Posted by TONY on 29.12.10
Sounds allright to us at Loups Dans La Cite.
Le Monde Links here and ici.
Posted by TONY on 28.12.10
Posted by TONY on 27.12.10
"It's certainly not going to close in the next month. I think it's going to be a while before that prison closes," Robert Gibbs told CNN's 'State of the Union' program.
Obama views Guantanamo, which conjures up images of water-boarding and other alleged torture, as a prime symbol of Bush-era war on terror excess that only serves as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda.
But his efforts to shut down the prison camp on the southern tip of Cuba have struggled as allies balk at taking in higher-risk inmates and prosecutions become bogged down in a legal quagmire. Only three of the remaining 174 detainees have been formally tried and found guilty. Dozens have been cleared but no foreign ally will accept them and there is strong American opposition to any being allowed on US soil.US lawmakers effectively blocked one avenue this week by approving a Pentagon budget that forbids funding for an alternate prison, relocating prisoners to the US or sending detainees to certain countries.
Gibbs called for help from Obama's Republican foes, who in January will gain control of the House of Representatives and trim the Democrats' Senate majority after landslide mid-term election gains.
"I think part of this depends on the Republicans' willingness to work with the administration on this," he said.
"Are they willing to listen to others in the national security arena that have told us and will tell them and have, quite frankly, told the public that al Qaeda recruits young people to do harm, to try to blow up airplanes, to blow up themselves and kill others, they use that as a recruiting tool?"
Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, was in talks that eventually broke off with the White House for a negotiated solution.
Gibbs appeared to acknowledge a draft executive order -- previously only mentioned anonymously by officials -- to formalise the indefinite detention of some Guantanamo detainees but allow them to challenge their incarceration.
"Some would be tried in federal courts, as we've seen done in the past. Some would be tried in military commissions, likely spending the rest of their lives in a maximum security prison that nobody, including terrorists, have ever escaped from," he said.
Posted by TONY on 27.12.10
This is from the Boston Herald today. A yardstick on the capacity of the US media for self-deception, delusion and spin. No further comment necessary - quoted verbatim.
Now that Iraq has a real government nine months after national elections, a coalition of all the major parties, analysts right and left are spotlighting this and that future worry. Is Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki too authoritarian? Will the parliament pass a law governing the oil industry and its revenues? Will the Kurds stay in Iraq? And on and on. But the achievement ought to be recognized for the important step it is, a series of interlocking agreements among opponents who a few years ago were at each other’s throats.
The hardest thing in the establishment of a new government is the creation and recognition of the loyal opposition. Countries that don’t manage it often have a turbulent history, as France did after the Revolution of 1789. Countries that do manage it, as the English Tories and Whigs did after the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 that brought William of Orange to the throne, may do better. Such a recognition may be an outgrowth of the latest coalition agreements.
Naturally, nine months struck many observers as inappropriate for the gestation of a government. But the Iraqis have not had much practice with real politics. The omens are not bad. Violence, still a problem, did not increase during the nine months. Al-Maliki, the head of a Shiite grouping that finished second in the sections, has appointed numerous Sunnis to important posts. Under dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq was the most secular of all the Arab states and probably will remain so. Al-Qaeda’s attempt to take over Anbar province was met by the Sunni awakening which crushed the cruel newcomers.
Iraq could descend into chaos again. But the chances of that happening grow smaller with each passing day.
Posted by TONY on 26.12.10
Jeffrey Fleishman - CAIRO • They arrive nearly every day, these sad, strange e-mails from Iraq.
They are unsentimental and hard, gathered by stringers scattered across a country at war. They're often tough to follow, terse poems with broken rhythms and words landing in wrong places. But there's an unadorned power that speaks to things beyond style and grammar.
"An IP source said that some gunmen assassinated yesterday evening staff brigadier general in the Iraqi army and his wife in Tobchi (west Baghdad) while he was driving his car … both were killed instantly."
