Monthly Archives: October 2008

Denmark Will Control Asylum Seekers

Historically, an asylum seeker was an individual who fled his native country due to fear of being imprisoned, beaten or killed. Many nations welcomed such individuals and allowed them to find peace and security in their midst. The Danish government is proposing new legislation which will compel asylum seekers who were initially denied the right to reside in Denmark to wear a monitored electronic ankle bracelet in order to keep tabs on their movements. Ordinarily, if an asylum seeker poses a threat to security or has committed a serious crime their application is denied. Some are allowed to remain in Denmark with a “resigned residence” permit if they face retribution back in their homeland.

Modern concerns about security and feelings toward terrorists suggest wearing ankle bracelets may not be the worse manner in which to treat someone who seeks security in another land. The real question is why someone is denied asylum but still allowed to reside in Denmark.

Israel-Syria Cooperation Key To Middle East Peace

Former Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin told the Israel newspaper, Haaretz, that peace between Syria and Israel could open the door for resolution of many problems in the Middle East. Even as he spoke, angry mobs in Syria were gathering around the American embassy in Damascus to protest recent military action carried out by US forces inside the territory of their land. President Bush has a way of lousing up efforts for peace by not understanding when there is need for quiet diplomacy to be allowed an opportunity to function instead of always resorting to bombings. Cetin believes a new American president will be the best hope to further efforts by Israel and Syria to achieve peace.

At present, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, has been working to bring together Syrian and Israel officials in order to broker peace between the nations. Cetin hopes this effort can move forward, and it will need the assistance of a new American president who works for peace rather than for war.

Armenian-Turkish Academics Gather For Peace

History has been both a factor to either divide or to unite people, and for a hundred years contrasting views as to what happened to Armenians early in the 20th century has made impossible relations between Armenians and Turks. A group of historians and social scientists from both nations are meeting to discuss the possibility if they can agree on a common explanation whether or not Armenians were subject to a genocide early in the twentieth century. Ironically, the rapprochement between the peoples began when the Turkish president witnessed a football match with an Armenian leader. The academics were brought together by the German Institute for International Cooperation and their task is examining historical materials in the search to uncover an explanation of events which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians.

Turkish law makes it illegal to use words such as “genocide” when referring to the deaths of Armenians so the task of this group is terribly important. The academics are finally coming together aside from political pressure and functioning as historians and social scientists who are trying to uncover the truth. The outcome of their efforts will be published in Armenian, Turkish, and English versions.

Ergil Neyzi Adanir said it clearly, “we are two peoples who have lived together for centuries,” and he raised valid questions of why has their historic relationship ended in hatred and bitter anger and how can academics undo the divisions that were created in the past.

McCain And Palin Bemoan Alleged Media Bias

Senator John McCain, appearing on Larry King, expressed his anger at the media for failing to cast a critical eye on Barack Obama as it did on Sarah Palin. In the meantime, Sarah Palin blasted the Los Angeles Times for refusing to release a video tape made of a 2003 party for Palestinian-American Professor Rashid Khalidi where remarks were made that were negative about Israel. The Times said it had discussed the entire episode in April, but had promised the person who gave them the tape that it would not be broadcast. McCain and Palin claimed Khalidi was a former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization and a noted critic of Israel policy in the Middle East. He currently teaches in the Middle East Studies program at Columbia University. Both Obama and Kahlidi have previously stated, that while friends, they disagreed on policy toward Israel.

Palin ranted on about “Israel was described there as the perpetrator of terrorism rather than the victim. What we don’t know is how Barack Obama responded to these slurs on a country that he professes to support.” She demanded the Los Angeles Times make the video public.

As a supporter of Israel, I frequently denounce the current government for its foolish policies. For years I have argued the West Bank must be restored to Palestinians, and now Prime Minister Olmert has adopted a similar position. Does Palin consider Olmert to be an enemy of Israel? Anyone who cares about Israel must make clear disagreements with Israeli policies that violate human rights. Israel is the only real democracy in the region which makes it even more important that it should respect the rights of Palestinians. Sorry, Governor Palin, if you love Israel then you speak in negative terms about the nation you love if their policies are incorrect.

By the way, Governor Palin, how come the media has given your husband the silent treatment about his associations with a party that wants to secede from America? Oh, care to talk about the “fairness” of Fox News?

UN Urges US End Boycott Of Cuba

Nearly a half century has gone by with the United States refusing to allow normal economic, social and political contacts to occur between the government of Cuba and America. The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution asking the United States to repeal its embargo against trade with the Cuban communist government. It was the seventeenth straight year nations of the world have made clear their distaste with the American policy which makes no sense and simply reflects the power of Cubans in Florida to use their political power to block trade with their former mother country. The UN vote was 184 to 4 which reflects how broad is consensus around the world about the incomprehensible American policy.

