5 de enero de 2012

Avaaz.org works for the U.S. NATO Israel military agenda

The supposedly human rights defenders organization AVAAZ hides its real purposes under popular petitions. They actually have raised voices against Khadafi and Assad to help manipulate uprisings in favor of the US NATO Israel military agenda.
The uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia and Syria have been orchestrated by the U.S. and are part of a broader agenda to attack Iran and then corner Russia and China.
In 2011 they made an appeal to United Nations Security Council delegates, European Foreign Ministers, and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to impose specific actions (sanctions, asset freezes) and to stop and prosecute the violence against civilians in the 2011 Libyan "uprising"and an appeal to United Nations Security Council to create an internationally enforced no-fly zone to "protect civilians" over Libya. This uprising is well documented to have been started by NATO in order to remove Khadafi and control their rich oil and gas reserves and for geopolitical strategies.
They are now claiming that Assad from Syria tortures hundreds of civilians (what for?) in overcrowded prisons, jails and illegal detention centers across the country since the uprising began in March(!?).
AVAAZ forms part of all the false MEDIA PROPAGANDA alongside Fox, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and many others to invade Syria which is a strong Iran ally.
AVAAZ will go after Iran subsequently.

18 de abril de 2011

Afghanistan suicide bomber kills nine troops

Afghan suicide bomber A suicide bombing at a military base in eastern Afghanistan has killed five foreign and four Afghan soldiers. A bomber wearing a military uniform struck inside the base near the city of Jalalabad, the Afghan defence ministry said.

The blast took place shortly after 7.30am Afghan time and represents the biggest recent killing of Nato troops from a single attack.

Israeli warplanes attack Gaza Strip

Israeli warplanes have conducted two strikes against Palestinian targets in the besieged Gaza Strip amid escalating attacks on the coastal enclave.

The airstrikes in the early hours of Saturday neither caused any injuries or damage, Hamas and Israeli military said, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Israeli air and ground attacks over the past weeks have been on the rise and several Palestinians have lost their lives in the raids.

Both the European Union and the United Nations have called on Tel Aviv to halt its deadly strikes against the Palestinians.

Hamas Political Bureau Deputy Chairman Moussa Abu Marzouk told Press TV in an exclusive interview last Saturday that Israel has stepped up aggression against Gaza due to the uprisings in the Arab world and is trying to undermine Palestinian resistance movements' reconciliation efforts.

However, he stated that the Palestinians will continue their resistance against the Israeli aggression.

Meanwhile, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said on the same day that the Palestinian resistance movement has vowed to continue firing missiles into Israel until Tel Aviv halts its attacks on the blockaded sliver.

He stressed that the Palestinian nation's will by no means recognize the Israeli regime and will continue to resist Israel's aggressions until all occupied territories are liberated.

11 de marzo de 2011

Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d'Etat in Libya

The US and NATO are supporting an armed insurrection in Eastern Libya, with a view to justifying a "humanitarian intervention".

This is not a non-violent protest movement as in Egypt and Tunisia. Conditions in Libya are fundamentally different. The armed insurgency in Eastern Libya is directly supported by foreign powers. Of significance:, the insurrection in Benghazi immediately hoisted the red, black and green banner with the crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris, which symbolized the rule of the former colonial powers.

read more: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23548

27 de diciembre de 2010

Number of civilian casualties in Afghan war rises 20%, U.N. report shows

Afghan forces The number of civilians killed or wounded in the Afghan war increased by 20 percent during the first 10 months of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to a U.N. report issued this week.

The top U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said as the world body released its latest quarterly report that insurgents are likely to stage high-profile attacks in the months ahead. "Before it gets better, it may get worse," he said.

14 de diciembre de 2010

6 NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan

A suicide attacker detonated a minibus packed with explosives near the gates of a military base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing six NATO troops and two Afghan soldiers, officials said. Afghan officials said the attack took place in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, where the U.S. poured in troops this summer as part of a surge of forces to try to oust the Taliban from its southern strongholds.

Gen. Abdul Hamid, the Afghan army chief for the province, said the attacker drove a minibus into the entrance of the base Sunday morning just as vehicles were preparing to move out on a patrol.

9 de noviembre de 2010

Israeli artists boycott new $11m theater in settlement

Ariel theater, West BankAn artists' boycott of a $11 million performing arts center opening Monday in the Jewish settlement of Ariel is giving a new twist to a pressing question -- where should Israel's permanent borders run?

Leading Israeli playwrights, actors and artists say they will not cross the "Green Line" -- Israel's frontier before it captured the West Bank in 1967 -- to perform in the new theater in Ariel, an Israeli enclave of 19,000 people.

20 de octubre de 2010

Court martial for US soldier

US soldier faces court martial for Afghan murdersA US soldier who allegedly killed three Afghan civilians for fun will face a full court martial. Jeremy Morlock, one of the group of 12 accused soldiers, faces charges of premeditated murder, military authorities said Friday.

The case has drawn intense media scrutiny because Morlock and fellow soldiers are accused of taking ghoulish photos of corpses and taking body parts as war trophies. The charge sheets include macabre allegations of dismembering corpses. Authorities have not specified if the bones they say some men took were from the bodies of slain civilians.

Israeli troops shooting children in Gaza

At least 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months while collecting rubble in or near the "buffer zone" created by Israel along the Gaza border, in a low-intensity offensive on the fringes of the blockaded Palestinian territory.

Israeli soldiers are routinely shooting at Gazans well beyond the unmarked boundary of the official 300 metre-wide no-go area, rights groups say.

According to Bassam Masri, head of orthopaedics at the Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahiya in the north of Gaza, about 50 people have been treated for gunshot wounds suffered in or near the buffer zone while collecting rubble in the past three months; about five have been killed.

He estimates that 30% of the injured are boys under 18.

Defence for Children International (DCI) has documented 10 cases of children aged 13 to 17 being shot in a three-month period between 50 and 800 metres from the border. Nine were shot in a leg or arm; one was shot in the stomach.

The creation of the no-go area has forced farmers to abandon land and residents to leave homes for fear of coming under fire. Last month a 91-year-old man and two teenage boys were killed while harvesting olives outside the official zone when Israeli troops fired shells. Forty-three goats also died in the attack.

In another case a mother of five was killed by a shell outside her home near the zone in July.

Israel declared the buffer zone inside Gaza after the three-week war in 2008-9, saying it was intended to prevent militants firing rockets. It has dropped leaflets from planes several times warning local people not to venture within 300 metres of the fence that marks the border or risk being shot.

However, the UN, aid agencies and rights groups say that Israel has unofficially and without warning extended the zone to up to 1km from the fence, leaving residents and farmers uncertain whether it is safe to access their land or property.

"The army knows the kids are there to collect. They watch them every day and they know they have no weapons," said Mohammed Abu Rukbi, a fieldworker with DCI. "They usually fire warning shots but the kids don't take much notice."

Mohammed Sobboh, 17, was shot just above the knee on August 25 when he was 800 metres from the border, he said. The 12 people in his family have no other income and are not entitled to aid from the UN as they are not refugees.

Israeli soldiers shot dead a horse and a donkey used by Mohammed and his brothers to carry the rubble, he said.

His brother, Adham, 22, said children as young as eight collect debris from former settlements and demolished buildings for 30-40 shekels (£5.20-£7) a day. "The price has gone down because a lot of people are collecting," said Adham.

According to Dr Masri, the number of shootings has increased as more impoverished Gazans turn to collecting rubble to sell as construction material, which is still under Israeli embargo. "Every day we have one or two cases. Some kids are facing permanent disability. Most of the injuries are to the legs and feet, suggesting the soldiers did not aim to kill. That means they know that the people aren't militants."

Ziad Tamboura, 27, lying in a hospital bed with a heavily bandaged foot, was shot last week while collecting 500 metres from the border. X-rays showed the bones in the foot to be smashed by the bullet. He collected rubble in order to feed his wife and child. "If I am able to walk again, I will go back. There is no other work."

The Gaza City-based Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights is to mount a legal challenge jointly with the Israeli groups Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights to breaches of the official buffer zone. "The area [the Israelis] announced is not the same as what exists on the ground," said the centre's Samir Zaqout.

He criticised the Israelis for shooting and shelling unarmed civilians. "They know everything. They have the technological capacity to monitor the area. They have drones in the sky all the time. They are observing and screening everything."

According to the UN, about 30% of Gaza's arable land is contained within 300 metres of the 50km border. The difficulty farmers face in reaching their land had had an impact on the availability of crops in Gaza, Zaqout said. "Tomatoes are now 10 shekels a kilo, whereas the price used to be one or two shekels."

The Abu Said family, whose land lies outside the buffer zone, felt confident that their faces were well known to Israeli troops monitoring the area. "Every day six or seven members of my family are there [on the land]," said Mohammed Abu Said.

But on 12 September, 91-year-old Ibrahim Abu Said, his 17-year-old grandson, Hussam, and a family friend, Ismail Abu Owda, 16, were killed by a shell fired from a tank on the Israeli side of the border. "This was a very old man taking care of his goats," said Mohammed, Ibrahim's son. "Our land used to be like a heaven. Now it's like a desert."

He blamed Palestinian militants for firing rockets as well as the Israeli military.

In a statement, the Israeli military said the 300-metre buffer zone was created in response to "many incidents of hostile terrorist activity" close to the security fence, often made "under a civilian disguise".

It added: "The IDF acts in order to prevent harm to civilian populations in its operations and any complaint expressed regarding its soldiers' conduct will be … examined according to the existing policy."

5 de octubre de 2010

Two Israeli troops guilty of using human shield in Gaza

An Israeli military court has convicted two Israeli soldiers for using a Palestinian child as a human shield during an offensive in Gaza in 2009. The soldiers were found guilty of reckless endangerment and conduct unbecoming for forcing the nine-year-old boy to check suspected booby-traps.

It is reportedly the first such conviction in Israel - where the use of civilians as human shields is banned. The sentencing will be decided at a later date, the court said.

