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11 Sep

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

9/11 anniversary: Charged with hate

Pastor Terry Jones and other members of the lunatic fringe are doing Osama bin Laden’s work for him

Editorial

  • The Guardian, Saturday 11 September 2010
  • When Andy Warhol predicted in 1968 that in the future everyone would be world-famous for 15 minutes, he could not have meant Pastor Terry Jones. The idea that t he world’s media has been hanging on every word uttered by a low-rent bigot with a gun – who has been mulling over whether to burn 200 copies of the Qur’an today – is grotesque. Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus, Robert Gates, the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan and lastly Barack Obama himself have all been sucked into the media maelstrom created by the pastor with a dodgy past and 30 congregrants. And the circus is not over yet. Jones plans to fly to New York to discuss the proposed location of the Islamic centre near Ground Zero with the New York imam Feisel Abdul Rauf…………………….

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    Pope faces UK protests and apathy

    Survey reveals that 77% of people questioned felt taxpayer should not contribute to cost of pontiff’s trip ……………………………..

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    Belgian child abuse report exposes Catholic clergy

    Paedophilia expert unveils harrowing testimony and documents cases in almost every diocese

    Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard
    Belgium’s Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard announcing the resignation of Brugge’s bishop Roger Vangheluwe. Photograph: Benoit Doppagne/AFPSome of the most damning evidence of systematic child abuse by the Roman Catholic clergy to come to light was unveiled today by Belgium‘s leading authority on paedophilia, who published hundreds of pages of harrowing victim testimony detailing their traumas and suffering.

    The explosive report by Peter Adriaenssens in the town of Louvain, east of Brussels, lists evidence of 476 instances of child abuse by priests and bishops going back 50 years.

    Adriaenssens was appointed by the church last year to head an independent inquiry into the scandal. Since April, when Roger Vangheluwe, the bishop of Bruges, resigned after admitting persistently molesting a nephew, the Adriaenssens commission has been inundated with evidence, with hundreds of victims coming forward………………

    He has since documented cases of abuse occurring in almost every diocese in the country and in virtually every school run by the church. “We can say that no part of the country escapes sexual abuse of minors by one or several [church] members,” said Adriaenssens…………….

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    Castro: remarks ‘misinterpreted’

    Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro

    Former president had previously been reported to have admitted failure of economic system ……………………………………..
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    Chile: the other 9/11 anniversary

     

    Raúl Zibechi: The devastating legacy of Pinochet’s coup of 11 September 1973 goes far beyond the economy and the armed forces………………..

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    The World Trade Center site with memorial footprints of the twin towers visible

    Nine years, two wars, hundreds of thousands dead – nothing learnt

    Robert Fisk: Did 9/11 make us all mad? Our memorial to the innocents who died nine years ago has been a holocaust of fire and blood . . .

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    Iran delays release of American

    Iran has postponed the planned release of Sarah Shourd, a detained US woman, because it says the legal procedure needed to secure her freedom has not been completed.

    “Because the legal procedure on her case is not finished, her release is cancelled,” the ILNA news agency quoted Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, a Tehran prosecutor, as saying on Friday.

    “The judiciary does not validate the published news and naturally any decision about the defendants will depend on carrying out the judicial process,” Dolatabadi said………………………………………

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    A bonfire of Obama’s vanities

    Nine years after 9/11 the ‘war on terror’ still rages – unlike the battle for Muslim hearts and minds

    Mehdi Hasan

    In the US, a crackpot pastor who claims “Islam is of the devil” threatens to burn copies of the Qur’an and puts his plans “on hold” only after appeals from the president, the secretary general of the UN, and Angelina Jolie. In Afghanistan, five US soldiers are charged with murdering civilians at random and collecting their fingers as souvenirs, while security guards open fire on protests against the pastor’s plans.

    In Britain the normally hawkish International Institute for Strategic Studies says the threat from al-Qaida and the Taliban has been exaggerated, and warns that the war in Afghanistan risks becoming a “long, drawn-out disaster”. Meanwhile, Tony Blair cancels two appearances in London to publicise his memoirs after anti-war protesters pelt him with eggs and shoes in Dublin.

    Welcome to the world of the “war on terror”, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11. It is a world more divided, fearful and conflict-ridden than a decade ago. “We need to win not just the military action, but to win people’s minds,” Tony Blair told CNN in November 2001, at the height of the Anglo-American bombing of Afghanistan. But the struggle for Muslim hearts and minds was allowed to morph into a seeming war on Muslims. The “war on terror” has resulted only in more war and more terror.

    It all seemed so different in 2001. The mayor of Tehran called his counterpart in New York to offer his condolences, as Iranians held candle-lit vigils in solidarity with grieving Americans. Palestinians lined up to donate blood to the survivors of the attacks. Islamic scholars and clerics across the Middle East denounced the murderous barbarism of al-Qaida. Polls showed that vast numbers of hearts, minds and souls in the Muslim world were with the west.

    But along came Guantánamo Bay, the catastrophic and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, photos of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib in 2004, and allegations of torture and murder at the US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2005. By 2006 Muslims across the globe were horrified and radicalised by the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, conducted with the blessing of Blair and his partner in crime, George Bush.

    The “hearts and minds” brigade had to beat a humiliating retreat. Hopes were raised again in 2008, with the election of Barack Obama, with a Muslim middle name and an African heritage. In his first six months in office, Obama declared that “the US is not and will never be at war with Islam”; in a speech in Cairo he symbolically “reset” relations with Muslim communities.

    But Guantánamo is still open for business, and the president’s demand that the Israelis “freeze” illegal settlements has fallen on deaf ears. The war on terror has been ramped up in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. The deaths of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistani civilians in US air strikes have increased on Obama’s watch.

    On Thursday the US president said Pastor Jones’s plans to burn the Qur’an would be a “recruiting bonanza” for al-Qaida. Yet he fails to recognise how the west’s war in Afghanistan provides a similar boost to extremists – on both sides. The “enemy” in Afghanistan, concluded the IISS report released on Tuesday, is “incentivised by the presence of foreign forces”. And inside the US the likes of Jones and rightwing Republican bigots, frothing at the mouth over the “Ground Zero mosque” take their cue from aggressive leaders like Blair, Bush and Obama – who send more and more troops to fight and die abroad, in faraway Muslim countries, while denying any link between Islamic militancy and western foreign policies.

    Whether the swivel-eyed priest goes ahead with his plan to immolate Islam’s holiest book is, ultimately, irrelevant. The battle for hearts and minds was lost long ago.

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