Reuters photographer says reborn after freed by U.S. – REUTERS

10:46 AM EST – 2/10/10

image
By Suadad al-Salhy

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The U.S. military freed a Reuters photographer in Iraq on Wednesday, almost a year and a half after snatching him from his home in the middle of the night and placing him in military detention without charge.

The U.S. military has never said exactly why it detained Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed — who worked for Reuters as a freelance TV cameraman and photographer — and locked him away for so long, saying the evidence against him was classified.

“How can I describe my feelings? This is like being born again,” Jassam told Reuters by telephone as he was greeted emotionally by his family.

U.S. and Iraqi forces smashed in the doors of Jassam’s house in Mahmudiya town, south of Baghdad, in September 2008 and whisked him away, first to Camp Bucca, a desert prison on the Iraq-Kuwait border, then the smaller Camp Cropper detention center near Baghdad airport.

Jassam is one of several Iraqi journalists working for foreign news organizations who have been detained by the U.S. military, often for months at a time, since the 2003 U.S. invasion. None has ever been charged, triggering criticism from international journalism rights groups.

“I am very pleased his long incarceration without charge is finally over,” Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger said.

“I wish the process to release a man who had no specific accusations against him had been swifter.”

In Mahmudiya, friends and relatives crowded into Jassam’s small family home, greeting him with hugs, tears and sweets.

“I still cannot believe my son is next to me,” said his mother, Fadhila Alwan. “Thanks be to God. I cannot speak. I will keep him in my arms for days but I will not be able to get enough of him.”

‘SECURITY THREAT’

The U.S. military has asserted that Jassam was a “security threat” because of “activities with insurgents,” it said last year, without giving details.

The term “insurgents” generally refers to Sunni Islamist groups. Jassam is a Shi’ite Muslim.

The military said on Wednesday he was freed under a security pact, effective last year, which required the United States to hand over its thousands of Iraqi detainees to Iraqi authorities.

“As such, detainees that are approved for release by the government of Iraq will be released according to their threat level. It was his time to be released,” the U.S. military said.

The U.S. military still has almost 6,000 detainees who must be handed to Iraqi authorities. If they face Iraqi criminal charges they will be tried, if not they will be freed.

The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled in 2008 that there was no case against Jassam.

A month before arresting him, U.S. forces detained Reuters cameraman Ali Mashhadani and held him for three weeks without charge, the third time he had been detained.

“This is happy news but at the same time sad news,” said Ziad al-Ajili, head of The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, and Iraqi press lobby group. “Who is going to compensate Ibrahim for the 17 months he spent in prison innocent of all the accusations the American army made against him?”

(Additional reporting by Aseel Kami; Writing by Jack Kimball and Michael Christie; editing by Tim Pearce)

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China suspends US talks over Taiwan arms deal – Shanghai Daily

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Hu Jintao in June 2009

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Hu Jintao in June 2009

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China announced yesterday it will postpone bilateral military programs and security talks and impose sanctions against companies in response to the US government’s planned US$6.4 billion arms deal with Taiwan.

A Foreign Ministry announcement said China had decided to partially halt exchange programs between the two countries’ military forces, as well as vice-ministerial talks on strategic security, arms control and anti-proliferation, scheduled to be held soon.

China will also impose sanctions on US companies involved in the arms deal to Taiwan, the press statement said.

The Obama administration advised US Congress on Friday of the proposed sale to Taiwan, a potential US$6.4 billion package including Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot “Advanced Capability-3” anti-missile missiles, and two refurbished Osprey-class mine-hunting ships.

The Chinese Defence Ministry also lodged a stern protest yesterday afternoon.

Qian Lihua, the Defence Ministry’s Foreign Affairs Office director, summoned the defence attache of the US Embassy in Beijing to lodge the protest, according to a press statement.

In a similar warning lodged with the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, He Yafei, said the country was “strongly indignant” about the proposed sale of weapons.

The US decision “constitutes a gross intervention into China’s internal affairs, seriously endangers China’s national security and harms China’s peaceful reunification efforts,” He was quoted saying in a Foreign Ministry statement.

