Friday, November 2, 2018

Video - A Nation Of Immigrants Is Being Told To Fear Immigrants - The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Video Report - Washington Post: Trump had 1,100 lies, mistruths in 7 weeks

Video Report - #Obama Speech - Rally in Miami, Florida

In the Aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder, Saudi Arabia Enters a Dangerous Period


After a month, it seems we finally have a good picture of Jamal Khashoggi’s last moments. In early October, the Saudi journalist and Washington Postcolumnist entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and was immediately descended upon by members of the Saudi government hit squad sent to kill him. They strangled him to death, according to Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, Irfan Fidan. Within seven minutes of walking through the consulate’s front door, Khashoggi was dead. Apparently relying on music to soothe his conscience, the forensic scientist among the assassins then sawed up and possibly destroyed his body. Then they fled the country.

Yet for all the details that have emerged about Khashoggi’s murder, there are still crucial elements of the crime we don’t know—namely, where the body, or what was left of it, was disposed of, and whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in whose employ many of the assassins worked, ordered or condoned the killing. How can we find out?
Here’s how: Force the Saudi government to make available Mubarak Mohammed al-Otaibi, the consul-general, who was in his office at the time of the murder. Otaibi was present during Khashoggi’s murder but apparently did not take part. “Do this outside,’’ Otaibi complained to the killers, according to a Turkish official interviewed by the newspaper Yeni Safak. “You’re going to get me in trouble.”

Otaibi left Turkey on October 16th and hasn’t been seen since. The Turkish authorities asked the Saudis to extradite eighteen suspects in connection to the hit squad; the Saudis refused and arrested the men themselves. But what about Otaibi? Of him, the Saudis have been silent. Otaibi is a key: he’s an eyewitness to Khashoggi’s killing. He may have had advance knowledge of the plan, and he might know who ordered it.

M.B.S. and his cohorts in Riyadh seem utterly determined to bury the truth; they have lied repeatedly about Khashoggi’s murder and their government’s involvement in it. The Saudi government’s latest implausible story is that it doesn’t know where Khashoggi’s body is, even though Turkish officials say the killers dispatched a “local collaborator” to get rid of it. Otaibi might be able to shed light on that, too.

Why was the Saudi regime so determined to silence Khashoggi? Perhaps more than any other Saudi, Khashoggi was rooting out the truth about M.B.S.’s draconian ways and sharing it with the world. A few weeks before he was killed, Khashoggi sent me an e-mail urging me to write about M.B.S.’s campaign of arrests. “You will notice the mockery of justice,’’ he wrote. “I’ll be in Istanbul but will take your call.”

In the past year, M.B.S. has embarked on an unprecedented crackdown on domestic dissent, arresting hundreds of journalists, clerics, and women’s-rights activists—anyone who dared to smudge the rosy image of M.B.S. as a benevolent visionary. Not even groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International know for sure how many political prisoners are in Saudi jails. In an interview just after Khashoggi disappeared, M.B.S. told Bloomberg that fifteen hundred Saudis had been arrested in the past three years for such things as “terrorism” and “extremism.” “We are trying to get rid of extremism and terrorism without a civil war,” M.B.S. said.

In one of his final e-mails to me, Khashoggi attached a copy of an indictment in an especially egregious case—that of Salman al-Odah, a cleric in the city of Riyadh. Odah is a well-known and popular critic of the Saudi government who came to notice during the first Gulf War, when he chastised Saudi leaders for inviting American troops into the country. In the nineteen-nineties, he spent several years in prison for allegedly inciting a rebellion against the monarchy. In recent years, Odah has preached a moderate line. Following the 9/11 attacks, he publicly condemned Osama bin Laden for killing innocents and exhorting other Muslims to follow and do likewise. (“My brother Osama,” he said. “Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions of victims on your back?”) In recent years, his criticisms went little further than urging the Saudi monarchy to launch democratic reforms. On Twitter, his Arabic account has fourteen million followers. “My father had a legitimacy independent of the state,” his son, Abdullah Alaoudh, told me. “That’s what the monarchy fears.”

