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.

12 de julio de 2009

Obama 58 (link)

Obama claims right to imprison “combatants” acquitted at trial
By Bill Van Auken
10 July 2009

In testimony before the US Senate Tuesday, legal representatives of the Obama administration not only defended the system of kangaroo military tribunals set up under Bush, but affirmed the government’s right to continue imprisoning detainees indefinitely, even if they are tried and acquitted on allegations of terror-related crimes.

This assertion of sweeping, extra-constitutional powers is only the latest in a long series of decisions by the Democratic administration demonstrating its essential continuity with the Bush White House on questions of militarism and attacks on democratic rights.

The testimony, given to the Senate Armed Services Committee by the top lawyer for the Pentagon and the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, came in the context of a congressional bid to reconfigure the military tribunal system set up under the Bush administration.

10 de julio de 2009

Obama 57

U.S. Drones Kill 45 in Pakistan
At least 45 people were killed Wednesday in two U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region. It was the second consecutive day of U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan and the sixth attack in just over two weeks.

50 Killed in Iraq Bombings
In Iraq, more than fifty people have been killed in separate bombing attacks. At least 34 people died and 60 were wounded in a double suicide attack in the northern town of Talafar. Another seven people were killed and around 20 injured when bombs struck the Sadr City district of Baghdad. Sixteen people were also killed in twin bombings in Mosul.

25 Die in Afghan Bombings
In Afghanistan, at least 25 people have been killed in a bombing south of Kabul. Sixteen students and four police were among the dead.

Aviones no tripulados de Estados Unidos matan a 45 personas en Pakistán

Al menos 45 personas fueron asesinadas el miércoles en dos ataques con aviones no tripulados de Estados Unidos en la región paquistaní de Waziristán del Sur. Fue el segundo día consecutivo de ataques con este tipo de aviones realizados por Estados Unidos en el interior de Pakistán, y el sexto en tan sólo dos semanas.

Murieron 50 personas en bombardeos en Irak

En Irak, más de 50 personas murieron en diversos atentados con bombas. Al menos 34 personas murieron y 60 resultaron heridas en un doble atentado suicida en la ciudad norteña de Talafar. En explosiones con bombas ocurridas en el distrito de Ciudad Sadr, en Bagdad, hubo siete fallecidos y aproximadamente 20 heridos. 16 personas murieron en dos atentados con bombas simultáneos en Mosul.

Mueren 25 personas en ataques con bombas en Afganistán

Al menos 25 personas murieron en un atentado con bombas al sur de Kabul, capital de Afganistán. Había 16 estudiantes y cuatro policías entre los fallecidos.

US politician urges Iran 'sabotage'

Gingrich says the US should target Iran's oil and gas infrastructure to topple the government [EPA file]
The former speaker of the US House of Representatives has said that the US should "sabotage" Iran's oil and gas infrastructure as part of its efforts to bring down the government.
In an interview with Al Jazeera's Avi Lewis for the Fault Lines programme, Republican Newt Gingrich said targeting Iran's refinery would spark an economic crisis that would destabilise the government in Tehran.
He said the US should "use covert operations … to create a gasoline-led crisis to try and replace the regime".

9 de julio de 2009

Obama 56

"Suspected" militants killed !?

Up to 50 suspected militants have been killed in two US attacks in north-west Pakistan, local officials told the BBC.
In the first attack, suspected US drones attacked a Taliban forest camp in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, killing at least 10 militants.
Hours later, officials said about 40 militants died when five missiles hit a vehicle convoy in the same region.
It has been one of the Taliban's deadliest days since the drone campaign began last August.
It seems now that the US attacks not only concentrate on militants, but also on "suspected" militants. What kind of crimes are these?

Obama 55

Prisioneros de Guantánamo podrían seguir encarcelados aunque se determinara su inocencia
El gobierno de Obama anunció que podría continuar el encarcelamiento indefinido de prisioneros extranjeros aunque los tribunales militares los absolvieran. El martes, el director del Departamento Jurídico del Pentágono Jeh Johnson afirmó que la liberación de un prisionero dependerá de si el gobierno lo considera o no una amenaza, y no de los fallos judiciales. El gobierno de George W. Bush había adoptado la misma postura. Johnson realizó estas declaraciones frente al Comité de Servicios Armados del Senado.

Gobierno no explica postura sobre admisibilidad de testimonio obtenido bajo coacción
En la misma audiencia, funcionarios del equipo de Obama dieron opiniones divergentes sobre la procedencia o no de enjuiciar a los prisioneros con testimonios obtenidos bajo tortura. David Kris, jefe de la Sección de Seguridad Nacional del Departamento de Justicia, expresó que los tribunales federales podrían anular condenas basadas en declaraciones obtenidas bajo coacción. Pero el vicealmirante Bruce MacDondald, el principal asesor jurídico de la Marina, dijo que la admisibilidad de las declaraciones de los prisioneros debería basarse en su “confiabilidad”, y no en si se utilizó la coacción para obtenerlas.