17 de septiembre de 2010

Not guilty. The Israeli captain who emptied his rifle into a Palestinian schoolgirl

· Officer ignored warnings that teenager was terrified
· Defence says 'confirming the kill' standard practice

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.

The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.

The manner of Iman's killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death", made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.

After the verdict, Iman's father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable.

"They did not charge him with Iman's murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times," he said. "This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children."

The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.

Capt R's lawyers argued that the "confirmation of the kill" after a suspect is shot was a standard Israeli military practice to eliminate terrorist threats.

Following the verdict, Capt R burst into tears, turned to the public benches and said: "I told you I was innocent."

The army's official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected.

A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.

In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post's operations room and describes Iman as "a little girl" who was "scared to death". After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot.

Although the military speculated that Iman might have been trying to "lure" the soldiers out of their base so they could be attacked by accomplices, Capt R made the decision to lead some of his troops into the open. Shortly afterwards he can be heard on the recording saying that he has shot the girl and, believing her dead, then "confirmed the kill".

"I and another soldier ... are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill ... Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her ... I also confirmed the kill. Over," he said.

Palestinian witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body.

On the tape, Capt R then "clarifies" to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."

At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack.

The prosecution case was damaged when a soldier who initially said he had seen Capt R point his weapon at the girl's body and open fire later told the court he had fabricated the story.

Capt R claimed that he had not fired the shots at the girl but near her. However, Dr Mohammed al-Hams, who inspected the child's body at Rafah hospital, counted numerous wounds. "She has at least 17 bullets in several parts of the body, all along the chest, hands, arms, legs," he told the Guardian shortly afterwards. "The bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. She had three bullets in the head. One bullet was shot from the right side of the face beside the ear. It had a big impact on the whole face."

The army's initial investigation concluded that the captain had "not acted unethically". But after some of the soldiers under his command went to the Israeli press to give a different version, the military police launched a separate investigation after which he was charged.

Capt R claimed that the soldiers under his command were out to get him because they are Jewish and he is Druze.

The transcript

The following is a recording of a three-way conversation that took place between a soldier in a watchtower, an army operations room and Capt R, who shot the girl

From the watchtower [three-way conversation between watchtower soldier, the operations room in another location, and finally, Captain R, the officer on the ground near watchtower "It's a little girl. She's running defensively eastward." "Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?" "A girl about 10, she's behind the embankment, scared to death." "I think that one of the positions took her out." "I and another soldier ... are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill ... Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her ... I also confirmed the kill. Over."

From the operations room "Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?"

Watchtower "A girl about 10, she's behind the embankment, scared to death."

A few minutes later, Iman is shot from one of the army posts

Watchtower "I think that one of the positions took her out."

Captain R "I and another soldier ... are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill ... Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her ... I also confirmed the kill. Over."

Capt R then "clarifies" why he killed Iman

"This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over."

• This article was amended on 1 September 2010, to make explicit that the opening watchtower conversation is between three participants.

16 de septiembre de 2010

U.S. soldiers face murder charges in death of Afghan civilians

U.S. soldiers face murder charges in death of Afghan civiliansIn one of the most serious war crimes cases to emerge from the nine-year war in Afghanistan, five U.S. soldiers from a Stryker brigade in the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division have been charged with murder for allegedly killing three Afghan civilians.

While they were on patrol, the soldiers threw grenades at two of the Afghans and shot them, according to charging documents. The third civilian also was shot, and anyone who dared to report the events was threatened with violence, according to statements made to investigators.

The accused soldiers are with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash., Some 3,700 soldiers in the brigade were deployed throughout southern Afghanistan, involved both in combat and in wide-ranging efforts to open schools, train Afghan forces, improve agriculture and take other measures to win the support of civilians.

All five accused soldiers are awaiting court-martial proceedings, and their families have retained civilian attorneys to aid in their defense. If convicted, they face the possibility of life imprisonment or death.

The Seattle Times has reviewed court documents filed by a defense attorney with a U.S. Army magistrate that summarize some of the evidence in the case. The Times also has interviewed attorneys for three of the defendants. The documents provide new insight into how the alleged murder plot may have evolved, but they offer few clues about the soldiers’ motives.

14 de septiembre de 2010

Israeli tank fire kills three in Gaza

At least three Palestinians have been killed by tank fire near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, reports say.

Medical staff and witnesses said Israel fired shots across the border near the town of Beit Hanoun in Gaza.

One report said the two of those killed were a 91-year-old man and his 33-year-old grandson.

Militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip earlier fired a rocket into Israel but no casualties or damage were reported.

Adham Abu Salima, a spokesman for medical services in Gaza, told AFP news agency that the 91-year-old victim had been a caretaker at a farm.

His grandson died shortly afterwards from his wounds, he said.

The identity of the third victim was not yet clear.

Israeli army radio described the people killed as "terrorists" and said that at least one of them was armed.

The BBC's Jon Donnison in Ramallah says there has been an increase in rocket fire from Gaza in the past week, although it is nearly always ineffectual.

One Thai farm worker in Israel has been killed by rocket fire from Gaza in the past 18 months while scores of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed over the same period.

5 de septiembre de 2010

Taliban attacks Nato supply convoy

Taliban attacks Nato supply convoyTaliban fighters have attacked and burned 24 trucks carrying fuel and supplies to US troops in southern Afghanistan. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack on the Nato convoy destined for southern Helmand province, and said the assault prompted US forces to evacuate the Singin military base.

"Twenty-four fuel and supply trucks on their way to Qalat Mousa in the southern province of Helmand have been burnt," spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said. "Our fighters have forced the US forces to leave their bases. Seventy per cent of the province's organisations have stopped their activities," he said.

4 de septiembre de 2010

150 Irish artists announce Israel cultural boycott

Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign signs artists to pledge saying they will refrain from performing in Israel as long as it abuses Palestinian human rights. The artists signed a statement, pledging that they refrain from engaging in cultural activity with Israel "until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.

1 de agosto de 2010

Casualties in Afghanistan soar to record highs

Casualties in Afghanistan soar to record highsIn a summer of suffering, America’s military death toll in Afghanistan is rising, with back-to-back record months for U.S. losses in the grinding conflict. All signs point to more bloodshed in the months ahead, straining the already shaky international support for the war.

Six more Americans were reported killed in fighting in the south — three Thursday and three Friday — pushing the U.S. death toll for July to a record 66 and surpassing June as the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nearly nine-year war.

U.S. companies transferred funds to suspects in Dubai hit

U.S. companies transferred funds to suspects in Dubai hitInvestigators in the United States probing the assassination of a senior Hamas official have drawn links between U.S. companies and suspects in the case, bringing them closer to identifying them, according to an American press report Saturday.

The findings show U.S. authorities playing a great role in the probe than previously revealed, the Wall Street Journal reported.

31 de julio de 2010

Car bomb kills 15 in village north of Baghdad

Car bomb kills 15 in village north of BaghdadA car bomb outside a Shiite mosque in a village north of Baghdad killed 15 people Wednesday, the third deadly attack in the region in as many days, while a U.S. soldier was killed in a separate bombing in the same province, Iraqi officials and the U.S. military said.

The blast in a shopping area in the village of Abu Sayda also left 21 wounded, Ghalib al-Karkhi, a police spokesman in Diyala province said. Diyala was once an insurgent stronghold, and the three consecutive days of violence there underscores the fragile nature of Iraq's security as insurgents persist in trying re-ignite sectarian bloodshed.

19 de julio de 2010

Taliban stage daring jail break

Taliban stage daring jail breakTaliban fighters have freed 14 inmates from a jail in western Afghanistan after staging a daring prison break, police have said. Mohammad Faqir Askar, a provincial police chief, said the fighters blew up the main gates of the prison in Farah city after planting a bomb on Sunday.

"Twenty prisoners escaped but we arrested six of them soon after the incident and 14 are still at large," Askar said.

18 de julio de 2010

Leading Israeli figures accuse police of targeting leftist East Jerusalem protesters

East Jerusalem protesters A number of prominent jurists, intellectuals, writers and leftist public figures have co-signed a letter that accuses the Jerusalem District police of "illegal and inequitable" conduct toward protesters in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.

In the letter, which was sent yesterday to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the signers demand an investigation against what they believe is unequal enforcement of the law "that is based on political leanings."
UN lauds Venezuela's achievements on fighting drug trafficking

During a meeting with Venezuelan Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami and National Anti-Drug Office Director Nestor Luis Reverol, Treki said a UN analysis last week indicated that the country's fight against drug trafficking and organized crime had achieved positive results.
First Amendment suspended in the Gulf of Mexico as spill cover-up goes Orwellian

As CNN is now reporting, the U.S. government has issued a new rule that would make it a felony crime for any journalist, reporter, blogger or photographer to approach any oil cleanup operation, equipment or vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. Anyone caught is subject to arrest, a $40,000 fine and prosecution for a federal felony crime.

17 de junio de 2010

5 NATO troops, including 1 American, die as attacks rise

5 NATO troops, including 1 American, die in AfghanistanFive NATO troops including one American died Tuesday, continuing a grim trend that could make June among the deadliest months of the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war.

Five Afghan policemen and a district governor were also killed Tuesday in separate fighting across the country, which has seen an uptick in attacks by insurgents in response to increased offensives by the international coalition.

25 de mayo de 2010

Pakistan: 9 killed by drone airstrike

Pakistan: 9 killed by drone airstrikeA suspected U.S. drone strike killed nine people in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, local officials said.

The airstrike in North Waziristan Friday night allegedly killed two children, two women and five men, Pakistani intelligence and administrative officials said.

16 de mayo de 2010

Noam Chomsky denied entry to Israel

May 16, 2010

JERUSALEM --An Israeli official says academic and polemicist Noam Chomsky, who is a fierce critic of Israel, has been denied entry to the country.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said Chomsky was turned away for "various reasons" but declined to elaborate. Chomsky was trying to cross the Allenby Bridge from Jordan. He was scheduled to deliver a lecture at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank.

