Posted on 17 February 2012 by Tea Server
Posted on 17 February 2012 by Tea Server
After reading following news, I just became speechless, I couldn’t stop my self to crying. I just don’t understand what is going on in this country. May Allah curse upon these cruel people. http://www.express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1101450850&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20120216
Posted on 29 January 2012 by Tea Server
I cannot stop thinking about the myth of the artist. A teacher of mine from college brought this notion to my attention. Infact, her exact words were “living the myth” and I was struck dumb. Of course! I thought to myself. I was in college at that time and it was many years (many, many years) ago. Everything struck me dumb. But this was a revelation of sorts. It gave words to something that I had inarticulately tried to understand for a while. The myth did not bother me at all. I was exposed to a lot of popular culture that made the myth seem very desirable. I could love myself passionately if I lived the myth.
That brings me to the idea of the “self portrait” – the performance of the self on canvas (or any other surface/in any other space). In a way, the myth of the artist demands a self portrait. Where else do you begin? It’s ridiculous romance is hard to resist.
And so begins my half-assed rant. The painter is condemned please. Bataille, here we go again. You bite me, you do.
He (the other, watching me) uses words like succinct and reductionist and I’m watching his mouth. I watch mouths and I watch myself. I wonder how they see me. A friend recently told me that they (the proverbial them) only see ugliness in the difference. But again, that is just pop culture. The inevitable self-portrait of the artist. I see them as they see me and I see them. We all watch each other, watch ourselves. And there goes coherence, down the drain. Down, boy! Down it goes.
As a visual artist, I am condemned. This notion is fast turning into a belief. I could write pages of coherent rubbish disclaiming and claiming it. I could support all my bullshit with references. But here I am, writing about the self-portrait, fighting temptation – fighting the myth.
Fragment – consider revising. Ah yes. That old spiel.
What do you see? Do you see me? When I draw myself (when I draw myself out) do I see what you see? If I see you watching me, can I see what you see? I think I’ve tired myself of the pornographic form vs. content debate. I think I’ve tired myself of all the debates. My practice suffers from delays. And then I see such beauty and I am humbled. I am humbled by their mouths and their glances. I am humbled by the gaze. And yet, I draw myself over and over, hoping to see what they see as I watch them. I like to watch.
The self-portrait can be torture. Bataille, you bite me. In my metaphorical ass.
Posted on 26 January 2012 by Tea Server
News from Libya that torture is occurring in state and militia-administered detention facilities is horrific, but should be of little surprise. Amnesty International’s recent statements assert that torture is a wide-spread practice in Libya and has resulted in several deaths. The statements further that no investigations are occurring. Add to these statements a recent announcement by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) that it has suspended its activity in Misrata’s prisons because prisoners are being tortured and denied medical care. Moreover, MSF’s announcement asserts that it was being used, in effect, to prolong torture: prisoners were sent to MSF staff for treatment so that they could then be submitted to further torture.
MSF’s role in the conflict is sensitive because it needs to maintain access to treat the victims of conflict; however, I find it discouraging that other agencies, such as Amnesty, are not offering up constructive criticism on what should be done about the abuses. The international community let out a limited outcry following clear signs of extra-judicial killings in Libya (e.g., Muammar Gaddafi’s death) and did not move to provide Libya with assistance to ensure that similar abuses would not persist. In short, Amnesty is right to draw attention to the horrible state of human rights in Libya but, as of yet, they are not offering up any recommendations on how Libya’s clearly limited government can tackle the problem.
With this, why aren’t we seeing positive steps taken by the Arab League, Turkey, Qatar, the UN, etc. to provide the National Transitional Council (NTC) with assistance to reign in the militias, establish a substantive system to ensure the protection of detainees, and ensure the parties are meeting international humanitarian law standards?
Civilian protection is more than just drawing attention to a problem – it’s about laying out steps that states and other actors can take to effectually safeguard civilians from violence, torture, and intimidation. In this regard, we have failed those Libyans who continue to find themselves victims of violence.
(Photo Credit: Marco Longari, AFP, Fighters with the National Transitional Council from the Tripoli Brigade guard blindfolded prisoners outside Bani Walid)
Posted on 21 January 2012 by Tea Server
Afia Siddiqui case is alone enough to say that ISI is like a truck of filthy garbage and must be grounded for sure. They have got too much authority to sell the country and its people. These morons are good for nothing. The best scenario for Pakistan will be if these feudal-corporatist and Khaki ruling elite keep fighting with each other and destroy each other. Then a new Pakistan can emerge out of it , more free, more justice-loving and more prosperous.