5 de julio de 2009

Obama 54

El vicepresidente estadounidense, Joe Biden, presidió hoy una ceremonia de acceso a la ciudadanía de 237 miembros del Ejército estadounidense en uno de los palacios del ex presidente iraquí Sadam Husein en Bagdad. "Ese hijo de puta se está revolviendo en su tumba", afirmó antes de proclamar su orgullo por ser estadounidense, precisamente el 4 de julio, Día de la Independencia, según recoge la televisión CNN.

"Lo hemos hecho en el palacio de Sadam y no se me ocurre nada mejor. Ese hijo de puta se está revolviendo en su tumba", afirmó en referencia al ex presidente, derrocado por la invasión anglo-estadounidense de 2004 y ejecutado por las autoridades iraquíes instauradas por Estados Unidos.

3 de julio de 2009

Morales: Bolivia Trade Suspension Shows Obama “Lied to Latin America”

President Obama has announced he will continue a Bush administration policy of suspending trade benefits to Bolivia. The Bush administration revoked the benefits last year, accusing Bolivian President Evo Morales of failing to cooperate in the so-called war on drugs. On Wednesday, Morales said Obama has been deceptive in promising a new era of regional cooperation. Referring to Obama’s overtures at a recent hemispheric summit, Morales said, “President Obama lied to Latin America when he told us in Trinidad and Tobago that there are not senior and junior partners.” The US has been accused of hypocrisy for targeting Bolivia. The most recent UN figures show cocaine production in Bolivia rose just five percent in 2007. Colombia, which has received billions in US aid, saw an increase of 27 percent.

Morales: La suspensión de beneficios comerciales de Bolivia indica que Obama le “mintió a Latinoamérica”

El Presidente Obama anunció que continuaría con una política del gobierno de Bush de suspender los beneficios comerciales de Bolivia. El gobierno de Bush revocó estos beneficios el año pasado, tras acusar al Presidente boliviano Evo Morales de no cooperar en la llamada “guerra contra las drogas”. El miércoles, Morales dijo que Obama había sido engañoso al prometer una nueva era de cooperación regional. Refiriéndose a las propuestas de Obama en una reciente cumbre hemisférica, Morales dijo: "El Presidente Obama mintió a Latinoamérica cuando nos decía en Trinidad y Tobago que no había socios mayores ni socios menores”. Estados Unidos fue acusado de hipocresía por tomar medidas contra Bolivia. Las cifras más recientes de la ONU indican que la producción de cocaína en Bolivia aumentó solamente un 5% en 2007. Mientras que Colombia, que ha recibido miles de millones de dólares en ayuda estadounidense, tuvo un incremento del 27%”.

2 de julio de 2009

Obama 53

ACLU Says Government Used False Confessions

The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday accused the Obama administration of using statements elicited through torture to justify the confinement of a detainee it represents at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The ACLU is asking a federal judge to throw out those statements and others made by Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who may have been as young as 12 when he was captured. His attorney argued that Jawad was abused in U.S. custody, threatened and subjected to intense sleep deprivation.

Amnesty Accuses Israel Of War Crimes In Gaza

9:00am UK, Thursday July 02, 2009
Israel has been accused of killing hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroying thousands of houses in their recent offensive along the Gaza strip.

Obama 52

The Obama administration is attempting to maintain a façade of support for democracy in Honduras in part because of the political difficulties it would face were it to openly back a military coup there while conducting a propaganda war against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad based on allegations—unsubstantiated—that he stole that country’s June 12 election. Moreover, it wants to avoid a debacle for the US similar to that which the Bush administration suffered as a result of its open support for the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

The real attitude of US imperialism to democracy in Honduras and the rest of Latin America is revealed in the virtual silence of the US media on the events unfolding in the impoverished country. Virtually no coverage is being given to the repression being carried out by the coup regime, or the ongoing resistance of workers and other opponents of the coup.

The “interim government” has flooded Tegucigalpa and other cities with troops and police and is maintaining a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. There are reports of at least two anti-coup demonstrators having been killed and hundreds wounded or arrested. Officials in the Zelaya government have been detained or deported, television and radio stations have been closed down, and both Honduran and foreign journalists have been arrested. CNN’s Spanish channel was shut down by the regime, without evoking any public protest by the US network.

The head of the United Workers Federation reported that soldiers fired live ammunition into a crowd of protesters. Despite this repression, there are reports of walkouts by teachers and health workers, and protests in the capital and other cities involving thousands of people.

None of this is deemed particularly newsworthy by the US media, which has conducted a massive propaganda campaign against the Iranian regime for allegedly carrying out an electoral “coup d’état.”