“The US plan will definitely undermine China-US relations and bring about serious negative impact on exchanges and cooperation in major areas between the two countries, and lead to an aftermath both sides would not prefer,” He said.

He urged the US side to “fully recognize the gravity of the issue, revoke the erroneous decision on arms sales to Taiwan and stop selling weapons to Taiwan.”

The sale is viewed as a serious contravention of three joint communiques between China and the United States, especially the “August 17” communique agreed on in 1982.

The United States said in the 1982 agreement that “it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan” and “intends to reduce gradually its sales of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution.”

In 2008, China curtailed military exchanges with the United States after the Bush administration approved a US$6.5 billion Taiwan arms deal, including 30 Apache attack helicopters and 330 Patriot missiles.

Read more: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=427454#ixzz0e9FTdAO1

Osama bin Laden is ‘worth more alive than dead’, declares his son – UK TIMES ONLINE

Osama bin Laden is worth more to the United States alive than dead because his death could unleash “very,very nasty” attacks by militants, his son has claimed.

In an at times rambling interview with Rolling Stone magazine, which was conducted in part in a Damascus strip club, the terror leader’s fourth-eldest son, Omar Osama bin Laden, said that his father had already won the War on Terror because he had achieved his aim of humbling the US and would probably not feel the need to launch more big attacks.

However, he said that President Barack Obama’s decision to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan was a big mistake that would damage the US economy.

“It is like adding water to sand, as we say in the Arab world. It only makes the sand heavier,” Mr bin Laden told the magazine.

“If I was in his position the first thing I would do is make a truce. Then, for six months or one year, no fighting, no soldiers. Afghanistan can never be won. It has nothing to do with my father. It is the Afghan people.”.

“It is going to be worse when my father dies,” he added. “The world is going to be very, very nasty then. It will be a disaster.” Mr bin Laden, whose autobiographyGrowing Up Bin Laden detailed his childhood growing up in militant camps in Sudan and Afghanistan as his father pursued his jihadist plan, left bin Laden in Afghanistan shortly before the September 11 attack in 2001.

He has since married a British woman almost twice his age whom he met on a trip to the Giza pyramids in Egypt. He makes a living as a scrap metal merchant in the Saudi city of Jeddah. He has been banned from entering Britain with his wife, Zaina, over fears that his presence would cause “considerable public concern”.

He said that he respected former president Bill Clinton for his “smart” decisions to attack his father’s training camp with cruise missiles in retaliation for attacks on US interests in Africa.

“He didn’t get my father but after all the war in Afghanistan, they still don’t have my father,” he said. “They have spent hundreds of billions. Better for America to keep the money for its economy. In Clinton’s time America was very, very smart. Not like a bull that runs after the red scarf.”

He said that his father was delighted when George W. Bush was elected president. “My father was so happy. This is the kind of president he needs — one who will attack and spend money and break the country.

“I am sure my father wanted McCain more than Obama. McCain has the same mentality as Bush. My father would be disappointed because Obama get the position.” The failure of the huge intelligence and military effort to find and kill bin Laden was a piece of luck for America, Mr bin Laden said, because his father’s followers killed for killing’s sake while bin Laden was so controlled that he would only kill if he felt it was necessary.

“People were always asking my father to attack more,” he said of the militants with whom he saw his father in Afghanistan. “They would say, ‘Sheik, we must do more’. Crazy things. My father has a religious goal. He is controlled by the rules of jihad. He only kills if he thinks there is a need.”

He said that he doubted bin Laden would order any more mass attacks.

“He doesn’t need to. As soon as America went to Afghanistan, his plan worked. He has already won.”

by Anne Barrowclough – Times Online

LINK: For Those Who Want To Know

http://www.wanttoknow.info/index.shtml

This website provides a concise, reliable introduction to vital information of which few are aware. We specialize in providing fact-filled news articles and concise summaries of major cover-ups which impact our lives and world. All information is taken from the most reliable sources available and can be verified using the links provided. Sources are always noted, with links direct to the information source provided when possible. The WantToKnow.info team presents this information as an opportunity for you to educate yourself and others, and to inspire us to strengthen democracy and to work together for the good of all.