Haddad said her ministry was looking into allowing him to enter only the West Bank.

Chomsky told Channel 10 TV from Jordan Sunday: "I've often spoken at Israeli universities."

Chomsky is one of Israel's harshest academic critics. After Israel's 2009 war in Gaza, he was quoted as saying, "supporters of Israel are in reality supporters of its moral degeneration."

Russian dancer ordered freed in Guantanamo habeas case

Russian dancer ordered freed in Guantanamo habeas caseA federal court on Thursday ordered the Pentagon to set free from Guantáaamo a former Russian Army ballet dancer turned devout Muslim whose plight captured the imagination of a Massachusetts college town.

Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the Obama administration to take ``all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps . . . forthwith'' to release Ravil Mingazov, 42, an ethnic Tartar who was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and turned over to U.S. forces.

Thursday's midday ruling raised to 35 the number of Guantánamo detention cases the U.S. government has lost since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled two years ago that the war-on-terror captives can sue for their freedom in federal courts.

The Justice Department has so far successfully defended the indefinite detention of 13 Guantánamo captives.

With the Pentagon still holding 181 foreign men at Guantánamo, dozens more habeas corpus petitions are yet to be heard.
By Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, 11 May 2010

Several examples, including the arrests of Ameer Makhoul
and Omar Said, now point to an uncomfortable reality for
the self-proclaimed "only democracy in the Middle East":
practices that have long been routine in the military
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza are being used in
Israel to suppress dissent and limit civil liberties. The
green line is increasingly blurry. Ben White comments.


By Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada, 13 May 2010

RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Israeli nuclear
whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu has been sentenced to
another three months imprisonment for allegedly refusing
to perform community service in West Jerusalem. His arrest
follows the detention of Palestinian leaders in Israel.


11 de mayo de 2010

Report: IAEA to discuss Israel's nuclear activities for first time

Israel's nuclear reactor in DimonaIsrael's secretive nuclear activities may undergo unprecedented scrutiny next month, with a key meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency tentatively set to focus on the topic for the first time, according to documents shared Friday with The Associated Press.

A copy of the restricted provisional agenda of the IAEA's June 7 board meeting lists Israeli nuclear capabilities as the eighth item - the first time that that the agency's decision-making body is being asked to deal with the issue in its 52 years of existence.

CIA allowed to kill terrorist suspects without identification

CIA HeadquartersThe CIA received secret permission to attack a wider range of targets, including suspected militants whose names are not known, as part of a dramatic expansion of its campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan's border region, current and former counter-terrorism officials say.

9 de mayo de 2010

West Bank blaze damages mosque

A mosque near the Palestinian West Bank city of Nablus has been damaged by fire, officials say.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says the fire was caused by Jewish settlers, and that it could jeopardise Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israeli media reports reports said an electrical short circuit may have started the blaze.

But Israeli security officers investigating the fire have not yet determined its cause, police say.

The mosque was gutted by the fire, which also destroyed holy books.

Lubban al-Sharqiya, the village where the mosque lies, is close to three Jewish settlements, AFP reports.

The attack comes as US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has returned to the region, attempting to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

"This criminal attack threatens efforts to revive the peace process," said Mr Abbas in a statement.

He pointed the finger of blame at Israel, adding that "the Israeli army protects the settlers".

'Pointless negotiations'

Israeli Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the fire was probably caused by arson.

"I have no shadow of doubt their aim was to ignite fire in the region and this is lamentable," he was quoted as saying by Israel's army radio.

Hamas, which is opposed to peace talks with Israel, said the mosque attack is "the first fruit of the pointless negotiations," Reuters reports.

Israel warned Palestinians in the West Bank that there was a risk of local settlers attacking homes in the area after the Israeli army demolished houses in a settlement near Nablus, Palestinian officials say.

"We had an official warning yesterday that settlers may try to attack Palestinian homes because of the demolition of houses built without a permit", Nablus governor Jibril al-Bakri was quoted as saying by AFP.

The West Bank has seen a series of attacks on mosques in recent months.

Last month, another mosque in the village of Huwara near Nablus was vandalised by Hebrew graffiti. Palestinian residents blamed activists from three nearby Jewish settlements.

In January, Israeli police arrested settlers as part of investigations into an arson attack on a West Bank mosque in 2009.

6 de mayo de 2010


By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 6 May 2010

Former World Bank president and Middle East Quartet envoy
James D. Wolfensohn is an investor in an Israeli company
that is developing transport infrastructure for
Jewish-only settlements built in the occupied West Bank in
violation of international law, an investigation by The
Electronic Intifada reveals.



By Ameer Makhoul, The Electronic Intifada, 6 May 2010

Ameer Makhoul, director of Ittijah and chairman of the
Popular Committee for the Defense of the Political
Freedoms, was arrested by Israeli forces today during a
raid of his home, two weeks after a travel ban was imposed
on him by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior. Makhoul, a
Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, submitted the
following op-ed to The Electronic Intifada prior to his


29 de abril de 2010

US Says No to Indigenous Rights

The US, the self-proclaimed protector of human rights, has failed to vote in favor of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) at the UN, Kenneth Deer, the representative of US and Canada Mohawk Indians, said that Washington had refrained from recognizing the UN declaration on indigenous rights.


Why does the IDF allow officers to live in illegal outposts?

Strangely, in all this no one has wondered how it is possible that the IDF, the body charged with imposing the law on the West Bank, never lifted a finger against its officers who settled in an illegal outpost in the first place.

Moreover, how can an officer in the career army who breaks the law and ignores a court order serve as a model for his soldiers?

Abu Ghraib a "picnic” compared with secret Baghdad prison

Rusafa: Report details torture at secret Baghdad prisonThe torture of Iraqi detainees at a new secret prison in Baghdad was far more systematic and brutal than initially reported, Human Rights Watch reported on Tuesday. The existence of the prison, which housed mostly Sunni Arab prisoners, has created a political furor in Iraq, prompted government denials and fanned sectarian tensions.

27 de abril de 2010

Al Qaeda in Yemen, fortified with diverted US funds, strikes British embassy

The British embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa shut down Monday, April 26, after an al Qaeda suicide attack on the ambassador's convoy and a clash with gunmen outside the embassy. According to first reports, one person was killed, but Ambassador Tim Torlot is safe. debka file 's counter-terror sources report that al Qaeda recently received an extra boost from secretly diverted US funds which Yemen president Abdullah Ali Salah used to try and bribe the Islamists to relocate in Somalia - without success .

24 de abril de 2010

German court drops Afghan air raid probe

Afghan raid killed 142 - many of whom were civiliansGerman prosecutors dropped a criminal case against a Bundeswehr colonel who ordered an air raid in Afghanistan that killed 142 people, many of them civilians. The prosecution office in Karlsruhe concluded Col. Georg Klein and his fellow officers didn't know civilians were at the target site.

NATO troops fire on vehicle, kill 4 unarmed Afghans

NATO troops kill 4 unarmed civilians in AfghanistanNATO troops opened fire on a vehicle in southeast Afghanistan, killing four unarmed Afghans, the alliance said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of recent incidents the United Nations has called disturbing.

The father of two of the victims said three of those killed were teenagers and the fourth was a policeman. They were returning from a volleyball match, added Rahmatullah Mansoor, a judge in Khost's provincial court.

28 de febrero de 2010

Inquiry sought into disappearance of e-mails in interrogations case

Senior Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups demanded Friday that the Justice Department investigate the disappearance of e-mail messages written by Bush administration lawyers who drafted memos blessing harsh interrogation tactics, saying their absence cast doubt on an ethics report that cleared the lawyers of professional misconduct.

The lost e-mails cover a critical period in 2002 when Justice Department attorneys labored under heavy pressure on a memo that gave the CIA a green light to use simulated drowning, sleep deprivation and other interrogation techniques against al-Qaeda suspects.

16 de febrero de 2010

NATO's civilian targets: 17

A Nato airstrike against suspected insurgents has killed five civilians in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan today.

A Nato statement said a joint patrol of Nato and Afghan troops saw individuals digging along a path in the Zhari district of Kandahar province today and mistakenly concluded that they were planting an improvised explosive device. Two civilians were also wounded in the strike.

The incident follows the deaths yesterday of 12 Afghan civilians, who were killed by two stray Nato rockets in neighbouring Helmand province.

15 de febrero de 2010

US Military Barbarism

On December 27, in the eastern Kunar region of Afghanistan, ten Afghans, eight of whom were schoolchildren, were dragged from their beds and shot by US forces during a nighttime raid. Afghan government investigators said the eight students were aged from 11 to 17 years.

This incident is but one example of countless atrocities US military personnel have carried out in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, US military personnel torturing detainees in Abu Ghraib, Iraqi civilians suffering the violence meted out by US forces, or US forces detaining schoolchildren in Baghdad, the list of atrocities is seemingly endless.

Israeli police raid Palestinian refugee camp

A Palestinian refugee camp on the edge of Jerusalem erupted in violence on Monday after Israeli police carried out a raid to arrest tax evaders and Palestinians responded by throwing stones.

Eleven people were arrested, some for involvement in the unrest and others for the non-payment of municipal taxes and other bills, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Palestinians battle Israeli wall

Palestinians and Israeli dissenters are getting together to fight Israel's plan to build another section of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank.
According to environmentalists, the wall will stop the flow of water to the natural springs and thus threatens to dry out much of the Palestinian land.

They also see the wall - illegal under international law - as a part of long-term Israeli policy to grab more and more Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Afghan police kill seven civilians 'by mistake'

Afghan police have shot dead seven villagers near the Pakistani border after mistaking them for insurgents, police officials said. The seven young men were collecting firewood after dark in the southern town of Spin Boldak, a common transit route for Taliban militants.

Six officers have been detained for questioning, the local commander said. There is widespread anger over civilian deaths in Afghanistan. More than 2,400 were killed in fighting last year.