1 de julio de 2009

Israel Seizes Aid Ship, Kidnaps Activists

The Israeli military has seized a ship trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza in international waters. On Tuesday, Israeli forces boarded the Free Gaza movement’s Spirit of Humanity and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The twenty-one activists on board have been reportedly denied attorneys and are set to be deported. The kidnapped passengers include former Congress member and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and the Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev dismissed the boat’s humanitarian mission.

Mark Regev: “Israel every day is allowing humanitarian support to reach the people of Gaza—food stuffs, medicines, energy and so forth. This boat was not about that. This boat was about political activists who have been apologists for the Hamas regime, who have nothing whatsoever to say about Hamas’s brutal treatment of the people of Gaza.”

The sailing was the Free Gaza movement’s first since it aborted an attempt in January after the Israeli navy threatened to shoot the civilian passengers on board. That sailing had come just weeks after an Israeli navy vessel deliberately rammed another of its boats, almost forcing it to sink. Issam Younis of Gaza’s Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemned the kidnapping.

Issam Younis: “This would reveal the fact that Gaza is under occupation, Gaza is an occupied territory, and Israeli authorities are imposing an unprecedented siege over the Gaza Strip. It’s not only closing the borders and have this effective control over the movement for the individuals and goods, but this time the sea. They impose very severe restrictions on the movement at sea, so shipments that are on their way to Gaza full of humanitarian aid were not allowed.”
Israel captura barco de ayuda y secuestra a activistas
Los militares israelíes capturaron un barco que estaba en aguas internacionales y que intentaba entregar ayuda humanitaria en Gaza. El martes, las fuerzas israelíes abordaron el “Spirit of Humanity” del movimiento Free Gaza (Gaza Libre, en español), y lo remolcaron hasta el puerto israelí de Ashdod. Según se informa, se les negó la asistencia de abogados a los 21 activistas que estaban a bordo, quienes serán deportados. Entre los pasajeros secuestrados se encuentran la ex congresista y candidata presidencial Cynthia McKinney y la activista irlandesa y ganadora del Nobel de la paz Mairead Maguire. Mark Regev, vocero israelí, negó que el barco tuviera una misión humanitaria.

Regev dijo: “Todos los días Israel permite que la ayuda humanitaria llegue al pueblo de Gaza, alimentos, medicamentos, energía y demás. Este barco no venía a eso, sino que traía activistas políticos que han hecho apología del régimen de Hamas, que no dicen nada del tratamiento brutal al que Hamas somete al pueblo de Gaza”.

Esta salida fue la primera del movimiento Free Gaza desde el intento fallido de enero, cuando la marina israelí amenazó con disparar a los pasajeros civiles a bordo. Dicho intento se produjo pocas semanas después de que un buque de la marina de Israel embistiera deliberadamente a otro de los barcos del movimiento, al que casi hizo naufragar. Issam Younis, del Centro Al Mezan por los Derechos Humanos de Gaza, condenó el secuestro.

Issam Younis declaró: “Esto revelaría el hecho de que Gaza está bajo un régimen de ocupación. Gaza es un territorio ocupado y las autoridades israelíes están imponiendo un sitio sin precedentes sobre la Franja. No sólo cierran las fronteras y ejercen un control efectivo sobre el movimiento de personas y bienes, pero ahora es también el mar, ya que imponen restricciones muy severas a los movimientos en el mar para que los cargamentos que se dirigen a Gaza con ayuda humanitaria no sean autorizados”.

30 de junio de 2009

Obama 51

Coup d'Etat Underway in Honduras: OBAMA'S FIRST COUP D'ETAT

By Eva Golinger

President Zelaya of Honduras has just been kidnapped

[Note: As of 11:15am, Caracas time, President Zelaya is speaking live on Telesur from San Jose, Costa Rica. He has verified the soldiers entered his residence in the early morning hours, firing guns and threatening to kill him and his family if he resisted the coup. He was forced to go with the soldiers who took him to the air base and flew him to Costa Rica. He has requested the U.S. Government make a public statement condemning the coup, otherwise, it will indicate their compliance.]

Caracas, Venezuela - The text message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read “Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d'etat underway in Honduras, spread the word.” It's a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans that were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution. Supposedly at the center of the controversary is today's scheduled referendum, which is not a binding vote but merely an opinion poll to determine whether or not a majority of Hondurans desire to eventually enter into a process to modify their constitution.

Rest of this article in:


25 de junio de 2009

Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq

A confidential record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK's role in toppling Saddam Hussein.

The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action.

Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan "to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover". Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions.
US drone strike kills 80 Pakistanis
25 June 2009

On Tuesday, an unmanned US Predator drone fired missiles into a funeral procession in the Pakistani region of South Waziristan, killing as many as 80 people and maiming dozens more. It was the deadliest US attack within Pakistan to date.

