27 de febrero de 2008

Ministro boliviano presionará al Congreso respecto a la desestabilización causada por Estados Unidos

Un alto funcionario boliviano está planeando una visita a Washington para presentar pruebas de que los programas de ayuda estadounidense han intentado desestabilizar al gobierno del Presidente boliviano Evo Morales. El Ministro de la Presidencia Juan Ramón Quintana efectuaría la visita solo semanas después de que se revelara que un alto funcionario de la embajada de Estados Unidos le dijo a un grupo de voluntarios de los Cuerpos de Paz que espiaran a los cubanos y venezolanos con los que se encontraran en Bolivia. Quintana dice que se reunirá con los congresistas para hablar sobre los esfuerzos de Estados Unidos por apoyar a la oposición adinerada de Bolivia.

Israel no presentará cargos contra las Fuerzas Armadas por asesinato de 21 civiles en 2006

Mientras tanto, las Fuerzas Armadas israelíes anunciaron que no se iniciarán acciones legales con relación a un ataque contra un complejo residencial de Gaza en noviembre de 2006, que causó la muerte de 21 civiles palestinos. Dieciséis de las personas que murieron eran integrantes de la misma familia. Siete de ellos eran niños, entre los que se encontraba una niña de 18 meses. Otras seis víctimas eran mujeres. Otros diecinueve familiares resultaron heridos, de los cuales cuatro niños perdieron las extremidades.

Mueren siete palestinos en ataque aéreo israelí

En Israel y los Territorios Ocupados, al menos siete palestinos murieron y varios resultaron heridos en ataques israelíes contra la Franja de Gaza. Israel ha matado a más de 200 palestinos en Gaza desde que se reanudaron las negociaciones de paz en noviembre.

26 de febrero de 2008

Three Gaza picnickers killed by Israeli missile

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli war crime perpetrated in the evening of Saturday, 23 February 2008, east of the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Three Palestinian civilians were killed by an Israeli rocket fired as they were on a picnic in the Nazaz area east of the town.

The Centre's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 3:40pm on Saturday, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) fired a surface-to-surface missile from one of its bases along the Gaza Strip border. The rocket targeted three friends in a bamboo hut in a field belonging to the family of one of the victims in the Nazaz area east of Beit Hanoun. The targeted area was approximately 1.2 kilometers away from the border with Israel. The rocket landed in the middle of the three civilians who were preparing food during their picnic in the field. They were instantly killed and dismembered. Their remains were taken to the Beit Hanoun Hospital. They were identified as:

  • Mohammad Talal al-Za'anin (20), university student from Beit Hanoun
  • Ibrahim Ahmad Abu Jarad (20), driver from Beit Hanoun
  • Mohammad Hasan Hussein (22), an employee from Jabalia

After the incident, an IOF spokesperson was quoted on the Yediot Ahronot website claiming that the army targeted armed Palestinian rocket launchers. However, the Centre's investigation refutes the claim, and affirms that they were civilians on a picnic in an open field. They were roasting meat and waiting for other friends to join them for dinner. The bombardment occurred before the others arrived.

PCHR reiterates its condemnation of this crime, and:

1. Affirms that this crime is part of a continuous series of Israeli war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, reflecting IOF disregard for civilian life.

2. Calls upon the High Contracting Parties (HCP) of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) to fulfill their legal obligation under Article 1 of the Convention and ensure that it is respected by all parties under any circumstances. The Centre calls upon the HCP to fulfill their obligations under Article 146 of the Convention to pursue persons suspected of perpetrating grave violations of the Convention, which are defined as war crimes under Article 147 of the Convention.

22 de febrero de 2008

Estados Unidos detiene a periodista de televisión candiense en Afganistán

El Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas está criticando a las Fuerzas Armadas de Estados Unidos por detener a un periodista que trabaja para el canal de televisión canadiense, CTV. Jawed Ahmad fue detenido en octubre, y permanece detenido sin acusaciones en su contra en una base militar estadounidense en Afganistán. Joel Simon, del Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas, dijo: “Las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses deben explicar el motivo de su detención y darle las garantías del debido proceso. Si no es acusado de ningún delito entonces debe ser liberado de inmediato”. Al menos otros dos periodistas permanecen detenidos por fuerzas estadounidenses. El camarógrafo de Al-Jazeera Sami Al-Haj está preso en Bahía de Guantánamo, y el fotógrafo de Associated Press Bilal Hussein está detenido en Irak.

