi police and soldiers involved in recent rapes would be given “proper punishment.”
(Ali al-Fadhily is our Baghdad correspondent. Dahr Jamail is our specialist writer who spent eight months reporting from inside Iraq, and has been covering the Middle East for several years)


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(c)2007 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr’s Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the http://DahrJamailIraq.com website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger’s Photography Media http://jeffpflueger.com. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr’s dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at http://dahrjamailiraq.com


CBC Radio interview with Canadian boy and his father from Hutto Detention!

March 1, 2007

“It’s very bad here…. I want to be free… I want to go to Canada… I want to go home… I want to go to my school…”, pleads Kevin in the interview.

According to CBC Radio, the only comment made by Canada’s Foreign Affairs was: “we are monitoring the case and providing consular services”. No further comment.

Meanwwhile, as I am typing this post, my Liberal MP Dr. Ruby Dhalla just phoned me and asked that I forward to her all the information that I have and she will get on it.

FEB 28, 2007 – As It Happens  
 

Audio Available:

Listen to Part 1 of As It Happens

 

Listen to Part 2 of As It Happens

 

Due to copyright issues, AIH audio is available on CBC.ca without music. This means there will be a few gaps in the program–short spaces between interviews, and longer ones where a cut of music was played on the original broadcast.

 

Past shows in Real Audio prior to April 12, 2004 are no longer available.


IRANIAN-CDN: FATHER Duration: 00:09:08
 

 

Last night on As It Happens, we told you about a family that is being held inside an immigration detention centre in Taylor, Texas. Today, the family was able to call us here at As It Happens.

 

The family — a mother and father and their nine-year-old son — have been held at the Hutto Detention Center for nearly three weeks. The boy is a Canadian citizen born in Toronto, but his Iranian parents have no status.

 

This month, all three of them were picked up en route to Canada from Iran by American authorities. The family was hoping to seek asylum here for a second time. Their first attempt failed in 2005, when they were deported back to Tehran, after having lived in Canada for ten years.

 

The family has now agreed to let us broadcast their first names. Earlier today, the father, Majid, called us from the detention centre in Texas.


Alaska’s role grows in nation’s missile defense system

March 1, 2007

8413_512.jpgWeb posted Sunday, February 25, 2007

On the front line: Alaska’s role grows in nation’s missile defense system
By Tim Bradner
Alaska Journal of Commerce

Alaska’s role grows in nation’s missile defense system
The sea-based X-Band radar sails into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, aboard the MV Blue Marlin, in January 2006. The 280-foot tall sea-based X-band radar, to be used as part of the missile defense program, has arrived in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. AP FILE PHOTO/Ronen Zilberman  

JUNEAU — Here’s a chilling thought: Iran may have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States in nine years.Rogue nations like Iran and North Korea, and other countries as well, are much further along in ballistic missile development than many Americans believe, the chief of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency told a state legislative committee in Juneau.

On average, 90 ballistic missile tests per year are carried out by foreign nations, and last year 100 tests were done, Air Force Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, told the Legislature’ s Joint Armed Services Committee Feb. 14.

China’s test of an anti-satellite weapon in January was another wake-up call for Western nations to the increasing technological capabilities of the emerging superpower.

Obering said what particularly worries the United States is that Iran and North Korea have shown no restraint in selling or sharing their technology. In its recent war with Israel, Hezbollah, based in Lebanon and supported by Iran, launched more than 4,500 missiles supplied by Iran against civilian targets in Israel.

The United States is racing to keep ahead of the threat with its development of a layered missile defense system that combines short-, medium- and long-range interceptors. The program is much further along and is demonstrating more success than many Americans understand, Obering said.

Since 2001 there have been 24 missile intercepts in low- and high-altitude tests, including one successful intercept in space with a long-range interceptor in September 2006. Fourteen out of 15 flight tests of interceptors have also been successful, and the one failure, of a sea-based launch in December, was caused by human error, not problems with the technology, Obering said. “It is actually a good sign when you reach the point where the errors are by the operators, not the technology,” Obering told the legislative committee in Juneau.