The mourners had gathered for the funeral of seven victims of another US drone attack that had taken place earlier the same day. US media accounts described the target as a “Taliban training center in South Waziristan.” According to local sources, those killed and wounded in the attack were mostly civilians. The US has stepped up its drone attacks on South Waziristan in preparation for a major ground offensive by the Pakistani military. Pakistani fighter jets have also been bombing the region.
Empresas canadienses son demandadas por invertir en asentamientos israelíes
Dos empresas canadienses fueron acusadas de cometer crímenes de guerra al colaborar en la construcción de los asentamientos israelíes en Cisjordania. La aldea palestina Bil’in presentó una demanda contra dos empresas con sede en Quebec, Green Mount International y Green Park International. Se dice que esta demanda representa la primera vez que una empresa privada es demandada por invertir en los asentamientos israelíes, que son considerados ilegales en virtud de las leyes internacionales.

21 de junio de 2009

US Moves Missile Defense System to Hawaii

Defense Secretary Gates has said the US is moving ground-to-air missile defense systems to Hawaii as tensions escalate between Washington and North Korea. Robert Gates said that the US is concerned that Pyongyang might soon fire a missile toward Hawaii.

18 de junio de 2009

Jimmy Carter: Los residentes de Gaza son tratados “más como animales que como seres humanos”

El ex Presidente Jimmy Carter dijo el martes que los palestinos de Gaza estaban siendo tratados “más como animales que como seres humanos”. Carter hizo este comentario luego de recorrer la Franja de Gaza por primera vez desde el ataque israelí.

Jimmy Carter dijo: “Trágicamente, la comunidad internacional ignora en gran medida los pedidos de ayuda a gritos, mientras los ciudadanos de Gaza son tratados más como animales que como seres humanos”.

Carter también pidió que se lleve a cabo una investigación sobre los crímenes de guerra cometidos por Israel.

Jimmy Carter dijo: “No hay ninguna explicación. La responsabilidad por este terrible crimen contra los derechos humanos recae sobre Jerusalén, El Cairo, Washington y las capitales de Europa, sobre toda la comunidad internacional. Se debe detener este abuso. Se deben investigar los crímenes cometidos en su contra. Se deben derribar los muros, y ustedes deben tener el derecho básico a la libertad”.

9 de junio de 2009

Manifestante palestino fue asesinado a balazos por soldados israelíes

En Cisjordania, los soldados israelíes asesinaron a balazos a un hombre palestino el viernes en la localidad de Nilin, durante la protesta semanal contra la construcción del muro de separación israelí que atraviesa Cisjordania. Los médicos dijeron que Aqel Srour, de 35 años de edad, recibió un disparo en el pecho, a la vez que otra persona resultó herida, cuando los soldados abrieron fuego contra los manifestantes. El sábado, aproximadamente 200 israelíes y palestinos se congregaron cerca de la ciudad de Hebrón, en Cisjordania, para demostrar su oposición a la construcción en curso de asentamientos judíos ilegales. Un intento por establecer su propia base llamada “Obama 2” cerca del asentamiento judío de Sussiya fue frustrado por las fuerzas de seguridad israelíes, quienes desbarataron la construcción improvisada. Mientras tanto en Gaza, los soldados israelíes mataron a cuatro palestinos en la frontera de Gaza hoy temprano. Israel aseguró que estos hombres eran militantes que intentaban ingresar a Israel.

4 de junio de 2009

Obama 50

Obama firma medida para conmemorar el nacimiento de Reagan

El Presidente Obama firmó una ley que establece una comisión para conmemorar el centenario del nacimiento del difunto Presidente Ronald Reagan. Obama firmó esta medida durante una ceremonia realizada en la Casa Blanca a la que asistió la viuda de Reagan, Nancy.

El Presidente Obama dijo: “El Presidente Reagan ayudó tanto como todos los otros presidentes a restablecer un sentimiento de optimismo en nuestro país, un espíritu que trascendía la política, que trascendía incluso las polémicas más intensas del día”.

El gobierno de Reagan fue responsable de la muerte de cientos de miles de personas en América Central por su apoyo a los gobiernos de derecha y escuadrones de la muerte que luchaban contra los movimientos populares.

Israel cita acuerdos secretos con Bush para evitar detener la construcción de asentamientos

El gobierno israelí está intentando evadir la exigencia de Obama de que se detenga la construcción de asentamientos en el territorio ocupado de Cisjordania. El periódico londinense The Independent informa que el Primer Ministro israelí, Benjamin Netanyahu, intentó justificar el hecho de que se continuara con la construcción de asentamientos israelíes citando acuerdos secretos entre anteriores gobiernos israelíes y el gobierno de George W. Bush. El gobierno israelí dice que aceptó la Hoja de Ruta respaldada por Estados Unidos en 2003, que exigía que se detuviera la construcción de asentamientos sólo con la condición de que se le permitiera violar la prohibición de este plan de expandir los asentamientos ya existentes.

