April 11, 2006

Bits of News

HAMAS has apparently decided to change its mind about the tactic it is most infamously known for, suicide bombings, despite the fact that its social and humanitarian programs far outweigh this tactic in influence and scope. This shift has been expected as many observers noted the organization's ascendance into the democratic scene will inevitably impact some its long standing traditions, including the highly controversial "martyrdom operations."

An article in the Observer details the semi-official announcement: [via KABOBfest]
Hamas is to abandon its use of suicide bombers, who have killed almost 300 Israelis, in any future confrontations with Israel, its activists have told The Observer. Yihiyeh Musa, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said Hamas had moved into a 'new era' which did not require suicide attacks. 'The suicide bombings happened in an exceptional period and they have now stopped,' he said. 'They came to an end as a change of belief.'

Another case of citizens of the UK or the US being arrested, jailed, and tortured in Arab countries while the governments of the countries of their citizenship turn a blind eye to their suffering. In this case, three Muslim British men living in Egypt are accused of being active members of an outlawed party, and are subsequently detained in one of the worst prison facilities in the world. This Guardian article captures their story:
Four years ago, three British men were jailed in Egypt for being members of a banned political party. Last month they walked free - after what they describe as years of horrific torture. To stave off madness, Maajid Nawaz organised daily races between two pebbles flicked haphazardly across the floor of his solitary confinement cell. By night, he studied the stars through a skylight in the roof of his Egyptian prison. He had no lights, no toilet and no sheets. For months he talked to himself; his only other constant companions were cockroaches.
When you thought there couldn't possibly be another scandal related to the Bush administration's drum up to the war on Iraq...yet another emerges. This administration never ceases to amaze us with its unrelenting policy of deception. Two days before President Bush boasted about "mobile biological laboratories" found in Iraq that "prove" the case for WMD, a Pentagon-sponsored fact-finding mission had already concluded that "the trailors had nothing to do with biological weapons." Dammit, why can't we just give the President the benefit of the doubt? Maybe Rumsfeld forgot to mention this minor detail in his daily briefing with Dubya!
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.
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