5 de febrero de 2010

Bush and Blair did strike Iraq deal, says Welsh MP

A SENIOR Welsh MP said last night he knew “for certain” Tony Blair and George Bush struck a deal to invade Iraq at their notorious Crawford Ranch meeting in 2002 – a year before war was declared.

Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid Cymru’s parliamentary leader, said he had seen a confidential memo to that effect, although he would not divulge its exact contents.

27 de enero de 2010

Israel stops granting permits to NGO aid workers in W. Bank

The Interior Ministry has stopped granting work permits to foreign nationals working in most international nongovernmental organizations operating in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

An an apparent overhaul of regulations that have been in place since 1967, the ministry is now granting the NGO employees tourist visas only, which bar them from working.
Organizations affected by the apparent policy change include Oxfam, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, Terre des Hommes, Handicap International and the Religious Society of Friends.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel will never quit settlements

Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish settlements blocs would always remain part of the state of Israel.

"Our message is clear: We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here. This place will be an inseparable part of Israel for eternity", the prime minister said.

22 de enero de 2010

West Bank Muslim graves damaged

Damaged graves and racist graffiti have been found in the Palestinian village of Awarta in the northern West Bank after a Jewish group visited the area.

Palestinians said they had seen Jewish pilgrims, escorted by Israeli soldiers, in the area, which is also a Jewish burial site.

The Israeli military said it viewed the incident very seriously and was opening a military police investigation.

It comes a month after an arson attack on a mosque in the same area.

At least two tombstones were damaged in the cemetery outside the village, and food and rubbish were left on graves.

In the village, offensive slogans about Arabs were found scrawled in Hebrew, English and Russian.

8 de enero de 2010

CIA bomber's wife says war must go on against US

ISTANBUL – The Turkish wife of a Jordanian doctor who killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in Afghanistan says her husband was outraged over the treatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison and the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Defne Bayrak, the wife of bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, said in an interview with The Associated Press that his hatred of the United States had motivated her husband to sacrifice his life on Dec. 30 in what he regarded as a holy war against the U.S.

Bayrak also said Friday, "I think the war against the United States must go on."

Turkish police questioned and released Bayrak on Thursday. But she says police confiscated a book she had written called "Osama bin Laden the Che Guevera of the East."

Hamas inmates say torture ends in West Bank jails

Palestinian security forces in the West Bank have stopped torturing Hamas prisoners, ending two years of systematic abuse, Hamas inmates told The Associated Press in jailhouse interviews.

The change in practice, said to have taken effect in October, was confirmed by a West Bank Hamas leader, human rights activists and the Palestinian prime minister. It defuses a potential problem for Washington since the U.S. has been closely involved in training Palestinian troops under the control of Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas, a rival of the Hamas militants.

Israel rejects bill allocating equal land to Jews and Arabs

The director of the Israel Lands Administration has used all the tactics, with the help of the Jewish Agency, to allocate state land only to Jews. Despite the bitter attempt over the decades, not even one Arab town has been established since the state's foundation.

Iraq to support Blackwater lawsuit in U.S. courts

Iraq will help victims of the 2007 shooting of civilians in Baghdad to file a U.S. lawsuit against employees of security firm Blackwater, an incident that turned a spotlight on the United States' use of private contractors in war zones.

Last week, a U.S. judge threw out charges against five guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad traffic circle, saying the defendants' constitutional rights had been violated.

Afghan attacks kill 4 US troops, British soldier

A roadside bombing killed four U.S. service members — the first American combat deaths of the year in Afghanistan — while a British soldier died during a foot patrol elsewhere in the volatile south of the country, officials said Monday.

Obama 91

Iraq 'to appeal Blackwater verdict'
The Iraqi government will push to appeal a US court ruling dismissing charges of murder against five security guards of the private Blackwater firm, an official has told Al Jazeera.

Saad al-Muttalibi, an adviser to the Iraqi council of ministers, said on Friday that if the guards did not receive a just sentence for the killing of 14 Iraqis in 2007, the issue would complicate relations between Iraq and the United States.

Construction in West Bank settlements booming despite declared freeze

Despite the construction freeze, dozens of settlements in the West Bank are experiencing a building boom, even on the eve of another visit to the region by U.S. envoy George Mitchell to try to restart talks for a final settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Construction is being carried out mostly to the east of the separation fence; it began shortly after warrants were issued on November 26 freezing construction.

7 de enero de 2010

Bolivia refuses to be U.S. slave: VP

The Bolivian government said on Monday that it refuses to blindly cater to the economic or political desires of the United States.

Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said that as La Paz wanted to reset its diplomatic ties with Washington, based on mutual respect, the country should not become a slave of the United States, which he described as "the most important power and the market of the world."

Israeli military cancels UK visit over arrest fears

The Israeli military has cancelled a visit by a team of its officers to Britain over fears that they risked arrest on possible war crimes charges.

It is the latest case in which high-profile Israeli politicians or army officers have pulled out of visits to Britain for fear of arrest over war crimes allegations under laws of universal jurisdiction.

6 de enero de 2010

Displaced and desperate in Gaza

Israeli ground and air raids between December 27, 2008 and January 17, 2009 left extensive damage and mass devastation in its wake. Factories, businesses, public service buildings, farms, mosques and schools were targeted, hundreds destroyed or damaged. About 15,000 homes were either demolished or severely damaged.

One year later and 20,000 people are still displaced, living with relatives, or in makeshift shacks. Many of them have almost resigned themselves to living in temporary accommodations permanently.

5 de enero de 2010

Oil Field Project in Iraq Won by Lukoil and Statoil

Lukoil of Russia and Statoil of Norway on Tuesday formally signed a contract with Iraqi authorities to develop the vast West Qurna 2 oil field. The untapped reserves are seen as critical to Iraqi reconstruction efforts.

The consortium led by Lukoil offered to develop the West Qurna field in exchange for $1.15 for each barrel of oil it extracted. That offer beat out bids from companies including BP of Britain and Total of France.

28 de diciembre de 2009

Obama 90

Afghanistan children killed 'during Western operation'

At least 10 Afghan civilians, including eight schoolchildren, have been killed in fighting involving Western troops, President Hamid Karzai has said.
Mr Karzai said the deaths occurred during military operations in eastern Kunar province two days ago.

27 de diciembre de 2009

Rights groups: World has betrayed the citizens of Gaza

The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to end an Israeli blockade to allow the territory to be rebuilt, a group of 16 rights groups said in a report on Tuesday.

The report argued that Israel was in violation of international humanitarian law by enforcing a "collective punishment" with an indiscriminate blockade on Gaza - punishing all for the acts of a few. According to the report, Israeli authorities have allowed only 41 truckloads of construction materials into Gaza since the end of its three-week offensive last January. The report added that thousands of such deliveries would be needed to repair homes.

US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids in hunt for al-Qaida

American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan's tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme.

A former Nato officer said the incursions, only one of which has been previously reported, occurred between 2003 and 2008, involved helicopter-borne elite soldiers stealing across the border at night, and were never declared to the Pakistani government. "The Pakistanis were kept entirely in the dark about it. It was one of those things we wouldn't confirm officially with them," said the source, who had detailed knowledge of the operations.

24 de diciembre de 2009

Israel admits harvesting organs without permission

Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, its forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without the permission of families.

The issue emerged with the publication of an interview with the then-head of Israel's Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr. Jehuda Hiss. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic, who released it because of a huge controversy last summer over an allegation by a Swedish newspaper that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. Israel hotly denied the charge.
Parts of the interview were broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 TV over the weekend. In it, Dr. Hiss said, "We started to harvest corneas ... . Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family."

The Channel 2 report said that in the 1990s, forensic specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives.

21 de diciembre de 2009

Obama 89

Obama ordered US air strikes on Yemen

US President Barack Obama personally issued the order for US air strikes in Yemen last Thursday which killed scores of civilians, including women and children.

US warplanes used cruise missiles against alleged Al Qaeda camps in the Abyan village of al Maajala, some 480 kilometers southeast of the capital Sana’a, and in the Arhab district, 60 kilometers to the northeast of Sana’a. The US strikes were apparently coordinated with the US-backed dictatorship of Yemen President Ali Abdallah Saleh, whose military forces attacked the bombed towns as well as a third village, resulting in the deaths of some 120 people, according to Yemen opposition spokesmen.

Local officials and witnesses in the area of Mahsad, the site of the heaviest US bombardment, put the number of those killed at more than 60 and said the dead were mostly civilians. They denied that the target was an al Qaeda stronghold.

20 de diciembre de 2009

Soldiers + U.S. contractors in Afghanistan

At present, there are 104,000 Department of Defense contractors in Afghanistan. According to a report this week from the Congressional Research Service, as a result of the coming surge of 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, there may be up to 56,000 additional contractors deployed. But here is another group of contractors that often goes unmentioned: 3,600 State Department contractors and 14,000 USAID contractors. That means that the current total US force in Afghanistan is approximately 189,000 personnel (68,000 US troops and 121,000 contractors). And remember, that’s right now. And that, according to McCaskill, is a conservative estimate. A year from now, we will likely see more than 220,000 US-funded personnel on the ground in Afghanistan.

10 de diciembre de 2009

Afghanistan massacre on eve of Obama’s surge

With the first elements of 30,000 additional US troops set to arrive in Afghanistan next week, the massacre of as many as 15 civilians in a US raid has heightened fears that the Obama administration’s so-called surge will spell a dramatic rise in bloodletting.

The killings took place in eastern Laghman province in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Gulzar Sangarwal, the acting head of the provincial council, reported that 13 civilians were killed in the raid on the village of Armul, including one woman. Local villagers reported 15 killed, including children. Reuters news agency said its correspondent had seen the bodies of a woman and 12 men, several of them teenagers.

Local authorities have blamed the killings on US Special Forces troops.

The deaths triggered an angry protest that ended in still more killings. According to Reuters, some 5,000 villagers marched on the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam chanting slogans denouncing the US occupation, the puppet government of President Hamid Karzai and the provincial authorities. The crowd shouted “Death to America, Death to Obama and Death to Karzai” as they marched through the town.