IP is Iraqi police. The snippet came from a Baghdad writer working his world of contacts and whispers, of fresh graves and sorrow. I may have known him once, but I haven't been to Iraq in years. I now follow its circuitous and disturbing narrative in newspapers and magazines, and in e-mail traffic I see as a Middle East correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.
"A car bomb went off in the city of Baqoubah this evening in an area where there are some popular restaurants and cafes killing three civilians and injuring 22 others." No commas. No names. Is punctuation necessary when meaning is so clear?"An IP source said that a sticky bomb targeted a civil car of a leader in Sahwa, the source didn't mention his name … causing damages to the car … he was unharmed."
Many stories that make it into the newspaper begin this way, growing little by little in detail and scope through the day. But most of these missives, brief passages sent through the ether, slip into obscurity. I wonder about their nameless victims. Did they have children? Was there a place to hide? Did they ever think they'd escape unharmed?
"An IP source said an IED was planted in front of a house of a warrant officer in IP in Hamadaniya (Abu Ghraib) … a squad car came to the place but the IED exploded before the team dismantled it killing the warrant officer (the owner of the house) and one of the IP team in addition to wounding three civilians and some damages to the house."
An IED is an improvised explosive device, or makeshift bomb. War is cluttered with acronyms and euphemisms, jumbles of letters and syllables to disguise lies and pain. They conjure geography, body count, the faint recognition of a similar story from a different time.
When I first started reporting from Iraq years ago, endless missives from stringers invaded my inbox. Every click brought news of deaths, executions, house fires, bloodied markets, roadside battles, ambushes, torture and blossoms of black smoke from suicide bombers.
You couldn't write about them all, you could only honor them by reading a few lines about their fates before hitting "delete." Or go to the morgue and match the e-mail with the bodies, like the one about the carpenter and his son waiting for work and getting blown apart in the dying chill of a Baghdad morning. They were laid in borrowed coffins, which were tied to a car roof. A man drove them to the city's edge.
The e-mails are far fewer today, but they can still be filled with rage and bewilderment.
"At 7:30 a.m. the engineer Abdul Karim Abid, working in Baghdad airport, passed the security distance near a checkpoint … the Americans opened fire on him killing him instantly inside his car."
That was it, a strand of words like an unfinished note passed between friends in a classroom. A little later, an update followed based on an interview with a man:
"The airport closed for about two hours as protestation against the killing … why such killing? Where is the security agreement between the government and the USA."
Afghanistan, they say, is the new Iraq, but the old Iraq is still here.
"An IP source said that 45 cadets in the Special Future Academy for VIP security were poisoned and some of them were critically poisoned … reasons are unknown so far … they were evacuated to the hospital … the academy is in Abu Ghraib near Baghdad international airport."
One day, perhaps, the e-mails will stop.
Posted by TONY on 26.12.10
'Hope will not come in trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people.... Hope will only come now when we physically defy the violence of the state. All who resist, all who are here today, keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become an enemy of hope. They become, in their passivity, agents of injustice.... And those who resist with nonviolence are the last thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration.(Link)
Posted by TONY on 23.12.10
Posted by TONY on 22.12.10
God rest you, merry gentlemen, and keep you in your mirth!
Was ever kingdom turned so soon to ashes, blood, and earth?
'Twixt the summer and the snow--seeding-time and frost
Arms and victual, hope and counsel, name and country lost!
Singing:-Let down by the foot and the head
Shovel and smooth it all!
So do we bury a Nation dead
And who shall be next to fall, good sirs,
With your good help to fall?
Posted by TONY on 21.12.10
“There is no independent media outlet in Iraq. I cannot name any satellite channel or a newspaper and say, ’This one is independent.’ They all either belong to a political or religious party,” said Hadi Jalo Marei, chairman of the Journalistic Freedom Observatory, a Baghdad-based media rights organization.With political disputes often played out in competing partisan media outlets, local reporters and editors say their respective organizations impose strict rules about coverage that are often counter to internationally recognized standards of impartiality.As most domestic news agencies are linked to or financed by political parties, observers say that a culture exists in which media aligned with a certain group provide positive coverage of their leaders while criticizing opponents. Some senior journalists and media experts feel the Iraqi press will never meet professional industry standards unless a truly independent media emerges. Journalists say the problem was particularly acute during this year’s election campaign and the months of negotiations that followed.