Prisionero de Guantánamo se suicida, según el Pentágono

Un prisionero de Guantánamo murió como consecuencia de lo que el Pentágono calificó de “suicidio aparente”. Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih tenía 31 años. Originario de Yemen, estaba detenido en Guantánamo desde el año 2002, sin cargos en su contra. Es el cuarto "suicidio aparente" cometido por un prisionero de Guantánamo.

Pentágono: fuerzas de Estados Unidos violaron reglas en bombardeos de Afganistán

Una investigación del Pentágono llegó a la conclusión de que las fuerzas estadounidenses cometieron graves errores en los bombardeos letales del mes pasado contra dos aldeas afganas. Según el periódico The New York Times, la investigación encontró que al menos la mitad de los bombardeos no hubieran ocurrido si las fuerzas de Estados Unidos hubieran seguido las reglas operativas. Se trata del reconocimiento más reciente del hecho de que Estados Unidos obró mal, luego del intento inicial del Pentágono de responsabilizar a los talibanes por las víctimas. Sigue sin haber acuerdo con respecto a la cantidad de fallecidos, ya que, mientras el gobierno afgano habla de 140 civiles asesinados, Estados Unidos dice que sólo hubo treinta víctimas mortales civiles.

1 de junio de 2009

Were IDF close-range killings in Gaza justified?

Among the 1,400 Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead last December and January, 1,085 died in Israeli air strikes, according to a study by the Gaza-based human rights group Mezan. Israeli soldiers killed 93 Palestinians at close range with rifles, according to the study, which was requested by Haaretz.

Even assuming a margin of error, Mezan has confidence in the statistics, which show that less than 7 percent of the dead were struck by bullets at close range. Because these are close-range killings, journalists often focus on them, from various points of view. Soldiers' views, for example, were made public after the soul-searching comments by graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory course earlier this year.

TVNL Comment: Were ANY of the killings (murders) justified? That is the REAL question!

Facility 1391: Israel's secret prison

It has been removed from maps and airbrushed from aerial photographs. But Facility 1391 certainly exists - you just have to ask the Palestinians and Lebanese who have been imprisoned and tortured there.

Facility 1391 has been airbrushed from Israeli aerial photographs and purged from modern maps. Where once a police station was marked there is now a blank space. Sometimes even the road leading to it has been erased. But Israel's secret prison, inside an army intelligence base close to the main road between Hadera and Afula in northern Israel, is real enough. For 20 years or more it has been housed in a large, imposing, single-storey building designed by a British engineer, Sir Charles Taggart, during the 1930s as one of a series of garrison forts designed to contain growing unrest in Palestine. Today, the thick concrete walls and iron gates are themselves protected by a double fence overseen by watchtowers and patrolled by attack dogs.

U.N. calls U.S. human rights record "deplorable"

The United Nations has released a new report on accountability for human rights abuses by the United States, focusing mostly on transgressions during the Bush administration's so-called war on terror. In a word, accountability in the U.S. has been "deplorable."

The May 26, 2009, report by Australian law professor Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, does praise the United States for establishing compensation payments for civilians accidentally killed by U.S. forces in the heat of battle. But Alston quickly adds the following: "However, there have been chronic and deplorable accountability failures with respect to policies, practice and conduct that resulted in alleged unlawful killings -- including possible war crimes -- in the United States' international operations."

Obama 49

New report appears to directly contradict White House denial on abuse photos
A new report appears to directly contradict denials by the White House and the Pentagon that abuse photographs the Obama administration has withheld are worse than previously known.
In a posting Friday, an American reporter says he’s confirmed allegations printed in British newspapers that unreleased photographs of US servicemembers abusing prisoners include graphic images of rape, sexually explicit acts, sodomy and forced masturbation.

30 de mayo de 2009

Obama 48

Casa Blanca solicita a tribunal que bloquee divulgación de fotos de torturas
El gobierno de Obama solicitó formalmente la censura de centenares de fotos de torturas cometidas en las prisiones de Estados Unidos en el extranjero. El jueves, el gobierno solicitó a una corte federal de apelaciones que bloqueara la divulgación de las fotos aduciendo que incitarían a la violencia contra las tropas estadounidenses. En la solicitud interpuesta ante la justicia, se citan dos declaraciones secretas de los destacados generales estadounidenses David Petraeus y Ray Odierno, quienes ejercieron presión para impedir la divulgación de las fotos.

Gobierno niega que fotos muestren violaciones y abusos sexuales
La presentación del recurso se hizo al otro día de que el jefe de la investigación de Abu Ghraib, el mayor general Antonio Taguba, afirmara que entre las fotos hay imágenes de violaciones y abusos sexuales sufridos por prisioneros iraquíes, y cometidos por soldados estadounidenses. Robert Gibbs, Secretario de Prensa de la Casa Blanca, negó las acusaciones.

