UK media caught stirring up extremist hatred on Muslim internet forum
by Tom Pride
The following comment was posted on an online chat forum for Muslims yesterday inviting responses:
Some of the other members of the forum became suspicious by the strange comment and decided to check the new member’s ISP address:
More up-to-date checks of the ISP address by other members of the forum showed the comment was posted by someone working at the Daily Mail Group (the Evening Standard used to be part of the Daily Mail Group):
The whole thread has now been deleted from the forum but it can still be viewed on Google’s webcache here.
So it seems the Daily Mail ordered one of their journalists to pose as an extremist on a Muslim forum to try to elicit comments they could use for an anti-Muslim story.
Fortunately they were busted.
In a civilized society, a national newspaper journalist trying to stir up hatred and controversy with lies and subterfuge should be so professionally shameful it would normally lead to the sack for the hack concerned and investigations into standards of journalistic accountability at the publication.
Afghanistan: Taliban torch hundreds of ‘NATO-supplying’ trucks
An assault by militants at a large parking lot on the outskirts of Afghan capital, Kabul, Friday night left at least 200 fuel tankers incinerated. The Taliban said the privately-owned tankers were targeted because they supply foreign troops.
“The number of tankers on fire is not yet clear, but based on preliminary reports from police around 200 tankers have been burned,” Reuters cited the Afghan Interior Ministry as saying.
AP, meanwhile, reported that 400 tankers had been burned out.
Taliban fighters fired four RPG rockets at a logistics compound in the Paghman district of the capital, said Hashmat Stanekzai, a spokesman for the Kabul police, confirming that the number of burned-out vehicles could reach 400.
Police are still investigating the case and though no casualties have yet to be reported “we fear the worst,” Stanekzai said, adding that fire had continued for a long time.
Other sources said the insurgents also planted magnetic bombs to set the tankers on fire.
“It was a magnetic bomb that caused the fuel tankers to catch fire,” said Gul Aghan Hashimi, criminal investigations director of the Kabul police, AFP reported.
The attackers were in uniforms so the Afghan security forces and drivers were confused and could not understand what was going on.
“If it was the Taliban or other people, they were dressed in uniform we couldn’t understand what was happening. They were shooting towards the drivers and also they were setting tankers on fire, any of the drivers who wanted to turn on their truck, [the attackers] would target them,” fuel tanker driver Juma Gul told AP.
In a statement early Saturday to the media, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.
“Our brave Mujahideen fighters in a special tactic have set ablaze hundreds of fuel tankers in the west of Kabul, which were supplying fuel and food for foreign forces,” he said.
Taliban fighters have been attacking convoys bringing supplies for NATO-led forces in landlocked Afghanistan for years now, but tankers have recently become their primary target.
The previous attack on fuel tankers took place June 19, when an attack of Taliban suicide bombers on a convoy of fuel trucks at the Pakistan border triggered a firefight between police guards and Islamist insurgents, resulting in 37 fuel trucks being burned.
ISAF troops, the US-led international contingent in Afghanistan, get most of their fuel supplies via the Pakistani port of Karachi.
The ISAF supply route via Pakistan has never been secure, because of the Taliban’s activities there and because the authorities in Islamabad and locals have more than once blocked the route because of the drone war the US government is waging against the Islamists in the country, and also because of friendly fire incidents involving the US Air Force.
In June, the US military finally closed its key transit center at the Manas airport near Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. During the 12 1/2 years of the Afghan military campaign the facility remained the primary air supply hub for the ISAF’s contingent in the war zone.
In 2012, Russia allowed NATO to use not only ground, but also aerial, routes for the transit of weapons and military hardware to and from Afghanistan.
Now that the tensions between Moscow and Washington over the unfolding civil war in Ukraine are higher than ever, the US military has to consider the challenge of transporting millions of pieces of military assets out of Afghanistan when all possible exit routes – including through Russia – are blocked.
Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims is happening right now
Posted by: MV Media
By: Joseph Allchin
Two years ago, I stood in searing heat along a dusty rural road in Burma, lined for miles with local people waiting with hope and jubilation for history to be made: Aung San Suu Kyi—daughter of an assassinated Burmese independence hero, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, and leader of the democratic opposition—would ride by on her way to cast a vote. In the first legitimate elections since a military junta took power in 1962, she won a seat in parliament.