“The performance of the local media in Iraq (during and after the March 7 elections) shows that the press is no more than a tool used by Iraqi political parties to get the posts they want,” he said.
Some journalists say the current job market and economic conditions dictate the kind of coverage they are able to provide.
“Our editor used to force us to do stories against specific political parties,” he said.
“(Politicians) care about media now, because they have seen the media’s power. They have learned from the previous elections that media is their only way to reach the community, and is their only key to winning people’s hearts,” Ali said.
Posted by TONY on 19.12.10
The Magic Captain precedes us on the eternal journey
The one glass brick in a wall of infamy
We will drink cold beer at the one-legged, shoogly table
Two trains.... two railroad tracks
One going, the other one coming back..................
Don Van Vliet - 1941-2010. Immortal, brother.
The trend started after a Baghdad church attack on October 31 and subsequent targeted attacks of Christians in Baghdad and Mosul.
The total death toll at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad was 70, and 53 of the people killed in the strike were Christians, a minority group in a predominantly Muslim nation.
U.N. offices in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon are reporting a growing number of Iraqi Christian arrivals. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Baghdad and Mosul Christians have been headed to other destinations in Iraq, such as the Kurdish region and the Nineveh Plains, a region in the north with a strong Christian presence.
"We have heard many accounts of people fleeing their homes after receiving direct threats. Some were able to take only a few belongings with them," the agency said in a statement. "Churches and NGOs are warning us to expect more people fleeing in the coming weeks."
In Syria, since November, about 133 families, or 300 people, have registered with UNHCR, "the majority of whom fled Iraq following the October church attack in Baghdad."
In Jordan, the number of registrations of Christians during October and November doubled from the same period last year. In September, 57 Christians had been registered and the figure rose to 98 and 109 in October and November respectively.
"One man who is now registered with UNHCR in Jordan narrowly escaped the attack, having left the church minutes before the bombing took place. This refugee had been deported from Europe just days beforehand," the statement said.
Because of the recent hostilities, the agency urges "countries to refrain from deporting Iraqis who originate from the most perilous parts of the country."
UNHCR said it was "dismayed" that Sweden on Wednesday forcibly returned a group of some 20 Iraqis, five of whom were Christians from Baghdad.
"One of the Christian men said he escaped Iraq in 2007 after militiamen directly threatened to kill him. Fearing for his life, he traveled through several countries in the Middle East and Europe before reaching Sweden where he applied for asylum."He said his claim was rejected three times in 2008 and that his claims were not accepted as he was not considered to have been personally targeted. The others we spoke to said their asylum claims were rejected on the basis of improved security conditions in Iraq."
UNHCR said asylum seekers from Baghdad, Diyala, Nineveh, Salaheddin and Kirkuk provinces shouldn't be returned by other countries and should get some form of protection.
The agency said that despite Iraq's efforts to protect minority groups and their places of worship and an overall decrease in civilian casualties, these people are "increasingly susceptible to threats and attacks."
Original Story From CNN.
Posted by TONY on 17.12.10
Lawyers for the company, now known as Xe Services, argued in court on Thursday that Blackwater contractors were essentially acting as employees of the US government because they were providing security to State Department personnel.
The North Carolina-based company and several of its contractors are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit that was filed on behalf of three people killed in the shooting: Ali Kinani, Abrahem Abed Al Mafraje and Mahde Sahab Naser Shamake.
Posted by TONY on 17.12.10
- Nationwide, security in Afghanistan has not improved. According to the Pentagon's own report to Congress in November 2010, the portion of the population living in districts with a ‘satisfactory' security rating "remains relatively unchanged over the past three quarters." In fact, "the number of Afghans rating their security situation as ‘bad' is the highest since the nationwide survey began in September 2008. This downward trend in security perception is likely due to the steady increase in total violence over the past nine months."