21 de febrero de 2008

A third way

Haidar Eid, The Electronic Intifada, 21 February 2008

"You are either with us, or with the terrorists," said US President George W. Bush a couple of days after the horrendous 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Prior to this statement, Bush had made it clear that his is a "crusade" against "terror" and "the powers of darkness." This simplistic binary approach employed by the American president and his right-wing administration -- supported wholeheartedly by the powerful CNNized media -- attempts to close the door in the face of a third way: a more rational, secular and democratic one that fights terrorism whether nihilistic or state-sponsored.

Its reductive, hegemonic right-wing, orientalist ideology that informs most western politics deliberately ignores the simple rational fact that the existence of Arab terrorists does not, and should not, by any means lead to the sweeping condemnation of the Arab Nation. If one is to follow the same logic that informs such ideology, one, then, should condemn the US, and Christianity for that matter, for the terrible crime committed by Timothy McVeigh.

rest of article:

British police failed to arrest Israeli war criminal

Report, PCHR and Hickman and Rose, 21 February 2008

On 10 January 2002 Israeli bulldozers flattened 59 houses in the Rafah refugee camp on the Gaza Strip. Residents fled their homes in heavy rain, most losing all their possessions in the process. Among those made homeless were a number of children who were terrified and traumatized by what happened. It appears that the motive for the destruction was retaliation for an unrelated attack by militants that resulted in the death of four Israeli soldiers. The commanding officer who authorized the demolitions was Major General (Reserve) Doron Almog.

The extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The collective punishment of civilians is also forbidden under the Geneva Conventions. Over the years, many Palestinian civilians have tried to obtain redress, peacefully and lawfully, through the Israeli courts for incidents of this nature. Sadly, the courts have declared these matters to be non-justiciable (itself arguably a further Convention breach).

Offering people who suffer wrongs a route to redress without violence is fundamental to preserving the rule of law. All nations are required to take effective steps to prosecute war crimes irrespective of where they occur.

Doron Almog escapes arrest

On 10 September 2005, Chief London Magistrate Timothy Workman issued a warrant for the arrest of Major General Almog on suspicion of committing a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 which in the UK is a criminal offense contrary to the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. The arrest warrant was passed to the Anti-Terrorist and War Crimes Unit of the Metropolitan Police, which failed to execute the warrant when Almog, who had been tipped off about the arrest warrant by Israeli embassy staff, refused to leave a plane that had recently landed at Heathrow and police officers decided not to board it to arrest him.

Police complaint lifts the veil

One of Almog's alleged victims, Abdul Matar, made a police complaint about the apparent tip-off to Almog and the failure to board the aircraft to arrest him. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) initially refused even to record the police complaint, let alone investigate it, but, after the IPCC intervened, the shocking details of their incompetence on 10 to 11 September 2005 have been revealed. First, in the lead up to Almog's arrival in the UK:

  • Not only did the MPS inform six different police and security agencies of the existence of the "secret" warrant, they also disclosed confidential information to a "Trusted Partner" (thought to be a civilian, but who has not been identified) to advise the MPS on their own conduct.
  • The Trusted Partner instructed a lawyer to represent Almog (apparently without naming him) and made inquiries of the local Jewish community in Solihull (which he was visiting) about his schedule.
  • The MPS also contacted El Al airline while Almog was in flight to the UK. (El Al later refused the MPS voluntary access to the airplane.)

In these circumstances, it was not surprising that Almog was alerted to the existence of the warrant and so decided not to leave the airplane on 11 September. What is surprising are the reasons why Det. Superintendent MacBrayne and Commander McDowall [i] made the decision not board the airplane:

  • They were apparently unclear if the police were legally entitled to board the aircraft; and
  • They were concerned about the risk that an armed Israeli would confront any police that attempted to board the plane; and
  • The consequent risk to the police and public; and
  • The international impact of a potentially armed police operation at an airport; and
  • The impact on the community in arresting an Israeli ex-military commander.