By March of this year, in an indication of how sharply divided people have become here in western Burma, where Buddhist Southeast Asia blends into Muslim South Asia, opinion of Suu Kyi had shifted dramatically. Near the town of Thandwe, in the state of Rakhine, a young waiter showed me on his phone a doctored photo of Suu Kyi, a worldwide icon of popular struggle and democracy. She was in the arms of a caricatured, stereotypical “Muslim.”
“Everyone used to love Aung San Suu Kyi,” the waiter, Naing Htoo, said. “Now everyone hates her. She married a Muslim,” he added, erroneously.
Burma today is supposedly undergoing a transition to democracy. Though President Thein Sein’s shift consisted largely of just a veneer of political liberalization, it’s been followed by a wave of investment from U.S. and European companies, effectively funding and supporting Thein Sein’s government while it has sat idly and even abetted a nightmare of religious and racial persecution for at least one of the country’s many minority groups.
President Obama on May 15 announced the continuation of economic sanctions against Burma. The West had been busy dismantling punitive measures against the junta, but while Obama credited Thein Sein with taking the country “down a path of both political and economic reform,” he also noted, “The political opening remains nascent, and concerns persist regarding ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, particularly in Rakhine State, and the continued role of the military in the country’s political and economic activities.”
The trouble in Rakhine started a little more than a month after I watched Suu Kyi being greeted by adulation. A 27-year-old Buddhist named Thida Htwe was allegedly raped and murdered in Rakhine. The rape was purportedly committed by a group of young Rohingya. Burma is majority Buddhist; Rakhine State borders Bangladesh, a Muslim nation. The accusation that Muslims had defiled and killed a Buddhist woman brought to the fore a centuries-old resentment of Burma’s Muslim community, unearthing accusations that the Rohingya were illegitimate Burmese and responsible for a host of the country’s problems. Mobs largely composed of Rakhine’s Buddhists burned, looted, and attacked communities of Muslim Rohingya.
“We used to go to their village and us to theirs,” says Rohingya Jamal Hussein, 55, a farmer. “After the 2012 riots we felt that if we left the house, we would be killed; when we went to the market we used to get called ‘kalar.’ ” The term is the Burmese version of the n-word.
As the 2012 violence spread, thousands of Rohingya fled by sea, washing up on beaches in Thailand and beyond. Around 80,000 are thought to have fled in 2012. The violence has continued sporadically ever since.
Zahida, 25, says she came to Bangladesh a year and a half ago, after Buddhist mobs killed her husband, father, and brother.
Rakhine Buddhists “burned our village,” she told me in the town of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, near the Burma border. “People came and tried to confiscate our property, like our cows. When we refused, they came in a mob and tried to grab the Rohingya women; some were raped.”
She says her husband fought back and killed one of the attackers. A few nights later, she told me, “military and [others] came to my house and called to my husband. My husband woke up and went out of the house, and they told him, ‘You have to come with us for a walk,’ so he went with them. After a few days I heard my husband was killed by them.”
Though unverifiable, Zahida’s account is consistent with a Human Rights Watch reportdescribing mob attacks and a government vehicle dumping 18 “naked and half-clothed” bodies at the entrance of a displaced persons camp, “sending a message consistent with a policy of ethnic cleansing.”
Zahida’s grief is still raw, a year and a half later, as she describes how three of her male relatives were killed in separate incidents. The death of her brother seems particularly affecting.
“He was a religious teacher,” she says. “The government came to his house and said, ‘You went to spread your religion.’ It was the military border guards.” Zahida cradles her five-year-old son as she wells up with grief.
A few days later, she continues, “another religious teacher was called by the border guards and asked if he wanted [her brother’s] body. They said, ‘We have killed him. If you want his body, you can have it.’ ”
When the corpse arrived, Zahida says, she saw that her brother’s arms, legs, tongue, and penis had been cut off. She says her grandfather was killed in a similar manner.
Farmer Jamal Hussein, 55, tells a similar story. “Just over a year ago Rakhine people came and attacked the Rohingya people,” he told me. The local Rohingya community had recently protested an attack on a religious group en route to a nearby town. “It was a Friday evening. Both my sons were killed by the Rakhines; that’s why I came to Bangladesh,” he continues. On their way to the market one day, witnesses told him, Rakhines stabbed his sons, Karim, 15, and Nurul Islam, 20, to death.
Rohingya camps like the one where Zahida and Jamal live are on both sides of the border. None offers much in the way of aid. The Burmese camps are largely cut off from the rest of the country, creating a dire shortage of basic food and medical supplies, according to NGOs and press reports. NGOs providing assistance were recently hounded out by Rakhine mobs after a rumor circulated of an NGO member desecrating a Buddhist prayer flag. U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang called the conditions in the camps “appalling,” with “wholly inadequate access to basic services including health, education, water and sanitation.”
Conditions for the Rohingya today may be even worse than when the U.S. Embassy described the region as a “vast internment camp” six years ago.
“The military has effectively sealed the Rohingyas off from the world and keeps them at the bare subsistence level—it is an internment camp,” the embassy reported in cables released by WikiLeaks. “Infant mortality [was] four times the national average; 64 percent of children under five are chronically malnourished and stunted growth is common. Teachers are scarce, with one for every 79 students vs. the 1:40 national average.”
Despite the high levels of infant mortality, the government has committed to a two-child policy—but only for Rohingya.
Buddhist zealots contend that the Rohingya are a legacy of colonial British rule in the 19th century and not truly Burmese. Yet Michael Charney, member of the academic staff at University of London’s SOAS South Asia Institute, writes that Muslims have been in the Rakhine region since “at least the ninth century.” Early Muslim residents were likely transient, but in the late 16th and early 17th centuries Portuguese slave traders brought Bengali Muslim captives to Rakhine, then an independent kingdom. These formed the first settled, agrarian Muslim communities.
The scapegoating of Muslims came later, when a different South Asian group did arrive with the British; many became successful moneylenders. During the Great Depression, notes Professor Sean Turnell of Macquarie University in Sydney, ownership by this group of agricultural land in the region soared as bankrupt farmers forfeited the collateral they had used to gain financing from the late arrivals from India, known as Chettiar. Thus those of South Asian origin became lumped in together and were “easy scapegoats not just for the current economic distress but the foreign domination of Burma’s economy,” writes Turnell.
Burma’s first leader during the transition to independence after World War II was a young, hard-nosed idealist and the father of the country’s current democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San “said that Muslims and Buddhists were no different,” recalls Mohamed Idris, 60, sheltering from the sun in his new home in the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shamlapur. “He looked at all people with one eye.”
Political rivals assassinated Aung San in 1947. By the time of the dictatorship of Ne Win in 1962, despite his having been a colleague and a “comrade” of Aung San’s, the government took a radically different approach. Ardent nationalist identity politics and the draconian isolation that the country is only now beginning to emerge from took hold, and soon there were pogroms against different ethnicities. Allegations that the dictator was stoking them were both widespread and credible.
In 1982 Rohingya were excluded from citizenship, making every day survival difficult, as they were denied basics such as freedom of movement and education. Periodically, the military would persecute Rohingya in organized campaigns. The first major instance, in 1978, was called Operation Dragon King; Rohingya were targeted with extreme brutality, and around a quarter of a million fled to Bangladesh. One refugee I met in 2011 described the purge: She claimed military personnel butchered her eight-month-old son before her eyes.
Today’s government in Burma, which started calling itself Myanmar in 1989, traces its ideological lineage to Ne Win. In 2010, it declared itself the winner of an election it had rigged. Suu Kyi was allowed to take part in a 2012 by-election, in which only a small fraction of the seats were contested. Parliament remains stocked with former military personnel.
This spring, the government attempted a long-overdue census. Because it has been 60 years since the last accurate count, little demographic data on the country exists. Many Rohingya hoped that the chance to be counted would help assure their place in their home.