Below is a news report stating some shameful things which also tells us about the hypocritical justice system of United States of America. The details may be a bit exaggerated or some of the details might not be as they are but over all context is disturbing about her condition and her family facing problems to find details about her. But the main culprit is ISI as I don’t expect miracles from USA marines or security institutions.
We hope that people with sense of justice and humanity will stand up in United States of America and will raise their voice against this injustice.
By Shahid Abbasi -
Karachi: Pakistani scientist Dr Afia Siddiqui, who is serving 86-year imprisonment in a US prison cell, has contracted cancer and allegedly become pregnant as a result of sexual abuse during her confinement.
Talking to The News Tribe, her sister Dr Dr Fouzia Siddiqui said she had come to know through Pakistani Consul General in Houston that Dr Afia Siddiqui had been diagnosed with a cancer. She added that earlier there were reports that the Pakistani scientist had become pregnant due to alleged sexual abuse during imprisonment. However, the Pakistan Embassy has not playing its role in either confirming or rejecting the reports.
She said that former Pakistan Ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani was called back the next day when he told us the condition of Dr Afia.
She quoted Pakistan Consul General Aqil Nadeem as saying that he was requesting the jail authorities for providing medical facilities to the Pakistani scientist.
Dr Fouzia said keeping in view the reputation of the Roswell jail and the nature of her sister’s disease the request was insufficient.
She urged the Pakistan Embassy to arrange a team of physicians comprising doctors from jail as well as from private sector for Dr Afia Siddiqui.
Dr Fouzia said that newly-appointed Pakistan Ambassador to US Sherry Rehman had assured her all possible help before leaving for America to take up her new assignment. However, despite making contact with her, the envoy has not given any response in this regard.
Speaking about the reports of Dr Afia’s alleged pregnancy, she said that her family was told about it after the Pakistani scientist showed some symptoms in the women jail.
Dr Fouzia appealed to the US and Pakistani authorities to arrange a telephonic conversation of her mother with Dr Afia.
Earlier, British journalist and human rights activist Yvonne Ridley had declared the long punishment of Dr Afia as just ‘one step away from death’.
Talking about attitude of Pakistani politicians being adopted on the Dr Afia issue, she said that she would not believe in their statements until and unless her sister returns to Pakistan. Dr Fouzia complained that the politicians had only exploited the Dr Afia issue just to gain political mileage.
She said that the Pakistani scientist had been provided substandard food, which led to health problems at the jail as she had complained of it during her earlier telephonic conversations.
According to Pakistani TV anchor Aamir Liaquat Hussain, he had received information from his friends in the US that Dr Afia had contracted cancer and will be killed during confinement.
The renowned anchor said that the Pakistani scientist can be brought back through diplomatic efforts.
In a video uploaded on Youtube, Hussain said that Dr Afia had become pregnant as a result of sexual abuse in jail.
The News Tribe, a UK-based bilingual news website has approached Pakistan Ambassador to US Sherry Rehman through an email to get her point of view on the issue but received no response till the filing of this news.
Posted on 12 January 2012 by Tea Server
By Carlos Harrison for The Huffington Post
It’s been a troubled – some might say, tragic – 10 years for the detention camps at the Guantánamo Naval Base in Cuba. And as they slouch into their 11th year on January 11, there’s no end in sight.
“We say to ourselves, in sort of gallows humor: Guantánamo will close when the last detainee there dies of natural causes,” Jeremy Varon, an organizer with Witness Against Torture, told the Huffington Post on Wednesday.
Franz Kafka himself would have been hard-pressed to concoct a more bewildering and brutal contradictory reality. Allegations over the years have included sexual humiliation, waterboarding, and the use of dogs to scare detainees. Released detainees reported being locked in in sensory deprivation cells, beaten repeatedly, and forced to race while wearing leg shackles. If they fell, they were punished.
If it sounds like Abu Ghraib, it should. The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee found that intelligence teams transported the “aggressive” interrogation techniques perfected at Guantánamo to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The link between Cuba and the war zones, the New York Times reported, was Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, then the head of detention operations at Guantánamo. At his insistence, the Times wrote, the Defense Department sent training teams on 90-day tours in Iraq, showing the soldiers there the techniques utilized on the island. The timing, Amnesty International points out, happened to coincide with when the worst abuses occurred at Abu Ghraib.
