Tag Archives | Pakistan

Seven Countries Have Death Penalty For Atheism

Stedman-hangingDon’t tell anyone you’re an atheist if you live in Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Sudan! Story via Reuters:

Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012″, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”

Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”…

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Drones Are Not A Security Solution

Alternet supremo Don Hazen reports on activist filmmaker extraordinaire Robert Greenwald’s latest campaign, at Salon:

Robert Greenwald, head of the progressive internet video and  documentary film company, Brave New Films, recently traveled to Pakistan, supported financially by hundreds of BNF donors,  to witness firsthand the stories of families who have had innocent loved ones killed by U.S. drone attacks.  Greenwald is challenging both the morality and the factual effectiveness of the U.S drone program as we learn more about the failures and questionable policies.  The  U.S. claims that drone missiles are aimed at  potential terrorists but because the ground rules of who can be targeted is both vague and has  been loosened,  the number of innocents being killed has risen sharply. Furthermore, the information that is used to target people, appears to be the result of a system of bribery at the local level, which is of questionable reliability.

It wasn’t until April 2012 that John Brennan, White House counter-terrorism adviser admitted for the first time publicly, that our government has been using drones in Pakistan, and later Yemen, to attempt to  kill those  they consider as potential terrorists.

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Hit Pakistani Pop Song About Deadly Drone Strikes

Dance songs reflecting the new reality. The Guardian provides context:

In the long history of love songs the attention of a beautiful woman has been compared to many things – but perhaps only in Pakistan’s tribal belt would it be likened to the deadly missile strike of a remotely controlled US drone. [It's] a sign of how the routine hunting down and killing of militants by unmanned CIA planes has leached into the popular imagination.

The repeated chorus: “My gaze is as fatal as a drone attack”. The hit for singer Sitara Younis follows her success last year with another love ballad, which warns a besotted man to keep his distance: “Don’t chase me, I’m an illusion, a suicide bomb.”

Maas Khan Wesal, a Pashtu music veteran who wrote the accompanying music, said the song had proved popular because it reflected the lives of Pashtu speakers on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

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NDAA, Obama Drone King, Dictators Sponsor CNN

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks about Obama the ‘Drone King’s’ kill list which one official has called a macabre “baseball card” set of “terrorists” and a discusses the dangers of Obama’s drone wars. Abby then interviews former CNN Investigative Reporter, Amber Lyon, about CNN’s corrupt media empire, calling into question a media establishment where censorship can be bought.

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Living In Fear Of Drones

Read and think what it would be like to live in fear of drone strikes in your city. It could happen here. Jennifer Gibson describes the terror hovering over Pakistan in the LA Times:

Last week, Stanford University and New York University released a major study about the use of drones in the ever-evolving but never-ending war on terror. Unfortunately, many commentators missed the report’s key message: Drones are terrorizing an entire civilian population.

I was one of the researchers for the study, and spent weeks in Pakistan interviewing more than 60 people from North Waziristan. Many were survivors of strikes. Others had lost loved ones and family members. All of them live under the constant threat of annihilation.

What my colleagues and I learned from these unnamed and unknown victims of America’s drone warfare gave the report its title: “Living Under Drones.”

People in the United States imagine that drones fly to a target, launch their deadly missiles with surgical precision and return to a U.S.

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Silence Of The Drones

Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern writes at MichaelMoore.com:

Several friends of mine are among the 35 American activists assembling in Pakistan in recent days in an effort to seek ground truth on the impact of U.S. drone strikes on civilians there. I will be holding them and their Pakistani hosts and co-travelers in the Light, as my Quaker friends like to say, and will now try to do my part in what follows to put this dangerous journey in perspective.

The American group, organized by Code Pink Women for Peace, is meeting this week with a wide swath of Pakistanis, including representatives of the various political parties. Today, former U.S. diplomat and Army Col. Ann Wright was scheduled to address the Institute of Strategic Studies, Pakistan’s largest think tank, which advises the Foreign Office.

Similar events are scheduled in Islamabad until the weekend, when hundreds of Pakistanis will join the Americans in a caravan of cars and vans on the six-hour drive from Islamabad to Waziristan in the northwest, where the drones do most of their killing and maiming.

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Defense Secretary Finally Admits U.S. Is at War in Pakistan

Reports Spencer Ackerman on WIRED’s Danger Room

“We are fighting a war in the FATA, we are fighting a war against terrorism,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday, referring to the tribal areas of Pakistan that the U.S. has spent three years bombing heavily. Was that so hard to admit?

For years, it has been. Neither the Bush nor Obama administration has been forthright about the starkest fact of the recent war on terrorism: most of it takes place in western Pakistan. As CIA director and now Pentagon chief, Panetta has been one of the key architects of the accelerated drone-and-commando war the U.S. wages there in what amounts to an open secret. In 2009, the critical year in that acceleration, Danger Room boss Noah Shachtman started pressing the Obama administration for disclosure about a war the U.S. waged in all but name.

It may be late, but at least now it’s happened.

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