Did you know that:

  • Twenty leading journalists, including winners of several Emmys and a Pulitzer, have described being prevented by corporate media ownership from reporting riveting stories on major cover-ups.
  • BBC News has exposed plans of the U.S. military to “provide maximum control” of the Internet, as detailed in a declassified secret Pentagon document signed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 2003.
  • CBS News report quotes former U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” That’s $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America.
  • Government documents released through the Freedom of Information Act show that the top Pentagon generals once approved plans to foment terrorism in major U.S. cities and even kill innocent civilians.
  • Multiple, reliable sources show that you may be eating genetically modified food every day whichscientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death in lab animals.
  • Detroit’s leading newspaper reported that the 1908 Ford Model T boasted a fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon. Yet 100 years later, the EPA average mileage for all cars is under 21 mpg.
  • A highly decorated US General wrote a book titled War is a Racket, which clearly depicts how he was manipulated and how most wars are waged largely to keep the coffers of certain big corporations filled.
  • The former chief of a prestigious medical journal has revealed that the total profits of the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 were more than the profits of the other 490 businesses combined.
  • Declassifed CIA documents open to the public leave no doubt that through hypnosis, drugs, and electric shock, secret mind control projects created super spies, terrorists, assassins, and more.
  • More than 50 senior government officials and 100 professors have publicly expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report. Many even allege government complicity in the 9/11 attacks.
  • For more highly revealing media articles hidden in plain sight with links for verification, click here.

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THE STAR: Flu scare a boon to body-bag sales

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Pandemic fears creating customers far and wide for Toronto company’s sombre product line

Aug 01, 2009 04:30 AM

As concerns grow of a possible flu pandemic onslaught this autumn, alert authorities worldwide have been stockpiling emergency supplies. Masks, gloves and anti-viral medications are on the list. And body bags.

Demand for the latter is prompting a surge of interest in the wares of a small Toronto custom bag manufacturer named Trevor Owen Ltd. Inquiries about its pandemic body bags are pouring in from as far away as the Sultanate of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula. 

TREVOR OWEN recently shipped several thousand of the thick plastic bags – sewn in its Scarborough factory and touted for their ability to “prevent leakage and seepage of bodily fluids” – to Alberta. It is bidding on a contract to supply Ohio with 12,500 of the white woven polyethylene pandemic bags.

“Some seniors’ residences are starting to buy five, 10 or 15 at a time,” said Trevor Owen president Pierre Barcik.

“There are state and provincial governments that are starting to stockpile pandemic body bags … It’s a bad pun, but (the business) is growing.”

The general fear is that the traditional fall flu season will this time bring a surge in H1N1 swine flu cases – and deaths.

Microbiologist Dr. Allison McGeer, director of infection control for Mount Sinai Hospital, recently warned there would be more deaths and infections in the city as a result of the labour disruption at Toronto Public Health.

Trevor Owen is not the only supplier thriving because of the fears. Richard Miller, owner of the U.S.-based web portal ToDieFor.Biz that sells a line of body bags, said demand has doubled this year.

Although the competition is considerable, Barcik’s company appears to have found a niche with its pandemic body bag, which differs from the bag typically used to transport and temporarily store the dead.

WHILE MORGUES and hospitals mostly use bags made of light-duty plastic – glorified garbage bags with a zipper down the middle – the pandemic body bag’s material is thicker and stronger, comparable to a light tarp.

It is coated on both sides with polyurethane for imperviousness and can be outfitted with six carry handles, an option that allows for the possibility of inexperienced personnel hastily hauling bodies at a time of crisis.

“It basically lets you handle bigger bodies with less care,” said Barcik.

“I don’t suggest we should handle the dead with anything but the utmost care, but if you’ve got a couple of volunteers moving people around in a pandemic centre, it’s a lot different than a morgue situation.”

