Monday, September 30, 2013

Rashida’s world of the banana republic and telephone justice

Rashida’s world of the banana republic and telephone justice

Michigan State representative Rashida Tlaib thinks she is a member of the legislative branch of a banana republic.

 Tlaib raised 15- year- old sexual harassment allegations against Imad Hamad, the former regional director of the ADC (American Arab anti-Discrimination Committee) and, along with a motley crew of who’s who of characters with an ax to grind and personal and other agendas and vendettas against ADC and Imad, succeeded in getting ADC to launch an investigation.

In the context of the manufactured crisis, Imad, sure of his innocence and respecting the process and the American system and procedure, offered to step aside while an independent investigation is conducted. ADC and Imad mutually agreed to this temporary stepping aside. ADC did the right thing by hiring a top attorney, a woman, specialized in sexual harassment claims and investigations, to do the investigation. This investigation, needless to say, was held in a hostile media environment where the stories were biased against Imad. Not only biased – the media, especially Free Press reporter Niraj Warikoo, gave a platform to the accusers, Rashida Tlaib and her sidekick Rana Abbas,  along with a number of usual suspects of “professional Arab” Americans to paint an awful picture of Imad in the media knowing that Imad will be hamstrung with his attorney telling him not to fight his battle in the media.
This was not an accident. Rashida et al's  strategy was intended to compensate for the fact that the matter lacked evidence at best or was manufactured. The game plan was to create a scandal, bring who's who of professional Arabs to pontificate about ADC's need to do the right thing, that is fire Imad without any due process.
To their great chagrin it did not work out that way. But the fact that it did not play out that way only increased the viciousness and the lobbying efforts by Rashida, the public face of the unholy crusade.

ADC is not an organization in a banana republic. Long time employees with a record of service and a ton of credibility have an expectation that they will lose their job only for cause. ADC, priding itself on being the premier Arab civil rights organization  could not just fire Imad on the basis of mere allegations, and stale ones for that matter, especially that an investigation ADC previously conducted on the matter exonerated Imad. It is important to note that ADC had received harassment allegations years before, investigated them properly, and the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Imad. Not only that. One of the key accusers, Rana Abbas, actually left ADC on good terms and kept a friendly relationship with the organization and its staff, a relationship that belie her being distraught about her ADC experience. [more on Rana blatant lies in another entry]

Rashida unethically used her position as  state official, using her letterhead and title, to create the scandal and lend an aura of credibility to the allegations.  I mean after all we all know that politicians "don't lie." Right?

Despite all the biased sensational media and the political pressure from the ax grinders and the back stabbers [more on that in another entry], the investigator could not conclude that Imad is guilty of the alleged offenses. This is remarkable given the political and media pressure and is testimony to the importance of due process and objective fact finders.

Still Tlaib and her motley crew of co-conspirators are still advocating for the discharge of Imad. Tlaib is calling around people, some say intimidating those who show support for Imad, using her office to have Imad fired.

Rashida is not interested in justice or in "protecting other women."
If she were interested in justice she would have accepted the judgment of a high-profile outside attorney who did not find evidence of wrongdoing from Imad. But Rashida has her own agenda. Rashida claims that the picture of Imad with two female interns made her snap and get the release out. She is basically saying she is an impulsive person. But she is continuing with her unholy crusade even after Imad is not the regional director but only an advisor for ADC. Rashida’s story does not add up and her continuing crusade is more evidence that Rashida has motivations that she is not sharing with the public.

More likely the scandal she has manufactured unethically using her position is a function of her associations- among these associations stand out her board membership of ADC rival organization, the ACRL, formed by former ADC board member Nabih Ayad. Incidentally, her board membership preceded the manufactured media scene by only a few months.

This episode reminds me of a lecture given by Supreme Court judge Steve Breyer. In one of the lectures that Justice Breyer gave he spoke about his experience attending an event with judges from the Russian federation. He said one person asked for an end to “telephone justice.” Telephone justice is when a party official calls the judge and tells him or her how to rule on a case.

In this country we have due process and the attorney who led the investigation in the Hamad case did her job professionally and honorably. The media and other antics and shenanigans related to the ADC issue are a variation of the telephone justice in the Russian federation.

 It is time that someone tells Rashida Tlaib that there is no telephone justice in the United States.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Justice or Vindictiveness: Imad Hamad and Rashida Tlaib's Obsession

Osama Siblani
Nabih Ayad
Rashida Tlaib

Rana Abbas

The Rashida Tlaib crusade against ADC and its regional director Imad Hamad is ongoing. Tlaib claimed that 15 years ago she was the victim of sexual harassment by Mr. Hamad.

Tlaib is a board member of ACRL- an organization set up by former ADC board member Nabih Ayad.

Michigan State legislator Rashida Tlaib is unethically and shamelessly using her elected position to spearhead a no- holds- barred against Imad. These sensational accusations were made to manufacture a crisis and push for the discharge of a tireless defender of civil rights.

In a recent Free Press article Rashida was quoted as demanding Imad's discharge from ADC. It's despicable that Rashida Tlaib is "demanding" that ADC fire Imad. Our Palestinian American "Thomas Jefferson" wants Imad discharged regardless of the investigation. Tlaib's obsession with Imad and her intent on destroying him and ADC remind me of the headline of a recent article on politicians: Legislators "somewhere below cockroaches, traffic jams, and Nickelback in Americans' esteem."

Anti-Muslim bigot Debbie Schlussel has tried for years to destroy Imad Hamad. She failed. Now Rashida Tlaib has picked up the effort from Schlussel.

ADC should not allow Tlaib to be able to achieve what Schlussel failed to achieve.

Link to the Free Press article:

Imad Hamad

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On Egypt- Interview with Egyptian Morsi Supporter Mohamed Abaza




 “I now realize that it will take a long time for Egypt to practice democracy the way the democratic countries do.”

