Saturday, November 18, 2006

Abuse of power by the U.S. police state

‘UCLA Police officers shot an (Iranian-American) student several times with a Taser inside the Powell Library computer lab late Tuesday night before taking him into custody.

The student's name is "Mostafa Tabatabainejad". He was selected for a random student ID check by a student worker, but he failed to provide his ID card. He was heading towards the door with his stuff when the cops showed up and tried to escort him out. One cop put a hand on his arm to get him out and he yelled "get off me!" as a second cop walked up and the rest was taped.…’






Tabatabainejad was subjected to multiple shocks, despite the fact that he posed no resistance against his removal from the library. As a matter of fact he screamed “I’m not fighting…”, when oddly instructed not to resist.

He was forced to stand up after each shock, in spite the fact that the use of Taser guns can induce temporary muscle spasm and paralysis, making it impossible for the victim to move. Read an eyewitness account here.

Another disturbing fact is the refusal of the officers to provide their ID numbers, when students asked for it explicitly. These students were instructed not to intervene, or otherwise they would be shot by Taser as well.

Since the Police Department’s early announcement [pdf], which was released a day after the incidence, seems biased in favor of its employees, I kindly request every visitor of this site to do the following:

- Spread the word. Please send this text to as many people as you can.
- Call, fax, or mail the UCLA Police Department, and express your concern.

Telephone: 310-825-2151
Fax: 310-206-6030
E-mail: chancellor@conet.ucla.edu

You may also send an e-mail anonymously by using this link. The recipient cannot discover your identity. Flood their goddamn mailbox, be my guest!

Please remember that this case is not only about an Iranian-American student. It is about the abuse of our civil rights in the name of security and "protection".

The use of Taser gun has been considered as torture by Amnesty International.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Immorality




Our world is governed by immoral leaders. Immorality!
Immorality has different faces, of which inappropriate e-mails are perhaps one of the least important….

_______

About the image: Najaf, Iraq, 31 March 2003. Iraqi man comforts his son at a holding center for prisoners of war. Photo by Jean-Marc Bouju, France, The Associated Press. World Press Photo of 2003.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The true space oddity


Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist, says it was her childhood dream to be able to travel into the space one day. In realizing this dream, she hopes to show women and girls around the world that they, too, can reach their dreams, especially given the fact that she was born and raised in a country where not many opportunities were provided to her (I paraphrased part of her interview with the CNN).


Hydra has a dream too, and he truly hopes that it will be realized someday. He wishes that the “media one day flies” like Ansari would not make quasi-philosophical/sociological statements in the future, implying justice and morality in the human world.

There are millions of people on this planet who are more talented, harder working, and prettier than Ansari, but will never have 25 million dollars to afford this luxury trip out of town.

My friends, do not underestimate the chance factor. You could have easily been her, floating around at the space station with millions of dollars in your bank account. Or… you could have been that poor child in Arusha or Johannesburg, infected with the HIV, and destined to await your death in pain. The chances are equal. Make a choice. No, sorry… you can’t.

The choking cat

I was starving, so made myself a hamburger
And one extra so I could eat it up later
Better weather than yesterday… yesterday it was too cold
I hate it when it’s cold. Especially when it’s not supposed to, like in August
I sat in front of my computer… thinking about… I don’t know… work, I guess
Noises…What the hell? Not him again….
I ran to the kitchen, the cat stole my hamburger
Goddamn idiot… I hope you're gonna choke!
I wanna get out of here… I wanna get outta this town, this country, this planet
Maybe I can be one of the future space tourists! Who knows…
Hell, yeah!
I can take protein en vitamin pills all day… cats hate pills…

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Are we blind?



A distinguished man once said that great crimes against humanity are not committed by the aggressor, but by those who stand by to observe, and fail to intervene.

Watch a short video.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dream part II






Perhaps, he deserves it more than any other U.S. president in recent history.

Read more.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dream











I had a dream last night. I dreamt that I had posted something on this blog. I came here this morning to see if there were any comments. Nothing!

