Afghan feminist refused entry to USA

This video is called Malalai Joya interview with CNN: US Get OUT of Afghanistan.

From in Canada:

U.S. government denies entry visa to Afghan women‘s rights activist and author Malalai Joya

By Derrick O’Keefe

March 17, 2011

This press release went out this morning from the Afghan Women’s Mission, one of the sponsors of Malalai Joya’s scheduled tour to the United States, which was to begin at this weekend’s Left Forum.

The United States has denied a travel visa to Malalai Joya, an acclaimed women’s rights activist and former member of Afghanistan‘s parliament. Ms. Joya, who was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, was set to begin a three week U.S. tour to promote an updated edition of her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords, published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Joya’s publisher at Scribner, Alexis Gargagliano, said, “We had the privilege to publish Ms. Joya, and her earlier 2009 book tour met with wide acclaim. The right of authors to travel and promote their work is central to freedom of expression and the full exchange of ideas.” Joya’s memoir has been translated into over a dozen languages, and she has toured widely including Australia, the U.K., Canada, Norway, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and the Netherlands in support of the book over the past two years.

Colleagues of Ms. Joya’s report that when she presented herself as scheduled at the U.S. embassy, she was told she was being denied because she was “unemployed” and “lives underground.” Then 27, Joya was the youngest woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament in 2005. Because of her harsh criticism of warlords and fundamentalists in Afghanistan, she has been the target of at least five assassination attempts. “The reason Joya lives underground is because she faces the constant threat of death for having had the courage to speak up for women’s rights — it’s obscene that the U.S. government would deny her entry,” said Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a U.S.-based organization that has hosted Joya for speaking tours in the past and is a sponsor of this year’s national tour.

Joya has also become an internationally known critic of the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan. Organizers argue that the denial of Joya’s visa appears to be a case of what the American Civil Liberties Union describes as “Ideological Exclusion,” which they say violates Americans’ First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the United States.

Events featuring Malalai Joya are planned, from March 20 until April 10, in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and California. Organizers of her speaking tour are encouraging people to contact the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the promise from the Obama Administration of “promoting the global marketplace of ideas” and grant Joya’s visa immediately.

3 thoughts on “Afghan feminist refused entry to USA

  1. State Department axes guard firm for Kabul embassy

    The Associated Press

    Thursday, March 17, 2011 | 3:42 p.m.

    The State Department has fired the contractor it hired to guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, leaving protection of the key diplomatic outpost in the hands of another company the department has been trying to replace for more than a year.

    On Thursday, the State Department said in a statement it ended its agreement for embassy security with EOD Technology of Lenoir City, Tenn., because the company was not going to be able to start work on May 1, as the contract required.

    EOD Technology had won the $274 million award less than six months ago. The company was set to replace ArmorGroup North America. In late 2009, the State Department said it was cutting ties with ArmorGroup after ArmorGroup guards were caught engaging in lewd behavior and drinking excessively at their living quarters a few miles from the embassy.

    An independent watchdog group documented lurid conditions at the camp, including threats and intimidation and scenes of guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol. In at least one case, ArmorGroup supervisors brought prostitutes into the quarters where the guards live, a serious breach of security and discipline.

    At least 10 ArmorGroup guards and managers were fired or resigned shortly after the allegations surfaced.

    But ArmorGroup continued to handle security at the embassy while the search for a new contractor took place. The department said ArmorGroup will be extended for at least the next four months while it assesses options for replacing EOD Technology.

    EOD Technology was one of eight security companies chosen by the State Department in September to compete for work under a contract potentially worth $10 billion for diplomatic security services in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel. Under this umbrella arrangement, EOD Technology won the order to replace ArmorGroup at the embassy in Kabul.

    Erik Quist, a spokesman for EOD Technology, said the terms of the contract prohibit the company from commenting on the State Department’s termination decision.

    On Monday, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., asked the State Department inspector general to investigate the department’s awarding of contracts for guard services at U.S. embassies.

    McCaskill cited ArmorGroup’s record at the embassy in Kabul.

    She also pointed to an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee into the Defense Department’s use of private security contractors in Afghanistan. The inquiry, completed in October, said both EOD Technology and ArmorGroup had hired guards linked to the Taliban.

    Both companies said they had been encouraged to hire local Afghans by U.S. military officials in Afghanistan and were never told of any problems.


  2. Rep. Jones doggedly pursues atonement on war

    BY BARBARA BARRETT – Washington Correspondent

    WASHINGTON — Again last Saturday, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones slipped into his office for the penance he has served nearly each weekend since 2005.

    Jones, a Republican representing one of the nation’s most military-heavy congressional districts, signed two dozen letters of condolences. He has signed 9,505 in all, not only for the deceased Marines from Camp Lejeune in his district, but for the fallen throughout the country who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Jones may be one of the anti-war crowd’s unlikeliest voices. A conservative and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he is a strong supporter of the military and voted to authorize force in Iraq in 2002.