The criminal justice system, Matar and other victims of war crimes allegedly committed by Doron Almog have been very badly let down by the MPS failures:

1. To keep Almog from finding out about the arrest warrant before it was executed; and

2. To arrest Almog when they had the opportunity to board the airplane at Heathrow airport.

These are serious failures that raise concerns about the effectiveness of the police in cases where international criminal suspects come to the UK. They also reveal an extraordinary assumption that armed Israelis might engage British police on British soil as they try to make an arrest under a lawful warrant issued by a British judge. The fact that this risk was apparently taken into account, and led to police inaction, is a matter of grave concern.

Hopefully, the police have subsequently sought to obtain assurances that such fears would never be realized and the legal position has been clarified within the MPS, so that there can never again be any concerns about boarding a plane on British soil to effect a lawful arrest, even where that plane is owned by the national airline of a foreign country. It also seems appropriate for the role of a Trusted Partner in such cases to be reviewed.

Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights(PCHR), expressing the disappointment of Matar at what occurred on 11 September 2005, stated:

"Once again, justice has been denied for Palestinian civilian victims. We will never forget or forgive all those who perpetrated war crimes against Palestinian civilians. Failure to respect the rule of law and to pursue those responsible for attacking civilians will undermine the respect for international law which we do badly need if we are to have peace in our region. Until such time we will be faced with the rule of the jungle."

Further background

The warrant issued on 10 September 2005 was in relation to the allegedly wanton destruction of 59 houses in Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on 10 January 2002.

The decision to apply to the court for an arrest warrant was taken against the background of a series of meetings with the War Crimes Unit of the Metropolitan Police where Hickman and Rose, on behalf of PCHR and the clients in these cases, provided the police with a considerable volume of evidence in relation to this suspect. The police were unable to take a decision about the arrest or prosecution of the suspect before his planned visit on Sunday, 11 September. Consequently, acting on behalf of the victims, including Matar, Hickman and Rose and PCHR pursued the suspect through the judicial system, so that he could be arrested before fleeing the UK.

Doron Almog is a 54-year-old Israeli national who was GOC Southern Commander of the Israeli military from 8 December 2000 to 7 July 2003. Under his command the Israeli military were responsible for a countless variety of extensive alleged human rights violations inside the OPT.

The prosecution of those suspected of war crimes is a long-term PCHR strategy designed to combat the culture of impunity which leading international non-governmental organizations have found to be endemic inside the Israeli military, judicial and political system. PCHR and Hickman and Rose remain hopeful that such cases will eventually be heard in an open and fair trial system which applies international standards as this has not (yet) been available through the Israeli judicial system.

Estados Unidos se niega a levantar el embargo de Cuba

El gobierno de Bush está desafiando los pedidos de que levante el embargo de Cuba tras el anuncio de la renuncia de Fidel Castro. El martes, más de cien miembros del Congreso exhortaron a Estados Unidos a que reviera su política de aislamiento de Cuba. La carta decía: “Nuestra política nos deja sin influencia en este momento crítico, y esto no favorece ni el interés nacional de Estados Unidos ni a los cubanos comunes y corrientes, a quienes queremos beneficiar con nuestra política”. Estados Unidos ha mantenido un embargo sobre Cuba desde 1960. El Presidente Bush habló sobre la situación de Cuba durante su visita a Ruanda.El Presidente Bush dijo: “La comunidad internacional debería trabajar con el pueblo cubano para comenzar a construir instituciones necesarias para la democracia. Y finalmente esta transición deberá llevar a elecciones libres y justas, verdaderamente libres y justas. No este tipo de elecciones arregladas que los hermanos Castro intentan vender como verdadera democracia. Y nosotros ayudaremos, Estados Unidos ayudará a que el pueblo cubano descubra las bendiciones de la democracia”.

Mientras tanto, los líderes sudamericanos rindieron homenaje a Fidel Castro el martes.

El Presidente boliviano, Evo Morales, dijo: “Personalmente lo he sentido mucho porque tengo una enorme admiración, porque Fidel nos enseña a ser solidarios. Fidel nos enseña a trabajar por la vida, por la humanidad, en base a la solidaridad. Aprendí bastante de eso”.