I looked at the date and realized that I had forgotten his birthday. On 13 August 2005, I wrote the first entry of this blog about Ganji and the opposition. Since then I have had an interesting relation with this blog, nurturing, as well as neglecting it for long periods of time. I love it, because it provides me a channel to express my opinions, hopes and frustrations about a large number of things. The subjects of my entries were predominately focused on world news and politics. As these subjects often affect me more than my own personal frustrations, I hope to be able to continue this line of writing in the future.

In the past year, I have had the honor to get to know a number of other bloggers whose writings were genuine, inspiring and challenging to me. Some have left the blog world, but most are still active. I, hereby, want to thank them all for their input, comments and encouragements.


Friday, August 11, 2006

See how they treat our scientists

Zharf weblog has posted a disturbing account of a Sharif University alumni who, together with other Sharif graduates, was jailed and deported upon arrival in the U.S.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Israeli PR Manual

A new war has begun, and the Israeli public relation services are running 24/7. During the last weeks, a whole bunch of Israeli spokespersons have appeared on CNN and BBC, representing the army, as well as the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs. Of course, not everyone is qualified for such TV appearances. Candidates need to follow extensive training. Recently, a small part of a training manual, issued by the Joint Security Forces (Ministry of Defence and the Moussad), has leaked and circulated among a small group of journalists and anti-war activists.

A section of this manual contains the following instructions for Israeli spokespersons:

- Keep looking into the camera, and smile at the beginning and the end of the interview. Be very serious, and even upset during the interview, as our nation is under attack by fundamentalist militants.

- Do not forget that, under all circumstances, we are right. Never admit to cruelty, mistakes or miscalculations.

- Hezbollah is a TERRORIST organization. Never refer to it as a ‘resistance movement’.

- Emphasize that our struggle is solely against Hezbollah, and not Lebanon, or its people. Never mind the fact that almost everyone out there is supporting them, and that Hezbollah is part of a democratically elected government. Use terms, such as ‘state within a state’ and ‘hijacking Lebanon’ as much as possible.

- Our mission is to free Lebanon from Hezbollah fundamentalism, and to defend our innocent citizens. Do not mention anything about the two soldiers who were taken hostage by the Hezbollah (what were their names again?). We cannot afford to tell the world that we have been killing hundreds of people, and wiping off entire neighborhoods and villages, just for two Israeli soldiers.

- “We have the right to defend ourselves”. Use this phrase whenever you have nothing else to say.

- Make sure that everyone believes that Hezbollah actually started the war, and our struggle is completely reactive.

- When asked why Israel attacks public areas in Lebanon, emphasize our military objective to destroy Hezbollah ‘infrastructure’ (another term you may use very often). Our main argument is that, as Hezbollah militants may use all available infrastructure in Lebanon, such as roads, non-military buildings, hospitals, etc, we have therefore the right to destroy pretty much everything we want. However, try to formulate this argument in a more diplomatic fashion.

- It is important that Israeli people and politicians are viewed as innocent, civilized and enlightened folks, whereas Hezbollah and its people as hairy savages. Hence, it is essential that you are cleanly shaven, wear official cloths, and have a Euro-American appearance. The more people in the civilized world (North America and Europe) identify themselves with us, the higher the chances that they would accept our truth. If you are originally from the United States, or you can imitate the American accent well, that is even better.

- The world should see our little Jewish state as the frontier of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Hezbollah, and it superiors (i.e., Iran and Syria) want to destroy us, because they cannot stand our freedom and modern democracy. This hatred has not been generated by the fact that we have killed Arabs and occupied their lands, as some may suggest.

- Whenever faced with critical questions regarding the ‘disproportionate’ acts of violence by Israeli forces, draw an analogy with the Second World War in which the allies destroyed entire cities. In most cases, this strategy would make them quiet.

