Friday, January 26, 2007

Madness of war memo

22 November 2005
Madness of war memo

By Kevin Maguire And Andy Lines

PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.

But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.

A source said last night: "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.

"He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

"There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do - and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."

A Government official suggested that the Bush threat had been "humorous, not serious".

But another source declared: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."

Yesterday former Labour Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle challenged Downing Street to publish the five-page transcript of the two leaders' conversation. He said: "It's frightening to think that such a powerful man as Bush can propose such cavalier actions.

"I hope the Prime Minister insists this memo be published. It gives an insight into the mindset of those who were the architects of war."

Bush disclosed his plan to target al-Jazeera, a civilian station with a huge Mid-East following, at a White House face-to-face with Mr Blair on April 16 last year.

At the time, the US was launching an all-out assault on insurgents in the Iraqi town of Fallujah.

Al-Jazeera infuriated Washington and London by reporting from behind rebel lines and broadcasting pictures of dead soldiers, private contractors and Iraqi victims.

The station, watched by millions, has also been used by bin Laden and al-Qaeda to broadcast atrocities and to threaten the West.

Al-Jazeera's HQ is in the business district of Qatar's capital, Doha.

Its single-storey buildings would have made an easy target for bombers. As it is sited away from residential areas, and more than 10 miles from the US's desert base in Qatar, there would have been no danger of "collateral damage".

Dozens of al-Jazeera staff at the HQ are not, as many believe, Islamic fanatics. Instead, most are respected and highly trained technicians and journalists.

To have wiped them out would have been equivalent to bombing the BBC in London and the most spectacular foreign policy disaster since the Iraq War itself.

The No 10 memo now raises fresh doubts over US claims that previous attacks against al-Jazeera staff were military errors.

In 2001 the station's Kabul office was knocked out by two "smart" bombs. In 2003, al-Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub was killed in a US missile strike on the station's Baghdad centre.

The memo, which also included details of troop deployments, turned up in May last year at the Northampton constituency office of then Labour MP Tony Clarke

Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh, 49, is accused under the Official Secrets Act of passing it to Leo O'Connor, 42, who used to work for Mr Clarke. Both are bailed to appear at Bow Street court next week.

Mr Clarke, who lost at the election, returned the memo to No 10.

He said Mr O'Connor had behaved "perfectly correctly".

Neither Mr O'Connor or Mr Keogh were available. No 10 did not comment.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Last chance to see

The Last Rites

Queuing for last respect

It was Friday 13th January 2007. Some time after the Friday weekly congressional ritual, the phone rang. On the other end was my cousin informing that my auntie had just passed away, I was still watching my pc screen and reading e-mails. Read one from my younger sister in Klang Valley asking about my auntie’s condition. She was the first, outside my immediate family, to get the message of her death from me.

Normally someone of considerable experience would tell that someone had passed away by feeling the pulse. I am still unable to do that. Messengers would then sent out to every nooks and corners of the kampong (village) passing the news to the villagers. Immediate mobilization would be organized to prepare for burial. The grave digger, the bathing team and the funeral prayer organizers were placed to work.

Visitors will be pouring in, with the donations. This donation assists to fund the whole exercise. The cash donation would lessened the burden of the deceased family to fork out cash to finance the burial and what comes next. The norm is 10 Malaysian Ringgit per visitor, of course depending on affordability and totally at one’s liberty. The burial cost is nominal, largely to meet the cost of grave digging and the bulk of the expenses goes to the drinks and the meals for the living, more so for what is coming up in the next few nights.

Typical Funeral Prayers

Positioning bier for prayers

Preparation of the corpse for a Malay burial is generally define by the demands of the Islamic jurisprudence or better known as fiqh. The corpse is first cleaned by bathing her, then she is wrapped in white cloth from head to toe with less than a foot extra at each end. Thats to tie the ends at the top of the head and bottom of the sole. Normally, after the bath the face is left uncovered for an hour or so, for the immediate family to pay their last respect, salutation and kisses.

The prepared corpse is then placed on a bier cover with semi cylindrical space frames and capped with a specially designed cloth for the occasion. It is then ready for funeral prayers. As a family tradition the funeral prayers was done twice. First, by members of the immediate family in the deceased abode then the second in the local mosque. At the mosques a small amount of cash is given to the participants as a token of appreciation.

Bier to mosque

The bier is taken to the mosque. It used to be made of bamboo and palm, that were then be left at the cemetery to rot. Today, the bier is made of Aluminum so that it is light and will be brought and stored in the local mosque after the funeral. The bier will be used many times. The bier is designed in such a way that at the edges the bearers protruded out to be placed on the shoulders for carrying it around. In this case the bier was carried the shoulders some 500 metres to a local burial ground

reading talkin ( the deceased testimony )
Final resting place

Leaving the mosque

After the burial, nightly for seven continuous nights there will be a ritual of chanting verses of the Quran, salutations to the prophets, verses that will bring about god-consciousness and seeking forgiveness for the dead and the living . In the old days it used to be organized for forty nights continuously, now it is done for the first 3 or 7 nights then on the fortieth followed by a final one on the hundredth night.

Online Medic,Inc.

Syndicated AdLinks

Summer Promotions

Hotel commpetitive rates