Robert Gibbs dijo: “Creo que el Pentágono fue muy claro al declarar que la historia es falsa. Quiero referirme en forma general a algunos informes que vi durante los últimos años en los medios de comunicación británicos y, de alguna manera, estoy sorprendido de que se hayan filtrado".

Activistas en contra de torturas reclaman divulgación de fotos y procesamientos
Mientras tanto, en Nueva York, activistas en contra de la tortura integrantes del grupo World Can’t Wait (cuya traducción en español sería “el mundo no puede esperar”) se manifestaron en la Gran Estación Central, para reclamar la divulgación de las fotos. Los manifestantes vistieron trajes color naranja y capuchas negras, similares a las de los prisioneros de Guantánamo. Samantha Goldman, de World Can’t Wait, rechazó el argumento utilizado por el gobierno de Obama para justificar la censura de las fotos.

Samantha Goldman dijo: “Lo que enciende el sentimiento anti-estadounidense son las bases militares de nuestro país en todo el mundo, las torturas, que es lo que en realidad vamos a hacer allí, eso es lo que exacerba el sentimiento anti-estadounidense. Para enjuiciar a los criminales es necesario publicar las fotos; para poder procesar realmente a los criminales de la era Bush, habría que poder presentar las fotos como prueba”.

Obama 47

The Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012, the top U.S. Army officer said Tuesday.

Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said the world remains dangerous and unpredictable, and the Pentagon must plan for extended U.S. combat and stability operations in two wars.

How Many Secret Prisons Does Israel Have?

The United Nation’s watchdog on torture has criticised Israel for refusing to allow inspections at a secret prison, dubbed by critics as “Israel’s Guantanamo Bay”, and demanded to know if more such clandestine detention camps are operating.

In a report published on Friday, the Committee Against Torture requested that Israel identify the location of the camp, officially referred to as “Facility 1391”, and allow access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Findings from Israeli human rights groups show that the prison has in the past been used to hold Arab and Muslim prisoners, including Palestinians, and that routine torture and physical abuse were carried out by interrogators.

29 de mayo de 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that police,
under certain circumstances, can initiate an interrogation of a suspect without
the defendant's lawyer being present.
By a 5-4 vote, the conservative majority overruled a 23-year-old Supreme Court
decision that barred the police from initiating questioning after a defendant
asserted the right to an attorney at an arraignment or similar proceeding.
The 1986 decision held that once a defendant invoked the right to counsel, only
the suspect, and not the police, can initiate the contact.
The ruling was the latest in a recent string by conservative justices expanding
the power of police to question suspects.
Ex-Officer: Blocked Photos Showed Rape, Sexual Abuse at Abu Ghraib

The former Army officer in charge of investigating the Abu Graib scandal says the photos recently blocked by President Obama include images of rape and sexual abuse. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Major General Antonio Taguba said at least one picture shows a US soldier raping a female prisoner while another shows a male translator raping a male prisoner. Taguba says other photographs show sexual assaults with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. The Obama administration recently drew criticism when it reversed a pledge to allow the photographs’ release.

Ex oficial: Las fotos no publicadas mostraban violaciones y abusos sexuales cometidos en Abu Ghraib

El ex oficial del Ejército a cargo de la investigación del escándalo de Abu Ghraib dice que las fotografías que el Presidente Barack Obama recientemente decidió no publicar incluían imágenes de violaciones y abusos sexuales. En una entrevista con el Daily Telegraph, el Mayor General Antonio Taguba dijo que al menos una fotografía muestra a un soldado estadounidense violando a una prisionera y otra muestra a un traductor violando a un prisionero. Taguba dice que en otras fotografías se pueden ver abusos sexuales con objetos tales como porras, alambres y un tubo fosforescente. El gobierno de Obama recientemente fue criticado cuando se retractó de una promesa de permitir la publicación de dichas fotografías.

27 de mayo de 2009

Netanyahu: Israel continuará expandiendo los asentamientos

El Primer Ministro Benjamin Netanyahu afirmó el domingo que Israel continuará construyendo viviendas en los asentamientos ya existentes en Cisjordania; de esta manera, desafiará los pedidos de Estados Unidos de que detenga su crecimiento.

22 de mayo de 2009

Obama 46

The real reason behind Obama’s reversal of a decision to release the torture photos has been almost completely ignored by the corporate media - the fact that the photos show both US and Iraqi soldiers raping teenage boys in front of their mothers.

The Obama administration originally intended to release photos depicting torture and abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of May, following a court order arising out of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit first filed by the ACLU in 2004.

However, a reversal of Obama’s decision was announced this week, after he “changed his mind after viewing some of the images and hearing warnings from his generals in Iraq and in Afghanistan that such a move would endanger US troops deployed there,” according to a Washington Post report.