- Never appear on Arab televisions. They may ask too many difficult questions.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Words

- You've been very rude to them.
- It's as if you don't live here.
- You are a good researcher.
- When will you quit being a kid and get a life?
- I miss you.
- Yeah, I think it's a good idea too.... to break up.
- Sir, have you packed your bag yourself?
- I know, things are a bit hectic now. But it will get better.
- Focus on your work.
- How's it going?
- You MUST take a vacation.
- So you're from Ghana?
- I'm sorry.
- Why are you talking to me like that?
- You look like a fucking communist with your hair, glasses and army uniform....
-... Whatever "flight jacket".
- Did you finish the report?
- I love you!

I heard these words in the period between January and July this year. It's amazing how one's life can turn upside-down, and then arises once more from underneath the ruins of its existence.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

George Bush's resume





GEORGE W. BUSH
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20520


EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE


LAW ENFORCEMENT

I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine , in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.

MILITARY

I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam

COLLEGE

I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.

PAST WORK EXPERIENCE

I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas , in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas . The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry, including Enron CEO Ken Lay, I was elected governor of Texas .

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS

I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union .

During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida , and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT

I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market.

In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, had a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President. I am the all-time U.S . and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. History, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution.

More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip- offs in history.

I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law. I refused to allow inspectors access to U.S . "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).

I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S . history.

I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.

I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world community.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families-in-wartime.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD. I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden [sic] to justice.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES

All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review. I am a member of the Republican Party.

_______________
Source unknown

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Quiz

A. Hundreds of people are dying of AIDS and starvation in Africa on a daily basis.
B. Globally, thousands of political activists are being tortured and/or murdered in prisons.
C. A French player headbutts an Italian football player in Berlin.

Question: which one of these options will make it to the headline news?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bernard Lewis Project revisited





















‘If the order were to be given for an attack, the American combat troops now operating in Iran would be in position to mark the critical targets with laser beams, to insure bombing accuracy and to minimize civilian casualties. As of early winter, I was told by the government consultant with close ties to civilians in the Pentagon, the units were also working with minority groups in Iran, including the Azeri’s, in the north, the Baluchi's, in the southeast, and the Kurds, in the northeast. The troops “are studying the terrain, and giving away walking-around money to ethnic tribes, and recruiting scouts from local tribes and shepherds,” the consultant said. One goal is to get “eyes on the ground”—quoting a line from “Othello,” he said, “Give me the ocular proof.” The broader aim, the consultant said, is to “encourage ethnic tensions” and undermine the regime.’

This is a segment of an article in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh, a widely respected American journalist. Based on anonymous sources in the Pentagon, Hersh discusses the Bush administration’s plans to launch major air attacks on Iran and its covert operations within Iran’s borders to destabilize the country.

The US “encouragement of ethnic tensions” has been recently addressed by critics, including the Islamic Republic itself. Prior to the latest presidential elections in Iran, the province of Khuzestan was shocked by multiple bombings, which led to considerable civilian casualties. Many blamed the Arab separatists who are becoming growingly active in this region. One influential theory says that these separatist groups receive support from the US and Great Britain.

More recently, the Azerbaijan province has been the stage of public protests, and clashes with government forces. The background of the unrest was the publication of a cartoon in a national newspaper, which was considered as disrespectful towards the Azeri minority. It is by no mean surprising that people of Azerbaijan take action to protect and emphasis their (ethnic) identity. The interesting fact is, however, the timing and scale of the reactions, which may suggest that there is, in fact, more at stake that only a shattered ethnic pride. Could it be possible that a cartoon, picturing a cockroach speaking Azeri, would create massive protests a few years ago, prior to the Iran-US crisis on nuclear technology?

The stimulation of ethnic unrest is (unfortunately) not a new idea. Specifically in case of Iran, the current US plans seem to resemble a much older agenda, which is known as the “Bernard Lewis Project” . Bernard Lewis is one of the most influential scholars in the study of Islam and Middle East, whose views and expertise has been widely represented in public and political domain(1). From a scientific perspective, his views on Islam and Middle East, and their relation with the West can be considered as extremely orientalistic.