Thanks to reports like those, the detention camps have become an international symbol of what democracy and justice are not. They’ve been plagued by suicide attempts by desperate detainees and condemned by the United Nations, human rights groups, even former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who called for the immediate closing of the camps in 2006.
“The value of holding prisoners there was unclear, but the price we were paying around the world for doing so was obvious,” Powell said.
The camps were created in 2002 as a deliberately “extraterritorial” place to extract information from captives in the “War on Terror.” By putting them at Guantanamo, the United States, meant to be beyond the jurisdiction of both the Geneva Conventions and U.S. courts.
That didn’t put them outside the range of public opinion. The camps sparked outrage on day one. Pictures flew around the world of shackled and handcuffed detainees on their knees on the ground with black hoods over their heads and mittens on their hands.
The indignation grew as the first 20 captives went into wire cages at Camp X-Ray, described by critics as “kennels.” Soon, though, the detainees were transferred to permanent cells, and Camp X-Ray was closed.
But the human rights complaints continued, even from some of America’s closest allies.
In 2006, speaking on BBC radio, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said:
“I am absolutely clear that the U.S. has no intention of maintaining a Gulag in Guantanamo Bay. They want to see the situation resolved and they would like it other than it is. However, that is the situation that they have.”
In all 779 detainees have been held in the camps. Eight have died there, including six suicides. One man died of colon cancer, another after an apparent heart attack.
And, in the 10 years since it opened, only six detainees have been convicted of war crimes.
The last 171 still there are caught at the conflicting conjunction where bureaucracy, politics, and military regulations collide – offering little chance, at least for the foreseeable future, of gaining their release.
Forty-six are classified as “indefinite detainees,” held without charges, but considered too dangerous to be released; 89 are eligible for release or transfer but in perpetual custody because there is no place to send them. Five more have been convicted of war crimes; and six face trial – perhaps this year – for the 9/11 attacks and the October 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing.
That makes Guantanamo, as Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald described it in a piece for Foreign Affairs, “arguably the most expensive prison camp on earth, with a staff of 1,850 U.S. troops and civilians managing a compound that contains 171 captives, at a cost of $800,000 a year per detainee.”
But even the budget conscious Congress resists closing the base. In fact, it has used its spending oversight powers to thwart the president’s efforts to do just that. It has used that authority to prevent the trial of detainees on U.S. soil and to block the purchase of a dedicated prison facility in Illinois to house transferred detainees.
And no one wants to risk having a released captive later become involved in an act of terrorism or insurgency, which happened with at least one-fourth of the 500 detainees set free under President George W. Bush.
So, the captives remain in Guantanamo. Until when no one knows.
As Marc Thiessen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNN:
“We have the right to continue to hold them as long as al Qaeda is at war with us.”
Having the right, though, doesn’t make it right, said Geneve Mantri, government relations director for national security, Amnesty International.
Speaking to The Huffington Post on Wednesday, he said the 89 cleared for release by both the Bush administration and a review ordered by President Obama, “represent little or no threat.”
“This has always been sold as a question of the worst of the worst and the reality is that a large number of the people that have been picked up, I hate to say it are in the insignificant and rather pathetically sad story category,” he said.
“There is a minority of people (in the camps) that no one doubts are truly dangerous. That minority of people should be placed in front of a US court. Because we have the most efficient system, the fastest and cheapest and best system for looking at all the evidence. You produce it all in a court of law. Have a real defense — an internationally recognized defense. And then put them away forever.”
Filed under: Afghanistan, Democracy, Freedoms, Hate Crime, homegrown terror, Middle East, Pakistan, Pakistani Taliban, President Obama, United States Tagged: Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Cuba, GITMO, Guantanamo, Guantanamo Bay, Gulag, Human rights, NDAA, President Obama, United Nations
Posted on 02 January 2012 by Tea Server
Former Pakistan ambassador Husain Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jahangir sounds a sombre warning about the danger Haqqani is in from the military and intelligence agencies that are capable of picking him up and ‘twisting his limbs’ to make him say what they want to hear. Talking to Dawn TV’s Matiullah Jan in a detailed interview of Jan 1, 2012 she says that she took up the case because she found it a travesty that an individual was being condemned on the basis of a media trial without due process or representation. However, she will not represent him before the Judicial Commission that has been formed as she does not trust the process. The interview, posted in six parts (about 5-6 min each), is worth listening to in full as she makes some crucial points about the significance of this judgement to Pakistan’s politics. She sums some of these points up in this earlier brief interview with Al Jazeera English:
“It’s is a very disappointing judgement, because the Supreme Court has actually said it is people’s fundamental right to come set up a commission against anyone that they accuse. So once a commission is set up and if Mr Haqqani is aggrieved by that something the Commission has done, there’s nowhere he can go; his due process has been taken away. But more than that it has restricted fundamental rights to national security. It’s a big blow to those who believe in the democratic process and in the protection of fundamental rights”.
