... for persecution is worse than slaughter..(part of 2:191)
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Unjustified killing: UN wants US drone attacks explained

A US Predator unmanned drone (AFP Photo)

A UN investigator has called on Washington to provide justification for the increasingly widespread use of military drones to carry out targeted killings. He says drone attacks, which take innocent civilian lives, may be violating international law.

The US military and CIA use drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. Washington should clarify the legal basis for the policy of killing suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders and associates rather than trying to capture them, Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, said in a report. The 28-page document addressed to the UN Human Rights Council was released ahead of the body’s debate on the issue in Geneva.

"The government should clarify the procedures in place to ensure that any targeted killing complies with international humanitarian law and human rights and indicate the measures or strategies applied to prevent casualties, as well as the measures in place to provide prompt, thorough, effective and independent public investigation of alleged violations," the report says.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Obama administration repeatedly lies about drone kills?

AFP Photo / USAF / Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr

If the increasingly frequent discussions about America’s drone program have you scratching your head, here’s an explanation: Obama administration officials have given inconsistent and conflicting accounts of the strikes, a new report reveals.
According to a write-up published this week by ProPublica, the White House has given infrequent and almost always inconsistent explanations for air strikes conducted by America’s unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. Although officials with the Obama administration rarely offer input on the civilian casualty count carried out by the controversial aircraft, the numbers that have been handed over to journalists— albeit usually on the condition of anonymity — range from zero to hundreds.
In conducting his research, Justin Elliot of ProPublica writes that he relied less on statistics drafted by overseas outlets that are considered more critical of the US drone program, instead favoring figures supplied by officials with direct ties to the Obama White House.
“Last month, a ‘senior administration official’ said the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under President Obama is in the ‘single digits,’” ” writes Elliott. “But last year ‘US officials’ said drones in Pakistan killed about 30 civilians in just a yearlong stretch under Obama.”
“Both claims can't be true,” Elliott acknowledges.
On his own part, US President Barack Obama told an audience during an Internet town hall earlier this year that drones had not caused "a huge number of civilian casualties." Depending on who you ask, however, the actual civilian body count may be as high as 832, as the UK’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports.
Back in America, though, explanations offered to many of the country’s largest media outlets suggest that some people within the Obama administration are either not being truthful with reporters or else White House staffers themselves are largely uninformed.
In April 2010, an “internal CIA accounting” provided to the Washington Post suggested that “just over 20 civilians” had lost their lives to drone strikes in Pakistan since President Obama began his first term in January 2009. As recently as this May, however, the New York Times quoted a senior Obama administration official as saying that the number of civilians killed by drones under the president’s watch is in the “single digits.”
Another report published by McClatchy last year puts the number of civilians killed between August 2009 and August 2010 at “about 30.” To the New York Times, however, a CIA officer suggested that zero civilians had been executed between May 2010 and August 2011.
Taking into account another three separate drone articles that relied on government insiders for information, Elliott writes that, if the claims are true, “it implies that the government believes there were zero or almost zero civilian deaths between the beginning of 2008 and August 2009, and then again zero deaths between August 2010 and July 2011. Those periods comprise a total of 182 strikes.”
Analyzing three other accounts provided to the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN by government officials, Elliott notes, “it suggests that the majority of the 50 total civilian deaths occurred during the Bush administration — when the drone program was still in its infancy.”
Of course, if Obama officials say that the current administration wasn’t behind the bulk of civilian casualties, they have that covered with another explanation as well: earlier this month, the New York Times published an article that answers just how the White House handles drone statistics: all military-age males in and around targeted strike zone are considered combatants, not civilians, because, “people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good."
Full report from RT  | 19 June, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tariq Ramadan : Mubarak will get away!

Published on Jun 17, 2012 by enqilab : In an interview, Tariq Ramadan gave his views on Egyptian Presidential Elections. He thinks that Mubarak will get away due to the law of Egypt.

Meet the Seven Guantánamo Prisoners Whose Appeals Were Turned Down by the Supreme Court.