The Bernard Lewis Project was first presented in 1979. The core proposal of this project is to divide countries in the Middle East along ethnic and regional lines into smaller, rival states in order to weaken the power of existing governments. According to Lewis the West should provoke rebellion for national autonomy by certain minority groups that will, eventually, lead to the fragmentation of powerful states. In case of Iran, he formally proposed to target the Arabs of Khuzestan (the Al-Ahvaz Project), the Azeri’s (the Greater Azerbaijan Project), the Kurds (the Greater Kurdistan Project) and the Baluchi’s (the Pakhtunistan Project).

Now more than 25 years later, Iran is still too big for the region. This is especially problematic, as the country is perceived as a hostile state by the US. Undoubtably, Iran is a true (potential) threat to the US interests in the Middle East. Given the neoconservative agenda of the current US administration, it is not surprising that parts of Lewis’s proposition have been reconsidered in the context of recent developments, and already initiated in practice.

Moreover, the current situation in neighboring Iraq, where the country balances on the edge of a civil war, can facilitate further ethnic tensions in Iran, especially when an independent, self-governing Kurdistan emerges in Iraq. However, America’s first objective would be to target the oil producing Khuzestan region, as its separation will automatically paralyze the entire country, including the central government.

Apparently, the US aggressive policy towards Iran seems to be a component of the much broader “Project for the New American Century”, an old agenda that has also been revived by the neocons to ensure the American dominance as the world’s only superpower in the region.

------
(1) Dick Cheney remraked “I had the pleasure of first meeting Bernard [Lewis] more than 15 years ago, during my time as Secretary of Defense. It was not long after the dictator of Iraq had invaded Kuwait, and we brought in a large number of outside experts to speak about the history and the way forward in the Middle East. As you might imagine, I got a wide range of advice -- some of it very good and some of it terrible. No one offered sounder analysis or better insight than Bernard Lewis. He was an absolute standout, and I decided that day that this was a man I wanted to keep in touch with, and whose work I should follow carefully in the years ahead..... In this new century, his wisdom is sought daily by policymakers, diplomats, fellow academics, and the news media.” (1 may 2006). Read the entire speech here.

Monday, March 27, 2006

!

It was a nice day
I drank my last cup of sorrow
I'll miss its sweet taste....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Don't let Iran follow Iraq's destiny


STOP THE WAR BEFORE IT STARTS!

Millions of people in Iran are anxious and troubled, as Bush threatens to start a new war. The U.S. and her allies are following a path of escalation that notably resembles their preparations prior to the invasion of Iraq. "Weapons of mass destruction" are, however, replaced with "nuclear weapons". The true motives of this aggressive politics are neither concerns regarding "nuclear weapons" nor "democratization", but have to do with the greed for oil and hegemony in the region. Any threat of a military attack will give the Iranian regime the excuse to oppress the struggle for democracy. We support the struggle of Iranian people for freedom: change by the people for the people.

We oppose any form of military intervention against Iran.

* A military attack - also in the form of a “precision bombardment” – will result in thousands of civilian casualties. In Iraq, since the start of the war on March the 20th 2003, more than 100,000 people have been killed.

* Following the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, a new attack on Iran will further destabilize the already unstable situation in the Middle East.

* Foreign interference and applying a divide and rule policy will lead to ethnic unrest. It results in a vicious circle of violence, insecurity, and ultimately a civil war.

Please take a minute to read (and sign) our petition. Thanks for your support.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Back in business

Ending a relationship is one of the most difficult things one may do in his or her life. This is especially true, when the relationship exceeds a certain length of time, and there has been a fair degree of investment going on from both sides. It’s fascinating how diverse emotions merge with one another to create a complex and intensive experience of the situation. Recently, I had the honor to experience that personally. And what now remains is the fabulous outlook upon the future.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Update

Folks,

I'm having a rough time in my personal life. At the moment, I don't feel inspired to update the blog with new posts. I'll try to be back soon.

Thanks for visiting,

Hydra

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Is this 'development'?


"My name is Roy Sesana; I am a Gana Bushman from the Kalahari in what is now called Botswana. In my language, my name is Tobee and our land is 'T//amm'. We have been there longer than any people has been anywhere.

When I was young, I went to work in a mine. I put off my skins and wore clothes. But I went home after a while. Does that make me less Bushman? I don't think so.