    But in 2005, Jones came out against the war, saying he was guided largely by his faith. He pledged then to write his weekly letters and started his crusade to get U.S. troops out of Iraq and, now that the war in Iraq is winding down, out of Afghanistan. Since then he has been shunned by fellow Republicans and targeted in GOP primaries. But still he goes on.

    On Thursday he was at it again. For two hours, 30 members debated a resolution co-sponsored by Jones that would invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and would require President Barack Obama to leave Afghanistan entirely by the end of this year.

    The resolution, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, has been debated and soundly defeated in past Congresses. Last year, it failed 65-356.

    The latest debate comes in the same week that Gen. David Petraeus updates Congress on progress in the conflict, and as a new Washington Post poll shows that two-thirds of Americans want to bring the troops home before the anticipated end date of 2014.

    At the same time, Congress remains embroiled in a larger debate about how to cut the federal budget, and so Jones hoped that Thursday, he could bring a few fiscal conservatives to his way of thinking. The war in Afghanistan costs $100 billion a year, the same amount GOP leadership pledged to remove from the current fiscal year budget.

    He thinks fiscal conservatives are just beginning to see it’s going to be costly to stay through 2014, the date anticipated by Pentagon leaders.

    “If you can’t explain to a soldier or a Marine, ‘What is the endpoint? What is the definition of victory?’ then you’re in a black hole,” Jones said in an interview. “And you’re never going to have that.”

    Al-Qaida is gone, he said, with just a couple of dozen members left in the country. “If that was our goal, that’s victory. They’re gone.”

    Making his case

    Obama has promised to begin removing troops in July, but Petraeus would not say this week how many he would recommend to pull out. He has said that it will be 2014 before the country is likely to be stabilized.

    On Wednesday, Jones told Petraeus he thought troops would be there years longer.

    The vote on the War Powers resolution would come Thursday afternoon. Jones hoped for 15, maybe 20, Republican supporters.

    “It doesn’t sound like a lot of people,” he said beforehand, “but when we had three or four – just think of the percentage increase.”

    Just after 10 a.m. Thursday, Jones gathered up three posters – of a happy family portrait, of a military casket, of a small boy clutching a folded flag – and headed to the House floor.

    Just before noon, Jones went to the well of the chamber and held his three posters, one by one, over his head.

    He talked of the 6-year-old boy, named Tyler, holding the flag at his father’s funeral in Ohio. He showed a casket being carried off a military plane at Dover Air Force Base. And he held up a photo of Marine Sgt. Thomas Bagosy, his wife, Katie, and their young son. Sgt. Bagosy died in May at Camp Lejeune.

    “He pulls his car over in the middle of the day, and he puts his gun to his head and he shoots himself,” Jones said. “How many more?”

    As Jones spoke, Katie Bagosy was in South Carolina.

    “I don’t think anything’s getting accomplished over there,” she said in a phone interview. “We’re losing more lives, and they’re coming back messed up. I don’t see any positive results on their end, Afghanistan, or our end, in America.”

    Back on the House floor, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, strongly opposed the resolution.

    “To leave Afghanistan before we finish the job is to pave the way for the next 9/11,” warned Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

    Some experts say that the United States has strong national security interests in ensuring a sustainable government there.

    Daniel Serwer, a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, said Afghanistan runs the risk of seeing al-Qaida moving back into its borders for cover. That would put neighboring Pakistan – and its nuclear arsenal – at risk as well.

    That was the same message from Petraeus during hours of testimony this week.

    “I can understand the frustration,” Petraeus said Tuesday. “We have been at this for 10 years. We have spent an enormous amount of money. We have sustained very tough losses and difficult, life-changing wounds.”

    ‘In a sea of Republicans’

    Democrats who supported Thursday’s resolution are numerous. Kucinich brought up a dozen members in support of it. Many praised Jones as a leader across the aisle.

    Standing alongside Jones on the GOP side were just a few: U.S. Reps. Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Ron Paul of Texas, Dana Rohrabacher of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

    Chaffetz didn’t buy the financial argument or believe he should be guided by polls, but his voice caught as he listed the service members from his district who have been killed in Afghanistan.

    “This is an emotional issue,” he said later. “[Jones] and I have found real common ground in a sea of Republicans who think a different way.”

    The bells rang just before 3 p.m. throughout the Capitol, calling lawmakers to the House floor for votes. They scrambled into the chamber.

    House Concurrent Resolution 28 failed, 93-321.

    Eight Republicans voted yes.

    “You know, it’s an uphill climb,” Jones said afterward.

    But he has more ideas planned to get out of Afghanistan; he has co-sponsored another bill on the conflict and is in talks on yet another. Jones said he anticipates maybe four more House floor votes on the issue this year.

    “This isn’t the end of it,” Jones said.


  3. Pingback: Dutch government cuts aid to poor countries | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.