- Violence has dramatically increased in Afghanistan over the last year.Kinetic events -- Pentagon speak for violence -- "are up 300 percent since 2007 and up an additional 70 percent since 2009." The Afghanistan NGO Safety Office reports a 59% increase in insurgent-led attacks in the 3rd quarter of this year over and above the 2009 level. They state: "By any measure 2010 has been the most violent year since ANSO's records began in 2002."Any progress toward increased security in the south has been more than offset by increased violence elsewhere in Afghanistan. Insurgent attacks in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan "rose 200% in June compared with June 2009." There are reports that "in northern Afghanistan, security has been deteriorating for the past two years in Kunduz and surrounding provinces" and that "the Taliban also have spread their influence in western Afghanistan and now control several districts."
- American and allied casualties are higher than ever. Taliban small-arms attacks against U.S. and allied troops are nearly twice what they were a year ago and more than 680 international troops have been killed so far this year, well above the 502 killed in the whole of 2009.
- Troop increases have fueled the growing insurgency. A U.S. intelligence estimate presented to President Obama in October 2009 showed that the number of fighters in the insurgency had ballooned to 25,000 from only 7,000 in 2006. Now Matt Waldman, former Head of Policy and Advocacy for Oxfam International in Afghanistan, reports that "today [the NATO force] estimates the Taliban as 35,000 to 40,000. One of the points we have to bear in mind is they have a very large pool of recruits inside Afghanistan and Pakistan."
- The Taliban's capacity to fight remains undiminished. The Pentagon recently reported to Congress: "Efforts to reduce insurgent capacity, such as safe havens and logistic support originating in Pakistan and Iran, have not produced measurable results... the insurgents will retain operational momentum in some areas as long as they have access to externally supported safe havens and support networks... The insurgency continues to adapt and retain a robust means of sustaining its operations, through internal and external funding sources and the exploitation of the Afghan Government's inability to provide tangible benefits to the populace."
- Corruption runs rampant, fueling the insurgency. The Pentagon's own polling from September 2010 "shows that 80.6 percent of Afghans polled believe corruption affects their daily lives. This is consistent with the view that corruption is preventing the Afghan Government from connecting with the people and remains a key reason for Afghans supporting the insurgency..."As the New York Times reported, after a meeting with President Karzai's brother, Ahmed Walid Karzai, Ambassador Eikenberry wrote that "one of our major challenges in Afghanistan [is] how to fight corruption and connect the people to their government, when the key government officials are themselves corrupt."
And just this past weekend, Afghanistan's Attorney General asked their Supreme Court to nullify the results of recent parliamentary elections due to allegations of fraud and to "issue sentences against 14 top officials who organized the vote and oversaw fraud investigations."
- Nationwide, governance has not expanded. The Pentagon reports that only "38 percent of the population live in areas rated as having ‘emerging' or ‘full authority' Afghan governance. This reflects no substantial change since March 2010." "Shadow governments" run by insurgent forces continue to operate in many parts of the south and east, "extracting taxes and carrying out ‘official' functions like trials and determining land and marriage disputes."
- The militarization of aid is failing those we seek to help. Over 100 aid workers have died this year, far more than in previous years , and a recent report of 29 aid organizations led by Oxfam International found the likelihood of attacks on aid workers has been increased because the distinction between military and civilian efforts has been "severely blurred to the point of being unrecognizable to many Afghans." The report continues that a failure "to re-establish the civil-military distinction in Afghanistan ... will have dire consequences for the Afghan civilian population -- particularly once the IMF [International Military Forces] withdraw."
