President’s boast undermined by human rights violations
Children as young as 10 are sent from Pakistan to Guantanamo where they face torture
President Pervez Musharraf may like to claim that Pakistan’s human rights record is envied the world over, but you would have a hard time finding many countries that agree.
General Musharraf, who appears to be on a world tour to court international approval, was last night wooing the British establishment in the form of the Oxford Union. But his mission suffered the misfortune of coming a day after the shocking human rights abuses perpetrated in Pakistan were brought back into the spotlight of the international media.
In a damning report into the reality of the situation in Pakistan, Amnesty International accused the country’s security forces of acting like bounty hunters. Several cases in which Pakistani security forces detained innocent people and sold them to the US as suspected “terrorists” for cash rewards are detailed, as are their subsequent flights to the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.
The US typically offers $5,000 (£2,600) for a captured “terrorist”. Children as young as 10 are sent from Pakistan to Guantanamo, where they could face torture and other forms of abuse. Amnesty focuses on the case of a 14-year-old boy from Chad who was regularly hung by his wrists at a prison in Karachi before being sold to US forces and taken to Guantanamo.
Former St. Vincent pastor John Skehan, 79, is seen in a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office booking photo after he was arrested on September 27, 2006. Retired priests Skehan and Father Francis Guinan, 63, were accused of skimming cash from collection plates and bequests to the St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach, Florida, over a period of years and channeling the money into secret ‘slush funds’ they used to pay personal bills, Delray Beach police said. Skehan was arrested on a charge of grand theft of over $100,000 and was being held in the Palm Beach County jail. REUTERS/Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office/Handout
Two Catholic priests in Florida stand accused of embezzling $8.6m (£4.6m) from their parishioners over a 42-year period and spending the money on holiday houses, luxury travel, gambling in Las Vegas casinos and secret girlfriends.
The scandal, at St Vincent Ferrer Church, in Delray Beach, north of Miami, cast yet another embarrassing spotlight on a Catholic diocese that recently lost two bishops to child sex abuse scandals.
According to police who investigated the suspect finances at St Vincent Ferrer for more than a year, Fathers John Skehan and Francis Guinan acted as “professional money launderers” who took money from the collection plate and set up a network of slush-fund bank accounts to which only they had access.
Congressional work on tribunal hearings grants amnesty
A video report from CNN’s Jack Cafferty says that buried deep within the pending plan to create military tribunals for those suspected of terrorism is amnesty for present U.S. officials.
He said that President Bush “is trying to pardon himself” with the plan, which is in the last stage of congressional endorsement and next will go to the president’s desk.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be questioned by police within weeks as part of the investigation into alleged “cash for honours”, the Daily Mail newspaper reported yesterday. The report comes after British media said that Ruth Turner, a senior aide in Blair’s Downing Street office, was questioned as part of the same inquiry.
Officers are probing claims that wealthy individuals were nominated for seats in the House of Lords, Britain’s unelected upper chamber of parliament, after offering financial backing for the ruling Labour Party’s 2005 general election campaign. The main opposition Conservatives and third party Liberal Democrats have also become involved in the so-called “cash for honours” row.
The Mail quoted police sources saying that Blair will be questioned “within weeks”. And Scottish Nationalist lawmaker Angus Macneil, whose complaint triggered the probe, told the paper he had been told this week by police that the inquiry could go on until December.
Germans are being warned of the ‘danger’ of Scientology amid growing concerns over the numbers of after-school tutoring programmes springing up across the country.
The government has told internal security forces to step up their scrutiny of the movement, claiming that the Scientologists, which they label a cult, are seeking to take advantage of Germany’s ailing education system as a means to recruit children. It has prompted US embassy officials to lobby the German government on the sect’s behalf.
Police and intelligence agencies have been closely following the activities of the group. State security and educational officials have issued warnings to schools and parents that seemingly innocuous tutoring programmes may be fronts to recruit children and their families.
Scientology-affiliated tutoring programmes have more than tripled in the past 12 months, and there are now estimated to be at least 30 nationwide. ‘We know that Scientology is trying to approach students to gain followers,’ said Bavarian Interior Minister Gunther Beckstein, who said there were at least eight tutoring programmes connected to Scientology in Bavaria.
Scientology has the legal right to operate as a religion in Germany, though the government has refused it tax-exempt status. ‘Scientology is not a religion. It is a business and its aim is to gain power over individuals and try to brainwash them,’ Beckstein added. ‘We see it as the duty of the state to inform students and parents about the danger of these schools.’
Donald Trump’s property for sale here has all the big-time extras one might expect. Pricey marble and 24-karat gold fixtures decorate bathrooms. There’s a gargantuan fountain in the driveway and 475 feet of oceanfront out back.
Perhaps the biggest thing about the home, however, is its price tag: $125 million. And (sorry Donald) that price has already been trumped. A home in Aspen, Colo., is now listed at $135 million. Another home in Lake Tahoe, Nev., was recently listed at a flat $100 million.
The listings represent a monetary milestone in American real estate: the first time U.S. homes have broken into a whopping nine figures, according to real estate experts, and they’ve done so in quick succession. A May survey of the nation’s most expensive homes by Forbes.com put Trump’s home at the most expensive and the first to break the $100 million mark. At the time, the next highest listing was a $75 million estate in Bridgehampton, N.Y.
Media obsession with E Mails of sicko Republican congressman overshadowed by ignored White House child prostitution scandal, Halliburton sex slavery evil
Revelations about a Florida Congressman that have mired the Republicans in another sex scandal over the weekend continue to rumble across the media spectrum today – but the true scale of organized child sex slavery rings and their connection to the elite is uniformly omitted from polite conversation.
Republican Rep. Mark Foley is now being investigated by the FBI after he sent sexually suggestive e mails to boys working as congressional pages. It emerged over the weekend that House leaders had known for months about Foley’s lurid behavior yet chose to look the other way. Foley was co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus.