US Firm’s Teargas Used at Tahrir Square

November 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Egypt’s military junta fired CS gas cartridges made by Combined Systems Inc of Pennsylvania, say demonstrators

By Jack Shenker in Cairo and Luke Harding

The teargas used by interior ministry troops in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is supplied by a US company. Demonstrators say cartridges retrieved from the scene are branded with the name and address of Combined Systems Inc (CSI).

The firm is located in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. It specialises in supplying what it calls “crowd control devices” to armies and “homeland security agencies” around the world. It also manufactures lethal military equipment.

Protesters say the CS gas seems more powerful than that used by Egyptian police during the country’s last popular uprising in February. “It’s stronger, it burns your face, it makes you feel like your whole body is seizing up,” one witness said. He added: “It doesn’t seem to be combated by Coke or vinegar.”

Experts told the Guardian the gas was likely to be standard CS gas, but the effects could be exacerbated by physical exertion.

As well as the effects of the teargas, protesters have suffered grave injuries to their heads and faces from rubber bullets. There are also reports of live ammunition being used. Dozens of people have been taken to makeshift hospitals after inhaling the choking gas fired by the Central Security Forces.

The export of teargas to foreign law enforcement agencies is not prohibited. CSI has also sold teargas to the Israeli police, where it has been deployed against Palestinian demonstrators, as well as, reportedly, to the regime of Tunisia’s ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Nevertheless, the revelation that people are being gassed and hurt by US-manufactured projectiles is embarrassing for the Obama administration.

“We have seen the illegitimate and indiscriminate use of teargas,” Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in Cairo, said, of Egypt’s most recent street protests, as well as the original revolution in February. “There are a few cartridges from Italy but the vast majority are from the USA.”

She said teargas did not constitute direct military aid, since it was sold to the interior ministry rather than the army. But she added: “Ideally governments should be verifying who they are selling teargas to.”

Morayef said the gas was having a devastating effect on its victims, with everyone left choking, and hundreds forced to seek medical treatment. Protesters have also retrieved 12mm rubber bullet cartridges made in Italy. “One person I know ended up coughing up blood,” she said. Human Rights Watch intended to examine the canisters to discover exactly what kind of gas was being used, she added.

Alastair Hay, professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said police in Cairo were almost certainly using conventional CS gas. “It’s a standard riot control agent which has been around for a very long time,” he said.

Hay said its effects were extremely unpleasant. “It’s an eye and respiratory tract irritant, largely. It will also cause skin irritation.”

The chemical compound used in CS gas – 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile – was “perfectly legitimate”, with many commercial companies involved in selling it, and domestic governments willing to make use of it in riot situations, he added.

US army trials showed CS gas had a far more serious effect on people taking part in physical activity than those sitting passively, sometimes leaving its victims needing intensive care afterwards. The way to get rid of it was “constant irrigation” to wash away the affected areas, Hay said.

There was no immediate comment from CSI.

The company’s website says it was founded in 1981. It adds: “Combined Systems Inc (CSI) is a US-based firm that supports military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world. CSI is a premier engineering, manufacturing and supply company of tactical munitions and crowd control devices globally to armed forces, law enforcement, corrections and homeland security agencies.

“[…] In addition to its military products, CSI markets its innovative line of less lethal munitions, tactical munitions and crowd-control products to domestic law enforcement agencies under its law enforcement brand name, CTS. CSI also supports its wide base of international military and law enforcement customers with its line of non-lethal munitions.”

guardian.co.uk

13-48

Tax Dollars Used Against Islam and Muslims

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO

A few weeks ago, a former Palestinian Muslim, who is now an ultra conservative Christian equated Islam with terrorism describing the two inseparable. There is nothing new in what the so called former PLO terrorist said or says on a regular basis. In the last 10 years, several individuals claiming to speak on behalf of Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism have spoken openly against Islam and Muslim Americans in particular. Expressing one’s opinion is everyone’s right and that right must be preserved even if it is based on misconception or lies.

What is problematic is that the Homeland Security invited the so called terrorist-turned Christian to an official event attended by more than 300 law enforcement officials in South Dakota. This is a violation of our constitution that clearly indicates that the people’s tax dollars would not be spent in either promoting or targeting a particular religion. The so called expert was paid 5,000 plus other expenses.  In other word, the our tax dollars were spent on supporting someone whose anti-Islam agenda is well known. If the Homeland Security had invited a Muslim American to counter his argument, one could have argued that the purpose of the event was to have a balanced perspective. However, by giving money and podium to an avid anti-Islam fanatic, the Homeland Security has revealed its hatred of Islam, a crime which is in breach of the constitution and which deserves to be thoroughly investigated.

Ten after the September 11 attack, Muslim Americans are still deemed unfit by many law enforcement agencies or agents to be partners in the country’s fight against terrorism. This policy or attitude is hurting the country and wasting its tax dollars money. Seemingly, the Homeland Security and other federal and state agencies have wasted millions of dollars in rewarding anti-Muslim and anti-Islam experts on terrorism by giving them legitimacy and authenticity through invitation to officially organized events for state and federal agents.

Most of the so called experts on Islam belong to several religious groups who anti-Islam position is well known. They use the Tax payers money and resources to promote their religious agenda and to make money for themselves. The country does not benefit from their expertise.

One is entitled to his or her opinion on Islam or any other faith but when that opinion is given legitimacy by agencies that are meant to uphold the constitution and the citizens, then it deserves the attention of all those who are serious about the sanctity and supremacy of the constitution. As far as opinions against Islam are concerned, we Muslims must be aware of the task that we have at hand, i.e. challenging the misconception and informing the country and the world that there is another side of the explanation that can be offered only by those practice this faith and who understands its in and out better than those so called experts who have found a new opportunity to mint money from the new venture that we can term as “Islamic Threat to the West.”

13-30

Editorial-Arrests of Florida Imams Require Serious Investigation

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief

Two imams, (Muslim religious leaders) and four of their family members were arrested in Florida for allegedly sending money to the Taliban in Pakistan and supporting their terror network. The two were naturalized US citizens. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies rightly explained that the indictment was not against a community or religion but against individuals. The authorities have the recorded conversations of the two imams with the Taliban contacts in Pakistan and have the information about the money transfer between 2008 and 2010.

This is a serious issue and all mosque managements in the US need to take measures that that spiritual leadership positions must not be misused to promote personal political agenda. Regardless of how the situation is explained, the fact is that an average American would find it hard to trust a Muslim spiritual leader for his words. In his view, not only the individuals but people and institutions who support these individuals are guilty. However, illogical this perspective may be, but it cannot be overlooked.

It is the responsibility of mosque management to ensure that people who are given the responsibility to lead the community in spiritual matters are not pursuing some hidden political agenda. It is important that before hiring them, their background is checked and their understanding of religion is verified. There is nothing wrong in taking the help of the law enforcement agencies in having background check of individuals. The religious identity of a person is not a guarantee that his understanding of religion is sound or his past is free from actions that are contrary to religion.

The two imams of Florida should not have been at the position they were appointed. How could such people who have a duality in their character ever lead a people to the correct understanding of their faith. Does their behavior not confirm the fear of many non-Muslim Americans that Muslim Americans lie in order to promote their hidden agenda of destroying America from inside?

These sort of religious fanatics must be rooted out of the community. In fact, those who invite such people to America to lead the community in the masajid must be investigated too.The faith cannot be held hostage by the people who have nothing but hatred in their heart, two of the diseases that Islam demands must be fought.

Injustice must be fought but not through violent means. Yes, what is happening in Palestine is wrong and what is happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan is wrong. But the wrong can not be corrected by doing more wrong. Those among the Muslim community who promote hatred and anger and violence must realize that they have no place in the community. They will be challenged and thrown out of Muslim places of worship as they do not represent the faith and the example of the leader of the faith, the Prophet (s).

13-21

9 Israelis Suspected of Scamming Millions from U.S. Pensioners

July 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Yuval Goren, Haaretz Correspondent

The Tel Aviv police fraud squad arrested on Sunday nine Israelis on suspicion of netting millions of dollars from U.S. pensioners in a so-called Nigerian scam.

Police raided an office in the city, which is suspected to have been the nerve center of the dodgy enterprise. The defendants, all in their 20s and 30s, allegedly phoned American pensioners, told them they had won the lottery and asked them for a fee of several thousand dollars for the transfer of the prize money, which in fact never existed.

The investigation has been conducted in conjunction with U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Last week, it was reported that the American agencies had urged Israel Police to step up the extradition procedure of another ten Israelis who were suspected of scamming $2 million in similar means.

Most of the ten defendants in the advance-fee scam, which was unveiled by police last September, are in their early twenties, without a criminal record.

The first hearing in their extradition plea took place last week, after a New York law enforcement official said many of the victims are old and frail, and urged the Israeli police to bring the alleged offenders to imminent justice.

11-30