Days before the census was to be conducted, though, the government announced that the word “Rohingya” would not be allowed on the census forms, and that those identifying as such would only be allowed to call themselves “Bengali”—the term for residents of the region of Bengal, comprising Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. The U.N. agency helping with the count said this contradicted its agreement with the government, and it told The Guardian that government census takers declined to count anyone who identified as Rohingya. Idris told me, “The women of the village were united in saying, ‘Even if they kill us, we have to say we are Rohingya. If we say ‘Bengali,’ they will remove us from [Rakhine] forever.” Idris fled the country shortly after the census, like thousands of other Rohingya, for Bangladesh. “In our village there are no younger boys or men,” Idris said. “All men and boys have been arrested, killed, or fled. Some women have left, but most have stayed. At night, [Buddhists] come to our village and attack any ladies they see to rape them.
Israel Bombs Gaza Strip, Masses Army On Border
By Patrick Martin
04 July, 2014
Israeli warplanes struck the Gaza Strip , hitting at least 15 targets in the blockaded Palestinian territory, causing extensive damage and wounding at least 10 people, including a pregnant woman and a 65-year-old man.
The Israel Defense Forces moved tanks and artillery units towards Gaza, positioning them in advance of any order from the cabinet to invade the densely populated enclave, with nearly two million people crammed into an area of less than 200 square miles. The IDF also called up an undisclosed number of reservists for duty.
The military mobilization was the largest on the border of Gaza since Israel’s last major attack on the Palestinian territory, eight days of bloody bomb and missile strikes in November 2012.
An Israeli military spokesman claimed the sites targeted by bombs and missiles were linked to Hamas, the Islamic party that has ruled Gaza since it won elections in 2006. The Israeli government has declared Hamas responsible for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, although that territory is controlled by the secular Palestinian party Fatah, with Israeli support.
The killing of the three teenagers, whose bodies were found on June 30 outside Hebron, is being used as a pretext by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to escalate tensions with Hamas and threaten an invasion or re-occupation of the Gaza Strip. Israeli military forces and settlers were withdrawn from Gaza in 2005.
Thursday’s bombing was the latest in a series of tit-for-tat exchanges, with Israeli jets dropping bombs or firing missiles at targets in Gaza, while Palestinian militants launch primitive unguided rockets from Gaza at nearby Israeli towns, particularly the border town of Sderot.
The Israeli attacks, using high-tech weaponry, much of it supplied by the United States, are far more destructive and lethal. On Tuesday, Israeli air strikes hit 34 targets in Gaza, after attacks over the weekend.
Bombs and missiles in Gaza have been combined with brutal military-police operations on the West Bank, where 500 Palestinians were arrested, dozens injured, and six killed in the four weeks since the kidnappings on the West Bank.
Tensions on the West Bank exploded Wednesday after the killing of a Palestinian youth, 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khudair, who was abducted from the street outside his home in East Jerusalem, apparently by ultra-right Jewish settlers vowing “revenge” for the killing of the three Israeli youth. Khudair’s body was found miles away, badly burned and bearing marks of violence.
Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets Wednesday in East Jerusalem in response to the news of Khudair’s murder, throwing rocks, bottles and firecrackers at police and setting up barricades. The neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina, where the violence was concentrated, were relatively quiet on Thursday, as the residents prepared for the funeral service, and Israeli troops sealed off access to that part of the city.
Late Thursday, the Khudair family said the funeral was postponed until Friday because of the delay in conducting an autopsy in Tel Aviv, where a Palestinian doctor was to observe the procedure.
Elsewhere in Jerusalem, protesters threw rocks and built barricades of burning tires. Israeli police fired stun grenades but otherwise did not directly engage the protesters.
Israeli police officials claimed that despite an intensive investigation, “the motive for the murder cannot be determined at present.” Eyewitnesses described the attackers as Jewish, however, and Palestinian officials have charged that the attackers were Israeli extremists.
While witnesses supplied police with the license plate number of the vehicle used by the kidnappers, the police have not publicly identified the killers.
The murdered youth’s family criticized police inaction. Hussein Abu Khudair, Muhammad’s father, declared: “If things were different, and an Arab kidnapped an Israeli, it would have been uncovered in moments.”