El Presidente brasileño, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, describió a Castro como “una leyenda”.Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva dijo: “Considero que esto es importante para la armonía de Latinoamérica, porque el proceso ocurrió de forma más tranquila, con la iniciativa de Fidel, como debía ser. El gran mito continúa. Fidel es el único mito viviente en la historia de la humanidad y creo que lo construyó con mucha competencia, carácter, voluntad, y también con mucho conflicto y controversia”.

8 de febrero de 2008

Fuerzas israelíes matan a seis palestinos en Gaza

En Gaza, seis palestinos, entre ellos un maestro, murieron hoy luego de que tanques y aviones israelíes abrieron fuego en otro ataque transfronterizo. El maestro murió cuando un misil tierra-tierra israelí impactó en una escuela de agricultura en la localidad norteña de Beit Hanoun. El miércoles dos mujeres israelíes resultaron heridas por un cohete disparado desde Gaza.

Informe: Estados Unidos opera prisión secreta en Guantánamo

Associated Press reveló nuevos detalles sobre cómo las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses está dirigiendo una prisión secreta en Guantánamo conocida como “Camp 7”. Por primera vez, el principal comandante de las operaciones de detención en Guantánamo, el Contralmirante Mark Buzby, confirmó la existencia de una prisión misteriosa. Según informes, las Fuerzas Armadas tienen detenidos a quince prisioneros catalogados como “de gran valor” en esta prisión. No obstante, las Fuerzas Armadas se negaron a revelar exactamente dónde está ubicada esta prisión dentro de Guantánamo.

Report: U.S. Operating Secret Prison at Guantanamo

The Associated Press has revealed new details about how the U.S. military is running a secret prison at Guantanamo known as Camp 7. For the first time, the top commander of detention operations at Guantanamo—Rear Adm. Mark Buzby—has confirmed the existence of the mysterious prison. The military is reportedly holding 15 so-called high value detainees at Camp 7. But the military has refused to disclose where Camp 7 is located within the grounds of Guantanamo.

Seven Gazans killed in day of Israeli air, shelling attacks.

On 7 February 2008, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)
killed seven Palestinians, raising the number of victims
from its military attacks to seventeen persons since the
beginning of this month, and 96 persons since the
beginning of 2008 in the Gaza Strip. The IOF launched
seven attacks in different parts of the Gaza Strip since
last night, of which the most affected areas were Khan
Younis, al-Nuseirat, and other areas in northern Gaza.

6 de febrero de 2008

Mueren cuatro familiares iraquíes en ataque estadounidense

En Irak, el lunes las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses admitieron haber asesinado a cuatro integrantes de una familia y haber herido a otro en la localidad de Adwar, en el norte de Bagdad. Una pareja y su hijo de 19 años murieron en el acto. Las dos jóvenes hijas de la pareja resultaron heridas en el ataque. Una de ellas murió luego de ser trasladada al hospital a causa de sus heridas, lo que convirtió a su hermana en la única sobreviviente. Un primo que presenció los asesinatos dijo que los soldados estadounidenses abrieron fuego inmediatamente después de irrumpir en su hogar. Este hecho tuvo lugar dos días después de que Estados Unidos admitió haber matado a trece civiles iraquíes en un ataque aéreo en el sur de Bagdad. Entre las personas que murieron se encontraban dos mujeres y un niño pequeño. Otros dos niños resultaron heridos. Hoy se conmemora el quinto aniversario del discurso que dio ante el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU quien fuera Secretario de Estado en aquel entonces, Colin Powell, en el que presentó los motivos por los que se debía atacar Irak.

CIA admits waterboarding suspects of terrorism

The CIA has for the first time publicly admitted using the controversial method of "waterboarding" on terror suspects. CIA head Michael Hayden told Congress it had only been used on three people, and not for the past five years. He said the technique had been used on high-profile al-Qaeda detainees including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Waterboarding, condemned as torture and illegal by critics, is an interrogation technique during which the detainee is put in fear of drowning. Mr Hayden was speaking as National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell presented his annual threat assessment.
Some critics describe the procedure as torture and Congress has been debating banning its use by the CIA. President Bush has threatened to veto such a bill.

5 de febrero de 2008

US Iraq Rules of Engagement leaked

Wikileaks (.com) has obtained the long kept secret Rules of Engagement (ROE) for U.S. troops in Iraq. This document sets out the rules guiding authorized U.S. troop actions in that occupation. While the Wikileaks document dates from 2005, as these ROEs generally change slowly the rules for today are likely similar, though we can't be sure, of course, to what extent more recent ROE's differ.