Alaska plays a key role in the nation’s missile defense. The bulk of the nation’s missile interceptors are now in launch silos at Fort Greely, near Delta, and new interceptors continue to be installed, Obering said.

The huge, seagoing X-Band radar facility, home-ported at Adak, in the Aleutian Islands, is now on station in the North Pacific, he said. Obering said this radar is so powerful that if it were located in Chesapeake Bay, it could track an object the size of a baseball over San Francisco.

In addition, the Kodiak Launch Facility, operated by the Alaska Aerospace Development Corp., a state corporation, is regularly used in ongoing tests of the missile interceptors.

Performance of Alaska labor and contractors, often working in difficult weather, far exceeded the MDA’s expectations, Obering said. About $625 million was invested in missile defense capabilities between 2000 and 2006, and the Fort Greely interceptor facility now employs about 360 full-time workers, he said.

The Alaska facilities, which include the Cobra Dane X-Band radar, are tied into a network of radar facilities in Japan and sea-based radar and tracking equipment on Aegis cruiser and destroyer ships stationed near Japan. The vessels are also equipped with short-range interceptors.

Obering said other missile-defense systems are being developed, including an airborne laser that will be flight-tested in 2009, as well as interceptors with multiple-kill vehicles to take out decoys, and satellites with sensitive sensors capable of detecting launches anywhere in the world.

The first of the new tracking satellites will be launched this December. The multiple-kill interceptor is due to be tested in 2013. Obering said the United States will defend itself with these systems and make them available to allies.

The nations that concern the United States most, in the near-term, are North Korea and Iran, two nations that also have active nuclear programs, Obering said. Iran is well along in testing of its intermediate- range Shahab-3 missile which could reach Israel, and advanced versions of this could reach central Europe.

Iran is also working on a space program, Obering said, and a successful launch of a satellite into orbit will also give it an intercontinental ballistic missile capability. “It is the consensus of the intelligence community that Iran will have a long-range weapon by 2015 that is capable of reaching the U.S.,” Obering told the legislative committee.

Alaskans are more familiar with the missile threat from North Korea because the Taepo Dong-2 missile that is under development would be able to reach Alaska and Hawaii. The missile failed on its first test launch last July, but North Korea continues work on it.

Obering said flight tests in 1998 of the Taepo Dong-1, an earlier version, saw a failure of the third stage, but the successful separation of the first and second stages, “demonstrated that the North Koreans have mastered several key technologies required for an (intercontinental ballistic missile), including stage separation,” he said.

Western nations have underestimated the capabilities of North Korea. “A month before North Korea test-fired an intermediate- range No Dong missile into the North Pacific over Japan, the experts said they wouldn’t have that capability for another eight to 10 years. They did it the following month,” Obering said.

Obering said the initial plots of the No Dong’s flight trajectory showed it landing in Japan. Luckily the missile stayed on course and landed in the North Pacific as planned, but the test was still a wake-up call for Japan and the West.

The threat of North Korea’s medium-range missiles has prompted a close defense coordination between the United States and Japan. A forward-based missile-tracking X-Band radar system is now installed in northern Japan and is tied into a fleet of 16 Aegis destroyers and cruisers equipped with tracking equipment. Seven of these vessels are equipped with short-range interceptors. This fleet will shortly grow to 17 vessels engaged in tracking, with 10 equipped to launch interceptors.

Missile-tracking radar systems are now being installed in Europe, too. A facility in Flylingdales, U.K., is now in its final tests, and a similar radar in Thule, Greenland, will soon to tied into the network, Obering said. These radar systems are intended to detect missiles launched from the Middle East toward Europe and North America.

A missile interceptor installation to protect Europe and North America from missiles from the Middle East is also planned in eastern Europe, Obering said. Talks on possible sites are now underway with the Polish government. A forward-based radar installation to support the interceptor launch facility will also be built, possibly in the Czech Republic, he said.