Mr. Mohamed Abaza is a former colleague of mine. Given the turmoil in Egypt and seeking the viewpoint of an ordinary Egyptian citizen who had experienced life in the United States, the Forum and Link sought Mr. Abaza for an online interview with questions about the situation in Egypt. When reading this interview, keep two things in mind. One, that the interview was done in July-August of 2013 but there was no opportunity to publish it earlier. A lot has happened since not least of which the bloody crackdown on the protesters. But at the core of the crisis the issues are still the same with the heart of the matter being the democracy question. Second, Mr. Abaza identifies himself as a Morsi supporter.


1.      What is going on in Egypt today- is it a civil war?

It is not yet a civil war and I personally doubt a civil war can happen in Egypt due to the nature of the Egyptians. However, many people are warning of repeating the Algerian scenario. So far, it is a political unrest that started politically but then pushed toward violence. According to eye witnesses, thugs were used in the beginning by the police to give the impression that these are clashes between the supporters of Morsi and the opponents. Now the army came in directly. This was so unexpected.

2.      How did the crisis start?

The crisis started ever since Morsi became a president. The call for his fall started as early as August 2012, two months after his came in. There were 24 calls for mass demonstrations throughout the past year, an average of one every two weeks. All of them systematically ended with violence. He was under a heavy media “artillery” from day one and every minute mistake would put him and his government under the spotlight. For the last three months, the media was preparing the people to go down the street to end Morsi's presidency and his attempts to “Ikwasnize the state.” They used some economic indicators, the security crisis, and the power and gas shortages, to encourage the people to do so. The army gave the impression that they divorced politics after they handed the presidency to Morsi and after their bitter experience with politics when they took over the country from Mubarak for a short period. However, there were repeated calls for the army from the so- called "civil currents" to intervene in political affairs to preserve the "civility" of Egypt and to preserve the Egyptian identity. The army was usually urging the different political groups to work out a solution themselves. All of a sudden, the head of the armed forces sent a warning to the political elite to find a solution with 7 days or the army will have to intervene to save the country from the turmoil. At the end of the seven days, they gave two more days to find a solution or they will put their own road map. At the end of the grace period, the armed forces ousted President Morsi and you know the rest. This triggered Morsi's supporters to demonstrate to ask for Morsi's return. This is a very short answer. There are hundreds of details that cannot be included in a short answer. By the way, we had zero power shortage and we no longer have any gas shortage since June 30th.


3.      Is the conflict affecting all areas of the country or just certain areas where the protesters are gathering?

The spots where the demonstrations are taking place are not only in Cairo but rather in almost every city. However, they are most effective in Cairo due to the capital's weight. If you are familiar with Cairo, the city is huge however the traffic there is one of the most annoying everyday problems to those who live there. So blocking two of the most essential squares in Cairo and Giza can spread the effect to almost everywhere. If this problem remains until the opening of the schools in September it will be a serious problem.

4.      Is the conflict at heart in Egypt today a secular/Islamist divide? Is there a way to bridge the gap?

This is what the media is portraying the conflict. The fact is that most of Morsi's supporters are religious but not necessarily Islamist or Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamic parties won 71% of the parliament seats and could pass the Constitution with a majority of 64%. I can positively say that the Islamists constitute that percentage of the total population.

5.      Is the conflict straining families and personal relationships? Are people talking to each other openly?

Definitely.  Politics ruined many relationships since the eruption of the revolution in 2011 and the tension escalated as the country geared towards the parliamentary and presidential elections as well as the two referendums. I personally lost too many friends and relatives due to tense discussions via face book.

6.      In Lebanon many businesses reacted to the divided politics of the country by putting signs that talking about politics is not allowed? Is that happening in Egypt? mI saw this for the first time today. I also started asking people whom I meet with for business purposes not to talk about politics because none of us will change each other opinion. It will only tense the relationship.


7.      Now that Morsi is forcefully removed-What is going to happen next?

There is no simple answer for this question. I don't think the protesters will go home any time soon before Morsi is at least released. They are also concerned that the oppressive practices of Mubarak's State Security "Amn El Dawla" is going back to their old pre-revolution practices. All pro- Morsi TV stations were closed and many activists and Muslim Brotherhood leadership have been arrested without proper legal procedure. On the other hand, the military mentality makes me pessimistic. In my opinion, the release of Morsi can pave the way for some deal to move on. Morsi can no longer rule Egypt the way he used to do throughout the past year. It became obvious that the old regime and its components are much stronger than him.

8. We see a lot of people on the streets. Are businesses open and people going to work?

Life has almost stopped for one week since June 28th and three days before that due the gas shortage. However, they started to get back to normal two days ago. They go to their work in the morning then they join the strike in rab3a and Nahda after hours. Supporters of the coup can no longer bring masses to Tahrir.

9. Is democracy possible in Egypt? Are you optimistic about the future?

I was so optimistic after the fall of Mubarak. We had very high expectations. We thought that corruption is easy to fight. I realized that it is not that simple. Another factor that complicated the scene was the fear tactic that both sides used. The Islamists, especially the Salafists, presented themselves as the protectors of Islam against the seculars and even Shi3a when Morsi tried to establish some sort of limited relationships with Iran. On the other hand, secularists and leftists present themselves as the protectors of the "Civil State" from the "Theocrats". No focus whatsoever from the secularists and opponents of Morsi was on solving the ordinary citizen problem like bread, sanitation, traffic, and security. Morsi focused on these problems and made a significant progress on bread, wheat production, and cooking gas. It was clear to many ordinary people that the problem was not the failure of Morsi but rather his success.

I now realize that it will take a long time for Egypt to practice democracy the way the democratic countries do.