HAULING DEATH ISN’T Trevor Owen’s stock and trade. Barcik’s company makes a variety of bags for everyday functions, from the giant padded envelopes that keep your pizza warm on its delivery route to the heavy-duty duffles in which hockey players like the Ontario Hockey League’s Soo Greyhounds tote their gear.

Still, Trevor Owen carries a substantial array of body bags; it’s a sector that appears to require a diversified product line.

Cindy Maguire, the controller of Centennial Products, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based distributor of body bags whose customers include public health centres in Nova Scotia, said that among coroners and other tenders to the departed, body bags “are like a fashion statement, almost.

“People are very particular about colour, style, the seal of the bag, the zipper.”

SOME CORONERS are partial to blue bags, which are known to provide a photo-friendly background for making a visual record of autopsies. Fluorescent orange bags are often the choice of urban police personnel who frequently work in darkness.

And manufacturers say there is growing demand for extra-large bags, such as the widely used Chinese-made bag known as the “Big Girtha” in the Trevor Owen catalogue.

Where a standard body bag runs about three feet wide and seven feet long, the Big Girtha is close to five feet by nine feet.

Said Miller at ToDieFor.Biz: “It’s for the 600-pounders. Our population is getting bigger. It’s made of very, very heavy-duty material.”

If death, by fat or by flu, is a heavy subject, some in the body-bag trade – the death-care industry, in its gentile parlance – see its lighter side. Maguire’s company designs and sells novelty T-shirts that have become popular among customers. One is emblazoned with the company’s slogan, “You tag it, we bag it.”

Another cribs a coroner’s theoretical lament during an obesity epidemic: “I think I need a bigger bag.”

Said Maguire: “The coroners do have a little bit of a morbid sense of humour. But I guess they use that to get through what they do.”

Barcik, whose company employs about 25 workers in an industrial mall near Eglinton and McCowan, said he expects body bags to remain a small part of his operation – currently about 10 per cent.

Real concentration camps USA: Our immigrant-detention system is spiraling out of control

By David Neiwert~Crooks and Liars

See Video Here (At Puppetgov)

Jackie Mahendra points out an Associated Press story describing some of the most recent information about how we’re detaining illegal immigrants — and it’s profoundly disturbing:

The U.S. detention system for immigrants has mushroomed in the past decade, creating a costly building boom in an effort to sweep up criminals and ensure that illegal immigrants are quickly deported.

However, an Associated Press computer analysis of the entire detention population on a Sunday night in January found that most did not have a criminal record and many were not about to leave the country soon — voluntarily or through deportation.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement database, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, showed a U.S. detainee population of exactly 32,000 on the evening of Jan. 25.

Of those, 18,690 immigrants did not have a criminal conviction, including for illegal entry or low-level crimes such as trespassing. More than 400 of those with no criminal record had been incarcerated for at least a year. A dozen had been held for three years or more; one man from China had been locked up for more than five years.

Almost 10,000 had been in custody longer than 31 days, the average detention stay.

For an up-close look at what’s going on at these detention centers, check out Breakthrough Media’s incredibly informative site, Homeland Guantanamos, which describes the detention system we’ve created in response to right-wing agitation about illegal immigration. You know, the same right-wingers who are now stewing over non-existent FEMA concentration camps.

The video below also explores the subject in some depth, focusing on the situation in Illinois.

BART Police shoot and kill innocent man, then LIE about it in court…VIDEO (WARNING GRAPHIC)

Welcome to America… The land of the innocent until shot dead in the back. If this is not a police state I don’t know what is. Police are arresting two men, and the one (highly trained) police officer has his gun aimed at the man, then he pulls the trigger and the man lets out “I have a daughter…” then dies on the platform. The multiple witnesses stand in awe. They have just witness a cold blooded murder and NOTHING IS HAPPENING!!! WTF!!! Are we all going to have to get shot for you to care? What if that was your son or daughter, I bet you would care then…  Change is here, and its here to stay.

Link to Video @ PUPPETGOV.COM