17.6.12 : I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January with US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.
This week, the Supreme Court took a decision not to accept appeals by seven Guantánamo prisoners who, over the last few years, either had their habeas petitions denied, or had their successful petitions overturned on appeal. The ruling came the day before the 4th anniversary of Boumediene v. Bush, the 2008 case in which the Supreme Court granted the prisoners constitutionally guaranteed habeas corpus rights.
That led to a number of stunning court victories for the prisoners between 2008 and 2010, but in the last two years no prisoners have had their habeas petitions granted, because judges in the D.C. Circuit Court, a bastion of Bush-era paranoia about the “war on terror,” where the deeply Conservative Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph holds sway, have unfairly rewritten the rules in the government’s favor, so that it is now almost impossible for a habeas petition to be granted.
This is a particularly low point in Guantánamo’s bleak history, because, with the Supreme Court’s refusal to rescue habeas corpus, and its death as a remedy for the Guantánamo prisoners, the remaining 169 men — and especially the 87 already cleared for release but still held –  are now trapped, possibly forever, because all three branches of the US government have failed them.
In addition to the Supreme Court, the Obama administration has failed the remaining prisoners, not only through the President’s failure to close Guantánamo within a year, as he promised, but also through his refusal, ever since, to show any interest in belatedly fulfilling his promise. Blame also lies with Congress, where lawmakers have cynically imposed onerous restrictions on the ability of the administration to release or transfer any of the remaining prisoners, with the intention of making it impossible for the administration to close the prison — and almost impossible for anyone to be released.
As Tom Wilner (attorney and “Close Guantánamo” steering committee member) noted back in January, a waiver exists in the latest legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing the President to bypass Congress when it comes to releasing prisoners, but President Obama has not yet chosen to use it.

Israel cabinet approves committee to oversee West Bank settlement construction.

An outpost near the Mitzpe Kramim settlement in the West Bank
An outpost near the Mitzpe Kramim settlement in the West Bank. Photo by Michal Fattal

The government approved the establishment of a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning to deal with issues relating to settlement construction.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who gives the final say on all matters relating to settlement construction, voted against the decision, despite the fact that the wording of the decision clearly stated that his authority would not be affected. Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz also voted against the decision, along with several other ministers.
The establishment of the committee was one of the steps announced by Netanyahu to garner the support of right-wing ministers to vote against a bill aimed at regulating West Bank outposts. Netanyahu presented the option as a response to the ministers who sought to transfer the decision-making process over settlement building from Barak to a ministerial committee.
The responsibilities of the committee were designated vaguely, including the formation of an official governmental policy regarding unregulated building in the West Bank.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tunisia's Ben Ali sentenced to life for Arab Spring deaths

Published on Jun 14, 2012 by france24english : A Tunisian military court sentenced ex-president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to life in prison Wednesday over his role in the killing of protesters in the towns where the Arab Spring began. Earlier he was given a 20 year sentence for inciting violence.

...attempted a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair.

Arrest Blair for crimes against peace

 Attempts made so far
STOP PRESS: 11.05 BST, 14th June 2012. Tom Grundy has just attempted a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair in Hong Kong. Here is his press release:


Images, video and update to follow. Contact: Tom Grundy – Hong Kong-based British activist. (+852) 68411717 / twgrundy@gmail.com

“This evening, I attempted a citizen’s arrest upon Tony Blair, who was speaking at Hong Kong University. I did this in the hope of renewing debate around the solid war crimes case against him, and in order that the campaign to conduct citizen’s arrests against Blair continues whenever and wherever he goes. The action was legal under cap. 221 of the Laws of Hong Kong, section 101(2) which allows for citizen’s arrest upon suspicion of serious crimes. He mis-led the British public over the 2003 Iraq invasion and caused the deaths of at least 100,000 people. I believe it to be abhorrent that HKU is sponsoring a talk about faith hosted by a man who set religious tolerance back decades.

Blair admitted in 2009 that he would have gone to war regardless of Iraq’s alleged WMDs – international law does not allow a war of aggression in the name of regime change. He stated in 2002 that Iraq’s production of WMDs was ‘beyond doubt’ and thus misled the British people. The use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs may constitute ‘aggression’ in that they are indiscriminate and cause large civilian causalities. His actions leading the Iraq invasion were therefore a clear violation of…

Article 5.2 of the 1998 International Criminal Court Rome Statute (awaiting adoption).

the Court… “shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression once a provision is adopted in accordance with articles 121 and 123 defining the crime and setting out the conditions under which the Court shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to this crime.”

Article 33 and 51 of the UN Charter.

Article 33: 1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

2. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ron Kukal on the Israeli's attack Liberty!

Ron Kukal, former US Navy Petty Officer and USS Liberty survivor, discusses his firsthand account of Israel’s attack on the Liberty on June 8, 1967; the carnage of dead sailors below decks from the Israeli torpedo strike; Phil Tourney’s book What I Saw That Day; how PTSD still effects Kukal’s life and family relationships; the dangers facing Liberty survivors who dare tell the truth about the attack; and Kukal’s thanks to the rescue ships and sailors who saved the Liberty from sinking and helped get it back to port.

Ron Kukal « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton

Rotting in Guantanamo?