The villagers carried the bodies of the civilians slain in the US raid, laying them in front of the provincial governor’s house.

Soldiers from the Afghan National Army opened fire with live ammunition in an attempt to disperse the crowd, reportedly killing two demonstrators outright and mortally wounding two others, who died in the local hospital.

US prison population at record high

More than 7.3 million people were under the authority of the US corrections system at the end of 2008, according to new government data. This figure amounts to 1 in 31 adults in the country, by far the highest rate in the world. Over 2.3 million adults are held in prisons and jails throughout the US, and 5.1 million are on supervised parole or probation.

9 de diciembre de 2009

14000 Palestinian olive trees subjected to Israeli aggression in 2009

In a report issued following the completion of the olive harvest in the occupied West Bank, the Land Research Centre said that the occupation authorities burned and uprooted about 1455 olive trees during the harvest season this year, and washed away around 7000 trees since the beginning of the year for the sake of settlement expansion, while settlers attacked more than 5500 other trees.

The centre said that the occupation authorities and settlers not only attacked the Blessed Tree, but they also prevented Palestinian farmers, who are the land's owners, from accessing the trees to harvest the olives, as the occupation authorities closed the gates; built the apartheid wall to prevent farmers from reaching their land that is located behind the wall; and physically abuses Palestinian farmers.

4 de diciembre de 2009

Obama 88

The US Supreme Court on Monday nullified an appeals court order that would have obligated the Obama administration to release photographs depicting US soldiers subjecting prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq to horrific acts of torture.

In an unsigned three-sentence decision in the case, Department of Defense v. ACLU, 09-160, the Supreme Court granted an Obama administration petition vacating the order and sent the case back to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, telling the lower court it must review the case in light of a law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in October.

The law in question was written as a specific response to the circuit court’s ruling in October 2008 requiring that the photos be released. Attached to an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security and signed into law by Obama, it gave Secretary of Defense Robert Gates the power to suppress the torture photos if he determines they may threaten US military operations. Gates invoked the measure on November 13.

It is now anticipated that the circuit court will side with the Obama administration and rule against the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU.)

Obama 87

US President Barack Obama has ordered 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan

Obama’s speech last night, which packaged the deployment of an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan as the prelude to withdrawal, was a cynical exercise in evasion, double-talk and falsification.

The new deployment is a major escalation of an unpopular war that will lead to the deaths of countless thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis and a significant rise in US casualties. Indeed, many of the West Point cadets who were assembled to listen to the president’s speech will be sent to Afghanistan to fight in a war that the majority of Americans oppose.

Obama’s invocation of the attacks of September 11, 2001 to portray the war as a defense against terrorism is a fraud. The real reason for the occupation of Afghanistan—widely discussed within the foreign policy establishment—is to maintain a dominant position in oil-rich Central Asia in the interests of the global strategy of American imperialism.

29 de noviembre de 2009

US pitches unique F-35 fighter jet to Israel

The United States has offered to add Israeli systems and munitions to a new U.S.-built fighter jet and deliver it to Israel by 2015, provided a deal is sealed in coming months.

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), maker of the radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, would tie in Israeli-built command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems for a unique version of the jet for sale to Israel, Jon Schreiber, a senior Pentagon program official, told Reuters Monday.

Obama 86

Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found.

The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

Obama 85

Obama plans to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan

President Barack Obama met Monday evening with his national security team to finalize a plan to dispatch some 34,000 additional U.S. troops over the next year to what he's called "a war of necessity" in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told McClatchy.

Obama is expected to announce his long-awaited decision on Dec. 1, followed by meetings on Capitol Hill aimed at winning congressional support amid opposition by some Democrats who are worried about the strain on the U.S. Treasury and whether Afghanistan has become a quagmire, the officials said.

26 de noviembre de 2009

Blair 'knew Saddam did not have WMD before war started'

Intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have access to weapons of mass destruction was received by the Government ten days before Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, the inquiry into the war was told yesterday.

Inspectors in Iraq had also told the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that they believed that Saddam might not have chemical and biological weapons. But with British and US troops massed on the border, the new intelligence was dismissed.

25 de noviembre de 2009

Obama 84

US and Afghan soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Seven soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours - four of them American and three Afghan.
Nato said three of the US soldiers died in southern Afghanistan on Sunday and the other in a bomb explosion on Monday in the east of the country. This has been the deadliest year for foreign troops since the 2001 invasion.

14 de noviembre de 2009

Obama 83

Obama Rejects Visit to Hiroshima, Nagasaki

President Obama is in Japan today in the first stop of his inaugural visit to Asia since taking office earlier this year. Obama is set to hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, whose party was elected in August on a platform that included revisiting Japanese-US military ties. Hatoyama has suggested he wants to move a US military base off the island of Okinawa, while the US says it wants to relocate to a different location. Before his arrival, Obama rejected an invitation to visit the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, site of the US atomic bombing sixty-four years ago that killed an estimated 220,000 Japanese. Obama’s call for ending nuclear weapons and his recent Nobel Peace Prize win had raised expectations in Japan that he would become the first sitting US president to visit the two cities. Asked about his refusal earlier today, Obama said he would visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki at a later date.

Obama 82

US Seizes Mosques, Buildings for Alleged Iran Ties

Federal prosecutors have moved to seize four mosques and a New York skyscraper belonging to a non-profit foundation with alleged financial ties to Iran. On Thursday, prosecutors in Manhattan began legal action seeking the forfeiture of more than $500 million in the assets of the Alavi Foundation, which describes itself as a charitable foundation. The move is believed to be one of the largest property seizures in the name of “counterterrorism” in US history. The confiscation of the four mosques is expected to raise a number of legal issues surrounding the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The move came as President Obama announced he would extend a number of sanctions against Iran for another year.

11 de noviembre de 2009

Obama 81

Guantanamo conditions 'deteriorate'
A year after Obama's election win, Al Jazeera has learnt that despite the new president's pledge to close the prison and improve the conditions of detainees held by the US military, prisoners believe that their treatment has deteriorated on his watch.

Authorities at the prison deny mistreating the inmates, but interviews with former detainees, letters from current prisoners and sworn testimony from independent medical experts who have visited the prison have painted a disturbing picture of psychological and physical abuse very much at odds with White House rhetoric on prisoner treatment.

Within days of Obama's inauguration and subsequent announcement that he would close Guantanamo, prisoners say authorities introduced new regulations and revoked previous privileges at the prison.

"They took away group recreation for prisoners in segregation, which was the only time we saw anyone," Gharani remembers. "They took away the books we had from the library. They even sprayed pepper spray into my cell while I was sleeping, so I'd wake up unable to breathe."

Gharani says he was beaten so badly by guards that he is still suffering pain today.

Obama 80

Obama to Send Up to 40,000 Troops to Afghanistan

More reports are emerging that President Obama has decided to send as many as 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. CBS News reported last night that Obama plans to send four combat brigades plus thousands of additional troops beginning in early 2010. Over the weekend, the McClatchy Newspapers reported Obama would send 34,000 more troops. The White House is denying these reports, claiming that the President has not yet made a final decision.

7 de noviembre de 2009

Nuke Watchdog Criticizes US for Using “False Pretext” to Attack Iraq

UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei is urging Iran to respond quickly to his nuclear fuel proposal while warning the world against using force.

Mohamed ElBaradei: “I therefore urge Iran to be as forthcoming as possible in responding soon to my recent proposal based on the initiative of the United States, Russia and France, which aimed to engage Iran in a series of measures that could build confidence and trust and open the way for comprehensive and substantive dialog between Iran and the international community. The issue at stake remains that of mutual guarantees among the parties.”

The remarks came as Mohamed ElBaradei delivered his final annual report as International Atomic Energy Agency director. His term ends at the end of this month. During his farewell speech, ElBaradei also criticized the United States for using a “false pretext” to invade Iraq.

Mohamed ElBaradei: “I will always lament the fact that a tragic war was launched in Iraq, which has cost the lives of possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. This was done on the basis of false pretext, without the authorization from the Security Council and despite the Agency and the United Nation monitoring, verification and inspection commission having found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapon program or programs involving other weapons of mass destruction. It gives me no consolation that the Agency’s finding was subsequently vindicated.”

31 de octubre de 2009

Obama 79

US Drone Strike Kills 13 in Pakistan

A missile strike by a US drone killed at least 13 people in a Pakistani tribal district bordering Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said.
The strike took place on a village 15 kilometers north of Khar, the main town of the restive Bajaur tribal district.

"I can confirm that 13 people were killed in the drone attack," a tribal administration official said.

30 de octubre de 2009

Obama 78

Obama signs bills for record Pentagon, Homeland Security spending

President Obama signed legislation Wednesday authorizing $680 billion for the Pentagon, the largest military budget ever. On Thursday, he signed a bill giving another $44 billion to the Department of Homeland Security, to strengthen state repression within the US.

Obama 77

115 arrested so far in 18 cities to demand for health care for all
115 arrested so far in 18 cities to demand for health care for all
Total number who risked arrest today: 73 in 10 cities
Arrests include Matt Hendrickson, MD, a California doctor who is calling for real health care reform
Margaret Flowers, MD, will be risking arrest tomorrow at CareFirst insurance in Baltimore, Maryland

27 de octubre de 2009

Obama 76

The Cover-Up Continues

The Obama administration has clung for so long to the Bush administration’s expansive claims of national security and executive power that it is in danger of turning President George W. Bush’s cover-up of abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism into President Barack Obama’s cover-up.

We have had recent reminders of this dismaying retreat from Mr. Obama’s passionate campaign promises to make a break with Mr. Bush’s abuses of power, a shift that denies justice to the victims of wayward government policies and shields officials from accountability.

24 de octubre de 2009

Musicians Protest Use of Recordings in Gitmo Torture

A coalition of popular recording artists is calling on the military to disclose whether their songs have been used as part of the torture and harsh interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Bands including R.E.M. and Pearl Jam have endorsed Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the National Security Archives asking the Pentagon to disclose which artists’ music has been used.