I am a leader. When I was a boy we did not need leaders and we lived well. Now we need them because our land is being stolen and we must struggle to survive. It doesn't mean I tell people what to do, it's the other way around: they tell me what I have to do to help them.

I cannot read. You wanted me to write this speech, so my friends helped, but I cannot read words -- I'm sorry! But I do know how to read the land and the animals. All our children could. If they didn't, they would have all died long ago.

I know many who can read words and many, like me, who can only read the land. Both are important. We are not backward or less intelligent: we live in exactly the same up-to-date year as you. I was going to say we all live under the same stars, but no, they're different, and there are many more in the Kalahari. The sun and moon are the same.

I grew up a hunter. All our boys and men were hunters. Hunting is going and talking to the animals. You don't steal. You go and ask. You set a trap or go with bow or spear. It can take days. You track the antelope. He knows you are there, he knows he has to give you his strength. But he runs and you have to run. As you run, you become like him. It can last hours and exhaust you both. You talk to him and look into his eyes. And then he knows he must give you his strength so your children can live.

When I first hunted, I was not allowed to eat. Pieces of the steenbok were burnt with some roots and spread on my body. This is how I learned. It's not the same way you learn, but it works well.

The farmer says he is more advanced than the backward hunter, but I don't believe him. His herds give no more food than ours. The antelope are not our slaves, they do not wear bells on their necks and they can run faster than the lazy cow or the herder. We run through life together.

When I wear the antelope horns, it helps me talk to my ancestors and they help me. The ancestors are so important: we would not be alive without them. Everyone knows this in their heart, but some have forgotten. Would any of us be here without our ancestors? I don't think so.

I was trained as a healer. You have to read the plants and the sand. You have to dig the roots and become fit. You put some of the root back for tomorrow, so one day your grandchildren can find it and eat. You learn what the land tells you.

When the old die, we bury them and they become ancestors. When there is sickness, we dance and we talk to them; they speak through my blood. I touch the sick person and can find the illness and heal it.

We are the ancestors of our grandchildren's children. We look after them, just as our ancestors look after us. We aren't here for ourselves. We are here for each other and for the children of our grandchildren.

Why am I here? Because my people love their land, and without it we are dying. Many years ago, the president of Botswana said we could live on our ancestral land forever. We never needed anyone to tell us that. Of course we can live where God created us! But the next president said we must move and began forcing us away.

They said we had to go because of diamonds. Then they said we were killing too many animals: but that's not true. They say many things which aren't true. They said we had to move so the government could develop us. The president says unless we change we will perish like the dodo. I didn't know what a dodo was. But I found out: it was a bird which was wiped out by settlers. The president was right. They are killing us by forcing us off our land. We have been tortured and shot at. They arrested me and beat me.

Thank you for the Right Livelihood Award. It is global recognition of our struggle and will raise our voice throughout the world. When I heard I had won I had just been let out of prison. They say I am a criminal, as I stand here today.

I say what kind of development is it when the people live shorter lives than before? They catch HIV/AIDS. Our children are beaten in school and won't go there. Some become prostitutes. They are not allowed to hunt. They fight because they are bored and get drunk. They are starting to commit suicide. We never saw that before. It hurts to say this. Is this ‘development'?

We are not primitive. We live differently to you, but we do not live exactly like our grandparents did, nor do you. Were your ancestors ‘primitive'? I don't think so. We respect our ancestors. We love our children. This is the same for all people.

We now have to stop the government stealing our land: without it we will die.

If anyone has read a lot of books and thinks I am primitive because I have not read even one, then he should throw away those books and get one which says we are all brothers and sisters under God and we too have a right to live.

That is all. Thank you."


Roy Sesana
First People of the Kalahari, Botswana


On 9 December 2005, Roy Sesana has been granted the Right Livelihood Award, a.k.a. ‘the Alternative Nobel Prize’, “... for resolute resistance against eviction from their ancestral lands, and for upholding the right to their traditional way of life.” Click here for more information on the Gana struggle to survive.