In response, the ACLU charged that Obama “has essentially become complicit with the torture that was rampant during the Bush years by being complicit in its coverup.” The Obama administration has also sought to protect intelligence officials involved in torture from prosecution at every turn.

The primary reason why Obama is now blocking the release of the photos is that some of the pictures, as well as video recordings, show prison guards sodomizing young boys in front of their mothers, both with objects as well as physical rape.

Obama 45

Obama considera “detención preventiva” para encarcelamientos indefinidos

El gobierno de Obama, mientras tanto, está considerando la posibilidad de implantar un sistema de “detención preventiva” que pondría indefinidamente en la cárcel a sospechosos de terrorismo en Estados Unidos, sin procesarlos. El New York Times informa que Obama debatió la propuesta en una reunión con defensores de los derechos humanos, que tuvo lugar en la Casa Blanca.

Obama 44

US Continues to Imprison Reuters Photographer in Iraq

The United States is continuing to imprison at least one journalist without charge. Ibrahim Jassam, a freelance photographer for Reuters, has been held in Iraq since September despite objections from the Iraqi government, Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders and Reuters. Unlike Saberi’s case, Jassam’s imprisonment has received little news attention in the United States.

Obama 43

Missing Bush E-Mails Wont Be Released, Court Says

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the office that has records about millions of possibly missing e-mails from the Bush White House does not have to make them public.

The appeals court in Washington ruled that the White House Office of Administration is not an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act, allowing the White House to keep secret documents about an e-mail system that has been plagued with problems.

Obama 42

Afghan Lawmakers Protest Civilian Deaths
Afghan lawmakers walked out of parliament Monday to protest the latest civilian casualties at the hands of US-led forces. Lawmakers are demanding legal restrictions be placed on US and coalition forces to prevent further civilian deaths.

US Drone Strike Kills Eight in Pakistan

In Pakistan, at least eight people have died after a US drone blew up a house in the South Waziristan district, near the Afghan border.

Obama 41

Democrats won't fund Guantanamo closing
President Barack Obama's allies in the Senate will not provide funds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison next January, a top Democratic official said Tuesday.
With debate looming on Obama's spending request to cover military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official says Democrats will deny the Pentagon and Justice Department $80 million to relocate Guantanamo's 240 detainees.

18 de mayo de 2009

Interrogators May Have KIlled Dozens

United States interrogators killed nearly four dozen detainees during or after their interrogations, according a report published by a human rights researcher based on a Human Rights First report and followup investigations.
In all, 98 detainees have died while in US hands. Thirty-four homicides have been identified, with at least eight detainees - and as many as 12 - having been tortured to death, according to a 2006 Human Rights First report that underwrites the researcher's posting. The causes of 48 more deaths remain uncertain.

Israel bans books, music and clothes from entering Gaza

Israel allows only food, medicine and detergent into the Gaza Strip. Thousands of items, including vital products for everyday activity, are forbidden.
Altogether only 30 to 40 select commercial items are now allowed into the Gaza Strip, compared to 4,000 that had been approved before the closure Israel imposed on Gaza following the abduction of Gilad Shalit, according to merchants and human rights activists.
Mueren mil sospechosos de ser combatientes Talibán en Pakistán
Las Fuerzas Armadas pakistaníes ahora aseguran que mataron a más de mil sospechosos de ser combatientes Talibán en la frontera afgana. Pakistán está considerando extender su ofensiva a las afueras del Valle de Swat. El Presidente pakistaní Asif Ali Zardari le dijo al Sunday Times de Londres lo siguiente: “Swat es simplemente el comienzo. Hay una guerra más grande por pelear”. La ofensiva militar en el Valle de Swat ya ha desplazado a más de un millón de personas.

Mueren 29 personas en ataque con avión no tripulado estadounidense en Pakistán
Mientras tanto, Estados Unidos llevó a cabo otro ataque con un avión no tripulado en Pakistán, lo que provocó la muerte de 29 personas el sábado en Waziristán del Sur.

El hermano del Presidente afgano sobrevive ataque
En Afganistán, hombres armados atacaron el convoy del hermano del Presidente Hamid Karzai hoy temprano. Ahmad Wali Karzai sobrevivió al ataque, pero uno de sus guardaespaldas fue asesinado.

Guardias de Blackwater dispararon contra vehículo civil en Afganistán

Cuatro contratistas estadounidenses que dependen de la empresa antiguamente conocida como Blackwater dispararon contra un vehículo civil que se aproximaba a ellos en Kabul a principios de este mes, hiriendo a por lo menos dos civiles afganos. En ese momento los contratistas no estaban en servicio y presuntamente habían estado bebiendo.