- The war is undermining the American economy and burying the nation in debt. As Les Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently explained: "Afghanistan itself is no longer a vital interest of the United States, but continuing the war there tears at our own nation's very vitals. With America drowning under a $1.5 trillion deficit for next year and an almost $15 trillion overall debt, we are verging on banana republic-hood. Most of the $125 billion being spent in and for Afghanistan could better be deducted from those bills. How on earth can the administration justify spending billions to build roads, schools, and hospitals in Afghanistan when America's physical and intellectual infrastructure is simply collapsing? Of course, I feel for the Afghans; but I feel far, far more for Americans" In fact, 23% of the combined budget deficits since 2003 are a result of spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard budget guru Linda Bilmes now believe the wars will cost the American economy between $4 and $6 trillion in total. Even Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted this past August that "the most significant threat to our national security is our debt."
Posted by TONY on 16.12.10
WASHINGTON – December 7 – The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.
How far down the U.S. has slid can be seen, ironically enough, in a recent commentary in Pravda (that’s right, Russia’s Pravda): “What WikiLeaks has done is make people understand why so many Americans are politically apathetic … After all, the evils committed by those in power can be suffocating, and the sense of powerlessness that erupts can be paralyzing, especially when … government evildoers almost always get away with their crimes. …”
So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth. … the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.
Odd, isn’t it, that it takes a Pravda commentator to drive home the point that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history. Most of our own media are demanding that WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange be hunted down — with some of the more bloodthirsty politicians calling for his murder. The corporate-and-government dominated media are apprehensive over the challenge that WikiLeaks presents. Perhaps deep down they know, as Dickens put it, “There is nothing so strong … as the simple truth.”
As part of their attempt to blacken WikiLeaks and Assange, pundit commentary over the weekend has tried to portray Assange’s exposure of classified materials as very different from — and far less laudable than — what Daniel Ellsberg did in releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg strongly rejects the mantra “Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad.” He continues: “That’s just a cover for people who don’t want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”
Motivation? WikiLeaks’ reported source, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, having watched Iraqi police abuses, and having read of similar and worse incidents in official messages, reportedly concluded, “I was actively involved in something that I was completely against.” Rather than simply go with the flow, Manning wrote: “I want people to see the truth … because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public,” adding that he hoped to provoke worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.
There is nothing to suggest that WikiLeaks/Assange’s motives were any different. Granted, mothers are not the most impartial observers. Yet, given what we have seen of Assange’s behavior, there was the ring of truth in Assange’s mother’s recent remarks in an interview with an Australian newspaper. She put it this way: “Living by what you believe in and standing up for something is a good thing. … He sees what he is doing as a good thing in the world, fighting baddies, if you like.”
That may sound a bit quixotic, but Assange and his associates appear the opposite of benighted. Still, with the Pentagon PR man Geoff Morrell and even Attorney General Eric Holder making thinly disguised threats of extrajudicial steps, Assange may be in personal danger.
The media: again, the media is key. No one has said it better than Monseñor Romero of El Salvador, who just before he was assassinated 25 years ago warned, “The corruption of the press is part of our sad reality, and it reveals the complicity of the oligarchy.” Sadly, that is also true of the media situation in America today.
The big question is not whether Americans can “handle the truth.” We believe they can. The challenge is to make the truth available to them in a straightforward way so they can draw their own conclusions — an uphill battle given the dominance of the mainstream media, most of which have mounted a hateful campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks.
So far, the question of whether Americans can “handle the truth” has been an academic rather than an experience-based one, because Americans have had very little access to the truth. Now, however, with the WikiLeaks disclosures, they do. Indeed, the classified messages from the Army and the State Department released by WikiLeaks are, quite literally, “ground truth.”
How to inform American citizens? As a step in that direction, on October 23 we “Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence” (see below) presented our annual award for integrity to Julian Assange. He accepted the honor “on behalf of our sources, without which WikiLeaks’ contributions are of no significance.” In presenting the award, we noted that many around the world are deeply indebted to truth-tellers like WikiLeaks and its sources.
Here is a brief footnote: Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) is a group of former CIA colleagues and other admirers of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, who hold up his example as a model for those who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power. (For more, please see here.)