The thirty-seven-count indictment of Odah is basically a series of generalities and accusations without evidence. It accuses him of such things as “cynicism and sarcasm about the government’s achievements,” and “saying that the Saudi leadership monopolizes wealth and is the cause of poverty” in the country. It charges Odah with funding terrorism but offers no facts to back that up.
Indeed, the best anyone can decipher is that Odah’s crime was failing to send out a government-written tweet in support of the Saudi blockade of Qatar, launched with the help of the United Arab Emirates last year. The Saudi and Emirati campaign, apparently aimed at toppling the Qatari government, was—not unlike the indictment of Odah—unsupported by evidence. It was roundly denounced by the United States and much of the rest of the world. “There is not a single allegation against al-Odah of violence or incitement to violence,” Adam Coogle, of Human Rights Watch, said. Even so, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

By Saudi standards, the case against Odah is unexceptional. According to Human Rights Watch, in the past year, the Saudi government detained at least thirteen women’s-rights activists and at least sixty clerics. Remember the mass detention, in late 2017, of some two hundred and fifty prominent Saudis, including some of the richest people in the world, in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh? The operation, orchestrated by M.B.S. himself, was intended to force the detainees to surrender large parts of their fortunes. Details are sketchy, but it appears that some of the detainees were tortured. At least one man, Ali al-Qahtani, a retired general, died of a heart attack after being subjected to harsh interrogation.

Most of those held inside were released, but more than fifty are still inside. One of them is Prince Turki bin Abdullah, the former governor of Riyadh province. According to a person with ties to Abdullah, the family has been stripped of its wealth and allowed to speak occasionally to Abdullah over the telephone. “We don’t know where he is,” the person told me. There have been persistent rumors that Abdul Aziz bin Fahd—M.B.S.’s cousin and a son of King Fahd—is dead.
It seems increasingly clear that the Trump Administration, which placed M.B.S. at the center of its Middle East strategy, will do nothing to resist the Saudis’ stonewalling of the effort to find the truth about Jamal Khashoggi’s death. Recently, a senior member of the Trump Administration told me that, inside the government, M.B.S. is widely regarded as reckless—but that it was difficult to imagine that Trump would try to push him out. “Trump’s not going to budge,” the official told me.

That puts matters in the hands of the Saudis themselves. While there have been some hints of discontent within the royal family, there so far appears to be no serious consideration of removing M.B.S.—not yet, anyway. In the process of purging the royal court of rivals, the crown prince has made many powerful enemies, some of whom are undoubtedly seething with thoughts of revenge. Even if—especially if—M.B.S. hangs on to his position, it seems likely that the Saudi royal family, and Saudi Arabia more generally, are entering a dangerous period. Bruce Riedel, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, told me, “There is no political way out, except through violence.”

#KhashoggiMurder - NOT ONLY #KHASHOGGI - ''License to Kill''

 By Larry Diamond

We must make it clear, not only to the Saudi monarchy but to all the world’s dictators, that they cannot murder their opponents with impunity.

Music Video - Inhi Logo Ne Le Liya Dupatta Mera

Music Video - - Aawargi Mein Had Se- Munni Begum

Music Video - Lokan do do yaar banaye - Afshan Zebi

Pashto Ghazal - Sardar Ali Takkar | ZAMA NA MA BIALEGA | زما نه مه بیلیږه - حسینه ګل تنها

Pashto Ghazal - Saqi | Ajmal Khattak | Sardar Ali Takkar | ساقي | اجمل خټک | سردارعلي ټکر