Obama 75

US, Israel Stage Joint Air Drill

The US, meanwhile, has launched a joint air force drill with the Israeli military. The drill has been described in Israel as a preparation for an attack on Iran. US Navy Rear Admiral John Richardson said the exercises would aid the Obama administration’s revamped missile defense program.

US Navy Rear Admiral John Richardson: “This exercise is not directly related to recent announcements about ballistic missile defense in Europe, but the lessons and the insights that we gain from this exercise will certainly relate to developing that capability.”

Obama 74

Goldstone Challenges Obama to Explain Gaza Inquiry Objections

As the US challenges Sri Lanka, the head of a UN inquiry into the US-backed assault on Gaza is challenging the Obama administration to explain why it’s worked to minimize the inquiry’s findings that Israel committed multiple war crimes. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Judge Richard Goldstone said the White House had raised “concerns” about the report but hasn’t explained them.

Judge Richard Goldstone: “It seems to be still developing. It’s been ambivalent, I think. The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full, good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza, but said that the report was flawed. But I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they’ve identified are. I mean, I’d be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are.”

Last week the US voted against a UN Human Rights Council resolution endorsing the report’s recommendations that both sides of the Gaza conflict probe war crimes allegations or face international prosecution. The resolution has been forwarded to the Security Council, where it’s expected to face a US veto.

13 de octubre de 2009

As Talks Continue, Honduran Coup Regime Extends Media Crackdown

In Honduras, the coup regime has enacted a decree allowing it to close media outlets rather than revoking the measure as it had promised last week. Coup leaders have already shut down the opposition media outlets Channel 36 and Radio Globo. The measure threatens broadcasters with closure for airing reports that “attack national security.” On Saturday, police fired tear gas at hundreds of people rallying in support of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Protester: “Here in Honduras, we will no longer put up with them beating us, with deaths and everything. We won’t put up with it anymore! We want these coup mongers out, for these soldiers not to beat us as if they didn’t also have mothers.”

The protests were held as Zelaya representatives continued to hold talks with the coup regime. Juan Barahona, a member of Zelaya’s delegation, said the negotiations had progressed, but not on the fundamental issue of Zelaya’s return.

Juan Barahona: “There has been some progress in the negotiations, in the discussion over an agreement. But I repeat, if there is no agreement in the main point—that is, Zelaya’s return—and when we get to that point, there is no progress, we go backwards again, until we’re back at nothing.”

UN Panel Warns of Growing Mercenary Presence in Honduras

An independent UN panel is raising alarm over the use of foreign mercenaries since Zelaya’s ouster. The UN says it’s received reports the coup regime has hired more than 120 mercenaries from across Latin America. An estimated forty former Colombian paramilitaries have also been hired to guard wealthy Hondurans and their properties.

7 de octubre de 2009

Obama 73

Obama Admin Expands Nuclear Weapons Production

As the US pressures Iran, the news agency Inter Press Service reports the US is going ahead with a Bush administration program increasing nuclear weapons production. The “Complex Modernization” initiative would expand two existing nuclear sites to produce new bomb parts. The administration is proposing to build new plutonium pits at the Los Alamos lab in New Mexico and expand enriched uranium processing at the Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

6 de octubre de 2009

Taliban Claims Responsibility for World Food Program Bombing

Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for Monday’s deadly suicide bombing in Islamabad that killed five workers of the World Food Program. The Taliban said it carried out the bombing to avenge the August 5 slaying of their leader, Baitullah Mehsud, in a US drone attack.

Obama 72

White House: No Plans to Withdraw from Afghanistan

The White House said Monday President Obama has no plans to walk away from the war in Afghanistan, which began eight years ago this week. Obama is expected to decide soon whether to send tens of thousands of more troops as requested by US commander General Stanley McChrystal.

28 de septiembre de 2009

Oklahoma Bombing Tapes Appear to Be Edited

A new controversy is surfacing over the disclosure of security tapes from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings that appear to have been edited. A Salt Lake City attorney released the tapes after obtaining them under the Freedom of Information Act. The attorney, Jesse Trentadue, says tapes from four different cameras go blank right before the bombing took place. Trentadue has conducted his own inquiry into the bombings since his brother’s death in an Oklahoma City prison in 1995. Trentadue says his brother was beaten to death after FBI agents mistook him for a bombing suspect. Trentadue has accused the FBI of having prior knowledge of the bomb plot but doing little to prevent it.

US to Open Naval Bases in Panama

The US is reportedly set to announce an agreement to open two naval bases in Panama. The deal would mark the first large-scale US military presence in Panama since the closure of US bases there in 1999.

G-20 Concludes with Vague Pledges on Global Warming, Finance

The G-20 summit wrapped up in Pittsburgh Friday with pledges on a series of global issues. On climate change, world leaders vowed “strong action” but didn’t make specific commitments. The summit also called for a new era of balanced economic growth but didn’t offer much in the way of tangible steps toward that goal. On executive pay, G-20 leaders agreed to a deal that won’t cap bonuses but instead asks companies to stretch them out in deferred compensation. The final summit declaration also endorsed granting more voting rights to “underrepresented” countries at the IMF and World Bank. Around 200 people were arrested during the two-day summit. At one protest, unidentified law enforcement officers were filmed shoving a protester into a car and driving away. The officers were wearing army fatigues, but state officials say they weren’t military. The abducted protester is reportedly still behind bars.

Honduran Coup Regime Imposes Media, Protest Crackdown

The Honduran coup regime has intensified its grip on power in the face of growing pressure for restoring the elected President Manuel Zelaya. On Sunday, coup leaders issued a decree granting themselves broad authority to clamp down on free speech. Under the new rules, the regime can ban protests and suspend media outlets found to have committed “disturbances of the peace.” Meanwhile, the regime also refused entry to a delegation from the Organization of American States that had come to seek a negotiated solution to the crisis. Speaking from his hideout in the Brazilian embassy, Zelaya called for a massive national protest against the coup regime.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya: “Today is the day in which we call for peaceful resistance, for demonstrations for twenty-four continuous hours. You, my dear Hondurans, can’t lose your rights because someone, or a coup, restricts public liberties, violates human rights, murders and detains.”

Zelaya has remained in the Brazilian embassy since defiantly returning to Honduras one week ago. Coup leaders have now given Brazil a ten-day deadline to hand over Zelaya or face the embassy’s closure. Brazil has rejected the ultimatum and says Zelaya will stay as long as he needs. The coup regime issued the threat as its soldiers continued to surround the embassy and limit the delivery of supplies. On Friday, the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning the embassy siege.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice: “They condemned acts of intimidation against the Brazilian embassy and called upon the de facto government of Honduras to cease harassing the Brazilian embassy and to provide all necessary utilities and services, including water, electricity, food and continuity of communications.”

Zelaya supporters have continued to rally despite the government crackdown. On Saturday, hundreds marched in the capital demanding the coup regime’s ouster.

Protester: “There is an excitement in our people with hope that soon we will be able to reinstate constitutional order in the country. The people are constantly, permanently and positively mobilized, and, of course, peacefully.”

24 de septiembre de 2009

Obama 71

Obama Won’t Seek New Indefinite Detention Authority

The Obama administration has announced it won’t ask Congress for new powers to jail terror suspects indefinitely and without charge. The White House will instead continue to use the indefinite-detention system established after the 9/11 attacks. Civil liberties groups have opposed the indefinite jailing but warned that a new system could have left prisoners with even fewer rights. Guantanamo Bay prisoners are currently able to challenge their imprisonment in US courts. Christopher Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “Going to Congress with new detention authority legislation would only have made a bad situation worse.”

23 de septiembre de 2009

Obama 70

Obama administration shields CIA torturers

In response to a public campaign by the CIA, the Obama administration has decided to further scale back an already narrow investigation of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture during the Bush years that was announced last month by Attorney General Eric Holder.

In announcing the probe, Holder had made clear that it would be limited to CIA agents whose torture of alleged terrorists went beyond the bounds laid down by Bush administration directives. It would target neither the Justice Department lawyers who drew up findings providing a pseudo-legal justification for waterboarding, hanging prisoners from walls, placing them in boxes for hours on end, and similar crimes, nor the top Bush administration officials who ordered and oversaw such practices.

The CIA—including the current director and Obama appointee, Leon Panetta—and former Bush administration officials, led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, have denounced Holder’s token probe, claiming that it will hamstring US intelligence operations and give aid and comfort to the terrorists.

On Friday, seven former CIA directors sent a letter to President Obama demanding that he quash the Holder inquiry. Signing the letter were directors under both Democratic and Republican administrations: Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, John Deutch, R. James Woolsey, William Webster and James R. Schlesinger.

21 de septiembre de 2009

UN Body Urges Israel to Allow Nuclear Inspections

Overriding Western objections, a United Nations nuclear conference passed a resolution Friday directly criticizing Israel and its secret nuclear weapons arsenal. The UN body voted to urge Israel to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and place all Israeli nuclear sites under UN inspections. The resolution cited “concern about the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons for the security and stability of the Middle East.” Israeli delegate David Danieli denounced the vote as “openly hostile to the state of Israel” and accused Iran and Syria of “creating a diplomatic smoke screen” to cover up their “pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

David Danieli: “The delegation of Israel deplores this resolution, which serves no purpose of the IAEA and its general conference. The state of Israel will not cooperate in any matter with this resolution, which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and division lines in the Middle East region."

Iranian delegate Ali Asghar Soltanieh praised the UN vote.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh: “This is a very good news and a triumph of the oppressed nation of Palestine, that their voice was heard in the international community, in the IAEA, and action was made to let them know that they are not left alone, homeless, bombarded by Israelis, and being deprived from any basic rights.”

The UN meeting also adopted a resolution last week calling for a Mideast free of nuclear weapons in a near-consensus vote. Israel was the only nation to vote against the measure.