Sam did speak truth to power on Vietnam, and in honoring his memory, SAAII confers an award each year to a truth-teller exemplifying Sam Adams’ courage, persistence, and devotion to truth — no matter the consequences. Previous recipients include:
-Coleen Rowley of the FBI
-Katharine Gun of British Intelligence
-Sibel Edmonds of the FBI
-Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan
-Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army
-Frank Grevil, Maj., Danish Army Intelligence
-Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.)
-Julian Assange, WikiLeaks
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nothing hidden that will not be made known. Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight; what you have whispered in locked rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops.”
– Luke 12:2-3
Posted by TONY on 16.12.10
Judge John Bates found on Tuesday that the plaintiff, Nasser Al-Aulaqi, did not have "standing" before the court - the right to assert the interests of his son, Anwar Al-Aulaqi, who it is believed has been targeted for assassination. For this reason, the judge did not consider the merits of the case.
Judge Bates ruled that "there are circumstances in which the executive's unilateral decision to kill a US citizen overseas is 'constitutionally committed to the political branches' and judicially unreviewable."
Regarding the latter "political question" issue, the judge acknowledged "the somewhat unsettling nature of its conclusion".
Bates called the case "unique and extraordinary", and said it presented "stark, and perplexing, questions", including "fundamental questions of separation of powers involving the proper role of the courts in our constitutional structure".
Ultimately, however, he dismissed the case on procedural grounds and found that "the serious issues regarding the merits of the alleged authorisation of the targeted killing of a US citizen overseas must await another day…"
The suit had been brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in August.
Following the granting of the government's motion to dismiss the case, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, said, "If the court's ruling is correct, the government has unreviewable authority to carry out the targeted killing of any American, anywhere, whom the president deems to be a threat to the nation."
He added, "It would be difficult to conceive of a proposition more inconsistent with the Constitution or more dangerous to American liberty."
Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow with the National Security Project of the ACLU Foundation, said, "The court has drastically limited who can come into court to challenge a targeted killing before the fact. That said, if a targeted person is killed, the targeted person's estate could probably try to bring a wrongful death action after the fact."
"The trouble is that Judge Bates's ruling suggests that courts should have no role in determining the lawfulness of a targeted killing even after the fact - for example in a wrongful death lawsuit - even if the victim is a US citizen," he said.
"According to Judge Bates, the rules governing targeted killing of citizens can be written and applied in secret, with no independent checks at all. We reject the idea that the president has such a sweeping power over the lives and deaths of citizens abroad," he said.
The ACLU and CCR were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government's decision to authorise the targeted killing of his son, US citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi.
The lawsuit asked the court to rule that, outside the context of armed conflict, the government can carry out the targeted killing of a US citizen only as a last resort to address an imminent threat to life or physical safety. The lawsuit also asked the court to order the government to disclose the legal standard it uses to place US citizens on government kill lists.
Judge Bates asked but did not answer the troubling question, "How is it that judicial approval is required when the United States decides to target a US citizen overseas for electronic surveillance, but that, according to defendants, judicial scrutiny is prohibited when the United States decides to target a US citizen overseas for death?"
Meanwhile, a Yemeni judge ordered police on Saturday to capture "dead or alive" Anwar al-Awlaki, whom the US government portrays as a radical Muslim scholar who has been linked to several terror plots in the US. He has been tied to the cargo plane bomb plot last month, the Detroit underwear bomber, and may be connected to the attempted Times Square bombing.
Other human rights organisations are also weighing in on this controversial legal battle. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on President Barack Obama to "immediately clarify [the government's] legal rationale for targeted killings".
In a letter to President Obama, HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said the government "should answer the fundamental questions of how his administration determines whether a person may be targeted".
He added, "Such operations may be lawful under certain circumstances, but absent clear boundaries, they will inevitably violate international law and set a dangerous precedent for abusive regimes around the globe."
The Obama administration dramatically expanded the use of targeted killings outside of traditional battlefields following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Many of these killings are conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency through the use of unmanned combat aircraft systems, or drones.
The US government asserts that it has authority under international law to use lethal force outside of clearly defined war zones because it is engaged in a global armed conflict with al Qaeda and associated forces.