Trouble at the Pakistan-Iran Border

It is increasingly apparent that all is not well between Pakistan and Iran, despite the fact that the two countries officially use every chance to deny that there is friction.
In mid-October, it was reported that around a dozen Iranian security personnel were kidnapped along the border with Pakistan’s Balochistan province. After that, Iran not only sought help from Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to recover the kidnapped guards, but also fired mortar shells into a bordering town in Chaghi district called Talaap. Thankfully, there were no causalities.
It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time Iranian security personnel have been kidnapped along the border, or mortar shells have been fired into bordering towns in Balochistan province. There have been such incidents in the past, and it’s reasonable to expect more occurrences in the future.
What has gone wrong between Pakistan and Iran? Among myriad reasons, there are ethnic tensions related to the Balochs, the namesake of both Pakistan’s Balochistan and Iran’s neighboring Sistan and Baluchestan province. In a nutshell, Balochs live on both sides of the Pakistan-Iran border, and maintain cultural, political, and economic ties to each other. The Baloch factor occupies a crucial space in the overall affairs of the two countries, yet the sensitive issue is rarely discussed.
In the past, Baloch politics was largely left-oriented. In 1967, during the Cold War, Baloch nationalists founded their first leftist organization, the Baloch Students Organization (BSO). When international communism became divided due to the Sino-Soviet split, the Baloch nationalists joined the pro-Soviet camp. Under the platform of the National Awami Party (NAP), Baloch and Pakhtun progressive leaders of Pakistan formed their first democratically elected governments in Balochistan and the former North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the early 1970s.
More than Pakistan’s prime minister at the time, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, it was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, who was severely irked by the secular nationalist government in Balochistan. There were two reasons for this.
First, Iran’s Shah was anti-communist. He feared that the Baloch secular nationalists, who had formed the provincial government in Balochistan after the general elections of 1970, were being supported by the Soviet Union. In addition, it was also the Afghan government’s policy to support Baloch nationalist groups, along with Pakhtun nationalists in Pakistan. A case in point was the Afghan government under Mohammed Daoud Khan (1973-78), who even talked of a Greater Balochistan.
Second, the Shah of Iran also feared that Baloch nationalism would spill over into Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province. In the 1970s, just like the Balochs in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, Balochs in Iran were also secular nationalists. As the Shah of Iran was afraid of Baloch nationalism, Islamabad and Tehran together looked at the Baloch question as a common challenge — albeit only in military and security terms. That is why they, to a great extent, succeeded in crushing Baloch nationalism militarily throughout the 1970s. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, for example, ousted the provincial government of the NAP in Balochistan in 1973.
But more broadly, Iran has been dubiously eyeing Balochistan province in Pakistan from the very beginning. During the reign of military dictator Ayub Khan, several bordering areas of Pakistan were handed over to Iran. Mirjaveh, which is now a town in Iran that sits on the border with Pakistan, was one of those areas. The issue still causes anger in Balochistan today. In 2000, when I was a student in Dalbandin, a town along the Pakistan-Iran border in Balochistan’s Chaghi district, I had a teacher who used to regularly lash out at Pakistan’s leadership for giving Mirjaveh to Iran (interestingly, whether out of fear of reprisal or misinformation, my teacher blamed at Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, not Ayub Khan).
On the other hand, Iran has also had territorial claims over parts of Balochistan. In this regard, when East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) separated from Pakistan, there were rumors that Iran hoped to occupy parts of Balochistan in case of Pakistan’s further disintegration.
Despite these issues, under the Shah of Iran, Pakistan and Iran were close although there were several ups and downs in the relationship.
In the 1970s, when Bhutto visited Iran, he also invited Balochistan’s then-governor, Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, to join the trip. The governor ended up being better received than Bhutto himself – a clear sign that Iran saw the benefits to be gained from friendly ties with Balochistan. Good ties with Iran would benefit the Pakistani province as well — unfortunately, that is not happening.
Today Pakistan-Iran cooperation is being replaced by competition. One of the most conspicuous points of competition is over their twin ports in the two Baloch territories: Gwadar in Pakistan and Chabahar in Iran. Although officially Pakistan and Iran call these ports “sisters” that can together change the fate of the whole region, in reality, there is a cut-throat competition between these two ports. Pakistan and Iran are eagerly developing their separate ports with the involvement of China and India, respectively.
Adding to the tensions, the long-standing rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has currently taken an uglier turn. Pakistan in general and Balochs in particular have been victims of the Iran-Saudi tensions. In this context, Iran has accused Pakistan of giving refuge to Saudi-sponsored jihadi Baloch militants, who allegedly carry out attacks on both Iranian security forces in the border region and state installations inside Iran. Pakistan has vehemently denied these charges time and again.
In response to these new development, Iran has now become soft on its old adversaries: Baloch nationalists. In recent years, although Iran and Baloch nationalists do not trust each other, they have allied themselves temporarily — so much so that Iran now thinks of Baloch nationalists as its best hope against a joint Gulf-Pakistan alliance. As for Baloch nationalists, they are desperate, and have also stretched out their hand to Iran. For instance, in the recent past, news circulated on social media that a Baloch separatist organization in the border area of Makran division had handed over to Iran three members of the Jaish ul-Adl (Army of Justice) group, a Sunni Baloch militant group fighting against Iran.
Balochistan can either be a source of tension or (preferably) a reason for Pakistan and Iran to agree to work together toward peace in this troubled region. As Balochs live on both sides of the border, in reality there cannot be an “Iranian solution” or a “Pakistani solution” to the Baloch question. Even if one side of the border is stabilized, instability from the other side will invariably spill over. So, in this context, Islamabad and Tehran need to look at the Baloch issue as a common challenge.
But in doing so, both governments need to look beyond the military and security facet of the Baloch problem. Economic development and better political representation in both Islamabad and Tehran for Baloch from both sides of the border have to be part of the process.
The other alternative is what we are seeing to date: the two countries can use the Baloch region to engage in a tit-for-tat, zero sum geopolitical competition by letting other actors (such as India and the Gulf States) get involved. This has only made matters worse.
It is in the best interest of the two countries to mutually resolve their issues, so that peace may return to region. Otherwise, instability on the border region will soon reach a boiling point.