Obering said several tests of the missile interceptors are planned in 2007, including two tests of long-range, ground-based interceptors, which will involve launches from Kodiak, in late spring and early fall.

Five tests involving short-range and medium-range intercepts are also planned this year, three of these from the Aegis vessels at sea.

Tim Bradner can be reached at tim.bradner@ alaskajournal. com.


Scott Ritter interview transcribed: Regime Change Is the Reason, Disarmament the Excuse

March 1, 2007

http://www.antiwar. com/orig/ horton.php? articleid= 10595

Regime Change Is the Reason, Disarmament the Excuse
An interview with Scott Ritter
by Scott Horton

Interviewed February 20, 2007 – Listen to the
interview:
http://dissentradio .com/radio/ 07_02_20_ scottritter. mp3

Is Iran making nuclear weapons? Is the United States
preparing to wage war against them to prevent them
from obtaining nuclear weapons? Our guest is Scott
Ritter. He is a former Marine, United Nations weapons
inspector, and author of an armful of books: Endgame,
War on Iraq, Frontier Justice, Iraq Confidential, and
his latest is Target Iran: The Truth About the White
House’s Plans for Regime Change.

Read more


MAC: Press Release: CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS ASK CANADA FOR IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM ON CLUSTER MUNITONS ON ANNIVERSARY OF OTTAWA LANDMINE TREATY

March 1, 2007

This Press Release was posted to the Mines Action Canada website:

Go to http://www.minesactioncanada.org/home/index.cfm?fuse=Home.Start to view the article now.


PRESS RELEASE – For release March 1st, 2007

CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS ASK CANADA FOR IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM ON CLUSTER MUNITONS ON ANNIVERSARY OF OTTAWA LANDMINE TREATY

Ottawa – International experts from Canadian Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action (UK) provided testimony today to pressure Canada for more active leadership in the new negotiations on a cluster munitions treaty committed to by 46 states last week in Oslo. The briefing to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development was organized by Mines Action Canada (MAC) as part of a National Day of Action Against Cluster Munitions and Landmines in Ottawa and across the country.

“While we were pleased that Canada finally decided to endorse the Oslo Declaration committing to a new treaty on clusters by 2008”, said Paul Hannon, MAC Executive Director, “we feel that the next logical step for Canada is to declare an immediate moratorium on the use, production, transfer and procurement of cluster munitions until this treaty is in place. This should be a very easy way for Canada to demonstrate leadership as we have never used or tested cluster munitions and announced last week plans for the destruction of the remainder of our stockpiles.”

Canada led the world in bringing about the Ottawa Convention banning landmines despite opposition from some of the world’s biggest super powers. In the fight against cluster munitions, however, Canada’s performance has seemed more lackluster than trailblazing. “The Oslo initiative on cluster munitions follows in the footsteps of the Ottawa process that led to the international ban on landmines,” said Steve Goose, Director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch and Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “By working together to develop a new treaty, governments and civil society have a chance to save countless lives from the terror of cluster munitions.”

Fired, launched or dropped by aircraft or land-based artillery, cluster munitions disperse bomblets over a wide area, often resulting in very dense contamination. Cluster munitions have a failure rate ranging from 5 – 30%. The duds that do not explode on impact become de facto landmines. Over 73 countries stockpile cluster munitions and it is estimated that these stockpiles contain over a billion submunitions. Cluster munitions have most recently been used in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon. Ninety-eight percent of recorded casualties of cluster bombs are civilian; 27% are children.

Members and supporters of the campaign gathered on Parliament Hill today for a rally and shoepile demonstration as part of activities for the 8th annual Canadian Landmine Awareness Week (February 25th – March 3rd) celebrations. Signatures are also being collected on a petition calling on the Government of Canada to actively engage and support the negotiation of new international law that will eliminate the human suffering caused by cluster bombs. People can sign the petition at www.minesactioncanada.org.
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For further information on events, clusters or the petition, visit our website at www.minesactioncanada.org. For interviews, contact Nancy Ingram, Mines Action Canada, at (613)241 3777 or (613)851 5439.