The United States initiated contact with Communist China over thirty years ago, and had relations with Saddam Hussein for years, but, contacts with Cuba remain off limits. America insists there is justification because Cuba has an undemocratic government and restricts political and economic freedom. If that is the reason, why did the United States for years have relations with the Soviet Union, Communist China, Iraq, etc….?

Somalia Crisis Worsens As Bombs Kill Dozens

Two years ago, President Bush encouraged the Ethiopian government to invade the Muslim nation of Somalia and overthrow its government. Bush feared the presence of an Islamist fundamentalist government posed a threat to American interests. The invading Christian Ethiopians opened the door for Islamist militants to resume guerrilla warfare. A wave of synchronised suicide attacks on UN, and diplomatic and government institutions. The careful organization of the suicide bombers was unusual for a Somalia militant operation. It indicates there is growing sophistication in resistance on the part of Islamic forces.

The attacks focused on institutions such as the Ethiopian consulate, ministry offices, and UN aid organizations. The situation has grown worse, not better since the American sponsored invasion took place. Perhaps, it is time to discuss with militants about the possibility of a coalition government.

US Military Fears Thousands More Needed In Afghanistan

Pentagon officials increasingly have concluded there is need for almost double the number of soldiers currently in Afghanistan if the Taliban are to be controlled. Current plans call for dispatching about 10,000 more troops, but the general consensus is at least 20,000 must be sent in order to get the Taliban under control. They need helicopter units, intelligence teams, engineers, medical staff, and soldiers who are able to spend time training the Afghans in how to conduct military operations. Conditions in Afghanistan are much more complex due to more extensive mountains and the reality many Afghans support the Taliban.

Perhaps, George Bush can explain why over the past seven years an Afghan army was not trained and equipped. Why in 2008 is this a topic to be considered? The entire mess that is Afghanistan was created by Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney who were bent on invading Iraq despite the need to maintain a large force in Afghanistan to crush the Taliban. Ironically, the troops will be coming from Iraq when seven years ago if those same troops had been kept in Afghanistan there would be no problems in Iraq.

Syria Threatens Retaliation Against USA

The Syrian government reacted with fury to the American attack inside its borders which resulted in the death of several people. American military sources insist the raid was necessary in order to kill key leaders of militants who were behind the movement of al-Qaida forces through Syria. Damascus denounced the act as “criminal and terrorist aggression” and warned there would be retaliation against the Americans. The first step to implement Syrian threats was closing of an American cultural center and the American school in the capital. The American military refuses to back down from its claims they killed important al-Qaida leaders, but Syria insists civilians were killed in the raid including several children.

The daylight raid made impossible any denial on the part of Americans they could not see who they were blasting. Syria, in particular, was furious the raid came from Iraq territory and it will be interesting to see how the Iraq government responds to Syrian charges concerning utilization of its territory for staging of attacks on Syria.

Egypt and China joined in Syrian anger at the attack. Lost in discussion of this even is the fact that Turkey has been trying for months to organize an Israel-Syrian peace accord How does this attack fit into any long term goals of America?

Danish Christian Group Behaves UnChristian

A former member of a prominent religious group, Faderhuset(Father’s House) provided police a detailed report about how children were abused and terrorized by those responsible for directing the group. The controversial Christian group is a recognized religion in Denmark and police have received numerous reports concerning how children under its care have been abused. Newspaper reports indicate several children between the ages of seven and fifteen attended a military style training camp on the island of Falster. The children, were treated as though they were soldiers. The man said, “”the children were hit, whipped and woken with a gun to their heads in the middle of the night and I was one of those who carried it out.”

It is always fascinating how “Christian” groups engage in such brutality to children. Their excuse is tough treatment is necessary because the children had to be trained to be “soldiers of Christ” as though somehow Jesus Christ wanted people to engage in war in his name.

President Karzai Admits Afghan Failure

President Hamid Karzai admitted this week his nation was on the verge of collapse and there was a possibility security had broken down. “Our roads are not safe, you can’t go from Kandahar to Herat. You can’t take the road from Kabul to Pakitia. When we came, life was good, but now it’s not. We are still a nation deeply in pain and misery.” There is something ironic in Karzai admitting seven years ago the situation was much better than the current crisis in his nation. Of course, seven years ago, the United States was not engaged in a war in Iraq and the Taliban had fled Afghanistan. Instead of dealing with the immediate problem of completely crushing the Taliban and initiating work projects to provide employment and raise standards of living, Bush diverted resources to Iraq and his failed policy in that nation.

President Karzai has to examine why his government has failed to contain the Taliban. He can not simply blame everything on others. His failure to create an effective, honest government lies at the heart of problems in Afghanistan. Additional soldiers will help, but Karzai failed to appoint honest men and women to office.