Pakistan’s Bonded Slaves

November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

In this episode of Slavery: A 21st Century Evil, Al Jazeera’s Rageh Omaar investigates slavery that is passed down from father to son, mother to daughter.

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9/11: When truth became a casualty of war

September 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Al Jazeera’s Listening Post takes a look at the role of the complicit media in the post-9/11 world:

‘Israel protests silent on occupation issue’

August 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

Israeli-American writer Joseph Dana speaks to Al Jazeera from Tel Aviv about the current protests in Israel:

Danny Danon talks to Al Jazeera

August 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Al Jazeera’s Teymor Nabili interviews Danny Danon, the far-right deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset about his views on Israel’s future and the “so-called Palestinians.” Nabili wrote this on his blog yesterday:

The deputy speaker of Israel’s parliament, Danny Danon, appeared on my radar only recently, after he co-sponsored the country’s recent “Boycott Bill”, a piece of legislation that was widely attacked as anti-democratic both at home and by Israel’s traditional supporters in the US.

Danon was, and is, unapologetic about his action, calling critics “hypocrites” and seeing no problem in a law that rides roughshod over one of the bedrock principles of justice – the presumption of innocence.

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Sailing to Yemen with human traffickers

July 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

(GALLO/GETTY)

Freelance journalist Glen Johnson recently traveled on a human smuggling boat from Djibouti to Yemen, where he was arrested and imprisoned for two weeks. The following is an excerpt from his report on the voyage for Al Jazeera:

I waited for an hour while people filed onto the boats, departures of each boat were staggered by around 15 minutes. Gradually the Affar left and one of the smugglers approached and signalled to me. While dozens of crabs scuttled across the sand, I waded out waist deep and clambered into the boat’s bow. Nearly 50 people were crammed into the boat, which was essentially a fishing dhow. The passengers were squeezed one next to the other as the boat set-off.

A young man from Ethiopia – his forehead covered in a line of 10 faded, blue tattoos depicting the cross – said there was no work in Ethiopia; in Saudi Arabia he would have everything, like his friend in Riyadh, the capital.

“Ethiopia is a very big country. I have no job and no monies. I calling to my friend and he says about his big house and big car. I say I must go, go, go.”

He had little money, but was carrying a block of hasheesh, to sell in Saudi Arabia. Other passengers carried bottles of vodka, to sell to Yemeni bootleggers in order to fund the rest of their trip to Saudi. Those who could not afford to pay for a vehicle would attempt the journey on foot.

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One on One – Tariq Ali

June 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

Riz Khan interviews our good friend Tariq Ali.

The magical realism of body counts

June 14, 2011 § 3 Comments

The following article appeared on Al Jazeera. (in Spanish in Rebelión). You can hear my interview with PressTV here. Andrew Sullivan quotes me on his influential blog the Daily Dish and Natasha Lennard quotes me over at Salon.

Gravediggers of Afghanistan and Pakistan have been kept busy as the US drone war has expanded, but civilian deaths remain undercounted as mendacious officials build a myth of technological accuracy and violent ‘justice’ (REUTERS)

A gypsy named Melquiades who died many years ago in Singapore returned to live with the family of Colonel Aureliano Buendia in Macondo, because he could no longer bear the tedium of death. These are the kinds of characters that populate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magnificent work One Hundred Years of Solitude. Today they also seem to occupy the tribal badlands of Pakistan’s north-western frontier.

On June 3, when Ilyas Kashmiri was killed in a US drone strike, he had already been dead for over a year. In September 2009, the CIA claimed that it killed Kashmiri along with two other senior Taliban leaders in North Waziristan. But the lure of the limelight was seemingly irresistible even in death, because on October 9, Kashmiri returned to give an interview to the late Syed Saleem Shahzad of Asia Times Online.

Baitullah Mehsud, the former commander of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also rose from the dead many times. On at least 16 occasions, Mehsud was in the gun-sights when CIA drones loosed their Hellfire missiles. Yet, until August 2009, he proved unable to settle into the afterlife. Mullah Sangeen also experienced at least two resurrections.

Death is clearly not what it used to be.

Or perhaps the people who were killed in the other attacks were not Kashmiri, Sangeen or Mehsud. Indeed, the attack on a funeral procession on June 23, 2009, which killed Sangeen was supposedly aimed at the TTP chief. It killed 83 people who certainly were not who they were supposed to be.

These are not isolated events. At the end of 2009, the Pakistani daily Dawn calculated that, of the 708 people killed in 44 drone attacks that year, only 5 were known militants. Earlier that year, The News, Pakistan’s other major English-language daily, had calculated that between January 14, 2006, and April 8, 2009, 60 drone attacks killed 701 people – of whom only 14 were known militants.

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