Obama 69

CIA Expands Presence in Afghanistan

While the Pentagon is considering a further escalation of the war, the Los Angeles Times reports the CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan as part of a broad intelligence “surge.” When complete, the CIA’s presence in Afghanistan is expected to rival the size of its massive stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars.

Obama 68

US President Barack Obama has extended the 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba for another year.
In a statement, Mr Obama said that it was in the US national interest to extend the Trading With The Enemy Act which covers the trade embargo.

10 de septiembre de 2009

Israeli Group: 252 Palestinian Children Killed in Gaza Assault

In Israel and the Occupied Territories, an Israeli human rights group is echoing Palestinian figures on the number of Palestinian children killed during Israel’s US-backed assault on the Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem-based B’Tselem says Israeli forces killed 252 Palestinian children, nearly three times the number claimed by the Israeli military. B’Tselem says its workers conducted meticulous research, gathering death certificates, photographs and testimony for each of the victims. The study lists children as those sixteen and under. A report in May by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said 313 children were killed under the age of eighteen. Overall, well over half the nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed were civilians. B’Tselem also says the Israeli military carried out a minimum of 2,360 air strikes on Gaza during the three-week assault.

8 de septiembre de 2009

Israel to build new houses in settlements

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will approve the construction of hundreds of new housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank in the coming days as a prelude to a building freeze of six to nine months aimed at restarting peace talks with the Palestinians, senior Israeli officials said on Friday.

The plan is an attempt to ease pressure on Mr. Netanyahu from within his own Likud Party, which wants settlements to continue unimpeded, and from Washington, the Palestinian Authority and the rest of the Arab world, which want a total halt to such construction.

5 de septiembre de 2009

Settlement Freeze No Longer Required?

The US has decided to be ‘flexible' regarding its once touted call for a total Israeli freeze on the expansion of its occupied territories' settlements, all illegal under international law.

A senior official spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity on August 27. "It was more important that the scope of a settlement freeze was acceptable to the Israelis and the Palestinians than to the United States," Reuters reported, citing the senior official. This means that peace negotiations can resume while Israeli bulldozers are carving up Palestinian land, demolishing homes and cutting down trees.

Obama 67

NATO Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills Up to 90

A U.S. jet blasted two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, setting off a huge fireball Friday that killed up to 90 people, including dozens of civilians who had rushed to the scene to collect fuel, Afghan officials said.

3 de septiembre de 2009

Obama 66

US Extends Blackwater Contract in Iraq

ABC News, is reporting the Obama administration has extended the private military firm Blackwater’s contract in Iraq. The State Department will reportedly continue to use Blackwater to transport embassy officials around Iraqi areas. The contract was due to expire this month. Its extension is said to be indefinite until another deal with the military firm DynCorp is enacted. The news comes just two weeks before the second anniversary of the Baghdad killings of seventeen innocent Iraqis by Blackwater guards.

Obama 65

US Plans 14,000 Additional Combat Troops in Afghanistan

The figures come amidst news the Obama administration is planning to vastly increase its reliance on contractors in Afghanistan in order to minimize the size of a new troop deployment. The Los Angeles Times reports the Pentagon has drawn up plans to add as many 14,000 combat troops in Afghanistan by having them replace support units engaged in non-combat duties. Under the plan, the US would avoid a major troop increase by replacing the non-combat soldiers with contractors. The “outsourcing” wouldn’t completely offset an expected troop increase but could reduce its size. A recent CNN poll, meanwhile, shows 57 percent of Americans now oppose the Afghan war, an eleven-point increase from the end of last year.

Obama 64

CIA Won’t Release Docs on Bush Admin Role in Torture, Secret Prisons

The Central Intelligence Agency is refusing to release a series of key documents about its secret prison and torture program. The announcement came in response to a court-imposed deadline in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The CIA says releasing information on its so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” would jeopardize national security by exposing classified intelligence sources and methods. The refusal comes one week after the Justice Department released a previously classified CIA report on torture at overseas prisons and launched a probe into the conduct of CIA interrogators. The investigation has been criticized for focusing on low-level operatives and not the Bush administration officials who authorized the practices the operatives carried out. The documents that the CIA wants kept under wraps could provide a wealth of information on the Bush administration’s role. The documents include President George W. Bush’s September 2001 authorization for jailing CIA prisoners abroad, cables between CIA officials in the secret prisons and their superiors in Washington, and memos by CIA lawyers on the operations’ legality. Alex Abdo of ACLU’s National Security Project said, “The Obama administration must…release all crucial documents that would shed further light on the origins and scope of the Bush administration’s torture program. The American public has a right to know the full truth about the torture that was committed in its name.”

30 de agosto de 2009

Israel Declares Shooting of Unarmed American Activist an “Act of War”

The Israeli military has declared the shooting of an unarmed American peace activist “an act of war.” The activist, Tristan Anderson, was critically injured when Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister directly at his head in March. Anderson was taking part in a weekly nonviolent protest against Israel’s separation wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. The Israeli military says Anderson was involved in a hostile act, which would absolve the military of any liability for his injuries. Michael Sfard, an attorney for Anderson’s family, said, “If [an] unarmed civilian demonstration is classified by Israel as an ‘act of war,’ then clearly Israel admits that it is at war with civilians.” The Anderson family has filed a criminal complaint with the Israeli government and also plans a civil suit.

28 de agosto de 2009

New Jersey Lawmakers Oppose Gaddafi Visit

In New Jersey, state and federal lawmakers are voicing opposition to the possibility Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi may stay on a property there next month. Gaddafi is scheduled to attend the UN General Assembly in New York. The Libyan government has apparently made plans for Gaddafi to stay at a residence owned by the Libyan embassy in the town of Englewood. Gaddafi’s visit would come just weeks after Libya welcomed home Abdel al-Megrahi, who was jailed for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people, including 189 Americans. The Scottish government released Megrahi because he’s dying of cancer, but his celebratory reception in Libya drew international criticism. Democratic Congress member Steve Rothman said Gaddafi isn’t welcome in New Jersey.

Rep. Steve Rothman: “He is a murderous dictator with American blood on his hands, a person who just held an obscene celebration for the release of the mass-murdering Lockerbie bomber, so it makes him even more of an unpleasant and unwelcome guest or visitor. But we would have objected no matter which nationality he was from, because there are not the resources here, and it’s not the neighborhood for that kind of a visitor or resident in this single-home residential neighborhood.”

Megrahi’s release has renewed attention on the Lockerbie bombing. Megrahi has always maintained his innocence. There has been speculation the bombing was actually committed by Iranian militants in retaliation for the US shoot-down of an Iranian airliner just four months earlier, killing all 290 people aboard.

Mass Graves Discovered in Pakistan’s Swat Valley

In Pakistan, human rights groups say they’ve discovered mass graves in areas of intense fighting between Pakistani troops and Taliban fighters. Over two million Pakistanis have been displaced since the Pakistani military launched an offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley earlier this year. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says it founds mass graves in two sub-districts of the Swat Valley. The group has accused the military of scores of extra-judicial killings. The Pakistani government says Taliban fighters buried their dead in the graves.

CIA Interrogators Certified after Two-Week Training

More revelations on the CIA’s interrogation practices have been unearthed in the agency documents released earlier this week. The documents now show CIA operatives were certified as interrogation experts after just two weeks of training. And in Iraq, the CIA’s Iraq station chief was reassigned after the deaths of two Iraqi prisoners in 2003. An internal CIA memo cited the unnamed station chief for “potentially very serious leadership lapses.”

25 de agosto de 2009

Blackwater Involved in CIA Renditions

The German newspaper Der Spiegel is reporting the CIA used the private military firm Blackwater to transfer foreign prisoners to secret jails. Two former Blackwater employees reportedly claim Blackwater helped move the prisoners to secret prison camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The news follows last week’s disclosures Blackwater has played a major role in the CIA’s drone attacks in Pakistan and in its aborted assassination program. According to the New York Times, Blackwater currently has over $400 million in State Department contracts. On Friday, the veteran journalist Helen Thomas asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the Obama administration’s dealings with Blackwater.

Obama 63

New Interrogation Unit to Question Foreign Prisoners

The Obama administration meanwhile has created a new team of interrogators to question foreign suspects outside of the CIA. The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, will be operated out of the FBI and overseen by the National Security Council. An administration official told the Washington Post the CIA will continue to play “a very important role” in prisoner interrogations.

Report Details New Evidence of CIA Torture

The Justice Department is expected to release a 2004 report today detailing prisoner abuse by the Central Intelligence Agency. The new disclosures include details of how CIA interrogators staged mock executions on prisoners at secret prisons overseas. The report also describes how one prisoner was threatened with a handgun and an electric power drill. A version of the report was released last year but was almost entirely censored. Today’s report will be more extensive but could still contain government redactions.

24 de agosto de 2009

Report Reveals CIA Conducted Mock Executions

A long-suppressed report by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general to be released next week reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency's post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects, NEWSWEEK has learned.

According to two sources—one who has read a draft of the paper and one who was briefed on it—the report describes how one detainee, suspected USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was threatened with a gun and a power drill during the course of CIA interrogation.

Report: Blackwater Involved in CIA Drone Program

The New York Times, meanwhile, has revealed the private military firm Blackwater has played a major role in the US drone attack program. The CIA has used Blackwater contractors to assemble and load missiles and bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft. The CIA drone attacks have targeted al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but the vast majority of its casualties have been civilian. The New York Times says Blackwater is not involved in selecting or firing on targets. But its work in loading the munitions has been criticized as faulty when bombs have radically missed their targets. Some of the drones were operated out of a newly disclosed US air base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The US began using the base out of concern it would be forced out of Pakistan. The news comes one day after the New York Times also revealed Blackwater was hired for the secret CIA program to assassinate terrorist suspects. On Thursday, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein said the CIA’s failure to brief Congress on the program marked “a violation of law.”