Among several interesting nuggets in the ROE, it provides indications that U.S. attacks likely to result in civilian deaths required authorization at the top of the Pentagon, by the SECDEF (Secretary of Defense). Thus, the ROE states repeatedly; "If the target is in a HIGH CD [collateral damage] area, SECDEF approval is required." And what is the definition of a High Collateral Damage area? The ROE contains a set of explicit definitions of its terms. There we find High Collateral Damage Targets defined as:

"Those targets that, if struck, have a ten percent probability of causing collateral damage through blast debris and fragmentation and are estimated to result in significant collateral effects on noncombatant persons and structures, including: (A) Non-combatant casualties estimated at 30 or greater; (B) Significant effects on Category I No Strike protected sites in accordance with Ref D; (C) In the case of dual-use facilities, effects that significantly impact the non-combatant population, including significant effects on the environment/facilities/infrastructure not related to an adversary’s war making ability; or (D) Targets in close proximity to known human shields."

Thus, all attacks, except those in self-defense or active pursuit, with a reasonable possibility of harming 30 or more civilians needed approval from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Presumably such approval would need to be in writing. The ROE thus suggest that there may exist an extensive documentary record of requests, and possibly Rumsfeld's approval or rejection, for attacks with the potential for resulting in significant civilian casualties. Congress should demand access to these documents to determine the extent to which attacks resulting in civilian casualties were authorized, potentially providing insight into who was responsible for possible war crimes committed in the course of the occupation.

While much of the rest of the ROE appears rather unsurprising, there are a couple of other interesting aspects to the document. One is that the main "hostile forces," from the U.S. perspective are the Baath remnants, such as the Special Republican Guard and the Baath Party Militia. There is no mention of Iraqi al-Qaida or its predecessors. These predecessors, led by al-Zarqawi, had identified with and pledged allegiance to al-Qaida as early as October, 2004, yet they receive no mention in the ROE. The ROE rather refers to Baath forces that "have transitioned from overt conventional resistance to insurgent methods of resistance."

While the Sunni al-Qaida predecessors do not make the list of hostile forces, the Shia-based Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr does make the list of "Declared Hostile Forces," However, as of the ROE's writing, this status was "suspended and such individuals will not be engaged except in self-defense."

Another interesting feature of the ROE is a complete ignoring of the language barriers separating U.S. troops from the Iraqi populace. Thus, in a section on graduated force, the first stage is "shout verbal warnings to halt." There is not even a mention of the fact that most Iraqis cannot understand warnings shouted in English. In general, the ROE is notable for lacking any recognition that, in an "insurgency," there are at best blurry boundaries between combatants and noncombatants. Thus, there is no emphasis of the need to take extraordinary measures to protect the civilian population. Rather, it provides a rationale for virtually any attacks:

"US Forces may always use force, up to and including deadly force, to neutralize and/or detain individuals who commit hostile acts or exhibit hostile intent against US Forces or Coalition Forces."

As we have seen repeatedly, from the numerous roadblock killings of civilians to the Haditha massacre, this ROE authorization to use force can be used to provide cover for virtually any civilian killings. The ROE suggests that preventing such deaths was low on the priority list of those officials writing the rules of engagement for the occupation. Even so, a military study found that less than half of US occupation soldiers would report a unit member for violating an ROE. Thus, even the limited protections provided civilians in the ROE were often not present on the ground.

Coimas democráticas?

Las compañías petrolíferas estadounidenses ofrecieron cinco millones de dólares a cada diputado iraquí para que aprobaran la ley del petróleo .

Mueren nueve civiles iraquíes en ataque estadounidense

Las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses afirman que mataron accidentalmente a nueve civiles iraquíes el sábado en Bagdad. Otros tres civiles resultaron heridos en este ataque, en el que las víctimas recibieron disparos provenientes de helicópteros estadounidenses. Este incidente sería el peor caso que se haya conocido de un presunto error de identidad desde noviembre, mes en el que las fuerzas estadounidenses asesinaron a 25 miembros de un grupo sunita en contra de Al Qaeda.