Obama 40

Se envían Fuerzas Especiales de Estados Unidos a Pakistán
El Wall Street Journal informa que Estados Unidos está enviado Fuerzas Especiales a Pakistán para entrenar al denominado Cuerpo Fronterizo de Pakistán, una fuerza paramilitar que lucha contra los combatientes Talibán y de Al Qaeda. Entre 25 y 50 miembros de las Fuerzas Especiales están siendo desplegados en dos nuevos campos de entrenamiento en Baluchistán, un bastión Talibán en la frontera entre Afganistán y Pakistán. Un alto oficial militar estadounidense dijo que esperaba que Islamabad permita gradualmente que Estados Unidos expanda sus fuerzas de entrenamiento dentro de las fronteras de Pakistán.

17 de mayo de 2009

Obama 39

Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama

The 'Black Shirts' of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and 'dousing' them with chemicals.

The force is officially known as the the Immediate Reaction Force or Emergency Reaction Force, but inside the walls of Guantánamo, it is known to the prisoners as the Extreme Repression Force. Despite President Barack Obama's publicized pledge to close the prison camp and end torture -- and analysis from human rights lawyers who call these forces' actions illegal -- IRFs remain very much active at Guantánamo.

15 de mayo de 2009

Obama 38

El presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, sopesa detener a sospechosos de forma indefinida en suelo estadounidense y, según se supo, trasladar los juicios de presos recluidos en Guantánamo a territorio nacional, lo que empaña su promesa de cerrar ese penal.
Si al final se decanta por esas opciones, Obama podría crear en una base militar de su país un sistema de detenciones y juicios que no diferiría mucho del establecido en Guantánamo, la base naval estadounidense en la isla de Cuba, por su predecesor, George W. Bush.

12 de mayo de 2009

Obama 37

Nuevo comandante vinculado a grupo secreto que perpetraba asesinatos
El nuevo comandante en la guerra con Afganistán, Stanley McChrystal, es considerado un experto en artes militares de contrainsurgencia y guerrillas. Como director de Operaciones Especiales (que respondían directamente al vicepresidente Dick Cheney), McChrystal supervisó un programa secreto para buscar y asesinar a sospechosos de terrorismo o peligrosos para EEUU, en todo el mundo. Según el periodista de investigación Seymour Hersh, el Comando Conjunto de Operaciones Especiales perpetró asesinatos en una docena de países. El año pasado, los legisladores postergaron el nombramiento de Stanley McChrystal para un cargo clave debido a las interrogantes sobre el abuso de prisioneros por parte de las fuerzas que él dirigía. Al menos 64 miembros del servicio—pertenecientes o asignados a las unidades de Operaciones Especiales—recibieron sanciones disciplinarias por cometer abusos contra prisioneros, perpetrados entre principios de 2004 y fines de 2007. El Secretario de Defensa, Robert Gates, anunció el cambio ayer, y dijo que el Teniente General David Rodríguez será el responsable del manejo diario de la guerra en Afganistán.

Robert Gates dijo: “Yo considero que McChrystal y Rodríguez son un equipo. Ambos aportan habilidades extraordinarias en diversas áreas que son muy pertinentes para el tipo de combate que tenemos en Afganistán. Y pienso que la unión de sus habilidades nos brinda nuevas oportunidades para el futuro”.

El Teniente General McChrystal dirigió operaciones especiales bajo el mando del General David Petraeus, durante la implementación de la estrategia del aumento del número de soldados en Irak. Fred Kaplan, de la revista electrónica Slate, escribió: “La destitución de McKiernan marca un giro drástico en la estrategia estadounidense respecto a la guerra en Afganistán. Y significa que la guerra ahora es, inequívocamente, ‘la guerra de Obama’”.

New Commander Tied to Secret Assassination Team

The new commander, Stanley McChrystal, is viewed as an expert on counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare. As head of Special Operations (that responded directly to Vicepresident Dick Cheney), McChrystal oversaw a secretive program to hunt down and assassinate suspected terrorists or dangerous to the US, around the globe. According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the Joint Special Operations Command carried out assassinations in a dozen countries. Last year, lawmakers delayed Stanley McChrystal’s nomination for a key position because of questions about prisoner abuse by forces under his command. At least sixty-four service personnel assigned or attached to Special Operations units were disciplined for prisoner abuse between early 2004 and the end of 2007. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the change yesterday and said Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez will take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the war in Afghanistan.

Robert Gates: “The way I look at this is as McChrystal and Rodriguez as a team. They each bring tremendous skills in a variety of areas that are very pertinent to the kind of fight that we have in Afghanistan. And it is their combined skill set that I think gives us some fresh opportunities, looking forward.”

Lt. Gen. McChrystal ran special operations under General David Petraeus during the surge in Iraq. Fred Kaplan of Slate writes, “McKiernan’s ouster signals a dramatic shift in US strategy for the war in Afghanistan. And it means that the war is now, unequivocally, ’Obama’s war.’”