#AasiaBibiVerdict - In Asia Bibi blasphemy violence, Imran Khan faces the Frankenstein’s monster


 Not too long ago, Imran Khan had actively supported the violent protests against the Nawaz Sharif government.
Blasphemy accused Asia Bibi’s acquittal and final release, after more than nine years in prison, by the Supreme Court has plunged Pakistan into chaos.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a Barelvi group led by cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi who is known for his extremely profane language and the 22-day long Faizabad Dharna of 2017, mounted protests in every major city to oppose the verdict. In video messages, the TLP leaders called for murder of the three judges on the bench that acquitted Asia Bibi, and urged Muslim generals to rebel against the ‘Qadiani’ Bajwa, a derogatory term for Ahmadis, and oust the ‘Jew’ Imran Khan.
It has been a long wait for Asia Bibi, a poor Christian woman who worked as a farm picker in Nankana, Punjab. She was accused of blasphemy and swiftly imprisoned in June 2009. In 2010, a trial court convicted her and handed out death sentence for disrespecting Prophet Muhammad. Mother of five young children, she has languished in prison since then. Her appeal was rejected by the Lahore High Court in 2014, but she finally got justice from the Supreme Court Wednesday.

Asia’s case gained international spotlight because of Pakistan’s human rights record. Just this year, the European Union tied trade access to her case.
The protests turned into grotesque rioting and arson. Schools had to shut down and many children in different cities were stuck because half of the roads were blocked by the TLP and the other half by local police.
In Karachi and two other cities in Sindh, the violence snowballed into Shia-Sunni fight with two dead in Karachi by night. Government ministers and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan remained conspicuous by their absence the entire day.
Clerics of other religious parties joined the chorus with all the Deobandi, Ahle Hadees, and Barelvi groups denouncing the judgment and announcing that they will join the protests Friday onwards. These groups were joined by two major religio-political parties, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) and the Jamaat-e-Islami.
There was no statement from the military or its Twitter-happy spokesman either. Media had been given instructions the previous night on ‘no coverage’ of any protests – and it complied. There was a complete media blackout in Pakistan for the last 48 hours. However, social media was flooded with details.
At nightfall, finally, PM Imran Khan addressed the nation. Within two months of coming to power, his five years of politics of dharna, incitement to violence, blasphemy campaigns, civil disobedience, disruption to traffic and closing down of different cities had come to bite him back. He first appealed and then threatened the TLP for its actions. Not too long ago, Imran had actively supported the TLP’s violent protests against the Nawaz Sharif government.
Social media reacted immediately, putting out clips of Imran and his ministers’ past videos of violent speeches, incitement to violence, and their supporters rampaging the Pakistan Television building and Parliament.

They asked: Has all this dawned on you only now because you are PM? Next came the video of President of Pakistan Arif Alvi. A year ago, he too was on the roads of Karachi saying, “sara karachi band hoga, koi gari nahi chalaygi”.
Ironically, Imran Khan in his seven-minute address to nation Wednesday said exactly what his government was trying to hide from the Pakistani public. In the video, the PM ended up saying what the TLP leaders had been saying all day, the things that the media had blacked out: that General Bajwa was a ‘Qadiani’ and the army should rebel, and that protesters had called for the murder of the judges. But interestingly, Imran Khan skipped any mention of him being called a ‘Jew’ and demands for his ouster.
After going MIA the whole day, Imran Khan was now threatening use of force and promised protection of life and property. But even after his speech, violence, loss of life, mayhem in schools, colleges, and markets continued all night and well into Thursday. At the time of writing this piece, the situation remains volatile with one more death reported on the Lahore-Islamabad motorway.
The politics around the issue of blasphemy that Imran Khan used incessantly during his days in the opposition has now turned into the proverbial Frankenstein’s monster. His opposition politics was clearly supported by the establishment then – clear from the way the army chief refused to come to the aid of government to control the TLP in 2017, and how a military general distributed money among the goons at the end of the ‘protest’. Imran’s opposition politics inevitably emboldened these radical voices. At that time, all the sane voices had warned against this fire of dangerous politics – but none heeded. But the fact that it would come back to haunt the nation so soon was entirely unexpected.
A reading of the historic judgment by the Supreme Court vindicates everything that human rights campaigners have asserted for years: that she was falsely accused and it was a malicious suit arising out of a dispute between a Muslim farm picker and her. The fight was over the Muslim woman refusing to drink water brought by her because she was a Christian.

None of the earlier judgments had focused on the dispute itself, overlooking the countless holes and contradictions in the prosecution’s case. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa went far enough to say that the Muslim women committed blasphemy by disparaging Asia Bibi’s religion, book and God. For the first time any member of the legal community, no less a judge, has not only focused on this point, but also made it a part of his judgment – a point I had made in my article in 2011.
While we heave a sigh of relief over the verdict, Pakistan risks burning in the fire of religious hatred, use of religion for politics, and the clear prospect of sectarian wars.