Roth's letter to Obama said the "US government claims that the entire world is a battleground in which the laws of war are applicable undermine the protections of international law. This discredited notion invites the application of lethal force by other countries in situations where the US would strongly object to its use."
HRW called on Obama to "provide greater clarity on how the US government determines when a targeted killing in an armed conflict situation meets the requirements of distinction and proportionality under the laws of war and the measures it is taking to minimise civilian harm."
A version of this article first appeared on Inter Press Service news agency.
WikiLeaks Cables: MI5 Offered Files On Finucane Killing To Inquiry
Posted by TONY on 13.12.10
The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, "A time comes when silence is betrayal." King went on to say that, "The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty. Even when pressed with the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within ones own bosom and the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are often on the verge of being mesmerized but we must move on."
Over 40 years have passed since Dr. King spoke those words to an overflow crowd at the Riverside church in New York City in 1967, and the tragic lessons of Vietnam continue to go unheeded. The same patterns of wars, lies, aggression and brutality continue to repeat themselves. Another country, another occupation, another reason to hate and fear, but in the end it is the same crime being committed over and over again, the same innocent civilians being killed, the same young men and women returning home in caskets and body bags and wheelchairs.
We have petitioned our government time and time again. We have peacefully marched and demonstrated for over a decade yet the killing and mayhem continues. Precious lives continue to be wasted as another generation of young men and women are squandered in this, our latest foreign policy debacle.
Our leaders refuse to listen. They refuse to learn. How many more senseless wars, flag draped caskets, grieving mothers, paraplegics, amputees, stressed-out sons and daughters, innocent civilians slaughtered before we finally decide to break the silence of this shameful night? Many of us trusted and believed that change would come, these wars would end, and that we would finally we be listened to but that is not at all what has happened. We have been tragically misled.
We have been deceived and betrayed. We have been promised peace and we have been given war. We have been told there would be change and nothing is changing. Rather than learning the lessons from the disastrous fiasco in Iraq, our government continues down the path of destruction, brutality, aggression and war, dragging us deeper into another senseless and unnecessary conflict in Afghanistan. The physical and psychological battles from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan will rage on for decades, deeply impacting the lives of citizens in all countries involved.
As the 43rd anniversary of my wounding in Vietnam approaches, in many ways I feel my injury in that war has been a blessing in disguise. I have been given the opportunity to move through that dark night of the soul to a new shore, to gain an understanding, a knowledge, a completely different vision. I now believe that I have suffered for a reason, and in many ways I have found that reason in my commitment to peace and non-violence. We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and sorrow and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph.
I have come to believe that there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war, and nothing more important then for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.
A time comes when a people can no longer wait. A time comes when the agonies, the suffering, have become too great. A time comes when a people must act and do what is necessary. Lives are at stake. No longer can we trust the President or politicians to end these wars. No longer can we believe them when they say the troops will come home soon. They have long since lost their credibility.
Each day that passes another life is lost. Each hour that this war drags on the need for a daring new approach by the anti war movement becomes more apparent. Bold, creative, and imaginative leadership is needed, and I do not believe there is a group more suited for that task at this time than the veterans of our nation’s most recent conflict.
At exactly 10:00 a.m., Thursday morning, Dec. 16, 2010, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, including troops now serving in the armed forces of the United States, will be leading a dramatic act of non-violent civil disobedience in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. with other brave veterans and citizens, protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling for all troops to be brought home immediately and without delay. (Click here to learn more about this action)
Posted by TONY on 12.12.10
Sir Jeremy Greenstock told us that he had advised you in October 2002 that he might have to consider his position if it became UK policy to go along with abandoning the UN route and to go to the use of force without the UN Resolution. Was that ever a possibility in UK policy?
RT HON THE LORD JAY: No. I mean, I saw Sir Jeremy said that. I remember Jeremy ringing me. I don’t remember him saying that because — it wasn’t a conceivable possibility, as I recollect it.
Posted by TONY on 11.12.10