The issue as she said, was not about one individual, Husain Haqqani. “The point of the case is to go right up to the government. So this is basically (about the) civil military relationship in which sadly the courts have more or less shifted their weight with the establishment.”
In Pakistan, the military is still in power, there has been no transfer of power, she said. “They have been able to use one of the opponents of the government to go to court and take this petition under the guise of fundamental rights.” So our fundamental rights “are now subservient to national security. When there’s a tussle between what the civilian government says and what the military says, which are two different things, there has to be a showdown and where will that take us?”
Asked what the course of action should have been, she pointed out that there was already a parliamentary commission looking into ‘Memogate’. And secondly “there are laws in this country under which they could have got an investigation”. Instead, they moved to the highest court as the first instance, taking Mr Haqqani “out of the queue and denying due process”.
In her Dawn News interview later, elaborating, she says she expected the judges to uphold the Constitution and fundamental rights, rather than undermining them in the guise of ‘national security’.
“I don’t have great expectations from the judges, they seem to have expectations of themselves,” she said. “I’ve argued in court, because this is such a politicised matter, let the politicians settle it. Secondly, if we want to further democratic norms and traditions, we need to support the power of the people” rather than the power of the establishment. It is this that will provide the state its true security.
“That’s not the job of the SC. Their job is to support us, the citizens. Judges are subservient to the Constitution. This is a crucial and critical point. They should not make an issue out of national security. There can be many interpretations of national security.”
To Matiullah Jan’s question about the issue of national security, given Pakistan’s status as a “Muslim nation with nuclear weapons”, she replied: “You can’t compromise on fundamental rights, you can’t compromise on people’s rights. Secondly, there was no danger to national security.”
About Mansoor Ijaz, she said, that the DG ISI went to him and said that prima facie this is a case. Someone who has been writing articles against Pakistan for some years, DG ISI never went to him before. He is “a man who is a US citizen, who says his loyalty is to United States, someone who has written many articles against Pakistan, including one that I didn’t read out in court out of respect, in which he’d written that the Chief Justice is indebted to Nawaz Sharif. You’re accepting his credibility, not giving credibility to your ambassador to US. You’re informing the civilian government after you’ve already conspired against them. There are so many holes in the BBM memos that we’ve pointed out, but the CJ can’t see those holes?”
In essence, the army leadership has prevailed over society and institutions. This is a victory for them. There have been many petitions before SC earlier but “this is the first time that that notice was sent to them and they went running.”
Asked what proof there was that the petition was sponsored by the military, she said for one thing, they are never in such a hurry to reply, secondly, they didn’t go through Attorney General, and thirdly, it’s “clear that the federation is giving one answer, they’re giving another”.
Could this have happened if the government wasn’t weak, asks Jan.
“Yes, the government is weak. We wouldn’t have seen this day if it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter which government it is, what matters is whether the army is going to retain its influence on politics in Pakistan. They’ve exposed themselves. They’ve exposed the fact that the DG ISI was carrying out an investigation against the Prime Minister.”
She said she had asked Husain Haqqani to get another lawyer for the Commission, as it was too much for her blood pressure.
“As a professional lawyer, shouldn’t you be able to fight this case also?” asks Jan.
“It’s not about losing a case. We lose 3-4 cases every month,” she replied. “This has been a struggle I’ve been involved in (restoration of judiciary and democracy). There was a hope, but I don’t see that being fulfilled. It’s not personal, it’s not about this government or another. There are much bigger issues at stake.”
The basic issue, she stressed, is the civil-military relationship. The judgement has been a setback to the struggle for democracy and due process. The struggle, as Asma Jahangir said, will continue.
Posted on 01 January 2012 by Tea Server
On the 31st of December 2011, America’s first black president signed off on the controversial NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) of 2012 which allows the US government to detain and torture US citizens that speak out against the government (thus killing free speech) in any capacity EVEN on social media. This pretty much sounds like [...]