Published on Jun 12, 2012 by democracynow : The Supreme Court has refused to hear any new Guantánamo appeals even though half of the men being held were cleared for release five years ago. Critics of Monday's decision say it leaves the fate of prisoners — many of them long cleared for release — in the hands of a conservative D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has constantly sided with military prosecutors and refused to order the release of any prisoner. The high court also refused to reinstate a lawsuit by former "enemy combatant" José Padilla against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. We're joined by two guests: Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights, and investigative journalist Andy Worthington, who reports that of the 169 prisoners still held, over half — 87 in total — were cleared for release by President Obama's Guantánamo Review Task Force. "In a lot of practical ways [the Supreme Court decision] marks the end of the Guantánamo litigation that began more than 10 years ago. ... Detainees have won about two-thirds of their challenges in the trial courts, but the D.C. Circuit ... has overturned every single one of those cases that's been appealed to it. And in doing so, it's created standards that make it virtually impossible to win a case."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Israel admits it revoked residency rights of quarter million Palestinians since 1967.

Palestinian children in Hebron looking on as Shovrim Shtika lead a tour of the city.

Israel stripped more than 100,000 residents of Gaza and some 140,000 residents of the West Bank of their residency rights during the 27 years between its conquest of the territories in 1967 and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.
As a result, close to 250,000 Palestinians who left the territories were barred from ever returning.
Given that Gaza's population has a natural growth rate of 3.3 percent a year, its population today would be more than 10 percent higher, had Israel not followed a policy of revoking residency rights from anyone who left the area for an extended period of time. The West Bank's population growth rate is 3 percent. Many of those prevented from returning were students or young professionals, working aboard to support their families.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Israel plans to build new homes in West Bank settlements

Israel is set to Build 850 New, illegal settlement homes in the occupied West Bank.. These new homes are to to built in the following Illegal settlements: Beit El, Arie, Maale Adumim, Adam, Efrat, Kiryat Arba.

Published on Jun 6, 2012 by telesurenglish : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the construction of 850 houses in the Jewish settlements of the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Knesset vote to retroactively legalized illegal settlements.

Published on Jun 6, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish : An illegal settlement on Palestinian land has become the focus of a bitter and potentially groundbreaking court case. Israel's High Court has ordered five properties, built illegally on land seized from Palestinians, to be demolished. 

 But the government has asked that the settlement be retroactively ruled legal, a decision that would have major implications.

Blackwater guards finally face manslaughter charges?

Blackwater guardsGot away with a lesser charge?

RT | 
06 June, 2012
The US Supreme Court ruled this week that it will not allow the four private security guards indicted in a 2007 Iraqi massacre to appeal charges related to the slaying.
Four former employees of Blackwater Worldwide — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Donald Ball — will once again face criminal charges for their role in the September 16, 2007 killing that left 14 Iraqi civilians dead. Twenty others were wounded during the altercation, which erupted near Nisour Square in downtown Baghdad.
The Supreme Court weighed in this week to decide on whether or not to allow an appeal that could have meant the dismissal of manslaughter and weapons charges against the employees. A federal judge had previously ruled that the defendants’ Fifth Amendment right that protects them against self-incrimination was violated in the case because prosecutors used statements in the original trial that should not have been allowed in court. An appeals panel fought that decision, however, which brought the case all the way to the Supreme Court this week.
Bruce Bishop, an attorney for the defendants, claims that the government encouraged his clients to make statements in the immediate aftermath of the incident that were later used in court to charge them at a later date.
"The issue is of national importance," Bishop tells Reuters. "The privilege against self-incrimination is a fundamental and universal value in Anglo-American justice."
After Federal Judge Ricardo Urbina originally threw out the case on December 31, 2009, Blackwater reportedly compensated some of the victims’ families with $100,000 each, reports the Guardian. A federal appeals court picked up the case after, however, and spent months hearing closed-door testimonies before reinstating the charges in April 2011.
On the prosecutions part, federal attorneys say that they have enough evidence as is to continue with the case. That claim was enough for the Supreme Court to reject hearing the appeal this week. The country’s top justices made their decision on Monday without comment and now the four defendants will likely stand trial in the slaying.
A fifth guard, Nicholas Slatten, was previously let off the hook for an alleged role in the slaying. Jeremy Ridgeway, a sixth participant, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.
"None of these victims was an insurgent, and many were shot while inside of civilian vehicles that were attempting to flee," Slatten told investigators.
In the years since the Nisour Square massacre, Blackwater changed its name to Xe Service LLC and then Academi, under which it currently operates. Last year Academi CEO Tim Wright told Wired’s Danger Room, “As we make changes and they take root and we convince everyone they’re real … then the real proof in the pudding is convincing the government of Iraq and the U.S. government to let us do business in Iraq.”

original report :

Monday, June 4, 2012

the Question of Jewishness, Apartheid or Zionism?

Published on Jun 4, 2012 by aston79suara : Afshin Rattansi talk to Gilad Atzmon, Jewish novelist, journalist and saxophonist, about Lebanon, Palestine and censorship.