14 de agosto de 2009

Morales Warns of Militant Activity Following Letter Bombs

In Bolivia, President Evo Morales is accusing right-wing militants of trying to derail upcoming elections after a series attacks in the capital La Paz. The wife of a Bolivian union leader lost three fingers and suffered serious burns this week when she tried to open what turned out to be a letter bomb. Morales said the culprits had foreign support.

Bolivian President Evo Morales: “This is an assault on the National Coalition for Change process and its authorities. Unfortunately, there are certain experts trained inside and outside Bolivia. There are some former army commanders who take part in such acts.”

Israel Killed 11 Palestinian Civilians Waving White Flags in Gaza Assault

In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the group Human Rights Watch says it’s uncovered evidence of Israeli troops shooting dead at least eleven Palestinian civilians waving white flags during the US-backed attack on the Gaza Strip last January. Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch said most of the victims were women and children.

Joe Stork: “These are incidents in which eleven Palestinian civilians, nine of them children and women, were killed, despite the fact that they were holding or waving white flags to signify that they were civilians, they were unarmed, they had no hostile intent. But still, Israeli soldiers, in many cases after calling them out of their homes, shot them.”

In a homemade video, Gaza resident Khalid Abed Rabbo described the shooting death of his two young daughters.

Khalid Abed Rabbo: “When the soldiers arrived outside our house, they yelled for us to come outside. My wife, mother, three daughters and I went outside. We were holding cloths, because we are a peaceful family. I thought that the soldiers would realize that they were looking at women and children.”

Abed Rabbo’s three-year-old daughter and the children’s grandmother were also wounded in the shooting. The girls’ mother also witnessed the attack.

Umm Soad Abed Rabbo: “Right in front of me, they shot my eldest daughter. Then they shot the little one, Amal, and then Samar, who was in front of her. When we ran inside, they shot their elderly grandmother who can hardly walk.”

4 de agosto de 2009

Palestinians evicted in Jerusalem

Israeli police have evicted nine Palestinian families living in two houses in occupied East Jerusalem. Jewish settlers moved into the houses almost immediately. The US has urged Israel to abandon plans for a building project in the area.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, a move not recognised by the international community. The evictions have been condemned by the United Nations, the Palestinians and also the UK government.

3 de agosto de 2009

Roger Noriega Hired as Lobbyist by Honduran Business Coalition

In other Honduran news, a business coalition of Honduran textile manufacturers and exporters has hired Roger Noriega to lobby US lawmakers on behalf of the coup government. Noriega served as assistant secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs under President Bush. He was a key figure in the overthrow of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.

Obama 62

Obama Considers Creating Military-Civilian Prison in US

The Obama administration is considering creating a hybrid military-civilian prison in the United States to hold and try prisoners currently at Guantanamo. The proposal calls for a combined detention and trial facility to be built in an existing US maximum-security prison. The proposed facility would be operated jointly by the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security. Officials said such a facility could also house prisoners held in indefinite detention. The American Civil Liberties Union said it would oppose such a facility, especially if it included holding some prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial. Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU said, "Closing Guantanamo will be an empty gesture if we just reopen it on shore under a different name.”

Obama considera creación de prisión cívico-militar en Estados Unidos

El gobierno de Obama considera la posibilidad de crear una prisión cívico-militar en Estados Unidos para albergar y juzgar a los prisioneros que actualmente se encuentran en Guantánamo. La propuesta incluye una instalación combinada para detención y juicios que se construiría en una prisión de máxima seguridad de Estados Unidos, que ya existe. El complejo propuesto sería dirigido conjuntamente por los departamentos de Justicia, Defensa y Seguridad Interna. Los funcionarios afirman que el complejo albergaría también a prisioneros que están detenidos por tiempo indeterminado. La Unión Estadounidense por las Libertades Civiles (ACLU, por su sigla en inglés) declaró que se opondría a ese complejo, especialmente si implica retener prisioneros por tiempo indeterminado sin acusaciones ni juicios. Jamell Jaffer, de la ACLU, dijo: “Cerrar Guantánamo será un gesto vacío de contenido si simplemente lo reabrimos en territorio estadounidense con otro nombre”.

Obama 61

Civilian death toll soaring in Afghanistan

A report issued late last month by the Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) sheds light on the rising number of innocent Afghan men, women and children who are being killed in order for the US and its allies to consolidate their neo-colonial occupation of the country.

The UNAMA report contrasted the number of officially recorded civilian deaths for the first six months of 2009 with the number in previous years. From January 1 to June 30, it registered 1,013 civilian fatalities, “compared with 818 for the same period in 2008, and 684 in 2007”. In other words, as the Obama administration has escalated the war and sent thousands of additional troops and aircraft to Afghanistan, the number of civilian deaths has soared by 24 percent.

17 de julio de 2009

Obama 60

Mueren cinco afganos en ataque aéreo estadounidense
En Afganistán, al menos cinco civiles murieron y otros trece resultaron heridos en un ataque aéreo estadounidense. El Pentágono dice que las fuerzas estadounidenses pidieron la ofensiva tras ser atacadas. La mayoría de las víctimas eran integrantes de la misma familia, y entre las personas que murieron se encontraba una niña de cuatro años. Los testigos dijeron que las fuerzas estadounidenses le dispararon a esta familia mientras intentaba huir de su casa.

16 de julio de 2009

Israel hará pruebas con misiles en aguas estadounidenses

El Pentágono anunció que esta semana realizará en aguas estadounidenses una prueba de misiles conjuntamente con las fuerzas militares israelíes. La Agencia de Defensa Antimisiles del Pentágono afirma que Israel probará su sistema “Arrow” en un área de tiro de misiles de Estados Unidos en el océano Pacífico. Esta prueba será por lo menos la tercera que realiza Israel en aguas estadounidenses.

13 de julio de 2009

Obama 59

CIA Had Secret Assassination Plan
The CIA is also coming under increasing criticism for failing to inform Congress about a highly classified targeted assassination program started by the CIA after Sept. 11. According to the Wall Street Journal, the program focused on the CIA’s attempt to capture or assassinate terrorists. The Journal reports the CIA spent money on planning and possibly some training. It was acting on a 2001 presidential legal pronouncement, known as a finding, which authorized the CIA to pursue such efforts even though the Ford administration had banned assassinations in the 1970s. Congress only learned about the program last month when President Obama’s CIA Director Leon Panetta ended the initiative. Senator Dianne Feinstein appeared on Fox News Sunday. She didn’t describe the program but confirmed reports that Vice President Dick Cheney had ordered the CIA to withhold information about the program from Congress.
Dianne Feinstein: “The answer is yes, Congress should have been told. We should have been briefed before the commencement of this kind of sensitive program. Director Panetta did brief us two weeks ago, I believe it was on the 24th of June, said he had just learned about the program, described it to us, indicated that he had canceled it and, as had been reported, did tell us that he was told that the Vice President had ordered that the program not be briefed to the Congress.”
This does not mark the first time the Bush administration has been accused of carrying out targeted assassinations. Earlier this year investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said publicly the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Seymour Hersh: “Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination wing, essentially. And it’s been going on and on and on. And just today in the Times there was a story saying that its leader, a three-star admiral named McRaven, ordered a stop to certain activities because there were so many collateral deaths. It’s been going in—under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.”
According to Hersh, the program was carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC. The former head of JSOC, Stanley McChrystal, is now Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan.

CIA tenía plan secreto de asesinatos

La CIA también está siendo fuertemente criticada por no haber informado al Congreso de un programa altamente clasificado de asesinatos dirigidos que la agencia implementó después de los ataques del 11 de septiembre. Según el Wall Street Journal, dicho programa se centraba en el intento de la agencia de capturar o asesinar terroristas. El Journal informa que la CIA destinó dinero y planificación, y que posiblemente suministró entrenamiento. Lo que permitió la implementación del programa fue un pronunciamiento legal presidencial de 2001, conocido como “finding” (que puede traducirse como “fallo” o "decisión") que autorizó a la CIA a llevar a cabo tales iniciativas, a pesar de que el gobierno de Ford prohibió los asesinatos en la década de 1970. El Congreso se enteró de la existencia del programa recién el mes pasado, cuando Leon Panetta, director de la CIA designado por el Presidente Obama, le puso fin al plan. La senadora Dianne Feinstein estuvo en el programa televisivo Fox News Sunday. No describió el programa, pero confirmó que el vicepresidente Dick Cheney había ordenado a la CIA que ocultara su existencia al Congreso.
Dianne Feinstein dijo: “La respuesta es ‘sí’, el Congreso tendría que haber sido informado. Tendríamos que haber sido informados del inicio de este tipo de programa sensible. El director Panetta nos informó hace dos semanas, creo que el 24 de junio; dijo que recién se había enterado del programa, nos lo describió, nos dijo que lo había cancelado y, tal como se informó, nos dijo que le habían comunicado que el Vicepresidente [Cheney] había ordenado que no se pusiera en conocimiento del programa al Congreso”.
No es la primera vez que el gobierno de Bush es acusado de llevar a cabo asesinatos dirigidos. Este mismo año, el periodista de investigación Seymour Hersh reveló que dicho gobierno dirigió un “anillo ejecutivo de asesinatos” que estaba bajo las órdenes directas del ex Vicepresidente Dick Cheney.
Seymour Hersh expresó lo siguiente: “El Congreso no tiene supervisión sobre [el programa]. Se trata básicamente de un ala de asesinatos ejecutivos. Y ha continuado sin interrupciones. Justo hoy en el Times hay un artículo en el que se afirma que su líder, un almirante de tres estrellas llamado McRaven, ordenó detener ciertas actividades porque había demasiadas muertes colaterales. Bajo el mandato del presidente Bush, ingresaban en países, sin hablar con el embajador o el jefe de la CIA del lugar, buscaban personas que tenían en una lista, las ejecutaban y abandonaban el país”.
Según Hersh, el programa fue ejecutado por el Comando Conjunto de Operaciones Especiales (JSOC, por su sigla en inglés). El ex director del JSOC, Stanley McChrystal, es en la actualidad el máximo comandante en Afganistán del gobierno de Obama.